Back on the bridge, Walsh took a deep breath. This was it. Was his order about to kill a hundred and ninety nine of Earth’s best? He shut his eyes for a second, wondering if this was his last one alive. He steeled himself, and making a special effort to have a clear, firm voice, called out, “QD, now!”
Back in her observation seat, a well-buckled down Karen felt a second of helpless panic as Chiron glowed in space. Initially pleasant vibrations coursed through her as an ever-increasing pulsing permeated the decks. Then throbbing thumped in her head, like someone was desperately trying to get out. The head pounder inside her became more and more insistent, until suddenly she felt light as a feather, flying out of her body as the ship and all on board became massless, and virtually invisible for an instant. Glowing like a travelling neutrino, everything and everyone reappeared, then solidified into a swirling star-scape never before seen by earthly eyes. Karen blinked, not believing she was alive. Not just alive, she felt solid, real, and fine.
On the rest of the normalizing bridge, Heather McTavish was not ghost-like anymore, but she was as white as one. She dropped like a brick onto her console, out cold. Panther followed suit, except for the shade of pale. Jack, a little woozy himself, unbuckled and tried to revive Heather. Meanwhile, Walsh was on the com.
“Med alert! We’ve got unconscious people up here!”
“We’ll be right up,” Lopez said. “We’re getting calls from all over.”
One of the M.A.’s stopped along the hallway to the bridge, where they found Woon unmoving against the wall. The rest continued to the bridge and administered to Heather and Panther before carting them and Woon off to the hospital.
With his first officer unconscious, Walsh turned to his third in command again.
“Jack, activate the bio sensors on all crewmembers and any civilians who agreed to have a micro monitor implanted.”
“Aye, sir.” He did a quick switch of his controls to show the ones Heather usually had up and running at her station. “Activating bio monitors. Shall I have alerts sent to the medics?”
“You’ve got the idea, yes.” He switched on the com.
“Markus, what went wrong?”
“What do you mean? Nothing went wrong.”
“Well, why are people fainting all over the ship?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t faint. Some people must be super sensitive to having no mass, then regaining it again all of a sudden. There’s nothing wrong with the engine. It’s a medical problem.”
Walsh rolled his eyes. He switched his attention as Jack started talking.
“Rich, something strange; the ship’s auto-nav is steering around another ship from within the Displacement Bubble zone, but there shouldn’t be one. We could have a faulty system.”
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