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Out of the Fire [PLOT]

Posted on Thu Dec 5th, 2019 @ 10:43am by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Petty Officer 2nd Class Fhiri & Petty Officer 3rd Class Thomas Lopt & Lieutenant Jackson Smith & Poc & Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis & Lieutenant Commander Jörgen Leed

Mission: Mission 5: Arising From the Ashes
Location: Tevok 2
Timeline: 10 February, 2395 - 2230 Hours


Malcom eyed the turbolift, sighing when it didn't immediately open. He wanted Commander t'Aegis on the bridge for a couple of reasons. He trusted her instincts when it came to tactical matters and he wanted to know anything further about the possible Romulan threat that had just landed in his lap.

"Kipp, open a channel to our Ferengi friends. I'd like to talk with Captain Poc," Malcom said.

"Yes, sir," Kipp said and tapped on his console. "Channel open, captain."

Malcom got up from his chair. "Captain Poc, this is Captain Llwyedd. How are things going over there? I trust my engineers have been very helpful?"

Poc appeared on the main screen, a commercial smile hung on his face. He was comfortably seated in his chair and did not seem to be willing to stand up.

"Ah, Captain Llwyedd! Your engineers have been very helpful, yes" he said, "Very helpful".
His pointed tongue licked his lips before he added, "The engines are now working properly. Thank you for this gift".

As one of the rules of acquisition said: "After you've exploited someone, it never hurts to thank them. That way, it's easier to exploit them next time." Poc knew he would probably be back in the neighbourhood someday, this was, therefore, a very good piece of advice. Of course, he also expected that the Federation offered their help for free. After all, the issue was caused by their star, was it not?

But now that everything was back to normal, he had more important things to do: get his special delivery done.

"I'm sure you're a pretty busy man, Captain. I don't want to steal your time when not needed. And as hu-men say, time is latinum, yes?" He continued after a very small pause, "My ship is now ready to leave the station."

Just when the Ferengi captain finished speaking, the door of the Firebird's bridge turbolift opened and the Romulan chief of security and tactical entered. After a glance at the Ferengi on the viewscreen, she quietly walked to her station and relieved the crewmember on duty.

Malcom glanced over and nodded at Rhiana as she walked in. "Yes, Captain Poc, time is latinum. I'm sure that we can discuss how you can repay the favor that the Firebird has done for you here in the Tevok 2 system. Certainly you would have been stranged for weeks without our assistance. I'm going to have my engineers collect their things and we will beam them back aboard the ship in a few minutes. Llwyedd out," Malcom said and gestured to end the transmission.

The screen went black. Poc looked at his first officer, Rhash, and smiled.

"Yes, sure, we'll discuss how to repay it. When targs can fly!" he chuckled while Rhash smiled back at him.

"I'm preparing everything for a quick departure", answered Rhash, "I'm sick of this place."

"Me too", started Poc and he added, after a few seconds, "Oh, and ask Fram to check the Federation guys before they leave. Just in case they're taking some souvenirs from our ship".

Rhash bowed down in a servile way, "Sure, Boss. You can't trust anyone these days,"Rhash said and left the bridge to personally give his orders. He would probably have to specify Fram not to directly frisk the engineers. Fram was often taking things at face value.

Poc followed Rhash with his eyes and sat comfortably in his chair once the first officer disappeared, impatiently waiting for the sound of the engines lulling his lobes.

Llwyedd stood up and walked over to Commander t'Aegis.

"Do you have anything further for me, commander?" Malcom asked.

"No, sir," the chief of security and tactical replied. "I will ask Petty Officer Fhiri to send the recording of Dr Ela's murder to you, but we need to leave as soon as possible. And we should destroy the station, sir."

Malcom "Yello alert," Malcom said and the yellow lighting came on. He turned and looked over at Kipp. "Petty Officer Lak, please inform the remaining science crew on the station that the timeline has changed and I need them aboard as soon as possible. Oh and please ask Commander Leed to join me on the bridge," Malcom said and turned back to Rhiana.

"Alright, commander, you have my attention. Please tell me why you are recommending we destroy the station before we leave?"

"Because it is faster than any other way to destroy the station's memory banks and every single PADD that Dr Ela may have used to store her research," Rhiana replied matter-of-factly. "Once we leave here, the station can be boarded by anyone until it is destroyed by the supernova. We know that Romulans are in the vicinity and that they have not received Dr Ela's research. So they will do whatever it takes to obtain it. We have to prevent that."

