“The Sky’s The Limit”

SEVEN

DAY 58

Tuesday, August 5th, 2155
Escape pod NX-03-LB-Beta-1

Deep in a slumber and resting in the reclining chair of the escape pod, the loud computer beep slowly woke Kefira Ben-Ami up. Her fellow crewmates who she shared the lifeboat with were starting to stir too. She sat up automatically and the chair returned to its normal upright position as she did this. Rubbing the sleep out of her eyes, the doctor got to work in responding to what the computer wanted from her. She soon noticed it was an incoming call from Shuttlepod One. 

She answered it. “Go ahead Jack.”

“Good Morning Commander,” came the cheerful voice of Ensign Conrad over the channel. “Ma’am good news to report we’re approaching our safe harbour.”

At the sound of that news Ben-Ami grinned to herself. “That’s great news Jack!”

“Liam and I have already performed scans and we need to land as many escape pods soon. Their power systems are starting to degrade from their overuse.” Conrad mentioned. “The vector we’re approaching the planet from means we’ll be landing in the dark as it’ll be night time once we enter orbit.”

“Will that be a problem Jack?” Ben-Ami asked as she began to check over the controls of her lifeboat. It too was starting to use its emergency energy reserves to keep them going. 

“Not at all ma’am. Liam has already found us a nice little equatorial island to land on. It’s got plenty of vegetation and it’s a nice spot to keep us out of trouble. We’re registering a comfortable climate.” Conrad stated.

“What about other life forms? Any ships?” Ben-Ami asked.

Conrad answered. “I’m afraid our sensors are limited ma’am, so I can’t be sure. I can only see this side of the planet.”

“Well we have no choice. Once we get in to orbit begin coordinating everyone to land.” She ordered.

“Will do ma’am. I’ll be back in touch once we are within full visual range. Shuttlepod One out.” 

Ben-Ami rested back into her chair and was pleased to see a hand sticking out in front of her holding a mug of coffee. “Montana you read my mind!”

Challenger’s chef smiled at the doctor. “Seeing as we’re almost safe I thought using the last of our coffee rations was worth it. We’re going to need our wits about ourselves if we’re to survive this!” 

“I just hope you know how to grow coffee beans on this new planet because if not you’re not going to be a popular person!” Ben-Ami remarked as she sipped on the hot beverage, savouring each sensation that tickled her taste buds.

Lawson chuckled at that. “Hopefully the Captain will save us before that happens!”

“Let’s hope so!” Ben-Ami said as she raised her knees to her chest and looked out of the tinted glass that showed the planet they were approaching. From where they were it almost looked like a cross between Mars and Vulcan. It had a deep scarlet red sky that had whispers of diamond white clouds across it.

Shuttlepod One

Conrad yawned as he pressed several buttons to adjust the craft’s heading. He was keeping an eye on the planet that was to become their safe harbour. It was quickly approaching them as their caravan of lifeboats followed closely behind the shuttlepod. Conrad span on his chair around to see his travelling companions busy doing something else. Corporal Jenkins was reading everything coming through on the sensors. Ensign Metaxas was keeping a close eye on the status of all of their escape pods while Second Lieutenant Trommler was trying to sort out their kit in the rear of their cabin.

“Gentlemen we’ve arrived home!” Conrad said with a confident smile.

Jenkins snorted at his comment. “Isn’t it a bit early to be celebrating?”

“And we’re technically not home!” Metaxas replied.

Conrad sighed and threw his hands up in disbelief. “Not really optimistic are we today?”

“Jacky, I appreciate your positivity, but I have to admit I’m with these two. We should hold off with the celebrations!” Trommler stated from where he was knelt on the floor packing up their gear. Once they would land on the planet, they would need to unpack the entire shuttlepod and begin to setup shelter for everyone. 

“Fine!” Conrad said, feeling defeated and deflated by his fellow shipmates’ lack of appreciation of their good news. He turned his chair back around and looked back at the readings on his controls. Soon he would need to focus on their descent to the planet below.

