The view of the black would’ve been breathtaking if she weren’t slowly suffocating in a suit that was supposed to keep her alive. Even the heads-up display was reduced to a quarter-inch piece of Lexan. No alarms told her that she wasn’t getting oxygen. A severe chill pressed against her, leeching the warmth from her bones. She could feel the X-shaped bruise forming across her torso. Erika closed her eyes and willed the sea of glowing emeralds, rubies, and sapphires from her sight.
No engineer worth her training couldn’t feel a tether’s gentle tug against her EVA suit. But, Erika thought, I’m not on an EVA.
The tug was there nonetheless. The thin material of her launch suit wasn’t designed for extended forays into the black of space. She tried to cross her arms to warm her torso, but her arms splayed akimbo. She had gotten used to the soft roll of Egeria-13, and like it was a religious pilgrimage, she had always found a portal to watch Sol rise during each of the three times it happened every Earth day. She was used to the microgravity produced by the spud’s nineteen kilometers a second, and now that it was gone, she felt an impending dread in the pit of her stomach.
Her tether tugged at her again. The lurch pained her bruises, and her arms floated into her field of vision for a moment. Her eyes welled with tears. Her left glove appeared fine, but her right glove was missing, as was everything below her forearm. Erika sucked in a breath. Cold radiated up her right arm and settled in her elbow.
Another tug, and another brief moment of her limbs coming into view. Some metal, scorched, and black against the white of her suit reflected ambient light. Stress was evident from the bubbled edges of the metal. Even in that moment of visibility, she could see that her suit terminated at the metal, brown and black residue ran up her suit arm.
What the hell is that tug? she thought as her arms floated into view once again.
Her left glove twitched. No, she thought, not my glove, my fingers.
She clenched her fist, and her left hand slowly responded. She could feel the thin material of her launch gloves against her knuckles.
When the tug happened again, she tried to memorize what she saw of her left arm. The white material formed around her arm, and it appeared to be the proper color. She rotated her elbow and felt the material shift against her forearm and elbow. The tugs were happening at regular intervals, and she braced herself against the impending pain.
She may have wanted to brace herself, but shock defeated her plans as her vision filled with debris from the Kerwood. Beyond that, she caught a glimpse Egeria-13. To her, it looked like a gray, partially deflated soccer ball. They were moving away from the rock, but in what direction?
Dark shapes danced at the edges of her vision, and she was tugged back once again.