"Echoes in The Dark"
(Cont. from "Hell Froze Over")

Setting: USS LANCELOT, Bridge
Stardate: 63072.1320

The first time they had heard the strange sound as it echoed through the ship, Captain Morningstar and the rest of the bridge officers just looked at each other, puzzled.  The idea that something might have hit them had been shared by all even though not a word had been spoken. When the sound was heard a second time, followed by a third, Drell decided to speak up.

"A meteor shower?" The Klingon FCO half suggested.

"Inside the GUMBARA Nebula?" Aki replied, "Not likely, plus the sound it too rhythmic."

"To be honest it sounds like someone or something is knocking against the outer hull of the ship," Hex said, the Kzinti having been ready to laugh at her own words had the situation not been so dire.

"Maybe it is whatever hit us before," the Klingon suggested, this time his voice had been far more serious.

"It doesn't make sense," the CO added.  "Whatever hit us, it did so with enough power in a single shot to rip to pieces an entire section of the ship and leave us crimpled.  I doubt that they would send someone to 'kick the corpse' after that."

"Could it be some sort of rescue?  Hex did report that there had been six missiles heading our way and that five of them suddenly vanished, maybe there is another ship out there," the CSciO suggested.

"It is possible that there is another ship out there," the CO said.  "The problem is that we have no way to confirm if they are here for a rescue or to finish the job.  We could be dealing with some sort of pirates who simply wish to salvage what they can from the LANCELOT."

"If so," Drell began with a growl, "they will likely not look sympathetically on having survivors getting in their way."

"Friend or foe we don't have much of a choice," Captain Morningstar continued.  "Our first duty is to restore some level of power to these systems, either to make a rescue easier or to be able to defend ourselves."

"Engineering?" The Klingon asked, not sounding overly happy with the idea of having to go into the Jefferies Tubes once again.

"Engineering," the CO confirmed as he approached the access panel and took point.

Setting: USS LANCELOT, Jefferies Tube
Stardate: 63072.1335

The repeated echoes of the sound grew louder as the group ventured further into the small maintenance tunnels.  Without power this had been the only way for them to reach the Engineering department and any hope of restoring power to what had been left of the LANCELOT.

The CO had not wasted any time and had set a frantic pace that the three Ensigns had been lucky enough to be able to match due to their individual skills.  The feline-like anatomy of the Kzinti Security officer had made moving through these small passageways almost easy, while Aki's own physical training had made this seem like nothing more than a training exercise.  Possessing superior strength, Drell had also been able to keep up with ease, all too often hinting that the group could go faster if needed.

The echo through the walls of the LANCELOT grew louder as the group pressed on and left everyone with diminished hope that this had been some sort of rescue.  There had been something about the perfect rhythm that hinted to a sinister reason, a motive that the four Starfleet officers would do best to avoid at all costs.

Setting: USS LANCELOT, Corridor
Stardate: 63072.1345

Although the trek through the Jefferies Tubes had been relatively easy for the four officers, the change of pace in having been able to walk upright had been a most welcomed one by all.

"A couple more decks are we'll be there," the CO said in an encouraging tone, doing his best to focus the Ensign's thoughts on the goal rather than on the pounding echo that filled the ship.

Just as Captain Morningstar spoke these words the light in the corridor came on.

"Well done Sartek," Aki cheered only to be thrown off her feet a few seconds later, like everyone else in her group as an explosion shook the entire ship.

"What the heck was that?  Did we get hit by another missile?" The Kzinti furiously demanded.

"That wasn't an explosion, but rather a decompression," the CO said, his experience in the fleet having made it possible for him to know the difference without having to rely on instruments.  "Apparently one of the bulkheads was destroyed, or weakened enough that the pressure blew it out into space."

"That means that there is now more of the ship open to space," Aki tearfully said as she tried her best to not think of this having caused more casualties on the LANCELOT.

"Let's hurry to Engineering, once there we may get a better idea of what is going on," Captain Morningstar said as he ushered the three Ensigns down the corridor with urgency.

Dawn Bohr <serra.moon.angel@gmail.com>
Ensign Akira 'Aki' Mitshiba
Chief Science Officer