That evening, Cody spent most of his time sorting out the communications on the ship. Logan and Rob worked on maintenance in engineering while Kevin Doug and Chris loaded ammunition into the three defensive turrets and prepared them for combat. Chase, Michael and Andrew loaded more stores into the kitchen and tied down extension cords from power hubs to individual bunks and even up to the cockpit. Carter had taken Will with him to an orders group, they didn't expect to be back for several hours and insisted everything be stowed away and sorted out before they returned.

"So they don't have the fucking parts." Rob yelled.

"Well..." Logan was on his back with only his feet visible from beneath the containment sphere. "... they said they didn't have it, but I think they really just didn't want to give it to us."

"So we have to spend the next, who knows how long, in a fucking blender."

Logan climbed out from beneath the containment sphere and handed Rob a cluster of wires attached to a small black device. "There."

"That looks important. "

"It's not."

"You sure?"

"Did we all get sucked into a mini black hole to be flattened to the width of an electron?"


"Then it's not important."

"What is it?"

"It's the sensor that detects small fluctuations in vibration for the core. It sets off an alarm in the cockpit and I have no intention of sitting in front of a flashing red light for the entire trip to the listening post. Besides, we're hot-bunking if it gets kinetic, so you don't want to stare at it either."

"Ah." Rob said, looking at the bundle of wires. "Where do you want this?"

"Just put it down over there, I'll re-install it when we get the core synchronized."

Andrew came through the door. "Hey, Sergeant's back, he wants us all on the ramp."

"On our way."

Michael had gotten Doug, Kevin and Chris from the main deck and they were making their way down the ladder as the others moved to the front of the lower deck where the ramp descended to the hangar floor. With Will at the bottom, all ten men waited on the ramp as the Sergeant spoke to a navy Master Chief for a few minutes before being dismissed.

"What was that about?" asked Will.

"Nothing important."

Everyone could tell from the pitch of his voice that it was far from nothing important, but the men made no mention of it.

"Alright boys. How's the boat?"

Logan started. "She'll fly, but it's going to be shaky."

"How shaky?"

"Well, not 'Jesus save us, we're all going to die in a flaming heap' shaky but definitely not comfortable."

"Comms are good" said Cody.

Will turned from Michael who had just been talking to him. "Stores are all loaded and kit's stowed away."

"Alright, if there isn't anything left for you to do, you're dismissed."

The group burst into cheer.

"Hold on!"

The cheering subsided slightly.

"Shut up!"

All was quiet.

"This is our last night here, and I know you guys." Carter looked straight at Kevin, whose smile revealed his missing tooth. "I know you guys like to get in trouble, but we have to stay clean this time or they'll post us to the asshole of the universe."

"How can you be posted to Andrew?"

"Shut up Rob."

"Quiet!" Will yelled.

Seriously guys." Continued the Sergeant. "I'm giving you some slack, don't hang yourselves with it."

A quiet murmur of acknowledgements flowed from the men as they agreed.

"Alright, get out of my sight."

With that, the group scattered, some leapt from the side of the ramp to hurry past those running down it for the exit to the hangar. All were headed for the junior ranks mess for a final drink or two... or three.

The End

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