The Betrayal Chapter 13 snippet
The scream of the strained inertial dampeners was the first sign of trouble to Kate. Sitting straight up in her command chair, the bridge around her lurched. A load groan came from the bowels of the cruiser before the lights failed, leaving them in darkness. Moments later, the auxiliary lights came on at half intensity.
Looking at the view screen, Kate could see that they had fallen from h-space into n-space. What had caused that to happen, she thought as her hand hit the stud on her command chair. They were still short of the outer marker for the Sol system, so this was not a good time for something to happen.
“Engineering,” she said. “What just happened?”
“It was the hyper drive,” Brooks said in a sad tone. “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 started to wonder 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.”
Kate looked over at Paul and they both reflected each other’s opinion. Damaged or not, to have to get towed in from the outer marker was something they would never live down. With Fleet Captains being such a tight clique, anytime something happened to one, they all knew. And everyone would know about this before the day was out, Kate thought bitterly.
“Skipper,” Williams said. “Space Dock has dispatched the tug Warlock to tow us in. Her ETA is six hours.”
Leaning back in her command chair, Kate let herself stew in her frustrations again. None of this would have happened, she thought, if they had never received the damned distress call from the Toronto. If they hadn’t, then they would’ve been cruiser their assigned area in peace, and wouldn’t be sitting dead in space waiting for 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 the tug filled their view screen as she approached. Having already gone back to her quarters, Kate had caught a quick nap and a shower. Just because she had struggled the bring her command back, she thought, didn’t mean she was excused from looking presentable to Beatty and company when they reached 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. “Let Captain Kennedy know we’re ready.”
Kate chewed on the inside of her lip as she watched the tug take them into tow. It was going to be a long trip back to earth at this rate, and there was no doubt the brass would be really angry when they saw her now! Oh well, she thought as she leaned back in her command chair, this is their doing in the first place, so they can get over it!
“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 other captain’s message. If only he knew how true his comment was!
“Xo,” Kate said as she stood up from her command chair. “You have to conn, I’ll be in engineering.”
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