Martian Adventures: Ronnie’s Birthday Part 1

Ronnie wormed her way through the air vent.  It was a lot tighter than she remembered–but then she hadn’t been through here since before Jim came.  She’d grown in the past year. 

She slithered forward.  It would be her birthday soon, and she always greeted her birthday from the same spot.  Of course, she hadn’t always had to crawl through vents to get there.  The station had grown, too. 

She got wedged in a corner.  Her legs were tangled together, and it was hard to breathe.  She was almost desperate enough to call for help when she managed to get herself unstuck.  She patted her wrist communicator.  Jim had made it for her and given it to her early.  He’d been so excited and proud of himself.  He’d never made a present for a friend before. 

It was programmed with three settings.  One went straight to Jim’s matching communicator, the second went to the station’s main communication line, and the third was the emergency line. 

Jim was a little obsessed with safety.  He’d be horrified when she told him about her trip through the vents.  She grinned and pictured the look on his face. 

She could see sunlight ahead.  She was almost there.  Just a little further.  She pulled herself to the end of the vent.  The thin metal shifted beneath her, and the bolts holding the vent moaned. 

Ronnie tried to throw herself forward, but her foot caught.  She scrambled for something to hold onto as the vent pulled away from the wall.  Her stomach lurched, and she started to fall. 

She hit her wrist communicator and screamed Jim’s name.  


About Jamie

Jamie Lackey lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and their cats. She has over 160 short fiction credits, and has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Escape Pod. She has a novella and two short story collections available from Air and Nothingness Press. In addition to writing, she spends her time reading, playing tabletop RPGs, baking, and hiking. You can find her online at

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