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Star Trek: Horizon - Awake by Ruben Hilbers

Deck Plan U.S.S. Horizon

Deck No.

Function

1 Main Bridge, Captain's Ready Room, Conference Lounge
2 Officers' Quarters, including Captain's Quarters
3 Crew Bunks (1)
4 Cargo Bays, Shuttlebay
5 Medical Labs, Science Labs
6 Transporter Rooms 1 and 2, Crew Bunks (3)
7 Crew Bunks
8 Main Deuterium Tank
9 Main Deuterium Tank
10 Deuterium support systems, Ten-Forward Lounge, Escape Pods
11 Holodeck, Crew Bunks, Medical Labs (2)
12 Sickbay, Computer Core, Life-support
13 Anti-matter Storage Pods
14 Anti-matter Storage Pods, Main Engineering, Crew Bunks
15 Anti-matter Storage Pods. Main Engineering, Crew Bunks
16 Gymnasium (4)

Annotations

The Horizon underwent severe modifications from the standard Galaxy-Class design. Here are some details that I hope will explain the new configuration.

1) Only the senior officers have quarters, the rest of the crew has bunks like in the Defiant-Class ships. This was done to get the space needed for the fuel tanks.

2) There is only one Holodeck. To safe power.

3) The ship has a smaller crew complement, so there was no need for more then two personnel transporters.

4) This deck is normally the place of the Captain's yacht, but the Horizon doesn't have one. So Captain Rogue ordered the space to be used to create a Gymnasium. This was done to compensate for the fact that there is only one Holodeck.

 

Chapter One

2308

Centurion Navoz felt uneasy as he watched the main viewer.

The bridge crew was not looking, because they were also busy with what lay ahead.

For centuries the Awake Nebula had been ignored by spacefaring cultures, but today it was one of the major problems and mysteries of the era.

Because every ship that had ever gone inside had disappeared.

Many blamed the Federation for this fact, because they were the only power that had never send any ships inside.

And now Centurion Navoz and his Bird-of-Prey, the Aggressor, were assigned to solve the puzzle.

Some Romulans scientists believed it were the warp cores of the ships that were responsible for the problem.

They had theorized that some kind of interaction between the warp cores and nebula had caused the ships to explode, and the Aggressor only had impulse drive.

The weapons officer spoke up.

“We are approaching point Delta, Centurion.”

“No vessel has ever made it further then that point.

Helmsman, reduce speed to fifty percent power.”

“Fifty percent power now, Centurion.”

“What is our status, weapons officer?”

“We are passing point Delta, Centurion.

Two-thousand kilometres past, three-thousand, four…”

An alarm sounded.

Then the engineer’s console short-circuited and the man fell to the floor.

The communications officer rushed to help him, while the weapons officer checked the consoles.

“We are being drained of power! All our systems are shutting down!”

“Check the life-support and self-destruct.”

“I already have, Centurion. The self-destruction is disabled and life-support will fail in ten minutes.”

“Abandon ship!”

“Centurion…”

“Abandon ship, now! We must get our findings back to the High Command.”

“As you wish, Centurion.”

It took only five minutes to launch the escape pods and plot a course out of the nebula. The Aggressor was left behind as a dead hulk.

Automatic Sensor Array Zero-Five was located just outside the Awake Nebula and had seen what had happened to the Aggressor. The Federation had put six such platforms on the edge on the cloud to see what was happening inside without having to risk a ship.

All the readings the arrays took were sent to Starbase Fourteen. Lieutenant Henry Wellington was behind the science station when Array Five’s readings came in.

“Commodore.” He began. “The Romulans just tried to run the nebula again.”

Commodore Thomas Fisher walked to the Science station.

“What happened?”

“They took a Bird-of-Prey in. It managed to get a few thousand kilometres past point Delta, but then it lost power.”

“The same as always.”

“Should I send the readings to Command?”

“Yes, one more for the long list of ships lost in the nebula.”

“I think this is number twenty-nine, sir.”

The weapons officer interrupted.

“Sir, we have incoming hostiles. Two Tholian Battlecruisers!”

“Red Alert, all hands to battlestations!”

The alarm klaxons sounded and the nebula was forgotten.

2371

The ship was coming apart.

Although commander Anderson had managed to get his ship away for the Galor-class ship that had been chasing them, he and his crew still weren’t save. They were in the middle of Federation space and Starfleet wasn’t exactly friendly towards the Maquis. There was only one way to get back to the Demilitarised Zone and that was through the Awake Nebula. But that was not a very safe place and his ship, the Freedom Fighter, did not have any functioning escape pods left.

The other races had left the sector in 2310 and the entire area was now Federation space. Starfleet had expanded the sensor network, but no ship had entered the nebula since then. The ship’s tactical officer broke the silence.

“Your brother is here.”

Dean Anderson was a half of a twin, but his brother Richard had made other choices. Richard was still in Starfleet and in command of the Starship Adelphi. When the Cardassian treaty was signed, Dean was an ensign and immediately joined the Maquis. But Richard was the first officer of the Adelphi under captain Jonathan Fredericks and felt that he could not leave his ship. Then Fredericks had died at Wolf 359 and the Adelphi became Richard’s responsibility.

“Put him on” Dean said.

Richard appeared.

“Don’t do this, Dean.”

“You know I can’t surrender, Rich.”

“Don’t go into that nebula, please. Think about your crew.”

“I am thinking about my crew and what will happen to them if the Cardassians get a hold of them.”

“If you go in there it’s all over.”

“Goodbye, Rich.”

The screen returned to the view of the nebula.

“Take us in.”

The Freedom Fighter plummeted ahead at full impulse.

Richard Anderson cursed.

“They are going in, sir.” His tactical officer said.

“Are we going after them?” The conn officer asked.

“No, retreat at full impulse.”

Several alerts sounded from the tactical station.

“The Maquis vessel is being pulled off course.”

“By who?”

“I don’t know, because all sensors indicate that there is nothing in there except the Maquis vessel.”

“Can we lock weapons on the point of origin?”

“Negative, the source is beyond range.”

“Take us in!”

“But…”

“Now!”

The Adelphi turned and dove into the gas cloud.

“Weapons locked, sir.”

“Fire!”

The phasers lashed out and there was a bright flash.

“The Maquis vessel is free, sir.”

“Conn, get us out of here.”

The two vessels pulled out the nebula.

“The Maquis vessel is hailing.”

“Onscreen.”

“Thanks, brother.

“You’re welcome. Adelphi out. -- Conn, set a course for Starbase Fourteen.”

“What about the Maquis?”

“Maquis, what Maquis? All I see here is a dangerous nebula.”

Nobody said a word, and the necessary changes were made to the logs.

“Course plotted, sir.”

“Engage.”

Then the two ships parted ways.

Stardate 55340.9

Captain’s log, Stardate 55340.9. My brand-new Engine Lady (Lieutenant Casey O’Rill from Bolian Prime) or Chief Engineer has just finished her work on upgrading the Horizon. It took some time and the dock at Starbase Fourteen to get the job done, but it was worth all the effort. There are five major upgrades that have been tweaked-in.

1) A Hyper-Impulse drive, which turned out to be real easy to set up, because the Horizon already has a very special warp drive. All we had to do was adjust the warp field so it could turn into a Static warp Bubble by changing a few settings. The new drive should allow us to speed up to 0.95 C without using the warp drive.

