Part of USS Sarek (Archive): Can’t Pakled a Horse to Water

Can’t Pakled A Horse To Water – 3

USS Sarek, Bridge
Late February 2401
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Previously on USS Reliant:

Diplomatic Whales

 

“Captain’s Log, Stardate 78171.5

 

“Our distress call has been answered by the USS Reliant, a starship with far greater tactical capabilities than our own Sutherland-class research cruiser.  As soon as Captain Walker came to the Sarek’s defence, the Reliant took the brunt of the Pakled clumpship’s electroplasma-dampening weapons and they’ve proven capable of the challenge.  Reliant has lured the clumpship into the Corycus System’s asteroid belt.  This selfless diversion has empowered my crew to shift their focus to system repairs and protection of the gormaganders being hunted by the Pakleds.”

 

A cacophony of warning alarms and raised voices echoed throughout the main bridge of the USS Sarek.  Each huddle of conversation was more urgent than the next: evasive maneuvers, creative tactical strategies, repairs to the shields, power generation by the warp core failing.  None was more important than another.  And yet when Security Chief Kellin Rayco spoke up from the tactical station, everyone hushed for thirty seconds.  Everyone listened.

“The clumpship doesn’t have the maneuverability to maintain its chase of Reliant through the asteroid belt,” Kellin said.  The modulation in his voice betrayed what sounded like indecision between relief and concern by his own tactical assessment.  “The clumpship has taken hull damage and it’s turning back.  The Pakleds are reversing course to our position!”

A heartbeat later, every huddle of officers around the bridge resumed their tactical debates at a fever pitch.  The lilt of distress in their voices was even higher than before.

To Commander Tynleigh Ache, those bleating voices resonated in her hairless skull with all the composition of a symphony.  As an Osnullus, with her six eyes, ear canals and facial tentacles, she managed to devote fractions of her attention to monitor every escalating calamity around her.  Not even two months ago, Ache’s only priority would have been the shields and the phasers as chief security officer of the USS Olympic.  On this day, she had to prove herself.  She understood the time had come to prove why she had been Taes’ choice to replace Commander Elbon as the Sarek’s executive officer.

Given her career spent standing behind tactical consoles, Ache had found it impossible, literally impossible to remain seated in her command chair during battle.  Instead, Ache lurked over the flight control station.  Cellar Door, the exocomp ensign, maneuvered over the wide console on anti-gravs with all the finesse Ache expected to see in his piloting of the Sarek herself.

“Do you have it, ensign?  The flight vector?” Ache stridently asked.  Even though she deferred to Cellar Door’s response, two of Ache’s eyes meticulously watched every command he entered in the LCARS.  Impatiently, Ache explained, “While our shields are lowered for repairs, I want them at a relative bearing of zero mark one-eighty.”

Projecting from his audio speakers, Cellar Door’s voice expanded with pride when he said, “Initializing maneuvering thrusters!”

“Reverse angle,” Ache requested.  

She tilted her head back, turning most of her eyes on the viewscreen.  Projected over half of the screen, a visual sensor feed from the aft of the mission pod caught sight of the two gormaganders.  As Cellar Door rotated the Sarek’s relative bearing, the gormaganders loomed central in the holographic image.

Ache lowered her voice as if she might, somehow, disturb the gormaganders.

“Now,” Ache said, “reverse thrusters.”

Tapping at the flight controls with his LCARS stylus, Cellar Door let out an exasperated whistle.  After he tapped the controls twice more, he whispered back, “Engaging.”

Simultaneous to Ache’s coaching of Cellar Door, Ache had been monitoring the conversation bubbling around the port side science hub.  A disquiet in Captain Taes had, evidently, motivated her to vacate her command chair too.  Leaning in close to the gathering of science officers, Taes had braced her palms against the U-shaped work table.  Taes looked like she naturally fit in.  Back on the USS Gheryzan, the security department had often, in hushed whispers, said that a flock of teal shirts was to be called: a trembling of science officers.

