Captain’s Log: Supplemental
As per Admiral Rothschild’s instructions, I have assembled a crew of fifty officers and enlisted personnel for temporary transfer to the Defender for the duration of this mission, including Ensign Arkin, Lieutenant Dulmis and Commander Sheridan from among my senior staff. The selected personnel have now assembled aboard the Defender and are preparing the ship for immediate launch, which our chief engineer, Lieutenant Johnson, has assured me will be within the next fifteen minutes.
Filled with a sense of foreboding, Kate Sheridan entered the compact bridge of the USS Defender with Arkin Jora and James Dulmis closely behind. The two young officers quickly spread out to their respective consoles, Arkin to the helm and Dulmis to operations, as Kate moved in the direction of the tactical console, trying to work out when this feeling had first started. Initially she thought it had been during Lex’s briefing about their current mission, specifically when he had first mentioned the USS Prometheus, but she realised that it had simply magnified something that was already there, which had begun during Bimitri’s recounting of her discovery by the Constitution. That the feeling had suddenly increased at the mention of the Prometheus told her that the timing wasn’t just co-incidence – somehow the hijacked ship was connected to her past, she just wished she knew how.
Sheridan looked up at the enquiring voice, realising that she’d been distracted by her thoughts, and found Commander Lisley waiting expectantly.
“Sorry, sir, could you repeat that?”
“I requested a tactical status,” said Lisley, a twinge of annoyance in her voice.
Irritation began to fill Sheridan. It wasn’t unusual for a new superior to come down harder on her than her fellow officers; it was something that Kate was used to by now. What really annoyed her was that she had given Lisley an excuse to do so. She buried the feeling before she replied. “Phasers and torpedo tubes show ready, shields available at full strength.”
“Good,” said Lisley nodding before she turned her attention to Captain Lex, who waited in the captain’s chair that was situated on the raised platform in the centre of the bridge. On seeing the captain, Kate chided herself again for becoming so distracted.
“All stations report ready, Captain.”
“Thank you, Commander,” responded Lex, dismissing Lisley, who took her place at the science station. “Lieutenant Dulmis, request departure clearance from Starbase Command & Control.”
“Starbase C&C confirms departure clearance, Captain,” he replied after a few moments.
“Ensign Arkin,” continued Lex, “ take us out on navigational thrusters only and form up behind the Spectre once we’ve cleared the docking port.”
“Aye, sir,” the young Bajoran replied entering the commands into her console.
Sheridan turned her attention to the viewscreen. The docking port that had housed the Defender was quickly receding as more of the central section of the Starbase became visible. When the whole of the docking port became visible, showing that the ship had cleared it, the view began shifting as Arkin instigated a turn that would take the ship around Deep Space Six to meet up with the other vessels. As they past through the shadow of the Starbase’s huge oval shaped upper section, the distinctive catamaran shaped hull of the Spectre and the compact form of the Alexander came into view. The Defender sidled up beside her sister ship.
“Helm, set course 047 mark 021, warp 9 and prepare to engage on my mark,” said Lex, tapping commands into his own console. After a few moments he looked up and said, “Mark.”
Arkin engaged the warp engines at the same time as her counterparts on the Alexander and Spectre and the three ships jumped to faster-than-light speed together. As the stars began to streak past the edges of the viewscreen Lex rose from his seat and approached Sheridan.
“Is everything alright, Kate?” he asked, his voice lowered. “You seem a little distracted.”
“It’s nothing, Captain,” she replied, hoping he wouldn’t probe any further. It was a hope she wouldn’t see fulfilled.
“I know you, Kate, and it’s not like you to get distracted like this,” he replied . “If you don’t want to talk about it, I understand, but I need your attention on the here and now.”
“Yes, sir,” she said, his pep talk having the desired result. “It’s just that I have this funny feeling about our current mission, as if it’s all happened before and we’re just playing out a predefined sequence of events.”
“You’re experiencing a case of déjà vu ?” offered Lex.
“It’s more than that,” she responded, shaking her head . “There’s more riding on this mission than there appears to be. I can feel it.”
The sudden change in Lex’s expression told Kate that she wasn’t the only one who felt that there was a bigger picture beyond the mission itself.
“For all our sakes, I hope you’re wrong, Kate ,” he replied.
