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Old February 23 2012, 04:57 PM   #16
Dnoth
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Re: UT: Refugee Crisis / Bluefin - "Trajectory"

I know there are good intentions all around, but I hope the right hand doesn't mess up what the left hand is doing.

...though, it probably will.
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Old February 23 2012, 11:18 PM   #17
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Re: UT: Refugee Crisis / Bluefin - "Trajectory"

Chapter Four – Issues

Stardate 54656.5

USS Bluefin
Molari Sector

Lt. T’Lyr stood from her station so quickly that her chair fell over with a clatter, causing heads to turn around the bridge.

“Anything wrong, Lieutenant?” asked Akinola, turning his chair to face the Assistant Engineer.

“No sir - my apologies. I think I may have discovered something significant.”

She righted her chair with as much dignity as she could muster before moving quickly to Ops. She quickly took in the data feed from Bane’s displays, her eyes flicking from one read-out to another with quick movements. Her lips moved soundlessly as she assimilated the data in her mind.

Akinola stood and walked over to Ops, intrigued by the young Vulcan’s sudden animation.

“I have been analyzing the gravity wave we encountered when the alien ship made its course change. I assumed that the wave was merely an aspect of their navigational steering system.” She shook her head with barely suppressed annoyance, “I was in error.”

“Whoa, slow down,” exclaimed Bane. “What are you goin’ on about?”

T’Lyr settled into an adjacent chair and rapidly tapped into Nigel’s display, tying into the engineering station. A complicated series of wave-lines cascaded across the screen.

Akinola frowned at the complex readings - there was definitely a pattern there. Nigel whistled and began to rapidly input figures into the communications interface. He paused, and muttered in an awestruck tone, “Whip me like a stray dog, Matilda.”

“Would you two care to fill me in?” queried the Captain, his patience wearing thin.

Bane and T’Lyr looked at each other. “Go ahead,” urged Bane, “you found it.”

She turned to face Akinola, her Vulcan reserve fully restored. “Captain - the gravity wave burst that emanated from that ship - it was an attempt to communicate with us.”

“What? How?”

T’Lyr turned to Bane. “Can you display it on the main viewscreen?”

“Coming right up!”

They turned to face the main screen. A sudden cascade of zeroes and ones flowed down the viewer.

A small smile formed on Akinola’s face. “It’s binary code,” he murmured.

“Right!” agreed Bane. “But there’s more - a secondary signal that appears to be looped. I’ve run it through linguacode and I think I have something.”

The stream of numbers disappeared. Instead, large block letters began to slowly appear.

W . . .H . . . A . . . T . . .

“What,” breathed the Captain.

The letters continued: Y . . . O . . .U . . .

“What you? Are they asking what we are? Is there any more, Mr. Bane?”

Bane shook his head. “No sir, that’s all there is - at least for now. It simply repeats.”

“What you,” Akinola repeated. “What are you?”

“Perhaps,” agreed T’Lyr. “Or possibly the series was interrupted and there is more.”

“Nice work - both of you,” said Akinola. “At least we know someone over there is listening.”

“That’s true,” replied Bane, “but how do we get them talking again?”

“Move in closer,” suggested T’Lyrt. Akinola and Bane stared at her. “It worked the first time,” she added, reasonably.

“Yeah, and about shook the hull plates loose,” Bane reminded her.

“I’ll keep that in mind as an option,” said the Captain.

A soft beeping from Bane’s station drew their attention. He turned to check the comm status.

“Incoming message, Skipper. It’s from the Resolute.”

Akinola retook his seat in the command chair. “On screen, Mr. Bane.”

The view shifted to the bridge of an Akira-class starship. Sitting in the center seat was an attractive Human woman with sandy blonde hair pulled back in a pony-tail. Her face was somewhat thin and Akinola noted tell-tale circles under her eyes.

You’ve not been getting much sleep, have you Captain Frankin? mused Akinola. I wonder why?

A smile formed on Franklin’s face. “Greetings, Captain Akinola. It’s good to see you again.”

Akinola nodded in return, his expression neutral. “Captain Franklin. I trust you have been well.”

Franklin caught the reserved tone in Akinola’s voice.

He’s angry, she thought. Hell, I’d be angry too if the circumstances were reversed. Aloud she replied, “Quite well, thank you. I understand you are sitting on quite a find.”

