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Part of USS Centaur: Episode One: Getting our Footing

Chapter Four And Five: New Romulus – Energy Source?

USS Centaur
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[Reaching Orbit of New Romulus]
[USS Centaur]
[Bridge]

Vakai stood there just a few feet behind Ryker as he stared at the planet growing in the view screen. He knew this wasn’t exactly his homeworld, at least not from his origin, but some part of him felt satisfied to see a homeworld that was populated by Romulans. Romulans…who want peace with the Federation. It was just sareal.

Carter had returned to the bridge some time ago and he simply remained off to the side to allow Vakai to resume command. It kind of made Vakai wonder if the man would ever take command while he served on board, or if this mentorship meant that Vakai would remain in command until the day he becomes a Captain himself. To be honest, he has not heard of anything like this happening often on board a starship. Of course, not everything is really reported on board a starship.

“Looks like we can finally relax.” Ryker said with a smile as he brought the ship into stationary orbit along with the other escorts as the freighers went to their destination to unload the cargo.

“We still have the trek back to the Providence Fleet Yards with the convoy, as they will be carrying supplies the Federation wants.” Carter told him.

“What exactly does the Romulan Republic have that the Federation wants?” Ryker asked.

Carter shrugged his shoulders. “Who knows. There are so many commodities in the galaxy, I honestly do not keep track of them or who has what.”

Ryker nodded his head. “Fair enough. We’re in stationary orbit, sirs.”

Carter then looked to Vakai. “What do you think? Care to make a trip down to the embassy?”

“How often do they see Romulans in a Starfleet Uniform?” Vakai asked.

Carter shrugged. “I would assume not very much at all. We don’t have many in Starfleet that I know of. And quite frankly, you’re the only Romulan in Starfleet that I know. But I haven’t really looked through the general personnel database.”

Vakai looked back to the planet on the viewer. “I just don’t know what exactly I will learn down there.”

Carter sighed. “C’mon, son. Use your imagination. These people have changed their entire course away from what the Romulan Star Empire has been, before the supernova. They want peace. They want friendship. That is not only making the Federation really happy, it also gives us a chance to hopefully spread that peace with the other two Romulan Governments. It just takes time.”

Vakai nodded his head. “Just unfortunate that it had to take a supernova to achieve something like between the Federation and the Romulan people.”

“Yeah, very tragic. But that’s just how the universe played the cards, son. We have no control over any of it.” Carter told him.

“Except we did try.”

“Exactly. We tried to play with the forces of nature and nature proved that it is an unstoppable force. But even though we tried, there are those who see us as traitors, failures, a major power who just sat back and let millions die.” Carter sighed. “I don’t hate the Romulans…I know I sounded like it before but…they did not deserve this, no race of people deserves this. But like I said, the universe played the cards and they lost.”

Ryker looked at Vakai. “C’mon man. They are still your people.”

“Easy for you to say. I was raised on Earth since I was an infant. I consider Earth my home, humans my people.” Vakai told them.

“But they are your flesh and blood.” Ryker told him. “It won’t hurt you to visit the Embassy.”

Vakai sighed and shook his head. “Fine. I’ll go.”

[About a day later…]

Vakai had learned all he could learn about the Romulans of the Romulan Republic. They were pretty much exactly what the reports had summarized about them and he certainly wasn’t going to waste any more time of the crew of the Centaur. So as soon as he returned to the Bridge, he informed them of what he learned, which wasn’t any different than what everyone already knew, disappointing as it was, and gave the order to return to the convoy.

As soon as the convoy got their shipments from New Romulus, they finally began their trip back to the Providence Fleet Yards, which throughout the entire trip there, with the Romulan Republic ships escorting all the way to their border, was pretty much uneventful. It appears the Orions had lost interest in attacking the convoy, that or they’re waiting with the remnants of the Mokai to strike again. In which case, the Centaur has been given orders to continue escorting the Convoy on their runs to other worlds along the border, to try and supply any worlds that needed help. Food, medicine, industrial replicators, farming equipment for those that broke down or were destroyed by pirates or raiders, etc.

