Captain Selenia Reporting
Commanding Officer, USS Erbrus
We have just finished our second slingshot jump from the Traelus System 200 years into the past. We are assigned to find and bring to the future the USS Exeter. I have the first member of the “Ghost Fleet”, Lt. KATRA, with me on this trip. He is a little too vulcan for my tastes, but he is a Vulcan after all. Bailey and Fanklin thought his insights would be a help on this trip, so here he is.
The Exeter is one of the original 12 Constitution class ships Starfleet had comissioned it the mid 23rd century. It was lost with all hands in the 2260's, presumably because of a warp engine malfunction; a very rare “quantum bubble” had formed in the reaction chamber causing a catastrophic overload of the warp core. This ship is a perfect candidate for Section 31's “Ghost Fleet”.
The commanding officer is Captain Richard Allen Cleary. He seems a bit of a stuffed shirt to me. According to Starfleet records, he had won most major medals that were given out at that time. He was also reported to be a stickler for the regulations. Not my cup of tea, but if Franklin and Bailey want him, then “Yes Sir!” I have to admit, there are times regulations should be obeyed.
I have ordered my first officer to set course for the last known location of the Exeter. According to the last report made by Captain Cleary, their orders were to study the effects of a black hole cluster on a stellar nursery. It just so happens that the stellar nursery is in a nebula in the Hromi Cluster near the Romulan Neutral Zone. The last communication Starfleet had was from an emergency beacon near the black hole cluster. That beacon said they strayed too close to one of the black holes and a “quantum bubble” was forming in the warp core from the extreme gravity sheer. My best guess says that near that black hole cluster is where we'll find the Exeter.”
Captain Richard Allen Cleary intently monitored the readout on the console in front of him. The Quantum Bubble in the dilithium chamber had stopped growing, but showed no sign of diminishing. Sweat beaded on his brow as he glance at his Chief Engineer, Lt Cmdr. Vilnar, who was frantically beating on a tricorder, modulating the subspace guide wave that directed the matter/antimatter reaction in the warp core. He waited for the signal from Vilnar to perform a hard restart of the warp engines. If this didn't work, the Exeter and all it's crew would either be sucked into a black hole or become permanent fixtures in the stellar nursery they were studying.
“Captain, that should be right, DO IT NOW!”
Knowing his life depended on it, Captain Cleary keyed in his command code, hit execute on the EPS console and held his breath. The entire ship went silent and dark. The only noise and light coming from the “Red Alert” that the ship was still under. After a moment that seemed a life time, the warp core thundered back to life, and main power came back online. All the crew of the Exeter let out a collective breath they'd all been holding. Laughter and cheers broke out all over the ship.
Cleary hit the com panel in front of him, “Bridge, this is the captain, stand down red alert!”
As he turned, Cleary felt someone slap him on the back and turned to see his best friend and Chief Medical Officer, Harmon Blaise. Blaise reached out his hand to shake Cleary’s. “As one surgeon to another, more or less, that was a fine bit of work. And to think, if Ensign Sul hadn’t taken that tumble I wouldn’t have seen you at work.”
Cleary smiled broadly. “Thank you, Harm. And Sul?”
Turning to Lt Cmdr. Vilnar Cleary said “Nice job, Lieurenant Commander, I am putting you in for a Citation!”
“Thank you, Si....”
Vilnar's reply was cut short as the ship was rocked by weapons fire on the hull, everyone in engineering lost their footing. Red Alert came right back up, and the com panel crackled to life, “Captain to the bridge!”
Picking himself up, Cleary hit the panel on his way out of engineering, “On my way! Ensign Torman, Tactical Report?”
Running full speed, Richard made it to the turbo lift. As the door to the turbo lift closed as the Captain received his reply.
“Sir, 4 Romulan Bird's of Prey have decloaked around us. We are taking heavy fire. We have managed to get shields up, and have only sustained minor damage to the plasma relays around the starboard nacelle. Weapons are not ready yet, Sir!”
The turbo lift doors opened and Captain Cleary ran onto the bridge of his starship. “We need to buy some time,” taking his seat, he addressed his communications Officer, “Hail them Lieutenant Belsing,” he ordered.
The turbolift doors swished again and a statuesque blue-skinned woman ran onto the bridge. The Captain nodded to his Andorian first officer, Commander RaeThrasa Sh’Aanil, as she relieved Torman at Tactical.
“Aye, Sir. Frequency open, Captain.”
