Xox waited in the shuttle bay of his ship Dominator as an Urthean shuttle slid into its shuttle bay and touched down with a soft thud on the deck plating. A few moments past and then the hatchway on the shuttle opened and D'jonn, Xox's second in command, stepped down into the shuttle-bay.

"Well did you bring me anything worthy this time?" Xox sneered.

D'jonn smirked and pulled a Confederation Data pad from his officers coast. "Oh yes something I'm sure you'll enjoy greatly Commandant."

Xox snatched the pad and read it.

"He was quite adamant this time, he said make it look good this time and make sure there are no survivors." D'jonn smirked.

Xox smirked, it was going to be risky to go that far inside Confederation space but it could be done if they were careful. It also gave them a chance to try the Empire's new sensor jamming technology. Not as stealthy or as subtle as the Keldryian cloaking device but he was eager to try it all the same. "I do not trust this one, he worries me." Xox said tapping his boot as he read the information on the padd. "Deliberately sabotaging the Raptor, putting it's crew in grave danger all for what? A few thousand kilotons of a rare ore. I wish I understood what his motives are."

"Does it matter my lord?." D'jonn said. "As long as he his sabotaging our prey the better it is for us, let us hope he doesn't get caught. They are bound to eventually fail one of these times when we pounce upon them unawares."

Xox nodded in agreement. "Yesss, their luck will run out soon enough and then they will be ours." He grinned a devilish crooked grin.


Starship Down

IDP 2010


Commander's Log Supplemental:

The Raptor has been sent to the Roirishard system as the first wave of surveys in what could lead to the colonization of the fourth planet in this system. We have spent the last two weeks gathering samples and running tests to assess whether the site is habitable for Confederation colonists. Science officer O'mara has been leading the tests and she has come into her own with this little expedition. I myself due to the quiet have also offered my assistance as well despite the protests of my chief of security who has decided to join us down on the planet surface as well.

Harry finished putting the digital tag on another crate of samples and signaled the Raptor to beam it up to the cargo holds. This was the last day of the survey and Harry had enjoyed his time down on the surface enjoying the fresh air, assisting with the survey.

He then walked over and peered at the large flower that Lt. O'mara was examining. "It's a shame we've pretty much got this wrapped up isn't it?"

Michelle nodded in agreement. "Yes this is a much needed change of pace from what we normally do."

Harry chuckled, these breaks from convoy and border defense were few and far between but they seemed to help the crew focus on something other than being stressed out and getting on each others nerves.

"You know Michelle, there is a chance that because of your work here they may actually name the planet after you?" Harry said.

"You think so Sir?" O'mara said blushing under her feathers.

"Sure I don't see why not, you've done an exemplary job throughout this venture." Harry smiled. "You've been the first to catalogue a list a mile long of new flora and fauna species. You might even get a few named after you, could even mean a promotion." He shrugged.

"That's very flattering sir but I don't think I'll be that lucky." Lt. O'mara chuckled.

"You've come a long way since we first met, if one did come your way I'd make damn sure you'd get it." Harry said excusing himself as his com badge beeped. "Martinez here what's up?"

"Oh just peace and quiet and a blue planet spinning on the view-screen." Fara said resting her head on her hand her elbow on the armrest of the command chair. "How goes things down there with the packing up?"

"Things are going fine, we're just taking our time." Harry said. "Trying to milk this for all it's worth chief."

"Ah, the old delay until last possible moment tactic." Fara chuckled. "I think I can accommodate you Commander." Fara said. "It's just really quiet up here and I figured I'd check in on you."

"I appreciate it Chief but I assure you everything is fine." Harry said. "Is there anything else?"

"Nope not really." Fara replied barely catching herself from yawning..

"Martinez, out." Harry said tapping his com badge as Jakar came around a stack of containers pulse phaser rifle in hand.

"The perimeter is secure." He said looking irritated his security detail forming up behind him.

"Thank you Chief but I assure you, you are being a bit over cautious with this whole endeavour." Harry said.

"Sir to be quite frank with you." Jakar said drumming his fingers on the stock of the weapon. "I don't want to be held responsible for not protecting the ship's commanding officer, if something did happen."

"I understand, but it's been pretty quiet not to mention we're well within our space." Harry said.

"I don't know," Jakar growled. "Something just isn't right, years of experience and my instinct is not permitting me to relax just right this moment."

"Well if it makes you feel any better I've figured we could put off sending the weapons crate up till the last minute." Harry added.

"That's a wise decision, Sir." Jakar said. "I need to take an inventory of that before we bug out, make sure everything was returned."

"Be my guest." Harry said.

Jakar nodded and gave a few orders to his men to return to their posts before he headed off to the storage container.

Harry walked over and returned to doing his double checking of their sample collections when his com-badge suddenly chirped and then made an error signal. He tapped his badge. "Martinez here."

Again nothing but static.

"That's odd…" Harry said aloud tapping it again. "Martinez to Raptor come in?"

Nothing but static…..

Above several compressor beam volleys slammed into the Raptor's unshielded hull, jarring the ship's occupants.

"What hit us?" Fara asked over the klaxons..

"I've got three Urthean Scutta's on our six." Don Rivas replied. "I don't know how they evaded our sensors, they probably have a new jamming device."

"Great that's just fricking great!" Fara snapped. "Get our shields up."

Don nodded and started to type in the commands when a conduit near Ops exploded and Rivas cried out in pain and slumped over his console. The bridge was jarred hard and Fara gripped the command chair and tried to shield her face as debris from the explosion cut into her arm and face.

"Land get those damn shields up!" Fara screamed when she saw Rivas was incapacitated and bleeding out.

"I'm trying Chief, the systems aren't responding!" Land said. "I'm trying to get this damn bucket moving that first hit screwed up the impulse controls!"

Fara got out of the command chair and walked over to the engineering station and activated it.

"Chief the communications relay is still offline!" Terri shouted over the jarring of more shots slamming into the ship.

"Damn it all." Fara said bracing against the console as the ship was slammed again. "I've gotten the main impulse engines back online. Terri man the weapons and lets get some payback!"

Terri nodded ran over to tactical after calling for a medical team. "Try it now Jack!" Fara screamed over the klaxons.

"We're moving, just only at one quarter impulse..." Land replied. "Their response is horrible."

"Just punch it the relays will hold!" Fara shouted.

"Bring the damn attack mode up." Fara said quickly walking over to the con and leaning on the chair.

"No good chief." Jack said. "The system is not responding!" Jack growled frustrated. The ship shuddered violently again as more volleys and a torpedo hit caused the deck to pitch violently.

"Get us out of here I don't care how!" Fara snapped in Jacks ear.

"What about the team of the surface!" Jack growled.

"They won't have any hope if we're glitters now punch it Jack!" Fara said slamming the impulse control lever forward.

Another volley slammed into the Raptor as it began to break orbit. Fara suddenly heard a creak and felt something rain down on her. "Jack!" She cried out suddenly shoving Jack out of his chair as a support beam crashed down from the framework above and slammed down striking Fara across her head. She fell to the deck unconscious.

"Fara!" Jack said as he got up and quickly shoved the larger piece of debris of Fara.

Terri-Li seeing herself and Land were the only two left on the bridge, quickly stumbled over to the command chair. "Emergency medical teams to the bridge we have wounded." She said slamming the com switch on the captain's chair.

"Mr. Land get back to your station." Terri snapped at him.

"What are you kidding me!" Jack said glaring at her in a mix of shock and anger.

"Stuff it. Take us toward the sixth planet immediately." Terri shouted.

The ship jarred again and Jack grudgingly took his post and gunned the engines.

"Course laid in I've only got up to warp 2!" Jack growled.

"Just get us some damn distance." Terri shouted. "Do what you do best and try not to let them hit us again."

Jack nodded and quickly did a barrel roll deflecting a few more of the shots although the ship shuddered as a torpedo slammed into the ship's underbelly. "Hull breach deck four!" He reported after jumping the ship into warp. "We're away."

"Noted." Terri replied. "E.T.A. until we get to the sixth planet?"

"A few seconds." Jack replied exasperated seeing the Scuttas still dogging them not to far behind. "You know I can shoot the guns too, maybe you can try to get the shields back up." Land growled hoping Fara was still alive lying prone at his feet. Where in the hell were the medical teams at?

Terri said nothing and soon his tactical sub display activated bringing up the targeting protocols.

"Good as soon as you can plunge us into that atmosphere, I remember Rivas mentioning it was a gas giant, it should provide us some cover to reconnoiter." Terri said scurrying over to the engineering station. "Where are the damn EMT's?" She growled as she began typing on the console.

Finally three medical technicians showed up on the bridge and Terri directed them towards Rivas and Fara.

"No problem, nose dive into the giant gas ball got it." Land said quickly feeling a slight relief now that Fara and Rivas now had help tapped in the launch commands and sent in a few volleys of torpedoes out the aft launcher towards their pursuers. "Dropping out of warp we're almost on top of the sixth planet."

Suddenly there was a surge of power flowing through the ship. "Shields back on line." Terri said a bit relieved. Suddenly the ship shuddered again as weapons fire hammered into it again as their pursuers followed them out of warp. "Shields only at fifty percent, engineering is on it best we got." Terri panted plopping down in Fara's usual seat.

The ship dropped out of warp and in front of them was the familiar profile of Xox's ship.

"Holy shit!" Terri cursed. "If they open fire….."

"I'm well aware of that. If fifty percent is all we got then that's all I need." Jack said glaring image of Xox's ship with it's energy weapons glowing hot with charge. "Hold on to something." Land said as the energy weapons on Xox's ship glowed white hot with charge. Jack quickly initiated a tight rolling dive through the enemy fire and plunged the Raptor straight into the gas giant's upper atmosphere.

