The Forge stayed outside of Galthar’s borders. Captain Roozay, an Orc, drummed his fingers on the desk in his Ready Room. He heard his door chime. “Enter,” he rumbled. A male Blaze Elf then came in. “Gayak,” greeted Roozay. “You rarely leave Sick Bay. What’s the occasion?”
“Hentur and I” replied the Forge’s CMO, “had a foot-based messenger deliver us some findings and theories from the Endeavor. Apparently, the mist is believed to be the Breath of Life.”
“That’s absurd,” scoffed Roozay.
“I said the same thing,” remarked Gayak, “but there ARE Breath particles in the mist.”
“…Okay, so, maybe NOT so absurd,” mused Roozay. “Why a messenger on foot?”
“Because the mist is making the Endeavor go haywire too,” replied Gayak.
“That explains the flare yesterday,” sighed Roozay. “If it can affect a Dauntless-class ship, a small Observer-class science vessel ain’t gonna be unscathed. Anything else?”
“That’s all, Sir,” answered Gayak.
“All right then, see if you and Hentur can find a solution,” directed Roozay. Gayak saluted and left the Ready Room. After a minute, Roozay returned to the bridge, moving towards his Lamia Communications Officer. “Mr. Trootar,” he called, “contact Realmfleet and tell them of the situation. Tell them the Endeavor is affected by the mist and Galthar needs aid in the form of food and water.”
“Message sent,” reported Trootar. “They’ve acknowledged and are awaiting recommendations.”
“Tell them that all technology based aid will not be possible,” directed Roozay. “Refrigeration must be done via cooling spells and all food needs to be cooked over open fires. All ships must land at least two taks from Galthar’s borders to prevent the mist from affecting them.”
“They’ve acknowledged and are ready to deploy a relief fleet,” answered Trootar.
“Excellent,” praised Roozay. “I’ll be outside the ship. We’ll coordinate the aid from here.”
Over on the Endeavor, studies on the mist were going slow with all machinery needing constant repairs. Every time someone started something up, it sparked. The mystery woman, meanwhile, was still under surveillance. She was still moaning in pain, speaking in broken speech about something prodding and poking her constantly, never giving a clear answer. Marshii tried various spells to heal her, but it was no good. Whatever malady the mystery woman was afflicted with, magic alone couldn’t cure it. Marshii felt a tear come down her face. “I don’t need to be Thengo,” she muttered to herself, “to know where that tear came from. Having no computers or machinery to help is just frustrating!”
“Glad to see you can pinpoint the problem,” called Thengo’s voice. She had entered Sick Bay while Marshii was griping to herself. “Unfortunately, our society became so dependent on technology.”
“So much so,” guessed Marshii, “that we feel lost without it. Everyone’s feeling as I do.”
“Bingo,” confirmed Thengo. “Anything on our mystery patient?”
“Not a thing,” grumbled Marshii. “It would help if my legs were working so I can closely examine her, but I had to take them offline because of all this!”
“…What if you turned them back on?” asked Thengo.
“Are you out of your pink-haired mind?!” snapped Marshii. “They might charge off on their own!”
“Maybe they just needed a reset,” theorized Thengo.
“Okay, fine, I’ll try it,” muttered Marshii as she slid herself into the harness between her legs. She switched them on and tested walking forward. They responded perfectly, like they were newly built. “What in…?” quizzed Marshii.
“What do you know?” chuckled Thengo. “They DID need a reboot.”
“…A reboot,” mused Marshii. “…Wait…what if…”
“You mean…?” realized Thengo.
“Shut down the ship!” the two ladies called together.
“Go get Arsha, bring her to Thangred,” directed Marshii, “and tell them to shut the ship down! I still have a patient to tend to!”
“On it!” confirmed Thengo as she scurried out. Marshii knelt down and tried to reassure the woman.
“You hear that?” she asked. “We’ll fix you up soon.”
Thengo dashed through the corridors, asking various repair teams where Arsha was. So far, they had no idea. She continued running down the halls when she almost collided with Bashoon! “Ma’am, whoa!” she called. “Who’s dead?!”
“Ensign, have you seen the Captain?!” asked Thengo.
“She’s talking to Mom and Dad over at the bar,” explained Bashoon. “Why?”
“Marshii and I may have a solution!” replied Thengo. “Thank you!” She sprinted off and entered the Barmek’s bar, finding Arsha still talking with Mr. and Mrs. Barmek.
“We’ll do what we can to fix this, I promise you,” she assured the Barmeks. “I will NOT let your supplies spoil.”
“Captain!” called Thengo. “Thank goodness you’re here! Do you know where Thangred is?!”
“Still in Main Engineering,” replied Arsha, “trying to figure out what’s wrong with the ship.”
“Come with me!” directed Thengo as she grabbed Arsha’s hand.
“HEY!” yelped Arsha. She was dragged along at top speed all the way to Main Engineering. Thengo skidded to a stop when she found Thangred. “Counselor, what’s going on?!” asked Arsha.
