It was a terrible, sickeningly-loud noise. Impact! The alarming sound of metal meeting metal, as the Evac suit slammed into the side of the SM5. My chin and mouth smashed into the inside collar. My upper torso lurched violently forward against the interior of the chest plate. I let out a burst of breath and spattered the inside of the helmet with blood and saliva.

For a moment, the blow left me stunned. I couldn’t breathe. Suddenly, everything went black. Complete darkness. I panicked, shuddered and forcefully drew a deep breath. The pain in my chest was terrible, a stinging red burst across the entire chest wall. Then, there was a brief flickering light. I saw the blood on the helmet and movement outside.

Damaged by the impact, three of the four headlamps on the exterior of the helmet had gone dark. One lamp at the top left of the helmet was flickering erratically. In the brief glimpses of light, I could see that I was sliding, ascending the side of the ship. I still had momentum from the approach and was now completely out of control. I heard loud scraping and thumping, as the Evac suit battered and tore across the exterior of the ship.

In a complete panic, I struggled to stop my movement before I reached the extent of the curvature and slid off into space. I didn’t know if the suit had power enough to maneuver, as the helmet display had gone dark. I wasn’t about to take any chances. I reached out, flailing for a handhold. The momentum was too great. I had no power, no strength to hold on to anything. In my scrambling, I managed to snag a vent extension with the large hook from the safety tether assembly. With the line lock engaged, I snapped to a sudden halt and smacked the exterior of the ship again. Jarred back to life, the helmet display lit up, awash in red graphics and text.

“Suit status, damage report,” I ordered, still spitting blood. There was no reply.

“Status report, respond.” Nothing came back from the AI. No noise, no static, no signal. I was alone.

I reached out with the secondary hook and locked in. I was secured.

Now, I just had to get to my feet.

[Communication sent: 22JAN2186 Shinkai Maru 5]

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