My "Star Trek" Novel — Mj'cra souft
Captain Harrison moved briskly from the turbo-lift to his captain's chair, ousting Lt. Langley; he was followed in by Lt. Mann, Ensigns Ciam and Siler, Jennifer--who sat to the Captain's left--while Mr. B brought up the rear and sat in the recently-installed commander's chair.
"Position," Harrison demanded.
"Coordinates R-714 at A-755," Ensign Siler said.
"All stop! Damage?"
"Minor buckling of the ship's outer hull," Lt. Mann said. "Not life-threatening."
"What caused it?"
"There are metallic scrapings at the point of impact. The mixture of tartanium, lisolyte, and benzorm would seem to indicate..."
Captain Harrison nodded. "Romulans!"
"Shields up!" Mr. B declared.
"Maintain yellow alert status," Captain Harrison ordered. "We don't know what's out there yet. Counselor?"
Jennifer leaned forward. "I sense...a kind of muted fear. But whether this is coming from out there or from inside the ship I can't tell."
"Captain," Lt. Mann said. "Given our speed, and the minor buckle at the point of impact, what we ran into--or what ran into us--couldn't have been very large."
"A conjecture," Mr. B stated. "Could the Romulans be sending cloaked space debris towards our side of the neutral zone?"
"For what purpose? I doubt the Romulans would go to so much trouble--and risk breaking the Treaty of Algeron--in order to seem...pesky."
"At warp speed, cloaked space debris could destroy a ship rather effectively," Lt. Mann reminded the Captain.
"True. But how would they monitor it? How could they make sure that the debris didn't drift back towards Romulus and Remus?" The Captain shook his head. "No, that doesn't smell right. The Romulans never nickel-and-dime anything." He cupped his hand over his mouth and lifted his face in thought. After weighing the alternatives, he executed a smart half-turn and settled back into his chair.
"Ensign. Turn the Brock around and retrace our steps. Lieutenant?" He turned towards Don Mann. "I want you to send out tachyon emissions. Let's see if we can uncloak whatever might be cloaked out there. On my mark."
Just as his pointed finger was raised in the air, the ship's inter-communication system beeped, and the voice of Doctor Failor filled the bridge. "Captain?"
"What is it, Doctor?"
"I just thought you'd like to know that G. Nickulls is doing fine. He's fully cognizant--or at least as cognizant as a Nausicaan can be." A light laugh floated through the intercom system. "Hey! My, how rude! I should add that Mr. Nickulls is also restrained and guarded, so further shenanigans from him will be unlikely. By the way, I think that was a wonderful idea of yours to--"
"Doctor," Captain Harrison interrupted. "We're in a bit of a situation right now."
"You are? Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize. I just thought that since your ball game was over, now would be the best time to fill you in on Mr. Nickulls' condition. But if you're busy..."
The Captain inhaled with consternation; his forehead vein became pronounced again.
"Ensign? Don?" Harrison's arm came down like he was pitching lackadaisically. "Engage." The Captain then turned toward his first officer. "Isn't the doctor aware of inter-ship protocol during a yellow alert?"
"I'll remind him, Captain," Mr. B stated, and seemed to be furiously chewing on his moustache at the thought of the future encounter.
Ten minutes elapsed before the double tactic of backtracking and emitting tachyon rays struck paydirt.
"Romulan scout ship revealed on the port bow, Captain!" Lt. Mann cried urgently. Confused, he added, "It appears to be drifting."
"Flood the area, Lieutenant. I want to know as much as possible about this ship before we board her."
An away-team was assembled of Mr. B and Security Ensign Rodgers. Together they marched into Transporter Room Two and climbed onto the platform, while Transporter Chief Kim stood ready at the controls.
"Ensign," Mr. B said. "Activate your emergency transporter armband. Mr. Kim. I don't need to tell you what a tricky business it is transporting aboard a cloaked vessel. If there are any fluctuations in our signals, bring us back with all due haste."
Mr. B nodded. "Energize."
The bright lights, cool temperatures, and hospital odor of Transporter Room Two slowly shimmered away, replaced by the bitter red warmth and claustrophobic tightness of the Romulan scout ship. A haze of old smoke filled the bridge. Rodgers' face grimaced.
