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Fool Me Once...

Posted on 22 Nov 2015 @ 9:25am 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 || 1100 hours

"Who the hell is screwing with my starship?" Harvey bellowed, swinging around to face his bridge crew. This was twice that his ship had lost power, and the second time at a critical moment in her operational status. "Get the power back on now!" He demanded, directing the order literally at everyone.

***

Terry watched as the O’Carroll warped into view. He was itching to get things going, as probably the others were as well. His thoughts were interrupted when Bravo Flight leader, Lieutenant K’Lara spoke. "Commander Walsh," said the half Klingon, half human woman, "the lights on the Black Hawk have gone out."

Terry rolled his fighter and looked out of the top of his canopy. Sure enough, the hull of the ship was dark. "Aw hell."

***

With the power offline, the emergency lighting kicked on. Mac found herself moving to the rear of the bridge. She pulled off an access panel and, fumbling in the low lighting, tried to trace down the reason for the power loss. Fortunately, her tricorder was working.

Within seconds, Temerant was at her side, holding a flashlight to peer Inside the control panel. "No power at all," he said, stating the obvious.

He tapped his combadge, but it returned a dead signal as well, indicating that central communications were also out. He held up a tricorder of his own and scanned the system. "The power relays seem to be down."

He ran over to the Jeffries tube, and opened the access panel. "We need to check the power relays upstream," he declared.

"I know what I'm doing Lieutenant," Kos replied, frustrated by the Trill's intrusiveness. She continued her work trying to track down where the power disconnect was. Hopefully we can redirect the flow around the effected area, she thought.

While the crew scrambled into action, Harvey turned back towards the blank view screen. Walsh and his fighters were the only hope to keep the O'Carroll from escaping. "Time to earn that promotion, Commander," he muttered, unconcerned if anyone was listening to him.

***

The system's bright white sun reflected nicely off of the O'Carroll's bow as she maneuvered into position in front of the lead medical convoy. Instantly, the three ships began to scramble. Phaser beams lanced out from each of the transports, but did little to deter the larger ship. A series of quick phaser shots from the O'Carroll were returned to the convoy, swiftly disabling their engines.

If the O'Carroll could see the Black Hawk or its fighters, it didn't look like her Master cared. It would only take a few more direct hits to completely disable the convoy and begin to collect its prizes.

"Commander Walsh to USS Black Hawk." No response. Calling them again would've been stupid, considering. "Rocco to squadron, we're in a communications blackout with the Hawk. Attack pattern Walsh-alpha-two. Strike fast and strike pointed. Light 'em up." Terry threw his fighter into its full speed, short of warp, and led the squadron into battle.

The O'Carroll, bound for the closest freighter that was peppering its shields, turned into the incoming fighter's paths. Her rear phaser strips continued to fire on the freighter. After one more shot, electricity crackled across the egg shaped shell and a couple external lights went out. Their shields had collapsed. Her forward phasers, however, began to lance out towards the fighters in hopes to break their formations before getting near their warp drive.

Alpha and Bravo Flights began circling around the O’Carroll like a swarm of mosquitoes. They targeted the ship’s major power relays in an attempt to knock out its weapons systems. Charlie Flight flew under the starship, firing their phasers along the way. They came up behind and began their assault on the engineering section, targeting the warp nacelles as well as the location of Main Engineering. All the while, the 325th Black Knights were trying their best to dodge phaser fire from the O’Carroll.

It was clear the O'Carroll's shields were beginning to buckle. Power fluctuations began to ripple across the port nacelle, prompting the Akira-class ship to turn that side away from the squadron, arcing away from the convoy. The rear phasers were retargeted against the fighters, each blast landing a glancing shot on the fighter's shields. A moment later, a single quantum torpedo shot out of one of the pod's launchers towards two of Bravo Flight's fighters. Before it could strike either fighter, it exploded a few meters from their hulls. The shockwave knocked both ships out of formation and disrupting their power systems.

Terry was glad that the freighters, for what they were worth, were still firing on the enemy. It was at least a distraction since the Akira class ship had turned its focus on them. His fighter shook as another phaser shot rocked his shields, dropping them drastically. Hopefully the ablative armour would hold well enough. Then he watched as a quantum torpedo was launched at his squadron. The resulting explosion struck him as odd. The fighters weren’t destroyed, but simply blown back, tumbling in space.

