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Apogee the Astromare

By LyraHStrings
Created: 17th December 2020 11:28:12 PM

  1. >ywn hug her and tell you that you love her as she runs off to ascend the launch tower
  2. >Ywn watch as she waves goodbye from inside the cockpit
  3. >Ywn sit in front of Capcom as the mission for first orbit goes really well until
  4. >"MECO-!"
  5. >Suddenly the camera feed goes dead and the audio cuts out, replaced only by static.
  6. >You frantically yell across mission control to the telemetry station to get some eyes on the craft
  7. >Time seems to slow to a crawl as they solemnly inform you that the rocket blew up due to a failure in the ignition system.
  8. >Vapour traveled up the lines into the fuel tank, bringing heat and detonating the remaining residue...
  9. >The chunks of debris fall back to Equus over the Marecific ocean. There will be no recovery.
  10. >But you look back down at your console, nopony's eyes meeting with yours, and you see that Apogee's vitals are still reading, among all the other failurea the only thing still working was that.
  11. >The magic backups had kicked in and were displaying telemetry, vitals, and a status report on the structure integrity of the capsule.
  12. >87%.
  13. >She's alive!
  14. >You jump up, flaring your wings and letting out a whoop of sheer joy, your baby was alive!
  15. >The other ponies in mission control look at you with confusion.
  16. "She's alive! Get me radio, communication, the magic backups are in!"
  17. >Everybody immediately jumps into action, this had become a rescue mission.
  18. >"...dad?"
  19. >She was coming through!
  20. "Apogee! You're alive! How's the capsule?"
  21. >"Not good. I think the parachutes were torn off..."
  22. "Deploy the reserve-"
  23. >"Dad. I did."
  24. >oh
  25. >oh no
  26. >The telemetry was not looking good.
  27. >It showed that the capsule was still tumbling out of control, and hurtling towards the ground at a kilometer or two per second.
  28. "How's your suit chute?"
  29. >"Intact... Dad, I'm scared."
  30. "I know, honey, I know..."
  31. >"I don't think I could jump out, the capsule is spinning too fast."
  32. "We're on it, Apogee. Don't worry, we'll... Get you back."
  33. >You turn around and bark at someone to read you the altitude every 1000 meters.
  34. >Right now she was at 60 km and falling fast, but the drag was starting to slow her down.
  35. >You hear a grunt as the g-forces increase exponentially, placing her under almost 10 Gs.
  36. >Within acceptable limits, she trained for this.
  37. >Now in the thicker part of the atmosphere, the capsule stabilizes into a slight roll, pointing retrograde.
  38. >You run every solution through your mind...
  39. >Not much time left. She slowed down to only about a kilometer per second and falling.
  40. >30k meters.
  41. "Apogee. I need you to open the hatch. Don't unbuckle yet if you can."
  42. >”I'm on it-" She grunts. "Dad!"
  43. >You hear her grunts and the shifting of metal through the speaker, when they suddenly stop.
  44. >"I-its jammed... It won't open. Dad, it won't open!"
  45. >Oh Celestia.
  46. "Try using the computer! There's an override... I need you to stay calm, Apogee, panicking will only make this harder."
  47. >She's crying.
  48. >"I can't reach the buttons!"
  49. "We need you to try, sweetheart. I need you to try."
  50. >30 seconds to impact.
  51. >You hear a beep and the explosive charges going off, as well as the roar of the winds.
  52. >Telemetry confirms hatch separation.
  53. "Unbuckle from the chair, Apogee."
  54. >You were on suit communications now.
  55. >20 seconds to impact.
  56. "You're going to need to get outside. Now. Go into the spread eagle position, like in your skydiving training."
  57. >"Okay, dad..."
  58. >She struggles to unbuckle, the camera feed just now coming back online.
  59. >Her clumsy hooves can barely hit the buckle, but she gets it eventually, the straps flying off and flopping around.
  60. >10 seconds to impact.
