Part of USS Centaur: Mission 3: Soldar

Chapter Eight

Devron Fleet Yards
18 January 2400
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He looked down at his hand and could visually see that it the flesh, muscle, tissue, all of it melting right off of the bone. The pain was beyond intense, he felt himself starting to seize but quickly started to breath heavily. Breaking through the urge to hold his breath, he filled his lungs up full of fresh air and then pushed it all out as he tried to calm his nerves. Vakai could hear a faint voice, soft and sweet, desperately trying to bring him out of this hallucination that he was having. He knew it was not real but the pain felt too real, visually seeing his right hand melting away looked real. But as the voice grew louder, the more he focused on the facts and closed his eyes.

‘You are on the Devron Starbase.’

‘Your crew, your friends, they rescued you.’

‘This is not real. This is not happening. Your hand is fine.’

The moment he clenched his right hand was the moment he opened his eyes and saw everything was back to normal. He was in the Counselor’s room, the temperature was Starfleet standard, Doctor Vax sat there across from him in her chair and his hand was perfectly fine. Best part was, there was no pain. He opened and closed his hand over and over to remind himself of that feeling, the feeling that his hand existed and there was no pain. Vakai then looked at his Counselor. “How long?” He hesitated to ask, in fear he had been in this trance for too long, long enough that would not fit for duty.

But then she smiled. “A minute and thirty four seconds.” She told him.

Vakai sighed and shook his head. “I need to improve that. A minute and thirty four seconds is a long time when in command of a starship.” He told her as he eased himself onto the couch and relaxed. He stared at his right hand, thinking of more ways to try and convince himself that it is over.

“You are still very hopeful for command, are you?” She asked.

Vakai looked at her. “It’s what I have always wanted since I was old enough to learn that my foster parents were not my real parents. Well, no, let me rephrase that.” He cleared his throat. “Of course I knew they were not my real parents, the ears and the color of my blood to theirs was a dead give away. But, when they handed me the Romulan data device that had a storage compartment where the VR Nodes were in and I put them on, that was when I wanted to command a starship.”

“Interesting. Was it really because that is how you felt or was it because you felt obligated to rescue your parents?” She asked.

Vakai licked his lips, “I know what my parents are in, I understand that more than I ever had back then. But no, this is not about saving my parents. They absolutely built that goal for me…no,” He shook his head and cleared his throat again. “They fulfilled that goal. My foster parents told me all about Starfleet, how great they are, how it is an honor to be exploring the unknown, meeting new civilizations, being the one to make First Contact. But my parents fulfilled that goal even more just because they gave me the opportunity to choose whether to serve or not to serve. I chose to serve Starfleet and my ultimate goal is to command and I am honored to have gone through this rigorous program that has helped me and my friends advance in rank faster than most. But the exams are incredibly difficult.”

She nodded her head, “They have to be in order for it to work. They’re going to want mature officers in charge of a starship. Giving it away to someone who has little experience would be very reckless. Do you feel that after all of your accomplishments, that you feel mature and ready for command?”

Vakai nodded his head, “I absolutely do.”

“Even after your incident with this…Soldar?” She asked.

Vakai sighed, “I don’t think me or my friends will ever see Soldar again. From my understanding of how my parents explained it to me, the Tal’Shiar are not at all forgiving for failures. Soldar failed big time and not only that, we will have proof that we did not blow up that station. I absolutely, one hundred percent, believe that Soldar was behind the destruction of that station and he killed innocent lives just to get rid of me, which would have never got him to his ultimate goal in the first place, which was finding my parents, who he calls traitors, because they’re slipping classified information to the enemy.”

“And you absolutely believe he is gone from your life forever?” She asked.

Vakai rubbed the bridge of his nose with yet another sigh. “I don’t know.” He answered honestly. “I really do believe that we will not see him again. But the more I think about it, the more I know what he is capable of, the more I feel like he will creep up somewhere. And it scares me.”

She smiled and took her little wand/writing utensil that she was twirling around in her fingers, only to scribble something onto her PADD that was then converted into text. “That is the most honest, and emotional answer, Vakai. I believe we are done for today.”

