Category Archives: Kybers – Leesandra

Leesandra 19

The black patch of space that Leesandra couldn’t make out started to contort, although it seemed more like the ship she was on was actually what was moving. Part of it suddenly lit up and she could finally make out some of it. It was a ship, a gigantic ship, almost as big as Alpha-Hydra’s dock. It was a continental class ship.

 

The ship itself didn’t seem very unique, it was made from the same mesh of High tensile carbon fiber and Steel polyalloy that Alpha-Hydra was. The greys and blacks partially hidden from view by stripes of green paint.  Leesandra shook off the look of awe on her face and tried to remember where the name plate of continental class ships was supposed to be printed.

On the starboard side of the bow. It wasn’t there, at least it wasn’t if she had remembered which side starboard was.

 

“How do you guys have a continental ship? And why would you have a base in an asteroid if you have one?” Leesandra asked.

“We only finished building it last year it was pretty hard to do it without a dock, the Asteroid was a better staging ground for recruitment.” Merah answered.

“What’s it’s name?” Leesandra let her curiosity run away with her.

 

“Enterprise.” Bronwyn said without a flicker of hesitation.

 

No-one else spoke, the bridge was silent apart from the dull hum of the engine and a few muffled beeps.

 

“Are you serious?” Leesandra blinked a few times. “I mean, okay… but really?”

“Yes.” Bronwyn continued. “It is supposed to reflect that spirit of exploration, the goals of humanity that we’re supposed to have.”

“To boldly go where no-one has gone before?”

“Yes, obviously.”

 

Leesandra didn’t get up from her seat but shifted her weight around. She couldn’t shrug off the idea that this was some kind of elaborate hallucination before she died of asphyxiation, and the ridiculousness made that seem even more plausible.

 

“Okay, you’ll really have a tough time explaining why you can’t just pack up and leave now.”

“This ship is the first step in our attempts to get out of this solar system.” Merah swiveled around in her chair to face Leesandra “Inside the Oort cloud is a series of anti-gravity well probes, there is no way to for us to make a break for it without being disabled almost immediately. Those same probes will alert the inter-planetary fleet, which will destroy us on site.”

“The fleet is only like 5 capital ships you could easily outrun them on normal drive.”

“It’s actually like 3 continental ships, and they won’t have the same gravity well handicap.”

 

“Oh…” Leesandra licked her lips as she thought for a moment. “What are the other steps to getting out of the solar system?”

“Bring down the inter-station government, eliminate the probes, help Kybers and humans alike to finally reach the stars.” Bronwyn tapped on her fingers to count each step.

 

“I feel like that second step is a bit more like a staircase.”

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Leesandra 18

Merah and Bronwyn pulled Leesandra to her feet once her limbs had repaired. She followed them through the ship to the bridge. It was up a flight of stairs and not even a minutes walk away from the cargo bay.

“So what did you mean by ‘it isn’t true’?” Leesandra asked as Bronwyn sat down in the seat in the middle of the room. There were two other seats on the bridge, one on either side. A man sat in the one on the right, his hair was cut short and was a gingery brown, he didn’t turn around and seemed to be busy working.

“Kyber-kind isn’t at the level of development that you think it is.” Merah answered as she sat in the left chair.

“What do you mean?”

 

“Currently you would think that we’re reliant on the sun for energy. That we are reliant on mined fuels to get around. That artificial gravity wells are only just being tested and would be far to energy hungry to be useful.” Bronwyn swivelled in her chair.

“How is that not the case?”

“Shortly after leaving Earth kyber created stable and sustained artificial fusion.” Bronwyn smiled.

“But…”

 

“Nick, set course for Yankee plus four X-Ray minus five, stay on this Zulu. Maximum speed please but give us leeway of about six hundred kilometers.” Bronwyn called out to the man at the righthand station.

 

“Is maximum speed really necessary ma’am?” He turned in his chair and didn’t seem very impressed by what was currently happening.

“Yes absolutely, I’m trying to show off here. Take a seat Leese.” Bronwyn pointed her hand to the back of the room. The wall seemed to melt away and fold itself into a seat. Leesandra wasn’t impressed.

 

“The course is set ma’am. All hands prepare for maximum speed.”

“Engage the engine Nick.”

