Several of you asked me to continue the story I started in December. So, here is the third installment. Please read the first two chapters before this one if you haven't already. This story continues this school year's story "The Children of Perikoi". Let me know what you think. I'll keep writing if the interest is there. Just remember, I don't have time to really polish these installments so you take them the way they are - mistakes and all. Also, Blopspot will not let me indent the paragraphs so just imagine the paragraphs indented. You get the picture.
“Please come in and sit down,” Admiral Meredith said as he led his command officers into the McAuliffe Station’s Briefing Room. Admiral Mark Daymont of the Magellan Station was waiting in the room studying the holographs on the wall. He was home for the holidays. Behind Admiral Meredith were the Captains of the USS Lexington and USS Omar Bradley. Captain Brady Young of the Voyager walked into the room with Admiral Williamson. The last to enter were the Captains of station's training ships; Megan Warner of the Phoenix, Emily Perry of the Odyssey and Stacy Carol of the Galileo. They each found a seat at the large rectangular table in the center of the room.
The Briefing Room of the station was located directly off the Command Deck. Along one wall were holographic pictures of military ships dating back 500 years. Large windows occupied the entire opposite wall. The vivid blue and white of Earth filled the first three windows. The other two showed the stark blackness of space dotted with glimmering diamond stars.
“Lights half,” Meredith said. The lights in the room dimmed to half brightness automatically.
“Thank you all for coming. You all realize the situation. Farpoint Station was attacked. A surprise attack. News is coming in on the military net but very spotty at best. This is what we know if you discount the rumors. Multiple alien ships arrived through wormholes. The station had no warning. The radio traffic was full of battle updates and then suddenly went silent. We must assume the station is destroyed.”
Meredith pushed a button on the computer screen embedded into the table’s surface near his chair. A holographic view ring rose from the table top to a height of three inches. Hundreds of pinpoint lights appeared, emitting millions of colors around the circle. A ring of color rose slowly to the ceiling. A moment later the color condensed into a sharply focused picture of one of the attacking ships.
“This is a picture of what is believed to be the command ship. Now compare this ship to the one I’m about to bring up,” Meredith pushed another button on the table top screen. The color’s changed bringing another ship into view.
“This is a picture sent to us by your ship Captain Young. Do you recognize it?” Meredith turned to Brady Young of the Voyager.
“I do. It is the alien ship we engaged at Perikoi,” Brady responded.
“Yes it is,” the Admiral said. “I’ve reread the report you filed. We all know the general story. Perikoi is a planet inhabited by a primitive race of humanoids. The gods they worship are really alien life forms pretending to be gods. These ‘gods’ visit the planet every twelve years and kidnap hundreds if not thousands of children. These children are turned into slaves. You and the gods had a run in. The USS Copernicus was lost. You barely escaped with your lives. And if I’m not mistaken, the large alien ship was destroyed when the Copernicus exploded. Is there anything else to add?” Meredith looked at Brady. There was a pause while Brady reviewed all the omitted facts.
“No Sir,” Brady responded. “You covered it very well.”
“Their weapons were superior?”
“Yes Sir, very much so. We escaped because of the sacrifice of the Copernicus.”
“Thank you,” Meredith ended the conversation and turned to the company assembled. “You’ll see from this hologram that the ship destroyed at Perikoi is the same design and size as the ship that led the attack at Farpoint. They have superior weapons. They can travel through wormholes. A science we are decades from achieving. We haven’t a clue how this is done or where they could possibly get the power to make it possible. Of course you realize the danger to the Federation. An attack could come without warning. That is why this station, along with all other stations, are at red alert.”
Meredith rose from his seat, turned and walked toward the windows. His hands were clasped behind his back. Worry was etched across his face as he looked down at the beautifully peaceful planet rotating below him. "What did you unleash upon us at Perikoi?" he asked as he glanced at Captain Brady Young from the corner of his eye. He held his hand up to silence a response.
“Lights full,” he said softly. The room brightened. He returned to his seat and looked at each member of his staff. “I’m not a politician so I won’t comment on the justification of the attack although I'm sure you can understand their point of view. We were in their space. We interfered in their governing of Perikoi and we destroyed one of their ships. They see this as just retribution which makes the fighting very personal. I don't fault your actions Captain Young. You were defending your ship. I only wish the outcome would have been less severe.”
Meredith rose from his seat. “We must be ready for war. A war that will, in an instant, turn day to night. Our lives may never be the same. We are going to institute the following actions, first.....”
