The Merrin, part 27

Story by Sovereign Kyle on SoFurry

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#27 of Merr

Plan to survive, preparations to make. Speculations, a meal, and a memory...

Next: Part 28

Key sits in the com shelter, trying to warm himself. It's nearing cryo temp outside, and the limit for his suit. He's managed to setup a second wind generator, but the available wind is nearly half of what it was.

"All right, Drudge. New message for distress call."

"Acknowledged. Ready to record."

"To whoever receives this message. This is Brigadier General Araman Keylan, Planetary Research Security Force, Retired. I am in need of rescue, not for myself, but for my mate. She is Merrin and the last of her kind. If you follow this transmission, you will find us. I may not survive, but it is imperative that she be rescued."

He sighs. "Drudge, attach coordinates and positional data. Transmit message using low-band frequencies."

It's quiet for a moment, then Drudge states, "Acknowledged. Starting transmission loop, low-band frequencies."

Low-band frequencies are slower than conventional long range com signals, but are more reliable for long range communications. At this range however, a signal could take months to years to reach Earth, but it will get there. He's hoping that someone closer picks it up before then.

He sighs and sits in a chair. The frozen material crunches as it takes his weight. "Drudge, Pond. Once I climb into Avy's tail, your priority is her. You two do everything you need to keep her safe, even if it means letting me go. Understand?"

"Are we to assume you are expendable?" Drudge reluctantly asks.

"Yes. My life is secondary to hers."

There's a moment of solemn silence before Drudge states. "Understood."


"I am reluctant to let another host perish but, I will obey."

"If she absorbs me, I may not perish. I might become one with her." He takes a deep breath and lets it out, fogging the inside of his helmet for a moment. "I don't think that'd be such a bad thing."

"We do not know if that actually will happen," Pond states.

"I know...I know. My call though."


He sits there for a few minutes, then says, "I guess I better be heading back."

As he climbs out, he can't help but look up into the sky. It's a clear night. No moons, only the starts.

"Beautiful night."

"I believe it should be day," Drudge states.

"Really?" Key takes a long look around a the sky, allowing Drudge to map the sky.

"The sky is the night sky, but some of the star positions are off. I have no theory as to why."

After closing the hatch, Key sits on the roof. "Could we have gone rogue?"

Drudge is silent for a moment, they says, "The destruction of the fourth moon could have destabilized Merr's gravitational balance enough to throw it out of orbit."

Key frowns. This isn't good. Merr could be becoming a rogue planet.

"Could we survive that?"

"I have little data on rogue planets, but if we managed to retain one or more moons, it could generate enough heat to keep the atmosphere from liquidizing."

"Great. How long do you think we have?"

"I have no way of knowing. We could be on a slow spiral out, or a straight line vector."

"Is there anything we could set up to find out?"

"I could possibly modify a sensor ball for celestial observation."

A shiver runs through him, reminding him of how cold it is. "I better get going."

Since the sensor ball cracked within the first hour of it being left outside, Key's been making regular trips out of the cave to look at the sky. Every couple hours, he steps outside. This last time, he finally saw a moon.

As far as he can tell, it's the smaller one, and it's even a little further away. This is some good news. With it's presence, there'll be some gravitational manipulation to the planet, and that will in turn generate some heat. With any luck, it'll be enough to keep the air from turning to liquid if they have gone rogue.

Returning to the shelter, Key finds Avy sitting up, with a few covered dishes set out on a makeshift table.

Curious, Key asks, "What's this?"

I'm not sure why, but I felt a proper dinner was in order.

He smiles. "I haven't had a proper meal since the ship." He pulls over his armor's case and has a seat.

She starts uncovering the dishes as she speaks. I don't know why, but I though this meal was in order. For me, a mix of planktons, but for you, roast beef with garlic, rosemary & girolles, and for desert, Chocolate Love Cake with cherries.

Key's heart sinks. He knows that meal. He and Alice were going to share that before the ship was hit. They never did get a chance to eat it.

Sensing this, Avy recoils. Key...I'm sorry. I didn't realize...

Key holds a hand up, stopping her. "It's all right. I'll be okay. I just didn't expect you to pick this specific meal, that's all."

She pulls him to her, into a hug. No, you're lying. I made you hurt. I'm sorry, I should have...I'm sorry.

Key feels something wet on his face, and starts to rub his eyes. They're dry, he's not the one crying. He looks at Avy, she's crying.

After gently wiping the tears from her eyes, he says, "Avy, I'm not lying. Yes, it still hurts to remember her, but she's gone. I need to get past that."

She slowly nods. I will make a different meal.

He grabs her hands before she can collect the dishes. "No. I never got the chance to enjoy this with Alice, but you made this one for me. Thank you. Maybe, in a way, this is what she would have wanted."

Avy smiles. Thank you.

They kiss, and with the smell of dinner filling the room, they both turn their attention to the meal.

The Merrin, part 28

The outside temperature seems to have stabilized at 143 below. Inside the cave, it's holding around 95 below. Not cold enough for cryo, but too cold to spend much time outside. Avy, having wrapped herself around Key, sleeps. Key, on the other hand,...

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The Merrin, part 26

Key sips at his soup. Avy's curled up around her tail, asleep. With addition of the wind generators, they've been able to keep it a little warmer in the shelter. At only 15 degrees, it's still cool for his liking, but it's tolerable without his armor...

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The Merrin, part 25

Three days. It's been three days since he's been able to leave the cave. The storm outside has been raging for nearly all of that. With a sigh, he heads back inside the cave. In an effort to keep the heat in, he's put up some of the leftover shelter...

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