“Do you believe them?” Sheridan asked once they had docked back on board the White Star, the transport over had been made with short discussions about the technology they had witnessed and the upcoming battle, though now they were back on board he was going over everything Captain Dax had said to them in their conference room.
“I see no reason for Captain Dax to lie to us,” Delenn said calmly.
“I know,” Sheridan nodded. “It’s just so fantastic, crossing universes, technology that can make fresh fruit out of thin air. I’ll probably be scheduled for a psych evaluation after submitting the report on this one.”
“No more fantastic than the discovery of hyperspace or the existence of the First Ones,” Delenn commented with a small smile. “Perhaps these people could become allies in the times ahead.”
“I’d like to know a little more about them before we commit ourselves to anything like that,” Sheridan said firmly. “We still don’t know their ship’s offensive or defensive capabilities, and after seeing the sort of technology they use in day to day running, I’m not sure I’d understand it either.”
“Perhaps that is what Lennier meant when he described their energy weapons as being unknown,” Delenn smiled at him as they made their way onto the bridge of the White Star. “It is also feasible that they use their force shield technology for defensive purposes as well as for simple things like docking procedures.”
“I’d thought of that,” Sheridan nodded as he moved to take the Captain’s chair in the centre of the bridge. “Signal the Aventine Lennier, then set a course for the Zagros system.”
Lennier simply nodded, waving his hand over a set of crystals before turning his attention to the two Minbari at the front of the bridge. “Nis'idu ze'fan drok, Zagros” He announced before turning back to Captain Sheridan. “We are under way Captain; sensors indicate the Aventine is following closely behind us.”
“Good,” Captain Sheridan nodded. “Let’s see what this thing can do,” He grinned, looking at Lennier. “How fast can you get us to the Zagros system?”
“At maximum burn the travel time would be,” Lennier trailed off as he waved his hands over a few more crystals. “Seventeen standard minutes.” He finished with a nod, converting the Minbari time scale displayed by the computer into minutes for Captain Sheridan’s reference.
“Do it then,” Sheridan said with a nod. “I want to see what this ship can do.”
“What about the Aventine?” Delenn asked quietly, moving up to stand beside the Captain’s chair.
“We’ll keep a lock on them with sensors,” Sheridan said, nodding to Lennier to make sure he caught that bit. “I want to see what their ship can do as well, before we get into a firefight with them at our backs.”
“I see,” Delenn smiled softly. “Did Commander Ivanova request that you not turn this in to a race?”
“Nothing wrong with a bit of harmless testing Delenn,” Sheridan grinned at her. “Besides, you saw that ship as well as I did, do you think they’ll have trouble keeping pace?”
“I am… unsure,” Delenn said cautiously. “We still know very little about them or their technology, as advanced as it may be.”
“They could be packing a punch but slow as a sloth,” Sheridan nodded. “And I’d rather find that out before I trust them at my back.” He said before turning back to Lennier. “Full burn, punch it.” He said with a grin.
“Yes Captain,” Lennier frowned as he manipulated several crystals. “As you say, I am, ‘punching it.’”
“Captain, the White Star is accelerating to point one of light speed,” Seven announced from where she was sat at sensors, Commander Ivanova was sat at the neighbouring console on the wall, what Seven had called the ‘science station’, looking at the readouts and trying to decipher what all the information actually meant. While Marcus was down at the front of the bridge with Lieutenant Commander Gruhn Helkara, manning what had been called the ‘OPS station’ while Gruhn was on the helm.
“Accelerating to match,” Gruhn said with a nod.
“Keep up with them,” Ezri nodded with a smile. “We might have the coordinates thanks to astrometrics, but I wouldn’t want to get lost out here.”
“I’ll second that,” Commander Ivanova announced from the science station. “Only a handful of ships that get lost in hyperspace are ever recovered, some pilots even speculate there’s some indigenous life form out there that eats wayward ships.”
“Has anything been sighted?” Ezri asked, the idea of space born life forms being nothing new to her, but the idea of something living in a habitat like hyperspace was definitely intriguing.
“Myths, rumours, tales from one captain to another,” Ivanova explained. “That sort of thing.”
“No confirmed life forms living out here then,” Sam said with a frown.
“Never know,” Ezri smiled down at him. “We might be the first to record one.”
“That’d be something,” Sam smiled back at her. “First Federation ship to discover a life form in another universe, I wonder if there’s…”
“The White Star is accelerating to point two two,” Seven announced from her station.
