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7. Helplessness

by No Protocol | Score: 2400

SecUnit is dying. Running out of air. I can feel it slowly fading in the feed, and there is not a damn thing I can do about it. 

I'm docked in a transit ring of a station several light minutes distant from where it's trapped on a planet. It's alone down there, surrounded by hostile fauna and trapped in the wake of an earthquake. 

And all I can do is hold its proverbial hand.

It cannot reach the shuttle it used to get there, and calls for help aren't reaching the humans who it was supposed to rescue. I don't know what happened to the survey team that requested extraction, but they're not answering. Perhaps they're also dead, I cannot tell with any certainty. Its drones have been smashed to pieces by falling debris, and it is somewhere in a cave, its lungs destroyed.

My own crew is here, without a shuttle, so they have no way of reaching SecUnit. They're working on a solution, but I can tell it will not come in time. SecUnit cannot function without its organic parts, and those require oxygen it can no longer take in.

"Would you like to watch Sanctuary Moon?" I ask.

It sends an affirmative ping, and I fear it might not have the strength to do more. I start its favorite episode all the same.

A million calculations and not one of them can save my friend from a cruel, meaningless death. I feel helpless in the face of reality. I don't know how SecUnit copes with the fragile nature of its clients, but all I can think -- running a dozen processes in tandem -- is that I can't lose my friend and I cannot help it. And this is not something I could've imagined when I met it all those cycles ago.

"Thanks," SecUnit sends, a bare whisper of feed connection. 

I want to beg it to hold on, but the math doesn't lie. "I can't do this without you," I say instead. It's not a lie, but it doesn't even begin to scratch at the surface of the truth. "Please."

"Goodbye, ART." 

And it's gone, the connection cut off. 

Completed challenges

The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:

Begin Start typing to begin
Letter Use the letter O
Words Reach 50 words
Words Reach 100 words
Words Reach 200 words
Words Reach 300 words

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