Star Trek: Monet – “Maiden Voyage”

Personal log, stardate 51403.6: I have received news today that the Monet will be ready for launch in two days. I’ll be meeting Admiral Foster on the ship at 1600 hours tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing my ship firsthand.

After recording his log, Paul Shearer made his way to the replicator. “Computer, Raktajino.” A steaming mug of Klingon coffee appeared in the replicator. He took the mug and walked over to the balcony.

As he sat there and got lost in the view, he remembered the times before the war, when they had all been explorers. That all changed when the Dominion/Cardassian fleet attacked Deep Space Nine, a move that plunged the entire Alpha Quadrant into full-scale war. He had served on the USS Atlanta, but was forced to abandon ship when they came face to face with two Jem’Hadar attack ships. A month after the Atlanta was destroyed he received a call from Admiral Foster at Starfleet Command, offering him command of an experimental warship, at the time designated the USS Dreadnought. He had accepted and had been given one-month of shore leave so he could study the schematics and functions of his new ship, later designated the Monet.  The Monet wasn’t supposed to be ready for another two months, but recent attacks by the Dominion had prompted Starfleet to speed up the work. As he gazed at the landscape, he felt his eyes become heavy and he drifted into a light sleep.

            “Where’s that hypo-spanner?” Lieutenant Gravis asked.

“Here it is sir.” A young Ensign passed the spanner to Gravis.

He took it and began bolting the bulkhead back together. “That should do it!” he said triumphantly. Gravis was the Chief Engineer of the Monet, and he wanted to make sure everything was working perfectly before the Captain’s tour this afternoon.

“Sir, our starboard shields are still acting up. I can’t get their strength up more than 45 percent,” Ensign Jeffers called from the other side of engineering.

“Damn! What the hell is wrong with them? Get Admiral Foster on the comm, and patch it through to my office,” ordered Gravis.

“What can I do for you, Lieutenant? I’m very busy!” Foster said. On the screen, Gravis could see several officers hurrying back and forth behind the Admiral.

“It’s those damn new shield emitters! Our starboard shields won’t go above 45 percent,” Gravis said with a hint of anger.

The Admiral frowned. “All right, I’ll send some additional emitters.”

“If you can get them to me within the hour then I can have them installed before the Captain arrives at 1600 hours,” Gravis proposed.

“I’ll see what I can do. Good day Lieutenant.” And with that Foster signed off.

            As Shearer ducked into the shuttle he heard a familiar voice. “Good to see you again, Captain.”

“Ralph!” Shearer said in surprise. Ralph Brady was the tactical officer on board the Atlanta, and he had been posted at Starfleet Tactical on Earth since the ship’s destruction.

“That’s me! Looks like I’m going to be serving under you again!” he said jokingly. The two sat down at the helm talking about old times, while the young Lieutenant skilfully piloted the shuttle from space-dock. It took them 15 minutes to reach Utopia Planitia, where the Monet was docked. As they flew past three space-docks, in which half constructed ships were docked, the Monet slowly came into view.

It was the most beautiful ship Shearer had ever seen. The ship had started off as the shell of a sovereign class ship, but had been reshaped and redesigned to allow for more weapons and new systems. She had a long thin saucer section that was shaped like a triangle, but with a bit of the front cut out. The engineering section was just the same as the normal Sovereign class but the nacelles were shorter and more bulky. The shuttle made another pass of the ship and then flew towards the shuttle bay on the saucer of the ship.

As the shuttle touched down, Shearer looked out the front view-port to see Admiral Foster waiting for him. As he stepped out of the hatch, the Admiral strode up to him. “Welcome aboard the USS Monet, Captain,” Foster said.

“Thank you Admiral” he replied.

Foster walked with him out of the shuttle bay and began giving Shearer the usual speech that Admirals gave new Captains. “As I’m sure you know, the Monet was built mainly to fight the Dominion. She has six torpedo launchers that have a maximum spread of ten torpedoes at once. She has twenty phaser banks and a maximum speed of warp 9.99987. She also has regenerative shielding, ablative hull armour and,” he paused, “a cloaking device,” Foster said proudly.

“Cloaking Device? That wasn’t in the schematics you sent me,” Shearer pointed out.

The Admiral gave a smile. “Last minute addition. Now where would you like to go first?”

“The bridge” replied Shearer.

They strolled into the nearest turbolift and headed for the bridge. The doors whooshed open and Shearer was amazed. It was unlike any bridge he had seen before. The helm was at the front, as usual, but low down in a dip, like a cockpit. From the helm there was a slope that flattened off at the middle to give way to the Captain and First Officer’s chairs, which were moulded into the floor of the upper level. Behind the Captain’s chair was a railing with two small computer panels, behind which was the ship schematic and some other stations. The tactical station was positioned to the right of the Captain’s chair in a part that stuck out of the bridge. The Ops station was positioned behind the Captain’s chair to right. The whole thing looked more menacing than the usual Starfleet bridges.

“Wow!” he said slowly, almost without thinking.

“This is one of the most advanced and efficient bridges in the fleet, I knew you’d approve” Foster said smiling.

Shearer walked round the bridge, and stood in front of the Captain’s chair. He sat down and found that it was quite comfortable. He started to fidget.

“What’s wrong? Don’t you like the chair?” The Admiral asked.

“I miss my old chair,” Shearer said with a smile.

The Admiral smiled back. “Come on, I’ll show you your ready room”. Admiral Foster led Shearer down to a door to the left of the viewscreen. Outside the door was the Monet’s dedication plaque. It read “USS Monet NX 79067. Once More Unto the breach…”

            Natasha Kingston stepped up onto the transporter pad. She turned towards the young Ensign at the controls. “The Monet has cleared you for beam in,” the Ensign chirped.

“Energize,” Kingston ordered. She felt the familiar hum and tingle of the transporter and five seconds later she stood on the transporter pad of the Monet. She looked around. The transporter room was quite small. The control booth was directly in front of her and there were several other panels dotted around the room. All this made it looked cramped, but it looked a lot more advanced than the one she had just left. Her gaze fell onto the man standing in front of her.

