“So tell me Ensign. Just how did we get back to Farpoint before we realized this?” Sky was baffled, he’d been given his first command less than a month ago. Their first mission had even been coopted for this initiative. So just how-
“Sir, I’m not sure. Somehow we take a hit as big as that and still don’t lose anybody.” Desiree Rios looked on with concern. “The Marduk is a trooper though. The shipyard says they’ll have it buffed out by the end of the week. The worker bee that caused it, however, is already back in action, being assigned to the station itself with a new name, the denter.”
The Marduk, a small Phoenix craft, was brand new two months ago. Now she sported a dent the size of a worker bee on her front saucer where said worker bee had impacted upon the Marduk’s reversion from warp in the debris fields of a battle. Apparently the bee was assigned to the USS Ressha before.
Thinking quickly, Sky turned to the engineer assigned to the repairs of the Marduk. “Would you be willing to take suggestions?”
A Week Later
“Farpoint Station, this is the USS Marduk, requesting permission to depart.” It had been a long week of construction, but finally the Marduk was ready for action again. Sky’s orders were to take the Marduk, now loaded with supplies, to meet up with the USS Photon for delivery. They’d then receive new orders from there.
“USS Marduk, this is Farpoint Station, you are cleared for departure”
“Rios, take us out”
Desiree Rios Perspective
Desiree was glad to be done with the construction. The room being worked on was directly above her own, meaning she was up at all hours of the night hearing the engineers and their tools as they reworked the former cargo bay into a docking bay for a worker bee. She had made her irritation known to the captain, as it was his idea that lead to this, and he had apologized.
Checking the sensors, Desiree was glad to see that there were no Jem’Hadar vessels nearby. At least, none that she could find. Now that was a dark thought. Hopefully they don’t run into any more dominion vessels, the last one nearly got them.
The console beeped for her attention, after checking it, she turned to the captain, seated across from her. “Captain, we’re about to reach the rendezvous point with the USS Photon.”
“Good” came the reply. Desiree had noticed that Captain Athenos had the tendency to take the hands-on approach, though this sometimes meant that she was left behind in his thoughts.
The lightshow in the front viewscreen subsided as the Marduk dropped from warp. Checking the sensors again, Desiree frowned. “Sir…”
Captain Athenos Perspective
“I See it.” or rather, he didn’t. The USS Photon was nowhere to be seen, just some light debris. “That doesn’t look like enough metal to be a Sabre class, so scan for where they went.”
For a first officer that was maybe a month out of the academy, Desiree Rios was doing an excellent job. Sky was proud to have her as his XO, even if it’s only been a few weeks since they met. The mad scramble to turn the ship around only thirty minutes out of Earth Spacedock was a good test for how well he could coordinate with her in a command function. He mostly treated her the same he would have a copilot on a longer flight.
“Sir! I found a plasma trail matching a Federation vessel.” She startled him out of his reverie and back to the present.
“Good. I’ll set course to follow the trail, you see how old it is. Then I’m going to swap out for Ensign Cruger.”
Unnamed Gaseous Planet
Sliding seemingly effortlessly through the gentle clouds of the unnamed planet, the Marduk traced the final bits of plasma to the damaged Photon. The Photon was drifting deeper and deeper into the atmosphere of the planet, obvious damage to the craft’s nacelles trailing plasma even now.
“All hands, ready stations. Yellow Alert.” This had officially turned into a rescue operation, and rescue operations were this crew’s bread-and-butter. “I’m going to want everyone’s ideas, starting with science. Go.”
Desiree stood up. “Sir, we can fly in the atmosphere of this planet for now, but if we’re in here for too long, the impulse engines will burn out. That’s probably what happened to the Photon.”
“Ok, good to know. How long do we have?”
“At this pace, three hours. However, if we push the engines more than we already are, that time will shorten quickly.” She seemed confident in her answer, so Sky took that at face value.
“We’ll keep the time limit in mind. Engineering, you’re up.”
Ensign Cruger stood up as Desiree sat back down. “Sir, from preliminary scans of the Photon, we won’t be able to undo the damage to the impulse engines, but we can get the nacelle fixed with the gear currently on board. It’ll be tricky, but our new addition should be of great assistance here.”
