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The Escape

Posted on 03 Jan 2017 @ 12:02pm by Commander Thiago Teixeira & Master Warrant Officer Karyna Fordyce & Lieutenant Commander Temerant Bast & Ensign Katniss Sutherland & Lieutenant Hannibal Owens & Lieutenant JG Ian Starkweather & Lieutenant JG Ovrymat sh'Eshaatraq

Mission: Click Three Times
Location: Confederate Base
Timeline: MD10 || 0600 Hours

Bast and Teixeira made their way through the corridors, searching for the holding cell where the crew of the Cochrane was being held. Along the way, they had managed to kill two more Hunters, and taken their weapons.

They finally reached the holding cell, and blasted the door open.

"Is everyone all right?" asked Bast, walking into the cell.

Jane squinted at the harsh light with her ears ringing from the blast and wondered if this was another part of her interrogation or if it was real. "I don't know anything else!" she cried, opting to believe it was the alien instead of her actual crew members.

"It's okay Lieutenant," Teixeira said, hoping to get Marley to get in line. They were going all need one another to get out of their current situation.

He looked around and saw the Cochrane's Security Chief a few meters away. "Owens?" Thiago called, motioning the man over to where he and Bast stood.

Still somewhat dazed from the torture, Hannibal was looking for a fight. Fortunately, he was about to find one with his new brothers-in-arms. "Yes, sir," Owens said in a low voice, cracking his knuckles.

"We're going to need a plan to get out of here," the Brazilian Commander stated. "What do you know about the layout of this place Bast?"

"Not much more than you," said Bast. "I was in an interrogation room just one corridor away from yours."

Ian Starkweather stood from his crouched position and stared at the men. They had to be real. They just had to. Nothing else made sense to him anymore. With a bloody lip and a long knife scar on his right cheek, he needed to believe that they were rescued.

"Commanders," said the temporary Chief of Ops, "I don't know if we have the means to escape. Most of us do not even have weapons."

"We have a duty to try," replied Bast. "We can't stay here and wait for them to do... whatever it is they want to do with us."

Jane took a minute before she came out of the room while holding a hand to a gash she had taken during the interrogation. "There's weapons lockers scattered throughout the ship," she said. "We need to get to them and then take the armory."

Bast held up a hand to halt the gung-ho helmsman. "We need to find the ship first," he pointed out. "For all we know they towed it two light-years away from here."

"Precisely," Thiago said, agreeing with the Trill. He looked around the room. It was clear that not all of the crew was present. "We need to find the rest of the crew too. Mister Owens, assemble a team to find, and free, the others."

"Aye, sir," Hannibal said, nodding. "We won't let you down."

"If we get access to a terminal, do you think you could locate the Cochrane, Commander?" he asked of his first officer.

"There's bound to be a record of her somewhere," said Bast. He searched his recollection, but couldn't remember seeing a terminal anywhere. They would first have to locate one, before attempting to access it, let alone be able to read the display, understand its interface, and find the records they needed. "We need to find their control center."

"Starkweather, you're with me and Bast. We'll need all the technical help we can get," Teixeira ordered. He looked around the room. It looked like more than a quarter of the Cochrane's crew was in this chamber. Noticeably absent were Nurse Sutherland, Doctor sh'Eshaatraq, and Warrant Officer Fordyce. Last he'd seen the science officer, she'd had a broken leg. He hoped that, wherever she was, she was at least not suffering too badly. "I need volunteers to help us locate, and retake the Cochrane," he said, raising his voice so the others could hear.

Starkweather agreed with renewed vigor. "Aye, aye, Sir!"

Petty Officer Jonas, a Deltan, slowly raised his hand. "I volunteer," he said in his deeply toned voice. The Deltan was an engineer by trade and position. His motivation for volunteering resided in his distaste for violence and knowing that he would be very useful to recapturing and restoring the Cochrane, at least if he could get behind a console.

A big and burly human in a gold Ensign's uniform stepped forward. Bast recognized him as one of the Security officers from the Cochrane, even if he couldn't recall the man's name. He had one eye almost swollen shut, and a large bruise covered his left orbit. His lip had split, and he was limping. "Sir," he said, "we're Starfleet officers, bound by oath to prevent our ship from falling into hostile hands. Volunteering isn't an option. We have to try to retake our ship."

Bast nodded. He tossed a weapon to the Ensign. "That's the spirit," he said. "We're bound to encounter more of these Hunters along the way. Take them out, and arm yourselves as best you can. Find the others."

