Part of USS Okinawa: Battle of Maka

Battle of Maka: Chpt 2

USS Okinawa - En Route to Maka
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“Huh. I guess I was wrong.” said JD.

Ed turned his head from his station to see JD was reading something from a padd. “Wrong about what?”

JD looked up and smirked before shrugging his shoulders as he set the padd down. “Starfleet isn’t getting rid of the Auxiliary Control Rooms. Apparently it was a misunderstanding, they’re just going to be upgraded and be needed less but they will still exist for obvious reasons.”

Ed just shrugged as well before looking back at his display.

“You’re not going to find anything. I mean, so what if we’re assigned to the Auxiliary Control Room of the Okinawa. The chances of us having to do anything like that one time, are pretty slim.” JD told him.

Ed shrugged again, “I am just trying to do my job. So that when a staff member does come in here, they don’t see me sitting here with my feet kicked up.”

“We are literally two hours away from the Makka system. No one is going to come in here until thirty minutes prior or when shit-”

“-just hit the fan.”

Bates, who was sitting at the Mission Operations station next to the Communications, just turned her head towards the Comms Officer with a raised brow. “Excuse me, Lieutenant?”

Zina looked at the Commander and blushed a little. “Apologies, ma’am. But we got a priority message from Fleet Command, for the First Officer and Captain’s eyes only.”

“And you read it?”

Zina gave Bates a surprised look. “Absolutely not, ma’am! It’s just the fact that it’s from the Fleet, it’s a priority, and addressed to only you and the Captain. All three of those combined are not good.”

Bates let out a small sigh. “I apologize for overreacting. Please transfer the message to a padd.”

Zina acknowledged, opened up a compartment and pulled out an empty padd. With a few taps here on the padd, and a few more there on the console, the message was then transferred and the padd handed over to Bates.

“Appreciate it.” She told Zina before taking the padd and standing up. As she walked over to the Situation Table behind the Captain’s Chair, she opened up the message and read it. It was a pretty brief message, and the Lieutenant was correct. “Yeoman, the Captain still in the Ready Room?”

The man standing there just by the door to the Captain’s Ready Room looked at the Commander. “Yes, ma’am.”

Bates went over to the door, holding the padd in a way so no one can see what’s on it. “Is it that time of day already?”

The Yeoman nodded. “Yes, ma’am. Unless it is urgent, he wishes to not be disturbed. His orders, ma’am.”

Bates smiled, “I know. Unfortunately, Yeoman, this is urgent.”

The Yeoman nodded in understanding, turned and entered the code that opened the door. It took this Yeoman a long time of gaining the respect and trust to be given the level of access to let anyone in. If what the Commander has happens to be not as urgent as she claims, he could see himself losing those privileges.

Bates thanked him quietly and stepped in to see the Captain sitting behind his desk, with a cup to his lips, likely to be tea, while his eyes were on the monitor. He noticed the Commander walking in but his eyes went right back to the monitor and a smile formed on his face.

Hayes set the cup down on the saucer that rested on top of his desk before returning his full attention to the monitor. “So how did you and Dimitri enjoy Risa?”

Bates would quietly find her place in a chair across from him, crossing her right leg over her left while she waited patiently. In the meantime, she heard a woman’s voice come from the monitor, a voice she recognized. “We loved it, Jacob. I think Dimitri will remember it forever. I know I will.”

Hayes shook his head, the smile on his face having gotten bigger. “I just fear that when he is old enough, he’ll eventually return to Risa and find out what the Horga’hn is.”

The woman laughed, “When he is old enough, whatever he does on Risa, will be none of our business.”

Hayes chuckled then looked at Bates, his eyes falling onto the padd in her hands before looking back at the monitor. And he was caught too, “Who are you looking at?” the woman asked. Hayes chuckled again, shaking his head a little. “So observant of you. Margaret, you remember Olivia Bates?” Hayes then gestured to Bates to come over.

Bates got up from her seat and traversed around the desk so that she was in Margaret’s view. “Hello, Margaret.”

Margaret smiled, “Olivia! It’s so good to see you again. Have you been listening in all this time?”

Bates blushed and shook her head, “No, of course not! I just stepped in a few minutes ago, I promise.”

Margaret laughed, “Oh relax! I was only kidding!” The three of them laughed for a little bit, but when it died down, Margaret’s eyes fell onto the padd in Bates’ hands. She then looked to Hayes, “I guess this means that you have to cut our weekly conversation short?”

Hayes sighed in disappointment before nodding his head slowly. “I am afraid so, dear. But I promise to make it up to you after this mission.”

Margaret sighed as well, “I don’t mean to complain, but couldn’t Starfleet send you home more often?”

