Star Trek Raza, episode 8; The Claxton

Star Trek Raza

Season 1, Episode 8

The Claxton.

 

Commander Mitchell’s personal log stardate 63617.24.

 

It’s been a month since… well, let’s just say it’s been a long time since A’Ryn and I had sex and frankly I am getting a little tired of trying to figure out how I can get her back in my bed. She wants more. She keeps telling me that. More? More? What the fuck does that mean? More. Does she want a puppy? What’s the Klingon version of a dog? Whatever. I’ll get her two if that’s what it gets her naked in my bed again. Man, this fucking sucks.

 

Outside the Stargazer Lounge.

 

Jeremy Cho has just finished his breakfast; his usual two eggs and toast washing it down with a glass of orange juice and is leaving the Stargazer when he bumps into Commander Mitchell who’s just walking by the entrance to the lounge.

 

“Good morning sir. Can I walk with you?” greets Cho with a smile on his face as he walks side by side with his commander.

 

“Morning kid. You can if you want.” and Cho sees that Commander Mitchell looks pretty tired with darkened, heavy bags under his eyes. They walk side by side down the hall and Cho takes his shot at making small talk. Sometimes he feels invisible around the Commander.

 

“Are you ok sir? You look…” but Mitchell cuts him off stopping dead in his tracks.

 

“Look like what? What are you going to say? Shit?  Ass? What do I look like?” snaps Mitchell back at Cho. They proceed the last ten feet and come to a stop in-front of the turbo-lift. Mitchell presses the button on the control pad and the turbo-lift door slides open. Both men walk in and the door slides shut behind them. “Main bridge.” barks out Commander Mitchell and the turbo-lift begins to move.

 

“Sir, no offense; I’m just trying to help. I’ve heard what you and Commander Sung are going through.”

 

Mitchell eyes Cho. “You’ve heard what? Is my sex life public knowledge now?” Mitchell snaps back.

 

“Well, it is a pretty small ship sir. People tend to talk.”

 

Mitchell rubs his eyes, not believing that he’s actually talking about his sex life with Cho. What is this kid, twenty? He thinks to himself. “Kid, have you ever dated a Klingon?”

 

“No sir.”

 

“Good. Don’t. They are fantastic in bed. Fucking phenomenal, but they are too damn demanding. Every conversation is a god damn fight.”

 

“I heard… well I heard she gave you an ultimatum, sir?”

 

“Yeah, she wants me to make some sort of commitment to her. Like just being together isn’t enough. Do you know how many women on this ship would love to be with me? To get a piece of… this?!” and he waves his hands in the air showing off his physique and his charming good looks.

 

“How long have the two of you been an item?”

 

“Item? Do you mean having sex?” Mitchell asks with a dumb and confused look on his face.

 

Cho rolls his eyes. “No, I mean how long have you two been together? You know, dating?”

 

Mitchell looks up toward the ceiling thinking. He then starts to count on his fingers, smiles and looks at Cho. “A little over a year I think. It was wild at first. Man we would screw everywhere. We might have even done the nasty on your control station kiddo. Then, just after we launched the Raza; she gets all prickly in the short hairs. Just screwing around wasn’t good enough anymore for her. She wants more. Do you know what MORE means kid?”

 

Cho shakes his head no.

 

“It’s a nasty four letter word that means you’re fucked.”

 

“Sir, it’s been a year? It may be longer since you ran out of fingers to count on. Do you think any woman in their right mind would sit around waiting for a man to make a commitment after a year? She’s thinking long term and honestly sir…” and Cho looks down at the Commanders groin area. “…I think you’re stuck thinking short term.”

 

Mitchell sees Cho looking down at his pants and gets pissed. “Jesus Christ kid, what are you a councilor on your off hours? Have you been licking Liira’s green ass or something?”

 

“Liira’s a lesbian sir.”

 

“Whatever, kid. Listen, she knew what she was getting into when we started bumping uglies. I made it perfectly clear that there were no strings attached. I have no intention of getting tied down.”

 

“Really?”

 

“That’s right. I’m a commander in Starfleet.”

 

“Right.” nods Cho.

 

“I have my career to think about.”

 

“Sure.”

 

“I’m going to be Captain someday. Maybe even Admiral.” and Mitchell smiles thinking of the possibilities.

 

“And you’ll do it alone… sir.”

 

Mitchell stares at Cho like his balloon just got popped. The turbo-lift comes to a stop and the door slides open opening up to the main bridge. The night shift has just ended and shift change is underway. Both men walk out onto the bridge and Mitchell sees that Chief Science Officer Karn is already at her station and Lieutenant Monroe is already at the helm. A’Ryn and Phos have not arrived yet. Mitchell shoo’s Cho toward his Comms station. “Go talk to some aliens, friggen Master Yoda.”

 

Cho stops halfway toward his station. “Master Yoda, sir?” looking confused.

 

“Haven’t you ever watched twenty first century TV kid?” Cho nods his head no. “Little green guy? Pointy ears like a Vulcan. He has these weird force powers? Complete bad ass with a lightsaber.”

 

Cho makes his way to his station and relieves his night shift crewmate. “Sorry sir. Never saw it.”

 

Mitchell plops down in his chair. “You kids need to friggen get out more.”

 

The torpedo bay.

 

It’s early in the morning and night shift is coming to an end. Some of the day shift crew members are starting to take their stations, but the night shift running lights are still dim. Lieutenant Phos can be seen walking around the Torpedo Bay, not trying to be seen by anyone. She makes her way from one launcher to the next, stopping at each station inputting data into each one of them. Some of the day shift crew notice her there, but never think twice since she is or is supposed to be the Chief of Security. Not one man or woman knowing that she is really an imposter. A hidden agent of what is left of the Romulan Empire. Phos makes her way to the last torpedo launcher and starts inputting data when she is approached from behind. “Lieutenant? What brings you down here?” asks the Chief of the Boat Matt LaMay in his Scottish accent. Phos never stops what she is doing. She keeps inputting data either not hearing LaMay or basically just ignoring the man. LaMay places his hand on her shoulder trying to get her attention. “Sir?” asks LaMay. And after finishing her entry, she turns to him cocking her head as she searches her memory for who this man is.

 

“LaMay…Chief of the Boat.”  She states in a robotic voice, certainly not how the real Phos greets people.

 

LaMay looks confused. “Are you ok sir? You seem a little… off.”

 

Phos starts to walk away from the torpedo station past LaMay. “I am fine Chief. I am conducting routine diagnostics of the torpedo launchers. Why are you here, if I may ask?” and she stops looking back at him again cocking her head.

 

“Well, every morning I make a habit of walking each deck. I think a good Chief of the Boat should know every inch of their ship. That way when something is out of place I’ll know it.” But it never occurs to him the most out of place thing right now on the Raza is this Phos imposter.

 

“Good thinking Chief. Please continue your deck by deck inspection. If you find anything out of place please report it to me immediately.” and Phos turns around and walks out of the torpedo bay. LaMay looks confused as he turns back toward the torpedo control station. He knows something just isn’t right and he tries to get into the logs that Phos just accessed but is stopped due to the restrictions in place. His lower lever clearance will not allow him to see what she was working on. That’s the difference between commissioned and non-commissioned officers. His mother told him he should have gone to Starfleet Academy. A day shift crewmate walks up to the Chief with a smile on his face and a mug of coffee in his hand.

