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Star Trek: Destiny S1 Ep01 "Barbarians at the Gate"

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T'Set gave a mental sigh, thumb idling around the rim of her glass. Politics. What fun. It seems like mother was right. There was no escaping it. Whatever Captain Zhao's hangup, they would just have to prove the faith held in them to be warranted.

As the other officers started to distribute their orders, she nods to Lt. Batim, before standing fluidly and moving towards the door at a quick clip. There was a lot of work to be done, and very little time in which to do it, so best get right down to it.

As she falls into step with Anjala on their way back to the ship, she can't help but feel another frission of excitement. Everything was coming to a head and she couldn't wait to see where it would lead.

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While the Cap'n and her new officers hobnobbed with the Captain of Asgard Station and his officers, Jack was down on Deck 15 of the Destiny in the personal workspace he had made out of an unused storage room by the Industrial Replicators. It had ended up somewhat bigger than originally allocated for thanks to improvements and efficiencies made in the design of transporter machinery.

Whatever the reason for the upsized storage room, he had noticed it first on Destiny's maiden voyage and had claimed it as his own. All unofficial of course, but no one had disputed it, the ship wasn't hurting for space, and so Master Chief Cutter had a place to work with his hands and to store the results.

In one corner sat a replica of a Celtic Chariot, called a Karbantos in Gaulish, circa about 100 BC. Those Celtic warriors were madmen, riding in a chariot with an open front, lacking the protection offered riders of chariots from other places on Ancient Earth. In another sat a black hued Polybolos, a repeating ballista designed by Dionysus of Alexandria, 3rd century BC Greek Engineer. He had hand crafted both with non-replicated wood. The wood for the chariot had come from Ireland, on Earth, for extra authenticity, but he had cheated some for the Polybolos.

Sablewood from Arborea VII was known for its durability and resilience and he had called in a favour from his folks back home. Just having a description from Philo of Byzantium to go on, Jack had had a bastard of a time making the damn thing work, especially stopping the chain drive and wooden magazine from jamming. But he had managed it, and the gleaming black, compact ancient siege weapon was a thing of dangerous beauty, the hardy sablewood giving it more power and stability than it should have. The detailed carving along the edges and footings were unnecessary flourishes, but he had been proud of the job he had done and liked keeping his hand in his family's trade, even if he had joined Starfleet.

Now, he was working on something different - a vintage 1952 Vincent Black Lightning motorcycle. He couldn't hand build these components, so had spent weeks painstakingly inputting the parameters for every individual piece as accurate as he could make them into the replicator. He had replicated the pieces months ago, but hadn't had the time to play with them.

Until now. He was off duty, had a red toolbox full of classic tools, and a three-dimensional puzzle from Earth's history to put together. He had a fondness for groundcraft. With it's extreme gravity and frequent duonetic storms, aircraft on Arborea VII weren't common and very strictly regulated. He was considering Da Vinci's Armored Car or Self-Propelled Cart next - there was a very good Da Vince Holodeck program - if he could find a place for it. Either would take up too much space in his workshop.

He had the pieces to the Black Lightning laid out and a tumbler with 3cm of Draylaxian Whiskey - the real stuff, not a syntheholic reproduction - sitting it by his hand; The computer was playing thrumming folk music. He'd been assembling the frame of the motorcycle for less than hour and had only taken two sips of whiskey when the music unexpectedly cut off and the computer chimed with the warning tones for crew assemblage and pre-launch checks.

"Dammit!" Jack groused. There were some lookers among the new officers and crewmen, but if those ladies - or the not-quite-boys - were making trouble for the Destiny already...

He tossed back the rest of his drink, quickly stoppered the bottle and put away his tools, frowned at the motorcycle components left scattered on protective mats and hoped he'd have time to store them if - or before - the ship entered any danger, then briskly left his workshop and made his way to his quarters to change back into uniform and put away the bottle of Draylaxian Whiskey.

As Security, part of his responsibilities was to make sure those who weren't suppose to be on the Destiny weren't, and those who were, were, when they left dock. And he still had to find out why they were leaving Asgard on such short notice in the first place.

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Earlier...

"Just doing my job, ma'am." Petty Officer Harkness said as he shook J'Sira's offered hand. The act on his part seemed genuine, lacking the common stiffness of obligation, which pleased J'Sira.

He seemed surprised by her 'eight chambered heart' comment for a moment, glancing at her forehead and the cranial ridges there for just a moment. J'Sira's musing about her heart was a little esoteric, and would likely be lost on many not familiar with the physiology of other species, but she felt that he seemed to understand, even if he was caught a little off guard by it.

"Ma'am." he said simply with a nod after being dismissed, and returned to his duties.

 

J'Sira took the notification of the dinner party in stride. She felt she still had a great deal to do, from reviewing personnel files to inspecting several systems and familiarizing herself with Engineering and the ship in general, but she was well aware that mandatory social functions came with the territory for department heads. She was not adverse to parties, and actually rather enjoyed socializing. She had always mused that it was her outgoing and boisterous Klingon side that enjoyed peeking out a little past her Vulcan reserve, but for whatever reason, she had come to enjoy social gatherings during her time in Starfleet Academy, surprising many of her classmates at how personable she could actually be when she 'let her hair down', to use the idiom.

