“Straight ahead, cadet,” Captain WitchyRobyn said, peering at the drafted maps of their current location. The MLS P. Ninja had ventured into uncharted territory and nothing could be more exciting. New maps to make, new landmarks to study, it was a great time to be part of the Ninja crew.
“There’s this space here we can’t map,” Alaina said, pointing to a corner of the most recent scans. Kistoway leaned forward, upsetting a cup of coffee all over the map.
“Mana!” a cadet screamed, scrambling to catch the dripping coffee with their mouth. Witchy sighed and patted the young cadet on the head.
“It’s all right, cadet. There is more coffee in the mess hall. Back to work.” The cadet gone, Witchy looked back to the maps to see the Lt. Commander licking the spilled coffee from the maps. “Lt. Commander, do you need a moment?”
“Sorry?” Kistoway said, looking up.
Witchy sighed and Alaina wiped the maps down with an ever present towel. Time was of the essence. They all knew it. The raptors were growing restless with each passing day they were away from the Academy. Word from the other ships seemed promising, but they all felt something was coming and Timmy was at the center of it all. Mixed, but seemingly sentient messages relating to the raptors didn’t help alleviate concerns.
And the Ninja, home of the raptor cages, was on full alert.
It didn’t help that there were bunnies underfoot aggravating everyone and threatening to send them spiraling off course.
The officers’ heads shot up from the maps at the cadet’s call. A spare glance between themselves and they walked to the center of the bridge.
“What is it?” Kistoway asked.
“Th…there.” The cadet pointed, not to the computer, but through the windows.
“Bank left!” Witchy called out. “Everyone to your stations. Full speed out of this quadrant!”
“What is it?” Alaina asked. “That can’t be what I think it is.”
Witchy frowned. “It is. We’ve discovered the exact location of the Black Hole of Something Horrible.”
“Lt. Commander, something is…wrong. I can’t…” Kistoway rushed to help the cadet. Over the comms they heard the raptors screaming.
“Someone secure the raptors!”
A lurch sent everyone falling to the ground. The ship was being pulled into the black hole.
“The raptors are escaping!”
“Kistoway, call the P. Bunny, we need help!” Alaina called from across the bridge.
“They’re too far,” Kistoway said, pulling herself to her feet. “As is the Shovel and Viking. We’re on our own.” They all felt the pull of the black hole. Witchy shared a look with her fellow officers.
“Find anyone,” Witchy said. “I’m going after the raptors. Get us back on course.”
Witchy left the bridge to locate the raptors. Their cries through the comms masked their location. The screaming cadets didn’t help. She rushed through the halls to the containment area to find the raptors had cleverly opened their cages. Again.
“We need better locks,” she muttered to herself. “Or fewer toddlers to teach them.”
Following the claw marks, Witchy found herself heading to the bay doors. Screams intensified and she felt the rush of air accompanying the doors opening. Dread settling, she moved purposefully to the bay doors, holding onto anything she could reach to keep from being pulled out. Several cadets had lost the battle already…
“Captain! The raptors!”
Rushing air pulled at them, but the raptors stood at the edge of the bay looking out into the vastness of space beyond. Witchy stared, wondering and out of nowhere, the C. Baty appeared and the raptors jumped from the Ninja into the space between the ships.
Witchy launched herself over to the button to close the doors and within seconds, the P. Ninja shot off, away from the Baty.
“No!” a cadet yelled. Witchy ran back to the bridge, the few remaining cadets following on her heels.
“What was that, Lt. Commander?” she demanded.
Kistoway stood at attention. “We got in touch with Hogwarts, Captain. Those crystals, they’re propulsion fuel. Allowed us to get out of the grasp of the black hole and back on course.”
“That’s all well and good, but we just lost the Baty and the raptors.”
Captain WitchyRobyn stared at the message for a long moment, trying to make sense of it. Then again, making sense of anything Timmy said was almost impossible. It was often said that when someone started to understand what Timmy was talking about, it was time to take a step back because they had been in space a bit too long by that point.
“Perhaps the Viking will have an idea what this mean. Let them know of our situation, Lt. Commander. Ensign, gather the cadets. You’re best at soothing them. We need to regroup. When we get a reply, we’ll make plans then.”