“What the-'' Captain Erixa Anahi’s first words in the Genesis galaxy were interrupted by the blaring sound of the ship's automated alarm shouting warnings. The captain was quick to her feet, stumbling out of the now open cryopod. The cryo-bay of the Hope was completely dark, flashing red warning lights, her only guide down the long, pod-lined hallway. The faces of sleeping colonists flashed briefly red from the lights through the glass windows of their pods, seeming almost menacing to the captain as she passed them in blurs. They might as well have been stone statues in their current state but the captain couldn’t help but imagine those closed eyes watching her, pleading with her to save them. Save them. Erixa lost her footing on weak legs and stumbled into a pod. When she looked up at the face of the man inside, his eyes were wide open, mouth agape as if was screaming. The captain fell backwards, frightened at the sight, but when she blinked he was still again as if nothing had happened. Captain Anahi shook her head, a side-effect of the abrupt thaw. Must be. They’d talked about that in her briefings, hadn’t they? How being asleep for years, centuries, could mess with a person's head. Right, that had to be it, just side-effects. Erixa forced herself back up off the ground, wobbly legs carrying her down the flashing hall again. Into the pit.
“Ego, what the hell is going on?” The doors to the bridge of the ship flew open with a resounding “whoosh!” and Erixa rushed through them. The bridge was as dark as the cryo bay had been, flashing red lights illuminating only second long glimpses to the deep space outside. The AI didn’t answer.
“Ego! Answer me!” The captain bolted to a console, running her hands over every switch and button she could find, it lit up. Erixa’s hands moved with precise, fluid skill across the holographic interface. The ship had hit something, the residential area had taken a hard hit and it looked like there was a hole in the hull. The captain thought back to all those thousands of sleeping faces and sucked in a deep breath of air. They hadn’t left the home just to die, they could’ve done that just as well in the Milky Way. They’d come here to survive. To live, and to hell if she was going to let any one of them not realize that dream.
“EGO!” The lights blinked and then flared on. The captain blinked away the sudden change as her eyes adjusted, and what she was met with knocked the breath out of her lungs. “By the stars-” The Hope was drifting in the view of an orange dwarf, a planet that looked almost entirely covered in green in orbit in front of her. This was it. They’d found something, there was a chance this could be home. There was hope.
“Collision is no longer imminent, Captain. We have escaped a rather dense cluster of meteors. I was briefly taken offline.” Ego’s robotic voice floated through the speakers and Erixa breathed a deep sigh of relief.
“Where-how long has it been?” The captain questioned the AI.
“It is normal to be disoriented and confused after cryo-sleep. It has been eight hundred and thirteen years since you left the Milky Way, the year is three thousand and seventy-six , we appear to have landed in a completely new galaxy. I’ve named this solar system the Arnia Expanse, as per the request of the Armaranth Corporation.” Ego rattled off the info it deemed necessary and quieted once again. Erixa leaned on her hands against the console in front of her.
“Eight hundred- damn. I’m old as shit.” The captain laughed shortly before pushing herself up again and going to work. There were errors everywhere. Damaged cryo-pods. Complete blocks that couldn’t be opened.
“Ego, I can’t wake my team, what’s going on?”
“Apologies, Captain, but I’m afraid there are too many damaged areas of the cryo bay to open much of the pods. We were lucky you were able to be woken at all.”
“Who can I wake then? If not my people?”
“It appears that the only colony team that can be woken at this present moment is…Janus.”
“Fucking hell. Only one? They're going to have to be enough.” The captain ran a hand down her face, “Okay, okay, wake them up and tell them to get their asses to the bridge stat. We have a planet to scout.” Erixa turned back toward the view. This planet, this first one, they would call it Elpis. Captain Anahi had always had a fondness for the Greeks and their myths, Elpis, the spirit of hope. The spirit that would be the only thing driving any of them for years to come. Yes, that would be a fitting name.
In the cryo bay, several pods were being warmed and opened one-by-one and Ego was there to greet them all. These people, members of Colony Team Janus, another Greek name, a god of duality of change, had been brought here with the mission to find a home for their block. Since the cryo pods of a majority of the other teams were unable to be opened, Janus’ job had just gotten exponentially more important.
“Good morning, Janus. Welcome.” Ego’s voice would be the first thing they heard, “Captain Anahi has requested the presence of all of you on the bridge with haste, if you are feeling ill, please use the waste disposals in your pods as to not dirty the floors. Thank you, stars blessings.”
They were here. They’d made it. Now it was the hard part.
Captain Maverick's first action was a deep exhale through his nostrils -- he'd been inhaling, trying to calm nerves that he'd insist that he didn't have about this whole mission when they'd started the cryogen shit, so he'd been in that pod, holding his breath for 800 years. As he exhaled, his dark eyes snapped open, and Tripp was ready.
The door to his pod open with a satisfying pop, and he blinked out into the area before him. Just across the way from him was his second in command, but to Tripp, the girl was nothing but a fucking child. He'd held that sentiment when he'd first met her and the rest of his crew, and he held that sentiment even now. How were they supposed to be successful when their fates were resting on the shoulders of a girl younger than have his crew?
“Good morning, Janus. Welcome.” Ego’s voice sounded around them, and as Ego continued to speak, Tripp took this moment to step out of his pod. His boot on the chilled tile floors sounded across the area, and he glanced towards the ceiling -- as if he were looking towards where Ego's voice was coming from.
“Captain Anahi has requested the presence of all of you on the bridge with haste, if you are feeling ill, please use the waste disposals in your pods as to not dirty the floors. Thank you, stars blessings.”
Of course, they'd be called to command right away. There would be no chance to gather their bearings -- everyone would just have to come out of centuries of cryo-sleep. Although there was a vague feeling of weakness in his legs, Maverick didn't let that shine through. He stood with authority.
"Demari," he barked, his hands readjusting his jacket. "Get the rest of the crew--" he paused mid-sentence when the sound of someone retching nearby caused him to let out a heavy sigh and glance down the way to see Flery, bent over, sick on the floor. His dark eyes closed for a moment, and then as his gaze reopened, he looked around until his gaze locked on Nina -- he didn't see the actual doctor -- and he called out; "Nina, can you and the doctor handle that?" He asked with a tilt of his head towards Flery, before turning his attention back to Demari.
"Well, the crew that's being... slower. Round them up and get the crew moving." With a heavy hand, he patted Demari's shoulder, then Tripp turned and started his way out of the area their pods were contained in.
Sure, he should've stayed back to keep an eye on the rest of his crew and get them fucking moving, but something felt off to him. Granted, he was sure that he shouldn't have necessarily heard everyone else as they were being awoken, but still, it was just... when he'd gone to sleep hundreds of years prior, he remembered feeling as if the ship were alive. And there were thousands of people aboard the ship.
Surely there'd be some noise.
Scouting ahead, Tripp didn't bother really waiting for anyone else to accompany him before he started out of the cryopod bay and towards the bridge -- but as he started out, he started to grow sicker to his stomach by the minute as that feeling of uneasiness refused to edge away.
There was something wrong. There should've been noise by now.
He continued to pick up pace, right up until his footsteps came to an abrupt stop as he started pass the residential units, and he caught sight of the damage. Ego had tried its best to repair the ship, but the forcefield that was pieced over the damage didn't do anything to hide the wreckage.
And then, it started to make sense -- why there was nothing but silence and stillness throughout the rest of the ship. There was a new sense of urgency that rushed through Tripp's veins, but the captain found that at the moment, he was frozen in his spot, surveying the damage.
"What the fuck happened..." he whispered under his breath.
It was raining. No, pouring. It was thunder and lightning and gunfire. The rain hurt as it smacked against her armor. No, not rain, diamonds. This was Jupiter, it rained diamonds on Jupiter. Wait, but that meant. No. Dex whirled around to find a familiar face at her back. Behind his helmet, she could see startlingly blue eyes, as blue as the diamonds falling from the sky. He grinned at her, teeth bright behind the glass of his face plate. Dex wanted to scream, wanted to yell at him to turn around, to stop being an idiot and remember they were in the middle of active combat. But she couldn’t nothing came out of her mouth. She only smiled back. Elex was insufferable and she loved that about him. Loved lots of things about him, the way he smiled, the way he made her laugh even at the worst of times, and his skill with a rifle. Just him. So he grinned his crooked grin, rail rifle clutched in his hands and Dex grinned back.