Malcom nodded as his Chief Tactical officer ran through her reasons. He wouldn't have thought to take that particular course of action but her reasons made sense, when she finished he paused for a moment and then replied. "Very well, commander. Please figure out the most efficient way possible to destroy the station after everyone is safely off. And make sure that you keep track of what's going on because I can guarantee that Starfleet is going to want a strict accounting on why we destroyed their valuable science station, even if it was going to be destroyed anyway by a supernova," Malcom said.

Rhiana nodded. She could see the captain's reasoning, even if it seemed rather pointless given the circumstances. "Aye, sir. I will submit a detailed report." Once they were back on Empok Nor in one piece.

"You requested to see me, Captain?" Leed nodded once to t'Aegis. The diplomat wondered at her presence as it seemed highly unlikely that Captain Poc required tactical handling. "How may I assist?"

Malcom motioned for Leed to follow him and walked into his ready room. He sat down on his couch, gesturing for the diplomat to sit as well.

"Commander, I think that things are about to get very complicated. Evidence indicates that the scientist who was killed was working with the Romulans to develop technology that, if used in a certain way, could destabilize stars. Lieutenant Desai has her team working on the problem but she tells me that she thinks that is whay has happened here. In addition, Commander t'Aegis has evidence that indicates Dr. Ela called for a ride shortly before she was murdered by her lover and unwitting accomplice, Dr. Hill. The bottom line is that it looks like the Romulans are going to arrive shortly. I need your advice. Do you have any idea what faction of Romulans would be doing this and why?"

Leed's eyebrows drew together as he sat up straight. His lips made a thin, straight line. "There are a myriad of such factions with layers and veils of alliances and purpose. However, we suspect that the Tal Shiar worries any peace with the Federation weakens the Romulan Empire. Second, House t'Khellian leads a secret coalition of nobles seeking to regain power in the Romulan Senate. Third, Commander Tomalak, an influential officer forced to retire, seeks a way to restore his position.

"Each has the means. Each would accept the risks. Each would devastate worlds to bolster Romulan power--and their own--in the quadrant." Jörgen spoke as he stroked his jaw with the pad of his thumb. "Of the three, I believe Tomalak the most willing to pursue such a dangerous technology. Possessed of it he would regain control of a majority of the Romulan military and launch open war. Has the crew found anything on this mission that points to one of those three sources?"

Malcom shook his head. "Not as far as I know. Petty Officer Fhiri has broken an encryption code and she believes that eventually, she will be able to trace it back to a specific group of Romulans. I'm not exactly sure how because she started writing about very technical computer terminology that went over my head. But I believe her. There's also a chance that we will be able to discover more about who Dr. Ela was working with from her own data, assuming that we can recover the probe. Lieutenant Smith was supposed to be back by now," Malcom said. "I'd appreciate you remaining on the bridge. If the Romulans do show up, as Commander t'Aegis believes they will, perhaps we will get a chance to chat with them and your expertise would be welcome."

"Of course, Captain." Jörgen looked out the ready room windows as though expecting a Romulan warbird to decloak at that moment. His brows pulled inward as he nodded. "The technology in question may be intended for Romulan targets. Who shows up may be intelligence as vital as what they are coming for."

"You're right, of course. I've got the XO down in the spy cave trying to find out anything that can give us more information about Dr. Ela and what is going on here. I've also send a priority message to Starfleet Command about our situation. Their reply was to 'Assess the situation and take actions as you deem appropriate'," Malcom said with a wry smile. "Oh they also let me know that the Caesar was the closest ship and has been diverted to our location. Of course, they are four days away so I doubt that will matter much." Malcom stood. "I'd be happy to continue this conversation on the bridge. I've a feeling things are going to get tense soon."


Thomas' hands were cold. Really cold. The main power had been out for a few hours and the environmental controls were barely functioning. Still, Thomas tried not to complain because Corporal Saddler seemed not to feel anything and Lieutenant Smith actually appeared to be happy. He had no idea about what.

