Star Trek: Nullabor

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Page 7

If anything, activity increased on the Nullabor after their close shave. They still had a long way to go before they reached DS2, and no-one wanted to go through that again. The officers aboard the Nullabor were used to being in a position of strength when facing the enemy and they were prepared to work hard to regain that position. The replicator was working around the clock building the large and bulky components required for the various projects.

Botha and Voraak found that several of the key components they required for their weapons array were now in the replicator, but it was capable of reproducing them. Walker and Sai used it for building small hull components and other parts that they were very secretive about. Glir assisted Botha and Voraak on the weapons array now that his shield enhancements were complete and that left Kelsey to run the ship. Walker was concerned about the trio working on the weapons. This was going to be the real test of how well his team would form, Botha had originally rejected Glir outright and the Vulcan prejudice against erratic and emotional behaviour would have put him on the outer with Voraak as well. Walker was worried that despite what he had done for the ship of late his two officers would not accept him.

He still had his doubts about this young Ensign himself. What he had done on this ship was impossible. People had been trying to find ways to track ships under cloak for generations. Glir should not have been able to do it in several days. Then there was the targeted reflective shields, not to mention the masking system for the high energy subspace field. Any one of these achievements should have handed this young man laurels in Starfleet, let alone the Daestrom Institute. What was he doing on Starbase 73 shuffling cargo? For that matter how did he get his hands on reports like the one on the Pegasus? He had done some research himself, and every angle he tried came up with a stern admonition to discontinue this line of investigation. Walker didn't like cloak and dagger mysteries, especially aboard his ship. Still, Glir had produced results and he had to admit that right now he needed this young man.

Besides, he was busy himself. He and Sai were in the shuttle bay working on several hulls that were taking shape according to Sai's design. If these things worked, they were going to be very interesting little vehicles. Sai was working like a demon. He knew this design inside out and was taking the most efficient approach to building it. In this Walker took his cues from the young ensign, pulling rank would have slowed the project and Sai knew not to abuse the privilege. Walker was actually surprised how fast the ships were coming together. Botha had originally laughed at the prospect of building these things, he said in his experience it would take months. It certainly didn't seem to be taking that long. It had only been several days since the incident with the scout ship and already the hulls had taken form and they were installing systems within them.

They were finished for the day, Walker was sitting in his cabin with Alexis waiting for the rest of his officers to arrive. He had a lot on his mind and his First Officer noticed. "You look like you have the weight of the galaxy on your shoulders, Thomas."

He smiled, "Just the weight of this ship is all. You know that."

"Yes, I do. It doesn't change things, though."

"You're right of course, but this is a crazy situation. A brand new ship, a new crew, one of which was never supposed to be here in the first place, in transit to a station while being systematically hunted down by the enemy for reasons we don't know, and we're rebuilding the ship on the fly. I just wish the other shoe would drop."

Alexis laughed at that. She leant over and gave her Captain a kiss. "Don't worry about it. My guess is it will drop soon enough. We have a lot to do between now and then."

"Yes. Speaking of which I am very interested in what is happening with those weapon systems." They had both looked over the plans, it was quite an impressive array. It was built into the emergency hatch system so there was no external fitting required, and no EPS conduits needed to be installed. The weapons were designed to use the standard EPS taps and be removable as well. Quite ingenious. As if on queue the door chime sounded and when Walker called "Enter" Botha, Voraak and Glir walked in. Botha and Glir were chatting and Botha even chuckled softly at something Glir had said. "Well," Walker thought, "that eases one of my concerns." Kelsey smiled.

"You won't believe it but the weapons systems are online now, Captain. You can thank young Timonis here for that." Botha gave the young Betazoid a slap on the back as he mentioned his name. Glir almost looked embarrassed by the attention.

"So what happened? Yesterday you were saying there may be some problems."

"Yesterday there were. Ensign Glir found a way around the hatch issue." Walker remembered the problem as it was mentioned the day before. The emergency hatches were exactly that. They were not airlocks and they were not designed to be opened and closed on a whim, which was exactly what they needed for a weapons port. The only other option was leaving them open permanently with emergency force-fields in place to keep the atmosphere in the ship. No-one had been comfortable with that idea. When they had last spoken, Botha had been talking about fabricating an airlock at each hatch site. That was going to take some time. Botha continued. "What we've done is construct small shield bubble generators for each port. They align perfectly with the hatches, so we lose no atmosphere as they open. The Photon torpedo hatches have bubbles that then retract, leaving the launchers in the vacuum. The Phaser banks' shields remain as they are."