An alarm sounded from the wall speaker bringing the station to battle readiness and stopping the Admiral in mid sentence. Meredith's heart raced with a sudden injection of adrenalin. He touched his comm badge. “Command,” he said to the automatic switchboard in the most unsteady voice anyone present in the room had ever heard from his lips.
“Command,” a small voice was heard.
“This is Meredith. Why the battle alarm?”
“We are picking up odd energy patterns in multiple places around Earth,” the voice answered.
“Wormholes?” Meredith asked. He knew the answer before he asked the question.
“Thank you,” Meredith said touching the badge to close the link. He closed his eyes for a moment and then opened them. There was despair in the lines time had drawn on his face.
“My God,” he said looking into the faces of those present. “Our fleet is still hours away. They attacked Farpoint to learn about our defenses. They know our weaknesses. They have come to strike a decisive blow.”
For a moment time seemed to stand still. Every eye was on the Admiral. Every ear waited for his orders. He ran his hands through his gray hair and then down his face, under his chin, stopping around his neck. He looked out the windows. “It has begun. Day turns to night,” he said.
Every eye in the room turned toward the view before them. Dozens of pinwheel lights were forming. Some closer to the station. Others far away.
“Something is coming toward us,” Stacy shouted as she jumped to her feet and pointed to several lengthening lines of glowing orange plasma exiting the nearest wormholes. Soon every wormhole in view was shedding the same orange arcing light trails. Each line trailed what appeared to be a missile. Several were streaking toward the station.
“Full Shields!” Meredith shouted into his comm badge. The station’s shield generators came on line instantaneously. A wall of metal slowly descended over the windows hiding their fate. “Gibbons and Andrews to your ships and launch at once, defend the station. Go Go,” he said to the captain’s of the Lexington and Omar Bradly. They were up and out of their seats before he finished the sentence. “Williamson, get your cadets into the Voyager. We can’t use the transporters with full shields. Perry and Carroll take your ships into the Voyager’s shuttle bay. Warner you will prepare to launch the Phoenix. Brady prepare the Voyager for launch. If I’m right this is going to be another Pearl Harbor. One more ship won’t make a difference. I’m thinking of the safety of the cadets. The Station is lost. Launch and warp to the Magellan Station. Take Admiral Daymont with you. Move!” he shouted. Everyone ran from the room leaving Admiral Meredith alone, a commander at the wheel of a floundering ship. The party crossed the Command Deck and into the turbolifts.
“Deck 12,” Williamson said as the turbolift doors closed. The lift began moving. Williamson tapped his comm badge. “Command Training,” Williamson said.
“Clegg here,” came the worried voice of Commander Aleta Clegg.
“We are on our way to you. Where is Lorraine,” Williamson asked.
“She and Shelia are helping the cadets get packed,” Aleta said. “This is getting bad isn’t it.”
The sound of the station’s weapons could be heard over the humming of the lift. “Yes,” Williamson said. “Get the cadets to the Voyager at once. They take only what they can carry. No more packing. Hurry.... we are under attack.”
“Yes Sir,” Aleta said. "Will you be joining th........"
There was an explosion. The station was hit near the Command Deck. It sounded like the outer hull of the station was being twisted and folded into a new shape. The lift shook violently and stopped. The lights failed momentarily.
“Come on Come on,” Brady shouted as he pounded the wall. He felt moisture near his mouth. Reached up he felt blood running from his nose. “We've got to get launched," he said looking for something to stop the flow.
“What happened to the shields?” Emily asked picking herself up off the floor. “They couldn’t fail so quickly.” There was another explosion. The sound was further away. The lift rocked again. Whatever was holding it in place was dislodged. It resumed its course. The deck numbers changed. The lift seemed to be running slower.
The screen above their heads flashed ‘12’. The lift doors partially opened. Smoke streamed in from the ceiling of the deck. Williamson and Brady moved toward the blocked doors. Each took a door and pulled. The doors parted with a grind. The deck ahead was littered with debris. The lights seemed unsure whether to stay on or off. Sparks from exposed wires flashed up and down the corridor like fireworks on the fourth of July.
“Go Go Go,” Brady shouted. Everyone ran from the lift coughing from the fumes. Another massive explosion rocked the station. The floor fell six inches beneath them. They struggled to regain their footing. They had to get to the Voyager. Hopefully the cadets would be there. The station was out of time.