The Urthean ships tried to follow after it but the Raptor accelerated its dive into the planet's swirling atmosphere and quickly disappeared into the maelstrom."

"Track them Quickly D'jonn!" Xox barked.

"Attempting too sir but they have immersed themselves to deep for our sensors to track them." D'jonn said calmly.

"Damn we had them that time it was so close."

"Sir if we wait and take a moment to readjust the sensors so we can track them a bit better it will take a few minuets or so." D'jonn said looking at the planet on the screen. "In their present condition they can't go to far."

"Excellent." Xox sneered leaning back in his chair. "Then we'll wait, tell the Scutta's to keep their sensors open for any sign of the Raptor, if it shows up again, and destroy it with extreme prejudice."

A short time later.

"Where are we?" Terri asked as she looked at the murky haze on the atmosphere. Fara, Rivas and the medical teams had dissolved in a wave of transporter energy as soon as they had been stabilized by the medics.

"We're about one hundred fifty kilometers down, we appear to be in a layer of Ammonium Hydrosulfide Ice." Jack said looking at his scanner.

"Will it give us cover for now?" Terri asked.

Jack shrugged. "I don't know, I assume so. Do I look like the science expert?"

"A simple no would have sufficed." Terri grumbled.

"Have you heard anything about…"

"No I haven't, just focus on flying for now." Terri said grasping the damaged tatters of her tunic together.

"Yes.. sir." Jack grumbled.

Terri stayed quiet as she shoved a piece of support beam off the command chair and climbed up into it.

"So, what you're Captain now?"

"Looks that way." She said biting her lower lip and fidgeting with the damaged systems display panel. "Last I checked you were still an Ensign, and I'm a lieutenant, no offence."

"Okay…" Land said, he was still cross with her reaction earlier, their friends had lay bleeding on the deck for quite sometime before help had arrived, he had no idea if they were dead or not.

"Ter… er, sir." He said turning in his seat. "About earlier…"

"Have you gotten the Attack Mode protocols back online yet, Ensign." Terri said quickly typing away on the control screen not looking up.

"No but…"
"Then I suggest you get on it then mister." She said tapping a com button.

Jack looked a bit sullen and he nodded and turned back around to his console and tried to see if he could get the ships Attack Mode functioning again.

"Bridge to Engineering, this is acting Captain Lu, please give me a status report on our condition."

"Eh, give me a moment or two miss, we're still trying to straighten that out ourselves up here." Knackt's voice said over the speaker. "We're messed up bad, that much I can tell you."

"Please inform me when you have a more accurate report Mr. Knackt." Terri said crisply.

"You got it." The Rat said signing off.

Terri sighed and leaned back in the chair and cupped her paw over her eyes.

"Anything yet?"

"Nope." Jack said simply. "The system appears to be down, for now." He waited a few moments. "What do we do now? The Captain's still down on that planet with the rest of our people and here we are."

"We hope that Xox doesn't figure that out." Terri said. "And hope they've got a good place to hide."

"That's really not good enough.." Jack growled.

"Jonathan." Terri hissed. "This is not the time or the place, we're badly damaged I have no idea what condition we are in and I can't really do anything about our situation at the moment. Now you are acting like you have a problem and I'm starting to get a migraine so spit it out."

"Ok fine," Jack growled spinning around. "Why didn't you let me take care of Don and Fara?"

"Because I needed you at the helm."

"Terri, Fara is one of you friends she needed help why didn't you.."

"Damn it all Jack!" Terri snapped her eyes tearing up slightly. "Don't you think I know that but when we got attacked I was the only one of high rank on the bridge left. Don't you understand that I had less than a few seconds to weigh that over the survival of the rest of the crew?!"

"You could have helped is all I'm saying!" Jack snapped back. "I could have flown us out of there with or without your help."

Terri looked deeply hurt and she bit her lip. "Ensign, Shut up and return to your post." She said flatly.

"Whatever." Jack growled turning around and returning to trying to get the Attack Mode functional again.

He soon heard Terri get up out of the chair and move back to the back of the bridge and start working on something back on the operations table in the back of the bridge. He wasn't sure how he felt, Fara took a bad hit for him and she might die because of it, and because it took so long for the EMT's to get to the bridge. He felt angry and a bit scared over the sudden attack and was trying to get his nerves back and a small part of him felt terrible about snapping a Terri the way he did, and it only got worse when he heard a few muffled sobs behind him.

"Anything yet sir?" Michelle asked.

"No. I've got a bad feeling about this though." Harry said. "I think we should maintain silence for now something isn't right. Everybody stop what you're doing!" he shouted.

His people suddenly did as told and looked at him with curiosity.

"I need everyone to drop everything where it is and start rounding up any supplies we might need, we need to get as far from here as possible."

"What's going on sir?" A crewmen asked.

"I don't know but the Raptor has gone silent and I can't reestablish contact with them. I can only assume the worse, now quickly gather up anything you might think we need and we'll head for those caves we found when we got here, they should provide protection from any enemy ships sensors. Break out the camouflage kits for the heavier equipment and power down the shuttles. I don't know how much time we have so everyone move!"

Everybody present nodded in agreement and quickly snapped to action.

"What could have happened sir, it's not like we're not in our own space." Michelle said a tone of worry in her voice.

Harry furrowed his brow. "I don't know but some sage advice from a friend is the only thing going through my mind at the moment. You'd better get all your data backed up to a portable unit so we can get going. Be quick about it." He said to O'Mara.

"Yes sir." Michelle said and quickly headed for the hut where the scanning equipment had been kept.

"Jakar let's have a look at the weapons container and start doling out Phasers." Harry called, Jakar nodded in agreement following him. He quickly keyed in the access code and the container opened and Harry peaked inside.

"Damn, Jakar." He said in astonishment. Inside neatly tucked away was what pretty much equated to a small arsenal for an army. Phaser Rifles, hand Phasers, several types of grenades, auto turrets and a few pieces of battle armor. Rows upon rows of charge packs for each weapon lining each rack. "Isn't this a little excessive, Chief?"

"I always plan for any contingency, you should be grateful." Jakar said with a smirk.

"Let it never be said you weren't thorough." Harry said grabbing a phaser-rifle.

"Indeed, sir." Jakar smirked.

"Start dolling these out to people as they finish packing up, I want to get out of here quick." He said slinging a few charge cases over his shoulder and a few stun grenades. "Aya, I knew we were getting it too easy lately, something was bound to happen." He clipped the grenades to his belt. "I just hope they are ok up there."

"I'm sure they are doing just fine." Jakar grunted.

Terri had called as many people as she could to the bridge, seats needed filled and with repairs underway she needed a command staff. Doctor Okan, had told her that Fara and Lt. Commander Rivas were in critical condition and probably wouldn't be returning to duty. She called Ensign Jax up to take Jakar's position. Fara's assistant Knact had already pretty much taken Engineering over and Remmick to take over Ops.

She was pacing around the bridge, for the moment she was furious at Jack for his comments but she had more important matters to deal with and she was trying her best to not get overwhelmed. Suddenly the deck pitched as an explosion went off near the ship.

"What was that!?" She said trying not to sound startled.

"Photon torpedo detonation, about half a kilometer off our port bow." Sonya reported. Another one went off again and this time it was closer.

"Same thing, I think they're trying to rattle us into bolting." Sonya spoke up.

"Well it's working!" Terri said bracing herself as another detonation went off near the ship. "Jack can you take us deeper?"

"Um… sure but we're going to have to burn more shield power. If we go any deeper. The atmospheric pressure out there is getting pretty high."

"How much can we take without the shields?"

"I don't know, I'm not an engineer or a scientist, I assume since it's a spaceship somewhere between zero and one?" Jack groused.

Terri glared at him she was obviously still upset with him. Sighing he glanced down at his instruments. "I'm guessing we could probably plunge down another hundred clicks or so before we should start worrying. As long as the SIDF indicator doesn't start screaming at me." He said pointing to a display on the helm. "We should be fine."

"Make it so." She said. "if they are that intent on trying to drive us out perhaps we can keep their attention a bit longer."

"Aye, Aye skipper." Land said moving the ship down further into the atmosphere. "Let's just hope they don't hit a methane or hydrogen pocket."

"I'm aware of that, try to avoid those, if you don't mind." Terri said.

"Can do." Jack shrugged.

"Knackt to Bridge." Knackt's voice said over the speaker. "Um can you get Ensign Jax down here and you'd better come down here yourself to Skipper. Deck four section 5."

"Ok," Terri said. "We'll be right down. Sonya." She said. "Mr. Remmick can you handle things up here."

Kai looked around the battered bridge and shrugged. "I think so, not too much to handle that's left working."

Terri and Ensign Jax made their way to deck four and arrived at the mentioned section that was located near the engine nacelle. Knackt was standing outside a force fielded area with another technician.

"What was so important mister?" Terri asked.

"Um well yeah, that." Knact said pointing to the elliptical object smashed through the deck plating.

Terri gulped. "Is that a… torpedo?"

"Yup." Knackt said. "And it's hot too."

"You have got to be kidding…" Terri said. "Can't we beam that thing out of there."

"Nope." Knackt said. "These damn things are to touchy even for that."

"So what do we do?"
"Well that's the thing." Knackt said. "That's why I called her, she's got some experience in that and so do I, and I damn sure am not doing it by myself." Knackt said waving a tool at her.

"What?" Sonya said a bit upset. "Nu-Uh, no way."

"I guess we can't just leave it there." Terri sighed.

"Oh yeah we can do that and hope that it doesn't decide to explode or it takes a hit from a stray compressor bolt and blows us all to hell, Yeah sure we can just leave it there!"

"I get it, ok." Terri growled. "Ensign Jax, assist him as best you can. Get that thing disarmed."

"Aye, sir." Sonya said looking a bit perturbed.

