Battles: #1.Bassen Rift

reporting live from the bridge.”


Admiral Janeway’s orders

go to Romulus and verify the peace offer from their new Leader, Shinzon.


Suspicion sets in when Shinzon is unveiled: a clone of the Captain, young and dashing, possessing all the attributes of Jean Luc, including his tactical nuance.


Though confronted by himself, and feeling vulnerable, Picard does not buy the charm and sweet words, and his suspicions are later confirmed after a scan of Shinzon’s ship discovers an universally banned element, with which Shinzon intends to eradicate the Earth.

Shinzon kidnaps Picard and holds him captive aboard the Scimitar – invincible Reman warbird with undetectable cloak – intending to free him of his DNA in order to replenish his own dying cells, but Data rescues the Captain before the procedure can be completed.   datcap

The Enterprise makes a run for it, a last gasp attempt to rendevous with the Omega Battle Group at Sector 1045, but there’s only one way out – through the Bassen Rift,  an area in the Neutral Zone where long range transmissions are disrupted: the Enterprise will be isolated.

On the edge of the Rift, the Scimitar is cloaked and in hot pursuit, and I have just materialized.


drop of water flung at a target on the edge of infinity; that’s what the quantum transport felt like. I’m still shakey, standing in Astrometrics near the door, watching

astroMr Data triangulate the route through the rift, using Starfleet cartography charts. The door. Captain Picard.

With the Omega battle group still 45min away, transmissions are disrupted. Data senses danger.

Picard orders Riker to take evasive maneuvers, but it’s already too late, the first salvo of disruptor blasts rock the ship.

The Battle of Bassen Rift begins.


I’m shaking like a leaf, trying to keep up with Data and the Captain hurrying to the bridge, with disruptor blasts and impacting torpedoes accompanying us along the way, and casualties. It’s already bloodier than I expected.

We reach the bridge – it stinks of fear, adrenaline and battle, yet even under these conditions, it’s impressive.

Sttanding next to Worf, who is scanning the skies in vain for something to shoot at.

As the Captain takes his seat, Riker reports the loss of warp, damage to the lower decks and a cloak that can’t be detected. On impulse engines only, the Enterprise can’t run, and Shinzon continues hammering away.

Picard remains calm under fire, accessing tactical algorithms, finally ordering Worf to ‘fire a full phaser spread, zero elevation, all banks on my mark, scan for shield impact, standby photon torpedoes.’       USS_Enterprise-E_fires_full_phaser_spread
The phaser banks rake the sky in all directions above the Enterprise, landing several hits, but Scimitar manages to escape the broadside of torpedoes that follow. The tension on the bridge tightens like a noose, as everyone braces for the counter-strike, which comes promptly from above, several high-impact blasts to the dorsal hull.

The Scimitar doesn’t let up, lashing the Enterprise relentlessly in the middle and forward dorsal hull, draining that shield sector down to 10%.

Picard reacts: ‘full axis rotation to port, fire all ventral phasers.’ The goose pimples on my skin rise from excitement.  ventral

The Enterprise, in forward motion, pounded from a high 3 o’clock position by an invisible enemy in a flyover, banks hard left and spins to her belly while dropping deep – fade-away jump shot – hitting the Scimitar repeatedly with every phaser down there, and the impact lighting up the sky before she disappears again under the cloak. She has suffered minimal damage, but Picard has won some time.

The Enterprise reverts to defensive pattern Kirk Ypsilon , awaiting Scimitar’s next move, but Shinzon beams a hologram of himself to the Captain’s ready room instead, to solicit Picard’s surrender, a futile, time consuming endeavour, time I can use, to visit Beverly.

bev Beverly Crusher, a woman of great beauty, emotion and compassion. The casualties keep pouring in, there’s blood everywhere, yet she can still dispense a smile to each patient.

There is nothing I can do to influence or change what happens here today, but I still feel guilty coming down here to inspect Beverly’s ‘credentials’ while people are dying.

The Romulan military, not wishing to leave future generations with a legacy of holocaust, has sent two warbirds to aid the Enterprise. This, ‘new fleet,’ raises imaginary glasses to certain victory, but reality is a rude awakening. allies
An hour later, one warbird is cosmic dust and the other is drifting in space with her belly torn open. But for the shields of Starfleet, the Enterprise would surely now lay on the bottom of the ocean as well.

The Scimitar, motionless in space, has lost its cloak in the victory.

Picard thinks he’s gained a reprieve, but a sound like rapid scatter-shot rocks the bow, then port and dorsal starboard, knocking him back in his chair. The Scimitar’s cloak wasn’t disabled at all, it was just a ruse.

The Enterprise flees, but without a warp drive, there is nowhere to run, or hide. She’s going to take a beating.

Shinzon is remorseless, pounding her from the shadows, not letting up. More power to the shields, the only thing keeping them alive. I’m truly excited to be here, but I feel sad for the Captain.

A volley of photons and continuous disruptor fire along the length of the ship, this time from the port, and a few minutes later torpedo and heavy disruptor blasts are peeling away the outer hull meter by meter.

The Enterprise, now on emergency shields, is out of ideas, until Counsellor Troi has one: pinpoint the Scimitar’s position by establishing a mental lock with Shinzon’s Viceroy. She succeeds.

Worf reels off several quantum torpedoes, scoring direct hits to Scimitar’s forward bow and starboard, taking out the cloak in the process.    strafling run
Scimitar is reeling from the blow, drifting out of a nebula and slowly turning Portside, but Worf drops a quantum volley there too, and a stinging reminder on the starboard again.

The Scimitar, adrift, nose bloodied, refuses to fall. A glorious battle.

I sense the glee and see the determination in the Captain’s eyes as he stands from his chair, resolute, and gives the order, knowing this to be the only chance to inflict any real damage: ‘fire at will.’

The Enterprise makes a strafing run, all guns blazing – phasers and quantums, and the final compliment of photons on the fly over, taking significant damage in the process.  scimi2This is the opportunity to flee, but the Enterprise still has no warp, and is forced back to a defensive position, concentrating all power to shields as Scimitar, still at 70% shields, stays in pursuit, raining hellfire on the Enterprise. Shields are holding – just; she is ripe for the taking.

The Enterprise has been boarded. Shinzon has sent his guard to take Picard, still the only man alive with the DNA to save him. Worf and Riker repel the intruders but the Enterprise is by now down for the count. Casualties are high, shields have failed and there’s nothing left to shoot with, while Scimitar lurks in range, coming in closer, so Shinzon can look his prey in the eye before inflicting the mortal blow.

Picard orders a full frontal collision, and as he raises that finger and speaks those famous words, ‘engage,’ I am transported away, and stand a few seconds later in my flat in Berlin. Bollocks.

The Battle of Bassen Rift: ‘Star Trek: Nemesis’ (2002)


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