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Commander Stacey walked into sickbay to find Jessica hard at work tending to all of the injuries sustained by the destruction of the evil Colossus. She had passed through crowded hallways. Kat had informed her that the ship sustained 45% damage and would take a long time to fix. The engines themselves were still offline because of major damage. The damage control team was working 24/7 on the engines.

Commander Stacey went to see Mary-Kate since she was the only one not running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. "How is she?" she asked while looking at Ashley

Mary-Kate smiled "She'll be fine in a week or two."

Commander Stacey felt a little awkward with his next request. She rubbed the back of her neck with her hand and said "Look, umm Mary-Kate, I know you want to stay by Ashley but I really need you to get back to the bridge. Kat has been at your station, but she was hurt during the explosion and I would like her to come get checked out. And since you aren't hurt..." she trailed off

Mary-Kate understood. "It's ok, ma’am, I know she'll be fine so I can go back to my duties. I'll send Kat down." She looked at Ashley and squeezed her hand, then she left out the door.

Jessica was putting a young man's arm in a sling when Stacey walked up to her. "Busy day?" she asked her jokingly. She obviously saw that it was extremely busy in the medical bay.

"Yeah, things have calmed down a bit. About 20 people were seriously hurt along with Ashley. They are on the medical beds and we are keeping an eye on them. Mostly patching up cuts, putting ice to bruises and fixing a broken arm or leg." she said as she sighed. "How is everyone?"

"Well," Commander took a breath "I'm just touring the ship taking in the damages for myself. Kat is on her way, she might have a broken leg. Brett is in engineering getting things back online, which included the lights. He's got a bad cut on his forehead which he hasn't even looked at, so if he doesn't come in by the time everyone leaves, go and see him please. Sometimes that boy just doesn't know when to quit. Other than that, not much." she said

"I'll get to Brett as soon as I can." she said.

Once Commander Stacey got to the bridge, an ensign got her attention. "ma’am, unknown ships heading in our direction."

The Colossus was very vulnerable, as was the damage control team out fixing the engines. "Great." Commander Stacey thought to herself. "Mary-Kate, are the sensor's working properly?" she asked. Maybe it was just a sensor malfunction and nothing was really there.

"Aye, ma’am. Sensors are 85%, strong enough to give a good reading." she replied, not to the liking of the Commander.

"So, they aren't glitches." she said in a low voice. "Are the weapons working? Can we get our fighters out there?" she called to Mary-Kate again

"Weapons are...not good. Fighters have light damage, they can fly." she said.

She knew the fighters were ok, but the pilots might not be. She had to act fast. "How long until those ships reach us?" she asked the Ensign.

"15 minutes tops" she said.

Commander wasted no time getting to the communications panel. "This is Commander Stacey to all hands! We have incoming ships and no idea if they are friendly or not. I need all pilots, who are capable of flying, to meet me in the fighter bay. Damage control teams get back into the docking bays. On the double people!" she said.

"Mary-Kate, you have command while I'm away." Stacey said as she ran out the door.

"Yes, ma’am" she answered nervously. The amount of responsibility was enormous. A vulnerable ship with 10 000 people on board was about to be attacked by enemies and she was now in charge. Her decisions would mean the difference between life and death.

The Commander entered the fighter bay to examine each of the pilots. Some had to be taken out because of injuries that might get them killed. One man had a broken arm, but was still willing to fight. Another was a little dizzy, but was still willing to go defend the Colossus. Brett was there, not looking all that good. Blood was still coming out of his cut. He had not taken any time off, which added to his fatigue.

"Brett, I can't let you go out there." Commander Stacey told the officer.

"Ma’am, I'm fine, really." Brett tried to convince his commanding officer.

"Yeah, right. You’re hurt and tired. I can't allow you risk it. With your awareness lowered, you are an easy kill for those guys. You’re not going and that's an order." Commander Stacey said firmly

Brett let out a small growl, not being happy with the Commander's decision. "Yes, ma’am." he said. "You may be able to stop me from going out there" he started "But I am going to man the ship's weapons with, or without, your permission." he said, leaving the fighter bay without giving the Commander a second to reply.

Commander Stacey was not happy with Brett for having done that in front of all the pilots in the fighter bay but she couldn't do anything at this time. The business of the enemy ships coming their way was far more important. She started to brief them.

Mary-Kate was surprised to see Brett on the bridge. He seemed in a very bad mood so Mary-Kate didn't ask any questions.

Brett looked at Mary-Kate with a nicer look than when he entered the bridge. "What weapons do I have?" he asked

"1 beam turret and a few anti-fighter guns." she answered

"That's it?" he said surprised. "Do we have any idea what we are up against?" he asked the ensign at the sensors station.

"One corvette class warship. 2 wings of fighters and one bomber wing." she said discouraged. "The bad news is, the Corvette is on the opposite side of the working beam turret. We're sitting ducks."

"The engines are still down." Mary-Kate said. Even if she was in command, she didn't leave her station. She continued to co-ordinate internal ship repairs.

"Great, any idea of how many fighters we have?" he asked Mary-Kate yet another question.