Vakai nodded his head and slowly stood up. “I need to improve my time with these…hallucinations.”

Doctor Vax nodded her head, “Yes I agree. Unfortunately, our last session was the last dose. I won’t be giving you any more medicine.”

Vakai frowned, “Then how am I going to be able to control this?”

She patted his arm. “You’re strong and you’ve been doing a remarkable job so far. Just remember your training and remember where you are.” She then paused to think before smiling. “There was one patient that I remember, they had similar issues, bad trauma from an incident. She found a way to pull herself away from it by using happy thoughts. Which reminds me that that is a really good trigger to help you get out of a trauma induced hallucination. Just focus on a happy thought or someone that makes you happy, focus on their voice and it could potentially help you recover much more quickly.”

Vakai nodded his head, “I’ll keep that in mind.”

“Good! Now I am supposed to remind you that you have a meeting with Commander Maxwell.” She told him.

Vakai sighed, “Of course I do. It was going to come eventually. Thank you, Doctor Vax.”

“Oh no, no thanks necessary. Just doing my job. See you tomorrow, Vakai!”

Vakai was then out the door and on his way to Commander Maxwell’s office.

Maxwell found himself staring out of the viewport once again in his office, out towards the various types of dry docks that they had. He could not help but stare at all the vessels that were housed by these dry docks, either under construction, routine maintenance, resupply, repairs or a routine refit for being in service for so many years. He knew of a couple vessels that were going through those major refits right now, and he knows a certain smaller vessel that is undergoing repairs could use a major refit as well. But there was no paperwork for that vessel to upgrade their systems to the latest. Least not one that has come across his desk.

Maxwell and his staff have been conducting the interviews of each Senior Officer of the Centaur to get a clear picture of what happened three weeks ago. A process that was taking quite a while, as both parties, his and the Free State Government, were investigating all leads to get to the truth. Latest report from the State indicated that they found their ‘black box’ and are going over the data now. All that is left is the story from Commander Vakai, their First Officer. Speaking of, the door chime went off. “Come in.” Said Maxwell as he turned in place to face the door while it opened to allow Commander Vakai to step through. “Please, Commander. Have a seat.”

Vakai did as he was told and took one of the empty chairs that Maxwell pointed to.

Maxwell sat down in his chair on his side of the desk, only to start pulling up display screens with various logs and reports.

“No Captain Gar’rath, sir?”

“Captain Gar’rath is a Task Force Commanding Officer. He has a lot on his table, as much as I do, Commander. But I chose to take this burden off of Captain Gar’rath’s shoulders. After all, it is my job to try to lighten the load on my Commanding Officer.” Maxwell explained while he continued to go through some data.

Vakai nodded his head, “Understood.”

“It matters not, Commander. The point is, this investigation does not stop until we have all the evidence we need and the truth. Would you like to know the results so far?” Maxwell asked.

Vakai frowned, “Is that even allowed?”

Maxwell leaned back into his seat, “This is about whether or not you and your friends are telling the truth, Commander. I’m not really giving you our judgement.” Maxwell paused for a moment before he leaned forward and pulled up a separate display screen with results. “Everyone we interviewed has been telling the truth. Now, we can’t go by this because the Romulans will either say that our system is faulty, information is wrong, or you are all very, very good liars. Romulans want hard facts, and as the information on the Centaur weapon logs comes through, we will have those hard facts. Yes, our team finally pieced the weapon logs together and we’re going through them now. But I still need to know what happened after the Centaur hit that quantum filament. Logs after that are sketchy and since your Captain was unconscious for most of it, you and your Senior Staff are all that remains. So tell me from your view point.”

As Vakai began to tell the story from his perspective, Maxwell went and got some water.

The bridge was dark, illuminated in only a split second in red light by a second apart, but the light only revealed how much smoke was on the bridge. There was some of it coming out of the ceiling, but only so lightly, not like some times where it’s bellowing out like it was under pressure. No, this was a small leak of sorts. But the smoke did not just consist of some leak from any sort of coolant, but also from electrical fires of a couple consoles, one on each side of the bridge it seemed.

