By Jeff Ammons
Gingerly she regained her feet and limped over to Number Seven. She pulled silver sealing tape from her leg pouch and turned her back to Seven. She saw her clumsy attempts to reach her own back and realized it was no good. She simply couldn’t reach that part of her back.
Her thoughts flashed unexpectedly to James. If only he were here, he could put the patch on her back.
“This is just great, Seven.” She chewed her lip and tried to find a solution. She turned the roll of tape in her hands and thought.
“How the Hell am I supposed to get this stuff on my back?”
She thought about putting a strip on Seven and backing into it, but that would rely on her bad knee working, plus the out-gassing air might blow it away.
She thought, “How do you reach your back? When do you reach your back?”
“The towel!” she shouted. “You reach your back with the towel, Seven!”
She pulled a long stretch of the tape and held it like a towel between her hands and awkwardly worked it up past the helmet and down her back.
She watched her progress through Seven’s eyes. The hissing gas pushed away the tape, but Sarah was highly motivated to say the least.
At last the adhesive gripped the suit. Fortunately the escaping air had cleared the dust from an area around the crack.
Sarah managed three layers of tape before carefully lying down on her back and rolling in the riverbed to put pressure on the tape and give it a firmer hold.
Once more she struggled to her feet.
The alarm had stopped with the leak. That was a relief.
Hesitantly she looked at her wrist display. Two hours.
She tried to calm herself. No time to be an air guppy. She concentrated on slowing her breathing as her heart pounded in her ears.
Her pulse slowed.