Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom. This story is the property of and is copyright (c) 1978 by Bev Clark. Originally published in Time Warp #2. Rated PG.
He'd always wondered how it would feel to be a missile falling from the heavens. He was glad that he had been given the chance to know, but he wondered still: did missiles ever feel afraid?
stare tumbling falling stumbling into my volcano and halos ever red instead of golden angels never get dizzy I bet...
Now he was turning and twisting so rapidly that stars could not be distinguished individually, and the planet below was a swift-gone blur of color. He felt a moment of pure primeval panic. My God, it's out of control! The glow about him burned brighter and brighter red, fading toward white on the edges, and the lurking Neanderthal within his mind glimpsed fire-devils and flaming spears drawing in on him.
the heat shield failed it won't stop turning its going to crash...
He shuddered and squeezed his eyes shut against impending death ... and panic went with the hellish glow into the darkness. Reason returned. He would burn, not crash, if the heat shields failed; this problem was clearly with the gyros. He opened his eyes and looked down slightly. Just a nudge of his chin to the left...
STABILIZE STABILIZE ...
and the tumbling slowed to a bearable level. Even so, he could not make out any stars -- heat haze blurred them all, and he was vaguely disappointed.
Claustrophobia had never affected him -- or he would never have been in space -- and he could see no reason why it should now. True, the life pod was little larger than his body, and movement was greatly restricted, but it was transparent, and he had feared fearing the vastness and the multitude of stars rather than the enclosed space. But suddenly he knew how a cocooned caterpillar felt, and Alan Shepard so many years and light-years away, and that early Russian (name?) who hadn't made it ... but best not to think of him, who had a metal cocoon, not a synthetic skin that let him see the hell around him...
There is no fear. There is no fear.
red to white to that color to the left of blue is something I've never put a name to think how strange it is so silent with no sound of the volcano raging like a fire fanned by the blacksmiths bellows...
His eyes were still open, and in the flaring color before them a shape formed: an anvil, a fire, and, pumping the bellows, a tall, thin figure with a crumpled leg. The figure turned, stared at him, and raised an eyebrow before disappearing into blue-white heat.
It served its purpose.
Kirk grinned, a devilish idea taking shape in his mind. He bent his chin to the right-hand switch, and let his gaze pass briefly over the banks of controls at eye level. All normal after all.
A fuzzy voice struggled through the distorting heat haze. "Enterprise. Spock here."
"Well, Mr. Spock," Kirk said, "I'm right on schedule and she's performing beautifully, though I think you might install a viewscreen on the later models -- pity to be out here and miss the sights. And by the way, what were you doing away from your post?"
Kirk lay back, smiling slightly, and savoring the now-gentle rocking of his life-pod. Let Spock digest that one for a while.