Clanks In Space
Simon secured his suit and double checked the vitals squiggling across the reader attached to his arm. Then he triple checked. He triple checked everything.
This was the fourth mission of the month but no matter how mundane things became, space wasn't to be toyed with. One mistake could suck you into an
eternal vacuum. He was all set, everything looked good. He raised his aqua-colored eyes to check on the ready status of his partner.
Anya looked over at the American astronaut as she continued checking her readouts on the heads up display of her helmet. "Yankee is ready?" As the latest generation of cosmonauts, Anya found it humorous to tease the big Americans with their clunky low tech suits. Since Russia's resurgence, they'd partnered with Chinese tech companies to heavily invest in next gen space technology. "Come, Yankee. Ve must conquer space for the greater good of mother Russia!"
Simon shook his head at Anya's comment. Working with other nations could cause tension at times. "How do you concentrate with all that crap floating around your screen?" He glanced at the faint lights glowing on the side of his helmet, quickly notifying that everything is okay without blocking any vision. Maybe everything wasn't as electronic and beepy with the Americans, but it was well-built and sensible. "I was ready ages ago," Simon grunted and reached out to pull the lever for the exit.
"Easy, good training." Anya smirked through her helmet as the airlock door opened and she followed the man in. The door closed behind her and instantly
the chamber began to depressurize. "For cosmonaut is very easy. How you get work done constantly looking at little screen on arm is question. Da!"
She chided, reaching for the button that would open the outer doors. This was her favorite part, when the outer doors opened revealing the vast
emptiness of space.
As her hands came to rest on the lever, something banged on the outer hull. Frowning, she looked over at Simon. "What that sound, Simon?"
Anya paused. If somehow they were being hit by space trash, opening the airlock could be fatal. The sound came again, this time in three steady taps. A chill ran up Anya's spine. The taps were far too regular to be space trash. She took her hand away from the lever and moved to peer out the door's little window into space. "I see nothing, space Yankee," she reported.
Part of Simon's heart was thumping in fear and part was thumping in excitement. He knew it would be stupid to throw the door open but he wanted to. He glanced at Anya, "What do you want to-?" His voice dropped off as something flew by the window.
Anya had seen it too. She instinctively backed away. "Simon?" She frowned as the clanks sounded again. Tap Tap Tap. "You read Apollo reports of 'space sounds,' da?" They were the only two souls aboard the station, the other two members having left this morning in the skiff to repair a damaged satellite. This was getting creepy.
Simon gave an involuntary shudder, backing away as well as he tensed. "What is it?" he breathed.
Anya shrugged. "Space boogies? No one knows." She was shocked this well-trained astronaut didn't even know. It was his nation that dominated space for the last several decades when these sounds had occurred. Anya was torn between caution and curiosity. No one had ever found a source for the sounds. Well, here was a perfect opportunity. Stretching forward, she touched the lever to open the outer doors. Vast clear open space greeted her; taking her tether, she clipped it to the safety ring outside the airlock before pushing herself out and began peering around.
Simon cautiously clipped his safety harness to the ring as well before following Anya. He couldn't ignore the tension rising in his body.
Anya scanned the entire station then pulled on her tether to reorient herself. Her helmet had state of the art thermal sensors running, if there was anything outside with a heat source bigger than a rat, it would glow. Nothing.
Simon turned to look at Anya. Whatever it was, they would never know.
~Grace & J. Lindsey Marshall
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