Only One Future

The two-person spacecraft plummeted into the atmosphere. With the engines dead, it had only one future: burning up and finally exploding. The two crew were not taking it well.

Marcela ran her hands frantically across the consoles, looking for anything that could help. “C’mon, Qiu, there might be some clever thing we can pull off with the tech here to save our lives last minute!”

Qiu only stared straight ahead. Her instruments showed the same flickering display as Marcela’s. “We won’t, though.” Her voice was deadpan. “This story is too short. We haven’t had a chance to foreshadow anything.”

“What are you talking about?” Marcela ran to the emergency lockers and pulled their contents out onto the floor.

“You can only find a clever use for your new gadget or cargo if it’s properly foreshadowed, but not too blatant, so the reader feels like they could’ve figured it out. Otherwise it just seems like a cheat. There’s no time.”

“Maybe… maybe it’s setting us up for some other last-minute twist?”

“Like, we talk about how there can’t be any clever trick, then find one anyway?”

“Yeah. That.” Marcela stared at Qiu, wishing her to say it was possible.

“Not likely.”

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