(The Silence of Ancient Light, continued)
They found the shuttle in bad shape. They had seen from across the lagoon that it was no longer sitting level in the shallow water, and now they could see the reason why. One of the landing struts canted at an angle implying significant damage to the undercarriage, and another had snapped off completely. The hull appeared battered where tree limbs had struck it during the storm, and a spiderweb of cracks glazed the cockpit window. The airlock door hung open, the interior dark beyond.
Anna’s heart sank when she saw the extent of the damage. She had entertained hopes of repairing the shuttle enough to fly it closer to the space elevator, if not actually back into orbit, but at first glance this now appeared beyond her available resources. Without a proper shipyard, or at least Aniara’s maintenance facilities, the shuttle would likely never fly again.
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Alien visitors have come and gone, and before that a major windstorm, leaving our marooned explorers camp and shuttle in terrible shape. Anna and Laxmi still don’t know whether Jaci is alive or dead, in hiding or kidnapped by the aliens. With options running out, they investigate the wreckage of their shuttle, once their only hope for escaping this planet and getting back to their starship in high orbit.
Thank you for alpha-reading my first draft. No obligations, of course, but if you’d care to leave a comment, feedback of any kind, you are more than welcome. Otherwise, stay tuned for the next scene, in probably about a week’s time.