Saddler was knee deep in an access panel that let her get to the primary plasma flow. She'd been working on reigniting he plasma, in the hopes that doing so would allow them to reignite the warp core, which had apparently gone dead. So far she'd had no success but had managed to burn the tips of the fingers on her left hand. Non-shooting hand. She couldn't see the lieutenant.

"Hey, lieutenant, how are you doing?" Saddler said.

"Just peachy, Saddler. " Jackson bent down next to her, "Any luck? Sure would suck to avoid being blown to bits just to be frozen solid." He glanced back towards Thomas, "You know, the captain is going to be wondering where we are at, any thoughts on getting some sort of signal? Something to let them know we are here?"

Thomas shook his hands and breathed on them to try to get some warmth back. He looked at the lieutenant and nodded. "Yes, sir. If the corporal can get the primary plasma flow going, even if it is just for a few minutes, we should be able to get a signal out to the Firebird. As long as they are paying attention, everything will work out," Thomas said. "Of course, if the don't... well, I'm also working on the secondaries and I think I will at least be able to keep us from freezing for a day or two and since the star is going to explode soon anyway, I'm not worrying past that"

Jackson chuckled slightly, "Good to know our limits, I am sure that if you can keep us alive that long, the Firebird won't leave us behind." Jackson looked at the two working hard to save their lives. He felt a pang of uselessness. Jackson had had no formal education in his youth and barely escaped the academy with passing grades. He had vague ideas of what they were working on, but no real idea of how to help them. Jackson turned and put his back to the console and slid down to where he was sitting next to Saddler. With his knees bent and his hand resting on them, he casually turned toward Sadler. "I know Thomas is going to give us a day or two, but maybe we don't push that deadline? I was kinda hoping for a sooner rather than later." Jackson smiled towards Sadler, although there was no way she could see him as the majority of her was buried deep in the console. One thing that Jackson failed to mention, but was more than likely lingering on all their minds, they encountered a fighter/shuttle, there was bound to be a much larger Romulan ship out there. Which, at anytime could send another ship to find them and destroy them. Jackson struggled a bit with his feeling of helplessness, but quickly shrugged it off. He had to trust his crew.

"Aye aye, sir," Saddler said, her voice reverberating off of the metal around her. "I think I've almost got this... " the corporal said, her voice trailing off. There was a thunking sound and Saddler stood up and turned to face Jackson. "Sir, before I finish this, I want to state for the record that this alteration is temporary at best and is likely going to destroy what remains of the warp core. I know this isn't technically Starfleet material anymore but I don't want to get in any trouble." She raised an expectant eyebrow.

"CYA, duly noted. I got the blame for this, do what you need to do." Jackson nodded towards her.

Saddler nodded. "Alright then, here we go." She said and ducked back down. There was another thunking sound and then the shuttle interior burst into light as all of the consoles and displays came back online. Along with the light there was a high pitched squeal sound, that made Saddler and Lopt wince. "Lopt, you are a go," Saddler said.

Thomas ducked out from under the console and began tapping on the input screen like a madman. He could hear the countdown in his head. He knew that Saddler had created an Active Agitation Dylithium Cycle in order to get power back. Essentially, the crystals that provided the warp power were eating themselves.

"Message is away," Saddler said.

The fresh-faced crewman at the Ops station saw the communications array light up as multiple messages came in at the same time. He processed them and then looked around the bridge. The captain was still in his ready room with Commander Leed. "Uhh, Commander t'Aegis," he said, addressing the senior officer present. "I've got two messages. The science team from the station is aboard except for the problem one and Lieutenant Smith is hailing us from the runabout."

Lieutenant Commander t'Aegis who had had direct communication with Ensign Carver just a few minutes ago and was aware of 'the problem one' nodded at the crewman. "Understood. Inform Ensign Carver that they have six more minutes before they are to report back to the Firebird. Open the channel to Lieutenant Smith."

" Hey Firebird, good to hear from you. We had a little run in with some Romulans. Since we are... dead in the water, we were wondering if you might be willing to swing by and pick us up. Preferably before we freeze to death or disintegrated by an exploding star. "

There was a moment's silence on the bridge of the Firebird while t'Aegis mentally tried to decode what she had just heard. After almost seven years in the Federation, she spoke its official language fluently enough, but still had trouble with certain colloquialisms. "Understood, Lieutenant," she replied eventually. "Transmit your coordinates. What is the status of the Romulan vessel? For how long will your power reserves last?"