Challenger NX-03

Sub Commander T’Plau pondered to herself just how dire their situation was. She had calculated that their chance of surviving was negligible, and that number decreased if they were forced to engage any hostile ships. Fortunately, since the crew’s departure her work with Captain Burton and Commander Stanton in repairing the ship had been productive. As it was only three of them it meant they were able to reduce life support in certain areas giving them extra power to get other systems operational. They had spent most of their time concentrating on the ship’s propulsion systems. After almost a day of hard work they had determined that the warp drive was beyond repair and would need access to a shipyard or repair facility to fix it. So, they had focussed on getting the impulse engines working. Their next priority had been getting the ship’s tactical systems back up and operational. It had taken them much longer to restore power to all of the phase cannons as well as make repairs to the ship’s hull plating generators. The torpedo launchers had been the most disappointing as their calculated repair time had now gone over by a full day. 

She had now decided to take a break and get a cup of green tea from the crew lounge. T’Plau wasn’t surprised when the drink dispenser was not working. So, she left the mess hall and entered the kitchen. There wasn’t much left as Chef Lawson had taken as much as she could take before they abandoned ship. T’Plau searched several cupboards before finding a kettle she could use to boil the water. She approached the sink, filled the kettle up and placed it on the electric stove that thankfully was working. She then went into the pantry to find the tin that Lawson used to keep the green tea in. Once she located it, she took the tea strainer from a draw and collected a mug on her way back to the stove. Several stools were placed under the middle preparation stand. T’Plau sat down while she waited for the kettle to begin whistling. She picked up the nearest tablet she had brought down with her to read. She was in the process of redesigning the targeting scanners. The subroutines and algorithms needed to be completely re-written due to the damage sustained to the computer processors. 

 The doors to the kitchen opened once again making her look up at who was coming in. Commander Michael Stanton squeezed himself through as he pushed the two doors apart from each other. “I definitely need to get back to the gym after all of this.” He said as he struggled against the doors. Eventually he got through and smiled at T’Plau. “Taking a break too?”

 “Indeed.” T’Plau answered as she got up from her chair and proceeded to check on the boiling water. “Tea?”

Stanton nodded. “The captain’s got me hooked on English breakfast tea, if there’s any going?”

“I was making green tea, but I can locate your choice.” She offered as she turned to head towards the pantry.

“Nah, green tea sounds fine to me.” He replied before helping himself into a cupboard and pulling out a large jar. T’Plau watched him unscrew its lid, wondering what was in it. If on cue Stanton looked at her and appeared to read her mind to explain what was in it. “It’s the cookie jar T’Plau. Chef Lawson keeps some of her cookies in cool storage.”

“An interesting method in storing such food.” She remarked as she picked up another mug for the engineer and getting enough tea for his drink too.

Stanton placed the jar on the middle counter and pulled out a stool on the opposite side to where T’Plau had been a moment ago. He took the lid off the jar and pulled a chocolate cookie out and began to nibble on it. “How are repairs going at your end?” He asked her.

T’Plau began to pour the hot water in to their mugs and answered him at the same time. “I am currently working on re-writing the algorithms for the targeting scanners.”

“I’m sure your new ones will be more efficient than the original ones.” He said after swallowing a chunk. 

“I am sure they will be.” T’Plau bluntly put it as she carried over their mugs to where they were sat. 

“Thanks.” Stanton said in appreciation. 

“You are welcome.” T’Plau replied as she sat on her stool up straight.

 After a few minutes of silence between the two officers, Stanton cleared his throat after taking a sip from his tea. “T’Plau you never said why you would stay with us?”

She raised her left eyebrow at Stanton. “I do not believe my reasons where necessary to share with everyone.”

“No, I’m sure they’re not and please don’t be offended by what I said. I’m just curious as to why you would agree to stay. You could have easily left with the others.” Stanton said looking at her.

