Maria (part 3)

Daniel winced in pain as Beth Cambridge helped him into one of the odd chair-bench furniture pieces in front of a console. The bridge (Maria had been insistent that this must be the bridge/command deck/whatever) was now full of people looking at all the screens and buttons, and trying desperately to resist the urge to start pressing things.

“You’re sure you touched nothing?” Maria asked Daniel.

“I *wince* I’m sure. I didn’t hit any buttons, turn any dials, I didn’t even *wince* tap any screens.” Daniel insisted.

The mayor had his arms crossed, frowning. “How bad is the leg, Dan?”

“I’ll be fine. It’ll *wince* calm down in a few minutes. I just need my–,” he stopped, then sighed, “My pills.”

“We’ll figure something out, Dan. Don’t worry. We’ll just have to…Maria, what are you doing?” they turned to look at Maria, who seemed to be doing squats, then leaping into the air, then making a series of short hops.

“I think we’re heavier,” she remarked idly.

“I beg your pardon?” Andrew was very confused.

“I think we’re heavier,” she said again, as if her meaning was obvious. “We weigh more.”

“So?” Andrew still wasn’t sure what she was getting at, and he was becoming very uncomfortable with the sight of a young woman in only a t-shirt and panties jumping up and down and doing squats in the middle of the room.

“Simulated gravity means definitely a spaceship. Heavier gravity on their command deck means it’s def’ aliens.”

“Honey, I don’t think–” Ana Gomez started.

“No, I mean, think about it: if it was a man-made spaceship, they’d make the gravity here earth norm. But we’re heavier. Means this is normal to whoever built this thing. So definitely an alien ship.”

“Or *wince* the gravity isn’t working as intended,” Daniel proposed.

Maria shrugged and nodded, “It’s possible, I guess.”

There was a gurgling sound, and then one of the screens lit up. It gurgled some more, then went silent, the display a jumbled mess of symbols and colors. Andrew looked but shook his head almost immediately.

“Yep. Can’t read this,” He said, walking away and running both his hands through his hair, “I’m in my pajamas on an alien spaceship. I don’t know why I’m surprised.”

The gurgling sound came again, and a new splash of colors and a few symbols appeared on the monitor. A few of the symbols matched a symbol on a button beneath the monitor. Daniel reached out towards the buttons, and Maria grabbed his hand.

“Do you have a condition or something?” she asked incredulously, “You have to press buttons and pull levers or you’ll have a stroke?”

“We are stuck on an alien ship with no food, water, or toilet paper!” Daniel shouted, pausing to wince again, “What could this thing possibly do that’ll make that worse?”

“It could vent the ship’s atmosphere into the vacuum of space for starters,” Maria spat back.

“Why *wince* Why would they put the button to open the ship up to space just out where anybody could accidentally touch it?” he said defiantly.

The gurgling sound came again, the color flashed again.

“Alien minds, moron! We have no idea how they operate.”

“How will we figure it out if we don’t start trying things?”

Maria was stumped by this one. The idiot was probably right. At some point they would have to start experimenting. She had hoped to learn a bit more about the ship’s owners before they started fiddling with things, but even then it would still be an educated guess at the very best. A wild mistake at the worst. She nodded.

“Alright, but wait,” Maria jogged over to the door to the bridge, and sealed the door.

“Honey, what are you doing?” Ana asked.

“If we’re about to vent the ship, I’d at least like enough time to say ‘I told you so’ before we die horrible deaths,” Maria said, as she sat down on one of the chair-bench hybrids. The gurgling sound and flash came again, and Maria nodded to Daniel. He pressed a button.

“I’m telling you, man, it doesn’t do anything,” came a male voice from the console.

“It has to do something,” a different male voice responded, “The little screen here is flashing…Oh I guess it stopped flashing.”

“See. Let’s go check the doors down this way.”

“Ummm….Hello?” Daniel asked the console.

There was a pause.

“Hello?” the first voice said.

“This is Mayor Andrew Poulder,” the mayor said leaning in, “To whom am I speaking?”

“This is Eric Hemsworth and my friend Cory mister mayor. We were checking out, like, a computer thing we found over here. I guess it’s a phone?”

“Why why why is everyone just pressing random buttons they find!?” Maria stood, slapping her palms to her forehead and looking as though she might start pulling her hair out.

“Is that Maria? Hey Maria!” Cory yelled.

“We are all gonna die in space and it will be because somebody couldn’t not press a button, I swear to God,” Maria mumbled as she took a seat at a different console. Andrew was fascinated, and began formulating a plan.

“Hey Eric,” he said into the general area Eric’s voice was coming from, presuming that maybe the microphone was in the same area, “Do you remember what the console looked like and what buttons you pressed to call us?”

“Oh yeah. I mean, I think so.”

Maria groaned, but she saw where Mr. Poulder was going with this plan and so she gave him a begrudging nod. After all, this was better than pressing completely random buttons.

“I want you and Cory to catch up to as many folks as possible. Tell them what to look for and what you did to call us. Let’s see if we can’t use this to get a bit better coordinated.”

“Aye aye, captain,” Eric said brightly. You could almost hear him saluting through the speakers.

They heard the two walking away, and Beth and Ana began speculating on which button might end the call. While they did that, Andrew walked over the Maria’s console.

“What do you think?” He asked.

“Lots of things,” she said frowning, “But your idea was pretty good. I can’t think of anything better right now and we have to do something right?”

“Exactly,” Andrew looked over to Daniel, still occasionally wincing in pain, “So we got abducted by aliens. That is not something I ever expected.”

“Me neither,” Maria leaned forward, resting her chin on a fist, “How long before people realize?”

“Realize what?” he chuckled, “There are several major problems that haven’t been floated yet, and I’m not sure which one you’re referring to.”

“How long before people realize we have no food or water? That’s the one I meant” She said gravely.

“I’m working on that. That’s why I let people split up. Lots of people pressing buttons, which I know you hate, but if there is anything we can use, we need to find it. We’ve got kids and babies here for christ sake.”

“How long before people start asking that if we are alone on this ship, which seems to be the case, where the hell are the aliens who brought us here?” Maria said looking up.

“One thing at a time, Maria,” the mayor said, and Maria noticed how tired he looked, “One thing at a time.”

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