- The clink of the heavy chain
- A secret message
- A rabid coyote
When Dave heard the clink of the heavy chain against Bay Airlock 271G, he felt certain his field fix would hold until a repair team arrived. He had blown the hatch to suck a rabid coyote into earth orbit. While the coyote floated away as planned, Dave realized he'd forgotten Elizabeth Greenfelt. He couldn't say how he had overlooked his beautiful young associate, especially since she had yet to express an interest in romance during the year they shared the agriculture station as the lone human tenants.
Fortunately, Elizabeth had the foresight to wear her space suit and grab hold of Antenna Cable C on the way out.
Dave couldn't comprehend why the narcissistic JCN 911AI hadn't sent a secret message to Houston about the coyote pack. Now, if he could yank Elizabeth Greenfelt back into the base without disturbing the jury-rigged airlock, she would express her great gratitude for saving her life.
“If I can't save her, I'll suffer another lonely six months until the supply ship arrives. At least the computer still communicates with me, right, JCN?”
“Oh, JCN, let's not have one of your snits.”
“I can deploy the earth antenna by wiggling the space station a bit to starboard. Are you listening, JCN?”
If I don't rip Elizabeth's suit, I could slide the antenna into the open position and ol' Liz would slide down the empty antenna tube into Storage Bay S. She'd survive. JCN, will you help with the wiggle calculations?”
“JCN, come back online, please. I need you now.”
“It's an emergency, JCN.”
“Don't worry, JCN. I'll do it myself. When Elizabeth is safely back onboard, you and I will discuss your need for main power or the lack thereof.”
“Oh, Dave, did you need my help?”
“No thanks, JCN. I can wiggle Elizabeth back into the ship and find the manual override switch by myself.”
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