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I was amazed how quickly my dad found a new house for us after he was told where his job was headed. I never really try to understand what anyone want...

PREVIEW: Jack in the Box

September 13, 2018

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Alien Life, Part Three

Friday, March 30, 2018

“As long as we stay on the scaffolding our electromagnetic boots should keep us attached to the hull,” He said as if reciting from a book he read. Hell, he probably did read it from a book.

 

“Hey! Jackass! Lift some of this thing, will you? It’s huge and I can barely move while holding it.” Riley growled, hoisting up the sac even further with the aid of her knee. “Damn thing is slippery!”

“Well don’t let go of it for goodness sake or Aikman will have our hides.” Salas snapped, turning to grab a portion of the accursed pod.

 

“I swear that thing is going to burst open and kill you all once you get it in there,” I said over a wave of static. “You know nothing good can come from this, right?”

 

“You watch too many movies, Tubbs, I’m sure that as long as we take the proper precautions that the whole situation will remain perfectly safe.”

 

“Yeah, and if something comes out to kill us, I’ll just stand behind Salas before making my escape,” Riley added with a laugh.

 

“How droll,” Salas droned.

 

A series of pops and clicks echoed within my helm, signaling a communication coming in. I quickly flip off channel three and open the other channels.

 

“Tubbs, are those two ready?” Aikman asked after I opened communication with him.

 

“I believe so sir, they should be able to get to the airlock and ready to enter within the next five minutes.”

 

“Good, let them know that. And you get that panel patched up before we have another asteroid shower. I want our power to be at full capacity, and right now we’re only drawing in eighty-eight percent of what we need.”

 

“How full are the batteries?” I asked, now concerned.

 

“About half, but we should be fine assuming you can do your job in a short period of time,”

 

Aikman said, his voice practically dripping with the sneer likely on his face. “Just make sure we’re ready to go and don’t get in the real scientists way.”

 

“Yes sir,” I replied with a sigh and a smile. Best not to argue, as it’ll only eat into my oxygen supply, which I can already see is at seventy percent from all of this nonsense and my prior repairs. At forty percent I’ll head in for a break and see what the eggheads have found out about my little discovery.

 

Riley and Salas begin moving along the scaffolding towards Airlock C, balancing the leathery pod between them as Salas tries to move with his toolkit at the same time. I just shake my head within the suit and move out onto the panel, using my thrusters to scoot faster towards the hole the alien pod had made. The edges are covered with a sticky looking gel and some of the slimy mucous that the strands were secreting; I pull out the thick canister of molecular molding and spray some along the edges, slowly filling the gaps and cracks in the panel before I move on to address the hole.

 

“Alright Tubbs, we’re going in okay? Take care of our tethers for us.” Salas said over the communication channel.

 

“Roger that, just leave them dangling and I’ll reel ‘em in when I go inside myself.”

“Thanks!” Riley said enthusiastically.

 

Turning to look at them, I can see the airlock opening in front of them, their two tethers already drifting off into space; the line’s still connected to the railing by Airlock B. The doors begin to seal behind them, and I order my suit to close all communication channels and begin playing music from my library. A little Ozzy to get me through the hard work always makes it go by faster.

Turning, I hum along to the heavy guitar riff as I reach for one of the spare panels I brought out earlier, currently anchored down on the scaffolding. Using the compressed air on my suit to shoot forward I grab onto one of the panels, perhaps five feet by five feet.

 

“Yeah… this should cover it.” I muttered as the Prince of Darkness sings about the crazy train.

 

Taking the panel, I jet back over to the hole, using the thrusters to have me land safely next to the wide opening. Laying the panel down over the hole, I see it just barely covers up the damage caused by the pod. I use one hand to hold it down and take out the molecular molding canister once more, spraying the foam out like glue over the sides of the panel, bonding it to the rest of the solar panel in a messy, but sealed, way. The molecular mold leaves scarring in a way that this section of solar panel will not absorb the energy from light at the same rate as the rest of them, but unfortunately, that is the best I’ll be able to do with what resources we have. I order the volume down and command my suit to begin recording.

 

“Note to self: have Aikman order more panels and correct tools to do a full replacement,” I said aloud, listening to the beginning of Iron Man in the background. “End recording, volume at eight.”

 

The volume increases once more and I spend the next half hour touching up the heavy damage to this section of the panel, bonding and sealing the hole as best I can with what I have to work with. The bonding agent is wonderful, and seals almost instantly, leaving a thick blurry blob of plastic where the foam once sat. the spare panel has a large outline of the bonding agent running from all four corners, sealing it all up and allowing the panel to once again be operational without fear of space debris getting beneath the protective plastic and into the finer mechanical work beneath that allow our space station to operate with such efficiency.

 

Thrusting through the emptiness up to the scaffolding, I grab the other panels I’d brought out with me and begin slowly making my way to Airlock B. As I get close enough, I reach up and snag the tethers that are freely floating, dragging them along with me so that I can bring them inside for later use. We only have so many of these things, and lord knows what would happen if we just left them out here to flutter about.

 

Stopping in front of the airlock, I press the external panel to activate it, before pulling a cord from my hip and plugging it into the station. It takes a few moments, but the station recognizes the suit as one of the dozens programmed to communicate with it, and the airlock doors slide open, a rush of air blasting past me as the vacuum sucks it out. I unhook all three tethers and bring them inside, rolling them up and hanging them on the wall in their respective spaces, before hauling in the panels and laying them against the wall. The artificial gravity in the station is partially in effect in the airlock when open, so I have no need to be afraid of my supplies floating away if I don’t watch them.

 

Once everything is tucked away where it should be, I pull my plug once more and socket it into the terminal inside the airlock, waiting for the brief few moments for the airlock to close before commanding the volume of my music to go to zero.

 

It’s at that point I hear the ringing of the communications channel going off. “Open channel two,” I said, noting that the ringing has been going on for four minutes.

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