Alex Kaidan: S01E01 - Paradise Lost

Being completely unable to think of a sensible name for your space ship tends to be less of a problem when there's only one ship in the whole Human 'fleet', besides Alex Kaidan only ever really borrowed it. What could be more of a problem is Earth having been paved and only a few Humans surviving, and that was only thanks to the actions of a benevolent alien race known as the Un. Alex and his crew have made it their mission to find and rescue however many Humans they can that are being held captive by any of the alien races. A mission made all the more difficult by the sad truth that a catastrophically decimated population is not an employers' market.

In this episode, Alex's attempts to save a large group of imprisoned Humans from being slightly too comfortable goes horribly wrong when Sara Heath, a member of his crew, shoots and kills a man.

“Paradise Lost” is the first episode in season 1 of the science fiction series “Alex Kaidan”.

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The bridge was nothing like that of an old Human-designed seafaring ship. Not that Alex knew anything about those bridges, other than the name. The Un-designed bridge was a sphere in the exact centre of the vessel where it was most heavily shielded. There were no windows, a luxury reserved for the observation lounges throughout the outer layer of the vessel. Instead, images from external sensors were projected onto the walls of the sphere so that it looked and felt like the bridge crew were floating in space with nothing except the consoles in front of them.

The Un visual sensory analogy saw things differently to the Human eye, being better in many regards, and having no trouble discerning the jet black console from the darkness of space around them. As such, Alex had had a thin white outline painted on to the border of the consoles so that the crew could find them when they were not lit up. He had also had some high-chairs welded to the translucent flooring so that the Human crew was able to fully dip their hands into the three-dimensional consoles, which resembled upturned, empty boxes filled with floating lights and virtual icons, and that were designed for the larger Un arm-length. This had only caused a problem on one notable occasion when nobody had seen a patrol vessel because it was behind Alex’s chair. Since then, he had had mirrors fitted to the back of each of the two pilots’ chairs and swapped the chairs with similar ones that swivelled. Of course, this had led to a subsequent problem where the entire bridge crew got nauseous following a fairly standard, turning manoeuvre. The swivel chairs had finally been fitted with brakes and the rest was history.

Currently the bridge was occupied by Liam, whom he had caught in his seat, and the latest addition to the crew, trainee navigator, Jacques Whitman.

"Anyone seen Matthias since he got back?"

"Sorry captain," said Liam, sheepishly. Alex was unsure if he was apologising for not having seen Matthias or for having commandeered his chair.

"Nope, sorry. He's not been in here. Have you tried calling him?" suggested Jacques.

"He's not answering"

"Maybe he's having a shower?"

"Yeah, maybe"

"Either way, I'm glad you're here. I've been meaning to ask you if you wouldn't mind helping me with these stream predictions. When you've got a minute that is"

He thought about it for a second, then decided that he would help the trainee navigator and find Matthias later on, "Yeah okay, Jacques, but don't let me forget to call Matthias again in a few minutes".

"Thanks," he said, vacating his seat so that Alex could sit at the console, "I just can't seem to find any Strachan currents nearby"

Alex began to study the simulations that Jacques had already put together. There was no doubting that he had a talent for this kind of thing, which is why he had appointed him navigator even though he was relatively new. That and the departure of his previous navigator who had been allocated a partner several months before and who was now excessively pregnant. Jacques was a more than capable replacement, but sometimes he was just too thorough.

"This is your problem here," he said after a few minutes, pointing to something in the console that was far too high up for him to see when not in the chair, "I've warned you about this before, your models are always too complex. They're good, but take far too long to run and then you miss things"

Jacques silently watched as Alex in awe as he waved his hands around in the console for several further minutes, manipulating the lights in an almost automatic way.

"Here. This is why. We need to reduce the size of this variable about tenfold. It's all about abstraction"

Barely able to see, Jacques cringed as Alex appeared to wipe away several hours worth of his work with the replacement of a single variable, but he was then amazed to watch the console happily churn out predictions for the locations of the nearest Strachan currents, or streams as they were also called.

