From the Depths

The ship shook beneath her feet, sending her and several others crashing to the floor. A console behind her exploded in a shower of sparks, sending its user hurtling into a bulkhead. Captain Long picked herself up off the floor and slumped back into the command chair of the USS Hiroshima. A stray hair dangled over her left eye and she swept it away with a swift movement. “Damage report!” She shouted to no one in particular.

            “Shields are down to twelve percent and the aft torpedo launcher is offline!” Someone shouted back. Another torpedo ripped into the Hiroshima’s shields causing them the flare violently and then die.

            “We’ve lost shields!” Someone called from the tactical station behind her. Before she could respond, yet another torpedo impacted the ship, this time shaking the mighty galaxy class much more violently. Several consoles exploded sending showers of sparks all over the bridge and leaving the smell of burnt out circuitry.

            “How damaged are the Jem’Hadar’s shields?” She shouted above the noise of the bridge.

            “They’ve nearly failed; a few more torpedoes should finish them off!” Her First Officer, Commander Jacobs, informed her.

            “In that case, fire forward launchers, full spread!” She shouted. She barely heard Jacob’s acknowledge her order as another explosion rocked the ship. Another conduit ruptured, spilling its contents on the bridge. Thankfully it was not harmful. She glanced at the main viewer just in time to see six torpedoes rip into the Jem’Hadar ship, causing it’s shields to fail and then fall into an uncontrollable spin. She watched as the bug shaped ship spun wildly for a few seconds before it erupted in a ball of flame. A few seconds later, the shockwave from the explosion rocked the Hiroshima and she clung tightly to the armrest of her chair. As soon as the shaking subsided, she called out to her first officer.

            “Ben, how bad are we?” She asked. Jacobs worked the tactical console for a few seconds then responded.

            “Not good, warp engines are offline and environmental systems…” he was cut off mid sentence as the ship rocked violently.

            “Report!” She shouted. Jacobs picked himself up from the floor checked the console. She turned her head to face him. His expression told her it wasn’t good news.

            “There’s been an explosion in engineering! We’ve got a coolant leak!” He shouted. She automatically bolted to her feet. A coolant leak meant that a warp core breach was imminent.

            “How long do we have?” She asked him.

            “It’s hard to tell, but I’d say three to four minutes,” he said, gloomily.

            “Evacuate as many personnel to the saucer section immediately,” she ordered. Jacobs nodded. She turned towards the helm. “Helm; prepare the ship for separation,” she said. The young Ensign at the conn nodded.

            “Aye sir, but with the amount of damage the ship has taken, it’s going to be a bumpy ride,” he informed her. She just nodded to him and he set to the task. She turned back to Commander Jacobs.

            “How’s the evacuation coming?” She asked expectantly.

            “The drive section will be completely evacuated in another minute,” he told her.

            “How long until the warp core goes critical?” She asked.

            “About a minute and a half,” he said. She frowned. That was cutting it very close. She turned back to the helm.

            “Ensign, think you can get us far enough away from the drive section in less than thirty seconds?” She asked. The young man gulped nervously.

            “I can try, sir,” was all he could say. That was good enough for her. She had faith in every member of her crew.

            “Evacuation complete!” She heard Jacob’s call from the back of the bridge.

            “Begin separation sequence!” She ordered. The Ensign nodded and worked the controls. She made her way back to her chair and sat down. The Ensign wasn’t kidding when he said it was going to be a bumpy ride. The bridge rocked as the saucer began to disengage from the drive section. Once clear, the ship started move away at full impulse. The drive section suddenly exploded with a brilliant flash of light. The saucer section managed to avoid the explosion, but they were not fast enough to avoid the shockwave. As the shockwave tossed the Hiroshima’s saucer section about, it started veer towards the planet it had been studying before the Jem’Hadar attacked. Long watched the viewscreen as the planet’s surface came closer and closer.

 

Act One

 

Captains Log, Stardate: 51416.9: We’re en-route to the Jamihas system in response to a distress call form the Hiroshima. We should arrive in a few minutes.

 

            Captain Paul Shearer sat silently waiting in the command chair of the Monet. The bridge was silent. The red alert light flashed on and off around him, casting an eerie red glow onto the bridge. The helm station beeped and Lieutenant Maverick broke the silence on the bridge.

