Response to challenge: Harper + Claustrophobia/ trapped.

Spoilers for Bunker Hill

Harper couldn’t breathe. The curving walls of one of Andromeda’s service conduits had never seemed so close before. The faint light emanating from an open panel only gave enough illumination to see what he already could: the sliding doors at the conduit entrances were closed, and he was trapped in a small section of the conduit deep inside the ship’s hull. Fighting down the waves of panic, and gulping in huge breaths of air, Harper tried to calm his racing heart. It wouldn’t do anyone any good – least of all, him – if he gave himself a heart attack over a few shut doors.

Crawling to the door on his right, Harper tugged at the conduit’s handle. Naturally, it didn’t move. Attaching his mobile control panel to the conduit door through a connecting cable, he punched in command after command, to no avail. His breathing became fast and shallow, and Harper started hyperventilating as he tried to calculate the amount of air in the small space. The conduit was growing uncomfortably warm. There’s enough air. There has to be enough air. I’m inside the ship, and the conduits have to be on the air circulation ducts, otherwise no one would be able to work inside them without an EVA suit, Harper thought. There’s enough air. I’m not going to suffocate.

The conduit wouldn’t be a horrible place to die, if he had to choose one, Harper mused. It reminded him of the Boston sewer system, where so many humans like himself and his cousin Brendan had taken refuge from Earth’s elements. The sewers also made it easy to hide from the Nietzschean slaving parties.

At that moment, the lights came on, and the doors at either end of the conduit slid open. Gasping in relief, Harper practically threw himself into the nearest hallway, breathing in the fresh air.

“Harper, are you all right?” Andromeda’s hologram addressed him.

“Yeah, just great,” Harper wheezed. “What just happened with the power and the doors?”

“The intruder drill? A standard mandatory lock-down of all systems to prevent intruders from taking control of the ship,” the hologram said. “It was your upgrade that made the system more practical.”

“And no one planned on telling me about this drill?”

“Magog won’t give you a heads-up before they decide to attack the ship, and you always need to be on the alert.”

“Yeah, well, alert me next time before you plan to lock me in a conduit!” Harper snapped. “Forget the conduits. I need a Sparky…”

by Aurora335

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