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Comes in Threes

Posted on Sat May 5th, 2018 @ 10:17pm by Captain Sun Mei Xiang

Mission: Of Persephone
Location: USS Shanghai, Bridge
Timeline: Immediately after Awakenings

On:

"Report," Sun barked as she came onto the bridge. Her eyes scanned the room and noticed a few things very quickly. There were multiple faces watching the main screen, and multiple faces appearing on screens other than the view screen. The main screen though, was just watching space it seemed.

"We have problems, Skipper." The quartermaster spoke up from the executive officer's position. He stood up and turned toward the Captain. "Most immediate, we're being scanned. We thought it was a trick of the atmosphere of the planet at first. But Mr. Reign believes that is artificial in origin."

Mei walked towards the Captain's chair, glancing to Reign who nodded from the science station. "What is scanning us, exactly?"

"We assumed it was the station. But it appears that it is a small vessel in the atmosphere." Taige spoke, but was interrupted near the end of his explanation.

"We're sure its a small vessel." Reign said after a moment. "A scout. A Protectorate scout."

"He could be right. But his guess is based on background radiation that could be from a warp signature." Taige shrugged. "Without scans in the atmosphere, we don't know."

"That would explain why they didn't want us to send a runabout. Even a Danube would have had the scanners able to pick up information on that ship. We'd probably be able to see them perfectly with a Venture." Reign said quickly.

"Lets not jump ahead of ourselves." Sun said softly. "What are our other problems?"

"Miss Stevens received a coded message from Seppala. Seems there was some infighting in the Consortium. An Orion Syndicate vessel on route to Golovin detected ship to ship combat. They investigated, because they detected Federation signals and assumed it was an Initiative ship in trouble. They found a crippled Apollo class vessel. Registry is NDT-24721, the SS Ovepa. Its Coridanite, named for a..." Taige stopped when Sun raised a hand.

"I don't need to know the background of the name right name. Survivors?" Mei asked.

"We think so." Ensign Tarew spoke up. "The Orion's were tight lipped on the issue, but they are towing the Ovepa back to Seppala. Tira'Dashir and Togo are moving to provide support in case the attackers decide to come back and finish the job."

"Any idea on the attackers?" Sun asked.

"No. Weapons fire reports from the Orions were limited. They said 'it doesn't look like a Breen attack'." Stevens said from the Intelligence station. "They claim to be unfamiliar with the weapons signatures. And the attack ended early when it was evident the Orions were going to show up. So it is unlikely it was Rigellians or Ferengi."

"And the third problem, Captain." Taige spoke softly. "We detected a detonation of a pulse wave chroniton device on long range sensors." He shook his head. "No indications of any conflict with the Protectorate from any of the organizations from our part of the galaxy. But..."

"But," Reign picked up. "Our long range scans and probes had picked up indications of pre-warp civilizations in the area near the detonation. Low band radio waves, artificial satellites." Adam paused and brought up an image on the main view screen, a side by side comparison of detailed wavelength scans that Mei frankly didn't understand. "To be fast. Notice in the left image the numerous little jagged bits of line. Those indicate fluctuations in the light from the planet. Usually because of a small cloud of artificial satellites moving through the reading, light from cities, radio signals, and so on." He said. He paused for a few seconds. "Captain, it was a candidate. We can't be sure. But we've been scanning for months, and we have a list of planets that could potentially have civilizations on them, cross referenced with systems surveyed for colonization. Both our Astrometrics team and our early colony options list agreed that the system may have had a civilization." He pointed to the right image. "Now... I don't see anything in the readings that would lead me to believe there was one."

The images flickered off the screen. For a moment, there was silence. "How far is it?" Sun asked.

"About eight light years from here." Reign said softly. "It likely happened some time ago. A week, maybe two. We're just detecting it now, but the chroniton interference and distance make it impossible to know when it actually happened."

"Get a long distance probe ready. I want a clear picture of that world as soon as possible." Sun ordered. "Open a channel to the Annie Jump. We need to fill in the away team. Mark it 46A. We need to update Tiruk and the away team."

There was a pause before the viewscreen flickered on, with the young pilot Crawler appearing on the screen. "Crawler here, Shanghai, go ahead." He spoke through a bit of static. The pilot reacted when he realized Sun was standing on the bridge, with a less than pleased frown on her lips. "Sorry, Lieutenant Junior Grade Ellison reporting, ma'am."

"Lieutenant, we're experiencing sensor issues aboard Shanghai." Mei said coldly. "We're going to checking. Given Annie Jump isn't aboard, we'll need to compare with some of your passive scans to see where our calibration is off. Will you let Commander Tiruk know that?"

"Of course, ma'am." Crawler said with a little nod.

"Oh, and let him know that Togo is behind schedule. They'll return to Seppala in about five hours." She said with a nod. "We're sending an updated timetable to you now."

"Receiving, ma'am. Anything else?"

"As soon as possible, Lieutenant. Baihe out." Sun said quietly, cutting off the view screen. She took a seat in the captain's chair and took a breath.

"Baihe, ma'am?" Taige asked.

"Call sign. Hopefully it will drive home that four six alpha code." She said softly. "Mr. Taige, take us to blue alert."

The Haliian paused, a bit confused, before turning to the bridge. "All hands, general quarters." He said, snapping to a traditional at attention stance on the bridge. "Operations, bring us to blue alert."

"As soon as we have a signal on that scout ship. We take it." Mei said, "We want to capture it..."

"Aye ma'am." Taige spoke, "Helm, prepare us for atmospheric flight."

"Tactical, engineering. Reroute power to shields and structural integrity fields. Tactical sensors will probably be limited in that atmosphere, so have gunners on station. All batteries." Sun ordered. Quick 'ayes' echoed back after each order. "Intelligence, keep an eye on all channels." The lights flickered to blue, with panels showing the status change. "Operations, shut off non-essential functions." She took a breath. "Security, prepare for guests. Tell the marines to have a boarding party ready."

"Ma'am, what's the plan?" Taige asked. "Disable and board the scout?"

"That's the backup plan. With a little luck, a tractor lock and they'll surrender. Hopefully they won't expect us coming in after them." Sun said softly. She turned to the Science station, "Mr. Reign, get that probe set up and launched. I want a report as soon as possible."

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