 

“Everything ok, Chief?” the young man asks trying to be helpful to his superior officer.

 

LaMay knows deep down inside that something is wrong, but he pushes it aside trying to convince himself that Phos would never do anything to harm the Raza. He turns to the young man with a smile. “No, everything is fine thanks. I’m just on a walkabout.” and LaMay turns and walks out of the torpedo bay leaving the young man alone with his coffee.

 

The Briefing Room aboard the Raza, 08:00 hours.

 

Every day aboard the Raza begins the same way. At seven-hundred hours day shift relieves the night shift and life aboard the Raza springs to life. For most, one day is the same as the next. But for the senior staff each day could bring another amazing challenge. Today is one of those days. Every morning at eight-hundred hours the entire senior staff meets with the captain in his briefing room. The staff brings the captain up to speed on the day’s events, and he in turn will give out his standing orders for the day. Usually, the Captain is the last man to enter the briefing room. Today, this day; is different. As the senior staff enters the room, Captain Decker is already sitting in his chair at the head of the table reviewing something on his data-pad. Mitchell, Sung, Monroe, Karn, Phos, Cho and Dr. Dorn all take their assigned seats talking randomly about their various plans for the day. Faye is still unsettled as she looks across the table to the empty chair that Commander Liira once sat in. It’s been a few weeks since she took her leave of the Raza and Faye is still hurt by her absence. She has only been with Liira six short months, but heart still aches for her lover. The captain places the data-pad on the table and looks up at his staff. His normal warm smile is missing this morning, instead replaced with a very serious look of concern.

 

“Good morning. Let’s get right to it shall we.” and the idle chatter calms down as the staff gives the captain their full attention. “Earlier this morning I received orders from Admiral Braun to take the Raza to Deep Space 4. Once we arrive at Deep Space 4, we will be taking on a number of new MACO’s.” The Captain turns to Phos. “Lieutenant, please see to it that Sargent Young receives his new squad and assigns them quarters.” Phos never acknowledges the captain’s orders. “Lieutenant Phos?”  asks the captain. But Phos just cocks her head looking straight ahead into nothingness.

 

A’Ryn grabs Phos by the hand and shakes it. “Hey, are you in there?”

 

Phos looks at A’Ryn and then at the captain. “My apologies sir. I was just retrieving all pertinent information regarding Deep Space 4. I will instruct Sargent Young as you commanded.”

 

The captain looks at A’Ryn irritated. “Is this normal A’Ryn? Lieutenant Phos…” and he attempts to talk like she isn’t there, even though she is sitting at the same table.  “…well she’s been acting rather out of character since we left Starbase 718. Are we sure they didn’t forget to put a few circuits back in her?”

 

“I’m not a specialist in positronic brains sir, but I’ll run a full diagnostic on her the first chance we get.”

 

“Yes, well that will have to wait until another time.” and he addresses the rest of the group again. “After we depart from Deep Space 4, we are ordered to go to the south sector of the Typhon Expanse. It seems that Deep Space 4 received a distress call from the starship Claxton three days ago. Since then, the Claxton’s gone silent. Starfleet fears the worst. Our job is to either find her and bring her home or find out what happened to her.”

 

“The Claxton sir? That’s a good size ship just to go missing. Isn’t she a Luna Class Science vessel?” asks Commander Mitchell.

 

“That’s correct Number One. She has a crew of nearly three hundred and fifty people onboard and I want to know what happened to them.  For now, consider this a search and rescue mission.  We will reconvene at thirteen hundred hours.  I want to know everything we can find out about this Typhon Expanse and the Claxton.” He turns his attention to his helmsman. “Lieutenant Monroe, set a course for Deep Space 4 warp eight.”

 

“Aye sir.” and Faye gets up from the table and heads back to the bridge.

 

“Rheyna, I need you to pull any and all information you can on the Typhon Expanse. I don’t want to go in there blind.”

 

“Yes sir.” and she too leaves the briefing room heading back to her station.

 

“Dismissed.” states the captain. The rest of the senior staff get up and leave the briefing room. All except Commander Mitchell. He stands up looking down at Captain Decker, arms crossed.

 

“Sir, the Claxton; wasn’t that Greggory Polak’s ship?” asks Mitchell with a look of concern on his face.

 

The Captain looks up at Mitchell. “Greggory Polak is a fine captain. We came up through the ranks together. Whatever mess he found himself in it must be serious, James. We cannot take this mission lightly. We must be on our best.”

 

“Understood sir.” and Mitchell walks out of the room and back onto the bridge. The captain swivels his chair and stares out the view window as the Raza blasts off at warp eight.

 

Sorek’s quarters, 08:30 hours

 

Another late date night has left both Daisy Braun and Sorek fast asleep on the sofa in his quarters. Alpine skiing on the holodeck followed by hot chocolate in the ski lodge in-front of an open fire has drained these two young kids to the point of exhaustion. They made it back to Sorek’s room shortly after two in the morning and with very little energy left they both passed out cold on his sofa.

 

“LaMay to Cadet Braun.” blurts out from the darkness. The sudden voice in the room startles Daisy as she sits up trying to focus her weary, bloodshot eyes. Trying to get her bearings, she sees that she is still in Sorek’s quarters. She rubs her eyes trying to get the sleep out. “LaMay to Cadet Braun.” Comes the call again and this time Daisy is hit with the realization as to what is going on. She’s late for duty. She panics not knowing what time it is or how late she is for duty.

 

“Go ahead sir.” She answers as she brushes her hair from her wind burnt face, feeling leathery from the cold air slapping her as she soared downhill.

 

“Cadet it is eight thirty and you are late. Will you be reporting to work today?”

 

“Yeah… yes sir. I’m sorry. Give me some time. I’ll be there.”

 

“Please report directly to my office.” orders the Chief of the Boat.

 

“Yes sir.” and she frantically grabs her snow gear and leaves the room. Sorek, still snoring away; has no idea she left him there still sleeping.

 

The Briefing Room aboard the Raza, 13:00 hours.

 

The senior staff has reconvened back in the briefing room. All are seated in their assigned seats as the Captain walks in. He rounds the table and takes a seat at the head. He looks at his crew with pride. “Alright. Let’s review what you all have found.” he turns to his star helmsman.  “Faye, how long until we reach Deep Space 4?”

 

“Staying at warp eight, we will arrive in a little over four hour’s sir.” answers a very confident helmsman.

 

“Once we leave the station, how long until we reach the outskirts of the Expanse?”

 

“It will be an additional three and a half hours sir.”

 

The captain turns to his Communications officer. “Mr. Cho, what are we hearing over the comms? Any chatter out there?”

 

“Just the usual static sir. Ships coming in and out of DS4. Sensors are not detecting anything unusual in or around the station. All calm sir.”

 

“How will the Expanse effect our sensors?”

 

“We will experience some sensor distortion as we approach the Expanse. If we enter the Expanse we may lose all sensor capability. It will be touch and go.”

 

The captain turns to the Doctor. “Doctor Dorn, what preparations have you made?”

