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Chapter 2.1

Posted on Tue Apr 25th, 2023 @ 11:02pm by Willian Targaryen & Commander Galatea & Lieutenant Commander Ialo Gojir & Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Aiden Crowe & Commander Ash Randall & Commander Nathan Hawkins & Lieutenant Dylan Blake & Lieutenant Cyrus Marner & Lieutenant Ramat'iklan & Lieutenant Paisley P'rar & Ensign Aqua Powers & Warrant Officer Harris Zim & Lieutenant Sharra'kon Carina

2,765 words; about a 14 minute read

Mission: Remember Everything
Location: Bridge, USS Enterprise
Timeline: 3189-03-17, 08:00

Captain's Log, Willian Targaryen Recording:

Enterprise is on approach to intercept the stolen Federation shuttlecraft near the Hekaras Corridor, a narrow region of space providing the only safe way to transit through the Hekaras Sector. After the harrowing training exercise that Galatea subjected us to the crew is on edge, but I am confident that we will be able to put an end to the threat posed by the stolen prefix codes once and for all.

Captain Willian Targaryen sat silently in the Captain's Chair at the center of the Bridge of the Enterprise staring at the viewscreen. It seemed like an eternity since they launched on this mission to recover the stolen prefix codes and now it seemed like the mission was about to come to a close. The Captain was eager to see what would come from their mission, but the damning story Galatea had just told him rung in his ears like the trumpets of Armageddon. Could she be right about what was to come? Could any of them really be prepared for what would happen next?

"ETA?" He asked as if on rote.

At the Helm, Lieutenant Crowe typed on the small side panel, "Five minutes."

And there it was. Five minutes could potentially decide the fate of the entire galaxy. Five minutes would decide what came next in a galaxy filled with chaos. The Captain looked around the Bridge, wondering what his crew were thinking about at that very moment. The Bridge was louder than usual, more boisterous. Was it because the crew knew that the mission was about to close or was it the sign of things to come?

Paisley's blue eyes scanned the horizon, as they did during their fateful "training simulation." She was still over that; seeing R'Elle about the feelings it had triggered was helping a bit-Ramat? He helped more. She didn't LIKE feeling that feeling of destruction, of watching a plane fall from the sky at her hand, of the whole CARDASSIAN of it all. She wasn't that. She wasn't her father. She wasn't a warrior. She was a scientist. Still, she knew what her training meant, and she also knew she was the only one here with an eidetic memory-a tool that very well may help the outcome. "I see nothing yet," she said, with a deep sigh.

Zim manned his post and kept all weapons and the shields on standby. He wanted to be able to unleash all they had should the Captain call for it. Harris knew perhaps better than most what was at stake. He would not hesitate to fire on that shuttle no matter who was in command of it.

Aqua sat at her post, a bit nervous, but excited as well! She was, as an old Earth cartoon character named Pinky Pie would say: nervesited!

From her workstation behind Captain Bishop, Galatea reviewed the sensor data herself. All the indications were that the shuttle would soon be at this location, and the Enterprise would be able to intercept and recover the prefix codes to complete its mission and safeguard the fleet. The former hologram replied to Lieutenant P'rar, "Don't count out our enemy yet, Lieutenant. The shuttle was outfitted with a Cloaking Device. They could be out there right now, invisible to the naked eye. At the very least they shutoff their transponder so we couldn't track them."

She nodded; of course. That was always possible. Out here? ANYTHING was possible. But what she DID know was that if this was another of the AI's training mission, she'd ask for a reassignment. "I will keep eyes out." She said. The blue eyed Carjoran entered a few commands and, as promised, didn't move her eyes from the screen-in a left-right motion, they scanned.

Galatea merely nodded in response, monitoring her own readouts on the ship's status closely.

As well as tracking the elusive shuttle Hawkins kept a watchful eye on the sensor grid as the approached Hekaras Corridor - a safe passage through some volatile anomalies and host of other unpleasant features. Or, at least that used to be case, a century later the region maybe somewhat different from memory.

"It really is an amazing region of space in many ways," the Captain commented as the Enterprise proceeded. "An engineering marvel," he glanced at his Chief Engineer as he said it. "Steady as she goes."

"Indeed." The Chief Engineer responded, in a quiet tone, while she continued to monitor systems and review a number of, non-intrusive, system scans. The idea that this region of space was by design had occurred to Ash, in passing, but the engineer hadn't given it much thought. The civilizations capable of such a feat were long gone or, as in the case of her own people and the preservers, not 'engaged' with the rest of the denizens of the galaxy other than to avoid or subject to whatever Quixortic whims they might have.

