The July issue of Vitality is now free to download! “Lifeboat” is the cover story for the issue, and has four beautiful accompanying illustrations.
The story takes place post-Earth, when the crew of a mining spacecraft–who believe themselves to be the last remnants of life–discover a strange vessel. It could be a dangerous trap left over from the final war, or it could be proof that they aren’t alone in the universe.
Here’s an excerpt:
“We’ve finished our initial sweep. It’s all one room. This is it. There are a few access panels to the inner workings, but nothing we can identify as an inhabitable space.”
“What’s it for?” Martinez wondered aloud. “There’s nothing in here.”
“I don’t know, but I get the feeling you’re right: it’s not a remnant from the war.”
“But where did it come from? Why’s it here?” She turned back to the bramble. “Keep searching. I want signs of life. A hair, a scale, a flake of skin, whatever. There have to be remnants of whoever made it.”
Could it really be that we’re not alone? That it’s not man-made? Her heart leapt. Not alone.
On a whim, she stuck out two gloved fingers, hooked them under one of the twisted metal pieces on the console, and pulled.
The ship groaned and shuddered. There was a great screech of metal on metal, as though the vessel had not been given commands for a very long time.
The away team stopped, and everyone looked up. Something moved in the dark.
Clat, clat, clat–a huge metal turbine, the length of the ship, slowly rolled overhead. The walls quivered.
The garish protrusions she’d noted before jerked out of the walls, like plaster figures popped from silicon molds. They were attached to long coils of wire, which the turbine rolled up, forming a sort of tent over the bay. Hidden row after row of the objects came forth from their compartments. When the ship lay quiet again, the vast room was filled with dangling, glittering shapes. They looked like fancy party decorations or Christmas ornaments with the way they glimmered in the flashlight beams.
A few tinkled like chimes as they bounced lightly off one another.
You click the cover to go to the download page: