Cracked Plastic
rating: +7+x

Atticus's eyes were glued to the piece of plastic, watching it slowly drift through the cramped interior of the shuttle before eventually striking something and bouncing off, only to repeat the process once again. How long had it been since he breathed clean air and walked on fresh soil, letting it envelop his toes? His thoughts slowly drifted to home….and to her.

Maria.


"Atticus!"

He slowly sat up, glancing away from the window to avoid the harsh morning rays. Still a bit groggy, he asked, "What is it, Maria?"

She stood with her arms crossed, a twinge of annoyance flickering across her face. "Just thought I'd wake you up. You know, considering your award ceremony is in a few hours."

Oh, that was today. Wait, that's today!? He bolted out of bed, the drowsiness that comes with a deep slumber quickly fading away. He rushed to his closet, desperately looking through it for his suit and tie. Suddenly, he felt a finger press into the small of his back. When he turned around he saw Maria standing before him, one arm holding his suit and the other his pants. They were both freshly ironed and not a speck of cat hair or lint could be found on either. "Maria, you're a life-saver!"

She just gave him that small knowing smirk, handing them both over and taking a seat on the edge of the bed. She was already dressed, her golden locks recently ironed. "Yea, I know. Now get dressed, we can't have you late to your own award ceremony. Mr. Astronaut."

Two Hours Later

He stood before the flashing cameras, a big smile spread across his face. How long was he going to have to hold this pose? It was starting to hurt. In his hands he held a large plaque with the words "Atticus Darsey: First Intergalactic Traveler" etched across it in fanciful lettering. He was really going to space, just like he always wanted to. It was like a dream he never wanted to wake up from.


Atticus's eyes shot open and he fumbled for a moment before remembering the gravity was turned off in the shuttle. That was dangerous, he can't afford to sleep right now. His water and food had run out a long time ago, but he couldn't exactly quite tell when. The computers might've been able to, but he rerouted all the power from non-essentials to life support. He peered out one of the shuttle windows, hoping to see something that wasn't complete darkness. The result was the same as the last time he looked, however. The only thing for thousands and thousands of miles was an empty and silent void.

Just how the hell did he end up like this? One small miscalculation, that's what. He was off by an inch, and he was going to pay for it with his life.


The mission was going just as the eggheads back at base planned it out. First, he'd make contact with the team stationed on the Warp Drive outside of Earth's atmosphere. After he docked there, they'd hook everything up to the shuttle and shoot him on out of this solar system. Sure, it sounded like a one-way trip but they'd accounted for that too. A smaller warp-drive was built into his ship, with just enough fuel to take him back so long as he was at the right coordinates.

Despite all the reassurances given to him by the warp drive team and the eggheads, he couldn't help but feel worried. He's the first person to travel outside of the solar system, after all. This was history in the making and all he had to do was not fuck it up. Suddenly the comms came alive, the warp drive team captain's voice filling his shuttle.

"Alright chief, we're all ready to go on our end. All you gotta do is press a few buttons and you're off. I know this shit's recorded but fuck man, ain't this some exciting shit?" The drawl in the man's voice led Atticus to believe he was probably from the southern provinces.

Atticus let out a shaky laugh. "Yea, real exciting. Who knows, maybe I'll meet some aliens out there. Just hope they don't wanna kill me."

The warp drive captain gave a hearty laugh in response to this and a word of good luck before cutting comms. Now, it was just Atticus. He ran through what he needed to do in his head. One, activate the warp drive. Two, set coordinates. Three, initiate. His hand slowly drifted to the control panel, finally resting over the large button marked, "WARP DRIVE." He pressed it and deep within the shuttle a loud hum started to slowly ramp up. Next was the coordinates, which he shakily entered with extreme diligence. Now, all he had to do was initiate. As he pressed the button Atticus's elbow jutted out, striking the panel detailing the coordinates. He felt a mounting dread as text filled the main monitor,

COORDINATES SET: 0,20,20,40,60,40,607,20,10,20,50,40,50,50

They were wrong. They were all wrong.


Atticus slowly came back to reality, only faintly aware of a blinking set of words on the main monitor that stated,

OXYGEN RESERVOIRS WILL DEPLETE IN T-MINUS TWO HOURS

The new coordinates he had put in by mistake had taken him somewhere completely off course, and on top of that in the middle of an asteroid field. He managed to avoid the destruction of the ship, but many systems were taken offline from the damage. Eventually his fuel had been left nearly depleted and he was left to drift in the vacuum of space.

His eyes drifted back up towards the window. He anticipated it to be just like the last time, with only the empty darkness in attendance. However, this time it was different. This time, there was a ship. For the first time since he left home, he smiled.


The ship across from him looked identical to his own. They had either rebuilt his after realizing he went off course or used a prototype. Either way, it didn't matter. There was someone else out here now. There was hope. Directing all the power to the thrusters would bring the oxygen level down to thirty minutes, but it didn't matter. He needed to reach that ship. Taking a seat in the captain's chair he grabbed ahold of the thruster's lever and pulled, cranking it to the max. It was do or die.

As he hurtled towards the ship, he could see it speeding towards him. With their combined efforts, they'd reach each-other in no time! With it nearly on him, he shut off his thrusters and let the ship idly drift towards the other. He had expected it to speed up and pull up beside him but it had stopped aswell, the two only a few feet apart and facing each other. What the hell was this guy's problem? His comms were fried so the only other way to contact him was through hand signals. He rerouted some power to the cabin lights and all at once they lit up. At nearly the exact same time, the cabin of the other ship had their lights turn on. As Atticus stood there staring, a mixture of emotions started to flood into him. Confusion, rage, sadness, and finally despair. What stood in the cabin of this "other ship" was not another astronaut come to save him.

It was himself.

He had reached the galaxy's edge.

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