“Should we wake them? I mean, the ship is on fire, after all.”
Barry didn’t seem stressed. In fact, his voice rarely showed any extremes of emotion at all, though that was to be expected of a cyborg.
“It is a bit early, but yes, given the problems I am experiencing with my internal sensors and fire suppression systems, I think that would be prudent,” the disembodied voice of Malorie, the ship’s artificial intelligence system, replied. “Though I would like you on hand, just in case there are any issues cycling the crew out of cryo-sleep so early, and on such short notice.”
“Of course, Mal. Understood.”
The handsome flesh-and-metal man with sandy-blond hair rose from his seat in the control room and stepped into the double airlock leading to the central passageway network. Starboard Peripheral Corridor One would have been the faster route, but after the impact, with the possibility of undetected depressurization in any of the damaged and offline pod sections or one of the unmonitored inter-compartmental conduit routing spaces, he’d just have to take the long way. The inconvenience, he reasoned, was certainly preferable to being unceremoniously blasted into space.
The Váli was a sturdy ship, and she had only been nudged slightly off course by the collision. There was time to set things right, but sooner was far better than later. At the speed and distance they were traveling, “slightly” could easily become “a lot” quickly.
Normally Mal would simply right the course herself, diverting a fraction of her attention toward adjusting the maneuvering thrusters to gently ease them back on target. In the event of a fire of any significance, however, protocol required her to wake the crew of the Váli.
The ship’s unusual name had been taken from old Norse mythology, given to it by a cybernetically-enhanced engineer with a fondness for ancient texts. Váli, the son of Odin, brother of Thor. A god prophesied to survive Ragnarok, the end of times.
She was a fast ship, no doubt, and extremely nimble, when not laden with additional research, living, and lab pods locked to her support frame for such a long voyage. That bulk-saving performance, however, came at a price. The multiple layers of outer shielding found on larger, sturdier vessels—the kind that would have prevented such a minor impact from damaging them in the first place—were sorely lacking, and so it passed that the ship had succumbed quite spectacularly to what would have been an otherwise minor incident.