Subject: Alternate addition to The Return
Date: 17 Mar 92 05:05:42 GMT
Follow on to The Return:
Picking up at the moment the original script left off, the big E
is currently being held by the Death Star's tractor beam and is
being drawn inside it's main hangar bay.
Picard: Mr. Worf, re target phasers on the source of the tractor
beam. Fire when ready. Mr. Data, is that hangar the launching
point for the small attack craft that have been engaging us?
Mr. Data: I would surmise a large portion of them sir.
Picard: Mr. Worf, as soon as we're free put some torpedoes into
that hangar. It will prevent the launch of more fighters and may
deter them from attempting to use their tractor beam again.
Worf: With pleasure, sir.
Worf: Another ship has appeared and has destroyed the tractor
beam emitters! As the ship swings around, I will use the rear
torpedo launcher to destroy the hangar.
Riker: Helm, bring us about to 268 mk 19 and give us some
distance. Mr. Data, what is the ship that joined the attack, and
why didn't we detect it earlier.
Data: Sensors no longer detect the other vessel. It appeared
momentarily and destroyed the tractor beam, and then re engaged
what must be a cloaking device of some type. However, the
configuration of the ship is not Klingon or Romulan. Perliminary
analysis of the sensor log shows the ship to be of an unknown
configuration, not matching anything in our records. The general
design methods appear to resemble Federation methods but the
design of the ship is radically different from any current known
Federation design. I am placing an image of the ship on secondary
viewer number 1.
Picard: Mr. Data, what..
Data: The main hangar appears to be totally wrecked, Captain.
Numerous secondary explosions are occurring, and power distribution
has been halted in a 400 meter radius from the hanger.
Picard: Well done, Mr. Worf! That should hamper their offensive
capabilities for a considerable length of time.
Helm, how long till we are clear of the Imperial forces?
Helmsman: 14 seconds sir.
Picard: very well. Now, Mr. Data, what can you tell us about that
mystery ship before we reposition to attack.
Data: On secondary viewer, sir.
Picard: You're right Mr. Data, it is similar to Federation
building style. It appears to be a Nebula class starship with a
different body. What are those blisters along the hull, Mr.Data.
Data: Unknown sir.
Worf: Sir we are now clear of the Imperial forces.
Their Star Destroyers were moving to engage Starbase 42 when we
Picard: Number One, recommendations.
Data: Sir, one of the larger Star Destroyers has suffered a
massive explosion in its engine area. The ship appears to be
crippled. Power emanations are falling rapidly and structural
integrity is significantly compromised.
Worf: Sir, the unidentified ship appeared for a few seconds and
fired a volley of torpedoes into the engines of the Imperial ship.
It is now cloaked again. The torpedoes appear to be like
Federation torpedoes, but from this distance scanners cannot tell.
Data: Sir, the attacking ship appears to be taking advantage of
the fact that Imperial ships cannot maintain effective shielding of
their rear areas when using their ion engines. The exhaust of
such engines precludes shields as we know them. The volatility of
the fuel and the ease of access place the Star Destroyers at a
Riker: If they shield, their own engines cook them, if not, that
Worf: Captain, we have received a brief text only transmission.
The transponder coding says it is from the USS Nirmod. I am not
familiar with that ship sir.
Picard: Nor am I, Lt. What does it say?
Worf: It says, "Enterprise, please rejoin the battle. I can hold
off the ships, you find a way to stop that base station. Mitzgar
Riker: Since when do any Federation ships employ cloaking
Picard: I think that this may be a special case, number one. If
this is the same Capt. Mitzgar I know, then I can well believe
that his ship would employ a cloaking device in battle.
In any case, enough talk. I am satisfied that the new ship
is not hostile and may indeed be a new Federation design. We will
heed his advice for now. Mr. Worf, Mr. Data, we need to find a
weak point in that Battle STation's defenses. What can you tell
Worf: Their defenses are formidable if only because of sheer
quantity. The entire surface of the station is armored, and all
vital systems are buried so deep in the interior that we cannot
practically reach them.
Data: They present no known single source of propulsion that we
could destroy to render the station immobile.
Worf: We should concentrate on their primary armament. That is
what poses a threat to us and to Starbase 42. That is why we are
concerned about it at all.
Riker: Good point. Mr. Data, access computer logs to identify
their primary weapon. Mr. Worf, scan the battle station to
complement Mr. Data's research.
Data: Sir, a third Star Destroyer has been disabled. The
remaining ships are now redeploying in a Katella formation in an
attempt to protect the rear areas of each other. However, there
are not enough ships to complete the formation and fully protect
each other. Three of the ships are still exposed and.. One of the exposed ships has been destroyed.
Worf: Captain, I have located what can only be an enormous
weapons emitter on the surface of the battle station. If we
damaged the emitter, it might render the weapon unusable long
enough for us to find a more..permanent solution.
Picard: Excellent, Mr. Worf, prepare to attack the emitter.
Number One, bring us in at a high deflection angle. Keep us out
of the path of that weapon.
Riker: Helm, come about, prepare to go to warp 2 and bring us on
an elliptical course to the weapon emitter on the battle station.
