Author : Bob Newbell

“Captain,” exclaimed chief engineer Chen, “the quanto-gravitetic drive has been hit! If we don’t reverse the polarity of the phase rectification circuits within the the next three minutes, the magnetometric decouplers with be completely de-energized!”

Captain Rodriguez frowned. The sneak attack from a hostile Fomalhauti starship had taken out the SS LaForge’s primary warp field initiators. “Chief,” said the captain, “I need power from the quantum instantiation generators routed to the tachyonic transmitter array.”

“But, Captain,” Chen replied, “there’s no way the Heisenberg manifold can take that kind of punishment. The magnetohydrodynamic conduits will undergo an exponential quantum re-entanglement feedback before the Bussard ramjets can possibly compensate.”

The LaForge shuddered as she was struck by another Fomalhauti barrage.

“Captain,” said the ship’s navigator, “we just lost the monopole capacitors! The ship’s superluminal transrelativistic flux inversion sensors just went offline!”

Rodriguez slammed his fist on the armrest of his command chair. The situation was untenable. “That’s it!” he roared. “Chen, I want you to channel an anti-meson stream directly into the turboencabulator, even if it means sacrificing the entire photino containment chassis!”

Another shudder. Another Fomalhauti direct hit.

“Sir,” said Chen, “if I open the anti-meson stream to full power, then I can’t guarantee the singularity transducer won’t undergo a quantum tunneling cascade that will make every superconducting isoprocessor on the ship suffer a causality paradox.”

“It’s a risk we’ll have to take,” said the Captain. “Now, I want all the ship’s quark inverters set to–”

Captain Rodriguez never finished his sentence. A Fomalhauti missile destroyed the LaForge killing all aboard. A subsequent investigation by the United Earth Interstellar Defense Force Committee on Combat Operations resulted in a new engagement protocol being implemented. In all hostile encounters with the Fomalhauti that came after, all UEIDF starship captains were required, until such time as hostilities had ceased, to limit his or her orders to the words “Return fire.”

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