The starry night sky glistens above the verdant landscape, with countless stars illuminating the land. A sense of beauty could be found in such tranquility.
Yet, it will all soon be disrupted, by raging flames descending from the skies above.
The first noise that entered Joshua’s ears was the incessant ringing of the alarm, not what he had expected. According to his expectations, he expected warm welcomes either from his fellow companions, or a flock of women eagerly anticipating his awakening, or both.
Alas, reality is often disappointing, now he can only adapt to whatever situation as he had no choice but to overcome it, especially when he is still bound to this metal coffin.
That was a seemingly lucid, albeit unfitting thought that entered his mind. Because he could hardly recall his location, and his reason to be here at this moment. Aside from his mild disappointment that his expectations failed him, his mind is surged with the sense of nausea and confusion.
Joshua shoved the sarcophagus’ lid open, and swiftly crawled out of that nauseating little box, all the while following nothing but his instincts. His feet found purchase on solid ground. Based on the feeling transmitted through his shoeless, yet padded feet, he assumed the floor to be metallic but neutral in temperature. Aside from that, he couldn’t rely on any other way to sense his surroundings, as his hands are grasping onto the grips attached to the metal coffin, while feeling that his eyes were still adjusting to the light, rendering him to be completely blind at the moment.
Joshua moaned in confusion. “Ugh… what the—HEURGGGGHH—” Before he could form a coherent sentence, however, his conscious mind gave way to the overwhelming surge of nausea, and he emptied his guts soon after, onto the cold, metal floor.
“Hey!” A voice beamed. “Come with me. Quick!”
He could hardly compose himself right after the fact that he was whisked away from slumber and placed into the hell on earth that is his body. He felt that everything that could go wrong or sideways in the body had done so, and now he will be whisked away again. How helpless.
“Wha-” Before Joshua could utter his question, or clean up after himself, he felt a hand grabbing his left arm, and yanked him. He nearly toppled over, but managed to balance himself.
Joshua, with his frail body and muddled consciousness, couldn’t even naturally resist what he assumed to be an intrusion, even as his instincts are futilely screaming at him to do so.
Regaining his balance on the fly, he had no choice but to walk along the direction of the tugging, while desperately trying to orient his senses to make sense of the mess he was thrust into. The tugging didn’t stop, so he simply followed, suppressing his natural reflex to shrug of the constraint from a fellow human.
After pacing around for a short while, his senses, like gears of a newly winded machine kick in one by one.
His sense of smell returned first, after the initial sensory confusion, the familiar sensation of smelling and inhaling returned. To his dismay, the air was filled with an overwhelming scent that he would claim to be essentially stale, to the letter. Aside that, an underlying scent of vomit seemed to have permeated every inch of breathable air, especially since this was an enclosed space.
Meanwhile, his ears heard an array of noises, which he subconsciously blocked out due to the general range and amount, as it will surely cause a mental toll to his currently semi-disabled mental state. The only remarkable noise he could make out of the range of background noises were distinct popping noises, as if someone was making popcorn and he was buried among the kernels as they explode. Vibrations pulse from random directions when he hears the pop, even,
Then, his vision slightly restored. In his blurry vision, he could make out the general shape and colors of objects. And he remembered that he is currently inside a starship, pacing along the generic, metal walls, embossed with metallic trinkets, or whatever they might be. And, flashes of red.
“Fire?” Joshua asked. “The ship is burning?”
“Worse.” The person replied.
“Not in here though.” The person continued, forcefully squeezing in an amused tone. “Dazzling fireworks ’re just outside the window.”
Before Joshua could resume his queries, however, the entire hull trembled and groaned in agony.
Following the chilling sound that reverberated through the entire ship, trembles turned into massive tremors. Joshua could hardly stay balanced; he had to spread his arms around, trying to balance his footing. A strong yank pulled him out of his stance, tugging him forwards ever quicker.
“Hurry! Now!” The person urged Joshua with a shrill scream.
Between the tremors and sickening sounds of the ship’s hull snapping, Aria felt that they ran for what seemed to be an eternity. Pacing around hallways of various sections of the ship, she knew that she had little time to escape before the entire ship implodes, what’s left of it anyways.
She was relieved of suspended animation much earlier than this guy that she decided to save. Not so much out of goodwill, but based on the fact that most of the other cryptosleep caskets didn’t have enough power to activate, or never had the chance to. She knew that every number counts.
She could still remember how exactly she was introduced to this mess:
Overcoming cryptosleep sickness, she did the usual song and dance that everyone will undergo after being forcefully brought back from suspended animation. Overcoming the initial blindness and confusion in an admirable speed, she had to bring herself back to pace, quickly.
Probably, the battery units were the first to go. Or something went wrong somewhere in between. It is all quite irrelevant anyways; she would be better off escaping the incident in one piece and reminisce about the reasons later. Moreover, the low growl of the alarm was driving her insane, impairing her logical faculties, up until she finally managed to mentally ignore it after taking some time to adjust, and bask in anxiety.
Imagine her shock when she tried to make sense of the situation once she got out of her stupor. Only to find herself being the only one standing among rows of dormant caskets; or that some wall fixtures had fell off and squished a few unlucky people with their metal coffins and all into a man-sized meat sandwich.
Looking out the window, she saw what seemed to be a large section of the ship strewn out all around her field of view, spewing chunks of debris, as well as the fire and flames from explosions that were quickly snuffed out by the vacuum of space. Just like the countless lives of its hibernating crew.
“Thank god for the airlocks.” She whispered to herself. As she realized that all it took was a simple addition to the ship’s structure to prevent her demise, via rapid depressurization and implosion.
They’ll never see the light of day, dying, unbeknownst to them. Poor bastards.
At the moment, though, she took her sweet time savoring the thought of impending doom, while futilely swiping the bile she vomited off her jumpsuit.
Taking more presumed valuable time, she scrounged around the still-standing crew lockers for a change of clothes. Only the dead or the still dead-asleep are present, so she decided to disregard her sense of modesty, stripped bare and got into the best fitting clothes and equipment that she could find.
She acquired nothing much, really. Just a small pouch of handheld precision tools, and a suit of synthread outerwear alongside the usual standard-issue synthread clothing.
Soon, she decided to find a means to escape the still intact hull section that she was enjoying herself in, as she knew a hull breach would be inevitable, given the catastrophe that the ship had endure, and that space debris from its separated carcass are slowly but surely making their way towards this one.
Whatever opportunity there was, it wouldn’t be found right here in this room. Had her memory served her right, there are quite a number of emergency drop pods scattered around as the ship’s subsections, she could only hope the incident and whatever chain reaction that happened after didn’t compromise her only way out.
Just as she had prepared to leave, she heard something, a rather “outstanding” sound that stands out from the cacophony that demonstrates her eventual doom through mechanical grinding and vacuum explosions. Walking past several rows of caskets, it was on the other end of this cryptosleep hall.
She saw someone. A guy keeling over puking his guts out, while being surrounded by yet more rows of cryptosleep caskets, still dormant.