It rained diamonds on Jupiter the day the the love of her life died. She hated diamonds.
Their armor was red on Jupiter the day the love of her life died. She hated red.
She hated Jupiter.
The sound of whoosing and clicking pulled her out of her painful dreams. Dream. She was dreaming that was right. Dreaming. She’d been asleep for…well she didn’t know how long yet. It only made sense that she would have dreamed. Or maybe they weren’t dreams, more like nightmares. Terrible, horrible repeating nightmares. But she didn’t have time to ruminate on her nightmares right now. There was an AI voice floating through the speakers talking about the captain and she was stumbling out of a cryopod next to her other crewmates. They were being woken up, suddenly any grogginess that Dex had been suffering from previously had been completely eradicated. They were…well they were somewhere, had to be. She shot up on only slightly wobbly legs and stretched her arms above her head to pop her back. It did pop, with a very satisfying crack too. The sound of retching caught her attention and she turned to see Jase puking up his guts directly on the floor of the cryo bay.
“There’s disposal in the pods for a reason, Flery.” Dex passed by him and gave him a brief pat on the shoulder before following Maverick out of cryo and leaving the rest of their crew behind, Ambrosia could handle them, she was well enough at that. Her footsteps fell in sync with the captain’s and after a few seconds of walking she became increasingly aware that their footsteps were the only thing that Dex could hear. That wasn’t right. It was entirely too quiet, almost eerie. Dex sucked in a breath, and put her head on a swivel. That swivel didn’t seem to be much needed anyway, because it was suddenly made very clear just what exactly was the problem. There was a massive hole in the hull of the ship, straight through the bulkhead, that had been haphazardly covered by a makeshift forcefield by Ego. That’s why it was quiet. No one was awake. They couldn’t wake up a bunch of colonists with holes in their ship. She and Maverick both stopped short, taking in their surroundings. He made his surprise known verbally and Dex followed suit soon after.
“Nothing good. Ego,” The AI voiced its acknowledgement of her call, “What happened?”
“Sorry about the mess, Sergeant Bellamy, but we ran into a few problems on arrival. A meteor cluster was in the way of our course and I wasn’t able to correct our course before significant damage was done.” Dex turned to Tripp, eyebrows raised as Ego continued, “A large portion of the pods were damaged, including the captain's team. Luckily, your team was completely unharmed…almost.” Wonderful. They just got here and the problems were already beginning.
There were about several thousand more people locked in fridges than there were foolproof plans, but by God was this happening. Cinco peered to his left, then his right, drenched in a cold sweat at the thought of abandoning his allotted place in time to encroach upon another. But what did he know? Philosophy wasn't going to keep humanity from going to extinct. Big, frigid chambers were.
Cinco's heart thumped wildly as he stared into his bed for the next millennium. He reached a hand out to feel its smooth, steely sides, noting that his fingers were trembling like he'd been severely overcaffeinated. If only it were that simple.
"I still think about all those times you complained about the cold of Dad's office," the overwrought psychologist spoke dryly, glancing up at his younger sister. A smile went with the joke, but it was only out of habit. He hadn't the capacity to truly, consciously form a happy face. His eyes darted back and forth between the pod and Nina, widened with restlessness due to the weight of this moment.
He knew he was stalling. He exchanged a few more words with his sister, issued a silent prayer for the safety of their already-frozen parents, and stepped into the pod. It shut tightly, filling with pressurized air. He hated how comfortable it was. He hated how, for the first time in his life, not a single neuron in his brain would be active. Not one. Could he even call himself a person at that point?
There's no capturing that emotion as accurately as an ice cold portrait of 813 years can. Resting on Cinco's face were wide eyes and flared nostrils desperately trying to maintain his cool while the cool maintained him. The man's consciousness began to fade, the very last thought on his mind the image of his family reunited in safety.
Immediately, a bout of extreme tension seized Cinco's body. He wasn't given much time before the cryopod was being opened, politely beckoning him to step forth into what humanity could only hope was (is? will be?) the far future. And so, he lifted his body out, buckling as his joints simultaneously wobbled and cracked like he'd ran a marathon then slept for a week twenty times over.
Ego's voice echoed from all around, cutting like a knife through the haze in Cinco's mind. Though he could remember his thoughts just moments before he was frozen in time, the fact that they were distinctly distant did well to scramble his cognitive processes.
Right... the bridge. Everyone around seemed to be waking up, too, but Cinco had his eyes on the people already leaving the room. There were about a million things to confirm now that they were out, but the first thing that jumped to the forefront of his mind was everyone else. The rest of the human race, packed like single-serving sardines in one big ship, included some people very important to Cinco. Exempli gratia, a certain world-renowned mom and dad scientist duo.
He knew his mother's cryostasis was set to be a little more permanent than the others, but who knows? Maybe someone woke up and discovered a cure for her otherwise incurable degenerative disease. The glass is half full and that's that.
Almost entirely ignoring the rest of his crew and loose protocol, Cinco gave Nina's pod one last glance and pushed past everyone else out the chamber. He had to see for himself. Given the unexpected message from Ego and that detached look on Dex's face, the true battle was just beginning.
Weak from his slumber, Cinco held onto the wall as his body cried for a moment to adjust to the dynamic world once more. He was in no shape to catch up to the first two to dart out down the hall toward the bridge, unmistakably investigating the nerve-wracking feeling everyone knew was in the air. Something unexpected happened not only because it was bound to, but because the entire place was too silent. There were no alarms, no crowds, no more announcements... nothing to indicate anything had happened in the slightest.
That was until he laid eyes upon the anomaly.
A section of the ship was torn to pieces and crudely patched by an emergency forcefield. A gasp that came from mighty Tripp and the bloody, piercing mass of sheer silence wriggled deeper into Cinco's middle ear cavity.
"What is this?" he demanded, rushing toward the edge of the barrier. He could feel his heart beating out of his chest, locked in a crushing vice grip. "Where is everyone else? What's the status on Cardea Block?"
He instinctively slowed his breathing and tried his best to firm up his posture even if the sweat racing down his face told a story of extreme dismay. It wasn't like Cinco to lose himself over any unexpected event, but this... this was unexpected in a completely unexpected way. Ego wasn't making sense. Well, actually, it was, and that was the worst part. Now he was a little queasy, too.
Steadying his shaky voice, he proceeded. "Is there anyone here who has a read on this? Preferably not one of the T.V. dinners." He knew he was asking too many questions. He knew no one would answer him straight. But can you blame a man of science?
Ego's initial message repeated in his mind. He contemplated for a moment, then came to a stern conclusion. "So Anahi is in the bridge. I need to go." Cinco's one-track mind was filled with thoughts of utter dismay. So, without a second's delay, he hastily took off from the scene and staggered down the corridor, his recovering body a jumbled mess of wobbling limbs.
"When you find yourself bored on whatever new planet you end up on, make me."
Dae powered off his watch, hearing the static of Nelle's simulated breathing cut off with a stark finality. There was silence, at least to them. No other words made sense, and they decided to enter the pod without much fanfare at all. The only people important to him had already bit them adieu. In particular, his mother's grave waved him goodbye, his father's was ignored, and Nelle whispered words of encouragement. She'd be there when he awoke, and he'd give his best friend a proper body to explore the new world with him.
Placing their watch in the sealed compartment outside of their pod, they fluffed their hair before easing into the pod. Daedalus liked to think of the cryo-sleep oncoming as a sort of trial run for death. Logically, he knew this was not the case, but his morbid curiosity preferred that to the fear of never waking up again.
The insurmountability of centuries, plural, hit them. Their mom would not longer be a skeleton, if she existed at all. Memories of his existence would be long gone, and the adoring weirdos that theorized about his life and his work would no longer exist. Their place as an imminent scientific figure would be forgotten, replaced with the potential to foster a new planet with new coworkers to admire and have admire him. Worst of all, Earth would be a memory to the universe, and something about this notion struck Daedalus.
As sleep overtook them, the image of the floaty sea off the coast of Maine lulled them. His father was on a boat, fishing, and he sat at the bar at the diner his mom worked at. They were seven, and the sun was setting. The end.
