The bridge was a hum of activity when Rebecca stepped off the turbolift. She had made a detour to engineering from her quarters to check on things there before heading to the bridge. As such, she was the last to arrive for Alpha Shift. Commander Cheon Kyo was sitting at the center seat and Chapman was behind him in the tactical position. On the viewscreen was their escort, the S.S. Mariposa sat centered on the viewscreen. Some 10,000 Starfleet troops were on that ship and it was their job to ensure it made it to its final destination.
“Report people,” Rebecca ordered as she moved to the center of the bridge.
Cheon stood up to relieve the command seat to Rebecca as she began her orders.
Crawford took an extra drink from his coffee mug as he tapped at the operations console, “Operations at stations keeping. Mariposa reports they have secured all stations and are ready to get underway.” The morning had come early and with it, duty. Peter was a morning person normally, but for whatever reason today had been a hard one to wake up to – he hoped it wasn’t a portent of what was to come. He hated having that nagging feeling about something going wrong. It usually turned out true. He crossed his fingers hoping his track record would be broken this time around.
With a nod, Cheon looked over to Beth as he waited for her report from the Tactical station. His hands moved behind his back as he stood there listening to the reports. In his hands was a PADD from the Night-shift and their report of the leftover assignments.
Elisabeth was tapping on her console, setting the tactical sensor sweeps up as everyone gave their report. After a pause, she looked at her panel. It was nominal, across the board. “Captain, tactical is ready. The new upgrades are in place and functioning; we are prepared for everything and anything.” She silently hoped to herself that the extensive trainings and preparations she had made of her department would be effective. Still, her intuition was sparking, and she was not fully comfortable.
“Night shift reports?” Rebecca asked Cheon. “Anything I need to know?”
Cheon handed over the PADD, “Nothing to note of other than a couple of fluctuations in an EPS grid on deck 24, which might disable the replicators on that deck until the issue is rectified,” he informed her, “I’ll have Commander Lovecroft take a look at it.”
“Noted,” she said to her XO. “Knowing Lovecroft he’s probably already on it. Mr. Tolly, set course 018 mark 51 warp six,” Rebecca ordered as she slid into the recently vacated captain’s chair.
Tolly nodded his fingers moving over the console, “Aye Ma’am, course laid in. Ready at your command.”
Rebecca sat back in her chair, “Engage.”
Tolly moved his finger touching the screen on his console moving it forward sending the ship into warp.
“Mr. Crawford, continuous scans for Dominion ships please.” Rebecca was feeling unease about this, and that old familiar moisture on her palms was creeping in. They were well behind the front lines, but still close enough to run into Dominion raiding parties.
Peter kept his eye on the console as he set the scanners onto a repeating cycle. He was still new at this whole thing and wasn’t willing to let anything to chance. The danger with complacency was that you’d find out just how far you’d slid into ignorance…and it usually hurt. “Setting scanners on a rotation.” Peter tapped into the communications system to see what chatter was available. Sometimes something that seemed out of place was an explanation of something far more dangerous than just a missed reading. Sometimes it was the difference between life and death. Crawford had heard that from his instructors at the Academy with enough stories to back it up. He wasn’t about to make a rookie mistake if he could avoid it.
“Thank you, Mr. Crawford, ” Rebecca responded. She relaxed a bit and glanced over at Cheon, “Maybe after Tyra I’m just a little paranoid, but something doesn’t feel right.”
Cheon turned his body to look at Peter, “Mr. Crawford, those scanner rotations, are they passive or active?” he asked as he looked into the green eyes of this man. He could see the confidence in the Ensign’s eyes but he wanted to ensure that even the slightest error could be a huge mistake.
Peter gave a slight nod as he continued to watch the sensors, “Aye sir. Passive only.” He carefully adjusted the patterns to ensure the sensor system didn’t get any crazy ideas and move into active mode. The system adjusted and continued to scan as the moments passed on the bridge. Crawford watched each screen that reported the ongoing results. He watched the readings move and shift with their position in space.
Then something caught his eye. An odd reading that was coming in and out at regular intervals. The computer was qualifying it as a mild disturbance in space. He kept the sensors passive but opened up the sector in their space where it was located. He ran it through the analyzer, and it came back with the same result – special disturbance. Crawford took the data onto a separate screen and began to pull it apart, data bit by data bit. Something was in there…and it wasn’t a special bump in the road. A second later, he stood up at his station, “Captain… we have something out there.” He tapped his console and sent the visual to the screen, “Original analysis was disturbance…but I pulled it apart in focus and found…this.”
“Analysis? Is it a ship or ships?” Rebecca asked, her heart skipping a beat.
Crawford further took the data apart as he updated with the real-time data that was updating from the passive sensor systems he had working. A moment later and he tasked the computer to examine the data and spectrum analysis with a few modifications, “I’m going to get the computer scenario to think about this differently for just a second…”, he tapped at the console, and then it trilled. Then it beeped. Then it alarmed. “Captain, we have at least one ship out there doing a damned fine job keeping hidden from us.”
Rebecca sat up in her seat. “Maybe they are just observing, but let’s err on three side of caution. Go to yellow alert. Weapons on standby, and inform the Mariposa.”
Peter slid the alert status on his console to yellow as the shields powered into place. He tapped the power directives to ready power for weapons. Another keystroke and the Mariposa was updated to the sensor readings and encouraged to set their passive sensors to do a similar search. The low bellow of the klaxon alerted the crew to the increased alert status and Crawford shifted his own attention and focus. Something was out there. And he needed to be ready. “Stations report keeping at Yellow Alert, shields are up and Mariposa confirms update. They’ve set their sensors to passive in a similar fashion, captain.”
Elisabeth had been preparing for just this moment; the new upgrades on the tactical sensors were doing wonders; she was tracking the foreign objects, but she did not have clear identifications. She chimed in. “Captain, my sensors are tracking 4 ships, unknown configuration. No identification made. Warming up weapons and preparing torpedoes.“ She felt a tingle in her spine, surely she was just paranoid, but something told her to be ready for something, anything. There was a bad moon rising.