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Something Wicked This Way Comes [PLOT]

Posted on Thu Jul 19th, 2018 @ 8:26am by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Petty Officer 1st Class Kipp Lak & Lieutenant Cynfor Rees & Lieutenant Jackson Smith & Chief Petty Officer Charles Stephens JR & Warrant Officer Arlan Harlan & Petty Officer 3rd Class Max Tragar & Lieutenant Commander Jörgen Leed

Mission: Mission 3: The Galilei Conundrum
Location: USS Firebird- Badlands
Timeline: 26 June, 2394 - 1300 Hours


Malcom was sitting in his command chair, trying not to show how bored he was. His last report from the Galilei was that the ship was back under power and was no longer in danger of drifting into the Badlands. Their only real problem was that communications were heavily distorted. Despite that, he knew that Savin and Lieutenant Alenis were in stable condition.

"Commander Leed," Malcom said. "Your family is living on DS9?"

"For most of five years, sir," said Jörgen, looking over Malcom. The captain surely knew his family's location. Perhaps the extended silence from the crew was beginning to chafe him, too. "My daughters, Helle and Birte, have hardly lived anywhere except a starbase. I have encouraged them to spend time planet-side. Helle needs no prodding; however, her sixteen year-old sister is much more interested in the Promenade. The majority of that may be she is sixteen and I prefer she spend less time there." He shrugged, a rueful smile tweaking the side of his mouth.

Max squinted at the readings coming back from his probe and adjusted the sensors again, trying to achieve the clearest image possible. The best he could do was still an approximation of the probe's actual shape, topped with watery bunny ears and wispy tentacle legs. Frustrated, he increased the pulse, radiating it as far as possible, even though he supposed that would do nothing to clarify the image of his probe. It did, however, reveal something else. Helvete... A large blob squatted at wavering edge of his bounce-back sensor sweep.

"Chief," Max drew his superior's attention to the blob--was it a planetoid? No, too small. A meteor? He adjusted his wave to a cone, sending a focused, long reach out to the unknown, and created a 3D projection that slowly rotated for the Chief's examination. "What do you make of that?"

Charles was quick to snap out of his boredom, he hated bridge work, As he looked at Max's blob he squinted. "Any chance we can send out another ping but tighten the focus even more? In theory if we can restrict the wavelength's path of travel it should intensify the resolution."

It was a good idea and Max did it. The blob continued to resolve--ovoid appendages like a ribbon, a long neck with a hook nose.

Once the signal bounced back it was a bit clearer. Defiantly looked like a ship of some sort. "Can you rotate the image 90 degrees on the X axis?" Chief requested. As the image moved Charles eyes got big. "Captain, Romulan Bird out there I can tell that damned beak anywhere."

Malcom stood up and walked over to where Stephens and Max were staring at the screen. "Lieutenant t'Aegis reported her suspicion about just such a ship but this is our first real sign of it." He turned back to look at the main viewscreen. He could see the Galilei no longer spinning and with her running lights on. "I think we can safely leave them alone for a few minutes. Jackson, lets do a casual fly by and see what happens."

"Aye, sir." Jackson replied. He then broke off from their position with the Galilei and meandered away from it, not in the direction of the ship, but eventually he started a circle back to the foreign ship.

"I think we should hail them," said the diplomat. "A warbird does not show up here by accident. While our mission is mercy, their own is unknown. They may not yet know our identity which lends us to a position of strength. They will be uncertain how they measure against us. Or we could continue our business and wait for them to choose an action."

After it was all confirmed and they started to make their way in that direction Charles had made his way back to tactical and started doing passive scans of the area. He didn't want to tip off their knew of the existence but also wanted to be ready. Their was a chance the Romulans had detected the pulse pinging that they had done already.

Malcom considered his chief diplomat's recommendation for a moment. There was a chance that the Romulan ship was in the area coincidentally or even had come in response to the Galilei's distress signal. Commander Leed had proved himself during the rescue of the Monterey and deserved some leeway.

