[USS Vanguard] RPG: Saladin

  • From: "andywoho@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx" <andywoho@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ncv80221@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2005 16:54:10 -0600

Capt. Dominic Santos
USS Vanguard
After "Just Floating"

Aliyah-Amores Lopez-Fitzgerald walked into sickbay and found Dr. Xristha Droin 
at her desk. The Vanguard's chief medical officer was charting information on 
her desktop computer and listening to a waltz. As she studied her screen, her 
hand fluttered in time to the music.

Aliyah cleared her throat.

Dr. Droin spun, saw the Vanguard's JAG Officer and smiled.

"Computer, pause playback," the doctor said. The music stopped.

Dr. Droin stood to greet Aliyah.

"Aliyah, hi. What can I do for you?"

Aliyah shrugged and grinned. "Nothing. I just wanted to see how Nick...er, the 
captain--was doing."

"He's doing all right. Resting up and having a bit of lunch." She leaned in as 
if confiding a secret. "Since he's eating, he's in a better mood about being 

Both women laughed.

"He's recovered more quickly than I thought. I'm pleased with his progress."

"Can I see him?"

"Sure. Just call me if you need anything." Droin returned to her computer.

As Aliyah walked toward the biobeds in the long-term recovery wing of sickbay, 
she could hear the strains of Droin's waltz.

Captain Dominic Santos was sitting up in bed, a PADD in one hand. Because he 
was close to fully recovering from his injuries on New Vanguard, Droin only 
asked (well, ordered) that he stay in sickbay another three or four days. He 
had not been happy about that. They reached a compromise when Droin allowed 
Santos to wear his uniform rather than a sickbay gown and to eat real food, 
like he had done at the officers' New Year's celebration.

Santos had just finished a sandwich. A bite or two was all that remained on his 
plate. His soup bowl contained a few smears of tomato soup.

"Hi, Nick," Aliyah said, smiling. She gave him a small peck on the cheek and 
tussled his hair. Ordinarily, she would not have treated her captain like this, 
but at the moment, he was not the captain.

"Ali," Santos said by way of greeting. He placed his PADD aside and touched a 
button that blackened the screen.

"What are you reading?" she asked.

"A book: 'Love in the Time of Cholera.'"

"Do you like it?"

He shrugged. "Not especially. Des recommended it, but I can't seem to get into 

Jazz Falcon blew into the sickbay. "Sorry I'm late!" she told Droin.

Droin looked up. "That's okay. Don't worry about it. We're slow today."

Droin and Falcon examined the PADDs on Droin's desk. A few minutes later, Droin 
excused herself for her lunch break in Event Horizon, leaving Falcon alone with 
Aliyah and Santos.

Aliyah watched Santos sip his coffee and put aside the dinnerware. He almost 
dropped a mug, but Aliyah took it from his hands and placed it on the tray.

"Let me do that," she offered.

"You don't have to."

Aliyah sat down on the edge of the bed, and Santos moved his leg so that she 
could be more comfortable.

"I ran into another officer today who heard about our shared past on the 
Birmingham." She glanced quickly at Santos to guage his reaction.

Instead of dodging the issue, Santos laughed. "Again? That's never going to 
rest." He shook his head.

"Well, I've been meaning to speak to you..."

The ship rocked.

"What the hell was that!" Santos barked.

"Felt like something hit the ship," Aliyah replied.

Santos swung his legs out of bed and stood, just as the ship rocked again, more 
violently this time. Aliyah almost stumbled, but Santos caught her by the arms. 
They looked at one another.

"Thanks," Aliyah said, moving away.

"Anytime." Santos tugged on his tunic. "Let's go."

As they emerged on the bridge, Zena Quetan was standing behind Cynan Mandrake, 
her hand resting on the back of his chair. Sam McCaw was on the engineering 
console at the rear of the bridge. He quickly glanced at Santos and Aliyah and 
nodded but immediately returned to his display.

