The transparent material that separated the viewing platform from the harsh vacuum of space was an advanced polycarbonate crystal lattice that was stiffer than steel and grown from an engineered plant species. Despite it being able to withstand a barrage of bullets from a military gunship at its standard thickness of five centimetres, the architects of Alpha-Hydra had decided to have the minimum thickness of the windows be six times that much.
Leesandra made her way towards the access hole at the end of this level. Along both the floor and the ceiling were series of hand railings for those without magnets on their feet. She pulled herself along using the railings, pushing off one then catching another to slow her momentum.
“Any luck finding out who’s on Delta Cal?”
“There is no-one on level Delta.”
“We’ve been over this. You can see in the logs someone entered the dock and you tracked them to Delta where you can see that they caused an alert.”
“Entrance log is corrupted and sensor data shows no-one on level Delta.”
“Add addendum to your personal log, recent log and sensor damage has lowered system integrity, this is inhibiting your processing of current alerting and system data from level Delta. Human element has advised that there may be an intruder and it is being investigated.”
“Addendum added.” Leesandra let out a sigh of relief.
“Shit Cal, I don’t have programming genes I can’t think of every way your system could fail to grasp this.”
Cal was the amalgamation of artificial intelligence research done by the same programmers who helped design the first Kybers. Leesandra didn’t even realize how much of an understatement she had just made.
“I am unable currently unable to troubleshoot this fault, running on night time processing.”
“Can you go to daytime processing?”
“You do not have authority to request that function.”
“Of course I don’t. Can you contact a dock operation manager who does?”
“I have been trying since addition to personal log. Unsure if unable to place call or if going unanswered.”
She grabbed tightly onto the last rail before the access hole. There were no hand holds or places for her to stop in between each floor. She would have to push hard enough to make it to the next level or she’d be stuck between floors and have to try and swim through air to get there, but if she pushed too hard and missed she could go past it and would likely hit the ceiling of the top floor. Luckily in any case she wasn’t in the vacuum of space so a misjudgment wasn’t going to cost her life.
“Geronimo.” Leesandra let go and kicked off the railing aimed towards the next floor. Each second felt like a minute for her, the weightlessness she felt only made it worse, something primal in her always went off in the moments between hand holds. This trip between floors always made her feel like this, like her skin was twisting and curling, but during the night shift there weren’t any active loader bots to hitch a ride on.
The railings of the next floor drew closer. Her arms flicked out in front of her like they were pulled by a magnet. The thumping of her heart was so loud now she was sure that it would be heard back at the viewing platform.
She grabbed the metal pole and pulled herself in, breathing heavily. Slowly she had stopped herself from shaking and managed to partially stand against the would-be floor of level Epsilon.
“One more to go.” She twitched.