"3/4 of our pilots can fly which means... 50 ships." she replied

"Thanks" he said to Mary-Kate

"Anytime" Mary-Kate answered

Brett opened a communications channel to the fighterbay. "Ma’am." Brett said, addressing Commander Stacey. "I think I have an idea."

"We're all ears." the Commander replied

"Mary-Kate told me we have 50 pilots able to fight right? Tell the fighters to hit the bomber wing first, then take out the corvette warship. We can take care of the attacking fighters.... I hope." he said.

"Sound good to you guys?" the Commander addressed the pilots.

"Yes, ma’am!" they said in unison and discipline.

"Go out there and good luck." she said

The Commander returned to the bridge and addressed the whole ship this time. "Commander Stacey to all hands. We have enemy ships inbound. Our shields are down and we have minimal weapons. We will take some hits so everyone be ready for some more shaking. Let's pray we make it alive. Commander out."

In sickbay, the exhausted medical team was getting ready for another flood of injuries. Supplies were low and they didn't know if they could handle all the cases. Things were looking bad. Jessica was very frustrated not being able to do many things without help. She cursed her broken arm, which prevented her from doing her 100%.

A shake was felt throughout the ship, indicating the battle had begun. Commander Stacey was doing the best she could. Mary-Kate was giving her damage reports after every hit the Colossus took and Brett was trying to co-ordinate the fighters.

"Incoming missile!" the ensign at the sensor station called out.

The missile made contact, and detonated close to the bridge. People were sent to the floor, which included Brett and the Commander.

Brett was weak and exhausted as much as the medical crew, but wouldn't give up. His right arm was injured by the tumble. Mary-Kate hit her head on her console. She was dazed, but, like Brett, wouldn't give up. The Commander was knocked out by his fall. She had a bump on her head, bleeding slightly.

Brett and Mary-Kate looked at eachother. They decided to both take command.

"Damage report." Mary-Kate ordered. She didn't have time to key everything up so she asked it from the stations.

"Sensors are almost gone, Ma'am. Only close-range is working." the ensign said.

"The few weapons I have are still working, but I don't know how long I can keep them working." Brett said as he feverishly pressed buttons on his console.

"Damage is 60%. I don't know if we're going to make it Brett." Mary-Kate confessed

"I don't know either." he agreed. "But we'll give them the hell of a fight!" he said, trying to inspire hope or courage in the soldiers on the bridge. His plan worked as they cheered and got back to work, giving it their 110%. "How much damage are we dealing out to them?"

"Their status is 75%" the ensign said. Just after she answered, her console blew from a power overload, sending her to the floor, unconscious.

Jessica was working frantically trying to keep the injured in stable condition while looking at injury reports and sending two people out on the serious ones. She had to turn the light ones down. Light injuries included broken arms and the like.

Another missile made contact with the ship. Brett was able to keep himself in his chair. Mary-Kate, however, was not so lucky. She was thrown back and joined many others on the floor, falling into a forced sleep.

He ordered a lieutenant to check on Mary-Kate. The lieutenant said that she was ok, but knocked out.

"Fighters, have the bombers been taken out?" Brett yelled over the comm.

"Yes sir, last one taken out a few seconds ago." a pilot answered.

"What about the enemy corvette?" Brett asked again

"25%" the pilot answered plain and simple.

"I want all fighters to lock on their most powerful missiles on that ship and fire at will." Brett ordered.

The fighters did what they were told and the corvette warship was destroyed minutes later.

Everyone sighed a sigh of relief together. They had survived, but just barely. The Colossus was only 20%. One more attack would be their destruction. A message was sent out by sub-space to any ships near them to come and guard the Colossus. The closest ship could be there in 3 days.

Brett went to check on the Commander. She was still out cold. Brett then went to check on Mary-Kate. She slowly woke up, holding her head. Brett told her to lie still incase she had any injury to her back or neck.

"We made it?" she asked

"Just barely, but yeah, we made it." he said softly, trying not to aggravate her head-ache. He opened a comm channel to sickbay. "Medical team to the bridge. Many wounded, some serious."

"On my way." Jessica said. She rushed up to the command deck. When she saw the shape the bridge was in, she was shocked. She couldn't recognize anything.

She sent Stacey to the medical bay right away. She ordered half of her medical team to come tend to the injured on the bridge. All the unconscious people were taken away on stretchers.

"Brett, you should go too." Jessica suggested.

"Not a chance." he said.

"But Brett..." she tried to reason with him.

"Jessica, other people need you more. I'll go when things get under control. Besides, I am the only commanding bridge officer left." Brett said.

"Your stubbornness will kill you one day. You've been working for days, you still have that cut on your head and now you've been bumped around again. Your exhausted, Brett." she explained to try to get him to go to sickbay.

"No. I'm not going until things get under control." he said. He was breathing like he had just finished a morning run. "Now just get me a person to man the sensors and help me to Mary-Kate’s station and I'll be just fine." he said as he tried to get up. His muscles were failing him.

Jessica, almost out of strength herself, helped Brett to the station. "Just do me a favor? As soon as a replacement comes, get down to sickbay."

"No promises." Brett said. "But I'll go sooner or later."

Jessica sighed as she gave up trying to convince Brett to get to the medical bay for some rest and treatment.

The two parted ways as Jessica left the bridge to help others in need.

Chapter 9