Part of USS Cygnus: A Failure to Communicate

Orders from Starfleet Command

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Watching his officers go to their respective stations, minus Lisald and Anderson, who followed Spangler to Science Station 1, Bane himself stepped around the horseshoe and made his way to the Captain’s chair, but did not sit. He waited until Larsen made his way around, then spoke quietly to him. “Commander, you have the Bridge. I need to update Starfleet Command and let Deep Space 9 know we aren’t having much luck out here.”

Larsen simply nodded, then sat down in the Captain’s chair. Bane noted that the officer had little to say lately; he would need to make sure to get with him privately to make sure he is well, mentally. He sure hoped he was; Bane had plans for that man and his career.

Slipping into his office, the Ready Room, as it was officially called, Bane slipped behind his desk. “Computer, open a channel to Starfleet Command, secure channel Phi Theta Kappa One.”

“Confirmed, secure channel open,” the computer responded after a moment. A split second later, Admiral Braxx appeared on the screen.

“Hello, Admiral,” Bane began, as was customary, being the junior officer of the two.

“Captain, good to see you and the Cygnus are still in one piece,” he teased. “I understand you have been chasing down what you believe to be a Crystalline Entity?”

Bane nodded. “Yes sir, we have. Indeed, we are just aft of it now. It is headed for Cardassian space, one of their populated systems. I’m forwarding you the telemetry now,” he said, tapping the commands to send the information they had so far.

While the information was being transmitted, the Admiral furrowed his brow. “You are aft of it? I wonder why it isn’t scanning you or otherwise attempting to engage you.”

Plase nodded, understanding the confusion of the Admiral. “Best we can figure is, like I mentioned, we are behind it, and in it’s blind spot. Our shields are up, but beyond that, we have not been able to come up with a way to mask our energy or bio signatures. Or,” he surmised, “There is a juicier target up ahead. Sir, we are less than an hour away from Cardassian Space. Do we have permission to follow this thing in should we fail to stop it before then?” Bane was getting down to business. There was little time to waste.

The 3-pip Admiral shook his head. “No Captain, you do not. While our relationship with the Cardassian Union is certainly improving, we cannot risk an incursion, even under the banner of assistance to life and property.”

Bane sat back. “Admiral, with all due respect to you, that is ridiculous.  More than a hundred million lives and several thousand ships are on the line here.”

“I know Plase,” Admiral Braxx stated, holding his hand up much in the way that reminded Bane of how Admiral Janeway did it, not that he had ever talked to her or anything, but he had seen the recordings. “This comes from the Federation Council direct. I fought against it and went to bat for you and the Cygus, but my protestations fell upon deaf ears.

Plase shook his head. “Has anyone reached out to the Cardassians to see what they think, or what they have to say?” He doubted those desk jockeys in Paradise had the foresight to do that.

“Indeed someone has. The President did so just this morning, a few hours after you presented your initial findings and our teams here on Earth had time to analyze them. Your crew has done a remarkable job in such a short time, as we could not come up with any further hypothesis. The Cardassian Union has thanked the Federation, Starfleet and especially the crew of the Cygnus for their efforts and contributions, but feel that if you cannot stop it before it arrives at their border, they will be able to handle the incursion.”

It was Bane’s turn to furrow his brow. He took a quick look at the long range scans that Ensign Spangler, Lieutenant Anderson and Lieutenant Lisald were keeping active beyond the creature just ahead of them. From what he could see, there were no defenses being mounted, though admittedly at this distance, he could only see just inside the border of Cardassian space, and not all the way to their star system. “I don’t see any defense being mounted from our current position, Admiral,” Bane offered.

“I know. Still, you are not to enter Cardassian space. Do all you can to stop it, divert it or otherwise incapacitate it”

Plase felt almost like he’d been slapped. “You mean, destroy it, if necessary?”

“I trust your judgment, Captain Bane. Braxx out,” he said cryptically. 

Bane knew that Braxx had just pulled a swift one. He had just ordered the Cygnus to do everything they could, but stopped short of saying destroy the poor creature. If they did destroy it and later found a way the could have stopped it, they would be on the hook for the loss of the creatures life. If they didn’t and let it go, they would be on the hook for the lives, ships and planets lost ahead. 

Starfleet Command had just put the crew of the Cygnus in an impossible position. The crew of the Cygnus needed to find a solution, and soon.

 

OFF

Captain Bane, Commanding