“We can modify the dorsal phaser array to–” Lieutenant Yuulik was proposing with all the assuredness as if her word was creed.

“No, no, the calibration will take too long,” Science Chief Flavia interjected.  “It’s the deflector dish.  This is why we came here in the first place.  The magnetic instability in the Corycus star intensified solar winds.  Only the deflector dish is sufficiently adroit–“

“Your intelligence on Sutherland-class starships may be… incomplete, doctor,” Taes remarked to her science chief, who was a representative of the Romulan Free State rather than Starfleet.  Taes explained, “Each tractor emitter consists of four subspace field amplifiers.”

As a Romulan, Flavia’s facial expressions were always guarded, always performative.  However, even from the sunken flight control well, Ache could see a strange delight emerge from behind Flavia’s eyes.

“A tractor emitter, huh?” Flavia intoned.

Taes nodded, smiling back at her.  “Fewer calibration than you’d expect.”

“Captain!” Commander Ache shouted out.  Because the physiognomy of her six-lobed head had no mouth, the sound came from her nostrils and the mouths in her fingers.  Compared to the other humanoids among the bridge crew, only her own voice resounded with the consonate beauty of a chorus.

“We have secured the gormaganders in our mission pod,” Ache reported.

Taes boldly announced, “Excellent flying, Mister Door!”

The visual sensor video of the gormaganders, floating inside the mission pod, swiftly flashed out and a holographic magnification frame zoomed in to take its place on the viewscreen.  At extreme sensor magnification, the erratic flight of the Pakled clumpship could be seen dodging between the thicket of asteroids and fragments.  Unlike Cellar Door’s surgical manipulations of the CONN, the pilot of the clumpship may as well have been flying while inebriated for all the skill they were demonstrating.  

“The Pakleds have changed course again,” Kellin advised, frowning at his readouts from the tactical scanners.  “The Reliant is giving chase.”

Ache could hear Chief Engineer Nune wheezing as soon as the aft turbolift doors whooshed open.  From his heavy breathing, it was evident how taxing the warp core repairs were proving to be in the engine room.  As much as she sympathized with his condition, Ache couldn’t afford mercy.  With the lives of the crew and the gormaganders under threat, the crew couldn’t afford any from her.  Nune wasn’t even halfway to the main engineering station when Ache spun on him.

“Where’s my warp speed, lieutenant?” she demanded.

Nune shook his head.  To his credit, the fervor in Ache’s demeanour caused no change in his posture or bearing.  His response was reserved but confident.

“I can give you full impulse, commander,” Nune replied. “I can also give you an intact starship.  We’ve sufficiently throttled back the dysfunction cascade to avoid a warp core breach.”

“The Reliant is sacrificing herself for us,” Ache sternly reminded him.  “For us!  We must escape now or their sacrifice is for naught.”

Sliding himself into the seated engineering station, Nune tersely replied, “We’ve initiated a cold start of the saucer section’s warp core.  If we separate the saucer–“

“Lieutenant, the gormaganders are secured in the mission pod on our secondary hull.  We’re not leaving them behind.” Taes said.  Crossing the bridge swiftly, Taes came to stand beside Ache at the base of the command platform.

For all Ache’s bluster and shouting to coordinate the senior staff’s strategies, Taes needed none of that.  Ache could plainly see Taes exuded a captivating magnetism in her stillness.  The bridge crew were naturally drawn to her, even when she spoke softly or shared an incomplete thought.  Aboard the Sarek, Taes was like a sun and the bridge crew were her orbiting planets.  Just like the Corycus star, there was something else happening beneath the steady surface of Captain Taes.

“Commander Rayco, engage the metaphysic shields.  Mister Door, plot a course into the corona of Coycus,” Taes ordered.

“Let’s weaponize the sun!”

 


 

To Be Continued

 

in USS Reliant: Feeding off a Pakled