“Lead Romulan ship,” began the Captain, “This is Captain Cleary of the Federation ship Exeter. We are doing peaceful research on this stellar nursery. Your firing on us constitutes an act of war.”
The only answer the Exeter got was another volley of plasma torpedo's. Just then, the tactical readout on his captain's chair came to life. Weapons had been restored. Richard looked at the readout, and realized there were not just 4 warp signatures in the space nearby, but 6. One appeared to be Federation, but was unlike any he had seen before. The 6th was unmistakably Klingon. Captain Cleary couldn't worry about the other ships right now. He had 4 Romulans hellbent on destroying him.
“Con, take us to heading 342 mark 7 and accelerate to maximum impulse. Commander sh’Aanil, ready Photon Torpedo's, full spread and high yield! Also, overload the phaser banks and fire at will on my mark. Belsing, see if you can get that Federation ship out there up on screen. I want to talk to her captain!”
“Yes Sir!” came the three replies simultaneously. The shields took another volley from the Birds of Prey. Cleary gazed steadily at the screen on the arm of his chair, the shields were down to 20% and would not survive another combined blast from the Romulans. As the Exeter came to it's new heading, the Federation warp signature on his readout moved into the fray.
“Sir. I have a message from the Federation captain on board that mystery ship, audio only.”
“Put it on, Lieutenant.”
A female voice came over the com, “Exeter, this it Captain Selenia of the USS Erbrus, maintain your heading and concentrate your fire on the ship directly in front of you. I'll handle the rest. Selenia, out!”
“Do as the lady says, not that we have a choice! Ensign, fire all weapons on the lead Bird of Prey!”
The Exeter brought all weapons to bear on the lead Romulan ship. The Bird of Prey's shields melted away under the barrage of the phaser banks. The Photon tube on the underside of the Exeter's saucer sent three torpedo's hurtling at the exposed hull of the enemy. The first torpedo smashed the port nacelle, the second hit mid body, and the third popped the Bird of Prey like a grape under a vintner's foot. The Exeter accelerated through the cloud of gas and debris that was a starship moments before into empty space, free of the noose the Romulan's had slipped around it's neck.
“Con, what is happening behind us? I want to see, now! Onscreen!” Ordered the Captain. “Yes Sir!” The reply.
The bridge crew of the Exeter watched in amazement as a ship that was no bigger than the saucer section of their own ship turned on the three remaining Birds of Prey. Short bursts of Phaser fire and Disruptor fire erupted from the nose of the Erbrus. The first Romulan exploded in a matter of seconds. The small ship nimbly turned to bring it's forward weapons down on the next ship. What looked to be a blue-green phaser tore into the hull of the second ship. A plasma fire erupted from the gaping hole left in the hull by the beam. Three torpedo's, with a whitish hue that Captain Cleary had never seen before, hit the Bird of Prey mid ship. The ship exploded before the third torpedo even made contact.
The Erbrus had passed by the last Bird of Prey. As it circled back, another torpedo, this one of a yellow hue, shot from the aft of the ship, along with another blue-green plasma beam. These impacted the enemy ship, started a plasma fire and seemed to slow it down to nothing. The Erbrus finished it's circle and fired all forward weapons at the hapless Bird of Prey. The Romulan didn't stand a chance, the ship exploded in a cloud of fire and debris. The battle was over.
Shaking off his amazment, Cleary started giving orders, “Engineering, Damage report? Lt. Belsing, hail the Erbrus. Stand down Red Alert!”
The com came to life, “Captain, this is Vilnar in engineering, we sustained a fair amount of damage to the EPS relay system all over the ship. Sir...Dr. Blaise..." Vilnar's voice broke as he choked the next words out, "He was helping the wounded caught in an EPS rupture, when there was a secondary explosion....I'm sorry sir, Harm didn't make it.”
Richard hung his head, a single tear ran down his cheek, his gut tightened in grief for the loss of his friend. Just then, Lt. Belsing spoke, “Sir, the Erbrus is hailing us.”
“Put them onscreen, Lieutenant.”
Captain Cleary raised his head, composed himself, and looked at the view screen. A young Vulcan looked back at him. He was wearing a standard blue uniform, and something about him seemed familiar. Richard thought for a moment, and remembered going to Memory Alpha just before the Zetarian Incident for a seminar on the feasibility of a quantum-based weapon system and it's superiority to photon-based systems. This man was one of the panel members who spoke at the seminar.
