The forging of a new path Part 1

Six days passed as the Event Horizon's ion engines pushed it through space to the V3 Station. As they drew closer, the crew's moral seemed to improve somewhat. They openly talked about the prospect of shore leave and getting off the ship for a spell. It... almost felt normal. Even D.J. seemed to be in better spirits, joking with with Peters and chatting with some of Kilpack's crew. Meanwhile, the two captains worked to keep them all focused on the task of daily ship operations.

"Captain," Leutenant Smith called out as Miller sat brooding over schematics of the ship's missing foredecks. "We're approaching the station now."

"Steady as she goes," he ordered. Then, to two of Kilpack's crew, "Reuben. Chambers. Get the EVA suits ready."

The airlock had been a part of the main corridor, which ran from the foredecks to those of the engineering section. But that main corridor was nothing more than a twisted stub of metal now, sadly protruding from what remained of the ship. That left a precarious trip across the outside of the hull and a brief jump through open space to reach the station's airlock.

Inside, the station was a mishmash of salvaged ship corridors. An effort had been made to at least paint it all a uniform white, but that had clearly been years ago and a one-time affair.

As Miller and two of his crewmen stepped through the second set of pressure doors, they came face-to-face with... well, an alien. The black eyed lizard creature regarded a small tablet in its hand.

"Ah, Captain Miller! So nice to finally meet you," it said, revealing several rows of sharply pointed teeth.

Miller glanced at his suit's heads-up display. The atmosphere on the station was breathable, gravity and pressure were suitable, no harmful microorganisms... So, hesitantly he removed his helmet.

"Administrator Vrox, forgive me. I'm familiar with your species... or this sector of the universe in general. But indeed, it is nice to meet you," Miller said.

"I assume you have a tally of all the work you require?" Vrox asked, scratching his saggy chin with a clawed hand.

"I do," miller said and offered Vrox the data pad he'd been working with. "I assume other issues may pop up as work progresses, but this is as complete a list as I can assemble right now."

Vrox glanced down at it.

"These are significant repairs, Captain. May I invite you to my office to negotiate the price?" the lizard said.

"Of course, Administrator," Miller said.

A short time later, they gathered in a comparatively more luxurious section of the station. The paint job had been kept up better, and greater care had been taken in piecing the repurposed ship sections together. Two security guards followed them and took up position in the hallway as Vrox lead the trio of humans inside.

"You essentially need me to rebuild half your ship for you, Captain," Vrox said, sitting behind a desk and scrolling through the pad.

Miller nodded.

"And your form of payment is of the... no questions asked, variety?" Vrox added.

Again, Miller nodded.

"That won't be cheap. And this isn't a ship yard. At best, it's a mining depo. My crews are used to repairing transports and industrial haulers," Vrox said.

"If you can't-" miller began.

"I didn't say I can't. Just that it will be expensive," Vrox said.

"How expensive?" Miller asked.

"All of it," the lizard said.

"Oh to hell with that," Leutenant Smith said, throwing his arms in the air.

"Fine," Miller said, motioning for his pilot to calm down. "But I'll need some additional concessions on your part. Firstly, my crew is badly in need of some R&R. I'll need station accommodations for them while the work is being done, as well as whatever entertainment or recreation your station can provide. Second, on page two of that pad, you'll find a list of supplies we could use. And lastly, but most importantly, no one is allowed in, on, or near my ship without me onboard. Crews entering the engineering hull must be accompanied by a crew member."

Vrox raised a scaly eyebrow at Miller's third condition.

"The Event Horizon is a unique ship. I cannot be responsible for what happens if one of your crews goes off on their own," Miller said.

"Very well, Captain. Though, I fear your crew may find the entertainment a bit underwhelming, I will do my best in that regard. But I give you my word that your ship will receive top notch work. I've already reached out across the system for additional personal with ship-building expertise," Vrox said.

With that settled, Miller stood up and offered his hand to the alien, "In my culture, we shake hands as a means to seal a deal."

"Well then, in that respect we have something in common," Vrox said, taking Miller's hand.

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