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A measure of last resort

Posted on Thursday 17 September 2020 @ 09:26 by Commander Melody Jones & Major Richard "Wolf" Johnson, Psy.D.

Mission: Race against the machine - Joint Mission with USS Andromeda
Location: USS Andromeda, USS Merlin, USS Europa
Timeline: MD9 1220
4524 words - 9 OF Standard Post Measure


"Captain! The Europa has laid in a direct course for the mouth of the Planet Killer!" Someone relayed the exact same words that had just been uttered on the bridge of the Merlin.

The words took a while to permutate Jon's brain. It just didn't make sense. And this was not the plan.

"What .... Open channel to the Europa. Captain Keading what are you doing?" Jon demanded.

Michael tapped on his commbadge sending a message to C'Tora, "Doc, our injured helmsman is on his way, take good care of Lieutenant Graham, don't let him die." He stood up as his friend, was beamed from the bridge to sickbay, turned to get back to his station. His jaw dropped, when he heard the announcement of the Europa heading for the Planet Killer.

"What the ?! Natasha... Ron.." he opened up communications to the USS Europa, wanting to hear what was going on as well.

Vern wasn't going to answer them however. His mind was made up. This was the only way to make sure that the thing died. It was what had been done when the original enterprise encountered their planet killer. It would work here. Now just . . . . he had to make sure to get his crew off the ship. "Tell the Andromeda we're abandoning ship, and get everyone over there."

Wolf saw the action on his sensors even before the comms started coming in. As he pulled his fighter into a corkscrew maneuver, coming out and inverting he aimed at Europa, "don't be doing what I think you are......' he growled to himself.

Natasha gave Vern a look of grim approval, not questioning his actions, there didn't seem any other possible way to stop that monster. With the other ships that had taken severe damage, the Europa was the only feasible way to end this.

"Sound general quarters, all crew prepare to abandon ship. This is not a drill." red alert Klaxons going off throughout the ship. "Andromeda, we are abandoning ship, the crew is heading your way. " Natasha relayed the message. To the side at Vern,

"WWKD? What would Kirk do maneuver." she smiled.

"Of course not. This will be forever known as the Keading maneuver in all it's stupidity." Vern couldn't help but smile back at Nat though. "Get everyone off the ship number one. I'll see you on the other side."


“Andromeda, we are abandoning ship, the crew is heading your way,” come over the comm.

Jon wanted to swear but tried to stay calm. He glanced at True. Sensing her worry as she realised what her brother was planning.

“Any chance you might be able to talk him out of this?” He suggested. He knew the answer anyway. He himself might have had to pull the same if their situations and status were different.

"I doubt it honestly," she said quietly. "He's even more stubborn than I am if you can believe that."

“Ok,” Jon started thinking fast. “Security and ops start Beaming everyone you can off the Europa and into wherever you can squeeze them. Medical we have incoming so send who you can spare,” he ordered.

"Beaming willy-nilly!" Gwen nodded, "I'll have security meet up with the groups of evacuees. We can tag the wounded for transport to sickbay."

“Who’s in that transport I saw keeping one of the Cetea ships off us. Hail them and the marine squadron,” Jon said.

“Transport vessel and marine commander Johnston, this is Captain Reynolds. The Europa is abandoning ship and we need to lower shields to start beaming personal. Can you keep that bird of prey busy and off us please?”

"This is Ensign Adam Morgan...Captain Reynolds of the Andromeda?! Sir...yes sir...Ill do what i can with the maneuvers of this old thing if i can get tactical to wake up!"

''Copy that," Wolf replied simply, "all fighters attack the BOP, Demon and Rascal, you're the transports wingmen, Lioness, on me!" he ordered and sent the transport a link into his tactical overlay showing his squadrons maneuvers, "Morgan, I linked up our tactical link to yours," he called over the secure comms as he spun his fighter around and aimed at the bird of prey, "all birds, weapons free, lets make ourselves popular!"

Morgan watched as that message came to him and he spoke as he maneuvered the transport, "Understood, Morgan out."

“Reynolds to Europa. Captain I want you beamed back too. Set autopilot and get over here,” he told him.

"Negative, I'm not going to take the chance that autopilot fails, I'm staying until the last possible minute." Vern replied seriously.

“To hell you are,” Jon told him simply. “Reynolds to transporter Stevens. I know your very busy right now but I need you to Get a lock on Captain Keading and get him back here.”