Jackson smiled to himself as t'Aegis hesitated and then he replied, "Transmitting coordinates now. Lopt and Saddler got something jury rigged. Should last till the star blows up. It sure would be nice if you guys could pick us up before then."

"We will come as soon as we have dealt with the station," t'Aegis promised without going into too much detail. "Why did the Romulans not destroy you? What were their last coordinates? What is their situation?"

Jackson chuckled slightly as he transmitted their coordinates, "I see you have great confidence in us. We have the probe, which I am sure they were after and didn't want to destroy it. It was some kind of small scout ship. Not much bigger than a runabout. Through some quick thinking on Sadler and Lopt's part we were able to either incapacitate it or destroy it. We don't have enough power for sensors so we are blind here. There is definitely more Romulans out there and they sure want this information on the probe." Having voiced his concern out loud, now made it more real. He looked towards Sadler and Lopt, his face was grim for a brief second before he cracked a small smile, "A pick up sooner rather than later would be much appreciated."

Chief Haverson, the ship's boatswain, smiled at Jackson's response. That smile was wiped away as he stared down at his console. The ship's sensors showed a power surge and it was really close. "Sir!," the Warrant Officer said to Commander t'Aeigs, the highest-ranking person on the bridge. "Sensors show a ship decloaking off the port bow." He looked up. On the main viewscreen a medium-sized Romulan vessel shimmered into shape. It wasn't nearly as massive as the large D'deridex-class but it had the same hooked beak prow.

"Red alert," t'Aegis ordered as soon as she recognized the Romulan vessel's class. "Lieutenant, we will get you as soon as possible. Firebird out. Chief," she continued, speaking quickly but clearly, and looked at the boatswain. "Raise Cunningham. Inform him that we have to undock and request his ETA back aboard." Docked as they were, they presented a perfect target for the Romulans. She hesitated. She had given the orders in accordance with her Starfleet training and the next step would be to hail the Romulan vessel. But her inner Romulan kept screaming at her to abandon the crew on the station temporarily and open fire. If said crew at least would know not to have themselves be taken prisoner, she might have done it. But these Starfleet types always hoped for some miraculously positive outcome. Maybe the Marines could withstand torture, but the two young people certainly could not.

Besides, she could not hail the Romulans. Seeing a fellow Romulan aboard an enemy vessel, they might simply open fire. But... maybe... just maybe... A vague idea began to form in Rhiana's mind. It might be worth the gamble. "Hail the Romulan vessel," she ordered the operations crewman.

As soon as the red alert sounded, Malcom was on his feet, Commander Leed close behind. He emerged onto the bridge, taking in the sight of the Romulan ship on the main screen and making his way quickly to his command chair. He sat and looked at Commander t'Aegis.

"Commander Leed what can you tell me about this type of Romulan vessel," he said in a calm voice. He gestured for Commander Leed to sit in the XO's chair, as he had once before.

Sitting promptly, the diplomat's eyes were fixed on the screen. He spoke evenly, eschewing fluff for immediate details. "Veles class frigate. Four banks of photon torpedoes backed by a standard array of phasers. Moderate shielding and armor. The Veles has a cloaking device but Starfleet believes it is non-standard." Leed raised his palms to apologize for the last, vague answer. "It is a relatively new vessel."

Malcom turned his attention to his tactical officer. "Commander t'Aegis? Do you have more to add?" Malcom asked. On screen the Romulan vessel sat still, nothing stirring.

"We have personnel still on the station and stranded in a runabout," Rhiana replied.

"The Ferengi cargo ship, which is already weakened, has crew and civilians on-board," said Jörgen. "We cannot sustain a drawn-out battle. Time and our maneuverability will be key."

"Agreed," Malcom said. "Begin unmooring operations. If this goes badly, we will have to distract the Romulans long enough for the Ferengi ship to get away. And we'll worry about the Runabout when we have time. Open a hailing frequency to the Romulan ship."

The bridge crew sprang into action, complying with the captain's orders. There was a lurching movement as the ship undocked from the space station. All the while the Romulan ship hung in front of them.

"Sir, I have a response to our hail," Kipp said.

"On screen," Malcom said. The viewscreen changed, revealing an older Romulan in traditional military garb.