"It looks like your nearest stream is about 900 kilometres starboard, and it might just be headed in the right direction too"

"Yessir," Jacques said happily, before adding, "which way are we headed?"

"Home, of course"

"So the prisoners have agreed to come back with us?"

"Well, I wouldn't go that far just yet, but they can't make an informed decision without at least seeing The Village first now can they?"

"I guess not," he replied, still partially unconvinced

A square of bright light appeared in the blackness of space as the main Un-sized door to the bridge slid open.

Four of the liberated prisoners walked in as a group, Three women including the spokesperson whom he had already forgotten the name of, and a young man who was probably in his late teens, trailing behind.

He quickly and quietly finished giving his orders, "So just head over to that stream and set the sail for that place we just talked about, okay?"

Jacques nodded, then the nod turned into a head shake as soon as Alex turned his back to greet the guests.

"Captain"

"Yes. Hello again..."

"Eleni"

"Yes, Eleni, of course. I hadn't forgotten," he lied (badly)

"Are we going somewhere?"

Suddenly, Alex remembered that he had forgotten something, "Oh sorry, one moment."

He turned back to Liam, "Liam, will you go to Sara's cabin and relieve Dann on guard duty. He's been injured"

"Nothing serious I hope," said Eleni

"Just his, er, pride really," he said, "and possibly also his joy". There was something else nagging at him but he dismissed it while he dealt with the spokesperson, "So are you here a tour or is there something that you needed me for?"

"We are here to formally ask you once more to return us to our protectors"

"I assume you mean the Nedic, your captors?"

"We do mean the Nedic, but as it is you who are holding us against our will, that makes you people our captors"

"No, I'm sorry. We can't. And for what it’s worth, I sorry you feel that way about us. All I can do is take you with us back to New Earth and give you my word that the Un will be happy to return you to your former enslavers. Anyway, you never know, you might like it there"

"What makes your home better than ours? You're kept by the Un. How are the Un any different to the Nedic?"

"Taller, less limbs, better shots, that kind of thing"

She was not impressed.

"Listen, Lanie -"

"- "Eleni!" she interrupted, clearly getting annoyed now.

"Sorry. Eleni. The Village - New Earth, I mean, is a free Human colony. We manage our own affairs, we have a democracy. It’s not perfect but we’re on the right track. It deserves to be considered, or at least just seen!"

"Please Captain, the Nedic will be worried about us"

"My decision is final. You will come with us to New Earth and then if you don't like it you can get a lift back to the Nedic from the Un, and if that's not good enough for you then you can damn well walk home for all I care"

She looked at him aghast and he realised that he had overstepped the mark.

"Look, I'm sorry. It's just been a difficult day," he said

"Really? Did someone blow up your home, kidnap you then kill..." she could not finish her sentence through the tears. One of the other women grabbed her and pulled into a hug to console her. Negotiation really was not Alex's strong suit.

She pulled herself free to face him again, "If you promise to let us leave..."

"I do. You will be free to go. If there was a way of returning you without risking the lives of my crew I would do so right now after what happened, but this is the only way"

He allowed her a moment to compose herself.

"Well then, the least you can do is let me see my father's body"

Alex was surprised, "You don't have it?"

Conscious of Eleni's current state, one of the other women calmly said, "One of your men took it from the shuttle when we got here. The one who wasn't there when you turned up"

She must have meant Matthias.

"Yes of course," he had forgotten all about him, "He must have thought he was helping somehow. I'm on my way to see him now as part of my investigation so I assure you that I will see that.... erm.... her father is returned immediately"

The woman turned back to face Eleni and the three women left as a huddle with the spokesperson crying and the other two looking behind them to scowl at him all the way to the door.

The teenager had remained behind.

"Captain?" he said

Alex was exasperated, "I'm sorry, but can this wait? I've got to see somebody about a body"

My name's Reza. I was just wondering if I could join your crew?”

