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Setting the Trap

Posted on 15 Nov 2015 @ 5:12am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander C. Kos & Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Commander Roget del Rosario & Lieutenant Hictus Dicon & Lieutenant Commander Temerant Bast & Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale

Mission: Rude Awakening
Location: Gavara System
Timeline: MD 9 || 1030 hours

Harvey had arrived precisely when he meant to, nearly thirty minutes before the arrival of the medical transport and hopefully before the USS O'Carroll. As he sat in his chair on the bridge with his fingers steepled in front of his face, he watched the tactical plot on the viewer. There was so much to do, and part of him wished he'd pushed Dicon and Adan to get them here faster. For now, it was time to set up and wait.

With a sigh, Harvey stood up. "Helm, bring us to a full stop and hold our position. Commander del Rosario," he said without turning to look at the well-built man. "Bring us to yellow alert."

Roget touched the appropriate control on his console. The lighting on the bridge shifted slightly, and his panel layout altered, as passive tactical scans began running automatically. Another panel of his station began scrolling through status reports from his staff. One display showed security reports while another provided updates from the tactical crew.

Harvey then tapped his combadge. "Bridge to Commander Walsh. Let's get your plan in action. Deploy your birds when ready."


***

Terry was in Flight Ops when the yellow alert started casting its amber glow throughout ops and the flight deck below. A few minutes later, he received what he’d been waiting for, the call from the Captain. He tapped his combadge and replied, “You’ve got it, Captain. Walsh out.”

He then looked at the young Andorian sitting near him and said, “Open communications to the flight deck and the pilot’s ready room.”

The Andorian tapped a couple of controls and nodded to Terry.

“This is Commander Walsh, we have a go for deployment. All pilots suit up and report to the flight deck ASAP.” He tapped the Andorian on the shoulder as a sign to close the channel. “Rocco is back in the game,” he said as he left for the flight deck.


***

"Captain," Lieutenant Carmichael said from the science station. "Our sensors have got a good read on the nebula. It's designated as a Class-2, and never explored."

"Could O'Connell be hiding in there?" Harvey asked, taking a couple steps over to the Science Station. "And more importantly, can he see us?"

Carmichael shook his head. "Class 2 Nebulae are notorious about blocking sensors. Once you're inside, you'll be blind to anything outside of 50,000 kilometers. As long as we stay far enough away, we'll look just like a star to the naked eye."

"And we hope he hasn't messed with his sensors." Harvey turned to face his Chief Operations Officer. "Mister Bast, you don't happen to know of any way that O'Connell could have boosted his sensor range in the nebula, or more importantly, if we can penetrate the nebula to see if he's there?"

Temerant ran a quick search of the Federation's scientific database, checking to see if anyone had ever described a way of improving sensor penetration in Class-2 Nebulae, and came up empty. "Negative, Captain," he reported. "There's a high concentration of chromium hydride in the nebula, which interferes with our sensors. Short of sending in a probe, there's no way of improving the quality of our sensor data beyond fifty thousand kilometers."

"And we certainly won't be doing that," Harvey said. "Don't want to leave any warning signs that could spook the whole operation. We might want to have a few on standby should we have to chase his ship."

"Of course," agreed Temerant. He reclined back in his chair, and checked the status of all systems once again. Everything was green across the board. Everything was in place, and the trap was ready to be sprung. He looked around the Bridge. Adan was at the helm, deeply focused on maintaining their position. The Captain was staring at the viewscreen intently, as if he could make the O'Carroll appear by sheer force of will. Commander Kos was behind his left shoulder, focused on her own control panel. Commander del Rosario was at the Tactical station, ready to power up weapons as soon as the Captain called for them.

Everything was in place.


***

The 325th Black Knights were ready to ride, so to speak. Terry opened a channel to all the flights, “Alright, we’re going to start with attack pattern Walsh-alpha-two. But until we get the word to engage, we’re going to help the Black Hawk look as mean as we can. Charlie Flight, form up on her portside, Bravo on her starboard, and Alpha, we’ll form up over the saucer section. Keep all weapons powered and on standby. And watch your six. Rocco out.” Terry maneuvered his fighter off the deck and towards the open bay. The forcefield flickered as he and his wingman passed through. The rest of Alpha Flight followed him and the others shortly thereafter.


***

Harvey stood in the center of the bridge, listening to the reports coming over the comm from the flight deck. The launch had happened in record time. Clearly, the 325th was as excited about being back in action as they were to be back aboard the Black Hawk. Glancing at the chronometer on the viewscreen, he noted how right on schedule everything was.

"Convoy status?" Geisler asked Lieutenant Bast, keeper of the sensors.

"Just coming into sensor range now," replied Temerant, checking his panel. He looked at the chronometer. The convoy was right on schedule. "Three ships. They should be coming out of Warp in twenty five seconds.... Mark."

