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Salvage is a simple job. Find a wreck, tear it to bits, sell it on the black
market. Salvage is also an extremely complicated job, not least because there's
several other people on the wreck with you, and they'll gladly tear you to bits
if you get in their way.

Flynn "Bonesaw" McMillan was often made aware of this fact, and today was no
exception.

"Alyx! Get the airlock ready, we have company!" A chunk of shrapnel the size of
his fist whipped past his head as he thumbed his suit's radio switch.

"On it." Alyx was the getaway pilot. An important job, to say the least. "Do you
guys need tethers, or will thrusters cover it?"

Flathead, the team's gunner, came on the radio. "I got plenty of gas."

Bonesaw pushed off from the chunk of spaceship he was hiding behind and gave a
quick burst on his thrusters. From across the debris field he saw Flathead do
much the same. "Alyx, any nearby hostiles?"

"No hot thrusters, no plasma... I don't see anything," Alyx replied. "Hang on -
there's a distress call back near the wreck. Armoured pressure suit,
catastrophic breach... this message will repeat."

"Send me a tether. I'm going back out."

================

You never get used to space. You could work on a wreck every day for a year, and
you'd still feel your stomach drop when you look up. Or down, for that matter.
The human mind isn't built to see the infinite with such regularity.

The feeling is compunded when you've just been shot and thrown out of an
airlock. Cass was surprised how calm she felt. She was going to die, but it
really didn't seem to bother her. Chances were she'd pass out from the pain
before she suffocated.

She closed her eyes, and was about to accept the inevitable when suddenly, a
voice came on the radio. "KTEK-1A401, I have eyes on you. Please remain calm."

Cass twisted as much as she could, and just about made out the puff of a cold
gas thruster in the corner of her eye. Someone must have caught the suit's
automated distress call and come to save her.

================

Bonesaw gave a final blast on his thrusters as he pulled up alongside the
casualty. "I'm going to attach a tether to your suit and pull you in. Stay calm.
You're not gonna die today." A quick survey of the suit revealed the extent of
the damage. The torso seemed to have escaped mostly unharmed, but both the arms
were punctured in multiple places, seemingly by shrapnel. Flecks of purple
self-repair gel littered the otherwise pristine white surface of the suit. Very
troubling.

Bonesaw flipped the casualty around and hooked the tether onto the back of their
suit. "Alyx! Pull us in!"

The reply came near instantly. "On it, boss."

================

The force of the tether hit Cass like a truck. Her vision was already going dark
around the edges, and being pulled through space like a ragdoll certainly didn't
help. She couldn't feel her arms any more and she wasn't sure if it was from
hypoxia or blood loss. Warnings about low oxygen filled her suit's visor and her
ears were ringing and her vison got darker and-

She blacked out.