Hayes squared his shoulders and cleared his throat. “Dear, I’ve told you this. I-”

“-am needed, as much as everyone else in Starfleet. I know.” She said in a disappointed tone.

Hayes sighed once more, “I am not going to let anyone fight this war without me. The Cardassians have refused a truce before, Starfleet will try again but the odds of them accepting it are slim. Until then, we must protect the innocent. Families, children, they’re all in grave danger if we don’t keep the Cardassians at bay.” Hayes paused for a moment before getting a little closer to the screen. “I do this for you, and for Dimitri.”

She smiled weakly and nodded her head in understanding. “I know. Be safe.”

Hayes leaned back with a smile, “I have the best crew in Starfleet, Marge. I will always be safe and I will return to you and to Dimitri.”

She then kissed her fingers before turning her hand to bring them close to the screen, where Hayes then returned the same gesture before terminating the transmission. He then closed his eyes and spent a minute to adjust his attitude, to set aside the emotions he was going through, to put personal feelings aside and become professional again. He then opened his eyes and looked at Bates. “Thank you for your patience.”

Bates shrugged a shoulder, “The war may be important, but family will always come first, Captain.”
Hayes smiled at that answer before turning in his seat to face her completely, giving her his undivided attention. “I am guessing what you have there is bad news.”

Bates shook her head with a smirk on her face. “Sometimes I wonder if you are a Betazoid.” She then gripped the padd with one hand and held it out towards him. “It’s from Fleet Command. That Nebula we were supposed to get for this battle, it’s not coming.”

Hayes took the padd and read the brief message, only to frown heavily as he set it down. “Due to engine malfunction? A design flaw?”

Bates shook her head, “No idea. The ship is being towed back to a drydock, where a team of engineers will be investigating the malfunction. But it is possible.”

Hayes shook his head before placing his hands on top of his desk and pushed himself up to his feet. He then traversed around his desk and walked right onto the Bridge with Bates in tow. “This is going to complicate things, but not by much. Senior Staff, those of you who are on the Bridge, I need you back here at the Situation Area.” Hayes ordered as he stood there right next to the middle of the table.

Zemaa, Shasi, Shaw and Zina left their stations to join the Captain and Commander at the Situation Table behind the Captain’s chair. Hayes then went over to one end and started tapping away on the panel. A small ring lit up at the center of the table and a holographic image appeared just a couple inches above it. It was one of the things Starfleet was toying around with when holodecks and holoemitters were created. Of course, Starfleet had help with that technology from races that have already discovered it, one in particular was the race that the first NX Class encountered. But those were details for another time, Hayes thought, as he pushed them off to the side to get himself ready to brief his staff on the situation.

“For those who are not here right now, will be informed shortly by Commander Bates after this brief meeting.” He said as he looked at her, Bates giving a nod in understanding of the order he gave. “We received a priority message from Fleet Command and unfortunately it is not good news.”

Zina groaned, “I knew it.” Everyone then looked at her, some turning their heads to do so. She blushed a bit, “Sorry, didn’t mean to speak out of turn.”

Hayes cleared his throat to get their attention and then pointed at the holographic image with his hand. “The Okinawa will be leading the charge on the Cardassian controlled system. The Nebula that we were going to have as long range support on this mission, is unable to join us due to an engine failure.”

Zemaa was the next one to groan, more loudly and more in frustration. “Unbelievable! The one ship that has the most tactical advantage over the Cardassians with its long range torpedo launchers, is suddenly experiencing engine failure? That can’t be a coincidence.”

Shasi was the next one to speak, after he crossed his arms against his chest. “Fleet Command is calling it an engine malfunction?”

Bates nodded her head. “They are. The ship will be towed back to drydock for it to be investigated but that’s all we got to go on.”

“Well this sucks.” Said Shaw before looking at Zemaa, “but I suppose not too much, since you’ll get to blow up some Carddies rather than play guard duty.” Zemaa looked at Shaw with a grin, she did like that thought of that at least.

Hayes cleared his throat again. “Point is, even though we may have lost a tactical advantage in taking control of this system, with Okinawa directly in the fight, our chances of success have not changed.”

“Of course not! With this man at the helm, and me at the weapons next to him, we’ll make the Cardassians wish they had surrendered the system to us.” Said Zemaa.

