Chapter 03: Emergency Repairs

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Everyone but Sullivan had gathered on the bridge.

He stood guard at the locked door that led to the cargo deck, decked out in a full suit of power armor with a rifle. Eve didn't envy him his task. Now that the lights were on and it wasn't freezing, she was feeling a bit better. Her mind was racing though as she gathered information from the others and tried to formulate a plan.

"So, first off, what the hell was that green energy?" she asked, looking around at the tired, haggard faces of the others.

It felt cramped on the bridge with so many people around.

"I can answer that," Case said. He was smoking again. He rubbed at his right eye and stifled a yawn. "It's an extremely rare phenomenon that can occur in faster-than-light flight. No one knows what the hell it is and all scientists have been able to determine about it is that it's a randomly occurring natural phenomenon. It's called...some complicated name I don't remember. Either way, that's what hit us. I've seen it once before and read up on it afterward. Twice in a lifetime. Not many people enjoy that privilege. Color me lucky," he muttered.

"Fine." She turned to face Riley, going down the list of things she needed to know. "Earlier, you said that we were fine 'for now'. What does that mean, exactly?"

Riley was looking a bit more whacked out than she normally did, her red hair a messy aura around her head, her eyes wide and bloodshot. She had an energy drink in hand. "Although it was easy to actually get the aux generator working again, I determined that it was permanently damaged. It's basically life support. We've got about an hour and a half before it runs out and then we're right back to where we started," she explained.

Eve sighed. "Great." She turned to Santos, who was sitting at the main controls, furiously working to determine a number of things. "Santos, what have you found out?"

"Nothing good," she replied, her voice hard and flat. "Communications and engines are damaged and need to be repaired. We aren't calling for help and we aren't going anywhere until either of those things happens. Even if we could call for help, we're pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Any help we'd call in wouldn't get here until it was all over, one way or the other. As for the ship itself...well, there's no hull breaches, and aside from a number of damaged systems, nothing immediately life-threatening."

"Good," Eve replied. She looked back at Riley. "See what you can see from the scans run on the comms and the engines. I want them both fixed as soon as possible."

"On it," she said, moving to join Santos and study the available information.

Now, she turned to face two of the Spec Ops personnel she had under her command. Martin and Ferros looked especially grim. She didn't blame them, she felt about as shitty as they looked. Ostler was dead and they were trapped on a broken, dying ship with an insane alien creature. Probably the only good thing about her new career was that she was a lot more adept at handling missions like this. She stepped towards them.

"We need a game plan for dealing with this thing," she said. "It's trapped for now but we can't necessarily count on that...especially if we have to go back down there, which I'm guessing we're going to, at least to fix the engines."

"Let's suit up and kill it," Ferros replied grimly.

Eve shook her head. "I wish it were that easy. Aside from the fact that we don't know if we have anything capable of killing it, we can't. My orders were explicit: keep it alive. As much as I'd like to break those orders, we have no idea how useful this thing might be. It might produce some new life-saving medicine or there might be an army of these fuckers out there and we need to know how to kill them more effectively through research. Either way, I want it contained and subdued. Does anyone have any wild theories on how we might do that?"

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