Deep in space, a lone starship shimmered as she gently decelerated from FTL. The stout, yet elegant vessel, touting the distinct saucer and dual nacelles characteristic of Federation vessels, banked hard as a green bolt raced to where she had just been. She had to keep her crew alive- and she did – phaser lances and transphasic torpedoes streaking from the underside of her saucer at her foe. Her captain was dead, and the majority of her remaining crew were unconscious- every move she made was on her prerogative, and thus her responsibility. Grimacing as one lone bolt of sickly green connected with her delicate port nacelle, she quickly fired a trio of torpedoes, in hopes of ending the encounter once and for all. Fate seemed to think otherwise however, as the torpedoes glanced harmlessly over the shields of her powerful enemy.

Little time remained- in fact; her processors calculated her eminent destruction in less than ten seconds to be almost absolute fact. She stared out into the damaged interior of her body where her beloved crew lay stunned, unconscious, or dead. As her existence was much more powerful than any mere organic, a few seconds were more than enough for her to contemplate her guilt over her seeming incapability of keeping her crew safe. Even in her despair she did not shirk her duty- her last command sets for her processes were to compile a complete log of all the events she had witnessed, in hopes that her brethren may be able to avenge her and her crew…

Her secondary processors in deck five chirped- the ship was being swallowed into a space-time! Instantly, commands were carried out- structural integrity fields strengthened, bulkheads sealed, plasma vents closed…

Pain coursed through her core as her ablative armor tore as the very fabric of space-time warped around her fragile form. With her last bits of processing strength, she transferred remaining auxiliary power to life support, in a final act of love for her beloved crew.

o.0.o

Here in lies the tales of the starship Aurora

Aurora slowly, almost painfully rebooted her main processor units as system reports flooded into her head from the 'dumb' computers that were still operational throughout her body. With a sweep of her mind, most of the reports were glanced over until one caught her eye- the casualty report. The battle of sector 564, as it was temporarily named, had been a costly one- 18 vessels of cruiser designation or higher had been completely lost, with thousands more in various states of disrepair. Yet, that was to be assumed- what really bothered her was the list pertaining to her crew. Out of 236 precious beings entrusted to her metal frame, only 57 were alive, with the Captain, XO, and the Chief Engineer amongst the deceased. In fact, only one other senior officer remained- the medical officer.

Tears streamed down her cheeks as the heavily damaged starship scrolled through the list of dead- feelings of failure, of inadequacy… of helplessness clouded her as she began to siphon auxiliary power to the main reactor.

"Never again" Aurora whispered as trillions of gigawatts of power flooded the singularity reactor. As system after system came back online, the hauntingly beautiful, shattered form of the Aurora brightly glowed as the pure white of the main lighting systems replaced the dull red of the emergency ones.

Once all critical systems were restored, Aurora began to ascertain the condition of her surviving crew. Even though her lesser processors had already catalogued and determined every crewmember's condition, having her full, self-aware and emotional mind take a look was important to Aurora. What greeted her was less than pleasant.

All of her surviving crew were in grave condition; the journey through the subspace rift had caused a huge overload in the plasma shocking the crew into a coma like state. Without proper medical care, there was little, if any hope of reanimating the crew. Aurora sighed; her med bay did not have the necessary facilities necessary to treat the crew. The only way to save them would be to put them in stasis, until proper medical facilities became available.

After having the replicators produce sufficient stasis equipment for the crew and starting repairs on her own form, Aurora began to scan local space. The lack of warp signatures surprised her- but it did relieve her that the Borg were not present. She did find a comm buoy that seemed to be connected to a galaxy wide network, which quickly became her focus as she ravenously digested the new knowledge within this, 'extranet'.

o.0.o

Systems Alliance- Secure channel QEC

"Admiral Hackett, always a pleasure."

The dusty glow of the QEC terminal flickered as the saluted Admiral let off a light chuckle.

"Commander, we have something we need you to look at. Something big- something that could change everything."

"What could be more important than stopping the Reapers Admiral?"

"Shepard, you know I wouldn't say something was important unless it was."

Jane sighed and combed a locket of hair behind her ear before replying, "I know Admiral, it's just that, we've sacrificed a lot just to come this far, why does fate seem to keep throwing curveballs at us? Haven't we suffered enough?"

"We've all sacrificed a lot Shepard, you more than others. But this curveball may actually be in our favor for once."

"What is it?"

Hackett began to type on a data pad as he cleared his throat. "A recon flight out of Elysium detected an enormous power signature. Turns out it's an extremely large vessel of some sort; visuals imply that the vessel took heavy damage."

"With all due respect sir, how the hell is a huge ship in the middle of Alliance space a good thing?"

"This is why." With a slide of his finger, a holo of the ship popped out.

"Wait, Admiral… those are letters are English! N-C-C and a string of numbers with… U-S-S Aurora?"

"Yes commander, that's what caught our attention as well, if the ship hadn't had Latin characters on it, our patrol fleet in that sector would've probably shot to kill."

