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Capt Waterhouse, LtJG Lexil & LtJG Jarkil - "Light is Changing to Shadow"

Posted on 2019-08-25 09:59 by Captain Amelia Waterhouse & Lieutenant Zola & Lieutenant Sienna Oswin & Lieutenant JG Lexil & Lieutenant JG Cillian Jarkil & Lieutenant Commander Thalzejiv sh'Teris & Lieutenant Cecilia Abbott

Mission: Spoon Full of Sugar

The away mission had gone smooth, almost too smooth, until– Amelia growled and stalked off the transporter pad as soon as the transporter beam let go of her. She pulled off her stealth suit helmet as she was headed to the door out of the transporter room, pausing only long enough to meet eyes with and nod to Lieutenant Oswin as she worked to finish beaming up the away team and that damned drive. As she was certain that even if Oswin was being uncharacteristically respectful of telepathic boundaries, it would be clear to her that Amelia was pissed and on a mission, Amelia was out the door in the instant after Oswin had returned the nod. It was only a short walk to the bridge where Commander sh'Teris had been overseeing events from the ship.

"Anything from Drummond?" Amelia dropped the stealth suit helmet next to the command chair as she settled in, replacing sh'Teris in the seat they'd just vacated as Amelia had arrived on the bridge.

"Nothing," the Andorian replied, moving into their chair. They could almost feel the tension rolling off the captain, and considering the entire team should have reported to the hospital wing. "I presume Fenlux is on their way to restore it from it's backup?"

"We don't know that Tory's lost yet, we shouldn't restore it yet." Amelia bit her lip, tapping at the panel to get left to pull up system status reports. "But if Fen can read its memory dump it passed to them just before losing contact..." Amelia knew if they activated Tory's backup before confirming the original's loss, they might end up with a fork situation — while she didn't mind the prospect of two Torys, the reality of it was it was still weird to the photons and it didn't help that Brass didn't particularly care for Tory so having two of it– "Can I get a status report?"

“Yes Captain.” Lieutenant Lexil had turned in her chair to watch as Amelia had arrived on the bridge. She wasn’t as close with Centurion as some of the other crew but her face showed the same concern, albeit characterised by simply being less overtly cheerful than usual rather than the anger Amelia clearly felt. She quickly checked her screens to make sure nothing had changed in the last few seconds.

“Sensors are clear of any abnormal activity. In the unlikely event we have been made the Cardassians have made no physical indication. We...”

Was it a good idea to make suggestions? She didn’t want to tell Amelia how to do her job, but Lexil was senior staff now, well, sort of anyway. She crossed one dark-stockinged and shiny-booted leg over the other, praying her Skant uniform hadn’t ridden up too much in the process and idly rubbed her right wrist with her left hand as she continued.

“We are probably safe to remain a while and await news. We will of course be alerted to any signs we have been detected.” The acting science chief had had passive scans and analyses of local activity running since the ship had arrived and had set the computer to flag anything potentially suspicious with the appropriate and moderately loud beeping from her station. Lexil was nothing if not conscientious.

"Everything is runnin' as normal Captain, and we're good te skedaddle at a moments notice." The moment being however long it took him to lay in the appropriate course and hit the gas.

"Tactical sensors are showing all clear on planetary defenses and ships within weapon lock range," Abbott spoke up from the primary tactical station, not taking her eyes off her displays.

"Attempting to establish covert connection with the vault systems, in an effort to help Ensign Drummond have a way to evacuate via subspace data burst." Zola's fingers moved quickly over the engineering station. "It would be easier if I could get through this encryption some way other than brute force."

"Let me see." Amelia leaned against the arm of her command chair, touching her suit's gauntlet to the console on her right. There was a chirp as she reached out to touch the console. "That should help. Tory and I seem to have gotten our hands on command codes — they'll probably be changed once they realize the drive is missing."

"We're in. Launching a daughter process on their security protocols in an attempt to locate Tory before it's noticed. Their system logs—at least the ones I can access remotely—show no indication that it's been located, so hopefully it's just sheltering somewhere and we need to make contact before it's found." Suddenly Zola jumped in her chair and quickly hit the terminate button on her console. "A watchdog might have picked up our connection. Hopefully I terminated it fast enough."

"Abbott, Lexil, any change in sensors? Anyone looking for us?" Amelia looked between her two officers.

Lexil combed her screen looking for the smallest of changes.

“I’m picking up increased activity in a localised area of the surface, not too far from...” she was interrupted by an alarm on her console which was acknowledged. Then another, then another. She took a deep breath.

“Increased surface activity and transmissions in an area we believe to be Obsidian Order. I’m also detecting some encrypted transmissions leaving the planet’s surface from Obsidian command.”

"The planetary defense systems are moving to a yellow alert state. Sensors are starting a scan pattern, but no indications they're doing a tachyon sweep yet. It looks like it's a standard scan pattern they're using, which means they will start tachyon dispersal in–" Abbott's eyes moved over her console as she did the math. "In one minute forty-two seconds. Passing the anticipated tachyon dispersal patterns to Jarkil for evasive maneuvers." Abbott spoke up.

"Lieutenant, please keep us in orbit as long as possible without exposing us." Amelia clutched at the arm of her chair and bit back a growl of frustration. "Let's give Drummond as long as we can."

"Understood," Cillian replied, reviewing the potential patterns and making a quick mental list of which evasive patterns would be best to employ. He set up a countdown for when the tachyons would start being emitted and moved them to the least likely position where they would start, and waited. He could feel the adrenaline starting to creep into his bloodstream already.