Teixeira was glad to see such dedication among the crew. After the experiences the Cochrane crew had been through, he wouldn't have been surprised if they felt defeated. Instead, they were still ready to fight for their ship.

"What do you need me to to?" Jane asked.

Teixeira considered the pilot. "When we find the Cochrane, we'll need you at the helm. No telling how quick of an escape we're going to need to make."

"I'll be ready, Commander," Jane said.

In short order, the assembled crew had divided into two groups; Owens had his team to locate and free the rest of the compliment while the remainder were following him and Bast to locate and liberate the Cochrane.

Jonas stuck close to Commander Teixeria, not wanting to guard the rear. He was no soldier, and the last thing he wanted was to freeze up seeing a Hunter or Karemma attempt to ambush them from behind.

Ian said to Teixeira, "Sir, I want to apologize for doubting your loyalties back on the Cochrane. You have proven yourselves to be loyal Starfleet Officers and no one should have doubted you." He blushed a little from this revelation.

"No harm done," Thiago said, placing a hand on Starkweather's shoulder. "With everything the Cochrane's been through....let's just say that I can't blame you for being skeptical." Removing his hand, he continued. "Let's got find this ship of yours. Bast, take point. Ensign, stick close to the Commander," he instructed the security officer who had spoken up earlier. He looked at Owens. "Good luck Lieutenant."

"Thank you, sir," Owens said, nodding. "Same to you."

"Let's go Commander," Teixeira said to Bast.

Bast led the way out of the holding cell, his weapon held at the ready. The tall Security ensign, whose name Bast now remembered as Smith, was sticking close to him. The group of seventeen Cochrane officers turned left, searching for any clue as to their ship's whereabouts, while another group of about twenty crewmen turned right, and followed Lieutenant Owens, in an attempt to find their fellow crewmembers.

The group moved slowly and quietly through the long and narrow corridor, their steps light and careful. The Hunters, in spite of their glass jaws, remained fearsome warriors, and they had powerful weapons. Bast recalled some of the details of Deep Space Nine's encounter with the species. A group of Hunters had come through the wormhole in search of a prey, called a Tosk. The Tosk had the ability to make himself invisible. Bast greatly hoped the Hunters didn't share that trait. So far, they hadn't seen it used, but that didn't mean they lacked the ability.

The floor was uneven, having evidently been drilled through the asteroid by phaser rifles. The brown walls were cool to the touch, rugged, and somewhat damp to the touch, as the humidity from the occupants' breath condensed on the rock. Every five meters or so, a light source affixed to the ceiling gave them a bit of light, but their bodies cast long shadows on the ground. As they approached an intersection, Bast raised a hand, and motioned for everyone to crouch lower to the ground. He carefully leaned forward and peered around the intersection to their left, while Ensign Smith looked to the right.

There was only one patrol in the corridor, heading away from them to the right. Two Hunters, walking at a slow pace away from them, about ten meters away. Smith tapped Bast on the shoulder to warn him.

The two officers slowly rose to their full height, took aim, and fired. The two Hunters fell, and Smith quickly retrieved their weapons, handing them to Teixeira.

Bast was a bit surprised by the lack of security in the installation. He would have expected to encounter more patrols. He filed his worries away in the back of his mind, instead opting to be thankful for small favors.

At the far end of the corridor, they could see a door, about fifteen meters away. There was no indication what could be behind it. Bast nodded in its direction, indicating to Ensign Smith that this was their destination.

The group treaded again carefully to the door, Bast and Smith leading the way while Teixeira brought up the rear.

Jane and Warrant Officer 2nd Class Bek, a Denobulan Security male advanced down the hallway with the others, looking around. When the two Hunters were shot, the Security officer considered asking for a weapon, but held off at the moment before he moved towards the front of the group.

Jonas treaded carefully, finding himself slowing on occasion as his eyes studied the foreign technology around him. His engineering mind tried to calculate how things might work both for a personal interest and in case Commanders Teixeira and Bast required someone to force some kind of override or distraction. He winced thinking about that. Jonas didn't want to be responsible for creating distractions. That would make him a target, and he didn't want to get shot at.

Strolling up to Commander Bast, his baby blues dancing in the low light of the room, Lieutenant JG Starkweather said, "This appears to be the nerve center of the facility. I'm surprised it isn't guarded better."

He glanced over the controls then added, "What do you think we should do, Commander Bast? With your symbiant's skills, you might be able to figure this out. We wouldn't want to trip an alarm."

Bast tightened his grip on the blaster. Contrary to the Cochrane Chief of Operations's belief, nothing in the Bast symbiont's history had prepared him for something like this - his previous hosts had been a musician, and a physicist.

