Stealing the Fire of Heaven by Paul Cleveland
"Admiral, this is madness. Our half-finished ship was hijacked by Romulans on its maiden voyage and now you want it perfect in 72 hours so that it participates in a large Federation attack? Hell, she still has the old and inaccurate NX-59650 registry on her hull, back from the old project! Weíre so busy we havenít had time to even do a paint job." The commanding officer of the Federation Starship USS Prometheus, sighed and shook his head. "Sir, my engineers are incapable of this."
The captain was sitting in the command chair of the Prometheusís bridge. Right now it was completely inoperative. The tactical, conn, and ops stations were in pieces and were being worked on. The rest of the consoles were either offline or having problems. The Master Situation Monitor showed critical red areas all over the ship, including the bridge and main engineering. The bridge was well beyond capacity, with over twenty engineers buzzing about all around the captain, who was concentrating on his conversation with the admiral. Everyone on the bridge, save the captain himself and a few others, was a gold shirt.
"They must be," said the commander of Beta Antares Shipyards. "The Prometheus is needed at the front line of the war against the Dominion. With all of its advanced technology, we cannot afford to have it sitting in drydock while the rest of the Federation fleet participates in a large-scale fleet action against the Dominion and Cardassians." The crewman who had been working on the conn panel looked up.
"Sir, I think Iíve gotten this panel working. I just have to wire this back in, andó"
Just then, the Red Alert klaxons started sounding all over the ship. The lights dimmed and red lighting glowed on the bridge. The captain hit a comm button on the arm panel of his chair.
"Bridge to Engineering. Thatís the third time today! Would you please stop wiring the alert level controls into the helm system?"
"Iím sorry, sir," said the Prometheusí chief engineer. "Weíre still trying to iron out that glitch with the main deflector, since if we headed out now, sir, she would be torn apart by space dust!" The captain turned back to the viewscreen with a smirk on his face.
"Well, sir, as you can seeó"
The lights returned to normal, but the tactical console exploded behind him. He ducked forward and covered his head with his hands. Turning to the comms officer, he drew his hand across his throat. The communications link with the admiral was temporarily cut.
Seeing most of the bridge crew that had been working on the tactical console just standing there and looking at it, the captain said, "Well, is anyone planning to fix that thing?" The crew started back to work. The captain turned back towards the viewscreen and muttered to himself, "Someoneís got to be good at it by now, it explodes once a week." He tapped the comm panel again.
"Bridge to Engineering. I see you successfully returned the alert status to normal, but in doing so you overloaded the tactical console! Will you please get things sorted out down there? Donít make me send Security."
"Captain, I am doing my best. We are running triple shifts and are doing everything we can to get this bucket of bolts shipshape."
"Acknowledged, Engineering. Bridge out." The captain motioned to reopen the comm channel. The admiralís image popped back on the screen.
"As I was saying, sir, we have a lot of work to do around here."
The legend of the Starship Prometheus began in 2353, when hostilities with the Cardassians were at their peak, and Starfleet needed a new type of heavy battlecruiser starship as a deterrent against any Cardassian large-scale fleet action. Starfleet Command awarded the Beta Antares Shipyards a contract to build such a ship, which would be named the USS Prometheus, NX-59650. Work began immediately on this starship, which was one of the few designs in Federation history to be purely tactical. All of her sensor systems were to be dedicated to weapons targeting, and she was to have the best weapons in the Federationís inventory. Her bridge was to be the most advanced command center ever placed into a Federation starship design.
The largest innovation of the Prometheus-class design was the Multi-Vector Attack Mode (MVAM). In this mode, the ship was to separate into multiple starships that would be able to outflank and surround an enemy force and deliver decisive firepower to that enemy and eliminate it. The final design of the ship stated that it would separate into three parts, all of them fully warp-capable. For this to be possible, the design team had to give the Prometheus three warp cores and six warp nacelles. When not in MVAM, this would give the ship amazing speed, faster than any Federation starship before it. Only four of the nacelles would be in operation normally, the other two were very small and attached to the saucer. They would be housed in recesses on the dorsal and ventral sides of the saucer until they were needed for MVAM.
