Part of USS Edinburgh: Mission 2 – Wings of a Phoenix and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Eternal Sunshine

USS Edinburgh
July 1, 2400
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USS Edinburgh- The Castle (bridge) – 0905

Harris stood in the center of the bridge as Lieuentant Thasaz oriented the scanners and sensors both on the ship and the additional sensor utilities installed on the three modules built into the USS Edinburgh.  She signaled to The Tower stations behind tactical that the data was going to be coming their way.  It took a moment as she adjusted the sensors as the data flow began but eventually she was satisfied enough to turn to her CO, “We’re getting a full scan underway and should have a full picture by 1100.”  The Romulan tapped at the console and Harris walked to stand behind her as she spoke, “It’s looking more and more like we’re going to lose the system, sir.”  She pointed at the readings coming off the sun, “There is more turbulence in those data points than there was the last scan the Potena did – and it’s moving at an abnormal speed that’s not usual with most supernovas or suns that die out.”  She tapped at the console again, her screen shifting, “We did a significant amount of research on my former team.  I’ve been feeding them this data and they’re suggesting we run a probe as close as we can get to the sun – some of the data we need isn’t within range of standard or even our extended sensors.”

The CO looked at the data and concurred with her, “I’d set up a spread of three probes.  Work with engineering to see what additional shielding you can find to keep it alive as long as you can.”  She responded with an ‘Aye, sir’ and he returned to his chair, puzzling.  “Prentice, hail the Potena.”  The chief helm officer tapped away and soon the image of Captain Wilson appeared on the Grissom class bridge.

=^=Commander Harris, a pleasure to meet you.  Captain Jack Wilson, USS Potena.  We’ve sent you what data we’ve managed to get…but I’m not coming up with much beyond something something sabotage on this sun.=^=  He cracked a quiet smile.

Harris returned the mild smile, “Our science team is looking at a similar scenario – which begs the question – who did this?  When you got into the system there wasn’t anybody here?”

=^=We’ve started going back to our sensor readings when we dropped into the system and nothing unusual is showing up.  The trouble is whatever it was hadn’t started before we arrived.  It started a few days after we got here.  And before you ask, yes.  We checked everything on our end to see if somehow we did this…but nothing’s coming back showing the Potena with a causal relationship to the situation=^=

Ambrose rubbed his chin, “Damn peculiar.”  He sat back in his chair as Wilson conferred with his crew.  A moment passed until the other captain spoke up.

=^=There is something.  My chief of science has had some of our crew working on something…they picked up a…well, the best way they can describe is a ‘something’ out there.  We’re sending you the scans now.=^=

Harris stood from his chair and walked back to Thasaz who pulled up the data on her console.  She dug into the taxonomy of the data and separated out the signals while shifting some of the sensors from the sun to the new target.  She worked at it a moment and then sat back, her mouth wide open, “That…Commander…is a ship of some kind.  Not Federation…and not Klingon.”  He went to order Red Alert but she stopped him by pointing at the screen, “Pardon me sir but hold that thought. Most Romulan ships cannot be detected because they’ve streamlined the power systems from…you would say head to tail.  They’ve learned from the Klingon’s past mistakes and have made sure of this in every Warbird – any large ship you see out there.”  She pointed to a data point, “This isn’t a large ship…and it’s not traditionally built for a cloak – otherwise we wouldn’t have found it.”  She turned to the screen and Captain Wilson, “Whatever this is…it’s not big…and it’s not moving either.”

Ambrose turned to Wilson, “We’re gonna try and shake her loose from her cloak.  If she appears – don’t fire.  Raise your shields in case we wake up some poor Romulan scout pilot.”  Wilson turned to his bridge and cut the channel.  He turned back to his science chief, “Can we do something like what we did with the station?  Shock the system and kick that cloak to the curb?”

“An interesting metaphor, Commander,” she mused.  “I shall see about, ‘kicking it to the curb’.”

He thanked her and returned to his chair.  He worked through several department reports and updates on the ongoing sensor work with the sun on his PADD while Thasaz worked on her end until she spoke up, “Commander, I have approximated the required beam frequency from the deflector and the power level required.”

The CO turned to Ensign Dalman at tactical, “Ensign, let’s give it a shot.”  The officer in place of Kondo input the parameters from science and tapped the command function.  The deflector streamed out across space and impacted…something.  It shimmered for a moment and then was gone…and then shimmered again until it took shape.  It was a medium-sized Romulan scout ship that would have been blown apart by two torpedo blasts.