Hayes nodded his head, “That is all the updates we have in regards to the Task Group. Now that you are all aware of the changes to the attack plan, Zemaa, Shaw, I know I don’t need to ask but I need you two to be synchronized for this.” After saying that, they’d see both Shaw and Zemaa fist bump, Bates rolling her eyes afterwards. “Zina, I need you to inform the Task Group of the change in the attack plan. Only thing different is that the Okinawa will be leading the charge rather than staying behind to guard a ship that won’t be coming.” He got an ‘acknowledge’ from her before he looked to Shasi. “As for you, Lieutenant. I need you to recruit more crew-members for the ground assault. Intelligence doesn’t believe that there will be a lot of Cardassians at the outpost on the planet, but nevertheless, I want the assault to go smoothly. Without that Nebula and the troops they’ll have, we will have to make up for it.”

“It will be done, sir.” Said Shasi.

Hayes smiled and looked at each and every one of them. “All right then. Dismissed.” He watched as the four of them returned to their stations before looking at Bates. “I need you to inform the remainder of our Senior Staff about the situation. Tell Mullins that I need sensors actively monitored, if she needs more crew, get her them. Tell Pearson to have Sickbay prepared for possibly more casualties, since we will have to deploy more of our crew than we had planned. As for Lloyd, I want him to do the best he can to reinforce the shields and give our phasers some extra power. The more we can dish out, the sooner we can end this battle. Got it?”

Bates’ eyes went up to the right corner of her sockets, repeating the instructions in her head before looking directly at the Captain with a small smile and a light nod. “Got it.”

Hayes smiled back, “Good. Get it done, Commander.”

Bates had just finished informing Lieutenant Mullins and Doctor Pearson about the change in the operation. She was happy to hear that Mullins will have her department straightened up and ready to go, so that way there would be no more surprises at least that is something Bates hopes for. As for Doctor Pearson, she was not at all too pleased but she reassured Bates that her and her staff will be ready.

Next thing on her agenda was informing the Chief, who she found to be hunched over the Master Systems Display in the center, not at all looking too pleased already. It is too bad that she will have to be the bringer of more bad news, to whatever it is that is already bothering him. She stopped by his side and looked down at the display that he had been staring at, seeing a progress bar of some diagnostic that he was running. “Is it safe to say that they didn’t leave Engineering the way it was before?”

Lloyd stood up straight to look at the Commander, not at all expected her to be here but there she was. Suppose he should have expected someone from the Bridge to show up, but he had been too focused on his work. He let out a disgruntled sigh, “Of course not. Everything is back at Starfleet’s supposed standard. For example, the power distribution and conversion systems were at ninety percent, and to Starfleet, that’s within acceptable parameters.”

“But not to you?” Bates asked.

“Hell no! I’ve been spending most of my time since we left Starbase Eleven in increasing the efficiency of those systems. Yesterday before I turned in, I got it up to ninety five percent.”

“Not bad.” Bates smiled.

He frowned. “Before the bloody Carddies attacked, damaged the ship and got it stuck in drydock for months of repairs…I had it at ninety seven point four percent. I was trying to get it to ninety seven point eight percent, since the Lakota’s Chief got theirs to ninety seven point seven.”

Bates chuckled, “Competitive much are we?”

Lloyd shrugged his shoulders with a sigh, looking more relaxed now that he was able to talk to someone about it. “I promote competition in my team, it keeps them from thinking about the war.”

Bates nodded her head, “Yeah, for as long as it has been going, I completely understand. Unfortunately, I have some bad news.”

Lloyd sighed again, this time annoyed. “Let’s hear it then, Commander.”

Bates gave an apologetic smile. “The Nebula Class, our long range support vessel, is not going to make it. Engine failure, per what they’re saying. So…the Captain is going to have the Okinawa take charge in the assault.”

Lloyd frowned before he went to rub the bridge of his nose. “So I am going to have to bring the auxiliary generators and backup generators online, divert extra power to the forward shields and phaser banks. So that way we don’t take too much of the brunt force while we lead the assault.” He looked down at the display to see the diagnosis was complete. “Ninety six point two. Damnit.” He then looked at Commander Bates. “Tell the Captain that we will be ready down here, he’s got nothing to worry about.”

Bates smiled, “He never did, Chief, but I will.” She then turned around and started to make her way back to the Bridge.

“Oy, Commander.”

Bates stopped, turned around to look at the Chief. “Yes?”

“You sure it was an engine failure? Two years of service and it just sprung up out of nowhere?” Lloyd asked.

Bates threw up her arms a little, “I only know what they told Starfleet. But they will be investigating it once they get the ship back to drydock.”

Lloyd frowned some, folding his arms across his chest. “I don’t like it. Right before the operation begins. Just sounds fishy to me.”

Bates never really considered that but now that he mentioned it, she began to feel uneasy about it. “We’ll find out whenever Starfleet decides to tell us what they find.”

Lloyd nodded his head, “Good day, Commander.”

Bates smiled, “You too, Chief.” And off she went.