Star Trek: Nullabor

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Page 8

Sai watched the timer on the console of his interceptor click over. His sensor display was feeding him advanced telemetry on the cloaked ship enroute to his position via a feed from the Nullabor. This was going to be very tight and they would get no second chance. Sai made a silent prayer to the Prophets that they would guide them and give them the precision of timing they needed. He had to smile slightly at the irony of asking for timing from entities that existed outside of time and who from all accounts didn't even understand the concept fully.

The timer flicked red briefly, attracting his attention once more. The sequence had been updated as the latest information on the telemetry of the Romulan fleet was processed. It turned out that there were four ships in total, two Warbirds and two scout ships. They were going to have a large fight on their hands and their only advantage was agility. Even the Nullabor could run rings around the Warbirds at impulse and the interceptors would be the most manoeuvrable ships in the battle. Sai hoped it would be enough.

The plan was simple enough; use the three interceptors as lures and initiate the energy spike as the four ships enter range simultaneously. As with most simple plans there was a catch that Sai realised only too well as a pilot himself. Getting four ships that had every intention of being uncooperative into a set sphere at the centre of which lay the Nullabor would be an amazing feat given that these ships were all being piloted by individuals. Sai wished he was at the helm of the Nullabor, his skills would be needed there, but he had to admit he was probably needed here more. The Captain and the First Officer were piloting interceptors on the other edges of the sphere that were due to be touched by enemy ships. The Nullabor was being used to keep the distance of the fourth ship exactly right, hence the constant changes to the figures on the timer. The Nullabor was being kept at impulse speeds, it had dropped the interceptors off at warp to give them a chance to be in position in time. The theory was that once communication was blocked the Nullabor would swing around, knock out the unattended Warbird, and join each fight one by one. Sai, as the best pilot, was last on the list. He was not looking forward to this test, the attacks would be just a little too real. Without the Nullabor close by, he knew that the emergency beam out strap on his arm was useless. He was working without a net.

Voraak was in command of the ship and was preparing the timers based on the updates in telemetry he was receiving. Glir and Botha had remained aboard to set off the spike and start repairs immediately after. They all knew their roles and Sai couldn't help but wish that things would start.

The timer display turned a constant red and Sai saw the beginning of the spacial distortion caused by a decloaking ship directly in front of him. His fingers flashed over the controls and he dodged a disrupter beam with ease. Beating this scout ship in the fighter was going to be easier than trying to do it in the Nullabor, he thought.

Voraak called up a tactical display on the main viewer. So far the plan was going perfectly. Sai had turned tail and run on queue, The Captain and Commander were holding their ships back as requested and the Nullabor was moving into position for the pulse. It was just as the ships were entering the sphere that Sai's scout ship turned tail and ran. Voraak saw the other three ships enter simultaneously and ordered Glir to send the spike.

Sai ran after the ship monitoring the subspace communication channels. The ship had not sent any messages but it clearly wasn't about to play tag any longer. They had judged the interceptor as insignificant and possibly a decoy, and had decided to return to their assigned search path. According to the telemetry being displayed from the Nullabor, he had thirty minutes to destroy the ship before it's path would take it across another of the pitched battles now being fought. The ship began to cloak and Sai knew he had to act fast. Without a warp drive there was no chance to catch the scout if it entered warp. As the port nacelle of the scout ship rippled and began to dematerialize it was struck by a photon torpedo from Sai's ship. The scout ship rematerialised and swung on Sai. The nacelle was venting plasma and debris but that didn't stop them firing on Sai. Sai's offer of battle had been accepted.

