Part of USS Edinburgh: Mission 3 – Take These Broken Wings

The Decisions We Make

USS Edinburgh - Bridge - 0900
August 5th, 2400
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The bridge was quiet as he sat in the command chair.  He’d spent most of his time in his ready room thinking on his encounter with Doctor Reid.  She’d surprised him.  Fontana wasn’t sure how he was going to explain to Starfleet Command the resignation of a first officer and a transfer request from a chief medical officer.  He wasn’t sure Patton would have advice on how to proceed either.  He focused on what lay ahead.  The news of the resignation of the first officer had spread throughout the ship as he had quietly updated the official roster on the ship’s computer.  He had caught glances from the bridge crew when he’d stepped from his ready room to the command chair and the relative silence on the bridge gave him a fairly good indication that this wasn’t going to be a walk through the stars mission.

Fowler at science spoke up, “Captain, sensors are picking up several transport ships coming out of Cardassian space at Septimus.  Current course has them headed for Moroga.”

Fontana leaned forward in his chair.  The orders from Starfleet had been specific.  “Ensign Prentice, open a hailing frequency with them.” 

The helm officer tapped at his console, watching and waiting for a response. A moment later a beep signaled they were responding.  “They’re responding – audio only.”

=^=This is the SS Heru with the Palasa Transport Group.=^=

“This is Captain Geronimo Fontana of the USS Edinburgh, SS Heru.  We’ve been instructed by Starfleet to ensure any and all transport operations are escorted to ensure safe travel.”  There was a pause on the other line and Prentice checked to make sure the connection was still there before looking back up.

=^=Your offer is appreciated, Starfleet…but we do not require an escort.  Thank you.=^=  The channel cut and Prentice glanced down at his console and then back up again.  He wasn’t sure of this new captain, and he had decided silence was his better option.  The rumors of his old CO resigning had been confirmed and the rest of the crew was wary of the new man in the center chair.  They still had a mission to undertake.

Fontana leaned forward in his chair, “Mr. Prentice, hail them again.”

He tapped the hail command and this time the channel was rejected.  He frowned and tried again.  Rejected.  “Captain, they’re…blocking our hails.”  The helm officer didn’t turn in his chair as he would with his former CO.  He’d felt comfortable discussing these kinds of moments with him.  Fontana had been notoriously independent in his decision-making since stepping aboard and it had and continued to rankle the crew.

“Helm, plot an intercept course.  Maximum warp. Let’s go.”  Prentice once more resisted the urge to turn in his chair.  He had to remind himself that the only CO he’d had was Harris and as his academy instructors would say, ‘There’s all kinds of CO’s out there.  Gotta get used to ’em’!’.  He tapped .in the command as the Edinburgh jumped to warp.  The bridge remained silent and the officers looked at each other while the captain remained in his chair, working the consoles on the arms.  The silence remained and after glancing at each other across the bridge they slowly turned back to their stations and the work they were doing.

The tedium continued until Prentice announced, “Arriving at intercept point.  Dropping from warp.”  The screen showed five transport ships moving at full impulse at first glance.  At second glance, however…

Fowler was the first to report, “Captain, sensors are registering multiple weapon modules on the transport ships…more so than usual.  Power levels are also spiking from the usual energy readings from comparable ships.”

Prentice was next, “Captain I am detecting multiple power surges on all five ships.”  Then, “They’ve raised their shields!”

Fontana stood, “Red Alert.  Tactical – ready with firing solutions.”  The klaxon rang as the lights dimmed to their ruby setting.  Kondo’s eyebrows furrowed as he lightly tapped the console.  He’d never been told to target a civilian transport in his life, no matter how much they appeared to threaten.  The tactical chief had at least expected the captain to hail the lead transport. Fontana stared at the five ships.  What had he stumbled into?  And why did it feel like he was on a runaway shuttle? The helm officer spoke up that they were being hailed and he nodded, “Go ahead.”

The speakers burst to life with, =^=What is the meaning of this, Captain!?  We told you we did not need to be led like dogs through this part of space…yet here you are with your shields raised and weapons charged!”

The captain replied, “We were instructed to ensure safe passage by Starfleet.  We merely wanted to make…”

=^=You came upon us unannounced in your large ship without reason or need.  I say this for the second time.  We do not require your services, Starfleet.  Leave us to our business.=^=  The channel slammed shut and Fontana watched as the ships hung in the air for a moment before speeding out of the area at warp.

Prentice spoke up, “Their course remains to Moroga, sir.”

Fontana bit the bottom of his lip, frustrated.  He turned to science, “Track them on long-range as much as you can, Ensign.  Put on a search pattern for the immediate area and beyond for any kind of ships.  We’ve still got a mission.”  Fowler nodded and returned to her console.  She wasn’t sure how to feel about the new face in the command chair but she hadn’t been impressed so far.  The captain returned to his center chair and tapped at the arm chair consoles.  This command felt different than his previous work and he wasn’t sure what it meant for him or for his future.  With Harris resigned, he was the highest ranking officer besides the chief engineer.  Had he somehow managed to find himself stuck in command of a ship?  And was he sure he even wanted this one?  He supposed that only time would tell.