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Part of USS Denver: Eye of the Storm and Bravo Fleet: The Stormbreaker Campaign

Ripples in a Pond

Approaching Paulson Nebula
February 11, 2400 19:00
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-Five Days out from SB86-

Ethan was in his quarters and a holographic representation of Trinity was being broadcast to the ship over sub-space radio.

“You’re in uniform,” Trinity observed.   “I have to be honest that’s a little weird.”

“It’s weird for me too,” he said as he picked up a thermos of coffee and poured himself a cup.   None of their quarters had replicators.

“No whiskey either?”

“On duty… and I don’t want to start being an alcoholic you know.  That wouldn’t work.”

“No, I suppose not.  So, how bad is it?” Trinity sat down next to him on the bed wrapping her arms around him and leaning in.  “This hologram of you even smells like you,” she said lifting her head off his shoulder in surprise.

He grunted in response,  “The miracles of modern technology.   It’s bad enough,” he said answering her original question.  “Starbase 86 was overrun with refugees and I head Starbase Bravo is at capacity too.”

“The were reports were saying it was bad,” she said soberly. “What do you think about those rifts?”

“I don’t know,” he admitted.   “I’m not a scientist.  To be honest. I’m surprised they sent us, but we aren’t evacuating anyone with the Pike, but we may be freeing another ship may that is needed in that capacity.”

The comm beeped and the voice of the team’s pilot cut in, “Commander we’re approaching our assigned rift.”

Ethan sighed and tapped his combadge,  “Acknowledged Ensign.   Have Jolie and Adam report to the bridge.”

“Understood.  Bridge out.”

Ethan squeezed Trinity’s hand and kissed her.  “Duty calls.”

“It always does,” she said with a slight smile. “Damn that duty.”

Ethan chuckled,  stood, and went to the holo-emitter controls.  “I’ll call you as soon as I can.”

“You better.  And no late-night liaisons with your XO,” she teased.

Ethan rolled his eyes, “Goodbye dear. I love you.”

She smiled, “I love you too.” With that, Ethan closed the comm; and she vanished. 

  -Elsewhere-

Adam is in the Pikes’s gym working on some cardio. He runs to keep his cardio strong. You never know what you are going to get into with a mission on the Pike and being able to run can be very important. The call to the bridge came just as he was toweling off. “Acknowledged Ensign. On my way”

Jolie lay on her bed with her eyes closed. It had been an eventful couple of weeks since she had been contacted by Ethan to join the Pike. She remembered the Commander’s stepmother quite well as she had taken a fancy to the Commander when she was a child.

Now here she was serving alongside the very same bloodline that she had known all those years ago. The thought couldn’t be contained and she sat up and tapped the monitor on the bedside table, and called her father.

Just before she was able to establish the call she had to cancel it as her intercom called for her to report to the bridge. A sigh left her lips as her fingers left the icon on the monitor.

Stepping out of her room she nearly collided with Ethan, on her way to the bridge, “Commander,” is all she said with a slight nod and fell in behind him.

“You can call me Ethan you know.  I’ve known you since you were playing with Aimee and Liv on the Denver. You probably don’t remember me. I was just their older brother.”

Of course, she remembered him how could she have not but that another lifetime, or so it felt. With a nod, she remained silent as they headed for the bridge.

  -Bridge-

“Go to yellow alert Mr. Stephens,” Ethan said sliding into the center chair.

“Aye Commander. ” Adam said as he pushed the intercom button and said “All hands to yellow alert.”

“Approaching within one-hundred kilometers of the event horizon of the rift,” the pilot announced.

“Hold position.”

“Holding position aye.”

“Jolie,  what are the sensors telling us?”

Jolie raised her head from the console, a puzzled expression on her face. She didn’t want to give Ethan the scan results until she had confirmed what she saw on them. She was even more perplexed after a second scan of the rift.

“This doesn’t make any sense, Ethan,” she said as she continued to stare at the console. “My initial rift readings indicated that the rift in front of us has temporal conditions. But when I ran the scans again just now, they were gone and the rift wasn’t even there,” she said, looking up from the console to confirm that the rift was still visible on the viewscreen. “However, as we can see, the rift is right there, one hundred kilometers off our bow.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.  Run a quantum spectral scan.” The hairs were raised on the back of his neck. Something didn’t feel right.   “Adam go to red alert.   Scan for indications of cloaked ships.”

