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Lt Costello, LtJG Lexil, Ens McKenzie, Ens t'Rehu & Ens sh'Eikshah - "Don't Give Me That"

Posted on 2020-06-01 10:23 by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kennet Ek & NPCs (Amy) & Lieutenant JG Lexil & Lieutenant JG Mayoko Takeuchi & Ensign Liam McKenzie Ph.D. & Ensign Lia t'Rehu & Ensign Siriad sh’Eikshah & Crewman Kaeriss & Crewman Fearne Popples

Mission: Poisoned Apples

The sky faded to black outside the shuttle as it broke out of the atmosphere. Anticipation of what lie ahead hung heavy in the air, knowing that the attack satellites waited out there cloaked. Between the trick Lexil had devised during the original lop sided battle, and the added data from the specs transmitted to them from the moon base, sensors were dotted with the locations of the satellites — they formed a fairly tight grid with an overlapping sensor network that allowed them to spot even the smallest object headed their way.

Costello was stood in the gap between the rear set of seats, he'd declined sitting because he really didn't need to, and honestly he could get a better objective view of the situation from here too. They hadn't been spotted yet, because if they had the satellites would have been visible to more than their sensors. It seemed that for now at least their plan was going to plan. Not that he wanted to jinx it. He glanced over at Mayoko, to see how her remote piloting of the escape pod was going. It looked to be fine, but you could tell a lot by actually looking at someone doing their thing rather that what the readouts he got from looking over other people's shoulders were telling him.

Liam, seated at the pilot station, felt a small tinge of pride as they crossed through the thin blue line of the atmosphere. While he had been trained to operate a shuttlecraft, it wasn't something he did often, and he was grateful the transition had been smooth. If the ride had been bumpy, he would never have heard the end of it!

Liam glanced over at the copilot controls in front of Lieutenant Lexil before smiling pleasantly at his boss. Lifting off was the easy part, he thought to himself.

"We've cleared the atmosphere," he announced rhetorically, since anyone paying attention would have already noticed.

Lexil returned the smile.

"No signs we have been detected, Brock's trick is working," Lexil observed. The plan was to have the pod draw fire and, eventually take out one of the satellites. Based on the information the Captain had sent a vulnerability had been found in the communications system. One proper hit could start a chain reaction that would bring down the whole mesh network. But for that Mayoko had to be bang on with her remote overload and Lexil was quietly dubious about the Demolitionist. Mayoko seemed unreliable and although very capable a bit too retiring. Were it not for her raft of qualifications and obvious talent for physics, mathematics and chemistry Lexil figured perhaps Mayoko wouldn't be in Starfleet Intelligence. That said (or, thought) Mayoko had a greater scientific mind than Lexil did and was rather more intelligent, the Denobulan had to admit that. Of course she kept all this to herself, she had to show confidence in her crew mates.

Brock's trick might just work long enough to ensure the pod was the spark that started the fireworks and give Turing a few extra seconds out of the limelight. On cue Mayoko fired the pod thrusters again and it swept forward and in front to play the part of 'decoy'.

"Deflector readings are good, steady as she goes," Brock spoke up, monitoring the modifications to the shuttle's shields and deflector dish from his PADD.

"Weapons hot." Lia remarked. She was watching her own tactical display, if she could target the device closest and firing on the escape pod, it should improve the odds of their success. Her own anxiety and anticipation wasn't visible or audible demeanor, but the thrill and terror of combat did heighten her senses.

The weapon's specialist kept a close eye on all the different gauges that depicted the statuses. It was her responsibility to avoid any problems here, and if they were to occur, to communicate this as fast as possible. She could not afford to jeopardize the mission, certainly not with her actions earlier this day, she noted deplorably. "Everything is good, Lia." She turned to Brock with a slight nervous smile in stark opposition to her eyes, who were filled with conviction to bring this to a good end. Or at least make sure nothing gets screwed up from their end. "It's always something. Let today be our lucky day."

From her position at the secondary panel behind Liam Lexil looked up from her sensor readouts. "I'm sending what I believe to be the best route for the probe Mayoko and a best case scenario flight plan to you Liam," she said in her usual calm and bright manner. "I'm expecting the defence satellites highlighted to react to the probe which, based on analysis of their previous behaviour will give us an opening at the coordinates I have marked as point alpha. Once we are inside the grid we should be able to add to the landing platform without being fired upon. That is, if nothing has changed in their behaviour since earlier."

Brock offered a reassuring smile to Siriad. "I believe in making our own luck, and with this team, I'm pretty sure we'll make plenty."

Liam looked down at his console in order to scan the coordinates and vectors that the Lieutenant had provided. After a few taps he nodded his head in agreement, as the flight path made sense to him.

"Roger," he said over his shoulder before executing the first required manoeuvrer. "You know," he added thoughtfully, there was this famous pessimist who once said, "you never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from."

