Shuttle #39

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Science Fiction
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In 2163 50 shuttles are sent to distant solar systems, with crews in cryogenic hibernation. Only one returns. Evan Summers is awoken at an unplanned moment.

Submitted: May 05, 2017

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Submitted: May 05, 2017

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In 2163 50 shuttles are sent to distant solar systems, with crews in cryogenic hibernation.

49 of these crews never return home.

 

 

A low, drawn out beep reeled Evan S. Summers into a woken state as the stasis chamber decompressed. His desperate gasps for breath were drowned out by a killer headache and an array of high-pitch beeps all coming from the cockpit.

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP

He barely managed to lift himself into sitting position, devoid of strength after… how long had he been under? Weeks? Months? He rubbed his eyes and looked around the red-lit cabin. None of the other chambers had been extracted, with the exception Irina’s. It was badly cracked and the lights were off, both inside and on the lower hull.

BEEP BEEP BEEP

Evan pushed himself out of the chamber, floating into the cold, metal medical cabinet on the wall, long ago swung open and emptied. Evan grabbed onto a light fixture and pulled himself along the ceiling, towards the cockpit. Several warning lights were blinking and emitting sounds, but he couldn’t make out any of the labels. His vision must have been impaired by the chamber stay and even more so by this terrible light.

The fact that only he woke up probably meant the others were dead and done for. The alarms meant that he was close to suffering a similar, though slightly more conscious fate, but then, the dim, red lights flooding the shuttle indicated the ship was running on reserve power. Without the main generator the circuits would naturally go crazy. If it was up and running he might be able to piece together what went wrong, or at the very least open the view panel to look around before he died. He liked that thought.

BEEP

With no time to waste, Evan pushed himself back out of the cockpit and grabbed a light fixture in the cabin to redirect towards a large metal door. He took a footing in the door frame and tried to turn the wheel to open it. After some extreme ache he managed to budge it and slowly get the door open. Suddenly it felt like he had a lot less oxygen than before.

BEEP BEEP BEEP

He pressed himself into the opening and crawled along the wall, towards a medium-sized hatch. He fumbled forth the key from his left pocket and inserted it, turning slowly. The hatch refused to open.

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP

Evan ripped open the nearby panel, unlocked by the same key, and pressed the override button. A warning flashed onto the little screen: Toxic fumes. Evan sighed and kicked off from the hatch, a straight shot back into the cabin. His left shoulder sent a stab of pain as it hit his stasis chamber. Fighting through the pain, Evan used the pod to climb to the far end of the room, where a supply box still looked intact.

BEEP BEEP BOOP

As he opened it, half the contents floated out, some very sharp bits very narrowly avoiding his face. He rubbed his eyes and grabbed an oxygen mask, a pair of heavy gloves and a few select tools he shoved down his waist. Once more he kicked off towards the hatch beyond the metal door, using the furniture and walls to avoid any floating tools and hazardous medical equipment. He reopened the panel and put on his oxygen mask before confirming the override.

OVERRIDE ENGAGED OPENING ENGINE HATCH

The hatch rotated open, revealing a dark passage into the engine room. Evan drew a flashlight with one hand and pulled himself inside with the other. The engine was a massive mess of tubes and wires, lit only where he pointed the torch. He grabbed onto the wall handles and climbed towards a tube. It seemed to be leaking whatever the toxic fumes were. He took out the roll of tape – the other thing he had grabbed from the supply box – and spent half the roll to encase the leak. He climbed over to an error panel which was flickering on and off: Power link detached. Faint beeps came from the cockpit.

Evan climbed to the power link in question. After detaching it had jammed into a wall socket. Unable to pull it out with one hand, Evan tried to lever it out with his flashlight. It worked, but the flashlight escaped his grip and flew out of reach. Close to tears, Evan put his head in his hands for a moment.

BEEEEP BEEEEP

He picked up the power link and steered it into the appropriate slot. Trying to get the flashlight would cause more harm than progress, so he carefully followed the vague flickering error panel light, fumbling blindly along the wall handles.

He looked at it: The engine could power up at partial efficiency. He initiated the power-up sequence and climbed down towards the hatch. He climbed out, closed it and waited for a few moments.

PRIMARY ENGINE ONLINE AT 20% EFFICIENCY

He smiled, then the Artificial Gravity System booted up, harshly plummeting his onto the cold metal floor. Now he was in pain and the oxygen mask had also begun beeping. He carefully pulled himself up, bit his lip and staggered out through the large metal door into the cabin. The floor was covered with various medical equipment and tools. He ignored them and walked into the cockpit. Fewer lights were blinking and beeping now, but it was still enough to continue to nauseate him. He initiated the vent system to flood out the toxic gas, and then turned it out when his own oxygen mask finally gave out. Ripping it off, he breathed air once again – shuttle air, but better than the stuff you get in oxygen masks. He moved power out of the AGS and into the computer interface.

GOOD MORNING CREWMAN

‘Please,’ gasped Evan, ‘call me Evan.’ Talking felt strange after an eternity of silence. ‘And silence those damn alarms.’

AFFIRMATIVE

‘How long was I in hibernation?’

IT IS NOVEMBER OF YEAR 2167

‘2167…’ It had been almost 5 years since he left Earth.

AFFIRMATIVE

‘What’s the status of the rest of the crew?’

CREW STATUS

STATUS DECEASED

STATUS DECEASED

STATUS DECEASED

STATUS OUT OF STASIS CHAMBER

STATUS DECEASED

STATUS DECEASED

‘So it’s just me left?’

AFFIRMATIVE

‘Could you bring up a view of the outside? Outside the ship?’

AFFIRMATIVE

A screen flickered into power. It showed a big vortex of darkness and death all around, empty space, far from anything familiar.

OXYGEN LEVELS LOW

‘I know Computer,’ sighed Evan. ‘I’ve been feeling it for a while.’

15% REMAINING 5% AVAILABLE

‘Well then, Computer. I guess this is it.’

AFFIRMATIVE

‘Play me some music, would you? Something from home.’

AFFIRMATIVE

Music played. It was calming. Evan thought of Alice.


© Copyright 2017 MrTimmannen. All rights reserved.

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