"Captain's Log, supplemental. We've dropped out of warp in the Iota Virginis system following a radiation surge aboard the S.S. Sarah Spencer. Her crew has been beamed out of danger, and Doctor McCoy assures me that they'll recover after a few days of anti-radiation treatments. According to the freighter's captain, a faulty baffle plate in his ship's engine room ruptured, unbalancing the warp field and filling the lower compartments with deadly delta radiation. For now we have the Sarah Spencer locked in our tractor beam while we orbit the system's third planet, and I'm awaiting Lieutenant Commander Scott's report on the situation..."
Kirk stood on the bridge looking over the shoulders of Scotty's shoulder as he examined the data Spock was feeding him from the sensor console. The engineer gave a low whistle, and Kirk leaned forward to get a better look at the scans.
"What's the prognosis, Scotty?"
"We're damn lucky, Captain. If the crew of the Spencer hadn't of sealed those lower compartments and shut down the warp drive when they did, we'd be looking at a warp core breach. We'd a lost the ship, not te mention the damage done ta the rest o' the convoy in tha explosion."
Spock came up behind the two, hands folded behind his back. "The cargo consists mostly of construction materials for the new Vulcan colony. Scans indicate that the delta radiation did not penetrate the cargo modules."
Kirk nodded. "We have room in our cargo bay. If we move some of the equipment stored there we can beam aboard most of the cargo and get going. Send a salvage team for the Sarah Spencer."
Scotty waggled his head. Pointing to the monitor, he indicated the diagram of the freighter's engine room. "Oh I dunno about that, Captain. With that much radiation floating around, the transport patterns'll probably degrade 40 percent by the time it gets over here."
Kirk straightened up, a grim look on his face. "Can we salvage her?"
Scotty spun his chair around and looked at Kirk with a roguish grin. "Oh aye, sir. Why didn't ye mention it before? Give me about a day over there with a coupla me people, we'll have her fixed right away."
Kirk smiled. Things were coming together. "Get to it, Mr. Scott. Assemble a damage control team and have them over there inside the hour."
Scotty nodded gleefully and headed for the turbolift. "Aye, sir. Lickety split."
As he walked he called over to the helm station. "Mr Sulu! We'll be needing someone to correct her orbit once we have helm control. Fancy joining us?"
Sulu turned around with a start, then did a quick jog to join up with Scott at the turbolift, a broad grin splitting his face. "Aye, sir!"
Scotty subtly rolled his eyes, "Easy there, lad." Grabbing hold of the turbolift handle, he waited for Sulu and then barked, "Deck 15!"
Spock stepped to Kirk's right as he sat again in the Captain's chair. He gazed out on the Sarah Spencer with Kirk, the smaller vessel listing in the grip of the tractor beam. After a moment, he inclined his head toward the Captain.
"May I remind you, Captain, that the other two freighters are carrying perishable medicines and other supplies for the colony on Veridian III. I suggest we send them ahead to avoid further delays in the delivery of the cargo."
Kirk nodded, but kept his gaze on the freighter. After a moment he shifted in the command chair, crossing one leg over the other.
"Of course, Spock." He spun slightly toward the communication station, "Uhura. Contact the Huron and the Millenium Queen. Tell them to continue on course at Warp 5. We'll catch up with them once we're done here."
Uhura nodded, "Aye, sir."
- - - - - - - - - -
Praxus, the scope operator, looked up from his instruments toward the Commander.
"Two of the Earth vessels are moving off," he reported, "The cruiser and the other freighter are still in orbit around the third planet."
Charvanek leaned forward in her command chair aboard the Memenda as Praxus peered once more into the sensor scopes. Rising, she joined her junior officer at the station.
"Have they detected us yet?"
Praxus replied without looking up from the data feeds. "Negative, Commander. The ice in the asteroid field is reflecting any sensor sweeps away from us."
Charvanek looked into another of the scope's viewers, considering the happenstance that brought her ship here.
