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Prying Eyes

Posted on 16 Nov 2016 @ 12:54am by Lieutenant JG Charles Carmichael & Ensign Quinn Mackie & Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale & Lieutenant Avery Stuart Ph.D. & Lieutenant Jarith Roshe & Lieutenant JG Catherine Cooper & Lieutenant JG Dean Winchester & Lieutenant Lucas Abrams M.D. & Ensign Aurilia Moretti

Mission: Click Three Times
Location: USS Black Hawk
Timeline: MD 10 || 1900 hours

In the silence of space, the Black Hawk lay adrift in a vast nebula. Her power was out thanks to the computer memory wipe and restore, nearly helpless save for the small fighter squadron who were assigned to protect her. Any other time in her native universe, and this would be almost normal.

Yet, the mighty ship was a visitor to this universe. And her size could not be hidden, not even from the small pirate ships who called the nebula home...

On board the lead ship, its Ennis commander sat in his chair, hands steepled before his face. The alien ship before him was larger than anything he'd seen. Undoubtedly, there would be a large crew aboard. And, even though his sensor stations had picked up several smaller ships circling the behemoth, taking the big ship for a prize wouldn't be hard, especially once his borders filled the ship with gas.

"Three minutes out," said the helmsman.

"Keep us silent," he told the helmsman. They'd been approaching the ship on thruster power only. Between the magnetic properties of the nebula keeping their hulls masked and the slow speed, it would be nearly impossible for them to have been spotted, at least until they got closer. "Stand by on turrets."


* * *

Despite the fact that the old Peregrine-Class fighter was supposed to be for training purposes, it had been refitted for active fighter duty due to the loss of so many Valkyries. Ensign Aurilia Moretti checked her sensors as she did outrider duty due to the heavy armed nature of the Peregrine and once more made a wider circuit around the Black Hawk at half impulse. The nebula was thick and going any faster would result in a collision even if the sensors did pick up something on time. =^=Tango to Rocco, all clear on the front so far. I'm making my third loop now=^=

Terry yawned a bit as he read the last sensor readout. He shook his head at what all he saw as far as space dust in this universe. Not much different than ours, he thought. But the good thing was that that he had picked up no uninvited guests. It was then that Moretti's call came through. =^=Understood, Tango. Keep up it up. Hopefully a few particles of space dust is all we find.=^=

=^=Acknowledged, Rocco,=^= Aurilia replied before she began to arc around the port side of the ship and once more checked the sensors as she extended her range by another five kilometers.

Archer kept her position and tried to stay alert by mentally singing the bawdiest songs she knew as she focused on her readouts and gentle nudges for navigation.

Galahad was bored, not that he wanted anything to happen but it was the life of a pilot. Hours of boring patrol with a few minutes of 'Oh Prophets'. He checked his sensors, weapons and other systems as many pilots did as a matter of habit. The one time you forget is the one time it glitches.


===[Auxiliary Control]===

Jarith Roshe was on the bridge of the Black Hawk when he first sensed it. His Betazoid senses were attuned to the feelings of something out there in the vacuum of space.

Strolling up to where Lieutenant Di Pasquale was seated, He said in a hushed whisper, "Sir! I can sense an intelligence out there somewhere. It's only their feelings, not thoughts. It's...evil!"

Camila immediately tapped her combadge to route it through the shuttle that was being used as the communications center. =^=Di Pasquale to Walsh. Roshe says there's something out there with you and it isn't friendly. Eyes open=^=

=^=Understood, Actual. Rocco to Black Knights, look alive! We're on notice that there is something out here with us and it is not friendly. Weapons standby.=^=

=^=Acknowledged,=^= Aurilia replied as she checked the sensors again and began another circuit, this time much slower while she tried to get a visual on whoever or whatever was in the nebula with them.

The pirate ships continued their approach. Two of them, both boarding ships, began to take an alternate approach to the alien vessel, approaching from both port and starboard. The pirate captain would make no attempt at a hail, after all, it would just set off their defenses.