 

“Sir, I have assigned Ensign Nirren to the away team if needed. She will administer any urgent medical aid to the crew of the Claxton or to the away team if such need arises. Anything further, she will contact me and I will take the lead.”

 

“Very good. Tactical Lieutenant Phos?” as he looks across the table to his Tactical officer.

 

Phos cocks her head as she looks at the captain. “Sir, the Claxton is not a threat at this time.” and she says no more, continuing to have that blank stare into nothingness.

 

The captain is confused at her response. “Lieutenant, I am not asking you if the Claxton is a threat. I wanted to know if there could be outside threats in the area and what we are looking at if there are such. The distress call, along with her running silent…”

 

Phos interrupts her captain. “Sir, may I be excused. I would like to run a level one diagnostic on the shield emitters.”

 

The captain looks at Commander Mitchell irritated by Phos’s lack of preparedness and why the hell she wants to run a diagnostic on the shields at this time baffles him. Mitchell sees this and looks at her chiming in. “Phos, the captain needs to know what our tactical advantages and disadvantages are in and around the Typhon Expanse including nearby inhabited planets and what their standings with the Federation are.”

 

“But sir, I really do not see the point in…”

 

“Phos, go prepare your report and come back when it is done. Understood?” barks out Mitchell that leaves everyone in the room stunned at how unprepared Phos is. They all think the same thing, but don’t say a word. Phos gets up out of her chair and leaves the room.

 

“People, this is a life and death mission. There are three hundred and fifty people on-board the Claxton. We cannot afford to be unprepared for what’s ahead. I need you all at your very best.” He then turns to his Science officer Rheyna Karn. “What do we know about the Typhon Expanse?”

 

“Sir, the Typhon Expanse is a highly dangerous area of space. It is very well known for its temporal disturbances and subspace anomalies. On record, there are over one hundred ships that have been lost in or near the Expanse. In 2373 the Federation task force led by Vice Admiral Hayes failed to stop a single Borg cube from invading the Alpha quadrant near the expanse. I wouldn’t rule them out either. We will need to keep the threat of the Borg in mind.”

 

“It could also be the Breen, Gorn, Tholian, or any of the Typhon Pact members that could have attacked the Claxton.” states Cho. “Every one of them has a thing for the Federation.”

 

“Hopefully it’s not another Mirror Universe event. I’m still not over the last one.” remarks Commander Mitchell.

 

“My feelings exactly Number One. A’Ryn, how do we stand in Engineering?”

 

“Well, after reviewing all the wonderful things that Rheyna reported about subspace distortions and temporal disturbances you need to know that nothing good could happen to the warp drives if we have to enter into the Expanse. Things could go from bad to worse in no time. We should be prepared to eject the warp core in the worst-case scenario. We lose the warp core, we lose the ship.”

 

“I agree with your assumptions Commander. Let’s make preparations so that if the need arises we are ready. What about shielding and weapons?”

 

“Well we should expect our shields to be effected also by all that subspace garbage out there. There will be a ship wide system drain on all power sources, but if we are not in there long I don’t expect it to be substantial. As far as weapons go, let’s hope we don’t need them. I would hate to get into a fire fight inside that mess. Torpedo usage should be ok. You might have to use manual guidance. I wouldn’t count on the computer to lock on targets.”

 

“Understood. Commander, who are you assigning to your away team if we need to board the Claxton?” as he turns to his second in command.

 

“I will be leading the away team comprised of Nirren, Phos and a squad of MACO’s.”

 

“Sir, request permission to be part of the away team.” blurts out Lieutenant Cho.

 

The entire room turns their attention to the young Lieutenant. The Captain keeps a straight face. “I think you will be best served at your station at Comms Lieutenant.”

 

“Sir, I would really like to be part of this mission.”

 

The captain gets tight lipped and then turns his attention to his Commander. “Number one, your thoughts?”

 

“Yeah he can come. I’ll keep an eye on the little guy.” and he smiles like a Cheshire cat winking at Cho… who is not amused.

 

“Dismissed everyone.” orders the captain. Everyone gets up and starts to leave the room. “Mr. Cho may I have a word with you.” Cho stops and sits back down. The captain waits for the last person to leave and the door to slide shut. “Jeremy, why did you ask to be part of this away mission?”

 

Cho folds his hands on the desk and looks down at the table. “Sir, I have not been a part of any away mission since Doctor Dorn and I were abducted six months ago. It feels like you have lost faith in me sir. If that is the case, then I want to prove myself to you.”

 

“I assure you Jeremy that I have not lost faith in you. You are the very best Comms officer on the Raza and having you at your station every day is an asset to the ship.”

 

“Thank you, sir, but I still want to be part of this mission if we need to board the Claxton.”

 

“I understand the need for junior officers to want to show their worth to their captains. Hell, I was one of them too. Just don’t push yourself beyond your limits Jeremy. I will approve your request.”

 

Cho smiles. “Thank you, sir.” Cho gets up and heads back to the bridge. As the door slides shut Decker turns on his desk top computer. “Computer, give me all personal and professional data regarding a Captain Greggory Polak.”

 

Deep Space 4, 18:00 hours.

 

The Raza has been docked at DS4 for about an hour. Supplies and equipment have been shuttled aboard the Raza supervised by the Chief of the Boat Matt LaMay. Nothing comes aboard the Raza without him knowing what it is and where it’s going. At his side is Cadet Braun. She is still weary from her late-night activities Sorek and she is looking forward to getting a good night’s rest. On the other side of the ship, various personnel boards and disembarks the Raza. Lieutenant Phos and Sargent Young await the arrival of the new MACO’s. As the crowd dissipates, a stern looking bald man seeming to be in his late forties walks onto the Raza followed by three younger soldiers behind him. Clearly they are MACO’s dressed in their green camouflage uniforms. The older man spots Phos and Young and immediately walks up to them never changing his facial expression. “Major Brynner reporting as ordered sir.” barks out the MACO handing Phos his data-pad with his Starfleet orders. The Major stands at attention straight backed and tight lipped. Young hears the title Major and is rightly confused.

 

“Major?” asks Young.

 

Major Brynner turns to look at the Sargent. The older man’s eyes drilling right into Young’s skull. “That’s right son. Do you have a problem with that?”

 

“No, I just thought that the MACO’s aboard the Raza were under my command.”

 

“Well it seems that the Raza needs a more seasoned approach. If you have an issue with that I am sure we can leave you on DS4 and you can get reassigned. Do you want to be reassigned Sargent?”

 

Immediately Young sees that this Major is playing for real and he snaps back in line. “No sir.”

 

“Very good soldier. Welcome to the Wolf Pack.”

 

Phos reviews the orders. “It states here that Major Brynner is in-charge of this task force and that you Sargent Young is his second in command.”

 

“Yes sir.” answers Young still in disbelief that he just lost his command. A hundred different thoughts race through his head as to why Starfleet would do this. Something he will have to get to the bottom to.

 

The last of the crew exchange boards the Raza and the outer doors close up sealing the ship tight. Phos taps her comm badge. “Phos to Decker.”

 

“Go ahead Lieutenant.” answers the captain.

 

“Sir, the MACO’s have boarded the Raza. Outer doors shut and sealed. We are ready to disembark.”