"Alright, commander, go ahead and attempt to make contact," Malcom said. "But Lieutenant Rees and Chief Harlan, I want you to be ready to dodge and raise shields." Not too much leeway though Malcom thought.

Harlan grumbled audibly as he took up his post at the shield control station on the bridge. He was fairly certain Nema should be here, but he was filling in while she was handling the engineering crew on the Galilei. This Romulan ship couldn't have shown up at a worse time while he was hoping to coordinate his people on the spiraling cruise ship. He hadn't even had a good Tube dive in several weeks, not since the mirror episode. Harlan was in serious need of a break.

"Aye sir." Rees said as he placed a number of power transfers on stand by. They would execute now at a touch of a button. He also noticed that the readings on a number of EPS conduits just did not seem right. So, he dispatched a pair of Operations personnel to get them looked at and repaired if needed. If the ship was going to see battle then he would make damn sure it was ready for one.

Jörgen tugged on his uniform, already neatly in place, as he stepped forward. "Should the Romulans not be here to assist we must give our crew time to have command of the Galilei. Open a channel to the warbird, please, Petty Officer Tragar."

Max, pulse racing, sent the invisible signal to the shadow ship, revealing the Firebird knew of her presence. What were the chances the Romulans were there to assist? What was the payload on that ship and could the Firebird survive combat? He forced himself to relax, going through the breathing exercises Nora had taught him. The Captain and Commander knew what they were doing. "Channel open, sir."

"This is Lieutenant Commander Jörgen Leed of the U.S.S. Firebird to the Romulan vessel. We are responding to a distress call. Have you come to assist us?"

For a moment nothing happened. Malcom watched, leaning forward in his chair, waiting to see what the response would be. On the main screen, the patch of space they knew the Romulan ship to be occupying fluttered and the hook nosed green vessel decloaked.

Rees was looking at the viewscreen as well. He rather liked the image of a ship decloaking despite the tension that it represented. This time however, all of the apprehension was correct. His console lit up quickly, in a flash Rees assessed what was happening. "Sir the Romulans are charging their main disruptor banks, and arming torpedo tubes. Their shields are raising as well sir. Shall we respond?"

"Raise shields, Mr. Rees. Jackson, evasive maneuvers. Use your imagination," Malcom said. He made sure not to let his voice rise. "If they fire, Chief Stephens, return at will. We will not let them get close to the Galilei."

Jackson's face tightened as he stared at the specs he had been looking at. He felt he had a good grasp on the capabilities on the enemy. Jackson initiated a typical Delta defensive maneuver. No need to tip their hand too early and he was ready for what they might throw at him. "Ready, sir."

"Weapons are hot. Why is there a Bird all the way out here?" Charles said to the Captain and in general.

Malcom processed what his crew was saying. "Jackson, don't wait for me. Engage. That ship is twice our size and we aren't designed for that kind of fight. Chief, if they do fire, return at will. I wish I could answer your question but I can't."

The Romulan ship's disruptors fired just as the Firebird began its maneuver. The green blast sizzled across the intervening space and splashed against their shields, rocking the ship. As soon as it fired, the green bird accelerated, making straight for the Starfleet vessel.

As soon as the Romulan opened fire Charles dove into the phaser arcs available. He started to return the fire. It was a big ship they were up against. As he was reading the view screen he was pretty happy with how reactive the Firebirds systems were. "We may be small but she has bite."

Jackson watched the Romulan ship shift its course to intercept. The ship angled in towards them from the starboard side. He waited briefly letting the enemy ship fully commit to its new course. Disruptors fired again. Jackson couldn't help the grin that spread across his face, "Let's see how quickly they can react to this! Hold on tight!"

Charles was already getting his next volley ready to lob at the Rommies when he heard Jackson's tone. He held back to wait and see what his friend had planed.

Max was hyper aware of the readings on his console, the presence of the chief at his side, the iron voices of the officers, his own reactions. He was not afraid. He was not paralyzed. He was ready, alert, taking readings and calculations even as the Firebird engaged in combat. Like the scientist he was, he observed and noted his own emotional response for later discussion with Nora. Oddly, he wasn't even afraid of dying. It was as though the sheer will of the bridge crew could keep the ship from harm.