"Doesn't that put them in our atmosphere and on the wrong side of our shields?"

"Yes it does put them in our atmosphere, Captain, but as for the shields, they can be modulated the same way as our main shields can be now. That allows us to direct the energy. In short, we now have targeting capability."

Walker could see that Botha was very proud of what they had done. It was clear that the hatches could be opened and shut with no explosive decompressions and they had also added to the functionality of their original design. He congratulated the three of them on their efforts. "How long before you wish to run tests?"

"We can drop out of warp for tests any time you like."

"We'll hold off for now. I would like the three of you to assist with the ships in the shuttle bay first. It makes sense to do all our testing at once."

Botha gave his captain a look of concern. "Captain, these weapons are ready now. Those ships you have in there may never leave the bay. Shouldn't we make sure of what we have before worrying about pipe dreams?"

Walker considered this. It was a reasonable question given Botha's prejudice against the idea. "Give me one day, Cmdr. If you don't think we have a hope after that then I'll agree."

Botha knew Walker would no be pushed further. "Done." They sat down as the chime sounded once more. Both Falar and Lucifrelle entered when bidden. Now their group was complete and dinner began. Walker noticed that the doctor sat next to his Chief Engineer as was her usual habit.

Dinner was becoming the friendly affair that Walker had hoped for among his officers. He sat back and reviewed his crew as they chatted and ate. It was a fine team, perhaps too fine for a transport. He put that thought to the back of his mind. It always gave him the nagging feeling that they were being dropped in it far over their heads. The traditional game of poker started up and he took it up eagerly. Poker always cleared his mind. That fact that he enjoyed the game as well always helped. He focussed on it that night and made a killing. The game went on for longer than usual but no one minded. They all felt like being distracted that night.

It was much later, the game had broken up, the officers had left for their quarters except for Alexis, it was even after the two of them had coupled heatedly and lay on his bed holding each other. That was the time his mind started to chew over all the little clues again.

'Do you really think they will work?" Alexis' question had distracted him.

"What? Sai's ships? I think so."

"I wasn't talking about them. I was talking about your designs."

Walker hadn't had time to think about them and told her so. "Why? Don't you like them?"

"Oh, I like them alright. I just don't know if they can be ready in time. Besides, they may be overkill for all we know."

"I doubt it."

"So do I. I'm just saying that it's going to take us a lot of time to put those things together. By rights we should be at DS2 long before they are ready."

Alexis was right, but Walker didn't think she had considered everything. "You say that, but I think that there is very little this crew could not achieve together if we are pushed to it. I also think that they would put in the effort when I show them the designs because they can see the value of them. Besides, if Glir can pull off the impossible for Botha..." Walker felt the chill sweep through Kelsey's mind at the mention of their stowaway. "What is it? Is there something about him?"

"Not really I guess." Alexis seemed uneasy. "It's just that I am used to being in telepathic contact when other Betazoids are around. As a species we rarely speak out loud unless there are non-telepaths around. Glir is different. I get nothing from him, he shields his thoughts and keeps to himself."

"Surely there are other Betazoids who do that? I have met introverted Betazoids before."

"True, it isn't that unusual, but there is also the uneasy feeling I get whenever I try to speak to him, it's like he wants to give me the chills to keep me out. Most Betazoids wouldn't go that far."

Walker was surprised by none of this. This young man had secrets and he would find out what they were soon enough. What irritated him was that Glir had caused his First Officer discomfort. "If he has been doing anything..."

"No. Thanks, I appreciate your concern, but he hasn't done anything. You can't blame anyone for wanting privacy."

Walker shrugged. "I guess not. I'll still be keeping an eye on him from now on." Kelsey smiled.

===

Botha's first response was laughter. Sai and Walker looked at each other while the Chief Engineer's guffaws sounded through the shuttle bay. "You can't be serious! I wouldn't fly one of those things out the bay doors, that's for sure." The source of his disapproval was the group of three hulls in front of him. They were about half the size of a high speed shuttle and had just enough room for one person to sit. The remainder of the space was allocated to systems designed to make these vessels much more powerful in a fire fight. The hulls had no nacelles but they did include an impulse system almost the same size as that on the Nullabor.

