Natalie did her best to clean herself up in the bathroom sink. It had been a very long 17 Falcon hours since 2 Alfa’s disappearance and she was mentally and emotionally drained. The cool water ran through her fingers as she stared at herself in the mirror. She studied her eyes and thought she saw what appeared to be the beginning of crow’s feet. She convinced herself that it was the late night and stress that had caused them, not her age.
The events leading up to this point in Natalie’s life had molded her into rational and deliberate individual. She was born on Earth’s original and most vulnerable outpost, Milky Way 1. Her family fled the Wastie Depression on a stowage ship at the height of Galaxy War 7. Little is known about her mother and father as they were taken prisoner during a Yibbian outlaw raid, her mother giving her up as an infant to the crew of HOPE 9 (Human and Organic Perseveration and Evacuation) as the station was under attack. Natalie’s rescue landed her on the new human capital planet of Eagle where she fell into the system.
Eagle was a safe haven and Volo was its capital. The new capital city within the Youk District flourished as the awakened human mind came into contact with technologies and species not previously found on Earth. Adaptation happened quickly and effortlessly as humans combined old-world culture with new world possibilities. There were sacrifices, however. The military state that tried to control Earth after first contact carried over to the Finale Fighters in Galaxy War 7, which carried over to an overall belief that humans needed protection, which carried over to relocation and development act, which eventually has given us Astro Base Command. ABC being mankind’s sole ambassador to the rest of the Universe, military power, governing body, supply and material distributor, manufacturer, media outlet and broadcaster, health and wellness, educator, career assignment, etc., etc. Essentially, Astro Base Command is in charge of preserving the human race and ensuring its success.
Natalie’s childhood was typical, even after losing her parents. ABC made a conscious effort to provide a high quality of life for all of its citizens and she was placed into a caring and well-respected family. Being assigned an orphaned child by Astro Base Command was looked upon as a symbol of prestige. In order to qualify you needed an excellent life history (above average school marks, charitable and community contributions, and a notable work history with progression). Natalie loved her adoptive parents and they loved her right back. As she grew older, she learned of her real parents- the horrific night on Milky Way 1, and the ultimate sacrifice her mother made to save her life. Natalie and her adoptive family made every effort to find them but had little luck. The devastation after Galaxy War 7 was so grave that most places were left unrecognizable and records were nonexistent.
As a young girl, Natalie learned about disappointment and the realities of life sooner than other children but she embraced these lessons. They made her strong and fueled her drive for justice. While her parents’ fate seemed certain, she held on to the hope that one day she’d find a lead, that one day someone would have heard her story and say they knew a couple who lost their little girl on Milky Way 1. Anything that would bring her closer to them.
Deep within Astro Base Command held the facility’s most restricted area. Long rumored to be the base’s core nervous system, with access only to top ranking officials and scientists, the wing held unparalleled technology and research labs. At the center of the wing was what appeared to be a large circular conference room. A large table lined with transparent chairs filled the center of the room where Schuyler, Jimmy, and Brian found themselves reunited for the first time.
“Ahhh, hey guys!” Schuyler said with a huge grin. “Good to know I’m not the only one here!”
“Holy shit, Schuyler- what the fuck did you do???” Brian immediately snapped.
“Whoa, what makes you think I did something?” Schuyler said defensively.
“Really?” Jimmy said very condescendingly. “Why else would we be here???”
“Fuck you too, James,” Schuyler replied, very matter of fact. “I’ll have you know that this is my first bar fight that has gained the attention of ABC…”
“See, so it was you…” Brian said with total disgust. “I was having dinner with Zach from Astro Base GO! and I got hauled out of Chili’s by a bunch of FLAC’s (Falcon Legion of Alliance and Control), do you have any idea how embarrassing that is?”
“Yeah man, they took my fuckin’ hover bucket…” Jimmy chimed in.
“It hasn’t been fun for me either, Franklin and I don’t seem to be the friends we used to be…” Schuyler said with a plead of sympathy.
“Fuck Franklin, Schuyler! Why are we here?!” Brian yelled with zero patience.
As the trio began to argue, a large section of wall parted and several highly decorated ABC officials walked into the room. “Shut up, you half wits!” One of the men boomed. “No more. Keep your mouths shut, now-“
“Who the hell are you? What the fuck is going on???” Jimmy glared while staring the man up and down.
