Endeavour

by

Cinn

1. Breaking Cover: 10 - Right out of her playbook.

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A note from Cinn

Feb 2021 - fixed dialogue tags.

Jun 2021 - minor wording edits.

It had taken a day for the Endeavour to reach Kentar again but this time they were holding position away from the planet itself, hoping to avoid detection by holding their position behind the moons of one of the outer planets of the system. "Can we see their activity from here?" Grey asked unable to sit still anymore and moving to the science stations.

Chopade nodded. "Well enough," he admitted his eyes flicking through the data they had so far. "There is a massive energy source coming from the surface," he reported, "I have… no idea what it is. Normally I would say that kind of power would be a weapon, but…"

"But?" Grey prompted.

Chopade looked up with a worried expression. "It's more powerful than anything I've ever seen," he admitted before throwing the data to the tactical station for Wood to have a look at. Grey tapped his comm to call Spud up to the bridge.

"No weapon has that amount of power," Wood agreed. He had an extensive knowledge of weapons and access to some of the most cutting edge research. He stood a large chance of knowing about anything that powerful, if it existed.

"Then we can assume that's what Bert's after," Grey decided.

"Sir, I'm picking up a potential human life sign on one of the taurran ships," Chopade suddenly cut in as more data came up on his screen. He frowned. "Hang on, that might be kentarian," he admitted as he started tapping away trying to clear the data up. He missed the look that flashed over both Grey and Wood's faces at that revelation. Finally Chopade waved his hands over the console in a frustrated manner and said, "there must be some kind of interference, I can't clean it up any further."

"If that's Ali, what does Bert still want with her?" Frost asked. At the same time the door slid open to allow Spud access to the bridge.

"I don't know but it's not an advantage I'm going to complain about," Grey admitted. "Spud, Chopade's picked up an energy signature, what do you make of it?"

Spud quickly made her way over to the bank of science stations and hopped up to read over Chopade's shoulder as she put a hand on the back of his chair, using her left to scroll over the data to fully analyse it. "Oh dear!"

"I don't want to hear that, Spud," Grey warned lightly. By now he knew that if she only offered a reaction, then it was bad. Otherwise she tended to give explanations, and often solutions.

"That's a weapon, sir," Spud replied, standing straight again, "one mighty powerful weapon. If you ask me to speculate on its capabilities, I think it could take out a planet."

"Spud, that's not possible…" Frost replied worriedly. She really, really wanted it not to be possible.

"It's possible, I'm looking at the data that says it is," Spud retorted unhappily. "I don't know how, but the proof is there," she added indicating to the screen with a hand.

"Then it's a safe bet that's what Bert's after," Grey figured out loud, "therefore, we need to relieve it from him."

"Deactivating it would require access to the controls, that might be possible remotely," Spud replied, because she knew he would need options. "Destroying it could lead to an equally devastating explosion as using it."

Grey sank into his chair as he considered the information they had reported as they quietly waited for him to give them their orders. "Right," he finally decided, "Wood, work out a plan to retrieve Ali. Chopade, Spud, work together to find a way to neutralise that weapon. Frost, Lartyne, make sure they don't find us in the meantime."

"Aye, sir."

~-x-~

Grey had retreated to his ready room to avoid pacing around the bridge as his crew got on with their orders. They were good at their jobs and he trusted them, him pacing due to his own frustration and impatience would do nothing but add pressure he didn't need to. He had scoured the data himself to see if he could help but it hadn't proved useful.

Instead he had taken to reviewing their mission reports from Barker's attempt at destroying Tuthu IV. That time he'd had an army at his disposal and still he had to use the planet's own tectonic activity to do half the job for them. Well, that had been his plan - they had been able to stop him before he'd set off a chain reaction of bombs at key volcanic and seismic sites across the globe. Now he didn't even need to do anything so complicated.

Grey tossed the tablet he was holding onto his desk in frustration and continued to pace. He was interrupted shortly after by the chime to his door. "Come in."

Chopade stepped into the small room and quickly noted the state of Grey's desk before turning his attention back to his captain and held out a tablet. "The latest data from the weapon and the site around it. It appears that they're currently in the process of excavating it."

"You think the kentarians might know something about this thing?" Grey asked.

"It's possible," Chopade admitted, "but I don't think anyone would have the diplomatic ties to get a straight answer about that from them though."

Grey considered that for a moment before handing the tablet back. "You could have sent that update electronically, is there something on your mind?" He asked instead.

Chopade chewed on his lip as he considered whether or not to even ask the question his mind. "Why is Captain Turner's biometric classified?"

