Kara awoke in darkness. At least she thought it was darkness. It sure seemed dark and she couldn’t see anything which usually meant an absence of light. But after a minute or two, her eyes reluctantly woke up and light slowly blurred its way into her vision. Vague shapes cautiously took form and grew sharper into focus until they resembled objects which made sense. It was then that she realised that she was in an escape pod which had escaped. More than that, she was in a containment capsule in the escape pod. And it was then that she realised that she had been frozen cryogenically within the containment capsule and that’s why it took her eyes a little while to wake up. Cryogenic sleep blindness. Only momentarily temporary and very rarely fatal so she was probably fine. She could see now and having seen the situation she was in decided she no longer wanted to see it any longer. So she reached for the escape button which allowed one to escape from the cryogenic containment bed. Pressing it, the cryogenic containment bed opened with a hiss and a sigh as the cold environment inside made contact which what Kara hoped was the breathable air outside. Luckily for her, the air was breathable although stale. Space air. She surveyed the escape pod which she had found herself in. It was in some state of disarray, with items strewn across the floor and lights blinking furiously on the dashboard. It looked like it had just crashed into something bigger and so had thrown everything inside around. She then noticed that the escape pod had crashed into a bigger ship and was in the docking bay of said ship, which was convenient. Stepping out of the cryogenic containment bed, she scrambled to the exit to the escape pod and pulled the lever labelled “Open, I guess” with relish. The door to the escape pod opened and Kara stepped out, into the bigger ship and the unknown. To her they were one and the same.

It should be noted that she didn’t quite step out of the escape pod as much as trip. Her first step was fine and steady. It was the second that let her down. Literally. She fell down out the escape pod making quite the commotion. Landing on her hands and knees, she swore to herself in shock. She then swore at the escape pod since there was no way she was letting it get off the hook. She was a big believer in fairness and blaming inanimate objects for their transgressions, which mostly included tripping her or purposely stubbing her toe. She wasn’t hurt and got up swiftly as though her embarrassment wouldn’t be able to follow her if she got up quickly enough. Looking around, she felt the slight satisfaction one feels when they confirm something they already knew. She was indeed in the docking bay of a bigger ship. A much bigger ship judging by the sheer size of the docking bay, which seemed far more massive than it needed to be but was impressive in its massiveness, she thought to herself. She often thought to herself since no one else ever listened when she thought to others. It’s just the way thoughts worked for her species, who never mastered telepathic communication the way the Rulthians of Gnostoc did. New thoughts bounced within the confines of her mind as she decided to explore the massiveness of the docking bay. Looking to her left she saw the immense magnetic exclusion shield behind gargantuan docking gates which must have opened to let her escape pod crash inside the docking bay instead of smashing on the outside hull. Magnetic exclusion shields worked were very exclusive and didn’t allow the lowly ion storms or other forms of intergalactic radiation inside without an invitation. She was thankful that the magnetic shield hadn’t bounced her escape pod but she was unsure who had opened the gates. She disregarded that for the moment since there would be time later to ponder uncertainties. Looking to her right she imagined she saw a door, then not sure if she willed it into existence by sheer force of her imagination or whether it was there all along and her imagination just noticed it before her consciousness caught up. Either way, there was now a door to her right. She move slowly, cautiously towards it. She reasoned that was the best course of action considering she still didn’t know where she was or if she was in a friendly place. Her escape pod had just crashed after all. She inched closer to the door, alert and on edge when she heard a sound. Kara froze, although not literally since she’d done that already and didn’t want to repeat the experience any time soon. From the other side of the door she heard the distinct sound of someone who has suddenly stopped moving since they heard someone suddenly stop moving on the other side of a door. She took a low intake of breath hoping that the disturbance to the distribution of oxygen-hydrogen molecules wouldn’t make enough of noise to be heard from the other side of the door. She was right, it wasn’t enough to be heard from the other side of the door. Not that it matter much since the door swished open violently with unnecessary flair and a person stood in the doorway with a confused, yet somewhat cheerful, look on his face. They stood looking at each other for a moment, neither of them sure what to say, trying to take in the situation. They continued looking at each other and the moment got awkward, which often happens since most moments are shy and struggle with social interaction.

“Um, hello?” the confused, yet somewhat cheerful, looking person offered with some apprehension.

“Oh, um, hi. Hello to you too,” Kara flabbergasted back, caught somewhat off-guard by the confused, yet somewhat cheerful person’s happy sounding sing-song voice.

“So, ah, how are you?” he questioned with superb small talk game. Kara was still gathering her thoughts,which were still running off in a myriad of different directions trying to find the appropriate response to this situation and so she answered weakly with,

“Oh, you know. Can’t complain too much, I guess.”

“Yeah? Well then, that’s good. Um, yep. Must be nice not to have things to complain about.”

Kara’s thoughts then gathered on mass, having settled on a single direction to run, and she composed herself.  Having composed herself, she then composed a reply for the still confused yet undeniably cheerful person standing in the doorway in front of her.

“Where am I and what is this ship?”

“Oh, well, that is…” started the reply before a blast to the ship’s reflector shields caused what some commercial pilots might have described as ‘mild turbulence’. However everyone knows commercial pilots are atrocious liars. Both Kara and the doorway blocker in front of her were shaken off their feet and landed on the floor with a bit more than a thump. This mild disturbance seemed to jump start the no-longer confused yet somehow still cheerful person into action as he draw himself to his feet.

“You’re in the Arbath sector, this is The Zeppulian, the fastest ship in the galaxy, we’re being attacked by space pirates, and my name is Qin.”

Kara jumped up and grabbed his hand.

“Hi Qin, my name is Kara. Get me to the cockpit and let’s see what we can do about those space pirates.”

Then dragging Qin behind her she ran through the door and into the maze of identical looking corridors. Qin gave her directions as best he could while they ran.

“Left, right, left, left, right, diagonally, right, down, left, right, up, mind the transdimensional light there, it looks a bit loose and you might trip, right, here, no, go back, we went past it, take the turn here, that’s it.”

They stood before the elevator for a moment, out of breath and exhilarated because solving a maze is always fun and gives a sense of accomplishment. Then the moment reminded them that there were space pirates shooting at the ship and time was a wastin’. They stepped in the elevator and the door shut behind them with noted impatience.