“Sir, we are being by hailed by Independence
. Captain Salok is asking to speak with the Captain.”
“On screen, Miss Biddle,” Chan Shrak answered calmly.
The main viewer flickered, it filled with static, and then it cleared to reveal the regal Vulcan seated in his command chair.
“Commander Shrak? I asked to speak with Captain Dahlgren.”
“Sir, Captain Dahlgren is in surgery at the moment,” the Andorian answered.
Salok arched an eyebrow in response. “Surgery? Why wasn’t I notified?”
“Captain Salok, we knew that your ship was making her best time already; you could not have arrived any sooner if we had hailed you. Fourteen hours ago, we secured the Nephkyrie vessel in a joint assault from Republic
, and a contingent of Nephkyrie troops from Ark Two. Typhias had altered the command codes of Ark Prime, however, and we were forced into beaming away from Ark Prime the individual scuttling charges—a task made more difficult by Arrogant
breaking away to pursue Typhias as he fled.”
“I am aware of those facts, Commander Shrak; Commander Carmichael kept me informed of the situation while Independence
was en route. Why was I not so informed of Captain Dahlgren’s medical emergency?”
“You have my apologies, Captain Salok; I had assumed that Commander Carmichael would have, as senior officer on station, informed you. Captain Dahlgren was injured when we beamed away the final charge—a charge already initiating detonation. The transporter absorbed the energy of that fusion explosion directly into the matter stream, and proved far too intense for the buffer to contain. The feedback overloaded every plasma power conduit on the ship, sparking internal explosions and two separate hull breaches. Captain Dahlgren suffered a concussion and additional damage to his already wounded leg.”
Salok nodded. “Very well. When will Captain Dahlgren’s surgery be complete?”
“We do not yet know, Captain Salok. He has been in surgery for over twelve hours so far.”
“And you have assumed command of Republic
, Commander Shrak?”
“I have, Sir.”
“Warp engines remain off-line, along with impulse engines. We were on emergency reserve power until two hours ago when Commander Malik managed to get a single generator up and running. Our casualties include seventeen dead and forty-four wounded—including the Captain. Structural integrity field is off-line, shields are down, weapons are inoperative, our sensors are inoperative, the main Deflector Dish is damaged beyond the repair of onboard spare parts. Long-range communications are down as well, but all decks now have gravity and life support restored.”
“I see. I notice that Arrogant
is not appearing on my long-range scans, Commander Shrak. Has she not returned?”
“No, Sir. And neither we nor Balao
have received any answer to our hails.”
“Odd,” the Vulcan mused as he folded his hands together. “Independence
will arrive on station in forty-two minutes, Commander Shrak. Does Republic
Chan grimaced, and his antennae shrunk, but then he slowly nodded his head. “We would be grateful, Sir.”
“And the situation on Ark Prime?”
“Speaker Belagon has arranged a cease-fire with the Nephkyrie children that are not in stasis. His . . . presence
has been a stabilizing factor that put an end to the hostilities very quickly. However, Ark Prime suffered heavy damage in our assault; inadvertent damage resulting from beaming away the charges and the surrounding sections of the vessel without a proper transporter lock. They are losing power and will have to evacuate the ship within the next three days. Detachments from Republic
are assisting the Speaker and Shipmaster Voltanis in powering up the eleven shuttles,” and Chan chuckled, shaking his head at that word.”
“Is something humorous, Commander?” the Vulcan asked.
“Captain Salok, Ark Prime—each of their Arks—carries a dozen shuttlecraft the size of a Nebula
. They are capable of reaching speeds of up to Warp 6 for limited periods of time; but even with all eleven and our own shuttles, it will require two round trips for them to evacuate all of the Nephkyrie children and our own colonists in stasis. The cargo carried will require an additional ten round trips.”
“So they are
warp-capable then; the Prime Directive was not
violated, as Captain Myer’s reports suggested.”
“I haven’t seen those reports, Captain Salok, so I cannot comment upon them,” Chan answered in a clipped manner.
“Why then weren’t their Arks equipped with warp drives of their own? Why generational sleeper ships?”
Chan nodded. “That is a question that we asked Voltanis and Belagon ourselves; the answer being dilithium
, Captain Salok. Or rather a lack
thereof. Their home system and none of the systems they had explored contained dilithium reserves of any note; so their warp drives are more primitive, energy intensive, and slower systems that rapidly deplete their onboard supplies of fuel. If their ships had been Warp capable with their current technology, they would have run out of fuel and power less than a third of the way into the voyage.”
“That explains the matter,” the Vulcan calmly answered. “I will presume that you and Commander Carmichael are planning on moving the Nephkyrie and our own colonists from this vessel to New Columbia?”
“We are. It is the closest class-M planet, well within the limited range of their Warp drives. Close enough, in fact, that the . . . shuttles
,” and Chan’s antennae twitched, “will be able to make at least six round trips to retrieve needed pre-fabricated buildings and essential supplies from Ark Prime’s cargo holds. Shipmaster Voltanis has already sent a message to Ark Two and Ark Three, each of which are preparing to launch their own shuttles to join the children of Ark Prime on New Columbia; those shuttles will have Nephkyrie adults aboard to handle the assimilation of the Ark Prime children back into Nephkyrie society.”
The Vulcan nodded once. “Starfleet Command will be dispatching a transport capable of evacuating the New Columbia colonists; although there are several members of the Federation Council who wish to have a word with Captain Dahlgren over his . . . usurpation of their authority in this matter.”
“Actually, Captain Salok, it might be not necessary to evacuate New Columbia. Speaker Belagon and Shipmaster Voltanis have indicated that they intend to settle a different continental land-mass. They have agreed to allow the colonists to remain in place; and Speaker Belagon wishes to send an Emissary to meet with the Federation Council. He hopes that through the collaboration of our scientists and medical professionals that together we can find a successful treatment for the genetic damage his people are suffering from.”
The Vulcan raised one eyebrow. “Indeed. Given your own—quite heavy—damage to Republic
, I believe that I will request that USS Portsmouth
be diverted to New Columbia. Unless, of course, that you object to having a yard-ship on hand to assist in your repairs, Commander?”
“No objections, Captain Salok. Not a single one,” answered Chan with a smile.
“Very good, Commander Shrak; we shall arrive on station in . . . thirty-eight minutes, Commander. I will beam aboard Republic
upon my arrival to survey the damage and speak with both you and Commander Carmichael in person. And then we can begin the talks with Speaker Belagon and the Nephkyrie people. Continue your preparations on readying those shuttlecraft for space, Commander. Independence
The screen flickered and then died. Chan put both his hands behind his back and he turned to face Amanda Tsien, seated behind him at her science station—one of the few that hadn’t exploded.
“Any word on the Captain, Miss Tsien?” he asked softly. And she shook her head. Chan nodded. “I will be in my office should there be an emergency, Miss Tsien. You have the conn,” he finished as his antennae twitched once more. What’s left of it, he thought.