Ice Kick
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A sound formed in Arkady's head amid a groggy nebula of disjointed thoughts and suspended dreams.

Tink tink tink

Brows furrowed as sleep was interrupted.

"Finding! The breath stirring!" A deep baritone brought coherence to a frigid mind.

"Kick to warmth! Quick! Orbit wobbly!" A high pitch joined the fray in Arkady's ears.

Burning dug into Arkady's skin as a hissing covered the sounds of the interlopers. The ache reached deep, like a wire wrapped around her organs and brought to an irate shade of red. Vertigo assailed her sense of balance and brought her leaning forward until a cold wall stopped her. Eyes fluttered to blurred functioning and the icy impediment took the form of a transparent view-port.

"Living!" The unfocused intruders rejoiced in unison as the door before Arkady shrieked with the lurching of its motor.

The two grabbed hold of the hatch and heaved it the rest of the way open as their visages solidified into a pair of humanoid figures. Arkady's frigid and shaking hand inched out of the pod like a slothful jackhammer until they took hold. They hoisted her out into the microgravity as her limbs recollected their own existence.

"Rich if brain like eyes!" The deep toned one waved a hand in front of Arkady's face.

"No spend if dead. Back to ship." The squeaky voice returned before they drug her across the room.

Arkady looked about as her vision found clarity. Red lights flickered with damaged irregularity from dust occluded covers to illuminate fragmented metal and fractured carbon nanocomposite. A mass of frost covered tubes weaved across the ground below their catwalk until they reached up to a series of containers lining the walls. Broken portholes gave site of the desiccated deceased and soon Arkady's sense of smell returned to confirm their demise.

The escort to her left passed Arkady to their fellow before they grasped the wheel of the pressurized door and gave it a turn. She looked up to the person holding her and saw lines of silver interlacing across and through his dark brown skin. His face was warm and human until her eyes crossed the platinum coated contraption that replaced his mouth.

"Morning!" The man's eyes lit up with smiley faces and the machine at his chin flashed green light with each shrill syllable.

"Who are you?" Arkady combed over the sight of his profile in repetition.

"East of Detroit" He answered with a nod. "What you?"

"Arkady. What is this place?"

"Much furshoden!" The deeper voice shook out from the other as they strained against the creaking door seal.

"Words!" East of Detroit covered Arkady's ears at the comment. "Ears unfucked!"

Arkady turned her head towards the speaker and saw a pale woman struggle with the ingress with her mechanical arms wrapped around the wheel. The door gave after the battle like a relenting bear and flung open to reveal a railing lined corridor. The woman let out a huff into the cold compartment that produced no fog before turning to Arkady and giving a bow.

"Before Brexit." The visor taking up the lower half of her face blinked with her introduction and her pupils each displayed a handshake.

"Good brain. Many questions." East of Detroit gave a fervent nod to his companion as they floated into the hallway.

The lights of the boarding passage forced Arkady to avert her eyes from the sterilizing radiance. She looked to the sides of the corridor and saw a windowed view of smooth walls of ice until they passed out of the rime and another flare blinded her. When the glare subsided, Arkady took in the site of a field of fractured, glacial coated stations in orbit around a gargantuan, maroon star. They approached the end of the hall where a pristine door lit up with the image of a tentacle surrounded by a strange, sharp script before opening.

"What is happening?"

"Good Ice Kick!" Before Brexit gave a hardy pat on Arkady's back with her answer.

The two escorted her into the confines of their craft and the airlock sealed behind them with a hiss. Arkaday's ears popped as the pressure equalized until the opposite side of the lock opened. In front was a jumbled mess of wires, clothing, and tools decorating the interior of the vessel. The pair brought her through a entry bedazzled with chalked on calculations of finances past and onto the ship's bridge.

"Make easy!" East of Detroit guided Arkady to a chair and strapped her down to it. "Much time to Way."

"Hurry! HG15 on smack course!" Before Brexit soared over to a terminal and entered the commands to withdraw the boarding gantry.

East of Detroit landed in a chair before a panel amid a symphony of squeaks from the corner of the room. Holographic handles came to life from the station as East of Detroit grabbed hold and the monitors at the forefront powered on to show both the stern and the bow. The ship lurched and the vessel pulled away from the frost covered tomb they pulled Arkady from. The screen widened as they raced away from the debris laden belt and the hulking form of another iced over installation came into view.

Arkady watched the rear view with the focus of a desperate student as the full form of her previous home shrunk behind them. A single, exposed solar panel jutted out of the arctic glaze like a drowning hand raised above the water line and waiting for rescue. The site was soon obstructed by the incoming structure until it smashed into her former home in a puff of hydrated dust.

The trio cleared the cluster of colliding comets and into the solar system's outer reaches. They glided past three gas giants and a cold, lifeless planet of cobalt rock in silence only punctuated by the ruckus 5 meters away from Arkady. With nothing but endless black ahead of her now, Arkady's attention was drawn to sounds of scratching and cheeping under the blanket in the corner. She was about to rise from her cushion when East of Detroit called out.

"Way in 15, get sacrifice."

"Sacrifice?" Arkady froze in her seat at the comment as Before Brexit meandered over to the chirping mass in the corner.

Before Brexit pulled off the cover to reveal a cage full of rats. The vermin chewed on the steel frame and climbed over one another in competition for the water bottle attached to their habitat. The silver arm of the salvage specialist reached in and chased about a white haired rodent.

By the time Before Brexit caught her prey, the forward lighting of the vessel illuminated a pitch black monolith in front of them. The structure floated out in the endless black beyond and shined back their beams like a glossy finish. Red lettering spread out from the center of the lone obsidian giant and encircled a hieroglyph of a glowing tentacle.

"Request for Library sent." East of Detroit's voice rang out like a harmony of windchimes.

Before Brexit presented the rat high into the air as it scratched and bit at the metal of her hands. She flipped open a lid on a transparent tube and shoved the creature inside.

"Good life, Howard!" Before Brexit patted the pet pest on its head before closing the top.

The pair rose to their feet and turned to face the forward monitor. East of Detroit pressed a button on his station and the sound of air escaping filled the room. The two derelict divers gave a salute as the rodent shot through the tube and appeared on the ship's front facing video feed.

Arkady tilted her head at the site of the geriatric vermin thrashing about in front of the engraved object outside. The runes covering it flashed yellow like a malfunctioning stoplight in response to the offering's approach. Their rescue jumped when the symbols turned green and the rat exploded into a pink cloud of vicera. The blood and organs swirlled around the circle of carvings and a point of light erupted forth from the center.

"OK. I need some answers as to what in the hell is going on." Arkady threw her hands up as the light expanded into a radiant tunnel.

"Take to Library!" East of Detroit laughed and patted Arkady on the shoulder.

"Why a library? Where am I?" Arkady let out a huff of hot breath like an exasperated steam engine.

"Easy!" Before Brexit soared over and gave Arkady's forehead a light tap. "Old Sol books sell well!"

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