Cooper has been roaming around the station trying to pinpoint the power consumption increase. It wasn’t a big deal, as per her calculations, the power generator in the cavern is more than capable of recharging what is used up, but it was an unexpected and likely an unscheduled operation that someone is doing without authorization. On the matter of the power generator in said cavern from that really awesome moment…the room as it is now with such a speedy construction and reinforcement with forcefields, is not being reinforced with more plating, so that way they can shut the forcefield generators down to conserve more power and have them there as back up in case…well, in case the bugs start hitting the fan.
Her tricorder updated to a new location of where the source was coming from, which lead her to the main engineering section of the station, which was probably the first thing she should of expected. She looked around to see the staff just doing normal work, until her eyes laid on Lieutenant Beck and his new companion, Dotty, a DOT from the Starfleet Corps of Engineers ship. Since those two were here, she knew they were up to something, so it was time to investigate while she headed right for them. “So are you two the reason for the increase in power consumption?”
Beck looked up from whatever the device it is that he was working on and smiled. “Hey there, lass! Ah…possibly, and most likely will be using up more power. But I’ve done my calculations, I won’t be using too much.” He explained before going back to the large, circular shaped device.
“Mind explaining what you’re making there, sir? I mean, for Chief Operations sake of the station.”
Beck looked up at her again with an even bigger smile. “Me and Dotty here are creating large holographic emitters.”
Cooper raised her brow, “Really? For what purpose?”
“Well, we have no doubt that the Breen knows we are here but I want to make them think we abandoned the station by using these holographic emitters to hide the base entirely. Make it so that this asteroid is nothing but an asteroid.” He explained.
Cooper frowned, “But the asteroid would be in the very same spot where this base is, wouldn’t they just figure it out?”
Beck shrugged his shoulders, “Possibly but I’m looking into alternative ways to make it more difficult for the Breen to find us.”
“I think it is a brilliant idea.” The voice behind Cooper made her jump, spin around and glare really hard at the person only to see that it was the First Officer, Lieutenant Jones.
“Holy crap, where did you come from?” She asked.
Jones turned and pointed at the door, the same door she came through. “Even if the Breen happens to know where the base is, these emitters will at least hide the Altai when she is docked with the station, so in turn they would believe that the Altai is either out on patrol or on some other task and that the station is defenseless. Element of surprise would be in our favor if the Breen ever decided to pay a visit.”
She shook her head and looked back at Beck. “So why’s Dotty here?” She asked.
Beck chuckled softly, “She is here learning. She is recording every move I make in making this emitter, so that way she can do the same on her own. Once I am finished, she will be able to make more emitters at a faster rate.”
Cooper sighed. “Oh well. At least I found where the extra energy consumption was coming from. Thought we had a short or something.” She then looked to Jones. “I assume you didn’t come down here just to see Beck’s progress?”
Jones chuckled, “Actually I did. He asked me about it before he began working on it.”
“Oh.” She said.
“And I just about…got it.” He put his tool down and pressed a button that activated the emitter. Suddenly the entire room was warped into nothing but a white space. “Well…it’s not connected to the grid, nor is it receiving any commands of what to project so…”
Cooper rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Just fix it please, before someone stumbles somewhere that would be very bad for them.”
Beck pressed the button and the emitter went offline, thus the white space warped back to normal interior of the engineering bay. “There we are.” He then looked to Dotty. “How about it, lass? Think you got it?”
Dotty looked to him then the emitter and then back at him before nodding its head and making a sound of joy. It then took off only to return few minutes later with a large crate full of parts, only to start making several more emitters at an incredible rate.
“And of course, as soon as she is done making the amount we need, she already has the designated locations of where to install the emitters and she will do just that so we don’t have to send anyone out on an EV suit adventure.” Beck explained, smiling as he watched Dotty work.
Cooper just sighed some and threw up her hands. “All right. At least I know where the extra power consumption was coming from, I’m going back to work. Lots of stuff to do.”
Beck chuckled and raised a brow at her. “Someone burn your coffee this morning, lass?”
