Ryk Brown

The legend of Corinair


The mood on the bridge was still tense after their battle with the Ta’Akar warship while orbiting the small Haven moon. Although their current position put them a good thirty light minutes away from the warship’s last known position, there was still the chance that their opponent might deduce their location and come after them in the very near future.

Because of this, Abby kept updating the escape jump plot every few minutes. In her spare time during the harvesting operations back in the rings, she had written an algorithm that would easily update the transition parameters and adjust the jump plot based on a given course and speed. It might be a little less accurate-she hadn’t had time to validate the results-but as escape jumps were plotted to wide open areas, any slight discrepancies posed little risk, especially at such short distances. She would’ve preferred to be more accurate in her calculations, but the current situation seemed to favor speed over precision. As a scientist, it had been a difficult adjustment. Superluminal transitions required exact calculations. But as a wife and mother who desperately wanted to return to her family, she had found a way to overcome her aversion to shortcuts.

Tug and Jalea came out of the captain’s ready room and were about to exit the bridge, when Nathan came out of the ready room behind them.

“You might want to stay and see this,” he said to Tug as he passed. “Abby,” he called as he stepped from the exit foyer onto the aft section of the bridge. “Commander Taylor says we’re ready to jump to a safer position outside the system.”

“Yes, Captain. To roughly the same position that we originally jumped in from, give or take a few hundred kilometers.”

“Very well. Prepare to jump,” he ordered as he stepped aside to allow Jessica to take her position at the tactical console.

“Shall I kill the view screen?” Cameron asked as she sat down at the helm.

Nathan looked at Tug as he stepped up beside him near the tactical station. “Leave it on,” he told her, a slight grin creeping across his face.

Cameron looked puzzled. “Sir?”

Nathan ignored her, instead speaking to Tug. “This is a graphical plot of the system,” he explained, pointing at the main display at the center of the tactical console. “This is our current position-about thirty light minutes from Haven. We’re going to execute a jump that will move us to here.” Nathan moved his finger along the display all the way to the right, nearly to the edge of the map before double tapping the screen to emphasize the spot. “That’s about two light days from Haven.” Tug looked intently at the display, comprehending its simplistic representations in short order.

“I see. And this will happen in an instant?” The skepticism was clearly evident on Tug’s face.

“Yeah, I know. I’ve done it six times now, and even I still can’t believe it.” Nathan turned to Abby at the jump control console on the starboard side of the bridge. “Doctor Sorenson? If you’d be so kind…”

“Executing jump,” she replied calmly.

“You might want to cover your eyes,” Nathan told Tug.

Tug ignored him, wanting to witness the entire event. He stared at the main view screen, which wrapped around the entire front half of the bridge and up over the helm and command chairs located just in front of them. Only a moment after the physicist initiated the jump, a pale blue wave of light began to spread out from emitters located all over the hull of the ship. It seemed to dance across the hull as each wave of light reached out to connect to the ones next to it. As the waves of light made contact with one another, their brilliance increased immeasurably and they quickly grew into a blinding white flash of light. A moment later, after the flash subsided, the stars had shifted ever so slightly.

Tug rubbed his eyes, the flash of the jump leaving his vision littered with pale blue blotches that floated before him. He blinked repeatedly, squinting his eyes and then widening them again as if trying to clear something from under the lids. Something on the screen was different. To most people, the stars displayed on the view screen would still have looked the same. But for a man that had navigated them from the seat of a small fighter on numerous occasions, even the slightest change was noticeable.

Tug muttered something in his native tongue. Nathan could only guess at its meaning-“Oh my God”, or “holy shit”. He was sure it was one of those two. Tug looked back down at the tactical display, locating the icon that marked their new position. It was just as Nathan had said-they were two light days away from Haven. Tug stared back up at the stars on the viewer once again. “Incredible,” was the only Angla word that came to him. He turned to Nathan. “Absolutely incredible. It is no wonder that the Ta’Akar wish to capture your ship.”

“Thanks for reminding me,” Nathan said. Tug’s last statement had knocked Nathan out of the wonder of the moment, and back to the matters at hand. “Kaylah, any contacts out here?”

“No sir,” the ensign responded from her place at the sensor console to his left. “The area is clear. In fact, by direct imaging, it appears as if we haven’t even entered the system yet.”

“Huh?” It wasn’t that Nathan didn’t understand what she was talking about-it was that he hadn’t expected it.

“The light is two days old,” Cameron added. “It takes some getting used to.”

“Yeah,” Nathan agreed.

Tug understood only too well, and was already analyzing the prospects in his mind. “Captain, do you realize the tactical advantages such a technology provides. Not only could you jump into range of your targets with complete surprise, but you could escape before help could arrive. And the reconnaissance possibilities-”

“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Nathan warned. “We haven’t committed to anything just yet. We’re just entertaining the possibilities at this point.”

“But Captain-”

“This drive is just a prototype-it’s experimental. There’s a lot it can’t do. And so far, we know very little about what it actually can do. So let’s just take it one step at a time, shall we?”

Tug regained his composure. “Of course, Captain.”

“In the meantime,” Nathan continued, “why don’t you get your family settled into quarters. It’s been a difficult day.”

Tug looked around the bridge and then back out at the stars on the viewer. “Amazing,” he muttered, shaking his head. He nodded to Nathan as he turned to exit. “I’ll be available when you need me, Captain.”

“Thank you.”

Tug returned to the back of the bridge, exiting out the port doorway with Jalea at his side. Nathan watched as they walked away, discussing what Tug had just witnessed for his first time with Jalea, again in a language that Nathan could not understand. He was beginning to think that if they were to spend much more time in this region of space, he might need to learn at least some of their language.

Cameron rose from her seat at the helm and stepped onto the upper level that encompassed the back half of the bridge. “So what do we do now?”

“We still need someplace safe to make repairs.”

“Preferably someplace safer than Haven,” Cameron replied with a hint of sarcasm.

“Hey, we got some molo?” Nathan quipped.

“Yeah, and a bunch of rocks,” Cameron added. “That reminds me, what are we going to do with all those workers stranded on board?”

The expression on Nathan’s face made it evident that he had not considered that problem. “I don’t know. I

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