Posted on 24 Sep 2018 @ 12:03pm by Commodore Gregory Farragut & Commander Alidar tr'Seroht & Lieutenant JG William Hendrix & Lieutenant JG Ema Ourielle & Ensign Trey (3 of 8) & 1st Lieutenant Jack Patton & Gunnery Sergeant Robert Schiano
Crisis on the Frontier 4X01
Location: Main Bridge and Others
Timeline: MD 8 2030 Hours
Greg paced a slow, deliberate lap around the bridge, stopping to examine ship's status at whatever station was he closest when he couldn't keep his curiosity at bay. "Anything on sensors yet?" He asked, stopping at the bank of science stations.
Ema craned her neck to look up at the commodore. "There's always something on sensors sir," she said sincerely. "Nothing threatening so far though." She indicated one section of the station. "Here I'm monitoring the salvage and rescue operation. Over here," she pointed to another, smaller screen, "I've got the computer watching for stray tachyons."
She swiveled the chair so that she was facing Farragut. "I'm not picking up any hostiles on long range either, sir. So far just a Talarian long-haul freighter passing a few light years away."
"Talarian?" Farragut repeated. He furrowed his brow. "Broadcast a friend/foe challenge request."
Patton and Schiano manned the Strategic Operations console. Schiano was keeping an eye on the away teams with one hand. With the other he ran simulation after simulation as he mapped out various evac scenarios. Jack for his part was working on the internal resources of the Endeavour. But he did give the Commadore a quick but strange glance when he issued the order to challenge the Talarian. Patton thought it not worth the time.
Alidar quietly stood by the Tactical station, looking over the shoulder of the person manning the console. So far no threats had presented themselves, but that could change at a moment's notice. The Romulan glanced toward Farragut and responded, "Are Talarians ever considered friendly?" His voice remained neutral, but those who knew him may have been able to pick up the slight joke.
"I'll wear them down with my knowledge of baseball and soup dumplings," Farragut quipped. "Managed to get me this far," He added under his breath.
"Interrogation techniques were developed from your re-telling of baseball statistics during the war," Alidar followed up as he continued to scan the tactical console'r readouts.
"Baseball, I can understand that. A retelling of the 2018 season fo da New York Mets would send anyone screamin.” Schiano’s accented voice spoke up. Patton shot him a look that told him it may not be proper for that tone on the bridge.
"Lieutenant Patton...let's say hello. Let them know we're out here." Greg remained at the bank of science stations, watching the sensor feed on Ema's terminal.
“Aye sir. Broadcasting friendly greetings on all channels. Also instituting full tactical scan. That should wake them up to our presence.” Patton responded as he executed the orders. Then as an afterthought added “But sir is a Talarian really worth our time. I mean they would be no match for the Endeavour.”
Trey scanned the vessel. "Confirmed sir." he said from ops. "Weapons and shields are no match for our current set up sir."
Ema turned away from the commodore, hiding an eye roll. She felt sure that the heightened tension of their mission was getting the better of the men on the bridge. The freighter was light years away and alone. "I've hitched rides on several of these Talarian freighters, sir," she said, looking back up at Farragut.
"First rebellion against your parents?" Greg asked.
"Back in my archaeology days," she clarified.
She swiveled her seat to face the console once more. "I'm cross-checking their transponder signal against Federation Trade Authority records. This far from Talarian space, they'd have had to pass through Federation territory. I'll give you their flight plan and a cargo manifest in...." she trailed off working her fingers deftly over the panel.
She downloaded the information into one of the PADDs stowed in the hidden drawer in the space under the work surface. She popped it out, withdrew the small reading tablet, and handed it to the commodore. "Here you are, sir. Doesn't look like anything suspicious."
"Probably nothing," Greg agreed, accepting the PADD. "Just a feeling." He glanced back up at the sensor display and let out a sigh. "Sometimes I just get the - what the..." The freighter suddenly vanished from the sensor display.
"Where did it go?" He asked, tightening his grip on the PADD.
