Emergency Self-Destruct

Paddy signaled to Roberts to change to their private comms channel and then he spoke, “If we are gonna do this… we will need to depressurize this deck and the B2 Junction so we can haul ass all the way back without waiting. We need to have the Captain ready the Montero airlock and have it open. Set a course to reach minimum safe distance… I don’t know about an explosive blast but that radiation could possibly travel ridiculous distances and take out our ship with an EMP… and as it stands, we need to convince MUTHUR or this isn’t feasible. We need to make her think the ship can't be saved.”

He turned to the access terminal in the corner of the room and began depressurization of C Deck as Roberts kept a lookout. Paddy couldn't help but feel like a sitting duck while they could do nothing but wait around for about 10 minutes.

Once C Deck was ready, they headed to the Junction, shut the door to the ominous dark of the cargo bays, and proceeded to depressurize the B2 Junction then they headed back to the Reactor Control together.

Roberts looked over the self destruct panel. The instructions were covered in Roku’s freeze dried blood. He shook his head in frustration.

“Let me try it, I've had to do this once before. It should be similar.” said Paddy.

Roberts stood by, still keeping watch as Paddy continued the procedure to overload the reactor.

Paddy gently placed Roku's body to the side on the floor and looked over the self destruct panel.

The emergency self destruct sequence involved shutting off the cooling unit and the procedure was already half done with two of the nuclear heads disengaged. It would only take a minute to finish the job and the reactor would begin to build toward critical mass.

Paddy grabbed the nuclear bolt, screwed it into the designated socket, pulled the telescopic tube upward, swung open the center of it and pushed a button. A moment afterward, the nuclear head began to automatically emerge as he started the last bolt. He then keyed his comm to reconnect to the crew comms channel, "Captain, prepare the airlock for our arrival."

"Affirmative, Paddy. You boys had me worried there for a sec." the Captain responded.

If they could've heard MUTHUR's warning, they would have heard a high pitched pulsing alarm along with an urgent message:

"DANGER: The Emergency Destruct System is now activated. The ship will detonate in T-Minus 10 minutes. The option to override automatic detonation expires in T-minus 5 minutes."

When the emergency lights started to spin and blink Roberts knew Paddy had done it.

"Let's go!" he said as he headed out the door.

Already a mist was beginning to fill the corridor. They headed out the way they entered, occasionally tripping up on their mag boots by the effects of zero g, costing them precious seconds.

Paddy swore he saw a cloud of spiders desperately trying to swim through the foggy corridor toward them but they made it to the Corporate Suite and closed the door behind them.

When they approached the egress point, he warned Captain McCormick, "Captain, you're gonna want to prepare the engines, check our coordinates and set a course for somewhere really fucking far."

"Why, what's happening over there!?" asked the Captain nearly spitting out his coffee in concern.

"Just have MUTHUR probe the Cronus system for a status once we get into the airlock and immediately move us away." Paddy urged.

Captain Kenny changed the Montero’s coordinates to a heading 2000 miles away and once they hopped into the airlock and closed the hatch, he sipped his coffee and told MUTHUR to probe the Cronus system.

“WARNING: Close proximity detonation imminent. You have 5 minutes to reach minimum safe distance. Repeat. Close proximity detonation imminent. You have 5 minutes to reach minimum safe distance.” MUTHUR droned over the speakers.

“That’s the best thing you’ve said all day, MUTHUR.” sighed the Captain as a smile beamed on his face.

The Captain punched it and the two men in the airlock hung on tight as they left the Cronus hundreds of miles before it exploded alone in deep space.

If the Montero crew could see it, they would have witnessed a brilliant flash, a sphere of fire, quickly giving way to waves of colored light. Thankfully, the ship was able to reach a safe distance from the radiation.
_________________________

- End of Act III -

< Prev : Unfinished Business Next > : Act IV: It Ain't Over Til It's Over