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Don't Count Your Eggs Before They Hatch...

Posted on 17 Mar 2014 @ 1:03am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant JG Harold Sherman

Mission: Echoes
Location: USS Black Hawk, Bridge
Timeline: January 2, 2388 || 1400 hours
Tags: Starfighter, Flight Operations

Warrant Officer Jessica Jenerou was working at the Operation Mission Station with Warrant Officer Trish Jones who was Flight Operation Controller assigned currently to the Bridge to working the Operation Mission. WO Jenerou had been attempting to keep track of the away part as best they could from the Blackhawk. WO Jones had been tracking both the Combat Air Patrol and the flight paths of the probes, while Security and Tactical were keeping up with the current reading from them.

WO Jenerou was little more perplexed about the reaction of the Security detail planet side when the Shuttle carrying the new First Officer landed. She made note about, but didn’t mention. There was too much else going on with everything else, there seemed to be abnormal energy draw, in particular where the mystery cargo was stored. It was nothing out of normal parameters, but then again they weren’t working in normal space either.

Suddenly had WO Jones had silent alarm going off at her station and CAP 04 reporting sighting what appeared to be an explosion in the vicinity of Fish 01. CAP 01 and CAP 02 of the of Squadron had been out for there extent of patrol, and were replace to put some fresh eyes out there. While she was receiving spot report from the CAP 03, who had just calm down his junior wingman out on his first CAP patrol, reported in what CAP 04 had seen. Jones didn’t wait for the report to finish, and was little surprise the Security/Tactical station hadn’t reported it, turning to the Commander Geisler, “Sir, it seems that we have lost contact with the first probe that had been launch. Confirming with CAP right now if it what they witness!”

Commander Geisler had just stepped back onto the bridge having finished in sickbay. He pointed to tactical and ordered, "Sensor overlay, on screen." He stopped at the railing behind the command platform just in time to see the overlay appear on the screen. The probe that had disappeared was at the east end of the system, the same area where they had encountered the pirate ship just an hour ago. "Where'd it go?" he asked for anyone to answer first.

[CAG OPS]

Down in CAG-Ops center Lt Derrick "Smooth Silk" Sheldon was in his Ready Room while his Ensign "To new for cool handle" Ver'ek, his wingman was resting in the Squadron Ready Room. They had been relieved from Combat Air Patrol only hour ago by the 2nd Flight of Gold Division of the his Squadron. He had the been monitoring what CAP3 and CAP4 along with the traffic to CAG-Ops and the CAG Ops - Mission Ops on the Bridge. With the current Combat Patrol still having another hour out he knew that the Pilots of Blue Division would be in the Squadron Briefing room getting briefed by Lt Della "Blue Flame" Austin, his XO. He went walked over to the Briefing Room, to see if how soon they would be ready. He wasn't sure what had happen out there. The one thing he did know that from the Captain on down on the Bridge, as well as himself probably had 1001 question they would like to ask, but only person(s) with the eyewitness answers were out busy. He went through the CAG-Ops Center which didn't look much different from CAG-Ops to let Lt Trish "Cougar" Smith know he wanted to launch CAP5 and CAP6 as soon as they were ready to launch, and to recover CAP3 and CAP4 ASAP.

Sheldon entered the Briefing Room as his Lt Austin was going through the basic objective of the current conditions of the patrol, and just stated there were two probes out there running Sensor to help. Sheldon cleared his throat, "Fish 01 just had an extreme malfunction, only Fish 02 is out there, at this time we don't know if the Bridge will launch another probe yet. Once CAG-Ops knows they will let you know. We still have people planet side, and we need to have launch Flight Blue 1, as soon as this briefing is finished. We need to get Ensign Kat'up back aboard and into debriefing, don't have to mention how hard it can be to answer 20 questions while flying. Be safe." With that he exited and made his way to his Ready Room waiting for the recovery of CAP3 and CAP4.

[BRIDGE]

WO Jones was informed that CAP5 and CAP6 launching had been moved up as well as the recovery of CAP3 and CAP4. She noted it and sent to the message over to Warrant Officer Jenerou, and then state, "Sir, Lt Sheldon has moved up the launching of the Blue Flight 1 to take over the CAP duties. Once Gold Flight 2 is recovered, they will be in CAG Briefing Room be debriefed."

Harvey nodded, still standing behind his chair. "Have Lieutenant Sheldon move the debriefing to my ready room," Harvey replied. With three disappearances so far, two being members of his own crew, time was of the essence if they were to be recovered.

WO Jones replied, "Yes, Sir." She sent a message to the Bridge down to Flight Ops and his Office. Even if he wasn't in his office, some one in Flight Ops will make sure he got the message, as well routing message to the Briefing Room just in case.