A shuddered, pitched gasp. The pod's door popped open, unsealing them like a pop can. It was a first breath, and Dae was reborn. Wiping the sleep from his eyes, he blinked rapidly, slow to awake. The captain was shouting orders.
Unknowing of the emergency, Daedalus sat up with a decrepit slowness akin to a magical skeleton. A dead body too waterlogged for the funeral. First and foremost, they put on their watch, turning it back on for the first time in 800 years. It was a shock that it even worked, but thankfully, it did.
"Dae!" their best friend exclaimed.
"Nelle," he acknowledged with a mild, sleepy smile. "I believe we're nearing our new home."
"And my new body?"
"Yes..." They trailed off, images of Nelle's falsified corpse back on Earth flashing through Daedalus's subconscious as they took stock of the hastened pace of those around them. "Hold on," Dae mumbled before turning off the watch and silencing Nelle's excitement.
Daedalus spotted the man he recognized as the psychologist. They followed, tripping and almost falling onto their weak limbs. Taking it slow, they eventually arrived at the bay, noting the destruction.
This was their new beginning? he thought as the stars loomed just beyond the forcefield. "I am not leaving a good review for this flight," they quipped, studying the people around them.
Ambrosia Demari's eyes shot wide the moment she was taken out of that deplorable state of cryosleep, 800 years. That was long for a human, but for the world? Not so much. Humans were insignificant specks in the world after all. They could only do their best and hoped they changed things, were they awake for that change, what was going on? How could she help?
The second she could, she stepped out of the pod, did her legs ache and her lungs hurt? Of course, they hurt like shit. She wouldn't let that stop her from working. She stiffed into a professional position when she saw her captain. She was well aware he saw her as a child. As long as it didn't affect her job she didn't care what he thought. No one understood the work she had put in to get this far, to most she was just a child of a Federation head. They did not understand she was raised for this life, for these jobs. It did not matter.
She listened quietly to Ego, the thing would talk and then he would talk, she did not need to make talk, if he needed something he would say it. She quickly stretched as the Ai mentioned a request, if she needed to move she would.
She hated her last name. Especially when it was said in that tone, she had heard it one too many times, but once again, she would just have to deal with it, "The crew will be up and ready by the time you get back." She stated, the words rolling off her tongue in her smooth accent. She glanced at the person who puke. Eugh. They'd have to clean that as best they could.
She watched the Sergeant first-class follow after the Captain. She... She did wonder if the only reason she became second in command was because of nepotism, but if it was so she would rise to the role, plus she didn't think the captain was very good at peaceful negotiation, but that may just be her dislike
of being treated like a child and might be a bias she has, she would have to keep her eyes on her own prejudices.
She took in a breath and stated in her usual slow ear-catching voice, that she knew got people's attention and made them listen at least for a moment, "Everyone who has not gone to the deck, please come to me and report your status." She pulled a notebook that she had kept on her suit and clicked her pen, "Remember to stretch while you wait. It helps." She gave them a tight smile, empathy mixed with professionalism, that would hopefully work.
That’s all that was between 800 years ago and now.
Roughly nine and a half lifetimes passed and Nina was still here, awaking as if it’d been a normal cat-nap.
Her eyes fluttered open as the doors did, Nina took in her surroundings at first, and for the moment she believed there was a malfunction somewhere, was she even supposed to be awake yet?
The silence was almost deafening besides the light shuffles and footfalls that were in her immediate vicinity, which had brought her some relief that she wasn’t the only one awake.
She hadn’t ever been in cyro, she didn’t know what to expect beyond what she’d learned and studied– knowing her mother’s situation, Nina had done extensive research on cyro, the main reason being the ability to stop a progressive disease from getting worse.
“Good morning, Janus. Welcome.”
Nina repeated in her head, blinking a few times.
“Captain Anahi has requested the presence of all of you on the bridge with haste, if you are feeling ill, please use the waste disposals in your pods as to not dirty the floors. Thank you, stars blessings.”
Her gaze bounced to almost all of the pods, looking for someone in particular and once her eyes had found their mark, a slight sense of relief had filled her veins from the sight of her older brother walking towards the bridge with Maverick and Dex.
Nina would’ve moved to follow when Flery had buckled, throwing up— well, acid mainly but that didn’t mean the smell wasn’t there.
They’d been asleep for so long, it was likely their bodies had digested almost everything before cyro, not to mention they weren’t allowed to eat anything twelve hours before to avoid…
Maybe he skipped that rule.
"Nina, can you and the doctor handle that?"
Nina was up before her body could fully handle it, stumbling to her feet and held onto the pod, regaining and mustering up some strength, allowing her body to catch up to her mind before heading over to Flery, handing over a towel that'd conveniently been placed under the pod’s storage along with a small pen light.
The light moved back and forth from Flery’s pupils, dilating as they should.
“Nausea is a common side effect of cryostasis with abrupt thaw— shortness of breath with prolonged physical activity before recovery, accelerated heartbeat, are you lightheaded? Any sharp pains? Heart attacks aren’t likely but—“
Then Nina froze, she’d seen the captain, she’d seen second in command, their engineer, scientist… Cinco, but…
The empty pod had caught her eye and a glance towards the others, Nina had assumed he’d awoken already. Black spots began to appear in her vision and she had blinked them away. Loss of vision was also a side-effect, but thankfully it wasn’t permanent.
“How are you feeling? Any visions? Are you seeing anything you feel like you shouldn’t?” She asked Flery, pocketing the penlight and maneuvering around the contents of his stomach, Nina had reached into a dock that’d been holding multiple tablets and she powered it on, scrolling through the list of cyro patients.
Peter S. STATUS: STABLE: Patient is stable. ➪ click to see past updates: ADMIN: EGO: 29382: DATE: 01/04/3038 ADMIN: EGO 29483 DATE: 03/29/2938
She eyed her father's files for a mere moment before swiping over to the next.
Valeria S. STATUS:CAUTION Patient is in near-critical condition. Multiple genetic anomalies detected. ➪ click to see past updates: ADMIN: EGO: 23843 DATE: 09/01/3076:ADMIN: EGO 29483 DATE: 08/29/3076:
Her lips thinned when Nina had tapped into the past updates tab. Reading the notes that Ego had made from her progress. The disease hadn't progressed further but there'd been a few incidents where cryo had detected the disease. All in all, her mother was stable despite the many warnings and as long as she wasn't... woken up any time soon, they shouldn't have any problems.
A last glance was sent towards Zero's pod before typing away on the virtual keyboard
Dr. Malcolm Zero:ERROR: 28373
ERROR: DNA ANOMALY DETECTED. PLEASE CHECK POD.
“Anomaly…” She whispered, her gaze flitted over to Malcolm's pod before the others.
A new beginning... hope. These were the things promised to them and Nubia had placed her faith in just that. Was that faith well placed? Only time would tell and it was certainly too late now to turn back.
As her pod released her and her eyes fluttered open for the first time in over 800 years she couldn't help but feel light headed. Dazed and trying to gather her thoughts, and baring's. It truly was a shock to the system and she had no idea how it would feel before entering other then what they'd been told in pre-ops.
“Good morning, Janus. Welcome.” The voice rang as a clear reminder even though it shouldn't have been that difficult to focus considering to her...only moments had passed since she closed her eyes and let go. It was Ego, that much she could wrap her head around, “Captain Anahi has requested the presence of all of you on the bridge with haste, if you are feeling ill, please use the waste disposals in your pods as to not dirty the floors. Thank you, stars blessings.”
With haste huh? Damn a girl couldn't get a moment could she? Nope! She knew she'd be put to work immediately it came with the job she supposed. Though she was quite sure in the briefings that it wouldn't be this sudden. Perhaps she misunderstood something along the way.
She took another deep breath to center herself before stepped out of the pod. Her legs and arms felt like jelly which was odd for her since she tended to keep physically fit. The weakness of not using them in a lil over half a millennium took it's toll. She wasn't going to let a little sleepy muscles get the better of her tho. She took a moment to shake them out and roll her head. Sure the AI said 'with haste' but what good would she be all stiff or worse too jittery to be worth while? Last thing anyone could afford was a mechanic with a shaky hand. Almost as bad as a doctor honestly.