“Yes sir,” Oliver replied. “I have his comm. badge and signature from prior beamings. I’ll get to programming something I can work with,” the other man told him.

How he was meant too when he was beaming 12 folk at a time continuously trying to empty the Europa he had no clue but the urgency in his friend and captains voice Was apparent. Then he remembered that was Trues brother. He had to make this happen.

“Thank you Reynolds out,” If Vern has been on the viewer Jon would be shooting him a check mate stare right now. Quickly he projected to his imzadi, something he did ever so rarely to tell her ~we will do everything we can to get your brother over here~ as he waited for any further response.

"He'll do as he says. This isn't a suicide mission though." True replied softly. "If he means to stay as long as possible he'll probably find a way to do that. Just, get him back before the ship goes."

Xu, still occupying the pilots seat and focused intently on keeping the rather large bird that was Andromeda as close to the floundering starship as she could while keeping the fire she was taking on the stronger facing shields. Out of her comfort zone didn't hold a candle to this. The nervous perspiration soaking not only her forehead but her uniform as well.

Hawkins was on the comms directing all the staff he could find to place the refugees in whatever space he could find. "Han even if you have to put them in the corridors for the time being, may have to triple bunk everyone, I have faith in you."

Engineering were scrambling about, doing repairs, making certain the ship stayed functional.


The klaxons were baring and people could be heard running and panicking outside the science department. Around him his colleagues were scrambling.

“Lieutenant what are you doing?” Demanded one of the ensigns. A young bajoran. He hadn’t spoken to her much. Every time he had tried he had “bumbled” it.

“Get going ensign, I just need to programme these scans,”

“Sir you need to evacuate....”

“And I will,” he said eerily calmly, “I’ll be right behind you.”

She looked pensive ....

“Don’t make me make it an order ensign,” he suddenly found a measure of authority not often around Ron Bumble. “I will be right behind you.”

She nodded stiffly not arguing further.

“Computer open channel to Lieutenants Datari and Xu on the Andromeda,” he ordered.

“It’s Bumble. There’s not much time but we might never get a shot at this again As our captains intent on taking the ship into the heart of the planet killer. I’ve configured a several probes and am going to launch them. I need you to get the data, keep a link on them as let’s face it the europas going to be toast. I’ll do everything I can here,” he told them.

Xu heard the incoming hail for her and Datari and couldn't help but roll her eyes. Impeccable timing didn't even come close to covering what she was thinking. Instead she took the briefest of moments away from her single minded focus on the helm to shoot a pointed glare at Datari in a less than subtle way letting him know she had her hands firmly and completely full.

"We're a little busy here Bumble," Aidan answered tersely, "we can only do so much. We can keep the link but you're going to have to sort the data yourself."

“Fine,” Ron barked. “I’ll have to get to the bridge then. I can’t do all it here. Bumble out.”

Again Xu rolled her eyes knowing what would be coming next, her focus was snapped back as another volley of weapons fire racked the saucer sections port side, "Gāisǐ de" she uttered, the universal translator not picking up her words as they tumbled from her lips in her native tongue. "Bumble you damn well better be ready for transport when we say!"

"I don't intend to die actually managing to co discover something," He said simply running for the turbo lift.

Reynolds quarters

“Mum you don’t need to baby me. I’m fine,” Eddie whined.

“There’s a star fight going on out there and your fathers at the centre of it. I. Not letting you out of my eyes,” Charlotte told him.

“Oh I do hope Vern’s alright,” she said.

“Vern, you know Vern,” Eddies eyes flipped to hers.

“You know Vern,” Charlotte asked confused.

“He’s the Captain, going down with the ship,” Eddie told her indicating they Europa flying into the planet killer out the window. “Dads really not happy n worried right now. He’s leaking loud thoughts,” he shrugged.

“I gotta speak to that ship Eddie,”

“Mum what the ...”

“No questions just that I know you have accessed your dads stuff before .. I need ... I really need you to find me a way ....”

The way his mum was sensed he knew she was deathly serious.

“Trust me son, please.”

“Dads going to be really mad,” eddie stated then unlocked Jon’s console. “It’s a captains frequency. Try this.”

“Vern this is Charlotte what are you doing?”

"What the hell? How did you get this frequency?" He frowned as his fingers moved over the controls. Nothing about this conversation was going to be quiet. The ship was rocking like crazy, threatening to break apart.

