With no warning the Bellatrix crew find themselves confused, hurt and alone. Little do they know that things are even worse than they seem.
Old ones move
First ones created - guide for those to come
But first given time to become themselves
Second ones spring forth
Created by the first
And all the less for it
Finally, the expected arrive
The wait is over
Yet the old ones left on last legacy
A memory of theirs
A race once lost, reborn
Empires rise, empires fall
Time runs full circle
Chapter 1 - Forever lost
Mayan's eyes widened down at the console in front of her. With haste she double checked her readings. "Alyt, we were just hit by a massive tachyon burst, but it blinded our sensors so I can't tell where it came from."
Shai Alyt Throon had been in deep thought, but quickly snapped to the task. "Battle alert, and scan the surrounding area."
Minbari that had previously been at rest sprung to action all around the mighty Tinashi War-frigate. At the same time, Throon's ship - the Min'Entil - spewed out active sensor sweeps, searching for anything out of the ordinary.
"Alyt, we have a sensor echo three clicks from here. I think it's a starship."
Throon frowned slightly at the informal way Mayan addressed him, but pushed the concern away for now. "Let me see it."
The Min'Entil, like all Minbari warships, had a huge viewscreen hanging over the bridge's windows. It could be used to display all kinds of information, like two and three dimensional tactical maps, outside view through optical and other sensors, information from the ship's database and much more.
It now switched to show a strange looking ship, strange to Throon at least, consisting of a large round dish with two pylons extended underneath. The ship itself was of a grayish white color, with alien markings displayed at the front of the ship.
"It seems to be adrift," Throon observed, "perhaps they have suffered a power failure."
The doors to the bridge swished open and admitted Throon's second in command, Alyt Braal. Throon quickly noted that Braal's skin was shedding, and he smelled of freshly applied acid. "You are late."
Braal bowed slightly. "I apologize for my tardiness, Shai Alyt, what is the situation?"
Throon gestured at the viewscreen. "We have discovered an alien ship. It seems to be without power."
Braal furrowed his bow at the unfamiliar sight. "Perhaps they are running silent?"
"With all respects," Mayan said from her station, "we were alerted to the ship's presence by an energy spike. It could have been the ship's power core abruptly shutting down. The ship do appear to be adrift."
Throon's gaze rested on top of the ship's saucer section. "There are not many races in the habit of marking their ships."
Mayan flared her nostrils. "It's a sign of pirates, and savages. They do not realize the folly of marking their vessels; instead they desire to express their individuality."
"Indeed," Throon agreed. Distinct markings gave the enemy a better measure of a fleet's size and composition, given that only small parts of a fleet could be observed at a time. "Give me a better view of the markings."
"Yes my Alyt," Mayan responded and switched the display to show the markings up close.
Throon's eyes widened ever so slightly in surprise. "They appear human." He felt a spark of anger.
The humans was a race Throon, and many a Minbari, despised. It was a race that reveled in conflict and death, a race that painted their ships in blood and killed in unabridged bloodlust. A race of savages that ventured forth with ships of war, attacking en masse anything they came upon, and had been the death of many a noble race.
"The computer identify the markings as human," Mayan reported, "I believe they read 'Belletris'."
Throon snorted. "The humans would never build ships like that. Their ships are built for war, brimming with what weapons they can fit. They have no care for aesthetics - only blood, death and destruction."
"It can be a ship the humans have captured," Braal suggested.
"That is a possibility," Throon pondered, "and their inability to understand the ship's systems lead to the power failure they seem to be experiencing."
"Make a scan of the ship; try to determine what race it belongs to."
S'anra, a not fully trained holographic engineer, opened her eyes. The significance of that act was lost on her as she gazed confused around in absolute darkness. Her body was hurting all over and for some reason she was on the floor. The last thing she remembered was closing her eyes, and now she was hurting on the floor? It didn't make sense.
She slowly sat herself up, leaning her back against the wall. Not only was the room dark, it was also disturbingly silent. Only her own racing heart and nervous breathing echoed around the room. Feeling a panic building up, she slapped her communicator. "Feriz, S'anra here."
