Bridge, U.S.S. Silverfin
En Route to Armada, Beloti Sector
Stardate: (August 15th, 2377)
ETA to Fleet: 10.05 hours
Frixa continually glanced at the chronometer above the viewscreen. In the watch report she’d been handed by Lieutenant Sholi (her equivalent on beta shift) had been a set of orders from the Captain. At 0400 hours she was to increase their speed from warp nine to nine-point-three, the increase would shave off some time from their ETA at the alien fleet, so as the minutes ticked steadily closer she could feel her stomach clench tighter.
Three minutes to go
, she told herself. From the corner of her eye, she caught Ngrahthik look up from the multiple sensor feeds he was studying to glance at the chronometer as well.
She tapped the companel on the armrest. “Bridge to engineering.”
“Engineering, Jeyn here,”
replied the officer-in-charge.
“How’re things looking down there, Tiris?” she asked, trying to keep her voice sounding calm—even though she didn’t feel it, all of the crew was aware of what they could be facing once they reached the fleet.
“Everything is looking good, the new coils are holding up better than I expected. We’ll be ready when you give the order.”
The Denobulan smiled to herself. “Stand by then. Frixa out.”
With that she rose to her feet and stepped down to the curved flight control console, where Ensign T’Nuri looked up at her. The chronometer ticked to 0400. She clasped her hands behind her back and nodded at the Vulcan. “Ensign, take us maximum warp.”
Frixa watched as T’Nuri increased the warp plasma flow which gave the Silverfin
the extra boost in speed. The three points of a warp factor may not have seemed like much, but it would make a difference. She stayed where she was for a few moments, as T’Nuri ran a quick level five diagnostic to ensure that everything was stable. Satisfied that the warp assembly was functioning as it should, Frixa turned her back to the viewscreen and returned to the command chair.
Perching herself on the edge of the seat she picked up the duty PADD and tapped the display. “Gamma shift watch log, supplemental. We have increased to maximum warp. Warp drive is operating at optimum. ETA with the alien fleet is in ten hours.”
* * * * *
Bridge, Ocampa Evacuation Transport
Neutral Space, Argaya Sector
U.S.S. Silverfin ETA: 4.6 hours
Tanis stood in the middle of the bridge, just before the commander’s chair, Daggin standing to his left and Yun (his former security advisor) to his right. Following the leadership conference, it had been agreed to have the convoy represented by a single voice, a position he had found himself thrust into. It was a daunting position to be given, to be the envoy of thousands—the majority of whom he had never met—which was why he had asked for Daggin to be beside him, so as to better understand the views of the other Ocampa, whilst Yun’s role was fairly self explanatory.
The alien ship would be on them soon. They would have to learn all they could of the inhabitants of the region they found themselves in, if they would help the convoy, or if the Ocampa had left one hostile sector for another.
Kes had been utterly devoted to her people, her final actions was proof enough of that, however he also suspected that she wouldn’t be able to determine precisely where they convoy would wind up—only that it would be somewhere far away from the aggression of the Kazon and the tyranny of the Vidiians. But now, in a foreign quadrant, facing an unknown, potentially hostile, race, he found himself missing the assurance that familiarity brought.
Yun stepped forward slightly. In a race of strong telepaths, there were always a few who rose above the rest, and she was one such individual. He stayed quiet and tried to keep his thoughts quiet, so as to not add to the burden she was already facing, trying to quieten the thoughts and feelings of thousands of frightened and apprehensive Ocampa. Daggin watched her closely whilst Tanis focused on the monitor that displayed the approaching ship.
“We have a problem, Tanis,” Yun stated succinctly—she was always a woman of few words. “I’m sensing great hostility and aggression; very dominant and oppressive.”
“So they’re not here to help us.”
“There is also a hint of desperation, as though they are seeking to take advantage of the situation before someone else.”
Daggin looked between the both of them. “But it’s just one ship; that surely can’t be a threat to the convoy.”
“For all we know, this could be the vanguard of their main force. In a few hours there could be dozens of attack ships surrounding us. Aside from the Kazon destroyers, the rest are unarmed. We can keep all the main systems running, but we’re in no position to go into battle.”
“They don’t know that,” Yun said, looking back at them. “Right now, we appear to have the advantage. If we make them believe that then we can at least bide ourselves more time.”
Tanis mused on the matter for mere moments—now was the time for decisive action. “Alright. Have all ships generate a dampening field through their hulls; that should hide our lack of weapons, numbers and power emissions. Then find out which three of the Kazon ships have the best grasp of their weapons array, and have them move into flanking position around us, make it look as though they are ready to attack at a moment’s notice. We want to use them as a bluff, but in case that ship decides to test us we need to be ready and at least show force—even if we can’t back it up.”
Yun gave a single nod and moved over to the communications terminal to begin relaying the orders. Tanis had had dealings with other races, but all ones he knew of—until his encounter with the crew of Voyager
—now, here, in this strange place, he didn’t know if what he was doing would keep them at bay or force them to attack the convoy.
