The Delta Flyer, 1400
: “Preflight checks complete. All stations report readiness.” Tom replied.
“Tactical ready.” Henry replied.
“Navigation ready.” Celes replied.
“Engineering ready.” Dalby said.
“Science station ready.” Telfer replied.
“Delta Flyer to Voyager, request clearance for takeoff.” Tom replied.
“This is Voyager. Permission granted.” Janeway replied. Janeway’s voice echoed over the Flyer’s comm system as Tom smoothly brought it out of Voyager’s shuttlebay.
There was the sound of a tune being whistled. Tal turned towards the tactical station before asking Henry, “What are you whistling?”
“It’s an old Australian tune, it’s called Waltzing Matilda. It’s a song just about every Australian knows by heart. Advance Australia Fair may be our state song, but Waltzing Matilda is the song that speaks to the Australian spirit.” Henry replied.
“Actually there was another song of the 20th Century that spoke just as eloquently to the Australian spirit.” Tom replied.
“And what was that?” Henry replied.
“You’re the Australian.” Tom replied.
“Shields are holding.” Dalby said as the Flyer, made its way around through the multi-colored gaseous clouds around the mouth of the rift.
“Any signs of the possible ships?” Henry asked.
“Nothing on sensors.” Celes said.
“I’ll bring us in a little closer.” Tom replied as he worked the controls and sent the Flyer maneuvering around a particular snarl of a gravimetric shear.
“I’ve got a reading on a vessel bearing 290 Mark 010.” Celes replied.
“I’m taking us towards it.” Tom replied.
The Flyer glided towards the ship. It was a dark colored vessel, black as the void of space with the glow of twin warp nacelles. There was a symbol of a black heart with a red ‘X’ pattern inside its boundaries visible on the blue leading edges of the nacelles.
Celes began to scan the vessel and sent her readings by datalink to Voyager. “Sir, I’m reading this ship is about half the size of Voyager, but heavily armed. My scans indicate at least seventeen forward directed energy weapons and six torpedo launchers.”
“Let’s hope that that’s because they’re worried about the Borg.” Tom replied, “Have you relayed your scans to Voyager?”
“Yes sir.” Celes replied.
“Good. Keep scanning it.” Tom replied, “With all that EM interference and gravimetric shears Voyager’s sensors won’t be able to get accurate readings.”
“I’m reading faint lifeform readings. About a hundred of them aboard that vessel.” Celes replied.
“Paris to Voyager.” Tom began.
“Go ahead Tom.” Janeway’s voice could be heard over the comm system.
“We’ve located an alien vessel, heavily armed, with a hundred crewmembers. We’re starting to initiate first contact procedures.” Tom replied.
“Very well.” Janeway replied, “Keep me informed Tom.”
“Yes ma’am.” Tom replied.
“Opening a channel.” Telfer replied.
“Unidentified vessel this is the Federation ship Delta Flyer...” Tom began.
Just then a strange electronic screeching could be heard over the comms system.
“What is that?” Tom said.
“Could be their method of communication.” Celes replied.
“Looks like their method of communication is jamming our communication’s suite.” Henry replied.
“Compensating for the interference.” Dalby replied.
“Telfer give him a hand. We need to get communications with Voyager.” Tom replied.
The screeching continued just as several more ships poured from the rift. Quite of them were smaller fighter sized ships, but there were at least two larger ships exiting.
“The alien vessel is powering its weapons.” Henry reported from the tactical station.
“I think it’s a safe bet that these guys are hostile. I’m taking us back to Voyager.” Tom replied.
“I‘m reading three of the alien fighters breaking formation. They’re in pursuit!” Celes said.
The Flyer was shaken by a vicious bang that rattled Tom’s teeth in his head.
“Aft shields down to seventy-two percent!” Henry replied, “Those fighters are packing some sort of missile system.”
“I’m reading three more missile launches!” Celes replied.
“Targeting now.” Henry replied as he fired the Flyer’s aft phaser array. Two of the missiles were blown apart by the phaser blast but the third closed, evading Henry’s attempts to destroy it and Tom’s intricate evasive maneuvers. When it was one hundred meters behind the Flyer it exploded throwing fragments and smaller submunitions against the shields.
“Shields at sixty percent!” Henry replied.
“Divert power to aft shields.” Tom replied.
“I wouldn’t advise it, mate.” Henry replied. Tom saw the five other enemy fighters dead ahead at about the same time Henry made his report.
After snapping a pair of torpedoes at the enemy fighters, Tom shouted, “I’m taking us closer to the rift! Hang on!”
Tom threw the Flyer into a downward right bank and Telfer felt his stomach rising into his chest with the violence of the evasive maneuver.
Celes shouted, “Reading three enemy fighters in pursuit.”
Tom could see drifting debris and knew that the torpedoes had scored their deadly effect.
“Five more fighters in pursuit!” Celes replied, “I’m reading a meteorite cluster 3000 kilometers off our starboard bow...”
“Perfect.” Tom replied as he angled towards the meteorites.
“Are you insane!” Telfer bellowed at the top of his lungs.
