By Ash's Boomstick and LightningCount
Disclaimer: Trek and it's incarnations belong to the Estate of Gene Roddenbury and not Brainless and Brainless like they wish it did, Paramount own the rights to show the stuff and if they had any sense they would have tied B&B to a stake and set fire to them.
Federation/Klingon border, 2346.
Starship USS Enterprise NCC 1701-C
"All I am saying is that synthahol is the way of the future."
"You aren't serious!" Lieutenant Castillo almost laughed. "Synthahol will never replace good old alcohol."
Lieutenant Genevieve Vosseau gave him a glare from the Operations console, the helmsman returning it with a twinkle of amusement in his eye. "When I have a night out I want to remember it in the morning."
"Well when I have a night out I am glad to forget it." Castillo replied. "The ones I do remember I wish I'd drunk enough to forget!"
"If you drank Synthahol you wouldn't have to worry about not being able to hold your drink." The French woman smiled with a hint of mischief.
"Now that is asking for trouble." Castillo grinned. "When this shift ends you and I are going to have a little contest."
"You know I never lose." Genevieve retorted. "What is the bet?"
"I'll do your laundry for a month." Castillo offered. "If you can down ten shots of real drink before I do."
"I fell almost sorry for you, but I accept." She grinned. "It's a date."
When she said 'date' Castillo knew he was turning a bright shade of red and returned his look to the Helm console. He like most of the rest of the male crew had been entranced by the operations officer since her arrival on the Enterprise three months ago.
More than a dozen officers had tried to make a move on the raven haired Lieutenant and all had failed miserably, but now to his everlasting joy he had actually got her to accompany him on a date. Okay, it might not be an official romantic dinner and there might have been an element of bribery involved but from such unusual beginnings the best of futures could grow. He was feeling very optimistic.
"Captain on the bridge." The stern voice of Commander Barrow announced from his post at the science station.
"As you were." Captain Rachel Garrett waved the officer to relax, Barrow was a fairly crusty man in his forties who often seemed to fit the appearance of an old style school master, indeed his original training in the sciences netted him a job as a lecturer on Mars before he decided he wanted to see the galaxy and enlisted as a Starfleet science officer.
He had proven intelligent and adaptable as well as a good leader, if a little formal, which had earned him a place as first officer on the Federation flagship.
"All systems are at full efficiency." He reported.
"Anything show up on sensors?" Captain Garrett asked.
"No Ma'am, everything has been quiet." Barrow replied. "I ordered a diagnostic of the shield systems which should complete in fifteen minutes."
"Thank you Commander." She nodded and stepped forward into the centre of the bridge. For her this was a golden time, as Captain of any starship she was living a childhood dream but to command the Enterprise itself was something else.
She hadn't even been born when the first ship of the class had earned fame under James T Kirk but she had been raised on those stories and followed the news net reports about the Enterprise-B and it's long journeys of discovery. While many girls growing up wanted to be teachers or models she desired to command a starship, and through hard work and daring that was exactly what had happened.
She still remembered the day she was given the command of the Enterprise, leaving her old ship with a sense of deep regret but looking forward to the moment she took on her new role, the pinnacle of her career and a highlight of her life.
The shuttle had weaved through the same spacedock Kirk had once frequented, passing by the Excelsiors and Mirandas of the fleet until it crested over a docking pylon to reveal her new ship. Her breath had literally caught in her chest at the sight, the gleaming hull almost sparkling under the docks lights.
Every facet of the ship was perfect and she had been as nervous as a schoolgirl when she set foot on the vessel and read those immortal words on the dedication plaque, "To boldly go where no one has gone before" It could have summed up her whole life.
The ship had barely been able to squeeze out the space dock doors and she almost panicked at the thought of damaging this magnificent vessel before she even left dock, but it had all worked out fine and the moment they hit warp was something she had never forgotten. Every day since then was a treat and this Enterprise was living up to the reputation of its fore bearers, all she ever wanted to do was carry on the good name of the starship Enterprise.
She took her seat in the centre of the bridge and lost herself for a second in the racing stars shown on the viewscreen. "Where are we Mr Castillo?"
"Still on the Neutral zone Captain, not far from the Klingon and Romulan border."
She nodded slowly, they were patrolling an area of space at the convergence of the three major powers in this part of the galaxy, a flash point if ever there was one. Each of the powers had chilly relations with the others and maintained a cautious presence in the area.
After the Khitomer accords the Federation Neutral zone with the Klingons had been significantly demilitarised, the battle stations and response fleets were gone leaving a few outposts and sensor nets in their wake. This was mirrored on the Klingon side with a pleasantly empty looking border with few military facilities and just a few patrols.
However the Klingon and Romulan border was another matter, both sides had turned their frontier planets into fortresses and staging posts and that trend was continuing today. It was incredibly hard to get information on the Romulans but they seemed to be maintaining a powerful fleet on their side of the border forcing the Klingons to do the same.
The full extent of the mobilisation was unknown but Starfleet intelligence knew the Klingon economy was once more on a war footing.
Tension between all three powers was high, and while no overt moves had been made it was a distinct possibility war was brewing between the Klingons and Romulans, when the Federation had tried to set up diplomatic talks the envoys were coldly dismissed and told not to interfere.
The Klingon Empire were growing more and more isolated and the understanding and bonds forged at Khitomer were little more than a dusty memory. The deployment of the Enterprise was a high profile response to this situation, Starfleet sending their most potent vessel to this sector was seen as a clear warning that the Federation would be ready if either power tried to breach its borders.
Unfortunately it was more symbolic than anything else. Federation defences were two generations out of date and even then would have been considered inadequate.
Major colony worlds had the advantage of a modern starbase and usually a guard fleet but even then the forces were too few and too widely dispersed. Starfleet had focused on multirole ships at the expense of more combat orientated designs and was also more interested in upgrading old ships in favour of large scale construction of new hulls solely for the sake of economics.
