24:1 In Good Hands

OUTER SPACE  |  2055

Dritt! My Suit! I can’t 01100010 01110010 01100101 01100001 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100001

“01010111 01101000 01100001 01110100 the hell happened?”

Bjoern opened his eyes to see Zhang, Major, and Pape all staring at him, especially Pape; the look on her face one of sheer terror. I couldn’t look that bad, could I? He thought. I mean, if I’m still alive … and nothing really hurts.

The last thing Bjoern remembered was being on the outside of the craft with the Earth majestically turning below. Something must have gone wrong. Really wrong.

He moved to sit up where he could better see his crewmates and not feel like a charity case and found himself restrained by several wide nylon straps. I’m all right, he wanted to say—to scream—but found that he couldn’t quite manage it.

“It’s all right, Bjoern,” Zhang stepped forward. “There has been an accident. You may find it hard to move or communicate right now, but I’m confident that will pass.”

Major shot the doctor a look that sat right in the sweet spot between it had fucking better and I can’t believe this is happening.

Bjoern opened his mouth and willed the words to return from wherever they were hiding deep inside. He felt an overwhelming need to tell his friends, I am fine!

“01001001 00100000 01100001 01101101 00100000 01100110 01101001 01101110 01100101 00100001” Bjoern unloaded with a blast of digitized noise that caused Pape to cry out, cross herself, and flee the room. Zhang and Major simply looked at each other with an animosity that frightened Bjoern more than the alien sounds coming from his own mouth.

“I’m glad you are still with us, Ancher,” Major finally stopped psychically punching his medical officer and approached the side of the bed. “You rest up. I have to go finalize our departure. I’m sure you’re in … ” Major turned to try giving Zhang a brain aneurysm with his mind one last shake. “Good hands.”

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