“Paul,” Grace stopped her brother. “Remember to strap Ophelia and Lucy in securely after their operations and to let me know when you’re done.”
“I remember,” Paul said. “Don’t worry and try not to be so nervous.”
“Who’s nervous?” Grace asked.
“You don’t have to pretend with me,” Paul said. I know, it’s a dangerous procedure. But we’ll all get strapped in properly and we’ll make it.”
“Will we?” Grace muttered.
“We will,” Paul said. “You’re way too good of an engineer to let us down and I mean that.”
“Thank you,” Grace said. “I’ve got to get in my pressure suit and help Yuri mount the propulsion. Farah and Kat are going to hold it in place with their ships while Allison finds a way to comfortably strap Hyper and Wolfie in.”
Paul nodded. “I’ve got my own work to do. I’ll tell you when it’s done.”
The two of them went to work. Paul had Leon help him carry Ophelia to Medical while Grace left the ship.
“How’s Ophelia?” Lucy asked.
“I patched her bone with the restorative gel,” Paul answered. “I used the omega formula since she’s allergic to the theta. It’ll fully set in six or seven days. But, for the moment, just worry about yourself. The surgery to mend your nerves won’t be easy.”
“I have confidence in your abilities, Doctor,” Lucy said. “You may even be the only human I’d trust for this operation.”
“That means a lot,” Paul said. “Please lie down. I’ll apply the anaesthetic.”
“Can you finish the rest of this yourself?” Grace asked.
“It is nearly complete,” Yuri stated. “I am capable of completing the task.”
“Good,” Grace said. “I’m going to start connecting everything. I’d like to be ready to go as soon as Paul finishes the surgeries.”
“Yo, Yuri, Grace,” Allison’s voice came in loud and clear.
“Did you figure out a strapping system?” Grace asked.
“Thirty minutes ago,” Allison answered. “The babies will be fine. That isn’t why I called.”
“Is there a problem?” Yuri asked.
“We’ve picked up some Alliance ships on long-range sensors,” Allison answered. “I think, they aren’t exactly in peak condition.”
“Assuming the reading is accurate, how long do we have?” Grace asked.
“Judging by their course and speed, twenty minutes, maybe,” Allison answered.
“Not enough time,” Grace muttered. “Kat?”
“I heard,” Kat said. “There may be one good option for holding them back.”
“I’ll leave it to you,” Grace said. She hurriedly returned to work.
“Allison,” Kat ordered. “Shut off everything in the Cerberus but life support and the Medical bay. With luck, our signal will be too bad for them to pick it up. Farah, we’re going back aboard the fortress. The propulsion should stay in place without our help at this point. We’re going to send their fighters out on full speed auto with distress beacons set to activate after three minutes. Hopefully, they’ll pick up the signals and move to investigate those.”
“Got it,” Farah said. “But what if they come right over here?”
“Then I’ll take the Wyvern and do what I can,” Kat answered. “You all should still have enough power to get out.”
“Sweat,” Paul said. Leon hurriedly wiped his brow. “This should do it. I’ll seal the opening. Help me get her strapped in afterwards.”
“Got it,” Leon said. “Hey, when will her commanding presence be back in full force?”
“With this type of injury it usually takes five to seven weeks to fully recover,” Paul said. “But I’d say she has a good chance of fully recovering, if she doesn’t strain herself.”
“Nice,” Leon said.
“We’re sealed,” Paul said. He cleaned Lucy’s forehead and disposed of his surgical gloves. “Be careful with her.”
“I will be,” Leon said.
Paul gently grabbed Lucy’s feet while Leon took her shoulders. They carried her to one of the beds and securely strapped her in.
“Paul to Grace,” Paul said.
“You’re finished already?” Grace asked.
“Yeah,” Paul answered. “How are things on your end?”
“We’re connecting the fighters to the propulsion system right now,” Grace answered. “It’s a good thing you did finish quickly. We’ve got some trouble. Allison.”
“Yes?” Allison asked.
“How are the sensor readings? Is the Alliance still chasing Kat’s distraction?”
“Looks like it,” Allison said. “No… wait. A few ships just broke off of the group. They’re heading this way!”
“How long?” Grace demanded.
“Fifteen minutes,” Allison answered.
“We’ll be done here in ten,” Grace said. “Power up all the systems. Get everyone strapped securely in. I want everyone in pairs, just in case something goes wrong while we’re in transit.”
“I’ll head to the Engine room and wait for you,” Farah said.
“Sounds good to me, Lover,” Grace said. “Yuri will head to the Bridge shortly.”
Grace and Yuri hurriedly finished their task, acutely aware that the Alliance wasn’t far. They hurried inside the airlock and separated. Yuri went to the Bridge to give them some control of the Cerberus while Grace went to the Engine room. Farah was already secured.
Grace hurriedly checked their status. “Yuri, it’s ready to go,” she reported. “Give me a minute to strap in and punch it!”
“Understood,” Yuri said.
The crew waited, bracing themselves. Then, they shot through space. after some time, Grace could hear the fighters’ engines starting to blow. Finally, the main engine went out and they drifted to a halt.