Inside the ship everything was smooth and clinically clean. There was nothing to light the interior bar one, gently flashing amber light on the end of what looked like a row of shiny white coffins. Each one seemed to be made from the same material as the rest of the ship and lay around waist height above floor level, tilted upwards slightly. Apart from a constant, virtually undetectable hum there was little to suggest that the ship was flying through the vastness of space at incredible speeds. Without warning a tremor shook the ship, and the amber light turned to an angry red.
On one of the coffins, the one closest to the end, a green light began to pulsate. After a moment, with a gentle whooshing noise, the base of the coffin morphed upwards, leaving it standing in an almost upright position. In the red light its shadow stretched across the room. With another gentle sigh an edge formed around the top of the coffin and the lid seemed to dissolve, releasing a jet of steam into the room. A figure stumbled forwards and fell awkwardly to the floor. The strobing red light threw twisted shadows across the room, painting the walls in a tapestry of distorted limbs.
The figure on the floor was a girl aged around 15 and dressed in a simple white coverall. She twisted round so she was sat with her back resting on the open coffin and shivered, drawing deep draughts of air into her lungs. As she sat the other coffins opened one by one, disgorging their occupants onto the floor. All but one were men, and all were older than the girl. As she leant against her coffin, regaining her composure and balance, they bustled around the room talking in husky whispers. The flashing red alarm was replaced by a soft warm light that seemed to emanate from every surface in the room and the temperature rose steadily to a more comfortable level.
One by one the crew left the room until only the girl and a young man, tall and wiry were left. He rose from his position hunched over a console by the door and walked over to her, hand extended. She took it and rose slowly to her feet, her legs still unsteady beneath her. She leant back against the coffin. The young man looked concerned.
‘Are you ok Mabel?’
Mabel felt sick, and her legs were roughly the consistency of jelly but there didn’t seem to be anything unusual wrong.
‘Yeah, I think so,’ she replied. ‘Feeling a bit more wobbly than usual, but I’ll be ok. What’s going on? What’s up with the jump exit?’