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

A “Proportional” Response, Part 2

Transit Lane Hormuz
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Continued, from Part 1

Fabien looked at his duffel go-bag, embroidered with the Starfleet Delta and his name, sitting on the bed, sighed,  then looked out the window in his bedroom. Outside, he could see the Echelon-class starship, the Golden Hind, straight abeam of the Los Angeles.

His combadge chirped. “Captain, the Golden Hind has arrived and they’re ready for you. ETA?”
Fabien sighed heavily. “I’m going, I’m going. Tell them about 4 minutes.”
“Copy that, sir. Bridge out.”

A few minutes later, Fabien was standing on the transport pad, waiting to be beamed over. Seconds later, he was standing on a different transport pad, being greeted by a young ensign.

“Captain Oteng, welcome aboard the Hind. I’m Ensign Brendon Salzer. Captain Tolliver asked me to be your ‘Captain’s Assistant’ if you will during your time here on the Hind. I am assigned until you return to your command aboard the LA.”

Fabien smiled. He’d never had a Captain’s Assistant before, and it was an interesting proposition. He stepped off the platform and shook Brendon’s hand.
“A pleasure, Ensign. I won’t take up too much of your time.”

The Ensign nods, and turns around, saying “Follow me to your quarters.”

Fabien followed the Ensign through the corridors until the pair arrive at the temporary quarters. They were spartan, but there was a window, so that helped made up for it. As Fabien walked in, he could see the Los Angeles, lights aglow, before the Golden Hind jumped to warp.

18 Hours Later…

Fabien awoke to the soft light turning on in his quarters. Rubbing his eyes, he sighed and got up. He sat up in bed, and saw that there was a soft beeping from the communications panel. He got up, and as he walked to the panel, turned to look out the window. He noticed the space station in the window, with all its hustle and bustle. He tapped on the communications panel, which connected him to Ensign Salzer.

“Captain, good morning. We’ve arrived at Starbase. You’re welcome to leave your belongings in the stateroom while you are on station. Just let us know when you’re ready to return.”

“Thank you Ensign. I’ll start getting ready.”

“Very good, Captain. You can transport over to Starbase at your convenience. The Hind is going to remain on the periphery, so we don’t take up a docking space. Because we’re a bit far off from the station, Starbase is sending a shuttlecraft to pick you up. It should be here in about an hour.”

“Excellent. Ensign, what time is it currently?”

“It is 0730 Zulu. The system time is currently 1430 hours.”

“Copy that. Thank you Ensign. Oteng out.”

Fabien rubbed his eyes and stepped into the shower. Though he preferred an ordinary water shower, he understood that opportunities for such were limited. After a shower, he put on the Captain’s variant of the standard Starfleet uniform, and headed to the mess hall to grab a meal. Just as he was finishing his meal, his combadge chirped.

“Oteng here.”

“Captain, Starbase shuttle has arrived. They’ve docked in Shuttlebay 2.”

“Copy that. I’m on my way.”

Fabien made it to the shuttlebay, where his shuttle pilot was waiting. A young Bajoran woman in a red command division uniform with the rank of petty officer. She looked to be no older than 20 years old.

“Captain, good morning. I’m Petty Officer Micen Oana, your shuttle pilot for today.”

“Nice to meet you Petty Officer. I’m Capt. Fabien Oteng, of the Los Angeles. Thank you for being so prompt.”

“No worries Captain. We should be at Shuttle Bay West, which is the bay closest to where you are meeting.”

“Perfect, thank you.”

Captain Oteng takes a seat next to the pilot, and is mostly reflective during the ride over. The view of space really didn’t get old for him. He made some small talk with PO Micen, mostly about her posting here at Starbase 86. All too soon, though, the shuttle is docking, and he finds himself making the walk from the massive shuttlebay to the tram. A short tram ride later, and he’s in one of the administrative conference rooms with four other Captains, three of whom he doesn’t recognize. The fourth Captain is Jillian, and her expression surprises him. She gives him a small smile and wink, but for the most part she is dead serious. The atmosphere in the room is tense, but not overwhelmingly so.

Suddenly the doors open and Commodore Tharc walks in, followed by an Andorian man in a Starfleet uniform, Sciences division, with the rank of Lt. Commander, though instead of the usual Starfleet delta, he had  the United Federation of Planets symbol. Everyone stood up, as they had been trained to do from the time they were cadets.

“Keep your seats everyone.”
Everyone sat down, and the Commodore took her place standing at the head of the table.
The Commodore spoke again.
“Computer, secure room and initiate SCIF mode.” The computer beeped, and responded: “SCIF mode enabled. No record will exist of the meeting. All combadges have been deactivated. All communications secured.”

