Portar, the Benzite scientist, emerged from the turbo lift. He quickly walked around the bridge looking over the shoulders of the on duty crewmen as he evaluated each of their efforts. He passed in front of Captain Dorra d’Hexplora before taking a seat beside her. He leaned towards her and said, “The experiment is ready. It’s time to begin, Captain. May we proceed?”
The bridge of the USS Da Vinci was bustling with activity as the telemetry from the probe began coming up on screens all over the bridge. Portar danced from one station to another as he scanned the data. He paused when he saw the duration, speed, and estimated distance the probe traveled within the wormhole. Instead of a small jump next door, their experiment had managed to punch a massive rift clear across the galaxy. The wormhole’s terminus was located 70,000 light years beyond the furthest reaches of Klingon and Romulan territories near the beta / delta quadrant border. The wormhole was deep in unexplored space. Portar laughed in disbelief. It had worked better than he could have imagined.
“Let me know when the probe exits the wormhole,” Portar replied as he strolled over to Dorra and took the seat beside her. He couldn’t hide the grin on his face no matter how hard he tried. He wanted to say something grandiose that would be remembered for all time on this momentous occasion, but the words escaped him.
Dorra was actually grateful that he was at a loss for words. She knew that it would only be temporary, so she took it upon herself to congratulate him. “Portar, congratulations on what you have done here today; it’s a monumental accomplishment that is sure to secure your place in the echelon of scientists. Cochrane may have opened up the stars, but you have brought the entire galaxy to our doorstep. For better or for worse, what you have done here today will be remembered for all time.”
“Captain, Mr. Portar,” Feran announced, “The probe just exited the wormhole.”
“Uh, something bad has happened,” Feran replied with a grim expression on her face.
The grin fell from Portar’s face. “What?”
“It appears that there was a ship practically sitting on the coordinates of the wormhole when it opened up,” Feran replied. “It’s taken on severe damage. There’s another ship in vicinity.”
Portar shook his head in disbelief. If he was speechless before, he couldn’t comprehend the scope of this unexpected turn of events. This was a disaster. He was developing a tool to aid the Federation explore the galaxy, and he just killed their first Ambassador. Dorra looked at him waiting for him to say something, but she recognized the expression on his face. He wouldn’t be able to deal with this situation. She rose to her feet, “Finley, is the wormhole stable enough for a shuttlecraft?”
“You’re with me. We need to get over there and explain what has happened and hopefully, we’ll be able to salvage some part of this first contact.” Dorra tapped her combadge, “Doctor, I need you up here. Mr. Portar needs your attention.”
“Yes, Captain. I’m on my way,” came the reply over the comm channel.
Feran called for Dorra once more. “The probe … it’s gone. The second ship destroyed it.”
Dorra swallowed the lump in her throat as she acknowledged it with a nod and turned to Fraps, “You’ve got the bridge, Mr. Feran. If you don’t hear from us in 26 hours, I’m ordering you to destroy that thing with that infernal silithium tricobalt device.”
“You have your orders,” Dorra replied as she crossed the bridge. She met Finley at the turbolift and stepped inside. She considered her situation a moment. Before the doors closed, she tapped her combadge again, and ordered a security team to join them at the shuttle craft.