AQ – 04 – First Food, Air Second

Jonathan awoke again after passing out in space again.  This was beginning to be a bit ridiculous.  His stomach ached with hunger even more than his feet burned with cold.  He figured that it was a good thing that his feet felt any pain at all.  He had little experience with frost bite, but suspected that if the feeling had been completely gone from his feet that would be much more serious.  His breathing was back to normal, but he had a headache taking form.

He reached out of the slit he had made and grabbed his left mittened hand with his right exposed hand and pulled his left hand out of the mitten. Then with both hands he tugged at the opening he had made.  He had no idea what had happened to his sharp object.  He might have dropped it in his space suit sack or he might have dropped it on the floor and then floated across this bay for 10 minutes, 40 minutes or 6 hours.

He did feel refreshed and suspected he had slept for at least a few hours.  He had no way of telling time.  They had taken stock before his walk and none of them had a watch, there were no timers, nothing to help them mark the passage of time.  As a result, the others really had no way of knowing if he had been successful.

They had planned to come out of the back room after 10 minutes and attempt to watch his progress.  However, they could not be certain if they would even be able to see him at 130 meters, nor if they could see him enter or not.  They would hope and try and see how it went.  If he did not return in what they estimated to be 1 day, they would start on a second suit and send someone else.

He managed to wiggle back out of the suit.  He had done a little more damage than anyone had anticipated.  That could be problematic if there were no real space suits here on the bridge.  Fortunately, this was indeed a bridge!

Some of the more negative terrorists had speculated that this might just be an engine room compartment or empty storage or nothing at all.  Jonathan had not felt this way, had gambled with his life that it wasn't, but had admitted inwardly that it was a possibility.  His gut had told him otherwise for reasons he could not explain with facts and he had been right.

Regardless, that was the past and he needed to get his shit together now.  The first thing he needed to figure out was whether or not he could ditch the Al Qaeda bastards, kill them, maroon them in space something.  He had been stuck with them for too many years, first as a hostage and captive and then as an enemy non combatant in prison.  He had absolutely had it with these bastards.  He wanted his revenge but now that he was separated from them he figured he would happily settle for dumping the bastards in a vacuum or letting them starve to death if he could.

He started moving about the room.  The first thing he realized was that this was much smaller than the other compartments, designed for a crew of probably three or four people at most.  He also noticed that there were no other exits from this area, no other modules further down the line to move to or occupy.

He found a galley area, really more of a system of  cupboards and compartments.  He found a silvery looking bag with something lumpy inside.  It was labeled chicken and rice.  He ripped it open and a wide plastic tube popped out.  He looked at an instruction image on the side of the package, stuck the tube in his mouth and started squeezing  chicken and rice through the tube and into his mouth.  He almost inhaled it and the bag was empty in less than a minute.  It was slightly lumpy with chunks of chicken, but he only knew this from a fragment of a memory of the food going down his throat.  He could barely recall tasting it.

Suddenly he felt very tired as his digestion system kicked in to do work that it had not done in god knows how long. He took a deep breath of air and focused on staying awake.  He needed to act now, think and sleep later if he was going to survive this.  He started looking around for a weapon.  The galley surprisingly didn't have anything.

That probably made sense actually as sharp dangerous items in space were probably not wise under normal conditions.  NASA hadn't thought about defending their astronauts from international terrorists.

He moved to another area, that looked more like a lab mixed with an engineering shop.  This area had a number of compartments with tools and other items.  He found a large wrench.  It felt like it was made out of air, but looked like a special alloy.  He thought he could wield it as a club.  He took a hard swing with it and accidentally spun himself around.

It took him a half minute to stop spinning and grab something.  "Note to self, don't swing unless you can definitely hit something."  He moved to another compartment and hit pay dirt.  A space suit but no helmet was shrink wrapped and attached to a slide out drawer.  It was more of an ironing board than a drawer, like a big mortuary slab or something.

He went to the a similar drawer and punched the button. Again, the feet came out first and the helmet, 'There was a helmet!' It came out last.

He had no idea how much time he had until the next person might try to make the walk.  He wasted no more time and put the suit on.  He had little difficulty as he had seen this done many times before both in school and years earlier at space camp.  This suit was very different from those bulky old government surplus suits he had donned as a teen ager, but not all that different.

He didn't put the helmet on, just hooked it to a latch on the wall.  He moved back to the door and looked out the window.  He could see the light at the other side still lit but no Al Qaeda dude moving hand over hand.

