There is commotion all around me, women and men arrayed in silver suits rushing around the sterile building, screens blinking and flashing with information I only vaguely understood.
She’d been sentenced to space sleep.
“In 10…” I ran down the massive hallway frantic, frenzied, my lungs burning as I pushed my way past the people in the silver suits.
“9…” People are running after me now, and I can see the space shuttle from where I am. I cry in relief as I see there might still be time.
“8…” I duck past the guards and they try to grab me, but I pull out the whistle and blow through it. All I hear is silence, but they all collapse in front of me as soon as I blow it and I drop it thoughtlessly onto the ground and skid under the barrier and hurtle towards the spaceshuttle.
“7…” She’s asleep inside. Human sleep. Normally. But once she crosses the barrier . . . space sleep will kick in immediately. And then it will be over.
“6…” I smash the door of the space shuttle, bash against the door, my shoulder bruising where it makes contact. Not even a dent. There are panels of information all around me and nothing makes sense. My eyes dart insanely around the room, looking for something, anything. If I’m not strong enough to break the door down then nothing or nobody will be able to break it down.
“5…” I see something small in the back of the room. A dim flashing light, and two oddly shaped buttons on the keyboard in front of me. Hope alights inside for me and I sprint across the room, skidding on the metal tiling and nearly colliding with the screen in front of me.
“4…” I nearly cry in relief as I see that one of the buttons say “Cancel initiation sequence.” I press it and sigh in relief and wait for the doors to automatically open. But they don’t.
I’ve failed. There’s nothing more I can do.
I yank open the panelling to the screen and it connects to a massive port behind it. I rip open the somewhat weak metal covering it and the two wires that will launch the shuttle into space stare back at me. There’s nothing to cut it with, no wires, no scissors, nothing.
“2…” There’s only one option left. I know this will be the last thing I do, but she’ll be safe.
“1…” I bite the wires in half and my world explodes in light and I hear the words of the loudspeaker drone out, “Launch sequence terminated.”
The pain sears my body and I lie helpless on the floor as the electric shock pulsates mercislessly through my body, jolting me, electrocuting my brain.
I see the door of the shuttle open and instantly, her eyes snap open and I can see the panic that’s in her eyes as she frantically frees herself from her restraints. And then she sees me.
Her face becomes blank as she sees me lying on the floor and she sprints across the room to me. I want to tell her to get out of here, to go back to her own life, but I know she won’t listen.
She cradling my head in her lap and I can hear her voice, loud above the pain.
“You can’t leave. I’m not letting you go!” she bows her head over mine, I can feel tears streaming down across my neck and the soft brush of her hair on my face.
I felt my body slip back into default setting, erasing and eradicating every single experience I’d ever known and the last thing I remembered was her hand squeezing mine and she clasped a silver metal chain around my neck.
Then I knew nothing.