“You could say that. Although apart from its size it’s not a terribly intimidating vessel. I have to wonder why Starfleet Command saw the need to send an Akira-class ship to take over. We weren’t planning on damaging it.”

The barb stung because it was true. But Franklin could not afford to take the bait.

“I’m simply following orders, Captain Akinola. You’ve been in the service a long time, you know how it is.” The excuse sounded weak and she knew it. She continued.

“I look forward to speaking with you in person when we arrive on station in . . .” Franklin checked the chronometer, “fourteen hours.”

“I’m very much looking forward to that,” replied Akinola, cooly. “I’m sure we have much to discuss.”

Franklin gave a slight nod. “Until then. Resolute, out.”

The viewscreen shifted back to the image of the ship the crew was now calling the “Star ‘Shroom.” Solly walked over to Akinola.

“You know she’s holding something back, don’t you?” the Orion observed quietly.

“Yeah, I got that. Maybe she’ll tell me more in private.”

“Maybe,” agreed Solly, “and maybe there’s more to this than just one weird ship in the middle of nowhere. I’ve been hearing stuff.”

Akinola gave his old friend a reproachful stare. “Since when did you buy into scuttlebutt, Solly? I thought you had a well refined bullshit detector,” he said, sotto voce.

Brin snorted. “Yeah. I do. But someone up the chain is sending an Akira-class battle-cruiser our way. That’s not rumor – that’s a fact.”

The Captain could not argue with that.

* * *

Stardate 54656.9

USS Resolute
Molari Sector

Samantha Franklin sat up in bed, awakened by troubled dreams. In them, she was reliving the events nearly six months earlier when she had nearly been forced to fire on a civilian star liner hijacked by Maquis terrorists. The Queen Elizabeth VII was hurtling toward Tzenkethi space, a border violation that could have led to war.

As during the actual event, Franklin found herself sitting at the tactical station, having ordered Lt. Fadjak aside. If Resolute was to destroy a civilian ship, she would own the responsibility.

In reality, boarding parties from the Bluefin had managed to halt the runaway star liner by retaking the ship and jettisoning the warp core.

But in her dream, she watched helplessly as her hands touched the launch controls that sent a quartet of torpedoes into the QE VII, destroying the ship and killing all on board.

This was the third night she experienced the dream since being briefed on Operation Vanguard.

Her husband, John, snored softly on his side of the bed. She smiled, grateful to share her life with such a strong, intelligent and caring man. If only she could share this burden with him.

But that relief was forbidden to her. Vanguard fell under the same security restrictions as the Omega Particle – Captains only.

She understood the need for secrecy, though she could not fathom how such a secret could be kept for long. More troubling were the rules of engagement under which she and Resolute had been placed.

No transient vessel was to be allowed to enter Klingon or Romulan territory.

Left unsaid were the obvious implications of that order. She had instructions to contact and board, if possible, any such transient vessels. That sounded fine in theory.

But what if communication failed? What if they could not board the alien ship?

No transient vessel will be allowed to enter Klingon or Romulan territory. She could still hear Admiral Glover’s sonorous voice echoing in her head. There really was no wiggle-room in those orders. It was the QE VII scenario all over again, only with a ship exponentially larger than the famous star liner.

She wondered what she had done to cause the Fates to deal her the same hand twice.

Franklin quietly got out of bed, slipped on a robe and exited the bedroom so as not to disturb her sleeping husband. In the anteroom, she ordered hot cocoa from the replicator and curled up on the couch, staring out the viewport at the streaming stars.

For that moment, she felt alone in the universe.

* * *

Stardate 54657.0

USS Bluefin
Molari Sector

The Bluefin continued to pace the alien behemoth at a sedate three-quarter impulse. Subsequent attempts to communicate with the vessel had yielded no results. No other massive gravity bursts emanated from the ship. It continued to glide along its path, silent and steady. Whoever or whatever had sent the brief message was either unwilling or unable to repeat the effort.

On the cutter’s bridge, the lighting was subdued, per the norm for Gamma Shift.

It matched Delta Simms’ mood.

The Second Officer brooded in the command chair of the quiet bridge, her thoughts shifting back and forth from the alien ship to her little brother serving on another starship, God knows where.

Something was up and her gut told her this strange vessel was somehow involved. But try as she might, she could not come up with any scenario that made sense.

Hell, maybe Tommy was on a five-year mission. Maybe Starfleet made contact with some distant alien race that was shy about publicity.

Maybe Senior Chief Brin would don makeup and break out into show-tunes.