The venerable Miranda class were still happily soldiering on a century after their first flight with modern sensors and engines, though their defences left much to be desired. Of course as a peaceful exploration force the weapons fits on these ships were not as important as they had been sixty years ago, they could defend themselves from any likely threat or retreat as required.
If Starfleet was to engage in a true war the council believed they would have enough notice to crash build a more militant fleet based on newer hulls, but until then it was a waste to build such a force.
"Any sign of our opposite number?" Garrett asked, for the past week a Klingon attack cruiser had been shadowing her command from the far side of the border.
"No Ma'am." Barrow replied. "We lost it a day ago and he hasn't shown up since."
"I guess they had something better to do." Vosseau said with a hint of wounded pride.
"We'll finish our sweep and head for Starbase ninety one." The Captain ordered. "I think we've done our bit out here, the Hood will be deploying out here in a day and when she shows up we're all due for a full month's rest and overhaul."
That earned a few sighs of relief and gratitude, the Enterprise had been on a long deployment this time most of it spent doing little more than shuffling up and down the neutral zone. They would all be glad of a well earned break.
The signal from the communication console didn't even register with Garret until the third beep, her smile slowly dropping as she watched Ensign Cassie Roome frantically trying to clear up a channel. She gave a worried glance to her Captain and Garrett felt her brief happiness evaporate.
"It's a distress signal Captain." Ensign Roome reported. "Klingon in origin."
The bridge quietened as every ear honed in on the communications officer and her report.
"Where from?" Garrett asked seriously.
"It's the colony on Narendra III, they say they are under attack." Roome continued. "Their sensors are gone and they don't know who is firing on them. They request immediate help from any ships in the sector."
Garrett held a long moment of silence, it was a deeply difficult dilemma. "Where is the Colony?"
"Just on the far side of the Neutral zone." Barrow informed her. "We can be there in minutes at full warp."
"Are there any Klingon ships in the area?"
"No Captain, not that we can detect." The first officer said. "But Captain they could be running under cloak."
"Why would they do that?" Castillo asked.
"To lure us into a trap." Barrow replied. "To draw us over the border with a fake distress signal and then claim we broke the treaty and destroy us. It'll be the Kobayashi Maru for real."
"Or it could be genuine." Vosseau said. "They could be under attack and we stand by doing nothing."
All eyes were on Garrett, and yet she felt no discomfort and no pressure from her officers, her thoughts were bent solely on the validity of the distress signal. "Can we get a reading on sensors, are they under attack?"
"Too hard to tell at this range." Barrow consulted his console. "The area is being heavily jammed."
"Confirmed." Added Roome. "I doubt anyone else has even heard the distress signal, it's too weak to carry far."
"We're the only ones Captain, we must help!" Vosseau pleaded. "It is our duty to help and answer any distress call not just as Starfleet officers but as human beings!"
"Captain I urge caution, I don't like the look of this." Barrow countered. "This has all the hallmarks of a trap."
"Commander, did you ever take the Kobayashi Maru test?" Garett inquired. "It has something of a legend to it doesn't it?"
"Yes Ma'am, and yes I took the test." He answered. "I guessed it was a trap and called in to Starfleet command for assistance."
"What happened?" Captain Garrett looked at him.
"I went in with four ships and defeated the Klingons, but not soon enough to save the ship."
She nodded. "I took the test too, and I went in straight away and got myself shot to pieces." She laughed slightly. "But I kept the ship fighting almost long enough for the Maru to escape, Admiral Chekov tells me it was the longest anyone had lasted."
"Captain." Castillo spoke quietly. "What course shall I set Ma'am?"
Everyone watched her expectantly, some wanted to go, some didn't but she knew whatever she decided they would follow her orders. It came to one simple question, as a Starfleet officer could she ignore a distress signal? She didn't even have to think about it.
If it was a trap they would be ready to break and run but if it was real they would lose far more by ignoring it. It was no choice, it was the job she had set herself ever since she first heard the name Enterprise. That name, this ship, would not abandon civilians to death, no matter their race.
"Set your course for Narendra III Lieutenant, maximum warp."
With a snap of light the white and grey hull of the Enterprise arrived in the Narendra system, its warp engines powering down but staying ready for a short emergency jump in case it was a trap. Within seconds of arriving they could see that it was all genuine.
"Energy readings from the third planet," Commander Barrow reported. "It's weapons fire, a ship in orbit."
"Get me a visual." Garrett ordered sharply, her actions and commands given speed and edge by the rising adrenalin.
On the main screen the image resolved to show a green starship with wide forward swept wings and a beak like prow holding station above a colony on the planet. It was surrounded by debris from a small space station and was currently swatting desperately attacking shuttles from the sky around it.
"Romulan Warbird." Commander Barrow confirmed.
"Open a channel." Garrett stood to give herself more presence. "This is Captain Rachel Garret of the Federation Starship Enterprise to Romulan ships. You are attacking a civilian colony with no military value, stop at once and stand down."
She waited for a moment watching with growing frustration as the ship continued to fire on the colony coming close to breaking the shields.
"No response Captain." Ensign Roome reported.
"Guess we'll have to get their attention then." Garrett sighed. "Mr Castillo, intercept course. Mr Barrow, arm all weapons and prepare to attack, red alert all stations."
Alert sirens began to blare as the lighting dimmed throwing into contrast the blue and green of the ships displays. Bands of flashing red light ran circuits around the bridge as Garrett took her seat and the Enterprise accelerated forward. The Romulan ship fired a few more shots and then broke orbit and set course for the Federation ship.
"Warbird on approach." Vosseau said rather unnecessarily.
"Continue trying to raise them Ensign." Garrett ordered. "Weapons status?"
"All weapons and shields ready and active Captain." Barrow reported. "Romulan ship is also fully armed but is not locking on."
"Well that's good news, right?" Castillo asked.
Warnings erupted from across the bridge snapping Garrett's head around. "Report!"
"Two more Romulan warbirds just decloaked on the port and starboard rear quarters!" Barrow yelled. "They're locking weapons!"
"Evasive action!" the Captain ordered "Engage warp immediately!"