“Hello Captain Cleary. I am Lieutenant KATRA. I believe we have met before at Memory Alpha. As I recall, you thought that quantum-based torpedos were a good idea, but could not be powered by current warp core technology. You were correct. But, as I told you then, theory and practice are never very far apart.”
“Lieutenant,” the Captain thought for a moment, “I thought you were lost in the Zetarian Incident. How is it possible you are here? And what about that fantastic ship? What is going on here KATRA?”
“Sir,” replied the young Vulcan, “I will explain all that to you momentarily. I would ask that you beam over to the Erbrus and speak to Captain Selenia.”
KATRA stepped aside and a relatively attractive Romulan stepped into the view screen. She was wearing a Vulcan uniform from the very early years of Starfleet, before the United Federation of Planets even existed.
“Hello Captain Cleary, my name is Gretta Von Selenia. I am from 200 years in the future. Your ship and crew have just been lost with all hands. Starfleet thinks the “quantum bubble” in your warp core caused a breach. There is no record of your battle with the Romulans, or of my presence here. I am here to offer you and your crew another chance. Beam to my ship and we can discuss your future, Captain.”
“What is this KATRA, some sort of elaborate ruse?” Richard was becoming extremely agitated, “Are you really even him? He is listed as killed in the line of duty on Memory Alpha 10 months ago! What is to say that you are not a Romulan in disguise trying to win my trust so you can capture my ship?”
“You might think that this is all a ruse,” began KATRA, “and we are in fact trying to capture you and the Exeter. But I implore you to listen to what she has to say. You have seen what this ship can do, and you know the Exeter would not stand a chance against it. You have a valiant crew, Captain, but logic would dictate that you should hear her out, try to buy some time, and not needlessly endanger your crew.”
“You are correct, KATRA,” Cleary acquiesced. “Not only logic, but Starfleet Regulations would also dictate that same thing.”
Captain Cleary couldn't help but chuckle loudly. How absurd was this situation. He helped pop a quantum bubble in his ships warp core. That “bubble” could very well have been a new Romulan quantum-based weapon system the bastards decided to test on the Exeter. His ship then survived an attack by 4 Birds of Prey, with an assist from a dead Vulcan and a ship that won't be made for 200 years. Only to find out that the official Starfleet record shows that his ship was lost with all hands. Now his fate rests in the hands of a Romulan who won't be born for another 2 centuries wearing a vulcan uniform from 2 centuries ago. What a day.
“I will beam over immediately, Captain Selenia. Cleary out.”
Captain's Log, Supplemental:
I have just finished the debriefing of Captain Richard Allen Cleary. He seems ok, a bit shell shocked, but ok none the less. I have ordered the Erbrus and the Exeter to set course for the Traelus System so we can jump back to 2409. He may be a stuffed shirt, but I think that Captain Cleary will help the “Ghost Fleet” tremendously. This is the first time in Project Christopher that we have saved a whole ship and it's crew. Once the Exeter is refit with modern technology, I think she'll be a great addition to the fleet.
I do have to wonder about that Klingon warp signature we caught a glimpse of just before all hell broke loose. It was there one minute, and gone the next. I can only assume they cloaked while we were pounding the GagH out of the Birds of Prey. I find it amazing that my race ever made it as far as it has when I see things like this. They didn't even want to talk, just fight. That is not the Romulan way.
Anyway, Franklin and Bailey had better appreciate this mission. I do not like to put my crew in harms way any more than I have to. Two mission now, and two battles I had to fight to save officers who are dead anyhow. Hurts my head to think about it. Time for a glass of Romulan Ale, and then to hit the rack.
Captain Kregan reporting.
I came across a very unusual situation today. 4 Romulan Bird's of Prey (the foul P'Taks, stealing the name of a glorious Klingon Battle Ship!) were attacking a Federation vessel. I remained cloaked and observed. At the start of the battle, the federation ship had no power and no shields. Seizing the moment, I decloaked and had a small party of my best warriors beam into one of their empty cargo bays.
I wish I'd waited a moment, because out of nowhere, a federation ship of an unknown configuration dropped out of warp and blasted three of the Romulans to nothing in seconds flat. Today is a good day to die, but not to foolishly give up my life and the lives of my crew. I recloaked and went to warp. The High Command needs to know of this new Federation threat to the Empire!
I hope that J'ole, K'lee, B'Ranna, Kronk, K'urg and Klang died well on board that federation ship. I shall raise a glass of Blood Wine and scream to let Sto'Vo'Kor know there are Klingon Warriors on their way!