No”

Why not?”

Because I'm hated enough by your people as it is without resorting to kidnapping a child”

I'm seventeen"

Seventeen what?”

Seventeen years old”

Kid, do you even know what a year is?”

"Of course I do, it’s one orbit of Earth around its parent star, the Sun - about three hundred and sixty five days, give or take."

That threw him a little. He knew it was somewhere around that, but had always thought it closer to four hundred.

"Yeah... That's right," he said, hesitantly, "Did your institute mimic all that?"

"No, we just had a twelve hour day-night cycle. I learned it from John, our keeper"

He had things to do, but now he was curious. Against his better judgement, he asked, "Keeper?"

"The keeper of the old knowledge. That's what he called himself. His granddad was the first keeper and he collected all the knowledge of the old world from everybody he could, before they forgot it all. The others hated it then and still do now. They think we should rely on the Nedic for all of our needs, but John said that it’s our duty to preserve what we learned for future generations."

"Oh, right. Well, this John sounds like a useful fellow to have around then"

"He's dead now. He didn't have any children of his own either, so he told it all to me. Guess that makes me the keeper now. This probably all sounds a bit silly to you."

"No, not really. We could probably do with a keeper of our own. To think of the things we've forgotten in a just a few years since Earth was lost... Except chemistry. We kept hold of that one to keep us alive"

"Why only chemistry?"

"Well it's not only chemistry, I'm sure there's other stuff, but it's 'cos there are no plants any more. There wasn't time to save any crops so we have to synthesize everything."

"None? But the institute was full of them"

Alex nearly had a heart-attack, "Useful ones? Crops?"

"Mainly decorative, I think. Nothing edible. We got our food ready prepared from the Nedic"

"Still - plants! Real Earth plants? Well there's another reason why this mission couldn't possibly have gone any worse."

"So what do you eat?"

"We do alright. There's a few things that won't kill us and we can make everything else. The Un have helped us a lot in that department though, and the galaxy isn't shy when it comes to amino acids. Same goes for ethanol - Allah knows how bad it would have been if we didn't have alcohol."

"Alcohol? I've been told a lot about that. Mainly bad things though."

Alex shrugged.

"Well," said Reza, "it's nice to see that you've got your priorities straight. Still, I always thought that the Islamic religion forbids it"

He shrugged again, "We like to hedge our bets when it comes to religion: We need all the help we can get. I'm told that there used to be two or three separate religions at one point but then they kind of merged into one when no-one could remember the difference any more. But still, best not to mention that thing about the alcohol to anyone else"

"Oh, right. Okay, so you think that a keeper would be useful to have around, and I want to join your crew, so problem solved: I'll be your keeper"

"That's not what I meant, kid. Where are your parents anyway?"

"My name is Reza. I told you that so stop calling me kid. And they're dead too."

"Oh"

"At least I think they are. The Nedic took them when I really was a kid, but the others say they were rewarded and moved on to a better place"

"Do you know why? Did they do something wrong"

"Don't think so. I was only young but I do remember them being big supporters of the Nedic like the others. Maybe they're right and they were moved on to a better place"

"I don't think so, I'm sorry Reza"

"Yeah well. Ancient history now"

"Look, by our standards, you're technically an adult -"

"Technically?" interrupted Reza

"- so I guess you can do what you want and we're always desperate for new crew members -"

"Especially now"

"Yes, especially now. But being on my crew will be hard work and I'm not sure we actually need a keeper. You'd no doubt be started off doing the jobs that no one else wants. Ship life isn't easy."

"I know, I know. I've heard the story of Treasure Island"

"Er... Treasure Island?"

"Robert Louis Stevenson's classic? No? Really? You so need a keeper."

"All I'm saying is go and have a think about it before you make any kind of decision. Talk it over with the others. Where are they anyway?"

"Most of them are in the big room with the windows"

"The main observation lounge? Oh right. I did wonder where they got to. Why don't you go and talk to them and then have a chat to Jacques here"

Jacques, who was still concentrating on analysing the new results, waved half-heartedly from the console.

