Star Trek: Nullabor

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Page 6

Being a living legend was not a comfortable experience for Walker. Like most Australians he knew, he preferred to work in the shadows rather than the limelight. This time it was not to be. The news of what the Nullabor had done was throughout the small outpost long before they had docked. The outpost Commander had invited him and his senior staff to a dinner in his honour, Brannagh had insisted on giving him a tour of the Lexington. The starship's entire crew had it in their heads that they would not have been alive except for him. Then there was the general outpost staff.

People stepped out of his way as he strode through the corridors and then whispered in hushed tones as he passed. He had even been asked for his autograph. He felt sure he would have snapped if it had not been for Kelsey. She had realised what distress this break from the normal was causing Thomas, so she had insisted on accompanying him everywhere. He felt the soothing touch of her mind through the day, and her other soothing touches through the night. He was sure some of his officers had caught on, but they said nothing.

They had been there for nearly twenty-four hours and they were scheduled to leave in another six. Botha had completed all the minor repairs they needed and replaced the shield emitters. He and his crews had been putting in some serious hours on the Lexington. She would be fully repaired in another few days. Glir had kept himself quiet while at the outpost and no-one had bothered to ask him any unfortunate questions. Walker certainly didn't volunteer anything. Glir took that as a promising sign. Eritt had emptied the sick bay, mostly by curing the ailments she had been presented with, the few more serious cases had been transported to the larger facility available on the outpost. It was generally agreed by Starfleet that outposts on the Romulan border should have sick bays capable of dealing with most emergencies.

Ensign Sai had unloaded the packages that were destined for the outpost with little difficulty. The outpost staff were more than willing to lend a hand. They were less willing to reveal what they were getting or where it would be stored. Sai was not allowed to assist the outpost officers with stowing the gear.

Walker found himself sitting beside Brannagh in the outpost Commander's office. The three of them had been discussing the Romulan incursion. "You think they will make an issue of the two lost ships?" Brannagh had asked the question.

"I doubt it. They were inside our border. It's more likely that they will just deny the incident." The station Commander was an astute man in Walker's estimation. He clearly knew his enemy.

"I agree. What concerns me more is that they made this move in the first place. What did they think we were carrying?"

"Probably what you actually are." Walker went to protest, but the Commander raised a hand. "It's alright Captain. I've been fully briefed by Admiral Dekker on this mission. It was just fortunate that you were able to get the field generator active at all. So long as you activate it as soon as you leave here, your trip to DS2 should go undetected."

"I wish I could be that sure. I wish we had some defensive cover for this."

Brannagh chuckled. "From what I saw you don't need any defensive cover at all. Still, I am surprised that they never fitted your ship with any offensive weapons."

"It was considered that it would improve her camouflage not to carry any weapons. Personally, I think it was a mistake."

"I agree. So does Admiral Dekker now, for that matter." This piqued Walker's interest. He turned to the Commander.

"How do you know that?"

"I briefed him on the situation just before you arrived. This is a very important mission for us, Captain. If that shipment does not get through to DS2 we could be defenseless here within three months."

"Even with the goodies we dropped off for you?"

"Even with that. There is more here than the occasional incursion into Federation territory. They are up to something, I can smell it." Walker did not doubt the Commander's statement. he was not sure why, but he trusted the man's judgement.

"Well if the Admiral has now decided that the Nullabor is the wrong ship for this mission..."

"Oh no. After my report he is more convinced than ever that you are the right people and the right ship for this mission. He's just suggesting a few upgrades en route. You have been authorised to make use of whatever components and equipment in your hold you may benefit from. Just remember to leave something for DS2."

Walker considered this. There was something very wrong here. He would not get answers in this office, that he knew for sure. "Thank you, Commander. We might just do that. If you will excuse me, I must be getting back to my ship. Goodbye Captain." Walker shook Brannagh's hand as he left. Brannagh thanked him one final time.

Brannagh sat back down as Walker left. "So you didn't tell him."

"Dammit, you saw the message yourself. I was under orders."

"Orders be damned this time! That is a fine crew and a fine officer commanding them. I've seen starships with less pride among those serving aboard than the pride you can see in the faces of the Nullabor crew. We're sending them to their deaths!"

"We're doing no such thing!" The Commander had erupted at the accusation. It took him several moments to calm down. "Walker knows something is up, I saw it. He'll be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat."

"Just how do you know that?"

"He saved your arse, didn't he?"


