You don’t expect piracy in this day and age, it just seems so unlikely. The sequence of events for us to meet someone else are so outlandish that I still find myself in disbelief. Yet here we are, floating through the vast void. Off in the distance I can see the glow of a star well out of reach.
Even taking radio chatter into account, linking paths with them was just so unbelievable. How do they even manage to survive by plundering such an empty and barren place? Why were we even out here to begin with? I certainly don’t recall.
But here we are, floating aimlessly. This Phoenician pod is not built to keep us alive indefinitely, but I’m not of the illusion that those men didn’t know. They killed us certainly, and they did it in the most heinous way possible. With the recycling system we should be able to live for a few months at the absolute most.
Hibernation is a possibility as well. We can set them indefinitely and let the system slowly fail, slipping off into death peacefully. I hadn’t put that option on to the table until just now, I think I’ll bring it up later.
“Shiki, what are you doing?” Clare said, her face still crumpled in worry. She didn’t expect to leave that ship alive and unharmed, I admit that I too was surprised. Their malice and desire for our lab equipment must have outweighed any carnal evils that their kind are known for.
“Just taking notes, you know how it is.” I replied. “Once a scientist, always-”
Clare sat down on one of the titanium foil seats the lined the pod’s main hall. Her pants creaked as the thick fabric pulled on the chairs perforations.
“Do you think we are going to get out of this?” She asked me, a glimmer in her green eyes suggested the only answer she wished to hear. Her lips curled slightly as I returned nothing but silence. My temples ached, every permutation of the future, both near and far, was flooding my neurons.
“I’m sorry. I-well, possibly.”
“How? We are too far from anywhere, this pod has no high speed travel system.”
I rubbed the back of my neck, short silver hairs pricked my fingertips. “This is true, we won’t make it if our goal is to consciously travel to the nearest system. Water will dry up, our rations will dwindle, and we won’t be able to harvest enough matter to replicate replacements as quickly as we’ll consume them.”
I began pacing slowly. “No, this was their plan. They make off with our research, our equipment, and they leave us to die in the darkness. I’m sure they are delighting themselves right now.” A pause, I pointed to the front of the pod. “Ironically our emergency system could very well bring more like them, I’m still running the odds. I’d much rather die on my own terms than at the hands of another group of barbarians.”
The pod is equipped with a bunk room, hibernation chambers, a cafeteria, and a low level navigations room. In the grand scheme of things we could be much worse off, this could be a thousand years ago and we could be sitting in a tiny pod dying in a matter of days. Funding really, that’s what may be the death of us. Had we been able to fully modernize we could have outrun them, perhaps fended them off, but unfortunately we were out of our element.
“What is it?” She asks.
“How preposterous is this? When you were growing up do you remember watching the shows about space pirates and the great space wars? How outlandish that whole bit of nonsense was. Relative time and space, the sheer monstrous distance from planet to planet, and how immensely insignificant even the largest known starships are. It’s like finding a specific grain of sand in the center of the Tarosian Ocean.”
“Yes, but it happened.”
“Trust me Clare, I’m well aware of that.”
She leaned back and crossed her arms.
“I’m sorry, but this isn’t exactly ideal. Where are the others?”
Clare pointed to the bunks. “Ghein and Dim are in the bunks.” Then she closed her first and pointed her thumb to her right. “Thane’s in the Cafeteria.”
“Probably unwise to leave him alone in there.” I reply.
“Do you want to tell him otherwise?” She grins faintly.
I nod. “Let’s gather everyone in the navigation room. The more I think about this the less pleased I am with the prospect of death in space.”
And yet it moves. – Galileo Galilei