Chapter Twenty-One (cont.) Voltanis shook his head. “I never believed that I would use my knowledge of the Arks to aid someone in attacking them, Second Speaker,” he sadly stated. “But in this case, I believe that you are correct.” The Nephkyrie Shipmaster laid a device on the table in Republic’s briefing room and he touched one side, causing a holographic display to spring into life over the device, rotating to show all surfaces of the Ark ships. “There are five separate transporter emitters on the outer surface of the hull of Ark Prime,” he continued as five blinking dots appeared. “Eliminate these and the primary transporters—the most powerful transporter units—will be disabled until repairs can be made. It was by combining all five of these emitters that Typhias was able to beam his boarding party across through your shields and inhibitor field. In addition, there are twenty-two secondary transporter emitters which are capable of delivering fusion warheads outside your shields.” And more blinking dots appeared. “Once the transporter emitters have been removed, you should be able to eliminate the weapons batteries that bear and close until your own transporters are within range. The central command compartment is located here,” he touched another section of the surface and the image transformed into an internal schematic and zoomed in to display a series of connected compartment deep within the ship’s hull. “From these compartments, the ship can be controlled, and the Speaker Prime and his retinue were housed immediately adjacent so that they could quickly be waked and consulted should the Shipmaster deem it necessary. There is an auxiliary control center here,” and the image moved quickly towards the stern, “which duplicates the controls of the central command compartment; it too must you take to gain control of Ark Prime.” The Nephkyrie Shipmaster shook his head. “And you must be fast. All of our Arks, you see, are outfitted with scuttling charges in the event that they were overrun by a hostile race. The Second Speaker has the overrides, but once they are activated you will have only three minutes to enter the codes before the charges detonate.” Matt nodded and he looked at his senior officers seated around the table. Captain Myers cleared his throat, and then he spoke up as the staff and their guests turned around to look at him. “How powerful are the charges, Shipmaster?” “Taken all together, seventeen point four of the units of explosive force you refer to as gigatons,” the Shipmaster said with a wry smile. “We did not want our technology to be looted and these were to serve as our parting gift to any who fought their way to victory.” For a moment there was only utter silence at the table, and then Chan shook his head. “That sounds simple enough. Three minutes should be more than sufficient time if Typhias’s children soldiers are representative of your ground combat technology.” Voltanis snorted, and Belagon shook his head. “Those were civilian arms and armor, meant only for self-defense that Typhias supplied to our children. Our military weapons, Commander Shrak, are far more deadly.” “To start,” interjected Voltanis, “each of our actual soldiers are clad from head to toe in combat armor that amplifies the strength of the wearer by an order of magnitude. This armor is designed to resist energy weapons fire by absorbing the energy, dissipating its effect. Having seen a demonstration of your weapons, I can assure you that our military grade armor will resist a single hit from your highest settings—once. It will take multiple high-power strikes to disable or kill a single one of our soldiers.” “In addition to carrying a hand weapon similar to that our children used against you, our soldier’s main weapon was a derivative of the transporter. It projects a beam that disperses the material composition of the target, literally beaming away into nothing the object that the beam strikes. Rather part of the object or target; it only affects approximately one-half of your cubic feet at a time. Further, our armor contains an integral inhibitor field meshed to the frequency of our weapons, as well as a pattern enhancer that allows our transporters to beam through shielded areas. Because of that, the weapon contains a secondary system that projects a disruption beam, similar to that of your phasers.” “Lovely,” muttered Lieutenant Beck. “So they can beam away our arms, legs, torsos, or heads, or hit us with the equal of Klingon disruptor rifles.” Belagon nodded. “Which is why I have already order Ark Two to wake our complement of soldiers—Typhias is our problem, and our soldiers will lead your assault, Captain Dahlgren.” Matt tapped his stylus against the table. “From what I have learned from my conversation with the Shipmaster here, your complement of actual soldiers is very small—not more than fifty per ship. Is that correct?” “It is.” “In which case, I must insist that you let us augment your assault force with our own personnel; the fate of the Federation colonists is my problem, Second Speaker.” Myers shifted in his seat, but he kept his mouth closed, as Chan glared at him. “If we are unsuccessful, Captain Dahlgren, your Federation will hold our race responsible for those deaths—and those of your crews. I beg of you, let us prove our worth in this instance.” “Second Speaker, the United Federation of Planets does not hold the crimes of an individual, or a small group of individuals, against an entire race. Speaking on behalf of the Federation, I promise you that regardless of the outcome, we will remove our colonists from New Columbia so that you may have your new home. And the Federation will offer to extend to you their hand in friendship and provide any assistance that you may need—our doctors and scientists aboard this ship are already working on finding a treatment for your genetic damage.” Voltanis sat back, barely breathing in surprise. But Belagon only met Matt’s eyes, and then he nodded. “Agreed. We have years in which my people will sleep before we reach the planet; so that discussion can be held later. But I am honored that you would treat with us fairly, after what Typhias has wrought.” Matt stood, and he winced with pain before he regained his composure. The two guests and the remaining Starfleet officers stood in response. “Second Speaker, Starfleet’s mission is to seek out new life, and new civilizations; to make peaceful contact and begin a dialogue between our different peoples. It is we who are honored to make First Contact with your civilization. Contact that I hope will be ongoing once you establish your colony.” Belagon bowed his head. “The Shipmaster and I will return to Ark Two, to prepare our men. It should not take more than hour.” “We will expect your return.” And with that, the two Nephkyrie exited the briefing room, escorted by away. Bill Myers turned around and laid both his hands on the table. “Captain Dahlgren, you can’t promise that—that is for the Council to decide!” “I can and I have. They laid claim to the planet first, Captain Myers. Would you rather we fight them?” “Of course not, but we can find them another planet! And this haphazard assault can go terribly wrong, Captain Dahlgren, Sir. People, our people, will die. We can wait for Independence, she’s just thirty-six hours out!” “And if Typhias starts to process, to distill, our people in the meantime, Captain Myers? No. We aren’t waiting. Thank you for your suggestions.” Bill opened his mouth again, and Matt interrupted him. “You are dismissed, Captain Myers. Make certain Arrogant is prepared.” “Assume your stations, people,” Matt finished, and his officers, along with the CO of USS Arrogant filed out.