Red Shift

Here’s a thought I had in response to the Daily Prompt. Today, it was ‘Filthy’. I started there and went in a different direction.

A faint tinkle filled the tiny interior space of Teodore’s helmet. The only sound that normally accompanied him on his daily inspection was his own breath. Occasionally, there would be cross talk from the construction crew, private conversations on channels they thought were empty.

“Check waste disposal schedule, please,” Teodore muttered into the suit’s comlink, “did those geniuses in waste management flush on me again?” A schematic of the waste management system appeared on his visor, black outlines and green indicators. The attached schedule claimed there wasn’t a waste dump due for hours. There didn’t seem to be a leak either, status green across the board.

Teodore brought a gloved hand up to his visor. Some of the floating crystals had adhered to the outer surface. More were collecting. His hand swept across the glassy surface. Rather than wiping the debris away, the motion left a streak as wide as his hand. He expected a dark yellow hue. Thousands of zero-gee construction workers with nothing better to do than drink.

The sizzling and sublimating fluid was a deep red.  Teodore felt his stomach drop. Momentarily panicked, he pawed at his faceplate, succeeding only in spreading the burgundy film across his entire visual field. Everything was red-shifted, as though he were accelerating away from everything around him. For a few more moments Teodore remained fixed in place, a tiny speck on the immense grey expanse of the station’s hull. As the red haze moved over him, he managed to shake himself free of total panic.

“Control? Control? I hope this is some sort of practical joke.” The noiseless moment seemed to stretch forever. “Location services! Is there anyone nearby out here?” If he could find someone, maybe they could… he wasn’t sure what they would do. The proximity overlay was a blank space on his visor, one singular dot glowing. There was only one other person nearby, two hundred metres along the hull. Orienting himself in the correct direction, Teodore opened a small operations window in the centre of his visor, shrinking the proximity overlay into the corner of his vision. He connected to the hull surveillance system, accessing the feed from the camera nearest the indicated person.

A macabre abstraction of a human being was spread-eagled against the matte black and grey hull. Somehow this person had managed not just to remove their helmet, but to partially remove the main body of their space suit ass well. The body had been a man before some suicidal urge had compelled him to explosively decompress. Red-crystal refractions glinted from the frozen foam of blood at the man’s mouth and nose.

I think I’m going to explore this world idea a little bit more. I don’t know why, but this just seems like a good opener to some zombie/slasher/alien-esque thriller.