B. Morris Allen

C B B – 185 words

The manual controls were shot, and the boat responded only sluggishly to the autopilot. As it approached the surface more closely, even this gave out, and the boat’s glide became a steep descent. With a crunch of metal, the bow struck a crag, and crumpled. The boat fell to the rocks below.

Fuel dripped out of the crushed fuel tanks, falling across the remains of the cabin to the instrument panel. Gradually, it filled the recess that had once held a communicator. The boat settled slightly, and the fuel spilled over, draining down the panel to fall finally on the cracked cover of a flickering telltale. The resulting fireball blew the ship to pieces.

Footsteps raced within the base, and warning signals blared. The flare of yellow and orange glowed in the east, followed shortly by the sound of an explosion and a rain of fragments on the dome. A crack appeared in the duraplex and multiplied rapidly in several directions. At last, a section gave way completely and fell with a loud sound, allowing the poisonous atmosphere to flow in. The base was finished.