Wild RideMature

Minutes later back in the Zephyr Carter was strapping in, checking systems on his commanders console and ensuring the crew was all accounted for. He then sealed the dorsal hatch. "Alright, let's get this show on the road. Logan, start her up."

"Roger Sarge." He said, pumping the lever to hear the reactor wind up.

"Take us out when you're ready."

"One more minute and we'll be good to move." Logan looked to his right out of the canopy and could see the August breaking seal from the Bethesda. He tried as hard as he could to see her in the cockpit, but the glare of the Bethesda's running lights were shimmering across her canopy.

"Logan, what's the hold up?"

"Ugh, nothing Sarge." He typed in a few commands and the hissing snap of the docking moors releasing echoed through the ship. "We're free and clear."

"Good, get us in formation off Bethesda's aft and wait for her command."

"Will do." Logan engaged the vertical thrusters and the ship dropped below the Bethesda, the counter thrusters levelled them off and a short burn backward put them at the aft of the ship. "Alright, we're good."

The radio squawked, "Zephyr, this is the August."

Logan looked left and saw the August form up next to them only a few dozen meters away. He could barely make out Michelle in the cockpit. Soon Shakedown came up just above the August.

Carter responded, "Zephyr."

"August, we're on our way out."

"Zephyr, thanks for the help, take care."

"August, roger out."

Logan watched Michelle as the two ships synchronized, their thrusters firing to jockey them into optimum position and then... He could almost feel the pull of the field as it expanded, stretching the ships as they accelerated forward at blurring speed until eventually they vanished from sight.

"Damn..."

"What's wrong?" Carter responded,

Logan fumbled for the switch of his headset; he didn't know that it was activated. "Ugh, nothing." He turned it off. "Fuck."

Carter sighed. "Alright Logan, get ready to synchronize."

"It's coming through now." He said, as the ship jolted from the precise thruster bursts. "We're in optimum position Sarge."

Carter got on the means. "Bethesda, this is Zephyr. The show is yours."

"Zephyr, roger. We're engaging the drive now. See you on the other side. Out."

During the flight between star systems, there would be absolutely no way to communicate with the Bethesda, let alone the outside world. Although the Zephyr would be sharing the freighters large Alcubierre field, it would still be encased in its own warp field effectively cutting it off from the rest of the universe for the duration of the flight. Interstellar travel was a dark and harrowing experience, especially in the tight confines of a small vessel such as the Zephyr. It was an exercise in sense deprivation.

In times of peace, the Zephyr would have docked with the Bethesda and they would have made the jump in the more comfortable environment of the freighter, but war was upon them.

Even in the vast emptiness of the interstellar medium, danger lurked. The jump lanes, or common trajectories of vessels travelling between stars was often mined or otherwise hampered by destabilizer technology placed by pirates or enemy factions hoping to snag ships right out of FTL travel.

For this reason, the Zephyr's crew was unfortunately forced to remain on their small vessel; ready to react at a moments notice if their ships were to be plucked out of Alcubierre space and into a combat situation.

Without the debris and gravitational influence present in the heliosphere of any given system, the speeds at which the drive could hurtle them was greatly increased. This fact made interstellar travel far more efficient in terms of ‘bang for your buck' or distance travelled over energy consumption and time to destination.

The increases in speed also meant that extra precautions had to be made before an interstellar jump. Dropping from FTL with such a great ripple of time-space in front of the vessel could spell disaster for the occupants. Redundancies and fail-safes where incorporated in the flight dynamics to ensure survivability in the event of a field collapse. These measures took advantage of the surplus of energy available during interstellar FTL travel, but took time to implement, hence the waiting period that the crews had just recently enjoyed.

The time had come, however, for their jump to begin. As the commands came through from the Freighter, Logan strapped himself in tightly. The inertial jolt would be far greater this time, as the reactor wound up so fiercely that the hull groaned under the pressure of the vibrations. "Hold on tight boys." He said over the intercom.

From outside, the space before the two ships rippled like a mirage. In a frame of time so brief it could barely be recorded; the space-time rupture devoured them in a ferocious wave of energy and hurtled them toward the distant star like an arrow fired from Heracles' bow.

The End

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