The U.S.S. da Vinci's mission to salvage the U.S.S. Orion and the deadly Wildfire warhead has gone horribly wrong. Captain Gold and Security Chief Corsi are gravely injured, and the da Vinci is literally coming apart at the seams as it drifts further and further into the deadly atmosphere of a gas giant. Worse, the Wildfire device is armed and loose in the turbulent atmosphere, threatening destruction on a planetary scale.
Commander Sonya Gomez and what's left of her S.C.E. team must use all their skills to survive, complete the mission, and learn the deadly secret of the strange alien lights that will be either their salvation -- or their destruction!
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Pocket Books/Star Trek
January 23, 2003
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Adobe DRM EPUB
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Excerpt from Wildfire Book 2 by David Mack
Captain's Log, Stardate 53781.1.
First Officer Sonya Gomez recording: The da Vinci's salvage of the Federation Starship Orion -- which was crippled by an unknown phenomenon in the atmosphere of Galvan VI -- has taken a tragic turn.
Our first attempt to recover the ship's top-secret cargo -- a protomatter-fueled warhead called Wildfire that can ignite gas giant planets into dwarf stars -- was aborted after Security Chief Corsi was critically injured during an encounter with a peculiar, luminescent energy field of unknown origin.
A second attempt to recover the device by Second Officer Duffy was also aborted. When Duffy and P8 Blue's transport became trapped in an atmospheric anomaly during their return to da Vinci, Captain Gold ordered us to move closer and intercept them. During the recovery attempt, a thermal event catapulted the Orion into a collision with the da Vinci.
The da Vinci has sustained massive damage, and the crew has suffered several casualties. We're still assessing the damage and counting the dead. Without main power, we can't escape the atmosphere, which will crush us in less than an hour when our structural integrity field collapses. But even if we avert that imminent threat, another looms close behind it: the Wildfire device, now armed and loose in the atmosphere, is counting down to detonation in approximately three hours.
* * *
Gomez saved her log entry and turned off the tricorder. From behind her, she heard the snap of Ina Mar cracking another chemical flare to life, adding its pale violet glimmer to the dim glow of other flares the red-haired Bajoran woman had scattered around the smoke-filled bridge. Gomez brushed a lock of her long, dark curly hair from her forehead, then gingerly touched the gash on her forehead with her fingertips. The wound was still sticky with half-dried blood.
The emergency lights had not come back on, which meant even auxiliary power was gone. The only thing keeping the ship's structural integrity field from collapsing under the pressure of the gas giant's atmosphere was a very small number of industrial-grade sarium krellide batteries with what were now certain to be very abbreviated life spans.
The bridge was eerily quiet. There was no throb of engines, no hum of life-support systems, none of the muted vibrations through the deck that became routine elements of the environment when one lived aboard a starship. Now that the ship had sunk below the meteorologically active levels of the planet's atmosphere, the cacophony of thunder and thermal swells that had buffeted the ship for hours before the accident were conspicuously absent.
The groaning of the hull had also diminished significantly; Gomez grimly concluded that most of the outer compartments and lower decks had imploded after the collision with the Orion, and the habitable areas of the ship were now likely limited to the central areas and uppermost decks. Fortunately, that included the bridge which, though damaged, was still mostly intact. Gomez surveyed her surroundings; it stank of charred wiring, chemical flame retardant, and blood. Vance Hawkins from security was extinguishing the last of the small fires inside the shattered aft console displays; Ina was lighting another chemical glow-stick; Songmin Wong, the conn officer, exited through the bridge's aft door to the corridor outside, where the crew had set up a makeshift triage area.