Ice In The Veins

“What the fuck are we going to do?” Darius demands as he, Janet, Eric and Nadia stand hurdled loosely around Soren’s cryo pod.

“We need to get him out.” Eric offers unhelpfully and without detail as to how they are going to do achieve such a thing that is about as much of an obvious statement as is humanly possible to make. Seeing as they all know they need to get him out.

“Then let’s do that.” Darius says as he grabs the seam of the cryo pod and prepares to pull with all the might he can muster since himself crawling out of his pod barely more than a few minutes ago.

“Stop!” Janet demands.

“What? Why?” Darius asks.

“You can’t.” Janet utters as her eyes lock with Darius’.

“Why can’t we?” Nadia queries, not up to her usual sarcastic and condescending standard as yet.

“If we do that he’ll die.” Janet explains.

“If we leave him in there he’ll die too.” Eric counters sounding more confident on the matter than Janet would have thought.

“Is that true Janet?” Nadia questions still trying to be queen bee in what is supposed to be a democracy.

“You’re not the fucking boss here Nadia. Now stop trying to play queen bitch and give me a hand.” Darius roars angrily as he attempts to heave at the seam of the pod in hopes of cracking it open.

“Nooooooooo.” Janet screeches as she throws herself at Darius.

She tackles him but the size difference between them means that she simply nudges him maybe a little more than a foot to his left. However, he does lose purchase on the seam of the pod. In many ways that is probably just as well seeing as he is forced to steady his balance with his arms. Not that he was in any real danger of being forced to the decking of the cryo pod room. It is just a natural human reaction; a will for survival the cause of the ingrained and inbred response.

“What the fuck Janet?” Darius bellows as he shoves Janet away from him just enough for her to get his point.

“If you crack that pod or interfere with him in any way without the proper procedure being completed first he’ll be a vegetable. Do you get that Darius?” Janet blurts faster than any of them have heard her speak in the short time they’ve been together.

“With that established, what are our options?” Nadia questions without deigning to glimpse in Darius’ direction. Of all the crew members she would have considered Soren to be the brute amongst them, yet it seems she was wrong. Darius is the brute with no brains. She shouldn’t be surprised considering how he made his name. Plus how this, like everything else he is a part of, is just a way for him to continue the growth of his name and fortune.

“Unless we can crack the cycle the pod has him in we’re stuck and won’t be able to thaw him out.” Janet admits with lowered shoulders and an averted gaze.

“Eric, can you fix this?” Nadia queries turning to the other expert amongst their number.

“Why him?” Darius questions.

“Cause genius, Eric is our tech guy.” Nadia replies with her trademark condescension. She follows it up with a brief flit of her eyes in his direction after which she returns her gaze to Eric.

“No, I’m comms and fabrication.” Eric corrects.

“You use tech don’t you?” Nadia blurts with a sarcastic tone.

“Yeah, but Soren is the engineer.” Eric quickly adds with a stab of his forefinger in the direction of the cryo pod and Soren Jameson who is lying within it.

“And what about you, oh great Nadia, why are you here?” Darius demands to know mockingly.

“I’m the one who grows our food you dunce. Who else did you think was going to ensure we had something to eat? And anyway isn’t this a medical issue, so doesn’t that make it Janet’s remit?” Nadia shouts back, her face a twisted visage of rage.

“You just said it was Eric’s!” Janet bellows.

“Warning, gravitational anomaly detected.” The digitised voice of the Frontier’s onboard computer system gives the warning clearly over the internal comms.

“What now?” Eric moans.

“Acceleration and proximity warning. Impact in sixty, fifty nine, fifty eight, fifty seven…” The Frontier computer then advises.

“You’ve got to be kidding me!” Darius exclaims.

“Escape pods. We need to get clear. It’s our only hope.” Nadia declares with barely any hesitation.

“What about Soren?” Eric and Darius ask in unison.

“It’s our lives or his. Decisions are your own but make them fast.” Nadia blurts as she turns, leaps through the open doorway into the spinal corridor and then rushes off toward the escape pods without a second thought for the rest of the crew.

“We can’t leave him.” Eric exclaims only to find that Janet has also scurried away like a coward hoping to save her own skin.

Darius looks around. He’s already cursed under his breath several times at the departure of both Nadia and Janet. “It looks like we don’t have much in the way of choice Eric. Our doc has split just like our self-proclaimed leader.”

Darius spits in disgust and then without warning grabs a hold of Eric and turns him so their eyes meet and they are face-to-face.

“Us or him. He’s trapped in their. He’s dead anyway. We can still survive. Come on Eric. We didn’t come all this way to throw our lives away, did we?” Darius says attempting to reason.

A couple tense seconds pass. Darius considers leaving Eric to his fate but holds firm, though he’d be lying if he didn’t admit to feeling relief when Eric nods in reluctant agreement.

Darius smiles and then they both rush out of the cryo pod room leaving Soren to his fate while they race down the bland two metre wide spinal corridor of the Frontier heading for the escape pods.

The ship is already bucking widely, throwing Darius and Eric all over the place as the plating is wrenched from the exterior of the starship along the front quarter.

Nadia ejects her escape pod. She whoops in celebration as she is launched away from the doomed Voyager Expedition vessel that will soon plunge into the rocky surface of the planet that is to be there new home. But as her escape pod passes fifteen metres a massive section of the Frontier’s hull plating peels free and is sent whirling in her direction. Nadia becomes aware of the danger too late.

The section of hull plating slices through the pod and Nadia killing her instantly. The remnants of her and the pod burning up in the atmosphere they had already been plummeting through.

Darius and Eric are close to the third and final escape pod when the Frontier twists and breaks its own hull in two. The stress was just too much for the vessel and its compromised bulk.

Sadly for the pair they are right over the break and as such are sucked out into the flames that are engulfing the colony establishment ship.

Janet ejects her escape pod. Her heart is thundering, her chest is tight, her vision is blurry and she can barely keep herself conscious but somehow she does. Though, she doesn’t touch the controls. She isn’t a pilot and was never trained for this. Nadia, Darius and Soren were. They were to be the pilots if anything went wrong. Not that any of them ever thought anything would go wrong. Especially not like this.

She hopes the others made it out alive, except for Soren that is. She knows for a fact he’s a casualty as her pod tears across the heavens through thick fog. The proximity alarm goes off. Janet looks around frantically searching for a read-out that might make sense to her. None of them do.

“What…” Is all Janet manages to scream. She was going to say: what is it you’re trying to tell me. But her exclamation was cut short as the pod, having suffered a system failure that stopped it from deploying air brakes and retro thrusters, slammed into the side of a towering mountain of rock and ice. Death was immediate for her like it had been Nadia.

Darius and Eric on the other hand hadn’t been so lucky, as they had both managed to hang on for a few seconds before the agonising pain of being burned alive became too much and shock sent them into comas.

The front section of the Frontier meanwhile was left to crash nose first into the unrelenting rock. Detonations fill the air, atomising the rocks at the nose of the starship before the back half of the vessel comes down with an unceremonious boom. But it doesn’t end there. The rear section of the ship continues its journey as it skids and tears a deep grove across the planet’s surface for miles until finally it came to a slow grinding halt having lost all its momentum.

Shockingly, somehow much of the rear section of the Frontier has survived the crash. That includes the cryo pod room and the malfunctioning cryo pod of Soren Jameson who is still frozen inside, stuck in a state of permanent suspension alone on a world that was to be one of humanities new hopes for a continued existence.

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