42 Her vision blackened and her body went limp as she dangled in his grasp. “She’s coming to,” was the first words Danielle heard. As her vision cleared the face of the ship’s pilot, Commander Lansing, was close to hers. “Are you okay?” The Commander asked. Danielle quickly sat up. She was in the infirmary and on the exam table. With the Commander was Tou, the ship’s cargo specialist, and Ruiz, the technical operations specialist. “How did I get here?” Danielle said. “I found you passed out in the sleep chamber,” Tou said. “You’re now in the infirmary.” “I can see where I am,” she snapped at him. “He tried to kill me.” “What do you mean?” The Commander asked. “Who tried to kill you?” “Jack Moran choked me,” Danielle said. “He had his hands around my neck.” She put her hands to her neck, wincing as she touched both sides of her neck. “Jack Moran is in a sleep pod,” the Commander said. Danielle hopped off the table and went to the mirror and looked at the bruising on her neck. She turned to her crew mates. “I didn’t do this to myself,” she said pointing to her neck. “Somehow Jack Moran got out of his pod and tried to kill me.” “Is that even possible?” Ruiz asked. “I mean unless a crew member on the wake shift or the emergency system initiates it, a person can’t get out of a pod on their own.” “And then get back in,” the Commander added.
43 “Don’t you see the bruising on my neck?” Danielle said defensively. “I didn’t do it to myself.” The Commander ran her hand over her bald head. “Yes, there is the matter of the bruising and that you were passed out. You’re the medic on this team, Danielle and you’re the only specialist on the sleep pods we have. Is it possible that Jack Moran got out and chocked you, then got back in?” Danielle hesitated, looked at the faces of her crew mates awaiting an answer. “No, it’s not possible. But it happened.” Benson, the engineer was on his back in a short crawlspace whistling “Pop Goes the Weasel,” a song he whistled, hummed or sang incessantly. He reached up and adjusted part of the communications system conduit with a long metal screwdriver-like tool. The past six months had gone smoothly, boringly so, with the exception of what happened to Danielle. He thought she was a bit screwy anyway and her choking herself wasn’t unlikely as far as he was concerned. The only crew member among the wake shift who was married with children back on Mars, he fought off the tedium by thinking about them. This ship, named Polaris, was on it’s maiden voyage. While there were always things that needed monitoring, it had been assembled with the intention that it basically could do long distance space travel without anything going wrong, even though there were parts of the ship like the new sleep pods that had only been tested in labs and not on space flights. He could have let the conduit he was adjusting go for the entire two year flight and