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Chapter 3.4

Posted on Wed Jul 26th, 2023 @ 11:41am by Admiral Janule Tua & Willian Targaryen & Commander Galatea & Commander Emko Xasx & Lieutenant Commander Ialo Gojir & Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Aiden Crowe & Minister Zehoi D'ian & Captain Nathan Bishop & Captain Poko Dimlac & Commander Ash Randall & Commander Nathan Hawkins & Lieutenant Dylan Blake & Lieutenant Cyrus Marner & Lieutenant R'relle & Ensign Aqua Powers & Warrant Officer Harris Zim

4,527 words; about a 23 minute read

Mission: Remember Everything
Location: Bridge, USS Enterprise
Timeline: 3189-03-17, 10:00

As the turbolift quickly ascended toward the Bridge of the Starship Enterprise, Lieutenant Aiden Crowe never imagined how happy he would be to see his station again (even if it was like working on a steam ship compared to the modern era). While he did enjoy getting the opportunity to get off of the Bridge every once and a while, he still loved returning to his workstation and piloting the ship through the stars.

The lift doors slid open, revealing the expansive Bridge of the Starship Enterprise before them. Galatea quickly exited, moving immediately to the console she'd established as 'hers' behind the First Officer's Chair. Aiden himself walked right toward the Helm to see what was going on with the ship, Petty Officer Rev quickly vacating as he saw the Chief approaching. Enterprise was still holding position inside the Hekaras Corridor. Engines and most subspace systems were still offline, but Engineering was steadily working on it.

Behind him he could hear a discussion going on between Captain Bishop and Commander Galatea, and he decided to eavesdrop - just as the rest of the Bridge crew were probably doing too. He was smart enough to make it look like he was working though, even if he was secretly playing Galaga.

"Blake and Zim were the ones who were able to break the encryption and get back our codes," Galatea explained as she glanced, proudly, at the two. "Once communications are restored," she glanced at Ensign Powers, "I will alert Battle Group Omega that we have recovered their authorization codes."

"Excellent work." Bishop noted. "I'll make sure to inform the Admiral of their work. I'll also put them in for formal commendations. I'd like you to recommend them as well Galatea. I'm sure the Admiral will also do something to honor and recognize their efforts. Let Battle Group Omega know they can breathe again and they can once again operate as they normally do."

Similarly to Crowe Lieutenant Blake standing at the rear of the bridge supporting engineering was trying look busy instead of listening to the conversation around him. Unfortunately the red blush on his ears having heard his name being mentioned was a tell tale sign he'd failed on remaining professional.

Galatea stood for a moment thinking about Admiral Luzol and her recovery from the effects of their transference to this time. The rightful Captain of the Starship Enterprise, her cranial trauma had done significant damage to her health upon arriving in this time according to the reports. The medical staff had to perform emergency surgery in the Ready Room to keep her alive from her injuries. She was still on the mend.

"Thank you, Captain," the android replied as she looked at the others. "I appreciate the sentiment for myself, but Blake and Zim did the hard work."

Crowe turned from his chair, "What about me?"

"You held the door open," the former AI commented.

"Indeed. Thank you Mr. Crowe." Bishop said with a smirk. He didn't add that he was also going to put a formal commendation in Galatea's file the android had done an excellent job (as usual) in helping to retrieve the codes and helping Blake and Zim break the encryption on the authorization codes.

Zim stepped off the turbolift and headed to his station. His thoughts were on the events of the past hours. When he had been forced into the gold uniform he felt that it was unearned and something that he would not be too good at. However, since this all began he took it as a personal mission to recover those codes, and so like any good Capellan he completed his mission. Successfully to boot. He found that he rather enjoyed the hunt, and the mystery of it all. Zim knew that he would succeed now in this new position. "Commander Galatea I would suggest that every ship in Battle Group Omega do a complete diagnostic of all their systems. We want to make sure that those codes were not used to cause any damage."

Galatea nodded, "An excellent recommendation, Mister Zim. Once we have restored subspace communications, I will contact Admiral Tua to inform her of our success at retrieving the codes." She was about to ask about the status of said repairs when she noted that the Turbolift doors were opening.

Cyrus, after seeing to the injured, felt the need to go to the bridge, he stepped out from the lift looking around, his eyes going towards the Ready Room for the moment, then directed his attention to the others. "How is everyone faring?" he asked. "The injured have been seen to and are in recovery."

Crowe glanced over from the Helm, "Hard to believe that anyone would willingly turn their backs on the Federation and all it has to offer. I'm sure that it was difficult not to just ignore their plight." There was a deadly earnestness behind the Helmsman's words. A darkness that only betrayal could convey.

