Friday, May 20, 2011

Space: It’s Oh So Still

It’s Oh So Still

It’s oh so still. The calm before the storm. Right before every storm is about to hit there’s the calm. It’s like nothing else. The world seems to stop and eddy closer toward the inevitable. People like to believe that there’s nothing quite like the storm, but I like to believe that everything you need to know about a storm comes ahead in the calm.


My own name sounds unfamiliar when it blares out across the comm. panel. Emerging from darkness it feels like I must have been asleep for three days. By the feeling that pounds violently within my skull I know that it’s been considerably less than that. The lights on the grid blink out of control and the ship’s alert blaring out a reminder to recompress before the hull breach expands. Between the frantic alarm my name jumps back at me once more.

“HELENA! Answer the comm. This is Delta. Come back.”
“Scott here. I’m… I… There are two casualties. I’ve got company.”
“Damn it Scott. You should have…”
“Tom. No time for “I told you so” I have two dead men and a ghost. Honestly I don’t know what I’m up against right now.”
“Helena? Hel… are you ok? Your sensors are telling me that you’ve got a hull breach and…”
“Hull breach is handled. I recompressed and sealed it off. Can you tell me anything about this ghost?”
“Hel, that’s the thing. Aside from the breach, there’s no record of an unregistered intruder. Could you have hit your head?”
“A blow to the head that’s possible. He may have…Tom, I’m not imagining things. It’s real. It’s Scout he’s… alive.”
“Helena I’m not saying that.”
“I’ve been stabbed but it’s artificial. I can do this if I have to. Tom, you have to send…”
“Helena. Don’t do anything. Seal off your chamber and wait. I’m coming.”
“Tom any word on Adam?”
“Helena, I’m sorry to say this but they declared the Mission as a fail. The crew’s all considered dead.”
“Are you sure?”
“There are no more readings from your probes or the satellite uplink. I’m sorry. They’re calling it.”
“Tom. I can’t give up.”
“Stay safe. I’m on the way. Delta out.”
 Out. The lights on the comm. blink out. When I stare back they blink on and the internal grid comes to life. Remembering what Tom said I lift myself to seal the doors. Without another movement the lights blink off and the door remains open. Powerless.

The ship powers up and down intermittently while the engines remain on standby. I can't see or hear anything but I know its coming. The air is still and I can feel the tension mounting. The electricity in the small chamber crackles when it pops the small breakers to life. Between the door and the exterior wall panel there’s the cord to my tether. If I cut the cord to release the door then it will seal closed without power.

Sealed in. Cut off from the ship. Minimal air supply. That’s exactly what the madman wants. I’m not about to give it to him. Not this time. He may have tricked Adam but I’ll be damned if I’m letting him get under my skin. There may be little time but I’m not about to let someone dictate whether I live or die. Certainly not without my permission. Webster had another gun below his belt when he was hanging. If I can reach it I’ll be able to defend myself against this monster.

“Webster you bastard, you weigh more than a dead man ought to.” I talk to the body as if it were about to react at my insult. Beneath the layers of his suit I manage a spare round to accompany the weapon pinned to his waist.

Armed. I’m ready to face this maniac. I make my way toward the next best step, Navigation. As I lift and apply pressure to my wound, I can feel a broken rib. It’s far too quiet and I’m sure he’s almost finished with the engines and moving onto the fuel tanks when my decision tells me to head to the south bay to head him off. The controls for navigation and helm can be accessed through rear facing panels along that spread. Half back around the cargo hold it’s still relatively quiet and no sign of the monster. I’m not sure what I’m expecting to happen when I come upon him. I only know that it means control of the ship if I do. And the first thing I need is the navigation and perimeter secure from where I stand. The door releases without give. And I’m welcomed by the sound of sucking air echoing down the south corridor. I’m certain that he hasn’t been through the chamber. The breach in the hull sealed off this corridor now pressurized by my movements.

Walking down the vacant hall I can see the shifting light of the lunar colony mirror the colors of Earth. It’s been too long since I’ve walked along the surface of the blue planet. Something about the blue reminds me of Adam and I want to cry but there isn’t time for that. The memories of home and our life on the coast of Maine call to my wandering mind in this moment where the only thing keeping me sane is that crystal blue expanse that lives in a reflection off the lunar surface. It’s then I turn back to see the blackness that fills the remaining windows and understand that I can’t go back anymore when I reach the panels. Whatever is coming. And it’s coming quickly.