Speaking of Doctor and getting to work where was Zyra or Zero? She remembered Zyra's pod being next to hers before they stepped in. Before she had another moment to check on those thoughts she noticed from the corner of her eyes some of the others already trailing out in a blaze. There was also another one...puking...ew. Seeing them made her stomach start to knot up and get all queasy. She needed to get out of here before she started throwing up too.
"Everyone who has not gone to the deck, please come to me and report your status." She heard the second in commands voice ring, but she disregarded it. Not because of her age or anything like that, simply she was pumped to get out and away...especially from the puke. She was already on her way that counted as being on deck right? Right. Zyra would surely catch up soon. Or even better she could catch up with her younger brother Omari!
He was hands down the person who matter most on this ship to her. He was the only family she had left. They both had to say good-bye to their parents back on earth which was bittersweet. It's hard letting go of everything and everyone you've ever known...but there was also this sense of freedom that came along with it. That rush was enough for her to even consider joining this mission. Well that and escaping her ex-husband who may or may not have aided in Earth's demise by helping out Mars.
Yah her husband was a traitor...not something she's proud of ooooor ever gonna wanna talk about.
Now the only unrealistically high expectations she'd be forced to live up to were her captain's. That's an upgrade right? Either way she was grinning the whole time with excitement... until she noticed that there probably should be a lot more murmurs and chatting. While she heard the opening of the pods around her when she first awoke she didn't hear anymore after and there definitely should've been more. Her eyes scanned the instruments as she walked curious as to why considering it was also odd that the message said to get to the bridge with Haste... there was no way everyone received that same message just for logistical reasons. So why her? If anything she figured her first station would've been a maintenance one with the other mechanics to check and make sure there weren't any....
Her eyes went wide as she noticed the giant gapping hole in the hull of the ship. Arriving just behind the others to hear Egos explanation and Cinco's flurry of questions that honestly ran through her mind too. Along with the thought, 'am I going to have to fix that?' and 'how many others are being woken up to help??"
She didn't even notice Cinco dash off because her mind instantly then flew to her brother. It took everything in her to fight the urge to rush towards his colony where his pod was. He was however in a different crew then her so the better option was simply to check the status on one of the screens. She thought about asking Ego, but chances were she'd just be directed back to the mission at hand about getting to the bridge.
Ugh! How were thing already a hot mess? Cold mess? Whatever! She rushed to the closest control panel tablet off the wall and logged in so she could 1. check on her brother's status since the words “A large portion of the pods were damaged..." were on repeat in her mind. 2. to check just how bad the damages where and have an idea forming in her head before she got to the bridge on how to help fix it because if they were the only or one of the only teams being woken up right now they'd need a solid plan.
"Ego, status report on damages. I need specs." She typed in her password to gain access to the schematics of the ship. She swirled her fingertips across the map as she walked briskly towards the bridge arriving shortly after those before her.
Damn...a girl really can't catch a break.
Interactions : No one? She mentions a lot Tags : None for now
Waking up in a pod wasn't entirely new to the test-tube baby, but somehow, waking from Cryo was worse than Z had anticipated. For starters, Zyra was fucking starving. Not literally, of course, because her body functions had been entirely frozen, but Z was still certain that if she didn't get food in her stomach asap, she might haul off and hit somebody.
Secondly, despite the rapid thawing, the cold had seeped into the very fiber of her bones. It felt the same as when you played outside in the rain for too long, the kind of shiver that took hours of sitting by the fireplace to fully warm. And most annoying of all, was that stupid robot.
Still trying to shake the cold from her inside, Z ignored the AI's voice in favor of looking around her colony at the familiar faces emerging. There was that hard-ass captain of theirs, already barking orders at them like dogs. Then there was, well whoever that was losing their lunch on the floor, but on the bright side it brought her attention to the hot doctor next.
Before she could entertain any thoughts about attractive medical professionals, Mr. High and Mighty was ordering them to move out. Being called to the bridge right away wasn't a good sign, and Zyra briefly wondered if there was even a chance of her getting a quick snack before having to save the entire population of the ship.
It wasn't likely. With heavy feet, Z set off after their captain, ignoring the ache in her bones because she knew that whatever was going on likely required the assistance of the engineer in charge of keeping all of these idiots alive. The absence of noise was her first sign that something was wrong, and if the lack of people wasn't a clue, then the giant fucking hole in the ship was.
Somehow, Zyra knew that this would be her responsibility to fix. They couldn't wake the others with damage this large, that was an easy conclusion. Immediately Z's brain went into work mode, because if there was one good thing about being raised for the sole purpose of work, it was that there was no one better at this job than her. Compartmentalizing the fear was easy, too busy focusing on the aspects of the repair to succumb to the overwhelming panic and existential crisis that she was sure the others were feeling.
"Ego, I need a report on our system functions, stat." Zyra addressed the A.I. as she inspected the forcefield currently holding the wreckage. Nubia had already requested a damage report, which meant Z could focus on making sure that the rest of the ship was stable. This was bad, but it could become so much worse if they didn't begin fixing it right away. If they were the only crew awake, that meant that she and Nubia were the only engineers at the ready.
Only two women stood between the end of humanity and its salvation at the moment. The white men who had once ruled Earth would be rolling in their graves.
"Fucking idiots didn't prepare for a bunch of space rock. Figures." She grumbled as she finished her assessments, deciding that this could wait until they'd spoken to Anahi.
"I hope the food doesn't suck too much." She remarked to Nubia as they set off towards the bridge and their awaiting captain.
The day before the freeze, Boey had a meal with her family one last time.
It was in Nolan’s apartment because the air quality that day wasn’t great to have a proper outdoor picnic (again). Nolan was out somewhere, mainly not to interrupt her time with them, but he would return in an hour and eat leftovers with her later. Food covered the surface of the small round table, most of them being takeouts and a couple were old family recipes she attempted.
On the edge across from her, two small pictures faced Boey—her two parents in one frame and her older brother in the second, all with their carefree smiles, all frozen in time in their own peaceful moments. Out of respect, two saucer plates were placed in front of them, each filled with small portions of their favorites. Those were left untouched.
She called Nolan to come back home thirty minutes early. The place was too quiet for her to eat. Not a big deal though, obviously.
Her nerves were restless the next day, more than the previous few weeks leading up to it. It was just excitement. She worked her butt off to be part of the flight team, be one of the best pilots working with the best.
How often has someone as young as Boey Baolin been chosen to travel deep into outer space?
Well, sure, she didn’t really fly a ship most of the time, being in cryo-sleep for several centuries and all. But still, she was waking up now. She was finally getting her chance, or… she would at some point. She’d rack up promotions from who knows how many missions, and eventually be the captain or commander of her own starship.
Watch out, Captain Mavvy. Boey’s about to take your job.
Kidding, kidding. Boey wasn’t cunning enough to do that. Her work ethic is impeccable, just as long as you focus out some disciplinary strikes she’d had in the past. Like one or two minor strikes. They kept referring to her epic skills as “reckless” and/or “impulsive”, even though she still completed tests with flying (pardon the pun) colors, no sim-dummy’s life lost along the way. It’s whatever.
Okay, okay. Girl, keep your focus on what’s happening now. Like not throwing up like the other guy.
She almost did. Upon stumbling out of her own pod in barely two steps out, her body suddenly felt like plucked out-of-tuned bass strings, pitchy ringing going through both her ears. She leaned against the frame of her pod. She shut her eyes to stop the world from shaking.
Thirty seconds passed, or probably a little longer, the wave of nausea vanished. No bodily fluids came out of her—she didn’t eat or drink anything in the several hours prior to the freezing, fortunately.
A nearby pod hissed and clicked. It was her best bud Nolan’s turn now. Walking to his direction, Boey thought about a half dozen different ways she could gloat for waking up before him. The door was fully opened by the time she stood in front of his pod.
It took her ten seconds to realize Nolan wasn’t moving out.
Nervously, she peeked over her shoulders, hoping no one noticed anything unusual at their spot. The last thing this crew needed was one of theirs to die on the first day. Just let the only problem be vomit on the floor.
She muttered a prayer to whoever, whatever powerful celestial force could be listening from out there and had any sympathy for either of these two weirdos. Goddammit, Nolly
“Please don’t be dead,” Boey said under her breath. “This is such a lame way for you to die.”
