GENRE: YA sci-fi
Inching forward on my stomach, I craned my neck into the darkness of the vent. Pollen dust filled my nose and my hands faltered in the dim light. I wasn’t designed for this. For life on the Asteris. For life on Earth either. I was designed for another planet entirely.
One I’d never see.
I paused, flicking my lavender-green light against the void. All along the sidewalls, it flared back at me, tracing the impurities in the ductwork in spidery streaks of yellow and blue. Soon they’d grow into cracks, then fissures: a lacy web out of which the air would seep. Away from the ship’s cycling system.
But air wasn’t the resource I was here for. My charges were much less predictable.
I dragged myself onward. Wrist, forearm, shove; wrist, forearm, shove; every movement calculated and heavy against the press of the walls. The air was stale with the scent of over-clocked computers and fried autorations. Humid and oppressive. Someday, chasing after these stray beehives would be the death of me.
I adjusted my sensor glove, the webbing dark against the dull gray sheen of my outstretched hand. Beyond it, past the safe semicircle of lilac glow, a blackness so long I couldn’t see its end. I double checked my light. If something went wrong and– my throat hitched. I pushed out a slow, measured breath. Calm. I could do this. Jesry had done it, and he was seventy years old.
Only Jesry hadn’t had any reason to be afraid of the dark.