Voyages of the Cerberus 111: Locked Engineering

Allison moved quietly towards Engineering. Inside, she knew, was Yuri. Damaged, possibly permanently, undergoing repair. She reached a shaking hand towards the door. It wouldn’t open. Locked?

“You won’t get in there.” Allison turned towards the voice. Lucy was behind her.

“Grace locked it,” Allison stated.

“No,” Lucy said. “I locked it. Grace was too preoccupied with her work to think about it. But I knew you’d come back aboard and you’d make your way here immediately.”

“So why are you stopping me?” Allison demanded. “I should be there… by her side. I should…”

“You should be out here, waiting for her,” Lucy stated. She sighed. “Allison, if you’re in there, then you’ll put more pressure on Grace. You’ll inadvertently distract Grace. Think about how much more difficult Paul’s job would be if he was trying to perform surgery while his patient’s closest loved ones were watching him work. It’s no different for Grace. In order to give Yuri the best possible chance, we need to leave her alone. I know that it’s difficult for you. I can sympathise with your feelings  of helplessness and with your desire to see her, even if only for a moment. But right now you need to curb that impulse. If only to give her the best possible chance.”

Lucy turned and walked towards the Bridge. Allison stood in silence for a time before sitting against the wall, facing the door. She wrapped her arms around her knees and waited.

*****

“I’ve contacted the pacificans,” Ophelia said. “They’re expecting us in a couple hours with their crates. That should be enough time for Leon and Farah to bring the stock-piled explosives aboard.”

“I’ll go out and help them,” Lucy said. “Maybe  I can get Leon to give me all the details. How is Kat’s condition? Will she be able to help?”

Ophelia shook her head. “Paul doesn’t want her to strain her shoulder for a couple weeks. So, I’ve asked her to look over the data Allison took from their computers.”

“I thought as much,” Lucy said. “If Grace finishes Yuri’s repairs on time, we should have her study one of the weapons.”

“Perhaps you could look one over,” Ophelia suggested. “You may not be an engineer, but I’ve seen you take pistols apart and put them back together. I’m sure you would notice what’s different about these ones.”

“I would,” Lucy said. “But I don’t know if I could put it back together and we’d have to explain how it… No, wait. We could explain it easily. There’s no rule against terrorists trying to reverse-engineer a new weapon.”

“Then I’ll be counting on you,” Ophelia said. “And if you don’t learn its secrets properly you can always sleep on the sofa.”

“Hmmm,” Lucy muttered. “Our sofa isn’t that big. It would be tough for us to have really passionate sex tonight, but I’m game for trying if that’s what you want..”

*****

Allison heard the foot steps coming towards her. She didn’t move or bother looking at the source. It didn’t matter. Not now.

That was when she saw a steaming cup of coffee lowered in front of her and noticed the aroma wafting through the corridor. She gingerly reached out and took it.

“Thank you,” she managed.

“How’s the vigil going?” Paul asked, sitting beside her.

“No news yet,” Allison answered. She took a sip of the coffee. It was made exactly like she liked it. With some hazelnut flavour, cream and three lumps  of sugar. “Does it usually take this long to operate?”

“I wouldn’t know,” Paul answered. “I’ve never operated on an android. I suspect its quite different from operating on an organic being, even for a sapient android as humanoid in design as Yuri.”

“I guess it was a stupid thing to ask,” Allison said. “It’s just… I’m scared. It feels like we’ve just come into our own as a couple. I don’t want to lose her now. I don’t want to watch her emergency farewell holo and find out what she chose for her final words to me. I… I just thought she’d outlast all of us since she doesn’t age. You know?”

“She may very well,” Paul said. “From what I understand, she has back up systems. Even if it takes Grace time to repair the damage and get her back on her feet, I’m certain she can do it. So, don’t give up, okay? Think positively.”

“I’ll try,” Allison said. “Thank you, Doctor.”

“Do you need me to get you anything?” Paul asked.

Allison shook her head. “I couldn’t focus right now anyway.”

“All right,” Paul said. He stayed by her side, offering a supportive ear.

*****

The Cerberus was on its way to the rendezvous with pacifican authorities when Grace opened the door.

Allison and Paul had been joined by Leon. Grace raised an eyebrow upon seeing them.

“Ho…” Allison began to speak but couldn’t bring herself to finish.

“What’s Yuri’s condition?” Paul asked.

Grace sighed. “She’s going to be all right. Her systems should be back on line in a couple minutes. She’s still got damage to her structure. It’s going to take longer to fix the exterior damage and get all the synthetic skin back in place, but her internal systems are all a-okay and her brain is good as new. Maybe better.”

Allison rushed past Grace and into Engineering.

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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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