“Welcome aboard, Commander, I’m Ralph Brady, your tactical chief.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant,” replied Kingston.

“The Captain’s with the Admiral.  Shall I inform him that you’re on board?” Brady asked.

“Please do, Lieutenant. Could you please tell him that I’d appreciate a word with him when he has a moment.”

“Aye sir!” Kingston stepped of the pad and made her way out the door.

“Impressive.  That’s all I can say,” Shearer said as he walked round the warp core. This was their last stop of the tour, and the most interesting for Shearer. He had really liked studying engineering at the academy, but had joined a command course instead. He glanced around the large engineering. It was a bustle of activity as the engineers hurried to get the Monet ready for launch. He heard a bump and a soft curse as a young Lieutenant smacked his head on a console.

“Brady to Captain Shearer”

Shearer tapped his commbadge.

“Go ahead, Lieutenant.”

“Sorry to disturb you sir but Commander Kingston has just beamed aboard. She said she’d like a word with you when you’ve got moment.”

“Thank you, Lieutenant. Tell the Commander I’ll meet her in my Ready Room in ten minutes. Shearer out.” He tapped his commbadge again to shut off the frequency. He turned toward the Admiral. “If that’s all Admiral I’d like to go meet my First Officer”

“That’s all Captain. I’ll return to Utopia Planitia.” The Admiral turned and started to walk away but about a stride from the door he stopped and turned. “Do me a favour Paul. Don’t blow her up.” With a smile he turned around again and headed towards the transporter room.

Shearer smiled back. He nodded to a passing Ensign and then made his way to the turbolift at the back of engineering. “Deck 1”. The turbolift slowly began its journey upwards.

            As Commander Kingston stepped out onto the bridge, she looked round and was taken back by what she saw. She’d seen it plenty of times in the schematics but to see it for herself was another thing. She couldn’t get over how menacing it looked compared with the Starfleet bridges she’d worked on before. She heard Lieutenant Brady call to her.

“Ah, hello, Commander. The Captain’s waiting for you in his ready room.”

Kingston nodded and headed for the door just to the left of the viewscreen. She pressed the chime and heard a voice from inside. The doors swished open and she strode in.

“Good afternoon, Commander.” Shearer got up from his seat and headed towards Kingston. “It’s good to finally meet you,” he said as he took her hand and shook it.

“Thank you, Captain,” Kingston replied. Shearer motioned for her to sit and she slid into the chair opposite the Captain’s desk.

Shearer also sat down in his chair. “Lieutenant Brady said you wanted to speak to me?” he said picking up his mug of Raktajino from the desk.

“That’s right, sir. I just wanted get to know my new Captain before we launch; I’ve had some problems working with the ones I don’t like or know very well,” she replied.

Shearer grinned at her.  “So I’ve heard. It says in your records that you have taken matters into your own hands when you disagreed with your Captain before, on a number of occasions.” He put down his mug and leaned towards her. “That’s why I chose you. I don’t want someone who’ll follow every order I make. I want someone who will question me when they think my judgement is flawed.” He paused. “But I don’t expect any mutiny is that clear, Commander?” he inquired jokingly.

Kingston caught on.  “I’ll try not to sir!” she grinned back. The two talked for nearly an hour, getting to know each other. They found that they got on quite well. Commander Kingston was just getting round to telling Shearer about the time she and two others had successfully stalled a Dominion fleet by destroying a sensor dish when Lieutenant Brady called them over the comm.

“Brady to Captain Shearer.”

“Go ahead, Lieutenant,” Shearer said, still partly laughing.

“Lt. Gravis has just informed me that all systems are up and running to peak efficiency, and Admiral Foster has told us we can launch ASAP.” Brady replied.

“Understood. Prepare the ship. We’ll launch in three minutes,” came the Captain’s order

“Aye Sir, Brady out.”  The comm bleeped off, and Shearer rose from his seat. Both he and Kingston strode out onto the bridge and settled into their chairs.

“All decks report ready sir,” Kingston reported.

Shearer took a look round the bridge. At the helm was Ensign Maverick, at tactical Lieutenant Brady. At the Ops station was Lieutenant Commander J’mall and at the engineering station a young Lieutenant, whom he didn’t immediately recognise. He settled his gaze on the forward viewscreen. “All hands, this is the Captain. Prepare for departure. Helm take us out, one quarter impulse power. As soon as we’re clear, set a course for Deep Space Nine, maximum warp”

“Aye sir!” came Lieutenant Maverick’s response.

The Monet slowly drifted out of space dock. The umbilical cords that gave the Monet life were one by one disengaging from the hull. The formation lights blinked across the hull and several small maintenance craft flew in and around her. Several people watched from the large observation window at the middle of the docks as the Monet drew slowly away. As the Monet cleared dock, she turned slightly to the left and went to warp.

Captains Log, Stardate 51404.4: We are now just an hour away from Deep Space Nine and everything is running smoothly. There has been no problems with any of the Monet’s systems and we’ve yet to run into any Dominion ships. Once at DS9, we will dock and await orders.

 

            The mess hall was empty. Shearer walked up to a replicator and ordered a Raktajino. A few seconds later, a steaming mug appeared. He took the mug and went to sit by one of the large windows. He stared at the stars streaking by and thought of his father. It had been four years since the Jem’Hadar killed his father, along with everyone else on the USS Odyssey. That had started the war early for him. As he sat there gazing at the stars, Amy Hughes, the chief medical officer entered the room. She ordered something from the replicator and headed towards her Captain.

“Mind if I join you?” she asked politely.

Shearer jumped.

“Sorry did I scare you?” she asked.

“No, sorry, I just didn’t hear come in. Please sit,” he got up and waited for her to sit. Hughes sat down opposite Shearer and placed her mug in front of her. She studied her Captain’s face and knew something was wrong. “Are you all right, Captain?” she asked.

