Woon burst in, alarmed. “Poids!” he announced. “A pair, at least, pointing this direction.”
“Do they have weapons?” O’Bien asked.
“Affirmative,” Wood said. “My chances aren’t good against armed poids under the circumstances.”
“Understood. Remain inside.” She turned. “Dr. Kendrick, we have to get Sufra going.”
“What do you think I’m doing?” he muttered. He was busy crushing seeds with an unusually small, round spoon shaped for central mouth suckers. The tension was making him sweat as he sniffed bottles of liquid at the one small refreshment station the poids hadn’t gone near.
“If this isn’t alcohol, I don’t know my beer from my butter,” he said. He paused, grimacing. “An alcohol tincture would be stronger, but it would take too long. Tea will have to do. Except I don’t even have a microwave in here!”
Karen hurried over to a wall panel. “I did prepare some hot liquid in case you needed it. Some kind of fruity drink in a bottle. I placed it next to this very hot panel.”
Kendrick brightened. “You’re a smart cookie!”
“Not a cookie, doctor,” she said sternly, walking over with the bottle.
“Sorry, ma’am.” He never-the-less held out his hand expectantly, palm up, without looking at her, as if expecting to receive a surgical tool from an assistant.”
She slapped it into his palm a little harder than necessary. He glanced up briefly and nodded.
“Received,” he said sheepishly. He set it down quickly to avoid burning his hand, then scooped his powdered seeds into it. He held a finger to his lips. “I need to count out three minutes,” he said.
When the tea was steeped, he took a large swallow.
Karen opened her mouth to protest, then figured out he was waiting to see if anything bad happened to him.
“I kicked someone off the ship for testing things on himself,” she commented wryly.
Kendrick nodded. He checked his pulse while he counted. After two very long minutes, in which they started hearing poid voices outside the tankard, the doctor said, “Ok, no immediately dire interactions with the fruit in the drink. It’s now or never.”
He gently tapped Sufra’s cheek to get her to open her eyes. He handed her the bottle and said, “Drink this, please.”
Zombie-like, she lifted the bottle to her lips and swallowed. After a minute, she rubbed her eyes then took more. Her eyes were starting to focus on the screen in front of her. Three minutes later there was loud banging on the metal walls. She jumped right out of her seat. As soon as she landed back down, she started typing rapidly. With a brightening expression, she downed the rest of the drink.
“That’s good stuff,” she said. Her eyes sharp now, she studied the symbols code Panther had translated into English as best he could.
“Ahh!” She said suddenly. “Ok, I’ve got it! It’s so simple, really!” She typed super-fast. “Do you want me to push the buttons that will get us going?” she was moving towards them.
“Yes!” O’Bien said.
Sufra proceeded, and with a purr, they shifted out into the deep and started submerging.
Suddenly there were sparks coming from the ceiling.
“We’re hit!” Woon said.
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