Walker was finishing his evening blade class. The crew was learning well. Glir was becoming a star performer. Walker suspected he might even be a Blade Dancer. He was still losing to Alexis and himself, but no one else on the ship could touch him. They finished up with some throwing exercises, as usual 'Hood' was doing his regular crack shots. Walker wondered sometimes how an Engineer could be blessed with such an ability. He was hopeless in hand to hand, but that throwing arm of his, that was another matter. Walker remembered seeing him in the engineering section when they were installing Glir's modifications. The entire crew were throwing tools around, and Phillip Botha was no exception. He remembered seeing the items land directly in the appropriate hands, whether Phillip had been looking or not. He wondered if there would ever be an opportunity to harness that skill for other tasks.

The class broke up and everyone headed to quarters to shower and change. Only Alexis stayed behind. "You're worried about something."

Walker considered the statement. "Yes, I am."

"That's not usual. It must be something big."

"It is. We'll discuss it at Dinner. I have some announcements to make."

Alexis put on her best mischievous grin. "Are you sure you can't tell me sooner? I'll make it worth your while..."

"Like after the Romulan attack?" Walker could not help grinning back.

"Well, I was thinking of something a little more creative..."

"I must admit, I'm tempted, but I can't. This is too big."

"I understand." Alexis took Walker by the arm. "Come on. Let's get freshened up." They walked out and ended up in Walker's quarters. Alexis had taken to leaving some spare uniforms in Walker's quarters for emergencies. They showered and dressed, chatting for a while before dinner. They were still chatting when the first chime went off.

"Enter." Walker had been working on this, trying not to make it sound like a command. He was not successful yet. The door slid open and Glir walked through.

"It looks like I'm early."

Walker chuckled. "Not by much." He had barely made the statement when the chime sounded once more.

It was only minutes before the full complement of Officers had assembled and they began eating together. The banter around the table was amiable enough, at least from everyone but Walker. He was brooding but trying his best to hide it. The only person who was not fooled was Alexis. She squeezed his hand under the table and his mood lightened. Even a Captain responded to affection occasionally, she realised.

The evening passed more smoothly for the Captain when Botha produced a case of Walker's favourite Terran bourbon. It was a present from the engineering crew on the Lexington to the officers and crew of the Nullabor. Walker had an appropriate number of the bottles set aside for the crew and then they opened the first of those left. Walker sipped from a tumbler and sighed.

"There are some things that I have been ordered to keep from you all up until now..." Walker's opening statement brought all the side conversations to a halt instantly. "The main one is what we are carrying in our hold. I have the manifest here." He dropped several padds on the table and the officers picked them up in turn and started reading. Sai grabbed at one eagerly. After having stowed it he was obviously the most curious of them all.

The look on his face sobered as he read. When he was finished he looked at his captain questioningly. Walker merely nodded. Botha let out a low whistle. "There is enough equipment to build a destroyer with back there!" Botha threw a thumb behind him in the direction of the hold. "Phaser banks, torpedoes, guidance systems, computer cores, even the components for a smallish warp core. All you need is a hull..."

"It gets better." Glir was now poring over the list. "Some of the equipment could be modified to create a small industrial replicator. Then you wouldn't need a hull, you just replicate it as you go."

Botha agreed. "True, but you would need a huge amount of energy for that."

"You could do it with a standard warp core." Glir was already doing the sums in his head. For that matter, so was Voraak.

"The computing power of the components we hold is phenomenal. You could drive a small war with this gear and then some. What are they planning to do with all this at Deep Space 2?"

"At this stage I can't tell you, I don't know. What I do know is that after our little altercation with the Romulans the other day we are authorised to make use of any of the materials in our hold to make this ship battle ready during our trip there." There was silence for a full minute after Walker made the announcement.

"Let me get this straight." Botha did not believe his ears. "You are telling me that the brass have packed enough equipment into our hold to supply and defend a fleet headquarters from anything short of a Borg attack and since our little incident they've said 'help yourselves'? This smells bad, Captain."

"You're right, it does. So as I see it we have two options. We can head off tomorrow as if nothing will happen and forget what I have told you tonight, or we can arm ourselves to the teeth, prepare as many surprises as possible and hope that Admiral Dekker wouldn't send us to our deaths with this much equipment on board."

Glir didn't like these choices much, but with the resources he now had access to, he felt better about the second one. He said so. So did the other officers around the table. Walker looked to Dr Eritt. "Doctor, you are not part of this. If you feel uncomfortable with being on board this ship..."

