The set up.
A man (Jim Preston) wakes up in his transit pod only to realise he can’t go back into stasis and is still 90 years away from his destination. How did he get up here? He is/was a blue collar worker in a class system where his skills whatever they may be have never been discovered, this has put him firmly in the grunt worker category. In order to get anything worthwhile you have to be a grifter, a thief or a gambler. He tried gambling and lost big time which is why he ended up on the ship. He is traded to settle his debt. He finds out after waking up that his job is as the ship’s handyman. Though the ship is automated you still need a human to fix things under the guidance of the ship. He should be able to go back to stasis afterwards but the man he owed (Jackson) didn’t shell out the extra 1000 credits. Why? Because Preston was a wise guy that made Jackson look stupid. He gets his answer when he reads the manual and finds he has to live out the rest of his life on the desolate ship.
A slow acceptance
Preston might not be happy about being isolated and trapped on a space ship floating in space. He has free run if the ship and gets to use some of the facilities after he fixes a few things here and there. He exercises, watches movies and reads. But It gets pretty old fast. He starts spending time in the stasis chambers looking at the different people who are asleep making up stories about who they are. His access to the pods is on rotation. He checks to make sure the pods will not fail. He is allowed access to a new stasis chamber/suite and finds a woman Aurora asleep in the pod. He recognises her, she was a celebrity from his past he found mildly interesting but in his bored/desperation she is the highlight of his time. He tries and fails to convince the ship’s A.I that he needs to repair something on her pod. The ship denies him access and he has to wait six months before he can access that part of the ship again.
Preston formerly dead beat, waiting to die glorified janitor now has something to live for. He uses the system computer to learn everything he can about Aurora. What he can mostly find are archived reports of past interviews and her personality profile. He finds out that there is military and civilian interest in the new planet. A new form of radiation has been discovered because a star imploded. It causes degeneration in the human brain eventually resulting in death. The people on earth are in the direct path of the radiation blast but the new planet is out of that range. They are not entirely safe though as galactic activity may change the path of the radiation storm and another star is just as likely to implode. The ship continues to monitor these activities and keeps a log for the captain. The moment the readings exceed acceptable parameters the first captain and the first general are to be woken up immediately. Preston uses cleaning me maintenance as a ploy to access the captains quarters where he reads about Aurora and her reasons for moving to the new planet.
Six months roll by and Preston gains access to Aurora’s pod. He makes a big show for the sake of the computer that she is in distress and her pod is failing. He fiddles with her pod against the computers advice and her pod opens. She is awake. He tells her there have been issues with the computer and both their pods failed. In her confusion he gives her his version of events the main issue being that they will be stuck together for 90 years. Aurora clearly shocked at the news leaves to gather thoughts. She goes to her cabin which is on a side of the ship he cannot get access to. She wanders, she cries, she rants but eventually gets a hold of herself. She asks the computer questions which confirm Preston’s story. Is her pod is damaged, yes. Will it take more than 90 years to reach their destination, yes. Is Preston the only other person awake, yes. She slowly accepts that she and Preston are the only people on the ship and will likely die together. Preston finally having someone to talk to. A slow and awkward relationship starts with Preston using some of the information he has learned about Aurora.
Aurora and Preston begin to form a pattern. Their relation is far from exclusive but with no other participants they have little to compare it to. They is a need each has for the other as they each fear being alone on the ship. On their lunch date Preston says something strange which confused Aurora. He plays it off and changes the subject. As time passes Preston’s behaviour becomes more and more erratic. He has o continue his maintenance jobs but begins hearing and seeing people on the ship. After his lunch with Aurora he goes to the medical bay where he learns he has been exposed to radiation. He realises Aurora may soon share the same fate as him but he doesn’t want to die alone and chooses to keep it to himself. On one of his maintenance runs he sees the captain and goes after him. He follows the captain to the lower engineering levels. The captain tells Preston not to trust the ship and shows him a cubby where the previous maintenance man lived before him for thirty years before dying. There is a picture, a worn book and a blanket. That maintenance man was not as lucky as him as he didn’t speak English and couldn’t communicate with the computer. The captain tells Preston that the ship has been going round in circles for the last fifteen years as it cannot find a clear path to the new planet. Preston asks the computer to show him the path to planet. The path makes no sense to him and he believes the captain. Aurora notices Preston is frantic and unwilling to tell her what is bothering him. One of the system fails which puts the ship on red alert. The computer requests assistance from Preston but the audio message soon goes off. Aurora is now scared and panicking. Preston tells her not to trust the computer and tells her they have to get into an eject pod so he can reset the computer. This makes Aurora question Preston. She wonders if he has radiation sickness. He tells her he is protecting her and takes her through the ship. Having her with him allows him access to different parts of the ship but they eventually make their way to the pods. She tells him to get I first. When he turns his back to her she knocks him out. She gets anaesthetic to keep him sedated. She accesses the on board doctor who tells her that Preston is suffering from radiation sickness. If she leaves him he will eventually destroy the ship. She wonders if she can jerry-rig him into a coma and use her credits to save him as his pod is not working. The computer tells her his pod was not designed for the full flight like hers was and unlike her pod which can be repaired his will not work to keep him in prolonged sleep so it is unsuitable for stasis sleep or a medically induced coma. The Projection doctor suggests the medical pod in sickbay which is good for a week.
Aurora realises that Preston has lied to her this whole time. We leave the story here. Will she take revenge and hurt Preston? Will she simply fix her pod and go back to sleep? Or will she cure him and pretend none of this ever happened?
Now that’s how I would write it.