The door slid aside with a touch; it was mere millimeters thick and rigid as horn. The smallest of pressurized hisses accompanied it. Hall light flooded in, making 126.96.36.199.4. wince; this light was bright and faintly tinted pink. She hooked her fingers over the step and hopped out of her room, standing in the hallway to pull the hard-plastic helmet over her head, crest flicking until each shaft had found its way comfortably into its sleeve. The door pressurized-hissed shut behind her, whispering; there was no other noise. The ship was so solid, so massive, and so silent. It was the world she had always known.
Upon the far wall an announcement panel blinked to itself, many colored light bulbs lighting up in turns. 14's head tipped, reading its pattern.
14 turned on her heels and loped, long arms and legs alternating like an elegant ape. There were no shoes on her feet; the thin, stretchy fabric that covered the rest of her body was their only barrier from the hard, ungiving metal of the floor. She kept her claws hacked brutally short and they did not click against the ground as she went, only the muffled slap of her soft-padded feet.
She slowed to a bipedal walk, all sounds of her passage melting into respectful silence, as a pair of helmeted Kokoparvests crossed the transverse corridor in front of her. They were taller; longer arms, fuller crests, glittering visors upon their helmets. One looked to her, read her status in a glance, and looked forward again, wasting no acknowledgment. Even fully encased in their uniforms, faceless in their helmets and rushed with their secretive task, they were elegant and aristocratic as cranes.
When the murmur of their talk was inaudible 14 moved more swiftly, her crooked arms held before her like a pensive mantis. She reached the storage chamber in minutes, trotting lightly on her toes. Her head turned to pick up the sound of voices down the hallway; all along it panels spelled out that same, ambiguous note of caution.
But surely, 14 thought to herself as she pressed the pad that opened the supply room door, nothing could invade this impregnable haven. The ship was encased in a secondary safety wall, and inside of it were the walls of the craft itself. At their thinnest points, they were three meters thick. These hull ships were gargantuan, and heavily defensive. That only made sense.
It was a big, dark vacuum outside.