“I am heading over to the Wanamoor to help Maria with the maternal physicals. There are twenty-three women pregnant now that we made those vitamin changes,” said Danielle before kissing Spartak.
“Who would have thought a few vitamins would make such a difference. That makes what almost a hundred now? You have literally made the difference on whether we survive,” said Spartak. “In three months you had made more progress for our prime directive than we have in the last ten. Thank you.”
“No worries. I have a stake in this, too,” she said. “I will be back before dinner-time. Love you.”
“Okay. Love you,” he responded before returning to his tablet.
Danielle and Maria spent all afternoon getting histories, doing baseline blood work, and physical exams. Everyone looked like they were in good shape. With the except of one woman who was pregnant by her late Kleponian mate, they were all excited about their pending motherhood. The one who was not happy, opted to birth the child and put it up for adoption. They put the announcement out on the news channel and had forty responses within an hour to raise the baby. Children were a blessing and would be taken care of without a doubt.
* * *
“Spartak? This is Areson,” the ship’s Commander said over his band.
“Report,” said Spartak.
“We have incoming. It looks like it’s their whole armada,” said Areson.
“Is this on the new radar?” asked Spartak.
“Yes. It gets much better distance in open space than the old one. Their ETA looks like about forty minutes. I am scrambling the fighters now,” said Areson.
“Keep C squad in the fallback position,” said Spartak.
“Aye,” said Areson.
“I will be there as soon as I get Danielle heading back here. She is on the Wanamoor,” said Spartak.
“Aye,” answered Areson.
Spartak tapped his band and said, “Contact, Danielle.”
“Yes, honey?” asked Danielle when she saw who was contacting her.
“We have inbound. I need you to get back to the Gliesea right now,” he said.
“Okay. We just finished. You will be on the bridge?” Danielle asked.
“Yes. You are heading for Sick Bay once you transport over?” Spartak asked.
“Yes. Love you,” she said.
“Love you, too,” said Spartak. He ended the communication and then headed for the bridge.
Danielle tapped her band and asked for Bethany.
“Hi, Mom. I know. Bogd just called. I am heading for Sick Bay,” her daughter replied.
Danielle could hear the battle alarm and announcements going off on her side as well as her own. “I will be over in a bit. Love you,” she said.
“Love you, too, Mom. See you soon,” said Bethany, who then hung up.
Danielle blew out a deep breath and headed towards the transport tube.
From where she stood at the teleporter pad, she could see the entire Flight Deck. It was in absolute chaos. One of the fighters failed as it was launching, blocking the exit. Then one of the pallets jack they used to move the plane died, and they were scrambling to replace the battery. Everyone was busy fueling or prepping the remaining fighters to go out. Danielle just waited patiently until someone had time to teleport her. She heard snatches of conversation that they were a ways out yet. She would wait to bother Spartak. He had enough on his plate at the moment.
* * *
Just as they got the disabled craft out of the way of the other fighters, the vessels shook with a jolt, knocking her to her knees. She used the teleporter console to stand up. She was thrown to the side as the ship took another hit. A fighter exploded before it was completely out the door. She noticed a fire crew was rushing to the extinguish the flames that exploded on the side of the doors leaving the deck.
One of the men dragged another back towards where she stood and said, “He is hurt. Can you help him?”
She nodded and watched as the man headed back to battle the flames. She looked down at her patient. He did not look right. His color was all off, and in addition to burned uniform, he had several large pieces of metal sticking out of his chest. She kneeled down next to him. She checked the carotid pulse and found nothing. She reached over and closed his eyes. She sighed and stood. She jogged over to the emergency bay on the opposite side of the flight deck from where the teleporter was tucked far away from the doors. She grabbed the emergency go-bags and carried them to the open area between the emergency bay and the teleporter as the crew helped other injured men over to be seen. She started to triage immediately. She then hit her band and called to the Sick Bay aboard the ship.
“I will send an EMT,” said Maria. “It’s all I can spare. We are slammed down here. We had a collapse on one of the decks.”
“Understood. Be safe,” said Danielle. She was about to call Spartak and let him know she was still on the Wanamoor when a bloody hand clutched her arm and the man attached started choking. She forgot about calling as she tried to clear his airway.*
* * *
“We have circled the C Squad back around to come protect the Fleet. The Wanamoor has sustained serious damage,” said Areson from the console next to the navigator. “The cannons and guns are reducing the ships attacking, but we have taken several hits as have the Regista. Every vessel got its contingent of fighters out except the Wanamoor. They just got a damaged fighter out the of the flight line way and a fire put out. They should all be out soon. I am having them join Squad C.”
“Aye. How are Squads A and B doing?” asked Spartak.
“They are making a dent, but there are so many of the grays,” said Cullen, monitoring the radar and transmissions.
“Jada, did Danielle teleport back before the ship got hit?” asked Spartak.
“No. There have been teleports,” said Jada, worriedly.
Spartak tapped his band, “Contact Danielle.”
“Yeah,” Danielle said breathlessly.
“You okay?” he asked as panic flooded his system.
“Yeah, just had to lift a heavy man all by myself. The EMT is busy,” she said.
“Where are you?” he demanded.
“On the flight deck. It is a madhouse. There was no one to teleport me,” she said. “Now there are injured.”
