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A Minor Altor-cation

Posted on Wed Nov 23rd, 2016 @ 7:42pm by Captain Claudia Ainscow & Commander Tolan & Lieutenant JG Amber Zuzan & Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Lieutenant Elsa Johansson & Lieutenant JG Annie Wilson

Mission: S1E2 - Unity
Location: Altor
Timeline: Mission Day 9; 18:00

The Vindex and Renown had made good time on their way to Altor but they'd still not manage to detect anything. Deciding that a stealthier approach was necessary Claudia decided to reduce the Vindex's speed and come in at a lower warp factor to reduce their chances of being detected by the enemy.

"Miss Wilson - reduce speed to Warp 4" Claudia instructed.

"Yes, Captain." Annie said, altering the ship's speed. She waited patiently for news on if her project with Anastasia was going to give the Vindex the positive news it was looking for.

Claudia then turned to face Elsa at the Science station.

"Anything on that early detection system yet?" Claudia asked.

"I have two probables, relaying that information to the helm now," Elsa replied, as she entered the appropriate command into her console. Elsa sent a smile to Annie before telling Claudia, "Ensign Wilson and Ensign Bogolyubov do good work, Captain."

Claudia was glad to hear the Brandenburg and Sarek were potentially where they were supposed to be.

"What are you picking up Miss Zuzan?" Claudia asked.

Amber replied. "There's something there Captain but I can't tell what they are at this range"

"I just hope they're what we're looking for" Claudia commented.

Tolan was sat at the Operations station. He was extremely nervous as even though he had given the information to Claudia in good faith he was fully aware the Brandenburg and Sarek could have fallen to the enemy or the two ships there might not be what they were looking for at all. Despite his nervousness he kept himself calm and collected - knowing if his information was out of date he could end up in the Vindex's brig.

"How long until we get there Miss Wilson?" Claudia asked.

"One second, Captain," Annie said. "...just over an hour."

"Captain, should we prepare an away team in case either ship is in distress?" Akiva asked, looking toward Claudia from his seat next to hers.

Claudia nodded. "That would be wise Commander. Perhaps we should invite them over - if they're still on our side - and get an idea of what they need so we can assemble away teams specific to their requirements? Once we know those then you can assemble the away teams and lead one of them if you wish"

Hearing that there was a chance to be part of an away team Amber spoke from the tactical console and hoped that she would be considered by the executive officer.

"I'd like to put myself forward if I'm required" Amber commented.

"I might be able to provide some insight as well," Elsa offered, turning from her console. "If we need to ensure that they are indeed on our side."

Akiva nodded. "I'll notify all other department heads to designate personnel for potential away teams."

"Alright that sounds good to me. If we do find them here we'll have to prioritise what assistance needs to be rendered - we can't hang around here forever. There's still a long way to go and if The Consortium leave Gavara any earlier we won't get there in time" Claudia commented.

Three quarters of an hour had passed with no luck as yet - but Claudia was feeling that their third sensor sweep might just be third time lucky and they'd be able to find out what they were deaing with. If it turned out to be bad news then at least on the bright side it was only 45 minutes they'd lost off their journey.

"Anything?" Claudia asked.

Elsa appeared her normal detached Nordic self, but inside she was wondering if she had perhaps placed too much faith in the "powers" of her unusual Russian mathematician when she had made her initial recommendation to her new Captain. Before Elsa could say anything, however, the Vindex's sensors vindicated her trust.

"Sensors indicating our probables are definites," Elsa said, looking up with a broad smile.

Claudia was glad that the Brandenburg and Sarek were still there - but it was still undetermined whose side they were on. At least they hadn't wasted the fuel getting there and the algorithm that Anastasia and Annie had created had worked successfully.

"Excellent. Maintain course and speed Miss Wilson - Miss Zuzan keep make sure we're ready to fight back if they're hostile" Claudia ordered.

"Yes, Captain." Annie replied, pleased that the project she had worked on with Anastasia had been a worthwhile one, but decided to keep her celebrations for later.

Amber had already made the necessary arrangements.

"All our weapons and shields are ready to go Captain. Phasers are charged and all torpedo bays are fully loaded. The Renown reports they are also ready for a potential confrontation" Amber reported.

Tolan was glad his information about the location of the two vessels had paid off but clearly it was going to be an anxious wait for the Suliban to see if he'd pulled it off and bought himself more time and earned more trust from Claudia. He had decided that he wished to join the away team - if one was needed - but he was going to wait until Akiva left the bridge to lead them.

The wait was unbearable for Claudia. She drummed her fingers of her right hand on the arm of her chair.

"I suppose I better get thinking of what to say if they don't believe us..." Claudia said.

"You might also consider putting the rest of the ship on Yellow Alert," Akiva suggested quietly.

Claudia murmured. "You're right - even though they're Federation starships we still don't know whose side they're on. At least if they're hiding we can assume they've taken some degree of damage"

"Yellow alert Lieutenant" Claudia called out.

