Welcome to the next installment of Captain’s Journey. hopefully you are enjoying the story so far. If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments or send them to me on Twitter.
The sound of retching cuts across the coms. It takes me a moment to put the pieces to together and realize that everyone that is conscious immediately checked the displays when they went live. What merely made me queasy is having a much more profound effect upon the rest of the crew. I scramble to the communications bay and quickly cut the visual feed to the rest of the ship. I snap my leg out to kick the med drone release mechanism and watch as the cloud of nanites descend upon Reyez to stabilize his injuries.
“Farns! Are you still with me? Are you still up?”
The sounds of my crew being sick are fading as whatever effect the sight of that alien ship fades. The seeming silence that follows is interminable in its length.
“Oh God Oh God Oh God What the Fuck was that thing Jaxx! My fucking ears are bleeding and I still can’t see straight!” Farns’ voice is cracking from the strain as it reaches several octaves higher than I thought possible for him.
I struggle to keep my voice calm despite the panic that I feel. “Keep it together Farns! I need you. We all need you. Whatever is blocking my connection to the ship and to each other makes it so I can not repair the ship. You are my eyes and ears there in the engine room. If you can not get the Tesla drive up and running we are nothing but prey for whichever ship wins the slugfest out there. I know you’re hurt and still reeling from looking at that ship but you are the hero of the hour. If you can’t do it, we’re done.”
The coms go quiet after my impassioned plea to Farns. My fervent hope is that most of the crew have only passed out from the strain of looking at that ship. I can not allow myself to think of any other possibilities at this moment. If I did, I don’t know how I would get us out of this mess. “You can do this Farns. I know you can.”
“I’ll get it done Jaxx. I won’t let everybody down.”
The bravado in his words does not hide the pain and tears that are easily heard in the quavering of his voice. “Stellar! When we get to Down Bellow Station I will get you however many Companions you want. You’ll deserve them.’
I drop heavily into the pilots chair and watch the displays. Time passes at a snails pace as I wait for some sign of life from the panel in front of me. I left the display on here in the bridge so that I could monitor the battle that is raging next to my ship. Whatever the alien ship is, it’s armaments do not appear to be anything overwhelming as the shields on the terran ship seem to be holding up against the onslaught. I have to look away as the nausea begins to become unbearable after a few moments of watching the screen.
As I drop my eyes to the panel in front of me searching for some signs that power has been restored, The ship is rocked by the force of a direct hit. A scream erupts across the coms and ends with the finality of a gurgle.
“Farns! Farns! Come on man! You’ve got to be ok! Don’t Die on me Farns!” I am screaming these words at the ceiling as tears begin streaming down my face. I extend my Talent to touch that tenuous connection I had established with him earlier to find it gone. In it’s place in my mind is a gaping wound. The price of being a Captain is that when you lose a Talented crew member you lose a bit of yourself as well. I drop to my knees and vomit blood on to the floor. I retch and retch until nothing more comes up but my body doesn’t understand and keeps it up. When it finally passes, the front of me is covered with the splatter of blood and bile and my body feels like it has been beaten to a quark.
It takes time to get to my feet and I have to use the pilot station to keep myself upright. My knuckles are white from the effort. ” I. Am. Not. Fucking. Going Down. Quietly!” As I scream the last word at the walls I open my mind and throw myself at the dark miasma that is blanketing the ship. My talent shines like a beacon against the uncaring darkness.
I expect some aggressive action from something that is so large but I can feel no sentience directing the behemoth that I face. The enormity of the situation is overwhelming. I have no clue how to eliminate the darkness in its entirety and without Farns I do not know which specific part of the ships needs fixed through my my talent. I shrug off the indecision and focus my power with laser like intensity. I begin carving away the darkness that covers some of the housings in the engine room. It takes a herculean effort in the shape that I am in but I have nothing to lose at this point as nothing good will come from hanging out to see who wins this battle. I peel back a piece of the darkness like cutting the blubber from a whale and burn away the globules that try to cling to me in the aether. Now, instead of a hammer, I am able to use my Talent as intended and begin knitting the technology of my ship back together. I hope that I am putting the drive back together and curse myself for being so flippant when doing this before. I should have watched what was going on instead of pushing the power through Farns to get the job done.
I can not keep the effort up and have to drop back into my body and see what fruit my labors have borne. I come back to awareness of my surroundings only to realize that I have returned all communications to functioning. I can hear the voice of the terran Captain.
“Surrender your ship to me Captain Jaxx. We will get you clear of this Heddradan ship. We will deal with your desertion once we are all safe. We think your son is alive.”