Though this dinner party did not call for the formality of dress uniforms, she had no reservations that it was indeed formal. The station commander, Captain Zhao, would likely wish to familiarize himself with the new senior staff of the Destiny, and would likely be using the dinner party as a smokescreen to size them up for himself. That thought caused a momentary flash or irritation on J'Sira, which she nearly instantly wrangled and suppressed, pushing it from her mind. It was logical for Captain Zhao to get to know and evaluate the senior staff of the ships operating in the area. If Starfleet Command had deemed them up to the task and transferred them here to join the crew of the Destiny, and Captain Raymer had seen fit to accept the transfers and appoint them to their various positions, then that should be good enough for anybody. Besides, the senior staff of the Destiny getting to know the station senior staff and establish relationships would them could also yield benefits in the future.

 

During the dinner, J'Sira was calm and reserved, and avoided giving in-depth analysis of certain topics, as she well understood how dry it could sometimes come off as to non-Vulcans. This was a friendly social affair, a meet and greet, essentially, so she kept her conversation equally light.

When the deserts and brandy was passed out, J'Sira regarded the liquid in her glass.

"Is something the matter with your drink?" Dr. Sepguta asked her, just making a bit of small talk.

"I was simply considering that being the Captain of the station, and given the situation, the reasonably high probability that it is actual brandy." she explained.

"Well, if it is, just remember that drinking kills brain cells." the Doctor joked playfully.

"It does, though as my mother would say, 'only the weak ones." J'Sira replied, flashing a momentary grin. before taking a drink, only to be somewhat disappointed at its synthetic nature, which made her brow furrow and frown momentarily.

J'Sira looked up at the toasts and raised her glass, taking a sip this time, though as Zhao continued to speak, one eyebrow perked for a few moments and then lowered, her eyes narrowing just slightly for a moment at the suggestion that their transfers and appoints where mistakes. Anjala could, could feel a hot flash of irritation from J'Sira at Captain Zhao's comments about 'correcting mistakes', which though she controlled and did not outwardly show much, she could not entirely suppress, so she did not pay it much mind when Captain Zhao was pulled away for a moment and finally had to depart. Running a station such as Asgard, while still overseeing its construction, could certainly make untimely demands on one's attention. When Captain Raymer pushed away from the table and stood after Anjala had said something to her softly, and then directed her to get the Destiny ready to depart, certainly got J'Sira's attention, especially Raymer's comment about the Maraval and how she would be damned if he is going to put them  in harms way. 

Curious.

When Lt. Batim gave them their orders, J'Sira sat down the glass, and proceeded out with the others.

"I find it disingenuous to toast the Destiny and her crew in one breath, and then speak of correcting the alleged 'mistake' of our transfers and appoints the next." J'Sira commented to Lt. Batim and the Doctor once they were heading down the corridors, her usual calm, passive tone having more than a hint of irritation to it.

"We shall just have to enlighten Captain Zhao to logic of Starfleet Commands's, and our Captain's decision." she stated, setting her resolve before tapping her combage to contact Engineering on the Destiny, instructing them to prepare to be underway with all due haste.

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The dinner party led by Lt Batim made their way hurriedly through the station to the turbolifts which in turn carried them to the boarding tubes. During the short time the trip took everyone was silent lost in their own thoughts or had issued orders to crew already aboard ship, sensing that there was an urgency.

As the officers approached the main Airlock they  saw Chief Cutter waiting for them. He gave a perfunctory nod as a kind of salute as they came aboard. "We're  In the process of shutting down the cargo transfers we only about got about 80% resupplied before we got your orders and we haven't even started the Anit-matter Transfers." Cutter reported. "Y'all are the last ones to board excepting the Captain. Mind telling me whats going on, XO," he asked?

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"The starbase has lost contact with a science vessel, the Crater," Anjala replied. "The Captain is briefing with Captain Zhao, but has instructed us to be ready to leave by the time she's done. Resupply notwithstanding, we're the closest ship to the last known location of the Crater."

"We'll resume resupply once we return, with the Crater. Now, what's our status on readiness?"

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"The crew of the Destiny is medically fit," Miriam answered  before Chief Cutter, absently tucking one errant strand of black behind her ear as she spoke. "You'll have the medical status report as soon as I  get to a working terminal but the crew is physically ready and able. A bruise here and there. A hyper-extended knee from a holodeck accident that should be healed in another hour and  I released a technician back to full duty before we left of dinner. If I have any concerns at all it's for the emotional health of the crew. There hasn't been a counselor on board since the spore incident and there might be those who can benefit from some assistance. Department heads should keep an eye out for people that seem withdrawn or possibly more stressed than the situation warrants."

Clasping her hands behind her back Miriam finished her verbal medical readiness report for LT Batim. "All of that said; my medical opinion is  the best therapy for the crew as a whole is to get back to work and not have station commanders second guessing their readiness. I'll be happy to note that in my medical log."

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"Flight control is ready and on stand by" Jensen said.  "As an aside we all heard what the station commander said in there.  We have a professional responsibility to not keep repeating our personal feelings or little snippets here and there on the matter."  He looked around to everyone present as this was the second time he'd heard an off comment about what the Commander had said.  He couldn't believe that he got railed for speaking his mind earlier and here he was now, reminding senior officers how to be professional.  "If he feels that way, it's his prerogative.  Our place is to serve our Captain, and right now there is obvious animosity over what he said.  As leaders, whether we realize it or not, we carry that animosity with us back to our duty stations.  Enlisted will hear about this, and about our personal thoughts on the matter, which is why we should not have any.  We have a job to do, let's do it."

His eyes met the XO's, "Ma'am."

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"Our commanding officer is Captain Raymer," Batim reminded Jensen, meeting his eyes without blinking, "We'll follow her orders. That said..."

She looked at the other officers, "He's right about the chatter. Everyone focus on your tasks. Leave the politics to the politicians. That's not our job."

