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Empire Veteran
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,134
What follows is a story by a Alliance fleetmate worthy of reading.

Well done, Merrik!

U.S.S. Explorer: "Homeward Bound, The Incredible Journey (Part 1)"

by Merrik

EXPLR-MD: 257.1257
Scene: Bridge, U.S.S. Explorer NCC-92001-D

The USS Explorer shuddered violently as it navigated through the transwarp corridor. An explosion rocked the bridge showering the center console in sparks, and sending a piece of bulkhead crashing down into the captain's chair, sheering off the arm rest and snapping it off of it's fixture.

At the conn, Captain Dennis Merrik glanced back through the smoke and let out a sigh of relief, good thing he wasn't sitting there at the time. If it didn't kill him, the razor sharp piece of bulkhead would hurt like hell and take him out of the game. Something they couldn't afford right now.

Breaking his focus for a split second, he moved his hand from the navigation controls, and patted the top of the console. "Just a little longer girl." He whispered silently to the ship, wishing his own will into the hull.

Thrown into the mirror universe with a skeleton crew over 9 months ago, the Explorer was captured by a petty warlord determined to use it against the Terran Empire. With the help of his crew, and fellow prisoners, Merrik liberated the ship and escaped the warlord, only to find themselves trapped in the mirror universe, under crewed, under supplied, and wanted fugitives of the Terran Empire or any warlord looking for a piece of power. The last 7 months had been rough, pushing the ship, her crew and her captain to their limits. Salvation came only a few days ago, when they fought their way through a Terran fleet to take advantage of a rift between universes to escape home.

Now, heavily damaged, and virtually defeated, the ship tumbled through transwarp on one last desperate stretch home.

Another explosion rocked the bridge as the engineering console erupted in flames. Ensign Thorin Adams groaned as he was thrown backward away from the console.

"Thorin's down!" Takerra Shran shouted from the tactical station. She lost her balance as the ship shuddered, it had been months since she had been tortured and her antenna cut off, and though it had already started to grow back, it still affected her balance.

"Dammnit!" Merrik shouted into his communicator, hoping the patch-work communication circuits would hold up. "We need the Doc on the bridge!"

A holographic being flickered to life, and the illegal EMH Mk 1 flickered onto the bridge. Merrik smiled, grateful that the emergency holographic emitters were on their own power supply. The ship's emergency holograms were deleted by the warlord shortly after their capture. If it wasn't for a Reman bootleg of an old EMH, they probably never would have survived.

"Frak!" the angry bald man cursed aloud. "Any part of this ship not on fire?"

"Doc!" Merrik shouted.

"Yeah, yeah, I see him." The Doc grumped as he moved to the unconscious officer. He opened a medical kit and set to work over the injured kid. A moment later he looked up. "Kid's burned and concussed, but he'll live, don't ask him to do any math for a while."

An explosion from elsewhere in the ship rumbled through the hull, and the ship's engine's groaned and sputtered as the viewscreen flickered on and off.

As his hands flew over the navigation controls, he watched his hands pulse and throb between it's normal fleshy pink and a grey metallic silver. He cursed to himself, exposure to the transwarp conduit was damaging his biomemetic structure, and he was starting to fall apart. That last explosion must have taken his special shield modifications offline. Normally, he could survive for quite a while in transwarp, but the last few months have already taxed his body beyond anything it was designed to do.

"Report?" Merrik yelled.

"EPS relay ruptured in the port nacelle. We've got cascading failures everywhere. We're leaking plasma and coolant, and the shields are down to 20%. Structural integrity is failing fast." Takerra reported. "We've got to drop out of transwarp!"

Merrik ran the numbers through his head. If they dropped out of transwarp now, they would most likely end up in the black emptiness between stars. The warp core would finally fail and without long distance communications they would be adrift in space, left to die. If they pushed the ship to their destination, the ship would probably tear apart as it crossed the threshold back into real space.

"Damned either way." Merrik groaned.

"Keep pushing it Tak." he shouted, "Shunt any power we have into structural integrity, take the shields down to the bare minimum. We only need a few more moments."

Takerra nodded, and a second later two timers appeared on the screen. The first were deep blue and counted down the time until they would arrive at their destination. Below it, falling dramatically fast were deep crimson numbers indicating the structural integrity fields holding the ship together.

If the red numbers made it to 0 before the blue numbers...
"Boom" Merrik muttered to himself.

