Star Trek: Defiant

"Power Play" - Part Seven

Written by Valas Maerret

Lebin was reading Starfleet's reprise on the situation he had presented to them. It stated that select members of the crew have been chosen to be briefed on a highly classified mission. It went on to state that he would be informed explicitly in due time.

Lebin wasn't totally convinced, and definitely didn't care for the vagueness. Wanting more answers, and give them a formal overall disaproval of the whole situation, he had begun to formulate a reply when the comm system chirped.

"Commander Lebin, report to the bridge," came Clark's voice over the comm.

"What is it, Ensign?" Lebin replied sternly.

"We are detecting some subspace instability from the aft sensors. It is faint but consistent."

"On my way."

* * *

Lebin stepped off the turbolift. "Report."

Clark, seated at ops, responded evenly, "Sir, we have a possible cloaked vessel bearing 1-8-0 mark 1-8-0."

"Where's the captain?"

Clark looked to the ready room. Lebin wondered why he even asked.

"Lebin to Bridges, we have a situation here. Please report to the bridge."

Promptly, the ready room doors opened. Bridges, Shuriik and K'larn entered the bridge.

"What is it, Commander?" Bridges asked.

"It looks like we are possibly being tailed. Mr. Clark."

"Aye, sir," Clark responded. "We have a candidate signal for a cloaked vessel bearing 1-8-0 even. Estimated range 4000 kilometers. Estimated subspace displacement 3.4 cochranes."

Shuriik and Bridges exchanged glances.

Bridges looked down, thinking how to deal with this situation. "Maintain current course. Don't give any signal that we can detect them."

Lebin began to object, "Sir, protocol dictates that we immediately attempt contact and verify this vessel's intentions. And in this case I see no reason why we sould do otherwise."

K'larn began to approach Lebin. "Adam, we need to talk. Things aren't how we imagined."

Lebin stepped back. "No way. You stay away from me. All of you. This has gone too far."

Jen, standing at tactical began to get anxious. Clark rose from his seat and nodded to Lebin, letting the first officer know he had his support.

Behind the Trill, the turbolift doors opened. Goth glided onto the bridge. "Everything ok here, Commander?"

Lebin smirked. "Fine." He didn't take his eyes off K'larn, Bridges and Shuriik.

Bridges let out a loud sigh. "Your cautions are very unwarranted, Adam." His words were concise and brutally sincere. He looked to the floor and took another breath. "There is a critical situation here. Now is not the time to question each other."

Lebin was going to reply, but was interrupted as a beep came from tactical.

Jen looked down to one of her panels. "Ship decloaking aft - it's preparing to fire!"

The captain didn't hesitate in his response. "Shields up. Return fire."

The Defiant lurched from multiple weapon hits. The bridge lighting turned to a darkened crimson, and the crew scrambled to get to thier stations.

"Do we know who we're dueling here?"

Jen responded between blasts, "Its a Federation ship, sovereign class. It looks to be nanite controlled."

Again, the captain and Shuriik exchanged glances. "Increase to maximum warp. Come to heading 228 mark 012."

"Sir," Lebin started, "our weapons will be more effective if we drop out of warp."

"So will their's," the captain replied. "There's no way we can out-gun them by ourselves. We need to look for a way to outmaneuver them."

Lebin's apprehensions about the captain were relieved somewhat. At least he was still at the top of his wits.

The captain was able to keep enough distance between the nanite aggresors to keep the Defiant alive for more than few minutes.

Lebin didn't understand anything that was happening. What was causing Mak to act strangely? What had come over other members of the crew? Why was this nanite vessel, so far from nanite space, attacking them? Lebin just sat back quiet in his chair as the events were unfolding.

T'Pril had begun sending distress signals, but their transmissions were being jammed. The nearest outpost was four days away. At the rate this was going, they wouldn't last much longer than four minutes.

Lebin's confusion reached its peak when another ship decloaked.

"Romulan warbird decloaking port!"

The captain turned to his tactical officer. "What?"

Jen responded "Syrinx class. Its preparing to fire!"

"Evasive pattern Epsilon 4-2," Bridges ordered.

Jen's normally stoic visage couldn't hide her suprise. "The Romulan weapons have made several direct hits to the nanite vessel. Both ships are dropping out of warp."

The captain didn't pause to question the odd turn of events. "Do likewise. Bring us to bear on the nanite ship and fire at will."

Lebin watched as their combined firepower took its toll on the infected Federation ship. Even the regenerative power of the nanites could not handle such an onslaught, and within a matter of seconds, the vessel shimmered no more.

"All decks, make damage reports to the bridge," the captain ordered. "Hail the Romulan vessel."

"No response," T'Pril replied. "This is odd. They are sending a puzzling transmission toward Bajor."

"Can you be more specific?" Lebin asked.

"It looks like a type of transmission that the nanites use. Yes, definitely a nanite carrier stream."

"Can you decode it?"

"No sir. It is doubtful that Starfleet could even decode it."

"Open a channel to the warbird," Bridges ordered. "This is captain Bridges of the USS..."

He watched the viewscreen as the Romulan ship began to move away and fade out into the blackness of its cloak.

Bridges held his fist up to his mouth in thought. "They wouldn't have assisted us if they didn't want something."

"You can bet your knickers on it," Shuriik spoke. "Those green-blooded bastiches don't take a dump without a plan."

Lebin realized that was the first time that Mak had sounded like himself since being back. The Novachron must have sensed Lebin's desire to get some answers.

"Well captain," Shuriik stated with a smile, "I think Doctor Mutiny over here could use some straightening out."

"Quite right," the captain nodded. "Number One, assemble the senior officers in the observation lounge."

* * *

The steam rose from his black coffee as he took a sip.

Admiral Schell was finishing reading the recent nanite transmission that was sent to him several hours earlier. It stated simply that the nanites had completed their task and successfully destroyed the Defiant. Schell was sadened that his plan could not be carried out to the end. But he was glad to have the whole ordeal behind him.

He breathed a sigh, and took another sip. His days of tension were all but over now.

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