Posted on May 4th, 2011 by Douglas McKnight
He was awake. That was good, insofar as it meant nothing had happened while he slumbered to permamently prevent such an occurence. The temporary, but not nearly temporary enough feeling that his veins were full of expanding ice water…not so good. Self-evident as such an assessment was, however, the pain was not the sole, nor even the primary cause of his displeasure. That hit him about when the feeling had subsided enough to make room for rational thought, as he pushed his way up out of his pod, right after he dimly noted that the ship’s rotational motors must have come online to make such exertion necessary. There was only one reason, after all, WHY he’d have come out of cryo feeling like he’d just been spaced in the manner of a convicted murderer back on Khund4.
Emergency defrost. So what was the emergency?
Shaking off the lingering shroud of pain and grogginess, he leaped over to the nearest display terminal, watching with rapt attention as the images and text scrolled across the screen. An alien ship detected! An encounter made unlikely to the point of near impossibility by the lack of emissions the ship gave off during interstellar transit, but there it was; a better explanation for why someone had to be up and functioning in a hurry, he could not ask for. And alien was definitely putting it lightly. So massive and yet so fragile it seemed; definitely constructed in space, but by what means and of what materials, he could only begin to speculate.
Which was actually for the best, he suddenly realized as he kept reading. Access station number seven was being accessed even now…and clear as the waters of awakening, a quick look over at the relevant screen confirmed what he was most afraid of. Every single sleeper pod in that bay was functioning normally. Functioning to ensure he was the only member of the crew awake until the ordinary revival process had run its course.
Boarded, then. For now, he had to put aside questions of how this was possible when the hull appeared intact and no pressure seal was registered at the ship’s airlock; calling up the camera for sleeper bay 2 confirmed it. Aliens walked among them, and whatever their intentions, the fact that they walked where they blatantly did not belong did not help matters. The fact that he could not even see the faces of most of them also did not fill him with confidence.
Flipping open its storage compartment to reveal the terminal’s keyboard, he swiftly implemented the first demand of protocol and common sense by ordering the immediate acceleration of the other 17 revival sequences now taking place in the room around him. The next demand required the use of the access stick hanging by its lanyard around his neck. Plugging it into its slot on the wall produced an oddly comforting hiss as the weapons locker came open. He’d have to hope seeing it left open would make the situation obvious. Selecting the plasma rifle on the far right he took off at a run for the access hatch, pulling it shut behind him.