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Seeking Out New Civilizations Isn't Easy

Posted on Fri Feb 22nd, 2019 @ 3:31am 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
Timeline: MD 05 | 1755

"Fire."

Having given the order, Trenna's eyes remained locked on the viewscreen to see the results.

The antimatter spread illuminated the area around the two ships spectacularly. She awaited an update from her crew about the success of their effort.

Before they could speak up, the viewscreen lit up again, though less diffuse than previously. Instead, several smaller balls of light raced towards the Altai.

"Incoming!" she called out, just moments before the ship jerked hard to port.

Geoff sighed in relief. He'd seen the weapons fire just in time to react, so only one of the bolts had struck the ship. But it had still felt...different. An impact to the shields wouldn't have shook the ship that hard typically.

Checking her small console, Trenna saw that the ship had taken a glancing hit to the hull. Somehow, whatever that had been managed to circumvent the Altai's shields.

"What the hell was that and what happened to the shields?"

“The shields are still up, Captain,” said Evaad. “That weapon just passed straight through. Possible polaron torpedo, but I’ll need more time to scan to be sure.”

"I'm gonna need about a minute and a half on the phaser array, if you wanna try that again, Captain," Jon said, from his station. "I don't wanna burn anything out and leave us sitting weaponless."

"Rotate our shield frequencies," Artie called out, moving back to his station. "If they hit us once, they'll do it again. Where'd we get hit?"

Since she was already looking at her own small display, Trenna answered Talbot. "Impact was lower port side. Decks seven and eight. Damage seems minimal." Fighting an enemy she couldn't see wasn't going to be easy. "Can we figure out a location for the ship by backtracking those trajectories?" she asked, as she began doing the tracing herself. There didn't appear to be enough of a trail to follow.

"I'm not seeing much. There is a particle trail, but the decay is extreme so it's hard to identify the origin point," she said aloud. "But, now that we know to look, if they fire on us again, we should be able to trace it back to them."

She looked at over her shoulder to where Batchelder sat. "How long until the anti-matter spread is ready? I want to coax them into firing on us again."

"You...are...good. You're good, ma'am," Jon said, elongating his words as a form of countdown. "Feel free to fire another blast whenever you're ready. I'll try to get the timing on them down so we can back to back them a little closer together if we need to."

"Fire," she ordered.

On the viewscreen, the anti-matter spread again lit up the space around the Altai. As expected, a trio of projectiles sped towards them.

"Evasive!" she called to Martinsen.

Geoff jacked the engines up to full and twisted the ship into a tight, starboard bank. For a moment, it seemed like it had worked. But then, two of the projectiles suddenly changed course.

"Trying to get a fix," Osegan announced.

The proximity alert sounded just moments before the ship rocked again. Something erupted; smoke started filling the Bridge.

Her attention was locked on her display, trying to find the source of the weapons.

"Damage report!" Artie called out, taking charge of the situation until the Captain interjected next. "Mister Batchelder, we need ventral phasers back online. Tactical, prepare a firing solution--" Artie had been glancing in each person's direction as orders were being barked, only to pause when he'd noticed that it was the tactical station that had exploded. The console was dark and smoking, and Chief Dedeker was nowhere to be seen.

"On it, Commander," Jon announced. "Thirty seconds."

"Medical team to the bridge!" Artie shouted, moving over to assess the damage. Dedeker was on the floor, bloodied, but at least he had a pulse. Artie then quickly assessed the station and found that only the rear panel had been destroyed, but the freestanding console was still active.

"On my way," came Maggie's reply over the coms.

"Got it!" Osegan exclaimed. "Use these coordinates," she instructed Talbot, who was now manning Tactical. "Let them know we found them. Hessen, keep trying to raise the Zynd'ra. Kemm, see if you can find a way to counter the Glurone cloak."

"As soon as we have ventral phasers, I will," Artie said, waiting for both Batchelder to clear the antimatter plugs from the phaser banks and for the executive officer to figure out how the rear torpedo launchers worked.

"Phasers are clear!" Jon barked.