  61. >She pulls herself out of the chair, straining against the g-forces acting on her body.
  62. >9.
  63. >There's not enough time.
  64. >8.
  65. >She throws herself out of the hatch.
  66. "NOW! PULL YOUR CHUTE NOW, APOGEE!"
  67. >6.
  68. >She reaches for the ripcord.
  69. >5.
  70. >She pulls it, fabric spilling out of her back.
  71. >4.
  72. >The fabric flies away, the snapped cords dangling uselessly.
  73. >3.
  74. >The emergency chute deploys.
  75. >It was too late.
  76. >2.
  77. >"I love you da-"
  78. >1.
  79. >Apogee slams into the water at 93 meters a second, at mission time T+3m53s, breaking most of the bones in her body and causing her to pass out from the deceleration instantly.
  80. >The bright orange emergency chute gently falls over her as a shroud, the fabric covering her mangled body.
  81. >She wasn't dead yet, though.
  82. >She wasn't conscious. But she was alive, according to her vitals.
  83. >barely. Currently she was 30 kilometers out from the coast...
  84. >A med evac helicopter had already been dispatched the second it was discovered she was alive in the capsule, but it wouldn't arrive for another 10 minutes.
  85. >She had 5, tops.
  86.  
  87. "Honey? Apogee? Apogee?!"
  88. >Nothing comes from the speaker except a deafening silence.
  89. >You slam a hoof on your desk, laying your head down and sobbing, knocking off the coffee mug she had gotten for you on father's day.
  90. #1 Dad.
  91. >It had a little smiling stick pony drawing of you on it.
  92. >It looked up at you from the floor, expressionless.
  93. >But you knew it was judging you.
  94. >Delta was there.
  95. >"Jet Stream..."
  96. >She places a hoof on your shoulder, rousing you from your mourning.
  97. >You look up with tear filled eyes, and see every one of the staff sitting in absolute silence.
  98. >Delta wraps you in a hug, nuzzling into your neck and extending her wings around you.
  99. >She's crying, too.
  100. >"I don't blame you... It's not your fault. Jet, it's not your fault."
  101. >you look up at the doctor standing by at the vitals monitoring station
  102. >He knows what you're going to ask.
  103. >You already know what he's going to say. You have the same data he does.
  104. >"Maybe if she had impacted closer to the shore... But now?"
  105. >He shakes his head.
  106. >You don't know what to do.
  107. >You had gotten her killed. It was all your fault. If you had been faster, or had sent someone else...
  108. >She was so eager to be the first in orbit, you just couldn't say no.
  109. >And she was the most qualified astromare you had for this...
  110. >But now she is dying, and there is nothing you can do to save her.
  111. >You didn't even get to say goodbye.
  112.  
  113. >You key the microphone, even though you know she wouldn't be able to hear you.
  114. "I love you, Apogee."
  115. >A crackly, raspy, barely audible whisper comes through the speaker.
  116. >"...i love you too..."
  117. >Celestia help her, she was conscious.
  118. >You pray that the adrenaline was preventing most of the pain, for her sake and yours.
  119. >There's nothing to do but monitor the recovery team and wait, watching the vitals tick down faster than their ETA.
  120. >And talk to your daughter.
  121. "Hey, kiddo... How are you holding up?"
  122. >She lets out a wet rasp.
  123. >"N-not good... it hurts..."
  124. "I know, apogee, I know..."
  125. >You choke back tears. Delta Vee leans forward, speaking into the mic.
  126. >"The recovery team is on their way, sweetie... Can you hold on that long? Stay with us."
  127. >"M-mom?"
  128. >"Yeah, kiddo, it's me. I love you, you know that? You're the bravest little astromare I've ever known."
  129. >"I-I'm not... little..."
  130. >You and Delta exchange a glance, crying and laughing at the same time.
  131. >You loved your little filly, she always said the right thing...
  132.  
  133. >"Mom? Dad?"
  134. >You sniff.