Working quickly my fingers shift and tumble through the mechanisms that lay within the paneling. Its last maintenance was two years ago when it left space dock at Apollo colony. Navigation has never been routed through a south channel until now. The sound of my own heartbeat fills the silence in my head. The sharp sounds of metal against my fingertips echo across the stillness. There’s nothing like the still stagnate air to remind you of something unseen that will emerge without warn. One by one the pieces fall into place. The puzzle makes sense. I’m laying in the course when it comes softer than any storm should.

“Helena Scott. I thought I killed you. Just like your old man thought he did me in.”
“I like to surprise.”
“I can see that. Since you like surprises, what shall we do about this?”
“You can have the shuttle. It’s small but it’ll take you to the far side of Earth if that’s what you want. I won’t tell them…”
“Helena, that’s not what I had in mind. And I thought you might enjoy the shuttle from the outside.”
“Scout. Don’t. It’s too late. I can’t correct the course.”
“I can. Move aside. This time I won’t make the same mistake.”
“as you wish...”
Three steps into my conceding walk I spin and fire. When I take it I know there’s a slim chance I’ll hit him at this range and a damn good chance I’ll blow a hole in the ship, but I fire anyway. Madness steps back when it hits and misses his intended place at the controls. Watching him shake off the stun without a glint of pain sends a shudder up my spine. I step back and without a second thought I’m running. The sound of fire echoes in my head and I’m barreling up the southern deck. At full force my feet fall one after another. I can’t hear it coming, but the madness is chasing me down. I can feel it coming. Then I stop.


The moment I catch my breath he’s got a hold of me. Striking me. Cutting the skin on my face. Tearing into my suit. And…

Everything that flashes in front your eyes before death is a lie. You aren’t really experiencing life again. You are just telling yourself this isn’t happening. But it is.

“ Helena, wake up.”
“Scott where am I?”
“Helena it’s Tom. What happened to you?”
“What? Tom. Where?”
“Hel, what were you thinking? The panel could’ve killed you. The explosion must have been massive.”
“Scout? Where is he? The shuttle. I gave him the shuttle. You have to…”
“There’s no one here. The shuttle is still docked. You’re missing two probes. Looks like misfires. There’s good news though, Webster’s alive. Barely. But he’s breathing. Doc Cox thinks he’ll suit up just fine again.”
“Where is Scout?”
“Helena there’s no one here. I can’t tell you what I think… I wasn’t here.”
“Tom, track the probes. Someone will…”
“Helena, I’m taking care of it. Rest.”

The sounds within  my mind continue to haunt while the air remains still. Watching the world from the medical bay on Delta’s port view and it’s oh so still from the surface. There’s nothing quite like the stillness that comes before. The blue washes up and over to meet the browns and greens of the land masses. The small slender white clouds blanket the southern region. Millions of miles beyond them lie the cool dark surface of the moon that speaks its own language without words. Calmly and quietly the absence of sound fills the tiny chamber of the medical bay and I’m out of my head back on board Delta enjoying the final moments of the calm. Cause there’s nothing like the calm before. The storm is coming. You know it is. It’s those tiny little moments before that give a little warning of what’s to come. If you pay attention there’s nothing quite like the still that fills the air.

Space. I told you more of space was coming. Doubt is like a disease. The minute you let it in, the disease takes a hold of you. Shake the disease. You can. Remember when you do not believe in yourself someone else does. If you are in need of a little belief for your cause, look no further. You have mine. I have plenty enough for myself and anyone else who needs it. Promise. And promises are promises. I don’t welch. Ok a little more… face the world your own way. Head on. Run towards every single day. Meet its challenges and eases. There is much to be said for those that never give up. Those are my favorite people. Dreams are not measured by success alone. They are measured by the passion, the energy you put into them. See, people used to think the world was flat. Completely flat like a board. But we now know that to be different. The world is round because someone saw it differently. And to think without someone taking a risk to see, to invest and believe we might still be educated in geography according to the flat world. So still thinking your way is unusual? It’s not so unusual. It is original, life changing and full of wonderful things if you let it. If you are doing things by your own good terms, there is nothing and no one that can stand in the way of them becoming achieved. Your dreams/goals will be realized. I believe in you and you need to believe in you too. Nothing works with doubt. Anyway… digression. What do you think shall this continue? Enjoy space. Enjoy love, life and breathing. Kisses. m.

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