Colonel Young shouted over the sound of blaring alarms and exploding, sparking conduits. The stasis pods were opening, waking the crew, but the flashing alerts suggested much more was happening. Of course, the shaking floor beneath his feet was another clue.
Coming out of a three year sleep was not an instantaneous process. The body needed time to recover and adjust, but the crew of the Destiny were not being given any such luxury. Young braced an arm on one of the control panels to catch his breath. His eyes struggled to focus, blurring as he saw bodies stumbling about, or in some cases, crawling out of smoking pods, trying to make sense of the world around them.
Recognizing several faces, Young’s chest compressed in relief. They were alive. They made it.
His thoughts scattered an instant later with the scream of the alarm. Something was wrong. “Report!”
Tripping over his own feet, Matthew Scott fell to his knees. His head was spinning. What was going on? Why was everything so loud?
Feeling a hand on his arm, he turned to see Chloe Armstrong standing over him, urging him to his feet. Remembering the pods, the mission, and his duty, Scott pushed his legs to stand, looking for the others. TJ, Greer, James, Volker, and Rush were all trying to regain their equilibrium and make sense of the world around them.
Pushing forward on wobbling legs, Scott headed for the closest control panel to see what was making all the racket. Just as he reached out to grab the console, someone beat him to it.
The alarms abruptly ceased and the chamber feel into a deafening silence. Scott narrowed his eyes, trying to focus on the form standing before him. “Eli?”
Smiling, Eli Wallace gave the man a nod. “Yeah.”
“What’s going on?”
“The ship is telling us we need to refuel.”
Pushing his way forward, Young gave Eli a wide grin. “You made it.”
A nervous laugh bubbled from the math genius’s throat. “It’s a funny story actually.”
“Then I look forward to hearing it. After you tell me what is going on.”
Nodding, Eli gave his attention back to the panel to try and determine what was happening to the ship. He wasn’t surprised to find Dr. Nicholas Rush breathing down his neck as he ran his diagnostic.
“Destiny is shutting down its power systems while setting a course for the nearest star.”
“Did we make it to the next galaxy?” Young hoped they woke up in the right time and place for once.
“We did,” Rush said before Eli could respond.
Eli cast Rush an annoyed look, but the man didn’t give any hint of noticing. “Three years of sleep didn’t change you at all.”
The sarcasm ran off Rush’s shoulders. By all accounts, they made the trip to the next galaxy within the foreseen amount of time. The mission was back on track.
“Anything else,” Young asked.
“I’ll need to get to the bridge to do a complete analysis,” Eli said.
Glancing around the room, Young was glad to see the crew was starting to shake off the initial shock of waking. “Brody, Volker, go with Eli,” he ordered.
The two scientists moved forward on shaky feet, but made no complaint as they followed Eli out of the chamber. Rush started to follow, but Young cut off his path. “We need to talk.”
Rush raised a brow. “Now?”
“In a moment.”
The pair exchanged a long look before Young turned around to address the rest of his people. Pride, astonishment, and humility overwhelmed him as he took in the sight of at all their familiar faces.
“By all accounts, we seem to have made it to the other side,” Young started. “Unfortunately, we need to get right back to business. TJ, I’ll need a report on what supplies we have in the infirmary. Camile, I need you to take stock of the civilians. Becker, check out our rations. Scott, Greer, you two are with me.”
Turning on his heel, Young expected his officers to follow, so he motioned for Rush to come with him. When they were out of hearing range of the others, he turned to his officers. “I need you two to take stock of the weapons and ammo. We need to get back to full strength as soon as possible.”
Scott nodded in full understanding. “Aye, sir.”
As Scott and Greer went to follow orders, Young and Rush faced off.
“What do you want with me,” the scientist asked impatiently.
“We have to talk about our situation.”
“What situation,” Rush demanded as he crossed his arms over his chest.
Young’s tone would broke no argument, so Rush remained silent as the Colonel led the way to his quarters. Once the door closed, the Colonel took a moment to appreciate how nothing changed before turning to face the man who was a thorn in his side from day one.
