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Part of USS Jaxartes: Deep Six

Part 6: Soufrière

USS Jaxartes
14th February 17:30
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In the end the Chief Engineer had decided against systematically dismantling and rebuilding one of the bridge work stations and had instead gone to take a nap.  But now several hours later he was back in the captains’ chair.

“I’m picking up a distress call, sir.” The Korean communications office seated behind him announced. “Sound only.”

“Let’s hear Ensign Cho.”

A male voice with a slightly French accent came over the bridge speaker system. “This is the freighter Soufrière requesting emergency assistance.  Our warp core has failed and we are running on backup only.”  There was a few second pause, before the message began again. “This is the freighter Soufrière requesting…” Bellbrooke signalled for Ensign to shut the message off.

“Can you get a fix on the location of that transmission?”

“Baring 030-145 relative.”

“Ensign Harris lay in a course warp 5.”

“Sir shouldn’t we beam up the Lieutenant first?” Cho stressed her concern, whilst attempting to make contact with the away team.  But she was unable to establish any sort of link.

_____

Down in Engineering; Ensign Dinari Lyambo noted the swift change in the warp engines.  The low gradual hum and throb of standby mode was replaced by a more rapid higher pitched sound of an impending jump to warp speed and the slow ripple of bright blue light quickened its journey inside the warp core.  He jumped out of his seat looking briefly across to Torf his Betazoid work colleague; who showed signs of being equally puzzled by the sudden change in circumstances.

“Engineering to bridge.”  Dinari paused a moment. “Why are we preparing to break orbit?”

The voice of the Chief Engineer came back in his usual authoritative tone. “We’ve picked up a distress call, and will be assisting a vessel in need.”

“Have you beamed Lieutenant Bolka back on board?” This time the ensign did raise his voice a little.

“We’ve been unable to contact the away team, so as I’m currently officer in charge of this vessel. I’ve made the decision to render assistance.”

“But..” That was as far as he got before Bellbrooke cut him short. “Ensign Lyamba.  I am in charge of this ship and unless you want to be relieved of your duties, you will follow orders.  Is that clear?”

“Sir, yes sir.” He basically shouted the last part.  Dinari knew that he could do enough to prevent the ship going to warp. It would take only a few seconds and a couple of hours to put right.  But then what good would that do him?  Kicked out of Starfleet for insubordination most likely.  So he just let events take there course and merely checked the systems to make sure everything was running correctly.

Even from inside Main Engineering without having to listen or watch for the signs; it was possible to feel the exact moment the ship transitioned from the almost sedate pace of impulse to racing beyond the speed of light.

_____

Having failed to make contact with anyone down on the planet’s surface; Ensign Cho thought about the instructions the Lieutenant had given her that morning and whether this was the sort of moment to carry them out; instead Cho did the one thing she hoped would at least let them know what was happening. She fed the information to the data storage on one of the ships on-board probes and launched it.

_____

18:50

Deep below the ocean nevertheless safely back on board the Sea Quest; both Jason and Joshua sat on a pair of fold up cots in the centre section of the sub.  Dressed only in shorts but with towels and a large blanket wrapped around each of them.  Jason had a hot mug of coffee clasped between both his hands.  Whilst the Betazoids’ own mug sat on the deck.

Together they had managed to straighten one twisted rudder and weld in place the top of a metal table to replace the other; which was probably lying on the ocean floor.  A section of wired had also needed splicing back together.  Plus three holes, most likely made by the creatures teeth where plugged on the outside using quick setting foam.

By the hatch leading to the control area stood the Japanese captain and Vulcan commander. “So captain this is your ship and your crew whose services we’ve been relying on.  Should we continue or head back to the Island and get the damaged fully fixed?” The question was put in a way Salan hoped would not put pressure on the other man’s shoulders.

“It will take half a day to get back and probably longer to get everything repaired, especially without the tracks we can’t get her up out of the water.”  Hachiro looked at both the men on the cotes and those seated in forward. “We would lose two to three days and answers may be lost in that time.  If my crew and yours are happy?  We will continue the search.”

Everyone else felt happy enough to continue so long as the Sea Quest’s controls able to function correctly.

_____

21:00

Somewhere out beyond the Y’Tec solar system; the USS Jaxartes came out of warp within visual range of the freighter Soufrière.  The other ship simple dwarfed the Raven class corvette.  Each of the cargo pods arranged in groups of three around the central core of the vessel where on their own bigger than the Jaxartes and this ship had nine of them.  Between the second and third set of pods, the freighters two main engines appeared dull and lifeless. So too did the cluster of impulse engines mounted at the rear.  Right at the front sat the bullet shaped section holding the bridge and living accommodation.

“Ensign Cho see if you can raise the Soufrière?” Bellbrooke asked the communications officer.

The Korean woman busied herself with the controls at her workstation trying every frequency and wave length at her disposal.  However her repeated messages remained unanswered.

“Ensign Harris. Take us in slow.”

Ensign Cho was cycling through the various frequencies for a second time when a high intensity burst of sound literally screech into her hear through the small bud she wore.  The ensign leaped up pulling the small device out and placed her hand over the effected ear.

The Chief spun around when he heard the commotion behind him. “Ensign Cho.” The shout was more a request for an explanation rather than a note of any sympathy.

“H high fre….oh damn.” Cho curst screwing up her face. “High fre frequency sound b burst, sir.”

“Get yourself into sick bay and make sure that ear of yours isn’t damaged.” His tone was a little softer though he still sounded more annoyed than sympathetic.

She’d only just left the bridge when four figures materialised in an arc at the front.  All Orion, three male and one female.  All armed.  The three males all had their weapons draw; from left to right the first and tallest of the men held an older model Federation Type 3 Phaser Rifle, next to him this individual held a Romulan style hand gun, whilst the last one carried a weapon that seemed to have an organic quality about it; the handle partly moulded to the shape of his fist.  The woman standing between her companions still had her own hand gun holstered.

“What is the meaning of this?” Bellbrooke jumped up out of the captain’s chair. “Lay down your weapons and surrender yourselves right now!”

For some the world seemed to slow down to an almost stop; for others it all happened in the blink of an eye.  The female Orion drew her gun pointed at the chiefs’ chest and fired.  Throughout the universe there are many types of weapon some more deadly than others; a few even make it on to the band list.  The Atomic Displacer was one such weapon.  It did not simply injure, maim or kill; it twisted, warped disfigured beyond belief.  Like a replicator could take individual atoms and turn them into almost anything a person required; the Displacer ripped them apart and reformed them at random. Even the person firing had no idea of the outcome; it was that unpredictable in its nature.

What had once been a man; dropped to the deck a pink gelatinous blob. Clearly alive a writhing in agony for several seconds before death finally came.

She looked Ensign Harris square in the eyes. “Now pretty boy. I suggest if you don’t want to end up as a nasty mess on the floor like your captain.  You only speak when spoken to. Clear?”

He nodded not wishing to look back behind him.  The squelching slopping sound was enough to twist his stomach; he didn’t what to see what had happened to the chief.

The Orion woman herself simple stepped around the mess, and sat down in the captain’s chair flattening out the front of her dress as she did; before opening up the ship wide communications. “This is Navaar Orci.  Any attempt to resist will be met swiftly and decisively.  I hope I make myself clear.” She switched off the comms again. “This was so easy, and to think this was the same Federation vessel my dear brother said had wreaked his ship.   She toyed with the Displacer in her hand. “Oh I do miss him.” Then Navaar put the gun back in its holster.