Chapter Nineteen (cont.)
“They managed to breach the inhibitor field by a combination of factors, Captain,” the Trill engineer reported as he shook his head. “First, they massively increased their transporter power—far beyond the amount we had previously witnessed. The good news is that their entire vessels power reserves dropped precipitously when they did this, and based on their observed rate of power regeneration, it isn’t something they can do quickly.”
“Second, they showed a capacity for using an extremely high frequency of sub-space; a frequency that our inhibitor did not fully cover. Sensor logs from their transport indicate their transporter was refocused into the tau-bands.”
Chan shook his head in disbelief. “Didn’t the Federation abandon research into tau-band transporter frequencies because of cellular degradation?”
“Yes, and the surviving Nephkyrie boarders are showing some signs of cellular disruption; their armor incorporates a miniaturized pattern buffer that alleviated the worst of effect, reinforcing their pattern and minimizing the damage. Still, multiple transports in the tau-band will be as fatal for them as it would be for us.”
“And finally,” Nat continued, “they made no attempt to gain a transporter lock. The boarding party they beamed across was a blind transportation into open compartments their sensors had already identified. Of the one hundred and six Nephkyrie beamed aboard ship, seven materialized either partially or fully within a deck, overhead, bulkhead, or piece of equipment.”
Several of Matt’s senior officers winced at the thought, but the captain only nodded his understanding. “Mister Malik, how soon can they regenerate their power reserves from this previous attempt?”
“They will have to spend at least an hour restoring their energy, Captain; that estimate is based only on the power production capability we have so far witnessed. If they have an additional means to produce the power, they might restore it faster.”
“We have all of the surviving Nephkyrie contained in Cargo Four, Sir. Our automated anti-intruder defenses, combined with the rapid reaction teams managed to neutralize their boarding party in short order. From our examination of their small arms, they lack the technology for hand phasers; however, their weapons are an early from of sonic disruptor that includes a stun setting. For the most part, they used the weapons on stun, perhaps in an attempt to gain more human subjects, but there were a few casualties among the crew. Their armor is lightweight and capable of absorbing and dissipating kinetic, laser, disruptor, and—to a limited extent—phaser energy. Tactically, their troops were well-trained in a basic manner, but appeared to lack actual combat experience. That may be due to their cramped conditions aboard that ship—but we shouldn’t underestimate them.”
“Individually, they are stronger, faster, and tougher than the majority of our personnel. It was their lack of experience in combat situations that allowed us to quickly overcome them. I don’t think they were prepared for our level of resistance, and they had no contingency plans and failed to coordinate their activities across the ship. If I am reading their insignia correctly, their senior officer materialized within a bulkhead on Deck Four, depriving them of leadership at a crucial moment.”
“The crew suffered numerous casualties in the engagement; thankfully, most of those are bruises and minor cuts, as well as hangovers from the stun weapons. We had a number of more severe injuries, but none—including Miss Biddle—are life-threatening. Dr. Tsien and I have been studying the Nephkyrie physiology based on our prisioners and we, along with Dr. Woolsey and the Biological Sciences division believe that we might be able to manufacture a treatment for their genetic disorder in a few days. We will have to test the serum to see if it is effective, however.”
Pavel Roshenko shook his head. “Why don’t they just clone the human DNA in vats; why do they need living, breathing humans?”
Quincy frowned. “In the short term, that might work. But it is their own cloning and genetic engineering techniques that have led to this problem. And since the majority of their population is in stasis—and according to the sensor scans conducted by Amanda, so are our colonists—they might not have the capacity in their medical labs to clone so much different tissue. I am guessing here, but I’d say, based on what I have seen of their ship’s internal layout, that much of their equipment is stored, to be unpacked when they reach New Columbia.”
“And their current numbers of crew are not nearly as overwhelming as we first estimated, Captain Dahlgren,” Amanda Tsien added. “Thirty-four thousand of the Nephkyrie are in stasis, along with all of our colonists, leaving around a thousand of them active aboard that ship. Well, less than nine hundred now,” she finished with a sad smile.
“Miss Tsien, did our scans detect any anomalies in the colonists? Could they have started processing them within the stasis pods?” Matt asked as he tapped his stylus on the table.
“I managed to get a good look at the colonists, Sir. No. Their life signs matched what the records show; they are in a form of cyro-stasis with their bio-signs within the expected range.”
Matt nodded. “Doctors,” he said to Quincy and Amanda. “I want you full efforts on finding a treatment for the Nephkyrie—you are authorized to test your serum upon the prisoners. Consider that an order, Doctor Talbot!” Matt barked, cutting off Quincy as he began to snarl. “We have to know if it works. Mister Malik, make your repairs quickly, and remove those fused Nephkyrie from my ship.”
The intercom whistled. “Bridge to Captain Dahlgren. Bridge to Captain Dahlgren.
Matt tapped his comm badge. “Dahlgren.”
“Sir. Balao has just dropped out of warp and is moving to rendezvous with us at impulse power.
“Acknowledge, Miss Montoya. I will be on the bridge momentarily. Hail Captain Carmichael and ask him if he would beam aboard so that I might brief him personally,” Matt turned back to the staff seated at the briefing table. “Ladies. Gentlemen. We got lucky here; these prisioners might give us the means of resolving this situation without any further violence—but only if you can come up with a treatment that works. I have confidence that you are capable of doing so; but I need not remind that time is not our ally in this circumstance. You are dismissed.”