Part of USS Denver: Mission 3: War is War

Conducting an Effective Defense

USS Denver
February 27, 2374; 15:00
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Elisabeth walked down the corridor from the turbolift leading to the bridge, ruminating on the latest drill she had been through; the weapons test was beyond successful, but problems had arisen. The Captain’s sharp reprimand rung in her head as she walked:  “Stand by isn’t good enough Lieutenant…the Dominion won’t wait for you to get things right. A second’s delay is the difference between life and death; between scoring a hit and eliminating a threat and allowing that threat to continue. Inaction is worse than a poor decision.” It was a sharp reprimand, to be sure, but the Captain had hit the nail on the head. She knew that she could not repeat that particular failure. Even though ultimately she had made the right decisions and had saved the ship, Elisabeth was dissatisfied with her performance and with the difficulty she had with point-defense. She wanted to explore different tactics (or combinations thereof) to enable her to learn what the best way to counteract Cardassian and Dominion fighters would be. She knew that torpedoes could be programmed to follow laser guidance, which was activated from the main deflector, but she was less sure about the phasers. And so, she wanted to run some drills on the holodeck.

“Computer, create program Chapman Alpha-1. Recreate USS Denver bridge with transparent bridge to see out on the saucer section. Place 8 Dominion fighters directly opposite the Denver.”
The computer trilled and suddenly she was staring out into space, the 8 Dominion fighters directly in front of the Denver.
“Computer, if a fighter is disabled or destroyed, replace with new vessel until further orders are given.”
“Acknowledged.”
Elisabeth then started tapping the console and began to fire phasers. The ships stayed in position, no movement taken. She cursed mentally, then looked out at space.
“Computer, enable evasive movement as if the fighters were involved in a fight with the Denver. Extrapolate tactics based on Dominion intelligence briefings and sensor readings taken during past engagement.”
The computer trilled again. Suddenly, the fighters came alive, and started zipping around, firing potshots at the Denver. Of course, the shields were impenetrable, but it felt like a real combat scenario. Elisabeth then started tapping her panel and went to work.

She started with the baseline calibrations, including her modifications, and similar results to the simulated battle occurred. The targeting scanners were too slow to track the fast moving targets. She moved the sensor readings to the screen off to the side, in front of her so she could actually read the sensor displays and see what the sensors were seeing in real time. Doing this, she discovered something that she could not have during battle: even though the scanners were programmed to track targets that moved fast, the innate resolution of the scanners made it so that the scanners could not keep up with the maneuverability of the fighters. It could track, but not target. Elisabeth pondered these results for a moment, then, turned back to her console.

She tapped a few orders, then pulled the same laser trick that had saved the ship previously, but instead of feeding it to the torpedoes, she fed the targeting data to the targeting scanners, enabling both phasers and photon torpedoes to follow the targeting. She programmed the phasers to follow the laser targeting, then pressed fire. Phasers fired at full strength, dealing crippling blows to various fighters and knocking them out of commission.

She smiled at this new discovery; laser targeting was easier to follow than computer targeting, though as she was soon discovering, the laser targeting system had a limited range. Using the deflector, she discovered that there was a limited range and ability for the lasers to track the target, and because of the deflector dish\’s position on the ship, required constant maneuvering to keep it abreast of the fighters. She tried different configurations, but none seemed to work. Before giving up, she tried launching a probe, modified to emit laser beams from the weapons pod, and linked it with the deflector dish. It was a novel idea, one that had never been tested, but considering the circumstances, it was worth a try. The weapons pod was a nice alternative, but it didn’t have the instrumentation required. For her plan to work, the pod had to be retrofitted, preferably in spacedock, but she could probably retrofit it on the fly with a worker bee, a shuttle, and a few engineers. In the meantime, she could use the probes to increase the effectiveness of the lasers, though that plan of action required approval from the Captain.
“Computer, end program.”
The computer trilled, and once again she was standing in the holodeck, with the doors facing her.
“Computer, transfer all data collected to my personal computer terminal in my quarters.”
The computer trilled again, and after a moment, she walked toward the closed doors, and out of the holodeck.

A while later, Elisabeth sat in her quarters, at her desk. looking at all the data. She grabbed a PADD, and began to write her report, synthesizing everything she had learned. After a few hours, she had a completed report, and so she sent that report to the Captain and First Officer.