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Part of USS Atlantis: Mission 8: The Art of Restrained Power and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

The Art of Restrained Power – 11

USS Atlantis
June 2400
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Engineering aboard the Atlantis wasn’t like the engineering spaces aboard those first-generation Sovereign-class starships with their massive cavernous spaces. No, it more resembled something akin to the Galaxy-class, as all that empty volume was given away to other functions on other decks and access to the dilithium armature was actually possible without a ladder. A concession had been made for space, like the Chief Engineer’s office, or the larger space around the ‘pool table’ for teams to discuss as whole groups. Or that there were in fact two pool tables, one near the core, the other further back in the control space.

It was at this table that Velan and Maxwell were both standing around, looking over a series of diagrams on the table surface and a slowly rotating green hologram in the space between the two men. “You know,” Velan said as he stopped the hologram rotating and looked at a specific part of it, hands zooming in an access panel he’d become rather intimately familiar with over the last two days, “this all looks very familiar to me for some reason.”

“Because you’ve been working on them for two days Ra,” Maxwell said without looking up. He’d been more focused on the status reports coming in from the teams still working on the platforms. Over half the weapons platforms have been restored to some semblance of functionality. All of them had functioning power supplies, their fusion reactors fully refuelled from Atlantis’ tanks, which they could refill in an afternoon if they wanted to. Most of them had functional shield generators, but only half of them had weapons, marking them as green on the status display. The shielded ones were yellow and the rest red, though the number was smaller than it was a mere day ago, it still irked both men.

“No, not that. Like I’ve seen this design somewhere else before.” Velan stroked his beard, and tugged at it gently, pondering his options. “Computer, compare specifications and scans of the Daloon defence platforms with all PDS schematics in memory and return similarities.”

“Working,” the ship’s dutiful computer replied. “There are two similar systems in memory.”

“Show them here and here,” he stated, waving his hands in the space on either side of the Romulan platform’s hologram that he’d zoomed out of. “And highlight similarities”

All the holograms became mostly translucent as similar components were highlighted. The platform on his left only had a few similarities, which he attributed to being really only one sensible way to layout a comm array. The other however was awash in neon green as similar parts and components were highlighted. “Dismiss this one,” he said, waving at the left-most.

“Geez, aside from the weapons and power plants, these are almost the same platform,” Maxwell said, walking around the table to join him in examining the similarities.

“Wilcox and Leckie Mk3 Gallant Planetary Defence Platform, circa 2297.” He folded his arms across his chest with a smile. “Knew I’d seen that platform out there somewhere.”

“So what, a hundred plus years ago some Romulan spy stole the plans for a state-of-the-art defence platform and the Star Empire actually put it into production on their side?” Maxwell asked. “I mean, it was pretty damned good for its day, but why not just use it for inspiration for their systems?”

“They did,” he answered. “They kept all the good bits, swapped out phaser and torpedo launchers for disruptors and plasma launchers, put their own shield generator on it and called it a day.” He shrugged. “They didn’t have to do any of the complex design work really. They likely stole all the software as well, put a layer over the top to make it look like their own, wrote some modular code to handle calls for weapons and translate to their own systems, called it a day and let the Federation foot the design time. We would never have suspected at the time and they knew the ins and outs of a premier defence grid.”

“Well, okay, but how does that help us?” Maxwell followed up. “We’re still needing to finish work on these things and their design and software isn’t our major holdup Ra.”

“Your right, your right. Just…it had been nagging at me you know.” He smiled, then dismissed the additional hologram. “Right, so, what do we need to finish off the last of these platforms? I want them online ASAP.”

“You mean Mac wants them online ASAP,” Maxwell corrected with a smile. “So, we’ll need…”

Roughly an hour later Velan had called Mac down to Engineering, opting for his office versus the pool table, where he and Maxwell had their two-day plan on display. Work schedule, priority listing, calibration testing schedule with the ground side control centre – everything needed to bring the old system online. It still wouldn’t deter a determined assault on Daloon, but lone ships and pirates, once Atlantis left, would likely not have a good time.

“Your worst estimate is two days?” Mac asked as he stood before the main display, his hands idly scrolling through some of the information presented there. “Your best is this time tomorrow?”

“Assuming we don’t find any interesting problems, testing goes well and we don’t hit any manufacturing snags,” Maxwell chipped in as he’d been leading most of the briefing anyway. “The reason why we think we can speed things up is it took us a while but we came to a realisation,” a cough from Velan gave Maxwell pause, “Ra came to a realisation.”

“Thank you,” he interrupted with a smile.

“That the Daloon defence grid is a Romulan clone of a Wilcox and Leckie Mk3 Gallant Planetary Defence System, from the control centre all the way to the platforms,” Maxwell finished.