Part 2

CHAPTER FIVE

It had been a few days since the Centaur escorted the convoy back to the fleet yards with the other two escorts. Right now the Centaur remains in synchronization orbit with everyone, as they had been waiting for the convoy to unload the supplies from New Romulus and then load back up with new supplies to be shipped elsewhere. The Centaur, as the Captain had put it a couple of times, is an old ship. Over a hundred years old for that matter. She has undergone refits of course, but there is only so much Starfleet can do to a ship built in 2295. But Vakai believed that she could still do so much more, and the Captain believed it as well, who was currently in his quarters, trying to convince his superior to give them something else besides escort duty.

Lieutenant Commander Henry Maxwell sighed, hating that he has authority over a Captain but he did, which made him feel so…odd. Especially since the Captain was also twice his age. “Look, I understand everything that you are saying. I know how much history you have on the Centaur. But what if you encounter a hostile Romulan who… I don’t know, still has a grudge against Starfleet over the loss of Romulus? It could be one from any of the three governments, and the Centaur is no match for either of them alone, especially against a D’Deridex Warbird. Or what if the Breen were gutsy enough to cross our space undetected, which be damn lucky on their part, to try to exact their revenge on the Romulans for joining the Dominion War, and the Centaur gets caught in the crossfire? You do know that they have improved their weapons and shields, right? The Centaur would be obliterated.” Of course he knew the Breen didn’t join until after the Romulans did but he still brought it up anyway.

Carter sighed, “I know exactly what the Centaur can and can not do. But I am not asking for a suicide mission, Commander. I am simply asking for something besides keeping the Centaur safe. I am sure Starfleet would be pleased that the first ship of its class is still alive and kicking, and then can later be retired and used as a museum piece. But you’re only slowing down the inevitable. And besides, escort duty isn’t entirely safe either, you know. These kids need more than just action with pirates and raiders. They need mystery, and something to investigate. If all we do is escort duty, then all these kids are going to expect for the rest of their career is combat and the sound of a red alert ringing in their ears until they retire.”

Stretched and over exaggeration maybe, but Maxwell got the hint. He visibly looked at a few data padds laid out in front of him and then lifted one up before pressing a button, which essentially sent the information straight to Captain Carter’s desk. “One of our sensor buoys had picked up strange readings coming from one of the border colonies. We don’t have a clue what these readings are, the energy has never been recorded before and it is pretty sizable for a small colony. As a Scout ship that you are, I need the Centaur to go to the system and investigate, then report back to me as soon as possible. If it happens to be a threat beyond Centaur’s capabilities, leave the system immediately and notify me at once, so that I can bring it up to my superiors and see how we can handle it. If it happens to be a new energy source that someone just created, we would like to know about that too, so that we may make contact and negotiate on what is needed to get a share of that technology. Anything you get, we need to know. Sound good to you, Captain?”

Carter skimmed over the data while listening before smiling. “Sounds perfect, Commander. I do appreciate it.”

“Just please don’t get blown up if it does happen to be some massive secret new weapon. Starfleet would be upset that the first ship of its class was lost before they could museum it.” Maxwell grinned after that.

Carter shook his head with his own grin. “They will have to drag me off this ship before they do, Commander. But no promises either. Centaur out.” Carter transferred the data to a padd and headed straight for the Bridge, which did not take too long from his quarters.

Vakai turned in place when he heard the turbolift door hissing open, and saw Carter stepping out with a smile on his face. “I see you were able to convince them.”

“I swear to you, Commander. I can sweet talk a Ferengi right into giving me their moon.”

Vakai smirked. “That would mean that you would have the lobes for business, as the Ferengi would put it.”

Carter’s smile faded. “Don’t ever put such disturbing images into my head ever again, Commander.” He kept a stern look for a moment, but only a moment, and then grinned at Vakai, proving that he was only kidding. “Anyways, attention everyone.” He waited until he got the Bridge crew’s attention. “The Task Group Command was kind enough to give us a different assignment, one that is far from escort duty.”

