The Choice

Cass grimaced and ignored for the moment the notification of Jay's incoming call that flashed up on her terminal "How long have we got?"
"About twelve minutes"
"Oh fuck" Jade whispered, her hand flying to her mouth in shock
"Where's the nearest shuttle bay?" Cass demanded, a cold knot of panic coiling in the pit of her stomach
"It's twenty minutes away from you, but the STCP have just destroyed that as well" Holly's head bobbed on the screen
"Fifteen minutes away and even then, you'll never survive a core detonation in an EVA suit"
"Can you jettison the core?"
"I'd have done it if I could"
"Skutters" Jade suggested "Can't you just use the skutters to operate the dampers?"
"Yeah, I tried that" Holly smiled tiredly "None of them survived the inferno in engineering long enough to even get close to the dampers"
"Fuel dump?" Cass asked, already knowing what the answer was going to be
"Power's out; servo-systems are off-line"
"Kenneth? Could he do it?"
"He could, but he's not showing up on my sensors, so I've no idea where he's got to"
"Keep trying to contact him. My MED's have heavy shielding," Cass was struggling to remain calm "could they do the job?"
"Nah, they're too big to get under the core; the only one who could possibly help would be Jaxx, but he's just moping in his room"
"Jaxx! Yes!" Cass was momentarily elated "His lab's down near engineering - Can he make it there in time!?"
"Yeah, I'd say so, but the venting process will destroy him"

Jaxx was watching The Outer Limits series as he waited for Eve to call him again. He missed her voice and wished he could just hold her one more time, but as long as he was trapped in his room the only thing he could do was watch the TV. Jaxx was completely clueless to the dangers that befell the ship as he was watching the Outer Limits marathon.

"Good enough for me" Cass murmured, patching herself through to the emergency comms channel in his lab and pushing aside the irksome thought that Holly could have told her about Jaxx to begin with.
"Jaxx" her voice boomed out of the speaker by the door, startling the little skutter from dejectedly lolling around in front of the blank television screen "We're going to die unless you help
"I need you to go to engineering right now and manually open the emergency dampers beneath the reactor core. If you don't, this ship will be destroyed and everyone who can't make it out will be killed"
Flexing his claw, Jaxx looked up towards the speaker "Is Eve okay?" he rasped
"She..." Cass hesitated while she pulled personnel deposition schematics up on her terminal "She's with Jay. They should be able to evacuate as long as they don't try anything stupid like a rescue attempt"
Remotely triggering the door to Jaxx's lab, Cass continued "There's an inferno down in engineering, so this is a really tough job that might see you destroyed; but if you pull this off, I'm almost certain that I can restore a dump of your mind state back into your old body - Do we have a deal?"

Jaxx flexed his claw as his worst fears had come to life. He quickly headed down to engineering at insane speeds while ignoring the dangers of hitting the guardrails and walls from his fast turns. At this point it was pointless to worry about him self. The only thing on his mind was protecting Eve from harm as he zoomed down to Engineering. Jaxx left a trail of scratched paint along the walls as he made his way down. Once he got there he saw the damage was pretty bad. The room was radiating a lot of heat. Jaxx asked Holly in his Vader voice, “Yo Holly dude how do I fix this problem?” Holly’s voice came up in Jaxx’s head and displayed a visual map in his mind as he told Jaxx how to operate the emergency flux dampeners. It was common knowledge that Jaxx was clueless to how engineering worked so Holly used a very simple 3D map that even a five year old could understand. Jaxx merely had to cross into the inferno and flip a series of switches. After a small sigh Jaxx entered the hot room and quickly made his way toward the emergency flux dampener switches. Jaxx could feel the extreme heat on his skutter body as he arrived at the set of dampener switches. Jaxx flipped the first switch and saw the inferno build up. Then Jaxx flipped the second switch and the inferno built up even more. Jaxx could feel the heat in his circuits and knew this was going to end up badly for him. He seriously doubted that even Cass could fix him after he pulled that last switch.

