The shuttle pod docked with the Enterprise and Trip went immediately to engineering. On the bridge, everyone sat watching the Botan hovering near the dark matter asteroid. It seemed an eternity waiting for the Botan's engines to breech. The hull was polarized, all non-essential systems had been shut down, and everyone on the Enterprise waited for the inevitable explosion.
Suddenly, the Botan flared and exploded on the view screen. The flash from the explosion obscured everything on the view screen. Within seconds, the shockwave from the explosion rocked the Enterprise. But it was not nearly as massive as Archer had imagined it would have been. When the flash subsided, the dark matter asteroid sat alone in the void.
"It would appear," began T'Pol, "that the explosion from the Botan's engines were insufficient to . . .."
She was interrupted as the asteroid suddenly exploded. The flash from this explosion was so bright that the entire bridge crew had to avert their eyes from the view screen. The experience was not unlike looking directly unto the sun.
Suddenly, the shockwave rocked the Enterprise. This wave was many times more violent than the first. Unable to remain in the seat, Archer was thrown to the floor of the bridge. His head struck the base of the helm and his head began to swim. He quickly lost consciousness wondering if the shockwave was destroying the Enterprise.
Archer opened his eyes and found himself staring at the bulkhead over the bridge. He sat up and leaned against the helm. The bridge was in total disarray. Most of the consoles had shorted out. Even now, some of them sputtered and shot sparks in various directions.
The rest of the bridge crew was also beginning to regain consciousness. Archer stood up, then helped Travis back into his seat at the helm. Malcolm was shaking his head but appeared uninjured. T'Pol had a small cut over one eye and her green blood oozed from it. She displayed no sign of discomfort which would be completely in keeping with her Vulcan demeanor.
Hoshi stood up and brushed her hair out of her eyes. She looked around the bridge and decided that there were no serious injuries to any of the crew. She immediately began to attend to her console.
"Report," ordered Archer, moving to his command chair.
"Most of the primary systems on the bridge have been compromised," reported T'Pol. "Switching to backup systems. There are systems down all over the ship. Warp drive is offline. Hull polarization generator is damaged. Life support on minimal. Gravity plating is offline on decks three, four, and seven."
"We seemed to have survived the explosion," said Travis.
"An illogical statement," said T'Pol, "since we are still here."
"Weapon systems are down," reported Malcolm. "They don't seem to be damaged, though. I should be able to have them back up in a few minutes."
"Communications on backup systems," reported Hoshi. "We'll have to replace the main console, but we have communications."
"Travis," said Archer, looking at the blank view screen, "what's our position? Did we clear the nebula?"
"I don't know, sir," said Travis. "The helm isn't responding. Unlike Hoshi's comm. panel, we don't have helm control."
"Do what you can," said Archer. "T'Pol, what about sensors?"
"Coming on line now, sir," said T'Pol. "It will take a few moments to calibrate them."
"Sir," said Travis.
Archer looked at Travis and saw him staring at the view screen. He looked up to the view screen but didn't see anything for a minute. Suddenly, the screen cleared and a field of stars appeared. Archer was unfamiliar with the constellations he saw on the screen.
"Captain," said T'Pol, "it would appear that we are seven point three light years from the point at which we entered the void."
"Seven light years?" questioned Archer. "Well, at least we're out of that void. It would seem that your theory for the explosion was correct."
"Obviously," said T'Pol. "However, I failed to take into account the density of the asteroid. The explosion of the Botan set up a chain reaction in the asteroid. That is why it did not explode at the same time but several seconds later."
"At least it worked," said Archer. "Get a damage report from all sections. Get repair crews on all of the damage. I want the hull polarizing generator given top priority."
"Understood," said T'Pol.
Archer left the bridge and went to his ready room. Once he knew the exact extent of the damage to the Enterprise, he would decide if they would continue on their mission to the asteroid belt they had been on their way to survey. Until then, he would have to prepare a report for Star Fleet Command on the void and the information they had gathered on it. He had no idea where to start on that report.