Go to Prologue
There were no words spoken between them on the short trip to the bridge. There was no need for words between them. The elevator door opened and both stepped onto the bridge.
"Commander, patch the message through to the Ready Room and then join us." Kate ordered. "Commander Torino, you have the Bridge."
Kate sat behind her desk and turned the computer on. Liam and Kacey stood behind her. The Space Agency logo filled the screen. Seconds later Admiral Tacker and General Millhouse were shown sitting at a conference table. Their faces grim.
"Captain how fast can you get to Marcus Prime?"
"At our present speed, we can get there in about a week to ten days." Kate replied. "What is going on with Marcus Prime?" She asked.
"They are having some geological problems and have requested help in evacuating. We have about fifty ships on route, but you are closer and can get there faster to assess the situation."
"What sort or geological problems Admiral?" Kacey asked.
"Quakes. For several weeks they have been getting quakes and every time they get one, it is stronger. The planetoid is quickly becoming unstable. They have been evacuating as many people as possible along with necessary goods, but do not have nearly enough ships to remove everyone."
"How many people do they estimate have yet to be evacuated?" Kate asked.
"Around eight to ten thousand."
"There is no way we can fit that many on the Andromeda, Admiral."
"Marcus Prime's ships are still loading so that number will be significantly lower by the time you get there."
"Captain, your main mission is to make sure Queen Natalia and her government are evacuated. Take as many on board Andromeda as possible. Then hold position with the ships from Marcus Prime until the rescue ships arrive."
"Queen Natalia? She must be at least ninety by now."
"The original Queen Natalia died many years ago. This Queen is her great granddaughter. From what I have heard she is very stubborn and refuses to leave until all her people are safe. She is a great ally and has asked for our help."
"Colonel," the General spoke. Your orders are to take half of your pilots and Stingers and search for survivors. The Shuttles will be able to pick them up. The Shuttles can take them to any ships that can handle the extra people. Help maintain order. You, Colonel, are personally responsible for the safety and evacuation of the Queen."
"Yes sir." Kacey answered. "But with all the confusion how will I recognize her?"
"I have sent everything you need to know about her to you personal computer."
"Captain, we will contact you when we have more information."
"Just a minute Admiral," Kacey interrupted. "Are we able to directly communicate with Marcus Prime? That could save some time if we can talk directly to them."
"You can try. Colonel. Their frequency range is one twenty one point four to one twenty one point nine. You may have to boost your deflectors."
"We will get it done Admiral." Kate stated.
"Good luck Captain."
The screen returned to the logo, then went dark.
"Well tis a big job we are looking at lassies." Liam stated.
"That it is, Liam. Sit both of you. We need to have some plan in the works when we get there." She waited for them to sit. "Captain to Lieutenant Minor."
"Minor here. Captain"
"Adjust our course to Marcus Prime. Increase speed to warp seven."
"Warp seven to Marcus Prime. Aye Captain."
Liam sniffed. "You girls worked out your problems with a wee drop of brandy?" He ask.
"We did. Now we have a lot of work to do if we are going to house extra passengers."
"Kacey, your pilots will have to quarter the area and search for survivors. Send one Shuttle with each group. Each Shuttle can hold fifty passengers, more if some are children."
"There are seven Shuttles not counting my personal Shuttle which can hold a dozen or so The Captain's Shuttle can hold more.."
"Six of the Shuttles can go with the Stingers. One will follow you and bring back whatever is left of the government and cabinet. Your main responsibility will be to get the Queen to safety."
"Yes Captain." Kacey said.
"Now where can we house all those extra people?"
"We can set up inflata-cots in the Cargo Bays, the Forest, Safe Haven, even in the Hanger. The crew can double up. We can even ask the civilians to make room for people until the rescue ships get here."
"Queen Natalia will need something more than an inflata cot, Kate. I can bunk out with the crew or in my office and give her my quarters." Kacey offered.
"You can also move in with your mother and I, lass."
"Lets leave that until later. Tomorrow, we will get an inventory of what equipment we have available." Kate stated. "Communications, see if you can patch me through to Marcus Prime."
"Kate how much do you know about Queen Natalia?" Kacey asked. "My knowledge is limited to what we learned at the academy."
"Not much about this current one. The original Queen I know a bit more. The original Queen and her people were the first to move off planet to Marcus Prime. The first planetoid found that could sustain life. Their scientist are the ones credited with the formulas that allow people to live off world. And the fuel that would take them there. Unlike the fuel and ships that travelled from Earth to Pluto back in the twentieth century. That unmanned ship blasted off in nineteen seventy seven and finally reached Pluto in twenty thirteen. Back then, no one could live that long in space. Their scientists found a way to travel that distance in months instead of years. So when her country was decimated by the last war and became unable to sustain life, they were offered the first chance to live off planet. They had lost about half of their population before the decision was made. It was a small country to begin with. The population was around sixty thousand before the war. Afterward the war and by the time the ships were ready, there were only about ten thousand in the whole county. They were given a hundred ships to get them transported to Marcus Prime. Where they have lived ever since. It soon became a stopping place for those long range vehicles that traveled to the outer planets."
"Looks like I have a lot of reading to do before we get there." Kacey stated.
A beep from Kate's communicator stopped the conversation.
"Captain I have Marcus Prime on line. It is not the best transmission, but we are working on clearing it up."
"Thank you Lieutenant. Patch it through."
The computer screen came to life. The picture was snowy and with a lot of static. The face they saw onscreen was the blonde haired green eyed Queen.
"Your Majesty. I am Captain Jensen of the Star Traveler Andromeda."
"Captain, your Admiral said you were going to try to get through."
"We are on route to assist you in evacuation. There are other ships from Earth coming also. They are about a week behind."
"Thank you Captain. The quakes that started out as a minor annoyance a few weeks ago are now doing some serious damage. We have had about a hundred deaths. Many more have been injured. We are trying to get as many supplies aboard our ships to sustain my people. It has been very time consuming, but slowly being accomplished. " The pictures on the wall behind her started to sway. "Here comes another one."
The picture on the screen wavered then went dark.
To be continued...
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