Behind Yellow Eyes: Chapter 22

Story by rhenthar on SoFurry

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Chapter 22.

Casey is peering in through a thick window set into the door leading to the engine room section of The Jefferson. The door is locked, probably because there's no air in there. Ash is standing behind him, trying to hide her fear, wishing she were more useful in situations like this. Casey probably has the spare parts needed to fix the engines sitting in his personal quarters aboard The Hahkota, or so she would guess.

"AI?" Casey asks. "Focus on fixing the atmosphere in the engine room, that way I can get in there to help."

"Keman probably has some spacesuits stored in here somewhere..." Ash is looking around at all the storage closets lining the walls.

"We don't have time for that." Casey tilts his muzzle sideways, trying to assess the damage in the engine room visually, through the little window.

"How much time do we have?" Ash puts one ear sideways.

"Atmosphere restored," the speaker in the ceiling announces. The door lock indicators vanish and it slides sideways, open. A severed superconductor cable flips around on the floor, sending out dangerous arcs to everything it touches. Now that its arc can superheat air, it produces force, like with an ion thruster. It whips sideways and touches a box below the deuterium containment system, and the front panel blows off in a shower of sparks.

"Probably not enough to fix that..." Casey's shoulders slink. "Ahh shit... AI? Are we venting deuterium?"

"Affirmative, containment system integrity dropping rapidly."

"Kill the power to it, shut down everything except gravity and life support, you got a sc cable in there destroying things..."

The machinery in the room winds down, the cable falls silent, the whole ship goes quiet except for some whistling shrieks. Ash turns and looks at quicksilver crawling along the wall, plugging holes where the inner hull was punctured by flying shrapnel. That much she understands.

Casey quickly steps in and does a 360. "Right... deuterium there, magnetic isolation control, there... life support over there, that looks fine." He turns and runs a paw over the large diamond-like structure in the center. "Warp core... intact. It really is a one-point-oh." He looks up at the ceiling where large sc cables route into it, "amazing."

"Ok, enough with worshipping Keman's ship, and more with the fixy fixy? Big boom, right?" Ash needs to keep the distractible mechanical wizard focused, that Mass Accelerator didn't look good back on the bridge.

Casey is staring closely at the sc cable that was flying around a couple of minutes ago. The end looks burnt, he nods absently. "Working on it..." He starts opening drawers in a toolbox mounted against one wall. One after another, until he finds some complicated-looking cutters. He uses them to trim the end of the sc cable and pulls it over to the panel it apparently attaches to, peering into the hole first. He turns around and Ash almost bumps into him. She was looking over his shoulder

"Hey, um... over there in that supplies cabinet," he points. "There should be a can of liquid squelch, somewhere. Can you go find it for me?"

"Will do. Liquid squelch, got it." She walks over to the cabinet and pops the catch on it, staring at a myriad of supplies. There must be a hundred different things inside, all in various sizes and shapes. She looks at Casey and catches him smiling, then it vanishes. "Gee thanks, this is going to take a minute..."

Casey tries to attach the cable back to its port but it isn't long enough. He glances down and sees why, seeing what's left of about a meter of cable, torn to shreds. "Shit," he mutters, moving further up the cable and releasing some tie-down points. He removes a couple of them, pulls some slack, then goes back to the panel, and successfully inserts the end until it clicks.

"Ok," he says. "Next problem... what was that panel that blew?" He crouches down onto his knees and stares into it. "Oh no... AI! Quick, stop venting deuterium, quick, turn the containment system back on!"

A soft hum builds in intensity, several metallic valve solenoids click all around them. Casey stares at a readout next to a large cylinder as tall as he is. "Fuck! It's empty!"

Ash turns around; she has a dozen different cans sitting on the floor next to her. No liquid squelch yet, though. She's looking as fast as she can. "What's the problem? Doesn't this ship use magnetic fields to scoop hydrogen from space to fill its tank?"

If he had pointy ears, they'd be flat. "Yeah. It does," he points into a charred housing. "And the controller for it is fried."