"I don't." Lucifrelle stopped him. "There is no ship I would feel safer on after the events of the last few days. Besides, you should all be facing the possibility of needing some good medical help on board if what I am hearing is right." That sobered the mood of the table.

"Dr Eritt is right. We haven't inherited a toyshop, there must be some real dangers out there and we are going to need some good ideas to deal with it. I don't need to remind anyone that we are working against the clock. We are due at DS2 in a little over four weeks and we have to leave here in two hours. All modifications will need to be made in deep space, possibly at warp. I need you all to come up with options that integrate with each other and I need them very quickly." Walker was not finished. "Glir, your cloak detection system, that installation will have first priority. When can you have it done by?"

"It's already done Sir. We did the install as part of the replacement of the shield emitters, seeing as how the detection system runs through the shields anyway."

"Alright. Everyone, I want ideas by tomorrow morning. We will meet here at 0630 hrs and put together our plans for upgrading the ship. You all have a lot of work to do, dismissed." The entire table was cleared and the cabin emptied in less than a minute. Every face had a grim determination on it as the officers left the room, it matched the look on Walker's face as he sat down to create a few ideas of his own.


The morning meeting was not held in Walker's cabin. When Glir walked in with charts and padds in a antigrav trolley Walker moved the meeting to Three Forward. The crew would learn of this soon enough, he thought, and the extra room would be needed if Glir's presentation materials were any indication. As it turned out they were. Within minutes of them all arriving the room was littered with holograms, padds, chart displays, and people showing off their ideas. Walker looked it all over.

Glir had come up with some brilliant (and still theoretical) shielding systems based on the metaphasic technology now in use on the latest starships. Botha and Voraak had collaborated on a weapons array with enhanced targeting and tracking, Dr Eritt had devised some layouts for the sick bay that would allow her to work on more patients simultaneously. Kelsey had devised a method for building an onboard industrial replicator and then there was Sai Falar's idea.

Everyone was transfixed by the projection. It showed a detailed specification for a ship that had never been seen before within Starfleet. "This is a ship design I put together a few years back in the Academy. I dusted it off last night and refined it, I think with what we have it could be a good idea. They will fit in our shuttle bays..."

"Alright!" Walker's voice carried over the growing chatter and they all fell silent. "These are all good ideas. Some, like Glir's, can be done with little effort and others like weapons systems can be done without major replication but we are going to need an industrial replicator to speed things up in any event. Kelsey, Voraak, Botha, how long to set one up?"

Kelsey replied. "About three days if we have access to the parts and the space in the hold."

"There is space in there, we dropped off enough at the outpost to clear an area large enough." Sai provided a diagram of the layout in the hold.

"Okay, get on it. Glir, can you make your improvements to the shields on your own?" The three officers assigned to the replicator project moved off at Walker's command. Glir looked up as he was addressed.

"Yes Sir. We have metaphasic shields fitted already, all we have to do is install the upgrade modules when they are built. Give me two days."

"Alright then, dismissed. Dr Eritt, you have full authorisation to make any changes to the layout of the sick bay you feel are appropriate. That leaves you and I, Ensign." Walker turned to Sai Falar, who as the doctor walked out was the only other person in the room. We will have to run the ship by ourselves while all this is going on, but there are ways we can assist. I had some ideas about how to construct some special devices, and your designs indicate you may be useful in that area. When we are not on active shifts over the next two days, we will be working on your designs and mine."

"Aye sir. What about the blade classes?"

Walker had not considered that. There really wasn't time, but then it would be good for morale and his crew would need to let off steam in the coming days. "They will continue as usual. We better get to the holodeck." They headed to the 'deck to find that the morning class had already assembled. The crew clearly felt the same way as the Captain.

The next two days were a blur aboard the ship. Everyone attended the blade classes but spent every possible waking moment on a duty shift or on a 'project'. Walker barely saw his senior staff including Kelsey over that time. Glir had not left the science lab except to go to the blade classes and Walker was concerned at the state of his acting Science Officer. On the second morning he had ordered him to bed. The order was obeyed grudgingly, but Glir did not come out of his quarters for eleven hours.

Botha Voraak and Kelsey were more even headed about their work but even they drove themselves hard. Walker assigned chiefs to their duty shifts, everyone was prepared to work a little harder during the work. Walker and Sai had not only finalised their own plans, but Walker had come up with augmentations for most of the other plans as well. Dr Eritt had been liberal with the stims during this time which suited everyone.

