T'Pol could feel the combination of anger and frustration wafting through their bond. Closing her eyes she reached through their growing bond and knew where to find him. She looked at Commander Tompkins, who she was reviewing Starfleet sensor specs, as well the Vulcan upgrades.
"Commander Tompkins, I must see Captain Tucker," she stated.
"Oh, you have an appointment with Captain Tucker. I shouldn't keep you," said Tomkins.
T'Pol nodded then made a quick exit from the science lab. She briskly walked down the corridor to the turbolift then took the lift the subbasement and the warp engine lab. Once she got to the lab she entered to here Trip's voice.
"Tavin, you are pigheaded. I know Vulcan's are supposed to be enlightened and intellectually superior, but you are really just stubborn and arrogant," bellowed Trip.
"You are being overly emotional," said Tavin.
"That doesn't mean I'm wrong," said Trip. "If we make the upgrades I suggested this warp engine is capable of warp 7.5, maybe warp 8, but all you can say is that I'm being reckless. You know my math is good and you know my suggestions more than viable, but you refuse because you need two to three years of study and simulations of the upgrades before approving them, but we don't have two or three years. A war is on our doorstep. Warp 7.5 might just save lives."
"I cannot approve of the changes," said Tavin.
Trip felt T'Pol's presence through the bond. She was trying to calm him. It made him want to smile. He couldn't believe he once was afraid of the bond and sharing too much of himself with T'Pol. He couldn't wait to share more. She calmed him.
"As Captain of this ship we are building and the lead on this project, I am giving it my approval which overrides yours," said Trip.
"But I am an engineer," Tavin stated.
"So am I," said Trip.
Tavin looked at Trip then he looked over his shoulder at T'Pol. She stood there serenely with her hands behind her back. Tavin were sure they were connected somehow, but he wasn't sure how.
"I disagree," said Tavin.
"I think you should make your disagreement official and file with both Starfleet Command and the Vulcan Government in Exile," said Trip.
"I shall do so," said Tavin.
He nodded then he marched out of the lab leaving Trip and T'Pol, as the rest of those working on the engine had already been dismissed.
"Darlin," he said.
"Charles, you must be careful of Tavin. He is not to be bossed around," said T'Pol.
"T'Pol, he's wrong."
"He's stubborn," said Trip.
T'Pol cocked her eyebrow and titled her head to the left then said, "Some could say that you are stubborn."
Trip felt a flush of anger first then a moment of truth. He was stubborn, but he was also right.
"Darlin', I know Tavin is good at what he does, maybe he is better than me, though I'd like to see him keep the Enterprise going in the middle of a battle where you outgunned, but I'm in charge so we are doing this my way," said Trip.
"If I know Soval, he will insist that Tavin be the chief engine of the Liberator," said T'Pol.
Trip exhaled slowly, "Then I better get him a second in command that I trust as an engineer."
"I believe that you be propitious," she said.
"Have you had lunch?" asked Trip.
She nodded her head and they exited the lab.
The Bird of Prey V'Kral had now been running at warp 4 for three weeks and was about to enter Sol System. Commander Tamluk stood at the command station reading the sensor information. He stood up straight.
"SubCommander Nev, reduce speed to one quarter impulse," said Tamluk.
"Yes, Commander," said Nev, who then barked the order to reduce speed.
"There are two Starfleet frigates on the edge of Sol System on Patrol. Prepare disrupter cannons. We are going to destroy them," said Tamluk.
"But we have to de-cloak to fire, sir," said Nev.
"I know, Nev. Once we de-cloak will be sending the system into chaos. When we get to Jupiter Station we'll do more damage causing even more mayhem. We will take advantage of to get close enough to Earth to fire our nuclear missiles and then cloak and warp out of the system," said Tamluk.
Nev smiled then said, "No suicide mission for you, Commander Tamluk."
"Not unless it can't be avoided. Now prepare to destroy these two frigates. Target their Bridge and warp core."
"Yes, sir," said Nev, who then turned and looked at the Centurion at the Tactical Station. "Centurion, prepare disruptor cannons. Target ship's Bridges and warp cores."
"Yes, sir," said the Centurion.
"On my mark we will de-cloak," said Tamluk.
