Waiting behind the airlock door, Anaea Carlisle tried to wrap her mind around the nature of the refugees she might see on the other side – if any were still alive. She clutched her medic’s kit in twitching hands and flicked a glance to Valasca Braun, the angular woman who led the team. Why did the chief doctor insist on leading so many salvage missions?
The door oozed open. Anemic grey light filtered in from the ship’s docking station. Valasca gestured them forward. “Stay cautious,” she said through her mask. “If anyone is alive, they won’t be expecting rescue. Stun first, apologize later.” The techs at Themiscyra Station had retrieved the crew roster, but hyperspace had damaged the ship too much for an attempt at jury-rigging communications.
Even through the mask’s filter, the corridor smelled like overstewed tomatoes. The hum of electronics sputtered and snorted, disconcerting Anaea: she was used to hearing such sounds as white noise. Every time they cracked, she tensed, expecting someone to leap out. Of the six-woman team, she was the least imposing – one of the tallest, but slender and pale. In the light, her dark auburn hair washed out.
Valasca led the way to a door that had been melted open. The ship’s hub – central point for navigation – lay beyond, choked with broken girders. Anaea gasped as she saw the two bodies. Her eyes widened at the shapes, larger and more square than what she thought of as human norm. One had a fringe of hair on the chin. Males.