The Betrayal Revised Chapter 13
The scream of the inertial dampeners filled the air. As she sat up in her command chair, the bridge lurched. A load groan came from the hull as the lights failed. The auxiliary lights popped on but with only half intensity.
A single glance at the view screen told her they had dropped out of h-space. What had caused that, she wondered as she hit the com button. They were still short of the outer marker so it wasn’t a good time for something to happen.
“Engineering,” she said. “What just happened?”
“It was the hyper drive,” Brooks said. “It just died; and I cannot repair it short of a full-fledged space dock.”
“Do we have any propulsion?”
“Just the thrusters, sir,”
“What about power, chief?” Kate wondered about life support. “Will be able to keep our air clean?”
“We’re not hurting for internal power,” Brooks said. “It’s just that we’re dead in space.”
“Helm,” Kate said, keeping the line clear. “What is our location?”
“We’re two light minutes short of the outer marker,” Williams said.
“Understood,” Kate said. “And we have a zero chance of moving under our own power, Chief?”
“None, Skipper,” Brooks was apologetic. “I’m sorry.”
“Not you fault, Chief,” Kate rubbed her forehead. “You got us this far with as much damage as we took…be proud of that. Bridge out.”
“Helm,” Kate sighed. “Call Space Dock and see if they can arrange a tow, please.”
She looked at the view screen, feeling the heartburn rise in her chest. Damaged or not, she reflected, to get towed in from the outer marker was embarrassing. In the clique of Captains, she wasn’t going to live this one down. And be rest assured, she snorted, everyone would know before the day was out!
“Skipper,” Williams said. “Space Dock has dispatched the tug Warlock to tow us in. Her ETA is six hours.”
She leaned back in her chair, stewing in her frustrations. None of this would have happened, she thought, if they hadn’t answered the distress call. They would be cruising their patch of space and now getting a tow!
And if we hadn’t responded, she reminded herself with a sigh. None of us would know what was happening.
“Understood,” she said. “And pass my regards to Captain Kennedy.”
Six hours later, she watched the tug fill the view screen. She had already grabbed a quick nap and shower while they waited. Just because it had been a struggle to get home, she reminded herself, didn’t excuse her from looking presentable for CINCFLEET at Space Dock.
And I know they’ll be waiting, Kate reminded herself.
“Skipper,” Williams said. “Warlock reports ready to take us under tractor beam.”
“Shut down all defensive systems,” Kate said.
“All defensive systems and shielding shut down, Skipper,” Paul said.
“Okay, helm,” Kate said. “Make sure Captain Kennedy knows we’re ready.”
She worried the inside of her bottom lip as the tug took them in tow. It was going to be one, long, slow trip home, she mused, and the brass would be pissed. But since it was their doing in the first place, she found that she really didn’t care what they thought.
“Message from Captain Kennedy, Skipper,” Williams said. “He says ‘enjoy the ride, it looks like you could use to relaxation.’”
“Reply: ‘Definitely could use a vacation, Almir out,’” Kate chuckled softly at the message. If only he knew how true his comment was!
“Xo,” Kate said standing up. “You have to conn, I’ll be in engineering.”
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