Creative Writing Prompts: October, But You Go

Lancaster Station was one of the oldest bases in the system, and while they constantly slated it for upgrade, it had yet to receive more than necessary maintenance. When Yuli had arrived, they’d be overwhelmed by the age of the equipment, and had spent their first three months of training learning how to use systems that had been old when their parents were young. Five years in, the old age of the system no longer bothered them, but they did sometimes miss the sleek lines and shining surfaces of Palisade.

When they’d accepted the post, their parents had launched a full campaign to talk them out of it. Even roped in aunties, uncles, and unties. If their grandparents had still been alive, they were certain they would have been called to duty as well, but none of them had been successful. The money was too good to turn down, even with the age of the equipment and the remote location of the station.

There had been stations out farther than Lancaster, but none of them were in operation anymore. The records were light on reasons, but given how long it took the transport to get here, Yuli thought the distance might have something to do with it. As it was, there were only five of them on the station, and the supply transports only ran every six months, because it wasn’t worth it to have them come more than that. They’d have to have one ship coming and one ship going the entire year, if not more.

A year was Earth Standard, still, given the station had no planet and sun to speak of. It was an off choice, as far as Yuli was concerned, to plunk one down where there was nothing more than an asteroid belt to mark it. Maybe they’d worried they were never going to find another planetary system and dropped it next to the first landmark they came across. There were other planets out there, as explorers had discovered about three years after they built Lancaster, but by then having a way station between the last Sol System planet and the new discoveries was deemed useful. It stayed so until the farther outposts and settlements were discontinued. Now it was an oddity, all by its lonesome in the dark.

Of course, the resources in the asteroid belt had something to do with that.

The mining equipment was all automated. They didn’t have to pay staff to be out here, or risk them in extracting the metal and minerals, but someone needed to make sure it all stayed working and to manage the few system errors that cropped up. None of the bots ever lost their minds and attempted to kill their human overlords, of course, but a corrupted update could bring the entire thing to a halt. Even the systems that were supposed to resolve any software issues occasionally had issues, so they needed someone on site to handle that. They needed it, and they were willing to pay for it, so Yuli was happy to accept the money. It wasn’t like they’d ever been a people person to begin with.

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by | Oct 26, 2023