Chapter 33 - Signal Received

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Things had resolved themselves without Merin’s intervention. Probably for the best too. While Merin had the training to be an executive officer, the on the job part was still in the very early stages. Given her past history, any sort of diplomatic abilities besides the most formal and rudimentary were all new to her. Science ships just didn’t deal with many diplomatic situations. But now that diplomacy was done, it was time to dance again.

NEW: Bridge

Evan waited on the bridge. “Patiently” wasn’t quite the word he would’ve used to describe it, not internally at any rate, but at least he wasn’t as bad he used to be. There had been a time not too many years ago when he would’ve struggled with a wait like this. Things had been much simpler when he had been an engineer. Sure, there’d been life and death situations back then, too – plenty of them – but he’d always been able to tackle them head on. Not so here.

The Tactical console chirped. “We’re receiving a signal from the second shuttle, Captain,” the officer stationed there reported. “It’s Commander Mez.”

Put her through,” Evan said, relieved. Help had reached them after all, it seem.

“This is Mez to the Hiroshima, is my signal coming in?” Merin was saying. She’d quickly taken another officer’s commbadge and used it to boost the signal. It wasn’t guaranteed to work but it might help the crew find a solution on their end.

Just about, Commander,” Evan replied, automatically raising his voice to be heard. A glance to the Tactical officer set the man to trying to clean up the signal.

“Good to hear your voice Captain,” Merin said thankful the crew was up to the task. “The situation down here is complicated.”

We’ve received a partial briefing,” Evan said, glad that at least some of the crackle had dissipated. “Your last communication mentioned some kind of automated defences,” he added, hoping for more detail.

“The drones attacked when we arrived at the wreckage. Attempts to fend them off resulted in learning that they can self repair,” she said flatly.

Evan was thankful that Mez’s description of the situation wasn’t badly garbled by interference this time. So, self-repairing drones. Self-repair wasn’t unheard of, even on Starfleet ships – several rudimentary systems on the Hiroshima could now repair themselves to some extent – but from what he’d gleaned of the devices on the planet so far, what Mez was talking about was surely on an entirely different scale.

Unsure of whether the Hiroshima’s previous efforts at communication had got through the unusual interference, Evan said, “We still can’t get transporter locks on you, Commander, but another team’s en route to evacuate you. Have you suffered casualties?”

“No dead. The group of Romulan survivors we’ve encountered have a few injuries. Nothing that will make transport difficult,” Merin said after a quick look over at the small group. “Right now they’re cooperative but they’re a little on edge. Given the circumstances, I would be too if the roles were reversed.”

And me, Evan thought, but kept that to himself. That they were co-operative meant the Security contingent awaiting the shuttles’ return wouldn’t need to be as large. “A medical team will meet you when you land,” he said. “Did you see any sign of survivors from the Lorrenz?”

“I’m afraid not. Given the drone intensity, I’m not hopeful that there are any,” Merin replied feeling like she was stating the obvious.

Which was hardly surprising. The away team had barely been on the ground any time at all before they’d been attacked. There was still hope that someone had survived the other ship’s scuttling. Next time, he’d send more shuttlecraft. Sweeps could be performed from the air, not the ground, offering his people some protection. “How soon can you get ready to move, Commander?”

“Yesterday would be preferable but that’s not going to happen so I’ll get us up in 2 minutes tops,” she said. Was that irony? She wasn’t used to putting those types of words into her conversations. Maybe it was just the stress. She could hear the whine of the shuttle close by …

JP by:

Lt. Cmdr. Merin Mez


Capt. Evan Yearling

Commanding Officer

USS Hiroshima-B