Last Meal 

Revisiting an early Flash Fiction piece from 2015. My secret wish is to write sci fi, so this one will be put into the file for further development…

Last Meal

All the astronauts gathered in the dining room of Space Command. We were all scared, despite the fact that we’d been training for this mission for the last two years.

Henry sat next to me, eyeing up the untouched food on my plate and asked, “Are you going to eat that?”

“Take it,” I said and shoved the plate toward him. My stomach was in knots. Even though this would be the last hot, cooked meal I would have for some time, months in fact, I couldn’t bring myself to have even one bite. I watched, trying to quell the nausea, as Henry happily chowed down on my mashed potatoes and gravy.

Soon the captain’s voice came over the speaker, directing us to the embarkation port to board the ship. With our packs strapped to our back, the ten of us boarded the Santa Maria for the first ever manned, deep space exploratory mission. Humankind was about to travel outside the bounds of the solar system.

After endless checks and counter checks, the Origami Drive spaceship Santa Maria -so named for the way the engines folded space- cleared the dock at Moon Station One and accelerated past the six planets beyond earth. After Neptune, we entered the minefield that was the Oort Cloud, home to lifeless planetoids, rocky asteroids, and icy comets. The Chief Navigator had plotted a course along the clearest path. Nevertheless, the ship vibrated as its outer hull was pelted with debris from the outer edges of our solar system.

Suddenly, as the ship pitched violently, klaxons sounded and the air depressurized. My last thought before everything exploded around me was that I wished I had enjoyed my last meal.

82 thoughts on “Last Meal 

  1. I rarely read fiction anymore but would love to write some at some stage. In Sci Fi there is huge scope to go down many avenues one cannot do in ordinary fiction. The age of my parents meant an insight into popular books of the 1930s which was a frantic decade. People like JW Dunne I find extraordinary on the concept of time. I tend to be a fatalist so I just accept what life offers one. Usually in life we go through phases Meg but hope always springs eternal. A critical conjunction can alter the quality of one’s life. Today in the cold the notion of a log cabin & high summer really appeals. The Sci Fi big guns are a very unusual bunch who seem to have had mundane lives. But of course as always there are the wild spirits nature cannot control! Over Christmas a touch of flu then gout surfacing I noticed today. I tried again to do the page but gave up but will use the PC or tablet later on. Just in a lazy log cabin mood!

    x

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    1. Nothing wrong with being in a lazy mood! I do think science fiction and fantasy gives you a lot of flexibility- build your own world, create your own people and creatures. I may tackle it someday. For now I finish the novel I have in the works and return to the research and writing for my WWI novel. You read nonfiction then? What topics interest you? As you lie around the log cabin, and read. 😀

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      1. To read non fiction harder now but I treasure the memories of books I read & music I heard in my time. In real terms fiction was my education plus movies too of course. Since my heart attack my concentration is narrower with meds a factor. So an actual book seems a mega effort just to lift around. To read online far far easier yet I do not read a huge amount even of books I bought. In a remote warm well stocked log cabin I would love someone to read to me. I would happily laze around & would help with cooking cleaning duties. I am a very very basic cook but can microwave & could survive on fruit salad for quite a while. My phobias heights & balloons.

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      2. A collection of short stories perhaps? Easier to digest. And it is a lovely thing to have someone read to you! I think you need more than fruit salad to live on, however. Even at the height of summer!

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      3. True alas! But food is not a niche of mine. Nor booze to any huge extent more a craving for good company. WW1 was still around in my childhood -the big modern problem is we impose our values on WW1 which is very unfair. Man is a hunter gatherer & warrior not a peace studies project.

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      4. When you say around in your childhood… do you mean the effects of it? Certainly you aren’t a hundred years old! 😃

        The more I research and read about it, the more horrible it seems. In one respect I think the ‘natural’ consequence of population growth in a confined space, whether that’s a nation, continent or planet, is war. There will always be conflict over resources and territory. So in that sense I agree with your statement that we are hunter gatherers. However, one would hope that with time, these issues could be resolved by means other than total war. I’ll make us some soup and we can talk about it.

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      5. to be a survivor would indeed put me back in Victorian times but sadly i am only a bobby soxer. i meant WW1 vets were still around in the flesh & most were very together individuals. WW2 of course was then quite recent but few spoke about it in any great detail. so i never actually satdown with a vet for an account. this left literary & military sources the backdrop to both macro wars. the yen to fight seems to spring eternal & very Darwinistic. but if the creationist theory is incorrect then we are desended from a very low form of creature. i find that sad but is war a natural thing to release the venom & anger? we as creatures crave control over other human beings in marriages or relationships. females assume they can change control or nurture the male. this usually fails & of course the male is stronger in a domestic conflict scenario. i feel all females should know self defence but few take up the e.g. martial arts? there are of course violent females who can aim at weak men or men without means of leaving. a lot of food for thought

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    1. Thank you, Roger. Science fiction gives you amazing flexibility – create your own world, etc, but at the same time, it’s so much more involved for that very same reason! And once you create your world you have to keep track of all the ‘rules’ you’ve imposed on it… Oh my! Nevertheless, I’d love to give it a go sometime. You know, when I finish all 17 of my other projects! Ha!

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      1. I know well that 17 projects feeling. I have 3 or 4 left from my days in academia that I am seriously considering taking up again. I must do it soon, if I am going to. However, I feel the creative work is more important, especially the poetry. But: creating your own world … now that is worth doing.

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      2. I know! The possibilities are endless! If I were to attempt it, I think it would have to be a ‘human’ science fiction. In other words, humanity’s future. No alien worlds. Although that is half the fun… The science would be hard enough to write and keep straight.

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  2. It’s my secret wish to write sci fi too!!! It’s my favorite genre to read but I feel so inadequate to write it. Maybe that’s something we could collaborate on? This was wonderful!

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      1. Oh me too. Exactly that! Because I don’t want to be bogged down in research and trying to get things scientifically right. But maybe we can do a shortish story and that way it doesn’t have to be too bad.

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      1. For one thing, you have to condense a book that would 7-10 hours to read into a 2 hour play. Of course a lot of things that are written -such as the scenery- will just appear on the screen. That eliminates quite a bit of writing from the outset. After that, well … I’m not sure. I’ll say this, though, a dialogue heavy manuscript would translate well into a screenplay, I think. I’ll be off down that rabbit hole, now!

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      2. I will report back after finding out everything I can about screen play writing. I’ve toyed with the idea of doing it anyway. I ‘see’ the film of my stories rolling through my head as I write. It seems like a natural progression. How easily I’m distracted….

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  3. I think you have the beginning of a cracker-jack story. I’d be glad to help you out. Here’s a suggestion. Ask yourself ‘What would I do in this situation’.

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  4. I think you have the beginning of a cracker-jack story. I’d be glad to help you out. Here’s a suggestion. Ask yourself ‘What would I do in this situation’. Put yourself in the role of one of the astronauts. Ask yourself what’s involved in this type of mission. Will friends and family still be alive when you return, or is this a one way trip ? I’d make one change for sure. Change the name Santa Maria to a celestial sounding name like Antares.Or the name of a star thats part of your final destination.

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    1. I was thinking about the rescue… surviving in their space suits until help comes. And the fallout from the explosion. Was it sabotage? Do the astronauts get a second chance on the next ship? Sort of making it a mystery as much as a science fiction story. I picked Santa Maria for its historical feel. I could change it to pay homage to early space flight missions: Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, etc. I would like to continue this and would love your help. I have to put it in order of priority though. I have to finish up the current work in progress before I take on something else. I’ll keep you posted though! And thanks!

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