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Mutineer’s Fate: Kobayashi Maru

episode 101 Kobayashi Maru

 

“Please help us,” her voice caught in a gasp of pain. “Please…our engines are failing... our life support... failing. We… we cannot reach the [SKZZZZZT]…” The grainy image wavered and flickered to black for a moment before returning to its low-resolution quality. So bad was the image that it was rendered inverted. “…[ZZZT!] … in time. We’ll be intercepted in minutes. We …[SKRRRT!] … defenseless… please. This is the Kobayashi Maru calling for asst… [SKZZZZRRRT!]” “Try and clean that up, T’vrell” The captain ordered as he rose from the command chair. “Elisa, confirm their status.” Young, hard muscled and lean, he stood tall on the bridge in his uniform. As the rest of the stationed crew around him, his head was shaved short in the standard military cut but he was just beginning to grow a thin goatee. “Confirmed, …captain,” the young woman standing at the tactical station answered him sharply. “Their engines are losing power, they are still moving, and…,” Her hands flew over her console briefly. “…they have moved well into the zone.” “Captain,” the bolian female stationed at the operations station was shaking her head. “Their engines are too crippled to get them back to the sector anytime soon.” “Long range sensors, Elisa?” “Nothing yet…” “We have standing orders, people.” The members of the bridge grew tense with anticipation as he addressed the ships pilot. “Helm, plot a course. Get us to within transport range of the ship.” “Aye, sir,” the young woman responded, “Course set… engaging engines.” “Go to yellow alert,” “Aye, captain,” the tactical officer nodded. “All hands, Yellow alert!” and the bridge was bathed in the amber glow from the lighting color change. “T’Vrell,” The captain ordered. “Order them to cut their engines.” The communications officer was Vulcan, older than the rest of the bridge crew by decades but one could not tell that from her youthful appearance. Diminutive, her skin was almost as dark as her captains. “No response, captain.” “Open a channel,” he demanded. She nodded sharply as she followed his command. “Kobayshi Maru, you are ordered to come to a stop and prepare to have your crew…” “Warp signatures, captain!” Elisa warned. “…klingon!” “Red alert!” he ordered. “How many?” “Looks like one… no two, K’t’inga class ships.” The helmsman turned in her chair. “We can take them!” The captain agreed. “Best speed, Ms. Potter!” “Aye, Captain Dane!” The engines powered vibrated throughout the ship as she increased speed. Captain Dane returned to the command chair and settled in. “Ready weapons!” “ALL HANDS, TO BATTLE STATIONS!” Elisa announced! “The Maru attempting to power up her warp engines, Captain,” she warned. “Trying to escape!” Dane checked his own command console to monitor the readout of the other ships fluctuating power levels. The oscillating numbers were easy to interpret. “They’ll blow their warp core before they can establish a field… T’Vrell… open that channel.” “Open, sir,” Kobayashi Maru, this is the Maelstrom, cut your engines before you detonate your warp core.” The screen suddenly shifted to a visual communication. Grainy and intermittent, the upside-down image of a woman appeared on the bridges forward monitor. “I’m in command here, Maelstrom,” she stated evenly. “There is a contingent of Klingon battle cruisers on their way here now.” Dane stood at the sight of her. “I know you… cadet… Williams?” Behind him Elisa whispered, “She… she was in last year’s class.” “Yes,” the woman spoke through the static of the connection. “I was at the academy.” “How…” Dane stammered a bit. “How did you…?” “Captain, we have three new warp signatures inbound!” Elisa warned. “Three Vor’cha class cruisers…and a Negh’Var class warship!” Dane snapped around and looked at his tactical officer. “A Negh’Var? ETA?” “They’ll be in weapons range in less than five minutes, sir.” He turned back to the view screen, the woman, who was watching him with a mournful look, said, “You have to let us go…, captain.” The helmsman, Potter whispered, “How did she make it out?” Dane shook his head. “I can’t do that, Williams. I have orders. Lower your shields and prepare for transport.” “No. Dane, right? I remember you, I think.” She stepped back from the viewer to reveal a tired and haggard crew of men, women and children of various species. “Leave us.” “Elisa?” “We are in range of the