Author's notes: So it's been 5 years since I've even touched this story, and looking back on it I really couldn't get to it in any other way then to start it from the top. I really was one of the worst things I'd ever written, and I'm embraced to see it to this day. If you're reading this then there is no copy of the old story, and that's a good thing because my writing abilities between then and now have improved to the point where I would be happy to retroactively see everyone who saw this story before the rewrite forget it ever existed. Thank you and now to the story.
I don't own anything, you know the drill.
The darkness of the void between systems was rarely disturbed. On the cosmic scale virtually nothing was large enough to make and noticeable disturbance within most of the universe, the near totality of existence seeing nothing but the long past afterimage of distant stars for most of history. It was in one of these places which make up most of the universe that, between several star systems whose names were but a series of numbers and letters, the history of the galaxy would forever be changed.
In a bright flash of orange and purple light, a massive sphere appeared as if from nowhere and from it emerged a pair of long, almost cylindrical green craft. When the two craft exited the sphere, three more, larger craft of a similar design exited, these ones larger than the two before them. The now five craft drifted through space, the sphere still intact as a new craft exited, this one larger than any other and of a noticeably different grey and blue design. When it flew behind them and completed its entry into normal space, seven more ships similar to those which had preceded it followed before the massive sphere folded in onto itself and disappeared.
The fleet of thirteen ships rearranged themselves into a formation in which the twelve green ships surrounded the final one. Despite the serene image they gave off, the people on those ships were anything but.
"Status report!" Admiral Misa Ichijyo demanded, struggling to get her voice above the series of different alarms going off.
"Power output is down to six percent on all generators, sub light engine thrust at three percent." One of the bridge operators informed her.
"Ladar is down and sensors are blank, we're blind." Another added.
"Hull integrity compromised in section twenty eight, thirty one and thirty six."
"All our escorts are reporting micro fractures on their hulls."
"Evacuate all personnel from the compromised areas then seal off the bulkheads." Misa ordered. "ETA on restoration of power?"
As she asked the question, the lights became noticeably brighter.
"Power output is at ten percent and rising slowly. At this rate it should be back to optimal output in just under an hour." One of the operators informed her.
"Apart from a few problems with the lights nothing of note." An operator on the lower level of the multilevel bridge stated. "Little more shaky then they probably thought it would be, but otherwise they're none the wiser."
"Good, last thing we need it the whole ship being in a panic." Misa stated. She took a phone that was connected to her seat's armrest and dialed in a number. "Bridge to engine room, what's your status?"
"Admiral, the sub light engines took a real beating in that jump, I can give you fifteen percent in a few hours but if you want them fixed we need a few days of full shutdown." The chief engineer replied.
"And what about the fold drive?"
"That is going to be a problem."
"Don't play games with me."
"Ma'am, the fold drive is gone. Not in the way the SDF-1's did by straight up disappearing, but it's burnt out and needs to be rebuilt."
"And how long will that take?"
"A week more than a trip back to Earth."
"We can't rebuild it with the parts we've got left. The past four years have been harder on the drive then we thought it would be. With how few of the spare parts we have left I couldn't fix more than some minor damage to the thing, let alone build a new one."
"I see. Well, do what you can to get the sub light engines online and things running to at least an adequate level." With that, she hung up the home and started dialing up other parts of the ship, seeing what their status where.
The next few hours was a controlled chaos which the civilians on the ship where blissfully unaware of. The damage the ship had taken was for the most part minor, but it was also everywhere on the exterior sections of the large vessel and thus took time in fixing. Five full hours after defold was when things where close enough to under control that Misa could have a meeting with the civilian and military leaders of the fleet.
The location of that meeting was a conference room in the lower levels of the command tower. The room had a dozen members of the different sections of the ship, including her husband Hikaru, Air Commodore responsible for the fighters and bombers of the fleet. There was also the Mayor of the city and several of his advisors, and a dozen screens showing the face of the captains of each of the ship's escorts. In all there was just shy of thirty people present or in communication with the meeting.
"How bad is it?" Was Misa's only question to the ship's chief engineer.
"Exactly as bad as I originally thought." He replied. "The damned thing is fried to the core; we can't even recover the copper inside it for use elsewhere."
"This isn't something that couldn't be foreseen." One of the Mayor's advisors stated flatly. "Why did we not have enough parts to solve this issue when we left?"
"We did, but that was four years ago." The Chief replied. "We always thought we could make the parts to replace them as we needed them, taking minerals from asteroids and refining them into the parts as needed, but with how fast we went through the things we've been going through parts faster than we've bothered to replace them, and now we need to build a new fold drive instead of just fixing a few parts. Even if we did bother to build it ourselves it would take weeks to do so if we already had the refined metals to start with."
"This is quite the unfortunate situation we are in." The Mayor said. All attention was on him, as he was the one person every person in the room answered to. "Admiral, given the situation we find ourselves in, do you believe your forces to be adequate in dealing with the situation on their own?"
Misa took a deep breath at that, this was the moment she had hoped would never come. "No sir, I do not believe we can."
"Then I'm declaring our mission a failure. We come out here to establish an independent colony and have been unable to achieve this goal. Send out a call for help to Earth informing them of our situation and the need for a new fold drive."
"Sir if I may, I believe it would be prudent to have the crew fix everything else on the ship before we do that, in the event that our signal in intercepted by someone or something hostile." Misa suggested.
"That's a good idea; we don't know what's out here so better safe than sorry." The Mayor agreed. "When repairs are complete and the message is sent have all forces put on higher readiness as well."
