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There's Always Something Else

Posted on Fri Jan 25th, 2019 @ 11:33pm by Captain Osegan Trenna & Ensign Geoff Martinsen & Lieutenant Commander Arthur Talbot & Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Batchelder & Lieutenant T'merron & Lieutenant Margaret Knight MD & Lieutenant JG Evaad Hessen

Mission: Light is Dark
Location: Sickbay/Bridge
Timeline: MD 05 | 1745

***Sickbay***

Maggie hurried into Sick Bay and shucked the jacket of her dress uniform. She didn't have a chance to say anything before Leser was pelting her with questions.

“What happened to the dinner?” he asked. “Why the red alert? What happened?”

“One question at a time, Terry,” Maggie replied. “We were in the middle of dinner when some random aliens came in and kidnapped out guests. We have no idea where they came from or where they took their captives, but that's what happened. Now, we might have to fight, so we have to prepare for injured. Denison, prepare for triage, Pelton, Kiley, Monroe, form mobile teams and be ready to head out. I'll watch the incoming reports.”

The rest was already automatically being done. A well trained Sick Bay crew knew what to do when the red alert sounded and they just did it. And of course, Starfleet officers were well trained, so there weren't many orders to give.

Once Maggie had taken her place at a console and set it to receive injury reports from around the ship, she activated the open comm channel with the bridge- muted on her side- so she could keep tabs on what was happening.



***Bridge***

The turbolift doors opened and Trenna stormed onto the bridge, the red lighting casting strange shadows across her face. "Is there another ship on sensors?" she demanded. "What's the status of the first ship?"

She wheeled around and glared at the Vulcan security chief. "The intruder alert didn't sound when those people barged onto my ship. Fix it."

"Yes ma'am" the Security Chief went to working on an auxiliary station she had been working at. The glare on the Captains face wasn't pleasant and T'merron started working quickly.

"Let's conduct a full sensor sweep of the ship as well," Artie ordered Lieutenant Hessen as the XO moved towards his station. "If our guests left us a present, let's make sure we get rid of it before more damage can be done."

“Yes, sir,” Evaad replied as he jumped behind his station. “I’m recalibrating both internal and external sensors. But sir, we only learned of their existence when they revealed themselves. It will take time to explore every possible detection frequency and find the right one.” He silently berated himself as well. How could he not have detected their minds?

Ryland assumed the Tactical station and began bringing the weapons systems online. "Phasers fore and aft are hot," he reported.

Jon stepped onto the Bridge behind Ryland, and marched his way to the Engineering station, sitting down and pulling up the various readings and reports he'd need.

"Contact the Zynd'ra. We need to tell them that their people just got abducted," Trenna said aloud. Of course something had to go wrong, she told herself. Her eyes were fixed on the viewscreen but she wasn't seeing anything. She could hear her heart pounding in her chest; she got lost in her own thoughts, wondering how things had gone so wrong and what she could have done to avoid it.

"I said open a damn channel!" she erupted impatiently, unaware it had only been seconds and not the minutes that had seemed to pass in her head.

"Channel open, ma'am," Evaad replied, quickly moving away from his scans to access the comm system.

"Zynd'ra, this is Captain Osegan. Your crew has been kidnapped."

There was a brief moment of silence before the viewscreen blinked on to reveal another of the new aliens, this one with the same pink stripe as Shipmaster and Sys Chief. Trenna didn't know what significance the coloration had, if any. Maybe they were somehow related, maybe it was a class or caste system. The Altai crew had only seen two colors, pink and light blue. "Why have you done this?" the alien questioned. "Come in peace means nothing to you."

"Listen to me!" she said loudly, nearly shouting. She wasn't angry at the alien on the screen but rather at herself for not being able to protect Shipmaster and the others. And, of course, at whoever it was that had boarded her ship. "Individuals of another species invaded my ship and took your people."

The alien on the viewscreen gasped. "The Glurone!" the alien exclaimed. "Death is upon us!"

The screen went blank.

"Well...shit," Jon deadpanned. Dancing his fingers across the console, he continued, "Engines on standby, and I've got a protocol active to overclock them if we need to push and go chase after our guests, Captain."

Artie frowned, leaning forward in his chair. "Glurone?" he asked aloud. "Seems like we've got a name for our kidnappers. Do we have a fix on the Glurone vessel?"

"No target on tactical sensors," Ryland reported. He hesitated a moment. "Wait... did he just say 'Glurone'? That... can't be right."

Trenna stood up and wheeled around to face the Tactical station. "Spit it out, Dedeker. What do you know?"

