Chapter 05: Last Stand

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The walk along the hull felt like a breeze compared to what she'd been going through recently...and what was awaiting her in the very near future. Eve and Ferros made their way slowly across the exterior of the ship, their movements somewhat stilted from the magnetized boots that kept them from floating away. As they clanged along, Eve tried reminding herself that there was just one more thing she had to do.

Fix the engines.

Except that it was never that simple. Not once had it ever been that simple. Or maybe her bad mood was just souring her memories and perspective. Although if it was, surely not by that much. Too many things could go wrong. All she could do was handle them as they did and think quickly on her feet. It had kept her alive this far. Up ahead, she saw lights in the darkness. Riley, Sullivan, and Case were gathered around an open panel.

"How are we doing?" Eve asked as they approached.

"All right, I guess. The good news is that I definitely should be able to repair the damage. The bad news, obviously, is that I need those parts."

"We'll get them," Eve replied. "Is this oxygen going to be sufficient?"

"Depends on what our goals are. It should last all of us another hour or so out here, but if it comes down to it, we can plug into the ship's oxygen reserves, which we should be able to survive off of for a long time. We'd die of thirst before suffocation."

"Fine. Ferros, Sullivan, and I are going to go down to the engine room now. Ferros will be back with the parts. I want this thing working as quickly as possible."

"I'll be waiting," Riley said.

As she led the two remaining Spec Ops troopers away, down towards the second airlock, she had to admit that she admired Riley. The woman was seriously tough and competent. A great deal of people would have fallen apart at this point, but she was still cool, calm, and professional. She was stressed, obviously, and afraid, but she was managing to keep control of herself well enough to keep getting the job done.

Maybe she had a place in Anomalous Operations. Hawkins had been complaining that they were still understaffed. Eve made a mental note to check on that when this was all over...provided that they survived this nightmare situation.

They reached the airlock and she went first, again wanting to put as few of them at risk as possible. She wanted them to survive but she also needed them to survive. If she died, there had to be others to take this situation on. Although, she supposed, if they all died, the ship would remain adrift, frozen and dead, until someone came looking for it. And that probably wouldn't be all that long. A day or two, maybe a little longer.

It did little to comfort her.

The airlock finished its cycle. Again, Eve found herself desperately wanting some kind of weapon, but she pushed that desire aside. Her rifle wouldn't help here. She stepped out into the engine bay, scanning the area, her vision filter painting her a good view of the place. There was nothing. The rock snake alien wasn't here.

"Come through," she said.

"Affirmative," Ferros replied.

Behind her, the airlock restarted its cycle. Eve fought the urge to head over to the engine and start making repairs right now. She needed to keep watch, but standing around doing nothing wasn't really her strong suit. Not to mention the huge, dead, dark, frozen room was getting to her. She continually scanned as much of the area as she could.

"We're in," Ferros reported.

Flashlights cut through the darkness on the edge of that sentence. She turned and saw the two suited figures coming into the room.

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