"To the rest of you," The Mayor said, addressing everyone present. "I know this is disappointing, but I want you to make sure those under your command do not get discouraged by our failure here. Morale must be kept up, so lead by example. Dismissed."
Starship Enterprise NCC-1701-D
Captain's Ready Room
The atmosphere was calm on the ship, something Captain Picard couldn't complain about. After a recent trial from a godlike being, he felt that things had returned to normal by the standards of the ship. And just as was the case with that normal for how things went down on the ship, he was informed by the bridge that he was getting a message from Starfleet Command that was urgent.
Already being in his ready room, he pressed a few buttons on his console and brought up an image of Admiral Nechayev.
"Good morning Captain, how's the ship treating you?"
"Very well Admiral, though I have my doubts this is a leisure call."
"Right down to business, so unlike you Picard."
"Perhaps but, if you had to deal with Q as I have you wouldn't be in the best mood in the morning either."
"Given your 'interesting' report on that incident, I can't say I don't understand." She replied. "But this is a fairly odd situation we've found ourselves in here at Command."
"And what would that be?"
"There's a ship which transmitted a distress signal several hours ago from your corner of space. The message was short and directed at Earth on a tight beam subspace transmission."
"A tight beam transmission?" Picard asked, wondering why such an antiquated means would be used. He hadn't even been born when they had long been phased out of all public and commercial use.
"Yes, and the message was in an old English dialect somewhere between three and four hundred years old." She continued. "It's possible the message came from an old forgotten colony, though its distance from Earth begs many questions if that's the case."
"If you're contacting me about this, then I'll assume it originated from somewhere near my present location?"
"That's correct Jean-Luc; the Enterprise is the closest ship to the point of origin of the signal, a point in deep space close to the boarder of our administered space and unclaimed space."
"I see. By any chance what was the message itself?"
"The message was a request for help in the form of something called a 'fold drive' being needed, and apologies for the failure of some mission we aren't aware of. It was also addressed to the United Nations Space Navy."
"I've never heard of such an organization."
"Neither have I. We're looking into it now but given all that's come to light this looks like an early space age colony ship that managed to survive this long without contact, which means that any reference to them or the organization they belong to many have been lost during the third world war."
"I see. So you want the Enterprise to make contact with these people and provide assistance?"
"Of course. It's good fortune that it was you of all people, your history makes you likely the best person for this task. The location has been sent in a data burst to your console. Good luck captain, Nechayev out." With that the screen went blank. Picard didn't waste time leaving his ready room for his chair on the bridge.
"What do you mean it just came out of nowhere?" Misa asked over her armrest's phone.
"I mean just that, the ship just appeared out of nowhere. No defold, no energy signature, just nothing there one second, and then 'poof' it was there." Hikaru repeated over the comm., informing her about the unexpected guest that had appeared several hundred thousand kilometers away from their fleet.
"I see. So someone did intercept our message after all." Misa stated quietly. "I'm sending out every bird we have, get ready for combat." She hung up the phone at that. "All stations alert one, launch all fighters and prepare all gun batteries. Deflectors to maximum, put the city on lockdown and get all civilians to shelters. All ships into formation Delta Three."
Before she had even ended alarms where already going off as the massive transparent panels which allowed the city within the Megaroad to see the universe beyond became covered by thick plates of armour. Hundreds of fighter craft from the Megaroad and its escorts took to space as they and the escorts formed a defensive screen around the mothership.
"Captain, the ships appear to be launching some form of craft in large numbers." Data stated as the close up image of the mysterious fleet showed the Megaroad's entry into combat mode. "All ships are raising shields and seem to be powering weapons."
"Red alert, shield up!" Commander Riker ordered, the ship instantly having its own alarms started going off.
"Captain, I don't think we should be too quick to consider this a hostile action." Diana Troy stated, getting Picard's attention.
"I can feel fear emanating from that fleet from here. These people, whoever they are, are terrified of us."
Worf snorted at that comment. "What could they possibly be terrified of us for with such large warships?"
"I don't know, but I do know that whatever if causing them to be afraid, it's strong enough that I can feel them despite the distance between our ships."
Picard thought about what was happening for a few moments before getting up. "Open a hailing frequency."
"Hailing frequency open." Data stated.
"This is Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation Starship Enterprise. We mean no hostile intent and are responding to a distress signal we received from this position." He gave a hand signal to close the line. "If they don't respond by the time those things enter firing range I want us heading towards Earth at maximum warp."
"Federation?" Misa asked.
"Yes, they're claiming to be a ship called the 'Enterprise' from some Federation ma'am." The comm. operator repeated.
"I see." Misa took a moment to think about the situation they were in. The alien ship was small; half the length of the smallest ship in their fleet, and the mass was even less. They hadn't moved towards them, hadn't launched any fighters, and had opened a line of communication.
"An American ship?" One of the operators asked another.
That added another layer to the situation. The name of the ship was a distinctly Anglo one, but that just added more questions than anything else. Misa needed answers, picking up the phone in her armrest.
"Open a direct line of communication with them. Keep all units on alert, but don't take any provocative action." Misa ordered.
"Line's open ma'am."
Misa cleared her throat. "This is Admiral Misa Ichijyo of the United Nations Space Navy ship Megaroad 1. We also have no hostile intentions towards your people and hope this situation can be resolved peacefully."
"That is good to hear admiral." A man replied. "I think we have much to discuss."