He found a light switch on the wall in the same position as the one in the previous compartment.  He toggled it, and an exterior light on this side lit up.  This light was significantly more powerful.

In fact it must activate several lights not just one.  He could now see the extent of the spaceship beyond or behind the storage/sleeping compartments.  It was massive.  If the distance he had traveled was 130 meters, the storage compartment and sleeping compartment had to be 40 meters and beyond that there was more structure and things that looked like rockets and pods and tanks that went at least another 400 meters.

Beyond that there was a single tube extending yet another 200-400 meters.  When he saw this he understood how they had traveled.  It was an ion drive, a slow accelerating mode of travel that incrementally sped a rocket up for years and years and years.  This one did not seem to be engaged any longer which indicated that they were no longer accelerating.

Ok. He had a space suit. He had a weapon. He had a general, text book understanding of the ship itself.  Time to get some real intelligence.  There were no Al Qaeda guys on their way, and he had turned on the exterior light which would signal them that he had indeed made it.    He hoped that would buy him more time.  At minimum he had about 23 minutes before one of them could make the journey, but if he checked regularly he could get more done.

He vaguely remembered how to communicate with morse code, but doubted the Al Qaeda guys would know it, let alone morse code in English.  He double checked the port hole again and resumed his search.

He moved back to a seating area in front of a massive bank of buttons, knobs, keyboards, screens and more.    Most of the switches seemed to be powered down, but he rapidly zeroed in on several indicators of the life support systems.  One of those indicated the oxygen system for the sleeping compartment.  He could shut off all their oxygen right now!

But to do that he might have to deplete the stores of valuable oxygen he would need to survive himself.  It was an option, but not a good one, yet.  He needed to find something that would show him just how much oxygen was stored.  He attempted to turn on one terminal but no luck.

He moved to another and as he was trying to power it up the first awoke from hibernation in a very slow booting process.  No wonder this system had been sleeping for years, maybe decades.  He didn't know how long he had been looking at the console so he got up and moved back to the port hole.

A light was flashing on and off on the other side, but no Al Qaeda guys were in movement.  He signaled back by turning his light off and on twice.  There was a responding two light flash on the other side.  He flashed 3 more times and so did they.  Everyone now knew that it was not random, that they were indeed communicating they just weren't sharing anything useful.

He figured there was nothing he could do just yet, the key was still the terminals.  He now had another 23 minutes minimum.  He started counting out loud as he moved back to the console.  As he reached 85, 86, 87, he managed to work his way in the seat and then stopped counting.

There was a clock on the screen, but he couldn't read it.  His mouth dropped open as he looked at the calendar date next to the time.  It said that the year was 2071.  He had been asleep for almost 50 years.  Everyone he had known would be fifty years older, his parents would probably be dead unless medical science had made a ton of progress in the last fifty years.  It was possible, but he was still too stunned to accept it really.

Suddenly he felt an overwhelming amount of loss as if he had just lost everyone he had ever know or loved.  This actually gave him comfort like an old favorite pillow.  After years in captivity, he understood how to cope with loss.

Finally, he focused on the clock.  It was 0313:43.52.  He noted to himself that he had probably 'spaced out' for at least 2 minutes so that meant he had a minimum of about 19 minutes before Al Qaeda came knocking at his door.  He started exploring the system.  He found a systems status of the ship and noted that this included a diagram of the entire ship.  All doors were labeled with indicators that they were 'Closed'.

He didn't have to get up to monitor the porthole any longer.  He went a few menus deeper and found some Oxygen tank indicators.  It listed an amount of Oxygen and Nitrogen, but the amounts didn't mean anything to him in terms of how much air might be there for 1 or 73 men.

Next, he looked up some information on the ships inventory.    Food: 343 MRDs (Meals Ready to Drink)  That was an old joke from space camp.  The acronym was MRD, but he had no idea what it really stood for.

Still it sure didn't take a rocket scientist to calculate that 343 meals for 72 hardened terrorists and 1 rocket scientist would not sustain anyone for long, possibly 4-7 days at the most and that was if they could also get more nutrition out of the IV drip.  They had to find more food, get home faster or someone had to die and die damn fast.  Shit he might end up having to eat some of those bastards if he wasn't careful.

