Mission Day 95
She hadn’t slept well at all last night. Hadn’t slept really, more tossed and turned while undertaking the ritual of pretending to get some rest. But no, her brain had been firing all night with questions, what ifs, doomsday scenarios and a truly terrible idea for a change to her grandmama’s recipe for melomakarona. One particularly bad scenario was the thought of a Borg cube bearing down on Atlantis during all of this and getting not just her but the entire crew assimilated.
So here Tikva Theodoras found herself in Astrometrics for the second time in two days, again having kicked out the staff, so she could review sensor logs from the few hours she’d been away from everything while sipping at truly terrible coffee. Of all the things that could have gone wrong this morning, the replicator in her quarters had decided to pack in, limiting her selection to only a few items. She’d have to log it with Engineering, but then she’d have to clean up her quarters first to make sure there was nothing they shouldn’t see.
Needing a solution, she instead took a moment to place the cup in the replicator and get a better, proper cup. Surely a few moments to start the day properly wouldn’t result in the death of the quadrant would it? No, the universe had to have some sanctity to it. So, when the fresh aroma hit her from this new, better, superior cup of divinity, she knew things couldn’t be that bad. Coffee first, then cataclysmic events thank you very much.
Disaster #2 averted, starting a day without a decent cup of coffee, she could return her attentions to disaster #1 – Omega.
“Computer, bring up all sensor readings of star system VOY-2374-4367.”
The dutiful minion that lay at the heart of the starship Atlantis did as it was told and produced all readings of the binary star on the central console as well as displaying a holo image on the main screen. An orange giant star with a parasitic white dwarf pulling material off its voluminously larger partner, only a couple of worlds had been detected in order, neither of them of any consequence to anyone. But right there, smack in the middle of these two stars lay the source of Tikva’s current disquiet.
Omega signature detected, the screen read, pinpointing the location with a red circular reticule.
Another sip of coffee, another step closer to divinity, then she set the cup down to the pull up detailed reads. Star masses, spectral lines, approximate ages, all ignored for the one line that she truly wanted to see – just how many Omega molecules were out there waiting for Atlantis.
All it had taken to ruin her week, to put her on this particular course was four Omega molecules.
“Well, that’s not to bad,” she said to no one in particular. “Can deal with four.”
And then something horrific occurred – another molecule was detected. One moment it wasn’t there, then in the next it was.
All it had taken to ruin her week was to realise that something in this star system was making Omega molecules.
Where was that cup of coffee?
“How is it going Lieutenant?” Tikva asked as she entered into the forward magazine’s nominal torpedo work space.
“One torpedo is complete,” Ch’tkk’va said without even looking up from their work, manipulators busy with the internals of a torpedo in front of them. “This one shall be complete within thirty minutes at which point I shall take some time to eat and rest. Ensign Borik will remain outside to limit access to this space.”
“Take your time Lieutenant, I want this work done properly and safely. One of these going off…” she trailed off, not wanting to voice it for fear of it happening.
“Would vaporise the entire starship, leaving no remains save for an expanding plasma cloud,” the Xindi said, natural clicks being heard just before the UT translated their speech. “I am aware of the dangers Captain, which is why I am taking time to rest and eat.”
“Good, good. I…thank you Ch’tkk’va, your service is appreciated.” With that she gave an appreciative nod to the Xindi and departed, leaving them to their work.
Exiting the workshop however, she came face to face with none other than Lieutenant Adelinde Gantzmann, her Chief Tactical Officer and officially off the books but open secret lover. Yah, no doubt someone in Command would have a fit about that one day, but screw them. Right now she was someone that Tikva wanted to avoid for two very good reasons.
The first being she was empathic, thanks mama, and could feel the suspicion, worry and concern all welling up within her lover. And a tinge of anger at being left out of things. The second being that Adelinde had shown a pretty good ability to see right through her, which is why she hadn’t gone to see her last night.
Which is why she hadn’t slept very well.
Which is why she sighed and looked down to avoid Adelinde’s eyes.
“Long range sensors have detected a new contact heading roughly in our direction,” Adelinde said, her voice low and quiet. “Transwarp signature.”
Her eyes shot up immediately to make sure this wasn’t some joke and all she saw was the totally professional face of her Tactical Officer. Underneath that she could still feel everything behind the mask. “Borg.”
There was silence for a mere three seconds before Tikva let out another breath. “I’m sorry Adelinde, I still can’t tell you what’s going on, but things have just gotten worse. Please, give Ch’tkk’va a hand with finishing off a torpedo modification and then bring them to the conference room.”
“Aye aye ma’am,” was all the response she got before Adelinde made to move around her into the magazine.
“Adelinde,” Tikva said, looking down. “Do you trust me?”
The moment was drawn out, but then a quiet “Yes,” was all she needed to hear. Then a pair of strong arms embraced her and held her tight. She could feel concern and worry from her lover, but for some reason it comforted her this time. Adelinde was worried for her, not because of her.
