" Impact "
(Previous Post was Ashley's "Trust Among Friends")

Setting: GUMBARA Nebula
Stardate: 63072.1130

Due to the effects of the sensor dampening field of the nebula it had taken several more hours for the USS LANCELOT to arrive at its intended destination, the ship and crew not having wished to take any unnecessary risks. Like the detective that it had taken on the role of, the ship had slowly, carefully made it ways to the outer edge of the magnificent primal cloud which seemed to stretch into the eternity of space itself.
Setting: USS LANCELOT, Bridge
Stardate: 63072.1135
"Ladies and gentlemen," the LANCELOT's CO began as he stood from his chair. "Welcome to the GUMBARA Nebula."

"Breathtaking," Ensign Mitshiba offered as she gazed with delight at the sight being displayed on the main view screen. The swirls of colours appeared as if they had been taken from someone's dreams and hung in the emptiness of space for all to admire.
"Targeting sensors are useless," the Kzinti Sec/Tac Officer added, her duties to the ship as well as her own personal inner turmoil having precluded the enjoyment that Akira had obviously embraced. "I doubt we would be able to detect an enemy vessel if it landed on the hull."
"We are here on an exploration mission," Captain Morningstar pointed out. "Ensign Drell take us into the nebula… quarter impulse… Ensign Mitshiba, begin a full spectrum analysis of the nebula… and Ensign Fanggot, see if you can find a way to bring our defensive systems back to some level of workability."
Setting: GUMBARA Nebula
Stardate: 63072.1140
The grey hull of the CAVALIER-Class starship was dwarfed in comparison to the nebula's magnitude as it ever so slowly drew closer. In the vastness of space the GUMBARA Nebula had been only one of countless wonders, and the Federation vessel had been but an invisible speck against the tapestry of the universe… invisible only if one had not been specifically searching for what it contained.
Setting: UNKNOWN (a dark room)
Stardate: 63072.1135
The large holographic display showed with some difficulties the Federation vessel that had arrived in the vicinity of the nebula. The flickering three-dimensional image pointed to the problems the electronic systems of this unknown race had encountered.
"Initiate life form scan," the cold, metallic artificial voice commanded, the same voice that had lead to the destruction of the USS ETNA and all other ships that had crossed this race's path.
The holographic image flickered even more for several seconds before an eerie red glow surrounded the form of the Federation vessel.
"Confirmed life onboard vessel," another voice announced, as cold and deadly as the first.
"How do we proceed?" A third voice from the darkness inquired… the purpose of this race having been set in their cold and calculating ways.
"Extermination!" was the only possible reply, one that would have spelled the demise of the USS LANCELOT and all hands onboard had it not been for one minor difference.
"Unable to lock energy weapons on target due to interference," one of the voices reported without any sign of disappointment or annoyance… in fact none of the voices displayed any type of emotion even in the smallest possible measure.
"Alter course to intercept and prepare to fire projectile weapons."
Setting: GUMBARA Nebula
Stardate: 63072.1145
The unknown, alien silhouette moved increasingly closer to the Federation vessel, the research ship completely unaware of the danger that had been steadily creeping towards it. Like the predator that it was, the alien ship used the sensor dampening effects of the nebula to move in for the kill… unseen and unchallenged.
Even the cloud or elemental matter itself seemed to hold its breath as the alien ship moved into position to destroy the unsuspecting Federation ship, the crew of the LANCELOT all having been completely mesmerized by the Nebula's charms. All… save one.
Setting: USS LANCELOT, Bridge
Stardate: 63072.1150
As per the Captain's orders, the Kzinti woman had busied herself to restore the LANCELOT's defensive systems. There had been no reason for the Federation ship to expect that another ship would be in this sector, and even less that they might hold some hostile intent towards them. Still Ensign Fanggot used every skill and knowledge she had obtained from her Academy training to get the tactical sensors back online.
Hex gazed at her console with puzzlement… surely what she had discovered had been an error… a malfunction. The sensors had been modified to such an extent that the Sec/Tac Officer had to consider the possibility that something had not worked as she had expected. Suddenly the readings changed and the Kzinti found herself with no other possible explanation… they had not been as alone as they had previously expected.
"CAPTAIN!" Hex called out with all due urgency, "picking up six missiles heading our way… impact in 22 seconds."

