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Old October 10th, 2016, 12:03 PM
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Default TDW:1416 S2 "Abandonment"

[Jump Space 208.056.0910 Ship Time] SCN Metz

“Join me, Mister Webb?” Ben heard the voice at the hatch. He knew the voice even as the footsteps moved away. Ben grabbed his blouse and was behind CPT Aepers in less than fifteen seconds.

The crew gave way as they headed for engineering. As when he trailed Angelo, the junior crew stepped into portals or cubbyholds to let senior members pass. Ben saw the difference, though, in the eyes of the crew. For Angelo, they yeilded to the rank. This time they yeilded to the man.

Aepers led them into the machine room off the port maneuver drive. Cramped, made even moreso by Rios, PO2 Moses Lie, Graves, and now Ben and Aepers. The were stuffed around a high explosive torpedo, its guts opened to the world. Between wires haning from components and empty spaces that should be filled, Ben was reminded of Angelo a few days ago.

“Sir.” Rios stiffened. Everyone stood at attention.

“Thoughts?” Aepers said. “I brought Mister Webb along.”

Ben caught Rios’ jaw tighten, but the Chief Engineer nodded to Lie. “Go ahead, Mo.” Rios said.

“Yes sir. We can do three with proper lockdowns or six with, well, luck.” Lie said. “I can get one ready before we exit jump. Not sure how to test it, though.”

“It has to be six, sir. Three is too few. The target is too big and too well defended.” Ben saw Graves eyes moisten as he spoke up. He met Ben’s gaze and added. “Sir, I have volunteers lined up, if you give the word.”

Aepers looked at each person in turn. Even Ben. He looked at the torpedo for a full minute, either thinking or praying. Ben wasn’t sure.

His jaw set, Aepers looked at Ben. “Commander Graves and Miss Rothin have run every scenario they can think of. We lose. Seven and a half times out of nine, we lose because the Abandonment is going to be too far back to reach and will provide cover for the other ships. Mo came up with a crazy idea. Naturally, I thought of you.”

PO2 Lie licked his lips. “We can attach a few people to a torpedo. Three to be safe.” He glanced at Graves. “But we need six. The speed of the torpedo will get them to the Abandonment quickly. If they can disrupt her ability to support the pirate fleet, we have a chance.” Lie pointed to the bits of torpedo. “I can rig a remote control and someone from the bridge can drive. The targeting will provide data but it has to be killed near the end to prevent the tube from going straight into the target. It’ll be rough, that’s for sure.”

“I have one engineer, two bridge crew, and a medic, sir.” Graves said. “Mo volunteered but Inglesias trumped him. He needs to help fly the tube and she’s familiar with the drive models on the target. She’ll be the second engineer.”

“Soler? Because of his brother?” Aepers asked. Graves nodded.

“Volunteers only." Aepers turned to Ben. "One spot left, Mister Webb. Should I ask the Admiral if I can borrow you?”
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