Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Prano's Journey #6: Candlelight.

Gods, I need a shower...

Not surprising really. I just spent the last 5 hours crawling around the old construction and maintenance tunnels of this station. Why would I do that? No, I'm not trying to pick up some extra cash as an engineer. I was looking for someone. A family of someones in fact.

You see, I ended up stuck here in Frarn for a few days while my Maelstrom receives an overhaul of its dorsal shield emitters. The problem with flying a new ship design is that they're often pretty rough around the edges. The downside of that is you spend a lot of time in dock receiving multiple overhauls or "patches" as the crews call them. The upside is that the cost for any repairs that need to be done at the same time are covered by the companies involved with the patching. If you run the ship especially hard and gather a lot of useful flight data, they may actually pay you for it. I think they call that "beta testing". I wonder where they come up with these terms...

Anyways, I was in my quarters, meditating as I often do. I turned off all the lights and lit a raw wax candle I'd made. Yeah, I make candles. It's a hobby. So I'm meditating, and suddenly I feel this slight pull on my shoulders. My vision blurs for a second and I find that I'm not in my quarters anymore. I'm in a dark, tight space. It's very cold and I'm very hungry and tired. It's hard for me to perceive what's around me, but by the light of the candle I can see a Minmatar woman sleeping in the corner, and a young girl no more than 6 or 7 years old huddled close to her for warmth. As I sharpened my focus, I could tell I was looking through the eyes of a man close to death. So hungry...

Somewhere on this station there was a family of Minmatar who were at the end of their rope. I had to find them fast.

I threw on a thick work jumper and gathered some light gear I thought would be useful for a search and rescue. Rope, flashlight, first-aid kit, water, nutrition bars and an Omnivice that I could use for medical scanning and light mechanical work. I also brought my candle, in case I needed to attempt a reconnect and get my bearings. I could still sense what general direction they were in, but it was very vague and a space station has a lot of nooks and crannies to hide in.

I crawled around between structural layers for hours, whacking my head and limbs more times than I can remember. Stepping in and rubbing against sludge and residues that I'd rather not describe. This space was never meant to be livable or navigable, and it was quite a task actually finding my way in at all. The cold of the void and the thin air made exerting myself difficult to say the least.

Not surprisingly, I eventually found myself lost. I was stuck between two metal walls only a foot apart no light except for my flashlight. My connection to the man had almost disappeared, so I took out my candle, lit it and stood there holding it and focusing on the flame. It was far more difficult to find them a second time than I thought, and I figured that was due to the man being close to death. All I could detect was a faint echo, pleading for rescue. They would not last much longer, and I had to hurry.

Another hour in the dark before I laid my hand on a bulkhead. Every other surface was ice cold, but this one was slightly warmer. Either there was an active shield energy conduit behind here and I'd die in seconds from radiation, or there was a family about to die from starvation. My Omnivice was useless at this point on account of the refractory metals used in armour plating. It took every bit of strength I had left, but I managed to rip off the metal plate.

The candle in the middle of the 5x5x5 space was down to a nub. My violent arrival had awoken the woman and child, scaring them into hysterics. I managed to calm them down by offering food and water in Matarese. Oddly, the man had not moved since my arrival. He was sitting up against the wall but slightly slumped over. I shook him slightly, saying that it was time to go. He didn't respond. That's when I noticed how cold he was to the touch, just like the bulkheads in the tunnels. I checked for a pulse, but couldn't find one.

His last effort in life was call for help the only way he could. He prayed by the candlelight. It was a miracle that I was here to answer his plea. I just wish I had gotten to them sooner.

So, woman and child are getting expert medical attention for now. They can stay in my quarters and regain their strength until I can find a home and source of income for them. I had the body of the man retrieved and brought to my ship. I'll give him a proper burial in space when I can.

It's been a long day. Time for that shower.


1 comment:

Reivanna said...

Aww.. I never pictured Gigaer being the crafty type. ;)