Star Trek Hunter
Episode 22: Sacrifice
Scene 13: David and Goliath
David and Goliath
Rear Admiral Serge Mykel Chekov beamed over to the U.S.S. Hunter along with the ship’s acting commanding officer, Commander Kenneth Dolphin. The two men barely stepped off the transporter pad when Transporter Engineer Dragomut began moaning loudly and leaned over the transporter control panel. The shell-like skin on the imoginette engineer’s long forehead was pulsing with a kaleidoscope of brilliant colors – most of them pastel. Dragomut slumped over the transporter control panel, spasming helplessly. Dolphin started to move forward to help, but Chekov grabbed his arm.
“Stand back, Commander,” Chekov ordered. “Get help – this crewmember needs to go to Medical.”
“Midshipman Datsun,” said Dolphin, “Please report to Transporter Room One immediately and help Dragomut to Medical. Napoleon, where are you?”
“Aye Sir,” Datsun replied. The transporter chief walked in seconds later. “Dragomut, can you stand?”
“I am on the bridge,” came Lt. Cmdr. Napoleon Boles’ voice.
“Report to Medical to assist Transporter Specialist Dragomut,” Dolphin said as Dragomut, leaning heavily on Carlos Datsun’s shoulder and still spasming, hobbled out of the transporter room. “Notify me whom you leave in command. Dolphin out.”
“Aye sir,” came the response from Boles over the comm system. “I am leaving 2nd Lieutenant Tolon in command.”
“So I take it you had a really wild time with Captain Red,” said Chekov with a bit of a wicked smile. “That’s why you were so weird in that meeting…”
Dolphin blushed violently. “How did you know?”
Chekov made an amused noise. “I wasn’t born yesterday. I was sitting between the two of you and if I hadn’t been, we would probably have had to pry you off of each other before the meeting was over. But the confirmation was just now – the reaction of your imoginette crew member.”
“You know what that was all about?” Dolphin asked.
“A delegation of them attended a diplomatic conference my wife and I were at a few years back," Chekov responded. "They’re empaths, but what they really key in on is sex. We had to call in security to keep the reception from turning into an orgy and several of the security officers got caught up in it. We were just really fortunate to have a large number of vulcans working security that night. Of course the imoginettes had no idea about the attitudes of other species toward open sexual expression. To them, a formal soiree hasn’t really begun until everyone has their clothes off…”
Dolphin’s eyes widened. “So all that moaning and spasming just now… Dragomut was…”
“Orgasming. Hard,” Chekov responded. “She must have picked up on your experience with Captain Red. Or he? I’m never sure what pronoun to use with these people… it?”
“Don’t use ‘it’,” Dolphin replied. “They see that pronoun as denuding them of sexuality entirely. It’s a terrible insult. I have recommended my crew simply avoid using pronouns altogether.”
“That sounds exhausting,” Chekov observed. “In any case, you should keep as much distance between yourself and your imoginette transporter engineer as possible. At least for the next 48 hours. And be prepared for some aberrant behavior from your crew. What… Dragomut is the name?”
“What Dragomut just took in from you,” continued Chekov, “will get projected back through other crew members.” The admiral took a deep breath, then looked up again. “Well, let’s go down to Engineering and meet your team.”
“One moment please, Admiral,” said Dolphin. “Hunter?”
The elderly looking ship’s avatar appeared in the transporter room. “How can I help you, Commander?”
“For the next 48 hours I want you to restrict crew member access to rope, handcuffs, whips and any other items generally associated with, um… sexual bondage and related sexual games. Don’t allow the crew to replicate them. Don’t let them obtain holographic versions and if there are any of those things actually laying around, secure them for the next 48 hours.”
“Understood, Commander,” Hunter replied evenly. “Should we refer to this as operation bondage restriction?”
“Um….,” said Dolphin, “….No...”
“Very well, Commander," said the avatar. "Rear Admiral Chekov, welcome to me.” The elderly looking, pudgy avatar vanished.
“I had forgotten this ship is artificially intelligent,” said Chekov. “That hologram is designed after Professor Jose Crumar?”
“With all of his knowledge and scientific acumen as well as, apparently, his sense of humor,” said Dolphin as he ushered the admiral out of the transporter room to the lifts at the rear of deck 7. “Main Engineering,” Dolphin said as the lift doors closed.
“So are we going to be able to literally throw rocks at those giant romulan ships?” Rear Admiral Chekov asked.
“Um….,” said Dolphin, “….No...”
“I thought it sounded rather far-fetched.” said Chekov.
“Well, the physics and the math work out," Dolphin mused. "But the ability of pilots to deliver the fine control needed to avoid disastrous consequences – well… My people tell me it would be irresponsible to pursue this method further. But it seems they have another idea."
"Anything that will make these little ships effective against a romulan warbird. So what is it?" Chekov asked as they stepped off the lift onto the main engineering deck.