When tensions between the Federation and the Cardassians began to cool down, the Prometheus class design was shelved in late 2356 in favor of the Nebula and Galaxy classes. The Federation was turning back to its normal mission of exploration and concentrating less on border defense.
The unfinished Prometheus sat in drydock at Beta Antares for two decades. The framework of half the ship was open to space, and her warp field coils were visible. The warp cores that were supposed to be in her lower warp drives were instead aboard the Galaxy class starships Venture and Yamato. The third core was ironically aboard the "other" USS Prometheus: NCC-71201, Nebula-class. She was the exact opposite of her mothballed sister: the Nebula-class was an explorer with very little in the way of armament. However, the fighting Prometheus wouldnít stay in mothballs for long.
After the Dominion invaded the Alpha Quadrant and half the galaxy plunged into war, Starfleet Command needed all the combat-capable ships it could get, and new tactical-only designs were on the drawing board. When this order came out, the commander of Beta Antares Shipyards, Rear Admiral Benjamin Louis, realized that the Prometheus was the perfect ship for the war. It had been designed to fight the Cardassians a decade ago, and with some design changes, it could fight them now.
On her maiden voyage, the Prometheus was hijacked by agents of the Romulan Tal Shiar. All of her hand-picked crew was murdered. The EMH of the USS Voyager, trapped in the Delta Quadrant, happened to be channeled to the Prometheus by an alien comms array. Voyagerís EMH and Prometheusís EMH Mark 2 were able to put the Prometheus back into Federation hands. Spare crewmen from the Akira class starship Thunderchild flew the Prometheus back to Beta Antares, where it received a solemn welcome. Engineers went to work immediately to repair and replace parts that had been damaged in the Romulan takeover and to improve the security systems to prevent it from happening again.
In this interim period between the Prometheusís maiden and operational voyages, the shipís new crew was chosen.
The door to Admiral Parisís office opened, and Captain Daniel Robertson, commanding officer of the Akira-class USS Renown, strode in.
Robertson was a tall, commanding figure, with short brown hair cut regulation style, dark blue eyes that could strike fear into someone he was unpleased with, and a look of authority. His uniform was in perfect condition, and his shoes were spit-shined.
"Ah, Captain Robertson. I hope your journey here was not too inconvenient?"
"No, we were due for an overhaul anyway after a skirmish with some Galors."
"I see. Sit down, Captain." Robertson sat. He acted as if the simple office chair was the center one on a starship.
"Captain Robertson, you are a very decorated Starfleet officer. You have certain leadership and command abilities that an ordinary captain does not have. You have seen action, against the Borg, the Romulans, rogue Klingons, Cardassians, and the Dominion. All of these qualities has led us to choose you for a very important assignment." Paris pushed a button on his desktop console. He turned the screen so that Robertson could see it.
"Meet the USS Prometheus. The most advanced ship in the fleet. Ablative armor, regenerative shielding, multi-vector attack mode, you name it, sheís got it." Paris paused. "And sheís yours."
"Me, sir?" said Robertson with disbelief. "Commanding this ship? Iím just a simple captain, not some test pilot."
"Fortunately, the test pilot job is already done. And it was done by a Romulan." Robertsonís eyes widened. "You see, Captain, Starfleet wanted this ship in service as soon as possible as a result of the Dominion War. So, she was sent out on her maiden voyage half-finished. Because of this, she was hijacked by Romulans. Her entire crew was killed. After we recaptured her, we sent her back to drydock for a massive overhaul on the security and control systems and to actually finish construction. The engineers are in the process of rewriting the entire LCARS code to prevent a hostile takeover."
"So what youíre saying, sir, is that I am going to command a prototype ship that nobody really knows how it performs?" Paris nodded.
"She was hijacked very early in her maiden voyage. But donít feel bad, Captain. She is the most advanced and well-armed ship in the fleet. Soon, when anyone mentions the name of the USS Prometheus in the Dominion, fear will strike through the hearts of all who hear."
"What about my crew? Do I get to pick or is it assigned?"
"You get to pick," said Paris. Robertson breathed a sigh of relief. "Except for your engineering section." His head snapped up.
"Well, your engineering section will be the men who actually built the ship. The chief designer and builder of the Prometheus will be your chief engineer."
"And that would be?" inquired Robertson.
