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John Randall

Too Little, Too Late?





(Personal Log Stardate 11612.05)


John sat in the captain's ready room aboard the Arizona awaiting word from the auxiliary bridge of the Challenger where Lieutenant Jeff Michaels and his engineering team were waiting for science officer Anastasia Poldara to finish inputting an equation into the device the engineering team had built to try to eradicate the virus infecting the space around the Challenger.


Poldara had suggested to John that an additional element be added to the equation Randall had gleaned from Montgomery Scott's notes. She had a good idea that the element would add extra punch to the baryons stored in the device, and help create "hot spots" in the space surrounding the Challenger, essentially "burning" the virus in space.


The science officer completed her data input a few moments later, and asked Michaels how the relay connections looked. Michaels replied that, since he had never seen this done before, was as sure as he would ever be, but what did he know? Poldara gave a wry smile and answered, "Absolutely nothing." She then contacted ensign Dvokr chim Hok, the communications officer, and told him to tell Captain Ja'Lale the device was ready.


Hok complied with her request, then connected Michaels with Randall aboard the Arizona. Michaels told John they were ready, and Randall gave Jeff the instructions on the firing sequence they were to use. Michaels acknowledged the instructions, and contacted the captain for permission to begin firing the phasers. Ja'Lale gave his consent, and Michaels, after checking that Lieutenant Poldara was ready on the short-range scanner (as per Randall's instructions), programmed the sequence into the computer, and pressed the firing button.


Beams of red penetrated the space around the Challenger. From a port in the ready room of the Arizona, John could faintly see the beams stabbing in all directions from the Challenger. Russell had joined him in the ready room by this time, and she smiled at John as the light show commenced.


"My goodness, John," she said, shaking her head. "Talk about a radical solution to a problem. How in the name of space----?" Randall quickly shook his head. "It's not my solution, Amanda," he replied. "This one's all about Captain Scott. How he came up with this, I will never know. The man is a legend in the engineering community. I'm just borrowing an idea of his."


"Yes, but you had to get the idea to 'borrow' his idea, John, and that is what is getting me," retorted the captain of the Arizona. "I wouldn't have thought of this in a million years." John shook his head again. "If you had become an engineer, Captain, I believe you would have."


Amanda smiled. "Well, we'll never know the answer to that question, because I absolutely sucked at engineering, Lieutenant." They laughed as the light show from the Challenger ceased. "What now, John?" she asked. "Lieutenant Poldara should be doing her scans here in a few seconds, then she will tell Lieutenant Michaels if a second volley is needed," answered the Challenger's chief engineer.


Aboard the Challenger, Lieutenant Poldara was doing just that. She frowned at the readings she was getting, and looked over to Michaels. "I don't like the radiation levels, Lieutenant," she reported. "I would recommend a second round." "Acknowledged, Lieutenant," replied Michaels, and pressed the firing button again.


Again the beams stabbed into the space surrounding the Challenger, and the display outside the ship this time was even more vivid than the first one. Crew members aboard the ship were mistakenly heading for their assigned battle station as they thought the ship was under attack.


The second volley came to an end, and Poldara once again scanned the area of space surrounding the Challenger. When she looked up this time, there was a smile on her face. "The space surrounding the ship is virtually virus-free, Lieutenant," she reported, and Michaels grinned back at her.


"Acknowledged, Lieutenant," he replied excitedly, and punched the 'comm. "Michaels to Randall," he said, and John answered him. "Lieutenant, it worked!" he cried, and John slumped in relief as Russell cried out and grabbed his arm in glee. "I don't know where you got that idea from, old buddy, but it worked," Michaels continued.


"We can thank a Starfleet legend for this one, Jeff," replied Randall. Poldara then made a motion at Michaels, and he told John to stand by. "Yes, Lieutenant?" he asked. Ana said, "Now all we have to do is figure out how to sterilize the inside of the ship, and the space beyond ours."


Michaels' enthusiasm dimmed a bit at her words. "Yeah," he said. "All we have to do." They had no way of knowing, however, that that particular problem might be one they didn't have to worry about. At that precise moment, an officer manning the long-range sensors on the bridge of the Challenger reported to Ja'Lale that incoming fire had been detected by the sensors, and was on its way to the ship.


Aboard the Arizona, John and Russell had just rejoined the crew on the bridge when an ashen-faced Mays, the communications officer, turned in her chair. "Captain, the UFP has ordered all ships to fire on the Challenger!" she reported, and John went completely rigid at the report.


Mays continued in a suddenly subdued voice, "Captain, you have been ordered to launch all torpedoes at the Challenger." Russell stared at her for a few seconds, then looked at John, who had turned white with the news. He had just helped his ship, and now all his efforts seemed to be in vain.



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