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The Adventures of Beer Keg of Science! (Cover)

Chapter 4

The Adventures of the Beer Keg of Science!

Main Bridge, NMS Beer Keg of Science!
Zenith Jump Point, Niops System, 21 November, 3157

Ensign Jamie Shido was not, in fact, the senior hyperspace navigator aboard the NMS Beer Keg of Science!. She was possibly the best hyperspace navigator aboard, though, with an innate gift for running jump calculations on the fly.

For today's jump, the first one the aging Cruiser class cruiser had made in centuries, Jamie would be making the calculations, though Jamie's department head, Lt. SG Ian Kent, would double check them, as would Mac, the ship's AI.

Jamie wasn't a native Niopian, but the child of a pair of researchers with Interstellar Expeditions, who'd died during a hull breach incident on their JumpShip, caused by incoming fire just before a jump. Young Jamie, in a spacesuit, lived, but had been in a compartment opened to space, and been exposed to the hyperspace energies first-hand, so to speak. Her TDS symptoms were impressive, but so were her skills with hyperspace mathematics.

Pulling her hands back from her console, Jamie suddenly announced, "Jump calculations complete."

{"Confirmed."} Mac announced tersely.

Kent, being an organic being, took a bit longer. "Confirmed, Captain. Good plot for the nadir point. Ready on your mark."

From her seat on the command deck, Lea Carpentier nodded. "Mac, take a nap."

{"Mhmm."} the AI grunted in reply.

From an auxiliary station near navigation, Ensign Michel Phoenix, one of the ship's sysadmins, checked his console. "Confirmed Mac is in standby mode. AI systems ready for jump."

"Engineering?" Lea asked.

Before the curly-haired ensign on station could reply, the intercom chimed to life, {"Yeah, Engineering department. Had to whack the KF controller with a crowbar, but we're good. Tilly, you getting a good reading up there now?"}

The aforementioned curly-haired ensign looked up from her station, startled, and hit her own intercom button. "Um, yes, Chief. Everything's reading good now."

{"Good. Keep an eye on the power transfer rate from the controller to the core. Should be interesting. We've got an eye on the helium pressure down here. Captain, we're ready to jump."}

"I'm so glad," Lea replied. "XO? Do you concur?" she asked, using her headset.

Sitting at a similar station to Lea's in the ship's secondary CIC, Commander James "No, my middle name isn't Tiberius" Kirk swept his eyes over the crew here in CIC. "Yes, ma'am. We show all systems nominal as well, Captain. We're ready to proceed."

"Very well." Switching her comms to shipwide, Captain Carpentier spoke calmly, "All hands stand by for jump in ten minutes from mark......Mark."

Time ticket by as her crew continued to monitor their stations. Soon, it was five minutes to jump, then one minute. Then 30 seconds. Then 10....


Jamie clutched her console, eyes squeezed shut, but failing to keep out the images of the krakens, seeking them out, wanting the souls of those aboard, to torment and slowly rip their souls apart...

...t̻̖͆ͣo̲̔ ̭͐FͮE̤̘̫̱̪͆̂̀̐͂E̹͔̹̦̥͐ͪ͗̚̚D̗̮̙͂̽̋ ̑o͙̤̩͕̦͕͔ͥ̽ͩ̄̃̀ͯn̟͉̓͑ tH̬͙̞͍̺̘̍ͮ̄̍ͣ͌e̓i̯̫̺̗̬͈ͅR͔̦͔͙̬ ͉͍̟ͩͩ̚s̩̠̝͛̌ͣO̍ͦ̓ͮ̉ṷ̝̋́L͛s...

Suddenly, the torment was over, droplets of blood floating freely from her nose to the open air in front of her. She caught them up as best she could, and, like Lt. Kent next to her, verified their location.

From the command station, Captain Carpentier noticed what had happened, but chose not to call anyone's attention to it. She'd have to talk to Ensign Shido later, she decided. "Ops, wake up Mac. Nav, are we on station?"

"Confirmed," Kent replied evenly.

"AI off of standby. Mac should be online now."

{"Here. So's Coronado."}

"Oh good," Lea smiled. "Congratulations, everyone. The Keg has a jump drive again."

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