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The year is 2140. Earth is on the verge of an apocalypse, and the Sleipnir science vessel’s mission is to seek out a habitable planet to ensure the survival of mankind. Dr. Sakota Thorell, a young chief medical officer aboard the Sleipnir, has been traveling for a year with her co-workers in hopes of finding a habitable planet and extraterrestrial life.
When a mysterious humanoid alien is discovered adrift in space, Sakota’s mission and ideals are challenged. Dubbed Astraeus by Sakota and her team, and not so different in appearance than native Pacific Islanders, the alien represents a million possibilities and… threats. Sakota and Astraeus have an instant, intense attraction to one another. Sakota knows what it’s like to be without a home. An orphan herself, she found appreciation with her adoptive father and harbors hope that she can help humanity find the same thing as they search for life.
Sakota hurried along with them. “Be careful and quick, or he might die before we find out what he is.”
They sped to the containment chambers and lay him on the med bed. She discarded her environmental suit en route and yanked her lab coat off its peg near her desk. Hisoka handed her the scissors Alistair had used earlier to cut his hair. She snipped at the top of the man’s shirt. The material, though thin, was rough in texture. She couldn’t cut it. After a few attempts, she gave up and passed them back to Hisoka. She stepped away from the machine.
“Calibrate diagnostics. Full-body scan. Procedural override. Check for any contamination and radiation. If patient needs resuscitation, administer immediately.”
A thick opaque plastic lid slid out from the side and canopied over the bed until it secured into place. A green light shone over the man’s forehead. Spidery-thin metal wireless pincers attached to slim mechanical rods emerged from the center of the bed and moved along his left arm.
The smooth voice of the computer resumed. “Calibrating diagnostics.” The bed lit as it scanned his body. “No resuscitation needed.”
Her heart sank. “He’s dead?”
“Patient is alive. Error. Error. Error.”
“Specify error. Is the patient alive?”
“Affirmative. Biometrics indicate cardiovascular activity and internal movement, but patient is in critical condition. No radiation or toxicity found. Administering first aid for external lacerations, antiseptic mist, IV, and oxygen.”
An electronic claw emerged from the head of the bed and placed an oxygen mask on the man. Puffs of cool antiseptic mist fogged the glass with moisture. The machine bandaged his wound with gauze, glued it together, and neatly snipped the ends.
Sakota put a hand to her heart. “Good. What’s the error?”
“Unable to locate a vein to insert a primary infusor for an IV,” the machine answered. “Patient is not human.”
Character Art by Bianca Duarte: