It's Time To Get Out Of Dodge
Posted on Fri May 29th, 2020 @ 7:25pm by Captain Anjad Terax & Ensign Loran Kita & Ensign Syth th'Shyvan & Commander Timothy Parker & Lieutenant Commander William Harris Jr & Major Kachiko Bayushi & Lieutenant Minna Chang & Lieutenant Tobias Nutley 3rd
E1 Only The Beginning
Location: USS Magellan; Various
Timeline: MD10 || 1410
=== Bridge, Deck 1 ===
"Are the deflector reconfigurations ready to go Commander?" The Captain asked the Chief Operations officer, or rather, the current acting XO. He was pulling a double duty, but was handling it well.
Tim sat behind the forward operations console. Without turning to face the Captain, Tim answered, "Deflector modifications are complete. Field integrity is holding. just below eighty percent, so let's hope the ride isn't bumpy."
A smile flashed over the Captain's face. "I think we all hope for that, Tim." He didn't normally call him by his first name. But he often referred to his executive officers by first name, to keep them more at ease. And seeing as he was now the acting XO, it seemed fitting.
"Initiating a subspace scan," Tim announced, still focused on his controls. "Focusing on the aperture whence the alien ship emerged. I am detecting a ten-meter overlap in that section. I definitely think that's our door."
"Then let's do it, lets see what's going on." He straightened himself up in his chair. "Bridge to all hands. We are about to enter the anomaly we hit. Everyone report to your duty stations, and be prepared for anything. Bridge out." He paused for a second. "Red alert. Commander."
Tim nodded and tapped the appropriate button on his console. Instantly, the bridge lights dimmed, the klaxon sounded, and the status panels flashed the appropriate color. Throughout the ship, the computer sounded the notice that summoned all crew to general quarters.
The comm system chirped. Followed by the Chief Engineers voice. "Engineering to bridge. Force fields are in place and holding; damage control teams are standing by in critical areas."
"Very good Commander. Keep me updated of any changes. Bridge out." The Captain replied.
Minna was already at her station on the bridge and quickly raised shields and primed the phaser banks.
"Shields at 91% with full coverage" she announced, more than satisfied with so much progress in such a short time.
The Captain smiled. "Excellent work Lieutenant. Status on weapons?"
"Weapons at full capacity Sir" Minna replied plainly, adding "Targeting systems still erratic, but honestly I always use manual anyway and the manual targeting interface is fully functional."
"You always use manual?" The Captain asked.
"I've always just had a certain sense when it comes to shooting. Last CO would tell me to ready my scalpel instead of charging phase canons" Minna added, not even thinking that "phase canons" hadn't existed in nearly two centuries.
"Keep working on the targeting systems, regardless. Always nice to have a backup, incase you you break your scalpel." He replied, with a smile. He turned to face Tim. "Commander Parker, anything we need to worry about specifically?" Terax asked, addressing the Operations officer in the new XO.
"I've got structural integrity boosted to one-ten-percent," he replied to the Captain. "That should help with our microfractures, but I strongly advise that we keep ourselves away from turbulence."
"Ensign Kita, that's your job. Make it a smooth ride." He asked the Bolian conn officer, who nodded in return. "Are we all ready for this?" He asked the officers assembled on the bridge.
Ready was such a strong word, Tim mused. In situations like this, when the outcome was unexpected, one could only be as mentally and physically prepared based on the worst they could assume. "About as ready as we're gonna be," he replied to the Captain.
With various messaged from departments throughout the ship, it seemed everyone was ready to go.
=== Marine Training Facility, Deck 7 ===
Sergeant Major Jensen had just finished her daily workout. She liked to keep herself in the best shape that she could. She paused as the Captain's announcement flooded the area, followed swiftly by the ship going to Red Alert.