"We go in full frontal," he replied to the Lieutenant. He pulled the trigger, and blasted the control panel next to the door. Sparks flew from the optronic panel, and a cloud of smoke rose up to obscure their view. They heard the door whoosh open, and ran forward to catch whoever might be behind it by surprise.

They found themselves in a room fairly larger than the holding cell, lined with computer consoles, and with a large viewport on the far wall. The viewport offered a glimpse into open space, and confirmed their theory that they were indeed in a base constructed in an asteroid.

Inside the room were six Karemma technicians, standing at the consoles, and four Hunter guards scattered throughout the room. At the Cochrane crew's appearance, the Hunters drew their weapons. Smith and Bast managed to take out two of the Hunters before they were able to take aim, while one of the Karemma technicians hit the alarm button. Two more Cochrane crewmembers stepped forward with their weapons, and took out the technician.

The third Hunter fired his weapon, and Smith collapsed to the ground, a smoking hole in the center of his chest, while Bast aimed and fired, taking out the Hunter. The fourth took aim at Bast and fired. The Trill was hit on the left shoulder, and collapsed to the ground, while the other Cochrane officers in turn eliminated the remaining Hunter. The remaining Karemma technicians held up their hands in surrender.

Searing pain lanced through Bast's shoulder as he got to his feet. Wilts of smoke rose from his charred uniform where the plasma bolt had hit. He handed his weapon to Starkweather, and looked around the room, holding his left arm with his right hand, gasping for breath.

When Smith was hit and went down, Warrant Officer 2nd Class Bek dove for the weapon and scooped it up. He took a moment to familiarize himself with the alien weapon and turned for the door as the alarm sounded. The odds were good that more Hunters and Karemma would be coming and he looked for a position for cover as he took aim for the door. "Someone give me backup!"

Jane Marley immediately limped to Lieutenant Commander Bast's side when he was hit and tore off a strip of her uniform hem. Seeing that it was his shoulder that had taken the hit, she applied pressure to the wound as taught to her in basic medical courses at the Academy. "Don't worry, Sir," she said. "We'll get this taken care of soon."

Bast gasped at the sharp pain brought on by the pressure she was applying to his shoulder. White stars danced at the edges of his field of vision. The Bast symbiont stirred in his abdomen, in an attempt to keep him awake. The symbiont knew that one of the worst things that could happen in this situation was for him to lose consciousness.

He grabbed the edge of the table to steady himself while he caught his breath. His eyes turned toward the viewport, and the open space that was revealed through the transparency. Off to a far side, he could make out the edge of the Cochrane's saucer section.

"Look," he managed to breathe out, nodding toward the viewport. "The ship."

Jonas was about to move towards a console to see if he could manipulate the controls to find the Cochrane when Bast gave his revelation. He moved to the viewport to see the Intrepid-class ship for himself. Few lights were shining behind the mighty ship's windows. Somehow, they must have managed to power down the ship. He could also tell that no attempt had been made patching the hull from the last encounter with the Confederation.

Starkweather, weapon in hand, tried silencing the alarm. He could make neither heads nor tails of the equipment in front of him so he did the next best thing. He fired the weapon he held in his hand. The console in front of him evaporated and the alarm stopped.

"There you bastards," said he with a satisfied grin.

Though the alarm was silenced, Jonas couldn't help but wonder what keys that console would have held to their escape. And, as a Petty Officer, there wasn't much he could do in situations like this as far as taking command. What he could do was try and find out as much as possible as the Cochrane. He looked at console after console, pushing Karemma aside as he did, until he found one with schematics of the Intrepid-class starship.

"They've started to disassemble her," Jonas reported, trying to read the Karemma script. He could tell portions of the schematic were highlighted in different colors. "Warp drive, deflector, phasers, torpedo launchers... doesn't look like they've gone too far besides those."

Bast moved to stand next to the Deltan engineer, every movement of his torso eliciting a sharp pain in his shoulder, as if someone was twisting a knife directly in the joint to separate the bones.

"We need to get back on board," he said, in-between breaths. "I don't imagine this computer system can interface with the ship's computer. See if you can access the base's schematics and find a route to the Cochrane."

Jonas studied the console for a bit, trying to figure out the alien script. If only the Karemma written language had been programmed into a universal translator on a tricorder... assuming he had a tricorder...