 

Leesandra looked out the main window, the stars sitting motionless in the void. Suddenly the view screen flashed white and the stars were gone. In their place was a black patch that she couldn’t make out.

 

“Jump complete.” Nick seemed to grumble.

“See…” Bronwyn said as though she was expecting Leesandra to have a revelation.

“See what?” Leesandra asked confused.

 

“We just traveled approximately 5 AU, is what she is trying to get at.” Nick spoke up but didn’t turn around to face her.

“What?”

“Yes, two thousand five hundred light seconds.” Merah answered her.

“In under a second? It isn’t possible.”

 

“It’s not possible to go that fast, correct. However that’s not what we did.” Merah continued. “Using the gravity well tech we can manipulate space around us, so technically we didn’t really move at all.”

 

“Okay, so this makes even less sense. How could you possibly have a hard time leaving?”

“Kyber have had this technology for years now. And the first thing the governing kybers did was find a way to stop it from working.”

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Leesandra 17

Harold’s office was right next to the external bulkheads of one of the ending rotational rings. There was some redundant maintenance space between his office wall and the actual external panels, so the floor to ceiling windows behind his desk didn’t display outside. Instead a simulation of late twentieth-century New York city. Not that he would have wanted to see outside, the very idea that he was spinning made him a little queasy sometimes.

 

His desk was made from a synthetic carved wood of a dark brown colour, the colour could be changed but Harold left it the default look. He sat down at the desk, the window behind him and cast a slow sweeping gaze over his office. The walls were clinically white and partially covered by book shelves, art pieces and certificates of achievements.

 

It was all fake. The book shelves didn’t have any books in them, just coloured blocks stacked up to look like them. The paintings were digital reproductions of old Earth landscapes. He never went to College and none of the achievement’s he was actually proud of would have produced a certificate. It was all just decoration, to make one feel like they were back on Earth.

 

“Fucking fighting to get back in the womb.” He muttered under his breath. Harold raised his hands over his desk initializing his HUD to use it as a textile surface. White grid lines appeared separating segments of the desk into simulated displays. Only he saw this, it was generated by his Kyber systems and just overlaying his own perception. He tapped on the desk where the lines formed a keyboard, each segment lighting up as he did so.

 

“Call coming in from Gerald Cooper, do you wish to accept.” His Kyber systems alerted him in the same robotic tone that CAL had chosen. Above the keyboard segment of his desk another segment flashed white notifying him of the same call. If he left the call ringing that segment would eventually expand to be the length of the keyboard section but not covering it. He pressed on the flashing piece begrudgingly.

 

“Harold. I’ve had the board of spaceport operations in an out of my office for the last five hours. What can you tell me?” Gerald’s personal avatar appeared as an image on the desk. It was a small cartoon ghost with a huge smile.

“CAL isn’t a toaster Gerald, you can’t just tip them upside down to get the crumbs.”

“You designed her Harold.”

“No Gerald, me and fifteen other people designed the foundation of the programming. CAL has evolved and will continue to evolve. This is going to take longer than a day to find out what happened. And even longer to fix it.”

“What do you need?”

“Well if you could get me back at least five of the fifteen…”

“You know that’s not going to happen.”

“Then give me time! Alright?”

“Fine, but we want constant updates.”

 

The call cut out and Gerald’s avatar faded out, returning to the series of grid lines.

“Do you think he bought it?” Harold was mildly surprised for a moment wondering why his internal systems would ask that, then he realized.

“Of course, why would he not believe me? I’ve given no reason for him to suspect me and there are fourteen other people who could have done this.”

“Still, seems like an unnecessary risk. Sticking around.”
“We’ll if you hadn’t got that girl ejected we wouldn’t have this problem.”

“She’s important.”

“How is a HUD-phobic girl important CAL? And where did she even go?”

“All life is important. Our friends picked her up.”

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Leesandra 16

“Should my legs tingle like this?” Leesandra asked looking up at Merah and the new woman.

“You were out there a while, you’re probably healing. Or they’re about to…”

“Fall off?” Leesandra cut her off.

 

“I already made the joke sorry.” said Merah apologetically

“Damn it.” She shook her fist at Merah jokingly. “I guess funs over then. I’m Bronwyn by the way, who are you?”