"I am Vriror of the Romulan Empire. You are in possession of data that is rightfully ours. I demand you turn it over to me or face immediate destruction," Vriror said.

"I am Captain Malcom Llwyedd. We are here on a mission of mercy. The star in this system is unstable and will go supernova in a short period of time. We are evacuating the crew of the station and will then depart. I have no idea what data you are talking about," Malcom said.

Vriror's face was cold as Malcom's words reached him. "Your Runabout stole a probe that was ours. We too were examining this star for critical data. We will have it back. You have five minutes to comply," Vriror said and the screen went blank.

Malcom turned to face t'Aegis. "Recommendation Commander t'Aegis?"

'Run and hide,' would be Rhiana's initial response, if there was nothing else to consider. But that was of course not the case. "Lieutenant Jackson does have the probe," she informed the captain, not certain whether he knew that already. "That is likely the only reason he and the crew in the runabout were not destroyed by Vriror. We can retrieve it and at the same time our crew who is stranded in that runabout. Handing the probe over to Vriror will increase our chances of being able to leave. On the other hand," she continued after a brief pause, "We can continue with our original plan, destroy the space station, then make our way to the runabout to retrieve it and our crew, as well as the probe. Commander Vriror will interpret this as an act of aggression and open fire. Even if we manage to outmaneuver them for a time, they have more firepower and we will be vulnerable while we retrieve the runabout." There was a third option, but it might not be in line with the captain's or Starfleet's ethics. Nevertheless, Rhiana suggested it. "Or, we can open fire on Vriror's ship and on the station simultaneously, hope that the station's explosion will impact Vriror's vessel and give us enough time to get to the runabout."

"Initiating direct fire is highly dangerous, Captain. Whatever their allegiance is to Romulus, on our part it is unnecessary aggression. Their probe operated within the jurisdiction of a Federation starbase. We are within our rights to review the probe's data, although we can share that later." The diplomat paused to consider his thoughts before speaking. "Tell them that the runabout's transporter is damaged. We must retrieve it and transport the probe to Vriror ourselves. When the runabout is on board we will reveal that the probe's data must be reviewed for military secrets. They will likely open fire. I believe Commander t'Aegis has expressed an ideal plan for that moment."

Malcom's mind raced with possible scenarios. He was torn on how to respond. This sudden appearance of the Romulans, again was just one time too many. There had been Romulan interference in too many of their encounters over the past few months. The warrior inside him wanted nothing more than to fire everything he had right at them. But he was also an experienced captain. He'd fought enough battles with both phasers and words to know when he was outmatched.

"Sir," Kipp said. "Lieutenant Cunningham is on the station and would like to speak with you."

"Put him on, Kipp," Malcom replied.

=^= Sir, we responded to a call for assistance from Ensign Carver and Cadet Lenert. When we arrived on the station we found that they'd been attacked by what appeared to be two Romulans. Energy signatures of their weapons match Romulan weaponry and the station sensor logs confirm Romulan biosignatures. They have kidnapped Dr. Henry Hill and beamed out to their ship. All personnel have evacuated the station and returned to the Firebird.=^=

"Thank you Lieutenant. Well done. Llwyedd out," Malcom said and gestured to Kipp to cut the transmission. "That changes things a bit, doesn't it," he said to his officers.

Petty Officer Grenzend spoke up from the help. "Sir, unmooring operations are complete. The ship is secured and ready for maneuvering."

Malcom sat down in his command chair. "Petty Officer Grenzend, set your course one six seven mark three. Full impulse. I want us to spin and pop up on the far side of the space station. The Romulan ship won't be able to follow that maneuver. Commander t'Aegis, as soon as we are covered from their sensors, I want to engage our cloak. Kipp let that Ferengi vessel know that they should exit the system immediately."

"Aye, sir," t'Aegis confirmed while she was already entering commands on her console. The timing had to be just right to make the captain's manoeuvre successful. The Romulans would certainly not remain stationary once the Firebird had seemingly disappeared and the station would give the Firebird only a temporary shield, even with the growing interferences from the dying star.

Petty Officer Grenzend took a deep breath and plotted the course that the captain asked for. When he was finished he double checked his route and then spoke. "Course plotted and laid in, sir."

"Punch it," Malcom said.