Dicon had been watching from his console in Engineering and had noticed something odd, a hole in the forward sensors, that was there, and after a few seconds was gone. "Captain, something in our sensors, in the fore; thirty degrees down!"

"Mister Bast?" Harvey asked, looking at the Trill at the Operations station. "Please tell me that's just a glitch." Glitches were easy to solve. If someone was screwing with him and his ship...

Temerant punched his panel. True, there had been a blind spot on the sensors. Could the nebula be to blame? A sudden sensor feedback on those specific coordinates because of a movement in the nebula's gases? "No explanation, Captain," he reported. "But the blind spot is gone."

Dicon's voice was heard again " Try filtering out everything but the back ground radiation. I don't think any one who creep around in cloaked vessels tend not to be that amateurish in their hiding attempts. I'm boosting sensor gain for you from not critical systems."

Temerant frowned and looked at Geisler. "The O'Carroll doesn't have a cloaking device," he said. "The power systems on Akira-class starships aren't compatible with Klingon or Romulan technologies."

"Not completely true Lieutenant. A decent engineer could make it work," Kos offered. As a former power systems specialist, and former Chief Engineer of the Akira-class USS Susquehanna , she knew what she was talking about.

"Completely true, I could have rigged one into a Akira's main power assembly and run it off back up power when needed. Very little needed." Dicon voice sounded both surprised and slightly praise worthy for the Commander.

"Then you would have overloaded the power relays and disabled the entire grid manifold," replied Temerant. "No one is saying the Akira-class power systems are faulty, but the incompatibility is in the cloaking devices themselves." Temerant didn't bother to mention that prior to joining, he had also been a power systems specialist, and engineer on the USS Fearless. And Wilem Bast, his previous host, who had been a scientist assigned to the Trill Defense Ministry, had spent a decade studying cloaking technology to develop countermeasures, which included working with a device on loan from the Klingon Empire. He was intimately familiar with its inner workings. He also knew what he was talking about.

"Not to mention illegal," Harvey commented. Even if O'Connell had schematics, parts would be extremely hard to come by. "Do you know of any powers in this sector that have cloaking technology?"

"None that we know of," replied Temerant.

"At least we'll know he'll be visible when he shows up then." Harvey looked back to the screen just in time for the medical convoy to warp into view. No hails were transmitted from either party. Communications silence was part of the trap. No transmissions of any kind to let O'Connell know they were here. Now they only had forty-five minutes (the amount of time it would take for the convoy to reach the planet) to wait for O'Connell to show up.

Mac leaned over towards Harvey. "I hate these waiting games."

There was a chirp on Geisler console. Dicon had gone to the trouble of writing a text message. It read. Crew down here alarmed, but ready to go. Hope this does not become another Saturday night special. Want me to prepare for worst case?

As Harvey was standing and nowhere near his console, Dicon's text message went ignored. Harvey glanced over towards Mac. "I do too," he said softly.


***

Down in Security, Camila was going over the progress reports of Security personnel, aware that at any moment, they would be called on to potentially go head to head with other Starfleet personnel. Leaving her office, she nodded to the Warrant Officer on duty. "Could you call together the personnel that aren't assigned to important areas at the moment, please?"

"Yes ma'am."


***

Dicon had been glaring his console, he did not expect the captain to respond but he had to send the message. He caught the attention of a ensign. "Call all the departments heads together, as quietly as you can. And get as much of the deck crews together also. I want to address them "

"Yes sir." The ensign hurried off. His Chief had looked very worried. It had the most unsettling effect on him.


***

After twenty minutes of waiting, Harvey had finally grown tired of standing. Though he was no telepath, he could feel the tension mounting on the bridge. He couldn't blame anyone. Confronting another starship and its commander was never a common assignment, nor popular by any means. Even as he sat on the edge of his chair, hunched over with hands steepled in front of his face and eyes fixated on the three medical ship shrinking on the magnified viewscreen, Harvey himself felt very uncomfortable.

He tried and tried to imagine what Zachary would do. He hadn't seen the man since they served together on the Logos, and even then their contact was limited. Zachary was an Engineer and Harvey a medic. Both were unlikely candidates for command of Akira-class ships.

Still, what were the chances of O'Connell winding up out here in the Gamma Quadrant? And on the wrong side of the fence. Back in the early days, Zachary never seemed like one who would turn against the Federation. Then again, the war changed people. It certainly changed Harvey. He'd never forgive the Dominion for the death of his wife, even though that bridge was crossed so long ago.

There!

Harvey saw it before Bast could report it. The O'Carroll had arrived. They were early.

He instantly rose to his feet. "Red Alert!" he called out. "Stand by to intercept, Mister Adan."

And then it happened. The unthinkable.

The bridge went dark. Lights. Consoles. Alert panels. All dead.

To say that he was furious was a complete and utter understatement. The emergency lighting flickered to life, bathing the Captain in deep red light, a perfect match for his bitter mood.


~to be continued~

 

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