She suppressed a giggle, swallowed the wrong way and began snorting and coughing into her balled up fist and hoping no one noticed.

“Commander Simms?”

Ah, dammit. Busted. Delta cleared her throat and managed to rasp, “Yes Maya?”

Ensign Maya Vashtee turned from her station at Ops, a puzzled frown on her face. “Ma’am, I was just checking our fuel consumption. Our Deuterium stores are down 15%.”

Delta frowned and moved to join the Sri Lankan officer.

“Helm, what is our current speed?” Simms queried.

Lt. Sarnek checked his board. “Holding steady at three-quarter impulse.”

Delta leaned over Vashtee’s shoulder and peered at the relevant display. Her brow knit with confusion.

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Simms muttered. She reached over and tapped the interface.

“See what I mean?” asked Maya. “It’s like we’ve been running at maximum impulse for a solid month.”

Delta, an engineer by training and trade most of her career, tapped her combadge. “Bridge to engineering.”

“Engineering, Ensign Tanaka here.”

“Mr. Tanaka, this is Commander Simms. From up here it seems we’re burning a hell of a lot of Deuterium. Are you having any problems with the impulse engines – a hot manifold or excess pump pressure?”

“No ma’am, but we noticed the excess fuel consumption also. We’ve been running a check but everything is running at optimum – no back pressure to speak of, but the ion flow has increased for some reason. It’s like the engines are having to work harder to maintain speed.”

“Very well. Keep checking, Ensign. If you come up with a cause, let me know. Bridge, out.”

* * *

Two hours later, a weary-looking Delta Simms entered the ward room, joining Captain Akinola, Lt. Commander Gralt and Commander Strauss. She gratefully accepted a mug of coffee from the Captain as she took a seat at the table.

“We’ve been discussing the fuel consumption issue,” began Akinola. “Have you come up with any ideas, Delta?”

“Ensign Vashtee has a theory that makes sense.” She glanced at Gralt. “My guess is the impulse engines are fine, right?”

The Tellarite nodded. “We ran every test we could while remaining underway. Fuel feed, manifold pressure, compression sequencers – all are well within the norm. The ion flow is the only anomaly. It’s like we were towing a ship with the tractor beam – there’s some sort of drag causing us to burn more fuel.”

“Yeah, that’s what we thought too,” continued Simms, “only Maya has figured out it’s not like we're pulling; it’s more like we’re pushin’ against something.”

Akinola frowned. “Explain.”

“Think of it like a headwind against an atmospheric vessel or surface ship. The engines have to work harder to maintain speed.”

Inga smiled. “There’s no wind in space, Delta.”

“True enough. But there are gravity waves that can affect us just like a headwind. It seems that ship is putting out some sort of low-level gravity wake. It’s not strong enough to shake us up like that strong burst that shook us up yesterday, but it is just strong enough to slow us down some – that’s why the engines are working harder and we’re burning more fuel.”

“Why not move off more, get out of the wake?” asked Gralt as he dug into a mash of roots and berries.”

“We tried that,” replied Simms. She sighed and rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Seems like that ‘wake’ goes off in all directions a hell of a long way.”

“How far?” queried the Captain.

“That’s the weird thing about it Captain – it seems to be extending farther and farther. Last I checked it was at 3 A.U.s.”

Gralt snorted. “In a Yarliq’s eye! There’s no way any ship could put out that kind of gravity wave.”

Delta shrugged. “Before last night, I would have agreed with you.” She tried and failed to stifle a yawn.

“Nice work, Delta. You and Maya have given us something to work with. Would you say this gravity wake is a threat to us?”

She shook her head. “No sir, just an inconvenience at present. Unless we were to run at full impulse for three months, our fuel reserves should hold up fine.”

Akinola nodded. “Thank you, Delta. Go get some rest.”

“Gladly, sir. My brain hurts.” She rose and exited the wardroom.

The Captain turned his attention to Gralt. “Commander, I want your team to work on a way to offset that gravity wake. It may not be dangerous now, but if it increases in strength, we might have a problem.”

The Chief Engineer grunted in agreement. “Yeah, or if we were to lose one of the impulse drivers, we’d find ourselves going backwards. I’ll get to work on it.”

“Good.” He glanced over at Struass. “XO, could you give me a moment with Mr. Gralt?”

“Sure.” She retrieved her PADD and coffee mug and departed. Gralt fixed Akinola with a baleful stare.