Hawkins looked over to the helmsmen: "Considering the fall out from the Burn and how little is known about what caused it nothing in this century comes as surprise to me any more." He bit back a sigh: "We can only hope to restore some of that lost bonds and rebuild."

"Well said Nathan." Bishop remarked to his friend. "It is going to take time, perhaps a long time to restore what was lost."

Galatea looked at the Communications Officer, "Any word on the restoration of communications, Ensign?"

Aqua eeped and looked up and around at Commander Galatea, blushing slightly at zoning out by looking at the stars...stars she didn't know, but that were now part of her reality.

"Ssorry, Commander! They're coming back online one at a time...sheesh, this is worse than 'watching paint dry' as the Ancient Earth saying goes!" Aqua slunked down in her chair at her rather childish response, hoping she'd finally grow up a bit during this crazy mission.

After finalizing a plan with Lt. Jardok, and assuring the man was on-board with the plan, she returned to the science console. "Sir, when you're ready, the Science department has a few recommendations," she said.

Galatea looked at Captain Bishop, curious at what Lieutenant P'rar would recommend.

Bishop looked at P'rar, "Let's hear what you have Lieutenant."

"Myself, Lt. Jardok, and Ens. Powers feel like it's best to ask the Federation Science Council to step in to assist us in finding some mutually amicable solutions. My initial feeling is to try a planetary shield, though, BUT only as a short-term solution. We don't wish it to go the way of Risa or something. However, IF we ask the Science Council to step in, I'd ask that the three of us be allowed to oversee or at least ASSIST. It IS our ship, and the Hekarans are our guests. They came to US," she said. She hated not having a more solid solution at hand, but anything done out here would require the sort of planning and cooperation that this brave new world simply didn't allow for yet.

Galatea turned her head toward Captain Bishop, "I defer to you, Captain."

Bishop listened to P'rar as she put her request before him. "You do, do you. Might bold on you and your associates. I think I can say that the Science Council will step in and that you, Lt. Jardok and Ensign Powers will not oversee any project(s)." He said not unkindly. He held a hand up to stop any protest P'rar was going to make. "I do however think you will be allowed to assist. In what capacity or for how long, I can't say. Your point about the Hekarans is well taken. Make a formal request, present it to me or Commander Galatea and I'll sign off and forward it to the Science Council's representatives."

She opened her mouth to argue, but thought better of it, and instead just nodded. "I will do that, Sir. Thank you," she said. It was out of her hands now. She didn't trust the Science Council to not completely FUBAR everything, but she did trust her team. But her hands were now tied, so she'd live with whatever the Council said.

"I will have that for you by the end of the day."

[Oh for the love of Micalsqalopets!] Aqua stifled a growl.

Paisley turned to Powers. "Ens., come with me. Sir, I'll send Jardok up to man the console. Myself and Ensign Powers will work on a proposal. I am in the Science Office if I am needed," she said, waiting to be excused. Someday, she'd get Powers trained on the console, but there wasn't time right now.

Aqua straightened her shoulder and followed P'rar.

Bishop nodded to Paisley. "Very good Lieutenant. You do that." He replied sounding more curt than he meant to me. "Don't worry Lieutenant if we need you, we can certainly find you but that thank you for the information on your whereabouts.'

Galatea stood, silently, at her workstation impressed by the interplay that had occurred. She was fairly impressed by the proposal that had been made. She just hoped that the Science Council would give the proposal due consideration. With all that had been happening within the galaxy and with the Federation's resources she really wondered if the Federation would offer their support.

She was about to speak when an alarm beeped on her workstation. Pecking the indicator, "Sensors are detecting a vessel inbound."

Zim began to scan the vessel that was inbound. He sounded yellow alert throughout the ship. That was standard procedure when approached by an unidentified vessel.

Aiden brought up the preprogrammed maneuver and tactics menu, waiting for orders from Captain Bishop. He wondered what was coming and hoped that, whatever it was, they were prepared for it.

"Commander Randall, to the bridge. The Coaxial Drive and Navigation are now available. All other systems should be back online within the next 5 minutes though, some may be a bit sluggish at first." The Chief Engineer announced.

Zim kept his eyes on the scanner screens as he cleared up the data he received. "Sirs I have more information on the incoming. The sensors show that it is a Constitution Class. We are still working on getting the registry number. However, she is coming in fast but shields are down and weapons are on standby."

Crowe looked up at the display with concern. Having been transferred over from the Stargazer a few weeks ago he had been very familiar with the ships and composition of Battle Group Omega ever since being rescued on a derelict from Titan. He turned back toward the center of the Bridge, "Sirs, Battle Group Omega has no Constitution Class ships assigned to it."

