Author: Winterbound PM
Raiden and Rone are strangers but have to spend the next five years together crossing the void: dead space. The endless dark and solitude threatens their will to continue, but when they reach the other side and get swept up in the brutal world that awaits them, including slavers, raiders and gladiator fights- they will long for those quiet days of darkness.Rated: Fiction T - English - Sci-Fi - Chapters: 2 - Words: 4,591 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 11-17-12 - Published: 11-12-12 - id: 3073826
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Yellow bile hit the shower bottom, swirling in the white basin at unsteady feet.
"Shit." Trembling hands turned the knob, the spray of recycled water shut off.
Yes, Rone? A computerized voice echoed in the shower bay.
"I said shit, not ship, dammit."
Yes, Rone? It just repeated.
"Ancient piece of shit."
"DAMMIT JUST TURN OFF!"
"GHA!" Rone slammed a fist in to the white wall before stumbling out into the rest of the room. A long mirror showed his rapid rising chest and hollowing stomach. He dropped to all fours as he lost the very last of his stomach contents. "Shit."
Wet knuckles turned white against the floor. "I didn't say ship I said SHIT!"
Yes, Rone? Droplets of water fell from blonde locks. Twin tags rattled on their chain around his neck. He ran a hand over his face and he sat up. "Wait. Ship, how long was in cryo?"
Ninety Seven days, three hours and fifty one minutes.
"Seven days over?" He muttered to himself then spoke to the system AI. "Explain why cryo chamber one was not disengaged at ninety days."
Crew 2 was unwell. Crew 2 unable to enter cryostasis until immune system was restored.
"Oh. And I thought I told you not to call him crew 2."
Command not understood.
He sighed, rising again. "Ship, replace identification of crew 2 with Raiden Kuwahara."
Command overridden. Crew two will now be known as Raiden Kuwahara.
"Good. Now, why do I feel so bad?" He sighed when he got no response. "Ship, relay condition of Rone Zed."
Condition unknown. Unable to link to biochip. Please enter medical bay.
"Screw that. Ship, Hibernate."
He stumbled naked through the halls, the automated system locked the doors behind him, shutting off lights and reducing life-support to a minimum. He made his way back to crew quarters and pulled a clean jumpsuit out of a locker. He tied the arms around his waist, letting the suit ride on his hips, and pulled a t-shirt out. He adjusted his tags on top and returned to his cryo pod to collect his boots. The pod stank, he would have to clean it out, but not now. He'd just woken up after almost fourteen weeks on ice. He had shit to do.
Rone paused only to look on the face in the pod next to him. Raiden Kuwahara. He looked perfectly at peace in his hell hole.
Shit. Worst mistake of his life, saving that kid.
He made his way down to Command. Lights flickered to life around him and shut off behind him.
He didn't bother fighting with the ship's ancient AI. Instead, he brought up the specs on the command screen and flicked through the last fourteen weeks of readings. He was satisfied to see a steady graph, no abnormal spikes in power, the systems were running smoothly.
He spent a long time looking through logs in greater detail. Nothing had gone awry except the kid getting sick apparently. Food stores were good, hull showed less than ten percent damage, the expected wear-and-tear of ripping through the galaxy at lightspeed. But it still wasn't fast enough for Rone.
Five years. It was going to take them five years to cross the void. He swiped his hand over the console, clearing all the projected screens and leaving only the black. At first glance, one might think it was the backdrop for the monitors, but he knew better. It was a window to what lay outside their metal refuge.
Not a twinkle of a distant star, not even a ghost of a planet. No stations, and no ships to be seen except the skeletons of ones that couldn't make it through the expanse.
And Rone just had to hope this old boat wasn't going to end up among them.
He turned back to the console and brought up another screen. Destination ETA: 3.77 years.
How many more times was he going to have to wake up to this nightmare? Sit on his ass for three months and monitor systems until he switched off with the kid and slept for another three months? He was ageing: he'd be twenty-five by the time they arrived in Bu-Hata. Last time he'd been there, he had just turned seventeen, and it was quite the turning of age party. But despite his own age, that had been decades ago. His time in the universe was stretched long and unevenly broken from all the time he'd spent in cryo pods over the years. His body was so used to them now, he didn't even get sick.
Well, until today. He considered going to the medical ward, but that would use unnecessary power. He'd be fine, the kid probably didn't know how to recalibrate the pods.
On second thought, he might not be fine.
He brought up the cycle history of his pod. His suspicions were confirmed: he'd been running on the last dredges of his life support system for seven days. Bodily fluids had not been properly drained; his oxygen had gone un-recycle. No wonder he'd needed that shower so badly.
"Ship." He eased himself back in the Commander's seat, feeling another wave of nausea and deciding he didn't want to look at wavering screens anymore.
"Program fail safe into cryo pods 1 and 2. Set automatic revival ninety days after activation."
Fail Safe activated.
"And for cryo pod 1, set automatic revival if current system conditions change."
Fail safe activated.
He rose, the room spinning, and made his way from Command to the common room. He stumbled through the door, his skin hot. He was undeniably sick. He fell onto the couch and just caught his breath, eyes scanning the large room for irregularities.
Of course, there were none.
Every time he woke, the place looked absolutely untouched. Books were perfectly lined on the shelves, probably even alphabetically. Data storage was impeccable. Chairs pushed in, beds made, cushions precisely arranged on the couches. But there, on the table bolted to the floor in front of him, was a single thing he didn't recognize.
He sat, curiosity eclipsing his illness, and pulled the neatly written letter from the table.
Rone, I put a beer on ice for you.
"Well kid, that just about makes up for almost letting me choke on my own shit." He stood up and moved to the bread boxed sized cooler on a long counter in the kitchen area. Its sole purpose was to cool beverages and Rone had calculated this into his list of essential pieces of equipment to keep running on their five year voyage.
He pulled the can out, surprised to find another note attached to it.
Enjoy the next three months.
"Don't remind me, kid." He said, cracking the beer and giving it a go despite his upset stomach.
He was drunk in ten minutes. Nothing but stale fluids ran in his veins, he needed food and water and probably antibiotics, but he made his way back to the couch and just sat there, empty can in hand, trying not to think about the next three months of his life looming in dead silence before him.
Fairly short first chapter but testing the waters with this one and hopign to find some interest! Thanks. ~Winterbound