Mr. Worf,as soon as we're out of warp, hit the weakest part of the
emitter with everything we've got.
Worf: Ready, sir.
Riker: Helm, engage when ready. Computer, compute plausible
firing arc of the largest weapon on the enemy space station and
project on main viewer. Helm, under no circumstances will you
allow the Enterprise to come close to that firing arc.
Helm: Understood, sir.
Riker: lets do it.
Helm: Sorry sir, but I am compensating to the rotation of the
battle station. I am preventing them from bringing that weapon to
bear on us.
Riker: Well done.
Picard: Continue to do so, Ensign.
Worf: Captain, we received a brief reply from the Nimrod. It
said: "message understood".
Riker: what do you think they'll do?
Picard: Hopefully they will attempt to divert power away from the
defense of this area. Even with another ship I doubt we could
blast through this shield. Their power availablity is simply too
Data: Sir, the Nimrod has appeared and is attacking the nearest
undefended energy sources. Sensors report 2 secondary explosions
and the energy output of the shielding facing us is down 12.396%.
Worf: Responding, sir.
Data: Sir, shield energy is down 17.3% now. The Nimrod has
destroyed a third reactor and is in the process of engaging a
fourth. The Imperial fleet is attempting to move into position to
defend the battle station.
Picard: Status of shields, Mr. Worf?
Worf: Holding, sir. The only weapons other than the primary one
on this section of the battle station appear to be merely small
anti fighter emplacements and are having a negligible effect on our
shields. Their rate of fire has been decreasing, presumably as
their power is siphoned off to defend the main armament.
Data: Concur, captain. Enemy shielding now down 29.92%. Our
phasers are beginning to have some break through effect. Sir,the
Nimrod has cloaked and ceased firing. All imperial ships now
taking sustained evasive maneuvers.
Riker: At least the Star Destroyers won't be bothering us. Did
the Nimrod damage the defenses enough to allow us to finish alone?
data: Possibly sir. I cannot tell at this point. Sir the Nirmod
has re-appeared and has resumed attacking the battle station's
Picard: That cloaking maneuver was probably just a ruse to
disperse the Imperial fleet. How clever!
Riker: I can just imagine those Star Destroyer's captains as they
thought they were about to come under attack again.
Worf: No warrior would ever panic like that.
Worf: Captain! Enemy shields now down 52% We are breaking
through. Firing torpedoes. Their shields are
Data: The Nimrod has succeeded in severing power couplings to
several of the shield emitter dishes and we are now breaking
Picard: The Status of the Imperial Fleet?
Data: They have formed a formation Similar to a Tyrosian Wedge,
captain and are closing in on us. estimated interception time, 1
minute, 42 seconds.
Picard: Just enough time. Number One, prepare to get us out of
Riker: Helm, on my signal come to 147 mark 214 and bring us close
to Starbase 42.
Data: Star Destroyer formation now 37 seconds from weapons range,
with fighter squadrons now coming within range.
Worf: Sir, another Text -only message: "Enterprise, withdraw and
reposition on left flank of enemy fleet. We can finish up here."
Picard: Agreed, Helm take us out of here.
Data: Sir, recording a series of 4 explosions inside the battle
station. It appears that the Nimrod took advantage of a momentary
lull in the fighter attack to use its transporter to transport
explosive devices into the interior of the battle station. The
explotions are in a linear path inward from the weapon emitter so I
surmise that the explosions were in some kind of energy conduit or
Picard: Did we manage to damage their primary weapon enough so
that it is inoperable?
Data: Insufficient information sir. The ports on the perimeter
of the dish appear to have been primarily for focussing, with only
a secondary function of delivering energy. All of them have been
destroyed. However, the main power source was not damaged and it
is possible that the weapon could be fired at a decreased
effectiveness, and that would still put Starbase 42 in jeopardy.
Helm: we are now clear of the Imperial fleet sir, they are
holding position between us and the battle station and are
deploying only one third of their fleet against us. The other two
thirds are deployed to face the Nimrod.
Worf: Sir, I am picking up heavy communications activity between
the battle station and the fleet ships. They are probably
attempting secure communications to plan out their next attack.
Riker: Either that or deciding whether or not to withdraw. They
have already suffered heavy losses and if that super weapon is
out of commission they don't have a chance against us and Starbase
Picard: Agreed. Mr. Worf, keep an eye on the Imperial forces.
Also, open a channel to the Nimrod. It is time we had a
discussion with her captain.
Worf: They are responding, sir.
Picard: On screen.
Mitzgar: Hello, Enterprise, we can save the greetings and
explanations for later. If that super battle station's main
weapon is out of operation for a while, they will probably
withdraw. They can't protect themselves from behind and they
don't have the numbers or the maneuverability to keep either or
our ships out of position.
However, if we still have to fight more, then you concentrate
on the battle station. I can keep the warships off of your back.
This cloaking device that I had to work so hard to get authorized
is proving to be quite useful. The result is that they are very
wary of me and I can have a disruptive effect on their
deployments. I'm running low on torpedoes though, and phasers
take longer against those enormous things. Do you agree with my
Picard: I agree that the battle station is the highest priority.
