A desperate man confronts his one true enemy.
“Finally, the end!” I celebrated, my words overflowing with the pride of a long awaited, though tragic victory. My greatest nemesis, an enemy who’d taunted me across the heavens and through a lifetime, was steadily running out of oxygen without an escape. Admittedly, I probably should have planned ahead better, like maybe sabotaging his suit before exposing the compartment to open space. Then again, his New Year’s stupor was just too perfect an opportunity to pass up, though I hadn’t expected my own anchor to give way, sucking us both out into space. Still, I was glad to see him die, even if it cost my own life.
“Ironic, isn’t it, old friend?” I heard him taunt in my helmet.
“Friend? You and I were never friends, you sonofabitch,” I replied.
“How long’s it been? Decades now?”
“Don’t you ever shut up?”
“It feels like forever. I’ll admit, it’s been fun. Hey, remember Vexalon Planetia?”
“Seriously, you’re bringing that up now?”
“C’mon, that slave girl was totally into you! If not for me…” he chuckled to himself, “…you’d have had a pretty dull mission!”
“You tainted my drink and hired the entire harem for me, then blew through my creds and must have pissed somebody off because I had a price on my head for six solar cycles.”
He burst into laughter. “Ahh…Good times!”
“Do you know how many of those bounty hunters I had to slip past, just to get out of that system?”
“You’re such a wet blanket,” he goaded. “You know, we could’ve been great together! Conquered the galaxy!”
“Conquered the…? Are you out of your mind?”
“Well, you know me.”
“I’m just ready to be rid of you,” I sighed.
“Well, that’s not very nice! And to think I was determined to spend the New Year with my best bud!”
“You really are nuts! Listen, every little bit of happiness, you’ve taken from me! When I started my transport business, you were sure to get me branded as a smuggler. The Casinos? My credit’s no good there anymore thanks to you. And Tess…don’t even get me started with her. The one woman I’ve ever loved in my life.” The admission hit me hard in the gut. “I’d never really cared about anyone before. But Tess – a smile that could move planets and…” My thoughts drifted to the spacer from Terra Prime. She was amazing. No one knew a starship engine like she did and her lavender eyes sparkled like stardust, though she could lay you out flat in a single punch.
“Well, boo-friggen-hoo!” My nemesis was less than sympathetic. “That woman was holding you back!”
“Says the guy who thought it’d be funny to delete my entire audio collection and replace it with ‘An Evening with Guy Lombardo.’ Screw you. There’s not an inch of my life you haven’t completely blown to pieces.”
“You mean, made more interesting! Sheesh! You’re such a bore!”
“Ten minutes of oxygen remaining,” my suit warned. “Return to your ship or find a secondary oxygen supply.”
“It’s about time,” I realized.
“Meaning I’d rather asphyxiate in the coldness of space than listen to you another minute.”
Suddenly, I was blasted in the face by a direct beam from overhead. “Dammit! No!” I screamed, but it was too late and felt the drag back toward the ship. The airlock roared as oxygen filled the compartment and I sank to my knees sobbing, pounding the grav-plating.
The hatchway slid wide and two crewman hauled me to my feet. Then, she was there, same as always in her white and red jumpsuit. “Jesus. You look like shit,” Tess noted, her name badge catching the artificial lighting as she removed my helmet.
“I see you got the engines running again,” I noted.
“Engines? What’s he talking about?” one of the crewman asked.
She pulled a syringe from her kit and stabbed me in the neck. “Nothing. It’s the schizophrenia. Some manufactured fantasy about his adventures as a smuggler,” Tess smirked. “Guy even created some sort of pestering nemesis or something. It’s a miracle he took the time to put a suit on.”
“I love you, Tess,” I admitted as my senses began to dim.
She pinched me lightly on the cheek, “Awww, sure ya do cupcake,” then chuckled and motioned us away. “Take him back to isolation and restrain him. Let’s make our New Year’s resolution to keep the patients INSIDE the station from now on.”