26 Jul Chapter 31: Die
Two thoughts cross my mind: first that I’m going to die, and second that skydiving is kind of fun. I’m falling with my back towards the ground—I can feel the air make my cheeks flap and flutter. The distance between me and the underside of the barges above grows quickly.
I look over and see that all around me black pipes extend into the nothingness. I twist my body and try to face downwards but the force of the air rushing into my eyes is too great. I catch the edge of a dark shape in my vision as I fly past but can’t make out what it is. It happens again and I can see the second one better: pieces of torn netting dangling between two of the pipes.
A strange calm settles over me. Maybe it’s endorphins from this new experience, or maybe it’s shock. Whatever it is I decide that this is a pretty kick-ass way to die.
Pain shoots through my knee and hand as I’m jerked upwards hard. My head snaps back and I feel rope around my legs and arms. I realize I’ve gotten tangled in one of the nets, which I discover are made from some kind of elastic. The rope stretches to its furthest point and suddenly I’m not falling at all. That doesn’t last long as I’m now being shot upwards. It occurs to me that I don’t want to become untangled once I reach the top of the parabola, so I grab on to the net as best I can. I get a second of weightlessness and then I’m falling again. I take in the scene as I bounce up and down, a little less each time.
Below me I see a Bavul cargo shuttle docked at a service platform that’s connected to the black pipes. Tubes coming off the pipes attach via valves to a few squat round canisters. Then I see something I wish I hadn’t: Oliot soldiers are hastily transferring canisters from the platform into the shuttle. I look behind me and see more shuttles docked at other platforms. I spin my head around and discover it’s the same in every direction: platforms, shuttles and Oliot.
Fuck fuck fuck. What are the Oliot doing with Bavul cargo haulers? I can’t imagine the Bavul would willingly let the Oliot use this many of them. But that could only mean—
I hear shouts coming from the platform. One of the soldiers has spotted me and is pointing in my direction. An officer now comes over; it doesn’t take him long to spot me too. The officer makes motions in my direction and soldiers start moving about. I hear another officer yell through a bullhorn; he’s telling the soldiers to pick up the pace because the barge sabotage has already begun. I realize that the Oliot must have blown the cables to the barges to cover up whatever they’re doing down here.
Shit shit shit. I don’t see a way out of this. The net I’m tangled in is suspended from two of the pipes—can I pull myself up one of the ropes? No, they’re too thin to get a good hold on. What if I cut the—oh, right, I don’t have a knife.
Something starts making a motorized noise. I look over and see that a service crane is unfolding from the platform. There are two soldiers in the metal basket at the end of the jointed crane arm. One of them is maneuvering it towards me. I consider trying to untangle myself so I can drop to my death, but the crane is already underneath my feet.
The metal basket below me rises until I’m almost standing in it. They cut me out of the ropes, after which one of the soldiers holds my arms as the other takes a syringe out of a black case. I try to get away from the syringe but the man behind me holds tight. The needle is inserted in my arm and I see the liquid drain out of the clear cylinder.
Before I lose consciousness I think to myself that this day is really sucking so far.