Stardate 72193.1; March 9, 2395
Written by Chris Adamek
Edited by David Taylor
Captain Alan Christopher sat quietly at the head of the conference table watching his crew’s reaction to the disturbing sight being played out on the monitor. It wasn’t gory or extreme, but it was terribly unsettling.
Commander Harrison expelled a hopeless sigh, while Commander Keller simply nodded her head. Most everyone else had a similar reaction to the small Elorg ship emerging from the swirling nether that was inside the Alteran Expanse.
Christopher recognized the ship as one of similar design to the one Talyere had arrived in several months prior. An elongated trapezoid with a plethora of sensor devices mounted to the hull, barely resembling a starship. Though he only saw a playback of the events then, it sent chills down his spine. Now, witnessing it first hand, Christopher was experiencing a similar sensation.
“It is only a scout ship,” Talyere said stoically. “It will not provide much force to the Elorg fleet,” he added to reassure the others.
Christopher smiled, but hardly felt reassured. “It might not provide the Elorg with firepower, but it will definitely provide them with supplies,” he said.
Talyere slowly nodded to affirm the statement. “That it will.” He stared briefly at the small vessel before returning his attention back to the meeting. “If the vessel is equipped with standard supplies, it will have more than enough resources to have both warships fully operational within a few weeks. Perhaps sooner.”
Christopher nodded sullenly and slowly started to drum his fingers upon the shiny black tabletop. “No kidding,” he said before Erin Keller suddenly cut in.
“Talyere,” she called out, “how far was this ship from the rift when you left Elorg space?”
The Elorg sighed for a moment as he delved into his memory in search of the data in question. After waiting patiently for several moments, Christopher slid the padd containing Talyere’s report across the table to him for faster access. “Thank you,” he called out as he intercepted the padd before it could skitter over the edge. Quickly, he picked it up and accessed the proper data. “The vessel was 216 spatial grids away from the terminus of the rift,” he announced after a moment of additional cogitation. “Assuming they set a course directly for the rift at the time its nature was discovered, the vessel should have arrived two days ago.”
Two days. That wasn’t much of a time differential given the circumstances. “In other words,” said Christopher, “practically right on time.”
Talyere punched a few additional computations into the padd. “Assuming the rest of the Elorg fleet did the same, Elorg warships similar to the ones already present should arrive in about two months. Unlike their counterpoints here, these warships will be completely functional.”
Christopher nodded negatively. “This is not good,” he sighed. “We need to redouble our efforts in finding a way around the verteron problem,” he decided. “We have the firepower to strike, and strike hard, but as long as the verteron radiation is out there, that firepower is as good as useless.
“Now, we have two months before the Elorg arrive—maybe less, and I want to be ready for them when that day comes. See if it’s possible to convert the older ships’ engines to something similar to our design so they can penetrate the radiation with us. Maybe shields can be modified to prevent the radiation from killing the warp core. Who knows, maybe we can summon the good verteron fairy to come and save the day.”
Christopher pointed an accusing finger at the commander. “Well done, Matthew. You get a golden star!”
As Christopher turned away from
Christopher’s eyes shot about the conference table, locking briefly with each of the senior staff present before he was content their meeting was over. “Okay. Dismissed,” he said with a casual wave of the hand.
As the others slowly funneled back to their respective stations, Kendall Johnson slowly approached Lucas Tompkins and Erin Keller, who were chatting quietly near the exit closest to the bridge. “I don’t know about this,” he grimaced.
“I hear you,” agreed Keller. “This task does weigh heavily upon our shoulders,” she added, referring to the group standing with her.
Tompkins quickly shook his head. “They’re as stumped as we are,” he said. “Several prototype engine modifications either prompted a warp core breech, or didn’t work at all.”
“Not to mention the one that actually accelerated the shut-down process,” added Keller lightly. “If anything, Starfleet’s clueless.”
“That it is,” said Keller. “But don’t worry. There is a way around this problem. We just have to open our eyes and see it.”