            “Sir, we’ve entered the Jamihas system,” he said. Shearer nodded. He turned his head to his right and addressed his tactical officer.

            “Scan for the Hiroshima,” he ordered. Lieutenant Brady nodded and checked his sensors. A few seconds later he reported his findings.

            “She’s not out there sir,” he said. Shearer rose from his seat and made his way over to the railing nearest the tactical station.

            “What about the Jem’Hadar?” He asked. Brady checked his console again.

            “They’re not out there either,” he said. Shearer gave a sigh of relief; they wouldn’t be involved in a firefight. He heard Commander Kingston ask the question he was just thinking.

            “Are there any escape pods from the Hiroshima out there?” She asked. Brady shook his head.

            “No sir, we would have detected their subspace beacons by now,” he informed her. Shearer sighed.

            “Very well, log the Hiroshima as…” he was cut off by an alarm that sounded from the operations console. He turned to see Lieutenant Commander J’mall working the console.

            “Captain, I’m picking up a faint subspace signal from the third planet!” She reported. Shearer immediately turned towards the helm.

            “Maverick set a course. Full impulse,” he ordered. Maverick nodded and set to his task. Shearer returned to his seat. Commander Kingston leaned over towards his chair.

            “The Hiroshima?” She inquired. Shearer nodded.

            “Possibly,” he replied. Kingston recoiled back to her chair and stared at the forward viewer. Shearer did the same. The image of a large M class planet grew larger and larger as they approached. A few minutes later, the mighty Federation starship entered orbit of Jamihas III. Shearer rose from his seat once more and moved to the railing near the helm.

            “Scan the surface,” he ordered no one in particular. He waited patiently for a few seconds, giving whoever was carrying out his orders time to complete the scan. It was J’mall who responded.

            “I’m detecting a large object, possibly the Hiroshima’s saucer section, submerged in the ocean between the largest two continents,” she reported. Shearer frowned. This didn’t sound good. If it was the Hiroshima down there, they would have to act quickly as the their hull would not last forever under the pressure.

            “Can you get a more accurate scan?” He heard Commander Kingston ask from behind him.

            “I’m afraid not, a substance in the water is preventing sensors from penetrating further than a few meters,” she said. Shearer thought for a moment. An idea struck him and he slapped his comm badge.

            “Shearer to Gravis,” he said. After a few seconds silence, Lieutenant Gravis’s voice replied over the comm frequency.

            “Gravis here, go ahead sir,” he said. Shearer made his way back to his chair and sat down.

            “Lieutenant, would it be possible to modify one of the fighter shuttles to operate under water?” He asked. A few silent seconds went by, Gravis was obviously thinking of an answer.

            “I believe so,” he finally said. Shearer smiled.

            “Then take a team to shuttlebay one and start modifying one of the fighters. I want it ready to launch within the hour,” he ordered.

            “Aye sir,” Gravis responded. The comm channel closed. Shearer turned towards Commander Kingston.

            “Commander, you’re in charge of this mission. Find someone suitable to go with you and start preparing,” he said. Kingston nodded and rose from her chair.

            “Lieutenant Maverick, you’re with me,” she said as she moved towards the turbolift. Maverick signed off from the helm console and followed her. A young Ensign moved to take over his position. The turbolift doors closed behind him and he and Kingston were whisked into the bowels of the ship.

 

            Captain Long stood behind her First Officer as he explained their situation. They had been lucky and impacted one of the oceans, thus not destroying the ship. They were unlucky, however, in the fact that they had sunk to the bottom. Stabbing pains in her head caused her to reach for her temples and begin to slowly massage them. “How long can the hull hold up under this pressure?” She asked him when he’d finished his report.

            “I have no idea, with so many systems down it’s hard to tell anything,” he replied.

            “Can we send a subspace signal through the water?” She asked.

            “We could, but it’ll be very weak,” he told her. She nodded.

            “Set it up, then go and assist Lieutenant Burke with the impulse engines,” she ordered. He nodded and set to his task. Long glanced around the bridge. Her heart sank. She had been in command of the Hiroshima for six years. It was her home. If no one came to help them, it would soon become her grave.