"Why are you trying to put me off joining?"

"Because we're desperate for crew members, and if you insist then a I'll have to say yes -" Reza's face instantly changed from one of serious determination to a beaming smile. Alex continued, "- but if you're not fully committed to what we're doing here then we're going to end up in another situation like this one"

"No need to worry, Captain," he assured, "I am fully committed to the cause"

"Which is?"

"What?"

"The cause. What is it?"

"Oh... well... now you've put me on the spot," he flustered, before venturing, "Something to do with collecting people...?"

"Nice try. We're actually trying to reunite what's left of the Human race. Trying to gather as many people as possible from as diverse a range of genetic backgrounds as possible to ensure the survival of the species and give it the best shot for the future."

"Yeah. That. 100% committed"

"Look, if you're just looking to run away, I can take you to The Village. They're desperate for people too."

"No, no this sounds fine. Although I will get to see this village, won't I?"

"Once or twice, no doubt"

"Then I'm in"

"Hmmm. Well, that's good enough then, I suppose. At least we didn't scare you off at any rate. It would be understandable if we gave you a bad impression. Usually we don't free people against their will."

"Well you have one grateful ex prisoner, for what that's worth. Although, it is tragic about Jens. He was a good man"

"Yeah, I'm starting to get that impression, but you'll be pleased to hear that I'll be starting my investigation momentarily"

"Okay. Oh, one last question, this isn't a Human built ship is it? The stairs are too tall and all of the doors are too wide"

"No, it’s not. Well observed"

"So where did you get it?"

"I borrowed it, and that's two questions. See Jacques about getting a cabin assigned if you're sure about joining the crew. Right now though, I really have to go and find -"

Before he could say the word 'Matthias', Liam called the bridge crew.

"Captain, I've just got to Sara's cabin. She's gone and Dann's been knocked unconscious."

"What? How? Is he okay"

"He's out cold, but I don't see any blood or bruises. Looks like he's been treated to a force wave. Door's been forced open from the outside too. My guess would be that she had some help"

"Jacques, load up the security feed for that corridor and find out who’s helping her.”

On it,” Jacques replied

"What's going on?" asked Reza, who was without a receiver or ear-piece , seeing only the sudden look of panic in both their faces. They ignored him.

Liam, get Dann to the medical bay,” as he ran out, he shouted to both of them, “I'm headed for the docking bay - that’s where they’ll be going.”

By the time he had run as far as the nearest elevator, Jacques called him directly and informed him, "Got the vid footage, scanning through it now. Yeah, you were right, it was Matthias. I can clearly see him as he shoots out the camera. Bit pointless, that"

What about the docking bay level?”

He knew Sara's way of doing things. He could not imagine that there would be any way that she would leave the ship without at least trying to steal it. First by trying to manipulate the others into giving her control, but that would always be a long-shot - a distraction more than anything, probably while she tried to hack into the ship's computer to change the command permissions. That would be difficult to pull off, so she would keep an exit ready: the shuttle. Unfortunately, the Un did not seem to have ever thought to add any kind of security to the shuttles, meaning that anyone could just take one.

Which camera?”

Try those near consoles that aren’t too far from the shuttles. Start with any that have been shot offline”

Riiiight...,” he said reluctantly, “That might take some time”

Do your best, but do it quickly,” said Alex, as he widened the conference channel to include Liam again as well as Rhyna and the ship's engineers Ava Mbombo and Gino Estefan, "For those of you that aren't already up to speed, we have a situation in progress. Someone has knocked out Dann and released Sara from confinement, where she was placed while I investigated the killing of an unarmed Human. At this stage, we are suspecting Matthias of being involved. If anyone sees either of them, let me know immediately and do not let them leave the ship. Everyone get that?"

