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PostPosted: Wed May 27, '09, 12:28 am
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Chapter 8 : Houston, we have a problem

Alden found himself once again stuck in a tube as he had to use a "crawlspace", if you could call it that, to reach the area where the engine connected itself to the shuttle. He was relieved to see that both engines were relatively intact after the bumpy ride. At least that would save him some time in getting things fixed. The only problem he and Alaires faced was fixing the actual core of the engine's which was essentially the brains of the whole thing. Coming out of the crawlspace he made his way to the comm system in the engineering section and pressed the button below the speaker.

"Alaires, it appears the engines themselves are ok. I'll be in the back for awhile getting the engine core back online. When I finish, I want you to try booting up the entire ignition sequence."

"Ok Alden, I'll be ready!"

Smiling to himself, he was glad she begged and pleaded to help him out. Granted he would be able to finish things in relatively short order but with her helping out on the bridge, they would be done that much sooner. He went over to the scrap pile that he scavenged from the food synth's and random other systems that wouldn't be necessary for they're trip home and began to put the engine core back together.

----

Alaires rocked back and forth in the co-pilot's chair on the bridge, bored to tears. When she wanted to help Alden out, she meant to help him with putting the shuttle back together, not sitting in a chair doing nothing. At least she would have something to do when he was finished. He reported earlier about getting things started and within a half an hour he reported back letting her know that he'd be done within the hour. Looking over the console, it appeared to be not much different from the computer's they used in class. Going through a few systems, she found the scanners and decided to test them out, hoping to find some new star or planet while they were stuck out in the middle of nowhere. Watching the computer scan nearby known stars and planets, she was soon surprised as it notified her of an asteroid not far away that could sustain enough oxygen for humanoids. Curious, she punched in a few sequences to get a more detailed scan of the asteroid. Sadly they were too far away to get much, but she did notice that it orbited the sun, but further away from the usual asteroid belt. It seemed to be more lined up with Motavia! Now excited she tried to punch up some visual's of the asteroid but was quickly disappointed as the computer alerted her that the visual scanners were offline. It seems those were some of the "unnecessary system's" that Alden had to dismantle. Sighing, she waited a few more moments until the comm buzzed her attention :

"Alaires? I think I'm done here, give the start up sequence a go and I'll see how the core handles things."

She moved over to the pilot's chair and found the start up sequence and punched in the codes Alden gave her. For a moment, nothing happened then she heard a low rumble followed by the engine's roaring to life. The computer showed that some repairs were made and rerouted power to the engine core and showed all lights green. Gleefully she ran to the comm system and buzzed Alden

"Hey, everything looks good up here! How are things back there?"

"They seem to be holding up good back here. I'm coming up there and we can see about getting out of here."

She jumped back into the co-pilot's seat and strapped in. Maybe she could convince him to check out that asteroid before they leave the area. Alden came in and sat down in the pilot's chair next to her and began running some diagnostics. Seeming satisfied, he strapped himself to the chair and began to test the engines.

"Hey Alden? While I was waiting, I found an asteroid that could support humanoid life. It seemed to be further away from the asteroid belt than the rest and I was hoping we could check it out."

"I'm not sure about that Alaires, I know these repairs worked but I don't know how long they'll hold. I think we should head back to the Mansion and get this thing fixed."

Alaires pouted and was about to argue her point on finding something new when alarms started to go off in the shuttle. She looked around and saw the scanners were showing that a stray asteroid was heading their way.

"Hey Alden? I think we have trouble heading our way."

"Yeah I see it coming, I think we can dodge it."

Alden punched in a few things and the shuttle started to drift starboard away from the rock. Suddenly the shuttle lurched a bit then stopped moving. Alden began to punch in more commands but nothing was happening. Worried, Alaires looked at the scanners and saw that they moved away but not far enough to avoid being hit, collision was imminent.

"Uhhh Alden..."

"I know, I know. I need to get back there to see what happened. If I hurry...." He was cut short as Alaires pointed out to his left. Looking through the shuttles front window, he saw the asteroid was much larger than he originally anticipated and heading straight towards their port side. He furiously punched in some more commands, hoping to reroute power to the thruster. Succeeding, he began to drift more starboard but it was too late, the asteroid smashed into the side and drug itself across the shuttle before getting free, tearing a large chunk with it. The shuttle started to spin wildly around in circles and tilt towards the port side and fall straight down, albeit slow. Alaires screamed and Alden gasped in horror as the force of the impact put them into a course straight in the the sun! He unstrapped himself and jumped out of the pilot's chair to run back to the engine room. As he made it to the door of the bridge, the shuttle lurched again and began to move incredibly fast towards the asteroid belt. Alden fell forward but was able to catch himself and lean against the wall as the shuttle moved at almost warp speed through the asteroid belt. Alaires screamed again then passed out, probably from exhaustion. Alden made his way back to the pilot's chair and strapped himself in and looked at the console. Commands and codes were spewing across the screen in a random assortment of sentences as they moved through the asteroid field. He banged the console in frustration and looked as they were heading straight to an asteroid the size of a small moon. He had just enough time to hold Alaires hand as they crashed into the asteroid, causing Alden to black out amongst the sounds of metal ripping and alarms blaring. Just before succumbing to total blackness, he thought he heard the sound of someone walking onto the bridge...
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