“A what now?” Mac asked as he turned to face the engineers.

“Federation defence system from a century ago. Was pretty damn good for its day but woefully out of date now,” Velan answered. “With that though we were able to pull up the old testing programs to help out, as well as some software updates to improve targeting time, sensor data resolution. Now it’s only sixty years out of date.”

“Does this help us out in any other fashion?” Mac asked.

“Well,” Maxwell looked at Ra with a shrug, got one in return, and then continued. “We could build a system control override and run the entire system from Atlantis if we wanted to. Our computers are more than enough to handle the entire platform grid.”

“We’re not hijacking their planetary defence system.” Mac’s tone was firm on this. “We’re trying to build trust here, remember?”

“Just a hypothetical,” Maxwell responded. “And honestly, not difficult. Wilcox and Leckie had actually designed a starship control module for the system at one point. Needs to be installed on a single platform and assuming ground control isn’t fighting you for control, the network is yours.”

“Shelve it,” Mac said. He turned back to the work schedule and nodded his agreement with it. “I like this plan, gentlemen. Drinks are on me if you can achieve the one-day plan.”

———-

Commander Telrit Frent, commander of the garrison of Daloon, was a woman in awe right now. Her own people were still working over the scene around the Faler household and yet here she was visiting the Starfleet vessel to see the results of bomb reside analysis her people had only just started investigating.

The entire ship felt new, was new she’d been told in fact. That was perhaps why they’d been able to figure something out so much faster than her people who had to make do with older, less sensitive equipment.

Her escort through the ship had been a rather energetic young man at first, chatty but quick on the uptake that she wasn’t and so he’d slipped to just showing her to a science lab where the ship’s science officer was. The entire staff present looked young and new to her, save for the Tellarite, but they all looked wisened and grumpy to her from any age. “Lieutenant Camargo,” she addressed the dark-haired woman who came to shake her hand in that human tradition. “Commander Frent, Daloon Garrison.”

“Pleasure to meet you Commander,” the young woman said, then led her over to a piece of scientific equipment whose purpose was unknown to her just from looking at it. Held in a suspension field however for all to see was a piece of charred wood splinter the length of her forearm and just as wide. “We’re continuing to refine our analysis,” Camargo continued as she brought up some data, “but we’re confident enough in our first-order analysis.”

“And what have you found?” she asked. What was it with scientists always needing to be prompted to continue giving the answer?

“The explosives are Romulan in manufacture, that much was obvious within minutes, but certain trace chemical signatures make us believe that they are of Star Empire manufacture over those of the Republic or Free State.” Camargo then brought up a display of the explosive used, its chemical nature and structure. All of it immediately over Frent’s head. She wasn’t a scientist, but a garrison commander. She’d not even be investigating this at all, letting Public Order do it, if not for Kavos’ gesturing in the aftermath. “My people are confident enough that these explosives likely originated from Rator itself thanks to trace elements within the explosives.”

“So Rator is providing explosives to someone on Daloon who is using them to blow up key faction leaders,” she mulled out loud. “Why though?”

“My opinion,” Camargo said, then waited for Frent to signal to continue. “Blowing up a key leader, killing them even, could have possibly led to the targeted faction taking a regrettable course of action.”

“Rioting you mean, feeling like they’re being targeted.”

“Or withdrawing from the debates to minimise their contribution,” Camargo added. “Didn’t the democratic leaders do just that as well?”

“Kavos,” she muttered.

“Commander?” Camargo asked.

“Marik Kavos. He stands to remove one of the largest counters to his ideology, thereby pitting the old guard versus his idiotic militarist nationalism.” She looked over the data once more. “Can you send all of this to me immediately? I need to consult with my people and present this to the democratic leaders as well, to let them know who most likely went after their deceased leader.”

“Oh, you haven’t heard?” Camargo asked with a slight tilt of her head. “Both victims are alive.”

She stood there shocked for just a moment, staring at this young woman. She hadn’t heard, or if she had she hadn’t absorbed it properly. But here she was out of her comfort zone, so that likely helped. “Show me.”

“Up to the doctors really ma’am,” Camargo said as she started to lead her to the door, the security escort falling in behind, “but I’ll take you to them right now.”

Comments

  • So much going on here, Ra seemed to have been focused on something within the platforms, and realizing that they were stolen and reconfigured to fit the Romulans was a bit surprising. Though it wouldn't have surprised me that they did so, in the end, it would help them get repaired much quicker. Now, the bomb was a good turn of events having it come from Rator which means that someone from within was supplying someone with weapons. Frent immediately suspects Marik Kavos to be the more logical one to have done this to turn on their 'thought' to be deceased leader. I can't wait to see what happens next.

    July 3, 2022