2,594 words; about a 13 minute read
Location: USS Geronimo - Main Bridge
Timeline: 2399-09-20, 20:00
Iy'dan strode through the parted doors, confidence oozing from every pore even if it was just all for show.
"Report!" he called as he took his seat at the centre of the bridge and all other dispersed around the bridge.
Having surrendered the Tactical workstation to Lieutenant Commander Rovaris, Lieutenant Commander Ila Emeris took the seat next to the Captain. Logging in to the workstation, the XO studied the data that they had uncovered quickly as they awaited a report.
Lieutenant Giraz was the one to provide it. Walking toward his traditional post at the Ops console, the Benzite explained, "Sensors have detected a Kessok Cruiser on approach, closing fast."
Emeris looked at the positioning, "We're still in what we believe to be neutral territory, Captain, their colony is still a light year away."
Conall logged onto the tactical station with his authorisation and sent an silent order through to those down in the tactical bays to prepare for a potential conflict. "At the moment they don't appear to have their weapons systems activated." he reported after a long range tactical scan.
Fee sat quietly at the Science console, long, deft fingers typing furiously. She was an Astrometrics specialist, but also the Chief Scientist until someone else was found, and so here she was. She hated it. Her stupid, oversize, purple tunic-which clashed with her hair, by the way-was too warm. No, she was just panicking. She took a couple of breaths. "Atmospheric readings are holding steady," she said, as loudly as possible, which for her was most people's normal speaking voice. "I am not picking up any other anomalies that would indicate any more shuttles, boats, or anything like that. The Cruiser is alone," she said, confidently. "They will hit some kind of satellite-a moon-if they keep the direction that they're in-straight ahead, as the Crow flies," she said. She had charted that moon recently-it was the moon of an uninhabited planet and wasn't a threat to them. "Whoever runs their cartography is in for a big surprise," she said, wryly.
Addison moved to where she was out of the way but also to where she could see what was going on, taking in the body language of the crew. Watching Commander Brell, she was really glad she had brought Vincent along. Her eyes then wandered over to where Conall was standing at tactical. She was glad she was included in this mission. Then her eyes wandered over to where the others were. Watching Ace as she performed her task, and also Emeris, this gathering of people was an interesting mix.
Ace was wired and ready to rumble, eager for action and ready for fireworks!
"All good on this end, Captain!" Ace adjusted a few things in regard to trajectory, then sat back and calmly waited for orders.
"That's atypical," the XO said directed at the Science Specialist. "Records indicate that the Kessok were at our level of development when we last operated within this region. Surely they should be detecting that satellite. Our records also indicate that the Kessok are not above subterfuge as a means to test others," The Angosian woman looked over at the Captain, "The crew stands ready, Captain. What are your orders?"
"I'll send a probe out. There's higher readings for radiation here; perhaps they are being affected. We'll be ok so long as we're not here TOO long," Fee spoke up, and then nodded once to Ace. "Launched...will report back on readings."
"It could be a colony or an outpost" Iy'dan mused aloud. "After all their societal expansion wouldn't stop just because of our absence in the region".
"Commander Rovaris, discreetly run up a tactical analysis of the ship. Lets see what advancements they've made in our absence. Ops, hail them!"
Conall had already been ahead of the Captain. His scans of the cruiser were almost complete and once they were he sent them to the arm panel of his chair as well as verbally before their hail was answered.
"Cruiser has a comparable armament to ourselves. From our last meeting their positron beams have been upgraded and as this is a heavy cruiser the compliment of torpedoes have been increased as well as firing tubes, showing 4 front and 2 rear. Defensively their shielding is on a scale with our own, although I have detected an irregularity on their ventral rear section we could exploit if need be." Conall reported.
Emeris added, "Their positron beams are a concern, Captain, but their torpedoes are more frightening. Their weapons are specially outfitted to track targets and rarely, if ever, miss. It's strange though. Our records indicate that Kessok ships could cloak. This ship is clearly visible and on approach. I wouldn't be surprised if other Kessok ships are also out there nearby."
Addison lightly chewed on her lower lip, watching as things progressed. "Are they using that ship as possible bait and we come in, being surprised if they attack?"
