The Voyage Chapter 7

The sight before us was so perplexing that we couldn’t speak, couldn’t even move for several moments, creating more than enough distraction, to allow Dr. Pendergrass and the mysterious third person we couldn’t see to escape. “wha-, What, the hell…” I finally manage to get out. “Daniel, let me explain” Doc Harris begins to say, but Captain Shepherd raises his hand to silence the stammering doctor. “Well, Co-Pilot Stark, perhaps you can explain what has happened to my ship” the Captain says coldly. “Perhaps the Captain can explain why we held a fucking funeral for him, yet here he’s standing” I manage to keep my mental faculties and respond. “Look here, co-pilot.” The Captain begins to threaten. Just then I hear a shot fire and there is a loud banging as a cylinder of some gas goes flying around the room wildly. Realizing the shot came from Hoffmann we both bolt from our position and run toward the exit from the room. Reaching the hatchway, I close the door and hit the quarantine control sealing it. I know that the measure can be overridden from the other side eventually but I also know it will buy us valuable time, for what however I have no clue. As we race to the hatchway to the Horizon I come up with another idea. Hoffmann is waiting at the passenger section hatch for me as I get there having retrieved a small portable welding kit from the passenger section storage. Together we manually push the hatch closed, and weld it into place. Then rush towards the bridge. “Computer, emergency quarantine, seal all deck access points!” I call as we clear the pathway from deck B back up to A deck. “Affirmative” the computer replies, there are several red strobe lights that light up and we can hear the mechanical hum as the hatch way closes and seals behind us. “Computer, restrict all access and functions to navigator Hoffman and myself!” I yell as we make our way back to the bridge. “unable to restrict all access to Navigator Hoffmann and Co-Pilot Stark” the computer replies. I realize my worst fears are coming true, Captain Shepherd is attempting to reclaim control of the ships computer. As we get to the bridge I immediately go to the command terminal and begin typing commands furiously. I can only hope that the Captain does not know about a security flaw I discovered in the programming. It seems that if someone is savvy enough they can write a program to do whatever they want, and have the computer execute it as if the computer was doing it on its own. Since the computer can override anything in its programming, you can effectively tell the computer to do anything you want, as long as it does not defy the basic command parameters for the computer. As I finish my command I execute the command to have the computer run it, and wait to see if my trick worked. I’m staring at the screen as it begins to report the commands I executed. “Command lockout procedures, ident Stark, Daniel E. Coms: Success, Nav: Success, Quarantine: Success, Flight: Fail, Life-Sciences: Fail, Level 1: Success, Level 2: Fail” I can feel the icy cold grip of fear overtake me. I successfully lock anyone else out of the communications array, navigation computer, quarantine protocols, and level 1 computer access. I can control the ship however, I cannot access life-sciences, flight controls, and level 2 computer access. This means the ship is practically an even split as far as control is concerned, between myself and Captain Shepherd. Since I was able to take control of level 1 access to the computer I know that the Captain will not be able to override any more of the ship. I can control most of the computer functionality, the Captain having secured level 2 access, can access some minor functions, but nothing that would endanger Hoffmann or myself. I heave a sigh and look at Hoffmann, neither of us understand what is happening, but we know that no matter what, we must try to get control of the flight controls back.
