“Mind if I stretch my legs and do a walk around?” Marr said when the silence got a little too much.
“Go for it. And, take your time. It will be the last walk around before we start the traverse preparation,” Dukk answered.
Marr made her way aft of the upper level and headed down the ladder shaft.
She was hoping to catch Mentor before the traverse. He wasn’t in the crew mess, so she continued on to the lower level to inspect the engine room and hold. She then checked the nose and airlocks. With that all done, she headed up the stairs to the accommodation level. She tried the gym. He was there and he was alone.
“Good evening. Good rest?” she said as she swiped her bracelet.
“Good evening, Marr. Somewhat. But mostly restless”, Mentor answered as he too activated his bracelet.
“Those two destine for Maple Tower mentioned you. Dukk overheard them talking about you getting in the way of something they need to do. They also mentioned someone by the name of Thumpol. It clearly meant something to Dukk.”
“Did Dukk share this all with you?”
“No, I overheard it. I was tuned into the corridor video feeds. The lounge door was broken and their voices carried. Dukk only shared his thoughts on the woman, not the mention of you or this Thumpol person. He thinks the woman loosened the bolts on the door hinge to get his attention.”
“Well, that is good news.”
“Three things. First, I wasn’t sure. But now, I know their intention.”
“What is their intention?”
“Best if you don’t know.”
“Fine. And the second?”
“We know they are sloppy. Allowing themselves to be overheard, speaks of amateurs.”
“Haven’t you always said amateurs are often the most troublesome?”
“Yes, they can panic and that can result in unnecessary consequences. We must tread carefully.”
“And the third?”
“Dukk doesn’t trust you yet.”
“How is that good news?”
“It shows that he is not a fool. He is street wise, and that is what we need him to be.”
“What are my orders?”
“Stand down. Hold your cover. It will be best if yourself and Luna stay out of the picture for now.”
“What if something happens to you? I know nothing of the mission.”
“I have that covered.”
“You are learning, Marr. Your skills are growing. However, that piece of knowledge will only impede you. Put it out of your mind. Focus on becoming what you trained for.”
“A haulier Captain.”
Marr nodded and swiped her bracelet. She went to open the door, but it swung open nearly knocking her over.
Kimince and Trence came bouncing into the room.
“Hello co-pilot, hello Mentor”, they said in unison.
“Hello,” Marr responded as she stepped out of the way of the door.
“Annee said we had to find you a little before the next traverse,” Kimince said, ignoring Marr and walking directly over to Mentor.
“Yes, I have an idea that will help you get through the traverse with flying colours. I need you suited up and in your seats before the fifteen minute warning. Can you do that now, please?” Mentor replied without missing a beat on the treadmill.
“Oh, okay. Let’s go Tren.”
They bounced back out and the door closed behind them.
“What was that all about?” laughed Marr.
“I am going to sedate them. After this morning’s experience, they will be uncontrollably nervous as the countdown approaches. We won’t get them settled otherwise.”
“Any chance I can get a little of what you are going to give them. I’m pretty nervous too,” Marr said and then laughed.
Mentor laughed too.
“It get’s easier. You’ll be fine.”
“I bloody well hope so.”
With that Marr headed for the door.
Thirty minutes later, everyone was seated, helmets on and ready for the next traverse.
Dukk had just completed his broadcast to the passengers.
He turned on the crew comms.
“Right, let’s do this. Marr and Luna, take comfort in the fact that this will be the hardest traverse you will make. Your nerves will be at a peak because you know what is coming. It will get easier after this. Four minutes. Unmuting crew comms. Status check. Vitals?”
“All stable. Calibration is at ninety seven percent,” Mentor answered.
“Integrity at one hundred percent. All green,” Bazzer replied.
“Ready,” Mentor said immediately.
Annee and Bazzer followed.
“Ready,” Marr said nervously.
“Ready,” Luna said in a faint voice.
Dukk didn’t look around. He knew he’d only make it harder for Marr and Luna if they saw him checking.
“Ready too. Deep and full breaths everyone. We are committed. Three minutes. Load up the guests,” Dukk said firmly.
“Done. Heart rates dropping,” Mentor replied.
They all waited. A minute later Mentor added, “All stable.”
“Med control is back with me,” Dukk said as he interacted with his console.
“Thirty seconds”, he announced.
“Juice on its way. See you on the other side,” Dukk said as he hit the button.
(to be continued...)
[Rule of Twelve, Double Take, Chapter 14 - Troubleshooting (Passage 4 of 5)]
All Rights Reserved. Copyright © 2021 BJ Allen
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Chapter 1 - A routine descent
Chapter 2 - Perspective
Chapter 3 - Grounding
Chapter 4 - Cause and effect
Chapter 5 - The first meeting
Chapter 6 - Staying goodbye
Chapter 7- Instability
Chapter 8 - Orientation
Rule of Twelve, Double Take - Ch15 (Passage 5/5)
“Hi,” came Luna’s voice as she bounced into the suit locker.
Dukk turned around.
“Are you alright? You are all flushed?”
“Yes, I am fine. I was practicing some yoga in zero-G. I lost track of time. Quite challenging and not what I expected.” Luna replied.
“Yoga?” Marr mouthed silently at Luna from behind Dukk.
Luna smiled cheekily.
Marr held her hands up and looked away as if to say ‘I don't want to know’.
Dukk laughed. He’d been an apprentice too once. He knew what was on his mind the first time he was in zero-g. And, he could tell an intentional lie.
“Are you sure you want to try this now? I can go alone and you can get back to your ‘yoga’?” Dukk asked in gest emphasising the last word.
“Nope, I’m good. Let’s do this.”
Thirty five minutes later, Luna stood at the port outer doorway. She was in awe.
Dukk and Luna had completed the same process Bazzer and Marr had done earlier. Marr, with ...
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