That was it! Jonas spun around and approached one of the Karemma who had surrendered under guard. He, cautiously, removed what appeared to be a scanning device from his pocket. Activating it, Jonas thumbed around with the device's settings until he found the scanning apparatus. After a few moments, he showed the display to anyone who would observe. "Getting there will be tricky," he told the group. "But it looks like we can take an elevator down ten levels, use this horizontal shaft, and reach the docking berth for the Cochrane. It's likely to be guarded."

"We have to risk it, we can't stay here" said Bast. He nodded toward the Karemma technicians. "We have to take them with us." A sharp pain lanced through his shoulder, causing him to inhale sharply. He handed his weapon to Jonas. "Lead the way. Mister Starkweather, destroy the equipment."

Ian waited until his crewmates vacated the room. Leveling the weapon in his hand, he fired point blank at the first of several terminals. It erupted in a brilliant flash of light. Ian continued with this process until the room was on fire and there were no working terminals left. Satisfied, he turned to leave when he spied one of the Hunters in the doorway. Firing again, he put a hole in the being's chest. There was no time to lose. He hurried down the corridor and joined the others.

The Deltan officer led the group out of the control center. Once everyone was out, they heard the weapons fire from Starkweather, accompanied by explosions of varying magnitudes as the consoles he was firing at exploded. It was entirely possible that whatever data they had managed to collect thus far had been uploaded to a remote server somewhere, but there was little they could do about that. At least there was little point in worrying about the enemy forces retaking control of this room.

"This way," Jonas said, deeply concerned that he'd somehow inherited the role of line leader. Even the weapon that the Trill First Officer had given him made him more uncomfortable. Hopefully they'd be back aboard the Cochrane soon and freed from this nightmare. They arrived at the elevator soon enough. "Everyone inside."

Warrant Officer 2nd Class Bek headed out after the Deltan officer and Marley fell in behind with the others. Bek's eyes searched every shadow as he anticipated an attack after their breakout and the resultant destruction of their property, but he wasn't going down without a fight.

Just before the lift doors closed, they heard footsteps running down the corridor from where they had come. They turned to see a group of Hunters coming around the corner. They quickly raised their weapons and opened fire, but the blaster bolts hit the closed lift doors.

The cargo lift carried the group down ten levels. Bast had to stretch out a hand to steady himself against the wall. Stars danced at the edge of his field of vision. He knew he was likely going into shock, and the pain in his shoulder neared intolerable levels. Adrenaline kept him going. He glanced at the ground, and noticed blood pooling next to his feet. A wave of panic began to surge in Temerant's mind, promptly dissipated by the symbiont's reassuring presence. The symbiont calmly reminded him that Dominion weapons had anticoagulant properties. It was likely that Confederate weapons operated along the same principles. Once they managed to get back to the Cochrane, he could be treated in Sickbay, and everything would be all right.

Everyone who carried a weapon got into position by the doors before the lift came to a stop, standing ready to shoot down any potential threat. The unarmed passengers made themselves small against the walls, minimizing their exposure. The lift doors opened after a few seconds, revealing a group of six Hunters, standing ready in the corridor. They had undoubtedly been warned as to the Cochrane crew's arrival. Their weapons were drawn, and pointed at the doors. They opened fire as soon as the doors opened.

Jonas barely had time to get out of the way as soon as the opening doors revealed the waiting hunters. Were it not for his oath, he surely would have cursed in reply. He wasn't the best shot, but he managed to lean out and squeeze off two blasts before being forced back into the lift. "We can't stay here!" he shouted, knowing that it was obvious enough. But he was not the senior officer by any means and could not make that decision.

Bek looked at the others and then made a few adjustments to his Karemma weapon until it started to emit a whine. "There's about to be a loud explosion," the Denobulan Warrant Officer said. "I'd cover your ears and take cover if I were you!" he shouted over the fire of the Hunters and impact of metal before he threw the weapon out of the lift.

Following the suggestion of Bek, Thiago protected himself from the blast. In the aftermath, he motioned for the team to advance into the now silent room. As they advanced, Teixeira looked at Bast. He was worried about the Trill; he was noticeably still bleeding. Deciding not to make mention of it, Teixeira pushed forward, following the vanguard. He glanced over his shoulder to see that Bast was close behind him. "Temerant, I'm trusting you to get the ship going," he said quietly. "And if something happens to me, it's up to you to get these people home."

Bast looked up at the Commander before nodding. He looked into the corridor, and saw the six Hunters on the ground, one still writing in pain.

"Their weapons," he said to Jonas. He watched as the Deltan recovered the weapons and distributed them among the group. Roughy half of them were now armed. At the far end of the corridor, less than twenty meters away, they could see an open airlock, and the Cochrane was right on the other side.

"Let's go," said Bast.

