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   Chapter 17 No.17

Demonspawn By Christina Engela Characters: 4792

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02

"Did you try running it through a shield generator?" asked Collins. "Aren't they supposed to be nearly the same thing?"

"They may look similar, Doctor, to a layman, " Billingham explained, "but the shield generators are far smaller than the main coil and can only handle about 8% of the same power load, not to mention the fact that they operate in entirely the opposite direction. Trying to figure out how to convert plasmatic energy so that it can be used to recharge optical hydrium cells – without blowing an even bigger hole in the ship than the Corsairs have – isn't as simple as you think."

"So in other words, no luck then." Collins quipped sarcastically.

"Unless you gents can come up with something better, " The Chief entech continued, unswayed. "I was thinking of setting up some volunteers on exercise bicycles connected to alternators. When the breathing gets tough, the good doctor can just encourage them to peddle faster!"

"Very fucking funny, Ralph!"

"We might as well blow ourselves up, and save ourselves the suffering!" Murphy interjected, bitterness easily apparent in his voice. The tension in the room mounted rapidly. The atmosphere could be cut with a proverbial knife.

"Okay." Lofflin interrupted. "That's enough, everybody. Believe it or not, I just happen to have some good news. At least, I hope its good news. I mentioned earlier I was called to the bridge by Ensign Bennett. It seems we m

ain, making mental lists of things to do, preparations to make. There was something else to do now, other than to wait for their previously anticipated doom. The news seemed to have cheered them up, but Lofflin was willing to bet credits to cupcakes that one of them was quietly shitting bricks.

"Ralph, " Lofflin called. Billingham turned, just as Joe casually tossed something to him. Ralph caught it equally casually, on reflex. He opened his hand and looked at it. It was a small data pad.

"What's this?" He asked.

"Some readings of that ship in the astorfield. See what you can make of it, would you?"

"Yes, sir." Billingham nodded.

As he turned and left, Joe and Harry exchanged knowing glances. But despite their knowledge of the case, they both knew it was just circumstantial. They had nothing much in the way of actual proof – not right now anyway. For now, they needed Ralph Billingham and his technical expertise. They all did.

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