"WHAT?" The Captain gasped. "Shields!"
"Unable to comply Sir," the OPS officer reported, a distinct tone of fear in her voice. "The nebula's interference is making it impossible for us to form an energy field of any sort around the ship."
"Impact in 15 seconds," the Kzinti woman stated, a certain frustration having laced her words due to the inability to do anything to stop the inevitable. Then her voice changed, the frustration having unexpectedly been transformed into utter surprise. "I don't understand it Sir… all but one of the missiles just… vanished."
"Vanished?" Morningstar demanded with puzzlement, "How?"
"Sir," Ensign Mitshiba began, her eyes locked on the sight displayed on the view screen. "There is still one missile heading our way!"
Setting: UNKNOWN (a dark room)
Stardate: 63072.1200
"Five projectiles exploded before they reached target," one of the artificial voices reported, still not a hint of emotion present where there should have been by any Human standard.
"Recalibrate sensors to find the reason for this," the voice of the unknown alien in charge ordered. "Prepare boarding pods."
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 63072.1200
The redheaded woman stood behind Ensign Thomas, the ANUBIS' Chief of Operations, her eyes trained on his console as he reviewed the status of the ship.
"The Ablative Armour managed to absorb the greater explosive force of those missiles… bio-regenerative hull is repairing whatever damage leaked through," Elliott reported with some level of general surprise. The move pulled by the ANUBIS had been amazing to say the least, but the battle had been far from over.
"Analysis of the explosions from the missiles shows that they held enough power to pulverise the LANCELOT… the attack was definitively not meant to incapacitate the ship but rather to see it reduce to space dust," the Shillian CSciO reported, the ship's specialized sensors having given the ANUBIS a distinct advantage in this battle.
=/\= IGC to Bridge, =/\= the voice of the ILO came through the comm channel.
"Go ahead," Rikar replied as she made her way back to the central chair.
=/\= They are attempting to find us. =/\=
"The Ablative Armour took one heck of a beating," the OPS Officer reported. "I would not recommend us taking on too many more hits like that last one.
"Then let's not give them the chance," the redheaded woman snarled, this battle having lasted long enough in her opinion. "Bring us about and fire torpedoes… if at all possible get our pulse cannons also to bare… I want this thing on the *receiving* end in this round."
=/\= Engineering to Bridge, =/\= the voice of the Oltharian was heard next. =/\= Please keep in mind that the ANUBIS is in rather a frail state, we pushed the engines well beyond their designed limits and many of the power conduits are ready to blow without us getting pounded. =/\=
"Just get me enough power to fire our pulse cannons and torpedoes," the CO instructed, certain that the CEO would be able to comply with her request… Elan could always manage the impossible as demonstrated by their arrival at the GUMBARA Nebula more then 12 hours ahead of schedule.
Setting: GUMBARA Nebula
Stardate: 63072.1210
The armoured form of the USS ANUBIS moved to place itself in optimum firing position, a tactic that the unknown alien vessel seemed to mimic… a manoeuvre that hinted to the ship having discovered the reason for their earlier failed attack against the LANCELOT. Like two warrior of old the two ships circled for position, victory likely going to the one that would achieve this first.
In the span of a single second both ships arrived face-to-face with each other and the emptiness between them filled with bolts of compressed energy, shimmering glows of torpedoes and streaks of missiles.
Once again the nebula as well as the universe as a whole seemed to hold their breaths as the destructive forces of the weapon's fire moved closer and closer to their targets. In a blast that matched the brightness of a sun, the two adversaries were hit with the full force of their opponent's arsenal.
Setting: USS ANUBIS, Bridge
Stardate: 63072.1211
The strength of the impact and subsequent explosions had been such that not a single officer had been able to remain at their station… like a giant tidal wave the shockwave had spread through the ANUBIS knocking systems and people out without discrimination.
"Report!" The CO demanded after a few seconds to regain her wits, the redheaded woman having found herself thrown out of her chair and onto the far stations at the back of the Bridge.
"Power fluctuations across the board… it is going to take a few moment to get systems back online," Thomas reported.

"I hate to put pressure on you Ensign," the Captain offered, "but it would be nice to know if this fight is actually over."

"Sensors are completely inoperative," the Shillian reported once she had managed to regain her seat. "The only sensors that might still be in working condition would be those of the IGC."
As if the ILO had been listening in on the conversation, Enaii chimed in. =/\= IGC online… target has been destroyed. =/\=

"Well done everyone," Rikar offered with a grin that filled her face. "Ensign Thomas see if you can assist Lt. Fairborn in effecting repairs to our primary systems.
The ILO interrupted, =/\= Sensors have picked up six crafts heading for the LANCELOT… power signature and shape suggest boarding pods. =/\=
"Can we destroy them?" The redheaded Captain inquired as she turned her attention back to the COO.
"All weapon systems are offline for the time being… I doubt that we would be able to even *lock* weapons on them, let alone fire," Elliott explained rather annoyed by the extent of the damages they had suffered. "Don't even ask about the transporters… we couldn't beam a flea onto a dog right now and the VIPER launch bays have no power."
The redheaded woman quickly debated on the course of action to take, given the more then restricted options at their disposal. Eventually though the CO opted for the only available possibility that held a chance to see the LANCELOT's crew saved.
"Bridge to IGC… Enaii report to Shuttle Bay 1... You'll be leading the Marines to counter the boarding on the LANCELOT," the Captain instructed before she continued in the same breath. "Bridge to Sickbay… Doctor your skills are required… meet with Enaii in Shuttle Bay 1 for emergency away duty to the LANCELOT."
=/\= On my way, =/\= the CMO replied not at all having sounded thrilled with the prospect of being part of the counter-boarding team.

Sabrina Jones
Captain Sabrina Rikar
Commanding Officer

"We are Grey, we stand between the Candle and the Star, between the Darkness and the Light"
-Entilza Delenn, Babylon 5