"Not much, Cap. Honest." Ryland held us hands up in a pleading defensive posture. "Only that the Nyberrite mercs told stories about Glurones. Never saw high or low of one, so I chalked it up to another horror story meant to keep the apes in line, like the Sedna Prowler, Romulan Iruhe, and crystal Branchers. But if these fuckers are real? Cap, I thought they were just an excuse for the Nybs not to service a sector so far out. We might think twice about givin' chase."

"Are you suggesting we just leave our dinner guests to the mercy of the Glurone?" Artie demanded of Ryland, turning to look in Dedeker's direction. "For all we know, it's our fault that the Glurone are here. The Shipmaster and his crew were perfectly content to remain in hiding this whole time. We're the ones who forced them into the open." In all aspects, Artie blamed himself. If he hadn't the idea to invite them over for a meal, it's likely none of this would have happened.

"Calm your tits, Commander. The captain asked and I answered. If ya'll want to go chasing after the bogeyman, that ain't my call." He nodded at Artie, slightly indignant. "But I ain't never run from a fight."

Trenna looked around the room before turning back to the viewscreen. The Zynd'ra was still on the large display. "He was terrified," she stated. "Right, Lieutenant?" she continued, having approached Ops and staring down the Betazoid newcomer.

“Yes, ma’am,” said Evaad. “Over time I was able to resolve their fear. It was always there, but it peaked when I brought up their coercion. The individual you spoke with before was terrified the instant he learned what happened. As Mr. Dedeker implied, our friends seem to think of these Glurone as practically demons.”

"Can you sense the Glurone out there?" she asked. "I don't get the feeling they were going to leave quietly."

“A little bit,” replied Evaad. “I’m sorry, it’s a lot clearer when I can see them. I have a vague sense, and I’m trying to use that to help focus the sensors.”

Before she could follow up, the Zynd'ra's engines lit up. "We need a way to track them!" she ordered, looking at Talbot. "Quick."

Artie looked towards the Engineering station. "Commander, see if we can isolate the Zynd'ra's warp signature, or at least anything about it that differs from normal background radiation. We don't want to lose them on our sensors."

Jon nodded, and replied, "I'm on it, sir. Give me about three and a half minutes."

"We don't have that kind of time, Commander," Artie warned. As a former Chief Engineer, he was more than aware of command's many unrealistic expectations on engineers to perform miracles at the drop of a hat. Artie had rarely understood why until this very moment. Lives were at stake, and every second that transpired could be deadly.

"Oh sure, I'll just press a button and make the quickest automated routine I've ever programmed go even faster, just because you asked so nicely. Three minutes!" Jon replied.

As the Zynd'ra started to move, turning away from the Altai. "Hail them again."

“Yes, ma’am,” said Evaad. “Hailing frequencies open.” He resumed his sensor work.

"We will protect you, Zynd'ra," she said, unsure if the promise was fesible. The Glurone were advanced enough to board a Starfleet ship without being noticed, after all. And their ship was nowhere to be found yet. "If you leave, we can't help you. Tell us what you know of the Glurone and we'll help you recover Shipmaster and the others."

The alien's face again appeared on the viewscreen. "We cannot defeat the Glurone. They have Qlo'ka technology but use it as weapons. Too strong. We Qlo'ka are not warriors."

Qlo'ka? Trenna thought. She looked over her shoulder at Talbot and whispered, "I guess we know what to call them."

Artie's mind repeated the name of the species, doing his best to stay rooted in the situation at hand. "Glurone. Qlo'ka. Zynd'ra. We'll just call this the day of strange names."

"If they use your technology," Trenna continued, addressing the Qlo'ka on the viewscreen, "then you know how to counter it. Work with us so we can get Shipmaster and the others back."

The face on the viewscreen blinked silently. As far as the Bajoran woman could tell, the Qlo'ka was considering her offer. Or they could be about to warp away, she thought.

After another moment, the Qlo'ka spoke. "We will do what we can. We are at a disadvantage though; Fela was one of those taken. As Tech Chief, she is the most knowledgeable about the technologies the Glurone have."

Tech Chief is female, Trenna tucked away in her mind. And they do use names.

"Captain Osegan Trenna," the Qlo'ka continued, it's voice having changed tone. "Was Fela injured when the Glurone took her? We are bonded and I am concerned for her."

"All of your crew were unharmed when we last saw them," Trenna confirmed solemnly. "I'm sorry that you are going through this. We will get them back, Fela and the rest. If we're going to work together, it would help if I knew what to call you."

"Of course. I am Lookout. With Shipmaster, Mate, Tech Chief, and Sys Chief gone, I remain in charge of Zynd'ra."

Earlier in the day, Trenna would have thought that a strange name. Instead, she now wondered what job one had to be called Lookout. "Well, Lookout, what can you tell us about Glurone ships? Do they use the same technology your people do to hide their ships?"

