Star Trek: A New Century: Time of Terror (A Trekbbs October '08 challenge fanfiction) 8 October 2408 USS Enterprise NCC 1701 F, patroling the edge of Federation space “Captain's Log: Stardate 85310.83; the crew is as restless as it has been most of the year since Starfleet Command had put us on patrol duty.” Captain Michael Walker paced the ready room. He was bored. He didn't know what Starfleet Command were thinking, in assigning the Enterprise to patrol the border of the Federation in an area where there had not been any trouble for the last 2 decades. And that was they had been doing for most of the last year. There had been the occasional distress call, and natural disaster that the ship had attended to, but otherwise it was week after week of patrols, with nothing interesting for the crew to do, other than to maintain the ship. There was no ways about it, crew morale was low. He was considering contacting Starfleet Command and asking why the Enterprise was assigned in an area that it was totally unsuited for. “Bridge to Captain” the voice of the tactical officer came over the intercom. “Report” he said. “We are receiving a distress call from a Federation freighter about 2 light years away” the tactical officer said. “Set an intercept course, and engage at maximum warp, I'll be on the bridge in a minute” he said. “Acknowledged” the tactical officer said. The captain turned back to his desk. “Captain's log, supplemental; the Enterprise has received a distress call from a Federation ship nearby, we are proceeding to investigate” he said, as he recorded a supplementary entry into the ship's log. He then went out onto the Bridge. “ETA to source of distress call is 30 minutes, Captain” the helm officer, Samuel Lewis, said. “Any further information?” the captain asked. “There is none, the call ceased as soon as we had received it, very weird” the tactical officer, T'Shala Verys said. “Explain, what do you mean by weird, you don't usually describe happenstances as such” the captain asked. “It may not be logical, but I felt something, coming at this ship across the lightyears, something, evil, for the lack of a better term” T'Shala said. She did not elaborate any further. However, this did cause some chatter on the bridge. “It could be a lot of things, it could even be a Q-taunting for all we know” the Operations Manager, Yolanda Hernandez said. “I don't think that it would be Q. Why would he endanger a Federation ship? it would be a bad example to his son. He seems to be more interested in warning people on Federation colonies about various dangers, than taunting starship crews these days” Lewis said. “That appears to be true” Hernandez said, recalling what Samuel had told her about what was happening on a colony planet that one of his friends had gone to. “It could be something else entirely” the science officer, Sara Livingstone, said. “Definitely” Lewis said. 25 minutes later the Enterprise had arrived at the site of the distress call. The Federation freighter was a mess, with hull breaches all over the place, an anomaly was nearby. “Are we reading anything on that anomaly?” Captain Walker asked. “Minor subspace distortions, and the visible light aspect, but nothing else, it is entirely unknown. Also reading fluctuating biosigns on the freighter” Livingstone said. “Fluctuating? How?” Captain Walker asked. “In a most strange manner, it could be that the anomaly is interfering with our sensors” Livingstone said, she then thought some more. “It could also be something else though” she continued. “Can we tractor the freighter away from the anomaly?” the captain asked. “It is worth trying” Hernandez said, she then input into her panel to activate the tractor beam. The tractor beam leapt out from the Enterprise to encompasse the freighter. It didn't work that well, the gravitational force of the beam fluctuating wildly. The freighter barely moved from its position, though the beam did impart a rotation to the freighter that wasn't there before. The Enterprise being on an angle to the freighter relative to the anomaly. The further from the anomaly, the better the tractor beam worked. Alarms sounded on the bridge. “The tractor beam isn't working, the anomaly is interfering with it” Hernandez said. “Deactivate tractor beam” Captain Walker said, after some thought. “Deactivating tractor beam” Hernandez said. With the tractor beam deactivated, the freighter continued to spin, though slower than before... “Well, we need to send an Away Team” Captain Walker said. “We were going to send an away team anyway, right?” the first officer, Commander Natima Dacet, asked. “Absolutely, but I don't like the look of that anomaly, it could be doing anything, we don't know what the interior conditions of the majority of the freighter is like” Captain Walker said. The first officer waited whilst the captain decided who to send over to the frieghter. 