Lieutenant Nezi Kaghan coughed herself awake, then immediately wished she hadn’t: the pain of a cracked rib wrenched the Trill out of the blissful peace of unconsciousness and back into the painful world of the living.
Acrid smoke filled the bridge and stung Nezi’s eyes, but she could just make out the ops station to her left. Its chair had been shorn off and crushed against the bulkhead, but the Andorian ops officer, Ensign Shozen, was pulling herself up from the deck. She looked to be in one piece.
Wincing in pain, Kaghan turned around to see the rest of the bridge. Main power had failed, but in the dim twilight of emergency lighting, Nezi saw crew members stumbling back to their positions. The turbolift door was being forced open, and an emergency science team was being helped out. All in all, it looked like Nezi had been out for only a few seconds.
It took a moment for the Trill to work out what was wrong with the scene, and when she finally did, the shock of it took her little remaining breath away. The command chair was gone. A support beam had ripped loose and crushed it – and the Captain – beneath it.
Lieutenant Kaghan moved without thinking about it, ignoring the pain in her body. Even as she stumbled toward the prone form of Sym, Nezi was realizing that, with Sym down and Lieutenant Commander Devlok off the bridge, command of the Samarkand had devolved to her. “Report!” she bellowed out.
While Kaghan kneeled beside the Captain, Sozen was able to get her station back online. “External sensors are down. Shields are offline, hull integrity is at forty percent. Mutliple hull breaches on Decks Two through Six, aft.” Where Mr. Devlok had been. The Andorian glanced back at Nezi. “No one made it out.”
Beside Nezi, Captain Sym stirred. That he was alive at all was a miracle, but with a sinking feeling the Trill realized this was her Captain’s last gasp of strength. The human looked around, delirious. “Devlok… he’s coming back?”
Nezi squeezed Sym’s hand. “He’s one his way right now, Captain,” she lied. “The plasma jettison worked… we’re going to make it out of this.”
“Good… good,” Sym coughed back. Suddenly, he gripped Nezi’s hand tightly, staring at her intently. “Until Devlok gets back… get these people home, Nezi. Get them… home…” Captain Sym breathed his last, and was still.
Acting-Captain Kaghan pushed off the floor and wobbled to her feet. She was in immense pain, her captain was dead, and her ship was moments away from being destroyed.
Like hell she was going to fail Sym’s last request.
“Get those external sensors back online now! Ensign Sozen, reroute power to the shields – give us as much as possible. Take power from life support if necessary. Ensign Arlon, take the helm.”
Sozen nodded in affirmation, and Ensign Arlon took a seat at the helm station. With no chairs, Nezi and Sozen continued to stand. “Ensign Arlon, status on the sensors? We needed them five minutes…”
The Trill trailed off. The new Bolian helmsman remained stock-still, frozen in panic. This, regretfully, appeared to be his first combat experience.
Before Kaghan could respond, one of the members of the emergency science team – a young female Vulcan – had vaulted over handrails separating the conn from rest of the bridge, shoved Arlon out of the way, and started furiously working the console. “They’re online… now.” The Vulcan narrowed her eyes, quickly scanning through the data pouring in. “The plasma jettison worked. From the looks of it, the plasma has also disrupted the Klingon’s external sensors. The Kahless has broken off its attack run and is maintaining its distance.”
“Well done, Ensign…”
“… T’Paar.” Captain Kaghan smiled to herself. If they lived through this, someone was getting a demerit – and someone else, a field promotion.
But that was still a big if. The plasma trick had bought the Samarkand more time, but not enough to successfully disengage. If they were going to survive, the Kahless had to be destroyed.
Easier said than done.
“Ensign T’Paar, turn about for an attack run on the Kahless. Sozen, hold your fire – and ready the warp core for ejection.”
Ensign Sozen gaped. “Without a warp core, we’ll be forced to travel on impulse power to…”
“I am aware of the risks. Let’s live through one problem at a time.”
Without looking up, the Vulcan voiced a second concern. “Without their sensors, the Kahless has drifted dangerously close to the temporal anomoly.”
Nezi shrugged. “Hail Captain Koll.”
A moment later, the Klingon captain appeared on the viewscreen. “So Sym left the women in charge of this fight. Leave it to that cowardly dog…”
“You have one chance,” the Trill interrupted. “Surrender now, and you’ll live.”
The Klingon commander was speechless for a moment, then broke out laughing. “Well done, Trill! When I enter Sto’Vo’Kor, I’ll drink to your gall. But I must remind you – we’re not dead in the water, only temporarily blind. We’ll have our sensors back up any moment.”
“I hope you get your sensors back up for this. T’Paar, pass as close as you can to the D-7. Sozen, overload the warp core.”
An edge of panic entered the Klingon’s eyes. “You can’t be serious! Your ship will be caught…”
“Well then, Captain Koll,” Kaghan drawled out, “perhaps today is a good day to die. Cut the transmission.”
The Kahless started taking evasive maneuvers, but it was useless without knowing the approach vector of the Samarkand.
“Keep her steady, T’Paar. Hold your fire, Sozen.”
There was an agonizing few seconds, as the Kahless slowly filled the Samarkand‘s view screen. And then-“Fire, fire everything!” It all happened too quick: the Kahless‘ starboard shields rippled with phaser blasts, the Samarkand passed under its prey, and the overloading warp core ejected.
The warp core hung for a moment, a little bauble against the black backdrop of space. But the moment passed, and the bauble disappeared in a bright flash of light. An instant later, and the Kahless‘ weakened shields were collapsing under the weight of the anti-matter explosion. Another instant, and whole chunks of the D-7’s hull plating were being torn away and flung into space. And then the entire Klingon ship disappeared, engulfed in pure white light.
The Samarkand had fled as best it could, and the Kahless‘ hull had blocked some of the blast. But that wasn’t enough to preserve the ship from harm. The blast rocked the poor Miranda-class, scouring its hull and carrying it forward…
And then all was still. There was a long silence as everyone realized that they were, in fact, still alive.
Finally, Nezi spoke up. “Ensign T’Paar, report.”
The Vulcan started to chuckle. “No sign… no sign… of the Klingons. We did it, Lieutenant!”
The whole bridge erupted into cheers, except for the Andorian, Sozen, who took the opportunity to interrupted the festivities. “We’re receiving a priority one hail… from the U.S.S. Seacole?”
“The Seacole? But we’re not even anywhere near… on screen.”
“This is Captain Alcott of the U.S.S. Seacole. It looks like your warp drive is offline, but you’ve still got impulse – that’s good. Our transporters are down. I’m sending along coordinates to several damaged vessels; I need you to beam away their surviving crew.”
“This is Acting Captain Nezi Kaghan of the U.S.S. Samarkand. We’re willing to help, but I don’t recognize your vessel type, nor do we have any record of a U.S.S. Seacole. For that matter, where the hell are we?”
“Weren’t you part of the batt… wait, the Samarkand…? By Charon, where did you come from? You’ve been missing for a 130 years!”