A few more had taken hits, but not been destroyed, just disabled. Then Lieutenant K'lara spoke. "Commander, Charlie Flight reports a possible weakening of the shields on their port nacelle. It would explain why they’ve turned."

"Then back 'em up, K'lara! Don't tell me about it! You've each got eight micro-torpedoes on board, make use of them!" Terry then came around for a run under her belly. He targeted a power relay with phasers, followed by a micro-torpedo. The shields around that area shimmered. He looped and came around for a second pass at the same location. Shimmering shields.

The brawny pilot knew that a squadron of twenty fighters was no match for an Akira class starship and her armament. He was afraid they wouldn’t hold out much longer, so he tried an approach that he’d seen Captains use before. The least it could do was buy them, and the Hawk, some time.

"USS O'Carroll, this is Lieutenant Commander Walsh, squadron commander of the 325th Black Knights. I have two Flights focusing on the shields around your port nacelle. I can easily have all three there. Stand down or we'll stand you down." He was a typical starfighter pilot, proud and bragging.

The radio crackled as a phaser beam shot past Alpha One and two others swatted at the flies near the port nacelle. Finally, a disembodied female voice spoke, "Black Knights, stand down! You are attacking a Starfleet vessel operating under the authority of Task Force Command. No one needs to get hurt."

Another phaser volley was launched against the fighters. One found its target, disabling it immediately.

Terry sighed deeply. Task Force Command, he thought, this isn't going to be easy. It wasn't his business to discuss their orders, so.... "While you're attacking a medical convoy and multiple Starfleet vessels? As far as standing down, I've never met a man yet who would lay down his dagger in the face of an enemy wielding a sword. Cease fire on the medical convoy." He was counting on the fact that, so far, they hadn't hurt any of his pilots.

No reply came through other than an increase of phaser fire. Two more fighters were struck, both losing power instantly. The O'Carroll, however, was beginning to buckle under the strain of the attack, as shown by further flickering on the warp nacelle. She began to turn and increase her impulse speed, hoping to get far enough away to either refocus her attacks or break away from the engagement entirely.

Guess that's all the time I'm gonna get, he thought. Then the O'Carroll turned. "They're running! Whoever we have left, target that weak spot in their shields! I want to see impact shots on that port nacelle! We've got to slow them down! And keep as tight against their ship as you can!" There was one more thing to do as he piloted his Valkyrie to designated area, he switched to a secure channel. "Commander Walsh to USS Black Hawk." Nothing.

Another phaser lance disabled another fighter, leaving it powerless save for the life support system. The Akira-class vessel did its best to swat the remaining flies swarming around the nacelle. In its efforts, one of the phaser strips was set for an automatic tracking lock and fired, narrowly missing a fighter, but striking the rear of the port nacelle. Drive plasma began to flow out of the rear of the nacelle for a moment before it went completely dead. The O'Carroll wasn't going anywhere. She instead turned, bound for the nebula.

What luck, thought Terry. "Alpha One to Black Knights, they aren’t warping anywhere now. Charlie Flight and Bravo Flight, target the power relays for the impulse engines. See what kind of damage you can do before they reach the nebula. Alpha Flight, phaser relays." The Black Knights continued to do what they could to slow the O'Carroll.


***

The moment the system and computer went offline, Camila went into action. "Everybody to your stations. Take the Jeffries tubes and access ladders and do it quickly." Grabbing a wrist light, she strapped it on and illuminated the area before passing them out to other personnel. "Be on the look out for potential boarders. Stun only!" she stressed as her personnel headed out.

***

Temerant emerged from the Jeffries tube after ten minutes, and let out an audible sigh. "We're on a starship. In space. Infinite frakking space. Why did they have to make those things so cramped?" he said to no one in particular.

He looked at the captain. "The operating system in the main power relays is corrupted. The power generators are working, but power isn't being relayed to the rest of the ship. I'm restoring the OS from a backup, and they should be up in eight minutes."

