UT: Refugee Crisis / Bluefin - "Trajectory"

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by TheLoneRedshirt, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 3, 2005
    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.
  2. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    That very question will arise in the next chapter.

    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.

    That's the understatement of the day. :lol:

    An astute observation - very likely true.

    A very good question, NG. We shall soon find out.

    Urgent, indeed. Their time frame just dropped from decades to little more than a week.

    It goes against Franklin's grain to shoot first. Hopefully, she will not have to. But that remains to be seen.

    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.
  3. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Aug 3, 2005
    Write faster, dammit!
  4. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    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.
  5. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    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 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?
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2012
  6. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    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.
  7. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Sep 14, 2004
    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.
  8. Bry_Sinclair

    Bry_Sinclair Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 28, 2009
    The glorious Shetland Isles!
    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 :lol:

    Very nice work TRL. More please!
  9. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    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 ...
  10. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    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.
  11. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Sep 14, 2004
    No, it doesn't make sense because tactical superiority isn't always determinable by things that are obvious.

    Take a real world example. Let's say the US Navy has this rule. A Nimitz Carrier and an Arleigh Burke destroyer meet up in the Mediterranean and they're both commanded by full-bird Captains.

    CV CAPT: I'm in charge because your ship's just an escort and I'm carrying a small air force on my deck.

    DDG CAPT: Um, yeah, but two-thirds of my armament is designed to shoot down other people's airplanes, which means all you're carrying on your deck is target practice.

    CV CAPT: Well...but...I could launch enough of them to overwhelm your defenses.

    DDG CAPT: Unless I use a torpedo to disable your screws, which would mean you can't get wind over your bow, turning your air force into a collection of expensive paperweights.

    CV CAPT: What are your orders, sir? :D

    It's even worse in a Star Trek setting because the entire universe is governed by a perverse tactical parity in weapons. Everybody has the pretty laser beams and the sparkly torpedoes. If a Nebula and a Nova meet each other in a space sector the only real tactical advantages the Neb has are size and speed, and the latter is only useful if it's running, since the Nova would be more maneuverable.

    There are reasons command is determined by rank and seniority.
  12. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 18, 2005
    This is looking good TLR. Thanks for the Terrence mention. I wish my computer was working because you guys are really making me want to jump in there on this storyline.
  13. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    Thanks, DK - glad you were pleased with the appearance by Terrence. Hope you are able to jump in soon. :)
  14. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    Chapter 6 – Committed

    Stardate 54657.2

    Star Station Echo
    Office of Rear Admiral Morgan Bateson
    Commander, 7th Border Service Squadron

    “Sir, priority message coming through from Admiral Bouvier.”

    “Thank you, Varnosh. Put her through.”

    Vice-Admiral Deidre Bouvier’s thin face appeared on Bateson’s terminal, her small dark eyes darting to and fro. She did not appear happy, but considering Bouvier almost never looked happy it was difficult to gauge her mood.

    “Bateson, you are to recall Bluefin immediately.”

    Morgan felt his jaw clench but he refrained from an angry retort. “May I ask why?”

    “It’s called the chain of command, Admiral. The C-in-C tells me to recall all Border Service assets in the op-force area. I tell the Squadron Commander – that being you, and you tell the cutter commander, that being Akinola. Can you grasp that?”

    “Yes sir, the concept is familiar.”

    Bouvier glowered. “From your general attitude, Bateson, I doubt that. You have your orders, get it done. Bouvier, out.”

    “Charming as ever,” he muttered. Bateson leaned back in his chair, a pensive expression on his face. “Op-force area,” he murmured. “Now why did she refer to the alien ship as ‘opposing force’? It hasn’t made any hostile moves.”

    He let out a long sigh. It had been a long-shot at best. At least Bouvier, through her majestic sense of vanity, had provided an extra 36 hours for Akinola. He doubted Bouvier realized that he had played her for the extra time – not that it mattered one way or the other to him.

    “Varnosh, open a channel to the Bluefin. Time for the boys and girls to come home.”

    “Aye sir, I’ll get right on it.”

