A Shot In The Dark

Posted on Mon Jun 29th, 2020 @ 9:29pm by Lieutenant Commander Josue Torres & Captain Keziah Nazir & Lieutenant Saoirse Calligan MS
Edited on on Wed Jul 1st, 2020 @ 10:18pm

Mission: Episode 1: Armageddon - The End of All Things
Location: Various
Timeline: Day 6 at 1315

"Commander," a voice behind Josue called out, grabbing his attention. He'd settled into the command chair a few hours previously, and had finally started to get comfortable with that idea, when the voice had come. Sliding forward slightly, and turning so he could look back over his shoulder at the relief officer standing at the tactical station.

"Yes, Ensign?" he asked, his eyebrows raised. It had been clear there was an element of surprise in the young man's voice, and he was curious to know why.

"Sir, we just received a transmission," he said, furiously working the console before him. "But I lost it almost immediately. I'm trying to localize it..." he said, still tapping various controls.

"Can you play what we did get back, please?" Josue said, standing and starting to make his way around to his side.

"Yes, sir. One moment," he said.

Seconds later Josue heard the voice of a female speaking. She sounded exhausted, and scared, but there was some resolve there as well. He couldn't make out everything she said, but what he did make out was enough.

"This is Lieutenant Saoirse Calligan, SD-16138323-B1, requesting immediate assistance. We are currently hiding within the passenger section of a Vulcan Warp Sled hidden within the upper atmosphere of a Class J planet" A thick Irish accent explained through the ship's speakers, "We have about 1 weeks supply, but we're more nervous of a Borg encounter, we're woefully outmatched. Requesting a pick from any local Federation vessel" the woman calling herself Saoirse said before the connection cut.

Josue's brows pulled down in concern. "Keep trying to get more information," he said, and then reached up and tapped his commbadge.

=/\= Torres to Nazir, Captain, we have a situation out here. =/\=

Within a matter of seconds, Keziah had appeared from the sanctuary of the ready room she had recently inherited and wandered towards the command chair at the heart of the bridge. "Report, Commander?" she asked of her newest First Officer as she relieved him of command.

"We received a short transmission,' Josue replied, turning so that he could face the Captain and still keep an eye on the console as well, "from a female Starfleet officer, stating her and another individual are stranded in the passenger section of a Vulcan warp sled in the upper atmosphere of a class J planet. We lost our connection, however, and we are still attempting to localize."

Nazir wandered over to the console that the Commander was reviewing and glanced at the reading; the Epsion Gruis system. "Ah, crap," the Captain remarked as she folded her arms across her chest and let out a huff of frustration. "Epsion Gruis - smack bang between us and Deep Space Five, and oh, a million Borg drones," she sighed. "Suggestions?" she asked of the new guy. She was going to make him earn his new role.

"According to what we could get from the transmission, they've got supplies to spare for a week. But the bigger issue she brought up was they are vastly outgunned. A Vulcan warp sled is ancient at this point. They haven't been in service for over a hundred years. Even maintaining their position in the atmosphere might be too much," Josue replied, choosing full-disclosure.

"As for getting a triangulation, or reestablishing contact, that's going to be tricky. The atmospherics will play hell, and the range, and relative position is going to make that issue a lot worse. With your permission I could begin calibrating a class-IV probe to act as a sort of stealth signal booster. It would go out, pick up what's being sent out, and tight-beam back to us. Would keep the signal from reaching any Borg ship that didn't fly right through the beam..."

"Or we just go and get them," a voice spoke from the front of the bridge, drawing the Captain's attention. At the Operations station, Lieutenant Commander Garen had turned in his chair and was looking towards the two senior officers. "Let's just go and get them. At this point, we're just sitting here. We've got no leads on any other survivors, we've detected no more vessels, and we can't stay in this asteroid field forever," the Bajoran reminded them with a slight shrug.

Upon taking command of the ship, Keziah had promised to get the Nogura back into the fight, but the peace of the refuge the asteroid field afforded them was addictive. She regarded the Bajoran for a few seconds, before turning to the XO. "Commander, are the repairs to the sensor array complete?" she queried, seemingly ignoring the Bajoran's sentiment and the developing situation for a moment in order to go back to what had been a glaring issue previously.

"Yes, Captain," Josue replied with a nod. "Repairs were completed this morning at around oh-four-thirty hours." He knew that because he'd been woken by the engineering team to let him know. They'd thought a report was a bit too orthodox considering how hard they'd worked, and he hadn't really blamed them. It had been a hell of a mess, and he was proud of the work they done, especially considering they'd even had to get what was left of the science team involved on it as well, just to get it finished.

Keziah nodded her head slowly as she pursed her lips. Her stance relaxed and her arms fell behind her back, hands clasping together. A few steps later, with the Captain engulfed in her musings, she found herself stood in the centre of the bridge, just inches from her command chair. Turning slowly, she looked at the XO. "We could go and get them?" she proposed to her new right hand man.

