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Part of USS Los Angeles: Shipping Lanes Patrol and Bravo Fleet: We Are the Borg

A “Proportional” Response, Part 1

Transit Lane Hormuz
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Fabien fitfully turned onto his right side, trying to get comfortable enough to actually fall asleep. Sighing, he turned fully over, onto his left side, staying still for a few minutes, then once again breaking the silence in his cabin with an exasperated sigh.
“Computer. Lights, 25% brightness.”
The computer chirped an acknowledgement, and soon his cabin was illuminated, though not brightly so. Taking a deep breath, Fabien laid on his back, then sat up and stood from bed. Try as he might, he couldn’t sleep. Putting on his sandals, Fabien walked out of his bedroom over to the replicator.
“Glass of milk.”
His voice betrayed how tired he was, and yet…sleep did not come. The replicator materialized a glass of milk, which he took gingerly, sipping on it as he walked to the living room area of his quarters.
“Computer, what time is it?”
“The shipboard time is currently Zero-Two-Fifteen hours, Zulu. Local system time is Thirteen-Twenty-Two hours.”
‘Great,’ he thought to himself. ‘Too early to head to the bridge, too late to catch a midnight snack.’ After another sigh, he finished drinking his glass, and stood to return the glass to the replicator to be disposed of. Then a thought hit him.

When he was first officer of the Antietam, he sometimes would have trouble falling asleep, so he developed a habit of going to the holodeck to run on the track of his old hometown high school. Smiling to himself at the memory, he went to his closet and put on his PT uniform: a red t-shirt and black shorts. After putting them on, and putting on his running shoes, he stepped out into the hallway. During the evening, the corridor lights were dimmed a bit, so as to give his crew a simulated 24-hour day. Stretching, he walked towards the turbolift and then to the holodeck.

Arriving at the holodeck’s exterior corridor controls, he tapped some commands.
“Computer, load program Oteng 3 Alpha. Make the setting time zero-six-hundred local time.”
The computer acknowledged. “Program loaded. Enter when ready.”

Fabien entered the holodeck, an exact recreation of Kigali High School’s football stadium. Over by one of the benches on the field was a small table with a headphone set, most similar to the over-ear Bose headphones from the 21st century. Next to the headphones was an exact replica of an iPhone, another 21st century device. Fabien put on the headphones and pressed play on the device, and “High Hopes” by Panic! at the Disco, began to play. Fabien smiled, and put the device down, then started to slowly jog around the track. As he jogged, his mind began to process the events of the past 48 hours, organizing them in his mind and allowing him to digest all that had happened.

48 Hours Ago…Region near the Triangle

“Fire phasers again, Mr. Spencer.” Captain Oteng’s voice was as cool as a cucumber as the ship shuddered from receiving fire from the ship the Los Angeles was pursuing.
“Aye, Captain.” Tom’s fingers danced over the tactical console, priming the ship’s phasers for another volley. “Firing now.”A beam flew straight at the target, hitting its mark precisely and effectively.
“Direct hit, sir. Their shields are buckling. They are powering down weapons, and hailing, sir.” Siobhan’s voice affirmed what they had all seen through the viewscreen.
“Miss Muthoni, move us into close standard position, thrusters only. Make sure they feel the size difference.”
“Aye, Captain, moving us towards heading 212, mark 0. Thrusters only, complimenting with impulse.”

The ship they were chasing was suspected in a series of raids on Federation and Starfleet Auxiliary vessels, stealing caches of weapons, supplies, and currency before disappearing into the Triangle. On the last engagement, the raiders, (colloquially dubbed the Pirates of the Triangle by Siobhan), attacked two Federation starships, the USS Comfort and USS Mauritania, both Olympic-class hospital ships leaving Starbase 86 for Sector 001, with an intermediate stop at Starbase 23. The two ships were attacked, though both managed to send out distress signals to 86 before losing communications ability. Starbase 86 dispatched the New Orleans-class USS Los Angeles, two Defiant-class starships, the USS Hurricane and USS Mustang, and the Rhode Island class USS George Patton to aid the two ships and render whatever assistance they could. The Hurricane, Mustang, and Patton arrived first, engaging the marauders, which put up a tough fight, even for the three ships. As soon as the Los Angeles showed up, however, the three ships fled, with the Los Angeles and Mustang in hot pursuit. The marauding ships eluded the two ships, and Captain Oteng made the decision to send the Mustang back to escort the Comfort and Mauritania to Starbase 23 while the Los Angeles stayed in the area to track down the marauders, with no success.

