A siren blared.
“Not again,” Andrei huffed with each step, “not again.”
Outside, someone had just turned the last remaining defence turret of the makeshift asteroid colony Ventus into space junk.
“Somone get to the communication array” Andrei yelled as he made his way across the scaffolding to the bridge. “Someone get a message out to the fleet. Someone find Bess and bring her to the hanger.”
Andrei burst through the door. His tattered clothes, grease stained and ripped, ran ragged on the ground. He felt around the dimly lit bridge for some kind of readout, something that would get his nerves down, get his senses in order. A debris covered terminal blinked on as he slammed open a switch. "Signals inbound," it read, over and over. Andrei trotted towards the hangers, “this is different,” he huffed over and over, “this is different.”
Storage was empty, the pirates made sure of that, the hangers were empty, the Vasari had made sure of that, the colony was empty, the Advent made sure of that, only Andrei and a few good hands remained aboard the backwater colony. A slew of pirate raids on the surrounding trading posts had made re-supply almost impossible for the colonists. They had little hope left, and time was quickly running out.
Andrei ran back across the scaffolding and into the hanger. Crews hurried about in the suspended red dust of the work floor. A siren was blaring over the hanger door. Their last hope for survival, a retrofitted and haphazardly made trading vessel, was just minutes away from completion.
“Where’s Bess?” Andrei yelled over the din “Did anyone bring her down?” He grabbed a crewman, “Where’s Bess?”
“Sorry she’s not here,” he yelled back, “she’s probably still in quarters.”
“Why didn’t anyone bring her up? Get her and I’ll,” the siren stopped. Everyone looked. Silence, utter silence filled the hanger.
The ceiling ripped open.
Crewmen flew up into the void, the makeshift vessel lifted from its moorings with a silent groan and was sucked into space. Andrei held onto a loose piece of welding. The crewman held onto his ragged pant leg. The seams were slowly ripping, and Andrei's hands were quickly numbing. He kicked his foot into the crewman’s face. He looked away as the pant leg ripped and the scream faded into space.
Past the sealed hanger doors, Andrei slumped down onto the floor. Bits of debris fell from the ceiling and panels came loose all around him. This was a nightmare, just a nightmare, he’d wake up in his cot, he’d see Bess, and he'd go home, away from all this. He pulled what remained of his uniform around him. It was cold sitting on the floor.
Something nuzzled into his side. He looked up. “Ah, Bess. Where have you been?” The French bulldog’s big brown eyes looked up into his. A light appeared in the ceiling. “This is all just a dream. Don’t worry Bess, we’re going home.”
Ventus went silent.