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Star light star bright.

Posted on 20 Jul 2016 @ 11:35pm by Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Gemma Alexander

Mission: Risky Business
Location: Hadyn Nebula
Timeline: MD 5 1430

Discord hit the port thrusters and flipped his craft over to check the Z axis for what seemed like the millionth time this flight. The number was definitely in the hundreds and the fingers on his left hand ached from jabbing the targeting sensor nearly non-stop. Only about thirty more minutes until Bravo showed up to relieve Alpha flight. Flying "inverted" relative to the Blackhawk for a while, Dzhossen rolled back into the proper position and ran through his sensors again, looking for any clues. Garbage as usual.

Cycling his weapons absently the freshman pilot scanned the horizon in one of the prescribed search patterns he had been taught in flight school. Pretty basic, but without knowing more about what was out there, it was best to remain loose and stick to the basics until something else came up.

There is was. A blink. Pulling up the star charts for the Nebula didn't help much. The blessing and curse of the Quadrant was that so little had been explored by the Federation or her Allies. Instead it was all risky business. Discord's smile nearly took in his pointy ears and he spun again to "check the Z" in celebration. There was definitely something out there. The white dwarf that had blinked, not once but repeatedly. Something was in orbit around the star, and judging by the blinks, quite close.

=/\= "Discord to Rocco, I have a blinking white dwarf off my starboard. Possible objects in orbit. Request permission to investigate." =/\=

It wasn't until Terry checked his readouts out of habit that he realized that the sensors were down. He spun his Valkyrie around to take a look off of Discord's starboard. It looked like there was something blinking out there, but he had been scanning the nebula since they'd launched. He was a little tired and his eyes could have been playing tricks. But it was still something that needed checked out.

Not wanting to spread the Flight too thin and risk anyone getting lost, Terry decided who to send. "Copy that. Alpha Five and Alpha Six, assist Discord with the investigation. The rest of you, fill in the gaps as you can." He needed to stay in position wasn't about to send his own wingman out there. And since his Flight had an odd number of fighters, Alpha's Five and Six would have been flying with Discord anyway.

=/\="Galahad to Discord understood lead on Boss..." Said Ensign Sito Jonar, a Bajoran jokingly, Discord only just had seniority. Galahad was new to the squadron. A big man but ever a gentleman with the ladies, who seemed fond of him, and a habit of trying to fix every injustice he found, he got the nickname. Though it had to be explained to him at first.

Glacier took up position off Discord's port and followed. He had always been a quiet, contemplative individual so minimal communication was no problem for him. The Betazoid didn't really earn his call-sign as much as it was given to him one month after entering flight school at the Academy. Frigid, quiet, and slow-moving...that's how he had been described by his fellow classmates. So they called him Glacier and it stuck.

Breaking formation and "checking his Z" again, Discord increased speed and adjusted his course. He could see what Rocco was doing, putting the two more stable pilots with him to keep a thus far impulsive Discord out of trouble but he didn't care. It was probably a good idea, honestly. Sensors were still screwball, but he kept his head on a swivel and tapped the targeting sensor religiously just to be sure. Keeping in the sun was a tactic old fighter pilots used, but in space the opposite was true as the blinking star illustrated. The nebula made it difficult but the trio of pilots maneuvered to find a scrap of space that didn't glow in a rainbow of colors and put that behind them.

Galahad hugged Discords back Starboard side as they continued their search, the normally laid back pilot eager now to see what there was to see but remembering his training, that's what kept him from haring off to check it out. Stupid pilots got killed all the time.

=/\="Archer to Rocco, maybe we should back them up..." She said bored out of her mind. She kept up with the search grid and did her job but this constant nothing but waiting for the other shoe to drop was driving her a bit crazy.

Terry sighed a bit and stretched as much as he could in a Valkyrie. He checked the time and noticed that Bravo Flight would be out soon to relieve them. It wouldn't hurt to break-off for the last thirty minutes and investigate Discord's blinking light. Terry activated his comm, "Copy that Archer. Good idea. Rocco to Discord, this is your crate of latinum. Run with it." Terry looked out of his canopy to Gemma. Once he had gotten her attention, he motioned with his hand for them to follow Discord.

Closing rapidly, shapes began to emerge from around the white star. Normal space junk to be sure, but... something else too. Discord cycled his torpedo and hovered his thumb over the firing device. He wasn't sure what was there yet, but if it was an enemy, he might only get one shot and Discord wanted to make sure it was a hard one. The impossible grin was pinned to his face as the Valkyries swooped in, out of the black.

There! Clearly outlined against the white sun. Not one ship but three, in tight formation, huge things and definitely not Romulan in design. As the range closed, Discord was able to get a targeting lock finally but by then he could already clearly see hull breaches on all three ships. Good thing too, because four massive barrels stretched forward from the bow of each ship, almost like a constellation class in reverse, cannons of some sort. The leading ship still had two barrels caught at an awkward angle, still reaching for whatever enemy had done this.

=/\= "You guys seeing this?" =/\= Dzhossen asked, adjusting the trajectory of the flight to take the three Valkyries through the center of the formation.

Galahad replied, =/\="Copy, looks like ghost ships." He said trying not to creeped out by his own imagination that said these were graveyard ships and that the ghosts of their dead crews haunted them.

