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Almost Home

Posted on Thu Jun 27th, 2019 @ 9:52pm by Lieutenant Commander Aria Winters
Edited on on Sat Jun 29th, 2019 @ 4:14pm

Mission: Episode 7: Into The Fire
Location: USS Rhode Island
Timeline: Day 146 at 2225

Bridge, USS Rhode Island

"Commander, shields are at five percent and falling!" Ensign Paige Harper called out, clinging on to the edge of the Ops station, eyes wide as another volley of weapons fire rocked the Rhode Island. "Engineering is not responding and I'm detecting multiple hull breaches, decks six through eight."

From the command chair, Commander Liam Leighton gave a curt not as his own display tracked the hellfire the Borg were raining down upon them. There had been no warning, no offer of surrendering to the Collective. Not that there was a chance in hell of them agreeing to such terms.

A science vessel, Rhode Island was not equipped to withstand such an onslaught but damned if they didn't try. Already several of his senior staff had been transported to sickbay, including his wife. Junior officers were now having to step up, to prove themselves worthy of the uniform. And he could not have been more proud.

"Shields are down," Lieutenant Jayk reported from tactical, "I am detecting multiple intruders throughout the ship. I am dispatching security teams and attempting to isolate those sections of the ship."


"Still jammed," Harper reported. "Orders captain?"

It was futile he knew. But the order still came. "All hands," he announced, activating the ship wide comms, just as the distinctive sound of transporter beams filled the air, "Abandon ship."

And in that moment he knew. In under six minutes and 52 seconds, the Borg had essentially torn his ship apart. He thought of his crew. Of his wife. Was she evens still alive? He thought of home. And then, as the nearest drone turned to him, one shot brought the life of one Commander Leighton to an end.

< One hour later >

"Join Starfleet, they said. Discover the universe. And just when you are almost home, hey! Here comes the Borg..."

Eyes stinging and lungs burning from the acrid smoke filling the confined space, Lieutenant Commander Aria Winters paused to get her bearings. Far more reliable than her sense of direction in the dark, the defacto commander glanced at her tricorder before closing it over.

One more hatch between her and the shuttle bay.

Ignoring the near constant complaints from her 'companion', she looked up as another explosion rocked the ship. The weapons fire had stopped when the Borg had retreated and left them adrift. No, these were secondary explosions caused by structural and systems failures throughout the ship. It was literally tearing itself ship apart.

Besides herself, Aria had detected no other lifesigns on board. The rest of the crew were either dead or becoming 'one' with their new collective. And it had all been done with brutal efficiency. They had no time to even issue a distress signal, all frequencies jammed.

She had only survived because they had to have one of the most insane holograms ever to grace a medical bay. He had quite literally saved her life, killed her and then saved her life again. It had worked, obviously but he did not know that it would when he did it. She didn’t know if she should be grateful or furious. Instead she was just ... numb.

Chief Science Officer for most of her time aboard, Aria had become acting XO following the loss of Lieutenant Commander Wilson almost six months ago. In that time she had come to know every nut and bold of this ship, ever member of the crew. And now they were gone and the ship was not far behind.

Deciding not to waste whatever time this ship had left, she moved quickly through the Jeffries tube. Focusing on priorities.

They had to get off this ship, issue a distress signal and hope there was help nearby. Because those Borg ships had been on course for Betazed. They were just unfortunate enough to be in the way.

Reaching the hatch, she found the control panel dead. Just like everything else.

On the other side of the hatch lay Shuttle Bay One. The extensive damage to the ship was mirrored in the bay itself, although one section appeared to be relatively unscathed. And right there, like their own personal miracle, lay a shuttlecraft.

Another explosion, much closer this time, had the EMH emit a very feminine sounding screech, sliding closer as thicker, black smoke began to pour in. Time to move.

"Okay Doc, time to go," she said, closing over the tricorder and shifting so she could manually release the hatch when she was ready. "When this opens, we move and we move fast. There is no life support on the other side of this hatch but it is still presurised. We are going to the far side of the bay, to the Jupiter. Do you want me to take your emitter?"

"Absolutely not!" the hologram replied indignantly. "It will take at least two to traverse that bay will all of the damage and when you pass out from oxygen starvation, how will you get in to that shuttle unless I am with you."

"You weren't so shy killing me before," she quipped, "and does it look like I have pockets?"

"And when we get to said shuttle?" he demanded.

"We can breathe, for one thing. The we get out of there before the ship completely falls apart," she told him simply.

"Out how? The doors are sealed shut."

She looked at him like he was a malfunctioning toaster. "The ship isn't going to mind another hull breach, Doctor. She's lost and going to take us with us if we do not hurry so we make ourselves an exit. Okay...Ready?"

"I'm a doctor, of course I’m not!"

"Good enough. In that case..." she said, her hand poised on the manual release, "shall we?”

"Wait!" he called out as he scrambled after her into the dark. He was certain blood loss was affecting the woman's sanity.

"What do you mean, make an exit?!"

<< Shuttlecraft Jupiter >>

"I would urge you to remain still," the EMH advised, administering a hypospray while studying the readings on his medical tricorder, all the while humming a tune to himself. "While hardly the facilities a physician of my calibre is accustomed to, I believe you are well on the road to recovery, Commander. Rest, however, is recommended."

Lying on her back, Aria frowned, unable to remember even reaching the shuttle. She had been close, tantalisingly close, when another explosion seemed to bring the entire ship crashing down around them. The shuttle they had been aiming for disappearing beneath twisted metal that quickly buried the lifeline she had bet her chances on.

"Where are we?"

"The Jupiter," the hologram informed her. "and we are maintaining a short distance from the Rhode Island. I'm a doctor, not a pilot. And I had to tend to your injuries while I had the rare opportunity of having you sit still for more than five minutes."

Aria winced as she began to sit up. "But the Jupiter - "

"Undergoing repairs from the incident in the asteroid field. Yes. Well. Options were limited," he huffed. "We have life support, power, partial weapons and shields."

"But no comms system and they were still refitting the engines."

"I was," he said testily, "getting to that. I did not have the opportunity to ask it for a full service history before boarding."

"Okay, okay," she conceeded, not quite sure why she was trying to placate a hologram. "Starfleet will notice soon enough that we aren't on sensors anymore, and when we don't reach the starbase. They'll come for us. But I'd rather not wait around.

"Help me up, we'll find an engineering kit and see if we can do some more surgery. We need to is to get out a distress signal, Doc. Even if it is just for a few minutes."

<< twenty six hours later >>

Initiating the signal, drawing in power from any system they could spare, Aria leaned back against the bulkhead. It was basic, unencrypted and on a frequency rarely used but she sat through a lecture at the academy on how starships, and bases, still shifted through even reduntant frequncies. Just for the fun of it, she supposed.

The interior of the shuttle was a riot, components pulled from other systems to build even a semblence of a comm system. Of all the shuttles, he had to pick this one, she sighed as she looked down at the mobile emitter in the palm of her hand.

While she welcomed the company, the the contact burns he had healed while she did things that were definately not in the user manuals for shuttlecraft, when he started singing Klingon Opera she drew a line. Now there was just silence.

Now all she could do was hope someone was listening.



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