“Progress, Lt. Commander?”
Kistoway looked up from the maps. Witchy stood to her side looking out into the vast darkness beyond the bridge. So much out there hadn’t been plotted yet. For all of the charts and maps the MLS P. Ninja had on board, there were some things they couldn’t possible know yet. It was a humbling thought. And a frightening one.
“Nothing yet, Captain. Timmy has disappeared.”
“No messages, nothing?” Witchy was worried. Timmy’s sudden departure and theft of the MLS C. Baty could only spell disaster and disaster was firmly not in the plans this year. It simply could not be allowed.
“Lt. Commander, we have a message coming through.”
Witchy nodded to Kistoway who rushed to the communications nodule, barely managing to not trip down the stairs. In her absence, Witchy monitored the other nodules for any signs they were heading in the right direction.
“Captain!” Kistoway rushed across the bridge. “Oh, Alaina, you, too. We have a message from a quadrant up ahead. We’ve never been there before, but Timmy was there, he visited them, looking for something. I think we should go.”
“What did he say he was looking for?” Ensign Alainainthesky asked.
“That wasn’t in the message. Captain?”
“Set the course for this planet. You say we’ve never been there before?” Witchy considered the options. “Have the cadets prepare a new set of maps. Alaina, oversee their work.”
“The raptors escaped!” came a call over the comms.
“We have loose plot bunnies!”
“Oh, bloody…” Witchy sighed. “First round up the raptors. They’re likely hungry so be careful. Find the bunnies and lock them in a room somewhere. We don’t want to lose anyone. I’m going to have a word with the MLS P. Bunny about this.”
After a time, the raptors were rounded up (no injuries, yay!) and MLS P. Ninja sat down on a remote, uncharted planet. Lt. Commander Kistoway departed the ship first with her trusty translator, with Witchy, Ensign Alaina, and a few brave cadets not far behind.
“Welcome wayward travelers.” The voice came through the translator, odd and distant. They’d heard no correlating sounds from anywhere. Witchy looked to Kistoway who shook her head. They saw nothing. Heard nothing.
“We received a message from these coordinates.”
“Yes,” came the voice again. “Yes, we sent a message. There was someone here. He did not look like us. Nor you.”
“Was his name Timmy?” Witchy asked, trying to get hold of the situation.
“Yes, yes. Timmy. He was an odd one. He spoke of our brethren, the raptors. I am sorry, that is all I know.”
“Did he…” Witchy sighed, not knowing what to ask. She looked to Kistoway for help.
“Did he say what he wanted the raptors for?”
“I am sorry, I cannot help you.”
“We understand,” Witchy answered. “We thank you for the message. It will help us in our search for him.”
“It is custom on our planet to give a gift to departing visitors,” the voice said again. Before them, a large box appeared. Hands at her side, one close to an ever present weapon, Witchy approached the wooden box.
“What is this?” Alaina asked.
“A gift. Centuries ago a young explorer brought these to us, he came from a far away world.” Silence followed for several minutes. “Hogwarts, he said it was. Some of these stones will help your search for your Timmy. Some will transport your to this Hogwarts world. Now depart and be well.”
With a look to her second in command, Witchy commanded two of the recruits to carry the box back to the ship.
“One last word, Captain, WitchyRobyn.”
Witchy turned, taking the translator from Kistoway. “Yes?”
“Beware the raptor swarms.”
With the final warning hanging ominously over their heads, the crew of the MLS P. Ninja found themselves transported back to their ship.
WitchyRobyn stood staring at the map, deep in thought. She believed strongly in plans. Plans were a necessity. But she knew it was important to adapt as well. A rigid plan was brittle and could fall apart. A plan had to be flexible, providing support and structure but able to bend with the unexpected. Still musing, she turned to Kistoway. “Send a communication to the other ships. Let them know what we’ve encountered. Tell them about the raptors. And tell them all to proceed with extreme caution. Especially the Viking.” She managed a slight smile. “We know how they can be.”
“Right away, Captain.”