"Alex, you're on the wrong channel!" replied Rhyna privately, "Sara's trying to start a little mutiny. Inviting you now"

He accepted the invite and switched to the new conference call to catch the tail end of Sara's incitement, "- rid of him. How many more of these missions he's got us doing are going to go awry? And why is he so secretive about where he's getting his information from? What it comes down to is that he's not good enough to be our captain"

"I agree completely, but who's going to be captain then? You?" said Liam, clearly not noticing Alex's presence on the conference channel.

"Yeah, it's a fair point but what makes you think you'll be any better?" the voice was Ava's. They had never got on particularly well, but he had always respected her professionally. The sentiment was apparently not returned.

"I know how to pilot the ship, I know how to deal with aliens and I know how to get things done. Why not me? Unless you want to be led by Dann, the village idiot"

Then Gino took his chance to speak, "Better than a murderer"

"Yeah well, Kaidan isn't as righteous as he likes to make out. He's not exactly innocent -"

Alex quickly interjected, "- That's enough Sara."

"Captain," said Liam, quickly, "How long have you been here?"

"Shut up, Liam"

"Do you mind, we're having a private conversation," said Sara. While her words were confident and defiant, her voice seemed to crack a little suggesting that she was nervous, or maybe afraid.

"Haven't you done enough damage for one day? Where are you?" said Alex, now in the elevator and headed for the docking bay

"As if I'd tell you."

"Just come back in, Sara. There's going to be a trial. It will be a fair trial, I promise you that. You'll have the chance to defend yourself"

"Oh good, will I get a gun?"

"You'll get a lawyer and the opportunity to explain your actions"

"My actions? If it wasn't for my actions, we'd still be being shot at by the Nedic. My actions caused those humans to come here. Do you think they would have left otherwise? Do you think Dann might've been able to convince them?"

"Yes, eventually"

"You didn't see the place. It was idyllic. They never would have left and we were running out of time"

The elevator (which he had to admit really was considerably faster than wandering the corridors) arrived on the deck with the docking bay. All he had to do now was find which of the engineering consoles scattered around the deck she would be on. As the door opened, he saw the first of the consoles, but Sara was not using it. He quickly started towards the location of the second closest one.

Alex tried to keep her talking while he searched, "They wouldn't leave so you shot one of them? You think that was helpful? You've alienated them from us forever, there's no way they'll ever join us now"

"Who cares? We don't need them, we just need their genes. If they can't see what's good for them then we should lock them up and use them as baby factories for all I care."

He could now see the second console at the far end of the corridor and it too appeared to be vacant. There were two other suitable consoles close to the docking bay, but were in opposite directions to each other. He randomly picked the one in the direction to his right.

"Baby factories? Do you even know what you're saying? We're trying to help build a future for humanity here and that's going to take more than genetic material. The choices that we all make now will determine what kind of society it will be and I won't have it built on slavery"

He was running now, and he hoped that his heavier breathing did not give that away.

"Well that's very honourable of you, but we do things your way and there won't be a humanity left to appreciate your idealism. These are desperate times, we need to make tough decisions and you’ve never were particularly decisive, Captain" she spat out the last word.

"That's always been your problem. You think the end justifies the means. It doesn't"

He was not sure how much longer he could stretch out the conversation. As long as she was talking, she was not giving her full attention to the computer hack, and that bought him time. If she was not at this console however, she might even succeed, or at least do enough damage to the system architecture to cause them serious difficulties.

"Yes it does, and everyone on the crew knows that. Everyone but you. Why don't you step aside and let me take over. You're clearly not cut out to be captain"

"You wouldn't last five minutes. This is my ship. Want to be captain? Get your own"

I’d love to - care to enlighten us as to how exactly you managed to steal an Un spaceship from Humanity’s only allies?”

I didn’t steal it, I borrowed it.”

Well now we’re going to borrow it off you”

"You won't be able to convince them. Whatever their opinion of me, the crew won't follow someone who murders Humans"

"They follow you"

"If you pay attention, we can slowly go through this one more time. I'm not a murderer, whereas you are. Got all that?"