M.J. Valentine, in the navigator's position, was studying her board, her 
fingers performing an inhumanly quick dance on the computer. Chief Kavan was 
bent over the operations computer, coordinating with McCaw.

The ship rocked again.

Santos and Aliyah held onto a bulkhead to steady themselves.

Santos glanced at the viewscreen, and suddenly, he understood.

"Gravitic mines," he said to no one in particular.

The viewscreen showed that the Vanguard was proceeding through a gravitic 
minefield. There were thousands--perhaps millions--of gravitic mines dotting 
his field of vision.

Zena Quetan turned and glanced at Santos and Aliyah.

"Are we under attack?" Santos asked.

"No," Zena said. "They were left here for someone else. Maybe it was an aborted 
attempt on the Borg themselves."

"Of all the sections of the conduit we fly through, we just HAD to fly through 
the segment with about a million mines!" McCaw quipped.

"What's our status, chief?" Quetan asked Kavan.

"Our shields are holding steady at 83 percent, thanks to Commander Mandrake 
avoiding most of the mines."

"But I'm not going to hold out forever. You people better start thinking of 
something." Mandrake rocked as they hit another mine.

"78 percent. Those mines are stripping our shields. Fast."

They rocked again.

"Make that 73," Mandrake said, wryly.

"We need to get out of the conduit, get some breathing room," Santos said.

Quetan shook her head in frustration. "I've had Highwaij looking for an 
entry/exit point as soon as we spotted the first mine. We seem to be traveling 
a stretch of the conduit that has few--maybe no--entry/exits."

Santos looked at Mandrake. "How are you holding up, Cynan?"

"It's like playing catch with photonic grenades and about 100 children, sir."

Zena shook her head. "He's been at this for ten minutes. We can't hold out 

"Sir!" Highwaij turned. "We're approximately two minutes from an entry point!"

Zena turned to Nick. "Do you want to take command of the ship, Nick?"

Santos shook his head. "She's all yours, Commander. Do what you have to do to 
get us out of here." Zena nodded and started to turn to Mandrake.

"And Zena?" She turned. "You're doing great." She smiled tightly and turned 
back to Mandrake.

"Mr. Mandrake, prepare to leave the conduit."

"Aye, sir," Mandrake replied.

"Sam, shunt all emergency power to shields. Get it from life support, if you 
have to."

The ship rocked three times in succession.

"Shields are down," Kavan said.

"Where's my emergency power!" Mandrake said.

"Computer is not responding. No power to the shields."

"One minute," Highwaij said.

"Cynan, you can do this," Zena said. "Shields or no shields, you're the best 
damn pilot in Starfleet."

"I'll try," he said.

"I know you will. Just get us out of here."

"Thirty seconds," Highwaij said.

No one breathed for twenty seconds.

"Ten seconds...9, 8, 7..."

"Tracer! We've got a tracer!" Valentine said.

On the viewscreen, one of the gravitic mines broke from the pack. It was the 
largest mine yet. The mine turned red and locked on the Vanguard. As soon as it 
had its target, it seemed to leap for the Vanguard.

"Three seconds!" Highwaij said.

"We're never going to make it," Sam said.

"The hell we won't," Mandrake said.

They emerged from the conduit.

"Where is the mine?" Quetan shouted.

A starboard explosion rocked the ship.

"There it is," Mandrake said.

"Damage report, Sam," Quetan ordered.

"Negligible. It was far enough to have done no damage. Luckily, the conduit's 
affect on space-time must have disrupted its sensors."

Kavan said, "Sir, shields are offline. No damage to the primary hull. No 
injuries. We're receiving reports that some of the crew are shaken up by the 
experience, though."

Quetan nodded. "Good work, all." She turned to Santos and cocked an eyebrow. 
"Nick? She's yours."

Santos nodded. "Thank you, Commander. Well done. I relieve you of command."

