AOH :: GEIGER01.TXT|
"Q and A" STTNG Novel Chapter 1 of 16
Q and A
The new Star Trek : The Next Generation Novel
Copyright (C) 1990 by Doug Geiger
Captain's Log - Stardate 42765.5
After the Enterprise's latest encounter with Q, which resulted in
18 deaths and some structural damage to the saucer section, we are enroute
to Starbase 197. Our encounter with the Borg will be added to Starfleet
records for future reference. Starfleet Command has given extended shore
leave to the entire Enterprise crew while repairs are made to the saucer
"Mister Data, ETA at Starbase 197," asked Captain Picard, an
imposing, bald man who sat in the center seat of the Bridge.
"At our present speed of Warp 6 we will arrive in 6.43321 hours,
sir," reported Lieutenant Commander Data from the navigator's station at
the front of the Bridge. Data's gold eyes and pale skin told everyone that
he was an android.
"6.4 hours would have sufficed, Lieutenant, thank you. Status report,
"All departments report maximum efficiency. Hull sensors indicate
that the damage to the saucer section will not be structurally dangerous
unless we exceed Warp 8," replied the Klingon communications officer and
Security chief from the Upper Bridge.
"Thank you, Mister Worf. Keep me informed of any changes."
"Picard to Engineering," said Picard, tapping his combadge,
"Mister LaForge, any problems to report?"
"Nothing new to report, Captain," said the blind Chief Engineer,
the pulsating light from the Warp engines glinting off the VISOR that
allows him to "see."
"Will the damage caused by Q effect our phasers in any way?"
asked the Captain.
"When Q removed the cylinder from the Enterprise some major
systems were disrupted, including weapons, but we've been able to reroute
most of them. I have the Engineering staff pulling double shifts running
diagnostics on each system. So far nothing's been encountered to prevent
us from restoring all systems to their original paths. I just want to be
sure so that nothing happens to damage the saucer section even more.
"But to answer your question, Captain, since we'll be at Starbase
197 soon, I've taken the phasers off-line until full scale repairs can be
made. Q didn't touch the phaser rings but he came awfully close," reported
"In that case, I sincerely hope the phasers won't be needed,
Lieutenant. Picard out.
"Counselor, what is the crew's mood?" asked Picard as he turned
to his left to consult Deanna Troi, the empathic Ship's Counselor.
"They are tired, both mentally and physically, but that is
understandable. They are also saddened by the deaths of the crewmembers.
All in all, Captain, I don't think the crew could stand the stress of
another mission. You should request a shore leave for the entire crew,
yourself included," said the beautiful Betazoid.
"Deanna, you know how I hate to be away from the Enterprise, even
for a short time. But I have a surprise for you.
"Mister Worf, open a shipwide channel," requested Picard.
"Channel open, sir."
"This is Captain Picard. Due to the stresses placed upon both
ship and crew by the time vortex and our encounter with Q, Starfleet
Command has granted shore leave to all crewmembers upon our arrival at
Starbase 197. Please refer to the schedules posted by the department
heads as to your beam-down time. Enjoy yourselves. As the best crew
in Starfleet, you deserve this vacation. Picard out."
From throughout the ship, cheers could be heard. Smiles even
broke out among the Bridge Crew, except for Worf and Data. Data because
he was an android and the purpose of some human expressions eluded him.
Worf because he was a Klingon and they just don't do that kind of thing.
"That's great news, Captain, but why'd you keep it a secret?"
asked William Riker, the bearded First Officer seated on Picard's right.
"Well, Number One, the message came through just before I came
on the Bridge. How are you going to spend shore leave, Will?"
"There are some new holodeck simulations I've been wanting to
try out," said Riker.
"Ah, you mean the survival games," said Worf with appreciation.
"I too want to see those."
"No, Worf, I meant the historic recreations. I've heard they're
"What about you, Captain?"
"Oh, I don't know. I have some reading to catch up on. I'd also
like to work on my painting," said Picard.
For awhile, they flew on in silence. Finally Picard said, "Mister
Crusher, steady on course. I'll be in my Ready Room. You have the Bridge,
Number One." And Picard left the Bridge.
"Was that not unusual?" asked Data.
