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Part of USS Douglas: Mission 2 – LOST and Bravo Fleet: Labyrinth

LOST 006– When Push Comes to Shove

USS Douglas
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Prentice recalculated his intercept course, reporting, “One hour until we’re clear of Devore Imperium space, captain.”  The bridge crew remained on edge, attending to their stations while watching the clock below the viewscreen tick down minute by minute.  Halsey walked from console to console, still unwilling to sit in the center chair.  Reid’s update on Dread and Greer was unchanged – both in comas and critical condition.  As the deputy chief in engineering, McKee worked a small miracle in effecting repairs to get them moving faster at warp 7.5.

A loud beep sounded from the right-side tactical station where Ensign Athena stood.  She confirmed, “Long-range sensors reporting five Devore cruisers of various sizes and classes are on an intercept course – moving fast.  Estimated intercept time – fifty minutes.”

Halsey tightened the fists that lay at his side.  He’d read the reports of the crew’s experience in the Delta Quadrant and the specifics that surrounded the Devore Imperium.  He wasn’t looking for a rematch.  “Prentice – keep us on course.  You have my permission to make any changes that’ll give us more time.”  He looped back to the science station where Atega worked and asked, “Report.”

Presley had been working furiously in tandem with Fowler in Sickbay, trying to locate anything that might indicate another occurrence.  The damage control teams had been working on the mission-critical systems first.  Sensors were nearly fully repaired, and she’d been taking advantage by casting her scanning net out farther and farther. The results were empty – no such signals, no such phenomena.  She relayed that back to the XO.  She knew he was frustrated, much as they all were.  The tension of where they were and who they were running away from was an added ingredient in the sour soup they were all having to eat at the moment.  She offered, “I’ll input the variables into the long and short-range sensors – set a rotating scan to pick it up.”

“Thank you, lieutenant.”  He walked off, resuming his quiet tour of the bridge stations.  His fists remained balled, releasing and tightening as he walked.

 

“Captain, I have a reading.”  Atega nearly shouted it, and Halsey bounded across the bridge, eyes glued to her screen as she explained, “Tachyon and gravimetric readings are emanating from here,” she pointed to a sector close to them, “and are slowly increasing.”  The clock on the bridge showed fifteen minutes left before they breached free of Devore space and five minutes before the fleet would be upon them.

Halsey ordered, “Prentice – change course and engage.”  The bridge crew stared forward and glanced at each other nervously as the Douglas swerved to a new course.  A few minutes later, they dropped from warp, the screen showing the beginnings of another mysterious opening.

Atega was already working on the sensors: “It’s growing in intensity—readings are in line with our partial records. It’s definitely an opening…Fowler thinks she can stabilize our entrance with the new data she’s getting.”  The ship shook as the gravimetric waves emanated from the event.  

The crew activated their safety straps, and Halsey grumbled with annoyance as he threw himself into the center chair and activated the seat belt.  Leopold didn’t have time to debate with his crew or time to think.  The Devore Imperium was minutes away, raging for their collective throats.  He grimaced at the ‘no win’ scenario he had found himself in the middle of and gave his order, “Red Alert – all hands to secure and shelter stations.” The klaxons rang loud, and the announcements blared throughout the ship – be ready for a rough ride.  He stared at the screen, “Atega – work with Fowler and Prentice.  Take us in.”  He’d given orders in the heat of the moment, but none with such the possibility of their impending doom haunting them, almost taunting them from the center of the opening.

At tactical, Athena was watching the threat screens.  The Devore cruisers had picked up their speed and were coming in hot, “Captain – cruisers have dropped in at the system’s edge.  They are on an intercept course – weapons charged and shields raised.”  She powered what defenses she had access to, “I can poke at ‘em for only so long, sir.”  The deck shuddered under the pressures of the growing porthole as they pushed forward.

Atega worked her console with Fowler in her ears, guiding her while transmitting details to Prentice at the front of the bridge.  Presley was adjusting shield harmonics here, power levels there, and playing with the deflector shield over there – it would have been overwhelming on a good day.  This wasn’t a good day. She was desperate to stay alive and keep the Douglas in one piece.  “We’re going to be making adjustments up until entry, Captain!”  The deck jumped as the pressure continued.

Halsey gritted his teeth, “Stay on course, Prentice!”  The lights above flickered, sparks flying as the ship’s power sources came up against a much heavier force of nature.

William did his best until he shouted over the din, “We’re getting pulled in!  Disengaging all engines as ordered.”  They had discussed this move at length – what if resisting the pull of the porthole was a variable in making things worse?  Ultimately, Prentice suggested they stop all thrusters, which became an order.

Athena reported, “They’re opening fire!” The deck hadn’t stopped shaking as they were pulled closer and pulsated a new level as the weapons fire from the Devore scattered across their shields.  

Halsey gripped the arms of the command chair, muttering, “Here we go again.”  The Douglas sailed into the opening, the Devore’s weapons fire simmering across the ship’s shields until the opening snapped close without warning, leaving the cruisers staring at empty space where their prey had once been.

 

“We’re free…porthole is destabilizing behind us.” Prentice wiped the sweat from his brow as the Douglas swan dived out and away from the closing wormhole.  He looked around the room – the lights were flickering, and two consoles had burned out while commuting through the thing.  He could see no injuries and glanced at Halsey, who stood from his chair.

“Damage report…and Atega – where did we end up?”  He walked to where she sat, her face showing the exhaustion of the experience.

“Sensors coming back up…orienting…”  Two beeps later, she lamented, “Computer confirms we’re in the far reaches of the depths of the Gamma Quadrant, sir.”

Halsey felt his chest rise and fall on the news.  They’d escaped the Devore Imperium’s murderous hands only to fall into the laps of another less-than-friendly part of the universe.  “Chart us a course home, at least.  Start scanning for another one of those things.”  He was about to continue his order when Atega jumped in her chair, startling all of them.  “Report,” he asked.

“We’re being hailed, captain. By the Dragonfly!”

Comments

  • What an amazing ride the Douglas had to endure, and the cunning and bold move to clever away from those Devore ships. Had they stayed in their fangs into the ship. A thrilling adventure through the same event and only to find a friendly face in a foreign space. Looking forward how the two are going to overlap, awesome job!

    June 20, 2024
  • I enjoyed this it really shows a very good crew and such a bold idea on how to escape the Devore, though the way you added to the story by bringing the Dragonfly and Douglas together makes it even better! I am super excited to see what you do moving forward. The canvas is even broader now that the ships are together. Great story piece!

    June 21, 2024