Poor Jonas again took the lead, paying close attention to his scanner. "There does not appear to be any more resistance," Jonas reported as he deactivated the device and lead the group through the airlock. The Deltan could not help but release a sigh of relief, even though he knew their task at hand was far from over.

The corridor lighting was dim at best, but there was an active wall-mounted console not far from them. Pleased to have the familiar LCARS interface under his fingers, the Petty Officer worked his magic and reported, "Karemma teams are in Engineering, Computer Core and the Bridge. No more than fifteen on board."

Marley claimed a weapon from one of the downed Hunters and shot the one that was still writhing, then continued on her way down the corridor. "Can we get the computer to release Anesthizine gas to those locations?" she asked.

Bek took up the rear this time, watching for any Hunters that might come after them.

Jonas shook his head. "The automation systems are down." He frowned. If automation systems were down, then that meant the ship wouldn't be going anywhere until some repairs were effected. "We'll have to take a more direct approach."

"Hold on," said Bast, walking up to the console. He raised his right hand and started tapping commands into the console, gritting his teeth together against the pain. He logged into the Operations systems and ran a quick diagnostic to see the extent of the Karemma's operations to the ship's systems. Several key systems were down, but not as many as he'd expected. No doubt they were having problems understanding Federation computer systems, and understanding the LCARS displays might be proving to be a challenge for them. The two systems he was searching for were still up and running - low-priority, nonessential systems, they wouldn't have been very high on their list of priorities.

He smiled in spite of the pain, and exchanged looks with Jonas. "Watch this," he said.

Logging into the ship's internal sensors, he established a lock on each Karemma who was on board, fed their coordinates to the transporter systems, and had them beamed away to the asteroid base.

Thiago couldn't help but chuckle. "Good work Commander. You and Jonas should take a team to Engineering. I'll head to the Bridge with Marley and Starkweather." He pointed at two other crewmen, a female Bolian in a command uniform, and the other a Human male from Sciences. "You're with me."

Bast looked at Bek and another crewman, a man wearing Security gold. "Watch the airlock, keep an eye out for our crewmates. And make sure none of our enemies come on board. Everyone else, come with me."

He leaned a hand against the bulkhead, leaving a blood smear, before steadying himself and taking off toward Engineering. He caught a glimpse of his reflexion in a wall panel. His face was stained with blood splatters from the Selamat interrogator, his uniform was charred at the left shoulder where he'd been shot, and his own blood had stained the tunic all the way down to his waist. He had a bruise on the side of his face from when he'd been hit during the boarding, and every bone in his body ached. He knew the only thing keeping him going was adrenaline, and that if he stopped he would collapse.

They reached Engineering in short order, and quickly dispersed themselves to make sure the area was secure. Those who were unarmed helped themselves to the weapons lockers, before heading for the Engineering consoles.

"Warp drive has been powered down," called out Bast from the Chief Engineer's station.

It was easy for Jonas to see why the core had been powered down. The dilithium chamber had been opened, and Jonas could only guess how long. Glancing inside, he could tell that the crystals were still there, but had clearly been tampered with. "This is going to take a bit," Jonas said, looking around for a tricorder and a toolkit.

"Do the best you can, but make it quick," ordered Bast. He glanced down at his panel and saw that he had smeared blood on the surface. He turned to see what the other officers were up to. "I need someone on sensors. Try to scan the asteroid, and lock onto our crewmates. We'll beam them back on board. I also need someone working on shields and weapons, and I need a status report on the Impulse drive."

The crew immediately snapped to his orders, and scattered among the various stations. To their credit, despite their exhaustion and the incredible ordeal they'd all just gone through at the hands of the Hunters and the Selamat, no one protested, argued, or showed signs of hesitation. They immediately jumped right to work.

Confident that his orders were being followed, he accessed the sensor logs on the attack and tried to come up with countermeasures to the Confederate weapon. He believed it to be similar to the weapon used by the Dominion during the war. Wilem Bast's voice echoed in his head, recalling the specs of the Dominion weapon and the countermeasures they'd developed.

Jonas sighed. "There's nothing quick about this," he muttered. If these crystals had been exposed any longer than they should have, then a decent oxidation scrubbing would be in order before reinserting the chamber. Otherwise, there would be no Cochrane to escape with. Grabbing a nearby tricorder, the Deltan opened it and started to scan.

Marley headed to the bridge with the Commander while Bek continued to check every room they passed for any Hunters or Karemma that they may have missed.