“They’d be insane to follow us.” Tom replied as he threw the Flyer into a series of corkscrew loops, dodging a stream of blue-green energy blasts. Two blasts struck home.
“Aft shields to forty-seven percent!” Henry replied as he began firing back with the aft phaser array.
“We’re into the cluster.” Celes reported.
The flash of an explosion was visible as a missile angling at the Flyer obliterated a meteorite that sent rock fragments flying into the shields.
The Flyer was struck by another impact.
“We took a mirco-meteorite to the starboard warp nacelle!” Dalby shouted, “Isolating plasma leaks now!”
An enemy fighter exploded as it was pulverized by two larger meteors. The one behind it spiraled out of control as Henry gave it a trio of very accurate phaser strikes.
“Nice shooting Tex!” Telfer commented.
“I’m Australian.” Henry replied.
“We know!” Everyone else in the Flyer shouted back.
Another blast struck the Flyer.
“Aft shields at forty-seven percent!” Henry shouted, “Forward shields at sixty-two percent.”
“Aft Phaser array down.” Dalby shouted just as another micrometeorite struck the Flyer, “We can’t take any more meteorite damage.”
“I’m taking us out of here.” Tom said as he crammed power into the impulse engines, flying vertically and on instinct, dodging meteorites and energy weapons.
Another enemy fighter was clipped by a meteorite and struck it’s neighbor. The ensuing explosion threw several fragments of debris and rock against the Flyer’s aft shields.
“Still reading four fighters on our tail. They’re firing missiles!” Celes shouted.
“Diverting power to aft shields now!” Henry replied.
“Gravimetric shear at 340 Mark 2.” Celes added.
Tom threw the Flyer towards the shear.
“Are you insane!?” Dalby shouted, “There’s no way we’d be able to survive the gravimetric forces inside that shear.”
Tom didn’t answer as he thought. Gotta time this just right...and...I’ve gotcha!
Tom slammed Flyer into a tight bank, narrowly avoiding the effects of the gravimetric shear. The missiles were drawn into the gravity well of the shear as if pulled by a tractor beam. The shockwave sent the Flyer flipping end over end like a poker chip.
“Warp drive offline!” Dalby shouted.
“Shields down to seven percent and falling!” Henry shouted.
“We’ve got another gravimetric surge. It’s pulling us towards the rift!” Telfer shouted.
“Diverting all available power to impulse engines.” Dalby shouted.
“Too late!” Celes replied.
“We’re going in.” Tom said, “Everyone hang on!”
Celes felt the world inside the Flyer spinning crazily, the lights of her display, a hyperspanner, a PADD flew past her face, narrowly missing her before the world went dark.
“Captain,” Harry Kim said from the Operations station, “We’ve lost comms with the Flyer.”
“How?” Janeway asked.
“There’s some sort of electromagnetic disturbance.” Kim replied.
“Is the alien vessel the source?” Janeway asked.
“Affirmative.” Kim replied.
“Open a channel.” Janeway ordered.
“Hailing frequencies open ma’am.” Kim replied.
Janeway stood up from her chair, “Unidentified vessel, this is Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager...”
The sound of a metallic screeching could be heard. “It’s emanating from the unknown vessel.” Harry supplied.
“Captain. I’m reading multiple warp signatures coming from the rift.” Tuvok began from the tactical station, “And also evidence of weapons fire from the Delta Flyer’s last known coordinates.”
“Red Alert!” Janeway said, “Raise shields and charge weapons.”
“Captain, I’ve got multiple alien ships head towards our formation in an attack pattern.” Harry added, “According to the scans the alien vessels are heavily armed. I’m reading at least seventeen energy weapons and six torpedo launchers on the forward section of one of the larger vessels.”
“Evasive maneuvers.” Janeway began just as a blast rocked the ship. Several of the fighters arrived first firing missiles and energy weapons in a barrage.
“Forward shields down to eighty-four percent.” Tuvok reported.
“Return fire.” Janeway commanded, “Target their propulsion systems.”
Voyager’s forward phasers began to fire. One of the attacking fighters took a hit to the propulsion system and spiraled out of control before hanging adrift in space.
“No effect. The alien vessels are still closing.” Tuvok replied.
“Fire at will, Mr. Tuvok.” Janeway ordered.
The three larger alien ships hung back just out of weapons range as the fighters closed on Voyager. The fighters fired a combined salvo of missiles and laser blasts at Voyager as the Starfleet vessel fired back with its own phaser arrays.
One alien fighter exploded as a phaser burst struck home on its warp core at the same time that several missiles from itself and its sister ships struck home on Voyager.
Voyager shuddered and Tuvok replied, “Shields at seventy-two percent.”
The three larger ships closed on Voyager firing torpedoes and their own lasers. Ryson sent Voyager on a pattern of evasive maneuvers to dodge the attacks. At least four torpedoes missed hitting Voyager, though some of them exploded in close proximity.
“Shields at seventy-percent...” Tuvok replied as he fired a trio of photon torpedoes at the alien ships.