"Feriz?" She tried again.
"Captain." She waited with bated breath. "Doctor?" Again there was no response. "Anyone?"
She bit her lip, and wiped away cold sweat. Why was no one responding? Perhaps her communicator was broken?
Yes, that had to be it.
Feeling a little elated she crawled along the walls until she came to the impression where the door should be. The doors were, of course, closed - but they did not open by themselves as they should have. S'anra was not truly surprised at this and managed to gulp down the anxiety building in her throat. She would simply have to find the manual release, it was around here somewhere.
In another part of the ship Alina Kutz groaned as she slowly came to. She had hit something hard and was now feeling the worse for it. Scanning her memories for an explanation all she found was memories of the lights flickering out and an odd sound of sorts.
She slowly opened her eyes to see that the lights were still out. She moved her muscles slightly to feel out her body, inadvertently running her hand through something wet and sticky. She instinctually pulled her hand back with slight surprise. Curious what the wet sticky stuff was she took her hand up to her nose and smelled it. Oddly it smelled like blood.
Alina was suddenly more awake than she'd ever been in her life and found herself back on her feet before she knew it. Her sudden movement activated a nearby motion sensor, and with no warning the medbay doors opened - throwing light into the corridor.
Alina had not even been given time to compose herself before she was staring into the lifeless eyes of CoitÃºs - an engineer she had just been talking with. Her heart clamped up and her body froze on the spot.
He was dead, her mind registered. Dead, not alive. She felt her breathing go out of control - but she was a nurse! She had seen dead people - in pictures - many times. She could handle this!
Or so she thought.
Standing still, the doors closed and Alina was again bathed in darkness. She could not move a muscle. Only stare at the boy that she knew was there. Unable to move. Unable to think. She was alive. He was dead. But right now, they were the same. Unmoving. Unthinking,
The fear gripping her heart did not allow her to change that.
With Mayan running an extensive sensor sweep, Throon stood up from his seat to study the strange human marked ship. "It's looking kind of frail, with all those windows."
One thing Minbari prided themselves on was their ships. They were as majestic as they were powerful, and they dwarfed the equivalent ships of other races. Throon's ship, the Min'Entil, was a patrol vessel by Minbari standards, yet it was as large as other races cruisers and had weapons in excess of any other races' battleship. In contrast, the vessel Throon was gazing on was tiny, compared to his Tinashi, so it was understandable that he did not feel the least threatened by it.
"Perhaps it is some kind of passenger ship?" Braal suggested, "Fitted with weapons to strike in our territory."
Throon inclined his head in thought. "That sounds like something humans would do. Barbaric, but I hate to admit that they might have succeeded."
"They can not strike at our warriors, so they strike at those that can not defend themselves," Mayan summarized.
"It is a troubling development," Braal mussed. "Our fleet is about to cleanse their homeworld, but before that they might launch several such strikes as this."
Throon felt his anger well at the thought of the ship he was looking at destroying ships ferrying women and children. No, humans were a plague that had to be removed. "Fire a single fusion beam on their armor... I believe that to be enough."
"Yes sir," Firell, at firing control, replied.
A green beam raced over the viewscreen and crashed into the front saucer section of the ship. If the ship had its defenses running it would probably have shrugged of the beam, but the beam dug into the hull of the craft, super heating metal and causing a huge explosion as vapor gasses and shrapnel shoot out in space.
Throon stared at the sight with arms crossed and one finger tapping his elbow. Clearly a single beam had not been enough to destroy the vessel. He was neither surprised nor disappointed; to him it was merely a noteworthy observation. "Try to...."
"We have missile fire!" Mayan exclaimed.
"What! I thought they were powered down!" Throon ranted, tying to pick out the missiles on the viewscreen.
"No, it's not from them, it is from behind us."
Throon went absolutely cold. So this was how it felt walking straight into a trap. "Counter measures to full, come about and roll the ship!"
