Tucker patches a hole in the balloon keeping his Venus colony ship afloat, if he fails, him and his crew will be crushed by the planet's immense pressure. Hey, I'd like some feedback on this story - particularly then ending, it feels rather weak. Thank :)
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The thick, yellow haze that substitutes for air pushes against me as I attempt to walk forward, the winds blotting out all other noise. I look back at the giant floating egg that I call home. On Earth it was painted white. On Venus it resembles a hellish, bloodshot eye, the underside reflecting the bloody, lava light from below and the sulphur clouds painting the sclera a sickly yellow. I grip the corroded metal ladder through my rubbery gloves and start the slow ascent to the balloon above.
“So how fast are we losing pressure this time Rede?” I shout, attempting to hear myself over the cacophony surrounding me.
“Something in the storm has punctured the balloon real good, we’re losing about 20 pascals a minute. Just get to it quick, so our egg doesn’t turn into someone’s poor excuse for an omelette.” A deep female voice explains over the radio. “And don’t forget your carabiner!”
“Shit,” I say connecting the metal ring to the ladder. “You might have just saved me from being the first person to implode to death.”
Rede chuckles, her laughter made demonic by the storm’s interference “That’s a real shame Tucker.”
The corroded, ungalvanized ladder violently shakes as I clamber over it onto the framework platform suspended beneath an enormous, stained yellow balloon. My carabiner clicks as I attach it to the guiding bar above me.
Each step I make is carefully planned, the wind throwing the platform around like it were a child’s toy. There is no way I’m falling 80 kilometres to my death I think, looking at the red glow below me. The platform shudders, the storm sadistically teasing me.
I pull a metal container from my hip and pull the trigger, it lets out a dull silver mist. I try to cover as much of the balloon as possible. The sulphur spirits hinder my task stealing the mist as I release it. I methodically walk the circumference of the balloon and make my way inward, covering the balloon in a silver, pearlescent blue film.
“I think the astronomers of old made a catastrophic mistake when naming the planet.” I say as the scaffold bounces in the tempest.
“It’s just a name”
“I think it’s a disingenuous misnomer. This place is neither beautiful nor fertile. Shouldn’t we be able to choose the name of our home! Something more fitting than ‘Venus’, a barren wasteland that could mercilessly crush us to pieces if we make one wrong move!” My words are more callous than I intended them to be. Being outside is making me acknowledge my humanity and fragility. “If I’m stuck here for the rest of my life because everyone wants to live in a virtual fantasy instead of looking at their sorry existences, then I want to call this planet by its proper name!”
“Perhaps beauty is in the eye of the beholder Tucker. This place will become Venus, just because it doesn’t start off that way doesn’t mean it won’t become a paragon of beauty.” Rede says punitively, her words as acidic as the hellscape below. “What would you call it anyway?”
A pearlescent blue, red and silver bubble begins to form from a tear roughly the size of a large tennis ball, like dish soap on a gas leak. I wipe the yellow dust from my visor. How did I miss that‽
Suddenly all I see is yellow, the platform shakes violently, bending and bouncing in the raging tempest. I attempt to grab a hold of something, but the spirits throw me off my feet. I never land.
“Hell.” I say, my top lip curling slightly as I look into its volcanic eyes, dangling above its mouth by a thin length of rope and a carabiner. “I’d call it Hell.”
My EV suit turns a violent shade of aquamarine as a bolt of blinding green lightning erupts through the clouds, ploughing past me, barely missing the station. The tempest bows to the demonic energy with a deafening cry. I hear Rede shouting though the radio, but her words are in a foreign tongue, ringing with a bright static. I grab the cord and pull myself up, the spirits throwing me about, a plastic bag in a thunder storm. Another green tear rips across the sky as I scramble onto the platform exhausted, sweat condensing against my visor. I tear a length of tan fabric off a roll on my belt and slam it against the unholy laceration.
“Is the pressure stable‽” I shout running to the ladder and beginning my descent. The clouds angrily swirling around the me, the metal creaking and cracking as the storm ravenously assaults it. “Is the pressure stable!” The storm slams me against the ladder and cracks my visor, but it is too late, I’ve already won. I know it.
Pluto’s yellow pestilence climbs through the crack, forcing itself down my throat and into my eyes setting them ablaze – until all I can feel and see is flame.
I awake to the sound of mechanical lungs heaving air into my own. My chest rises and falls to a synthetic rhythm. I open my eyes and cry. Partly due to the pain. In the silver ceiling I can see my perverted, fish-eyed reflection. My skin is cracked, invasive tubes are forced down my nose and my eyes are hellishly, bloodshot and stained yellow – corrupted.
I force myself to speak, my words duplicitous and scarred, nothing like my own, “Will Vulcan let us leave now?”