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Part of USS Altai (Archive): M3: The Edge of Yesterday

Like a Bee stinging a Lion

Bridge of Romero
January 2401
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Hayes had paced back and forth between the left and right railing on the bridge as he tried to think of a way out of this. As his thoughts sifted through the list of events that occurred, he remembered that Alton had scanned the alien vessel before they entered the nebula. “Mr. Jackson. When you scanned the vessel. Did you locate any comm badges or any humanoid life signs of our own? Or any life signs at all?” He asked. He also realized they never implemented the sensor modification that the Altai had to scan the Romero for the spiders. Supposedly they could have used the data from the tricorders to modify the Romero’s sensors to pick up the spiders but at this point, it didn’t matter. The sensors had recognized the ship, which meant that it was the reason the original crew went missing.

“Captain. I’m not reading any life signs or commbadges.” Alton reported.

“Well, that answers that,” Doctor Randall replied relief in his voice.  While he didn’t relish the death of the Romero crew he also didn’t like the idea of what an assault on that ship would mean.

Hayes sighed heavily, with a lack of care for what his crew may think. He was annoyed and frustrated with the situation. “Computer, show us a visual of the unknown vessel before we entered the nebula.” He requested and the view screen blinked to show the massive ship. It had a large bulbous center with what looked like many eyes that could be view ports, three lines that intersected and met in the middle, kind of a mouth perhaps, along with what looked like four legs, maybe more. It had several pillars in the center, sprouting up from the bulbous center, and looked like it had a tail. “I need everyone on your toes and to keep an eye on the sensors. They may be limited in this nebula but anything, and I mean anything, that comes on sensors, notify immediately. Even if it’s just a damn cloud of vapor.” He looked back at Alton. “Are you able to locate the proto-matter while we’re inside the nebula?”

Alton checked his scanner. “It’s very deep within the nebula, sir. Plus, I’m reading gravitational shears on our course. We go in, we’ll be in for a very dangerous journey, sir.”

“That ship doesn’t look friendly, ” Vogler commented manipulating the tactical station.  “The nebula is interfering with the targeting sensors and I’m having trouble generating a tactical readout of the ene… unknown ship.”

Hayes looked at Vogler. “Might as well call it what it is, Lieutenant. The ship’s sensors recognized it for one reason. This ship encountered it before, which means it was likely responsible for the disappearance of the original crew.” He took moment then smiled at her. “Do what you need to do to practice with manual targeting. I want you at your best.”

Vogler looked at Hayes, “We do.  I passed manual targeting during my certification, but barely. However, right now is not the time.”

Hayes then looked at Alton and Joran. “You two do your best to navigate around those shears. Get us in so we can get that proto-matter and get the hell out of here.”

He then raised his voice for everyone to hear. “The original crew must have sent this ship back to our galaxy for a reason. They were also likely the ones who powered the ship down. The spider mechs did not activate the drive until we restored power. So clearly they do not know how to operate our technology all that well. Nevertheless, the original crew didn’t want to give these mechs a chance to analyze and recreate the drive to make it back to our galaxy. So our main objective is to keep them away from this ship, keep them from getting their claws on this drive. So we must do everything we can to ensure that.” Hayes told them, as he thought ‘Even if it means ramming this ship directly into one of those shears or overloading the warp core.’

Hearing what the captain said, made Alton gulp. But if it meant that our galaxy was safe, then let’s do it!

Joran scanned the console in front of him taking in as much information as he could on the surrounding nebula and the gravitational shears before them, “I can keep us away from them in here without too many difficulties. Those shears will complicate it but we could use them to our advantage. They are larger than us and looking at the vessel I do not think it would be too maneuverable. Perhaps we could bait them in?”

“A grizzly bear is bigger than me, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to walk up to him and poke him in the eye and hope I can out-dodge him,” Vogler quipped. 

Joran smiled at that, “If you did that you wouldn’t have me piloting would you?”

“Even you have limits Mr. Tel,” Vogler observed.

Hayes smirked, “Now now, everyone. So, what exactly can we use to bait them in? Ideas?”