“Captain Burton is an excellent tactician; a competent leader and you are an excellent engineer however you both would not have been able to survive with at least another person helping you. I was the obvious choice from the senior staff to stay behind to help.” She explained.

“And there was me thinking it was out of loyalty to the captain?” Stanton quizzed her.

“My decision was not influenced by how I feel about Captain Burton.” T’Plau defended with. “However, that does not mean I do not respect the captain and I will carry out his orders as my commanding officer.”

“Do you not have any thoughts about how proud we all are at how we’ve survived the past month and a half against the Carreons and Romulans?” Stanton wondered.

She nodded her head gentle. “I am highly impressed at the fact we have not had any fatalities and I admire at how well this crew has kept their emotional balance in check in such difficult circumstances.”

“So, you do care.” Stanton said chuckling at how well the Vulcan was avoiding answering his questions completely. 

The intercom went off, preventing T’Plau from saying any more. “Heads up you two, we’ve got company.”

“Damn it!” Stanton cursed as he picked up his cookie and mug and rushed with T’Plau to leave the kitchen to head up to the bridge.

Thankfully they had been able to repair the lift system between A and D decks which meant that Burton didn’t have to wait too long for his two officers to join him. As they entered the bridge from the lift, they took their positions either side of him. Burton himself was at the helm while T’Plau took her usual chair at tactical while Stanton sat at the science station. 

“A ship is approaching us at full impulse, but their too far to register who they are.” Burton explained to them as they moved around the bridge to get to their spots.

“No idea if they’re friendly or an enemy ship?” Stanton inquired as he tried to bring up all the information he would need where he sat. He also loaded up the engineering dashboard on his screen so he could manage the ship’s systems from where he was. He also tied in the ship’s communication systems into his station too. 

“Nope.” Burton said. “They just dropped out of warp and have been heading straight for us. T’Plau bring the phase cannons online and prepare to open the aft torpedo launch bays.”

“Captain can I remind you the torpedo launchers are non-operational. We cannot fire with them.” T’Plau stated.

“I know that, but if we can’t outrun them at impulse, I want to use the torpedoes like mines. I plan to drop them in their way as they approach us and then destroy them with our phase cannons as they get close enough to them.” Burton responded with.

“Understood captain, arming all torpedoes in the aft bays, opening their launcher doors too.” She said.

“Umm sir you may want to hold off on that idea.” Stanton declared once his station beeped at him. “That’s a friendly vessel sir and we are being hailed!”

“Onscreen!” Burton said with a sense of hope in his tone.

The main screen changed and the image of an Andorian zhen appeared. “Captain Burton, what have you done to your ship?” spoke Commander Ashanthi zh’Becthor from her command chair on the bridge of the Avenkerev.

“It’s a long story Commander Anthi, but all I can is we are pleased to see you. We are in dire need of help.” Burton said.

“I notice your docking ports are too badly damaged for us. We’re dispatching shuttles with medical and engineering personnel with supplies.” She stated. “Don’t worry captain you’re safe now.”

“Thank you, Commander.” Burton said in relief.

“It seems you need a friend today, Captain. We’re on our way. Avenkerev out.” The screen went blank. 

Stanton got up and as he did, he spoke. “Captain, we may have to force open the launch bay doors. They took a direct hit after the Romulan battle.”  

Burton got up and placed the bridge computers on lockout, “Come on T’Plau we may need some of that Vulcan strength to activate the manual releases.”

T’Plau nodded her in head in acknowledgement and joined her two fellow officers on the lift as they made their way down to greet their saviours.

Shuttlepod One

If Corporal Jenkins had nodded off, just the way his body was telling him to do, he would not have noticed the sensor blip on his screen. He winced his eyes to concentrate on it for a second time and he was certain there was something out there.

“Umm, Jack we’ve got an incoming bogey.” Jenkins announced to the pilot.

