Eclipse vs. Portland... Part I of IV
2412 – Future Timeline
Authors: Captain Sera Williams, Marcus Kallan, Coln Jena (played by Jason Beauvoir), Timothy Rouse, Vedek Meru, Gregory Rathcliffe (played by Eilis Ross)
Captain Williams sat in the Captain's chair. This bridge was certainly much different than her own ship. She made frequent trips to the bridge and spent missions stationed at the engineering console, but it had never been her home aboard the Portland. She tapped a few buttons for ship status. She looked at the viewscreen to see the Eclipse closing in on them. Her sister had been so excited to get the chance at being the Chief of Operations, but this unexpected development had to be hard on her.
Sera stood and looked back began issuing orders. "Helm, we don't have the speed to leave them behind, so you'll have to get creative. We should be arriving at the Asteroid Belt, try buzzing a few. They won't be able to follow our path with that behemoth and it may buy us some time." She then turned to the others, "Do what you can to distract and confuse their sensors. Remember, this ship was the testbed for the Eclipse, it has some surprises."
Sera knew that at most she would be buying them an extra minute or so, but she had to inspire hope and confidence.
"Creative," Marcus murmured, glancing over his shoulder at the antiquated consoles and duty stations at the rear of the bridge. "Creative is reason why I left Starfleet." The half-cyborg sat down at one of the engineering stations and began tapping at the LCARS console. Within moments he had pulled up an advanced engineering and operations display, no longer limited to Federation Standard and optimized for a cybernetic eyepiece like he wore. To gain full advantage of his prosthetic, Marcus pulled back his hood, revealing an older Marcus, his head shaved clean, and where plasteel and corbonite met flesh, a centimeter-wide strip of scar tissue. His Borg-enhanced eyepiece began processing the information displayed much faster than any humanoid could.
Jena felt bad for Marcus, she teased him, but she didn't mean anything malicious by it. Truth be told she used to have a crush on him.
As he returned to the bridge, Timothy could see a photon torpedo pass by, between the rollbar and the saucer section of the Portland. A warning shot, no doubt. He glanced over at Sera as he walked towards the center chair, with a look that brooked no confusion about who was in command here.
As soon as Timothy entered the Bridge, Sera immediately stood. With a, "Sir," she stepped away from the chair to return to her spot on the Main Engineering console. Sera did have her misgivings, but Tim was needed and this was no time to rehash the past. As she sat down at the console, she noticed Marcus. Sadness filled her as she saw what had become of him since they had seen each other last, but there was work to be done.
Giving the others time to come up with something, Jena answered the hail. "Sir, the Eclipse is hailing us." She reported.
"On screen," Tim called out, seeing Ellen and Meru stepping onto the bridge out of the corner of his eye. On the main viewer of the Portland appeared Captain del Bolero of the Eclipse. And behind him at the tactical console was his son, Andy.
del Bolero took a double take at the sight of the Portland's bridge. When he heard the Portland was being stolen, he didn't know that it was a bunch of current and former Starfleet officers behind the theft. "Mister Rouse," he said in a clearly derogatory tone, "what is the meaning of this?"
Sera turned to look at the viewscreen, and immediately regretted it. She knew her sister, Selina was on the ship. However, knowing something and actually seeing something were two different things. Her heart did go out to Tim, to be put in a position that would make a person go head-to-head with his own son. That had to be terrible.
"Starfleet wouldn't authorize this mission," replied Tim in a firm tone, "so we're doing it anyways." With that said, he looked up at Andy and caught his eyes on the screen. Andy didn't know what to do; Tim may not have been there for him, but he was still his father. A look of distress appeared on his face as he came to terms with the fact that he may have to fire upon his father. Tim took it all in stride, simply offering his son a subtle reassuring nod, as if to say that he was proud of him.
del Bolero sighed and pressed his hand against his head. "Timothy, I know you have nothing to lose, but think about this for a moment. Do you know the punishment for stealing a starship? I don't; no one has even tried in over a hundred years. You're risking the careers of at least a half dozen Starfleet officers, not to mention jail time." del Bolero paused and looked at Sera. "Captain Williams, as the highest ranking officer, I order you to detain these people and turn your ship around."
Behind Captain del Bolero, Lt. Selina Williams shifted nervously at her station at the Operations console. She had known about the plan to take the Portland and had even overheard the plan, but she had hoped that some other ship would've been the one to get the call to intercept. Now, her duty was to keep the Eclipse's systems operating at peak performance, even it that now meant to capture the Portland.
