He placed the last suit over the mechanism they were using to fill them up with oxygen. “Ready,” he told Patricia as he felt the suit finally stay up on its own.
Patricia tapped the panel close by and the sound of escaping gas resonated around them.
“Fond memories of this place,” said Patricia with a smirk. “I laid you out right about there.” She pointed toward a cylinder across the large room.
Jimmy laughed and said, “I’d love to see you do it when I’m not having a crazy moment.”
“Wouldn’t change,” she said as she winked at him. His smile waned. Did she think him crazy? “I played baseball growing up.”
Fuck baseball. He thought, sure that she had listened in to his thoughts and changed the direction of the conversation. He studied her carefully, trying to catch any reaction to his new thought. A flinch, glance away, response back. Nothing.
“Why don’t we ask them for the progress on the pods?” said Patricia. She cocked her head and frowned as she caught him staring blankly at her. “They might just tell us the truth.”
Fuck your truth. “Right,” he said, withdrawing the extra unit from the bag.
“Suits are filled” he said into the busted up unit. “Any updates on the pods?”
If he hadn’t been suspicious of it before, he most definitely was now. He glanced at Patricia who raised her eyebrow, saying ‘I told you so’ without ever having to speak the words. He was about to speak into the unit again when the suit burst free from the tubing they had rigged.
The loud sound of rushing air startled the both of them. It took Patricia a moment to figure out what was happening before she tapped the panel to shut the flow of oxygen off. A small cloud had formed around them by the time she put a stop to it.
“I’m sure glad that’s the last one,” she mumbled, causing Jimmy to grin. The first three suits had been spat out just the same without any warning like a jack in the box.
“James, are you there?” came a female voice from the unit.
“I’m here,” he said.
“It’s Aida,” there was a brief pause as if she expected to acknowledge her. “Were you able to get all four suits filled?”
He didn’t like how much importance she was putting on getting all four ready. “Negative,” he lied and watched Patricia frown. “Two malfunctioned.”
There was a brief silence on the other end. “It would have been nice to have a thicker safety net but two should do.”
“Should do?” he said as he watched the cloud around them dispersing.
“There’s a chance the pods may not be receiving oxygen since they were disconnected from the main system,” said Aida with no sign of hesitation.
“Why couldn’t you tell me this before?”
“I’m telling you right now,” she said. “We still don’t know if it will be, so guard those suits.”
“Otherwise, they are functional, though. Right?” he asked.
“Fully,” she instantly responded as if with pride that she could finally say it. “I’m getting you back home.”
Patricia chuckled, “This woman is something else.”
Jimmy smiled. He liked the jealousy he saw in her. “Got it,” he said into the unit. “I’ll contact you once we’re in the quarters.”