Cynfor kept his eyes glued to the Ops console it was lighting up all over as systems began to take damage and strain under the pressure. He didn't even break a sweat this was where he was at home. Rerouting power to where it needed to be keeping systems running and keeping the ship flying. A smirk crawled across the old man's face as he thought back to the ship's of old and what one can do with a phaser emitter. Cyn quickly shut down three non essential systems, holodecks, a science sensor suite, and temporarily brought some of the replicators off line. He took that power and sent it into the phaser systems. "Chief, I boosted your phasers, you have an extra 10,000 giga joules but it is only temporary make those shots count." Rees booming voice came over the din of battle.

Just as it seemed like the disruptors would smash against the shields again, Jackson shifted the ship to the port and then brought the ship rolling over the deadly beams. The brilliant green streams of energy passed right below them it almost seemed like you could reach out and touch them threw the forward view screen as they traveled off into the darkness of space. Jackson didn't hesitate, he immediately plunged the Firebird down straining the inertial dampeners with the suddenness of the shift. Completing his weird spiral, Jackson punched it, increasing the speed of the Firebird considerably. The Romulan ship was completely out of alignment and with each second it moved farther away and the Firebird increased its distance and speed.

Charles was impressed. He shouldn't be at this point, Jackson was a constant bag of tricks. As the Firebird gained ground and the Romulans tried to figure out what just happened Charles loaded up a full allotment and let it rip into the the shields of the Bird. The trailing torpedo didn't impact the shielding it found its mark true on the hull. "Direct hit their warp drive is offline, Sir."

The Romluan vessel pivoted, turning in a sharp arc to allow it to move away from the Firebird, Malcom was about to order Jackson to pursue when a burst of green photon torpedos struck the ship, rattling them and throwing off sparks from one wall. As the quaking subsided, Malcom stood. "Give me a damage report!"

"We have minor hill breaches on decks 7 and 8, forcefields are holding. Shields are down by 30 percent, and dorsal portside phasers are offline. Transporters are non functional as well sir. Damage control teams are responding." Cyn responded to the Captain's request without turning around. He was formulating the equations to get power restored to those systems quicker than normal.

Harlan started to call out from the engineering station. "We've got some damage to primary power couplings. Plasma flow is fluctuating. Shifting power away from the non-essential systems and get those phasers back in action."

As the damage report rolled in, Jörgen, his face chiseled in calm, found himself honing in on two possibilities. Maybe the Firebird survived until the Galilei came up to full power and both ships escaped, or the Romulans knocked the Firebird out and then took the Galilei. The warbird's quick engagement suggested the Romulans already had a plan involving the stricken luxury liner. "Captain, raising the shields on the Galilei might be our best chance for the survival of our crew on both ships."

"I hope that their shields are stronger than I think they are," Malcom said. "Lieutenant Rees, get a message out to Commander Han on the Galilei. Get those shields up. Jackson, lay in a pursuit course. I want to know who these Romulans are."

The Romulan vessel, as if able to hear the Starfleet Captain's words, surged forward under full impulse power. The damage from the Firebird's photon torpedoes was easy to spot, a smear of black against the green hull plating. Beyond the enemy ship, the yellow-red of the Badlands beckoned, as if drawing both ships in.

Jackson was ready for this. A swift bank to the port and they were racing towards the Romulan vessel. He pushed to full impulse to gain on them as quickly as possible.

The Romulan ship dove directly into the Badlands, as if it had a map of the safest route. Of course, safe was relative. The large swirls of energy gave the entire viewscreen the appearance of a massive electrical storm, interspersed with tornadoes. The Firebird staggered as one of the huge bolts of energy slammed against the ship.

"Are we picking up anything from them? Communications?" Malcom asked

Harlan chirped from his station. "Alright, we should have all phaser banks back up and ready to fire. Power flow should be fine unless we take another big salvo; we could see some wavelength flow inversion if we we have divert any more power in large quantities."

