Bad Day
by Julad

Warning: death in all its lack of glory.

A skull.

Not such a large thing to be left behind. But then, not much *was* left behind.

No last message no final goodbye no parting smile nothing.

Just the twisted wreck of a shuttlecraft, half-submerged in a towering red dune.

Locator signal working but not much else. Not enough to sustain a life for nearly two hours... if he had survived the impact, which, judging by the burns on the corpse, he probably hadn't.

The desert rodents were an unexpected indignity. Scavenging birds had already pecked out the adoring almond eyes, little pockets of moisture like jewels on this dry wasteland, but the fact that the extremities were gnawed away in the time it took for the sandstorm to abate spoke volumes for his chances of survival.

Explosion on impact, pain cut off by asphixiation in the acidic alien atmosphere. Loving, smiling lips cracked wide and crusted with blood. Jaw set forever in a rigid final scream, and mouth filled with sand. The black hair absurdly shiny as it fell over a charred cheek and neck. Punctured by birds, nibbled by rodents, already shrivelled in the shimmering dry heat and all in the blindingly quick one hundred minutes between "unexpected turbulence" and "mayday" and "get down there, Mr Paris" and "emergency beacon located" and "no, there *is* no hope of resuscitation".

Maybe it was too soon to expect tears. How long would it be until the shock wore off? The brutal reality should probably be sinking in... the fact that his *everything*, after a hundred times cheating death, was dead a hundred times over.


An abrupt funeral. Closed casket. And a surreptitious transport from an alpha quadrant souvenir ejected into forever-alien space. It screeched mutely from its newly-replicated display case in the centre of their quarters; a mourner's numb tribute to the sudden and unending finality of death.

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