Lost in Jules Verne

“..and with that we come to you Yora. Jules Verne is running low. You know the drill.” My Supervisor told me, wrapping up todays Meeting at Reactor Block B.

“Seriously? This will take a whole day. Why me? Cant we send a Drone to do that? I promised Astra im going to help with her History lessons, you know how she gets.” Me and my Supervisor Henricks Price worked together for a long time already and where on pretty friendly terms.

He came close and sat on the side of my Desk. “Im sorry Yora, but we cant use Drones for Jules Verne. Its only manned with LN and there is nobody qualified to refuel the Reactor from them. Oh before I forget, while you are there please do a corrosion check. Its a pretty old Reactor. Asides from this you know the Drill, Refueling and take bred 233 back and when signing for the 233 give Lieutenant Ilsu my best wishes.”

I took a deep breath pursed my Lips looking to the sides with my eyes, I just had an idea. “Hmm…you know, I could take Astra with me couldnt I?” I looked at Henricks he shrugged with his hands and said “Yeah I guess you could. You can study in the shuttle ride I guess and you know what?” he looked up and updated my workorder. “Ok Done, I booked you for 2 days. Take her with and explore the Mare with her after you are done, she gonna love it. Im sure Selene wont object. Enjoy”

With that we said our goodbyes, i got all the necessary permissions for the Shuttle and the Fissiles.

“Hey Astra, im coming Home early. I have a huge surprise!” i made the call while walking out of the Mainreactor Complex down towards my Apartment. “We gonna go to a stupid Crater ugh. Selene just told me.” she was 14 and going through Puberty, quite a difficult age already and Selene didnt help with it ruining the surprise. “Oof, soo yeah its gonna be Fun really. Just the 2 of us! Its gonna be an Adventure and we can study for the History test!”

I tried to instill some optimism. “Mom, Selene said there is like lag or something and I cant talk with her then like normal, this suuucks!” Astra protested.

“If you keep rolling your eyes like that young Miss you gonna start spinning. I cant hear Selene either over there. Because its too far its just for 2 days and look at the bright side, we can have a long walk or drive in the Mare!” I grabbed onto a handle in the Paternoster and a moment of weightlessness later i was pulled down towards the Eternal Garden Residential Area. Named after the fact that it was originally build to house the Workers and Students from the Bioscience Department of the Luna State University. I initially worked there before being retrained as a Nuclear Engineer about 70 years ago. I needed a new start but didnt want to change my apartment.

“Really? Walk outside? How?” now i peaked her interest. Level 21 was reached i let go of the handle and a airgust from behind pushed me out the Paternoster. I landed graceful and continued chatting with Astra who was nearly in earshot “Im sure we can borrow some Powerarmor from LN.”

“Navy Powerarmor?! COOL Like in the Movie! Can we see a Railgun? Can we shoot the Guns?” I laughed out loud, she was sold I smiled and said “Astra I dont think they let us anywhere close to….” I paused. I heard “its Ok Yora” in my mind. Selene then issued the necessary permissions. In the very instance I was about to tell her that we wont get permission. “oh nevermind, Selene thinks its ok. Thats going to be a long walk though. You up for it?” Even with the Powerarmor it would be a few hours hike. “yeah I can totally do it! Ok I pack now see you soon mom.” She disconnected the Call. I walked by a small Shop and got some extra supplies for the trip, some extra spicy Tofu Jerky, Wanglaoji and Cheesesticks as snacks for 22MJ.

“Yora. Watching the Game on LTV-2 tonight huh?” The clerk and owner of the shop whose named i would forget each time i left the store where it not for the fact that his name was displayed around him from my Point of view.

Its sometimes hard to imagine how life would be if I didnt have the Enhancement. I would certainly be terrible with remembering Names and Faces. “Nope, Ulricks I take Astra with me on a trip to Jules Vern Crater. You know I dont watch Sports.” he said relaxed “Jules Verne huh? Never been there. You are pretty and old and old folks like you get bored a lot, if you do. Try watching some of the games, you will see its fun, maybe join me some time? Anyway have a nice Trip.” His attempts at flirtation where not very smooth. I put my snacks in my bag and walked home. The Door opened and Astra was bouncing happily around the Living room. A Reminder that she was still pretty Childish for her Age. I cant actually remember being a child, so what do i know. I remember that I was one. But besides that, there was nothing really, just a haze of maybes of fragments that my mind put together and is most likely inaccurate. A Concussion I got years ago was likely to blame for this, and memories are tricky to restore. It can cause more damage and some things are best forgotten.

