Limis was in contact with Admiral Arthur Bellamy on Starbase 19. While she had crossed paths with him before when she had accidentally slipped into an alternate universe, this communiqué marked the first time she had come face-to-face with the Bellamy of this universe. He was a human male of between sixty and seventy Earth years. The skin on his cheeks and around his lips were slightly parched as an indication of advanced age, but his hair remained a solid dark blond with graying follicles around his temples.
“Based on forensic investigation of our destroyed ships and what we were able to retrieve from salvaged flight recorders,”
the admiral explained, “we can hypothesize that the Breen used some kind of energy dissipaters. That explains how they were able to take out and destroy our most advanced ships so quickly. Their new heavy cruisers, on the other hand, appear just as vulnerable to our weapons.”
“Not that it does a lot of good if they can still take our ships out in one or two shots,” Limis retorted while taking a few sips of iced raktajino
“That’s why we’re transmitting shield nutation specifications employed in recent confrontations with the Borg,”
Bellamy continued. He tapped various buttons on the keypad on his desk to encode and transmit various sets of delicate files. “I’m transmitting the access codes on that data. Make sure your system keeps up as I’m re-encoding the frequency every five seconds.”
“Right,” Limis replied, entering various communications algorithms on her desk monitor.
“It’s far from a quick fix, Captain, but it’s all we have for now. The files I’m transmitting also contain new mission orders.”
Limis’s eyebrows perked when she one particular set of information appeared on a readout in the bottom right corner of the screen. “Minos,” she said. “That planet has been under quarantine for eleven years. No one but Federation archeological teams go there. And the Lorenze Cluster is on the other side of the sector.”
“You are correct,”
Bellamy affirmed. “But that planet contains leftover weapons systems that destroyed one Federation vessel and nearly destroyed a second. That is why Commander Logan was assigned to your ship at the very last minute. He was aboard the
Enterprise-D when it was sent to investigate the disappearance of the USS
Drake on Stardate 41798.”
“So I am to take the Lambda Paz
and try to master these leftover defense systems?” Limis asked in order to make sure she understood the orders precisely, and to hide her own reservations about this mission that seemed to have little chance of success if she understood the details of Starfleet’s last visit to Minos.
“Exactly. But before you do, you are to set a course for a set of coordinates to take aboard a mission specialist. I can say no more on this channel. The full details are in the briefing packet. Starfleet out.”
The image of the admiral was then quickly replaced by the United Federation of Planets seal. Limis leaned back in her chair sighed while taking a big gulp from her coffee mug. She stared blankly at her desk monitor hoping for a few silent moments before carrying out Starfleet’s latest mission.
Captain’s log, Stardate 52827.9: According to Starfleet’s latest casualty reports, nine million are reported dead as a result of the Breen attack on Earth. In the meantime, the
Lambda Paz has made a rendezvous with Starship
Zhukov to take aboard a mission specialist—a former colleague of Commander Logan’s.
Geordi LaForge, chief engineer of the Enterprise
-E and her immediate predecessor materialized on a transporter pad. Logan was in the transporter room awaiting his arrival. They weren’t exactly the best of friends when they served on the Enterprise
-D when Logan was the chief engineer and LaForge was the senior flight controller. In fact, they had butted heads during that ship’s mission to Minos where LaForge was thrust into command. Logan had objected to that arrangement, citing his greater rank. After the crisis was resolved when LaForge pulled off a daring plan to destroy an orbital weapon threatening the ship, Logan had a newfound respect for him.
“Commander Logan,” LaForge said while maintaining a professional demeanor. “Good to see you again.”
“Welcome aboard, Mister LaForge,” Logan replied with a similar expression. He put out his hand, and Geordi obligingly shook it. “The captain’s in the briefing room,” he added, indicating the transporter room’s main entrance with his left hand.
“I never thought I’d be headed back to Minos under these circumstances,” LaForge remarked while walking out into the corridor ahead of Logan.
“Neither did I,” Logan replied, sauntering out behind LaForge. “I underestimated you during that mission. You made the hard choices I wouldn’t have been able to make. Abandoning your colleagues on a dangerous planet to safeguard the lives of the rest of your shipmates may sometimes be the best choice in theory. But not everyone can bring themselves to do that when the time comes to make that decision. That’s when I realized I was better suited serving on starship construction crews. Looks like recommending you for the chief engineer position was the right move.” With a grin, Logan indicated the pips on LaForge’s collar that were those of a lieutenant commander compared to a lieutenant junior grade eleven years earlier.
“Thank you, sir,” Geordi answered with a wider grin. “And you’ve built here what Commander Riker would call a ‘tough little ship’.”
“To call this ship tough wouldn’t do her justice,” said Logan while he noticed the turbolift doors ahead opening.
“How long would she last in battle with the Son’a in the Briar Patch?” LaForge wondered, recalling a confrontation on the Enterprise
-E earlier the year.
“We took on the Jem’Hadar in the Briar Patch,” Logan retorted, following his former colleague into the lift.
“And Worf is still serving on Deep Space Nine,” Geordi was saying as he stepped off the turbolift and sauntered down the corridor towards the briefing room. “We, that is the Enterprise
, were in the neighborhood when he was with the Manzar relief mission. He’s his usual jovial self.”
Logan was the first to step into the briefing room, seeing Limis sitting at the head of the table nearest the viewports. “Captain Limis Vircona,” he said. “Lieutenant Commander Geordi LaForge of the Starship Enterprise
Limis stood up and circled around the table. LaForge met her halfway and shook her hand. “1701-D and E, ma’am,” he added. “A pleasure to meet you, Captain.”
“Likewise,” said Limis. “It’s always an honor to be in the presence of one of Starfleet’s finest.” She pulled up two chairs along the left side of the table, inviting the two men to sit. LaForge took a seat immediately to the captain’s left, while Logan sat in the chair behind. Limis returned to her seat and picked up a padd she had been studying prior to their arrival.
“I reviewed the reports from your 2364 trip to Minos,” she continued, glancing off the padd. “One thing I don’t understand is how the weapon in orbit was still threatening the ship after
Captain Picard had convinced the holographic salesman to end the ‘demonstration’.”
“Experts all over the Federation have analyzed the sensor telemetry exhaustively,” Geordi explained. “And it wasn’t much with mostly passive scans. As near as we can figure, it was an automatic defense system left behind after the Erselrope Wars that operated independently of the demo drones threatening our people planet-side.”
“And based on the fact that civilian ships haven’t run into the same orbital defense system,” Logan added, “the working hypothesis is that something on the surface or in orbit scans any ships that get within, say ten thousand kilometers of the surface. And then it calibrates the defense system to that ship’s armaments and defenses.”
“That’s one reason the image of Captain Paul Rice wanted to know to about the Enterprise
’s arsenal,” Geordi offered, recalling his own experiences during that mission. “What we’re hoping to do is to trigger whatever makes this thing tick and try and track it back to its source.”
Limis smirked while considering the stakes of this upcoming mission and chances of success. “Another possible suicide mission with little or no chance of success,” she remarked, “but worth the effort considering we’re now up against the Breen. I’m definitely in. It’s quite a chore when the flagship of the Federation couldn’t find the source of the planet’s orbital defenses.”
“That’s because our top priority then was to learn the fate of the Drake
and locate any survivors,” Logan replied. “This time, we’ll probably have a better idea of what to look for.”
“And I’ll be there to think us out of a no-win scenario, should we run into one,” Limis quipped. “Looking forward to it.”