The stern hanger was gone, a gaping chasm yawned in its place. Bulkhead doors had shut with the alarms a few minutes ago, in an attempt to keep some oxygen inside the Dreadnaught. Most of the crew was dead, most of the systems were down, most of Marta’s body hurt.
She dialed Lorenzo on her wrist-mounted communicator but only got static. Since her ship was gone, she would die on this Flemish wreck unless she found another way back to Oaxaca.
They must have escape pods, Marta hoped, but where are they?
The dark corridors were almost empty. Wounded crew members floated and groaned. Sector Defense Administration torpedoes banged into the Bergen, not that it made much difference at this point.
Marta swung into an open semi-circle room, 20 lit circles ran along the outer wall, most were dim. She saw a group of people, wearing spacesuits, crowded into one of the bright circles. A series of three beeps sounded as the circle shrunk.
“Wait!” Marta shouted, “I’m coming!” She kicked off the wall and shot across the room, the pod door closed.
“¡Mierda!” she swore and pounded on the hatch, “¡Hijo de puta!”
“Hey,” a voice called, “hurry up!”
One escape pod remained, Marta floated onboard and joined the last survivors. There were no controls, so the man at the front hit the button to disengage and launch toward the nearest landmass.
The Liso Ship Repairs service shuttle was old, dilapidated, and rattled a lot. It had a slow pressure leak, and nothing had been replaced or updated in over five years. Lorenzo didn’t put money into that thing, so long as it flew the mechanic to the next job, it was fine.
The Dreadnaught Bergen’s escape pod was bare, uncomfortable, and cramped. But that’s what happens when nine people pack into a pod built for six. The Flemish invested as little as legally required into their escape pods. They didn’t want to admit that they might need them someday.
The SDA had won the battle, but they were not gracious victors. The navigation screen showed three escape pods already near Oaxaca and two in the ongoing firestorm. All the others were shot down or captured.
A piece of debris from one of the fighters clipped their hull as the pod sped toward the ground. More alarms sounded, more red lights flashed. Marta and the other two latecomers had no seats or harnesses.
Entry was turbulent, luckily, Oaxaca has a thin atmosphere. The unsecured passengers bounced around the pod. Marta curled into a ball and tried to protect her bleeding head from any more knocks.
Their damaged escape pod, with only inertial dampers, no reverse thrusters, no airbrake, no chute, struck the moon at an unreasonable velocity. The entire front panel caved in and the pod itself broke apart upon landing. Marta slept through the last bit of this ordeal, what with the blood loss and all.
She awoke to the hot Oaxaca sun with a large shadow crouched over her. The shadow turned and made some noise. Another shadow crouched over her. The shadows melted together into darkness.
She awoke to the hot Oaxaca sun, this time, her eyes focused. “We landed?” Marta asked the group of injured Flemish constructing a little tower.
“Yeah,” one of them replied, “we’re on some moon. The locals call it… I don’t know, something that starts with ‘O.’”
“What are you doing?” Marta sat up and clutched her bandaged head.
“Setting up the distress beacon. We should have some ships left up there, maybe they’ll come and get us.”
Marta stood up and leaned against the warm escape pod. Seven of them milled around the beacon, one was off to the side, covered in a foil blanket. “Only one fatality?”
“Edgar,” someone said. “My brother.”
“We’re lucky, after that landing, we should all be dead.”
Marta looked around and got her bearings, they weren’t that far from town. “Thanks for the ride, but I’m headed back to work.”
“Yeah, I was on the Bergen to fix the engine, I live down here.”
“Oh, well, alright then. Are you sure you can walk?”
Marta started shuffling toward the horizon. “I’ll manage.”
It was just after noon, she still had to fix that turbine.