Smiling broadly at the Bajoran Operations officer Josue nodded, and then turned his smile to the Captain. "Yes, we could, Captain," he replied, a sense of energy building in his voice. He'd only been aboard a very short while, but he was ready to get back out there and start finding people, helping them, and trying to rebuild some sense of normalcy.

The man's smile was infectious and drew one as equally broad from the Trill. "Commander, do what you can to re-establish communications and let them know we are coming," Nazir ordered before spinning on her heels. "Garen, let's get this baby powered up and ready to go."

"Yes ma'am," the Bajoran at Ops ordered as he set about co-ordinating with main engineering to get the ship powered once again. It took a while to essentially reboot the old girl, but once she was powered up again, her systems purred like a contented kitten. Repairs teams had done their job, and done it well too.

Lights began to flicker on across the ship, in places and rooms where lights had seemingly been forgotten for the days she had been holed up in the safety of the Hetaxia system asteroid field. But they were not the only lights to power up. Only visible from the outside, the two bussard collectors lit up their bright red colour whilst the warp field grills of both nacelles lit up their bright blue. Finally, the two large impulse engines either side of the aft saucer section lit up and the behemoth of a starship began to glide through the asteroid field, slowly but surely.

With the field successfully traversed a few minutes later, and with Deep Space Four to aft, the Galaxy-class starship rotated on her y-axis and adjusted course. A moment of stillness preceded a sudden burst of power as the vessel propelled itself into warp speed, disappearing in a flash.

Epsion Gruis System

As the ship dropped out of warp Josue stood, moving closer to the viewscreen. They'd not been able to re-establish contact with the vessel, nothing they'd tried had worked, and the feeling of anxiety had done nothing but grow more and more as they'd moved closer. Now that they were in the system he felt a bit of relief, but still, it wouldn't be complete until they got close enough.

"What are the odds we'd get this close and run into no Borg ships?" he asked, turning back to face the captain. It was odd, and it was part of why he was feeling so anxious.

"Relax," the Captain tried to reassure her new sidekick, despite feeling the same anxiety herself. "Its likely that the Borg are engaged elsewhere as we've not seen or heard of anything out this way since the initial attack, save for the drones on DS4," the Trill reminded him, "but we'll go to yellow alert just to be safe," she instructed with a nod to Lieutenant Scott behind her at tactical.

As the amber lights of yellow alert lit up the panels on the wall, Josue moved to the primary science console and took a seat. With a few taps he brought up the main sensor readout and began to scan the system.

"No sign of Borg activity within sensor range, Captain," he said, and continued to read through the information on his screen. "I have found the planet referenced in the transmission. Putting it on screen now," he said as he shunted the information up to the main viewscreen. A massive planet, it's entire atmosphere a swirling maelstrom of gasses whipping around at unbelievable speeds filled the screen.

Continuing his scans he concentrated on the readings and kept adjusting for various things, a furrow between his brows, and a slight compression of his lips the only tell-tale that he was totally focused. When he heard the strident beep of the system having found a match to the criteria he'd put in. Looking up he turned and face the captain. "Well, that explains why we were never able to establish contact. There are some pretty significant traces of magnesite in the rings around the planet and somehow the sledge managed to get settled into a perfect dead zone in between two of them," he said.

Sliding forward in her command chair, the Trill literally perched on the edge of her seat as she looked round at the XO occupying the science station in between glances at the main viewer. "Okay, how do we get them out?" she queried.

With a few more keystrokes Josue brought up a display of his plan. "Not easily. Thankfully the sledge has not sunk any further, or it might be even harder. We will need to take up a position about here," he said, and a small symbol appeared on the screen to indicate where he was suggesting they place themselves. It was well within the space between the rings themselves and the planets swirling atmosphere. "We need to be at least that close, to be able to get them out safely, and transporters are a definite no. We'd be lucky to break through the interference to get a tenth of the signal cohesion we'd need. It's going to have to be a tractor beam..."

"I was worried you would say that..." she frowned, turning her body back to a forward facing stance and grabbed hold of the arms of her chair. "Garen, power up the tractor beam and co-ordinate with the XO. When we're in position, lock on and pull them in to transporter range. Helm, one quarter impulse power until we are at the designated co-ordinates," she ordered decisively, sliding back gradually until she was comfortable in her chair once more.

"Powering tractor beam," Commander Garen spoke from Ops, while his neighbour gave an "Aye Captain," in response to her orders.

On the main viewer, the ships forward momentum began to pick up and she slowly made for the planet.

Josue kept his eyes on the readouts, watching as they moved closer and closer to their target. He saw the spikes in electromagnetic energy flooding the sensors as they closed in on the rings, and then saw them settle into a stable number as they passed beyond them and settled in underneath. It was a constant background noise now, badly scattering any sensor data needing to pass back out through the rings, as well as making any communications, or transporter beams impossible to use.

Once they were in place he did his best to boost the signal gain on the sensors, and was rewarded after a few moments they began to clearly resolve the smaller vessel floating just beneath the outer atmosphere of the gas giant.

"Sensor lock acquired," Josue called out, and tapped a few buttons. "Commander Garen, please lock on to the coordinates I've just sent your way and activate the tractor beam at full strength," he added.

