Tyra B

by Celefin

Chapter 1: Repeat

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The stench of hydrocarbons was overwhelming.

He couldn't see a thing in his pitch black cabin. The power was out and obviously the air conditioning as well, which explained the splitting headache. Years of safety drills kicked in and made him scramble out of bed as fast as he could, which wasn't very fast at all and led to him faceplanting onto the dusty cabin floor. It hurt.

Dusty. Why was it dusty? Why was he wasting time on thoughts like that? He needed to get out. Now.

His extremities were already numb. He couldn't feel the lock. He couldn't feel the button. He couldn't even feel the handle. He needed to get out. Now.

He lost his balance for a moment and entangled his legs and numb feet in the bedsheets again. No, not the sheets. His jeans that he had slept in, as usual. They didn't fit. At all. Not important. He heard the sturdy fabric tear when he scrambled to his legs again. Not important. He needed to get out. Now.

No lock, no handle, no light. Hydrocarbons. He screamed and threw himself forward. His vision exploded in stars as he exploded through the door in an eruption of plastic veneer and aluminium stiffeners. That should not be possible with ordinary human strength. Not important. He needed to get out. Now.

The fluorescent stripes that lead to the emergency exit were out. This should not be possible, they only needed an hour of light to recharge and they couldn't break. Not important, he knew where the exit was. Safety drills.

He still couldn't feel his hands when he tried to push himself up. His head swam in the toxic air. Not important. Just crawl then. Keep your head low and out of the fumes. Safety drills. The carpet smelled mouldy. Why mouldy? Not important.

His body didn't respond the way it should. Lack of oxygen. Didn't respond the way he wanted it to respond. Yet he was moving. Stumbling, crawling, rolling sideways. Safety.

He couldn't see a thing but he knew this was it. The exit bar on the door had to be working. It wasn't. The door refused to open on its own accord, no matter he was leaning on the thing with all his weight. He pressed again, then he hit it with all his strength. The door flew open with a screech of metal, a shower of rust and a rush of air.


He couldn't see a thing in the glaring sunlight. He could taste blood in his mouth. Not important. Air. Fresh air. No smoke. Fresh air and hydrocarbons. Survivable levels. Easily survivable. No long term damage to be expected. No danger. Calm down. Calm down.

Calm down. Safety. Quiet. The whistling of wind and the hiss of waves. Quiet. Too quiet. Much too quiet.

He squinted against the harsh sunlight on the gangway far above the dark waters of the North Sea and looked around. Looked down on the oil sludge covered wreck of a tug boat stuck between support beams of the bridge module. Looked up at the rusty array of pipes and ladders and pumps and windows with it's faded and cracking yellow paintjob on the accommodation platform above him. Looked down at his hands and gaped. Looked down at the hooves at the end of forelegs covered in turquoise fur.

Brian Mikkelsen screamed.


The monstrous gas flame, burning forever above its ruptured flare stack to the east, lit up the sky and filled the cafeteria area with its garish yellow orange glow. It lit up the smashed windows and made ghostly shadows dance across the white ceiling panels.

The dark of the overcast night was absolute. Brian sat at a window opening and stared into the flame like a moth. Stared into the flame with his large blue eyes under his grey mane. There was nothing else to do. There was nothing to eat. The fridges and cupboards in every reachable part of this platform section were empty. Smashed. Forced open. Raided long since.

There was dust. Dust that had begun to swirl around his new hooves after he'd shattered the windows and let in the wind. The air was breathable now. Just. There was dust. There was nothing to drink. There was the mummified corpse of another pony curled up behind the counter. It had been purple.

There was oil. Oil that leaked from the riser platform a hundred yards to the southwest along the corroded gangway. Where there were escape pods. Where he couldn't go. Because of his four hooves. The lifts didn't work. The ladders were too steep. It was pointless anyway, the air down there was toxic.

There was oil. Oil that lazily bubbled to the surface from below the blown out wellhead platform one, further along the gangway. There was oil. Oil that almost completely covered leaking wellhead platform two, along the same gangway. There was oil. Everywhere.

There was gas. Gas that crept through the rusting hulk of the processing section of the platform he sat on. Gas that smelled of rotten eggs. He'd bucked out the windows and cut his hooves. He'd live. Not further down though. Where the escape pods were. The rotten eggs were heavier than air. It would be painless. An equine could not access the lower levels. Hooves. Not without power. Without lifts. He'd have to jump. That would hurt. He didn't want to hurt.

There was nothing to do.


The pots and pans gave merry little plinks and plonks as the rain filled them with precious water that poured from the acidic clouds high above the helipad. The helipad the pony could reach because of the metal fire escapes clinging to the structure in which it had woken up. The water smelled of hydrocarbons. It was all the pony had. It would have to do.


There was the eastern horizon. Forty miles to Esbjerg on the Danish coast. Forty yards to the seabed. There was an oil slick stretching to the eastern horizon, poisoning the air and water and everything for forty miles to Esbjerg. There was the distant glow of burning wellhead platform Tyra Southeast.

A large skeleton of some hybrid bird creature hung in a crane's rusting girder mast to the left. It had embraced the structure with a broken wing. And a broken neck. The crane had a load still attached. It swung in the wind against a railing somewhere down in the depths with a slow beat. Like an inharmonic bell.

The pony sat in the downpour on the helipad and listened to the rhythm of the rain. Plink plonk. The rain ran off the pony's back that glistened with a fine coating of oil. It itched. The hunger was worse. At least there was water. Water that smelled of hydrocarbons.

There was nothing to do.


Unseeing eyes scanned the horizon for the thousandth time. It would have been a nice sunny day had it not been for the brown soup that stretched all around. Hydrocarbon soup. The emaciated horselike animal sat still in the baking heat on the helipad. The crane bell rang.

It looked up at the sudden sound of whup whup whup whup from a helicopter that had appeared out of nowhere, right to the east over the platform. Esbjerg transfer service. The helicopter was on a stable landing approach for a few seconds.


Hope lit up the animal's eyes, desperate hope that made it expend the energy to rise to its hooves for the first time in two days. It staggered to the side of the helipad and croaked out something in a voice no longer understandable.

The helicopter's approach became wobbly before the machine veered off to the side and began to spin around in ever faster circles, engines screeching as it dropped. It smashed into the railing and sheared in half, dropping three large canines and a pony to their fates. The front part skidded across the landing pad in a shower of sparks and whirling rotor blades and squashed the horrified animal sitting there.

It didn't hurt.


She couldn't see a thing in the acrid smoke. She should have died in a crash like this. She dragged herself out of the wreckage of what had been her helicopter and looked around in a daze. Looked at her hands extended in front of her and gaped. Looked at the claws at the end of the birdlike legs.

Fiona Hughes screamed and passed out.

She came to in the middle of the night.

The stench of hydrocarbons was overwhelming.

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