“Ellie! Commander!” Leslie called out as an avalanche of bodies fell on her friend and their first officer. Without thinking, she dug into the pile of bodies, caught Ellie by the arm and pulled her out. She moved to go after the commander, but he’d already managed to dig himself clear.

“Bloody hell!” he shouted, his eyes wider than she’d ever seen. He stared at the pile of corpses like he expected them to rise up and chase him. He didn’t look injured, but he did have frost on his hair and face from the bodies.

Ellie managed to stop shrieking, but her hands trembled as she examined her scanning equipment. “Sir, there are 43 bodies here. Different ranks, different departments… I don’t think they are all from this level.”

Commander Smythe rubbed his hair. Flakes of frost came off. “So much for not touching any bodies. Smythe to Doc Sorcha. It seems we’ve had skin-to-skin contact with multiple corpses.” He shivered, then relayed the details.

“We are almost to Sickbay. We’ll know more if this is a problem after I’ve scanned the logs and looked around. Why don’t you complete your tasks on the bridge, then meet me there?”

Enigo cut in, “Did you say forty-three? The Marvin has Type II lazivators. Safety regs allow for a maximum of 15 in emergencies.”

“And has anything you’ve seen today indicated the crew was safety-conscious?” Commander Smythe asked dryly.

“No, sir. My point, though, is that it’s a challenge to see how many people you can cram in. Union record is 42. Straus, look to see if anyone was trying to squeeze in from the top.”

“Yes, sir.” Biting a grimace, she edged around the blocked-open entrance, stepping as carefully over the bodies as she could. She stuck only her torso in as she looked around. “Good thinking, sir. I see two more.”

Ellie gulped. Thirty-six left to account for.

Commander Smythe let out a sigh. “Let’s log their identities, then. They may as well get recognition for their efforts, ill-fated as they are. However, all things considered, I think I’d prefer to take the stairs.”


Ensign Daphne Becca waited until the security chief had signed off before asking, “Did you ever try to break the lazivator crowd record, sir?”

“Nah, but I’ve had to break up an unauthorized attempt or three. At the very least, people should try it when the lazivator is sitting at the lowest level. That’s only common sense, but some people…”

Truth to tell, she didn’t really care. She was just making conversation to take her mind off the mission. Ever since the Cybervirus had played pranks with the artificial gravity and caused her to topple onto the captain multiple times, revealing her secret crush, she’d been wary of away missions. Usually, when an underling developed romantic feelings for a bridge officer, they were put on missions where they either fell in love with an alien or died a horrible but heroic death. Unless they found some hot dude in a stasis chamber, she was going to have to tread very carefully.

I could get a job in the private sector, she thought. I’m a pilot, not a….whatever it is they think qualifies me to be on this cockamamie mission.

They were coming upon Sickbay. To the right and left were doors to the labs. As she passed by one, it opened, and a body toppled out. She shrieked and blundered into Lieutenant LaFuentes.

He grabbed her by the arms before she fell over. “Easy, Ensign Becca. You’re safe. You can’t be much safer than with the Chief of Security, right?”

“And if you should be injured,” Doc Sorcha said as she opened the doors to Sickbay, “the Chief Medical Officer is only two paces away. How much safer can you get?”

The doctor crossed the threshold, and an anvil fell on her head.