“The Centauri are a race with ties to several of the older races,” Marcus explained as he stood at the briefing table, having been introduced to Commander Bowers and Lieutenant Delahaye, being quite surprised at the bright green skin of Lieutenant Delahaye had until Captain Dax had explained she was half Orion and half human. “Earth, the Minbari, the Narn, the Pakmara and several of the non-aligned worlds.” He continued before nodding at Lieutenant G’Fokk who looked like he wanted to speak.
“What capabilities do these blockade satellites offer?” G’Fokk snarled out, eager to begin the battle.
“Their ships primarily use ion cannons, though rumours of mass driver technology being incorporated into their larger ships has reached us,” Marcus explained solemnly.
“And their satellites?” Ezri asked curiously.
“Plasma based cannons,” Marcus nodded to her. “Low power blasts on a repeating sequence, six, maybe eight canons per satellite. Enough to take down most transports and cruisers.”
“I will be able to tell you more when I have performed scans of these satellites Captain,” Seven said from across the table. “I recommend approaching cautiously until I have determined the threat these plasma cannons represent.”
“I concur,” G’Fokk nodded solemnly. “If we are to help these people, this cowardly blockade must be destroyed.”
“We’ll wait for Captain Sheridan,” Ezri said calmly. “This is his space after all; we can coordinate plans with him.” She said with a nod. “Now, Marcus, perhaps you can tell us more about Babylon Five?” She asked curiously, pouring herself a glass of water from the pitcher on the table that was alongside a bowl of fruit she’d replicated for the meeting, something that had astounded Marcus though he hadn’t asked any questions about the technology.
“Happy to,” Marcus smiled at her. “Did you manage to link with my ship with the codes I gave you?” He asked, looking at Seven and smiling.
“I did.” Seven nodded at him. “The information was quite useful in mapping this area of hyperspace, I have integrated the maps into the ships database as well should we need to view them later.”
“Let’s see them,” Ezri said eagerly as she tossed around an orange, contemplating pealing it and eating it while Seven walked over to the screen at the side of the side of the room and activated it, pulling up the information she’d requested.
“According to the information stored in the ships navigational charts, this is where Babylon Five is stationed.” Seven explained, pointing to a small star system on the map. “It is apparently in neutral space outside of any regulated or disputed territory, though it should be noted that the Earth Alliance claims responsibility for keeping the peace around Babylon Five space.”
“So neutral, but on a mutual agreement,” Sam nodded as he listened to what was being said.
“Precisely,” Seven nodded at him. “The Babylon Five station is eight point zero six four five kilometres long, rotating to provide gravity to the inhabitants.”
Both Ezri and Sam let out a whistle at this, even G’Fokk and Lieutenant Delahaye looked impressed at this bit of information. “That’s a pretty big station,” Commander Bowers said in recognition of the feat of engineering accomplished, even Deep Space Nine was only one and a half kilometres across.
“Indeed,” Seven nodded. “A Borg cube measures three point zero four kilometres on each side precisely.” She explained, giving them all a frame of reference they could easily picture now.
“Big,” Sam summed it up with one word.
“And this station serves as a diplomatic station for all species?” Ezri asked curiously, pondering if Babylon Five should be their next port of call once they had dealt with the problem Marcus had brought to their attention and met with Captain Sheridan.
“Quite,” Marcus nodded. “All the primary races have diplomatic ties there, with representatives from all the major governments serving as ambassadors. It’s well known as the biggest diplomatic and trading port around, without heading into any of the major race’s territory anyway.”
“Neutral ground with ties to all major races,” Ezri commented softly, thinking about this to herself, Babylon Five was looking better and better for a place to visit, perhaps gather information as they stayed as well.
“What about the Borg Sphere?” G’Fokk asked, raising the discussion that no one wanted to talk about yet. “We cannot be certain of its destruction. We should not have abandoned battle.”
“We were in no shape to fight,” Ezri argued back.
“Excuse me,” Marcus asked, jumping into the conversation again. “What exactly is a Borg Sphere?”
“This is extremely impressive Delenn,” Sheridan commented as he sat in the chair central on the bridge of the White Star.
They’d been in hyperspace for nearly an hour now, following the coordinates given to them by Captain Dax. Even now he was still getting used to the ship they were in, it was completely different to anything he’d seen before, a combination of Minbari and Vorlon technology blended to create something entirely new.
“I agree,” Ivanova said from the side. “I’ve never seen anything…”
“We’re approaching the coordinates given,” Delenn announced apologetically as she interrupted Ivanova.
“Is Captain Dax waiting?” Sheridan asked curiously, wanting to know a little more about this mysterious captain.
“One ship is waiting at the coordinated we received,” Delenn said with a smile.
“Unknown configuration,” Lennier said from where he was sat to one side of the bridge, manning the sensor station.
