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"Captain's log, Star Date: 5989.6. We have received an S.O.S. call from the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk. They are being attacked by unknown forces at the fringes of Federation space. Enterprise is now traveling at maximum speed to render assistance. We're at red alert and anticipating a rendezvous shortly. I am motivated by the knowledge that every moment counts and may make the difference between survival or not."
Kirk drummed his fingers absently on the arm of his command chair. Impatient, he stood and moved towards Uhura, "Any more from the Kitty Hawk, Lieutenant?"
Shaking her head in frustration, she sounded disappointed, "No, sir, nothing, not even static."
Turning to the science station, Kirk queried, "Spock?"
Intently studying his viewer, the Vulcan made a few adjustments before speaking. "Coming into extreme scanning range now, Captain." After a brief moment, he added, "Ship is motionless and no energy readings."
"Life signs?" Kirk asked hopefully.
Again, the Science Officer made a few adjustments, "None discernable at this range."
Now Kirk addressed his other concern, "Mr. Sulu, any other ships in the area?"
Studying his console viewer intently, the young officer turned to face his captain and mentor. "No, sir, all scans are clear at this time."
Without waiting to be asked, Chekov announced, "E.T.A. now twenty-one minutes at current speed, sir."
Still impatient and somewhat frustrated, Kirk stood, "Any chance of increasing speed?"
Shaking his head slowly, the Russian apologized. "Sorry, sir, Mr. Scott says we're ten per cent above maximum now."
Leaning on the upper level railing, Kirk slapped it in frustration. "What happened? Who attacked them and why?"
Attempting to placate his friend, Spock approached him. "At this time we can do little more than speculate. Since we are some distance from either Romulan or Klingon space, it would most likely be pirates or unknown hostile aliens."
Reflecting on Spock's words, Kirk faced him. "The Kitty Hawk is one of Starfleet's newest. They have weapons and defensive systems better than our own." Lost in thought he added, "Captain Rodriguez is experienced and capable."
"He may have simply been overwhelmed or completely surprised, perhaps both," Spock offered.
Spock was beginning to speak again when Sulu interrupted suddenly. "Kitty Hawk is now on main viewer, Captain; maximum magnification."
Turning to face the main viewer, Kirk strained his vision as the image came into focus. The ship was visible, but just barely. Damage was evident everywhere and the ship looked incapable of defending itself or even movement.
Kirk was shocked and said out loud what everyone else on the bridge was thinking. "Good Lord, it's a wreck." Then he added, "Sulu, stay alert. Chekov, take up an orbital position around the Kitty Hawk and keep our options open. Give us some maneuvering room just in case we need it. The Kitty Hawk was attacked and I don't intend to wind up the same way."
Both men nodded in acknowledgement, working their controls rapidly and efficiently.
"Report, Spock," Kirk demanded.
"Readings are difficult and intermittent, the result of radiation leaks." Spock turned suddenly, "However, I am detecting very weak life signs."
Kirk was now encouraged, "The crew is alive?"
In an attempt to give the captain a more realistic expectation, Spock continued with his findings. "My readings indicate the possibility of survivors. However, I would not hold out hope for the entire crew. In any event, I believe it will be necessary to conduct an onboard survey to ascertain an exact accounting."
An excited Chekov reported, "Sir, there's a change in power levels on the Kitty Hawk. Somebody's working over there!"
Sulu checked his readings, "Ship is now moving, sir, but just barely; heading one-one-oh mark five relative, on a course for Star Base Twenty-Five!"
Spock's eyebrow shot up noticeably, "They may not know we are here, Captain."
Kirk vocalized his thoughts, "Too many damaged systems." He turned to see the ship's image in motion. "Let's pay them a visit. Spock, lead the team. I'll stay here just in case any hostiles return. Take along a damage control party and a security detail. Report your findings as soon as possible."
"Understood, sir," the Vulcan moved to the turbolift rapidly.
"And Spock, be careful, I'd hate to have to find a replacement for you." Kirk finished on a weak smile as the turbolift doors closed. As Chekov rose to take the Science Station, Kirk turned to Uhura. "Have Mr. Riley report to the bridge to take the Navigator's post."
Deep inside the Kitty Hawk's main engineering section, the transporter deposited Spock, Scott, Kyle and a security detail amid the damaged panels, controls and equipment. Fanning out immediately, the team began running security sweeps and scans.
Scott's tricorder seemed busiest as the unit was passed over and around several pieces of equipment. Meanwhile Spock checked the reclined figures on the deck. All too soon, it became obvious they were beyond help.
Rising quickly, Spock went to Scott's side, "Report, Engineer."
Shaking his head, the best engineer in the fleet lamented, "Nearly every system is damaged, sir. But someone has been working here recently. Impulse engines have been restored and by an expert hand; most admirable work and quite a piece of improvisation."
"Can the ship be repaired?" Spock brought the Scotsman back to reality.
"Uh, yes, sir, but it's going to take a great deal of time or a major repair base... maybe both."
"Continue your evaluation and compile a list of required repairs and necessary parts. I will need a full report in thirty minutes."
"Aye, sir", Scotty moved off quickly and became absorbed in his work.
Security chief Goodwin approached Spock as Scott moved off. "Excuse me, sir. All compartments in this section have been checked. No sign of intruders or weapon's fire. However, we did find a number of crew persons, all dead. Shall we continue?"
"Yes, Lieutenant; I will contact the Enterprise and arrange for additional teams. Please search the entire ship and report to me at regular intervals, understood?"
Goodwin nodded, "Aye, sir." Then he headed out of the compartment followed by his team.
Pulling his communicator, Spock opened and adjusted it, "Spock to Enterprise."
"Go ahead, Spock", Kirk responded quickly, anxious.
"Damage is extensive and serious. Mr. Scott states repairs possible, but will involve a lengthy process or a shorter time with a great deal of assistance."
"Understood, Spock, but we're not sure if the attackers will return or when, so time is against us. What about survivors?"
"So far, none have been located. However, security is conducting sweeps and we will need additional teams to assist in the effort."
Kirk nodded as if Spock could see him. "Agreed, how about medical teams?
"Unfortunately, none are required as of now, sir. All the crewpersons discovered so far are deceased. As the main bridge was completely destroyed, I am proceeding to the emergency bridge and shall communicate as soon as I have something to report; Spock out."
The Enterprise's First Officer then moved as quickly as possible, darting around damaged ship sections and gingerly stepping over the bodies which seemed to be everywhere. Arriving at the emergency bridge, he found one door panel damaged and partially open. Spock eased his way through the entry and immediately came face to face with five very surprised survivors.
A short, young woman with blond hair and wearing the rank of ensign approached Spock. "Sir, are you part of a rescue party?"
The startled Vulcan replied honestly, "I am Spock, First Officer from the starship Enterprise. What assistance do you require?"
The ensign looked exhausted, but was business-like as she replied, "We are all that's left of the crew of the Kitty Hawk, sir. I am Ensign Weston, acting ship's Captain and Engineering officer." She indicated the others with a single motion. "This is my crew. We could use some help with getting warp drive, shields and weapons back on line."