The Ship shuddered again from another detonation near by.

"I'll be back on the bridge get to it you too." Terri said walking off.

"Eh well it's just you and me now toots, flip you who gets to crack the casing." Knackt said trying to break the tension.

"Ugh." Sonya said. "How about I don't kick your ass and you do it."

"Fair enough that means you get to find the trigger mechanism." Knackt smirked. "I'll get the tools."

"They appear to have dived deeper into the atmosphere." D'jonn said.

"Well follow them!" Xox snarled.

"Sir… with our."

"Not this ship you idiot send the Scutta's down there." Xox sneered.

"Of course, sir right." D'jonn said. Glad that his one of his leader's brief moments of sanity happened to take hold right this moment. "They are underway sir."

"Something troubles me, yess." Xox said as he steepled his fingers. "The rodent is not showing his usual bravado, I would have figured by now they would have at least come charging out of there, they've had ample time to at least fix some of their damage, unless we hurt them worse than we thought."

"It could be." D'jonn replied.

Xox thought for a moment. "What was it they were up to down there, I only skimmed the coordinates from the data pad?"

"Some type of survey to possibly colonize this world."

"Is this planet of any use to us?" Xox mused.

"I don't find any mention of it on our databases." D'jonn replied. "However even with our new sensor jamming technology, I'm sure our presence in this sector would not go unnoticed."

Xox again was quiet thinking. "Keep trying to goad them out D'jonn, they can't stay down there forever."

"As you wish, sir."

They had done a pretty hard march over the stretch of a few miles to the caves and were quickly pouring into them. The fact that the weather had suddenly decided to turn rainy hadn't helped. Harry's people were tired, covered in mud and wearily dropping their things in the cave mouth and trying to catch their breaths.

"I don't like this it's been more than three hours and still nothing, it's not Fara to stay quiet this long." Harry panted as he leaned against the mouth of the cave trying to catch his breath.

"Then something is definitely wrong." Jakar said taking out an auto turret and assembling it.

"Do we have the scrambler?"

Jakar nodded. "Of course as per regulations, unless whoever it is, detected the micro satellites we had set up."

"That's what I don't understand, we're well within our borders." Harry said. "There aren't any hostile forces other than the Urtheans but there is at least ten light years between them and us."

"Well then that kind of narrows it down." Jakar said. "It's not unheard of them straying far into our space, even you know that."

Harry suddenly growled. "Believe me I do. I'm going to find that scrambler and see if we can't contact them."

Jakar nodded. "I'll be setting up defenses. Let's just hope that new toy works and doesn't bring whomever has the Raptor occupied down on us."

Harry moved out from the mouth of the cave and opened up the kit that contained the scrambler. This so called scrambler was one of the new toys that had been given to them as part of the continuing program to use the Raptor as a test bed for new technologies. It supposedly is supposed to transmit on a band that Urthean's wouldn't be able to detect and had been developed to help stranded crews awaiting rescue near hostile borders. The idea being a rescue beacon that wouldn't attract attention yet be detected by friendly spacecraft. If it was working properly Harry should be able to contact the Raptor and find out just what the hell is going on. He took at the instructions and started reading them over.

"Sir?" He heard Lt. O'mara say behind him.

"Yes?" Harry replied looking through the instructions.

"Could you use some help?" She asked.

"I think I can figure it out thank you." Harry replied.

"Oh, well I really don't have anything else to do at the moment and things are really tense back there I just thought…"

"Ok," Harry said nodding in agreement and handed her the antenna assembly. "Set this thing up and then," he glanced down at the device and picked it up trying to find the access panel. "you can help me find the damn control panel on this thing."

"How long until repairs are done Mr. Kurtzman?" Terri asked. She had decided to have a video conference on the main screen due to the fact that everyone was needed where they were at due t the circumstances.

"Maybe an hour or two." The Cornerian Badger replied. "They banged us up pretty good Lieutenant."

"Any chance of getting the Attack Mode back online?"

Kurtzman sighed and shook his head negatively. "It's not really a priority at the moment, shield generator two and four are down and we've got some damage to the port nacelle. I got to take care of those things first."

"Are our weapons at least functional."

"Yes, all of our primary weapons systems are still functional." He then tugged at his chin fur. "Although, I wouldn't recommend taking us right into battle if you can avoid it. I could do more for you sir, but we're down a few people."

"Understood do your best." Terri said. "Doctor, what is Mrs. Phoenix's status? We could really use her right now."

"Fara is in bad shape, that blow shattered several vertebrae in her neck and nearly caved her skull in. I stabilized her but she's in stasis, I can't really help her with what I got on board with as bad as her injuries are." Dr. Okan replied. "I'm sorry but the best I can do right now is keep her alive."

"What about Commander Rivas."

Dr. Okan shook his head. "He's in pretty bad shape as well, I won't be able to return him to duty."

Terri scowled. "Is he conscious?"

Dr. Okan nodded. "For now, he's in pretty serious pain at the moment."

"I need to talk to him."

"You better make it quick then." Dr. Okan replied.

Terri nodded. "Is there anything else?" She asked to two images.

"Not at the moment sir." Kurtzman replied.

"Then get to it, I remind you that our Captain is still down on the planet and is in great danger."

"Understood, Lieutenant." Kurtzman nodded.

The screen changed back to the swirling gasses of the planet. "Mr. Land you have the bridge, page me if anything happens."

"Don't worry I will." Jack said.

Terri arrived in sickbay. "Where's commander Rivas." She asked Nurse Twila.

"Follow me Lieutenant." The vixen said leading her back. "Dr. Okan is busy with other patients he said make it quick." The Medical birth was full of the wounded. Almost twenty she could tell. The small medical staff was working quickly to triage and treat them the best they could. Terri was heartened by the site, she had been in their place before lying on a bed gasping for air nearly drowning in her own blood not that long ago. This was different being on the other side of it being among her shipmates as one of the lucky few to not have been hurt in the ambush.

She walked up to the bio bed Rivas was on and his eyes were open although he looked like he was in a lot of pain. His face was pretty bandaged up as well as more modern methods.

"Hey kiddo." He rasped. "What's up?"

"We're in bad shape, I need advice."

Rivas coughed. "No, kidding."

"Well I don't know what to do I've never taken the commander test, you aren't supposed to get hurt so I don't have this dumped on me." She said.

"Feeling a bit overwhelmed?" Rivas asked with a pained smile.

Terri nodded.

"Terri, you know this ship well, you helped put it together." He winced drawing a quick breath as the bio-sensors started to whine. "If worse comes to worse, get the ship home, that's the best you can do in a really bad situation. Just keep your head, do what you think is right, it's on you now kid."

Dr. Okan showed up. "Commander, I need to put you under if you stay conscious much longer you will only do yourself more harm."

"One second, Doc." He reached over to the pile that was his shredded uniform and weakly picked the pips off. "Give me your paw." He said to Terri.

Terri did so and he pressed the pips into it. "You are in charge now, good luck Captain."

She felt Twila's paw on her arm. "Ms. If you wouldn't mind." She said patiently.

Terri nodded and was lead out of the sickbay.

"Is there anything I can do for you ?" Twila asked concerned.

Terri shook her head no. "I got to get back to the bridge." She said quietly and quickly slipped out the doors.

The Captain's ready room was a place where the captain could gather their thoughts when they had a moment's peace. Terri needed some now.

Clutching the pips tightly in her paw she stepped inside trying to avoid the few personal effects of Harry's that were scattered about. She picked up a small model ship and gently stuck it in a cubby hole so it didn't get smashed. If it would even matter, she wondered as she unbuttoned her tunic and tossed it on the small couch near the desk and slid into the chair behind the desk. Harry's duty Jacket was hung carefully over the back of the chair. As she lay her head back she could smell his scent still on it and it brought a small comfort.

Even with the strange incident with a doppelganger a while back she always felt safe around him. That day when that duplicate attacked her she knew it wasn't him and it couldn't be. When she found him lurking in her quarters everything just felt wrong. A lot of people wondered why the whole thing hadn't bothered her and to tell the truth it just wasn't worth dwelling on in her mind.

She looked down at the pips in her hand. What was she going to do?

Her mind flashed back to a time long ago…

"Be brave and be strong Terri." She heard her father's final words to her from that horrible day long ago before he and her mother left on that final mission. "You have to be because others need you to be, so they can be strong to. I know you don't understand, but you will someday..."

A tear welled up in her eye at the memory. Another day when it seemed like the whole world had been overturned. She had overcome the loss of her parents, she could get through this.

The words helped steel her nerves and she wiped the tears from her eyes as a chill passed through her. Harry liked to keep it a bit cooler in here and she grabbed the duty jacket and slipped it on. It was a little big on her but it fit alright.

She took a deep breath and started to clip on the pips taking her own off. "Computer. This is acting Captain Terri-Terri Lu. Please verify status of Command crew on vessel."

The terminal on Harry's desk activated and displayed the symbol of the Confederation of Worlds. "Accessing and Verifying Current Command Status of U.S.S. Raptor."

It quickly scanned through their personnel files Terri tried not to glance at the pictures of the people still stuck planetside, their situation still unknown.

"Verification approved. Command Code Authorization Transferred to your profile. Congratulations Captain Lu."

No Turning back now. She hit the ship's intercom button.

"All Hands, this is the Captain Speaking." She said keeping her tone level. "Our situation is dire, but it's not impossible. If anything over the last few months this crew has shown that we can overcome any challenge that has been thrown our way. This time is no different even though it may seem so. We need to focus our efforts and getting this ship functioning again before anything else. We can Deal with the rest when, and if we have the time. I need a ship's status report by all department heads in the next five minutes. Snap to it."