"Nothing, sir." Max checked the comms again--they had ignored the Firebird's hail. Frustrated at the lack of anything to do, Max widened the detection field on his bounceback probe. There was something... Max tracked three incoming blobs at the edge of range and they were moving way too fast to be anything but ships. "Three more ships incoming, sir! Allegiance and make unknown. Mark aught-seven." He sent the telemetry to ops, tactical, and flight.

That answered Malcom's internal question about why anyone would dive into the Badlands. "Open fire, Chief. Continue to fire as long as we can. If we can disable the Romulan ship before they get here, we will take them under tow and return to the Galilei. Jackson be ready to make a quick escape."

On the viewscreen, as if bolstered by the presence of allies, the Romulan ship began a tight turn, coming about and launching a few long range phaser shots that did little more than rattle the Firebird.

With the Captain's orders set and Harlan working his magic Charles had what he needed in his control. He set a repeated fire pattern of long range phasers and as soon as the Rommies where in sufficient range he opened up with a full volley from the Firebird's torpedo tubes. Much like the Defiant class they were built small but they pack one hell of a weapons system. "Their shields can't take to much more."

The hammer blows they were delivering to the Romulan ship burst across their shields like lightning striking glass. The tendrils from those strikes spread out, spiderwebbing across the usually transparent protective bubble. Then the enemy ship answered in kind, rocking the bridge crew. Malcom held onto the center console, exchanging glances with Commander Leed.

The Romulan ship accelerated, clearly something had been repaired, and they came straight on in a collision course.

"Evasive maneuver theta five seven," Malcom snapped at Jackson.

Jackson had already entered in the first series of the maneuver. Despite the dangers around them Jackson couldn't help the small grin come across his face as he recalled that particular lecture and demonstration from Professor Malcom. This was definitely a tricky maneuver for the situation and Jackson was pleased he was in sync with his mentor. The ship flipped up and over and plunged down swirling making them a near impossible target. Jackson added discreet pauses for their own return fire.

As Jackson performed miracles at the helm the Firebird kept throwing shot after shot at the Romulan ship. He hadn't been at a tactical firefight since the war it felt good. But as a smile came on his face he say on his target sensors three new targets. "Captain, look....."

Malcom watched their return fire and was already planning their next move when three more ships appeared on the viewscreen. The battle changed in his mind. He could see the Romulan ship behind them in pursuit and now the new ships, clearly not Romulan, in front. They looked just like the New Maquis ships they had seen before when rescuing the Sagan. They were small but packed a punch. If it had just been the Firebird versus the Maquis, he would have fought. But the Romulan ship, even damaged, tilted the battle against them.

"Jackson, get us out of here. Make best speed back to the Galilei. Max, I want every scrap of data we can save on these ships."

"Ja, sir," Max said, so excited he mixed Swedish and English. His skin felt electrified, every discharge of the phasers to and from the enemy a jolt to his body, splashing across his skin just like the starships. He felt alive. Already taking astrometric and vector data from all ships in the sector and the reactions of the Badlands anomaly, he upped the detail gathered on thermal and radiation as well, collecting everything he could. It would be hours and hours of sorting, helping the computer determine what was useful and what was not, but through it all he would remember the breathlessness of this moment, perched on the edge of his chair, like a diver on the edge of a cliff.

Jackson nodded. It was time to show off what the Firebird could do. Jackson maneuvered hard to the port and the Romulan ship played its part just as he suspected. They overcompensated for the course correction and set themselves up for a better angle on the Firebird. As soon as they were locked in their course, Jackson spiralled the ship down and came out of the spin heading starboard. The agileness of the Firebird was too much for the Romulan's and they continued off course. For the second time in this fight Jackson pushed the impulse engines, but he knew that the Firebird could do more. "Harlan! Get me more power to the impulse engines, now!"

"Shifting power now. Hope you're not going to need shooting for a minute while we burn. And don't you dare blow up any of my power systems with this move," Harlan said.

Behind them the Maquis ships fired parting shots sparkled as the torpedoes raced after the Firebird but the temporary increase in power allowed the ship to race away. The enemy ships showed no signs of pursuit, instead clustering around the Romulan ship in a protective formation.