However, I believe that if we work together to destroy the fleet,
then we will save time in the long run. It took both of us to
damage the battle station as much as we did. You must not make
the assumption that the damage we have caused will prevent them
from re establishing their local defenses. We should both attack
simultaneously. If we both penetrate through the formations
facing us, we can attack the rear areas of the formations on the
other side. They do not appear to have developed a way of
countering a high warp speed pass to flank them followed by an
attack on their rear.
Mitzgar: Sounds good. At least for this battle, it should work.
But afterwards we will have much to talk about. I'll see you
afterwards at Starbase 42.
Picard: I'm certain that we will have a great deal to discuss.
Good luck. Picard out.
Riker: Is that the same man who requested to be stationed at
every trouble spot in the Federation for the last 10 years?
Picard: The same. He is a fine asset in combat, but his
diplomatic skills are poor. But at least he knows it, and that is
why he requested postings to spots where his military skill would
be useful but he would not be called upon to exercise the finer
points of diplomacy.
Vader: Report, captain.
Captain: My Lord, another ship that has an invisibility device
has appeared and has damaged the tractor beam. When the cruiser
was released it fired its weapons into the main hangar bay as it
made its escape. The attack causes a tremendous ammount of damage
and several of the secondary hangars were destroyed. Fuel depots
were also ignited, rendering the hangar unusable. Both the
cruiser and the new arrival have escaped. I suspect that another
of those bird like vessels has arrived. We do not detect it on
our scanners, though the cruiser is there. We still cannot detect
them when they are using that strange propusion of theirs, but
that cannot account for the added ability of these ships to remain
Vader: That is not acceptable, captain. I want the technical
divisions to find an answer to both their invsible propulsion
system and their invisible camaflouge. Tell them that I take a
personal interest in it. It makes it all the more imperative that
we capture one of their ships.. or perhaps that starbase would
provide the information we need. Captain, imform the
fleet that the enemy ships are now to be destroyed if they cannot
be captured easily. However, the Death Star will capture their
starbase. Adjust the anti-proton weapon to a minimum power
output. We will disable their defensive systems and take what we
want from their base. See to it captain.
Captain: Yes, My Lord.
Captain: My Lord, the cruiser has resumed its attack on us. It
is concentrating its attack on the anti proton emitter mechanism.
If they succeed in damaging it we will be unable to use our
weapon. Our defensive shields are holding, but I am diverting
extra power to them just in case.
Vader: Use the beam against them, captain.
Adjust our orientation and prepare to fire as soon as we have the
Captain: We've already tried that, Lord Vader. They keep
adjusting to remain out of our firing arc. We have only a few
weapons within range of them and they are small anti-fighter
emplacements that are having no effect on their shielding.
Vader: Recall the fleet and launch all availble fighter craft for
an attack on the cruiser.
Captain: I'm sorry my Lord, but the main hangar is totally
unusable. Most of the fighters destroyed in the earlier combat
were launched from the secondary hangars, an the rest were sent to
the fleet by the Fighter command because it was felt that they
would be more useful there. We currently cannot launch any
fighters. However,the fleet is being recalled, but that is being
slowed by the attacks of the other vessel. Our Star Destroyers
are unable to use much of their engine power without making
themselves extremely vulnerable to attack. The new warship is
concentrating its attacks on the rear areas of our ships. If we
use our engines, we cannot maintain strong shields to our rear and
their weapons easily penetrate the defenses and explode their
engines. We've already lost 6 ships, My Lord, including 2 Super
Star Destroyers. At present, it will take them almost 20 minutes
to come to our aid.
However, our shields are holding up against the weapons of
the cruiser. We can easily maintain shields in the local area of
their attack long enough for the fleet to arrive. If they move
away from the emitter cone, they will be able to penetrate the
shields, but the damage will be inconsequential. It would take
them weeks of continuous fire without any resistence on our part
to seriously damage the death star.
Vader: I hope so, for your sake, captain. Has the anti-proton
weapon sustained any damage?
Captain: None, my Lord. Shall we continue to recalibrate it to
disable the starbase?
Vader: Yes. I still want a prize to take back to the emperor.
Some of their new technology would prove very useful in crushing
the rebels. We must also be able to counter it should the rebels
obtain posession of it. I particularly want that drive system.
It seems to allow them to accelerate far more quickly than our
Vader: Captain, I find the
losses we are sustaining in this battle unacceptable. I also grow
tired of allowing that cruiser to continue to fire at us with
impunity, even if it cannot damage us appreciably. Tell the Fleet
commanders to do what is necessary to expidite their arrival.
Tell them to destroy that other warship and proceed with all
possible speed to cure my annoyance.
Captain: My Lord, the warship continues to elude us. It is far
more maneuverable than our fleet and is using its undetectable
drive system to prevent us from mounting an effectve attack. It
is only on our scanners long enough to open fire and then it
escapes before we can mass an attack against it. Their shielding
is better than ours and we must attack it with several ships at
once if we are to be able to damage it. The fleet was attempting
to deploy in a Zirthian Star formation to guard against its
attacks, but there are now too few ships to do this. My Lord, I
urgently recommend that we install rearward firing weapons on all
our ships in the future.