Least that is what Vakai could tell when he tried looking around the bridge to take in detail of what state they were in. He had just pushed himself off of the floor and onto his knees, only to revel in the state the bridge was in. He couldn’t see any lights coming from the consoles, which told him that they were not receiving power. But why just the consoles? Were the lights and stations really on a separate power network? Suppose that would make sense, not sure why he was even questioning that. Maybe it was because it felt like his head was hit by a shuttlecraft.

That’s it. Concussion. His conclusion of having one was increased ever so much when he went to feel the side of his head and hissed when he touched something that stung, only to check his hand and see the palm of his hand was covered in his blood. Course he could barely tell the color because of the poor illumination, but he didn’t believe he had someone else’s blood on him. His conclusion of what he hit from where he was at, was probably one of the railings around the midsection of the bridge, the kind of railing that cuts off rear stations from the mid to front stations, or in this case, the command chair, the helm and operations stations.

He turned his head in a bit of a jolt when he heard a loud noise, only to see a silhouette and something being sprayed onto one of the consoles that was on fire. He concluded that someone was trying to extinguish one of the fires. Good, this means that he is not the only one conscious. “Is everyone all right?” He called out before coughing, the smoke was thick and it did no good to inhale after he spoke. So he covered his mouth and nose the best he could with his sleeve to get some oxygen into his lungs. He got several responses from the bridge crew, which was good, but he was also keeping tabs on the voices and there was one voice he didn’t hear that worried him.

Vakai hurried over to the command chair to find it empty, only to look down at the floor near it and saw a silhouette there. He knelt down beside the body to feel for the pips on the man’s shoulders and when he found them, he felt four pips. “I need a light over here! And a medkit, now!” He yelled. In a few seconds, he had a couple officers shining their flashlights on their Captain, seeing that he too had a gash on his forehead but it looked really bad.

Ryker came over with a medkit and stared at the Captain’s head before looking around to find a piece of metal on the floor nearby then he looked up. “Damnit! Part of the ceiling came down.”

“Just get that medical tricorder out and find out what’s wrong with him!” Vakai ordered.

Ryker nodded his head and did just that before he grabbed a hypospray and picked the one thing that the tricorder recommended to inject into the Captain’s neck. “Captain Carter will be stable for a few hours on this, it will help slow down the swelling but he needs to get to sickbay as soon as possible! That metal chunk that hit him in the head, it’s causing his brain to swell and if we don’t get him to sickbay to be operated on, he’s going to die!”

Vakai grabbed Ryker by his arms. “He is not going to die! Not while we are his crew! But you got him stable for now?”

“It’s what the medical tricorder recommended, but it also recommended immediate treatment. We need to get to Sickbay.”

“Someone get that turbolift door open and pop the emergency hatch! And I need your undershirts, all of them. We’re going to make something to help carry the Captain, and we will get him to sickbay. Come on! Get those jackets off, move it!” Vakai ordered.

Ryker placed his hand on Vakai’s shoulder. “Commander, relax.”

Vakai looked at him. “I am not going to be made Captain on some technicality because whatever the hell we hit out there that killed our Captain, I won’t accept it. We are getting him to Sickbay and we are going to save him.” He told Ryker before he unzipped his jacket and peeled it off before tugged his black undershirt up and off of himself. He’ll soon put the jacket back on and zip it back up before he grabbed the undershirts from everyone and start to make something, straps perhaps, that’ll help them carry the Captain. “You’re not going to die on me, John.”

With some well secured knots and wrap-arounds, Vakai now had Captain Carter on his back like a backpack. But he still needed some help, so Ryker went first through the emergency hatch of the turbolift and helped Vakai through by making sure his feet landed on some of the ladder posts, as well as get John through without hitting his head. They don’t need to cause any more damage than there already is. Once Vakai was situated and ready, Ryker went down first to be the one ready in case Vakai were to miss a step or something goes wrong with the wraps. “Hey, one good thing about this. At least we’re not on a Galaxy Class, or we’ll be climbing down to Deck Twelve.”

