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Part of USS Daedalus: Mission 2 – The Edge of Hope and Despair and USS Mackenzie: Mackenzie Squadron : The Edge of Hope and Despair

DEHD 011 – The Next Steps

USS Daedalus
9.1.2401
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“You think she’s going to succeed?”  Captain Helena Dread sat on the couch in her ready room, sipping at a cold tea in one hand while reading her XO’s report on their former trainee.

Captain Halsey stood, a PADD in his hand.  “She’s got the possibility.  Her performance with the Cardassians and the Bajorans was strong, but there were some blind spots.”

Dread looked him in the eye, curious, “She receptive to the feedback?”  Her impression of the commander had been limited.  Leo’s assignment as the mentor was intentional.  Dread accepted that she wasn’t known for her teaching acumen.

“She was.  She said she’d learned plenty in the month she was with us.”  He handed over a PADD, “The latest from the colonies.  Wren’s managed to have some sway with a few, so we’re filling those holes as they come up.  We’ve been picking up some communications about some movement against the Cardassians from the New Maquis, but it’s scattered, and we haven’t been able to link it all together.”

Helena frowned as she read, “The New Maquis are invested in taking the fight to them, aren’t they.”  Her eyes traveled further down the report, “We do get a mention…not sure how to feel about it.”  She returned the PADD, “They’re at least saying they’d like to avoid us.  That’s something.”

Suddenly, a blaring klaxon shouted as the CO’s badge chirped, “Captain to the bridge!

Dread groaned as she jumped up and headed out the ready room door, “What the hell now.”  The door opened, and she called out, “Report.”  Halsey was on her heels.

At communications, Lieutenant Presley Atega held her earpiece close as she reported, “Distress call from a Galor Class under attack from New Maquis forces.  Reporting seven to ten ships are swarming them – damage to shields cascading.  They are requesting assistance.”

Helena turned to the helm, “Time to intercept?”

Will Prentice worked at the console, “Thirty minutes at maximum warp.”  He turned to his captain, awaiting her order.

Dread watched as Halsey went to stand at the tactical station, quietly asking Atari to get what information she could.  Long-range sensors had them classified as Ravens.  Daedalus could tangle with them, but they’d need additional measures to fight for longer.  He answered her look, “We’ll need Mackenzie to help knock them out of the sector.”

Helena turned to Atega, “Priority one message to Mackenzie.  Helm, engage intercept course.  Red Alert.”

 

Prentice reported, “Entering the system now.”  The screen showed the darkness of space arrayed against the background of the colors of the distant planets and nebulas.  “Picking up a signal.”  He tapped at the console, and the screen refocused on a Galor class cruiser slowly spinning in space.

Dread stood from her command chair. “Get us closer.”  The ruby-colored lights blinked softly as the quiet klaxon trilled in the background. “Is anyone else here with us?”

Sadie Fowler scanned her screens, “Nothing in the immediate or far area, captain.  Plenty of warp signatures to sort out and classify.”  She carefully worked the sensors and the systems, “Sending you data on the weapons fire and readings, Ensign Catari.”  There was plenty of soup to sift through on the sensor reports, but she wasn’t about to step on the tactical chief’s shoes.

Catari focused on what began to appear on her screen.  There was a lot of data, and some of it made sense.  The computer was sorting the details and variables.  She frowned and stopped the computer from its work, “Captain – this is unusual.  Much of the weapons readings and residual sensor imaging matches a New Maquis attack.”  She put the data stream on the screen, “But…that doesn’t.” Helena stared at her as if to ask, ‘What is it?’. Athena realized her error and continued, “Those warp and impulse signatures are not within the variance of New Maquis ships – they’re closer associated with a Romulan signal…or Syndicate.”

Dread sat back in her chair, “We seem to be chasing our share of phantoms and ghosts.  Mackenzie has had the same trouble.  The Cardassian ship’s status?”

Fowler reported, “Engineering took a run at the sensor reports – she’s been disabled.  Her engines and weapons are offline…that’s…odd.”  She turned in her chair, “Chief Moore took a closer look.  She thinks there’s a chance some kind of…sabotage happened.”

“Get the chief up here.  Halsey?”  She turned to her XO, who stood behind the engineering and operations console, his eyes scouring the screen for data.

“I’m seeing what might have spooked her.”  He pointed to the various points on the schematics of the Galor class ship, “Those explosion points were outward, not weapon impacts.  These are normal phaser fire impacts along this part of the ship, but they’re not what overloaded the shields.  They’re nowhere near it.”  He turned as the door to the bridge slid open, and Chief Engineer Greer Moore ambled over.  Halsey explained his theory.

Greer agreed, “They knew what they were doing – the insiders and the outsiders.  They knew how to knock her out.  I’m unsure why they did it – This is an older model Galor class ship.  She’s not a prize.”  She looked closer at the schematics, “Well, ain’t that something.  I know why they did it.” Halsey turned to her, expectant.  “That ship’s not a part of the Cardassian fleet.  Whoever had this ship modified it.  There, there, and there.  Those aren’t standard options or even optional features.  Whoever did this did this intentionally.”

Dread turned in her chair, “To what end?”  Her imagination was spinning – what kind of operations had this become?

The Chief Engineer blinked a few times, “Well, we were going to report this as a New Maquis attack on a Cardassian ship.  I’m betting we’re gonna find some blood over there, but no bodies.  That would have added to the report.  We’d tow her back to the Cardassians; they’d investigate…by the time they figured it out, the story is all over the sector and the system.  The legend of the New Maquis continues.”

Halsey chuckled, “Propaganda.  As old as time itself.  Greer, get me an engineering team – let’s figure out if your theory is true.”