Aya and Zimudar make their way back to the Ukhu
“Thrusters are working,” Aya said.
“…taking too long,” Zimudar responded.
“…limited functionality, we have to wait.”
“Life signs are weak,” Zimudar responded.
Aya looked at her.
“Sorry, my leg,” Zimudar said again.
“Calm yourself. One more thruster pack,” Aya said, growing annoyed. “There,” she continued, pushing a series of controls. “We’re moving faster.”
Jets at the back of the capsule began to fire. Slowly, the small vessel began to synchronize its spin with that of the larger ship.
“Gravity and Environmental controls are offline,” Aya said, referring to the damaged Ukhu. “I have not asked you, Zimudar, since you are not fully Chava. But, now I must. Can you feel Namazu’s energy?”
Zimudar sighed, “I don’t know how.”
Aya nodded. “I can only feel three life forms on the ship, Namazu and two others. I do not know Taharqo well enough.”
“Oh,” Zimudar moaned, the pain in her knee growing more intense.
“We need a med pack,” Aya added.
“There are only four people on the vessel, Namazu, Taharqo, the Captain and a maintainence worker,” Zimudar said holding her injured knee.
Finally, the small capsule synchronized with the Ukhu and began moving towards the open shuttle bay.
“Only one pack. Hold onto me,” Aya said, as the capsule door slid open.
Zimudar held onto Aya’s body tightly as the jet pack fired and they floated to the door.
Aya saw the shuttle bay and pressure lock were open to space. “They better be wearing helmets,” Aya said.
Reaching the doorway, she grabbed hold of the frame, pushing them both inside. Reaching another doorway in the corridor, she grabbed a grating, spinning them into the small Engineering compartment. She pulled a med pack off the wall and guided them to a chair.
“Hold onto the chair. Let me apply the pack. I’ll bring gravity online.”
Zimudar held onto the seat of the chair. Aya punched a yellow disc inwards and placed the pack against Zimudar’s knee. Immediately, cables extended from the pack and slid into the torn suit, attaching themselves to the skin of Zimudar’s leg.
“There,” Aya said. “Stay here. Prepare yourself, gravity may come back online.”
Like a ballerina dancing in weightless space, Aya spun upside down, gracefully launching herself back towards the door.
Zimudar looked around the room. A red panel in the Tayamni language, blinked on and off to her left. An alert, she assumed. Dark purple streaks of liquid moved slowly, almost trickling, upwards, against the surface of the wall. She imagined a pipe behind the console must have ruptured.
The door to the Engineering room shut. “Aya is affecting repairs,” she thought to herself. The pain in her knee lessened. Looking down, she saw cables had opened, extending tendril-like netting around her leg. Without thinking, she moved her numb hand over her knee, attracting the attention of sensors. Before she knew it, more cables extended from the pack, splitting their sides, extending netting around her hand.
Looking back to her left, almost as if compelled, curious about the source of the liquid, she looked downwards. Almost completely hidden behind the console, she saw a lock of blonde hair extending outwards, discolored with the same liquid. It was blood.
Aya held onto a chair with her legs, while her fingers flew over a pad she pulled out from under a cabinet. The console itself was dead. Wedging herself into the closet between the door and a set of frames, she feverishly worked against time. Pulling sets of wires from a connector under the casing, discarding some and wrapping others onto metallic clamps, she yanked the panel free of moorings. Her facial expression did not change when a spark blinded her momentarily, burning through the gloves of her environmental suit. The intensity of concentration didn’t vary as the heat melted the glove against her fingers. Accustomed to advanced meditation, she was immune to physical pain.
The lights of the console blinked on, off, then, on again. With the coolness of a machine, she reached up and pressed controls in quick succession, addressing program objects to avoid subroutines that would no longer function properly. The chair slammed against the floor, falling over on its side. Gravity and environmental controls were back online. She picked herself up onto her elbow and saw indicators that oxygen levels were rising.
Above the console a screen showed a live display of the bridge. Namazu was slumped down in a chair at the console. Taharqo lay dangerously close to a fire shooting through a gap in the floor. She stood wearily, and began walking to the bridge.