Part Four - 35 - Edwin

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"Ito Min-Hee's journal, entry 241. This crew has a tendency for self-destructive behaviors. Most days I feel like I am the sane one here. Yesterday the twins ate an entire box of hernianis licorices. They know of the after-effects when you just eat one or two...and yet they decided to eat the entire box. They have been having the worst hallucinations and are puking their guts out in all the corners of the ship. You would think those destructive behaviors are to be expected from Moira and Memphis. But the rest of the the same. Kala had to give Lucas 30 stitches last week because after we docked on Essen, he decided to spend his days off on land with entering a gladiator competition. He won but refused the prize (some lands) to the captain's dismay. The list goes on and on...It's a wonder that this crew is still alive and thriving. They are an oddity in the face of the laws of the universe."

Edwin woke up with a shudder and a gasp. His lungs and throat were burning and yet he felt like he just took his first breath on a crisp morning. He wondered for a heartbeat if he was still on the planet of endless winter. But no, when he opened his eyes, he was welcomed by bright artificial lights. He tried to stand up but ended up falling on the floor beside the infirmary bed on which he had been laying. A mask was on his mouth and nose, connected to a machine with a tube. He ripped it out of his face. A heavy blue gas came out of it, falling to the ground in a small cloud before condensing. Then he tore off the IV drips from his veins.

Edwin looked around frantically. His glasses were grey with soot. He had no idea where he was; he didn't recognize the place. His friends were laying in beds like his, masks on their faces. The smell of smoke was hanging strongly in the air, mixed with medical smells. The room was bigger than the one on the Capricieuse, but still cramped with the nine crew members in it. The walls were made of metal...Not walls, bulkheads. A ship. They were on a ship. Who? Where? How? When? His brains fired up with questions and possibilities. Always hyperactive, his brain was. The last thing he remembered was the long and difficult climb on the mountain, trying to put distance between them and the fire and smoke. He was alive. That was unexpected, for sure. Edwin put his hands on the bed frame and dragged himself to his feet. His legs were shaking like crazy, but he was still in one piece.

His friends were all still unconscious. Edwin walked to Memphis' bed. The man was still in his singed and smoky clothes, but the cast around his broken wrist was brand new and clean. He was snoring faintly under his mask. Edwin pushed the blonde curls away from his face and let out a sigh of relief. The twin was in one piece. If he had been wounded further, he would have never heard the end of it.

Suddenly, Edwin heard noises coming from the passageways leading to the med bay. He scrambled to the ground, panicked. What to do? Their captors could be anyone, Expansers, Ushus, Europans... space mafia, for all he knew! He crawled under the captain's bed and shook his arm, trying to wake him up. Nothing. Now he could clearly hear footsteps. Think...Think! What would the other crew members do if they were awake? He glanced at the metal table in the center of the med bay and grabbed a pair of scissors before once again hiding behind it, just as the hatch slid open and voices echoed in the room.

"They are still not awake?" asked a man with a deep voice.

"Nah. Just give them time. It's a miracle they are alive at all, considering the inside burns they endured," answered the second voice, higher and sounding younger. "They were lucky we still had some nitrocure gas. I almost used it all up the other day after the explosion. We need to replenish our stocks."

"Yeah...That won't be easy now that this ship is compromised. The last mission was really a shit-show. We might need to lay low for a while, or ask for a new ship..." Edwin heard their footsteps coming closer. They were moving in the infirmary. Then the man stopped and said: "... wait. Wasn't' there a ginger kid on this bed?"

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