She toggled the intercom off and stood up. She looked at the reflection in the black top of the desk and straightened her hair and wiped some of the smootz off her face from all the smoke and then straightened the Jacket. Not having her normal tunic on and just her undershirt made it a lot easier for her to breath and she could see why Harry occasionally wore it.

She grabbed her combadge and affixed it to the grey undershirt, stood up and headed for the door.

A few quick steps and she was back on the bridge.

"Captain on the Bridge." Remmick said from the Ops station.

Terri gave him a wry smile and sat back in the captain's chair.

Sometime later.

Knackt and Sonya worked slowly on the torpedo.

"Ok, I think we got the mag clamps disabled on this thing." Knackt said taking a deep breath. "Grab a hold."

"On, three?" Sonya asked.

"Now remember, one clean motion, no bumps."

Sonya nodded biting her lower lip.

"One… Two… Three." They counted together and slowly lifted the casing off and then set it off to the side. Once done they both took a deep breath.

"That was easy." Sonya finally said panting.

"Yup." Knackt said twitching and looking at the mess of tubes and glowing electronics that were very unfamiliar.

"Ok smart guy now what?" Sonya asked suddenly pitching forward and the alert sounded.

"Great now what!" Knackt said hitting his combadge. "Hey bridge can you tone it down up there we're trying to diffuse a damn warhead!"

"We got three Scuttas on our tail, I don't have too many other options." Terri's voice said curtly over the speaker. '

"Well tell flyboy up there to just try not to show them our belly, they get a hit on this thing you won't have a ship left."

"He's already been informed." Terri replied cutting the channel off.

"Recommendations.." Terri said targeting one of the ships chasing them and scoring a few direct hits on its nose to make it break off its attack.

"Um, there are some hydrogen pockets about twelve kilometers off our port bow they might be stupid enough to follow us into them." Jack said quickly checking his instruments.

"And you are basing this on…" Terri said more focused on keeping the Raptor's weapons trained on its pursuers.

"Experience?" Land shrugged.

"Mr. Remmick, do we have the shields to survive a massive detonation?"

Remmick looked up from his readouts on the ops board. "Um, if you are planning on blowing us up I am damn sure we don't have enough shields for that."

"Jack can you get us into one of those things and out quickly enough to detonate the pocket."

"Yeah but it's going to overload the G-Diffuser and SI fields." Jack said. "Especially at this speed."

"Do it." Terri said calling up the ship wide com system. "All hands brace for tactical maneuvers. Secure yourselves." She said quickly putting the restraints on herself.

"Ok folks, hold on here goes nothing." Jack said as he pushed the impulse controls forward.

The Raptor accelerated through the murk of the gas giant as the three Scuttas pursued it closely, from behind. It quickly disappeared into the hydrogen cloud and two of the ships followed it in while one pulled up short. The others disappeared into the swirling mass of hydrogen. Once inside, Jack spun the Raptor on it's side and quickly accelerated back the way they came narrowly clearing the gap in between it's two pursuers. Everyone who wasn't secured was quickly tossed about as the ship's gravity systems were tapped to maintain structural integrity. However the Raptor suddenly emerged back from the cloud it's pulse Phasers pouring out punishment into the ship that had stayed behind. Round after round of pulse phaser slammed into the Scutta's already weakened shields and burst through tearing into the ship's exposed hull. Even as the Raptor passed it kept firing until the Scutta's was a crippled wreck of twisted metal that disappeared into the maelstrom below. As it passed the lamed ship it quickly fired a parting shot into the cloud with a fully charged phaser blast igniting the cloud with the other two Scuttas inside.

The hydrogen ignited sending thunderous shock wave through the various other liquid and gas pockets throughout the gas giant. The Raptor was suddenly slammed from the stern as the shockwave made contact with it and sent it spiraling out of control.

"Shields down to seven percent!" Remmick screamed over the shuddering hall and shorting circuitry on the bridge. "Structural integrity field at critical!"

"Re route power from every system we got into the structural integrity field!" Terri snapped her eyes closed leaning back into her chair bracing for the worse.

"Attitude control and impulse engines are down!" Land shouted. "We're being pulled down by the planet's gravity well!"

Terri leaned forward and activated the tractor beam targeting one of the damaged remaining Scuttas that was damaged but still maneuverable. "Engineering, impulse units are offline I need them back ASAP." She shouted.

"We're working on it!" Jenna Rydel's voice said over the speaker. "On the bright side we got the antenna working!"

"Not really a priority at the moment!" Terri snapped. "I need those engines now!"

"Terri the Scutta we aren't grappled onto is…" Kai started to say.

"I'm on it!" Terri snapped grappling the console and switching to the weapons controls and sending several crimson beams streaming towards the already damaged Scutta. However the ship was in worse shape than it appeared and its shields were gone. The phaser beams ripped into the sides of the vessel and sheared off one of its nacelles. The Scutta spin out of control and disappeared into the swirling mass of clouds below them.

Terri cheered and slapped the console, "Jack spin us so our guns our pointed right at them."

"No problem we got thrusters." Jack said spinning the ship around. Terri then hailed the Scutta they were grappled to. "Attention Urthean Vessel if you don't want to join your friends I suggest you don't try anything stupid. We have all of our weapons trained on you so don't try anything, don't even call for help."

There was a beat or two of silence. "Release us, you have taken us out of this fight." An Female Urthean voice replied.

"Afraid I can't do that, just not quite yet." Terri replied. "So I suggest you be good foxes and sit tight till we are ready to let you go. Remember no calling back to your flagship."

There was a pause. "We will comply. However whatever you are doing make it quick, you are putting a tremendous strain on our own engines and inevitably we will both die if you remain attached to us."

"Not a problem, as long as you play nice." Terri responded.

"Wow that was easy." Jack exclaimed as Terri shut off the com channel.

"I'm desperate and capable of anything at this point." Terri said. "And I'm pretty sure they know that."

Knackt came to finding himself under pinned under Sonya's breasts. As nice as it was he nudged her and she came too suddenly realizing her predicament and rolling off him.

"Sorry." She said looking embarrassed.

"Meh, don't worry about it." Knackt said hitting his combadge. "Yo, bridge I told you to take it easy up there! Are you trying to get us all killed?!"

"Apologies, we had some problems." Terri said over the speaker. "I think we have the situation mostly under control at the moment, we just don't have impulse engines."

"Well again, do you want the engines taken care of or the torpedo I can't be two damn places at once!" Knackt snapped. "I'll tell Kurtzman to get on it, just stop playing bouncy rat with me!" He growled gathering up the tools that were scattered all over the maintenance tunnel.

"We're doing our best." Terri said shutting off the channel.

Knackt tapped his badge again. "Kurtzman please tell me you are getting the impulse units back online."

"Yes I am, it's going to be at least a few minutes we have to reset the power inverters."

"Just do it before that crazy woman up their gets us all killed." Knackt said.

"No problem." Kurtzman replied signing off.

"Gods help us if that gal ever does become Captain, someday." Knackt growled. "Come on lets get back too it."

They crawled back over to the torpedo and gathered up the tools. "Please tell me we got the damn tampering switch disabled."

Sonya checked the device that they had magnetically attached to the casing of the torpedo and then the connectors as well. "Looks like it's still attached."

"Good, now fetch the damn Stasis Field Generator, I think I saw it go bouncing down the corridor." Knackt replied. "I'll start working on trying to get to the damn warhead, when you get back grab the number eighteen hyper spanner and start working on those stem-bolts." He said pointing to several bolts in another compartment of the warhead.

"Anything yet, sir?" Jakar asked. As he walked past Harry who was monitoring the scrambler.

Harry shook his head no and looked glumly out the mouth of the cave at the rain pouring down. "Not a peep, this doesn't look good." He said setting the headset down and rubbing his temples. "I knew I should have stayed on board…"

"What do you mean, Sir?" Michelle asked. She was scanning the cave walls to get an idea of what kind of protection the rock could give them from Urthean weapons.

"Don't worry about it, just monitor this and tell me the instant you hear a peep." Harry said dismissively and walking up to the edge of the cave, phaser rifle in hand and leaning against the wall.

"Sir?" Michelle asked.

"Don't bother him." Jakar said quietly. "He needs some time to himself. What have your scans shown?"

"Well it's a conglomerate type rock." Michelle replied. "I think it should provide adequate fire from above and most of the materials outside are composed of the same substance so I think you can use those for cover."

"Excellent, take the Commanders place monitoring the Scrambler for now." Jakar said.

Michelle nodded and slipped the head set back on and continued to broadcast the hail.

Harry looked out into the valley the cave over looked, deep in thought. Despite trying to keep a calm façade he was worried about his ship. Fara would have called by now, it had been hours since they heard a hail. If not her then surely Lt. Commander Rivas would have made an effort to contact them unless the ships subspace antenna had been damaged. Which would have happened only if they had come under attack. He hated it but for the first time in his life he actually felt hopeless, and he had been in some pretty dire situations before hand.

The best they could hope for was to not be found until someone could swing buy and rescue them.

Even then, they could be here for a long time.

Computer Core Room Deck 2.

The main computer control console sat vacant running in standby mode, as the station was currently unmanned. The station suddenly started to blink erratically and then blink on and off making several error sounds. It then suddenly came back online with all of its displays in an emerald green. Screens came on and data started streaming by at a blinding speed.

More terminals snapped online and displays showed access to the automated repair systems being activated and reprogrammed. This symphony of lights continued briefly until everything suddenly and quickly returned to normal.

The door to the control room entered and Jenna Rydel stepped in. "Hello is someone in here?"

No response, Jenna took a tricorder from her belt and did a scan. "Ok, someone was in here screwing with my terminal show yourself!" She said putting her hand on her hip holster of her phaser.

She checked her tricorder and didn't see any readings. "Computer has anyone accessed my terminal in the last few minutes?"

