My world spun and shook, the horizon flipping over endlessly. Everything had gone wrong: we’d hit the atmosphere alright, but had immediately detected a huge shape beneath us. The impact was hard. It must have been one of those vast sky animals that graze at the edge of space. No more. We tore through it and began this hideous tumble.
My hands shook as I tried to hold onto the controls, somehow pull us out of the spin. The ship screamed at me to let go and relax back into the cushioning gel that encased the rest of my body. I felt like a bottle half full of water, its contents dashing from one end to the next. Eventually I couldn’t hold on any longer and let go, but not before one more shake of the vessel smashed the controls into my hands sending a juddery agony through them. I let the gel seal my trembling limbs and I closed my eyes.
A painful whine resonated through my skull. The ship was no longer shaking but my head was thick with condensed inertia. I fell forwards into the crust of orange gel that had been protecting me but was now lumped across the buckled floor before me. It hurt. As I struggled to my knees I was aware of a voice whispering to me. I shook my head to clear it; another mistake. Dimly I remembered the voice and its endless imperation from the fall. Now it said only “getout”. I realised why the floor looked strange- it was the ceiling.
I crawled towards the door, over the recessed lamps which threw gouts of nauseating light into my eyes. The whine in my head and the ship’s voice were not helping. I found the exit and stroked it feebly with my less painful hand. It tried to be obliging and creaked, shuddered, cracked and swung open from its ruined casing.
I fell out of the ship, curling to land on something that wasn’t already bruised, to no avail. The sunlight was a faint green. The ground was sticky. We’d come down with the creature wrapped around us and now I was lying on its shattered remains. Its was smeared over everything I could see. I pulled myself to my feet, vomited, sat down again. This was going to take a while.