Part of USS Erigone: Into the Fire and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Where There’s Smoke

USS Erigone
May 11, 2400
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USS Erigone – Bridge – 1000

“Nothing in this sector…yet.”  Reid turned in her chair at the back of the bridge, “There are plenty of warp and impulse trails.”  She wondered why Starfleet had sent them out here in the first place.  Her CO hadn’t had much of an idea outside of a ‘start here and head towards there’ mission’.  They’d met for coffee in the morning.  He’d informed her of his plan to have her serve in the First Officer role given that they would probably be assigned a security officer soon.  The crew was filling up quickly, he’d noted.

Harris at in the center chair, frowning as she reported.  He had expected crowded shipping lanes or fleets of refugees careening through space, but the sector’s emptiness left much to be desired.  “Long-range sensors?”

Reid shook her head, “Nothing.  Some Starfleet ships in transit to their assigned sectors.  Communication’s traffic isn’t much better – pretty mundane.”  She returned her attention to her console and muttered, “A whole lotta nothing.”

The commander pushed himself out of his chair and walked towards the viewscreen, squinting at it as if it would help.  “Damned peculiar.”

A rude and familiar beep sounded from Prentice’s helm station and he nearly shouted, “Commander, we’re picking up a distorted distress call at the edge of this sector.”

Ambrose walked to stand behind him, “On speakers.”

Prentice nodded and went to work. As the speaker sputtered he worked to clean up the channel.  =^=We*zzzztt*……having….*zzzztt*  troub….*zzzztt*…injure…*zzzztt*…request…*zzzztt*…help….*zzzztt*=^=

Reid stood and shifted to the standing station behind her as she slid her fingers over the console to help Prentice’s transmission work.  “Boosting transmitter sensor…”

The message slowly clarified as Prentice adjusted variables on his console as Reid worked.  =^=We’ve come under attack.  We are having engine trouble!  Many injured!  We are requesting Federation or Starfleet help…we are asking for help!=^=

Harris returned to his chair, “Can you get us an intercept point?”  Prentice nodded as his fingers teased out the coordinates and displayed them on the viewscreen.  Ambrose glanced at the map, “We’re damned close.  Prentice, plot a course and engage.”  He stood and turned to Reid, “Doctor, you’re going to need to get the engineers up and ready for transport – divide them into medical and engineering teams.”  Reid didn’t wait to respond as she moved quickly through to the door on the lower part of the bridge to the lower decks.  The commander turned to his new operations chief, “Ops, inform Starfleet what we’ve found and send them everything we have so far.  You’re going to be our main communications center for this, so get what you need.”  He gave a back to Prentice, “Sound yellow alert.”  The klaxons rang through the ship as the lighting from deck to deck faded to a dull yellow along with the LCARS.

USS Erigone – Bridge – 1015

Prentice announced, “Arriving at location now.”  The Erigone flashed into the sector and the viewscreen showed an aging Miranda class starship at an awkward angle.  Burn marks across the hull were evident while the power seemed to be flickering.

Harris stood, “Open a channel.”  The tell-tale sound of an open channel sounded across the bridge.  “This is Commander Ambrose Harris, USS Erigone.  We received your distress call.  Please respond.”  He waited a moment.  Prentice tapped at his console and shook his head.

Reid spoke up as she had returned to her station, “Sensors reading no life signs on board…and significant damage to the ship.  Power is unstable and several decks have been sealed off as a result of…whatever attack happened here.”  She tapped further on her console and glanced at the screens reporting the additional readings, “The weapon readings are coming back as Romulan origin.  The starship itself…”  She accessed registry records, “…that’s a very old ship.  She was in Starfleet a long time ago but apparently sold or decommissioned.  It was owned by a Romulan official at some point.”  She turned in her chair, “There is a recent warp trail that entered and leaves this area that connects to whatever happened to that ship.”  She sent the sensors out searching long-range, “I’m not showing anybody out there at the moment.”