“Good morning all. It’s a busy time, so let me get to the point. There is currently a major awakening by an enemy we long thought dead, and due to the events in Sector 001, Starfleet is paying very close attention. Present with us is the Federation President’s Starfleet Liason, and he will brief you personally on what we know.”

The man stood up as the Commodore took her seat.

“Good morning, I’m Erobin Th’ethyrarh, Senior Advisor to the President. Let me get right to the point. Starfleet has been tracking certain rumors or events that the Borg are awakening. President Chekov has authorized the quiet mobilization of the Fourth Fleet to begin tracking down these rumors.”

At the mention of the Borg, everyone shifted uncomfortably. Fabien remembered receiving the news of Frontier Day. Thankfully, he had been far away from Sector 001, but he had friends that died that day. He listened intently.

“There is another, more pressing problem. During this time, there have been raids conducted on Starfleet Auxiliary ships by the Pakleds. Those crews reported that the clumpships now had pieces of Borg technology stuck to their hull. It goes without saying that if the Pakleds…” he pauses for a moment, shaking his head. “The Pakleds, of all species, have figured out how to use Borg equipment and technology, they pose an urgent threat to the security of the Federation. Their violence is escalating, culminating in the destruction of the SS Monarch, a deuterium tanker that was destroyed. Until we can neutralize these ships, President Chekov has ordered the creation of safe transit lanes that will be heavily patrolled by Starfleet ships. These transit lanes have been code-named with Earth seafaring lanes. Commodore Tharc will give you specific assignments, and she will give you your signed orders. Thank you all.”

He sits down, and Commodore Tharc again stands up.

“Captain Giselle Davies, USS Elizabeth (Inqury-class); you will be assigned the Suez Strait. Captain Fabien Oteng, USS Los Angeles (New Orleans-class); you will be assigned the Hormuz Strait. Captain Dann Arlir, USS Kirov (Gagarin-class); you will take the Panama Strait. Captain Jillian Dix, you will be reassigned temporarily to the USS Serapis (Echelon-class) and you will be assigned to the North Atlantic Strait. And finally, Captain Bras Licad, USS Varyag (Gagarin-class), you will take the Magellan Strait. Each one of these corresponds to a specific region. Starfleet will strive to organize convoys of ships, but it may not be possible to organize for every ship in these lanes. If attacked, don’t be afraid to call for assistance, but understand that reinforcements may not reach you. Be safe out there. Dismissed.”

Everyone stands up, and the Commodore and Erobin exit. Everyone else just pushes their chairs in and quietly exits, except for Jillian and Fabien. The two just look at each other, walking towards the tram to head back to the shuttlebay, when Jillian breaks the silence.

“Fabien, that was some heavy stuff. I knew it was bad, but didn’t think…well, patrol duty for both of us.”

Fabien lets a smile out, then laughs. “Yeah, it’s back on patrol. And you get your own starship for a time. That’ll be fun. Be safe Jill.”

She nods, and puts her hand on his shoulder. “You too, Fabien. It’s a lot to worry about. But come home safe.”

He nods, and boards the tram to head back, his mind distracted by the information he received.

‘The Borg are back. Last time, we barely escaped assimilation. Is this the time we fail?’ That thought weighed heavy on him. He hoped he could shake off how he felt to command, but something told him it was going to be a long, long, long time before he got back to normal. In the meantime, he tried to focus on the mission ahead. ‘The Pakleds and the Borg? Did these two finally marry together in an unholy matrimony of scavenging? Were the Pakleds the Borg’s servants? Was this a prelude to war?’ All these questions weighed on his mind as he traveled back.

The Present Day, 0330 Hours Zulu

Fabien slowed to a walk, sweat pouring down. He’d been running at an even pace for about an hour, and he was beat. He wasn’t as young as he was, but he was still in stellar physical shape. He breathed deeply, almost forgetting the worries of the past two days, and allowing him to clear his mind. His thought process was interrupted by the holodeck doors opening. When Fabien turned around to see who had come in, he was a bit annoyed that it was his Chief Medical Officer, and the expression of light exasperation betrayed him. He didn’t want interruptions, much less someone who was surprisingly well versed on human emotion and emotional distress. That was something that he didn’t understand…how was it that a Vulcan, well half-Vulcan, was so perceptive and in touch with his emotions, to the point that he could serve as the de facto ship’s counselor and be a damn good one at that?

It seemed he would never get an answer to that one.

“Good morning Captain. I was told I’d find you here; am I interrupting?”

