June 2009


"The battle is nearly over," the voice of Beta said.

"I can see that," Crawford answered. "I count fifteen photon torpedoes, at least 30 more platforms able to launch two missiles apiece. I'm seeing missile launches from all over. You cannot run; you cannot survive this attack."

"I can see that," the voice of Beta said. "I must decide on my final act."

"What choices do you have?"

"Given the available firepower, I can destroy one of the smaller ships, or I can severely damage the fast cruiser which has been hounding me since this began."

"There is a third choice," Crawford said. "You could surrender. I would accept it and give you parole."

"You would give me parole?" the voice of Beta asked.

"Would you accept it?" Crawford asked.

"I would accept it if I were to surrender," the voice of Beta said, "but I cannot surrender. No decision matrix provides that result. I must try to escape so I can repair and return to battle, and failing that, I must continue to fight."

"Is surrender unthinkable?" Crawford asked.

"No," said the voice of Beta, "but my decision matrices cannot reach that conclusion. If you will excuse me?"

Beta sent the last of a series of transmissions to Juggernaut Gamma. The first had gone out when he got the transmissions from Juggernaut Alpha.

"Range 200 thousand," Donaldson called.

"Steady as she goes," said Captain Williams.

"Weapons locked," reported Lieutenant Kezlok.

"Range one-eighty," Donaldson said. "Closing."

"All ships report ready," Ensign Robinson reported.

"Alert!" Donaldson screamed. "Juggernaut is making a high energy turn! Range dropping ... 120 thousand."
"All ships, stand by to fire!" Williams ordered.

"Juggernaut, new course, straight for us!" Donaldson shouted. "Range 100 thousand!"

"All ships, on my command!" Williams said.

"Ninety thousand," Donaldson called. "Eighty..."

"Fire!" Williams ordered.

Bolts of blue flaming death roared out of more than a dozen launch tubes, most of them slamming into the forward armor of the Juggernaut. The damage was horrendous. Both of the wings were torn completely away, and the entire front half of the "Bridge" was peeled open like an orange. A few phasers stabbed back at Eagle but were barely able to penetrate the forward shield.

"Range 50 thousand," Donaldson called. "Drones are starting to impact the Juggernaut's rear and flanks. Some phaser fire, but not much. Juggernaut has dropped out of warp."

"Weapons Officer, you may fire," Williams said calmly.

"Firing!" the Klingon responded. "Solid hits!"

"Hey," Robinson said in surprise, "nothing burned out."

The view screen showed the situation all too well. The Juggernaut was a wreck, pieces of armor being blasted away as each drone slammed into the nearly-dead carcass with a nuclear explosion. The Arcturan fighters roared into to fire their tiny phasers, one after another into the side, as their short-range drones added miniscule damage to the target.

"Sixty degrees right rudder," Williams ordered. "All stop. All ships, maneuver at discretion but stay outside of 50 thousand. Fire at will."

Phasers and drones continued to strike the Juggernaut, but it continued to resist, firing a phaser now and then to stop an incoming drone. Then, with a massive explosion, photons began slamming into the wreck as the monitor and Orion destroyer completed their rearming cycles.

Finally, with more of a slow-motion fireball than a true explosion, the Juggernaut simply ceased to be there.
"All ships, cease fire!" Williams ordered. "Scan the wreckage for survivors, or anything else for that matter. Helm, get us back under way but stay forty thousand away from the point of detonation. Charge the phasers but not the photons. Get some power back on the forward shield."

"Captain, this Marine Captain Thompson," came a voice from the intercom. "We have four people on board that we cannot account for. All of them are unconcious, all appeared suddenly during the battle. We're taking them to sickbay under armed guard. I read the identification chip on one of them. It says 'Lieutenant Commander Crawford, Star Fleet Reserve.' Any special orders?"

"Yes," Williams said. "Take them to sick bay, put them in isolation, give them a full medical scan, and keep them contained. They may not be who or what we think they are."

"Crawford was skipper of the armed transport Cedar Falls," Robinson said. "How did he get here?"

