Write yourself out of a corner

(With thanks to my ever-inventive commenters)
The sirens had started blaring as soon as the Chieftain had left the cell. A few moments after that, tendrils of thick, green gas had begun to snake under the door. However, Dash was aware of none of this. As soon as the door had closed behind his captor, he had begun the mental and physical process needed to put himself into the Trance of All-Being, an ancient secret taught to him by his mysterious Space-Zen master on the hidden ice planet of Bhulfhughugt. This trance would free him from the necessity of breathing, instead allowing him to re-metabolise the oxygen within his body for up to an hour.
Next, he formed a vivid mental image of his fifth birthday, a process which generated the unique combination of brainwaves required to activate the bio-integrated quantum communications implant that nestled deep in his hypothalamus. The nanotech circuitry instantaneously sent a burst of coded data tunnelling through non-space to the paired receiving unit, fifty parsecs away. Now he had broadcast his position, help was on its way.
That just left the diamond compound walls and deadly forcefields beyond. Taking a moment to channel the never-adequately-explained power of his Space-Zen abilities, Dash sensed a complex, syncopated rhythm in the electromagnetic fields that permeated the cell. He placed one hand against the wall and breathed for a moment. Then, guided by the fluctuations of unseen forces, he rapped a seemingly random pattern with his fingertips. For a split second, the crystalline structures within the wall aligned perfectly with the pulsing of the forcefield, reflecting and focusing its power in such a way as to not only overload the field generators, but vaporise the wall itself. With a shower of sparks and a crackle of exploding neutrons, the cell was gone.
Dash sprinted down the corridor, deadly neurotoxin gas swirling around him. The door to the ship’s bridge opened as he approached. He combat-rolled through it. At the exact moment that he tumbled into the command centre, thirty heavily-armed Mhal-Evol’Unt warriors turning to face him, an explosion rocked the warship. Through the plumes of smoke and a newly-torn gash in the ship’s hull, Dash saw the familiar figure of Fumblebot, his adorable robot sidekick.
‘Well, gentlemen, this is my ride,’ he said, waving one hand at his alien captors as he hurled himself through the haze of molten metal and into the waiting starfighter. With a whistle of friendly greeting, Fumblebot fired up the engines and they were away.

18 comments:

  1. There was an episode of Farscape like that. Crichton escapes a ship just before it explodes. Coasts through space WITHOUT any protective gear and head completely exposed to land on another ship. He suffered only minor injuries. Wow!

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  2. "Ford and Arthur popped into outer space like corks from a toy gun."

    Of course, staring death down is much simpler when you have the use of an Infinite Improbability Drive.

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  3. Nice! Double points if none of these skills were mentioned in the story before this point.

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  4. You can in fact survive a short while in space without gear. It's a myth that you implode instantly.

    It helps to have the other ship conveniently show up, though... hell, even Dr Who just did it.

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  5. cf. http://writebadlywell.blogspot.com/2010/03/withhold-key-information-to-create.html

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  6. Who can survive a short while in space without gear? Has anyone done it yet?

    I think "theoretically" is more appropriate than "in fact".

    Just sayin'...

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  7. There's only one way to settle this.

    Any volunteers?

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  8. Dave Bowman did. Right after HAL refused to open the pod-bay doors.

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  9. The AntipodeanMonday, May 24, 2010

    Lovely, lovely, lovely: space-zen is, of course, awesome, and may it be with all of us. I am a little sad to have lost the opportunity to work Stargate in there somehow (we did have a Macgyver reference in the previous comments, after all... actually, there are some useful trance states in Stargate, you just usually have to have an alien symbiote inside you first.)

    However, since being picky is my bounden duty (or I just enjoy it): "Know he had broadcast his position" - "Now he had broadcast his position," perhaps?

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  10. pheeehw, thought dash had had it for sure.

    and, if dumped in space sans spacesuit, you would probably boil. you probably wouldnt explode and you certainly wouldnt implode.

    do a get a pedant award?

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  11. @chris - You're going to have to try a lot harder than that to get a Pedant Award on this blog.

    Perhaps if you were a little more tense?

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  12. Just when I'd almost forgotten that particular incident...

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  13. A worthy escape for our hero. Well done, Joel.

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  14. @MarkT, etal. RE:tense

    wow, that is some A grade pedantry.

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  15. @chris - Yup, on the Gridiron of Pedantry, us sciency types stand no chance against the Defenders of Grammar and Syntax. Mostly because eventually, Science shuts up even the Pope, while Mencken, Oxford, and the AP can never convince Strunk, Follet and the MLA of anything .

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  16. @chris

    "Blood won't boil, because the elastic pressure of the blood vessels keeps it it a pressure high enough that the body temperature is below the boiling point"

    http://www.geoffreylandis.com/vacuum.html

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  17. There should be an entire book about Dash. I'd pay to read it.

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