“Powerarmor! Dreeeeeeioyong” She imitated walking in a Powerarmor. Holding her arms as if she fired burst from a V34 Rifle. “Astra, the only Gun we are going to see is the Big Gun, come on. Have you packed?” She came to a standstill “Yes Mom, there” pointing to a small Bag.

We entered the Shuttlebay and I checked the Cargo, the Shuttle was already loaded with Supplies and the Thorium. I checked my Tools and closed the shuttledoors. “Hello, Specialist Yora Kassai plus passenger. You have Permission to take off.” the control tower said. With that i initiated autopilot. “Astra, this is going to be a bit rougher then the Tourist Shuttles, we are accelerating to about 400. So …” Astra interrupted me. “Come on I can take it, im not a child anymore!”

The shuttle arm lifted us out, suspended from it via electromagnets, released the moment the shuttles engines finished heating up. We could see the lights of the old La Perouse Interplanetary Spaceport which is now the Museum of Luna.

Astra looked towards me “Mom, I think we should la…” the shuttle fired its engines slamming us into our seats. Cutting off Astra mid sentence. “OH MY GOD MOM THIS SUCKS!” she yelled. I laughed hard “Ohh…i thought you can take it? You know how the shuttle works?”. “Mom not now! Please!”

I started talking anyway, explaining to her that there was a small reactor in the shuttle and that Liquid Hydrogen was pumped through it to make it very hot. Pushing us forward. She didnt want to listen and screeched to shut me up but I kept talking about Safety features and other things that she definitely didnt care for. After a bit the engines cut off and we had a bit more then an hour till we had to strap back in for the landing.

“So Astra, why dont you tell me about what you learned already?” I faced Astra who was munching away at the spicy Tofu already with a full mouth she said “Well we learn about the Terrans again, you know about the War that killed them all.” I interrupted. “Astra, the last War was not the reason they all died, they would have died either way.” Astra Answered “Yeah, but without the War they could maybe had 50 years more!”

I laughed, pointing out the shuttles windows at nowhere in particular since earth wasnt visible anymore. “Earth was host to life for over 4 Billion years. 50 years is nothing in this respect, they couldn’t have saved themselves then even if they tried. Which they didnt” Astra thought “Yeah you are right, in any case it was because they where not United like us and like fighting over Russia.” I asked her “…and why did they fight over Russia?” she looked at me rolling her eyes “Duh because the weather there was kind of normal. People can grow food there. So India and the Franco-German Alliance attacked Russia and China. But then they Shot Nukes and everybody shot back Nukes. The first Nuke hit like the attacking army from the French, but the Germans then Nuked Vladirostok.”

“Vladivostok, Astra you really need to remember the Details, like dates, Names and so forth. They will ask for them trust me.”

She opened a Carton of Wanglaoji because she had firemouth now from all the Spicy. “Yeah I know mom. Then came the Long Dark and we thought that Earth will like recover and People will survive and we can help them and stuff. But they didnt, it became Brown and Lifeless and Hot after the Winter and everything died. Its lucky you know, my teacher told me that if the Terrrans hadnt all embargoed us…” I interrupted her again.

“Not all, we had good relations and trade with the DPRK and unofficially through them with China. But you are right, continue”

She nodded “yeah they where one of the few good ones… so we where already prepared to survive without them, so for us it wasnt so bad actually. Its just sad, I see the movies sometimes and I cant imagine that people lived in such a perfect place and destroyed it. Its such a shame.”

She stopped talking looking a down. “Mom lets put some music on ok?” she said, knowing the tricks and tools to prevent her to get into a poor state of mind again “Good idea, but my Music!” I agreed.

We crossed into sunlight and the windows automatically darkened. I put on the Album Redline from Lazerhawk. To the left of us was the beautiful Tsiolkovsky Crater, and I was listening to some classical music with my daughter, it was nice. I had some snacks aswell and was doing some checks while i explained to her that while I had to take the Thorium to the Reactor, a place I definitely didnt want to have her around, she could hang out with Aunt Ilsu who can instruct her in the use of the Powerarmor for our trip Tomorrow.

***

While the album played the 7th song. We entered Jules Verne Crater the Shuttle prepped for the breaking maneuver. Spinning us around. Astra complained again but not so much as before. Because the breaking was not as bad.

