"I'm sorry Captain, but the
* Aldrin*'s a total mess. It will take us over a week to make all the repairs
on the Ronin, so I'd suggest that we dock at DS9 and make the repairs there.
It shouldn't take more than two days with the facilities there." Ensign
McMillan explained to Captain Ryan.
[Ensign, we don't have time to waste on waiting for the * Aldrin* to be repaired. We were counting on the * Aldrin* to be part of the 'sniper' fleet. I guess we'll have to make do without, I'll inform Captain Devore that the * Aldrin* will not be able to participate in the defensive shield.]
The 'sniper' squad was the friendly name that the Ronin crew had given to the fleet of smaller vessels that were to act as 'snipers', picking off the Barien's Decrum torpedoes before they could 'attach' to the larger ships shields.
"Captain Ryan to Captain Devore."
[Devore here, what can I do for you Captain Ryan ? I'm rather busy talking with Commodore Sisko and the Admirals on the * Leviathan *.]
"I'm sorry to disturb you, but I regret to inform you that the Ronin's shuttle * Aldrin* has suffered extensive damage and will be unavailable to participate in the defensive shield as planned."
[That is unfortunate Captain.] Devore said.
[Is the * Aldrin* crew all right ?] A strange voice said over the communications channel. It took Ryan a couple of seconds for the voice to register as that of Commodore Sisko.
"The pilot and single passenger are both fine so I am lead to believe Commodore. The * Aldrin* is being towed back to DS9 as we speak."
"Marc, the * Aldrin* was sent to pick up an SI officer that we sent deep into Barien space with a little help from the Klingons. He may have important last minute information, we need to get him here ASAP. Also, there's the vessel in shuttlebay two that I think you should think about using." Commodore Sisko explained.
[Captain, bring the * Aldrin* directly to the *Leviathan-A*, we'll take it onboard and make all the necessary repairs here. Captain, just how good is your shuttle pilot. If I may, I'd like to borrow them for a while. There's a vessel onboard that I think we can use as a replacement for the * Aldrin* in the defensive shield.] Captain Devore said.
"From the Ensign's record, they are a natural-born flyer. I'd be glad to offer the Ensign's services, there's not going too much for them to do here without the * Aldrin*. I'll pass on the message. Ryan out"
"Captain Ryan to Ensign McMillan."
[McMillan here Captain.]
"Ensign, you are to proceed directly to the *Leviathan-A* where repairs to the * Aldrin* will take place enroute. Once there, you are to report to Captain Devore directly. You are to be temporarily assigned to the * Leviathan * as an additional pilot. I look forward to seeing the return of both you and the * Aldrin* once this little war is over. Good luck Ensign. Ryan out"
"I guess we change course." Ensign Benosk said from the shuttlepods conn.
"I guess so" Tricia replied.
[Ronin shuttlepod, this is the * Leviathan *. Please release the * Aldrin* to our control. We'll tractor it into our forward shuttlebay. Your passengers are to prepare for transport and then you are to return to the Ronin.]
"Ensign McCloud here. Ensign McMillan and one passenger are ready for transport. We are releasing our tractor beam now and will return to the Ronin once our passengers have left. McCloud out."
Tricia and the mysterious man in black disappeared and Ensign Benosk released the tractor beam and proceeded back to the Ronin.
Moments later, the two passengers re-materialised in transporter room one onboard the * Leviathan *. To meet them were two security officers in their gold uniforms.
"Sir, I'm to escort you to the main briefing room, Commodore Sisko and the Admirals are awaiting your arrival." The first officer (A lieutenant) said to the SI officer. "Ensign McMillan, the Captain will be with you as soon as he has finished with our guest. In the meantime, Ensign Joka will escort you to shuttlebay two, where the * Aldrin* has been 'docked'. An engineering team is already assessing the damage. Welcome aboard the *USS Leviathan-A*." Tricia and Ensign Joka walked briskly to the turbolift. "Shuttlebay two" Ensign Joka said as they entered the lift cab.