Vader: This is proving to be a serious annoyance to me. I will
have my revenge on this Federation for the trouble they have
caused me. Increase our speed to intercept their starbase. I
will conduct the capture and the prisoner interrogation
Technician: Captain! The new ship has arrived and has destroyed
reactor A421. Power levels to the deflectors are now down 8%.
The ship is now attacking recactor A47 and it appears it will be
Captain: Divert power from level B reactors to compensate for the
loss. How did it manage to penetrate deep enough to damage those
reactors? They are deep inside the station. Also,how many more
reactors are within its range.
Techinician: One, Captain: A419. We have diverted power from
B517, 18 and 27. That will compensate even if A419 is lost. Sir,
the warship is using a sustained energy beam in conjunction with
some type of torpedo all aimed at the same spot to bore a small
hole deep enough to damage the reactors. Their torpedoes appear
to be very effetive against our armor. When the first one struck,
I lost contact with monitor stations in a 200 meter ratius from
Vader: Is this the ship that was attacking the fleet?
Technician: Yes, Lord Vader. The fleet is now accelerating under
full engine power and will arrive in 3 minutes.
Vader: In the future I will see to it that there are better
defenses against large ships on this station.
Captain: Thank you, My Lord.
Vader: Don't thank me yet, captain. I still hold you responsible
for the outcome of this battle.
Vader: Captain, that is not one of the ships that opposed us
previously. It is not one of the bird like vessels nor is it like
the vessels we defeated 3 days ago.
Captain: My Lord, it appears similar to the cruiser, but designed
mor for combat than the larger vessel. Its weapons are the same
and the long extensions on both ships appear to be the same as
well. I would guess that it is one of their smaller warships. It
is smaller than the cruiser.
Technician: Captain, the shields are partially down and the enemy
ships are damaging the upper half of the emitter cone! Focussing
elements 23-34 have been damaged and are now inoperable!
Vader: Captain, tell the fleet to deploy itself to protect this
station while we asses the damage caused. If the damage can be
reapired soon, we will continue the attack.
Captain: Yes, my Lord. I will personally see to the damage
Vader: You had better be more successful in this endeavor,
Vader: Technician, how long before the anti-proton beam is
Technician: My Lord, it appears that it will be a number of days.
Both the emitter cone and the primary accelerator conduit have
been damged. If only the cone had been damaged we could still have
fired, but with less effectiveness. But the last attack was
directed against the main accelerator and it is severely damaged
at several places in the last kilometer to the surface of the
station. We are now unable to contain the anti-proton beam as it
travels from its source. If we fired now we would damage this
station severely due to anti-proton leakage. We still don' know
how they managed to get the explosives they used into the interior
of the conduit, but however they did it, it effectively
incapacitated the weapon for this battle.
Vader: Withdraw the fleet and the Death
Star captain. We will remove to a safer place and adjust our
defenses so that any weaknesses have been corrected.
Captain: Yes, My Lord. At once.
Picard: They appear to finally be retreating. Let us hope that
they will not be back to fight anytime soon.
Riker: I'm temporarily satisfied that they've had enough for now.
Troi: They'll be back, Captain. I know that much from my
impressions of them.
Worf: This is a true victory for us. We faced superior numbers
and drove them back decisively!
Picard: A victory, Mr. Worf, but will it be a lasting one?
Worf: I will be ready for them, should they ever wish to
challenge us again.
Picard: I appreciate your dedication, and your skill, Mr.
Worf, but I hope that they will not be necessary again in this
Worf: Sir, the Nimrod is hailing us.
Picard: It appears that we have enticed them to withdraw, Capt.
Mitzgar. Thank you for your assistance. When this Empire's
forces are sufficiently out of range, I suggest that you transport
over to Starbase 42 while the Nimrod remains undocked to guard
against another attack. Until such a time as we learn to detect
their ships in their hyperspace transportation mode we are
Mitzgar: That sounds workable, except I need more torpedoes. I
can dock and have them loaded in 20 minutes. Then Nimrod can
disengage and patrol while I field the ten thousand questions I'm
sure you have. Commander Stone I'm sure is just as curious as you
Picard: Agreed. We have much to discuss. When the Imperial
fleet is gone, Enterprise will allow you to dock and reload.
When that is accomplished, we can begin discussions. I look
forward to that meeting, Captain.
Mitzgar: You know how I love question and answer sessions. Hopefully this one wont be too long on questions and we
can plan for when these aliens return as I'm sure they will.
I shall see you soon Captain Picard, Mitzgar out.
Data: Sir, the Nimrod is executing a fast docking approach and
will engage the moorings in 2 minutes.
Riker: Same old Mitzgar, always wants things done yesterday.
Data: From the brief time I have spoken with Captain Mitzgar, he
appears to be capable but single minded.
Worf: When talking about a warrior, single mindedness is
admirable. One cannot fight honorably without focussing on the
battle at hand.
Picard: We can discuss Captain Mitzar's personality
characteristics later, gentlemen. Number One, deploy us so that
if the Imperial forces return from any direction we will be able
to engage them as far away as possible from the Starbase. Pay
particular attention to maintaining warp speed, as the appear to
have difficulty tracking us while we are using it.
