And Unto the Beach, Part IV
Portland" Capt. Alenis Meru, Cmdr. Timothy Rouse, Lt. Cmdr. Tyrlai Zade, Lt, Jason Beauvoir, Lt. Arthur Reynolds, Lt. (JG) Sera Williams, Ensign Ronald Roberts, Ensign Malbi tai-Konjah, Petty Officer Ferguson (played by Jason Beauvoir), Ens. Nikki Barclay (played by Alenis Meru), Cmdr. Shras th'Karath (played by Alenis Meru)
Other: General Mar'dok (played by Sera Williams)
A full spread of photon torpedoes streaked out from the Endeavour, only a few bright red twinkling stars missing their target. Phaser fire proved to be ineffectual at this range. "Minimal damage, but we are drawing attention to ourselves," Fotu reported.
After the barrage from the Endeavour, Miracle scooted the Endeavour back to place the Complex between them and the Borg Cube and within transporter range of the Away Team. Allowing Fotu get off several aft torpedo shots as she made the Endeavour duck into the Tinker-toy like Borg Complex making her a very hard target to get to. And well within Transporter range of the Endeavour's Away Team.
And now, the continuation...
Engineering, USS Portland
Engineering was a chaotic scene; as the engineers scrambled to give the bridge as much power as they could to try to get away, security officers engaged Borg boarding parties. Ensign Nikki Barclay hid behind a console, peeking up just enough to manipulate the controls and keep the power distribution as optimal as possible. After ducking to avoid some crossfire, when she looked up, she saw a horrible sight. A Borg drone, with his assimilation tubules planted in a console. But not just any console; it was the console which controlled the dark energy reactor ejection system that she had just installed.
With all the security officers engaged, Nikki realized that it was up to her to save the ship. She reached towards a plasma cutter that was lying on the floor, hoping it had some gas remaining. As she activated it, her adrenaline took over. Standing up, she let out a scream; a war cry that was heard throughout engineering and that a Klingon would be proud of. Bolting towards the drone, she cranked the plasma cutter's beam up to maximum and brought it down on the neck of the drone.
Swinging the cutter back and forth, Nikki made short work of the drone. As its head rolled across the floor of engineering, Nikki breathed a sigh of relief. But her relief was short-lived as she saw a warning appear on the half-assimilated console.
"Dark Matter Ejection System offline"
"No..." she gasped, as she frantically tried to operate the half of the console that was still controllable. But it was to no avail.
Ferguson moaned as he shook his head to clear it as he pulled himself off the deck. A Borg’s swinging arm had sent him crashing into a bulkhead.
The alarm blared in his ears. Seeing Nikki he asked. “What’s going on, Las, it sounds like all Hell’s breaking loose.”
"The ejection system," cried Nikki, helplessly beating on the console, "it's broken... we can't eject the reactor."
Sera swung a curved pipe that had broken off during the current Borg battle at the attacking drone, crumpling it to the floor. "What's wrong with the ejector, Ensign?" Sera asked as she quickly jumped toward the ejection console. The Dark Energy reactor had already began it's overpower sequence. There wasn't much time before they needed to get it out of the Portland before containment degraded to a point where space and subspace would destabilize into a very big problem.
“The conducting rails for the ejection tube aren't operational!” Ron had noticed it about a minute ago during the attack and was already frantically in the process of trying to fix it. Hearing that time was running out certainly wasn't helping his composure. “If we don't get them running we're going to have to fire the core's thrusters from inside engineering and there's no way in hell we're going to want to be around for that mess!”
Malbi had been fighting several of the Borg hand-to-hand, as her phaser had been rendered useless early in the battle. She was armed with a metal pipe of some sort, using it to bash in every Borg head she saw. As she neared the group of engineers, she overheard their distress and spoke up. "Then I suppose you'd better fix it," she stated as she impaled one of her attackers. She turned to make eye contact with the ensign, "If you lead the way, I'll guard your back."
While Malbi covered her and Ron, Nikki frantically tried to reset the conducting rails on the system, but to no avail. "It's no good," she cried, after a few moments of looking at diagnostics. "Signal the bridge," she said, crumpling to the floor, "tell them the ejection system is offline."
Malbi hesitated to tap her commbadge, "Are you sure there is nothing more we can do? Quickly find a way to replicate replacement parts? Was there no backup system or alternative way of ejecting the dark matter?" It may have been her Klingon stubbornness, but she wasn't prepared to give up this easily.
“Well I have no idea if the fields would hold for long enough,” Ron started in a tone that seemed to suggest that what was to follow was not a terribly good suggestion at all. “But if we can throw up the containment fields around the dark matter reactor we could fire the thrusters here in engineering. I just can't promise there will be an engineering in the aftermath if that field does not hold!”
"Sounds grand to me, Sir." Ferguson said. "I wasn't planing on living forever anyway."
Malbi nodded, "Today is a good day to die."
