Space Battle! Conclusion
Bridge, USS Portland
“Thirty seconds,” said R’vahis, counting down to the moment that the Portland would run out of power and become a sitting duck.
“Come on, Tim,” muttered Alenis under her breath. Aside from R’vahis’ countdown, the bridge was deathly quiet. With nothing they could do but hope their power held out long enough, the entire crew was fixated on the screen. Even Ko-ko was dead silent. One way or another, this battle would be over soon.
Alenis pondered what just happened. She had witnessed the destruction of her ship, but somehow – without knowing how – she was able to go back and prevent it. Perhaps it was the chronitons, or perhaps it was the orb, but somehow, she had gotten a second chance. There was an ancient earth superstition known as a guardian angel – perhaps she had one?
On screen, the Quebec City dropped out of warp, but instead of a barrage of phaser fire as Alenis expected, Vike was greeted by a burst from the Quebec City’s deflector.
“What are they… no!” shouted Alenis as the torpedoes appeared past their intended target. The lights on the bridge flickered as the Portland lost power. “It’s over,” she said in a dejected tone, watching the Orion cruiser begin to power up. “Make your--” Her words were interrupted by an explosion on the main viewscreen, ripping apart large sections of the Orion cruiser. “Report!” she shouted.
“An explosion in their engine room, captain,” called out Burton. “Yield is consistent with a Mark IV torpedo, but those haven’t been standard issue in decades.”
“They did it! I don’t know how, but they did it!” A single tear of joy ran down Alenis’ cheek, which was quickly wiped away. “Mr. R’vahis, inform Mr. Rouse that he and his colleagues are free to return to the Portland at their leisure, and there will be a heroes’ welcome waiting for them. Communications, hail the Fox and see if they require assistance. Also, call Starfleet command and--”
“Captain, the Orions have launched a smaller vessel, a shuttle of some sort,” called out R’vahis. “I’m reading the cloaking device on board.”
“I can’t, ma’am. Weapons and engines are offline, we’ve got nothing.” Burton loudly sighed. “They’ve gone to warp.”
With a heavy sigh, Alenis watched the cruiser explode. They had managed to rescue the freighter and destroy an Orion cruiser, but Vike’s escape with the cloaking device meant that though Alenis won the battle, Vike was making progress on winning the war. Gaining cloaking technology easily outweighed the loss of one ship. Make no mistake, Vike came out ahead. “Hail the freighter. On screen.”
“Zuwtt here. Captain, you’ve saved our lives and our ship!” The Bolian first officer offered a seemingly effusive thank you. “How ever can we repay you?”
“Well, you can do one thing,” replied Alenis. Her expression suddenly turned to a scowl. “You can give yourselves up freely when we place you under arrest and impound your ship.”
“Captain, we’re the victims here. I don’t know--”
“You were illegally transporting a cloaking device, which in and of itself calls for a harsh sentence.”
“Not to mention the fact that the Orions found out about that cloaking device somehow. Which means that someone tipped them off.”
“It must have been that crooked Ferengi who--”
“So you admit to dealings with a crooked Ferengi?” Alenis had caught him in a trap and she knew it.
“No! Well…” the Bolian stammered; he’d been caught in a catch-22. “I didn’t tip off the Orions!”
“Perhaps,” replied Alenis, getting into the character of Detective Meru from her holo-novels. “But surely there are easier ways for this crooked Ferengi to deliver the cloaking device into the hands of the Orions than to stage an attack on a freighter, wouldn’t you think?”
“Well… maybe, but that doesn’t mean…”
“And I wonder who would benefit the most from the death of the captain? Perhaps someone with a share in the ship? Maybe a partner of the captain?”
“Surely you’re not implying…”
“If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear,” Alenis said firmly. “But whoever did this put my ship and my crew in danger. More than that, with a cloaking device in the hands of the Orions, that person may have put every ship and station in the quadrant in danger. I intend to find out who that person is, and when I do, that person will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Do I make myself clear, Mr. Zuwtt.”
“Yes, captain,” he responded, glumly.
“Now, put away any weapons you may have and prepare to be boarded. I think we’ve both had enough trouble for one day. Portland Out.”
Alenis leaned back in her chair and let out a deep breath. With everything seemingly under control, she extended her arm, allowing Ko-ko to walk down her arm and perch herself on Alenis’ forearm. “It’s over, Ko-ko,” she said in a quiet, gentle voice as she pet the bird.
“Ahem!” Alenis turned to see Shras standing over her. “Aren’t you forgetting something?”
“And what would that be?”
“My tests! You’ve completely ruined them!”
“Well, I submit to you that the purpose of this whole exercise was to test the combat potential of your projected stasis field device,” replied Alenis, gritting her teeth. She’d just fought off Orion pirates and didn’t care to deal with Shras at the moment. “As the wreckage of Vike’s cruiser can testify, we’ve done that.”
“Really, Captain, you are comparing a battle with Orion space pirates to a controlled experiment?” As Shras shouted, Ko-ko made an agitated chirp and ruffled her feathers. “You clearly know nothing of the scientific method, which is not surprising given your simple nature.”
“Calm down, Shras. You’re scaring Ko-ko.”
“Oh, I’m scaring your stupid bird? Who cares about some dumb bird?! My weapon, my life’s work, you’ve ruined my tests, you nearly got it destroyed, you almost got me killed, which would truly be a tragedy because unlike you I possess an intellect of value…”
Panicked by the shouts of the Andorian, Ko-ko’s fight or flight reflex was engaged. This time, she chose flight, taking to the limited skies of the bridge. Though Ko-ko was more or less housetrained, one curious factoid about her species is that when frightened, they tend to release their cloaca. Flying around near the ceiling of the bridge, it was bombs away for Ko-ko.
“…and you are by far the most idiotic, incompetent, inept--” Shras’ shouts were interrupted by a plop on his head. Shaking, he touched the impact zone with his hand and examined the white residue. “AAAAAAARRGHH!” With that, he stormed off the bridge.
Alenis turned to Arvel. “You think this is going to go in his report?” she asked, barely able to conceal her laughter.
Capt. Alenis Meru