"How long have you been aboard the * Leviathan * Ensign" Tricia asked.
"I came aboard just before she left Utopia Planitia for DS9. How long have you been aboard the Ronin." Joka replied.
"Well actually, I've not been aboard the Ronin at all. I arrived at DS9 on the *USS Churchill* along with the * Aldrin*. I was docked as DS9 when Commodore Sisko asked me to go 'collect' our mysterious SI officer. Returning back, I lost the warp core and blew out the deuterium tanks. With only thrusters and emergency power, I had to be towed back." Tricia replied. "I've not even met Captain Ryan yet and already I've been transferred, all be it temporary to the * Leviathan *."
The turbolift doors opened and the two Ensigns entered the shuttle bay. Over in one corner, an engineering team was busy removing the plating off the * Aldrin* in preparation for installing a new deuterium tank. Several others were on the roof of the shuttle, preparing to examine the small warp core.
"It's not as bad as it looks, mostly buckled plating. The warp core is intact and the shutdown was simply a safety measure. We are examining it just to check that there are no microfractures. The 'stall' seems to have been caused by a faulty warp induction coil. We're replicating another as we speak, it should be operational in about four days." The senior engineer said as the two ensigns approached.
"That sounds good, it's just a pity that it had to happen now" Tricia exclaimed.
"Better than happening in the heat of battle" Ensign Joka said. "You'd have been a sitting duck."
Looking around, Ensign McMillan noticed the emptiness of the shuttlebay.
Apart from the * Aldrin*, there was only one other vessel in the large bay, one that Tricia didn't recognise at all. Although it looked very much like a Danube class runabout at first glance, it was slightly longer in length and about half as high again. It also looked much 'sleeker' than the boxy Danube.
This vessel like the * Aldrin* had been designed to compliment a war ship. There was some sort of weapons pod atop of the vessel and Tricia surmised that the vessel was equipped with phaser cannons, like the Defiant, as there were no visible phaser arcs. As they got closer to the unidentified vessel, Tricia could see that along the side of the vessel was crudely painted the words 'Devastator II'. "Quite a ship isn't it." A voice from behind the two Ensigns spoke.
Ensign Joka turned around to the source of the voice. "Captain" he acknowledged and moved back, letting the Captain move beside Ensign McMillan.
"Mustang class, Twin phaser cannons forward, plus a third mounted on a turret on top of the weapon pod. Three quantum torpedo launchers in the weapons pod, two forward, one rear. Ablative armour across the whole outer hull, regenerative shields, two decks with accommodation for up to twenty crew and a cargo hold capable of holding over fifty passengers on the lower deck. In short, it's a pocket battleship, armed to the teeth and built to fight."
"There's no official markings, just the name 'Devastator II', why ?" Tricia asked.
"The vessel was brought onboard straight off the production line on Earth. There was no time to give it a proper name or registry, so I took it upon myself to give it one, as a message to the whole crew. I still have members of my crew, valued members in Barien space. Once we defeat the Bariens, it is my intention to rescue them. The runabout that they crashed on was renamed the Devastator by the Marines that formed most of that crew before it left on it's mission." Devore explained.
"So by naming this vessel after the original, it's your way of saying that you intend to return for them." Tricia said.
"Exactly Ensign" Devore replied proudly "Would you like to be it's pilot and let it take the place of the * Aldrin* ?"
"Yes sir." Ensign McMillan replied excitedly.
"Then I suggest you get familiar with all of the vessels systems. Ensign Joka here will be your weapons officer on the mission. There's a briefing here in the shuttlebay of the defensive shield crews at 07:00 tomorrow. We embark for the Beta quadrant in just over a day's time" Devore said. "I will see you then Ensign."
The Captain walked over to the Engineering team working on the * Aldrin* and briefly spoke to them, before heading to the turbolift.
"Shall we embark Ensign ?"
Joka said "I am already familiar with most of the Devastator's systems."