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Drama Fiction Suspense

It’s deprivation (drought) of many things, tests performed on the cosmonauts and space dogs during the Vostok missions. Part of the book – Bella – A karmic legacy.


Rui was trapped inside the cockpit of the Yak-3 trainer, the aircraft was out of control, flames were leaping from the engine, the heat inside the cockpit was unbearable, the engine had stalled, exploded, and now the propeller was idle, he pulled on the ejector lever, but the canopy of the cockpit refused to budge. The flames, the black oily smoke was surrounding the cockpit, splattering against the protective glass, his vision was completely shrouded and obscured, only the steep angle of the nose of the aircraft, in an oblique nosedive position, and sound of the air rushing through the propeller, and noise of the engine howling like a snared animal, created the awareness and fear of being trapped and in extreme danger. Rui must break free to avoid the fatal collision with the fast-approaching ground. He knew he needed a safe distance from the ground for the parachute to open and save his life. Suddenly, the cockpit canopy was ripped away, the roar of the wind tore into the open cockpit, it was opened by a snarling bear, his jaws opened, and the bear roared, raining him in saliva, as he reached into the cockpit to claim his prey.


 Rui had lost consciousness in the isolation chamber – again. 


“Comrade, comrade, wake up!” The sound of a distant and emotionless voice from the loudspeaker started to take Rui to another consciousness, a waking consciousness. 


This consciousness was physically painful, his body was on fire, his head felt like the source of the fire, it felt like an oven, that was about to explode, he couldn’t feel his hands or feet, but suddenly he convulsed, his stomach wanted the leading part in the trauma, and it wanted to empty its contents, and at the same time his lungs wanted to suck and fill with air – oxygen. The brain was having problems keeping control of all its organs, suddenly being fed oxygen again, after being deprived of it. 


Rui was inside an anechoic chamber. In a controlled exercise, he had gradually been starved of oxygen. The loudspeaker voice came from the background of his consciousness, and the various organs started to stabilize, the feeling of “pins and needles” remained in his hands, and feet. His comprehension of his circumstances started to power up like an awaking offline computer program. 


“Comrade, please read the instruments in front of you, do you understand? Can you see them clearly?” 


Rui focused on the instrument panel in front of him, there were four large clock face dials. 


“Altitude – five – two – zero. Pressure – one – zero – zero – seven. Temperature – minus 20. Orbital position seven – two – twenty – one with a velocity of three – eight – six.” 


He had been inside the chamber now for five days, that’s what the doctors, the technicians, had advised him. They could tell him whatever they liked – he had no clue about time. The chamber had no instrument to indicate time, no elapsed time, no actual time. He wasn’t allowed a watch. The chamber felt like he was outside in the open air, but he couldn’t feel the wind or breeze against his face, it was designed to stop reflections or echoes of sound or electromagnetic waves. 


The chamber took away everything. His freedom, sounds, and then on top of all that, the experiments starved the chamber of oxygen. It was all designed for one purpose, it was a simulation and preparation for something that would change history forever, a milestone for mankind. For Rui it was continuously painful, a torturous experience, with long periods of boredom, and inactivity. 

Once the visual instrument test was complete. Rui had to tell the doctors how he felt, every single part of his body. They had their own readings of his physical state, he was wired up, all over his body, his suit, leads, disappeared beneath his seat to monitors in the control room. They still wanted to hear his version, his version of the experience, the controlled experiment, his account of his own physiology, as they gradually pumped out the oxygen, and starved the chamber. Then turned on the oxygen again and brought him back from his coma, his blackout.


It was by far the worst test, the oxygen starvation tests, the feeling of losing one’s breath, and the gradual starvation of oxygen not only to the lungs, but the brain. It created headaches, decreased reaction time, caused disorientation, and uncoordinated movement. It created impaired judgment, confusion, memory loss and cognitive problems. Euphoria or dissociation, fainting, and in the long-term loss of consciousness, falling into a coma. A blackout.


All the tests were designed to monitor the physical and physiological effects of oxygen deprivation. Rui results were outstanding. Maybe, it was due to his childhood pranks, he had experience and at the same time exercised holding his breath underwater often when he visited the submerged plane. It taught him a lot when he experienced the sensation of the lack of oxygen, his lungs crying out for air, he had taught his mind to take over, he controlled the normal waves of panic. Interesting, he thought, the bear dream from his childhood appeared in his latest state of unconsciousness. Interesting indeed.


He recounted the dream experience to the doctors. They scribbled it all down in their laboratory notes, Rui was the human version of Pavlov’s dog. All the data would be dissected, and poured over by these invisible men, as Rui continued his stay of torture in the isolation chamber.


He started to think about Laika. When Rui saw the confined space Laika was placed in, the dimensions were no bigger than a suitcase, he was shocked and at the same time sympathized, the tiny size, in his mind he felt grateful for several reasons. Compared to the dog he certainly had slightly more room, in normal gravity, at least he could move his legs and arms, and in the state of weightlessness, if it was controlled movement, it was acceptable - manageable. Certainly, after his training in the isolation chamber, experiencing smaller and smaller confined spaces, the feeling of awkwardness, stifled movement, and the feeling of claustrophobia started to be controlled by his knowledgeable trained mind. The space dogs, however, did not have the dexterity or the understanding of mind or body, the smaller space capsule for the dog was designed for a small body, the space dogs' average weight was only 6 kilos. Everything was designed around a lighter, smaller payload. The surrounding apparatus around them fed the dog with protein jelly, and another contraption controlled their defecation. With their inherent lack of comprehension, their placid acceptance of the testing, their only reward was the jellied protein food, even the famous physiologist Ivan Pavlov would have been impressed.


“Read the instruments again, please.” The voice crackled over the loudspeaker, woke Rui up from his daydreaming. He suddenly had the desire to recite a poem from Pushkin, just to relieve the boredom.


January 18, 2024 15:45

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2 comments

John Rutherford
17:54 Jan 18, 2024

Thanks - I enjoy the research part, it is inspiring.

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Mary Bendickson
17:35 Jan 18, 2024

Seems very knowledgeable. Good descriptions of what this experience would be like. Bless the people that are willing to make this sacrifice.

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