A section of the screen started flashing red.  He touched the screen and the schematic of the ship re-appeared and showed that the Al Qaeda porthole had opened up.  They were sending a follow on person his way.  The time was ticking down, he needed to think fast.  He noticed that the Oxygen reserves had just decreased by 2%.  That must relate to the Oxygen that had been depleted when the door in the other chamber had been opened a second time.  Two percent was huge.  That meant that the door could only be opened 49 more times before they were out of air.  It would definitely not be possible for all of the Al Qaeda guys to walk this way.

It also gave him a slight impression of how much air they might have.  That entire sleeping room could hold 2% of their Oxygen, which was only a portion of the air mixture.  That room could keep 73 men alive and breathing for some amount of time.  If he estimated that it was 1 day, then that room held 73 days of air for 1 man x 49 meant 3,577 days approximately and if he was being very hopeful.  If it only held 1 hour of air then that would only be 149 days of air for one person.

Guppy sips of air.  Another space camp joke came back to him and he smiled.

He noticed a touch panel that said video monitor exterior that was now blinking.  This must be intelligent enough to know that a person was moving between compartments.  he hit the panel on the screen and a video lit up of a gray bag moving along the hand holds awkwardly like a blob.

Actually, it looked like two sacks sewn together.  They must have found a way to put more than 1 person into a bag, or maybe 1 person with multiple heaters or more air?

He watched for a few more seconds and guessed that there had to be two people.  It seemed like there were three hands in play.  2 Hands to hold on and another reaching forward.  They were using a second person as a pair of back up hands, a human tether.

Maybe they were strapped together back to back with the heating systems on their chests.  It would make sense and probably keep them warmer.  But how would they make that last awkward leap of faith that Jonathan had had to make?

With two people it wouldn't be possible.  He noted on the panel that he could keep the door locked electronically.  He could essentially try to kill them.  But he did not know if they might have enough air to go back?

He could don his helmet and meet them in space combat?  Too risky.  If he let them in, he would be out numbered.  They might be able to coerce him a bit, or believe that they could.  That's probably what they thought and that's why they had done this.  He suspected Osama himself was one of the two.  There was no food on the other side, he probably didn't have much to lose in venturing the walk.  More time starving increased the chances of organ failure.

He could let them in, show them the numbers and try to convince them to kill the others.  His odds of survival would be drastically improved if things changed from 72 against 1 to 2 against 1.  Still not great, but better.

But what if Osama wasn't with these two?  In that case, these would not be decision makers, they would not be able to give the OK and even more oxygen would be depleted sending people back and forth to communicate...  He had gambled with his own life several times in the last few hours and days, he decided to gamble again now.  He would kill them.

He wasn't yet in a position to make strategic moves.  He had to show the bastards that he could kill them and was at least as crazy as the craziest of them.  He had to earn their respect in some form otherwise nothing would work in the future.

He hit the electronic lock on the exterior door.  He also hit the exterior lock on the door on their side!  Why hadn't he seen or thought of that before!?!

 Continue to Next Chapter - ... Coming Soon

AQ – 03 – Clearing Your Head Before a Space Walk

Jonathan was over seeing the production line as ten former members of Al Qaeda were busy sewing.  They were working to create essentially a space suit.  It was extremely ad hoc and currently their primary goal was to insulate it as thoroughly as possible.

If they could make this work, Jonathan would be zipped into a space suit that had no legs.  It would look like a large air tight sleeping bag with two arms and no head.  The material was translucent and this would be the only aid to visibility.

He would have to get in the suit and go hand over hand in the dark to the opposite side and then lever open the door. He would then have to get the distant air lock open, the the module powered up, oxygen flowing and heat working.  This all had to happen in less than twenty-three minutes.

They had not found any space suits, however they had found several emergency oxygen systems, which they were able to cannibalize.  They had taken liners from the deep sleep tanks to create the space suit sleeping bag, iv needles used for sewing with the threat run all the way through the needle and folded over.  The first aid kit had yielded a form of space super glue which they were then administering to the thread lines to further seal the seam.

The sleep liners had tubes designed to maintain heat and circulation.  It was somewhat difficult to remove the actual heater itself and rig it to a battery.  There were some relatively sharp and jagged edges on the heater and these had been covered in tape to prevent them from scraping the suit bag and cutting a hole in the suit.

For the last day and a half Jonathan had practiced breathing through the spare emergency systems and walking hand over hand from what he thought of as the ceiling for three hundred forty paces.  He could do it in as little as seven minutes, but that used up an excessive amount of air, leaving him with only another three minutes of air.  If he forced himself to go slower, he could complete the movement in fourteen minutes and have nine to ten minutes of air left.

