The Fae Worlds

The Crashed Ship

Rescuing the Trapped

Waking to the sound of blaring alarms was terrifying. Finding I was trapped, unable to move from the stasis bay, was a hundred times worse. They were meant to automatically open, especially in cases where there was an emergency. Breathing in deeply, doing my best to stay calm through the very worst experience of my life, I thought through what I could do in order to free myself.
During orientation we were told, should there be any kind of emergency, it was best to focus on getting yourself to safety, so it didn’t seem likely trying to get the attention of someone else would help in any way. Yet that was still the first thing I tried. Banging hard on the wall of the bay I hoped someone would care enough to try to help. Nothing happened, and I didn’t hear anything to make me think anyone actually heard me. Then again I didn’t think I’d be able to hear much outside the bay. Maybe the sound wasn’t enough.
Unfortunately there was nothing else I could do, other than scream. There was no reason to think it would be heard any better than the banging. Instead I focused on how the stasis bay was put together. With one hand I ran my hand around the top, trying to feel for any way for me to be able to open it from the inside.
A button would help, but I didn’t think there was anything like that within the bay. I hadn’t been told about one, even though I was beginning to think it was an oversight, considering the situation I’d found myself in. Running my tongue over my dry lips I did what I could to stay calm, because there was nothing I could do. There was nowhere I could get my fingers in to be able to pry the lid up, not that I was even sure that was how it worked, and I thought about what I’d seen before I’d agreed to make the journey. The stasis bays were made to be the safest place for us to be.
Only it wasn’t the case, obviously. It wasn’t until the alarms fell silent I started to worry. What did it mean? Had someone managed to fix whatever caused the alarms? Would they check on everyone if they had, to make sure no one was stuck in one of the stasis bays? Biting down on my lip I started to think the problem hadn’t been solved at all. There was this sensation that felt much more like the ship was beginning to be drawn slowly into something’s gravity well.
The slow draw became faster, as we moved toward whatever it was had caught us. Maybe it was part of the plan on the part of the engineers. I had no way of knowing what they’d done, or were in the process of doing, but everything about the coming crash seemed very much like something they wouldn’t have chosen to do.
Finally we did crash. It didn’t help to free me from the stasis bay, but I turned my attention to trying to get out once more. Depending on where we’d ended up it was possible getting out might lead to my death, and there was a part of me which preferred the idea of a quick death, rather than being trapped for days slowly dehydrating. More angry at the situation that anything I kicked out at the top of the bay, not believing for a moment anything would come of it. Unsurprisingly the kick did nothing, other than send a wave of pain down my leg, and I sighed.
By the time I heard the sound of footsteps I’d got to the point where I was almost dozing. At first it seemed like a dream, especially when I heard the sound of someone trying to force the bay open. I wasn’t willing to believe someone was really there to help me, until the bay opened, letting in the scent of burnt metal.
Someone reached into the bay, scooping me out of it as though I weighed nothing. Then they gently set me down on the floor of the ship, giving me a chance to look at who it was, and find myself face to face with someone who could easily have been human. Moments later the sensation of being unexpectedly woken from stasis hit me. I reached out with a hand to use the wall of the ship to stay up.
“You okay?”
Nodding, I breathed in deeply. “It’s stasis sickness. There should be a bag around here somewhere, with medication I can use to make this fade, at least a little.”
Moving faster than I could have done at that point they stepped around me to grab the bag I’d mentioned, before rummaging in it for the medication. Next thing I knew the pill was in my hand. “Do you need water to take it?”
I shook my head, swallowing the pill dry, and managed to gather the energy I needed to smile at my rescuer. “Thank you.”
Smiling back, he gently lifted me once more. “Getting you out of here is the priority, and I have no reason to think you’re going to be able to walk right now, so this is our only option.”
Arguing wasn’t something I was capable of doing, and I had no reason to think he was wrong to say getting me out of the ship needed to be the priority, as he had a better understanding of the situation than I did. Fortunately he seemed to know exactly which route he needed to take in order to get us off as quickly as possible. Before I really expected it he had me deposited in what looked to be some kind of hospital, before he was off once more, probably to help other people still trapped on the ship. I found myself watching after him for a moment, before breathing in deeply.
