Gravity (Dark Anomaly #1) - Marina Simcoe

Chapter 1


I felt bruised whenever I moved. Did dead people feel pain?

I was still inside my spacesuit, which meant unless I’d taken it with me into the afterlife, I must still be alive.

What had happened, though?

The damage from the impact with an asteroid wasn’t that big, I had fixed it in minutes. Then, I made it back inside my one-person spacecraft. But before I had a chance to get out of the bulky suit, all hell had broken loose.

The instruments went haywire. The last memory I had was that of the screens of instruments on the control panel blurring into a wide colorful ribbon of light around me. My spacecraft plunged off course, spinning out of control, as I was suspended inside.

Now, all motion had stopped. But I didn’t remember when and how.

I must have passed out at some point.

Carefully, I took a deep breath and lifted my head inside the helmet, then moved my arms and legs to assess my body for injuries. My muscles hurt, but my limbs appeared to be functioning. The suit must have saved me from the worst.

Had there been a crash?

I had no idea where I was.

Lying on my side, I didn’t get up while wearing the suit. Bulky and strong, it had been built to withstand the enormous pressure of the planet Omphi’s bottomless ocean. However, it was not exceptionally comfortable to move in when it wasn’t powered on.

Instead, I rolled onto my back and lifted my arm, bringing the screen built into the sleeve to the glass of the helmet.

The light of the communication device was on, but I couldn’t send a message out. Despite the light, the device was not functioning.

The readings of the environment outside of the suit were off, but not by much. The pressure and the oxygen level remained stable. There appeared to be no breach in the ship's hull.

Carefully, I opened the hatch on the chest of the suit, then crawled out of it.

My head swam with dizziness when I attempted to stand. My stomach roiled, and I dropped to my knees, vomiting onto the floor.

Not the floor, I realized, staring at the warped and cracked wall panel under my knees. The ship lay on its side. Save for a few blinking lights on the control panel above me, the power was off. However, gravity was keeping me, my suit, and thankfully the mess I had just made down.

The gravity was real. If it were the artificial kind created by the ship, I would have been on the floor, not on the wall.

I had most definitely crashed.

But where?

The Anomaly was the nearest space object to my craft when the asteroid hit it. However, I was well aware of the Anomaly’s enormous gravitational field, and I had stayed far away from its reach.

I had studied the mysterious space abnormality for years. At first, it was thought to be just another black hole. However, it had exhibited behaviours vastly different from that.

Shortly after my graduation from the Academy, I applied for the mission to explore the Anomaly.

It’d been well into my first year of working on the station orbiting Omphi, the closest planet to the Anomaly, before we had enough data collected by unmanned probes to send a person even closer. I’d volunteered.

It was supposed to be a day trip. I had stayed the calculated safe distance away from the Anomaly. The blow from the asteroid might have nudged me a little closer, but still nowhere near close enough that I would have to worry about the Anomaly’s pull.

Something had happened, and I needed to figure out what.

First things first. Where was I?

Had the computer of my ship somehow activated the return route after the incident with the asteroid, sending me back to Omphi?

Then I might now be in that planet’s ocean.

Why the spaceship had crashed, instead of safely docking with the station, remained unknown, but its system would have sent a distress signal upon impact. The search and rescue team should have already been deployed, as per the protocol.

I needed to see if the ship’s communication system was still functioning, even if the suit’s wasn’t.

A faint screeching noise caught my attention.

Hands on the wall, I listened carefully. It seemed to come from the outside.

Omphi was a water world with no land. If I’d crashed into its ocean, shouldn’t I feel the rocking of the waves? The vibration of them splashing against the hull, maybe?

Yet the spaceship remained stationary, albeit on its side.

The screeching noise grew louder, then