WO Jenerou noted that Mississippi and members of the away team that went to find the missing Science Expedition. It seemed this was becoming more than the milk run that everyone thought the mission would be.

[FLIGHT DECK]

CAP05 and CAP06 were launched and waiting on the recovery of CAP03 and CAP04. It was recovery without no problems, which please Sheldon. Looking at both pilots Ensign Ket'up looked as if would need sometime to collect himself, and both pilots still had their side-arms. Squadron Armory was in the other direction and it would add 5 minutes until they met up with the Captain. He decided with the what he knew about the mission with the missing Research Personnel, as well the missing personnel(s), it was safest to make it up to the Bridge without delay. He made a mental note that next time that one of the Armory personnel would be called to flight deck to take side-arms from their. The Debriefing Officer followed the three pilot as they made their way to Turbolift.

As the Turbolift took them up, Sheldon turned to his three officers, "You will answer the questions with the facts you know, no speculation unless you asked to give it. After this I want both of you to write in detail anything that you noted, that isn't covered in this debriefing, while in the Pilot Ready Room. If Lt Jok Del'ain(Senior Briefing Officer) needs any more clarification he will call you into his office to get it." Almost as soon as they finished they the turbolift door open. He led his party stepped onto the Bridge.

[BRIDGE]

Warrant Officer Jenerou was busy at the Operation Mission Station looking over the various stages of the Operations. She noted that with information provided by she notice that a new element from the Squadron, she noted it.

After entering the Bridge they notice the Commander Geisler was on the Bridge and stated, "Gold Two Flight is reporting as ordered, Sir!" Waiting to enter the Captain Ready Room.

Harvey turned to see the new arrivals, hoping it would just be the CAG and Heinz. He, however, was not surprised to see a couple additional faces. A change in venue was now in order. "With me," he told the group. "Mr. Cooper," he addressed the officer at Tactical, "You have the bridge. Summon the Master at Arms to the Conference Room. Mr. Carmichael and Ms. Jenerou, continue scans. Alert me of any changes."

Finished with his commands, Harvey led the group of four into the Conference Room through the entrance by the viewscreen. Normally he would sit, but with the events of the last few hours he wasn't in a sitting mood. Instead, he crossed his arms and took a look at Ensign Kat'up and Gold Two Leader Lieutenant JG sh'Nell. He was pleased with how quickly the CAG brought both pilots to the bridge, still in most of their flight suits.

"Before you both begin," the captain warned, "be aware two members of my crew have been abducted from the Away Team down below. I have a very sick member of the Research Team in my sickbay who watched her own family be abducted. No matter how insignificant you think a detail may be, don't omit it. Understood?" Without waiting for a response, he then said, "Start from just before losing the probe."

Ensigb Kat'up was the first to respond, he know by conversation with his flight leader that he was out of place to witness what had happen,"Sir, the Fish..." Kat'up stopped himself he was about to use the terms they used for tracking he corrected himself, "The probe was in normal flight, when it suddenly wobbled briefly, and then it flared out" Kat'up had data chip in his hand and remembered he talking to the Captain of the Blackhawk, "Sir, I do data chip here with the readings and visual of what I witness. I saved it as soon as it happen."

Lt(jg) sh'Nell the offered a hand, "Sir, this is readings that I was monitoring from the probe for few minutes before it 'exploded', as well as our conversation between ourselves, and with CAG-Flight Ops immediately after." Lt(jg) sh'Nell was the one who had them record what they felt important on data chips.

Lt Sheldon spoke up, "Sir, as we speak, the Fighter-Captains, are downloading all records of their flight, including any sensor readings they were tracking as well visual, and voice records. They are narrowing condensing down the previous five minutes before the incident, until after confirmation of the lost of the probe. They should be ready for queuing shortly."

The Briefing Officer usually liked to go over the entire flight. Yet, he understood why they concentrating, the Captain was concern with more than a probe that blew up.

Lt(jg) sh'Nell then spoke up again,"Sir, with the magnetic interference, everything in our readings were thrown off. When we launch both probes were sending back information with enough various to answer for the interference. It was about 10 minutes into our patrol when they started to varied more. Yet, with being new to condition, I wrote it off as interference."

Ensign Kat'up then stated, "Sir, it didn't blow up at once, it started out as small bright light, then like I said it flare up. Kat'up trying to remember what he could he us as reference when he remember during his academy days, it happen in slow motion also. Then he remember, it was like that Earth Space Shuttle from the 20th Century that blew up just after take off and then it gone. Then again with so much interference and no reference to go by, everything seemed be going normal."

