A/N: This story is also dedicated in memory of departed Star Trek icon Leonard Nimoy, whose brilliant acting, staunch spirit and heartfelt wisdom through Spock has inspired-and will continue to inspire-generations past and generations to come. May we continue to honor his memory.
Disclaimer: I of course am not the owner of Star Trek, its characters or its adventurous story; that honor goes to Paramount, CBS and those who've had a hand in creating its ever-expanding story, including Gene Roddenberry, Norman Spinrad-the screenwriter behind the original episode-and JJ Abrams and his team, in dreaming up this new timeline.
Without further ado, I present the newest installment!
Star Trek: Doomsday
Alpha Quadrant, System L-374: U.S.S. Enterprise…
If things were to be described as 'tense' aboard the charred hulk of the Constellation, it would be only logical to say the situation onboard her sister ship Enterprise would be exponentially greater. Vulcans do not lie. At least not explicitly.
"Sir, confirmed visual contact, bearing one-six-eight, mark two-zero-five."
"Any response to our hails?"
Spock hadn't so much as sat in the captain's chair once since Jim Kirk had departed the Enterprise to assess the damage to the Constellation. Instead, he had remained standing. The half-Vulcan was currently pacing a circle around the bridge, always keeping an eye on the viewscreen. "Onscreen. Aft view, maximum magnification." The transparent aluminum viewscreen flickered for a brief instant before displaying the disturbing view taken from the aft sensor strips above the ship's shuttle bay.
Without video magnification, the ship pursuing the two Starfleet vessels would have appeared miniscule, as it was still several hundred kilometers behind them. However, the view was sufficient enough to convey the mammoth size of their pursuer. In spite of the tenets of Surak reinforcing decades of intense Vulcan discipline, Spock felt a rather human chill of unease at the sight.
It was a massive construct: roughly cone shaped, a craft easily over two kilometers in length. Spock's eidetic memory rifled through his years of education but could not glean any reference to their adversary. Logically, therefore, this vessel was of a type completely unknown to Starfleet, unlike anything the crew had ever encountered. He cocked his head, studying the image with his best clinical Vulcan detachment. In a way, it looked...Kirk would have said it looked mean, even more so than the Section 31-built U.S.S. Vengeance or Nero's hellish Narada, and Spock was rather inclined to agree. The hull seemed to morph between geometric and organic textures on a whim, and even worse, their pursuer was plated in a thick layer of solid metal without a single rivet or seam that gave off a dull burnished gleam in the dim light from the system's star.
Even with only long-range scans, the Enterprise's plethora of sensor arrays were already mapping deformities. Craters, pitting and carbon scoring were already being analyzed all across the vessel's hull under Lt. 0718's efforts to Spock's immediate right. Judging from the readouts, these deformities were the result of untold years of wear and neglect in the blackness of space. Worst of all was the sudden news from Troi at navigation: while there was no visual luminary effect from a propulsion system, the planet killer was actually gaining on them.
Spock's eyes hardened as the view began to shift and he took a seat at last in the empty captain's chair, watching the machine on screen.
"It's changing course, Commander."
Spock offered a small dip of the chin in acknowledgement. "Noted, Mr. Sulu. Maintain course."
As the planet killer began to turn to starboard in direct pursuit of the Enterprise, it revealed a defining feature, one that brought all activity on the bridge to a halt and gathered a collective sharp intake of breath from everyone present. Spock did his best to disregard how his fingers tightened infinitesimally on the armrests at the sight. At the wide base of the vessel's conical hull lay a gaping maw lit by a hellish glowing mass of energy sunk within the depths of the planet killer's fiery throat.
It looked for all intents and purposes like the mouth of some titanic fire-breathing wyrm from Terran legend.
A most foreboding visage, thought Spock, lips thinning minutely. After a moment of tense immobility broken only by the ambient wailing of klaxons, the subdued chatter on the bridge resumed. His brow furrowing, Spock propped his forearms on the armrests and laced his fingers together in grim contemplation, allowing himself to take stock in silence. Statistically speaking, he mused, the odds are not in our favor. The Enterprise is currently reduced to one-half impulse while towing the Constellation, and it is clearly not enough to outrun the pursuing alien vessel. Furthermore, the planet killer is clearly the source of the regional interference. In fact, the jamming from it was so great even ship-to-ship communications were starting to become impaired, and without the ability to contact Starfleet, they were alone. He found himself about to speak aloud and paused before he decided it was best to record a log entry. In the face of possible disaster, it was only logical to leave some record of what happened in case the Enterprise and her crew were destroyed in the battle to come. "Computer, begin recording log entry, Authorization Code Spock-One-Five-Nine-Green." The beep from the armrest was morbidly cheerful.
"First Officer's Log, supplemental," he began. "We have been forced to depart the scene of the attack on the U.S.S. Constellation. Long range sensors detected an unknown vessel approaching our position at high sublight speeds. Upon further analysis, its power signature matches that of the planet killer which crippled the Constellation. Captain Kirk's orders thus far are to distract this…'doomsday machine' and grant the remainder of the away team the time necessary to bring the Constellation's structural integrity field online."
