They were halfway back up the ladder when Tamimi froze. "It's coming back."
Caden looked back along the corridor -- a useless reflex, since this wasn't something he could see -- and grunted, frustrated. "Up or down?"
"It's--" Hanging halfway between the two decks, Tamimi shook her head. "I can't tell."
"Then keep moving. We're going straight to the airlock until you tell us we have to go somewhere else."
Watch yourself, pulsed Celia, and Caden pulsed back: Acknowledged.
Tamimi resumed her drifting climb, using the ladder the propel herself up and control her arrival at the next deck up. She ducked out into the corridor. Velasquez, Siegel, and Walker were already up there, covering the corridor with their eggs for the same reason that Caden had found himself trying to catch sight of whatever was altering the station: some reflexes were too strong to ignore, even when they made no sense.
Caden motioned for Shannon and Basque to follow her up, leaving himself to guard the rear.
"It veered off," said Tamimi. "I don't think it knows we're here. It's doing something to the hull... Oh--"
Hurricane-force winds pushed past them, but their suits kept them locked to the floors, walls, or ladder rungs.
Celia...? Caden pulsed.
You guess it, she pulsed back. It's reshaping this side of the station now. And Veranovich is picking up some weird energy signatures on the far side, like maybe something is still changing things there. So either there are two of them, or it's spreading itself out.
"Tamimi," called Caden. With the atmosphere gone, he had to broadcast to her suit...
But she heard him, and she answered: "Yes?"
"Can we still get to the airlock? Or is this thing spread across the surface of the station?"
"It's..." She hesitated. "It's localized on this side. If we... Uh-oh."
He couldn't stop himself. "Uh-oh?"
"I think it can hear us. Shut off any radio broadcasts and follow me." She turned away from the airlock -- of course they would need to go the wrong direction to escape -- and started down the corridor. Caden pushed out of the ladder-way and fell in behind his five as they followed her.