No?” She asked, her voice purposefully dripping with spite and mock curiosity, “What about-”

Alex did not give her the chance to finish, “-Drop the gun, Sara!” he interrupted loudly, although this time, the words did not reach her via her ear-piece. He had got lucky and had chosen the right console. Sara looked directly up into the force wave projector segment of his gun.

Captain,” said Jacques, “I’ve found her! I’ve managed to use a different camera and tilt it to see down another corridor, but I can see her-,” he stopped abruptly, “Oh, and you.”

Thank you, Jacques. Yes, I have her now. Excellent work, by the way.”

Erm, thanks,” he mumbled in reply, unsure of whether or not he had meant it.

I underestimated you. How did you find me?”

Just your M.O. I remembered the way you so gracefully ran away on Iosix.”

It was an old wound, "I didn’t run away, I was covering the exit”

As you are now. Drop the gun”

I don’t have a gun. I do have somewhere I need to be though, so I suggest you get out of my way”

Do you have a date? That might help to explain what happened to that corpse”

That was low, he knew, but then so was stealing the body of the man you just shot from his daughter.

I need it”

What off Earth for?”

To make amends”

I’m not even going to start to try to comprehend how you think that you’re making amends by stealing a body, but what I am going to do is shoot you unless you drop the gun”

I don’t have-” Sara’ denial was interrupted as she was thrown across to the opposing bulkhead by the force wave from his gun.

Or,” Alex said to himself in a sing-song tone, “I can just shoot you and then collect your gun from the floor here behind the console where you were hiding it waiting for the chance to kill me."

Before he did so, he stopped and looked over at her, "And now you're unconscious. And so now I'm talking to myself”

Suddenly Jacques screamed into his ear, “Matthias! Matthias is behind you”

His body tensed and he flipped his head around just in time to meet the barrel of Matthias’ gun, “Drop it please, captain”

Oh, Matthias. What a surprise,” he said before adding sarcastically, “If only someone had warned me..."

Sorry captain, I couldn’t see him down the other corridor,” said Jacques, “I’m coming!”

Matthias grabbed both Alex’s gun and ear-piece from him, keeping the former and throwing away the latter.

Grab Sara and bring her this way,” he said solemnly.

Fine,” said Alex, walking close to where Sara's gun lay.

"Not that way, she's over there"

He did not seem to know about the gun, but was smart enough to not let Alex stray too far in the wrong direction.

He turned towards where Sara was slumped and walked over, "You won’t be able to pull this off. You’re no hacker”

I’m not trying to pull anything off. Except leaving. Take her to the shuttle"


 

Alex picked up Sara by looping his arms around her chest and optimistically dragged her towards the smaller shuttle.

Matthias shook his head and pointed one of the guns towards the larger shuttle, then followed behind them, “Faster please, Captain”

I don’t suppose you want to tell me why you’re helping her?”

Because I love her. I thought that much was obvious. People have been making jokes about it for months now”

Well, yes, I suppose they have, but only because you’ve been following her around like a lost..." he paused, trying to think of the phrase, unable to complete it, he simply ended the sentence with, "...thing that gets lost a lot"

"What's your point?"

"The point is that it's unrequited”

Huh?”

She doesn’t love you back”

Oh, yeah I know”

She’s a manipulative-”

He interrupted, “I know”

You don’t have to do this”

I know”

Matthias opened the shuttle doors and Alex hauled her up the ramp onto the deck while he followed. He was reluctant to put her down as she was quite conveniently placed in between him and Matthias’ gun.

Matthias signalled with a gun once more for him to deposit her on the floor and then back himself onto the boarding ramp, outside the shuttle. He did so.

"Good," said Matthias from just inside the shuttle doorway, “Now all you have to do is let us leave and I won't kill you"

"They'll destroy the shuttle when it leaves without authorisation. Me being dead won't change that."

