Chapter 10 – My Squad Atricious (page 9 of 10)

“Don’t do it Tek, let me die here,” screeched Slackman. “You can’t do this to me, man. I’ve fought hard for you, I’ve saved your life a thousand times, don’t let me die like this.”

I shook my head in disbelief of his head-shaking disbelief in me. “You’re not going to die today, Burggl, you’re too strong of a soldier. Now take a deep breath on my countdown. Three, two, one,” and I heard him gasp for what little he was still worth as I slammed my open palm on the control panel’s oversized red button.

Three millionths of a second later, the airlock seal broke, all air rushed out to emptiest space, and the breath holding Slackman flew apart atom from atom as his obliterated shell detonated from a single atmosphere’s pressure to that of absolute zero.

The cabin sat silent and the communicator from the mediship broadcast nothing but the expected sound of group vomiting.

All that remained of Burggl was the question of who would have to squeegee his remains from the walls of the transfer bay.

The crew was shaken, stirred and upset. I didn’t know what to say, so I offered, “he didn’t hold his breath, not my fault.”

The silence in the cabin was itchy with anticipation.

“Come on, man!” shouted Little N, breaking the comfortable quiet, “You can’t survive in the vacuum of space, everyone knows that. What the hell were you thinking?”

He had a smart enough question, but I wasn’t about to tolerate that sort of tone from a subordinate officer, especially not one I’d only taken on to my crew as a favor to the terminal colleague I’d just sent to swiftest demise by a series of mistakes, misestimations and misunderstandings of this so-called “common knowledge” of things.

“These are the spoils of war, Little N, you know that,” I explained, already relaxing in the wake of an abated disaster. “I don’t like casualties anymore than anyone else, but there was no way anyone could have foreseen or avoided this misfortune.”

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