Goodbye Sol – Page 7

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“The docking port is secure and the pressure is equalizing,” Asher said throwing Emeric a look of annoyance. Without saying another word, he took his leave of the bridge.
I wished that I could have followed him and continued to help him find the answer to why we were slowing, but my medical skills were needed on the Raven.
Emeric and I walked to the docking port. It was a small bulbous room sitting just behind the bridge. Inside were some space suits for EVA’s. Thankfully, the display showed that the Raven was fully pressurized. I hated putting on space suits, as they restricted both vision and movement.
Each door swung open, moving away from each other slowly. The Raven was dark, but not pitch black. A slight blue glow came from inside, reflecting off the walls. There was a metallic and stale smell to the air coming from the Raven.
Emeric grabbed a wrist mounted lantern and slapped it onto his wrist. He then grabbed another and tossed it at me. Before I had a chance to snatch it from the air, it hit me in the arm and fell to the ground.
“Ready?” The captain said moving towards the edge of our ship. Without waiting for a response, Emeric put his hands on either side of the door and pushed himself off. He floated forward, deeper into the Raven. It was a strange sight to see. He grabbed a handle on the far wall, turned his body to the right and then pushed himself forward again, floating into the darkness.
“Ready or not, I guess I have to follow,” I mumbled to myself. I grabbed the lantern from the floor and attached it to my wrist. My stomach flipped and turned with nerves as I placed my hands on the edges of the door, preparing to enter the old ship. I quickly glanced around and took a deep breath.
During my training, I had to do both zero and low gravity exercises to make sure I understood both how to handle myself, and to make sure my constitution was strong enough for the differences. Unfortunately, I ended up sick every single time and there was nothing worse than being sick and having no gravity to pull it from your mouth and face.
“Anaya,” Emeric said, illuminating himself. He tilted his head to the side and raised his eyebrows. “Coming?”
“Yep.” I squeaked. My mouth suddenly quite dry.
Swallowing hard, I pushed myself into the ship. There was no resistance, I floated forward. The sensation was so strange. I heard weightlessness compared to being in water, but it wasn’t really like water. I tried to twist slightly, but there was nothing to move against. It was almost like being partially paralyzed.
The interior of the Raven was small. If I could stand, my feet firmly on the ground, my head would almost graze the ceiling. It was just an extended tube with metal grates covering what appeared to be supply containers from floor to ceiling. There were a few display consoles spread out, and to the rear was a heavy door, a smaller version of what divided our engineering section from the rest of the ship.
“The cryo pods are up here,” the captain said, his voice low and stern, making his words sound more like a command than a statement.
I joined him and looked at the readouts. The machines were definitely nowhere near as advanced as the ones we were using on the Raven, but the vital stats of both pods were easy to read on the small displays.
“Good,” I said, “they’re still alive.”
“Excellent.” The captain flashed me a quick approving smile. “Can you revive them?”
“Yeah. It’ll take some time though.”
“Alright. The sooner you start, the better.”
“On it.”
I took a moment to centre myself before beginning. I looked around the tiny space. Beyond the cryo pods, I could see two chairs with the harness straps floating in place. It was likely the Raven’s version of a bridge.
Emeric moved up to the front of the ship and grabbed one of the seats. Adjusting himself into position, he strapped himself in and I could see his lantern moving as he likely started working with the ship’s computer.
“This would be so much easier with real lights!” Emeric growled. “There has to be a way to turn the blasted things on!” He took an audible deep breath and I could hear the clicking of switches. “They wouldn’t have sent these guys out here in a ship with no lights.”
I turned my attention to the two cryo pods. One male and one female were in deep cryo sleep. With my portable scanner in hand, I double checked the readings I was getting from the pods. These were first generation cryo pods, and they had long since been outlawed. It took me more than a moment to understand the procedure to wake up the Raven’s crew. I tapped on the pod containing the man, and began the revival subroutine. A status indicator came up showing an estimated time of revival to be twenty minutes. I pushed myself between the two pods, and typed the same commands into the pod containing the young woman.
“Asher!” Emeric hollered, causing me to jump.
“Yeah?” Asher’s voice sounded distant and slightly distorted. The near empty metal tube making it sound tinny.
“Can you get me some lights, please?”
“Probably, but I’d have to come on board to do so.”
“Okay, but be quick. I don’t like the idea of all of us being off the LD.”
At those words my mind began to wander and I suddenly visualized the LD docking port doors closing, trapping us aboard the Raven, with no way to get back. Five people trapped in this tiny ship, with limited supplies and only two cryopods, twenty years away from home at top speed, the thought made me sick to my stomach. Thankfully, my stomach was empty.
Asher floated into the Raven, his wrist mounted lantern shined in my face.
“Hey!” I said, and heard him laugh as the light moved away.
“Get to work Asher.” Emeric’s sour tone let us know that he was less than happy.
Asher quickly disappeared into the aft compartment, the thick metal doors slamming closed behind him.
My heart continued to race as I watched the pods status update again. “These cryo pods are going to take around fifteen more minutes before they wake up.” I said, partially hoping the captain would send me back to Lalonde’s Dream for some reason.
The lights started turning on all around us. The illumination did little to calm my irrational fear of being trapped within the tiny Raven.
The engineering doors slid open, and Asher floated forward, a scowl on his face.
“Do I want to know?” I asked.
Emeric turned and looked at Asher. “What is it?” The captain said.
“Whoever built this thing…” He licked his lips and squeezed his mouth tight. I couldn’t help but imagine what words he was choking back. “I don’t know what they were thinking, but they must not have cared whether those two lived or died.”
Emeric nodded at him, seemingly hoping he’d explain further.
Asher’s face was turning red. “This thing is held together with bubblegum, spit and a prayer. I don’t know how it hasn’t blown up yet!” As he spoke his voice got louder and louder. He pointed at a spot above my head. “Look at this. These wires are exposed. One spark in this high oxygen environment and BOOM!” With his thumb he pointed over his shoulder towards the engines. “At the back of the ship, the reactors have been wired directly into the engines. No regulators, no power management system at all. One slight power output inconsistency and BOOM!” His eyes were wide, his mouth tight. “The sooner we get off this pop can, the better. The thing is a flipping death trap.”
“Alright, simmer down there, Champ.” Emeric said, calmly.

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