“I can’t tell you what’s really going on.”
“Then tell me a convincing lie. Tell the whole crew a convincing lie.”
Gods! This woman is brilliant!
SHUT UP PRIMITIVE TIKVA!
So, now we just need a lie. A good lie. Something to aim the crew at.
Okay, so now what?
“I…I don’t like lying to people Adelinde.”
“Omissions of truth aren’t much better. Everyone’s worried about what we’re doing, but a lie would at least give them something.” Finally, Adelinde let her go, smoothed out the wrinkles on her uniform sleeves and smiled. “We’ll be up as soon as we’re done.”
“Thank you,” Tikva said, then turned to head for the nearest turbolift.
Right, so, what could possible be super top secret, Captain’s eyes only, that attracts the Borg and is hiding in a binary star system?
“Ah, Gabrielle, just the person I wanted to see,” Tikva said as she exited the turbolift onto the bridge. She’d seen Gabrielle, just hadn’t registered where straight away, then tilted her head sideways at the science officer who was sitting in her seat. “Okay, I’ve clearly lost track of schedules around here, but I’m glad to see you’re getting some bridge officer time.”
“Commander MacIntyre’s idea ma’am,” Gabrielle said as she got to her feet, then sat back down when Tikva waved her back down, opting to sit herself down next to the young woman in the spare seat of the central three.
“Good good, what I want to hear. Say, tell me, we’ve got a bigger problem then I thought and I’m going to need a bigger solution then I thought. What do you know about purposefully inducing supernovas in white dwarf stars?”
“Right, let’s get things rolling,” Tikva said as she sat herself down, looking over her senior staff. “There are still some things I can’t tell you about our mission, but circumstances have changed and I’ve got a wee bit more leeway than I did a few hours ago.”
At that her senior staff all turned to face her. Oh, she knew she had their attention before, but now she had them hook, line and sinker. “I’ve ordered a course change for a star system near enough to where we were originally going because I can’t deal with the problem anymore with a runabout and need Atlantis, specifically I need the main deflector, all the power the warp core can produce and then the fastest engines for twenty light years to out run the biggest fireworks display this side of Sagittarius A-star.”
She held out a hand to Gabrielle to give her the floor. “Sensor sweeps of our destination system, VOY-2374-4367, have revealed a subspace flexure roughly five days old. By theory, this end is likely the only expression of this particular flexure, so no, we’re not looking at a possible stable wormhole just yet.”
“However,” Adelinde interrupted, giving Tikva a nod, “long range sensors have detected a Borg cube on it’s way to the same system. They’ll arrive approximately five minutes after we do if we can maintain speed.”
“Borg?” Lieutenant Velan asked rather loudly as he looked straight at Adelinde. “You serious Gantzmann? Borg, coming here?”
“One cube, that’s seemingly it,” the Amazonian woman answered.
“Anyway, as I was saying,” Gabrielle reasserted herself into the briefing. “The expression of this flexure is unstable. We could potentially close it with a large enough gravimetric charge.”
“The torpedoes you had Ch’tkk’va start on,” Mac said. “We’ve got two, they’re only going to get us a few more before we arrive Captain. That going to be enough to collapse this flexure? And why are we so hell bent on closing this thing?”
“Command is concerned the Borg might be able to stabilise it and dictate it’s other expression.” Tikva looked each officers over. “Earth, Delta Vega, Efrosia, Edosia…all could be potential exit points for a Borg assault. That’s why we’re so hell bent.”
“That cube will come after us for compensation you know,” Mac threw out there.
“Which is why the Captain asked me mad person’s question,” Gabrielle said, actually giddy to talk about this. “Anyone else got any good ideas for blowing up a star?”
“Computer, activate Emergency Command Hologram,” Tikva dictated after having secured the door and more importantly another cup of coffee.
“Emergency Command Hologram at your service,” the hologram said as it came into being, then looked Tikva over. “You’re looking a big more chipper. Looks like you need a night’s sleep though.”
“No argument there,” she said, throwing herself into her desk chair and indicating one of the two opposite her for the hologram. “But I’ve found a story to keep the crew busy and the galaxy’s biggest bogeymen are helping to sell the story.”
The hologram was half way to the seat before standing straight back up. “The Borg? You can’t let them have Omega. That’s absolutely imperative.”
“Relax, I’m not going to let them. In fact, we’re working on a plan to destroy Omega, blow up a Borg cube and hide the whole thing under a truly massive explosion.”
The hologram’s confused expression was perfect. Just truly, absolutely perfect and she hid her own mirth behind her coffee cup.
“Okay,” the hologram said, “I’ll bite, what lie are you telling your crew?”
“Subspace flexure. Borg want it to make a wormhole back to the Federation.”
“And what do you plan to do about this flexure, which is clearly the ruse for Omega?”
“Oh, nothing much, just convince a white dwarf to go supernova.”
The hologram studied her for a moment, then sat down. “You’re either mad, or a genius. Tell me more.”