“Jimmy, I will reach my hand up your ass and use you like a puppet if I want you to speak,” the man’s voice was stern and his presence transcended any doubts of his seriousness. “This room is being monitored in ways that you would never be able to comprehend- full biometrics from your vital signs, to your limited brain activity, to that giant gut snake crawling around from eating off the SCUNK truck. Full Sunopschye readings of your thoughts and emotions and even a Soulistic Seisma that measures your ancestorial genealogical history. We now know more about you than God himself.”
“Yeah, but-“ Jimmy started to say.
“Puppet, you once jerked off to the thought of xenocopulation-with a Duntuese no less,” the man interrupted.
“Xeno, what?” Schuyler said.
“Sex with aliens, you dick turd,” Brian educated Schuyler.
“Oh, well yeah! That’s no secret!” Jimmy grinned.
“Oh, for Christ sake… Boys, let me be clear. You are here under direct order of the Commodore. Regardless if I think you’re inferior pieces of Wastie shit and we’re expending way too much time and resources on certain enviable failure, you will cooperate.”
“What my colleague is trying to say,” a second man in an equally impressive ABC uniform interrupted, “is that we need your help… Desperately.”
TO BE CONTINUED…
Schuyler slowly opened his eyes. His head pounded worse than usual from a night out at the bar. Still very incoherent, a stomach turning stench rose from the cot he was laying on and he realized that his surroundings were unfamiliar.
“Oh God…” he muttered as he tried to sit up, finding the task to be entirely too difficult. Now on his side, he had a perfect view of his tiny room. Four metal walls with no pictures, no windows and a single door. The pieces began to fit together as he had found himself in this situation before, though this time he couldn’t remember how he got here. Trying to relive the last of his memories, the big metal door swung open and a uniformed figured stood in the doorway.
“Ankele, get up.” The stern voice said.
“I tried, but it’s just not going to happen…” Schuyler whispered.
“Now,” the man said as he walked toward him, reaching for what appeared to be a stun stick attached to his belt.
“Is that you, Franklin?” Schuyler said as he tried to make out the shadowy figure.
“Up, Schuyler. Don’t do this the hard way.”
“It is! Hey buddy…” Schuyler said, ignoring his orders.
“I’m not your buddy, asshole. You’ve really done it this time. Command wants you.”
“Command wants me? Over a bar fight?” Schuyler seemed shocked that his actions had gained the attention of Astro Base Command. It was a new personal record and he was oddly proud of himself.
“A memo from the Commodore’s office went out late last night to bring you, Blair, and Johannsen in. I don’t know what you fuckups did this time, but I’d wipe that smug smile from your face,” Franklin replied.
After hearing the news, Schuyler’s head didn’t seem to bump as hard. He pulled himself to his feet and tried to maintain his balance.
“Let’s go,” Franklin said as he began to restrain Schuyler’s hands behind his back with handcuffs.
“You know, Franky… you’re getting pretty good at this. Practice with the Misses or maybe your boyfriend?” Schuyler smirked as Franklin made the cuffs extra tight.
Meanwhile, in the back alleys by the docks, Jimmy was all curled up and fast asleep in his bed. His soft sheets and thick comforters acted like a nest as low music helped block the nighttime noises of the outside world. Jimmy smiled as he dreamed, occasionally letting out a stretch and rolling to a different side.
Jimmy was “off the map” while at home. No one really knew where Jimmy lived, as Astro Base Command was just finding out. Either out of paranoia or laziness, Jimmy had never officially registered a residency with Command. He had somehow slipped through the cracks. Oddly, Jimmy also never invited anyone over to his home and likewise no one ever came to visit. All of his socializing happened away from his house. When Brian and Schuyler were confronted by Command of Jimmy’s residence, they couldn’t really answer and just said “somewhere by the zero gravity docks, in the back alleys…”
No one ever really questioned Jimmy about his home because truthfully no one ever really wanted to know the answer. While Jimmy is a fantastic guy and a great friend, he is a Weapons Specialist and by trade those guys are just “off.” Weapons Specialist are notorious for being a bit crazy, they deal with highly lethal equipment and substances all day and if they don’t kill themselves, their work is designed to kill someone else. Jimmy’s friends just assumed he lived in a hideout filled with all kinds of illegal weapons, homemade bombs, odd smells, and a few empty food containers.
