“What’s so important he has to stay behind to finish?” Leo asked, catching up to Captain. Mollin was leading the way using his linked smart and handheld to light the hallway ahead.
“If we crash landside with all ordinance, Dockland will take half the planet out with the explosion,” Captain replied through gritted teeth. “He’s ensuring all munitions are launched into safe orbits. Dockland crashing will be an extinction event for anything living on the surface of this world, but at least the world will still be here to resettle again later.”
Content Warning: fear, and bodily injuries.
Leo was panting and wincing, and completely grateful to see Captain had arrived. She was bleeding from a cut in her forehead and one of her arms was hanging loosely in a bad way.
“Mollin has a live link into Shiner’s systems through a handheld and his corrupted smart,” Leo explained. “Are you all right?”
“I was on a maintenance ladder for the initial impact. Do you have control of any of Shiner’s systems?” she asked, glancing toward Mollin and then scanning the room. Her boots crunched over the broken glass which had been the antique handheld’s screen as she limped past panels for NavCom and knelt to press her fingers against Lastin’s throat.
“I’ve cut into Shiner more than I ever did or could here,” Mollin confirmed, cocking half a smile at her.
Content Warning: fear, and bodily injuries.
People’s smarts were coming back on as Mollin darted out of the control room. Leo set his to max brightness and then snapped it off his wrist. “Everyone, we need some emergency lighting. If you can, snap your smarts to the walls,” he said, doing exactly that as he said it.
A line of people had strung together along one side of the hallway outside the control room; crew members who had been drawn by the counting and then stayed due to the glow from the panels. A few stood and snapped their smarts to the walls, providing hopeful lighting in the otherwise perfect blackness.
Sorry for the late update! This week has been busy enough that I'm feel like I'm back working on field construction sites lol. It makes for short hours and long days, but so rewarding because the work is ours. Making candies and shirt decals is a lot better than steel construction. (At least it is for me!)
“Dockland exists,” Captain’s voice interrupted Leo’s thinking. “This exploration exists. All Coalition worlds exist! You are in violation of Coalition non-settlement law by claiming this sector!” Captain was shouting again.
Shiner’s readings were smaller and smaller as the distance between Shiner and Dockland read smaller and smaller.
“Come on come on come on,” Leo muttered, hitting his fist to his forehead in an attempt to clear his thinking so he could figure this out. Why did Lissa want him to hear this right now?
Content Warning: This section includes description of a terror attack against a large population, depicting destruction of structures and persons.
Everyone’s smarts chimed and the report from the latest scheduled sweep showed Shiner had made yet another change in course. This latest change added an additional forty-five minutes to their route. Leo checked the still holo he’d captured and saw that, now, Shiner would arrive only fifteen minutes in advance of what Leo was gaining confidence in being the second pre-InterStel ship.
“Lastin?” Leo called, lifting the handheld off his lap and setting it aside. “I can’t find anything similar to what you’re thinking are errors. I guess keep making note of it and we’ll see what comes up,” he said. The tone of his voice almost convinced himself he didn’t have a still vid on his smart right now that showed NavCom routing of the ‘error’ following exactly along Dockland’s pre-programmed route here.
Relief flowed through the control room. Leo glanced over his shoulder when relieved comments came from what should have been the empty space and hall behind him. He hadn’t realized there were people gathering outside the control room in the hall now that Shiner’s arrival time was approaching. A grin pulled at his lips as he turned back after noting a few heads bowed low over smarts. People were looking up the records to make their own comparisons between Shiner and Dockland. The relief ran thicker as those doing the immediate comparisons shared the quick results of their searches with anyone close to them.
Mollin stood and walked over to pick up the old handheld, then leaned over NavCom as if sharing looking up something to show Leo. “Why did you say you were still scared if you know Shiner isn’t a threat? Or are you just pretending so all of us who didn’t know would feel better?” Mollin asked in a whisper only Leo could hear.
Leo picked up his fork and started eating because – face it squarely – Lissa was right. The group Trevor had volunteered onto was under orders to focus on sealing hulls and ensuring operation of the over distance engines. Component transporters were pressuring completed sections of fleet ships with safe atmosphere from their own systems, and Dockland’s remaining seven lifeboats had all undergone tethering connections being added to their life supports.
I got my second COVID shot on Wednesday! Yay! Only two weeks to maximum inoculation! I also got the reassurance that my immune system, although having had a bit of a break the past year and a half, is still reared up and ready for action. Thursday's immuno-response was impressive in how dedicated my body was to the cause. I felt like I had mono again. Thankfully I could sleep through most of the day because my kids are old enough they don't need mom. A lot of extra cookies were eaten, but the oldest made sure the youngest also got some fruits and veggies and toast for lunch. Today I'm feeling a lot better, but the sleepy brain fog is lingering so... we'll see how it goes.
This week has been a little on the "too busy" side, but my husband and I are in the final push to be ready to pedal our freeze dried wares at a trade market next weekend. "Too busy" is to be expected when preparing stock. Any time asked, in my opinion anyway, freeze dried foods prep will beat out fresh foods prep for markets; freeze dried can be prepped weeks in advance :)
Aside from food things, over in vinyl and heat transfer decal things (and on a really fun note), a local artist has been working with us to put his graphics onto shirts. It's been amazing to see the creativity, and absolutely awesome to watch our products turn into his first sales. He's been drawing for years, but hadn't ventured into selling his works until a few weeks ago. Now he's got us excited for him and what the coming years will bring. I feel like this will become a story of "oh yeah, he had us put some of his first graphics on shirts a few years ago..." as we look at his latest artwork adorning expensive walls or gracing high profile clothing.
Teal moved seats to the empty one in front of P.O.R.A. Her motions on the controls were accompanied with the ticks, beeps and tones everyone working in the below decks control room had gotten used to hearing.
Leo leaned his elbows onto the edge of the P.D.E.W. console and opened a news page. Head articles were all about Coalition Games now, and he had to scroll down to find anything about the full probe into Senior Coalition.
Hours had passed since Dockland’s first reading that Shiner had crossed the twenty-five hour radius. On the bridge, Captain’s expression was grim as she ordered Lissa to send the acknowledgement reply which dan Broque had purposely misdirected to suspected Isolated Radical sympathizers.
“We need a still holo and a still vid. This is a big moment! Here, right here. Come on, Daddy L, you too.” Trevor’s mom paused in organizing where the members of her expanding family should stand to take off her smart and hold it out to Captain.
A weekly blog updating on Fridays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!