Literary Challenge #15 : Temporal Soundings
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Shortcut to 2409 Part 1
04-01-2012, 08:07 AM
The bridge of the U.S.S Resolute never changed much, Sh'Ress ch'Thiran decided. Even at this hour, on the wrong end of delta shift, the crew were just *** efficient as the officers she was more familiar with.
Although she had enjoyed the chance to get to know the delta shift bridge crew over the last week, Sh'Ress still couldn't wait until Tala returned from shore leave and she could go back to the alpha and beta shifts.
Glancing around the bridge, Sh'Ress smiled to herself. She had gotten so used to Tala, Jhy'nyd and the others that the rest of the Resolute's crew had started to blur together. But now she had been reminded that each and every member of the Resolute's four hundred crewmen were amongst the very best Andoria had to offer. Her smile grew as she remembered the fuss her people had made when the Intrepid had been launched, demanding an Andorian ship now that the Vulcans had one. Naturally, the Tellarites had joined the argument, more for the sake of arguing than for any real desire for a ship of their own, Sh'Ress privately suspected. Still, Starfleet had agreed and, as one of the first Andorians to reach the rank of captain in Starfleet, Sh'Ress had been given command of one of the twelve Constitution class starships.
Normally, though, that command was more interesting and less tiring than the last week had been. She could handle the extra shifts just fine, but two weeks of patrolling the silent Neutral Zone was making her antennae ache. She almost wished the Romulans would return, even though the last time anyone had seen a Romulan ship had been during the war. The only interesting thing that had happened since she'd left her first officer on Outpost 14 had been the discovery of a wrecked freighter. They'd found nothing that could identify the attackers, only a cargo hold full of machine parts.
Glancing at the chronometer, Sh'Ress mentally shrugged. Science officer Dillyn had been interested in one of those parts for some reason and had taken to studying it. To Sh'Ress, it looked the same as all of the rest of the junk that had been on the freighter, but the delta shift science officer had seemed so interested in it that she had agreed to take it onboard. At least one of the crew had something interesting to do.
Thumbing a switch on the armrest of her seat, she activated the intercom to the science labs.
"Found anything interesting?" she asked, slipping back into the familiar dialect of the western tropical cities instead of the more formal language favoured by the northerners that made up most of her crew. Finding out that Dillyn wasn't just from the same region but the same town had probably been the highlight of the last month. Lieutenant Dillyn actually understood her when she lapsed back into the old slang and mannerisms she had grown up with.
After a few moments of silence, Sh'Ress sighed, flicking the intercom off. Apparently DIllyn was too busy with her scanning to respond.
"Captain!" At the science station, Ensign Shelara was frowning at the board. "Sensors are picking up some strange tachyon emissions, coming from the ship."
"The ship?" Sh'Ress frowned. Nothing on the Resolute should be doing that. "Bring the ship to alert," she ordered, turning to look at the communications officer. "Ensign Theras, report the situation to Outpost 14, but let them know we can handle it. Send someone down to the labs to wake Dillyn up, too. I want science teams scanning the ship until we know exactly what's going o-"
"Captain!" Ensign Dralla caled from the engineering station. "The shuttlebay doors are openi- one of the shuttles has just left the ship."
"Lock a tractor beam on that shuttle," Sh'Ress ordered immediately. Theras, try and raise the shuttle."
Nodding, the communications officer worked his board for a few moments. "Captain, the shuttle's hailing us."
"Let's see it, then. And get a report from science. I want to know what's going on."
Sh'Ress found herself frowning as the disheveled face of Lieutenant DIllyn appeared on the screen. Usually, the science officer took care of her appearance, but now her hair was a mess.
"No time to explain," the Lieutenant said urgently as soon as she appeared on the screen. "But you have to release the tractor beam. Right now, before this thing ..." she trailed off, looking behind her at something. "You need to let me go. Trust me, sir."
Sh'Ress nodded. "Let her go."
"With a look of visible relief on her face, Dillyn took a long breath. "I'll explain when I get back, sir, but we need to get this thing away from the ship. I'll eject it a safe distance from the Reso-" The screen flickered for a moment, a loud whine building up in the background behind Dillyn.
"Shields," the stunned science officer said suddenly. "Captain, you have t-"
Another wave of static cut off the transmission, but Sh'Ress suspected that she'd gotten the gist of the message. "Full power to shields," she ordered. "Helm, reverse speed. Get us away from that sh-"
Sh'Ress didn't see what happened next, only static on the screen as THeras tried to restore the signal from the shuttle. One moment the captain was turning to the ensign at engineering and the next she was on the deck, bleeding from a cut on her forehead and with a mouthful of blood from biting through her lip.
"Report," she ordered, pulling herself unsteadily up.
"The shuttle's gone, sir," Thelas reported. Sh'Ress noted that he had ridden out whatever had just happened far better than she had. "There was some sort of massive buildup of tachyons onboard and ... it exploded. I'm sorry, sir, but Lieutenant Dillyn ..."
Sh'Ress nodded sadly. Then she pulled herself into her seat. She still had four hundred people to worry about. "I want damage and injury reports. Helm, break off the patrol course and head for Outpost 14. Best speed."
As the ship shuddered beneath her, Sh'Ress winced, feeling something bruised under her shirt.
"Sir, engineering is reporting a buildup of some sort of energy in the warp plasma."
Sh'Ress sighed. It was just one thing after another today. "Full stop, helm."
After a few moments, the sound of the Resolute's engines growing, she frowned. "Ensign, I said full stop."
"I'm trying, sir," the ensign responded, frantically working his board. "But there's so much energy coming out of the warp core that I can't shut it all off."
Thelas chimed in from the side. "Confirmed, sir. Engineering is reporting an uncontrollable surge of power. They're not sure how long it'll be before the systems overheat and we blow."
Sh'Ress rubbed the base of her antennae in frustration. "We need to get rid of that power. If we can't cut it off, we need to direct it somewhare." She blinked as an idea came to her. "And we have a way to direct energy out of the ship. I want that power rerouted. Unless engineering has any better ideas, shunt it through the deflector and send it out into space."
As the viewscreen flickered back into life, Sh'Ress found herself relaxing. The energy that had been building up was being released safely, and enginnering were reporting that power levels were dropping.
Naturally, that was when there was a sudden flash on the screen and she found herself face down on the deck again.
"We need seatbelts on this thing," Sh'Ress muttered. "What now?"
There was a longer pause this time, as Thelas had to pick himself up as well. "No idea," he reported. "It looks like whatever was in our warp core reacted with the tachyons from the shuttle, but after that ... science has a lot of data, but they're not even sure what it means. We've discovered entirely new types of particle and radiation in the last few minut- sir! Sensors are picking up an incoming ship!"
After everything that had already happened, Sh'Ress couldn't repress her groan.
"Any idea who they are?"
"Configuration is unknown," Theras reported after a few moments. "But energy readings are Klingon." He looked up from the board. "And massive. Sir, the ship isn't even half our size but its power output is at least five times as much as we could ever hope for. They aren't responding to hails."
Taking a long breath, Sh'Ress steadied herself. "Distress call, now. Eject the log bouy and ..." she swallowed, her nose wrinkling at the taste of blood. "Power up whatever weapons we have left."