To Boldly Go

Bottle Episode

The FSV Columbia reaches the jump point after two weeks at the Hub System. With a Federation frigate stationed for defense, the exploratory vessel makes the jump for Midnight.

The view from the server room shows carnage as several autonomous mines collide with the Columbia and explode immediately upon exiting the wormhole. Crew members are tossed to the floor as the disaster rips open the hull and starts fires throughout the vessel.

Max struggles to her seat as fires rage in the server room. Directing the crew out, she slips into her suit, seals the server room and vents the atmosphere into space.

Rho finds herself swept up with the crew leaving the Rec room as the level 27 bulkhead comes crashing down. Pressure alarms blare while she feels her eardrums popping from the declining air pressure. Heading with the others to a lower level, she find the pressure drop continuing. She nearly collides with Dr. Tzen-Babbage. The addled scientist was fleeing level 22 where a massive breach has vacced Med Bay. Taking command she directs Babbage and the others to get into space suits.

Steve’s head rings as he pulls himself off the cafeteria floor. Ensigns are running here and there around him. Collecting his wits, he directs some of them to open access to Hanger Bay 2, which has been sealed off by the automatic pressure doors. The rest of them he directs to the upper levels to secure the O2 and food generation areas.

As the tremors from the impacts quiet down, the team is able to establish communications with Captain Teregan. she and the command crew are desperately battling a fire on level 28. Reports come in as well of a fire with the second server room.

Steve’s team manages to open access to the depressurized hanger bay. The main doors hang open, blown free by an errant mine. Further decompression has been limited by the pressure doors.

No coms can be raised from either the Med Bay or Engineering.

Rho, now suited up, manages to reach level 22 and seals it off from the upper levels, slowing the atmosphere loss. A huge chunk of one wall of Med Bay has been torn out and there is no sign of Dr. Twitter Morgan. Peering through the gash, Rho sees the damage extends in a thing slice from level 22 up to level 26. She directs people down to the storage area on level 19 to get supplies of sealant gel.

Max meanwhile repressurizes the server room. Rebooting the systems, she is able to partially survey the ship. While the captain fights the spreading fire on the upper levels, the server fire has cut off all information about the lower levels. She remotely locks down the secondary server room and vents it. Unfortunately repressurizing and rebooting the server must be done manually. Max heads for Hanger Bay 3.

The crew meanwhile passes through the repaired server room to get the sealant gel. Returning to Rho, they apply it to the outer breach, focusing on the crack on levels 23 to 26. Rho surveys the damages from outside. She advises the captain to seal that section and vent it. She learns the flames have already spread to the top three levels.

Steve readies a shuttle. Along with a squad led by Ensign Roux, they head out, skimming along the Columbia’s blackened hull. As they do they spot a lone figure in the void flashing out an SOS. Steve flashes lights back to indicate that they saw them and then races for the engines. Some of the mines alter their flight path, drawn by the sudden movement.

At the engine, Steve finds another large hole. He sends the squad in and carefully plots a course to the drifting crew member. With daring and skill he reaches them without triggering the remaining mines. He finds a panicking Twitter, who he pulls on board. After comforting her, he heads back to the Hanger Bay.

Max flies by, taking an engineering team down to Hanger Bay 1, hoping to access the damaged server room. She directs some of the crew to check on Engineering but not to turn the engines on. The rest of them she leads to a fire in the Grow Room.

Captain Teregan finally manages to vent the bridge, giving up the upper level Grow Room for lost. She and the command crew evacuate to the lower levels in space suits. Rho reenters the ship and works on improving crew morale.

As Steve flies back to the ship, he gets a call from Ensign Roux. They found a live mine inside the engine room.

Several level up, Max activates the automatic fire extinguishers as well as the sprinkler systems for the Grow Room, bringing the fire under control. Leaving the mop up to the crew, she races down to Engineering to examine the mine.

The insignia of the Samsung corporation decorates the desk sized device. Four twitchy legs keep it stabilized in the wreckage. Carefully probing it, Max works out the IFF signal to keep it from detonating as she turns it off.

With a signal worked out to keep the mines at bay, the Columbia limps to Midnight.

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