"The Lost Crew"

Author: Ensign Tricia McMillan
Date: 16 February, 2384
Location: Proletarian Vessel

The three members of the Ronin crew, their new-found saviours and the girl Klara, still in a deep coma slowly worked their way towards the engineering section of the Proletarian vessel. Ensign McMillan and Lieutenant Benosk were 'carrying' Klara between them, whilst Captain Evans and the two Vulcans walked carefully ahead of them.

"This is it." Fenris said. "With any luck there shouldn't be more than a couple of workers in Engineering. We'll go in first and subdue any resistance, then you can follow once it's clear."

"It's strange that we've not seen any guards or surveillance equipment during our 'trek." Ensign McMillan remarked.

"There's no real need for such things. The Proletarians know instinctively where every single soul on the vessel is, even us. Infact there are only around fifty Proletrians onboard." Tre'val said. And for a ship this size, that's more than usual. Most the ship functions are automated, meaning it only takes a handful of officers to fly the ship. Given their limit number, this means that the Proletarians can operate more vessels."

"But I thought that the Proletarians couldn't read your minds telepathically." Captain Evans remarked.

"They can't, but the devices that you are currently wearing are based on similar devices which are implanted in our necks." Tre'val replied. "They tap into our brainwave patterns and re-transmit them telepathically. As everyone's brainwave patterns are different, they can identify each individual. They may not be able to know what we are thinking, but they do know of our presence."

"A tracking device, simple but effective." Fenris remarked. "It took us over two years to examine and understand how these devices worked. And it then took another five before we could understand how we could modify them so that we could move freely without being tracked."

"The devices you are wearing were constructed over nearly ten years from items that we managed salvage or 'borrow'. It's lucky that only the three of you were brought aboard. With only five of these devices, we'd probably have never have got this far." Tre'val explained. "Most of the devices that we constructed during the uprising were lost to the Proletarians. Those that were left were slowly discovered, leaving us with only a handful."

"Time to go to work" Fenris said, heading towards the door.

He pushed a series of buttons on the panel next to the door and it shimmered and dissolved in front of them.

The crew of the Ronin was surprised by the door suddenly 'disappearing door' but couldn't see beyond the opening because of the low lighting in the room ahead.

*Some sort of matter transporter, clever. Making a door which would appear to be unopenable.* Captain Evans thought.

The two Vulcans walked calmly into the Engineering section of the ship and looked around. As they had predicted, there were only two Proletarians looking over a console. Swiftly and silently the Vulcan's sent the two Proletarians into unconsciousness with a neck pinch. Then they hear a sound coming from a side office; there was a third officer in Engineering.

Quickly, the two Vulcans moved the bodies aside and then walked over to office. Inside a single Proletarian was sat behind a desk, talking to someone over a communication link. Luckily, he had his back to the door so it was easy for Tre'val to creep behind him and again use the neck pinch, once the officer had completed his report..

With the third Proletarian now dealt with, the rest of the escapees could enter Engineering safely. They walked into what to seemed to them to be too small to be the engine room of a ship.

"This is cosy." Benosk remarked "A little dark though, could someone turn the lights up please."

"Now that you mention it, didn't you notice that the corridors were also a little dark. Infact the only area of the ship that had any decent light was the holding cell that we were in." Tricia remarked.

"That's the vessels secondary warp core over there." Fenris pointed out. "There is a larger primary warp core towards the rear of the ship, but if we can disable this core, it should reduce our speed sufficiently to allow your vessel to catch up."

"Two power sources located in different sections of the vessel, if one is damaged or destroyed the vessel can still function. That explains why this area is smaller than we expected." Ryan remarked.

Ensign McMillan and Lt. Benosk 'sat' their unconscious 'cargo' into a chair and started to look over the control consoles of the warp core. Meanwhile, Captain Evans and the two Vulcans moved the two unconscious Proletarian officers into the side office to join their unconscious friend.

"Captain, this console appears to be a master control console. We could effectively take control of all of the ships functions from here." Lieutenant Benosk remarked.

"You wouldn't have much time to act I'm afraid. There are several of these master consoles in key areas around the ship. Any one of them can be used to control all of the ships functions. If you tried to take control using that console the Proletarians would simply deactivate it. You would lose your control and alert the crew to your exact location." Tre'val explained. "Not a good idea."

"There is one thing that we could do Captain." Tricia remarked.

"What's that Ensign ?. Captain Evans replied.

"We could use the ship's communications array to send a homing signal to the Ronin. It would certainly allow them to find us a hell of a lot faster." She replied.

"What do you have in mind ?. Surely the Proletarians would detect any sub-space signals being transmitted." Lieutenant Benosk questioned.

