Challenge #01257-C162: Vital Skills

There are things we need to be able to do to cope or succeed in Life. How to light a fire, cook a meal. Pick a Life skill and how it works. -- KnitNan

Red alert roused Pel from unconsciousness, and, because it was an urgent alarm, she launched herself from her bunk and into her lifesuit before she had fully opened her eyes. It was a matter of course for a Spacer to be able to get into their emergency gear by feel and in a matter of seconds.

Sometimes, seconds was all one got.

It was why accommodations for children doubled as life-pods in emergencies. It was why the very young were locked into their pods for the night. And it was why there were bathroom facilities in children's sleep pods.

If you wanted to sleep in a grownup's bed, you had to be able to get out and hurl yourself into a lifesuit in a matter of seconds. Otherwise, it was the sleep/life pod for you.

The suit cleared Pel's eyes at a half-asleep gesture. Servos and sponges mimicking the motions of her gauntleted hands, outside the visor.

Next, rushing to her duty station. For an alert, it was all hands on deck. The suit, linked to the ship's strategic computers, injected the right amount of stims. The ship and all who depended on her needed Pel awake, alert, and able to perform.

Early experiments had shown that pure adrenaline was exactly the wrong thing to administer. Crew would spend a majority of their time puking, evacuating their bowels, and trembling too hard to perform. Now it was a cocktail of sugars, caffeine, adrenaline, and other substances to ensure that the brain would be in peak condition. Each tailored for the wearer.

The HUD gave Pel information as she pounded through the corridors. It was an impact emergency. Someone, somewhere, had missed an asteroid, or a rogue projectile had somehow passed through the ready arms of the Hungry Caterpillar, and caused trouble for everyone aboard.

A flashing Hostiles sigil popped up on the map display. Pirates? They'd better be human pirates, or they were in for a short, sharp shock. Only the naïve or the terminally stupid willingly attacked a human vessel. Even the bigger, badder Deathworlders had learned not to mess with Terrans.

Pel grabbed a stunner from the emergency nook and held it ready, fumbling for a full charge to load it with because some unreasonable person decided that six shots was all that anyone needed to deal with an incursion[1]. The near-empty charge capsule went into the charger compartment at Pel's hip.

Cam feeds came in as she neared an area of invaders. O Powers, they weren't wearing suits. They had an MO that included piercing a hull and they didn't bother wearing lifesuits. How did they survive for longer than two seconds at this game?

They were humanoid, but not human. The other details were irrelevant as Pel and five other crewmen opened fire on the idiot invaders. The bad guys were down in seconds.

Pel was one of the volunteers to drag them off to the brig. Therefore she missed out on the fun news that the invading spearhead vessels were chained to a larger base that earned its keep by harpooning ships and stripping them of all resources.

And yes, they were new to the Galactic Scene. They hadn't found out about humans. They hadn't learned the futility of ground combat tactics in space.

They would learn. Thoroughly. And very quickly.

[1] It was the SPOEns.

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