"This place smells of Romulans."
Mr. B tapped once on his communicator.
"Captain? The ship apparently holds only two Romulans. Both are slumped over their chairs. One appears to be pressing against something on the control panel. I can't make out what it is..."
Rodgers leaned over. "It's the cloaking device."
"You read Romulan?"
"There's an old Klingon saying: Know your friends well but your enemies better. Romulan--unlike English--is a required language in Klingon schools."
"Captain," Mr. B continued, "it would appear that one of the Romulans is maintaining the ship's cloak even though..." Mr. B felt for a pulse. "...even though he is dead. We will now attempt to decloak the vessel."
"Careful, Number One," the Captain cautioned. "They may have protocols to prevent such an undertaking."
Carefully Mr. B lifted the Romulan's hand from the panel, noting its lightness and shriveled quality, and then lifted the Romulan himself out of the way. Ensign Rodgers sat in the Romulan's place and surveyed the navigational equipment before punching in what he assumed were the appropriate commands.
From the viewscreen aboard the Brock, the Romulan scout ship wavered into visibility.
"My God!" Ensign Ciam cried.
Half of the ship was gone; what remained was pockmarked with burns and laser blasts.
"Mr. B!" shouted Harrison, rising from the Captain's chair. "Do not instigate a search of the Romulan vessel. Repeat: do not search the Romulan vessel. You might just walk through a door into space."
"Affirmative, Captain." To Ensign Rodgers, he ordered, "Look for the ship's logs. Let's see if we can't find out what happened here." He put his hands under the second Romulans arms. "I'll get this--"
At that instant, the Romulan he was holding reared up, gasping for breath.
"Yaaah!" Mr. B fell back against the other Romulan and slapped at his communicator. "Captain! One of the Romulans is still alive!"
"Place your communicator on him, Number One!" Captain Harrison shouted. He stood up and tugged on his tunic. "Captain Harrison to Doctor Failor! You're about to receive a visitor. We'll beam him directly to Bed Two."
"G. Nickulls is in Bed Two, Captain. Of course, I could--"
"Bed Three then! Chief Kim! Lock onto Mr. B's signal and beam it directly to sickbay. Bed Three! Energize!"
The Romulan was transported away from the Romulan scout ship. Alone, Ensign Rodgers suddenly smiled.
"So how are you getting back?" he asked the now communicator-less first officer.
Mr. B looked confused. "I figured I'd hitch a ride on your signal."
"Uh uh," the Ensign teased, still working the control panel to release the computer log. "I figure this is my way toward promotion. You know: eliminate those above me."
"Great." Mr. B tossed his hands in the air. "I somehow wound up in the mirror universe."
"Got it!" Rodgers examined a small, shiny disc in his right hand. "It appears to be--"
At that moment there was a sensation of intense heat and a feeling of breaking apart, before, startlingly, the two were back on the platform of Transporter Room Two; Rodgers, whose chair had not transported with him, fell onto his back. Their hair was singed and smoke wafted from their bodies but otherwise they appeared unharmed.
Chief Kim breathed a sigh of relief. "Got them, sir."
Captain Harrison's voice resounded around the room's bare walls. "Good work, Chief."
"What happened?" Mr. B asked.
"The Romulan ship just blew up," Chief Kim responded.
Five minutes later, Mr. B, Ensign Rodgers, and the Captain rendezvoused in sickbay; they were met by a dour Doctor Failor and a worried-looking Simon Tarses.
"There was just...too much internal bleeding," the doctor said. "I know so little about Romulan physiology. Mr. Tarses here tried to help, but..."
"Did he say anything before he died?" the Captain wondered.
Doctor Failor looked over at his assistant. "He did say one thing..."
"What was it, Mr. Tarses?" the Captain asked.
Tarses, seemingly frightened, swallowed once. "He said Mj'cra souft."
"Molok!" Ensign Rodgers cried.
The Captain looked from crewmember to crewmember. "What does it mean?"
"It means..." Simon Tarses began, before his voice caught as if on an exposed nail, and he shook his head wearily.
Ensign Rodgers finished for him. "It means 'The Borg'!"