Lindsi and I got the lifter back where it had come from, next to our malfunctioning cargo trolley. She looked at it thoughtfully, reluctance in her expression as she tapped her hand on the steering bar, then turned to survey the cavernous expanse of space beneath and around the Main Reactor.
“This might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever said,” she said slowly, “but do you think the Ship rigged this? To get us up here? You said it said something about a window of opportunity, right?”
I frowned. It did. But… I don’t know. A false alarm? I don’t know if it can even do that.
“Do you know it can’t?”
That seemed to be answer enough for her. She turned again, slowly, then lifted her left wrist with her right hand touching it. I squinted, and thought I saw the shimmer of a control screen under her fingertips. She was looking into nothingness.
Lindsi? What is it?
“I have my readouts,” she said slowly. “According to this, I’m fine — the radiation hasn’t affected me noticeably.”
That’s good, right?
“I don’t know. I’d say it was, but then again, I’m seeing this information on a visor I’m not wearing. That’s really not normal.” She shook her head. “I don’t know what’s happening to me. I don’t know if I can trust it. I have to find some way to find out what’s happened, I have to- but we don’t have the time! Her voice had risen, tense, nearing frantic. “If the Ship can’t raise false alarms then that was a lucky coincidence, but if it can, what if what it said before was a lie too? What if we don’t only have three weeks to fix everything, what if there’s something else going on here?” Her hands, back at her sides, clenched tight. “I don’t know! I don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing!”
Her voice echoed eerily around the pillars over the growing thrum of the reactor, and I bit my lip. She had a point, and it scared me. We only had what the Ship said to go on. What if it wasn’t true? But…
This isn’t right, though, I said quietly, slowly. How things are now, it isn’t right. You should be able to go to the library or the Central Archive and find out all this stuff. We should’ve been able to get down to the water systems easily and there should have been people down there maintaining them. The power flow to the solar strip should’ve been right, our Dome should’ve been automatically allocated enough power. You should’ve been able to go straight to a doctor and be checked up to find out what happened to you. You shouldn’t be working for basics, only for lux. I was running off everything that was wrong and I could just keep on going. Your biosuit shouldn’t have been so high-rated to begin with, the Ship’s supposed to be safe. We shouldn’t have some crazy corrupt government and if we did people shouldn’t be putting up with it! Maybe we can’t be sure we can trust the Ship either, but it still seems more trustworthy to me than anything else, and — we can figure it out for ourselves if we have to. Even if we don’t just listen to the Ship, there are still things that need doing, that nobody’s doing anything about!
“Nobody but us, huh?” Lindsi said dryly, but calmer than she had been. “‘And if we don’t, who will’?”
Exactly, I said. Even if nothing else had happened, we should still be doing something. So should everyone, and they aren’t, but that just makes it more important that we have to!
Lindsi smiled a little, more resolved again. I liked her smile. It made me feel good. “I’m glad I’ve got you along for the ride. Even if you are the universe’s most impressive hallucination.”
I pulled a face at her.
“Come on. Let’s go see if we can get lost and find some control systems before everyone comes back.”
The Fused by V. L. Bending is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.