Vakai knew Ryker was trying to ease the stress that Vakai was under but he just wanted to get this man to Sickbay. The stress he was dealing with was mainly due to the thoughts that ran around in his head, thoughts that said that the ship had no main power, auxiliary power is for some reason not coming online, back up power was drained to keep the aft shields up which may likely be the same issue with auxiliary power but they were suppose to have other kinds of backups. Least, critical areas should. But it is possible that they tapped into those, whether against regulations or not, to try and keep the aft shields up. Certainly not good now. And with these thoughts in his head, he feared that it would not matter if they brought Captain Carter to Sickbay, with no power, none of the stasis units would work and if they can’t put him in stasis, then the man is going to die. But there was some part in his mind that was telling him that there is still hope and that Doctor Pearce will figure it out. “Climbing this ladder down to Deck Three doesn’t sound all that bad.”

As they were nearing the door to Deck Three, the ship suddenly lurched which caused Vakai to slip but he quickly grabbed one of the posts with his left arm which with the combined weight of his own and Carter’s, it hurt like hell when he dislocated it. He quickly got his feet on the posts and wrapped his right arm around the bar to stabilize himself before letting go of the post with his left hand. He stood there, hissing and breathing heavily to get through the pain but part of him did not believe the pain to be all that bad. Still, it hurt a lot. “The hell was that?” Vakai voiced his thought out loud in anger.

“Sure would like to know myself. You all right?” Ryker asked as he forced the door open to Deck Three.

Vakai nodded his head, still catching his breath. “Yeah. Pretty sure I dislocated my left arm though.”

“Can you make it down here? You’re only a foot or so away.” Ryker told him, though Vakai was a bit more than that but he wanted to try and motivate the man.

Vakai took in a few deep breaths before gripping the bar tightly, took a couple steps down and carefully slid his hand down over the posts to get a firm grip further down. He did this for what felt like forever until Ryker helped him plant his feet on the ledge and helped pull him through onto the deck. Panting heavily, Vakai looked back at the turbolift shaft then at Ryker. “If this was a Galaxy Class Starship, I probably would have just handed him off to you.”

Ryker smirked, “Not sure how you’d be able to do that but let’s not dwell on it. Come on, Sickbay just down this way.”

It was not long until they noticed all the injured that were either lined up or sitting down with their backs against the walls while Nurses and Medical Specialists, even those with just the absolute basic of Medical Training were tending to the wounded. Hell if Vakai had not dislocated his arm and did not have more important things to do after bringing the Captain to Sickbay, he would likely be helping the injured with what little Medical Training he has. As they stepped through the open doorway into Sickbay, they could see the chaos. Some of the staff had wrist lights, others figured out on strapping them around their head with the palm light on their forehead shining down where they looked.

Doctor Pearce looked up from one of her patients, where she had just finished pulling a piece of metal out of their leg, thankfully missed the artery, and sealed it up with a dermal regenerator as best as she could. Luckily some of the hand tools were still working, so why wouldn’t they? She then realized who was on Vakai’s back and she called over Sivol to help her get Carter off of Vakai’s back and onto a bio bed, after having rushed a patient off of it that Sivol too had just finished tending to. “What happened?” Pearce asked.

“We don’t know. We saw that he had a very bad gash from the left side of his forehead up to the center of his head. We believe a ceiling beam may have came down on him.” Vakai explained.

“You didn’t look?” Pearce asked.

“We were only concerned on figuring out what was wrong and how to stabilize him and get him down here to you, Doc!” Vakai told her.

Pearce took a deep breath and raised her hand as an apology. She saw Sivol was running a scan with her medical tricorder. “What do we have?”

Sivol shook her head, “They gave him what he needed to slow down the swelling but he needs surgery and soon. If we don’t get in there and operate, he’ll end up with severe brain damage, or worse.”

Pearce slammed her hands on the cushion of the biobed. “God damnit. We were planning on retiring together, in like a month or two. And with none of our hardware working, we can’t operate.”

“What about the stasis chamber?” Vakai asked.

Pearce looked at him. “Again, with none of our hardware working, we can’t do a damn thing!”

“What if we hooked up a power pack to a stasis chamber?” Ryker asked.

Pearce shook her head, “That will only last for like an hour or so. Do you know if Starfleet knows that we’re in distress?”