The Nullabor had come out of warp near the fourth ship with all guns blazing. The Warbird had taken heavy damage from the volley that they had unleashed but it had stirred them up as well. It had been waiting for them, the Nullabor had appeared on the normal scans for long enough to let the Romulan ship get her weapons online. Like all Romulan Commanders this one had been sure of his target beyond arrogance and had let the Nullabor make the first move. Voraak had realised that the Romulan commander didn't think this ship would have offensive weapons and masked a positioning move as an attempt to flee. The Romulans were more cautious during the remainder of the battle and treated the Nullabor with more respect. The positioning move was deftly countered and the heavier firepower the Warbird had managed to tip the scales back in it's favour. The Nullabor was agile and dodged most of the fire, but Sai was not at the helm. They had taken enough hits to severely weaken the shields. That hadn't required many hits at all, the shields that the ship carried were not the same class as those put on Starships. Their success in previous battles had come from Sai's ability to evade enemy fire, conserving the shields.

Botha began to wonder about the plan they were in the middle of executing. He had just sent three more crewmen to deck two for emergency repairs. The Romulan Warbird out there was hitting them hard. He began to wish that Sai was at the helm, but of course if the information coming from the bridge was any indication, he had his work cut out for him where he was. They still had to rescue the Captain and First Officer after this and Botha hoped that the interceptors were making a better fist of the fight than the Nullabor was.

Botha felt the ship rock again as the shield generator began to sound like it was on the verge of collapse. The energy they were generating was going into the weapons and shields alright, Botha just wished he knew if they were doing as much damage to the Warbird as they were taking.The rumbling sound started in the wall behind him. Just as he turned to investigate the plasma conduit behind the wall blew out and the universe went dark...

Voraak didn't have much time left, he realised. The Nullabor had taken heavy damage from the Warbird, one of her nacelles was damaged and there was no response coming from engineering. The Warbird was in bad shape itself and the winner was likely to be whoever struck the next blow.

Voraak checked the console. They had ten torpedoes left in the launchers. They would have to be made to count. He knew that in a battle of attrition the Warbird had a distinct advantage. The longer the Warbird could keep the fight going the more of it's systems it could get repaired, it was time to end the fight one way or another. "Chief, set course for the Warbird's bridge. Ramming speed."

The chief looked around in shock. She turned back to her console when she saw the set of Voraak's eyes. "Aye Sir."

Voraak had other things on his mind than dying. "When you are fifty metres out, be prepared to divert course directly to the port nacelle as we launch two torpedoes. Then divert to a course aimed at their engineering section, where we will launch the remaining torpedoes."

The Chief seemed brighter at this suggestion. "Acknowledged. Setting parameters now."


The ship spun around and aimed itself directly at the bridge of the Warbird. As Voraak had expected, the ship diverted all the remaining energy to the forward shields. The Nullabor scraped against those shields as they diverted course, but the Romulans didn't have time to switch the shields aft. The two torpedoes tore through the port nacelle of the Warbird, throwing debris into space. The remaining eight torpedoes ripped a hole in the hull and struck the containment chamber for the artificial anomaly powering the ship. The Nullabor ran from the explosion, getting rocked by the shock waves but sustaining no further damage.

Voraak picked himself up off the deck. He had fallen out of the Captain's Chair and now resumed his seat. "Chief, set course for Commander Kelsey's position."

Alexis had been faring well against the Warbird. They had tried every trick in the book to bring her down, including the tractor beams. The interceptor was far too manoeuvrable for them and the increased firepower of the Warbird was wasted against her.

Unfortunately, she hadn't made much of a dent against them either. The interceptor simply didn't have the firepower to bring down a Warbird by itself. The good news was that the Warbird had a severely depleted number of torpedoes remaining, it had spent them on a futile effort against the interceptor. The decoy mines had worked perfectly. Alexis was glad to see the Nullabor come out of warp nearby until she saw the damage. This was still going to be a tough fight.

The Warbird swung around as soon as the Nullabor came out of warp. The Nullabor fired its phasers as she performed evasive manoeuvres and managed several direct hits. This was just the distraction Alexis was looking for. She fired her phasers at the same point of the shields and managed to collapse them momentarily, slipping inside the shield perimeter of the Warbird. She launched both of her torpedoes at the bridge, destroying it. The ship was not out, but at least she would be in sufficient disarray to even the odds against the Nullabor. She flew in along the fuselage of the Warbird, hugging it tightly until she got to Engineering, where she fired her phasers point blank.