The big problem was the size of the oxygen system.  It was huge and awkward.  He would have liked to simply pack a couple extras to use when he got to the other side, but they were too large and awkward.  One would fit in the suit and that was it.  He could drag or trail another on a tether, but there was no telling what that might get tangled in as he went out the door or once outside.  With his limited visibility, lack of gloves and imperfect suit it was too big a risk. Bad enough that he had no safety tether to keep him secured to the space ship.

This was really a do or die situation.  He needed to go today.  He was rapidly losing energy.  They had each reconnected themselves to intravenous tubes, but the solution was too thin. It was designed for a person in hibernation not a person awake, active and metabolizing nutrients at a normal rate.

He watched as the final stitching on the arm was glued into place, and then moved back to the portal.

“Give me ten minutes and then I will go,” he said.  He wanted one last look at the framework.  He wanted to capture the most accurate visualization that he could before he went out into the dark.  He could just barely see the ship on the other side.  Once outside though his own body would block the little bit of light and he would move further and further into darkness, shading the only light that existed this far out in space.

He could not tell where they were in space.  The port hole had no view of the sun, any planets or anything other than stars.  In some ways he felt, hoped and guessed that this was good.  If for example the space ship were in a degenerating orbit heading towards the sun, going out the portal door in a less than adequate space suit could mean sudden searing death.  In reality they had no idea if they were heading on the outward bound part of the trip around the solar system or returning from it, or some other random condition.  This space walk was going to be a huge gamble, but they didn’t have much of a choice.  Die slow or die fast, but slow was just about as fast as fast and fast wasn’t that much faster than slow.

He stared at the handholds. He counted each of them, imagining grabbing them one hand at a time.  One sack like mitten hold at a time.

“Are you ready?” Osama had come up from behind him.

The hairs stood up on the back of Jonathan’s neck.  He almost felt like Osama was trying to sweet talk him.  They were all horny as hell from being in deep sleep for however long and their hormones were out of control.  Jonathan realized that he had accounted for everything that could be controlled or practiced but he hadn’t done anything about his hormones.

“Not quite.  I need an extra five minutes and I need your help.  Follow me.”

Jonathan hand walked past Osama and headed for the back module.  Osama followed.

After they entered, Jonathan shut the door, but did not engage the airlock.  The other Al Qaeda members would soon move into this space to await Jonathan’s all clear.  When Jonathan went out the air lock the oxygen from the hibernation cargo area would be gone and everyone else had to remain in the last area with air in it.

“I almost went out on the space walk without preparing properly.  If I had gone, we would all be dead.  I neglected one critical thing in my preparation and I need to fix that now.” Jonathan said.

“What did you neglect?” Osama asked.

“I almost went out without clearing my head.  I’m not thinking entirely clearly due to the build up of hormones. I’m no doctor, but I’d have to guess that we have been asleep for at least ten years.  I’ve got to clear the pipes, clear my mind and there is only one way to do that if I am to be mentally sharp out there.” Jonathan said as he allowed himself to drift towards Osama.  “You are going to have to help me with this.”

With those last words, Jonathan saw fear in Osama’s eyes for the first time.  Jonathan didn’t give a fuck at this point, but Osama sure was going to, and he reached out grasped Osama’s shoulder and pushed Osama’s head down towards Jonathan’s bulging unitard.

Ten minutes later Jonathan felt a whole lot better.  They emerged from the compartment and Jonathan climbed into space suit sleeping bag.  The remaining members of Al Qaeda sewed him in the final bit and glued the seams.  They waited three minutes for the glue to dry and then moved him towards the lock.

He told them, “I will count to one hundred fifty and then open the lock. You need to be in the other room before that happens.  I will not be able to see you.”

To emphasize his point, he started counting, “One, two, three…”

He could hear noises and grunts of encouragement as they shuffled away from him.  He interrupted his count at forty-five to laugh at the memory of the looks on the faces of the men as he and Osama came out of the room.  One of them had noticed that  Jonathan no longer had a boner.  Without a word said, the knowledge seemed to pass from man to man, each still stuck with their own out of control hormones unchecked by the aid of the leader of Al Qaeda, who himself looked slightly better nourished than he had twelve minutes earlier.

