Lieutenant Gina Rolas held her cup of burnt, black coffee in both hands, waiting for it to cool. She kicked her feet up at her station on the Silencio‘s bridge. Most of the stealth frigate’s crew were planetside with Captain Hocks and Commander Nitsady, which made her the ranking officer and acting captain. It wasn’t a lot of responsibility—make sure the pilot, Riggs, kept the ship in position, and the reserve marine attachment, a squad of six, kept their poker game minimally destructive—but she got a thrill out of it anyway. She would re-up next year, she’d already decided, and then who knows; maybe she’d have her own—
The bridge filled with intense white light, and Gina tossed her coffee aside to shield her eyes. The light dimmed as the window filters reacted, and then her senses were bombarded by strobes and sirens. She watched with her mouth agape as a shockwave rippled out across the planet’s surface. The atmosphere roiled, sending the clouds churning. Out of that devastation streaked a sleek black ship, long and pointed, looking remarkably like a sewing needle. Alien. Geminid, most certainly.
It shot away like an ember from a flame. “Riggs, follow it!” Gina stood behind the young pilot’s crash couch now, pointing at a shrinking spec against the stars.
“What about Hocks?” he protested.
“I’m taking charge. Follow it, now!”
“But what about—”
“They’re fucking dead, Riggs!” She steadied herself with a breath. “They’re dead. Let’s focus on catching the bastards who did it.”
A storm of emotions passed over Riggs’ face, and then, like the good soldier he was, he set them aside and went to work. The Silencio fired away from the decimated planet and Gina took her place at the captain’s post.
“Lieutenant,” Riggs called. “Monitor, take a look.”
She checked her monitor which displayed a forward scan of their current trajectory. A glowing, undulating orb hung ghostlike in space, and the Geminid ship disappeared inside it. A wormhole. They are real.
“Follow them. Activate all stealth systems and follow them inside.” And then she called down to the surely unnerved marines over the intercom, doing little to reassure them. “Strap in down there. I don’t know what’s about to happen, but it’s gonna be a hell of a ride.”
The Silencio slipped into the wormhole.