"Commander Samuel Lincoln." Paris tapped another button on his console. The picture and service record of Lincoln appeared on the screen. Lincoln was a blond-haired, green-eyed Canadian who simply looked like the perfect type for a chief engineer. His service record was quite fascinating as well.
"Assistant chief engineer aboard USS Enterprise-D and two Akira-class ships, chief engineer of the Venture, then relegated to Corps of Engineers and was second-in-command of Sovereign-class development project. Not bad," said Robertson. "Experience as a designer and engineer."
"Were you afraid that you were going to have a construction worker as your engineer?" asked Paris.
"For a moment, yes." Robertson shook his head. "But not anymore. When do I start?"
On the shuttlecraft trip between Starfleet Command and Beta Antares, Robertson sorted through the crew candidates for the senior staff of the Prometheus.
"Well," said Robertson to himself, "the Chief Engineer is already been picked, Mr. Lincoln. So, start with Executive Officer/Operations Manager."
Robertson tapped a few buttons on the PADD he was holding. He sorted through the choices for Prometheusís first officer. He narrowed his choice down to two: Roix, a Bolian born aboard the USS Thomas Paine, and John Harriman III, a human born aboard the Melbourne. Both of them were Starfleet brats, whose parents were admirals or former admirals. Roixís father was Admiral Rixx, one of the men who detected the alien intelligence that infiltrated Starfleet Command in 2364. Harrimanís grandfather was John Harriman, commander of the USS Enterprise-B. They both had outstanding service records, but Roix had caused the death of 100 of the crew of his Ambassador-class ship when he ordered the ship to self-destruct to prevent it from falling into the hands of the Dominion and not allowing sufficient time for all the escape pods to be launched. This got him a demotion to commander and a large reprimand. This was one of the many factors that made Robertson choose Commander Harriman as his first officer.
"Welcome to the crew of the Prometheus, Mr. Harriman," said Robertson as he punched in the crew assignment. The next item on his list was Science Officer. Out of the five submissions, two were human, one Trill, one Bajoran, and one Vulcan. After reading the Vulcanís service record, and reasoning that Vulcan science officers often were some of the most efficient, Robertson chose the Vulcan female Soval for his science officer.
The next officer to be chosen was the Chief Medical Officer. There were entries from two humans, a Trill, and a Betazoid. The Trill was Lt. Commander Harka Meln. Meln had been Robertsonís roommate at the academy. Besides the friendship, Dr. Meln was an outstanding CMO according to his service record. Robertson signed him on as the Prometheusís chief doctor.
The positions after that were unique to the Prometheus. It was the executive officers of the secondary and tertiary hulls, both lieutenant commanders. During MVAM, the executive officer and chief engineer would take command of the secondary and tertiary hulls respectively. These two officers would serve as the executive officer/operations manager to the commander of the two hulls. Robertson chose Johann Dietrich, a human, as the secondary hull XO; and a Bajoran, Lika Soran, as the tertiary hull XO.
Tactical/Security Chief was the next open position. There were three humans, one Tellarite and one Gorn who were eligible. The Gorn was Lieutenant Zokarv, who had attained his rank in the Gorn Navy and when the Gorn joined the Federation, he transferred to Starfleet. His experience in the Gorn Navy was mostly during the Gornís war against the Mirak, giving him a large amount of combat experience. Also, a Gorn is quite intimidating as chief of security. Being over six feet tall and having enough muscle to give a Klingon a whopping, Zokarv was a very good choice. Robertson signed him on as Chief of Security and Tactical Officer.
All of the main positions aboard the Prometheus had been filled. Robertson signed on a few more officers for minor stations such as comms and helm, and still had time to catch some sleep before getting to Beta Antares.
Captain Robertsonís shuttle landed in the shuttlebay of the Prometheus. The entire construction crew and shipís company were standing in wait for him. As the shuttle door opened, the Chief of the Watch sounded a boatswainís whistle and all assembled came to attention. Following old naval tradition, the Chief of the Watch turned and saluted Robertson, and the captain returned it. Robertson turned to address the personnel.
