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Part of USS Altai (Archive): M3: The Edge of Yesterday

The mystery continues

Altai Bridge / Romero
January 2401
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After a few hours of traveling at warp, the Altai eventually reached the location of the Romero and had dropped out of warp at a safe distance just to approach at half impulse. As the Steamrunner-Class vessel approached the Dominion War-dated Excelsior-Class vessel, they found the ship to be way off-axis, that is if there was some sort of standard, the Romero was listing almost all the way to the port, and the bow was slanted downward with the aft slanted upward. They could also visibly see that the main power was offline, as there was no interior lighting and all other visible light sources were dark.

Joran stabilized the Altai’s position bringing the steamrunner to a relative stop, 20 kilometres from the Romero. If there were any spiders he figured they would have a hard time making a jump of that distance. “Sir, we are in position, 20km from the Romero. I can take us in closer if you like.”

Hayes didn’t like the looks of it at all, as he stared at the Romero that was displayed on the main viewer, as he stood there in the center of the bridge, his left arm crossed over his chest, with his right elbow resting on top of it and his right hand stroking his chin. He was deep in thought, mainly due to the fact that he did have a slightly ulterior motive for this mission. Was he under orders to investigate this ship? Of course. But he had been informed that his third-year academy instructor had taken the Romero during his fourth year at the Academy. And his instructor was not authorized, nor did he make any request to take the Romero. Something was definitely going on, and finding the ship completely in the dark like this did not soothe his fears. He feared that he would never see his instructor again and that he would never get the answers he was looking for. He can only hope that his former instructor had left some sort of message to explain his actions.

Astrid looked over at the Captain who seemed to be in his own little world. She walked up to him and cleared her throat “Captain we have arrived at the Romero. What are you orders for proceeding?” She wasn’t sure why the Captain wasn’t paying attention, but it seemed to be a normal thing in hard situations. She had seen many officer do it. In fact she was sure she probably was guilty of doing the same thing.

Hayes blinked, then cleared his throat. “Right. Yes, of course.” He turned to look at both Ortiz and Katsu. “I want a full sensor sweep of the Romero. Katsu, look for the mechanoid spiders under the parameters that were given by Starfleet. We should be able to locate and pinpoint their location on board. When you get the data back, please put a holographic display of the ship here in the center of the bridge, with the location of those spiders. Please. Ortiz, I want full data on the condition of the Romero. I know she looks like the main power is off, so we won’t be able to establish a link to their main computer, but I just want to be certain.” 

Alton sat at the Ops console, diverting power to the main sensors.

Standing behind the console, Katsu took a deep breath letting the scans do its thing for the Romero. Her eyes locked onto the information that poured onto the console and narrowed slowly her eyes. Then looked at her Captain “We have fifteen mechs in their main engineering, ten at the bridge and so far I can see their power output is low indicating their in sleep mode” 

Michelle wasn’t sure why she had been invited to the bridge. She wasn’t a senior officer, and for the life of her could she figure out why the captain would want an anthropologist present. Awkwardly working the controls of her console she spoke up, “Main power, and auxiliary power appears to be offline. I don’t think life support is active either. I am reading no heat signatures anywhere.”

Staring out at the apparently lifeless ship Joran couldn’t help but shudder slightly, the sight of it reminded him too much of the Breen dreadnought and the horrors he encountered there.

Astrid looked over the crew and stepped up to speak “Excuse me, Sir, but I do believe we need to send a team over to see just what happened. Either the crew is dead or something else happened. I think it prudent we find out what happened. We wouldn’t like it if another Starfleet ship found us and did not a thing about it.”

Alton spoke up. “All scans show no humanoid activity on board, captain….which means they are probably all dead, sir. And I volunteer for an away mission to search the ship for possible survivors, sir.”

