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Chapter Notes: The Choice...by Mick
Story editing by Ln X


Chapter 5
The Choice
By Mick

Captain James T. Kirk considered his options as he sat in the command chair. The Enterprise was now surrounded by mines and it had lost helm control. To attempt to move the ship would set off every mine in the field. The mines were only visible because of the deployed quantum beacon, a trick used before by Captain Jonathan Archer of a previous Enterprise, the NX-01, almost a century earlier.

There was a disabled freighter with a maverick captain and a Klingon D-7 cruiser off the port bow; the only consolation was that the Klingon ship was just as much a sitting duck as the Enterprise was.

"Spock, what is the Draco's manifest?" asked Kirk breaking the silence that was on the bridge.

The Vulcan science officer replied, "At last report dilithium. It would not surprise me if the Klingons are not after that shipment."

Kirk then asked another question, "What is so significant about this sector? What value is it to the Klingons?"

"There is an M-class planet less than two light years from our present position. Other than that, we know nothing of it," said Spock.

Kirk got up from his chair and walked over to the edge of the rail in front of the Science station. He then replied, "You said that these cloaked mines might possibly be of Romulan origin."

"Yes. They are similar to the ones encountered by the NX-01 approximately one hundred and four years ago. The biggest difference is that they were still able to maintain control of their helm and engines. Neither of which we have at the moment," said the Vulcan as he turned in his chair to face the captain.

"If it is true than this has just become bigger than a territorial dispute between us and the Klingons," said Kirk.

"I would agree," replied Spock, "which is why we must be cautious as what could happen here may have lasting repercussions for all parties involved."

Kirk walked over to his command chair and opened a channel. "Bridge to Engineering."

"Scott here sir," came the reply from the Chief Engineer who had successfully got the sensors back online just a few moments ago.

"Mr. Scott, I need engines and helm as soon as possible," said the Captain.

"Aye sir, I'm working on it. I'll have it for ye in four hours. Before ye protest, I know ye dinnae have four hours so you'll have it in one," said Scotty,

"I'm going to hold you to that Scotty," said Kirk.

"It'll mean some jury rigging, and some systems rerouting, but we'll get it done. I'd recommend putting into a starbase when this is all over," said Scotty.

"I'll keep that in mind. Kirk out," said the captain as he sat back down in his chair. He felt like he had absolutely nothing to do at the moment.

Uhura was monitoring communications between the ships in the area. Spock was peering into his viewer off and on to see if any ships had moved, and to determine if there was a way out of the minefield. Chekov was taking the data that Spock was feeding him, and plotting a course that would accommodate the size of the Enterprise. While McCoy was down in Sickbay attending to the injured, all Kirk could do at the moment was sit and wait for something to happen.

Captain Kirk looked around just as the turbolift doors opened, allowing Doctor McCoy to now exit onto the bridge. The doctor came up to the bridge fairly often, offering his assessment of the situation, and trading logic with Spock. It was a relationship that helped define each of those involved in it, and Kirk would not have it any other way.

"Well Captain," said McCoy, "there were twenty-six injured when we entered the minefield, but it was mostly minor injuries. Twenty-one have been returned to active duty, while the remaining five will need a few days rest since they were shaken up pretty bad."

Kirk nodded as he said, "That's good news Bones."

"Captain," said Spock as he turned to face his commanding officer. "Two of the Klingon vessels are moving closer to the Draco. The third one is not far behind. Given the nature of the Klingons, I would say that they may attempt to board the ship. The Draco's life support is still failing, and according to my calculations they have less than thirty minutes of breathable oxygen left."

"Jim we have to do something to help them," said McCoy.

"I agree Doctor," said Kirk considering his options. He could let the Klingons board the ship, or he could try to save as many lives as possible.

"Uhura, hail the Draco," said Kirk wasting no more time.

"Aye sir," said the communications officer, as she held her earpiece to her left ear.

Kirk stood in front of the command chair. He waited for Uhura to nod in acknowledgement of the channel being open before saying, "Captain Craddock, this is Captain Kirk of the Enterprise. There are three Klingon ships closing on your position, and it is very likely that they will attempt to board your ship. You will abandon your ship and get out in shuttles, we will stand by to take you on board the Enterprise."

"Didn't you hear me the first time Kirk? I told you to say away," said the captain of the Draco.

"Yes I did hear you, and that was not a request it is an order. According to regulations the captain of the ship with tactical superiority is in command of the situation. Now, given the fact that you have left your convoy and ended up in this sector is grounds for a competency hearing; which I will forgo if you do as instructed. Should you not comply, I will send a security team over to take you off your ship by force. We can get out of this if we work together. The choice is yours Craddock; take it or leave it."

To be continued . . .

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