"No-one's asking you to. All we need is for you to help us make them space worthy. Can you help us with that?" Sai was quite testy with the engineer.

"What would be the point? It's barely more than a scooter. You will be able to hold two photons apiece maximum and without shielding you would be done for in a real fire fight. No nacelles or warp capability, no range to speak of, these things would be hopeless in a full scale military operation even with the phaser banks you are installing."

"Oh, we can shield them up quite well." Glir's voice came up from under the first hull where he was inspecting the construction against the design. "We can even do it without too much change to what has already been done. All we have to do is switch from a fusion EPS power plant to a micro antimatter core, like the ones used in warp capable shuttles. Run an EPS converter to the impulse drive and we will still be able to run rings around anything in space come a fire fight. Given it's mass, the shields don't have to even be that strong. The impulse drives should make the ship so agile no beam weapons should hit it for more than a fraction of a second. As for the range, the antimatter core would boost the range by at least an order of magnitude."

Botha was not convinced. "What about projectiles? Are you telling me that these things are safe against guided torpedoes?"

"I have an idea about that." Walker spoke up. "With their size even a micro antimatter reaction is not big enough for a foolproof lock-on by most systems. Could we fit these ships with small antimatter mines that detonate after release to attract the torpedoes?"

Botha thought about it for several moments. "Decoys. That might work. What about tractor beams? They would negate your advantage in manoeuvrability."

Glir spoke up once more. "They're easily fixed. Unless you go up against something the size of a Borg cube tractor beams are not effective in battle. They simply take too much energy to run. You can use that to your advantage. Build a phase discriminator into the shield array and modulate the phase of the gravitons hitting your shields. It makes them entirely ineffective and at the same time causes their sensors to think they have the range wrong. The computer ramps up the output until the ship is bled of energy."

"But then they simply switch to manual or turn them off." Sai argued.

Glir shrugged. "It makes no difference. Unless the output is enough to overwhelm the shields instantly they can't affect you seriously. If they can put out that much of a graviton stream, you have bigger problems than you think. With all the Borg attacks against Federation ships I am aware of, the shields have been ale to hold off tractor beams for some time. This system means you only have to do it for a fraction of a second as the phase discriminator kicks in."

"But surely the load on the discriminator..." Botha started and Walker realised that the two of them were going to help. There was little he could do there at that moment, he had to let them sort out for themselves what they could do. Sai was still there and this was his project. Walker knew he wouldn't let it get taken over, he had too much of a fire in his belly for that. Walker headed to the replicator in the hold. It was time to start work on a project of his own.

Walker didn't notice the time slip by. When Alexis came looking for him to conduct the evening blade class he was amazed at the amount of time he had spent in the hold. He completed installing the component he had in his hands before going with his First Officer.

"So this is your secret weapon?" Kelsey was curious. Walker had been dismantling a class 9 probe casing and reconfiguring the layout inside. The unit was about two and a half metres in length and had the shape of a photon torpedo.

"It will be, yes. Class 9 probes are already built to travel at Warp 9 if necessary, all I am doing is reconfiguring the probe so that the data gathering instruments can be removed and replaced with more useful items."

Kelsey looked further. "You're doing much more than that. You're completely replacing the computer core with something I've never seen before. What is that?"

"it's just a core I designed that is optimised to the sort of programming I intend to create for it."

"You normally create adaptive learning systems for training purposes. Are you going to create something similar for this?"

"Yes. Only this time the attacks will be real, at least for the targets." Walker stood. He noticed Kelsey staring at the probe. "Come on," he said, "we're late." She shrugged and followed him, but there was an uneasy feeling in her mind about this device her Captain was creating. Still, she couldn't put it down to anything concrete so she dismissed it. Walker caught the feeling in her mind but said nothing. It would not do to fuel his officer's concern.

The blade class that evening was attended by all who could make it as usual, but Walker could not help but note how tired his crew was. He had been pushing them too hard over the last week and it was time for them to rest. It would not do to be discovered in deep space while they were all on the verge of collapse. He made the training as light as possible. As the lesson progressed he noted with some pride that the crew were improving. Botha and Eritt were both sparring against each other with a level of skill that would get them out of trouble with street thugs, even though they had a long way to go before they were likely to cut it in a real combat situation.

