The alien vessel, its own core now going critical, starts to creep away from the fight. Arjin, not about to let it slink away, closes the distance and rips into them with beams and torpedoes, grimly watching as it buckles and tears apart. Hogue alerts those on the surface to beware of possible debris raining down, as Taban hurries to beam Emony aboard while the computer counts down a core breach to occur in 45 seconds. Emony transports directly to engineering and begins an emergency shutdown, dumping all antimatter fuel in the lines and praying enough of the system still works to respond. One of the antimatter injectors jams open, and Hogue throws Emony a hyperspanner which she uses to close the port and shutdown the core with six seconds remaining before it would have breached. Emony sighs with relief and slumps down, while the ship runs on what is left of the emergency power.
Arjin returns to the Demitus, and surprisingly enough of the hull is intact that his runabout can dock to the larger ship, then he beams the remaining crew from the planet’s surface back to the ship using the runabout’s systems. Plasma torch in hand, Emony starts making the critical repairs required by the warp core while Varreth roams the ship putting out fires and looking out into space through the massive holes in the hull, sealed with wavering forcefields. Having dumped their antimatter to space, Emony taps the runabout’s stores and attempts to restart the core while the ship still has power. Hogue, wanting to help in some way, starts fanning the sweating engineer with a jumpsuit. Barely managing to bring the core online, Emony stands back as the reaction thunders to life, listening as the ship’s hull creaks.
Taban, busily rerouting system power asks, “How is our hull doing?” Dolvak, amazed he is even alive at this point responds, “We’re about to snap in half,” which he emphasizes by pointing to the hull plates lazily floating through space. Liara interrupts, “Two warp signatures incoming!” Shields aren’t functional but surprisingly the cloak still works and Taban brings it online while the undamaged power conduits strain to deliver the needed energy. Limping away from the site of the conflict, Liara transmits an emergency SOS while Emony strives to properly repair the propulsions systems. Barely managing under the pressure, Emony repairs several critical power junctions needed for propulsion and moves to life support. Quickly correcting the thin atmosphere and stabilizing the forcefields holding the ship together, she starts ripping out and replacing smoking and burned out parts.
Ion Stormwake, the human soldier, wonders to himself what he ever did to deserve this while the ship slides into the comforting blue glow of a Cerulean nebula, masking the ship’s emissions. With the ship unable to sense anything due to the nebula, and vice versa unable to be detected via sensors, all that remains is to conduct ship repairs, which is Emony’s domain, hence those crew not busy proceeds to rest. Ion is exhausted after the ordeal and trips on his way to his bed, and is too tired to get up. Arjin works to repair Hogue’s injuries, miraculously without incident.
Varreth, having a vested interest in situational awareness, takes the ship to the edge of the nebula to see what is occurring. Liara mistimes the cloak and for two seconds the ship is exposed, but the crew notes eleven Federation warp signatures in orbit around the planet. Varreth decides to leave the nebula and decloak, with shields and weapons offline, then wait. As expected the Federation fleet detects the Romulan craft and forms up on rapid approach. Taban notes, “We are being hailed.”
Varreth answers the hail of the USS Endeavor, commanded by one Captain Mathews. The Federation officer is primarily interested in learning what happened to his crew from the Talon scout visited earlier and mild pleasantries ensue. Varreth transmits data on the alien attack, and recommends the Federation fleet maintain constant scans as a precaution against cloaked alien ships before taking his leave.
Taban sets a course close to the edge of the nebula in case the ship needs to duck inside and heads back to Romulan space. 26 days later, with the majority of critical systems repaired, the Demitus is greeted by a Romulan patrol guarding the Forge system. Answering the incoming hail, Varreth is mildly amused to see the face of one of the legionnaires that once served under him, the young Romulan is less than impressed to see Varreth however and the conversation quickly turns ugly. Threats and intimidation are used, causing the situation to completely get out of hand until Liara has enough and orders the arguing Romulans to stand aside in the name of the Tal Shiar.
Moving into a berth on the space dock, Varreth and Liara disembark to report to Primus Oran. Both are impressed at the massive force build-up since their last visit, counting close to 150 military ships docked, including 36 D’deridex warbirds. Special Officer Oran appears shocked to see Varreth again, and Varreth feels smug as he reports in.
After looking Varreth’s data over, Oran orders him to proceed back to the tidal-locked planet and infiltrate the alien building, after which they are to identify what the Federation is so interested in, and retrieve it for the benefit of the Empire. Authorization is granted to have the hull damage of the Demitus repaired by the space dock, and four days later, the ship leaves once more for the void.