Monday, April 10, 2017

Story Seed - Absolute Zero: Stillness

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The junction was empty and quiet. Life aboard a cramped space station was seldom describable by either adjective, but when you took the time to hack access to the unfinished expansionary sections of your home you could sometimes find time to use them. In this case the quiet was relative. The bulkheads still groaned their occasional protests to pressure and heat and there was the quiet hum of power distribution and the life support systems. Those last two were Karen's fault, but she really didn't feel like having to explain wearing a rebreather and heavy coat. Instead she hacked the station's grid and turned this junction on two hours ago. Long enough for the atmosphere to recycle a few times and warm up.

Her palms were sweating. She scrubbed them on her pants and cursed her nerves. This whole thing was insane, she wasn't entirely certain how'd she'd come to be here. It had started innocently enough but like a relentless rush of atmo out a hull breach she'd quickly gone from commiserating about the mining corps to agreeing to use her network access to pull data. Tomas seemed nice enough, and he said that if he and the people he worked for could prove the corps were falsifying records it could give the USG reason to sanction the corps. Maybe even remove their extraterritorial status. The USG wasn't perfect, but Karen had to think they'd fix the problems.

Karen realized she was feeling dizzy. She put a hand on the cold bulkheads and started for the hatch out of the section. She realized dimly that she could see her breath. Confusion and panic began a war in her mind. It took effort to realize that the air handling was quiet. She stumbled for the the exit and fell when the lights cut out leaving her in cold, still darkness. As she gasped for air she wondered if Tomas had betrayed her, or if one of the corps had found out about her hack and traced it back to her.

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