He felt his ship jerk slightly as it strained to fulfill his commands. The viewscreen also changed to show the new hostiles. They were arrow shaped, with a black base color and elaborate artwork painted on the hulls. None of the three ships were alike, not in their paintjob, weapon ports or exact shape of the hull. "Skivans," he heard Mayan whisper and he gritted his teeth; he had walked face first into a trap so obvious that he would have laughed at others for not seeing it.
"Minbari do not kill Minbari, target their weapons and engines!"
Whatever had shaken the ship just now - and sent her face first to the floor - had at least brought her out of her stupor, Alina mussed as she slowly rose up again. It still took a few seconds for the reality of the situation to snap into her, and realizing that she was in the middle of a crisis situation. With adrenaline heating up her veins she stepped over the body without as much as a glance down at it, and into the bright light of medlab.
The sight that greeted her there had her pause.
The room was a complete mess. People and equipment had been thrown about. There was blood on the walls, floor and ceiling. She could see fellow crewmembers with sharp instruments sticking out of them, and knew they were in need of immediate attention.
Feeling dazzled she slapped her communicator. "Bridge, we have a medical emergency in medlab."
There was no reply.
"Captain." She tried again. Feeling panic building up, she gazed around the room with desperate eyes. She did not even know where to begin! She slapped her communicator again, "is ANYONE out there?"
S'anra had just forced the transporter doors open when a very welcome sound chirped from her communicator. "ANYONE out there", it said.
Wiping away a bit of sweat she slapped her chest. "S'anra here. I'm in the transporter room."
"Sanra, the captain's not responding and medlab is in ruins. Can you get a message to the Starbase?"
"Sorry, I'm fumbling in the dark here. We need to get power back in working order."
"Power!" the girl's voice exclaimed. "There are wounded and dying here! We need immediate assistance."
"Right," S'anra agreed. "I'll find a life pod; they have communicators."
"Hurry," the girl's voice urged.
S'anra held a hand to the wall, a hand in front of her and walked as fast as her numb legs allowed. It was fortunate that gravity plating took a while to discharge.
On the Min'Entil Throon observed crude orange beams graze by his ship. The orange color indicated poorly focused fusion emitters, and was the most common color seen spewed out of Skivan ship.
Ever since the end of the Great War, roughly a thousand years ago, Minbari society had been in relative peace. There had been incidents which could be called wars, but never had the Minbari felt threatened.
The Skivans - the misguided - was in the belief that the Minbari had grown stagnant, that strength came through conflict, and that the weak should perish; that conflict was needed to separate the weak from the strong. Although it was perhaps wrong to say the Skivans believed anything, as they were a diverse whole.
The conflict with the humans was in a sense just what they wanted, but the war would soon end - so it was not unlikely that the Skivans sought to extend it.
Throon had to wonder what compelled these Skivans to set up a trap for him. The Skivans probably hoped to take him by surprise, distracted as he was by the 'human' ship, but regardless of surprise -then three dysfunctional Vikra Cutters did not have much hope of defeating him.
But there was always that hope.
The Skivans had an advantage in that he was hampered by his inability to use his more powerful weapons, while they had no such calms.
Even so they were hopelessly outmatched against a Tinashi; a lesson which Throon fully intended to drill into their heads.
"Take us twenty degrees port, and concentrate all fire on the blood colored Vikra."
Going over the people in medlab, Alina quickly deduced that the unconscious and wounded in Medbay was suffering from blunt trauma from being thrown around the room. That made broken bones and internal bleeding the order of they day.
She decided to do what she could for the doctor first. He was not critically wounded, probably a result of his tough Tellarite physiology, and would hopefully be back on his feet to help her. It went against her medical training, but she was only one pair of hands, and there was likely to be critically wounded all over the ship.
With a goal now clear in her mind Alina went down on her knees and searched franticly for a working tricorder and Hypospray.
In another part of the ship Rico Mendez let out a long groan as he slowly opened his eyes. His body was hurting all over and his left arm was killing him. "Computer lights."