Shearer drew his gaze from the window to settle on her face. Trust her to notice. She always noticed if something was bothering someone. She had a gift for it. “It’s nothing really, I just got thinking about my father,” he said. Hughes shifted forward.

“Do you want to talk about it?” she asked.

Before he could answer, Commander Kingston’s voice came over the comm. “Bridge to Captain Shearer”

Shearer tapped his badge. “Shearer here.” he said.

“I think you ought to come up here sir, we’ve picked up an escape pod distress beacon,” she paused “It’s originating from the Badlands.”

The badlands? What the hell was a Starfleet ship doing in the there? It’s light years from the border! “I’m on my way Commander; excuse me, doctor.” With that he rose from his seat and left for the bridge, leaving the doctor alone in the mess hall.

            “Return fire!” came Captain Furlong’s booming voice as the ship rocked violently. The bridge was a mess. Every few minutes a console exploded, sending its user flying across the deck. The bridge glowed red as the alert lights flashed on and off casting eerie shadows.

“They’re coming round for another pass!” cried the young Ensign at tactical.

Damn Jem’Hadar, they were so close! Another explosion rocked the ship, this time sending Furlong to the floor. A conduit above him suddenly ruptured, spilling a gas onto the bridge.

The two Jem’Hadar ships flew in perfect formation and stayed like that even when the Armstrong let out another volley of phaser fire. They came in closer then broke off, one going under, the other going over. They were so close to the hull they could scrape the paintwork. They started firing, targeting the Armstrong’s shield generators. “Damage report!” Furlong called to anyone who was still conscious.

“Shields have completely gone, we’ve got hull breaches on decks five, six, eight and ten! We’re also venting plasma from our starboard nacelle!” called someone from across the bridge.

“Helm try and get us into the Badlands, full speed!” Furlong ordered.

The Armstrong slowly turned towards the pinkish anomaly that the Federation dubbed the Badlands, and headed for it. The two Jem’Hadar ships turned as well in pursuit. The Armstrong was just about to enter, when one of the ships let out a volley of torpedoes that caught her starboard nacelle and she went into an uncontrollable spin. An escape pod blew out from underneath her as she collided with a plasma storm and erupted into a ball of flame. The two Jem’Hadar ships turned and went to warp, leaving the escape pod to drift into the Badlands, sending out the automated distress beacon that would lure a Federation Starship here.

            Shearer strode onto the bridge and sat in his command chair. Commander Kingston handed him a padd with the distress beacon details on it. He took it and began to skim through. “J’mall, can you identify which ship the pod was launched from?” he asked his operations officer.

Rachel J’mall turned to face one of the consoles behind her. She worked at the controls for a few seconds then replied. “Sorry sir, we’ll need to be within one thousand kilometres to find that out, the signals too weak because of interference from the plasma storms.”

Damn, he thought. There was only one thing he could do. “Helm get a fix on the pod’s location and alter course to intercept”.

 Ensign Maverick turned towards him. “But sir, that’ll take us into Dominion territory, it’s a big risk to take for only one escape pod!”

Shearer sighed. “I know that, Ensign but I want to know what a Federation ship was doing there in the first place, and that escape pod might hold the answer. Now alter course to intercept!” Shearer sat back in his chair as Ensign Maverick acknowledged his order and the Monet swerved starboard and headed for the Badlands.

It took them almost three hours to reach the border and the Monet slowed to impulse. “Scan for any Dominion ships,” Kingston ordered.

Lieutenant Brady ran his fingers expertly over the tactical console as he scanned the region. He looked up. “No sign of any Jem’Hadar or Cardassian ships, sir” he reported.

Shearer rose from his chair and walked to the railing near the helm console. “Good, Ralph engage the cloaking device, but keep an eye out for enemy ships,” he warned “Maverick continue on course for the Badlands, warp eight.”

“Aye, sir,” came the officer’s responses. As the Monet moved forwards, she shimmered and disappeared as she cloaked.

“What’s our ETA?” asked Kingston.

Maverick checked his console.  “About ten minutes, sir,” he reported.

Shearer sat back in his chair and stared at the viewscreen. Ten minutes and they would find out what a Starfleet Starship was doing behind the lines. Ten minutes and all would be revealed.

            “Approaching the Badlands sir,” J’mall’s voice came across the bridge.

Shearer sat up and barked his orders. “Helm, drop to impulse, Ralph begin scanning for the escape pod.”

Both Maverick and Brady worked their fingers across their consoles. The tactical station bleeped. “I’ve got it. It’s drifting off our starboard bow, it’s been heavily damaged by plasma storms,” the tall tactical officer reported.

“Life signs?” asked the Captain. J’mall checked her console.

“One sir, very faint.”

“Are we within transporter range?” asked Kingston.

“Not yet, but I’ll beam over the survivor as soon as we are,” J’mall reported.

“Captain, I’m getting the escape pods registry through now,” he paused and looked at his console “NCC 65354, the Armstrongsir.”

“The Armstrong? Wasn’t she supposed to be taking supplies to some of the outer colonies?” Maverick asked.

“Sir, the survivor is in sickbay. Shall I tractor in the escape pod?” J’mall asked.

Shearer turned towards her. “Yes, bring it into shuttle bay two.” He turned to his First Officer. “Commander, take Lieutenant Gravis and try to get as much information from the escape pods databanks as possible.”

“Aye sir. Kingston to Gravis, meet me in shuttle bay two,” she called over the comm.

“Aye sir,” came Gravis’ response.

Shearer turned towards Lieutenant Brady. “Ralph, come with me to sickbay, I want to talk to our guest.” Brady nodded and followed his Captain into the turbolift.

            “Commander, I’ve found something!” Gravis shouted across the shuttle bay.

Kingston put down the padd she was reading and made her way to the escape pod. It was in a terrible state. There were black marks all up the side where mild plasma storms had hit it. How the pod had escaped destruction was a mystery. She then remembered the survivor in sickbay. He must have been tossed around like a ball inside that thing. “What have you got Lieutenant?” she asked as she poked her head inside the pod.

