Part of USS Hathaway: Episode 5: M.A.R.S. Revisited and USS Hathaway: Season 1: The Santa Fe Chronicles

The Cost of Failure

USS Santa Fe, enroute to Starbase 211
August 1st, 2347
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Watching the situation unfold on the viewscreen before them, the concerned expressions of the Captain and her crew told all of the story. If they didn’t act quickly, Thesis and her entire crew would be lost in the vast ocean of space. It was a fate she would not consign her colleagues to.

“Dante,” sh’Elas called out to the conn officer, “close the distance between us and the Thesis. Noli; Prepare a high power tractor beam,” the Captain ordered of her people as she watched the Thesis spin out of control, headed for the planet of Noserfu II. Whilst a landing on the lush world would be a treat for any away team or even shore leave on any normal occasion, today was not one of those times.

“Approaching tractor beam range,” Dante called out as his hands danced across the console, his eyes never once losing sight of their prize.

Noli had finished activating and charging the tractor beam generators and within seconds, she was ready to lock on. Or so she thought. “Captain… I can’t get a lock on Thesis,” the Bajoran admitted somewhat frustratedly. Her fingers continued to skim the surface of her controls as she was joined by the XO. Both officers were at a loss to explain why the tractor beam couldn’t maintain a lock on the target.

Entering the bridge moments later, the burly Orion who commanded engineering looked more than a little twitchy as he took over at the aft engineering station. “It’s the MARS system. It’s preventing a lock on,” he barked between inputting his codes to activate the console, and beginning his adjustments. “We can see it, we know it is there, and the short range sensors know it is there, but the targeting sensors can’t pinpoint it in order to lock on,” his furrowed brow betrayed the look of frustration he was feeling.

“It’s ok guys,” sh’Elas waved away their concerns as she slouched back into her chair, “it’s not like we have people on that ship who are going to DIE if we fail.”

Several feet in front of her, Lieutenant Rawlings and his Cardassian counterpart at Ops slowly turned and locked eyes with one another, each wide eyed and taking a nervous gulp.

Behind the tactical rail, Noli and Desai-Scott were feeling the pressure as more than a few beads of sweat formed on their nervous brows until… success! “Got it!” the Bajoran grinned as she exchanged relieved glances with the XO. “If we direct an anti-graviton pulse from the main deflector, we should force the remaining systems on the Thesis to shut down and reset momentarily. We can then get our lock,” Noli declared, hands braced on the control board as she leant over and looked at the Andorian for the go ahead.

Without any attempt to turn and acknowledge her subordinates, the Captain gave her seal of approval. “Do it,” she declared forcefully.

After a few mere moments, yet further moments of peril for the crew of the Thesis, the Santa Fe emitted a pulse of cyan-coloured energy that made almost instantaneous contact with the hull of the friendly vessel. For those watching on the viewscreen of the Santa Fe, something resembling an electrical surge engulfed the hull of the Inquiry-class starship. Seconds later, the tractor beam emitted from the New Orleans-class locked on to the Thesis, gradually pulling the burning hulk of a vessel away from the perilous position it found itself in.

“Thesis is secured,”Noli declared with a relieved sigh, and a nod of acknowledgement shared with her Orion counterpart from engineering.

“Excellent work,” Tharia nodded, rising to her feet and turning just slightly to the Tactical chief. “Contact Thesis and inform them we’re sending over medical and engineering teams. We’ll tow them to Starbase Two-One-One until they are able to travel under their own power again,” the Andorian instructed of the tactician, before swiftly changing focus. “Dante, make preparations for warp tow and set a course for Two-One-One, best possible speed. Udal, Prida; get as many people as you can spare over to the Thesis. Number One, brief Zinn and have medical teams beam over.”

Her instructions were coming thick and fast, but they were decisive. They were the actions of someone comfortable in command. They were the actions of a natural leader. Much to the continued relief of the Counsellor.

As dutiful as ever, the crew responded diligently and set about their tasks. Watching as her people worked, a strange feeling swept over the Captain. It was an uncharacteristic warm feeling, a feeling totally unlike the landscape of her homeworld.

Leaning over to the Counsellor beside her, the Andorian’s antennae bobbed away and she let out a little smile. Chiera echoed the sentiments of the Captain with her own grin as she ran a hand through her blonde hair. “I know that look,” the Counsellor remarked with a whisper, “you’re starting to realise they’re your people now.”

Tharia nodded slowly. “I guess I never believed it before, but suddenly it seems like it, yes,” she grinned.

“Sometimes it takes a crisis to unite a crew,” the Counsellor advised, her words of wisdom ringing more than a little true today. “Thankfully for us, the crisis is a small one that you have successfully navigated. As for the Captain of the Thesis? Let’s hope she is weathering the storm as effectively…”

Tharia’s antennae stood upright as she thought of the strife her opposite number must have been facing. She had never had to face her command being in jeopardy the way Captain Ruas had today, nor could she possibly imagine how that would feel. It gave her an idea. Pushing herself out of the command chair, the blue-skinned Andorian looked down at the Betazoid. “Kindly inform Commander Desai-Scott that she is in command until I return. I’m travelling to the Thesis,” she instructed as she made a beeline for the turbo lift at the back of the bridge.

“Captain,” Lieutenant Noli called out from tactical mere seconds before the Captain entered the lift. “We’re receiving a communique from Admiral Hanson at Starfleet. He wants an update on the situation,” the Bajoran told as she looked across at the Andorian who had stopped halfway across the lifts threshold.

Letting out a sigh of frustration, the Captain nodded and reversed her trip back towards the front of the bridge. “I’ll take it in my ready room,” she told, crossing the few feet to her private office and waited for the doors to close behind her. Once alone inside, the Andorian pulled out a chair from behind her desk and took a seat. “Computer,” she spoke, “open communique with Admiral Hanson, Starfleet Intelligence.”

“Working… channel open.”

Waiting for the few seconds until the Admiral appeared, Tharia tapped her feet, unsure of what exactly she was supposed to tell him at this point in time. They had only just rescued the Thesis, and now she was supposed to give him an update?

Captain sh’Elas,” the voice of a well-groomed, brown haired Terran called out. Admiral Mitchell Hanson glared at the Andorian from across the airwaves.

“Admiral Hanson. A pleasure sir,” the Andorian smiled, nodding in greeting to her superior. “We’ve located the Thesis and have her under tractor ready to tow her to Starbase Two-One-One. We’ve got a basic understanding of the ship’s situation, and I’m dispatching relief teams to assist with repairs but I plan to meet with Captain Ruas and find out the particulars shortly,” the Andorian informed the man, as matter of factly as she could given the limited information she had.

Excellent,” Hanson nodded. “Now, assemble a security team to go with you and take over,” he continued.

Tharia’s antennae drooped, accompanying the confused expression on the younger woman’s face. “I’m not sure I understand sir. Why do I need to take a security team? What exactly do you want me to take over?” she quizzed the man further.

Thesis,” he told bluntly. “I want you to relieve Captain Ruas of command…