ship, captain,” she told him. “The klingons are four minutes out… not enough time to get past their shields to force a transport.” “You can’t handle the Klingon ships, Dane,” The woman warned. “You don’t leave now… both our fates will be sealed.” Dane stared past the woman to the children hovering in the background. “Williams… lower your shields.” “I have a weapons lock, Captain,” Elisa announced. “Full spread of torpedoes should do it.” Dane held out a hand. “Hold that!” Then he turned back to the view screen. “Lower you shields and we can transport the children out, Williams!” “Captain!?” Elisa snapped. “The klingons will close in two minutes. “No, Dane,” Williams told him through another squelch of static. “We… won’t.” Dane stood for another moment; his fists clenched as he squinted through the grainy video feed to the inverted faces of the small children behind the woman. His orders had been clear… his duty was not in question… but... “Stand down,” he ordered. “Helm set course to return to sector space and engage.” “What?” Elisa shouted. “Captain we just can’t…!” Dane turned on her with a fierce glare. “FOLLOW MY ORDERS!” Another moment before the helm complied with a hesitant, “Aye, captain.” Elisa stepped from around her console to confront Dane face to face. “What are you doing?” “I’m…” “SHIPS DECLOAKING!” Potter warned. “Port and starboard!” Elisa rushed back to the tactical station and confirmed that, “Three ships… the Devron, the Kirk and…,” she said darkly. “…the ISS Venture, captain Dane.” He turned back to the screen to see the feed go to black then switch to the external view. The crew watched as the dreadnaughts fired on the Kobayashi Maru, nastily splitting the ship in two with only a few torpedoes. “The Klingons are altering course… they’re leaving.” “Our command codes have been overridden!” Potter warned and she took her hands away from the controls. “We are being boarded, …captain,” Elisa stepped back from the tactical console as all about the bridge, shimmering pillars of light appeared from deck to deckhead. These beams resonated with soft harmonic tones as shining silhouettes coalesced inside each. Armed silhouettes. The pillar of light in front of the viewscreen dimmed away to reveal a stern looking woman with admiral's bars on her collar. She was flanked by a security contingent armed with phasers and wicked looking daggers on their hips. “Admiral on deck!” Elisa called out and the entire bridge crew stood to attention. The admiral, standing small and lean before them gave the bridge an appraising look. Her gaze passed from one cadet to the next. Finally, she stared down Dane with harsh disapproving eyes. Behind her on the ships viewscreen, the last remnants of the Kobayashi Maru flared and vanished. She muttered, “When all else fails, do it yourself…”, then cleared her throat. “Were your orders not clear, Cadet Dane?” Dane stood at attention, clenched his jaw, and answered as evenly as he could. “They were clear, Admiral.” “So why did I have to order my Task Force to finish the mission?” “There…” Dane knew what was coming. He answered anyway. “There were children aboard the ship.” The Admiral stepped across the bridge as her security officers took up positions around the crew of the Maelstrom. “The children of traitors, Dane,” she said and nodded to the security men now flanking the cadet captain. “Are traitors as well.” The first bolt passed through his neck straight down his body to his left foot and Dane dropped to the floor writhing in pain. The second hit him in the small of his back and spread out from there to all his limbs. Somehow, he managed not to cry out. “Do you know the penalty for failing this test… in THIS way, cadet?” The admiral asked but Dane could not answer. “For your crew… it’ll be quite some time in the agony cells. But for you, as Captain… execution.” With that she turned to Elisa. “I trust you can command this training ship back to Terra, cadet?” Grimly the young woman stepped over the still writhing body of Dane. “Aye, Admiral.” “Good, I’ll take your captain back with me where I can oversee his trip home. Wouldn’t want one of you to make a mistake that could jeopardize another graduating class.” With that she placed a fist over her heart. “Long live the empire!” The crew responded in kind as the Admiral and Dane became shimmering silhouettes as they were transported away. “LONG LIVE THE EMPIRE!”



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