2) A set of afterburners that should boost the power of the Hyper-Impulse drive even further. If they work we should be able to speed up to warp one point one, but the burners only work for short periods of time between five and ten minutes and are experimental.

3) Extra weapons systems. Three phasers and fifteen micro torpedo tubes. The torpedo-tubes are defied in five clusters of three, three point forward and two in the back. We use micro torpedoes because there’s no room for normal torpedoes. The tubes are based on the ones from the Danube-class, but have one major improvement. In the original model you could only load and fire one torpedo at a time, while ours can handle five. We have fifteen-hundred quantum micro-torpedoes onboard.

4) The warp drive’s cooling system was trash, so we took it out and designed a new one from scratch. The result were better then what we hoped for. From now on we have a maximum cruise of warp four point eight and in emergency we can keep up warp five point five for twenty hours.

5) A Jem’Hadar transporter which was captured during the war and has now been installed on the bridge.

Rogue turned off the microphone and sat back. His head still boiled with all the reports he had gotten over the past few weeks. But that was why he had gone to his ready room, to let it all sink in.

The door bell rang.

“It’s not locked.”

Collins stepped inside.

“Euhm…captain. There’s a Fencing-competition on the Starbase and Ensign Archer can’t come, so I was wondering if you…”

“If I wanted to be your date? Sure, I’ve got nothing to do here and I fence myself.”

“I didn’t know that, sir.”

“I ran into this bald, French guy on the Enterprise. And hence, I fence.” Collins smiled.

Rogue got up and they headed out.

 

Chapter Two

Alyssa Ogawa had never wanted a patient this much. She sat in her office in sickbay and read a book.

“Hello, Alyssa.”

Ogawa looked up.

“Hello, Casey.”

O’Rill and Ogawa had only known one another for a few weeks, but had become good friends in that short period of time.

“I see I’m not the only out of work.” O’Rill said.

“Five-hundred and three people aboard and not even a broken fingernail to treat. But I thought you were busy with some major upgrades.”

“They’re done, all the engineering work is being done by the guys from the starbase at the moment.”

“What about the science department?”

“There out of work as well.

What are you reading?”

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.”

“I still think it’s strange that someone could predict the invention of the submarine that early.”

“I’m hungry, do you want to have lunch?”

“That sounds like a good idea to me.”

They headed for Ten-Forward.

The gymnasium on Starbase Fourteen was enormous.

“Wauw.” Rogue said.

“My thoughts exactly.”

There was a special tribune for the Fencing area and they soon found a seat.

“Who is up next?”

“Captain Jean-Luc Picard against Captain Mackenzie Calhoun. This is going to be very interesting.”

“I hope so.”

“There they are.”

The two players walked onto the field.

Rogue recognised Picard in an instant, but the latter was to focused on the match to see him. Calhoun did notice him and Rogue could seen a flicker of amazement in the man’s purple eyes. They two captains had only met once, and that was when Rogue had escaped his planet and landed on a starbase. The Excalibur and Trident were undergoing re-supplying there at the time. Rogue glanced around and saw Captain Elizabeth Shelby sitting a few rows below.

Then the match began. It was excellent fight, since neither had any intention of losing. Both players fought as best as they knew how, but after two nerve-wrecking hours it was over. Calhoun had won, but it was barely. Most of the public filed out at once, but Rogue and Collins went down to the field.

“Well fought, Jean-Luc.” Rogue said.

“Gary, it’s good to see you again.”

“This is Dorian Collins, my Chief Conny.”

“Is Captain Rogue not being to difficult on you?”

“He had his tweaks in the beginning, but I’ve gotten used to them.”

Rogue laughed.

“So it’s Captain these days?” Calhoun said.

“That’s right, I command the Horizon now.”

“Then you command only half a ship.” Shelby said.

“If you’ve got a problem then just say it.”

“I think you don’t belong on the bridge of a starship, and especially in the command chair. You’re a relic of days gone by, and you should have stayed there.” Calhoun rolled his eyes.

“Here we go again.”

“The Prime Directive…”

“Dammit, Eppy, will you stop whining about the regs for just one bloody second. I’m not getting into this again.”

“I’m right, and you know it.”

Shelby and Calhoun headed for the exit.

“Dream on, lady, dream on!” Rogue shouted after them.

Then they were gone.

“Why is she so uptight?”

Picard took a deep breath.

“Captain Shelby is one of the by-the-book kind of officer.”

“Let’s go to the Ten-Forward lounge on the Horizon and have a drink.”

“Sounds good to me.” Collins said.

Rogue pressed his combadge.

“Okay, what was what?” Calhoun asked.

He and Shelby were walking down the corridor to one of the Starbase’s bars.

“What are you talking about?”

“You insulting a man you’ve never met before.

For crying out loud, Eppy, you’ve never seen him in the command chair. And you’re already judging his command style, how typically you.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“You know damnm well what I mean.”

“I’ve read this file, and the man does not meet Starfleet standards.”

“No, he does not meet your standard.

Ohh, the almighty arrogance of you and your regulations.”

Shelby looked like she was going to explode.

“I’m still your wife.”

“Don’t remind me.” Calhoun whispered.

“What?”

“Nothing, let’s just step inside and have a drink, okay.”

They did so.

The doors to Ten-Forward slid apart.

Rogue looked around and saw O’Rill and Ogawa sitting at the bar.

“Hello, ladies.”

“Captains, Dorian.” O’Rill said.

They joined the pair at the bar.

“What brings you to this sector?” Ogawa asked.

“Thanks to now-Admiral Janeway and her former crew, the Enterprise is getting several upgrades.

Including a Delta Flyer and a brand new Astrometrics lab.” Picard said.

“Nice.”

“The Enterprise isn’t the only ship getting them, all Sovereign, Galaxy and Intrepid-class ships are being given major overhauls.”

“That explains why the Excalibur and Trident are here and not in Thallonian space.”

“What can I get you?” The barkeep asked.

“Earl Grey, please.”

“And for our captain?”

“A beer will do.”

“Miss Collins?”

“Scotch on the rocks, and I mean the real stuff.”

Five pair of eyes stared at Collins.

“What?

I can handle it.”

“Okay, but I’m not draining you to the toilet if you can’t.”

The barkeep went to get the drinks.

“How long until the Enterprise goes back to work?” Ogawa asked.

“Two days.”

“What is the mission?”

“As most of you know, the Starship Wolf will be launched soon.”

“Yes, she is then last of her class to be build.”

“Well, it was coming. The Ambassador-class is simply outdated.”

The barkeep delivered the drinks.

“The Enterprise is to survey a very rare subspace anomaly in the neighbouring system and keep an eye out with the long-range sensors.”

“What are we going to be doing, sir?” Collins asked.

“I have no idea.” Rogue said.

“Admiral Paris hasn’t given us a new mission yet, but the Awake Nebula is nearby. I’m thinking about going to fly a few circles around it.”

“There has never been a survey of the borders of the nebula. While such an investigation would provide us with tons of information.” Picard said.

“It beats shipping cargo.”

“And will make a excellent test run for the upgrades.” O’Rill added.

“I would love to see how the nebula holds up against a phaser test.”

The intercom came on.

“All ship’s captains report to briefing room Alpha aboard the Starbase. I repeat, all captains to briefing room Alpha. Starbase Fourteen out.’

Picard looked at Rogue.

“Duty calls.”