"Working on restoring comms with the Zynd'ra," said Evaad. He was working on establishing the tachyon beam between them and the Qlo'ka ship. It wouldn't take long, but his work kept resetting as the Altai took evasive action to avoid Glurone weapons. "Helm, I need thirty seconds of line of sight between our deflector dish and the Zynd'ra. Can you keep us pointed in their general direction for that long? Once the connection is established, I won't need line of sight anymore."

Martinsen furrowed his brow. "I'll do what I can, sir. But I'm more concerned about keeping us alive."

"Understood, Ensign," Hessen replied. "I might be able to get that down to twenty seconds."

Bleeding from a gash on her forehead, Maggie appeared on the bridge. "It's nothing," she said to the unasked question as she exited the turbolift and headed immediately towards the unconscious Dedecker. "I'll take care of it later."

"Physician heal thyself," Artie muttered, spotting the security chief nearby. Talbot was an engineer by trade, not someone trained for weapons operation. If anyone on the bridge was qualified, it was their Vulcan Chief of Security. "Lieutenant T'merron, please assume tactical." Artie, however, wouldn't vacate the station until the Vulcan came over. "Fire when ready."

"Aye" the Vulcan made her way across the bride to the tactical station and started tapping in commands to get a phaser lock "firing phasers" T'merron stated once she had given the command to fire.

The phaser beams lanced into the black of space in the direction from where the projectiles had come. And they hit nothing.

"Find that ship!" she commanded. They weren't going to have much luck fighting the Glurone if they couldn't see them.

Another trio of projectiles sped through the void towards the Altai.

"Incoming," Trenna called out, seeing them on her display. "Fire on the origin point!"

Geoff looked at the sensor readout on the helm console. "I see them," he responded. "Hope you've got what you needed, Lieutenant," he said before pushing the Steamrunner-class starship into a rapid bank, pushing the engines to full.

Holding on to the console she was working at the Security Chief fired all phaser arcs that could be fired toward the location that the projectiles, they needed to find their target.

"I think that was enough, Ensign," said Evaad. "Tachyon beam is online. I just need to establish the carrier wave. Won't be long."

Osegan watched the projectiles move closer and closer to her ship. There wasn't anything she could do but wait. Out of the corner of her eye, the Bajoran saw Zynd'ra beginning to follow Altai. "What are they doing?" she asked to no one in particular.

"Maybe trying to get away?" Batchelder offered, canting his gaze at the viewscreen briefly, before turning back to the console. "Who the hell knows."

"Captain, they can almost certainly detect our tachyon beam," added Evaad. "They may have put it together that we're trying to communicate with them, and want to stay close."

The Glurone projectiles drew closer and closer.

"Hold on!" Geoff chimed, his fingers moving across his console rapidly. He was manually piloting the ship, trying his damnedest to avoid the weapons streaking towards them.

The ship rocked as the projectiles exploded.

"Where did they hit?" she asked, looking to Talbot.

Artie had returned to his station by this time and he was already in the process of pulling up a schematic of the ship to keep an eye on the damage. A quick visual scan informed Artie that no new alarms had been highlighted on the ship's hull. "They didn't," Artie replied, taking a look at the affected area.

"What do you mean? Did they misfire? They were about to hit us; how did they manage to miss us?"

"The torpedoes were detonated a second before they could impact," he reported, calling up the sensor logs. Artie looked up to Osegan with a perplexed look. "The torpedoes were shot down... by the Qlo'ka!"

“Captain,” said Evaad, “I can get you a comm line to the Zynd’ra. Audio only, but it will be pretty clear.”

That the Qlo'ka had intervened was something. Perhaps they had decided that the Altai could, in fact, help retrieve their kidnapped crew.

"Put me on," Osegan ordered. "Zynd'ra, thank you for your assistance. I take it this means you willing to work with us?"

"It does, Captain Osegan Trenna," a voice she recognized as belonging to Lookout answered. "We want the safe return of our crew.....and loved ones."