He would just need to wait and see what would happen.
* * * * *
Bridge, Frigate Deskott
Approaching Armada, Argaya Sector
U.S.S. Silverfin ETA: 3.9 hours
The starboard monitor showed the Deskott
was battle-ready, her shields raised, weapons energised, missiles loaded, whilst the port monitor showed they were fast approaching the alien armada. Every muscle in Inahk’s body was tensed and ready to react after Officer Rohan reported that the fleet had assumed an attack formation.
“Major, we are on final approach,” stated Lieutenant Jaren at the helm.
“Slow us to sublight, Lieutenant,” he commanded.
“Weapons, stand ready,” ordered Commander Othon from where he stood on Inahk’s left.
“Aye sir,” was Sub-Lieutenant Varah’s prompt reply.
The frigate slowed and maintained her course. Inahk had expected them to be fired upon as soon as they were in range, but their approach towards the thirty unknown ships went without incident. Whoever crewed those ships were clearly curious about the Deskott
and the men aboard, which suited him—he could find a way to secure their co-operation before the Border Service and the other Militia vessels arrived.
They came to a stop, close enough to be able to use their main disruptors, but still far enough away so they could respond to any weapons fire from the armada. But none of the thirty ships made an attempt to hail the frigate, which made him the one to take charge.
His eyes were drawn to the largest ship of the armada, which was long and silver, shaped like a raka
cigar. By the way it was flanked by three other behemoths, it was clearly the command ship.
“Open a channel.”
“Channel open, sir,” replied Officer Saroh.
“This is Major Inahk of the Talarian Republic. We detected your arrival in our space, identify yourselves and your business in this region,” he commanded, knowing they wouldn’t be able to tell his deception—for all they knew, this was sovereign Talarian territory.
It took a few moments, but the image of the fleet displayed on the middle monitor was replaced with three individuals, two males and a female, standing in a glistening silver room with others seated and standing at various consoles he could see. It must’ve been the control room on the command ship, the metal of the interior was almost identical to that of the exterior. He noted that none of them were wearing uniforms, whilst the three standing facing the screen appeared calm, the others were jittery.
, he mused to himself, slowly stroking his beard, a faint smile tugging at his lips.
“I am Tanis, speaker for the Ocampa. Apologies, incursion was not our intent. We have travelled here from a distant star and were unable to control our ultimate destination.”
Inahk narrowed his eyes. The pleasantness of the alien seemed forced, yet something else that just felt out of balance with the whole encounter.
“We’ve never heard of your people, or seen ships such as yours. Where do you come from?”
“Our homeworld is over seventy thousand light-years from here, so you can see the problem we faced with our arrival,”
the lean man in the middle of the trio stated, his polite tone still ringing false in Inahk’s ears. “We are currently running diagnostics. Once completed, we will withdraw from your space. All I ask is that you give us time to complete this task and we’ll respect your boundaries.”
His wolf-like smile widened. “Perhaps we could offer assistance. You are new to this quadrant, we could share our knowledge.”
Tanis looked at the male and female he was with, though no words were spoken. He looked back at the screen; his calm visage remained, though there was a change in his eyes.
“Thank you for your offer, Major; however our systems require precise knowledge to operate. We will expedite the task as best we can ourselves.”
Inahk rose from his seat and took a step closer to the visual scanners. “It would be no bother for us, besides there are many dangerous races in this region that would take advantage of people such as yourselves—particularly the Federation.”
The man on Tanis’ left fidgeted, glancing at his leader for a second, then back at the screen trying to appear as he had before. Got you,
his mind snarled—they had heard of the Federation, either they were lying about their origin or Starfleet was more expansionist than he’d ever imagined.
“Thank you for your concern,”
Tanis continued, his tone remaining level, “however, as you can see we have our own security covered.”
“If not for your security, then perhaps we could exchange information—I’m sure we have much to learn from one another.”
Tanis looked at his companions again. “I will have to discuss your request with our Council. We shall be in touch once I have convened them. Tanis out.”
The channel closed abruptly, leaving Inahk smiling. He looked down at Rohan. “I want you to run every scan we have on those ships, I want to know everything we can about them—look for weaknesses that we can strike at.”
“Aye Major,” the scanner operator replied instantly.
As Inahk turned back to his chair he noticed the scowl on Othon’s bearded face. Once seated, his First Officer moved closer and spoke in a low voice.
“Major, we are no match for this armada.”
“They are not what they seem, Commander. Everything about them is off. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say they were nothing more than refugees—I doubt they even know what they are doing.”
Othon’s scowl deepened. “We can’t be certain about that, sir.”
“The mismatched ships, the lack of uniformity of the crew, their obviously anxious, and they recognised the Federation. Something is not right with this armada. If we seize their command ship, they wouldn’t offer any resistance. Then all of their technology—including the ability to cross entire quadrants—would be ours!”
Othon’s forehead smoothed as his growing smile mimicked that of Inahk’s.
* * * * *