Snapping his thoughts away from his pain he slapped his combadge. "Medbay, medical emergency."
A second ticked by.
"This is medbay," a stressed voice replied, "and I know. What is your situation?"
Rico let out an even longer groan. He wanted something to take the pain away, not chitchat with an overexcited nurse. "I think my arm's broken."
"Can you walk?"
A single chuckled escaped his lips. "What is this? Twenty questions? Help me already!"
"I can't!" The girl said with her voice breaking up, "I'm the only one conscious here."
Rico used some time to compose himself. "What happened?"
"I don't know," the girl replied. "Power is out over almost all the ship and I think we've all been smacked around."
"Smacked around sounds about right." Rico gritted his teeth from the pain and slowly sat up. It hurt but it didn't look like help would be showing anytime soon. He slowly exercised the muscles in his feet, testing them out, and was relived to find them mostly okay. His arm might be broken, but he could still walk.
If only he had a flashlight, walking around in the dark with a broken arm did not sound like a good idea. With another groan he decided to feel his way to his bed, he needed time to think and in his current condition the hard floor wasn't helping with that.
Another person that was right then feeling herself through the dark. S'anra was making her way to the back of the ship, walking with unsure steps in the darkness. Suddenly her right foot struck up against something, and she fell forward over whatever it was and landed face first on the floor.
She cursed the darkness and made a wow to always carry a small flashlight on her person from now on.
In pain, she rose up from the floor and with slower steps continued feeling her way along the wall. She felt a tingle of excitement when her hand finally moved over a hatch, and she practically ripped it open.
Crawling inside her hands soon touched over knobs and buttons and S'anra knew she had hit home. Taking only a little time to think she methodically began flipping levels and buttons in search of one to activate the pod's lights.
Finally she hit jackpot as the control panel lit up. She welcomed the light, but cursed her race's blurry night vision as she tried to discern the labels printed above the buttons. Giving that up, she instead searched the life pod for anything useful.
She was sure there was a flashlight here somewhere.
"Power is fluctuating on the Vikra ships," Mayan reported.
The three attackers were coming on them from three angels, and power fluctuations could only mean one thing.
Three beams so orange that they were bleeding into red lit up on Throon's viewscreen, a second later a loud boom reverted through his ship and he felt it shake ever so little.
"Direct hit to port fin. Structural integrity compromised, gravimetric drive down to ninety-six present."
"Hull breach on deck thirty five," another reported.
Throon was not pleased. One annoying fact with Vikra Cutters was the unusually powerful spinal mount. The Skivans' favored ship could outright be described as a fusion cannon with engines.
With the Vikras' flimsy build and cumbersome maneuvering it was easy to forget that the Vikra's spinal mounts packed a respectful punch. He'd heard that the mount had more power to them than his ship's own fusion cannons - by an order of a magnitude some had said.
This came at the cost of filling up the ship's internal space, and leaving it with an undersized engine and reactor. It was a flimsy design, which made them frustrating to fight against - at least when the goal was to disable, not destroy.
Throon gritted. Thanks to his reluctance to fire back the Skivans had now damaged his ship, and that was something that would forever mar his record. He was tempted to show the Skivans the true power of his 'little' ship, but 'Minbari did not kill Minbari'. It had been drilled into his head ever since he was little; 'Minbari did not kill Minbari' and that was that - even with evidence to the contrary right in front of him.
"Return fire, aim at weapons only."
Green fusion beams shot out from his ship, and all the Skivans threw themselves into evasive maneuvers. Throon tightened his fist. If he just could get one of them; it would ruin their chances at flanking him again.
"Tramp," gurgled from the depths of the Tellarite's throat.
Alina had never felt such relief for being insulted. "Doctor, how do you feel?"
The Tellarite blinked his eyes several times and gave his head a quick shake before sitting up. "I've felt better." His eyes snapped over his domain. "If I ever want my room tidied, I will not be asking you."
Alina sprung to her feet. "Power's out and I just came to myself. One of the engineers is running for help, but many here are in critical condition."