“Can you show me?” Sheridan voiced the question he and Ivanova were thinking.
“Look,” Delenn smiled at him as Lennier manipulated the controls so transfer the sensor readings over to the holographic display, watching as the view screen shimmered down from the bridge celling into view at the front of the bridge.
“Amazing,” Sheridan breathed out as he watched the holographic display come into view, his breath hitching a second time as the display shimmered again to show a ship completely different from anything else he had seen before.
“Curious,” Delenn spoke first, moving forward to get a better look at the unknown ship. “A strangely attractive design, almost Minbari.”
“It does look similar to the White Star,” Lennier agreed from his station. “I’m reading a considerable higher energy profile though, unknown armament and propulsion.”
“What can you tell me?” Sheridan asked, turning around to face Lennier.
“Not much,” Lennier said with a frown. “Energy profile is extremely high for a ship of that size; I’m reading some form of energy based weapons array, unknown strength or type.”
“So basically you’re telling me we don’t know anything,” Sheridan groused as he turned back to the viewer, he had to admit though that it was certainly a different look to anything else he’d seen. The ship before them was slightly larger than the White Star, with long protrusions down the back of the ship that seemed to run half the length of the entire vessel, the entire ship was sleek, with blue strips of light lit up against the dark red space moving around it. “Hail them.” He said after a moment’s thought, nodding to Lennier to be ready in case the unknown ship turned on them.
“Hailing,” Delenn said with a smile as she moved to one of the consoles and waved her hand over the crystals there. “No response.”
“Try again,” Sheridan frowned, wanting to try at least one more time before bringing weapons online. Meeting an unknown ship in hyperspace was a risk as it was, when the unknown ship refused to answer communications, that definitely signalled something was wrong.
“Still nothing,” Delenn frowned. “It is as if they do not know we are here at all.”
“They used tachyon transmissions before,” Sheridan said, remembering the communication they’d received on Babylon Five. “That could be their standard way of communicating, they might not have the necessary equipment to receive the transmissions we’re sending.” He frowned, turning to Lennier. “Mr Lennier, can we send a tachyon transmission, directed at the ship?”
“I believe so,” Lennier nodded after a moment. “It will take a moment for me to…” He trailed off as he realigned some of the crystals on the control panel in front of him. “There, I believe that should do it Captain.”
“Open communications again, hail them using the tachyon frequency,” Sheridan said as he turned back to the front of the bridge.
The view screen shimmered for a few more seconds before it was replaced with the picture of the woman they had seen before when she had contacted Babylon Five a few hours ago.
“Captain Sheridan,” Captain Dax smiled over. “We were told it would be you.”
“Were you,” Sheridan said wryly, noticing the unusually bright bridge area they were in, the Captain’s chair seemed to be raised several steps above the other consoles in the room, much like the consoles in Command and Control back on Babylon Five were sunk below standard level. He nodded as he noticed Marcus standing beside the Captain’s chair, smiling softly as he realised Marcus must have told them about the White Star and what to expect.
“We’ve only come across biological technology a few times before Captain; it’s rare to see it used in ship construction like yours.” Dax said with a smile.
“Well I certainly haven’t seen anything like your ship before either,” Sheridan answered back with a smile, happy at the thought they were both off balance on this little encounter. “Perhaps we should meet in person to discuss strategy, that is if you’re still willing to help.”
“Of course,” Dax nodded at him in acceptance. “I can offer refreshments here while we discuss the nature of this blockade. I’m sure you have plenty of questions to match my own Captain.” Ezri said with a smile.
“Oh you can be sure of that,” Sheridan smiled back. “I’m assuming you have docking capabilities for shuttles?”
“Of course Captain,” Dax nodded back, happy she didn’t have to explain they were actually having a hard time getting a sensor sweep past the technology of the ship in front of them. “We’ll be happy to have you aboard.”
“Agreed,” Sheridan smiled over the link. “I look forward to it.” He said before motioning to Delenn to cut the link. “Thoughts?” He asked, looking at Commander Ivanova first before turning to Delenn.
“They seem trustworthy,” Delenn spoke up first. “Marcus would have let me know if there was anything to worry about on board their ship, he seemed happy to be there in fact.”
“Perhaps they were forcing him to be there,” Ivanova commented pessimistically. “A trap to lure you both on board.”
“I don’t think so,” Sheridan frowned thoughtfully. “Delenn’s right, Marcus could have signalled if anything was wrong, so far Captain Dax has been nothing but open with us.” He said carefully, thinking about how many rules he was breaking with involving a first contact scenario in a battle. “They’re offering to help, and I can’t think of any better way to gauge their tactical abilities than seeing them in battle.”
“I agree there,” Ivanova nodded simply. “I’m just not happy about being onboard an unknown ship when we don’t know anything about the race it represents.”