    “Thanks.” Bateson tried to remain philosophical about the situation. After all, the job of the Border Service was law enforcement, border security and rescuing the wayward space-farer. First contacts and scientific investigation were better suited to Starfleet – even if sending an Akira-class ship seemed like major over-kill.

    He stood and made his way to the replicator for coffee before doing battle with a stack of PADDs. As a mug of Colombian dark roast materialized, his terminal chimed for attention.

    “Admiral,” Varnosh’s face reappeared on the screen, his expression perplexed, “We are unable to establish a subspace link with Bluefin.”

    Bateson frowned. “What’s the problem, Lieutenant – a technical glitch?”

    “Our com-techs are working on it, but the problem does not appear to be on our end. There is some sort of spatial interference in the vicinity of Bluefin’s last known coordinates.”

    The Admiral grunted. Communication problems arose from time to time, but it always made him nervous to lose contact with any of his cutters.

    “Keep me posted, Varnosh. I want to know the moment you re-establish contact with Bluefin. If there is no success within an hour, I’ll turn Scamp and Kittiwake around to investigate.”

    “Understood, sir.”

    * * *

    Stardate 54657.3

    USS Bluefin
    Sector 7432

    “Leaving the Molari sector, now entering sector 7432,” announced Ensign An’Shiil.

    “Thanks, Drii,” replied Lt. Bane, absently. The announcement wasn’t required but it was a reminder they were still headed toward Klingon space.

    Nigel had no doubts the Klingons would soon pick up the ‘Shroom on their long-range scanners. He wondered what they would make of it.

    He also wondered what they would do about it.

    A rumbling noise reverberated through the hull, bringing Bane back to the present moment.

    “That didn’t sound good,” he remarked.

    “The gravity wave is increasing in magnitude,” announced Lt. (j.g.) Rune. “It’s strengthened an additional 8%.”

    “Has it increased speed?”

    “Negative,” replied Ensign An’Shiil. “However, our power output is equivalent to warp 5.6.”

    Another rumble resonated through the hull. This time, Bane could feel it. “Increase power to structural integrity fields.”

    “Aye,” replied Rune. “Boosting SIF with auxiliary power. No hull breaches or shield degradation to report.”

    “Good.” Bane wasn’t overly concerned – the Bluefin was designed to navigate Class 5 ion storms with relative ease. She was overbuilt in critical areas and her hull was hardened against radiation. His greater concern was whether they would be able to keep pace with the Star ‘Shroom should the gravity wave continue to strengthen. Once their power output exceeded warp 8.5, time would be against them. The old cutter could maintain warp 9 for about six hours before the mains would automatically shut down.

    * * *

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

    The Nigerian C.O.'s brow furrowed. “Oh? Care to enlighten me?”

    Franklin paused, twisting the mug of coffee in her hands. “Six months ago, I was within a heartbeat of firing a spread of quantum torpedoes into the Queen Elizabeth VII. Do you remember that?”

    “I could hardly forget.”

    “You asked me to do something that day – do you remember what that was?”

    A nod. “I asked you to trust me – to give my boarding teams time to retake that ship,” he replied.

    She fixed him with her steady gaze. “Exactly. And I did trust you, Captain. I held off firing those torpedoes and your people came through. A lot of people are still alive because I trusted you.” Her gazed returned to her coffee mug. “You don’t know how close I was to pulling the trigger and blowing that star-liner to kingdom come.”

    Akinola was quiet for a moment. “I’m not sure that the situations are equivalent, Captain Franklin. All I want are a few answers. I’m not about to open fire on anyone.”

    She glanced back up. “I understand. And you have my word I will tell you all that I can. But I'm asking you to trust me with what I cannot yet tell you.”

    Captain Akinola leaned back and folded his arms, fixing Franklin with an appraising stare. He finally began to nod slowly and said, “Alright, Captain – I guess you’ve earned that,” for the moment, he amended silently. He leaned forward and clasped his hands together on the table.

    “Please, continue.”

