Chains – Chapter Nineteen

Morris felt his left arm snap as Hania was thrown back by the force of the ship’s acceleration. Still spinning but now travelling in a single direction the jump drive activated.

Pinned to the cockpit rear wall Hania’s pale face gazed out the cracked windows. Trapped by the forces Morris couldn’t turn his head; but reflected in Hania’s glassy eyes he saw the view of space ahead.

Out of a silver nexus of coruscating light grew streaks of hyperspace energy, spun into long glowing spirals from the ships rotation. With a further jolt the ship cracked forward into the void.

~

Euan checked his chronograph. It was a classic imperial design he picked up from a bootlegger in Gacrux. Twelve ornate figures around the edge of the dial indicated the time depending on where the two metal arrows pointed. It took him a whole week of scanning the archive feeds to figure out how to read it. Right now it was telling him that Hania and Jen were eighteen minutes overdue. Five was fine, ten he’d make fun of them for being late, but this long didn’t feel like it would end with pilot to pilot banter.

His tanks were full, shields fully charged. He could jump back but he might miss them. Maybe his beacon wasn’t working.. he could just peak out into cruise space, scan, then drop back down.

He thumbed open the supercruise control when everything went dark.

“Ball aches!”

The ship was unresponsive, no displays, sounds, nothing. Not even the steady hum of the atmosphere pumps. The ship was dead in space. This sometimes happened when a reactor was on its last legs, but this one had passed all the checks..

Euan reached to his knee and peeled his personal data tab from the fabric grips. Maybe he could connect to the maint bus from here.  Older ships like the eagle had many components deep inside the hull that could only be physically inspected by removing half the ship, to solve this they had short range low band radio systems for diagnostics.

The metal of the ship began to tick as the star warmed her hull. It was going to get hot pretty fast without the cooling system.

The tab scanned the maintenance bands.  A list of components started to fill the tiny display.

Core Dynamics Class C Inertial navigation sensors
Core Energetics Integrated environment sensors
McGrath Local data repeaters
Core Atomics Reactor monitoring package.

Euan touched the last item.  The screen chirped once and a holofac of the reactor data grew upwards out of the tablet.

Energy Consumption: 0.00 MW
Energy Production: 0.00 MW
Reactant Safety Interlock: Locked.

Euan cursed, then sighed.. That last one had just cost them the race. Without a reactor he’d not be able to jump, they’d have no refuelling for half the jumps. Worse, though somehow it didn’t seem so, was that without the reactor he’d not be able to call for help, the Eagle would gradually become unbearably hot and he’d die when his RemLock ran out of energy compensating.

.. The shields were charged fully before everything died, perhaps the generator or power distributor had some energy still to get a signal out.  Euan closed the reactor display with a backhand swipe.

A few more modules had appeared in the list now.

Core Dynamics Class 2 Shield Complex
Core Dynamics Human Interface+Comms System
Core Dynamics Class 3 Hyperspace Controller
Faulcon DeLacy Type E Hose Utility Controller
Lakon Spaceways Class 4 Thruster Diagnostic Interface

Euan moved his fingers towards the first item, the shield generator should be able to shunt power to the cockpit and comms, it had a huge bank of power.  The display emitted another chirp and triggered the holofac for the shield generator.

Wait.. that last item. I don’t have Lakon thrusters, and she has a class three..

Euan spoke out loud to the ship; “Some knock off firmware again I’ll bet.”

The busy indicator on the tab spun and a handful more items appeared on the list.

Lakon Spaceways Class 4 Hyperspace Drive Controller
Lakon Spaceways Class 1 Frameshift Interdiction Tether

Euan blinked as the light from the star dimmed.

The shadow of a single Diamondback cast over him.

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