A WAY OUT

Acknowledged.

Xion quickly collected his tools and portable p-shield generators and headed for the bridge of the old starship. With the Anti-Gravity Unit still on the fritz, he was able to glide back through the entry passage on the right side of the power room, up the corridor, and around the corner to the ship's main hall intersection. As he rounded the corner, he saw the spiral staircase that he noticed earlier and deduced that it led to the craft's bridge. The stairs were positioned within a vertical inset and now, that the power had been restored, they were highlighted by a chain of floor lights that formed a circle around the base. He floated to the bottom of the stairs and looked up to see if the way was clear. Seeing nothing to stop him, he climbed the spiral stair in a hurried pace. At the top, the stairs let out into a small compartment. Opposite from the stairs was a set of double doors that had the word "BRIDGE" inscribed in red letters across the middle.

"I wonder what room this is?" He mumbled jokingly.

The young spacer was trying to keep from being nervous by making jokes. The thought of being on a ship where so many had died was starting to get to him, but he had to put the thoughts out of his mind. He needed to concentrate on getting this ship running and out of hyperspace. His p-shield generators will not last forever.

Xion glided across the small distance to the gray twin doors. He steadied himself and pressed the illuminated green entry button. A quick beeping sound was heard followed by a gentle swoosh as each half of the door went its separate way. The spacer was astonished to see the cockpit in excellent as he stepped in. The doors closed behind him as he floated to the center of the horseshoe shaped bridge. The astonishment soon faded and was replaced by nausea when he realized two of the crewmembers were still buckled in securely at their stations. The heavily withered, practically mummified, corpses had the unmistakable appearance of being drained of their life essences by the vampiric Wraithes. He was definitely glad he could not smell the foul air in the room, although, the ship's Life Support System would soon filter out the bad air. Realizing he was vulnerable at the moment, Xion pulled the PPGs from his bag and set them up encompass most of the bridge. Once the phase shield was in place, he felt safe enough to start his work.

"Lila...access the computer and try to get it online. Update it if possible, too."

Acknowledged. Working...

"Now..." Xion mumbled and scanned to see where he would start first. The horseshoe-shaped bridge was about seven meters long and six meters wide. Five chairs were spaced out around the cockpit to compliment each area of the ship. On either side of the door where he came in was a chair. One for Computer Control and Weapons and the other was for Engineering. About midway was the same thing, but the chairs were for Navigation and Communications/Sensors. At the front of the bridge facing the forward viewport was the last chair which designated the spot for Helm control.

Xion decided it would be better to move the bodies outside the bridge when he found it unnerving to look at their death filled stares. After each body was moved outside without incident, he went to the console assigned to Engineering. Once he sat down, he touched the panel causing it to light up. There was one large screen and four smaller screens descending down the right side of the main screen. Main and Auxiliary Power, Main Propulsion, Life Support, CompNet, and the Hyperdrive systems were displayed one by one in each window.

The Main Power was now maximized in the large screen and displayed the current readings of the Ion Matrix holding steady at 73% of maximum output. He scanned the other systems quickly to make sure they were operating, but his main concern was the hyperdrive. Why the hell is it not working? Is it damaged? He touched the red square in the right corner of the Hyperdrive window and it promptly switched places the Main Power readout in the large display. He studied the 3-D model of the hyperdrive and switched between key parts of the unit to find what was wrong. When each part checked out, he sat in the chair and thought about what else would knock the system offline. He sat there for a few minutes spinning around and around in his chair when it hit him. The Einstein-Rosen Coil!

Being the main component and showing no sign of damage, if the calibration was off, it would make the drive unresponsive. It was safety protocol still in use in his time. A miscalibrated hyperdrive could land you in parts of the galaxy you did not want to be in. He touched a couple of buttons on the screen to bring up a 3-D image of the coil. Xion had always thought it weird the coil was shaped like DNA. He pushed the thought aside and checked the calibration. It was off. Way off. The setting had probably allowed them to enter hyperspace, but not escape, even though, they probably did not get the chance to try. He corrected the coil frequency to -3.43 Einstein-Rosens or ERs and then reset the drive.

"Let's hope that does it." Xion mumble to himself and leaned back in the chair.

For the first time, he noticed how comfortable the seats were and made himself a little more relaxed in the chair and laced his fingers behind his head. He needed to figure out what his next move was. What to do and where to go? He thought. The one thing he knew was that this ship was his by all rights and he had every intention of keeping it.