Malcom sighed, the tension evaporating. He'd been worried about how he would have defended the Galilei had they chosen to pursue. "Secure from Red Alert. Maintain Yellow Alert. I want a complete damage report from all departments. And someone let the Galilei know that we are coming and we need to get out of this sector," he said.

With the Captain's word Charles started the task of sending all weapon systems through a brief diagnostic test just to see if their where any lingering issues. He also kept an eye on the tactical map to make sure they had not picked up a tail.

Max was still as tense as a vibrating piano wire, casting a signal behind, bouncing it from his probe, continuing to gather data even as they sped away. Who was aboard those ships and why were they working together? What did this bode for the sector? He cast a glance at Commander Leed. No doubt, the man knew, or could guess.

The Romulans and the Maquis now that was interesting thought Rees. "Sir I believe if we adapt something that the Enterprise did we can detect the Romulans in a future encounter. We can deploy the use of tachyons." He said as he turned to the Captain. Cynfor hoped that those Maquis that risked themselves for him were not involved in this for their own sake.

Harlan reviewed the engineering console and found that while some systems were under high stress, nothing was in immediate danger of exploding. "We should be good here, Captain. Let's just hope we don't have any more high stakes runs in the next couple hours while the folks down on my deck get everything reset."

"Mr Harlan myself and the Operations Department are at your disposal. Just say the word and I'll see it done." Cynfor said with a broad smile.

As the Firebird raced towards the Galilei, Jörgen pondered the words of Lieutenant Rees. He wondered which side, Romulan or Maquis, had approached the other backed by a similar offer. Just say the word and I'll see it done. The Maquis had learned the hard way what a war with no allies meant when the Cardassians had destroyed them. Romulan factions with no desire for peace with the Federation needed the secrecy Maquis knowledge of the Badlands offered. "Captain, the Galilei may only be one small part of the cooperation we just saw. Perhaps no other race being paired with the Maquis concerns me more. Your insight would be useful before I submit a report to Starfleet."

Charles keep an eye on his tactical read outs but there didn't seem to be anyone following. As he overheard Leed's words he decided to chime in. "Sirs, He is correct if this new Maquis is in bed with any Romulan faction no matter how small it could be real trouble for this sector of space." Charles paused. "If they have adapted this well to the Badlands that brings in a whole new wrinkle that will be very hard to deal with." He finished his thoughts on things. "As soon as we are safe I will send a message to SFI and keep them abreast of this."

Cynfor cocked an eyebrow in the Vulcan fashion. He had not thought about that, he of all people knew that the Maquis would make alliances with anyone and everyone if it would further their own goals. However, the current topic of discussion on the Firebird's bridge was right on target. "I would have to agree. The Maquis making allies, is not only a fundamental shift in Maquis tactics but a fundamental shift in their ideology as well. These are people who up until now were in it for themselves. On top of that if the Romulans are their allies that means that the Maquis have something of unique interest to the Empire. That in and of itself is a shift in power in this sector. I recommend we contact the diplomatic liaison to Romulus see if they can get any information." All of this left a really bad taste in Cynfor's mouth something big was on the horizon, he could feel it.

Malcom enjoyed letting his officers work through problems, using their own unique skill sets. "You're all making great points and I think your analysis is right on. Our primary goals are to get the Galilei somewhere safe," he said. "But this new alliance is troubling and we will be following up on it. I'd like your reports and recommendations as soon as we reach a safe harbor."

Captain Malcom Llwyedd
Commanding Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Cynfor Rees
Chief Operations Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Chief Petty Officer Charles Stephens JR
Chief of the Boat/Assistant Chief Intelligence Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Junior Grade Jackson Smith
Chief Flight Control Officer/Covert Operations Specialist
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Chief Petty Officer Arlan Harlan
Assistant Chief Engineer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Petty Officer 3rd Class Max Tragar
Stellar Cartographer
USS Firebird NCC-88298

Lieutenant Commander Jorgen Leed
Chief Diplomatic Officer
USS Firebird NCC-88298
NPC by Soto


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