The Lieutenant Corporal stood next to the researcher in the Alpha 1 core, with everything in place to interrupt the Photuris Vortex Anomaly. Statuses incoming.
Lt. Corporal Sorens, Technician Lead, called in over his channels. “Rotating longitudinal arc, torsion 1, four strong, unison report.”
“Counter-rotating longitudinal arc, torsion -1, four strong, unison report.”
“Buffer Zone 1, Buffer Zone 2, unison report.”
“Man At The Bar.
“Tech Reader, how long till equipment is ready?”
“The passing charge will reach desired level pulse at a quarter hour from now.”
“Appropriate, with leeway.” Tyson Sorens turned to Arcta Hydraia on his right to meet her eyes and nod. She flickered her notes on the air in front of her and gazed at the room unfocused, hand to her mouth.
“Alpha base 2 reporting.” The solid voice of General Ionos, Ehrenson Sorens transmitted to the main line. “We’ve bundled our frequencies to feed into Buffer Zones 1 and 2 as well as satellites D and E. Ionos base reads and reports. Planetary contingencies are in line. This is the big day.”
“Technicians, it’s time to compare and align your formulas. Coordinate trajectories with your squadron.” The Lt. Cpl. craned his neck around as he listened to pieces of channel chatter, mainly in the direction of various spec prints.
“‘Scuse me there’s, uh,” this rose in volume precedent, “We have an extra ship in formation.”
“As do we.”
“It just entered our logs officially.”
“There are two more of our own ships, not shadows. Both in five strong position.”
A visual transmission appeared of Queen Ascendant Charlotte in flight uniform in the technician’s seat. “It is my responsibility to be a part of this mission. I have sent record of my full qualifications.” The juxtaposed image of General Ionos nodded an extended affirmative to this. “The rudeness of my intrusion requires your tolerant pardon.
“I have also sent you a data point schematic, doubly approved at Loramer, confirming the viability of an extra pair in your formation without any path alteration. This qualified crew, including myself, will now be a part of this maneuver.”
The vortex anomaly heaved before her gaze. She turned to her pilot and looked back at the massive anomaly. “That looks really complex.” Her lips held back bile.
Lieutenant Corporal Sorens stood still as he scanned the new information. He turned slowly toward Ms. Hydraia to find her already facing him.
She gestured to him with her pointer. “We didn’t include the last pair because we wanted to minimize the roster – not because of any dynamics issue. We even practiced five strong formation.”
“Your Grace, it can be as you wish. From your position you will report to me as Technician Lead.”
A message flashed in from the General on Alpha 2. The Lt. Cpl. uttered a small, “Uh oh.”
“I’ve examined the additional crew roster, and I deem it necessary to make a substitution. I will take the place of counter-rotating pilot CR5. The Queen Ascendant and I have flown together before, and I have experience in heroics.”
“I find this a comfort,” spoke Charlotte from her ship.
Hydraia’s posture expressed alarm. “Can we just let a General go pilot one of these?”
Sorens nodded. “They keep fairly current with vehicular training, they won’t jump into chairs they can’t handle. It happens.”
“So he’ll just taxi out to the counter-arc? Tech Reader, how long till equipment is at level?”
“It will be another ten minutes. Leeway diminishing but still present.”
“So he’ll have the time to get out there.” Arcta closed her hand into a fist to rest in front of her face.
From Alpha 2, “Sir, Buffer Zone and Ionos Base calls are now routed to you.”
“Yes, I would be the next person they want to talk to.”
“There is a medical emergency aboard Buffer Zone 2, Shadowed Flare. The signal reader has lost consciousness.”
“Get me the pilot’s report.”
“She was keeping quiet over there until just a minute ago when she blacked out over her controls. I settled her safe in the back, but that leaves me to manage this by myself.”
Arcta Hydraia raised both arms widely into the air and brought them down. “Okay before you bring up any qualifications, ” she paused in the space between her hands, “I’m a co-inventor of this energy and placement technology. I issued the first ten certifications along with twenty other experts. I’m the best person here, now, to read and understand that position.”
He looked first down at his chest, then up at her, the people around and behind them, then back at the transmission.
“I can do all our coordination from Buffer Zone 2. I might even beat your dad aboard.”
“What’s your call sign?”
He spoke over transmission. “Okay we’re sending in a replacement for Flare, the unit is now Shadowed Watcher.” Tyson Sorens turned back to her. “Go be the other half.” He let her abandon him, and viewed the progress of intermediate craft.