The Doomed Voyage: Part 2

From the logs of Kyber Myla Bronson: I’ll be flogged for sure this time. I thought as I raced down the hallway toward the last ladder down to the bridge. Maybe even removed from my

From the logs of Kyber Myla Bronson:

I’ll be flogged for sure this time. I thought as I raced down the hallway toward the last ladder down to the bridge. Maybe even removed from my post as Kyber. My duty-shift started eight minutes ago. I’d been late by a minute or two before, and gotten an official reprimand, but never anything this serious.

The artificial gravity blinked out temporarily and I lurched forward into the rungs of the ladder. The taste of blood filled my mouth as my teeth bit into my inner lip.

What was that?

I wiped the blood from the corners of my mouth before starting down to the bridge. I was already late; no need to also look disheveled.

That’s why I was still climbing down when the explosion hit. Because I cared more about my appearance than my duty.

The whole ship rocked violently back and forth as the inertial and gravitational control systems tried to fight against what was happening.

But it was too late.

I was caught up in a gale of escaping atmosphere that ripped me from the ladder and threw me down toward the bridge. What was left of it. At first, I couldn’t make sense of what I was seeing.

The controls were blackened—and in some cases reduced to melted piles of slag—but there was no fire. No screams beyond the shrieking wind that carried me. The bridge was empty, serene.

As quickly as it had begun, the gale abruptly ended. The artificial gravity was out, but my momentum carried me face-first into the heavy bulkhead that sealed off the bridge in the event of an emergency. It was a safeguard in case of boarding or hull breach, virtually every system on board could be controlled from the bridge, nothing was supposed to be able to get through that bulkhead.

Of course, when they’d designed it, they’d probably assumed the problem was on my side of the barrier, not the other way around. The collision shocked the consciousness right out of me.

I awoke cold under the sickening glow of the emergency lighting. I gasped in the thin atmosphere as I tried to piece together what’d happened. The bridge was gone, opened up to deep space, along with everyone on it.

And one of those people should have been me. No, no time for that kind of thinking.

I took another deep breath—not that it helped very much—and turned my attention back to the task at hand. There’d been some kind of explosion, that’s what had destroyed the bridge. We were in neutral space, so the odds of an attack were low, most likely it was an accident. Or sabotage.

I shuddered. We were transporting some decorated general home from the front. Was he the target? Is he the reason all those people are dead?

I clenched my fists until my knuckles went white.

First things first, I need to assess the extent of the damage and find an officer.

We’d been drilled on the emergency procedures before. At least twice. Though, they had assumed that the ranking officer would still be coordinating things from the bridge. I clambered back up to the higher deck. It was easier than ever before with the artificial gravity out, though making my way down the hallway proved more of a challenge.

There was an access terminal a dozen meters aft of the bridge ladder. It didn’t have any real controls, but it would at least give me more information. If it still has power.

I input my identification code and the panel flickered to life. With an error: Main systems offline. For full data access, reinstall computer core.

Growling to myself, I bypassed the error. “I don’t need full systems. Tell me what you do have.”

Communications were down—along with all but emergency life-support.

No wonder it’s so cold.

The sensors were damaged, but I was able to pull up some partial readings. I gasped in what little air there was when I saw the results. It wasn’t just the bridge, half of our battle frigate had been destroyed. What was left of us was caught in a loose orbit around a small planet, but in a few more hours we’d be cut loose to wander through deep space.

Endlessly.

I tried to search for life-signs, but the sensors couldn’t read any. Including mine, which I took a small amount of comfort from. There might be other survivors.

A warning flashed up on the display: Unidentified object incoming.

I tried to get the system to scan it, but all it could manage was a repeat of the original warning.

Is this an enemy, or a rescue? Or just more cosmic junk?

I wasn’t armed—the captain had insisted on all weapons being stowed during deep space travel, after all the odds of an attack were astronomical compared to an accidental misfire.

The wreckage shifted around me as something clanged into it. Whatever was out there, it had made a controlled approach. Otherwise it would have done more damage.

So probably some kind of ship.

I tensed, not sure whether I should try and fight or flee. I wasn’t in much of a position to do either.

A blue-hot light burst through a hatch-door to my right, searing through the metal in a few quick motions.

The edges were still smoldering as a chunk was pushed into the gravity-less hall.

A man’s hand reached through the opening. “If you don’t fancy floating through deep space for the rest of your life, you’d better come with us.”

I only hesitated for a moment before maneuvering around to slip through the passage he’d opened.

He smiled as he helped me into the airlock on his ship. “I’m General Calix Weston, welcome to the Odyssey.”

“Kyber Myla Bronson.” I kept my voice professional, but my blood seemed to boil in my veins.

This man. He was the one responsible, I knew it my soul. If not for him, our ship wouldn’t have been attacked—or sabotaged, or whatever it was. I wouldn’t have lost countless friends. Things would have been fine.

If not for him.

To Be Continued…

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