Voyages of the Cerberus 110: Mission Accomplished, but at what cost?

Grace went to work, opening Yuri’s brain case and meticulously going through the repairs.  Her diagnostic equipment ran beside her. She wondered if this was what it was like for her elder brother when he examined a patient. Studying the problem, trying to effect repairs while running equipment to check the patient’s condition. Knowing that any mistake could cause permanent damage.

She kept her hands steady. She could do it. She’d repaired a lot of severe damage to machines in her time. Just, never for a machine that was sapient. She took a deep breath, banished the excess thoughts from her head and focused on the task at hand.

*****

Allison and Leon nodded at one another and burst into the room in front of them. They had a second to register other figures before opening fire.

They were in the control room. Pacifican bodies slumped over the consoles.

“What were  they doing?” Leon wondered, glancing at the video feed. “They must have seen us coming.” He switched off the turret system as a precaution.

“I wonder if Yuri and Kat dealt with the turrets,  Allison muttered. “I don’t see them out there.” She pushed one of the Pacificans aside. “Looks like they were trying to erase a bunch of data. Guess they didn’t want us to know what they were doing.”

“Can you find out?” Leon asked.

“Not me,” Allison said. “Kat is the resident Techie. I’d bet that Yuri could also manage.” She connected her hand held to the console. “I’ll download everything they do have. Maybe we’ll be able to use it when we return to the ship.”

“Guess it doesn’t matter too much,” Leon said. “We’ve just gotta find the crates. How long until you’re done getting the data?”

“About thirty seconds left,” Allison said. “The download is a bit big and it’s been a while since I had maintenance done on this thing.”

“You should take it to Grace after this,” Leon said.

“As long as she doesn’t throw a wrench at me,” Allison said. “Okay, let’s go.”

They hurried down the corridor, there  was no sign of life. They checked the next door and reached a storehouse with crates lined up. There  was no sign of anyone.

Leon opened a crate. “Not the guns we’re looking for,” he said. “But concerning.”

“Those are a lot of explosives,” Allison said. “And I  somehow doubt they’re being stockpiled for totally innocuous reasons.”

She opened the nearest crate. “And more fun, innocent explosives.”

“Whatever they were planning, it was gonna  be big,” Leon stated.

“I’m not sure we can say it was something they were planning,” Allison said. “If these guys were the only ones, they wouldn’t have had any reason to purge their systems. I’ll bet they’re one part of a larger force.”

They continued going through the crates, eventually locating the ones they’d bee hired to find.

“Looks like the mission’s a wrap,” Allison said. “Let’s find Yuri and Kat and get these things loaded.”

*****

The pair managed to find the shuttle with some difficulty. the Radiant Healer had touched down beside it.

“Someone better have a good reason for using my ship,” Leon said.

“Looks like the shuttle’s seen better days,” Allison  said. “I hope Kat wasn’t hurt.” She moved around the back. “Sealed. They must be holding the atmosphere in with force fields.”

“So, either Kat was hurt or her suit was damaged,” Leon said. “Grace must be on board making it space worthy.”

“Strange,” Allison said. “I wonder where  Yuri is.”

“She might be helping,” Leon said. “She’s good at that. Come on. Let’s get those crates over here while we wait.”

They went back and hauled the crates near the shuttle. They were contemplating scavenging some of the explosives as well when the back of the shuttle opened and Paul exited.

“Fuzzy, Allison,” he said.

“Is Kat okay?” Allison asked.

“She’ll be fine,” Paul said. “She had some exposure damage from where her suit tore but I’ve corrected it and treated her arm. She’ll be fine when we get her back aboard the Cerberus.”

“And where’s Yuri?” Leon asked.

Paul glanced at Allison. “I’m afraid she had to be taken to engineering. Grace is working on repairs.”

“How bad is it?” Allison asked, her voice low.

“I can’t say,” Paul stated. “She’s a mechanical life form. I’m not particularly qualified to gauge the extent of her damage.”

Kat emerged from the shuttle, holding her injured arm. “Ophelia’s going to land the Cerberus,” she reported. “It looks like Grace is going to be busy for a while yet and it’s the quickest way to retrieve all of us and the shuttle.”

“That bad, is it?” Allison asked.

Paul pat her shoulder. “She’s going to get through this,” he spoke in a calm, comforting voice. “Don’t worry. Grace will get her through this.”

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About ktulu007

I don’t really like talking about myself, but for the curious I’m Deutsch. I’m the second oldest of three children, four if you count my adopted sister. We largely grew up without a father. Writing has been a major passion for me since I was small. I like to write online because it offers me some freedom to experiment with different genres and provides me with more of an audience than I would normally have access to. One of my bigger influences has always been my youngest sister. She’s very socially aware, an excellent judge of quality when it comes to writing and very supportive of my efforts. Whenever I write I ask myself “would she find major problematic elements in this that I need to change?” and I try to be socially responsible enough and good enough to be as good of a writer as she thinks I am.
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