Fingers dancing across the Operations panel, the Bajoran dutifully carried out the instructions of the First officer, looking up just in time to see the ship emit a beam of light towards the planet. "Tractor beam locked on," he called out, "reeling them in."

Josue's eyes were locked onto the sensor readouts, his fingers moving swiftly to manipulate the settings to keep them locked as clearly as possible. It was touch and go, with a few spikes of EM radiation almost causing the sensor lock to fail badly enough to cause tractor beam drift they could not afford. Thankfully he was able to keep it from happening, and after nearly five minutes of tug of war between the Nogura, the planet below, and the rings above them he watched as they saw the small vessel rise above the rapidly swirling clouds.

"They are clear of the atmosphere," Josue called out, and began scanning the vessel. "Showing two life-signs, strong and healthy so far as I can tell. We will need to get both ship's out of the rings before we can beam them out," he added, turning to face Keziah.

"For the love of..." the Captain trailed off as she shook her head. "You don't make things easy, do you Commander? Helm, bring us about," she ordered a bit firmer this time, the frustration setting in a little. Every second they hung around, the more chance they had of being detected by the Borg.

Once the ship was clear of the rings Josue turned back to this console and began scanning the sledge. Within moments he noticed a marked clearing of the interference from the planets rings. "We are clear, Captain," he said.

"Commander Garen," Keziah barked as she almost bounced to her feet, "you have the bridge. Monitor all sensor arrays and go to tactical alert if you detect so much as a space microbe that you weren't expecting," she declared. Rounding the tactical rail and heading for the turbo lift, she pointed at the XO and gestured for him to join her on the trip to the transporter room. Meanwhile, the Bajoran rose to his feet and assumed command of the bridge as instructed.

Transporter Room

Walking in behind the Captain, Josue approached the console, relieving the specialist that had been there and made adjustments to the system to ensure a good transporter lock. When he'd gotten a nod from her he began the process, and the room was filled with the sound and brightness of the transporter beam. Seconds later it finished and left two figures standing on the pad.

"Welcome to the Nogura," Keziah grinned as she clapped eyes on their new guests for the first time.

"God bless you on your timing, Captain" Saoirse Dennehy commented quickly and she leant over with her hands on her knees. Behind her, her younger sister Aoife stood dumbfounded. Neither had expected as quick a pick-up nor had they been anticipating turbulence with the planet's atmosphere. Derry's Girl had tried her best, but her inertial dampeners had been intended for less turbulent environments.

Gathering her breath she stood straight, "Thank you for the pick-up, sir" she said, this time more formally as she stood to attention. Her sister mirrored her immediately but remained quiet in the presence of the Nogura's Captain. She hadn't even begun her first assignment yet and after their experience within the planet's atmosphere, her anxiety was heightened.

"How are we doing?" Saoirse asked, exchanging glances between towards who she presumed was the Nogura's commanding officer and the man who was likely his XO.

"All in good time," Keziah smiled as she stepped forward and offered a hand. "I'm Keziah Nazir, and this is my first officer, Lieutenant Commander Josue Torres," she stood aside and gestured to her XO to introduce himself a bit better than she could.

Stepping forward Josue held out his hand as well. "Welcome aboard, Lieutenant," he said, nodding to both women, his natural accent slipping into his words unconsciously as he took note of her own. "Irish?" he asked, with a friendly smile at the woman dressed in casual clothing.

She noted that like herself, Josue had a thick accent of his own, she guessed Cuban but she'd seek answers when they were more relaxed. "Yes sir, from the city of Derry," she replied as she stepped down from the transporter pad. pausing to look behind her and urge her sister to follow. "I am Lieutenant Saoirse Dennehy, Chief Science Officer of the USS Atlas and this is my sister, Crewman 1st Class Aoife Dennehy, ops technician for the same ship" Saoirse finally introduced once she was stood in front of the pair.

“Well, Dennehy sisters, we’re glad to have you aboard,” Captain Nazir remarked as she gestured for the doorway and began to lead them out of the transporter room. “Commander Torres will escort you both to sickbay and, after you’ve been given a clean bill of health, he’ll put you both to work. It’s all hands on deck at the minute, as I’m sure you can image,” the Trill told, glancing briefly at the XO before looking at the sisters again.

Josue nodded to the Trill woman and then turned his attention back to the two sisters. "Right this way, ladies. Let's get you checked out and cleared," he said, waving his left hands towards the doors that would let them out into the corridor. As they began to walk he added, "Have either of you ever been aboard a Galaxy-class ship?"

"Yes sir, for the past six years aboard the USS Atlas," Saoirse shared as the trio made their way through the Nogura's corridors. Although relieved to be safe, the Irish woman couldn't help but consider that the Atlas had likely run afoul of the Borg, the vessel had been periphery of the Federation border. Alone. Now was not the time though as they went off to get acclimated the scientist focused on the conversation with the XO.

Keziah watched from a distance as her XO guided the guests away from the transporter room, beginning what was sure to be a very good tourist guide routine. With a little chuckle and a shake of her head, the Captain departed for the bridge again.