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Take My Breath Away…

Posted on Sun Feb 11th, 2024 @ 2:36am by Lieutenant Jennifer Matthews

563 words; about a 3 minute read

Mission: Mission 1: A Million Miles Away
Timeline: MD1 1430 hours

Jenni had picked a hell of a time to use the refresher. It was certainly not an ideal place to be when the deckplates drop out from underneath a person, especially since the stall was such a small and restricted size. The challenge was not to steady oneself, but to keep from bouncing one’s head off the porcelain seat. The consequences of failing meant either concussion or instant death.

And Jenni would be damned if her epitaph would read “Killed by toilet.”

Somehow, she managed to steady herself in the stall by bracing herself using all fours pressed against the walls. She remained in the bracing stance for a few moments after the room stopped shaking and the emergency light had kicked on. It was only when she started to relax that she realized that her uniform had been compromised. For a moment, she was thankful that the lights were out, leaving what the stall could have looked like to her imagination.

She made sure everything was fastened, then she opened the refresher door. Jenni stepped out into the corridor, which was also dimly lit. Two steps into her journey, she paused, feeling a bit of a draft. Her maroon uniform might have been wet, but it wasn’t that. It was faint, but air was definitely moving.

Jenni’s eyes shot open. Air moved like that for only one reason. She started to move in the direction of the breeze. Her movements were slow at first, testing the airflow to be sure she was moving in the right direction. As she progressed, she started to hear a breeze, as well as the faint whooshing of failing pneumatics.

Then she found it.

One door panel had fallen off its track, angled slightly, while the other door was moving back and forth slowly, obeying its native programming and trying to reset itself.

Beyond the door, however, was the real problem. Jenni saw stars in a room that didn’t have a window. The emergency bulkhead hadn’t triggered for whatever reason. This wasn’t the time to figure out why. No, this was the time to seal the breach.

“Anyone in here?” She called out. The air levels were quickly depleting, and it was only a matter of time before the breach turned the deck into a vacuum.

Jenni took a step forward, and found that there was more than a draft in this junction. No, there had to be more of a breach than she could see. She was going to have to cut off the junction here. Jenni steeled herself and located the emergency bulkhead controls behind a hatch cover. Both hands gripped the handle as she inhaled softly. She tested the handle to make sure it hadn’t seized, and once she was satisfied, she pulled.

The bulkhead slid out from behind the wall, cleanly inserting itself into its slot. The rushing air stopped, leaving Jenni alone in a mostly silent corridor. In the distance, she could hear alarms, indications that there was more to do.

She turned for engineering and started to move. Three steps forward and she stopped once more, her gaze catching sight of a damage control locker. Jenni approached it, opened the door, and saw that it contained a white engineering pressure suit.

Smiling, Jenni withdrew it from the locker. “Don’t mind if I do.”


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