“I’m stuck,” Davis groaned. “And I can’t see anything….”
“That’s ’cause your big ass is blocking the light.” Chisholm twisted the top of the cylinder he was holding and a glow illuminated the rocky floor in a dim circle around his feet. He let out a sigh.
This wasn’t what he’d hoped for. Just a big damp cave. The rock they’d landed on appeared to be populated only by lichen and algae engaged in a battle for supremacy on an otherwise barren world. Their struggle for biological dominance resulted in a barely breathable atmosphere, but not much more.
“Thanks.” Davis said as he reached for a small stalagmite and pulled himself the rest of the way through the hole. A spray of light rushed in behind him then dispersed in a wave to illuminate the rust colored cavern.
Chisolm took a better look around. Stalactites and stalagmites projected from the floors and ceilings every few feet and several had joined to form massive columns, giving him reasonable confidence in the stability of the ceiling. “This should do.” He cranked off the photoelectric cylinder to preserve the battery, it didn’t make much difference now that Davis had pried himself from the entrance.
“How long do you think we’ll be here?” Davis asked, brushing a fine red dust off his too-large pants.
“As long as it takes to recharge Meredith’s tug.” Chisholm replied. He refused to acknowledge that the ship belonged to him now. “I’d guess until about this time tomorrow, but it depends on how long a day lasts around here.”
“We can’t just go back and sleep in the can?”
Chisholm still wasn’t sure how long he could keep his temper from flaring at the continual questions. He took a breath and set his duffel on the ground. “The atmosphere is too thin here and we’re way too close to that star. The shielding in the ship wouldn’t protect us from the solar radiation long enough for us to recharge. We’re much safer underground.”
Davis shivered. “If you say so.”
Continue reading: Gravity Well #writephoto – Words and Worlds