Jimmy’s apartment was actually quite the opposite. While his place was small and in the middle of one of the most neglected areas of Astro Base, Jimmy loved his home. Warm and comfortable furniture were carefully positioned, treasures and keepsakes lined on shelves, and tasteful artwork blended with framed pictures of the band filled the walls. While Jimmy did have his fair share of explosives and hard to find weapons, he kept them in a closet away from his daily living. Jimmy’s home was extremely normal and many would have found it to be a disappointment compared to the great Brock Richardson, which may have been the reason he kept it a secret in the first place.
The song on Jimmy’s stereo changed to the triumphant Galaxy War 7 victory song, “Finale Fighters’ Finale” written by classical lunar composer Eon P. S. This was Jimmy’s wake up song and the stereo was programmed to get louder as the song progressed, working as an alarm clock. The intro began to bump and Jimmy rolled over and yawned with his eyes still closed. He allowed the song to continue playing and tapped his fingers on his chest to the beat. The song became louder and louder and by the second chorus the song was blaring. Jimmy sprung to his feet and danced on his bed. He waved his hands as if he was conducting the song at a sold out performance, spinning and twirling as the song climaxed. Jumping from the bed, he raced around his tiny apartment pounding on cushions and backrests as the song hit the finale. Both the stereo and Jimmy wailed away until the song came to a close and Jimmy collapsed into the chair. He laughed to himself as he couldn’t think of a better way to start the day.
After his usual morning routine of breakfast and cleaning himself up, Jimmy gathered his things and headed out the door. The only man in his early 30s still riding a hover bucket, Jimmy fired it up and zipped through the back alleys to work. As he pulled up, he noticed that Command vehicles surrounded the entrance and uniformed men stood around talking to one another.
Jimmy’s curiosity lead him front and center into the middle of the Command Officers. “Woah, what the hell is going on here? Lenny get busted for playing Bongwee?” Jimmy said to the closest officer.
“You Jimmy Blair?” The man replied.
“You know it!” Jimmy said as he turned off his bucket and took off his helmet.
“Where the fuck you been?”
“What?” Jimmy said very confused. He looked down at his watch, “I’ve still got 6 minutes before work starts, I’m early.”
“Shut the fuck up, man. I have half the nerve to… You know, I lost a whole damn night of sleep lookin’ for your ass…” The other officers noticed that their man had finally arrived and began to surround him.
“You’re lookin’ for the wrong man, man…” Jimmy said as he started to get nervous. He clutched a lever on the center cross bar of the bucket, and a red light began to blink.
“Now just calm down and step away from the bucket- who knows what your crazy Weapons ass is up to… What the hell you doin’ cruisin’ around on a bucket anyway?”
“I like my bucket…” Jimmy’s eyes flashed from officer to officer quickly gauging the situation. “Tell your men to stand down or things will get messy, quick.”
“Messy, shit… The only thing that’s going to be messy is the backside of your ass when the Commodore gets through kickin’ it.”
“I mean it…” Jimmy threatened.
“Jimmy Blair, don’t do this the hard way. We got Schuyler and Brian back at Command. The Commodore just wants to have a little conversation with you. Now step away from the bucket and try not to blow the shit out of us in the process!”
The Commodore’s large boots banged as he walked briskly down the hallway. Natalie struggled to maintain his pace.
“Umm, Sir?” Natalie began to say.
“Natalie, hold your thoughts,” the Commodore said without looking back.
Natalie’s face faded from confused to dejected, no one had ever told her to shut up and truly mean it. The comment slowed her pace as his words sunk in. A thousand replies raced through her mind, from a polite “excuse me?” to “who the hell do you think you are, speaking to me that way?”
“Try to keep up, we don’t have much time,” the Commodore said before any words reached her lips. His interruption of her internal monolog infuriated her even further.
“Natalie,” suddenly the Commodore’s boots stopped clanging as he stood in front of what appeared to be the door of a storage closet, “do you know why I asked you to come with me?” The Commodore’s back still turned as he waved his wrist over the door handle.
“No-“ Natalie began to say but was interrupted by Commodore once more.
“You see, Natalie,” the door clanked and banged as heavy locks began releasing, “we have quite the situation on our hands.” The final lock gave way and the Commodore pushed the door open, “2 of our Alfa pride have, well, ‘lost communication’,” he said as he made his way through the doorway. “Come on, now. Keep up,” he finally turned back and showed his face, motioning for her to enter the room.