"Or they're waiting to see if we live up to our ideals and try the peaceful route or open fire," the Angosian answered. "It is not without precedent. During the True Way conflict of the late 2370s the Kessok Captain Neb-Lus their ship pretend to be disabled within the Vesuvi Dust Cloud. The Sovereign chose to hail rather than engage as a show of our ideals, which led the Kessok to standing down in the conflict." She looked at the ship on the display, "This Captain may be trying a similar test. We have not had contact in over 15 years, they may be trying to ascertain if we keep our old ideals or have fallen into the trap of distrust and unease." The Acting XO wondered if that was how they truly had become as most of Starfleet seemed to shoot first and ask questions later these days.
"There's four more out there, all cloaked," Fee's voice was finally audible-it often was when the panic set in. "The probes are picking up that many...so far," she said, though her face was still trained on the monitor in front of her. "I will continue to monitor it, but they seem to be hovering, waiting. No signals or anything going back and forth, so they came with a plan already in place."
"Conall, do not raise the shields... but keep your wits about you... If they fire we need those shields up in an instant..." Iy'dan added feeling the weight of his words pressed by the situation at large.
Conall nodded. He'd had the shields primed for activation from the moment the ship appeared without declaring its intent.
"Hail the lead ship!"
The XO of the Geronimo looked at her workstation. Typing on the panel, she opened the communications menu and hailed the Kessok vessel that they had detected. "Channel is open, Captain."
Addison was in observation mode watching the activity that was happening. Right now she didn't need to make any comments at this time as there seemed to be a high level of uncertainty as to what was facing them.
"Clawing back the probes, sending the data to your Console, Ma'am. Sir." Fee said, pressing a few buttons. They could make their own determination as Commanders, and she could be relieved of THAT decision. Because hers would be "Turn around and go back the way we came," but that's why she was a scientist and nothing else.
Just then Vincent stepped out from the observation lounge, he wanted to see what was going on and also he was getting ready to head to medical. He quietly moved to where Addison was, figured it was the best thing to do.
Ila typed on the interface next to her, surprised that the Kessok had not spoken, "Interesting, they can hear you but they aren't talking. What should we say?"
"Kessok vessel. This is Commander Iy'dan Brell of the USS Geronimo... Do you read?"
Iy'dan talked over the orchestra of other voices, piercing the noise with a presence of authority which he didn't know he had. He dropped silent, as did the others on the bridge waiting for the silence to be broken.
The Angosian mumbled, "Well that's an option I guess."
The viewscreen came alive with the image of a monster. Humanoid in appearance, the Kessok Commander stood in the center of the frame with his powerful looking build on full display for the Starfleet Officers looking upon him. Through the distance of the stars they could tell that the alien was tall and muscular, with the body of a Human but the head of a bull. Long, black horns adorned the side of his head and his eyes were a deep crimson as he looked upon the crew of the Starfleet vessel.
"I am Commander Heq-Typ of the Kessok Starship Neb-Lus," the Kessok Commander introduced himself. "Please state your reason for trespassing within our territory."
Fee looked up. "They've scrambled my probe," she said, quietly, so as not to panic anyone. "Initiating protocol G." She tapped a button, but made a sour face at the person in the view screen. The Vissian woman had seen some things in her short time with the Fleet, but what in the name of the Great Being was THAT thing?!
Ace's jaw dropped...along with herself...
[Holy quacamoly! He is so dang cool looking!] Ace was too awed to care that she was now sitting on the floor gaping at the Kessok.
First Officer Ila Emeris looked up at the Kessok Commander on the viewscreen, instantly assessing the tactical situation in her head through her years of security training. The alien was certainly intimidating in appearance and demeanor, with an impressive physique and a deadly earnestness behind the scenes. She had studied the records of the engagements between the Federation and the Kessok nearly two decades ago and knew that the Geronimo was evenly matched for a single Kessok ship, but she knew that there were others out there hiding in wait to engage.
She glanced at the Captain, awaiting his response to the Kessok's query.
"Commander Heq-Typ, I bring Greetings from the Federation. It was not our intention to trespass and I sincerely apologize for that. We are here to reach out to re-establish diplomatic ties... If you and your Government are agreeable."
