Star Trek Expanded Universe

"Airborne" is the second story in the Star Trek Online: Valkyries series. It is also the introductory story for main character Sam Hayashi. No other "Valkyries" appear in this story.


As a young Ensign aboard the USS Endurance, Sam's mischievous ways threaten to end her career. But when an Orion agent exposes her and her shipmates to a dangerous virus that removes inhibitions, it's up to Sam to contain the disease and bring them home alive.


The story opens with young Ensign Samantha "Sam" Hayashi receiving a gentle-but-firm disciplinary talk from Captain Ramsey of the Endurance. In her short tour of duty aboard the ship, she has caused a number of disruptive pranks, her latest being to reprogram the transporter to beam down the ship's chief medical officer, Bajoran Doctor Lenaris, down to a medical symposium without his pants. Though the prank did not affect the success of the symposium, it incensed Lenaris, who is now pressing charges. Sam tries to laugh them off, then threatens to fight the charges with her family's expert legal team. Ramsey, recognizing that the charges are exaggerated, drops all of them except one: "misusing Federation equipment" and confines her to her quarters in hopes of convincing her to learn some discipline and stop from developing a reputation as a constant disruptive influence--a reputation which could well ruin her Starfleet career despite her promise as a pilot. Before he dismisses her, Ramsey receives a hail from Starfleet Command ordering him to the Sigma Hydra system to retrieve a high-level Orion defector: Naisa D'falas. Sam volunteers her help with the mission in an effort to avoid serving her sentence, but Ramsey dismisses her, reiterating that she is confined to quarters "until further notice."

Sam mopes in her room, watching 20th Century anime on a PADD until her sister, holo-actress Marla Belo calls. Together Sam and Marla discuss Sam's inability to stay out of mischief, and Sam debates resigning her commission.

Meanwhile, the Endurance has arrived in the Sigma Hydra system to find that the merger of the system's binary stars has produced gravitational distortions and plasma storms throughout the system. A shuttle commanded by the ship's Vulcan first officer, Commander Stendos, is sent into the system to retrieve Naisa. They succeed, but their shuttle becomes caught on a gravitational distortion on their return trip. Unable to contact the shuttle due to interference from the binary merger, Ramsey releases Sam from confinement in order to pilot a second shuttle to rescue the crew of the first one. Sam departs at once, accompanied by Bolian co-pilot Ensign Bratxal and Doctor Lenaris.

Sam successfully navigates the gravitational distortions and soon reaches the stranded shuttle, which has not even attempted to break free. They hail it and are answered by a highly emotional Stendos who openly mourns the death of his wife in a recent battle with the Klingons. Their communication is cut short by phaser fire and Doctor Lenaris and Sam beam aboard the stranded shuttle to investigate. They find the cockpit of the other craft freezing with the pilot lying naked and dead, having choked on her own vomit while unconscious. Commander Stendos' body is found in the aft cabin, a victim of an apparent suicide. The only survivor is Naisa herself who is unconscious and in critical condition, though Doctor Lenaris can find nothing wrong with her. Naisa is beamed back to the shuttle with a PADD containing encrypted information. While Lenaris tries to treat her condition while keeping her in medical isolation and the shuttle's computer cracks the PADD's encryption, Sam begins the return trip. She is uncharacteristically snappy, though, and complains that the cockpit is too hot.

Back aboard the Endurance, Captain Ramsey is tracking the rescue shuttle's progress when three Orion corvettes drop out of warp and attack the ship. Their tactics are at first brazen and then desperate. One of the corvettes even ramming the larger ship. The Endurance sustains heavy damage but is able to destroy or disable its attackers. Before repairs can begin, however, a Negh'Var-class warship, the IKS Azetbur, decloaks in front of the Endurance and hails them. The Klingon captain refuses to take advantage of the Endurance's weakened state, demanding instead to know where Naisa D'falas is. When the Klingon's detect the rescue shuttle, they determine that Naisa must be aboard it and cloak, turning deeper into the system in order to intercept the shuttle before it can reach Endurance. The Endurance is able to track the Azetbur's ion trail, however, and Ramsey orders a pursuit course as soon as the ship's engines are repaired.

Meanwhile, aboard the rescue shuttle, the mood in the cockpit is significantly relaxed. Sam and her co-pilot are both behaving as if intoxicated and Sam continues to complain about the heat, stripping out of her uniform jacket, despite the fact that the cabin temperature has been lowered to 10 degrees Celsius (half of normal). However, tensions erupt when Bratxal begins making unwanted advances on Sam. She draws her phaser on him to force him to back down and nearly fires on him impulsively before realizing that the phaser is set to kill. She's shocked by what she almost did, but before she can do more than apologize to Bratxal for nearly killing him, the Azetbur decloaks in front of the shuttle and opens fire. Sam manages to use a graviton sheer to evade the Klingon warship and get out of range, but Bratxal is knocked unconscious and the shuttle's communication system is destroyed.