"Yes, sir," said Nev.
"Warrior of the Empire prepare for battle," Tamluk announced ship wide to his crew.
Trip and T'Pol stood in the observation area of the space dock. The skeleton of the Liberator was almost completed. His starship was starting to form. Trip smirked.
"My second ship," he said.
"Your second ship?" asked T'Pol.
"Yeah. I saw the Enterprise from inception to shakedown," he said. "Of course, I was the chief engineer. Jon was the captain, which made AG kind of unhappy."
"You feel apprehensive about being the captain," T'Pol said.
"How come you are better at reading my emotions than I am at reading yours?" he asked her.
"My mental shields are stronger and more disciplined. In time you'll be able to hide your feeling from my completely. Tonight we will practice your shields," T'Pol told him.
"Sure," he replied then he turned.
The DefCon One klaxon suddenly went off and the red lights blinked. Sol System was under attack Trip saw a Lieutenant Commander running towards him.
"Captain, we are under attack," the young woman yelled.
"Calm down. What happened?" ordered Trip.
"The Okinawa and San Paolo have been destroyed. A ship, some kind of ship, appeared at the edge of Sol fired its cannons and then disappeared again," said the Lieutenant Commander.
"Sounds like a cloaked ship," said T'Pol. "Romulans."
"Are any of these ships in space dock space worthy?" barked Trip.
"The NX-4 Endeavour has everything except warp drive," said the Lieutenant Commander.
"I don't need warp drive. I need a crew and now," said Trip, who then looked over at T'Pol. "Let's get our asses beamed over to the Endeavour. We need to protect Earth."
"I'll let Captain Zhang that you need a crew," said the Lieutenant Commander.
"Captain, cloak ships don't show up on sensors," said T'Pol.
"Darlin', you've got every satellite, sensor array hovering around Earth. I think you can pick something up," said Trip.
Trip and T'Pol were beamed directly to the Bridge of the Endeavour. Already there were three Starfleet officers on the Bridge, one at the Helm, one at the Engineering Station, and one at Tactical. A handsome Japanese officer turned and faced Trip.
"Captain Tucker. I'm Lieutenant Commander Shintaro Katsu. I'll be acting as your XO and Tac Officer," said Katsu.
"Good. T'Pol, Science Station," ordered Trip as he sat down in the command chair.
"What do we have for crew?" Trip asked.
"Engineering almost staffed and armories, torpedo rooms, cannons," answered Katsu.
"Make weapons hot," he ordered then looked at T'Pol. "T'Pol, how are you coming with the sensors?"
"I have accessed sensors arrays around Earth and have begun intensive sweeping looking for anomalies," she answered.
Trip pressed the button the command chair connecting him with the Engineering Room.
"Engineering," a male voice said.
"This is Captain Charles Tucker, who am I talking to?"
"Commander Angus MacFadden, Captain."
"Angus," Trip smiled. He knew MacFadden by reputation and it was a sterling one. "I need the impulse engines, shields, and weapons."
"You have them," said Angus. "Can I give you anything else?"
"Just keep them going. It may get rough soon," said Trip then he broke the connection. "Helm, quarter impulse, take us out of dock."
"Aye, aye, sir," said the helmsman.
The Endeavour pulled out of the dock.
"Helm, take us to Earth," said Trip. "We have to protect her with our lives."
"Aye, aye, sir."
"What's your name?" Trip asked the young helmsman.
"Ensign Thomas Carver," said Carver.
"Well, Carver, you going to be doing some flying by the seat of your pants, so I hope you're ready."
"First in my class at the Academy, sir," said Carver.
"Good job, Ensign," said Trip then he looked behind him at the Engineering Station. "What's your name, Lieutenant?"
"Lieutenant Hanna George," she answered.
Trip smiled at her, "Buckle up for a tough ride."
She nodded and he straightened out in his chair.
The V'Kral approached Jupiter Station. Commander Tamluk watched his men work efficiently then checked the screen. Several starships patrolled the area. Tamluk made his decision.
"Nev prepare to fire on Jupiter Station. Two disruptor shots then re-cloak," he said.
"Only two shots," said Nev.
