0114: Unexplored Territory

Ziggurat #22

“We’ve changed course,” Lamont remarked, stepping up to the console. “And from the commotion, I’m guessing it wasn’t on the itinerary.”

The three minutes that it took Lamont to make his way from the colonist deck to the command deck felt like an hour as his mind struggled to process what the prophetess had told him. Epiphany—escherspace—was there a connection? “You’re grasping for straws, mate,” He muttered to himself as the lift doors opened to the control deck hallway. But he was navigating unexplored territory in the most literal sense; it would be foolish not to examine every possibility, however improbable it may seem on the surface.

The newspaperman had detoured to retrieve his recorder from his quarters on the way down, having left it there for fear of spooking Miss Anna. As the automatic doors of the command deck slid open for him, he was still examining the black box to make sure its settings were all correct. He looked up to find the deck quite crowded, despite the fact that it was just shy of 9:00 in the evening, the middle of the second shift. Captain Carter, Phobos, and Chiefs Santana and Wellington were all standing in front of the control console, their attention directed at a bright star in the center of the observation window. They took no notice of the newspaperman’s arrival.

At the command console, the second shift pilot and navigator sat in their places, but they were accompanied by Lazarus and Abigail, their first shift counterparts. Abigail Bishop had produced a second headset and, having plugged it into the console, was engaged in whispered conversation with her colleague.

“We’ve changed course,” Lamont remarked, stepping up to the console. “And from the commotion, I’m guessing it wasn’t on the itinerary.”

Bishop lowered the headset around her neck. “We picked up a radio signal. A strong one. The captain felt we should investigate.”

Lamont rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “A radio signal,” he repeated.

Lazarus looked over his shoulder at Lamont, his eyes sparkling. “And that’s not the half of it. You’ll never guess what it’s coming from.”