Vakai looked to Ryker, who looked right at him before they looked to her and shook their heads. “But it’s worth a shot.” Ryker told her.

Pearce closed her eyes and nodded her head. “There should be an emergency power pack in one of the medical storage units in the back. I’ll go get it.”

“I’ll get it, once I get it plugged in, you’ll have to get the chamber ready.” Ryker told her before he left, Pearce following right behind him.

Sivol, who still had her medical tricorder out, did a quick scan on Vakai and noticed his injury. “Come over here.” She told him as she stepped a few feet away from the bio bed.

Vakai did as he was told, as he did not feel like questioning his doctor, or the woman he loved. But the second he stopped at her side, she grabbed his left arm, lifted and with the proper tug and a sharp hiss of pain that came from his lips, his arm was back in place. “A little warning, lady.”

She smiled at him. “Better to get you when you least expect it. How bad is it, really?”

Vakai sighed and lowered his voice. “As you can see, we have no power. The auxiliaries should have kicked on, even if we used them up to try to keep the aft shields online, they should have recharged by now and we only need them for the most critical systems. Like sickbay for that fact.” He shook his head.

“Then why do we still have gravity, life support?” She asked.

“It’s likely our reserve atmosphere processors have kicked on. Those are completely separated from the network, no chance we could have sapped power out of those batteries for the aft shields. Plus, those batteries wouldn’t even give us one percent if we did.” He told her.

Her eyes shifted, looked like she was distant, most likely thinking. Then her eyes shifted, looked right at him. “So we have less than six hours?”

Vakai smiled, “Now you remember that we have them.” He teased her before nodding his head. “Yeah. But we should be able to get help from the Devron Fleet Yards before time runs out.”

“How would they know to come for us?” She asked.

“We should be on the edge of their long range sensors. I think. Maybe further in?” He sighed with a shrug. “The Unity Station sensors are powerful, so they should have detected us and the weapons fire as well. And with major systemwide failure that we currently have, the black box transponder should have kicked on and their signals are incredibly strong, if not also wide in range. It’s really only a matter of time before-” Suddenly the ship lurched again but not as bad as before.

“Are we still under attack?” Someone asked.

“Everyone relax.” Doctor Pearce said when she came out of the back room. “That was just a shockwave of some kind.”

“How would you know?!” Some crewman asked.

“I know you’re on edge, trust me, I know. But I have been on this ship as long as the Captain has been. I know the difference between a shockwave and a weapons impact. That was no impact from weapons. Just take a deep breath and relax, I’m sure our First Officer will find out what it is and inform us that it was nothing.” She then walked over to Vakai and Sivol. “I need help getting John to the stasis chamber, it’s ready for him.”

Ryker was the next one to come out of the back room and headed straight for Captain Carter, where Vakai assisted him and lifted the man up and carried him over to the back room, where they eased him into the chamber, closed it and activated it.

Suddenly Gomez came running into sickbay, “Where’s the Captain?”

Maxwell pulled up a log. “You want to read what Lieutenant Gomez said in her debriefing? It explains exactly what happened in her perspective. We’ve included the two Ensigns in with the report as well, to tell the whole story.”

“Sure. I mean, I would love to know, sir. I have not gotten the chance to ask her.” Said Vakai.

Gomez groaned as she pushed herself to her feet, only to wobble until her back was pressing up against a terminal. She took a moment to gain her composure before she looked around. She could see the room by the warp core still being active as well as slightly being illuminated every split second by the red light but there were areas where she could see some people using palm lights. Soon as she could stand straight, she headed over to the source of the palm lights only to witness what they were doing.

There were five clothes over five silhouettes, which she understood. “We will mourn later. I promise. But we need to figure out what the status is on our primary systems, most importantly, the warp core.” She told the two, who acknowledged. “I will focus on the warp core. You two figure out auxiliary generators and life support.”

Suddenly Gomez could hear people grunting somewhere, which forced her to investigate just to see two Ensigns forcing one of the halves of the regular doors to Engineering open. “Ensigns.” Gomez said to them once they got in.

“Ensign Mizu and Ortiz ready to assist ma’am.” Said the woman as they worked on catching their breath.

