They were filthy tired and sore. Rebecca was moving solely on adrenaline as she picked through the emergency ration she was eating on the battle bridge.
Lt. Commander Cheon Kyo was at her side, and Lieutenant Thomas Stephens sat at the helm, though at the moment there was nothing to pilot.
The viewscreen was on showing static from the interference created by the nebula which swirled in purple clouds beyond.
Her brain was mush, but they were alive. At least for the time being. “Cheon,” she started. “We need to get help. You think you and Thomas could make it to the main shuttle bay to get to the runabout?” Power had failed in the saucer section when the core had exploded leaving that entire part of the ship without life support, artificial gravity, and anything else. “You’ll probably need a portable generator to open the door unless you want to just use phasers and cut through it.”
Cheon swallowed the last of his rations down with what was left of his water. A sigh left his lips as that idea had been on his mind prior to them turning about to head for the nebula after the core had vaporized the Dominion patrol that had been harassing them.
“Aye, Captain. Though I think the portable generator should be used to keep you and the rest of the crew alive for as long they can. We will cut the hanger doors open with the runabout’s phasers and make haste to that satellite I had indicated and with any luck see you in a few days.”
“I have every confidence in Commander Lovecroft,” Rebecca said. “We’re hidden in the nebula so a passing patrol isn’t going to see us. Especially with our power signature so low, I would imagine auxiliary power will be restored in a day or so. Cheon if that satellite doesn’t pan out head to Starbase 75. We’re going to need more than a runabout to get us out of this mess, and that’s where the fleet was supposed to rendezvous. The Fifth Fleet is due there in a few days. They were supposed to relieve us from the front lines.”
“I am sure we can make it. Though it won’t be a pleasant trip.”
“It’s not going to be pleasant here sleeping in corridors and cargo bays, and eating emergency rations,” She said holding up the offending ration in illustration. “Cheon, I think you should plan on leaving tomorrow. Hopefully, the Dominion fleet will have returned to Tyra, or had a run-in with a Federation border patrol and isn’t in a position to mess with you.”
-Next Day, Cargo Bay 5-
Aoife Mckenzie stood at the cargo bay transporter controls where a Type-15 shuttlepod sat wired into the system adding power and computer processing and memory to a transporter system that otherwise wouldn’t function severed from the main computer and a ship operating on emergency power.
Commander Talon stood with a pair of EVA-clad officers speaking with them. “Good luck gentlemen, ” Rebecca announced. “I wish I could say weren’t all depending on you, but we are. If it were me before exiting the nebula I’d cut power and use inertia to exit just in case there’s a fleet of Dominion ships waiting on you. With any luck, they think we’re all dead and they have gone about their business.”
“Yeah the runabout is pretty badly damaged, combat is one the last things I want to do with it. ” Stephens says.
“Let’s hope it didn’t get banged around so badly in the shuttle bay,” Rebecca replied, “however, regardless you are no match for one Jem’Hadar ship let alone a fleet?”
“Agreed. I am more concerned with being able to run away fast enough”
“Hopefully they gave up and have moved on, but in case they haven’t that’s why I’m sending you Mr. Stephens. We’ll need our best pilot for this mission and that’s you.” She turned to Cheon and extended a hand, “Good luck my friend.”
Cheon took Rebecca’s hand in his and gave it a firm shake before he departed for the cargo bay. “I will be back with aid, Captain,” he promised her.
Rebecca didn’t wait for them to start their journey. She had a ship to put back together and drawing this goodbye out any longer only delayed their rescue. She turned and walked out of the cargo bay leaving the two officers to their own devices.
-Class five Nebula-
Stephens and Cheon had taken a runabout from the Denver. One of the only auxiliary craft that survived the explosion of the warp core. The runabout was pretty banged up, but it was flying.
“Mister Stephens in thirty seconds cut power,” Cheon stated as the runabout’s sensors stated that they were very near the edge of the nebula’s edge. He then looked up as stars could be seen starting to penetrate the walls of the nebula.
“Cutting power Sir,” Stephens says as he brings the runabouts power offline, putting the ship in a standby mode.
As the nose of the runabout pierced the edge of the nebula, carried by the forward inertia that the shuttle’s engines had moments ago provided, Cheon could see the cold inky darkness of space. Looking down at the console and its passive scans he could see no indication that any ship, Federation or Dominion, was close by.