We descended slowly down towards the Pad, enclosed with exhaust catching vents as to not disturb the lunar soil. Which acts like a Sandblaster on the a pretty wide area. While descending we saw the Radar dishes, a Remote Controlled Observatory and some other top side structures. The Railgun was about 50 kilometer to the east of us. The docking magnets engaged and we where lowered into the LN compound.

I looked at Astra “My Dear dont forget I am here for Work today ok? It could take a while until I can join up with you. You behave, and call Aunt Ilsu, Lieutenant Ilsu ok?” She didnt protest or say something testy back just a simple Nod and smile. The shuttle passed through the Airlock and the green light came on. We took our things the Drones where picking up the Thorium and my equipment and where flying it already to the nearby Reactor. I quickly unwrinkled my uniform, destaticed Astras and my Hair so we would look somewhat respectable. Enabled some friendly makeup for myself and some green Eyes for the Day. “Mom, I want to do that too!” Astra said, clearly being impressed at how my mind could tell my cells how to produce different pigments on demand. “Astra, you are not old enough yet, when you are old enough you can choose to be like me, you know the rules.” she didnt say anything back.

The shuttledoors opened. We stepped out and fell down the short 2 meters below. “Specialist Kassai, welcome to Jules Verne Luna Navy Station. Lieutenant Ilsu is waiting for you in her Office.” Astra looked around, the small base was immaculate. Old, yes, very old even but for its age there was very little Jank. It was kept in good condition by the Navy, I hoped the same would be true for the reactor. “Mom, this is soo cool! I cant wait to tell my friends, can you record?” I looked at her “I cant record here, its a Military Installation my recorder wont do it. I can make a recording in the Reactor though, deal?”

We kept walking “Nah, I know reactors, they are all the same, then I just have to remember it.” her eyes glanced at a Weaponslocker. Stacked with Black gray long slightly boxy looking V34 Rifles.

“Cool those are the guns right?” we stopped, she looked at the Ensign that was accompanying us. The Ensign looked back at me and I gave my nonverbal permission, with that he started talking. “Those are our V34 Rifles. I think you know them from the movie Striker Davis 2 right? Do you know what the V stands for?”

Astras face became bright, “Oh yeah! That movie was awesome! The V stands for Victory right?”

The ensign chuckled. “No, it stands for Vacuum. You see this Rifle is designed for the use in a Vacuum, like in Space and Outside on Luna. In the movie you can see Striker fighting with it against the Separatist Army on Mars who kidnapped the Miners. Thats not real.”

“Yeah I know, its a movie. It didnt really happen, cool movie though!” she said.

The Ensign continued, “I dont mean this, its the Guns itself. They dont work well in Atmosphere and Mars has a Atmosphere. You see the bullets it fires are really really tiny. Only 2 millimeters but move very fast and it can fire up to 4000 of them per minute. In atmosphere they start to tumble and slow down after just a few dozens meters and a lot of other problems. Not very useful indoors or on Mars right?” Astra responded in a questioning tone “so why he used it then?”.

“Well look over there” he pointed to a different weapons locker. “You see those guns? They work very well in atmosphere, they are Type-88s. A very old weapon that looks quite ugly dont you think?” Astra nodded, he continued “not only are they ugly, they are Terran Weapons. So while the Koreans gave us tools to make them a long time ago, they are still technically Terran Bad guy weapons and honestly the V34 looks just way slicker. Striker needs a cool Good Guy Gun”.

We kept walking towards the office, she asked him if she could shoot a Korean one, got declined, then begged and he told her he would get in Big Trouble and the only way would be to Join the Navy Youth. I was happy, she was clearly interested in some real life things. She had Blue Skies Syndrome a couple of months back, watching old Earth films a bit too much, living in a Fantasy world. This was good for her. For both of us really, a nice unexpected trip to break up the Monotony.

“Mom, can I join the LNY?” Astra asked while we where closing in to the Office I genuinely smiled and answered “Sure! I thought you would never ask.”

The Doors opened. Lieutenant Ilsu a young women sat at the table with her Gray Black Officers Uniform. “Lieutenant, Specialist Kassai reporting.” I said. Ilsu stood up and said “Welcome in Jules Verne, at ease. Ensign return to your post, I take it from here” Astra was a bit perplexed at how we greeted each other. She waved the talkative Ensign goodbye and we sat down.

“I havent seen you in like how long? 3-4 Years at least?” Ilsu started talking in a more normal way after a bit of privacy was restored.

I answered “Yeah, I mean you are actually at the other side of the world. How long do you plan to stay here?” We continued catching up, meanwhile Astra was walking around in the office, looking at some of the Decorations and Propaganda Posters.