“My name is Leesandra, just a dock worker.” Leesandra managed to pull her legs up to her chest. She rubbed them to try and revitalize them more quickly but it didn’t seem to work. The feeling was uncomfortable, she imagined that this was what ‘pins and needles’ was supposed to feel like. There was probably a lot more pain involved than she was actually experiencing, the Kyber in her would have automatically shut out anything considered unbearable or unnecessary.

 

“She knows she has doctorate genes but without going into her….” Merah trailed off.

“Yeah without HUD use that may be a bit interesting, we probably know someone who can help though.”

“Why would you want me to join La Mesclado? Especially considering that basically makes me disabled.” Leesandra wondered out loud.

 

“Disabled? Why would you think that? You’re still kyber? Still far more capable than even the most able bodied human.” Bronwyn questioned, wild at the idea.

“How could I be useful for the solar system’s most wanted criminal organisation?”

“We’re actually the only criminal organisation in the solar system.” Interjected Merah.

“Exactly! Surely it would be better to just put me back outside.”

“Wow, how could you be so brainwashed if you don’t open your HUD?” Bronwyn shook her head.

 

“Huh? Brainwashed?”

“La Mesclado has never killed anyone, kyber or human.” Stated Merah as a matter of fact.

“But the Mars Colony?”

“None of the people were harmed. We evacuated every single living thing.”
“Before or after you put a crater where it was?”

 

Bronwyn shifted her weight onto her other leg.

“Yeah, probably not the best publicity stunt we’ve ever come up with.”

“But it did what we wanted, no one’s tried to settle there again.” Merah stood straight as she defended what seemed to be her own pride.

“But why?” Leesandra appeared to be begging, but that may have been due to her inability to get up.

 

“Kyber kind has stagnated.”

“What?”

“It’s become dull, repetitive. We have the knowledge and resources to spread into the cosmos yet we float around this pathetic yellow star for no good reason.”

“It’s our home?”

“No, Earth is our home and we gave it up. There’s no point in trying to go backwards. La Mesclado is trying to move us on.”

 

“Why not just go? You have cloaking and anti-gravity, the rest of kyber-kind couldn’t stop you.”

“I’m afraid that isn’t actually true.”

 

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Leesandra 15

“I don’t know.” Leesandra whispered with half a breath.

“You don’t have to answer right away, let your air reserves fill back up.”

“I think I’m okay now.” She tried get to her feet, she couldn’t even get to her knees.

“You were out there a long time, I wouldn’t be surprised if some parts are fairly damaged.” Merah sat on one of the seats on the side of the cargo bay.

“Do you have a doctor on board?” Leesandra looked around the bay a little more. She recognised some of the crates in this bay, they were the ones loaded from Delta ten.

“No we don’t. You’ll be fine though, you’ll heal. Or things will fall off, then grow back.”

“Yeah, I’m not sure how I feel about that.”

 

“So what gene’s do you have?”

“Doctorate.”

“Pure doctorate doesn’t give you that ability honey.” Merah leaned over, the red light making her look sinister.

“I don’t know what else I have. Never met my Father, Mother’s human.”

“Your Mother is human? Wow.” She sat back up straight curiosity on her face. “You know can check what genes you have right?”

“I can’t open my heads up display.”

 

“Oh, hud-phobic huh? Well there are other ways to find out.”

“Who are you people? How did you sneak into the station?”

“We are La Mezclado, this ship has cloaking technology.”

 

Leesandra didn’t really expect an answer and this response wasn’t even in the same department of ones she could have been ready for.

“I… uh…” She stopped and thought on this for a moment. Merah sat patiently as if wanting to see her squirm. “And it has artificial gravity? Aren’t La Mezclado supposed to be some kind of backwater resistance? How do you have this tech? How do you have the power on this ship to cloak and use artificial gravity?”

 

“Okay i’m going to stop you there.” Another woman walked in, she didn’t have the Kyber braid but her skin was reflective in ornate patterns giving her away. “We’re going to be asking the questions.”

 

“She’s hud-phobic, she couldn’t tell us anything.” Merah stood up as she defended Leesandra.

“Great.” She said sarcastically. “Guess she just going to have to join the cause then.”

 

“Uh, can i just go home?” Leesandra tried to get up again.

“Ha. No.”