Cooper raised her brows and pursed her lips. “Funny you should say that, because yes! The goddamn replicators that the Starfleet Corps of Engineers installed had gone and burned my coffee. I mean, they’re not even gone for what…a few weeks…and stuff is already breaking down?”
“Conflict with Breen technology?” Jones asked.
Cooper threw up her hands again. “I don’t know! There shouldn’t be any conflicting issues. I mean, we all checked the configurations and ran several dozen diagnostics to confirm that Starfleet and Breen technology was integrated successfully and yet here we are, food replicators burning shit.”
Beck chuckled, “Ya sure ya didn’t forget to reset the replicating parameters?”
Cooper looked and glared at Beck before pointing a finger at him. “You’re not funny. And I’ve wasted enough time here when I should be working.” With that, she stormed off, but not without grabbing a tool kit.
“It is rather concerning that equipment that the Engineering Corps is already breaking down.” Jones told Beck.
Beck just shrugged his shoulders, “Who’s to say that they were given brand new equipment? Starfleet has the tendency to scrap down anything old and refurbish and restore anything that they can put back into use. You know, recycling. We recycle just about everything now. I wouldn’t doubt that some of the equipment that the Corps installed are put together with parts as old as my grandfather.”
Jones snorted, “That would explain a few things.”
“Oh don’t get me wrong, sir. Starfleet is good on making sure things work up to spec, but when it comes to communicating with other technology, eh…tends to get wonky.” Beck explained before he saw that Dotty was finished making all the emitters required. “Oh sweet. Want to come along, sir?” He asked as he placed the emitters into a crate on a hover lift, only to grab it and started to head out. “Come along, Dotty.”
“Sure, why not.” Jones followed right behind Beck.
“So if you don’t mind me asking, sir. But what’s a former intelligence officer doing out here?” Beck asked.
“Over heard that did ya? Or read my file?” Jones asked.
Beck shrugged his shoulders. “Little of both. I like to know who I’m working for.”
Jones smirked, “Broadening my experience and skillset. Maybe I want to be a Captain some day, maybe an Admiral. Can’t be either one if I’m always working alone.”
“Did you prefer working alone?” Beck asked as they entered the lift, Beck pressing a button after Jones entered the lift with him.
Jones shrugged his shoulders, “Was something I was used to. Made the job easier most of the time. No one to rely on, but also you don’t have the responsibility of others but your own. I couldn’t see myself leading a team or being part of one and losing someone on a job that I can easily do by myself.”
Beck nodded his head. “I suppose so. I mean, I could maintain the Altai all by myself. But then I wouldn’t get any sleep.” He chuckled.
Jones smirked and shook his head, “That’s different, Chief.”
“Is it now?” Beck asked. “But let’s just put a pin in that.” The lift doors split open and the two gentlemen walked towards an airlock where Dotty took the emitters, hovered into the airlock and Beck began the decompression sequence after sealing the inner hatch. Once complete, the outer hatch opened and Dotty went to work installing the emitters. “So tell me, Lieutenant.” Beck turned to face Jones. “What kind of solo missions did you do?”
Jones raised his brows as one came to mind, “Well…”
“Are you sure about this, Lieutenant?” Asked the Commander.
“Yes, sir! I’ll be fine alone! It’s better this way. The job is to get in undetected and remain undetected. One person has a higher probability of staying undetected than multiple people. And this your ship, your crew. This is my mission, my responsibility. I will not let you risk the lives of your crew by bringing me in and risk being attacked by these Klingon bandits in the Archanis Sector.” Jones explained as he had checked his equipment and began to strap himself in.
“My ship, my rules, Lieutenant. Besides, those drop pods are not entirely safe.”
“Safe enough for the job. And unfortunate for you, sir, Starfleet Intelligence has authority over this mission and so do I. Deploy the pod.”
“Fine, Lieutenant. But we will do our best to deliver supplies on a monthly basis per mission parameters.”
“You do that.” Jones finished strapping himself in the pod and hit the button that sealed the hatch. He then gave the Commander a thumbs up and the Commander returned the gesture after he was given the signal from the Bridge that they had just dropped out of warp. The Commander then hit the button on his end, which opened the outer hatch, deployed the pod and activated it’s navigational systems, thrusters and engines, propelling the pod at great velocity towards the planet. Jones watched as the Akira Class starship, the name of the ship he has already forgotten, immediately pulled a one-eighty and jumped back to warp.