"NEGATIVE." The computer replied.

She walked over to her console and logged into it and checked everything she could think of and didn't find any evidence of tampering.

She shook her head in frustration, perhaps the computer had an error and then corrected it.

A groan sounded throughout the Raptor and the power flickered on the bridge.

"It's the tractor Beam." Remmick said solemnly. "It's not meant to be a grappling hook."

"I know." Terri-Lu sai keeping her finger hovering over the trigger button and her eyes fixed on the belly of the Scutta struggling to keep them both afloat it's engines starting to faintly glow as they were beginning to overheat. "It will either burn out or tear free of the hull, I know."

"D'jonn, why haven't we heard from our ships?"

D'jonn growled looking at the read out. "Two vessels are gone one is remaining however it appears crippled."

"Well obviously they aren't too bad, they are still flying what are they doing?" Xox grumbled.

"They appear to be maintaining their position and.. wait a minute." D'jonn said making a few sensor adjustments. "The Raptor appears to have a tractor beam on them."

"Hail them I want an explanation." Xox sneered.

"They are not responding."

Xox suddenly stood up and walked over to Dijon's console and hailed it. "Attention Captain of the Saberclaw, report immediately or there will be consequences."

Still nothing.

"Patience, sir perhaps they are unable."

"I want to know WHY they have our pray hanging of them and they aren't blasting that ship into pieces!" Xox snarled.

"Give them a few minutes." D'jonn insisted.

"Fine, they get 15 cycles and then I'm going to correct their behavior." Xox growled. "Arm a spread of torpedoes and target both of those ships."

"Sir, isn't that…"

"Do as I say or you will find yourself strapped to the lead torpedo!" Xox snapped.

Raptor: Impulse Engine Deck Four.

Lt. Kurtzman and several other Engineers worked on the engines.

"Ach, She's not going to like this the whole damn relay is fried." Kurtzman growled. "It will take weeks to get this damn thing fixed."

"What if we try to bypass the fluxing unit." One of the engineers suggested.

"I don't know if it would hold, we still have to fly out of this big gas ball." Kurtzman sighed. "I may as well tell the bridge it's not good."

However before he did the room started to fill with smoke and an alarm sounded.

"WARNING, IMPULSE COOLANT UNIT MALFUNCTION EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY."

Kurtzman coughed catching a waft of the sickly sweet smell. "Clear out people drop your stuff and move!"

The other engineers quickly dropped what they were doing and ran out into the hall, Kurtzman being the last one out sealed the door once the last person was out.

"Damn it!" He cursed. "That's all we need now." He said hearing the doors seals close keeping the gas inside the room.

Inside, the ventilation suddenly kicked on and started sucking the gas out of the ship and pumping it back into the impulse system. The Alarm still sounded as a green sparkling haze enveloped the damaged equipment and it started to repair itself rapidly.

"Still nothing?" Xox rumbled his eyes glowing brightly red.

"No, sir." D'jonn replied.

"Then it's time to educate them." Xox roared. "Fire torpedoes!"

Gods damn you Xox they are your own kind, even if they aren't desirable as citizens. D'jonn thought maintaining his composure and he slid his finger over to the fire controls and launched the deadly missiles down towards the planet below them. He didn't like doing this but what choice did he have. "Torpedoes away."

Terri sat in the command chair and drummed her fingers nervously.

"Lieutenant." Remmick suddenly spoke up. "Something, is happening on our power grid."

Terri got up out of her chair and leaned over his shoulder. "Can you be more specific?"

"Just some strange readings." Remmick replied calling up a display of several subsystems.

Suddenly the lights started to flick back on and the ship seemed to thrum full of renewed life.

Terri looked back up and smiled, finally something going right for once.

"Report."

"I don't know how they did it but all of our systems are coming back online." Jack said spinning in his chair. "Impulse, shields, Attack Mode, everything!"

An alarm sounded. Remmick quickly checked his console. "Good because we've got incoming torpedoes. They appear to be locked onto us and the Scutta as well!"

"That crazy son of a bitch!" Terri said "They are going to kill their own people!"

"How is that any different from us doing it?" Remmick asked.

"I'm not going to allow that, quickly lock onto as many of their crew as possible and beam them to the cargo bays. Seal the bays and we'll sort them out when we get to it." She scurried over to the command chair and got settled in. "Mr. Land on my mark cut the tractor beam and prepare to engage the cloaking device on my mark."

"Aye, aye skipper." Jack replied.

"Time to impact 10 seconds." Remmick announced.

Terri hit the hail controls. "Attention Urthean vessel, prepare for transport."

"Five seconds!" Remmick said frustrated. "I can't get a lock on all of them Terri, there must be something wrong in their power systems I can't get clear lock."

"Energize! Mr. Land MARK!" Terri said slamming her paw on the armrest of the chair.

The Raptors tractor beam disengaged and it went into freefall seconds before the first wave or torpedoes slammed into the Scutta utterly obliterating it. Land quickly brought the ship around and fired the impulse engines swinging the ship out of harm's way causing the second volley to pass by them harmlessly, while the ship quickly engaged its cloaking device.

Terri let out a celebratory whoop. "How many did we get?

"Only forty, about half of their presumed complement.." Remmick said. "Sorry I tried my best."

"We'll sort it out later, we still have one more problem to take care of, that damn torpedo stuck in our belly." Terri said. "If Sonya and Knackt can get that thing disabled we're getting the hell out of here, and getting the rest of our people."

"I've lost track of the Raptor, sir." D'jonn reported. "It is no longer showing up on our sensors."

"Farewell you accursed vermin." Xox sneered. "A pity, I had hoped to bring at least something back to the emperor. With them out of the way, let's go see what they were doing back on the planet."

"The survey team."

"Perhaps, maybe a few prisoners would make this venture a bit more profitable." Xox grinned. "Break orbit and head for the other planet."

"As you Command." D'jonn replied.

"Any progress on the torpedo yet?" Terri asked over the Com channel.

"No and it isn't going any faster if you keep pestering us!" Knackt replied. "I've got this section sealed off, with the emergency bulkheads down, it "should" maybe keep the ship from being totally blasted into pieces, to mostly blasted into pieces." Knackt said putting a quotation motion with his hands around the word should.

"Are we ready to strip this thing down to the warhead yet?" Sonya asked.

"As ready as we can be, the damn thing ain't taking itself apart." Knackt sighed.

"Understood." Terri said switching it over to engineering. "Mr. Kurtzman." She said as the badgers face appeared on screen. "Some congratulations are in order, that was some quick repair work you did, it saved our butts.."

"That's great but I didn't do it." Kurtzman said looking a bit worried. "The ship somehow initiated a full auto repair procedure through some glitch we haven't tracked down yet."

"That's unusual, we'll have to look into it later." Terri sighed. "All I'm concerned with is this ship ready for combat."

"As ready as it can be, I can't guarantee how much our luck will hold, sir." Kurtzman said. "With this ship glitches are bad and good things."

"We'll take it as good a good omen then and wonder about the how and why's later."

"Works for me Skipper." Kurtzman shrugged.

Terri sat in the command chair typing up a report she'd have to transmit to Starfleet as soon as they were able. The bridge was filled up with crewmembers again manning each station after the relief shift arrived. The debris had been cleared and despite the charred Ops console, and other burst panels and dangling wires it at least looked serviceable.

She felt someone standing in front of her.

"Yes?" she said not looking up from her typing.

"Lieutenant." Jack said with a forced formality. "Can we talk, in private?"

Terri continued typing. "Fine. Ready room. Ensign Dorik, keep an eye on things."

"Yes, sir." The female Altairan said getting up from the repaired Ops station.

They left the bridge and crossed over into Harry's office.

"What do you want, Ensign?"

"Can we talk without all this formality?" Jack asked.

"Fine." Terri said crossing her arms.

"I'm sorry I snapped at you earlier." Jack said sincerely.

"That's the best you can do?" Terri said annoyed.

"Hey there's no need for…."
"Stuff it." Terri snapped back at him. "You need to understand something, the instant command fell in my lap, before anything else, this ship and everyone on it is my responsibility." She took a breath. "Everything else is a secondary concern, maybe if you would bother to stop being such a jackass and take on a bit more responsibility you would understand that, Ensign."

"Hey, I like where I am, I fly ships that's what I'm happy doing." Jack said defensively.

"Well maybe some of us have better aspirations then that." Terri glared growing for the first time angry and frustrated with him. "What really pisses me off is I needed you and you were not entirely helping the situation. If that's how you are going to act when things get bad with me.." She said rubbing her forehead. "Then maybe we don't need to be seeing each other anymore…"

"What, hey wait… I said I was sorry I meant it." He said looking wounded.

Suddenly a com signal sounded and Terri pressed the acknowledge key. "Yes what is it?"

"This is Dr. Okan, our passengers down here in the cargo bay have been examined..." There was a pause. "I think it would be best if you would come down here and see for yourself, their captain also wishes to speak with you."

"I'll be right down." She replied closing the channel

"I don't really care if you are sorry or not…" Terri sighed. "I look at it this way, I'm not always going to be an lowly Lieutenant, I may even get transferred, or even get my own ship someday. You on the other hand seem perfectly content to just sit there and fly. Quite frankly I'm having trouble restraining myself from throwing you in the brig for insubordination, but I need our best pilo at the helm. Return to your post Mr. Land."

Jack deciding it was not wise to push it further even though that last comment stung a little decided to shut his mouth and let her pass as she left the ready room.

Terri headed down to the cargo bay where a few security guards were watching the door as Dr. Okan tended to the injured Urtheans. They nodded to Terri as she slipped between the doors and stepped inside. What she saw was not what she had expected. The Urthean's were not reds, but greens and greys and a few oranges, and they all looked pretty sickly and weak. The uniforms, as one might call them were no more then utilitarian outfits with markings to indicate whatever their position on the ship was.

