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Posted on 02 Sep 2015 @ 3:31am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant Hictus Dicon & Lieutenant Avery Stuart Ph.D. & Lieutenant JG Harold Sherman & Lieutenant JG Ken Rogers

Mission: Answers
Location: USS Black Hawk
Timeline: MD 9

Harvey sat in his chair of the center of the bridge. Though the situation he was about to face would be perilous, the Captain felt some relief at last. It felt good to watch the starstreaks of warp speed flash by on the viewscreen. It had been nine days since he'd last seen them, and nothing felt more natural.

The Captain settled back in his chair, glancing to his right where Mac would usually sit. The seat was vacant now, and hopefully it would be filled by her again soon. If all went well, that is.

To his left sat the ship's Counselor, Lieutenant Stuart. With most of the command crew on the Away Team, and Lieutenant Dicon still manning Engineering deep in the ship, Lieutenant Stuart was the de facto Executive Officer, and Harvey could only hope that she was ready to fill the role.

Lieutenants Sherman and Rogers were also on the bridge, hopefully ready for their roles in what was to come. Harvey held the condition status at Yellow. They still had a few hours before their arrival, and Harvey would announce battle stations once they were an hour away. He hoped that wouldn't be a mistake.

Lieutenant Harold Sherman was busy at the Ops Station, monitoring the Ship Systems and making sure all Systems were working properly. He didn't want to enter battle and have key systems go down as they did so.

Deep in Engineering Lieutenant Dicon was driving his teams hard. The ship was barely working, and he and his team were just holding things together. "Hurry up you lot, we are to enter battle soon, I don't want to be tripping on sodding crates!"

On the bridge, Harvey tapped a button on his left armrest. "Bridge to Engineering!" he called out, hoping to catch his Chief Engineer. "Status report."

Dicon answered, his hand tapping his com badge before returning to hammer commands into his console "Engineering here, ready as we can be Captain!"

"No matter what happens," Harvey said, knowing how repetitive the command he was about to give was, "just keep us together, Lieutenant."

Dicon grinned grimly " As best as I can Captain. We are ready here."

"Very well," Harvey said. "Bridge out." He pressed the same button again on his armrest to close the channel. As he did, he heard an unpleasant sound emit from a nearby console. Harvey couldn't tell from where exactly, but the signal could mean only one thing. Instantly, he rose to his feet and gestured to the security guards by the observation lounge for them to bring out Richard.

"Report!" Harvey said, keeping his eyes fixed on the viewscreen, waiting for either Lieutenant Sherman or Rogers to provide the details.

Sherman gave his report, "Sir, it seems we have unknown ship(s?) coming into Sensor Range."

Richard stepped out onto the bridge just in time to hear the lieutenant's report. "On screen," Harvey ordered, and immediately a sensor plot was displayed before him. "Friends of yours?" Harvey asked.

The older man studied the plot for a moment. "Doesn't look like anyone I know." Turning to the captain, he added, "You'll have just a few minutes before we hit their sensors."

Harvey nodded. "Red alert!" he called out. As the lights changed, Harvey took a few steps over towards Lieutenant Rogers. "Is there anywhere we can hide, just for a moment?" he asked. Their mission depended on arriving at Nestene IX undetected. Surprise would be key.

Lt. Rogers put on his thinking cap. "We can get behind the planet ahead of us."

"Will it be enough to obscure us and the X'annon?" Harvey asked, studying the screen.

"The X'annon could remain on course," Richard suggested. "It's had run-ins with the Syndicate before, but they will let the freighter pass through peacefully."

Harvey nodded. "What about us, Lieutenant? Could the planet keep us off their sensors?"

Rogers did some figuring at his station. "The planet has a *high* magnetic field. If we syncronize our orbit with the planet's rotation so that we'd be behind the planet at all times, we could escape detection from their sensors."

Without hesitation, Harvey immediately turned to the helmsman. "Make it so!" he ordered. As the helmsman complied, Harvey and Richard walked back to the center of the bridge. The Captain tapped his combadge. "Geisler to Dicon. We need to run silent for a few minutes. Can we do that?"

Dicon heard the command but groaned. "Yes sir I do believe we can, but I am going to have to jury-rig it, and the Helm is going to have turn off the internal dampeners for a while. It will also mean a five minutes delay between hiding and going to warp speeds" Dicon moved to being implementing the aforesaid processes.

"Do what you have to!" Harvey cautioned, looking back at the screen where the starstreaks of warp faded away, revealing a planet ahead. The helmsman made quick work of moving the ship into position behind the planet while the X'annon kept moving forward. "Report!" he demanded of the bridge crew.

Rogers reported from his station; 'We are entering the planet's atmosphere, matching orbit with far side of planet."

It was at times like these Avery truly felt helpless, able to watch what was happening, but unable to provide the kind of technical expertise that would get them out of this particular mess. There were no people to negotiate with, there was no psychology to be analyzed. Currently, the crew was at war with its own ship's systems.

The bridge lights dimmed as Dicon managed to cut power. Harvey kept his eyes fixed on the sensor plot overlaid on the viewscreen, watching the X'annon continue on its course. The next few minutes seemed to pass like hours as the Syndicate bogey entered sensor range. It slowed as it passed the X'annon and fired off a high-resolution scanning pulse. A moment later, it picked up speed and passed through the system.

"Rogers?" Harvey asked, his tone low. "Were we detected?"

Rogers grinned and looked back at the Captain. "No sir, we are in the clear."

Harvey nodded. "Bridge to Engineering. Dicon, let's get back on course."


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