Gravis moved over slightly so that she could see the monitor on the inside of the pod. “I’ve found a couple of files here. They’re encrypted so I can’t look at them but from file structures, I’d say they’re orders from Starfleet Command.”

“Well done, Lieutenant. I think you’ve just found what the Captain’s looking for.” She tapped her comm badge, “Kingston to Shearer.”

After a small pause, the Captain’s voice came from the other end. “Yes Commander?” he asked.

Kingston stepped down from the escape pod and began walking over to the shuttle control console. “Lieutenant Gravis has found some encrypted files in the pod’s computer databanks. From the file structure, he believes they’re orders from Starfleet Command.” she reported.

After a brief silence the Captain replied, “Very good. Commander. See if you can access the file using the decryption sequences in the main computer. If that fails get Lieutenant Gravis to help you. Lieutenant Brady and I are just about to interview our guest. We’ll see if we can get the access codes from him. Shearer out.”

Kingston punched an access code into the computer. “Computer, download encrypted file 3203 from the escape pod’s computer and run it through all decryption algorithms.” The computer acknowledged her command and began downloading the file. Kingston turned round to observe the shuttle bay. This one wasn’t as large as the main shuttle bay but was still pretty huge. She could see several shuttles lined up along the far side of the room, two of a type which she had not seen before I’ll look it up later, she thought.

The computer behind her beeped. “Decryption sequences complete. Unable to decrypt file 3203; Access is denied,” it reported in its unemotional tone of voice.

Damn, she thought. She moved over to where Lieutenant Gravis was working on the escape pod. “Lieutenant, I will require your assistance to gain access to the file found on the escape pod,” she said.

“Aye sir,” he replied and they both set to work.

            “You can speak to him now, but try not to get him too excited, he still needs a lot of rest,” said Hughes.

            Shearer moved up towards the main bio-bed at the back of the room. “Don’t worry Doctor, we won’t keep him very long,” he reassured her. He moved over to the main bio-bed.

            The man lying there had red blotches over his face and arms, obviously injuries that had yet to be healed. The man looked up at him and smiled. “Hello, Captain.” He coughed. “I’m Lieutenant Commander Christy of the USS Armstrong… well former USSArmstrong,” he said.

            Shearer nodded to Brady to begin recording and Brady turned on the small device in his hands. The Captain began. “Welcome aboard Commander. My security officer and I would like to ask you a few questions, if you’re up to it.”

            The man tried to sit up but then decided against it and slumped back down. “Go ahead, Captain,” he replied.

            Shearer circled the bed. “My officers have found some files on your escape pod’s computer that contain orders from Starfleet Command. These files are encrypted so we can’t access them,” he stopped and turned towards Christy, “Do you have the codes Commander?”

“Yes Captain,” he replied.

 The Captain tapped his comm badge.  “Shearer to Kingston.”

 A short silence followed then Commander Kingston’s voice came back over the comm. “Kingston here,” she said.

“Commander our guest has the access codes to those files. Transfer them up here so he open them,” ordered Shearer.

“Aye sir, beginning transfer.”

The computer station behind the Captain bleeped and Shearer turned towards it. He tapped in a few commands then turned towards Commander Christy. “Commander,” he said motioning at the console. Christy sat up and leaned over to the console he punched in a few codes then the computer beeped again. “Authorisation code accepted.” The Captain began reading down the information and then stopped. He changed the access code for the file and then closed it. He turned towards Lieutenant Brady. “Ralph, assemble the senior staff in the briefing room. It looks like we’re going to be here longer than expected.”

Shearer glanced around the table. To the left of him were Lieutenant Brady, Lieutenant Maverick and Lieutenant Commander J’mall. To the right of him were Commander Kingston, Lieutenant Commander Christy and Doctor Hughes. They were just waiting for Lieutenant Gravis to show up. He glanced towards the door, which didn’t open. He waited two more minutes then he tapped his commbadge. “Shearer to Lieutenant Gravis.”

“Yes Sir?” Gravis replied over the comm.

“Lieutenant, you were supposed to be in the briefing room 6 minutes ago, is something wrong?” He asked. After a small silence he replied

“Well actually there is Captain, the shield emitters are acting up again. I’m sorry sir I won’t be able to join you.”

“Very well I’ll fill you in later, Shearer out.” He tapped his commbadge to shut off the frequency and turned to face his senior officers. “As Lieutenant Gravis cannot be with us I will begin.” He moved over to the computer screen at the front of the room and punched in some commands. A schematic of a ship similar to the Monet appeared on the screen. “This is the schematic of a Defender class Starship. It was designed after the Defiant class tests failed to fight the Borg. The ship was to be the most powerful ship in the fleet, capable of taking heavy weapons fire and releasing an incredible burst of firepower itself. The prototype, the USS Defender, was tested at a secret Starfleet Intelligence base near the Cardassian Border. The tests failed and the Defender became a bigger flop than the Defiant Class.” Shearer took a breath. Lieutenant Brady spoke up. “I remember those tests, if memory serves it was declared a flop after the unique warp drive and weapons systems brought on several problems that Starfleet didn’t have the resources to fix.” He recalled. Shearer nodded.

“So the Project was scrapped and the Defender dismantled, or so records say.” Shearer paused and glanced around the room. He could see in everyone, apart from Lieutenant Commander Christy, the look of curiosity. He continued. “According to Commander Christy, the Defender was not dismantled, but kept at the Starfleet Intelligence base for further research. ” He paused as he turned off the monitor and moved back to his seat. “When the war with the Dominion broke out, the base was one of Starfleet’s first to fall, second to Deep Space Nine. Along with the base the Dominion had captured the Defender, which Starfleet knew was inoperable and so they didn’t think it was a threat.” He turned towards Christy and nodded to him to tell the rest of the story. Christy sat forward and straightened his tunic. “Two weeks ago Starfleet picked up a warp signature similar to that of the Defender. Command believed that the Dominion, with their seemingly endless resources had managed to iron out the problems the Defenderhad and had begun tests. If the Defender were to become part of the Dominions fleet, they would no doubt duplicate the technology. Starfleet wouldn’t stand a chance.”

