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Science Fiction

1. Oberon
Ellis Hunt felt a faint shudder run through the ship and cast an anxious glance at his panel, as
warning sirens suddenly blared out. His orbit was starting to decay and the ship was starting to
spin! While Oberon, the gas giant he was orbiting, appeared to remain the same his
instruments told a different story. He quickly fed power to engines 2 and 4. Instead of the
surge of power he expected his progress into the gravity well only slowed!
"Damn", and he fed more power to the engines; still no reaction. A glance at his panel showed
he had about 10 minutes before his descent became un-recoverable and he would die, sucked
into the maelestrom of gases below.
Instruments showed that one of the storage tanks was losing pressure. He toggled external
monitors and watched the coupling to storage tank 2 stream gases into the thin atmosphere
surrounding the ship. The forces from the escaping gases were making his flight eccentric and
pulling him down into the gravity well. Sweat beaded his brow and he knew he was in serious
trouble - the terminal sort! His only chance was to jettison the storage tank to stabilize the
ship. He slid over to the secondary instrument panel and tripped the safety interlocks on tank 2,
setting off another warning siren and more flashing lights. Override, quick, press the
'Uncouple' for tank 2. A quick glance at the aft monitor, no change. Back to the main panel,
full power on engine 2 only and he felt a tremor run through the ship and watched as the
coupling to tank 2 started to glow. A dull roaring grew in strength and his feet felt a vibration
through the floor. He quickly pulled over his safety harness, clipped in and hit the power switch
for engine 3, full power. Spinning, now, the force causing his chair to compensate wildl y, then
the roar became a scream and he groaned as he felt himself slip into unconsciousness.