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SD242107.11 - Plot Log - "Make It So"

Posted on Sun Jul 11th, 2021 @ 5:27pm by Brigadier General Jonathan Grey

1,243 words; about a 6 minute read

Mission: Escape Velocity
Location: Versailles
Timeline: Current

=^= Main Operations =^=

... Last time, on Starbase Versailles ...

Groups of Romulans, disguised as Starfleet personnel, attempted to disable the station's power grid. This action was to weaken the station prior to their finishing blow; the deployment of an unstable singularity.

A black hole.

Since the Romulans' efforts had been partially thwarted, the station retained enough power to reach orbit around the gravitational maw with its thrusters. However, this only bought them time.

Several months later, the black hole began to degrade. Gravity pulses increased in frequency and severity, forcing the mixed fleet (negotiated with the plan of moving the station to safety) to act early; dragging Versailles to a safe distance, and damaging it badly in the process.

Unfortunately, the black hole was counting down to detonation, and no sublight tow would be enough. For better or worse, the only escape would be a journey at warp. You rejoin us with only minutes left on the clock, as our heroes strive to put out fires and batten the hatches.

Versailles is going for a ride.

... And now, the story continues ...

Chaos was making a play for control, with every system threatening shutdown. Sparks sprayed, fires flared, and everywhere you looked there was yet another maintenance red flag.

In main ops, the viewscreen had a horizontal crack running across the middle of it. The top half showed stars, partially occluded by the massive fleet hovering in position just beyond the outer ring. Civilian ships, maintenance drones, a Romulan Warbird, some Klingon Birds of Prey, and a smattering of Starfleet's Galaxy-class vessels were but a sample of the variety on display.

On the left of the room, the General's office had finished collapsing entirely, with the remainder of the ceiling now sitting on the crushed remnants of the Yeoman's desk. Fortunately, the power core within the office had withstood the continued mistreatment, and the thick cables still supplied this corner of the station with vital power.

On the right, the bathrooms were overflowing. Someone had found some sandbags, and three crewmen were stacking the things up to prevent the flood from shorting out half of Ops. It wasn't the most high-tech solution, but it seemed to be working.

Most of the action was taking place at the back of the room, where a steady flow of people climbed in and out of the still-functioning turbolift. Determined to survive, the crew was pulling out all the stops to hold the station together. A never-ending parade of exhausted, grim expressions hammered out commands into their consoles. If one console failed, the owner would either tear into its guts until it worked, or quickly switch to another one.

In the middle of the room stood the General. He had given all the instructions he could, and felt utterly useless.

According to the manual, a leader was meant to give the best orders he could, and then radiate calm until the crisis had passed.

Step 1 was complete, so he now fulfilled step 2 by wandering around Ops and staring at various, random screens, and grunting in a way that could imply approval or disapproval. If he felt people were getting wise to this scheme, he'd ask random people for status reports, or he'd stand in the middle of the room and jut his chin out towards the viewscreen.

Eventually, his Yeoman hurried forward from an unobtrusive corner, and quietly drew the General's attention to a ticking clock on a padd.

It was showtime.

"Open a channel to the Ryde." the General commanded, folding his arms behind his back.

"Channel open."

The top half of the screen flickered into life, briefly showing the upper half of the Ryde's bridge, before the screen flashed and failed entirely.

The General scowled and glanced at the comms officer.

"We have audio only, sir." reported the Lieutenant, "Though I think they can still see us."

"Alright, moving on." said the General, cutting the maintenance teams some slack. They had priorities, and right now so did he.

"Captain Chot?" he inquired, to the empty viewscreen.

"We hear you, sir." replied the square void. "The black hole has begun its destabilization. Is Versailles ready for the jump?"

"That's a question for engineering." the General replied, looking to the senior-most engineer in the room.

"Sir, the power grid and inertial dampeners should hold, but we're asking a lot of questions about the structural integrity, and we don't have answers." said the engineer, an aging Bajoran Lieutenant.

"So we can stay here and die, or go to warp and...what?"

"Best case, the integrity field holds and we're all ok. Worst case, the station rips itself apart, with maybe individual sections surviving if their own power supplies are intact. Maybe Ops, and maybe some of the engineering sections."

"Wouldn't they get hit be the ring colliding with the spindle?"

"Unlikely, sir. Many of the tractor beams are focused on the outer ring so it won't hit the spindle if it breaks up."

"General." the Yeoman interrupted, holding the padd up again.

"Right." the General replied, nodding. Ultimately it didn't matter what might happen. If the station didn't jump to warp inside the next sixty seconds, the exploding black hole would kill them all for sure.

"Captain Chot. Versailles is ready." Grey declared, resuming his pose of authority.

"Yes sir. Chot out."

=^= Space =^=

On the bridge of the Ryde, Captain Chot pressed a button on his command chair terminal, sending a signal to the rest of the fleet.

Timed to the picosecond, a massive, synchronized set of algorithms flashed through a series of actions too fast for any non-artificial mind to follow. This was all calculated weeks in advance, and nothing could be left to chance.

First, the ships confirmed they were in position. From shuttles to Galaxy-class starships, the cloud was uniformly distributed across the entire surface of the station so that the framework would take the strain equally.

Second, the tractor emitters across literally hundreds of starships were activated simultaneously; lashing out with every colour of the rainbow, and attaching themselves to hard points across the station.

Next, the station itself was prepared. Re-inforced circuitry and jerry-rigged components were pushed to their absolute mathematical limits to create a warp-capable inertial dampening system. Any flaws here would rip large portions of the station away from the main body, tractor beams or not.

Finally, the tricky part.

Behind the station, the black hole collapsed in on itself, dragging much of the event horizon in towards the centre before blasting violently outwards, sending massive shockwaves of energy in all directions like a hand-grenade powered by a star.

The computer program, however, paid no mind to the expanding wall of doom racing towards the station. It was concentrating on creating the warp field, which had to be shared across all of the larger vessels in a shimmering, translucent bubble, before fading into invisibility.

The final step was the most critical, and though these ships did it every day, it was a first for the vast starbase.

As one, the fleet powered up its nacelles, the hundreds of brilliant points of light glowing like their own little galaxy. The many thousands of people aboard the station rushed to watch at the nearest window or still-functioning console, regardless of the danger, and even those in Ops found themselves transfixed.

In the blink of an eye, Versailles appeared to stretch into the distance, and vanished.

=^= End of Log =^=

Brigadier General Jonathan Grey
Commanding Officer
Starbase Versailles


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