When Captain Oteng submitted his report, his superiors had enough of the pirates’ shenanigans, and ordered Captain Oteng to pursue with prejudice; i.e. capture or kill those responsible. It took about 50 hours of searching, chasing, and ferreting out, but at long last, the Los Angeles cornered the ships, destroying one of them, and forcing the other two to surrender.

“Mr. Spencer, onscreen, please. Let’s see if they finally got the message.”“Aye, sir. Onscreen now. Patching them through.”

The views of the screen at the very front of the bridge changed from the view of the damaged ship (an old Maquis raiding ship) to the command area of the ship, showing a bridge that was heavily damaged from the direct hits it had taken. At the center, was the “captain,” if he could even be called that. A young man, no older than 22, sat in the center seat, dejected. Around him, his crew was equally young, the oldest being no more than 24(?). His expression was morose and dejected, angry even, that he had to acknowledge the defeat.

“I’m Captain Fabien Oteng of the Federation Starship Los Angeles. With whom do I have the pleasure?”

The young man’s face maintained its morose, borderline expression as he spoke. “I’m Captain Jack Sparrow, master of the Black Pearl.” Despite his expression, his tone conveyed that of youthful sarcasm and arrogance.

At this, Captain Oteng’s expression soured. He did not like dealing with bratty teenagers, especially ones with attitude.
“No, really?” he retorted, returning the young man’s sarcasm with some of his own. “I guess I’m Captain Jean Luc Picard, of the Enterprise E, then.” His lips curled upward in a hint of a smile, a reflection of his thoughts on how absurd this situation was. But soon, he regained his composure, and the hint disappeared. “Now, son; who are you really?” His tone became more paternal, with authority that the young man clearly recognized.

Backing off of his attitude, the young man spoke again, sitting a bit more upright in his command chair. “I’m Jacob Padilla, and my ship is called the Exeter.”

There it was. Captain Oteng gave himself a self-satisfied smile. “Mr. Padilla, nice to make your acquaintance. I am very glad you decided to wise up and give yourselves up. You were responsible for the attacks on the Comfort and Mauritania, yes?”

The young man’s expression soured even more, if that was even possible. Taking a moment, he responded with an even tone. “Captain, without admitting guilt, my crew and I, and those on the other vessel, would declare ourselves subject to the Federation Uniform Code of Military Justice and under §831.31(1), would like to invoke our right against self-incrimination and request the presence of a Starfleet JAG officer to formally charge and serve us with a notice of charges under §830.30(1), §832.32(2), and §833.33.”

Captain Oteng was taken aback on Padilla’s knowledge of law. Nonetheless, this was not the first person that was well versed on Federation law. And that was why Siobhan was present. This was her bailiwick after all, and it was her responsibility to deal with these sort of things. Which is why he was not surprised that she jumped into action before he could respond.

“Very well, Jacob. I’m Lt. Commander Siobhan Pearse, JAG officer and Chief of Operations of the Los Angeles. Why don’t we beam you aboard with your crew, and then we’ll talk about everything in person, shall we?”

Jacob narrowed his eyes, surprised that this starship just happened to have a JAG officer onboard. And one of such senior rank. “Very well.”

Siobhan then turned to the Captain, just as Captain Oteng was saying “Prepare for transport. Los Angeles, out.” He noticed his Chief of Ops standing up and getting ready to speak.
“Yeah, Pearse. Go, get out of here. Grab a phaser just in case they do something stupid.” Turning to Tom, he smiled before speaking. “Tom, ask a security detail to go meet our ‘guests’ in the transporter room. Make sure they’re armed with phaser rifles and handcuffs.”

“Aye sir, team is on their way. They’re not going to let Pearse enter without them.”

“Very good.” He took a pause, then noticed that there was a blinking message on his captain’s chair. He was confused, and was ready to ask Tom what was going on when he spoke up. “Captain, I’m recieving a message from Starbase 86. It’s marked Code 47.” That got Fabien’s attention quite quickly.  “Well, Brooke, I’m going to hand the ship to you for recovery operations and clean up. I’m going to my ready room to see what’s going on.”

“Aye, sir. I have the bridge.”

As she began giving orders to grab the drifting ships, Captain Oteng retired to his ready room, just off the bridge.
“Computer, seal the doors to this room. No entry without my direct authorization.”
“Doors are sealed.”
“Computer, open Code 47 communique. Oteng, Fabien Isidore. Captain, USS Los Angeles.”
“Identity confirmed. State clearance code.”
“Oteng-Epsilon-7-7-3-Allison.”
The computer chirped, and one of the commodores, a human female named Jillian Dix, appeared on screen.