“And so Starfleet sent the Armstrong to investigate and they found a base near the outer edges of the Badlands. What theArmstrong didn’t know was that the base was using Tachyon scanners to scan for cloaked ships and so she was detected.” Shearer added. Christy picked up from where the Captain stopped and continued the story. “The Armstrong was attacked by two Jem’Hadar attack ships and was forced to retreat. Captain Furlong knew that we would not make it back alive, so he copied the orders from Starfleet onto an escape pods computer and launched it with me in it.” He turned his view towards the large windows at the rear of the room. “30 seconds later the Armstrong erupted in a ball of flame.” Christy took his gaze from the window and settle on the Captains face. Shearer nodded and addressed his staff again. “With the Armstrong gone, the Monet will have to complete the mission.”

“Which is what exactly? Destroy the Defender or take it back?” interrupted Lieutenant Maverick. Shearer turned to face him and continued. “Starfleet wants us to do all we can to disable, destroy or even retake the ship from the Dominion.”

“Destroy the ship!” Brady scoffed. “And just how does Starfleet expect us to do that without getting killed?”  He sat back in his chair. “The Defender has the most powerful weapons Starfleet has ever produced! Even the Monet wouldn’t stand a chance against it!” Brady’s interruption caught Shearer off guard. He hadn’t expected an outburst like this from his friend. Brady didn’t usually lose his cool so easily. “Lieutenant Brady’s right.” He heard Lieutenant Commander J’mall add. “I don’t know much about theDefender project, but if the Defender is as powerful as you say, how are we supposed to complete the mission?” Everyone in the room turned towards the Captain to see what his response would be. Shearer rose from his seat and made his way back to the computer display at the front of the room. He punched in a command and the schematic of the Defender appeared once again. “As well as the orders, Starfleet attached all the files related to the Defender.” He tapped a button on the screen and the computer began showing the major ship functions. “If we can get to the Defender, without the Dominion realising it, we should be able to disable it, even activate its self destruct sequence.” He turned attention towards Lieutenant Commander Christy. “Commander, before the Armstrong was destroyed, were you able to get a fix on the Defender’s location?” Christy sat back and responded.

“Just before the Jem’Hadar attacked we managed to trace the warp signature to a star system three light years from the Dominion outpost.”

“Good, Lieutenant Maverick lay in a course, warp 8 and Ralph, give the schematics of the Defender to Lieutenant Gravis, and fill him in.” The two officers acknowledged their orders and immediately set to them. Shearer turned to the rest of his senior staff. “The rest of you brief your staff on the situation and make sure their up to date.” He turned off the screen and walked back to his chair. “Lets get to work,” he said and the senior staff started filing out of the briefing room. The door hissed shut behind them leaving Captain Shearer alone with his thoughts.

The tactical station beeped. The tall Jem’Hadar warrior checked his console and turned to face the Jem’Hadar first. “Sir, our sensors have detected a Federation warp signature.” The Jem’Hadar first moved over to the officer’s station.

“Can you identify it?” he ordered sternly. The Jem’Hadar officer checked his console once more. It beeped approvingly. “Yes sir, it appears to be the USS Monet NX 79067.”

“Excellent,” the Jem’Hadar first said. He tapped a button on the computer console. “Founder, the Monet has entered our space.” There was a brief pause.

“Excellent, tell the fleet set a course to intercept, warp 4.” Came the response from over the comm. “Immediately Founder,” he nodded to the pilot and the bug shaped ships turned and went to warp.

The Engineering doors swished open and Lieutenant Brady strode in. He scanned the room for Lieutenant Gravis. He couldn’t see him. He moved over to a console where Ensign Jeffers was sitting. “Ensign,” he called out, “Have you seen Lieutenant Gravis? I need to speak with him.” Ensign Jeffers turned to face him and replied, “He in the Jeffries tube, shall I go get him?” he asked. Brady smiled.

“No thank you Ensign, I’ll go see him myself.” Brady turned and headed for the Jeffries tube hatch at the far side the large engineering. He grabbed the handle and pulled. The magnetic lock let go and the hatch swung open. Brady crouched down and crawled into the mini tunnel.

The sparks from the engineering tool lit up the entire section of this Jeffries tube as lieutenant Gravis welded a piece of circuitry back into place. He was so focused on his work, that he didn’t notice when Lieutenant Brady climbed up the ladder and crawled towards him. “Excuse me Lieutenant,” he said. A startled engineer jerked his head up and proceeded to whack his head on the top of the bulkhead. “Damn it! Next time make sure I see you before you scare the living daylights out of me!” he barked.  A grin appeared on Brady’s face.

“I’m sorry Lieutenant, I didn’t mean to startle you.” He apologised. Still rubbing his head, Gravis smiled back. “Apology accepted. I assume you’ve come to fill me in about the briefing?”

“That’s right, but I can’t explain in here. Your office perhaps?” Brady asked. The short engineer nodded and picked up the front of the bulkhead and put back in place. “All right, I’ll get Ensign Jeffers to finish this off.” The two men crawled through the seemingly endless tunnels, until they reached the hatch.

The bridge was silent, apart from the occasional alert from one of the computer stations. Kingston hated doing the night shift, but as Lieutenant Commander J’mall was busy, she had to take over. She glanced around the dimly lit bridge. Although there was no real day or night on a Starship, during the night shift the lights were lowered to give the impression of “night time.” This was to make it more comfortable for those who were used to a planetary cycle. At the helm was a young Bolian Ensign, whose blue skin looked out of place against the darkness of the bridge. It almost had a glow to it. She checked the console next to the command chairs. Three more hours until they reach their destination. She took the time to go over her first two days on the Monet. Although she had been reluctant to accept this post, she was glad she did. After being First Officer on so many different ships, she thought that maybe it was time for something else, even if it meant having to become shuttle pilot. But she decided she’d give being a first officer one more try. She had enjoyed the last two days and found that most of the crew were easy to get along with, which was strange for her. She had always been hard to impress and wary of others around her, but yet here she was, first officer on a Starship and she actually liked the Captain! A loud beeping noise brought Kingston back to full awareness. “Commander sensors are showing multiple warp fields approaching, bearing 325, mark 316!” the young ensign at tactical called. Kingston turned to face the tactical station. “Can you identify them?” she asked. The tactical officer checked his console. It beeped at him and his expression dropped. “They appear to be Jem’Hadar sir,” he said finally. Kingston rose to her feet. “Red Alert!” she barked.

