This week, Hoy and Tabitha return to the Kestrel from the mine, and Captain Darrow’s mayday is received. To read this book from the beginning, go here. My idea of Tabitha, is Olympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds.
Intruders chapter 8 scenes 2 & 3
Hoy and Tabitha returned to the Kestrel from the mine and met Stubbs on his way back to the bridge. Tabitha stood back in silence as Stubbs saluted Hoy and offered a quick update.
‘Dr Robinson had an accident out on the surface, sir. Ensign Reuel went to assist and I’ve been down at the airlock. They’ve taken Dr Robinson to sick bay, along with the mine casualty. The Captain has also gone out on the surface, to the old opencast workings. He said to consult Commander Holland if we need anything, as he may be out of communications range underground.’
‘Very good,’ said Hoy. ‘Work on Level Three has finished for now until they get the trapped miners out, so Commander Holland sent us back to clean up and rest in case we’re needed elsewhere. Once I've cleaned up, I’ll take over here Ensign. Then you go down and assist Dr Thomas, and send Reuel over to the mine to see if he can relieve Chambers.’
Stubbs left, and Hoy turned back to Tabitha.
‘You’ve worked hard, Trainee. I’m impressed. Get cleaned up, get something to eat then rest, prepare in case you’re needed again.'
Tabitha felt as though she grew several centimetres under Hoy’s praise. She had worked hard, but mostly to cover up her nerves, and although it wasn’t pleasant work, it was a good feeling to be useful. As she headed for her cabin, Stubbs was waiting for her at the sick bay door.
‘Sounds like you did all right,’ he said.
Stubbs laughed. ‘You don’t need to call me sir, I’m only an Ensign. We’ve only met briefly. I’m Roy Stubbs, Assistant Engineer.’ He shook her hand, but didn’t let go. ‘If you’ve got any questions, you can always ask me.’
‘Thanks.’ She withdrew her hand. ‘Don’t let me keep you. I wouldn’t want you to get into trouble.’
‘That’s good to know.’ He smiled. ‘See you later.’
He went into sick bay, and Tabitha continued down the corridor, muttering, ‘Not if I see you first.’
* * *
Hoy went to his cabin, quickly showered and changed, and returned to the bridge. A short while later the comm station sounded.
‘Kestrel, this is Commander Blackwell. We’ve received a scrambled message - sounds like a mayday call. It may have come from underground. Has Commander Holland reported anything?’
‘No sir, Lieutenant-Commander Hoy here. 'The Captain has gone to investigate the old opencast workings. He said he may go underground.’
‘They have a booster here for underground communication, which we were working on. I’ll see if I can get a location. Stand by.’
While Hoy was waiting, Chambers arrived. He was telling Hoy about the work on Level Two when Blackwell’s voice was heard again.
‘Kestrel, the call came from the opencast workings. The Captain needs help. I’m sending the co-ordinates now.’
‘Thank you, Commander, I’ll investigate myself. Can you advise Commander Holland, ask if he can release someone from over there to meet us at the opencast workings too?'
‘Will do. Out.’
Hoy left Chambers on watch, while he went to put on his suit and go out to the Captain.
At the pithead, Holland received the message from Blackwell just as Reuel arrived.
‘I know you’ve just got here, Ensign, but you’re the fastest in low gravity. Will you go?’
‘Yes sir. I am most willing,’ Reuel said, removing his back brace. ‘I will need a suit from a tall man, and is there a weapon?’
Gareth Davies sent a man for the suit, and produced something that looked like a hand gun. ‘We have no weapons, but you could take a hand cutter. It’s got no range but it cuts through rock up close.’
He showed Reuel the operation of the hand cutter while the suit was brought. Within minutes Reuel left the stores airlock and was speeding round the dome towards the opencast workings.
[Next week: Tabitha talks to Chambers and swaps news]
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