The one thing they had going for them on this voyage was their invisibility on long range scans. It meant that whatever was out there it would have to search the usual flight paths to find them on normal sensors. Walker had thought about this over that first day and changed course so as to avoid the usual routes to DS2. He knew it would not give them a lot of time, but it might give them enough. By the beginning of the third day the shield enhancements were ready to install.

"It was that reciprocation module Lt Cmdr Voraak thought of that gave me the idea." Glir was demonstrating the module for Walker prior to installation. He walked over to the model on the bench in the lab and activated it. If you can make a shield reflect an energy source, you should also be able to direct that reflection by modulating the shape of the shield at the strike point."

"Yes, but we burnt out the emitters last time we tried this. A one shot weapon that leaves us no shields won't help us." Walker felt he was stating the obvious to this young ensign.

"True, but that was because we were using our energy through the emitter to rechannel theirs. What makes this system different is that the metaphasic shields use the energy directed at them against itself, which is why ships with this sort of shield can get so close to a star. The stronger the energy directed against it, the stronger it is with no net change in ship's energy consumption. Allow me to demonstrate." Glir pulled a phaser and aimed at the model on the bench. He fired a beam at it which was reflected off the shields and struck a target on the ceiling. He fired once more and this time it was reflected to a target on the rear wall.

Walker was impressed. "That's incredible. Tell me, why are you here? Why isn't someone who can build a system like this working in the Daestrom Institute?"

Glir avoided Walker's eyes. "That's a long story Sir. I would rather not go into it now." Walker decided to respect the privacy of his officer for now, but he filed away a mental note to check into the past of his young stowaway.

"Very well. You may proceed with the installations. How long?"

"Four hours Sir."

"Come and see me when it is done." Walker strode from the lab and went to check in on the replicator team. He hoped they were near completion, there was a lot riding on this one piece of equipment.

The entry to the hold was an airlock. This was not just for damage control, the hold had independent gravity and environmental controls. The logic behind this was simple; few people were supposed to go into the hold during transit and as it took up most of the ship the power to life support could be diverted to other needs most of the time. As Walker entered he noted that the life support systems had been set for minimal conditions. He hooked a small 'blower' to his belt and entered the hold.

Blowers were hardly standard equipment in starships and Walker could not remember seeing one since his Academy days. It was little more than a hand-held portable fan about the size of a palm beacon. With artificial gravity so prevalent on Starships, they were redundant. They were stored on most ships for emergency situations, but of course in most emergencies where there was no gravity there were more pressing concerns than ease of mobility. When he thought about it, blowers made sense in transport ships where heavy cargo could be moved in weightlessness when necessary. There was a rack of them in the airlock and he noticed that there were three empty clips before he grabbed his.

The gravity was disabled in the hold as Walker had expected. The air was fresh but the temperature was nine degrees Celsius. Dry, cold environment with no gravity, he realised that it was the perfect conditions for working with heavy industrial mechanics. Walker grabbed the hand held blower and activated it, aiming it towards the front of the hold. He was pushed backwards gently. He readjusted his aim so that he was propelled towards where his officers were working on the replicator in the front section of the hold. He held it so that the exhaust port was aimed behind him, moving him forward where he could see what he was advancing on.

The replicator had taken shape. It stood nearly three stories high against the forward bulkhead of the hold. Kelsey was floating five metres off the deck with a large plasma conduit junction, using a blower to move both the equipment and herself into position for fitting. Botha was bolting in another component on the top of the unit and Voraak was wiring up a small computer core off the side of the unit near the deck. The core was almost complete and he was installing the screens and consoles that would form the control assembly.

Voraak looked up as his Captain floated over. "Good morning Captain. As you can see we are making progress. Is there something we can do for you?"

"No, Lt Cmdr. All I need is some updates."

"The unit is nearly complete. We have hooked up the materialisation routines to the forward cargo transporter, the replicator will send the signals to it via this station. Kelsey and Botha are hooking this unit up directly to the warp core, we are going to have to pull the ship out of warp and shut down the engines momentarily when we are ready."

Walker lost no time getting to the point. "When and for how long?"

"In six hours and for ten minutes. The catch is going to be that the startup sequence for the engines will take an additional two hours to complete. All our systems including the high energy subspace field and the shields will be out for that time."

Walker considered this. There was no choice. "Very well, we'll prepare. Make no mistakes while we're shut down, Voraak."