"I'm not sure, Data. The Captain has been pretty angry about our
inability to deal effectively with Q and the Borg," said Riker.
"There is that, but I sense something else. He doubts his ability
to command. I've talked with him and his mental condition has improved
somewhat. He just needs time. The deaths of the crew aren't helping either.
He feels personally responsible. Combined with the stress of informing
their families, it all adds up to a great deal of strain. He will get
through it because he is strong. He just has to understand that it's
not his fault," analyzed Deanna.
Suddenly, the Enterprise shook violently. The shocked exclamations
of the Bridge Crew were lost amid the red alert klaxons.
"Data, shields up. Ensign Crusher, take us out of warp. Worf,
damage report," ordered Riker.
Picard emerged from his Ready Room looking shaken, blood from a
large cut on his forehead flowing down his face. "Wh-what hit us?"
"We're working on it, sir. Worf, where is that damage report?"
"Communications throughout the ship were damaged. In addition,
the damaged section of the saucer has been stressed to the limit. Any
more shocks like that and the hull could rupture," reported Worf.
"Mister Data, why didn't our sensors register anything?" asked
Picard. "And shut off that damn noise!" The red alert klaxons fell silent.
"Unknown ,sir, but an unidentified ship has just come within
The viewscreen changed from an empty star-field to a crystalline
ship approaching quickly. It was the shape and color of a huge,
multifaceted diamond. Spires and antennae projected from numerous points
on the hull. A huge weapons pod was slung on its underside.
"Intruder slowing to sublight," reported Data.
"Mister LaForge, why didn't sensors register the intruder?"
inquired Riker, tapping his combadge.
"We were in the process of restoring the sensors to their original
"Mister Worf, open hailing frequencies, universal translator on,"
"Hailing frequencies open."
"This is Captain Jean-Luc Picard commanding the Federation starship
Enterprise. You are intruding into Federation space. Please state you
business peacefully or we will be forced to take action against you."
"Captain Picard," sneered a hissing voice as an insectoid appeared
on the viewscreen, "why should we fear you? This one vessel could
obliterate any ten of your Federation vessels. I am Skon of the Xin
and I question your right to exist, just as you question my right to
A low growl emanated from Worf and Picard shot him a warning glance.
"Now see here, Skon. We want no trouble. Our mission is to
explore the galaxy and make peaceful contact with new races. We have no
quarrel with the Xin. In fact, we've never heard of you before."
"What! The Xin control seven galaxies. Our technology is far more
advanced over yours. We are superior in every way."
"It would appear not, as the Enterprise still exists," retorted Picard.
"Ha! That was merely our weapons system on its lowest setting.
What you would call a warning shot. I assure you, at their highest setting,
they are capable of shattering planets. Do not anger me, Picard," warned Skon.
"I wouldn't dream of it, Skon. I just want to know what you're
doing in Federation space."
"I don't have to answer to you, Captain. But if you must know,
my orders are to collect specimens from the various galactic powers in
order for the Xin to formulate a plan for Universal domination. You,
Captain, have the honor of being the first Federation starship captured
on the Xin road to glory. Prepare to be boarded and relinquish command to me."
The screen reverted to a view of the Xin ship.
"We're not caught yet. Worf, send a distress call to all Federation
"All frequencies are being jammed, Captain."
"Damn. Mister Crusher, lay in an escape course away from Federation
space and engage at Warp 3," ordered Picard. "Mister Data, scan the computer
banks for any reference to the Xin." The blood from his wound still flowed
freely, staining his uniform a darker red.
"Aye, sir," Data acknowledged, walking aft to the science station as
the Enterprise leapt into Warp. Worf moved forward to take Data's place at
the Ops station. The stars on the viewscreen lengthened into streaks as the
Enterprise broke the lightspeed barrier.
"Captain, should I call Dr. Pulaski to look at your injury? It looks
serious," said Riker, the concern in his voice was evident.
"Not now, Number One. I don't have time to get my head examined.
I'm fine," grumbled the Captain, his eyes locked on the viewscreen.
"Captain, the Xin ship is closing on us at Warp 3.5," the Klingon
"Mister Crusher, Warp 5," ordered the Captain. The stars on the
viewscreen grew into even longer streaks as the Enterprise accelerated.
