USS BOLIVAR NCC-78243
“Story 1: The Decision”
It had been a long time since he was here on a sunny beach in Monaco. The waves of the Mediterranean crashing continuously onto the shore at regular intervals. The blue sky and blue water almost merge into one great expanse. The sandy haired man picks his head up and looks down the beach. He realizes that he is out there all-alone.
How did I get the whole coastline to myself? He wonders. Not that he was complaining.
He lies back down onto his towel and looks up at the sun. He places his hand over his eyes to shield them from the rays. In an instant, the sky goes black.
BOOM! His body is thrown into the wall next to his bed; the entire room shakes in a series of rumbles and sounds of breaking glass.
Damn, it was a dream.
The ships computer chimes in with a noted lack of urgency in its voice
“Red Alert. Take Emergency Stations.”
From the floor, Commander Alexander Martin picks himself up and grabs his Combadge. Realizing there is no time to put on his uniform, he places his badge on his pajamas. The ship jolts again. Barely able to keep his feet, the first officer taps his badge and calls for the bridge.
With the alert klaxons blaring and red lights flashing, he makes his way out of his quarters into the corridor and finally to the turbolift. On his way, he notices a few injured crew members unconscious on the deck.
No time to help them now. He thinks to himself
The turbolift doors woosh open and Martin enters.
“Bridge” he commands.
The female computer voice responds coldly:
“Unable to comply. Power failure on deck 1.”
“Fine. Take me to Main Engineering then!”
The lift complies. The doors close and Commander Martin begins his decent to the lower decks.
The Sovereign-Class starship continues to rumble and groans like a giant animal in distress. Martins mind runs wild with a few dozen scenarios to explain who or what may be attacking the ship.
Could it be the borg again or some renegade Klingons?
As a Starfleet officer for twenty years and two years as the USS Bolivar’s First Officer, he knows the possibilities are endless. None of which would surprise him.
Before he could come to a conclusion to satisfy his own imagination, the turbolift doors open. Martin walks out onto the Engineering deck. It’s a flurry of activity comprised of bustling crew members alongside the rhythmic pulsing of the ships warp core. Over the rumbling of the ship and the chatter among the engineers, Martin Yells “REPORT!”
The Bolivar’s Chief Engineer Evan Murdoch responds without hesitation. Over all of the noise, he has to yell:
“Commander, the ship has entered a large subspace distortion! Sensors didn’t pick it up until we were right on top of it! Weapons, shields and all communications are offline! We’ve got power failures on Decks One through Five, all sections! There are hull fractures on decks fourteen, fifteen and sixteen! Sickbay is reporting at least thirty-five casualties! I have already sealed off deck five, section two due to a ruptured plasma conduit!
“Have you been able to contact the bridge or locate the captain?!” Martin asks.
“No, sir! Voice communications and some internal sensors are down!” Murdoch replies.
Just as Commander Martin takes a breath to say something, the ship is hit with another large jolt. Everyone hits the deck violently. A computer console nearby explodes in a shower of sparks. The Computer voice chimes in once again and announces: “Warning. Hull breach on Deck One. Emergency forcefields are offline.”
Trying not to think about the friends and coworkers that were just killed up there, Martin immediately jumps to his feet and yells “Computer! Transfer all command functions to Main Engineering! Authorization MARTIN ALPHA BETA ONE ONE SEVEN TWO!”
“Transfer Complete.” The Computer replies “All command functions have been rerouted to Main Engineering.”
As the new acting Captain, Martin turns to everyone and says, “Ladies and gentleman, welcome to the new bridge!”
Not wasting any time, he begins to give out orders.
“Ensign Harris” He says turning to the officer next to him “Configure this console for helm control, once you do, bring us about and get us the hell out of here!”
The short blonde officer replies with a firm and professional “Aye Sir!”
Ensign Susan Harris is 23 years old and 9 months out of the academy. Martin knows this emergency is the ultimate test for any officer, let alone a new one.
“Lieutenant Brennaman!” Martin says to the officer behind him.
The two-meter tall man towers over as Martin gives him the next important job: Getting help.
“Configure this console over here for tactical and Ops control and work on getting the external communications system back online. Broadcast a general distress call on all frequencies.” Martin says.
“Yes Sir” The tall lanky engineer grabs a toolbox and immediately gets to work.
On the other side of the room and seemingly unfazed by the whole situation around him, Chief Engineer Murdoch keeps himself occupied by simply trying to hold the ship together.
“Assemble a damage control team and get that conduit fixed on deck 5. I want those forcefields back online now!” He barks.
The engineers disperse, hurriedly grab their gear and proceed to the turbolift.
Ensign Harris suddenly reports in. “Commander Martin! We have helm control!”
“Good! Course ONE EIGHT ZERO MARK TWO FIVE Full impulse!” Martin commands.
The Ensign hits the buttons on the console with efficiency. “Engaging engines!” She says.