Conrad turned around in his chair to look over at his comrade. “Clarify Liam?”

“Something fast is ascending from the planet and is making its way over to us.” Jenkins responded. “It’s no bigger than a Y-class freighter, I’m detecting twenty-four life forms on board.”

Conrad quickly turned around in his chair and moved their shuttlepod to face the angle of the incoming alien vessel. “Shuttlepod One to Commander Ben-Ami.” He said after tapping the communication button in front of him.

Ben-Ami’s voice crackled over the radio. “Go ahead Ensign.”

“Ma’am we’re detecting an alien vessel, it’s approach vector places it on an incoming trajectory course for our current location. I suggest we hurry up in moving our escape pods out of the way.” Conrad swiftly stated. 

“How long do we have?” The doctor asked.

He looked down at his own readings now. “Less than a minute and a half.” Conrad answered.

“Alright, I’ll signal everyone to begin rapid descents.” Ben-Ami said; the concern in her voice was now apparent. They all knew if they didn’t land soon then they could become someone’s target practice or worse be captured.

A few seconds later Conrad watched as he saw most of the escape pods fire their retro-thrusters that slammed them into the planet’s atmosphere. If they all made their way into the lower layers of the atmosphere, they would be able to avoid detection due to it being partly ionised. 

“Jack that ship is coming straight for us and will be with us in less than thirty seconds.” Jenkins stated.

“And that’s not the worse of it.” Ensign Metaxas added. “That ship is armed with particle cannons and I’m registering a thick hull plating plus a tractor beam. However, it doesn’t have a warp drive.”

Conrad looked over his left shoulder to catch Metaxas’ eye. “So only impulse?”

“If you can call it that.” Metaxas returned. “It’s not liked our engine configuration or any sub-light engine I’ve seen before.”

“Okay, polarise our hull plating and bring the forward phase cannons online.” Conrad ordered.

“Really Jack?” Trommler asked out of disbelief from where he sat behind Jenkins. “You’re going to fight them?”

 “We should open a channel and attempt to make contact.” Jenkins suggested.

“Or at least speak with Ben-Ami.” Trommler stated. “Liam open a channel to her escape pod.”

Jack span his chair round in rage for his friend trying to undermine him. “I’m the senior officer here Second Lieutenant Trommler, you’ll follow my orders!” He said in a loud, stern voice. 

“Then give the appropriate orders, Ensign Conrad.” Trommler countered back with in a similar tone of voice as he stood up, without bumping his head on the low shuttlepod ceiling.

Both Jenkins and Metaxas looked at both men back and forth. It was like watching a game of fierce tennis, waiting to see who would return the serve hardest. Conrad looked at Jenkins. “Get Ben-Ami.” He conceded, knowing his friend was right. 

 Jenkins did as he told and opened the channel.

“Ma’am they’re going to be here soon, and we still need more time to get everyone in to the planet’s atmosphere. I recommend we try to make contact, buy ourselves some time.”

“I was thinking the same thing Jack.” She returned. In the back of Conrad’s mind, he was annoyed, as he knew that Trommler would rub it in his face later that his decision had been the best one to take. He kicked himself mentally for acting without thinking. “I’m moving my escape to be alongside you but let’s move closer to the atmosphere just in case we need to make a speedy escape.” Ben-Ami carried on with.

“Yes ma’am.” Conrad said and span his chair back round to face the cockpit as he adjusted their course and heading to move alongside the escape pod, so they were now facing their new guest. 

“The last of the escape pods has entered the lower atmosphere.” Jenkins announced after a few seconds of silence filled the cabin.

“They’ll all be down within four to five minutes.” Metaxas remarked.

“Commander Ben-Ami is hailing the alien ship and is patching us through too.” Jenkins said.

The radio speakers came to life as Ben-Ami’s feminine voice filled the shuttlepod. “I am Lieutenant Commander Kefira Ben-Ami, chief medical officer of the Earth starship Challenger. We come in peace.”