 

                        Kingston entered the Monet’s spacious shuttlebay within two minutes of hearing that the shuttle was ready to launch. She glanced around and saw the fighter shuttle Nelson in its launch position. There were a few engineers still second checking the shuttle. She walked towards it, nodding to some of the crewmembers. She looked around for Lieutenant Gravis. She spotted him working on the hatch seal. She moved over to him and coughed to get his attention. “Excuse me Lieutenant,” she said. He carried on working, but turned his head to talk to her.

            “Hello Commander,” he said politely. She smiled.

            “Is there anything I need to know before I leave?” She asked. Gravis finished modifying the hatch seal and stepped down from the ramp.

            “Nothing I haven’t already told Ben, err, Lieutenant Maverick,” he said. Kingston smiled.

            “Very well, thank you Lieutenant,” she said. Gravis smiled.

            “Good luck Commander,” he said as he picked up his tool kit. Kingston smiled back and nodded. She entered the hatch of the Nelson and made her way to the cockpit. She nodded to Lieutenant Maverick as she took her seat beside him. She punched in a command on the front panel and the hatch door began to close.

            “Ready to go Lieutenant?” she asked Maverick. He immediately sprang forward in his chair and poised his hands over the controls.

            “Ready as I’ll ever be,” he said. Kingston smiled.

            “Good,” she said. She punched in a command on her panel and opened a comm channel to the bridge. “Fighter Shuttle Nelson to bridge,” she said.

            “Go ahead Commander,” Captain Shearer’s voice responded almost immediately.

            “We’re ready to go Captain, request permission to depart,” she said.

            “Permission granted. Good luck, Commander,” Shearer replied.

            “Thank you sir, Nelson out.” She cut off the comm channel and began to punch commands into her console. Maverick did the same.

            “Thrusters online, Beginning launch sequence,” he said a few seconds later. Kingston nodded.

            “Opening bay doors,” she said, punching more commands into the console. She glanced up and peered through the front viewport. The large shuttlebay doors slowly began to open, revealing Jamihas III to them. The shuttle slowly began to lift from the shuttlebay floor. It hovered for a few seconds before moving slowly towards the now fully parted doors of the main shuttlebay. As the shuttle passed through the doors the forcefield that stopped the shuttlebay from decompressing flared around them with a silent hum. The shuttle glided over the hull of the Monet. Kingston glanced out of the view port as the shuttle passed one of the Monet’s enormous warp nacelles.

            “We’re clear,” she heard Maverick say beside her. She nodded.

            “Understood, take us down Lieutenant,” she ordered. Maverick acknowledged and carried out his orders. Kingston watched Jamihas III loom closer and closer.

 

Act Two

            Lieutenant Burke cursed loudly as the console he was working on suddenly sparked. He reeled backwards and observed his fingers. The tips were red and had begun to blister. “Are you ok Lieutenant?” He heard a voice ask. He glanced up at the speaker of the question. Commander Jacobs stood before him.

            “I’m fine, sir. Nothing a dermal regenerator can’t fix,” he replied. Jacobs smiled.

            “Good,” he said. “The Captain has told me to come and help you with the impulse engines, what can I do?” Burke picked up a dermal regenerator from the med-kit on one of the consoles and began running it over his hand.

            “Great, we need all the help we can get,” he said. He finished repairing his hand then moved over console he had been working on before Jacobs had arrived. “We could use some help getting the plasma reactors online,” he proposed. Jacobs nodded.

            “Certainly,” he replied, smiling. Burke smiled back. Burke knew he didn’t need to tell Jacobs what to do as he used to be an engineer himself. Jacobs moved over to one of the adjacent consoles and began to work. After a few minutes, he spoke up.

            “Have you tried diverting the power flow?” He asked. Burke suppressed a grin.

            “It was the first thing I tried, sir,” he replied. Jacobs slapped his forehead.

            “Of course, that’s the first thing I would do so you must have done it already,” he said, grinning. Burke opened his mouth but before he could say anything, the floor suddenly shook violently under his feet, nearly causing him to fall. He glanced up and noticed that Jacobs was holding tightly onto his console. As the shaking began to subside, he heard Commander Jacobs slap his commbadge.