“So how is my dearest Astra, I heard you want to Join the Luna Navy Youth. Are you sure you up for it?” she turned around smiled and Saluted “YES MAM of course I am!”.

“Well then, Welcome aboard. I just signed you up” she jumped into Ilsus arms and the friction caused both of them to ruin their Hair which became Staticy and started to bloom out. “Thanks Lieutenant! Thanks so much!”

I got up and said “Oh greetings from Henricks by the way. Can you sign for the Uranium-233 before I leave? I need to take some back”

She answered “Oh Henricks, he tries to you know what with me for years already. Maybe I should just get it over with, who knows. But yeah, here is the Permission”

She briefly looked up and with that Yora got her Permissions to Remove the Uranium from the Facility. “Astra, Aunt Ilsu is a bit busy today but you remember the nice Ensign from before? He will show you how to use the Powerarmor, you need to listen very carefully. If he doesnt give Ilsu his ok. We will have to use the Maglev to the Big Honking Spacegun” she nodded.

“Oh I definetly should watch SG-1 again! Such a great Show.” Ilsu responded picking up on my reference. “Ok See you when I see you two.” I said and went on my way towards the Reactor. “Bye Mom!” Astra said.

I followed the signs to the Carpark. The Reactor was not connected to the Main installation due to safety reasons. It operated automatically and generally only needed maintaining every 10 or so years. I got into a Normal EVA suit. Put on the helmet, the Airmask and the eyepieces. Slipped on the gloves and pushed the Seal button. Everything clicked snug into place. Pressure test was Green and I got into an old FAV. A Cadet was waving me goodbye and I was on my way. I turned on music again and started driving. The road was a bit rough, some meteorite impacts created potholes. There was Regolith on the road so it was a bit slippery. I slowed it down a bit. The Dome shaped Reactor that supplied the entirety of Jules Vern and Mare Igenii with Electricity and Heat came into view. The display showed a translucent Red Circle around it.

Restricted Area Authorized Personal ONLY! USE OF AUTOMATED DEADLY RESPONSE IS PRESENT.

I was authorized and thus I kept going. Left to it two radiator Towers came into view and to the right where Old Photovoltaic Panels, which supply power to the Reactor batteries for emergency systems and startup.

I parked next to the entrance. Walked down a long Concrete Slope where at the bottom next to the door a small mound of Regolith Accumulated. I said to myself “Guess I take a broom out with me later.” The Doors accepted my Auth and opened. I went in, took off my EVA suit, turned on my Geiger card and looked around. It wasnt pretty, I was half tempted to rejoin the Navy again so I could be posted down there to keep the reactors in good condition. There was Lunar dust everywhere. Many light strips had black spots and the whole place needed serious refurbishing.

I went into Verbosemode and things then looked much better. The reactor was operating at a good efficiency, Temperature was a good 760 degrees Celsius. Argon Gaps where all fine. Emergency dump tanks needed some love but all in all good. Fluoride Beryllium mix was good. I got out a Probe and put it into the stream. After a cycle I took it out, let it cool down and checked with my Mass-spec if there is any evidence for corrosion. Nothing came back which meant I had just cut down my time here in half. I walked to the Fuel Area and loaded the Thorium Fuel into the Distributor. Which was also working fine. Went to reprocessing, checked if everything is alright. A bit higher then normal radiation, but nothing too concerning. I located the Uranium-233 and put it back into the Transport Castor, first one stick then a carbon separator then another. Closed it down and that was it. I quickly checked the SC-MHD which seemed also working well and wrapped everything up.

I sent a message “Hey Astra I will finish up much sooner then expected. Dont worry im not going to troll you during you training. Join Ilsu and me later for dinner after you are done ok?” I got ready to leave again and took a Picture of me brooming the Regolith on the outside. When I put the broom back inside I got a message from Astra “You are taking the whole cleaning thing way too far. LOL!”.

I got back into the FAV and noticed some small strips of Camo coming loose. A Luna invention. Combination of Peltier coolers and QDs. From a distance the FAV and most other LN vessels could practically become invisible to radar, infrared and even the Visual Spectrum. But in the absence of enemies with Cruise Missiles maintaining those things where not a top Priority to maintain.

***

“Hey Price. I just finished up with Jules Verne Reactor. Recordings is attached as usual. To recap though, the Reactor is fine. The rest though is a mess. We should come down here again with a few Cleaning bots and some electricians. You will see, its needed.”