There was a harsh silence after her opening hail. The alien vessel had now stopped in front of them and was doing nothing from what they could see. 

Conrad squinted his eyes when he saw a blue ball of energy begin to emerge from the side of the alien ship’s hull. Automatically he registered what it was and span the shuttlepod hard to starboard while at the same time shouting down the communicator to Ben-Ami’s lifeboat, “Take evasive action they’re firing on us!”

Two bolts of energy streaked out towards both Earth ships, the first one aimed at the shuttlepod missed by a meter while the other one grazed the hull of the escape pod as it too moved out of the way.

“Return fire!” Conrad ordered.

Metaxas did as he was told and locked the shuttlepod’s smaller phase cannon on to target and opened fire. He shot at them three times; none of them were targeting any specific part of the ship. He was just retaliating.

 “Jack the escape pod was hit badly they’re heading down towards the planet. They’ve lost two of their engines.” Jenkins shouted over the commotion.

Conrad was too busy to answer as he trying to outfly their attacker. “Keep returning fire. I’m going to try and loose them in the atmosphere. Theo, I need all available power to the manoeuvring thrusters and hull plating.”

“I’m on it!” The Greek engineer said as Conrad span the shuttle on its axis into a nosedive, heading directly in to the planet’s atmosphere. As he did Conrad prayed that Ben-Ami’s escape pod survived their fall and landed somewhere safely. 

I.G.S. Avenkerev

“Apart from a few cuts and bruises our guests are fit to leave my infirmary.” 

Captain Burton looked at the Andorian doctor that had finished scanning him, Stanton and T’Plau. He nodded the tall Andorian man in gratitude as he left their company.

“Thank you chirurgeon.” Commander Anthi said in her usual calm tone.

Burton had been sat on one of the beds in the Avenkerev’s sickbay but decided to jump off from it once he had been given the all clear from the ship’s doctor. He wondered if the chirurgeon, as Anthi referred to him using the Andorian word for doctor, had actually studied human or Vulcan physiology before and knew what he was looking for. That all said he wasn’t going to argue with the hospitality that Anthi was providing for the three of them. Stanton and T’Plau, who had also been checked over by the doctor, were stood by Burton’s bed when Commander Anthi started to talk to the three of them.

“I have to admit, I am pretty impressed at how brave you three all are in staying on your ship, especially in the condition it’s in.” She remarked. Anthi was still the same woman that they had all met at Docana and whom they had worked with on a few joint missions since then. She was unlike any other Andorian senior officer that Burton had been briefed on. She seemed a strong supporter of the Coalition and was eager to work alongside her human allies. Burton found her curiosity about exploring the galaxy to be one of our alluring traits compared to the stereotypical Andorian soldier who was more bothered about fighting for the good of the Andorian Empire. 

“Thanks.” Burton returned with. “We had planned to return to Delta to rescue some crewmembers of ours.”

Anthi looked surprised at his statement and indicated with her head for them to walk with her out of the Avenkerev’s infirmary. She led them down the corridor as they walked through the clean ship their conversation continued. “I knew you were heading to Delta to open up negotiations, what went wrong with the Deltans?”

“Nothing.” Burton replied. “It was going extremely well however they were attacked by an old rival. A species named the-”

“Carreon?” Anthi finished his sentence with.

“Let me guess you’ve had the pleasure of meeting them too?” Stanton asked from where he walked behind Burton and Anthi. 

Anthi looked over her shoulder and nodded to the engineer. “Yes, two of their ships attacked us however they didn’t put up much of a fight.”

“What do you mean?” T’Plau enquired.

“Their attack was erratic, and they didn’t have their full defences deployed. They were easy targets.” Anthi answered as she looked at the Vulcan before looking back at Burton. “Please continue Captain.”