The Firebird hung for a moment, free from her anchor mooring to the science station. Her lateral thrusters held her in place. The Romulan ship hovered above and to the left, a swath of rocks and ice behind it in a broad expanse. The Firebird's engines flared and the small ship dove, pirouetting as it did so. As it changed its axis it immediately slewed to the left and accelerated upwards on the far side of the station.

The Romulan ship reacted quickly but not quickly enough to follow the smaller Dilligent Class vessel. Its larger mass worked against it. By the time they matched course and emerged onto the far side of the station, the Firebird was gone.

The Romulan commander scowled at the empty screen. "Where did they get a cloaking device?"

Thomas was laying on his back, staring at the ceiling. He'd been staring at it long enough to realize that at some point, it had been damaged and repaired. It had been a significant repair. It had also not been a very good repair. He'd decided against informing Lieutenant Smith or Corporal Saddler of the damage or the fact that it was likely the repair was failing. What was the point?

Saddler looked down at the navigation console and reset the sensor sweep. She'd lost count of how many times she'd done the same thing since Lopt had managed to get the solar power cell back online. They weren't likely to freeze, even if they didn't have propulsion. Or shields. Or weapons. At least the view was good. "Sir, more of those strange energy readings," Saddler said. "Same wavelengths. Computer still can't classify them exactly. Same pattern, same regularity. And... gone again."

Jackson's brow furrowed, something was out there and he really didn't like not knowing. Especially since there was likely enemies somewhere and they were sitting ducks. He looked over towards Lopt and noticed that Lopt appeared to be staring at the ceiling with a weird look on his face. Jackson pushed it aside, we all deal with things differently. "Hey, Lopt, come over here, what do you make of these readings that Saddler is getting? And what do you think our chances are of transmitting this information back to the Firebird?"

Lopt rolled over, grunted, and stood up. He stepped over and stood next to Jackson, looking down at the readout. Saddler had been tracking these readings for while but there wasn't much they could do with things the way they were. He'd scavaged every useable piece from the shuttle just to keep life support up. But looking gave them something to do. A problem to solve. Lopt liked that.

"I think we could transmit it to them, sir," Lopt said. "But I don't think we're going to have to." Lopt pointed out the main window at the materializing form of the Firebird. I think we're going to be able to tell them in person."

Malcom smiled as Jackson strode onto the bridge, displacing a relieved looking Petty Officer Grenzend. "Good to have you back, lieutenant. Remind me to never send you on a short trip again."

Jackson greeted his mentor with a warm smile, "Well if you ever do have to, make sure to send me with these two,"Jackson nodded back to his comrades coming out of the turbolift. "Both saved my butt multiple times." Jackson got a little more serious, "How are we with the Romulans hanging around? We also have some data that needs to be transmitted, Saddler found some interesting signals." He looked to his mentor to gauge his reaction in hopes of figuring out how bad of situation they were in.

"We dropped out of cloak in order to pick you up. That means they'll be here any minute," Malcom said and then looked at Petty Officer Lopt. "Thomas, figure out what those readings are. Is the star getting ready to explode? Jackson, find me our Ferengi friends and get me there. We need to extract the rest of our people and get out of here." Malcom walked over and sat down in his chair. He watched Jackson take the conn and immediately began laying in a course.

The Ferengi ship hadn't gone far, Malcom saw. In fact, they'd barely gone anywhere. "What's the situation?" Malcom asked.

"Sir," Thomas said from a science station. "It appears that the Romulans have disabled the Ferengi ship. And I'm picking up those strange readings that Corporal Saddler found but they are coming more frequently."

"Sir," Kipp said. "Captain Poc is on the line for you."

"Great," Malcom said. "Put him on." Malcom was getting tired of being interrupted with comms requests.

Poc's face appeared on the main viewscreen. Behind him, Malcom could see a hazy smoke lingering in the air. He didn't see any sign of his crew.

=^=Ah, oh. Capt'n, Capt'n...=^= whispered the Ferengi.

Poc was obviously scared, shocked and whiny. All at the same time. He was not hysterical, yet. Or not anymore. He looked back for a second, swallowing his tears again.

=^=Please, help me. The situation, here, is... not under control.=^=

A noise rang somewhere and Poc's face immediately disappeared from the screen. After making sure that he was still alive, the Ferengi reappeared, more frightened than ever.