It was like watching one of those ancient computers that boot up in a painfully slow snail-pace. Boey knew how much he disliked being teased as a “half-cyborg/computer” due to his spinal implant, but she hoped Nolan wouldn’t crash at the last minute.
Three minutes passed since his pod opened.
Maybe she should run and find Nolan’s old restored music box thingy—what was it called again? An ePod? Running-Man? Slip headphones on him, play his favorite weird music from ancient times, like the Beatles or Talking Heads, whatever boring, lame stuff that Nolan liked listening to for some reason.
Thinking about Nolan’s Boomer Banger music almost made her want to go back to sleep for another century. Maybe Boey should just blast her favorite not-boring classic in his ears—Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face”. It worked for another guy a long time ago. Thinking about that song, she was tempted to poke his face, but she didn’t want to make him have a seizure-like reaction from just a flick of his nose. She didn't know what kind of side effects he'd have from his defrosting.
She probably shouldn't have been standing so close in front of him. Just as she turned, a large hand shot out from the pod and grabbed her arm.
That was the first thing Vesper Nolan felt. The pins-and-needles prickle that surged under his skin like a chill. that started from his toes and now crawling up to his legs. Then he felt it materialize on the tips of his fingers and slowly creeping up his arms.
He heard something hiss. A very light breeze touched his face. How long had it been since the door opened, a minute? Two minutes? Three? It felt more like hours. Or years, that seemed more appropriate.
A familiar voice spoke to him, but it sounded so far away. Wake up… Yeah, that’s what he was trying to do, but he couldn’t move anything, not even his eyes that were still closed. At least he was breathing.
Maybe it was the cybernetic implants grafted along his spinal column. He must’ve been thinking a little too hard to move his body, because when he thought of shifting one foot by a centimeter, a sharp jolt pierced through the back of his neck.
An invisible defibrillator, that’s what it felt like. Or a taser to the nape. He heart was racing so fast, he was worried it would burst out of his chest. He thought every bit of his neurons uncomfortably pulsed for a hot second.
He gasped. Was he trying to breathe in or out? He wasn’t sure.
Nolan hadn’t meant to grab Boey by her arm, but she was the closest thing he could reach. His sudden awakening had jump-scared her, but thankfully, she held onto him well enough to stop him from collapsing on the floor. Nolan was still on his feet, but barely. His limbs still felt mostly numb. Pins and needles.
“You’re okay, buddy. You’re okay,” Boey said, almost dragging Nolan to the closest wall for him to lean against. She watched him blink hard a dozen times as if his eyes were too sensitive for the lighting. “Can you hear me, Nolly? How’re you doing over there?”
“I taste coconut and copper in my mouth,” Nolan croaked. His first words after 800-plus years. “And don’t call me that.”
Boey let out a relieved chuckle. “Awesome, you’re not dead. Hey, what color’s that sign over there?”
Boey pressed her lips together, trying not to laugh. “That’s actually blue. Although, I could be wrong, too. Maybe temporary color blindness is another side effect. Or it’s just you.” She gave him a friendly slap on the shoulder, which almost knocked him over. She murmured an apology.
Jokes aside, she asked him if he’d be all right. “Yeah… yeah, I’m fine,” Nolan said. He waved her hand away when she tried to reach out and steady him again. Eight centuries later and he’s still stubborn. Typical. “Where’s Mom?”
Nolan’s mother, Boey's adoptive mom, Dr. Lyra Batiste, one of the starship’s scientists, was still in her cryo-pod, still frozen. The majority of the passengers were still frozen, they were just realizing now.
There’s a classic phrase for being surrounded by a foreboding scene like this, but Nolan and Boey refrained themselves from saying it aloud.
Nolan insisted his adopted little sister move ahead to the bridge as Ego mentioned. He’d catch up later once the numbness buzzing through his legs wasn’t offsetting his motor skills. No point in arguing during urgent orders. A hesitant Boey followed her crewmates, walking a wide arch around the puke zone.
Leaning against the wall on one side, Nolan patted the middle part of his back. He carefully stretched his limbs, as he heard Ambrosia Demari advised; his stiff joints gave out soft cracks, including from his neck. He had expected this part of the unfreezing not to be great. He needed to quickly remind his body how to walk right again. For the third time. Baby steps.
"We are so proud of you, Phella. You are going to do great things. We always told you to shoot for the stars, didn't we? Look at you now."
Phella smiled at her mother as the older woman placed a gentle hand on her daughter's cheek, only to be quickly pulled away as she descended into darkness. Phella could feel a panic rise in her chest.
"Mama!" she cried out, opening her eyes. It was a dream. She had been... sleeping? But she wasn't in her bed. Where was she? A pod of some sort. A cryopod. Right, she wasn't sleeping. She was frozen. And that dream... It had really happened. Those were her mother's last words to her as she boarded the ship for Project Hope. That was the last time she saw her parents.
"They're dead," she muttered under her breath. Of course, she knew that would be the case when she took this job -- that she would never see them again. It didn't help ease the pain.
"Okay, Phella. Deep breath," she instructed herself. She closed her eyes, ignoring the feeling of salty tears stinging her cheeks. She took in as much air as she possibly could through her nostrils, so much that it burnt her underused lungs. She held it for three seconds, then expelled the air out through her mouth. She didn't want to exit the pod too swiftly, for fear that the disorientation would make her ill.
"Alright, let's do this," she said. She gripped the edge of the cryopod and pulled herself forward, stumbling out into the residential bay. "Whoa," she groaned. Her legs felt like jelly, and it took a moment for her to gather herself and stand up straight. At least she wasn't nauseous. It seemed that not everyone was so lucky...
"Good morning, Janus. Welcome. Captain Anahi has requested the presence of all of you on the bridge with haste," Ego's robotic voice chimed out.
"Is everything... okay?" she asked, unable to shake the feeling that something was... wrong.
"Everyone who has not gone to the deck, please come to me and report your status. Remember to stretch while you wait. It helps," Ambrosia said, her voice soothing yet firm. Phella nodded and started walking towards the girl, noting that most of the other crew members seemed to be ignoring her and simply running off to the bridge.
"Good morning, Ambrosia. Long time, no see," Phella quipped once she was standing in front of their second-in-command. She was young, but Phella had nothing but respect for her. Maybe even a little envy... That wasn't important now, though.
How did he get here? How did he get HERE? He was, where was he? What was going on? Who was the voice speaking out? His raspy breath quickened, his eyes watered, and his legs shook. What was going on? What w— He recognized this place. This was that ship— The hope or something— that Six had worked on, but that meant... He wracked his brains, he passed out. He remembers. There was too much blood and he fainted but that meant he should have just... Woken up or died. Was this death?
It made sense that death would form as the place you died but if so, why did his lungs still hurt, why was a politician here? What was going on? He whimpered and slowly backed up, people were leaving, something was going on, what was happening. Six's lungs ached and he coughed, it was more painful than usual like he had been trying not to. Specks of red dotted his shirt and he attempted to rub them off with his dirt-stained hands as they shook. God. What was going on?
He looked around these were... the crew? They each had come out of a pod like his he realized— and a sense of dread overtook him. He was on the Hope, wasn't he? He was here. In SPACE. Who knows how long he had been in there? He pressed himself to the wall quietly, hyperventilating. God that wouldn't be good for his already sensitive and weak lungs, he coughed. Black speckled red once again splattered on the clean ship floor, what was he going to do.
What was going to happen to him? Were they just going to shove him right back into to pod? Kill him? Let him just die from his ailment? Nothing good was going to happen to a poor illegal and I'll stowaway. He would get out of this, out of here, somehow. He'd gotten out of impossible-seeming things before, he could hope to get out of here. He could wish on all the stars above— and likely now around— him.
His eyes locked on the eyes of one of the crew, oh God they knew he wasn't supposed to be here, her furrowed brow and sharp eyes— They were going to kill him weren't they— He didn't even want to be here! He felt horrible, his ears rung and he felt like he was swaying, what was going to happen to him?
Caden had woken up from a deep slumber once before, so waking up from the cryopods after centuries, he wasn't completely unfamiliar with the sensation. Except his last slumber hadn't lasted centuries and this time he knew what was happening.
