The Last Voyage by Rachel Smith

Interstellar pilot Jansen forced her muscles to relax as the warp-speed engines thrummed into overdrive, making the control deck vibrate beneath her feet. Two-point-seven seconds later, they lurched back to cruising speed only to find their pursuer still there, frighteningly close to firing range. 

Captain Treva clenched his jaw, “Jansen. Evasive action. Now.” 

Her hands swept over the controls. Abruptly, the ship pitched forwards. She brought the craft through a full downwards somersault, eyed the luminous radar on her left and felt the blood drain from her face; she hadn’t lost it. 

As the Captain cursed, Jansen fingered her daughter’s seashell necklace and grimaced. She’d promised this would be her last voyage and she would damn well keep that promise… if she made it back alive. 

Captain Treva gestured towards the deep eternity of space, an iridescent purple nebula drifted to the right of their vision, but directly in front was a wide, dense asteroid belt. “Can you navigate that?” 

Jansen swallowed, “That’s the biggest I’ve seen.” 

“That’s not what I asked,” he said, “Can you navigate it or not?” 

“Yes, sir.” 

He nodded, “Engage thrusters. We’re going in.” 

Jansen breathed deep, her mind blocking out all sound to focus on her task. Silence snaked across the control deck. No one could help her - not even the captain - they could only observe and have faith. In her or something else, it didn’t really matter as long as they kept quiet. Jagged rock slid past agonisingly close as she wove the craft through the belt, feeling her way by instinct. Time fragmented until she finally came out the other side to thunderous cheers. The enemy craft had vanished from the radar. 

Jansen slumped backwards, lifted her necklace to trembling lips and whispered, “I’m coming home.” 

Published in Issue #19

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