She stood at one of the large floor-to-ceiling windows of DS6’s crew lounge taking in the view of the Starbase’s huge terrestrial habitat, reflecting on how the view still impressed her as much as it had a lifetime ago when she had first laid her eyes upon it. The terrestrial habitat on Vanguard-class Starbases had grown to twice the size of that pioneered by the Watchtower-class that they had replaced, thanks mainly to the increased the size of the docking area below in order to accommodate the larger starship designs that had appeared over the last century. As a result DS6 had over five and a half square kilometres of ‘open’ space for its crew and visitors to relax in. It was an impressive site.
“I’m sorry to bother you,” said a voice from behind her, “but have we met somewhere before?”
Instantly she recognised the voice and inwardly cursed her own stupidity. She knew that she’d drawn too much attention to herself earlier. She had beaten a hasty retreat once she’d been spotted by Katherine Sheridan during her observation of the group of senior officers from the Argus and she’d not attempted to return until after she’d been sure that they’d all departed. Now it seemed she’d been premature in her decision. Of course Argus won’t leave here for at least another six hours, she realised with annoyance, although it didn’t let it show as she turned to face the visitor. “Sorry,” she replied after a moment, “but I think you must have mistaken me for someone else.”
The visitor, who she had correctly guessed was Sara Parker, regarded her features carefully, before she eventually replied, “Possibly, although you do seem very familiar to me.”
I’ll bet, she thought to herself.
“My name’s Sara Parker,” ventured Sara, introducing herself and extending her hand.
“Kara Tarm,” she replied reluctantly, giving her false name and shaking Sara’s hand. She had always found Sara’s friendliness one of her most endearing qualities and memories of her began to surface of happier times before everything had fallen apart. Sorrow began to build up inside her and she had to fight to keep it hidden. She didn’t want to have this conversation.
“You’re a Trill, aren’t you?” asked Sara.
“Only a quarter,” she replied. “Three of my grandparents were human.”
“Ah, that explains the faded spots,” said Sara, before offering in way of explanation, “ my husband’s half- Trill. So are you assigned to DS6?”
She knew by this point that Sara would continue to make small talk and she couldn’t risk that she might let something slip that she shouldn’t. Too much time had still to pass before she needed to make herself known to Argus’ crew and in her line of work it was best to leave such things until they were required. That way any unnecessary complications could be avoided. She decided to make her excuses and leave, “I’m sorry, but I’m due to be on level 39 in the next ten minutes. If you’ll excuse me…”
“Sure,” replied Sara, stepping aside. “Maybe we’ll bump into each other later.”
“Possibly,” she replied. “Nice taking to you.”
“And you ,” Sara called after her, but she was already halfway across the lounge.
I have to be more careful, she though as she left the room.
As Kara Tarm hurriedly made her way across the room and out of the lounge, Sara Parker reflected on the conversation she had just had with her, and the whole exchange between them had left Sara some what confused. Sara had returned to the lounge following Arkin, Dulmis and Sheridan’s departure to the Defender and Cassaria’s for a counselling session aboard Argus to catch up on some of her own work in a relaxed environment. Upon seeing Tarm she had been overwhelmed with the feeling she knew the woman and decided to approach her with the intention of clarifying the feeling. That feeling had since been completely reversed though – she was now sure that she had never met Kara Tarm before, although her face and name were familiar to her. The waters had been further muddied when Tarm had denied that she knew Parker, but her body language had said otherwise. That Tarm had then hurriedly extracted herself from the conversation before Sara had any chance of delving any further had indicated that, while Tarm knew who Sara was, she didn’t want Sara to know who she was. This only served to frustrate Sara more and she decided to pull the woman’s Starfleet record when she returned to Argus.
Sara sat herself down on the sofa, ordered a drink from a passing server and, once he had disappeared towards the bar, started to look through the padd that she had brought with her from the ship. The display device held the last set of sensor logs taken by Argus before she docked at the Starbase. The logs required Sara’s signature before being entered into the ship’s official log that would be sent to Starfleet for archiving, but as they were final logs all the noteworthy information had been flagged, and acted upon if necessary. What remained was a pretty dull read.
The server returned with Sara’s order, a steaming mug of hot chocolate, and placed it on the table. Sara thanked him as she reached down for the mug, both without taking her eyes off the report in her hand. She brought the cup up to her lips and then paused, a frown creasing her forehead as she concentrated harder on the information in front of her. She placed the cup back on the table and tapped her combadge. “Parker to Davis,” she said, contacting the beta-shift science officer who had compiled the report.
