[USS Vanguard] Moving Forward

  • From: Kent Kavan <tonykavan@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: ncv80221@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 16 Nov 2007 12:17:22 -0800 (PST)

USS Thespiae
  Craig was sitting in the captain's chair while his bridge officers manned 
their stations.  Lt. Fell, his XO manned tactical, Ensign R'Trak manned the 
helm, Lt. Ceelak, his second officer manned the Sensor Warfare Station also 
called the "spook station" and Ensign Hurgan manned the ops station.
  Commodore Santos and Captain Quetan were standing at the rear of the bridge 
looking at sensor data on the briefing table.
  "Captain, I've tapped in to Deep Space 9's computer.  They have a transport 
scheduled to leave for the wormhole in ten minutes."  Ceelak had proven very 
adept at operating the "spook station" a new system developed for these cloak 
and dagger type operations.  It could interface with nearly any known computer 
system undetected.  So long as the operator didn't interfere with the computer 
system they were hacking they could glean a large quantity of computer data.  
Ceelak's official title was Sensor Warfare Officer, a job that on most ships 
would fall to the tactical officer, however, on the Thespiae and her sister 
ships, having an extra person just to play spy freed up the tactical officer to 
protect the ship from a direct physical threat.
  He heard Zena whistle softly behind him.  She had been more and more 
impressed with the Thespiae's abilities the longer she was on board.  Of course 
she and Jaav had argued more than once in his hearing that building a ship of 
war was only compounding the problem.  Jaav had grown sullen and distant since 
he'd left starfleet, worse, he didn't seem any happier.
  Ensign R'Trak turned in her seat to face him.  "Captain, I am ready for the 
transport's departure.  All helm systems are operating normally."  Her cool 
Vulcan demeanor always seemed to be a calming factor on the bridge.
  Craig nodded to signal his acknowledgement then sat up straight and 
stretched.  He really enjoyed these cat and mouse games but they did cause some 
tension, especially in his back and neck.  Nick saw him stretch and asked, 
"They still haven't developed a decent chair have they?"  Nick was smiling, a 
good sign.  Craig hadn't seen that much since this mess started.  Craig was 
about to answer when Lt. Fell spoke.
  "Sir, the transport is leaving the station.  They are at full impulse."
  Ensign R'Trak spun her seat back around and began inputing course and speed 
into the helm.  The Thespiae, still cloaked, moved forward.
  "Nice and neat Ensign.  We need to be within a half kilometer to be safe."  
  Passing through the wormhole required that they wait for another ship to 
trigger the wormhole opening.  Otherwise it would blow their cover.  
  "Six hundred kilometers and closing...  five hundred and closing..."  Lt. 
Fell was counting down.
  "Three hundred and closing..."  
  R'Trak responded, "Reducing speed...  coming into position below their aft 
  "Fifty kilometers and closing..."
  "Matching speed and heading..."
  Craig couldn't help but grin, this was fun after all.
  "One kilometer...  one half...  one quarter..."
  "Easy does it Ensign, I think that's close enough," Craig told her.
  "Yes Captain, you did say within a half kilometer.  I wanted to have a 
little, 'wiggle room,' I believe is the human expression."
  Craig shook his head. Vulcan's always talked about surpressing their emotions 
but they obviously didn't think arrogance was an emotion because they showed 
that pretty well.  He couldn't argue though, she was one of the best pilots 
he'd ever seen.
  "We're passing through the wormhole..."
  Ceelak spoke up next.  "Captain?"  Her voice was just a smidgen higher 
pitched than normal.  Craig caught it right away.  "I'm intercepting internal 
communications from the transport...  They're on alert."
  "They're charging weapons..."  Lt. Fell broke in from tactical.
  Ceelak pressed an earpiece tighter to her head so she could hear better.  
"They're talking about problems on the other side of the wormhole.  It's the 
captain talking to their chief engineer.  He's saying that he wants the reactor 
ready in case they have to run.."
  Craig spun his chair to look at Zena and Nick.  His hands were suddenly 
sweaty and by the look of them his friends shared his anxiety.  Turning back he 
said, "Everyone, I don't have to tell you to be ready for anything."
  "We're coming out of the wormhole in 5...4...3...2...1."
  The blue light surrounding the ship disappeared and they were suddenly in 
normal space.  
  Everyone held their breath for a moment...  But nothing happened.
  "Report," Craig said to his bridge crew, relaxing slightly.
  "We're moving away from the transport, they are preparing to go to warp..."
  A sudden flash of light followed by a concussion rocked the ship hard.  A 
panel to Craig's left exploded from the shock damage.  Craig winced and closed 
his eyes to minimize the danger of getting shrapnel in them.  The bridge was 
suddenly engulfed in the chaos of a ship at war.
  "The freghter just exploded.  Cause unknown..."
  "We've lost the cloaking device.  Fragments from the destroyed freighter are 
disrupting the field," his ops maganer reported.
  "Helm, move us away from the wreckage.  Ceelak put all the sensor data on the 