Before the Qlo'ka could respond, the comm channel died.

"Report!" Artie instantly called out, hoping someone had been keeping an eye on the sensors. "Are we looking at weapons fire? Signal jamming?"

"Doesn't feel like we're taking fire," Trenna said, approaching her chair. "What about the Zynd'ra?"

“I don’t think the Zynd'ra is taking fire either, ma’am,” said Evaad. “Signal jamming along very specific bandwidths. They’re blocking comms, and we still can’t resolve their ships. If I may speculate, Captain, it appears they’re doing everything they can to prevent us from learning anything about them. They only showed up when the Zynd'ra crew were about to say anything about us. That’s also the precise moment they cut our comm channel.”

"Can you cut through the jamming? I want to be able to talk to Zynd'ra. Give him a hand, Commander Batchelder." They had just met the Qlo'ka and they'd already jeopardized them. If she hadn't coaxed the Qlo'ka out from their cloak, the Glurone wouldn't have been able to abduct them. "Commander," she continued, turning towards Talbot, "we need to find the Glurone. Until we can get some assistance from the Qlo'ka, we're on our own. Work with Lieutenant Kemm."

"I'll see what I can do, Captain," Jon replied. "Although I've never seen anything like this."

"Captain," said Evaad. "This might be an odd solution, but maybe Commander Batchelder and I could quickly replicate and assemble a grappler. Fire a cable from our ship to Zynd'ra, and use it to relay a signal. The Glurone couldn't jam it, and they probably couldn't fire on it without revealing themselves." He looked at the Batchelder, Talbot, and Osegan each in rapid succession. "There are designs in the computer we can replicate, and it shouldn't take more than a few minutes for a small team to install it in a cargo bay with an external door."

Trenna turned to look at the Chief Engineer. "What do you think? Can you make it work?"

Jon exploded laughing, and replied through hearty chuckles, "Even if it wasn't the most asinine thing I think I've ever heard, no offense Lieutenant, you'd have to reinforce the primary hull which would take the better part of a week, and I don't think we have that kind of time, Captain."

She gave a weak smile. "That's reassuring. Any other ideas?"

Evaad smiled despite himself. He knew the Chief Engineer wasn’t mocking him, only laughing at the outrageousness of the idea.

“We might do something similar with the deflector dish,” he said. “A tachyon beam directly from our deflector to theirs. We could run a carrier wave along it, which they could communicate back through. It might also reveal a cloaked ship if it came within a few kilometres of the beam. Starfleet used lines like this to detect Romulan ships supplying Klingon rebels decades ago.”

"It might be worth finding the Glurone before trying to reestablish communications with the Qlo'ka," Artie said, moving over to the science station. "The Qlo'ka might be afraid, but they haven't tried to flee. Either they don't think they can escape or they're looking for the Glurone too. Maybe an antimatter spread fired from our phaser banks in unison can help us identify any engine trails."

"Or it could fry the phaser banks, but Commander Talbot's idea isn't without merit. If you want to give that a shot, I could get that set up for you pretty quickly," Batchelder responded, moving to Artie's station to look over the man's shoulder. "Yeah, that's good. We'd want a pretty wide spread but...shouldn't be too much trouble."

Trenna looked around at the others on the Bridge. Normally, she'd give the crew more opportunity to provide options, or even voice opinions on Talbot's idea. But time wasn't a luxury they had right now. "Do it," she ordered.

"On it, Captain," Jon replied, moving back to his station and getting to work.

"Mister Hassen, please assist tactical with the firing solution," Artie ordered, starting to input a few commands at his console. "Mister Kemm, can you follow up on Operations' proposal with the deflector dish. We may as well have a Plan B ready to go."

"Aye, Commander," said Evaad, ignoring the mispronounced name for now. It was not the appropriate time to make a correction, and he knew nothing ill was meant by it. He connected Tactical with all of his sensor data and keyed in as wide a cone as the main phaser arrays could permit. "Wide firing solution available from all phaser arrays. It won't be a perfect sphere, but it should cover a lot of space. If helm gives us a bit of spin, that will widen the area of effect."

Martinsen, who was still at the helm, interjected. "Not a problem, Lieutenant. Just give me the word." Geoff had felt pretty useless so far, since the Altai hadn't moved at all. But he was ready to kick things into gear if needed.

"Just about there," Artie called out, still working at his console. "Mister Batchelder, I need a little more antimatter from Pod D."

"I see it, sir. Coming through now," Jon replied from his own console. "And a little extra to spare."

"Power systems are stable," confirmed Evaad. "Tactical should be ready to fire on your order, Captain."

Once her staff notified her that the antimatter spread was ready, she gave the order.

"Fire."

 

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