Sudden Stop

It’s not the fall that kills you….
“Hey, Lisl I got a weird reading here?” Bernie asked.
“Just bag it and tag it Bernie. We got three of these old dogs to break down,” Lisl answered without looking up.
Bernie shrugged and went back to wiping the ship hard drive.
Space Cruiser Endurance, nicknamed Dorie by her many crews, was patient. Some ships were explorers the stuff of legends, others broke records in speed, Endurance carried supplies. Tractors and batteries, milk powder and fertilizers, Old Dorie carrried it all.
Endurance was constantly in route, one of the most dependable in the fleet. The Moon and the planets were all so hungry always in need. Good thing, Endurance enjoyed being busy. She enjoyed the bustle of her crews, their jokes and romances. She loved the docks, people coming and going, gossiping with her sister ships.
She knew before anyone else that she was wearing down. At first she had been afraid of the breaking. During short hauls Endurance had flown over space junkyards and shivered at the wrecks. With patch jobs and updates, she sailed through cold space despite the aching in her joints.
Now, workers in red overalls were deconstructing her piece by piece. Resting in the snow, Endurance remembered her last trip and the storm that splintered her hull. She held it together for her crew. Her other memories were hazy now, supply runs splashing into each other. Her components would be recycled into other parts for space ships. Endurance would be satellites, supply ships, people movers. She might even become something entirely new. The thought tickled her.
The sun was setting and the salvagers climbed into their transport. They stomped the cold out of their boots and Troy offered his pal a flask.
“Bro, what’s with the face?” Troy asked.
“Got a weird message when I was wiping that old hauler the last readout was: It’s not the fall that kills you it’s the sudden stop,” Bernie said.
The transport burst into laughter as it pulled away from the ship skeleton. Cuddled in the soft snow, Old Dorie chuckled in her sleep.

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