Goodbye Sol – Page 37

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“Just a second,” Willow said.

I heard a loud thump and a crashing noise. I reached around the chair and couldn’t feel anyone there.

“Willow?” I yelled.

“Just a second,” she repeated.

After a few moments, a loud hissing sound echoed from beyond the bridge doors and the glowing got more dim until it was gone.

“What was that?” I yelled.

The emergency lights came back on, and the displays on the bridge also illuminated.

“I manually re-routed power to the back-ups,” Willow said, pausing every few words to gasp for breath as she climbed back onto the chair. After getting situated, her eyes slammed closed. “I’m ready for a nap.”

Emeric walked back onto the bridge. “Good job,” he said taking his seat.

“It was Willow, sir,” I said still in shock. “What happened?”

“I’m still waiting for answers myself.” Emeric spun in his chair and slid forward towards his displays. “Anaya, you should go tend to Asher. He got burned while trying to put out the fire.”

I tried to calm my mind, but Emeric’s words sent me spiralling once again. “Yes, sir.” I rushed from the bridge, expecting to see Asher near where the flames once were.

After only two steps, I stopped.

The scene was from a horror movie. Black and grey scorch marks covered the back wall of the dining area. The door to the engineering section on the opposite side of the dividing wall was blackened as well. Ceiling panels sat melted on the floor near the engineering door and wires swung slowly from the newly formed holes.

The air smelled foul from the burning wires, but most of the smoke had already been cleared by the environmental filters. As I walked towards the pods, I saw that the glass on Skyler’s pod had been blackened. I grabbed my medical kit, and tapped on the displays for each pod to run a quick diagnostic and breathed a sigh of relief when they all came back fine.

The engineering doors slid open, and there was Asher. He coughed repeatedly. He looked even more ragged than he did before everything went mad.

“Emeric said you were burned?” I asked not immediately seeing anything.

Asher pointed over his shoulder and began to turn around.

I rushed behind him to see that the skin on his upper back was exposed. His uniform had burned away and there were half a dozen small second degree burns.

I injected fast-acting pain relief medication and applied an anti-burn salve to his skin. He winced at the pain for a moment before the medication had fully kicked in.

“What happened?” I said starting to feel like all I could do was repeat those two words.

“I got burned by an exploding conduit. The fire weakened the cables. I have to talk to the Captain.” Asher’s voice was gravelly and his tone was one of both frustration and annoyance. I wanted to press him for more information, but before I could, he walked towards the bridge.

I followed him with my medical kit in hand. We both entered the bridge and Asher immediately pulled some panels from the lower third of the bridge wall near his normal chair, and then crouched down on the floor.

“Report Asher.” Emeric said sternly. He was still tapping away on his own displays at the front of the ship. He hadn’t turned around. I wondered how he knew it was Asher on the bridge, but I said nothing.

“The ship’s power system was overloaded by our tests. The cables must have already been degraded slightly. This never happened in any of my simulations,” Asher replied.

“How long until we are back up and running?” Emeric pressed.

“I don’t know, sir. I don’t have spare parts for everything that just exploded all over the place.” Asher’s voice was tense and dismissive.

I understood why he was angry, and wanted to help him feel better, but my mind just kept repeating what he had said, “don’t have spare parts for everything…”

“Are you feeling okay?” I asked Asher before pointing to his shoulder.

For a second, Asher’s look was one of surprise. He must have thought I was asking about his feelings of dissatisfaction with the ship before he seemed to realize what exactly I was asking about. “Yes. Thank you.”

“Well, come find me if you are having any more pain or discomfort,” I said. I tried to keep my tone light and calm but inside I was still panicked.

“Is my pod okay?” Willow asked as she slid the chair around to face me. Her eyes were closed, her shoulders slumped.

“I think so. I’ll have to do more extensive diagnostics on them, but it should be good enough to rest in.”

“Good, can you help me?”

I bent over and Willow wrapped her arm around my shoulder. I lifted her from the seat, and her eyes opened. She took an uneasy step, and I felt most of her weight relying on me for balance. We shuffled off of the bridge, and I helped her into her pod.

“It’s going to be okay,” she said and smiled. Her eyes were closed again.

“Shouldn’t I be telling you that?”

“I kept the Raven running with less equipment, on my own, for years. We will figure this out.”

There was a confidence in her words that I found soothing.

“Asher looks pretty worried,” I said hoping for more comforting words. Before Willow had a chance to speak, the primary lighting came back on and the emergency lights shut off.

“See, better already,” Willow said.

 

I started a deeper diagnostic on the cryo pods, and took an inventory of my supplies. A few medications had been ruined due to the heat of the fire near the engineering doors. Thankfully, none of it was stuff that I needed to help Willow with her BCD. Many of the stored goods near the engineering doors were secondary replacements, backup equipment, extra computer terminals, and various other non-essential supplies. I knew that the Captain had left a bottle of champagne and special crystal flutes in the non-essential supply section for celebrating when we made it to our goal. It was easy to tell that anything stored in that area was likely destroyed from the fire.

Emeric came to the medical area from the bridge with Asher right behind him. Skyler came slowly out of the engineering section, covered in sweat and grime, but otherwise seeming unharmed.

“We have an issue.” Emeric said.

“What is it?” I asked, absentmindedly handing Willow her next dose of medicine.

“Asher is unable to get primary navigational sensors working. The ship is basically blind.” Emeric said, glancing at the syringe that Willow injected into her own upper arm.

Skyler stepped around Asher and walked over to Willow. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” Willow responded. “And I can help with the sensors.”

“You can?” Emeric and Asher responded almost in unison.

“Of course she can. She’s amazing!” Skyler grinned at Willow with what appeared to be genuine admiration.

“I don’t know how many times the Raven’s navigational array failed. But I always found a way to get it working again.” Willow said handing me back the empty syringe. “I need to rest for a couple of hours. After that, if you don’t mind me pulling a few things apart, Asher, I’m sure I can figure out someway to get them working again.”

Emeric smiled, “make it work. We can’t do much of anything without knowing where we’re going.”

Everyone went off in their own directions. Asher went to engineering, Emeric went back to the bridge, and Skyler went downstairs. I looked at Willow and she back at me. “You really think you can fix it?” I asked.

“Oh, probably.” Willow said.

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