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In Distress

Posted on 20 May 2014 @ 11:17pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander C. Kos & Lieutenant JG Harold Sherman & Lieutenant JG Noxa & Lieutenant JG Ivan Dash

Mission: Pursuit
Location: USS Black Hawk
Timeline: February 1, 2388 || 1415 hours

"Don't do this!"

Weapons fire sounded down the corridor, with flashes of light piercing the dark area. The pilot stood in the cockpit, fighting with the door hatch, trying to lock it down in hopes to protect itself.

The sound of the weapons fire grew closer.

"Tell me you got that beacon working!" demanded the pilot, shooting a terrified glance at the engineer laying under the console.

"Almost there!" the engineer shouted back. "Just have to connect these two wires..."

A laser beam lanced through the open door and struck the engineer. He grunted as his arms fell, not able to connect the wires before dying.

The mortified pilot looked back to see two aliens armed with rifles. They were aiming at him. The pilot yelped and ducked under the console, hoping to finish the engineer's work. There was no hope for him, but someone had to know the Golden Stars was stealing this shipment.

"Got it!" he exclaimed, connecting the wires. As he took two blasts to the chest, he heard the droning of the distress beacon emanate from the speakers above.

=====[USS Black Hawk]=====

"Everything's squared away, sir," Yeoman Carter said, handing the Captain a final PADD. The transport had left an hour ago, leaving the crew of the Black Hawk to finish securing personnel and materials that had transferred aboard.

Harvey accepted the PADD and applied a thumbprint without looking. He thought the last few weeks in the doldrums had generated enough paperwork for a lifetime. Alas, in the last few hours, he'd signed more forms and reports than his entire month in command. "Now that we have a full senior staff again, I'd like to have a reception in the Officer's Mess tonight at 1830 hours."

"Aye, sir," Emily replied with a smile, putting the last PADD on the top of her pile. "I'll inform the galley. Anything special, sir?"

"Something hot." Harvey stood up and headed for the Ready Room door. He was no socialite, yet being a Captain prompted for him to learn to become one. Out here on the fringe, he was destined to have some kind of dignitary on here soon that he would have to entertain. What better way than to practice on his own crew?

The doors opened, allowing Harvey and Emily to exit the Ready Room. She headed for the lift and Harvey approached his command chair. Commander Kos was sitting in her chair next to his, seemingly lost in a PADD of her own. "How's your first watch, XO?"

The question from the Captain pulled her attention away from an article on a new warp field theory in the Federation Journal of Propulsion Engineering. She had originally been reading fleet status reports from Starfleet Headquarters, but those rapidly got boring. So she began thumbing through some of the journals she'd fallen behind in recently, like the Stellar Sciences Quarterly, and the FJoPE. "Fine so far sir," she replied, deciding that it was best not to admit her reading habits in front of the whole bridge crew.

Dash looked up from his station as the Captain walked back onto the bridge with someone he had yet to meet. Ivan watched him as he walked up behind him and addressed the Commander that he had also not had the chance to meet yet, when suddenly a wave of information began scrolling across the console, stealing his attention away from the activities on the bridge.

"Um...Captain sir? I'm receiving a distress call on the emergency channel."

"Emergency channel?" Harvey was about to sit down when he heard the news. He walked over to the helm, ordering, "On screen."

At the mention of the emergency comm channel, Mac put her PADD down next to her in the, propping it up against the left armrest. She waited for the distress signal to be played on the screen.

Ensign Dash taped his controls and watched the view screen flash to life. This was a new feature for him, on the Excalibur, as with most other Starfleet vessels, the front view port was always on and running. On the black hawk it seemed it only turned on when needed. "Aye Captain, on screen."

"This is a distress call!" came an urgent, computer generated voice. No image was displayed on the viewscreen other than simple facts and information about the frequency. "This is the Freighter Marxa, bearing galatic coordinates 357 mark 300. This is a distress--"

Instantly the beacon was silenced, leaving behind the two words "Transmission lost" superimposed over the beacon's data.

"Lay in a course," the Captain ordered. "Maximum warp. All hands, red alert! Emergency stations. Bridge to CAG, scramble Gold and Blue Flights."

Turning to the small console to her right, Mac keyed in her access code and brought up an engine status display. She wanted to make sure the sudden jump to maximum speed wasn't overly taxing the warp core or the nacelles. Everything appeared to be running smoothly, so she switched to a list of on-duty personnel. She wanted to make sure she was ready to assign the right people in the case of an away mission.