            “Jacobs to Bridge!” he said.

            “Bridge here, go ahead Ben,” he heard Captain Long say over the comm.

            “What the hell just happened?” he asked, bluntly.

            “We just lost part of the hull, half of deck ten is under water,” She paused. “Ben, I want you to go help with evacuation, I’m sure Lieutenant Burke can handle things without you,”

            “Aye, Captain. I’m on my way,” he replied and cut the comm channel with a tap of his badge. Jacobs turned towards him and Burke nodded. Jacobs smiled and left the room.

 

            Kingston looked out of the viewport as the shuttle approached the surface of Jamihas III’s largest ocean. The shuttle came to a stop 100 meters above the surface. Kingston checked her console readouts. “According to this, we are directly above the large mass,” she said. Maverick turned his head.

            “Can you tell if it’s the Hiroshima?” he asked. Kingston re-initialised the scan, then shook her head.

            “No, we’ll have to go down. Is the shuttle ready?” she asked. Maverick turned his attention back to his console.

            “As ready as she’ll ever be,” he said. Kingston nodded.

            “Then take us down Lieutenant,” she ordered. Maverick nodded and his fingers flew expertly over the console. Kingston watched as the view out the viewport changed from a bright sunny day to a murky, dark void. She glanced over towards Maverick and noticed there was something bothering him. She could see sweat beginning to form on the young man’s forehead and his hand was shaking ever so slightly.

            “Is there something wrong Lieutenant?” she asked, softly. Maverick’s face flushed briefly embarrassed that his commanding officer had noticed his anxiety. He gulped nervously.

            “It’s nothing sir, it’s just…” he paused; “I’ve never been too fond of water since I was twelve…” he trailed off. Kingston turned towards him.

            “What happened?” she asked, without thinking. Immediately she put her hand in front of her mouth. “Sorry, Lieutenant, I didn’t mean to pry…” she apologised. Maverick shook his head.

            “It’s ok, Commander, I don’t mind,” he said. He took a deep breath. “When I was twelve, my parents took me to Risa on holiday. On our second day there, we went to one of the beaches on the southern continent.” Kingston shifted in her chair so that she was giving the young man her complete attention.

            “Something happened at the beach, didn’t it?” she asked. Maverick nodded slowly.

            “Yes,” he said. “I went for a swim in the ocean and my parents told me to stay near the beach and not go to far out. I did as I was told, or at least I thought I was. It wasn’t until my legs started to ache, that I realised how far I had gone out. I tried to swim back, but I got cramp in my left leg and I couldn’t stay above the water. I must have blacked out because all I remember is waking up in a hospital.” He seemed to be a little calmer, now he had told his story. Kingston leaned over to him.

            “Lieutenant, if I’d have known, I wouldn’t have assigned you to come with me,” she assured him. Maverick smiled.

            “Thanks,” he said. A sudden beeping from one of the consoles brought both officers back to their task.

            “The subspace signal is stronger here,” Kingston said after reading the console. She peered out of the viewport. She strained her eyes to see something, but the water was too murky for her to see. She turned to Maverick. “Can we have forward illumination?” she asked. Maverick nodded and tapped a control on his console. The water in front of the shuttle lit up, revealing several rock formations along the seabed. Out of the corner of her eye, Kingston noticed a faint row of lights, just through two large rock formations. “Lieutenant,” she said, “Take us over those rocks there,” she said, pointing out them out. Maverick nodded and adjusted course. As the shuttle flew over the underwater mountains, Kingston could see the row of lights get brighter. She gasped. Lying before them was the Hiroshima.

            “Looks like we found what we were looking for,” she heard Maverick say beside her. She ran a few scans of the saucer.

            “Their hull is under a lot of pressure, it won’t hold for long. I’m also reading over 400 lifesigns on board….” she said. Maverick tapped the communications console.

            “Shuttlecraft Nelson to USS Hiroshima, do you read?” he said. Silence. He tried again. “I repeat, this is the Shuttlecraft Nelson calling USS Hiroshima, do you read?” Kingston shook her head.

            “It’s no good, their communication system was damaged in the crash,” she said. Maverick pounded his console.

            “How are we supposed to contact them then?” he asked, angrily.

