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“What the hell is happening!” Lorca sounded apoplectic, which took some of the edge off of the panic that was crawling up Keyla’s spine.

The emergency lights had kicked in, bathing the bridge in harsh, white light, which only served to play on the subliminal sense that something was terribly, terribly wrong. Her console was flickering dimly, but not responding to her touch, and all she could do was gently tap the sporadically-presenting controls as if she were trying to coax a dying pet back to life.

“Bridge, engineering. Whatever that was knocked out our main and back-up energizers Structural damage appears minimal, but we have to reboot the system from scratch.”

“Without the energizers, we can’t direct the flow of energy from the warp core. We’re essentially powerless,” Saru noted, and a quick look over her shoulder showed Keyla that he was also poking uselessly at his controls. Discouragingly, she noted, his threat ganglia were freely exposed.

Oh, we're fucked now, she thought.

“Thank you for the lesson in Starships 101, Mr. Saru,” said Lorca through what Keyla imagined were teeth gritted so hard he was cracking enamel, “but right now we need options before whatever it is hits us again.” Then, to the bridge crew: “Give me a systems rundown”

“She’s not answering her helm,” Keyla reported.

“Navigation is completely dead.”

“Spore drive inoperable,” Airiam reported.

“We have limited sensor functionality, Captain,” Saru said, somewhat over-optimistically. “And life-support’s redundancies were unaffected.”

“Well, at least we won’t be running out of air any time soon,” Lorca said sourly. “Now what the hell hit us?”

“It appears to have been some type of plasma-based weapon embedded in the moon’s surface.”

“Was that part of the shipyard’s defenses?”

“It...sir, the sensors are no longer reading the shipyard’s presence. No energy signatures, no subterranean activity, nothing.”

Keyla felt an icy chill blanket the bridge as the realization set in: they’d fallen into a trap. Trap… the very word touched her with icicle fingers. When she was fourteen her class had taken a field trip to one of the botanical research domes on the moon, where she’d seen a Neuvallian Cage Plant devour a small mammal. As she watched the animal struggle, surrender, and finally die she’d been struck by what it must be like to be in that position: to have an entire mechanism arrayed against you, designed to make you submit to its will, not by chance but--insidiously-- by design.

Now she knew.

The Romulans had them. They had been bold and they had been fearless and they had gone precisely where they had been led. Soon the Romulan ships would arrive and she would either die in space or be captured. Either way, there was a good chance that she would have the distinction of being present at the ignition of two great wars.

An uncontrolled, aggravating part of her wanted to cry.

“Son of a bitch,” Lorca said, almost admiringly. “They played us.”

“Sir,” Saru said urgently. “There is a vessel approaching on a vector of Z-three-two by Y-twelve.”

“Shields?” Lorca asked.

“Non-responsive,” Rhys answered.

Lorca shook his head. ‘Well, let’s hope they want to take us prisoner, then. We might be able to fend off a boarding party.”

A moment later, Discovery shuddered with a series of hammer blows and spun violently on her axis.



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