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Published by Darryl Brent, 2018.
This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.
First edition. December 6, 2018.
Copyright © 2018 Darryl Brent.
Written by Darryl Brent.
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About the Author
Thanks to God, through whom all things are possible.
Sanjay jerked awake. He could only see blackness through the huge windows as he sat up and looked around the dark cabin.
“Dweeee,” X5, the little dome-shaped android came speeding into the room, screen blinking. Sanjay moved to the edge of his palette, Wade and Jean stirred on theirs.
Jean sat up and rubbed her eye, the targeting circle on her eye patch flashed in the dark, “Are we still in the warp tunnel?”
“Looks like it,” Sanjay said.
X5 rolled up to his toes. Sanjay reached out to pick him up, but X5 dodged his hand and switched on his base propellor. He hovered into the air, so his small screen was in front of Sanjay's eyes.
“There's something wrong with the warp stabiliser,” Sanjay read out to the others.
“I’ll go,” Wade swung his large frame out of bed. “You guys can go back to sleep.”
“Thanks Wade,” Jean said, reaching for her boots. “But there's no way I'm going to be able to sleep knowing there's something wrong with the ship.”
Sanjay shrugged, “I’m up now anyway.” He pushed aside his blanket and groped for his cargo pants. “You would think the Shrike could wait till morning to break down,” he muttered.
The Shrike gave a lurch.
“Isn't it dangerous for the ship to be moving like this in the warp tunnel?” Jean asked.
“Dweep!” X5 confirmed.
“Extremely,” Sanjay read off his screen. “We’d better drop out of the warp tunnel quickly.”
“Make sure we’re near an inhabited system before we exit,” Jean said. “If we drop out in open space we could spend a lifetime trying to reach a populated planet.”
Sanjay ran out of the starboard dorm, through the central cabin and into the cockpit. He leaped over the armrest, into his pilot seat and swiped the touchscreen.
“Nearest inhabited planet on our trajectory is Djir,” he muttered.
“Never heard of it,” Wade said, coming in behind him. Jean was already swiping back and forth on her smartcuff.
“Well, you're about to meet Djir in person,” Sanjay said, initiating an emergency exit from the warp tunnel. “I just hope it's close enough.” The Shrike gave another lurch. Wade gripped the back of Sanjay’s chair to stay upright.
“Djir, home of the rii, a low water planet known for its red deserts where most of the population are located,” Jean read off her cuff, her fingers white as she gripped her armrest. The Shrike lurched and shuddered.
“Eeee,” X5 whistled shrilly. Jean was white as a sheet now.
“Sheesh X5,” said Sanjay. “Go easy on our ears.”
With a bone-rattling shake the Shrike dropped out of the warp tunnel and stars reappeared around them.
“We’ve got a way to go to the planet itself,” Sanjay said. “But we’ll do it on normal engines.”
Jean let out her breath and Wade gave his shoulder an absent-minded pat.