Galatea considered the readouts, "That does not negate the possibility that it is a Starfleet ship, Lieutenant. Nonetheless, I recommend vigilance. There are many Starfleet vessels that have been captured by third parties and converted into privateer vessels. This could be one such vessel."

"What should we do, Sir?" Crowe asked almost pleadingly.

"Easy Mr. Crowe. Put our weapons on standby. Let them make the first move. You know what? Nathan." He said speaking to his Exec. "Raise our shields. They can hail us and then we can find out what is going on."

"Shields raised," Hawkins nodded feeling chilled by Galatea's omission that many of the Starfleet vessels were converted in pirate vessels - he should have expected given the cut throat nature of the population but it still felt criminal to do such a thing to a once wonderous and excellent ship like ripping out its very soul.

"A wise precaution Captain. Although I am inclined to believe they don't mean us any harm. Still it can't hurt to be cautious. If they are genuine, I wonder where they came from?" R'elle said.

The turbolift doors at the rear of the Bridge slid open, allowing Captain Willian Targaryen access to the Bridge. Crossing over into the Command Center, Willian noticed the massive Constitution Class starship appearing on the screen. Immediately, his meeting with Commander Xasx revisited his thoughts. This had to either be their mothership, or their buyer.

Looking toward the command section he spoke up, "Report."

"We've not been able to idenfiy the inbound ship yet," Hawkins responded before Bishop. "She's approaching fast with weapons on standby and no contact as of yet. Precautionary we've raised shields, though hopefully they won't be required. Communications array should be coming online shortly and Ash has restored the Coaxial Drive and Navigation"

Willian walked toward the center seat, a bit surprised that his Operations Manager had been the one to brief him, but appreciative all the same, "Thank you, Nathan.

Cyrus watched with keen interest. Silent for now, keeping watch. He loved watching the bridge crew in action. His eyes drifted over to Science wondering about what was going on.

"Communicatons are now available." Ash announced, over the Comm. "Most other, effected system, will be on line within the next few minutes." The chief engineer added.

From the Labs, Paisley tapped her Comms badge. ==/\==P'rar to Powers . My systems are dead down here. What's going on?==/\==She couldn't work without a computer; the database was a necessary function of the Science department. She HATED being idle, and she hated being idle, sitting in an office with a grumpy Romulan even more. ==/\==What is Command saying?==/\== Maybe she'd made a mistake, letting Aqua have the console just yet, but she was too big of a control freak to allow anyone else to take over the Labs.

Bishop listened to Paisley. "Bishop to Paisley, relax Lieutenant power will be back up in a few minutes."

Right as Bishop finished informing Paisley about her wereabouts, Aqua popped back onto the Bridge.

"Sorry, P'rar! Had to answer the call of nature!" Aqua realized she'd not hit her comm when she'd said that, and her face blanched.

"Er...just..forget y'all heard that," Aqua squeaked softly as she slipped over to her place.

"I am still not getting a clear picture of their registry number. If this ship is Starfleet then there is something wrong with their transceiver." Zim spoke from his console, he keyed in a few commands as he spoke. When he finished a subtle yellow light began to flash. "With the shields raised we are now at yellow alert. All weapons are on standby. There is a distinct possibility that this ship is not friend, and if it is not friend then it is foe." Zim spoke in the absolutes that his people were known for.

"Captain," Galatea interrupted, "There are multiple organizations within the galaxy that are known to utilize Federation designs that they have coopted. I share Mister Zim's belief that this vessel is not friendly and we need to be prepared for the possibility that we will come under attack."

The Captain of the Enterprise crossed his arms, thinking about the multitude of information that they'd seen within the last few months since arriving within this time. It was gut wrenching, Hellish, and it got worse with every day. Galatea had proposed that there was more to the mission, had shared with him a reality that she was not supposed to, and now he really needed to weigh the possibilities here. He glanced at the AI, still not sure which of her stories to trust.

Activating the TriCom, "Rrawran, bring the Commander to the Bridge."

"Yes Sir."

Closing the channel he looked at his crew, "The problem with this time is that people don't talk, they fight, they kill, they die. I'm tired of running, I'm tired of fighting, maybe now it's time for us to return to who we are rather than just struggling to live."

"Open a channel to the Federation ship," Willian sat in his Captain's Chair, "keep the feed on me only. Don't let that ship see our Bridge."