 

“Very good Lieutenant. Miss Monroe, disengage mooring clamps.”

 

“Mooring clamps disengaged sir.”

 

“Mr. Cho alert DS4 we are ready to depart.”

 

“Aye sir.” and he taps away at his comms panel. “DS4 this is the Starship Raza. We are ready to disembark.”

 

“Raza you are cleared to proceed. Safe journeys.”

 

“Faye, one half impulse speed until we are clear of the station’s traffic pattern.” orders the captain.

 

“Yes sir. One half impulse.” and she steers the Raza clear of DS4. “Sir we are clear of the station and all traffic.”

 

“Very good. Please set course for the last known location of the Claxton, warp eight.”

 

“Yes sir.” and she types away on her control station. The ship lurches into warp. “Warp eight sir.”

 

Sick Bay, 19:00 hours.

 

Daisy has been giving what Gilora said to her a few weeks ago a lot of thought. If she is going to take her relationship with Sorek to the next level… if they are going to… and this frightens her… have sex, then she needs to protect herself. Protection is as easy as a hyper-spray. One quick injection and she cannot have babies until she decides to counteract the agent. Very simple and efficient. That’s the easy part. Now for the hard part. To get up the courage, the will power to walk your ass down to sick bay and ask for that shot. Now that takes courage. To look in the face of a heartless doctor and ask for a shot that will sterilize you so that you can have sex with your Romulan boyfriend. If that doesn’t want to make you throw up nothing will.

 

Daisy has been sitting on the examining table for at least an hour. Ok maybe that was an exaggeration. In her mind it felt like an hour, but in reality, it is more like ten minutes. She squirms uncomfortably on the table as her anxiety level rises. Just as she’s about to jump off the table and bolt from this hellish idea she had, Doctor Dorn walks in. He grabs her records and walks up to her never once looking at her.

 

“So how are we doing tonight Miss… Braun?” asks the doctor as he fumbles trying to figure out her name.

 

“I’m good.” She replies nervously.

 

He looks away from the data-pad. “According to your medical records you’re in perfect health. So, why would a young woman in perfect health stop by my sick bay this late at night?” asks the doctor very curiously.

 

Daisy can start to feel her blood pressure sky rocket. She is willing to bet that her face is starting to flush. Can the doctor see this? Can he see her face turn beat red? Her heart starts to race. She panics and jumps off the examining table rushing past the doctor as soon as her feet hit the floor.

 

“Wait. Cadet? Where are you going?”

 

As she bolts out the door she yells behind her. “Sorry doc, I have to go. I forgot I have an appointment.”

 

The doctor watches her rush away. He tosses the data-pad on the table. “I have to stop taking these late-night appointments.”

 

Daisy practically runs through the halls of the Raza back to her room. She bolts into her quarters and before the door even shuts she starts taking her clothes off. By the time she makes her way into the sonic shower she is fully naked. She climbs in the shower and buries her head under the slow dull hum of the shower. Hoping it would take her anxiety away, but it doesn’t. All she can think about… all she wants and desires at this very moment is to have sex with Sorek.

 

The Captain’s Ready Room, 20:00 hours.

 

The captain has been sitting in his ready room waiting for one of the newest members of his crew to come see him. Major Brynner was supposed to meet with the captain over a half hour ago. He is late and this is starting to irritate the captain. Just as Decker is about to tap his comm badge, the chime at his door rings out. “Enter.” And the door slides open. The very fit older man dressed in MACO attire walks into the room and up to the captain’s desk. He stands in-front of the captain at attention very stiff backed. “Major Brynner reporting as ordered sir.”

 

The captain motions for the Major to sit down. “Please Major, relax. Have a seat please. We have much to discuss.”

 

The major takes a seat, pressing out his jacket. “Thank you for seeing me sir. I too have things I would like to discuss with you.”

 

“Like what Major?”

 

“Well, for starters sir; I would like you to know that my team will not let what happened to you at the Penal Colony happen again. Not on my watch.”

 

“Yes, well you need to understand that what happened on that planet was nobody’s fault. Even I never saw it coming.”

 

“To be blunt sir, your security detail should have.”

 

“Excuse me?” exclaims the captain feeling offended by Brynner’s remarks.

 

“With all due respect sir, your Tactical officer let you down and the man that was trained to protect you nearly let you die. The very men you entrusted your life with failed you.”

 

“Lieutenant Phos and Sargent Young did not fail me Major. In fact, I have given Sargent Young an award for saving my life. Without him, I would be dead right now.”

 

“Sir, you can sit there and hand out awards for what they did for you after the fact; but if they were truly doing their jobs you would never have been put in that position to begin with.”

 

“And you think you’re here to solve that problem?”

 

“That’s correct. Starfleet has ordered me to take over Young’s command. The MACO’s on this ship will now report to me, and I report to you.”

 

“I’m sorry but Lieutenant Phos oversees all ship security…” and Brynner cuts the captain off.

 

“Sir, have you read my orders yet? Lieutenant Phos cannot be trusted with your security detail. Hell, she failed you when she let you go down to that shit hole of a planet. Sargent Young cannot be trusted with your life. He nearly got you killed. It was dumb luck your first officer got you out. Sir, Starfleet doesn’t trust either of them out here, but they do trust me.”

 

Decker bits his bottom lip knowing that this decision was handed down right from the top. More than likely from Admiral Braun’s office, or that JAG piece of shit Captain Frazier. What kind of damn game is Frazier playing at? All he can think about is how odd Phos has been acting since she was hit with that energy burst weeks ago. Can he truly trust her? Is this man right? “Very well Major, you will oversee the MACO’s and all security details off ship and Lieutenant Phos will oversee all Tactical operations onboard this vessel. You are dismissed.” Major Brynner stands up and walks away but stops in-front of the door. He looks back at Decker. “Sir, I hoped that you would understand why we are here. My job… our job is to protect you and the lives of your away teams. I’m not here to step on anyone’s dick’s.” and the door slides open and he storms out. Before it can shut, Commander Mitchell walks in.

 

“So, how’s our newest crew member?” he asks with a curious grin.

 

“He’s very, how shall we say it; brutish.”

 

“He reminds me of a bald Klingon.”

 

“Yes, well you may appreciate him more when he saves your life.”

 

Mitchell smiles at the Captain. “Don’t bet on it.”

 

The Bridge of the Raza, 22:00 hours.

 

“Commander Mitchell, we have reached the last known coordinates of the Claxton.” states Faye.

 

“Take us out of warp Lieutenant.”

 

“Aye sir.” and the Raza drops out of warp. The red swirling mass known as the Typhon Expanse just kilometers away. Mitchell taps his comm badge.

 

“Captain Decker to the bridge.” and less than a minute later Captain Decker walks out onto the bridge an up to his First Officer.

 

“What do we have Number One?”

 

“We have arrived at the coordinates of the distress call.”

 

“On screen Mr. Cho.”

 

“Yes sir.” and the front view screen comes to life showing the southern border of the Typhon Expanse, but no ship.

 

“Mr. Cho what are the sensors reading?”