Thasaz spoke up, “Cloak disabled.  Its shields are also down.  I am detecting no life signs at this time.”  She turned to face her CO, “Permission to lead an away team with a security escort.”

“Granted. Take Ensign Webb and Ensign Palmiotto with you.  Have the transporter room have a lock on all three of you at all times…and open a hailing frequency when you get over there.”  She left the bridge with her two security officers as Harris returned his attention to the screen.  He looked closer as he waited for word from his Chief of Science, “Ensign Dalman, zoom in on the ship.  More towards the front.”  The screen shifted and a grid soon overlaid as Harris stood and moved closer to the screen, “Zoom in on row D, column 5.”  The tactical officer did so and Harris scoffed, “That…mad bastard.  Take a shot of that and send it to our science chief once she’s over there.”  He returned to his seat, “Reset magnification.”

Prentice turned to him, “Sir, the name of the ship…?”  His CO nodded.  “What…,” he was interrupted and explained, “Lieutenant Thasaz  hailing us now, sir.”  He gestured to the screen and the Romulan Science Chief appeared, an annoyed and shocked look on her face.

=^=Commander…the name of this ship is Patra’s Revenge?  How…what?=^=  She was speechless and Harris shook his head, agreeing with her.

“I think he knew this place was precious to us…and that they were our friends.  We figured with him reported dead but away, his fleet dispersed, and under new management…he couldn’t throw anything at them.”  He rubbed his chin, “I keep saying this…but this is damned peculiar.  What do you have other there?”

She was moving about the cockpit as the two security officers scanned the cabin, =^=It’s all on autopilot, sir.  Everything is automated – Chief would have a field day.”  She went back to reading the consoles and screens while Harris wished they’d killed Patra when they had the chance.  How had he done this?  How had he…

=^=Well, that’s interesting=^=  She looked up to the viewer, =^=According to this and what the security team is reading, this ship is carrying a modified Romulan deflector ray…built into the entirety of this ship.  It’s on a schedule of some kind…and you can guess where it’s targeted.”

“There are days when I wish hadn’t made a rule about cursing on the bridge.  This is one of those days.”  He returned his attention to the screen, “Can you tell when the next scheduled blast is for?”

She was ahead of him and examining the consoles, afraid to touch anything less she set it off or even alert the ship to self-destruct. =^=Looks like…fifteen minutes.  And it’s the last blast.  Given what the Potena has been observing, this last blast would accelerate whatever’s happening to the sun.=^=

The officers on the bridge turned to their CO at the center of the bridge.  He took a few deep breaths, “Chances of stopping it?”

A shake of the head =^=I don’t know enough about how this was all done to even begin.  He was a dangerous man under normal circumstances…I don’t want to think how he would have this thing act if we started pushing buttons.  The sensor sweeps this ship is doing… are alarmingly specific.=^=  She leaned into the screen, =^=I’m would be worried if we targeted this thing with weapons systems it’s going to pick that up  – it would set off the blast with our help. And we don’t have time to figure that out, Commander=^=

He thought for a moment longer.  Ensign Dalman spoke up from the tactical station behind him, “Sir, what would the effect of such a beam be on the ship?  With shields raised?”

Harris looked back at the officer and snapped his fingers in appreciation, “Why this engineer didn’t ask that question, we’ll never know…but that is the question, Ensign Dalman.”  He turned to Thasaz, “Thoughts?”

She spent a moment thinking of it, =^=I’m not sure we have other options.  The power expended is enough to set the final steps of a sun going supernova in motion…if we disable all systems aside from shields, life support, and inertial dampeners…throw everything into shields…we’ve got a chance.  We can’t pull enough people off the planet in fifteen minutes to save them all…even with Potena’s assistance.=^=

Harris grumbled, “Another moment where I’d like to curse Patra’s existence but will have to wait until I’m in my ready room.  Even in defeat, he’s taunting us.  Gather what data you can without touching anything and get back to us.  Harris out.”

He turned to his crew, “Clear the bridge except for needed personnel.”  He tapped the console on his chair and a shipwide channel opened as the officers shifted stations around him.  “Attention crew of the Eddie…this is your Commander.  We’ve got a situation that needs resolving – a scout ship is programmed to fire one last blast at the sun to set into motion the destruction of our friends below…We don’t have time to try and disable it…and firing at it will put the plan in motion prematurely.  There is only one option available to us…and that is to place our ship in the way of the blast with shields raised and most everything disabled.”  