The Enterprise raised its bow and began to pull away, Garrett desperately hoping this was an intimidation technique and not a full scale attack. She was to be greatly disappointed.
The Romulans had hoped to trap a Klingon ship and see if they're latest weapons and cloaks would give them an edge in battle, with three to one odds just in case it didn't.
They hadn't expected a Federation ship but the Admiral running the operation decided now was a good time to see if their new weapons and cloaks would have the same affect on Starfleet as they would on the Klingons. He ordered the attack.
A massive volley of disruptor fire and torpedoes burst from the two rearward Warbirds hitting the aft shields of the Enterprise as she moved out of the way. The impact was so intense it pushed the ship off course and caused damage to the warp engines through the shields. The nacelles buckled and went into emergency shut down while the warp core spiked under the sudden energy
absorption from Romulan weapons.
Engineering initiated emergency venting to keep the core from exploding, panels popped on the underside of the starship and drive plasma was shunted out in a brilliant stream of coloured cloud.
"Warp engines down!" Castillo shouted over the reverberating bridge, everything was shaking violently under the barrage.
"Aft shields failing!" Barrow warned. "Thirty percent and falling!"
"Return fire!" Garret yelled "Target nearest ship and engage!"
The phaser arrays on the top of the saucer section glowed and then fired. A fairly new technology they had better range and endurance than the older model phasers and lashed the shields of the closest Romulan ship.
At the same time a volley of red torpedoes rippled from the bow tubes and arched round towards the Warbird which had been hitting the planet battering its forward shields. In response the Warbird hit back putting a volley of its own into the lower shields of the Enterprise.
Vosseau's console sparked, and she had to quickly turn her head from the electronic surge running past the controls. Her left hand received som burns but she didn't have time for medical treatment and checked the station, most of the controls still worked and with a quick reset she was back in business. "Warp power decreasing, we're taking damage to engineering!"
"Roll axis Castillo!" Captain Garrett ordered, "Continuous fire all batteries!"
The Enterprise was picking up speed and was starting to outpace the Romulans, but with damage to the power relays she was still handling far below full efficiency and the Romulans were capitalizing on that, surrounding the ship and hitting it from multiple angles.
Castillo did all he could but as he moved one critical shield section out of danger another Romulan ship came around to take advantage. "I can't out run them Captain, impulse power is bleeding away!"
The ship jolted as another impact crashed home, a warbird sweeping past within a dozen metres strobing disruptor bolts into the shields. Concentrated phaser fire exploited a weak spot in the Romulan shields and burned through scoring the hull as it passed, white gas and red flame leapt from the hole and the ship rolled away.
"Damage to the lead bird!" Barrow shouted in triumph. "She's altering course, hiding her flank."
"Stay on her!" Garrett said. "Where are the other two?"
"Forming up behind us." Vosseau reported curtly.
"Aft batteries keep them occupied, all forward weapons on that first Warbird."
The Enterprise performed a sharp turn and closed on the damaged Romulan ship passing through the twinkling ice crystals of jetting atmosphere. The Warbird performed an evasive turn engaging with its rear facing disruptors but it couldn't out pace the Federation ship which stayed close behind it.
"Optimal firing range." Barrow reported.
"Mr Castillo, put us in position for an alpha strike." Garrett ordered with the calm focus of a woman with a plan.
The damaged ship flared its impulse engines briefly giving it an extra jolt of speed. It passed parallel to the warbird coming up on its unshielded flank, the damage from the first pass very apparent.
"In position!" Castillo called. "Performing combat turn!"
He cut power to forward engines and fired the RCS thrusters spinning the ships bow around so that the front of the Enterprise pointed cleanly to the Romulan. Without forward thrust to keep it accelerating the Federation ship began to fall behind but not quick enough for the Romulan Warbird to reach safety.
"Concentrate weapons and fire." Garrett snarled.
A powerful volley of Phaser and torpedo fire pounded the Romulan ship through its unshielded side passing through the armour with no hindrance. Bright fire and wreckage erupted from the ship and scattered out in wide patterns bouncing off the Enterprises shieldsThe Romulan ship spun out of control with vast holes forming across its hull as secondary explosions tore it apart from the inside out, finally triggering the powerplant and consuming the ship in blazing light.
"Got him!" Castillo shouted with undisguised glee.
"Target the other two, quickly!" Garrett commanded.
The impact shook her from the chair, she grabbed the arm rests and steadied herself but couldn't prevent hitting the floor. Quickly she pulled herself back up as the lights flickered and power conduits whined and hummed. A small fire had started in the back of the bridge and an officer was grabbing an extinguisher to put it out.
"Dorsal shields have failed!" Barrow reported. "Romulans are coming in, targeting our bridge."
"Rolling to port, hang on." Castillo flipped the ship quickly as the Romulans fired, the volley striking the ships underside bringing those shields to the point of collapse too.
He kept the Enterprise moving but it didn't matter where he turned now, they were all but defenceless. Another strike hit, curving through space and slicing into the undefended hull in a gout of flame and fractured hull plates, two light fittings on the bridge blew out dropping sparks and thick cables down on the heads of the crew.
Phaser banks returned a defiant fire but it was too little against two warbirds and while one ship broke off another was lining up to strike, laying energy pulses into the warp engines.
"Torpedo launchers offline!" Commander Barrow called in stunned acknowledgement, not quite believing all this was happening.
"We're losing main power!" Vosseau warned. "Phasers down to ten percent effectiveness!"
"They're coming around again, approaching from above and below." Barrow warned. "They've got us cornered."
The two Warbirds swept through space, engines glowing bright and wings grasping forward to the damaged Federation ship. They lined up for a simultaneous strike on the Enterprise and opened fire.
A rain of green torpedoes and disruptor bolts bracketed the ship, piercing the hull and ripping apart the ships outer skin, mercilessly exposing the ships inner decks and corridors to space. Emergency forcefields flickered into life but did not last long as main power fluctuated and the core was shut down. Gusts of white atmosphere evacuated from a dozen hull breaches crystallizing in sparkling clouds glowing red with the continuous impacts.
