I set myself the goal of three months to restore the ship. Seemed like enough time to get the parts I needed. Ninety days of tracing short circuits and swapping loose couplings and I'd be off Forbi for good.
I had enough cash to keep my rent up until then. Good thing, since my scum-lord would eat me if I couldn't make rent. Nasdool sent regular comp cheques for wrecking my back in the "incident". They paid a lot of us off. We traded money for our silence; a good deal in my books. I'm no stoolie. Besides, I was probably partly to blame for what happened.
The screaming haunts me at night. Len and Brod, they worked on level eight in my sector that night. I was up to my elbows in coolant, swapping out a bad seal on the forechurners when the turbines started to fail. Without circulation, the air up on six and higher got ripe fast. Len and Brod didn't wear their gear regularly, none of us did. The stuff weighed over a hundred pounds and even with the point-six-gees factor, we couldn't maneuver into tight places suited up.
So they rabbited.
I heard the alarm and scrammed out from under churner three. Brod secured a line, hopped the railing, and started to rappel down to safety. I saw Len up there, and yelled at Brod to pick him up.
His line couldn't hold their combined weight. I knew, but I figured the load reqs were understated. I was wrong.
I watched my friends fall, saw their panicked faces, heard their last screams of fear. Then the chunk of railing that Brod used to secure his line landed on me.