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Part of USS Edinburgh: Mission 2 – Wings of a Phoenix and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

The Ghost and the Darkness

USS Edinburgh
June 18, 2400
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USS Edinburgh – The Castle (bridge) – 0815

“They made it clear they didn’t want to ever see us again, Lieutenant.  What’s changed?”  Harris sat in the center chair as the red lights reminded everyone of their alert status.  He had turned to face Thasaz, his science chief with the question five minutes after they had left the Larakas Colony.

She worked to understand it as well.  “The Klingon element may play a part in this, sir.”  She tapped at her console, “Diplomatic relations between the two have been contentious at the best of times as there is some history of alliances and cooperation…”

He chuckled as he finished her thought, “And even then, it was tricky.  What do the Klingons gain from attacking the Romulans?  There hasn’t been any overt action from Qo’noS or call to action that I’ve seen in the intercepts recently…is this a feint?  Are they saying one thing and doing another?”

She turned back to face the commander, “To understand them you must have an understanding of their ways and means, sir.”  She answered his questioning look with, “Klingon culture…Klingon identity is at times complex and simple. In the days at academy we were required to study these things in order to prepare ourselves should we ever meet them in battle.  There is also history at play – the old guard of Qo’noS who rule and run the Empire – the warriors who built it with their own blood for the glory of their houses and the Klingon Empire.  In contrast to them are their children and the generations coming into their own.”

Ambrose appreciated her wisdom, “I’m impressed – you’ve done your homework.”

She scoffed, “When you live through times where the threat of a Klingon war was still very real…you do all of your homework.  Facing them in space or on land was a nightmare for us – the battle is in their DNA, Commander.  Not bloodthirsty…but a deep and abiding relishing the action of the fight…and the blood spilled on either side.”  She shrugged, “As I said, simple yet complex.”

Prentice announced, “Seven minutes to intercept.  Long-range sensors showing three ships in combat but unable to discern who is who yet.”

Thasaz thought for a moment, “We need to be considering this is not an official act sanctioned by the Klingon Empire.”  Harris raised his eyebrows and she explained, “You are correct – communications intercepts and recent observations don’t seem to suggest that the entirety has declared war on the broken empire next door.  It is easy to forget how big the Klingon Empire is – the Great Houses, the Minor Houses, and everyone else – it is a sprawling enterprise…and within such a large operation…”

The CO whistled in reaction, “You might have a few loose screws rolling around on the floor.”

Kondo spoke up from his tactical station, “We studied Klingon battle operations in the academy – along with everybody else.  The Klingon method is far less process-based as we might be in our tactical planning…they’re free from those constraints in the pursuit of glory for their house and empire.”  He mused, “A break-off faction scenario was far more unsettling than a threat from the entire empire.”

Prentice continued working at his station, “4 minutes.  Sensors are getting a better picture – two Klingon Bird of Preys are giving the Warbird a run for its money.”

Harris turned to his tactical chief, his mind contemplating what Kondo had said, “The faction would have fewer rules and no desire to open their ears to listen to the wise counsel from Qo’noS.”

“The old earth saying, ‘A house divided cannot stand’.  There may be a deeper and longer game being played on the border.”

“Two minutes.  All stations report ready, sir.”  Prentice tapped at his console, “We’ve attempted to hail all three ships – all we’re getting is static.  They may be ignoring us…or jamming any communication in the area.”

Commander Harris sat forward in his chair, “They never make it easy, do they.”  The chrono at the front of the bridge clicked ever onwards as the Edinburgh thundered through space at warp speed.  One minute.  He gripped the arms of his command chair, “Mr. Kondo – do not target anyone when we drop out of warp…but be prepared to snap into place.  Lieutenant Thasaz – try and get in touch with anyone on that Warbird – someone onboard called for help.”

“Thirty seconds.  Sensors report the Warbird is disabled…I had the two Klingon ships locked…and then they jumped to warp.”