Shearer stared at the stars streaking by outside the window. Something about them always made him feel relaxed. He stretched his arms out as he yawned out loud. He rose to his feet and took his mug to the replicator. He placed it in and it disappeared with a silent whine. He walked in to the bedroom and lied down. “Computer, Lights off.” He said. The lights went out and he was plunged into darkness. He was just about to doze off when the room glowed red and the alert klaxon sounded. Instinctively he bolted up and grabbed his comm. Badge from his dresser. “Shearer to Bridge, Report!” he yelled. After a brief silence he heard Commander Kingston’s voice from the other end, “Sensors are picking up multiple Jem’Hadar ships on an intercept course,” By the time Kingston had finished, Shearer was dressed and heading out the door. “I’m on my way up there Commander,” he said.

“Aye sir, I’ll fill you in with the details when you arrive. Kingston Out.” The comm. Frequency cut off as Shearer entered the turbolift. “Deck One.” He ordered. The turbolift began its climb upwards.

The turbolift slowed to halt on deck one and the doors opened onto the bridge. Shearer strode out and proceeded towards his chair. “Captain,” Kingston began, “We’ve detected 12 ships altogether, all en-route to intercept.” Shearer frowned.

“Is the cloaking device malfunctioning?” he asked. Kingston moved down from the tactical station and leaned against the side railing, with a padd in one hand.  “No sir, Lieutenant Gravis says it’s working at peak efficiency. He thinks they must be tracking our warp signature.” She replied. That wasn’t the answer he wanted to hear. “In other words, as long as we’re at warp, they can detect us.” He said. Kingston nodded. He sighed “How long until they reach us?” he asked. The tactical officer checked his console. “About thirty minutes sir, at their present speed,” he reported. Shearer turned towards Commander Kingston. “Suggestions?” he asked. She waved the padd in front of her. “Lieutenant Gravis has come up with a way to mask our warp signature.” Shearer rose to his feet and moved towards her. She handed him the padd and he began reading. He handed it back. “Tell Lieutenant Gravis to get started,” he ordered. Kingston nodded and headed for the turbolift. Shearer moved back to his chair and sat down. So much for rest, he sighed.

“Sir! The Monet’s warp signature has disappeared!” the Jem’Hadar at the tactical station shouted. The First didn’t turn round. “That doesn’t matter, we know where they’re going.” He turned to the navigation officer. “Alter our course so they think we’ve been fooled.” The Jem’Hadar acknowledged his order and punched in the commands. The entire fleet swerved to starboard and continued their journey.

The bridge was a bustle of activity; it didn’t seem like the night shift any more. The lights had been brought back to full brightness and the ship put on yellow alert. The night crew, delta shift, had been relieved and the senior staff had taken over. J’mall scanned the faces of the bridge. Being Betazoid she could feel that they were all tired, but the situation requested them to be at their posts. Lieutenant Maverick looked the worst; he kept blinking his eyes, in a vain attempt to get them used to the bright light. Her station suddenly beeped. She checked the sensor readouts. A smile began to form on her lips. “Captain,” she called, “Sensors show that the Jem’Hadar ships have broken off pursuit,” she reported. The Captain smiled.

“Good, but keep an eye out for other Dominion ships. I’m sure the Jem’Hadar won’t give up yet,”

“Aye Sir,” she said. She punched in some commands and the computer began a scanning cycle that would repeat every five minutes. “How long until we reach our destination?” Commander Kingston asked her. She checked the readouts on her console and responded. “Approximately one and a half hours,” she said. Kingston nodded to her and then settled her gaze back on the forward viewscreen. J’mall glanced around the bridge again. As she looked over to the tactical station, she found that Lieutenant Brady was looking at her. He saw that she had seen him, and he sheepishly turned away. A grin appeared on the Betazoid’s face. Does he really think he can keep his feelings from me? She thought.

The stars around the Monet slowed to a halt as the sleek vessel dropped out of warp. She passed a large gas giant as she entered the star system that the Defender’s warp signature was originating. “J’mall, can you get a fix on the Defender’s exact position?” Shearer asked as he rose from his chair. She checked her console. It beeped approvingly at her. “Yes sir, the warp signature appears to be emanating from the orbit of the third planet,” she said. Kingston rose from her chair also and the two commanding officers were now standing in the middle of the bridge. “Lieutenant Maverick, set a course, full impulse,” Kingston ordered. Lieutenant Maverick acknowledged and the ship began to move towards the third planet. “How long until we get there, Lieutenant?” Shearer asked Maverick. He checked his console.

“Approximately 15 minutes sir.” He replied. Shearer nodded and he moved back to his chair. Commander Kingston did the same. Shearer tapped his comm. Badge, “Commander Christy, report to the bridge,” he ordered.

“Aye sir, I’m on my way” Christy responded. Shearer tapped his badge again to shut off the frequency. He turned towards Lieutenant Brady, “Ralph, go to red alert and standby all weapons, I don’t want to be caught with our defences down.”

“Aye sir,” Brady acknowledged. A moment later the lights dimmed and the bridge glowed red.

After fifteen minutes the Monet slowed to a standard orbit of the third planet, a large class L planet, its white surface looking out of place against the blackness of space. Shearer turned towards the Ops station. “Got anything Commander?” he asked.