"Aye Sir." Voraak resumed his work. Walker thought about this. Four hours to install the shield upgrades, which could double as offensive weapons once online. Six hours before shutdown of the warp core. That meant there was a two hour window for testing the new shields. It also meant that those enhancements would be down for two hours as the warp core was restarted. That would leave them sitting ducks for that time. It was time to check in on Dr Eritt. If they were discovered while the warp core was offline, her sick bay might start filling up. He used the blower to return him to the airlock.

Dr Eritt was finishing up in the sick bay. It looked very different from when he had first come aboard. She had layed out the room in a way that put her in the middle of it and able to access almost any bio-bed instantly. She looked up as he entered. "Good morning, Captain. I trust the changes are acceptable?"

Walker looked over the new sick bay. The new layout was good, yes, but there was something missing in the room that he could not place at first. It took him a moment to realise what it was. "I notice the office station has been removed."

"Yes. I don't need one and I am sure that your EMH doesn't. Quite frankly I didn't see the point to it taking up space that will be needed for emergency patients soon enough."

The Captain of the Nullabor thought about it. The statement had been delivered without any defensive tones and he realised that she believed it and furthermore expected him to. That made sense to him given her background, she would be unused to having her judgement questioned but she must have respected him to explain herself as much as she did. Besides, she was right. She was not Starfleet and therefore was not expected to fill out all that paddwork that the doctor on the Menalaus was bogged down with. The EMH would have it's own automatic logs and the likelihood of a flesh and blood doctor serving aboard this ship after Lucifrelle was not good. The doctor had used the space wisely, adding two bio beds and an emergency equipment tray to the area. "Agreed. Good work, Dr." Walker noted the brief nod of acknowledgement from her. "You could be right sooner than you realise. We are going to have to take the warp drive offline in six hours. It will be down for two hours. That means that we won't be able to run or defend ourselves if someone finds us out here. We may take hits, Dr Eritt. Will you be ready?"

Lucifrelle straightened. "I will Sir. Sick bay will be on full alert from the moment we are out of warp."

"Thank you Doctor. Please carry on." Walker strode from the sick bay. They would be in good hands. He had found an edge with her, that pride she carried. He knew that if he made her responsible for the health of his crew, she would move the heavens before letting him down. It was a comforting thought.

By the time he reached the bridge another issue had come to him; how do you stop a lone ship from calling in it's friends if it finds you? All in all this was a tough one. Any jamming system you put in place would attract people anyway. On the bridge he noted Sai at his post. "Ensign, what is our present course?"

"226 mark 15, Sir. We will have to make a deviation in five hours to avoid the Haradas Nebula."

Perfect, thought Walker. The effect of the nebula was just what he was looking for, communication systems would go down the moment they entered. Of course, it is where the Romulans would naturally think they were headed for as well. At least they had a chance there. "No deviation, Ensign. Head straight for it. Enter to five million kilometres deep and hold position. Be ready for evasive manoeuvres."

"Aye Sir." Sai Falar was no longer questioning him, he noted. Maybe that trust was developing after all. He checked with Ops, the chief reported nothing on their long range scans. So far, so good he thought. He hoped things would stay that way.


Walker had been starting to hope. They had been in the nebula for nearly three hours. The connection of the replicator to the warp core had been successful and the startup sequence for the core was nearly complete. Botha had done a brilliant job of overseeing both tasks and was ten minutes away from reinitiating the core reaction when the Romulan scout ship decloaked in front of them.

Sai had acted out of instinct. The ship jumped upwards out of the path of the disrupter beam, saving their skins. Without shields the bolt would have destroyed them. Glir's detection grid needed shields to operate so they had all been on alert since dropping from warp. Sai had gone off like a hair trigger at the first sign of a distortion in space.

Walker was not surprised they decloaked with all guns blazing. With the high energy subspace field down, there was no way they could block scans of the hold. Their secret was out if this ship got away from them. Their only hope was the warp core. "Sai, evasive!" The order was unnecessary as the young ensign was already piloting for his life. Walker watched the young man's hands fly over the console and the stars spinning erratically out the forward windows. It reminded him of the exercise he had conducted on the way to Starbase 73. "Bridge to Engineering, as you may have guessed, we've been detected. I need warp power as soon as possible!"

Botha's voice came back through the link. "You'll have it in eight minutes! Botha out!" Walker knew better than to try to hurry the man. He knew the situation and any further prodding would be a distraction.

He turned to Sai. "I need eight minutes, Ensign."

Sai's voice was strained with concentration on his console. "You'll get it, Captain." There was nothing left for Walker to do but sit and wait.