After I sent the message I decided to drive a bit faster, the FAVs are not speedlimited and the rush was exhilarating. I maxed out at about 430km/h, the potholes where fortunately saved and highlighted so I could evade them without too much difficulties. The compound came into view and I slowed down. Parked the Car and loaded the Castor by hand into the shuttle. “Those for building more Nukes?” one Soldier asked. “Not this one. Remember the Xg2.. something something Meteor? A year ago?” the soldier having his shift in the shuttle area shook his head. “Well that one was really lucky, it contained a lot of Uranium, 235. Like 2% by weight!” I said holding my 2 fingers up. Apparently he didnt share my Enthusiasm and said “Mam, i dont really know what that means, sorry.” I explained to him “You see, we use that to make the Nukes now”.

He asked, “The uranium?” It was like talking to Astra, actually not, she knew considerably more. Its astounding how little most people know about the one thing that keeps everyone from freezing and breathing. “The Uranium, we use to make Plutonium, that is then used for the Nukes. The 233 from this reactor we basically just collect, I dont really know what we are going to use it for but we have plenty of material for Hydrogen Bombs now and I am….”. He breathed in and was clearly bored “Sorry mam, I need to go to the uhm Toilet, nice chatting with you”. Cutting me off from finishing.

Sometimes I do need to learn that other people often dont share my enthusiasm. I walked back to Ilsus office.

“Lieutenant Ilsu, I have completed the Reactor Refueling. Request to stay an additional day for” and I put up my fingers making quotation marks “For inspection of the Jules Verne Railgun Power distribution system”. She played along. “Of course, Specialist. Permission Granted.” With that protocol was satisfied and we covered our asses in case some ass tried to be an ass.

Ilsu stood up and we started walking. “Yora, Iytar the Ensign from before said she passed the instruction well. They even did a simulation with them. She shot 2 Americans” She laughed, “It was so funny let me show you the Recording…” I asked “Wait, he put her into a combat simulation?”.

Ilsu started Snortlaughing, a tell when she is genuinly amused about something. “Thats the Point, it wasnt a Combat simulation! You will see, it was just so out there!”.

We went into the Messhall, Astra was sitting with Iytar at the Table they where talking, she didnt notice me approach.

“Hey Killer! I heard you shot 2 Americans? Naughty!” I said in a Ironic tone she couldnt quite catch. Iytar started cracking himself up. Astra put her hands up and said “No no no! It was an accident! Here let me show you.”

We sat down waiting for our food, Astra folded her Monitor out on the table and Iytar transferred the file to it. The mission was to escort group of American Trespassers back to the Spaceport. Astra s Perspective showed her heart beating like crazy and she tried to be super professional. By this time she could move already very well in the Armor but she didnt know that in the Simulations they are Armed.

She asked Iytar “Ensign Iytar SIR! What does that do?” She pointed towards a small button . He replied “Dont press that, its…” Astra interrupted him. “COOL!” She pressed the button and from her perspective the targeting mode came on. Which automatically highlighted and targeted the Small Landing Pod they where to Approach as a Hostile Target.

“Mom, I just wanted to show that I found the pod…” she said to me pouting.

In the Recording she pointed towards the Pod with her Arm, after which the V34 Popped out of the forearm of the Powerarmor and shot a burst. It Rattled her suit and in the Distance the Landing pod was torn into pieces. Iytar turned towards her in his Bulky Armor and even without being able to see his face his demeaner showed Seriously? the Pod then exploded. She looked at it and simply said “Oups”.

Ilsu, Iytar, Me and some other guy who stood behind us started laughing. Astra just let out a “tss”, pouted and crossed her Arms. I ruffled her hair up. “Aww its ok, an honest mistake” I turned towards Ilsu and said “Lets double check tomorrow that they are NOT armed.” She gave her Thumps up and a few seconds later the simulation stopped with Mission FAILED.

We started eating, Ilsu and I had a few drinks with the other Officers on site after Astra went to sleep.

I got up at 8am, not that I had much choice in the matter. The Alarm clock thats set for workdays literally wakes me up. Astra has no clue how annoying that can be sometimes. I let her sleep in a little longer we had the whole day and should be back in La Perouse by 19:00 at most.

Since I am supposed to work I cant actually watch TV in me, so I got Astras Display and tuned into LTV-1. The Morning show was wrapping up, the shows topic was. Meth or Coffee? Interesting question really. Meth was cheap to produce but requires visits to Clinics cleanse the system every now and then if taken by Naturals. Coffee while being considerably tastier and having less addictive Properties was simply a nightmare on the Soil in Hydroponics and required frequent fertilization, hence the Price of it reflected that. The Hosts then went with Methamphetamine as the more sustainable Pick-me-up.