"Sir!" called out Ensign Johnson, a Science officer who had jumped at Bast's orders and was manning one of the sensor stations. "I've got a lock on fifty-three Cochrane crewmembers," she announced. "That's almost everyone. Six crewmembers unaccounted for."

"Can you beam them all up at once?" asked Bast.

Johnson tapped her control panel. "Negative," she called out. "Using Transporter rooms One and Two, and Cargo transporters, we can beam up thirty people at a time. We'd have to beam them over in two waves."

"What's their tactical situation?"

"One group seems to be isolated. They're not moving. Probably still in their holding cell. The other group seems to be pinned down. I'm picking up weapons fire around their location."

"Start with them. Beam them up as soon as you can."

Johnson nodded, and worked furiously on her control panel for a few seconds. "Energizing," she called out. She slid her hand over the transporter controls, initiating the beaming procedure. "I've lost one," she announced, frowning. She watched as one person's life readings winked out on her panel, no doubt the victim of weapons fire from the Hunters on the asteroid base.

The beam-in sequence completed. "Clear the transporter pads!" she called out over the intercom to the transporter rooms and cargo bays. "Beaming in the second group.... Now!" she said after a few seconds.

Shimmering light grabbed the group of Cochrane officers who were locked up in a holding cell on the asteroid. They breathed a sigh of relief when the transporter beam released them back on their own ship, and they saw their colleagues assembled.

"Transport complete," announced Johnson, turning a wide grin toward Bast.

"Good work Ensign," congratulated the Trill officer. He turned back toward Jonas. "How long until we have Warp drive?"

Jonas shook his head as he started sterilizing the crystals. "Ten minutes," he told Bast. "If I stick these crystals into the chamber as they are, there won't be a ship to escape with."

An alarm beeped on Bast's far right. Johnson ran to it, the dark-skinned brunette brushing a lock of stray hair from her face. "The base is powering up weapons," she announced.

Bast turned to Jonas. "You have five minutes," he said. "Or we'll never leave at all." The knuckles of his right hand were white from gripping the edge of the table. He looked down by his left foot, where a puddle of blood had appeared on the carpet. A white veil again threatened to overcome his field of vision. He blinked, and shook his head to clear it.

===BRIDGE===

Teixeira led his small team into the Cochrane's command center. "Stations," he ordered. The Human science officer nodded and hurried to the science console, while the Bolian woman took up a position at the Master Systems Display. Thiago went to Tactical. He tapped the controls to try to assess which of the tactical systems were usable. "Status?"

Marley went to the helm and began to check everything before she even sat down and looked back at the Commander. "All systems are go for helm, Sir," she said. "As soon as we get impulse and warp, I'll be ready."

"We are still docked at the station," pointed out Sarak, a tall Vulcan manning the Engineering station. "It is unlikely we will be able to release the docking clamps from here."

"We'll remedy that," Teixeira replied, confused where the Vulcan had come from. "A little phaser power will take care of the clamps." Instinctively, he reached for his communicator. His fingers found only uniform, reminding him that their captors had stripped them of all devices. He, instead, turned to the small internal comm controls on the console in front of him. "Teixeira to Engineering," he said after opening a channel. "I'm ready to blow the docking clamps, but if we're not ready to get moving...." his voice trailed off.

"We're working on that," replied Bast.

===ENGINEERING===

Jonas and another crewman slid the crystal chamber back into place and sealed it tight. "Set intermix ratio to one-to-one. Let's bring this thing online."

An ensign at a nearby console nodded, setting the intermix ratio as instructed. "Priming injectors now." After a few moments, the ensign muttered, "Here we go..."

A blue glow began to emanate from the warp core as matter and antimatter began to flow down the magnetic constrictors to the dilithium chamber. Jonas held his breath, hoping his poor attempt at sterilization would be enough to get the ship moving. Jonas looked over to a status display and watched as the power transfer conduits came to life as the warp plasma trickled into the nacelles.

"Commander!" Jonas called out. "We've got warp drive!"

Bast let out a sigh of relief. "Good job Jonas," he said. He hit the comm panel. "Bridge, we're ready to get out of here!"

===BRIDGE===

His finger lanced out, activating the phasers. Focused beams lanced out and struck their targets, as programmed.

"Go!" Teixeira ordered. He motioned for the Bolian woman to take his place at Tactical and he made his way to the command chair.

Marley immediately set an evasive course away from the asteroid at full impulsive, waiting to get clear before she engaged maximum warp. Her eyes roamed the console and sent the Intrepid class ship into a dive before she rolled to port and monitored the distance as the ship increased the distance away from their former prison. "Clearance in one hundred thousand meters," she called out. "Ready to engage warp on your mark."