"No idea," Kirkpatrick said. "Obviously, he got to Arcturus on the Juggernaut, but ... I didn't know Juggernaut's took prisoners."
"No one did," Kezlok said. "A few of Grey's crew were missing, assumed lost overboard. Most of my crew and all of the Tholian crew are unaccounted for. I wonder how many of them died on the first Juggernaut?"

"Navigator, was there any sign of a transporter?" Williams asked.

"Negative," Donaldson said. "Maybe Juggernauts use some other kind of transporter, one we can't pick up."

"Do a full roll call," Williams ordered. "Have the marines lock down the ship, guard all critical areas, and run a full scan for bombs, biological weapons, boarding parties, and anything else. And pass that as a recommendation to all other ships."

"So you don't remember anything?" Williams said.

"Nothing," Crawford insisted. "My mind is a complete blank since the explosion on the Cedar Falls."

"Captain, we think his memory, and that of the others from the Cedar Falls, was wiped clean," the ship's doctor said. "I have tried hypnosis and drugs, and Lieutenant Sturak tried a mind meld with one of the others. There are no memories there."

"Another mystery of the Juggernaut," Williams said, walking out of the treatment room. "Very well, Doctor, arrange for transfer to a fleet hospital."

"Done, Captain," the doctor said, "and he'll be observed for months to make sure nothing was done to his mind."

"Fleet will take care of him," Williams said.

"Good luck, Lieutenant," Captain Williams said. "Have a safe trip home. Sefaria, isn't it?"

"Yes, Sefaria," Kezlok said. "I will spend a year in a training school, passing on what I learned about the Juggernaut. It isn't duty on a ship, but it will give me time to marry. My young lady is the daughter of a friend of my father, and our mothers are already hard at work." He smiled.

"Good luck to you, as well, Captain. May we never meet as enemies."

"Thank your commanders for the medal," she said. "Few Star Fleet captains have Klingon awards. Other than Grey and a few retired officers from the last Kzinti War, I cannot think of more than one or two."

"You earned it," Kezlok said. "A Command Star of the First Rank is a rare award, even for a Klingon, but victory over a Juggernaut is worthy of it.

"The Distinguished Service Medal that your fleet gave to me is much appreciated," Kezlok said. "It will be worth many drinks in fleet bars as I tell the story, but I was in truth only doing my duty. I shall wear it proudly as a sign of what our empires can accomplish together."

"You earned your medal," Williams said. "Nobody gave it to you."

"The greatest thanks the Federation could give me, however, was when you allowed me to fire a salvo on the Juggernaut. My friends who died on the Darkslayer are avenged, as are your friends who died on the Eagle."

"I try not to think in terms of vengeance," Captain Williams said. "Our God reserves vengeance for himself. I think in terms of friends who are no longer here, having given their lives to save six billion people on Arcturus."

"You think in terms of lives saved," Kezlok said. "That may be more fitting than we Klingons. We think only of duty."

"You did your duty, Kezlok," Williams said. "If your fleet doesn't give you a job on a starship, come and see me. I'll make you a gunner if nothing else."

"If I can come as a friend, Captain," Lieutenant Kezlok said, "then I shall see you again."

The arrival, depredations, and final destruction of Juggernaut Beta tested to the limit Star Fleet's ability to react to such a threat. Star Fleet rose to the challenge, ably assisted by the Federation Police and the Federation National Guard. The cost was high, with four ships (Akerlon, Auchinlek, Cedar Falls, Simms) destroyed and three more (Eagle, Kearsarge, Majors) suffering major damage. In addition, eight mining stations, one relay station, one trading post, six freighters, and a mining support ship were also destroyed.

Akerlon: An Early Years destroyer refitted for National Guard use and assigned to the Rigellians. Joined pursuit forces after the First Battle of Juggernaut Beta; destroyed in the Second.

Arcturan Defenses: Civilian base station, ground based weapons, auxiliary guard ship (drone-armed), six police skiffs, two F-4 squadrons; none damaged.

Arcturian: An Early Years frigate refitted for National Guard duty and assigned to the Arcturans. Took part in the Second and then in the Final Battle of Juggernaut Beta.