Cooper looked up from her station on the backup bridge and caught the tense body language of the Counsler but couldn't hear from her location. She did hear the orders and with a frown began issuing orders of her own, making sure everyone was on the mark.


===[Space]===

=^=Acknowledged,=^= Replied Galahad as he tried to see or detect what may have been out there with them.

=^=Acknowledged,=^= Replied Archer, her hands skimming the controls checking the sensors again. She was about to settle back in her seat, then her eyes widened. =^=Flash Override! Unknown ship port side, 10'o clock high! look for others! Bringing weapons Hot, Sending telemetry data=^=. She reacted quickly. Her voice steady but clipped.

Aurilia brought her Peregrine around and finally saw one of the smaller ships closing on the starboard position of the ship. =^=Target spotted on starboard=^= she confirmed as she brought the two Type-J Pulse Phasers and three Type-VII Phaser Banks online. =^=Tango is hot and in pursuit.=^= She arched the fighter around and began a run on the approaching ship and began to fire on it.


===[Bridge]===

"They intend to harm us," Roshe advised Di Pasquale. "They're voracious. It's the ship they want as a prize, not us. I think they intend to kill us. We need to take a defensive posture if we can, Sir." He said this loud enough for the bridge to hear him. They had the right to know so they could be prepared for the inevitable...whatever that was.

Camila looked at Lieutenant Cooper. "Make sure no one gets on the ship and stays here."

"Aye Ma'am." Her face serious and determined. Then she recalled something from her recent experience on the Cochrane, "Ma'am, with the computer still shut down is it safe to bring some of the wiped tricorders online to help scan for intruders?" She asked even as she typed the standard orders to the security/tactical department. There were two others on the bridge and a third one arrives as orders filtered through. Personnel reinforced vital areas like the armories, bridge, engineering, operations and others. Patrols increased across the board.

"Don't forget it's internal only, Lieutenant," Camila said. "Get the main areas secured and keep an eye on the areas that already have hull breaches in case one of them gets smart and tries to get in that way."

"Aye Ma'am much as I might wish otherwise..." She began issuing orders. a few of the roving patrols shifted focus and headed for the crates of deactivated and wiped tricorders that were still in the security office. Their job for the next bit was making sure each security team had at least one tricorder, which unfortunately would take a little time. Cooper, still keeping an eye on the security situation tapped keys at her control panel, brought up the manual firing system for the torpedoes. It was a challenge, the number of calculations and adjustments the computer would make would now have to be done by hand. Or as one tac instructor put it, "By Hand and Eye". Deep in ship tactical personnel rushed to prepare, what may be coming.


===[Space]===

"Incoming signal!" shouted the tactician. "Several small craft, weapons fire!"

"Shields!" demanded the pirate captain, cursing the alien's quick response. "Target and fire. Tell boarding vessels to accelerate."


Part of his Flight was going after one and the other part after another. This is where command decisions in battle come into play. Terry hit the comm to open a channel that could be heard by the squadron and the Black Hawk via the shuttle. =^=Alpha Flight, break formation and target port enemy! Charlie, form up with Tango and attack her target! Bravo, if there's two, there may be more. Get beyond our perimeter patrol route and find out. We've got the firepower, let's light the bastards up.=^= With that, Terry, and the rest of Alpha Flight, moved in on Archer's target.

The ship was huge, just as they'd expected. But they were small and highly maneuverable. A few shots from their turrets passed by and Terry easily dodged them. He then noticed that his target was speeding up. =^=They're accelerating! Target impulse engines!=^= Terry swooped his Valkyrie underneath his target, firing along the ventral side as he went to where the impulse engines were. He sped out and looped her around, bringing his four Type-J phasers and two forward Type-VII phaser banks to bear on that area. As he quickly neared the target ship again, he fired one of his eight photon torpedoes at the shielded area and followed it with multiple shots from his aft Type-VII phaser bank.

Aurilia armed the four forward torpedo launchers as she brought the Peregrine fighter around and executed a Delta Two barrel roll and came up behind one of the attacking ships. She had barely gotten a lock on the engines when she released for photon torpedoes and broke off seconds before they hit and exploded against the shields.

