Part of USS Dragon: Abeloth and Bravo Fleet: The Lost Fleet

ABELOTH – 5

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“Captain, we have a few more kilometers to go before we exit the nebula, sensors are still offline till we completely clear the nebula’s effect. Shields are at 75% and holding for now.”

“Very well. Zhaishi, how long till we can jump to warp?”

“We are running diagnostics now, I want to make sure those high-density particles and the radiation didn’t damage any other systems. I’m having all engineering departments conduct complete checks of their systems and the structural guys are checking all decks. Give me 90 minutes.”

“Hmmmmm, prefer it sooner but we can do 90. Zoltia, let me know the minute we have our sensors running. We need to know what’s out there.”

“Yes, ma’am”

“Viameli, plot a course for the Deptrock System, as soon as we have the all-clear from Zhaishi I don’t  want to waste time.”

Viameli gives the captain a thumbs up from her seat, as she is piloting the ship the last few kilometers out of the nebula and its effects.”

“Captain, if I may make a suggestion?” 

Arayanna turned in her seat toward the voice coming from behind her. “Go ahead, Scamandrius. I’m listening.”

“May I suggest we launch a class 8 probe? It’ll give us a chance to see what’s out there before we run into it, plus as you have said we need the intel. “

Zoltia looked at the two of them, overhearing the conversation. “ It’s a good idea, seeing as the chief wants us to run a check on the sensors before we fire them up. It’ll give us a chance to see what’s out there.”

Aryanna pulled up the information on the mark 8 on her console, then nodded. “Do it, Scamandrius. Add whatever additional mods to the probe Zoltia and yourself think are needed.”

“Yes, captain.”

“Viameli, hold us just wanted this side of the nebulas. If our sensors can’t see out then they can’t see in. Just in case anyone is out there.”

They watch on the main view screen as the Dragon comes to a stop just inside the nebula. “Zhaishi, watch those shields.”

“Yes, ma’am”

Meadow, looking at the main view screen, stood and went to the science console and bent down to chat with Zoltia. After a few minutes, she stood and looked at Aryanna. “Aryanna, I was just discussing an idea with Zoltia. I think it would behoove us to move outside the nebula far enough for us to get a look around but close enough that if we need to we can quickly enter.”

“I was just thinking the same thing, to tell the truth, this nebula is the proverbial doorway to the deneb sector and the federation. It would be a good place to launch an attack from or hide a good-sized fleet of ships to prepare an attack.”

Zoltia looked up from her console as the captain spoke and shook her head. “Ma’am. I don’t think hiding for very long inside the nebula would be a very good thing. The only thing that saved us was our armor and our strengthened and updated shields, not sure how others would fare.”

“According to our latest reports ma’am the Breen don’t quite have the same level of shielding systems or armor to stay in the nebula for long. Pass through, yes. But if they stay for a long period I would think that they would fall victim to the nebula’s effects.” Scamandrius said from his console.

Aryanna tapped on her armrest with her gloved hand. “ We ain’t going to learn anything sitting here, now are we? Viameli, take us out of the nebula. Scamandrius, when the probe is ready you have clearance to launch.”

They watched as a probe was launched from the forward torpedo tube, the probe hung in front of the Dragon for a few seconds and then disappeared in a flash of light as it entered warp.

“Captain, we have programmed it to enter warp eight for six hours. We should start receiving data momentarily.”

The Dragon slowly moved out of the nebula taking up a position a few hundred kilometers outside the nebula.

“Sensors are coming back up, captain. A few minutes and we should start being able to analyze the data.”

<< “ What are you thinking?”

“Don’t you know?”

“How many times have I explained this, only when you share with me am I able to know what you are thinking. I will not just enter your private thoughts, they are yours and your thoughts and feelings are your own. Though, I do wish you would share them with me a bit more often.”

“Ya, ya, ya… I’m just thinking of our next moves.”

“Which are?”

“I’m not quite sure yet, this nebula and what it could offer to either side is bothersome. Where would be the best place to find the intelligence that the fleet needs? How can we deal a blow to the Breen and the Dominion? What was up with that Breen commander? something seemed off with that one, almost as if he was goading us.”