They went to the nearest transporter and beamed over.

Kathryn Janeway had never seen such a strange collection of captains as she was looking at now.

There were seven of them in the briefing room.

Calhoun, Shelby, Picard, Qin and Rogue were familiar faces, but there were two new captains in the room. Captain John Vigo of the Starship Normandy and Captain Jennifer McShaun of the Starship Examiner. Rogue had already done a few cargo runs, while Vigo and McShaun had only become captains two days ago when their ships had launched.

“Ladies and gentlemen.” Janeway began. “For decades the Awake Nebula has been a thorn in our side. That situation has got to end right here and right now.”

“I presume you have a plan , Admiral.” Vigo said.

“A dangerous, insane plan which will come down to one of us having to risk our ship and crew. And then you‘ll say ‘risk is our business‘, like always ” Rogue added.

“You’ve been to one of these meetings before, haven’t you?” Calhoun said.

“You don’t have to go to a meeting, all you need to is read her file.”

Shelby looked at Calhoun, but said nothing.

“I take you are volunteering, captain?” Janeway asked.

“No way, hosee, I didn’t make all those upgrades to get killed on the first mission after. Let Captain Shelby do it, she thinks she’s a know-it-all. Let’s see if her presses regulations can keep her ship in one piece.”

“I agree with Rogue.” Calhoun said.

Shelby wanted to strangle the man.

“Don’t look at us.” Vigo and McShaun began. “We’re the new guys.”

“Captain Qin?” Janeway asked.

“The systems aboard the Trident are better fit to explore the nebula.”

“Captain Picard?”

Shelby stared at Picard.

“I believe Captain Shelby and her crew should undertake the mission, but I also think Captain Rogue should put his money where his mouth is. If something goes wrong, then the Horizon must go in and save the Trident.

“Do it, dismissed.”

The captains filed out.

Ogawa, O’Rill and Archer were sitting in sickbay.

“Did you hear what mission the Trident got?” Archer said.

“I heard.” Ogawa said. “I’m preparing sickbay for entry into the nebula tomorrow.”

“You think Shelby can’t pull it of.”

“I know Shelby can’t pull it of.”

“Why not?” O’Rill asked.

“Because she lives by rules and regulations, and that nebula is a special phenomena. It doesn’t submit to the law of physics.”

“It makes up its own rules.”

“Exactly, and that’s why someone like Rogue should go in.”

“Well, I think Shelby will handle it just fine.” Archer said.

“How are things between you and Dorian?” O’Rill said.

“They are fine, it’s our fourth date tonight.”

“What do you have planned?”

“I found a holodeck program of the sunset on Gamma Victor Prime.”

“Bingo.”

“I hear the beach is so…”

Collins came in.

“Are you ready, Peter?”

“Sure.”

They went to the Holodeck.

Most of the senior officers were gathered in the conference lounge.

“All right, people.” Rogue began.

“We need a plan of action for in case the Trident fails her mission.”

“I have studied all records of previous attempts.” MacWright said.

“What did you learn?”

“That this is not a natural event we are looking at.”

“What makes you think that?” Dovz said.

“It’s simple, the draining effect seem to have a outer edge.

Which seems to be capable of moving, but each time it does…”

“It does so to capture a starship.”

“Exactly.”

“So there is some kind of intelligence behind it.” Rogue said.

“Do you have any idea who or what we’re dealing with here?”

“No, there is not enough to go on.”

“Why didn’t anyone else discover this was the work of an intelligence?” Ogawa asked.

“The nebula was considered irrelevant, so nobody took the time to sit down and analyse the records.”

“Except us.”

“And the crew of the Trident.

I’ve already sent a copy of my report to them and the starbase.”

“But how are we going to get past this thing?” Wallace asked.

“The Trident will shut down as much of her systems as possible and try to sneak by on thrusters. But I don’t believe that will work.”

“Why not?”

“Well, Wallace, we can’t scan into the heart of the nebula with normal sensors, right?”

“Yes, and subspace sensors don’t work there either.”

“Shelby is assuming that because from the outside to the inside doesn’t work, vice versa doesn’t work as well.”

“But whoever build this thing probably is or was more advanced then the Federation. So they can create a sensor blocking field which allow ‘one-way’ vision.”

“From the inside to the outside.” Rogue said.

“All they have to do is run a subspace scan and lock on the Trident’s warp core.” Dovz added.

“Can we prevent them from doing the same to the Horizon?

“Yes, I can override the normal subroutines that control the static warp bubble and activate it without turning on the rest of the Hyper-Impulse drive.

The bubble should cloak the warp core.”

“But if it is really much more advanced then we are, they could find a way to see through the field.” Ogawa said.

“That is the risk of the plan, but I believe our chances are a lot better then everyone who came before us.”

“Nice work, dismissed.”

MacWright, Wallace, Ogawa and O’Rill walked out.

“What’s on your mind?”

“Nothing special.”

“Come on, I know that look in your eyes.

Your pondering something.”

“I’m working on a Plan B, but just to be on the safe side.”

“Good luck, sir.”

Dovz exited the chamber.

 

Chapter Three

Dorian loved the program.

“It’s terrific, Peter.”

“Thank you.”

“Where did you find it?”

“In the main database, after a lot of searching.”

“But it was worth it.”

They were sitting on a beautiful white beach, while watching the system’s two suns set on the horizon. There was a slight breeze, but it was still warm. And the sky seemed ablaze with thousands of colours.

Dorian put her arms around Peter and they sat like that until the suns went down. Then the stars came out, as well as the planet’s only moon. Peter was about to kiss her….

And then the damn intercom ruined everything.

“Rogue to Holodeck two.”

“What!?” Collins and Archer yelled.

“The Trident is entering the nebula and I need both of you up here.”

“Coming!”

The pair headed out.

Dovz was sitting in her first officer’s chair.

She was looking at Rogue in pure frustration.

“What?”

“You called Collins and Archer up here!”

“So?”

“Their fourth date was tonight. I told you twice, remember.”

“Auw, sorry about that, Jeri.”

“Don’t tell me that, tell them. And stop calling me Jeri.”

“I’m the captain, so I can call you whatever I want.”

“O, is that what you think?”

“Yes, that’s what I think.”

“You little..”

“Sirs, please!” Wallace shouted.

“If you want these kinds of fights, then get married. But don’t give us this kind of crap on the bridge.”

“Jerk.”

“Weirdo.”

Dovz and Rogue turned away from one another. Collins and Archer came in.

“They had one of their fights again.” Collins said.

“We should pick a date for the wedding.”

“We are not getting married!”

“That’s what they all say.” MacWright mumbled.

Archer and Collins took their stations.

“How far are we from the nebula?” Dovz asked.

Wallace checked his sensors.

“We’re holding position two hundred kilometres outside of the nebula.”

“Where is the Trident?

“She has powered down as planned and is approaching point Delta.”

“Track her with sensors and read the distance out loud.” Rogue said.

“I’m tracking now, sir.” MacWright said.

O’Rill joined MacWright at the science station.

“The Trident’s are systems and power level are stable.”

“They have passed point Delta.” MacWright said.

“Plus three-thousand kilometres, four thousand, five thousand, ten, twelve, twenty, thirty, fifty, ninety, two hundred….”

“All of the Trident’s systems have shut down!”

“What is her power level?” Dovz asked.

“Her power level is almost zero, sir.”