"Everyone to your duty stations."

The lieutenant nodded and headed to the turbolift to go to the bridge.

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"Again, keep an eye out for stress," Miriam reminded her fellow department heads. "They''re good people but haven't had the normal avenues of care. If you have a concern feel free to contact me and we'll set something up."

Flashing a quick professional smile Miriam turned and walked away. For a moment she considered going to the bridge but there was nothing she could do there she couldn't do in sickbay. And there was far more she could do in her domain than out of it. She'd need to discuss the medical overrides on the holodeck with Seta to ensure those were in place especially if they needed to deal with casualties. Which reminded her; she'd need to talk with Jensen as the conn officer and review the protocols in place to shift the flight deck from flight operations to medical triage. Or should she be talking with the Ops Manager?

''Glebbening!' Miriam cursed in Ferengi under her breath. Taking a deep breath Miriam reminded herself the point was to be prepared to give care not agonize over what she did or didn't know.Well, she could always ask. If the witches didn't know then she could ask the computer who had the authority to change flight deck protocols. That should give her the answer without needing to interrupt anyone to figure out something basic. Mentally she began reviewing and re-prioritizing her action list to deal with the worst she could think of.  

Unconsciously she picked up her pace as snippets of her worst scenarios began to unfold in her mind while she made her way to the Jeffries tube Seta had mentioned to her earlier. Closer than the turbo lift and a straight run to just outside the inner hull of the sickbay where this section of tube terminated. The caustic Bajoran petty officer supporting her medical technologies had guaranteed it was the fastest way from the upper decks - where the lock was located - to a sickbay entrance. Arriving at the tube Miriam grabbed the rungs at shoulder height, braced her feet on the sides of the vertical supports then shifted her hands to the sides and let the artificial gravity of the Destiny take over.

Seta was right, Miriam thought as she dropped down the shaft. This would get her there more quickly than the turbo lift. Assuming she didn't break her leg at the bottom.

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J'Sira raises an eyebrow at the Doctor's final comment as a half smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. The Doctor was growing on her, and the officers were united.

At least most of them were. 

Anjala could feel a combination of confusion and even amusement from J'Sira as Jensen spoke, which was made a bit more clear when she spoke as the officers walked to the turbolift.

"It is also the duty of higher ranking officers to oversee and share their knowledge and experience with lower ranking officers." J'Sira stated simply, looking to Jensen as she focused what seemed to be her full attention on him for a moment.

"The fact that your continued actions demonstrate a lack of of belief that your fellow officers, who have been serving in Starfleet for years, have glowing conduct reports, have been swiftly promoted due to the execution of their dutiesand have proven themselves as officers time and again, know how to conduct themselves as officers is quite illogical, and certainly not a ideal way to build cohesion among your fellow officers." she explained.

"Though if you persist, it may yet, just in a way that it is unlikely you intend." she mused.

"Even with the antimatter transfer halted, we still have enough on board for 28.43 months of standard operation, so there are no issues from Engineering. We are ready to be underway at the Captain's discretion." she reported to Lt. Batim as most of the officers got in the turbo lift to head up to Sickbay or the Bridge, while J'Sira would wait a few seconds for next to head down to Engineering.

"I will be in Engineering." she added, as the turbolift doors hissed closed and it sped off.

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Captain Raymer stepped off of the lift into the very impressive and bustling Command Center of the massive space station and dock. No one seemed to notice her or if they did they didn't say anything to her or even acknowledge her presence, they were starfleet professionals and they were busy at their tasks. She made her way around to the central section where all the command decisions would be made it was a semi circular area full of various stations much like a starships bridge. But unlike the bridge of a starship the center section here had no seat instead there was a revolving dais with a large console that whomever was commanding would stand in front of and could make the dais turn to face any section of the center. Currently Captain Zhao and his officers were standing there their attention on a panoramic stellar map that showed the various systems and ships in the locality.

Raymer quickly found the station on the map and there was a red blinking ship icon with USS Crater labeled next to it a bit off another icon labeled Maraval, which was blinking blue and as she watched it blink and vanished only to reappear a few millimeters closer to the red icon. She looked around and spotted and empty console and went to it. Sure enough it was just like the consoles on ship completely configurable and with the right codes able to mirror any other console, and being the captain of a starship she had the right codes. In seconds she was seeing all the data that Zhao and his officers were seeing unfortunately this did not escape notice

“Captain Raymer! What in the... what are you doing on my command deck?”

Raymer looked up and saw that the dais had turned and was now facing her, it's chief occupant glaring at her. If eyes could shoot phasers...

“I'm looking at the data about this emergency that, as the Captain of the flagship of this squadron, I should have been alerted to.” She said steeling herself for the rebuke she expected.

Zhao fumed but retaining his composure he tugged at the bottom of his tunic and stepped down off the dais and walked over to Raymer. “Then Captain you now know what is going on and that I have dispatched the closest ship to the Crater should aid be necessary”

“The Maraval is carrying 74 of my crew and are my responsibility and you are sending them into harms way when I...”

“Captain, even if I had ordered you to leave as soon as I was notified, the Maraval is still closer and had I not notified them then how many starfleet regulations would I be in violation of. I had to send the Maraval. Besides it would take you too long...”

This time it was her turn to interupt. She tapped her combadge “Raymer to Destiny, what is our status?”

“This is Lt. Batim, all crew accounted for and all depts. report optimal status. We are ready to depart as soon as you give the order captain.”

“Thank you Xo.” She tilted her head questioningly at Zhao.