"But... the AI said it would only take 25 minutes for it to fix. It's been like 15, that leaves ten?"

"That was before we put air into the room and blew this thing up," he grabs some of the charred insides and sprinkles them onto the floor. "AI? Revise the repair time, how long to rebuild this controller?"

"Three hours, ten minutes."

Casey pulls his paw out of the box as mercury flows up, spiraling around the structure supporting it. High pitched noises and scraping sounds ensue within.

"We can't have more than a few minutes left, AI? Any spare H3 onboard?" His voice is hopeful.

"Negative. You should have left me to repair the engine; I don't need atmosphere to make repairs."

Ash covers her muzzle, stifling a laugh.

Casey growls. "Yeah, great. Rub it in, it's both our funerals." His eyes defocus, he holds up a paw. "Wait!"

Ash sees inbound comms, from Zero on_The Hahkota_. He's local! "Casey!"

"I know, I know!"

Ash tries to explain the situation to Zero, and he gives her some bad news. The MA is only minutes from self-destruction. There is no way he can dock with The Jefferson in that amount of time.

"Get in some suits and get the fuck out an airlock, right now!" Zero orders.

"AI, this ship can receive hypertransport shipments? Please say yes?" Casey asks.

"Affirmative, shipments up to one square meter without the use of the airlock cargo bay."

"Yes!" Casey shoots a fist into the air. His eyes go unfocused again. Hypertransport is used for transferring documents and supplies all across the galaxy; it uses small containers with warp drives built into them.

"Casey, what are you going to do, order us some spare parts? We need to get off this ship right now!" She barks. "Let's get into some suits, Zero's orders."

"Screw that," he says. "Got some H3 coming right now... straight from The Hahkota. AI? Do I need to go fetch it or can you bring it in here faster than me?"

Ash hears something outside the hall, a loud whining noise, getting louder. A wheeled 'bot tears into the engine room with a suitcase-sized metal tank in its pinchers. Smoke trails from its overdriven motors.

"I don't know when nema started standardizing these things... but I sure as shit hope it was more than three hundred years ago," Casey says as he detaches a big black hose with a metal connector on the end. He peers at the square end and nods. "Looks about right." He slams it into the side of the suitcase and the hose quickly covers in frost. "We're live! Let's go let's go..." Casey scrambles onto his feet and grabs Ash by the shoulder.

"What about the liquid squelch?" she asks.

"There is no such thing," Casey laughs. Ash starts chasing him down the hallway, that fucker!

"I'm gonna program your doors to shut on your head if we make it out if this alive!"

Behind them, the engine room begins to fill with sound as H3 enters a state of quantum flux, both fused, and not-fused. Casey and Ash strap themselves into chairs on the bridge; the display shows the MA spewing lightning for hundreds of kilometers out of the hole in its side.

Fire blossoms from the hole, and the structure seems to bulge, as if someone is inflating it with air. The Jefferson slams them back into their seats, turning sharply to vector away from the MA at a 90-degree angle. A shockwave bursts from the center and The Jefferson stretches out to infinity and vanishes just ahead of it.

Casey stares at Ash. "Well, that was fun..."

She punches him in the shoulder.

To be continued...

Behind Yellow Eyes: Chapter 21

Chapter 21. Gravity and lighting have returned to some semblance of normal, if anything on this crazy ship ever is. _The Jefferson_ has reached a Mass Accelerator, a towering structure that looks similar to a nautilus shell. Scattered all over the...

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Behind Yellow Eyes: Chapter 20

Chapter 20. Casey and Ash are standing next to Epi, they're both furious. The Lieutenant is solemn and apologetic. His other officers are dispersing behind him, headed back to their various posts. "I'm sorry about that," says Epi. "I figured we'd...

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Behind Yellow Eyes: Chapter 19

Chapter 19. I wake up like a branch snapping underfoot, choking. Trying to open my muzzle only hurts my nose in a deep, sickening manner. I reflexively swallow what's in my throat. Again, and again. One more time. I roll over onto my stomach, being...

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