There was a slight unsteadiness to his first step as he stepped out of the pod and got his bearings but this slight disorientation and headache was nothing compared to the past. His body wasn't weak, his muscles weren't wasted and his head didn't feel like it was going to split right open. Some of the others didn't seem to take to waking up from the slumber as well, some struggling to gain their bearings and walk and others well... one was puking his guts out and another looked like he was about to keel over and faint at any moment.
Speaking of the one who looked ready to knock back out, who was he? A last minute addition? Stowaway? Misplaced Civilian? He certainly wasn't one of the crew. Caden had committed all of their names and faces to memory.
Well either way, that could wait. It wasn't like the boy had anywhere to run or access to anything important. Besides he looked he could barely move, leaving him be for the moment wouldn't be a problem. For now, what was it they had been asked to do? Ah yes, report to the bridge. Captain Anahi was waiting.
Caden made his way out of the cryo bay, staying well clear of the inconsiderate mess Jase Flery had made on the floor and taking note of the features of the unfamiliar boy in a passing glance. Making quick work of the passageways, Caden soon found himself a few steps behind Maverick, Bellamy and some of the others as they headed for the bay.
The ship was quiet which frankly, Caden didn't mind. Aside from their footsteps and movement, there was no other sound which was certainly odd. If they had deviated from the brief as the silence suggested, and only their crew had been woken up, then something was wrong. The question was what.
As the group came to a stop in front of him, Caden's steps slowed. What was that they were staring at? The residential area? Was there something - well wasn't this a welcome sight. A gaping hole in the hull. A good number of the pods were damaged too. Poor engineers. They certainly had their work cut out for them.
Project Hope indeed. How ironic that sounded right now. Project Doom was probably more fitting. And he was a part of it.
Cinco dashed on ahead, making a beeline for the bridge and Caden followed after him with calmer and slower strides. Panic wasn't useful, wasn't going to change anything either, and he was just a mere quartermaster. Wasn't much he was going to be able to do in a situation like this, so he was much more useful reporting to the bridge where Captain Anahi waited. Plus there was still that curious situation with that unfamiliar boy in the cryo bay.
All of these incidents... they certainly made for an interesting start.
Jase was holed up in a wooden shack in dried up swamps of Old Florida when they found him. He didn't run. He knew better. They'd pump him full of bullets before he could even get both feet on the ground. It wasn't that Jase feared death, though. He was just smart enough to learn his other options first. They kept in solitary confinement for three days before anyone would speak to him. At least, he was told it was three days. It was hard to tell when he couldn't see the sun. They gave him two options. The first was to spend the rest of his life in prison for desertion, conspiracy, and treason. The other was to rejoin the military as a part of something called Project Hope. Stupid name, he thought. If anyone looked to the Federation for hope, they were either naive or just plain dumb. Regardless, it wasn't a hard decision. It would certainly be easier to escape when he had a gun in his hand. And, if it came down to it, there was still that unnamed third option. The first one he was given in that little shack, what felt like forever ago.
He supposed it was forever ago, now. Lifetimes ago.
The men who gave him those options were probably all dead. In a sense, he supposed that meant he won.
Didn't feel like a victory.
It felt like nausea. He stumbled out of his cryo-pod, bent over at the waist. It wasn't long before he was emptying his stomach onto the floor. It was mostly bile, and it burned his throat as it came up. People were talking, patting him on the shoulder, running. His head wouldn't stop spinning long enough for him to make sense of any of it. Before he knew it, there was a girl -- wait, he knew her. Nina, that's right. She was a medic. Before he knew it, Nina was in front of him. She pushed him upright, shining a light in his eye and asking him questions that took his brain way longer to put together than it should have. How was he feeling? Like shit. Any visions? Was he seeing anything he shouldn't have been?
"Yeah, that fucking light two centimeters from my corneas!" he answered, squeezing his eyes shut and stumbling away from her. Jesus! What the hell was wrong with her? Medic, his ass. What the hell was shining a light in his face gonna do? He held his hands over his face, taking in deep breaths through his nose and exhaling out of his mouth. He did this a few times until he felt semi-human again, dragging his hands down his face and finally taking in his surroundings. Half the crew was missing, it seemed. There was one kid he didn't even recognize. Lights were flashing, and... fuck, it was freezing. Maybe he should've picked prison, he thought.
"Alright. Wh--" He threw his arms up in the air. "Can someone explain to me what the fuck is going on?"
"O Space and Time and stars at strife,
How dreadful your infinity!"
The scars that marred the Hope were digging into the psyche of the crew. Ego was trying desperately to keep the oppressive pressure of this strange space at bay, its force fields moving in and out, in and out, like they were breathing. It had once been thought that space was empty, a void filled with the overwhelming presence of nothing at all. But this was far from the truth, space held vast amounts of gasses and radioactive elements, not to mention the forever moving space debris. Parts of the Hope that had been stripped away by its collision course had now joined this space debris and could be seen getting lost in the distance, forever moving forward.
The newly awoken crew moved on, passing through the rest of the residential bay until they arrived at the bridge where Captain Anahi was inspecting a map of the cryo bay on one screen, the pods that still held those sleeping lighting up different colors for different status’. They were all yellow, save for a few green areas of the ship. Anahi didn’t notice Janus’ arrival at first, preoccupied with speaking with Ego.
“Ego, the Virtus block, what’s the issue?” She questioned, zooming in to a block of fifteen pods still lit up green. Virtus was a military block, meant to serve as a militia on the Hope until the entire project found a better foothold in this new galaxy.
“Apologies, Captain, there are mechanical issues in the Virtus block. While the members are fine, their pods have short-circuited and sealed shut by an impact. It will take a while for me to be able to fix them and others like them, even with your assistance.” The sound of cameras whirring as they turned toward the members af Janus standing at the entrance of the bridge broke the silence afterward, “In the meantime, Janus has arrived.” Anahi turned toward them, expression flat.
“Hello, hope you all had a good nap because we’re going straight out of the bag and into the frying pan. As Ego probably already told you, we crashed into a damned meteor and now you’ve gotta get out there and find us somewhere to live before this whole ship goes dark.” Erixa crossed her arms over her chest and gave Janus a wayward grin, “Your ship’s in the loading bay,” She inclined her head toward a ladder just before the bridge leading down, “no pressure.” She chuckled to herself.
“Anyway, I’ll be in touch. The planet in front of us, Elpis I think we’ll call it, is our first priority. The scans can’t tell us much from up here, it’s big, bigger than Earth and Ego thinks there may be water. Alright then, get fucking moving. The Asteria and Helix should be green for go.” Somewhere above them Ego made a noise that almost sounded like a sigh of disdain.
Down the ladder, the bottom of the ship opened up into a rather large hangar bay. There were at least thirteen separate scouting vessels sitting dormant, among them the Asteria colored with the blue and silver of the project, an insignia on its starboard and port sides depicting a two-faced man indicating it’s belonging to Janus. Lights on the floor lit up as the first few of the crew stepped onto the hangar floor, leading them to their ship, probably the work of Ego. Each ship had a hatch like door in front of them, meant to open and eject a ship like an escape pod but also to open and facilitate returns. The Asteria was the only ship with its exit port lit up, ready for ejection.
The crew would enter through the port side air lock and onto the Asteria’s bridge which housed the pilots area as well as a respective seat for a navigator and the captain. The rest of the crew would spread out to other areas, a lab, the engine room, a canteen, med bay, support module, mission deck, and crew bunks. The Asteria’s hyper-active AI was very obviously excited to see them.
“HELLO, JANUS.” A computer shouldn’t be able to sound so excited but Helix had never been a normal AI, “Apologies, didn’t mean to be so loud. My speaker systems may need to be adjusted. But, I’m happy to welcome you to your new home for the time being. It’s pretty okay, there’s even a coffee maker.” A holographic ball popped up from a table in the middle of the mission deck, a projected form for Helix. It lit up when the AI spoke.
“There’s several areas on the ship where I can make myself appear like so, Ego can’t even do that. I can also project things like maps and blueprints.” The projection morphed into a rail pistol, took itself apart to show the innards, and then proceeded to put itself back together again and turn back into a ball.