“She’s transmitting a distress call!” Collins said.

“Shut down all systems we don’t need and cut as much of the power to the other systems as possible. O’Rill, activate the static warp bubble.”

“The bubble is up.”

“Collins, take us into the nebula.”

The ship raced forward.

Shelby let out a sigh.

She was in her command chair.

“What is Rogue doing?”

“We don’t know, because our sensors are down.” Gleau, the science officer, said.

The Trident rattled.

“What was that?”

“Our sensors are still down, and we won’t get them back any time soon.”

A transporter beam disrupted the darkness that held the bridge. There were now two objects at Shelby’s feet. There was a note with them, which Shelby read out loud.

“This should get you impulse power. Install them and we’ll do the rest.”

The first object was a rack with isolinear optical chips and the second was a plasma relay.

“Gleau, put these in place.”

“Aye, captain.”

Gleau installed the parts.

“The components are in place.”

“Now all we can do is wait.”

So they waited.

“Conny, how are we doing?” Rogue asked.

Collins checked her readings at the Conn station.

“We are within tractor beam range.”

“Tow the Trident away.”

“Sir?’

“Restoring their impulse power is useless if that thing sucks it right back out.”

The Horizon shuck.

“We’re being scanned.” MacWright said.

“O’Rill?”

“Our power level is stable.”

The ship’s nose dove down and everyone had to grab something.

“Report!”

“It’s weapons fire.” Wallace said.

“What kind of weapon is it?”

“They’re some kind of disruptors. But I can‘t get a precise analysis.”

“Where is it coming from?” Dovz asked.

“I can’t get a fix.”

Two more shots passed the ship.

“I can’t keep us in one piece and tow the Trident at the same time.” Collins said.

“We have another problem.” Wallace began. “Whatever is causing this, it has switched to normal sensors.”

The ship jolted.

“We’ve been hit!” Archer said.

“Our shields are down to twenty percent!” Wallace said.

“Conny, get us out of here!” Rogue said.

“What about the Trident?

“We can’t help her if we’re in pieces.”

The Horizon retreated.

The conference room was full this time. It had a different design than the ones on Galaxy-class. The left wall had been replaced by a turbolift exit, which Starfleet had put there for safety reasons. And the table and chairs were the identical to those in the Enterprise-E‘s conference lounge. But the main difference was that two display cases were flanking the main entrance. The left one held two golden miniatures, one of the present Horizon and one of her Deadalus-class namesake and predecessor. And the right one held a copy of Chicago’s Mobs of the Twenties, the book that had nearly doomed Sigma Iota.

Collins had once asked Rogue why he had put the book in there.

“To remind us that some rules are in place for a good reason, and that you should be careful picking the ones you can break.” Was his reply.

Archer broke the silence.

“We need a new plan.” He said.

“That much is clear.” Wallace said.

“I can repair the shields, but they can simply fire again.” O’Rill said.

“I know.” Rogue began. “But this scenario is why I came up with a Plan B in advance.”

“What is it?” Collins asked.

“We rig two shuttles to emit a static warp bubble identical to that of the Horizon.”

“A shuttle doesn’t have enough power to create a bubble that big.” O’Rill said.

“The size doesn’t have to be the same, just the Tachyon output. We’ll put the shuttles on auto-pilot and power down as much as we can. The auto-pilots will keep them close together, so that their sensors will they’re looking at one ship with two warp cores.”

“And what then?” Wallace asked.

“We trigger a warp core breach on both shuttles.

The explosion should create a massive ion burst that should blind the sensors long enough for us to save the Trident.

“Sounds like you’ve got it all figured out.” Dovz said.

“I’m not that cocky, because all of this is just theory. Let’s turn it into facts, dismissed.”

The room was empty after that.

The next hour was the busiest the ship had seen so far. People were running through the corridors, machines worked and everybody reported his or her progress to everybody. But the hectic situation soon bore fruit and Rogue’s idea became reality.

Dovz plummeted into her chair.

“You look like shit.” Rogue said.

“You wouldn’t win any beauty competitions either.”

“Is everything in place?”

“Yes, sir.” Wallace gasped.

“Is there a problem, Wallace?” Rogue asked.

“Why does every on the bridge get a chair, except for me?”

“Don’t look at me, I’m not the engineer on this boat.”

“Euhm…” Collins said. “The Trident!

The trio’s attention snapped back to the matters at hand.

“Right.” Rogue said. “Archer, launch the shuttles.”

Collins would have her hands full with getting the Trident out, so the remote control for the shuttles had been routed to Ops and not to the Conn.

“The shuttles have been launched, sir.

Awaiting your order to establish the bubble and activate the auto-pilots.”

“Conny, get us to the starting line.”

“We’re in position, sir.”

“One…two…go!”

“Auto-pilots are on!” Archer said

“Ahead full impulse!”

“Full impulse!”

The Horizon dove towards the Trident like a hawk onto a mouse.

“Time to explosion!” Rogue said.

“Twenty seconds.” Archer said.

“Tractor beam?”

“It’s ready, sir.” O’Rill said.

“Time!?”

“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one…blast!”

“Conny!?”

“She’s pulling her legs out.”

“I’m rerouting as much power as I can to the engines!” O’Rill added.

The Horizon dragged the bigger ship out of harm’s way.

Shelby flew out of her chair.

“Maybe seatbelts aren’t such a bad idea after all. Report!”

“Our sensor are still down, as is every other system on my board.” Gleau said.

“Lieutenant Arex, what is the status of the internal sensors?”

Arex was the Trident’s tactical officer.

“Internal sensors are still down, captain.”

Then the ship rocked twice.

Rogue leaped up.

“Report!”

Wallace checked his readings.

“They are trying to clear the sensor distortion by sweeping the area with phased tetryons.”

“Can we get out of here in time?”

“It’s going to be close, sir.” Collins said.

Another jolt went through the Horizon.

“How long until we’re clear?”

“At full impulse it should take another three minutes.”

“They will be able to see us in two.” Wallace said.

“Use the Hyper-Impulse!”

“It’s untested, we could explode and the Trident could be torn limb from limb because of the burst of speed.” Collins said.

“It’s possible death or certain death, do it!”

“Here we go.”

Collins punched in the right commands.

The ship was moaning around them.

“This is not good.” Arex said.

“Especially since the forcefields are off-line.” Gleau began.

“One breach in the outer hull and we’ll all get sucked into space.”

Then the moaning stopped and something came through the ceiling. It was a beam of white-hot energy.

“Houston, we have a major problem.”

But the beam locked onto the components Gleau had installed into his console.

“It’s a power transfer.”

The lights came on and people shielded their eyes.

“Status report!” Shelby snapped.

“The internal sensors are back on-line.” Arex said.

An ensign called Yarobna was at the Engineering station.

“Minimal life-support has been established on all decks.” He said.

“The Bussard collectors are active.”

“How long until the deuterium tank is full?”

“About ten minutes at this rate.”

“Arex, put me on shipwide intercom.”

“You’re on speaker now, captain.”

“All hands, this is the captain. Prepare for condition Grey, I say again: condition Grey. Engineering, stand by to engage impulse drive fusion reactors. Bridge out.”

Arex closed the channel.

Rogue watched the Trident from his ready room. The Horizon had escaped with minimal damage, and that was being repaired at the moment. It had been twenty minutes since they had pulled of the rescue.

