Voyager crept toward the nebula. If it weren’t for the fact that they were trying to save themselves, it would have been a beautiful thing to observe. The vibrant colors of red, blue, pink and violet swirled. As they neared, they could see the flashes as gases exploded within.
"Tactical." Janeway ordered as she entered the bridge behind Seven and Harry. Chakotay followed her from the lift.
"Course heading?" She asked, stepping down to the command level.
"For the nebula, captain." Janeway looked at Tuvok.
"Visual won’t function and shields will be useless." Tuvok explained. "I believe the term is ‘sauce for the goose.’ The odds will be even."
Janeway took her seat, Chakotay taking his. "Hail Cullah."
"You’re on, captain."
"Cullah," Janeway addressed to thin air, knowing that he was listening. "We tried it once your way. Are you game for a rematch?"
"Janeway, my old nemesis. You’re still alive?" She heard him question.
"Still alive, Maje. And it will surprise you to know that I’ve retrieved my first officer and landing party. You know," She paused for dramatics. "you really are a poor marksman. You keep missing the target." The words hit home.
The ships were blind. They were open for a wide array of attacks. Janeway leaned forward in her chair, carefully scrutinizing the images, trying to see the vessel. Suddenly, it was there, clear as water. Facing toward them.
"Evasive starboard!" Janeway cried. She almost felt the pain physically as the phaser beam from Constitution ripped into Voyager.
Soon, there was a hail from engineering, which was taking serious casualties. "It’s the radiation." B’Elanna said, barely getting the words out. "I’ve got . . . to take. . . the mains. . . off . . . line." She said.
Janeway paced the bridge. She watched carefully. Chakotay had pointed out that while Maje Cullah may be good at fighting, he wasn’t experienced with a Star Ship like Constitution. She smiled when she recalled the way they had been defeated after leaving her and her crew on the barren volcanic planet.
"Z-minus ten thousand meters, Tom. Tuvok, arm photon torpedoes."
Fire one disabled the port nacelle. Fire two made it explode further. Fire three blew the nacelle completely off the ship. Janeway watched satisfied as the ship listed and lurched through the cloud.
"Good shooting, Mr. Tuvok."
The celebration was short lived. Chakotay had taken over science after Wildman had been injured. He looked, double checked, triple checked. Voyager was in serious trouble.
"Captain," He called. Janeway went to the station. "if these reading are correct, we’re in the middle of a time bomb. Cullah has rigged Constitution to self-destruct in five minutes. If we don’t achieve warp and get out of here, we’ll go up like a dry forest in a lightening storm."
"Engineering, status." Janeway snapped.
"Warp core is in containment chamber. Only command authorization can over-ride orders." Janeway turned back to Paris and walked away from Chakotay.
"Best speed, Mr. Paris. Get us as far away from that thing as possible. Engineering, we need warp speed in four minutes or we’re all dead."
Chakotay thought a moment. Only a command code would over-ride the containment chamber, allowing someone in to put the mains back on line. Only three people had the authorization. Janeway, who was needed on the bridge. B’Elanna, who was in no shape to go back into the radiation. That left him. A quick look at Janeway and he knew what he had to do.
Chakotay exited the bridge.