There was a dull thud as Rachel’s ship made contact with the escape pod hatch and figured out which method of entry to use. Rachel noted with some annoyance that docking in this less traditional manner meant her ship was unable to give her a reading on the environmental status of the hulk’s interior, which meant putting on her spacesuit, which she hated, and activating the airlock system, which had nearly killed her on several occasions.

Rachel’s spacesuit was a low-budget affair; a form-fitting suit that did not allow for things like the inclusion of waste recycling equipment, which meant that it was good practice to use the bathroom before heading out of the ship. The suit had been purchased out of necessity, because only idiots went skylarking about the cosmos without an emergency suit.

The airlock was as small as possible and consisted of a steel curtain that lowered around the hatch (a space-saving feature, Rachel had been told). It cycled noisily and Rachel, flashlight in hand, opened the hatch.

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