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A Road With No Turns

Posted on Friday 16 June 2017 @ 14:30 by Commander Melody Jones & Civilian Jacob Carson PhD & Commander Caroline Miller & Lieutenant Commander Save'ena (Sav) Tillatix & Lieutenant Commander David Tan & Lieutenant JG Martin Landau & Lieutenant JG David Scarlet & Lieutenant Lysia T'Seng

Mission: The Perez Nebula
Location: Observation Lounge / The Derelict
Timeline: 239406.02 1900Hrs

ON:

Melody sat at the head of the table as the rest of the officers came into the room and took their seats.

... == Sick-bay ==

David lay patently while a seemingly endless battery of tests were run, but finally he was cleared to return to duty ...


== Observation lounge ==

Entering, David took his seat, receiving a nod from the Exec' as he took his seat ...

Lt. Tillatix came into the observation lounge. The fighters were still maintaining their scanner watch, but with the rotations and nothing incoming, Sav was able to get a break and attend the meeting that Melody had called. Getting a coffee from the replicator, she sat down and waited for the meeting to start.

"Right then" Melody started "I Believe you're all familiar with Mr Carson, who I've asked to join us as the ships resident historian."

She motioned to the rusting plaque "The away team we sent over brought this back. If this is genuine, that ship over there 'IS' the USS Merlin which means at some future time, the ship will be thrown 5000 years into the past and remain hidden in this nebula until we find it."

She paused as she let the information sink in to all in the room.

"Lieutenant Tillatix beamed a hull sample into engineering which is currently being tested and we also have an engineering team with security escort over there now trying to access the main computer. I'll now open this up to discussion."

Sav nodded to the comment about her using her fighter to find, isolate, link and allow beaming of the hull sample onto the Merlin. She now spoke up, "Any clues yet onto why we are here, and there?"

Melody shook her head "We've been unable to establish how that other ship got here. There is an engineering team beaming aboard. They are going to try and access the main computer to see if they can get any more information."

"Time travel," Caroline stated none too happy. "Its the only explanation. And thoses visions, people of the past or the future. I despise temporal mechanics. Gives me a headache."

"I agree" Melody added "The last thing we need is a visit from temporal investigations when we return to Starbase. The presence of temporal disturbances and strong chronoton currents dose support thath theory but unfortunately we cannot determine at what point in the future the other ship comes from."

"Best to not think about it." Scarlet said firmly. "Do what we would normally do. Generally second guessing our every action leads to more problems than the ones we try to solve."

Melody nodded in agreement. She interjected "At the moment, not only can we not see a solution, we can't even define the problem."

The comm system beep "Commander Jones, this is Engineering."

Melody held up her hand to silence the murmurs in the room "Go ahead, have you found anything unusual with the hull section?

The voice hesitated "Errr, no Sir. This is a standard Starfleet hull section. All the alloys and construction techniques are consistent with it being assembled in the late 2380's, possibly 2390's. Which is worrying because carbon dating confirms the section is over 5000 years old."

Melody let out a sigh "Keep looking for any inconsistencies. Jones out."

She looked around the room "Well people, it seems we have confirmation. Now how do we avoid this happening?"

From his seat, Mr Carson clear his throat "If I may?"

Melody nodded her head before he continued "This is a problem once seen, not easily avoided. Once we had found that ship over there, we committed to a series of events that may be unavoidable."

Melody frowned "Are you saying no matter what we do, this will always happen?"

He smiled and shook his head "You humans always think of time as such a ridged concept. It may be possible to avoid that...." he gestured out of the window to the hulk floating nearby "But it will not be easy. History has a way of........ fulfilling itself."

Melody nodded grimly. "Any further comments?"

One thing Sav had noticed from reports from the 'future/past' Merlin was nothing indicating a Mephetian Officer still served on board. Sav raised an eyebrow and said, "You do realize that the Merlin over there could be from any time in the future? Including having been mothballed and being shown as a museum piece? Please, tread carefully, as we don't want to pre-trigger a time event."

Melody nodded thoughtfully. "Save'ena's right. We cant start second guessing ourselves because of what we've seen here. We're going to continue with our mission as normal. We can't and shouldn't let the future dictate the present. Who knows, maybe this time we'll get it right."

... "Commander, I would like to take a second Away Team over to the derelict, we need to find more information and I'm familiar with the 'dangers' over there." David said, but he was told there was already a second team, with specific instructions, aboard the other vessel. Although disappointed, he knew the decision was sound and in no way reflecting his competence, but to be left behind was a bit of a blow. His hand subconsciously moved to the 'wound' in his chest, the stark reality of the attack still at the forefront of his mind, despite the medication ...

