Written in 365 Parts: 113: Desiccated Popsicle

Drick tumbled lazily in a slightly off motion which meant they were not only spinning on the axis of their upright body but along the axis of their arms. The effect was disorientating and likely to lead to a new pattern on the inside of the visor titled ‘too much hint of vomit’. Drick quickly darkened the visor screen and closed eyes to look at internal sensors. That was much better. Without the visual data they may as well have been motionless. In this environment only the visual senses attempted to assert a sense of upright.

Drick assessed the situation in the hope of working out a solution. They had decided to be as dispassionate as possible, utilise their training, not swear any more than was absolutely warranted by the current predicament which limited it to a string of blasphemous phrases for every sentence. 

The oxygen bottle, that had been discarded to use the harpoon weapon, was floating just metres from reach. It was tumbling towards them slightly but the best hope for an intercept of position was seven hundred hours away. That was a problem.

The vessel was outside of radio range and that itself meant little as their was radio silence from the moment before the insurgents attack. Clearly they had damaged the comms first. So by the time anyone reconnected, assuming they were friendly, they would still be out of range of the suit. However Drick did activate all the suit comms units, and the emergency beacon, as sometimes the massive dice of luck rolled in your direction.

The nearest inhabitable region of space was a mere three light years from the current position along the current trajectory, at the suits current velocity, and it was fortunate that there were no forces that would intervene with Drick’s course, the closest approach to a potential beacon was just one hundred and fourteen years from now. On the plus side the beacon on the suit was good for a few thousand years so someone might pick up the dessicated popsicle that Drick would be, by then.

The suit was mostly intact. There was a rip in the outer surface that had not penetrated the inner latex layer or the tight polymer weave below that. All the layers were pressure tested, so this was not an issue. Drick had some patch glue in a pouch, so this could be repaired. Drick scheduled it as a task to do once they had reached the state of surviving beyond minutes.

The immediate issue was the impending death from lack of oxygen. This was inevitable in fewer than nineteen minutes. The oxygen tank that had been used to bash the insurgents helmet floated lazily nearby. From the scanner report, and the lack of it spinning around at high speed, or speeding off in a random direction, it was likely to be still pressurised without leakage. It was ultra compressed liquid oxygen, with the recycler it would give Drick close to sixty hours of atmosphere. If Drick induced a medical coma it would give over two hundred hours of atmosphere. If Drick had a full suspension unit then they could last for centuries. Pity the last one wasn’t floating nearby. Two hundred hours however, beat by some distance in time a shade over eighteen minutes.

Drick analysed the suit that they had hastily thrown on. It was a standard hard suit, nothing fancy, but the ship wasn’t either. So they had standard equipment. This was actually an advantage. Had this been a movie Drick would have smiled ruefully. They didn’t. They didn’t show any emotion just a recognition that the makers of the suit had done proper procedure. There was an emergency balloon spray in the right hip pocket. Intended to form a patch on a bulkhead or gasket seal. Mostly unimportant right now. The important part was that it was pressurised.

Drick set the internal computer to working out the calculations for angle, trajectory and intercept course while they set to modifying the small canister. It was tricky work. The suit was bulky. The canister was small. The tools were few. The universe was spinning around in a technicolour threat. However the visor could be switched to wireframe display with schematic overlay and cameras fixed to geostationary rotation. The tools were magnetic so couldn’t be lost, and Drick had performed advanced military training in much heavier armour.

Fourteen minutes later Drick was pulsing a modified spray of chemicals, and tumbling, almost haphazardly, towards the oxygen bottle.

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