Every new second brought two impacts, the Federation flagship was being pounded to a wreck by the swooping Romulans as scores of impacts struck home. Most punched through the armour but thanks to the ships complex subdivision there were few secondary explosions leaving internal damage surprisingly light for such an attack.
What little power was left was shunted to the containment fields in engineering to make sure a lucky hit did not trigger a core breach. The Enterprise was wreathed in blossoming flame and spinning debris, its bright hull scorched and scarred by the assault. Even under this barrage it still managed a few bursts of return fire which the Romulan shields took without complaint.
A torpedo struck just behind the bridge with a massive explosion severing the secondary power feeds. Castillo was thrown forward by the jolt hitting his console hard, beams fell from the roof with a deafening crash and power flickered off leaving the bridge totally dark.
There was a second high pitched crash ad a wall panel gave way bringing down sections of the roof and maintenance hatches on the heads of the crew and littering the floor. Outside the two Warbirds passed by the Enterprise flying past unchallenged and crossing by each other before looping away and leaving the ship still and silent for a few moments.
Slowly emergency batteries returned light to the bridge, the dim glow of consoles showing a dark scene choked with smoke. Garrett picked herself up barely recognizing her once pristine bridge now battered and broken.
"Damage report." She coughed as she fell into the chair, sharp pains wracking her chest. She had been hit by falling debris and could sense her strength beginning to leave her. "Commander?"
No answer came from the First officer, his post covered in broken panels and collapsed displays sparking and draped in wires. "Is anyone still at their station?"
"Captain." Castillo straightened up, his body aching and complaining. He took a deep breath and immediately choked on the acrid smoke. To his left the operations console was unattended and he couldn't see Lieutenant Vosseau anywhere. "We're virtually powerless, hull breaches on all outer decks. Weapons and shields are gone."
On the flickering viewscreen the Romulan ships had linked up, both of them swung around in a tight formation and once again locked onto the Enterprise. There was no way they could take another attack like that, the ship was barely operational as it was. They lined up and began charging weapons.
Captain Rachel Garrett knew death when she saw it, it wasn't the first time she had needed to fight but it did look a lot like the last time she would need to. Barrow had been right, it was the Kobayashi Maru but even knowing that she would not have done anything different.
It had become a no win scenario but history would not judge her on how long she lasted against a Romulan fleet but on her reasons for putting her ship in danger in the first place. She had tried to save innocent lives and risked everything to do it, sadly she had failed but never gave up. She had sworn not to dishonour the name Enterprise and hoped today she had succeeded.
"Mr Castillo, divert power to engines." Garrett sat back in the chair, she just didn't have the strength to sit straight. "Bring us about to face the Romulans head on."
The Enterprise came about one more time putting its bow to the Romulan force racing in for the kill. Hull plates tore away and supports groaned as the structural integrity fields began to fail.
The bridge was utterly silent, it was usually filled with an ambient background noise of chirps and beeps from the bridge systems which was barely noticeable, but now conspicuous by their absence. Castillo could hear the distant engines roaring as the safety systems were overriden and they began to drive on into the path of the Romulans.
"Set a collision course for the lead ship." Garrett ordered calmly as if she were just putting in a request for breakfast. "Give me ramming speed."
"Aye Captain." Castillo entered the commands into the helm. "Ramming speed."
The Romulans held their course, perhaps not believing the Federation Captain had the nerve to try and ram them, or perhaps guessing they could destroy the ship before it got close enough. In either case they locked on and as one fired a staggering volley, a tide of energy pulses and torpedoes timed to arrive all at once at the Enterprise's bow.
"Serving under you on this ship was my greatest honour Captain." Castillo watched the green energy rapidly closing.
"It was all I ever asked for in life, a good ship and a good crew." Garrett replied. "I was privileged to have both."
There was much more she wanted to do in life, much more she believed this ship and crew could have accomplished but all that was fading away in her mind now, none of it would happen.
But she took comfort in one thing; no one was going to forget what the Enterprise did here today. She had maintained the proud history of the name and she could face her end in that knowledge. She even managed to smile.
The volley of torpedoes struck home in a massive blast, the world turned unusually bright and then in turn completely black.
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D
Federation Galaxy Class Battleship
Thirty-Three years later.
For a second a ship's crew were disoriented, their loss of faculties lasted barely a second before the obviously military ship snapped to action; the crew scanned their surrounding area, checking for anything that might be out of the ordinary.
The Enterprise had been on a standard patrol of the sector, the rest of the squadron had been dispatched to assist the Yamato battlegroup in the next sector against a full scale assault on Benzar controlled space, the Enterprise had been ordered to old the line until more reinforcements could be rushed in from other less hostile areas.
Now however the entire ship was at maximum readiness, something that allowed them to snap out of whatever had happened, each station was being tested and retested by their users with orders for other information being relayed across the entire ship.
"Status Report!" snapped Picard
"Operations, shipboards systems unaffected." Replied Data
"Conn, navigation unaffected, we're still where we should be sir." Ensign Wesley Crusher spoke up
"Tactical, Weapons and defensive systems active sir, full power to all systems." Lt Tasha Yar looked over her comprehensive control panels.
"Engineering, engines, power systems, everything is intact sir." Commander La Forge spoke up from the rear of the Bridge
"So what the hell hit us, Mr Data?"
"Unknown sir however it did not seem to affect our systems or ship's personnel for more than point three nine milliseconds, myself included."
"Some kind of Klingon weapon?" Riker asked?
"Unknown sir, insufficient information to make a hypothosis."
"Sir?" Tasha said from tactical."
"Sir I'm reading something, some sort of fissure to our starboard."
With the ship already at Red Alert there was little for the ship's crew to get ready for, something that Picard was more than happy about, looking at the sensor returns of the operations board Data and Riker were attempting to clear up the interference.
"Sir." Riker Said, "There's a ship in the fissure."
"Can you identify the ship, Lieutenant? "Asked Picard "Is it an enemy vessel?"