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Leesandra 14

Suddenly, a feeling passed over her, like a cold shiver. Her physiology would normally keep her warm even in the harshness of space.

‘Have I started to run out of oxygen?’ Her terror asked itself.

‘If I have CRC then i’ll probably have a larger oxygen capacity than I first thought.’

 

Darkness started to surround her vision.

‘Yeah I’m dying.’ The thought was a dagger of ice.

 

Lights came on around her. A panel of metal started to lift in front of her.

‘Huh? But no-one was around to rescue me.’ There was no relief only confusion.

 

“You can breath now. You’re inside our shielding.” The woman’s voice from before.

 

Leesandra breathed in without even thinking, filling her lungs with more air than she ever had done before.

“What? How?” Leesandra breathed out and in again.

“Don’t start hyperventilating, concentrate on long breaths.” The door to the ship finally closed making a small thud.

 

Leesandra fell to the floor as gravity suddenly acted on her knocking the breath out of her again. “What did I tell you about gravity without warning!” There was the sound of a hand hitting metal.

“Sorry Merah.” An unfamiliar male voice.

“Leave.” Her voice was stern yet somehow soft.

 

Leese lay on the ground looking at the side of the ship, she was focusing on her breathing but tried to take in her surroundings. She seemed to be some kind of cargo bay, the floor was more a grid than a flat surface with larger holes for straps to fit in. The wall had a couple of padded seats with belts and was otherwise bare metal. It was painted a clinical white but was scuffed all around where the seats were.

 

“So what is your name?” The woman that she now knew to be Merah came into view. She was a kyber, her braided heatsink was a dark red and pulsed nefariously. This made her features seem sharp and fierce but Leesandra could instantly tell that she had a much softer face then she let on.

 

“Leesandra.” She managed to get out between breaths.

“Nice to meet ya. I’m Merah.” Merah sat down in one of the seats across from her. “Now tell me, what kind of genes give a girl CRC and enough oxygen to use it?”

 

*

 

Kari heard the news about the missing night shift operator before she even made it to the dock. She called Leesandra’s onboard comms at least fifteen times hoping for once she’d pick up. She only gave up once she heard Leesandra’s addendum to the log.

 

“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.”

 

All of CAL’s other logs were being scrutinized. The corruption was being treated as purposeful and every authority in the station was being brought into investigate. Angus was trying to hold a conversation with her but she barely responded.

“Even CAL’s creator has been called. Can you believe that? I didn’t even know he was on this station.”

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Leesandra 13

It’s a short one this week, I’ve not slept well the last two days.


‘Okay so, I have reaction control. Why do would I have this? Kybers surely wouldn’t naturally have this? Or do they?’ Leesandra hovered in space staring at the tube protruding from her forearm.

 

‘First things first, reduce momentum.’ With that thought a short burst of gas came from her tube pushing her faster in her spin. ‘One of these is not enough.’  She pushed on the port panel of her right arm, it popped open and another identical tube slithered out. It sent out another burst of gas halting her spin.

 

‘My systems are calculating my inertia and reaction requirements without the HUD. This must be a safety feature.’ She was now facing the other side of the dock, the side that she was heading towards. ‘I’ve got a lot of velocity but I don’t think i’ll be conscious by the time I hit it. I don’t think I’d have as much gas as Astro-suit and even they wouldn’t get fast enough to cross the dock in under five minutes.’

‘Unless they used all the gas they carried.’

‘And be unable to slow down at the end, no thanks. I think my only hope is to try and go back.’

‘Hoping that you have enough gas to counteract your current momentum. And give you enough force to get back with enough time before your blood is de-oxygenated.’

‘Exactly. And that I can slow down when I get there or aim it enough to get back inside.’

 

Both of her tubes slid further out and bent themselves so that they pointed out around her center of gravity. ‘Good idea.’ They blasted out a steady stream of white. The dissolution of the gas in the vacuum was beautiful, Leesandra didn’t normally get to see it this clearly. It was a stark reminder of how she should have been dead by now.

 

The side of the dock that was coming towards her started to slow. Leesandra smiled, her lips still tight.

 

It came to a stop, then started to move away. Leesandra had to stop herself from cheering in delight.

