Part Two: Trouble In the Engine Room
By Alan Wehrman

Sam Reves looked on in horror as the giant object smashed through the hull and through several crewmen, their bodies flying through the air, smashing into the bulkheads and slipping through the floor under the influence of the artificial gravity.

The object crashed into and through the far wall, leaving a tunnel of destruction in its wake. Air rushed out through the gaping hole, carrying anything that was not tied down. Sam gasped as a lifeless crewman was swept tyhrough the hole, vanishing into space. Sam felt the pull and grabbed a computer console as the wind was about to throw him out like an old rag doll.

Emergency panels slammed shut, nearly missing his foot, and the vicious wind suddenly vanished. Sam stood shakily and looked around the devastated engine room. The hyper-space core had just barely been missed, and several consoles were broken against the far wall. He thought hard. The room the object had just broken into was the first in a row of botanical greenhouses to grow food in. No one should be in there at the time, but the food supply would be cut down considerably. He shook himself and ran to the engine, checking its stats on one of the only survivng consoles. It was intact and the Tereset would continue on its voyage for a time at least. Grabbing the communicator from atop a bolted down table, he tried to contact the captain, but the relays were down and all he got was static. Then he gasped as he realized that Yste's room was at the end of those greenhouses. He had memorized it, so he could take a shortcut through the greenhouses to get to his quarters rather than take the long way around. Besides, he liked the smell of fresh fruits and vegetables.

He ran through the gaping hole and raced through the long row of rooms to reach his home cabin. She looked up as he entered, hugging him and asking what had had happened. He told her, pouring a glass of whisky to calm his nerves. She sat down heavily as he finished.

"Oh dear God ..." they sat in silence.

A knock on the door shook them and Yste stood to answer.

_________________

Warren stood and rushed toward the sound, only to find the engine room descimated beyond belief. He stared in shock at the destruction, then witnessed one crewmember running toward the hole in the wall. Picking his way through the tossed-around objects which had not been bolted down, he stealthily followed the crewman to his quarters. Arriving only seconds after the door had shut, he leaned against the wall to catch his breath. He used to be in much better shape, but on the ship his daily excercise had dwindled to only a few times a week, then to twice a month. It was against ship policy for security officers to get lax in their excercise, but the voyage had seemed to peaceful, what could possibly go wrong?

His breath back, he straightened up and kncoked forcefully on the door; perhaps the crewman could tell him what had happened.


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