Abandon Ship

Vote by January 12, 2014!

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In episode 7 readers voted for the Captain to use liquid nitrogen on his own hand to freeze it solid, effectively stopping the infection.

Episode 8

Captain Arnold had to act quickly if he hoped to keep the infection from spreading throughout his whole body. Disregarding the pain it was going to cause him, he aimed the liquid-nitrogen spewing hose at his infected hand. Sharp pain instantly shot through him, and he gritted his teeth and grimaced in pain. His instincts told him to pull his hand back, away from the pain, but his mind stood firm and overrode that desire. Although it took only seconds, it seemed like an eternity in the captain’s mind as the sharp pain gradually was replaced with numbness as the nerve endings in his hand ceased their cries for retreat and became hard and cold.

Captain Arnold looked down at his frozen hand through his goggles, scanning for signs of infection. Gone were the bright red pulses of infrared heat indicating an infection; instead they were replaced by a blue stillness. His hand had turned into rock-hard ice, and he hoped the infectious cells that had jumped onto him had died along with the flesh of his hand.

“30 seconds until venting complete,” the ship’s computer announced.

Captain Arnold pushed through the pain he felt and started running toward the escape pod. With his torn environmental suit, he had to make it to the escape pod while some air still remained in the launch bay.

Running toward the escape pod, he saw the doctor staring at him through the window of the sealed door on the pod.

“Doc! Get that door open!” The captain continued his run; his lifeless frozen hand flopped alongside him.

“20 seconds until venting complete.”

The door to the escape pod slid open. Then the doctor in his environmental suit took one step out and blocked the doorway. “Captain, what happened?”

“Donnelly attacked,” the captain panted. “I put him down. But I got wounded.” The captain took a big breath, the air was getting thin. “I had to freeze my hand to stop the infection.”

As soon as those words came out of his mouth he realized what the doctor must be thinking. “I’m not infected, Doc, honestly.” The captain moved in closer to the door, ready to jump inside.

But the captain stopped abruptly when he saw the doctor pull out the pistol. It was the ancient colt .45 the captain had previously given him.

The doctor aimed the pistol squarely at the captain’s chest.  “I-I’m sorry, Captain. I-It’s too big a risk. You can’t come with us!”

The captain stared silently at the doctor. The doctor’s hand shook with both fear and determination. He doubted the doctor had needed to fire many shots before. Those hands usually just saved people, instead of taking their lives. But he knew the doctor was serious, and from their history together, he knew the doctor would do whatever it took to save the rest of the survivors.

They watched each other intently as the captain tried to gauge his chances.

The silence between them was broken by the calm computerized voice announcing, “Venting almost complete. All personnel should be secured. Venting complete in 10, 9, 8 …”

What does the Captain do next?
Please return to the top of this episode to vote on what happens next!

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