Station Keeping #12.5: Disaster

Welcome to the final part of our Station Keeping finale for this season of the project. Thanks for reading, and we'll see you in a month or so. As always if you want to `participate <>`_ in the next or figure seasons of the project, please contact us by email at, and we'll see you on the other side. Thanks so much for reading! Cheers, tycho

First Eli tried pacing, but that seemed to be distressing the others waiting for the lift with him. No one spoke, they were too worried or numb or confused, or maybe they were just tired. He contemplated going back to his quarters to see if he could get more information from the computer system, but he suspected that Julia would probably have control over resources, and his quarters weren't on the top of any list. What's more he didn't get access to the network from home, in an effort to avoid taking work home with him.

"Commanders are always on duty, even when they're not." David's words of so long ago echoed in his head. Except now, he figured.

Eli even stopped looking at his time piece, because he had become too concerned trying to calculate time-till-death based on available data and the time that had passed. How long it would take a reactor to go critical, how long it would take a fire to spread, how long it would take atmosphere to leak out slowly, how long it would take to die in vacuum: these thoughts wouldn't save anybody, and didn't make him feel any better.

Just when Eli had started to loose track of time, the intercom box crackled to life. "Commander, can you reset the lift controls from there? I think the team has cleared up the mechanics, the system just needs to be reactivated down there," Joshua Sian's voice called over the intercom. Eli could hear Talia directing the deck in the background. A small comfort at least.

"Ok, I think I have it," Eli had to search through the lift controls for a second, but finally came to the proper option. The system appeared to cycle through and a moment later, the doors opened.

"You're good to go," Sian reported quickly and then the channel thought. This crisis wasn't over, that much was clear, and it required every ounce of self control to keep from asking his crew what was happening. He'd be there soon enough, and they were busy.

The lift ride seemed to take even longer than usual. It might have actually been slower, if resources were needed elsewhere, or if the lift hadn't been properly fixed. He banished the images of getting stuck for hours in the lift waiting for a rescue; but the lift trudged on.

Finally they reached the command deck. He stepped out of the lift and looked around. His people were working in a fuss, and although he thought he heard Josh say "welcome to the party," it would take him a moment to get up to speed. He was a little dazed but he walked over to where Talia was standing and began to get a feel for what was happening.

Julia was emerged in her systems; Josh was directing the maintenance and construction squads for emergency duty; Talia was routing incoming communications to other officers and stations, and the entire place was crawling with techs and operations staff. He still didn't know what's happening.

"Look," Talia said, as she transferred something to the display in front of him. She pointed with her left hand, but continued to work her controls with her right, and a moment later she was reabsorbed in her task.

The display flickered once, and then Eli saw. His jaw fell slack.

"Oh, g-d..."

"Disaster" was written by, `tycho <>`_, the creator of `TealArt <>`_ and [Station Keeping]("). He is a student and knitter by day and a science fiction writer by night, you can read his work elsewhere on `TealArt <>`_ and at `~/tychoish <>`_.

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