Jaxx looked at the last switch and then sighed in his asthmatic Vader voice. The sound of an old man on a respiratory machine echoed from Jaxx’s voice box as he realized he was not going to survive the next move. Sorrow and regret filled Jaxx’s little mind as he wished he had more time. Jaxx wished he had time to make things better with the crew and especially with Evelina. Then Jaxx said to his Com, “Yo Holly dude like let the others hear me speak my piece bro.” Holly replied, “Sure lil dude.” Holly switched the Coms to public so the other crew members could hear Jaxx before saying, “Ok Jaxx your on the open Coms now.” Jaxx said in his Vader voice, “Yo dudes and dudettes of the most righteous Blue Dwarf. I like just want to say I’m totally sorry for all the harsh stuff I did to ya. To you dudes and dudettes I like barely know I’m like sorry we like couldn't be friends. I guess it was like too much to ask since I’m a broken monster and all. I think it would have been cool if I had more friends. Hey Goggles I’m totally sorry I scarred ya and all on the battlefield. I like just wanted to get you away from that most wicked fight scene and all cause Miss. Williams said that Lindy dude was totally watching us all. So like I figured he was totally watching us threw the eyes of the robots and I figured since I was a robot now he could totally see what I was doing too. Had I like known Miss. Jones was free from her most heinous zombie collar I would have totally backed off, but I’m not as smart as you guys. Miss Jones, I know you totally hate me in a most wicked manner an all for stuff I did before I broke my melon. Just know I like only wanted to be strong like you, but I guess it like ain’t in the cards of life. I guess I wasn’t made as strong as you. Hey Doc thanks for patching me up and saving my life and all. I like wish I could repay you, but it totally looks like my clock is gonna get punch for good this time. If Alex dude wakes up tell him thanks for everything and stuff. (sigh) Jay Dude I know it’s totally my fault Davie dude and Mrs. C died cause I was like to weak to protect them and stuff. I like can’t bring them back dude but maybe my most wicked end will let you sleep again bro.

Evelina quickly grabbed a Com and said, “JAXX?” Jaxx replied in his Vader voice, “Yo Eve babe. (PAUSE) Eve babe, I know I totally promised you I would not leave you and all.” Evelina replied, “I don't under- understand.” Jaxx replied, “Well it like looks like I'm going to have to bail that promise Eve babe.” Evelina replied, “No Jaxx you can’t leave me. Everything good that I have inside of me, I have from you. I love you so much, Jaxx. And I need you……. I'm scared…….(weeping pause)…… scared.” Jaxx replied, “I know it, Eve babe. But there like won't be anything to be scared of soon. Eve babe, I totally want you to know that I wish I could go on that honeymoon with ya and all, but I'll…..(Jaxx makes a fist with his head claw and sighes)……. I'll look in on you from time to time from the Big Blue, okay Eve babe? I totally love you, Eve babe. You’re are and will always be the best thing in my life.” Evelina cried as she replied, “I love you too Jaxx. Please don’t go.” Jaxx replied, “Gotta jet now Eve babe the clock is ticking. I’ll wait for you in the Big Blue.” Evelina replied, “Jaxx, No! [Jaxx cuts the audio feed] No! No Jaxx, no! NOOOoooooooooooooooooooooo!” Evelina breaks down and cries on the floor.

Jaxx flips the last switch and a surge of plasma rips through his body in a blinding light. In that brief moment before his death Jaxx flashes back to when he could first remember waking up without a memory on Planet Fernandos. Then he met the crew and befriended Davie Jones. Later Jaxx met Evelina and their friendship blossomed. Each adventure he shared with the others flashed before his eyes in a brief instant till his memory came to an end as a blinding light overwhelmed him. The last thing Jaxx saw before his end was a Big Blue Ocean filled with Calamar and other aquatic life forms waving at him to join them. Every circuit in Jaxx’s skutter body was overloaded beyond repair and his power supply melted from the heat and then burst through the hull of his chassis. Sparks flew everywhere from the overloaded circuits in the skutter body. Once the plasma was vented, all was once again quiet. The red light in Jaxx’s optical lens slowly faded till it was off. The remains of the fried Skutter Jaxx were trapped and lay burnt, broken and motionless in the reactor room.

As the crew listened for anyone to respond to the Com again they heard some music in the background.

The crew gave confused looks at each other as they listened to the music from a piano for a while. The song was sad and empty. The gloomy sound of the music only made Evelina cry even more. Then halfway during the music the crew heard someone speaking in the background. They didn’t recognize the voice from anyone on the crew, so they listened closely to hear what he said. The voice said in the background, “What qualifies a man to be a man? Is it how he came to be? Is it the way he is born or created? Is it the choices he makes? Is it how he starts things or how he decides to end them? The true measure of a man is when he lays down his life with the knowledge that those he saves will never know who he ever was or that he ever existed.” Then the music changed up again.

After the monologue and music the crew was thoroughly confused till Holly replied, “Wow, Jaxx was right this “Outer Limits” show is rather fetching. By the way have you seen him?”


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