Chapter Twenty-One (cont.)
“Mister Shrak,” Matt asked as he took his seat on the bridge. “Is the ship prepared for action?”
“She is indeed, Captain Dahlgren. Arrogant
are standing by as well.”
“Very good. Inform Captains Carmichael and Myers that we will execute the operation in one minute from . . . mark
Matt pressed a stud on the arm of his chair and a count-down timer appeared over the main viewing screen. He took a moment to rotate his chair and look over each of the men and women who manned his bridge, Republic
’s bridge. They were a far cry from the demoralized and unhappy officers and crew who had first boarded the ship not too many months before. He nodded with approval as each went through their duties with quiet confidence; calm and collected with the own sense of worth.
He completed his rotation and faced the main viewer once more, as the timer slowly ticked down towards zero.
“Miss Montoya . . . EXECUTE
!” he snapped.
raced forward, crossing the light-speed barrier and she soared through space before she dropped to sub-light speeds once more, her phasers immediately spitting golden beams of energy at Ark Prime.
Explosions racked the surface of the Nephkyrie vessel as the transporter emitters on the outer hull erupted in balls of fire; Arrogant
adding their own fury. Ark Prime’s weapons came on-line, and pulses of red-shifted lasers and bright blue-white phase cannon bolts tore through space to strike home against the shields of all three ships.
“Primary and secondary emitter arrays are disabled, Captain Dahlgren,” Shrak called out.
Matt opened a comm channel. “Mister Malik, drop the inhibitor field. Mister Beck, you may begin boarding operations. Shield status, Mister Shrak?”
“Eighty-three percent; numerous hits.”
“Mister Roshenko, eliminate those weapon batteries.”
Isabella corkscrewed the ship through a series of evasive maneuvers, and more phaser beams ripped out from Republic
’s strips, each one connecting against a laser or phase cannon emplacement.
Erwin materialized in the depths of the Nephkyrie Ark amid a raging firefight of phaser beams, transporter weapons, and disruptor blasts. He dove for cover and armed a stun grenade, then hurled it in the direction of the heavily armored Nephkyrie shock troopers. Erwin winced as one of his Marines took a direct hit from the transporter beam weapons, his scream of agony cut on as his upper chest and throat dissolved, before the corpse collapsed to the deck, its feet twitching, and hot blood gushed out to cover the deck plates.
Well-trained troops, confident in their armor’s ability to dissipate the energy, would have ignored the grenade and continued firing: Typhias’s minions were not
well-trained. They dove for the deck as the grenade detonated, sending a pulse of stun energy harmless cascading across their armor.
But Beck’s Marines and Voltanis’s security personnel were already moving in, firing pulse after pulse of disruptor and phaser energy into the prone targets. Private Karalis was already at the central command facilities control panel and he entered the long code that Belagon had given him.
“Auxiliary control secured
,” a Marine reported over Erwin’s comm. “The kids are counter-attacking, LT!
“Understood. Hold your position,” Erwin answered. “Stun settings only.”
The Efrosian Private completed entering the final sequence and he pressed the acceptance button, but the machine just beeped twice, and Nephkyrie numerals continued to scroll across the screen. One the Nephkyrie security personnel cursed. “Typhias has altered the command codes!”
“Beck to Republic
,” Erwin snapped as he hit his comm badge, fresh beams of energy coming into the control room as the Nephkyrie children began attacking here as well. “We’ve got a problem.”
“Time to detonation, Mister Shrak?” Matt asked with a chill running down his spine.
“Two minutes, fourteen seconds, mark,” the Andorian answered.
Matt nodded. “Open all-ship’s all-hand’s frequency. Initiate emergency action plan—all transporters beam those scuttling charges out
of the ship. Don’t waste time getting locks, just beam them out and disperse them!”
“Captain!” Pavel Roshenko called out. “One of the Nephkyrie shuttlecraft—five hundred and fifty meters overall length—has exited Ark Prime; it just entered Warp on a heading to New Columbia.”
,” Matt growled. “We’ll deal with him later, concentrate on getting those . . .”
!” yelled Chan from Mission Ops, then he shook his head and turned to look down at Matt, who startled at the sudden explosion of Andorian curses had rotated his chair. “Arrogant
just went into pursuit, Captain Dahlgren. She beamed her security people back aboard and has now entered Warp.”
“Hail them!” Matt snapped, and he turned back around to the main viewer as Captain Myers appeared on screen. “Return to station immediately, Captain!’
“And let this criminal go? No, Captain Dahlgren. You and Republic
have gotten enough of our people killed today; I
will capture the man who began this.”
The screen cut off, and Matt started to swear; he stopped, clenched a fist, and slammed it against the arm of his command chair. “Status on those charges?”
“One hundred and seventeen removed, Captain,” answered Amanda from the science station as her hands flew across the console, tagging individual charges for the transporter rooms to beam into deep space, “two hundred and forty-four remaining.”
“Time to detonation?”
“One minute, twenty-two seconds, mark,” answered Chan.
Matt pressed the stud that opened that opened the ship’s intercom. “Any personnel not essential to operations get to a shuttle or the ship’s gig and power up those transporters; tie them into the bridge Science stations for control.” Matt cut the intercom and rotated back to Shrak. “Mister Shrak, order Balao
. . .”
“Both of Balao
’s shuttles have begun transport, along with all twelve of Republic
’s shuttles and the gig, Captain Dahlgren.”
Matt nodded, and he made himself sit back. “Status?” he asked after a few moments.
“Forty-one seconds mark; one hundred and one charges remaining.”
Matt closed his eyes; he could hear Amanda Tsien, Grace Biddle, Pavel Roshenko, and Chan Shrak issuing orders as they assigned transporters on the spot to each charge after the next. He pulled up the schematics of Ark Prime on his arm-mounted display, and he saw the blinking strobes of the explosive charges vanishing rapidly; Republic
moving to the stern, and Balao
“Eight seconds, fifteen charges remaining, mark.”
” shouted Amanda, as the display over the viewer ticked down to one. “It’s in the matter stream!
And the display hit zero.
shuddered as the high-yield fusion device detonated within the matter stream, and then the dim red lighting flickered, and control panels exploded with the backlash of energy as the plasma conduits that fed power to them overloaded.
Matt started to bark a command, and then there was a flash of light—he screamed in agony as his leg was twisted by the explosion that flipped his chair. And then all went dark.