Alton turned in his chair to face the captain. “It seems that the only thing that attracts the spiders would be…a living person, sir.”

“I can simulate human biosigns,” Dr. Randall suggested, “But wouldn’t our lifesigns on the Romero also do the trick?”

Hayes listened but he already knew what would do the trick. Still, he was curious if his first officer was on the same page with him or not. “Ms. Fleming. What do you think we should do to lure them in?”

Fleming shook her head at the remark “These spiders respond to more than just lifesigns its their programming they look for any foreign signal hence why when we go near them they attack. They have been coded to attack invaders. So I think the plan would be bait them to run straight into the shear believing they are attacking us.”

“What about a probe?” Doctor Randall suggested.  “I can simulate the lifesigns, and I’m sure you can simulate whatever signal you need.”

“The simulated life signs would have to be mobile, sir.” Jackson looked at the captain. “The spiders might not be able or programmed to attack non-moving life signs, sir. Plus we should also find a way to simulate detectable weapons fire. Combined, that should surely attract their attention.”

“All sound like fantastic ideas,” said Hayes. “But I think everyone is forgetting something. As I had mentioned earlier, the original crew sent this ship back to our home galaxy for a reason. They sacrificed their chances of returning home by sending this ship away.” Hayes paused to let it sink for a moment before he continued. “They want the drive. It’s the only way that massive ship can get to our galaxy and cause all sorts of chaos.” Hayes pressed the intercom button to main engineering. “Hayes to Engineering. Would it be safe to bring that drive back online?”

“Without protomatter, it won’t work. So turning it on won’t really do anything,” Cooper answered.

“Just need it to be bait for our large friend out there. Mr. Erdian, think you can fake a protomatter signature with the drive?” Hayes asked.

“I’m not sure what it’ll do when I turn it on, but as Cooper said, it should be benign,” Jaso’s voice said over the comm. “I might be able to-” Pause. “It’s possible to put something together.” Jaso paused, “Let’s hope our friend is unintelligent enough to fall for it. In the meantime, I have a surprise. I rigged up some torpedoes with the residual EM radiation left over from the core purge. They can be launched as a sort of stun grenade or deployed and remotely detonated like an EMP depth charge. Whoever is running Tactical should see them registered as quantum torpedoes. There are 10 of them in total. I’ll run some scans on the drive and start working on the signature. Erdian out.” The comm clicked off.

Hayes began to chuckle with a shake of his head. Then he turned to look at Vogler. “Run some combat simulations on your station, and get yourself familiar with manual targeting. And if we happen to find a good ol’ nasty shear, then perhaps save some of those torpedoes and use them as mines. Whichever you feel is the best, but I still want you familiar with manual targeting, because I want to unload as many photon torpedoes we got into that bastard.”

“Got it Cap,” Vogler said already frantically entering commands into the terminal.  Not only was she not familiar with the tactical station it was several generations out of date, and an interface she had never worked before.

Hayes then turned and looked at Jackson and Tel. “Gentlemen. Find us a shear to sit next to.”

Joran smiled as he listened to a plan come together, “With pleasure sir.” He quickly pulled up the sensory feeds on one of his console displays and scanned through the date quickly. “Lieutenant Jackson, I am seeing what appears to be a rather intense gravitational shear approximately ten thousand kilometer’s from us on a bearing of 311-mark-47. It might do the trick can you confirm?”

Jackson checked his station, ran the numbers that Joran gave him, and after 30 seconds, replied. “Position confirmed, sir.”

Astrid Vogler looked up from the console, “Torpedos loaded, phasers charged, and I have a target lock… I think.”

“Just do your best, Lieutenant. It’s going to be as big as a barn, so hopefully you don’t miss with,” He teased since it was pretty massive, and missing with manual targeting would be interesting but wouldn’t blame her. They have plenty of torpedoes…

After waiting for what seemed like an hour, the view screen was changing perspective every ten seconds, giving them the best 360-degree view they could get. It was when the picture of their port-aft came up when they saw the nose of the ship emerging from a cloud of the nebula. Hayes pressed a button to lock the ship on the view screen. “Mr. Tel! Adjust our heading so our aft torpedo launcher is lined up!” Hayes then looked at Vogler. “Soon as that ship lines up with your crosshairs, fire away! Hopefully, its current momentum will keep it on course towards the shear while Jaso’s EM torpedoes do the trick.”