The softening action did its work for the Nullabor. Voraak saw Kelsey's interceptor ducking and weaving away from the Warbird as the disrupter beams lanced the space around her. Voraak glanced at the console and noticed that the crew had managed to put a few more torpedoes into the launchers. He watched the Warbird turn from them to chase the interceptor, and gave to order to fire as they had their flank to the Nullabor.

Six photon torpedoes struck the Warbird seconds after the phaser shots had collapsed the already damaged shields. It exploded with a spectacular burst of green plasma. Voraak and the other bridge crew had to shield their eyes from the intensity of the blast. It brought home to them all that this ship had never meant to be in combat, Starships had never been built with windows on the bridge.

"Commander Kelsey requesting permission to dock." The interceptor was headed for them at speed.

"Permission granted." Voraak knew they had to hurry. The other two interceptors were still out there against the scout ships and they would have had less of an advantage in agility than if they were going up against the Warbirds. He tapped his chest and the comm link came to life. "Voraak to shuttle bay, get that interceptor recharged and loaded with fresh torpedoes as soon as it lands." After he received his acknowledgement he turned to the chief in the helm position. "As soon as the shuttle bay doors are closed, head for the Captain's position."

Walker gunned his engines for the Nullabor's position as soon as the ship came out of warp near him. Kelsey's interceptor was space borne inside a second of the Nullabor reentering normal space. Walker keyed his comm link. "Kelsey, land immediately! Voraak, prepare to go to warp as soon as I land! The scout ship is badly damaged and she is running!"

Neither Voraak nor Kelsey lost any time obeying their Captain. Voraak had the ion trail on his screens immediately. The scout ship was putting out a terrible signature, Captain Walker must have nearly destroyed it himself. That was good news, because there was little left in the Nullabor right now. He had just checked with the sick bay, Dr Eritt had eight emergency cases and four major injuries under treatment. Nearly half the ship's crew was down and they still had two scouts to remove, Voraak knew that if Sai had hit trouble, they might not have enough to stop the fourth ship, which still had it's communications anyway.

Walker noticed the two crewmen rushing to his ship as he landed it. One was dragging an antigrav sled behind him with a fresh pair of torpedoes. He felt the ship lurch into warp as he hit the deck. He had seen the damage as he entered the bay and he asked one of the crewmen how bad things were.

"Bad, Sir. When we catch the scout these two interceptors may be our only chance to bring it down." Walker decided not to distract the man from his job any longer. He nodded and keyed his comm link to the bridge. "Voraak, can we catch them?"

"Yes Sir. They are barely above warp 1. We will over take them in two minutes."

Walker stayed in the bay. He had hoped there would be a chance to check the ship personally, but that would have to wait. He jumped back into the cockpit of the interceptor. He glanced over to Kelsey, who was still waiting in her cockpit for launch once more. He felt her thoughts. 'You must have really scared them out there. I've never heard of Romulans running.'

He thought back. 'I managed to convince them I was serious, yes. I am sure they were prepared to die, I just think they knew they wouldn't beat us and wanted to let someone know where we were.'

There was no further time for conversation. The shuttle bay doors opened revealing normal space. Both interceptors flew out as the scout came out of warp in front of them. Voraak had vented some plasma from the nacelles in the path of the scout, forcing it from warp. As soon as it appeared in front of them Kelsey could see it was badly damaged. It kept trying to cloak but couldn't do it. The shields were all but gone, the interceptors took care of the remaining shields with their phasers and the torpedo volley they unleashed did the rest. Within a minute of dropping from warp the two fighters were back in the Nullabor and they were warping to Sai's position.