The CO groused, “I’ll say it again.  Damn peculiar.  Comms traffic?”  He turned to Phillips who sat at the operations station next to the helm.

“Nothing currently…but there is a curious latent communications signal coming from that ship.  As if…there is a location beacon or something.  Doctor Reid?” 

She had turned in her chair and was ahead of him, “Lieutenant Phillips is correct, sir.  Scans weren’t looking for this frequency – that’s why we missed it.” She retasked the sensors on the ship, “It’s a very specific frequency…and it would be powered to broadcast long distances.  Whatever this device was they thought they had deactivated it…but it’s still sending out a faint signal.  Won’t reach outside this sector, I think.”

Ambrose sighed, “I’m guessing we’re going to have to investigate, aren’t we.”  He turned to Reid, “Lead the medical team.  I’ll take the engineering crew to get the ship stabilized.  Computer, activate the ECH.”

Rachel McKee faded into view, “Please state the nature of the command emergency.”

He shook his head, “You have the conn as XO.  Myself, Reid, and the engineering detachment are headed over to investigate a damaged ship.”  She gave him a nod and sat in the center chair.  Harris felt some relief as he headed to the turbolift.

SS Pentax – Engineering – 1030

The transporter beam faded as Harris and the engineering crew snapped into action.  They were wearing oxygen masks as they broke out the tricorders and move from station to station.  The lights faded in and out as various klaxons rang throughout the ship while smoke drifted through the engine room. A fire or two was quickly put out by the engineering team.  Harris found his way to the warp core as one of the detachment was completing a scan, “Report?” He showed Ambrose the readings.  The core was stable but offline.  The officer reported they could get it online in a few minutes and the ship’s environmental controls would take over.  He nodded for the man to get to work.  He tapped his communication badge, “Harris to Erigone.”

The voice of Doctor Reid reached him, =^=Go ahead, Commander=^=

“We’ll have power restored in five.  I’m headed to the bridge.  Once we get life support restored, meet me there.”

=^=Understood.  Will do.  Erigone out=^=

The CO let his hand fall to the phaser at his side.  They hadn’t been able to read if there were any bodies and he wasn’t sure what they would find.  He left engineering and walked carefully through the corridors.  The lights continued to flicker and fade.  Phaser burn marks littered the hallway and he slowed to check on a few points.  The readings came back – Romulan blood.  The debris increased the closer he got to the turbolift.  He saw signs of higher settings of weapons fire.  Entire walls were collapsed into themselves.  Fires burned in blocked quarters while he tried to make sense of what had happened here.  He reached the turbolift a few minutes later with a startling discovery.  A Romulan lay crumpled near the button used to summon the elevator.  Ambrose knelt beside him and ran the tricorder over him.  He was dead but hadn’t been dead for long.  The tricorder estimated he’d died thirty minutes previous.  The blast wounds were excessive and the CO wondered who had led this attack.  What kind of brutality had been excised on those living and dead?

Suddenly the lights above flickered…and then stayed on as fresh air began to fill the corridor.  He could hear the various fire control systems kicking in down the hallway.  His tricorder scanned and came back clear.  He doffed his headgear and tapped the console for the turbolift.  It opened and he stepped in, keying in the bridge.

SS Pentax – Bridge – 1040

“They all died right before we arrived.”  Reid had beat him to the bridge and her engineering medics were examining the bodies on the bridge.  She sighed, “This was excessive…even for Romulans, Commander.”

Harris moved from station to station pulling what data he could, “They didn’t want them talking to us.  I think it was also a message.  Don’t come after us or we’ll do this to you.  They probably picked us up on long-range sensors and decided we might be a match for them.”  He found the operations station and went to work on accessing the ship’s files, “They tried to wiper the computer banks…but it looks like they didn’t quite make it.”

