We hid from a squad of heavily armed pirates in an engineering access tunnel.
“That was the fourth one,” Turner whispered. “Who are they?”
“Mad Dog’s men, probably. His ship docked just before Caligula made his move,” Harken answered.
“I don’t care who they are,” I whispered. “Let’s go while they’re distracted fighting each other.”
“Shuttle bay is right ahead,” Angie said. “Crawl through that left tunnel.”
I squirmed my way into the tunnel, trying to ignore my bruised elbows and knees. I’d crawled through most of the ship’s access vents already. The ship shook, smoke filling the vent. I coughed, my eyes blurring as I squinted through the smoke.
I found the hatch for the shuttle bay by snagging my fingernails on it. The smoke filled the vent, stifling us. I coughed, wheezing for breath, as I searched for the releases. I couldn’t find them in the dark. I finally squirmed sideways, bending myself into a knot. I slammed my boot into the vent cover. The cover popped free, clattering to the floor of the shuttle bay.
The ship shuddered, slamming to one side. I tumbled into the shuttle bay, sprawling on the hard floor. The Odyssey waited on the far side, past empty docking ports. The others scrambled out behind me. The ship rocked again, sending all four of us to the floor. The wide launch bay doors creaked as they began to slide open.
“Run!” Angie slapped my shoulder. “We’re about to lose our air!”
I sprinted, faster than I had in years, trying to keep up with Angie. Turner and Harken still reached the shp first. I grabbed the hatch as the air rushed from the bay. Turner grabbed my uniform, yanking me into the Odyssey’s airlock. Harken slammed the doors shut.
“Hang on!” Angie shouted. “I’m blowing the docking clamps.”
The Odyssey rocked as the explosive bolts blew. The rush of air from the docking bay pulled us free, yanking us outside Caligula’s ship. The power umbilicals snapped, plunging us into darkness as we tumbled into space.
I grabbed for a handhold in sudden freefall. I hadn’t been in zero G in years. My stomach churned. Turner flailed in midair, spinning wildly. Harken swam to the front of the ship, her marine training proving useful. Angie wedged herself under the command console, up to her armpits in the ship’s systems buried underneath.
The lights flickered on. The ship stabilized. The gravity field re-established itself. Turner hit the floor with a loud thump. I landed next to him.
“Got it.” Angie grinned. “Main computer, activate Delphi.”
The control stations powered one by one. The computer announced each system as it came online.
“Fully functional and ready to fly.” Angie dropped the access cover back into place.
“I think we have a problem,” Turner said. He nodded at the main viewscreen.
Caligula’s battleship hung in space, leaking flames and air from every port. Looming behind it, was a giant ship, a flying fortress armed to the teeth.
“What is that?” Angie stared at the thing.
“Cardassian battle ship,” Harken answered. “I heard rumors Starfleet captured one from the Romulans. I think we found Mad Dog’s ship.”
“Who’s Mad Dog?” Turner asked.
Harken glanced over her shoulder, her face white. “The real leader of the pirates. No one knows what he looks like.”
“I think we’re about to find out.” Angie pointed to the flashing light on the communications screen. “He’s calling us.”
Personal Log 2-14: Cry Baby, Cry