Posted on August 11, 2019
A Romulan Engagement in the Neutral Zone
Personal Log: Commander Soral, Stardate 48212.4
This is the personal log of Soral, Commander and Chief of Engineering currently serving aboard the USS Chiron in the Delta Quadrant.
Having situated myself with the current capabilities of this vessel, running through numerous simulations involving improving efficiency of our warp drive and energy distribution systems, interviewing the staff of our engineering department to introduce myself and become aware of their personalities, interviewing with my captain to learn of her philosophies and planned implementation of commanding our crew, I found myself greatly anticipating our first mission.
As we learned of our mission parameters it became clear to me that what was presented as a potential rescue mission was in actuality a desperate call for our crew to become entangled in an incident that could potentially disrupt the fragile peace that existed between Starfleet and the Romulan Empire.
When retrospectively examining a missions details and outcome it becomes convenient to resort to applying the knowledge gained from the final outcome to the choices made during said mission. I will endeavor to avoid such historical anachronism as it does not accurately represent the availability of choices within the moment the decision was made.
This was not a rescue mission, this was not an enemy engagement, this was to be an investigation, although I did not believe that to be clear to my captain as we approached the edge of the neutral zone.
We were presented via secure channel by Starfleet 3 mission parameters, or goals, as humans referred to them. One, give no justifiable reason for war to the Romulan ship during or after this investigation. Two, save as many of the USS Nightengale’s crew as possible, and three, under no circumstances were we to allow any Starfleet technology to fall into the Romulan’s clutches.
I had so many questions, but felt it was not productive to continue to push the captain and my commanding officer as the situation was already tense.
We came upon the Nightingale just after it had it’s main systems taken offline by the Daradex class Romulan Warbird. We learned over half its crew was lost in the brief skirmish but the Romulans had lost warp capabilities. The warbird was commanded by a Commander Mevin, who chose to remain off screen during communication. Quite telling indeed was her decision to remain anonymous. Clearly this was looking more and more like a Romulan plot. But what where they after?
Commander Mevin attempted to explain to us that the Nightingale had drifted into the Romulan side of the neutral zone and they had no choice but to fire on it in “self defense”. I tried to let my human emotions not get the better of me and stay logical during these exchanges, but there were times when I just couldn’t allow the obvious holes in her theory continue to prevent us from accomplishing our mission.
For instance, if the Nightingale had in fact crossed intentionally into the neutral zone as Mevin explained, why was there no record of such a command by Starfleet? Surely if a ship was commanded to commit such an act of treachery we would have a record of the communications that our captain would have been briefed with. Could this also be a cover up by Starfleet? Also, why send such an ill equipped ship incapable of defending herself against even the smallest opponent for very long? And just what was the Nightingale doing so close to the border in the first place?
Also, why not just finish the ship off? Clearly this was so they could take it as a prize, but they could have easily boarded it, fixed it themselves and flew her back to Romulus. But it appeared they had no interest in fixing it or seeing it fixed. Also they were clearly stalling for time.
We were given permission to form an away team and provide repairs after convincing Mevin the ship would need to be fixed in order for them to use a tractor beam on it. I grabbed my repair equipment and prepared for the worst.
After we transported to the adrift Nova class ship, the worst we found. Captain Blake had been killed in the attack and half her crew had been lost. Many systems were offline, and there was no where near enough crew to fix the nearly dozen damaged systems. Commander Lewis was now in command and he wasn’t able to provide much detail when pressed for information. I probably shouldn’t have let my human emotions dictate my questions, but I felt a sense of urgency and even nervousness knowing the Daradex was a mere thought away from destroying the derelict ship I was in.
We quickly learned how difficult it would be to investigate the moments before the Nightingale had drifted, or not, into the neutral zone. Captain Blake, under what he thought was protocol had encrypted the ship’s computer core memory banks so that should it fall into Romulan hands would be useless. This meant transporter logs, personal logs, official logs, and other bits of potentially useful information was simply unavailable.
We also could not communicate or send messages back to the Chiron fearing that the Romulans would intercept the messages and have reason to be more suspicious as to our activities. This meant we were truly alone in our endeavor to solve this mystery.
I headed down to main engineering to assist and complete repairs on the engines and warp drive. I proved to also be competent at repairing other systems efficiently and I felt a sense of pride in being able to assist our mission.
