Carter went over to Gomo’s station to verify why they could not track the attacker and he saw that the trail was dispersed as the ship had gone to warp. There was just no tracking that. “Damnit. I need a full damage report in an hour.” He told Gomo before stepping down to the center. “And contact Ryker, I need him up here, right now.”
Gomo nodded his head and went to work, while Carter pressed the intercom button on his right arm rest that went directly to engineering. “This is the Bridge, I need to know what our status is, Chief.” But there was no response. “Chief?”
“Internal communications are offline.” Gomo reported.
Carter was not in a good mood for bad news but he knew there was going to be a lot. “What about long range comms?”
“All comm systems are offline, sorry sir.” Gomo replied.
Ryker and Gomez arrived in Main Engineering in their sweats, the quickest way to get dressed in a combat situation, but now they were in a much different situation. They watched as the whole engineering team stood there, with looks on their faces as if they had seen a ghost.
“The hell are you all standing around for?” Gomez asked. “We got work to do, people! Where is the Chief?”
One of them looked at her, “The Chief’s dead.”
Gomez stopped in her tracks, “What?”
They swallowed and licked their lips, “He…the warp core…the magnetic interlocks were damaged, only way to get to them was through maintenance shaft B but there was a plasma rupter in the shaft, and a fire…it…right after he fixed them…he…he’s dead, ma’am”
Gomez felt her breathing getting heavy, her emotions welling up and ready to burst but she closed her eyes, cleared her throat and shoved it all down so the second she opened her eyes, was the moment she was ready to give orders. “We will mourn later when we have the time. But right now the ship is in danger and adrift. If we do not restore power to the thrusters, we will continue to drift. Then we need to figure out how badly damaged our impulse and warp engines are. So let’s go people!” She clapped her hands together and the team started moving.
Ryker came up to her and placed his hand on her shoulder. “Are you all right?”
Gomez shook her head, “No, but I will be. I need to get to work. You should be on the Bridge, Sir.” She emphasized on the ‘sir’ to prove her point to him that right now, it was time to be professional and not personal.
Ryker nodded his head and drew his hand away, “Just get in touch with us as soon as you can, on the damage.” He told her before he walked away and left Main Engineering.
As Mizu was helping Ruby with his uninjured arm around her neck, she was witnessing the chaos in the corridor not too far from Sickbay. There were several crewmembers sitting or standing just outside Sickbay against the walls, either holding some injured limb or a makeshift bandage against a cut somewhere. Some of the medical staff were attending to them, like one she knew all too familiar with. “Eli!”
Anyone who had any medical training of any kind, even just a field medical, were all called in to assist the medical team with the situation, even those who were off duty. Eli was one of them obviously, who just finished giving a crewmember an injection when she turned her head to Mizu’s voice. Her eyes widened when she saw that it was Ruby who Mizu was bringing in. Eli quickly hurried over to them and checked his left arm. “He’s got severe third degree burns, he needs to be seen right away!” Eli led them into Sickbay, the door that hasn’t been closed since Eli got there. She pointed to one of the empty bio-beds for him to lay down on.
Mizu helped him to the bio-bed before Eli pulled her away to a somewhat empty corner of Sickbay. “Is it really this bad?” Mizu asked her.
Eli sighed, “A lot of these are just from the outer hull of the dorsal section. And some overloaded conduits, cuts, burns, just the norm. But it is a bit frightening to see almost a quarter of the crew here.” She said as she folded her arms across her chest and looked around. “Where was he?” She asked as she looked towards Ruby.
“Helm station. Volunteered to do Bridge duty when the Captain laid a good size of the crew off to relax. Including most of the Flight staff, even if there were only like three of them.” Mizu told her.
“What happened?” Eli asked.
Was Mizu’s turn to sigh. “We were attacked. Just…without warning. The ship decloaked, immediately opened fire, knocked us right out of warp, took any remaining dorsal phaser banks we had, and completely blew out our impulse engines. We’re literally adrift. Where’s K’roll?”