Kachiko glanced up in the direction of the bridge, "What now?" She stood up from the desk in her ad hoc office, snatching up her ever-present phaser and stepped out of the office, noting the confused looks of several junior Marines. She also saw Jensen with a towel in her hands, "Sar Major! Get these Boots organized and to the armory. I want everyone ready to respond however the Captain needs us."
Jenson looked over to the Major and nodded. "Aye Sir." She turned to the marines who were standing there. "You heard the Major," she yelled to them. "Move it. Full tactical gear. Major, any idea what's inside that anomaly?" She asked.
"Hell if I know, SarMajor," Kachiko shrugged."I leave that up to the Fleeters, especially considering that there's very little we knuckle draggers can do about it anyway."
She smiled in reply. "Yeah, except when they need some of us to help them clean up their messes."
"Let's not be too hard on them, SarMajor," Kachiko smiled."I got my start in the Fleet myself. Give me a moment to let the bridge know we're ready to go."
She touched a bulkhead panel nearby, "Bayushi to bridge. The Company is standing by and is preparing to mobilize on your command, Captain."
"Thank you Major, I'll let you know if, or when, we need you. Bridge out."
=== Sickbay, Deck 12 ===
Warrant Officer Natalie Acounta was working at one of the biobed's, on one of the crew members who was still injured. They were in a medically induced coma, while the alkysine did it's job. They had been thrown against a bulkhead and had suffered a huge cranial injury.
"How are they doing Mister Acounta?" Said Toby as he came back in to Sickbay again for the fouth time in an hour "I presume there is no change from earlier?"
"Not a lot of change. The alkysine is working, but it's slow going." She paused as the Captain's voice came over the comm system.
"Bridge to all hands. We are about to enter the anomaly we hit. Everyone report to your duty stations, and be prepared for anything. Bridge out."
Natalie looked to the Lieutenant. "This should be fun." Seconds later, the lighting changed as the ship went to Red Alert.
Fun thought Toby.
"No Mister Acounter, this is the begining of another round of casualties. I'll keep an eye on this one, please start getting Sick Bay ready for more wounded."
Acounta nodded and moved off leaving Toby alone with the injured crew person, Toby closed his eyes momentarily and placed his hand on the injured form before him.
Get better soon ensign, I think we're going to need everyone back on duty to get through this
Toby then tapped his comm badge "Understood Bridge, Sick Bay is standing by for further casualties."
"I'll try and keep casualties to a minimum Lieutenant. I think we have had enough casualties for now. Bridge out."
Tobias let out a small laugh.
"That's what they all say, Captain," He said to the air around him before getting back to work."
=== Main Engineering, Deck 36 ===
Ensign th'Shyvan stopped what he was doing as soon as he the Captains voice began to speak over the com system. "Going into the anomaly. This should be fun." He said with a sort of gallows humour.
"Naw this is boring, fun is fighting off a Jem-Hadar ambush party and more than half your squad is down; when we get out of this Ensign remind me to tell you the story," he said with a bit of a smirk on his face.
The red alert alarms sounded. "I'm not sure I want to hear that story." The Andorian laughed. Now began the real work. "Activating forcefields around critical areas." The hum around engineering almost made the air tingle, as extra forcefields activated in the walls around engineering, and the warp core.
"Excellent," he replied as he continued watching the monitor as the force fields came on-line. "Let's free up some additional power and give it to thruster control, I want this massive whale to turn on a quarter if possible," he stated as he started moving his fingers over auxiliary control, and pipping it into the mains. Once that was done he transferred that power to the thruster controls just incase helm control needed it. Tapping his comm badge he opened up a channel to the bridge and said,
"=/\=Engineering to bridge. Force fields are in place and holding; damage control teams are standing by in critical areas.=/\=" he reported.
The Captains voice replied "Very good Commander. Keep me updated of any changes. Bridge out."
th'Shyvan looked to the Commander. "Short and sweet. I'm glad I'm not on bridge duty right now. I imagine it's pretty tense."
"You aren't the only one ensign," he stated with a slight laugh. "If all else fails we can disengage the saucer section and still escape via the warp drive," he said with a slight air in his voice. He was kidding of course.