 

Cho is hard at work trying to dial in his sensor dish. “Plenty of static sir from the Expanse, just as we had thought. I’m not sensing any ships in the area. Then again, it’s hard to trust what I’m reading right now.”

 

The Captain turns his attention to his Science officer. “Rheyna, what are you reading from the Expanse?”

 

“Seems calm right now sir. I’m not reading anything out of the ordinary.”

 

“Are there any residual traces of the Claxton?”

 

“We are picking up residual energy readings from their warp core. They were here.”

 

“Phos ready four scanner probes. On my mark I want them launched into the Expanse in a wide spread pattern to cover the most area. If the Claxton is inside the Expanse I want to narrow down our search area.”

 

“Probes ready sir.” states Phos.

 

“Launch.” orders the captain.

 

Phos taps the control station and the four probes rip from the underbelly of the Raza and project into the red swirling mass of the Typhon Expanse. “Probes underway.”

 

The captain looks around the bridge. “Well it’s been a long day. Let’s all get some rest and hopefully in the morning we will have a better idea if and where the Claxton entered the Expanse.” The night shift crew exchange begins to take place as the senior staff relinquishes their posts. “Lieutenant Phos, you have the bridge. Alert me if anything happens.”

 

“Yes sir.” And Phos takes the seat in the captain’s chair as the senior staff leaves the bridge heading back to their quarters. “Computer, reduce lighting to night shift.” and on command the lights aboard the Raza dim down. As each crew member heads off to their assigned quarters, Commander Mitchell catches up to A’Ryn as she nears hers.

 

“Hey wait up.” He yells to her. She recognizes the voice and doesn’t stop, not wanting to talk to him. He finally reaches her as she opens her quarters. “Didn’t you hear me?” as he leans against the wall with a smile.

 

“I heard you.”

 

“And you didn’t stop? Why?”

 

She gets that mean, nasty Klingon look on her face again as she crosses her arms in disgust. “I don’t have anything to say to you. Do you have anything to say to me?”

 

“Uh, I miss you.”

 

“You miss me, or do you miss having sex with me?”

 

Mitchell looks confused. “Is that a trick question?” She tries to get past him into her quarters, but he blocks her path. “Listen, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and I want to make things right between us. Can we start over? I miss you.” And he looks at her with his puppy dog eyes.

 

“We have come too far. Things cannot be undone James. But let me ask you this… do you love me or this thing between us just about sex?” Mitchell pauses contemplating that question and this makes her even angrier. She gives Mitchell a good stiff Klingon elbow to the gut doubling him over. As he wheezes for air, she storms past him into her quarters. Before he can recover, the door slides shut locking him on the wrong side. He braces himself against the wall.

 

“Mother fucker!” he exclaims.

 

The Bridge of the Raza, 07:00 hours.

 

After a very lengthy previous day, the bridge crew of the Raza are back at it early again the next morning. The captain walks out onto the bridge and most of the senior staff, minus Doctor Dorn; are there at each of their assigned stations. He can see the weariness on their faces as he makes his way to the captain’s chair. “Phos report.” but she says nothing. The captain questions how much more he can take of this. Maybe Major Brynner is right about Phos. Maybe she can’t be trusted.

 

Mitchell stands up from his seat next to the captain looking back at Phos. “Damn-it Phos snap out of it.”

 

Phos tilts her head and then looks at the captain. “Probe number three has detected the Claxton sir. I have sent the coordinates to the helm.”

 

The captain turns his attention to Faye. “Helm, lay in a course. Take us in slow. Half impulse speed only.”

 

“Aye sir. Taking us in.” and slowly the Raza enters the swirling red mass.

 

“Shields holding sir.” states Phos.

 

“Sensors are being effected by the Expanse sir. I am getting a ton of ghost readings out there. I hope those coordinates are right.” exclaims Cho.

 

Minutes go by and the Raza gets deeper and deeper into the Expanse. The red clouds have engulfed the ship. “Sir, long range sensors are down to fifteen percent. I can’t see anything out there.” remarks a frustrated Cho. Then the ship is rocked by something that tosses the crew around.

 

“Rheyna?” yells the captain.

 

She looks over her control station. “Sir we were hit by a subspace wave of some sort.”

 

“Faye, please try and avoid the next one.” jokes Mitchell as she looks back at him annoyed.

 

“Shields down to eighty-five percent and dropping.” states Phos.

 

“Let’s make this quick. Cho, can you see the Claxton?” asks Mitchell.

 

“According to short range sensor readings she should be right off our stern.”

 

“On viewer.” orders the captain.

 

The screen comes on and all they can see is different shades of red gasses swirling around the Raza. Then it comes into view. The lifeless husk of the Claxton drifting in space, listing to the right. Portions of her hull breached exposing herself to the darkness of space.

 

“There she is.” announces Mitchell.

 

“Life signs Cho?”

 

“I’m sorry sir. Inconclusive.”

 

“What kind of energy readings are we looking at A’Ryn?”

 

“She’s running on back-up power only sir. Warp core is shut down. It looks like they barely avoided a breach. Life support is failing ship-wide, but it will sustain for a short period of time.”

 

“Can we gain access to her computers? I would like to find out what happened to her. Maybe her logs will give is some insight.”

 

“There is too much interference sir. We are lucky to get what we got.” answers A’Ryn.

 

“Transporters?” asks the Captain.

 

“No sir. I’m afraid we would lose their patterns and never get them back.”

 

“Shuttle it is then.” states Mitchell as he gets out of his chair. “Phos, Cho let’s go.” and he taps his comm badge. “Away team to shuttle bay one.”

 

“Good luck Number One.” states the captain.

 

Mitchell walks past A’Ryn and he can see the look of concern on her face, but she doesn’t say a word. Flexing his ego, he winks at her, but she rolls her eyes.

 

Shuttle Bay One.

 

Mitchell, Phos and Cho make it to shuttle bay one where Ensign Nirren, Sargent Young, Major Brynner and the three MACO’s are waiting by the shuttle fully armed. Mitchell notices all the weapons the MACO’s are carrying. He walks up to Brynner. “Think you got enough firepower Rambo?”

 

“Talk to me when my guns save your ass… sir.” Brynner responds in the best none sarcastic tone he can dig up. Mitchell is just about to say something witty when the door to the shuttlecraft opens and Lieutenant Jin walks out.

 

“Let’s go people. We’re on the clock.” and as if on cue they all board the shuttle. Jin takes her seat in the cockpit next to Lieutenant Ryder.

 

“Door locked and sealed sir.” states Ryder as he finishes up his pre-start checklist.

 

“Good let’s do this. Open the shuttle bay doors.” orders Jin. Ryder presses a few buttons on his controls and the bay doors to the Raza slide open. Jin raises the shuttlecraft in the air and slowly they make their way out of the shuttle bay. The shuttle clears the Raza and enters the swirling gasses. Jin cannot see anything except red as they head toward the Claxton. “Jin to Raza. We have departed and are in route to the Claxton.” Turbulence bounces the small shuttle craft around as Jin tries to steady the small craft.

 

“Anyone want a barf bag?” jokes Mitchell, but nobody is in the joking mood.

 

“ETA to the Claxton three minutes.” announces Ryder.