"Not a clue," Dolphin replied.
Dr. Moon stepped up. "Welcome, Rear Admiral," she said and waved toward the engineering conference room. Chekov paused for a moment – in an open space between the warp core and the port wall were a number of clearboards covered with arcane equations written using a black marker. In the midst of these, a tall, elderly ensign stomped back and forth. There was only enough room for him to take one or two short steps, then turn around. He grumbled under his breath the entire time.
Dr. Moon turned at the entrance to the conference room and said, "Come on Geoff, Hui." She took a sip from the coffee cup in her hand, then: "Yolanda, why don't you join us as well? This started as your idea..."
Chief Flight Engineer Yolanda Thomas was a short, full figured African American woman with evidence of vulcan ancestry and a strong Oklahoma drawl. "I got the idea from reading the logs of Jonathan Archer," she said. "In their initial configuration, the original NX series Enterprise's phaser cannon were too weak to be of any use. They almost accidentally discovered that running them through the main EPS system and accessing power from the warp core made the phasers ten times stronger and phaser cannon have been configured that way ever since."
"Now the Hunter's recursive warp engine isn't more powerful than any other Star Fleet power plant. But it is by far the most efficient," Thomas continued. "So I wondered if we could borrow the recursive power generation and run that in passive mode through the phaser cannon."
"Our initial modeling showed us that this would only serve to cut our phaser power to almost nothing and the phasers can't be easily reconfigured," said 2nd Lt. Sun Ho Hui as Ensign Alstars finally ambled into the conference room and closed the door. “But Geoff spotted something in the equations and ran a model test of the configuration against a standard shield configuration..."
"Like the shields just aren't even there," said Alstars "but at that point we're essentially trying to cut through their hull with a laser pointer. Even at full power, our phasers would take several seconds of sustained cutting to get through one of those romulan hulls. The romulans aren't kidding around with those things. The hull is made from layers of aluminum and plastic well over nine meters thick. These phasers were designed for popping open pirate schooners, not for cutting through a major war ship."
"So what good is all this?" Chekov asked.
2nd Lt. Sun Ho Hui rapped the table twice with his knuckle and said, "Hunter, display Thomas/Alstars solution model 47."
A highly detailed holographic model of a romulan warbird suddenly appeared hovering about three feet above the conference table – the model was about the size of the table. A scale model of the U.S.S. Hunter, just above the table top, underneath the warbird was about the size of a large man's fist by comparison. The tactical unit was about the size of a thumb when it separated from the Hunter's platform.
"Geoff and Yolanda were about to give up on this idea," said Lt. Sun. "But I wanted to know what would happen if we were to target the shield emitter. As you know, romulan warbirds use two separate networks of shield emitters. It turns out that each shield network has a separate primary emitter on the underside of the warbird. Hunter, run simulation."
The tiny phaser beams from the simulation of the Hunter were fine as spider silk. They sparked harmlessly along the hull of the warbird until they intersected with one of the shield emitters. With an instant flash, the warbird's primary shield network went down. When the simulated Hunter's modified phaser hit the secondary shield emitter, that shield array went down in an instant as well. It took Chekov a moment to realize that the simulated Hunter was operating in divided configuration – with the platform targeting one deflector network and the tactical unit targeting the secondary network. When both were hit at the same time with the deflectors already down, a series of secondary explosions caused damage to the hull around the deflector emitter arrays.
The tiny parts of the Hunter then targeted these emitters with photon torpedoes, which buried themselves deep into the broken emitter arrays, causing a cascade of secondary explosions, severely damaging the underside of the warbird and potentially crippling it.
Both Commander Dolphin and Rear Admiral Chekov were evidently impressed. "Goliath, meet David," said Dolphin. "David, Goliath."
"Of course, there's an obvious problem with this simulation," said Dr. Alstars, in his bristly, precise Oxford accent. "The romulans will be shooting back. Which will make targeting those emitter arrays far more problematic."
"How long until you have a working solution?" asked Chekov.
"I have most of the math worked out," Alstars replied. "Actual tests with modifications to the phaser array - probably tomorrow or the next day. But Commander Dolphin will need to develop the flight doctrine and pilot training program. Making this happen will be one-tenth science and engineering and 99% manual flight doctrine and training."
Chekov turned toward Dolphin. "What do you think, Kenny? You're supposed to be the hot dog pilot in the fleet."
Dolphin smiled, then said, "I would like to work with Captain Sagittarius Hunter and his Flight Operations Department on this. After my group, they have the most experience flying this class of ship and the U.S.S. Prowler is really more representative of the class than the Hunter is."
Chekov nodded sagely. "Sage is a really grounded fellow. I think you'll like him – if you can get past that city-boy – country-boy thing. Sage says he's from Harper's Ferry, but he actually grew up on a farm, along with his half-dozen zodiac-monikered siblings."