USS PHOENIX NCC-2315
Stardate 2324.3.III, 2017 hours Zulu
PHOENIX is currently on a course to the
Meru system. Starfleet has ordered that we rendezvous there with the
science vessel USS ARETIUS. The Constellation-class ship has
experienced a series of malfunctions in her warp and impulse
systems. PHOENIX is to lend any assistance necessary to
effect repairs. The ARETIUS is in the Meru system researching
an extinct civilization that spanned several planets there.
"Professor Meranxx from the Federation
Science Council made his initial discovery of the ruins several
years ago when the USS ERASMUS explored Meru III," explained ADM
Daniel Evans over subspace.
CAPT T.E. Lawrence smiled appreciatively.
"I read about his findings. The Srintilla culture is thought to have
suddenly ceased to exist about 2000 years ago, just as the
Maya-Toltec culture on Terra did in the 14th century."
"That's why Meranxx went back to Meru
III," Evans explained. "He's trying to piece together the final
stage of the culture. Captain Wang of the Aretius indicated
that she’s made some exciting discoveries, including some artifacts
"Well, it'll be interesting to see what
he's found out," T.E. said straightening in her desk chair. "I'll
communicate with you when we're in orbit of Meru III and let you
know the current status of the Aretius' mission."
"Evans out," the admiral indicated as the
screen reverted to the UFP logo on Lawrence's monitor. She tapped
the pad and it went black.
Lawrence rose from her desk and stretched.
It had been a long duty shift during which she had held separate
meetings with Engineering, Science and Medical to prepare them for
any possible needs that would arise when they rendezvoused with the
ARETIUS. She picked up a PADD from her desk -- onto which she had
downloaded all of Starfleet's up-to-date data on the Srintillan
culture -- and headed for the hatch to her office. This would make
good bedtime reading, she mused.
As Lawrence crossed the bridge towards the
turbolift, she nodded at the First Officer. "Commander Stryker, I'm
going to get some rack-time."
"Very good, captain," CDR Stryker smiled
in reponse. "Would you like to be notified when we come out of warp
in the Meru system?"
Lawrence paused. "That's in five hours?"
She thought a moment. "Only if something comes up." She left the
After partaking of a salad and glass of
chardonnay in The Nest, CAPT Lawrence proceeded to her quarters. By
2337 hours, her eyelids felt exceedingly heavy, even though she was
trying to finish a chapter on the PADD about the decline of the
Srintillan culture around the Terran date of 210 CE. What interested
her was how it coincided with the period of decline of a great
Terran empire, that of ancient Rome. She finally surrendered and
ordered the computer to dim the lights to minimum, falling into a
deep sleep almost immediately.
At about 0530 hours, Lawrence awoke with a
start. She sat bolt upright in bed. She ran her hand through her
raven hair, brushing it away from her face. I knew I shouldn't
read so late, she thought. That damn PADD was all I dreamt
about. She swung her legs out of her bed. As she stood up, the
hairs on the back of her neck stood up. There in the deep shadows of
her quarters, she could discern the faint outlines of a figure,
highlighted around the contours by the starlight coming in through
"Who the h…..?" she exclaimed. Thinking it
was the first officer - no matter how unlikely that would be - she
said, "Is that you, commander?"
As the figure emerged from the shadows
into the faint cabin light, Lawrence's hand was about to slam down
on the comm. link to announce an intruder alert, but her senses
immediately lowered from red alert when she realized that the figure
was transparent, and did not seem particularly aware of her. She
instantly grabbed a tricorder from her desk and did a scan of the
Lawrence, however, did not take her eyes
off the figure to see the results of the scan. It seemed to be an
older male of indeterminate species, with long white hair and beard,
in a long robe, carrying a staff topped with glyph-type carving. An
odd hood/veil covered his head. He stopped moving midway through the
cabin. Was it a holograph? Some other sort of projection?
