Star Crossed, Part 4

No Such Thing As a Minor Malfunction

Characters: Margaret Morgan, Dunstan Kordieh

The cockpit of the Minbari patrol shuttle Hayn’gok was quiet, its lights dimmed and both seats empty. The swirling angry reds of hyperspace flowed past the small viewports. Suddenly, the ship lurched violently several times. The master alarm shrieked. As the ship continued lurching and shaking, more alarms sounded. Warning lights blazed in several colors.

Morgan appeared — but not immediately, as if she had hoped ignoring the commotion would make it go away. Clearly, though, it wasn’t going to cooperate. She glanced at the gauges, then called back through the hatch, “Dunstan!”

The reply was immediate, coming from the ship’s main passageway. “Do you want me up there, or should I go check the engine room?”

“Check the engines, but I think I’ll need you here. Debris, it looks like.”

“Debris? An impact? Merde. I’ll be right back.” His voice and footsteps faded down the passageway.

A minute or two which were far too long passed before his running feet could be heard approaching the cockpit again. He burst in, shoeless and shirtless, hair spiky and going every which way. “You’re right, the engines are fine. How bad was the impact? We’re still here, so not a massive hull breach….”

“I do not know yet. Why is the first thing to be damaged so often the damage control subsystem?” she asked, darkly rhetorical.

He shrugged a little as he dropped into the co-pilot’s seat and started looking at the consoles. “God’s way of keeping us honest, or survival of the fittest, was never quite sure which … Bon Dieu! Check your nav readings, quick. I think we might have gotten knocked off the beacon!”

Morgan wanted to knock her head against the console, but resisted, instead tried to manhandle it into cooperating with her. “We are, but not far. We did listen.” She bared her teeth.

“All nav control at your discretion,” he said. “I’ve shut down all the autopilot routines and balancing thrusters — I think they were making things worse. We did listen to what?”

Diolch. And we listened to the alarm. Temptation, to ignore it.”

“I’m glad we didn’t. I’m not ready to say goodbye yet.”

She didn’t answer, didn’t look at him, but faint color bloomed across her cheeks as she worked. Finally she sat back. “On beacon again. But it is good Babylon 5 is not far.”

He nodded, blowing out a long breath. “Does it look to you like we’ll be able to make sufficient repairs there to go on with our mission? I admit, I’d hate to have to turn back.”

“It may take a few days, but ie. Next to the shipyards on Minbar, perhaps the best place to be.”

He nodded, standing up. “I’ll be down in the engine room, checking our spares. If we have to make a request for parts, best to have it ready as soon as we can. Is there anything else you want me to do?”

Morgan shook her head. “Only be thorough with your list, since we will be there.”

“Take advantage of the opportunity to stock up? That sounds like a very good idea — even more so in the past hour.” He grabbed a hand-comp from under the co-pilot’s seat and started back for the engine room. He paused in the open hatchway. “I suppose I could stop long enough to put a shirt and some shoes on,” he added, flashing a quick grin.

“If it is before docking, it will be fine.” She returned it, a bit hesitantly, reviving how this was done.


 

Nearly an hour passed before he returned, fully dressed and carrying the hand-comp. He handed it to Morgan with a smile. “There’s the list,” he said. “All the things that are broken — or likely to break in the near future, by my guess.” He settled into the co-pilot’s seat again. “Are we close to the Babylon 5 jumpgate now?”

“Nearly there.” She returned the smile, starting to get used to this. “I will transmit this now. They are waiting for this, and my cousin was going to find accommodations for us while we wait for the parts.”

Bon. I remember you saying you had some family aboard. Kind of them to help out like this.”

“Since we… struck out on our own, we have tried to stick together, even across distance.”

He was silent for several minutes, pondering something. Finally he said, “I hesitate to ask … family or not, I understand that you are a very private person. But I should know how to carry myself. Do any of them … know about us yet?”

Morgan flushed a little. “Not yet. But I do not wish to hide anything either.”

He offered her a wry grin. “Then we shall certainly have an option of how to pass the time while we wait.” A moment later, he added, “Another one, anyway.” Morgan was spared having to reply when an indicator began to blink on the console in front of both of them. “We’re approaching the jumpgate,” Kordieh said.

Morgan gave him a quick smile before starting ingress procedures.

Ahead of them, a cone of gold coalesced out of the swirling reds of hyperspace. As they reached it and started passing through, they could see a growing spot of black — and then, with a snap, they were through, the spars of the jumpgate already behind them. Ahead, the grayish-red sphere of Epsilon Eridani hung like an uncut diamond in the blackness, and just in front of it, the blue and gray, gently rotating cylinder that was Babylon 5.