“Alright, “he sighed,” you can launch and assist the Maraval, it is the prudent thing to do. And when you get back captain we will have a little discussion about how you found out.”

“Yes sir.” It was hard for her to not smile but she managed. “Permission to transport directly to my ship sir?”

Zhao didn't say anything just waved her away.”

“Destiny, one to beam up.”

 

The captain strode onto the bridge and with a glance saw that everyone was right where they were supposed to be. “Ensign T'set, clear our departure with space dock.” She sat in her chair. “Mr Jensen as soon as we are cleared take us out of station on full thrusters. Once we are out of the station I want a course laid in, maximum warp, to the coordinates the command center should be sending right about now.”

Jensen glanced down and sure enough he was receiving updated navigational coordinates .

“Bridge to Engineering.” Raymer spoke into the air.

“Engineering here, Lt J'Sira.”

“J'sira,” Raymer addressed her new chief engineer casually. “in one hour the Maraval will be arriving at the location where contact was lost with the Crater. It will take us one hour and twenty minutes at maximum warp to reach the same coordinates. I need you to find me twenty minutes.”

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"Understood Captain. Standby." J'Sira replied.

This was it. Her first real test as Chief Engineer. The Captain was counting on her to get them to the Crater ahead of the Maraval to help keep the stasis-bound crew out of harms way. The Captain's devotion to her crew was commendable, and J'Sira hoped that she and her newly transferred fellow officers would earn that same devotion.

She looked down at the engineering display on the table before her as her mind began to attack the problem. Her Vulcan intellect, honed by the training at the Vulcan Science Academy and the intensive Engineering program of Starfleet Academy, then further refined by years of practical experience in the Starfleet, considered the myriad of possibilities and what parameters she could viably adjust. There was not time to attempt to further refine the equation for the ships warp field, and the warp nacelles were already top of the line, so any possible modifications would take far more time than they had. Overcharging the warp core was possible, but far too risky in her estimation since she was still familiarizing herself with it.

So many of the parameters were functionally immutable given the short time frame she had. So where did she have wriggle room? Then it occurred to her. If she could not refine or strengthen the warp field, by various means, to make it better able to warp space in the short time allotted, then maybe she could make space itself easier to warp!

Her hands gliding over the engineering diagram in a near blur, checking systems and running simulations to check her theory. A few other engineers watched in a mixture of surprise and confusion as they could see what she was considering. It was not something they would have even considered, and went in the face of standard Starfleet engineering practices, but one thing J'Sira's mother had taught her was to 'think out of the box' as many would say, though she always phrased it to J'Sira in the common Klingon engineering manta, "Make it work"

J'Sira looked up from the table to the handful of enlisted engineers watching her, seeing that they at least understood what she was planning. She flashed a smile and grabbed her engineering kit.

"You three are with me. Let's see if we can pave the way for the ship a bit." she directed, moving to a Jefferies tube access hatch as she tapped her commbadge.

A few seconds after asking the Captain to standby, J'Sira's voice could be heard on the bridge again.

"Engineering to Bridge: Captain, I believe with a slight modification to the main deflector we should be able to project a subspace variance out in front of the ship, thereby making space itself more 'malleable' and easier to warp. It won't be very power efficient, as it will require routing auxiliary power through the main deflector, and we will not be able to maintain it for long, but it should boost warp efficiency by approximately 35%, giving us an effective warp of approximately 9.84 for the hour.. You'll have your twenty minutes, Captain." she explained as she entered the Jefferies tube and headed to the main defector array with haste, followed by the other engineers.

" J'sira, that is genius, get on it straightaway." Captain Raymer replied.

"Thank you, Captain. The modifications should take just a few minutes. I'll notify when they are complete." J'Sira acknowledge as she and the others engineers sat down their toolkits, popped them open and got to work.
 

Spoiler

Daring + Engineering
TN: 13, Diff: 2 -2 Diff (Jury-Rig) = TN: 13, Diff: 0
2D20 => (9 +9) = 18 = 2 successes

Since it was 2 more successes than was needed, they become 2 Momentum for the party.

 

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While J'Sira explained her plan, T'set was busy clearing the ship for departure with space dock control. She waited until Captain Raymer was finished with the Chief Engineer “Captain, We are cleared for departure.” She announced

“Mr. Jensen...”

“On it Captain,” the eager ensign interrupted as his hand flew across the controls. Space Dock Control had already released the mooring tractors and Jensen fired the thrusters nudging the large vessel backwards from her berth. Fingers playing a complex tune on the console thrusters fired and the ship danced, in less time than it should have taken the Destiny was thrusting toward the opening doors and as they passed through them a voice came over the intercom.

“Engineering to bridge, J'sira here, We are ready when you are captain.”

“Course plotted captain” Jensen said as the ship sailed majestically away from the station.

“Punch it ensign”

“Yes ma'am”

Jensen hit the controls and the Destiny lept to warp speed, the deflector array burrowing a hole into subspace which seemed to suck the ship in. The forward view screen showed warp space streaking by as a flow of light falling around the ship very different from the normal star field which the crew were accustomed too.

“T'Set?” the captain queried.

The young vulcan read her console and made some adjustments. “The computer is having difficulty adjusting the view it should stabilize in a moment.” as she finished speaking the normal view of streaking stars returned although there were occasional flickers.

“How fast are we going?”

“Speed is fluctuating but we are in excess of warp 9.997” The operations officer replied.

Raymer looked at her XO sitting beside her, Anjala just shrugged.

“Bridge to engineering, J'sira how long cane we hold this velocity?” Raymer asked.

