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Part of USS Erigone: Into the Fire and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Gasoline on the Fire

USS Erigone
May 11, 2400
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USS Erigone – Bridge – 1330

“Lieutenant, sensors are picking up something…odd.”

Jordan Reid stood from the command chair and stepped down to watch over Ensign Prentice’s shoulder, “Define…odd.”  She moved over to the ops console next to him.

“I’m getting a familiar reading…computer classifies it as Romulan in origin.  There it is.”  He tapped the console and sent the report to her.

She tapped the console and frowned, “Oh, that is not good.  That’s the brief signal we picked up when we arrived on-site at the distress call.  Distance to us?”  She sprang from the station and bounded back up to the command chair, sitting in a huff, her heart rate elevating slightly.

The helm chief shook his head, “She was moving away from us, looks like towards our station assignment…but something spooked them.  They’re at the far end of our long-range sensors.  My guess is they felt our eyes on ’em…they are slowing and adjusting a course to intercept.  Lieutenant…”

Reid stood, “Way ahead of you, Mr. Prentice.  Go to red alert.”  He gave a nod as she tapped on the arm of the center chair, “Commander Harris to the bridge, we have a situation.”  The klaxons rang loudly this time.  Red alerts were more pressing, and so the designers of the computer systems had ensured that nobody on any ship would have any doubt about needing to get up and move when that signature sound rang from deck to deck and back again.  The Erigone was a small ship, but people still had to get to stations.  They still had a group of engineering officers on board and they were scrambling to report to main engineering and their damage control stations.  The lights had already flickered to a dark red hue as well as the LCARS brightened and the red sigil blinking on the walls.

The doors at the rear of the bridge flew open and Ambrose stepped out, giving Reid a nod as she slipped to the rear science station and he slid to a halt in front of the center chair.  “Report.”

Prentice was working his console as he spoke, “The ship that attacked the Pentax appeared on our long-range sensors.  She was headed towards our assignment but then turned towards us.  Think they picked us up.  Shields are up, weapons ready.  I’ve dropped us out of warp and plotted several escape patterns if needed.”

Harris remained in front of the center chair, seeking his crew’s guidance, “Solutions, Mr. Allen?  We didn’t get a good look at them before…what are our chances?

“Our chances are good, sir, and confidence is high.” Roger used an old saying from Earth’s past, though he meant it. He didn’t know yet exactly what they were facing, but he knew what his skills and abilities were.  At this point, we don’t know for certain why the Pentax was attacked or what the intentions are of what’s coming, but I like to think they’re not keen on firing on a Starfleet vessel. Once we’re in range, I’ll scan their ship for any vulnerabilities I can find.”

This was what Roger wanted to experience. Serving on a base was fine, but it couldn’t come anywhere near the rush he was feeling now.

Harris sat in the command chair, “You and I would like to think they’d avoid firing on a Starfleet vessel…but so far they’ve surprised us at each turn.  Prentice – how much longer did we have until we reached the station?”

He didn’t even have to look at his console, “Two hours sir…hour and a half if we pushed it,” he turned in his chair to face his CO, “We could always try and out fly them to get there.”

Harris smiled quietly, “I am well aware of your qualifications in the outlying category…and I’m sure Ensign Allen would relish the challenge of running and gunning.”

“Yes, sir.” Roger wasn’t really sure what else to say, but getting away without having to fight was always better.

Ambrose sat back in his chair, “The Romulans on that station still need our help…and this might be a distraction move to keep us away from whatever further damage someone might be doing out there.”

“If it is a distraction, it could be they’re waiting for more ships to arrive,” said Roger. “We need to keep our eyes open.”

Harris thought on Allen’s advice, “Agreed.  Keep our eyes and ears open, Mr. Allen…and our fists ready to fly if all hell breaks loose.”  Harris turned to his FO at the science station

Reid shook her head, “It’s a rock and a hard place, commander.  The mission comes first…there’s hurt people out there and a station that needs our help.”

The CO returned to face the bridge, “I’m not a fan of a no-win scenario.  Prentice, maximum speed to the station.  Redline her if you have to, but close the distance between us and the station.  Stand us down to yellow alert.”  The lights faded to a lighter yellow.  Harris turned to Reid once more, “Can you push out the long-range sensors to give Ensign Allen a better picture of what we’re looking at?”

She nodded as she keyed in the commands on her console, “Working on it now.  Mr. Allen, you should see a clearer picture of our target…now.”

Roger studied the scan results. “The ship is of a configuration I haven’t seen.” He tapped his console. “It’s not in the database. I can tell that it’s comparable in size to the Erigone. It will need to come closer to get more.”

Ambrose stood from his chair and walked over to the ensign’s shoulder and examined the readings the officer was seeing.  “Comparable in size is one thing…you see that?”  He pointed at two odd-shaped points on the Romulan ship.  “That’s not Romulan design.”  He thought for a moment, “She ran from us when we came into range.  Now they’re circling around.  Why?”  He looked around the bridge, “Theories?”

Prentice shrugged, “They want to kill us?”  

Harris gave him a pointed look, “Too simple.  They wanted to do that, they’d have waited for us.”

The operations chief, Philips spoke up, “They wish to eliminate any witnesses?  We know it was them now.”

The CO contemplated it and dismissed it, “We’ve sent our ongoing reports to Starfleet – the secret is out.  Who killed who isn’t important to them.”

Reid frowned and turned to her console for a moment.  She turned back, a faint look of concern filling her face, “We have something they want.  There’s still plenty of data from the Pentax that the computer is sorting and I’m working on…what if there’s something in there that they don’t want revealed…that they fear that more than anything.”

Harris grumbled, “From the frying pan to the fire to whatever the hell this is…Mr. Allen, I need you to work with the engineering detachment we’ve been assigned.  Get them as experienced as you can in security in case things get out of hand and end up hand to hand.  We may be equally matched in size but I don’t believe in giving credence to anybody with a phaser pointed at my head…or charging at me with one raised.  How much time until they intercept us?”

Roger tapped the tactical console. “ETA is about an hour. They’ll reach us before we make it to the base.”

A nod from the CO, “Then we have that amount time to prepare for whatever’s coming next.  Doc, signal Starfleet on our updated status.  You best take five of the best medics from Mr. Allen’s twenty newly minted combat engineering teams.  Mr. Prentice, I need our weapons and shield viability reports as soon as you have them – I’ll take a crack at figuring out how to enhance them.”  He returned to the center chair and met each of his officer’s eyes, “We’ve have our orders.  Let’s get to it.”

The crew dismissed and went to work.

Comments

  • Incredibly cinematic scene, the back and forth feels really natural, and the progressive tension is built so very well here. Lines like “Our chances are good, sir, and confidence is high," play so well when used as a counter to the character's feelings and the circumstances - we're given the view of a character confronting the tension ahead, and therefore get to confront it for ourselves as the readers. I highly enjoyed seeing combat as not the must viable option, and I liked the way the characters come out reasoning why this strange ship is after them. Each of the involved characters felt realized, felt like an individual, which is quite a feat to pull off in such a short amount of time, especially where the focus of the plot isn't on character-building per se. I think that showcasing individuality within a cooperative platform like this, and bridging individuality with the communal needs of the story, is really a sign that people are listening to one another during the writing process.

    June 10, 2022