"Yes, any more and we might take fire. Remember, our shields are down. The cloak uses too much for shield usage," Tamluk. "On my word fire on Jupiter Station."
The V'Kral appeared momentarily off the shoulder of Jupiter Station. The disruptor cannons fired hitting one of the space docks damaging it greatly as well as the ship being worked on. The second disruptor cannon blast hit the main section rupturing the hull spacing over a dozen people. The V'Kral cloaked and continued on its way towards Earth, as ships came to the aid of the damaged station.
Trip sat looking at the view screen. So far, the only thing he saw was Starfleet starships. T'Pol looked up from her sensors, ran her fingers over her control board then looked over at Trip.
"I have Captain Robinson hailing," said T'Pol.
Since there was no Comm Officer, T'Pol tied the station in hers and took over the duties.
"Put him on the screen," said Trip.
Within seconds AG appeared on the screen sitting in his command chair. He had a smirk on his face.
"Can't wait for your ship to be built, Tucker, you had to go steal Captain Henson's boat," said AG.
"Situation called for all hands on deck, so here I am," said Trip.
"I've got six Daedalus Class starships with me, all refitted and upgrade. I'm going to send the Olympus, Kon-Tiki, Essex, and Drake to take a defensive position along with the twelve Intrepid Class ships to protect Earth. I thought you, me, the Okuda and Valley Forge could position ourselves with the moon in the rearview mirror and see if we can stop this Romulan bastard," said AG.
"I guess you're in charge of this rodeo," said Trip.
"I have been a captain for more than eleven minutes," smiled AG.
"T'Pol has accessed all sensor arrays and is trying to pick up the cloaked ship," said Trip.
"If she gets anything let us know," nodded AG.
"You know I don't like to keep secrets," said Trip.
"Let's get ourselves a Romulan, shall we? Good hunting, Trip. "Atlantis out."
AG disappeared and the ships now took up the view screen. Trip sat back in his command chair.
"Helm, park us off of the Atlantis' starboard," said Trip.
"Aye, aye, sir," said Carver.
Trip had commanded the Enterprise a few times, a couple of time during a crisis, but this time he was a captain. He didn't feel any different from Commander Tucker, but he was expected to be. He was expected to be like Jon and AG take charge leaders. Trip took a deep breath and exhaled and hoped no one noticed, other than T'Pol. Their bond didn't allow him to hide his nervousness from her.
"Captain, torpedoes and cannons are ready. Since this ship is cloaked should I target the torpedoes for a wide dispersal?" asked Katsu.
"Excellent idea, XO," smiled Trip.
"Thank you, sir," said Katsu.
"T'Pol, have the sensors picked any anomalies yet?" asked Trip.
"No, Captain. So far there is nothing out of the ordinary out there."
Trip sat back. All they could do was sit back and wait.
Commander Tamluk decided to cause some more havoc. He decided that the three Daedalus Class ships and three Intrepid Class ships doing a grid search would be the prefect target.
"Nev, prepare torpedoes and disruptor cannons. When we de-cloak fire on those six ships until I call to cloak," he said. "Get near point blank on one of the ship and raise our shields this time when de-cloak."
"Isn't this too big a risk, sir? We are almost in position to fire on Earth," said Nev.
"One more diversion then we shall go silent and dead for the next two hours. Hopefully this will convince the Earthers to pull back some of their ships protecting Earth," said Tamluk.
The V'Kral de-cloaked right in front of the Daedalus Class ship the Horizon. It fired torpedoes and cannons. Within seconds its shields were down and the Horizon was destroyed. It then opened up on the rest the ships with a nonstop barrage until it re-cloaked and started to run silent and dead.
"When the ship de-cloak I was able to scan it. It is carrying four 50 megaton nuclear missiles," said T'Pol.
"Damn it," said Trip. "Let UE and Starfleet know about nuke missiles, as well as the Atlantis. We can't let the missiles be fire on Earth."
"Also, when they de-cloaked and re-cloak, I was able to pick up a ripple of energy. I currently have the sensors targeted on that energy ripple," said T'Pol.
"Let AG know that we are following that energy ripple," said Trip, "then send the telemetry to Lieutenant Commander Katsu."
"Yes, Captain," said T'Pol.