“A few more minutes captain without risking damage to the main deflector or the engines.”

The Destiny flew through space faster than any would have thought possible but soon the ship had to return to it's normal drive or risk damaging it's systems. As the ship slowed to its normal emergency speed the vessel shook as it settled back into 'normal' subspace.

“At warp 9.6 and holding” announced Jensen

“How much time?

“We should get to the coordinates were contact was lost with the Crater in 32.7 minutes.” answered T'set

“XO, remind me to buy J'sira a case of whatever it is she drinks next time we are at Asgard. T'Set notify the Maraval that we will be taking lead on this and that they should hang back until we suss out the situation.”

“Captain?” Garner calls for Raymer's attention as he is staring intently at the readouts at the science station.

“What is it Garner?”

“I'm scanning the area where contact was ost and I'm getting readings that don't make any sense to me”

Cutter who had been at the secondary ops console moved over to Garner's position where he was joined by the XO.

The reading made very little sense. It was as if a very large area of space itself were missing!

Spoiler

CURRENT MOMENTUM: 2  CURRENT THREAT: 0

Cutter and Anjala you can both make Secirity rolls difficulty of 1 use either Insight or reasoning

 

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Anjala leaned over a bit, frowning at the sensor readings.

"That's...not...wait a second. It's not a hole in space, it's just an area we're not getting any sensor information from. Like a black hole or...some kind of cloaking device? But the region is huge. That'd take more power than ten starships could give it."

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Jack nodded with a grunt of agreement. "That sure is one helluva area to cover. Looks like what I've seen scannin' some place we knew a cloaked Klingon or Romulan ship was lurkin'. It definitely ain't a natural phenomena."

The tall Master Chief said it with the surety of someone who had manned tactical more than a few times in his career in Starfleet. Jack reached around Garner and adjusted the sensors, making sure the ensign saw what he was doing, then initiated a tachyon sweep. He carefully modulated the settings and on the console, six points blinked.

"Scanning for tachyons?" Garner asked doubtfully.

"It doesn't always work, specially if the guy on the cloak is on the ball with adjusting the resonance frequency," Jack explained. "But if you know what to look for, you can usually tell if there's a cloaked ship about, if not with pinpoint accuracy. If they are moving at high warp, you can also look for subspace distortions."

He arched a brow at Anjala and tapped the console. "It might'n't be ten starships, but there's six somethings out there generatin' that field, ma'am."

Spoiler

Security + Insight: 2d20 16

2 successes (rolled a 1 with no applicable focus) - used extra Success to Obtain Information.

CURRENT MOMENTUM: 3  CURRENT THREAT: 0

(Presuming Anjala's 2 successes added 1 to Momentum.

 

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"A cloaked area of space. A ships cloak doesn't overlap so this would be a new technology. Why didn't Asgard pick this up?"

Garner spoke up. "Its a huge area for what's being cloaked but not all that huge on a galactic or even sector scale. Our enhanced sensors couple with the Science pod we are equipped with give us unparalleled sensor capabilities. Any other plateform would have to be directly searching for such a thing to be able to pick it up and even then they would have to be pretty close to it to do so."

Raymer nodded, "Alright,  Tactical, can we pinpoint the power sources that Chief Cutter identified?" asked the Captain

Ensign Tiv stiffened slightly when tactical was called on but at the captains question she studied her readouts and made a few adjustments "Yes ma'am i have them. I should be able to get target locks when we are within range."

"Good," Raymer said, "Jensen set course for the nearest Power generator, drop to impulse before we cross into the field."

"Aye aye captain." the helmsman replied

"XO, thoughts?" Ramer asked her first officer

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"I concur on Yellow alert, but not the probe. We would likely lose contact with the probe and run the risk o having it detected. I'm betting a field this size is a complete sensor blanket and that whoever put it up may not be able to see out of it.

While I hate flying in blind I don't see a choice" Raymer said to her first officer

"Captain," said Chief Cutter who was standing nearby "we could take a shuttle, cut our engines before we cross over the boundary and drift in. Take a look around then come back and report."

Raymer considers the chiefs suggestion "What do you think XO?"

 

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Anjala frowned. Her off the cuff reaction was to negate. The shuttle would be just as much at risk as a probe, and with people on board.

But looking at it the other way, the alternative was for the entire Destiny to essentially do the same thing, with zero chance of evading detection and a whole lot more people in it.

"I should be on the shuttle," she said finally. "We won't want to run active sensor sweeps once we're inside, and I may be able to sense threats passive sensors wouldn't."

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Again Raymer nodded "Alright, T'Set, Jensen, your with the XO. Anjala if you can locate the Crater and determine what happened and make contact do so. I'll have J'Sira and the doctor meet you in the shuttle bay.

I'll give you one hour after you cross boundary. If you haven't reported in by then, we are coming in."

 

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Meanwhile, in the sickbay of the USS Destiny, Dr. Miriam Sepguta was discussing volume physics with her medical technician Petty Officer Seta Nupaye while her nurses Zoya and Isk purposely and methodically put together the twenty emergency medical kits Miriam required of her staff. The assembly of the kits had also been an issue with Seta until Miriam had asked point blank what concerns the woman - barely more than a girl really - had with the kits. In that staccato speech pattern filled with passion, Seta had leapfrogged from waste of replicator mass to storage concerns with a brief stop at the unverified need for having additional emergency medical kits ready to issue. Miriam was quickly coming to realize it was the nature of the Bajoran to question authority. For now it wasn't an issue but the moment would come when she'd need to have a hard talk with the girl.