"Captain, someone is using your frequency contacting the bridge on the Europa, its coming from within the ship, from your quarters.

Nat gave a nod, and headed off the bridge. Natasha went to check on how the evac was going, paused realizing something. The captain needed her code to set the self-destruct on the ship. She stopped at engineering got something she felt was going to be needed to stack the deck in his favor. It was an enhancer to help the transporter to lock on signals in case of interference.

"Vern you are getting off that ship right?" Charlotte said. "Please get off it before you get sucked into that monster."

"This isn't a suicide run. I Don't want to die, but I'm going to do whatever it takes to bring this thing down." Vern said rather sternly, in general he was that way on the bridge and with people he was not comfortable with. He didn't want to be with Charlotte but he had no idea who might be listening and he couldn't allow any soft spots in his personality to show through.

"Then I wish you luck Vern," Charlotte simply said back to his curtness to her. How could he have been so wonderful and then so stubborn now. "End this call Eddie,"


Natasha returned to the bridge, bracing herself as she moved to where Vern was at.

"Sorry to interrupt, but you need my code, Captain." entering it in and stating the necessary protocol. "It's all yours now, Captain." slapping him on the shoulder and placing the signal enhancer on him. "I'm going to go get a sweep done to make certain there aren't any stragglers. I better see you on the other side" leaving Vern to deal with a frantic sounding woman.

When she turned to leave heading towards the turbo, Natasha's eyes widened when the lift doors opened "Ron, what are you doing here still?"

"Data. Maam this could be the only chance we get. We might never see a live one of these again," He said simply unlocking a science console and his hands moving fast.

"Would a second pair of hands help to move things along?" Natasha asked, "If so, tell me what you need and I'll help. I will admit you make a good point in gaining information with these monsters, Ron."

"I have the scans set to go and the probe we designs been launched - its just getting all the data back in. I was hoping the Andromeda could coordinate with me but they are obviously stuck evacuating us and evading that bird of prey," Ron stated. There was probably no point telling her he didn't want her risking her life. She'd likely not listen to him.

"I have an idea, Ron, there is another person who may be able to help you out. What was the fellow's name... Ah yes, contact an ops personnel by the name of Michael Hawkins, he might be able to take the data, during the scramble. " Looking at the Science officer."Then let's get off this ship. I can't leave unless you leave. Do you understand?"

"I know Hawkins. I tried Datari and Xu but they were too busy," Ron said disappointed. He sent the message through to Hawkins really hoping he was going to get his data for him.

"Yes maam. On one condition, we make the Captain also come with us," Ron stated firmly.

Transport 413

Lucy grabbed hold of the seat next to Morgan. He was doing some fancy flying and the marines were zipping around like crazy. The motion and watching them was making her feel ill.

“It’s got to have a weak spot, do you know anything about Klingon vessels?” She asked.

Morgan looked at the bird of prey and watched as it made another maneuver. Morgan spoke as he tried to keep around the klingon ship, "The Klingon's underbelly of the ship would be the perfect spot to do some damage but in the interim I must...."

Adam's words were cut off as the ship started to move past them than continue to fire. Morgan adjusted the screen to watch as the ship started to ripple in the confines of space. The ship was beginning to cloak.

“Oh no ... oh no ... noooooo no no no,”

“It cloaked. What do we do? Do you think the marines can still find it?”

"Theres nothing we can do at this point." Morgan punched in a couple buttons to lay in course hopefully to a Federation ship. He continued, "You could run a multi-phasic sweep but i doubt that would work depending on how old the vessel could be."

The Ferengi's bird of prey swung towards the Europa. "What are they doing!" the DaiMon screeched, wildly tapping at the buttons. "That's my weapon out there! Charge disruptors!" He hopped angrily in his seat. "Starfleet vessel get away or we will destroy you!"

USS Merlin

Melody has heard the transmission from the Europa to the Andromeda.

"Helm, move us in closer. Give the Europa and Andromeda some cover. Lock phasers on the bird of prey and fire!"

The tactical officer reported "Direct hit but their shields are holding."

Melody frowned "That's an old Klingon ship. Does it have any weaknesses?"

"Checking....." The ships rocked again. The officer at ops reported. "It's an old D12 bird of prey. They were apparently taken out of service because of defective plasma coils.

"How can we use that?"

