Following Cloudy

Cloudy came to my room and woke me up with her hand over my mouth. I opened my eyes, and she had her finger to her lips: be quiet. I nodded and she took her hand away.

She’s got a whole language, hand-talk, and I know about a tenth of it. She used simple gestures: a rising hand, palm up, meant get up; a bent finger meant follow. I followed.

The corridor was bathed in red light, and a soft voice recited numbers, a litany I couldn’t follow. “—nine seven three zero A two one C,” and so forth.

I hadn’t dressed, and neither had she. We moved through the deserted corridor, both of us in our pyjamas. She knew where she was going, and I trusted her with my life.

Into the airlock. She cycled the door shut behind us.


“Shh,” she said, opening a locker, handing me a suit. We suited up, then touched helmets, for no-radio, sound-conduction chat.

“Ship’s hacked,” she said. “We have to get out.”

“Where’s everyone else?”

“Dead,” she said, and started to cycle the lock.

The door opened on stars.

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