Grey gave the young man a rueful smile. "Do you really think I can answer that?" He asked by way of reply. The look on Chopade's face rather suggested that had been the answer he had been expecting, even if he couldn't understand why there would even be a possible reason for it. Both men turned as the chime rang again. "Was there anything else?"

"No, sir," Chopade confirmed and turned to leave to let the new visitor in.

Wood and Chopade shared a nod as they passed each other before Wood entered the room and the door closed behind him. "Am I interrupting?"

"No," Grey confirmed. "Sit rep?"

"Ali's being held in the brig of a taurran ship and they don't take chances with their prisoners. Based on the scans we've taken of their ships, even if we disable their shields we won't be able to beam her out without taking an incredible risk. The only other option is a boarding party."

"I don't like either of those options," Grey admitted. "What is the 'incredible risk'?" He asked tiredly.

"Blasting open her cell and beaming her here before she suffocates."

"That is right out of her playbook," Grey muttered to himself. "How close could your boarding party get?"

"Not close enough. If all went to plan, we'd need twenty minutes," he explained, and the unspoken threat of the firefight they'd have in that time passed between them. "There is one other thing," he added and Grey nodded for him to hit him with the rest of the bad news as he pinched the bridge of his nose. "If we attempt to blast her out you will need to declassify her biometric." Grey's head snapped back to his security officer. "I checked after Chopade couldn't confirm a lock. Am I right to assume it's because of her heritage?" Grey sighed before finally nodding once. "Sir?" Wood questioned unsurely.

"I shouldn't have even confirmed that," Grey replied. "Ali told you?"

"She told me enough to understand why she's linked to Barker," Wood admitted, "anything else personal got shut down pretty quickly." He paused as his subconscious tied threads together. "I'm starting to get the feeling she didn't mutiny."

Grey didn't reply and his face didn't register anything. He was saved from Wood pressing the matter further by his comm and he answered it immediately, glad for the distraction. "Sir, the weapon is moving," Chopade reported.

Grey and Wood had shared a look as the report came in and had both instantly hurried back onto the bridge to take up their stations. "Report," Grey demanded as he fixed his gaze on his science officer.

"They appear to be in the process of mounting the weapon onto a ship," Chopade explained.

Somehow time seemed to both stand still and be moving far too fast, Grey had only a few seconds to make a decision that was going to be wrong either way. Narla would give him a dressing down for even considering Wood's suggestion at exposing Ali to the vacuum of space to save her. Ali would berate him for putting others in danger to bust her out of a situation she got herself into, not to mention the words she'd use if he prioritised her jail break if it risked Bert getting away. Command would demote him at the very least if he gave his crew access to Ali's records and he wasn't sure Ali would forgive him if he disclosed her secret. Hell, Ali hadn't forgiven him for her court martial.

In the end it all came down to a simple matter: he'd rather Ali were alive to hate him. Not to mention she knew more about Bert's plans than anyone right now. They needed her back aboard the Endeavour. "Do not make me regret this," he warned his senior officers as he started walking to the science stations. "Frost, I want you ready to intercept that weapon the moment we have Ali," he explained as he started inputting his security clearance into the console. "Wood, you're certain about this?" He checked, glancing at his second in command before he entered the final code.

"Yes, sir."

Narla was going to have some serious words for them when all this was over, Grey figured as he finished releasing the records. "I'm giving you access to classified information, Chopade, do not misuse it."

"Yes, sir," Chopade replied with wide, fearful eyes and a nervous tone in his voice. He hadn't even seen the data yet.

Wood was busy coordinating additional power to their weapon systems with Spud whilst Frost brought them out of their hiding place and within weapons range of the ship that they'd found Ali on. In the prevailing silence Grey realised that Wood had started subconsciously drumming his foot in time with Frost's countdown as she stayed their course. The second she said zero Wood was already firing upon the ship in question, as he was confirming the direct hit Chopade was already getting a lock. "We have her," he confirmed and Grey was sure he wasn't the only one breathing a sigh of relief.

"Frost, do what you can to keep us out of weapons range, but I want eyes on that weapon at all times," Grey ordered before marching towards the lift.

Grey arrived in the medical bay to find Narla directing her staff in the application of blankets and oxygen to Ali, who was unconscious but appeared to still be breathing. Grey stayed out of their way and moved to check on Marsh, who was still in an induced coma, with a sense of sadness and resolve. He wasn't going to lose anyone else if he could help it.

Grey almost jumped in surprise when Narla's voice roused him from his thoughts. "Do I want to know?" She asked, somehow both soft and threatening at the same time. From the tension in her tentacles, however, Grey knew that she was cross.

