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Part of USS Bellerophon: Volleyed and Thundered and USS Odyssey: Volleyed and Thundered

Volleyed and Thundered – 20

USS Bellerophon (NCC-74705), Deneb Sector, Alpha Quadrant
Stardate: 78195.5
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The Bellerophon’s astrometrics lab was laid out exactly how it had been installed in 2385 when the ship underwent its first major overhaul and refit. Over the years, the LCARS displays had changed, and the latest holographic displays were now in use. Otherwise, the design was practically identical.

Since the Fleet Captain McCallister had transferred his flag as squadron commander to the Bellerophon, he and his team had been using the ship’s astrometrics lab as a base to coordinate their hunt for the Dominion Death Task Force. Every screen and every console was focused on that task. It had been almost twelve hours since the squadron had moved on to their mission of hunting down the enemy vessels that possessed the mutagenic weapons. To aid in that, McCallister had told the squadron (along with their Cardassian allies) to distance themselves from one another, far enough they could cover a larger area of the sector but not too far away from each other that they couldn’t quickly get to one another the moment they discovered a clue or the whereabouts of these particular ships. They had linked each vessel to each other, almost forming a net of active sensor beams to help with their efforts. 

Sitting at one of the side consoles, Lieutenant Commander Tomaz reviewed the latest information from other ships in the fourth fleet and those in their detection grid. Any insight, any clue, would help them work out where the enemy was or where they would hit next. So far, he had nothing. 

Commander Banfield was at one of the primary consoles on the other side of the room. She had a mug of raktajino in one hand while flicking through the holographic display. Like Tomaz, she was looking at the surrounding space to find a hint of where the Dominion and Breen ships went. She had wondered if they had established a base of operations that could safely contain the metagenic weapons. If this was the case, they would have to use somewhere that would be suitable, so her leading theory was a barren planet, moon or asteroid. Unfortunately for her, too many of these fit that criteria. To help her, she used the long-range sensors to look at each one in depth to see if anything about them had recently changed. They had also launched several probes to help with her investigation. So far, she had nothing. 

“We’ve been at this for over ten hours, and we’re no further than when we were at the start of this hunt,” Banfield said out of frustration.

Tomaz agreed with her. “I thought we would find something by sending out continuous sensor sweeps. Maybe we’re looking at this from the wrong angle.” 

Banfield turned around to look at him. “What do you mean, Tomaz?”  

Spinning himself around on his stool, the Barzan lept from his position and walked over to the middle of the room. “We know from the wreckage we found in orbit of Devenium that the Dominion and Breen had to reinforce the hulls of their ships to carry the weapons.”

“Yeah, anyone carrying such a weapon would be wise to do that to avoid their crew from being contaminated by the metagenic release,” Banfield agreed. “However, they weren’t ready for the pounding they got from the Devenium planetary defence system, even with all that added extra hull plating and shielding.” 

“Yeah, even the organic parts of the Breen ships weren’t prepared for dealing with the release; that’s why we found those empty refrigeration suits floating in space, but what I mean is that if this was their first test of the weapon and the Dominion saw the same results as we found, then surely they would want to perfect their plan,” Tomaz suggested. 

“Are you saying they’ve not attacked again because they’re trying to consider another approach to delivering the weapon?” Banfield checked.

“Possibly, or they’re looking at improving their ships to withstand the metagenic properties when they release it from their theta-band devices,” Tomaz said. “They’ve got Vorta and Breen engineers working around on perfecting it; why waste any more ships on suicide attacks when they can sit back, watch Federation worlds succumb to the weapon long enough for its population to be killed off and hold off just sufficiently before they release the antidote so the planet’s eco-system isn’t completely destroyed.”

“That’s an incredible assumption, Tomaz,” Banfield said as she considered what he suggested. “However, the Dominion can easily breed Jem’Hadar troops who would do anything for the greater good of the Founders, that includes a suicide run.”

“Ah, but from what we know, they wouldn’t have time to establish a cloning facility yet!” Tomaz countered. “And that’s where I think they’re not killing off each planet’s ecosystem.”

“They need those worlds to sustain them,” Banfield said, showing she understood Tomaz’s thinking. “So, if your theory is correct, perhaps we should think long-term like the Dominion do when it comes to their strategies.”

“Exactly!” Tomaz exclaimed. “Dominion strategies require them to consider the bigger picture; they want to consider what will happen in a few months or years. So, that’s another reason they stripped the station of every system and left it as an empty shell. First, they used the metagenic weapon to remove the crew; then, two, they removed systems to use their own. Stopping us from ever using prefix codes to take it back.”

“Maybe then the Devenium was part of the bigger picture; maybe they were planning to use it as their central base,” Banfield said as she wandered around the lab. “They weren’t expecting the system to be so well armed.”

“They thought it would be an easy target,” Tomaz agreed. “Okay, so if that’s the case, we need to work backwards to see where they might be basing themselves from. It has to be somewhere that would work, short-term, as they wanted Devenium for the long-term.”

Banfield was about to start her search when the doors opened to reveal the arrival of their superiors, Fleet Captain McCallister and Captain McCallister.

“Good news,” Horatio said as he stepped through and waved a PADD in his hand. 

Tomaz and Banfield both looked up. The former responding first. “Starfleet Intelligence came through with the intel?”

