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Lunacy: Way Out

11/21/14

  06:11:00 pm, by Nic Wilson   , 957 words  
Categories: Lunacy

Lunacy: Way Out

Vince opened his eyes. ?I could have gone home, you know?? Colleen asked. Vince's head was throbbing, and he couldn't quite see straight. But he could tell she was strapped into one of the seats on the elevator. ?When the Chinese bumped up the resupply, they offered to stick around for the usual week, so I could train Ang up and then go. But I didn't want to lose even a single day in space. So I told them I'd wait for the next shuttle.? Vince was sprawled across several seats. As he forced himself onto his feet, he realized the elevator was tilted at an angle. ?The fall,? Colleen told him, recognizing his confusion. ?The elevator landed badly, broke something. A strut, a support. Dante could have probably told you,? she said, pointing to a chair at the end of his row, where a human head was sitting in one of the seats, ?before he lost his head.? ?Jesus,? Vince said, shrinking back from it. ?I know,? she said. ?But when I found it, I... I couldn't just leave it there on the floor. It seemed... wrong. Disrespectful, maybe. I don't know. But I couldn't just leave it there. I didn't have the heart to look for the rest of him, but I...? ?I understand,? Vince said. ?But it's worse. I don't know what Maria did earlier, but I'm pretty sure that was just some damage to the climber's, um, climbers, I guess. But this is major- structural. The elevator's busted until the repair droids can fix it. Which means we're stuck. Because even if NASA were to reverse course and actually attempt a rescue, we aren't operating any ships that could actually make it to the Station. They'd have to unretire one of the older shuttles.? ?And that would take weeks. Maybe months. Years, if there were any complications. But they aren't attempting any rescue.? ?If they haven't by now, I don't know why they'd start.? ?No,? Vince said. ?What I mean is... we're under quarantine. And the whole idea of a quarantine is keeping the taint isolated.? He showed her his arm, and the shredded, bloodied clothes hanging off them. But underneath, his skin was already healed. ?And we've already got what they were trying to keep under wraps.? He started towards doorway, and Colleen followed. When she noticed he was headed towards the control room, she said, ?I checked the Elevator while you were out. That's when I found the head... it's not going to work, not without a lot of maintenance. It's not an escape route anymore.? ?I'm not trying to get the Elevator going. Even staying in orbit isn't enough of a solution anymore- not knowing that Maria and anybody else that's infected still have command of their faculties. Odds are they could eventually get the elevator going.? ?Then what are we-? Vince stopped in front of a panel at the back of the room and kneeled down. ?Dante had a gun.? ?What?? she asked. He pulled the panel back, to reveal a small safe. He started twisting the knob on it. ?He had a gun. The reasoning, and I think it's sound, is that you can rent a private shuttle for under $10 million. The amount of people with $10 million dollars who can't be trusted includes dictators, drug and weapons smugglers, Somali pirates. The last one is what swayed me. Men used to taking over vessels they weren't familiar with by force; the principles of taking over a shuttle and then forcing their way onto the Elevator are similar. They could take the Station by force, and hold the rest of us hostage. It's not... an insane idea. So Ground Control okayed Dante to have a gun- under strict parameters. It's a .45 loaded with mushrooming rounds to limit the possibility of them penetrating the Elevator. He was also trained to aim his shots at the places where the hull was thickest.? Vince reached inside and pulled out a Kimber 1911. ?I don't think one handgun is going to be enough for even one of those wolves,? Colleen said. ?And there are at least two that we know of.? ?It's not to protect us. It's for us.? Colleen?s eyes got wide. ?We can't just sit around, waiting for things to get worse. Maria killed us, and brought us back as something else. We're monsters. There's no other word to accurately describe it. We're like her, now. And... there might be others left. Skot's dead, but... Ang could still be around. David. Bill. Mel. We're endangering them just by breathing.? ?I'm used to being in charge when it means making life or death decisions for our crew. But this isn't anything like what I've been trained for. And I could be wrong. Maybe this isn't communicable. Maybe the fact that I can smell you ovulating is related to a bump on the head, and not a genetic metamorphosis. And on the chance of that... I'm not going to make this decision for you. I'm putting a bullet in me. And I ask- I'd implore- you to do the same. But I understand it if you can't, or won't. And if it'd make it easier, I can do it for you, first. I'm not afraid of Hell- only maybe of a God who doesn't believe in circumstance.? ?No,? Colleen said. ?I'll do it.? ?Okay. You want to go first, or...? ?I'm going to need a few minutes, so...? ?The wall to my left is reinforced. Get behind me. And you'll want to cover your ears, and you probably don't want to look.? Colleen put her hands over her ears, and closed her eyes tightly. She wanted more than anything to wake up from this nightmare.

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