"Well, tell them not to"

"I can't do that. We can't spare the shuttle and she needs to face justice for what she's done-"

Matthias raised the gun level with his head, prompting a swift re-evaluation, "-But when you put it like that, I never really liked this shuttle anyway"

"Good choice, but I think I've changed my mind. I don't believe you won't shoot the shuttle as we leave"

"Really, we won't. Take it"

Matthias lowered the gun a little, lost in thought. For a second Alex toyed with the idea of taking advantage of his lapse in concentration by going for the guns, but then he remade eye contact, "No, I'm sorry Captain, this is the only way. I know this crew. When they find out your dead, they'll panic and we can get away. But if you live then we die. It's nothing personal. For what it's worth, I actually thought you were a decent boss"

Alex closed his eyes and gritted his teeth, most probably also causing him pull a silly face. It was not the way he had planned to die. He always thought he would go looking the enemy defiantly in the eye, or then again, maybe just a nice straightforward heart attack in his sleep at a ripe old age.

He had been close to achieving something, he had to give himself that. It was nothing compared to the potential though. He was a man with his own spaceship and he had a mission. He was going to save Humanity. Not any more though. Now he was going to murdered by a member of his of own crew. Well at the very least he knew that Matthias Cho would not be getting a good reference from him.

Alex noticed his face was beginning to ache. Matthias appeared to be taking an awfully long time to murder him. Slowly, he opened one eye.

He was still there, but seemed to be incapable of doing following through on the task. The gun was still pointed at him, but now it drooped slightly and his arm sagged.

He was not sure if it was the prospect of living or the pathetic look on his would-be assassin's face that made Alex want to laugh, but he feared that to do so would give him incentive to go through with it.

"You can't do it, can you? You can't kill another Human," was what Alex was about to say, probably followed by, "Come on, Matthias. You're not a murderer. Give me the gun and we can sort all of this out"

Unfortunately, Alex did not get the chance to say any of those words before the sound of a projectile weapon being fired echoed around the docking bay and a bullet hit the railing next to where Alex stood on the ramp.

He dived to the limited cover provided by the floor as Matthias retreated into the shuttle and hit the door close button.

"Captain Kaidan! Are you okay?"

"Who's firing?" Alex called out from the floor

"That was me, it’s Reza!" he shouted back, "I found this gun on the floor outside"

"Were you meaning to try to hit me?"

"No, I was aiming for the other guy"

"Did the Nedic teach you to shoot?"

He got up and examined the shuttle door. It was locked from the inside. He ran over to Reza.

"I tried to follow you before, but I got a bit lost"

"That's fine kid, but we've got to go"

"Why"

"Captain!" called out Jacques as he rushed in from the corridor, "Are you okay?"

"Jacques! Perfect timing"

"Really?"

"No. Now, we need to get out of here"

An alarm sounded. One that Alex had not ever heard before, primarily because when it normally sounded, he was either on the shuttle or behind the vacuum safety glass of the docking bay control room. He began to sprint towards the door. The others followed.

"Why are we running? What's that noise?" asked Reza

"Depressurisation warning alarm."

"You managed to convince them to leave?" asked Jacques, panting.

"Something like that," replied Alex as he crossed through the open airlock door. After he made sure everyone was inside he slammed his palm onto the door seal button.

The door that they had just passed through closed and seconds later, the second door in front of them opened back into the corridor.

"Can't you stop them?" Reza asked Alex as they moved out of the airlock and into the corridor.

"Not from here, and all I could do from the control room is shut the outer door, but that's no match for a shuttle - we'd just end up breaking the ship too"

"I could shoot them?" suggested Jacques. Having seen Alex's facial expression, he quickly added, "Just their engines, mind"

"Who's on the bridge?"

"Er... me"

"So who's going to do the shooting?"

"Oh"

"Yeah. Besides, I've never known an engine to be shot that didn't explode and take out the ship"

"So what do we do?" asked Reza

"Nothing. We let them go. There's been too much death here already today. Anyway, they won’t get far in that shuttle. I'm sure we'll run into them again"


 


 


 


 

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