“I am having Jada lock on you right now,” said Spartak. “The grays are clustering around the Wanamoor.”
“Get Maria! She is in Sick Bay. She is just as,” shouted Danielle until an explosion rocked the Flight Deck. Danielle’s band went dead.
“Danielle! Danielle!” Spartak shouted. He tapped his tablet to bring up the bio-monitor. It was offline. Her band had to be damaged. He repeated it internally like a mantra.
“Jada! Find Maria!” shouted Spartak.
“Got her,” said Jada.
“Teleport her to the Flight Deck,” Spartak ordered as he tapped his band. “Contact Maria.”
“Why am I on the Flight Deck?” Maria asked as soon as she realized where she was.
“Find Danielle. Her band is damaged,” ordered Spartak.
“Okay,” said Maria, ending the communication.
“Wait,” snarled Spartak, realizing she had terminated the call.
A few long seconds later the forward monitor exploded into a bright light and a deafening sound as the Wanamoor exploded.
* * *
Spartak couldn’t breathe as his mind wrapped itself around the fact that the ship his mate was on exploded right in front of him. He swallowed hard and forced his mind into gear.
“Please tell me you got them,” pleaded Spartak as he clutched the arms of the command chair.
“Uh,” stammered Jada as she typed furiously on her keyboard.
“Jada?” asked Spartak.
She didn’t answer as she kept typing.
“Jada!” Spartak shouted.
Maria appeared on the bridge, holding Danielle’s unconscious body in a fireman’s carry.
Jada blew out a big breath. The concussion from the blast almost disintegrated the teleport signal. She had just been able to grab it in time.
“Danielle!” Spartak shouted as he launched himself out of the command chair and towards his mate. He pulled Danielle from Maria’s shoulder as she started to sink to her knees from the weight of her friend. Soot and debris covered both women, Danielle’s uniform was torn on her left bloody arm and her band was missing. He pulled her close in relief that she was not on the Wanamoor. His heart started beating again when he felt a puff of air against his neck. He scooped her up completely. “Areson, please take command. I need to get her to Sick Bay.”
“Aye, Commander,” Areson said as he slid into the command chair.
Maria put her hand on his shoulder and tapped her band. “Emergency teleport, Gliesea Sick Bay.
They appeared a few seconds later.
“Put her on the exam table,” said Maria, as she started up the computer. As it ran through its startup, she got Danielle hooked up on the monitor and checked her vitals. She had the IV going about the same time the computer beeped its evaluation. She read through it and grimaced. She shook a sheet out over Danielle for privacy since they were in the middle of the room and cut her uniform off. She then moved the Surgi-Doc dome over the exam table and removed the sheet. The dome offered a shaded view of Danielle’s body from the outside. Maria pushed some buttons on the device and let it start making the necessary repairs. “She has a torn spleen, and a bruised kidney,” she told Spartak.
He just stared at Danielle. “She looks so pale.”
Maria started running her blood through the analyzer. “She will probably need blood. Spleens bleed pretty bad.” The analyzer beeped. She read the results and released them to the Surgi-Doc who put in another IV line for blood. Within a few minutes, the blood was infusing.
Maria cycled the vitals again. “Her blood pressure is coming up. Oxygen saturation, too.”
“Thanks the gods,” said Spartak.
“Go take care of the Fleet. I have her. I will send you updates,” said Maria, knowing his responsibilities extend beyond just his mate.
Spartak spread his hand across the Surgi-Doc, wanting to touch his mate. He nodded at Maria and turned to head back to the bridge.
* * *
“Report!” barked Spartak as he entered the bridge. He stopped next to the command chair and waved Areson off when he started to get up.
“The A and B squads are continuing to pound the grays, but C Squad is almost decimated. We can’t seem to kill them fast enough, said Areson.
Spartak thought for a moment. “Activate the Fleet communication, including the squads.” Areson pushed a button and the familiar whistle sound blew to get everyone’s attention. “This is Spartak. The grays are overwhelming the squads. I am activating all personnel we have with flight certifications. That includes officers and the female pilots. The females have been flight checked and are ready to go. You will accept their help. Flight personnel report to the Gliesea flight deck immediately. Flight Deck, prepare the fighters. Squads, help them as needed. Spartak out.”
“I never thought I would see the day,” said Areson.
“Me either, but if we don't, I think we are going to lose,” said Spartak. “Iosif, you have the Fleet. Cullen, let’s go.” He tapped his band and told it to teleport him to the flight deck.
Cullen appeared next to him. Men and women popped in around him. They quickly broke into three teams with Spartak, Cullen, and Emily as leads. They were strapped in their fighters and heading out the flight deck doors within a few minutes.
Spartak took his team of nine around the back side of the Gliesea and started cleaning out the gray fighter ships. Cullen took his team of eight and started cleaning out those attacking the Centaria. Emily took her group of seven and starting blowing up the attackers around the Nandoria. The Regista headed to help to Squads A and B after teleporting the women and children to the Gliesea. The Regista had cannons, guns, and greater maneuvering ability than the other ships.
Areson sat watching all the ships explode like fireworks. It was hard to determine if they were the grays or the Fleet’s. It was the most harrowing sight he had ever witnessed.