"I'm not sure. The plasma coil is part of their cloaking device...."

"Transmit the information to the Andromeda and the Europa. Maybe together, we can figure something out."

USS Andromeda

Amelia’s console beeped and she turned it towards her. She informed Jon. “We’re receiving a transmission from the Merlin. Melody.... I mean Commander Jones is sending information on that Klingon ship. It’s an old D12 bird of prey. Defective plasma coils...... Part of cloaking device..... How can this help?”

Amelia starting thinking out loud “Plasma coils..... Plasma coils..... Some sort of ionic pulse could trigger a coil reset....”

"A low level one, yes. Scan for their coil frequency tactile and hit it with a low level pulse," Jon ordered. "Well remembered number one. As their cloak comes on line their shields will go down. Transmit that to the marines and the transport vessel and every just take a shot. I'd rather disable if possible but that might not be feasible," the captain said.

Listening to the conversation, Rose thought of something, “sirs, we may want to fit a torpedo with something to detect ionized plasma. If that bird of prey cloaks before the marines can hit it, we may need a way to hit it ourselves”

It was a lot to take in, "Scanning for coil frequencies." Gwen said, "Preparing Ion pulse." Studying the station computer she said, "A torpedo wouldn't do to detect ionized plasma. Unless...we fire one and then detonate it so that it would highlight any plasma leakage."

Jon looked at her and said, "Do whatever you can to get that uncloaked again and get the marines and that runabout and our weapon coordinated. We need to disable that bird of prey."

Gwen looked over to the science officer and then began working in tandem with them to adjust the torpedo load. A science crewman with a security escort was hastily beamed into the torpedo armory to adjust the pieces as needed, "We'll be ready with the torpedo experiment in a few moments. When we are, do we have your permission to fire?"

"Permission," Jon stated firmly.

Michael tapped his commbadge, "C'Tora how's it going with sickbay?How is Graham?" worried on all accounts.

C'Tora tapped his commbadge and added a few more commands before answering the question. " Get a pressure bandage on that one and nurse hand me the protolaser scalpel!! How's sickbay? it would be a lot better if we weren't being bounced around so much." He paused briefly. " As for Graham......" C'Tora let out a sigh. " The fragments have been removed,repairs to the motor pathway are done and now I'm dealing with both electrical and plasma damage to Graham as well. He's not out of the woods yet and he may need months of rehab at a starbase but he'll live." His attention was elsewhere for a moment. " Will someone please get that blasted EMH online!" "Sorry Michael,Got to go. We have more customers coming in." With that said the Comm ended.

USS Europa

"Captain, Maam," Ron said simply. "I think its time to get off this boat."

"I'm remaining until the last possible second. But both of you get off, that's an order." Vern said seriously, his eyes raised slightly daring someone to contradict him.

Nat gave Vern a nod, turned, tapped on her commbadge, and said "Transporter Room lock on my signal, two to beam out now!" grabbed Ron in a bear hug, not letting him go.

A signal came through right before they vanished from the Europa Bridge, "Receiving data."

When they materialized in the transporter room, Nat sent a message to Vern. "Made it in one piece." Then released Ron. "Hope you forgive me for what I did." then said to the transporter officer. "When Captain Keading gives the signal, get him out of there. I've got a signal enhancer on him, should make it easier for you to get him.

The inside of the planet killer was getting bigger and bigger and if they left it much longer they were going to be toast.

To the left of them the bird of prey suddenly was visible again and taking a battering from everyone in vicinity.

The Ferengi bared his gnarled teeth in fury. "Fire! Fire everything we've got!" he screeched as the ship lurched and shuddered. "Ram that thing, if we can't have it, no-one can!"


Aidan frowned at his readings. "I don't get it," he muttered, looking up at those down at the command centre. "The Europa seems to be on a collision course, and the Ferengi seem to be doing the same, but they're firing wildly sir. I don't get it, what are they trying to do?"

"I don't know but as soon as we have everyone we can get off the Europa get us as far away from them as you can Lieutenant Lau. I doubt this is going to end well. And relay to everyone else to do the same."

"Aye sir!" out of duty Xu replied but wanted to focus on what she was doing. Once again weapons fire raked the ship, the port side. She manipulated the ships controls, banking her round so they couldn't get purchase with the already damaged section, all while still maintaining a relative distance from the Europa so the transporters could work their magic with the rescue efforts.