Hayes let out a heavy sigh at the last announcement of information. He rubbed the bridge of his nose as he felt his fears and disappointment settle in. But he recomposed himself and cleared his throat. It was time for action. “No humanoid activity could also mean that there is no one on the ship. But you’re right. They very much could be dead. Escape pods?” Hayes requested.

Alton checked the scanners. “Captain. All escape pods appear to be accounted for.”

Hayes nodded his head. “Still leaves it open to being captured. But there is only one way to find out.”

Hayes looked to Vogler. “I’ll leave you and your team in charge of dealing with the mechs in Main Engineering of the Romero. Fleming and I will take a team to secure the Bridge. My suggestion would be to lure the mechs out into the corridors and choke them into a single line of fire. With the new upgrades to our hand weapons, we should be able to eliminate them with ease. Remember everyone. Aim center mass. Our weapons will punch through their alloy and their primary control systems are in the center of the mechs. Shoot it, and the mech is done.”

Cooper stood there behind one of the consoles on the bridge. “As you said, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.”

Hayes turned to Cooper and nodded his head. “Precisely. I want this mission to go smoothly as much as possible. Take no risks. Don’t go to them; make them come to you. Lure them into your advantage point and nothing should go wrong.”

Hayes then clapped his hands together. “Alright. Teams. Fleming and I will lead Alpha. Tel, Ortiz, and Jackson will also be on Alpha. Vogler and her team will be in charge of Bravo, where Randall, Katsu, and Cooper will also join. Questions?”

“Uh… sir,” Michelle started.  “I have a question.  What good is an anthropologist for on this mission?” She was terrified,  and didn’t want to admit it.  She had heard the encounters the crew had with the bugs and she wanted nothing to do with them.

Alton responded. “One question sir…standard weapons?”

Feeling the fear crawling up her spine, Katsu looked at her new Captain “Sir two things, my surname is Oka, and you are calling everyone by their surname. Second….does a science officer be required to deal with ….these mechs?”  Katsu looked concerned. 

Hayes smiled. “All good questions. I apologize, Oka.” He made sure to get it right. “I must have missed that in your file. As for you and Ortiz. We need to learn more about these mechs. Why are they hostile? What is their intent? Their true origins, were they made by us or by someone else? Did they come into existence on their own? All those answers are on that ship, whether in the logs or perhaps we’ll find another dead mech to study. Hook up to the computer and scrounge through the data. The one Starfleet analyzed was built here, in the Alpha Quadrant, and its data on their existence, who made them, and where they came from, didn’t exist in its data banks. That seemed rather odd, especially since they came from this ship, as far as we know. Starfleet does not believe that the crew made them. I don’t believe they made them. So they came from somewhere, and the answers are on that ship.” Hayes pointed at the Romero on the view screen.

“We are explorers first. Exploring and learning about new cultures is what we do. But the safety of everyone in this quadrant or this galaxy also takes priority. Learning more about them gives us an advantage of either trying to negotiate peacefully or gives us a tactical advantage when negotiations fail or do not apply. Listen to your team leads, and you’ll be fine.” Hayes told Oka and Ortiz before he looked at Alton.

“Standard weapons, modified to deal with these things. Shoot center mass, and you’ll punch a hole through their vital systems, and they will cease to function.” Hayes explained. “If that sounds good to everyone, Alpha Team will meet in Transporter Room One, and Bravo Team take Transporter Room Two. Gear up. Alton and Cooper, make sure you bring some power packs to power up the consoles when we get to our designated locations.”

Cooper nodded. “Aye, sir.”

Joran spun around from the con and nodded, “Works for me, the less of these spiders things the better I say.”

“Sir, I would like to assign Bravo Squad to your group,” Vogler said offering half her team to protect the captain.

Hayes smiled. “I appreciate the concern, Lieutenant. But your team will be dealing with five more mechs than mine will be. Long as we make them come to us, we have the advantage and we will be just fine. Everyone has their orders, let’s get it done.” With that, Hayes led his team into one of the turbolifts to transporter room one.