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Opless stood at the viewport on the cruisers bridge, eyes scanning the darkness beyond. He listened intently to the pilots reporting in at every thousand meters. The search had only been going for a short time, but a tinge of doubt clawed at his stomach. He began to think maybe he just imagined all this. There’s no way the alliance could develop such weaponry without the Volma finding out about it. He took a deep breath and turned his head back to look at his bridge crew. Each working diligently, none questioning his orders. This crew is one of the best in this sector and he will reward them with some extra leave time when they return to base, he decided. A faint flash of light caught the corner of his peripheral vision and he snapped his head back to viewport. Several small blue lines streaked across the black of space like… “Lasers?” he said out loud.

As he watched, he saw two bright flashes causing his eyebrows to jump up so far he swore they could be hovering over his head. Spinning on his heel toward the communications station he began to bark an order, “Open fighter communications! Fighters repo…” His sentence was cut short as the cruiser rocked violently. The motion swept his legs out from under him sending him sprawling to the deck. Lifting his head quickly he saw several other bridge crew members on the floor, knocked out of their chairs. Loud warning klaxons began to blare through the ship. Opless’ shock transformed into anger and a touch of fear, “Tactical, REPORT!” he screamed. The ships tactical officer quickly scrambled back to his station. “Commander, large yield kinetic weapons impacts, port side aft!”

The uncertainty of a few moments ago, had been washed away in an instant. The alliance, or someone, had developed a stealth ship and he was locked in its sights. He hopped to his feet in spite of a spike of pain in his knee and began to bark orders. “Comm, send an SOS to base with all telemetry attached. Get those fighters back aboard and get me a damage report, NOW!” The communication officer fumbled with his console and slammed a fist into it. He turned to Opless and yelled over the sound of the klaxons, “SIR! That first hit took out our communications array. We can’t contact base or the figh…” The shipped rocked again, nearly sending him back down, though he managed to stay upright. The lights flickered and stabilized, but before Opless could get any other orders out of his mouth another hit, followed by a large explosion at the aft of the ship. The cruisers nose pitched down sharply and knocked everyone to the deck. Opless fell forward right at the helm console, he tried to get his arms up to brace himself but was a milli-second too slow as his forehead pinged off the metal causing stars in his vision as he felt his brain rattle around in his skull. He growled in fury and turned his head towards the viewport. The stars were now locked into a steady rotation. He knew what this meant in an instant, the engines were dead along with the automatic stabilizing thrusters. They were stuck in space, with no way to contact anyone.

The Hangar Masters voice emerged through the bridge speakers, “Fighters secured, Captain!”. Pheny turned to the Navigation officer, “Coordinates for Iuskov locked in?” She Asked. The Nav officer scanned his station for a second moments and said “Yes Mam”. Pheny then addressed the Helmsman, “Helm, best speed to Iuskov” At this order every member of the bridge crew except for Pheny’s squad members sat up a little more straight in their chairs and began sliding harness belts over their shoulders and buckling them in. The Helmsman turned to her and cleared his throat impishly, “Mam… you should buckle in.” He said. Pheny stared for a moment, and then looked at Priya nodding for her to take a seat as well. Just as she finished buckling her harness a small tinge of anxiety began to well insider her.

Pheny had never traveled faster than light before and the helmsman insisting she strap in made her wonder why. As the helmsman engaged the drives Pheny swore for just a moment that time stopped. The bright pinpoints of light outside of the bridge window began to elongate into a nearly blinding tunnel of light, and then suddenly snapped back into place. It almost seemed like there was no motion at all until she focused on the window and noticed the stars were moving much faster than she had ever been used to. She attempted to adjust herself in her seat and found herself unable to move much at all. This was why they wanted her to buckle in. Apparently, even in space, travelling at high rates of speed still cause significant gravitation force. She could only imagine having been turned into a red smear against the aft bulkhead of the bridge.

The journey in light speed took a little less than two hours. Two hours locked in a chair. As the Trinity dropped from light speed Pheny attempted to rise from the captain’s chair and found almost every muscle had stiffened, with several outright cramping. It took a few moments to get her feet under her and straighten up. Apparently, the rest of the crew who had been on the ship prior to their arrival had gotten used to it because only herself and Priya seemed to be struggling. After finally stretching out her muscles, Pheny began to take stock of the situation.

They needed a plan of action as it was only a matter of time before that Volma cruiser got its comms working and started telling everyone about them. They did have a couple things in their favor. The Trinity has no outward Alliance markings so it couldn’t immediately be associated with the Alliance. She was nearly certain that they had not been able to scan the Trinity either. While these were advantages, she couldn’t take anything for granted either. There were five fighter pilots out there as well, and one of whom could have seen the Trinity accelerate to light speed.

Pheny’s mental accounting was interrupted by the bridge speakers suddenly booming with Solomon’s voice, “I’ve been stuck in my cockpit for two damn hours and now I feel like someone dropped a boulder on me. What the hell was that Captain?” he groused. Pheny cringed a bit, realizing only now that the two pilots wouldn't have had time to get out of their ships and into proper acceleration chairs. “Solomon, we weren’t quite expecting any action… there were some things we weren’t prepared for.” She said. An exasperated chuckled returned through the speakers, “I wasn’t prepared for my first hemorrhoid either, and that wasn’t as uncomfortable as being locked in my cockpit for 2 hours.”. Pheny heard several stifled laughs from around the bridge, she even managed an amused smile. Allowing herself a moment of levity she shot back, “How’s it hanging by the way?” The stifled laughs quickly became audible. “Very funny Captain…” Solomon added.

Pheny raised her hand to the bridge crew as a signal to settle down. It was time to get down to business. She asked a question to no one in particular, “Is there a conference room or something on this ship?”. The tactical officer, Tassos, was the first to respond, “Your ready room can accommodate the entire senior staff mam.”. Pheny nodded and looked at Tassos, hesitating for a moment as she felt that little pang of intrigue. “Thank you Lieutenant Trelicorre, so helpful” she said without realizing the sheepish grin she had on her face, a grin matched by Tassos. Apparently, Pheny had forgotten for a moment that she was on a fully crewed starship bridge, AND that the comm was still open. “Looks like the Captain has picked her favorite!” She heard Amie say. Quickly changing the subject, she said, “Amie, Solomon stow your gear and meet me in my ready room along with all senior staff.”

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Daniel Boguslawski

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