Terry, who had come up on their six, stared at what the Ensign had detected. They were huge ships, but he didn't recognize them from any of his studies. And whatever those guns or things were probably packed a pretty good punch back in their day. Which made Terry wonder as to what could have taken them out. And then, if that ship were still lurking someplace along with the Chimera, the Cochrane, and the Valdore class Warbird. But there was that blinking light. Activating his comm, he said, "Approach with caution. Remember, we're here for a different reason. So let's make sure there's no sign of the three ships we're looking for first. Then we take a few minutes to investigate."

=/\="Understood." Archer replied as she took in the somber sight.

"Yes mother..." Discord muttered to himself, making sure the comm wasn't open. He adjusted his trajectory again, this time giving the three behemoths a wide berth. Writing on the bow and aft of the vessels could be call numbers, though most were obscured by scorch marks. A wide delta shape made up the fore section of the ships, with an extremely long and narrow midsection, like the thorax of an insect.

"Or like it was made to carry something," Dzhossen mused.

The aft large and bulbous, a mass of engines and who knew what else. Most of the space debris from the battle had been sucked into the sun or lay in a long narrow ring, all of which led Dzhossen to conclude that this battle must have taken place long ago.

=/\= "Glacier, Galahad, anything on sensors?" =/\=

Glacier activated his comm, "Uh, sensors don't work inside the nebula, Discord. But I can't see anything that looks like activity."

Galahad replied, =/\="Well I thought I saw a beautiful woman but it turned out to be nebula gas, very disappointing."

"Then mom can't complain when we go in for a closer look..." Discord whispered as the manic smile again overtook his ears. He keyed his comm as he tipped his Valkyrie back towards the wreckage and bumped up the throttle. "Copy that, prepare for fly by. Stay on the stick and keep an eye out for anything live."

Galahad spoke up, =/\="If anything is still alive here, I'm not sure I want to meet it. Don't you guys watch those old earth Horror Movies? Remind me to show you 'Aliens' sometime..." He joked as he followed, like a solid wingman, for a fly by.

=/\= "You're not kidding about that, Galahad. I've never seen those old horror movies, but this looks pretty bad." =/\= Glacier formed up on Discord and followed him in.

Terry spun his fighter around to check on the Black Hawk. The ship was still moving ahead on it's course. He righted his fighter and pulled back to a halt. He contacted Archer, =/\= "We'll hold back here, Archer. We can't let the Black Hawk too far. If we lose her, we could die in here. I'll give them a minute and then we'll head back. But that's all. Besides, if the Captain wants, the Black Hawk can investigate further after all this over and done. This isn't what we're looking for, anyway."

=/\="Understood Rocco, we won't get distracted by the shiny ghost ships." Though she was curious, she knew they could get lost out here. "Maybe these were lured here..." She said a little uncomfortably. She held her position, making sure they weren't too far from the Black Hawk. Behind and to the left of Walsh, close enough to support but behind to help guide the way back to the ship.

"That's unsettling," Terry said into his comm. "Lured here..." He let his voice trail off.

=/\= "Remind me when we get home to watch some. Any favorites?" =/\= Discord asked scanning the wreckage.

=/\="Oh my favorite is Pandora, ships' crew wake up from cyro sleep with no memories, a half broken ship, a cult in the hold...good stuff..." Archer replied as she kept her eyes peeled, she liked horror but mystery horror was better.

=/\="I'm telling you the chest bursting, acid drooling having Aliens movie is was creepy..." Galahad said as he took pictures with his fighter cam.

Time was up. Terry activated the comm. "Walsh to Discord, it's time to be heading back. This isn't what we're looking for and if there had been anyone or anything on them, they would have attacked you by now. The Black Hawk can investigate later if the Captain so chooses. Besides, Bravo Flight will be out to relieve us in minutes. Wrap it up and form up on me. Walsh out." Terry backed his fighter up so that he could get a visual on Archer. He waved his hand in a circle indicating 'form up.'

The hulks blew past the fighters at a speed well over a thousand clicks per minute, much too fast for anything more than a quick inspection. Whoever had come piloted these ships had come 'loaded for bear' as the old human expression went. Small turrets jutted out at odd angles from the three vessels and even now an odd one or two would attempt to track the Valkyries as they jetted through the formation. These must have been impressive ships at one time...

"Automatic targeting.... Totally different philosophy from our phasers and torpedoes," Dzhossen mused. These wrecks didn't have integrated weapons like most ships in the the Alpha Quadrant. They just seemed to sit attached to the vessels, like eggs in a basket. With a sigh Alpha Seven banked sharply back towards the squadron leader and looked to form up. He did bring up the star chart, however and made a point of memorizing the white dwarf.

=/\="Archer to Rocco, acknowledged." As much as she hated leaving a mystery behind, she knew they had to get moving.

=/\="Undersood, we can run these images through the records when we get back maybe find out a bit more..." Galahad said as he drew up behind Discord as they headed back.

Glacier shook his head. Even though the derelicts looked a little frightening, he still would have liked to have given them a closer look. But maybe on the return trip he would be lucky enough to be one of the ones that got to go out.

When the other three Valkyries joined the group, Terry accelerated and they rejoined Alpha Flight just as their relief was exciting the bay doors.


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