"Reverse angle on the viewscreen. Let's see the Xin ship," said Riker.
The view changed from one of stars accelerating towards them to one of stars
accelerating away from them. In the center, a white speck slowly increased
"The Xin ship has increased to Warp 4.....Warp 5.....Warp 6," said
"Mister Crusher, increase speed to Warp 8."
"Sir the hull cannot take the stress caused by such high speeds.
We must slow down."
"I am aware of that, Worf. As Captain of this vessel, I take full
The vibration of the deck, nearly imperceptible before, had become
quite evident. The red alert klaxons went off again and the computer's
voice warned "Due to extreme speed, hull rupture imminent."
"Mister Worf, raise maximum strength deflector screens around the
damaged portion of the saucer section. As close to the hull as possible."
"Aye, sir. Deflector screens up."
On the screen, the white speck had begun to grow in size again.
"Sir, Xin ship gaining on us again. It's speed is Warp 9.5," Worf
"Picard to Engineering. Mister LaForge, can we accelerate to
maximum Warp with the ship in its present condition?"
"Possibly, but I wouldn't advise it. The hull could go at any moment.
I have a team working on reinforcing the damaged section of the saucer,
but we're talking about nearly every deck of the primary hull," reported
the Chief Engineer.
"So noted, Lieutenant. Picard out. Worf, raise shields around
the damaged section. Mister Crusher, increase speed to maximum. Warp 10."
"Sir, are you serious? You heard what LaForge said. Warp 10 could
destroy the Enterprise!" objected Riker.
"Number One, if that was just a warning shot, we will need help.
Since frequencies are jammed we must try to find it ourselves. Mister
Crusher, our speed."
"Warp 9.3, 9.4, 9.5, 9.6, 9.7, 9.8, 9.85, 9.9," Wes read off the
speed in ten second intervals. "Holding at Warp 9.9."
"Picard to Engineering. Why are we holding at Warp 9.9?"
"Because of the energy being diverted to the shields and deflector
screens. We can't go any faster unless we lower them. But if we do that,
the ship will tear itself apart." In the background could be heard the
pulsing throb of the Warp engines. They sounded like a human heartbeat
accelerated to the bursting point. "Also, there's a slight flaw in the
matter/antimatter containment field. Maximum Warp would destroy the field
totally and the Enterprise would be obliterated, along with most of the
rest of this sector of space."
"Very well. Thank you, Lieutenant. Picard out. Worf, what is the
"Warp 12, sir. It is gaining rapidly."
Worf was right. The image on the viewscreen had almost blotted out
the rest of the starfield.
"We have no choice then, unless you've found something, Mister Data?"
"I am sorry, Captain, but there is no information regarding the Xin
in either my own or the ship's memory banks," replied Data apologetically.
Worf relinquished the Ops station to Data and went back to his
"Worf, try to call for help again."
"Sorry, Captain. We are still being jammed," reported the Klingon
irritably. He did not like feeling useless. So far his advice had gone
unheeded and his attempts to send any message at all had been ineffectual.
On top of that, the Enterprise, Starfleet's best ship, was running away.
Finally he said, "Captain, I recommend that we turn and fight. We will
soon be overtaken and will be forced to fight anyway."
"Mister Worf, as much as I value your recommendations, this is my
Bridge and I will not have people telling me how to run my ship!"
Before Worf could reply, however, the Enterprise was hit by a blast
from the Xin ship. The stars on the screen shortened.
"Mister Crusher, why are we slowing?"
"They hit our Warp nacelles, Captain. Warp drive is nearly destroyed."
"Captain, the Xin ship is slowing to match our speed," reported Data.
"Mister Worf, scan the Xin ship for some vulnerable location.
It appears we'll have to make a fight of it after all."
"Captain, unable to scan the Xin ship. Sensors do not register
"It's an awfully powerful nothing then," said Riker.
"Let's give them a taste of their own medicine, shall we. Slow
to impulse power, Mister Crusher."
The Xin ship also slowed to match the speed of Enterprise.
"Shields at maximum," ordered Picard. "Mister LaForge, I need
those phasers now!"
"Way ahead of you, Captain. Phasers will be on-line in 45 seconds."