“I need to make sure we are on the same page.”
“With what,” Rush asked.
“The mission. Moving forward.” Young was getting a bit frustrated with Rush’s continued, so-called ignorance.
Rubbing his whiskered chin, Rush shrugged. “I thought we already had an understanding on that front.”
“Just making sure the lapse of three years didn’t change anything.”
Sighing, Rush felt his nerves starting to itch. He should be on the bridge with the rest of his team, not hashing out details with the Colonel.
“Last I checked, we don’t fully trust each other,” Rush reminded.
“True,” Young admitted. “But we did agree to do what is best of the mission and this crew.”
“Those two points don’t always see eye to eye.”
“We’re going to butt heads,” Young admitted. “But I want to make sure our truce is still in effect.”
There really wasn’t a point to pushing his luck at the moment, so Rush nodded. “We’re going to have to get along if we are going to see this through.”
“Agreed.” A necessary evil was a more accurate description of the situation, but Young realized they didn’t have much choice.
“Good. Now, I’m going to go see what is going on with the ship.”
Letting Rush stalk out the door, Young let out a long sigh. In his gut, he knew the two of them would have a confrontation at some point. He just hoped they could get Destiny back on her feet before the first blow out. In the meantime, he needed to make the rounds and see how everyone was adjusting. Then he needed to contact Earth.
TJ was sorting through bandages when she noticed Colonel Young enter the infirmary. Her heart did a little flip at the sight of him, but her poker face remained intact. He would want a report and she wished she had better news.
“TJ,” Young nodded in greeting. “Where do we stand?”
“Things are pretty much where I left them,” she started. “I’m still taking inventory. With the computer powered down, the process will be slow going until we recharge.”
“What do we have at our disposal?”
“Not much,” she sighed. “I have supplies and instruments, but those are limited until we have more power. As far as medicine, there is nothing beyond the bandages. We’re going to have to start re-growing medicinals as soon as possible, but it will take time.”
The report was what he expected. They all knew they would be scraping the bottom of the barrel for a while. “Do the best you can and keep me posted.”
TJ nodded. “You got it.”
Next stop was the Mess Hall. Becker told him they had enough rations for a month. Probably less considering a lot of the canned goods had faded labels and unclear expiration dates. Some of the supply was bound to have spoiled.
The water levels were the same as the food. Once Destiny recharged, they needed to find the closest viable planet and stock up on the necessities. Hopefully, this galaxy would not be as hostile as the last one. Personally, Young felt they were overdue for some smooth sailing.
One bit of good news was the weapons were right were they left them. The bad news was they would run out of ammunition eventually. Young guessed they would have to cross that bridge when they came to it. For now, there were other priorities.
Mind on the strategy of getting food and water, Young was walking toward the bridge lost in a daze of his own thoughts when he ran into Camile. As anxious as he was to learn the status of the ship, obviously he would have to wait. The woman looked like she had a bone to pick with him.
“Colonel,” Camile greeted, albeit formally.
Young kept his expression neutral, knowing Camile wasn’t here simply to catch up on old times. “How are people settling in?”
“Like riding a bike,” she said with a small smile before getting into her demands. “I would like to contact Earth and update them on our status. We also need to catch up on the last three years.”
“Once we’re refueled,” he said.
Knowing that was as good as she was going to get from him right now, Camile gave a nod and continued on her way.
Heading to the bridge, Young braced for more bad news. Destiny was a solid ship. The Ancients did an excellent job making her, but nothing lasted forever. Age would eventually catch up with her, so Young hoped they were prepared.
Four pairs of eyes turned to him the second he crossed the threshold. “What have we got?”
“Life support seems to be in good condition,” Rush started. “The scrubbers are all online and functioning, so we have air.”
Young nodded, but made no comment on the obvious. “Good.”
“But the FTL drive is going to need some repairs,” Eli supplied. “It’s been going non-stop for years.”
“How long do we have,” Young asked.
