Ready Room – Deck 1
Kirin sat on the sofa in her ready room as she scrolled through the most recent reports from the department heads on the refit. After the incident, she had no other way of thinking about it, with the strange blood dilithium crystalline entity in the Delta Quadrant the Sojourner had limbed back to the Alpha Quadrant. The two months since had seen the ship in dry dock being repaired and refitted based on suggestions by her department heads. While there she had been tasked with overseeing the refit of the USS Andromeda as well.
She looked up from the engineering report and out the window as the stars streaked by. The report was very informative as it outlined adjustments to the warp core and the seemingly endless list of faulty equipment that was replaced or upgraded. She had to admit though, their last mission had put the Sojourner through its paces and identified a number of minor issues with the ship which could have become serious if they had been further from support. Now that these had been repaired Kirin was confident that the Sojourner was no in better shape than she had been before they went to the Delta Quadrant.
She couldn’t help but smile at that, the ship had performed above her wildest expectations and she was excited about the future. After months of delays, they were on their way to Deep Space 47 in the Thomar Expanse and the crew were excited about the possibility of exploring that region of space.
Putting down the report she glanced at the time, “Hmm, ten minutes,” she muttered and activated the wall display to the Federation News Network. After a couple of minutes of random news stories primarily focused on the upcoming Frontier Day a report about renewed Breen aggression in the Deneb sector came up. Kirin frowned as she watched and couldn’t help but hope the star fleet vessel in that area where up to the task. After the report ended she stood and made her way to the bridge but was stopped when her console chimed.
Kirin stopped, looked at her console, and quickly sat down, seeing a priority one message for her. “These are never good,” she muttered as entered her access code and began to watch the message from Fleet Admiral Ramar.
After watching it for a second time she tapped her commbadge, “Ensign Tycon set a course for the Deneb sector, maximum warp.” She then opened a link to her senior officers, “All senior officers report to the briefing room in 10 minutes.” As she played it over in her mind the secondary message from Vice Admiral Beckett gave her pause, ‘Trust only the Fourth Fleet. What could that mean?’
Briefing Room – Deck 1
Thirty minutes later Kirin closed down the holo display and looked at her senior officers after running through their new orders from the fourth fleet, “I know that was a lot to take in. Does anyone have any questions?”
As expected Thanen spoke up first after looking around the room, “Dominion vessels in the Deneb sector it seems surreal. Though I am not surprised the Breen have allied with them. Though the data from the Caliburn is concerning, can these ships be the missing ships that the Defiant faced off? And if so why now?”
Kerry glanced at Kirin before speaking, “The Dominion and the founders always thought ahead. They have likely been hiding in Breen space and beyond waiting; for them to have appeared after 25 years doesn’t track. That said, if command thinks it isn’t much of a threat why should we? They surely have access to more info.
With a snort, Ril responded as she gave Kerry a sideways glance, “Command rarely has all the info. Barely know what is happening out here especially now. They seem overly focused on Frontier Day. Bet some admiral doesn’t want to scare people.”
Kirin shook her head, “I do not know about that but we have our orders. Be it the Dominion or the Breen there are people at risk so we will be there.” She paused and took in their expressions before turning to Belania, “Belania you have any questions?”
Belania looked down at the PADD before her and shook her head, “I need to read through this and may have questions later.”
“We lack information and that is our biggest issue, we will be rendezvousing at a staging area near Farpoint station. This fleet was born out of the Dominion War and we will be taking the fight to them. Prepare your departments we are taking the Sojourner into a fight I suspect.” Kirin stood up and looked at each of them, “Dismissed.”
The Next Day…
Crew Lounge 4 – Deck 6
Dese sat slowly nursing a black coffee as her mind raced through the briefing she had with her department head, Belania, early that morning. Staring into the mug she didn’t notice when her roommate Jenoda came over.
“I take it that the dark cloud in your head is about the briefing you had, the Dominion?” Jenoda asked.
Dese looked up surprised, “I thought you were not going to poke around in my head,” she said sourly.
“We have talked about this D, I have no need to, your thoughts are broadcasting to everyone. We need to work on your mental discipline.”
Dese rolled her eyes, she really liked Jenoda but she always was on her about her ‘mental discipline’ and her very loud thoughts. Ignoring the comment she just nodded, “Yeah, I know we have been in combat before but the Dominion War and the combat during it was at a whole other level. It ended years before I was even born and I have heard stories about it, I am, well I am scared.”
Jenoda slid into the seat across from her and placed one of her hands on D’s, “I know what you mean, I remember my parents talking about the invasion of Betazed. I remember feeling their lingering free and apprehension when they spoke on it, especially around the Jem’Hadar soldiers and their brutality.” She stopped for a moment as she thought back to it before continuing, “This will be different, the whole fourth fleet is mobilizing, they won’t know what hit them.”
“You think so?”
Jenoda nodded, “Look Lieutenant Dawson just briefed us. She gave all the information but I got the impression she wasn’t sold on the idea it is the Dominion. For all we know it is just the Breen trying to spook us.”
Dese looked up, “Really? How come?”
Jenoda shrugged, “Not sure, just the way she spoke about it. I think a bit of it is due to the fact she was really looking forward to getting to the expanse. It was all she used to speak about.” She stopped for a moment then continued, “Well when we were in the Delta quadrant anyways. Since then she was focused on the refit.”