“Well, I  would have to agree with that first one. This nebula is something that needs to be dealt with. Intelligence will come with time, remember sometimes it is best to see what comes versus going and looking for it, possibly you could knock out the intelligence question with the third question. As for the commander,  unless he is on this side of the confederacy I don’t think there is much to worry about with that one.

“You may be right there. But something is buzzing in the background about him. I’m liking your path of thinking toward the two questions that pertain to our mission.”>>

“Captain, you may want to see this. We are getting multiple warp signatures in the area.”

“Can we show them on the main display?” Aryanna sat forward in her chair.

<<” See, I told you. Sometimes we just need to wait to see.”>>  

The main display started to show various warp signatures crisscrossing, coming, and going in all directions. “Skagath?”

“Looks like we are seeing various warp signatures, from what the data says most are small confederacy scout ships or interceptors.”

Aryanna stood and walked toward the helm/ops consoles putting her hands on the edge of either chair. She turned to look toward Skagath “It looks to me like someone has taken an interest in this area. The question is why? “

“I can’t answer for them, lass. But these groups of signatures pique my interest.” Several sets of signatures and their trails highlight in various colors. “These come in, almost to the edge of the nebula, stay for a bit and then leave almost on the same bearing as when they came in. I can tell from the data that it looks like this group here and here, “ two groups of signatures started to blink ” stayed a bit longer than the others.”

“How much longer?”

“Looking at the warp signatures, ma’am. I would guess maybe several hours hard to tell for sure.” Zoltia answered.

“Probes?”

“Hard to say, ma’am. The timing would make sense. But we know how badly the nebula affected our sensors, not sure how well a probe would do or even how long they would last in there.”

Meadow stood and walked over to Zoltia’s console. “Zoltia, how about atmospheric conditions? Radiation? Could a probe relay that data back to a ship.”

“Most definitely, those would be different from sensor arrays.”

Meadow gave her a friendly smile as she tapped on the console a couple of times. Captain, this is outside my usual calling but what if they weren’t looking for things moving throughout the Nebula.”

Aryanna looked over at Meadow. “ What are you thinking?”

Skagath chuckled. “Yes, yes that would make sense” he interjected “ What if they weren’t looking for ships what if they were looking for a safe passage through the nebula? Trying to map the radiation pocket locations and places of less dense particles that would allow them to move a bit more safely in the nebula.”

“Why would they need to know that for a couple of ships?”

Skagath tapped on his console quite quickly as the main display changed to show an overhead view. “ They wouldn’t. But look at the locations. Of course, this is just what we can see using our long-range sensors. Here, here and here different days over the last few days the first one was almost four to five days ago according to the signature degradation with the most current one being yesterday.”

“So roughly one every other day?” Aryanna turned to face Zoltia.

Zoltia nodded “Yes, roughly that.”

“Damn it, they aren’t doing it for a couple of ships. Look at the pattern. Damn it, we have a bigger problem folks. The only reason why you would look over an area such as this was if you were looking at moving a large force through there. Can we follow the trails?”

Zoltia tapped on her console as she looked up at Meadow .”Not sure why I didn’t think of that, to begin with, can’t believe I let that slip.”

“It’s ok, a lot going on. Calm down and take your time.”

“Captain, we can track the latest one, the first one is barely readable and the second one is still good.”

Aryanna turned and looked toward Zoltia. “Can we tell where they came from?”

“Looking at the warp signatures and the data we have on the ship types,  extrapolating the information we can give a pretty good guess.”

“That’s better than nothing. So where are they?”

The map pulls out to show a more regional map with a large yellow blob roughly two to three days over the Breen border. “Our best guess is that they are somewhere in this area?”

“Damn, we gotta do better than that.  We need to know what they are doing. How many ships? What type of ships? ” Aryanna said as she returned to her seat.

“Hopefully, the probe can pick up the signatures and give us a better idea,” Skagath said from his console.