"Katsu, I want you to target that ripple," said Trip.
T'Pol was reading her instruments when suddenly the ripple of energy disappeared. One moment it was there and then it was gone. She doubled and tripled check, but she couldn't find it.
Trip could feel frustration through their bond. It was strong and even caused him a moment of irritation. She gained control and suppressed her emotions.
"Captain, I have lost the energy ripple," she stated.
"What happened?" Trip asked her.
"It just disappeared."
"Kept scanning. If it comes back I want us on it immediately," said Trip.
It was going on two hours and no energy ripple. Everyone on the Bridge tried to focus on their job and ignore the mounting tension. At this point the assumption that the Romulans ship was gone would be easy to make, but four nuclear missiles made it impossible to do so.
"Captain Robinson is hailing," said T'Pol.
"Put him on the view screen. Oh, T'Pol," he said.
He turned his head and looked at her. She looked at him. Through their bond he sent his love and desire for her and she reciprocated.
"Keep scanning for that damned ripple," he said.
T'Pol turned and brought of AG on the view screen.
"I don't know about you, Trip, but my ass is going numb from all this sitting," said AG.
"It kind of getting under my skin, too, AG."
"I wish the bastards would do something before some admiral down at Command decides that we are safe and leave us open to an attack," said AG.
"Masamoto and Forest won't pull us until they are absolutely sure Earth is safe," said Trip.
"I hope you are right. My crew is starting to get hungry. I'm going to have to start changing shifts soon," said AG.
"Shifts, huh? I left dock with only a skeleton crew. I barely have enough people to run the ship and I don't have a chef and galley workers," said Trip.
"I could send some MREs over if you like," said AG.
"Maybe later, AG," said Trip.
"Let me know if your people need to eat at some point," said AG.
Tamluk looked at the chronometer and then at the tactical layout of Starfleet ships. Some of the ships had drifted apart and lost their discipline. It was time to take advantage of their getting lax.
"Nev," Tamluk said, "prepare to make a run in Earth."
He looked over at the tactical layout. Nev joined him. He showed him the route he wanted to take.
"Yes, Commander," said Nev.
"Ready missiles, weapons, and warp," said Tamluk.
"Captain, the energy ripple has re-appeared," said T'Pol.
"Guide the helm, T'Pol," said Trip, "and send the telemetry to Tactical."
"Let AG and the Fleet know, also, T'Pol."
Trip leaned forward in his command chair.
"Carver, are you getting the data from T'Pol?" he asked.
"Yes, sir. I'm staying in, too," said Carver.
"Excellent," said Trip. "Katsu. I want you to fire a volley of torpedoes at wide spread and full wield."
"Aye, aye, sir," said Katsu.
"The energy ripple is making a run on Earth it appears," said T'Pol.
"Carver, stay close to the ripple. Katsu, prepare to fire on my mark," said Trip.
"We are being followed by a starship, sir," said the helmsman of the V'Kral.
"SubCommander Nev, take evasive actions and shake this ship," said Tamluk.
The V'Kral changed course as did the Endeavour. No matter what course change they made the Endeavour made the same change. Tamluk was starting to become worried that he wouldn't be able to complete his mission. These damned Humans were better than he thought.
"Nev, prepare to de-cloak then fire missiles and weapons," said Tamluk. "It looks like this became a suicide mission after all."
"Captain, they have lost us. We are still on course," said Craver.
"Well, done. No wonder you were first in your class," said Trip, which brought a smile to Carver's face.
"Captain, they are starting to de-cloak," said T'Pol.
Trip looked to the view screen and saw the Romulan Bird of Prey starting to appear.
"Katsu, fire torpedoes and cannons now!" ordered Trip.
As the Endeavour fired their weapons, the V'Kral fired theirs. The cannon fire and torpedoes hot the Romulan ship tearing it apart, while some of the torpedoes destroyed three of the four nuclear missiles causing a massive shock of energy and radiation to hit the Endeavour tossing it about like a feather in a windstorm.
Everyone in the Bridge was tossed out of their chairs. They were too near the nuclear explosion to avoid damage. Trip found himself hoping that they got all the damned nuclear missiles as he impacted with the hull losing consciousness.