3. Cages

The cabin door opens with a barely audible whoosh of air and none other than Sonya Wu herself struts through the vacated opening like the freaking Queen of Venus herself.

"What up, girl?" you say, hiding your sense of tired vertigo over all the doom flooding the radiowaves.

"What do you mean what's up?" she snaps back incredulously, hands on hips with a killer glare. "Have you even seen the news, you sad muppet?"

"Who hasn't?" you shoot back. "Not that there's anything we can do about it."

"We need to get the fuck out of here!"

You look at her askance. "How do you mean?"

"How else do you think I mean?" she says impatiently, stomping her feet around. She starts pacing back and forth. "We need to get out, this, this," she waves her hands around at the room, the universe, at everything, "this is a cage. This is a metal cage hurdling through space and soon there'll be nowhere for us to fucking land."

You raise an eyebrow at that.

"Well where else do you want us to go? Back to Earth and die?"

"Everybody's going to die anyway!" she practically screeches at you like a hawk. "Do you, do you," she stabs her fingers at the air towards your general direction, "do you think any of the colonies are even vaguely self-sufficient? Fuck no!"

You're about to say something sassy, sarcastic or perhaps just stupid, but before you're able to do any of that the ship alarms start blaring like the end of the world itself.

The emergency announcement follows soon after.

"Emergency, emergency, emergency, there are rogue terrorists on board, they are heavily armed and making their way to the control room as we speak. I repeat, there are terrorists on the loose on board the vessel, they are heavily armed and making their way-"

The announcer never gets to finish her sentence as the sound of something sharp and heavy cutting through flesh and bone burbles its way through the speakers.

"Good morning you stupid fucks!" a different female voice announces jubilantly to the ship. A decidedly delirious and insane sounding voice. "It will be my eternal pleasure to free you from your worldly existence, you fuckin' pieces of human trash! Let today be the first day of your forever! DIE!" She finishes with a snarling screech into the microphone, and letting it fall to the floor you hear the sound of heavy boots crushing the mic, before nothing.

"When it rains it pours, huh?" you say with a shrug. The cogs in your brain suddenly start turning. Hang on, control room? What's the first thing that villains usually do in the control room...?

"Siri close and air-lock the door."

"My name is not Siri," your virtual AI assistant says with a pouty tone of voice. "please get my name right."

The room's alarm system starts beeping. "Warning, cabin air pressure declining."

"Aurora, close the door, please, for the love of god!"

"Roger that sir!" she says playfully. You're in no mood for this bullshit. The door whooshes closed and air-locks.

The beeping stops, but an amber light remains lit up on the door.

"Cabin air pressure abnormal. Activating backup breathable air supply." You breath a sigh of relief as the vents on the side walls start adding air.

Your mind is whirling itself into overdrive. You hardly notice Sonya standing there shellshocked getting paler and paler. What's next? If you were a lunatic in the control room trying to kill everyone, what would you do next?

"Aurora, deadlock the emergency escape hatch."

"Negative, sir, I do not have the administrative privileges in the system do that."

The room is only ten odd meters wide, you're standing there by the bed and Sonya is by the door staring blankly at you. The emergency escape hatch is there on the wall ominously. There are two emergency space suits, hidden beneath both of the beds. You look at the bed on the ceiling for when the ship decelerates, and chew your upper lip. There's no time to fuck around and get it down.

An overwhelming sense of urgency pumps up your heartbeat and pulses through your system like a hit of the cyber-drugs you and Sonya did. You dash forward and grab Sonya's hand. She just takes one glance at your face and nods.

You pull her into the bathroom and you trip over each other onto the floor but it doesn't even matter.

"Aurora, air-lock the bathroom door."

The whoosh of the door is the best sound you've ever heard.

As you get back to your feet and look through the window on the door the emergency escape hatch pops open and all the air in the room vacuums out everything in it that's not secured with an ominous noise. You watch your various earthly possessions disappear out the hatch with mixed feelings.

You look back at Sonya. She looks back at you with frightened eyes, messy hair, and ruined makeup.

"Ideas for a painless suicide?" you say, not even sure if you're joking.

She just looks at you. "No, Gray, what are you saying..."

You give her what you imagine is the hardest look you ever gave anyone in your whole life.

"We're really in a metal cage now."

...and we're not getting out of it alive. You don't say. Because intuitively, you both know.