Royal Navy Starcruiser Talaru
Captain Gareli Nularu struck a rather impressive figure as she stood near the window looking out across the front half of her starcruiser. Her uniform jacket was the deep rich purple of the navy, with the silver braiding on her right shoulder indicating her prestigious position as a ship’s captain. No matter your rank, if you were assigned as the commanding officer of a ship in the fleet you could wear that braid. She was equal in height to most of those on her ship, a genetic gift from her father, though she was far more thankful to take after her mother’s looks.
The viewing bridge was no right place to be in combat, but when the ship was undertaking normal operations, it offered no better viewing and right now they were still a day away from the star system the Navy had deemed Stella Incognito. Galiru Outpost had detected another ship entering the system that to date had eaten four other Royal Navy ships, but unlike those hapless bastards this unknown ship had survived more then an hour. This feat accomplished the Admiralty had decided to dispatch one more ship to investigate the system.
“Engineroom, Bridge,” her XO said from the stellar cartographer repeater on the bridge. “Can you give us more speed?”
“Negative Mr XO,” came a raspy reply over the whine of the ship’s engines already being pushed to their limits. “In fact, we might have to slow down if we want to make it at all. We’re looking at elevated plasma temperatures we can’t explain or get back down where they should be. We keep running this hot and we’ll burn out the plasma containment systems and loose the drive altogether.”
“What speed do you want to drop us to Chief?” the XO asked.
Gareli turned around slowly to look at her XO, waiting for the reply, but she didn’t move from her spot. There was really no need in the cramped nature of the viewing bridge.
“Hetch four if the Captain will let us. Four point five at the maximum,” came a reply after a few moments. Clearly the Engineer took a moment to consult his staff.
“Engineroom, this is the Captain,” Gareli spoke up, approaching the staion her XO was at to be better heard by the audio pickup there. “Slow us to Hetch Four Mr Faramah, but I’ll be wanting answers as to way we can’t maintain hetch six by end of watch.”
“Understood Captain, and thank you. We’ll get right on investigating it.” The line went dead.
The XO looked to Gareli, waited for a nod and then started barking orders. “Helm, set speed to hetch four. Navigation, recalculate arrival time. Mr Jaruti, ask the radio room to contact Galiru Outpost and ask them to confirm the unknown is still in the system.”
“Answering hetch four!” came the only immediate response that needed to be voiced for the bridge audio recordings.
“Dropping to hetch four likely means we’ll be adding a day to our travel time,” Gareli said to her XO as she examined the holographic display floating between her and her XO. It showed the Stella Incognito system and the Galiru with the plotted location of the Talaru between them. “Send the report from the engineroom to my day cabin when it arrives Jamin. Maintain speed though.”
“Aye ma’am,” Commander Jamin Chru said as he watched his captain exit the bridge, heading into the depths of the ship and her day cabin.
Mission Day 93
“So, what are we looking at?” Tikva said from her seat at the head of the table. Out of the window could be seen the dawning arc of gas giant, it’s banded clouds of deep purple and green just starting to become visible.
The Atlantis had fallen back to the outer system while probes had taken the more dangerous exploration for now and the system’s largest gas giant served as a decent enough anchor for now. Its moons had been thoroughly scanned and were found devoid of hidden weapons platforms, or at least as far as they could detect.
“No real data at the moment, but looks like an automated defence system I’d wager. Sensor platforms that aren’t mounting weapons, likely directing fire via tight beam communications. Pretty basic particle beam emitters, rudimentary warp drive on those missiles.” Ra-tesh’mi Velan stroked his fine white beard in thought. “Would love to take this thing apart. Never was allowed to take things apart in a museum before.”
“You’ll likely still get your wish Ra. Carmargo?” Tikva asked of her science officer.
“Weapons aren’t much better then pre-Federation United Earth. Those particle beams look like they’re a refinement or two off of true phasers. As for the planet of interest,” Gabrielle tapped a few keys on her padd and the large monitor occupying the wall opposite the windows came to life, showing a planet that probes were currently getting rather intimate with. “Looks like they got bombed back to the ice age nearly ten thousand years ago. We’re not detecting any life signs we’d find good conversationalist down there. Looks like the planet snow-balled after the bombardment. It’ll be a few million years at least before there’s likely to be a tipping point. Debris in the ice and atmosphere indicate that whoever hit the planet used antimatter charges as well.”
“Christ,” Mac said. “Someone wanted these people gone.”
“Could have done it to themselves,” Adelinde said. “We’ve spotted one platform in the system with ten of those antimatter warp missiles on board. Had capacity for nearly fifty of them at one point. We’ve also spotted a cloud of platforms, all no longer operational around the system, more then a dozen with empty magazines.” She indicated to Carmargo who brought up a system display and highlighted the live and dead platforms.
“The missile platform seems to be the command center for a handful of other platforms,” she continued. “Similar to those that already fired on us. It’s been trying to communicate with the planet, another similar platform to itself and an asteroid, but it’s received no response.”
“The other platform,” Tikva spoke up. “It’s offline, but what’s the difference between it and the one that’s watching us.”
“Some sort of command-and-control platform we’re guessing,” Rrr’mmm’bal’rrr said from this seat down the far end of the table. “It looks like it took a meteor hit a couple of centuries ago and stopped working. Emptied its inventory of missiles somewhere along the line. There is one more thing though Captain.”
“Unidentified contact approaching at warp three point four eight. It was pulling five point oh two about twenty minutes ago, but slowed. We’ve tried hailing them but we’ve not gotten a response. They’re not on an intercept course, they’re just coming to this system. They’ll be here in about a day.”
“Geez. Okay, we need to find out who they are, but also stop them from being shot at. Any suggestions?” Tikva asked.
“We could go out and meet them, or we could disable the platform that could still fire on them,” Mac offered.
“I think we might be able to wait,” Adelinde suggested. “The platform does have subspace sensors; it has to have seen and fired on us. In that case it has to have seen the new ship coming in but it hasn’t fired for some reason. I suspect that reason is us. If we stay on station, it won’t fire and even if it did, we’ve already proven to ourselves we can outrun their munitions. Interception shouldn’t be difficult.”
“Hmm…okay. Adelinde, stand down the shuttles and away teams for now. We’ll stay on station and keep hailing this new ship, giving them as much of a warning as we possibly can. Mac, make sure we’ve got our best helmsmen on bridge duty for the next twenty-four hours. If we’ve got to chase down a doomsday missile, I want good people in that seat.”
“As for everyone else, keep an eye on the sensors and call me if anything turns up. If I don’t answer, go straight to Mac. Dismissed.”