"At ease." The crew took a more relaxed stance. "Now this is going to be short and sweet. I am Captain Daniel J. Robertson, and by order of Starfleet Command, I hereby take command of this vessel. Most of you engineers will be staying aboard ship, since by order of Starfleet Command the engineering department of this ship is to be made up of the designers and workers that have been aboard the Prometheus for the past several months." Robertson turned to address the heads of the construction. Standing at the head of them was Lincoln. "Commander Lincoln, by order of Starfleet Command, you are assigned as chief engineer of this vessel, once it gets underway."
Lincoln nodded. "Aye, sir. May we conduct the change of command?"
"Yes, Commander." Lincoln walked up to Captain Robertson.
"Computer, transfer all command codes and voice authorization to Captain Daniel Robertson."
"Acknowledged. USS Prometheus now under the command of Captain Daniel J. Robertson." Lincoln shook Robertsonís hand.
"Welcome aboard, sir."
A few days later, the shuttle carrying the officers that Robertson had chosen arrived. The reception was nowhere near as formal as the one that was given to Robertson. As each crew member disembarked, Captain Robertson greeted them.
First, Lieutenant Zokarv got out. He was a very impressive figure. Captain Robertson had to look up in order to see his reptilian face.
"Welcome aboard the Prometheus, Mr. Zokarv. I am Captain Robertson." The Gornís eyes swiveled down to Robertson, and he grinned, showing his large, crocodile-like teeth.
"Greetings, Captain Robertson. Lieutenant Zokarv reporting as ordered."
"Thank you, Lieutenant."
"It is truly an honor to be one of the few Gorn serving in Starfleet. And it is an even greater honor to be posted aboard the fleetís most advanced starship."
"Crewman Benson will show you to your quarters." The Gorn nodded and walked off towards Benson, and they left the shuttlebay. Robertson looked over and saw the two hull XOís, Commanders Dietrich and Lika, disembarking.
"Welcome aboard, Commanders. Commander Dietrich, being the secondary hull XO, your quarters are on Deck 5B, and Commander Lika, your quarters are on Deck 8C, in the tertiary hull."
"Danke, Herr Kapitšn," said Dietrich, being of German origin. Lika simply nodded and they both walked off. As the door shut behind them, a hand touched Robertsonís shoulder. Robertson looked over and saw the face of Harka Meln. The captain didnít recognize him at first, but soon Meln and Robertson were caught in an embrace.
"Itís been a long time, Harka," said Robertson. "I never thought that I would see you again until your funeral."
"And they always say that the universe is so big!" remarked Meln.
"Look at that," said Robertson, gesturing to Melnís rank insignia. "Just look at that. If you had listened to me, there would be four pips there, and you would have a ship of your own."
"I know," said Meln, "but every Meln host before me was a doctor, some in Starfleet and some on Trill, and I didnít want to break the tradition."
"Whatever you say, Doctor. Ensign Malarkey will show you to your quarters. I think that you can find sickbay on your own, or should I call security to hold your hand?"
"Shut up, Daniel."
"Alright. Just get outta here."
"Iím going!" With that and a wave, Harka left the shuttlebay.
"Good afternoon, Captain." A cool and calm voice came from behind Robertson. It was Commander Soval, the Vulcan science officer.
"Same to you, Mr. Soval. Welcome aboard."
"Thank you, sir. If you will excuse me, may I go to my quarters and Ďsettle in?í"
"Certainly. Follow Crewman Zond." Soval walked out of the shuttlebay right behind her Andorian guide.
Last off the shuttle was the executive officer, John Harriman III. He looked much like his namesake, a man just as commanding as Captain Robertson himself. Robertson extended his hand. Harriman took it.
"Welcome aboard the Prometheus, Commander Harriman."
"Thank you, sir. Itís a high honor. However, Harrimans have always been at the top. My grandfather was commander of the Enterprise-B, my father was commander of the Galaxy, and now I am the XO of the Prometheus. I donít think any other family in the fleet can say that.
"Probably not, Commander."
"It will be an honor serving with you, Captain."
"And it will be an honor serving with the grandson of a commander of the Enterprise."
"Thank you, sir. I guess I have learned some tricks of the trade from my family."
"Here," said Robertson, "Iíll lead you to your quarters." Robertson picked up one item of Harrimanís luggage and they walked out of the shuttlebay.