            “I don’t know, but we’d better get back to the Monet and report out findings to the Captain,” Kingston replied. Maverick nodded.

            “Aye sir,” he said. He tapped at the controls and the shuttle pitched upwards, heading for the surface.

 

            Jacobs shivered. The environmental controls on deck ten had been compromised when the forward hull had buckled in. That same incident had put half of deck ten under water. Jacobs waded through the ankle-high water, leading the sixteen crewmembers behind him to the nearest Jeffries tube hatch so to escape to an upper deck. The corridor was completely black, except for the piercing light from the wrist lights each crewmember was carrying. They reached the hatch a few minutes later but before the first person had been lifted to the hatch, the ship shook violently again and Jacobs knew that another hull plate had given way. He pulled out his tricorder. It told him what he didn’t want to know. “Come, get moving! There’s a wave of water rushing towards us, we don’t have much time!” he shouted. While the crewmembers began quickly to climb through the hatch, Jacobs moved over to one of the access terminals along the wall. He punched in command after command and finally a forcefield flickered into existence around them. It was just in time, as the wave of water reached the forcefield and made it flare violently. “That forcefield won’t hold for long, get moving!” he shouted. The pace of climbing got quicker and the last person entered the hatch. Two crewmembers reached down to grab hold of Jacobs. Jacobs reached for their hands and held on. As he was pulled toward safety, the forcefield flickered and died. The wave of water rushed around the corner and hit Jacobs in the lower half of his body. The two officers tightened their grip on him as the current tried to pull him with it. The current was too strong and his grip began to loosen.

            “Hold on sir!” the young Ensign holding his left hand shouted above the roar of the rushing water. It was too late, the surging current pulled Jacobs from their grip. The young officers watched with horrified looks as their First Officer was swept away, never to return.

 

Act Three

            The briefing room was almost silent as the senior officers of the Monet awaited the arrival of Commander Kingston and Lieutenant Maverick. Lieutenant Brady and Commander J’mall sat next to each other, chatting quietly to themselves. Lieutenant Gravis was tapping his fingers impatiently and Doctor Hughes was reading a PADD. After what seemed like hours, Kingston and Maverick entered the room, the briefing room doors sliding shut behind them. Immediately, the room fell silent. Lieutenant Maverick made his way to a seat next to Gravis, while Commander Kingston moved over to the large console that adorned the wall at the far end of the briefing room. Shearer watched as she tapped at the consoles surface. After a few seconds she turned and looked at him expectantly. He nodded to her to begin. She nodded back and turned back to the console. She tapped in some commands and after a few seconds a schematic of a Galaxy class saucer appeared on the screen. She turned to face the senior staff. “Lieutenant Maverick and myself have confirmed that the large mass submerged in that ocean is the Hiroshima,” she moved out of the way so that all in the room could see the schematic on the wall behind her. She tapped a button on the console and the computer began highlighting certain areas on the schematic. “From the scans we were able to take, we found that their hull is beginning to buckle under the increased pressure,” she indicated several areas on the schematic. “These areas are where the hull has already given in to the pressure,” she told them. Brady looked at the schematic, confused.

            “Err, Commander, excuse me if I’m wrong, but I thought that Galaxy class saucer’s were designed to stand up to that kind of pressure and more?” he said. Kingston nodded.

            “In ideal circumstances, yes, the Galaxy class saucer can hold up against that kind of pressure, but we know for a fact that the Hiroshima was attacked before she crashed, which would have weakened the hull and the impact on hitting the water would have also weakened the hull,” Kingston explained. Brady nodded.

            “How many survivors are there?” Doctor Hughes asked. Maverick faced the doctor and answered her question.

            “We read over 400 life signs still on board,”

            “How long do they have?” Shearer asked from the head of the table. Kingston shook her head.

            “It’s impossible to accurately predict how long they have, but we estimate about another three hours,” she said. Shearer frowned.

            “That doesn’t give us much time to get them out,” he stated. “Suggestions?” he asked. The room was silent for a few seconds.

            “What about transporters?” Doctor Hughes suggested. J’mall leaned forward and shook her head.

            “To dangerous,” she said. “That substance in the water that prevented us from scanning deeper than two metres is also preventing us getting a clear transporter lock,” she explained.

