This story is by Miguel A.Zamora and was part of our 2017 Winter Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Control Room 16:30
The room is bathed in red light and operators are processing the information as it comes in from all over the ship. Rebecca “Bex” Quinn walks into the room. She is in full tactical gear and her red hair is pulled back into a ponytail.
A young officer swings his chair around and faces Bex. “We have evacuated level one thru five, were now starting on six thru nine. If the gas gets to level ten we will lose the ship. I sent word ahead.”
“Good, any word from Hatch or Office Matthews?”
The young man shakes his head. “The last report we got was at 16:00 and Matthews said that they had run into an issue.”
“Issue… What kind of issue?”
“He didn’t say.”
Bex looks at her watch and then the screen in front of her. She hits her com’s earpiece.
“Hatch, I need a status report.”
The lights in Engineering were flickering on and off and an orange mist covered the floor. They couldn’t see what they were stepping on due to the strange orange mist. Bodies laid thought the floor some burned and other covered in a black thick substance that was coming out of them. The air was thick and smelled stale and the temperature gauge on the wall mark 115 degrees.
Hatch wipes the sweat from his face and snorts. He wipes off his clean-shaven head and runs his hand down his long-braided goat tee. Hatch lets out a scream of frustration as he slams his broken mask and rebreather against the panel cover of the generator in front of him.
“Bex is trying to get a hold you,” a male’s voice from behind him says. Hatch stands and turns, he leans up against the generator and lifts his head.
Head of security Matthew walks up to Hatch with Martinez’s coms. He is in a blue hazmat suit, that looks to be a bit too tight for him. He wipes the condensations that had formed on the glass of his rebreather. He is carrying a modified AR-15 and Sig Saur P220 on his left hip. He hands it to Hatch and smiles.
“Thanks, Tiny.” Hatch Smiles and Matthew pats him on the head.
“I’ll give you a bit of room,” Mathew says with a slight grin on his face.
“Tiny get me a watch off one of those guys please.” He nods and makes his way back down toward the lift.
“This is Mario’s pizzeria can I take your order,” Hatch says into the coms.
“That’s out-a line and you on an open line.” Bex hated when Hatched joked around because it was his way to deal with a bad situation.
“Noted but I need you to make the line secure for your ears only.”
“Understood give me thirty secs, to clear,” she said.
Tiny walks back. He’s got a watch and hands it, to Hatch. Hatch syncs the watch with his and puts it in his pocket. Hatch looks at his watch and shakes his head. He starts to take his watch off and smiles as he hands it Tiny. “What’s this for?”
“You said you’d like to have one like this one day, well now you got one. Besides I’m out time.”
“Don’t give up Doc has a cure, and we can come back down to fix this” Tiny says trying to keep the smile on his face and sound like he is not scared out of his mind.
“Look and hear me” Hatch pauses and then continues, “Doc said that exposure to this… whatever it is for more than an hour there’s no treating it. My mask broke almost an hour ago even if we could get the lift working and get me to Doc it would be too late and there would be no time to get back down before this mist spreads everywhere. Kill everyone here, I can’t live with that can you?”
“Hatch, you there, the line is secure,” Bex says through the earpiece.”
“I’m here the lift is out so, I’m sending Tiny up the stairs to assist you, he can be more useful to you.”
Tiny shakes his head and says, “With all due respect I’m not going anywhere.”
“I agree… send Martinez instead,” Bex says.
“Martinez is dead we got ambushed as we got off the lift. He took two the chest and one to the head, he pushed me out of the way. He saved my life.”
“Sorry Hatch I know he was a good friend, anyone else hurt?” She asked.
“My mask broke and I’ve been exposed.”
“You need to get out of there now… that’s an order.”
“I can’t follow that order and, I can’t leave I need to get this working before we lose it all love… and I’m afraid my time is up” Hatch says with a tremble in his voice.”I passed the point that whatever Doc has… it won’t work on me.”
The com goes silent, and Hatch smiles. He knows Bex and he knows she is trying to process the information to make it work. That’s what he loved about her there was never a situation that was totally bleak for her.
“You don’t know that?”
“What I know is that it’s getting hard for me to function and from what Doc told us my time is short Love.”
“We’re wasting time everyone that could have fixed this is dead except for me I need fifteen minutes and I’ll have it fixed, I promise.”
Bex clear her throat. “At the rate, this Mist is moving it will hit the first deck in under fifteen. We should have levels one thru nine clear in five so, you have ten minutes.”
He starts to cough, and he spits up blood.
Tiny reaches for him and Hatch waves him off.
“It’s 16:48… I have it running no later than 1700, that’s best I can do.”
“Make it so and tell Tiny to see Doc asap.” She says with a tremble in her voice. “I’ll hold till we can be alone.”
Hatch reaches out his hand and Tiny shakes it and slaps Hatch’s shoulder and smiles.
“Bye my friend.”
Tiny nods and wipes the water off his mask and flicks it at Hatch and says “Till we meet again old friend in this life or the next to come.
Hatch lies on the floor and slides back into the panel, and he sets a timer and then his com.
“We’re alone,” he says.
In her most soft and gentle tone, she could muster. “How bad is it Love?”
“I got it fixed but I’m not getting any power to the unit so, their’s a break in the line somewhere… I’ll find it.”
“That’s not what I meant”
Hatch laugh as he slides on his back looking for the break.
“I know what you meant. Well, where do I start I’m coughing up blood, I can’t control the shaking of my right hand and it looks like a 5th grader wrote all over my right arm with a black marker. But all in all, I’m good you?”
“Stop it this is no laughing matter.”
Hatch looks at the watch and shakes his head he can make out the numbers. “What time is it?”
“I found the break repairing it now, tell me when it comes online at your end.” Hatch jumps the break and seals it up. He then begins to make his way to the opening. He slides out and stands and he gets light headed. He flips the first of two switches and it comes to life with a roar.
Hatch then flips the next switch and the mist is starting to be sucked up and out of the room. He pulls out a photo of him and Bex and smiles.
“Love, what time is it?”
Control Room 16:59
Bex is sitting in front of a monitor and she is crying. She presses a button on the dash and she can see in the cameras as the mist is beaning sucked up.
“you did it it’s 16:69, love,” she says, as she wipes the tears from her eyes.
“That’s good, hey you wanted to tell me something last night and you said it could wait. I know what it was, and I didn’t want to spoil it for you.”
Bex sits up and wipes her face again. “Really?” She notices a blue light for the radio is flicking on and off.
“Yes, and all I can say I hope it’s a boy, you’re going to be a great mo….
“Hatch… Hatch, Bye love.”
Bex wipes her face and flips the switch for radio.
“This is U.F.W Starship Texas over,” she says.
“This is space station Andromeda it’s good to hear you, we need a status update on the threat.”
“It’s good to be heard… the threat has been handled and the ship is safe.”