Smiling, Miriam remembered she still needed to explain to Seta she had only a qualm or two about returning the petty officer to Asgard station by way of medical stasis tube and photon launcher if she questioned Miriam's judgement in public. While Earth might be a paradise world and a virtual Utopia compared to a planet like Bajor occupied by a militaristic race of bigoted Cardassian's, Miriam wasn't from Earth and Seta was coming closer to finding that out. 

Squeezing the bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger while she gathered her composure for a moment, Miriam suddenly looked up and interrupted Seta with a question. "How much volume, not space, does a surgical suite bio-bed require," she asked in the soft tone she normally used.

"43.85 cubic meters," Seta responded. "That's assuming a width of..."

Miriam immediately cut her off. "Add in surgical space for a doctor to work, not just the bed space."

"Um, that would be an additional 2 meters of flat dimensional space multiplied by …."

Again Miriam cut her off. "Now multiple that by 2 and reserve that volume of side by side space."

Back and forth Miriam and Seta went with Miriam adding additional requirements and Seta responding to those requirements with calculations apparently made off the top of head. Each time Seta tried to ask a question, a tactic Miriam assumed was her way of trying to re-direct the conversation, Miriam would add more requirements to the increasing complex problem. Miriam was actually becoming impressed with the young woman abilities to run the calculations in her head while not getting lost in the details but she kept her tone soft and her face calm until the Seta provided her a final total.

"So what facilities will that volume allow us," she asked the agitated petty officer, "according to your calculations anyway.

Seta's eyes flashed fire as she visibly bristled at the implication her calculations might be anything other than correct. "That would be a total 2 surgical suites, 15 bio-beds, large enough triage site to handle at least 20 people and," Seta closed her eyes and took a deep breath before continuing, "a decontamination space big large enough to handle another 20 people. I think I could fit an additional surgical bed in with some tweaks of the gravity field." The petty officer flashed a savagely triumphant grin at Miriam, obviously proud of what she'd just done in her head.

"Good," responded Miriam, her voice still soft. "I concur. Now design it." Seeing the confusion on Seta's face, Miriam continued. "You've got the calculations right, or at least I don't see a major mistake. Now I need you to build it."

"But," argued Seta less certain than she had been a moment ago, "there's already a design in the computer for an emergency medical auxiliary in the Holodeck. I can pull it up for you." Seta started for the computer console but Miriam stopped her.

"I already looked at it and it's a great layout for physical space," Miriam countered holding her hands up in a placating gesture, "but it doesn't conform to the physical requirements of the holodeck on the Destiny. And before you point it out I know how a gravity envelope works. I'm still not going to put someone's life in the hands of a cookie cutter holodeck template. I don't care why my predecessor didn't build one. I am telling you to build it."

"You saw what happened to the command staff, Seta." Miriam stated bluntly and dispassionately. "Now build me a sickbay in a box and make it a good one."

For a split second Miriam could have sworn Seta actually looked afraid but their conversation was cut short by the voice of the captain ordering her to muster on the flight deck for away team duty. She had questions but if the captain was issuing the order that probably meant things were happening quickly. Grabbing her away kit from her office she was moving out of the sickbay almost faster than the door could open automatically. 

"Kosst," cursed Seta staring at the door after it closed. "I think I might hate her."

"Maybe she'll grow on you," responded Isk with a hidden smile as her nimble fingers put together another emergency medical kit. 

"She's kind of cute though," said responded the hairless Deltan woman, her own thin fingers reaching for a dermal regeneration unit to place in the kit she was building. "Hides a little fire behind that calm. More than you'd think."

"Really?" Isk queried with a throaty laugh. "Are you peeping on other people again with that naughty brain of yours and what did you see?"

"Oh Isk! You and that slug in your tummy are the naughty ones," Zoya protested. "You know I couldn't possibly share privileged information like that. Not in a public place anyway."

As the two women discussed the etiquette of telepathic voyeurism while building more medical kits, Seta stared at the closed door to sickbay.

"Kosst," she swore again. 

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Jack watched the officers enter the turbolift, faintly disgruntled he wasn't on the shuttle. He always seemed to end up on the away missions. But XO was stepping up immediately and he wouldn't discount that, nor that the other two new bridge officers hadn't hesitated when called upon. Pretty behinds on a pair of them too.

Jack stopped looming over Garner's shoulder and took position at the main tactical console now that Batim was heading to the shuttlebay. With experienced casualness, he checked power levels, weapon readiness and shield ratings as lighting shifted to Yellow Alert. It was a mystery yet, but who knows what might come out of that cloaking field.

"Didn't 'spect the new officers would be cutting their teeth so soon, Cap'n," Jack remarked to Captain Raymer idly as he programmed several firing patterns to deal with a variety of possible circumstances.

"Your point, Chief?" Captain Raymer glanced over her shoulder with an arched brow at the tall Master Chief.

"No point, Cap'n, just commentin'. Thought they'd have more time learnin' the ropes 'board the Destiny, but the unexpected will test their mettle a might better, I expect. And maybe tell ya a bit more 'bout your new officers than their files did."

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Striding down the corridor at a brisk pace Miriam nodded or flashed her professional smile at the people greeting her as she moved past. Many of them addressed her as doctor rather than lieutenant so apparently they knew who she was even if she only recognized the faces from the Maraval. How they knew her already was a bit of a mystery but information did pass quickly aboard the closed environment of a star ship. The only thing faster than warp drive was gossip, or so sayeth the old spacers adage.

