- VI -
“Report,” Owens barked as he stepped out of the turbolift, followed closely by Tazla Star.
Lieutenant Lance Stanmore stood at the center of the bridge, the junior officer obviously not having been quite comfortable enough to sit in the big chair while he was in temporary command, now turned to face the two senior officers striding his way. “We appear to be under attack, sir?”
Star frowned at the man. “Appear?”
He looked apologetic at his vague report. “We have not been able to detect an attacker. There are no other vessels in the immediate vicinity, we can’t even detect weapon’s fire but something has hit our shields. Something powerful.”
As if on cue, the ship trembled again. Nowhere near as much as it had the first time, but the deck plates rumbled noticeably.
Stanmore headed for the operations console to relief Ensign Milestone. “We were unprepared for the initial attack. Had no warning,” he said as he sat in the chair after Milestone stood up smoothly. “We were able to reinforce the shields.”
Star glanced at Trinik, the Vulcan officer in charge of tactical operations while So’Dan Leva was away.
“Another hit to our aft shield grid,” he said. “Shields are down to eighty-five percent.”
Owens sat down in the command chair with purpose, ready to face their attackers. “Put that section on the screen, Lieutenant.”
The main viewer shifted from showing the almost completed sensory array slightly to starboard to instead allow a view if the area immediately behind the ship from where the latest attack had originated.
But instead of showing a vessel that might have been responsible, the screen revealed nothing but the empty nebula.
Star and Owens exchanged looks.
“Sensors?” he said.
Stanmore shook his head. “There’s nothing there, sir.”
“No,” said the Trill officer. “There is nothing there according to sensors but obviously we are being target by somebody or something.”
The captain nodded in agreement. “Mister Trinik, scan for cloaked vessels.”
“Metaphasic sweep is negative,” said the Vulcan after initiating another scan, specifically designed to reveal more primitive cloaking technologies.
“We should try a tachyon scan as well,” said Star.
“Mister Stanmore?” Owens said.
“It’ll take a minute to set up, sir.”
The first officer turned to the captain. “It makes no sense, why would a cloaked vessel be attacking us? And how would they even be able to operate within Aphrodite?”
He considered that for a moment. “Perhaps the Dominion has learned of our efforts to construct the spy array. After all your own theory proposed that we have a spy onboard.”
Star did not look convinced. “And they’ve suddenly developed a cloaking technology they’ve never before used?”
The ship shook again from another attack.
“Starboard shields have been hit,” said the tactical officer. “Shields now at seventy-nine percent power.”
“On screen,” said the captain.
But once again there was nothing there.
And then another strike.
“Upper port shields,” said Trinik. “Power at seventy-six percent.”
“It has to be more than one attacker,” concluded Star.
Owens stood and took a step closer to ops. “Where’s that tachyon scan, Lieutenant?”
“Ready now, sir. But it will have a limited range. The best I could do on short notice.”
“Whoever is attacking us is nearby,” he said. “It will do. Scan our immediate surrounding for cloaked ships.”
Stanmore nodded and went to work.
On the main viewer, Owens could see bright azure beams shooting out into the nebula around them, trying to reveal what was hidden.
After just a few moments, the operations officer shook his head with frustration. “Nothing, sir.”
The next attack came from directly ahead, judging by the way the ship shuddered. Owens turned to look at the tactical officer standing at his elevated station behind his chair, frustration clearly evident on his face.
“Direct hit to forward shield grid,” he said. “Shields down to seventy-two percent.” He looked up from his board. “Sir, judging by the intervals between each attack, as well as the location of the impacts, it is my belief that we are being attacked by at least five different sources.”
Star stood. “We’re surrounded?”
He offered a minimal nod. “That would be the logical conclusion.”
“I’m not willing to just sit here and take one hit after the next. Let’s see if we can discourage whoever is responsible,” said Owens and looked at tactical. “Program a firing solution. I want sustained phaser burst into each direction from where we’ve been hit.”
The Vulcan nodded and within a few moments signaled his readiness.
Lances of hot crimson energy were slung every which way and yet seemingly nowhere at all. Everyone on the bridge could tell that none of the many blasts were connecting with any tangible targets.
The response however came quickly enough.
Owens steadied himself against his chair. “Random patterns, Lieutenant. Fire into every direction. Make sure you do not hit the sensor array.”
“Firing random sequence,” the tactical officer said.
sprayed phaser fire once more in a desperate attempt to connect with anything but finding nothing.
“No hits detected,” Trinik said.
And yet Eagle
was hit again.
The captain looked at his first officer.
“I can’t explain it,” she said. “But considering the situation I don’t think we should stay in one place for too long. We’re a sitting duck here.”
He nodded. “Agreed,” he said and turned to Aliris, the young Risian woman who was now handling piloting duties while Culsten was suspended and Srena was off the ship. “Ensign, find us a place to go. Any direction from which we have not yet been attacked. One quarter impulse.”
The brown-skinned woman nodded and consulted her board. “Changing course to one-six-four mark nine, engaging at one quarter impulse.”
The first officer stepped closer to the captain. “That’ll take us into a direction towards the boundary of the nebula.”
Owens considered her for a moment before he looked back towards the screen.
Then she voiced his own fears. “It could be leading us right into a trap.”