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Cliffhanger! Part 3: Return to Space Academy

January 11, 2014

For this weeks challenge, write a post that will leave readers waiting for more. Breathless with anticipation. Obsessively clicking “refresh,” waiting impatiently for the end of the story. We want to hear audible groans when readers reach the end of your post and see “To be continued…” Bonus points also available for anyone else who manages to work Sylvester Stallone into their post.


“Sir, we are tracking an unknown contact on the scope.”

“What’s the range and heading?”

“It’s coming straight for the station sir, and closing fast. It’s definetly not an asteroid, sir. Interception will occur in thirty minutes, sir.”

“Track it and alert the ready wing.”

“Yes sir, Captain!”

“Sir, I’m receiving a faint IDFF signal! It registers as Shuttle Delta665, sir!”

“Are you positive, Lieutenant? That shuttle was declared missing five days ago, they couldn’t have lasted this long without oxygen.”

“I’ve double checked the signal sir, it’s definitely Delta665 and it’s coming in under power.”

“They should also be out of fuel by now. Arrange an escort for it Mr. Fritzen, this is going to be interesting. Connect me to the Station Master; I better let him know what is on his way. Then contact the Admiral.”

“Yes sir, Captain Brusheck, right away, sir!”

“Try to communicate with them.”

“Yes sir, no response sir, not even a carrier wave, sir.”

“Have the ready wing do a flyby; I want to be sure that it is really Delta665.”

“Yes sir! Captain, the leader of the ready wing reports that it is the shuttle, sir. He says that there is heavy damage on the exterior from fire and explosion, also the antenna array is completely missing, sir.”

“So even if they wanted to contact us they couldn’t. Have an emergency team standing by Mr. Fitzen. There’s no telling what kind of shape these people are going to be in. Tell the ready wing to fire the Emergency Communications Device.”

“ECD fired, sir.”

“Contact them.”

“Yes sir, Delta665 please respond. I repeat, Delta665 please respond. State your condition.”

“Delta665 here, Cadet Simon D’Zayre in command. Seven dead including the entire flight crew. Eight wounded, two in serious condition. Fuel is at critical level, oxygen adequate, food low, and water high.”

“We’ll send an experienced pilot over to you.”

“Negative station, the shuttle door was leaking badly and we had to weld it shut.”

“Understood, Shuttle Delta665. I’m going to connect you to Flight Operations now.”

“Deploy safety gear and rescue teams.”

“Yes sir!”

“Pull up everything you can find about this Cadet D’Zayre and forward it to Flight Ops.”

“Are we going to make it D’Zayre?”

“It’ll be tight, but we have just enough fuel left to dock safely Ruok.”

The space station loomed ever larger in the viewing screen. “Brace yourselves; we’re coming in hard and fast!” Metal and ceramic screeched and scraped as it collided. With a loud thump the shuttle docked. “We’ve made it everyone, we’re safe at last!” Simon shouted in relief.

“This is the Dock Master speaking. Please stay in your seats while we unseal the door.”

“That was the greatest piece of flying ever Simon! You were just like Sylvester Stallone.” GrelVuk yelled and thumped Simon on the back.

Simon staggered under the blow. “Never heard of him.”

“He was a famous Old Earth hero, a great warrior. He won many battles.” Grelvuk said enthusiastically.

Excerpt from SPACE CADET by Emily Karn.
In response to Weekly Writing Challenge: Cliffhanger!.


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