"I appreciate your enthusiasm Lieutenant" Melody said as she rose from her seat "But right now i want you back on the bridge to help coordinate the engineering away team. Lieutenant Tillatix, please take the helm. Caroline I'd like you up here too. The rest of you can return to your duties, thank you for your input. Dismissed."

Sav churred out in pleasure at hearing the order to take the helm. She loved flying starships, and Melody knew why. Heck, right now, she was the best one to be at the helm because she could act and react from the limited sensor data coming in before it was called out. She stood up and headed for the bridge.

**** Meanwhile, on the derelict ****

The six person away team materialized in the deserted engineering room. 3 engineers, Lieutenant Baker, Fredrick and Ensign Knight each with a security guard. They then split up, Baker and Knight heading to the EPS power system and Fredrick heading for the computer core access room.

Penney, Murphy and Saunders glanced at each other and gave a silent nod before following their respective 'clients'. They'd been told all they needed to be regarding the situation, keep the engineers safe of a vessel of similar make and design as the Merlin.

Fredrick entered the room and immediately went over, knelt and opened the panel to studied the relays. Despite their age, they looked salvageable. She placed her tool kit on the floor and started working, aware and glad for the guard with his phaser rifle, standing watch over her.

As she worked, the display above the open panel flicked on. From her position, Fredrick could not see that it showed a clock frozen at 01:25:03. It was right in the line of sight of Penney.

"You did something." Penney grunted. He took a step closer to the display and shook his head. He was supposed to keep Fredrick safe, but sometimes engineers made their own problems.

Fredrick's comm badge beep and Lieutenant Baker came through "Liz, we've reset the power taps and hooked up our portable generator. You should be getting some power through. It look like here the computer core command sequencer froze when the power was interrupted. You might want to try recalibrating the power input."

"Copy that, stand by!"

===== The Bridge of the Merlin =====

The Senior staff came out of the Observation lounge and headed off in their separate directions, Melody and Caroline headed back to their command chairs in the center of the room.

Sav came over to the helm and smiled to the ensign in the seat. "Greetings Ensign Xeniaar, I will be taking the helm. Status?" The two officers exchanged information and Sav took the helm. She brushed her hands over the console, loving being in the drivers seat, then linked with and began directly piloting the Merlin. Her tail shook twice in affirmation at now flying with the Merlin and her systems.

... Sitting at the Operations Station on the Bridge, David watched the Merlin, or rather, the 'other' Merlin, with something approaching concern. If that ship had indeed suffered through some catastrophe, what was to sat that 'their' Merlin wouldn't suffer the same fate ? ... He was constantly checking his panels for anything untoward, but at this point in time almost nothing was happening, at least about their Merlin. The fighters had now taken up positions covering both vessels and were scanning out beyond their positions. The last thing they needed was unexpected company. He leaned back in his chair, resisting the urge to stretch out a yawn, obviously due to the medication he'd received earlier. He looked at his panel and could see someone reflected in the plexi-glass surface, he turned, looking up to see who was behind him but there was no-one there ... A cold shiver ran the length of his spine as he turned back to his console and brought up the Bridge surveillance record for the last sixty seconds.

His screen showed the Bridge from various locations. He picked the Starboard Side which had the better view of his station and hit the 'playback' tab.

"Great, you're seeing things now." he muttered. He ran the record again, but in the time-frame no-one approached him or his station. He turned to inform Commander Jones and saw two Security Officers, both carrying phaser rifles enter the turbo-lift. Commander Jones looked in his direction but knowing whatever he said would be put down to his recent experience aboard the derelict, he turned back to his station. he sat for several seconds then hit the Comm:

=^= Tan to T'Seng .. Please come to the Bridge =^=

=^= On my way =^=

He got up and moved to one of the vacant Science Stations then re-ran the Bridge record.

"Lieutenant." Lysia T'Seng said behind him. He took her by the arm and led her to one side, hopefully out of earshot of anyone else then told her what he thought he'd seen.

"Tell the Doctor David." Lysia replied instantly, "If this is a result of what happened over there it could be regressed memories surfacing, or the fact your tired. If not, then whatever happened over there might be bleeding over to this ship, and if everyone suddenly starts to be attacked ....." she left the sentence unfinished. David looked at her, knowing she was right ...

===== The Derelict Merlin =====

Lieutenant Fredrick had been working hard for some time now. She was determined she was going to be the one to get some answers. Finally, the auxiliary display next to her lit up and began scrolling information.