At 9:30 I woke up Astra. There was no protesting and she even complained that I woke her up too late. We walked back into the Shuttlebay where Ilsu and Iytar where waiting.

“Ok Astra, you remember to stand still right?” Iytar asked her, she confirmed and T-Posed on the Dresser. From bottom to top, the boots came first. Then the 2 armored Torso shells that basically covered her from waist to head, next came the Arms. And on top some instrumentation, rangefinders and various cameras and sensors where popped onto the small golden connectors and plugs. One loud Clank later when all the pieces where set in place by electromagnets there was my daughter a 2 meter tall grayish Battlemachine. But the sensors and mobility the suit offered where actually perfect for our trip.

I was next, the procedure repeated and we looked from the outside indistinguishable from each other. We linked up and started walking outside. The most direct way to the Railgun was through a Rimae but I decided that this needs to be an educational trip and we should see some of the Highlands aswell. So the 50km trip was now 56 km.

We where a few hundret meters away from the small base. “Mom look away for a second” I complied knowing what she wanted to show me “turn around mom!” Astra was gone. “ha Im invisible! You cant see me even with Infrared!” I then grabbed a handful of regolith and throw it at the place she was clearly standing, visible from the boot impressions she made. The Dust settled on her armor revealing the menacing shape. “You are a Buzzkill!” she said and turned off her stealth.

“You forgot to turn on the staticfield. Then the soil wont land on your armor. You will learn all of that later dont worry. Ok lets see who can make it to the highlands first ok?” I said and we started running and initiated Advance mode. A automated hopping maneuver, the suit automatically started doing insanely high and fast jumps. While we where both Midspace Astra squelled “This is sooo cool!”. A few jumps later we made already a few kilometers. In this way we would be at the railgun in no time.

I decided to be a bit cheeky and turn on my Stealth. Astra noticed me dropping from her Radar and said “Mom, you are stupid, you have less energy to jump now!” She was right and I was to turn off my stealth on my next jump.

About to land in a strangely shaped crater. I looked and thought, “Crap, PIT!” I did the worst possible thing, i instinctively curled up. Providing a lot of kinetic energy in a small package. In those split seconds before coming down I actually thought about notifying Astra or not, decided against it as to not freak her out in case it was a Nothingburger. Interesting how much you can think about in such a short amount of time really. I came down and crashed through the thin crater crust into a deep black pit. One instrument after the other was ripped off or damaged. No more radar, no more antenna, no infrared, no Lidar. Just the Visible light inbuilt suit camara that showed a black screen. Stealth mode turned off and the lights came on. I noticed being wedged hard between 2 Rocks. I tried calling to Astra but communications where out.

“Crap me the Fuck! Im such a moron!” I shouted to myself. I tried wiggeling my way out of the rocks, my arms couldnt reach it. Like a Turtle stuck on the back of its Shell. I then tried to break the Rock apart with my Fist. After a few good knocks I noticed a few pebbles coming lose from the ceiling. I stopped, bit my lip and said “nononono, dont do this to me!” The begging didnt help and the Pit crater Collapsed. I was pinned upside down who knows how deep in a pit crater Rubble to left, Rubble to the right, rubble and dirt all around in the Pit and Astra properly thought rightfully that I still had stealth on and was still racing me.

“What a clusterfuck” I said realizing the small things that led to the Big thing. I turned off all the nonessential systems that I could. But the lights where controlled by a button on my Arm. Which I couldnt reach due to hundreds of Tons of Rubble that where pinning every extremity in place. The Armor Fortunatly held.

An hour passed. She must have noticed that im not Trolling her and that something was going on. I got a bit concerned, unable to move and only being able to see a yellowish pebble infront of the Camera that I tried to wiggle away. But trying to do so cracked the lense, disabling the Camera.

***

I thought that I could die here, so I went into sleepmode. To put my Body into a comalike sleep, conserving Water and Oxygen. By slowing down my heartrate and Body Temperature to 32 Celsius. I could stay alive for Weeks this way.

I woke myself up after a Day had passed. Still same situation. The Suit was down to 72%. Much faster then expected. At this rate I would maybe have a week tops. I tried to figure out which systems where the cause but decided against it because it was futile anyway.