Joran smiled, “With pleasure.” His hands moved rapidly across the console and the image on the viewscreen began to shift as the ship began to line up. “Five seconds to optimal firing position.”

As the ship moved into position Vogler started firing phasers to aide her in targeting. The energy beams went wide at first as she frantically adjusted. Finally she dialed the weapons in and triumphantly she smiled and launched a full spread of torpedoes,  loaded and fired again.

“Torpedoes away Captain!” Vogler announced.

Jackson monitored the torpedoes as they exploded onto the ship. 

“Erdian to the Bridge,” came Jaso’s voice over the intercom, sounding slightly irritated. “I cracked the code for the protomatter signature. I think. The Skip Drive wasn’t very forthcoming in revealing its secrets, but I can be… persistently persuasive. Hopefully, we won’t need it any time soon.” Pause. “There will be a delay when you activate the signature. I have to manually tweak the bivalent frequencies to stay within certain parameters. I’ll watch for the signal request. Erdian out.” The comm clicked off.

“Roger that,” said Hayes as he watched that monstrosity of a ship continue to approach them. “Mr. Jackson, plot us away from the shear when the enemy ship gets close enough. Mr. Tel, be ready to move the ship so that we don’t get caught in the gravitational shear.” Hayes ordered and then looked at Vogler. “Keep firing those torpedoes, use up the ship’s quantity if you have to.” Which could be a full compliment or perhaps the former crew had used some earlier.

“Escape route plotted, and laid in, captain. Ready to engage at your command.” Jackson reported.

“Punch it, Mr. Tel,” Hayes ordered.

“With Pleasure!” Joran said as he adjusted the ship’s trajectory. With a press of a button, the impulse engines flared to live and the Romero rapidly moved away from the shear.

“Aye sir,” she replied as she loaded another spread and fired. This time they went wide flying harmlessly into the void. She swore not even attempting to conceal her frustration as she loaded another round. She fired again, this time several impacted the hull of the mech ship.

While they pulled away from the shear, Hayes watched the mech ship on the viewer continue to head towards that said shear, unable to pull away. It was only a matter of minutes until that shear began to rip the mech ship apart. But at the very last second, the mech ship began to pull away while a large chunk of it was torn right off of it. One would think with that massive structural damage, the ship would have catastrophic overloads and just erupt in various different sizes of explosions. But it didn’t. What it did do, however, was head back the way it came from, retreating.

Hayes took a deep breath and sighed heavily with relief before a smile crept over his face. “Good work people. Mr. Jackson, plot our course carefully so that Mr. Tel can get us to the protomatter.” Hayes looked at Vogler with a grin. “Good shooting. You can stand down from weapons.” Hayes then pressed the button on the chair. “Mr. Erdian. Well done with those torpedoes. Get your team ready to grab that protomatter. Hopefully, the transporters will work in here.”

Understood, we’ll put together a containment device,” came Jaso’s voice. “I’ll see what sort of radiation shielded containers we have in storage. Erdian out.” And the comms clicked off.

Jackson nodded. “Plotting a course, going to take the most direct route.” His fingers flew across the panel. “Course laid in, captain.”

“Proceed, Mr. Tel,” Hayes ordered.

Joran nodded, “Course locked in, we will be there momentarily.”

“Thank you sir,” Volger replied exhausted.   While she physically did very little the stress of the situation was incredible.  She was not at all comfortable with this station.  It wasn’t her place and she felt like she didn’t belong here. Like a kid sister following a much older sibling. 

As they began to get closer to the protomatter signature, something astonishing appears on screen, a rogue planet. With a slight curious frown on his face, he looked to Fleming. “Commander, as soon as we’re close enough for the sensors to work properly, I want a full scan of that planet.”

