Star Trek: Defiant

"Absolute Zero" - Part Eight

Written by T'Mal

Bridges wasn't sure just who was firing at them now. He hit the deck, rolled away looking for cover, and the others did likewise. Matute and Barak began firing back, and no small amount of damage was done to the shuttle bay before everyone realized there were no Borg present.

"It's good to see you, too." Hardin said to Marinus, after the cease-fire had been declared. Hardin was dusting himself off and checking to see that all his parts were still intact.

"Sorry, Captain." Kidaya apologized. "I guess I'm a little jumpy. What a way to make a good impression."

"Perfectly understandable. I'm glad to see you all are well." Bridges said.

"As well as we can be, sir." Marinus said. "We've been working on a way out of here since this whole thing started. I don't think the Captain of the Draco even knew what he was carrying. I thought we might be safe there. I don't know why the Borg haven't come looking for us, I guess they had other things on their minds."

"Yes, I suppose they did. How much longer will it take to get this thing space-worthy?" Bridges asked, gesturing to the Lowell.

"I just have to put this power coupling on, " Marinus held the piece up, "And she should fly."

"Make it so."

Marinus got to work, and in minutes he had the Lovell put together to his satisfaction. Still some problems, but he thought the comm system might even be working now.

They were loading the Runabout when Mak and Bishop found them. Unknowingly marked by the Borg nanites, Mak and Bishop had been honing in on the signals of Hardin and Bridges.

Midshipman Clark, waiting his turn to board the cramped vessel, caught the brunt of their anger. Mak fired at him, and he fell, a large hole burned through his chest. Bridges scarcely had time to notice it, busy as he was giving the commands for the self-destruct of his beloved Defiant. Hardin and Matute gave their authorizations at the appropriate time, and the computer began it's countdown.

"Auto-destruct sequence initiated. Warning! 10 minutes until Warp Core Breach."

More than enough time to abandon ship. Matute, Bridges, and Hardin leaped onto the shuttle where everyone else was waiting. A kind of disbelief gripped the group, that they were leaving their home, their ship. Bridges sealed the hatch behind him, narrowly missed being shot by Bishop, and prepared to leave everything he loved behind. At that moment, he could not have said which he regretted having to destroy more, the Defiant or Rael. He did it with a kind of reserve and didn't allow himself to dwell on it.

He took a seat behind Mackowick who was in the pilot's chair, with Hardin in the co-pilot's seat. Marinus held his breath and prayed that he hadn't missed anything. With Mak and Bishop still out there trying to stop them, advancing and firing at them, Marinus hoped they didn't hit anything important or they would be going down with the ship. This was a one-shot deal.

Mackowick fired up the engines, and Hardin worked the panel that sent the signal to open the exterior door. For a split second he thought it wasn't going to open and wondered why they hadn't thought of that before this, but after a slight hesitation it began to move and by the time the Lovell lifted off the landing pad they were greeted by a clear view of stars.

Bishop made a desperate lunge to grab onto the departing ship and was caught in the flash of its engines, burned beyond repair even by the Borg. Mak simply watched them go, listening to the inevitable countdown of the computer as it unemotionally signalled his own impending death.

As soon as they cleared the Bay, Hardin was trying to raise the Draco, to no avial.

"Let me see what I can do." Lebin offered, crouching and pulling up a piece of flooring. Marinus offered to help and they got to work.

Bridges sat, watching and waiting. Aside from Lebin and Marinus discussing the workings of the comm system, no one felt like saying much of anything. Racing toward the Draco, Bridges was glad he could not see the Defiant on the screen, had no desire to watch her fiery death. She had been a good ship, a damn good ship, and although he had seen many ships lost in battle he never got used to it. It was even worse when it was your command. Fleetingly, he recalled what Picard had told him, about the loss of the Stargazer and then the Enterprise-D and realized that he had never understood it until now.

Even though they didn't see the actual blast, a Warp Core Breach is a powerful explosion. The Lovell bucked and swayed as the energy released from the Defiant's primary engines reached them and then passed beyond. One bright moment that Bridges knew would haunt him forever.

Hardin, watching the sensors, brought them back to the here and now.

"I'm reading signs of a transwarp conduit, Captain. One, no...make it two Borg cubes emerging."

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