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The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye (Cover Art)

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Chapter 2 - The Glow of a Worm inside a Child's Eye[]


The airlock had a point-defense setup, and it was based on a 'chain gun' in 11mm, and it was dry. Stephanie noticed that there were 'impacts' on the airlock door, and dark brown stains, stains, with splatter and spatter.

"Oh shit."

The inner reading showed full press, and the inner door opened.

The flight deck was a mess. "Are you guys seeing this? because I'm not sure I'm seeing this."

There were fighters in the cradles, but those fighters didn't have a canopy, or any apparent way for the pilots to see out.

But that wasn't what had her attention. What had her attention, were the corpses floating loosely in the bay.

There had been a fight in here, and whoever did the fighting, they didn't retreat, and they didn't escape.

"Maybe a mutiny??" Castlemann asked over the channel. "Get a closer look, Steph."

"Well ****** you very much...******." she muttered under her breath, and kicked across to the closest knot of...remains.

Up close, she could see the mangled bodies more clearly...and wished she hadn't. "Robots?" she could see the spider-like chassis, and the way the manipulator arms had wound up jammed into three men in military boarding suits.

"SLS...David R. Ray?" she tried to make sense of the ruined patch on what had been a Chief. "Castlemann..."

"Not sure...but the graphic on the patch shows a different class, Steph."

"No shit. What does the library say about the David R. Ray?"

"David R Ray was an Essex Class Destroyer, believed to be one of the ships that left with Kerensky on the Exodus...right here in 'legendary warships of the Star League', Comstar press." Castlemann observed.

" wrong class for this ship..."

"You got a count down there?"

"Could be four marines or twelve, they really got chewed up in here...but it matches the bloodstains at the airlock, what doesn't, is why it wasn't cleaned up." she had a bad, bad feeling.

'Is the path to the powerplant open?"

"I'm working my way down to engineering...fuhhhh..." she moved past the partially mummified bodies and strange, wrecked equipment.

The P-way hatch from the flight deck was jammed open, and she had to maneuver around the crumpled suit...armored, poor bastard.

There was a lot of damage along the spinal P-way shaft, and with the ship not being under thrust, she could almost float down...up? along it.

Some of the decking doors were welded shut on level 11 and 4, and there were some clearly-added-on fiber runs. Most of them showed some level of damage.

"Okay, I'm at...roughly? frame 1135? Hatch is a heavy-duty model. I'm going to try to use the hydraulic manuals, but you might have to send Lurch down here with the jack-screws."

"Roger that...keep your helmet on, we don't know if engineering's got press."


the handle was latched, and there were welded steps to anchor her feet, she worked the manual, and was rewarded with the ten-centimeter shielded door slowly opening inward under the pump. "Well, no leak here..."

The power-room's huge fusion torus greeted her eyes, along with status displays running on what had to be passive trickle from the ship's ragged jump sail.

"Can you get the code-locks with your rig, Stephie?"

She stared at the displays.

"it's..." she reached out tentatively, and tapped the interface. The reactor status indicator display shifted. "it's unlocked? I'm seeing fuel status, internal pressure and damage control diagrams...core status...It's unlocked. Someone unlocked...everything."

"How unlocked?"

"I mean, if this is right...I get up to Astrogatoin, and I can take this beast home to Spider Moon, Castlemann. All she needs is a few thousand tons of Helium-3 and Hydrogen and we can...son of a's unlocked!!"

She brought up internal monitors showing deck by deck. "Salvage parts hell, Castlemann, we've got a damned Warship, and while her Missile magazine shows red status, and there's damage to the port launchers, and we're out of NAC ammo, the energy battery's still showing green! We've got a ****** Warship!!"

She ran a main power sequence to BITE test the internal grid.

Lights lit up, and her suit's external sensors picked up the movement of air as environmental fans kicked on.

"Holy shit..."

"Holy shit is right, if Archon Alessandro finds out we found this before we're ready..."

her heart crashed. "Yeah. He's got the Duke in prison...******...we're going to need to sneak this one in and...I don't know...but it's too valuable to leave here, and-"

"We'll figure something out, I'm going to send over the rest of the crew..."

"I still have an incredibly bad feeling about this, Castlemann."

"Start laying out a plan to get her under way, figure out what we actually need and if we can skeleton-crew the hulk long enough to make the jumps."

"right. Ayeh, gonna plot our approach so I know how much stuff we don't have?"

"I'm working on the calcs now, based on the Comstar upload we got at Murphrid." he allowed, "We should be able to bypass most of the inhabited regions bringing it back..."

"We'll need at least one, maybe two stops for food, Castlemann." She observed, "I do NOT want to try eating two hundred and something year old ratoins that have been sitting in a derelict...and we'll need clean water."

"On it."

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