Willian smiled at the answer from the Chief Engineer. Letting out a long breath, he watched the display closely as the ship neared its target. He, personally, was ready for the Enterprise to find its long elusive prey and return to the business at hand of trying to restore the Federation, or at least find out what the Hell had happened to lead them here. The Burn had done a lot of damage to the galaxy, that was for sure.

Sharra sat at the science officer's station, poised and elegant, dark gray eyes glancing over the quaint touchscreen display of the Enterprise's console, very much like the warrior that she was. How she missed the programmable matter of her old workstation. Things were so much EASIER back then. Touching an actual glass display honestly felt weird in comparison. That little inconvenience aside she still had yet to properly thank the Captain for letting her stay on board and assist as needed. Besides, she could tell that this temporally displaced crew was woefully unadjusted to this time period, and someone had to help them breathe before their lungs adapted, right?

"One minute to intercept," Crowe announced from the Helm, carefully reviewing the navigational resource plot on his workstation. He typed, quickly, on the resource panel to zoom in to show the potential intercept point. Numbers and other data scrolled over the screen as he studied the readout. Pressing a control he glanced up, "There does appear to be a discrepancy on approach to us."

Cyrus was there, watching the crew in action. He only looked partially in the direction of the person there. Sharra was the name he had heard. He turned his attention back to where the action was happening. "This reminds me of what I read Captain Janeway's mention of something like this as the Northwest passage." he remarked, watching as that tiny little target endeavored to escape the ship.

Paisley piped up next. "What IS it?" She could spot it, too, though to her eye, it appeared as a tiny dot. Her vision was perfect, but even *she* couldn't see from 400 feet, three decks, and five atmospheric layers away. Plus a screen encased in glass. "Do you want me to phase it?" She inquired.

"I think that Chief Zim may have a problem if I let you shoot at them, Lieutenant," Willian answered as he rose from his chair. "I wouldn't mind a direct scan of the target though."

Zim kept his eyes on the viewscreen and on his scanners. He made sure that all weapons and shields were in standby mode. "Sir I recommend we go to red alert." Zim knew that would be an extreme measure. However, anyone who could steal a shuttle and a number of command codes was not someone to be trifled with.

"Case in point," the former Admiral commented in reference to his earlier statement. "Red Alert, but still scan our target, Lieutenant, so that we can try to be sure that it's them. Coordinate with Doctor Marner and Lieutenant Sharra to ascertain any passengers."

The lights on the bridge and all over the ship dimmed slightly and borders around the consoles began to flash red. "Red alert confirmed. Shields are raised and weapons are armed." Zim reported. As far as he was concerned if they could not gain control of the shuttle he would blast it out of space and whoever had the codes with it.

Aqua always stiffened whenever a ship she was on went to Red Alert. It meant that something was possibly getting ready to go really wrong really fast. But she was Starfleet, and she wasn't going to let this scare her.

"I am detecting three lifesigns there, no other life forms there. I am having trouble scanning what race or races that are aboard the shuttle. Humanoid" is all he would say. sending the information to whomever was needing it.

She nodded. "I detect the same; Science is on standby to assist Medical if necessary." She said. She looked at Zim. "Keep an eye on that; let me check this out." She pressed some buttons, bringing up a different screen. The transporter pads were at the ready. Good. She went back to the horizon.

Willian walked toward the Helm, "Prepare to slow us to impulse, Mister Crowe. Ops, prepare a tractor beam to lock on the target the moment we're in range. Ash, work to make sure that we can counter any defenses that the shuttle throws our way. I want them captured alive."

"Tractor beam ready," Hawkins replied ready to latch onto the shuttle once they were close enough.

"Understood, sir. Implementing intuitive counter measures." The Chief Engineer replied.

"Nathan," he referenced his XO this time, "Prepare a boarding party."

"Lets look sharp people," Turning back to the viewscreen, "Galatea, open a channel to the Federation Shuttle."

The former hologram typed on the railing mounted console, "Channel open, Captain."

"Unidentified Federation Shuttle, this is Captain Targaryen of the Starship Enterprise. Please respond," the Captain directed as he stood between his chair and the forward workstations. He kept his arms crossed, but was trying to stay cool and collected as he prepared himself for what could come next. If Galatea were correct about this situation things could go south very quickly and he needed to make sure that they were all ready.

Lieutenant Crowe read off of the telemetry monitor, "They're still at impulse, but they aren't trying to run. Not yet anyway."

"Federation shuttle," Willian repeated, "again this is Captain Targaryen, You are ordered to respond." He became a bit more forceful this time with his wording.

Galatea was checking the communications system and the transceiver assembly. Checking the code analysis on her display, the former AI of the ship checked the encryption to ensure that it was correct for what they needed. She sighed.

"Commander?" Willian asked looking at the android.

"They're receiving, Sir, just ignoring."

