He wasn’t going to make it. He felt it the moment his feet left the air duct. He reached out as far as he could, stretching his limbs to their utmost, but fell just a few centimeters short. His hand brushed the rail as it slipped past his grasp. A spark of electricity ran through his fingers when it did. He felt his stomach drop as he fell.
“Seven!” He heard Lex yell.
Then, the world flipped.
Seven hung in the air for a second before slamming into the cooling unit. It hurt. The railing caught him right in the gut. His stomach crawled up his throat, and he vomited.
“Seven! Are you alright? What happened?”
It took him a second before he could respond. “It went back, I think,” he said hoarsely.
“Stay there. I’m headed up!”
“Hime, calm down! He’s alright,” Basalt said. “It wasn’t that bad of a fall. Let Rowan do it. He’s already up there. It’s not that simple of a climb, and knowing you, you’d just fall.”
Lex gritted his teeth. “Rowan, hurry up and get him down.”
“Hime, this is as far as I can go. He’s going to have to come to me.”
“It’s fine, Lex,” Seven said. “I think I can move now.” He forced himself up and stumbled to the edge of the cooling unit. The whole unit was rounded on either end, while tapering together in the middle, reminiscent of an hourglass. Seven looked over the edge. Rowan was stuck at the bottom end of the cooling unit. He couldn’t climb any higher due to the concave sides.
“Lex, how am I supposed to do this?”
Lex cursed. “Juleka? Why the jeck doesn’t this rancid kant gamin cooling roat have a jecking access ladder on it?”
“You’re the one that suggested getting second hand parts. Something about saving money. I built it with what I had. The whole engine room is like that. You expect it to have all the necessary access routes when it’s been built from stuff straight from the garbage dump? How was I supposed to know that a snot nosed brat would get himself stuck on top of it? You’re lucky anything works at all in this room. Don’t come complaining to me about access ladders! Why if it wasn’t for me, this whole system would have blown up in your face ages ago!” Juleka ranted, but a hint of concern surfaced in her eyes as she looked up at Seven.
Seven took a step closer to the edge, looking for a way down. Lex was still fuming at Juleka, when Blick suddenly yelled, “Seven! Stop! Anymore and you’ll fall! You’re leaning! Back away from the edge!”
“I’m not lean-” Seven stopped. He hadn’t noticed it before, but he was. He was leaning quite a bit. He was at quite an oblique angle when compared to the ground. He hadn’t noticed it due to the curved surface he was standing on. Normally, someone at the angle he was standing would have fallen by now. Only… Seven took another step forward.
“Seven! Stop!” Several people yelled as they watched in horror, only to be confused when Seven still didn’t fall. Seven climbed over the edge and onto the side of the cooling unit.
Mevin frowned. “It’s like the cooling unit is a mini planet or something. He’s walking on the side.” It was disconcerting to see.
“If that’s the case, he can get to Rowan by just walking,” Sven said.
“But, it’ll be a problem getting him down. Before, if I’m right, instead of gravity pulling him down, it was pulling him just up, but now, it’s pulling him towards the surface of the cooling unit. It’ll be hard to get him out of the room and around the ship. I guess it’s not all that different of a problem than when he was upside-down. The bridge would be a good place since it’s directly above the engine room, but getting him there… I’m just glad it’s not something like magnetism instead. That would be a pain.”
They watched as Seven made his way to Rowan, who led him to the access ladder to the ground. Seven climbed up it while Rowan climbed down. When Seven got to the top… or bottom – it still hurt his head trying to think about directions when his gravity changed – Rowan grabbed a hold of him to keep him from falling. The man grunted as he walked with Seven out of the engine room. He set the boy on the wall of the hallway, and Seven slid to the ceiling, his gravity still connected to the cooling unit. Everyone shuffled out of the engine room as well.
“Hime,” Mevin said looking at his meta-link, “Looks like we’re at the boarder. Offa says they’re hailing us.”
Lex nodded. “Here, Seven. Grab on. I’m not letting you out of my site.” He reached up and grabbed a firm hold on the boy, carrying him off to the bridge. Halfway to the elevator, Seven’s weight suddenly shifted.
“Oh,” Seven said surprised, “It’s back to normal. Lex, I can walk now. It wore off.” Lex set him down on the ground, but still kept a hand on him.
“You can control it now?” he asked.
“No, it’ll be a while before I can. Feels like it takes time to charge whenever the flip is switched. Shouldn’t go haywire again unless I get shocked, but after I get control, it shouldn’t flip unless I build up enough electricity again. That won’t happen for a while.” Seven winced, gripping his stomach.
“Mevin, call Lois to come have a look at him up at the bridge.” He picked up Seven’s hand and held onto it as they walked into the elevator. It seemed as if he was afraid the boy would float off if he didn’t keep a hold of him.
“Hime seems more shaken than Seven does,” Basilisk said. “Don’t you think he’s gotten weirdly attached to Seven? I mean, the kid is likable and all, but Hime almost seems needy.”
“Yeah, it does seem that way,” Basalt came and stood beside his brother as he watched the elevator doors close. “I think Hime’s been looking for someone to take care of for a while now. I guess he felt a connection with Seven. Must’ve felt like family to him.”