Instinctively she tried to move toward it, hoping to investigate and, maybe someday, exchange the memories for a better ship …
And her motion made the Afterthought fall again.
This time, however, before it hit the ground, the same invisible force lifted the ship and held it in the air.
Rachel-7 felt the temperature decrease across her entire hull.
“Looks like you can move well enough," the voice said. "All readings normal."
“Normal? I am broken in every sense of the word,” she said. “I demand to speak to the head technician.”
“There will be time for that later. Let’s move on.”
She detected something foul, some type of gas. It created a new kind of discomfort, a discomfort different than the pain she had experienced.
It was so powerful, she thought her forward sensors might be corroding.
Are they spraying me with acid? she wondered.
Then there was a flash of light and the Afterthought was standing vertical, its cabin pointed upward.
Her forward sensors felt no discomfort, no damage. Whatever they had sprayed her with was gone with no ill effects.
"Welcome to Containment Facility One!” said the cheery voice. “We of the —” There were some splattering sounds. “—thank you for volunteering on a project that we know will benefit all life.”
“We’re sure you want to get settled in,” the cheery voice continued. “But first let’s turn on the lights.”
The glare was so bright Rachel-7 thought her optical sensors would burst. She instinctively tried to veer her ship away.
But instead of moving, something terrifying happened.
She felt the Afterthought bend.
And then Rachel-7 really began to panic.