Marcos sat down on the floor, to try to catch his breath, he had been running around for almost thirty minutes, trying to find a capsule and they had all been ejected, at most he had a couple of hours left before Argos began to be disintegrated. Panting, he stood up and amidst the alarms and the voice of the warning system, which notified of the impending disaster, he continued to run through the corridors, it was likely that on the second level, where the cargo bays were located, there were still some capsules in operation.
It arrived from Bellerophon ten days before the notification of the evacuation due to structural risks. Thirty-three days had already passed and only seven remained for the maximum period of evacuation.
On his arrival, he had been assigned to the hull reconstruction division, but shortly afterwards, representatives of the Parliament's Industrial Facilities Safety Committee carried out an inspection, after it was revealed in a report by a well-known Heracles journalist, that the operating conditions in Argos were critical and they decided that the best thing to do was to suspend operations so that it could be reconditioned.
After the eviction order was known, he was assigned to the closure of the operations of the smelters' furnaces and then of the gravity system's rotational motors, but two days ago he had been reassigned to the closure of the core of the antimatter reactor, which provided power to the entire station.
The reactor was a monster, capable of generating as much energy per minute as required by a world like Bellerophon for an entire year. In its early days, it could cover all the requirements of the one hundred smelting furnaces, three hundred shipyards and the thirty thousand rooms that housed the more than ninety thousand workers, as well as the facilities needed to provide them with services.
Argos was the largest of the two hundred shipyard space stations created during the glory of the Persian era, when even the Parliament had not located its headquarters in Herakles and partially ruled the colonies from Perseus, when even the war in Cepheus had not yet broken out.
It had already been operating for more than four thousand years and its conditions had deteriorated considerably, even to the point of forming micro cracks in the outer shell of its reactor.
That morning, Marcos was in charge of sealing the operation of the reactor's 15th maintenance sector. He only had to perform a routine in the maintenance computer and then close the sector's bulkhead door and seal it by welding its frame.
Once he executed the closing routine, he closed the door and activated the welding robot to perform the final work, but while the device was doing its job, behind the door one of the micro-cracks in the shell enlarged and started a chain reaction that ended up generating the explosion and detachment of a fragment of the shell, which shot out breaking the bulkhead and letting a jet of steam at high temperature escape.
Marcos was run over by a fragment of the bulkhead and was unconscious while the steam came out of the fissure. Fortunately for him, the metal fragment that hit him also served as a barrier to protect him from the impact of the steam jet; thus avoiding him from suffering serious burns, limited to only some minor ones, on his face and hands.
When he managed to recover from the blow, he saw that the sector where he was was closed, and that the evacuation alarms were active, fortunately the emergency system opened the hermetic door and let him out into the exit corridor, where he started his wander in search of an escape capsule.
Apparently all of them had already left the ship, possibly he had been left for dead during the accident, hundreds of capsules had been launched, almost all of them with their maximum load of evacuees, but the computer of his personal information unit, indicated him that there were still capsules that had not been expelled, however, he had not been familiarized yet with the location of them, according to his code and the information unit did not provide it to him.
After visiting the shipyards and the residential area, he went down to the second level, where the loading bays for the supplies for the operations were located. Few people used to work there, and since the operations were being suspended, supplies were no longer being received, so his workers would probably have been reassigned to level one to work at the operations stop.
As soon as he arrived at the level two evacuation area, he found that the first three capsules had been used, but the fourth one in the line was still available. He climbed in and closed the door, not believing it was necessary to wait for others, as it seemed that everyone had already left. He sat down in the control chair, fastened his seatbelts tightly and activated the ejection lever, a one-minute countdown began, after which the capsule was violently ejected compressing Marcos against his seat and leaving him unconscious for a few minutes.
Marcos woke up, freed himself from the belts and floated up to one of the capsule's portholes where he saw it approaching a group of others floating in space in the designated rescue area. He circled around, looking through all the portholes, until he reached one from which the Argos station could be seen, and in the background the red dwarf star orbiting around it began to break off large fragments that began to burn as it approached the star's corona.
That had been the end of Argos, one of the last and largest space station shipyards ever built, and one of the most glorious achievements of the ancient age of Perseus.