The barely lit corridors proved difficult to maneuver and Methos stumbled several times before reaching the emergency ladder. If their sensors, and that was a big if, were correct, then the Dragus were out there somewhere and the ship was in no condition to fight. In fact, in her estimation, they’d be lucky to be able to get out of orbit…much less home.
Dannae was right of course, which ratcheted up the pressure on Methos. While the humans showed potential for greatness they loved to take apart anything they didn’t know and that bothered her to no end. If they learned, and once again Dannae was right that it wouldn’t take much effort for them to discover the fact, that Talia’s body was cybernetic, then they’d take her apart and that’d disconnect Talia’s brain case from the main power supply, which meant it’d be on battery power which had no more than 6 hours of charge to them.
And then it’s game over, Methos thought grimly.
Her wrist computer chirped to signal an incoming message and Methos sighed before activating the com unit. As much as she liked commanding a vessel, Talia needed to be there handling the hundreds of details necessary to get them home.
“Lieutenant Bryson from sensors is on the line for you,” Mara said.
“Patch him through.”
“Lieutenant Bryson on discrete.”
“Methos,” Bryson sounded like a man who was exhausted and barely standing up. “We might have an eta on getting sensors back on line.”
“I’m reasonably confident we can have it back up in another sixteen hours.”
“That long? Two hours ago you said less!”
“We could do better if we had the right equipment to replace what’s been destroyed.”
Methos stopped short of the ladder and then rubbed her forehead to stave off the headache that was brewing. “Great, just great. I’ll get back with you.”
If it wasn’t one thing, it was another and that fact made Methos want to bang her head against the wall. As if there weren’t enough things for her to worry about now the sensors would be repaired six hours behind original schedule. And given how things were going she didn’t expect them to be ready then, leaving them blind with a Dragus ship out there somewhere.
“Methos to Mara.”
“Can you reach Crios?”
“Working on it,” there was a short pause, “Crios on discrete.”
“What’s up, sis?” Crios asked.
“How long before we can get to the shuttles?” Methos said.
“You can get to them now if you don’t mind having to EVA.”
“I detect a hidden ‘but’ in there.”
“We still don’t have power to the fueling systems.”
“So we can’t get them prepped launch?”
“One’s got fuel in it but it’s not enough to get you to the surface and back.”
“Just fucking great,” Methos said before sighing. “So it’s a one way trip if we go to the surface?”
“The techs say you can run the turbines on jet fuel if necessary.”
“Won’t that damage them?”
“Not really. No more than any other time.”
“Then why didn’t you tell me about this?”
“Hey! I’ve been busy down here!”
“We’re going to have to make a trip down there.”
“Ok, I don’t like that tone of voice. Who’s ‘we?’”
“At least Dannae and I…maybe all three of us.”
“With a Dragus shop nearby?” Crios paused for a moment. “Are you sure that’s a good idea?”
“Dannae needs to find parts to help us repair the ship and Cheikra only knows what kind of trouble Talia’s gotten herself into.”
“I know that was coming sooner or later,” Crios said.
“Well Little Miss Perfect has a tendency to not use her head.”
“That’s nothing new there.”
“Hey! Don’t you try to act like you’re so innocent! You chase after her and end up in trouble too.”
“When are you going to stop holding that over my head?”
“Stop doing it and I wouldn’t!”
“Now listen here, Tiny!”
“One of these days…”
“Hey if the shoe fits then wear it!”
“Fine, I’ll settle this another time. How long before you want to leave?”
“Give me a little bit to get things ready. I’d say a couple hours or more.”
“That’s good; because I have to make sure the electronic warfare suite is programmed to block radar too.”
“How long will that take?”
“With any luck I’ll have it ready by the time you’re ready to go.”
“I’m counting on it.”
“You’ll get me best.”
“All I can ask for.”
“You got it.”
“See you when we’re ready to leave,” Methos said before killing the line.
Ok, Talia, she thought, hang on. Help is coming.
Getting up to go to work had to be the worst part of the day, Tiffany Scott thought as she got out of bed.
Last night had been a night of drinking with friends and she was paying for it today. God her head hurt! Sitting at work and talking to people on the phone all day would be agony! Of course, she reminded herself, it would’ve helped if she hadn’t go out and gone on a bender instead of acting like a mature adult.
Of course, being only twenty five, that wouldn’t have been any fun and she knew that. After four years of partying hard and being in a sorority, Tiffany found it difficult to give up on the booze and clubs. In fact, in her opinion, the term ‘it’s better to burn out than fade away’ fit her to a tee.
She cut the water on and then adjusted it to be as hot as she could stand and then entered the shower. The heat felt good against her skin and help to moderate the pounding in her head momentarily. Unfortunately for her the relief would end soon as she killed the water and then started to dry off.
Of course one of the reasons why she’d gotten hung over was the refusal to drink any water between shots of Jack Daniels. The prudent thing would’ve been to do that but it would’ve made her look weak in front of her friends so she didn’t. Unfortunately, she wasn’t twenty-one anymore so doing such foolish things inevitably caught up with her but it was certainly worth the fun though.
As soon as she killed the shower the feeling of her head trying to implode came roaring back. While it was bad, the worst was still to come when she needed to run the hair dryer. The combination of noise and the hot air blowing on her scalp always made the hangovers worse and now that time had come.
The loud roar of the blower motor made her wince as she started to dry her wet hair. At least the boss chose this week for vacation so she wouldn’t have to deal with him while hung over. But his assistant, she reminded herself, proved to be a bigger ass than the big man did, making things even worse in all reality.
A sharp pain, similar to a bee sting, from the hand holding the hair dryer made Tiffany stop for a second. While she wasn’t allergic to a bee, if one had just stung her than that meant one got into the apartment, making a call to the landlord a necessity. And that was the last thing she wanted to do since the man picture would be beside the word ‘asshole’ in the dictionary.
This day just gets better and better, she thought.
The hairdryer shut down and Tiffany just groaned. Of all things that could happen, that was the worst of the bunch. Now her hair would be half wet, meaning it’d dry and work and that it’d turn into a stringy, natty mess.
A black spot appeared on her forearm, which confused her because she could’ve sworn it wasn’t there before. But then, she reminded herself, at some point she’d stumbled into the bar when coming back from the bathroom. It’d certainly been hard enough to make her yelp, so it was probably a bruise.
There are times when events take place that a person is speechless and doesn’t know how to react and this was one of them. The segment started to move and Tiffany stared at it, transfixed, at how the bruise started to spread. Never in her life had she ever seen, or read about, a bruise growing that fast.
Pain exploded up her arm, the sensation as if she’d dipped her hand and forearm into a vat of burning grease. It then raced up her spine to reach Tiffany’s brain and quickly overloaded her ability to cope and she opened her mouth to scream.
Except nothing happened.
The hair dryer start to shift as it started to mold itself around her hand, pulling her hand within herself, as impossible as it seemed, the pain continued to grow. A part of the black mass lifted upwards and then separated itself from the main body of what used to be the appliance. For a moment the pain stopped and Tiffany involuntarily relaxed as the small lump started to move and shape itself into something different.
Sometimes things are so terrible, so frightening to cope with, that a person thinks they’re having a nightmare and that they’d wake up and things would be ok. This was the thought running through Tiffany’s mind as the lump elongated itself until it matched the length of her forearm. The black mass started to solidify and a pair of eyes that glowed yellow appeared before a mouth followed suit.
This can’t be happening, she thought as the worm started to spread out to cover her face, Daddy! Daddy!
The pain returned and it was the only thing she knew before the darkness claimed her.