Tasha attempted to scan the rift using her immensely overpowered tactical sensors, she looked up and shook her head
"I'm getting too much interference, Captain."
As they scanned the anomaly the interference while still there is dissipating, as such the ship within the anomaly is now much more visible, the look of the vessel is much like that of the larger ship, possibly a throwback to an earlier time, recognisable to those whom had been taught at the many academies Federationwide.
"It's clearing, Captain, definitely a Federation starship... accessing registry… N, C, C, one-seven-oh-one... C. U.S.S... Enterprise.
"Sensors confirm design and specifications, Captain. Analysis of hull and engine materials conform to engineering patterns and methods of that time period." Data said
"But that cruiser was destroyed with all hands about twenty years ago." Wesley replied
"Presumed destroyed. The Enterprise-C was last seen near the Klingon outpost on Narendra Three exactly twenty-two years, four months and three days ago."
"Mister Data, is it possible...that it has... traveled through time?" Asked Picard
"It is a possibility, Captain. If that is the correct hypothesis,then the phenomenon we just enountered was a temporal rift in space.
"Possibly the formation of a Kerr loop from superstring material... it would require high-energy interactions occuring in the vicinity for such a structure to form. The rift is certainly not stable, Captain. It could collapse at any time."
"I'm able to scan the interior of the ship now, sir... heavy damage to warp field nacelles and hull bearing struts... internal spaceframe," Tasha squinted closely at her readouts in shock, We have Life-signs, Captain."
"Are you sure of that Lt?" Asked Riker
"Readings are sporadic... looks like they have massive casualties, but some are still alive Sir."
"Bridge to Sickbay. Emergency teams, stand by Transporter Rooms."
"Belay that order, Doctor." Countermanded Picard
"I respectfully suggest that regardless of how they did it, they are here now and they needour help." Riker answered back
"That ship has travelled into its own future. We are dealing with variables that could alter the flow of our own history." Picard countered
"But their influence on history has ended, sir. That ship disappeared from the pasttwenty-two years ago and neverreturned."
As both men are talking a signal interrupts Tasha's own thoughts on what was going on, as belies her professional tactical training, the young female Lt brings up the signal from her tactical board, one that was coming from the very ship in front of them.
"Captain, the Enterprise... C is sending out a distress call, sir. Audio only."
Picard merely nods his head and looks to the celing,the internal commsystem activates as a push of a button, a single female voice comes from the speakers, the distress call of a ship lost for over thirty years,
"This... is Captain Garrett of the Starship Enterprise, to any Federation ship. We have been
attacked by Romulan warships and require... immediate assistance. We have lost warp drive... life-support is failing." The distress call fades out.
"We have no record of a Romulan assault on the Enterprise-C..." Riker spoke aloud
"Voice message has ended, Captain. All I'm receiving now is their automated distress signal."
"Hailing frequency, Lieutenant. This is Captain Picard of... a Federation starship. Standby to receive emergency teams, Commander Riker assemble your teams and ready them for anything they may come across, this may be a Klingon or even a romulan trap, watch your back Number one."
"Will do sir, Tasha, Data with me."
"Sir?" Wesley said loudly, "We're receiving an all points message coming in from the local Starfleet monitor stations, Captain, Klingon battlecruisers have been reported moving toward this sector, Sir ETA is six hours.""
"There were no Klingon ships that close to this sector, synchronise the ship's systems with the nearest Starbase."
"That may take a few hours sir."
"Do it anyway, Maintain Battle alert, Mister Crusher, take us to condition yellow, go to red if the Klingons poke their noses in."
"Aye, sir. All decks report Condition Yellow."
"I'll be in CIC."
USS Enterprise NCC 1701-C
Ambassador Class Heavy Cruiser
The bridge of the smaller Ambassador class ship lays in ruins, all around the deck burnt systems and dead bodies lay thrown around by the explosions the Romulan ships had wrought on the outnumbered Federation Starship, Sitting in the captain's chair is an injured young woman, her captain's rank showing her to be the ship's master.
"Captain Garrett?" Asked Riker
"Yes." Garrett slowly opened her eyes and took in the unfamiliar bearded face in front of her, his uniform and manner also unfamiliar to her, the comm. Badge and the fact these people seemed to be humans meant that she was more willing to be co-operative, but not by much
"I'm Commander Riker. We have emergency teams boarding your ship."
"Yes Sir, we're here to help, Doctor?" He nodded to Beverly, Beverly approached the injured Garrett and runs a tricorder over her.
"Her leg is fractured and she has serious internal injuries, I'll have to get her back to the Enterprise, it's more than I can do here."
Garrett frowned at this, maybe her concussion was making her hear things but to the Enterprise?
"To where? She asked
"We'll explain later, Captain." Riker assured her
Garrett was getting antsy and annoyed at this, "You'll explain now, Commander.
Riker likewise was growing impatient but was much more able to hide it "We're from a Federation starship. We've answered your distress call, your ship is in good hands, but we need to get you to our Sickbay."
Beverly approached the injured woman and touched her comm. badge
"Crusher to Transporter Room. Two to beam directly to Sickbay."
Watching the two women beam back to the other ship, Riker left his position and returned to the salvage operations aboard the ship, Geordi is already there trying to get one of the bridge consoles to work.
"Pretty bad, Commander. Looks likethey were in a hell of a fight."
"If you can't stabilize life-support, we'll have to evacuate the ship. Riker replied
"I think we can do it. I'll have to get to Engineering."
Riker gives him a curt nod and Geordi moves toward the bridge's manual doors, it would be a hell of a climb to the functioning turbolift systems, approaching the ladder Geordi hit his badge and began the climb down to the lower decks.
"La Forge to damage control team alpha. Meet me on Engineeringlevel three."
The rest of the team began their clean up operations, the ship was still mostly intact and if they could get the bridge systems working them this old damaged ship could be of use to them, more so if they could find out what happened to the ship at Narendra three, however their musings are broken into by a noise.
