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   Chapter 22 No.22

Bypass Gemini By Joseph R. Lallo Characters: 5536

Updated: 2018-01-19 12:02


Nothing happened.

He hammered the button a few more times, because that's what he knew to do when technology failed. It had roughly the same result it always did. That is to say: none at all.

"Come on, babe. It's time to let go, " he said nervously.

There was a groan of jammed clamps, then more nothing. The ground was getting a lot closer now. With very few options, and zero time to come up with anything intelligent, Lex was forced to desperate measures. He unbuckled again, reached behind the seat to snag his Extra-Vehicular Activity pack, strapped it on, and grabbed onto the broken frame of his view window. Getting through the mangled mess of broken glass and twisted metal would have been tricky in any situation. Doing it with two bulky cases and a backpack, all while plummeting in a barely-controlled nosedive added an extra challenge. One final heave tore him free, and instantly he was caught by the wind and torn from the roof of his ship. Shaking fingers found their way to the panel of his EVA pack, and he activated its jets.

Jet packs were a fairly common thing these days. Engineers had not yet had any luck making them particularly safe, but they were cheap, fast, and exciting. In a way, they were the next logical evolution of motorcycles, and thus popular with thrill-seekers. There were models that were capable of hours of flight time, the maneuverability of a bird of prey, and more than enough speed to give the user windburn. This wasn't one of those. The jets on his back were the kind intended to move you around during a space walk. At full blast, they had about as much thrust as a couple of garden hoses. Had his s

trength synthetic fabric that was air-tight, water-tight, flame-resistant, and acid-resistant. It was not, however, padded. Even in slightly reduced gravity and his reduced speed, the fall hurt. A lot. By the time he slid to a stop on a pile of sharp rocks, he looked like. . . well, like he had fallen down a mountain.

He waited a few minutes, until it no longer felt like he had been riding in a cement mixer for the last two weeks, then assessed his situation.

The trip down the mountain had left him about halfway up a sloping mound of rocks at the base of the sheer wall, which, for some reason, he managed to remember was called scree. Evidently the fall had knocked some of his high school geology loose. At the base of the scree was a long, wide plain with scattered dips and dents, craters of various ages and sizes. Now that he knew where he was--in a general sense, at least--he checked himself over. It didn't feel like there were any broken bones, amazingly. One particularly sharp stone had managed to puncture his suit and dig into his thigh. It was a nasty sight, but not too deep.

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