Prologue Out off the dark


The shuttle limped out of the nebula at one-quarter impulse speed, trailing plasma from its starboard warp nacelle.

 "Have we lost him?"

 "I am not sure," Commander Westmore replied. "But this guy is nothing if not persistent," he added, referring to the commander of the Hideki-class attack ship that had pursued them all the way through the Argolis cluster.

 Tarin silently agreed. With their warp engines damaged their was no way the shuttle could ever hope to escape, but at least their communications system was still in one piece. "Contact the Valkyrie. They shouldn't be too far from our position."

 "No response and no indication that our signal has been received." Commander Westmore started to work at his controls and after a few seconds shook his head. "No, either the Valkyrie is not where she should be or their com-system is down."

 "And our long-range sensors are still off-line," Tarin added with a frown. "I think we should get back into the cloud and look for a hiding place before our Cardassian friends manage to catch up with us."

 "Too late."

 The Cardassian attack ship too had taken a lot of damage finding it's way out of the cluster, but it was still capable of fighting. Her crew powered up the disruptors and targeted the Starfleet shuttle they had so doggedly pursued for over twelve hours. 

"Now what?"

 "Well," Tarin replied, the strain of three days near constant activity evident in her voice, "we can't fight them and I don't want us to die. Open hailing frequencies; we are going to surrender."

 Commander Westmore reached for the controls but looked at the Captain before carrying out her orders. They had a little more time before the Cardassians reached weapons distance. "You know what they will do to us?"

 "Yes, but unless you can offer me another option we have little choice, do we?" She turned in his direction and saw Westmore shake his head almost imperceptibly.

 He looked down at the Ops controls again to activate the communications system when he saw something he couldn't believe. "They are breaking off their attack." Alexander Westmore wanted to shout, but self-control was too much a part of him to allow it, even after going for more than 24 hours without sleep.

 "You are right." Tarin checked her own station's read-outs. "They are setting a course for the border and powering down weapons."

 Suddenly the shuttle's com-system came to life and the face of a middle-aged blond man looked at Tarin and Commander Westmore.

 "I am Captain Sanders of the starship Malinche. We will be at your position in two minutes."

 Tarin breathed a sigh of relief. "Captain Veal of the USS Valkyrie," she introduced herself. "Needless to say we are delighted to see you Captain Sanders."

 "Glad to be of service," Sanders replied nonchalantly. "Now what are you two doing out here in a shuttle, if you don't mind me asking."

 Tarin smiled. "Actually I am looking for my ship. You haven't come across a Galaxy-class starship somewhere in the vicinity, have you?"


Prologue    Chapter 1    Chapter 2    Chapter 3

Chapter 4    Chapter 5    Chapter 6    Chapter 7

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