Crisis on the ship…

An excerpt from what I wrote today…

**

Ryan bit his lip as they entered the portal.  He wasn’t very surprised when the return trip was actually worse than the initial trip had been.  What did surprise him was the alarm that sounded as soon as they exited the portal on the other side.  He cursed softly and looked at Seamus and Roberts.  “Damage assessment,” he said.

Roberts balked, but Seamus nodded and got to work.  After a moment, Roberts spun on his heel and stalked over to one of the other computer modules.  Meanwhile, Ryan began checking other systems.  Seamus was the one to discover what had triggered the alarms.

After cursing softly, he said, “The Little Bird is gone, Ryan.”  Ryan looked at him sharply and he shrugged.  “It’s not there anymore.”

“Where did it go?” Roberts breathed.  He looked over at Ryan.  “We didn’t leave it back there, did we?”

Shaking his head, Ryan began checking the time step systems for an error log.  After a moment, he had his answer.  “Not back there,” he said, tapping the screen.  He keyed the communicator and said, “Lieutenant Greenfield, the Little Bird was sheared off in the portal.  It was flung through slip space.  I haven’t figured out where she would have emerged as yet.”

“Get on it,” Lieutenant Greenfield said, his tone strained.

“Sir,” Ryan replied.  He looked up at Roberts.  “Have you ever tracked a ship through slip space before?”

Roberts stared at him for a moment.  Then, he nodded and said, “I’m guessing that neither of you has ever done it.  Am I right?”  He grimaced when both of them shook their heads.  He looked at Ryan and then pointed at the readout.  “Can that tell you where in slip-space we lost contact with them?”

“Yes,” Ryan said, tapping the screen.  “Those are the coordinates.”

“I know the speed we were traveling as we entered the portal, which is the other half of the equation,” he said.  He stepped over to an astro-mechs station and began working.  “How long have we got to find the Little Bird?” he asked, as he began fighting with the numbers.

“Twelve hours,” Seamus said, his voice soft.  His ears pinned and he added, “Their batteries will die in twelve hours without being connected to the Lady Sarah.  If they aren’t in atmosphere, everyone on board will die.”

Roberts heaved a sigh and shook his head.  The Little Bird housed most of the departments that were considered non-essential: the commissary, the recreation areas, the nursery and the cabins for the non-essential crewmembers.  With all the crewmembers that were still stricken with the illness currently resting in their quarters, that meant more than half of them were now on a ship that might or might not have safely exited slip-space.

“I guess it’s a good thing that we have dual medical bays,” he said.  As he worked the numbers, he frowned.  “Do you know what happened?  Why would the landing craft break away from the mother ship like that?”

“The turbulence,” Ryan said, shaking his head.  “Emma’s a great flight officer, but we had three different people controlling the helm on the trip back in time.  It kept the turbulence to a minimum.  On the trip forward, she was doing it all herself.”

“Which isn’t to say it was her fault,” Seamus added, hastily.  “It’s just… those were the circumstances we had to deal with at the time.”

“I wasn’t anticipating such turbulence on the way forward,” Ryan admitted.  In a softer voice, he said, “If anyone is at fault, it’s me.”

“I’ll respectfully disagree,” Roberts said.  Then, he shook his head.  “We can argue this some more later.  For now, I think we’ve got a location for the Little Bird.”  He looked at Ryan and shook his head.  “Are we safe entering slip-space?”

“We should be,” Ryan said, nodding.  “Send your data to the bridge.”

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