He resumed his count, and even  sped up a bit.  He did need Al Qaeda to survive this trip, but he wasn’t above being a little reckless with their fate.  He had not entirely committed to not killing them all immediately as opposed to totally screwing them over first.

Finally, he said, “one hundred thirty-nine, one hundred forty… Ah Fuck it.” And opened the air lock.

Air sucked out of the pressurized room and pulled at him a bit, but he held steady.  It didn’t take long and then he was out the door.  He turned briefly to shut the door and re-initiate the lock.  Then reached out for his first hand hold.  It was about 6 inches past his reach.

“Shit” he mumbled and then checked himself so as not to increase his heart rate.

He simply pushed off and up. He was in free floating space for less than a second before his hand came in  contact with the bar, but instead of grabbing it.  His hand slipped off.

He flung his other hand at it and his first hand too and manage to grasp both hands around the bar together holding his own hands.

These bars were cold and slippery through the suit mittens!

He calmed himself down and focused on getting his bearings back again.

He took a few seconds to learn how to secure his hand to the bar.  It was cold but not impossible.

He reached out to proceed and his hand hit a wall.

“Shit” he said.  He had gotten turned around during the fumbling around.

He stopped, took another deep breath and started out going the right way.

He was moving at a decent and regular pace.  He had at least thirty-three more bars to go.  His hands were moving but were starting to feel numb.  He could not feel his toes nor feet at all.  There was no gauge for the oxygen tank.  He had no idea how much time had gone by.  He simply kept moving. Three times he had lost his grip and had to stop, pull himself up one handed and try again.

He had two hand holds to go, reached out and hit his hand against another wall.  He was there!

He couldn’t stop himself from taking a big breath.  He visualized where the lock should be.  He reached  out and it wasn’t there.  He remembered that when he first reached up he could not reach the bars from the other door.  Maybe the lever here was also just out of reach.  He was almost completely in the dark now and couldn’t see anything through the opaque lining of the bag.

He kept reaching and fumbling and came up with nothing.  He was almost in a panic when he felt a bit of the door jam. That brought him back.  He traced it up until he found the corner of the door.  That was  the corner on the right and the handle for the air lock was on the right.  He reached down but could not feel it.  He tried to flex his body up so that his feet might scrape the area where the lock handle was. His feet were far too numb though to feel anything.

His feet did kick something though as his body flexed too far and went way to the right.  He remember that there was a bar that ran parallel to the door about two feet to the right of it.  He had felt it or kicked it with his feet.  The bar did not extend up high enough to be in reaching distance.

He didn’t even think at the point just acted as  he lunged for the bar.  His right hand actually slid flat along the wall and beneath the bar wedging his hand with the back of the hand against the bar.  Unfortunately he was physically moving too fast and his body wrenched further and his hand caught in the bar stopped him.

It hurt like hell has his hand twisted too far.  It didn’t feel broken, but something was not right.  He screamed but had the presence of mind to grab the bar with his left hand.

He took a deep breath and pulled his injured hand out.  He could flex his fingers but didn’t trust putting much weight or force on the hand.

In space not a lot of force was needed.  He switched hands and gripped the bar with his right hand now.  He felt around with his left and after what felt like five minutes found the air lock lever.  He pulled it out and twisted it clock wise.  He could hear a clunk and the door popped outward and slid away from him.

The door was open!

He pulled himself up and in, which was extremely awkward. He inched his way up the door jam and found the lever to close the door from the inside.  He twisted it and pushed it in and the door started to shut, lights came to life.  He could just make out the instructions to initiate oxygen and start the life support system.  He opened the panel, twisted the nob for oxygen and punched the button for the other systems.

He let go then and floated into the room while pulling his arms out of the sleeping bag arms.  He reached down to his unitard and pulled out a metal fragment from one of the sleeping chambers.  He then waited and breathed slowly.  He did not know how long it would take for oxygen to flow nor for the heat to kick in.  Eventually he started to feel sleepy and realized that he was running out of air in his space suit bag.  He was breathing in a panting way, very shallow and relatively quick.

With the last of his energy, he sliced through the inner three bags.  He couldn’t quite get through the final bag at first, then managed to cut a slid up as high as his chin before he blacked out.

Continue to Next Chapter - AQ – 04 – First Food, Air Second

AQ – 02 – Old Enemies become New Friends

Jonathan’s eyes fluttered open.  His head was pounding and the cotton mouth had returned, but it had a metal taste to it now, a taste of iron.