Harvey accepted the isolinear chip from Ensign Kat'up. He inserted it into an open panel next to the large viewing panel on the back wall and accessed the files. Within a moment, a recording began to play, a visual feed from the nose of Kat'up's Valkyrie. Beside it, computer readouts featuring sensor data played back also in real time. He watched every second of it, just as Kat'up did a short while ago. As soon as the record ended, Harvey replayed it, this time paying closer attention to the sensor readings.

Just as the probe began to disintegrate, Harvey paused the playback and manually advanced it frame by frame. "Increases in the magnetic field," he murmured quietly. Refolding his arms, he turned to the pilots. "Just a minute earlier was when Petty Officer Surak was abducted. We recorded similar shifts in the magnetic field when other were abducted as well. If I didn't know better, I'd say the entire system is waking up with every person it snatches."

The Captain looked at the CAG. "How well will the fighters hold up against an extreme magnetic field?"

Sheldon smile, "They are holding up as much as can be expected with the conditions of the system. The Valkyrie are built to make sure the pilots can survive in almost every case, but a direct hit by enemy fire. Of course, like everything there can be an extreme malfunctions." He didn't want to think of one his birds blowing up like the probe, but it been known to happen on rare occasions. Heck Starfleet has lost entire Starships at times when several malfunction, that by themselves wouldn't pose much danger. Yet, when they happen in close order, could be very deadly.

Sheldon add, "I will be having the Maintenance staff who work with the Sensors array of the squadron, working studying what each Valkyrie and compared them to the readings of the Blackhawk, and of each Probe to make sure out pilots are receiving the correct information." One thing he didn't want to ever do, is to have his air crews fly blind.

"I have a feeling we'll have to start relying on visual scanning very soon," Harvey commented, deactivating the screen. "Considering how quickly the magnetic field is increasing, it's a wonder our sensors are working at all."

He turned back to the rest of the group. "I want a second flight launched as soon as possible to escort the Shuttlecraft Spiner to the asteroid field. It's equipped with some close range scanning equipment that might help us find some clues there. Science Officer Carmichael will accompany you on this mission, Lieutenant. Questions?"

Sheldon looking at his briefing Officer then nodding, "Sir, we do have the next flight waiting in the Squadron Ready Room. Give us time to get down to do briefing and pre-flight checks done, we can be ready in as little as 10 minute if needed."

With that the Briefing Officer excused himself, and sent message that Blue Flight 2 needed to get ready and Red Flight 1 be informed their estimated time of patrol had been moved again. He was little stress with Blue Flight 1 early launch, and Blue Flight 2 unexpected alternate mission.

Back in the observation lounge, Harvey nodded to the CAG. "Ten minutes it is. Dismissed."

Sheldon looked to his two pilots as they gathered their things before leaving the observation lounge, he spoke to his pilots, "As you can see this isn't no milk run. Relax and get some rest, who knows when you may be called upon to go out again." As they entered the turbolift to go to the lower decks.

Harvey left the Observation Lounge and returned to the bridge. He walked over to the Science station. "Mr. Carmichael, report to the Flight Deck. You're going on a expedition with the CAG to get a closer look at that asteroid field. Maintain audio contact at all times and do your best to figure out what the hell is going on out there."

"Y-yes, sir..." Lieutenant Carmichael had been enjoying the comfort of his station, doing his best to identify and translate the readings. He knew the Black Hawk would have to get closer to the asteroid field to get a good look, and it was impractical to leave the Away Team alone on the planet for a simple scan.

Carmichael, however, didn't want to be out there when a probe just fell victim to the magnetic field. There was no telling how well the shuttlecraft would hold up.

"Don't worry," Harvey assured, moving away from the station to return to his chair. "The CAG'll keep you safe."

Hopefully.

[LOWER DECKS]

Flight Boss and the Chief Safety Officer got the message that Blue Flight two would be launching early, both of them working in different areas shook their heads. Both had worked in one Squadron CAG, and they both knew the danger of fatigue could wreck havoc. Granted the Squadron missions was only few hours old, but with two early flight launches, if the pace kept up.

Sheldon looking at his the pilot of Gold Flight Two as they realized they would be back out on patrol at least two earlier than had been planned.

WO Jenerou was at the Operation Mission Station still keeping track various things, with two crewmembers missing planet side. She was also watching some of the ship board systems helping monitoring various statuses. With the extra strong Magnetic Field and the self-destruction of one probe, she wanted to help make sure they stay safe.

Back down in CAG-Flight Operations they were informing Red Division that their launching times had moved up and to that Red Flight One would be going on stand-by immediately. With Blue Flight Two going through briefing, about two crewmembers coming up missing from the landing party as well as the one probe that had malfunction. Blue Flight Two learned they had were riding shotgun for Shuttle craft. In the briefing CAP07 and CAP08 learned they would become Mother Hen One and Mother Hen Two during their mission, with the Shuttlecraft Spiner would be known as Baby Hen Three.

