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Reinforcements for the Valkyries pursuing Barb
scrambled from bases on Earth. They would be too late. Knowing this, the pursuers ramped up their attack. They made some headway, but the cutter's shields were still holding. What the pilots didn't know - but suspected - was that without a crew aboard and without its own weapons, Barb
's computer could devote every erg of power to the shields and maintaining a warp field.
"Pull up!" The lead pilot finally called. The ships were seconds away from impact. The Valkyries peeled off in different directions and gunned their engines.
slammed into the Moon travelling at every kilometer per second of the speed of light. On impact, her shields and warp field collapsed at the same instant, crushing the hull of the ship around the warp core, which breached. The resulting explosion tripled the size of the crater formed by the initial impact and threw tons of moondust into space. All this happened within the first second.
The Moon was rattled in its orbit. Quakes radiated out from the impact zone and converged on the settlements in the opposite hemisphere. Residents of the satellite were devastated by sudden, violent tremors that shook buildings off their foundations and cracked atmosphere-bearing pressure domes. Civil Defense and Rescue agencies, having only gotten a warning a few seconds after Barb
's course change, were hard-pressed to gear up while the tremors persisted with no let-up in sight.
On Earth, tides rose sharply in areas over which the Moon currently traveled, flooding coastal cities and small islands. Rescue agencies here, prepared for an impact somewhere on Earth, were instead faced with the need to keep people across the hemisphere from being drowned in their beds. Calls went out immediately to any and all available starships for support, but the only one already in the sector was the starship Sundown
, a Nova
-class currently in spacedock for upgrades. The commander and crew were recalled from shore leave immediately, though several of the crewmembers had been in the areas affected when the Moon was hit.
The immediate aftereffects of Barb
's impact lasted more than four hours, while after shocks on the moon would continue throughout the next day. The people at Sector Approach Control monitored it all, helpless to do anything else. "By the prophets," a Bajoran officer said. Theo McGarry was speechless, trying desperately to figure out if there was anything else he might have done. It was cold comfort to realize that the entire event had been planned so there would be nothing
he could have done.
Commander Krill was about to try and comfort McGarry again, when someone else got his attention. "Commander, the Barb
transmitted a message through subspace just before impact. It looks like a recording."
"Play it," Krill said. He turned his attention to the master display taking up a wall of the room. In a moment, the chart of the Solar System and the tracks of inbound ships displayed there were replaced by the image of a dark-haired, blue-eyed woman who appeared to be sitting in a starship's ready room.
"Citizens of the Federation," she began, "You may call me April, and what you have just witnessed is a demonstration of my power..."