I was at my post manning the comms when the commander stepped back onto the bridge. I snapped my salute and he smiled. Something seemed off. Then I noticed the strap on his holster was loose. I nudged Heath beside me, whispered holster and jerked my head toward the commander. He took a quick look then shook his head at me and went back to work. Before I could say anything else there was a crackle in my ear.
“Mayday! Mayday! This is the Saratoga. We are under attack and breaking up! I repeat we are breaking up!”
“Commander, I just received a distress call from the Saratoga. She is under attack.”
I patched the transmission through to the control room speakers.
“Did they give a clarification code?”
I turned to face him.
“Sir, they said-“
“I don’t give a dam what they said! Did they give a clarification code?”
“No sir. Do you want me to ask for one?”
“No. We can’t afford to make them aware of us if they aren’t in fact the Saratoga.”
“But nothing! Now take this off my speakers!”
I turned back to my console and dejectedly I pulled the transmission from the speakers. Heath gave me a sideways look.
“Don’t worry about it John. Orders are orders.”
Instead of looking at Heath I just stared straight ahead and listened to the transmission. The man on the other end was franticly calling for help. I didn’t stop listening until it turned to static.