Parthi had stopped off at sick bay before breakfast to enquire after Cadet Kremerskorn and been sent on her way with a set of words that assured her that he was recovering. Now however, breakfast was over and they were in the middle of an exercise scenario. The gunnery station’ outer blast doors were sealed and they were searching their sector of the space outside the ship for the targets.
“What’s that?” AS Ishidori, a loader, pointed at the outer blast door. A thin, red, molten line was growing across it at about head height.
“Thermal lance!” There was a drill for this. “Initiate intrusion protocol eight! Petty Officer Cruz, LS Tabanta, you’ll remain in the outer chamber with me. Gunners’ mates, disable every dataline in the outer chamber before you withdraw.” Parthi looked at the red line’s speed. “You have three minutes. Petty Officer Grimnall, coordinate that. Petty Officer Lok, you have command of the inner gunnery station until relieved.” She crossed the space between them, “Here’s my key to the inner blast doors – I can’t be made to use or give up what I don’t have.”
“Sir!” Parthi was fairly sure Lok thought she was overacting for the benefit of the umpire, but their umpire was looking confusedly at something on his pad.
Now for the next step, Parthi took a deep breath and used the comms link in her war gear, “Bridge, this is Cadet Gens, Gunnery Station Four. I have initiated intrusion protocol eight. Data feeds from this location should be ceasing now.”
“Cadet Gens, this is First Officer Lakova. Why have you initiated intrusion protocol eight?”
“Someone’s coming through our outer blast doors with a thermal lance, sir.” As soon as she finished speaking Parthi could hear conversation on the other end of the comms link but not the words.
A new voice spoke over the comms link, “Gens, this is Captain Niblitz. The intrusion is not part of the exercise and you are to take all actions necessary to defend your station and the ship. Do you understand?” Suddenly the exercise standdown siren and the battlestations claxon were alternating.
“Yes, sir. I do sir. Gens out sir.” She turned to her gunnery crew and the umpire. “This is not a drill people, move it. Lok, if there’s an enemy ship out there, find it and kill it. Petty Officer Cribbage,” she turned to the umpire, “unless you have a 58 you will join the rest of my gun crew in the inner chamber. Understood?”
“Yes, sir!” He moved smartly into his new position.
They all moved smartly. By the time the cut blast door section began to sag, the inner blast doors were locked, every data link in the outer chamber had been ripped out of its socket by the wiring and the firing line of three was in position, Parthi flanked by Cruz and Tabanta.
An armoured hand grabbed the cut section from the outside and began to pull.
“Right,” said Parthi, “show’s on. Let’s party.”
The Cadet: Part 17 is here.