Riker: Helm, bring us to 270 Mk 19 and place us at 120 Megameter
from Starbase 42. Then execute a Terellian patrol pattern at Warp
1.6. Be prepared to compute interception vectors at any time
should the Imperial forces reappear.
<20 Munutes later Picard and Commander Stone are seated at
a conference table inside Starbase 42 with Captain Mitzgar with
the Enterprise docked and the Nimrod on patrol.>
Picard: Captain Mitzgar, I believe that it would be best if you
simply told us what your general situation is first. That may
answer many of our questions before we ask them.
Mitzgar: All right, here it goes. Starting right after the
massacre at Wolf 359 I began lobbying Starfleet Command and key
members of the Federation council to allow construction of ships
for Starfleet designed solely for militry purposes. The ships
would be built with the best conventional technology availiable
but be designed to be able to easily incorporate new systems as
they emerged. While I was lobbying on Earth, I sent my frist
officer with the Nebula on a gathering expedition. Our first stop
was Minos, where the Drake and almost you were destroyed by that
automated defense system. The time spent there was most
beneficial and much of the High Definition phaser array ideas come
from what we found there. We also garnered some nice shield
improvements but the biggest prize, in my opinion, was a cloaking
device that not only works with our ship design and shield
methodologies, but draws about 20% less power than we estimate
Klingon cloaks to require. Our next stop was the planet XXXXX.
You remember that planet dont you, Picard?
Picard: Of course, that is where Cmdr. Riker was wrongly accused
of murder and we had to go to some very elaborate measures to
prove his innocence.
Mitzgar: Correct, but that is beside my point. What was so
special about Dr. Apgar's work?
Picard: He was attempting to harness Krieger waves for energy
purposes, but he covertly changed his research to develop...
Mitzgar: Exactly. I took the plans for the Krieger wave beam
weapons that he was working on and had them finished into a usable
weapon. Each one is only 1/4 as powerful as a standard Galaxy
class phaser blast but the firing can be mantained as long as the
focussing elements are within the Alpha wave field. Furthermore,
the number of weapons is limited only by the ability to place them
on a ship. Nirmod has 27 of them. We didn't get to use them this
time, but next time we'll be ready. Enterprise or the Starbase
could maintain the required 1000 Km distance and generate the
Alpha wave field for us, and we could blaze away on them forever.
This is particularly important when dealing with the Borg, where
you have to incapacitate them with the first thing you have that
can penetrate their shields, or now with this moving piece of
armor that these aliens have. Collectively, we can generate
tremendous firepower and maintain it far longer than any other
The techinical stuff was the easy part. The primary difficulty
was political. The idea of building warships again, especially
with cloaking devices was repugnant to many influential people
whose approval I needed. It was only the disaster at Wolf 359
that tippe the balance in my favor. Even though getting
authorization for the cloaking device was very diffcult.
Picard: I can imagine. However, it seems to have been not
difficult enough. Have we been pressed so hard as to adopt the
tactics of our enemies? One thing that has separated us from
other societies is that we back up our declarations of peaceful
intent by not gearing up for war. Don't protest, Captain, I know
that you do not agree, but I had to say it. I mean no disrespect
to you, but I for one believe that if we allow our principles and
way of life and methods to be altered by the actions of an
aversary then the adversary has already gained some measure of
victory over us.
Stone: Jean-Luc, I feel as you do, but when faced with dedicated
enemies as powerful as the Borg, I see no loss in doing what ever
is necessary to stop them. True military vessels might have fared
better against the Borg. They..
Picard: Not so, Robert. You saw the re-enactments, we were
slaughtered! Our current means, even employed to the extreme,
will not be enough to stop the Borg.
Mitzgar: Quite true, Captain. That is one reason that the Nimrod
class was designed to be eaily modifiable. The intermim solution
is to push conventional military technology to the limit and wait
for other methods. The Nimrod can also, for instance, fire
disruptors. They aren't as powerful as our Phasers, but they were
included in case the Borg adapted to the Phasers. We estimate
that they would give us at least some extra time against them.
Stone: Gentlemen, we can talk about this topic later. Captain
Mitzgar, please inform us of the Nirmod's capablities.
Mitzgar: All right, we carry the prototype High Definition Phaser
array, and 3 arrays on the Nimrod. Each array giving us 27% more
phaser output than Enterprise's main array..
Picard: We have upgraded to the Improved Definition standard.
Mitzgar: Ok, then that reduces Nimrod's advantage to to 15%. We
also have disruptors comparable to an old K'Tinga class bird of
prey. Not impressive, I admit, but the best we could do with what
was on hand. We'll improve that at the first opportunity. We
also Have 3 forward and one rear torpedo laucher, and 27 Krieger
wave blasters, all independently targetable, with at least 12 of
them able to be brought to bear on any point on the horizon. Our
last offensive surprise is the first fruit from the Borg Defense
projects, and is a shield draining weapon. It is a highly energy
absorbant plasma/proton combination that remains on the shield of
the target and leaves a residue inhibiting the reformation of the
shield in the affected area. It doesn't drain a shield like the
Borg weapon does, but it's still useful. It would take standard
Federation shields about 12 seconds to recover from the effects
of a hit.
