With the Gateway having been fixed so that the seven person limit was removed, we didn’t need my power as Vortex. My team, Team Death, assembled first. “Coordinates set,” reported Rusty. “Whenever you’re ready.”
“Shall we, Megumi?” offered Death.
“Minna,” I called, “ikuze! CHARGE!” We charged into the portal, flying through the rift.
Next up was my team, Team War. “Okay, Michael,” called Elphaba. “Your path is set.”
“Off we go!” I called. War gave off a battle-cry as we charged into the portal.
I had already taken everyone up to the Virginia. I adjusted the rose rings around my wrists as we arrived at the bridge. It was multi-leveled. The pilot sat in the center of the bridge’s lower level in a chair that looked like a multi-axis trainer, the chair astronauts use to simulate disorientation on reentry. The walls had half a TARDIS console built into them. The Captain, me, would sit in a chair on the level above the pilot and the First Officer would sit in the seat behind me, facing the back of the bridge in order to relay commands. I was showing off the consoles, starting from port, then going to bow, then starboard, then stern. “Welcome to the bridge!” I began. “We’ve only got a limited amount of time, so let’s go through it quickly. The port consoles are science stations, the bow consoles are weapons, the starboard consoles are in charge of communications, and the aft consoles command Engineering when the Chief Engineer is on the bridge. Now, positions. Liam.”
“Aye?” gulped Liam as he was snapped out of his awe.
“You know technical stuff, right?” I asked.
“…I hit things,” replied Liam. “They get fixed.”
“Splendid,” I answered. “You’ll work with R9 as an Engineer. Amelia, Pestilence, you work the science stations.”
“Got it,” confirmed Pestilence as she and Amelia took their respective consoles.”
“Hongo, you work the weapons,” I directed.
“Both consoles?” asked Hongo.
“Only one needs to be used,” answered Mikhail, “but we’re people who prefer back-ups. So, when one explodes, the other kicks in when only one person’s working the weapons.”
“Now THAT makes sense,” replied Hongo.
“Speaking of working consoles,” I interjected, “Mikhail, you’re in charge of communications.”
“да,” (Da, yes) confirmed Mikhail.
“Tanisha, you’ve flown ships before,” I recalled.
“Not this type,” remarked Tanisha. “I need to familiarize myself with the controls.”
“It’s like a video game,” I assured. “Think of the space battles in Star Wars: Battlefront II, the 2005 release.”
“Ah, the good one,” remarked Tanisha.
“Where does that leave me?!” protested Scorpainia.
“It leaves you as my First Officer,” I answered.
“YOUR First Officer?!” exclaimed Scorpainia.
“Megumi legally transferred ownership of the ship to me,” I explained. “As such, I’m it’s captain.”
“I see,” replied Scorpainia.
“Make sure my orders are carried out and smack anyone who says or does something stupid,” I instructed.
“Smacking limbs ready,” reported Scorpainia.
“All right, man your stations,” I directed. “Majel, ship status.” An image of the late Majel-Barret Roddenberry appeared on screen. She was in one of her Lwaxana Troi dresses.
“Still in standard orbit,” she reported, “and this a.i. is really, REALLY bored!”
“Is that…?!” gasped R9.
“No, it’s the a.i. based off of her,” I answered. “When she heard that I needed a shipboard computer, she volunteered. After I explained that it would have a full range of emotions, she planted the idea of an interactive image in Lukas’ head and suggested herself. This was after her guest lecture on how much influence women had in early science fiction. I agreed and so Lukas coded Majel here.”
“And I’ve been stuck orbiting Vorton for a while now,” muttered Majel.
“Well, our new adventure may stretch your engines,” I replied. “We’re going to universe 5-U-P-3-R-M-4-R-1-0 to rescue some Tarlaxian explorers.”
“OOOH! Going outside Vorton!” cheered Majel. “Ready and waiting!”
“Tanisha,” I instructed as I sat down, “set a course for 5-U-P-3-R-M-4-R-1-0. 50% of speed factor 1 until we’ve cleared orbit, then punch it to speed factor 7.”
“Got it,” confirmed Tanisha as she pressed the necessary buttons. As Scorpainia moved to sit behind me, I noticed something.
“Hey,” I whispered to her, not wanting to draw the bridge’s attention to it, “are you all right?”
“What do you mean?” replied Scorpainia in the same whisper.
“Your claw’s shaking,” I answered. Scorpainia’s right claw was shaking a bit. She looked at the claw and saw it shake. She then opened and shut it a few times, making it stop twitching.
“Must be getting old,” she chuckled. I could see it in her eyes, something’s terrified her. We were on a time crunch, though, so I put it to the back of my mind.
