Part of USS Centaur: Mission 4: Road Not Taken and Bravo Fleet: The Stormbreaker Campaign

Chapter Six – Going Home

USS Centaur / Hercules
February 2400
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Bazial turned her head away from her station to look at Vakai. “Sir, the storm is getting worse.” And as if right on cue, the ship’s shields were suddenly struck by lightning. The deck lurched a little bit but enough to raise concerns.

Vakai sighed, “Get me Ryker.”

Comms Officer looked to Vakai. “Channel open, sir.”

“Colonel, we’re getting another communication from the Centaur.”

Harry nodded his head. “Send it.”

Then they see Vakai’s face on the forward monitors. “Commander Ryker. I’m sure you are aware but the storm is getting worse. What’s your status?”

James looked to Harry who looked back before Harry turned his attention back to the monitors. “Commander Vakai, this is Colonel Harry Ryker. Almost all of the damaged systems are back online, including our shields but our sublight engines are giving us some trouble.”

Vakai turned his head, someone in the background was speaking to him. Vakai then looked back at the main viewer. “Lieutenant Gatia just informed me that we could use the tractor beam to push your ship, or repel it, give it some momentum.”

James shook his head. “Gomez thought of that already. The moment this ship hits the Subspace Rift, it will cause friction and slow the ship down, eventually to a halt. They need those engines.”

Vakai nodded his head. “Understood. Tell Gomez to speed it up.”

Gomez then came right out of the right corner, now stepped onto the bridge, Maddison right behind her. “Won’t have to, Commander! Sublight engines are back online.” Suddenly the deck beneath them lurched a bit as a bolt of lightning struck the shields.

“We’re going to have a problem getting back to the Centaur though. I don’t think our transporters are going to work in this storm.” Said James.

Maddison grinned, “Lucky for us, a storm like this does not affect our transporter systems. At least our diagnostics indicated that it is functioning properly. All we need is your ship’s shield frequency and we can beam you right over without having to lower shields on either ship.”

Gomez and James looked at each other before they looked back at Maddison. “Seriously?” Gomez asked.

Maddison laughed. “Yeah, this is not really our technology but we’ve had a decade or so to study it and conduct safe experiments with certain test containers with organics and such.”

Gomez nodded her head. “Oh yeah, we use test containers like that too.”

Maddison smiled. “Yeah, and I’m not saying Asgard technology is superior or you know, perfect, but their tech really does have its perks.”

“Makes you wish they were still around?” James asked.

Maddison shrugged her shoulders. “Maybe. I mean, I have a lot of respect for them. But if they were still around, there is some technology that we wouldn’t have that certainly has saved us in a lot of situations. Nevertheless, it is a shame what happened to them. Cloning has a lot of pros to it but also some dangerous cons too and unfortunately they were unable to prevent degradation, the very fatal con of cloning.”

Gomez nodded her head, “I know Starfleet has experimented with cloning before, as well as other empires we’ve dealt with but not to an incredible extent. Well…except for the Dominion but that is a subject and a story that is too long in this current situation.”

The ship lurched once more and then they saw the Centaur get struck by a bolt as well, the shields absorbing it. Harry looked at them, “Ladies. James. I think it is time we get you two back home.”

Gomez made a gesture to question as to where she can input the Centaur’s shield frequency and Maddison pointed to a station. They both went over to it, Maddison guiding Gomez to the right menu before Gomez entered the frequency. Maddison then looked at them and smiled. “All right, I think we are set.”

Harry looked up at the monitors, and he can see that Vakai has been very patient. “Sorry for the wait Commander. Major, if you would please.”

“Yes, sir. Ashley, James. It was a pleasure working with you two and getting a glimpse of our future, even if it is a completely different future.” Maddison said as she gestured towards the front of the bridge where there was a more open space for them.

“It was an absolute thrill to work on your systems. It made me feel like I was working on an NX Class. Almost.” Said Gomez, a ship she had explained in detail to Maddison some time ago.

James looked to Harry after he stopped in the open space beside Gomez. “It was a pleasure to get to know and see how my ancestor has turned out.”

Harry laughed, “Good to know where my future is going. Say, do you know who your Harry Ryker married?”

James threw up his arms. “I have no idea and even if I did, who’s to say you’d marry her in your universe?”

Harry grinned. “Very true. I personally want to thank you both for helping us take care of our Wraith problem and for assisting us in our repairs. I assure you, my superiors are going to have a field day once they read my report.”

James smiled, “I can’t say the same for my superiors but this interaction will certainly raise some eyebrows.”

Harry nodded his head. “Stay safe out there, James. And will you hurry up and marry that woman already?”

James and Ashley looked at each other, smiling before they looked back at Harry. “Technically we already are married. Officially…well, suppose we can get that settled real quick.”

Harry laughed and shook his head. “All right then. Major, beam them over.”