“Accelerate to point two five,” Ezri said mischievously. “Don’t pull too far ahead though, just enough to see what that ship can do.”
“Aye Captain,” Gruhn nodded back. “Point two, point two one, point two two…” He smiled as the view screen showed them slowly catching up to the White Star, “Point two three.”
“I thought this wasn’t going to be a race,” Ivanova muttered from the back, catching a glance from Sam as she sighed.
“Signal the White Star,” Ezri said with a small smile, waiting before the view screen shimmered into view to display Captain Sheridan. “Trying to leave us behind?” Ezri smiled over the screen at him.
“Not at all,” Sheridan smiled back. “Just making sure you can keep the pace.”
“Are you sure you can Captain?” Ezri smiled across the link, a glint in her eye as she looked at the dark crystalline bridge of the White Star around Captain Sheridan.
“First one to the Zagros jump point wins?” Sheridan accepted the challenge, standing up from his chair with a grin.
“Agreed,” Ezri said with a nod, standing up herself.
“Here we go,” Ivanova muttered to herself from the back of the bridge. “Captain, surely…” She trailed off as the viewscreen closed off, the image of the back of the White Star now growing larger and larger as the Aventine caught up with the ship.
“The White star is accelerating to point three of lightspeed, point three five,” Seven announced. “They’re beyond full impulse Captain.”
“We’ll have to talk to them about those engines,” Ezri said with a small smile. “Drop back to one quarter impulse.”
“The White Star is the most advanced ship in the Minbari fleet,” Marcus explained apologetically from where he was sat next to Julian. “She’s the fastest ship I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a few.”
“Prepare to rethink that remark,” Ezri said with a grin. “Take us to warp one, just to the jump beacon.”
“Warp one,” Gruhn said with a grin as he brought the warp engines online fully.
“Warp?” Marcus asked, looking at Julian and then to Captain Dax for an explanation.
“Engage,” Ezri said with a nod towards the view screen, watching as Marcus and Ivanova both turned in time to see the familiar red and black swirls of hyperspace become nothing but a black screen.
“Not quite as exciting as normal space I’ll grant you,” Ezri explained with a smile. “Don’t know why it does that, must be something to do with the subspace layer hyperspace exists in here.”
“Sensors indicate we are at warp one,” Seven announced. “Travel time to target, twenty six seconds.”
“Twenty…” Ivanova trailed off. “That’s impossible; the speed alone must be…” She trailed off as she tried to imagine it.
“Warp one is equal to the speed of light in normal space,” Seven explained to her. “Warp two is equal to ten times the speed of light.”
“And you travel at these sorts of speeds routinely?” Ivanova asked in amazement.
“Yes,” Seven replied simply. “Fourteen seconds, thirteen, twelve…”
“Drop back to full impulse and full stop at the beacon,” Ezri said with a nod. “Have you still got a lock on the White Star?” She asked, turning back to Seven.
“They are cruising at point six of light speed, well beyond maximum impulse,” Seven said with a nod. “At current speed they should be here in sixteen minutes and forty three seconds.”
“Call red alert,” Ezri said, standing up from her chair. “We’re at the jump point now, ready weapons and activate shields.”
“Aye Captain,” Gruhn said with a nod, reaching across to the Ops console and pressing a few controls until the white lights around the ship dimmed to a dark red, while the floor of the dropped section of the bridge lit up a soft red as well, casting the bridge in an altogether more dangerous hue.
“Ablative armour deployed,” Seven announced as metallic ‘thunks’ could be heard echoing through the ship. “Armour deployed at seventy eight percent capacity.”
“It’ll do for now,” Ezri nodded, the carefree race over with now. “Bring all phaser banks to ready,” She ordered, glancing at G’Fokk on Tactical where he was already ready.
“Aye Captain,” G’Fokk nodded back as all phaser arrays and canons were brought to charged status.
“I was continuous sweeps, both hyperspace and continual once we traverse to normal space,” Ezri said, turning in her chair to look at Seven. “Transfer all data to the astrometrics array; we might as well start mapping this area while we’re here.”
“Agreed,” Seven nodded as she pressed a few controls. “Crew report battle station readiness Captain.”
“Now we wait,” Ezri said, watching on the view screen where it was displaying the area of hyperspace where the sensors detected the hyperspace beacon. It wasn’t visible to the eye of course, so the view screen just showed the hypnotic red and black swirls on screen that matched the now alert status lighting of the Aventine bridge.