“How long until we reach the third planet?” I ask Hoffmann looking over the controls that I still have, looking for anything useful. “about five hours” he replies, checking his instruments. Then I find it, level one access, passenger section ejection controls. We can eject the passenger section and plot a nav course to take us back home. “We need to get a message back to Earth” Hoffmann says as I begin reviewing the procedure to jettison the passenger section. “Good idea” I say and begin to bring the communications array online. “Orientation for Earth data transmission: 10 minutes” the computer readout informs me. With our distance, it’s amazing that we will be able to communicate at all. Our signal will take approximately 2 years to reach Earth, but they need to be warned about Pendergrass and the situation we are dealing with. “ten minutes until the array is online and aligned for Earth transmission, I’, going to get something from the galley” I say getting up. “By the way, thanks for the distraction back there, that was some quick thinking” I thank Hoffmann for firing the shot that distracted everyone long enough for us to get out of there. “No problem” he says chuckling “It’s nice to see I can out think a fancy fighter pilot once in a while” he replies as I depart the bridge. Laughing to myself as I walk to the galley I realize how bleak our situation is. Even in our best-case scenario, we are years away from returning home, and to what? How many tests, and years will we spend in quarantine, to make sure that we have not been infected by, or that we are not some of Dr. Pendergrass’s experiments? I don’t want to think about that for now, I just want to try to relax, have a cup of coffee, and take things one step at a time. I retrieve a cup of the horrible tasting stuff that is called coffee aboard the ship, and exit the galley. Standing about 20 feet away in the hallway is a child, no more than maybe 14 years old. I stand there staring at this child in horror. Where did a kid come from? My mind races, then there is a shudder across the ship, and alarms start to sound. The child turns away from me and runs down the hallway. I just stand there still staring, wondering if I was imagining the whole thing, when I hear Hoffmann call out on my coms unit “Stark! I need you up here!”. The panicked and terrified voice calls me out of my trance like state and I run to the bridge. As I arrive, Hoffmann is frantically adjusting and trying various controls, seeing me arrive, he cries out “We lost the array!” that’s when everything begins to make sense to me. “Hoffmann, we have a problem, a serious problem…” I say still lost in a trance like state. Now it makes sense, why the Captain made sure to take control of life-sciences, without it I could not check how many people were aboard the ship, nor where they were. Dr. Pendergrass, and the mysterious third person had gone to the stasis bay, and retrieved some of the passengers, releasing them into the ship before we had sealed the section off. “Computer! Seal all hatches and bulkheads!” I yell frantically. “Affirmative” the computer replies and the hatch to the bridge closes automatically behind me. “Computer, Realign and bring the communications array online” I order. “I am unable to complete that task; the communications array has been damaged by some external force” the computer responds. “Computer, High frequency scans of the exterior of the ship, is there any movement outside?” I ask, normally I could have just used the life-sciences scanners to check for people outside, but I cannot access those functions now. “Negative, there is a debris field that appears to be the remains of the communications array, along with remains consistent with an EVA suit.” The computer responds.
“What flight controls can Navigation override?” I ask Hoffmann. “Not much that can’t be re-overridden, or adjusted for.” Hoffmann says bleakly. “What about orbital data?” I ask scheming and idea, which Hoffmann picks up on immediately. “You sure you want to do this?” he asks, “What choice do we have?” I respond. “What is the current injection path? And stable altitude set for?” I ask walking over to the navigation station. “Injection is, zero, mark six eight, and altitude is set for forty-two thousand kilometers” he replies. “Okay, now we need to make sure that we don’t change anything they would detect easily…” I reply, considering how to go about this sabotage. “Simple, we make the adjustments just minor enough to catch the atmosphere and let gravity do the work.” He responds. “yeah, but how do we make sure they can’t recover the orbit with manual flight?” I respond. “The nav computer can override the flight controls, if it believes there is an imminent threat to be avoided. So, all we need to do is convince the computer that anything below one hundred atmospheres is hazardous to the ship” Hoffmann says satisfied with his assessment. “Oh, is that all? And how do you convince a ship that is designed to deep space only that it is actually designed for deep sea?” I ask skeptically. “You’d be surprised, now let me work…” he says going to work on his terminal. It’s a scary thought, intentionally sabotaging your ship to crash it into a planet, but at this point we had little else we could do. “I’ve got it!” Hoffmann yells in excitement. “I’ve adjusted the size of the planet to being about the size of a moon! Just reduced it by about eighty percent!” His excitement and joy seems out of place, but acceptable in light of what we face. “What’s that mean?” I ask solemnly “When we approach the planet, the ships computer will think that the surface is forty thousand kilometers further away than it really is…” He says proud of his accomplishment. “Basically, the flight, and the nav computer think that the altitude will be forty thousand kilometers higher than it really is, making us fly into the atmosphere at a steep angle.” He concludes seeing that I was still not following. “So that when they discover there’s a problem we’ll already be in the atmosphere and unable to escape?” I ask cautiously. “Exactly!” Hoffmann smiles. We both watch as the planet in the distance continues to grow larger, and larger.