"No," Grey assured her. "How is she?"

"Her exposure was less than a minute so her chances are good," Narla admitted. "We'll need to monitor her vitals for a while, make sure she isn't oxygen deprived and doesn't go into shock from the temperature change," She explained. "She might have some sensory loss, but that should be temporary."

"Sensory?"

"Sight, taste and maybe hearing," Narla explained, "I won't know till she wakes up." She paused before adding. "there is something you should see," and turned to walk back over to where Ali lay wrapped in foil blankets and with a breathing tube running to her nose. Narla only had her on a low flow of oxygen as a precaution but the visual effect was as startling as if she were relying on it. Narla carefully extracted Ali's arm from under the blanket without letting too much heat escape and gently turned her hand so that the large cut could be clearly seen in the harsh, bright lights of the medical bay.

"From the explosion?" Grey asked.

"No," Narla replied as she tucked Ali's arm back under the blanket. "Those injuries are all relatively minor," she added, indicating with both her hands and tentacles. "This one is already closed. I'm not a pathologist, but from the cleanness of the cut I'd say it was a blade."

"Barker?"

"Possibly," Narla agreed as she watched him. "There is also a wound on her leg consistent with an energy firearm. I'd say she put up a bit of a fight." After a moment Grey's gaze flicked to her and then back to Ali as if he'd had an idea. "You know better than to ask me that," she warned. She had stringent rules on when she would use her telepathic abilities.

"I know, but you can't blame me for thinking about it," he sighed. "How's Marsh?" He asked instead.

Narla turned to look at her long term patient. "Some of the swelling has gone down, but not enough for me to risk trying to wake him up," she replied kindly. Grey nodded with a sigh. "He has a chance," she reminded him.

"I know," Grey admitted, " but that doesn't make it right."

"If you start thinking like that nothing will ever be right." Narla countered.

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About the author

Cinn

  • NW, UK

Bio: I usually go by Cinn, but my backup pseud is Lilitia, I'm a scientist but spend my spare time writing. Mostly because I get prompts in my head and write them down to get them out.

I started out on FanFiction back in 2003, eventually putting some stuff on FictionPress then eventually Inkitt and AO3. Despite over 17 years of posting stories of various quality (I'll admit to some dubious quality in the early years!) I'm still looking for feedback to help me improve.

My Fanfiction moniker is Cinn; https://www.fanfiction.net/u/396269/
My FictionPress moniker is Lilitia; https://www.fictionpress.com/u/419340/
My AO3 moniker is Lilitia; https://archiveofourown.org/users/Lilitia/profile

Credit for avatar image - a doll creator on Rinmarugames

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parkertallan ago

Excellent rescue idea. Very well done chapter. Tense, emotional, and engaging. Grey's inner turmoil is particulary well writen. The give and take as different member of the crew consider different options is very enjoyable as well.

    Cinn ago

    Thank you. :) I had to research the effects of vaccuum exposure and was very surprised how much was known about this due to various astro/cosmonaut failures down the years.

Space Pickle ago

I would have loved to see a gruesome boarding. This "Beam Technology" seems slightly overpowered 🤨 Star Trek style 😆

The vaccum exposure is a very interesting subject and so many authors do it wrong. I'm glad you made it right!

    Cinn ago

    I actually went a researched vacuum exposure, and discovered lots of... unfortunate incidents in early space flight history.

    And yeah, the beamers might be a little bit OP... I can't deny that.

NickLStories ago

An exciting rescue scene, showing some good thinking on the part of Grey and fleshing out his character, all in one neat little package. Well done!

Some inline comments below. As always, please disregard if you find them useless.

Edit suggestions:

He had an extensive knowledge of weapons and access to some of the most [?] cutting edge research.

Sir, I'm picking up a potential human life sign on one of the taurran ships," Chopade suddenly cut in as more data came up on his screen. He frowned. "Hang on, that might be kentarian," he admitted as he started tapping away trying to clear the data up. He missed the look that flashed over both Grey and Wood's faces at that revelation. Finally he waved his hands over the console in a frustrated manner. "There must be some kind of interference, I can't clean it up any further." [Do you think it's worth having a separate paragraph and dialogue tag for each distinct unit of dialogue? IMO, it helps the story's readability, but like everything else, there are other schools of thought about this editorial choice.]

By now he knew that her Danish outbursts tended to not to mean anything good.

"Blasting open her cell and beaming her here before she suffocates." [can they do this without taking out the shields, which they've admitted is extremely risky?]

