The crew are in for a big surprise when they realise what’s going on, and when they do, things don’t go exactly smoothly.
A NuSpace Misfits Adventure
by Ollie Rossman
“Where’s Jules?” said Captain Edwina, looking around the room. Surprisingly, Herb was the first to respond.
“No idea,” he said. “Um Ed are you ok? You look like you could use a hug.” He started towards Edwina but she brushed him off.
“Does anyone know where she is?” Captain Edwina gestured wildly with a holotab. “I need to talk to her about these star charts, they are way off.”
“Jules is in the engine room,” said Victoria, finally finding her voice. “What’s going on, Captain?”
Edwina opened her mouth to respond when a klaxon blared overhead, downing out her response. Yellow lights flashed overhead, strobing through the biolab.
“Daemon!” cried Victoria, hitting him on the arm. “Now’s not the time.”
Daemon recoiled. SysAdmin’s weren’t used to that kind of physical contact. “Hey it wasn’t me.”
Mother’s serene, almost bland voice came over the comms. “All crew members to the bridge. All crew members to the bridge.”
“Godammit,” screamed Edwina. “Mum, turn the damn sirens off.”
“It’s giving me a headache,” groaned Herb, bunching his long blonde hair over his ears.
“It could be something important,” said Victoria.
“When is it ever something important,” said Edwina. She held the holotab above her head. “There’s a problem with the star charts, that’s what matters”
“I AM THE CAPTAIN,” shouted Edwina. “WHY WON’T YOU LISTEN TO ME!”
She took a broom with a metal pole from the corner of the room and waved it over her head, whacking at the speakers in the corner of the ceiling. Victoria and Doc shared a look. Edwina was displaying disturbing signs.“Mum!” Edwina screamed. Exhausted, she threw the broom down. “Mum, turn it off!”
“I’m sorry Edwina,” said Mother, no change in her tone. “I can’t turn off the alarm until all crew members are seated in their acceleration couches.”
Daemon closed his eyes and his fingers ran over the touchpad on his arm. WIthin seconds the alarm had stopped.
“Mum, I think you should tell them what’s going on,” Daemon said, opening his eyes.
There was a humming from the intercom then Mother said:
“We are on approach to planet designation NuEarth D23. We will reach the atmosphere in 15 minutes and 32 seconds. OK darling?” Daemon had always been Mother’s favourite, for obvious reasons.
Herb pulled his hair back from his ears. “We’re landing?” he asked, slowly.
“We’re landing,” replied Daemon.
“How is this possible?” said Victoria.
Edwina waved the holotab again. “I’ve been checking the star charts over the last view days. Lots of anomalies. I ran some simulations. I thought Mother had us off course. Now it makes sense. We should be months out.”
Doc and Herb were helping Spike to her feet when Victoria remembered something Jules had said. “The engines,” she muttered, then raised her voice. “Jules said Mother’s been running the Impulse engines at a hundred percent for weeks.”
No one said anything for a second. Then everyone rushed for door. They met Jules in the main corridor. She was dressed in stained blue coveralls and her thick red hair stuck out at right angles.
“Where have you been,” said Victoria as she fell in step with the rest of the crew.
Jules wiped her forehead with a greasy cloth. “I had to manually alter the impulse engines. Mother’s lost the plot.”
“You should have said something sooner,” said Victoria.
“I’m not the damn Captain,” said Jules. “Besides, were not the supposed to do or say anything. Mother and Father are supposed to be in control.”
Victoria quickened her pace. “Clearly, they are not in control.”
“What are you guys talking about?” said Daemon.
“Victoria’s trying to find someone to blame for the engines,” huffed Jules.
“Clearly, the problems are systemic,” chimed Doc.
“Yeah, shit happens,” said Herb, who had propped Spike’s arm around his shoulder and was aiding her walk, despite being somewhere in the vicinity of half her size.
“That’s not quite what I was saying,” said Doc.
“Who knows what comes out of your mouth,” said Daemon, clearly on edge.
Doc cleared his throat. “I am saying that what we have is a failure to communicate. That we all bear some responsibility-”
“Wait, wait, hold on,” said Victoria, coming to a halt. “Are you saying I’m somehow part of the problem.”
“Maybe if you didn’t spend so much time studying,” offered Edwina.
Victoria looked at each of them in turn, a red rage bubbling behind her eyes. How dare they? She felt like screaming at Edwina and punching Daemon in the teeth. Then she recalled something she had learnt in her Cultural Liason studies, about the importance of diffusing conflict in high pressure situations. “Fine,” she forced out through clenched teeth. “It’s all my fault. Now can we get to the bridge.”
She stormed off to the front of the ship, and everyone followed.
Next week on Bugout
It’s time to land the ship, but is their pilot Jet up to job? And where even is Jet?
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