Voraak saw the debris field in front of them as they came out of warp. He ordered shields immediately. Though the forward windows in the bridge he saw the two interceptors race into the field. There were periodic flashes against their shields as the debris was cleared from their path. His screens showed that the two command officers were homing in on Sai's transponder signal. "Bateson, follow them in." The helm responded and the Nullabor ploughed through the debris. It was clearly the remains of a scout ship, but the radius of the debris field was huge. Voraak studied the pattern of the field and concluded that the scout ship must have been on the verge of entering warp as it was destroyed.

Walker saw Sai's interceptor first. It was adrift and damaged badly. Sai was not answering hails and there was no signals coming from the ship itself. He hailed Kelsey and organised a grapple of the damaged interceptor between them. Voraak ordered the Nullabor to a full stop. They were deep enough in the debris already and getting closer would serve no purpose. Walker's voice came over the comm channel ordering medics to the shuttle bay, Voraak sent someone there immediately. Dr Eritt had her hands full and Sai could be brought to her if necessary.

As the interceptors landed Voraak ordered the transport out of the debris and back on their original course. Once the ship was at warp once more he ordered Glir to the bridge while he went to the shuttle bay to assess the damage. He arrived to see Walker and Kelsey pulling the unconscious ensign from the cockpit of his interceptor. The medic rushed in and scanned him with a medical tricorder. "He's okay, he just blacked out. Probably caught in the shock wave from the scout ship. He must have destroyed it at very close range."

Walker looked up to the medic. "Can you revive him?"

"Yes Sir." The medic pulled out a hypospray and injected the Bajoran's neck with a mild stimulant. Sai was awake within seconds, and came to full awareness a second later. "Is my fighter okay?" Walker laughed. He pointed to the damaged fuselage nearby and watched Sai's head fall.

"Don't worry, I am sure it can be repaired. What the hell happened out there?"

"The scout ship changed course at the last minute. Their communications were not taken out by the spike, but they didn't know from where I had come. They resumed their original course to keep looking. Before they went to warp I shot at their nacelle to distract them. They engaged me for several minutes before deciding that they could not hit me and they prepared to go to warp. I saw the build up in their nacelles, and I launched my last photon into their path and they warped straight into it. I was caught in the blast radius, I had to fire the torpedo from close range so that they wouldn't get a chance to abort."

Walker was impressed. "That was a nice shot Ensign."

"It was a lucky shot Sir. If it hadn't worked I don't know what I would have done. It was my last chance of keeping them from alerting anyone to our location."

"You could've been killed in the attempt Ensign."

"Maybe. There was an entire crew counting on my success, I did what was necessary at the time."

Walker turned away with a smile on his face. This young Ensign had come a long way from the cocky young pilot who had recklessly endangered himself and an admiral in a shuttle. Now it was time to review his ship. After what he had seen on the outside, he wished Sai had been at the helm after all. He knew they would not be making good time with the starboard nacelle in its current state and the containment fields throughout the ship meant that they had a lot of work to do patching her up. He checked out the quarters on Deck 2 where most of the damage had occurred. Fortunately Voraak advised that there had been no-one in their quarters during the battle, all hands were standing ready at their stations. Engineering was knocked about pretty bad. The ship's major systems were still functional but there were three plasma conduits that had blown out. The flow had been rerouted automatically but there would have been some unpleasant scenes in there during the action.

Walker headed for the sick bay. He had noticed a distinct lack of numbers at various posts and had grave concerns about the state of his crew. As the doors to the sick bay slid back his fears were realised. Dr Eritt was rushing about between the bio beds and there were three bodies covered entirely up one end of the bay.

Lucifrelle looked haggard. She had dealt with the worst of the burns and wounds on the critical patients and was now busy stabilising them. She had been working for over an hour and to her credit had clearly kept calm during the crisis. She looked up and saw the Captain staring at the bodies behind her. "Crewmen who were in the Engineering section when the conduits blew out." She kept working.

Walker did not want to distract her, but he needed to know. "Botha?"

