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Part of USS Yorktown: Chasing the Titan and Bravo Fleet: Frontier Day

Chasing the Titan: Chapter III

Main Bridge
April 2401
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Jerok watched from the captain’s chair as the Yorktown streaked through the universe making its way to Earth. The Yorktown had been pulled from its assignment tracking the Titan in order to return to Earth for the Frontier Day celebration. The crew, however, was still on heightened alert. The ship remained on yellow alert, security teams ready, and the bridge crew expecting to divert back to the Titan at a moment’s notice.

Several days had passed since the revelation of his first officer’s status as an apparent Changeling came to light. Much to his dismay, something Jerok presumed would be a fleet-wide red alert turned into something seemingly of insignificant consequences.

“Commander, still nothing from Starfleet Command on Commander Branson or anything about Changelings?” the captain asked, again, almost to the level of annoyance at this point.

Commander Sul checked his console quickly before responding, “No, sir. Nothing since they ordered us to discontinue pursuit of the Titan.” A pause came over the Betzaoid as he carefully chose his next words in front of the rest of the bridge crew, “Captain, the entirety of comms traffic is Frontier Day related. All of it… its somewhat odd and I’m not sure what to make of it. I haven’t tracked a single message or hail regarding our Changeling problem. It’s almost as if someone doesn’t want it getting out.”

“Well, we both know it would likely mean war.” Jerok was solemn in his words. 

“Sir, we are getting an incoming transmission. Fleet Admiral Shelby. Looks like they’re making a fleet-wide announcement,” Zemess interrupted the tense moment. 

“On screen, and play it throughout the ship,” the Romulan ordered.

“250 years ago today, the Enterprise NX-01, the first warp five capable vessel to be constructed by Human hands, made its maiden voyage. With it, a crew of 83 souls embarked on a journey. One of bravery, perseverance, and sacrifice that would lead to the birth of what we know today as Starfleet.”

“Mute on the bridge,” Jerok asked as he looked forward at Ensign Thomas at the helm, his eyes off the view screen as Fleet Admiral Shelby droned on about Starfleet history. “Ensign, are we even going to make it to Earth before the Frontier Day festivities are over?”

No response came.

“Ensign, my readout says we’re approaching Wolf 359. At our current speed, will we make it to Earth in time?” the Captain repeated himself.

Finally, Jerok crawled out of the command chair and walked towards the front of the bridge. Putting a hand on the young ensign, he spun him around to see what was wrong. It was yet another familiar sight of decades past that Jerok had hoped he would never see again. From one traumatic flashback for Jerok to the next, it seemed. The young man’s face was sprawled with nanites and Borg technology. Commander Sul, who was seated next to Ensign Thomas, once he realized what Jerok was seeing, grabbed his phaser from its holster and shot Ensign Thomas, stunning him unconscious in his chair.

Jerok paused, looking around the bridge. It was chaotic around him and he hadn’t realized what was going on until it was too late. Grabbing his own phaser, he was trying to make out what was going on. Some of the crew appeared to be partially assimilated, attacking others who weren’t.

Unsure of what to do, he reverted back to his Starfleet training in a situation just like this.

“Computer, activate Wildfire Protocol. Authorization Jerok-one-pi-seven-omega.”

The computer chirped in response for a moment as the Protocol appeared to activate. The Yorktown slammed on its brakes as it dropped from warp. Consoles appeared to be locking up and klaxons were ringing throughout the ship. But moments later, some consoles appeared to come back to life. Jerok looked down at the helm console, which showed that engines were still shut down. It almost seemed like the Protocol was only half effective before something could stop it. But looking down at that helm console, Jerok also saw that Borg programming was beginning to take over the ship. Looking at Commander Sul, the Romulan plainly said, “We need to evacuate.”

Sul activated the ship-wide comm, which seemed to be a system still functioning, “All hands, abandon ship. Repeat: all hands abandon ship.”

Jerok and Sul lifted their phasers and began firing at any of the assimilated crew, staggering them or knocking them down long enough for the others to arm themselves. As the dust settled, Jerok wondered how lucky they were that they were on heightened alert from searching for the Titan. ‘Was this going on anywhere else? Are we the only ones?’

Jerok motioned for the few remaining unassimilated bridge crew to pack into the turbolift, barely a square inch of standing room left over. No one said anything. No one had to. They understood what was happening. Their ship was being assimilated, and they didn’t know how, why, or if they could even stop it.

The Romulan captain broke the silence by ordering the turbolift: “Main Engineering.”

He turned to Zemess and Sul, who both made it off the bridge along with him. Trying to catch his breath and his heart racing, the Captain declared firmly, “We can’t let this ship be assimilated. The Wildfire Protocol was created for exactly these situations, and it looks like the Borg programming stopped it in its tracks. Since Wildfire couldn’t run its course, it is certainly only a matter of time before the Borg can fully take over.”

“I checked before we left the bridge. It looks like the self-destruct mechanism is offline. We would have to do it manually,” Zemess suggested. 

“We could destroy the magnetic constrictors, but that wouldn’t leave much time to get off the ship,” Sul added.

“We have to,” the Captain looked at his two senior officers, “Feeling up to it?” he jokingly asked. They both nodded. He didn’t need to ask. Jerok already knew that his officers were up to the task. And they both understood just as much as he did what needed to be done. “You’ll both be with me. We’ll go into Main Engineering. Everyone else, grab as many unassimilated crew as you can and make your way to escape pods and the shuttlebays. Leave one shuttle for us. It’s an 80-meter straight shot from Engineering to Shuttlebay One.”

Finally, the turbolift came to a halt. Everyone readied their phasers as the doors wooshed open, revealing a chaotic hallway. The turbolift emptied as almost everyone began filing out into the corridor, spreading out into their separate ways. The doors behind them closed as a few remained to go to other decks and look for survivors. Jerok, Sul, and Zemess pressed on to Main Engineering.

Comments

  • A brilliantly written and swift change in the situation. I'm eager to discover what happens and who gets out of this alive!

    August 1, 2023