"So, sir, how close are we to launch?" asked Harriman.
"A few weeks at most," replied Robertson. "Now with the department heads, the crew will start to get ready for the voyage."
"I see. What are my duties exactly once more?"
"You will serve as a double: first officer and operations manager, with all of the duties, rights, and privileges of both of those stations. Also, you command the secondary hull during Multi-Vector Attack Mode." The pair boarded the turbolift.
"Deck 5A. Senior officersí quarters." The turbolift started whirring off to their destination.
"ĎDeck 5A?í Whatís the ĎAí for?"
"Well, since many decks are shared by each of the three hulls, all the decks that are in the primary hull have ĎAí attached, secondary hull ĎB,í and tertiary hull ĎC.í"
"Sir, you said that I command the secondary hull in MVAM. How does that happen?"
"Well, when we go to Red Alert and engage MVAM, you leave your station on the main bridge and go down to the secondary bridge, where you take command of the secondary hull. Mr. Lincoln, our chief engineer, is the commander of the tertiary hull. He leaves main engineering and goes to the tertiary bridge."
"I see." The turbolift stopped. They got out and proceeded to Harrimanís quarters, which was only a few doors down from the turbolift.
"Glad to have you aboard, Mr. Harriman," said Robertson.
"Thank you, sir." Harriman entered his quarters and the door shut.
"As I was saying, sir, we have a lot of work to do around here."
Robertson looked around at the bridge again. Zokarv was stepping out of the turbolift. When he saw that his panel had exploded again, his face turned into a grimace that could have made a Klingon scared.
"I see you have a Gorn aboard your ship." Robertson nodded. He tapped Zokarvís arm.
"Admiral, this is Lieutenant Zokarv, my tactical officer." The Gorn smiled.
"Greetings, Admiral," he said in his deep, growling voice. "It is an honor to serve aboard the Prometheus." He went back to work on his console.
"Not the most sociable creature," said Robertson. "But in simulations, heís been an excellent tac officer. He had lots of experience in the Gorn Navy."
"I see," said Admiral Louis. "But as I said, I want that ship launched in 72 hours. No more, and preferably less. Do I make myself clear?"
"Yessir. We wonít let you down."
"Good. Louis out." Louisís image disappeared from the screen, leaving the Federation seal. It didnít go away, since the view outside wasnít very magnificent and the visual sensors were at only 65% capacity.
Robertson looked around. "Well, you heard the Admiral. This ship pulls out in 72 hours, even if the entire crew has to get out and push." There was a small chuckle on the bridge. "Now get back to work." The turbolift door opened and Commander Harriman stepped out. He handed a PADD to Captain Robertson.
"Hereís the latest construction report, sir," said Harriman, sitting down at the ops console. "Itís more promising than last week." Robertson snorted and began to read. The ablative armor plating was finished, the weapons scanners were back in alignment, and the secondary and tertiary bridges were finally linked into the shipwide LCARS system.
"Yes, much more promising," said Robertson. "Commander, based on your professional opinion as operations manager, do you think that this ship will be ready in all respects in 72 hours?" Harriman shrugged.
"I donít know, sir. It just doesnít look that way." Robertson sighed and tossed the PADD on the deck. He put his head in his hands.
"Sometimes I wish that someone else was captain," he mumbled.
The bridgewide check for readiness before launch was in progress. Robertson was asking every bridge station whether their department was ready for the ship to pull out.
"Communications?" asked Robertson.
"Online," said the Andorian manning the post.
"Tactical?" he asked, turning to Zokarv.
"All weapons systems are functional," said the Gorn.
"Sensors online. Scan of dock reports all workbees are clear."
"Engineering?" Lincoln was sitting at the bridgeís engineering console. He would go back and forth from there and main engineering.
"Ready. Thrusters, impulse, and warp drive are all online."
"Shipwide report, Mr. Harriman?"
"All departments report ready, sir. All systems go." Robertson tapped the comm button.
"Primary Bridge to Secondary Bridge. Ready, Mr. Dietrich?"
"Ja, Herr Kapitšn. Ready to go."
"Primary Bridge to Tertiary Bridge. Commander Lika, is your section ready?"
"In all respects, Captain."
