Read Atlantia Series 1: Survivor Online

Authors: Dean Crawford

Tags: #Space Opera

Atlantia Series 1: Survivor

BOOK: Atlantia Series 1: Survivor
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SURVIVOR

© 2014 Dean Crawford

Published: 2nd April 2014

ASIN:B00JEHH4XG

Publisher: Fictum Ltd

The right of Dean Crawford to be identified as author of this Work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved.

www.deancrawfordbooks.com

Also by Dean Crawford:

The Atlantia Series

Survivor

Retaliator

The Ethan Warner Series

Covenant, Immortal,

Apocalypse, The Chimera Secret,

The Eternity Project

Independent novels

Eden

Holo Sapiens

Revolution

Soul Seekers

Want to receive notification of new releases? Just sign up to Dean Crawford's newsletter via: http://eepurl.com/KoP8T

Contents

“As I looked, behold, a storm wind was coming from the north, a great cloud with fire flashing forth and a bright light around it, and in its midst glowing metal. Out of the middle thereof came four living creatures. And this was their appearance; they had the likeness of a man.”

Ezekiel 1:5

I

The cold awoke her.

For a moment she believed that she was already dead, for when she opened her eyes she saw nothing but blackness, as deep as the universe. A chill enveloped her naked body and she shuddered, her skin feeling oily and under pressure from all sides.

She tried to move her head but could not, and swivelled her eyeballs down to seek some sense of where she was. She could hear her own breathing, muted as though she was underwater, and she realised that she was confined to a tiny space barely bigger than she herself was.

Like a coffin.

The cold bit deep into her bones, touched her skin as though ice was being pressed against it. She shivered and her heart began to race in her chest as panic rose like a dark wave inside her.

She tried to scream.

No sound came forth, choked back somewhere deep inside her throat, and her lips touched cold metal as she moved them. A slight pressure on her nose and on her forehead, cold and hard, and she realised that her head was encased in some kind of metallic mask. She blinked, and felt her eyes sting briefly before she realised that she was not only totally enclosed but also completely immersed in a fluid. A word flickered through her mind: per–fluorocarbon, used to preserve life and oxygenate for long periods of time.

The panic rose up again and threatened to consume her, but then her eyes caught on something.

Light.

The faintest glow appeared just above her eye line as though it were the most precious thing in the universe. She fixed upon it, willed it with all of her heart to grow, and grow it did. The faint light swelled in intensity, broadening into a warm orange orb. She saw it illuminate geometric patterns and an intricate web of lines interconnecting with each other in a blurred miasma. It took her brain a few moments to realise what she was looking at.

A screen, not much bigger than her face and encrusted with ice that had formed beautiful spirals and whorls. The light cast a brief but blessed warmth upon her face as it drifted past on the far side of the screen.

She tried to move her arm to wipe the fogging from the screen, but she could not. She looked down and in the glow saw her naked body strapped inside the tiny capsule. Ice crystals blinked like distant stars as they caught the light, sparkling weakly through the amber fluid.

Closer to her, a small panel attached to the interior and frosted with ice crystals cast a weak light of its own. Upon it was a single word.

SURVIVAL

The light burned bright and cast shadows through the fluid filling the capsule, but then it began to fade again. Her eyes snapped back to the screen and she almost cried as the light faded away until she was pitched into absolute blackness once more.

She began tugging at her restraints, her limbs aching and feeling sluggish as they moved inside the dense and viscous fluid. Something tugged at the insides of her arms and she realised that tubes were inserted into her veins. Creeping dread clawed at her as she fought to release herself from her bonds in the darkness, her fingers and toes already numb and her limbs twitching and trembling.

Breathe.

She closed her eyes and forced herself to calm down, controlled her breathing until it settled, the fluid moving slowly in and out of her lungs. She opened her eyes again and curled her fingers back toward the insides of her wrists to feel the restraints there. The rough inside surface told her that they were not metal but merely an adhesive of some kind. She began working away at her right wrist, twisted it and levered it up and down as she tried to force the adhesive apart. The coarse material scoured her skin but she felt the restraint give a little.

The light returned, swept across her field of vision to illuminate her tiny prison once more with a brief but wonderful warmth and brilliance. She worked harder as the light vanished again and heard a faint tearing sound as the adhesive began to give way. Moments later her right wrist slipped free of the restraint and she lifted her arm for what felt like the first time in a hundred years.

The tube inserted into her vein pinched as she lifted her hand through the fluid surrounding her to the screen in the darkness. She touched it, cold and hard, the ice sticking her fingers to the surface. She pulled them back and then scratched at the ice, trying to rub it away as the light returned to drift across the screen. It rapidly grew in intensity and suddenly flared as bright as a thousand suns even through the per–fluorocarbon.