“Davis here, sir,” the response came . “How can I help?”
“Carol,” said Sara, “I was looking through the report on the last set of sensor logs and noticed something strange. What can you tell me about flag 56192?”
There was a pause on the other end as Davis pulled up the information before she replied, “It registered as a background EM spike that was slightly more powerful than normal. Source was unknown, but they’re not really that abnormal. Hell, we recorded several of them just in that set of logs alone.”
“Flags 56201, 205, 208, 214, 218, 220, 226…” she trailed off, before summing it up, “thirty eight in total during our approach to DS6.”
“That’s right,” replied Davis.
Sara shook her head . “Something not right, “she said, “I think there’s more to these EM spike’s than there first appears to be. Carol, meet me in science lab one in ten minuets.”
“Aye sir,” Davis replied as Sara hurried out of the lounge, leaving her chocolate still steaming in its mug on the table.
Six hours out from Deep Space Six a sense of unease still pervaded Jonozia Lex’s thoughts. Part of this was due to him being used to the more expansive bridge of the Argus and the compact size of the Defender’s bridge was slightly unsettling. Since the ship had departed DS6 he had discovered that he could reach any station within two steps from the captain’s chair, a figure that increased to five on his own ship, giving him the feeling that he was constantly on top of his bridge crew.
The size of the bridge wasn’t the main cause of his unease though. While he was more used to a larger bridge, he had served on ones of a similar size to this before including Argus’ own battle bridge which itself was based on the design of Defiant’s, the unsettling feeling had been brought as much by the current mission as by the close quarters of the Defender’s bridge. Lex’s unease had been steadily building since he’d learned of the Romulan involvement during Admiral Rothschild’s briefing on the hijack of the Prometheus. Unlike most members of Starfleet, Lex had welcomed Romulus’ neutrality in the war, as his dealings with Romulans over the past century informing his opinion that they would be as much a threat to the Federation’s allies as they were as its enemies. It was an opinion that was an antithesis to everything he believed and that he found hard to justify to others and even himself at times, but deep down he knew it to be right. The Romulans weren’t to be trusted and their hijacking of the Prometheus proved it yet again.
Lex shifted uneasily in his seat, the strength of his conviction clashing with his beliefs. The truth be told, his unease with the mission was more to do with the feeling that there was more riding on it than there first appeared. The outcome could easily and finally decide the Romulans’ involvement in this war, if it hadn’t been already. Who they sided with could depend on the actions of the crews of the three starships currently in pursuit of the Prometheus and the odds of a positive outcome were stacked against them.
“Commander Lisley,” said Lex swivelling his chair left to face the science station, “what’s the status of the Prometheus ?”
“Unchanged,” she replied. “She’s still holding at warp 9.9 and we’re keeping pace, although we’ve yet to make any ground.”
The Defender, along with the Alexander and Spectre, had caught up with the Prometheus about an hour ago, but the ship had already been ahead thanks to a sudden course change. All three ships were pushing their warp engines far beyond their designed limits just to keep up and actually gaining on the hijacked ship was out of the question while it continued to travel at its maximum cruising speed. Unless something happened soon, they’d never catch it.
“How long until they enter into Romulan space?” asked Lex.
“They’ll cross the border in…” Lisley replied, trailing off as she checked her console, “ seven minutes and forty seconds.”
“Bridge to Engineering,” said Lex pushing a control on one of his arm consoles.
“Lieutenant Johnson here, Captain ” replied the assistant chief engineer Lex had reassigned from the Argus to head up Defender’s engineering department.
“Bill, we need to coax more speed from the warp drive or we’re never going to catch up with the Prometheus.”
“I would if I could, Captain,” replied Johnson, “but we’re already running at 120%. There’s nothing more to coax.”
“Captain,” interjected Lisley, “the Prometheus has dropped out of warp.”
“Time to intercept?” asked Lex.
“Eight minutes and twenty three seconds,” responded Lisley.
“Captain, I’m detecting three D’deridex-class Warbirds crossing the Romulan border on a direct course for the Prometheus,” reported Kate Sheridan from the tactical station . “They’ll intercept the ship in seven minutes and six seconds.”
“Red Alert,” ordered Lex. “All hands to battle stations.
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