“Sort of,” The younger McCallister answered as he passed the PADD. “I spoke with a trusted contact, but everything I retrieved from Jacet is on there.”

“That should help,” Banfield said as she turned to the older McCallister brother. “We’ve not had much luck, but we’re considering an alternative approach to our search.”

James was happy to hear that his officers were getting somewhere. “What are you thinking?” He asked. 

The two commanders stood there and explained their idea to the captains. Once they were done, Horatio turned to his brother. 

“Now we have an idea of what the Dominion had intended; surely, with their energy signatures, we can start to trace them,” Horatio said with a smirk.

Banfield shook her head. “That’s a lot of optimism there, captain. The probability of us being correct are slim, and it will be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.”

“Well may the odds be ever in our favour,” Horatio stated, confident they would succeed. 


“I want to cut down the time it takes to evacuate an entire deck,” Jaz said as she pointed to the Master Situation Diagram on the bridge of the Bellerophon. On either side of her stood their chief security and tactical officer as well as chief of operations. 

The Bajoran woman, who was responsible for keeping them all safe, nodded in agreement with the Trill first officer. “Agreed. If we take on any unexpected visitors, we should try to contain them. Seal them behind a containment field.”

“I’ve already allocated enough power to the force field generator to increase their magnitude,” Bronden added. “Internal defences will activate the moment internal sensors detect non-registered crewmembers.”

“Good,” Jaz said as she looked at the schematic of the Intrepid-class ship. “If and when we engage the Dominion, we must be ahead of them. Not just on a technological front, but in tactics too.”

Jirani and Bronden looked at each other before turning back to the commander. 

“Though we are looking at a few tactics, we should be able to outsmart them, commander.” Jirani shared confidently as she passed a PADD with their plans in place. 

“The Bellerophon may be the older lady in the task force, but she still has teeth,” Bronden added.

Jaz chuckled at their enthusiasm as she looked at the PADD. “This looks good; I’ll make sure the captain sees it.”

Precisely at that point, the door to the turbolift opened, and Captain McCallister walked out, followed by his brother and Commanders Banfield and Tomaz. 

“Red Alert! All hands to battle stations!” Horatio ordered as he moved quickly around the upper level and down to the central command pit. “Rubon, we’ve found one of the Dominion ships on long-range sensors; set a course once Commander Banfield has transferred the coordinates to you.”

The young pilot looked around at his captain and watched him sit down in his chair as the rest of the ship got ready for the battle ahead, “Aye, sir. Only one ship?”

“One’s a start, lieutenant,” Fleet Captain McCallister said as he stood at the tactical station behind his brother’s chair. “The sooner we chase after it, the sooner we’ll find out where the rest of this task force is.”

Jarata nodded and turned himself back around. He saw that Banfield had taken over where Jonarom would normally be on the bridge at the science station. Behind her, Tomaz worked too. “Aye, sir, laying in a course.”

Sitting down in her chair beside her commanding officer, Jaz looked at Horatio. “Captain, Edeena and Bronden have some tricks ready up their sleeve if we need them.”

Horatio acknowledged the update from his first officer. He turned to the right to look over at T’Penni, “Lieutenant, we need to look at masking our warp signature long enough to take out this ship. Have you got some tricks up your sleeve?”

T’Penni looked at her captain, an eyebrow raised. “I have some ideas based on tactics that are not favoured by Starfleet.”

Surprised but impressed to hear his chief engineer speak in such a way, Horatio nodded. “This is no time to worry about that, do whatever it takes to get us there without them seeing us.”

The Vulcan woman nodded. “Then I’ll be in engineering,” She stated as she got out of her chair and moved towards the turbolift. 

“I’m adjusting lateral scanners to detect for theta-band emissions,” Bronden announced. “If that ship has a metagenic weapon on board, we’ll know once we’re within range.”

“One of Gul Jacet’s ships, a Galor-class destroyer, is nearby,” Jirani revealed from her station. “Shall I ask them to join us?”

Fleet Captain McCallister then spoke up. “No, but tell them we may need them at a moment’s notice.”

Jirani looked from the fleet captain to her captain and then back. The crew weren’t accustomed to having both McCallister brothers on the bridge and in command. “Aye, sir,” Jirani replied. 

“Let’s get going,” Horatio ordered his crew. “Rubon, engage at maximum at warp!”

Comments

  • I can certainly see the wisdom in the theories being thrown around by Fleet Captain McCallister's team. It certainly tracks that the Dominion makes moves for the long term, given the lifespan of the Founders, and given the ad hoc arrival of the Lost Fleet, it would make sense if they hadn't perfected the delivery of this weapon. Cynically, I have less faith in the Bellerophon crew's ability to catch a Changeling given all we know about Changeling revolution. You've certainly caught my attention with T'Penni. Her line “I have some ideas based on tactics that are not favoured by Starfleet” was a real cracker! Looking forward to reading more of her contributions.

    June 14, 2023
  • Jirani Edeena

    First Officer

  • Horatio McCallister

    USS Constitution
    Commanding Officer
    Former Commanding Officer

  • Lirissa Jaz

    Former Executive Officer
    deceased

  • Rubon Jarata

    USS Constitution
    Chief Flight Control Officer
    Former Third Officer & Chief Flight Control Officer

  • T'Penni

    USS Constitution
    Chief Engieer
    Former Chief Engineer

  • Bronden

    Former Chief of Operations
    deceased