To be continued....
Chief Medical Officer's log
USS Faile, Lt B'Koth reporting for Doctor Roland
Two days ago, while on a patrol mission in the Gamma Orionas Sector, the Faile encountered an unusual distortion in the subspace field around a D class planet we were investigating. Captain Soloth ordered a full stop and a full investigation of the anomaly. It was found that the anomaly extended from low orbit of the planet through the upper atmosphere and down to the surface of the planet. The Captain, being the inquisitive Vulcan he is, ordered an away team to don EVAC suits and board a shuttle to the surface. Doctor Roland was among the team as was the Captain, Chief Engineer and head of Security. The shuttle launched from the shuttle bay, started to the surface and we lost contact with them as they entered the area around the anomaly. The last message we received from Captain Soloth was a broken up message about the structural integrity field of the shuttle going down and the hull was buckling.
The 1st officer tried to get a transporter lock on the on the inhabitants of the shuttle and transport them directly to sickbay. The only thing we got in sickbay was the lower torso and one leg of Doctor Roland, and the head and shoulders of the Security Chief. The shuttle was lost to sensors and believed crashed, though we have no proof.
I performed an autopsy on what was left of our crew members to try to determine what had gone wrong. Other than the obvious, the bodies seemed to have been distorted at the cellular level. I will need further study to determine what exactly happened to our shuttle and its occupants when it entered the distortion. Lt. B'Koth out."
That was the last transmission that Starfleet received from the Faile on April 7, 2268.
Captain Selenia reporting
Commanding Officer; USS Erbrus
Today I finished the first mission assigned to me by Section 31. Unfortunatly, they don't exist, so this really never happened. I am finding it hard to believe it did, even though I was there. We were given orders to slingshot around the star in the Traelus System. That is the same star we used when we worked for Agent Franklin Drake and Section 31 a few months ago when we had to deal with the Devidian crisis. The destination and time were different this time, as we headed to Gamma Orionas in the mid 2200's. Our orders were to render any aid we could, up to and including evacuation, to any Starfleet ship from that era or ours that might be in orbit around a pretty plain class D planet. However, if the ship was too heavily damaged, we were to save any crew we could and destroy the ship.
Imagine my surprise when we dropped out of warp and immediately picked up a distress call from a Constitution class ship called the USS Faile. I had my science officer check Starfleet records for that ship only to find that it was lost with all hands on April 7th, 2268. It was presumed destroyed by a subspace anomaly. And wouldn't you know it, the Faile was being held in a subspace tractor field eminating from the surface of the planet, She was also under attack.
I immediately ordered my Defiant Class's cloak engaged, and hit maximum impulse to engage the automated ship attacking the Faile. As I got close, I powered my forward heavy cannons and waited until the ship made it's attack run at the Faile. When it dropped it's cloak, I dropped mine, fired everything I had and destroyed the probe.
Remembering that the defense system would launch another probe shortly, I ordered a very quick scan of the Faile and locked onto any lifesign I could find in the ship. I transported all survivors to sickbay, destroyed the Faile with my forward Quantum Torpedos, cloaked, and warped out as quickly as possible. We went back to the star and slingshotted back to our time.
Captain's Log, supplemental
As soon as we were safe, I went to sickbay to see the survivors and try to explain to them what just happened, where and when I came from and exactly where they are now.
When I reached sick bay, the only thing to survive the last attack and our transport out was a Klingon Medic, one Lt B'Koth. He was really unhappy to see he was saved by a Romulan, but he got over it quick when I explained what had happened. According to him, the Faile lost it's Captain, Medical Officer and Security Chief in the hours that led up to us finding them in the situation they were in. It seems that the defense mechanism disguised itself as a subspace distortion and attacked when a shuttle was launched to the planet's surface. It took the mechanism about 2.5 hours and three automated probes to completely take down the Faile. Had we not arrived when we did, I don't think we would have even been able to save Lt. B'Koth. Somehow, I think that was the plan Franklin and Section 31 had all along, only one survivor. I am now transporting a very shell shocked Lt. B'Koth to the secret starbase Mariner 10, where I will turn him over to Admiral Bailey for debriefing, and await new orders from Section 31. I can't say I am happy about my reassignment here, but if it helps the Federation in the war with the Klingons, I am bound by duty to do it."
To be continued....