Fabien waved. “Good morning Doctor, I was just finishing up an early morning run. What’s up?”

Doctor Rehman waved his arm up to the sky. “The sky, Captain. Why do you ask?”

Fabien looked at him a little funny. As competent a doctor as Dr. Rehman was, and as well grounded as he was, there were still human mannerisms that escaped him. This, apparently was one of them.

“That’s…never mind. I mean, it’s 3:30 in the morning. What are you doing here? Who snitched?” Fabien let out a laugh at the last comment.

A puzzled expression grew on Dr. Rehman’s face. “Snitched, sir? Like…if someone told me that I could find you here?”

Fabien nodded, as he wiped his face with the towel the computer had so thoughtfully replicated at the end of his run. He made a mental note to give some credit to Nancy when he saw her next, for finely tuning the sensors that detected he was at an end of his run.

“Captain, I assure you, no one snitched. Well, that’s not exactly true. Commander Abramov mentioned that you looked extra tired on the bridge yesterday, and suggested that you haven’t been sleeping well. So…I guess if someone snitched, it would have been her.

Fabien nodded. Great. Brooke sold him out. Well, she was right. She was looking out for his welfare, and quite frankly, he was tired of being so tired. The Borg situation was weighing heavily, as well as slight anxiety over their current mission. It had been a day or so since the LA arrived on station. Since then, nothing really had happened, other than the convoy of Olympic-class transports traveling to Sector 001. They had been escorted by three Defiant-class starships: the Tang, Wahoo, and Barb. The tension was palpable, though the crew thought this was another routine patrol.

“I guess, I haven’t been sleeping as peacefully as I should have.”

“I see. Captain, perhaps you should come with me to sickbay. We can see what’s going on. Or do you feel the problem is more psychological, than it is physiological?”

Fabien shrugged. “I have no clue, Doctor. But I need to be at my best, and this isn’t helping.” There was a hint of anxiety in his voice.

“Yes sir. Why don’t we get you scheduled for a counseling session later today? Say at 1500 hours Zulu?”

“I’d like that. Thanks Doctor.”

“You’re welcome sir. I’m glad you’re taking things seriously…” suddenly, the intercom whistle sounded, interrupting Doctor Rehman.

“Attention all hands. Senior staff report to the bridge. Senior staff, report to the bridge.”

Fabien looked at Kadin, his game face back on. “Doctor, I think it’s happening. Back to sickbay.”

Dr. Rehman nodded and headed off.
“Computer, end program.”
The computer acknowledged and he walked briskly into the corridor. He was still in running gear, but to be on the bridge, he needed to change. So he tapped his combadge.
“Oteng to Transporter.”
“Transporter here.”
“Can you beam me straight to quarters?”
“Yes sir. Prepare to energize. Energizing.”

The soft hum of the transporter materialized him in his quarters, the light as he left it.
“Computer, full illumination and prepare a cup of coffee.” The computer acknowledged as he hit the shower. About twenty minutes later, he was walking towards the turbolift, coffee cup in hand.

As soon as he walked onto the bridge, he was all business. “Report.”

Lieutenant Spencer stood up from the center chair.

“Captain, we’re picking up a distress signal about an hour away. Computer identifies it as the SS Partheous. Constellation-class. Requesting urgent assistance.”
“Copy. Helm, set a course, maximum warp.”
“Aye sir.”

“Red Alert, all hands to battle stations. Ready phasers and photon torpedoes. As soon as we’re out of warp, I want us to be firing on all phasers.”

“Aye sir.”

The bridge lights dimmed and the soft alert of the klaxon could be heard as everyone moved to their stations. Tom brought the LA‘s weapons on line.

“Bridge to Sickbay.”

“Sickbay, go.”

“Doctor, prepare for casualties.”

“Copy that.”

Fabien took a seat in the center console, and sipped his coffee. This was it. This was the moment he had trained for. He was ready, his crew was ready, his ship was tested, and yet…he could feel the anxiety welling up inside of him.

‘The Borg are back.’

Comments

  • Good continuation here! It sounds like there's definitely trouble a foot. Nice to see the Captain admitting there's a problem and taking steps to remedy it as well, interesting to see how the interruptions from the Borg will impact that, though! Lots of room for development here!

    October 30, 2023
  • I appreciated reading some details about the bigger picture here, while still leaving much to be discovered. This is a nice reprieve from the action of the previous post, with promise to get back into it with the next one. Love the cliffhanger line! Also, I'm curious to hear about the captain's counseling. That's a good B-plot that will provide a nice juxtaposition to the stressful return of the Borg.

    November 5, 2023