            “What if we were within two metres of the Hiroshima?” Maverick asked. This time, it was Lieutenant Gravis who shook his head.

            “It’d take days to modify the Monet to operate under water,” he said. Shearer sat waiting for the next suggestion, when an idea hit him.

            “Lieutenant Gravis, can the tractor beam be modified to operate through the water?” he asked. Gravis thought for a moment.

            “I don’t see why not,” he said. Shearer rose from his seat and moved over to the large windows behind where he just sat.

            “Great, do it,” he said. Gravis nodded and rose from his chair. He quickly made his way out of the briefing room. As the doors slid shut again, Shearer turned to face Kingston. “Commander, I want you and Lieutenant Maverick to go back down there and find a way to warn the crew of Hiroshima of our plan, if it works it’s going to be a bumpy ride for them,” he ordered. Kingston nodded.

            “Aye sir, but permission to take Commander J’mall instead,” she requested. Shearer looked puzzled.

            “For what reason?” he asked.

            “Commander J’mall will be able sense any distress among the crew when we make the attempt, Lieutenant Maverick will not,” she said, bluntly. Shearer considered for a moment, then nodded.

            “Very well, permission granted,” he said. Kingston saw Maverick let out a silent sigh. He smiled at her and mouthed a “thank you.” Kingston smiled back. She turned and nodded to J’mall, who immediately rose from her chair and made her way towards the door. Kingston followed her out and across the bridge. Shearer turned to face Doctor Hughes, but before he could open his mouth, she spoke.

            “I’ll begin preparing sickbay for numerous casualties,” she said. Shearer smiled.

            “You took the words right out of my mouth,” he said. Hughes smiled back and rose to leave the room. Shearer glanced at the two remaining officers and nodded then turned back to admire the view of Jamihas III through the large window. Both Brady and Maverick rose from their seats, but only Maverick left the room. Shearer slowly turned around, his hands clasped behind his back.

            “Something up Ralph?” he asked his friend. Brady shook his head and smiled.

            “Nah, course not. I was just wondering if you’re free for a game of velocity later,” he said. Shearer moved towards the table.

            “Of course, I could use some exercise,” he joked, holding his stomach. “Why me though? I thought you played with Commander J’mall?” he inquired. Brady laughed.

            “Yeah, I do, but I’m bored with losing all the time,” he said. Shearer laughed softly. “Plus,” Brady continued, “We haven’t had a game of velocity since we were on the Atlanta,” he said.

            “Ok, I get your point. I’ll meet you at holodeck four at, say, 20:00 hours?” Shearer proposed. Brady nodded.

            “I’ll be there!” he said. He turned on his heel and headed for the door. The doors closed silently behind him, leaving Shearer alone to gaze at the view outside the window.

 

             Long shivered and wrapped her arms around her body. The environmental controls all over what was left of the Hiroshima had failed, leaving the bridge, and the rest of the ship for that matter, feeling as cold as the Antarctic. She paced the length of the bridge, waiting impatiently for Lieutenant Burke to arrive with his report. Normally she would have just asked for it over the comm system, but that was another of the Hiroshima’s systems that had been compromised. She heard the Jeffries tube at the back of the bridge open and quickly made her way up the left ramp. Emerging from the hatch was a soaking wet Lieutenant Burke. Long helped him to his feet.

            “Tell me it’s good news,” she said. Burke was now on his feet, and straightening his uniform, he shook his head.

            “I’m afraid it’s not Captain,” he replied. Long motioned for him to follow her down to the Captain’s chair.

            “Go on,” she said, sitting down in her chair. Burke moved over and took the chair to her left, leaving what used to be Commander Jacob’s chair empty.

            “Everything below deck eight is under water and the forcefields we’ve put in place aren’t going to hold for much longer,” he started. “Sixteen crewmembers are still unaccounted for and sickbay is overloaded with crew suffering from hypothermia,” he finished.

            “What about the impulse engines?” Long asked. Burke shook his head once more.

            “Sorry Captain, we couldn’t complete the repairs before the hull collapsed in.” Long sighed. Without the impulse engines, they wouldn’t be able to attempt an ascent to the surface.