She pointed to a bed near him. "There." She did not look up. It would not do for him to see the tear in her eye. Walker looked over at Botha. He had been severely burnt and had been given a sedative for the pain. He was unconscious and under constant computer monitoring. "He will be alright, I can even fix the scarring. He will be up and back to normal in three days."

Walker turned. "Three days? That's impossible!"

Dr Eritt shook her head. She was still focusing on the patient in front of her. It's not impossible, there is a simple treatment that allows the burnt tissue to regenerate at an accelerated rate. It has been in use on Angel One for decades, I didn't think you would mind if I took the liberty..."

"Please, Doctor. Take any steps you feel are appropriate, I will leave you to your work. Just heal my crew."

Lucifrelle looked up. She could see the anguish in Walker's eyes. He had a genuine feeling for the people under his command. She realised that she had misjudged him originally, he wasn't temperamental, he was loyal. Loyal to the people who served with him. "They will be looked after Captain. You have my word." She watched as Walker nodded his acknowledgement and left. Dr Eritt was not in the habit of giving her word lightly. She had a lot of work to do to keep it.

Walker noticed that the bridge had escaped unscathed from the battle. Glir handed command of the ship back to his Captain. "Orders Sir?"

"Grab some crewmen and get repairs happening on the double."

"Aye Sir." Glir headed off the bridge with purpose. Walker realised that the young Betazoid would push the crew he selected to their limit to get the ship repaired as fast as possible. Timonis never did things by halves.

Walker contacted his officers and gave them all similar orders. Sai was reluctant, Walker realised that he was more interested in fixing the interceptor. Walker made sure that Sai understood that his captain was in no mood to argue and Sai quickly acknowledged his orders. Even this rashness in the helm officer was not going to stop Walker from recommending him for a medal. Walker realised that there was nothing left for him to do but command the ship. He sat down in the centre chair and checked the reports coming in. They had faced another test this day, and they had won. Just.


In all they lost four of the crew. It was three days after the battles that they pulled out of warp to complete repairs on the nacelle and the hull. They took the opportunity to hold a service for their lost comrades. Walker looked down at the four torpedo tubes in front of him. He was in full dress uniform as were his officers and crew. He stood in front of them and realised immediately that this was a tougher assignment than he had expected. The twenty-four other people on the ship were now looking to him to show the meaning in these deaths, and for a moment he doubted there was one. If it had not been for the soothing warmth of Kelsey's thoughts, he knew he may not have made it through. He looked over at Dr Eritt. She looked ashen. Everyone knew there was nothing she could have done to prevent these deaths, she had saved more lives than had been lost. Botha was still weak from his injuries, but he was on his feet. Walker could see the doubt on his face. Why had he made it when others had died? It was time for him to speak, time to tell the crew why this happened.

"We gather here today to remember our crew mates who paid the ultimate price in our recent battle. We gather here to mourn them and to celebrate the impact each of them had on us personally. We gather here out of guilt. We think to ourselves, 'why am I here when they have died?' We would put ourselves in the place of those who died without pause. We think it would be easier and we would be right." Walker looked around him as he paused. He had their attention. Good.

"I tell you that our lives are not about ease. We are Starfleet. We have sworn oaths to defend the Federation, those who belong to the Federation and each other, and to lay down our lives in that cause if necessary. Our comrades, Barnes, Chomak, Junov and Tasakai have fulfilled their oaths to the Federation and died in the performance of their duty.

"We are on no ordinary transport run. What we carry is the balance of power in this sector. If this load of cargo gets to DS2, they will have the capability of building defences against the Romulans. This mission is about saving lives and each of these crewmen have helped make this happen. I can tell you this: There will be more battle before we reach the Deep Space station. Others among us may lose their lives in that battle. Know (each one of you) that do not do this out of recklessness. We do not do it to see if it can be done, there is a most important purpose behind what we do here, and that is the protection of the lives of those who show the colours of the Federation, those who would stand against the tyranny of conquerers.