Burton had looked at his two officers, both of them indicating that they shared similar thoughts with him. It was obvious that Anthi had encountered the Carreons and in a similar fashion as they had. He would ask her later if he could review her sensor logs from the battle, as it would confirm their suspicions of the Romulans controlling the Carreons. He obliged with Anthi’s request and went on to recall what happened on Delta, how they were forced to leave the planet and how the past fifty days or so they had been under constant attack by the Carreon. 

“That’s really interesting.” Anthi said once Burton had finished recounting their ordeal. “After they attacked us the first time, we entered a star system not from here and observed the Carreons and Deltans engage in a battle. We tried to intervene and offer the chance of being a mediator, but both sides opened fired on us. We left before we too badly damaged and watched them on long-range sensors fight it off until they mutually destroyed each other. They just wouldn’t give up.”

Burton looked at both Stanton and T’Plau and they gave him their silent blessing to share what he wanted to say to their ally. “Commander we believe the Carreons, and it’s possible the Deltans too, are being controlled by the Romulans.”

“The Romulans?” Anthi said surprisingly. “How are they controlling them?”

“We think they’re using a form of telepresence computer virus that gives them remote access to their ship’s systems from long range.” Stanton explained. “We encountered a possible attack on our own systems but were able to move out of range and create some countermeasures from it.”

“We also encountered a Carreon ship that seemed to be having technical difficulties. We believe the Romulans had infiltrated their systems, but the crew were attempting to retake control. There was a number of irregularities during our battle with them including them not having their defences completely engaged either.” T’Plau stated. “We expect the Romulans activated a form of self-destruct from allowing the crew in completely retaking control or allowing us from finding them out.”

“The Romulans did show themselves to us and we engaged one of their ships only a few days ago. They attempted to capture Challenger.” Burton said. “We hypothesised that to perfect their telepresence remote control virus they need to have technical intelligence on their target’s computer systems. If they had captured us then they would be able to gain access to Earth targets with ease.” 

Before Burton had spoken, Anthi had led them in to a lift and had pressed the button to take them to the command deck. “If you’re correct then this can cause a lot more issues for the entire Coalition, more than the drone ship attacks from last year.” She said. 

“We need to inform our governments of our findings at once.” T’Plau stated.

“Easier said than done.” Anthi remarked as she folded her arms. The three of them all looked at her, showing they didn’t understand what she meant by that. “Long range communications are being blocked. We think the Deltans or Carreons have set up some network that is interfering with long-range subspace communication. We’ve been unable to connect to any of our subspace amplifiers.”

Burton copied Anthi’s actions as he too folded his arms against his chest and lowered his head. “We’re screwed.”

“Maybe not.” Stanton countered back with. Burton had looked up at his acting first officer looking to get what he meant. Stanton continued. “If we can get to the Deltans maybe we can show them what we’ve learnt about the Romulans and their computer virus. Perhaps we can help them call for a ceasefire with the Carreons or at least not fight them until they achieve mutual annihilation.” 

“We should also attempt to take out what is blocking our long-range communication.” T’Plau offered.

“We’ve tried to locate what is causing it but haven’t been entirely successful yet.” Anthi said as the lift finally stopped and reached their destination. She led her guests out and on to her command deck. 

She reached where her seat was in the middle of the room. Burton smiled to himself, this was the first time he had been on an Andorian warship of the Kumari-class and so he found it fascinating that they shared a similar design with their Human allies in having the captain’s chair in the middle of the room. Anthi’s chair was on a raised platform with more space in between it and the other stations unlike the layout of Burton’s bridge. Sat in the chair was a familiar face that they had met before on Docana. 

“Lieutenant Thom, report?” Anthi asked the communications’ officer and Anthi’s first officer. . 

The young Andorian man stood up from the chair to look down at his superior officer. “Lieutenant Dreu reports that repair teams are still determining the extent of damage that Challenger has sustained but his early estimation is that it won’t be able to achieve warp flight without replacing a number of major parts.” 