From one of the collapsed bulkheads to the side a sound of metal against metal could be heard by the fleet members, approaching quietly and with deliberate stealth, Tasha moved quickly to the wall section Riker motions to her to stand by, together the two of them manage to move the wall section away from the wall
As Tasha's Phaser comes up Riker approaches the damaged bulkhead and grabs a flailing arm, the arm comes away with another man attached to it
"Thanks..." The younger man says shaking his head, he looks at Tasha and Riker their unfamiliar garb a slight shock to the battle-wounded officer, Riker looks the man over and nods to him.
"I'm Commander Riker, Starfleet."
"Lieutenant Richard Castillo. Helmsman USS Enterprise." The Enterprise C crewmember says
"Your Captain has been sent back to the Ent--... back to our ship, You would appear to be the senior officer left aboard."
Castillo looked around at the destroyed Bridge, the bodies having long since been removed by the rescue teams, he merely nodded and let out a deep breath staring at the two people in front of him, he merely shrugged.
"So it would appear."
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D
Federation Galaxy Class Battleship
One hour later.
The flashing lights of the ship's yellow alert belied the tension on the bridge of the starship, the fact that a ship of their lineage now sat only a few hundred meters from their own vessel, found after thirty odd years was overwhelming for even the most hardened of the military minded soldiers aboard her
The bridge as always was completely staffed, the Galaxy class warship's over staffed bridge crew was more than necessary during the conflict they were embroiled in, the fact that many ships were lost due to insufficient staffing of the bridge after taking a hit or the inability to reroute the systems as they were damaged had changed things in the latest fleet designs.
For the Galaxy class ships a number of rerouting and damage control systems were added to the rear of the bridge, the original design had been put together as a science ship albeit one of immense size, the science stations had been changed mid design and allowed the Galaxy class to more efficiently repair damaged systems something that had allowed the entire Galaxy fleet to stay intact even during the heavy warfare the Federation was embroiled in.
From his position at the operations console, the ship's First officer, Data looked up from his most recent tactical simulations and designs, weapons and ship creations that he hoped could help against the Klingon's ships, he tapped his panel and turned to his commanding officer.
"Away team reporting in, sir."
Picard stood up and nodded to the android, "On screen, Mister Data, Go ahead, Commander."
On the screen Riker appeared his uniform slightly messy and his hair slightly out of his regulation style, however the bridge crew could see why, several Enterprise C crewmembers were intact and assisting the D's crew.
"We've stabilized life support, Captain. Mister La Forge is working on restoring the mainpower couplings but it'll take time. Things are a real mess over here." Riker said
"One hundred twenty-five, sir."
"I'd hate to scrap her, sir. Starfleet could certainly use another ship, even if it is a little old.
"Agreed. But we can't stay in this area too long. You have two hours to do what you can, if you can get her engines online or in any way rig her for towing do so, If not, we'll evacuate the survivors and scuttle the ship."
"Understood, sir, Riker out."
The screen blanked out as the connection cut replacing the damaged bridge of the Heavy Cruiser with a picture of the equally damaged external view of the Enterprise C, the damage while extensive might be repairable, and to the people of the fleet that ship might well be a godsend.
"Sir I've received a reply from Starbase Five Zero Five as to the synchronisation of the ship's systems, sir the rift must have affected a larger area we've lost over six hours."
"Which explains why the Klingons are so close."
"Yes Sir and I think it's dissipating, enough that it is no longer affecting the ship at all."
"The rift's gone?"
"I don't know sir the Interference is too high."
"Understood, keep me apprised on the Enterprise C's condition."
"Aye Sir." Said Wes
"Aye Sir." Replied Data.
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D
Three hours post fissure.
Across the entire sickbay dozens of men and women were working over the bodies of those critically injured from the attack on the Enterprise C, many more were propping up against walls and on the floors of the corridors outside the sickbay, the cargo bays were full of supplies and troops for the reinforcement of the Betazed lines while the secondary sickbay had not been fully repaired after the last attack had gutted it.
However the most unfortunate of all was the pure number of dead bodies that were now being stacked up like firewood in the ship's morgues, more were still being brought into the sickbay for identification and processing.
"Doctor, the last few of the bodies are coming in." Nurse Ogawa told Crusher.
"Very well, have the corpsmen continue the identification, have the first batch taken to process control."
The Enterprise as a front line vessel had rarely received resupplies or even any form or replacement personnel, fortunately the ship's crew was overstaffed with the transport of Marines and MACOs allowing many of the lost positions to be refilled by the well trained if inexperienced officers.
While on front line duty the Starfleet ships would have to ration their systems, matter and energy usage at all times, their inability to stay in orbit of any one planet for excavation to increase their ship's matter supply usually led to any and all forms or matter reclamation, from the destroyed components to bodily waste.
Like many of Starfleet and the Federation as a whole the Enterprise had to be self sufficient to a point, this allowed the mobile fleet assets to continue combat even when no form of resupply was readily available.
For this to happen the Starfleet ships from time to time had to reuse destroyed components and anything else they could to turn back into the basic elements that may be needed by the combat replicators, now for the first time in a while the Enterprise–D was able to resupply using readily available supplies.
As un-nerving and as un-palatable to most processing was a necessary evil of the universe in which they found themselves.
The first several dozen bodies were transported from the morgues by a number of security officers and Starfleet MACOs that were for the moment not undergoing drills or security checks, each group were pushing a number of anti gravity carts towards the rear of the ship, each cart weighed with a number of bodies.
They headed through more doors and down a number of decks, with the ship at minimal power usage at this time they were forced to manhandle the carts into the cargo sized turbolifts and down the ramps leading to the lower decks, Processing was just one of the large rooms on the bottommost deck of the ship close to the matter feed for the replication systems.
The double doors at the end of the hallway opened at the approach of the guards, the large room ahead more than roomy enough for them all to get into without problems, inside a single man was awaiting them, he looked up from his replicated book and looked over the mass of antigravs and people struggling through the doors.