"We now commit the bodies of these our dear comrades to the deep. As they pass from us remember their sacrifice, remember the cause for which they surrendered their lives, and most of all remember them."

Alexis called the assembly to attention. The torpedo casings filed slowly into the launchers. As they stood there they heard four torpedoes launched in quick succession. "Dismissed." Walker's order didn't have the same strength the crew had come to expect, but they followed it. More importantly they understood.

Kelsey turned to Walker. "The repairs are mostly complete, Captain. Botha has been directing things for the last few hours, he is still far too weak to return to full duty but..."

"But he still has an engineer's mind. Good. Sai's interceptor?"

"As good as new ."

"Great. I'll see you on the bridge, Commander. We should get underway as soon as possible. Now that the nacelle is fixed, we want to leave here as soon as possible. There will be an ion trail a mile wide leading to us here, and I would like to leave that trail as far behind us as possible."

"Agreed." On her acknowledgement Walker turned. "Captain!"

Walker faced her once more. "Yes Commander?"

"Leave the bridge to me. Your project isn't complete yet."

"So? I thought you considered it a fool's errand." Walker considered the suggestion further. "Are you afraid I am not fit to command right now?"

"No! That's not it at all. I just think that the death of four of your crew has hit you as it would hit any command officer. It wouldn't hurt for you to focus on something else for a few days. I don't mean bury yourself in it, besides you need to be highly visible to the crew right now. They need to see your strength. They can't see that from the bridge."

Walker thought about it and it made sense. "Okay, I will make myself visible for the crew and spend some time on my program. Just don't get used to my chair." Alexis smiled.

That night for the first time since the battle the full complement of officers sat around Walker's table for dinner. Dr Eritt had been absent and working around the clock in the sick bay. Walker had even caught her sleeping in one of the bio beds to be near her charges in case of emergency. Botha had of course been recovering from his injuries and was now strong enough to come to dinner, although not much else. Neither of them had been in the blade class that afternoon and Walker didn't blame them.

They were both greeted warmly by the other officers who were glad to see them return. Another bottle of the Terran Bourbon was opened and they celebrated the reunion. The usual game of poker was started and Walker couldn't help thinking that things were back to normal.


Several days had passed and the crew had returned to a routine. The rosters had been rearranged to cover the loss of the four crewmen and there had been no complaints about having to take up the slack. Walker found that the crew now acknowledged him more and accepted him as their leader as much as their commander. Alexis had been right, it had helped to be visible to them.

The person he had helped most over those days was Lucifrelle. He had walked into the sick bay to find it empty. Walker was pleased that everyone had been taken care of so professionally. He was about to walk back out when he noticed Dr Eritt huddled in the corner. he walked over to her. "Are you alright, Doctor?"

"I lost four people, Captain." Walker decided this response did not mean 'yes'.

There was nothing for it but to try and shake her out of this. She had been holding it in for too long already. "You did no such thing!"

Dr Eritt looked up. There were tears in her eyes. "Oh? These are my beds, Captain. You asked me to be responsible for them and those who ended up on them. Well, four people who ended up on my beds did not get off alive!"

'You think that those deaths were in any way preventable? Let me tell you something, it amazed me to see some of the crew you helped walk out of here. I never expected Botha to be back on his feet like that. So four of the crew died in here. They were dead already, Doctor. All you could do is make them comfortable and that you did. You also fought for the lives of each one of them like it was your own, I know because I saw you."

"I am not used to losing people."

"Good." Walker got Lucifrelle's attention with that. She stared at him as he continued. "I'm not used to it either. If you ever do get used to it I will want you off my ship."

She steeled herself. "Aye Sir. Sorry Sir."

Walker spoke more calmly as he continued. "You are a good doctor, Lucifrelle. I don't know where you got your experience with our physiologies, but your skill is beyond anything I have ever seen before. Like you, I am not in the habit of losing people, my skills have saved starships on more than one occasion. This one hit me bad as well, but I think the secret is to know inside that there was nothing more you could have done, and that if you had done anything different many more people could be dead."

