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I had 17 single person escape pods left and 20 crew members not counting myself. Luckily all the escapee civilians and any crew member over 5'10” had already been evacuated in the eighty five 20 person escape pods. We had packed them into those pods like a “once upon a time” Sardine can. Hopefully those pods will be found before their sealed environments became unsuitable to sustain life.

M.I.C. (machine interface communicator) had recommended a Lottery to chose who of our 20 number would be able to use the remaining 17 single person escape Pods.

I called a general meeting where we conducted a vote and by the show of hands all agreed to the Lottery idea.

Everyone chose a number between one and twenty knowing only the first 17 would be guaranteed an escape pod off of this bucket of bolts before it impacted in the next 10 hours with a very big, hard, icy, rocky, ugly, form of compacted dirt that would destroy this ship and everything remaining on-board upon impact.

M.I,C. started calling out the randomly generated Lotto numbers and as the numbers were called the winners formed a line to my left. Once completed there were 4 of us remaining ( I had not selected a number for myself as the Captain goes down with the ship etc etc traditions suck sometimes but it is what it is).

Out of the 17 winners there were 6 women of whom were all of small stature. They were in a huddle and as I looked First Officer Lt. Marci stepped forward and suggested that she had volunteers in her group that could double up in the one person escape pods so at least three others could escape before impact. There were others who volunteered to double up but all were either to big, to wide, or to something, to have much of a chance of surviving for the time needed for a rescue.

That would leave only me riding into oblivion..... which with all things considered.... was a plan I could live/die with.

I oversaw the loading and jettisoning of the last Pods and then retired to my cabin for some much needed sleep.

Many people have said they always wanted to die in their sleep so I figured, “Why not”.

I had been up for 28 very stressful hours, so when my head came to rest upon the bed, I was out and away in a dreamless sleep before I could even blink my eyes.

I was awakened by a soft hand on my shoulder 9 hours later.

Captain wake up,” said a voice that reminded me of Marci in my sleep drugged mind as I struggled to regain some sibilance of a working consciousness .
Marci, what are you doing back on-board ?”

The Nautilus has attached a toe line to us and this ship has already been toed out of danger. When I came on-board to get you all but two of the escape pods had already been safely retrieved with their occupants.”

Wow I guess today was not my day to die after all !”

Probably not today Captain as a work crew is already on-board with two new generators that should be able to get us back under our own power in the next few hours”.

48 hours later all the escaped pods had been reinstalled and charged back to their full potential and the new generators were working flawlessly.

Since we had been over loaded with the escapees on our original mission the Nautilus had agreed to take half of the people to their new home on Altar.

Since we were back under our own power we would also arrive on Altar within the next 36 hours.

Now that all our systems had power reinstated we had access to our ship's full data base and as a result we were able to determine “what to hell happened.”

Our escapees were fleeing their home world due to tribal and religious persecution . One of them had been trained as a space engineer and knew precisely where to place two small explosive charges. He was not an escapee but a religious fanatic who wanted to ensure none would arrive alive at any new destination. When I found out who it was I put him in and airlock and jettisoned him into void of space wearing only his underwear.

The End
In his Underwear,,, you're to Nice!
Once A Rogue, Always A Rogue!
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The single person escape pods are where you lay down on your back and when they are sealed there is barely 8 inches clearance between your forehead and the seal.. The girls who doubled up, one had to lay on her back and the other girl on top with her head down facing beside the first girl. Even with that and the small statue when the seal (lid) was closed it was a very tight fit on the top person's butt.

We managed but it really was a very tight fit. Just lucky the Nautilus showed up when it did.

The 20 person escape pods had two in every seat and several just huddled by the middle support column.. It was a very desperate situation and everyone did as well as they could.

Without fresh filtered and recirculated air the whole place on the ship was getting very stinky so most were ready to leave any way they could..ESPECIALLY SINCE THEY BELIEVED THEY WOULD BE RESCUED before life support would run out.

I will never forget the look on the Bomber's face as he was ejected out the airlock.. !

I have a new ship and Marci is now a sub commander as we travel the endless bounds of space together. hahahaha

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