A Mother's Love

A short story by Grant Davis

Jez Brown could still hear them laughing. A probable distance of several million klicks now separated them and he could still hear them laughing.
Lying on his back, he swivelled his frame from under the console he was checking and looked at his senior officer. He gave her a simple shrug and she kicked at his boot angrily.
"What do we do now?" She demanded.
Jez wanted to shrug again. He wanted to say "nothing" but his own despair was too great. He had already admitted defeat to himself. When he found three vital components had been removed from under the console, he realised that the little space raft would never leave the surface of the planet again.
"Do you think they'll come back for us?" She punctuated the sentence by kicking his boot again.
"No, Captain Mendez." said Jez simply." They won't - that was the whole idea: a fool's errand to the planet's surface without the hardware to leave."
"They can't do this. This is mutiny. Someone will find out and they'll come back for us." There was the faintest trace of pleading behind that aggressive tone. "I mean I am Captain. This voyage will show up on the core log."
Jez stood and removed a panel below the console. Reaching inside he pulled out a small box with a thin wire trailing from it. He picked up the loose and swung it before her eyes.
"This, Captain, should have been sending out flight telemetry to the core log. Disconnected, even our departure from the bay will have gone unnoticed."
"And what happens when the ship returns home? Someone will ask questions."
"Believe me, Captain, the boys will have that sewn up thoroughly. Every thing that cannot be accounted for from your clothes, to this space craft - ourselves included - will be covered. Records doctored, discrepancies explained away. Unless one of the other five decides to break the conspiracy, we are here forever."
The Captain roared and brought her hands down on the console.
"There's nothing we can do? No beacon, no signal - nothing?"
"Nothing - I'm as anxious as you to get home but - well take a look around you. We left the space ship in a crippled raft. They were very thorough . . . "

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