“He’s out doing what he can to assist damage control. He said he learned a little bit of engineering, just the basics you know? But he knew all hands would be on deck, so he’s out there doing what he can.” Eli explained. “Any idea why they attacked?”
Mizu shook her head. “Well…actually…the oddest thing. After we were pretty much crippled in one salvo, the First Officer was transported off the ship,” Which the news got someone’s attention, as Sivol was not too far away. “After he was gone, the ship went to warp. They’re good. Damn good. The Cardassian couldn’t even trace where they went, something about the warp trail having been dispersed as they left, just absolutely no way to track.”
Eli shook her head, “Who would want the First Officer?”
Mizu shrugged her shoulders. “I have no clue. But hey…take it easy, okay? Don’t let seeing all these people here bother you. We’ll get through this.”
Eli nodded her head and quickly wiped a finger right under left eye real quick. “I’m trying, Mizu. We lost three people here…not counting whomever else out there.” Mizu hugged her and ran her hands over her back, while Sivol had stepped away for a second to compose herself. She wanted to go to the Bridge to demand some answers, but she knew better, especially when she was needed in Sickbay.
Ryker stepped onto the Bridge to find Gomo at his station, looking rather flustered. He couldn’t see the Captain anywhere, who he was looking for, but he wanted to check and make sure Gomo was all right. As he approached the Cardassian, he could see the man was going over previous sensor logs, looking at data, over and over again. “Gomo?”
The Cardassian jumped in his seat before turning to see Ryker. “Ah, Commander.” That’s right, Ryker almost forgot about the recent promotion. Still has no clue what the whole crisis was about that the Fleet had to deal with but a lot of people on board got some recognition for it.
“You seem to be troubled by something, Gomo. What’s up?”
The Cardassian sighed before rubbing the bridge of his nose. “I’ve been trying to make sense of the energy signature that the rear sensors had picked up. We’ve had it on our tail for several days, but the signature was so insignificant that the sensors didn’t flag it. But it was there, and by standards, because of how insignificant it was, it would have been ignored anyways. Could have been something faulty with the sensors or maybe because of the damaged port nacelle or … I don’t know. It just was not significant enough to warrant it as a problem.”
Ryker nodded his head, “Except when it turned out to be a cloaked ship and attacked us?”
“Precisely.” Said Gomo as he turned back to his display and stared at the readings. “I’m simply trying to find something else that would have given some hint that it was unnatural.”
Ryker patted Gomo on the shoulder, “There was no way you could have predicted that it was a cloaked vessel, or even hostile for that matter.”
“But I should have! At least this way we wouldn’t have lost the First Officer.”
This was news to Ryker, “I’m sorry, what?”
“That was all the ship wanted after they disabled our systems. They took Vakai and left.” Gomo explained.
Carter suddenly returned to the Bridge from the turbolift, but not in the best of moods. “Why the hell has the Communication system not been repaired yet?”
“Repair teams are still trying to figure out what got damaged from the conduit that was overloaded, that is tied to the comm system.” The comm officer explained.
“God damnit. We need to inform Starfleet of what happened and that we need a tow vessel.” Carter fumed, placing his hands on his hips before rubbing his brow with the back of his hand.
Ryker came over to him, “I just heard, sir. They took Commander Vakai?”
Carter huffed followed by a nod. “They did. Whoever the fuck they are. This means you are now acting First Officer. Better get used to the demand of one real quick.”
Ryker grew concerned about Carter’s current attitude but decided right now was not the time nor place to address it. Especially when they started hearing a warning sound coming from Gomo’s console. “What is it?
“Short range sensors picked something up. It’s dropping out of warp but I have no way of figuring out who it is. The sensors are still damaged.” Gomo reported.
Officer at the navigation station turned in their seat to look at Carter and Ryker. “I’ve diverted helm control to this station but maneuvering thrusters are just not working, cant turn us around to bring our ventral weapons to bear.”