    She nodded, grateful that the old cutter driver was willing to meet her half-way. She glanced at her husband and her First Officer. “What I’m about to say is new to my officers as well. The orders I’ve received are clear in theory but difficult in practice.”

    She returned her attention to Akinola. “We are ordered to establish communications with that vessel and ascertain its intentions, whether they be peaceful or hostile. If attempts to communicate fail, we are to board the vessel and question the occupants directly, seizing the vessel if necessary to prevent it from crossing into Klingon space.”

    “Seize it? Forgive me, Captain, but we’re outside of any system boundaries and that ship has yet to make an overtly hostile move. We have no probable cause to board that vessel without an invitation.”

    “My orders say otherwise, Captain Akinola.”

    “Sam, is that what Glover told you?” asked Vanboerner.

    Franklin shot her husband a warning look but nodded.

    “Terrence Glover? He’s the one who sent you and wanted us to return to base, right?”

    She hesitated. “I’m not sure how you know that, but yes.” Another pause, “And I have to wonder – why are you still here, tagging after that ship after you were ordered home?”

    Akinola smiled. “Apparently Admiral Glover managed to tick off my Squadron Commander, who in turn, bumped it up the chain to our Service Chief. So, until I receive a recall order from Admiral Bateson, you’re stuck with us.”

    She chuckled. “We’ll let the brass sort that out. Until then, it only make sense for us to work together – agreed?”

    The older captain rubbed the stubble on his jawline. “Fair enough, but I still don’t see how . . .”

    “Frak!” thundered Gralt loudly. He was reading the message from Rune regarding the intensifying gravity wave.

    He looked up to see the other officers staring at him. T’Lyr’s face was tinged a slight green. Captain Franklin looked startled; Vanboerner appeared amused while Xyrel merely lifted an eyebrow. Commander Strauss had lowered her face into her palm.

    “Is there something you’d like to share with us, Commander Gralt?” asked Akinola, his voice dangerously low.

    “Yeah, we’ve got a problem. That deity's whore of a gravity wave has intensified and it’s forcing us to use more power to keep up with that damn ship.”

    “How much more power?”

    “Our power output is at warp 5.3 to maintain warp 4.6, and it appears to be getting worse.”

    Franklin turned to Akinola. “Captain, with your permission, I’d like to contact Resolute to see if they are experiencing the same effect.”

    He nodded. “Certainly. And listen – since we’re collaborating on this, call me ‘Joseph.’ All this ‘Captain’ back and forth is getting confusing.”

    Franklin smiled. “Agreed. Call me Sam. Excuse me a moment.” She stood and stepped into the corridor.

    Vanboerner turned to Gralt. “I take it this gravity wave increased when the alien ship went to warp.”

    The Tellarite nodded curtly. “You bet your hairless pink ass it did.”

    The cutter rocked slightly, accompanied by an ominous rumble that reverberated through the hull. The cups on the table jittered slightly, sending ripples through the assorted beverages.

    Gralt stood, “Captain, I ought to be in engineering.”

    “Go.” As the engineer left, Akinola tapped his combadge. “Akinola to bridge.”

    “Bridge, Bane here.”

    “What’s going on, Lieutenant?”

    “The energy wave is strengthening. No worries with structural integrity, but the mains are having to work harder to keep up with the ‘Shroom.”

    Franklin stepped back into the ward room, a look of concern on her face. “I can’t raise the Resolute.”

    Akinola glanced up at Franklin. “Lieutenant Bane, what’s the status of Resolute – do we still have her on sensors?”

    There was a momentary pause. “Yes sir, she’s keeping pace about 150 kilometers astern.”

    “See if you can hail her. Captain Franklin can’t reach her with her combadge.”

    “Yes sir, stand by.”

    “Probably just a communications glitch,” said Franklin, as much to reassure herself as anyone else.

    Bane came back on the channel. “Sir, there’s some sort of interference with our subspace signal. My guess is the radiation from the ‘Shroom is creating the problem. We can set up the laser-com link with Resolute for inter-ship but we’ll be out of contact with anyone else.”

    Akinola frowned. “Make it happen, Lieutenant. Let me know when you have that link established.”