            “Damn!” she muttered under her breath. “What other options do we have?” she asked. Burke thought to himself for a moment.

            “Not many…we could try the escape pods idea but I still think it’s too risky,” he replied. Earlier when discussing possible ways out of their predicament, someone had suggested using the escape pods to get away from the ship but had dismissed it after weighing up the risks involved. Because the Hiroshima was under so much pressure, when the pods were released it would definitely cause the Hiroshima’s hull to collapse violently, possibly causing an explosion that would damage the pods. Another fear was that the pods hulls wouldn’t stand up to the pressure, as they do not have as thick hulls as the Hiroshima itself. This time it was Long who shook her head.

            “It’s not possible anymore, we don’t have access to enough escape pods to evacuate the entire crew,” she said, sadly. She pounded her fist on the armrest of her chair. “There must be another option! We can’t just sit here and wait to die!” she said, her anger rising.

            “If there is, then we’d figure it out soon,” Burke said. “According to our estimates, we have only got an hour or so before the whole ship collapses in,” he continued. Long sighed loudly.

            “Thanks for reminding me,” she said sarcastically. She rose to her feet and moved towards her ready room. “Work with anyone you think can help you, see if any of you can come up with a way to get to the surface without killing ourselves,” she said as she disappeared into her ready room. Burke rose from his chair also.

            “Aye, Captain,” he said softly and set out to complete his orders.

 

Act Four

            The bridge of the Monet was silent as Shearer strode out from his ready room. He made his way to his chair at the centre of the bridge and sat down. Next to him, Commander Kingston’s chair was empty. He glanced at the chronometer on the left armrest of his chair. “Ensign Knowles, is the Nelson in position?” he asked the young man taking Commander J’mall’s place at Ops. In the last hour, they had launched a few probes into the water to act as boosters so that they could scan further down.  He heard the young Ensign’s fingers fly over the console for a few seconds.

            “Aye, sir, they are holding at a distance of twenty metres from the Hiroshima’s hull,” he reported. Shearer tapped the communications button on his right armrest.

            “Monet to Nelson,” he said.

            “Nelson here, go ahead sir,” Commander Kingston’s voice said after a few seconds silence.

            “We’re almost ready to attempt the lift. Any luck in warning the crew?” he asked.

            “Not yet sir, we’ve been transmitting on all frequencies but we’ve had no response,” she paused, “We were just about to try the Starfleet emergency frequency…. it’s possible the components that pick up this frequency are still intact. Although they won’t be able to reply, it’ll at least warn them about what we’re planning,” she said. Shearer nodded.

            “Of course, why didn’t I think of that?” he asked, jokingly.

            “I’m sure you did sir, you just weren’t aware of what you were thinking,” Kingston replied. Shearer smiled.

            “Anyway, you have ten minutes to warn the crew of the Hiroshima before we begin,” he informed her.

            “Aye, sir. Nelson out.” With that the communication ended. Shearer shifted in his chair.

            “Maverick, get us into orbital alignment with the Hiroshima’s position,” he ordered.

            “Aye, sir,” Maverick replied. Shearer watched the viewscreen as the view shifted and the planet in the lower left hand corner ceased moving.

            “We’re at a full stop directly above the Hiroshima, sir,” Maverick reported. Shearer nodded and glanced at his chronometer. In another eight minutes, the saucer section of a once might starship would be lifted from the depths of an alien ocean.

 

            “Lieutenant!” came a shout from across the bridge. Lieutenant Burke spun round to see who had called his name. A middle-aged Lieutenant at one of the back stations waved at him and pointed to his station.

            “I think you’d better take a look at this,” the Lieutenant said. Burke rose from his crouch position by an open conduit and made his way up the left side ramp to the middle aged man. The Lieutenant didn’t say anything, he just pointed to the console. Burke moved so he could see the stations readout and raised his eyebrows in surprise.

            “The emergency frequency…” he began. The Lieutenant nodded.

            “That’s right, but I need a higher authorisation level to decrypt it,” he said. Burke moved away from the console.

            “We’ll have to get the Captain, my code won’t work on this,” he said. The Lieutenant nodded and disappeared to get the Captain. He returned a minute later with Captain Long at his side. Burke straightened up.

