Captain WitchyRobyn rubbed her temples again. Either the cadets were doing something stupid, or it was just a normal headache; she couldn’t tell the difference anymore.
“Coffee?” Commander Kistoway asked, offering a steaming cup. Witchy frowned, but didn’t turn down the free caffeine.
“What do we know about this asteroid?” she asked, sipping the coffee—ooh, a latte.
“The dinosaurs said it would hit soon,” Blackberry answered.
“Wait, wait, how do they know this again?” a cadet asked.
“Uh…” Blackberry shrugged, without an answer.
Witchy sighed. “It doesn’t matter. We have an asteroid coming for this planet. We’re stuck here. If Commander Rue.Tylar’s calculations are correct, we do not have a way to get home, at least not immediately. We need to solve the problem of this asteroid so we have time to figure this out. Ideas, now.”
Everyone looked at each other. Kistoway passed out the randomly appearing coffee while silence reigned in the room.
“Can we blow it up?” a cadet asked.
Kistoway sighed. “You’re young. It’s okay.”
“If we blow up the asteroid, which we could do,” Kistoway said, “we would be dealing with dozens of smaller asteroids instead. Might not kill us all, but can’t discount the possibility we could all die.”
“Oh,” the cadet answered. “I didn’t think of that.”
WitchyRobyn smiled. “Still, good to speak out. Do we have any other ideas?”
“Evacuations?” Blackberry suggested, frowning.
Witchy and Kistoway looked at each other, considering. Even if all four ships were in working order, it was unlikely all the dinosaurs would fit and there was no way they could leave the dinosaurs to such a fate.
“It won’t work,” Witchy said. “We’re not leaving the dinosaurs to face the threat alone.”
Blackberry, along with many of the cadets, nodded. Witchy rubbed her temples again, staring at the assembled crew. The sea of faces looked thoughtful, some worried, many concerned, a few frightened, but no one offered ideas.
She looked to her fellow academy leaders, her own concerns mirrored on their faces. There was a very real possibility the asteroid would kill them all.
Witchy’s head shot up. In the back of the group a cadet raised a tentative hand. She nodded for her to speak.
“Could we, possibly, use our ships to shift the course of the asteroid? Maybe, if Commander Blackberry talks with the dinosaurs, we might be able to find a path where it won’t destroy a planet?”
“That might actually work,” Kistoway said, sipping another coffee.
“No more coffee for you,” Witchy said.
“Why?” Kistoway asked, and promptly tripped on the carpet, spilling the coffee all over a pile of paperwork. “Oh. Sorry. No more coffee.” Another promptly appeared in her hand.
Witchy sighed again. “I like the idea,” she said. “Thank you for that.”
“Captain?” Blackberry asked, head tilted. “I feel it prudent to point out that none of our ships are currently operational.”
“Well, sh—ips,” Kistoway said, earning a glare from Witchy.
“You four,” Witchy said to a gaggle of cadets. “Go speak with Captain IronAngel about the status of repairs. Let’s see if we can make this work.”