Down in the labs, Paisley was at work, sending off the proposal to the Federation Science Council, with a rush attached, and explained briefly the situation. Either they'd help, OR Paisley would end up in Medical on a Counseling hold. Anything was possible. Finally, she had gotten word sent, and the Captain would be informed shortly. All she could do now was wait. She got more coffee, and headed back up to her Console, slipping into her seat quietly. Everything appeared status quo for the time being.

He looked up at the screen, "Federation vessel, this is the Starship Enterprise. Do you read?"

A Cardassian male appeared on the viewscreen frowning. "This is Captain Poko Dimlac of the USS Explorer. Who are you and what are you doing with that relic?"

The former Admiral shifted in his seat at the thought of his vessel being a relic. The Enterprise, in his era, was one of the most advanced starships in operation. To think that it would ever be a relic was a shot through his heart. It also made for an amazing means of throwing the Captain of the Enterprise off guard in this discussion. He would have to tread carefully.

"Captain Dimlac," he answered with a more protected tone than he'd normally use, "I am Captain Willian Targaryen, Commander of the Federation Starship Enterprise. You will have to excuse our appearance as we were on a long-term, classified scientific expedition and have only just returned to Federation territory."

"Long term? Where have you been for the last few centuries?" Dimlac's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Are you still warp capable after the burn?"

Willian nodded, "Indeed we are. Our engines were shut down at the time of the Burn for routine maintenance. When we resumed operations we quickly started to find," he paused as if trying to find the word, putting a little more emotion behind the choice than he normally would have, "graveyards of ships. You will have to forgive me, you are the first Federation vessel we have encountered other than the Hekaran vessel to our port. They have indicated concerns that the Corridor is no longer stable and our Science Officer is working on a proposal now for the Federation Science Council to investigate."

"The Federation Science Council is very limited these days. They won't have the resources to investigate this due to its distance from Headquarters." Dimlac replied, still suspicious.

The former Admiral glanced over at Galatea, who was still standing dutifully at her workstation on the side of the Bridge. The former AI nodded subtly, but Willian saw it. She'd let them pursue that route, but this was growing in purpose. It was a way that they could tell that this Captain Dimlac was potentially being truthful.

"Captain, you mentioned the distance from here to Headquarters and I've explained who we are now, if you'd be so kind, what is your mission and what are you doing this far out?" The Captain heard the door to the Bridge open to the side, but knew that Captain Dimlac would not see Commander Xasx being escorted in.

There were many tricks that enlisted men learned that officers either chagrined or never knew to begin with. One such trick was the ability to program weapons lock without actively locking the weapons on target. It was a way for the target lock to be made the minute the systems were activated. Zim employed this technique now, there was something about this Dimlac that he did not like and if the order was given he would be ready to zap the Cardassian out of space and existence.

"We are on patrol, looking for any Emerald Chain activity in the area. I don't suppose you've come across any Emerald Chain ships in the area?" Dimlac replied, as he adjusted his seating position slightly as lent on the right arm of his command chair.

"Really? Aside from the Cerulean we haven't really encountered very many Emerald Chain vessels. We did, however, pick up this fellow a short while ago." He tapped a control, switching the Bridge from a narrow view on just Captain Targaryen to show the whole Bridge of the Enterprise, including Commander Emko Xasx.

Xasx spoke up from his place next to the Rorworr Security Officer, "Captain!"

Zim could not help but smirk at the way things had unfolded. Perhaps Dimlac would shed some light on the stolen codes.

"This is Commander Emko Xasx, Captain Dimlac. Are you familiar with one another?" The Captain of the Enterprise inquired.

This particular unfolding of what was currently going on, definitely garnered Cyrus's interest. Could these men be working together? Or are they opponents. What will happen next here. He couldn't tear his eyes off of this real-life drama.

"Commander Xasx, its good to see you." Dimlac said looking at the officer appearing on the bridge. "Yes, Captain, the Commander is my first officer."

Ace's jaw was hanging askew at all the drama going on.

[Zheshapplewesh! What's with all the drama!?] Ace thought.

At his post Hawkins glanced toward the viewscreen surprised at Dimlac's response. Had he ordered the Commander to steal the codes? Had they just chased their quarry into a trap? Nathan was tempted to steal a glace over at Targaryen to gauge his reaction but resisted the impulse favouring to keep his attention firmly on his console should immediate action be required.

"Captain, I'm afraid that I'm short on answers and I'm really looking for some. I've been told by the Mission Commander of Battle Group Omega that this young man stole classified prefix codes that could allow remote control of all of the vessels of the Battle Group. If that is true, I have to consider the possibility that this young man is a spy for the enemy and charge him with treason." Willian rose from his chair and approached the forward viewscreen, "So, if you'd be so kind, I'd really like to have those answers I seek."

