I woke up to the sound of the general alarm. The first thing I noticed was the
difficulty I had moving. Apparently, they’d killed the gravity generator for
this drill. The mess deck was lit by dim red lights, but I had adjusted to those
long ago. As I floated out of my rack space, my half-engaged brain heard the PA
announce “Emergency stations! Emergency stations!” No reason given – must be a
The alarm repeated as I grabbed my uniform, fought to get into it without
gravity’s aid. Next was my emergency respirator. A quick glance at the gauge
showed me a green indicator, confirming two hours of oxygen.
I got out into the flats and noticed flickering lights. This was new. It’s then
that I noticed the odd pitch of the engines. While I’m not an engineer, I’d
lived aboard Slipdagger that I know what she should sound like. That wasn’t my
partship though – someone else needed to worry about that.
I got to my station with the Emergency Repair Team. Someone was on the headset
already. His respirator mask made it impossible to see his face, and I couldn’t
see his name badge. I gave him the thumbs-up; and watched him mark me down on
the roster. I suited up the rest of the way and started checking the toolkits
while the rest of the team filtered in.
“Five minutes,” called the PA. “Ship is at emergency stations.”
I looked at the rest of the ERT, floating around the shop. A few had managed to
get footholds near the edges of the room, but there were too many of us. Of
course, the latecomers always got the best seats.
“D’you hear there, this is the Captain.” We all looked up at the PA speaker.
“During the transition out of hyperspace, we had a power surge on the main
generator. Fires were put out by rapid response and damage is being assessed.
Damage control priorities are the restoration of power and navigation. This is
not a drill.”
From the back of the room, I heard the comms guy. I recognized Mike’s voice.
“Dispatch a team to forward navigation. Complete loss of systems.” Immediately I
grabbed my tools. I waved to the command section, making sure they saw me. The
supervisor gave me a thumbs up, then indicated an apprentice to join me. We
headed out of the shop and forward towards the navigation space.
As we headed out, I took stock of my companion. He was new – this was his first
cruise. The white stripe on his rank flash showed that he hadn’t even completed
his ship’s orientation.
“Do you know where we’re going?” I asked the rookie.
“More or less. I’ve gotten a basic tour of our spaces, but that’s about it. I’m
afraid I won’t be much use to you for troubleshooting.”
Great. I was saddled with a rank amateur. I hoped that the problems would be
When we got to forward nav, my hopes were dashed. The door was vacuum-sealed. I
grabbed the phone beside the door and dialed the net-access code. I heard the
tone brief tone indicating that I had joined the ERT party-line, then someone
“…ilizers and gyros are bent. I’m getting some stock numbers. Hopefully, the
binrats have some parts for us.”
“This is After ERT, roger. HQ did you copy?”
I took advantage of the silence to announce myself.
“Forward nav on net. Reporting.”
“Forward ERT, go ahead nav.”
“This is forward nav, we are unable to enter the gyro space. It indicates
vacuum-sealed, and I can’t see the equipment status.”
“Forward roger, we have just received reports that forward nav is non-responsive
because it has been blown out. Do not attempt to breach the seal, that room has
been lost to space. Return to ERT.”
Damage reports continued to come in, but they were pretty disheartening. We
didn’t have the parts to repair the after nav system, and the salvage team
didn’t get much out of forward. The captain stood down emergency stations since
there was no purpose in us staying on high alert. In fact, he ordered a
stand-down of all personnel not required to get us back on track. Unfortunately,
as one of Slipdagger’s navigation system experts, I had a few long days ahead
Eventually, we got some equipment together. The result is shoddy-looking. It’s
held together with duct tape and prayers, but we hope it will do something. The
captain and the ship’s navigator have had a look at it, and they agree that they
can work with the limitations of what we have. Basic stabilizers to keep us
level, but no computer guidance. They retreated to their cabins to pull out
pencils, papers, and calculators.
Tomorrow, we will find out if my repairs worked.