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1 - The Stranding of the Ride

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  • 1 - The Stranding of the Ride


    Bridge, USS Ride

    1426 HRS

    “Helm, come about bearing one-seven-zero. Tactical, fire a volley of quantum torpedoes, full spread!” Captain Gallo exclaimed, white-knuckling the armrests of the center seat.

    The Borg had been harassing New Bajor for the better part of a week, sending small scout ships and spheres to the colony, in an attempt to encroach upon the Dominion’s backyard. The ships of Task Force 9 had been largely capable of driving them off, but force depletion was rapidly occurring, and the senior staff didn’t know how much longer they could keep it up.

    Captain Gallo and the crew of the USS Ride had been sent through the wormhole to support the Task Force, expecting that a Steamrunner class starship would be relatively capable of counter-harassing the Borg (or at the very least, outrunning them) until the larger ships could come in and deal with them. It hadn’t been going well thus far.

    “Full spread, no effect,” the tactical officer replied. “Ten quantum torpedoes left, ma’am.”

    “How long until the rest of the Task Force arrives?” Gallo called out.

    “Seventeen minutes, ma’am,” the man at the ops station replied. “They’re at maximum warp presently.”

    “Then for the time being it’s us against three cubes. If it’s our time, let’s at least make sure they don’t hit the colony. Helm, evasive maneuvers pattern four-gamma. Tactical, phaser modulation sequence seven. Try to hit their weak points, if they even have them. Let’s try to make it through the next seventeen minutes relatively unscathed.”

    “We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your vessel. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”

    “That’ll be the goddamned day,” Gallo muttered under her breath. “Ensign Arsis?”

    “Fifteen minutes, ma’am!”

    “Ma’am, I highly suggest we make a tactical retreat back to the mouth of the wormhole. If things get much worse, we won’t be able to stay on station for much longer, and we can make a tactical retreat back to Deep Space 9.”

    “Our orders are to defend New Bajor,” Gallo replied to her first officer. “We have to stay on station until the rest of the Task Force arrives. There’s billions of people down there counting on us.”

    “They won’t be able to count on us if we don’t survive, ma’am,” the man responded. “I’m not suggesting we retreat just yet, just that we reposition to the mouth of the Wormhole.”

    As Gallo opened her mouth to speak, the Ride was rocked by a volley of torpedoes from the leading cube. Conduits and panels across the bridge sparked wildly, and several officers were thrown from their stations, sprawled across the deck.

    “Ma’am,” Arsis shouted from the Ops station, “the Merrimac and the Constitution just dropped out of warp and they’re bearing on the lead cubes.”

    “Good, get us the hell out of here,” Gallo replied. “Helm, maneuver us to the mouth of the wormhole, and take us back through. We can lick our wounds when we get back to Deep Space 9.”

    “I think all I can give you is full impulse. No response from Engineering either. I imagine Commander Greystone has her hands full down there.”

    “I imagine you’re right,” Gallo replied. “Full impulse then. Punch it.”

    The USS Ride lurched forward, making its way slowly to the mouth of the Wormhole. Gallo knew that on the other side of the wormhole was salvation in the form of a massive space station that would be staffed enough to repair her ship.

    “Sphere is bearing, ma’am.”


    The ship lurched to starboard, spilling the crew across the deck, as the sphere locked on with its tractor beam.

    “They’re dragging us into a transwarp tunnel!”

    Gallo pulled herself up from the deck, punched a console on her chair, and shouted, “Bridge to Engineering! Mandy, if you can hear me, you need to eject the core! We’re about to go into a Borg tunnel. Eject the core and get us the hell out of here! Eject the…”

    The last thing Lieutenant-Commander Amanda Greystone remembered was the soft voice of the ship’s computer warning the crew to stand clear of the ejecting warp core. She’d been doing a thousand things to make sure the ship survived before the Task Force arrived, so when the call came from the Bridge to eject the core, it had taken her aback. It made sense right at the moment. The shock of detonating the core inside of a transwarp tunnel would eject them out of it, hopefully no worse for having been dragged into it without the right hull armor.

    She stood cautiously, surveying the ship’s small engine room. There were no spare warp cores, so the ship was currently running off whatever remained in the backup power supply. It would last, in the best case scenario, 12 hours before life support gave out.

    “Engineering to Bridge...Bridge, this is Commander Greystone in Engineering, please respond.”

    She took a few steps to a nearby console, wincing as she did. Probably just a sprained ankle, but without any medical personnel on this deck, and without the time to stop and worry about it, she really couldn’t focus her energy there.

    “Engineering to Sickbay, please come in.”

    She brought up the ship’s Master Systems Display, and sighed at both the wealth of and lack of information it was showing her. There were multiple hull breaches on decks one and two. Both engines were offline, which was expected. The shuttlebay had been relatively unscathed, but there were small hull breaches all over the ship.
    “Computer, is anyone on the Bridge?” she asked as she started punching commands into the console.

    “Internal bio-sensors are offline,” the computer responded. “Unable to detect lifesigns at this time.”

    “I need a damage report,” she responded, holding her side. Probably a broken rib. “Can you tell me if the MSD is giving me an accurate picture of the state of the ship?”

    “Affirmative,” the computer responded. “Multiple hull breaches on multiple decks. Emergency bulkheads have been closed, and forcefields are in place.”

    “Great,” Greystone winced. “Who’s commanding the ship?”

    “An automated authorization response code was sent to all senior staff of the USS Ride. You are the only member to have been actively shown to be conscious or alive. You are currently in de-facto command of the vessel.”

    She turned, and saw her broken and bruised crew forming ranks around her, clutching their sides and holding various tools they knew they’d need.

    “We’re with you, ma’am,” a Bolian crewman said. “What do you need?”

    "Where the hell did we end up?" Amanda asked, pulling up the sensor data. It displayed a massive, stationary reading before sparks flew from the console, arcing across the Engineering bay. The console quickly sputtered out, and Amanda sighed deeply.

    "You two, with me," she ordered, pointing to two of the engineers who appeared to be mostly unscathed. "We're either going to make our way to the shuttlebay, or we're going to go look out a viewport and see what that is. Let's go."

    to be continued...