Through the tiny screen she saw a star burning, flaring as it breached the vast curved surface of a planet in a brilliant halo.

She realised that it was not the light of the star that was moving, but her own capsule as it tumbled end over end in the bitter emptiness of space. She saw the sun’s light flare past the screen, saw the surface of the planet through the thin sheen of ice coating the screen, blue oceans flecked with countless cloud formations glowing pink and orange in the light of a beautiful sunrise being cast somewhere far below, saw deserts and forests and lakes and then the plunging blackness again as she was spun over and plunged once more into shadow.

She worked her left wrist free, shivering uncontrollably now and her liquefied breath coming in short, sharp gasps. The light spun once again into view and illuminated the depths of the capsule right down to her bare feet. She saw the panel with its single word, and she reached down and wiped the last ice crystals away from its surface to reveal the entire panel.

 

SURVIVAL PROTOCOL: ACTIVATE?

 

With a muffled cry of desperation she pressed the surface of the panel, and the touch–screen blinked green as a tiny beep sounded out in the darkness. She heard a faint hum from somewhere on the capsule’s exterior, a vibration across her back as some kind of device activated, and then the capsule suddenly began to warm.

She recalled that the liquid–ventilation system incorporated a membrane oxygenator, pumps and a heater to circulate the fluid. With the heater activated and the oxygen flow accelerated to provide sufficient metabolism for movement, she felt her limbs come alive.

Tears formed in her eyes as she felt blessed warmth flood the tiny capsule, saw the light of the star drift past once more as she tumbled through space. The ice crystals melted away, some of them floating like tiny spheres of chromium on the surface of the screen as the fogging vanished and she could see more clearly.

The planet revolved back into view once again, bright sunlight searing her eyes. She raised a hand up to shield her view and saw around her chunks of debris spinning in the blackness: cables, twisted metal, fragments of glass sparkling brightly as they caught the light of the star and then vanishing into absolute darkness as they tumbled away from her.

All at once the debris field resolved itself in brief flashes as her capsule tumbled through it. Bigger chunks of machinery floated further away from her, some of them spewing crystalised gases out into the absolute cold of space, spinning end over end into the void. Below her she could see in the distance brief but bright flares and streaks of fire as debris entered the planet’s atmosphere and began to burn up as the planet’s gravity pulled them ever closer and ever faster to certain fiery doom.

Fresh panic swept her as she turned to her control panel.

There were few instruments. A small display revealed the amount of fuel on board, which was now being used to keep the interior warm, a small amount of oxygen which was keeping her alive, and a digital clock that was counting down:

7.46

 

There was no doubt then.

She had just over seven minutes to live.

She watched as the planet and its star revolved past her screen, taking in more detail each time. Clouds of metallic debris, and among that debris another slim black capsule nearby, its glossy surface flashing as it caught the light of the sun. A thought flickered through her consciousness along with conflicting emotions of relief and anxiety.

I am not alone.

Even as she considered this, she saw the capsule suddenly emit a burst of gas into the blackness that instantly turned to ice crystals in the frigid vacuum. The capsule righted itself, its endless tumbling arrested as a small blinking light began flashing on one end that she recognised as an anti–collision beacon.

She looked down and in the fragments of illumination provided by the sunrise she saw two small handles embedded into the interior wall. She grabbed them and yanked them this way and that.

A hissing sound filled the capsule and she felt its rotation change, twisting awkwardly sideways and slowing a little. Her brain rapidly orientated itself to the controls and she saw her oxygen supply diminish slightly faster as she fired controlled bursts, venting the precious gas out into space.

She ceased rotating and sunlight filled her vision. She turned the capsule, rotating it enough to shield her from the star’s blinding flare, and scanned the debris field. There, amid the tangled wreckage, she saw numerous other glossy black capsules spinning and rotating in the silent void. As she watched, several of them began emitting bright flashing lights from their bases and firing jets of gas.

She looked at the timer on her control panel:
6.27
.

The wreckage around her tumbled in a mass of colliding fragments and her capsule shuddered as a chunk of debris slammed into it. She fought for control, wasting more precious air as a twisted girder of metal floated past, flashing as it reflected the sunlight.

6.09
.

Out of the screen she saw a flare of white light, a reflection of the nearby star’s light off something larger than a chunk of debris. Through the clouds of wreckage she saw something looming, cast half in shadow by the harsh starlight. Big. Intact. Sanctuary. Suddenly she recalled what the vessel was: a prison.

BOOK: Atlantia Series 1: Survivor
5.09Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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