Chapter Twenty (continued)
With the runabout at warp and no signs of pursuit from enemy vessels, Vaughn and Ro headed for the transporter pad and scanned the item they had just pilfered with tricorders. From reports Vaughn had read, this device was a magnetic resonance chamber similar to one designed by the USS Voyager’s
former Borg crewmember Seven of Nine. It was designed to keep Omega molecules stable for a potentially indefinite period of time. Just a few such molecules had the energy output of a single warp core. Given Omega’s unpredictable nature, Captain Kathryn Janeway still went ahead with the original mission after her ship had made contact with an alien race attempting to harness the power of Omega in late 2374. The tricorder scans had revealed this resonance chamber served the same purpose as any explosive device.
“Incredible,” Ro commented seeing how much energy the contents of the chamber were putting out. “If the Maquis or the Bajorans had something like this…”
“The same was said of nuclear energy on Earth four hundred years ago,” Vaughn countered. Quoting one of Janeway’s logs from that mission of four years earlier, he added, “’The final frontier has boundaries that should never be crossed. This is one of them.’”
Ro nodded, hoping to avoid a lecture about the dangers of terrorists using such powerful weapons. She was a terrorist once, after all. “It’s designed to destabilize Omega on remote command,” she said of the device, “but only at a very close range.”
“If I could just locate the transceiver,” Vaughn said, fiddling through the circuitry, “and disconnect it.” He found what he was looking for and quickly disconnected it. “We’ve eliminated that problem.”
“Have we?” Ro asked, having half-expected the bomb to go off if it was tampered with.
“We’re still here, aren’t we?”
Ro looked away from her superior and rolled her eyes when the ship-to-ship comm system chimed. “
Defiant to Commander Vaughn,”
Kira said. “Come in.”
Vaughn quickly paced over the primary pilot seat to answer to page. “This is Vaughn,” he said. “We have the magnetic resonance chamber, Captain. It’s designed to explode on command, but I’ve disabled the communications transceiver.”
“Keep your eyes open, Commander,”
Kira added, “We may not be out of the woods just yet.”
“No need to remind us, sir,” Ro said. “We’re ready to eject this thing into space once you’re ready to blow it to high…”
“Three vessels approaching,”
the computer interrupted. “Klingon D-12 class
Birds-of-Prey have locked weapons.”
“That was fast,” Vaughn remarked of the Bird
the runabout had engaged just a few minutes earlier approaching from the port stern.
“He’s hailing us,” Ro said.
“Let’s find out if he’s all bark and no bite. On my monitor.”
A Klingon officer with an ominous scowl appeared on the monitor. “You have a weapon on your vessel that is the property of the Klingon Empire. You will return it immediately.”
“The same Klingon Empire that signed a treaty banning the use of such weapons?” Vaughn retorted. “Add to that, you’re commanding a vessel not authorized to be in Federation space. That’s two strikes against you.”
“The disruptors pointed at your puny vessel are all the authorization I need,”
the enemy commander growled. “Return our property or be destroyed.”
“And risk losing that precious weapon of yours?” Vaughn taunted. “Your Empire wouldn’t like that.”
The Klingon commander hissed and cut the transmission.
The two Birds-of-Prey
that had approached the Delphi
from ahead, veered away and headed for the Defiant
, while the one behind targeted the runabout. This time, the antiquated ships were inflicting some significant damage to both Starfleet ships using an arsenal that consisted of Romulan plasma torpedoes. On the Defiant’s
bridge, Bashir leaped up from his seat to attend to injured crewpersons. “Looks like they’re showing all their cards now,” Kira said. “Have all weapons on full, Mister Nog. We’re shooting to kill this time.”
“Aye, sir,” Nog replied, who had taken on both tactical and engineering responsibilities with Bowers now below to finish the torpedoes designed to destroy the Omega device.
“Kira to Bowers,” the captain added. “Status of the graviton torpedoes?”
“Loaded and ready to launch on Commander Vaughn’s signal,”
fired both phasers and quantum torpedoes at the attacking vessels causing equally significant damage to both of them. The Delphi
, meanwhile, was engaged with the third ship, firing phasers and photon torpedoes. “Prepare to transport the resonance chamber forty thousand kilometers off the Defiant’s
port bow,” Vaughn ordered while the runabout took another hit that sent sparks flying through the aft of the cockpit.
“One ship’s number two shield has failed,” Ardolis reported from the science station.
‘Let’s even the playing field,” Kira said. “Take him out, Nog.”
“No problem, sir,” Nog said with a wry grin.
A quick swarm of phasers grazed the vessel’s hull. That was followed by a swarm of quantum torpedoes that tore one of the two attacking ships to pieces.
Vaughn signaled on an audio channel. “We’ve jettisoned the chamber, Mister Bowers. It’s all yours. And whatever happens, Prynn, I love you. Don’t ever doubt that.”
Prynn took in slow deep breaths. How many times had she gotten those goodbyes only to see her father again? He wasn’t dead yet and she had a job to do. She was emotionally prepared, yet hoping these were not his last words. “Good luck, father,” she mouthed inaudibly.
swooped in on the resonance chamber, shaking off Klingon disruptor fire with its phasers. With two specially modified torpedoes, the Defiant then destroyed the resonance chamber, creating an explosion doing no harm to subspace.
fired two plasma torpedoes towards a hole in the Delphi’s shields, knocking out its starboard nacelle.
“Inertial dampeners are off-line,” Ro shouted over the myriad explosions heard throughout the vessel.
“Warning,” the computer added, “Antimatter containment failure imminent. Warp core breach in one minute.”
!!!” Vaughn exclaimed, expecting the runabout to spiral into oblivion. Another hit threw him out of his seat, his head slamming to the deck.
fired its phasers destroying the Bird-of-Prey on its tail before swooping in on the runabout.
Ro scanned the unconscious Vaughn with a medical tricorder while hoping to be beamed to safety. The two of them were encompassed in a Starfleet transporter beam as their vessel erupted in flames. The Defiant then went into warp, while absorbing some of the explosive shockwave.