Prologue The Narendra System: Near the Klingon-Romulan border
An explosion sent blinding shockwaves through space. It had the appearance of a celestial body ripping apart as when Praxis was destroyed as a result of over-mining. The ripple effect caught the attention of a passing vessel.
Leskit, the grizzly gray-haired helmsman of the IKS Gorkon
, was at his station on the bridge when an alarm sounded on the navigation monitor. “Commander,” he called to the young first officer Toq. “I’m picking up subspace shockwaves from the Narendra system.”
Toq, who was rather short by Klingon standards, marched to the station on the starboard side of the bridge. He knew what those readings meant from his Defense Force training. The destruction of Praxis nearly a century ago sent shockwaves all the way to Federation border. “Subspace shockwaves,” he observed aloud.
“Yes, sir,” Leskit replied. “I’m attempting to localize the source on long range sensors.”
“Set a course once you get a fix,” Toq commanded. “Captain Klag to the bridge.”
The captain of the Gorkon
stepped onto the bridge from the large double door aft within a minute of the summons. He joined Toq and Leskit at the helm. “Report,” Klag called out in his gruff voice.
“Unusual subspace shockwaves have been detected somewhere in the Narendra system,” Toq replied.
“We’re on course now,” Leskit added. “Estimated arrival time, fifteen minutes.”
“That heading takes us dangerously close to the Romulan border,” Klag thought aloud. “Weapons officer, ready all tactical systems.”
“Yes, sir,” weapons officer Rodek answered. His raspy voice sounded eerily familiar to Klag. Perhaps Rodek was a member of the House of Martok. Klag just wasn’t entirely sure.
streaked through space at high warp towards the Narendra system. Almost without warning, the large attack cruiser fell out of warp. The bridge rocked violently as the transition from warp to impulse was almost instantaneous. All the officers and crew fell out of their seats and were thrown across the bridge. Klag gathered himself and walked back to his chair once the shaking stopped. “What in the name of Grethor
just happened?” he demanded.
Leskit paced quickly back to his station. “We have dropped out of warp, sir,” he replied.
“Bridge to engineering,” Klag shouted over the comm. “Why have we fallen out of warp?”
“Something just collapsed the warp field,”
Kurak, a middle-aged female chief engineer replied. “I can’t explain it.”
Klag had an idea why his ship suddenly fell out of warp. That reason he could not reveal to his crew, however. “Leskit,” he said. “Open a secure channel to Chancellor Martok. In my private chambers.”
USS Excalibur, Sector 221-G: Near the Romulan Neutral Zone
For nearly five years, the Galaxy
-class USS Excalibur
and her Ambassador
-class predecessor had been assigned to the former location of the reclusive Thallonian Empire. Ever since that empire fell, the entire sector had been in disarray.
had just been outfitted with new astrometric sensor technology that the USS Voyager
brought home after that ship’s seven-year exile in the Delta Quadrant. The Voyager
, itself, had been stripped of all alien technology it had acquired. The Excalibur
was the beneficiary of that technology, on the other hand, while exploring a relatively uncharted area of space. Lieutenants Robin Lefler and Soleta were assigned to test the new sensor technology in the stellar cartography lab. The two officers were perched atop the end of a balcony overlooking a holographic star field that filled two decks.
“Conventional long-range sensors don’t give us this much detail,” Lefler observed of the various astronomical phenomena taking place in adjacent sectors. “We can even sneak a peek at the Neutral Zone.”
“This is a test run, Lieutenant,” Soleta replied with her Vulcan stoicism. “We are not supposed to be spying on the Romulans.”
Robin grinned, while also rolling her eyes. “If the Romulans aren’t scheming against us, they have nothing to worry about,” she quipped.
The star map display suddenly went blank. Lefler attempted to restore the image. All that appeared on her console’s readout was the Greek letter omega. “Strange,” she said. “This is all that’s coming up.”
“Which one of your ‘laws’ can solve this conundrum?” Soleta asked, in reference to the famous Lefler’s Laws that Robin’s crewmates on both Excaliburs
and the Enterprise
-D became familiar with.
“I’ve got nothing,” Lefler retorted. She then tapped her combadge to hail the bridge. “Lefler to bridge, we’re having a problem in stellar cartography.”
“We’re also locked out of all systems up here,” replied first officer Burgoyne 172, a member of the hermaphroditic Hermat species. S/he was looking over readouts of the tactical station manned by the Brikar Zak Kebron. “Bridge to Captain Calhoun.”
“I’m way ahead of you, Commander,” Mackenzie Calhoun, the Xenexian Starfleet captain replied, stepping off the aft port turbolift. He entered a few commands into the Mission Ops station, restoring all bridge functions. “Transfer all sensor data for the last ten minutes to the ready room,” he continued. “Helm, and take us to a full stop and disengage engines. You are not to discuss with the rest of the crew.”
The officer at conn carried out the captain’s order. The rest of the bridge crew looked up from their stations shooting befuddled stares at one another. “You heard him,” Burgoyne announced to all of them. “We keep whatever this is about quiet.”
Calhoun entered the ready room and ordered the doors sealed. “No entry without my authorization,” he added. Sitting behind the desk, he then told the computer, “Access secure data file Omega-one.”
“Voice print confirmed,”
the computer replied. “State clearance code.”
His purple eyes, a distinguishing feature of Xenexians, gleaned at the monitor. “Calhoun alpha six seven, Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot. Clearance-level ten.”
“Sensors have detected the Omega phenomenon five light years from this vessel,
” the computer reported. “Please implement the Omega Directive. All other priorities are rescinded.