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Short Fiction Friday: Damage

Damage by David Levine

In the extremities of war, we may know what we’ve been, but not what we will become. “Damage” is a tale of desperate times, desperate measures, and the inner life of a fighter spacecraft.

As a Science Fiction fan what cooler is there to rad then a tale told from the perspective of a spacecraft? David Levine's latest Tor.com original shows exactly this. Normally science fiction - space opera is associated with an action packed story, well this is only partially the case for Damage as David Levine also involves a strong emotional current, one that I hadn't thought possible to be so strong coming from a machine. 

The story of Damage opens up with a short introduction as to how the spacecraft,
JB6847½,  came to be. JB6847½ is also called Scraps by it's mechanic. Scraps is really made from scraps, it was build from two different spacecrafts that were deemed inoperable. Scraps is one part NA6621 also named Early Girl and one part FC7074 or also named Valkyrie. The thing here is that it has thoughts of both "lifetimes" and now Scraps has a third life. Scraps together with it's pilot Commander Ziegler act in different missions against Earth Force, destroying them. This is mainly the action that the story sees, how Scraps and Ziegler navigate space shooting their blasters and destroying other spacecrafts. As I already mentioned above there is much more to this story and that is the emotional part given by Scraps. 

Early on in the story it becomes apparent that Scraps is highly obedient for Ziegler and that it would do anything to please him even die for him, it's Scraps only reason to live. The way that Scraps perceived Ziegler and supported him was quite compelling also when some other motives comes to show where Scraps doesn't quite agree he questions some decisions but doesn't follow through because it cares to much or you should never question those things. What David Levine shows best with this part is the internal struggle of being a machine structure wise but have capabilities of emotions that human have. Very powerful and if you didn't know that this was a spacecraft/computer you were reading about you would have guessed it was a human. 

Now the ending of this story is terrific. After all the struggles that Scraps has gone through, also the final mission that is given to Ziegler and Scraps, it is most fitting. This is perhaps something that could have been guessed by the engineers that made Scraps. It's a mix of two spaceraft that might not hold together that well when you do certain things... Now don't think that this an story that will end badly no, it's ends very positive and very beautiful. It's with these kind of stories that always remind me why I like Science Fiction so much, everything is possible. David Levine does a terrific job with Damage I kindly urge you to read it asap.

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