Astrid nodded and immediately began scanning what she found shocked her. “Uh Sir we have a habitable planet with a breathable atmosphere. It also looks like there are life signs and they’re human, but I can’t say 100% because sensors are spotty because of its location in the Nebula.”

She stopped for a minute and paused before looking back at the Captain. “That is also where the protomatter is at.” 

Hayes’ curious frown deepened then scratched his chin in thought. He then pressed the button on the chair, “Bridge to Engineering. Mr. Erdian, will the transporters work in this nebula?”

“I’m getting a lot of interference in the system. I wouldn’t recommend it unless I could somehow boost the signal, perhaps by getting as close as possible to the source.”

“Hazard Team can be ready in ten minutes with a shuttle sir,” Vogler offered hoping to get away from the tactical station.

Hayes looked at Vogler. “Do it,” then he looked up at the ceiling. “Mr. Erdian, your team is going with Vogler. Get ready to secure that protomatter.” Then he looked back at Vogler. “Find out if our sensors are not faulty. If those are human, I want to know.”

The shuttle touched down gently on the planet’s surface. After confirming the atmosphere was breathable, as sensors originally detected, the crew made their way out of the shuttle. Jaso opened up his tricorder, “I’m reading those life signs about two and a half kilometers northwest.” He turned to Vogler, “All right Lieutenant, this is your wheelhouse.”

“Ingraham and Grant scout ahead.   Korel you have the rear, I’ll take point.” Nodded to Jaso with her phaser rifle held in a down, but ready position. “You have the bead on those lifesigns lead the way.”

Jaso nodded acknowledgement, took the lead, and let the tricorder guide the way. He took stock of the phaser at his hip. It didn’t have the range of a rifle, but it was comforting nonetheless.  

Vogler studied the Tactical Eye Display which was tied to the tricorder on her belt feeding her information from lifesigns,  to power cell status on her rifle and environmental conditions. “All is clear for at least one klick ahead.”

The crew walked for the better part of twenty minutes and Vogler’s commbadge chirped, “Grant to Vogler, we see smoke up ahead. It looks like a village.

“Get go where you can observe the village and hold position,” Vogler whispered. 

Understood, Grant out.”

“We may not be welcomed,” Vogler said. “Who knows if the original crew are even alive. It could just be their kids who have never known anything but this place. That’s assuming the life signs are even human.”

“Agreed,” Jaso said with a nod. “If it is in fact the Romero crew, they may not want to come back. Thirty years is a long time to settle somewhere.” A few minutes more and the village came into view. “Either way, let’s be on our guard.

“I always am, but it’s good to know that’s where your mind is.” She approached a stand of trees where Grant and Ingraham were hiding. Kneeling next to Grant,  “Anything?”

“It’s quiet.  Saw a couple of kids and adults doing chores. They are human… at least they look human.”

Vogler looked over her shoulder at Jaso, “How do you want to play this? Strolling into town with armed soldiers will make an impression good or bad, nothing in between.  I say we establish sniper positions for cover and just you and I enter.  There’s danger in that, but with just two of us they will feel less threatened.”

Jaso nodded, “I like that idea. There wasn’t any civilization around, so they might mistake us for invaders and start shooting. Position your men accordingly.”

Vogler shrugged out of her pack. Opening it she withdrew an tablet sized PADD and a black box about the size of a fist.  Opening it there was a tiny drone.  Removing it from the box she switched on the four tiny propellers and tossed it skyward.

The village was surrounded by a defensive perimeter wall. The area directly around the parameter was cleared of trees and brush making an unseen approach impossible. “Who ever chose this site knew what they were doing,” Vogler commented as she watched the video feed from the drone.  I’ll have to put the snipers in the trees to see over the wall, and it will have to be a long shot. Any closer we risk exposure.”

“Long shots are better than nothing. It’ll have to do,” Jaso said.

“Grant, Korel come over here on the double. 

The two crewmen trotted over, “Yeah Boss,” Korel said as he approached.  