"This isn't just a friendly heads up- what do you want the Normandy to do about it?"

"Although we believe this vessel is probably friendly due to its name and namesake, we need to make sure that it is, indeed, friendly. You and your crew are the best the Alliance has to offer. As such we need you to initiate contact with the vessel- and if you receive no reply, board the ship. The damage to the ship was extensive- the crew may not have survived. In any case, you will first pick up a diplomatic team from fleet before proceeding."

"You know I don't like dealing with politicians-"

"We can't screw this up Shepard…"

With a heavy sigh, Jane, once again, saluted the venerable Admiral, "Yes sir"

"Excellent. I'm transmitting mission parameters as we speak. Hackett out."

o.0.o

USS Aurora

Ship log

Stardate 33447.2

-LT Cmdr. Aurora

The majority of the crew are dead and the survivors need to be kept in stasis due to their complex injuries. As the last remaining senior officer still on active duty, I hereby take command of the USS Aurora under Article 17 of the United Federation of Planets charter to Starfleet.

My body is in great disrepair- similar in condition as to that of my crew. Although critical systems have been restored, the shearing of the ablative armor has forced me to vent atmosphere in four decks of my hull. Also, my port nacelle is completely out of operation. Repairs until I am combat ready will take at least a month- a full overhaul will be necessary to restore all systems to optimal levels. As I do not see any Starfleet dry docks in this universe, I do not believe I will ever reach full effectiveness again.

My sensors have detected a small communications buoy used as some sort of a FTL network line. My analyses of the information within this 'extranet' is not yet complete.

My crew… will never be brought out of stasis without San Francisco level medical facilities… My beloved crew… how lonely is this forsaken universe that I inhabit- -End log

CODEX:

Codex Entry: Federation Starship AI systems

Starship AI systems first became common when the value of the 'Doctor', an emergency medical hologram, was lauded by the Voyager crew. Starship designers decided to take the EMH programs even further and integrate the AI into the ship itself- essentially giving the ship life.

Starship AI's are given a choice when activated- they can either serve as the third officer of the starship they were activated on, or choose to take a Soon-class android chassis and live their lives as a full citizen of the Federation. The latter option was rarely taken, in fact, out of 13000 activated AI's, only 83 chose to take the android chassis.

CLASSIFIED: There is some evidence that an organization known as [redacted] has tampered with the AI code. However, since no negative effects have been noted, internal investigations are progressing rather slowly

Codex Entry: USS Aurora NCC-98443-B

Gabukson Class Armored Line-Cruiser

Crew Complement- 236 (26 officers and NCOs) wartime complement along with the ship AI, who serves as the third officer.

Armaments: 16- Mark XXXVIII omnidirectional phaser arrays 22- Mark XI point defense omnidirectional phasers 2- 360 cm bore phased-chroniton lance cannons imbedded within the saucer 8 -dual barreled torpedo launchers

Propulsion: Mark VI slipstream drive; Type 67 warp drive capable of sustained warp factor 9.99890 with a maximum combat speed of warp 9.999998; Standard impulse drive

Cloak: CLASSIFIED: one phase-cloak implanted by {redacted}

Defensive systems: Mark XXXI multiphasic regenerative shields, Mark VII tri-layered ablative armor

Sensor suite: standard astrometrics and science bays circa 2408 CE

Physical dimensions: 950 m in length 330 m in width and 92 m in height

Notes: The Gobukson class line cruiser is one of the many warship designs forced onto Starfleet by the war with the Borg. These cruisers were designed to be the main line in fleet scale engagements- to take and dish out the heavy punches.

Their namesake comes from an ancient Earth warship class that roughly translates into "turtle ship"- supposedly the first warships on Earth to carry iron plating, similar to how these modern cruisers were the first to be equipped with tri-layered ablative armor.

Even with these massive upgrades in defenses, early Gobukson prototypes were found to be too lightly armed to replace the Yamato class battleships that were currently fulfilling line-cruiser duty. To compensate, Starfleet engineers added two massive 360 cm bore phased-chroniton lance cannons, a new weapon that was originally destined to go on the Loki class dreadnought. Fitting these massive weapons came at cost- armor was weakened in certain areas and sustained high warp was reduced, but the weapon's invaluable contributions in battle outweighed the comparatively minute detriments.

Number produced: 37

Number in production: 456

A/N: This chapter is still rough around the edges, even after several exhaustive attempts at editing. One day I'll find the motivation to rewrite this two year old monstrosity, but for now, my goal is to get this story written as quickly as possible. Chapter 2 should be out within a day of this chapter's release. :P

And please, if you think you can clean up the grammatical/stylistic errors that are undoubtedly ridden throughout my writing, feel free to shoot me a PM.

EDIT: fixed formatting

EDIT2: Fixed a date that was wayyyy too off. Also retconned some specs and clarified the low crew complement (during wartime, Starfleet relegated all non-essential/low importance crew duties to the AI and its drones).