The bell rang.

“Come.”

Collins came in.

“The Trident is ready to go, sir.

All she needs is a refuelling of her matter tanks and she should be as good as new.”

“Nice work.”

“What’s on your mind, sir?”

“Nothing….I just.”

“Just what?”

“A memory from back on my homeworld. Another locomotive, called the Southern Blossom, had gotten stuck in a tunnel. So I took my Libby and pulled her out. And the Southern Blossom was much bigger then Libby. I miss her every day, she was the fastest locomotive anyone had ever build….”

Collins felt sorry she’d asked.

“I have to get back to bridge.”

“All right, dismissed.’

Collins walked back to her station.

This isn’t over. She thought. I don’t care what it takes, but I’m going to get Libby of that planet.

She nearly slammed into Shelby.

“Is he in there?” Shelby asked.

“Yes.”

Collins sat down and Shelby walked into the ready room.

Rogue turned on his heel.

“Beautiful ship you have there, captain.” He said.

“She is, and so is yours”

“Thank you.”

“But that doesn’t change the fact that you haven’t won the battle yet.”

“And why is that?”

“Because you still have to pull this mission of, captain.”

“I know why you hate us so much.”

“And who would ‘us’ be?”

“Us, our kind: me, Calhoun, Kirk, Riker.

Who, by the way, now commands the USS Titan.

And other people of our kind.”

Shelby had to bite her lip at the last statement.

“Is short: risk takers. Because the risking are remembered as heroes like Kirk, and those who play by the rules are forgotten.”

Shelby looked like she was going to explode. But she gave him a calm response.

“We’ll see about that, captain.”

Then she turned on her heel and left.

Captain’s log, supplemental. We have saved the Trident and are preparing to go in ourselves.

As much as I hate to admit it, Shelby was right: I haven’t earned my place in the history books yet and I haven’t even completed the mission so far. But I’m sure gonna try.

The Trident is heading back to the starbase to be refuelled and to rendezvous with the Excalibur. I’ve send my report on the situation to Admiral Janeway, but there hasn’t been any response so far. Ah, well, no news is good news.

 

Chapter Four

Rogue was on his way to deck six when Dovz joined him in the turbolift.

“Computer, halt turbolift.” She said.

There was a slight jolt as the cart stopped.

“Sir.” Dovz said. “I need to talk with you about something and it has to stay of the records.”

“Okay. Computer, deactivate all log recording devices for turbolift one. Authorization Rogue Gamma-Delta-1267-Yellowstone.”

“Command code confirmed.” The computer began.

“All log recording devices have been deactivated.”

“What is you want to tell me?”

“Seven years ago I was a lieutenant and the chief engineer of the Adelphi.”

She told Rogue about the incident with the Maquis ship plus why Captain Anderson had kept it out of the books.

The captain thought about it for a moment and the said.

“So if we take the same course as they did, then we might be pulled across the dampening area.”

“We’ll have to duplicate the Freedom Fighter as much as possible.”

“But what happens after that?

The Adelphi freed the ship before it got to the source.”

“I don’t know, sir. It’s a long shot a best.”

“It’s all we’ve got. Computer, return recording systems to normal.”

“Systems activated.”

“And change our destination to Bridge.”

“Destination was been changed to bridge.”

“Resume.”

The cart raced upwards.

Wallace was watching his readings intensely.

The modifications had taken let then a hour and now the Horizon was on her way.

He glanced up from the Tactical station.

“We’re approaching point Epsilon.”

Point Epsilon was the location where the tractor beam should grab them. It was located at the edge of the nebula.

“Two hundred thousand kilometres, one hundred, fifty, twenty, ten, five and….zero.”

“Nothing.” Rogue said.

“There is a hundred-thousand kilometres long margin of error, sir. And we haven’t passed that area yet.” Wallace said.

Then a tractor beam grabbed the ship.

“How much were we wrong?”

“Only a hundred metres, sir. I’m making the corrections now.”

“Not bad, not bad at all.”

“I’ve got a project on where it’s taking us, sir.” Archer said.

“Me too.” Collins said.

“Same here.” MacWright added.

“And here.” Wallace said.

“Okay, put the course projection onscreen.” Rogue said.

The screen now showed a green-in-black grid with the course and location of the ship clearly marked by a white line with a moving dot.

“What is on the other end?” Rogue asked.

“A Class-M planet.” Collins said.

“Mister Wallace.” Dovz began. “Let’s add your sensors view to the picture.”

“Yes, commander.”

Wallace worked his controls and a bright red ring appeared on the viewer.

“The ring is the dampening area.”

“Where is the tractor beam coming from?” Dovz asked.

“From an emitter on the planet’s surface.

It draws energy from an unknown source.

There is something beyond the planet, but the tactical sensors can’t identify it.

And beyond that area is the system’s star.”

“MacWright.” Rogue said. “It’s you turn.”

“You’re not going to like it.” MacWright said.

“Tell me anyway.”

“Okay, in the centre in a normal star. It’s about the same size and colour and Earth’s sun. And rotating around that sun one Class-M planet with nobody on it.”

“Are there any signs that someone used to life there?”

“Yes, the planet is covered by ruins. My guess is that the whole planet was one big city. But can’t tell what happened to them.”

“Why do I have a hunch that the worst is yet to come?” Dovz asked.

“You’re right. That area Wallace couldn’t identify is a rift, and I’ll give you one guess where it leads.”

“I have no idea.” Dovz said.

“Me neither.” Rogue added.

“It goes straight into fluidic space.”

“What!?” The bridge crew said at the same time.

“It gets stranger, the rift was opened by species 8472 from their end. But they did so in the year 2300 A.D. Long before they had even heard of the Borg.”

“They must have had a reason to come here.” Collins said.

Then the tractor beam released the ship.

“Put us in a circle around the planet.” Rogue said.

“Aye, sir.”

The Horizon went into orbit.

“All right, people.” Rogue began.

“We came here to get answers, but ended up with more questions. And that is a outcome I will not accept. Numero Uno, prepare seven away teams. One for each senior officer, Ogawa will stay here and guard the ship.”

“Aye, captain.”

“That answers are down on that planet and we’re going to find them.”

He stepped into the turbolift.

“Sickbay.”

Then the doors closed.

Forty-nine people stood amongst the remains of what once a city of thousands.

The away teams had beamed to what appeared to be the capital of the planet.

“What is the plan, sir?” Collins asked.

Rogue looked around at the piles of debris.

“Commander Dovz and I have selected seven locations within the capital which are the most likely to give us answers. One team for each site.”

He handed each officer a PADD.

“If you run into trouble, don’t come back here.” Dovz said.

“Just call the ship and beam out from your location.”

“What if you can’t beam out?”

“Then contact another away team for help.

If you’re the other away team, forget your objectives and go.”

Everybody nodded.

“Let’s do it, people.” Rogue said.

The away teams headed out.

“Are you sure about this?” Dovz asked Rogue.

“Collins and Archer have never led an away team before.”

“Practice makes prefect.”

Then they separated as well.

Ogawa shifted in the command chair.

So far everything is going as planned. She thought.

She would later be mad at herself for thinking that, because Ensign Takaro (at tactical) said.

“There are two Species 8472 scout ships coming through the rift!”

“Yellow alert!

And hail those vessels!”

Takaro worked the controls.

“There’s no response.”