    “Aye, Skipper. Assumin’ the blokes on Resolute have ever used the laser-com, we should have the link up in a minute.”

    Franklin smirked. “I have every confidence my people can handle it.”

    “You heard the lady, Mr. Bane. I’m sending Captain Franklin up to the bridge so she can talk with her ship. Keep us posted if there are any other changes with the alien ship.”

    “You can count on it. Bridge, out.”


    Franklin turned to Vanboerner. “Yes, John?”

    “Chances are if the interference is strong enough to affect a subspace signal, it’s likely to interfere with the transporter’s targeting scanners.”

    She frowned. “I hadn’t thought of that.”

    “You can use our Stallions for ship to ship transport,” offered Akinola. “No offence, but they can handle this type of environment better than your shuttles.”

    “I appreciate that,” replied Franklin. “I’ll be back as soon as I contact Resolute.”

    * * *

    Stardate 54657.3

    Starbase Bastion

    The Trill Operations officer hurried toward Admiral Terrence Glover with a PADD and an expression of concern.

    Glover’s expression, by contrast, was one of annoyance. “Walk, Lieutenant, you’re not a plebe.”

    “Sorry, Admiral, but we’ve lost contact with the Resolute.”

    Glover took the proffered PADD and grimaced. “Sector 7432 . . . any distress signal?”

    “No sir. We’ve made several attempts to contact them. From this distance and through so many relays, it’s difficult to ascertain the problem.”

    “Difficult is not impossible, Lieutenant Rynul. I expect results, not excuses.” He brusquely shoved the PADD back at the Trill.

    “What’s the closest vessel operating under Vanguard protocols?” continued Glover, his tone more even.

    “The Akagi, sir. She’s three days distant from Resolute at maximum warp.”

    Glover considered this. Captain Shiran Ch’Hranuth was a seasoned combat veteran. Moreover, he had not expressed misgivings about the parameters of Operation Vanguard as had some captains, including Samantha Franklin.

    And Akagi carried two of the code-Alpha “special” weapons to be used as a last resort.

    “Very well. Dispatch the Akagi. Notify Captain Ch’Hranuth that I will soon be in touch with special orders. I’ll notify Admiral Brandies of the situation.”

    * * *
  15. Gibraltar

    Gibraltar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Sep 25, 2005
    US Pacific Northwest
    Well, thought the comms interference has bought Bluefin some additional time, now the situation is growing more serious as other assets are directed towards them.

    And whatever these 'alpha-weapons' are, they sure don't sound terribly friendly. :klingon:

    You're ratcheting up the tension at the scene as well as elsewhere... nicely done.
  16. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    Thanks! With Starbase Bastion and Star Station Echo unable to communicate with their ships, assumptions may be made that might make this situation far more volatile.

    Let's see if Franklin and Akinola have any luck making contact with the Star 'Shroom before anyone else joins the party. Or before anything else goes wrong. ;)
  17. Admiral2

    Admiral2 Vice Admiral Admiral

    Sep 14, 2004
    Good. Gralt's cursing again. Now it's a story.

    Now, stupid question...couldn't both ships track and pursue da Shroom from outside the zone of interference?
  18. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

    May 22, 2007
    Here and now.
    Hey, he just can't help himself. It's a Gralt thing. :lol:

    Track and pursue, yes. Interdict (which is basically what the orders call for) no. In fact, they are going to have to get a whole lot closer before it's all said and done. :evil:
  19. CeJay

    CeJay Commodore Commodore

    Feb 5, 2006
    No kidding about that tension here. You could cut it with a laser scalpel.

    The scene with Bouvier made me laugh out loud. Is that lady a first rate bitch or what?

    The comm black out was just what this story needed to take it to the next level. Now Akinola and Franklin are truly on their own and in a position in which they simply have to trust and depend on each other.

    You can't make up this kinda drama ... Well, I guess you have.
  20. Mistral

    Mistral Vice Admiral Admiral

    Dec 5, 2007
    Between the candle and the flame
    I'm fairly certain this rule was first exercised on TNG.