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Working the Kinks

Posted on Wed Jun 5th, 2019 @ 4:27pm by Commander Temerant Bast & Captain James McCullen & Lieutenant Zemta Kriv

Mission: Route to Raeya
Location: Bridge
Timeline: MD2 - 2150 Hours

The USS Sentinel was roughly eighteen hours out of Providence Fleet Yard, on a ten-day journey to Outpost Curtiss, when the time came for the first of a series of battle drills that Commander Bast had planned. The refit had been completed in record time at the Fleet Yard - the ship had been sitting there for quite some time, stripped down and unpowered, and had recently just been refitted with modern equipment, including a new, state-of-the-art Bridge module. The engineers at the Fleet Yard had run their standard diagnostic tests, and the Sentinel's own Chief Engineer had run his own battery of tests, but there could still be a lot of bugs to iron out. Not to mention the fact that this was a new crew. They had to be tested, and learn to work together in a crisis situation.

To that effect, Bast had planned a series of drills, both announced and not.

Beta shift was currently on Bridge duty. The ship was cruising at a leisurely Warp Seven, and everything was calm on the bridge, when Bast quietly tapped the console on the armrest of the Captain's chair to launch the first scenario. The Science console started beeping.

T'Sha'err would not have said she enjoyed working on the bridge. That would have been admitting to an emotional response. Considering her life long experience in academia, however, and the novelty of attending to the various sensors attached to her duty station made for a...stimulating experience.

The routine data that normally conveyed itself through her station was interrupted by something new and potentially hazardous, a fact signaled by a 'beeping' and a corresponding flashing light.

"Long-range sensors have identified an object approaching the Sentinel at a high warp velocity, Commander," T'Sha'err advised. "I should be able to convey more specifics momentarily."

Bast turned to Lieutenant Zemta. "Access Starfleet's flight plan database for the sector," he said. "Are we expecting any other ship in the area at this time?"

Without missing a beat, Kriv responded, "no sir. No other ships expected for a few hours, sir."

Bast turned Ensign Wallace, who was manning the Tactical station. "Distance and time to intercept?"

"Point three parsec," reported the young man. "Bearing eight six, mark one three five. At present speed, they should intercept in forty-six minutes."

Bast turned back to T'Sha'err. "Anything more on sensors?"

T'Sha'err might have momentarily shown surprised at her readings. She verified her data, then looked at the center chair. "Sensors indicate a Sheliak Corporate starship, heavy cruiser. I am relaying information to helm and tactical stations now."

Bast's eyebrows shot up in surprise. Of all the possibilities that the computer could have conjured up for this battle drill, it had opted for a Sheliak ship. That was unexpected.

He turned to the officer at Tactical. "Tactical analysis," he ordered.

"Hard to say, sir." The ensign replied, an apologetic tone in his voice. "I'm reading several power signatures that are probably disruptor weapons but I have no data on yield or type. Their shield output is roughly comparable to our own and I can say with some confidence based on their engine output that we're probably slower at top speed, but more maneuverable." It was the best Wallace could do, nobody had even seen a Sheliak ship in more than twenty years and there hadn't been a battle that the Ensign knew about since the end of the Federation-Sheliak War, forty-five years ago.

"Have they crossed into Federation space?" asked Bast.

Wallace checked the sensor readings showing the position of the Sheliak ship and frowned. "Yes sir," he replied, "they're zero-point-two lightyears inside Federation space and traveling towards us at..." the Ensign had to do a double take, "warp 9.97. Damn."

T'Sha'err looked up from her station. "Commander, the Sheliak are a legalistic and traditionalist species. Assuming their treaty with the Federation does not provide a manner in which to diffuse this situation, logic would suggest their battle tactics would contain ritualistic elements, as well as pragmatic ones."

"Yellow alert," called Bast. "Open hailing frequencies."

At Wallace's nod, Bast spoke up for the comm. "Sheliak vessel, this is Commander Temerant Bast, of the USS Sentinel. You have entered Federation space, in direct violation of the Treaty of Armens. Please explain your actions."

The star pattern on the screen was replaced by a dim figure, what appeared to be a stack of folds, one on top of the other, with a head-like appendage on top.

"Federation creatures, Section two hundred thirteen, paragraph three six subparagraph theta of the Treaty of Armens infers the Sheliak Corporate right to ensure all articles of the treaty are being observed. Our current actions are designed to assure those rights."

"Sensors are showing Sheliak weapons systems powering up, Commander," T'Sha'err advised.

Ensign Wallace cursed under his breath, fingers already moving across the tactical board transferring power from non-essential systems to shields and weapon system power banks, though he didn't take the step of activating them. "I recommend we do the same, sir. We've no idea what their real intentions are but they seem pretty hostile to me."

"Red alert," ordered Bast. "Helm, lay in an intercept course, maximum Warp. Mister Wallace, initialize tactical systems, ready shields, phasers, and torpedoes. Ensign T'Sha'err, give me every piece of information you can on their tactical abilities."

"Aye, sir!" Wallace replied, perhaps a bit too enthusiastically. He hit the big red alert button and as the red lights began to flash and the claxon sounded, he brought all the weapons systems online, followed by the shields. A quick diagnostic scan of the systems showed phasers on standby and forty-five torpedo casings ready to launch. Shields were up and at one hundred percent.

"Aye sir, maximum warp," Kriv said, quickly moving the ship into the fastest speed she could manage. "Intercept course engaged."

"Time to intercept?" asked Bast.

"Two minutes five seconds." Wallace supplied just as the sensor readings changed, "correction! Sixty-three seconds, they've changed course to directly intercept us!" He couldn't keep the nervous excitement out of his voice. Academically, he knew that the whole thing was a drill, else the captain and the senior-staff bridge crew would have been called into place, but it was hard not to get swept up in the realism of it all. That, and the XO watching his every move supplied plenty of things to be nervous about.

"Ready phasers, load all torpedo bays," ordered Bast. "Ensign T'Sha'err, do you have an update on their tactical abilities? Lieutenant Zemta, ready evasive actions, pattern Alpha One. Wait for my mark."

"Aye sir," Wallace replied, he'd already done what the commander had asked, but he felt the need to confirm it anyway. The reading he got wasn't what he expected. "Sir, I'm reading a malfunction in the aft torpedo launcher, Engineering reports it'll be... ten minutes before it's operational again."

"Lieutenant Zemta, do what you can to keep the Sheliak ship at our bow until Engineering can work out that problem," ordered Bast.

- - - - - - - - -

The red alert klaxons died down as Bast jotted down his final notes in his data PaDD. The battle drill had proven effective, revealing a few bugs in their refitted systems. Problems with the aft torpedo launchers, instability in the shield emitters on the port side, skittish inertial dampeners on Deck Twelve, and a blind spot in the sensors that needed to be compensated.

"Submit your drill reports in two hours," ordered Bast. "Good job, everyone."

"That felt...good." Kriv said with a smirk.

"Good... is one way to put it." The tactical officer said wearily, "but we managed it, somehow."


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