Glir was sparring against Kelsey this session. Walker watched the pair as they fought. Glir was good, and not just 'new' good. He had clearly been trained in how to handle a knife before. He could feel Kelsey pick up on the thought and he felt her look at her opponent in that light. Feeling her recognition of something he had already seen was an interesting experience and he watched her reactions change as she tested Glir with more and more advanced tactics which he successfully countered.

In two minutes the tone of their sparring had changed from light training to full military combat techniques. Kelsey was throwing everything she had at the young Ensign and he was handling it. He must have realised she was at the edge and moved in for the kill. He feinted left and threw a lightening fast jab at her chest. Walker had never seen a move like that outside of the Blade Dancers and his breath caught in his throat as he saw the knife flash at his lover.

It never made it. Kelsey feinted a block to make the young Ensign think she had taken the bait. As soon as he made the strike she parried and struck at his throat. The blade dissolved as it passed into the region that his flesh occupied and the computer registered a lethal blow to Alexis.

Glir was amazed. "How did you do that? You shouldn't have been able to do that."

Walker was behind him when he spoke. "I don't know where you learnt to handle a knife that but I admit you are good. Very good in fact but you missed something."

Glir turned. "What? I had everything covered. There was no way that Commander Kelsey should have been able to pull off such a move, she had nothing left."

Alexis laughed. "That is what you missed. Never assume that your opponent is out. Never assume that they have nothing left, not until they are defeated and not even then unless they are dead."

"So you were masking your true abilities?"

"No, I had nothing left as you say. I don't know who taught you, but there is very little you don't seem to know about knives. What that person didn't teach you was what you need to know about people. Sometimes they just don't give up, even if they have nothing left. There is nothing like a survival situation to really test how far a person can go. With what we may be up against later, that is something you should keep in mind."

Walker noticed Glir's visage after Kelsey's little speech. He was ashen. It reinforced the thought he had earlier about his crew needing a rest. He decided he would make the announcement to his officers at dinner, all crew to take a day off tomorrow, one crew member to be assigned to each critical station on an eight hour shift basis in case of emergency. Even if they were discovered during that time the break would add to their strength. The idea was met favourably when he announced it.

===

It was two days after the rest day that the Nullabor pulled out of warp to conduct it's field tests. They had found a small asteroid belt on the star charts and headed for it. Walker noted as he sat on the bridge just how fresh his crew seemed. They had been working hard of late but the work was over and now they were going to get to play with some of their new toys.

"Weapon systems armed and ready Sir." Voraak spoke in his usual dispassionate voice.

"Helm ready." The Chief sitting at the helm reported. Walker waited for Sai's acknowledgement.

"Shuttle bay ready." Sai was sitting in one of the newly finished interceptors in the shuttle bay. The bay doors were open and he knew his helm officer would be itching to try out one of the new ships in space. He was the sort of pilot who loved putting new equipment through it's paces.

"Alright, let's begin. Sai, launch when ready. Voraak, engage target bearing 316 mark 54 and fire." His crew responded and a large asteroid disintegrated as a phaser beam struck it dead on. Walker saw the blur pass the port side forward window and realised that it was Ensign Sai. "Ensign, I want you to take out the asteroid bearing 45 mark 121." This would be interesting, thought Walker. The interceptor swung around and did several loops in front of the viewer before heading for it's assigned target. They heard a short squeal of delight over the comm system and Kelsey actually chuckled. It was clear that Sai wanted to put the ship through manoeuvrability tests more than assault exercises. From what Walker could see, he didn't blame the man. The ship seemed to be every bit as agile as his crew had boasted it would be. Still, there was more to this exercise than a simple joy flight. He told Sai so.

"Sorry Sir. Targeting asteroid aye." The interceptor spun towards the asteroid and it's phasers flashed, turning the target into a lump of lava suspended in space. "Well, the phasers seem to work."

Walker nodded to Kelsey. "Well, it's time to test the defensive capabilities of that ship Ensign." Kelsey initiated a tractor beam aimed at the ship. They watched the ship kick for a moment as the beam grabbed it, but then pull free. Kelsey disengaged the beam.

"That was quite a ride, Captain. The sudden change in velocity as the ship is grabbed can be quite unpleasant at high speed, but Glir was right, the beam couldn't hold."

Walker's response was to nod to Voraak. The Vulcan returned the nod and pressed several touch points on his console. The phaser beams could not strike the ship, it was too fast. Voraak did manage to get one to strike the flank of the ship but the shields easily deflected it before the ship slipped out of the way. Voraak pressed another touch point and two photon torpedoes shot from the ship.

