I handed Arr a cup of his home planet’s herbal stuff called Bitter Sweet. I couldn’t stomach the it, but having grown up with it, he loved it. Arr had been at it for over five hours now - sitting here just a few hundred yards from the NB humming his little heart out with no apparent results.
I had Ma-rye-a holding steady within a pod jump of the Calpernia. Arr explained that the Hummer related to the Calpernia as being the one that talked to them, not Arr, so I ferried Daniel over so he could coordinate with Arr. Arr was trying to convince the Hummers the Calpernia was willing to assist them with the repair of their damaged beacons.
“Thanks,” Arr said, as he took a break and a sip of his Bitter Sweet. He stood to stretch and rolled his shoulders. He had been hard at it. It wasn’t do to not trying that we were still sitting here.
Daniel, sitting in Jake’s pilot seat reached over and nabbed one. He took a bit and smiled with satisfaction.
“What’s in this?” he asked waving the sandwich in question.
“Malfit,” Jake answered. He passed the plate around to the rest of us and then sat it down on the console behind him. He leaned up against the bridge railing and started in munching on his sandwich.
“Good,” Daniel complimented.
“Chopping it and mixing it with pickles and onions takes the gammie taste away.”
Jake knew how to cook one thing, stew. If there wasn’t any chance of that then you were going to be stuck with sandwiches made from whatever he could find. It was only since Arr joined him that he had added a little variety to his menu - mainly because the Henu was mostly a vegetarian.
“You want me to get you some veggies, Arr?” I asked around a mouthful of sandwich.
I was pretty at home aboard the Calpernia. Jake and I had known each other for years.
“No, I’ll go get something in a minute.” He sighed and sat back down in his chair. “I think I’m close.” He opened the com-link again and started to hum. It was almost like listening to a cat purr.
Maybe that was why Arr could speak Hummer talk, he not only purred like a cat, he looked a bit like one mixed with a lot of human. He had a light coat of red/gold fur all over his body except for his face and the palms of his hands, and he had gorgeous, crystal blue, cat eyes with almond shaped pupils.
All of a sudden the ship began to vibrate. I could feel it through the soles of my spacer boot. The plate of sandwiches began to slide off the console and Arr’s empty mug, which was sitting on the arm of his chair, made a jump toward the deck at his feet, but Arr’s quick reflexes caught it just in time.
The vibration increases and the ship literally began to hum.
Jake looked out toward the NB. “What are they up to, Arr?”
Arr’s hum changed in pitch from a low steady gentle sound to almost a high pitched squeal. “NO!” he yelled at the beacon.
Every light on the bridge went out and we were plunged into darkness.
“Arr?” Jake asked in a cautionary voice.
“Shit!” Arr said just as the lights and the bridge equipment began to come back to life.
We all heard the sound of the Calpernia powering up its thrusters.
“Arr?” Jake repeated in what sounded a bit threatening.
“Daniel?” Arr turned to him in the co-pilot seat.
“The NB just downloaded the virus to the Calpernia.” Daniel’s fingers began to fly across his flat, which was linked into the Calpernia’s system.
“Shit, indeed,” Jake confirmed.