As the rest of the crew started to gather around him, also gaping at the hole in the side of their ship, Maverick knew that he should push them away. Encourage them up to speak with Anahi, and not think about what was happening down here. That's what a good captain would've done, but...
He didn't. For a while. And then he stepped away from the wreckage, his voice calling out in a gruff tone; "C'mon, Anahi summoned us." And he allowed his footsteps to carry him away from the damage.
Once they were in front of Anahi, her explanation of what was happening fell on deaf ears, more or less. Maverick was only partially listening, his focus split between the moment at hand and the images of the wreckage so blatantly in the forefront of his mind. Anahi was talking about what had happened, and hearing that the entire future of the human population was falling onto their shoulders, well, it was a lot to take in.
Anahi didn't fuck around, and in just a short matter of time, they'd headed out and made their way to their ship. As Maverick made sure that everyone was situated and the pilot was pulling them out of the hangar bay, Nina continued to fucking annoy him.
Not that he had an issue with Nina, but she continually tried to speak to him, and he continually had to tell her not now. But apparently that was falling on deaf ears, and Maverick was beginning to grow irritated.
"Nina, look," he snapped as he finally tore his gaze away from the window that showed the vast expanse of space to look down at the nurse. "I don't have time right now to hear about whose... whose having trouble waking up or whatever the fuck. Just take it to the doctor and I'll come hear your report later, yeah?"
Anahi, dubious as ever, debriefed the crew and sent them on their way, leaving a frankly devastated Cinco with nothing but two furrowed brows and a boatload of problems to solve in his head. He kept a stern gaze, striding down to the ship that would take them to... well, somewhere. The scientific pursuit of knowledge never felt so cold.
His mind felt heavy, holding the racing thoughts that burrowed in his brain like a one-ton weight. He clutched his right temple with his hand, softly rubbing it with his thumb. The psychologist looked visibly stressed, but didn't he always?
Further in the ship was his overwrought younger sister and Captain Maverick, both of which seemed to be speaking right through the other as though communicating with ghosts. He made a move toward the pair, cutting through their apparent squabble by taking position just between them, leaning over Nina's shoulder.
"We're dealing with more than a case of oversleeping, Captain," he interjected gravely, his deep voice permeating through the air with unspoken authority. Cinco had a tendency to be quiet but intense when stressed and disarrayed, no matter how unhostile he was by default. Nevertheless he turned to his sister, sharing Tripp's same concern. "Unfortunately, it's true that all we have to go on is the doctor's expertise. Or... maybe an engineer."
He held his chin in his fingers, contemplating. "I wonder what Nubia has to say about this..." A few more silent moments passed, selfishly taking time away from the conversation he'd interrupted. "No matter. Their lives hang in the balance and either way, we will see them again." Cinco's eyes rested on Nina's, charged with firm resolve. "I'll see if Zero's in the med bay, and if not him then Nubia or Dr. Tate." She had his word—the both of them did—but he didn't need to verbalize that. They already knew what kind of person he was.
Without waiting a second more, the serious crewmate once again stalked away prematurely, offering his peers little time to deliver a response. Once he was in this state, he couldn't stop until everything was under control, even if that meant a total eclipse of his lesser wants and needs.
This mission led him on a rapid course spearheaded by a stubborn tunnel vision that threatened to flatten anything in his path. Through the other facilities he went, offering not a moment for rest or relaxation just as he'd done upon exiting the pods. Where in this ship could you be?, he thought exhaustedly, passing by many of the crew he had entered with straight into the med bay.
"Can someone explain to me what the fuck is going on?"
A hand had shot up, her eyes still trained on the tablet.
"Not sure yet, but Anahi wants us on the bridge."
Nina had arrived at the bridge after giving Flery another once-over much to his dismay, she had ignored every brush-off, string of curses and subtle insults at her care. There was only so much she could do without performing a proper well-care, but she decided to save that for later. They were woken up for a reason and they were missing a member of their crew.
Something that not everyone was aware of.
Her mind stuck on the multiple anomalies that continued to run through her mind even while Captain Anahi was speaking. She had debated bringing up the topic, but every possiblity and scenario had ran through her mind at least four times.
"We'll put him back in Cryo. I'll get answers."
"We'll throw him in the airlock."
"We'll arrest and question him."
There was more, but Nina couldn't risk Anahi locking the boy away, she couldn't risk Anahi killing him, which-- wasn't a huge possibility, but still a possibility nonetheless.
She'd never find out what happened to Zero-- and even if she didn't? She wasn't risking an entire 'classified' fiasco, either.
She was clearly distracted, only giving subtle affirmations such as;
and finally a nod when Anahi had dismissed them, her body was moving but her brain was still on the events from earlier. Naturally, her brother had caught onto this and assumed it had something to do with the cryo-files she had open, taking the tablet from her and looking over them as they had entered the ship.
It wasn't right. None of this was. Nina had talked to Malcolm right before they were put to sleep. She didn't... There wasn't anything that was out of the ordinary, nothing that she had noticed, anyway.
Was she doing the right thing?
"Captain," Nina started, her brows furrowed, deep in thought as she followed Maverick through the ship as he continued to roam around. The pilot was about ready for take-off and Nina could already feel the slight vibration of the ship starting to shift. She was a doctor, not a detective. He needed to know, Nina was... a second-in command medic.
Not second-in command. She wasn't fit for making informed decisions based on the team alone.
"Maverick," She spoke again as he continued to brush her off.
"Nina, not now."
The brunette had taken a deep breath, coming to a stop near him with an almost exasperated gaze.
"Tripp. It has to be now--"
A hand on her shoulder had distracted her long enough to focus on her older brother, the words flowing out of his mouth and threatening to take away the severity of the situation.
"We're dealing with more than a case of oversleeping, Captain," Cinco started, and for a brief second, the doctor had believed that he had pieced the issue together already, which wasn't out of the blue for her brother to do.They had a certain way of communicating with the other, one that didn't typically involve words... more so...
Theories, questions, equations, if Nina had a question, Cinco had the answer and vice versa. One look from Nina and Cinco was already aware that something was wrong.
"Nina, look," Tripp started, and Nina had looked up, meeting his eyes with a mixture of tense frustration land a clear lack of patience at being cut-off for the third time. "I don't have time right now to hear about whose... whose having trouble waking up or whatever the fuck. Just take it to the doctor and I'll come hear your report later, yeah?"
Nina had opened her mouth to reply, "The doctor--" Cinco was quick to speak over her.
"Unfortunately, it's true that all we have to go on is the doctor's expertise. Or... maybe an engineer."
And that's when Nina blinked in confusion, the ship already taking off and she had held onto one of the support beams on the ship to steady herself.
"No matter. Their lives hang in the balance and either way, we will see them again."
Her gaze had slowly came to the realization that her brother was talking about their parents and not Zero, something in her eyes had softened at the mention of their parents but it was quickly hardened when his next sentence came to pass.
"I'll see if Zero's in the med bay, and if not him then Nubia or Dr. Tate."
No, no, no.
They had detached from the ship-bay, and was already making way away from it.
Nobody was listening to her! Jesus, if it was this difficult now, what was Nina going to do when--Her brain had started to piece together the fact that she was now the sole doctor on the ship, mind you, the doctor with the least amount of hands-on experience. "Cinco--" Nina yelled after him but he had walked out and towards the med bay, Nina had put a hand on the temples of her head, sliding down onto her face, obvious stress taking over.
"Captain, you don't under--"
Tripp had begun speaking to another crew member and Nina's patience grew to an end. She began to mutter under her breath, which is something she would do when she would get nervous... or panic, or feel-- strongly about... almost any emotion.
She began to pace around the ship for a few moments, the ship-bay had seemed like a small dot by this point, marking their distance.
"Jesus fucking christ--" Nina had stepped into Tripp's view once again, blocking him from the console. "Zero is gone!" Nina exclaimed, desperately trying to get Tripp's attention and in doing so...
Nina had alerted the entire crew as well.
Her gaze searched his, her irritation fading in those few seconds.
"Helix, pull up Dr. Zero's cryo-file," Nina's gaze caught the younger boy's, reading the obvious fear in his eyes, but that alone wasn't to stop her from informing her crew that her mentor had gone missing.