"We want that too," the Bajoran confirmed. "Right now, we need a way to track the Glurone. We can't fight back if we can't see them."

There was silence.

"Did we lose the connection?" she asked Hessen.

"I don't think so, Captain," Evaad replied. "I'm sensing their...determination. I think they cut the channel so they could focus on something specific. Unclear what yet. We can re-establish, but I don't recommend it just yet."

"More incoming!" Geoff announced, beginning maneuvers.

Trenna looked over her shoulder at Tactical. "Think you can shoot them down like the Qlo'ka did?"

"I will attempt" T'merron started tapping on the tactical console, doing her best to lock on her target and firing phasers. "Firing phasers" the Vulcan said, hitting one of the targets and taking it out before targeting the next.

"Captain," Artie said, looking over to Osegan. "I recommend sticking close to the Qlo'ka. The proximity will give the Glurone only one target to shoot at and should help us keep our fix on them. Plus it should keep the Qlo'ka on our aid."

The Qlo'ka were proving difficult to work with, but Trenna wasn't going to give up; she was 100% all in until the Zynd'ra crew was whole again.

"You heard the Commander," she said to Martinsen, who nodded his understanding. "Have we figured out how to find the Glurone?"

Another volley of projectiles arced out across the blackness.

"Ops! Tactical!" Artie cried out, seeing the new contacts on sensors. "Disable those torpedoes! Target their source and fire phasers!"

“I should have enough information to triangulate their position now, Captain,” Evaad said from Ops. “But I’m unable to jam the torpedoes themselves.”

The Security Chief fired phasers taking out a torpedo "brace for impact" the Lieutenant called out.

Despite best efforts, the last of the projectiles slammed into the Altai.

"Hull breach on Deck Seven!" Artie called out. "Emergency forcefields are holding. Commander Batchelder, we need to do something about those shields."

"I'm working on it Commander," the engineer replied. "Whatever they're doing, our typical modulation routines aren't working. I'm programming a new one."

“I believe I have their position,” announced Evaad. “They’ve been moving between shots, but in a predictable manner, and never far. Sending approximate position of Glurone ship to Tactical now.”

Trenna straightened in her chair. "Good work, Lieutenant," she told Hessen. "Take those coordinates and fire."

She gave a nod after locking on coordinates and fired all phaser arcs, several hitting their target.

"Keep at it," Osegan directed. She was hopeful that they could either do enough damage to disable the Glurone cloak or force them to deactivate it. "Keep assisting with tracking, Mister Hessen. Commander Batchelder," she continued, remaining in her chair instead of standing and turning towards the engineer as she usually would, "I want to get through that cloak."

“I’m putting the routine we used on the runabout in place right now, Captain,” Jon responded. “I’ll need a little more power to the deflector array so I don’t blow it out completely.”

“Yes, Captain,” Evaad answered. “Tactical, it looks like they’re moving on a course bearing zero-three-two-mark-seven. Fairly gentle turning arc. If they change course too suddenly I’ll need to wait until they fire again, or until we damage their hull.”

"That's not a bad idea really," Artie added, thinking like an engineer as he turned to the Captain. "Damaging their hull will give us a bit of debris, gases, and other means of tracking the vessel."

The Bajoran captain sat up straighter as a smile appeared on her face. "Do it," she instructed.

“Blow off a chunk of their hull and I can run a metallurgical analysis. Might give us some insight as to some of their other weaknesses,” Jon announced. “Also shield modulation routine is in place. With any luck we’ll take a few hits to the shields instead of the hull.”

"Miss T'merron," Artie shouted, carrying out the Captain's order. "Standby all phaser banks. Full intensity and spread. When you find the Glurone, give them all the phaser power you can muster, and use a spread of photon torpedoes if you have to. Let's mark our target."

"Understood" the Vulcan, Security Chief went to work, drawing as much power to the phasers as possible and preparing a wide firing arc with several rotations from the phaser banks. Seconds later she had all torpedo tubes loaded and ready to fire on a wide dispersal pattern, she wanted to hit as much of her target as she could.

 

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