Sai dodged the main strike run of the torpedoes with ease. He found it more difficult when they turned and followed him. "They're locked on me!" His voice screamed through the comm link. He ducked and weaved, trying every trick he could to dodge the torpedoes, successfully at first. One screamed by his cockpit window, barely five metres from his face and he realised that he would not be able to dodge them forever. He triggered a decoy. The small antimatter mine detonated behind him and attracted the first torpedo, intensifying the explosion. He dodged the second one for several more minutes before it ran out of fuel and coasted away into space. The Nullabor ran after it, tractoring it in. There was no point wasting a good torpedo casing. They could arm it and reload it. Sai kept up with them easily and even did barrel rolls around the transport. "These ships are fantastic, Captain! You should try them!"

Walker thought about it. His helm officer was right. Everything he had seen suggested to him that these ships would only be useful to them if the pilots who flew them could handle such precision flying. He keyed the comm link once more. "Bridge to Botha & Glir, meet me down in the shuttle bay immediately." Walker heard the query in Kelsey's mind before she spoke it. "We need to get some practice in with our new ships." The sense of the query was changed to one of longing. "Yes, you can come too." The sense of longing was changed to one of pleasure.

It was six hours later that all three ships were back in the shuttle bay. Walker came close to threatening Sai with a charge of insubordination to get him back in. Sai loved the new ships and spent every moment he thought he could get away with over that six hours in the cockpit of one. Walker, Botha, Glir and Kelsey all tried piloting the ships and all four enjoyed it. It took them each several hours to become familiar with the agility of the ships but after that they were flying well and reacting to combat exercises with sufficient skill to give Walker confidence in the ships for combat use. The next thing that needed doing was to give them a classification.

All five of them stood in a circle in the shuttle bay. "I think we should call them Voles." Sai was excited by the prospect of his design entering the Starfleet official records. So excited that he hadn't given much thought to the names he was suggesting. Nearly everyone had put forward a suggestion but this was the worst so far. Naming the ships after the Cardassian rodents that did so much damage to the planets the Cardassians had occupied in the past appealed to no-one. They all looked to Walker who had yet to offer a name himself.

Walker didn't notice at first, he was deep in thought. When he realised everyone was staring at him he raised an eyebrow. "We were wondering what you think would make a good name for this new class of interceptor." Kelsey helped him out.

"Oh. What about Woomera?"

Botha was the first to ask, "What is a woomera?"

"It's a small stick that Australian Aborigines used to launch their spears. It gave them greater range and speed, apparently."

They all looked at each other. Even Sai had to admit that the name had some appeal. He stored the plans in the Nullabor computer core under that classification name. He had some trouble at first, there had never been an interceptor grade of ship registered against the Starfleet records but it was entered soon enough.

That evening at blade classes everyone was pumped up. They had run tests and proven that they could defend themselves. For nearly everyone that would mean returning to normal duties. They were as ready as they would be and win lose or draw, the Romulans would know they had been in a fight if they attacked. Scans were still being done for Romulan ships but so far nothing had been picked up. They had re-entered warp and were now only three weeks from DS2. No-one aboard thought it would be a dull three weeks.

During the throwing session Botha lived up to his new nickname once more. Walker didn't understand it, he simply couldn't miss. They were now up to some sophisticated throwing environments including changing winds and obstacles, moving targets, even a moving deck. He could handle any difficulty and still hit the targets. The only other person on the ship who came close to Botha's throwing record was Voraak. It came as no surprise to Walker that someone that graceful in a fight would be able to throw as well. It was a simple thing to translate the skill applied in estimating the next move of an opponent and estimating the next move of the terrain. Voraak was used to building his defences into his attacking moves and he made use of the same approach in throwing. Very little Walker provided on the throwing range by way of distraction or difficulty managed to disrupt the stocky Vulcan's throw at the target.

Walker had noticed that the crew was working hard to improve as well. Several of the enlisted crew had been promoted into the intermediate group in the last few days and most of the beginners were showing signs of improvement beyond what he had expected. He had walked into Three Forward once and noticed several crewmen engaged in knife tricks of one sort or another. They were all really getting into the training, even the Vulcans who were normally so aloof to such pursuits. It was disturbing in one respect, Walker had served on several ships, many of which had a popular game or hobby aboard. There were always people who kept to themselves or refused to participate, but not this time. On reflection Walker put it down to the size of the crew aboard the ship, maybe it would form a group of tighter knit.