Sera looked tapped her comm badge and whispered, "Nikki, you have Engineering." She then turned to face the viewscreen. With a heavy sigh, she stood up, let her glance fall to Timothy and the rest of the Bridge crew. She then stepped forward and placed her hand on the shoulder of Lt. Davidson. "I'll take the helm," she said. The officer then got up and immediately made his way to the back of the bridge to an unoccupied console.
Looking up from the Science console, Jena recognised her old friend Selina at the Eclipse's Operations console. She was happy for her having earned a place on the fleet's prestigious new ship, but didn't envy her having to serve with Captain Windbag.
del Bolero shook his head upon witnessing Sera taking the conn. "I see you've all made your choice," he said in a solemn and slightly threatening voice. "If you don't stand down immediately, I will have no choice but to use force. I should also inform you that the Eclipse is equipped with ten tetryon beam arrays, each of which is rated at over 400 petawatts of output, and can sustain a maximum speed of warp 9.9997." del Bolero's eyes narrowed as he stared at Tim. "You can't run, you can't hide, and if you even think about trying to fight your way out of this, the Eclipse will make short work of that archaic garbage scow which you've inexplicably decided is worth stealing."
Tim smirked. "You don't get it, do you?" he replied, trying to buy time for Sera or Marcus or Jena to come up with something -- anything -- which might help them escape. "This mission is more important than any of us. We have twenty years of wrongs to right. We've been to hell and back together; we're not just a bunch of random strangers, we're a crew. And this crew is missing its captain. We're doing this for Meru, for Tyrlai, and for all of us."
del Bolero sighed. He had read of a Captain Alenis Meru in the Portland's database; while he had only skimmed her file, he knew that she was killed in action while commanding the Portland. "She died twenty years ago," he shot back, initially confused about the mention of the Portland's former captain. But a moment later, a realization appeared on his face. "...unless you're planning to violate the Temporal Prime Directive," he added in a serious tone. "In which case, you know I have to stop you."
Tim opened his mouth to respond, but was cut off by the holographic Vedek at his side. "Captain," said holo-Meru in a soothing tone. "This is a difficult situation for us all, and as a woman of the cloth so to speak, I believe that before we act rashly we should consider the teachings of our religious figures and their holy texts."
"Oh?" asked del Bolero, having little patience for the superstitious mumbo-jumbo of the Bajorans. "And what sort of insights might these texts provide?"
"Well, there is a certain special place which is a recurring theme in Earth religions," started Alenis in a calm, gentle tone, "and were I a human priest, I believe what I would say is this:" Holo-Meru's eyes narrowed as she gave del Bolero a piercing glare. "Go to hell, Captain."
A snort, sounding a cross between a wheeze and a chuckle, comes from the engineering station. But it's cut short as Marcus' instruments light up. "Captain, I am reading a power build-up in the Eclipse's forward weapons array. We do not have the conventional means to withstand a direct assault," Marcus said towards Sera, eyepiece glittering with malevolent Borg green. "Now is the time."
Greg heard the words spoken by the other members but he was too concerned about the imminent threat which the other ship had hanging over their heads. His fingers itched to return fire but he realised the repercussions that this could ultimately cause. Al he could do was wait for an order.
On the screen, del Bolero harumphed and glanced back at the tactical console. "Cadet Rouse, lock weapons on their engines." He looked back at the screen. "I'm sorry it has come to this, but you give me no choice." With that, del Bolero's face disappeared and was replaced with a view out the back of the USS Portland. The Eclipse, gaining on them, had charged up its weapons and fired, stripping most of the Portland's rear shields in a single burst.
"More power to the aft shields!" called out Tim. "Captain Williams, if you have an ace up your sleeve, now is the time."
Stepping beside Captain Williams, Marcus said, "Sera." He rarely spoke her name any more. "Sacrifices must be made for this plan to succeed. I volunteered. Give the order."
Sera looked back at Marcus, and shook her head in understanding. He had been one of her best friends, and the accident had left him is a state that he detested. Yet, still Sera was reluctant to give the order. She looked at Marcus in the eyes and said with sadness, "Do it." Sera's fingers danced on the helm control of the Portland. She was about to put the ship through evasive maneuvers the designers over a century ago never intended a Miranda-class ship to endure.
Stepping clear of his friend, Marcus turned a quick gaze around the bridge. Despite his foibles and failures, this was the crew that stood by him. "Goodbye," he said, his gaze last on Meru, a being whom he had treated with distrust. Touching a control on his cybered arm, Marcus disappeared in a sparkling field, appearing like an amalgam of both Starfleet and Borg transporter technology.
TO BE CONTINUED
Commander Timothy Andrew Rouse