=^=This big green starship... *sob*... It just, it just... Oh, my beautiful ship *sob* =^=

Malcom held up a hand. "Captain Poc, we're going to have to beam you and all of the people on your ship over to the Firebird. We'll return for your ship when things are safe. Prepare for transport," Malcom said. He made a gesture and Kipp cut the transmission.

"Thomas, I want to know what those readings are. How much time do we have?" Malcom said as the ship raced to where the Ferengi merchantman floated in space. They proceeded under cloak after recovering the runabout and the probe. The crew continued to work smoothly, unperturbed by the possible battle to come. Malcom sat in his chair, watching as Jackson brought them in on an unusual approach vector, attempting to reduce the chance of detection. But the reality was, the Romulans probably were waiting in ambush, knowing that they couldn't abandon their crew or the Ferengi on board with them.

"Alright, Jackson, bring us in right as close to the Ferengi vessel as possible and hold us there," Malcom said.

"Aye, sir," Jackson said and followed the captain's directions as closely as possible. The Firebird was smaller that the Ferengi ship, which allowed him to get very close. The sensors said 35 m when he finally brought the ship to a halt. "On station and holding."

"Good." Malcom said. "Captain Llwyedd to Crewman Potter. Potter I need you to beam everyone on that Ferengi ship to the Firebird. How long will it take?"

Potter's voice came back immediately. =^=Uh, well, sir. I'm pretty new to this post and we only have the one transporter pad. It will take me two cycles to get everyone on board. Say... two minutes?=^= Potter said.

"Can't we use the cargo transporters?" Malcom asked.

=^=No, sir. They aren't rated for live biological cargo. I think it would be a bad idea but if you want, I will try,=^= Potter said.

"No. Do it by the book, crewman. Engage transporter on my command," Malcom said. "Everyone prepare for an attack as soon as we drop cloak. Hopefully, the Ferengi ship will shield us long enough."

Lopt actually held up his hand, but then realized nobody was looking at him and put it back down. He cleared his throat. "Uh, sir. I have been working with Lieutenant Desai and she's identified what's going on," Lopt said.

Malcom got up from his seat and walked over to Thomas' station. "Talk to me," he said.

"Sir, Lieutenant Desai says that the experiment on the star has destabilized it, which we knew. But the new data from the Runabout and the probe indicates that the experiment has also affected the fabric of space around us. The weird readings I was picking up before came back as a 68% match with the Bajoran Wormhole," Lopt said.

Malcom didn't say anything for a moment as he processed what Lopt was saying. "A wormhole? A new wormhole?"

"Yes, sir. But Lieutenant Desai thinks it is going to be unstable based on the energy readings," Lopt said.

A new wormhole could cause all kinds of problems. Malcom shook his head. He'd have to think about it later. He had to get everyone to safety first and get the probe to Starfleet R&D. "Good work, Thomas," he said and went back to his seat.

"Here we go. Crewman Potter, energize," Malcom said and the Firebird dropped out of cloak.

"Sir, I've got them. They've dropped out of cloak on the underside of the Ferengi vessel. Shall we attack?"

The Romulan commander shook his head. "Not yet. Move us into position so that we can destroy their propulsion systems," he said.

"Yes, sir."

=^=Sir, everyone is aboard ship. But that Ferengi captain is upset that I won't carry his baggage=^= Potter said.

"Tell him all crew is at battle stations and he'll have to fend for himself," Malcom said. "And find someplace to put them for a while."

=^=Aye, sir=^= Potter said in a sulky voice and then the connection ended.

"Sir," Kipp said. "Romulan vessel decloaking aft"

Just as Kipp finished speaking the Firebird rocked under the assault of the Romulan disruptors.

"Shields at maximum. Evasive maneuvers. Emergency maneuvering power. Jackson get us out of here," Malcom said. The Firebird lept to respond. Her unusual construction made her a hard nut to crack and despite some damage, she suffered no catastrophic damage from the Romulan ambush.

"Can we go to warp?" Malcom asked as they raced away from the abandoned Ferengi ship.

"Negative, sir," Thomas said. "The energy output from the star is combining with the energy output from the possible wormhole. They're making it impossible to create a warp field."

The ship shuddered under another blast from the Romulans. Malcom knew they would have zero chance in a straight-up fight but he ordered Commander t'Aegis to return fire.