“What about how the ship is drifting, rotating on its own? That’ll give our ventral phaser banks a chance to fire on whoever is approaching us.” Carter suggested.
Ryker immediately frowned. “I cannot believe what I am hearing. Who says that the incoming vessel is hostile? Nevertheless, we cannot fire first, it is against everything that is Starfleet.”
“And who is to say that that ship isn’t the vessel that attacked us? We can’t take the chance of letting them fire first, not this time.” Carter told him.
“Vessel dropped out of warp. I can’t tell if their weapons are online or not, still not getting an accurate reading.” Gomo reported.
“Prepare to fire phasers!”
“Belay that order!” Ryker pointed at Gomo before looking right at Carter.
“Don’t make me relieve you of duty, Commander!” Carter looked back at him.
“Don’t make me relieve you, sir.” Ryker stared hard into his eyes.
Before Carter could say another word, a bright light and a familiar sound of a transporter beam filled the Bridge from the center, only to disappear to reveal a woman in a strange uniform. As some officers drew phasers on her, Ryker raised his hands and approached her. “Explain why you boarded this ship.” Ryker asked.
She had looked around at those who had drawn phasers on her and those who hadn’t before locking her eyes with his. “My ship and crew detected your vessel on our long range sensors, drifting, certainly not under your own power. When we got closer, we realized you were in trouble. When you failed to answer our hail, we decided to investigate and found out that your communication systems were offline. So…”
Ryker lowered his hands while looking at those who had their phasers drawn, essentially signalling them to lower their weapons. He then looked back at her. “So you are here to give us a hand?”
She smirked, “More than that. I know what ship this is, and I know who serves on board it. I have contacts who have been keeping me up to date on a certain individual. Contacts who pay well to make sure that certain individual is safe. They seem to care a great deal about him.”
Carter stepped down and stopped beside Ryker. “Who are you referring to?”
She shook her head, “Haven’t figured it out yet, old man? Your First Officer, Commander Vakai of course. I know exactly where he is being taken to. I have the coordinates and the data that you need to successfully extract him. But you need to hurry, because what he is about to endure will be a very unpleasant experience for him.”
“But your ship is small, smaller than ours, so how exactly can you help us?” Gomo asked.
She smiled at him. “We have supplies. Enough to get your impulse engines back online, patch up your port nacelle, get you back up to speed…because you’re going to need at least Warp Seven to get there in time to save him from the torment he’ll be facing.”
“What about our weapons?” Carter asked.
She sighed and shrugged. “As your Cardassian officer said over there, we’re a small ship, smaller than yours. There is only so much we can do.”
Ryker took a step forward, standing between her and Carter. “Who are you?”
She smiled at him. “My name is Rosa. Me and my crew are with the Fenris Rangers. And we have a common enemy.”
The vessel was quiet, despite the fact that it had an artificial singularity core powering its systems and was at maximum warp…it was still rather quiet. It almost bothered him, to some degree but he had the AI system that was installed upon restoring this ship, to keep him company. Angel as it were, she was definitely pleasant to talk to, kept him from going insane on this mission. Still, he hoped that his boss won’t get too upset that he took his own ship out for a mission, even as brief as it is. More brief than the mission they did before.
“Is he still asleep?” He asked, before taking a bite of the hard boiled egg he had in his hand, the shell removed of course. It was a rather large egg, an egg from a species of a world in Free State’s space that was going extinct. He should be more concerned about preserving a species, but their eggs were so delicious and excellent in protein, it was hard to resist.
“He is actually just waking up.” She informed him after appearing right beside him.
Vakai slowly rose to his feet and started to look around, realizing that he was not on board the Centaur anymore, especially since where he was did not look like a Bridge but more of some quarters. Then his eyes stopped at the open door with the slight green hue that was apparent enough for him to see, to know that there was indeed a forcefield. Vakai approached the doorway and stopped just inches from the forcefield. “Where am I? What have you done to me? Who the hell are you?!”