"Lieutenant…" Dr. Okan said approaching her and snapping her out of her shock at what she was seeing.

"Yes Doctor." Terri finally said trying to take in the enormity of the scene, this was not the fierce enemy she had expected. "You said their captain wished to speak with me?" She said regaining her train of thought.

"Yes, and I need to speak to you about.." Okan thought the words. "this situation."

"Is there a problem?"

Okan's face became a mask. "I just need to consult you on the care of these people who are now my patients, sir."

Terri nodded catching what Okan was subtly implying. "First things first."

Okan nodded. "Follow me."

He led her over to what appeared to be a group of officers with an Orange Female seeming to stand out among them. She was extremely gaunt with sunken cheeks and even her fur was faded.

"Are you the Captain?" Terri asked as she approached. She spoke their language without use of a translator and had a thick accent.

"Yes." The female replied, Terri instantly recognized it as the voice she had spoke with earlier. "I understand you are the reason we are here."

Terri nodded. "It was that or the alternative…"
"One that as far as our superiors are concerned was deserving of our defeat." The Female captain replied. "However you have yet again spared us the wrath of your vessel, mercy is something we have not equated with the infamous Raptor."

Terri was a bit unsettled by that statement. "Forgive me for being blunt but you have spilled enough of our blood."

The Urthean Captain nodded. "You need not worry about that from us, for sparing us when you clearly could have left us to die, we are eternally grateful." have no wish to return, my crew and are wish to seek asylum with your confederation."

"I'm sure I can see to it that it's done." Terri said

"I hope so because as you can see," She gestured to her crew. "We want out of the empire. I myself and willing to help you as best I can, I would like some… payback for my former superior."

"I'll think about it, any cooperation you can provide will only help your case." Terri said. "My Chief Medical officer will see to it that you are all taken care of as best to our abilities. Until then sit tight here, do to our current situation the cargo bays are as safe as anywhere for you to be."

"I understand completely." The Captain said. "We haven't been formally introduced I am Gel Fenrix." And you are?"

"Captain Lu. Will do for now." Terri said trying to be friendly the ghastly scenes around her were making her easy and she was trying her best to watch her inflections and beat of her voice to convey confidence.

Gel Fenrix nodded. "Very well, and again you have the gratitude of my crew and I. Now if you will excuse me." She said heading back over to where she was sitting. "I have some rations I wish to finish."

Terri nodded and felt Dr. Okan's paw on her arm and he motioned for the door.

Terri followed him and they stepped out into the hall. "I gather you have something important to tell me."

"Yes, these people are in need of serious medical attention, half of them are nearly starving to death and the others are suffering from malnutrition and just general neglect, I can do what I can here, but I don't have the proper facilities or enough people to take care of them and the crew at the same time if we get into a severe combat situation." Dr. Okan said looking deeply troubled.

"Do the best you can, we still have to get our people off the planet, but I will keep the safety of our passengers in mind, do the best that you can ok?"

"I will, I am working with what little of their own medical people we were able to rescue." Dr. Okan grumbled. "I haven't' really dealt with Urthean physiology before and I'm having to learn a lot on the fly."

"Doctor, if anyone can do it you can." Terri told him.

Dr. Okan smirked and then smiled a little. "Feeding my ego does help, thanks for the vote of confidence. Just keep the situation in mind, ok?"

"I will." Terri said.

"I got to get back to work, if you'll excuse me." Dr. Okan said heading back into the cargo bay.

Terri took a deep breath and let it out, that was an ordeal. She really felt for those Urtheans, they looked so weak and sickly, it really got to her. She suddenly recalled the other ships they had destroyed, had their crews has been as in poor shape as this one. She tried to push that thought out of her mind she had enough problems without her conscience starting to beat her down at the moment, being as she had ordered the maneuvers that had destroyed those ships.

She winced feeling a headache come on and she rubbed her temples, all she could do was deal with this mess as it was dealt to her and the best place to be was the bridge so she started making her way back to it.

Later

After what seemed like an eternity they got the torpedo stripped down to the warhead, although much to their dismay the triggering device was a mess of wires and complicated circuitry.

"Ok now what?" Sonya asked.

"Shit." Knackt said scratching his head. "Well we got to cut the battery from the trigger, but I don't know where to start."

Sonya scanned the device. "I'm not detecting any differences in voltage or current." She closed the tricorder. "It could be any pair of these three though from what I can tell." She said pointing to the different circuit relays. "Then I assume we gotta disengage this here." She scratched her head. "That's as best I can figure."

"You know if we figure this out, we'll be famous." Knackt snickered. "We could publish procedure and make a ton of credits."

"If we don't blow ourselves up." Sonya smiled. "I could use the extra credits next time I have shore leave."

"So eh you go first." Knackt said.

"Ok." Sonya retrieved a laser cutter and cut one of the wires, as soon as she did the weapon started beeping rapidly. "Oh, shit what did I do!"

"You didn't do it, the damn thing has a self destruct, son of a bitch!" Knackt exclaimed.

"WHAT DO WE DO!" Sonya screamed trying to keep her hand steady.

"Um Um, We got to find it real quick!" Knackt said grabbing a paw full of tools and sticking a mini torch in his mouth so he can see down inside of it.

"Knackt we tore this thing apart to the bare essentials I don't remember seeing a self destruct device!" Sonya screamed back.

"Ok, OK." Knackt said flatly. "We gotta calm down or we're going to be very very dead, right?"

"Right." Sonya said tensely.

"Take a guess then it's gotta be one of these damn connections."

Sonya nodded and motioned for the tool. "I, I think I have it."

Knackt handed her the tool.

Sonya took a deep breath and winced as she severed the connection. Seeing they were still alive she cut another one. The Countdown display went off but it was still beeping.

Sonya growled with disappointment.

"Nice try…" Knackt said trying to be encouraging. "Still ticking."

She handed him back the tool. "Let me try." Knackt said. He cut two more connections and something popped out of the side of the warhead and released some steam. He quickly checked his tricorder. "Damn it, I just disabled the cooling system it looks like.

Sonya grabbed her laser scalpel and tried again. "Anything?" she asked.

"Still hot getting hotter."

Sonya's eyes bugged at what they had left. "We have two connections remaining."

"Yup." Knackt said nervously. "You do it."

"Hell no, I don't want to die with this on my conscious you do it."

"Now is not a time for arguing toots!" Knackt balked.

"Ok fine, you cut it and if we don't die…" Sonya said chewing her lip. "I'll buy you dinner and take you around the universe."
"Are you insane!" Knackt said although the offer was tempting.

"You do it, you get to be the big hero as well." Sonya said.

"Oh cripes don't pressure me or anything!" Knackt said actually starting to sweat. The beeping was becoming more rapid with fewer and fewer beeps in between.

Sensing now was not the time to chicken shit out he took his best guess and snipped the final connection. For all the good it was going to do they both quickly jumped back.

After a brief tense moment…..

…the torpedo powered down.

A woosh of steam came out of it and it ejected its deadly core onto the deck, inert and inactive.

Sonya and Knackt looked at each other and started laughing nervously which soon turned into possibly near madness as they were quite glad to be alive.

"Bridge to Ensign Jax, has the torpedo been disabled yet." Terri's voice said over a speaker.

"Yeah, it's disabled, dead as a doornail!" Knackt said after a celebratory whoop.

"Good Job, the whole crew is in your debt, the both of you."

"No, prob, just leave it to the Rat to get the job done."

Terri closed the channel.

"So about that offer?" Knackt said gathering up his tools. "I got tomorrow off."

Sonya flushed. "Um… I need to get back to the bridge."

"Hey a deal's a deal." Knackt smirked as she quickly gathered her tools and scurried down the corridor the emergency bulkheads retracted back into the walls and they passed between them.

Harry sighed and stared out at the rain with a pair of binoculars peering out into the darkness and murk.

He smelled some coffee and lowered the binoculars and saw Michelle standing beside him with a cup and a rain poncho draped over her arm.

"Sir, you're getting soaked you might want this." She said holding out the poncho.

Harry took both and then slipped off his over shirt, he had gotten quite wet standing on watch. "Any luck with the scrambler?"

"Not a peep." Michelle said taking his over shirt and draping it on a rock. She drew her own poncho around her. "You should come inside sir, we don't need you getting sick."

Harry said nothing and drank some of the coffee after slipping the poncho on and feeling slightly drier and warmer.

There was a moment of silence as the rain continued to poor.

Harry seemed to sigh and stare off into the gloom.

"I worry too much…" He said solemnly.

"Sir?" Michelle asked.

"It's something someone told me a long time ago." He took a sip. "And they were right." He sighed.

Michelle showed a bit of concern in her expression, this was knew Harry opening to her like this.

"My ship is out there somewhere, she could be hurt, she could be lost and all I can do is stand here and wonder." He paused and recomposed himself. "The only hope I have is in my faith in my crew."

"I'm sure if something happened they are working on it." Michelle said hopefully.

"I'm counting on that." Harry smiled. "I have a lot of faith in all of you."

Michelle seemed to blush a little from that complement, it made her feel a sense of pride instead of intimidation around him for once.

"In a short time all of us have come together to become one fine crew." He said. "And because there is so few of us, we have something a lot of crews don't. We have a sense of familiarity with each other, when we lose someone, we all feel it. It isn't like a big ship where you barely get to know anyone but with the Raptor, it's easy." He took another drink and stepped into the mouth of the cave. "Which makes disasters hit all that much harder." He set the cup down on a small rock outcrop. "That, has taken a lot of getting used to." He stretched. "So here I sit, worrying." He made a disgusted hiss at himself and shook his head.

