Bubblegum and Garra’bron

Characters: Klevetati Yoshino

It started with a single drop — the call from Ambassador Kalika that the Abbai government was extending a formal welcome to the Rangers, and accepting their offer of assistance. It grew slowly at first, a few messages at a time from local governments, cooperatives, even individuals calling up to the Phoenix and requesting the help of the Anla’shok with one problem or another.

And then it became a deluge.

Stolen property. Missing friends or relations. Random violence. Even — at one point — the Abbai equivalent of a cat stuck in a tree. Combined with the information they already had and needed to investigate, the crew of the Phoenix had their hands full.

As Ops, with the responsibility of coordinating missions away from the ship, Yoshino had the task of logging the requests, organizing, equipping and dispatching whoever seemed best suited to a given job. While no one had set any deadlines, everyone was eager to get to work, and so Yoshino stuck by her console, fueled by a bottomless mug of strong black tea, until it seemed that the first wave was over.

She leaned back in her chair, and with a nudge of one toe, set it lazily rotating so she could take in the Phoenix’s bridge. It was nearly empty now, a few backup controllers covering the consoles. Where all the command crew had gone she couldn’t remember, though she knew she’d taken note of it all. It was a safe guess most of them were off the ship, or on their way.

Her eyelids, which had begun to droop heavily, snapped open at a call from the Tactical station. “Incoming vessel, bearing directly.”

At the same moment, the external comm channel came to life again. “Anla’shok vessel Phoenix, can you hear us?” The voice was Abbai, female, and taut on the edge of panic.

“We read you clearly, Abbai vessel. Identify yourself please.” Yoshino kept her tone calm and soothing, an effort made easier when a nod from Tactical confirmed her guess that the signal came from the ship on their screens.

“This is the personal transport Mirrormere. We have lost our propulsion systems and are out of control. Can you help us?”

“Stand by, Mirrormere.” She looked over to the young Minbari at the Tactical station, who was glancing back and forth between his consoles, almost nervously.

Mirrormere is on a collision course,” he said. “Estimated time to impact three minutes, thirty-five seconds.” Almost as an afterthought, he added, “Not surprising propulsion failed. It shouldn’t be flying. Sensors indicate the ship is extremely old, and has several critical weaknesses in the outer hull. Whole thing’s probably held together by garra’bron.”

Yoshino’s eyebrows rose as she translated the Minbari’s last word. “Duct tape?” she asked, as she looked at the sensor readings herself. “Good lord, duct tape and bubblegum, all right.” She looked back over. “Deploy the plasma nets and catch it, then have it stored in docking bay two.”

As the Minbari acknowledged, Yoshino activated the comlink. “All right, Mirrormere, we’re going to catch you and bring you in. Be advised you’ll have a few questions to answer once you’re aboard …”

© 2000 Jamie Lawson. All rights reserved.

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