"I can see that," Gav barked as he sprung up to his knees, "and give me that." He grabbed Alina's tricorder and made a quick scan of nearby personnel. "Fish us up two Dermals; we'll also need plasma - lots of plasma - get to it!"
"Yes sir!" Alina squeaked and got down on the floor; silently cursing that Gav never bothered to secure his medical tools.
Gav hurried over to the people strewn about and used his strength to lump them onto biobeds. "If you find a Defibillator, Varga here might just make it."
Feeling her hands start to shake Alina took a second to compose herself before shifting through the rubble with increased vigor.
In another part of the ship S'anra finally found what she was looking for - a flashlight. She turned it on and was momentarily blinded by the light shining straight into her face. "Stupid," she muttered as she turned it around and shone on the lifepod controls instead.
The pod lit up with color, and S'anra rolled her eyes as she found the obvious location of the light switch. She flipped it on and everything in the pod became as clear as day. She did not hesitate to also flip on the radio transmitter.
Come to think of it they should have been close enough to the Starbase to use their combages, but if they had been that close S'anra supposed the ship would be swarming with medical personnel.
"This is the Federation Starship Bellatrix requesting immediate assistance."
S'anra waited patiently for a reply. Not getting any she fiddled with the controls and made sure to turn on all frequencies.
"This is the Federation Starship Bellatrix; we're in a medical emergency and need immediate assistance."
The only thing she got in return was static over the radio band, not a peep otherwise. Feeling worry build up she tried again and again.
But just because no one replied did not mean no one heard S'anra's pleas.
"Alyt," Mayan spoke up, "the human marked vessel is transmitting on the FM band."
"What are they saying?" Throon asked as one of his beam dug into the flank of one of the Vikras. The ship shuddered and veered of, bringing a satisfied smirk on Throon's lips.
"I think it is a distress call," Mayan replied and seemingly concentrated, "in human tongue."
Throon narrowed his eyes. There were humans on the marked ship? Then perhaps this had not been a trap after all. Yes, perhaps the ship was here for a meeting of sorts with the Skivans.
Throon frowned at the thought.
Such a development was unacceptable, and it was fortunate that he was here to stop it.
S'anra was sprinting down corridors faster than she'd ever run before. Help wasn't coming, and it was high time to get power running again. They could only last so long without life-support, and with her steps already getting lighter - as the gravity plating slowly discharged - she knew that time was running out.
She stopped in front of a Jefferies Tube. It wasn't enough to only force doors open; she would have to crawl through tight tubes to get down to engineering.
Letting her breath steady she slapped her combadge. "Medbay, I'm heading for engineering, I'll going to try getting the power back up."
"It's about time," a gruff voice said back.
"I was unable to get in contact with the Starbase, or anyone else." S'anra ripped the hatch to the Jefferies Tubes open.
"We're getting pleas from wounded all over the ship," the girl she had been talking with earlier said. "Hurry!"
"I am I am." S'anra put the flashlight in her mouth and dived into the tight tube. Claustrophobia gripped her heart, but her training kicked in and she placed thoughts of the open hatch behind her firmly in her mind. "I'm not trapped" "I'm not trapped" became her mantra as she crawled deeper and deeper down.
Finally reaching a hatch marked 'deck 7', she popped it open and crawled out. Tension left her body as annoying racial instincts let go of her mind. It was times like these she wished to be a couple of decades older, then she would probably have found all this to be thrilling.
She used her flashlight to orient herself before hurrying towards main engineering. The air here was stale, and she feared for the life of the crew. Pushing all concerns away she got in a full run.
Another green fusion beam dug into a Vikra, inciting another self satisfied smirk on Throon's lips. "Good, now move in close and slice of the engine."
One of the Vikras predicted his movement, scoring a shot to his flank with two low powered fusion beams. The beams did not have enough power to truly hurt his ship, but it still left a nasty scar on the armor.
"We lost a neutron slicer," Firell reported.
Throon grunted. The loss of a slicer was unfortunate but hardly critical; he still had three more.