“Did you two come all the way from the transporter room?” Gomez asked.

Mizu shook her head. “We were storing away the equipment when the ship tried to throw us into the bulkhead,” After she said that, Gomez took a palm light and shined it on them, where she saw that Ortiz had a gash on his forehead. “I’ve tried telling him to go to Sickbay but he won’t listen.”

“Well I’m going to give him a direct order to do just that.” Gomez said, staring hard at him.

“With all due respect ma’am, but I am going to disobey. I’m fine, really, the main important thing right now is getting power back before life support runs out.” Said Ortiz.

“Ruby, I swear to god, I am going to drag your butt to Sickbay and strap you down on a bio bed.” Mizu told him.

“Kinky. But seriously. We have way more important things right now and Sickbay is likely being flooded with injuries. Which is another reason to get power back online.” He explained.

Gomez sighed, “I won’t stop you but I will make a note of you disobeying orders.”

Ruby shrugged his shoulders, “Frag it. I don’t care. Lives are at stake. Why worry about a dam cut?”

Gomez sighed again and walked towards the warp core, having pulled her tricorder out as she did so to run her scans. Meanwhile, Mizu glared at him before she went over to one of the dead terminals, knelt down and pulled off a panel. Ruby knelt down beside her, “What are you trying to do?”

“We got to have power somewhere. Life support is still operating, which means there is power to tap into.” She told him.

Gomez overheard and turned her head, “The reserve atmospheric processors have kicked in. They operate on their own batteries, separate from the main network.” She looked back at her tricorder. “You won’t be able to…” Her eyelids began to spread wide open. “Oh fu-”

“What is it, ma’am?” Ruby asked after he noticed that she cut off so he got up to check.

“We need to get the warp core out of here, somehow and fast. I was wondering why it was still active and not shut down, which made sense because the safety protocols would have forced it to shut down to prevent something like this. But it’s not providing power to the ship at all.” Gomez began to curse under her breath as she put her tricorder away.

“What does that even mean?” Ruby asked.

Gomez looked at him. “It means the warp core is building up to an overload and we got less than ten minutes to get it the hell out of here or everyone is going to have a very bad day.”

“Oh.” Said Ruby.

Mizu came up to them, “Isn’t there some manual release for the ejection hatch below?”

Gomez shook her head, “There is but the system was completely fried when the torpedo pod nearly got blown to hell.”

“What about manual releases for the locking clamps?” Ruby asked.

“Yes but then what?” Gomez looked at the two of them.

Mizu snapped her fingers. “One of the shuttle crafts has to be functional, right? We can use it to transport the warp core out of here.”

Gomez pointed her finger at Mizu. “Yes but we have that runabout-”

“Yes I remember that! That will have a better transporter system than the shuttles.”

Gomez then grabbed Mizu’s badge and pulled off her own, only to set them down on the center main system terminal and start to tinker with them. It took her like twenty seconds before she tossed Mizu’s back to her. “I manually set them to be actively linked to each other so we have comms but only temporary.” Gomez put hers back on. “Now you have to set the transporter range on the runabout as far as you can without blowing out the system, because you will need to increase power to it in order to do so. But once you get the warp core out, you have to dump a lot of power into your shields but only at the second the shockwave is about to hit you or you’ll burn out your shield generator as well.”

“Got it! Ruby, come I need you to fly!” Mizu told him as they bolted for the door.

Gomez raised her voice quickly, “Ensign! Also scan that warbird! We need to know what their condition is and send the data to my tricorder!”

“Yes ma’am!” Mizu said back just as she stepped through the doorway with Ruby on her tail.

Gomez then looked to her two remaining crew members, figuring the rest must be out trying to do damage control. “I need you one of you to go to the very top deck and bottom deck, get to the manual releases and free this warp core. Do it now! We got less than eight minutes now and you two got five!”

It took the two Ensigns a minute to get to the shuttle bay, in which they did find the runabout had slid from the pad and that the starboard nacelle casing was smashed open in the middle of it but Ruby said they could bypass and cut off that engine. They both got on board and immediately began to lift the runabout off the deck right after powering up. “No time to warm up the engines, we gotta get out there now!” Mizu told him as she began to divert power to the transporter, cranking it up to a hundred and thirty percent.