"I stand relieved," Quetan replied formally.

Santos strolled toward the viewscreen. "As of 1332, I take command of this 
vessel. Please have it noted for the log, Chief."

Kavan looked at Santos. "So noted, sir."

"Lieutenant McCaw, please bring the shields online. Make this your highest 
priority. You may have whatever resources you need--personnel, tools, anything."

McCaw nodded. "Aye, sir."

Santos grinned as McCaw stood there. "Well, get started."

McCaw nodded and exited. "Aye, sir."

"So long as our shields are down and we are defenseless, I'd like to run a 
standard shuttle perimeter. Mister Kavan and Mister Mandrake: Take a shuttle 
and circle this vessel. Act as watchtower and first line of defense in case we 
are met with hostilities. Because the Coba del Rey is gone, I leave it up to 
you which vessel you select."

Kavan and Mandrake left the bridge.

"In the meantime..." Santos started to say, He was interrupted by an alert at 
Highwaij's station.

"Sir," the communications officer said, "I'm picking up a distress call, very 

"Can you clarify it?" Santos asked.

"No, sir, but you're going to find this hard to believe. It's Starfleet."

Santos and Zena looked at one another.

Santos looked at Valentine.

"Mister Valentine, what is our current position?"

The answer was long in coming.

"Captain, based on theoretical astronomical data and judging from our distance 
to the Davis-Suchy Nebula, I postulate that we have emerged in the Echo 
Quadrant. Present day."

Santos looked at Quetan, who shrugged. Santos returned the shrug.

"Are there any Starfleet vessels or exploratory satellites in this region?"

Zena shook her head. "There have been rumors of a deep-space mission code name 
Project: Olympian, but the last I heard it was tabled for feasibility."

Santos nodded. =/\= "Mandrake." =/\=

Mandrake: =/\= "Sir, Mandrake here." =/\=

Santos: =/\= "Belay your shuttle mission, Commander. We're moving our 
position." =/\=

Mandrake: =/\= "Aye. Do you require our assistance on the bridge?" =/\=

Santos: =/\= "I'll let you know if we do. Santos out." =/\=

The captain turned to Valentine. "Let's see what this object is. Leave a 
subspace marker and have this entry/exit point logged as Charlie 10. Set course 
and engage."

The Vanguard went to warp as a pinprick of light in this strange, alien space.

She came out of warp minutes later.

"Object is in visual range," Highwaij said.

"On screen."

Santos didn't know what to expect, but the last thing he expected to see was 
this: She WAS a Starfleet vessel--specifically, a Discovery-era saucer section 
joined with a single warp nacelle ventral to the saucer.

Santos and Zena knew what it was immediately.

"That's a Saladin-class destroyer," Santos said.

Zena added: "I haven't seen one in...well, decades, honestly. I thought they 
had all been retired."

"Let's get a closer look at her, Mister Valentine. Nice and slow."

The Vanguard approached the Saladin-class vessel. She was adrift but otherwise 
showed no battle scars, save for the damage due to time and lack of maintenance.

"Can you see her registry?" Zena asked Santos.

"Looks like--Mr Highwaij, magnify--NCC-5050 USS Ghormley. Zena?"

Quetan brought up the Starfleet registry.

"These old records are in a different format, but they're very compl...Ah, here 
she is. USS Ghormley...registry date...last known coordinates...reported lost 
on..." Zena read a stardate from nearly 100 standard years ago. "Under the 
command of Captain Keen Powell, first officer and chief security officer 
Michaelina Stromburg. Primary mission: escort duty along the old Neutral Zone."

At the mention of "escort duty" and "Neutral Zone," Aliyah glanced at Santos. 
Santos's face betrayed nothing.

"I wonder what she's doing all the way out here," Santos mused.

"No clue, sir. At least, not from these records."

"Only one way to find out. Zena, please assemble an away team. Use the hazard 
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