"I'll get started on securing the relevant bulkheads." A laugh erupted from the Andorian. A smile returned to his face, and he tapped the console, bringing up the holo screen in front of him. "Systems are secure, we're as ready as we will be Commander."
=== Bridge, Deck 1 ===
The Captain looked around the bridge, at the various officers working their stations. The last time they had gone near this anomaly, he reached up and touched the left of his forehead, it hadn't gone well. "Ensign Kita, take us in. Commander Parker, I want constant readouts as we are going through the barrier. I don't need to remind everyone how bad our last trip was."
Tim certainly didn't need a reminder of either of the last gravimetric impacts. He made several adjustments to his console, all the while hoping that the third time would be the charm. "Adding spectral overlay to the viewscreen," he reported. A moment later, a real-time sensor readout appeared in the lower left corner of the bridge's massive viewscreen.
Kita began to enter the course. "Course laid in, moving at one-fifth impulse." An alarm beeped from the console. "I'm getting a variance in the deflector, but I should be able to counteract it."
"I see it," Tim reported, already working to counteract it. "Lieutenant Chang, rotate the forward shield frequencies to the theta bands while I alter the deflector output. That should minimize the strain."
Minna did as ordered and gradually shifted the frequency, monitoring variance as she did so.
"Reduce deflector .53%" she requested.
Tim made the appropriate adjustments using his controls before announcing, "Done."
Minna applied another gentle shift to the frequency and added "Another .16% should do it."
"Standby," Tim acknowledged. Given the minute correction, it took him a moment to manually enter the change. "Done," he then reported.
"Variance corrected" Minna announced.
Tim checked his readouts and compared it against the pressure on the deflector shields. "Confirmed, Ensign Loran. Proceed."
"Aye, Commander. We are 37,500 kilometres from the barrier. Nine seconds until contact."
Terax tapped the console on his armrest. "All hands, brace for potential impact." He looked around the bridge once more. "Ensign Loran, don't make a liar of me to the crew." He smiled.
"Two... One..." The ship began to shudder, but not like it had previously. More like turbulence as they were passing through the barrier, as opposed to a solid impact like before. A few more seconds passed. "We are emerging, sensors are coming online... I... these readings can't be right Captain." The screen was still flickering, with no sensor feed to show the images.
"Commander, report." Captain Terax asked, with a renewed sharpness in his voice.
Tim did not reply. Instead, he was already hard at work trying to clean up the interference. "Switching viewscreen to forward camera six." The screen flickered, displaying an image of the expanse in front of them.
"I'm picking up some antilepton interference, but I'm filtering it out now," he then reported. "Standby... What..." Tim paused, trying to verify the readouts. He initially swore that he was looking at sensor echoes, but the staggering amount convinced his gut was correct. "Captain, I'm picking up more than three hundred vessels, all of unique design. I'm also finding fourteen various stations, forty drydocks, and... and more vessels under construction."
The Acting XO turned in his seat to face the Captain. "We've stumbled on a hidden shipyard. The energy signatures match the ship that we saw after our second collision."
Terax felt his jaw drop, slightly, before regaining his composure. "Commander, scan as much as you can, as passively as you can." He asked Parker. "Have they detected us?" He asked, before shaking his head. "Never mind. If they are able to hide this, the chances are they have detected us."
Tim's console had already started screaming with updates on sensor contacts. "Confirmed," he simply cried out. "Several small vessels have adjusted course to intercept us. Sensors say... close to fifty. At this point, passive scans are definitely pointless. I'll start recording everything I can."
The ships were very small, but Minna had no doubt she could hit them, and very quickly at that. "Do you want weapons hot?"
"Sounds like a plan, Commander. Starfleet Command is going to have a field day with this." He tapped his commbadge. "Bridge to engineering, I don't have time for questions right now, but I want to be able to leave here on the a fraction of a second after I order it, and keep shields at maximum, Terax out." He looked to Lieutenant Chang. "Yes, weapons hot, but passive targeting scanners only. The last thing we want to do is provoke them."
