May 19, 2023: Ufaratza-V

Image by Yuri from Pixabay.

Marina was weak, tired, and holding on to consciousness by sheer force of will. And anger, definitely anger at this maldito engreído who thought he could do with their lives as he pleased. All she’d wanted was to make a delivery, get her payment, and be on her way to a nice vacation. Instead, this young rabbi had crashed into her life, and now she was either gonna die or let someone else die instead. She didn’t blame Yehoshua, though. He had just wanted to escape, to live. It was fate that had brought them together.

No, not fate. She knew better, even if it’d been years since she thought in those terms.

Marina closed the channel to Montalvo, and turned her chair to face Yehoshua. “You know you didn’t just run into me. You know it was hasgacha pratit.”

Yehoshua’s eyes widened in surprise. It was one thing to know that Hashem was used when referring to the Almighty, but to know about divine providence attested to more than a passing knowledge of Torah. Who was this woman? And she had a point; meeting Captain Marina Estrella when he did was absolutely the work of the Almighty, and if that was the case, he had to believe that there was a reason for it. Something in his gut told him that whatever was going on here, right now, was only a preamble to the real reason their paths had crossed. “I believe it was hasgacha pratit, yes.”

“In that case,” Marina said with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, “you’re not going anywhere. We fight.”

Both Brick and Yehoshua strapped themselves to their console chairs. Marina checked her console screen, saw that everything was flashing red, and took a deep breath. The engines were about to burn out, and the ship’s structural integrity was downright critical. Marina rerouted power from shields to structural integrity, buying them a little more time. “Brick, any ideas, suggestions, opinions?”

“My apologies, Captain. As you sometimes say, I got nothing.” Brick’s tentacles flew over his console and nearby panels like a blur, data scrolling around the glass dome of his helmet at speeds that only Brick’s brain could comprehend. “I’ve been studying the composition of the beam that has us locked down. It isn’t magnetic per se—the Star’s outer hull has enough ceramite and plasteel in the alloy to make a true magbeam useless. It is, however, indeed holding on to our hull, as you guessed. Theoretically, if we could get rid of the ship’s outer hull, we’d be able to escape. We’d probably die as the ship’s torn apart into pieces the moment it hits hyperspace, but we’d be able to escape.”

“It’s never the easy solution, is it?” Marina needed to do something quickly. She could feel herself slipping away and it was getting harder to stay focused. She didn’t need to look at her leg to know there was a substantial pool of blood at the foot of her console. They had one, and only one, chance to make it out of this alive, though not necessarily in one piece. “Say a prayer, rabbi, ’cause we’re gonna need it!”

Marina abruptly cut the Star’s engines, the sudden silence in the cockpit almost deafening. She heard Yehoshua say out loud, “Ribbono shel olam,” before continuing his prayer under his breath. She wasn’t expecting him to take her literally, but in all honesty, they could use all the help they could get. 

Marina keyed into the console a number of orders to fire off sequentially when executed, hoping the gamble would pay off. Saving the bare minimum power for life support, she rerouted all power to the systems they would need to make it out alive. After looking around, and making sure everyone was strapped to their chairs, she took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and maybe, just maybe, muttered a prayer of her own.

The Star shook and lurched backward as the cruiser began to pull it back to New Madrid. Marina counted to ten, opened her eyes, and hit the execute button on her console. “Let’s do this.”

The Star’s reverse thrusters came to life at full power, pushing the ship in the direction it was being pulled at increasing speed. Either the Star would slam into the cruiser towing them, or they’d release the locking beam as they tried to evade the ramming ship. Either way, Marina gambled, they’d get a chance to blast off if she timed it right. 

“Three hundred meters and closing, Captain,” Brick announced, having figured out Marina’s plan and monitoring the scanning system. “Two fifty. Two hundred. They’re not letting go, Captain.”

“Brace for impact, people,” Marina said, bracing with what little strength she had left, her hand on the console ready to hit execute on her next set of orders the moment they hit.

“One Fifty. One hundred. Still locked on to us. “Fifty.”

The Star shook suddenly as whatever was holding her in space suddenly let go. The cruiser had cut off the locking beam, but they were still a very real danger, especially this close. Marina’s finger pressed the execute button again just as she felt the world close in around her.

The Star’s engines roared to life like a twin-headed fire-breathing dragon, pushing the ship’s inertial dampeners to the brink as it accelerated forward at a dangerous speed.

“Ten seconds to hyperspace,” Brick said, his tentacles flying all over his console at dizzying speed. “Hang in there, Captain!”

Marina had no strength left. She felt herself slide down the console chair onto the pool of blood on the floor. 


It’d been a good ride. A short one, but good.


She felt a hand slip under her neck, her head being cradled. Strong hands. Yehoshua.


The Star came to an immediate halt, throwing Marina and Yehoshua against the forward viewscreen. Laying against the panel, her shoulder dislocated from the impact, Marina realized that the cruiser had locked onto them again. It was all over. “Coño,” she muttered weakly, her eyes closing.


Marina opened her eyes as much as she could and looked at Yehoshua, slumped next to her. A gash across his forehead was dripping a river of blood over his eye, but his mouth was moving. What had he said?

“Ufaratzta yamma v’kedamah v’tzafonah v’negbah.”

Her Hebrew was rusty, but she felt she recognized the words. A verse? A song? It’d been so long ago.

“Ufaratzta yamma v’kedamah v’tzafonah v’negbah!”

Somewhere in the distance she heard the alarm blaring. The engines were about to blow, structural integrity was critical. A few more seconds and it would all be over. She closed her eyes, and prepared to let go.


Yehoshua’s scream made her eyes fly wide open. No, not the scream itself, but his voice. It wasn’t his voice. Or it was, but not just his voice. It echoed within itself, like there was a stronger voice that was also him, but not him. It made no sense, but it made perfect sense. In that word he’d spoken there was power, and she’d felt it flow through her, through the ship, through space itself. In that instant, she remembered the meaning of the words: you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. Ufaratza; we’ll break forth. 

Had Marina been able to see the Star from Montalvo’s ship, she would’ve seen how a wave of light had burst from within the hitherto doomed starship, then how most of the outer hull panels of the Star peeled off as one, freeing the trapped ship from the locking beam, its already hot engines immediately taking it into hyperspace before anyone could truly understand what had happened. Inside the Star, however, all Marina knew was that there was a flash of light, then the ship hit hyperspace. Then she passed out.

Brick unstrapped himself from his console and checked on the two humans. He used one of the small hand(tentacle)held monitoring units to verify they were both still alive. The Captain was in bad shape, and would need urgent medical attention, but the young male, Yehoshua, would be well, if sore and bruised. Brick heard him mutter something before succumbing to exhaustion, his comm picking it up and displaying it on his helmet: 

>> ברוך השם >> [Baruch Hashem] >> Earth language, Hebrew >> Translation: Blessed TheName >> Insufficient information at this time, downloading language data. << 

Blessed God, Brick thought to himself, remembering what Marina had said earlier. He filed the information for later reference, and went back to the main console to check on the ship. The Star was in terrible shape, but miraculously still flying. There were just enough of the outer hull panels left to keep it in one piece through hyperspace, though they would need major repairs when they got to a spaceport. Good thing they had actually gotten paid for that last shipment to New Madrid. 

Brick laid in a course to the nearest off-the-beaten-spacelane shipyard with a medical facility where they wouldn’t ask too many questions, and set about stabilizing the two humans with what few medical supplies they had left, while putting together a list of parts they would need to repair the Star, and maybe make some remodeling as well. It was about time they had a proper galley in this ship.

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