“I sense an ass-chewing coming on. What did I do?” asked the Tellarite.

The Captain folded his hands across his mid-section and regarded the Chief Engineer with a bemused expression. “How long have we known each other?”

“Is this a math quiz or are you serious?”

“Humor me.”

Gralt sighed and scratched his muzzle in thought. “I don’t know . . . forty years?”

Akinola nodded. “Forty one, to be exact. I was a Petty Officer, third class and you were an Ensign fresh from the Academy.”

The Commander snorted. “Deities, that was a long time ago. So where are you going with this?”

“Just a reminder that things change, Gralt. The service isn’t what it was half a century ago. You’ve got your crusty side and I’ve pretty much let it go.”

“Yeah, I got loads of charm,” groused the Tellarite. “Get to the point, Captain, if you think you’re going to hurt my tender feelings, remember – I don’t have any.”

“Alright – I need you to watch your mouth around Lt. T’Lyr. No more remarks about her or to her, got it?”

Gralt crossed his arms. “Did she complain?”

“Not officially, but I think she might - and she has cause. Dammit, Gralt – you’re a millimeter away from a charge of conduct unbecoming an officer. And don’t give me any crap about Tellarite customs – we both know you’re rude even by your own people’s standards.”

“Thanks.”

“That wasn’t a compliment, Commander. Hell, I don’t care about your language – I’ve used worse myself. But we’ve got a bunch of younger officers that came through Starfleet Academy, not a pack of mongrels from New London or the Dog Pound. I don’t want to see you end your career dealing with something you can easily avoid.”

Gralt glowered but said nothing.

“Do you hear me, Commander?” Akinola asked in his old NCO voice.

The Tellarite lowered his gaze a fraction. “Aye, sir. I hear you,” he replied quietly.

“Good. Get out of here. You have work to do.”

* * *

Two hours later, Akinola sat on the bridge reading the reports from Engineering and Operations. The good news was they concurred on the cause of the excess fuel consumption and the slim threat posed by the gravity wake.

The bad news was they had still had no answer as to how to alleviate the affects. Lt. T’Lyr had suggested rotating frequencies of the navigational deflector, but that only created an annoying vibration in the hull. Bane had attempted to adjust the structural integrity fields, but that too failed to help.

And the "Space ‘Shroom" continued on, apparently unconcerned about the Border Service cutter that tagged along like a small dog.

The proximity alarm began to sound, drawing Akinola's attention back to the viewscreen.

“Federation starship just dropped out of warp,” announced Bane. “Akira-class . . . it’s the Resolute.”

The Resolute approached, shedding excess energy from the heat-sinks on her nacelles. She was an imposing sight, bringing more firepower with her than all of the 7th Border Service Squadron combined.

Akinola opened his mouth, about to order Bane to hail the starship, when another signal sounded - this one more shrill and insistent.

“I’m reading a massive power build-up on the alien ship,” said the Australian ops officer.

“Shields!” ordered Akinola. “Helm, prepare for evasive maneuvers.”

“No, not weapons,” interjected T’Lyr, “I believe it is going to . . .”

On the viewscreen, the massive vessel suddenly disappeared in a flash of light.

“ . . . go to warp,” finished the Assistant Engineer, quietly.

* * *
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Old February 24 2012, 01:12 AM   #18
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Re: UT: Refugee Crisis / Bluefin - "Trajectory"

Hmmm. Was the Star ‘Shroom’s hasty departure just coincidence or were they fleeing the arrival of Resolute?

I don’t envy Captain Franklin the secrecy that she’s obliged to maintain or the mission orders she might have to execute. The fact that she’s having to keep Akinola in the dark is bad enough, but possibly having to fire on an alien ships that’s done nothing more provocative than drifting into Federation space is one of those acts that will keep you awake nights for the rest of your life.

And now… things just got a great deal more complicated for everybody.
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Old February 24 2012, 07:38 AM   #19
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Re: UT: Refugee Crisis / Bluefin - "Trajectory"

Heh...I KNEW sending in the Fleet was just going to make a mess. Another Border cutter probably wouldn't have been this provocative.

And that kind of gravity wake...I wonder what it would do at warp? I bet that thing could rip up subspace. Even at impulse, I wonder how badly that could screw up a planet?
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Old February 24 2012, 08:05 AM   #20
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Re: UT: Refugee Crisis / Bluefin - "Trajectory"

And matters just got a whole lot more urgent, didn't they? Where they had years before until the shroom ship hit the Klingon border, now they have what? Days? Hours?