"Yes! Got it!" She did a mini fist pump before she hit her comm badge "Lieutenant Fredrick to Merlin, I've managed to access the main computer core. I'm trying to bring up ships log." She brought her tricorder up and started scanning, sending the information back to her Merlin.

Above her, the numbers on the display suddenly sprang to life. It soon became obvious that this was not a clock showing hours, minutes and seconds but rather a timer showing minutes, seconds and milliseconds. The last two digits started changing rapidly as the timer resumed counting down

01:24.............01:23.........01:21.............01:20.................01:19.............01:18.............

Commander Jones's voice came over the comm "Do the logs give any indication of what happened over there?"

Penney just looked back and forth between the display and Fredrick. "It's counting down sir. What did you do?"

Fredrick was so focused on her work. "There's been a lot of damage to the files. The storage area seem to have degraded over time......... The file headings are missing and the Stardates are scrambled. I can read the files but i can only pick out a few words, the rest are gibberish. Stand by......."

She worked her tricocorder, trying to unscramble the mess of files, as the timer continued.

00:40...........00:39..........00:38.........00:37.......

Fredrick started reading what she could over the comm "It's not very clear. It mentions a planet........ A war......... then it jumps to ......... Vortex............ Massive temporal displacement.............. Warp core unstable......... Life support failing................." her face went pale. "It ends with "Abandon ship !......"

===== Merlin Bridge =====

Melody sat listening to the grim narrative. She turned to Caroline "Something bothers me. The ship was crippled, trapped in the past and in enemy space. We wouldn't just leave Starfleet technology from the future sitting around for anybody to find. Why didn't we follow standard procedure? The three most senior officers would have had one last duty to perform." Her eyes locked with Caroline's.

Caroline nodded knowing that only meant one thing. Blowing up the ship.

Melody thought for a moment "Even with the warp core gone, there's still the secondary auto-destruct system which still has enough power to vaporize the ship and any thing within say....... 5000 Km."

Sav, in following what Melody was talking about, scrunched her muzzle. She called back to the Melody, asking, "Sir, if the command crew was doing such, and interrupted in their task somehow, would not it be prudent to move away from the ship by at least that range plus 50% buffer zone?"

Martin exited the turbolift in a casual way his head still spinning from the mess flowing across the screens in the TIC and moved towards an empty console to set up shop here for a while and waited to see what unfolded next and become the intelligence officer on the bridge if Jones required it

"Can we transport our people back?" Scarlet asked firmly. At that range, getting a transporter lock would be increasingly difficult with all the interference.

===== The derelict Merlin =====

Fredrick was still working inside the open panel when the comm badge beeped again.

"Liz, we've got some addition power units. You should be getting some more displays functional."

Fredrick brought her head out of the panel and looked around. All the monitors in the room flickered to life one by one.

They all showed the same thing.........

Penney just started swearing, he thought to shoot Fredrick for dooming them, but quickly shelved the idea, why should she get off so lucky?

00:09.......00:08.........00:07........00:06...........00:05.....

Sudden and horrible realization dawned on her. She hit her comm badge and yelled "MOVE THE SHIP AWAY! MOVE IT NOW!!"

00:03........00:02.....00:01.........00:00

She shut her eyes and waited. After a moment she opened them again. She let out an hysterical laugh.