I couldnt repair them or shut them off either way I had just minimal control through my Enhancement. Why havent I been rescued yet? I tried to listen, feel for vibration of soil moving equipment. There was nothing. Very bad memories came back. I tried to block them out but it didnt help. I tried to vent out my Urine but the Evacuation port was stuck. And the Urine leaked inside the suit accumulating near my head and Marinating my Hair and scalp.

I was upside down and if I relieved myself there was now a real chance that I could drown in my own Piss. I imagined dying many times. Where close to it many times. After the Procedure a natural death was impossible. But People like us still died, from dumb shit like Accidents, Murder, Stupidity but most often Suicide.

From all the myriads of scenarios, drowing in Piss was definitely something that was not on my list.

So sleepmode was out of the question now. The Smell became really bothersome and I prayed to whatever was out there that the Urine wouldnt corrode or short circuit something in the Suit.

If it wasnt for the Clock displaying the time I would have lost all sense of time. But with it came all the other informations that where associated with my disgraceful demise. Battery was down to 64% and most worrying Oxygen was running out fast. Only 34% left!

“Oh god no!” I said realizing the cause. The Urine must have gotten into the Decarbonizer. Well now at least be comfortable I guess. I had to pee again. I let it go and the Pee now came up to my ears. I had to surpress my gag reflex otherwise I would have thrown up, making the already messed up death even more horrifying.

This is something Astra wouldnt be able to recover from. Poor girl, had fucked up Seditionist birth Parents. Fortunately she got saved by Selene and I adopted her 10 years ago. Trauma seems to follow that poor soul. Or maybe I am putting myself on a pedestal. Making myself a bit too important or good?

I was never concerned with building a Legacy or making many friends, people who die do that. Almost instinctual really. But then again, those instincts crept back into my mind. What did I have to show for myself now? Who would remember me? My Husband died in a different but horrifyingly similar way over a hundred years ago. I can only remember his dead face Staring at me. Nothing else. There was nothing else I remember but his milky dead Eyes and his bloody and from the Radiation blackened Face, Hands and Body. The smell while different was similar.

So would Astra or Ilsu remember Yora Kassai who changed her looks on a weekly basis and her gender every few years, mainly for Orgies, as a watercorpse who drowned in her own Pee? Properly yes.

What did I archive then, what would people remember me by? Well, survivor of Apollo city was certainly one of those but then again nothing actually specific or special. Specialist in Bacteriophage Ecology was something I was proud of but not something others would remember me by. A second grade Nuclear Workerbee wasnt it either. Some of the Human experiments I conducted in Apollo city where hopefully something nobody except Selene and the others in the Special Detail knew about. The Ghosts of which are certainly cheering now and throwing popcorn at the Celestial Telly at my impending demise.

I have done absolutely nothing that really mattered with my life simply because I had time. Telling myself I could do it “Later Slater”. Playing it always safe. Never getting to close to someone, never daring to falling back in Love. Even to Astra there was this distance in me. I tried to hide it, to push it away but I couldnt. The musings of a Dying women I thought to myself while the Oxygen went down another Percent.

32%, “Im so screwed” I said and with that realizing im using up even more Oxygen.

50 Hours have passed now and I had to put some Methamphetamine into me to keep me awake.

11%, i had to pee and my body was sore and itched everywhere.

I wasnt a good person either. There was no denying that I have done some unquestionably fucked up things. The worst part was that nobody forced me to do them. If Selene would have taken over my body and done them I could shed all responsibility, but that was simply not true. I did it, I know it was evil and tried to justify it with things such as advancing Science and Medicine. Not fully responsible, a small cog really. But still a Cog that made the mechanism moving none the less. The worst part is that I feel mainly bad because the results where negative. We didnt actually archive anything back then. Those people would have died anyway I told myself, Criminals to be Executed. The real measure of Evil was that though. I felt bad because it turned out to be unjustified due to the lack of results, if the results where different I know I wouldnt feel so bad about it. Which made me realize how fucked up I was.

I basically ratted out Yoras Parents aswell, kept pushing and digging until they said something incriminating which got them busted.

So I couldnt even hold to my name that I was a Good person. I wish I could have made a more positive impact. Done some good things, some things that mattered. I mean I did those. The small everyday acts of kindness really. But do those count? Where the Egyptians right and the weight of my Heart is measured against that of a Feather? Smart really. If they where just to weigh it on Luna, a electronic Terran scale would be skewered in my favor, so i could slip by Annihilation. But since they use a old fashioned Scale that trick wont work.

8%, I felt some faint vibrations. They either started digging or the itching become some other weird sensation I didnt yet learn how to Quench.