Reid listened as she continued to examine the bodies.  The one in the command chair had a more intricate uniform and she frowned.  Something…had moved?  She scanned him quickly, “Commander, this man is alive!”  Harris motioned one of the engineers to continue his work on the ops station as he bounded over the help her lower the Romulan male to the ground.

He coughed and grimaced in pain as his eyes opened to beheld his rescuers, “You are Starfleet…thank the heavens.”

Reid went to work on stabilizing him, motioning over two of her converted medics to help.  Harris knelt next to the man’s head, “Commander Ambrose Harris, USS Erigone.  What happened here?”  Reid finished scanning and shook her head.

The man on the floor noticed, “I am called Presa…a provincial representative.  I was unable to make the grand meeting.  I fled…hiding…until they found me.”  he coughed and winced at the pain crippling his body, “Your doctor cannot save me, Commander Harris.  You must know we understood the risk of trying to get away.  We knew this fate was probable.”  He sighed, “They killed everyone once they got onboard and saw you were coming.  They didn’t take any prisoners.  They murdered us all.”

Harris felt for the man, “I have to ask…there was a signal onboard…”

Presa growled through the pain, “We had a damn traitor in our midst. Kalia.  She planted a tracking device and we didn’t know to look for it…” he gestured to the front of the bridge, “She died by my hands for her treachery.  I don’t think they even looked for her…tells you how much they care.”  Reid glanced at the prone body of the Romulan woman.  Blood covered her body as well as pooled around it.  He looked to Reid and then to Harris, “I go knowing I served the Empire by trying to save us…and killing the one who tried to end me.  I go…knowing I have lived a life worth….”, those were his final words as his breath faded.  His eyes went listless, staring out into the abyss of death.

Doctor Reid checked his pulse, “Time of death 1047.  Damn it.”  She stood and looked at the bodies that littered the bridge, “I told you, Commander.  Blood and bodies.  This is just a sample of what we’re going to be dealing with.”

Ambrose nodded, “I hate it as much as you do, Doctor.  We need to make sure these folks are properly buried.”  Reid gave him a somber look and nodded.  She gave instructions to the engineering crew and they began the slow process of identifying each body in accordance with the ship’s records and then ensuring a photo was taken to ensure identification.  After all that was completed, Reid and Harris went about the process of vaporizing the bodies somberly.  Once that was completed they returned to the Erigone.

USS Erigone – Bridge – 1115

“Correct, sir.  The SS Pentax wouldn’t last another attack.  We did some quick and dirty repair work to get her functional again…but anything short of a Starbase dock isn’t going to extend her life.”  The lead engineer of their detachment team gave him a nod after completing his report and stepped to the side.

Harris sat back in his chair, “I hate funerals.”  He shook his head at the screen that showed the Miranda class ship.”We should do this right.”  He stood and spoke, “We commit this ship to the depths of space and humbly submit the bodies of the crew to the emptiness of space.  May their sacrifice have meaning in this great conflict.”  He motioned to his operations chief, “Mr. Phillips, engage the self-destruct.”  A nod and the bridge fell silent.  The engineering crew and the crew of the Erigone stood in silent repose as the countdown to the explosive baptism approached.

5…4…3…2…1…0.

The SS Pentax exploded and aided by additional charges set by the engineers was consumed by fire in near totality.  A moment more of silence held until Harris turned to the gathering, “Officers…dismissed.”

 

Comments

  • I’m living for this roaming mission for the Erigone. It has endless potential for the fleet action and I enjoyed the self-contained vignette of storytelling in this story. After this almost anything can happen, and you’ve given us a doozy of a mystery to start with. Here we have an out-of-date starship owned by a Romulan, sending a mystery comm signal? What more can I ask for. Harris’ journey through the ship was evocatively written. You crafted the prose effectively to escalate the tension with each step he took closer to the bridge. It was all the more nerve-wracking, given the ECH was left in command of the ship, since the whole crew was needed for the rescue mission. The mystery didn’t disappoint with such an explosive ending. Can’t wait for more to come.

    June 2, 2022