A few moments after we had successfully set the ship on the collision course with the planet the PA system comes to life “Daniel, I know what you did, can we talk?” the voice of the ship’s Captain asks. “Well, you have about two hours, so go ahead and talk…” I reply dryly. “Fine… Look, none of this was supposed to happen.” The Captains voice calls out over the PA. “When we hit the meteor cloud, the doctor panicked, and thought it would be better if I was, dead, so he falsified my life signs” The Captain continues. “There’s so much more to this, so much more than you can understand.” I can almost detect desperation in his voice. “We are a dying species, humans… Dr. Pendergrass has developed a way that Humans can carry on, and survive.” He continues, “Our species is weak, frail, and unable to survive without specific parameters. This new Human race, can adapt to any environment.” The Captain was starting to sound like he was reciting lines from a cult. “They are truly man kinds greatest achievement. With them we will not only survive, but we can flourish on a wide variety of new planets!” He concludes. “Look, let’s meet in person. Neutral territory, your choice… I just want to talk to you before we all die” the Captain says. I take a long moment to think about this, so many unanswered questions, so many risks involved, finally “Okay, I will meet you at the bulkhead to the passenger section… If I see any of your minions, or have any issues you won’t like the response… trust me… I’ll page you when I am heading there…”. Hoffmann looks at me dumbfounded at the insanity I am considering. “Don’t worry, we have some things to set up before I go…” I say with an evil grin.
“Look, Daniel, I’m not sure this is such a good idea…” Hoffmann looks in terror at the device I have stored in my quarters. “Well when I was rigging Sheila to blow, I needed explosives…” I say matter of factly. “How was I supposed to know that Nuclear Detonator didn’t mean the detonating charge, and actually really meant nuclear bomb…” I say eyeballing the device. In the event that colonists needed to clear large areas, or develop large mine sites they were sent with 10 of these devices. Each one with a yield of 5 kilotons of power, they were not very useful for waging war, even with their phenomenally small size, there were far better ways to blow people up in the modern era. They would be more than sufficient to vaporize the ship however, and that’s all I needed. “Besides, I’m no bomb tech, I wouldn’t know how to detonate it” Hoffmann continues not taking his eyes off the device. “Simple…” I say lifting a remote with a large covered button. I flip the cover and depress the button which causes a momentary spastic response from Hoffmann. “Don’t worry, the bomb has to be turned on” I chide, reaching down I open a similarly covered button on the device and depress the button on it. The button begins to glow a brilliant red and the device emits a loud beep. “Now…” I say handing him the remote, “this would be a bad time to press that button again…” Hoffmann looks at the device on the table, then the remote in his hand. “Remember, only if you don’t hear from me after ten minutes, or if the bridge door opens, I will call before I return.” “R- R- Right, hatch open we go boom…” he says looking at the device in his hand. “Also if you hear me say ‘that’s the problem with planets’…” I remind him of the secret command to destroy the navigational data in the computers. “Yeah, you say ‘That’s the problem with planets’ and I fry to navcom” he sighs, “why not just press the button for that one too? It’s just as bad…” he asks as I pick up the nuclear detonator to bring to the bridge. “Because, it’s worse, if we nuke the ship, we all die, just a momentary flash of light and we are vaporized” I say as we return to the bridge. “With the Navcom destroyed, we and our… guests… are marooned…” Honestly, I think the navcom data is more important and a better deterrent in the long run. “Shepherd, I’m ready, I’ll be there in 5 minutes…” I call out to the PA system hearing my voice echo through the ship. “And remember, I have protocols in place, if I see your minions, or if anything happens to me, the Navcom fries, and if I am not back in ten minutes, or if your little freaks try to do anything shady… I have a type two detonator here that is itching to go boom” not waiting for a response I shut off the PA. “Now, please don’t get too punch happy when it comes to that thing…” I joke pointing at the device sitting in the command station seat. The responding look from Hoffmann says a thousand words, none of them remotely decent.