“Damm, I thought we were beginning to smooth things over with them.”

“I’m picking up another ship coming through, it’s a warship. They are hailing us.”

“Onscreen.”

A species 8472 captain appeared on the main screen.

“I am P’R’Ozl, commander of this battalion.

Explain your presence in our space.”

“We didn’t know this is our space.” Ogawa said.

“We simply came here to investigate the ruins on this planet.”

The captain debated with someone Ogawa couldn’t see.

“You may investigate the planet and the area. But we will destroy you if you try to approach the rift, out.”

The nebula returned to the viewscreen.

“Stand down Yellow alert. Ops, get me a channel to the captain. He won’t be happy about this development.”

“No!!!”

Peter Archer had been swallowed by the ground. Or more precisely, he had walked into a hole that led to a massive network of underground caverns. The rest of his team was looking for him above the surface. He finally stopped in a large cave. The place was infested with bats, so he lighted a torch from his supplies.

“Do I look like Bruce Wayne!? Scram, get out of here!”

That was when he heard the shout.

“Whaaa!!!”

Then crewman Victor Farris landed on top of him.

“Farris!”

“Yes, sir?”

“Get of me!”

Farris got up, allowing Archer to do the same.

“This place looks like the Batcave.” Farris said.

“Shut up. Let’s find an exit.”

They soon found a tunnel that led outside. Where Collins her away team was waiting for them.

“Peter, what are you doing here?

I thought your target was much higher.”

“You don’t wanna know.”

“I just asked.”

That was when the rest of Archer’s away team showed up.

“Are you all right, sir?” One of them asked.

“I’m fine, let’s get going again.’

They got moving.

“Do you think Peter would make a good Batman?” Farris asked Collins.

“What do you mean?”

“I heard that!”

“Just take a look in the cave, then you’ll understand.”

“Farris!”

“Coming, Bruce.”

“Don’t called me that!”

Then Farris walked away.

Rogue had listened to Ogawa’s report.

“This is not good.” He said.

“But blowing a fuse over it won’t help us.

Just ignore them and keep at it.”

“We will, Horizon out.”

The captain and his team were standing in the lobby of an apartment building.

“This looks a lot like twentieth-century earth.” An ensign said.

“Can you be more specific?” Rogue asked.

“About between nineteen-ten and nineteen-thirty.

I can’t do better without seeing more of the building.”

“This building is in a better state then any other building in the city. We have to find out why.”

He stopped at a stairway leading downwards.

“A basement.”

Rogue picked up a stone and dropped it on the stairs.

“It didn’t collapse, that’s a good sign.” The ensign said.

“Yes, Ensigns Cairo and Verne are with me. Everybody else will search the ground level.”

The smaller group descended the stair one by one. There was a corridor at the bottom. It was filled with spider webs.

“That’s odd.” Verne said.

“What is?” Cairo said.

“Well, if whatever happened was terrible enough to kill everything on the surface… Then why didn’t it reach down here and kill and the spiders as well.”

“Some of the spiders may have survived and reproduced. We have no idea how long whatever occurred happened.”

“But if the spider could survive, so could the people. What do you think, sir?”

“I think we should catch one of the critters and let the guys from the medical labs have their way with it. That should get us some answers for sure.”

The corridor stopped.

“A dead end or a door. Look for switches.”

It took them several minutes to dig it out of the spider webs. The door/wall slid aside, revealing a massive laboratory of some kind.

“Look at that.” Rogue said.

His group stepped inside, causing the door to shut behind them.

“Let’s get some light in here.”

Rogue found the light switch and used it. There were several sparks and objecting lights, but they all came on after about a minute. The group could now see that they were standing in a chemical research area.

“Captain, I have found the answer to what happened to these people.” Verne said.

Rogue and Cairo joined him.

Verne was standing next to a doorway with skeletons in it.

“They all went crazy, sir. These people killed each other.”

Crewman Waterson wasn’t happy with what he had found. Waterson was in charge of the group that had stayed on the ground level. The place was littered with skeletons of people would had been murdered. He had reported his findings to the ships, which had in turn reported it to all the other away teams. The other six teams were on their way, but Waterson didn’t wait. He lead his group after Rogue’s.

They walked into the lab with their phasers ready. Rogue, Cairo and Verne were waiting for them.

“Is everything okay done here, sir.” Waterson asked.

“We found remains of people upstairs.”

“They’re down here as well.” Rogue said.

“Maybe it’s another case like Miri’s planet.”

“No, there are no kids here.

And these guys were doing a chemical experiment, not something with bacteria.”

“What do we do now?”

“We turn this place inside out and upside down.”

“Aye, aye, sir!”

They went to work.

The Species 8472 ships were keeping a safe distance between themselves and the Horizon, but Ogawa still didn’t like the fact that they were there in the first place. She was sitting in Ten-Forward.

“What’s on your mind?” Someone asked her.

Benjamin O’Rill was the barkeeper on the Horizon.

He was also Casey’s only brother, the rest of the twelve children in the O’Rill family were are sisters.

“The fact that three possible opponents are out there.” Ogawa said.

Benjamin sat across her.

“You need some Holodeck-time to get your mind of this situation.”

“We only have one Holodeck, and that’s booked till Saint Lulu.”

“What about that extra big gymnasium the captain had put on deck sixteen? Remember, because we don’t have a captain’s yacht.”

“That’s also full.”

“Then read a book.”

“I’ve already read all of mine twice.’

“Then borrow some from someone else, or get one from the computer.”

“I know you’re trying to cheer me up, but I just need some time to think.”

“Your second-in-command will drag you to your own sickbay if you keep acting like this.”

Ogawa gave him a small smile.

“I saw that, it’s a start.”

Then Benjamin got up and moved on. Ogawa sat back as she glanced around the room. She let out a sigh.

Benjamin is right. She thought. I do feel a little bit better.

So she left Ten-Forward. She was planning on asking the captain if she could borrow some of his books. After all, they came from a planet that was under Prime Directive quarantine. So they were the only copies in the Federation.

Then she suddenly fell into the bulkhead. The Horizon had gone ninety degrees up one side. But the computer was clever enough to keep everything in place, except for the people.

Ogawa made it to the nearest turbolift.

“Bridge.”

The cart raced to the left.

She stepped out onto the bridge a few seconds later. Takaro was one of the few who was still AT his station. The ship was returning to normal as the officers crawled back to their seats.

Ogawa made her way to the command chair.

“What happened?” She asked.

“The rift has been collapsed from the far end.

All species 8472 vessels have been destroyed.”

“This is getting worse by the minute.

Red Alert, we’ll collect samples using the Jem’Hadar transporter.”

“Aye, ma’am.”

Takaro began her task.

Be careful what you wish for, you might get it. Ogawa thought as she opened a channel to inform Rogue. The debris of the ships floated by one the viewer.

 

Chapter Five

It had been two days since the Species 8472 ships had been destroyed. All of the senior officers were on the bridge for a meeting.

“Why are we meeting here?” Archer asked.

“Because I want to be ready if that rift reopens.” Dovz said.

“What came out of the tests on the spider I brought back?” Rogue asked.

“Nothing, it’s an ordinary spider that can be found on dozens of planets.

The same goes for the bat Collins found.” Ogawa said.

“Actually, Bruce here found it.” Collins said.

“Knock it off.” Archer said.