“Doubt it, that probe was set up for reconnaissance not looking for warp trails’ ‘ Scamandrius said from his console.

<<” That’s a pretty big area to cover for only one ship, you are right though we need to be able to shrink it and give the fourth fleet as much information as possible at the same time.

“I’m all ears if you have any ideas.”

**Several seconds go by**

“Hmmmmm, it may work. Yes. It just may.

“ What’s that?”

Well..” **Rigras details his idea to Aryanna over the next couple of minutes** >>

Aryanna chuckled “You devious little bastard, that just may work. I like it.”

“Zoltia, how many more of those mark 8 probes do we have?”

“Thirty-two, captain, looks like deep space forty-seven loaded us up with what they could fit.”

Aryanna nodded. “Figured they would. Prep twelve of them.”

“Yes, ma’am”

“Skagath, I want them loaded up in the burst-fire torpedo tubes.”

“Aye, captain”

Aryanna turned to look at her console and the holo image of the map it displayed for her. “Viameli, plots course for these for sets of coordinates, starting at the far western one randomize the order. Warp eight jumps between each one. After the final one take us to this set of coordinates.”

“Yes, ma’am”

“Zoltia, how long would it take to get a good long and short-range sensor sweep when we pop into an area.”

“Roughly sixty seconds ma’am. If we don’t analyze the data right away.”

“That will work, Viameli, seventy seconds is all we need at each set. Skagath, I want one three probe spread fired as soon as we exit warp, toward the middle of the blob. Zoltia and Scamandrius I want a full sensor sweep of the area as soon as we exit warp. Let me know right away if we hear anything at all, comms. Mark all unknowns on the map. We will compile the data and analyze it when we reach the fifth destination.”

“Ma’am, are you sure that we little bug of yours wasn’t ever in security? Classic shoot, move, communicate setup. Kinda upset, I didn’t think of it.”

“Don’t let Rigras hear you call him that. As far as he has told me that would be a no, but I can never quite tell with him. I’ll let you slip by on this one.“ she clenched and unclenched her gloved hand. Meadow, I hope this works.”

“I believe it will, I’m not well versed in tactics and security beyond my classes at the academy but I believe the plan is good. It will all come down to timing if I understand the idea. Have faith in the ship and crew.”

“Oh, I have faith in the ship and its crew. It’s the damn Breen that has me on edge. All we know is that we think they are somewhere in this blob” She pointed at the holo image beside her. “ Not knowing where, means we can come out of warp right on top of them at any time.”

Viameli turned in her seat and faced the captain. “ Ma’am, all coordinates are plotted. We are ready when you are.”

Aryanna nodded “Thank you Viameli. Ok, folks, the next few hours are going to move fast. I need everyone on top of their game, if you see something yell out, don’t wait. All we need is some lone breen interceptor or some such to find us. Skagath you are weapons-free if something like that does happen, get them before they can get a message out. If we land on top of whatever is out there we will go weapon-free, hit them with everything we got, and then we get the hell out of dodge. Hopefully, we can ensure enough chaos follows that they will not have time to lock on and try to follow us. Most importantly we will be behind enemy lines from this time going forward so let’s make sure we all are on top of our game. ” She looked over at her XO/counselor.

 “Take us to red alert” the klaxon sounds and the lights flash red then go to a steady red glow as the rest of the lights darken.  “Viameli, you are a go for point alpha.”

Comments

  • The start of a true recon mission here I think. We have a mystery of Breen probes, working out what it could mean and the crew working to figure out a counter to it just in case. But first they need more details. Loving the probe sweep as well to increase their sensor envelope. Very smart-platform usage. Not a fan of the ** usage to indicate the passage of time when Aryanna and Rigas are talking, but the method you use to show them talking would be difficult to show time anyway. Feel the later ** point could have just ended with "Well..." and carried the same weight to the readers as Aryanna revealed what was said via her orders to the crew. Your crew banter is getting way better as well. They really are gelling together quiet nicely. It's easy to read, flowing very nicely. Looking forward to more of this plan.

    June 3, 2023