Suddenly the entire room was engulfed in a massive fireball.

~~~~~

===== Merlin Bridge =====

Melody heard the blind terror in the young Lieutenants voice. No time to call for beam out. Protect the ship! Now!

"Helm, back us off. Full impulse. Signal the fighters to pull back as well. Bridge to transporter room, get the away team back now!"

Sav had already started moving the ship back in expectation of the order as the terror in the other voice confirmed she was prudent to have done so. Still, they were too close and she shunted energy to the Inertial shields in preparation of being hit by a shockwave of the self destruct of the ancient Merlin before them. "Working on it, spare energy routed to Inertial Shielding.." A pulse beam of communication went to the closest two fighters and they lit up their engines to rocket away from the derelict Merlin. Only time would tell if they got away.

The Merlin was pulling back, when the derelict on the screen erupted into a blazing inferno. A massive shockwave expanding out in all directions. Expanding towards them!

Melody looked at the fireball and prayed to God the away team had been beamed back. She had to protect the ship. It was save six and possibly jeopardize over a thousand others. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, she thought to herself.

She then called out "Maximum Shields! All hands brace for impact!"

Sav kept the front of the Merlin towards the exploding ship as the front shields were the strongest. She kept accelerating backwards and away from the ship, even as she hated that they were in the Nebula, which caused all shielding and sensors to be a minimum.

The ship rocked hard as the shields absorbed the brunt of the impact. Melody managed to hang onto the Captains chair, just barely avoiding being thrown to the deck. The ship finally stabilized, "Damage report!"

Peterson replied "Checking all systems Captain."

... Like everyone else on the Bridge, David had heard the fear and terror in the voice a fraction of a second before the derelict Merlin exploded ! ... The shock wave had almost penetrated the shields, if that had happened there would be no-one left, it was as simple as that. Now, the Merlin was moving backwards, still putting distance between her and the epicenter of the blast, he glanced around at the Command area, then checked each of the stations in turn, thankfully all were manned, so at least they had not lost anyone up here. Suddenly his panel began to light up ... Red warning indicators flashed, demanding attention ... During a lull in reports he informed them of his findings:

"Commander I'm reading hull bleaches on Decks thirty six through thirty eight, emergency force-fields are in place, no injuries. I've dispatched emergency personnel down there."

He continued to monitor his panel, seeing reports flash on screen in order of severity, thankfully, there was few ... He checked on the comm link to the fighters but it had failed, likely as the blast wave slammed into the shields he thought, but the fighters, or remaining fighters, were all now so close to the Merlin that his phaser/comm link was no longer required. The shields were being bombarded by enormous amounts of radiation, but from where, the derelict Merlin didn't have a warp core, there was no antimatter over there, and even allowing for the composition of the nebula they were in, that ship should never have produced the amounts of exotic particles it had. He continued to monitor, making a note of those lost ready for the Captain, who had the most unenviable role in these cases ...

Sav called back from the helm, "Sir, the first wave has passed us over, I am riding the secondary waves. The hull breaches were from ordinance still viable in the other ship that exploded. Permission to backtrack and take us out of the nebula to allow repairs to the ship out of the Nebula's influence."

"Sickbay reports minor injuries from several decks and," Caroline stated getting up and pulling the emergency medikit from under the CMO's seat, "I will be over there fixing up Ensign Roberts who is currently picking himself up off the floor. If anyone else requires medical assistance tell me."

Scarlet just gritted his teeth and looked at the screen. He hated losing people. It was a part of the job that he was very familiar with and for that reason he despised it. "I've dispatched security to critical areas to help secure the areas in case of a surprise assault."

Melody listened as the bridge officers reported, she then hit her comm badge "Bridge to transporter room one. Brooks do you have them?"

There was a long pause before Brooks responded. Her voice was trembling "N......No Sir. The shields went up and I lost the lock.........."

Melody's mouth went dry and her knees went weak. It was good she was sitting down or she would be probably on the floor right now. She steeled herself in the chair. She couldn't show any signs of weakness in front of he crew. Not now. The entire bridge was looking to her for strength, for guidance. When all else fails, what was needed was the appearance of self control. Fake it till you make it...... she repeated top herself in her mind over and over.

Melody took a deep breath "Understood Brooks. I'm sending someone to relieve you. Bridge out."

Peterson spoke up from his station "Sir, It looks like Dragons 11 and 12 were caught in the blast. We've lost all contact."

'Oh God, no!' Melody thought to herself "Helm, who was piloting Dragons 11 and 12?"

Sav consulted the shift rosters and reported, "Ensign Curlique and Warrant Officer Nguyen, Sir."

Melody managed to raise her voice "All hands attention to orders. Let the record show the following crew members gave their lives in service of their ship and crew and they shall be remembered with honor. Lieutenant John Baker, Lieutenant Elizabeth Fredrick Ensign Phillip Knight, Specialist Penney, Specialist Murphy, Specialist Saunders, Ensign Curlique and Warrant Officer Nguyen."

Melody then rose, still keeping one hand on the arm of the chair. "Helm, take us back out of the nebula. Thrusters only. Once we are clear, have the fighters recalled. Then lay in a course for the Lazarus star, Full Impulse. Keep me informed on the progress of repairs."

Sav barely kept from breathing a sigh of relief. She called out, "Aye Aye, Sir, path plotted and proceeding out of the Nebula at thruster speed only."

Melody shot a look at Caroline "You have the bridge, I'll be in the ready room."

Caroline nodded and took Melody's seat. It was the first time she had ever sat in the command chair.


OFF:

Lieutenant Commander Melody Jones
Executive Officer
USS Merlin

Lieutenant David Tan
Chief Operations Officer
USS Merlin

Lieutenant Save'ena Tillatix
CAG / Uroboros Squadron Leader
Bridge Command Specialist
USS Merlin

Lieutenant JG Martin Landau
Chief Strategic Operations Officer
USS Merlin

Dr Caroline Miller
CMO/2XO
USS Merlin

Lt. David Scarlet
CSTO
USS Merlin

 

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