Walker asked Alexis about it that night as they lay in bed together. She thought about it for awhile before answering. "You're right that it's unusual, but I don't think the popularity of the knife classes is related to the size of the crew more than the size of the Captain. Think about it; you have been famous, at least in a small way, among the junior officers and enlisted ranks for several years. All of this crew have heard some story about you before this assignment, some adventure you have been on where you have performed some act of heroism in the face of overwhelming odds, and then here you are offering them the opportunity to learn something daring and exciting. They're going to take to it as if their lives depended on it. You wait, when we get to DS2 there will be some enlistments in the various replimats and cafes flicking knives around and saying to all the awestruck watchers 'Captain Thomas Walker taught me that!'"

That was reasonable he thought. It still didn't explain the Vulcans, but they would see the benefit in the physical training and discipline provided in the classes. It cleared up one issue, leaving his mind free to wander around the other one that had been attracting his attention of late.

Alexis caught his train of thought. "Don't worry about the bridge tomorrow, I'll handle things for the next few days. Put some work in on your project." Walker smiled. Sometimes it was nice having someone around who could read your mind.

The next two days saw Walker engrossed in his project. Kelsey had to fetch him for blade classes more than once. The small unit was really starting to take shape. The probe casing had been fitted with a small phaser bank that was fed directly from the micro warp core of the probe. It was also fitted with two antimatter grenade launchers, not much against heavy shipping but effective enough against scouts and the like. The warp engines had been removed and replaced with standard impulse drives just like the Woomera class interceptors. This would make them just as reactive as the small fighters, but because they were not designed to carry humans they were smaller and the phasers were more powerful.

Walker put the modified probe onto the cargo transporter pad for scanning. Ten minutes later he had fifteen of the new probes in front of him. He stored them away before heading up to his ready room. He could code the programs for them and keep an eye on the bridge at the same time.

Alexis was pleased to see him. It was good for a ship to have a visible Captain and Thomas had been holed away for too long now, for that matter they had all been working on separate projects for the life of this ship and it was time that changed. Creating all these new toys needed specialists but the use of them would require a united front aboard the ship.

Voraak brought the First Officer out of her reverie by announcing the detection of a cloaked Romulan Warbird on the fringe of their long range scans. "Bring us to bearing 52 mark 145 to compensate, correct course when the ship is out of range again." Kelsey was calm, this was their first sighting of a Romulan vessel since the incident while the warp core had been shut down and they were still invisible to the long range scans of the Romulans. All they had to do was keep them at arm's length...

"Two more scout ships detected on the long range scans, bearing 120 mark 142 and 174 mark 54. They're trying to find us via triangulation." Voraak's assessment was doubtlessly accurate, but Kelsey was still perturbed by the dead pan delivery of such a dangerous impact.

"Captain to the Bridge!" Walker was out of his ready room in seconds.

"What's going on?"

"They're casting a net for us in this area. We are going to appear on someone's screens soon." Alexis was concerned. If they were spotted this time there was no way to stop their location being broadcast across subspace. They still had eighteen days of travel left and spending it running from Romulan disrupters was not her preferred option.

Walker looked at the screen on his chair. "Is there anywhere we can hide?"

Voraak responded. "No. It looks like our only option will be to fight."

Walker thought. They were prepared for a fight, but the sooner they were discovered by the Romulans the tougher it was going to be to make it through. He opened a comm link to Engineering. "Botha, can you modify our warp signature in any way?"

The Chief Engineer's voice sounded through the small bridge. "It won't help, Captain. As soon as they check us they will run into the high energy subspace field and they simply track the new signature."

Walker tapped his chest once more. "Walker to Glir. Do you have any way of jamming communications on board those Romulan ships?"

"In a way, yes Sir. All we need to do is get them all in normal sensor range and send an energy spike through the high energy subspace field. Our communications are shielded against the effect but theirs won't be. It will knock out their comms for days, but we can only do it once. It will knock out the field coils, the backups will kick in but it will take a day to repair the primary units."

"Set it up."

Alexis looked up in shock. "Captain, those three ships out there are unlikely to be the only ships casting the net, what is the chance of them all entering sensor range simultaneously? It will only take a couple of seconds for our position to be sent out."

"Don't worry, I have a plan." Walker's reassurance both calmed and chilled her simultaneously.

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