“No Visitors”, reads the scrawled lettering on the thin, corrugated metal. Beth grimaces remorselessly and turns the handle.
Inside is static chaos. Everything bolted down bent. Everything stacked or hanging fallen. The table, the lamp, the picture frame with the occupant’s daughter, all lie in a broken heap. Chaos.
And covered with dust.
The thin, fine, dangerous dust that you get from manufacturing defects, from micrometeorite punctures in your ventilation system, leaking precious, life-giving air into the clutches of nothingness. From monopropellant from ruptured tanks coating the suffocated interior of a small freighter, one of thousands spinning lonely in the dark.
Beth plays her flashlight over the rubble. Nothing here. No Tellurium on the engine deck either. Already picked over.
On a whim Beth reaches for the picture frame. Then smiles. The girl would be about 230 now. Still, she’s a pretty echo of the long dead.