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Rubeum Allec, secundus

Stardate 2262.xxx

Earth Cargo Ship Fitzgerald Edmunds

Near a currently uncharted megastructure


Mala slid into the seat at the helm of the bulk and containerized cargo ship, relieving the previous watch’s helmsman. Since being rescued 18 months previous from a frozen death by the freighter she now helmed, Mala had been a bit of a recluse- by both inclination and because the crew were understandably uneasy around a Romulan in their presence. She’d seen the news reports of the Yorktown rescuing the crew and passengers of “an unidentified Vulcan colony ship,” but that was the last she’d heard of her old crew. As Captain Saalo didn’t have the need for a science specialist, Mala took larboard watch helm of the large freighter. A skill she didn’t need, much like commanding a starship before Virinat, but it was coming in handy. Even if the rations weren’t the greatest.


The ship’s crew was eclectic, not at all like the boomers of the previous century. Even though the ship was licensed by the Earth Cargo Authority, the captain was Bajoran. The first mate, Gorn; the second mate a medically retired member of Starfleet- one of the few, very few survivors of the Battle of Vulcan. Early on, the crew chalked up her lack of familiarity of current events as either traumatic amnesia or Romulan propaganda.


Taking a few moments to familiarize herself with the ship’s location, course and speed, Mala had a good idea where they were. The megastructure off to starboard was a familiar landmark, and usually one they didn’t go visit. ECA regulations were strict enough that a deviation to an uncharted/uncontacted system was usually suspension of their license for over a year, and loss of lucrative contracts. Sometimes, though, a captain would make that deviation just to see what’s lurking beneath the Oort Cloud. Seeing the look on S’shar’s face (such as it was) reflecting on the main viewer told Mala that this was going to change this watch.


“Mala, change courssse. We can sssave 10 hours cutting through the sssyssstem’sss outer planetsss.”


She nodded, and implemented the course change, and watched the ship’s sensors as the Edmunds plunged through the heliopause and Oort Cloud at Warp 2.3. Taking advantage of the cargo ship’s course change, Mala directed the long range sensors to gather as much data as they could about the megastructure and the surrounding system. She was, after all a scientist, but not really a helmsman.


It was, at that moment, that the ship’s sensor suite picked up an explosion of gravitons, tachyons, neutrinos, and other elemental particles moving at the speed of light, rapidly followed by a plasma wave moving perpendicular to the course of the ship. “Mr. S’shar, plasma wave inbound, bearing 270, relative. We’re going to get hit.”


“Get the bow into the wave,” S’shar hiss/growled. “Braccce for collisssion.”


“Attempting to get her bow into the wave!” Mala shouted, as the wave caught the saucer of the freighter. Warning and caution lights began flashing on the helm and engineering consoles. “Helm, impulse and thrusters are not responding!” These warning and caution lights were accompanied by deck vibrations and the sounds of rending metal echoing through the ventilation system...and the bridge plunging into the feeble light of backup systems as the ship split in two, the victim of three waves in rapid succession. The cargo hull, still under power, slammed into the saucer, forcing it out of warp, flipping end over end.


The ship groaned from the torque of the multi-axis spin and sudden deceleration. Structural components failed, falling on to the deck; one large stanchion falling across the center seat...and S’shar. With the detachment of a survivor of the Fall of Virinat, and numerous campaigns against the Tal Shiar, Mala noted the death of the second officer. “This is Mala. S’shar is dead; the ship is not going to survive. Abandon ship. I repeat, abandon ship.” She looked at the few bridge crew still there. “Man your lifepods. The ship is going down.” They nodded and headed for their pods.


For the second time, in almost as many years, Malaelys Valreos would be the last to leave her dying ship.


* * *


Her lifepod coasted, inertia carrying her towards the megastructure after the last of the was exhausted. Life support was functional, barely; thankfully the megastructure Mala was drifting towards was a Niven Ring instead of a Dyson Sphere, so her pod’s solar batteries were maintaining a charge. Her speed, however, wasn’t much faster than Voyager 6’s before it disappeared from NASA’s long range tracking- a blister 25 km/s. Making some calculations on the small terminal in front of her, and assuming a constant rate of speed, she frowned at the results. “25 years at this rate. And with only 3 solar days of consumables. Not going to last the week, let alone 25 years.” Touching the scarf looped around her neck and shoulders, a momento from a home that won’t exist for at least a hundred and 40 years, she began powering down what she could.



A loud THUWMP a few days later woke Mala. Looking out the frosted over viewport, she saw the primary of the system eclipsed by a ship not much larger than the Edmund’s bridge module...and the cable that was reeling her in like a freshwater tuna on P3X-442. Can’t run, can’t fight. Let’s just hope they’re friendly, she thought as the cable brought her into a small landing bay, rotating caution lights flashing through the dimly light bay.


The winch lowered her to the sealed hatch, letting the pod rest on its back. Wiping away the frost on the transparencies, she looked around. “Looks like they’re the cast in that holodrama I saw at Starbase Sierra before Daniels…” Opening the hatch to the pod, she stood, lowering the scarf wrapped around her head.


“She doesn’t look like an invader from Zim, what that chap Bertie Georges wrote about in that one scientific romance.”

“Are you sure it wasn’t the slave race from The Chronic Argonauts?”

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