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When Machines Bleed by Mark Brittan All season long, the Sterling Heights Stevenson Titans High School football team had been r... [3,286 words]
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The Perfect Snow Angel by Wolfa - [1,754 words]
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The Ravine
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The Ravine
Three men find themselves in an unusual perdicimate when the truth is revealed.
[994 words]
Science Fiction
Shawn Petersen
25 year old college student fullfilling an assignment.
[April 2001]
[email protected]
The Ravine
Shawn Petersen

                  The Ravine

The flight off the planet was flawless. “It’s just like the simulator Houston,” said Ted Dammar, mission leader of Galileo. “Copy Galileo.” Ted’s two mission partners Jeffrey Manson and Charles Bundy both agreed with Ted.
    To all of them, the launch seemed just a little too perfect, but no one said a word. Now they were all heading for Mars. “Houston, this is Galileo, we are currently set for transition to cruise, we will be just hanging out for a while,” said Jeff. Houston answered up, letting them know that they would be receiving daily downloads of current news, and any other thing they might want to find out about. During the first few months of their mission, everything seemed typical. The mission members would chat about daily events, do preventive maintenance on their equipment. One thing they didn’t talk about was their past. They all avoided that conversation at all cost. Each one of them seemed to be at a loss for the subject matter.
    During one lunar evening fast asleep, Ted was dreaming of his life back at Earth, only his dream was very violent. He could see himself standing at the edge of a ravine, looking down at what appeared to be a carcass. Upon approaching the subject in the weeds, he realized it was a human and quickly he woke up to the sound of an alarm. “Galileo, this is Houston, over.” Ted, frightened to no end, fought his way out of his sleeping bag and grabbed the receiver and spoke into it. “This is Galileo, over.” His voice was trembling, and he could fell the cold sweat running off his forehead. “Galileo, this is Houston, is everything alright up there?” This question brought a hot flash inside him. Looking at the control panels, the gauges, the alarm, he saw no signs that would deem Houston to call up and ask such a question. Ted answered up with “Everything’s alright, just a bit of a nightmare, over,” pausing for an answer. “We know, break, be advised of an asteroid belt coming up.” For a moment Ted was trying figure out how Houston could possibly know that he was having a nightmare, but disregarded the thought after the words “asteroid belt” landed on his brain.
    Later on, Ted called for a group meeting in one of the storage compartments towards the back of Galileo. “How have you guys been sleeping lately?” Ted asked Jeff and Charles. Jeff looked him dead in the eye and said, “To be honest, not so well. I didn’t want to frighten you two with strange stories, but I keep dreaming about three women who are dead. And I don’t mean just dead, I’m talking mutilated, hung up and cut up and left in a ditch or a ravine.”
Jeff expected his two mission members to look at him kind of strangely, but they simultaneously replied with “Me too.” Some how they all knew something was just not right.
    Charles began to speak of his dreams, describing to them the horrible visions, and that one of the victims was wearing a nametag Betty Greene. “Every night I see her name and I wonder who she is.” Shortly there after, an alarm sounded in the in the control compartment and the group disbursed to do their duties.
A few days after the little group talk, Charles’s dreams were getting worse, and the name Betty Greene was pounding in his head, so he decided to run a query on her through the computer. The search brought up over 200 hits. To narrow the selection, he selected all Betty Greene’s that are deceased. With that, the poor murdered victim that had been haunting his dreams was now on the monitor in front of him. Charles began to lose it. “Ted, Ted, I want off this fucking tin can right now, I can’t take this anymore!” Ted tried to console him but soon after Charles’s outburst, Houston was calling up. “Galileo, this is Houston, over.” Ted picked up the receiver, at the same time trying to get Charles calm. As Ted was beginning to answer up to Houston, Charles started flipping switches and pulling levers and screaming that he wanted to go back home. “Galileo this is Houston, that’s it, we’re pulling the plug on you.” At that moment they all froze. The thought of being abandoned 20 million miles from Earth put a sudden hush through out the ship. They all waited, scared of what was getting ready to transpire. Everything in Galileo went dark, and all was lit up shortly after, only the three mission members were not in their little tin can anymore. The room that they were in now was filled with giant super computers, each one hooked to a mission member, using thousands of electrodes, each one attached to the naked human body that lay strapped in the chairs. A door opened and in walked two tall slender men wearing shiny black shoes, and white laboratory coats. “I told you the Memory Suppression needed to be turned up higher for the flight simulator. Especially on these sick murdering bastards that the prison gave us. Oh well, hit the abort switch, and get us a new batch of prisoners.” With the push of the button, all the electrodes retreated from the skin of the men and where reeled in by the computers that controlled them. The men all looked at each other, wondering what was in store for them. The man in the lab coat looked over and said “Don’t worry, you guys will be dead before you hit the ground.” Shortly after that a needle came out of the chair, piercing just behind the ear with an injection that burned. The chairs then flipped upside down while the floor opened, they all knew the end was near. The restraints were released and the three mission men were dropped down to the ravine.


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© 2000 Shawn Petersen
April 2001

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