Ensign Rand had procured an enviro suit and performed a space walk to investigate the location of the sensor array that would determine the ships point in space. Surprisingly he found it to be in disarray. (this is my attempt at human humor by using a “pun”). He reported that someone or something had clearly malformed its hardware such that it would report a false location.
At some point later there was an explosion in the area of the ship that included crews quarters. The XO deduced it was in the quarters of a Lt Tellik. I then suggested to the XO we investigate the quarters and search for traces of what caused the explosion, believing whatever caused it would be Romulan in nature.
Ensign Rands investigated and found the weapon used in the explosion was in fact based on Romulan technology. This was all the proof I needed, there was a mole aboard the ship. If the detonation had been timed to go off instead of someone setting it off adhoc, why would it not have been set to go off earlier? The Nightingale had been adrift for several hours and there was no reason to believe the timing of the explosion at that time was not intentional. There was a cover up at hand.
We were able to repair all the systems but not the damage to the external hull plating and so there was a power drain due to the forcefield required to replace the exterior of the ship. This made the computer run slowly, but upon further investigation it was determined this was not due to a power drain but to a process consuming a high amount of computational resources. After failing to locate Lt Tellik in a sweep of all personnel still wearing their com badge, we anticipated he was in main engineering.
I asked Lt V’rona to replicate some transport inhibitors in the event he would try to beam off to the Romulan ship. She was able to produce them and began placing them all around main engineering.
After Ensign Rands and myself were able to get inside the entry to main engineering we witnessed him connecting a power cell of some sort to the main computer. It became clear he was in the process of copying massive amounts of data to this device with the goal of taking it off the ship.
I also noticed attached to his hip was a device capable of producing a high energy beacon that could be used to hone in a transporter signal.
Ensign Rands was able to tackle Tellik after circumnavigating behind him to flank from a Jeffries tube, but he was just too late. Tellik ran out of main engineering into the nearby stellar cartography and I gave chase.
I am certainly not the type of Vulcan Human who is able to easily apprehend an assailant with physical prowess, so I attempted to communicate with him by shouting in Vulcan. I wanted to know more about why he was doing this but also to appeal to his sense of honor and duty in an effort to coerce him to give up. I was not successful and instead he retorted in a vulgarity not repeatable in a Starfleet personal log entry.
I ran in after him but he already managed to escape through a Jeffries tube. I peered my head in and he shot downward at me and struck my shoulder. I suffered a grave wound but was able to quickly recover, just this once.
I told the XO to station guards at the exit of all the tubes leading out of stellar cartography. This proved unsuccessful as Tellik handedly removed the inexperienced personnel who were also not trained in security. Unfortunate for our situation, most of ships security had perished in the previous engagement with the Warbird.
Tellik ran down the corridor towards shuttle bay 1 but the XO had already prevented any of the shuttle bay doors from being opened and had created a type of low power transporter inhibiter field.
Tellik entered shuttlebay 1 and got inside the shuttle. It was then unclear as to what his plans could be as he must know we had the doors locked and he had not tried to unlock them. I suppose it was a form of temporary cover.
The XO then ordered the shuttlebay to be filled with Anesthizine https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Anesthizine and those of us who were to enter the shuttle bay procured re-breathers.
After the Anesthizine had filled the shuttlebay we opened the doors only to find he had engaged the shuttles engines to full power. He was attempting to blow up the shuttle. I believed we should call his bluff and let him blow himself and the data he had with him. The problem though, was he may have enough time for the Romulan ship to beam him off while this was happening.
We ran in to engage him and capture him. I unsuccessfully attempted multiple times to destroy the transport device, and in a matter of moments he was able to beam off the Nightingale.
The XO protested with the Romulan Commander who then denied all wrong doing and the discussion became pointless. We were not in a position to attack and if we did it would be under suspicious pretenses, as could be believed by the Romulan High Council. Just as we were deciding what to do next the Warbird cloaked and disappeared.
The mission was not a complete failure, but it was not a success. The Romulans now had in their hands a record of all the transactions, logs, and data contained in the Nightingales computer. Starfleet was not unhappy but they considered our mission to be commendable for saving the Nightingale itself, repairing it, and uncovering what was a clear Romulan plot.