The Endurance witnesses the attack but is just out of weapons range and unable to intervene until after the shuttle's escape. Although the Azetbur cloaks immediately after its unsuccessful attack and its ion trail is lost due to an approaching plasma storm, Ramsey and his bridge crew are able to deduce the location of the Azetbur and hit it with several quantum torpedoes. The hits disable the Klingon ship's engines and trap it in a powerful gravimetric distortion until they can be repaired. Realizing his ship has been put out of action for several hours, the Klingon captain hails the Endurance and insists that Naisa has developed a deadly, highly infectious bioweapon and her "defection" is a ruse to allow her to deploy it against the Federation. The Azetbur was sent to stop her because the disease she's created is so infectious that it threatens to spread to and kill off every civilization in the quadrant, including the Klingons and their allies. The Klingon captain knows very little of the nature of the disease except that it makes its victims act drunk before killing them, and he insists that the Endurance must destroy Naisa and the (presumably) infected rescue shuttle in order to prevent the disease from spreading and becoming epidemic. However, Ramsey is unwilling to condemn the crew of the rescue shuttle to death based on the word of an enemy captain and so orders the Endurance to proceed to intercept the shuttle.

Back aboard the shuttle, however, Sam discovers that she's unable to revive an unconscious Bratxal. She calls on Doctor Lenaris to treat him and after a brief confrontation with her--showing that he is also acting drunk--he diagnoses Bratxal with the same mysterious ailment that is effecting himself and Sam, and which caused the death of the crew of the first shuttle and Naisa herself (who expired just minutes ago from massive suppression of her nervous system): an unknown disease that is causing them to experience the symptoms of rapidly-increasing intoxication. Without a cure, they will also lose consciousness and eventually die like Naisa. The symptoms of the disease remind Sam of something that happened on the USS Enterprise, the Psi-2000 virus also known as polywater intoxication. Lenaris modifies his tricorder to scan for polywater and detects large quantities all over the shuttle and in its crew, even in the air. While they're discussing this, the computer decrypts the information on the PADD, which is a recorded message from Naisa, saying that she is terminally ill and engineered the airborne strain of polywater and infected herself with it in order to take the Federation with her. Since polywater is not detected by standard scans and decontamination procedures and can survive indefinitely in space, it is entirely possible that she will succeed if so much as a molecule of polywater is allowed to infect the Endurance.

In order to prevent that, Lenaris attempts to activate the shuttle's self-destruct, but Sam stuns him, disables the self-destruct, and moves the shuttle into orbit of a Class Y planet in an effort to hide from the Endurance (which she cannot warn due to the loss of the communications systems) and buy herself time to come up with an alternate solution. She hits on the idea of modifying her transporter-prank program to enable the transporter to lock on to only herself and her crewmates, but leave the polywater behind.

While she works on that, the Endurance approaches and finds her. Ramsey, convinced now that the shuttle's crew must have their judgment impaired by Naisa's bioweapon but unwilling to give up on saving them, locks a tractor beam on the shuttle and orders a security detail to stun everyone on the shuttle the moment they can beam aboard. However, Sam destroys the Endurance's tractor emitters with the shuttle's phasers and dives into the planet's atmosphere to evade pursuit. Unable to control the shuttle's flight and complete her modifications to the transporter at the same time, Sam activates the autopilot, knowing it will crash in the turbulent atmosphere, and works to complete the modifications to the transporter before the shuttle goes down. She manages to complete the work and beams herself, Bratxal, and Lenaris to the Endurance (polywater free) moments before the shuttle slams into the planet's surface and is destroyed.

Two days later, Sam is again found in Captain Ramsey's office, but this time she is giving the list of charges she should be brought up on due to her questionable actions and lack of self-control during the rescue mission. Ramsey, however, dismisses the charges due to the influence of the polywater intoxication on Sam at the time, and Sam's own role (in no small part through those actions) in stopping an outbreak that could have claimed trillions of lives across the quadrant. However, in recognition of her discipline, heroism, and newfound ability to take responsibility for her own actions, he promotes her to Lieutenant. Sam then goes to visit Bratxal, who is recovering in sickbay, in the end reflecting that she's proud to stay in Starfleet.


"Our diplomatic mission to Juete has been completed successfully, ensuring Starfleet a source of medical supplies in case the fighting in the Hromi Cluster breaks out into a full-scale war. The Juetean medical symposium went very well, despite having an…unusual start. Somehow, Ensign Hayashi managed to reprogram the transporter to beam down Doctor Lenaris—but leave his pants on the transporter pad. No harm was done, but Lenaris is furious and he has a long list of charges he wants her brought up on. Honestly, having the youngest of the famous Belo-Hayashi family aboard has been more of a curse than a blessing. If her lack of discipline doesn't improve soon, Sam is going to ruin her career before it even gets started! As her captain and her friend, I'm determined to prevent that…even if it means administering a punishment she won't appreciate at the time: tough love is for parents and captains, I guess."
— Captain Nathaniel Ramsey's Log
"Twenty-nine graviton shears on this route"
"Twenty-nine graviton shears!"
"We dive down, maneuver around:"
"Twenty-eight graviton shears on this route!"
— song made up by an intoxicated Sam and Bratxal, sung to the tune of "99 Bottles of Beer"
"If you're viewing to this recording, it means that I'm already dead…and you soon will be. My name is Naisa D'falas, and I am dying here already. I have what your physicians call Darnay's Disease, and though I'm still in the earliest stages, there is no cure, and the disease is always terminal. I am determined not to go quietly, though. I will make a name for myself, by being the one to destroy the Federation once and for all."
— Naisa D'falas
"Did it suddenly get creepy in here, or is it just her?"
— Sam, in reaction to the above
"I'm not like my sisters: I'm a Starfleet officer, I'm better."
— Sam finally finds her place

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