“I’ve located the source of the warp signature, I can give you a visual.” J’mall said. Shearer rose from his chair. “On screen,” he ordered. The screen switched views. There was nothing there, just black empty space. “Where is it?” Kingston asked. J’mall frantically worked her console. “I don’t know Commander, it should be there!” she said. Shearer turned towards her. “J’mall boost the sensors with power from the main deflector and scan again,” he said. She nodded and set to work. The console beeped again. “Sir, the signature is coming from the planets surface!” she said. Kingston turned towards Commander Christy. “Commander can the Defender land on a planets surface?” she asked.

“No, she didn’t have room to put in landing struts.” He said. Shearer turned to Lieutenant Brady. “Ralph, are you picking up a signature large enough to be a Starship?” he asked. Brady checked his console.

“No sir,” he said. Shearer’s expression dropped.

“It’s a trap!” he said, “Lieutenant Maverick get us out of here!” Lieutenant Maverick worked his fingers across his console. Suddenly the floor came away from underneath Shearer and he fell to the floor. He lifted his head and saw that several others had a close encounter with the floor as well. “Report!” he shouted.

“Twelve Jem’Hadar ships just dropped out of warp, they didn’t show up on sensors till it was to late!” he heard Lieutenant Brady call from the tactical station. Shearer scrambled back to his chair. Another explosion rocked the ship, this time sending a young Ensign flying over a railing. “Helm get us out here!” Kingston ordered. The Monet ducked under a group of Jem’Hadar fighters, only to be stopped by another group. The lead ship sent out a volley of torpedoes. The Monet’s shields glowed as they impacted them. Sparks flew across the bridge as the Jem’Hadar fired again. “Sir, our weapons and shields are off-line!” Lieutenant Brady shouted across the bridge. Shearer hung on to the arms of his chair as the ship rocked one last time. “Captain, the lead Jem’Hadar ship is hailing us,” J’mall reported from behind him. Might as well hear what they have to say he thought. “On Screen,” he ordered. The view shifted from the many enemy ships to a mean looking Jem’Hadar warrior. Like all Jem’Hadar he had a tube leading into his neck, where the Ketracel white drug was pumped in. The bony spikes along the edges of the face gave the Jem’Hadar a reptilian look. The Jem’Hadar spoke. “Federation Starship Monet, You will surrender your vessel to the Dominion, prepare to be boarded,” he said. A few seconds later several Jem’Hadar warriors materialized on the bridge. There was nowhere to run.

Shearer laid staring at the ceiling of the Monet’s cargo bay. They had been held here since the Jem’Hadar captured the Monetthree hours ago. The Jem’Hadar did not tell them where they were being taken, but Shearer knew it must be a Prisoner Of War camp somewhere. The Cargo bay doors opened and Shearer bolted up. A Vorta walked in and scanned the room. He settled his gaze on the Captain. A sly smile parted his lips. “Captain Shearer, the founder requests your company,” he said. He nodded to one of the Jem’Hadar guards, who lowered the force field. Shearer moved towards the door. As soon as he stepped outside the force field the Jem’Hadar raised it again. “If you’ll follow me,” the Vorta said. The Vorta lead the way out the door and down the corridor to the turbolift. They stepped inside. It was cramped with the Vorta, himself and two Jem’Hadar guards. The Vorta told the computer to go to deck one. The turbolift glided upwards and slowed to a halt on deck one. The doors opened and they strode out onto the bridge. The Vorta faced Shearer. “You know the way to your ready room Captain,” he said and stretched his arm out towards the door to the left of the viewscreen. Shearer walked over the door, noticing that Jem’Hadar warriors occupied all the stations, but they didn’t sit in the chairs, they stood.  The Vorta pressed the door chime. A voice from inside said enter and the doors parted. Shearer and the Vorta strode in. The chair behind the desk was facing out the window, so that the occupier could not be seen. The chair swung round to reveal the Founder. His face was smooth and almost featureless. “Ahh, Captain Shearer!” he said, ” I trust your well?”

“Cut the small talk, what do you want?” Shearer said. The Vorta looked angry.

“You are in the presence of a god, Captain. Talk with respect!” he said. The Founder laughed. “It’s all right Levik, I sure the Captain didn’t mean it,” The Founder turned to face the window again. “I bet you’re wondering why we set a trap for you,” he said. Shearer sat in the chair in front of the desk. “I had been wondering, but is this the only reason you called me here, to gloat!” Shearer said angrily. The Founder turned to face him again. “No, that’s not all. As you are aware we do not have the Defender, we created that illusion to lure the Monet here. I’m not going to tell you why we want the Monet, but suffice to say, it will be a great asset to us,” he paused, “And so will you.” Shearer looked at him, his eyes wide with surprise.

“What do you want with me?” he said. The Founder smiled at him.

“We know that you have done a lot of research on wormholes…” he was cut off by Shearer. “If you think I’m going to help you, your surely mistaken, I’d rather die!” he said. The Founder sighed.

“Very well, Levik, escort the Captain back to the cargo bay,” he turned to face Shearer once more, “I’m sorry you feel that Captain.”

“This way please,” Levik said. The Captain rose and followed the Vorta out onto the bridge and into the turbolift.

Commander Kingston paced up and down the cargo bay. The Captain had been gone for nearly half an hour now. The Jem’Hadar guards wouldn’t tell her anything. The cargo bay doors opened and Kingston glanced over. The Vorta was there along with the Captain. The Vorta nodded to the guard and the force field dropped. Shearer walked inside the field and it went back up again. The Vorta said something to Shearer, then left. Kingston made her way over to the Captain. “Sir,” she said. The Captain turned to face her, “Commander,” he replied.

“What did they want?” she asked. Shearer walked over to a large container and sat down. Kingston did the same. “I think they wanted me to help them to create a wormhole, I didn’t stay long enough to hear them out, they also said the Monet would be an asset to them,” he paused, “We need to get the ship back.” She nodded. She motioned for Lieutenant Gravis to join them. “Yes, Commander?” he asked as he approached. Shearer shifted forwards. “Lieutenant, is there any way to deactivate the force field around one of the Jeffries tubes, without the guards detecting it?” he asked. Gravis thought for a moment, and then replied. “If we can generate a power surge through the emitters, the field would drop for about 15 seconds, they’d just think it was a random surge,”

“How can we generate a plasma surge from in here?” Shearer asked. Gravis pointed to one of the crates. Shearer and Kingston looked at each other, puzzled. “Those crates contain some phasers and phaser rifles. If we can get one without the guards knowing, we can use it to send the surge through the emitters,”

“Excellent, Commander can you create a diversion?” Shearer asked.