The cloaking device, as I already described, is both effective and
energy-efficient, as cloaks go. With the right equipment, we
could outfit Enterprise in about 2 days, though I doubt you would
like that. Our shields also benefitted from our trip to Minos, but
you probably have those improvements by now if you have the phaser
upgrade. Anyway, we power all of this stuff with TWO Mk 87
reactors like Enterprise has, except we incorporated all of the
field tested improvements invented since Enterprise was built. In
spite of that we managed to save space by not including a civilian
crew and maximum possible automation. We've only got about 10%
space for extra systems, but all follow on Nimrod class vessels
wil be larger. You may have noticed, but Nimrod is not even
comissioned yet. We were undergoing weapons trials when we were
ordered here. Initially we were to use our cloak and scout
around, but our sensors picked up the battle and we diverted over
Picard: You arrived here from Earth that soon? How fast were you
Mitzgar: Not from Earth, from Chalandy VI. We implemented an
energy conservation protocol and cruised at Warp 9.62 to get here.
Another design feature of the Nimrod is that most every system on
the ship is designed to handle huge amounts of power. Our warp
drive can sustain long periods of near peak output and with both
reactors we were able to do it without too much sacrifice.
Picard: Well, it seems that you finally have the type of ship
that you wanted, don't you?
Mitzar: Yes, I do. If you give me a chance to prove how useful
this ship can be I think your attitude will change.
Stone: I hope that that will not be necessary.
Mitzgar: Sooner or later that ship will be needed.
Picard: So far we have almost avoided that need and I will do
everything in my power to see that you are NOT needed.
Mitzgar: Captain Picard, I do not relish combat, but that is
where my abilities lie and I believe that at our current level of
capabilities we cannot afford to sit back without giving proper
thought to defense. With our current fleet with its secondary
military mission we have been faring successively worse in each
miltary encounter in the last half decade. The Romulans have some
advantage, so do the Borg, and even the Children of Tamar nearly
defeated the Enterprise. If trends continue, we won't be able to
adequately defend ourselves.
Picard: But do we have to transform Starfleet from a peaceful to
a miltary fleet? Must we change ourselves so?
Mitzgar: Captain, Starfleet has been primarily non-military for
only half a century. And in any case, we are simply augmenting
the exploration arm of Starfleet with some purely military
defensive forces for contingency purposes. Current plans call for
them to be kept in reserve at strategic places within the interior
of the Federation and only called on when truly needed.
Picard: Changes of this nature seldom take place all at once. We
must constantly be on our guard or we will all wake up one day in
a Federation that we don't recognize. I see this as a step that
could possibly used to fundamentally alter the structure of
Starfleet to something I profoundly disagree with. I shall not
agrue our intentions or justifications, Captain Mitzgar, but I see
a Pandora's box standing before us. Have we yet opened it or is
there still time to shut it tight.
Mitzgar: If that is the case, then I'm glad that you are still
around, Capt. Picard. You can help keep us all honest.
Mitzgar: Here is a full report on Nimrod's capailities,
classified level 8 clearance or above only. We don't want word to
get too far as to our capabilities. What I've said is essentially
that, minus the philosophy. May I suggest that we turn to more
pressing matters, such as what to do about the "Empire"?
Stone: Yes, we know enough about Nimrod for now, but we still
don't know when they will be back and we need to make plans.
Picard: Agreed. My chief engineer is working on a way to detect
the Imperial ships when using their hyperspace propulsion. It
should be ready fairly soon..
Mitzgar: How difficult will it be for us to duplicate it when you
have it finished? Maybe my people could help, or at least get a
head start on fabricating the necessary equipment. I suggest that
our first officers and engineers get together as well to discuss
both technology and to get to know each other. It looks like
we'll have to fight together and we should know something about
the crews we'll be working with. I suggest that we contact our
ships and arrange for some meetings.
Picard: That sounds workable. Shall we?
Picard: Picard to Enterprise, Number One, make contact with the
first officer on board the Nimrod and establish a liaison with
her. Commander Reynolds. Their chief engineer will want to be
briefed on the hyperspace detection project. Arrange for Cmdr.
LaForge to make contact with him.
Riker: Captain, permission to deviate from the patrol pattern to
investigate the wreckage of the Imperial ships. Cmdr. LaForge
thinks that it may prove useful.
Mitzgar: Nimrod can cover for Enterprise.
Picard: Number One, permission granted.
Mitzgar: Mitzgar to Nimrod.
Reynolds: Reynolds here, captain.
Mitzgar: Enterprise will be contacting you to establish a liaison.
They're also working on a detection device to spot the Imperial
ships when they're using that hyper spatial propulsion. Get Cmdr.
Bui in contact with their engineers and learn to work with Cmdr.
Riker, the Enterprise's first officer. Beyond that, use your
judgement. Enterprise will be inspecting the imperial wreckage so
you'll have to adjust the patrol to compensate. Go to Alpha
pattern, Rules of Engagement Delta. Understood?
Reynolds: Understood, captain. When will you be returning?
Mitzgar: Unknown, Commander. We've got a lot of things to work
out here. Enjoy the big chair for a while longer. Mitzgar out.