"Not if we were careful. I've looked at the communications array and it appears to use tachyon particles to transmit messages. I've also noticed from the sensors that the ship has a tachyon field surrounding it."

"Sounds like this vessel has a cloaking device, the Ronin would definitely have a hard time finding." Captain Evans remarked.

"If we could send out a series of tachyon pulses though, the field would vary slightly and the Ronin's advanced sensor grid would easily detected the variance." Tricia continued to explain.

"Of course. The Ronin's sensors are tuned to look for tachyon variances so that they can detect cloaked vessels more effectively." Captain Evans remarked. "How long do you think it would take ?"

"A couple of minutes to work out the controls and we should be ready to start transmitting." Tricia said.

"Would it be possible to send a brief message to your vessel using the communications array." Tre'val asked.

"In theory yes, we could transmit a short message. What did you have in mind Tre'val?" Tricia asked.

"During our time here we have had various opportunities to examine both Proletarian and other alien technologies. We may be able to transmit a shield frequency algorithm that would allow your vessel to get very close to us without being detected." Tre'val explained. "Plus it should reduce the effects of this vessels weapons."

"How long a message would you need ?" Captain Evans asked.

"About ten seconds, less if we can compress the message." Tre'val replied.

"I'd think we could get a ten second message out without it being detected, five would be better though." Tricia announced.

"Tre'Val, work with Ensign McMillan on the message, we'll see how we can sabotage this warp core long enough to slow us down." Ryan ordered.

"We can access the communications array from that console I think." Tre'val remarked, pointing to another console a few metres away.

Ten minutes later Ensign McMillan announced that they were ready to start transmitting.

"We've managed to compress the message down to seven seconds and we're ready to transmit. Once we've transmitted the message, we'll start sending out the tachyon pulses. Every ten minutes we'll re-transmit the message." Tricia said.

"Excellent, then make it so Ensign." Captain Evans ordered.

Aboard the Ronin Commander Heim was stood on the Bridge watching the stars pass by on the viewscreen. The crew of the Ronin had been working frantically to try and detect the Proletarian vessel that had abducted their Captain and two of the crew. The ship was on yellow alert, having stood down from red a couple of hours ago, when it became clear that the Proletarians had taken their "prey'' and run.

The fact that only three members of the crew had vanished had soon been established, the fact that they were the same three crew who had originally made 'first' contact with the Proletarian was probably no coincidence.

"Commander, I'm picking up some sort of tachyon variance on the long range sensors, it could be a cloaked vessel maybe even the Proletarian vessel." A young Ensign said from the tactical station. "And there's also a compressed message being transmitted from the same location."

"Can you play it back ?" Heim's asked.

"It's mostly data with a brief audio message." The Ensign replied "I think I can extract the message and play it for you."

[This is Ensign McMillan of the USS Ronin. Commander Heim, Captain Devore we have been abducted by the Proletarians, but myself Captain Evans and Lieutenant Benosk are all safe. We have found new allies amongst the crew of this vessel and we are currently attempting to disable the vessel. The remainder of this message contains a shield frequency that should allow you to approach us safely. Message ends.]

"Do we have a fix on that message ?" Commander Heim asked.

"Like a beacon Commander. Bearing 257 Mark 4, about ten light years away. The tachyon pulses that they are sending out are acting like a lighthouse." The Ensign replied.

"Helm, set a course Bearing 257 Mark 4 and engage at maximum warp." Heim ordered.

"This is Commander Heim to all the crew of the Ronin. We have received a message from our missing officers and I am pleased to announce that they are safe for the moment. However, we have a hard task ahead of us, we know virtually nothing about the Proletarians vessel, it's weapons or the Proletarians themselves. I want everything on this ship working at 110%, shields, weapons, sensors and propulsion. All personnel are to be armed at all times."

When the Commander had finished, the Ensign still at Tactical reported on his completed task.

"We've managed to decompress the remainder of the message and it is indeed a shield frequency. To be more precise it's a highly complex algorithm, I wish we'd had this during the Borg incursions. With this level of complexity, the shield frequencies would take days to repeat."

"How long until we start using the algorithm ?." The Commander asked.

"It's going to take about twenty minutes to reprogram the shield emitters, but once that's done we'll be ready to 'rock'"

"Well I guess you should get down to Engineering and get those emitters re-programmed" Heim ordered.

"Right away Captain." The Ensign replied.

Commander Heim's first instinct was to correct the Ensign, but he realised that he was indeed Captain of the Ronin now, in all but rank. Instead he sat down in the Captain's chair for the first time since Captain Evans and the others had been abducted.

*Hang on Captain, we're on our way*