Somehow time seemed to both stand still and be moving far too fast. as Grey knew he had only a few seconds to make a decision that was going to be wrong either way [just some inline suggestions that improve readability and smoothen the pacing, IMO. As always, please disregard if you find it useless]

Ali would rally on him for putting others in danger to bust her out of a situation she got herself into, not to mention the words she'd use if he prioritised her jail break if it risked Bert getting away. [is "rally" the correct word to use here?]

In the end it all came down to a simple matter: he'd rather Ali wasere alive to hate him. [I think the subjunctive mood is more appropriate for this sentence]

Wood was busy coordinating additional power to their weapon systems with Spud whilst Frost brought them out of their hiding place and within weapons range of the ship that they'd found Ali on. In the prevailing silence Grey realised that Wood had started subconsciously drumming his foot in time with Frost's countdown as she stayed their course. The second she said zero Wood was already firing upon the ship in question, as he was confirming the direct hit Chopade was already getting a lock. "We have her," he confirmed and Grey was sure he wasn't the only one breathing a sigh of relief. [This seems like too important an event to have it delivered so summatively. Maybe consider fleshing it out a bit?]

    Cinn ago

    Yet again some great suggestions. I've checked on rally, and I think you're right. I've heard it used informally applied to an individual as if they're rounding on someone with enough voracity to be equivalent to a group. But it's not an official definition. I'll find a moire suitable word.

    As for the shields thing, the "incredible risk" Wood alludes to earlier is the action of blasting her out. But clearly I need to make that clearer.

    Thanks.

Experiment Zero ago

Great chapter!

I am a bit at a loss for suggestions. Kept finding myself reading to see what will happen next and needing to go back to look for typos and stuff ;) So well done on having me completely hooked!

I even googled to see what kills you in space and how much time you'd have before dying etc. I should have read the comments down here first because obviously you've done your research and mine was unnecessary 😆

I've found a couple of things that might need looking over and some things I like and a random stylistic suggestion you should probably ignore ;)

Hope it helps 😅


Edit suggestions:

It had taken a day for the Endeavour to reach Kentar again but this time they were holding position (1) away from the planet itself, hoping to avoid detection by holding their position (2) behind the moons of one of the outer planets of the system. Repetition

"There is a massive energy source coming from the surface," he reported, * "I have… no idea what it is. Are you sure about the comma? Because that would mean that all the direct speech is one sentence but it sounds like it should be two separate ones when I read it (totally not clutching at straws because I can’t find any obvious mistakes to correct) …

He missed the look that flashed over both Grey and Wood's faces at that revelation. Nice Detail :)

Finally Chopade waved his hands over the console in a frustrated manner and said, "there* must be some kind of interference, I can't clean it up any further." * I’d need to look it up again, so sorry if this is wrong. But my gut tells me there (*) should have a capital letter.

"I don't want to hear that, Spud," Grey warned lightly. By now he knew that if she only offered a reaction, then it was bad. Otherwise she tended to give explanations, and often solutions. A random style suggestion - I’ve noticed you often give little anecdotes to explain people’s habits and stuff (which I generally love) but on occasion I wonder whether it wouldn’t sound smoother if you explained it in a more indirect way. Like here, it’s helpful and makes me tense for what is to come, but it also takes me out of the story a bit - feels like we’ve been put on pause to have something explained (if that makes sense?). In a Situation like this I was thinking about suggesting something more like following: "I don't want to hear that, Spud," Grey warned lightly. “You only give one word answers when it’s bad. Spit it out!” Obviously that doesn’t always work because of personalities and some of your characters don’t do unnecessary words and such, but I don’t feel like this would be too out of character for Grey?

Grey had retreated to his ready room to avoid pacing (1) around the bridge as his crew got on with their orders. They were good at their jobs and he trusted them, him pacing (2) due to his own frustration and impatience would do nothing but add pressure he didn't need to. Repetition

"You could have sent that update electronically, is there something on your mind?" He asked instead. This is an example where you beautifully show personalities and understanding of each other through dialogue (the thing I was attempting earlier). I like this :)

She paused before adding., "thereThere is something you should see," I am not 100% sure about this though.

    Cinn ago

    I am never sure about commas. 😅 I also hate dialogue punctuation because I know there's some cases where the capitalisation isn't as normal, but I never know when so I just stick to normal punctuation rules.

    But yeah, great suggestions, and I love that you got so engaged you forgot to nitpick. I'm choosing to take that as high praise. 😊

    And yeah, that was some... interesting research about vacuum exposure. Though I commend your dedication to check that.

    Thank you!

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