He paused. While his best friend—almost his foster brother—was unquestionably of a level of tactical genius on par with the greatest intellects in the Federation, the scope and nature of the current crisis left Spock far from confident in their ability to escape their pursuer-or for that matter stop it-without incurring casualties.
"Our odds of success in combat against this adversary appear slight. Sensor readings indicate the ship's hull is solid neutronium. Against such a dense material, our weapons are clearly useless. The captain and his away team managed to divert enough power to the Constellation's emergency thrusters to enable limited maneuvering, and we have taken the ship in tow, hopefully to a repair dock. Unfortunately, even with our improved impulse drive, the enemy is slowly gaining on us. We shall try to outrun it, but if we cannot do so," Spock paused before he added his own thoughts. "…I fear the Enterprise may face destruction."
With that out of the way, Spock ended the log entry. "Lieutenant Palmer, am I correct in presuming we are still in contact with the Constellation?" he asked, turning in his seat.
"Yes Commander." Palmer's brief nod was only reinforced by the crackle of an open channel from the armrest at Spock's right. "—come in. Mr. Spock, do you read?" Jim's voice called, terse with unease.
"Report. We're deaf and blind over here."
"The vessel came up on us fast, Captain, but we are maintaining safe distance for the time being." His peripheral line of sight noticed the turbolift doors opening, and Commodore Decker and Doctor McCoy strode out, joining him on either side of the command chair just as Jim replied.
"It better not be what I think it is, Spock."
The rather cajoling tone in Jim's voice made Spock's tolerance drop a degree. "Then I will have to dissuade you of your optimism. It appears to be the same planet killer Commodore Decker described in his logs. And it is gaining."
From sensors, 0718 broke in with a momentary report, reinforcing Spock's statement. The distance between them and the planet killer was slowly but surely dwindling. It was far from a comfort for anyone, though Spock rarely "took comfort" in anything. He was half-Vulcan.
Another alarm blared. "Incoming debris, sir!"
Spock stiffened. "Helm, Evasive Pattern Alpha Two. Compensate for towing."
"Yes, sir!" Sulu moved with the smooth precision of an expert pilot. His hands flying across the controls, the Asian-American pilot kept his gaze torn between his controls and the viewscreen in front of him. Almost ponderously, Enterprise dipped her gleaming saucer to port and dove "down." It was a near thing, but the maneuver was enough for the Enterprise to avoid being hit by a tumbling mass of debris the size of a locomotive. More alarms blared and the viewscreen highlighted several approaching rocks.
"Continuing evasive maneuvers," Sulu barked as he sent the ship into a slow roll to avoid more incoming debris.
The Enterprise's shields had been extended in order to protect the unshielded wreck she had in tow; unfortunately, this meant the Enterprise had to forgo some of that protection; it meant some pieces of debris were passing through the shields and striking the ship. Larger, slow-moving chunks of rock were actually leaving dents on the Enterprise's hull.
"All hands brace for impact!" The bridge crew jolted in their seats when another hit rocked the ship from beneath. Those standing fumbled for a sturdy handhold. Thankfully, the inertial dampeners were on full power, keeping the crew from further serious injury while the Enterprise righted itself. Additional input came from the helm using the primary and secondary RCS modules, which fired high-pressure bursts of propellant in calibrated sequence to continue maneuvers. "Minimal damage, Commander."
"Maintain course and present speed." Spock reassured Sulu quickly. "Do we have phaser power?"
"Yes sir, all banks report ready."
No further confirmation was necessary. "Target incoming debris; fire at will."
The depths of space illuminated with flickering light as cannon fire flew from the starboard and port emitters on the Enterprise's saucer. However, it was thanks to Engineering's skilled teams and Dr. Marcus that the Enterprise's newest energy weapons worked perfectly. Amidst the chaos of covering fire lancing out in all directions, the dorsal and ventral forward phaser banks began to glow; not red, but orange, as nadion particles were charged in a matter of nanoseconds by a burst of power channeled directly from the warp core, the throbbing heart of the ship. With a tss-zzeeoowwwrrr that was felt more than heard, a quartet of sizzling orange charged-nadion beams burst from the Enterprise's forward emitters and seared across space towards their targets. Thanks to the viewscreen's transparency, the bridge crew was able to glimpse the effect from their posts, and upon impact, the energetics in play were so powerful they literally vaporized the incoming debris mid-flight, eliciting shouts of amazement and elation from several human (and humanoid) members of the crew.
Spock waived any sort of celebration and ordered further damage control to deck 12 as the starfield outside ceased its gentle rotation, with Enterprise having made a brief clearing in the debris field. "Transfer 20% auxiliary power to reinforce structural integrity fields," he said, letting the computer handle damage control alerts before returning his attention to the captain's com channel while Lt. Palmer relayed his orders to Engineering. "Captain, we are more maneuverable," he informed Kirk over the comm gravely, "but we cannot outrun the planet killer indefinitely. We have limited fuel resources. What scans we possess indicate the machine possesses a form of total-matter-conversion drive, recently replenished by consumption of another planet."
Beside him, Doctor McCoy frowned. "Well, that's real comfortin'," he grunted.