"We don't have eight minutes," Harvey said, hovering over Kos and a repair team. It was true. He had no way of knowing how Walsh was handling matters, but he'd be stupid to think that Walsh could hold his own against, much less take down, an Akira-class ship by himself. "We need that power in five minutes."

"Sorry, Captain," replied Temerant. "We're dependent on aging technology here, I can't make the machines boot any faster. The power relays are four years old."

"Figure something out, dammit," Harvey ordered, crossing his arms in front of him. He then approached del Rosario. "So much for your Cybersecurity department. I thought they were supposed to find this crap."

"I do not take this breach of security lightly, Captain. As soon as Mister Bast restores power, I will launch a full investigation," the gravely voiced security chief responded. He was furious that someone got something past his people, even if he was understaffed. When Geisler had approved the cybersecurity division, he had denied the transfer of some key personnel. Roget had been unable to fill those spots prior to leaving Deep Space 11, which left him a few people short. He would remedy that situation as soon as possible.

Dicon's voice came from a Jeffries tube on the far side of the bridge, slightly irritated. "I come bringing gifts for the multitudes, if one of you would be so good as to help me get this thing out of the tube?"

Harvey turned to spot Dicon. The Captain couldn't help but wonder why the hell his Chief Engineer was not tending to repairs and was instead making a house call to the bridge. Here they were in Condition Red and powerless while 20 fighters were likely fighting for their lives with the USS O'Carroll. "Unless it's a miracle box that automatically restores power to this ship, Mister Dicon, I'm not interested."

Dicon looked mildly hurt, "of course its a box to fix the ship. Why do you think I crawled through all the Jeffries tubes for sir?"

Mac, having just extricated herself from under a console, looked at the Chief Engineer. "It's irresponsible of you to be here when you should be in engineering, Lieutenant. Go manage your department," she instructed, all the while giving the man a very serious look.

Temerant ran forward and Grabbed the box from Dicon's hands. "Thanks, Chief," he said in a low voice, so as not to be overheard by everyone. He looked around and indicated Kos, himself, and the junior officer at the Engineering station. "There are already three trained Engineers on deck, I think we got this."

"You going to help or not, Mister Bast?" Kos asked, aware that her tone betrayed her annoyance with both Dicon, who saw fit to abandon his duty station, and the Trill Operations Officer, who was essentially condoning the engineer's actions.

Bast backtracked the five steps to his station, carrying Dicon's box. He was mildly annoyed with Kos's tone - first she had tried to push him away by saying she knew what she was doing, but now she wanted his help. He noted her tendency to micromanage things.

He fetched a portable power unit from the box, and slapped it into his console's port. The darkened panel came to life instantly, and booted up in three seconds.

"The power relays should be up in two minutes," he announced. "Once they're up, we can reinitialize the power grid. We should be back up in three."

Del Rosario was impressed by Kos' response to Dicon. The young engineer really should have been in engineering in a situation like this.

As the lights and consoles flickered back to life, Harvey returned to his standing position just behind the helm. Someone read his mind and reactivated the viewscreen. There was the O'Carroll, the disabled medical convoy, and the fighters swarming around the O'Carroll.

When the power finally came back on, Roget slid an isolinear chip into his console's reader. The chip contained an automated program designed to track down anomalous code fragments, and their origins. He had designed it when he was working in diplomatic security.

The program didn't take long. Within a minute, his program had found the code responsible, and tracked is origin point. Now, it was up to Roget to use that information to find the person responsible. He looked at the results of his tracking program. When he saw the point of origin for the code, he sent a message to Lieutenant Di Pasquale telling her to secure Room 0203. He instructed her not to enter, but to post guards outside the room and to deny entrance to everyone, except himself. He also sent a message to Lieutenant Barna, requesting him to come to the Bridge. Roget wanted to deal with the security issue immediately. Especially given the direction the signs were pointing.

"Bridge to Flight Deck. Status report."

"Six fighters are disabled. Life signs appear stable, but they're not out of the woods yet," came the response.

Mac was, of course, concerned about Terry. He was out there in a tiny craft, and until now, had been the only line of defense for the Black Hawk. Hearing that no fighters had been lost, only damaged, gave her hope. But until she was being held tightly in Terry's strong arms, she would worry.

Harvey nodded and closed the channel. "Helm, move to intercept. Full impulse. Mister del Rosario, open a channel."