"All hands, take launching stations. We are heading out." He turned to Harriman. "Forward angle on viewer." Harriman pushed some buttons on his console and the viewscreen came to life. The dock framework was all around them.
Turning to the conn officer, he said, "Mr. Kelly, take us out. One quarter impulse."
The great shipís engines rumbled into action. On the screen, the view gradually started to move forward. As the vessel glided past, the new registry was proudly painted on her hull: "USS Prometheus, NX-74913." The dock structure which had held the Prometheus for a total of 21 years fell behind them. The Prometheus was free.
"We have cleared the dock, sir," said Soval.
"Ready to engage warp engines, sir," said Kelly.
"Set course for Deep Space Nine. Warp 8." The conn officer typed the course and speed into the console.
The shipís four warp nacelles powered up. The blue of the warp field coils gradually brightened. The nacelles reached their full charge and the ship flew away at an amazing speed. The small flash of entering warp drive appeared and disappeared. The Prometheus was on her way.
Captainís log, Stardate 51523.4. We are underway to Deep Space Nine, where the Allied fleet is assembling to attack the Chinítoka system. However, I have the feeling that we will have a run-in with Dominion ships before we reach DS9. Therefore, I have ordered a permanent yellow alert until further notice.
Robertson was sitting in his command chair on the main bridge of the Prometheus. It had been almost four days since the launch, and the crew was starting to get used to the ship. All of the bridge crew had learned the functions and interface of their stations. Commander Harriman was at ops, coordinating the overall function of the ship. Commander Louis was at the bridge engineering station, where he was about half the time. Lt. Commander Soval was running routine scans from the science station, Lieutenant Zokarv was monitoring the weapons status, and the other officers on the bridge were executing the functions of their various stations.
Dr. Meln arrived on the bridge. He surveyed the conditions of the officers, running physical checks in his head. The doctor walked to the captainís chair.
"Daniel, youíve been sitting in that chair ever since we left the shipyard. Itís time for you to take a break."
"I can take over for you, sir," said Harriman.
"That will not be possible, Commander," said the comms officer, "Iím receiving an emergency distress call."
"On screen," said Robertson. The burnt bridge of an Akira-class starship appeared on the viewer. There were dead crew all around, and the captain had blood all over his face and uniform.
"This is Captain Montgomery Borskov of the Federation Starship USS Renown! We and the convoy we were escorting have come under attack from Dominon and Cardassian warships! We are not going to hold on much longer! Any Allied ship in rangeó" Static filled the audio and video feeds.
"Red alert!" yelled Robertson. "All hands, battlestations!" He motioned to Harriman and Louis. "Commanders, get to your MVAM stations." The two officers got out of their seats and got in the turbolift to the secondary and tertiary bridges. The auxiliary watch officers took over for them.
"Looks like Iíd better get back down to sickbay," said Meln, leaving the bridge.
"Set course for the origin of that distress call. Maximum warp. Mr. Zokarv, prepare to engage MVAM."
Harriman stepped out of the turbolift at the secondary bridge. The secondary bridge was similar in design to the bridge of a Nebula-class starship. Commander Dietrich was in the command chair. Upon seeing Harriman, he got up.
"Herr Kommandeur," said the German as he took his seat at ops. "Welcome to the secondary bridge."
"Thank you, Mr. Dietrich," said Harriman as he took his seat. Weíll be seeing each other quite often over the next few months, so get used to me." He looked around at each of the stations. Science, Tactical, and Engineering were manned by lieutenants, the others by JGís and ensigns. "Are we ready for MVAM?" They all nodded.
"Comms, signal the main bridge that we are ready for MVAM."
Meanwhile, Commander Louis arrived at the tertiary bridge. It looked exactly like the secondary bridge. Commander Lika was at ops. The command chair was empty.
"Commanding officer on the bridge," said Lika, turning to Louis. "All stations are ready for multi-vector attack mode, sir."
"Good," said Louis as he collapsed into his chair. "Tell the captain that weíre a go."
"Sir," said Zokarv back on the main bridge, "the secondary and tertiary bridges have reported ready for MVAM. Ready to engage at your discretion." Robertson took a deep breath and settled back into his chair.