"Mister Crusher, evasive maneuvers. Mister Worf, try sending a
distress message on all channels again."
"Aye, Captain," Ensign Crusher and Lieutenant Worf replied in unison.
After a few seconds, Worf said, "Captain, communications are still
being jammed. Unable to send the distress message."
"Damn. Well, we'll just have to do the best we can. Mister Data,
have Weapons load the Bridge logs into a disarmed photon torpedo and launch
it in the direction of Starbase 197. Include a warning about the Xin."
"Torpedo away, sir," replied Data after a brief pause. "You do of
course realize that it will not arrive at Starbase 197 for over eight months."
"It's the best we can do with no Communications. How long until we
have full phaser power?" asked Picard.
Data's board beeped and he reported, "We now have full phaser power."
"Mister Data, arm all photon torpedoes and prepare to fire all phaser
banks simultaneously on my command."
But before the order could be given, the Enterprise rocked under
another barrage from the Xin ship. Warning lights began flashing at all
Bridge stations and the Bridge lights flickered.
"Captain, our shields are down to 38%. We cannot withstand another
hit of such strength," reported Data.
"Thank you, Mister Data. Damage report, Mister Worf."
"Minor damage to most systems. Warp drive is irreparable. Shield
control damaged. The hull has begun to rupture along the edges of the
damage that Q caused. There are four dead and twenty people injured,"
reported Worf. "Doctor Pulaski is on her way with a medical team. More
technicians are enroute to repair the damage."
"Let's give the Xin something to think about. Fire phasers and
ten rapid fire photon torpedoes. Geordi, what shape are the engines in?"
"I'm afraid the Warp engines are gone and impulse power is in nearly
the same shape. Our maximum speed now is one half impulse power and that's
The viewscreen lit up with the combined flare of phasers striking
home and the detonation of ten photon torpedoes. When the pyrotechnics
dissipated, the Xin ship was still there, unharmed.
"Captain, they are preparing to fire again," warned Data.
"Divert all power to shields. Mister LaForge, prepare to drop
the containment field on the matter/antimatter intermix chamber. Commander,
get down to the battle bridge in the stardrive section and set a course that
will take it directly into the Xin ship. Mister Worf, advise all personnel
in the secondary hull to evacuate to the saucer section immediately."
As everyone went about their assigned duties, the Enterprise shook
"Our shields are gone, Captain. We are now defenseless," reported Data.
"Picard to Riker. You'd better hurry, Number One. We are out of
"Almost finished. Separate the ship and beam me over on my signal."
"Did you hear that, Chief O'Brien?"
"Aye, Captain. Transporters are ready. When you give the word,
I'll lock on to all lifesigns in the engineering hull and beam them over."
"Do it. Use the cargo transporters if you have to, I don't want
to lose any more of my crew. Energize! Mister Data, disengage locking
clamps and power up the impulse engines on the rear of the saucer," and
tapping his combadge he said, "Number One, you're out of time."
"Done, Captain. Ready to beam over."
"Mister O'Brien, how many people left in the secondary hull?"
"Only Commander Riker. I'll beam him directly to the Bridge."
"Thank you, Mister O'Brien. Picard out."
With a high whine, a tall blue column of light appeared and slowly
coalesced into the form of Commander Riker.
"Captain, the Xin captain again orders us to surrender," reported Worf.
"Ignore him, Lieutenant. Mister Data, secure for saucer separation.
Activate the secondary hull's course programming once the saucer is free,"
Slowly, majestically, the Enterprise's saucer section lifted up and
away from the neck of the engineering hull. The impulse engines activated
and the saucer section began to move away from the Xin ship. The secondary
hull turned and headed directly for it.
By this time, Geordi LaForge had rushed out of the Turbolift to the
Engineering station on the Bridge. "Transferring Engineering to the Bridge.
Ready to drop matter/antimatter shielding on your command."
"Much as I hate to say this, detonate, Mister LaForge, for the sake
of the Federation," ordered Picard.
As the engineering hull neared the Xin ship, Picard said, "Damn that Q.
If we were at full strength we might have had a chance!"
The engineering hull blossomed into a gigantic explosion as the full
fury of a matter/anti-matter explosion was vented on the Xin ship.
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