The environment on the SM5 had become one of calamity, decompression, and panic.

My heart was pounding in my chest, as I sealed myself into the Heavy Evac suit [image attached]. My fingers, inside the suit hands, nervously fired up the internal systems and fully powered the suit. In an instant, the onboard systems downloaded current ship status reports and I got my first look at the damage done by the pod flak. I squinted at the display on the face screen. As I had imagined, there were significant breaches in the port-side observation lounge, medical lab, and the aft hold. I was horrified to see a hole punched through the aft section of the upper deck corridor. I keyed in to the main ship systems and shut the alarms off. The quiet returned and the flickering madness ceased. The augmented reality systems in the suit helmet allowed me to look through the decks and see damages and environmental data as part of the peripheral readouts. I moved forward, stepped off the staging platform and jettisoned the tether.

The ship’s equipment lift was just around the corner from the Evac gear compartment. Taking the lift to the upper deck would position me within the sealed section of the main corridor and I could get a first-hand look at damage done there by the pod flak. I stepped toward the door. The suit was powered throughout and moved as if it weighed nothing. It takes a little time to get used to the suit’s reactions to your movements and gestures, but I managed to stay on my feet. As I rounded the corner and stepped up on to the equipment lift, I readied myself for what would be a huge undertaking. These ships are constantly being bombarded by all manner of space debris, including micrometeoroids. The hull is made from numerous components, one being a composite material made with microencapsulated healing agents. Unfortunately, this type of built-in safeguard is only made to stop small cracks before they become problematic. The flak from the exploding pod created significant damage to hull integrity. I would have to manually seal up each breach. I wondered if I would have enough time and materials.

[Communication sent: 13JAN2186 Shinkai Maru 5]


PDF24    Send article as PDF