I woke up earlier than expected on that fateful day. I tried to move, but my limbs felt so heavy… Was the lack of food already taking its toll?
No, that wasn’t it. I hadn’t quite woken up enough to process anything visually, but it felt for all the world like something was… crushing me. Something warm, squishy, that smelled like sweat and dorito dust…
A half-awake Ishi shoved herself upright and put her sling back on as I gasped for air.
Ishi grumbled in vague assent and staggered out into the hallway. I pulled on another red turtleneck (why were there so many of those in my closet) and fixed my hair in the mirror.
If everything went according to plan, we would all meet in the cafeteria for one last search of the station. There wasn’t much more “plan” than that, but… with all of our minds working together, surely we could find a way to escape. Or something we could do, before anyone else gets hurt…
But nothing works out that nicely in real life, does it?
I had just left my room when a shriek, strained and terrified, shattered the early morning quiet.
I ran for the door to Sector 1 as fast as my spindly legs could carry me. Ishi barreled past me into the cafeteria, with her lime green lipstick still in hand. The place was empty, except for Vasundhara, who stood trembling in front of… the laundry room?
Ishi, of course, tried to go in. Whatever she saw past that doorway made her absolutely lose her shit.
Vasundhara shoved her back with an unexpected ferocity, guarding the doorway like a linebacker.
But she couldn’t get any more words out between her hyperventilating breaths. Instead, she slowly, hesitantly stepped to the side, still ready to spring into action if Ishi tried to push past her.
We looked inside the laundry room…
As the others crowded around the door, Ishi tried to force her way inside again. Out of options, Vasundhara finally resorted to pulling her into a mighty headlock.
DING DONG BING BONG! That dreaded alarm silenced them both. The only sound in the laundry room was the crackle of electricity as MONO-9000’s grating voice rang out from the speakers.
The finality of those words stole the fire out of Ishi’s eyes. She slumped out of Vasundhara’s grip.
I nodded weakly. There wasn’t any other way to put it.
The rest of the students charged in behind us, replacing the echoes of MONO-9000’s blaring announcement with panicked whispers and screams.
Yusra looked as if she was about to say something, but her mouth clamped shut. Instead, she pulled out her Electro ID and tapped at it furiously.
Right… MONO said something about that, didn’t it? I pulled mine out and found a new icon at the bottom of the screen…
Guga… really was dead, wasn’t she? I’d known it as soon as I looked in the room, but seeing it in those glowing red letters left no room for wishful thinking. Guga and Ping lay dead in front of me and I couldn’t…
Wait a minute… I started to speak, but Aoi beat me to the punch.
We whirled around to find MONO-9000 floating behind us.