Got an idea but not enough time. Normal blogging resumes next week so this is basically a short introduction to next Friday's story.
The Red Light
Ahka stared at the small red blinking light. On. Off. On. Off. On. Off. It had started flashing an hour ago as expected. He'd been in the escape pod nearly 24 hours now and no sign of rescue. Ahka had been a technician on board an Amarrian bulk transport. It was a cheap ship, nothing like the navy or capsuleer industrials. Unfortunately not only was the ship cheap, so when it came under attack it was swiftly destroyed, so were the escape pods. He thought back to the chaos of the attack. He had no idea who they were. They could have been pirates, capsuleers or even mercs hired by a rival corporation. It didn't matter. It was all over swiftly. Unlike capsuleers, his Captain valued life. As soon as the attack started the Captain order the crew to the escape pods. Ahka had lept into his and jettisoned within seconds of the order. He'd seen the transport destroyed. Laser fire lighting up the darkness of deep space. After they had cracked the transport open other industrials had arrived to steal the cargo. It was something of a relief to know that they were not Sansha's Nation, just normal pirates who were after the cargo and not the crew.
The indicator continued to blink and Ahka started to think what he would have said to the person who designed that light.
"...and what does this red indicator here do?"
"Well sir, that's the warning light for low battery."
"I see. Just to clear something up, you said this escape pod has only small maneuvering thrusters?"
"That is correct. Its equipped with small gas thrusters designed to get the pod away from the exploding ship. It also has a simple CAS in case of moving wreckage, asteroids or gravity wells."
"I'm sorry. CAS?"
"Collision Avoidance System. It's all fully automated."
"So the passenger cannot maneuver the ship?"
"The communications package?"
"Simple low-energy radio to save money. Has a range of hundred thousand kilometer give or take."
"OK. So we have a indicator to tell the occupant the batteries are almost drained."
"They cannot move the pod?"
"They cannot call for help?"
"In fact they cannot do anything when inside that pod except wait for rescue. Yet you install a light to tell them they are going to die soon."
"Well.... yes.... I mean....."
"This indicator does nothing helpful. Simply lets you know you'll be dead soon."
"Well it lets the person know it is time to pray!"
Ahka had prayed. He was a good Amarrian. He followed the faith however it was looking increasingly likely it would be in vain. Pressing his face against the cold glass of the viewport he looked out into space. He saw the wreck of his old ship plus a few other escape pods, their lights blinking on the exterior. He sat back down. What a way to go. He was supposed to be married next month. His mother had arranged a suitable match with another house. As was tradition on their planet he'd not seen his wife-to-be. The first time would be on their wedding day. Now that had been taken from him. Regret crept in. He'd lived a good Amarrian life but what had he missed. Following the rules and what was expected. He'd heard stories about the other races, he'd even been tempted a few times but had always remained strong enough to resist. He'd visited other space stations on his travels but avoided mixing with the others. He'd spent a lot of time in his quarters reading the Pax Amarria.
The red light flashed a few more times then went out along with all other lights. The only sound he'd heard for the last day, the gentle hum of the air vent went silent.
Ahka wondered what would claim him first. The cold or the carbon dioxide. He laughed at the irony that his own body would be poisoning the air now. He curled up tight as he felt the cold slowly creep over him and prayed. Within 20 minutes he was asleep, the percentage of oxygen in the air no longer capable of consciousness.
Ahka woke suddenly. The bright light hurt his eyes so he snapped them shut again. Was this heaven? He opened his eyes again. A woman's face was there. Beautiful with flowing black hair and an olive complexion. She smiled warmly at him.
"Is this heaven?" he croaked.
The angel giggled and stepped back. Ahka sat up. It was not heaven, it was a med-bay. The contours of the structure flowed almost organically. The colours were shades of pale green. He had been in space long enough to know he was on a Gallente ship. He looked at his angel. She was a nurse in a bright white outfit. The skirt shocked him ending well above the knee. It was not right to show that much flesh!
"We pulled you from your escape pod just in time! You were lucky!" she said in broken Amarrian. "Sorry, but I don't get to practice my Amarrian very much."
"You were the only one we picked up. I'm afraid we were too late for the others." she said sadly. "We've arranged you some quarters. We're on a mission but will be back to a station in a week..The Captain has asked my to look after you as I'm the only one who can speak Amarrian."
"You?" Ahka replied in shock "You can't!"
"Why?" the nurse asked confused.
"You.... you... you're a woman!"
She laughed at Ahka's shocked expression.
"Yes I am Amarrian. And for the next week I'm the only one you have to talk to!"
To be continued...