Transporters were out of the question, as the energy signature would have been detected by sensors on the planet and by orbital platforms. Same with a shuttle craft. No, a drop pod, completely covered in cloaking panels and sensor reflectors was the only option Jones had to avoid detection. But it wasn’t going to be fun, because half the time these pods failed entry of a planet’s atmosphere. It didn’t matter if the pods were configured correctly to different types of atmospheres before deployment, it was mostly because the airbrake system would either fail, deploy too early or too late, deploy and snap off from the sheer pressure and the thruster breaking system would be forced to engage for safety reasons but increase the risk of detection. Plus it was a very bumpy ride, as the pod now was entering the planet’s thick atmosphere and Jones was already getting warnings from the terminal above his head indicating the airbraking system was malfunctioning.
Then there’s the fact that inertia dampers were mediocre, the g-forces and the struggle to get his hand over to the terminal was real. He needed to reset the system quickly or the airbrakes will deploy late and the thrusters will fire to prevent a fatal crash, which is something he really needed to avoid to remain undetected. Once he finally got his finger over the reset button he pressed it, and he kept pressing it until the system finally stopped saying malfunction and deployed. Just in time too, because once the pod’s speed reduced to a safe velocity, three parachutes deployed and brought the vehicle to a slow descent into the forest. Or at least…that’s what they were suppose to do, but they didn’t deploy at all. One last safety feature, the system detected a likely crash at a rough velocity and deployed the airbags inside the pod itself to ‘reduce’ the impact for him, which didn’t do so well when the tip of the pod nose dived into the ground in between several trees before tipping over and landed on its side.
The hatch was then ejected from the pod via an emergency ejection, of which Jones had activated, before the man pulled himself out of the pod and tumbled over onto the ground, panting heavily. He laid there on his back, staring up at what he could see for a night sky through the branches and leaves, as he caught his breath. “I hate these things.”
Jones cleared his throat and looked directly at Beck. “If I told you, son. I’d have to wipe your memory.”
Beck chuckled, “And here I thought you were going to say ‘kill me.'”
Jones shrugged his shoulders, “If the memory wipe failed, then yes. You’re body would likely be found in a maintenance shaft and be seen as an accident.”
Beck laughed before shaking his head. “I am going to enjoy working with you, Lieutenant. I bet.”
Jones smirked, “If this holographic system you plan on setting up to hide the station and the Altai when docked…then I think I will enjoy working with you too, Lieutenant.”
Beck smiled, “Oh it’ll work. We’ve already installed several yesterday. These are just the last dozen that we needed to install before activating the system.”
“And the power drain won’t be severe?” Jones asked.
Beck shook his head. “Nah. That reactor down below is generating more power than we thought. It’s one of those, got to warm up a bit to pump out the juice, kind of generators.”
Jones shook his head, “And that’s Breen technology?”
Beck shrugged. “I suppose so. None of us has much understanding of it.” Beck’s commbadge started to go off and he tapped it. “Dotty is finished!” He smiled and then they see Dotty returning to the airlock, where Beck starts the sequence again but vice versa. Then he pulls out his red padd from his back pocket. “All right. Here goes nothing.” He said as his index finger pressed one single command. On the inside, they couldn’t see anything happening but on the outside…the entire visibility of the station and the docked Altai have become nothing but a rock face identical to the rest of the asteroid.
“Is it on?” Jones asked.
Beck looked at his padd then showed it to Jones. “Sure is!”
“What if there are working crew outside the perimeter?” Jones asked.
“They would of received a notification. We thought up of everything, Lieutenant. No one will be caught by surprise by this except for maybe our Commanding Officer.” Beck grinned.
Jones shook his head with a chuckled, “Well you better hope he likes it, because if he does, I’m taking the credit of approving it. If he doesn’t, it’s all on you pal.”
Beck chuckled, “Of course it is. But come on, let’s get to the Operations Center and see if we got the Breen surprised or curious.”
“Or if the Commander going to chew you out.” Jones added.