Gomo tilted his head. “Now I am quite eager to hear as to what this new assignment is all about. Please don’t leave us in suspense, Captain.”

Carter smiled. “Now it ain’t much really, but it does have a mystery to it. Now, one of Starfleet’s sensor buoys picked up a very strange and large energy source coming from a colony planet along the border. I checked the coordinates and it’s not that far from here, just a few light years outside of the Fleet Yards long range sensors, usually where sensor buoys would cover those sort of gaps along a border that we’re still a bit cautious of with our bordering neighbors. Anyway, the interesting part is, Starfleet has never seen this energy signature before and they’re very curious about it. Our orders are to scout ahead, investigate the signal and report back anything we find. If it turns out to be some new hostile ship or a new deadly weapon, we are to leave immediately and report it immediately. That sound good to everyone?”

Ryker nodded his head with a shrug. “I mean, it’s still kind of a patrol duty but it definitely has a nice mystery to it. Did they say how big this energy source is?”

Carter checked the data on the padd. “About half the size of the planet, and the planet is about the size of Earth.”

Gomez, who had been attending to one of the engineering consoles on the Bridge, stood right up. “That’s insane!! Have the Romulans detected it?”

Carter smiled at Gomez, “I know, that’s why if we happen to find whoever created this energy source and if it’s new, to see if we can negotiate so that Starfleet can get its hands on it. And no, for some reason the Romulans haven’t. Or at least, haven’t said a word to us and are keeping it to themselves. Starfleet has not detected any Romulan ships, so once we arrive there, we will conduct a full sweep around the planet to see if there are any Romulan ships hiding. Point is, we have no clue what we are going to find once we get there. This is a big opportunity for us, because if it turns out not to be hostile, we get to investigate it and report our findings to Starfleet.”

Ryker grinned. “Definitely sounds better than escort duty.”

Vakai nodded his head. “Think you can get us out of there as soon as we arrive, in case it turns out to be some secret super weapon?”

Ryker frowned, “Are you kidding? Who do you think you are talking to?”

Vakai smirked, “Just checking.” He then looked at the Captain. “We’re already stocked up on supplies, Captain. We can leave, right now.”

Carter smiled. “Good to hear! Lieutenant, I am sending you the coordinates, please plot a course at best speed.”

Ryker checked his helm display and when the coordinates popped up, he started entering commands and piloted the ship out and away from the Fleet Yards. “Course plotted and we are now…entering warp.” He said as he entered the command to the warp engines to engage and jump the ship into warp velocities, increasing speed to warp seven. “We will arrive in just a few days at this speed, without overworking the engines of course.”

Carter smiled. “Very good. Well. As much as I hate waiting, as I am sure many of you feel the same, I am going to treat myself to another inspection of the ship.” And with that, Carter was gone from the Bridge.

“That man, so eager.” Said Ryker.

“Of course he is! He just got not just us, but this ship, an important job. Whatever that energy is, it could change the course of our future. Or it could turn out to be an enemy and we may end up saving millions if not billions of lives.” Gomez responded.

Gomo sighed, “I better inform my Chief about this. I am certain he is going to want all of us to personally check every weapon and defense system to ensure that they are up to par.”

Gomez smacked her forehead. “Blast. My Chief will want to do the same. Man this ship really is a lot of work. But I do love getting my hands dirty.” She smiled before leaving the Bridge, Gomo following after pressing a button to signal his relief to take his place, both leaving the bridge to inform their respective Chiefs of their departments of the new development.

“I am just glad that the Captain is happy. He really loves this ship.” Said Vakai.

Ryker nodded his head. “He sure does. I just hope we don’t go flying into a death trap that gets us before I can get us out.”

“I have every confidence in your abilities as a pilot, Ryker.” Vakai told him.

Ryker snorted. “Ah gee, thanks. I love more weight on my shoulders.” He then turned and smiled, showing he was being sarcastic.

[Few Days Later]
[Arriving into High Orbit of the Planet]

“Well, here we are.” Ryker announced.

“Indeed,” Said Vakai.