Had he said to much... He had no idea. Diplomatic interactions had been the one thing he hadn't taking the time to review before departure. He pressed on regardless.
"You would be welcome to visit our ship, perhaps you and your senior officers would care to dine with us?"
The Kessok Commander shook its head, "Commander Iy'dan Brell of the USS Geronimo we mean no disrespect to you, but we are uninterested in such a visit. We are directing you to turn about and return to Federation territory."
[Aw man! I so wanted to to do some exploring, maybe get some hair care tips!] Ace thought, trying not to make a pouting face.
Ace suddenly became VERY aware of where she was...and where she was SUPPOSED to be.
Ace scrambled back into her chair as quickly and quietly as possible...which unfortunately for her wasn't very quiet at all.
The First Officer looked sternly at the Helm Officer. She whispered, "Lieutenant, decorum."
Ace hunched her shoulders before straightening up and reorienting herself.
"Commander Heq-Typ, we will of course respect your wishes... Lieutenant Tidebreaker, plot a course out of Kessok space, maximum impulse" Iy'dan broke away briefly to give the order to his Helm officer before returning his attention back to the screen. "We would ask that you inform your government that we are returning to our Starbase in the region and we would very much appreciate the chance to once again establish diplomatic ties with your people. As a show of good will we would also like to extend the offer of your people visiting the station"
"Aye, Sir, plotting a course out of Kessok space," Ace replied as her hands flew across the console, once again the competent Helmswoman.
[At least I didn't spill something on top of already embarrassing myself!] Aqua thought with a small sigh.
Onboard the Neb-Lus, which was named in honor of the first Kessok to make contact with the Federation, the Kessok Commander observed the sensor details that came in. The Akira Class starship was verified as backing off from its position and the projected course did return them to the territory of the Federation. The Kessok Commander used his clawed hand to drop the sensor readout on his own screen before he spoke. "I will share your comments and invitation with my superiors, Commander Iy'Dan Brell. Until then safe journeys to you and your crew." The screen went dark and returned to the visual of the Kessok vessel.
In her chair, First Officer Emeris sighed. The Angosian looked over at the Captain of the Geronimo, "We'll have to report this, Captain, especially as the Kessok may accept the invitation to the station. I'm uncertain how the Commodore will consider this." She turned her console toward her and typed.
"Everything is fine from an atmospheric standpoint. We are clear to turn around if we must," came Fee's soft voice. "I have some data from the probe. Nothing exciting. I was looking for evidence that they may have tried to increase pressure with Nitrogen or somesuch. They did not." She shrugged. She wasn't sure that would mean anything to anyone but her, anyway. Command types were usually engineer trained.
Addison blinked as she looked over at Fee, raising an eyebrow. Then she turned her attention to I'ydan. "Well it looks like we weill be having an interesting time of it on the station." though in her thoughts Addison wondered. where did the probes come from, why were they sent? Did Commander Brell order them to be sent out?
It really confused the doctor as to why. She thought it miraculous that the Kessok ships didn't fire upon the Geronimo with probes being sent out. It could have been considered an attack and the ship would have been attacked or destroyed.
The First Officer looked at the civilian science officer before returning her attention to the Captain, "With your permission, Sir, may we set a return course for the Station?"
"By your leave Commander... I think I might need to contact the station", not making eye contact with their science specialist. This was the reason he didn't like civilians on a military posting. "You have the bridge."
Conall eased off the tactical console as the ship began to turn to head back to the station. This had been an interesting little jaunt out, and meeting a species they'd not seen for a decade or two was quite something. Now though, the return back to the station and properly meet his security teams.
"Lieutenant Tidebreaker," the Angosian said as she passed the Captain on her way to the Command Chair, "Set course for Deep Space 12 and engage at Maximum Warp."
"Aye, Ma'am. Setting course 315, Maximum Warp," Ace nodded as she set the course.
Seeing that they were well on their way back to the station, Addison's brow furrowed with concern as to Commander Brell's departure from the bridge. She saw Vincent start to move to go to his husband but she gave shake of her head as in not to follow.
Vincent gave a nod and instead headed off the bridge. He was going to wait for Iy'dan in their quarters.
The XO nodded approval, "Maintain."