“Course laid in,” reported Tanisha.
“Engage!” I ordered in my best Picard impression. The engines hummed, the lights brightened…and the ship lurched, nearly throwing me out of my seat. Scorpainia yelped as the same happened to her while everyone else held onto their consoles as they fell.
“I’ll just correct the orbit, shall I?” gulped Majel.
“Vorton’s hailing us,” reported Mikhail.
“Put them through,” I directed. “They probably want to know what’s going on.”
“Is everything all right up there?” asked Richard.
“Just learned that the controls ARE similar to the space battles of the 2005 Star Wars: Battlefront II,” replied Tanisha, “but with inverted controls.”
“I think we need to learn how to fly this thing,” muttered Scorpainia.
“Majel, why don’t you pull up some tutorials?” I suggested.
“Tutorial system: engaged,” replied Majel. “We’ll start with step 1: Crash Avoidance.”
“When that’s done,” called Liam, “que up Snakes on a Plane.”
“Dude! Do it!” agreed R9.
“…All right,” mumbled Majel. “Queuing up Snakes on a Plane, directed by David R. Ellis and starring Samuel L. Jackson and…”
“Majel, cancel that order,” I interrupted.
“AW!” protested Liam and R9.
“You guys go on without us,” called Emily to my group.
“Okay, if you say so, Sis,” I muttered.
“We should probably get going,” mumbled Famine as she finished her chicken wings.
“All right, then,” I declared. “ATTACK!” We charged into the portal and fell through the rift.
“Moon-kyung,” called Joshua, “wish to do the honors?”
“Me?” I gulped.
“Why not? Let a new girl try her hand in a command position,” replied Lacey.
“…Well, I DID want to join the army when I was a girl,” I conceded. “Time to get some practice in. Gaja!” (Let’s go!) We charged into the portal and headed to our destination.
“There IS one thing I never liked about manning the Gateway,” muttered Elphaba as Ms. Moon-kyung and her group departed.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“The waiting,” explained Elphaba.
“No one really likes waiting,” I replied.
“I’m actually fine with it,” signed Chell. Thank goodness Tanisha taught Rusty, Elphaba, and I how to understand American Sign Language.
“Why?” asked Elphaba.
“Back home,” continued Chell, “I was constantly put into dangerous situations by GLaDOS, never getting a moment’s rest. I’m fine with just waiting.”
“Well, maybe it’s the old bad guy in me,” sighed Elphaba, “but I would stave off the ennui by conquest.”
“You’ve REALLY got a bad case of jitters if conquest staves it off,” remarked Rusty. I snorted holding back a laugh.
“I don’t know if you noticed,” I remarked, “but your old associates in the Dalek Empire are the twitchiest bunch in our universe.”
“And knowing that there’s a hostile multiverse out there,” interjected Elphaba, “we need to be ready for attack. THAT’S what’s making me twitchy.”
“In MY day,” I replied, “we took on Daleks, Cybermen, Autons, Zygons, and all manner of space thuggery, and it doesn’t get more hostile than THAT!” Just then, the Gateway’s control console beeped. Elphaba took it.
“This is Vorton,” she introduced.
“It’s Emily,” called Young Miss Saunders. “We finally got the ship controls hammered out. We’ll see you later.”
“Good luck,” bid Elphaba. As soon as communications ended, the Virginia left orbit, opened a rift, and vanished into it. Rusty and I saluted, you’re familiar with the salute of the United Kingdom, as it left.
“All right,” declared Elphaba as she took charge, “we’re all going into one hour shifts monitoring various aspects. Rusty, you’re monitoring the power systems. Brigadier, you’re monitoring weapons. Chell, medical monitoring for you. I’ll monitor the Gateway for any rift activity. We switch at the end of our shifts, Gateway to medical to weapons to power to Gateway. Understood?” We all confirmed our duties. “Perfect, let’s…” the Gateway beeped again, interrupting her. Since she volunteered for Gateway duty, she checked the console. “Someone’s coming through!” she yelped.
“Shocker Rift?” asked Rusty as she readied her gunstick.
“…No,” reported Elphaba. “A blonde woman in rags.”
“What was she doing in the rift?” I asked.
“Does it matter?!” signed Chell. “Bring her in! She’s unprotected!” Elphaba opened a portal and brought the woman to the platform. Rusty’s eyes went wide.
“I know that face!” she breathed.
“Pardon?” I asked.
“From the Pathweb, the shared intelligence of the Daleks!” explained Rusty. “From the Doctor’s memories as well! I know that woman!”
“Who?” asked Elphaba as Chell picked her up and carried her to the medical bay. “Who is she?”
“…Rose Tyler!” declared Rusty.