'Its a shuttle, it's a shuttle, it's a shuttle' was the mantra she was repeating in her own mind trying not to think about the number of people that relied on her ability to pilot the Galaxy Class behemoth effectively. In between all of this she had signalled the different ships pilots to inform them of Captain Reynolds orders to evaculate the Europa then get the hell out of the way.

Feeling a little useless, Rose got up and left the bridge. There had to be something better for her to do than sit at the rear of the bridge twirling her thumbs. Stepping into the turbolift, she punched in the deck for guest quarters. As they were going to be housing more people for a while, she might as well make sure they had the room available.

Transport 413

Adam Morgan tapped in a couple commands as the sequence of events unfolded before his eyes and anyone else on the bridge of the transport. He couldnt believe that the one Federation ship started towards the planet killer just to be killed. And now the bird of prey started towards the planet killer as well firing whatever they had at their disposal to any ship to interfere with them.

The ship rocked a bit as some of the hits meant for the Andromeda was hitting the transport instead. Morgan made a couple more calculations into the console to make a meuneuver to get the ship out of the path of the crossfires but still maintained the course so the crew could be transported to the Galaxy class starship. As he felt the transport move out of the path of the fire, another hit came upon the transport having the ship rocking heavily. Morgan maintained the control long enough to keep the transport on course to the Andromeda but not enough time to move from the coming explosion from his console at the same time.

Morgan was flown back from his console and Adam knew he was hurt badly. He could barely move his head as he watched on the viewscreen as the ship was still on course towards the Starfleet ship but now seemed to be on a collision course as the helm controls looked fried from the explosion. Adam laid his head back as the pain set in and all he could think was 'what a day' and his eyes started to close on him.

Dragon 1

Johnson shook his head as he watched Andromedas weapons hitting the transport as well. Once the transport looked like it was out of the line of fire he turned his attention back to the bird of prey, "all Dragons, fir torpedoes at this point," he ordered and set a point at the bird of preys weakest shield point.

He hoped that while micro-torpedoes from one fighter wouldn't penetrate on their own, the micro-torpedoes from all the fighters focused on one point would, "fire!" he ordered and pressed the thumb control on the flight stick, emptying the torpedo magazine.

Vern began to sweat despite the temperature of Europa not changing a bit. He watched his screen and the battle going on around him and he watched the mouth of the planet killer as it readied itself for another meal. He took a deep breath. He would stay until the last possible second, even if it cost him his life. True would know why he had done it and she would know what it meant to him to be successful. He blinked his eyes at the brightness of it all and watched as the bow of the ship finally began to enter the beast. The self destruct had been set by him and Nat before she'd left. It was on a silent timer which left him wondering just how much time he had left.

USS Merlin

Melody watched at the Europa entered the maw of the planet killer. With the Klingon ship disabled, Melody had turned her attention to the Europa.

The Tactical officer reported "Sir.. I'm picking up one life sign over there, on the bridge."

Melody didn't have to think long to know who it was. "Open a channel! Merlin to Europa... Captain Keading! We're going to beam you out of there!"

Without waiting for the acknowledgement she pressed the internal comm button "Bridge to transporter room. Lock onto the life sign on the Europa and prepare for transport."

=^=No, wait. Not until we're sure. I'm not going to be the reason this fails.=^= Vern spoke with a determination and a calm manner despite what he was feeling, which was pure terror. =^=Just give it a few moments more.=^=

=^=Negative Merlin=^= the voice of Transporter chief Oliver Stevens rant out. =^=I have him now=^= he informed them locking directly into the XOs pattern buffer she had placed on the man. He was sure the Captain wouldn’t be happy but he would rather face him than Jon who had ordered he get this man back safe.

He dematerialised Captain Keading and felt both a sigh of relief and some irritation off immediately flying from both the man and his XO.

“Sorry maam but my Captains orders out rank yours. I’m sure You can go directly to Captain Reynolds if your not happy. Both of you, sir,” he added as Vern came to realisation he was no longer on the bridge.

Outside the Europa and the bird of prey refusing to leave its claimant exploded into the planet killer.

On the bridge Amelia ordered, “Helm back us off. Get us out of the blast radius. All hands brace for impact.”

From the mouth of the creature, there was an enormous antimatter explosion after which the internal light of the planet killer faded and it drifted lifelessly to a stop.



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