 

“Cho, we need you up here.” orders Jin as the younger Lieutenant gets up out of his seat and makes his way to the cockpit bracing himself as he goes against the rocking of the shuttle.

 

“Yes sir.”

 

“I need you to get the Claxton’s bay doors open. Can you override them from here?” asks Jin.

 

“I think so.” and Cho pulls out a data-pad. “I am going to try and remotely access the Claxton’s computer.” Time ticks away and the turbulence gets worse tossing the shuttle around like it was some ride at an amusement park.

 

“I need those damn doors open NOW! We’re coming in hot.” yells Ryder.

 

“Got it!!” Yells Cho, but it’s too late. The shuttle bay doors to the Claxton start to slide open, but it very slow due to the depletion of the ships power. Due to the amount of sheer and turbulence the shuttlecraft comes in at a very high speed and Jin knows she won’t clear the doors. She banks the shuttlecraft hard tilting the shuttle forty-five degrees. Sparks explode from the roof of the shuttle as it brushes the doorway squeezing its way into the shuttle bay. Running out of time and space, Jin quickly rips the controls back to level the shuttle and kills power dropping the shuttle like a dead weight onto the deck. The shuttle slides forward on her belly a good twenty feet and crashes into the forward wall denting her nose cone. Smoke erupts from the underside of the shuttle.

 

Quickly Brynner pops the emergency hatch. “Everyone ok?” yells Mitchell. Most nod in response, some not at all as they just walk past him trying to get out onto the deck. They all gather on the shuttle bay floor, all except the MACO’s. Brynner is already barking out orders to cover the entrance and scout ahead.  Young had the undaunting task of scouting ahead with a newbie he just met. Mitchell walks up to Brynner. “Is this standard operating procedure Major?  We just crash landed for Christ sake.  Give those guys a minute to clean their shorts.”

 

The older man looks Mitchell dead in the eyes not blinking once. “My job, Commander; is to make sure this away team gets back to the Raza alive. You’ve got a problem with that… you should have stayed on the Raza.” and Brynner storms away from the Commander toward the main entrance to the shuttle bay.

 

Mitchell watches him walk away and he mutters to himself. “Nice guy. Pleasure talking to you.” Unknowing that Jin is walking up to him.

 

“Sir, the shuttle is a little beat up, but I think she’ll make it back to the Raza.”

 

“Think Jin? That sounds a bit iffy to me.”

 

“Sir, I’m not going to promise you anything. I’ll get her airborne. After that it’s anyone’s guess.”

 

“Just get her ready incase we need to get out of here in a hurry.”

 

“Aye sir.”

 

Mitchell sees Cho working his tricorder. “Whatcha got junior?”

 

“I’m not picking up any life signs, but it could be the Expanse messing with my equipment.”

 

“You think? Let’s get to the bridge and see if we can get to the bottom of this. Phos, Nirren you’re with us.” Mitchell points at Brynner. “You can come too chrome dome, but you might want to leave a few of your stormtroopers with the shuttle.”  Cho laughs at Brynner as he follows Nirren, Phos and Commander Mitchell to the bridge. Brynner orders Young and another MACO to accompany him with Mitchell’s group. He tells the other two MACO’s to stand guard at the shuttlecraft.

 

Back aboard the Raza

 

The captain and the remaining members of his staff wait patiently on the bridge from some word from the away team. At Rheyna’s control station an alert warning comes across her screen. “Sir, we have something here.” The captain looks back at her.

 

“What is it Lieutenant?” he asks with a look of concern as he makes his way to her station. Leaning over her shoulder she explains.

 

“Sir, I think I know what happened to the Claxton. The area of space that the Claxton was traveling through has become unstable. It appears that a subspace layer has extended into normal space trapping the Claxton.”

 

A’Ryn hears Rheyna’s explanation and chimes in with a theory of her own. “It must be why the Claxton lost their warp core and control systems.”

 

Rheyna looks at A’Ryn. “I believe that they used whatever reserve power they had to try and break free, but the gravimetric forces were too much to overcome trapping them in a subspace sandbar.” Rheyna looks back at her terminal. “But it gets worse. The sandbar is expanding toward the Raza. If we don’t get out of its path we will fall into the same predicament as the Claxton.”

 

“How much time to do we have Lieutenant?” asks the captain.

 

“At the average rate of expansion, I estimate less than two hours.”

 

A serious look comes over the captain’s face as he taps his comm badge. “Decker to Mitchell.”

 

Back aboard the Claxton

 

Commander Mitchel, Nirren, Cho and the overly armed and overly aggressive MACO’s enter the Claxton’s bridge. Once the door slides open, the rush of stale air makes the crew gag. The bridge is dark with only the red emergency lights flashing to give the deck any semblance of light. Mitchell and Cho pull out flashlights to light their way. Phos makes her way to the Tactical station while Cho gets to work trying to get internal scanners functional. Bodies lay strewn about the bridge. Some still in their seats, others on the floor where they dropped. Nirren pulls out her medical tricorder and starts scanning the bodies. Mitchell makes his way to the captain’s chair where the body of Greggory Polak lay slumped, dead. “They are all dead sir. Suffocation due to the lack of oxygen in the air.” states the Vulcan medic who lacks any bedside manner.

 

“Yeah that would have been my guess too.” snaps back Mitchell.

 

“Sir.” yells out Jeremy Cho from the Comms station. Mitchell turns his attention to his Comms officer. “It looks like we have a number of survivors.”

 

“How many?” asks the Commander.

 

“If I can trust these readings, thirty-three.”

 

“Where are they?” asks Mitchell.

 

“Internal sensors show them locked in the crew lounge.”

 

Phos chimes in. “It appears sir that the crew rerouted all available emergency to that deck in one final effort to save who they could.”

 

“Thirty-three survivors out of three-hundred and fifty crewmen.” states a shocked Mitchell.

 

“Yes sir. But emergency power is failing ship wide. If we do not leave the Claxton soon, life support will fail completely and everyone aboard this vessel will die.” explains Phos.

 

“Shit gets better and better.” remarks the Commander. Brynner walks up to Mitchell.

 

“What’s your call Commander?”

 

“Get down to the crew lounge and find out who’s in charge down there. Take Nirren with you incase they have any wounded.”

 

“Yes sir.” Brynner turns to his MACO’s. “You heard the man, move out.” and the MACO’s follow Major Brynner off the bridge heading down to the crew lounge.

 

Mitchell’s comm badge chimes. “Decker to Mitchell.”

 

“Go ahead sir.”

 

“Commander we have an issue. You need to get back to the Raza immediately.”

 

“Sir, I’m afraid that’s not going to be possible.”

 

“Why is that Number One?”

 

“We have located survivor’s sir?”

 

“Survivor’s Commander? How many?” asks a shocked Captain Decker.

 

“Internal sensors indicate thirty-three, sir. They are held up in the lounge. I have Brynner finding out who is in-charge down there. We need to come up with a plan to get this ship moving. I have Cho and…” the Captain cuts him off.

 

“Number One, I’m afraid we are running out of time. The Claxton is stuck in some sort of Subspace Sandbar.”

 

“A sandbar? Are you kidding?”

