Holding the support, he lifted his leg and felt the burn of vacuum seal cooking pass under him. He looked around wondering how much longer he could hold it in- hoping no one was there to notice his gas- before putting on the headset and turning back to his work.

He slid both of his hands into long gloves giving him direct control of MESPA’s arms. The automated drone followed his movements exactly, climbing along the surface of the Phoenix Alpha, until it reached the impact point.

There, about 30 minutes prior, a small piece of space debris punctured the hull. The hole was small, but just enough for depressurization. Precious oxygen seeped out of that hole and it was Rayshawn’s job to patch it up.

His stomach gurgled as MESPA latched itself to the railings. He forced his meal to stay put as MESPA grabbed welding gel and spare steel-enforced hull paneling from its pack. He placed the paneling onto the hull and spread the gel along its edges. It melted the plates together in a silent dance of chemicals.

MESPA had just connected the last bit when the panel burst out sending Rayshawn spinning when it smashed into MESPA. Losing focus, he tensed his upper body, lost all control below his waist, and tried to regain control of the Walker. Alarms blared. The walls clanked from down the hall. When MESPA finally gave Rayshawn control, he found that a massive portion of the hull had torn, leaving a flap through which velcro-attached computers spewed.

The hole is too large, he thought- but I have no time. He put MESPA on full thrust, slamming it into the hull smashing what was left of the flap in place. He kept MESPA against the hull and pulled out the welding gel. “I’m sorry MESPA.” he whispered and proceeded to weld MESPA to the wall. Bits of the robot malfunctioned as he pressed the gel in. He thought he could feel the burning of the gel along his body as he seared MESPA’s.

After 30 minutes, MESPA no longer transmitted data to his visor. He took a deep breath, and assessed the hull conditions. He’d done it. He took off the visor when he let out that breath and looked up. Putrid brown bubbles floated around. He followed one with his eyes as it slapped into Lt. Bradley Gunner’s forehead.

“Damnit Rayshawn- you should have let us die.”

Featured image credit here.


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