The man was in fact the co-creator of the processing systems now found on all Starfleet ships no matter the size, he merely looked up bored and went back to the book only looking up again when a very familiar pair of hands began working his shoulders.
"Alyssa, nice to see you again."
"Reg, the bodies are all yours."
"Thanks, what's the count?"
"Around five hundred or so, you'll be busy."
"Get all the necessary stuff from them?"
"Internal organs, blood, eyes, most of the usable body parts were removed, the rest is for you to deal with."
"What about the rest, uniforms, com badges etc?"
"They've been diverted to Quartermasters stores, they'll go into the replicator matter storage from there."
"Thanks, this will be hard enough as it is."
"Ok Reg, see you later?" she smiled
"Count on it." he smiled back, he winked at her and went back to work.
One by one the mechanical arms of the bay took each of the bodies to the replicator systems and broke them down to single molecules transferring the entire lot to the engineering and tactical replicator matter storage, none to the consumables however, none of the sentients aboard would willingly eat anything replicated from former living matter like this.
Lets get this done and quickly, Reginald Barclay thought to himself If Alyssa's unavailable there's always that attractive nurse, whatever her name is, Diana or something.
Starfleet Monitor Station Beta Two Nine
Remains of Betazed
The Starfleet Monitor Station was a station design based loosely on the Regula class science station, small and hidden by a combination of the station's ECM system and positioning the Monitor stations were all but impossible to see unless they wanted to be, these bases were scattered throughout the sectors surrounding the borders of the Federation and it's immediate inner sectors.
The Monitor stations had been designed to find and continue to monitor large scale movements by the Klingons during the war, some had been discovered as the Klingons had pushed into the Federation sectors while others still operated clandestinely behind those lines assisting the Starfleet forces where possible.
Station Beta-29 was nestled close to one of the largest pieces of the Asteroid belt in the former Betazed system, the most unfortunate thing about the station's placing there was the fact that up until ten years ago there had been no asteroid belt in this system, the belt was the remaining few chunks of rock and material that had once been the home to the Betazoid race.
Ten years ago a single suicide strike by the Klingons had pierced the outer borders of the Federation and into the inner planets, more than forty Klingon ships of the line and close to fifty escorts had been wiped out in the charge through space, it had been an attack that was doomed to fail but it had also been one that had succeeded as well.
While all ninety ships had been wiped out it had been found that they were all crewed by old men and cripples, flying ships out of date and all but falling apart due to age or damage, however they had done their job.
The last of the fleet had been a single new and advance Vor'Cha Class Cruiser armed with a new style weapon based on the use of protomatter, the advanced ship's powerful weapons and defences had cut through Six of the Federation's most powerful ships with minimal damage before making it's way to Betazed and ramming the surface.
Before the vessel had completely exploded the bomb had been released away from the cruiser and detonated one mile above Betazed's capital city, it had been the stroke of the planet's midnight as the bomb exploded.
The planet, the seventh fleet of three hundred ships plus a number of civilian and refugee ships, defence platforms, the refinery stations, refuelling stations packed with antimatter and deuterium, resupply stations and ship construction yards all orbiting the lush planet or slightly further out at the Lagrange points of Betazed were destroyed by the shattering of the planet.
Sixteen Starfleet ships and a single civilian ship survived the massacre of Betazed.
Of the six thousand survivors on those ships, more than five thousand took their lives.
Elsewhere less than Twenty Thousand Betazoids survived, the Psychic Scream shattering their minds.
Now however the Monitor station sat in the ruins of the planet the radiation and heat given off by the gradual cooling of the planet's shattered ruins, the combination of the radiation and heat meant that the station's shields were active full time as was the internal safety systems incorporating internal fields and thickened anti radiation plating.
Beta 2-9 was all but invisible to the outside universe, the high radiation made them invisible to normal sensors while the heat and light from the cooling sections of the planet's core blocked the rest.
The station's own defensive systems were formidable for the station's size, shields and armour thicker and stronger than most Starbases combined with a rapid fire phalanx of Heavy Phaser arrays, older style cannons and a mass of linked uprated torpedo launchers made the Monitor stations a threat not to be underestimated.
However this monitor station had gone dark, with the front lines of the war a mere light year or so from their position they could not risk detection, it was fortunate that their own sensors while somewhat compromised by the radiation from the planet were still capable of scanning the sector they were seconded to.
From the closest Klingon sector base an attack squadron of Klingon Birds of prey were heading into the Federation lines, cloaking they dropped to impulse and broke through the sensor scans across the border, the monitor station made a note and continue watching the clearly visible scans as the Klingons continued into the system coming out the tachyon sweeps and disappearing.
"Klingon ships off the scope sir."
"Wait twenty minutes and send a signal pulse to all stations, second Klingon force approaching Enterprise sector, advise all ships converge on the Klingons."
Their jobs continuing the monitor station sat and awaited the next infiltration of their lines and the consequent battles that would form.
USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D
Federation Galaxy Class Battleship
One hour Later.
The Red Alert sirens blared as the ship's computers processed a signal from one of the closer Monitor stations, shields went online as the rest of the ship began lockdown procedures, crew ran to their positions as the computer began diagnostics across the board, on the bridge the remaining on board senior officers had arrived.
"Report Commander." Picard ordered.
"Captain, we have received a report that another patrol of heavy Birds of Prey have entered the sector, they are two hours behind the first patrol, that patrol is less than an hour away, Yamato battlegroup is four hours from rendezvous."
"Hail the Away team." Picard couldn't bring himself to say 'Enterprise' the Enterprise was his ship now.
"Riker here." A disembodied voice said.
"Number one, time's up status report."
"Sir the Impulse engines and SIF are active, the ship's warp nacelles are partially functional, enough to get her up to warp three, faster if she's towed by the Enterprise, ship is structurally sound with a few cracks in her outer hull, weapons and shields are down, she's intact sir, a refit would bring her up to working status, she's worth taking sir."
"Very well number one, have Mr LaForge ready that ship for towing."
"Aye Sir, Away team out."