Hopefully the task she'd just sandbagged her new med-tech with was going to give the angry young woman an outlet for her energies. In a larger environment with more personnel Miriam would have the luxury of reassigning the petty officer in the duty rotation. Or teaming her directly with a junior officer or a senior enlisted to train her and keep her out of trouble. That approach wasn't going to work on Destiny though. It was a small team and aside from being what Miriam would call overly confrontational there was no indications Seta didn't do her job or do it well. Her predecessor seemed to think so but then he also went out of his way to avoid saying Miriam should cut her any slack. And it did bother Miriam that Isk seemed familiar enough with Seta's antics to pointedly overlook her action and that Zoya seemed unwilling to call her on her attitude. 

Miriam wasn't overly fond of protocol but on a star ship underway a little aggression could become a problem very quickly. Miriam had read Bajoran's were a spiritual people but that didn't seem to explain Seta. She might well be spiritual but apparently that spirituality didn't translate to a need to repress herself in the least. The sudden image of Seta snarking at her Bajoran gods - called 'prophets' according to the database -  did bring an real smile to Miriam's face as she waited behind two ensigns already in line for the turbo lift to arrive. Per ancient military tradition, officers - especially department heads and above - stood in the back of the queue to enter a lift as a courtesy. Last to board therefore first to depart. Miriam hadn't thought much of such traditions, especially considering how small most turbo lifts were, but somehow it didn't seem silly when she needed to get to where the captain had told her to meet her away team.

"Flight deck," Miriam announced as they boarded knowing the computer would recognize her rank and prioritize the stops accordingly. Miriam turned slightly to the back of the lift and nodded politely to the ensigns. They looked familiar though she could not recall their names at all. They both looked young though, almost too young to be in Starfleet. And a little timid.

As soon as the doors opened with that familiar sound of air being pushed out of the way Miriam stepped out and found herself outside the secondary airlock seals of the flight deck. From deeper in the ship still approaching the flight deck drifted the familiar voices of her fellow officers. Miriam shifted her medical kit to her left hand to brush  her tunic with her right to straighten the lines of her uniform as she waited for the XO and the others to reach her so she could fall into the group.. 

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J'Sira watched the display on her engineering tricorder light up. Several different alarms beeped rapidly, vying for her attention as she watched various displays creep at a steady pace to the ride line, and then past. The other engineers looked to her, masks of concern very obvious on their faces at the growing stress on the Main Deflector, which J'Sira had re-purposed for something it was never intended to do. J'Sira just looked up from her tricorder at them, her face the picture of calm serenity.

"It's fine. Starfleet over-engineers things and is very conservative with their placement of red lines. They can generally be pushed by at least 15% without any real risk, if need be." she explained to the enlisted engineers who did not seem to have quite her faith at the moment. 

Her modification was 'unorthodox' to say the least, and flew in the face of every engineering course taught at Starfleet Academy. She considered that had she not heard about what had happened to the crew of the Destiny involving susbspace harmonics, it would have been unlikely for her to have never considered this approach. But as it was, she did and right now the Destiny was managing to sustain speeds greater than Warp 9.6, even though its warp nacelles where only sustaining a warp bubble equivalent to Warp 9.6 by, putting it simply, 'softening' space in front of the ship, allowing it to be warped more easily, or as Cutter might analogize with one of his ground vehicles, she couldn't improve the engine or the fuel mix, so she paved the road instead.

Suddenly, after several minutes of constant alarms and alerts, she could feel the ship shudder as it slipped back into normal space. Her eyes widened just the faintest bit at the feeling, something that only those who knew her well was likely to pick up on. She had not expected the transition to be quite so noticeable, which prompted her to wonder what else she had miscalculated...

She set to work with other engineers to correct her modifications before returning to Main Engineering. She walked up to the engineering display table and scanned it for the data on the status of the warp drive as well as incidentally bringing up the recent telemetry data.

J'Sira froze in place.

As the usual activity of Main Engineering went on around her, J'Sira stood staring at the display in a mixture of shock and disbelief. Her modifications had far exceeded her expectations.

After a moment she collected herself and tapped her commbadge.

"J'Sira to engineering personnel: At the Captain's request we made temporary modifications to expedite our trip, even past Emergency speed. We did so. The data is still being processed, but the initial findings are that the Destiny sustained a speed in excess of Warp Factor 9.997 for several minutes, which I believe is a Starfleet record. We just put the Destiny in the record books people. This is quite an accomplishment and you should all be proud of yourselves, the finest engine room in Starfleet." she said as she began to clap, and action wish was gradually followed by others in Engineering as they heard it and smiled.

It was no small feat to break the Warp record, much less by such a margin. This would certainly bring attention and renown to the Destiny, and to her Chief Engineer. 

Immediately J'Sira secured all data related to her modifications and the impromptu 'test' and then set about writing a proposal for a propulsion pod to all the construction and testing of purpose-built equipment to carry our further testing and refinement of her modifications when the call to report to the shuttle bay came in. Her proposal, evaluation of the data and further simulations would have to wait.

With her tricorder and type 2 phaser on her hip and her toolkit in hand she made her way to the shuttle bay, going over her calculation the entire time, trying to figure out where she has been so off.

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The trek from the turbolift to the shuttlebay was mercifully swift. She stepped into the cavernous space of the bay and spotted Miriam and J'sira immediately, waiting near one of the shuttles. A quick glance back verified the others had followed her as well. A boatload of fresh-faced graduates, trying to fill the big shoes of senior officers.

Her heart paused in her chest for a beat. Am I ready for this? It's not just my own life on the line...it's everyone on the Crater as well. And maybe the Destiny, if we get into trouble.