Lt(jg) Sherman just been off the bridge taking care of some Operations Department business and was on the turbolift as the the the Captain had given his order. He immediately went over to the Operations Station and took over from Ensign who was manning the station.

Lt. Cmdr. Sheldon was in meeting with the 555th Squadron Commander who was now the CAG First Officer and his Squadron First Officer who now held the position of Second Officer for the CAG. They were going over training schedule when they were alerted."

Looking up he said hitting the button he announce to the CAG area, that Gold, Blue, and Red Divisions were to suit and head to the Pilots Ready Room and for their birds to be readied for launching.

Ivan again taped control on his console laying in the course. "Aye Captain, heading 357 mark 300 warp 9." Ivan stole a second to savor this moment, the first time that he controlled the Black Hawk, before the the Captain gave him the orders to engage the ship.

"Punch it," Harvey ordered, taking his chair. Looking at the data on the screen once more, he gathered they had just about ten minutes before arriving at the freighter. Three weeks in the doldrums and it just had to end with a distress call.

Ivan took and deep breath and grinned as he hit the engage button. He could feel the ship respond to his direction. It was nothing physical, but something deep in his soul. "ETA 9 minutes 43 seconds Captain..."

Sherman was running through the status of the ship and reviewing the distress call that had sent Black Hawk in this rescue mission. He was making sure that all resources that the Captain could ask for this mission were ready.

Sheldon once he found out how far out they were and suiting up explained to the Squadron they were on alert due to distress call. Once they were 5 minutes out him and the pilots started to get into their fighters waiting for launch orders.

Sherman had finish making sure all the assets were set, as well as resetting the main view screen. As he double checked the various systems of the Black Hawk to make sure they ready.

Ten minutes felt like ten hours as the Black Hawk raced towards the distress call. The moment the ship dropped out of warp, Harvey rose to his feet and slowly approached the helm. He didn't even have to order for the view screen to show the origin of the distress call; Lt. Sherman had taken care of that for him.

The last of the Fighter pilots had been strapped into their fighters. They were going over their fighter individual systems, all were calling in their call signs and saying they were good. Once the Black Hawk had dropped out warp, the bridge had signal down to CAG-Flight Control. As this happen various force field were activated so the bay doors could be open up while the "Ground" crews kept up with their work. Soon Gold One and Gold Two were cleared to launch, followed by Gold Three and Gold Four. Over the next few minutes Blue and Red Divisions were launched and the Squadron were formed up as they help secure this part of space so the crew of the Black Hawk did what they had to do.

Vex didn't need to watch the view screen to know the Black hawk had dropped out of warp his passive sensors had recorded the transition into normal space. Once at impulse he ran a full sensor sweep of the area and immediately detected the origin of the distress signal. He ran a full scan using the active sensor array

“Captain I am detecting a vessel dead ahead. It appears to be a freighter of some kind, the computer can’t match it to any know species and based on these readings it has been through hell, there are multiple hull breaches caused by weapons fire of an unknown energy pattern, most likely a disrupter style weapon based on the damaged to the molecular structure of the hull around the impact sites and life support is offline, I am detecting a few scattered pockets of breathable air in the engine room, and in the cargo bays.”

"Life signs?" Harvey demanded, eyes still fixated on the viewscreen.

He double checked the readings before he gave the bad news to the captain.

“I’m detecting no life signs on board Sir.”

Harvey frowned. The vessel before them was quite small, maybe two-decks and more than 200 feet long. It wouldn't fit on the flight deck, however. "Can we extend our shields safely around the freighter?" He didn't want any radiation or unexpected explosions.

Vex checked his sensor readings again before answering,

“The ships engines are destroyed and all the warp plasma and anti-matter storage tanks are empty so I don’t foresee any problems with possible explosions or any sort of radiation from the damaged systems, I believe we can safely extend our shields around it and based on the readings it appears to be safe to transport into the engine room but I estimate only an hour of breathable air for two people unless we can get the life support working.”

Harvey looked towards the Ferengi at Tactical. "Lieutenant Noxa, any guesses on what happened here?"

The small female Ferengi looked at the readings and scrutinized them with her analytical mind. She looked up and over at the Captain shaking her head. "Too much to speculate on at this point, Captain. However, a closer look may uncover something and provide us with answers. What is obvious is that the odds were evidentially not in their favor" Lieutenant Noxa said with a shake of her head and a sigh.

"A damn shame. That transport was likely a lovely vessel at one point in her service life" added Noxa with a withering gaze at Harvey.