“There is nothing special about them, sir. No mutations, no special abilities and nothing that could be classify out of order. Whatever it was, I didn’t affect animals or plants.”

“Did everyone check out?” Dovz asked.

“Yes, everyone who’s been down there was fine.

Farris and Archer were a bit dusty, but that was it.”

“MacWright, what is your conclusion?”

“Everyone of that planet died about twenty years ago. Species 8472 opened the rift in 2300 to see if it was possible. They became friends with the race they found on the planet and the two races began trading. But in 2355 Species 8472 decided that the experiment had been successful.”

“So they left.” Archer said.

“But the natives had gotten their hands on some of the bio-matter from fluidic space.

They started to experiment with it, the result of which is now on the planet below.”

“How does the dampening field fit into this?” Rogue asked.

“It was given to them by Species 8472 to defend their planet.”

“We still need to know why the rift collapsed.”

“The science department has analysed the readings. Their conclusion is crystal clear, it was collapsed on purpose by someone one the far end.”

“Do we know who?”

“I’ll give you one guess.”

“The Borg.”

“It was one of their scouts.”

“We have to inform Starfleet Command about this.” Dovz said.

“Our transmissions can’t penetrate the damping field.” Rogue said.

“We’re on our own. We have two options, one we open a interdimensional rift and go in. Two, we deactivated the damping field, call for help and then go in. I’ve chosen for option two, because we don’t know how many Borg we are dealing with here. Plus if they can show up here, they can show anywhere.”

“The machine that creates the field has to be on the planet.” Ogawa said.

“Exactly, we must find it so that we can the plug. Get to it, ladies and gents.”

That was the end of the meeting.

MacWright had retired to his quarters after a day of hard work. He fell on his bed and was asleep in an instant. Colours swirled by as he walked through the gardens of Trill.

These were the memories of Cindor MacWright, a botanist who had been the first host of his symbiont. It was the feast of the Purple Moon, which was held when the third moon of Trill Prime passed the equator. The atmospheric conditions would make the moon appeared to be purple. This traditional celebration was no longer honoured after 1855, but it Cindor remember it vividly.

The people were dancing and laughing around him. Suddenly a dark figured appeared overhead. Cindor looked up to see something he couldn’t see.

A Borg sphere. It fired its weapons…

…knocking Thomas out of bed. He realized he was awake, but it still took some time for him to get his bearings. Outside, weapons fire was ripping through the dark of space. But MacWright was already in the turbolift.

Dovz snapped orders as the Borg sphere fired at them.

“Go to full impulse, course one-eight-seven mark two-three. Wallace, hit them with everything we’ve got!”

The phasers struck the sphere four times in a row.

“It’s not enough!” Collins said.

MacWright entered the bridge.

“Let’s see how much firepower these micro-torpedoes have.” Dovz said.

“Collins, get us as close as possible. Target all weapons on one of their deuterium tanks.”

The Horizon dove towards the sphere, while she was dodging the deadly green rays the sphere threw at her. Wallace waited until they where at point-blank range before he fired. All the weapons erupted at the same time. The Borg sphere didn’t stand a chance. It disintegrated within the blink of an eye.

“Assimilate that, you mutated microwaves.” Collins said.

“No bunch of malfunctioning toaster ovens will get their hands on us.” Archer added.

Rogue walked onto the bridge at that moment.

“The Borg?” He asked.

“The Borg.” Dovz answered.

“We need to get reinforcement in here yesterday. MacWright, have you found the machine yet?”

“I have, it’s on the most southern continent of the planet.”

“Can you deactivate it?”

“We can’t tell translate the language used by Species 8472, so we can’t shut it down the normal way. But maybe we can simply severe the connection between the machine and its power source. There is something else I want to show you and Commander Dovz.”

Dovz and Rogue joined her at the science station. MacWright brought up a diagram of the planet’s inner workings.

“The planet’s core is instable. The red areas are danger zones.”

“What if the crust gives way there?” Dovz asked.

“The whole planet will explode”

“We’ll worry about that later.” Rogue began.

“Right now we need you to take an away team and shut the machine down.”

“Yes, sir.

I’ll need O’Rill plus several engineers.”

MacWright stalked out to gather his team.

“It’s cold.” O’Rill said.

The away team was standing on an ice plane which was concealing the machine.

“We’re on the planet’s south pole. Of course it’s cold.” MacWright said.

A door opened to reveal a stairway that disappeared into darkness.

“Come on, I want to get this job done so we can leave.”

“What if there are automated defences?”

“Then we’ll find out about them soon enough.”

They took two steps down the stairs before a turret of automatic weapons opened fire.

“Very smart, Casey!” MacWright said.

“Give them ideas!”

“Just take out your phaser and shoot!”

Seven phasers struck the turret, which vaporised under the violence. The team continued down the stairs.

“It looks safe.”

A massive door fell to seal of access to the bottom of the stairs. O’Rill tried her combadge, but all she got was static.

“The combadges don’t work.”

“The same goes for the phasers and tricorder, they must have put up a local dampening field to protect the place.”

“Let’s keep going.”

Then another door came down to block their path.

“Locked in, what now?”

“Maybe it was designed to let us starve to death.”

The walls began moving closer together.

“Or maybe it’s the classic ‘squash-them-like-a-bug’ trap.”

“What do we do now?”

“The only thing we can do. Help!”

The whole away team began screaming.

Wallace checked his readings.

“Sir, we have lost contact with the away team.”

“Don’t worry.” Rogue said. “They’ve been in tight spot before.”

“This is not good.” MacWright said.

They were almost out of space. Everyone was screaming and pushing against the wall.

“I guess this is it.” O’Rill said.

“Goodbye, cruel world.”

The wall stopped a few millimetres in front of them.

“What is going on?”

“I get it, the device is set for natives of this planet. I read the report Ogawa wrote on them. They would have been crushed by now.”

The walls slowly returned to their old positions. It took another few seconds for both doors to open. O’Rill fired her phaser into the corridor beyond.

“We’re back in business.”

“Move people, we have to get out of here before the systems figures out the truth.”

They followed their tricorders to a large fusion reactor.

“This is it.” O’Rill said.

“If we cut the main power conduit on this baby…”

An automated weapon turret opened fire.

“O’Rill and I will cut the conduit. The rest will give these turrets the fight of the century!”

Five phasers began flashing. They two officer reached a maintenance hatch.

“Here it is.” O’Rill said.

MacWright ripped the hatch open.

“How do we shut it down?”

“We short circuit the entire board by connecting the primary power feed to the memory bank.”

O’Rill took out a piece of opti-cable with a clamp on each end.

“Okay, on three. One…two…three!”

They made the connection and took a step back. A rain of sparks came out of the hatch as the system broke down. Then the power conduit went dark.

“Did we do it?” O’Rill asked.

Their five team-mates came running to them.

“The damping field is gone.” One of them said.

“But we triggered every safety protocol this base has.”

“We’re leaving.”

The entire team ran for the exit. They made it past the crusher without any problem. Victor Farris was the last to begin climbing the stairs. He was about halfway when the steps disappeared underneath him, transforming the stairs into a glide. The door that had hidden the stairway began to close at the same time. O’Rill grabbed him just in time.

“Hurry!” Farris said. “The crushing trap is waiting below!”

But O’Rill didn’t have much of a hold either.

“Could use some help here.”