I feel for Franklin as well. History is about to repeat itself for her and this time the outcome may be far worse.
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Old February 24 2012, 02:48 PM   #21
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Re: UT: Refugee Crisis / Bluefin - "Trajectory"

Shit, meet fan.

When will Starfleet brass learn that the best way to keep a secret is not to?

All hell is about to break loose and I have a feeling Akinola is going to stay right in the thick of it, where he belongs. Franklin will probably tell him everything, after all, he's a captain too.
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Old February 25 2012, 08:53 PM   #22
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Re: UT: Refugee Crisis / Bluefin - "Trajectory"

Gibraltar wrote: View Post
Hmmm. Was the Star ‘Shroom’s hasty departure just coincidence or were they fleeing the arrival of Resolute?
That very question will arise in the next chapter.

I don’t envy Captain Franklin the secrecy that she’s obliged to maintain or the mission orders she might have to execute. The fact that she’s having to keep Akinola in the dark is bad enough, but possibly having to fire on an alien ships that’s done nothing more provocative than drifting into Federation space is one of those acts that will keep you awake nights for the rest of your life.
Although Captain Franklin is a combat veteran, she has grave misgivings about orders that might require her to fire on a ship that is not a direct threat. She came within a hair's breadth of doing it once. Now she wonders if she could do it if faced with the same scenario.

And now… things just got a great deal more complicated for everybody.
That's the understatement of the day.

Nerys Ghemor wrote:
Heh...I KNEW sending in the Fleet was just going to make a mess. Another Border cutter probably wouldn't have been this provocative.
An astute observation - very likely true.

And that kind of gravity wake...I wonder what it would do at warp? I bet that thing could rip up subspace. Even at impulse, I wonder how badly that could screw up a planet?
A very good question, NG. We shall soon find out.

CeJay wrote:
And matters just got a whole lot more urgent, didn't they? Where they had years before until the shroom ship hit the Klingon border, now they have what? Days? Hours?
Urgent, indeed. Their time frame just dropped from decades to little more than a week.

I feel for Franklin as well. History is about to repeat itself for her and this time the outcome may be far worse.
It goes against Franklin's grain to shoot first. Hopefully, she will not have to. But that remains to be seen.

BrotherBenny wrote:
Shit, meet fan.

When will Starfleet brass learn that the best way to keep a secret is not to?

All hell is about to break loose and I have a feeling Akinola is going to stay right in the thick of it, where he belongs. Franklin will probably tell him everything, after all, he's a captain too.
The two captains have a great deal of respect for one another, following the incident with the Queen Elizabeth VII. Trouble is, they don't really know each other well, so trust may be somewhat harder to earn. And no, Akinola is not going to leave easily.

Thank you all for reading and commenting. The next chapter, "Pursuit," will be up in a few days.
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Old February 26 2012, 03:10 AM   #23
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Re: UT: Refugee Crisis / Bluefin - "Trajectory"

Write faster, dammit!
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Old February 26 2012, 04:27 AM   #24
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Re: UT: Refugee Crisis / Bluefin - "Trajectory"

BrotherBenny wrote: View Post
Write faster, dammit!
Heh. Patience, my friend. Chapter 5 - "Pursuit," is well underway but it will likely be two or three days before it's ready to post.
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Old February 27 2012, 09:49 PM   #25
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Re: UT: Refugee Crisis / Bluefin - "Trajectory"

Chapter 5 - Pursuit

Stardate 54657.2

USS Resolute
Molari Sector

Commander Xyrel, First Officer and Chief of the Science Division of the Resolute gazed at the streaming starfield with apparent indifference. But behind the somber yet serene gray eyes his mind roiled with questions regarding their current mission.

At 140 years of age, Xyrel had spent nearly a century among Humans and had learned to read them quite well. Though he, like most Vulcans, kept his emotions in check, he nonetheless had developed paternal feelings toward Samantha Franklin. He was unbound and had no children of his own, but he had come to consider the Captain as his surrogate daughter.

And truth be told, he was concerned for the Captain. Xyrel had detected a change in her demeanor over the past 17 days, 6 hours and 22 minutes. He was fully aware that Captains were privy to certain special orders that were to remain secret – even to senior officers and mentors. That in itself was logical and Xyrel understood and accepted the concept of “need-to-know.”

