It always comes in threes.

While most of the crew remained with the Vikings and the dinos, Captains IronAngel and Elyndra went back to the ships with a handful of cadets to survey the damage on the MLS H. Viking. IronAngel had seen many wreckages in his time, but this had to be up there with some of the worst ones. The ship’s hull was now sporting a long gash and a massive gaping hole on its left side. Structural integrity was poor at best. The ground around the landing site – if you could call that a landing and not an uncontrolled belly flop – was covered in debris. It was a wonder and testament to the Viking resilience that everyone had come out of that mess alive.

“A little more to the right and we would have been picking up more than mere debris,” he muttered to himself.

As he ran his hands over the metal, it melted and the edges smoothed over. Raising an eyebrow, he touched another edge and again the metal softened, bending under his hands. “Huh. Interesting.”

Considering the appearance of multiple unexplained powers among the crew so far, IronAngel wasn’t too surprised with this sudden new ability. Still, wanting to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, he tried a few more times and each time the metal more or less responded to his touch and direction. His control was uncanny, considering that most of the crew and academy leaders were still struggling with a plethora of mishaps.

“Well, this isn’t going to be an easy fix, magical blacksmithery or not,” he said as he took a step back. “We’d need the metals back at the academy and of course the flux from the R&D department to bind it,” he puzzled out loud, as he tried to determine the next steps they needed to take, if they were ever going to get their fourth flagship flying again.

“Perhaps there are metals around here that could work?” The ever optimistic Captain Elyndra said as she made her way up to him through the field of debris.

“It’s possible, if we can find any; but we’re going to need to run a full analysis on them first before I even think about patching a hull with them. I’m crazy, just not put-a-bandaid-on-your-ship-and-send-you-into-space crazy!”

“You’ll find something,” Elyndra assured IronAngel while patting him on the shoulder. “You always do.”

**********

Meanwhile back on the MLS D. Shovel Commander Rue.Tylar – who had rushed back to the ships as soon as BlackberrySpark had delivered her message – was frantically going over the portal readings.

“You’re kidding me, right?” She choked on the tea she had been sipping from a large metal mug that kept it warm long after it was initially made. Putting the mug aside, the Commander punched the keys on the ship’s computer to make it run the numbers again. And again. The more she studied the readings the more agitated she grew. She could feel her leg shake as she leaned closer to the screen and frowned. Perhaps she entered the code wrong? Once more she called up the data. This time her frown turned into a scowl and she jumped up to paced the room twice before snatching up a data pad to glare at the numbers once more. They hadn’t changed.

“Run it again; this cannot be right! Re-calibrate and run it again,” she barked at a cadet. A burst of electrical fire hit the data pad and Rue tossed it down, sparks flying from her fingers. With a look at the now unreadable instrument, which only emitted a few sad hissing and popping sounds, she sighed. Apparently, she had just discovered what her “power” was, and it was not going to bode well for her job.

********

A few hours later, she headed down to the crash site of the Viking ship where IronAngel was still molding various pieces of debris in a vague and futile attempt to repair the damage.

“Well Captain, I have more salt to rub in that wound.”

“Hit me.” IronAngel grimaced, knowing this was going to be bad.

“We’re stuck here. Far as I can tell, the portal was a one-way deal. So, we’re stuck in this…” she paused and took a deep breath, trying to remember her nice words, and continued surprisingly calmly, “this alternate dimension, with no access to the academy, our friends or family, for the foreseeable future.”

“So, we’re stuck in this dimension, and the Viking hull has a hole the size of a moon in it. What the hell else could go wrong?!?!” Commander Wolfy cried out in frustration, stomping her way over the debris towards them. She had only caught the tail-end of this conversation but the message had been loud and clear.

Various groups of cadets were quickly sent out to scavenge for potentially useful materials and other supplies. Captain IronAngel joined the search as well, while Commander Rue.Tylar stayed in the Shovel’s command centre. She paced incessantly and had the computer running more and more simulations to figure out a way, any way, out of the dimension the academy members now found themselves stuck in.

At the same time, Lieutenant Ros took Lt. Jr. Grade EmilyNH and a selection of cadets to scrounge up any and all available information that could potentially help them.

“If there is any information on this blasted realm, or there portals, I can find it!” EmilyNH piped up as the group headed off to search through the L-space in the MLS P. Bunny library.

In an act of desperation, Commander Rue.Tylar had the Timmy bot run the portal scenarios again, hoping for something, anything that would make sense. She settled in with yet another cup of tea as Timmy ran the numbers, and in an attempt at distraction, she began working on duty rosters for the crew. It was going to be a rough couple of days.

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