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Mayday

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You’re tired. It’s been a long day of nothing, and exhaustion rakes your frame, making it hard for you to move or breathe or think.

If you weren’t so tired, you’d pretend to joke about it with Hera, ask her if she’s there and ask if you were dying. It certainly feels like it, as if someone came and crushed your heart right in your chest, grinding the beating to a halt but leaving the feelings perfectly in tact.

Hera’s not there, anyways. Pretending only goes so far.

Sometimes, Hera would try and change the temperature. Then it always got too cold, and they had to beg her to turn it back up, to remind her that they couldn’t function in temperatures that low.

You’re cold. It’s cold here, and you aren’t quite sure where here is but you wish you had a jacket because it’s freezing, really, and with the temperature of the Hephaestus being held at at a steady 50 degrees Fahrenheit, cold may mean twenty or negative ten, but either way you’re freezing.

You miss her. Maybe you shouldn’t miss her this much, but you does, and it hurts. Hurts more then your sore nailbeds, more than you aching lungs.

Another clump of your hair has fallen out. You sigh.

You think about the Commander. You miss her, too, and you wonder when that happened. She— Minkowski, that is, used to be— well. You two weren’t the average duo, to say the least, and you can tell you’re really starting to lose it, because you couldn’t think of a single reference to compare the pair of you to except for Tom and Jerry, except that wasn’t right. Not anymore.

The cryo-pod glares at you from its corner in the ship, and you shudder at the thought of what you have to do. Again. And again. And again.

You’re pretty sure your lungs are still half-frozen from last time.

Lovelace’s voice scolds you for being a quitter, for not taking advantage of the opportunities she built into the shuttle, but she’s also the one that strapped the bomb to it in the first place, so you don’t think you have to listen to her anymore.

You give yourself five minutes.

One. Regroup. Get some air. Brush off your hair, which continues to fall out of your scalp, flaking all around you with every move you make. Try to regain feeling in your toes.

Two. Check over the equipment. Boost the engines slightly to the left, and make sure life support’s still functioning. Send out a distress hail. Try to regain feeling in your toes.

Three. Take a minute. Rest. God knows how much you needs it. Minkowski’s in your ear, telling you to stay strong.

Four. You take another goddamned minute, because you still can’t breathe properly. Hera needs you, because really, what kind of crappy last words were those? What happened to the hour-long, terrible poems you planned to write? You need to pull yourself together, because she’s depending on you.

Five. You send out another distress signal, but you’re just procrastinating on what you know you have to do.

Don’t be a baby, Lovelace tells you. Do what you need to survive, because you have no other option.

Six. You lock yourself in the cryo-pod.

Seven. It’s three days later.

You give yourself five minutes.

It’s cold.