“See this tree?” Vogler said pointing to the screen,  “I need you to climb it. Grant you climb this one.  Between the two of you you should have complete view of the village. Get to it.”

“Aye ma’am,” they said in unison and they dissappeared into the forest going opposite directions.  

“The rest of you take up a fixed position in view of the main gate. Be prepared to provide covering fire. We could be coming in hot.”

The remaining Hazard Team members simply nodded. They had too much training and discipline to cheer or shout so close to the enemy. Vogler nodddd to Jaso, “Hazard team is in position.”  She piloted the drone back to their position and it dropped into her hand.  Putting everything away she slung her pack over her shoulders again and snapped the belts into place. 

“All right, let’s head out,” Jaso and Vogler began walking the last ten meters or so to the village. As the front gates came into sight, a man in a guard tower drew a phaser rifle on them.

“Halt! State your purpose!”

Jaso stopped and put his hands up in defense. “I’m Lieutenant Erdian and this is Lieutenant Vogler. We’re from Starfleet.”

The man lowered his weapon, but still kept it at the ready. “I have heard of this Star Fleet. Some of the older members tell stories about traveling the stars.”

“The members of the USS Romero? We’re looking for them.”

“Yes, I will take you to our elder, T’prith.” The man yelled out and the gate began to open.

“That kid isn’t older than twenty, but it’s good to know there are still Romero survivors.” Jaso said to Vogler, “I’m still not fully convinced it’s safe though.”

“I ain’t much older,” Volger commented dryly as she discreetly affixed an explosive to the gate.  If things went sideways, climbing the wall sounded like suicide. They would need to get out and get out quickly. 

“Nor am I Lieutenant. My point is there are generations here, people are settling and have families. It’s nice to see life goes on and hope didn’t all together die.”

The two of them were led deeper into the colony to a cabin, somewhat larger than the rest. The villager stopped at the door. “We’ve informed her of your arrival,” and opened the door.

Inside was a Vulcan woman, weaving a cloth. “You are from Starfleet,” she said plainly. “If you are here to rescue the survivors of the Romero, you are 30 years too late. The crew that remains have built lives here. They will not leave voluntarily.”

“We have no intentions of forcibly removing anyone,” Jaso replied. “It’s clear you’ve all found peace, the ultimate goal of anyone. Just knowing you’re still alive is comforting to Starfleet and your friends back home.” Pause. “We also detected a cache of protomatter. We arrived on the Romero-.

“You intend use the Skip Drive?” She raised an eyebrow. “Do not look so surprised. The captain told me about it on his deathbed. It is a very dangerous tool, one that is as volatile as the substance that powers it.”

“We intend to use it to get home, nothing more.”

“Very well. I will give you what you require to return home. I have been looking for a way to dispose of it.” The Vulcan woman set down her weaving and stood up. “Follow me.”

“We are prepared to help in anyway we can,” Volger added. “In whatever form that may be. Whether it’s clothing, blankets, and food, fusion generators, or taking those who want to join us back to the Federation.  Home.”

T’prith nodded, “We will make a list of supplies needed for the upcoming seasons. As for returning to the Federation, I anticipate few will. However, most will have letters to relatives to send back, myself included. The three of them reached the entrance to a bunker. “Insider you will find our remaining protomatter. If you were expecting a large cache, you will be disappointed. Over the decades, we have slowly been breaking it down. I will return with a list of supplies.”

“Understood, thank you,” Jaso replied. Jaso and Astrid went through the door and made their way down a set of stairs. He eyed the storage bunker and whistled, “This is impressive. With all the radiation shielding I’m surprised we could detect this.” He looked around, “She wasn’t kidding, it looks like there are only a few containers here.”

“Is that going to be enough?” Vogler asked skepticism in her voice.

“It should be enough for the Skip Drive. I think.” He looked around the storage area. “Honestly, I’m not sure. I don’t know much about the technology. Even after dismantling parts of the Skip Drive, there’s not much I learned about it.” Jaso pointed to some containers. “Grab any with protomatter and put them at the bottom of the stairs and we’ll evaluate how many we have.”

Doing as she was asked she picked on the containers up and carried them to the stairs. 

