Nelson Mandela, 2372
The runabout had turned out to be a lot less packed than Maya had expected and so she had easily found a quiet niche for herself in one of the compact crew modules just large enough for a fold out chair and desk and a double bunk.
Chief Holly found the captain sitting in the chair with her back towards the door. “Sir.”
“Give me a minute, Chief,” she said in a surprisingly small voice.
But instead the veteran NCO took a step inside to allow the doors to close behind him. “With all due respect, I don’t think we have that kind of time, sir.”
She turned to face him, unable to hide her red eyes and the fact that she had cried not a moment earlier.
“If you were anybody else, I would ask if you’re alright,” he said. “But you’re not anybody else. You’re the captain. You don’t have a choice in the matter. You have to be alright. At least until the current crisis is over.” He walked over to the wall-mounted replicator and typed in a command into the interface. Within a moment a tiny ampoule materialized and he picked it up and handed it over to Donners.
She looked at it for a second before she understood what it was. Then she threw her head back and applied a couple of drops of the clear liquid into each eye. She wiped away any residual moisture and when she leveled her head again, Holly noticed that her irises where as brilliantly white as they used to be.
She stood and stepped up to him, touching his upper arm. “Thank you, Chief.”
He responded with a firm nod.
Then she was out the door with him following close behind.
“What do we got?” she said as she stepped into the runabout’s cockpit, her voice firm and strong, showing no evidence of her weakness just moment earlier.
“We’re three minutes from Agamemnon
. All other vessels have already docked with Cuffe
or are doing so as we speak,” said Star-Wandered from the conn.
“According to sensors the Romulans are still ten minutes out from our position,” said Daystrom and turned from his station to look at the captain. “I’ve just spoken to N’Saba on the Cuffe
. They have completed beaming the Omega molecules aboard but they won’t be able to neutralize it using the resonance chamber before the Romulans get here. The current plan is to head for the nearby black hole and dump them inside instead.”
Maya was already toggling the comm to Glover’s ship. “Donners to Cuffe
“Terrence, here, glad to hear you got off that rock.”
“Now that you’ve got Omega onboard, can you get a lock on my team on the surface and beam them up as well?”
“We’re looking into it. The problem is that our transporters as well as the targeting sensors on the Agamemnon needed to be precisely calibrated to lock on to the Omega molecules. We might not have the time to recalibrate them for personnel transport by the time the Romulans get here.”
Donners considered that for a moment. “Fine. You go ahead and dump Omega in the black hole and I keep Agamemnon
behind to get my people back.”
“You do that, you might find yourself in a battle against three or even four warbirds, if Toreth rejoins the fight. I don’t like those odds.”
Maya shook her head. “The Romulans want Omega. They’ll chase after you instead of wasting their time here. Best case scenario I can buy you some time by distracting them a bit.”
Glover didn’t respond to this which Maya thought to be uncharacteristically reticent for her fellow captain. Then she spotted Daystrom who had stood from his station to step closer to viewport. At first she figured that this was because he had spotted the approaching Romulan flotilla.
“My God,” he said.
Curious she followed his glance to see what had caused his surprise. And then she saw it too. Those weren’t Romulan ships he had spotted. These were quite a few magnitudes more massive and shaped perfectly symmetrically. A cold shudder ran up her spine when understanding dawned on her. Up to this point it had been difficult to imagine that this day could become much worse and yet the universe kept finding ways to make it just that.
Glover said, his voice not quite as firm as it used to be. “We have another problem and a lot less time then we thought.”