Survivor Type R7
Word Count: 770
By Scott Wilson
R7 peered over the edge of the grilled, steel mesh barrier encasing the platform. Below, fire burned wildly, enveloping the base of the immense gas mining facility.
“Danger still present,” R7 chirped to his master. “I calculate that the fire will burn for another two weeks before the fuel source is exhausted.”
“Yeah, thanks R7,” Galloway said. “Can you pick up any other survivors...there has to be more than just me?”
The droid pivoted to face the badly burnt and battered miner. It hovered over to him and opened a small compartment in its chest cavity, producing a hypodermic needle and dressings.
“I have been unable to detect life readings below us, master,” R7 replied as it began administering first aid. “With the ruptured tanks on level nine, I believe that the employees on levels three to twelve would not have survived the initial explosion. Given that the roster indicates only two employees, including yourself, to be working past level twelve at the time of the accident, I calculate that ninety five percent of the staff would have perished at this juncture.”
“Who else should be up here then?” Galloway said, grunting as the burnt flesh began healing rapidly.
“My records indicate...Jane Stark, Level fifteen cleaner, would be alive and without serious injury...if she adhered to her schedule. It is highly probable that she...”
“I know,” Galloway said. “She probably snuck down to the refectory to have an early coffee break with Dirk.”
“Management has known of this relationship for seventy eight days. I am unsure why this issue has not been addressed yet...it is highly illogical that...”
“Human,” Galloway said. “Highly human, you mean. You can’t expect a crew to work isolated from civilization for years at a time without forming...”
The platform shook violently as another explosion rumbled in the belly of the gas mine somewhere well below level fourteen where Galloway and his work-bot rested.
“Master,” R7 said. “I recommend that we traverse to the rooftop platform to evacuate immediately. The probability that the fire will spread to the lower storage chambers and thus, into the pipelines down to the mine is extremely high. My calculations indicate that there is a seventy percent probability that this will occur within the next forty minutes.
Galloway stood up, flexing his healed arms. His uniformed stuck to the flesh above his elbows where the fire burnt to before R7 extinguished it. While he couldn’t feel the pain now, he could smell the charred flesh and felt sick to the stomach at the sight of the intertwined fabric and flesh. R7 opened another chest cavity and pointed a pencil-sized device at Galloway’s arms.
“I suggest we repair that damage before leaving master,” R7 said. “The probability that any further explosions will cause you to stumble and tear the flesh open again is ninety five percent.
“Go ahead then,” Galloway said, preparing himself for the next needle and field surgery.
R7 completed this minor operation, extended a small extinguisher nozzle in preparation for the journey to the roof, and then lead the way along the small platforms leading to the fire-stairs.
“I have not detected any other life forms on the upper levels, master,” R7 said as they entered the fifteenth level. “It is most likely that Jane was not on the designated work level when the explosion occurred...”
“I think you’re wrong,” Galloway said, running towards to stairwell at the end of the room.
As he opened the door to the landing platform, Galloway was just in time to see Jane crashing the escape craft into the side barrier of the roof, causing it to explode. The burst of flames flung Galloway back into the stairwell. R7 caught him and steadied him, preventing Galloway from tumbling down the stairs and breaking his neck.
“Not much point in saving me now,” Galloway said. “How am I going to get off this platform now?”
R7 released Galloway and hovered to the edge of the platform. It extended a small antenna, which began flashing slowly with a small red light the size of a pea.
“I calculate there is a twenty percent chance that the distress call will be responded to before the platform collapses...if this does in fact actually occur.”
Galloway rubbed his chin, looking at R7 thoughtfully.
“What are the chances that you can support my weight?”
R7 turned around, grabbing onto Galloway as he leapt at the work bot, sending them both over the side of the platform.
Survivor Type R7
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