10 minutes later the Away Team met in Transporter Room 2, on deck 4. Dacet was leading the team, with Hernandez, Livingstone, the ship's Chief Counsellor Toren Salz, Chief Engineer Lt. Commander Kenneth Daniels, and Doctor Hallia Lezalia also on the team. “Energize” Dacet said. The Away Team materialised in an area of the freighter that was the furthest away from the anomaly., in a cargo bay. They all got their tricorders out. “Main power is offline” Daniels said. “Hardly reading any life signs” Lezalia said. “Strange, I am not reading any subspace distortions anywhere in this freighter, yet something is causing the interference and power loss” Livingstone said. “Any suggestions?” Dacet asked. “None at the moment, I would have to scour the ship to find out” Livingstone said. “Ok, Lieutenant you, occompany the Doctor, as she looks for survivors, Daniels you and Hernandez try to get to Engineering, try to determine what is causing the power loss, and if there is any damage there, and Salz and I will try to find the Bridge” Dacet said. “Aknowledged” Livingstone said. She and Lezalia left the cargo bay. “Are you sure that splitting up is a good idea?” Hernandez asked. “Yes, we can find out what is going on and help the crew of the freighter quicker!” Dacet said. At times she didn't like her and Lewis's attitude on the bridge and on away missions, and this was one of those times... “Right, let's go Kenneth” Yolanda said. They also left the cargo bay. “You didn't need to that hard on Hernandez” Salz said, as he and Dacet prepared to leave the cargo bay themselves. “She is undisciplined, I don't know why the Captain lets her get up to the hijinks that she and Lewis do” Dacet said. “Permission to speak freely?” Salz asked. “Granted” “I don't know why you are so hard on them...” Salz began, but he was interrupted.... “Livingstone to Dacet!” she sounded slightly terrified. “Dacet here” “There was an eerie sound, and an eerie light, and Hallia just disappeared! My tricorder is not showing any trace of a transporter signal, or any indication of transporter activity what-so-ever!” Sara reported. “Are you sure?” Dacet asked. “Absolutely, there is no trace of her” Livingstone said. “Come back here” Dacet said. “Aye, Commander, wait! There it is again! No! Stay away! Comm...” the signal was cut off. “What was that just before she was cut off?” Salz asked. “No idea, but we have to find them. You look for them, whilst I go to the bridge” Dacet said. “Are you sure that it is a good idea to split up after what we had just heard?” Salz asked. “That an order counsellor!” “Aye commander” They exited the cargo bay and went in 2 separate directions. Salz reluctantly. He hoped that he would find either Livingstone or Lezalia soon. Hallia Lezalia turned at the weird sound. “What is that?” she asked. But there no response from Livingstone. “Livingstone?” she turned around and found that she wasn't there. “Livingstone?” she whips out her tricorder. Nothing! “Sara!” she calls. She taps her commbadge “Lezalia to Dacet!” Nothing! She tries again. Also Nothing! “Lezalia to Salz!” Nothing also! She tries again. Still Nothing! She can hear eerie sounds in the distance behind her. “Lezalia to Hernandez!” “Hernandez here, you sound scared Hallia” Hernandez says. “You would be scared too, Yolanda, when someone disappears right next to you without a transporter signal, and I also can't raise Dacet or Salz” Hallia says. “Is the tricorder still reading our lifesigns, and the route to engineering? Try to meet us there” Yolanda said. “I will try” Hallia said, she then begins to run in the direction of the freighter's engineering section. Dacet arrived at the freighter's bridge. It was totally deserted! The emergency lights cast a sinister tone to the place. And on the main veiwscreen was the anomaly. She didn't like what see saw in the anomaly, not at all. She pressed a button. “Computer scan for biosigns on board” she said. “There are 20 lifesigns on board” the computer said. 'A freighter of this size aught to have up to 50 crew' she thought. “Computer identify biosigns” she said. “1 Cardassian, 1 Trill, 1 El Aurian, 14 Humans and 5 Bajorans” the computer said. 'Well that is at least some of the Away team accounted for, but there is a maths discrepancy there. It must be a fluctuation. But what sort of fluctuation.' she thought. “Computer: Identify biosigns in engineering” she said. “1 El Aurian and 2 Humans in Engineering” the computer said. 