Flicking the tactical map from the console over to Stephens’ navigational console he nodded to the man. “Let’s hope that no one sees us and that we are able to use that satellite.”
Stephens pulls the tactical map up on his console at the same time he brings the ship’s power back online and pushes the ship the rest of the way out of the nebula. He plots a course for the satellite and heads there at maximum speed. “What do you think our chances of survival are? Or more accurately our chances of bringing help back to the Denver in time?”
Cheon looked at Stephens for a moment before he returned his attention to the console before him, “Right now we just need to keep our wits about us as we make our way to that satellite, other than that current task at hand nothing else matters. Remember our survival is the survival of the Denver and our friends and family onboard,” he stated as he looked at the passive scanners.
“Rotate port by three degrees,” Cheon said as the scanner indicated a single Jem’Hadar fighter just out of range of their shuttles signature.
“Rotating port by three degrees. I see the fighter on the scanner” Thomas said as he adjusted the heading of their runabout. “Let’s continue on our current course and keep an eye on them”
Cheon nodded his head at Stephen’s suggestion, “Yeah, let’s stay on this heading for a few.”
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to them the Jem’Hadar had in fact seen their shuttle signature but was under orders to not engage and destroy but to pursue at an undetectable distance and report back any Federation targets, whether they are outpost or ship.
“This is Avaza’yat, scout fighter to control, Federation heading to a possible target in sector 275.”
A single Jem’Hadar Battlecruiser dropped out of warp and scanned the sector indicated by the scout fighter. A signal pinged on their scanners and three quantum torpedoes were launched. A few seconds later three explosions could be seen. Not sticking around the Battle Cruiser jumped back into warp and was gone.
Stephens drops the runabout out of warp at the coordinates for the satellite and begins looking around. “Mother f…” Stephens trails off as he sees the debris where the satellite should have been. “So what now? Do we try to find a starship?”
Cheon wipes a hand over his face in frustration and brings up the star chart. As he looks it over he shakes his head. “Even if we had a fully functional runabout, it would take us at least two days to get to the nearest Federation-controlled sector and then if our luck were to hold out maybe another day after that to contact an allied or Federation ship.”
Cheon studied the chart as he tried to figure out their next move, “Stephens, move us in closer to the debris and cut all power so that we blend into the debris field. I need to figure out our next move as to where we are going to go.”
Stephens pulls the runabout into the middle of the debris and powers the ship down. He pulls out his PADD with the star charts and patrol charts on it and starts looking it over. After a few minutes, he says “Sir look here” and points to a spot on the chart the next sector over. “The USS Los Angeles will be here in an hour. If we push it I can have us there at the same time, though I don’t know that the runabout will do much running about after that push.” He says with a chuckle. “They should be there on a long-range patrol. We can make contact with them.”
Cheon brought up what Stephens had brought up. He nodded to the suggestion and plotted the course. As he did he noticed that it ran very close to a scouted-out location that had the potential of holding either Jem’Hadar or even Cardassian patrol ships.
“Stephens, just a pointer that sector has a location that our scouts have designated as a potential location for the Dominion to lay an ambush. I would like for you to push up to that point and then slow. I understand that we need to push that sector but we also need to be careful not to get caught in an unknown Dominion patrol in that sector,” Cheon stated as he flicked the plotted course over to Stephens, PADD.
“Agreed. I would want to run into a Jem’Hadar ambush on a good day in one of these, much less in the shape we are in right now.” Thomas says as he brings the runabout back up to full power and heads towards the next sector. He sets the scanners to run on the widest band possible and takes them to maximum warp. “Let’s hope we get there in time.”
As soon as they were in communication range Thomas alerts Cheon. “Commander we are in communication range of the Los Angeles if you want to alert them ahead of time”
Cheon nodded to Stephens as his hands began to flow over the controls on the console. As soon as the comm’s were open he began to identify themselves, “USS Los Angeles, this is Runabout Mialoss from the USS Denver, Commander Kyo speaking, please respond.”
He hoped that they would be heard soon by the Federation ship that was supposed to be in this sector. He also knew that by broadcasting he was giving away his position to any Dominion patrols that were in the area, but at this point, he had no choice. After a few minutes, he retransmitted the same message again.