[Oooookayyyy...questions answered...but maybe I'd have been better off in the dark] Aqua thought, repressing a shiver.

"Captain, I'm not sure what you've heard or have been told but Battle Group Omega was disbanded and those ships where considered a renegade operation." Dimlac replied. "Perhaps a face-to-face meeting might be better suited to discuss this further?"

The Captain of the Enterprise was about to answer when his answer came for him. From behind him at her console, Galatea called out as alarms blared from her workstation, "Federation vessel decloaking to starboard."

[Sheesh! What next!?] Ace thought, reflexively slapping her hands over her ears.

Willian turned, "Viewscreen overlay."

The image of the Cardassian Captain retreated into a corner of the viewer while the large Merian Class starship Stargazer appeared before their very eyes. The four nacelled ship was beautiful in an odd way as the engines hovered alongside a jewel shaped primary hull. Willian had been under the impression that ships of the Merian Class were designed for scientific exploration and medical purposes, but he'd long suspected that the Stargazer had not met those lofty ideals. In fact, as he watched it unfurl before him, he knew he was looking at a predator.

The hologram of Admiral Janule Tua appeared on the Bridge of the Enterprise, looking around at the gathered personnel and quickly spotting Commander Xasx standing to the side. "Well, looks like you've captured your target, Captain." She turned to see Captain Dimlac on the viewer, "And made another friend it would seem." She sighed at the sight, crossing her arms with irritation, "So it would seem that without authorization you and your crew have decided to stage a mutiny against Battle Group Omega and Starfleet. You've gone rogue in enemy territory, leaving me no choice but to hunt you down and destroy you. Don't worry, we'll make this quick." She disappeared as quickly as she appeared on the Bridge.

"[Me and my big mouth!] Oordrs, Captain!?" Ace sputtered as fear twisted itself around her spine and started to squeeze.

Another alarm sounded as, this time, Lieutenant Crowe reported, "Multiple Federation signatures decloaking Admiral!" On the viewscreen eight additional ships appeared alongside the Stargazer, the entirety of Battle Group Omega.

The Captain sighed, "I wish this were a drill."

"Captain?" The voice of Ash came over the comm. "Permission to execute an emergency, coaxial, jump? We can take the Explorer with us and smash the hell out of the others on transit. They've conveniently put themselves in harms way, after all." The chief engineer pointed out. "I've already worked out the geometry and we're spun up and ready to go." She added, quietly.

Ace gave herself a shake and straightened in her chair. She wasn't gonna let some Holahoops throw her off her game!

"Let's give these wannabees a run for their money," Ace smirked.

"Let's prepare for the jump. Spool the engines!"

From his station Zim watched everything that transpired. The hypervigilant Cappellan did not know what to believe at the moment, and that was the crux of it. He sent a text message from his console to the Captain. "Captain I recommend a withdrawal from this situation and cut all communication with both sides. We have to determine who is the renegade who is the fleet before we can proceed."

"Right there with you, Chief. Mister Crowe, the second that the engines are available get us out of here," the Captain ordered as he heard a voice interrupt him.

"Captain," it was Jardok, "If we engage the Coaxial Drive with the Hekaras Corridor in the condition it is currently it is it possible, if not highly probable, that we will cause a subspace rift to form that could devastate the entire system and Hekaras II."

"All too true, Captain. That possibility does exist, however small it might be." The Ash agreed, over the comm. "However, if we are destroyed here the resultant explosion WILL collapse subspace for a billion kilometers in every direction and the resultant rift WILL extend far beyond the Hekaras Corridor." The Chief Engineer advised. "If we warp out we'll be run down in less than 3 minutes. We might get far enough to make a Coaxial jump less of a threat to the Corridor but, we'd better hurry." She finished.

"What's this Coaxial jump you're talking about? I've never heard of it." Dimlac asked with a frown via the viewscreen.

[Cocktail what now? Better not ask yet. I'll just listen,] Aqua thought confused, but determined to learn what was going on without causing a stir.

Captain Targaryen looked at the Cardassian Captain on the viewscreen. The Coaxial Drive was classified in their era and appeared to have been lost to history in this one. From the tactical monitor of his console the Captain knew that the entirety of Battle Group Omega was now in position and ready to strike. They needed to escape and that was the priority. "Engage the..."

An alarm rang from the Science panel. Lieutenant Jardok pressed a control on the wall mounted workstation, "Spatial disturbance inbound."

Before another order could be given, the entire fleet slammed into the distortion wave.


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