The pod was spearing far ahead of the shuttle by now. Starfleet escape pods were designed to last for weeks if necessary and perform deceleration for atmospheric re-entry, all of which gave Mayoko a healthy fuel supply to work with. She could employ some evasive flying and still have plenty of fuel left for a nice big bang.

"Maximum manoeuvring velocity reached, the pod will be in weapons range of the satellites in five second," she announced, standing by on the thruster controls. The target satellite was dead ahead of the pod and, with some fancy flying she hoped would be no easy target.

The moment the escape pod moved into what the satellites considered threat range—a range that had been clearly documented in the specs transmitted from the moon base, and therefore part of both Lexil and Mayoko's calculations—the nearest ones woke up. Slipping out of cloak like a mugger from the shadows of an ally, disruptor beams lashed out at the escape pod, narrowly missing their mark. There was a momentary pause as they recalculated their expectations and took aim again. Once more their efforts missed, for they weren't used to going against an opponent who understood their calculation process. So far, they seemed to not notice the shuttle not terribly far behind, fully visible to the naked eye, but nothing more than background noise of an un-noteworthy level on sensors.

"Cloak seems to be working," Liam commented in an upbeat tone as a sense of hope flooded through him. "Maintaining our planned course," he went on to add confidently. Hope was an almost foreign feeling for the erstwhile pilot since the destruction of the Norton. Whether they were invisible or perhaps presented as a tiny space rock, either way Liam was thrilled. "I don't know about you all, but I'm ready for a light show."

Lia's eyes were glued to her own sensors. She knew that they would not get much chance at this so it had to be correct. "Lieutenant Lexil, perhaps if we coordinate our efforts. If we close to just when the satellites start to turn towards us, we can make our fire most effective."

"Absolutely, my flight plan is just a guide, feel free to freestyle between the two of you," the lieutenant replied with a smile looking at Lia and on to Liam McKenzie in the pilot's seat.

Outside the shuttle the pod was working its thrusters off to avoid an early demise by way of disruptor beam. It honed in on its target swaying and rolling out of the way of the shots, at least of most of them.

"Chikushō¹!" Mayoko swore as the pod was hit by a beam of green. Checking her readouts it seemed no systems had been affected and so the pod sped onward, entering range of its unsuspecting target. With a slight, telling smile Mayoko pressed the large red button.

"Sapuraizu bakayarou²!!"

The pod had gotten right up next to its target with relative ease, despite the one lucky shot the satellites had gotten in, and then BOOM! The explosion illuminated the sensors and the view screen for a brief moment, and when it dimmed again the view screen was soon filled with satellites slipping into view all around the moon. There was a moment that hung heavy in the air as everything was still—if one was inclined to anthropomorphize the satellites, they might say that they were stunned—then the sensors and the view screen filled with disruptor fire, but something was different from the previous battle. Where the satellites had been coordinated and expending only the effort necessary, now they appeared to be lashing out at any target they could possibly find — right now they couldn't lock onto anything, so their fire was primarily targeted at the area where their lost comrade and the escape pod had both been previously. A few stray shots were directed at the shuttle.

Lia looked for a good position to open a hole they could travel through. The uncoordinated nature of the was a good omen. "Targeting satellite 24A." She tapped the button and the phasers of the shuttle cut into the orbiting weapon. Rotating the frequencies might allow variation that harmonized with the target allowing more damage.

At first, the shot did little more than light up the shielding on the satellite, but as the frequency started to rotate there was a flash and the phasers broke through for a brief moment, then the shields flashed again as they lit up once more, absorbing the energy from the weapon again. In response to the attack, a number of the closer satellites turned their attention towards where the shot originated from, missing the aft of the shuttle by varying distances — the satellites located off to the sides of the shuttle's flight path were nearer on target, and their aim swung in quickly as their computers attempted to calculate the trajectory from the origin of the phaser blast for the duration of the blast. The shuttle rocked as a pair of disruptors connected with the port and starboard aft shields from satellites on either side of the shuttle.

Lia using a slightly louder than normal voice due to excitement and wanting to not be misheard. "Ensign sh'Eikshah, see if we can slide through the frequencies again. Let's see if we can find a pattern before we start taking damage."

"On it!" the Ensign responded immediately, already running her calculations. As soon as the beam was fired she had already been on the edge of her seat, following the trajectory and impact closely. She was now running multiple diagnostics to try and get a pattern out of these shield frequencies. She mumbled parts of her calculations out loud as she continued, she hadn't cracked it completely yet but forwarded any useable information directly to Lia, who should be getting a few frequencies now. "I'm close," she warned.

Thinking aloud, Lia commented, "If we had more time and computing power, we might be able to hack the system and get the satellites to fire on one another." She tried several more short bursts. A few got through. It remained to be seen if it made a difference yet.