It had two months since both the destruction of the planet Vulcan and the ship known as the Narada. And here they stumbled upon the very starship responsible for such a large role in those events on her first mission outside Romulan space.
Her gaze hardened as she considered the starship. She had read the reports about Nero and his ship. Whatever else the Narada and her commander had been, wherever he had come from, all reports indicated that they were indisputedley Romulan. And the commander of the Enterprise could not go unpunished for the destruction he had wreaked. A plan formed in her mind as she straightened from the viewing scope.
"Encode a message to the Korvix," she instructed one of her junior officers, "Tell them to cross the Neutral Zone and approach the system from the far side."
A tight smile slowly spreading on her face, she began to relate instructions to her crew. The Romulan Empire had been silent for far too long. It was time the Federation heard from them.
- - - - - - - - - -
Ensign Gaila was struggling to juggle three tricorders, two engineering kits, and a pair of environmental protective suits vacuum-packed into slim plastic containers as she hurriedly followed Mr. Scott toward the transporter room. The senior engineer was rambling on as he checked off a list on a padd he was carrying.
"...probably have to replace the primary buffer panels. Radiation'll have 'em totally fried. Course the merchant marine galoots probably won't have checked the calipers in a dog's age. Machine shop's loaded with keech, mark me words..."
Gaila didn't understand half the phrases Scotty used most of the time, but she was eager to be selected for a landing party. Her face flushed a darker shade of green with excitement as she tripped after him, ready to prove what an asset she could be to the engineering department.
She couldn't help but stare at Scotty while he walked on, lost in his world of power couplings and warp field dynamics. There was just something so sexy about an engineering genius...
"...ah but we'll have her up and purring again in no time, ye ken lass?"
"Aye sir!" she said, nearly dropping one of the tricorders in her excitement.
- - - - - - - - - -
"The Korvix is three hours away, Commander." Praxus said.
"Excellent," Charvanek replied, leaning back in her command chair and lacing her long fingers together. "Send another tightbeam transmission with my latest instructions to Subcommander Vokar."
The Centurion at her side turned to Carvanek.
"You intend to give Vokar the chance he's been waiting for? To engage a Federation cruiser?"
Charvanek steepled her fingers. "He'll get the battle he wants while we gather information about the Earth ships. All is for the Empire."
- - - - - - - - - -
Lieutenant Kyle was adjusting the transporter to compensate for the delta radiation emanating from the Sarah Spencer with Ensign Chekov when Scotty and Gaila entered the transporter room. The chief engineer was excitedly about the mission while the Orion Ensign constantly shifted her grip on the slipping bundle of equipment she carried.
As if noticing her plight for the first time, Scott did a double take and quickly relieved her of two of the tricorders and a protection suit. A moment later, Lieutenant Sulu came through the doors with a big grin. Scotty turned to the younger officer.
"All set, Mr. Sulu?"
"Right," he turned to Kyle, "Has the transporter been compensated?"
Kyle nodded. "Yessir. Should be able to get you to the bridge of the Sarah Spencer with no trouble."
Scott grinned. "Excellent. Fine work, Mr. Kyle."
Scotty turned back to Gaila and retrieved another tricorder. Stepping onto the transporter pad, he profferred it to Kyle. "Well then, on yous go."
Kyle straightened up. "Me sir?"
Scott nodded again, still wearing the excited grin." Aye. Ye're a certified pilot aren't ye?"
"Ex-cel-lent! Mr. Sulu will need some help getting the ship righted after we restore main power," He shook the tricorder again in Kyle's direction. "Come on then, Lieutenant. I cannae wait forever."
"Yes, sir!" Kyle said, beaming. He took the tricorder from Scott and stepped onto the transporter pad next to Gaila and Sulu. It looked like Scotty was giving him some faith after all.
Once they were all assembled, Scotty nodded to Chekov, seated at the transporter controls.
"Energize, Mr. Chekov."