The Commodore’s exclamation caught Jack’s attention and he set into action. He spoke softly at first to his old friend. “Meatball, remember HOP 4 during Operation Tiger’s Paw.” “Ohhhh yeah, dat wuz when we made the enemy think that we wuz somewhere else. Sensor echos dayz fantastic.” Schiano replied and he was already one step ahead of Patton his fingers on the control as he spoke. “I am scanning now…”
Jack turned to the command pit. “Sir it is possible that what we are seeing is a sensor echo, or false image designed to lure us to another location. The reason for the lure could be to ambush us when we get there, or draw us away from here so they can complete their tasks here. I have seen this before and I am using a recursive algorithm in the sensor array to confirm my theory. Should have the results in a couple of minutes.”
"Salvage operations will take another twenty-five minutes, captain," Ema chimed in. "We're pulling in the last of the escape pods now," she glanced at her panel. "We can break off in less than five if you'd like to cut the rest of the clean-up short."
OOC E: I did not intend for this to sound like Ema was suggesting leaving any escape pods behind. I was trying to indicate that after the last escape pods were aboard we could stop salvaging the wreckage in about 5 minutes....
"Negative," Greg said. "If we leave now we lose evidence and leave survivors out there to die. I need answers, Lieutenants. Where the hell did our Talarian friends go."
Swiveling back to her panel Ema tied her sensor readouts in with the marine's. "Working on that now, sir," she said out of respect for the chain of command, not that it added any information to the conversation. A moment of tense silence followed as she began re-configuring the Endeavour's long range sensor array.
"If it is a sensor Echo as Lieutenant Patton suggests," her fingers tapped away at the LCARS display, "then the real ship has to be out there somewhere. It could be that the Talarian's don't even know their transponder signal has been cloned, sir."
“Boooo Yah!” The voice of Robert Schiano called out from the Strategic Operations console. “Uhhh sorry sirs.” He added as he realized his outburst was not proper for the bridge. “Right here BlackJack…” Meatball was pointing to something on the screen in front of them. “Well done Meatball keep eyes on them.” Jack replied and then looked toward Greg. “Sir it seems we have found your Talarians they are about three sectors away and leaving fast. The initial image was a sensor echo; well more accurately put a sensor projector that is stationary. In the Corps we call them crybabies. You drop a buoy and have it project on all frequencies a transponder signal. The idea is that whoever is chasing you will go after the crybaby as you get out of dodge as quickly as possible. I do not believe that the Talarians created the cry baby; I believe it was created by someone else and the Talarian’s transponder was cloned. If you follow the Talarian ion trails they come awful close to the where we saw them but nowhere near our current location.” Jack transferred all data to the center chair as well as to Lieutenant Ourielle.
"Mister Patton, I fully appreciate the purpose of a sensor echo. I don't need a refresher on starship tactics," Greg said tersely. "Bridge to Engineering, Mister Hendrix, what's the status of our counter measure?"
"Experimental." Came Bill's reply "But she'll work. Provided she doesn't blow the entire power grid the first time we take a hit..."
"Chief, how much time do you need to deploy the matrix?" Greg asked.
"She's effectively deployed." Bill responded "Just need to give the order to fire her up. Should take... Fifteen seconds. We might be able to shave it down to twelve but it has to be a gradual start up or she definitely will blow the grid."
Greg stared at the local sensor map and clucked his tongue. "Stand by for deployment, Lieutenant. I think we're about to have some company."
He looked over at Alidar. "Commander, where are we at with recovery?"
"Just approaching now," Alidar responded. "We have two shuttles closing in to the wreckage and the transporters report that they can begin transporting once anything of value is tagged."
Jack nodded at the chastisement from his CO. He wanted to say that it was not his intention to presume that the Commodore did not know about sensor echoes. However, this was not the time. It was Patton’s innate want to constantly prove himself that did it. The question that Jack was asking himself more now was why he was not made aware of this counter measure. He walked over to the science station. “Lieutenant I wonder if we can suss out who made this crybaby, and where they ran off to.”
At Jack's approach Ema began moving around the data feeds on her console, moving some of them into the background with alerts set for certain conditions. "Here's my sensor feed on the buoy lieutenant," she said pointing to the upper right corner of the console. "It isn't Talarian tech," she added. "More evidence to rule out their involvement."
