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1 09 2009

All of their attention focused on the holo-projector as they watched the oddly shaped craft close in on their position. “Looks like they made it through in one piece as well.” Jason clenched his jaw. As commander of the Delphinus, he had an obligation to protect his crew. Although the ship on their sensors did not exhibit any overt aggression, it’s approach was cause to be wary.

“We need to examine our options. Manuel, calculate the vector on that craft. I want to know how close it will get and when.” Jason keyed in Engineering and flipped the intercom switch. “Ryan, Jason here. You have an update on that generator?”

“This is Ryan. We’ve got a major imbalance in the K-coil. Several of the interface circuits are fried. We have the spares to fix those, but the imbalance is going to take some work.”

“Propulsor?”

“Not looking good, captain. We have a few ideas, but until we get the generator up, not much progress can be made.”

“Keep me informed, captain out.” Jason immediately toggled the next switch. “Brandon, Jason here. Any progress interpreting the radio signal?”

“Brandon here, captain. It’s a little hard to concentrate with the gravity all haywire. I’ll be up to the bridge in a moment. Brandon out.”

Jason focused his gaze on Atlanta. The fear she had seen in his eyes was completely gone. It had been replaced by a hard determination. “We’re going to make it out of here.”

Atlanta did not doubt him. “I think I’ll head down to engineering and see if I can help Ryan with the generator.”

Jason shook his head. “No. You’re staying here with me. There are going to be some tough decisions ahead of us and I need you by my side.” He saw a brief flash of defiance in her eye and knew that he had put the statement a little too strongly. She was not one to meekly take orders, especially when they came from him. He attempted to change tack. “Atlanta,” he said more softly, reaching for her hand. “We can do this better as a team. I need you next to me so we can get through this.” His countenance had almost reverted to its natural self when Manuel interrupted them.

“Looks like she’s gonna come real close, Jason. We have about thirty minutes to decide what we’re going to do about it.”

His eyes became masked in steel again as he pulled himself over to look at Manuel’s results. Suddenly she felt a wave of resentment wash over her, drag her under. It was an odd feeling and she didn’t know what to do with it. She knew he was trying to be strong for her, but there was a certain coldness about him now. She didn’t like being treated like a child, grounded to the bridge. She would be able to witness the excitement first hand, but she would rather find some way to be useful.

Jason and Manuel spent several minutes discussing the different options available to them. They could attempt to use thrusters to change course and run the risk of losing their tenuous orbit around the singularity. The other alternative was to attempt to contact the ship and perhaps work together to escape the black hole. In all the conversation, Atlanta was left as an observer. So much for Jason’s assurance that he needed her in order to affect their survival.

A feeling of uneasiness started creeping over her; a feeling that she was being watched. After a moment she turned toward the door behind her. Brandon was floating there like a specter. His gray eyes were looking through her again. At first, he didn’t seem to register that he had been spotted. A wide smile spread across his lips and he winked at her.

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