Suddenly the runabout’s scanners came to life and zeroed in on a Dominion icon. Cheon turned his head and looked at Thomas, “I hope you still have some fancy flying left in you Lieutenant,” he said as he motioned to the operations console that showed the incoming Jem’Hadar fighters, two fighters.
“A pilot always has an extra trick up their sleeve,” Thomas said, bringing the fighters up on the viewscreen. “Permission to fly freely sir?” As he says this Thomas is already keying in a series of commands to make the runabout fly in a way that makes it much more difficult to hit. “We have already been spotted. I recommend we boost power to communications to increase comm range.”
Cheon knew that Thomas was going to go ahead with what he had already planned before he had gotten permission, which he was glad for. “Do what you have to do, Mister Stephens, just keep those fighters off of our backs for a few minutes if you are able to. I have a feeling that our friends will be coming to our aid shortly,” he stated as he began to reroute power to the runabout’s engines.
Thomas pushed a button on his console and the runabout went through a series of preconfigured maneuvers narrowly dodging the opening volley of polaron beams from the Jem’Hadar fighters. They weren’t as lucky with the second volley, taking a blast aft dorsal shields. “Shields holding at 75%” Thomas reported adjusting flight pattern slightly to avoid the third volley from the Jem’Hadar.
As if on cue a flash on the operations console came to life with the icon of the Federation. Not wasting time, Cheon tapped the icon and hailed the ship. “USS Los Angeles, this is the runabout Mialoss, from the Federation ship USS Denver, we could use some assistance with a couple of Jem’Hadar fighters that have queried us.”
The operations console switched to the face of the Los Angeles’ Captain, “We hear you Mialoss, and are en route. Change course to bearing 146 and we will intercept you there. Los Angeles out.”
The console changed back and Cheon looked at Thomas, “You heard the heading Lieutenant.”
“Aye Commander, adjusting course,” Thomas said as he adjusted the runabouts heading. He continued to dodge incoming fire as best as he could, taking 2 more hits. “Shields at 25%” Thomas updated “Dropping out of warp,” Thomas said as they pulled into the range of the Los Angeles. The Manticore class vessel was able to make quick work of the enemy fighters.
Cheon leaned back as he watched the Jem’Hadar try and retreat only to see them explode in a spectacular show of flames and exploding debris. As the last fight exploded the operations console once more changed to the Captain of the Los Angeles, “Commander, I hope you can explain why you are far from your ship,” the captain asked.
Cheon nodded to the captain. “I and the Lieutenant here are on a task to find help for our ship, which is currently stranded in a class five nebula about ten light-years from here,” he said as he sent the data to the Los Angeles’ operations officer.
The captain nodded, “I think it would be best for your runabout to dock in our main hangar so that we can take you back to your ship and offer what assistance that we can.”
“Thank you, Captain,” Cheon said as he looked over at Thomas. “Make your way to their hangar. So that we can return to our ship.”
Thomas limps the runabout into the hanger. That last blast from the Jem’hadar had all but crippled the impulse engines. “I am glad we were able to make it here just in time” Thomas comments to Cheon.
-Two Weeks Later-
After two weeks of hard work, the ship was starting to feel at home again with power recently restored to the saucer section. Rebecca even got a few hours of sleep in her quarters last night, and the bridge was back together more or less. Even the replicators were working again.
“We’re being hailed, ” Ensign Devon Grey announced, nearly jumping out of the operations position “It’s Commander Kyo.”
They had to be nearly on top of them while still in the nebula. “On Screen.”
Cheon grinned as he looked at Rebecca. “I hope that you held down the fort Captain,” he said as another person came into view.
“Commander Talon, I am the Captain of the USS Los Angeles, and I am sorry to hear about your Captain and my condolences on the loss. All I can say as of right now is that you have done a job well done on keeping your ship intact for the most part.”
“You are a sight for sore eyes Captain,” Rebecca said walked to the center of the bridge to stand between the helm and operations consoles. “Thank you sir.”
“With your permission, Commander Talon, I would like to send over my engineering crew to help in getting your ship back up and running and then escort you back to Federation space,” the Captain said as they looked at Rebecca. “I am certain that you would like your Chief Security and Tactical officer, as well as your helms officer,” the Captain stated as she looked over her shoulder at Cheon, who had a grin on his lips.
“Permission granted. We got replicators working a few days ago. Prepare for a dinner in their and your honor. Denver out.”