There was a slight rumbling as the docking clamps released. Outside, the saucer gradually lifted off from the engineering hull, then the tertiary hull disconnected from the engineering hull. Two small warp nacelles extended from the top and bottom of the saucer. The great ship was now three.
One JemíHadar battlecruiser, five JemíHadar attack ships, and three Cardassian ships were attacking a convoy of about twenty Federation cargo ships escorted by two Akira-class cruisers. The Akiras were heavily damaged.
"Order all sections to drop out of warp," said Robertson to the comms officer. She tapped some buttons on her panel, and all three ships went to impulse. "All sections free to engage."
The sections of the Prometheus came down upon the enemy ships. On the secondary bridge, Harriman was personally directing the movement of the secondary hull.
"Tactical, target the Keldon. Helm, fly us above and then behind the target. Then, let loose with everything on their aft shields. They should collapse and then one of the Akiraís can finish it off. Go!" The secondary hull flew above the Keldon, firing itís ventral phasers as it went. Then she turned around and fired five quantum torpedoes out of her forward torpedoes and phasers. The beams lanced out and hit directly on the Cardassiansí aft shields. The phaser fire alone wore down the aft shields a bit, but then the quantum torpedoes hit. The first three hit the shields, then the last two hit the unprotected hull, right at the warp core. The Keldon exploded, and the secondary hull flew right through the fireball, looking for more prey.
The saucer had more luck than the secondary hull. Robertson maneuvered above the two other Cardassian ships, which were side-by-side. The saucer dove, fired its forward torpedoes at both targets, rolled over, and fired its dorsal and ventral phasers at the same time while flying in between the two enemy ships, inflicting heavy damage on both. As they came out from between the two ships, the aft torpedoes were fired. They hit at the same spots where the first set of torpedoes and the phasers were fired, breaking through the shields and destroying both ships.
The tertiary hull of the Prometheus made one of the most amazing combat feats of the war in that battle. After destroying the attack ships, they closed on the JemíHadar battlecruiser, which was a mammoth ship that dwarfed the Prometheus even when whole.
"Sir!" yelled Commander Lika. "We canít destroy that thing on our own! Weíre going to have to wait and coordinate with the other sections!" An evil grin appeared on Lincolnís face and he got out of his chair.
"We are going to destroy that thing on our own," he said as he walked over to the engineering station.
"Sir? Have you gone mad?"
"No, as a matter of fact, I had a Ďeurekaí moment." His hands started flying around the console. "JemíHadar warp coils use tricorbomite instead of dilithium to regulate the matter/antimatter reaction. Tricorbomite becomes very unstable when exposed to high-intensity veterons. Iím going to remodulate the main deflector to emit a veteron burst that would destabilize their tricorbomite and cause a warp core breach." He paused and looked over at the viewscreen.
"Helm, maneuver us so that weíre right above their warp core. Tactical, I want you to fire all of our weapons right at their warp core until their shields in that area reach 30% so that the veteron burst can get through." The two crewmen nodded. The helm officer flew the tertiary hull around to the rear of the JemíHadar ship, right behind the engines.
"Weíre in position, Commander."
"Ready to fire, sir."
Lincoln tapped a few more buttons on the engineering panel and held his hand over one that was labeled "Veteron Burst."
Every forward-facing weapon on the tertiary hull was thrown against the JemíHadar shipís shields behind the engine.
"Their shields in the engine area are at 40%Ö35Ö30% sir!" Lincoln hit the button.
The deflector dish began to glow brighter than normal. A beam of concentrated ions lanced out at the enemy ship from the dish. It hit the shields and penetrated them. When it hit the Dominon ship, nothing happened at first. Suddenly, the ship exploded in a massive fireball that threw the tertiary hull back and blew out several panels on the tertiary bridge.
Lika looked around. "We did it, sir!" she exclaimed. Lincoln took his seat.
"Thank your local miracle worker for that one," he said.
"Sir, the saucer section is hailing us," said the communications officer.
Robertsonís face appeared on the viewer. The main bridge was a bit scarred as well.
"Well done, Commander. Youíre going to get a medal for that one, destroying a JemíHadar battlecruiser with a veteron overload from the deflector. Itís actually not a bad idea."
"Thank you, sir. Request permission to rejoin sections, sir?"
"Granted. Weíll get in touch with the secondary hull and get back together."
