Overload, Part III
During and after "A little stroll"
Authors: Commander Shras th'Karath (played by Alenis Meru), Commander Timothy Rouse, Locasta of Borg (aka Capt. Kate Banninga), Lt. Sera Williams, Ensign Nikki Barclay (played by Alenis Meru)
Last time, on Star Trek: Portland...
Sera jumped back to the Dark Energy Reactor's main console. She tapped out a few more commands, sequencing the final chain of events that would allow the shuttle crew to return and the Portland to escape unharmed. As she tapped the "Execute" button, the hair on the back of her neck started to stand up with the energy in the room. A few energy discharges sparked across the room, making it appear almost like a early 20th Century tesla coil from Earth.
All Nikki could do was bang on the viewport and sob as the radiation levels in the chamber rose.
And now, the continuation...
Bridge, USS Portland
"Commander Rouse, this is an unacceptable risk," protested Shras. "Leave them behind! They're only a handful of officers, and you're risking the ship and the Dark Energy project for--"
"Shras, shut the hell up!" interrupted Tim, staring up at the screen as the Portland barreled towards the sphere to rescue the shuttles. "Tactical, target that sphere's tractor beams and fire! Helm, bring us between the sphere and the shuttles. Ops, tractor them in, now!"
At the flight control station, Ensign Kat Steel expertly moved the Portland into position. While she didn't know how long a Miranda class would last up against a Borg sphere, she knew a couple shuttles had no chance once the Borg took notice of them, which they quite clearly had. As the sphere's forward tractor beam faltered under the Portland's barrage of phaser fire, Kat used a quick burst of impulse to place the Portland in between the spheres and the shuttles, blocking their shot.
Trading fire with the sphere in an effort to hold them off until the shuttles could be recovered, the Portland's shields were holding -- for now. On the main viewer, Tim could see three cubes closing in, which would make short work of the Portland. And then, without warning, the screen flickered and he was looking at the interior of a Borg cube. A woman was standing in the center of the room, flanked by Borg drones. She was clad in a dark form-fitting suit made of some sort of synthetic material, with fiber optic cables running up and down and across the suit. Her pale face and neck sported a number of cybernetic implants, and, unusually for a Borg, her dark hair remained. Tim immediately recognized her from a personnel file he had reviewed only a couple hours previously.
"Captain Banninga?" he asked.
"I am Locasta of Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile."
"Commander Timothy Rouse of the USS Portland, Starfleet, United Federation of Planets." Tim studied the woman on the screen intently; he knew the horrors that Locutus had visited upon Starfleet, and could only imagine what this Locasta was capable of.
"I know all your tactics, Starfleet." Though Locasta spoke in a emotionless tone, her body language still conveyed a certain amount of anger that someone would dare intrude on her nebula. "All your strategies, all your secrets. And I know that your ship is no match for my cubes. And as soon as this transwarp gate is online--"
"Commnder, the shuttles have been recovered," interrupted a young bridge officer.
"Sorry, Locasta, it's been a pleasure to meet you but I've got to jet." Tim pressed a button on his chair, cutting the video feed. "Shras, now!"
Shras took a deep breath. He gave himself an eight percent chance of surviving what he was about to do, with a 29% chance that it wouldn't work and he would be killed or assimilated, and a 63% chance that the dark energy reactor would overload and kill them all. The ensuing explosion would probably tear a hole in subspace and cause some sort of singularity. If he wasn't so close to ground zero, Shras would be excited about the opportunity to observe a dark energy explosion. It would greatly benefit his research.
He closed his eyes and pressed his hand against the glowing red toucshcreen. This was it.
1.6 light years away...
Bridge, USS Portland.
Catching his breath as consoles exploded all around him, Tim stood up from the floor of the bridge from which he was thrown. "Status!" he called out.
Kat Steel climbed back up into her chair and felt her head. There was a gash there, from where her head smashed into the console on the way down towards the floor. But that wasn't what mattered right now; what mattered was their position. Looking down at the navigational readings on her console, she could hardly believe it. "Captain, we're one point six light-years from our last know position. We're out of the nebula."
"I'm reading fried EPS conduits on all decks, hull breach on deck 4, structural integrity holding," called out Duvall on ops. "Casualty reports coming in, nothing serious yet, sir."
Shras stared down at the readings from the dark energy reactor. It was as he feared. "Cascading overload in the dark energy reactor. Containment failure in ten seconds." He shook his head. The idiocy of the crew of the Portland had finally gotten him killed. "It was nice knowing you, commander."
Engineering, USS Portland
The Dark Energy Reactor looked as though it were going to burst. The energy arcs were getting worse and the sound of popcorn popping rang through the chamber as subspace holes were created and dissolved. Sera immediately ran to the main console. If she didn't do something, the ship would be lost. There was really only one option that would keep the ship together.
The Chief Engineer tapped commands on the console. The Computer voice chimed a warning over the comm system, "Warning: Degaussing the reactor while it is occupied is not allowed, it can create an unsafe environment." Sera responded, "Override safety protocals and execute. Authorization, Williams-One-Alpha-One."
With a beep of affirmation, the Portland created a lighting storm in the space around it. The backed-up energy created a feedback arc that created an arc that began at the Dark Energy Reactor and struck Sera, throwing her into the partition wall. A few moments later, the computer gave the all clear and unlocked the chamber. Sera laid, crumpled against the wall, burns covering where the discharge bolt had struck.
"Noooooo!" Nikki saw the whole thing, banging on the viewport the entire time and begging Sera to come out. The instant the door unlocked, she was rushing in to save her friend. "Omigod, Sera, are you okay?" she asked, bending down and trying to wake her, to no avial. So, she tapped her comm badge and shrieked an order for the computer to beam the two of them directly to sickbay.
Good grief what was going on? Arcs of energy. Explosions. Traded weapons fire. Not to mention engineering casualties. With a few words uttered by the frantic ensign and a brief flash of energy Ron was now the only person in engineering with even the slightest chance of getting a handle on the quickly escalating situation. And he didn't even know anyone's name!
“You people,” he shouted as he pointed at the crewmen in the strange uniforms that had worked on the project on the other side of the wall. “Get back in there and assess the damage! You'll know what to look for better than the rest of us.” He then turned to the rest of the yellow shirts in the room. “The rest of you goons help me button down this disaster of a section.” He began tapping away at the main engineering console once more, assessing the damage with a focused look and a frown on his face. It didn't look good.
To be continued...