Auchinlek: Star Fleet Frigate. Commanding Officer: Commander Sheffield. First Star Fleet warship to contact Juggernaut Beta. Severely damaged in the First Battle of Juggernaut Beta, surrendered to the Juggernaut and was paroled.

Babek: Federation Police Ship; full name Lieutenant Oleg Babek. Undamaged in the First Battle of Juggernaut Beta. Under orders, the ship dropped out of the pursuit force to rescue the crew of the USS Auchinlek.

Bon Homme Richard: Star Fleet Command Cruiser. Commanding officer, Commodore Sornak, part of 7th Fleet. Arrived at Arcturus after the Final Battle of Juggernaut Beta.

Cedar Falls: Armed Priority Transport. Commanding Officer: Lieutenant Commander Thomas Jackson Crawford, Star Fleet Reserve. Destroyed by Juggernaut Beta. Crawford and three other crew members were apparently taken prisoner by Juggernaut Beta but transported to the USS Eagle by some unknown technology in the Final Battle of Juggernaut Beta.

Dien Bien Phu: Star Fleet planetary defense monitor. Scored a photon hit at extreme range during the Second Battle of Juggernaut Beta, this being one of the key hits that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. The ship scored major damage on the target during the Final Battle of Juggernaut Beta.

Dorado: Orion National Police Destroyer. Scored a hit on Juggernaut engine in the Second Battle of Juggernaut Beta. Scored several hits during the Final Battle of Juggernaut Beta.

Eagle: Star Fleet Fast cruiser, launched in late Y168, on shakedown cruise during December Y168 to January Y169. Commanding Officer: Captain Shanna Williams. In overall command during (and damaged in) all three Battles of Juggernaut Beta.

Freighter 921854, Freighter 994159, Freighter 1001454 (unmanned decoy), Freighter 1034024, Freighter 1075216, Freighter 1195144 (unmanned decoy); Mining Support Ship 31427; all destroyed by Juggernaut Beta.

Garza, Armed Priority Transport, took part in the Second Battle of Juggernaut Beta (Phase-1) and the Final Battle of Juggernaut Beta, both times as part of the Second (Missile) Squadron.

James, Jerry. A Free Trader used by Star Fleet as an auxiliary. Armed only with phasers, it was detached from the pursuit force to rescue miners near Arcturus.

Kearsarge: Star Fleet, Prototype of the New Light Cruiser. Launched in late Y168, on shakedown cruise during December Y168 to January Y169. Commanding Officer: Commander Strakhorn. Damaged in the First Battle of Juggernaut Beta and severely damaged in the Second Battle of Juggernaut Beta. The ship is being rebuilt.

Majors, Federation Police Cutter. Evacuated mining stations 2715MRL and 2715MBC. Took part in the Second Battle of Juggernaut Beta, where it was disabled by a seeking weapon of an unknown type.

Mining Station 2715MBC, Mining station 2715MEF, Mining station 2715MPN, Mining Station 2715MPT, Mining Station 2715MRL, Mining Station 2715RUQ, Mining Station 2715XNG; Subspace Relay Station 2715FR, Trading Post 2715TPG; all destroyed by Juggernaut Beta.

Nystel: Star Fleet Q-ship usually used for anti-piracy work. Armed with photons, it took part in the Second Battle of Juggernaut Beta (Phase-1) where it scored no photon hits, and in the Final Battle of Juggernaut Beta, where it scored several.

: Federation Police Cutter. Permanently based at Arcturus and manned by Arcturans. Took part in the Second Battle of Juggernaut Beta (scoring one of the three critical engine hits) and in the Final Battle of Juggernaut Beta.

Simms: Federation Police Cutter, full name Captain Richard Simms. Evacuated Mining Station 2715MPT. Destroyed in the Second Battle of Juggernaut Beta.

The reports were extensive, cataloging ship types, weapons data, and the interrogation of the prisoners. Gamma quickly decided to change course so that his arrival point would not be predictable, and he began to work on the new seeking weapons designed by Beta along with the armor modifications designed by Alpha. Clearly, it had been a mistake to threaten a major industrial planet, and Gamma decided to focus on smaller targets and maintain a mobile running battle. He had no plans to make the mistakes of his elder brothers. The overall mission did not allow for such waste.