briefing table and get the cloaking device back up."
  Craig moved to the briefing table at the back of the bridge.  Zena and Nick 
were already going over the data.  Zena had an image frozen on the display of 
the freighter just prior to it's destruction.  There was a strange object in 
the background...
  Nick touched it and the display zoomed in, the computer automatically 
clarifying the image.  It was a ship, a Defiant class destroyer in the process 
of returning to cloak.
  "Oh crap..." Nick and Craig said at the same time.  Craig zoomed in again and 
was able to get the registry number.  NDC-003.  Craig knew that number, there 
were only four ships with the prefix NDC for destroyer.  One was Craig's 
Thespiae, NDC-002.  
  "It's the Sparta."
  "What?"  Lt. Fell asked.  "That doesn't make sense."  
  "What's the status on the cloaking device?"  Craig asked.
  "Engineering is working on it.  It should be up shortly."
  Craig checked the ships course and speed.  R'Trak had done what the book said 
to do.  She turned the ship when the transport exploded to keep the debris 
between them and the likely source.  The problem was that if it was the Sparta 
then they had the same playbook.
  "Helm, bring us around.  Make for the wormhole at top speed.  Ops, reroute 
auxilliary power to the shields.  Tactical, get ready, I think you're about to 
get real busy.  At the first sign of a ship decloaking open fire."
  "Captain do you think that's wise?"  Lt. Fell asked.
  Craig explained.  "XO, the Sparta was the only ship left at Adram Prime when 
we came here, if it's been captured by the Changelings they might have been 
waiting for us to come back.  Damn it!  I should have known better."
  "Sir!  Ship decloaking, locking weapons..."
  Thespiae rocked again, this time much harder as she came under the direct 
onslaught of Sparta's guns.  A quantom torpedo exploded as it struck the left 
Bussard scoop causing a series of shock damage explosions.  The helm station 
blasted a shower of shrapnel in Ensign R'Trak's face and she slumped out of her 
chair and onto the deck.  Zena checked her pulse and shook her head at Craig 
before taking the helm station.
  "Status!"  Craig shouted over the din as he fought to regain his footing.
  "Shields are down, warp drive is off-line, port weapons systems are out.  
Damage teams are responding."
  "The Sparta?" Craig asked, flopping down his his chair.
  "She gave us both barrels and then cloaked.  I barely got a shot off."
  Craig rubbed his face.  The destoyer's most powerful weapons were to the 
front, only lightly armed to the sides and rear, the Sparta would most likely 
attack them from the those directions.  Being cloaked gave the Sparta the clear 
advantage...  At this rate they'd get cut to ribbons in a matter of minutes.  
Craig's advantage was that he wrote the book that the Changeling (he assumed) 
had taken over the Sparta was using...
  "Status on the cloaking device?"  Craig asked his ops officer.
  "Ten minutes."  
  Craig sighed.  It was time for plan B.
  "Zena, all stop."
  "All stop, aye."
  "Sparta's decloaking off the starbo..."
  Another series of explosions buffeted the ship.
  "We've lost the pulse cannons."
  "Impulse drive is damaged."
  "Sick bay is reporting a flood of casualties..."
  Craig accessed his display and re-ran the visual sensor logs.
  "Captain?"  Everyone was looking at him.
  "Start a countdown from forty-five.  Zena, at mark I want you to rotate the 
ship to face 130 mark 25.  Lt. Fell, fire every quantom torpedo you've got, 
don't wait for a lock just fire them in a spread."
  "Aye sir."
  Craig spoke out loud, "You know, Commander Ferris on the Sparta always 
followed the book to the letter, no deviaton, no improvisation...  Maybe he was 
a Changeling all along..."
  "Now Zena!"
  Thespiae's thrusters whirled it to the right and down, it hadn't stopped 
moving when Lt. Fell began firing blindly into the darkness of space.  Sparta 
had moved into that position and had just begun it's attack run when the first 
torpedoes began raining in around it.  Several of the weapons missed but the 
fifth one in line made contact with the forward shield.  Lt. Fell locked in on 
it and poured the Thespiea's remaining compliment of quantom torpedoes into the 
Sparta.  When those were gone, the tubes automatically began loading 
anti-matter torpedoes and the orange glow of drive motors replaced the blue 
  Sparta's nacelle's fell victim to the onslaught immediatly and they were dead 
in the water.  Of the forty weapons rapid fired by Lt. Fell only eleven or so 
struck home, but the rapid succession of them left the Sparta listing and 
  "Their life support is failing."
  Nick said, "Somebody want to tell me what just happened?"
  Craig's stomach was in a knot and he felt like he might vomit.  He'd just 
fired on another Federation ship.  Worse, he may have killed the majority of 
her crew.  Only the Sparta's ablative hull armor had kept it from breaking 
apart completely.
  He needed answers to the question Nick had just voiced.  "That's a good 
question.  Zena, take Lt. Leonov, and a security and medical team over to the 
Sparta and try and find those answers.  Ceelak, you and Lt. Fell get my ship 
put back together.  Grab Sam and Cynan, they can help you, if they aren't 
helping already."
  Lt. Cmdr. Craig Kavan
  Captain/USS Thespiae

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