 

“I’m afraid not Commander. I have Sung and Karn reviewing the data and we will let you know what the plan is as soon as we can. Please be aware Commander that we are running out of time. The sandbar is spreading and it won’t be long before the Raza is trapped just like the Claxton is.”

 

“How much time do we have?”

 

“By all estimations, we have less than two hours to get you and the survivors off the Claxton.”

 

“Keep us updated. Mitchell out.”

 

The Briefing Room aboard the Raza, 13:00 hours.

 

Rheyna and A’Ryn have been analyzing the data about the sandbar that the Claxton is trapped in for over an hour. Captain Decker, knowing they are running out of time; has called a meeting in the briefing room. The captain is seated in his usual chair at the head of the table and A’Ryn is seated to his right. Rheyna is standing at the wall console getting ready for her presentation. “Rheyna, please proceed.” asks the captain.

 

“Yes sir.” and she activates the monitor showing an image of the Claxton. “Sir, this is the Claxton as it sits right now stuck in the sandbar.” She changes the screen and now the Claxton is illuminated with a red hue around the ship. “And this sir shows the density of the sandbar around the Claxton when we arrived.” She changes screens again. “This is a half an hour ago.” It shows the density getting thicker. “One hour ago.” And the density around the Claxton doubles. “And this is the area around the Claxton currently.” And the density expands even more. “As you can see sir, the sandbar is thickening exponentially. Soon, it will envelope the entire ship and we will never be able to free her. In time, the gravitational forces will crush the ship and destroy her. We are already starting to see this with the number of breaches she has in her hull.”

 

The captain’s face looks stern. “We need to find a way to free the Claxton. I need ideas ladies.”

 

A’Ryn eyes Rheyna and then she looks back at the captain. “We have one sir.”

 

“Please explain.”

 

Rheyna enlarges the screen to show the aft section of the Claxton. “Sir, the sandbar has enveloped the ship in a U shaped pattern from the saucer section back along the nacelles. There is a weak spot in the sandbar between each nacelle where it is thinner. That is what allowed the shuttle to make it onboard the Claxton without getting stuck herself. Albeit a bumpy ride, but she made it through.”

 

“You’ve found a weak spot?” asks the captain.

 

“Yes.” answers A’Ryn. “We believe sir that with enough force we can pop the Claxton from the sandbar freeing her.”

 

“Pop the Claxton free? Please explain.” asks the captain.

 

Rheyna points at the screen. “We believe that if we ram the Claxton with enough force here…“ Pointing to an area above the shuttle bay, but below the torpedo launchers. “…that it will push the Claxton free of the sandbar.”

 

“How much force are we talking about?”

 

“We will have to hit the Claxton at full impulse.” answers A’Ryn.

 

“You are asking me to ram the Claxton from behind?”

 

“Yes sir. I believe that if we engage our Ablative armor it will protect the Raza from the impact and free the Claxton.” answers A’Ryn.

 

“A’Ryn, have you calculated the amount of damage this will cause to the Claxton?”

 

“We will need to split the nacelles with the Raza. The impact will shear the nacelles clean off the Claxton. We will then take the Raza and ram the Claxton with all the speed we got and with a little luck pop her free.”

 

“What about the people aboard the Claxton? Have you calculated potential casualties?”

 

“No, we have not sir. We have not had time.” answers Rheyna. “But we feel that this is our only option.”

 

The captain bits his lower lip trying to think this through. “Any other ideas?” and he waits for an answer that never comes. “Anything?”

 

Rheyna and A’Ryn look at each other, and then back at the captain. “No sir. That’s all we have. If we don’t try this then they will die over there.” answers A’Ryn.

 

“Very well then. A’Ryn, please make Miss Monroe aware of our current course of action.” After the two women leave his Briefing Room the captain taps his comm badge. “Decker to Mitchell.”

 

“Go ahead captain.”

 

“Number One, we are going to attempt a very unorthodox maneuver. I need you to move all remaining survivors to the most forward section of the saucer.”

 

“Yes sir. Care to fill me in on this maneuver you plan on trying?”

 

“Not enough time James. Let me know when you are in position. Decker out.”

 

The Bridge of the Raza twenty minutes later.

 

“Mitchell to Decker.”

 

“Go ahead Number One.”

 

“We are in position sir. I hope this works. The air is getting pretty thin in here.”

 

“Brace yourselves. It’s about to get bumpy over there. Decker out.” and the captain turns his attention to his helmsman. “Take us in Faye.”

 

“Aye sir.” And she activates the impulse drives bringing the Raza around the far side of the Claxton steering clear of the sandbar. She passes the starboard nacelle and keeps going past it until she can make a full swing back toward the Claxton. With the skill of an artist she swings the Raza back in a quick U-turn peeling the Raza around and aiming her nose right up the Claxton’s ass.  A’Ryn waits until the last possible second…

 

“Ablative armor activated!” she yells out and the Raza is covered with the steel plating normally use for defense against energy weapons.

 

“Red alert!” shouts the captain as the bridge lights dim and the red flashing warning lights start blinking. “All hands prepare for impact!”

 

The forward view screen shows the rear of the Claxton’s nacelles approaching. With great skill Faye drives the Raza between them. Seconds later the Raza collides with the two nacelles splitting them off of the Claxton like they were splitting a wishbone. The bridge crew can hear the metal on metal screeching sound as the Raza rips the Claxton in half. The crew inside the Raza gets tossed around, but it’s the survivors aboard the Claxton that get bounced around like rag dolls spilling all over the floor, not one left standing. The debris from the nacelles float away from the Claxton, only to be stuck in the sandbar themselves a short distance away. At full impulse power the Raza bears down on the Claxton’s hull. Seconds after sheering the nacelles off, she makes impact just above the shuttle bay, but below the torpedo launcher. The saucer section of the Raza drives into the Claxton destroying a number of decks exposing them to the cold vacuum of space. The Claxton lurches forward, but the sandbar holds firm.

 

“More power to the engines!!” screams the captain.

 

“That’s all we’ve got!!” yells A’Ryn over the sound of the Claxton being torn apart.

 

“The sandbar is weakening, but it’s not enough! We’re not going to make it!” yells Rheyna as she keeps close tabs on her monitor screen.

 

The captain knows it’s now or never. He quickly makes the calculations in his head. He thinks back to his Warp Core class at the academy all those years ago. The study of warp bubbles and how it affects ships always fascinated him. He makes the call. “Warp 1 Faye. Two second burst.” orders the captain and Faye looks back at him shocked.

 

“But sir…” blurts out A’Ryn.

 

“Warp 1 NOW!” screams the captain.

 

“Aye sir.” answers Faye as she activates the warp drive. The initial burst breaks the Claxton free from the sandbar thrusting them forward and clear of the Typhon Expanse.

 

“Full stop.” orders the captain.

 

“Aye sir. Full stop.” and Faye brings the Raza to a stop. The front view screen shows the Claxton swirling through space barely being able to hold on to attitude control.

 

“Damage report.” asks the captain.

 

“Ablative armor is down to twenty percent. We dented her pretty good. We have structural damage on decks five through eight. Nothing major. Repair crews are on their way.” answers A’Ryn.

 

“And the Claxton?” asks the captain with a look of concern on his face as he watches the damaged ship drift away in a slow death roll.

