Light was provided mostly by the consoles and a few strip lights in the cockpit of the vessel. otherwise, it was dark.
The figure in the pilots seat glanced down occasionally at the small array of monitors, one largish one in front and two small ones to each side, lights glowing in various shades each side of them marking the controls and telltales, but mostly she kept her eyes on the view ahead, looking out of the expanse of armored window that curved around and above her. Her hands twitched slightly on the controls as she maintained the crafts position in the conduit. Barely half again as wide as the ship that passed though it, the tunnel walls glittered green with the swirling vortex of energies that had created it as the small craft made its one way journey. Suddenly, like a wave, a band of golden energy rippled across the vortex. The ship rocked slightly from it and she corrected the slight deviation with gentle pressure on the control stick in her right hand.
"Shields holding at one hundred percent. Slight decrease in velocity as the wave passed, but back to recommended velocity. No damage to systems or ship" came the voice of the person seated behind her to the right at the engineering station,
Another voice, seated at the larger sciences/system station spoke up after a moment of tapping away at the console. "Wormhole stable ahead. Aft sensors detect wormhole collapse commencing." after a minute or two of further tapping, she spoke again. "Confirmed."
"Looks like they detonated the device" muttered the dark haired engineer.
"Time" barked the pilot.
"forty-five seconds to wormhole exit. Sixty seconds to wormhole collapse."
Ignoring the muttered curse from the dark haired figure and fighting down the urge to advance the throttle control under her left hand, the only outward indication from the pilot was the clenching of her jaw. Accelerating wouldn't help, indeed it would prove fatal. Precise calculations had determined the optimum speed at which they could pass safely through the wormhole. Too fast or too slow and their journey would come to an abrupt, fatal end.
Seconds ticked by, then the science console let out a burp of warning. The tall blond haired figure quickly read the information. "Rate of collapse increasing. Time to wormhole exit 10 seconds, time to wormhole collapse 15 seconds" she said in a cool, dispassionate voice. Behind her at the engineering station, she heard the squeak of leather as the dark haired figure gripped tightly on the armrests of her seat. Glancing to her right, she saw the dark red head of the woman in the pilots seat jerk slightly, otherwise, there was no other reaction. There was no point really, she knew like the other two that at this point it would be useless to react. They would either get out before the wormhole collapsed, or they would be caught and crushed.
The pilot gritted her teeth and once again fought down the urge to slam the throttle control forward.
"Five seconds to boundary" came the cool voice behind her, steadying her, making her breath deeper. Ahead of her she could see it now, a somewhat imperfect disk of dull glowing white. She watched as it rapidly grew before her, filled the view. Then, with a shuddering jolt and a kaleidoscope of colours, they were through and out the other side. Without being told, she now slammed the throttle forward into its stops. The ship surged forward, rapidly accelerating to its maximum sublight velocity as, behind them, the wormhole collapsed in spectacular fashion, hurling an expanding shockwave of energy outwards in all directions. Buffeted, but by this stage far away enough from the source of the wave for it not to cause serious trouble, the small craft yawed and tumbled slightly before quick, expert hands brought it back under control and slowed the craft to a halt.
The three figures in the gloomily lit cockpit sat silent for a few minutes, calming themselves down from what was, to all intense and purpose, a damned close call.
"Status" the redhead said after a moment. The dark haired engineer was the first to reply.
"Shields as one hundred percent, engines and warp drive operational. No damage to ships systems" she got out. She gave a quick cough to clear her throat, then continued. "Weapons systems operational, hull integrity at one hundred percent, life support functioning normally."
The pilot grunted before asking the next obvious question. "Alright then, where are we?"
The blond headed figure began tapping away at her console. "Running a full sensor sweep will take several minutes, though initial scans confirm that we are close to our intended exit point. I will run a full comparison scan to determine our exact location."
"Take your time. After that ride, I'm not moving us from here until we know exactly where we are."
"Captain," said the dark haired woman, "Far be it for me to suggest hiding, but don't you think it would be advisable to …..."
"I get your point" she said. Touching a set of controls set into the small control panel just in front of the control column, she activated the small vessels cloak. "No need to add to our current problems by inviting in nosy guests until we figure out just where the hell we are."
Several minutes went by before the blond haired figure stopped typing, sat back and looked pensive. Her silence was telling.
"Alright," said the pilot with a sigh "Lets have it."
"We are in the Delta Quadrant."
"But?" said the dark haired figure as she heard the hesitation in the science officers voice/
"Harmonic resonance indicates that we have not returned to our universe. I have double checked the readings and indications are that we have crossed over into a previously unknown and unexplored version of our universe."
"FUCK!" snarled the dark haired figure. Neither of the other two in the darkened cockpit bothered to answer. There was no point – her curse spoke for all of them.