Nodding, Harvey now turned to his First Officer. "You're up. Assemble your away team and beam over. You've got less than an hour to stabilize life support and learn what you can. Let's find out who did this."

"I think we should use EV suits. It'll buy us more time to get life support up and running," she stated, looking to Geisler for confirmation.

Harvey nodded again to the XO, then turned to face the freighter on the viewscreen.

Tapping her comm badge, she called out orders. "Kos to Sickbay. Doctor Quint, report to Transporter Room Two in EV gear for away duty. Kos to Engineering. Chief Rogers, Ensign Thompson, meet me in Transporter Room 2 in EV gear. Bring engineering kits." She glanced at Harvey, hoping to see a look of approval.

The Captain gave no such approval, taking his time instead to consider the next course of action for the crew of the Black Hawk. If Kos was looking for an objection, Harvey did not offer that either.

"Ms. Noxa, you're with me. And have one of your men meet us in Transporter Room 2," she said, looking at the Ferengi woman manning Tactical. "Let's go."

Damn right I am. Starfleet protocol thought Noxa with a nod. "Yes, Commander" responded the Ferengi as she quickly prepared herself.

"Mr. Sherman, start looking for any clues to their attack strategy. Mr. Vex, scan for any residual engine trails. Let's find out where they came from and where they went. Mr. Dash, since the freighter poses no danger, bring us closer to it. Until we can determine what happened, I don't want to go far."

Following the captains orders Vex refined his sensors to detect any residual Ions left by Impulse engines or the minor disturbances in the subspace field left by the formation of a warp bubble. After his modifications were done he ran a full sensor sweep of the area with both his short and long range sensor arrays. It took only a minute before the computer displayed the results.

"Aye Captain..." Dash taped his controls and inched the ship forward close enough that the shields could contain both ships. He also took the liberty of adjusting the Deflector shields to make sure that both ships don't bump into each other, he had promised not to scratch the paint after all.

"If I may make a suggestion Captain?" Ensign Dash asked turning to look at Commander Geisler.

Harvey was standing behind the helmsman, just a foot to the man's left. Keeping his eyes fixed on the viewscreen, he replied, "What is it, Ensign?"

"Sir, maybe we should at lest prepare a tractor beam just in case?" Dash asked looking up at the Captain.

He analyzed the readings then turned in his chair to face the captain who was talking to the helms man who had just turned and looked at the captain, Vex joined their conversation overhearing the suggestion of the tractor beam.

“Sir the vessel’s should be able to survive a tractor beam but I recommend keeping the power low just to stop its drift, I doubt it would survive being moved and I’m certain a subspace tow would destroy it. Also on your previous inquiry I’m detecting no evidence of where the ships came
from there ion trails have dissipated but I am detecting a slight Ion trail heading away from the ship on a bearing of 210 mark 018, the trail is almost dissipated so id estimate whoever did this left no more that 20 minutes ago and there is also a slight variance in the subspace field 130km from here on that same bearing indicating a ship went to warp. If I could hazard a guess based on a survey done a few years ago there is only one solar system along that heading with a class M planet, It’s possible that that system is their destination and it might warrant a look after the Commanders team returns.”

"Good thought," Harvey replied. "Mr. Dash, go ahead and chart a course to that system. We might look into that." He still wasn't sure what he was going to do. Usually, if something like this happened in the Alpha Quadrant, a Starfleet vessel would do everything in its power to return the ship to family or whoever could be connected to a now-dead freighter. Harvey could do that here, but if the Away Team couldn't find the owner, he didn't feel right just leaving it here to drift or even much less destroy it...

Harvey abruptly turned around and returned to his chair in the center of the bridge. "Mr. Sherman, secure the vessel with a tractor beam and prepare to send over power should Commander Kos needs it." He glanced over to Tactical to see a new face standing behind the console. Only one Andorian came aboard during the personnel transfer, and Harvey assumed this was him. "Stand down from Red Alert, condition yellow, Mister..."

Ivan turned back to the helm control panel and taped once again on the screen " Aye Captain, bearing 210 mark 018 set and ready to go on your word sir."

"Lt JG Thelin th'Zanath, sir. Standing down to ...uh condition yellow, sir." Thelin punched out the necessary sequence on his console. Nervously he looked around the bridge. 'oh great first impression Thelin.', thinking to himself.

He continued to monitor his sensors desperate not to miss anything.

"Thank you, Mr. th'Zanath." Harvey shifted in his chair. He didn't like this at all.

--To Be Continued--


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