Amber replied. "Aye aye Captain"

Amber overrode her preparations with a full yellow alert. Yellow lights began to flash around the bridge and all over the rest of the ship. Amber could tell the atmosphere on the bridge was growing tenser by the second.

Claudia turned back to Akiva and lowered her voice to a whisper.

"I'm not planning to leave this system without those ships. If they're with the enemy I think we should send the Marines over and take them back. At least the consolation is that there's going to be at least some Starfleet officers still on those ships" Claudia said.

"I agree," Akiva whispered back. "Even if the Marines couldn't retake the ships, anyone they rescued could shore up our skeleton crews. Besides, officers loyal to Starfleet deserve a better fate than being left behind." He paused a moment. "Think there's any chance they'll surrender if we come in strong?"

Claudia nodded. "I think they might. Maybe we could run a combined rescue and sabotage operation - we save as many as we can and sabotage the ships on our way out? That way they can't chase after us if it turns out they're not with us. I wish I'd done that with the Bozeman as it would have given us more strength...hindsight is a wonderful thing"

"Indeed," Akiva muttered, his thoughts briefly trailing before he brought himself back to attention. "Will the Marines be able to assault both ships at once? I wonder if we should reassign a security team as an assault team." He noticed Amber perk up a bit, though she was professional enough to pretend not to have overheard.

"Well there's 150 Marines on board but there's only 50 on duty at any one time. I think we'd have to look to Security if the need arises. 25 won't be enough to take one ship by themselves" Claudia replied.

"Agreed. I'll have a security team prep for a potential assault." Akiva passed the order through the companel in the arm of his chair.

"Any sign of hostility yet Lieutenant?" Claudia asked.

Amber scanned and soon she had an answer.

"They've both taken damage but it still wouldn't be an easy fight if they aren't on our side. I'd recommending going to red alert just in case they decide to attack us" Amber replied.

Claudia thought for a moment - if they went to red alert that would indicate they were hostile if they were scanned - and yellow alert would offer sufficient protection - but Claudia did see Amber's point.

"Alright. Take us to red alert and take us out of warp 100,000 kilometres away from the two ships" Claudia ordered.

"Aye, Captain." Annie said, feeling her nerves about the whole situation increase as the Vindex got closer and closer to the planet. What were they going to find there? Friends or enemies?

Amber did as she was told and within moments the yellow flashing lights turned to red and the red alert klaxons blared throughout the ship.

"I've been nervous about this for the last 36 hours...if it pays off I'll be opening that bottle of champagne in my quarters later" Claudia commented.

"Save some for me, Captain." Annie commented, in jest.

Claudia chuckled. "You'd be welcome to some Ensign"

Fifteen minutes had passed and the Vindex and Renown had both dropped out of warp and were 100,000 kilometres away from the Brandenburg and Sarek.

"Open a channel to the Brandenburg Lieutenant" Claudia ordered.

Amber opened a channel to the Brandenburg for Claudia - hoping that this was going to be a more peaceful encounter rather than one that could potentially turn into a firefight.

Amber replied. "Channel open"

"I am Captain Claudia Ainscow of the USS Vindex. The Vindex and Renown are here to render assistance to you in any way we can. Please respond" Claudia said.

The wait for a reply was agonising for Tolan. He had already began preparing his defence just in case the reponse from the Brandenburg was a hostile one - either having fallen to The Consortium or refusing to believe the Vindex's allegiance.

"Captain...the Brandenburg has locked weapons on us..." Amber said.

"Raise forward shields!" Akiva blurted. He shot Claudia an apologetic look for speaking out of turn.

Claudia was happy that Akiva had responded well to the potential threat - she was just thinking about what to do when a barrage of phaser fire struck the Vindex and rocked the ship. It was enough to make Claudia realise that this wasn't going to be easy - and her hopes of this being a successful detour were fading fast.

"Damage?" Claudia shouted.

"Our forward shields are at 80%. The Sarek is moving into position to engage the Renown!" Amber shouted over the noise.

Tolan was extremely worried that his plan had actually failed and he was about to receive the wrath of an increasingly agigated and annoyed Captain Ainscow. At least in Tolan's eyes he could sense the Captain was to say the least rather annoyed - whether that was aimed at him or not he couldn't tell. It was still enough for him to start planning how he was going to find his way out of this one.

Claudia was angry. The Vindex had been fired upon and the Brandeburg's weapons were still firmly locked on the Vindex. Not only that but the Sarek was about to open fire on the Renown - this did feel like a trap.

"Miss there anything else on sensors that could indicate other vessels are within a five light year radius of our current location?" Claudia asked.

"Negative, Captain," Elsa answered. "It's just us and them."

"Alright...let's try this again. Lock phasers on their engines just in case" Claudia said.

