7 Ways to Die in Space
Imagine it for a moment. Cold, gelatinous slime covering over your face. Goop drips down your neck. You hold your breath as long as you can, but… the slug has latched on. The suction is so strong, your skin starts to burn,
Then you gasp. But there’s no air between you and the slug. The slime fills your mouth. Fills your lungs.
Struggling only brings the black oblivion of death closer.
Gravity Reversal (Crushed)
We don’t set foot on hostile alien ships anymore. It’s been decades since they figured out how susceptible we are to gravity shifts… how easy it is to kill us with a simple adjustment of a slider on a console.
But sometimes, you don’t know they’re hostile. You don’t know that your alien boyfriend has discovered proof you’ve been cheating on him (Ignore the fact that the person in those pictures is definitely not you--jealousy doesn’t care about things like that). So a candlelight dinner turns from hot and heavy, to just plain heavy.
He watches you with pain and anger in all five of his eyes as the wait crushes your limbs, your lungs.
Blood stains his carpet as you die in excruciating pain.
Clueless Scientists (Looking at you, Wayland Yutani Corp HR Department)
You signed on for this exploratory mission because space has always fascinated you, and, while you’re not certain you meet the qualifications, you snagged yourself a place on a ship headed to a distant star system.
After months of training--you’re a security guard now--and weeks of debriefings (you only half paid attention to), you and the rest of your crew are shot into space and headed for your adventure.
But you notice some strange practices by the crew’s scientists. They’re doing things that don’t seem very scientific. One of them is huffing some sort of liquid metal--you’re pretty sure it’s not mercury, but beyond that….
Two of them are too busy screwing around to notice they’ve knocked a pair of acids on the floor and they’re burning a hole through two decks.
The one that really scares you, though, is the one with a couple dozen caged mice. They refuse to let you into their lab, don’t submit to the routine security checks, and you’ve heard them mumbling about the ridiculous (safety) requirements on Earth labs.
So of course, that’s where the problems start.
The acid has dripped down and opened up one of his cages. The rat--severely mutated, or you’ve never actually seen a rat before--attacks the metal-high scientist and, after ingesting said metal, disappears into the ship.
Whatever the scientist did to that rat, they’re not telling anyone. They’re on the floor of their lab with a half dozen rats swarming around the cavity chewed through their chest.
It gets you from behind.
You taste the metal too. It’s in your blood. Your vision swims. You drop to your knees.
And you lay there, unable to move as they eat you. Staring at the corpse of the man who made the creatures that killed you.
Alien Mind ControlYou’ve spent years studying the Gmordnlp people. You know enough to keep yourself safe while on an anthropological visit to their home planet. But you were never told they could control minds.
Were never told that a handshake was a dire insult.
When you extend your hand, they make you slap yourself with it.
At first, you shake it off. It’s a mistake, you apologize.
But showing weakness was a mistake. One that leads to a slow string of Gmordnlps testing their abilities on you.
By the time you figure out what’s going on, you’re a mess. Broken clavicle, a jaw that’s been dislocated three times. You’ve stopped counting the bruises.
You want to go home--but it’s been two days, and your transport doesn’t come back for another five.
One week is a terrifying prospect.
You bribe a human trader to get you off world. But even in the darkness of space, half way home, whispers flit through your brain, and you’re not sure….
Is it paranoia, is it them?
You black out and wake up in the airlock.
The trader stares at you through the view port, confusion and a massive bruise on his face.
You have to get out.They demand that you get out.
You slam the open button, thrashing, hitting anything you can find… until you hit the wrong button.
Whoever is in your mind isn’t kind. They don’t spare you the terror of the vacuum. The pain.
But the snap of clarity that comes with death makes you wonder…
It doesn’t matter. You’re just another piece of the uncountable space junk floating in the universe.
Intragalactic government cover-up
Join the IIA, they said. Being a spy is a thrill they said. Your aptitude scores and marksmanship are off the charts.
You get your own spaceship and all the toys you want. All you have to do is go where they say and do what they tell you to.
You’re good at your job.
But there’s always the opportunity for things to go south.
Especially when it’s a set-up.
They were waiting for you. Friendlies--or so you thought.
Now you’re on trial in a country you’ve never been to on a floating piece of space junk they call a sovereign state.
Your own government is out to get you to save their asses.
They’re waiting for you to run. They want to kill you and clean up their mess quietly.
But if you stay, you’re going to die with a needle in your arm.
Don’t worry. They give you a mousy little cellmate who keeps their distance… that is, until you finally fall asleep.
You don’t wake up again.
Pawn in xenophobic war
We’ve all been there. Megalomaniac manages to trick the masses into thinking they’re a) better than the members of a specific group and b) manages to convince them that said group needs to die.
Congratulations, you’ve been drafted, or maybe you enlisted of your own free will. I don’t know. But here you are.
They gave you a new gun, but decades-old body armor. A sight that glitches out every time you move the scope into snipe-mode, but hey! You’ve got rations for days.
Ignore the expiration date.
Granite explodes around you. The medical team hasn’t been seen for days and your buddy is turning a fun shade of puce.
You’re not even sure anyone is on the ground outside of the four soldiers with you.
Maybe you figure out you’re on the wrong side before you take a stray bullet. Maybe you try to do the right thing. One way or another, said megalomaniac and their cronies won’t care one lick when you take that bullet. Friendly, or enemy fire, doesn’t matter to them.
And finally, two words: Space Squid.
Take the scene from 20,000 Leagues and put it in space… but you can’t surface and get out to fight it. You haven’t prepared for this because… who realistically believed there would be a squid in space? So there are no electric nodes on the ship to try to deter it. You could dump ballast of cargo in an attempt to dislodge it, but who knows if that will work.
In a last-ditch attempt, one crewmember seals themselves off in a cargo hold and opens the bay doors to reveal an expanse of (type skin). They use a knife from their personal collection and go at it, stabbing… like a tiny thorn in someone’s palm.
It gets the squid to release. But only for a moment.
The crewmember is sucked into the void, and the squid crushes the ship in retaliation.
In The Boundary Zone, Mackenzie Flack plays with live wires for a living--both on and off book. By day, she follows all the rules and regulations, but stealing decommissioned parts from a space station in the midst of tear-down doesn’t leave time to suit up when a circuit can’t be shut down.