Terra Tonight

Scott Pearson

Cadet Ella Rose, in the engine room of the Hood on a training cruise, kept her eyes on her display as she said, “Chief, you think we might pass by the Frisco yards on the way back to spacedock? The new Sovereign-class Enterprise is coming along well, and you know I requested a posting on her . . .” She trailed off as she glanced toward Chief Engineer Chandra at the port system display just as he staggered backwards, then doubled over as if punched in the stomach.
        “Check the synch—” The order was cut off as a waviness surrounded the chief like heat shimmering in the air. He looked like he was yelling more orders, but no sound reached Rose. She headed toward him but hesitated as Chandra’s legs left the deck, his whole body turning in the air with his waist the axis of rotation. He hovered there, slowly tumbling in place, his body appearing to ripple and warp as if seen through a billowing sheet of translucent plastic.
        “Engineering, this is Captain DeSoto. All our boards just lit up like fireworks. What’s going on down there?”
        Rose reached for her combadge. Before she could tap the channel open, she found herself stumbling across the deck then falling to starboard. She toppled downward, toward the wall, which suddenly seemed below her. She landed face down, banging her elbows and accidentally biting her lip. Scrambling up into a sitting position—still on the wall—she saw other cadets and regular engineering crew trying to adapt to the chaos in the engine room.
        The port system display shattered, the shards flying and falling in random directions. Crewmembers fell, stumbled, or floated in various directions. A crease appeared in the ceiling, the walls seemed to bend, and although Rose remained on the wall, the blood from her lip dripped to the ceiling. She wiped at her mouth with a sleeve, and tapped her combadge.
        “Cadet Rose to the bridge.” She paused. “Captain DeSoto?”
        There was no answer. . . .

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