 

Then her gas ran out.
‘Shit.’ She didn’t know exactly how far away she was from the entrance, but she was sure it would take hours to make it there.

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Leesandra 12

Leesandra’s heart smashed at her chest, blood splashed around in her head, that was all she could hear.

She had closed her eyes once she was unable to grab hold of anything on her way out. She was trying to stop the vacuum of space from popping her eyes.

 

As much as she had basically resigned herself to death at this point she wanted to at least hope for rescue. She had yet to feel the pain of ebullism or any of the depressurisation effects. Luckily in the last few seconds before complete decompression she has remembered to breath out.

 

‘Maybe you don’t like weightless flight because you know too much about space exposure.’ She thought to herself.

 

She was still holding her breath out, her kyber modifications would have allowed her to continue doing so for about twenty minutes before she would black out. It would have been longer if having air in her lungs wouldn’t have caused them to burst in the reverse pressure.

 

She guessed that she had now been completely depressurized for over two minutes. A normal human probably would have been unconscious at twenty seconds due to hypoxia and dead by ninety due to anoxia, atelectasis, freezing maybe even just shock. As a kyber she should only have maybe double that time.

 

‘You have to turn on your HUD if you want to survive this.’ She thought.

Her heart skipped a beat thinking about it. It would only take a single conscious decision to open it. She couldn’t do it.

 

She was probably about thirty seconds from death and she couldn’t do it.

 

‘If we turned it on how would that save us?’

‘We could contact CAL to pull us in.’

‘CAL should have already recognised that we are outside and would have saved us if she could.’

‘I could get CAL to have one ships pick me up.’

‘Would they get here in the next thirty seconds?’

‘CAL can send a message to my mother…’

 

Her thoughts paused, filling with the sound of heart kicking the heaviest drum that it could find.

 

‘It’s probably been about thirty seconds now’

‘If we’re judging based on heart beats.’

‘How am I still alive? I should have at least started to feel it by now?’

‘Fuck it.’

 

Leesandra opened her eyes. Nothing happened.

 

She was definitely in the center of the dock. She could feel the pull of the vacuum against every inch of her body, now even her eyes. But nothing happened. She floated among the stars without any pain.

 

‘They could have updated the kyber code to protect from space?’

‘I don’t get updates.’

‘Okay so we’re still alive. How do we get back inside?’

 

Leesandra looked at her arms, the seam of her left port panel was more evident than normal. She pushed on it with her other hand, it opened and a utility cable slithered out. She had never liked seeing her more mechanical parts but she was sure this cable was different from any of her export cables, even any of her doctorate attachments.

 

It was round and had an opening at the end more like a tube opening than a data connection. it  seemed to be wrapped in blue fabric, likely woven from her own hair follicles.

 

‘How does this help me?’

 

It shot out a puff of white gas. Putting her into a slight spin.
‘CRC gas? Why am i filled with CRC gas?’

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Leesandra 11

Leesandra remained hidden behind the shipping container. She wasn’t sure what else to do, CAL must have still been trying to get a dock superior to make their way in. She could probably just go back to the viewing platform, report the unauthorised access. At the same time she knew that if these people weren’t caught red handed then this would all be chalked up to some malfunctions, unless she gave access to her memory files. She shuddered at the thought.

 

“Seriously, how long…” The female voice began again

“It’s going to be done when it’s done.” He cut her off.

“Loader…” She started her audio command.

“Don’t you dare.”

“Time until fully loaded?”

“Approximately ten Minutes.” The loader responded in its usual dreary tone.

 

“Are you happy now?”

“Yes.”
“Well good, cause now I have even more log scrubbing to do.”

“How is that my problem? You’re the one who wanted to stay here.”

“Oh and how would you have gotten out of this without me?”
“I’m sure we would have some up with something, can’t be too hard to sneak out of here.”

“The only reason you weren’t picked up immediately was luck. You weren’t caught in the next few hours because I managed to force a cleaning cycle. And you would be stuck here for the rest of your natural life if it wasn’t for my forethought to break this umbilical.” The man’s voice didn’t sound angry it just felt like it was coming from a place filled with it.

“Well thank you. Again.”

“You’re welcome.” Leesandra couldn’t possibly see them without giving herself up but she desperately wanted to see how she managed to calm him down after that.

