Part of USS Jaxartes: Into the fray and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

Part A: Jammer!

Epsilon-Kappa 306
March 2401 Mission Day 1
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The USS Jaxartes had barely made it away from the planet Vashran, when the ships communications officer turned her seat away from her consul. “Cha…Ensign Harris.” Cho stopped herself from just calling Chad’s name across the bridge. “Has anyone being monitoring communications whilst I’ve been off ship?”

The young New Zealander turned his head. “Just been getting the usual general stuff over subspace.” The helmsman replied. “Nothing much happening, why?”

“Captain I’m getting absolutely nothing from the forth fleet!” She announced.  “Everything but in fact!”

This time it was Jason Devron’s turn to look in the Korean woman’s direction. “Are you absolutely sure?”

“I’ve checked and double checked all the systems. Whatever is doing this must be close.”

“Ensign Harris, drop up back out of warp.  I’m not going anywhere if I don’t know what I might run into!”

“Aye captain.  Dropping out of warp maintaining current heading.”

Ensign Tholakath seated at tactical had the odd feeling that the captain was staring right at the back of his head, as the vessel slowed to impulse.  He spun his seat only to have his suspicions confirmed. “Sir?” He enquired, wondering what the problem could be.  Devron looked  at the person now in the seat he had occupied until the loss of their Vulcan commanding officer. “Something you’d like to tell me ensign?”

For a moment Tholakath was puzzled, and then it clicked in his mind.  Of cause somethings gone wrong blame the Cardassian.  He leapt up out of the chair but did not close the distance between himself and Devron. “I resent what your implying captain!” His voice loud enough to grab everyone’s attention.

“And what am I implying?” Devron’s voice had an edge to it that those on the bridge who knew him didn’t recognise.

“You’re implying that as a Cardassian I must in some ways be involved in whatever is happening!”  He looked around the bridge at the three others seated around other than the captain.  They seemed torn between backing him or their commanding officer. “I’m not the only new member of this crew!”

“He is right sir.” Maasl C’Rren the newly appointed science officer did have a point.  The Caitian had himself only just been assigned to the Jaxartes, so had two other humans.  Devron closed his eyes a moment; taking a deep breath, maybe he was letting his feelings get in the way.  As captain that wouldn’t do at all.  He had to lead this crew and they needed to have confidence in his actions. “Ensign Tholakath, I apologies.  Please take your seat.”

The Cardassian nodded and sat back in his seat. It was tough growing up in a universe where most other races hated you for the actions of your people.  True things where improving; but it was a long road and Tholakath was ready to do all he could along the way.  He only hope his people where worthy of a second chance and wouldn’t prove all the sceptics right.  What was that thing about Leopards and spots again?

“Captain I’ve been thinking.” Cho broke the silence.  “I think there’s a chance the local communications relay station is at fault.  Otherwise the Johannesburg would have been getting any message we missed.”

“Point taken.” Devron replied. “Ensign Harris lay in a cause to the nearest relay station. Warp 3.”

_____

The USS Jaxartes arrived at Com-Sat 04-100-3B less than an hour later.  Its basic function was to boost communication signals between this sector and others within the Federations boarders.  However if Ensign Cho was right this one wasn’t performing the task as intended.  The satellite was a relatively small thing, the bulk of which was the a mini warp core that meant baring anything unforeseen it could operate quite happily for several years with only minor checks and maintenance.  In fact accessing its onboard log checking the data showed the satellite had only been repaired just over a week ago.  By none other than the USS Johannesburg.

It wasn’t possible to beam the satellite on board or dock with it, due to all the antennae and dishes protruding from it. Leaving the only option as a spacewalk once it was established the satellite itself was unaware of any faults.  The Betazoid engineer Torf because of his skill and experience with an EVA suit along with crew man Lightwood prepared to exit the ship.  The two of them tethered by lines to the ship exited the port air lock and drifted the across the short distance.

Jason paced up and down the corridor, just outside the airlock.  The com-panel on the wall linked directly to their suits, so he could hear every word spoken, every breath taken.  For the first few minutes though it was mainly just heavy breathing and the odd muter, nothing really indicating what was going on outside the ship.

“Well, well, well!” Came Torf’s voice over the come. “You crafty begger!”

Devron rushed the panel. “What is it?”

“Looks to be a small Federation designed jammer.” Torf replied. “Even the satellite doesn’t know it’s here and plenty of people might miss it.”

“Can you remove it?” Jason asked the engineer.  There was a moments silence and then a yell across the Comms. “Transport shields!” Just those two words came the panicked voice of Torf.

Jason was flung away from the com panel hitting the other side of the corridor as the whole ship lurched sideways under the concussive blow of a large blast.  Alarms blared and red lights flashed.  Slightly shaken Devron got to his feet and immediately contacted the transporter room. “Did we get them?”  He was relieved to get a positive response but after checking with thing on the bridge he still went to check on the two crew in person.

When he arrived at the transporter room, both Torf and Lightwood where being helped out of their EVA suits.  Doctor Andrianakis wasn’t too far behind and began a quick scan with her medical tricorder.  Jason stayed to one side allowing her to get on with her work and for the two men to finish removing the suits.

____

An hour later Dervon, Stuart, Lyambo, C’Rren, Torf  and Cho all sat together around the large table in the aft lounge.

“So you’re saying this device was of Federation design and set to explode if tampered with?” The Caitian science officer asked. Torf Just nodded. “Your very lucky we got you out in time and the shields up.” Dinari added tapping his fellow engineer on the shoulder. “That device punched a nice neat hole right through the warp core of the satellite.  Detonated the whole thing seconds later.”

Devron clasped his hands together as he leaned forward elbow on the table. “The big question is who’s behind this and are they aboard the Johannesburg?”

“Let’s go and ask them.” Was Lyanna’s response.

“Normally I would agree with you.” Jason answered. “But for now I want to get in a position where I can contact the Fleet and find out what we’ve been missing.”

_____

When the news finally reached the crew of the Jaxartes after re-established contact it came has a huge shock to them all.  The Federation or more importantly the 4th Fleet was at war!

Comments

  • Talk about starting with a bang! I love the tension of the first scene on the bridge and Jason’s awareness that as Captain he needs to examine his thinking. Then straight into the situation with the satellite, I like how you built the tension there with the jammer, then BOOM! Awesome! Looking forward to reading more!

    May 14, 2023
  • You really know how to start a new mission, huh! I love the way you've crammed this first chapter with intriguing set pieces that draw me in, make me crave reading more and more of this story. A sudden silence in the multitude of voices over subspace? A commanding officer accusing a bridge crew member of being a traitor? A space walk that nearly explodes the engineer? How could this get more exciting? Most of all, I'm puzzled by the subspace jammer being of Federation-design. Sounds like Devron might have very good reason to be paranoid, I'd ay.

    May 19, 2023