The Arc (chapter II)

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(BACK TO PRESENT)

EXT. DEEP SPACE – NIGHT

The graphs in front of James’ helmet light up.

Two parallel lines pointing towards infinity and straightening out each time.

A.I.
James wake up, the ship is approaching the optimal point.

James opens his eyes.

Moves as if he is falling, but quickly stops.

As he recognizes the place he’s in, his breathing increases.

A.I.
You have to control your breathing, James. The oxygen level has dropped considerably.

Pain in the abdomen makes him bend over slightly.

JAMES
(hurting)
Sorry, I understand.

A.I.
Are you ready? your vital signs…

JAMES
(interrupting)
Let’s review the plan.

A.I.
Okay, we’ll use the thrusters to approach. Once used, we’ll have nothing but your strength to get aboard the ship.

James moves his limbs in preparation, but, as he does so, he feels a deep pain in his abdomen.

A.I.
James?

JAMES
(hurt)
I’ m fine…

A.I.
Are you ready?

James looks at the parallel lines on the helmet glass.

His breathing calm, eyes focused.

Lines in the helmet get straighter and straighter.

(FLASHBACK)

INT. CABIN OF THE SPACECRAFT – NIGHT

James, sitted on the pilot’s seat, Sara’s on his right side.

Patrick, focused on the screen at the back seat.

He presses buttons on the ship’s dashboard.

SARA
Are you ready?

James places his hands on the reaction wheel.

Takes a moment, then—

OLDER A.I.
Manual mode enabled.

James moves the wheel to the right.

Propelling the ship in the direction of the giant asteroid, seen through the window.

The space craft moves closer and closer into the path of the asteroid.

Gains speed.

SARA
(looking worried)
Will this really work?

PATRICK
Leave it to me.

JAMES
Okay, let’s get into the trail.

The spacecraft accelerates once again.

Moves even closer to the asteroid, approaching the trail of debris.

JAMES
Here we go.

The ship enters the trail.

PATRICK
(nervous)
Remember, I need at least 3 seconds to aim for the rift.

JAMES
I don’t know if we can hold out that long.

Chunks of frozen rock move at high speed towards the ship.

PATRICK
We have to!

James makes precise movements on the reaction wheel to evade the debris.

JAMES
God dammit!

James struggles to evade the debris.

The ship moves from side to side, taking small hits.

The objective on Patrick’s screen fails to catch the target.

SARA
Come on Patrick! Do it!

PATRICK
I can’t! It moves too much!

Sara turns her gaze to James, who keeps his focus forward.

The ship evades a large chunk of rock, ahead the path looks clear.

JAMES
Now!

Patrick takes aim at the rift in the middle of the asteroid’s main body

Manages to lock the target.

PATRICK
3, 2, 1… go!

The nuclear scavenging missile shoots out straight into the asteroid!

However.

At the same time, a chunk of rock hits the side of the ship, knocking the three astronauts to the ground.

OLDER A.I.
Critical damage to aircraft, fuselage integrity compromised.

James gets up first.

Alarms and red lights on the panels.

JAMES
Are you all right!?

SARA
(getting up)
Yes!

Patrick nods from the floor, James helps him up.

JAMES
Get to the escape pod, now!

A new blow shakes the ship.

James holds onto the command chair.

Sara and Patrick move to the exit door.

James follows to the next compartment.

He looks back, notices small pieces of rock hitting the glass of the main cabin.

the glass cracks and shatters.

James jumps towards the separation hatch and closes it just before being sucked into the vacuum of space.

Sara and Patrick look frightened at James.

JAMES
Keep moving forward!

Sara and Patrick move to the next compartment.

James follows.

Fire moves through the walls.

James reaches the—

ESCAPE POD COMPARTMENT

Closes the hatch, but fire comnes through the edges.

James rushes forward, where Sara is activating the escape pod.

Patrick is the first one to go in.

James reaches Sara.

JAMES
Go!

Sara and James climb into the pod.

The fire collapses the hatch and ferociously enters the escape compartment.

James presses the eject button!

The escape pod is ejected into space, quickly leaving the spacecraft behind.

SARA
How long before the explosion!?

An intense flash of light illuminates the space around the escape pod.

A strong vibration follows.

James and the others look out of the pod window.

The asteroid has not suffered much damage.

Patrick slumps back in his seat, defeated.

PATRICK
Failed…

SARA
What do we do now?

Patrick does not reply.

SARA
James?

James sighs and moves away from the window.

JAMES
We go home.

James returns his gaze to the window and outer space.

(To be continued…)

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