She did not have much time to analyze it
as the figure spoke in a hollow voice that was haltingly translated
by PHOENIX's universal translator. "The exarchs of the Srintilla
desire that you leave their sector of space. Please consider this a
warning: if you do not depart Srintilla space, your forces will be
After the warning, the figure began to
shimmer, and slowly faded from the deck up. Lawrence could swear
that as the last bit of the male figure dissipated, his eyes locked
on hers. Bemused, she shook her head, at first thinking she had
merely seen an afterimage of the reading she had done before she
slept. However, she looked at the tricorder in her hand and set her
jaw. I'll drop this off at LCDR McConnell's console and have her
analyze what I "saw," she asserted to herself.
Just then the comm. signal startled her.
It was CDR Stryker. "Captain! We've dropped out of warp and are
within 63 million kilometers from Meru III."
T.E. pressed the comm. link. "Fine,
commander, I'll be there shortly."
Within twenty minutes, CAPT Lawrence was
standing before her command chair on the bridge, conversing with
CAPT Liu Wang of the ARETIUS.
"We should be in orbit of Meru III close
to your coordinates in about six minutes, captain," T.E. said
"Great to see you," CAPT Wang said with a
"What exactly is the problem?" Lawrence
"Well, we've lost power to our plasma
injectors, and our impulse reactor is off-line," Wang clarified. As
she spoke, the lights on ARESTIUS flickered as if to punctuate her
statement. "We're also having fluctuations in the environmental
control systems." She sighed
"I'm sure my engineers will be able to
help you," Lawrence reassured her.
"That's what I told Doctor Meranxx, but he
insisted on taking a shuttle over to Phoenix," Wang said,
laughing slightly. "He claims that the unstable environmental
settings might damage his artifacts." She glanced at the monitor on
the arm of her chair. "The Denarius should be hailing you any
Lawrence smiled. "Acknowledged," she said.
"We'll take care of your scientist until your systems are back up.
We'll start assembling our engineering teams and contact you when
they're ready to beam over."
"Acknowledged, Aretius out," Wang
said severing the comm.. link.
Lawrence turned and took one step towards
the ops station. "Mister McConnell, please have Lieutenant Commander
QaS get ready to deploy his crews to Transporter Room 1," she
"Yes, captain," Alice complied.
Lawrence started for the turbolift and
paused as she got closer to Alice. "About that tricorder scan I did
in my quarters?"
McConnell shrugged. "I got down to a
quantum level analysis, captain. There was nothing in the scan
T.E. stopped and looked blankly at Alice,
her mind racing back to the filmy figure she had seen in her
quarters in the wee hours. Just then, LT Walker from the comm.
station turned to face the captain. "Captain, the Denarius is
requesting permission to dock in the main shuttle bay."
"Permission granted, lieutenant," Lawrence
said distractedly, "and see if Lieutenant Hayworth is on duty to
meet him in the shuttle bay."
T.E. heard an insistent beeping coming
from the ops console. Out of the corner of her eye she saw LCDR
McConnell busily working her controls. "Captain!" she exclaimed.
"Sensors are reading an energy spike from the Aretius' warp
"Wha---?" Lawrence sputtered. "They were
having some malfunctions, but it didn't sound…."
"A core breach is imminent!" McConnell
"Walker, get Captain Wang back on the
comm.," Lawrence snapped, heading to her command chair.
"Aretius, this is Phoenix," Lawrence heard
Walker saying. "Come in Aretius."
She looked at the captain as she repeated
the hail automatically. "There's some sort of subspace sta----"
Walker’s sentence was not finished. A
brilliant blue-white matter/anti-matter explosion filled the PHOENIX
main view screen as the Aretius succumbed to anti-matter containment
failure. The bridge crew shielded their eyes.
"Shields!!" Lawrence screamed as the red
alert klaxon activated.
Just in time the PHOENIX shields activated
as the shock wave from the doomed Starfleet vessel hit the ship.
PHOENIX rocked gently as Lawrence and the other bridge officers
looked on helplessly as flaming wreckage from the ARETIUS spun out