“Isn’t that a bit much?” Ruby asked as he looked at the shuttle bay hangar door. “And we have a problem.”

“Maybe and no we don’t.” She had powered up the phaser banks and fired, blowing a hole big enough for the runabout.

“That works.” He said as his fingers darted over his terminal, flying the runabout through the hole and away from the ship. “Just tell me when to stop.”

Mizu set up a nav point, “Stop there.” She told him as she went over to the station to her right and started running scans on the warbird. Then she went to the center terminal and began locking onto the warp core. “How are we doing, Lieutenant?”

“They’re at the manual release, I’ll let you know once it’s ready.”

“Cutting it a little close, ma’am!” Mizu told her as she stepped away from the center console to check on the sensor data.

“Now! Beam it out now!”

“Sending the data!” Mizu said when she noticed the scans were done she pressed the command that sent a data burst to Gomez’s tricorder. Then she went to the center console and transported the warp core. In the process, the lights dimmed inside the runabout and they could hear the engine starting to die down.

“Where did you transport it to?” Ruby asked.

“With the Centaur as far behind us as we could go with the transporter, I sent it on the complete opposite side from us. It’s as far as I can put it.” Mizu told him as her transport was complete, power was coming back to the lights as she was sitting back down in the co-pilot seat.

Ruby looked and he could see the core drifting away. “How soon-” Before he could finish that sentence the core exploded. He looked to Mizu, “Mizu, shields!”

“Not yet!” Mizu told him while her fingers were darting over her terminal, hoping she dumped enough power to the shields.

“It’s almost here!!” He told her as he looked again, his eyelids widening. “Mizu!!”

“Now!” She said, mainly to herself and pressed the button. When the shields came on, the display showing the power bar to the shields was redlining, just as the runabout was hit by the shockwave. One of the reasons why she didn’t turn them on right away, was not just because she didn’t want to blow out the generator before the shockwave came, but she wanted to modulate the shields in a bit of a cone to try and disperse as much of the shockwave as she could before it reached the Centaur. Luckily she was successful and that the shockwave was gone before the generator blew out, which unfortunately caused a feedback to the power grid and knocked out their power. Lights, terminals, everything went dark. “Ruby?”

“Yeah.” He said.

“Oh good. We’re not dead.” She said with a heavy sigh of relief.

“Not yet.”

“Shut up.” She then remembered about the comm link. “Lieutenant?” She waited before she said it again but when she got no response she figured they lost the link due to the shockwave.

Meanwhile, Gomez felt the deck lurch under her feet and was a bit surprised that it wasn’t as bad as she thought. “Ensign? Ensign Mizu?” She called out but when she didn’t get a response, she figured that the link was lost. She then checked her tricorder and reviewed the sensor data. “Weapons offline. Shields offline. Engines Of-…” She then took off running, right through the open door and down the corridor. As she was heading for a turbolift hatch, she nearly ran an Ensign over. “Jesus, I’m so sorry Ensign, I bar-…wait, are you Ensign K’roll?”

“Yes ma’am.” Said the Caitian as he pushed himself off the wall that he practically clung to to avoid being knocked over.

“Security, right?” She asked.

He nodded, “Indeed I am, ma’am.”

“Good! Find Lieutenant Koyda and Maya and tell them to gear up and be ready just outside of the shuttle bay. Oh and have EV suits ready too!”

“Ma’am?” He asked, confused.

“That’s an order, Ensign!” Gomez yelled at him after she took off running again. She immediately found the turbolift shaft, the door already opened, likely from the Ensigns or someone. Either way she tucked her tricorder away and started climbing to the third deck, where she hoped to find the Captain in sickbay, likely checking in on the wounded.

Soon as she got on the deck she bolted towards Sickbay but slowed down to not trample over anyone outside of it and just stepped through the open door, ‘busting’ right in. “Where’s the Captain?” She nearly shouted.

Suddenly Gomez came running into sickbay, “Where’s the Captain?”