'Ok, that is where Lezalia is now, but what about Livingstone?' “Computer: continual scan of biosigns and notify of changes” Dacet said. She then started trying to access the captains logs. Hallia, Yolanda and Kenneth arrived at Enginnering at the same time. “Ok, the anomaly out there is affecting the freighter, we need to restore power and try to move away from it” Hernandez said. Daniels looked around the room. “Looks like there may be a lot of work to do, we better get started” he said. On the Enterprise they still had a lock on the Away team. “Their movements are not making sense, logically there may be something wrong” T'Shala said. “Try to hail them” the Captain said. “Recieving a hail” T'Shala said. “Salz to Enterprise! Emergency beamout!” “Initiating transport” Roberta Jackson, the relief Operations manager said. Her console indicated failure. “I have lost the transporter lock!” she said. “The Away Team biosigns are fluctuating, similarly to the freighter crew before we beamed them over” T'Shala said. The captain didn't like that. “We can't move the ship closer without putting our crew at risk, send out a shuttle, and inform the pilot to move in quick, beam aboard the Away Team and any other lifesigns they can get a lock on and return to the ship as quickly as possible” the captain said. “Aye Captain” T'Shala said. “Trill biosign has disappeared” the computer said. Natima didn't like that. “Dacet to Salz!” No response. “Dacet to Enterprise” Also no response. “Bridge to Engineering” No response. “That is it, there is power to the thrusters on the prow, try firing them” Daniels said. “Acknowledged” Hernandez said. She pressed on the command, on the reconfigured table console. The Freighter began to move away from the anomaly. At the same time the Drake a Flyer-class shuttle left the Enterprise's forward shuttle bay on the underside of the saucer. Gwendolyn Nataliadottir accelerated the shuttle as it cleared the ship. Soon the shuttle lost power, and she was on a collision course with the freighter! She uttered an Icelandic expletive and then hailed the Enterprise for assistance. “Enterprise, the Drake has lost power, request emergency beamout!” Gwendolyn's voice came over the bridge intercom. “Energizing” Jackson said. A beat. “We got her” “Tractor beam on the Drake!” the captain said. The Freighter continued to move away from the anomaly, albeit slowly. A tractor beam leapt out from the Enterprise to encompasse the Drake. This tractor beam did not work any better than the previous tractor beam. The Drake didn't slow down by much. The Enterprise then tried to beam the shuttle away. Unfortunately that didn't work either. The shuttle then collided with the freighter amidships. The exchange of momentum imparted a greater spin on the freighter, causing the thrust from the active thrusters to go wild. Natima saw the anomaly move off the screen, after the freighter shook. Obviously something had hit it. In the engineering section, Daniels, Hernandez and Lezalia tried frantically to counteract the collision. “No good, we are now moving back towards the anomaly” Daniels said. “That is not good!” Lezalia said, there were many times in her long life in which she was very scared (including running from the Borg after the destruction of El Auria), but this was one of the most frightening moments. Stuck. In an unfamiliar ship, on which people were disappearing. Falling into an anomaly which could lead to anywhere. Definitely frightening. “Captain, what do you order?” T'Shala asked a second time. “Evacuate non-essential personnel from the saucer section to the main drive section, and prepare for saucer separation” the Captain said. “Aye captain” Jackson said. “Is it logical to take the saucer in?” T'Shala asked. “Probably not, but the order is given” Walker said. “Yes Captain” T'Shala said. “Unknown biosign on the bridge” the computer said. Natima Dacet did not like the sound of that. She backed against the veiwscreen and looked around the bridge. Nothing, or at least, nothing visible. Then an eerie light began to fill the bridge. She edged along to the nearby turbolift. The light coalesced into something, spectral, for the lack of a better term. It came towards her. “No! Stay away!” She whipped out her phaser “I will fire, if you keep coming closer!” It came closer. An otherwise fatal phaser beam went through it. Dacet upped the setting and moved closer to the turbolife. It came closer. “Leave me alone!” she said again. Another phaser beam went through it, damaging a section of console behind it. The turbolift door opened; slowly. The being moved in towards Dacet. A final wide beam caused extensive damage to a section of the bridge, and