Space Week draws to its inevitable conclusion today with: the landing.
I'm finishing up my story today and you're welcome to either do the same (with as many comments as required) or just keep on keeping on with it. I leave the choice in your creative hands.
Regardless, I'd just like to say thanks to you guys for making this week particularly enjoyable.
When the ship landed at last on Nukzhul, teams of medical personnel were ready and waiting for them. The moment the main gangway touched down they rushed on board, pulling carts overflowing with fully functioning Individual Environment Suits behind them. Once inside they split off in groups of twos and threes as they began their search for survivors.
There were, if they were being honest, more than they had expected. After all, they'd had no contact with the ship in the final two hours of the voyage aside from the automatons that had taken over the flight controls. Status updates would have been a waste of precious air.
Most of the survivors were in pairs, having shared their breathing apparatuses between them like Old World scuba divers submerged with a single tank. A few of the higher level Technicians had hacked their own suits and keyed in a scaled back oxygen output in order to extend their supply at a minimally life sustaining level.
A few lower level Technicians had attempted the same technique, with fatal results.
The Engine Room was the final area to be searched. The medical crew that had the dubious honor of exploring its claustrophobic corners filed the following report:
The deceased were found next to each other in the Engine Room. Dog tags identified the crew members as Timothy Higgins, Mechanic, Second Class and Miranda Sanchez, Mechanic, First Class.
All signs indicate they were working on an important adjustment on Engine Three. It is our belief that an argument broke out over the correct settings and a physical altercation ensued. At some point during this scuffle First Class Mechanic Sanchez's IES was irreparably damaged.
We believe that Second Class Mechanic Higgins was overwhelmed with grief at the unintended results of his actions and knelt over his fallen comrade for some moments, escorting her spirit to the other side. Eventually his pain was more than he could bear and he made the decision to take his own life with a kitchen knife. We are not certain how this weapon came to be in the Engine Room.
On a personal note, we would like to express our appreciation and gratitude to those on board that this was an isolated incident and that all other crew appear to have pulled together in the face of this terrifying emergency.
The grim truth of what had actually come to pass in the Engine Room was not brought to light until the video surveillance was reviewed several days later.