Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2248569-Headache
Rated: ASR · Fiction · Sci-fi · #2248569
Lauren has a close encounter of the worst kind.
She never saw it coming. Lauren didn’t duck, never even looked up. By the time the sonic boom caught up with the out-of-control alien craft, it was already too late.

an image to separate items within a document

“What happened, Wellesley?” demanded Captain LeClerc as he picked himself up off the deck.

“It’s a miracle we’re still alive,” gasped the shaken helmsman. “We punched through a thin rock wall when we dropped out of warp. The shields held during impact, but we're lodged in some sort of asteroid. It has a soft inner composition that cushioned us enough for the inertial damper to compensate for the sudden deceleration.”

"Where are we?"

"I don't know, Captain. Dropping out of warp unexpectedly leaves an uncertainty of several lightyears. And the sensors are blocked, we're almost blind."

“Damage report, Schott?”

“We have hull integrity and full life support functions, sir,” replied the unflappable Chief Engineer. “Shields are holding. The damage appears to be minimal, but the warp drive is down. A hot spot in a plasma conduit caused an emergency core shutdown. We'll have to reline the conduit before bringing the warp drive back on-line.”

LeClerc thumbed his communicator to contact sick bay.

"Injuries, Jones?"

"Numerous bumps and bruises, Captain. One broken wrist, no fatalities," reported the Medical Officer.

"How long will it take to regain warp function, Chief?"

"12 hours, sir."

"You've got 4," LeClerc grinned, knowing full well that Schott would pad his estimate.

“Can we maneuver manually while you repair the warp drive?”

“Yes, sir. We can maneuver on impulse power, but I’m not sure what will happen when the engines engage. We’re completely submerged in gray goo.”

“Is that a technical term, Chief?” asked LeClerc wryly. “Mister Bloch, I need to know what we're dealing with and what our options are.”

“It’s definitely organic in nature, Captain, and there’s quite a lot of it,” reported Science Officer Bloch. “The sensors are partially obstructed, so I can't be certain of its full extent. But I believe we can simply reverse course and exit through the hole we made on the way in. We can fire phasers to clear a path forward or use the engines at low thrust and try to drive through it. My assessment is that using impulse power poses a lower risk.”

"Will the shields hold, Mr. Schott?"

"Aye, Captain, she'll hold together."

“Very well,” said LeClerc decisively. “We’ll use the engines. Do a quick systems check and let me know when you’re ready, Chief.”

an image to separate items within a document

Oh no, not today! Lauren winced as the pain stabbed through her head. An odd crackling roar slammed her eardrums two seconds later. She was used to dealing with migraine headaches, but the job interview was in twenty minutes, and it would look bad to reschedule now. Lauren swayed on the sidewalk for a few seconds with her eyes closed. The roar of traffic and the smell of exhaust fumes were disorienting but she managed to stumble to a nearby bench without falling.

You have to try, Lauren urged herself as the pain subsided a bit. She needed to lie down with an ice pack in a darkened room, but it had taken months to get a personal interview. It would be crushing to lose the opportunity at the last minute. She could actually see her destination, just two blocks down and across the street. Lauren steeled herself and rose, using the arm of the bench for support. Her headache was just a dull throb now, and there was still time to make the appointment.

an image to separate items within a document

“Engines are ready Captain. Manual control is routed to the navigation console.”

“Straight ahead, minimum thrust, for one second,” LeClerc commanded.

“Aye-aye, Captain,” Wellesley replied, and the ship quivered forward slightly.

“Status, Chief?”

“No problem, sir. We moved forward with no indication of damage to the ship.”

“Alright then, let’s follow Mr. Bloch's course and get out of the Chief’s goo. One quarter thrust.”

an image to separate items within a document

Lauren had just enough time to shriek in pain before the boiling pressure behind her eyes reached its bursting point.

The odds of being hit by lightning are one in a million. The odds of winning the lottery are one in seven million. The astronomical odds of being hit in the head by a tiny UFO are mind-blowing. Lauren certainly didn’t have a clue. She never saw it coming.

Author's note: 720 words
© Copyright 2021 Words Whirling 'Round (tgifisher77 at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2248569-Headache