As the Bolivar turns for its final escape from the distortion, a large plasma discharge strikes the hull, tearing a hole through the saucer section. Everyone in Engineering hits the deck again. Most of them do not get up this time. After a few seconds of stillness, a white mist begins pouring out of the warp core.
“Evan!” yells Martin to Commander Murdoch. “I’m no engineer, but that looks like a coolant leak!”
“Yes sir. We’ve got about five minutes to a complete loss of containment.” Murdoch says very matter-of-factly.
“Evan, we need those forcefields online to eject the core. I want them now!” Says Martin in an unusually demanding tone.
Telling Evan Murdoch something he already knew was the most annoying thing you could do to the man. This statement was no exception, but Martin knows this is life or death. If they can’t get that core ejected, the ship explodes killing all 500 crewmembers and their families.
“What about abandoning ship?” asks Lt. Brennaman
“Were still too close to the anomaly. The subspace stresses would tear apart the escape pods. It’s out of the question.” Replies Murdoch.
Just then Brennaman receives a text message on his console from the team on deck 5 “Sir, the team reports that forcefields are now functional. However, the automatic warp core ejection system is offline ”
“Understood, I’m now engaging the core containment field” Murdoch Says “We just bought ourselves another few minutes”
Of all the dire situations Alex Martin had been in, this was number one. The Starship Bolivar was facing a core breach under his command. He couldn’t help but think that no more than 15 minutes ago he was peacefully dreaming in his bed, relaxing on the beach in Monaco on Earth. Suddenly he had a thought….
“What about manually ejecting the warp core?” Martin asks Murdoch.
A look of uncertainty falls upon Murdochs face; “Sir, that system was just installed and is highly experimental for this class of starship. I don’t even fully understand how it works yet. It hasn’t even been tested.”
“It may be our only shot” Martin Says. “Do it”
“Alright, but I’m going to need help. There are 3 release mechanisms underneath the deck plating around the core. They all need to be activated at the same time.” Murdoch explains.
After a pause and a deep breath, Murdoch continues “There is one major design issue I have to make you aware of Commander.”
“What’s that?” Martin asks.
“In order to eject the core with the containment field intact, we need to be inside the field. In other words, when the core is sucked out into space, so are we.”
Martin hoped this day would never come. In order to save the ship, he would have to order 3 crewmembers to their deaths. This wasn’t just any decision he had to make, it was the decision. After a brief moment alone in his own head, which to Martin felt like an eternity, he composes himself and turns around to look at his makeshift bridge crew and says:
“Ensign Harris, Lt. Brennaman. Assist Commander Murdoch.”
The three officers walk toward the warp core. The core, the giver of power for the ship and the very thing that sustains the crews’ lives, has turned against them and threatens to destroy them.
“I need to lower the containment field to access the release mechanisms.” Murdoch Says “Commander, you need to reactivate the field once were inside.”
“Understood” Martin says.
Murdoch walks over to one of the consoles near the core. While pushing a couple of buttons, he says “Lowering field”.
The containment field disappears and coolant floats throughout the cabin. The three crew members disappear into the white fog. After a few seconds, Martin reactivates the field not realizing something: He failed to notice the new text message from the repair team on the command console. The automatic ejection system was back online. It had been online for about two minutes. How did I miss that? He thinks to himself.
Commander Martin turns and yells toward the warp core “WAIT!! STOP!!”
But it’s too late. The core shoots down and out of the ship with great force. It was a successful ejection. The ship is saved.
With the ship out of danger, calmness washes over the engineering deck. The sudden stillness doesn’t affect Martin however. In a near panic, he hurriedly drops the forcefield surrounding the empty area where the mighty warp core once stood. He runs to the railing and looks down for any sign of his crewmates. He sees nothing but an empty shaft with an opening at the bottom revealing a field of stars.
In his mind, they are on one of the lower decks hiding from him playfully, waiting for the perfect moment to show themselves. But in his heart, Martin knows they are dead and it was his fault.
Just as he is about to collapse onto the deck in a breakdown, the turbolift doors open and medical officers file out, toting their gear to help the injured. Among them is Captain Erika Benteen, who had been crawling around Jefferies tubes for the last 20 minutes trying to find a functioning turbolift. She rushes over to Martin who can barely stand.
“Commander! Are you alright?” She asks.
As a couple streaks of blood begin running down his face, Martin replies, “No Erika, I’m not”
Normally calling the Captain of a starship by her first name was unacceptable but Martin and the Captain were close. They had been friends ever since the USS Odyssey when they served as junior officers together. That was over fifteen years ago. Benteen knew it was being spoken by a friend in distress and not out of disrespect.
“Come on, let’s get you to Sickbay. You’re going to be alright Alex.” She says reassuringly.
Martin stops and turns to look where the warp core once stood, then turns back to look at Benteen. “Not this time.”
To be continued in USS Bolivar “Story 2:Bad Influence”