Ready or not though, this was the job. It wasn't just Captain Raymer who had something to prove. They were trying to jump past a decade or more of experience and field work. You could be damn sure that looking down mid-jump was going to be scary as hell.

So no looking down.

Lieutenant Batim crossed to the shuttle, giving J'sira and Miriam a curt nod as she arrived. "We're flying into an area of space concealed by the largest scale cloaking field ever recorded. I'll need everyone on point. We've no idea what to expect in there, so eyes and ears open, report any detail that stands out to you."

"Jensen, we'll launch, maintain thrust until we're a few hundred kilometers out, then cut engines and drift in on momentum. I'll trust your instincts on speed and heading, but try to be...unpredictable. And we don't really know they can't see out, so be ready for evasive maneuvers once we're inside."

"Miriam, J'sira, you're here for when we find the Crater, to assess casualties and damage. T'set, you're on sensors...no active scans right away though, unless we're confirmed spotted. We're looking for transmissions, energy readings, life signs."

"Our objective is to find the Crater and get enough information to plan a rescue operation. Secondary objective, determine the nature of the cloaking field and its possible destruction. Beyond that, we'll work it out as we go."

She paused to let that sink in, then went on to add, "There's a lot of crew on the Destiny thinking we don't deserve the titles we were given when we came on. That we're upstarts. That we don't belong here. Some of you have had to deal with that already."

"Here's where we show them they're wrong."

Anjala boarded the shuttle and looked back.

"Jensen, you're a crazy pilot fresh out of the Academy...lets say we throw the checklist out and just go, huh?"

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The shuttle  Tiburon slid from the bay and angled sharply away from the Destiny.

"We're away LT." said Jensen his concentration on his controls and the view-port, "Two minutes to the boundary."

"Destiny to Tiburon, Remember one hour, if we haven't heard from you  by then we are coming in."

On the bridge of the huge starship Reymer looked at the projection of the shuttle growing smaller with distance. "Ensign V'Lar, move us to a position five hundred kilometers from the nearest generation point." She spins her chair around to face the tactical station where Tiv and Cutter stood. "I know you wanted to go on the away mission Jack, but I need some experienced people here with me." she smiled at him then focused her attention on Tiv.  "When we go in I want a full tactical scan on that generator if it is unmanned I want it erased from my sky. Hopefully if one link in the field goes down the whole cloak will go that way everything will be exposed. Let's do it."

 

"Approaching the boundary, Lt. cutting impulse drive....now. We are gliding and under thrusters only for maneuvering." Announced Jensen as the shuttle flew like a dart through cloaking field.

The stars vanished as the Tiburon crossed the boundary and the tiny shuttle sails into a void of utter darkness.

Spoiler

T'set is in the co-pilot position and is operating as science officer and ops for the flight. She needs to make a sensors check  using reason and the shuttles sensors of 7 difficulty 2   let me know in pm what you roll and i will let you know what you discover

CURRENT MOMENTUM: 3  CURRENT THREAT: 0

 

 

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"Passive sensors are picking up the cloaking filed generator satellites and we are receiving a distress call form the Crater." Said T'Set as the shuttle plowed through the darkness.

"Put it through but hold off on replying." ordered the XO

"... this is the USS Crater we have struck what appears to be a Gravitic mine. We have sustained serious structural damage and both warp and impulse drives are inoperable.Our auxiliary power is draining fast due to the integrity fields holding the ship together. We have sustained casualties and need assistance immediately. I repeat To any starship within range that can hear this, this is the USS...." the message repeats

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"It's the Kobayashi Maru all over again," muttered Anjala, feeling a fist close around her heart.

"Jensen, full stop. Prepare to get us out of here, but don't execute just yet. T'set, record the exact coordinates of as many of the cloak generators as we can detect, then scan for energy readings on the Crater. If it's that badly damaged, it shouldn't be too hard to find."

She shook her head. "This is a really complicated setup for pirates, but we're not near a hostile border. What the hell is going on?"

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"Not pirates," stated Miriam softly, her attention diverted to adjusting the secondary console to display the passive sensor readouts. "Piracy is about profits. There's no profit in blowing up a ship using mines unless you're the one selling the mines. Even then it's iffy. Mining a three dimensional space is expensive but once its done its hard to sell a service contract."

Leaning over her console, hair falling forward to create a curtain hiding her face, Miriam changed the subject abruptly. "How long would their auxiliary power hold out under that kind of load J'Sira?" Miriam asked as her fingers stroked the console, continuing to refine the display. "Whenever that is, that's the outer edge of when this stops being a rescue mission."

While the XO considered options and the Chief Engineer calculated, Miriam continued to work her own problem. It was outside the scope of her normal duties but any first year cadet would have known how to access the shuttle sensor logs and sensor data was sensor data regardless of whether it  was a medical tricorder or the much more powerful passive sensor array built into the hull of the shuttle. More important than  than any skill was the simple fact of the existence of the barrier itself. With the barrier behind the shuttle there was no ambiguity to resolve in absolute direction as to whether the signal was ahead or behind, which meant she had only to resolve the bearing of the repeating signal from the Crater. It was simple problem at that point; find the bearing displaying the highest amplitude of signal, compare that to the sensor log from the first seconds after they crossed the barrier then overlay both onto a single display of the local map. It would better if the Tiburon had traveled further between the two sampling, the estimation of distance would be better, but it was a good place to start. 

"Ensign Jensen," Miriam spoke up suddenly, "can you tell me how far away this point is from our current position?"

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