Natalie’s mind had finally given up. The trauma from 2 Alfa’s last transmission, the chaos in the Command Room turning to stone cold silence, the Commodore whisking her down the hall and then disrespecting her, to finally a highly secure broom closest. Her face went blank, her eyes didn’t blink, and the Commodore’s words seemed distant like a dream.
“Natalie!” The Commodore shouted, “let’s go!”
Natalie smirked and let out an absentminded giggle as she followed him through the doorway.
Meanwhile, on the far side of Astro Base, Schuyler was trying to piece together rumors of 1 Alfa’s disappearance as he sat at the end of a notorious space traveler’s lounge. His ability to drain a mug of sway was far greater than his ability to recognize a lead.
“So then I says to him, I says, ‘you unload all this junk. I got it here, buddy, now you get your grunts to get this shit off my ship’- you know?” Schuyler stared at the back of greasy half-bald head. He giggled as a little tuff of hair bounced with each word the man said. “Huge pallets of magiron and transistors, my back can’t handle that no more, you know?”
Schuyler continued to giggle at the bouncing hair until he interrupted himself with an obnoxious burp. The man instantly spun around on his bar stool to confront the disgusting sound.
“Ey oh, what the fuck you smelly bastard?” The unshaven, un-showered, and equal revolting individual said as he looked Schuyler up and down. “Can you believe this fuckin’ guy? Get a life you dock rat!” The man said as he spun back around to finish his original conversation.
“Yeah, so everything gets unloaded and then he asks me if I know where he can get liquid uranium. I was like, ‘woah woah, pal. I run a reputable shipping business here!’ Just sign my fuckin’ invoice so I can be on my way.’” The other man he was talking to seem utterly bored but the balding man carried on anyway. “So anyways, I told him his best bet was Yibbia. Doubtful any of those assholes out there have any but they’d probably know where to find it.”
“You sure do talk a lot,” Schuyler slurred to the back of the man’s head.
“Is this guy talking to me?” The balding man said to his bored friend and pointed back at Schuyler with his thumbs.
“Fuck yeah I’m talking to you,” Schuyler chimed in. “Your head looks like a womprat’s ass.”
The bartender, eavesdropping on the entire conversation, was quick to jump in. “Ankele, you’re out!”
Schuyler’s smirk transformed into a grin. “Oh yeah? You don’t think this chump’s noggin looks like Wastie fallout?”
The bald head quickly whipped around and the man’s eyes sucked Schuyler in like a black hole. Before the man could speak Schuyler continued, “his seven strands of hair could grease a hover bucket-“
Suddenly the world became very dark for Schuyler. A loud thud rattled his skull and his hearing slowly melted away. Schuyler’s body flopped to the floor and his cheek pressed against the cool tile. A warm liquid filled his mouth as he slipped out of consciousness.
Brian patiently stood in front of Chili’s as he waited for Zach to arrive. Zach was the editor of Astro Base GO! and it was typical for him to be late to his own meetings. Brian awkwardly tinkered with his ComCom in an effort to avoid conversation with others as he waited. Zach finally showed up and the two made their way into the lobby.
“Hey guys, welcome to Chili’s! 2 this evening?” The overly enthusiastic hostess said while pulling menus from behind the podium.
“Yep, the bar would be great” Zach replied and Brian nodded.
The hostess lead them to a corner booth in the bar area, holograms flashed above their heads recapping the days sporting highlights. Chatter filled the room and tantalizing aromas made their stomachs’ rumble.
“Here you go, guys! Mandy will be taking care of you tonight but don’t hesitate to ask any of us if you need anything!”
“Thanks!” Zach said as they took a seat. Brian grinned as he pushed the menu aside, he already knew what he was going to order.
“So Brian,” Zach started right in, “what have you been up to? How are things with Heart & Soul Radio?”
“Pretty good, we have a show coming up at Zytan’s. There’s some promotion behind this one so it should be pretty good.” Brian was happy he was able to plug the show that easily.
“That’s great, man. I can’t believe you’re still playing Zytan’s though, figured you’d be selling out the Trantium over on Eagle by now…” A long awkward silence followed Zach’s comment. “I mean, you guys are great and deserve it- that’s all!” he tried to recover.