Spock felt the need to correct the doctor. "I merely state the facts as they are presented, Doctor," he said. Those less acclimated to the two's interactions would've said he was mildly exasperated with the country doctor. Spock—and McCoy—knew better.
At that barbed rejoinder, McCoy scowled but let the bickering ease off, busying himself with his tricorder to keep an eye on Commodore Decker's vital signs. While the older officer appeared lucid, Spock had learned to detect some of humanity's most common physical emotional indicators. Out of the corner of one dark eye the Vulcan was able to glimpse Decker's expression. The man was blank-faced, but there was an odd dullness to the older man's eyes while he stared down at the gleaming deck in thought, his hands balled in his pockets. Judging from McCoy's frown at the instrument in his hands and a subsequent whispered tirade, it was even more evident to the ship's CMO. Decker shook his head and murmured a reply concerning his position as senior officer aboard, to McCoy's consternation. While the commodore's obvious emotional turmoil was troubling, after a moment's consideration, Spock decided intervention was unnecessary.
"Commander." 0718 glanced up from his station again. "Scan analysis complete, sir. Detecting no sentient life aboard. Subspace interference is reaching critical levels."
Spock relayed the information and received a hissed curse from Captain Kirk. "We're running out of time. Well, whatever that thing is, we can't let it get out of this system, can we? We've got to stop it!" There was a pause, broken by the hisses and whines created by subspace interference. "Do you think we can deactivate it? You said it was a…a robot earlier; could we get in close and fry its brains with an EM pulse?"
Spock looked back up at the viewscreen, a momentary smile raising the corners of his lips. "I believe you mean its central computers, Captain, and at this point I would recommend against it." He shifted, lacing his fingers. "We do not yet know the planet killer's capabilities, and the power generated by our warp nacelles seems to be maintaining its attention. If we approach, we risk bringing a direct attack upon either the Enterprise or the Constellation. Furthermore, the nature of this machine as a weapon of mass destruction logically precludes any possible ease of access to its major systems."
The rush of static indicated a sigh from his younger friend. "Great. Alright, I'm coming back with the away team. Prepare to lower shields and beam us aboard."
"Target within 100,000 meters, sir." A brief check via the viewscreen showed the planet killer's fiery maw looming.
Decker noticeably bristled at the news. "Commodore, your recommendation?" Spock inquired. For a moment, the elder man worked his jaw in thought, worrying at his chapped lower lip with his teeth. "Fire a torpedo aft as a warning," said Decker at long last. He shook his head. "Might not do much, but it's standard procedure for this."
"Very well, Commodore." Spock swiveled back to face the viewscreen. "Lieutenant Fr'iss, order standard-yield payload, aft torpedo launcher. Mr. Sulu, fire when ready."
The tall, light-furred male Caitian at tactical to Spock's left nodded, catlike ears twitching attentively. "Firing, aye sir," he echoed in his slightly raspy purr.
As the order came through to the lowermost decks, the torpedo bay crews went to work. A team hefted the beveled-edge oblong bulk of a photon torpedo into one of the Enterprise's aft loaders and shoved the projectile weapon into its tube before slamming the locks shut. Once cleared, Spock came through with a single word.
The coiled-spring choom of the torpedo launch echoed up through the bowels of the ship, even managing to reach the bridge, though only those with highly superior auricular abilities to humans—including Commander Spock—could hear it. "Torpedo away," Sulu reported, still focusing on flying the ship through the debris field. Another orange beam from the dorsal phaser bank illuminated the busy command center for an instant as the Enterprise vaporized another chunk of debris in its way.
The whole bridge was tense as the aft sensors monitored the matter/antimatter warhead's trajectory. Glowing red, the torpedo shot towards the pursuer, its guidance system easily homing in on the approaching vessel, until the small blossom of a brief explosion seared the pitted hull of the planet killer. "No effect," reported F'riss with a faint quaver in his voice. "Shall I fire again, sir?" Sulu queried sharply.
Spock shook his head. "Negative. Hold fire. Lay in a course to port."
At first, there was no indication the planet killer had even noticed the torpedo as the Enterprise began to turn away in an attempt to outflank it. But then the energy readings spiked, setting off alerts across the bridge, and Spock realized with a jolt of the heart that the fiery glow in the planet killer's maw was beginning to brighten, and fast. The growing shouts among the other members of the bridge crew were all too evident as readouts quickly climbed to astronomical levels.
Spock only managed one order—"Evasive maneuvers!"
It came too late. A searing pulsewave erupted from the planet killer's maw in a cone of titanic destructive energy, and though the blast only managed to graze the two Starfleet vessels, it was enough to knock the Enterprise and her crippled sister apart, sending the crippled Constellation adrift. The Enterprise, however, was closer, and the blast nearly flipped the Federation flagship completely on its side. Anyone or anything not strapped down was sent to the floor or the wall as the inertial dampeners were nearly overwhelmed by the laws of physics.
The last thing Spock saw was the deck rushing up to meet him before all went black.
To be continued...
A/N: Next chapter, we'll be back with Jim and the away team on the Constellation, wondering what the hell has happened.
Until next time!