It did not mean, however, that he liked it. And he found Samantha's distracted air disquieting.

A portion of his vast intellect dwelt on the apparent contradiction between acceptance of the need for secrecy and his emotional response to the situation. Another part of his brain which contained the complete works of Surak began a search for appropriate references to address this conundrum, while yet another part took note that Ensign Je’Nishu was humming an old Efrosian folk tune in the key of J#. Regrettable, considering the song was meant for J7 minor.

But a greater portion of his mind’s incredible processing power was dedicated to the situation before them. His innate Vulcan curiosity wondered as to a race that built ships of such vastness while his scientific training took on the task of calculating the many variables based on the data at hand.

His conclusions based on the available data: The ship did not originate from any known race in the Alpha or Beta quadrants. Thus, it had traveled a great distance from a point beyond these two quadrants. And though it currently traveled at sub-light speed using old but reliable technology, the mere size of the ship hinted at advanced engineering capabilities.

The Bluefin had received a single response to their attempts to communicate - a succinct “WHAT YOU" that could have been an automated response and provided no firm evidence that the ship’s occupants were sentient or capable of communicating. The faint life signs could be explained by a multitude of . . .

“Commander? We are two minutes from interception point.”

Xyrel’s mind continued to work the varied problems while his primary focus shifted to the tactical situation.

“Raise shields, Mr. Fadjak, but keep weapons off-line. Mr. Je’Nishu, drop us out of warp and match our speed to the UTV. Approach no closer than 3,500 kilometers.”

The bridge officers acknowledged their orders. Momentarily, the Resolute dropped out of warp into normal space.

“Two contacts, 18,000 kilometers ahead,” announced the helm officer.

“Confirmed,” added Lt. Ulkan, “an Albacore-class Border Cutter, transponder code identifies as USS Bluefin, NCC-4458, the other . . .”

The Zakdorn frowned as a sudden energy spike appeared on his display. Before he could speak, the massive alien vessel winked out of normal space in a flash of light.

“UTV has gone to warp,” Ulkan announced, unnecessarily. A moment later, the Bluefin did likewise.

“The Bluefin is in pursuit,” added the Operations officer.

“Match course and speed,” ordered Xyrel. He tapped his combadge, “Captain to the bridge.”

* * *

Stardate 54657.2

USS Bluefin
Molari Sector

As soon as the "Star ‘Shroom" jumped to warp, Captain Akinola ordered the Bluefin to pursue. He resumed his seat in the command chair as the stars streamed by.

“Helm, what is the speed of that ship?” queried the Captain.

The young Andorian helm officer, Ensign Drii An’Shiil turned her attention to her board. “Still accelerating, sir, - passing Warp 3 . . . 3.5 . . . 4 . . . rate of increase now slowing . . . 4.5 . . . 4.62 and holding steady.”

“Maintain warp 4.62 and adjust as necessary to keep pace with that thing,” Akinola ordered. “Let’s just hope it can’t go past warp 9.”

At least the question regarding warp capability had been answered.

A thought struck Akinola. “Mr. Bane, now that the alien ship is at warp, what is the new ETA to the Klingon border?”

Bane came back quickly with an answer. “Assuming they maintain course and speed, 5 days, 13 hours.”

Akinola grimaced. So much for this being someone else’s problem a few decades down the road. “Noted. Thank you, Mr. Bane.”

“Sir? We’re being hailed by the Resolute.”

“What a surprise,” he remarked, dryly. “I’ll take it in the ready room.”

As Akinola left the bridge, Bane muttered, “That should be pleasant.”

* * *

“It would seem that our arrival provoked a flight response, Captain,” remarked Captain Franklin. She was apparently in her own ready room. Akinola could see orchids in the background.

“I would be edgy too if an Akira-class ship popped out right on top of us,” replied Akinola. He was trying hard to be polite, but there was an edge to his voice.

Franklin sighed. “Look, I realize you’re ticked-off, Captain. I’d rather discuss this in person than over an open channel. Permission to come aboard with a couple of my officers?”

Akinola blinked in surprise. “You want to meet on Bluefin?”

She smiled. “It seems only fair. You got to tour my ship the last time we met. I would think you should return the favor.”

A wry smile formed on Akinola’s weathered face. “I believe you are trying to play me, Captain Franklin."

“Very possibly. But I’m serious about the offer. I think we need to put our heads together on this.”

