Part of USS Mackenzie: Mission 1 – Back to Work

Chaos At Work

USS Mackenzie - Bridge
10.17.2400 - 1700
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Harris entered the bridge from his ready room and gave a nod to his XO, and she returned to her engineering station on the left side of the bridge.  They had discussed her position as his second in command on the much bigger Mackenzie would require her on the bridge far more than before.  Her recommendation for assistant chief still needed an interview with both of them.  He took the center seat as the newly promoted chief helm officer announced they were entering the Fenris system and dropping from warp.  “Thank you, Mr. Prentice.  Chief Fowler, what do we see?”

Sadie was on the right side of the front console, a position she still wasn’t comfortable with since everyone looked at her no matter what she was doing.  Prentice had been kind and encouraging when they’d entered the bridge and were given their station assignments.  It helped to have a friendly face.  She tapped at the console as the sensors and her science team began to feed her information and reports, “The planet Fenris is on long-range sensors.  We’re detecting no other ships in the sector.  Various warp trails are showing on sensors, but nothing recent.”  She tapped her console, “There is no sign of our intended escort, captain.”  She turned in her chair to face Harris, “I’m also having a hard time picking up any communication traffic, sir.”

Harris turned to the right as Ensign Atega worked on her console, her frown growing until she turned to meet the gaze of her CO, “Lieutenant Fowler is correct.  There is no trace of communications signals anywhere in this system.  There should be echoes, traces…or just chatter from the planet or something…but it’s reading dead silent.  The last survey recorded a handful of active signals and trace residuals.”

“How long ago was that?” Harris asked.

“One week ago, sir.  It is unusual.”

“Damned peculiar is what it is.  Chief Kondo, yellow alert.  I’m not taking chances this close to Romulan space.  I know the Fenris Rangers used to operate on the planet, but they’ve since left…what do we think?” The lights on the bridge faded into a dull yellow as a soft klaxon sounded throughout the ship.

He turned to his tactical chief, steeped in thought as he spoke, “We learned in the academy the Rangers were the good guys – they worked hard to fight pirates and the like.  They’re not our allies, but they appreciate a good gesture or two.  What that means for our escorted freighter, I could not begin to guess.  Nothing good happens this close to the border and in this much chaos.”

Harris stared at the screen, “Any of the warp signatures match our transport?”

Fowler was ahead of him, “We’ve checked three times.  Nothing similar or related.”

Another pause from the CO, “Ensign Atega, try and hail the transport.  See if you can reach her.”  The ensign turned to her station and began to work.  Harris glanced at his XO, “This feels like a trap or something…but nothing’s been sprung.”

Okada shared her captain’s concern, “Maybe they thought they were getting the Eddie?  Lady as big as The Mack shows up, they fill their metaphorical pants and run.”

There were a few light chuckles on the bridge, and Harris rewarded his XO with a quiet smile, “Thank you for that image, Commander.”

Atega held the earpiece closer, “Sir, I’m getting a faint distress call from the SS PostAlley – they are under attack and requesting immediate assistance.  Sending you the coordinates now.”

Harris checked the console in his chair, “We’re fifteen minutes away.  Helm, lock, load, and fire.”

15 minutes later…

The bridge had gone from yellow to red as the officers had shifted to their battle stations.  Fowler had traded her station with Kondo so he’d be working side by side with Prentice as they faced whatever it was, and she could do her science work from a full console.  Harris leaned forward in his chair as Prentice counted down their arrival.  Sadie interfaced her sensor readings with tactical and kept as much of an eye on each ship’s status as she could while also trying to see what the hell else was out there.  The countdown ended, and the scene before them was chaos.

The SS PostAlley was a large transport that was being swarmed by five smaller medium shuttles that were actively firing on the ship. Harris stood, “Atega, open a channel.  This is the Federation Starship Mackenzie…” as he spoke, three of the shuttles peeled off and started firing, impacting the shields of the ship.

Kondo reported, “No damage to shields.  Looks like they’re trying to distract us.”

Ambrose remained standing, “Then let’s get into the middle of it.  Prentice, get us between them and the PostAlley.  Kondo, give ’em some warning shots.”

The Mackenzie thundered forward, pushing past the three shuttles, and nearly ran over the other two as the ten phaser banks let loose across all five shuttles, scraping against their shields and giving them a start.  Within seconds, all five attackers were fleeing.  Harris shook his head, “Guess they’ve never seen an Excelsior II class in action.”

His XO spoke up, “The PostAlley is pretty badly hit – she’s lost main power and auxiliary is thready.  Request permission to take a team?”

He gave her a go and hit his commbadge, “Captain Harris to Chief Reid – you and a triage team will be needed in transporter room one – we’ve got injured.”  He returned his attention to the screen as he glanced back at Kondo, “You think they’re done with us yet?”

De La Fontaine wasn’t sure.  He’d only encountered a few pirates in his short career.  “The Expanse pirates were an entirely different breed, Captain.  They were ready to fight…they’d done the work to be ready for us.  Looking at the scans we got off these ships…these are ships sent to annoy, harass…and maybe steal one or two if they get lucky.  Maybe they’re the scouts…but it doesn’t feel like they’ve got a bigger ship just around the corner.”

Fowler spoke up from her station, “I was looking at their power profiles with Chief Okada…we nearly shorted out their shields when we shot across their bows – the power grid on those things must look like an old earth Christmas tree wired all over the place.”

Harris returned to his chair, “It’s possible because the Fenris Rangers aren’t as big as they used to be around here…the bad guys are trying to have a comeback?”

Prentice turned in his chair to face the captain, “What’s that old saying…’power abhors a vacuum’?  Pirates gotta pirate.”

Ambrose chewed on his bottom lip, “Thing is…we were sent here to do something about this kind of thing…so pirates are gonna pirate…but the Mack’s gonna, well…Mack.  Chief Fowler – get with your team and see what short and long-range sensors will give us.  There might be a few more players on the field that we haven’t met yet.  Stand us down from Red Alert, Chief Kondo – let’s be ready to fill our hands if someone comes our way.”