Written in 365 Parts: 15: Bad Memory

By | Friday, 13 September 2019

The klaxons had finally gone silent as the last of the atmosphere was blown out into space leaving just the flashing lights to evidence the alert. Every screen showed an evacuation command or arrow to an escape route. The same calm words and bright, but not unfriendly, colours to induce a sense of urgency without panic.

Drick adjusted the breather unit and ensured that it was firmly attached before launching up from the deck where they had fallen after the initial explosive decompression. Rubber boots scraped gently against the floor offering no grip until Drick activated the magnetic clamps. Drick looked the corridor up and down. No sign of any others. It had only been moments but the corridor was clear.

Calming themselves with slow breaths and a relaxed attitude Drick took a few cautionary steps making sure to roll the boot off the deck and snap back on from the heel to activate and deactivate the magnetic grip. It wouldn’t do well to throw oneself into a bulkhead or out of the tear in the side of the hull.

Drick walked towards the bridge and main officers stations. They cannot have been the only one to put on a mask in time, they also were not the only one with regulation environment suit and boots. Surely they were not alone. Hopefully though there were no more activists. One breach in the hull was enough.

Drick reached the door to the forward section and noted, with a small amount of relief, that the airlock section was intact. From the readings on this side of the door there was a breathable atmosphere beyond. Drick started the process for cycling the airlock clear so they could safely enter and checked the door seals to ensure there was no obvious cracks. The act of bending down to check the bottom seal was the element that saved Drick’s life as the harpoon bounced off the airlock door just a few centimetres above their head scraping a thin tear across Drick’s suit as it did so.

Drick rolled and tried not to scream in surprise or panic as the harpoon was reeled back on a high tensile cable. The harpoon unit was a recovery device used for snagging ore samples or lost equipment. Magnetic ejection of a tungsten spear on a mixed fibre cable. It would easily spear straight through Drick and whomever was using it was aiming for the head.

Drick managed to get behind a chair that was fixed to the bulkhead moments before the harpoon sailed past them again. This time it tore a fist sized hole through a small table. Drick checked the damaged suit, it wasn’t leaking air but the outer layer had been ripped and the inner latex layer exposed.

Drick knew they had only a second or two before the harpoon would be fired through the chair they hid behind and into them. But that was all Drick needed. The first shot had given a rough position, they were hiding behind a bulkhead. But Drick had rolled a long way across this room and they would have had to step into the doorway the get that next shot. This position meant the attacker was exposed with the tear in the bulkhead behind them.

Drick quickly unslung the oxygen bottle on the outfit and loosened the safety release. Then rolled at high speed across the floor to the bulkhead opposite the door. By now the assailant would be tracking Drick as they became visible from behind the chair. Drick felt a bead of sweat roll down their spine at the thought that they were in a cross-hair.

Drick reached the wall and deactivated the magnetic boots. Drick used a full leg thrust to push against the wall away and slightly upwards directly back towards the doorway. Drick had a second to look up and see their assailant. A figure in a soft environment suit holding the bulky harpoon ejector. Drick saw the look of surprise as they fired below Drick’s arrow like form. Then Drick rotated in the air and brought booted feet into the victim, legs opening at the last minute to wrap around as they both now tumbled towards the breach.

Drick had a moment while the assailant, disorientated, flailed around. Then Drick smashed at their faceplate with the oxygen bottle they had unhooked. A grim smile played across Drick’s face as the mask cracked and there was an instant explosion of oxygen.

The assailant panicked which was what Drick wanted. They let loose the ejector and placed their hands onto their mask to stop the flow of precious air. Drick had hoped this would happen. They grabbed the ejector before it could float free or be knocked away and spun it around. The assailant saw too late what their error had been but barely had time to move their hands before Drick fired the harpoon and shot a hole through their helmet pinning the harpoon into the ceiling.

Drick had less than a few moments to enjoy the victory as they were still spinning towards the breach in the ship’s hull and there was an annoying beeping in Drick’s head.

Drick shook themselves but the beeping wouldn’t stop. That cannot be right, there was no beeping, there was… Drick opened their eyes and looked at the inside of the holomask. A memory, just a memory. They were dreaming of the past and there was an incoming call beeping for attention in an annoying fashion. Drick reminded themselves never to go to sleep in zero gee again, too many bad memories.

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