"Not a good idea," Sera called out from her position at the Dark Energy Reactor's control panel. Her voice sounded as disappointed as the rest of them were sure to feel. "If it were the Warp Core, I'd say go for it. With all of the thruster exhaust and expended energy when this thing leaves, it will breach the Core no matter how many containment fields we put up. Also, the problem is with the clamps, they aren't releasing. We'd rip the ship in half"
Nikki collapsed against the wall and let out a deep sigh. So this was it. She tried to remain strong, knowing that these were her last few minutes. As she looked up at Sera, a hint of a smile appeared on her face. If she was going to die here and now, she couldn't think of anyone she would rather spend her last moments with.
Bridge, USS Portland
Shras stood up from the console that he was hiding behind and sighed heavily. The Borg had seemed to take a keen interest in him, and it was only by the skin of his teeth and the hand-to-hand combat skills of some of the other bridge crew that saved him from being assimilated. "Captain, we have a problem. The reactor ejection system has been damaged by the Borg. There's no way to eject the reactor. We have to abort the attack."
"Belay that," replied Alenis, with a wave of her hand. She took a deep breath; she knew what order she had to give. It was one that no commanding officer wanted to give, but the stakes were too high to even hesitate. "Flight Control, set course for the transwarp gate. I want us inside that conduit the millisecond it opens."
"Captain," protested Shras, his eyes wide-eyed, "you're not--"
"I am," replied Alenis in a firm tone.
"You'll kill us all!"
"I've been dead before," countered Alenis. She took a deep breath and stared up at the screen. "We're Starfleet officers," she added, for good measure, "and we all know what has to be done. I suggest you all do what you can to make peace with it while you can, and know that your sacrifice will save billions." The Portland rocked, hit with a plasma beam from the Borg sphere. "Hail Mar'dok. Tell him to cover us. We're going in."
Arthur briefly hesitated, if only because of Alenis' statement, but ultimately followed through in hailing the Klingon ship. "Message sent, captain."
"Good." Alenis paused for a moment and took a deep breath before pressing a button on her chair to activate the ship-wide intercom. "Attention all crew," she said in a firm tone, "the delivery system for the dark energy reactor has malfunctioned. I have ordered this ship to set course for the transwarp gate; we will be the delivery system." She paused for a moment to let that sink in. "All non-essential personnel, head for the nearest escape pod. To all my crew, it was an honour serving with you. May the prophets bless us on our final journey."
Tyrlai shouldered her sword and headed for the turbolift.
Alenis exhaled and placed a hand on Timothy's hand. "Go," she said, looking into his eyes. It wasn't an order, though she could make it one. It was more of a plea. "Take Ellen. Andy is going to need a father."
Tim looked around the bridge before turning his gaze to Meru. He was in doubt. He had a duty to Meru, but he had a even bigger duty to Ellen and his about-to-be-born little boy. He stood up and turned to her. "You get yourself out of there in time, do you hear me! I don't want to loose my best friend again. Once has been more then enough!"
"Someone has to see this through, and the captain has to go down with the ship," replied Alenis in a firm tone. She looked up at Tim and placed a hand on his. "Don't make me make this an order," she said, not wanting to ruin her final goodbye to her friend. "The prophets willing, we shall meet again."
Tim nodded and walked to the door as fast as he could without actually running. He stepped in the turbolift and turned around to look at the bridge one more time.
"We're on target for the transwarp gateway, Captain," Kahnr said, for once sounding subdued. The young man hadn't hesitated long when following the order that would lead them towards their destruction. "ETA is two minutes...mark." He kept his eyes on the screen and his controls, not letting himself look around, fighting against the sweeping fear throughout the ship that assailed his senses. He'd known, signing up for Starfleet, that someday he might be called on to make this sort of sacrifice. "I just never thought it would be so soon," Kahnr muttered.
Jason stood at his station, empty shotgun at his feet. He'd faced death before, several times. The Chief Science Officer figured he should something profound and although he was well read and knew countless languages, nothing would come to mind, so he faced his demise in silence.
Bridge, IKS Grethor
"General, the Portland sends her regards. They are having problems and are going to ram into the Borg station," the tactical officer stated. The General nodded his head solemnly, the ship's Captain had shown herself to be worthy though he wouldn't miss it's First Officer in the slightest. "Patch me through," he commanded.
Once he got the confirmation, Mar'dok began, "Captain, may Sto-Vo-Kor's gate open for you and your crew. We'll keep the metal heads off you to the last."
"And may the prophets smile on you, General," replied the female voice on the other end. "Q'apla!"
With a smile that only a Klingon who was in a battle with the odds stacked against him could give, General Mar'dock commanded, "All Klingon ships, keep the abominations off of the Portland. A hundred barrels of Blood Wine to ship that does the most damage!"
With that, the nebula was lit up with the reds and greens of Klingon disruptors and torpedoes clearing the way for the Portland's final run.
To be continued...
Capt. Alenis Meru