  135. "Yes, pumpkin?"
  136. >"I'm not g-gonna make it, am I..."
  137. >You exchange another glance with Delta.
  138. >You sigh, more tears falling from your face.
  139. >You should be honest with her. It's the least you can do.
  140. "We... We don't think so, no... You know that we love you, right? More than anything in the world."
  141. >She lets out a wet, rattling chuckle.
  142. >"This is... a lot worse than that sore hoof I had this morning..."
  143. >You don't know what to say...
  144. >"Yeah... Yeah, I guess it is."
  145. >Delta speaks up.
  146. >"How far out...?"
  147. >You look up at Recovery.
  148. "It'll be another 5 minutes, sweetheart, just hold on..."
  149. >"Dad? Can you..." rasp "sing me... a lullaby?"
  150. "O-of course, sweetie."
  151. >You shouldn't be singing over the capcom...
  152. >Or singing her a lullaby to put her to sleep, it wasn't good, medically, she needed to stay awake...
  153. >but buck protocol. She needed you right now. >You weren't gonna tell her no.
  154. "Hush now, quiet now, it's time to lay your sleepy head..."
  155. >Delta joins you, adding her soft voice into the  mix.
  156. >"Hush now, quiet now, it's time go to bed..."
  157. >You hear a content sigh over the speaker.
  158. >You remember putting her to sleep with this song, so many times when she was young...
  159. >She used to sigh just like that.
  160. >"Drifting off to sleep, leave the excitement of today behind you..."
  161. >"Drifting off to sleep, please let the recovery team find you..."
  162. >You falter, as you realize she had already flatlined after the second line.
  163.  
  164. >You sit in silence, holding your lover.
  165. >You barely register it when somepony tells you they recovered her body.
  166. >She was dead.
  167. >There was no hope of revival.
  168. >the memorial service was held the following evening.
  169. >They had patched her up enough to have an open casket...
  170. >You could barely bring yourself up to say a few words...
  171. >But once you were there, they wouldn't stop coming. You kept going on and on, talking about every single aspect of your little mare. You wanted everyone to know and love her as you did.
  172. >After 30 minutes you end with a summary of what happened in the control room that previous day.
  173. >Once you finish, the room is silent.
  174. >You can't move. You can't walk away.
  175. >You look down at her face, so serene, her mouth curled into a slight smile.
  176. >You stay there for a time, and nobody wants to have to close the lid on her coffin and draw you away from her.
  177. >Eventually, it's Delta who does it. She hugs you, leading you back to your seat.
  178. >Her casket is lowered into the ground, the dirt piled on top, forever sealing her away from the world.
  179. >From you.
  180.  
  181. >You don't go back to your apartment in the city.
  182. >Instead, you go home to Delta's who carefully climbs into her bed with you.
  183. >She wraps her legs around you, crying softly.
  184. >"I miss her..."
  185. "Me too, honey. Me too."
  186. >You lay like that, tangled in each other's legs, for a while.
  187. >Apogee would usually be in bed with you, too, snuggling up against your chest and softly snoring
  188. >She always loved her dad. She always cuddled with her parents when she could...
  189. >the spot of cold where she normally would be is only made all the more apparent every time you shift in place.
  190. >You cry yourself to sleep, holding Delta as you fall into the inky blackness of rest.
  191. >She was gone. And that was the end of her story.
  192. >A statue of her was erected outside the space center.
  193. >It still stands to this day, a plaque carved out of the only part of the spacecraft that was recovered; the hatch, reads...
  194. >Apogee. Pioneer in space flight. Loving daughter and astromare. She may be gone, but she will be forever in our hearts.
  195. This hatch is all that remains of the vehicle that nearly carried her into orbit. A malfunction caused the fuel tank to ignite on main engine cut-off. The lever on her hatch would not open in time, which resulted in her death. This would bring about new, safer capsules, including a quick release handle that was moved to be more accessible...
  196. >She never did get to orbit.
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