001 | Station
The whole station shifted awkwardly causing me to hit the glass view port. Constructed of twenty centimeter thick reinforced glass, it didn’t notice the impact from my body weight. Well, what little there is left of me. The pressure had altered, my ears letting me know as the surrounding noises became dampened. I felt dizzy as I settled on all fours for a moment to adjust. The room listed to one side and as I slid back to the window; the sound of chaos and life extinguishing was all around.
I opened my eyes and stared at the glass and bodies drifting away toward earth. Hundreds of lives, friends, prisoners and unfortunate souls wrenched from their rooms into nothing. For them, the view would have been spectacular, while gulping at absolutely nothing. It’s not like drowning, where you at least get something in your lungs. No, there’s nothing to take in, it must be a harrowing feeling. My room was still attached and pressurised. A sudden realisation that I was still inside. The dead were already beginning to circle earth like planetary rings, some still moving. I felt sick from the scene unfolding.
I grabbed the steel bed frame and pulled myself upright and away from the window to the opposite wall. The room was at a steep angle, the door above me now instead of where it should be. There was an impact on the other side of the room causing dust and fixings to rain down around me settling on the glass below. I paused for a moment as the noises abated. Looking at the door with fear I wondered if it was the only thing between me and the fatal void of space.
More impacts followed, I turned towards the window to see more bodies heading into earth’s orbit. They were now striking the passage beyond my room door. It was odd to think that they couldn’t hear these noises but I could as more dust shifted loose around me. I jumped and grabbed the door handle. As I hung there I closed my eyes and said my peace.
I twisted the handle across and down causing the door to drop slamming me into the wall. First of all it hurt like hell as I let out a massive groan. Then a sigh of relief that I wasn’t sucked into the vacuum of space to my death. The passage was still pressurised. I twisted myself around the now open door and used the struts on the outer paneling to climb up to the floor level, which was actually the outer wall of my room.
Station was a wreck. I tried to get a better view of the stacks, loops of rooms and passages four stories high, that made up the structure. Stacks two and three were spinning fast and only half of four was visible. The dead that didn’t escape the low gravity of stacks two and three were now trapped in an invisible whirlpool. Debris and bodies were streaming past the view port. Some I recognised from before, some I didn’t.
I looked at each end of the passage I was in; both doors were sealed. This was not good. I couldn’t see either side of the doors and the size of each stack meant it was impossible to skew my head at the view port to see the other side. I had a room and passage. My options were to stay put and wait rescue. Open a door and hope I don’t die. Wait around until I die. Great.
The second option looked to be the only one. I had no idea how long it would take to be rescued and I sure as hell wasn’t just going to sit around and starve to death. So, I would have to open another door. If this door opens and there is not a massive void on the other side, I’d be in luck. The area beyond is one of five stores each of which has comms and supplies. I’d be able to cast to the nearest relay and find out what the hell happened to Station. If not then I’m joining the others outside. The other door leads to more rooms, so it’s a no brainer.
I moved over to the door and grabbed the handle. I waited. Waited some more. Stood for a while as I contemplated that this could be my last moments alive where I’m not gasping at space as my lungs stop working and my head explodes. Or something like that. Another body slammed into the view port further back along the passage which brought me to my senses. I just need to open it and be done. I turned the handle and pushed.
The door was jammed. I pushed continually slamming myself against it. Feeling around the seal, I concluded the door didn’t appear to have been warped. I gave it a few kicks as dust swirled around me then one last shoulder barge before it flew open. The room was intact, I had lucked out again. All of the supplies had piled up against the far wall from the tilt of the stack. I couldn’t visualise how it was tilting like this or see through the debris outside if this stack was still fully intact. Most of the supplies had buried the cast unit but I could dig my way through.
I slid down the floor to the first set of shelves. As I landed against them they moved as they compressed against each other. Crates and packs of supplies came loose and dropped down into the gaps. Normally the room is about fifteen feet long but now it was fifteen feet down.
The cast unit, essentially just an old radio transmitter, was underneath some boxes. I shifted them out the way and grabbed the handset. The valves had warmed up and a steady hum let me know it was ready to go. Turning the dial through the preset locales returned static and a steady click. I flipped over to manual and scanned the open channels. I picked up another cast unit.
“Hey, anyone there? Hello?” The voice sounded faint I replied.
“I’m here. Stack one. Who is this?”
More debris hit the outside of the room and appeared to be getting more intense. More dust rained down onto me and I wondered where it was coming from. How does a fully sealed structure in space get so dusty? A voice came back but was broken. I was pretty certain I heard the words stack four.
“…trapped in the comms room…”
The buzzing of the cast unit stopped and fell silent. The hand held was still in situ on the side of the casing. I grabbed it and climbed back up to the door and into the passage to the view port. I caught a brief glimpse of the other side of this stack and saw it was totally devastated. The side I was in had ‘collapsed’ away from the other half of the loop. Almost as if something had snapped it in half but not quite all the way. Debris poured from the openings like bats leaving a cave. Stacks two and three looked good but all the windows were blown out. I couldn’t see stack four as more debris swirled past blocking my view.
I fired up the portable and waited for any sign of life. The steady click was there, the source of which I wasn’t entirely sure. Then hissing and whaling came blaring out the speaker with a subtle voice lost within the noise. I pressed the communicate button.
“Hello?” I waited for a response as the sounds returned immediately. “Are you there? Which stack are you on?”
“Four”. The voice was crystal clear, loud and then gone. I pressed the communicate button again and hailed the voice over and over but received no response. I powered down the portable to save battery and to end the unbearable noise.
Looking up into the cloud of debris stack four seemed an impossibility. I was trapped for now in these two rooms, well, without trying the other door, and had supplies for months. The comms unit would be powered up for as long as the station had power. Furthermore, the portable can charge from it therefore getting better reception in the passage it seemed.
I decided to head back to the store and create somewhere I could live for the foreseeable future. I’ve had communication from stack four by an unknown survivor and I’m yet to pick up outside comms. I also have a lot of food and water along with air. Things could be worse for me.