"There we go," he said, studying its surface. It seemed undamaged. These things were definitely built to last. He fired it up for a moment, hooked it to his suit and had it run a self-diagnostic. It chimed a moment later positively.
"It's good?" Autumn asked.
"It's good," he confirmed, shutting it down and latching it to his suit. "Now we need to get to the launch tubes."
They left the room and continued along their path, crossing the corridor and making their way back through the huge, high-tech cargo bay to get around the caved-in area. Eric found his mind settling into a pure focus. It was very comforting, in a way. He had a clear-cut goal in mind, something that he knew how to do, without any shadow of a doubt. It was a nice contrast to running around, trying to make things happen, not knowing what exactly he might be doing. It was part of the reason he loved his job so much.
Well, inasmuch as he loved anything.
During the war and all the fighting, he'd managed to keep his cool the best when he had a single assignment to complete or even a list of them. He was always scurrying around, fixing radios or turrets or vehicles. Gear was always breaking down, either due to poor maintenance or a shitty environment or because it kept getting shot up. There were plenty of reasons and they all kept him busy. Busy was a good way to be.
When you needed to act, there really wasn't much room for thinking about the fact that you could die at any second and often times there was very little or nothing you could do to change it. And that was a pretty shitty thing to have to deal with. He began to feel even better as they came to the end of the corridor and still had yet to encounter anything. Maybe the creatures didn't think there was anything left on the Discovery. Maybe they were still lurking in the halls of Theseus Station. Fine, let them lurk and roam and whatever else they did.
So long as they did it way over there.
Eric found the missile room and entered, hastening to complete this objective.
"What do you think you'll do when this is over...if this gets over?" Autumn asked as they stepped into the room.
"Probably get assigned to another S and R ship...why, what about you?"
"I was thinking the same thing. Although it'd be nice to have a vacation after this. Like a month-long vacation somewhere warm and sunny and there are absolutely no responsibilities. You know?" Autumn replied.
Eric laughed as he marched over to the nearest launch tube. "Yeah, I know what you mean."
He didn't like the look of the room, though. It had seen some heavy fighting and many of the launch bays were mangled, spitting sparks into a dead environment. He moved quickly down the line, stopping to check and see which ones were usable. The first three were flat dead and he didn't have the time nor the resources to fix them. The fourth, he saw, could fire, but the control mechanism was fried and, he quickly realized, if he wanted to make it work, he'd have to go outside and do some manual adjustments.
"Shit," he muttered.
"What?" Autumn replied.
"Three of these are busted and one of them barely works. If pressed, I could make this one work, but we should check out the other side first."
They stepped out of the bay, looked around to make sure they were still alone, then hurried across the hall and came into the next bay. Unfortunately, it was in even worse shape than the previous one had been. Obviously some kind of nightmarish conflict had gone on. There was a great deal of flash-frozen blood and spent shell casings carpeting the floor. Eric spent a few minutes checking over the four launch tubes on this side, but concluded that they had all been rendered non-functional in whatever fighting had gone on.
YOU ARE READING
The twelfth novel in The Shadow Wars. Eric Starck is a man adrift. After fighting in the Systems Wars that ravaged the galaxy, he's spent the past three years drifting from one job to the next, never quite feeling comfortable. The latest in a long l...