Maddison started typing away at the station and within moments, Gomez and James Ryker were whisked away in a beam of light. In a matter of seconds, Vakai’s face lit up for a split second. “All right then Hercules, I got my people back. I wish you the best of luck on your endeavors.”

Harry smiled at the monitors. “You too, Commander. Hercules out.” With that, the transmission was terminated, and monitors returned to their normal display.

Harry then looked over to Hayes. “All right then, Lieutenant. Bring us around, full one eighty and take us through the subspace rift. Bring our shields to maximum.” Harry then pressed the button on his arm rest. “All hands, brace for turbulence.”

Vakai stood there at the center of the Bridge and watched the strange vessel go through the subspace rift. In seconds, the vessel was gone. Vakai sighed, content and relieved that they finally got this over with and can now begin to close the rift. “Have they gone completely through?”

Bazial looked from her station. “Sensors are having trouble with the increased storm activity but I believe that they have cleared.”

Vakai nodded his head. “All right folks. Let’s get this thing closed. Gatia, is the secondary deflector dish ready to go?”

“Yes, sir. All the adjustments have been made.” Said Gatia.

“You may proceed.” Said Vakai.

Gatia entered a few commands and when she was ready she announced, “Firing now.” With a single press of the button, they witnessed a beam of blue light coming out from beneath the view screen, and it made contact with the subspace rift.

“Sensors are showing a change. Reading a ninety five percent in closure. Ninety. Eight five percent.” Bazial continued until Gomez interrupted over the intercom at fifty percent.

“Captain, we’re reading a massive drain in main power. We’re going to have to shut down the beam in a few minutes.” Said Gomez.

“But we don’t have the subspace rift closed yet. If we stop, it could restore to its previous state. We cannot interrupt the process.” As Bazial said that, the ship lurched a bit as the shields were struck once again by a bolt of lightning.

“I’ll see what I can do. Think I will remodulate the shields to absorb the lightning strikes, perhaps even attract them but we will have to be careful and do this quickly or we risk shorting out the deflector dish.” Said Gomez.

Ryker smiled, “We still have our primary. What does it matter if we lose the secondary?”

Vakai glanced at Ryker for a moment before he looked up at the ceiling. “Do what you can, Lieutenant. We need that rift closed.”

“Re-modulating the shields now!” Moments after Gomez said that, the ship began to lurch more as more bolts of lightning made contact with the shields. As each bolt that struck the shields, the lights emanating from the windows and other light sources began to glow more brightly and the beam from the secondary deflector grew more intense with each strike.

“Subspace rift at twenty-five percent and closing!” Said Bazial. “The extra power is giving us the boost we need to shut it, Commander!”

“I’m getting warnings across the board. Sustaining this beam with this extra power is going to overload the deflector.” Reported Gomez.

“Try to level it out, Gomez. We can’t lose it just yet.” Said Vakai as he watched the rift before them get smaller and smaller by the second.

“Ten percent!” Reported Bazial.

“I’m getting warnings on my board too. The deflector is going to overload!” Reported Gatia.

“Five percent!”

“We’re going to lose the deflector before we close it but I have an idea. Everyone hang on!” Soon after Gomez said it, Vakai barely got his rear end into his seat when the ship lurched harder than before and those who were paying attention to the view screen would see a massive ball at the tail end of the beam. Moment that tail end of the beam made contact with what was left of the rift, it completely vanished from space.

Bazial tapped on her screens before she looked over to Vakai. “All sensor readings have been confirmed. The rift is closed. The storm is beginning to dissipate in this area.”

Vakai sighed and sat up straight in his seat, not wanting to look unprofessional while being slouched. “Damage report.”

“As expected. The secondary dish has overloaded. It’s completely destroyed.” Reported Gatia.

“Maybe not completely but it certainly is out of commission. Sure the boys at the yards are going to love us. They just installed it.” Said Gomez over the intercom.

“Sir, incoming transmission from Captain Carter.” Said the Comms.

“Let’s hear it.” Vakai ordered.

Centaur. I don’t know what you did, closed the rift I hope, because the storm over here is beginning to lighten up finally. We nearly lost a transport, an empty one at that, but otherwise everyone else is doing just fine. We are still detecting a large storm heading this way but we will have the colony completely evacuated and relocated before it arrives. Good work, crew! We’re done here. Hang around a while longer until Command says otherwise. Carter out.”

“Lieutenant, start analyzing your data. Closing that rift shouldn’t have been that difficult. I can bet other vessels are having no issues like ours in closing their rifts.” Said Ryker.

“On it, sir.” Bazial acknowledged and went to work.

Vakai looked at the man. “What are you thinking?”

Ryker shrugged his shoulders. “Probably nothing. But maybe the extent of what the rift was connected to. You know…almost four hundred years into the past…to a completely different universe from our own…perhaps being a doorway made it more difficult to close than others. Or perhaps it was a stubborn, spoiled brat that just didn’t want to go into time out.”

Vakai chuckled. “Suppose we shall see.”