“Ok, if and when we get communications with the Photon I’ll bring that up with her captain. Medical?”
“Not much for me to do on this rescue, but if I can I’ll assist the medical officers on the Photon, as that level of damage never comes without injuries.”
“Understood Doc, Security?”
“I’m in the same boat as the Doc here, Captain, I’m not much use outside giving Engineering a couple extra hands.”
“Ok. Here’s the current plan. We’ll continue at this pace down to the Photon. Once we’re within comms range, I’ll speak with the Photon‘s captain. In the meantime, Engineering, plan on getting that nacelle back into action, Science monitor the impulse engines, Doc get ready for injuries, and Fenris you’re in the bee. Ready?”
“””Ready… GO!””” they chorused
MEANWHILE – USS Photon
Captain Shera Athenos had had a bad day. The Photon had run into a Jem Hadar patrol on their way to the Rendezvous with their supply ship and taken heavy damage. They managed to escape the three fighter patrol by hiding in the gasses of this planet, but the Jem Hadar were relentless, sticking around long enough for the Impulse Engines to give out and only the RCS thrusters were slowing the ship from freefall. She turned to the engineer on duty, “How much longer can we last?”
“Sorry sir, but I’m not so sure it’s a matter of lasting. Our sensors are detecting that our SOS didn’t make it out of the atmosphere. There’s nothing to be waiting for.”
“How. Much. Longer.”
“2 hours 30 minutes sir.”
“If the SOS didn’t make it out, then the only people looking for us is the supply ship.” She mused. Hopefully it’s a competent crew that can get us out of this. “Have all nonessential personnel prepare to evacuate the ship. I won’t have this crew go down with the ship.”
10 Minutes Later – USS Marduk
“I see them sir.” Desiree was the first to spot them. “They’re still leaking plasma, but we should be able to get them out of here.”
“Ok. Fenris, Cruger, you two are up. Get that leaky nacelle fixed asap. Desiree, get me a line to that ship.” And with that they sprang into action. There was a dull thud as the workerbee launched out of its pod. Meanwhile, the Marduk swung around to get its sole tractor beam in position. Fenris brought the worker bee up to the Photon’s starboard nacelle and locked on with the primary arms. Activating the Worker Bee’s toolkit attachment, he started with slicing away the damaged plating. Just as the first plating was pulled away, the component he needed to replace floated down in a ribbon of blue light to be right in front of him.
Meanwhile – USS Photon
Preparations for evacuation were complete, but Captain Shera was hesitating, if she gave the order to abandon ship, and the Jem Hadar were still there, they were as good as dead. Some of the older Crew members might even prefer death to being captured by the Jem Hadar again.
Returning to the Bridge, she prepared herself for the hardest order any captain can give, when she got flagged down by the conn officer. “Sir! another ship has arrived!”
The Jem Hadar had found them already?! No, hang on, this Lieutenant isn’t scared, he looks happy. “Is it a rescue party?” One had to hope.
“It’s one of ours, captain, NCC 76202, the USS Marduk.”
Captain Shera all but collapsed into her chair. ‘Get me a line with the Marduk, and let’s put this day behind us.”
“Captain, the USS Photon is hailing us.”
The screen flickers to life, showing a familiar face through the distortions. Captain Shera looked quite surprised to see him coming to her rescue.
“you know, when they said I was in for a surprise from the supply ship, this is not what I had in mind. I thought maybe Enterprise was coming or something, but instead its my cousin.”
“Can you blame them for keeping a secret? Me getting a command so soon?” Sky was amused, it wasn’t all too often he got to-one up his older cousin. Getting to do so twice in one instance was even rarer.
“Are you going to continue grandstanding, or are you going to get your third brag of the day in by saving my ship?” Shera seemed to be grinning even through the interference.
Sky shrugged, its not like their little rivalry was actually all that malicious that he’d leave her to sink into a planet. “I already have one of my guys out on your nacelle, and my Doc’s ready for any extra casualties you have. We don’t exactly have a tractor beam capable of pulling your ship as ours is for small materiel transport only, but I figure yours should still be working, right?”