This advice appealed to Dr Eritt and she told the Captain so. He smiled and wished her good day. Assured that there were no more cases in sick bay, he had returned to his ready room to continue his programming. He found that the coding was going easier than he had anticipated. It was a day later that he had fifteen nodules fitted in his probes. He had written the same core program for all the units but there were individual components that needed to be discreet in the code for each probe.

His chance to test the probes came sooner than he had expected. A Warbird wandered across their path as he on the bridge. Glir triggered the high energy spike once more. Walker was glad they had a replicator aboard that was large enough to reconstruct the field coils they were burning out with this approach. The Warbird headed straight for them.

"Permission to leave the bridge, Sir!" Sai was eager to get into an interceptor. Walker suspected the young man now saw Romulans as a chance to fly one.

"Denied. I need you at the helm here Ensign. We will launch the probes instead."

Kelsey looked over to him. "They haven't been tested yet Captain."

"This is as good a chance as any and Sai's flying skill will keep us out of harm's way as we launch an attack from the ship." He turned to Voraak. "Arm all weapons."

"Aye Sir. Phasers stand ready, torpedoes armed."

"Probes ready to launch on your command." Kelsey had wasted no time in preparing for her Captain's orders.

"Launch probes. Voraak target and fire at will."

The Warbird decloaked in front of them and Sai reacted instantly. He kept the ship out of the path of the disrupter beams and torpedoes. Glir had fitted the Nullabor with decoy mines similar to those installed on the interceptors while the other repairs had been made to the ship and Sai put them to good use. The probes raced from the shuttle bay doors and even Sai was amazed at their speed.

"One to Captain. Orders?" The lead probe had sent the question over the comm link. The voice had a similar quality to the standard computer voice only this one was masculine.

Walker responded. "Captain to One. Attack enemy vessel."

"Acknowledged." There was some additional computer chatter on the line as the lead probe informed the others of the directive. All fifteen probes headed for the Warbird simultaneously once the chattering was complete. The Warbird soon forgot about the Nullabor. It started firing wildly at the probes as they danced around the ship, firing their phasers at any vulnerable point they could find. The probes soon picked up the telltale signs of the targeting systems aboard the Warbird and started breaking targeting locks as they were being established.

Voraak looked at the activity of the probes as he monitored the Warbird for his own attack plans. "You built this program in several days Captain?"

"Not really. I have had the idea for years. All I did was build on my previous work." Voraak went back to his monitoring. The probes had discovered a weakness in the shield array of the Warbird and were systematically attacking it. The Warbird realised this and changed it's own attack posture. The probes scanned the new angles the Warbird presented and formulated a new attack sequence based on that angle. Fifteen full strength phaser banks made short work of the shields on the Warbird and soon the probes were launching grenades at the critical areas on the ship. Probe six shot around to the rear of the ship and launched a full volley of grenades. Voraak watched as the other fourteen probes turned tail and headed back to the Nullabor at full speed. The grenades struck their mark perfectly and the Warbird was soon disappearing in a green ball of plasma. Six was knocked around by the roll bar, and the other fourteen probes stopped. It was not until Six was visible to the sensors that they continued their progress back to the ship.

Glir had monitored the battle from his science lab. What he saw chilled him. This sort of programmed behaviour was extremely rare and he suspected what might be behind it. He tapped his chest. "Glir to the bridge."

Walker responded promptly. "Go ahead."

"Permission to check unit six for damage after the roll bar Sir."

"Permission granted." Glir did not need further invitation. He headed straight for the shuttle bay where a crew was stowing the probes. They had already put aside the sixth unit for him. He opened the case and scanned the insides with his tricorder. It was an ingenious design. One or two by themselves would be little more than a joke but in a pack of fifteen there was a lot of damage they could do. He went for the computer core and scanned it. As he suspected, his Captain had just stumbled across a rudimentary design for a positronic net.


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