Embarkment 2577, novella 1
The last year or so is gone from her memory, and she has no choice but to try to adapt. As days go by, her new environment becomes more and more unnerving. She finds herself helpless, and completely dependent on a man who isn't even human.
I was a real asset in a stressful situation: I slept through the computer coming back online. I woke from Adam stroking my hair and saying my name. It felt good. “Mmm, hi.”
“It’s a shame to wake you, but we need to go.”
“This is a very comfortable floor. You go save the day, and come back to get me when you’re done.”
He laughed softly. “I’ll find you a chair on the bridge that’s even more comfortable.”
“You’re not getting me coffee?”
“I wish I could. Here, put this on.”
He held out a peculiar visor to me. It resembled some futuristic scuba gear. “What? We’re going swimming?”
The man was the epitome of patience. When I didn’t take the visor, he put it on me. “We need to go to the bridge now, and you will need air on the way there.”
Wearing the breathing device was awkward, and the air had a peculiar taste. I could breathe though, so I didn’t complain.
He paused just inside the door to the corridor. “Stay right behind me, just in case. Are you ready?”
As ready as I’d ever be.
I squeezed my eyes shut when he opened the door to the corridor. No harm in delaying whatever horrors might await for a second or two, right? When I opened them again, Adam crouched next to three motionless bodies. “Are they… Are they dead?”
“They’ll be fine, but they’ll have wonderful headaches when they wake up. Come on.”
My plan didn’t seem all that great anymore. What about people who might be sick, or pregnant, or something. Would they die?
“Alex, I pumped in a mix of sevoflurane and nitrous oxide. They’ll be out for a while, but they’ll be fine.” His words woke me from my paralysis.
Strewn with bodies, the beautiful corridors turned into a nightmare. I kept trying to peek over my shoulder to see if a monster might be sneaking up on us, but the visor wouldn’t turn that far.
There was an unconscious Logg in the lift. I shifted my weight from foot to foot, unwilling to go in, and Adam pulled the furry body out.
“Do you think the others made it to the bridge before…?” My mental image of everyone falling to their deaths, put to sleep during the long climb was too horrendous.
He took my hand and led me into the elevator. “I think they picked up masks just like yours, and I think they’re waiting for us.”
Waiting? How could they be? We only had to climb eight floors, and they needed to go thirty-three. Oh no… “You didn’t let me sleep, did you?”
“Just for a little while.”
Great. The entire rescue operation stalled because I needed a nap.
Adam squeezed my fingers. “No matter what happens, it’ll be a long day.”
The top floor was almost empty. It would make sense to empty the ship from there down, and only a few stocky, furry bodies hindered our way. I stepped over one, hoping it wouldn’t wake up to grab my ankles.