=^="On it Rocco". Archer replied as she shifted her attention. She hovered about a reasonable distance off of Rocco's left. She quickly calculated fire based on her speed and angle. Unfortunately she didn't have optimum firing angle so she adjusted, opening up the area of the impulse engines until she finally got a lock, =^="Weapons away..." She said doubling Rocco's fire power in the area of the impulse engines. She fired her phasers rapidly until she swung out of range then spun around for another pass.

Galahad wanted to focus on their weapons but he swung in with the others dodging enemy fire with a move that was sometimes described as 'Sliding in a greased tube', swinging like a yo yo back and forth in an odd pattern to avoid the shots. As well as make it harder to hit him, as he got to the enemy ship on his side he ranked it with phaser fire before locking everything onto the impulse engines.


===[Operations Center]===

Burke tried his best to ignore the comm chatter he was hearing, and focus on his duty. The computer files were being restored from the protected archives, but the process was a long and painstaking one. It was a completely automated process, parallelized over several hundred work threads in the main computer, and there was literally nothing they could do except watch its progress. And there was still an hour and a half to go to the restore procedure, after which they would have to power up the computer system in sequence.

He cursed under his breath, damning the Consortium for putting them in this position. But he knew it was no good, since the officers who had ordered the virus's deployment in the first place were already dead.


===[Bridge]===

Jarith Roshe stiffened. His pupils dilated more than usual, he warned, "They are planning to board us. They are confident they will prevail. They see us, to borrow a human phrase, as a sitting duck."

"That'll be the day," Camila said and looked at Cooper. "As soon as you can get a manual lock, show them our teeth, Lieutenant."

"Yes Ma'am" Cooper said with relish her hands flew over the keys like a pianist as everything not related to security or tactical fell away from her focus, except for an earworm that insisted she 'let the bodies floor', used to ignoring her own brain...mostly, she continued her work. =/\="Cooper to Lt. Winchester, I'm going to be busy at Tac I need you to coordinate with internal security to keep an eye out for intruders, someone should have given you a tricorder by now to scan for them, double check breached areas, vital positions, the lot. Hopefully the Black Knights can give us a heads up but who knows."

''Aye ma'am, any areas of particular importance?''

=/\="Weak points, breeches..." She replied and closed the com, opening another as she got a report from her people deeper in the ship, =/\="Cooper To Walsh, our torpedoes are live, recommend you adjust flight paths as needed." It was something they'd worked out, basically to stay out of each others weapons path.

Adjust flight paths?, Terry thought to himself. =^=Um, yeah, as much as possible in...ugh. Aw hell! Shields at sixty percent! Deploying ablative armor!=&^= Terry said, as a shot from one of the enemy turrets strafed his cockpit. =^=As much as possible in a combat situation, Lieutenant. Just fire your torpedoes and trust the best fighter pilots in the Task Force to stay out of the way. But if you're looking for recommendations, the shields around their impulse engines would be ideal at the moment.=^=

=/\="Let me knock on the door for ya..." She said, "I have manual lock on their shields, recalibrating..." Her hands moved with a few final adjustments and she seriously debated firing a full 15 torpedo salvo with internal reluctance but no hesitation she said, =/\="Knocking..." then fired a single torpedo on its course, then it as as rapidly as humanly possible: aim,fire, aim fire of 4 torpedoes ultimately. It took longer than the computer since it did take precious seconds to reaim and fire but still smoothly efficient. It was a thing of beauty, 74 isotons of raw power sped toward their target. It used what Cooper called 'The Claw' dispersal pattern. They fired, spread out to avoid oncoming fire and drew back into a mini star burst pattern. A matter of feet separated them from each other as they slammed home. The photon torpedoes smashed into the shields causing them to flicker and die.

=/\="Commander all yours..." Cooper said keeping one ear on the internal security reports even as she bent over her console, "Seeking lock on second target..." she muttered adjusting the manual lock.


