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Captain Halloway

Ready for the Fight

He didn’t like being on someone else’s ship.


Looking out the aft viewports of the conference room of the starship Pandora’s Box, he especially didn’t like seeing his own ship, the Sovereign-class USS Yorktown, in tow. Although it was supposed to be imperceptable, he imagined he could see the twist which had misaligned one nacelle and had made it impossible to generate a usable warp field.


As he waited for the arrival of Commander Brown, he thought about the events that had led to the battering of his ship.


For weeks, Yorktown had been skirting the edge of a dark matter nebula toward one edge of Cardassian space, searching for the source of unexplained transmissions in the sector. His chief science officer had done an admirable job explaining what a dark matter nebula was, but aside from its novelty as a significant navigational hazard, he’d left the physics to his specialists.


Although it remained uncharted due to this hazard, this particular nebula had seen some action during the war. Both sides had lost a number of ships in the area and the Dominion had hidden their main ketresel white storage depot along it. The base had later fallen to an attack by Benjamin Sisko aboard a stolen Jem’Hadar vessel.


The crew had advanced several theories about the source of the mysterious signals. There were rumors a resurgent group of neo-Maquis were operating in the area. It was still not known if Breen pirates had a base nearby. Starfleet Intelligence had confirmed the existence, if not the location, of at least one sleeper base left behind by the Dominion after the war (see log by Semil, What They Didn't Know). Privately, Halloway had secretly hoped to find survivors of the starship Phoenix, which had managed to locate the Dominion facility before being overwhelmed on its last, fareful mission. Still, the idea of finding anything inside was problemmatic. The reality was, the dark matter was impenetrable to scans and it caused havoc to a ship's major systems.


Thus, the attack had caught them unprepared. Their unknown craft had barrelled out of the nebula, slamming his ship with an unexpected barrage.


He drew in a sharp breath. It was like that time with the Breen. He didn’t like being caught off-guard, and he especially didn’t like losing crew because of it.


The door at aft hissed open.


Commander Brian Brown entered. “Sorry to keep you waiting, Captain.”


Halloway flashed his trademark grin, offering a hand to the man who’d saved them from another two weeks of aimless drifting. “Not a problem.”


Brown shook the offered hand, then gestured to an open chair at the conference table as he took another. “Sciences says the tactical data was heavily corrupted, but they’ve pieced together the opening few seconds.”


“Good,” Halloway nodded, dropping into the seat. Although Yorktown had taken damage almost immediately, their sensors had captured the first moments of the battle. In their gamble to hide in the nebula, the computer core and their distributed processors had gone offline, rendering them unable to analyze it.


Brown brought up the image onscreen. Three strangely curved ships emerged from the nebula, firing orange, plasma-like weapons. “Look familiar?” the commander asked, although his expression suggested he knew the answer.


Not the Breen, Halloway remarked to himself. He feel simultaneously pleased and disturbed at the same time. “No, nothing I’ve ever encountered before,” he answered, shaking his head, then hesitated. “Wait a second,” he added slowly. “I have seen this before. A couple years back, a tactical briefing at Starbase 310...”


Brown smiled just a little, maybe just a little impressed. “Yep, sciences matched the configuration from the energy signatures. Very unique. It’s a perfect match.” He looked back toward the Yorktown. “You’re lucky your ship’s still in one piece.”


Halloway looked back, as well. “We took a chance,” he admitted. “They didn’t fire until after they came out of the nebula, so I figured they might be as blind in there as we’d be.” He considered the alternative.


“Looks like hiding out was the right choice,” Brown assessed.


Halloway turned back to the younger officer. “Well, I’ve got no intention of doing it again,” he insisted. “We’ve got to alert Aegis. If this is a new threat, I want Yorktown and your station ready for the fight.”

Edited by Captain Halloway

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