“Who said you were coming with us?” Sheridan asked sharply.
“Well you need someone to watch your back over there,” Ivanova countered logically. “Lennier has to stay here to man the White Star, besides; I can’t let you have all the fun, can I?”
“I suppose not,” Sheridan nodded weakly, seeing that this was a battle he was bound to lose anyway.
“Seven,” Ezri said aloud, calling the attention of the ex-Borg over to her. “If you’ll excuse us a moment.” She smiled over to Marcus, leaving him on the bridge with Julian and G’Fokk while heading into her ready room with Seven.
They both waited until they were in the ready room and the doors had closed behind them before Ezri finally turned to Seven. “Thoughts?” She asked, turning to the replicator and ordering a fresh orange juice.
“An advanced vessel,” Seven said easily. “Incorporating both crystalline and biological technology into the hull. Our scans could not penetrate the hull of the vessel, though the ships energy signature appears to be fusion based.”
“Is it possible biological technology is the norm in this universe?” Ezri asked curiously, seeing as this ship was the only the third ship they’d encountered so far, and the second to use biological technology of some sort.
“Is it possible,” Seven nodded in agreement. “The humans of this universe are obviously further advanced than the current Federation, there are only a few species within our own universe that utilise crystalline technology in their starships.”
“So what are we looking at here?” Ezri asked thoughtfully. “Could the humans here know of a way for us to get back to our universe?”
“Unknown,” Seven replied simply. “Without discussing the matter with them, I see no reason to speculate on what their knowledge might entail.”
“I’ll ask when this is all over,” Ezri nodded to herself as he finished off the orange juice. “How far are we on repairs?”
“Torpedo tubes are still inoperational,” Seven reported with a slight frown. “I am having trouble with some damaged EPS relays through the primary systems, ablative armour is at sixty eight percent, leaving sections along the port and aft exposed.”
“Better than nothing,” Ezri nodded. “I’ll keep that in mind if things get bad.”
“The transphasic arrays are fully charged and standing by however,” Seven explained. “Forward and aft Mark Twelve cannons are standing by as well.”
“That should be enough,” Ezri nodded, the new Mark Twelve phaser cannons were one of the new additions to the Vesta class ships, using a concentrated 'prefire chamber', in which the phaser actively powers up, but does not release the beam, but rather releases the black in a single concentrated burst. Effectively, this is controlled overload, in which the beam power is trapped, until the desired power output is attained, and the 'pulse' is then released, contained in a plasma based field to contain the energy along its track to the target. In combination with the transphasic arrays these made for a formidable attack, having both been designed to combat the Borg menace.
Ezri was brought out of her musings as the door slid open, revealing Commander Bowers in the doorway. “Captain Sheridan has just left his ship,” Julian explained. “The transport should be here soon.”
“I’ll head down to meet him then,” Ezri nodded in thanks, putting her empty glass on the table ready for recycling back into the replicator next chance she got. “How are things out there?” She asked, knowing Sam had been dealing with the crew reports and problems for the last few hours while she dealt with their visitor.
“Mostly confused,” Sam said with a frown. “Word seems to have spread about us being in another universe, most would have guessed anyway just by looking out of the windows,” He explained, gesturing to the windows that lined the side of her ready room offering an un-obscured panoramic view of the shifting red and black swirls outside. “A lot of them are still dealing with the losses we suffered at the hands of the Borg, now this…” He paused thoughtfully as he turned away from the view the large windows offered. “They’re holding it together, but I don’t know how long it will last before things start getting strained.”
“Hopefully we should get a break soon,” Ezri said with a small smile.
“From your lips to God’s ears,” Sam commented with a smile.
“Keep an eye on the bridge while I’m with Captain Sheridan,” Ezri said as she led the way out of her ready room back onto the bridge of the Aventine. “And contact Ensign Daniels; see about organising some shift rotations with longer periods of downtime. We’ve all been pushing the limit for the past week or so, once this blockade is dealt with I intend to make time for everyone to rest while we try and figure out a way home.”
“I’ll do what I can,” Sam smiled at her.
“Marcus,” Ezri smiled over. “Would you like to accompany me?”
“Delighted to,” Marcus smiled back. “May I make one suggestion though Captain?”
“Sure,” Ezri nodded at him, wondering what he was thinking.
“The fruit you had earlier, on the table in the conference room,” Marcus explained his thoughts. “Would you mind if we took it with us?”
“I don’t see any reason why not,” Ezri said with a frown, wondering why the basket of fruit would do them any good in a first contact meeting. She could always just replicate another basket when they met in the conference room to discuss battle strategy later on.
“Good,” Marcus smiled at her.
“We can pick it up on our way down,” Ezri nodded. “Shall we?” She gestured to the turbolift on the side of the bridge before walking alongside him towards the doors with G’Fokk joining them before the turbolift doors closed.