I hoped for digging. I couldnt help it anymore and started to scream and panic finally. Nature took over. I cried and raged in a way I never did before. Nobody could hear me anyway and I screamed in a mad Tantrum shaking and banging in my Coffin.

6%, A warning displayed on the Screen CO2 levels reached Critical threshold Values, Venting in

3

2

1

I was underground but the air still managed to escape in the nooks and crannies of the Soil no doubt. My Lungs where sucked out I gasped out and could gasp back in , I was in a vacuum. I vomited violently the Vacuum pulled my Gastro-Eshophageal junction wide open sucking out the Stomach contents. The Vomit which was mostly liquid ran covered my face. It was very cold all of the sudden. A strange cold that felt hot. I prayed that it would be over soon and that the valves could close.

They did. The Remaining Oxygen was pumped into the suit.

0%, Pins and needles everywhere, my eyes burned from the stomach acid. And the Air was thin. I had maybe an hour to live at most, being very optimistic.

When I was very close to passing out I felt something at my Feet. A force, the Radio crackled with life but I couldnt make out what it was since the Pee busted the Speakers and was in my ears and I was too weak to respond either wat. I just hoped it was a Rescue team and not Demons that dragged me into Hell.

I heard metal clanking and felt pushed and moved indicating by the Peevomit mix that was now gushing around my face. The Camera was Busted and I had no idea what was going on. The world became dark and I was slowly feeling like I fell into myself. The display of my Armor, my only point of reference and source of light was getting smaller and smaller.

I thought “This is what they mean with the white light huh”. But it was different, instead of walking towards the light like in the many stories, the light faded away as if I fell into a dark round bottomless pit, there was nothing but darkness now the light from atop vanished into a little red Distant Star.

I opened my sore eyes. I saw a navy Medic. Some others where cleaning me up. “Shes back!” the medic said to someone, I looked around and I was in a shuttle.

“Mrs Kassai, you are safe now. We had to resuscitate you, you where Dead for a bit. So welcome back” he smiled.

I weakly whispered “Brain damage” it was a question but I couldn’t put the intonation quite right to make it as such. I hope the medic understood me.

“Just a little bit, nothing personality or memory related. First thing i fixed” he said, but then put long list of injuries onto my view and said “but as you can see your Body went through Hell, you are very lucky to be alive and we came just in the Nick of time.”

Ilsu stood now above me. “Yora, holy shit! Am I glad to have found you! You where 200 meter down below the pit in a really awkward angle. We had real trouble locating you due to a big meteorite boulder you where pinned against. Thats also why the Pit wasnt mapped.”

Whatever the Medic gave me seemed to work since i felt life rushing back into me, I said “The Gravity right?” Ilsu nodded and said “yep “. It hit me then “Ilsu, how is Astra?” she took a deep breath and rolled her eyes a bit. Holding my hand. I was expecting the worst.

“She is fine, she noticed you where gone after she arrived at the Railgun. She thought it was one of your shit Jokes. But after an hour or so she contacted me and honestly I also thought you where fucking around. You just are a fucking troll sometimes. I asked her to just come back. But when she arrived and there was still no sign we had to start looking.”

A huge weight was lifted from me, she was fine! “I need to call her, my system isnt working right can you connect me?”. She waved her finger infront of me.

“no no no no no. First thing, fuck you! Second thing, we assumed your suit was fine so we told Astra not to worry because you could put yourself into sleepmode and the suit would keep you alive for a Month. Enough time to rescue you. Imagine my shock when we pulled you out dead.”

I sat up and looked at the shuttles windows which acted as a Mirror. The Medics didnt do a good job making me look not like I felt. At least they put me into a gown. I asked ilsu to connect me with Astra after a few minutes of trying to not look to aweful.

“MOM, they found you fast! Are you ok? Dont do this again!” she seemed angry sad and happy at the same time.

“Hey Astra, I am fine. Just a bit bruised up, it was actually really boring. I am so sorry about my stupidity. It wont happen again I promise, I love you.”

Astra was not told how close I came to Death, nor that the Suit had failed. Ilsu was Promoted to Commander for her Rescue effort. I didnt have to pay for the suit because the incident revealed a fatal flaw with the Waste Removal System.

On my flight home I sat mostly quietly in my chair. Promising myself to have a positive and tangible impact on the World from now on. To do a Big Good. Not sure how i can archive that, but I will certainly try.

The End


by /u/Inesophet 

From: Reddit


 

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