Picard: Still making heavy use of pre-arranged battle plans,
Mitzgar: Not as much, Jean-Luc. Now it's mostly for initial
action. I've learned to keep them general enough to allow for
adaptation as appropriate. I still think the advantages in speed
of response outweigh the potential for miscalculation. In touchy
or unknown situations where battle isn't certain or wanted, I
couldn't use that, of course. That's why I'm not out exploring
like you are. My talents are in a field of fairly narrow
application and I've never claimed otherwise.
Picard: I know some other officers who could learn something from
you when it comes to when it comes to staying within proper
application of one's talents, but I still hope that we can avoid a
full scale confrontation. Starfleet cannot afford another major
war and an Empire that can build a battle station of that size and
power must have enormous resources at their disposal. We would be
committing ourselves to a long, terribly costly and possibly
Mitzgar: I don't think I need tell you of what I think our
chances of avoiding war are, do I?
Picard: No, probably not. I feel that you are too unwilling to
risk military disadvantage for the hope, slim though it might be,
that violence can be avoided. I feel that one more try must be
made at least. If we can show ourselves to be reasonable, then
there is a chance that we might persuade them to cease
Mitzgar: Jean-Luc, your patience amazes me. I intercepted the
transmission between you and the Battle Station. Their leader
wanted you dead just because you had defended yourself against his
ships! If he is any indication of their leadership, then any
definition of reasonableness that you could provide would be most
un-applicable to them.
Picard: We once felt the same way about the Klingons. They too
were predatory and hostile. Over time we finally learned to live
with them and they with us. Granted, we had a long period of
hostilities, but we eventually managed to prove to them that peace
Mitzgar: The price of that lesson will be very high to both sides
if we aren't strong enough to resist them easily. I think that we
can beat them in battle, but I don't think we can keep them at
arms length and wait for them to come to their senses to our
Stone: Jean-Luc, holding actions are dangerous if the holding
party is not certain that they can compensate if the action
doesn't work or deteriorates. I too think that we can't assume
that we can hold them off with defensive measures only. They
defeated the Romulans, remember? That was no mean feat.
Mitzgar: I exploited a defensive weakness that we can't expect to
last very much longer. I burned them enough that they'll soon
adapt. Most of Starfleet would have trouble going toe to toe with
one of their smaller ships, let alone the big ones or that battle
stations. If we soundly defeat them when they return, they may
think twice about continuing the hostilities. We can spare a few
ships and tell them that we want to negotiate a cessation of
hostilities and begin from there.
Riker: Riker to Captain Picard.
Picard: Go ahead Number One.
Riker: We've begun working with the Nimrod and have established a
basic framework for coordinating our activities. Cmdr. LaForge
and Cmdr. Data are nearing completion on the hyperspace detector
prototype but testing it will be difficult except under actual
conditions. The Nimrod and Starbase 42 have already begun
construction on parts of a detector for their own ships. We were
able to gain some information from the Imperial ships, but not
about their engines. Nimrod's method of attack nearly always
wiped out the entire engine compartments.
Their weapons are almost all low power lasers and particle beam
weapons. We can adjust our shields to compensate for them and in
future encounters our shields should stand up well against them
except under very high rates of fire. If we get caught by a
couple hundred of those fighters, we could be in trouble if the
manage to synchronize their firing to hit us nearly
simultaneously. Otherwise there shouldn't be much of a problem.
With the new enhancements, those fighters would do less damage by
ramming our shields than their weapons would.
Mitzgar: Cmdr. Riker, Captain Mitzgar here. Thank you for that
information. I have a question. What kind of shielding did the
Imperial ships employ?
Riker: Funny you should ask that, Captain. Cmdr. Reynolds was
also very curious about that. They're using something very
similar to the old Polarized Wave-Reversion shields used years
ago. If you're thinking what Cmdr. Reynolds is thinking, no they
won't stop transporter beams, which gives us, particularly you
with your cloaking device, a big advantage.
Mitzgar: Thank you Cmdr. Riker.
Picard: Were there any survivors, Number One?
Riker: Minimal, Captain, and they were all very injured. We're
keeping them in cargo bay 4 where we can guard them and treat them
at the same time. Most are humanoid. Dr. Crusher still has her
hands full, though.
Mitzgar: How soon can they be interrogated?
Picard: Make sure that they are treated with every
respect. We want them to know for certain that we do not intend
to mistreat them or hold them for longer than is necessary. They
will be returned as a sign of good will at the soonest possible
Robert, I know that interrogating them would be useful, but here
is a fine opportunity, probably our best opportunity to show to
this Empire that we have no hostile intentions towards them and
that we wish for peaceful coexistence. You must be willing to
take the risk that peace can be maintained. I grant you that the
chances are not promising, but I will not give up on what
possibility still exists. Besides, you spoke of having the
ability to compensate if this fails. Cmdr. Riker just gave it to
you. If the Empire proves to be un-changeably belligerent in our
next encounter, we can use our advantages to neutralize them and
then send the survivors back with another offer of peace.
Mitzgar: You're going to use your seniority and pull rank on this
one aren't you?
Picard: I'd rather not, but if I have to I will.
Stone: What about that Battle Station, Jean-Luc?