“Won’t that get you in trouble with the powers-that-be?”

Franklin shrugged. “I’ll worry about that later. It seems we have a much larger problem at the moment.”

“No argument there. Beam over whenever you are ready, Captain.”

“Thank you, Captain Akinola. We will beam over in fifteen minutes.”

* * *

Akinola and Commander Strauss stood waiting in Transporter Room One as Chief Deryx communicated with his counterpart.

“Resolute signals ready to transport, Captain,” said the Denobulan CPO.

The Captain nodded. “Signal ready to receive.”

Momentarily three shimmering forms coalesced on the transporter dais. Two were familiar to Akinola – Captain Samantha Franklin and her husband, Chief Engineer John Vanboehner. They were accompanied by a distinguished looking Vulcan with silver hair and a square jaw-line. He wore the blue trim of the science division.

“Permission to come aboard?” asked Franklin.

“Granted. Welcome aboard Bluefin, Captain. You remember my Executive Officer, Commander Strauss?”

Franklin stepped forward and gripped the petite XO’s hand.

“Of course, nice to see you again, Commander.” She turned. “Our Chief Engineer, Commander John Vanboerner, whom I sure you remember, and our First Officer and Chief of Sciences, Commander Xyrel.”

They exchanged greetings, Xyrel inclining his head respectfully to Akinola and Strauss.

“Let’s adjourn to the ward room,” suggested Akinola. “We can talk there.”

They made their way through the ship’s narrow corridors with Vanboerner taking a keen interest in the vintage cutter. In short order they arrived in the ward room where Commander Gralt and Lt. T’Lyr were already present.

A tray of finger-foods suitable for Human and Vulcan palates had been provided by Chief Steward “Cookie” Marion. The room was redolent with the aromas of coffee and Vulcan herb tea.

Akinola introduced T’Lyr and Gralt, the latter who remarkably refrained from his usual off-color remarks.

They took their places at the long table. Franklin wisely deferred the head chair to Akinola as host Captain. While technically “in charge” as C.O. of the tactically superior vessel, she recognized the unusual nature of their situation and the potential for an inter-service rhubarb.

Besides, she respected the hell out of Akinola and valued his years of experience. As long as Bluefin was involved it only made sense to cooperate.

At least to the degree that she could.

They spent several minutes going over the events of the last two days, from Bluefin’s initial contact with the alien ship (Franklin suppressed a smile over “Star ‘Shroom,”) to the arrival of Resolute and the massive vessel’s jump to warp.

Akinola finally turned his gaze to Franklin. “Captain, you still haven’t explained why Starfleet sent you out here nor why they are trying their damndest to pull us off. I’ve a strong sense that you are holding something back and I’d very much like to understand the situation.”

His tone was measured and polite, but the Bluefin officers knew very well that this was but the calm before the storm.

It was then that Captain Franklin took them all by surprise.

“You’re correct, Captain Akinola. I am holding something back.”

* * *

On the Bluefin's bridge, Lt. Bane had the conn. He did not particularly care for the center seat, but as the fourth most senior bridge officer the lot occasionally fell to him.

Lt. (j.g.) K’lira Rune sat at Operations, filling in for Bane as Ensign An’Shiil continued to pilot the cutter.

Bane noticed the Andorian frowning and she appeared to make repeated adjustments to the warp setting.

“Drii, is there a problem?” he asked.

She turned with an expression tinged with guilt. “I’m not sure, Sir. I think I must have made a mistake regarding the alien ship’s speed.”

Bane frowned. “How d’you mean?”

“That’s just it, sir – I’m not sure. The readout still shows both the alien ship and ours running at warp 4.62.”

“But?”

“But according to our power output, we should be running at warp 5.3.”

Nigel glanced over at Ops. “K’lira – can you confirm that?”

“Already on it," replied the green Orion. "That’s affirmative. Factoring in our plasma flow and the configuration of our warp envelope, we should be at warp 5.3. Yet I can confirm Ensign An’Shiil’s readout of Warp 4.62 as our actual velocity.”

“Is it that gravity wave again?”

Rune ran another check of her instruments before answering.

“Yes, the gravity wave is still there . . . in fact it has increased by 37% since the ship jumped to warp. The effect now spreads to 4 A.U.s.”

Nigel whistled in disbelief. No warp drive he knew of could create such a widespread disturbance.

“The Skipper is meetin’ with some of the officers from Resolute. Forward the data to Mr. Gralt’s PADD. It will give him somethin’ to chew on while they parlay.”

