“Transport 1 this is Captain Stewart.” The voice was broken, with a lot of interference “I can barely read you and I have very limited visibility. Can you get a lock on my locator?”
“Captain I have a weak signal and a general vector but can’t get a lock. Can you give me an idea of the direction you are traveling in?”
The hull section of the broken transport Captain Stewart was hanging on to impacted transport 3. It was a low energy impact but caused both bodies to change direction. The captain could barely hang on but managed to stay with the section of hull. “I just ran in to something.”
Transport 3 pilot responded “That was us, I think I have a lock on you now. We’ll get a rescue crew out to you in a couple of minutes.”
“Well that’s one way to locate survivors.” The captain was light hearted about it, but was rapidly growing fatigued.
“Albatross station, this is transport 3.” The radio sprang to life.
Commander Dickerson responded with the reflexes of an African big cat “Go ahead transport 3.” She nearly shouted into the microphone.
“We have Captain Stewart.” All three of the officers in lab 4 were noticeably relieved “She is unconscious but appears to be alive. We’ll head back as quickly as we can. Please have a medical team available when we arrive.”
“Roger that transport 3.” Kim quickly checked the docking bay equipment contents “You have priority to bay 3, all other traffic is being cleared. We will have a medical team meet you there.” She sent the command to halt all traffic to all forward docking bays.
“We’re on our way.”
“Alright, back to the task of figuring out that rock.” The commander focused on the transport locations. “Tim, make sure that probe stays well clear of transport 3’s flight path.”
“Already done commander.” Tim re-checked the path, again.
“Sam, let’s figure out where we want the other transports to land.”
“I have some prospective landing zones ready for you, patching to the holographic display now.” She punched a couple of buttons on her console. “Take a look.”
The commander spun around from her console and started studying the zones suggested by Sam.
“Lab 4, Bridge. What is the ETA for transport 3?”
Tim responded “Looks like 35 to 40 minutes, I will keep you updated.”
“Very well” the bridge responded.
The commander announced “That does it, I have to go back to transport ops.” She logged out of her console. “Sam, you take control of the survey crews. Tim, you keep on top of the data coming in from those teams and the probes.”
“Probes?” Tim was confused. “I only launched one.”
“There is a probe coming in to bay 5 and I think you will find that data VERY interesting.”
“Yes Ma’am.” Tim responded.
The commander floated out of the compartment and closed the door behind her.
Sam looked over to Tim “When are they going to give us that private time we were promised?”
He looked back seriously “Not until Gwen is back on board.”
“Fair enough.” She agreed. “But I still need to use the head.” She headed for the door.
“Hurry back, I do too.” Tim smiled as she floated past.
Sam blew him a kiss as she floated through the door.
Beginning of Story