            “Was I informed right? We’ve received a communication from a Federation ship?” she inquired, obviously not believing it.

            “You were informed correctly Ma’am,” Burke replied. She moved towards the console and Burke stepped back so that she could see the screen. She quickly punched in her authorisation code. The message that flashed up on the screen was what they all wanted to see.

-Begin Message-

To: Commander, USS Hiroshima

From: Commander, USS Monet

We have devised a plan to bring you to the surface using a tractor beam. The attempt will be made within eight minutes of you receiving this message. The Attempt will be a bumpy ride so all personnel are advised to prepare.

-End Message-

            “Start briefing the crew on the situation and start evacuating areas where the hull is likely to collapse during the attempt,” Long ordered. Burke nodded.

                “Yes, Ma’am,” he replied and set to work immediately. Long let out a silent sigh of relief as she moved down towards her command chair.

 

            Shearer paced up and down the bridge, waiting for Lieutenant Gravis down in engineering to finish the modifications to the tractor beam emitters. A beeping noise from the ops station caused him to stop and turn towards it. Ensign Knowles looked up from the station.

            “Sir, Lieutenant Gravis says we’re ready to go,” he reported. Shearer nodded to him and made his way to the command chair at the centre of the bridge.

            “Ralph, prepare the tractor beam and lock in the co-ordinates of the Hiroshima,” he ordered as he sunk into the chair. Brady acknowledged his order and began punching commands into the tactical station.

            “Co-ordinates locked in and tractor beam standing by,” he reported a few seconds later.

            “Engage the tractor beam,” Shearer ordered. Brady nodded and tapped a button. Immediately, a blue/green energy field shot out from the underside of the Monet’s saucer section. It stretched out towards the planet and kept going. A few seconds later it penetrated the surface of the ocean, proceeding towards its target.

 

            Kingston watched out the viewport of the shuttlecraft Nelson as the tractor beam illuminated the waters around them. Kingston could now see the Hiroshima much more clearly. Their hull had numerous breaches, only a few lights still shone out of the windows. She watched as the tractor beam enveloped the saucer and began to slowly lift. She turned towards Commander J’mall.

            “Anything?” she asked. J’mall shook her head.

            “I can sense a few people who are frightened, but that’s to be expected,” she replied. Kingston nodded.

            “Let me know if that changes,” Kingston said.

            “Of course,” J’mall replied. Kingston turned her attention back to the action that was happening in front of them. The Hiroshima had now been lifted clear of the ocean bed and was slowly continuing its journey upwards towards the surface.

 

            Captain Helen Long clung tightly to the armrests of her chair as the ship around her shook uncontrollably. The Hiroshima was now completely clear of the rocky bottom of the ocean bed. The shaking began to die down as the tractor beam from the Monet lifted the enormous Galaxy class saucer through the murky waters. Long was watching the forward viewer, as was everyone else on the bridge. Without their sensors they would not know when they broke through the surface, so everyone watched intently out of viewports around the ship. After what seemed to be hours, the shaking of the ship became stronger once again and through the forward viewer Long could see the water drop away from them. A cheer went up around the bridge as the crew celebrated their rescue. Long sighed deeply and smiled.

 

 

Act Five

            Captain’s Log, Supplemental: After the successful rescue of the Hiroshima survivors, the Monet is on course for Starbase 210 where the survivors will be transferred.

 

            The turbolift doors slid apart and Captain Paul Shearer strode out onto deck three. He walked down the corridor for a few metres until he reached the entrance to Holodeck One. Waiting for him was Lieutenant Brady.

            “Hey, Ralph,” he said as he approached. Brady smiled a greeting.

            “You ready?” Brady asked. Shearer nodded.

            “Let’s go, you’re way overdue for a thrashing!” he joked. Brady laughed.

            “We’ll see,” he replied. Shearer smiled. “Computer, begin program velocity one,” Brady instructed the computer. The Holodeck doors slid open and Brady entered. Shearer followed behind him. The two picked up the two phasers from the rack near the entrance. Both men got into their positions. The rack that the phasers had been on disappeared as the computer prepared the Holodeck for the game.

            “Computer, begin round one,” Shearer said. The computer beeped twice and a small disc appeared in the centre of the room.