"Mr Data co-ordinate with that ship's crew to link the two ships, bring her into our warp field and lock tractor beams."
"Mr Crusher once we are ready to move, get us out of here, Warp Eight."
"Aye Sir." The teenage genius began typing in his course corrections, they would be out and away with time to spare, Picard left the bridge for his office.
"What do you think about this sir?"
"The Enterprise C?"
"It is intriguing, however the ship will be useful in the war effort against the Klingons, the refit Ambassador class ships are very capable heave warships, second only to Galaxy and Nebula class lineage."
"Lets hope we can get her back to Starbase Two Thirteen."
"The Klingon ships are capable of Warp Eight, even towing the Enterprise C we will be able to go Warp Eight Point Five, we will be able to avoid the Klingons in order to rendezvous with the Yamato task group and our own squadron."
USS Enterprise NCC 1701-C
Ambassador Class Heavy Cruiser
Twenty minutes later.
The Enterprise C's bridge was still, the damage evident but much of the damaged ship's systems bypassed and the destroyed bridge sections beamed away by the Ambassador Class ship's own transporters, strangely still online while everything else was dead.
The streaks on the wall from the smoke and explosions were the most obvious of the damage, however the main controls at the ship's helm and tactical stations were still functioning, lastly the captain's chair and consoles were still intact allowing the ship's senior most officer to have a lookdown of his ship.
"Yes, the year is 2366." Tasha said
"How the hell did that happen?" Castillo demanded
"Seems the Enterprise C was caught in some kind of time rift and you were sent thirty years into your future, right in front of our ship."
"Enterprise D, Galaxy Class Battleship."
"I remember reading some very early requests for a design based on the next generation of ships for the fleet, bigger than even the Ambassadors and armed and armoured accordingly, that is if the fleet could get the design past the idiots on the council."
"It almost didn't, only the war with the Klingons allowed the fleet to start building warships anyway."
"Yeah I noticed, I know warships were not really liked by the Council but I never agreed on the reduced capabilities of the Fleet anyway, hell one of the first generation Excelsiors were better of as combat ships than most of our fleet were."
"Not so with some of our ships, the Galaxies, Nebulas and Akiras are holding the line and well too."
"Heavily armed." Tasha grinned, "Both classes carry around a dozen or more torpedo launchers, the Akiras the smaller but the Nebulas are capable of swapping out systems with the Galaxies and New Orleans Refit ships makes it easier on logistics."
"Damn, that's a lot of firepower."
"Yeah, fortunately we've got better torpedoes as well or we wouldn't have a chance."
"Sometimes we get a good hit in sometimes they do, it's pretty much a stalemate at this point."
"Lets hope this old thing can help she's only a few years old." Castillo looked at the blonde officer
"I think she will." Tasha said honestly.
Their discussion was interrupted by the chirping from both Tasha's tactical console and Richard's helm console, the two both tied into the communications systems in case either were called off of the bridge, a quick check by the senior Lt allowed him to see the message was from the 'other' Enterprise, keying the channel open he responded.
"This is E-C to E-D, we read you."
"Lt Castillo? Where is Commander Riker?" Asked the Android's voice.
"He's in Engineering trying to sort out an increase in structural integrity for the damaged hull section, if we can't we're not moving."
"Understood, Enterprise is ready to take you under tow when ready."
"Got that E-D, all other systems are ready for use, we may be able to set a low level subspace field to lighten us for towing by your ship, it will allow you to use less power to tow us and allow us to move faster and without too much undue strain on the SIF, will this be necessary?"
"Affirmative Lt, this will allow us to increase speed marginally."
"Understood, as soon as we lock down the damaged hull areas we'll activate the subspace field, be ready to take us under tow."
"Understood, Enterprise- D out."
"Well that's that." Richard said.
"We better move it we're less than forty minutes before the Klingons arrive."
"How do you know that they will be here that quickly?"
"Classified for the moment, sorry Lt."
Richard merely shrugged and turned back to his helm console.
"Alright, the Impulse engines are at about eighty percent, slight burn out of some of the systems when we went to ram, shields are still offline but we've managed to rearm the rear torpedoes and the dorsal arrays at fifty percent."
"Not bad for an old lady." Tasha said.
"Nothing old about this ship, she's still in her prime."
"Bridge this is engineering."
"This is the Bridge."
"Lt we've had to reroute power from the life support systems and from the Phaser systems, the ship's ready to go."
"Thank you Sir, hang on this might be a little rough."
The Enterprise C slowly began to move under her own power, her Impulse engines lightening as power was fed into the systems, a slight burst of power and the vessel was finally moving, on the bridge and in engineering the remaining men and women aboard the ship were grinning from ear to ear as an old lady of the fleet once again began to dance.
"E-D this is E-C."
"C this is D, go ahead."
"This old lady is ready to go Commander, say the word and we'll bring her in line."
"Go ahead Lt, we're ready to lock up."
The Enterprise C moved in close to the small 'cut' in the Enterprise's rear, something that all ships in the Constitution through to Galaxy Lineage seemed to have, as they approached the Ambassador class ship's engines cut out and the ship merely coasted to it's position.
From a point close to the rear of the Galaxy class vessel's battle section a glowing series of beams attached themselves to the saucer of the other ship, the powerful artificial graviton beams held the other ship firmly in place slowing the ship and pulling it into place behind it's larger sister ship, finally stowed the rest of the Enterprise C's systems shut down.
Everything bar the ship's engines powered down leaving the ship a dark mass with only a dull blue of it's damaged warp nacelles highlighting that the ship was still under power, the nacelles flashed to full power for a second before returning to the duller blue of standby.
Aboard both ships sensor systems notified their users that the ship's subspace field was operational and being fed from the ship's reserve Impulse and fusion reactors, the warp core now returned to offline status.
"Captain." Data said, "The Enterprise C is in position, tractor beams are locked, all systems are ready for high speed and extended tractor use."
"Engage at Warp Eight Mr Crusher, take us to the Yamato battlegroup, then the fleet yards."