When he was 17, after failing his first attempt to enter Starfleet Academy, he decided to enlist as an ordinary crewman. His initial assignment was as an engineering mate on board the USS Stingray, an aging cruiser that had entered service in the final days of the Earth-Romulan war. The Stingray had been refit several times and it was filled with layer upon layer of barely compatible technologies. The ship’s chief engineer took an early interest in Cleary, and he quickly learned to finesse and, when needed, jury rig the Stingray’s systems.,
In 2245, the Stingray participated in the Battle of Donatu V. Cleary distinguished himself both in ground action, helping to organize a counterattack against a Klingon ambush, and in space. He was promoted to petty officer, second class, and received the Starfleet Award for Valor. He also caught the eye of Starfleet command.
Three years later, during the Battle of Orias 7, when the Stingray’s captain and first officer were injured, Cleary temporarily assumed command of the ship and successfully held off a Klingon battle cruiser long enough for reinforcements to arrive. Once again, he was recognized for his actions, earning a Citation for Conspicuous Gallantry. The damage suffered by the Stingray was too great, and the ship was decommissioned after the battle. Cleary, however, was called on to greater things. He was invited to participate in Starfleet’s Enlisted-to-Officer program and to enter Starfleet Academy. He accepted.
When Ensign Cleary graduated, he was assigned to the USS Fianna, a newly minted light cruiser. Though a few of his shipmates found him overly fond of regulations and unwilling to bend roles, he continued to excel and, during his more relaxed off-duty hours, became a popular companion in the ship’s lounge. When a medical officer named Leonard McCoy came on board to serve a temporary rotation, he and Cleary quickly became friends. The two were nearly the same age and shared a plainspoken style and, despite Cleary’s background in engineering, a belief in the human spirit and a subtle distrust of advanced technology. By contrast, they often clashed over Cleary’s insistence on obeying regulations as precisely as he could, and demanding that those around him did the same.
In 2259, at the age of 32, Cleary became the Fianna’s chief engineer. Two years later, during a conflict with several Tholian patrol ships, he remained behind when main engineering was evacuated to initiate a manual shutdown of the warp core and prevent a breach. When a hull rupture resulted in an explosive decompression, he was briefly blown into space. Fortunately, the Fianna’s transporters were able to get a lock on him and beam him to safety. After several weeks in sickbay, Cleary was awarded the Antares Cluster for Bravery Beyond the Call of Duty.
In 2262, partly in recognition of his actions, he was given command of the destroyer USS Eastwood. The Eastwood’s primary duty was patrolling the Klingon border. She brought aid to nearby colonies, investigated unusual long-range sensor readings, and participated in several small skirmishes. In 2267, five years after Cleary had assumed command, she was assigned to the fleet that confronted the Klingons in the Organian system. While separated from the main Starfleet force on a scouting mission, the Eastwood engaged three Klingon battle cruiser, fighting them to a draw just before the Organians intervened and enforced a tense peace on the Federation and Klingon Empire. Once again, Cleary’s actions garnered praise, including induction into the Grankite Order of Tactics.
Recognizing his abilities, Starfleet command decided to give Cleary the USS Exeter, one of the original twelve Constitution class starships. The Exeter had just returned from Omega IV, where its entire crew had been lost. The ship itself was unharmed, and after a brief refit she was reassigned to her own five-year mission of exploration. Cleary’s second in command, an Andorian named RaeThrasa sh’Aanil, was in many ways his exact opposite. She was impulsive and willing to bend rules that Cleary felt were inviolable. Though their relationship began in conflict, they soon found that they worked as an effective team, each complimenting the other.
Unfortunately, two years into its mission, the Exeter was lost with all hands. An emergency beacon recovered near her last known position indicated that she was likely destroyed by a an extremely rare condition—a quantum “bubble” in the antimatter containment field—and one that would have resulted in an unavoidable warp core breach within seconds.
In fact, Cleary and the Exeter’s chief engineer were able to burst the bubble through an entirely novel technique, by modulating the subspace guide wave that directed the matter and antimatter flows at the same time they initiated a hard restart of the ship’s power systems. Once they did, several Romulan battle cruisers decloaked around them. The bubble was actually the result of a new Romulan weapon that was being tested on the Exeter. At the same moment, a starship from the 25th century appeared, expecting to find the Exeter alone and to render aid. Instead, they discovered the Exeter taking heavy fire, many of its systems still offline. Together, the two ships defeated the Romulans. In the aftermath of the battle, Cleary discovered that he had been recruited by a secret project aimed at bringing captains from the past—including his present—into the 25th century to help protect the Federation.