He licked his lips and realized that there was dried blood on his lips.

“Greetings, Let us try this again,” said the voice of Osama Bin Laden floating in the air 5 feet away.

Jonathan’s brain was not cloudy any longer.  He smiled at the gangly old man and said, “Yes, let’s do that.  You can start by untying my arms and legs.”

Jonathan was strapped to what was a wall from his current perspective.  It could just as easily be a ceiling or floor, but it didn’t matter when space was relative, and Jonathan new one thing for certain.  He was in space and this sorry piece of shit in front of him needed his help more than Jonathan needed Osama’s in return.

The old man lightly walked himself hand over hand towards Jonathan.  He smirked in an ironic way that only a few reporters had ever witnessed and then unlatched the Velcro restraints that had Jonathan’s arms pinned down.  Osama glanced down for just a second towards the chest and leg restraints and then looked away with a  blush on his face and proceeded to retreat in an even more awkward hand over hand movement keeping his eyes locked on Jonathan.

Jonathan removed the chest strap himself and chuckled as he attempted to bend down and unlatch his own legs.  He too was wearing one of the ridiculous unitards and still had a fucking hard on as did Osama now that he thought about it.

“I take it that despite yourself, you aren’t exactly happy to see me?” Jonathan joked as he pointed at Osama’s engorged embarrassment.

“No and Yes.  It would seem we are all inflicted with this curse after awaking from deep sleep.  However, I am somewhat pleased to have someone of your skills present under the circumstances.  We have a most pressing problem.”

“No shit, we are stuck in space together, and I am the only rocket scientist on board.”

“Yes, and we are starving.”

As Osama said that, Jonathan recognized his own pangs of hunger.  He felt as if he had just run a marathon on fumes and desperately needed to refuel.

“We have searched the ship to the extent that is safe and we can find no sources of food other than the IV drips that seem to have ceased to function when we came out of stasis.”

Jonathan immediately understood the problem.  They were not supposed to be awake.  They were supposed to remain in stasis until their ship was retrieved out of Earth orbit.  Somehow they must have awoken prematurely or maybe Earth had simply failed to retrieve them and some fail safe system had kicked in and woken them up.

“Why should I help you or any of your crazy jihadist buddies.  The last time I was forced to help assholes like you, I ended up in prison for twenty years and then dumped into space after that.  Hell for all I know, if I help you, you might try and use this space ship as a weapon against the Earth.”  Jonathan’s anger had increased with every word.  After so many years in prison, he was not against the notion of killing himself.  He had definitely entertained the idea many times and worked through several different ways to do it, given half the opportunity.  Unfortunately, until now, that opportunity had not manifested.

“You are not a fool and we share something in common.” Osama said.

Jonathan snorted.

Osama continued, “We are survivors.  You survived in Pakistani custody for three years and in Guantanamo for twenty.  You were tortured by the Pakistanis, and by your own people.  You may not wish your people any harm, but you know how to survive.  I too know how to survive.”

Jonathan’s stomach rumbled audibly.  He nodded and said, “Let’s see what we have.  For now.”

Osama floated back a foot or two and gestured two his right.  Jonathan pushed off the wall and grabbed the handholds and started to proceed into the next compartment which lighted as he entered.

It was a massive cargo hold with rows and rows of oval tubes larger than a man.

It took them about five minutes to navigate to the end of this hold and this brought them to a door.  The door had a small rectangular port hole and warning language near the door.

It was an air lock.  Jonathan approached the window and looked out into starry blackness.  He looked at the door again and noticed a blue lever labeled hatch lighting.  He flipped the switch and looked back out the port hole.

Over one hundred meters away along a frame like structure of tubes and cables, Jonathan could make out what had to be the primary compartment for navigation.  This would have been the structure for the pilot that had initially launched the ship.  The void in between was the space previously occupied by the shuttle that the pilot had likely departed the ship within.

To get to the main controls of the ship, they would have to find a way to navigate one hundred meters of vacuum, absolute zero temperatures and god knows what type of radiation, and they needed to do this within just a few days or die of starvation.

Jonathan realized that before him lay the opportunity to end his own torture, sabotage whatever plans Osama had started to conceive and more.  All he had to do, was to release the air lock.  He looked down at the safety cover over the release lever.  He started to reach for it, and stopped.