Ajis licked his lips as he finished chewing on the bite he had, swallowing it down just so he could answer his prisoner’s question without being rude. “The name is Hawk and you are on board my ship, the Falcon. Remarkable ship too, I might add. It is a very old T’Liss Class Bird of Prey. Restored her myself.” He heard Angel clearing her throat. “With the help of this fine lady, of course.” She cleared her throat again. Ajis rolled his eyes. “Please, dear. I will not go into too much detail in front of our prisoner. Can’t give away any hints now.”
She sighed. “Fair enough. To answer your question of, what did we do to you, is quite simple. When you were transported on board this vessel, we also adjusted the transporter return to effectively stun you. It was the proper course of action, really.”
Ajis nodded his head as he waved around the quarter eaten egg. It was twice the size of an Earth chicken egg. “Point is. We can’t just allow you to roam around and try to figure out how to escape or send a signal. Not that you could anyways, these guest quarters…that also function as prison cells…were designed to keep people in, such as yourself. There is really no escape.” He then took another bite.
“I will find a way and when I do, I will make you pay.” Vakai told him.
Ajis sighed as he rolled his eyes again before looking at Angel, pointing at his mouth that he was still chewing. Angel shook her head. “That would be impossible, and a complete waste of your time. Someone wanted you captured and brought to them. That someone hired…Hawk…here and we are simply delivering you to them. They are the ones that you should be going after, but you should also be afraid of them. Very afraid. I do believe that their torture methods are quite extreme and unorthadox.”
Ajis finished what he was chewing on and swallowed quickly so he could add, “I do believe he uses those, virtual reality devices that they have, to create all sorts of gruesome torture methods but in the mind. Methods that would normally kill a person but with the mind…depending on how strong your mind is, they could potentially,” He raised his hands and used air quotes. “Kill you dozens of times before your mind decides to finally give up, to the point that you basically accept death and die in the real world.” With that, he popped the last bit of egg he had into his mouth.
Vakai knew exactly what he was referring to, what they both were. “Tal’Shiar. They hired you to capture me?”
“So he knows.” said Angel.
“Of course I know. Why wouldn’t I?” Vakai asked.
Ajis snapped his fingers as he swallowed the last bit and licked his lips. “Now I get it. There was nothing in your file that explained any of this but now I get it. Your parents were members of the Tal’Shiar, or still are, and instead of allowing you to grow up in this secret order, becoming some special bred soldier, no doubt the Tal’Shiar would do all sorts of things to have the perfect agent in their ranks. Your parents basically dropped you off on Earth as an infant, without the Tal’Shiar High Command knowing. But now that they know… their little ‘secret police’ wishes to question you…” He snapped his fingers again, “To gain information about your parents.”
Vakai shook his head. “I won’t. I will not give them anything.”
Ajis threw his hands up and let his arms drop back down to his sides. “Sorry kid. But I heard about these torture methods that my contact uses. You won’t have a choice.”
“We are nearing the coordinates.” Angel informed Ajis.
Ajis sighed, “It was nice talking to you, Vakai. But I have a job to complete.”
Vakai tried to get closer to the field. “Whatever the contact is paying you, I swear, Starfleet can triple it.”
Ajis chuckled and shook his head. “Unfortunately, this is not a matter of money. This is a matter of information. The information that my contact has, is not only priceless but also no one else, not even Starfleet, has in their hands. Sorry kid, but you’re not going to bribe your way out of this.” Ajis then reached for the controls by the door and pressed a button, where Vakai would suddenly fall backwards, now unconscious.
“You enjoyed that.” Said Angel.
Ajis shrugged his shoulders. “I like to get to know about my prisoners a little bit. See if I can gather some information, something I can use later on in the future in case I need it. I think ahead, Angel. But come on, we got a delivery to make.” He began to walk away, heading for the ladder to take to the Bridge, feeling like the turbolift was just a lazy way to go.