Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth
Scene 6: Blowout
Lt. T’Lok Smith was accustomed to running in the morning with Ensign T’Lon and her tactical squad. For the first time, T’Lon wasn’t there. But Tactical Spcialist Jarrong and the three half-siblings were warming up in an open area near the lift tube on deck 5 when T’Lok arrived. Tactical Specialists Belo Rys, Belo Garr and Belo Cantys shared a bajoran mother, but had separate fathers, all cardassian. Their mother had been taken as a slave during the Cardassian Occupation. Jarrong’s grandmother was another bajoran slave from the same family. Even though they were only a few years younger than T’Lon, the four had adopted the young vulcan as a sort of family member - a sentiment T’Lon had made use of in training her squad.
T’Lok had already stretched. She touched each squad member on the shoulder as each stepped onto the track and started running, then followed them. They had to make dozens of laps, constantly having to take sharp turns on the small, oval track. Because of this limitation to the track, runners were accustomed to changing direction every 20 laps. T’Lok had passed all of the squad members except Jarrong - the only squad member close to the young vulcan’s height. She and Jarrong had just reversed direction when an explosion shook the boat.
Part of the bulkhead on the port side of the Hunter exploded outward, exposing the track to space. The ring decompressed as the atmosphere was blown out through the hull, carrying first T’Lok, then Jarrong and Belo Rys out into the vacuum of space.
Belo Garr - who was still on the starboard side with his other half-sister - flattened himself against the interior wall - his fingers searching for any purchase. He reached out and grabbed Cantys’ arm. These two youngest squad members slid inexorably toward the hull breach, but dropped to the floor as an emergency protocol erected a forcefield over the breach.
Cantys and Garr struggled helplessly on the floor and gasped for air in the freezing near vacuum of the evacuated track before another emergency protocol engaged the transporter and beamed them directly to the Medical bay. The same protocol captured Jarrong, Rys and T’Lok, rescuing them from the vacuum of space and sending them directly to the Medical bay. The Emergency Medical Hologram was also immediately activated and the Medical staff alerted to the emergency.
The new program designed and brought online by Flight Engineer Tomos, registering the loss of mass in the form of atmosphere and deck plating, reached out with the cargo transporter system searching for any mass to replace this loss with, with the result that that atmosphere and the deck plating were immediately beamed into storage areas to re-balance the Hunter’s mass.
- * -
Justice Minerva Irons had risen for the day. C shift was nearing its end and Lt. Commander Mlady was in the captain’s chair. Irons was in the midst of her morning Tai Chi training, wincing with every move of her right arm, slow, deliberate, when an instinct stopped her. She had been a Star Fleet captain nearly half of her exceptionally long life and had learned to trust that gut instinct.
Irons carefully reinserted her right arm into its sling and stepped onto the bridge at the same moment that medical forensic specialist, Midshipman Tolon Reeves, currently serving a shift at the tactical console, said, “Ship decloaking off the port unnnhhh….” He gripped the console and grunted as a poorly aimed disruptor beam grazed the Hunter’s port side with tremendous energy.
Mlady responded instantly, “Shields up, power weapons and bring us about!”
“Belay that order!” Justice Irons was hanging onto the door frame between her office and the bridge with her left hand. “Give me warp eleven now!”
Flight Specialist Dih Terri, at the helm, had only recently become aware such speeds might be possible. But she dialed it in and the Hunter suddenly lurched, the deck plating groaning in protest. A second disruptor beam passed near the aft of the Hunter - in the next heartbeat the interloper was left light-years behind as the patrol craft made a blur of the stars.
Mlady stood up, but Irons waived her back down. “Stay put, Lieutenant Commander, I need you in that chair right now. Hunter - damage report.”
The elderly interactive avatar did not appear as usual, but his voice was carried into the bridge by the communication system. “Hull breach on deck 5. Atmosphere vented. Five casualties, all transported directly to Medical bay. I am working with Ensign Sun and Transporter Engineer K’rok to repair the hull. Emergency force field is in place, but I advise against repressurizing until repairs are complete.”
Irons responded: “Shipwide, deck 5 is depressurized and off limits - pressure suit access only.” She turned to her second officer as Commander David Pepper entered the bridge. “Lieutenant Commander - remain in command. If they catch up to us or any other ship shows up, run away faster. You have clearance up to warp 14. Any faster than that and this boat will come apart.” She turned to her gigantic first officer, “David, suit up. I need you on deck 5 supervising repairs. Get a camera on the outside and get a look at the hull. Full damage assessment. I will be in Engineering first, then Medical.”
Without a word, Pep turned and exited the bridge, heading toward a locker near the ground operations room. Irons passed him on her way to the lift. She gripped one of the handles as the doors closed and said, “Main engineering.”