“Commander Jennings, this is Lieutenant Alboria,” Captain Valtarie explained as he led Jennings into a side room, just off of the main part of the bridge.
Lieutenant Alboria was the small woman with the bald head, very pale to paper white skin tones and oddly pointy ears he had seen in the briefing he had given months ago. She was now dressed in the navy’s standard working uniform, standing next to a large computer display, staring at him with her huge, brown eyes.
Jennings nodded his head at the woman and offered her a slight smile, at the same time wondering what this was about.
“Lieutenant Alboria is just about the best Jump Navigator the Eldridge has ever had,” the captain explained. “She came over to us after our last Jump Navigator brought us out in the middle of a desert. We were stuck there for three days. Thank God no one saw us. Very embarrassing have to explain that one to command. Since Alboria replaced him a while back, we’ve had a perfect jump record. She, in my honest opinion, is the best there is. Her math is more perfect than a computer and I trust her numbers.”
“Thank you, Captain Valtarie,” the small woman said, as she continued to look at Jennings with her huge, oval shaped, brown eyes. They were actually very pretty eyes.
“Alboria, has been going over the data collected on the original rescue of the children from that island and she has found something,” Captain Valtarie explained.
“Found something,” Jennings asked, “what?”
“Do you understand E.M.Fs and how they can affect instrumentation readings,” Lieutenant Alboria asked?
“E.M.Fs? You mean Electromagnetic Fields? Yes I do know about them,” Jennings explained.
“You understand how they can give false readings,” Alboria asked?
Jennings nodded his head.
Alboria then went on to give a very lengthy and detailed explanation on how E.M.Fs could also cause a mirror or false image because they could distort space-time. Then had gone on to explain that she had redone the calculations the original crew who had rescued the children from the island had given, cross referenced them with satellite imaging and did some math accounting for the dissertation caused by the E.M.F space time effect on and come up with a new position for the island.”
“A new position,” Jennings asked as he blinked his eyes a little confused by the huge amount of scientific jargon the woman had spewed out of her mouth.
“Basically we’ve been looking in the wrong spot,” Captain Valtarie explained.
“My new calculations place the island about two thousand, five hundred nautical miles south, south east of the location we’ve been looking,” Lieutenant Alboria explained.
Jennings blinked his eyes at that. “That’s almost halfway to Australia, I think.”
“You’re correct,” She explained as she brought up a map on the computer screen and pointed at a vast empty spot of the ocean. “It should be right about there.”
Jennings didn’t know what to say to that. He just stood there looking at the map for a long time, thinking. If she was right, he had wasted five years looking, searching the wrong stretch of water for the island, and little Mae.
“Commander Jennings,” Captain Valtarie then said. “We’ve been searching for two months in the same area of the ocean you previously have searched and have found nothing so far. Based on these new findings I intend to bring Eldridge out there and search that area for a while. I just wanted you to be aware of this before we headed out there, so you understand we’re not giving up, just going to look in a new area for a little while.”
Jennings just nodded his head as he glanced from the Lieutenant to the Captain and then down at the computer screen showing that huge, empty track of water. It was so far away, he thought to himself. “I understand, sir,” what else could he say. He wasn’t going to argue with the captain, but at the same time he felt hopeless and frustrated. He also thought, it couldn’t hurt.
“It’s worth a try,” Captain Tie said as he appeared in the doorway. “You’ve been looking in the same area for five years; why not spend a week or two looking in a new area?”
“Yes sir,” was all Jennings said as he glanced around at the other three officers. “Just thinking about how long it would take to get us out there to this new search location.” Probably two to three weeks he thought. Three more weeks of doing nothing but waiting.
Captain Tie laughed at that.
“Commander, this is the Eldridge, we can get anywhere in a matter of hours or less,” Captain Valtarie explained with a smile.
Jennings just nodded his head at that.
“How long until you have the final calculations for our new search area,” Captain Valtarie then asked Alboria?
“A few more minutes, sir. I just want to run the numbers one more time,” she explained. “Just to be sure, but I’ll put us about fifty miles off of that spot,” she explained as she pointed at the empty ocean she had previously suggested as being where the island was. “Give or take a few miles.”
Captain Valtarie nodded his head and looked over at Captain Tie. “Sound the Jump Alarm, and tell the Eight Ball Crew to spiral her up.”
“Aye-aye,” Captain Tie barked and turned and left the area.
“I’ll leave you to your numbers, Lieutenant Alboria,” Captain Valtarie then said as he glanced at the woman.
“Yes sir,” she said as she smiled and bowed her head slight.
“Commander Jennings, you and Doctor Sanders need to report to the Doc down in sickbay as the two of you have never been on a jump before,” Captain Valtarie then said. “The chief and his Corpsmen will fill you in on everything down there.”
“Yes sir,” Jennings said, suddenly remembering that image of the man in the bulkhead he had just seen a short while ago and what Doctor Bartford had said about not leaning up against the bulkheads when they jumped.
Jennings suddenly felt nervous.