"Sir, why are you telling me this?" Michelle asked, curious. As she walked over beside him

"Because you're here and I needed someone to confide in." He said. "I thought maybe you could empathize and keep this between us."

"Cross my heart." Michelle smiled. "I just didn't think you got scared."

"Everyone gets scared." Harry said. "You just learn to deal with it, and not let it cloud your mind. You of all people should understand that."

Michelle shuddered remembering her time back on the Exeter with the strange alien life form and Space Pirates closing in on them and ammo running low. She had been scared out of her mind but eventually something pushed through it and she actually reached a state of calm at some point during it. The miracles of adrenaline. She thought to herself.

"Unfortunately, yes." She said with a half hearted smile.

Suddenly there was the sound of a repulsor lift as a vehicle flew over head. Harry quickly grabbed his binoculars and panned the area.

"We got company.." He said spotting the vessel using the binoculars scanning function. "Urthean shuttles, it looks like they found our base camp." He lowered the binoculars. "Now we know what happened to our ship." He scowled. "Looks like quite a few of them too."

"But what are they doing this deep into our space?" Michelle asked. "We're over ten light years from the border."

"I don't know." Harry said biting his lip.

Suddenly the scrambler started beeping from further back in the cave.

Harry rushed over to it and put on the headset. "Commander Martinez here."

"Captain." Terri said on the bridge. "It's good to hear your voice again."

"The feeling is mutual, who's in charge up there?" Harry asked.

"I am." Terri replied.

There was a pause as that sunk in. "What's your situation?"

"We were attacked by several Urthean Vessels with our shields down, we had to retreat to make repairs but we're fully operational now." Terri replied.

"Understood how many were there?" Harry asked.

"Four from our count, it's now down to just the big one." Terri replied. "Which was heading for you last we saw. We're getting ready to intercept."

"Good, we'll try to hold out, they already got people on the ground down here, so if you're going to make your move make it quickly, is that understood Lieutenant?"

"Yes sir.' Terri replied. "Good luck Commander."

"Same to you." Harry said closing the channel.

Terri sat down in the captain's chair. this had been one hell of a day.

With the torpedo disarmed, they could actually take time and assess the full extent to the wounds that the Raptor had suffered. None of it was good, the ship was probably at 65% operational status in normal cruise mode. Amazingly they hadn't had any fatalities. They had Shields , Weapons and Engines but they were all shaky at best. The Raptor's Attack mode, with all the power it gave them simply augmented all their existing systems. If the base systems were damaged then the Attack mode wasn't nearly as formidable.

Gel Fenrix was asked to be on the bridge to offer her assistance as promised and the Urthean was more than willing to comply. She even provided some tips on what to target Xox's ship to make the fight as short as possible.

"You might want to grab a seat," Terri said. "This can get bumpy at times."

"I prefer to stand." Fenrix replied.

"Suit yourself." Terri said. "Are we ready to get underway?" She said looking over at Remmick.

"All systems are in the green Mam." Remmick reported.

"Weapons fully charged." Sonya reported.

"Captain." Fenrix spoke up. "The tactical information I provided you with is all that I know, I am not familiar with all the Dominator's systems. It wasn't my place to know the information of our Commandant's ship. There could be unexpected surprises."

"As long as that Lateral Relay is there that's all I care about." Terri said. "If it is i'm going to tear every piece of that hull off to get to it." I appreciate your honesty."

"Will you destroy them?" Gel Fenrix asked.

Terri was quiet for a moment. "Only if I need to. If they'd just go home I'd be perfectly fine with that too."

The female Urthean nodded.

"Engineering, status report." Terri said hitting the com switch.

"Engines are a little shaky." Knackt reported. "But within tolerances."

"Very well." Terri said taking a deep breath. Now they'd be taking the fight to their pursuers instead of trying to evade them. "I've always wanted to do this…" She said with a slight smirk. "Engage, Attack Mode."

"Aye, Aye." Remmick said entering the commands. "Attack Mode, initiated."

The Raptor surged with power and shuddered as its ablative armor deployed and it's full complement of weapons raised out from the hull. The ship continued to shift and contort and the lights changed their hue as power was rerouted and diverted across the ship. The armament snapped into place and sealed up the ships more vulnerable areas and its alien weapons slid out of their hidden compartments.

"Attack Mode is engaged." Remmick reported.

"Mr. Land I hope you're ready to chase that Command Ship when we get clear of the planet."

"You can bet your pips on it.' Land replied facing forward and making a few adjustments on his console. "Course laid in and set."

"Take us out." Terri said. Leaning back into the command chair. The ship's engines rattled the deck plates and she felt a slight press into the chair from the slight lag in the ship's inertial dampeners.

She felt a slight sensation at terror in anticipation of the battle ahead of her but she kept her composure. She quickly called up a quick readout of the ship's systems. "Mr. Remmick the pulse phasers are showing a slight drop-off in their charge."

"Um' were working on that something got damaged in the capacitors during that explosion, I've already had Engineering check it out and they said they should hold."

"Just in case keep the Photonic Missile launchers primed, we may have to switch to them in a pinch." Terri ordered.

"Aye, Captain." Remmick said. "Should we engage the cloak."

"No." Terri replied quickly. "I'm going to ram this ship right down their throat, does anyone have an objection to that?"

"No, sir." Remmick smiled. "Rerouting all power to forward shields."

A few beats passed.

"Skipper we are coming up on the target in seven seconds." Jack said turning in his chair. "They've spotted us."

The swirling mass of gas on the main viewer soon parted to reveal a star field and then as they cleared the atmosphere turned to the brief flash and light stretching effects of warp travel only to soon drop back into real space with the Dominator appearing as a small rapidly growing image as they approached it.

Terri hit the com switch. "Attention Urthean vessel you have intruded into Confederation space, you are in clear violation of the Treaty of Nebulous. Withdraw immediately or suffer the consequences."

She switched it off and watched as Xox's battleship tilted towards them. "Mr. Remmick, you may fire at will."

Remmick chuckled. "Aye, aye Sir."

Down on the surface. Harry steadied his phaser rifle and aimed it at an approaching Urthean thug who was slowly approaching the caverns following the trail keeping his eye on the scanner. Behind him were nearly a dozen more approaching.

"Orders, sir." Jakar said in his ear piece.

Harry looked toward the back and zoomed in spotting what might be the officer clear in the back. A rather tall and ragged looking Urthean red with spiky black headfur.

"Heavy stun the leader, I'll work on the next three, delegate the other targets to your men."

"Aye." Jakar replied.

"How you holding up Lieutenant." He said to his side.

"I'm having trouble actually aiming one of these things." She muttered. "It's hard to steady the crosshair."

"It's simple, aim, steady, take a breath, hold it pull the trigger." Harry said not breaking his steady hold of the weapon.

The Urtheans moved steadily closer.

"Mr. Jakar you may fire." Harry said.

Crimson bolts lanced out from the security team's position and sizzled the falling rain. Through his scope Harry saw the officer drop being suddenly knocked to the ground by the beam. He then started firing as well as Michelle and the others.

In a matter of moments most of the Urtheans were prone on the ground unconscious a few had dove off to the side at the sight of the first few shots and started rapidly firing their weapons up towards the cave's opening. As soon as the first bolts lanced across the arched opening the auto turrets snapped online and started laying rapid fire phaser bursts in return.

Shards of rock exploded all around them and Harry and Michelle ducked behind it as the piece of granite they were using for cover splintered sending hot sharp shards of metamorphic rock showering all around them. Harry popped back up and returned fire only to quickly dive back down as more shots from a different direction slammed into the piece of rock.

"Stay down." He said to Michelle as repulsor beams rained around them.

He glanced over and saw Jakar and his people were getting equally pelted as well but they were equally dishing out return fire. Pieces of the jungle started being felled as errant phaser blasts lanced into them and the air reeked of ozone and steam.

Far above space was lit up by fire and return fire from the Raptor and Xox's ship. The battle was furious and fast paced as the Raptor quickly spun and zipped around the the shots from the Repulsor Beam turrets. The Raptor fired a full volley at the turret firing at them and it exploded.

"Damn that rodent!" Xox Snarled. "SIDE GUNS OPEN FIRE!"

Several panels slid back and small Mass Accelerator Cannons fired numerous rounds into the ship's aft section tearing through the Raptor's aft shields, chewing through the ablative armor ment and perforating the hull causing even more damage though the Raptor's aft torpedo launcher managed to get off one spread destroying the turrets before their apertures were shredded into confetti.

"Good shooting." Terri said to Remmick.

"Yeah but that little buzz sawing took out our transporters."

"Mr. Land swing us back around we are hitting that side again now that we took out that little surprise, and return the favor!"

The Raptor swung back around and unleashed a volley of photonic missiles to weaken the Dominator's shields allowing the pulse phaser bursts to slam into it's unprotected larger side ripping into it with everything it had. The Dominator The Raptor had got in a few good hits with a volley of torpedoes and Terri had ordered the ship keep hammering the damaged areas. The complicated maneuvers almost looked comical from afar as the larger Urthean ship desperately tried to rotate it's damaged engine compartment away from the Raptor.

Xox was pinned against his chair as the Dominator quickly tried to avoid the Raptor's fire continue to tear holes into it's starboard side. "Damage Report!" He shouted as the ship shuddered as a quick torpedo fired from the Raptor's aft section slammed into one of the struts.

"Our shields are down to twenty two percent, Impulse reactors two and four are down. Commandant, it might be best if we retreat, we can not take much more of this."

"HOW IS THIS HAPPENING!" Xox roared. "That ship was dead in the water and now it's tearing us apart!" He slammed his fist so hard into his armrest it actually broke. Another volley slammed into the ship's hull and the lights began to flicker.

"Sir we've just lost another impulse reactor. And our Main drive is starting to go critical." D'jonn shouted shielding himself from a shower of sparks. "I suggest we Parley we can't take much more of this."

