Tranquility lifted slowly from the landing deck, the extra weight of the mechanoids making the thruster motors strain under the weight. In a few seconds the vessel had lifted and pushed itself gently through the opening out into space.
“We nearly didn’t make that!” Collins complained. “We’re too heavy! What’s that robot doing on top?” He asked McKinley.
“Follow his directions.” McKinley ordered.
“What ins… oh” the text readout gave Collins co-ordinates to follow. “ok.”
“What’s he doing up there?” Seanna asked McKinley quietly.
“He’s got an idea about releasing the core into space, this might save the lives on board.”
“Might?” Seanna questioned.
“Yes, might.” McKinley answered.
“Or if the core goes off early we might end up blown to pieces!” Seanna said a little too loudly, everyone looked round. McKinley stared at her with an icy stare. Seanna was silent, the whole cabin was.
“Tymon is asking what the hell is going on?” Jearo asked, breaking the silence “He thought you wanted an emergency docking!”
“I still do!” McKinley replied. “We have a little detour, that’s all!” McKinley watched as Collins guided the craft under Titan’s emmense hull, he watched as Dave fed the instructions through. Then there was the command.
The craft jolted slightly as Dave lept from Tranquility, McKinley switched a screen to view him leap from Tranquility and attach himelf to the hull of Titan.
For once Dave wasn’t giving lengthy instructions “Go Collins, Jearo tell Tymon to stand by – we’re coming in!”
Collins gave an engine burn and Tranquility leapt forward, the Titan going out of view as the craft swung round, McKinley fastened himself into a seat, Seanna fastened herself next to him, her hand brushing across his he thought. As Tycho came into view, McKinley couldn’t help but think of Dave, there was no way he was going to survive this he thought, then the four members of the crew that had been lost. These people should have been coming back, but they were gone forever and he was going to have to answer for their lives.
“We’re Coming in Tycho – Hang on everyone!” Collins shouted, bringing McKinley back with a snap. Tranquility suddenly seemed to slow as the breaking thrusters fired, but they were still moving forward at great speed. In the small landing bay, the arrestor fields were lit up red and as Tranquility slid onto the landing bay the craft moved sideways and then with a sudden crash Tranquility was at a total stop.
For a moment all was still in the cabin as everyone looked round to see if anyone was injured. “Thank God we’re back!” Jearo cried out.
“Yes, but we’re not out of this yet!” McKinley unclipped and struggled out of his seat, equipment strewn everywhere, Seanna followed quickly after as McKinley blew the hatch open and stepped off the access ramp.
“What’s going on sir?” a troubled Tymon stood in front of McKinley asked.
“There’s no time!” McKinley replied with a sense of urgency. He looked around to Seanna, she had a cut to her head and blood was running over her face. “Get Seanna sorted out and anyone else in there that needs it! A medic appeared from behind Tymon and looked at Seanna while two others ran inot the Tranquility as the rest of them disembarked, all seemingly stunned except Blake who was taking charge of getting them all out.
“I’m coming with you!” Seanna barked at McKinley.
“You’ll be sorted in a few minutes, get into flight uniform then get to control!” McKinley told her. Nodding Seanna let her wound get attention while a deck hand brought her flight gear.
McKinley shouted over to the disembarking crew “Blake, keep the mechanoids there for now, The rest of you get into flight gear and get to your stations. If you’re not needed get to quarters now!”
“Sir?” Tymon was impatiently asking. McKinley struggled out of his suit into his flight uniform as he talked.
“The core of the Titan was breached” he said breathlessly as he climbed into the suit. “Dave is going to try and eject the core, when that happens we need to get out of here fast!”
“Dave?” Tymon asked.
“There’s no time. Sorry. Let’s go” turning towards the access shaft Tymon followed McKinley as he strode forward, still fastening his flight suit.
McKinley walked into the control centre and looked around to see crew at their stations, those returning still had to make their way up. Tymon close behind him, Tymon manned his communications post.
“Prepare to depart on my command, put main engines into hot standby, we may need to get out of here fast Neila!”
“Sir!” Neila replied, tapping commands into her panel. The sounds of the engines powering up echoed though the Tycho reaching it’s subtle crescendo.
“See if you can find a signal coming from the centre of the Titan Tymon.”
“Why would there… hang on. I’ve got something. It’s… Dave?” Tymon handed McKinley an earpiece, McKinley clipped it onto his ear. He stood there, listening intently.
“Ok… right…” nodding at he instructions from Dave, Seanna walked onto the control deck, the filthy grey body suit had gone and she was now in flight uniform. All signs of her head injury had gone. McKinley took the earpiece out and handed it back to Tymon. McKinley looked over at Seanna.
“It’s good to see you’ve found some clothes at last Lieutenant Commander!” Seanna walked up to McKinley’s side, making sure no one could hear her retort.
“Shut up you! You didn’t complain much at the time.” Seanna grinned “What’s going on?”
“We need to leave, it seems that Dave had had to speed things up!” McKinley turned to Tymon “Advise the crew to man alert stations.” Tymon’s message rang out through the ship as McKinley turned to Neila and gave out more orders “Prepare the engines, we’re going to need to make a fast getaway as soon as the core goes critical. Don’t mess about, we’re going to have to run the engines into the wall!”
One of the crew turned from his station “Commander, I’m picking up signs that something is happening, I’m reading a massive energy spike!”
“Can we see what’s going on?” McKinley asked.
“Look on the screen 4, I’ll see what I can do.”
McKinley and Seanna turned to the four screens in from of them, standing at least 6ft tall each of them were showing data readouts for the entire spacecraft, the central isle of the control centre meant anyone could see any of them at any time, turning to number 4, a close view of the Titan showed a capsule being ejected, in this view it was small, but in reality, it must have been at least as large as the Tycho.
“Standby everyone, this is it!” McKinley announced. In the seconds that passed, it seemed like an age. All the crew could do was watch and wait.
Copyright 2016 Simon Farnell