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RUNABOUT USS KOCH
CH’HANDRA MEDICAL FACILITY
September 12th 2371 – 0001 FST
Misaki had sat in the cockpit of the USS Koch for thirty minutes now as the next party of children was loaded aboard. In the dark sky above, evidence of the forthcoming asteroid storm was plain to see as bright streaks of light split the darkness. The smaller debris was burning up before reaching the ground right now, and according to the latest update all of the major threats had hopefully been diverted.
Misaki knew though that there were still over twenty medium threat asteroids still approaching and scores of low threat. It was one of the medium threats that had provoked the evacuation of the coastal hospital. While civilian transports rapidly cleared the coastal residences, the Angel’s runabouts with their onboard medical facilities were aiding in moving the elderly and infirm.
Misaki couldn’t help but smile when she heard the ooh’s and aah’s from the youngsters as they watched the night sky. In other circumstances, she could imagine standing and watching the display with her younger sisters Sakura & Asami. It had been a fluke of nature (or so Misaki believed) that had cured her youngest sister of Chendari Syndrome otherwise she too would have spent what was left of her young life in hospital.**
“Koch from Angel.”
Misaki tuned out the children as she answered the comm.
“Go ahead Angel.”
“Be advised, we have an asteroid split. Point of impact is estimated three kilometres off shore in 23 minutes. Low threat according to Science but be prepared. They also report that the Borg cube will impact within eight minutes now estimated 63 kilometres south of your location.”
Misaki quickly calculated their flight out to the evacuation centre and back and knew they should have enough time for the final run.
“Koch acknowledges, out.” She turned to Ensign Mara Hannick supervising the rear compartment. “Mara, are we ready?”
The dark skinned young woman checked over her charges then came and joined Misaki in the cockpit.
“All strapped in. They’re having a whale of a time back there. Buster is having to tell them stories!”
Misaki smiled knowing the big medic would be absolutely hating it.
She applied lift and routed south to head inland, pushing the runabout to its atmospheric limit. She knew that every second she could shave off the journey now would be extra seconds of safety for the children.
(** The story of Hiroshi Misaki’s sister is covered in VIGNETTE 3 – HIROSHI MISAKI available on my site!)
ENTERING ZETHANDER ATMOSPHERE
September 12th 2371 – 0011 FST
Ten of Nineteen continued to monitor the last seconds of the cubes life in typical Borg coldness. He issued instructions to Four of Seven, Intermediary of Trimatrix 4745, ordering a strengthening of buckling shields at their location but received no response.
It was at that point, some 3000 metres above ground that a vast store of volatile gas and liquid storage in the lower levels of the cube ruptured. The explosion tore out the surrounding three levels obliterating them in an incandescent detonation but more importantly it affected the cubes trajectory. The blast and subsequent downward jet of ignited chemicals reduced the descent speed and pushed the shattered cube sideways. Leaving a thick black trail of noxious gases in the clear night air it blazed inexorably down and on its new path Ten of Nineteen noted with indifference that the cube would now impact in the ocean off the coast of the large peninsula.
Initiating one last command into his failing console, it was 9.6 seconds later that Ten of Nineteen ceased to be.
RUNABOUT USS KOCH
EN ROUTE TO CH’HANDRA MEDICAL FACILITY
September 12th 2371 – 0011 FST
They’d made good time to the evacuation centre and immediately had the children transferred off the runabout to begin their final trip. Misaki programmed the final descent into the grounds of the hospital and had just finished checking in with the ground team when the runabout bucked wildly. Fighting to regain control she swore in her native language as the remains of the Borg cube tore the air above the small ship, its shockwave almost spinning them out of control.
“Kuso!” Reacting purely on instinct, Misaki raised the nose and killed all power momentarily before reapplying it again. The resultant porpoise motion of the runabout slowed it slightly and the upward vector pushed it above the layer of turbulence left in the cubes wake, but it produced an equally dangerous side effect as they were battered by wreckage detached from the plummeting cube.
“Mara, get a distress call out, I am not going to be able to keep us airborne much longer!” Already Misaki saw the telltale flashes of red warning tabs flicker up on her display, but Mara was frozen in her seat, the sight of the Borg cube paralyzing her.
“Mara NOW!” As if a switch had been flicked, Mara’s eyes went wide and she worked the panel rapidly. Misaki had little time to listen as the computer reported multiple failings where wreckage had impacted with the runabout. Spotting a relatively level area of land in the suburbs to her left, she swung the stricken craft toward it and prayed there would be enough open space.