“We should make it to the next star, but even with energy reserves we should drop out of FTL and run diagnostics so we can head off any problems.”
Glancing at the others, Young saw Volker and Brody nod in agreement. “Ok,” he said. “Let’s recharge and find a viable planet, if possible, before we drop out of FTL. We can work on the engines and recoup some supplies at the same time.”
The team nodded, leaving Young to seek out other duties. As commander, he made it a priority to check in with the civilian population and make sure everyone was alright. He made it a special point to see Chloe.
Since coming aboard Destiny, Chloe Armstrong had to deal with more tragedy than most. Her father, Senator Alan Armstrong, sacrificed his life to buy the rest of them time to fix the ship before the life support failed. Being kidnapped by hostile aliens didn’t help. The changes those aliens forced on Chloe had her under quarantine for months.
Still, she made it through each obstacle with courage and grace. Young suspected her relationship with Scott had a lot to do with it. Finding Chloe on the observation deck, he offered a small smile of greeting.
“Are you glad to be back?”
A light laugh came bubbling out of her throat. “I’m relieved mostly. I’m happy we made it and are alive.”
“Yeah,” Young agreed as he looked out at the galaxy. “I guess we should give Eli most of the credit, but I don’t want it going to his head.”
Since Eli was her best friend next to Matt, Chloe understood the joke. Eli could be very humble, but she guessed he was that way because he didn’t truly believe in himself.
“He can’t relax yet,” Chloe pointed out. “There is still a lot of work to be done.”
“How would you feel about being a part of Rush’s team full time?”
Chloe’s eyes widened. “Seriously?”
“I could use another pair of eyes up there.”
Knowing the Colonel and Dr. Rush didn’t always get along was a bit of an understatement. Personally, Chloe did not think Rush was quite as bad as people made him out to be. After all, Rush did save her life and she would always be grateful. Later, when the aliens changed her, he made no secret of the fact he was using her for research just as much as he was trying to help figure out her aliment. She supposed since he did give her full disclosure, she didn’t have an issue with his methods. Chloe did respect Rush, but she also understood why people were weary of him.
“I’m not really qualified,” she started.
Shaking his head, Young didn’t want to hear her refusal. “Hardly any of us are really qualified to be here, yet look how far we’ve come. We’ve accomplished so much, and I think you’ll only be an asset to the team.”
Despite her smile, Chloe cast him an I-know-better look. “And you want me to keep an eye on Dr. Rush.”
Young didn’t deny it. “Like I said, it couldn’t hurt.”
“Ok, I’ll report to the bridge.”
“Great,” Young smiled his thanks.
Watching her go, Young turned to look out at the empty space beyond the ship. Bracing his hands on the railing, he could see the approaching star in the distance. Hopefully, their luck would hold and the drones from the last galaxy wouldn’t have a way to follow them. He also hoped this part of the universe wouldn’t hold too much hostility. Maybe this leg of the journey would be different. Maybe this time, they might make it home.
Pacing her quarters, Camile Wrey hoped the crew would get this ship recharged as soon as possible. She was foaming at the mouth to contact Earth. After three years, she hoped they were able to negotiate a treaty with the Langarans that would allow a stargate to dial the ninth chevron, giving them a supply line. This time around, Camile would like normal food and her own clothes if she was forced to be a part of this crew. Like most of the civilians, Camile wanted to go home. She wanted to be with Sharon and continue living her life. If there was a life for her to go home to, of course.
Before going into stasis, Camile told her girlfriend to move on with her life and find happiness. As much as Camile wanted to know if Sharon did just that or not, she also wanted to remain in the dark. Thinking of her lover with someone else was painful enough at the moment. With the certainty would come more anguish, however, with the uncertainty, the hope could end up being worse.
The civilians, and many of the military personnel, looked to her for guidance and advice. She had duties of her own to see to and an example to set. Indulging in some self-pity and nail biting now would help her stay more focused and clam around the others. Sometimes, one had to boldly fake confidence. Camile hoped she wouldn’t regret being awake aboard Destiny again.