He glanced over at the Doc and Thorin. The hologram was trying to help the woozy ensign back to his feet. "Doc. Can you get Thorin to a safe zone?"

The Doctor paused, accessing his internal sensors.
"No, holoemitters are out all over the place."

"Tak, help Doc get the kid to a safe zone." Merrik said, " I'll finish up here."

"Sir?" Takerra began.

"Now Commander!" he snapped, pulling rank. The Andorian nodded, and together with the Doc they carried his body to the turbolift. The door hissed shut, and Merrik hoped the lifts stayed online until they could get to safety.

"Merrik to crew." he tapped his communicator. "We're almost there, but it's going to be tight. I need everyone to get to a safe zone and brace for turbulence asap."

The safe zones were sections they had set up in the center of the ship months ago. They were heavily modified cargo bays designed to act as an 'escape pod' for the surviving crew. They were designed to survive a planetary crash. Of course, if the ship broke apart in the conduit, the subspace currents would cut through the extra shielding like butter.

But it was all they had.

A few moments passed, and the turbolift doors hissed again. The doors stalled halfway open and a string of Reman expletives cut through the chaos on the bridge.

"What are you doing N'Orlok?" Merrik gritted through his teeth as he struggled with the navigation controls.

"Saving our lives, old friend." The Reman growled as he cleared rubble and debris from the science console. The console chirped uncomfortably and flickered to life as N'Orlok set to work.

"Whatever you're going to do, now's the time to do it." Merrik shouted as the structural integrity fell into single digits. "We're approaching the threshold."

The computer voice came out as a garbled unrecognizable mess, it's speakers too damaged beyond recognition. Meanwhile, the science console chirped and squealed unpleasantly, but as it did, the structural integrity field stopped dropping, stalled at about 7% and then, slowly at first, it started to count back up before hovering around 18%.

"Good job!" Merrik smiled. "You know, when you joined my crew I promised you an adventure."

"Actually," N'Orlock corrected him. "You promised me a safe, stable place for me to continue my research."

"heh", Merrik smiled, as the timer approached 0. "6 of one, half dozen of something else..."

Seconds later, the viewscreen flashed as the Explorer crossed the transwarp threshold.

The ship tumbled violently and spun. Smoke and sparks filled the bridge, and explosions rippled across the hull ending with half the port nacelle sheering off from the rest of the ship. The last thing Merrik remembered doing before being thrown from the console was triggering an emergency warp core shutdown.


Merrik looked up from a mound of debris a few minutes later. He was upside down staring at the roof of the bridge, wedged between the ground and Commander Shran's chair.

Most of the consoles and lights were out, and thick acrid smoke made it even harder to see.

"Ok," he said slowly pulling himself off the floor. "Warp core didn't explode, that's good."

A sharp pang of pain hit his stomach, and he nearly toppled over again. A piece of metal was embedded in his midsection and it throbbed with pain, red-silver blood trickled from around the wound. He screamed as he pulled the metal out of his stomach and let it fall to the floor. The wound started to close, but given the stress his body had been under, he probably wouldn't revert to 'human' without a heavy dose of deuterium and thermionic radiation. Too bad his personal generator had been damaged months ago.

"N'Orlock? you with me buddy?"

Across the bridge in the damaged engineering console, N'Orlok was already on his feet. Slowly, he moved over to the science station and tried to resurrect the console's system. A second later, the viewscreen flickered back to life.

Merrik looked up at the screen.

They had done, they were home. He sighed with relief, and slumped into Commander Shran's chair.

The Cordra Anchorage shone like a brilliant beacon in the sky. It was bigger than he remember it, but that wasn't a surprise, General Hauk worked hard to develop the fleet.

A few second later, they appeared.

The Klingons were the first to react and a fleet of ships uncloaked in front of them. A second later the Federation vessels approached, and for a second Merrik swore he thought he saw a Romulan Warbird.

The ships hung at a distance, watching, waiting to see what he'd do next. But their weapons were primed and ready to put down any threat. Merrik expected them, but even so, he'd lie if he said he wasn't nervous. These were dangerous, paranoid times, his arrival could easily be interpreted as a trap.

"Mr. N'Orlok." He said, turning to the Reman. "Activate the beacon."

<< To be continued >>

A HUGE thank you to Cryptic for the Mogh-class battle cruiser!