“Right away.”

Bane settled back in the chair. He wasn’t an engineer and it had been a long time since his classes in warp theory, but he knew that at a certain point that gravity wave could destabilize their warp drive – leaving them adrift and a long way from home.

The novelty of the alien ship was long gone. To Bane’s way of thinking, it was definitely a potential threat. He wondered how long it would take before they discovered its true potential?
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Old February 27 2012, 10:32 PM   #26
CeJay
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Re: UT: Refugee Crisis / Bluefin - "Trajectory"

Franklin is good people, isn't she? I wonder what kind of reprimand she could expect for sharing classified information. On the other hand, who's going to tell? Certainly not Akinola.

And yeah, the runaway Shroom is going to be big trouble, especially now, at warp, heading towards the Klingon border and draining its pursuers main power.

Just another day on Bluefin, folks.
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Old February 27 2012, 10:54 PM   #27
Admiral2
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Re: UT: Refugee Crisis / Bluefin - "Trajectory"

While technically “in charge” as C.O. of the tactically superior vessel,
Just wanna state for the record, one mo' time, that this is the STUPIDEST regulation ever imposed on any fleet, anywhere, ever! (Thank you, VOY, for this and many other contributions of abject stupidity.)

(deep breath)

Anyway, It's nice that Franklin is being so accommodating to Akinola, but it's a wasted effort if she doesn't intend to divulge everything. Just an observation. If she's going to try and assuage without saying anything she might as well just exercise the "My ship is more bad-ass" rule and chase Bluefin off.
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Old February 29 2012, 02:14 PM   #28
Bry_Sinclair
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Re: UT: Refugee Crisis / Bluefin - "Trajectory"

Admiral2 wrote: View Post
Just wanna state for the record, one mo' time, that this is the STUPIDEST regulation ever imposed on any fleet, anywhere, ever! (Thank you, VOY, for this and many other contributions of abject stupidity.)
To me that little reg makes sense--if in a (potential) tactical situation, the biggest hitter should be the one calling the shots. I do get that experience and skill will always play a huge part in combat, but sometimes its better to be the one holding the bigger gun

Very nice work TRL. More please!
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Old February 29 2012, 03:22 PM   #29
CeJay
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Re: UT: Refugee Crisis / Bluefin - "Trajectory"

Bry_Sinclair wrote: View Post
Admiral2 wrote: View Post
Just wanna state for the record, one mo' time, that this is the STUPIDEST regulation ever imposed on any fleet, anywhere, ever! (Thank you, VOY, for this and many other contributions of abject stupidity.)
To me that little reg makes sense--if in a (potential) tactical situation, the biggest hitter should be the one calling the shots. I do get that experience and skill will always play a huge part in combat, but sometimes its better to be the one holding the bigger gun
We've actually discussed this very issue in the UT a while ago and decided that Starfleet will eventually change this regulation to consider seniority instead.

However in some cases, Starfleet Command may give one captain overall command for operational reasons, as would have clearly been the case here.

Also, if I remember rightly, Starfleet trumps Border Service. I know, I know, controversial ...
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Old February 29 2012, 04:21 PM   #30
TheLoneRedshirt
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Re: UT: Refugee Crisis / Bluefin - "Trajectory"

CeJay wrote: View Post
Bry_Sinclair wrote: View Post
Admiral2 wrote: View Post
Just wanna state for the record, one mo' time, that this is the STUPIDEST regulation ever imposed on any fleet, anywhere, ever! (Thank you, VOY, for this and many other contributions of abject stupidity.)
To me that little reg makes sense--if in a (potential) tactical situation, the biggest hitter should be the one calling the shots. I do get that experience and skill will always play a huge part in combat, but sometimes its better to be the one holding the bigger gun
We've actually discussed this very issue in the UT a while ago and decided that Starfleet will eventually change this regulation to consider seniority instead.

However in some cases, Starfleet Command may give one captain overall command for operational reasons, as would have clearly been the case here.

Also, if I remember rightly, Starfleet trumps Border Service. I know, I know, controversial ...
I'm not crazy about this regulation, but I want to remain consistent. And yes, Starfleet generally trumps the Border Service. However, the lines are blurred here as this is (from Akinola's perspective) a border security issue while Franklin is bound by orders under Operation Vanguard. We'll see how they can work this out and (hopefully) collaborate.
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