Billy felt the shutter along with the rest of the engineering crew, and with a deep sigh he wondered what they were getting into. Perhaps he should have however somethings a better left to read in a report than to witness with the naked eye. He was monitoring the readouts from the deflector and everything seemed to be going good, when he received a communique from the bridge. "I want power transferred from non-essential systems to the structural integrity field; even if we have to pull it from life support we need to have that option available as well," he stated as he and the crew started to get to work.
"Acknowledged," Tim replied to Engineering, tapping a couple buttons to shut down all non-essential systems and reinforcing both the structural integrity and also the shields. "Captain, the vessels will intercept us in twenty seconds, and they'll be in weapons range in seven."
Minna stayed calm, not really showing any excitement or reaction other than that the manual targeting control was out and very gently gripped in her right hand while her left hand hovered over the phase and torpedo selectors.
"Captain," one of the officers called out. "We are receiving a hail."
"On screen." The screen flickered, before being replaced by a face that Terax hadnot expected. Visibly taken aback slightly, he pulled himself together. "This is Captain Anjad Ter..."
The Tzenkethi on the screen held up a hand. "Captain Anjad Terax. We know exactly who you are. Why have you invaded our facility, Captain?"
"We were unaware this was a facility, let alone a facility belonging to your people." The Captain replied.
"You are unaware of a great many things, Captain." A second voice, as someone else appeared on the screen. The second alien, with reddish skin, and short horns protruding from beneath a long brown hair looked around the screen, no doubt looking at the bridge of the Magellan. "For example, you are unaware that by entering this area of our space," he glanced to the alien next to him. "You have sealed your fate. You will now be considered prisoners of the Wi'u'Kai."
The Tzenkethi looked sharply at him with anger in its eyes. "That was not what was agreed." The screen went blank.
"Report." The Captain asked Parker. As the Operations Chief, he had the best knowledge to answer what just happened. As acting Executive Officer, Terax was going to need to bounce some ideas.
"Tzenkethi?" Tim replied with an inquiry of his own. His fingers went to work, trying to pick up any Tzenkethi technology. "Got it. Looks like several major components of the station and drydocks are Tzenkethi in configuration and design. The ships, however, aren't Tzenkethi at all. The ship's records don't have any mention of this We-you-kai at all. I'll see what I can come up with regarding their ships, but I'll tell you one thing, Captain." Tim turned to face Terax. "In our shape, we won't be able to repel an assault, nor can the ship fall into Tzenkethi hands."
That the Tzenkethi were helping another species, that was enough to set alarm bells off inside Terax's head. "The second alien, I have read about a species like that in reports before. He is one of the Ravagers. But the Tzenkethi helping build their ships? This doesn't make any sense. There clearly seems to be some animosity between them too, and then they cut the channel. Clearly having a disagreement."
"The Tzenkethi did just join the Breen and the Talarians in the Alrakis Pact," Tim offered immediately. "Perhaps there is more to this pact that what the Federation or Starfleet knows."
He nodded in agreement. "Maybe this we-you-kai is another one of these alliances? It is certainly out of character for basically everything we have ever known about the Tzenkethi. The Ravagers are meant to be a scavenger race. If the Tzenkethi are helping build up their fleet to this level, this could drastically change the balance of power in, and around the expanse."
Tim considered it for a moment. "That could be their play. We know the Alrakis Pact wants us out of the Expanse. With what we've seen here today, it's obvious that they mean business. The question is how deep these We-you-kai are with the Tzenkethi, and if they're just being used as cannon fodder or some sort of enforcement means to push and keep the Federation out."
"At the rate they are churning out ships, they have enough to spare for fodder and enforcement." He thought to himself for a few seconds. "We can't remain here. Starfleet needs to know about this. We have to get the message to them."
