World of Souls – Ch. 8: The Left Corridor

Blavet, Elinog, AB-775, Allie, and Janine approached the airlock. The outer door was open, and the airlock was empty. There was no viewport to see inside the station.

“Well,” Blavet motioned at the airlock, “looks like it’s into the airlock or nothing.”

Elinog nodded. “I agree, but once we get in there what do we do? If we meet someone then we discuss payment for docking and refuel, but what if there isn’t anyone on the station?”

“If we meet no one we split up. Elinog will go with me, and the girls will go with Abe.” Blavet motioned at AB-775. “After that we look for things to salvage.”

“Why are we splitting up like that? I think Elinog and I should be together.” Janine motioned at Elinog’s legs. “I can repair those, you can’t.”

With a nod Blavet motioned them into the airlock. “Because if you want to do that we might as well stick together. The idea is that both groups can identify parts we need to replenish on the ship. It’ll go faster if we split up.”

“Makes logical sense, but why is Abe going with us?” Allie motioned at Elinog’s legs. “You have someone with an impairment. You should take Abe.”

Blavet nodded. “I suppose it does make more logical sense. Very well.” He patted AB-775 on the head. “Looks like you’re coming with us, buddy.”

The air finished cycling and the inner airlock door opened to an empty corridor going in two different directions. There was no welcoming party. Along the walls opposite the airlock were lockers with keys in them. There was a sign above the lockers.

“It says ‘choose a locker, put your things in, lock it, and take the key.’ It looks like communal lockers.” AB-775 motioned at the lockers. “Seems like a good place to leave your vac suits. The air is a little dry, but it has the right mix of gasses.”

A camera above the Dominiot’s crew turned towards them and focused on them.

“I don’t know, would it be safer to wear the vac suits or to deposit them?” Blavet looked at his ungainly suit then over at Blavet’s clunky one. “One second thought, we’d be more mobile without them.” He double checked his exterior air readout. “My readout confirms Abe’s analysis. A little low on moisture, but otherwise breathable.”

Janine and Allie put their suits in lockers, then turned to help Elinog out of the remaining portion of his suit. Blavet was already helping him.

“You know, maybe we should state our intent, just to be safe.” Elinog looked around the empty corridor. “This is the crew of the ISS Dominiot. We are here for repairs, refuel, and foodstuffs. If anyone is here, please respond.” His voice echoed along the corridor. “Well, no answer. Let’s split up. I think our group will go left.”

“That’s fine with me.” Allie turned to the right and started walking, laser cutter at the ready, but pointed at the floor.

Janine shrugged at Elinog and turned to follow Allie. “Wait for me, I’m the one who knows what we’re looking for!”

“Switch to open comms! We need to be inconstant communication!” Blavet yelled after them, turning on his own comm.

Allie’s voice crackled over the comm. “They’re on. Yeesh.”

“Just be careful. Elinog, let’s go.” Blavet motioned forward. “You too, Abe.”

Blavet, Elinog, and AB-775 walked or rolled down the corridor. After a few dozen meters the corridor split in two directions. The one on the left seemed to continue around the outside of the station, while the one on the right seemed to go into crew quarters.

“Still no terminals?” Blavet glanced around the intersection. “I would have expected some sort of access point by now. Have you seen anything, Abe?”

AB-775 glanced around the corridor. “I haven’t seen any interface devices yet, but maybe they’re further in. It seems we’re in the visitor area. Maybe they didn’t give computer access to visitors.”

“Or nothing here runs on computers.” Elinog shrugged. “But then, the air probably wouldn’t be breathable still.”

Blavet shrugged and took the right corridor. “Well, we didn’t find anything up until now. Time to move deeper into the station.”

After another ten meters or so they came across a four-way intersection. There was finally another sign. It had arrows pointing left, right, and forward.

“The sign says quarters left and right. Market forward.” AB-775 looked around. “Whatever happened here seems to have been clean. There’s no debris anywhere inside.”

“Odd, it seemed like a war zone outside. All that junk must’ve been ships.” Blavet shook his head. “This makes no sense.”

“We’re in warp space, and there’s a research station. We left sense behind a long time ago.” Elinog shrugged. “Let’s go left again. Maybe we’ll find something in the quarters. A clue, maybe?”

“Or a survivor, however unlikely.” Blavet rubbed the end of his tail idly. “Yeah, quarters. Let’s go.”

After a short interval the sides of the corridor had doors spaced every three meters. Every door was open.

“Odd, none of the doors are shut.” Elinog looked through one of the doors with his bulbous salaman eyes. “Looks like someone has been using the bed as a nest.”

“Or something.” Blavet looked at the blankets on the floor. “Looks like something that sleeps curled up like a dog.”

Elinog nodded, scratching at a fresh patch of synthetic skin. “Yeah, looks like it. I wonder what it is?”

“We’ll probably meet up with it sooner or later.” Blavet looked at the dresser in the room. “The dresser is covered with dust. Nobody’s used it in a long time…I wonder-”

A piercing scream over the open comm cut Blavet off.

“What was that?” Blavet’s eyes were wide. “Allie! Janine! Can you hear me?!”

There was cawing from the other end of the comm followed by Janine’s voice. “Something’s here, on station! Be careful! I’m getting Allie to safety!”

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