Experiment #195

Lunar Eclipse Part 4

“I’m hit,” Jad said. Air and gas and liquid spilled out from a gash in The Amalgam’s grey, dented side.

Lisa gave out a yelp.

“Keep calm,” Carl said.

“It looks like it caught my oxygen tank. Cabin pressure is going down,” Jad said.

“Is your suit intact?” Carl asked.


“Make sure you’re on suit support. Then descend about a thousand feet to get out of the trash field.” Carl said. “Larry, can you get a visual?”

“I’ve dropped below him now,” Larry said. The comm link went silent as Larry assessed the damage. “Oh, crap. Looks like he’s leaking fuel too.”

Lisa’s fingers dug into the armchair. She started to speak, but caught herself. She tried to trust in her ex-husband’s expertise, for she did not trust in him.

“Where’s the damage?” Carl asked.

“Looks like… panel six, section four, toward the tail,” Larry said.

“Alright, Jad,” Carl said, “this is going to be tight, but you can do it. I want you to shut off valve six, seven, twelve, and uh…” he checked the schematic in front of him, “and thirteen on your fuel. Actually, shut off valve sixteen as well.”

“That just leaves four and eighteen with fuel in them,” Jad said.

“That’s barely enough for atmosphere maneuvering,” Larry said.

“Don’t worry, it’ll be enough,” Carl said. “Now are you on suit support, Jad?”

“Yes,” Jad replied.

“Jad, it’s gonna get hot in there. Between your suit and the backup inner heat shield you should be okay. But with the outer shield broken, you’re gonna feel like a fried egg.”


“Now, once we get you through the hot zone—once you can hear my voice again—we’ll open the fuel valves and you’ll land fine, right?”


“Ok, Larry, I want you to take the lead and bring The Sun Skimmer down on flight path Delta seven.”

“Shouldn’t he follow Jad?” Lisa asked. Her body shook with worry.

Without changing his calm tone Carl said, “It’s going to get bumpy and Jad needs a point of reference he can trust. Plus if Jad’s got any loose debris that drops off in the descent we’ll lose ‘em both.”

Carl turned his attention back to those in the sky. “Alright, Jad, one last thing before we start.”


“It’s gonna be tough, but you got this.”

Jad smiled.

“I love you!” Lisa shouted from the couch.

“Mom?” Jad asked.

“She’s here, Son, but don’t you worry about her,” Carl said. “Focus on the task at hand.”

“Am I gonna get in trouble?”

“Don’t you worry about that,” Carl said. “Focus on getting home safe.”

“Can we get on with this already?” Larry asked.

Carl smiled. “Ok,” he said, “on my mark, both of you begin descent.

“Three. Two. One. Mark.”

“Beginning descent,” Larry and Jad said almost at once.

When they hit the hot zone The Amalgam bucked like a bronco. The mangled metal caused friction with the air and prevented even heat distribution. Pockets of hot and cold air threw the rocket around in all directions. Jad kept his eye on The Sun Skimmer’s tail and centered his approach as best he could.

Carl watched his scopes. Every thirty seconds he said into the mic, “Larry? Jad?”

The white noise from the radio seemed to last hours. Lisa’s fingers dug deeper and deeper into the couch armrest. She used all her strength to keep from beating Carl senseless for putting her boy in peril.

“Larry? Jad?”



“Do you copy?”



“Larry? Jad?”



“Do you copy?”



“Larry? Jad? This is Carl.”



“Do you copy?”



“Carl, this is Larry. I’m through. Scopes are clear behind me. Probably got knocked off course. Turbulence was bad for me. Must have been terrible for him.”

“Jad?” Carl asked.



“Do you copy?”




To Be Continued…

Read Lunar Eclipse from the Beginning

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