"Starkweather, open a shipwide channel."

Thiago heard the small tone indicating that a channel was open.

"Attention all hands! If you require immediate medical attention, report to Sickbay. Otherwise, man your posts. We're not out of the woods yet."

=== SICKBAY ===

Katniss was still in a daze, yet she had managed to get to sickbay, she still didn't know if this was real or not, her head was confused...but if it was real, then she had a job to do. She grabbed a medkit and after hearing the announcement waited for the wounded to come in, she just hoped that she wasn't going to lose anyone else, she had seen enough death on this mission as it was.

Dr. sh'Eshaatraq shed her lab coat and grabbed a tricorder. She had, with the help of two others, brought Warrant Officer Fordyce to Sickbay once they'd been beamed aboard. The science officer now laid before the Andorian physician. "Ensign," sh'Eshaatraq called out.

Katniss looked up and rushed over to the Doctor with the med kit in hand.

"Triptacedrine! We need to make Miss Fordyce more comfortable."

Karyna was struggling to stay focused, the pain a constant presence, overwhelming her other sensations.

"Yes Ma'am, Triptacedrine" she replied handing her a hypospray.

sh'Eshaatraq took the hypo and applied it to Fordyce's skin. The result was instantly noticable. The science officer's expression changed from that of one in agony to something far more neutral.

"Let's get a better splint on this leg," she said to her nurse. "Then we can run the osteo-regenerator."

===ENGINEERING===

The ship shook violently, sending some of the crew sprawling to the ground. Bast lost his balance, falling on his elbows on the console, which sent a jolt of pain up in his shoulder. His breath caught in his throat as the world flashed red around him. It took him a second to realize that this wasn't because of the pain, but rather the red alert lights that had suddenly lit up.

"They have us in a tractor beam," reported Johnson.

"Increase power to the engines," ordered Bast, trying to catch his breath while he straightened up.

Jonas scrambled to a console and did his best to carry out the order. "Engines at one hundred and ten percent. At this rate, we'll burn the engines up before we break free!" An alarm sounded from his station, catching the Deltan's attention. "Structural Integrity at seventy percent and falling fast!"

"Reduce engine power! Bridge!" called out Bast, once again hitting the comm panel. "They've got us in a tractor beam. We can't break free."

===BRIDGE===

Marley felt the tug of the tractor beam and fought against it for a moment until the warning came about the structural integrity. She immediately cut impulse power down to a minimum to keep the engines from being strained, but still fought against the tractor beam so the ship wouldn't lose too much ground.

"They are pulling us back in," reported Sarak. He fingered his console and called up another display. "I estimate that their weapons will be fully charged in sixty seconds."

"Helm, don't fight too hard. I don't want to burn the engines out. But be ready as soon as we break free," Teixeira said, frustrated that they'd made it this far only to be caught again. Using the small console next to his seat, he checked the torpedo count. "Tactical, target their tractor emitter. Volley of...." His voice trailed off. In looking at the torpedo inventory, he saw that the tricobalts were unaccounted for.

They were after the weapons.

The tricobalts were gone.

"Scan the base," he said rising to his feet. "Find our tricobalt devices. Now! Get them back here. All hands, we're going to take a beating. Hold on!"

===ENGINEERING===

Alarms sounded from nearby consoles. Jonas ran over to one and tried to make sense of their readouts. "We're losing power!" he shouted. "Looks like the EPS grid was compromised by the Consortium. I'm firing up the auxiliary systems now, but we're starting to lose structural integrity on the aft quarter. We need to break free, or between the tractor beam and our resisting, we could tear the ship in half!"

===BRIDGE===

The young man at the science console nodded as his fingers moved quickly over his panel. "I've located the weapons. Locking on..." His voiced trailed off for a second. "We got them!"

"Take that tractor out!"

The Bolian woman acted swiftly, firing off a volley of torpedoes. Two of the three found their mark. The ship jolted in response to being released by the tractor.

"Evasive! Move us outside of their weapon range."

Marley's fingers flew over the controls and the Intrepid class ship jinked to port and went into a shallow dive and then to starboard before she started to accelerate.

As the ship pulled away from the Confederation base, somewhere in the corner of Teixeira's mind, a thought formed. There was no way of knowing how much the Confederation had learned about the tricobalts in the time they had them. If they had taken detailed scans of them, they would likely be able to replicate them. And that could alter the balance of power in this reality.

They couldn't let that happen.

"We have to destroy the base," he stated to the bridge crew.