Harris questioned, “Warp…not cloak?”  A nod from Prentice as he announced a countdown from 10.

9.

8.

7.

Each officer on the bridge took the remaining seconds to gather their courage and strength.  They had tangled with Romulans…and now Klingons…and all in just months’ time.

4.

3.

2.

Harris muttered quietly, “The fool rushes where angels fear to tread.”  The stars on the screen slowed and the image of a battered and bruised Warbird lay just ahead, off-kilter and rotating.  “Report.”

Thasaz’s hands were busy at her console, “Nobody else in the area.  Long-range sensors show transport ships on the far edge.  The Warbird is disabled…life support is spotty at best. Impulse engines offline, and warp engines are blown.   Their singularity core is stable – it appears their power management systems took a pounding from the Klingons.  Their shields are down.  No response on hailing frequencies.”

Rubbing his chin the CO tapped at his console on the command chair, “Bridge to Chief – Can we get most life support restored on Sharpened Cutlass?”

A pause, then, =^=Engineering is fairly stable – these later model Warbirds worked really hard to protect that singularity from blowing them to kingdom come.  I think five of us can get power restored in ten…should get the rest of the ship at least powered and stable.=^=

He turned to Kondo who handed his station to a junior officer and headed for the turbolift with a wave, “Mr. Kondo and a security team will escort you at all times.”

=^=Fair enough, sir.  We’ll meet him in transporter room 1.  Chief out.=^=

The turbo lift door opened a moment later, revealing Doctor Reid who leaned on the tactical arch, “I suppose I’m up next with a medical team?”  She accepted his nod as he tapped on his console, “I could use Lieutenant Thasaz’s expertise over there, Commander.”

At that, Harris looked up at Reid and then to his science chief who said, “If it saves some lives, I’ll do whatever you need, Doctor.”  They both left as Harris returned his attention to the screen.  The attack on the Sharpened Cutlass was particularly brutal as he continued to examine the sensor results that were ongoing. They had targeted parts of her hull and seemed to intentionally try to buckle decks connected to the engines and weapons – causing a cascade of power failures locally that rendered whatever offense the crew was attempting moot.  His science’s chief reading of the situation had an echo of truth – these were not warriors driven by blind rage or blood fury.  They had a plan.  And they had executed it.

Prentice was watching the sector carefully as his console chirped, “Commander, Chief reports they were able to restore power fast than expected.  Life support has returned to most areas of the Warbird.  Doctor Reid and her team are transporting over.  Chief reports they’re moving through the ship to the bridge.  She managed to get some preliminary sensor data from the Warbird’s computer…sending to your console now.”

The data streamed before him and he read until he found something…interesting, “Ensign…is this correct?  The two ships that were identified were the IKS The Ghost and the IKS The Darkness?”

Prentice ran back a check on the data and put it all through a diagnostic check to make sure.  A beep from his console was his answer, “Correct, sir.  Those ship names are accurate.”

“Oddly specific.  Computer, search all historical records for mention of ”The Ghost, and The Darkness.”  The computer trilled and went to work.  It took a few moments for his console to display the matches until he found the one that made the most sense.  “Well, whoever they are – they choose their ship names from Earth history.”  Harris put the information on the main screen and read it, “In 1898 two African lions, known locally as ‘The Ghost” and “The Darkness’, killed a number of workers on the East Africa Railroad at the Tsavo River and halted the project until they were hunted down and shot by a British foreman.”  He frowned, “Forget oddly specific…that’s downright odd.”

Prentice turned in his chair to face his CO, “Intentional?”

A shrug, “It could be something…or it could just be a coincidence.  Maybe there’s a legend in Klingon Mythology centered around something like this.”  He stood and walked back to The Tower stations behind tactical and handed a PADD to one of the science officers, “Ensign Menzie, do some digging into this phrasing within Klingon mythology and history…”, he thought for a moment longer, “…and add the same for Romulans in your search.”  He returned to his center chair wondering just what the Klingons were up to.