Gomez on the other hand frowned. “Captain, the sensor data from the buoy said it was massive, about half the size of the planet, correct? Like, fifty percent of the planet?”

Carter turned to look at Gomez, just about everyone actually. “Yes, it did.”

Gomez turned to look at Carter, realizing all eyes were on her as they were all very curious. “Well, I am not sure how they got it wrong but our sensors read that it’s as big as about five percent of the planet.”

A lot of frowning and confusion on the bridge crew’s faces, especially Carter and Vakai. “That is very odd. Still a significantly large energy source but…incredibly odd.” Said Vakai.

Carter nodded his head, “Maybe they detected us on long range sensors and reduced power?”

Vakai shrugged one of his shoulders. “Possibly. Gomez?”

She shook her head. “Even if they did, fifty percent of the size of the planet, as supposedly as the sensor buoy detected, would have left some traces…something. I got absolutely nothing but the size I told you now. Whatever this energy source is, it’s either incredible or a fluke.”

Vakai shook his head as there was just no way he could make any excuse for why the energy source was much smaller. “Comms. Send a message to Task Group Command, let them know what we found.”

The Comms Officer acknowledged but after a few minutes, there was a frown on their face when they looked at Vakai and Captain Carter. “I can’t reach them. I can’t reach anyone.”

Carter and Vakai looked at each other before back at the Comms Officer. “Are you detecting a jamming source?”

The Comms Officer shook their head. “No. But for some reason, I can’t communicate with anyone outside the system.”

Vakai turned to Ryker. “Whether comms are being jammed or just not working properly usually means hostile intent. Get us out of here.”

Ryker acknowledged and started entering commands but nothing was working, besides getting error sounds like his entire console was on the fritz. “Helm is not responding.” Ryker said as he looked at Vakai, puzzled.

Gomez spoke up, “Transfering helm control to my station.” And after she did, her entire station went dark. “The hell?!”

Carter looked to Gomo. “Are we still alone out here?”

Gomo entered some commands, which his station seems to be still responding, and nodded his head. “We are, Captain. Nothing on short or long range sensors. Besides the planet and the energy source, of course.”

Carter and Vakai looked at each other again, both frowning. “A power source that was detected to be the size of half the planet is now only a fraction, and happens to completely immobilize the Centaur and disable our communications, yet it is still reading only a fraction.”

Vakai shrugged his shoulders. “Only option we have left is to investigate it further.”

Gomez shook her head, “Sensors can’t make anything out from here. We might have to go to the surface.”

Carter frowned, “Is it safe to send an away team?”

Everyone paused as they all appeared to be checking out the sensor readings. Gomo was the first to answer, “It does appear that we can send a team down without the need of EV suits.”

Carter then looked at Vakai. “Since we can’t communicate with Task Group Command nor leave the system, we don’t have much of a choice. Pick your team and find out what the hell is going on.”

Vakai nodded his head, “Ryker, Gomez. You two are with me.” He then tapped his badge. “Sivol, report to transporter room two.” And with that, the three of them left the bridge to prepare and depart the ship.

———————————
– Chapter Four had to come to a quick end because I was at a loss on where to go with it unfortunately. Was thinking maybe there was some ties with Vakai’s parents and those who created the Romulan Republic, such as his parents were completely on their idealism and reasoning but being where they’re at, they had to remain in order to keep doing their jobs but try to carefully pass off information without getting caught…but decided to drop that idea and drop another idea due to reasoning and at that point, just couldn’t find any other idea to keep going.
– Now Chapter Five has started and it is going to be an idea I had been thinking about since this whole series began. I really wanted to get to this part of the story, so that could of been one of the reasons why I couldn’t get through the writers block for Chapter Four but either way, I am excited and I do plan to get through Part 2, as this new idea is for this story, before the Second Fleet Action begins!
– So as you may have read, Centaur were given new orders to investigate an unknown source of energy but as they arrived…things do not appear as they seem. Not only that, they appear to be stranded and unable to communicate outside of the system. What is it that they found? Is it dangerous? And what will the away team find? Stay tuned for the next Chapter!!