“Sure can sir!” she said. She walked over to where the guards were and began shouting and making a scene, several others caught on to what was happening and joined in. Shearer turned back to Gravis. “Lieutenant, lets get to work,” he said. They moved over the crates and took out a phaser. They quickly replaced the lid and moved over to a bulkhead at the far side of the cargo bay. Lieutenant Brady joined them. “Need some help sir?” he asked. Shearer smiled.

“We could use a hand in a moment,” he said. Gravis took away the bulkhead. The circuitry inside glowed. He took the phaser and set it to medium. He connected the phaser to a conduit and fired. The conduit glowed red. A few seconds later the lights dimmed and the force fields lowered. “Quickly, Gravis, Ralph, get into that Jeffries tube!” Shearer ordered. The two men scrambled into the tube and they just got in before the force field flared back. “You know what to do, make it quick!” he said as the two men disappeared down the tunnel.

Lieutenant Brady peered through the vent. He could see 3 Jem’Hadar working the stations. They must be running a skeleton crew he thought. He signalled to Lieutenant Gravis to follow him and they both made their way to hatch on the second level. They cautiously stepped out. They glanced around and saw that there was no Jem’Hadar at all on the second level. They made their way to the emergency supplies case over the far end. They took a phaser and tricorder each and moved over to the railing. Lying on their bellies, they had a clear shot at every Jem’Hadar. Brady nodded to Lieutenant Gravis and the two men fired. The Jem’Hadar were caught completely off guard and one by one fell to the floor. They made their way down the ladder and stepping over the bodies of the Jem’Hadar, made their way to main console. While Lieutenant Gravis worked at the console, Lieutenant Brady sealed the door to engineering. “Damn!” Gravis said. Brady moved over to him.

“What?” he asked.

“Main controls have been transferred to the bridge,” he paused, still working the console, “I’m trying to re-route controls now.” Gravis and Brady worked for five minutes. The console beeped. “Got it!” Gravis said, “Environmental systems have been re-routed to engineering!”

“Great!” Brady said, “Release the gas into the atmosphere, except engineering and the cargo bay,” he said. Gravis nodded and set to work. The computer beeped. “The gas has been released, the Jem’Hadar are incapacitated.”  Brady slammed his fist on the console. “Yes!” he said. Gravis smiled at him. “Grab your phaser and let’s go free the crew,” he added. The two men picked up their phasers from the console and ran out into the corridor.

Shearer and Kingston paced up and down the cargo bay, waiting for Lieutenants Brady and Gravis to make a move. Suddenly the doors opened and the whine of phaser fire filled the room. The two Jem’Hadar guards slumped to the floor. Shearer and Kingston ran to the edge of the force field. It shimmered and died as Lieutenant Brady lowered it. Shearer walked through, “Well done Lieutenants,” he turned towards the rest of the crew, “All of you report to your stations!” he ordered. He nodded to Commander Kingston and they made their way to the bridge.

The doors parted and the senior officers strode out onto the bridge, phasers in hand. Slumped across the panels and railings were Jem’Hadar warriors. The officers made their way to their stations. Shearer and Kingston settled into their chairs. “Ralph, beam all the Jem’Hadar into the cargo bay and set up force fields,” he ordered.

“Aye sir,” he said. He worked his console. A few seconds later the Jem’Hadar dematerialised. “Red Alert, All hands to battle Stations!” Kingston Ordered. The bridge lights dimmed and the alert klaxon sounded. “Can you get a fix on the Changelings location?” Shearer asked. J’mall checked her console.

“No sir,” she said. Shearer frowned. He turned towards Lieutenant Brady. “Ralph, set phasers to a force of 3.5 and begin a sweep of every room on the ship,” he ordered. Brady nodded. He signalled to one of his officers. The officer adjusted his phaser and began sweeping the bridge. He found nothing. Shearer turned to him. “Check my ready room,” he said. The officer nodded and made his way to the ready room. Now he knew the Changeling wasn’t on the bridge, he started to give his orders. “Lieutenant Maverick, prepare to break away from the Jem’Hadar fleet and go to maximum warp as soon as we are,” he turned towards Lieutenant Brady, “Ralph stand by all weapons and raise shields,” he then settled his gaze on the viewscreen. “Engage Mr. Maverick!” he said. Lieutenant Maverick acknowledged. The Monet ducked down and slowed to a lower warp. The Jem’Hadar ships zoomed past, but before they could turn and alter course, the Monet had shot off at maximum warp. “Security to the Captain,” Shearer heard over the comm. He tapped his badge,

“Go ahead,” he said.

“We’ve got the Changeling sir, it’s been detained in the mess hall,” the officer reported. “Good, have four guards posted at all times, Shearer out,” he ordered. He tapped his badge to shut off the frequency. “Sir,” Shearer turned his head towards the speaker, it was J’mall. “The Jem’Hadar are in pursuit, but they won’t reach us until after we get to Deep Space Nine,” she reported. Shearer nodded and turned back to face the viewscreen.

Captain’s Log, Supplemental: After foiling the Dominion’s plan to capture the Monet, we are back en-route to Deep Space Nine. The Jem’Hadar ships broke off pursuit three hours ago. The changeling has agreed not to be hostile and when we arrive at DS9, we will hand him over to Starfleet as a prisoner of war, along with the Jem’Hadar and Vorta, Levik. After the past few days I’ll be glad to put my feet up and relax.

 

The Monet glided to towards the Cardassian built Deep Space Nine. She stopped for a second and then proceeded to one of the upper docking pylons. The Monet slowly drifted towards the pylon, upon coming on contact, the docking clamps on the side of the saucer latched on to those of the pylons

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