He paused for a moment, “This is not what I had planned for us today…and I’m sure it wasn’t on your list of things you wanted to experience.  The trouble is that badge we wear…those rank pips that sit on our collar.  This is the job – to stand in the breach for those that cannot stand in it themselves.  Today, we’re going to be doing that for real – in order to protect a people we just met in a system we’ve saved once already.”  He chewed on his lower lip before continuing, “The Federation entrusts its ships to us as command and crew – to be the hands and feet of their ideals.  You are a part of that deal, that agreement.  We all are.”  He looked around the bridge, “You know your duties.  You know your job.  You know what you must do.  The Federation trusts you…and so do I.  So let’s get to work.”  He spoke with a little more force for the next part,  “All non-essential crew are to report to crash stations.  All hands are to be in brace alert and secure for crash stations.  Harris out.”

He sighed and returned to his chair, “Mr. Prentice – put us in the way of the scout ship’s blast.  Activate shields and engage power modifications.”  The lights flickered to a lower level as the changes went into effect across the ship and the power to the shields increased.  Across the 18 decks crew strapped in, held on, and prepared for whatever was coming next.  They had found comfort in their CO’s words, and a challenge within them as well.  Most of the cadet crew found themselves reflecting on final words from professors that held the same message.  They had come aboard the Edinburgh believing in what they were doing.  Now it would be tested once more.

Prentice secured his belt as he maneuvered the Eddie into place, “Away team has returned.  Lieutenant Thasaz is headed our way.  Estimated time to firing…four minutes.”

Harris secured his belt and glanced around the bridge to see that everyone else was buckled into place.  The science chief entered the bridge and took her station, securing the belt around her tightly.  The sound of each station’s beeping was the only thing the bridge crew heard.  Each was reflecting on the moments left and what might still be to come.  Prentice announced, “Estimated time to firing…two minutes.”

The moments ticked by as Harris ran through data on his chair arm console, trying to find something…anything that would give them another way out of this situation.  He had to face the possibility that the blast would destroy the Edinburgh but save the planet.  He did not want to imagine what the crew still on the planet would experience if that was to be their fate.

Prentice spoke up, “Estimated time to firing…one minute.”

The crew on the bridge sat up in their chairs as Harris did his best to breathe.  Prentice announced thirty seconds.  

Twenty seconds.

Ten seconds.

5.

3.

2.

The bridge lights flickered as the deflector on the shuttle fired directly at the top of the Edinburgh – Prentice had positioned them so the blast would hit the center point of the shields.  The rumbling of the energy slamming into the ship increased as the deck below them shook slowly at first but then became more jarring as the weapon began to roar.  Prentice worked to keep them in position through maneuvering thrusters and impulse.  “Shields at 80%!”  The deck shuddered now as the ship took the brunt of the past.  Lights no longer flickered, they sparked as the shields pulled the power they had put in reserve and threw it into the protection of the ship.  “Shields at 70%!”

Suddenly the lights above and around them exploded one by one in grand fashion as Prentice reported, “The blast is overpowering our power support and EPS conduits systems!  We’re taking in more than we shou…”  The turbolift door exploded outwards and across the bridge in pieces as the turbolift itself slammed into the bridge, supercharged and out of control – a fire now burned on the inside of the lift, filling the shaking and shuddering bridge with smoke.  Prentice gripped his console, his face sweat-filled, his body aching from the pounding it was taking being jostled around in the moment.  “Shields at 60%!”

Harris growled.  They’d been down this road…but they had friends come to save them on that path.  There were no friends around this time…the Eddie and her crew would have to do this alone.  The science stations in The Tower all exploded in a hail of smashed consoles, screens, and busted chairs as fires littered the floor.  Prentice grunted, “Shields at 40%!”  The bridge pitched and yawed now as the Chief Helm Officer shouted in frustration as he fought to keep the Edinburgh in place as the shield against the blast.  Further consoles exploded as the deck’s vibration had become a tempest of an earthquake and the crew held on as best as they could.  Harris could see Thasaz’s station smoking and her strapped-in body not moving.  He didn’t dare move or ask anyone else to move.  They would have been smashed up against the walls or the ceiling…and died where they stood.  Prentice wiped wet blood off his face – the left part of his console had blown, burning his face in the process.  “Shields at 25%!  Power from the scout is decreasing slowly!”

The viewscreen had been sparking for most of the time and suddenly flames began to appear at the bottom of the screen as the massive power overload was searing through the conduits and systems.  Harris shouted, “Cover your fac…”

The viewscreen exploded.

The boom rippled through the bridge before the glass, debris, and fire flew from the screen, skittering across the skin and body of the bridge crew.  A fire erupted in the smoking hulk where the screen had sat.  The world was full of sound, shouts, and fury as the bridge went to ruin.