"Quite right, but, the question is who and why Talarians. What tech can you identify Lieutenant?" Jack said as he looked on at her station.
"Well...," Ema paused zooming in on a visual of the buoy. "It doesn't match anything in our records. Visual examination makes it look more cobbled together that factory produced. Deep scans are picking up Federation, Romulan, and Orion components. Seems pirate-y, sir."
"It is frankensteined together which would indicate pirates. But, the only pirates known would be Orions. They are not known to use jumbled tech. But I would have to agree Pirates." The mystery was really perplexing as Jack could not think of any suspects past the Orions.
"You haven't spent much time on the edges of Federation space, have you Mr. Patton?" Ema spun her seat to look up at the marine.
Well not where pirating is prevalent. Most of The Kingsmen’s time has been spent in the Beta and Gamma Quadrants. What do you have?” Patton replied.
"From back in my more... freewheeling days as an archaeologist," Ema began with a grin, "I can think of at least three other pirate operations off the top of my head."
"Perhaps but could any of them get the resources to do this or a weapon capable of the destruction that we see here?" Jack queried.
"There's the Vishap Coalition," she ticked off the first on her index finger. "The Gilliam Pirate Guild," she added a second digit. "And the Leshk Group," she held up a third finger. "We're a little far afield for the Vishap and the Leshk operate on the far side of Federation space, closer to my homeworld. The Gilliam guild though... this area wouldn't be out of the question for them."
Jack cocked an eyebrow at the Lieutenants list. He nodded toward Schiano which indicated that he should get as much as he could on The Gilliam Pirate Guild.
"The Guild would they or could they get technology like this?” Jack spoke as he crossed over to his own station and began reading what information they had on the guild. From what he saw it seemed that they had been gathering technology for years in an attempt to get a bigger and better fleet. When Jack finished it had all fallen into place in his head. He looked toward Farragut. "Sir, if all of this adds up everything we see right now is simply a red herring. The Endeavour herself is what these pirates are after. Well more accurately put a Starfleet ship of the line. Sir if we destroy these buoys it should bring the cuplrits right back to the scene of the crime. We could bring one of them aboard for evaluation, before we destroy the rest. It would give us a good look at whoever did this. Lieutenant is there any way that we can trace the signal to find its origin?” Jack asked Ema as he worked the problem from both ends.
Comms chatter between the shuttles and runabouts buzzed in the air. A brief exchange between Lieutenant Swiftpaws Runabout Rouge River and its escort Runabout Willamette. The pilots chattered back and forth, exchanging flight data for their approach to a distress call in the mass of broken freighters.
"Commander." Farragut made eye contact with Alidar and walked over to the unmanned Engineering station. He motioned for the Commander to join him.
Returning the nod, Alidar tapped the tactical officer's shoulder as a way to announce his departure. In a quick, but professional manner he made his way toward Greg. As he arrived, he simply asked, "Captain?"
"Give me your gut take on this." He said, glancing at the view screen.
"My gut tells me that we are walking into a trap," Alidar responded in a hushed tone. He knew better than to allow anyone but the Captain to hear such talk.
"So does mine," Greg muttered. He gave Alidar one last look and then returned his attention to the crew. "Continue all recovery operations, but I want senior officers to report back to the ship on the double."
"Aye sir! Issuing the recall orders now. Permission to send Gunnery Sergeant Schiano to take command of the recovery operations in lieu of senior officers." Patton spoke as he sent the commands to the teams.
"Granted," Alidar responded with a quick nod toward the Marine on the Bridge. The Romulan then stepped back so that the tactical officer could retake their console, then made his way back down the ramp to the First Officer's seat.
"Sergeant go suit up. Take command of the recovery operations and maintain communication with Endeavour." That was only the beginning of the orders that Jack issued. "Sir Yes Sir!" Schiano replied when Jack finished. He turned on his heel and entered the turbolift. Right before the doors closed, Jack turned to his old friend with a smile. "Gunny you have the hill. Don't let us down." Meatball smiled and the doors closed.
Commader Alidar tr'Seroht
First Lieutenant Jack Patton
MCO/Chief Strategic Operations Officer
Gunnery Sergeant Robert Schiano
First Sergeant/EVAC Specialist