Chapter 32

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Racing against the clock, Mika detaches us from the dock

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Racing against the clock, Mika detaches us from the dock. I push the steering wheel forward. It trembles violently in my hands with each inch. The pod leaves the secured attachment. Tiny tings hit the roof and sides—one scratches the underbelly. A rumble pass beneath my shoes.

For a second, I imagine us dying.

The way they designed this pod, it's clear Zephyrus thought things out beyond his ships architecture. The exterior walls stick out in a way that makes it easy for objects and space rocks to puncture a hole. We're floating in a ball, basically. Knowing this leaves an unsettling feeling in my stomach.

Breathe in... Breathe out...

I dive the pod deeper, unavoidably catching larger debris drifting from the ship. Mika taps away on the control panel, bouncing away parts with the pods limited barrier. I'm able to push us further out into space, and as I do, I catch sight of the damage. It's worse than I could ever imagine.

Like a dagger, someone stabbed a red ship into one of the colossal sized engines. It's sharp exterior lining and high-tech vibe are iridescent and memorable. And there's no mistaking that emblem. With its arrow stamped across a circle and arrowhead pointing up right that is a mars spaceship.

A quake erupts through the walls as we graze a destroyed pod, sending trembles all the way through my brain. I grasp the steering wheel tighter and maneuver away. We're closing in on earth's gravity quicker than I expected.

Breathe in... Breathe out...

"Are you sure you know what you're doing?" Mika asks, his breathing shallow.

Ignoring him, I steer us further away, tossing and turning until it almost feels like I will get seasick. I dive us deeper in, whisking us around at the last moment to avoid what debris I can. Each time he taps on a few symbols. We are getting the hang of it. We can do this.

When we finally reach the outer wall of the rubble, I breathe a sigh of relief. We're much closer now. The blue marble takes up the entire view of our windshield, barely any stars can be seen, except for the few tiny spec's reflecting in the corners as we descend back to earth.

Breathe in... Breathe out...

Large debris hits us. The pod jerks, ramming into more debris. Sirens and red lights flash, sending the pod into a crazy mayhem. The straps hold me down into the damn chair, roughly dig into my collarbone. But this pain is nothing compared to what dying in space will be like. I tighten my grip on the steering wheel and maneuver us out of there.

Mika's hands go flying across the glass panel as large jagged metal passes by. Each finger taps furiously on the lit symbols until finally we're welcomed by the calming silence. "You took out the barrier," he nitpicks with clear irritation in his voice. "And put a large dent in the side. If we're hit one more time, we'll be sucked out!"

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