[ I mentioned I have some crazy dreams, yes? Consider this The Ruins... in space. ]
“———–traces of —————- contami————————-tain, do you copy?”
Sudden chaos as consciousness returns. A dozen different lights flash; a chorus of alarms shrill and beep at ear-splitting frequencies; cracked screens scroll with damage reports made meaningless by their severity.
“—– can’t send assistance until —————ings. Please repor——–”
Brade wrenches her leg free of the debris thrown loose by the crash and delivers a solid kick to the control panel. The disorienting hiss of radio static clears and the signal sharpens.
“Captain, do you copy? Genesis One is prepared to begin emergency extraction and is awaiting confirmation the surface is sterile. Please transmit planetary biological hazard readings immediately.”
Sticky blood seals one eye and Brade scrubs it away with the sleeve of her flight suit as she surveys the damage. During the crash her research vessel became vertically wedged in a steep, narrow canyon, its nose pointed toward an unfamiliar sky. If not for her safety belt Brade would have been thrown to the back of the ship on impact. As it is, her whole body aches and the wound on her head leaks a steady trickle of blood. At least she fared better than the ship, though. Staring at the remains of the flight panel, she knows she’s lucky the damned thing hasn’t caught fire.
“Captain, do you copy?”
Another kick silences the radio completely. Brade doesn’t need the delicate biological scanning equipment, now a jumble of broken circuits anyway, to get a biohazard reading. Beyond the ship’s shattered bubble shield the dusty air dances with green motes, questing spores of a carnivorous plant Genesis One has already classified an extreme threat. A mere handful of the minuscule seeds is enough to form a rapidly spreading colony capable of eating away at metal as easily as flesh, and the crash has shaken loose clouds of them from the canyon walls. Genesis One can’t risk contamination by bringing her back on board now.
The ship may not be on fire yet, but neither she nor it is going anywhere. Brade leans her head back and coughs, feeling the first spores take root in her lungs and spread their tendrils through the spongy muscle.