MacWright grabbed O’Rill and began pulling. Two more automatic turrets had appeared from the ground and where keeping the rest of the team busy. But MacWright managed to pull his team-mates out just in time.

“Finish those turrets!” Farris shouted.

The order was followed at once.

“We’re getting off this cursed rock! -- O’Rill to Horizon.”

“Transporter room one here, sir.”

“Beam us out.”

The transporter ride was the longest in O’Rill’s life.

Wallace normally didn’t pay much attention to the communications section of this controls.

It was just another function that had been routed through his board.

But now he was fully focused on it.

“The field is gone, sir.” He began.

“And all the com-channels are busier then every.

Everyone is asking everyone what is going on inside the nebula.”

“Tell Starbase Fourteen what our situation is.” Rogue said.

“Then ask for lots of reinforcements.”

“Aye, I’m transmitting now.”

Archer turned his chair.

“The away team is back onboard, sir.” He said.

“Perfect.”

“Sir.” Wallace said. “Starbase Fourteen has replied to our message.

They can send sixteen starships to back us up, but it will take five hours for all of them to get here.”

“We’ll take it.” Rogue said.

Dovz yawned.

“That’s a good idea, Numero Uno.

Get the nightshift up here to take of the ship, so that the rest of us can hit the sack.”

“Aye, sir.” Dovz said.

So that is what happened.

MacWright had returned to her dream of the Purple moon. Thomas-Cindor sighed as he looked up into the night sky. No Borg sphere. He thought. The people had retired to rest after all that dancing.

“People dreaming within a dream, that’s strange.”

He walked over to a table where the food for the next day was waiting. The feast of the purple moon lasted three days, of which today was the first. There was a boy sleeping under the table.

Oenra. He thought. He was the nephew of Cindor. Then this must be the celebration of 1855, the last ever. I remember having to drag his out of there the next day.

Thomas-Cindor sat on a nearby stone beach. The stars seemed alive above him. It was as if they were dancing as well. And then one of them died.

There was a bright flash that blocked the light of the stars around it for a few seconds. MacWright knew he was looking at something that had already happened. The star was known as Centauri Gamma-III and had gone nova decades ago. But it had taken the light all this time to reach Trill.

He still felt sad about it. The event gave him an idea.

Then Red Alert klaxons ended the dream, but the idea was still there.

The five hours were over.

 

Chapter Six

A refreshed crew watched the formation of friendly ships that was approaching them.

The Enterprise was leading them into the unknown section of the void.

“How many palls do we have here, Wallace?” Rogue asked.

“Sixteen Starfleet ships, seven Klingons, one Dominion ship and one Ferengi vessel.”

“That should even the odds a little.” Dovz said.

“We can’t tell until we’ve gone to the other side.

Are we ready to go over?”

“Yes, captain.” O’Rill said.

“The nightshift crew took care of the modifications while we were sleeping.”

“Then they did a terrific job. Note that in the log.”

“Aye, captain.”

“Conny, ops-man: Take us across.”

“Sir, just out of curiosity. Why are we doing the scouting?” Wallace asked.

“Because the nightshift didn’t work hard for us not to go.”

A bleu-grey line pierced the fabric of the space-time continuum. The rift opened only a few thousands kilometres in front of the Horizon. Then Collins drove the ship through.

Wallace’s jaw dropped when he saw what was in front of them.

“I’m picking up hundreds of Borg ships. Their sizes range for scouts to cubes.”

“And species 8472?” Dovz asked.

“None, all those Borg ships are armed with bio-molecular torpedoes.”

“Have they spotted us?”

“Yes, but they are ignoring us.”

“Conny, get us out of here before they change their hive mind.”

The Horizon returned to normal space. Rogue let out a sigh.

“Report the mess on the other side to Picard.”

Wallace did so.

“We need more firepower.” Archer said.

“We couldn’t match that much firepower even if we brought in the whole fleet.” Collins said.

“Who needs a fleet when we have a massive bomb?” MacWright said.

Rogue caught on right away.

“You said it yourself, that planet is unstable.”

“Exactly, we open a rift with the starships we have and throw the planet through.

The curst is to weak to withstand the outside pressure of fluidic space.”

“So the whole thing goes up in the collective’s face.”

“But we need to make sure the planet lands in middle of the armada.” Archer began.

“Someone will have to get them into position.”

“We’re the only ship that was made both the modifications to the hull and deflector. The other ships can open a rift, but they can’t go in yet.” Dovz said.

“Wallace, inform the fleet of our plan. MacWright, will the Hyper-Impulse work on the other side?” Rogue said.

“It will, sir.”

“That should make them come after us.

The Borg have this thing about new gizmos.”

“The other ships are ready to proceed with the plan, sir.” Wallace said.

“But Captain Picard says he thinks we’re out of our minds to go alone.”

“Tell the other ships to take positions around the planet. Red Alert, all hands to battlestations!”

“Ready when you are, captain.” Collins said.

“There’s no time like the present.”

“Our ships are in position, captain.” Wallace said.

“Do it, Conny.”

The rift appeared again.

Subspace anomaly detected, grid 251, subsection 14. Source: Starfleet vessel, unknown class. Pursuit with all vessels, prepare to assimilate.

“We have their attention, sir.” Wallace said.

“Can we stay ahead of them?” Rogue asked.

Collins checked her readings.

“The field is stable and we have full speed, sir. That’s the best I can say for now.”

“How long we can drop the planet?”

“Twenty seconds to the location at this speed.”

Scout 2938 has locked weapons onto the vessel. Fire weapons, prepare to assimilate.

The ship rocked under the weapons fire from the scout.

“Conny!”

“Five…four…three…two…one…and drop!”

There was a massive flash of light as the planet appeared. Collins fingers flew across the board.

“Hold on, here comes normal space!”

Foreign object detected, scout 2938 destroyed, scout 2715 destroyed, scout 28...

The list only grew longer and longer.

The Horizon plummeted into normal space like a young child into the arms of its mother. Her allies began firing at the Borg ships that had followed her through the opening.

“We…made it.” Collins gasped.

“What about the Borg?” Dovz asked.

“We can handle what is coming through.” MacWright said.

“Wallace, what is the state of things on the other end?”

“We wiped out at considerably chunk of their fleet and damaged the rest of them. The Borg are retreating to the Delta Quadrant.” Wallace said.

“There is a battalion of species 8472 ships on the other side of the rift. They have send us a message.”

“What does it say?”

“Thanks.”

Rogue smiled.

“Send them this reply: That’s what friends are for.”

Wallace send the message. Then the rift closed.

“Well, it looks like we just won three battles at once.” Dovz said.

“We solved the mystery of the nebula, beat the Borg and scored several friendship points with species 8472.”

“It’s even better then that.” Rogue said.

“I would love to see the look on Shelby’s face when she reads my report.”

“The Horizon against the Abyss of Fluidic Space.” Collins said.

“Sounds like the title of a book.”

“Yes, it does. Conny, set a course for starbase fourteen.”

“The sensors are bit scrambled because of the nebula, so I’ll have to set the destination manually.”

“To bad we can’t just use Bruce’s build-in Bat-Radar.” MacWright mumbled.

Wallace laughed at the comment.

“Was there anyone who didn’t check inside that cave?” Archer said.

Now everyone laughed.

“Course plotted at warp four, sir.” Collins said.

“Take her up.”

The Horizon accelerated into the starscape.

 

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Last modified: 06 Feb 2017 
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