 

“Life support is failing. Both nacelles are gone. Warp drive is gone. Torpedo launches are gone. Shields are off-line. Main computer is off-line. They are venting atmosphere on decks seven through ten in the rear saucer section. Main shuttle bay is destroyed.” blurts out A’Ryn and then list goes on and on but she keeps it to the main items.

 

“Survivors Rheyna?”

 

“I am detecting all thirty-three of the Claxton crew members and the entire away team alive and well sir. Only minor injuries reported.”

 

“Excellent job people. Let’s get them back aboard the Raza immediately. A’Ryn, alert all transporter rooms to start beaming over all survivors immediately.”

 

“Yes sir.”

 

The captain smiles knowing he just pulled another rabbit out of a hat.

 

The Captain’s Ready Room two hours later.

 

Captain Decker has spent the last hour reviewing technical data on the possibilities of saving the Claxton, but it doesn’t look good. Both nacelles have been ripped off. There is nothing left to the shuttle bay, not to mention that they just lost another shuttlecraft themselves. The torpedo launchers were sheared off when the Raza went to warp so that’s a total loss. Numerous bulk heads are bent or twisted out of shape on-top of the various decks that are now exposed to the vacuum of space. A chime is heard at the door. “Enter.” and the door slides open and Commander Mitchell walks in with a data-pad in hand.

 

“Sir. I had a talk with the Claxton’s first officer. Here’s my report.” and he hands it to the captain.

 

“Give me a short brief number one.” As he tosses the data-pad on the never ending growing pile on his desk. Mitchell sits down in the chair across from his captain.

 

“The dirty version was that the Claxton picked up a subspace distortion near where they were surveying. The captain chose to take the Claxton into the Expanse. As they approached the distortion they came to a full stop to run a scanner sweep and that’s when they got stuck. The harder they tried to get free, the more the sandbar drained their resources. First the warp core went. Then the sensor array. Then the main computer. Finally, life support started failing. Deck by deck they experienced catastrophic failures. There was no place for over three hundred people to go. They were trapped in their own ship, with no chance of escape.” The captain looks away trying to process the information. “What about the Claxton sir? Can she be salvaged?”

 

“Highly unlikely. She’s in bad shape and Commander Sung has informed me that she won’t survive a tow with the tractor beam. She’ll break apart before we get to DS4. I will notify Starfleet that we are going to put her down. Please have Lieutenant Phos set the auto destruct for ten minutes.”

 

“Yes sir.” and Mitchell gets up and walks out of the room.

 

Somewhere in Federation space.

 

The Romulan Warbird Osiris has been skirting the Neutral Zone south of Galorndon Core for weeks dodging both Romulan and Federation starships. Running dark for months now, the Romulan crew’s eyes have become adjusted to the lack of lighting aboard the ship. High Commander Sharn has spent the last few weeks walking the halls of the Osiris replaying in his mind the events that led him here. The fall of Romulus and Remis. Tracking his son across the Neutral Zone into Federation space. The chance meeting with the Raza and the deadly stand-off that nearly started another war. Now, he’s dedicated his life to getting his son back at whatever the cost. Since then, he’s put a plan into motion to do just that. Starfleet officer Cory Bates, turned traitor; fell right into his lap. A pawn he can surely use. Lieutenant Phos has also been taken off the board, replaced by Sharn’s own replica aboard the Raza.

 

He makes his way back to his quarters letting the door slide shut behind him enclosing him in the darkness of his room. His eyes so accustomed to the darkness allow him make his way through his quarters without stumbling over anything. He reaches the far side of the room, taps a wall monitor and it comes to life shining a beacon of light into the room. “Computer, voice command Sharn Alpha One.”

 

“Confirmed.” and on command a concealed door opens in the wall. Sharn walks through the door into the chamber only known to him. The center of the room is lite by a spotlight beaming down on a glass container sitting on a pedestal. Sharn walks up to it with an evil smile on his face. Peering down at the glass container he sees the head of Phos. He taps on the jar, and Phos’s eye open.

 

“There we are.”

 

Phos has a look of confusion on her face. Her eyes dart back and forth trying to gauge her surroundings, but she has no clue as to where she is at.

 

“Do you know who I am?” asks Sharn as he leans on the pedestal peering down at Phos.

 

“You are High Commander Sharn of the Romulan Empire. Captain of the Romulan Warbird Osiris.”

 

Sharn stands straight and lets out a laugh. “You amuse me android. Romulan Empire? There is no Romulan Empire. That supernova saw to that. Now the glorious Romulan Empire is nothing but a fragment of itself. It’s once proud people are fleeing like rats aboard a sinking ship. And the glorious Federation has pity on us taking in refugees up and down the Neutral Zone.”

 

“The Federation does not pitty you. We merely gave aid where it was needed.”

 

“The Federation saw its chance to sink the dagger into the heart of the Empire even deeper and they took their shot.”

 

“What would you have us do?”

 

“Leave us be! We will rebuild! We will rise from the ashes and be stronger than ever before!” and he pumps his fist in the air. He sees the look in the android’s eyes and collects himself. “In order to do that we need to unify the survivors. Create a new government with a new political system. An even stronger Empire that not even the Federation will stand up to. They will cower before a new, stronger Romulan Empire.”

 

“Sharn, what part does your son play into all this? For it was your desire to retrieve him that started this all.”

 

“Great Empires must be built on the backs of strong families. My son and I, together we will lead the NEW Romulan Empire into the future.”

 

“It seems sir that your son has other plans when he asked for asylum.”

 

“He is just a boy. He doesn’t know what he wants. The people that raised him had no loyalty to the Empire. I will train him. I will show him the ways of being a true Romulan and in the end he will lead our people to greatness.”

 

“So, your ultimate goal is to unseat the current ruling council and place yourself in-charge? That is not democracy sir that is a dictatorship. Captain Decker will locate me and when he does he will stop you.”

 

“I don’t think so Lieutenant.” and Sharn turns on a wall monitor. Phos looks and sees that the bridge of the Raza can be seen in real time. The bridge crew is at their stations and an odd half wrecked Luna Class Starship is on the Raza’s main viewer.

 

“What is this?” asks a confused Phos as she continues to watch. The door to the Captain’s Ready Room slides open and Captain Decker walks onto the bridge.

 

“Lieutenant Phos, time please.”

 

“One minute to self-destruct.”

 

“Miss Monroe, please take us to a safe distance away from the blast field.”

 

“Aye sir.” and Faye turns the Raza about moving her about three thousand kilometers away. “We are in position sir.”

 

The captain looks back at the view screen. “To the Claxton and all the souls lost aboard her this day.” And on that note the starship erupts in a cascade of explosions that completely destroys the ship. Phos watches through strange eyes as the captain sits in his command chair. “Faye, set course for DS4, warp 5.”

 

“Yes sir.” and the Raza turns heading away from the Typhon Expanse.

 

The eyes Phos is watching everything play out through turns from its work station to the wall station behind him/her. Phos cannot believe her eyes as she sees the perfect reflection of herself glaring off the glass panel. “That is me?” she states confused.

 

An evil grin comes across Sharn’s face as he leaves the secret chamber letting Phos watch everything play out knowing she cannot do anything to stop it.

 

****

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