Moments passed.

Prentice lay in his seat belt, his hands dripping blood.  Silence held on the bridge as the lights flickered…and then died.  With precision, the emergency floods clicked on…and into the fluttering eyes of Ambrose Harris as he picked himself off the floor, his body aching from being thrown to the ground from his command chair.  It was a slow process as he heaved himself up and nearly fell down again.  He glanced down and gasped.  His good leg had a shard of viewscreen pierced through it.  “Shit.”  Harris looked around the bridge, “Anybody hear my voice…?”

A groan or two responded.  He heaved himself over to the space where his command chair had sat and slammed open the medical kit space under the tactical station.  “Goddamn viewscreen.”  He opened the kit and readied his hands on the glass.  “This is gonna hurt like a son of a…”, and he pulled slowly but surely cursing everyone from his very alive mother to his very dead father to Patra to the Klingons and back again.  The glass was out and the blood began to flow as he quickly sprayed hardening glue into the injury, grimacing and grunting at the pain…but the blood slowed…and then stopped.  He leaned back against the tactical station, “Anybody out there?”  He stood, carefully.  He leaned on his mechanical leg and listened.  The groans were louder as he walked to where Prentice lay in his chair.  His hands had taken the brunt of it and the CO went about wrapping them in gauze as he tried to check the officer for other injuries.  His face was wet with blood, but Harris couldn’t find the source – the wounds must have cauterized after the blast.  He checked his pulse using his hand.  It was thready, but it was there.

Thasaz startled awake and glanced around, the adrenaline still running through her body.  She slapped at the belt and it released.  Her right hand and lower arm had been scored with fire, her uniform stuck sickly to the skin.  She knew the pain was coming.  She had to move quickly.  The Romulan pushed herself out of her chair and grasped onto the railing, seeing Commander Harris move away from Prentice. “Commander.”

He looked and approached with the medical kit.  She waved him off, but he dosed her with some hypospray pain killers which she didn’t protest.  He looked around the ruined bridge and then to her, “This may seem like a terrible time to ask…but report?”

She chuckled, “Ship’s torn to hell, sir.”  She looked around for a functioning console and found one down the way.  Harris slowly and painfully moved to the unmoving bodies with his med kit and began to work.  Thasaz tapped at the console with her one functioning hand and groaned at what she was seeing, “Main power is offline…auxiliary is offline…we’re barely hanging on with emergency power.  Those batteries will go dead in an hour.”  She checked one last thing, “As far as the few functioning sensors we have available…the scout ship is out of power and disabled…and the sun’s condition is unchanged.”  She fell into the chair, “At least there’s something.”

Harris felt the tears in his eyes, “I’ve got an officer down, Lieutenant.”  She grunted as she stood and ambled over, leaning on Harris.

She shook her head mournfully, “Ensign Sebastian Wolfe, science.  One of mine.  He was manning the station next to me.  Goddamn it.”  She inched her way across the bridge nudging officers awake and they began to pick themselves up.  

Harris pushed his sadness away for a moment, “We’re dead in the water.  I need volunteers to get down to engineering.”  A few raised their hands and numbly headed to the Jefferies tube.  

Thasaz haltingly returned to the working station, “Potena is hailing…communications still works. Audio only…obviously.”

=^=Commander Harris, please respond.  Repeat…Commander Harris, please respond.=^=

He spoke up, “Harris here, Captain.  We could use some help over here.”

=^=Understood.  I am glad to at least hear your voice…you took a helluva pounding.  I’m sending the kitchen sink, Commander Harris…I’ve alerted Starfleet to our situation.  Wilson out.=^=

Harris continued to struggle from body to body.  The rest were alive and slowly getting up.  Suddenly the bridge was full of transporter beams as a gaggle of officers from the Potena appeared, medical and engineering kits in hand.  He pointed to the Jefferies tube, “Two of ours went that way.”  Three engineers went in that direction while the remaining ten went to work on the injured.  

An officer stepped up to the CO, “Sir, I need to get you to our sickbay…that leg…and the…”

He pulled himself up, grimacing as the pain stabbed and shot hot all over him, and looked the officer right in the eye, “Lieutenant – I stay on the Eddie.  Get me to my sickbay or work on me here…but I am not leaving this ship.”

She contemplated knocking him out with a hypospray but resisted the urge.  He and his crew had just thrown themselves against the power of a sun.  And lived.  “If you’ll sit down, I can work on your leg and figure out the rest, sir.”  Harris sat down.