Even there I could still smell the scent of burning metal, but it wasn’t as bad. Wanting to know a little more about where I was I looked around the makeshift hospital. One woman went from person to person, and I assumed she was the nurse, considering how she was taking temperatures, checking to make sure dressings were okay, and finally moved to me.
“How are you feeling?”
“Still a little woozy from the stasis, but I think I’m okay apart from that.”
“We were told you were trapped in one of the stasis bays.” The way she said the words made me think they were relatively new to her. “Arlo’s been keeping us up to date with everyone brought out so far, and it seems there were a few of you in the same position.”
“They’re all here?”
“Most are, for now.” Her eyes met with mine. “A couple didn’t survive, possibly due to them panicking. I can’t imagine what it must have been like.”
Running my tongue over my dry lips, emotions sweeping through me so fast I could barely understand them, I tried to find the words to describe the experience. “Everything about the last few hours has been overwhelming, to say the least. We were lucky to crash where we did. Had it not been for Arlo I wouldn’t be here now. I’m certain I would have died in that bay otherwise.”
Nodding, she smiled at me. “We have a little information about what happened I can share with you. One of the engineers from the ship survived the crash, although we aren’t certain he’s going to pull through. It’s been a lot to deal with, at a very strange time, but we’ve done everything we can to help.”
“A very strange time?”
She studied me. “Oh, it’s a very long story, and one I’m sure you’ll be told sooner rather than later. For now the short version is we made the decision to move from the city we called home to begin regenerating an old town. Had we not then there wouldn’t have been anyone here when the crash happened.” She smiled again. “I’ve always been the kind to believe everything happens for a reason, and that most definitely seems to be the case now.”
“Yeah, it really does.” I smiled back. “Although I appreciate everything you’ve done I don’t really think I should be here. I’m taking up a bed which could be used for someone worse off than I am.”
Raising an eyebrow, she rested her hand on my forehead for a moment. “Temperature seems okay.” Lifting one arm she checked my pulse, seeming to be mentally counting rather than relying on a watch, which was interesting. “A little fast, but with what you’ve been through it’s not so fast I’m worried.”
“Honestly, it’s just the stasis sickness. In time it will fade.” I shrugged. “It’s part of what I expected to be dealing with. The rest of this…” I gestured at the hospital. “Nothing about this was part of the plan, but the plan we had has definitely fallen apart.”
“Give it a little longer. I don’t want to send you out there when you’re not quite right. I’ll be back after I’ve checked in on a few people, and then we can make the decision as to what’s best for you right now.” She nibbled her lip. “If you were feeling up to visitors there is someone who’d like a chance to talk with one of you, to get a better understanding of the situation, and the sooner he learns how it is you ended up here the better it’s going to be for everyone.”
“Of course. Whatever I can do to help.”
“Thank you.”
I watched as she left the hospital, before walking in a few seconds later with a suited man. She went to check on one of the other patients, while he came over to me, giving me a smile I’m sure was meant to put me at ease. “Penny told me you were feeling up to talk to me, but there’s any point where you want to stop all you need to do is say. I understand you’ve been through a lot in the last few hours.”
“We have, but this seems like something I should be doing.” I rolled onto my side, to make it easier for me to look at him, giving me a chance to think about what to say next. “I’m Jessie.”
“Pleasure to meet you, Jessie, even though the circumstances are less than good. I’m Galen, the current mayor of our town.”
“You’ve recently moved?”
“Ah, I assume Penny mentioned it.” I nodded. “Yes, I can understand why she would, as a couple of weeks ago we wouldn’t be here, but things have been changing for everyone.” He smiled. “I’ll tell you our story, if you’re willing to share with us what yours is.”
Slowly, I looked around the hospital, and as I did Arlo was stepping back through the door. He made his way over to the person who seemed to be the doctor first, having a quiet conversation with them. Then, the doctor having gestured in our direction, Arlo walked over to where we sitting. His eyes met with mine for a second, before he turned his attention to Galen.
“There’s no other survivors. We’ve gone over as much of the ship as possible, but there were a couple of parts we had no way of getting to. Both fire and damage in the crash made it impossible. I think we’ve done everything we can.”
Nodding, Galen looked at Arlo. “I understand. Thank you, and your fellows, for putting your lives at risk to help those who were trapped.” Galen breathed in deeply, before turning back to me. “I’m sorry if there was anyone of the ship you cared about we weren’t able to get off.”
“Most of us didn’t know anyone else. It was part of what we were doing.” I raked a hand through my hair. “The Paladin was making the journey across space to a world we believed was uninhabited, in order for us to build new lives. Unfortunately there was some kind of issue which led to us crashing here.”

The New Arrivals