Liam's upbeat attitude had been replaced by intense concentration as he piloted the shuttle through the maelstrom.

"Sorry!" he apologized after the craft had been hit from fore and aft simultaneously, taking responsibility for a failed evasive maneuver. Things were progressing almost faster than he could keep up with, his fingers flying across the control panel more quickly than he had previously thought possible.

"Wait... that gives me an idea..." he mumbled in response to Lia's suggestion, giving her a quick glance. "I'm going to run the gauntlet and fly straight between two of them," he explained as he brought the craft around slightly. "Let's see if they might accidentally friendly fire on each other..."

"Even if they don't, they may stop firing given the prospect Of potentially hitting one another," Lexil mooted quickly.

"Perhaps we can improve our odds." Lia said. "If we can fire at one or more satellites while in the middle of the pack, that should add to the confusion and precipitate your friendly fire." She checked her firing alignments to get the best angle. "We should see if we can swing a bit closer to one, as I fire on the others," she added.

As Lia offered her idea, Liam's flight path took the shuttle right into the thick of the satellites. The disruptor fire continued, doing its best to follow the shuttle's trajectory — as Liam's path became more direct to draw the fire of the satellites, the disruptor fire lit up the shields more and more. Then the shuttle rolled and banked from its flight path, and the disruptor fire lashed past it. Three satellites scored direct hits on their comrades, slicing through the shields as if they weren't even there, causing one to explode and the two others to go dark as they were disabled. Lia's fire wasn't having quite that level of success, but the rotating frequencies did see the phaser cutting through the shields for brief and gradually increasing frequency, resulting in one of the targets going dark and ceasing fire.

"How many passes can we make safely?" Lia offered, inwardly wondering about shield strength.

"We don't need to worry about that anymore," the Ensign announced with proud as she ram in some last commands on her device. "I sent you the shield frequencies Lia. I think I solved the patterns." She gave Brock a thumbs up. "Here's hoping!"

Costello wasn't so sure it was going to work, but he did have one point for them to bear in mind. "We need to be careful not to draw their fire in the direction of the moon base, at least not until the Captain and the others are out." Accidentally killing the rest of the crew was not part of the plan.

Shifting in her seat, Lia said, "If we had figured out the shielding frequencies, then a quick pass back through the middle should allow us to concentrate in the inner ring, then we can swing to space facing side." To herself she added, assuming we survive. Negative thinking seemed to be just as wrong here as in the Romulan Navy, but at least you weren't beaten for it.

At first it did look like Siriad had worked out the rotation pattern for the shield frequencies — each time Lia's fire connected with a satellite, it would get through for a moment before the shield would briefly flash as it absorbed the energy only to have the phaser fire get through again moments later. It soon became apparent that each time the shields managed to become effective again, they stayed effective longer.

Targeting the next satellite, Lia commented to Lexil and Costello. "Sirs. It appears that the satellites are still linked in some fashion. A shared power source perhaps. The more we take out, the stronger the remaining ones get. If we cannot take them all down, perhaps we should concentrate on the ones closer to the moon base? By the Elements a few quantum torpedoes be nice right about now."

"Scans show no communications still," Lexil commented poring over her read outs. "But they do show the ability to learn. Let's take out the minimum number necessary to get us to the landi... hang on, there's a ship taking off from the moon base. We are receiving a hail." Lexil turned to Costello for instructions.

"By the ship that's launching? Open the channel," Costello said, and waited for her nod to indicate that she had done so.

"Turing, this is Hermes, we're coming to you, prepare to follow us out of this nightmare," Cillian's voice said coming over the comm, but with a distinct background noise also being transmitted with his voice, an old earth song Costello hadn't heard in a while.

Liam breathed a silent sigh of relief at hearing the message. They might just make it after all!

"This is Hypnos, we copy, we'll keep up the distraction."

=/\= End Log =/\=

Lieutenant Amadeus Costello
Chief Medial Officer
USS Joshua Norton

Lieutenant JG Lexil
Acting Chief Science Officer
USS Joshua Norton

Ensign Liam ‘Mac’ McKenzie
Linguist & Cultural Specialist
USS Joshua Norton

Ensign Lia t'Rehu
Combat Medic
USS Joshua Norton NCC-74819-A

Ensign Siriad sh'Eikshah
Weapons specialist
USS Joshua Norton

Also by Jessica: Lieutenant JG Mayoko Takeuchi, Demolition Specialist
NPC by Amy: Crewman Brock Sampson, Engineering Crewman

Present, but not active in the log: LtJG Dhodot, intrem. Bio & Chem Specialist; PO2 Kennet Ek, Security Crewman; Cm Fearne Popples, Security Crewman; Cm Kaeriss, Science Technician; Rusty, Degu

--- Language Footnotes ---
¹ Chikushō - Japanese, "Oh shit"
² Sapuraizu bakayarou - Japanese, "Surprise, asshole"


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