Chapter 5 <cont'd>
Captain’s Personal Log
We’ve just received word back from Starbase Bastion, where Admiral Brandies has thankfully thrown the weight of his influence behind the controversial decisions by Rear Admiral Gareth and I. Starfleet Command is understandably skeptical, but as Brandies has been given broad discretion in all Operation Vanguard matters, the Security Council is backing him.
We’re completing our resupply of the relief effort at In’Drahn station. Our final task has been expanding on the makeshift ‘Medical Hub’ that Pell and Juneau designed to serve as an operating theater and ICU from one of Europa’s
ASRV survival craft. We’ve now built what amounts to a small space station, supporting three recovery wards, an ICU, and three separate operating theaters. Lt. Ashok has added a second EMH, and Lt. Taiee will be filling in for Dr. Multorlo for the next three weeks until Galaxy
arrives on station. Taiee will begin familiarizing the medical personnel we took out of cryo-sleep back at our sled with the physiology of the Habertaem and the other former Husnock slave species they’ll be treating.
As for Galaxy
, I’ve dispatched Giacobini
in our place to assist Valiant
with towing Galaxy’s
saucer to In’Drahn station, while Europa
proceeds to the DL-40637 system to conduct a hit-and-run strike against the En-Il-Que occupation of that system. Given our new found hyper-warp capabilities, I see no reason to saddle Europa
with towing a saucer at Warp 5 when we could be more effectively exploiting this unexpected advantage.
Covert sensor probes left in that system have detected what might be preparations by the En-Il-Que to depart those recently conquered worlds. Should they resume their previous course and speed to the Alpha Quadrant, the En-Il-Que would enter Federation space near the Gamma-Proxima system in some sixteen months. From there, they could easily push on towards the heavily populated Deneva system, the Rudyard Colonies, Axanar or Cait.
All attempts by Starfleet to open communications with the En-Il-Que have met with failure. Based on the threat they pose and their refusal to talk, I have elected to take decisive action. Europa
will drop out of transwarp in orbit of Akovos Prime, transporting down replicated stockpiles of advanced small-arms weaponry to the native Deobeen population to be used against their occupiers.
Following that, Europa
will engage and destroy any and all En-Il-Que targets of opportunity utilizing both conventional and Alpha Weapons.
It is our hope that by dealing a severe blow to the En-Il-Que fleet while it’s effectively ‘at anchor’ in the system, we might dissuade them from departing for the Alpha Quadrant in the near-term. By arming the locals, it is our goal to further deplete the En-Il-Que’s military assets through sparking guerrilla warfare on the part of the subjugated Deobeen.
It’s time we got around to doing what they sent us out here to do. Protect our homes, through any means necessary.
Vulcan, circa 153 BC, Terran Calendar
The great ships rose on pillars of fire as robotic drone fighters screened their escape, tangling savagely with their manned counterparts. Black blotches marred the sky, announcing the demise of some aircraft at the ends of missile trails as others exploded in the heat of high-energy laser discharges.
It had come to this, the final conflagration above the Plains of Gol as the separatists made their escape. The stubborn refusal of S’task’s followers to surrender to the word of Surak had threatened to plunge the world into a cataclysmic spasm of violence that could have extinguished all life on planet.
She had been there, watching the last, great battle with her own eyes, covering the escape of her brethren as part of the constricting circle of dwindling ground forces protecting the massive launch pads housing the vehicles of their exodus.
She’d fought from the turret hatch of a tritanium-sheathed battle tank, its cannon belching death towards her purportedly ‘logical’ enemies. For spiritless automatons they certainly fought with enough passion, she thought wryly as she sent a plasma round howling downrange to incinerate a Surakite personnel carrier.
There was no chance of her surviving this last engagement, and she’d made peace with her ancestors and gods as dawn broke above the parched ground which had seen so very many battles in the long history of their people.
The radio crackled with the coded message that indicated success, their ships had successfully clawed free from Vulcan’s atmosphere and fought their way through the planet’s orbital defense grid. She could have surrendered then and there, but she did not. She targeted an enemy scout cycle, fired, and set her sights on an opposing tank, depressing the trigger again before the first target exploded in a burst of flame and mushrooming debris.
She was scanning for yet another victim when a bright flash accompanied by a sudden screech heralded the arrival of an enemy anti-armor missile. She had a fleeting impression of being thrown through the air end over end and seeing the briefest flash of her own detonating tank before the blackness claimed her…
Verrik jerked awake suddenly, his breath coming in great, inexplicably panicked gasps. He clutched a hand to the gaping shrapnel wound in her… his… their
chest, only to find healthy flesh beneath his sleeping robe.
It was then that he knew with certainty that these were not dreams, but actual memories. They were the recollections of someone who had lived those events, or in this case, who likely died from them. Such recollections in the proper context would explain his own recent memory gaps and correspondingly inexplicable actions, as well as his growing inability to meditate.
He carried the katra