"Time to put our cards on the table then," the Captain said succinctly. Willian walked to the very front of the Bridge. Mustering every ounce of authority within his body, and feeling Galatea's scorn, he got to the point, "Federation Shuttle, we are aware of your mission and the origin of your assignment. Please respond immediately or we will have to assume that your mission has been compromised. To show my sincerity at the importance of your success, Nathan, Standby tractor beam for activation. Zim, be ready to fire on that shuttle at my order if they don't comply with a focus on disabling them. I want transporters on standby, Ash, be ready to beam survivors aboard."

With deft fingers Zim reprogrammed the targeting scanners. He had selected the shuttle's engines and life support systems as targets. That should get them good and disabled. "Targets locked. Weapons on your command." He replied to the Captain.

"Tractor beam ready Captain," Hawkins nodded.

"Transporters ready, Captain." Ash responded.

The Captain sounded more imploring that combative, "Please, shuttle, don't make me take an action that we are both going to regret."

Hawkins' brow frowned at Will's words and tone. What had Galatea said to him after that unpleasant drill to give him such pause for concern? How big was this dragon they were about to poke in the eye? He glanced over at the former AI, but as he expected she wasn't giving anything away - had she just lead them up the garden path and into deaths grip?

"They're responding," Galatea informed with a surprised tone instead of annoyed. "Putting them..."

On the navigational sensors a quick burst of information appeared. Lieutenant Crowe looked down at his screen, quickly accessing the information. "The navicomputer is picking up an unusual energy buildup near the ship, Captain. Its," he paused, almost in shock, "Captain, it's a verteron field!"

"Full reverse," the Captain ordered as a brilliant white light filled the Bridge of the Starship Enterprise, accompanied by an ear piercing shriek. As quickly as it came it was over, but the damage was already done. All throughout the Bridge of the powerful ship energy drains were evident. The lights lowered in intensity, the red alert flashes stronger than their counterparts. Consoles and workstations flickered as they struggled to maintain their composure.

"Damage report!" Willian demanded as he looked around the dimly lit Bridge.

Aqua was trying to resituate her senses.

"[Dang...that was unpleasant] Comms are down, are my ears apparently," Aqua noticed she was shouting and lowered her voice.

Marner's ears were ringing from that sound which filled the bridge, barely hearing Wil's command. He checked to see if the scans were working then took the readings. "No reported injuries on the ship sir." looking towards Targaryen. He opened his jaw slightly rotating it and taking a yawn just to see if he could clear his hearing.

Paisley's fingers flew over the panels, quicker than her eyes could take in what she was seeing. Damned half-Lizard brain-oh, sure, it was photographic, but it was SLOW. "Sir...another vessel is approaching-can't tell what yet. I could use a scanner-or an empath." She was just a scientist and a half-breed-she had neither power. "New girl, you got anything? Scanner activated." She paused to breathe, and calm down. "Three-yes, three life signs on the scanner. Can't tell yet if they're corporeal or not."

Ash tapped away at her engineering console. "Engines and subspace systems are offline. working to bring them back on line now, Captain."

Zim managed to keep his composure despite the temporary loss of vision and hearing. He remained on his feet a warrior and testament to his people. When his sight came back his thoughts turned to what had to be done. He checked the readouts on his console and immediately frowned. "All weapons are offline. Our shields have failed. We are defenseless at the moment. Recommend retreat and regroup."

"Engines are down, Sir," Crowe answered as if anticipating the next order from the Captain.

Willian listened to everything that the Bridge Crew had to say, every word, every sentence, how had he misjudged the situation so completely? Was this the work of the shuttle? Had they been able to disable this ship so casually? Did they somehow have Enterprise's codes as well? Had Galatea's intelligence been wrong? A million questions ran through his head.

One came out, "And the shuttle?"

The sensor array was sluggish as it reacted to the request: "They've been disabled also," Hawkins was able to ascertain.

There they had it. If the shuttle was also disabled then they were not the cause of this latest calamity. It had to be the other ship, that was all that made sense. Then it hit him. P'rar detected another ship. He turned his head to issue orders when he heard the distinctive sound of the internal communications channel opening.

The voice of Commander Gojir echoed out of the comlink, "Gojir to Bridge: we've got intruders in Main Engineering! We need a Security Team immediately!"

Willian turned to look at the Security Chief, "Zim, get down there and secure..."

Then he heard it, a transporter beam inside the Bridge of the ship. Inside the command center of the Starship Enterprise. Willian watched as three alien figures appeared before him between and the forward workstations. He immediately recognized the newcomers, noting quickly that they weren't armed despite having beamed directly to the Bridge.

"You're Hekarans," Willian identified, "What is the meaning of this, why have you disabled my ship?"

Their leader, a woman named Tahru, stepped forward, "We need your help. The Corridor. It's killing us."


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