If worse came to worse, there would be other ways to kills these mother fuckers.  Sucking the air and the life out of them, refreezing them in outer space, that was too easy.  He would not make martyrs out of these assholes.  He would make them pay first.

Continue to Next Chapter - AQ – 03 – Clearing Your Head Before a Space Walk

AQ – 01 – Jonathan Awakes

“OoooOOOOOHHHHH, whoa!” This had to be the worst hangover Jonathan Seymour had ever had.  His tongue had a foul taste to it that crossed the boundary of cotton mouth full on into chewing on grains of the Sahara encased on a bicycle tire tube.  His eyes ached from the light coming straight through his closed eye lids.  He realized that his eyelids were indeed closed as he could very distinctly see veins in the skin.  Wait, that didn’t make since…

That’s when he gagged.  Oh my god did that hurt, he coughed but his throat constricted around more of the same Sahara sand painted tire tube.  He retched and retched and the sand coated tube started to move just a fraction.  Jonathan realized he was going to choke to death.  He was choking on his own tongue.

Then something was pulling his tongue out of his throat.  No that wasn’t right, he could not feel his tongue being pinched nor pulled.  There actually was something in his throat and it wasn’t his tongue, or at least not his tongue that was choking him.  After five excruciating seconds of pain, the gagging tube of torture was removed.  He gasped and his throat felt like it was on fire.

His mouth attempted to shut but something was preventing its full movement.  He couldn’t quite feel his own lips.

Then a gusher of ice cold water shot into his mouth and down his throat.  Again he felt like he was going to choke to death, no he was drowning!

Wait! He was so confused.

The water slowly soaked into his mouth and throat, and then his mouth and throat went numb.

It had to be some kind of medicine.  He could not taste anything now and his mouth and throat felt as if he had just received a shot of Novocain.

He could feel some pressure through his teeth and the bones in his jaw.  The obstruction that had kept his mouth open was being removed.  It felt like a mouth brace or maybe a mouth guard like one he had worn as a kid in tae kwon doh classes.  He flexed his mouth and then shut it.  He could tell that his mouth was not fully shut, and then a new sensation.

FIRE!

He was suddenly inhaling fire, in his mouth and down his throat.

He started to scream and choked on fire going into his lungs.  Then his mouth, throat and lungs started to feel normal.  He realized that another fluid had been sprayed into his mouth.  This one tasted like marshmallow in liquid form.  It left his teeth coated with fuzzy feeling cotton candy.  He attempted to swallow and realized that he had no saliva in his mouth.  He exercised his tongue against the glands in his mouth and was just able to coax a small amount of saliva into his mouth.

That’s when he was blinded.

Fire, this time in his eyes.  The red veins were gone and all he could see and feel was white hot light.  Another spray hit his face and he was blind again and soothed.  The fire was gone, some light remained but it was completely foggy.

One more emergency averted he refocused on his mouth.  It was slowly coming back to life and starting to lubricate with saliva.  He heard a very loud noise behind his head, he must be laying down.  No he must be hanging upside down.  No that wasn’t it, he was completely confused now.

He heard something bang into something else hard and then a curse.  The curse was in Arabic.   He thought to himself, ‘How do I know that is Arabic?’

The opaque light started to clear and he looked out.  He could not quite make out his surroundings in a room that seemed infinite in length, slightly dark up close and immensely black in the distance.  His eyes contracted and everything went out of focus again, then slowly, even more slowly than last time started to come back again.

“What happened?” he whispered.

“Yes indeed.  That is a fine question.” responded a voice in English, a British type of English, no that wasn’t right.  It was a different accent all together but spoken with British dialog.

Jonathan’s eyes came fully into focus now and he looked up to behold a very tall man flying in the air with an extremely long beard down to his navel, dark eyes wearing a unitard that looked like a wrestling singlet.  Poking through the beard at his waist Jonathan could see that the man had an erection.  The size of the erection was not significant but oddly the erection was pointing straight out, perpendicular as opposed to being pointed up towards his belly or chest.

Two seconds later Jonathan realized three more things.  He had a crazy almost painful erection himself.  The man he was looking at was Osama Bin Laden and he was surrounded by dozens of Jihadists similarly dressed and holy shit, they all had erections too!

“Fuck, I’ve died and gone to heaven and here are my virgins!” Jonathan exclaimed.

“Not exactly,” and Osama hit him straight in the face.

Jonathan went out like a light.

Continue to Next Chapter - AQ – 02 – Old Enemies become New Friends