– V –
“Srena, go get some rest, we need to get up with the first light to get on with the repairs,” said Deen as she headed towards the back compartment of the runabout, barely stifling a yawn herself.
“I’ll be right there,” she said without interrupting her efforts on the workstation she was sitting at. “I just want to go through this data real quick.”
The Tenarian stepped up behind the blue-skinned ensign to look over her shoulder and spy onto the display. “Sensor analysis?”
She nodded. “I found that some of the data I took of the nebula has survived the landing. I just want to quickly look it over,” she said and then made eye contact with Deen behind her, quickly noticing the doubt in her eyes. Considering how frustrated she had been with Xylion for prioritizing the Vulcan settlement over essential repairs, she tried to dispel any concerns with a smile. “I promise it won’t take long. The computer is just finishing an analysis of the data and I wanted to get it done before we continue repairs, in case we lose some of it.”
Deen’s features softened and she returned the smile. “Good thinking. But don’t take too long, alright? The repairs should take precedent to scientific study. At least for the time being.”
“Yes, of course.”
The lieutenant offered a parting smile, not hiding how impressed she was with the young ensign’s dedication and then departed for the bunks in the back of the ship.
A soft trill from her computer station caused Srena to focus back on the screen. The results were in. “Wait, that can’t be right,” she said to herself even as her fingers were already racing across the panels, trying to verify the data. But when the output refused to change, she decided to start over, no matter that it could take another couple of hours to complete. This was too important, too significant not to be certain about it. The implications were immense and if the findings held up, she knew it could change everything. Deen, Leva and of course Xylion would have to know. The captain had to be made aware as well, and as soon as possible, as this revelation could change the entire scope of their mission.
A sudden noise startled the ensign. “Lieutenant?”
But there was no answer.
The sound returned. It was almost as if somebody was working on the outside of the runabout.
Srena stood. “Commander, is that you?”
She looked out of the viewport but could see nothing outside in the dark.
Another soft, metallic bang convinced her somebody was definitely outside.
She slowly made her away to the airlock. She considered getting one of the senior officers but then dismissed the idea. She didn’t want to wake them if it turned out to be nothing more than the wind or perhaps a wild animal.
She opened the inner airlock and then the outer one as well and without stepping out of the ship, she craned her neck out. She could see nothing of consequence. “Hello? Anyone out here?”
She thought she heard a sudden shuffle but couldn’t be sure. It was coming from the nose of the runabout.
The ensign slowly stepped out of the ship and staying close to the hull moved towards the front. “Hello?” she said again but once again got no response.
She approached the nose very carefully and then ventured a look around the corner, immediately spotting the source of the sound. An access panel had been removed to expose the innards behind.
Srena stepped up to it and then looked around but could see nobody who could’ve been responsible for removing the small hatch.
She took a knee in front of it to see if any damage had been done.
Before she could get a good look at what had happened, another sound startled her and this time it was unmistakable footsteps.
She looked to her right to see a person right in front of her and gasped with surprise.
“Oh, it’s you,” she said once she recognized the familiar face and then stood. “You nearly gave me a heart attack.”