“Computer, seal the bridge, quarantine protocol twenty-one” I say standing in the hallway. The hatch to the bridge closes, and a second blast door closes behind it, as the doors seal red-light halos around the door signifying that the hatch can only be opened by the command personnel that sealed it. If anything does happen to me, Hoffmann would be safe in there, no one would be able to get to him before we collided with the planet, but he would be sealed in there forever if anything went wrong with the plan, and would never get out either. Turning I start to make my way to the passenger section of the ship, tapping my coms unit “Hoffmann, do you hear me?” I ask. “Yeah, loud and clear” I hear him respond. As I get to the access port that leads from deck A to B deck I can see the same red-light halo around the hatch. “Computer, deactivate quarantine protocol, access hatch alpha, three nine.” I say double checking the ident code for the port. The halo disappears, and the hatchway slides away exposing the ladder that leads down to the next level of the ship. “Well, here goes nothing…” I say sliding down the ladder. “Okay… Computer, Close and seal hatch alpha, three nine, protocol twenty-one” I say to the computer closing off my only route back up to the deck above. Walking a short distance along this corridor I find myself in front of the passenger section hatch. The door is closed, and once more the telltale red-light glows from around the edge. “Computer, open hatch bravo, two three one” I say flatly. There’s a moment where nothing happens, then the red light extinguishes, and the hatch slides open. As it does I can see Captain Shepherd standing on the other side waiting for me. “Don’t forget, one word, and the navcom is toast.” I warn him. “Why should I care?” he retorts pacing a small circle “we can just direction find Earth from transients” he says referring to detecting the radio signals being constantly sent out by the Earth into deep space. “Yeah, you could try that” I chuckle at his bluff to mine “But considering we are nearly two thousand light years away from the Earth, and we’ve passed more pulsars, quasars, and other anomalies than I care to recall, your chances are exactly zero of it working” I say flatly staring at him. “Why did doc make us think you were dead?” I ask in the same flat tone. “Evidently, while not a bad doctor, good ol doc Harris, can’t think too swiftly on his feet.” Captain Shepherd says sitting back against a railing in the passenger section. The hatch way being our unspoken barrier in this no man’s land for parlay. “I had to die at some point, it was just supposed to be when we got to fifteen twenty-three” he continues under my watchful eye. “But why?” I press the question. “Don’t be pedantic” Shepherd scolds “The why doesn’t matter…” he says dismissively. “It does to me…” I say fighting the rage building inside me. “Tell me, I could have picked any one to come on this little voyage” Shepherd says glaring at me. “Why do you think I chose you?” he says coldly. “I know, Axelson told me, she cashed in some favors…” I say cautiously not liking where this was going. “And one of those favors was to skip the inspection and just sign the manifest…” Shepherd says with ice in his voice. I feel dizzy and sick to my stomach “She didn’t know did- “, I begin, “Oh please… No, she didn’t know…” he glares at me. I feel some sense of relief knowing my friend was used, but not complacent in this crime being perpetrated. “But again, why?” I ask plaintively, “It can’t be for the money, it would be useless…” I continue. “No, not the money, it was for a chance to do something great.” Shepherd says beaming for a moment. “Like I said, the Human race is dying off, this was going to be the great example that would show how we can evolve and become greater!” he says again, sounding like he’s been brainwashed. “And that’s why Alyona, was on the ship?” I ask connecting some of the dots. “Yes, her work and assistance will be missed, but we are still more than able to complete this mission” Shepherd replies. “But Alyona even said, that they were not stable, that this would not work…” I say watching for any reaction from the Captain. “Bah, she only ever saw the first generation of this work” Shepherd says dismissively “Pendergrass has fixed all the problems she outlined”. “Well in about one hour forty-five minutes, it won’t matter, will it?” I ask softly. “You have to stop this Daniel.” He says staring at me. “You are making the greatest mistake ever made in our history.” Shepherd says rocking back and forth against the railing. “What’s your price?” he says quietly. “Fuck you…” I say feeling the rage build up within me again. “I want my friends back you son of a bitch!” I hiss at him in words that could kill any other man. “That could be arranged…” he says absently looking away, then glancing back at me to see my reaction. The horror of what the Captain just suggested cuts through my soul like a knife, and I can feel my legs become weak. For a moment, I consider giving the go command to Hoffmann, I even consider ordering him to press the button on the device on the bridge. But something prevents me, it takes me a moment, and I put my finger on it. I want to do this myself, I want the satisfaction of driving the ship straight into the ground. “control…” I manage to say, although I don’t know how, I feel like I will be sick at any moment. “I want control… of MY ship back…” I finally say managing the strength to stare down the Captain. “Her captain, then her commander died, her pilot died saving her crew, and this is ‘MY’ ship now…” I finish. “Very well… if you will put us in orbit…” Shepherd says. Without a word, I turn and begin to walk away. “Computer, release all command directives under Shepherd, Adam, to Stark, Daniel…” I can hear him say in the distance as I get to the access port to the deck above. “Computer, unlock and open hatch alpha, three-nine” I say, I can feel tears of rage, of pain, and of defeat in my eyes, only a few more minutes, that’s all I need. The hatch way opens and I return to the A deck of the ship. “Computer seal all bulkheads and hatchways quarantine code twenty-one I say walking down the hallway to the bridge. As I get closer to the bridge, I can see that little girl again, she’s barely 14 if she’s a day. As I approach she backs away, but I can see a knife in her hand as she quickly tries to hide it behind her back. I can see some mass already forming on her face, perhaps a tumor, perhaps a mutation already beginning. There is no new strain, these poor souls are doomed to the same fate of every other generation that Alyona warned us about. As I get closer I place a hand on my pistol still on my hip, I don’t want to use it, but will not hesitate. Seeing the movement, the girl turns and runs down the hallway in the opposite direction. “Hoffmann, can you hear me” I choke out, standing outside the bridge. “Yeah… umm… I heard it all…” Hoffmann’s voice says defeated; the sound of his voice adds to the pain I am feeling. “I’m coming in…” I inform him. “Computer, open the bridge” every word is a struggle at this point. The red line around the hatch goes out and the door to the bridge opens. As I walk into the bridge, I simply close and seal it by the control panel inside. I’m not sure I can speak without losing control of myself at this point. I walk over to the command station, and disarm the explosive device. I’m going to do this on my own.