Jaso surveyed the collected containers. “It’s not much, but it it’ll have to do. Let’s grab them, meet up with T’prith, and get out of here.”

Vogler nodded, “I would like to know more about these people, but I fear our time is finite.”

The two made their way to T’prith’s cabin. When they entered, the Vulcan woman looked up, “Your timing is impeccable, I am finishing up the list. They are basic items, but necessary.” He handed Jaso a PADD, “It also includes messages from the villagers to loved ones. Please ensure they are received.”

“We will.” Jaso took the PADD and looked it over, “This shouldn’t take long to gather. Did any villagers wish to return?”

“Some did, there are five in total. I had them gather at the front gate and await your departure.”

The two made their way to the front gate. Jaso handed the PADD to Vogler, “Can you coordinate the supplies and transportation? I’m going to talk to the villagers.”

Vogler glanced at the PADD, “Yeah, that shouldn’t be a problem.” Tapping her combadge,  “Vogler to Hazard Team meet me at the main gates.  We have work to do.”

Jaso left Vogler and went to the group of villagers. He addressed and informed them that they will begin the logistics of how to get them aboard the Romero. And to follow further directions given by Lieutenant Vogler and the Hazard Team.

Stepping away from the group, Jaso tapped his combadge, “Erdian to Romero. We’re about wrapped up here. We retrieved the protomatter and found the remnants of the Romero crew. Five have chosen to return to the ship, we’ll need quarters established for them. Vogler is setting up the logistics. Erdian out,” and Jaso closed the channel.

“Vogler to Jaso,” Astrid’s voice crackled over the com. “I have the five returning with us tucked away on the shuttle.  We are replicating the last of the requested supplies. As short range as we are I think the transporters should work. Once you get here we should be ready for departure.”

“Given the amount of people needing to be moved, I agree. I’m on my way, Erdian out.” Jaso tapped his badge to close the channel. He quickly closed the distance to the shuttle and ducked inside. “All right Lieutenant, let’s get back to the Romero.”

Vogler nodded to the ream pilot, and the engines fired up. Standing next to Jaso she spoke, “This was… interesting.”

Captain’s Log, Supplemental

The away team returned from the rogue planet with enough protomatter to fuel our way back home. While my Chief Engineer handled things in engineering, Lieutenant Vogler informed me of the situation down at the planet. Unfortunately, with no sign of the Admiral who commandeered this ship and the drive that was supposed to have been a scrapped project, I had to protest.


Now that the colonists got what supplies they needed, one being a way to communicate, I insisted to this Elder, T’Prith, that they would be the only ones out here and I made it extremely clear, no one from Starfleet will ever be able to return nor would they be able to call for help. After I made my objections, T’Prith made it clear that they understood the consequences and had chosen to stay on this planet years ago. There was nothing I could say to persuade them to return home with us.


Plus, T’Prith made a valid point. As very uniquely rare as this planet is, it is also in a very uniquely rare position inside this nebula where gravimetrical shears at several au’s away, surround the planet in some form of a defensive perimeter. So, unless the mechanoid species have smaller vessels than the massive one we had encountered, the colonists are in no danger. Perhaps, in many…many years to come, they will be able to form their own ‘Starfleet’ in this galaxy and enforce the same principles and values of the Federation. But that is a very long time coming.


With that said, I bid T’Prith and their colonists farewell and ordered Lieutenant Erdian to activate the device. In matter of seconds, we have returned to our galaxy and were only mere light years away from where we left the Altai. After we informed the Altai that we had returned and ordered a rendezvous point, there was one last thing I needed to do before we return this ship to the nearest Starbase….

Hayes stepped out of the turbolift onto the corridor. It took him a second to recognize which direction was main engineering and thus, he made his way there promptly. As he stepped into main engineering, he saw Cooper, Anderson, and Erdian. With a brief nod to Cooper and Anderson, he made his way to Jaso. “Chief, how are things going down here?”