Amber nodded. "Aye Captain"

"This is Captain Claudia Ainscow of the Starfleet vessel Vindex. You have fired on this vessel without any provocation whatsoever - explain yourselves at once!" Claudia shouted.

A few moments later a response came and the screen changed from a view of Altor to the bridge of the Brandenburg with a Benzite male sat in the command chair and looked at the Vindex bridge crew with an expression of fear and uncertainty.

"Forgive me Captain Ainscow but you and your friends came into range fully prepared for combat - usually you don't have your shields raised and your weapons fully charged if you're just coming to say hello" Cacod said.

Claudia countered. "Well you'll have to forgive us but considering what's happening at the minute how are we supposed to guess whose side you're on? I don't think I'd be stupid enough to come into this system where you're both positioned without taking any precautions. Surely you'd do the same? If I was going to destroy your ship Captain then we'd have done so by now"

"And whose side are you on? It's all well and good questioning whose side I am on but you can't expect us to just sit here and not respond to a potential threat to our vessels. I could say the same thing - surely you would do the same Captain?" Cacod replied.

Claudia sighed. "We're with Starfleet"

"And you can prove that?" Cacod asked.

Claudia looked over at Amber and instructed her to deactivate the weapons and shields - and requesting the Renown did the same - before turning back to face Captain Suhea on the viewscreen. This wasn't going very well so far - but Claudia hoped that relations between the two would improve sooner rather than later.

"I've deactivated my tactical systems. Your turn Captain - whose side are you on?" Claudia responded.

Cacod paused before signalling to his own Tactical Officer to deactivate the Brandenburg's tactical systems.

Cacod smiled. "I apologise Captain - I am Captain Cacod Suhea. I'm glad you have found us - The Consortium have attacked us but we have managed to evade them but I don't know for how much longer"

"A pleasure Captain. Allow me to introduce the rest of us - first officer Lieutenant Commander Akiva ben-Avram, chief science officer Lieutenant Elsa Johansson, chief conn officer Ensign Annie Wilson, acting chief tactical officer Lieutenant Amber Zuzan and Lieutenant Tolan of Starfleet Command who is working with us at the moment" Claudia said.

Akiva nodded at the viewscreen in silent greeting at the mention of his name.

Elsa turned long enough from her station to give a nod before refocusing her attention back to her sensors.

Amber looked up at the screen and merely gave the Benzite a smile before returning to her work. She was hardly happy being fired at but at least now there was going to be some bridge building rather than shooting at eachother.

"A pleasure Captain" Tolan said.

Annie looked at the screen, gave a small nod to acknowledge him, and then returned to looking down at her console, waiting for her next orders.

Claudia looked at Cacod and continued.

"I'm here on an important mission that I must discuss with you and the commanding officer of the Sarek. If you can get in touch with her as soon as possible and let me know I can beam you both over - along with the Renown commanding officer - so we can talk in more detail. You don't know who's listening these days" Claudia said.

Cacod nodded. "I'll speak with her in my ready room once we're done here Captain. If you can give me ten or fifteen minutes I'll be in touch with you"

"Sounds good to me. If you need anything in the mean time just call us back" Claudia replied.

Cacod smiled before closing the channel.

Claudia breathed a massive sigh of relief. Tolan was right all along - but Claudia couldn't sense that the Suliban man was even more relieved than she was.

"You have no idea how glad I am right now Commander. We can stand down the assault teams but keep the away repair teams on standby. The Brandenburg looks in pretty bad shape from here" Claudia said.

"Aye, aye," Akiva said as he relayed the orders through his companel. "I'll lead one myself if the initial reports prove grim."

"Miss Wilson - put us in a position to shield the Brandenburg" Claudia ordered.

"Yes, Captain," Annie said, choosing a suitable position before engaging the impulse engines.

Tolan had never been more relieved in his life. He'd gone from thinking about how to get out of the situation from a feeling of relief. Although he didn't think Claudia trusted him entirely Tolan thought at least relations between the two of them were slightly improved compared to a couple of days ago.

Amber was eager to go on an away mission but firstly it was a case of seeing what needed to be done - so eager in fact Amber almost called up a replacement Tactical Officer - but she told herself that nothing was confirmed yet and she needed to be patient.

Akiva completed keying in the captain's orders through his companel, then sat back and sighed with grinning relief. Nobody had been harmed, and they'd won not one but two allied ships. It had been a good day.

Elsa caught her Ex Oh's reaction and was almost tempted to mirror it. For more than a year, she had lived in an Orwellian Hell on the Cukela; discovering that the Vindex and the Renown weren't the only two "free" vessels left in the Quadrant was definitely a heart-lifting experience. But all that was seen from anyone observing was the Chief Science Officer calmly going about her duties at her station.

Claudia watched as the crew readied themselves for potential away missions before deciding to leave the bridge under Akiva's command and went into her ready room to wait for the conference call with T'Freja and Cacod.


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