The three men stand under the hatchway to A deck, all looking up at the red light “Are you sure it was a good idea to give him control of the ship again” Doc Harris asks nervously. “You have to know he’s going to try to be noble or do something stupid” Pendergrass says almost to himself. “Gentlemen, don’t worry.” Captain Shepherd smiles. “Mr. Stark was good, very good…” he grins even wider to himself. “He almost thought of everything…” Shepherd claps his hands together, and looks at the other two. “Time to prepare the passenger section for emergency jettison, and crash landing…”. The three men turn and head back to the passenger section which was once again sealed from my command to lock all bulkheads and hatchways, the familiar red-light halo signaling that only I could open the door. “If you would be so kind Daniel…” Shepherd says looking to a forth figure huddled by the doorway. A small child no more than 12 or 13 years old stands, looks at the door. “Computer, open hatchway bravo, two three one” the child says softly. The computer takes a moment, mulling over the voice print identification. Then the red glow goes out, and the hatch slides open for all to enter.
After a moment of staring at the device I turn and look at Hoffmann who’s sitting in the navigator’s station. His expression, and already red eyes says it all, I nod to him and he shakes his head knowing what must be done. I make my way around to the pilot’s station, there’s still blood dried to the seat, and I no longer care about the blood, I check the flight controls and they have all been released. Taking the flight stick in my right hand, I reach over to the throttle control with my left. Depressing a button on each, I take manual control of the ship once again, this time aiming it dead center of the planet. I take a deep breath, and pull back all the way on the throttle. The ship leaps into action accelerating towards the planet at great speed. Reaching up with one hand I turn off the AGS, I don’t want to break up from the gravity torsion on the hull, I want the ship to impact the surface of the planet. Then I see something wrong, as the nose of the ship begins to breach the atmosphere, it begins to pitch up, ever so slightly. I double check, and the stabilizers are still engaged so they should be preventing any movement from the force of hitting the atmosphere. Checking other gauges, I head Hoffmann yelling at me from the navigator station “Why are you slowing down!”. It dawns on me, Shepherd would have known that I intended to crash the ship. True enough the ship is slowing to a mere fraction of the speed I was at, and the nose is still trying to push up towards the horizon. “Computer disable all safeties!” I call out toggling a series of switches on the control panel. I’m not going to let Shepherd play me like he did Axelson, if I can’t get enough speed from the normal engines, I will engage the Star Drive engine. The Horizon was equipped with three sets of engines. One was the solid fuel engines, they were used as a backup and means to maneuver the ship if there was something wrong with the reactor. Then there were the impulse engines, these were for use within a star system, their speed varied, but were capable of breaching the sub-light, faster than light barrier when needed. Finally, there was the “Star Drive” a wholly different kind of engine, designed for extra-solar flight, the speeds this engine were capable of were the many hundreds to thousands of times the speed of light needed for deep space travel. Normally the engines would not even come on line if you were within a light week of a star, but by removing the safeties, I intended to not only break that rule, I intended to fire the engine within the atmosphere of a planet. Something that had never been done, and had never even been simulated. I was about to find out what the effect was. “Warning, firing of star drive not recommended” the computers voice sounded eerily calm. “Gee, ya think?” I snidely snap at the computer as continue toggling controls diverting all available power to the star drive. That is when I saw something else concerning. The pyros to jettison the Passenger section were armed. This meant the explosive bolts that held the section to the main ship were primed and ready to fire, and it was a race at this point. Knowing that I only had brief seconds, if that. The bolts would fire, and the passenger section would be safely separated from the ship. I depress a button on the throttle control allowing it to reach full power, now with the star drive online, I would be dumping more energy into a maneuver than ever believed possible. Pulling back on the control, I remember hearing alarm sounds. Warnings, and a loud shuddering explosion. There was so much energy from the explosion I can’t remember how long I was able to maintain consciousness. But I remember seeing the nose of the ship pointed at the ground still when I engaged the engine. There were shudders, bangs, and explosions at volumes so loud I could swear my ears were bleeding. The sounds were deafening, there was so much going on at once it became impossible to tell one sound from the next. Then darkness, a sensation of falling, feeling like a feather drifting lightly on a breeze, drifting, until settling down on something solid again.