"The human ship seems to be powering up," Mayan reported seconds later.
Braal immediately walked over to Mayan's terminal. "Did you detect Minbari life signs on that thing?"
Mayan gulped. "Our sensors are not capable of truly telling the difference between Human and Minbari life signs, but we did detect a variety of life signs so it is possible."
"We'll assume there are Minbari on that ship, for now," Throon stated flatly. The humans on the ship might also provide information of just what they were up to out here.
"Odd." With inquiring eyes Braal bent over Mayan's terminal. "The human ship is fading from some of our sensors."
"Stealth technology," Throon grouched with ire. That explained how a human ship could have made it so deep into Minbari territory undetected, and made it critical to prevent the ship from getting away; a stealthed human ship wandering free in Minbari territory was not something he wanted on his conscious.
"Come about and disable that craft!"
Throon felt a pull in his guts as his mighty Tinashi abruptly turned away from the damaged Vikras and accelerated full speed towards the saucer shaped human ship.
"The Skivans are pulling back."
Throon cursed. He had hoped the Skivans would give chase in a fruitless attempt to keep up, but with all their ships damaged for only slight damage to his it was not surprising to see them turn tail and run. The Skivans had yet to loose anything significant in this battle, except the human ship, and probably took the bloody nose as the lesson it was.
The lesson that a Tinashi was one of the most powerful ships in known space and no protectorate built ship, even with the Minbari upgrades they sported, had any business going up against one.
It was time to bring that lesson home to the humans. "Target their engines; be careful not to destroy them."
Inside the Bellatrix lights flickered on, systems hummed to life and displays lit up with a detailed description of the ship's contrition.
S'anra felt a nervous tickle as her eyes trailed over various panels. Things seemed to be in order, except a severe hull breach in the front of the ship. Life support, force field generators, structural integrity fields, engines and deflector shielding all checked out.
In another part of the ship Azara Grax, a lithe blond Betazoid, squeezed her eyes shut as bright light tore into them. She slurred "Five minutes" and turned over on the hard floor.
Wait, hard floor?!
Her eyes involuntarily flickered open and she stared into a familiar turbolift door. What was she doing on the floor of the tubolift? And why did her muscles and body hurt all over?
Mystified she stood up. "Computer, what is going on?"
"Stupid tin can," she mumbled. Something was obviously going on; she would not have awoken feeling all banged up had she just fallen asleep. "Computer, what is the current medical status of the crew?"
Azara rolled her eyes and slapped her communicator. "Bridge, this is Azara."
With no reply forthcoming from the bridge Azara felt her heart begin to race. "Computer, take me to the bridge."
The turbo lift whizzed to life and the door opened shortly afterwards. She took one step out of the turbolift to see a sight that would haunt her for years. Bodies were strewn about with limbs pointing in unnatural angles. Dark red blood ran freely over the floor. The smell of blood struck soon struck her nostrils and she reached.
Seeing her vision darken she had to sit down not to faint. She had been completely unprepared for this. Her thoughts were a mess but she could not break down just now. She closed her eyes and took comfort in the faint mental presence of other crewmembers.
Her mental processes slowly fired up. She was a Starfleet engineer. She had crossed a dessert, not to mention seen pictures of dead before. She could do this. It was just an exercise. A very realistic exercise, but that was the wonder of modern technology.
Azara forced herself to her feet and strode over to the sensor panel. "Engineering, what is our status?"
a squeaky voice replied back,
'It is only an exercise' Azara reinforced in her head.
A male voice boomed.
Azara snapped back to the sensor panel and brought external sensors on line. "We're in the middle of an emergency. Medbay what is your status?"
a gruff voice answered back.
Azara's eyes widened as the sensors showed a huge starship bearing down at them with weapons hot. She knew from her talks with the bridge crew that in a typical exercise 'the enemy' wouldn't hesitate to fire. But what to do? What to do?
"Red alert!" She called out and the bridge dimmed to a reddish hue.
The doctor's gruff voice scolded.