Shera had to admit, Sky had either gotten a very experienced crew, or a very clever crew to already be solving all her problems. “I think we can work something out. We lost our smallcraft when the shuttlebay took a hit, so we’re glad for all the help we can get.”
The USS Marduk struggled out of the atmosphere of the planet, which had already gotten itself a nickname of ‘Sandpit’. Behind it, in a combination tractor beam, was the USS Photon, nacelles all patched up.
“There you go” Sky was talking with Shera again, “You won’t be capable of high warp, but it’ll get you home.”
“Thanks Cousin, I know it’s risky for your ship to be out here, but you came looking anyways.”
“You know as well as I do you would have done the same. We’ll do our best to keep an eye on you all the way back to Farpoint.”
Just as they broke the atmosphere and the Photon’s beleaguered engines could take over again, the Jem Hadar patrol emerged from their hiding spot near an asteroid.
Sky felt a headache coming on. He wasn’t sure his unarmed Marduk could handle even one of those, slightly damaged as they were from the previous scuffle with the Photon.
A Short While Later
It didn’t take long for the Marduk to be out of the fight. One of the Jem Hadar Fighters had flown right over to them and placed them in a tractor beam. The other two went and harassed the Photon, who made sure to keep well clear of the planet this time around.
Meanwhile, on board the Marduk, Sky was having a brainstorming session with his crew. “Step one is to arm ourselves, the Jem Hadar are ignoring us right now, but they’ll be after us as soon as they’re done with the Photon.” His officers grimaced, but nodded. Once they were all armed, Sky asked for ideas.
Surprisingly, it was Fenris who stood up with an idea first. “Sir, I remember reading something about the Enterprise D’s encounter with the Borg that might assist us here.”
“Go Ahead Fenris.”
“Well, according to the records, didn’t they modify their deflector dish into emitting a beam that they used against the Borg? I was thinking, we have a deflector, and a nearby Starfleet ship if this all goes upside-down.”
Desiree stepped up next. “If we do this, we’re upside-down anyways. The Enterprise D, despite being 30 years old now, had a deflector larger than this whole ship and they were out of commission for hours. Our poor deflector would be burnt out in one shot.”
“Then that means we can’t miss.” Nobody was surprised at this point that Sky was willing to try the quite dangerous plan. “Everyone get the modifications ready, and start picking our target.”
It’s just my luck thought Captain Shera. I get rescued from certain doom, only to be in the sights of some Jem Hadar before even getting home.
Not that she had anything really to complain about from her ship and her crew. In general, a Saber class was supposed to be a part of a larger group, but the Photon was holding her own in conditions she was never meant to survive.
If the third Jem Hadar Fighter was in the battle, it would have ended already. However, a flash of light from the corner of the viewscreen brought them all hope. The First Jem Hadar Fighter, the most damaged one, had taken a hit in the magazine and exploded to pieces.
USS Marduk – seconds before
“All preparations are done captain.”
“Thanks Cruger. Everyone, we’ve designated our target as JF-1, the other one harassing the Photon as JF-2, and the one holding us as JF-3. JF-1 has a weakness in their shield resonance that is off from the other two. If I had to guess, this is the ship that bore the brunt of Photon’s fury. As a side effect of our shot, a subspace pulse will go off, hopefully acting as a distress call to Starfleet. Desiree, you may fire when ready.”
Farpoint Station – 12 hours later
Sky was sure that the engineer hated him. Less than a day after the Marduk finished repairs and returned to duty, they were back with major damages to a primary system. And the worst part is it was self-inflicted.
After the explosion of JF-1, the aftereffects of the Subspace pulse disrupted the tractor beam of JF-3 enough for the Marduk to escape at impulse speeds. However, that same aftereffect ran along the Marduk’s EPS conduit, taking out both the deflector and the shields. When the USS Helicoprion, a Steamrunner class starship, arrived as backup, the remaining Jem Hadar ran. Between the Helicoprion and the Photon, they got the severely damaged Marduk back to Farpoint, where she was now being refitted with another deflector.
Upon arrival at the engineering facility, Sky was given a cold greeting from the engineer. It was going to be a long day.