The station had been unpopulated for at least two hours. When left to its own devices, the station can very quickly devolve into a scrap heap not fit to support human life. It does not preserve itself well. It's alive, in a sense. And when it gets lonely, it has tantrums. Things leak. Things break. That's the best case scenario. I arrived at first, with one simple goal: set up the engine. I'd had limited experience with this before. I think after two tries, I can finally get it down and do it right without getting eaten alive by the singularity or burnt to death by phoron plasma. This alone was going to be a challenge, as I was assigned as Quartermaster. After stepping off the arrivals shuttle, I was immediately greeted with blinding darkness and deafening silence. Eerie at best. Haunting at worst. Fortunately, however, my tablet has a built-in flashlight and the silence was easily cured with obnoxious, douchebaggy dubstep. I started by gathering tools. Since the station'd been populated with nothing but lonely, wandering ghosts on occasion for quite some time, and ghosts don't have hands, all the tools were in their usual spots. A full toolset and a multitool were all quickly stuffed into my satchel. I'd found a pair of insulated gloves, but upon closer inspection, noticed they were cheap knockoffs of the real thing engineers wear. A friend whose name I have no hope in Hell pronouncing or spelling who I call "Shoes," once told me something about these budget insulated gloves - that they have a chance of amplifying any shock coming your way. Deciding I'd rather not take my chances with that, I opted to run to Cargo and grab the first aid kit I knew was there. The ointment would help ease any burns I inflict on myself by being a dumbass pulsing the wrong wires as I hacked my way through doors. One look out the Cargo lobby revealed something that was at the same time shocking and unsurprising. Space vines. Everywhere. Dense to the point you couldn't see past a foot of branches and leaves. The entirety of the station, from the bridge and everything East of it, was devoured. This understandably swayed me to reconsider starting the engine and begin to toy instead with the idea of calling the shuttle and getting the fuck out of there. This change in plans meant I'd need to get a battery and the captain's spare ID. One step out of the Cargo lobby revealed more. The vines had breached the glass leading to space in the bridge, the entire hallway was depressurized - the air that was there was too thin to breathe and too frigid to be exposed to. The pressure was low enough to hurt. This complicated things. I couldn't exactly run to mining and grab a suit. No power for the mining shuttle. I had to consider the best possible alternatives to an actual space suit - something that would last me until I could at least hack my way into EVA. After gearing up with warm boots and a winter coat strapped as tight as would go, I set my internals and went through maintenance up toward EVA with a flashlight and a first-aid kit in hand. Once I got to the door, I had to move fast. The lack of pressure was beginning to hurt. As I fucked with the wires, I'd have to stop and take a break to apply bruise packs to keep myself from swelling up like an overinflated balloon animal. After getting the door open, I assume it was the vines that stopped the room from venting completely, because I was fine in there. Even without internals. Now, suited up in something actually meant for space travel, I was able to clumsily stumble and trip over dramatically hack my way through the vines and get into the bridge. No captain around surely meant the spare ID was more than likely tucked away in the captain's quarters. And it was! Without much more effort I was able to use the captain's ID to swap batteries in the bridge APC and get the consoles running...sort of. Turns out the vines had broken most of the consoles. The glass that made up the screens on almost all of them was shattered. My welder was out of fuel - but after noticing the faint red glow of a still-active Security console, I realized this wouldn't be a problem. I was able to swap out the monitor in the communications console with the clearly working one in the Security console with no hassle. At this point, I began hearing voices. I thought, at first, I'd lost my mind from the isolation and tangled vines surrounding me, and these voices were in my head, but I was instantly reassured when I listened closer and realized that such crass and foul speech could never come from an individual as sophisticated, educated and eloquent as I. I explained to these new arrivals that I was calling the shuttle. I suggested they stick to arrivals and head to a pod. I gathered my thoughts and focused on the communications console I'd just gotten running. I couldn't just... call the shuttle. After all that work. I had to leave my mark. Leave an impression. Make a statement. An announcement. ________________________________________________________________ Preston Prestoff made his way safely to an escape pod and off to Space Vegas, where he got married twice, won a million dollars, only to lose a billion dollars and a kidney the next day in a dumpy motel off the Space Route 66.