“As well as can be expected. She runs pretty well for a decades-old ship. At least, once I got a hold of her she did,” Jaso smirked. “With a few more tweaks, Starfleet should be able to put the Romero into service doing something.” He patted the bulkhead, “Or maybe reuse her for parts.” 

Hayes nodded as he listened to the report before he took a took breath. “Let’s talk in private,” Hayes told him before he began to head to the corridor, just outside of engineering. He paused for a moment before he looked directly into Jaso’s eyes. “There is no way that we will be able to claim that the drive never worked and that we never went anywhere, not unless we were to erase all the logs and I was to order everyone to keep it quiet.” Hayes paused for a second. “So the only course of action that I can see, is to find a way to convince Starfleet Command that this drive is unsafe.” Hayes paused one last time. “Find a way to make that drive unsafe. A number of uses make it inoperable and unrepairable, something…anything.”

Jaso shrugged, “The fuel that drives it is borderline illegal. Most scientists won’t touch the stuff, the sane ones anyway. But I can accommodate that.” He yelled across Engineering, “Cooper, Anderson! I need the room.” Confusion crossed both of their faces. “Leave the room, that’s an order.” The two of them began to file out. He lowered his voice as he spoke to Hayes, “You might not want to be in here for this.”

When he stood alone in Main Engineering, he listened to the hum of the warp core. When it completed two cycles, he spoke again, “Computer, lock down Main Engineering per Starfleet Hazardous Testing Protocol until otherwise authorized by Chief Engineer Erdian Jaso or Captain Jacob Hayes.”


Jaso carefully detached the Skip Drive from the warp core. He eyed it longingly, turning it over several times, and letting the light catch it. Jaso sighed, “It’s a shame to let something so wonderful be destroyed. I could’ve spent years slowly unlocking your secrets. But the universe isn’t ready for you yet.” 

He set the device on the testing table, “Computer, initiate test protocol Erdian-28,” Jaso began cycling through the tests that would eventually render the device inoperable. He didn’t know all of its mysteries, but enough to be deadly.

Hayes stared out of the viewport towards the listening post as the Altai made its way to the docking port, just to be masked by the velvet blanket of the holographic system. When he entered his ready room, the first request he had for the crew was to take a long-needed break, enjoy what facilities they had available, and relax. Then his final request was to not be disturbed for a while, as he was expecting a call. As that had passed, the desk lit up and a holographic display appeared to show that someone from command was on the line.

“As expected,” Hayes smirked. “Computer, accept transmission.”

“This report here, Captain. It’s quite…miraculous. A bit farfetched as well, since the device suddenly no longer works. Is it really that dangerous?”

Hayes turned to face the man on the screen. “As my Chief Engineer stated in his report, Admiral. The device is extremely dangerous. We were lucky to return at all.”

The man sighed. “Breakthrough of technology such as this would have been extraordinary. But at the cost of another man’s life, and the crew of the Romero, as well as almost losing you and your team, Command has chosen to delete all information in regard to this device. We want no one, not the Romulan Free State, not even the Klingons, to build another one such as this.”

Hayes nodded his head. “A very wise caution, sir.”

“Good luck out there, Captain. Hope the Breen don’t give you too much trouble.”

Hayes smiled. “Thank you, sir.” And from there, the screen blinked, the man’s face replaced with the logo of the UFP. Hayes sighed, his smile faded away as he turned back around to look at the listening post. Although, he wasn’t looking directly at it, more past it, as his thoughts turned to their primary mission. The observation of the Breen. Hopefully, no more shenanigans and ‘spiders’ or other multi-legged creatures get in the way of their mission.

One can only hope.


  • Unknown Author

    I just finished reading your story, and I must say, it left me utterly captivated from beginning to end. Your words transported me to a world brimming with emotions, vivid imagery, and compelling characters. The way you crafted the narrative with such finesse and attention to detail truly showcased your exceptional storytelling abilities. Keep writing, for your words have the power to inspire and enchant readers like me.

    June 6, 2023
  • Taking a while to catch up with so many stories having been written, but I've enjoyed reading this adventure from start to finish. I look forward to reading anything else you write in the future.

    July 8, 2023