"Dr. Malcom Zero, ID number: FT-27300. Status:--"
"DNA anomaly." Nina and Helix had finished simultaneously.
"... Zero wasn't in his cryo-pod." She locked eyes with her brother who had re-entered the room moments ago and the rest of her crew to gauge how they were reacting to the information before dropping the next bit, Nina turned her head, pointedly looking towards the scared stowaway.
The Asteria was one of the most beautiful spacecrafts Boey had ever encountered, and it’s not just because her gorgeous blue hair coincidentally matches with its colors. She’d spent hours memorizing its complex controls every day during training, imagining about forty death-defying maneuvers she would use to get the crew out of perilous situations, finding secret compartments to hide her snacks later on…
But most importantly, Boey got to hang out with her favorite A.I. buddy again.
She greeted back in the same jovial manner. “Long time no see, Helix! Looking good for an 800-year-old A.I.” Boey nestled well in her chair. She put on her visor, turned on its interface, and had it connected to the ship’s speakers. Time to be professionale.
“Good morning-afternoon-evening, Team Janus. This is your pilot officer Boey Baolin speaking.” She told them take-off would be ready soon once everyone has settled inside, and their first landing would most likely be in a few hours when they find a nice spot on the ground for the ship—hopefully, that won’t take long and without any unfortunate occurrences.
During her short announcement, she interacted with the control panel, her muscle memory kicking in and making the proper adjustments to certain toggle switches and dials, swiftly and precisely like the multitasking master she was.
“And P.S. make sure Corporal Nolan doesn’t touch the coffee maker if you don't want uncomfortable bowel movements for the entire flight. Please and thank you.” Boey was 110-percent certain that Nolan was rolling his eyes and shaking his head somewhere on the other side of the ship. The thought of it formed a self-satisfied smile on her face.
Without any further delay, the Asteria left Hope.
You could almost hear the inspiring epic music playing in the background—which reminded her: set up her awesome playlist later, hopefully Captain Grumprick doesn't mind.
Shortly after requesting Helix to scan the immediate planet’s surface for any safe landing spots for Asteria, Boey heard a commotion from somewhere near her area. Nina’s voice echoed.
"Zero is gone!"
Boey looked over her shoulders, her brows furrowed in disbelief and confusion. “Dude, what? Oh, great stars. Someone tell me I didn’t just leave someone behind again.” It happened one time, during an emergency drill, she was being rudely rushed—it’d only taken her, like, 37 seconds to notice someone was missing in her ship and pick them up, no big deal. It shouldn’t have been a big deal as the instructor made it out to be.
"Fucking idiots didn't prepare for a bunch of space rocks. Figures." Z's words spoke to Nubia's soul. How the hell did they not factor in meteors when building the defense system? Peek of Human advancement and their downfall is...rocks, you know that giant thing they used to live on. Still haven't quite figured them out yet I guess. But onto the next right? Ugh.
"I hope the food doesn't suck too much." Oh Yes, Zyra was quickly becoming her favorite person on board because she had her priorities straight. "Fingers crossed our cook knows what spices are. Though I'm so hungry I might not taste any of it anyways" She spoke with a slight giggle. She was 100% serious, but nothing wrong with trying to lighten the mood just a smidge in the mist of possible total doom.
Just as they walked in with the others the captain started speaking. She knew it was good manners to look at the captain as she spoke but there were too many other things racing through her mind as she was scanning and reading through all the spec and issues currently with the main ship. She she was listening, but she was also slightly distracted and looking at her tablet the whole time.
“Hello, hope you all had a good nap because we’re going straight out of the bag and into the frying pan. As Ego probably already told you, we crashed into a damned meteor and now you’ve gotta get out there and find us somewhere to live before this whole ship goes dark.” Erixa crossed her arms over her chest and gave Janus a wayward grin, “Your ship’s in the loading bay,” She inclined her head toward a ladder just before the bridge leading down, “no pressure.”
No pressure? What the hell? Wait...where they all going? Her and possibly Z weren't going to stay behind and help repair the ship? This whole plan seemed to have flaws in it, but it was above her paygrade to interject.
Well she wasn't getting paid, but you get it. She didn't sign up to be a scout, but here she was.
Perhaps the captain felt the damages were too great to risk not having another body on the ground helping were as Ego could hopefully on it's own keep them patched up. Either way with that she closed the tablet and logged out since clearly that wasn't her concern anymore despite that being the closest thing to her actual job description. It's ok she had to reminder herself. Plan A's never work that's why you have back-up plans...and back up plans for your backup plans.
They were dismissed quickly and so she followed orders and made her way to the ship. As she stepped foot on the Asteria she closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Things were going to be fine, this was going to be fine. one set back wasn't world shattering...right.
Helix was cute as ever, even if Nubia couldn't fully appreciate it due to being so stressed out at the moment. Hearing the familiar A.I.'s voice was sort of a comfort. Helix was always so upbeat it was kinda nice.
"Hey Helix, good to see you again. If you have a list of any other adjustments you need let me know so we can get started on them." She hummed walking the length of the ship. She remembered helping work on it and some fond memories flooded her mind even if they were tainted by the fact those others she shared such memories with were now in mortal danger and their lives now depended on her and this crew.
Before she could ask anything else she overheard the pilot on the intercom and decided that what she wanted to do now before getting started on working was 1. get a good view of take off then 2. make some coffee. What just because apparently Nolan couldn't have any didn't mean she couldn't?
She made her way to the bay area where the captain and others where...just in time to hear Nina scream that Zero was gone. "What?" She spoke without even thinking. She stood their slowly taking a few more steps into the room as the girl used Helix to explain and pointed to their stowaway. Her head spun in the kids direction and her eyes went wide...what the hell was going on?
Literally one thing after another just great! So what backup plan are we on now? C? I feel like missing crew member slash stowaway was much deeper then C but once again...here we are.
Nubia pinched the bridge of her nose in frustration before taking a deep breath. She really needed that coffee...
It was kinda too late to turn around as they'd just taken off, and they were on too much of a time crunch even if they could, "Damn..." She looked back at the stowaway, "I really hope you're useful."
What? What else was she supposed to say or do? Say it with me now. Above. Her. Pay. Grade.
He was here. They were stuck with him. Let's be real every able bodied person would kinda be needed now that they...they didn't have a doctor. FUCK... Now if anyone is hurt they are just screwed! So yah they'd need the extra body.
His legs mostly stopped feeling numb, but he was able to follow the rest of the Janus crew all right, hanging a bit close at the back, paying attention to Captain Anahi’s announcement just fine. When he got to the Asteria, that’s when he sensed something off, but he wasn’t sure what it was at first.
Nolan was minding his own business, although he did see the crew medic, Nina, being sort of antsy as she tried to get Maverick’s attention and followed him throughout the ship for some reason. Then he glanced up from his monitor and noticed a new face.
He looked around the room, puzzled—does anyone else notice the kid just standing around? Quietly, Nolan looked back at his monitor and made a few quick taps and swipes for the crew roster. The kid’s face wasn’t next to any name and I.D. number.
Speaking of which, Nolan discovered another thing while inspecting the list again (and ignoring Boey mocking his coffee-making skills, which are actually pretty bad despite the coffee technology they have currently). Out of all the names and I.D. numbers highlighted on the screen, one was left unchecked.
Where the hell was Dr. Zero?
A minute or two later, his silent question was answered, quite loudly. "Zero is gone!" he heard Nina say. Well, shit… At least Boey hadn’t left anyone behind at take-off (again), because apparently Zero was left behind 800-something years ago already. “Zero wasn't in his cryo-pod. He was.”
“Huh. That explains a lot,” Nolan murmured. He scrutinized the mysterious passenger from afar, his narrowed dark brown eyes regarding him with caution and curiosity. It was just a teenager, a grubby-looking one who’d probably seen better days but rarely; he didn’t seem very dangerous, but still, Nolan reminded himself not to let his guard down one bit.
The boy was scared and confused, which meant unpredictable mistakes could happen.
“What’s your call, boss?” Nolan asked Maverick. “A bit too late to get him out of the ship now.”
Unless someone was coldhearted enough to launch a harmless kid right out into space, Nolan thought, glancing at the nearest window. Probably the Quartermaster would try.