I woke up as soon as we hit the atmosphere of the planet. Gravity had kicked back in which had in turn alerted my body to the fact that something was wrong. I wasn’t totally alert and coherent because of the drugs I had taken to knock me out for most of the ride. I had no idea how long I had been in cryo-sleep but it had to be less than twenty-five weeks because that was when my drugs stopped working and I regained most of my consciousness if left in cryo-sleep any longer.
I tried to get out of my cryo-locker but noticed that I had been strapped in like the rest of the passengers. I wasn’t supposed to be strapped in, but I guess the directions hadn’t been followed in this instance. I couldn’t get my mind and body to cooperate and untangle and unhook myself from the harness.
A few seconds after I started my struggle with the harness I felt the ship crash-land into the planet. I looked up in time to witness the people in the cryo-lockers across from me get sucked out of the passenger bay and then my cryo-locker pitched forward onto the floor. Less than a second later I felt my own cryo-locker start rolling over and then be sucked out and deposited on the planet as the ship continued carving its mark in the planet’s surface. I remember flipping over a few times before the darkness closed in on me.
I woke up gasping for air. I had no idea how long I had been knocked out for. Not that any of that mattered now because I was sealed inside my cryo-locker with an almost depleted supply of oxygen. I quickly fumbled trying to get myself out of the harness to then try to get my locker door open. It took me a few moments to get myself free of the harness but no matter how hard I punched, kicked, and shoved, the door wouldn’t open. And to top it all off my glasses had been knocked off my head in the crash and had probably been smashed. So, I was forced to spend the last few minutes of my life locked in a cryo-locker, completely blinded by the glare of the suns, and I was going to suffocate. I realized that I hadn’t even gotten a chance to tell anyone ‘goodbye’ before I left. God, there were so many things I had wanted to say to people before I died. So many things I wanted to do. I vaguely wondered if word would reach my family of my demise. And I wondered how they would handle it. I was so stupid…I had gotten a call saying that Riddick and Johns were spotted heading towards Ursa Luna using ghost lanes and I was immediately gone.
Black spots behind to dance around behind my eyelids and I laughed. I couldn’t believe that this was the way that I was finally going to die. However, just as I drew in the last of the oxygen in the locker a dark shadow fell across my locker, blocking the sun from my eyes.
“Melissa, Melissa!” I heard a distant voice yell. “Get her out of there!” the yelling continued. I didn’t bother to open my eyes. I felt intense heat the minute the blowtorch went to work on my locker. Suddenly, just as I was sliding away into complete darkness fresh oxygen was available to me and my body automatically responded by sucking in air. I sat up gasping, sucking in air as much as I could but it still wasn’t enough.
“Calm down. Relax. Breathe slowly and deeply,” a heavily British accented female voice washed over me. With my eyes closed I looked over at the voice.
“I’m fine,” I quietly told her after I had calmed myself down in a few precious seconds. I could feel the intensity of Jack’s gaze on me. “I’m fine,” I repeated as I turned to face Jack this time.
“What is wrong with your eyes? Did you get something in them? Did I get them with the torch?” the woman questioned.
“No. My eyes are just photosensitive. I am ok with normal light but this is too much light, too many suns,” I told her. “My glasses are crushed aren’t they?” I asked and I felt her move around me to find the glasses in the locker.
“Yeah. Both lenses are shattered. Perhaps we can help you…” she started and then trailed off.
“I got her Shazza. You can head back to Zeke and the others. Melissa and I will catch up. We are going to head further down the debris in hopes of finding our stuff,” Jack quickly told her.
“Ok Jack. Melissa, you are a very lucky girl. Jack was so worried about finding his sister; he was really freaking out that you were missing. Fortunately we found you in time...your cryo-locker was thrown pretty far from the others,” Shazza informed me. I smiled slightly and then nodded.
“That I am,“ I answered vaguely. I heard Shazza walk away and I didn’t move till I couldn’t hear her footsteps crunching on the sand any longer before I stood up completely out of the locker.
“So, I’m your older sister, huh?” I finally asked Jack.
“I needed a quick lie. It worked. It got Shazza’s interest instantly. Now why can’t you stand the sun? They were wicked dark glasses you had on in there, Faith,” Jack questioned.
“Don’t ever call me Faith again. On this trip, I’m Melissa. Everyone on this trip will know me as Melissa, stick with it,” I threatened her and then continued a little softer. “My eyes are photosensitive Jack. I need to find my bag. I have my goggles in there. They should still hopefully be intact in their case.”
“Where did your stuff get packed?”
“The hold with all the expensive shit. Paris something or the other had a shit load of sarcophaguses, etc. My stuff is in there,” I answered.
“Well then you are totally in luck. That cargo hold is the only one we’ve found intact. It landed right next to the main cabin.”
“How far from there are we?” I asked Jack.
“Not far. A hundred yards or so…your locker must have been one of the first to get pitched out…cause you landed so far from the ship’s main cabin,” Jack rambled.
“Ok. How about you lead me back to the main cargo hold then? I need to get out of this fucking sun so that I can see something…anything,” I suggested to her.
“Sounds like a good plan to me. Give me your hand,” Jack replied.
“No, I’ll just put my hand on your shoulder,” I replied as I reached out and she placed herself under my hand. I loosely gripped her shoulder, enough for her to lead me, but not enough to hurt her. “So…you are my little brother huh?” I asked and she laughed.
“You keep my secret and I’ll keep yours,” she replied.
“And what happens when yours is found out?”
“I’ll keep yours,” she replied instantly. I didn’t have any doubt that this little girl would be completely dedicated to keeping my identity secret.
“Good…onward Jack,” I responded lightly.