Captain, USS Exploration.
We had been assigned to do a survey mission in the Hromi Cluster. While mapping a type-three nebula, we ran across a Klingon battle group that had been using the Nebula as an ambush point for passing civilian vessels. The battle group, two Hegh’ta-class Birds of Prey, and a Negh’Var Battle Cruiser, surprised us just after we had dispatched our newly outfitted survey shuttle.
(As an interesting side-note, the shuttle, which the crew has affectionately dubbed “The Seeker,” functioned remarkably well and the modifications to the sensor array that Commanders Laroche and Banks put in place allowed us to nearly double our scanning speed and resolution. By linking the sensor array on the Exploration with the Seeker we were able to essentially create a sensor “net”, which mapped the nebula remarkably quickly and also was a large part of the reason we were able to detect the cloaked Klingon ships and raise shields just before they launched their attack.)
Because Commanders Laroche and Banks were aboard the Seeker we had to drop shields briefly for the Seeker to dock. The Klingons were faster on the trigger than we’d anticipated, and during the three seconds when the shields were down, the Battle Cruiser managed to launch a volley of torpedoes. The attack was devastating and we lost most of our core systems – main computer, propulsion, command functions, subspace communications. Main engineering was ripped to shreds. We also lost one hundred twenty-seven good people. People with families. People with children. I couldn’t even order an evacuation – we were in the middle of a nebula and I know the Klingons would have just picked off our escape pods one by one.
The warp core was still intact and although torpedoes were off-line we could still fire our rear phaser banks. Turning our aft side to the Klingons, we started to limp away. Knowing it was a huge risk and our only chance, I ordered the rear shields dropped. The Klingons took the bait and all three ships came around to our aft facing. As they closed within weapons range I ordered the core ejected. Before they could react we were able to detonate it using a burst from our phasers. All three Klingon ships were badly damaged, and we were able to limp away without pursuit.
That’s when the problems really started.
With no warp core and most of the major systems off-line we were in trouble. The nearest starbase was nowhere near enough for sub-light communication to be effective we were forced to rely on our impulse engines to travel at sub (but near) light speeds. As any first year cadet knows, the danger of such travel is the time dilation that occurs when travelling close to the speed of light. So we spent the next week at 90% of c. And while we travelled, time passed – four months in the blink of an eye. Suffice it to say, we were glad to reach the Honod system and see some friendly faces.
We’ve completed repairs and we’re back on our way, but I think the psychological effects of essentially losing four months of time has worn on the crew. We’ve been ordered back to the Sol system to receive some new crew and take a month of downtime. I think we can all use it. I know that I can. Carol’s been wanting to see Bajor and DS9. Perhaps while the ship is at spacedock, we’ll book passage. I wouldn’t mind taking a turn at the Dabo wheel.