Tapping the necessary controls on his console, Roget complied with Geisler's order. "You're on."

"USS O'Carroll, this is Captain Harvey Geisler of the USS Black Hawk. Stand down immediately and await instruction."

A moment passed before a female voice came over the speakers. "Stand down, Black Hawk. Your orders are false, Captain. Disengage!"

Harvey gave the screen a quizzical look for two reasons. He recognized that voice, but he wasn't quite sure where it was from. And who the hell does she think she is? Calling my orders false? And where's O'Connell? "My orders came from Task Force Command at Deep Space 11, O'Carroll. Stand down willingly or I will be forced to take action."

With that, he turned to del Rosario. "Stand by to disable that ship. Fire on my command."

Barna walked onto the bridge right then and stepped into the Tactical station area next to Roget. The two of them worked together to bring weapons to bear on the O'Carroll. Roget then slipped away, leaving the situation in Barna's more than capable hands.

I wonder where he's going, Kos thought, watching del Rosario slink away. She walked up behind Harvey. "Captain," she said softly, "Barna has taken over at tactical. Looks like del Rosario had to step away." She wasn't sure how the understandably stressed captain would react.

Harvey glanced over only to confirm what Kos had reported. The Chief's background was in security, not tactical. Nevertheless, Roget was quite duty bound and for him to have left his station in the middle of this situation had to have been extremely pressing. No matter how unhappy it made Harvey, he instructed Kos, "Follow him."

Mackenzie nodded and then crossed to the turbolift.


***

Terry pulled off to the left to come around for another shot at the rear phaser array. What he saw before he finished his maneuver caused him to shout. "Alpha One to Black Knights, we have reinforcements! The Hawk is on an intercept course!" He then switched the Valkyrie's communicator from the subspace frequency he used to contact the squadron to the standard Starfleet subspace frequency. "Alpha One to USS Black Hawk, good to see you. The O'Carroll's port nacelle is damaged. We're going after the power relays for the impulse engines and the phaser arrays."

Turning back to the viewscreen where the image of the O'Carroll was growing every second, he smiled, watching Walsh's fighters chase the O'Carroll. "Thanks for keeping her busy, Walsh," he told him.

"My genuine pleasure, Captain," replied Terry. "Walsh out."

"Put me back on with the O'Carroll," Harvey instructed Barna. O'Carroll. O'Connell. How will this ever not be confusing?

Barna's dark-skinned fingers manipulated the communications controls. "Open, sir."

"O'Carroll, Black Hawk. You have fifteen seconds to cut your engines or I will be forced to open fire. Think of your crew, O'Connell. No one else needs to get hurt today."

Harvey watched the O'Carroll as it kept running. Slowly he raised a hand towards Tactical, readying the initial volley. "C'mon, O'Connell," he muttered. "Don't make me do this."

Temerant was keeping his eyes on the sensor display. The O'Carroll's engine power output was fluctuating, no doubt as a result of the damage they'd sustained. But suddenly, that power output dropped completely.

"They've cut power to their engines," he reported.

Seconds later, he read another power drop. "Weapons and shields are also powering down."

The Captain sighed, grateful it didn't come to blows. "Helm, bring us along side the O'Carroll. Stand down Yellow Alert." Harvey turned and started walking towards the turbolift. "Mister Bast, you're with me. Mister Carmichael, you have the bridge."

Temerant hooked a tricorder to his belt, and fetched a phaser from the dispensory, which he also attached to his belt. He fell in step behind the Captain.

As they stepped inside the turbolift, Harvey tapped his combadge, hoping to reach his Chief of Security who had suddenly abandoned the bridge at a critical moment. "Geisler to del Rosario." He'd talk about the situation later. All that mattered to him now was securing the O'Carroll. "I need a security team to meet me in Transporter Room One."


***

Not the best time, Roget thought looking at the trio of security officers standing in front of him. "Yes sir," he replied, motioning to Lieutenant Di Pasquale and Crewman Marshall to head to the transporter room.

Acknowledging del Rosario, Camila checked her Type II phaser and headed for the transporter room, preparing herself mentally for combat with other Federation personnel.

~To Be Continued~

 

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