“…no ma’am, I don’t have an ETA for it to be fixed. Lieutenant Bullian is down there working on the hyperdrive as we speak.”
Commander Dorrin Drake stood on the bridge of the Legacy, looking far to in control for the way he actually felt as he stared at a split-screen image of Admirals Indiana Bridger and Karen Wood.
“And what, exactly, did he say was wrong with the hyperdrive, Commander?” Karen looked none too pleased at being informed that the tough little Acclimator would be out of commission. Continue reading
A bright light and the pounding of his head brought Logan MacKenzie to consciousness, which he immediately regretted. Throwing an arm protectively in front of his face, he groaned and tried to blink away the glare.
He shouldn’t have even been alive. Forget the smoke inhalation, never mind the blow to his head when he was launched into the forward consoles after the first engine blew. Forty seconds in hyperspace without plotting a course first was probably the most stupid thing he had ever done.
But he was alive. Barely.
Dorrin Drake stepped onto the bridge of the Legacy just as Davil Bullian shut down the holocomm. He arched a brow at the engineer as he took a sip from his mug of caf. “Who was that, Dav?”
“Ari,” Davil answered, heading back over to the console he’d taken over a few days ago, when the group headed out on maneuvers on the edge of the Xenea system. “She’s…I think she’s starting to break, Dorrin.”
The Legacy’s XO’s brow arched higher. “Your sister? Not a chance. I’m sure she’s all right. Probably still feeling echoes of a few weeks ago. Serpindal, Ion, all of that.”
“Maybe,” Davil said, frowning slightly.
Something started beeping on one of the sensor boards, followed by proximity alarms a moment later. The crewman manning the board, maybe two or three years older than either of his superiors, looked sharply toward the two men. “New contact, broadcasting emergency distress beacon, range four thousand klicks starboard.”
The sun was just creeping up over the horizon in the east, the sky blood red, promising another storm in the very near future. Arilyn lay in bed, awake and sweat-soaked, staring at the view outside her window without quite seeing it. The dreams had come again. They always came. Continue reading
“More caf, sir?”
The engineer’s head snapped up, attention abruptly drawn away from specs and equations scrolling across his datapad. He blinked a moment, the tech’s question taking longer than it should to process. Davil Bullian managed to smile as the answer finally registered. “Please…Tomil, was it?”
The technician, barely as old as he was, nodded. “Yessir. It’ll only be a few minutes, sir.”
Approximately 0700 Xenen local
Captain Cay Bel Iblis made his way along the concourse of Wayfarer at a brisk walk. Not an unusual occurance, but not exactly something anyone really expected to see the morning after his wedding, and certainly not in his duty uniform.
“Well, don’t you look chipper this morning.” Commander Dorrin Drake fell into step beside him carrying two cups of caf, he passed one of them to his commanding officer.
“Well, silly me. I thought the Vong might actually let me have at least one breakfast with my wife before heating the war up again.” Cay shook his head and took a long swig of caf, shedding the dark thoughts like a cloak. “What do we know?”
Sleep had come restlessly, elusive for hours despite her exhaustion, and now she awoke cold, shuddering and sweating, twisted in her covers. Rain pounded against the windowpane, thunder rolled above, rattling the house to its foundations with its deep growl. Arilyn squeezed her eyes shut, not wanting to be awake but knowing unbroken, dreamless sleep would continue to escape her grasp.
Davil scrubbed the sleep from his eyes as he made his way resolutely toward Wayfarer’s operations hub where he prayed a cup of caf would be waiting for him along with the reports from Jargunda on the upgrades to the array of small ships of the line that would shortly be assigned to a new task force.
Amazing how quickly things fall apart. Just when we thought we might be all right… He rubbed the last lingering sleep from his eyes as he stepped into the operations hub, tugging on the hem of his moderately rumpled jacket which still smelled of flowers from his sister’s wedding the day before. They didn’t even get one full night’s sleep before…I wonder if that’s what it was like for Mom and Dad? He winced at himself and cut the line of thought abruptly.
He came awake groggy in the light of a glowstick shining in his face, maybe an hour after falling into bed. Cracking an eye open long enough to get a glimpse of Dorrin in the stick’s backwash, Davil groaned, pulling the blankets up over his head.
“I don’t care what your sister paid you to do that, go back to bed.”
Cay Bel Iblis let himself into his chief engineer’s garage workshop, pausing a moment to regard the maelstrom taking place. Davil Bullian was throwing things for no good reason, it seemed, banging around and rummaging for tools where they clearly were not located. In the nearly nineteen years they’d known each other, he’d never seen his longtime friend with an expression quite like the one he was sporting at present. Davil didn’t acknowledge him-didn’t even seem to notice his presence-as he finally stopped at his workbench, where some bit of technology lay in pieces. He was muttering to himself as he reached out, groping for a tool that lay just beyond his reach.
“Stupid Dad…coming home…bastard…”
Cay shook his head, leaning against a shelving unit near the door. “Don’t hold back, tell me how you really feel.”
“How does it look?”
Robyn sighed, hanging up her jacket on the rack by the door, avoiding her husband’s gaze for a moment. He’d been waiting for her—she was late getting in. She shook her head slowly, finally looking at him. “Our defenses can’t stand up to an assault like the one against Xenen. They just won’t handle it.”
William Scarlett, governor of Conceli VIII, winced visibly. “What can we do about that?”
She shook her head. “I don’t know. Request a detachment of NRM forces, I guess, to keep an eye out for trouble. Get our evac plans in order. The military-grade reports that are being disseminated…”