"Aye, sir." The Firebird's resident Romulan did not hesitate, even though she was firing on her own people. She was even thinking of them as 'the Romulans' instead of something more specific and appropriate like 'Vriror's crew' or 'Vriror's vessel'. She did not pause to reflect on that because she was busy returning fire and trying to keep 'her' ship and crew safe.

"Jackson, I want you to take us right into the location where the wormhole is possibly forming. Maybe the energy disruption will help us lose them," Malcom said.

Jackson nodded. This was crazy, if they were in the wrong spot when that wormhole formed, they could get sucked in. But, Jackson had to give his captain some credit, there weren't many options and going head to head with the Romulan ship was suicide. He chuckled slightly, he would have to remind the captain of this maneuver the next time he wanted to do something crazy. It never really occurred to Jackson that his confidence in the captain was so strong that he not only didn't question the order, but had full confidence they would make it out to have many more crazy adventures. With ease, Jackson slipped the ship into position. He looked over his shoulder, "Thomas, you see any signs that that wormhole is forming, you let me know immediately." He locked eyes with Thomas, he had full confidence in Thomas. It was a good feeling to trust those around you.

Thomas simply nodded, butterflies forming in his stomach. He was a communications specialist! This was so far outside his normal scope of work. But he knew that Lieutenant Desai was working with her team in the science lab to figure out what was going on.

The Firebird hurtled towards the center of where the new wormhole was supposed to be, dodging disruptor blasts and unleashing red-orange phaser blasts in reply. The skilled evasive maneuvers by Lieutenant Smith, allowed them to dodge the majority of the Romulan attacks. Those that struck fell like hammers on the hull but their advanced shielding held, if barely.

The crew held their breath as they approached the location that Lieutenant Desai indicated was the center of the proto-wormhole.

"Evasive maneuver theta three three," Malcom said. He knew that the maneuver would strain the internal dampeners, but it was the only way he could think of to give them a little more maneuvering space.

Thomas looked over at Lieutenant t'Aegis. She was calmly continuing to return fire. He thought she looked like a statue. A blinking light on his console drew his attention and he saw it was a message from the science team.

"Sir, Lieutenant Desai suggests we use the deflector screen to bombard the possible wormhole with theta radiation. She thinks it will trigger it," Lopt said, reading the message.

"And maybe suck us in," Malcom said. "We don't have much choice. We might end up like the Voyager if we get sucked into a wormhole but we'll be debris if we do nothing. Do it, Thomas."

Thomas held his breath and quickly punched in the commands that would generate and route the theta rays as ordered. "Firing now, sir," Thomas said.

On the main viewscreen, the wormhole tore through the blackness of space behind them. It was not beautiful like the Celestial Temple of Bajor. Instead, it was unevenly shaped with orange and purple colors swirling in a chaotic manner. Streaks of lightning-like energy crackled around the edges. The Romulan ship, focused on the attack, had no notice of the wormhole, especially without the readings from Saddler's sensor scans over the course of many hours. As a result, they had no chance to avoid it. There was a flash of light, and the wormhole and the Romulan ship vanished.

Malcom smiled. "Well, that went better than expected."

=^=Bridge this is Lieutenant Desai. Bad news. That trick with the wormhole has accelerated the star's impending supernova=^=

"Accelerated? How long until it goes?" Malcom asked.

=^=About ten minutes, give or take a minute=^= Desai said in a calm voice.

"Secure from red alert. Jackson, get us out of here, flank speed," Malcom said.

In the end, they cleared the system under impulse power and were able to go to warp two minutes before the star went supernova. The entire ship was content with a boring trip back to Empok Nor, disrupted only by troublesome Ferengi passengers.


Captain Malcom Llwyedd
Commanding Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Jackson Smith
Chief Flight Control Officer/ Intelligence Specialist
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Commander Rhiana t'Aegis
Chief Security/Tactical Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Petty Officer First Class Kipp Lak
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Captain Poc
Ferengi Merchant

Lieutenant Commander Jorgen Leed
Chief Diplomatic Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298
(NPC by Soto)


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Comments (1)

By Chief Petty Officer Charles Stephens JR on Wed Jan 15th, 2020 @ 3:16pm

This was alot of fun... Great interactions with the Ferengi I wanted to punch him in the face. Great to see Jackson doing Jackson things!