In the passenger section, everyone was getting back into their stasis pods, they were by far the safest place to be with their special padded walls, and their protection from fire, or lack of an atmosphere should the section breach while still in space. As Shepherd was sealing his pod, he could see the readouts for what was happening on the bridge. He chuckled to himself as he saw I accelerated the ship towards a collision course. “So predictable” he thinks to himself as the course correction routine begins to execute and pull the ship into a crash landing rather than head on collision. The automatic controls were already beginning to prepare the passenger section for jettison, when he noticed something that he was not expecting. The Star Drive coming online which would automatically fire once it had enough power. Fear began to sink its icy cold claws into him as he watched the power levels begin to increase to the drive. No one had ever even bothered to test a drive jump while within an atmosphere, it was insanity at least, ludicrous at best. Taking a ship from sub-light speed, to any multiple of light speed within an atmosphere, much less with gravity taking effect on the hull? Nobody had ever tested the thought, because it was deemed so insanely suicidal that they didn’t bother. Yet, here it was about to be done for the first time ever. He knew he only had moments to act, and jettison the passenger section. Frantically he began executing the command sequence to jettison the passenger section, it was now a race, if he could get the section to disconnect before the drive had enough power to engage. As he watched the countdown to the explosive bots firing, and watched the power level increase to the Star Drive he realized that the drive would fire before the bolts. Panicked he closed his eyes. “Not now, not like this” he repeated to himself. Everything inside the stasis pod was silent, no alarms were sounding, he knew the others would have no idea of what was about to happen. Perhaps that was for the best. Surely there would be no way to survive this. There was a series of shudders and shakes, then the passenger section shook so violently he felt like he was being rattled in the stasis pod. There were a series of explosive bangs, and sounds that seemed to emanate from all around him. Alarms could be heard from within the pods now and he could see warning lights all signaling various disastrous conditions throughout the ship on his display. As the ship continued to shake, it became even more violent, and Shepherd flung around the pod uncontrollably having not fastened his harness yet. Breaking multiple bones and his nose in the process Shepherd wondered when it would all just stop. Then there was a sensation, unlike anything he had felt before. A falling sensation, he was struggling to maintain consciousness. To pull against the darkness enveloping him, to fight against it. But it was no use, darkness washed over him in waves. He felt like he was drifting, floating in a breeze, until he too, felt like he had landed, and once he felt like he had landed there was nothing. He lapsed into unconsciousness silently wondering what came next. If he was dead, alive, or what truly happened.
And so, the crew and passengers of the Horizon slept, all except a little boy, and a little girl huddled in rooms on A deck, frightened and afraid to open their eyes, wondering if this was all a nightmare, or if they were dead themselves. They had no concept of sleep, having never experienced it. The concept that people somehow would close their eyes and “sleep” scared them. This is the kind of thing that lets you know a person is dead, they close their eyes, and don’t move. Fear gripped them as they sat there in the darkened rooms. They were sure that they were going to be okay, something just seemed safe here, these two rooms had seemed so appropriate to hide in, so where else were they to go? They wanted to leave the rooms, to check on one another to make sure they were indeed still alive, still safe, but safety would have to come later. For all that mattered right now was the safety of the room they were in. They sat there, and rocked themselves gently, crying, and hoping that they would be okay. Wondering why the lights went out, why the ship made so many loud noises. Wondering what happened to the world they were only just getting to see for the first time. Surely, we will be okay they think in unison, realizing that they can hear each other’s thoughts. Somehow that made this feel safer, less alone. Sitting in the darkness they waited, something was going to happen, and they somehow knew what it was. The thoughts scared them, so together they focused on shutting out the thoughts. Thinking instead of how it was that the ship had rooms with clothes too big for them, yet had their names on them. As poor little Daniel, and Patricia sat and waited in their rooms, waiting for whatever came next.

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