Lieutenant JG Carmichael stepped out onto the flight deck where the Shuttlecraft Spiner had been prepped once again for leaving the ship. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted the cargo shuttle they'd retrieved more than an hour earlier, still being stripped down and examined by the Flight Deck and Engineering personnel. As far as he knew, its occupant was still recovering in sickbay.

The science officer winced. The thought of being stranded... even abducted... was less than favorable.

Spotting Lieutenant Sheldon, Charles ran over to him. "CAG, Science Officer Carmichael reporting as ordered by the Captain."

Sheldon looked at the Carmichael and smiled, "You escort is getting briefed know. I am sure the Captain has made sure you been briefed on your part of the mission. Our job is protection, as such "Mother Hen One" will assume command once you are launched until you get to the "Target Area of Operation". Once there the command of mission will revert to you. Once the mission is done, "Mother Hen One" will assume command for the return trip. We will recover the Spiner first, and then..." Sheldon stop his sentence as Lt(jg) Hall and Ensign Stilson (OOC...Looks like Rick Moranis hint) came up to the CAG.

He turned back to Carmichael, "Lt Carmichael, this is Lt Hall and his wingman Ensign Stilson, otherwise known as "Mother Hen One" and "Mother Hen Two"." He let the greetings get over with. Then thinking, "Oh yeah, the Spiner will be known as "Baby Hen Three", all communication between you and CAG-Flight Ops will use that handle to refer to you. If communication with the Bridge are required, you can do so with using the handle, Flight Ops will still be listening, but they will understand that you talking someone on the Bridge." Then he reminded both of his pilots that the bridge would also be listening to them, and would have open comms to them too. "

Then looking over to the ready crafts, "One more thing the fighters will launch first and fly in orbit around the Blackhawk, the you will launch Mr. Carmichael. Good luck everyone." With that he turned to leave, there had been so much that had transpired in the last hour or so that needed him to address with the remaining pilots as well as with Flight Ops and Maintenance.

In a matter of minutes of the improve meeting on the Flight Deck both Lt. Hall and Ensign Stilson had done their visual pre-flight visual checks. They were being helped to strapped into their cockpits by their fighter Flighter-Captain. As Lt. Hall settled into his cockpit he looked around to see Lt Carmichael had boarded the Spiner. Both Hall and Stilson did the in-cockpit pre-flight checks, Hall spoke into his mike, "'Dark Helmet' this is 'Soaring Eagle' are you ready and set to launch." Ensign Stilson replied,"Ready to go Plaid!"

Hall had to work hard not to laugh at that inside joke, "Blackhawk-Flight Control this Blue Flight Two we are ready launch on your orders." As he made this announcement it was broadcast to the flight deck so Safety Officer could make sure that all personnel had moved to safe position on the deck or left the deck depending on the case. Once he was sure gave the go ahead signal to Flight Control. Lt. Jak "Bulldog" Filmore who was the senior Flight Control Boss waited for the signal. Bulldog looked at his boards and around to the small staff he had on duty. Everything seemed to be set and responded, "One second Blue Flight Two." He hit a button on the console that would pipe all conversation from Blue Flight Two to the Bridge and the Captain Ready Room for this mission. Then he responded,"Mother Hen Flight you are cleared to launch, which will be followed by Baby Hen Flight once you are in orbit." He call them by their mission call signs so everyone listen would know who he was talking too, and to also let Lt Carmichael he would be set to launch when he was ready.

[in orbit around the Blackhawk]

Bulldog and Dark Helmet had launch without incident from the Blackhawk and in turn had formed up and were orbiting the Blackhawk at safe distance waiting for the Spiner to launch.

Charles took in a deep breath and held it in as he looked out the forward window into the vastness of space. In a moment, his nerves were flooded with stress, fearful that his shuttle would wind up like the probe. Fortunately, an engineer had been assigned to the shuttle to handle any situation that might pop up. Looking to his left where the engineer sat running diagnostics, Charles received what was meant to be a reassuring nod.

The science officer didn't see it that way.

Nevertheless, Charles exhaled slowly. If he didn't launch soon, the captain himself would come down to the Flight Deck and push him out himself. "Spi-- Baby Hen... T-Three requesting clearance for launch."

"Baby Hen Three, you are cleared for launch," came the quick reply.

"Thank you," Charles muttered, firing up the engines and the antigravs. Once the shuttle was clear of the deck plating, he pushed it out of the Flight Deck using thrusters. A glance out the viewport to his right, he saw his escorts come into view. "Baby Hen Three to Mother Hen One. Let's do this."

To Be Continued

 

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