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   Chapter 100 No.100

The Galaxii Series Omnibus 1 By Christina Engela Characters: 5631

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

Lofflin picked up a cue, stroked its shiny surface idly, and then leaned over the table, aiming at the white ball. He tapped it casually. Without really aiming, it hit the 8 ball, sending them both into a corner. The 8-ball sank into the pocket. The white teetered on the edge before following it. Ironic. Lofflin grunted, then dropped the cue on the table and found a chair facing one of the small view ports that let the vast universe inside. Stars hung lifelessly in their velvet ocean of blackness, pale. As though it was drowning them.

"Commander?" A young man's voice called, emotionally dulled and filled with hopelessness. He went over to the com panel by the door.

"Yes, what is it?" He answered. The words were flat. There was no question mark in his voice.

"The crew's assembled on the shuttle deck as you asked, sir."

Ah yes, he thought. Time to face the music. A bloody funeral dirge.

"I'll be right there." He said. "You come down too – and all the bridge personnel." There was a slight uncomfortable pause.

"I'm alone up here, sir."

"Doesn't matter." He said. "Nothing's going to happen that already hasn't."

Joe Lofflin sighed a deep sigh. It wasn't a case of not knowing what he was doing – it was doing what he knew had to be done – what ought to be done, that was the problem. That – and not knowing what else to do.

* * *

The extractor fans were annoyingly loud again in the eerie tomb-like silence that had conquered the corridors of the Mordrake as Lofflin made his way to the shuttle deck. His mind was clouded with all the things he wanted to say – all the things he wished he could say – and, finally, what he would have to say. So pr

f moment he and Billingham shared a knowing look. There was almost an element of pity in the look he got from the engineer. Harry Collins seemed relieved that he wasn't the one who had to deliver the bad news. The whole damn thing felt like a near death experience! Poor choice of words, he thought. Lofflin swallowed dryly, wondering how the hell to tell all these people – who now depended on him – that they were all going to die. He moved to a central position, hardly aware of his own legs. He seemed to float there, like a spirit. He tried to avoid the stares, but it was near impossible. He made a small business of clearing his throat.

Damn you, Blaine!

"You all know what happened the other day, " Lofflin opened, "Why we're here, so I'll get right to the point. You're all good people, and you deserve a straight answer – the truth. The main transmuter coil burned out during our engagement with the Corsair ship three days ago. This, I've been told, is due to a massive overload of the ionization dampers – which were faulty in the first place, and which we were heading back to Tremaine to have repaired.

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