Written in 365 Parts: 122: Waste Nothing

The readout on the oxygen bottle showed it to be at ninety-five percent. That was good. It meant that with good breathing control, and the use of the rebreather, advanced chemical filtration of blood and body fluids, they could survive for close to sixty hours. This was much more preferable to minutes.

Drick flicked a camera view and watched the tail of the ship, now a speck to normal eyes but still clear on the suits telescopic sensor. They had started maximum burn which meant that there was literally no hope of sending any form of visual signal they were likely to notice, even if they did care. Drick was alone. In the bleakness of space with a small amount of propellant to move around and two and a half days of air. If Drick could have wasted the breath they would have used it cursing quite loudly into the blackness.

But they didn’t have the breath to spare. They couldn’t waste anything. It was time to start examining everything that was around and close enough to be used. Drick used the suit sensors and a visual search of all the objects in the immediate vicinity. It didn’t take very long, there wasn’t very much nearby. The only interesting item was the body of the person who attacked Drick. They were close enough to be reached with the last of the propellant.

Drick set the suits computer to once again working out the angle, trajectory and burst lengths that would take them to the body. While the suit was doing that Drick made sure to do a thorough check of the suit and make sure the oxygen supply was properly attached and set to the minimum usage.

A few minutes later Drick was once again propelling themselves across the empty reaches of space. This time it was an agonising seventy minutes to reach the form of the dessicated corpse. Drick took the journey slowly and carefully. They didn’t want to run out of propellant or expend too much energy on the task. 

The corpse was floating in a lazy tumble and Drick used the propellant to match the motion and then attach a safety line. It was a waste of energy to stop the corpse and so matching its spin was the wisest course of action. It took a few moments to search the suit. It was a soft suit of an old design which was inconvenient as it meant that the oxygen supply hadn’t turned off when the suit was damaged. There was no extra oxygen.

A check of the pockets recovered a short range mining radio, a small plasma cutter and a set of autokeys. So they were clearly part of the team that had boarded the ship and they used short range communication and lock  picks to get around. The plasma cutter was likely for any door or lock that the auto keys couldn’t manage.

Drick slowly unzipped and removed the suit. Inside the outfit they were dressed in a cheap jumpsuit. With some slight surprise Drick noted that they had a small projectile weapon strapped to their thigh. Clearly they didn’t think about moving it to the outside of the soft suit. Or maybe they were hoping to move around unrecognised. It didn’t matter now. Drick pocketed the gun.

The item that Drick found in the other pocket made them smile. It wasn’t a happy smile though, just one of grim recognition and slight relief. The item was a burst transmitter. A location beacon that would send an omni-directional signal. It would probably call some nearby compatriots of the corpse in front of Drick. With a sigh Drick triggered the beacon. It was the only real chance of survival.

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