Thebe and The Angry Red Eye

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Damned if I knew what it all did or how to repair it. Carl is the engineer not me.

I did think about cleaning the control room, but then I thought I might find Jenare. He was last in here and I haven't found him yet. After this long, I don’t want to find him.

The one saving grace for the control room was that the main window remained intact. Cracked but intact. It is a small glass portal giving an exterior view. There isn’t much to see but it is nice to have a source of natural light.

I stand in the middle of the control room amidst the mess. My bathroom, the bedroom, the airlock and this room. This is my home. There were other rooms but the damage to them was so great that they had to be sealed off, never to be entered again.

My depression renewed, I sat at one of the few working stations left on the ship. The monitor was destroyed but the speaker worked and after a long week of tinkering I memorized the keystrokes necessary to receive the information I needed.

Arrow key down, one, two, three. Enter. Arrow key left, one, two, Enter. Y key, Enter.

The dry monotone robotic voice spoke through the ship's intercom “Zero. Point. Two. Five. Nine.”

I sigh and lay my head on my arms. The ice level is low. I will have to go outside. One needs water, how else will I clean my bathroom? All the food needs water before it can be eaten, the “just add water” kind is much easier to pack than real food. I could eat it dry, but I would still have to go out eventually. As well, I can’t forget that my oxygen supply, now that hydroponics was gone, comes from the ice.

The airlock doors open as I approach. Inside the small room I put on the only remaining environmental suit. It is a long cumbersome affair, as all things done solo when intended to be done as a part of a team are. Though, I have become quite good at using the outer door frame to lock in place the final seal on the back of the suit. Just as long as I don’t accidently hit the emergency open button again.

I check the suits battery and unplug it from the wall before starting up the onboard computer. Remarkably the suit survived completely intact. I place the helmet over my head, lock it into place and consult the data pad on the suit’s left arm. The timer in the corner of the pad read:

7 Days, 9 Hours, 11 Minutes, 10 seconds.

I feel a shutter come over me. One week before the giant arrives.

2.

   

The data pad informs me that my oxygen is full and I detach the hose from the wall. Letting go of the hose I watch it zip into the suit and feel it coil around my left leg. Same suit leg I crammed my tail into. I had picked the wrong leg again. I was in for another uncomfortable walk. The suit is designed to leave enough room in the right leg for my tail to fit comfortably, but I can never remember which leg. Though I am reminded when the air hose coils in. It would take too much time and too much hassle to take the suit off and do it right. And knowing me, I would shove my tail into the wrong leg again.

   

I tap the exit code on the outer hull door and the air lock cycles through its environment shift. For a moment I feel the biting cold before the suit’s heater kicks in. The door opens and I step outside.

   

There was something to the view the first time I set foot on Thebe. The inclined walls of grey rock that made up the crater I find myself standing in. The sight of cold untouched mountains ominously close. The unfettered view of stars and galactic phenomena in every direction. And the silence, the horrible terrible silence.

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