With a raspy gasp, Novah opened her eyes to blinding white light. Her entire body felt stiff and her brain felt cloudy, as if she had been awoken from a deep sleep. Novah lifted her hand up to cover the bright beams, that—after her eyes adjusted—were just the ceiling lamps. She lifted herself up slowing with a painful groan and cupped her head in her hands. It throbbed in waves of pain like a warning alarm going off in her mind.
Slowly but surely, Novah looked around and realized, nothing looked out of place. She was sitting on the floor against a velvet orange sofa with round cushions. The floor was white plaster covered with a red rug. The room was comfortably cool. Novah tried to remember things and slowly she did. She remembered her name, and where she was from, and why she was where she was.
Novah wasn’t exactly sure why she was on the floor, or why she had a horrible headache. But she knew that her and her aunt, Clea had come onto this ship to get away for a while. She remembered her aunt telling her she wanted quality “aunt and niece time” or something like that.
With a laugh at the funny memory, Novah shook her head of the thought, letting it pass like a cloud in the sky, and stood up. It was hard to walk at first but slowly she made her way around the room. Her soft slippers made light taps against the plaster at every step she took.
Novah stumbled over to the Atana and turned it on. The computer screen lit up, text appeared and with it a metallic female voice. “Please log in.”
Using a keyboard that she popped out of the wall from underneath the screen, Novah typed. Novah-EXDEIN-57-48-1287 and her password.
“Atana-503. Please enter an order,” the voice spoke. Novah stared at it blankly as the bar blinked waiting for her to type. Suddenly the voice spoke again, “If you would like instructions on how to give an order, please select the highlighted button.” A button with a question mark on it, in the corner of the screen, got highlighted in blue.
Novah, knowing how to give an order and not having one to give, decided to move away from the computer screen and look around. There wasn’t anything she needed from Atana at the moment. Walking around the room and studying over everything, Novah realized that the door was closed shut. Surprised, because usually the doors are kept open for easy access, Novah move back over to Atana. She now had an order to give the computer.
Popping the keyboard out again, Novah typed, Open door E2.
The computer responded, “Thank you for the order. Opening Door E2. 30%,” a bar appeared on the screen and a percentage. Novah watched the percentage grow until it hit 100% and the door opened with the sound of air being released.
Novah walked into a dark hall and initially realized she needed the lights on. Next to door E2 in the hall was another Atana surrounded by dull blue light. Novah was drawn to the light like a moth and turned on the other Atana screen.
“Atana-503. Please enter an order,” the voice spoke again.
Novah typed, Turn on lights.
“Please specify your command.”
Novah sighed and changed her command, realizing that she didn’t know the names of the halls. She only knew the room she woke up in was Room E because of the sign above the door that in blue light read, Door E2.
She typed again, Please show ship map.
“Showing ship map,” the voice spoke and up appeared the percentage bar again.
After about a minute of waiting, a map appeared. It looked like blueprints of the whole ship. Every room was labeled with a number and every Atana was highlighted in blue. Novah saw the room she woke up in near the back of the ship. It was labeled Room E. She followed the map, through door E2 and saw that it lead to corridor D. That was where she was.
So, Novah typed with her new found information, Turn on Corridor D lights.
“Turning on Corridor D Lights.”
The lights turned on, brightening up the dark hallway.
The corridor looked very similar to the room Novah woke up in. The floor and walls were made out of the same white plaster. On the opposite wall of the Atana, there was a big window looking out at the empty space. But other than that the room was empty.
Novah moved over to the window and put her hands up against the thick plastic. The black emptiness was filled with stars, scattered around beautifully. She couldn’t see any hubs around and realizing that a dark sad emptiness settled in her gut.
Where was everyone? Novah hadn’t seen any sign of other people, but she knew her aunt came onto the ship with her. She knew there was staff because they served dinner the night before.
Novah’s heart started to beat rapidly as her mind raced with thoughts of being alone. Quickly she spun on her heel towards Atana to try something she had never tried before.
She typed, Where are the other people?
“There are no other life forms on deck,” Atana spoke mechanically.
Novah’s heart sunk down into her gut. As she thought more, she gained more questions. Who’s flying the ship?
“The captain set the ship on self-flight. So in other words, I am.”
What happened to the other people?
“I am unaware of any other life forms on deck.”
What happened to the other people?
“All 60 pods left ship exactly 7 hours, 53 minutes, and 42 seconds ago.”
Novah gapped at the new found information. 60 pods...each pod carries at most 5 people...that means...300 people. Novah was alone on a ship that was carrying 300 people and what happened to those people...Atana couldn’t or wouldn’t tell her.
Novah needed to know more. She needed to get to the bridge and see if maybe she could connect to another ship. So she typed, Open door D2.
“I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
“What do you mean you can’t open the door!” Novah yelled out loud for the first time since she woke up.
In a panic that she couldn’t control, Novah ran into Room E and looked around for some sort of cupboard. Every room needed a book with all the codes and things to use in case of emergency. She looked in the cupboards until she found a black book with the name Atana-503 written on it, in big white letters.
Novah flipped to the table of contents and went to the section on orders. She skimmed over paragraphs talking about how to give orders and the rules, until she found a section on what to do if your edition of Atana isn’t obeying orders.
It told her to input a code instead of an order so Atana didn’t have the chance to process the order. Using a code forced Atana to obey.
Novah sighed of relief even though her hands were still shaking and her heart was still pounding. With the book in her arms, Novah ran over to the nearest Atana and typed in the code.
A percentage bar showed up without the voice and Novah nervously watched it, slowly turn from 10% to 11% and so forth. After minutes of tedious waiting, the percentage finally turned 100% and the sound of air being released fill the room. Her heart pounding, Novah turned her head to door D2.
What lay behind the open door sparked curiosity, so she moved forward. Novah now stood in the doorway and what she saw lay behind the door made her racing heart stop and her eyes widen. She had never felt so alone and afraid.
If you are interested in Atana. You can subscribe to its club here by clicking this.