Xox's eyes glowed a deep dark crimson as he mulled this over and a few tense moments passed as the power finally went out and the auxiliary system kicked on. He hated it but D'jonn was correct they didn't have much time left.
"COMMANDANT!?" D'jonn said expectantly.

Terri looked down at her control panel. The Urthean vessel was hailing and she acknowledged it getting up out of the com chair and approaching the screen placing her hand absentmindedly on the back of Jack's chair.

The screen flickered and Xox's visage appeared on the screen, his eyes glowing standing out from the dim lighting around him.

"Raptor cease fire we will comply and leave immediately." Xox said and then he raised a brow. "Whom are you?"

"Acting Captain Terri Lu." Terri said.

"Where is the other rodent?" Xox sneered sounding somewhat disappointed..

"That's none of your concern." Terri snapped back. "If you want to live to see the next thirty seconds, I suggest you call off your goons on the surface, pack up and get the hell out of our space."

Xox glared. "Very well," He nodded off to someone off screen. "I will need time to recover my ships."

"Make it quick." Terri said. "You have worn my patience thin, Commandant."

"As you wish." Xox replied. "Give my regards to your Captain, in his absence he has provided me a cunning adversary. Pray we never meet face to face." Xox said with a savage sneer that made Terri inwardly shudder. That being said the transmission cut off.

"That was impressive." Gel Fenrix said to Terri. "I appreciate you allowing my attendance on your bridge."

Terri nodded and set down in the command chair taking in a deep breath. "Take us into orbit, Mr. Land. Let's get our people home."

"I need to return to my crew, I trust you will see to it that we are taken care of once we return to your Starbase." Fenrix asked.

"I'll see to it myself." Terri replied. "It will take some time but if you are seriously considering defecting I'm sure you will be granted asylum."

"You have my thanks." Fenrix said with a nod.

"Security if you would escort her back to the cargo bay." Terri said.

Fenrix got up and was escorted off the bridge.

A wee bit later.

Terri stood in the gangway and activated the lowering mechanism.

Sunlight and crisp air flooded into the compartment as she held tightly to a wall mount as a new world's smells and air surrounded her. The ship gently thudded as it's landing struts struck the ground and the gangway made contact with the ground sloping back. She stepped down only to hear the cheers of the away team as she did so. She shielded her eyes from the sunlight she wasn't used to as she held the handrail and walked down it towards the ground.

Harry, Jakar and O'mara were at the front of the group as they approached the ship.

"Captain it's good to see you again."

"You too Captain." Harry said with a smile. "Is she still ship shape Lieutenant." He said more formally glancing up at all the scorch marks dotting the Raptors surface and the various holes in the hull.

"As best she can be, we've got a lot of holes to patch up but I think we can get home." Terri replied.

"The entrance was a nice touch."

"Transporters are down." Terri said blushing a little. "We may not have much time I figured this was the fastest way possible to get people on the ship.

"Good Idea." He lead her off to the side. "Ok, everyone get on the ship. I'll need teams to grab one of our remaining shuttles and go get the others with Jakar and O'mara, be sure we get all the samples we came for."

Some hands shot up in the group. "Good get to it, the rest of you get on board and get to your department's it sounds like we got a lot of work inside."

Crew members started up the gangplank. Jakar and Michelle went ahead and headed into the ship.

"Nice jacket." Harry said to Terri making sure everyone got on board.

"Thanks I…."

"Don't worry about it you can keep it, just change the frills so you don't get in trouble." Harry smiled. "It looks good on you."

"Thanks." Terri blushed a little embarrassed. "We have some passengers." She stammered trying to change the subject.

"Oh?"

"A crew of one of the Scutta's that attacked us. I transported them off their ship before it was destroyed. It's all in the report and.." She suddenly started feeling dizzy and she stumbled a little and Harry caught her.

"I'll get caught up Lieutenant, why don't you go get some rest. You've done enough." He said smiling.

Terri smiled gratefully and nodded.

* * * "

Captains Log:

With the Away Teams recovered from the surface, and all of us safely back on board with Xox retreating back to Urthean space, we are on our way back home. We did successfully complete the survey and after the appropriate tactical measures are taken the planet will be colonized.

The wayward crew of the Urthean Scutta that was destroyed will be picked up by Starfleet and processed. They have requested asylum and they will be taken care of after they have been properly convalesced. I can only hope that something good will come out of all this.

Why and how Xox knew where to find us is a mystery that I intend to get to the bottom of. That will take some time, it could be paranoia, but I suspect there is something at work behind the scenes. For now, I have a Junior officer for whom I need to get a report from whom I hope took my advice and got some rest..

"So…" Harry said at his desk fresh off a hot shower and change of uniform. "After you had nearly been crippled, the ship somehow repaired itself? With no notification of any systems?."

"Yes sir." Terri replied. "I've had Jenna check the whole database and there is no record of it anywhere. However it did happen and here we are." She paused in thought. "I think if anything we should be grateful it happened."

"Yes in any normal ship I would agree." Harry said leaning back in his chair. "However this is the Raptor, it's a hybrid of alien and confederation technology, and I will have this ship thoroughly checked out when we get back."

Terri nodded in agreement.

"Regardless, for your first time as acting Captain and considering the circumstances." Harry smiled. "You didn't do too bad for a newbie."

"Thank you sir." Terri blushed slightly. "I think you are being overzealous in your praise though."

"Why?" Harry asked leaning forward and interlacing his fingers as he rested his elbows on his desk. "The ship is in one piece, you rescued the Away Team, you saved the Urthean's crews lives and we are heading home." He smiled, letting that sink in. "That in my book Lieutenant is a supreme job, all things considered."

Terri seemed a bit swollen with pride and she simply nodded.

"Since, we are out on the frontier and Mr. Rivas and Fara will recover hopefully within the next month from what the Doctor tells me after he heals them. I will be needing someone to fill in temporarily as my first officer. Will you accept the position?"

Terri seemed a bit flabbergasted. "Sure… I think I mean Yes, sir."

"Very well." Harry smiled interlacing his fingers as his hands rested on his desk. "You are one of the hardest working members on this crew and a very capable officer. You are familiar with the ship's systems and how it operates and right now I have a ops and first officer position that needs filled. At least until Mr. Rivas recovers from his injuries. As of right now I am granting you the Rank of Lieutenant Commander for outstanding leadership and performance in a combat situation." He grabbed a small parcel that was obscured by his desk terminal and stood up and walked over to her. He opened and in it was a pip set for Lieutenant Commander. He held it out to her.

"Don't I have to take a test before it's official."

"Yes, there is a written one, but the simulation won't be required. Upon reviewing your performance in the preceding events I think the simulation would be unnecessary. You carried yourself admirably even when it looked like all was lost and the crew carried on based off that. Most people can't stay calm like that when they are looking death straight in the eye, and when death blinked, you fought like hell to keep the ship and your crew out of it's grasp."

He placed the Box in her hands. "It's yours you have earned it."

Terri nervously took the rank pin off and set it on the desk and placed the new pin on her uniform above left breast.

"Congratulations Commander." Harry smiled. "Tomorrow turn in your golds for reds."

"Thank you Captain." Terri said smiling feeling scared and proud all at the same time.

"Now I have a few things I need to take care of and a lot of calls to make." Harry said heading back to his chair. "If you wouldn't mind taking my place on the bridge?"

"Yes, Sir." Terri replied turning to leave.

As she left the Captain's ready room her head was swimming. It was like being in a daze as she stepped back onto the bridge.

Jack turned to glance at her as she entered and turned back to face forward.

She walked over to his chair and peered at the readouts. They were still a few hours from home.

"Everything, ok? Sir." Jack asked.

The old venom of animosity still rippled under her otherwise joyus mood at the moment.

"For now, anything to report?"

"Nothing on scanners, not even a subspace eddy current." Jack replied.

"Then steady as she goes ensign." Terri replied heading over to the command chair and crossing her legs as she set down.

Michelle looked over at her and smiled. " Congrats Terri." She said pointing to her own pips.

"Thanks." Terri replied. "I'll be taking Lt. Commander Rivas' place until he returns to duty."

Michelle nodded. "You'll do fine don't worry."

Terri nodded and then leaned back in the command chair sighing. Her eyes drifted down to Land. She still felt hurt about what had happened earlier and wasn't quite sure what to do with him. She knew he couldn't possibly understand how deeply he wounded her but she would try to forgive him. It would just take time, maybe he'd catch on.

If he didn't, then it was his loss.

She stared at the sea of stars on the view screen, took a deep breath and lost herself in them.

Elsewhere.

"Yes, did you take care of it?" A voice asked as D'jonn's image appeared on a screen.

"No, they managed to get away." D'jonn replied.

There was a sigh.

"Look, I am not out here to do your dirty work, for you." D'jonn snarled. "If you want these pests gone contact the Zeebesians or Argosians. I'm not going to stick my neck out with what compensation you are giving us."

"What would be appropriate compensation." The voice sasked.

"Seven hundred and fifty million credits." D'jonn snapped.

"That's preposterous."

"Then good luck finding a better deal." D'jonn said. "My Commandant was less than pleased with the outcome of this operation."

"Fine, I'll find another means. I still expect a shipment of ore within the next week."

"You will have your blasted ore." D'jonn snapped. "We will be taking payment in advance this time, we have repairs that need to be made."

"Very well…" The voice replied, the sound of fingers typing in a keypad was heard.

"Pleasure doing business with you, I will let you know when it is ready to be picked up." D'jonn sneered cutting off the channel.

"Damnable Urtheans." The voice growled. If only he didn't need that ore, he would be done with them. However the project was nearing completion and once it was he would soon turn it against them.

And the sooner he was rid of them, the better.

The End.