Stanton spoke up in defence of his ship. “Yes; we know that.” He said a little bit irritated at the state of his ship.

Burton placed a hand on Stanton’s shoulder to calm his acting first officer down. “We appreciate the help with repairs Lieutenant Thom.” He said. “It’s good to see you though lieutenant.” 

Thom smiled back at the Human captain. “Likewise, sir.” He greeted with. 

Anthi looked at Stanton, “Commander you know your ship better than any of my crew. I am more than happy for you to take charge of my repair teams. You know what needs to be done.”

Stanton looked at Burton who just gave him an assuring nod before he looked back at the Andorian leader. “Thank you, commander, I appreciate it.”

Anthi noticed that Thom may have been a bit irked at her decision, but she knew he believed in their alliance as much as she did. She knew he would remind her later that the crew may not like taking orders from a Human though. “It’s fine Michael, it’s the least we can do to pay you back for saving us back on Docana.” She looked at T’Plau, “T’Plau would you mind working with Thom in trying to track down where the interference is coming from so we could try and bring it down?”

T’Plau nodded in agreement, she knew that the Andorian lieutenant was a communications specialist so between the two of them they should be able to achieve the task. 

“Captain Burton would you join me on the observation deck?” Anthi offered to Burton.

Being the guest on her ship, Burton obliged and let her escort him off the command deck and into another corridor. 

“Thank you for being so accommodating commander.” Burton said after they left the room and their crews to get on with their jobs.

Anthi looked up at Burton. “Let’s drop the ranks when it’s just us two captains.”

Burton smirked at her directness. “That’s fine with me Anthi.”

“Much better Lloyd!” She said teasingly. “I truly mean it when I say I believe in our alliance.”

“I know and I share your sentiments too.” Burton returned as they turned down a corridor and approached a set of large doors. 

Anthi pressed the button on the side to let them in. As they crossed the threshold the lights in the room came to life and she showed him a room that was just as large as the crew lounge on Challenger. It had bigger bay windows that extended from floor to ceiling. To the side was a small bar area. Anthi was already moving out to it. “I’m glad to hear that Lloyd because unlike some of my other colleagues I believe in what our good chancellor said when she was elected. For the Empire to survive we need to make strong relationships with those around us, including the Vulcans and Tellerites.” She pulled out a bottle of crystal blue liquid with two short glasses. She began to pour it and automatically Burton recognised the Andorian ale. The two of them had shared a bottle after the liberation of Docana. “But the most important relationship I see from it is the Andorian-Human one.” She said as she offered him a glass.

Burton moved over to the bar and took a seat on one of the stalls. “How comes?”

“Simple because we’ve had nothing to fight over which makes us the perfect friends.” She answered before taking a swig from her glass. She had downed the drink in one go and Burton soon followed her. Anthi filled their glasses again. “The Avenkerev is your new home until your ship is properly repaired. I’ll have our VIP guest quarters prepared for you and the others if you wish to stay here instead of your ship.”

Burton smiled at the gesture. “Thank you Anthi that’s very kind, but I’m eager to get her repaired and attempt to find my missing crew.”

Anthi nodded in appreciation. “I’m sure giving the order to abandon ship was tough. I promise you that we will find your crew and restore your ship to her former glory. Tell me where do we start to find them?”

“We’ve got two places to look, one is in the opposite direction we were coming from while the other is back on Delta.” Burton answered.

Anthi sighed. “Okay well we can’t split in to two yet. We are closer to Delta though and at the moment we wouldn’t be able to pull Challenger at warp with the state its hull is in. It will only ripe itself apart from the stress.”

Burton agreed with her analysis. “The plan was for the rest of the crew to go and hide out on a Minshara class planet while we went back to Delta to find those we left behind.”

“Then let’s stick to it.” She gave him his glass back and raised hers. “To bringing back the Challenger crew.” She toasted.

“I’ll drink to that.” Burton said and gently knocked his glass against hers before drinking the Andorian ale in one go.