“Well, I guess I continue to disappoint everyone,” Brian smirked. He knew why he was here and it wasn’t to talk about Heart & Soul Radio. “Why are we here, Zach?”
“Haha, okay- cut to the chase… We were in the middle of doing another comparison between you and Trevor Lightspeed when the news of 1 Alfa hit. As you know, Trevor was the pilot of that ship and we wanted to know what your take on the situation was.”
“I’m concerned for him and everyone on that ship,” Brian replied very bluntly.
“Do you think it would have happened if you were piloting?” Zach prodded.
“That’s a ridiculous question, we have no idea what happened.” Brian was sick of how journalism had become gossip and hearsay, there were no facts behind 1 Alfa’s disappearance and any assumptions at this point were preposterous.
“Hey guys!” an extremely attractive waitress interrupted, “my name is Mandy. I’ll be taking care of you tonight- drinks?”
“Water,” Brian said very quickly, making it clear that tonight would not the night of in depth storytelling that Zach had hoped for.
“I’ll do the same…” Zach muttered.
“Okay…” Mandy could sense the tension, “are you guys ready to order-“
“Sure,” Brian said before she could finish her sentence, “I’ll have the boneless buffalo wings with extra ranch.”
Mandy punched in Brian’s order into a small device as Zach flipped through the pages trying to come up with a meal. “I’ll have… that,” Zach said as he pointed to something on the menu.
“Great! I’ll have it right out,” Mandy quickly removed herself from the table.
“Brian, relax man. You know how this stuff goes…”
“I don’t get it, I’m not a story. An Alfa has gone missing and GO!’s biggest priority is what I think about Trevor? Here’s your quote ‘I’m scared and hope they’re okay so I can keep living in Trevor’s shadow.’”
“Haha,” Zach laughed as he tried ease the tension.
“This whole this is just out of control… Move on, you know? I am who I am and I have my reasons.” In the background a commotion had stirred up at the main entrance though the two were too involved with their conversation to take notice.
“See, if you ever gave the people your reasons, we might be able to put this to bed…” Zach pleaded.
“JOHANNSEN!” A loud voice shouted from across the restaurant.
Brian didn’t notice as his frustration with Zach grew. “Just like last time?” Brian replied.
“There he is- Johannsen!” A team full of Astro Base officials quickly filled the Chili’s bar. The entire restaurant had become silent as everyone stopped their meals to see what was going on. A uniformed man whipped out an ID badge, “sorry to interrupt, fellas, but Johannsen is needed at Astro Base Command.”
Brian blankly stared at the man having no idea what he was talking about. “Now, son!” the official shouted. Brian continued to sit there in disbelief until another uniformed man grabbed his arm and tried to pull him from the booth.
“Get off of me!” Brian shouted as he shook the officer off, his eyes now filling with rage. The men jumped back and placed their hands on their stun stick which were secured to their belt.
“Hey! Easy, tough guy. Orders straight from The Commodore!” The badge flashing officer said.
“Okay, okay…” Brian said as he tried to make sense of it all. He knew these guys weren’t messing around, especially if The Commodore was involved. “Relax. Now what’s going on here?” He said as he stood from the booth.
Zach couldn’t believe his eyes, he seemed more shocked than Brian was. The officials moved in and surrounded Brian, ignoring his question. They pushed him against the table and began to restrain his hands behind his back. “Really?” Brian said as he couldn’t believe he was really being handcuffed.
“Shut it.” The badge flashing official snapped back. The men finished securing him and each grabbed an arm as they began to lead him out of the restaurant.
Brian struggled to turn his head back to Zach whose mouth was half open and said “well, it looks like you got your story…”
“Astro Base, this is 2 Alfa. Closing in on radar ping of 1 Alfa. Expecting contact in 4 minutes. Over.” The Captain’s eyes raced over the control screen as he relayed the update.
“Roger that, 2 Alfa. Please send us your exact coordinates. Over.” Work shifts had changed at Astro Base. The Communications Officer’s voice was no longer self defeating and insecure. The voice on the other end was optimistic, young, and female.
“Why hello there, Astro Base…” The Captain’s tone changed instantly, leading to smiles throughout the Control Room. “This is Captain Blair Thomas of Space 2 Alfa, who do I have the pleasure of speaking with? Over.”
