Author : Patricia Stewart, Staff Writer
I was heading toward the Bridge along Deck 12 just aft of the Station 114 Bulkhead when I heard, sorry, felt, the explosion. The shock wave knocked me into the starboard hullplate, but I managed to remain standing. I felt a rush of air flowing toward the stern of the ship, followed by the breach alarm. I knew that I only had a few seconds until the vacuum pressure doors sealed off the compromised sections of the ship. I took three long strides and dove head-first past the bulkhead just as the automated safety doors slammed shut. Had I been a few feet further away I would be dying a horrible death as the vacuum of space ripped the air from my lungs. Of course, depending on the damage to the ship, I may still die, but I figured that I had a better chance than the 200 or so crewmen on the wrong side of that bulkhead.
I rushed to the Bridge. As I entered, the captain was coordinating the structural integrity assessment with the ship’s Chief Engineer. Commander Cox was coordinating the search and rescue operation. As First Lieutenant, my job was to assist the commander.
“Ah, Lieutenant Oliver,” said the commander, “We thought we had lost you. Glad you’re still with us. Listen, the only vessel we have forward of the sealed off sections of the ship is the captain’s yacht. I need you to fly six shuttle pilots and medical teams back to the aft launch bay and transfer them to the shuttlecraft. They’ll dock to the exterior hatches in the damaged sections and look for survivors. You start docking with any personal escape pods that managed to eject. You don’t have much time. We’ll have to jettison the engine compartment before the warp core explodes. You have less than two hours.”
As the yacht passed along the hull of the Indomitable, I could see a gaping hole where the propulsion section used to be. It was venting plasma. I blasted open the flight bay doors to gain access to the shuttlecraft. I transferred the pilots and medics and we began rescuing the survivors. After 90 minutes, the commander ordered us away. “We’re losing the containment field, gentlemen. We need to sever the ship at the 128 Bulkhead before the core blows. All rescue craft back off 5000 klicks.
As we pulled away, the white-hot flash of the amputation charge arced around the circumference of the ship, separating the aft third. The maneuvering thrusters of the main portion of the Indomitable fired, and it began to move forward. That’s when I spotted a drifting escape pod. “Commander, permission to retrieve another pod,” I requested.
“Negative, Mister Oliver. There’s not enough time to dock.”
“I don’t need to dock, sir. I can use the grapple,” I pleaded. “I can make it.”
The Commander hesitated a few seconds, and then said, “Okay Lieutenant, you have one shot. Hit or miss, you pull out at maximum speed. And, so there won’t be any misunderstanding, that’s an order!”
“Understood, sir.” Fortunately, all those training exercises paid off. I managed to snag the pod cleanly and towed it toward the escaping forward end of the Indomitable. At 5200 klicks, the Indomitable’s warp core exploded into a fireball that was so bright the yacht’s emergency shutters polarized the viewports. Ten seconds later, they depolarized to reveal the debris field silently expanding. I watched as thousands of molecular fragments impacted the yacht’s shields and harmlessly dissipated as tiny flashes of light.