One of the alien torpedoes struck home on Voyager, together with a second. Voyager shook violently and the impact sent Harry sprawling to the deck.
“Forward shields down to fifty-three percent.” Tuvok replied.
“Captain,” Harry said, as he rose to his feet and wiped blood from his nose, “I’m reading the Flyer. It’s going into the rift...”
“Take us there Ryson.” Janeway ordered.
“Captain, there are at least twenty-seven more enemy vessels between us and the rift.” Tuvok reported.
The three larger ships closed and fired barrages of torpedoes and laser blasts that raked into Voyager’s shields.
“Aft shields at forty-seven precent. Forward shields have collapsed.” Tuvok said.
“I’m reading energy signatures. They may have beamed some people aboard.” Harry added.
“Ryson. Get us out of here!” Janeway ordered, “Maximum warp.”
“Aye ma’am.” Ryson said.
Voyager went to warp away from the rift.
“Janeway to security, begin sweep of the ship for intruders. B’Elanna lock down engineering...” Janeway replied.
“Incoming transmission, Captain, it’s from a Federation transmission beacon that just emerged from the rift. It’s text only.” Harry said.
Harry’s brow furled as he gazed at his panel, “Captain. According to the stardate, this message was recorded fourteen days from now.”
“Harry, reroute it to Astrometrics and have Seven compile the data.” Janeway replied, “You have the bridge Commander. I’ll be in Astrometrics.”
“Aye Captain.” Chakotay replied, as Harry complied with his own order, “I suggest you wait for a security detail.”
Janeway locked eyes with her First Officer and realized he was right.
Just then Ayala and two security officers emerged from the nearby turbolift. Without another word, Janeway accompanied them into the turbolift toward Astrometrics.
Celes regained consciousness a few moments later. She felt woozy but otherwise was uninjured as far as she could tell.
“Is everyone alright?” Tom shouted into the back of the Flyer.
After several affirmatives, Tom settled down. He could see Celes just regaining consciousness, Henry scanning his instruments, Telfer trying to re-establish communications with Voyager, and Dalby up to his elbows in the guts of the aft phaser array.
“Still no comms with Voyager.” Telfer said, with more than a little frustration.
“Keep trying.” Tom replied.
“I’m reading a Class M atmosphere outside.” Celes said as she glanced at her instruments.
“We seem to be on another world.” Telfer said, “According to my instruments at least.”
“I’m reading another ship, Bearing 350 Mark 115. It’s heading right for us.” Celes replied.
“Does it match any known configuration?” Tom said.
“Yes and no.” Celes replied.
“Celes, what exactly do you mean by that?” Tom asked, brow furrowing.
“Uh first off the vehicle is in the database. But according to the information I have in the database I shouldn’t be getting these readings.” Celes replied.
“Just what is it?” Tom asked.
“It’s a flying locomotive.” Celes replied.
“What?” Tom said.
“That was my reaction too.” Celes said, semi defensively, “I know locomotives don’t fly. But according to the sensor readings this one is. And it’s closing...”
“I’m getting a transmission, audio only.” Telfer replied.
“Patch it through.” Tom said as he scanned around visually for this ‘flying train’, “Celes, how far is it?”
“Twenty kilometers and closing.” Celes replied.
“Unknown ship this is Doctor Emmett Brown of the Institute of Future Technology, do you read me?” came the voice.
“Emmett Brown, now why does that sound familiar...” Tom began.
“Bloody hell!” Henry replied.
“What?” Tom said.
“Emmett Brown, he was a character in an Earth film trilogy called Back to the Future or something like that. What in blazes is he doing here?” Henry replied.
“You’re right. He was a famous film character.” Tom replied, “Maybe he’s a photonic lifeform.”
“No signs of photonic signatures on that flying train. I’m reading two lifesigns: human.” Celes replied.
“Doc Brown, this is Ensign Tom Paris of the Federation vessel Delta Flyer, ” Tom replied, “please state your intentions...”
“There’s something terribly wrong.” Doc Brown replied.
“What is wrong?” Tom replied.
“I’m afraid, Mr. Paris it might be a little difficult to explain while in flight. Can we land somewhere and talk?” Doc Brown replied.
“Sure.” Tom replied, “How about that clearing in the woods, fifteen kilometers away, Bearing 270 Mark 15.”
“We’ll meet you there. But hurry, this problem could have disastrous consequences to the space time continuum!” Doc Brown said.
“Talk about a borderline hystrionic.” Dalby said as he continued his repairs.
“Can we trust him?” Celes asked.
“Barring any bizarre alien impersonations, I’d say trusting him’s a safe bet, but in any case, Telfer you and Dalby stay by the Flyer after we land, Celes, you and Lieutenant Kano come with me.” Tom replied.
“Right.” Henry replied, “Let’s find some answers.”
Tom steered the Delta Flyer to the clearing into a landing just as the mysterious flying train landed beside them...
To Be Continued. Up next, the away team confers with Doc Brown and learns more about the world that they're stranded on and Voyager decodes the message beacon as well as repels alien borders.