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Part of USS Altai: Spectres in the Dust

Ex Astris Alton

USS Altai, Bridge
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The turbolift doors barely had time to hiss open before Streth exited at a brisk pace. The master systems display to the rear of the bridge had been replaced with a situation map, fed by their initial scans of the Breen ship and supplemented with incoming data from the USS Oklahoma‘s sensors. 

“Hazard Team vitals read established,” a voice came from the communications officer assigned to mission ops. 

“Good,” Streth affirmed, “Jones, once the DOTs established a safe perimeter, beam them over.”

“Roger that, Captain.”

Streth turned his attention back to the main viewer. The dreadnought’s shadow glowered menacingly back. 

“Maec,” he called, “any change in the Breen ship’s status?” 

Maec shook his head “No, Sir! The ship is still as it was. There has been no visible changes for me to see concern…yet”

Carrie was monitoring her sensors and had an open comm link to the Hazard Team, ready to fish them out at a moment’s notice, when she picked up something on her long-range sensors. 

Carrie decided to hail Commander Streth and tell him what she’d seen. “Oklahoma to the Altai,” Carrie said, “I’ve picked up a new signal, bearing one-eight-zero mark zero-niner-five. Looks like… a Starfleet shuttlecraft. Bit far for something that small to be out here alone. I’ll see what’s going on.”

Carrie then closed the comms channel to the Altai and opened a channel to the shuttle: “Unidentified shuttlecraft, this is the Federation starship Oklahoma, Lieutenant Caroline Metrios in command. Please identify.”

“Oklahoma. This is Ensign Alton Jackson. I’m enroute to the starship USS Altai. Transfer. Was tracking them but started experiencing……..problems. Can you assist?”

“Ensign Jackson, this is Lieutenant Metrios. Please state the nature of your emergency, and we’ll try to get you aboard the Altai as soon as possible,” Carrie replied.

She muted the comm line to the shuttle and opened one back up to the Altai. “Commander Streth, it’s Lieutenant Metrios. Shuttle occupant is one Ensign Alton Jackson, supposed to be a transfer. He is experiencing problems at present, currently awaiting further details.”

“Acknowledged, Oklahoma,” came Streth’s response. He looked towards the communications officer, “go ahead and patch him through.” The computer chimed momentarily, before Jackson’s voice was broadcast throughout the bridge.

“My voyage was running smooth enough, until I passed into this area. Then I started experiencing several unexplained anomalies. Add to that, and this may sound unbelievable, I started seeing ships….that weren’t there, and strange voices over the comm system.” Alton paused. “Lieutenant, I’m not a science officer, nor an engineering officer, but I do have some engineering courses at the academy….so I can’t logically explain what happened.” 

Garbled static followed for a while, and Streth stepped over to the communications booth, “What’s the problem?” 

The officer on duty cycled through a number of frequencies in rapid time, “It’s hard to say…” The Bolian officer looked concerned, “His transmitter must be experiencing power fluctuations, he’s fading in and out.” 

“Well if we can’t reach him, standby to lock a tractor-” Streth froze. Behind the interference still audible to everyone on the bridge, there it was, a faint guttural rumbling. It was barely perceptible beneath the hisses and pops of subspace, but Streth had heard Breen speech before, “Can anyone else hear that?” 

“Streth, it’s Carrie. I can hear it too. It appears to be some sort of transmission from the Breen dreadnought. I don’t like this at all, Blue. Something going on here, and whatever it is, it don’t sound good,” Carrie replied.

“Keep an eye on that frequency, Lieutenant,” Streth was somewhat relieved he was not just hearing things, despite the dangerous portent, “first sign of trouble and we’ll pull the away team.”

After about 5 minutes of silence, Alton started worrying that he wasn’t really talking to someone. “Jackson to Oklahoma, are you still there?”

“This is Metrios. Ensign Jackson, you are cleared for approach. Pass, friend,” Carrie replied.

The subspace interference abruptly ended at that point, leaving Carrie to wonder just what that was all about.

The interference was gone, and the channel was clear. Streth replied immediately, “Affirmative, Ensign Jackson we have you on sensors. Transmitting an approach path,” he nodded to Maec, “you’re cleared for landing in shuttlebay two. Report to the bridge at once upon landing. Altai out.”

Jackson homed in on the approach path and changed course. The trip to the Altai was going to take 15 minutes, maybe longer with having to dodge some of the anomalies this sector seems to have. Nonetheless, it’ll be good getting out of this ship. The food replicator’s selection is terrible. The music in the library computer is limited to say the least. And worst of all, there was no female companionship to keep me company!

Finally, the Altai came into view. It was a lovely site to see. She won’t be the biggest ship he’ll ever serve on, but it’ll be home. “Oklahoma, making final approach.”

“Oklahoma confirms. Commander Streth is waiting for you. Metrios out.”

Alton powered down the shuttle, and several crewmembers ran towards the shuttle. Alton walked out, and three security officers moved towards him, their hands on their phasers. One shouted out, “Orders!”, so Alton gave him his travel orders. The officer looked at his orders, then looked at him, and handed the orders back. “Turbolift one is there…the captain is waiting for you.” 

“Roger that!” Alton ran to the lift and entered. “Bridge.” he instructed the lift, and within seconds, he was there. He exited the lift, walked to the captain, “Ensign Alton Jackson reporting for duty, sir!”

“At ease, Ensign,” Streth remained at the rear of the bridge, still studying the dreadnought schematics, “our Hazard team is about to beam over to this location,” he gestured towards the insertion point, “then we start the clock. We’re taking that dampening weapon,” he moved his finger across towards the Breen ship’s ‘nose’, “then moving up to the ship’s main computer core to see if we can get our hands on some bio-neural tech. If all goes smoothly.” the words fell from Streth’s mouth in a lowered tone, “We could use you monitoring the away team’s life signs from ops. That’ll free up Lieutenant Jones to monitor their progress. As soon as you’re ready, we’ll beam them in.”

“Aye sir!” Alton moved to the Ops console and brought up the away team’s life signs on the console. “Ready, captain.”

Streth turned his attention back to the display, “Bridge to transporter room one, beam in the DOT.”