"Aye sir," said Lincoln as he collapsed into the command chair. "Tert bridge out." Louis looked around at his crew. "Well, folks, looks like we just did something pretty impressive." The crew had a chuckle about that.
"Well done, people," said Robertson. "Stand down red alert." The lighting returned to normal. He turned to Zokarv.
"That maneuver between the two Galors was quite impressive, Mr. Zokarv."
"Why, thank you, sir. It was an old trick I learned when I was back aboard the Dorzv, when we were fighting two enemy battlecruisers, andó"
"Thank you, Mr. Zokarv. Please prepare to deactivate MVAM."
"Aye, sir." Zokarv went back to his duties. He looked a little displeased at the fact that he wasnít allowed to share his story.
"Communications, signal to other sections to form up on saucer for reintegration."
"Aye, sir." The other two parts of the Prometheus closed on the main hull and got into proper position.
"Mr. Zokarv, reintegrate the ship at your discretion."
"Reintegrating now." The saucerís warp nacelles retracted, and the secondary hull started moving up. The two sections finally connected, then the tertiary hull latched onto the bottom of the secondary. Within a few seconds, the ship was back in one piece.
"Multi-vector attack mode has been disengaged," said Zokarv. "The ship has been reintegrated." Robertson hit the shipwide address system button.
"All hands, this is the captain. The first full-scale combat test of Multi-Vector Attack Mode has been a complete success. Carry on." He closed the channel. "Resume old course and speed, Ensign." At that moment, the turbolift door opened and the two commanders stepped out.
"Well done, gentlemen," said Robertson. "XO, you have the conn, and Lieutenant, open a channel to DS9 and pipe it to my ready room." He walked off the bridge and entered the captainís ready room. Harriman took the captainís place, and the relief officer occupied Ops.
Robertson punched a button on his desk. The image of Captain Benjamin Sisko, commanding officer of Deep Space Nine and the USS Defiant, appeared on the screen.
"Captain Robertson of the Prometheus. Good to see you."
"Good to see you too, Captain. We had a run-in with the enemy on our way here."
"You did? How?"
"Well, a Keldon, two Galors, and a JemíHadar battlecruiser somehow snuck behind our lines and attacked convoy J45, which was carrying munitions to Deep Space Nine in preparation for our Ďbig push.í The superior firepower of the Prometheus completely destroyed the enemy flotilla."
"Oh, and one other thing, Captain. My chief engineer, Commander Louis, found a way to use the main deflector to emit an veteron burst that if correctly targeted, can cause a JemíHadar ship to have a warp core breach. He took out the battlecruiser using a ship that was only half its size and unable to even take down the shields using normal weapons."
"Impressive. I might start distributing that tactic throughout the fleet."
"I donít think so, sir. Our deflector is one of the few in the fleet that can emit veterons. Maybe some Sovereign-class ships, but no others."
"Such a shame. It would be good to have a tactic to defeat the enemy without firing a shot."
"Well, we still have to lower their shields in the targeted area to 30%. The beam would dissipate off their shields in any other case."
"Ah. Well, Captain, the fleet is preparing to move out, so hurry up and get here, because weíre going to need the Prometheus."
"Acknowledged. Prometheus out." Robertson hit a button on his console, cutting the comm link with Deep Space Nine. The door chime rang.
"Come." Commander Harriman entered the ready room. He stopped at Robertsonís desk. "Commander, what is it?"
"Well, sir, itís about what just happened."
"You mean the convoy attack?"
"Yes. Whatís worrying me is how the Dominion got their ships this far into Federation territory undetected."
"Indeed. Perhaps the Dominion has created some sort of sensor inhibitor." Harriman shrugged.
"I donít know, sir. At least they didnít last long, thanks to MVAM."
"True, very true, XO. MVAM is a very unique tactical innovation. One ship splitting into three and being able to outflank and outmaneuver an enemy that it would otherwise be incapable of defeating."
Harriman walked towards the door. "Letís only hope itís as effective in a large-scale engagement."
"Thatís for sure, XO. Carry on."
"Aye, sir." Harriman left the room, leaving Robertson to his thoughts of battle.
- To be continued -
|Last modified: 25 Dec 2015