He discovered how difficult that could be. All the other officers on his bridge and in engineering were busy with their tasks right now, just as he would have been regulating the ship's efforts to meet the Captain's orders as First Officer on the Menalaus. He had never realised how disjointed it would feel sitting in the big chair, giving the orders and watching (no, trusting) his crew as they carried them out. He felt the familiar soothing touch of Alexis in his mind. He calmed immediately. She told him without words that he was in good hands, and she was right.

The first three minutes went by without a scratch. Sai had the ship in manoeuvres that Walker had not thought possible. The scout ship had come after them all guns blazing and their disrupter beams could be seen glancing past the forward windows every few seconds. Walker was uneasy about the situation. Romulans were usually smarter. If they had difficulty destroying a target they would retreat, gather their forces and strike once more. It did not bode well that this scout ship was all over them by itself. Maybe it was just a Romulan Commander seeking glory for himself with what he thought would be an easy mark but Walker doubted it. "Voraak, when the warp core is reinitiated I want the new shield enhancements brought online immediately."

"Aye Sir. Targeting is ready now and waiting." The ship rocked with an impact. Voraak checked the shipboard sensors. "Glancing blow to the cargo hull, Sir. No damage."

"Sai, they're getting closer."

"I'm on it, Captain!" Sai's hands were now a blur. He was trying to keep the ship on the scout ship's flank, where her weaponry was less effective. "If you have anything that might even the odds, now would be a good time to bring it out."

Walker turned to Kelsey. "When we are in the best position open airlock two." Kelsey nodded and checked her screen. Walker didn't like being totally defenseless in dangerous situations. When Kelsey had finished helping Botha with the replicator installation he had her help him with a surprise, just in case. They were both very thankful he did. The scout ship spun and ran for the transport, firing a volley of disrupter beams. One more scored a glancing blow before airlock two opened and the explosive decompression blew a photon torpedo out. Sai bolted from the area as the scout ship rammed into it with it's right nacelle. The resulting explosion crippled the scout ship, reducing it's manoeuvrability. "How's that Mr Sai?"

"Perfect Sir." Sai didn't let another shot anywhere near the ship. With the more manoeuvrable scout ship now brought down to his level, it became pilot against pilot and the officer at the helm of the scout ship was clearly no match for Sai Falar.

Seven minutes had passed and the commander of the scout ship must have realised that they could not finish the task with their nacelle damaged. The disrupters stopped firing. The ship started turning away. The ship began to cloak but then rematerialised in space. The photon must have hurt them bad, Walker thought. "Sai, stay with them, we can't let them go to warp."

"Aye Sir." Sai turned the ship back around and headed after them.

"Botha to the Bridge, the warp core is online." Walker was never so pleased to hear those words.

"Voraak, shields! Sai, get their attention!" His officers grunted their acknowledgments and the ship chased after the scout. It ignored them. "Hailing frequency!"

"Open." Voraak had the channel open within seconds.

"This is Captain Walker of the Federation Ship Nullabor to Romulan Scout Ship. You are in violation of Federation Territory. Stand down and prepare to be boarded!" His entire bridge crew looked at him with shock on their faces. "Well, any of you know a better way to get them angry?"

Voraak nearly missed his chance. He turned back to his console in time to see the energy spike off the scout ship's aft disrupter bank. "They're firing." He targeted the shields to reflect the beam towards their engineering bay. The scout ship fired and the enhancements worked perfectly. Within seconds th ship was a burning wreck. The celebration was more subdued this time. Everyone on board had expected to win anyway.

Walker turned to Kelsey. "Raise the high energy subspace field." He turned to Voraak. "Any damage at all?"

"No Sir. We took several hits on the cargo hold but the armour held, no structural defects."

Walker next turned to Sai. "Ensign, set course 227 mark 18, warp 6 and engage."

"Aye Sir."

"Captain, long range scans have indicated three more scout ships converging on the area. Glir's detection grid is now working."

"Will they get within normal sensor range of us?

"Not if we get out of here now."

Sai did not have to be told twice. The ship entered warp and everyone breathed a sigh of relief. "Commander Kelsey, you have the bridge." Walker went down to engineering to check on things.

It was not until after the evening blade class that Sai went up to his Captain. His comment was brief. "You were right."

Walker looked at him. "Come again, Ensign?"

"You were right. Everyone on this ship is alive today because we each did our part. No one deserves a bigger share of the credit than anyone else. I just wanted you to know that I trust you now." Sai walked off and did not see the smile on Walker's face as he left.


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