Pearce held her hands up, “He’s injured and in the stasis chamber right now.”

“Then where’s the Commander?! Ryker? Someone from the Bridge!”

Both Ryker and Vakai came out from the back room when they heard the commotion. “What is it, Ashley?” Ryker asked, concerned as he could hear the fear in her voice.

Gomez quickly grabbed Vakai and Ryker’s arms and dragged them into the back room, Pearce and Sivol joining them. Gomez looked to make sure no one was looking or eavesdropping before she pulled the tricorder out and showed them the data on it. “The Ensigns sent this data to my tricorder from the runabout.”

Vakai frowned, “What? Runabout? What were they-”

Gomez held her hand up. “No time! I’ll explain later but we have a much more serious problem at hand! Look at the data!”

Sivol’s eyes went wide and she looked at Vakai, who looked at her just to see the look on her face then grabbed the tricorder to review the data. “God da-”

“Exactly. Romulan’s Singularity Core is building up to an overload. Lucky for us, the build up is slower than ours was. But we got twenty minutes or that thing is going to implode, sucking a large chunk of that warbird into it then explode, sending all kinds of debris and a massive shockwave at the Centaur. With no power, no shields, we’re going to get torn the hell up by basically a shotgun blast.” Gomez explained.

“Wait, we had a warp core breach?!” Ryker asked.

“Not anymore, thanks to the Ensigns. Who hasn’t gotten back to me yet, which is making me worry.” She told them. “But it is possible that the temporary comm link I manage to create between me and Ensign Mizu has been interrupted or disrupted or just completely knocked out by the shockwave of our warp core.”

“We need to assemble a team and board that warbird immediately. I know exactly how to shut down that core before it overloads.” Vakai told them.

“Luckily I passed by Ensign K’roll earlier. I told him to find Lieutenant Koyda and Maya and to assemble their hazard team and meet outside the shuttle bay door.” Gomez told them.

“Why not in the shuttle bay?” Ryker asked.

“Well in case you didn’t notice, that first lurch we had was the Ensigns blowing a hole in the shuttle’s hangar door. You know, considering no power to open them.” She explained.

“I dislocated my arm because of that.” Vakai joked.

Gomez threw her hands up. “I’m so sorry but saving the damn ship from a warp core breach was kind of a top priority!”

“Except he was carrying Captain Carter on his back.” Ryker joked as well, although they were seeing that she wasn’t taking it.

Gomez looked at the two. “What do you want me to say?! We had no comms. And how the hell was I supposed to know?”

Ryker chuckled and took her hand just to pat the back of it. “Relax, Ashley. We’re just pulling your chain.”

She yanked her hand back, “You can pull on my chain when I’m not stressed the frag out and once we’re out of the goddamn mess!”

Ryker held up his hands in apology and surrender, while Vakai handed her the tricorder back. “Just do what you can to restore power to the ship. I will lead the team to get that core shut down on the warbird.”

Sivol frowned at him. “Can’t you just tell Maya or Koyda what to do? You’re in no shape to go over there. Especially after what they did to you.”

Vakai looked at her. “None of them on board were responsible for what Soldar did to me, Sivol. And I have a responsibility to this crew. I am not going to let that core overload and kill us all. Besides, it would go a lot faster if I was there to shut it down than hand some instructions to someone who has no clue what to look for.”

Sivol then stepped out for a minute, only to return with a hypospray and a couple vials, along with Ensign Elidia. “Then you’re taking this Ensign with you, and she’s going to monitor your vitals. The second you have an episode, she’s going to inject you.”

Vakai smiled at her. “Thank you.”

“All right, Commander. I think we will take a break here.” Said Maxwell, who looked at the pitcher of water he brought over being completely empty. “See that you’re a little thirsty.”

Vakai smiled, a little embarrassed. “Maybe.”

Maxwell smirked. “How about we come back to this in a few days? Give you some time to get things sorted out with your therapy.”

Vakai shook his head, “That won’t be necessary, Commander. Tomorrow will do just fine.”

Maxwell nodded his head. “All right. Just as long as you are not pushing yourself, Vakai.”

“Of course not, sir.”

“All right then. Dismissed.”