The Merrin, part 25

Story by Sovereign Kyle on SoFurry

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#25 of Merr

Feeling cooped up, alone, and still getting colder.

Next: Part 26

Three days.

It's been three days since he's been able to leave the cave.

The storm outside has been raging for nearly all of that.

With a sigh, he heads back inside the cave. In an effort to keep the heat in, he's put up some of the leftover shelter panels in the narrowest part of the cave, beyond all the eggs and cocoons. He came to realize that he was keeping the mouth of the cave open, when it should have been snowed shut.

Nothing moves through the cave anymore but him. The few remaining guardians now stand lifeless over the eggs, seemingly keeping guard in death as they did in life.

Stepping into the shelter, he sees Avy sitting on the bed reading a tablet. She's wearing a long, loose fitting long-sleeved shirt. Her tail is in a new sleeve and is curled around her. It's now larger than the rest of her, and too heavy for her to drag around.

With a tired sigh, Key drops his armor and sits next to her.

She puts an arm around him as she changes the page in the e-book she's reading. Love, you need a hobby.

He cracks a grin. "Hobby? What could I possibly do as a hobby?"

You could read.

He rolls his head to look at her. "Why do you think all those book's on the tablet?"

She looks back at the tablet. Oh. You've read all these?

He nods. "Yep. All 4,387 of them."

If her eyes could widen, they would have. You've read all of them?

He shrugs. "What else is there to do on a ship, when you're alone for nearly a year on end."


"Honey, if I was asleep on this last one, we wouldn't be here now."

* * *

Key stands on the com shelter's roof. The snow now has it completely buried. If it weren't for the wind keeping the excess off the top, he'd have missed it.

It's cold, nearly 50 degrees below zero, and it's still dropping.

At this temp, he'd be dead in a few minutes if not for the environmental suit that's still combined with his armor. Together, they protect him from the biting cold.

He's done charging the pod, and checking on the transmissions. Now, he's tracking the moons.

The eclipse has passed. With the sun appearing smaller, Key knows that the orbit has shifted. They're further away from the sun.

This is upsetting to him. The planet's entire climate has changed. The ecosystem, all the life, everything is in danger.

With a heavy heart, he extends his snow shoes and starts back to the cave. He won't have to worry about breaking the news to Avy. She'll read it from him right away. The thing that worries him the most, is just how far has the orbit shifted.

What does this mean, for us?

Key wraps his arm around her, "I'm not sure. Without a response to the distress call, I just don't know."

She sighs, and wraps her arms around him. We could sleep.

"You mean, hibernate? Hun, humans don't do that."

You sleep in the cold. Your...cryo sleep.

"Me, cryo sleep?" Key looks at her for a moment. "Is it even possible to cryo sleep without a tube?"

Pond answers. "It is theoretically possible. Certain conditions must be maintained for it to work."

"As in?" he asks.

"Temperature must be maintained below -150, your skin must be protected, and we would need to administer cryoprotectants and perfluorochemicals," Pond states.

"We would first need to reconfigure our peripherals before we could do this," Drudge adds.

I don't think the cold will be an issue.

Key nods. "Yeah. My only worry is if we'll have enough power to make it till then." He stands and walks to the door and looks out the window. seeing a light frost on everything he says, "Start making the necessary modifications. Any peripherals that are not needed are expendable."

Both AIs respond in unison. "Understood."

Drudge continues, "Estimating updates complete in...12 hours."

With a sigh, key turns to the converter. "I better start finding some ways to collect some energy."

* * *

A bundle of cables run from the shelter, all the way outside the cave. There, Key's setup several small wind generators. While not very effective at this size, they will provide enough power for heat and so they can run the converter to make food. With the diminished sun, solar wasn't feasible.

The wind blows steadily, making their cupped arms spin. These are omni-directional, and robust, something Key made sure of with the storms that still roll through.

On top the com shelter, he's currently trying to set one up. It's in the open now, most of the surrounding trees have been blown down. The wind is fierce, near 100kph sustained. It's cold, nearly 100 below.

With the last of it's power, Key finishes welding the one wind generator to the shelter's roof. He'd wanted to put up two, but the cold is killing the welder's battery.

Without much else to do, he drops down into the shelter to warm up.

"Power status."

"Power charge vs. power consumption is balanced," Drudge answers.

Key involuntary shivers and looks at the welder's battery. It's cracked, no good. "Crap," he mutters, and tosses the battery in the converter, where it disappears with a flash.

"Do we have enough energy to make another battery?"


He looks up at the ceiling. "Well, I guess one will have to do."

The Merrin, part 26

Key sips at his soup. Avy's curled up around her tail, asleep. With addition of the wind generators, they've been able to keep it a little warmer in the shelter. At only 15 degrees, it's still cool for his liking, but it's tolerable without his armor...

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Leilani, of Arcania?

The brown otteress walks out onto the beach. She smiles. The sun is setting. Time to dive. Her name is Leilani, and she'd originally come up here to help teach the dolphin people how to use the resources of the lake. Now, she's back to doing what she...

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The Merrin, part 24

Avy gently presses her last wing against the wall. All 6 now hang there. She sighs heavily and adjusts her cloak. Key made it to help keep her warm. The cave is cooling, and as a result, so is the shelter. After getting herself something to eat, she...

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