The ship shook as the guns fired, causing Prallan to bang his head against the side of the console he was rewiring. A small jolt ran through his fingers, and the entire console came alive again. He crawled out from underneath it as the screen lit up. The default information for the gunner’s station loaded, and Prallan quickly closed those screens down, and tried to bring up a communication stream with the bridge. The main pathway hit a wall. After trying several alternate routes for the data to flow, he gave up, and instead turned to the sensor data. The Jinar was continuing her closing orbit of the larger vessels, but it was a very calculated course, with none of the random movement that a pilot usually would have. He had to hold on to the console to keep from falling over as the guns thundered again. The room was noticeably hotter now, whether from some failure of the environmental systems or because of the constant firing of the heavy guns.
“Last Pyre rounds being loaded now, sir. Going back to High Explosive.” The Armory Chief said. Prallan nodded at him, and continued to work at the console.
The chronometer in the corner of the screen noted that they had six minutes until the fleet arrived. Prallan pulled up the sensors, and scanned the Jinar to see how bad the damage was, and saw the charred remains of the bridge and forward sections. The bridge itself was gone, and a large section of the forward corridor was open to space, as was the officer’s mess and some of the forward officer’s quarters. Most of the senior staff would have been on the bridge or in the mess or their quarters. The Ensign’s quarters were a little further along the corridor, but with it venting into space, they would be inaccessible for the time being. One man could not replicate all the operations of the ship’s bridge, especially not from the armory. Engineering was the appropriate place for such an operation, but the corridors outside engineering were compromised, venting atmosphere to space. It was a miracle that the ship had any air left in it with the number of hull breaches. At least he still had internal communications.
“All available hands to the Armory. All available hands to the Armory.” He called over the ship’s speakers. That call would echo throughout the ship, and hopefully would bring any crew that it could to the bridge. Prallan moved to another console, tapping it into the newly repaired power circuit. It turned on immediately, and he began reprogramming it to function as helm control. One of the few benefits of his recent graduation from the Academy is that he had a number of tricks up his sleeves. Reprogramming stock consoles was a hobby of the entire Academy student body, as the systems provided by the school were woefully inadequate and in need of customization. As he finished, a ragged group of four crewmen entered the Armory. Two had severe burns, and were barely ambulatory, but the other two seemed reluctant to leave them.
“Engineer’s Mate first class Litrun, sir,” Said one of the burned men. He nodded to the burned woman. “Crewman Trilan,” then he nodded to the two men that had helped them in. “Technician Praskow and Technician Brunnen.”
“Medic, take care of those two,” Prallan said needlessly. The medic was already looking Crewman Trilan over. “Technicians, have either of you operated helm control before?” Both shook their heads. “Fine, Praskow, take that station and let me know what’s going on with those cruisers. Brunnen, see if you can get that third console online and get the engineering readouts on it.” Prallan took the helm, and began minor course corrections to keep their path unpredictable. The enemy gunners, blinded by the Pyre rounds, wouldn’t have an easy shot at them. They had to hold on for four more minutes.