Before Dese could respond she saw Ined walk into the small crew lounge. She gave him a wave and he began to make his way over. Looking back at Jenoda she just nodded, “That is fair, the thought of the Dominion being back does seem far-fetched but from what I heard from the Captain she is taking it pretty seriously.”
Ined came over and dropped onto the seat beside Dese. Leaning over he gave her a quick kiss on the cheek, “Hey, what are you to talking about?”
Jenoda shook her head slightly, as much as she tried to not read either of their thoughts Ined just didn’t care about hiding his. Well, the ones that he knew annoyed her and Dese, well, any strong emotion and thoughts just radiated off her in waves. “What do you think?”
“Ah, the briefing,” Ined said, “I think it is running through most people’s heads at the moment. Everyone is more on edge than they were yesterday that is for sure.”
Dese snorted a little, “I cannot imagine why. The Federation wasn’t the same after the war.”
Ined nodded, “Yeah, my partners were both on ships when home was invaded but I remember seeing recordings of it, places I know and have been with Jem’Hadar soldiers moving. I would be lying if I said this didn’t make me nervous.”
Holodeck – Deck 2
Ril let out a laugh, “Bel you have let your practice slip. Your accuracy is down 10% since our last training. Remember, keep calm, and track your target.” Ril unslung the holographic rifle from her shoulder, “Computer reset targets.”
“I know, I know,” Belania said.
Several floating disks appeared in the space before Ril and Belania before they began to move rapidly in all directions. Ril brought up the rifle and fired off 5 quick shots scoring hits on all the targets. Glancing back at Belania she, “The new orders still on your mind?”
“Yeah, I was up all night reviewing all the data that was sent through. It is concerning that even if the Caliburn data is accurate that a Sagan class ship took so much damage from ships a quarter of a century out of date. I worry that if the number we suspect is true there might not be enough of us.” Belania stepped up and to the firing line, “Computer reset targets.”
“The Third Order is sending ships to reinforce us and once we get more information I am sure that Command will send more ships. A few Manticore class destroyers would make short work of Dominion ships,” Rill said with a laugh.
Belania turned around and looked at her, “Are you not worried at all?”
Ril shrugged, “Worried? Yes, but this is part of the job and if we don’t help those people then they will be left under Dominion rule and that cannot be allowed.”
“I get that,” Belania said, “the thought of it is a bit overwhelming I guess. That and it is very close to Ferengi space and I worry about my people though I guess they will just see it as a business opportunity. Rule 34; war is good for business.”
Ril laughed, “It’s been a while since you quoted one of those.”
Belania thought on that for a moment, “Your right. I used to always think in terms of them but not so much anymore.”
Ril smirked, “Changing the way you think isn’t a bad thing at times. Now, those targets won’t shoot themselves.”
Two Days Later…
Fourth Fleet Staging Area – Deneb Sector
The Sojourner dropped out of warp near Farpoint station and proceed forward at full impulse.
Ril let out a low whistle at the collection of ships before them. “I don’t think I ever thought I would see such a collection of Federation and Cardassian ships.”
“The Cardassians will remember what the Dominion did to them for a long time to come. I cannot say I am surprised to see that the Third Order sent so many ships,” Thanen said from near the engineering station. “There is quite the collection of Galor and Keldon class vessels with a good number of Hideki to support them. I guess they kept their newer classes of vessels at home. Though I am surprised to see that Hutet, I never thought I would see one of them. They are very rare.”
Kirin sat and listen as the crew spoke amount themselves for a few minutes while some of the tension left the bridge. “Belania, send a message to Fleet command and confirm our arrival. I expect we will have our orders shortly.”
Belania was about to respond when the chimed, “Ah, Captain. They are already messaging us. We have a holding pattern confirmed and there is a message for you from Commodore Ekwueme.”
“Thank you Belania, I will take it in my ready room.”
Kirin stood up and headed off the bridge, “The bridge is all yours Thanen.”
A moment later she found herself sitting at her desk as she accepted the communication after entering her authorization code. “Commodore,” she began, “I was not expecting a message from you.”
“Captian Tarken, I am trying to speak to as many of the captains as possible. I wanted to thank you for making it here so quickly. The Sojourner will be a valuable addition to the limited forces we have.”
“Thank you, sir, we will do what we can. I assume you have something specific in mind for us?”
“Yes,” he said quickly, “As you likely determined we have limited knowledge about what the Dominion is up to. All of our sensor stations have either been destroyed or switched off. We cannot launch a successful operation against them without information. I want you to take the Sojourner behind their lines and provide whatever information you can. Between your speed and advanced sensor systems, you should be able to avoid trouble and act as our eyes and ears. I will leave the specifics up to you as we are assigning several ships to this task as the area is too large for a single ship. That said I would recommend that you stock up on the long-range sensor probes to augment your sensor range.”
“We can do that sir. As you said this is a task that the Sojourner is well suited for. Do we have any idea where they came from and when do you want us to depart?”
He shook his head, “In short, no. We know they are the fleet that disappeared in the Bajoran wormhole but the how and why they are here now remains unknown. As for your second question, within the next 24 hours. We are expecting more ships from the fourth fleet to arrive soon and we need to know where to direct them. God Speed.” With that, the video ended leaving the slowly rotating image of the star fleet logo on her screen.
“Well, I guess we know what we are doing now,” Kirin said as she looked out the window before setting about to the work of preparing the ship.