Here is part 19 of my Describli-prompt inspired short story. I’m really feeling like I’m heading toward the climax now. I hope so. 🙂
Part 20 here next week.
Lena chewed on her bottom lip as she stared at the radar screen. They were close to Kellan’s – the Galen’s – coordinates. And she still had no idea what she was going to do to stop the blue-lipped woman from possibly bringing the galaxy to an end.
The radio crackled into life. She grabbed the mic. It had to be Tang.
“This is the Emolean calling the YSR. Please respond.”
“This is the YSR,” she replied, relief colouring every syllable. “Tang I can’t tell you how glad I am to hear from you.”
A heavy sigh, made worse by the interference. “I wish I could say the same.”
“I know. I’m sorry. But we’re on the verge of stopping her. I’ve got one of her workers on my ship. According to him the blue-lipped woman is trying to bring time to a halt, so that her people can live forever. But he doesn’t think it will work. There’s a strong possibility that she’ll create a black hole and we’ll all get sucked into it.” A shiver ran down her.
“Then we need to stop her.” The words were short, subdued. Fearful.
“I know. I just don’t know how.”
“Her power source is the delat. So we take that away, the problem is solved.”
“But how, and what’s to stop her getting more?”
Another sigh, then silence. “I’m almost close enough to transport over. We can talk about it when I’m there.”
“All right. I’ll wait for you.”
They signed off, and Lena sat down. Tang didn’t sound hopeful. And she didn’t feel hopeful. They had destroyed one lot of delat in a supernova. But the blue-lipped woman had just found more. She could travel back and forward through time, so she had access to a very large supply. Lena couldn’t destroy every piece of it in the universe that had ever existed.
Tang appeared in the centre of the bridge. Lena stood to greet him, taking his hand in the old way. “It’s good to see you again,” she said, “even if it’s not the best of circumstances.”
A tight smile. “One day, maybe, we’ll meet under better circumstances.”
There was always hope.
“Zinna’s downstairs,” Lena said, moving back into business mode. “And Leo’s resting. I think we all need to have a say in this, so I’ll get everyone together in the infirmary.” She was half thinking out loud.
Tang raised his eyebrows, questioning.
“That’s where the Galen is.”
“Oh. And he works for the blue-lipped woman?”
“He does. Or he did. But he’s against her now.”
She led him down to the infirmary, hoping she was right about Kellan, that she wasn’t trusting in the wrong place.
She woke Leo, and explained quickly as the three of them made their way to the infirmary. He was pleased to see Tang again, but worried about including Kellan. Like Tang.
Zinna raised her eyebrows in greeting to Tang, and he replied with a curt nod. Lena smiled inside. Such was the way of warriors.
Kellan stared at Tang with wide eyes. “I remember you…”
“Yes,” Tang said, “I am the man your mistress hunted down for the sake of the small amount of delat in my possession.” He paused then added, “And you must be the man who works for her.”
His gaze dropped to his lap. “Yes, to my shame.”
The atmosphere was heavy with suspicion. Lena cleared her throat, hoping to cut through it with purpose. “We are nearly at Kellan’s coordinates,” she said, “and we need to decide what we are going to do.”
“That’s a bit hard without knowing what we’re going to face,” Leo said.
Zinna spoke up. “I’ve been working on that. I can only think that at this place in space there must be some sort of build up of energy, most likely we’re amongst the remnants of a star. If the delat interacts with certain minerals, then it may create a black hole, and she may be hoping that’s the key.”
“And if it’s not,” Kellan said, “then the black hole will keep growing and growing until there’s nothing of our galaxy left.”
“How do you know all of this?” Tang asked. “In my understanding that’s not how black holes work,”
“Not ones created by supernovas, no,” he replied, “but ones created by interactions of elements like delat are different.”
Tang didn’t say anything else. But Lena noticed him narrow his eyes, and felt a seed of mistrust planted in her heart. What if Kellan wasn’t telling the truth?
She met Zinna’s hard gaze and suddenly felt very unsure of herself. She was playing a dangerous game, and it could all go-
Warning alarms screamed into the tense room. Red lights flared.
Leo’s expression turned panicked as he tore from the room. “We’re about to be fired at!” he shouted, his words trailing him.
The ship rocked, the impact vibrating up through Lena’s feet as she tipped to one side.
Danger had found them.
This week’s prompt: A traitor among them.