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The Wind at my Back, Stars at my feet Chapter (Cover Art)

Chapter 4 - The Wind at my Back, Stars at my feet[]


She watched the golden wash reverse course, leaving sable darkness marked with pinpricks of light in its wake.

"Skipper...we're not at Boojum, Mum." Amanda said.

"How long did it feel??" Captain Samantha Diamh's voice was nervous, "How long did the jump feel, Cadet Roshak?"

"Felt like hours, Mum. a lot longer than a short jump should, right?"

"Get inside...wait, stay where you are, I'm coming out." Diamh said.

"Aye mum."

The first step in a misjump emergency is to figure out where you are. Once you've done that, you can listen to the jumpsnipes tell you the core is trashed, you're stranded, and likely to die wherever you are, so unless you're in engineering with a KF qualification, you figure out where the hell you've wound up.

Then you can listen to the engineering crew tell you you're stranded.

Sam Diamh came out the dorsal lock with a reader linked to the ship's database and charts.

Amanda helped the Skipper set it up on the hull.

"What are we looking for?" Samantha quizzed the cadet.

"Landmark stars, familiar nebulae, identifiable clusters." Amanda reported crisply.

"That's right. gotta figure out where we are before having the RTO fire up the blackbox and send a distress, if we're too far out, we'll just be reporting whatever we observe while the air runs out, and if it's way too far off, they won't hear the distress before we're already dead. What's the propagation rate for the current model blackboxes?"

"Ten Lightyears a day, Mum." Amanda said.

"Very's see how ****** we are."

The chart databases were searchable, and thanks to getting off of the Comstar Teat for navigation data back in '79, the updates were relatively clean for every chart compiled this side of Thorin.

"How are your scrubbers, Ngo?" the Skipper asked.

"I'm supposed to be using Dad's name. No favoritism, remember?" Amanda said nervously.

"Well, that's for routine ops. How are your scrubbers?"

Amanda flicked a glance at her status monitor. "Still green for another six hours, Mum."

"When we finish here, go inside and get a new set out of stores, put your old ones in the flush."

"Aye mum."

Amanda helped set up the additional feeds to the nav board.

"How are you feeling?"

"Good." Amanda said. "Like...really good."

"How good?"

"um..." she hesitated. "Like my whole body's gotten this awesomazing massage."

"Get inside. My read from your suit says you're low on, come on..."

"...and that's what first stage Hypoxia feels like."

The first hit of ship-air slammed Amanda like a truck, and her stomach lurched as oxygen-rich air hit her lungs.

CPO Levinski barely got the minivac over her mouth before the vomit came up, catching the floating fluid with practiced ease.

"NOW how do you feel?"

"Like my head's trying to come apart." Amanda groaned, "Fuuuck..."

Over her shoulder, the Skipper met the CPO's eyes. "Lay it on me, chief."

"Well, current checks and MRI shows the core's intact, but we did lose about two millibars of helium. We'll need to replenish if we want to power the core up without cracking it, but no fractures and no warping."

"That was ****** lucky." The skipper said, while Amanda grabbed the vac-bag from her suit's outergarment pocket, faced into it, and vomited again. "Do we have anything on the scopes where we can replenish?"

"We're about Thirty Light-days from a promising looking yellow dwarf with gravity perturbations, either a shit-ton of rocky planets or a couple gas-giants."

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