She had the chance to shout “Brace for impact!” before the port nacelle kissed the ground and they began to plough a destructive trail across the plain.
105KM NORTH OF CORAL CITY
September 12th 2371 – 0011 FST
Despite the loss of over half it’s mass due to impact with the asteroids and atmospheric erosion, the Borg cube was still immense. Perhaps the only thing that prevented a planet wide catastrophe was the shallow angle and reduced speed at which the cube eventually hit but even so the results were cataclysmic.
There was no explosion as much of the cube’s volatile material had already detonated. Instead the massive patchwork of assimilated parts tumbled across the surface, digging deeper and shedding more parts as it went.
Observers in Coral City could see little of the impact but the sound was like the coming of Armageddon and rolled ominously across the city.
Eventually the noise subsided and in its wake was silence broken only by the quiet tinkle of falling transparisteel. It was a silence that wasn’t to last for long.
USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
CLOSE TO ZETHANDER
September 12th 2371 – 0012 FST
“Sir!” Kara Asheen stared wide eyed at her console and Dan rushed over to see the cause of her panic.
“It’s the Borg cube Sir. I don’t know what happened but its trajectory and speed altered shortly before impact.” She worked her console quickly, scrolling back through the automated sensor logs and eventually spotting the detonation above the surface.
“There Sir.” She pointed at the spiked readout. “A massive detonation. It must have been somewhere in the lower half of the cube.”
“Why do you say that?” Dan tried to follow the rapidly changing graphics that Asheen monitored with ease.
“Change in vector Sir. Its speed slowed and its angle of descent decreased. Essentially it changed direction and travelled further and that’s the problem.” She widened the image and Dan saw immediately that the problems he’d felt they were now on top of had just been trebled.
He tapped the commbadge on his chest. “Fishlock to C3.”
The call was answered by a Benzite lieutenant in the Crisis Control Centre aft of the bridge.
“Lieutenant Modrak, go ahead Sir.”
“Lieutenant, I need all runabouts back to the coast immediately for evacuation duties. Advise them that the Borg cube has landed out to sea and they should expect imminent tsunami effects. Science will update you with a time estimate shortly.”
As the link went dead, he turned to Asheen. “How much time do we have?”
She looked at him with her silvered eyes and said quietly “A little over 15 minutes Sir.”
RUNABOUT USS BARNARD
MUNICIPAL PARK EVACUATION STATION
September 12th 2371 – 0014 FST
Lieutenant Ariana Meredith’s eyes went wide and as she broke the connection, she leapt from her seat to drag Shathrissia sh'Loran to one side. As she explained the latest report from the Angel, the Andorian security officer’s face visibly paled.
“Thriss we need to expedite the load up. We might get another run in but I doubt it. Pile ‘em in, I don’t care if we need to run at ground level. Children, women, and then men.”
Thriss nodded before disappearing through into the aft section to relay the message to the security ensigns helping to supervise the evacuation. While they didn’t dare share the reason for the sudden change in loading, the evacuees were remarkably compliant. Thriss felt her heart go out to those who would likely never see loved ones again.
USS ANGEL – BRIDGE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
September 12th 2371 – 0015 FST
“Sir we’re simply not going to manage with the runabouts even with the civilian transports helping.” Lieutenant Amanda Gittings had run the figures several times at Mission Ops and they stubbornly refused to change.
Dan almost slapped himself for his stupidity. “The transporters!” The combination of monitoring the asteroid operation, the mystery ship and all the other intricacies that were unfolding around him had almost made him forget the primary function of the converted vessel.
Opening a ship wide channel from the centre seat he broadcast a message that he hadn’t expected to use for some while yet.
“All hands this is the Captain. All transporter crews to emergency stations, standby for emergency evacuation procedures. Mission Ops will co-ordinate.”
As his voice echoed through the busy corridors and annexes of the Angel repeating the order, crew men and women previously attending to secondary tasks broke into a run to their emergency posts. It was with a sense of quiet pride to Dan that the teams were in place within two minutes and the CMO reported ready to receive casualties some 20 seconds later.
“Do it Lieutenant!” As Gittings began the co-ordination of beam out sites and numbers he turned to T’Sell.
“T’Sell, how are we doing with the asteroids?”
She looked up briefly from her board. “All major threats neutralized Sir, 15 medium threats also neutralized.”
“Thank you.” With adrenaline coursing through his veins, he knew that the Angel was making a difference. How much of one was now dictated by time and tide.