“Captain Oteng, good afternoon.” Her tone was matter of fact and deadly serious, though she did have a hint of a smile when she saw him.
“Jill,…I mean, Captain Dix, hello! Good afternoon, ma’am…I mean Jill…”
He trailed off, clearly flustered and concerned. Jillian had been a close friend, and always the more gregarious of the two. The fact that she was serious meant that something big was going on. He composed himself.
“What’s going on?”
“Apologies for the abrupt communication, but we needed to contact your ship discretely and directly. As we speak, the USS Golden Hind is en route to your location. It’s going to pick you up, and bring you back to Starbase 86. There’s a classified briefing you will need to attend in person. After the conference is done, the Golden Hind will take you back. Expect to spend about a day and a half away.”
“Captain…Jill…you want me to go back to Starbase 86? Why not just hold the conference via subspace? It must be easier than traveling back and forth…” he trailed off again.
“Trust me Captain, at the end of the briefing, you’ll understand why we prefer to do things this way.”
“I do trust you, Jill. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll see you soon, I suppose.”
“Likewise. When things die down, you owe me dinner. Or maybe I owe you after this one.” Her tone softened and became friendlier. “By the way, did you catch the Pirates of Penzance?” She said this with a smile, referring to the marauders that had attacked the Comfort and Mauritania.
“Yep, Siobhan is processing them now. We got’em!” He says with a bit of a laugh.
“Awesome, well done Captain. I will see you when you arrive. Good luck.”
“Thanks, Jillian. You too. Oteng out.”

Captain Oteng leaned back in his chair. He didn’t have much to go on, but the fact that he was being recalled in such a direct manner meant that something huge was going on. He stood up, stretched, then stepped back out onto the bridge.

“Brooke, can I see you in my ready room, please?”“Aye Captain. Mr. Spencer, you have the bridge.”

“Yes ma’am.” The Andorian stepped from behind the tactical console to the middle of the bridge, in front of the command chairs, then took a seat in the center chair. Meanwhille Brooke followed Captain Oteng into the ready room, confused at their Captain’s behavior.

“Captain, is everything okay?”
“I…I don’t know.” Fabien’s tone was confused but resolute. “I just got off a very interesting communique, which I can’t really talk about per se, but I have to tell you, because it affects you too.”
Brooke stood silently, waiting for him to continue.
“So, I’m being recalled to Starbase 86. They sent a ship to come and fetch me, and they want me there for a classified briefing.” He took a breath, waiting for their reaction.
Brooke’s nodded with understanding, though confusion was visible. “Huh, that’s interesting. What do you suppose is going on?”
“I haven’t the foggiest. But point is, I’m leaving the LA in your capable hands. Choose either Siobhan or Tom as your XO, that way you’re not overwhelmed with your duties and my duties. I should be back in about two days. Or something like that.”
“Copy that. Good luck Captain.”
“Thanks Brooke. I’m gonna need it.”

With that, the two command officers left the ready room, and while Brooke headed towards the center chair on the bridge, Fabien headed straight for the turbolift, heading to his quarters to get ready to head back to Starbase 86.

Comments

  • Fabien opens the mission in such a depleted state, unsettled by SOMETHING to the point of insomnia. That creates such a heavy tension, anticipating the events to come after the "48 hours ago". He'll need to be sharp on such a secret mission; I hope he's able to find his way back to himself. After the puzzling mystery of such young and informed pirates, I'm so curious for the left turn the story will take as the Los Angeles embarks on Pakled shenanigans!

    October 28, 2023
  • It never sounds good when a captain can't sleep. He must be a man with a lot on his mind, and he's about to have even more dropped into his lap. Loving the way this cheeky young upstart of a pirate probably knows more about Star Fleet protocol and procedures than most of the Los Angeles's crew probably do! He might even put the ships JAG officer to the test. I'm just waiting to see what the Pakled are up to. But I like it.

    October 30, 2023
  • Definitely digging the start here! Lots of elements that bear questions in mind. I wonder if we'll see more of our pirate CO and get clarity on just how he knows so much about fleet laws and JAG procedures! Great start!

    October 30, 2023
  • Super cool how you have three different moods going on here! The story starts with some relatable character development, then moves to combat (I love star trek space combat, always want more), and then political intrigue! What's more, you transitioned from one to the other pretty seamlessly. I'm very interested to see if we get more info about this pirate, how he knows Federation law, etc etc. Looking forward to more!

    November 5, 2023