“Already on it,” Jolie said as she finished the command input on her console. “No change on the rift,” she announced.

Adam pressed the intercom again and said “Red alert. All hands to battle stations.”  he then activates the ship’s scanners ‘Sir I am picking up traces of a neutron surge. Something nearby is cloaked”

“Adam see if you can track it.  Jolie… I need answers here.”

“Running more targeted scans.” Adam says looking at his console “The cloaked vessel is 75 kilometers off starboard bow”

“Lieutenant, where did you see that neutron surge?” Jolie asked as she began to run her next series of scans on the area around the rift; running through ever-known and theoretical combinations.

Adam sends his scans to Jolie’s console.  “Here is the exact location.”

“Helm back us off. Nice and slow. They could just be curious about what’s going on like us.  Are your scans complete Jolie?”  Ethan stood and went to the tactical station looking over Adam’s shoulder studying the scan, “That’s a strong signal.   More than one ship or do you think this storm is making the cloak of one ship malfunction?”

“It’s hard to say, sir. If it’s just one ship it’s big. Really big. But it’s likely interference. I am trying to enhance the scanners right now, but I don’t know how much that will help.”

He patted Adam on the shoulder.  He wasn’t getting any answers and that was something he did not like.  He let out a long sigh and then turned in a decision,  “Jolie hail the ship.”

Jolie nodded and tapped on her console, “Comm’s open, Ethan.”

“This is Commander Ethan Talon of the Federation Starship USS Zebulon Pike to unidentified vessel seventy-five kilometers off of our starboard bow.  Identify and state intentions.”

Two Romulan Valdore class warbirds decloak at the coordinates on the screen and the voice of a Romulan male comes back on the comms. “This is Commander Malthius of the IRW Meron. We are here scanning the nebula. I presume you are doing the same”

“We are,” Ethan replied.  They were no match for one warbird let alone two. There was no need for them to be cloaked unless they were up to something. “Perhaps we could pool our resources together and be done quicker.”

“Sir the Romulans are powering up weapons. I am rerouting power to shields. There is no way we can fight them.” Adam says.

“Captain,” their pilot announced from the helm. “The phenomenon is expanding.”

“On screen,” Ethan said as he moved to the center of the bridge. The outline of the rift started expanding exponentially, and alarms blared in a warning. “Get us out of here! Maximum warp!”

The helm beeped in resistance as their pilot tapped in the controls, “We’re unable to establish a stable warp bubble.”

Ethan dropped into his chair and braced his feet against the floor as he pressed the all-call button. “All hands, brace for impact!”

The ship was buffeted, slight at first, but increasing in intensity before they exited the rift and into open space.  The Romulans were gone, and so was the nebula.  

“Helm control coming back online,” the pilot announced.

“Audren, is our cloak available?”

The Hylon woman looked away from her console,  “It is. Engaging cloak.”

“Helm, full impulse 010 mark 85, and follow a zigzag course for the next fifteen minutes and then come to a full stop.”

“010 mark 85 zigzag courses,  aye,” the pilot responded. 

“Jolie I need answers, and Adam, find those Romulans.”

Adam begins scanning the area. “I don’t see the neutron surge anymore.  I think they are… gone.” He pauses before the last word, unsure of how the ships could have disappeared with no warp trail or cloak signature of anything.” 

Jolie looked up at the viewscreen and then back down at her console and then once more at the viewscreen, “Um something is wrong here. These stars are off,” she stated as she looks now at Ethan.

“Off how?” Ethan asked a sinking feeling hitting the pit of his stomach. “Like…other side of galaxy off?”

Unexpectedly, a ship decloaked on the primary viewscreen. It appeared to be a Romulan ship, but it wasn’t. The second thing that stood out on the viewscreen was a female Romulan’s outfit. The usual grey tunic and black slacks were replaced by a solid black form-fitting costume with a blood-red sash that draped from her shoulders. The sash carried what appeared to be medals and awards, all clumped together except for one that appeared to hold the sash to her shoulder.

“This is Commodore Sukitha of the starship Balnag of the Galactic Commonwealth of the Imperial Romulan Star,” she introduced herself. “With whom am I conversing?” She inquired, her gaze fixed on Ethan, as if she already knew who was in command.