Captain Blair Thomas had no reason to be intimidated by the female voice at the other end. Blair excelled at everything he did. It started young, always going faster on his hover bucket than other children. Top scores in logic and reason without ever studying. Blair’s fortune and abilities carried on into the Academy where he was the teams starting Zip Caller. Blair effortlessly lead the team to six Lunar Vista titles which set an Astro Base record until Trevor Lightspeed attended the Academy. Blair graduated at the top of his class and was accepted into a highly classified branch of the Finale Fighters where he severed 5 Falcons until he was promoted to Bronco pilot. After successfully navigating the outer reaches of Kateria 9 and squashing the Grub Runners, Astro Base bestowed it’s highest honor to him, Captain of an Alfa spacecraft. If that weren’t enough, Blair has also had relations with his fair share of women. From being seen with actresses, models, and princesses to fuel station attendants, pub crawlers, and squeak shiners- Blair has remained one of Astro Base’s most eligible bachelors.
“Captain Thomas, this is your Communication Officer,” the voice said sharply, having none of Blair’s advances. “I repeat, send your coordinates immediately. Over.”
“Not even a name?” the Captain continued. “If you’re going to bark orders, I at least deserve to know who they’re coming from… Don’t you think? Over.” Everyone in the command room began to chuckle.
“Sarge, you’ve always had a way with the ladies,” Richardson blurted. Blair gave a wink to his crew and continued his conversation with Astro Base.
“Space 2 Alfa, we need those coordinates. Maybe the Commodore needs to request them himself? Over.” The Communication Officer’s tone was very matter of fact as she truly had no reservations about having the Commodore put Blair in his place.
“Easy there, tiger. There’s no sense in getting the Comm-“ Suddenly there was a penetrating crash and the radio turned to static.
“Space 2 Alfa, please retransmit. We’re receiving a lot of static. Over.” Everyone in the Astro Base Command Room became silent, attentively listening for a response.
“Astro Base, ASTRO BASE! We’ve been hit!” The radio returned to static once more.
The Communication Officer spun in her chair and pressed the alert button, red lights flashed throughout the Command Room. “2 Alfa, 2 Alfa, come in 2 Alfa!” She screamed into the radio.
“We’re under attack!” The Captain’s words could barely be made out with what sounded like crushing and grinding metal in the background. The radio continued to fade in and out, Astro Base could only collect pieces of Blair’s transmission. “Huge… My God! Make it… Fire, fire, FIRE!” The radio finally went silent.
Tears ran down several cheeks in the Astro Base Command Room, the Communication Officer hid her mouth behind her hand and looked away from the speakers. Scrambling to gain her composure and find words, she finally said into the microphone “2 Alfa, come in. 2 Alfa… Anyone? Please, please…” As more silence penetrated the Command Room, the Communication Officer began to weep, “Captain Blair Thomas, my name is Natalie… My name is Natalie... Please come in… My name is Natalie…”
A few moments later the Command Room was swarming with Astro Base officials. Technicians scrabbled to acquire any 2 Alfa data while commanders desperately tried to process the information. Flashing lights, alert sirens and shouting voices turned the Command Room into hell. Chaos ran rampant as the once reserved and poised personnel team allowed fear to consume them.
“2 Alfa, this Astro Base. Come in, 2 Alfa.” Natalie continued to try to make contact, her words becoming weaker with each transmission.
In an instant, the sirens became silent and the flashing lights turned off. One by one, command personnel became quiet and still until the entire room was motionless. The ventilation system kicked on and cool air began to fill the Command Room. Eyes bounced from one another but bodies remained still.
On the far end of the room, heavy metal doors slid open and a silhouette of the Commodore emerged. His big, heavy boots boomed as he made his way to the center of the room.
“Listen, and listen closely,” the Commodore spoke. “Remain calm and carry on with your duties. Stay focused as I need you to gather as much diligent intelligence from this incident as you can. ABIOS has been following 2 Alfa and with your combined effort, we will get to the bottom of this.” His words were strong as he made eye contact with particularly shaken individuals. “May I also remind you that each of you have taken an oath to work in this Command Room. DO NOT allow this incident to leave this room…” The Commodore paused to let his words sink in and his eyes further penetrate the staff. “Communication Officer, Natalie. Come with me.”
The Commodore turned and began to walk towards the exit. Several steps from the sliding doors he stopped and said once more “Come, Natalie.” The doors opened and Natalie scrambled to her feet and quickly navigated her way across the room. The doors slammed as the two left the Command Room.