Star Trek: Odyssey: Directives

The cold, sleeting rain slammed sideways against the window as Admiral Kate Kreimer stood in front of it and looked out to the Golden Gate Bridge. She saw a few brave pedestrians rushing through the weather. She wasn't too much a fan of the rain. She sometimes wished that the weather modification network would take care of the rain storms as well as the destructive storms they're designed to deal with. She then turned to the two other occupants of her office.

Captain Jermaine Allensworth and Captain Blaine Stork stood in front of the admiral's desk. She began to pace back and forth behind her desk. She had a look that would make a Gorn shy away. When she got to the middle of the desk, she stopped and then turned her head to the two captains.

"Are you two aware of the Prime Directive?" She asked.

Allensworth and Stork were caught off guard by the question weren't sure how to take the question. They remained silent, thinking the question was rhetorical.

"It's not multiple choice nor is it rhetorical. Are you aware?" She already knew that they both did know the prime directive but she was trying to make a point and wanted them to verbally acknowledge the question.

"Yes, sir." They said in unison.

She slammed her hand down flat on the table. "THEN WHY DID YOU VIOLATE OUR MOST SACRED RULE? GENERAL ORDER ONE!"

"Permission to speak…" Allensworth began.

"Denied." Kreimer cut him off. "I'm not done. Captain Stork, tell me what the Prime Directive states."

Stork was a bit hesitant but did as he was told. "The Prime Directive forbids Starfleet officers from interfering with the social order of any planet."

"You two violated the Prime Directive, lost a starship, destroyed a Cardassian convoy and now scarred an entire civilization for the rest of its existence. I should have you both court martialed, thrown in the brig and snap you back so hard that you both think you're first year cadets again." The admiral sat down in her chair and clasped her hands together. She began to speak in a calmer tone that slightly frightened the two captains that she could go from such hostile tone to a gentler one. "Now tell me in great detail on what exactly happened. Why did you violate the Prime Directive? Your careers depend on this."

Captain Stork spoke up first. "This all started when the Thunderchild was patrolling the Theta Cygni System."

THE STORY

"Sir, I'm picking up multiple ships on an intercept course." Trinn reported from her console. "Bearing one two eight mark four."

Captain Blaine Stork snapped his attention to his Operations officer, Lieutenant Commander Michelle Trinn, who had transferred over from the Alexandria a few months prior. "Who is it?" He asked.

"I'm not sure, sir. They're jamming us. I can't get a sure identification on them." Trinn replied.

"Red alert, shields up and arm weapons." Stork ordered.

"I'm breaking through the interference." Trinn said. "The signal is clearing. Four ships, closing in at high warp." She looked over her shoulder at the captain. "Tzenkethi."

"On screen." Stork said. The view screen switched on and showed the triangular shape of the Tzenkethi ships at warp.

"Sir," Lieutenant Jimison said from her communications console. "We're intercepting a message their lead ship is sending to the others. It's telling the other ships to target the Federation ship."

"Lieutenant Bissell, lock weapons. Lieutenant Pomento, prepare to drop out of…"

Catastrophic deceleration hurled Stork to the deck, pinned his officers to their consoles and nailed the ship with a groaning crash. Consoles dimmed and the overhead lights went dark. On the viewscreen, the streaking stars had stopped, indicating the ship had dropped out of war and was drifting at impulse.

"Report." Stork said as he picked himself off the deck.

"Systems aren't responding, Captain." Trinn said making futile jabs at her console.

"Bridge to Engineering. Chris, report."

A few moments later, the voice of Lieutenant Commander Chris Saunders, the British born chief engineer came through the comm. system. "Minor damage down here, Captain. Main power is still online but I don't have any working consoles."

"What hit us, Chris?" Stork asked.

"Nothing from outside." Saunders said. "The last set of readings I saw before we went dark looked like a cascade systems failure, starting with communications.

"The intercepted message, Captain." Trinn said. "It could've been a virus that was slipped into our systems past our defenses.

"If that's the case then how long would it take to fix it?" Stork asked.

"We'll have to shut down the whole ship." Saunders said. "Power up the main computer with a portable generator then wipe its memory then restore it from protected backup."

"I didn't ask for a checklist. I asked how long." Stork said with irritation clearly seeping through his voice.

"Four to five hours."

The overhead lights came back on and every console on the bridge snapped back on.

"Four to five hours, eh?" Stork said with a slight grin.

Lieutenant Bissell checked her tactical console. "We have full power but no command inputs."

"How about anyone else?" Stork asked. The other officers shook their heads. Suddenly, the Thunderchild leapt into warp. "Engineering what is going on?"

"No idea, sir." Saunders reported sounding profoundly disturbed by the situation. "Speed is increasing, warp five, warp six, warp seven."

Bissell recoiled from her console as if it were possessed. "Quantum torpedoes are powering up."

"CHRIS, SHUT DOWN MAIN POWER!" Stork shouted.

Pomento called out from the helm. "Captain, we're on an intercept course with a Cardassian convoy.

Stork knew what was happening; it felt like his gut was being twisted. Everything happened so fast and he had no power to prevent it. Commander Brooks Purdy scrambled over to the tactical station. His voice trembled with dismay. "Captain, we have locked weapons on the convoy."

Cut off from the ship's command system, Stork didn't have the option of using the self-destruct sequence. Not that it would've changed the outcome of the one sided slaughter. It would have denied the Tzenkethi the pleasure of using his ship as their own personal play thing, but there would be nothing to stop them from destroying the convoy anyway. This was the Tzenkethi's way of rubbing salt in the wound of the Thunderchild's defeat; an insult that added to injury.

"Quantum torpedoes away." Purdy reported.

The blue colored torpedoes streaked from the Akira class starship towards the helpless Cardassian convoy. There was a deathly silence on the bridge. Stork could do nothing else but watch as the convoy erupted into flames and then into nothingness.

Then the lights flickered and went dark as well as the bridge consoles. Stork and his officers stood in silence in the darkness of his bridge. Anger and adrenaline left him shaking with impotent fury. Hundreds of Cardassians had been wiped out of existence and the last thing they had known before they died was that it was a Federation starship that had killed them.

"I don't get it." Bissell said. "We were disabled. The Tzenkethi could've destroyed the convoy themselves. Why use us to do it?"

"Because they probably want to weaken the relations between the Federation and the Cardassian Union." Stork said.

"Engineering to Bridge." Saunders said through the intercom.

"Go ahead." Stork said.

"Captain, I think we've got a shot at getting out of this with our skins, but it'll be tight."

"What's the plan, Chris?"

"When the Tzenkethi powered us up for the attack, they left a residual charge in the warp nacelles. We can trigger a manual release and make a small 2 second warp jump."

"I think they'd notice that." Commander Purdy said.

"I've got Stebleton and McGraw venting plasma through the impulse manifold and some of my guys are pushing a quantum warhead out of the launch bay. If we detonate the warhead and trigger the jump at the exact same moment, it should look like we self-destructed."

"Sounds like a plan." Stork said. "Let's do it. Make it fast, Chris. It won't be long before…" Stork was cut off by explosions that hammered the Thunderchild. The deck pitched wildly as sparks sprayed from the aft bridge consoles. Within seconds, the only light on the bridge came from the irregular flashes of EPS powered displayes.

Then a soul shattering concussion launched Stork up and backward through the shadows. He hit the aft bulkhead like dead weight and felt as if his soul had been knocked free of his body. Sinking into a different, deeper kind of darkness he could only hope that the last explosion he heardwas the one meant to save the Thunderchild and not destroy her.