"Anticipate tachyons in five, four, three, two–" Abbott provided a count down as the defense satellites wrapped up the first stage of their search pattern. "Lexil, can you confirm the readings from my tactical sensors? I'm seeing deviations from the expected pattern."

“Affirmative.” Lexil replied, her hands starting to move quickly over the console in front of her. “This does not conform with current intelligence. I’m attempting to isolate a pattern but the computer will need more data to make any useful deductions and we’ll be billions of calculation cycles behind them.” Another alarm on her screen was silenced.

“SCAPS reports two local Keldon class cruisers have deviated from their expected position. Likely headed here but I can’t be sure without switching from passive to active scans. If I’m right the first one will show on tactical in just under a minute.”

Cillian had started moving the ship the moment the Tachyons started appearing on the sensors. "Buckle up everyone, it's gonna be a bumpy ride," he called as he pulled out of orbit and rolled the ship away from the first sweep that headed their way. It very quickly became clear that none of the listed patterns were being used, and therefore the list of maneuvers he'd made was of little use. "Cap'n, we're on thin ice, I have no idea where the next..." He stopped talking, and took the ship into a nose dive to avoid the next sweep. "Unless Fen can work with the computer to analyse this pattern quicker and keep outta it's way we don't have a lot o' time,"

“On it.” Lexil called in Cillian’s direction. “I’m putting what we have in front of you. The accuracy will increase with each change but this is still educated guesswork.”

"Lieutenant, do your best, but if we can't get enough data to keep you ahead of the tachyon sweeps pull us into the shadow of the moon until things calm down enough to attempt another extraction of Tory." Amelia moved to perch on the edge of her chair.

Cillian's fingers were flying across the console, his eyes darting between readouts as the algorithm running on the screen tried and failed to work out the pattern of the sweeps.

"Captain, we are risking the entire crew for one crewmember who, if he was still there would have effected his self destruct protocol by now or found a way to hide himself," sh'Teris said, everyone could see that their pilot was doing his best, hell the poor guy was literally sweating with the effort and he wasn't going to be able to do it for much longer. "We have the drive, the spores, the data, those are our priority, Captain, we cannot be found here." They knew they had to lay it out like that, there wasn't a choice, they could not stay hidden and their cover was blown.

Amelia's eyes moved between sh'Teris and Cillian, and she sighed as she sunk back in her chair. "Lieutenant, please plot a course out of Cardassian space. Avoid high traffic areas, and no slipstream until we're clear of their territory. Please keep an eye on communications in case T-" Amelia bit her lip and corrected herself. "In case Drummond manages to make contact. We'll have Ensign Drayok access the file it dropped to them during the exfil, and unless there's evidence in the file to indicate it was terminated, we'll wait until we're clear of Cardassian space to activate its backup — just in case."

Sh'Teris let out a breath, that could have gone a lot worse, they hated leaving anyone behind as much as the next XO did, but the Captain had a personal connection to the Holograms, which while understandable had been putting them all in danger.

"Plotting a course," Cillian replied immediately, and the ship started to duck and dive it's way further from the planet and the Obsidian Order's Black Vault, away from Tory and out of Cardassian space. Not until they were clear of the tachyon sweeps did Cillian take the time to let out a breath of relief and wipe his forehead on his uniform sleeve. They weren't out of the woods yet, but they were getting there.

"Keep me updated, and let me know the moment we hear from Drummond." Amelia stood and started for the door out to the corridor, only to double back and grab her stealth suit helmet. "I'll be in sickbay, then getting out of this damn suit."

Sh'Teris nodded and returned to the command chair, settling themself in, hoping that the Captain took the proper time to take care of herself before returning to the bridge. "Jarkil, once we're at a safe distance, call your relief, I imagine you'll need something to eat after that adrenaline rush," they said with a smile. Sure, everyone probably needed a break after that hair raising ride, but any moment their lead Pilot's hands were going to start shaking as he came down from that high.

"We should be in an O.k. position fairly soon commander," he replied, as he made another course change. "How are we doing?" he asked. "Does it look like they got us or should we be clear?" he asked, wanting to make sure he wasn't stopping the evasive route out too soon. He didn't want to make a beeline for federation space because that would make them really easy to follow.

"Tactical sensors show no indication the sensor sweeps and tachyon bursts are being executed beyond their moon's orbit, aprox. four thousand kilometers from the surface," Abbott spoke up. "Picking up a couple of remote watchdog buoy further out appearing to be in standby mode — sending my data to Jarkil and Lexil for navigation and confirmation, respectively."

"That's confirmed," Lexil told the room in a tone positive enough to reflect this piece of good news without disregarding the collective concern for Tory. "Current intelligence on the buoys shows a very low chance of detection however I will admit current intelligence in this case as with most things Cardassian Union is not particularly current."

"Let's avoid them just in case shall we?" he replied diverting the course round the buoys and reworking the route to the nearest border with Federation space. He signalled his relief, who would be here in a minute. Once past the Buoys they should be in the clear.

=/\= End Log =/\=

Captain Amelia Waterhouse
Commanding Officer
USS Joshua Norton, NCC-74819-A

Lieutenant JG Lexil
Acting Chief Science Officer
USS Joshua Norton

Lieutenant JG Cillian Jarkil
USS Joshua Norton, NCC-74819-A

NPCs by Amy: Lt Cecilia Abbott, Chief Security; Lt Sienna Oswin, Chief Engineer; Lt Zola, R&D
NPC by Zahara: Lt Cmdr Thalzejiv sh'Teris, Executive Officer


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