Picard: That does indeed present a problem. It is most difficult
to negotiate for peace both when the other side possesses a weapon
that it believes indestructible and when our side must neutralize
that weapon before our claim of peaceful intent is to be tendered.
Robert, let us discuss the actual fighting tactics we might employ
for now. Keep the negotiations in the back of your mind and maybe
something will come up.
Mitzgar: It appears that when we maintain warp speed, their
sensors can't detect us. You can use that as a poor-man's
cloaking device to slip inside on them and attack. They'll likely
know you're out there somewhere and it won't be as good as a true
cloak which will allow me greater flexibility when attacking. I
may be able to get to them before they are close to you and have
their screens up. It would be riskier for Enterprise to lower her
shields and use her transporters if they know she's in the general
area. We could use Enterprise as Bait and I could swing around
and pound them.
Picard: Nimrod could remain cloaked and move into attack position
and Enterprise could attempt negotiations first. If that fails
then we could attack as you suggested. The only problem remains
what to do about that battle-station.
Stone: Captain, we cannot allow that station to come within range
of this starbase. Losing this Starbase and the services it
provides in guarding the Neutral Zone would be intolerable in and
of itself, let alone the THOUSANDS of lives that would be lost!
They could pretend to negotiate long enough to come within firing
range and then destroy this starbase before you could incapacitate
their weapon again.
Picard: I agree. Robert, can you disable their primary weapon
Mitzgar: I can try. I expect them to have taken some
countermeasures since their last attack, however, and their
effectiveness will depend on whether or not they have any
understanding of our transporter technology. You can bet that the
entire area will be shielded, the power conduits will be in
protected areas and that they will have plenty of resources nearby
to prevent us from loitering about there like we did last time. A
frontal assault will be very tough to pull off. We might be able
to sneak in and beam in some torpedoes but that too will be risky.
Have you identified their propulsion systems?
Picard: Not as yet. If we attacked their propulsion units, then
it is absolutely imperative that we stop them well short of firing
range. If we slow them down too much they won't be able to
retreat and we will have a huge battle on our hands. In that case
we would be forced to attempt to destroy the battle station.
Could we do that? It has a radius of almost 650 Km! Even with
transporters, could we penetrate the interference that a station
of that nature would generate deeply enough to destroy their
primary power generators?
Mitzgar: There's one way to find out.
How long before reinforcements arrive?
Stone: At last word, the Nebula will be here within 6 hours. The
Reliant-C and the Hermes will arrive a day later. All other
reinforcements are at least 3 days away. The Klingons are making
preparations of their own, but they're not talking about them.
Picard: Then we must plan for battles with only limited
resources. If we are forced to act before reinforcements arrive
then Enterprise will attempt negotiations while Nimrod disables
the main weapon on that battle station. The main weapon ONLY
Robert! You are not to attack at all unless they continue to move
into attack position. I will attempt to halt them well short of
their estimated firing range and begin negotiations. If they
refuse to cease forward motion and close to within 30,000 Km then
go ahead and disable the weapon. We will then continue to attempt
to negotiate with them. If that still does not stop them then on
my "Finish" signal you may begin to attack the Imperial forces as
you see fit. If the Imperial forces retreat, you will maintain
attack position but cease firing and allow them to retreat. We
will make one last negotiation attempt then. Under no
circumstances are you to destroy every Imperial ship. Leave at
least 2 ships to carry the message of our desire to end
Mitzgar: After the "final" signal am I cleared to destroy the
battle station if I can find a way?
Picard: Yes. I don't see any alternative. If you
do manage to find a weakness and use it to destroy the battle
station, spare the Imperial fleet and allow them to escape. That
should be a sharp enough lesson for them to convince them to cease
Mitzgar: Understood. If Nebula arrives before the Empire
returns, I recommend that she stand with Enterprise. They might
mistake her for Nimrod and not be expecting me to also be there.
If Reliant and Hermes arrive, I'll take Hermes and have her patrol
on warp power so she won't be detectable and Reliant can stay with
you and Nebula. If they're using Polarized Wave-Reversion
shielding, then there must be field boundaries that are nice and
vulnerable, especially to phasers. I suggest a pair-wise attack.
One ship attacks from the front and the other hammers their
engines. That seems to take maximum advantage of their known
weaknesses. Whenever you get a chance, use your transporters.
Picard: Agreed. I believe it best that we now adjurn to our
ships where the details can better be worked out.
Stone: Let us hope that we can convince them to stop this
Mitzgar: And that the price of that convincing is not more than
we can bear.
Picard: Robert, if we succeed, then the price will be lower on
both sides than if we merely attack them and then try to stop
later. How many crew did they lose in the first attack? Given
the size of those ships it must be many thousands. They have
already paid a heavy price. I am attempting to minimize costs
to them as well as to us. If we must take some casualties to save
more lives in the long run on both sides, then we are honor bound
to do so.
Mitzgar: I question that argument given that they have proven to
be virulently belligerent. I also differ on how far we should
stick our own necks out to save theirs.
Picard: Nevertheless, we must try. I order you not to initiate
hostilities unless the guidelines we have worked out are
satisfied. Let us return to our ships and prepare for our next
encounter with the Empire.
TO BE CONTINUED