"Agreed," Tim replied. "We're going to need the deflector in its current configuration in order to get out of this bubble. That also means our shields won't stand up very long to enemy fire, especially when we have several dozen sitting in weapons range."
"There's an old Trill idiom. 'Death by 1000 cuts.. We can't win in this situation. We need to change…"
"Sir, incoming hail. It's the station again."
"On screen." The Ravager appeared alone this time, but with a look of anger in his eyes."
"You will leave at once, or you will be destroyed. That would be unfortunate. The Alrakis Pact doesn't want a war, and your deaths would cause one."
"The Pact?" Terax asked, confused. "I thought the Ravagers and the Tzenkethi were the we-you-kai? Can we speak to a representative of the Alrakis Pact?"
A sneering expression replaced the anger in his face. "Captain Terax, you again show your naivety and your general unawareness. The Ravagers are the Wi-u-Kai. And we are the Alrakis Pact. Now get out of our space, while we still allow it." The screen went black.
Terax looked at Parker in disbelief. He sat in his chair trying to imagine how to even begin his report to Starfleet. "Helm, get us out of here now. Tim, thoughts?
Tim waved a relief officer over to assume the forward Operations console. The ensign arrived quickly, and Tim rushed back to the command area to sit down in the first officer's chair. "Sounds like there's four powers now in the Alrakis Pact. If these We-you… Ravagers… whatever they're called, are native to the expanse, and they're allied with the Breen rather than fighting them, then I'd bet the Ravagers are stronger than we imagined."
"This changes everything we knew about the pact. And we barely knew anything at all." Thinking back to the rendezvous with the Gisborne, there had been chatter on this 'we-oo-kai' and but it was mostly written off as mistaken translations."
"I'm sure they'll love to hear what we've learned today," Tim added. "For now, I'm just grateful they let us leave, rather than try to take the Magellan or just destroy us."
"Agreed." The Captain stood. "As soon as we are out of the anomaly, best speed to Starbase 249. Go to yellow alert. You have the bridge number one. I need to start this report." As Terax crossed the bridge, it dawned on him this was the first time Parker would have taken command of the ship, as executive officer.
"Aye, Captain." Tim's eyes widened for a moment, not for any other reason than feeling the pressure of the center seat. Command tests were required once one reached Lieutenant Commander, and also with the duties of being a bridge officer. But there was always a difference between the holodeck and real life. "Tactical, keep an eye on any ships that are following us. Don't want anyone trying to start something. Bridge to Engineering, prepare to pass through the anomaly again."
"Aye" Minna replied, though to her the order was superfluous. She was not about to lose track of any of the ships that were in their vicinity, and while she'd not used any of the automatic targetting systems, she did still have weapons "hot" and was was maintaining a sort of "manual lock" on whichever of the small ships got closest or looked the most threatening at any given moment.
"Aye sir," replied Billy. "Reinforcing shields and SIF...not sure what passing through again is going to do," he stated.
"As soon as we're out, I'm going to need the best possible warp speed," Tim added. "It's time to get out of Dodge."
"No argument from me sir," he stated. "Once we have cleared the field, I need ops to transfer all power weapons and shields to the SIF...and I might be able to get us to warp 7. The microfractures from the earlier impact will start to get larger any faster than that, and we will start dealing with full scale breaches."
"What if we keep our speed at warp five?" Tim asked. "With the randomness that we've encountered in the expanse, we need to move fast, but slow enough to avoid the speed bumps. In fact, we'll make for known space lanes charted by the Hope and Pandora and use those to get out of here."
"Warp five is fine, but I'm still going to need additional power to the SIF field just a precaution," he stated. "If you can free up at least 15 percent of main power for me, that will be more than enough to keep the fractures from growing and I should be able to take us to warp 5.78 with no additional problem," he replied back.
Tim nodded across the bridge to the officer at Operations. "We'll get right on that. Thank you, Mister Harris. Bridge out."