A crewman standing at the console behind the command arena swiftly reported, "Commander, the base is embedded deep within the asteroid. We don't have the firepower to destroy it from the outside. We still have some of our photon torpedoes inside their base and we could remote detonate those, but there's a danger." He had checked the torpedo registry before reporting and had noted that several quantums and photons were still inside the Confederation cargo holds. Not much, but enough.

"If there's a chance...," he started.

"Commander," the crewman replied, "given the density of the asteroid, our communications range is extremely limited. The Cochrane will be well inside the blast radius when the explosion occurs. We could suffer critical damage."

===ENGINEERING===

"We have to risk it," replied Bast over the open comm channel to the bridge. He checked his console, and the distance between them and the base. They had to act now, while they were still some distance away from the base.

He turned to Jonas. "Arm the torpedoes. Five second delay." He turned to Johnson. "Raise shields."

Johnson nodded once. "Shields raised," she confirmed.

Jonas shook his head. His security clearance wasn't high enough to complete the order. Such was life as a petty officer. "Engineering to bridge!" he called out, even though it was unnecessary. "I have established connections with the torpedoes. The connection isn't stable, but it will work."

===BRIDGE===

"Transfer controls to me," Teixeira called. He jabbed his finger at a control on the small panel next to where he sat in the command chair, triggering the remote detonation.

The viewscreen showed the asteroid base and quickly the scene was filled with obvious signs of destruction. A large piece of the rocky shell of the base broke off and hurtled towards the Cochrane.

"Evasive!"

Marley pulled the ship into a Gamma Four, turning up the ship on it's side, then falling away from another fragment of rock. The Intrepid class ship rolled sharply to avoid a large chunk of the base, but as she started to launch the ship on the fall, a large chunk of rock smashed into the port nacelle. She fought to bring the ship around to the starboard side and searched for a route through the exploding base fragments.

The base continued to break apart, sending more and more debris in their direction. Despite Marley's expert hand, the shields were being bombarded.

An alarm sounded.

"Shields are gone!" the Bolian woman at Tactical shouted. "They're not coming back soon."

Teixeira stared at the viewscreen. "Try to bolster the deflector arrays to help lessen the impacts," he said over the open channel to Engineering.

=/\= "Trying!" =/\= shouted back Jonas over the comm. =/\= "The deflector is already at one hundred and twenty percent output. She's not going to hold together much longer!" =/\=

"Not what I want to hear."

The ship continued to rock and jolt, both from Marley's attempts to avoid debris and from unavoidable impacts by that same debris. In short order, the worst of the sharapnel was out of range. He looked back at the Master System Display and saw many alerts, indicating damaged systems.

"Engineering, damage report."

=/\= "The warp field is destabilizing! Structural integrity on the port nacelle is compromised. We're losing primary power. Secondary systems failing as well." =/\= The Petty Officer swore under his breath. It was like the Valdore explosion all over again. They'd need to find a quiet place for repairs before they could continue again.

"Find a suitable place to set us down," Thiago said to the man at Science. "Feed the coordinates to the conn. Lieutenant, once you have the location, proceed at safest speed. Engineering, get a repair schedule together. All hands, prepare for landing. Blue alert."

"There's an asteroid about a hundred thousand kilometers away," Marley said as she change the course of the Cochrane and reduced speed to one quarter impulse after the worst of the debris was over. Closing in on it, she saw the sensor scan revealed a flat place to set it down. "Hold on, folks," she said. "I'll try to keep it from being a bumpy landing."

Marley brought the Cochrane in and let the ship drift to a stop just above the surface of the asteroid and switched to thrusters. She deployed the landing gear as she checked the sensors, thrilled that she was actually landing a starship on an asteroid. With slow, steady movements and adjustments, she brought the ship to a smooth landing and locked the landing gear.

Lieutenant JG Ian Starkweather clung to his console, steadying himself. Glancing over the controls, he announced, "We're operating on auxiliary power only, Sir. Shields are nominal. Both sensor arrays are off line. We have internal sensors only and those are limited. Life support is functioning but just barely. Comm systems are down. Weapon systems are off line. We've really taken a beating, if you don't mind my saying it, Sir. We may be stranded."

Teixeira's eyes darted to the Operations Officer. "Noted. Get internal comms back online. I'm going down to Engineering." He walked to the turbolift doors, which didn't open. "Of course," he muttered under his breath before going to the Jefferies tube access hatch. He pulled the hatch open and started climbing down the ladder attached to the wall of the small passageway.

 

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Comments (1)

By Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij on 04 Jan 2017 @ 5:15am

Great job on this one, everybody! I enjoyed reading that.