“Thangred, Arsha, we need to shut the ship down!” called Thengo.
“Shut it down?!” yelped Thangred. “Are you out of your mind?! What for?!”
“Marshii tried it with her legs and they work perfectly!” explained Thengo. “A total shut-down purged the mist’s effects from her legs, it might do the same to the ship!”
“Her legs are a little more simpler than a skyship,” reminded Arsha.
“If it works for a skyship,” argued Thengo, “it could work for Galthar! The city would be able to defend itself against Reb Rojam!”
“Captain, it would take the rest of the day to bring it back online!” protested Thangred. Arsha pondered for a few seconds before she made her decision.
“Shut the Endeavor down,” she ordered.
“…Aye, Ma’am,” sighed Thangred. He turned up to Melandra. “Hey! Gloss-legs! We’re shutting the ship down! Get your key!”
“Shutting the ship down?!” yelped Melandra as he dropped down. “But…!”
“Captain’s orders!” answered Thangred.
“All right, I’m coming,” groaned Melandra as he pulled out a key. Thangred did the same and opened an access panel. There were two buttons and a keyhole beneath each button.
“I’ll turn my key first and count from ten,” directed Thangred. “When I say ‘five’, you turn your key, then wait until I say ‘Mark’ before we both press the buttons. Got it?”
“Understood,” confirmed Melandra. Thangred then turned his key.
“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five,” At Thangred’s count, Melandra turned his key, “four, three, two, one, MARK!” Both Engineers pressed the buttons and everything on the ship shut down, even the engine core. “Now what?” asked Thangred. Just then, everything went back online! “No, not yet!” wailed Thangred as he dashed towards a computer console, fearing an engine core breach. He checked the systems and became puzzled. “That’s funny,” he muttered. “That should have been an improper restart.”
“How long should it have been before power came back on?” asked Arsha.
“About five hours,” answered Thangred. “According to the systems, it looks like the ship restarted itself. Try the intercom, see if any area’s working right.” Arsha activated the intercom.
“Arsha to Marshii,” she called.
“Marshii here,” replied Marshii’s voice. “A bit too early to bring it back online, wouldn’t you say?”
“Doctor, the ship fired itself back up,” explained Arsha.
“…Pull the other one!” remarked Marshii.
“That’s what Thangred got down here!” insisted Arsha.
“Well, in any case, everything’s working up here and…by the Ones!” breathed Marshii. “Captain, get up here now!” The call ended and Arsha teleported herself to Sick Bay.
“What’s going on?” asked Arsha. Marshii pointed to the mystery woman to see that writing was appearing on the outer skirt of her dress. It was written with light, thus neither of them could make out what it was saying. The light died down and Arsha read off the letters and numbers. “CRS-2784, Endeavor,” she read aloud. “Weird. How could that happen?” The woman opened her eyes, then shook her head as a sign of clearing dizziness. The woman then looked around Sick Bay and smiled.
“Never thought I’d see Sick Bay,” she sighed happily. She then saw Marshii and Arsha. “Hello!” she called.
“Er, hello,” stammered Arsha. “Are you…?”
“Still in pain?” finished the woman. “Nope, not this time. All that poking and prodding in my corridors gave me a massive headache! …Hey, I have a head now!”
“…Did you…not always have one?” asked Marshii, a little concerned the woman was not mentally well.
“No, not in the usual sense, Dr. Borontho,” replied the woman. Marshii goggled at the woman.
“Marshii, she knows you,” remarked Arsha.
“Well, I can’t remember where I’ve seen her!” yelped Marshii.
“Let me help out a bit,” offered the woman. “During your training, you dropped a tiny bit of acid, right there on the floor.” The woman pointed to a spot near a bed. “You were so scared of Dr. Halterras finding out you messed up his nice, clean floor, so you tried to hide the damage with a towel. When he demanded you pick it up, you hesitated to do so, but relented and revealed the acid spill to him. He was mad!”
“…I never told anyone this!” yelped Marshii. She immediately scanned the woman’s brain waves and noticed something. She goggled as she put two and two together. “This woman’s head,” she explained, “is linked to the ship’s computer core! Her body has new Breath particles and sprouted from the metal of the ship! Captain, this woman…we’re inside her right now!” Arsha’s eyes became as big as dinner plates as she ran her gaze up and down the woman.
“…You’re the Endeavor?!” she asked. The woman nodded. “…My ship?!”
“My captain!” giggled the woman, the living consciousness of the Endeavor.
“Then this IS a new era for talking machines!” cheered Marshii. “I can’t believe this! I…oh, crap, now I’ve got to work with Thangred when giving someone a physical.”
“A necessary sacrifice,” assured Arsha as she grinned. “Endeavor, Realmfleet’s gonna flip when they see you!”
“Call me Endea, please,” directed the woman.
“Well then, welcome, Endea!” greeted Arsha. She then activated the intercom. “All Senior Staff to the Ready Room!” she cheered. “We have a new addition to the crew!”