enraged the unknown being. “Unknown and Cardassian biosigns have disappeared” the computer said. “The Saucer section is evacuated Captain” Lewis said, the section being empty except for him and Captain Walker. “Bridge to Auxillary Bridge, stay in current location until we return” Walker said. “Acknowledged” T'Shala said. “Computer, initiate separation” Walker said. “Separation initiated” The Enterprise took 30 seconds to separate. The Saucer then raising its sheilds and moving towards the freighter. In the Engineering section of the freighter, Kenneth, Hallia and Yolanda were huddled together as the freighter groaned around them. Kenneth had tried to divert power to the impulse engines, but they were still offline, with the problem being elsewhere. A look at the warp core had revealed that the the dilithium crystals had been rendered useless somehow. It also appeared that the recrystalization mechanism was missing from the dilithium chamber. “Kenneth, there is the eerie light again!” Hallia said. The light coalesed into an apparently spectral being. “Not again! Raise the forcefeild” Hallia said. “Raising forcefeild” Kenneth said. He pressed a button on the nearest console and a forcefeild rose between the 3 Enterprise crewmember and the apparently malevalent unknown lifeform. The being moved towards the 3 of them. It came into contact with the forcefeild. The forcefeild sparked, wildly, but still held. Yolanda breathed a sigh of relief. “I hope that the Enterprise knows something is wrong and is coming to rescue us” she said. “That is most likely” Kenneth said. The being kept on hitting against the forcefeild, creating more interference each time. “You should prepare to raise another forcefeild, I am sure that the emitters are going to overload eventually” Hallia said. “Agreed” Kenneth said, he set back to work preparing another forcefeild. The Enterprise saucer approached the freighter. “Ok, Lewis, angle the ship so the bottom is facing the anomaly, and so that the freighter is in front of us, and raise forcefeilds on all decks, in fact increase gravity on all decks except 1, to 2 G, that may negate the effects more” the Captain said. “Aye captain” Lewis said, he manouvred the ship into position, raised the forcefeilds and increased the gravity. The forcefeild failed, and the being was knocked back by the activation of the second one. Yolanda squeeled as that happened. “Ok, scanning the freighter, reading the Away Team, including 3 in the engineering section and 1 near the bridge, 30 biosigns of freighter crew and 10 unknown readings” the Captain said. “I wouldn't recommend beaming aboard the unknowns, sir” Lewis said. “Agreed, prepare to lower forward dorsal sheild on my mark, preparing to beam all known biosigns to the bridge and observation lounge, followed by the Drake to the main shuttlebay. “Acknowledged” Lewis said. “Mark!” the Captain said. Lewis dropped the sheild, and the Captain energized. As the second forcefeild failed, Hernandez, Lezalia and Daniels were beamed away just in time. Hernandez, Lezalia and Daniels materialised on the bridge. “Just in time Captain, Samuel, but I don't know about the rest of the away team” Yolanda said. “Sara disappeared from right next to me!” Hallia said. “Nice to see you too, I have their transporter signals, and energizing” the Captain said. Natima, Sara and Toren materialised near at the back of the bridge. Each of them were scared out of their wits. “That was very close! I was knocked into a turboshaft by one of those unknown forms, straight through the turbolift floor, any longer...” Natima said. Sara and Toren were huddling next to each other and nodding, showing that they had similar experiences. “Whom I could lock onto of the freighter's crew are in the observation lounge, and the Drake is in the main shuttlebay” the Captain said. “Raising sheild and getting out of here! Finally” Samuel said. He input the commands and then went over to Yolanda and gave her a short hug. The Enterprise saucer beamed aboard the Drake (in much need of repair after the collision) and activated the engines on the bottom of the saucer which were usually used for landing and taking off from planets. The saucer immediately shot away from the freighter and the anomaly, back towards the main drive section of the Enterprise, which was still holding station. As the Saucer got on its way, the freighter collided with the anomaly, creating an explosion, which then buffeted the saucer. The crew on the bridge of the Enterprise took stock in their narrow miss, and noticed that both the anomaly, and the freighter had disappeared. The crisis was over, but the recovery and investigation had just begun.