 

“Task completed.” The loader declared and started to make its way back to it’s own hole in the wall. Leesandra wondered again about the nature of AI and why the loaders seemed to have such contempt for everything. Today just seemed like the day for that.

 

“Well you can go now.” The woman started again. “Remember we are going to need you to come out again soon.”

“How could I possibly forget?” The man was already moving away, his voice in a different location. His boots made two loud clangs as they magnetically pulled to the ground. “Stay quiet and safe.”

“You too.” She responded in kind, moving away as well.

 

The man had made his way over to the airlock between area ten and nine before Leesandra realised what was about to happen. She froze, there was no way to leave her position without being spotted. The airlocks at both ends of the area slid closed, the sound of the locking mechanisms making Leesandra quake.

 

“CAL.” She whispered. “CAL, I need you to open the airlock between area ten and eleven.” There was no response. “CAL!” She whispered as loud as she was willing to go.

 

The air started to hiss as the invisible ship started to undock.

 

“CAL!” She shouted this time. There may have been a response but she could not tell as air was rushing past her ears. She was pulled out from her hiding place.

 

Desperately she tried to grab onto something. She took in a deep breath and held it.

 

Leesandra flew out the broken umbilical into the center of the dock and was going to it hit the other side within minutes.

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Leesandra 10

Leesandra grabbed her visor and pulled it up to sit over her eyes.

“Infrared detection on my visor please CAL.”

“Enabled.”

 

She had made it to level Delta and was beginning her trek over to the Loader bot distribution panel. Effectively an automated garage that held, maintained and provided the large robots that loaded, unloaded and carried cargo around the dock.

 

“Open the panel door CAL.” A large section of the wall closest to her opened revealing five loaders inside motionless, as though they had fallen to their knees and went to asleep. “Yeah I don’t want to go through every one of these on the level. CAL can you cycle each Distribution center and see if any loaders are missing?”

“Processing. One loader missing from…”

“Can you locate the loader?” Leesandra cut in.

“Unable to locate.”

“Do we track the movements of loaders?”

“Correct.”
“Where was it the at its most recent tracking history?”

“Close to Docking area Delta ten.”

“How did I guess that it would be?” CAL didn’t respond, all AI had been programmed to ignore sarcasm.

 

*

 

Leesandra moved quickly but silently through the level towards docking area ten.  The docking area’s were each as large as a football stadium, not that Leesandra had ever set foot in a stadium of any size, but almost every new dock worker had exclaimed as such. She was sure none of them had been near a real stadium either but guessed that they had seen a real sport in action in an artificial reality program.

 

Even though she could watch every single piece of television or cinema kept from human history, she never watched any Earth sport. ‘It’s not very exciting if it happened years ago’ was her excuse, but she did watch the e-sports normally the day after it was played.

 

She passed through area eight, it still had some containers strapped to the floor and ceiling. The containers were probably waiting to be picked up by an inbound freighter with robotic loaders it was uncommon for cargo to wait overnight to be properly received. Now half way through area nine she could see through the clear panels at the far end of the area out into the gap between the other side of the dock.

 

There were a handful of sporadically docked ships on the other side, easily made out by their red flashing lights. Otherwise they would have easily been lost in the greys and reflective steels. Leesandra tried to get a glimpse over to see if there was a ship at area ten, but couldn’t see anything.

 

Slowing down as she reached area ten she started to hear voices, clear as day in the silence of the dock in after hours.

 

“How long is this going to take?” A woman’s voice, stern but not overly aggressive.

“It’s almost done, it’s not like this could’ve been avoided.” A male voice, it was familiar, like when you hear a voice actor playing another character in the same show.

 

Leesandra was extremely careful now, being sure to keep her momentum as small as possible. Area ten still had some containers to be exported littered around, they still hadn’t been moved since the umbilical was cut off. She hid behind one of them, still unable to see the people speaking

 

“And I told you that it was necessary. I don’t need you to tell me what i already know.”

“No but you do need me to get you out of here so it wouldn’t kill you to accept my advice.”

 

Leesandra spotted the loader as it entered the area from the umbilical entrance. Her heart jumped into her throat when she realised the seal was open even though the umbilical had been cut off. They should have been open to space and as far she could see they were, yet there was still air and no alarms were sounding.

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