===[Space]===

Terry watched as the shields flickered and faded away. =^= Alpha Flight, target impulse engines. I want them at a dead stop! And when that happens, move in on their bridge.=^= Terry had seven torpedoes left, but he also had an entire flight with torpedoes. Planning on that, he only released one and followed it with a barrage of phaser of fire. As he pulled up, he saw the small explosions on the hull of the ship and grinned. If the rest of the Flight hit as well as he did, that ship would be at a stand still soon enough.

Archer grinned as the shields fell,=/\="Understood Rocco", her sensors showed the other Black Hawk's fighting with this one forming up around her. She was merely one in the line of screaming death coming at them and with a pilot's typical focus she didn't consider her own death, only trying to do her best to take as much of them with her if she went and protecting the others. Her hands shifted, her craft dodged until it came near the target. She let loose a salvo of the micro torpedoes then kept up on the phaser fire until she swung passed.
The others following suit in rapid succession, the explosives and phaser fire slicing into the same area with a frightening regularity.

"Sensors are detecting weapons in their firing tubes!" shouted the weapons operator.

"Target their weapons," ordered the pirate captain. He'd wanted to keep that ship intact as much as possible, but this was turning out to be a more difficult job than he'd thought. "Fire when ready," he instructed, looking over to his sensors to see that one of the boarding ships was seconds away from latching onto the alien vessel.


Aurilia came around for another pass, firing all three phaser banks on the smaller ship that were moving up and then reloaded and fired another four torpedoes a second later. She was rewarded with the sight of the ship's shields going down with the phaser fire, followed by an explosion of the torpedoes on the engines of the small ship. =^=Got one!=^= she declared. =^=They're in need of new engines, Rocco.=^=

Terry pulled his fighter around for another run at the ship. =^=Copy that, Tango. Nice shooting. You've cut 'em off at the knees, now see if you can give 'em a headache. Shake their bridge up.=^=

=^=I'm on it, Rocco,=^= Aurilia said as she once more circled around the enemy ship while releasing a barrage of phaser fire on the bridge section and watched as it began to take the toll.


===[Bridge]===

Lieutenant Roshe turned to Di Pasquale and said, "The enemy boarding party is here. They are preparing to board us."

=^=All hands prepare to repel boarders if they make it," =^= Camila ordered.


===[Space]===

The alien ship rocked from explosion after explosion. The pirate captain looked up at his flickering viewscreen, cursing these aliens who bested him at his own game. His own ship no longer had engine power, and one of the boarding ships was already being overrun. This was impossible.

"Signal all ships!" the captain demanded. "Retreat. Withdraw immediately." He'd risked everything on this prize. Now that it was clearly unobtainable, it was time to pull out before he lost too much.



===[Sickbay]===

While everyone was dealing with pirates, which was a major deal for the Black Hawk given their current state, Lucas prepared sickbay for any injuries that could come their way. Not only was he handling that, but the large man was also overseeing the care of the patients they already had. They were his primary concern, but his thoughts briefly drifted to Aurilia. She was out there, but he knew she and the other pilots could handle themselves. That didn't mean he wouldn't worry about them.

Pushing those thoughts from his mind, the doctor focused on what needed to be done presently, barking orders to some of his people as he moved to help with one of their existing patients. The entire crew was going to need some serious downtime when all of this was over.

"Hang in there, Doctor," Avery offered quietly to Lucas, noting he was barking orders and perhaps feeling especially irritated. It was bad enough they were all stranded in this universe after all they had been through, but on top of it, they were separated from their loved ones. It was hard not to imagine what their stranded crew mates could be going through right now, but they all also knew they couldn't afford to get paralyzed by grief. They had to keep encouraging one another to put one foot in front of the other. "How can I help you?"


===Bridge===

=^=Commander Walsh, what's the status of the enemy ships?=^= Camila asked over the comm.

=^=They're retreating, Lieutenant. We've sent them running. When they're out of range we'll set up the initial perimeters.=^= Terry announced.

=^= Keep perimeter and disengage, Commander,=^= Camila responded. She looked around at the rest of the bridge crew and sighed. "Now to get the computer up and running."

 

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