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​​​​Thirteen

Stupid Humans. They might have locked you in a prison cell, but they'd forgotten to frisk you for weapons first. A multitool might not be as useful as, say, a stunner or a blaster, but something designed to get a pilot out of a sticky situation in the case of minor mechanical failure is exactly what you need right now.

You pull out the multitool. "The door's locked and I can't get out. How do I open it manually?" you ask.

The tool scans the walls, turning the brig a warning shade of red. A warning no Human heeds as you set to work, following the tool's instructions.

It takes very little time to pry off the right panels and expose the wires you need to jury-rig a way to open the cell door. It's messier than you'd prefer – you wouldn't leave exposed wires sparking under the console on your shuttle – but it's an easy matter to duck under the impromptu sparkler as you squeeze through the partially open doors to the brig.

Now free, you hurry down the corridor beyond, trying to remember the path you'd taken to get here. The multitool isn't much help, either, as it doesn't have a map of the ship.

You retrace your steps for the second time and find yourself back at the cell door. Funny, it smells like barbeque in there.

Some of the sparks have fallen on the cell bedding, and it's started to smoulder. You know more than anyone that a fire aboard a space ship isn't good.

As if reading your thoughts, the comm system overhead starts beeping. "Fire in Detention Level Two. All staff evacuate Detention Level Two. You have twenty seconds to lockdown. Twenty. Nineteen…"

You race down the corridor again, ready to take any exit. You can hide somewhere and find your way to the flight deck later.

There should be a sign telling you where to go, but there's nothing. Maybe Humans had so many people they didn't care how many died. Not like Titans, where every life mattered.

"Ten…nine…"

The overhead lights begin to flash on and off. Not helpful. Especially when every corridor looks the same.

"Six…five…"

Movement catches your eye – a door at the end of a corridor to your right. It's sliding shut, but if you run, you might be able to…

"Four…three…"

You stick your hand through the narrowing gap, but the door doesn't open for you. It's pull your hand back or have it crushed.

The moment the metal touches your palm, you yank your hand back. Your heart sinks as the door seals shut – with you on the wrong side.

"Hey, I'm in here! Killing your prisoners of war is a war crime, you know!" you shout. "Let me through!"

"Zero. Lockdown is complete," says the voice over the comm.

A breeze tickles your skin. Like there's still a door open somewhere.

You lick your finger and hold it up. There. You begin to follow the breeze to its source.

Rounding a corner, you find the breeze has gone from a light tickle to a full-blown gale. It lifts you off your feet and carries you away.

You stretch out to grab something, anything, to stay where you are, but the bare corridors only squeak in protest under your sliding fingers.

"Fire evacuation complete in ten…nine…" the comm says.

The corridor blazes orange. The gale has blown out the contents of your cell, and the smouldering sheets have turned into a small fireball, floating through the air, headed straight for you.

Your eyes widen in horror, and you let the gale carry you, windmilling your arms through the air in the hope that you can avoid being engulfed in flames.

"Five…four…"

But the sheets catch the wind likes sails, powering the fireball forward faster than you can swim.

The fireball comes to rest at the sole of your boot, and your foot becomes uncomfortably warm.

"Three…two…"

By some miracle, you don't catch fire.

It takes a moment for your sluggish brain to remember that your flight suit is fire retardant.

"One."

One moment you're surrounded by shiny white bulkheads, and the next, it's the blackness of space. The fireball has gone out, with no air to feed it.

You breathe a sigh of relief, only to see the air crystallise in a cloud in front of you. It's only when you try to suck in a new breath that you realise there's no air for you, either.

Your body spins slowly away from the Genesis, until all you can see is the stars.

And then nothing at all. 

THE END

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