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Orbital happenings

Posted on Wed May 8th, 2019 @ 3:09am by Lieutenant Commander Arturo S'Rohass & Lieutenant Xiulan Song & Lieutenant Evan Lougheed & Lieutenant JG Vitaath Zh'challiss & Valywen

Mission: From the ashes...
Location: USS Valiant
Timeline: Current

Valywen studied Gharousda Three from the Science station on the bridge. The planet looked beautiful from orbit. Whether that was indeed true or due to her lack of experience at seeing planets from orbit in a starship was something she was unsure of. The orbit of the planet meant that a day on the planet was 24.5 hours long--a couple hours longer than her planet.

It was quiet enough that Xiulan thought this might be a good teachable moment. "Valywen," Xiulan said, gesturing in the little alien's general direction to come to her station. Xiulan, of course, had her tactile interface active, but it still had visual components for anyone who might be looking over her shoulder, it was simply arranged differently than normal and not nearly as nice looking as the standard LCARS displays, but it was designed for function over form. "You've been studying cartography, right? Show me how to do a spectrographic analysis of the system's sun," she ordered/suggested. Her fingers continued to work over her own sensor data, still searching for Thalaron particles or signs of incoming ships, but so far she could detect nothing. "Here, you can use the cartography array from here," she instructed, giving Valywen access to the additional sensor array in the Luna-class's equipment pod.

"Thank you," Valywen smiled as she accessed the new data. The data at first was confusing but the more she looked at it, the more it seemed to make sense. "It's as you say...very cool."

Lougheed was at the Security station, having taken to using it as there wasn't a designated Intelligence station on the bridge and it then left Tactical open for Me'Shlaht when present. "Commander, sensors are picking up a tachyon surge, vessel decloaking." Lougheed reported, "Klingon ship, Vor'cha Class."

"Well, well," Arturo said. "Standby to go to Yellow or Red Alert, dependent on my command. For the moment, though, we're still friendly with the Klingon Empire, so let's see what they want. Lieutenant Song, hail them, please, with the usual pleasantries."

With Valywen at her side, Xiulan sent the signal with a stock recorded greeting to announce their presence. "No response," Xiulan said after a moment. "I'm reading that they are receiving our signal, they're simply not answering. Would you like for me to open the channel? Perhaps you can be more persuasive."

"Yellow alert, please, but keep calm," Arturo said. "Tactical, get ready to get the shields up as fast as you can on my order. Helm, call up Evasive Pattern S'Rohass Delta Nine and prepare to implement it if they open fire. Tactical, you will NOT return fire unless I give the order. Open the channel please, Lieutenant Song." When Xiulan opened the channel Arturo spoke. "Attention Klingon Bird of Prey. This is Lieutenant Commander Arturo S'Rohass, executive officer of the USS Valiant. Our treaties allow you passage through Federation space, but they do require each party to identify themselves when challenged in each other's territory. So, please identify yourselves and state your business here. I would hate for your silence to lead to any--unpleasant misunderstandings." Arturo made a cutting motion with his hand and Xiulan cut the channel. "Tactical, prepare to fire across their bow on my order. Across their bow only."

Korath sat back in his command chair on the small bridge. The Klingon grinned at the sight of the sight of the Federation's newest class of vessel before him. He wondered about it's tactical prowess but he was not here for that...no, he had a much more important mission. His grin grew as he listened to the Federation XO speak. He could pick out a slight growl? 'Must be a caitian,' he thought. "rI' Se' poS," he commanded, standing.

On screen appeared a diminutive...caitian? A hearty chuckle escaped Korath's throat. "I am well aware of your protocols, Lieutenant Commander. I am Captain Korath of the House of Inagh. Is there a reason I am not speaking to your captain?"

"Because my Captain is otherwise occupied, Captain Korath of the House of Inagh," Arturo said. "There is a rather sensitive situation on the planet below that my highly capable and very honorable Captain has been sent to resolve, leaving me here in command. I am, as always, overjoyed to see our Klingon allies decloaking off the bow of my ship with no warning. To what do we owe the pleasure of this visit?"

"I believe I am aware of the situation," Korath replied, his voice turning stern and serious. "I have been sent here on a mission from the High Council to track down some traitors of the Empire and bring them back alive or if needed, kill them outright. Our reports indicate they may be here to purchase a weapon from these Romulan petaQ."

Evan didn't like the situation, Klingons dropping in was almost never a good thing, even with the alliance. While the XO engaged the diplomatic route he turned his attention to the sensors and began looking to see if the new arrivals had friends nearby.

"Then perhaps we could work together?" Arturo said. "You are pursuing the buyers. We are hunting the sellers. What do you say? Allies against these common enemies?"

Arturo wasn't sure Leigh would like the idea of him inviting the Klingons to the team, but he knew she'd like it a lot less if a squad of angry Klingons suddenly appeared and started rampaging through the colony searching for their traitors. At least this way, she might have at least a little more control of the situation.

Korath nodded. "Very well. We will begin our search of the colony from orbit. If you find anything, I take it we will be informed?" he produced a toothy grin.

Evan resisted the urge to roll his eyes, knowing it was unlikely the Klingons would share anything with them.

"Of course," Arturo said. "What are friends for? And I assume you'll do the same for us? Fair's fair, after all."

"Of course," Korath grinned, before closing the channel. "Monitor them closely," he ordered his tactical officer. "And begin a full sensor sweep of the colony."

Once the channel closed Lougheed turned to the XO, "Perhaps we should prepare some reinforcements for the Captain, just in case."

"I don't believe pouring Marine green accelerant on an already volatile situation will help matters, Lieutenant," Arturo said. He hit a control on the arm of the command chair. "Valiant to Commander Jacobs."

"Jacobs, here. What is it, Commander?" came Leigh's voice in response.

"You're about to have a group of ill-tempered guests visit the planet," Arturo said. "A Vor'cha class Klingon starship commanded by a Captain Korath decloaked off of our bow a few moments ago. Apparently our Romulan terrorists, if that's what they are, are trying to sell the Thalaron device to a group of Klingon traitors, if that's what they are. I convinced Korath that we might work together. He and his people could look for the buyers while we pursued the sellers and we could share information. Whether or not they'll follow through on that last part I have no idea. I felt you'd rather have them working with us than rampaging around the colony."

"Thank you, Commander. I'll talk with this Captain Korath as soon as possible to make sure he still doesn't send down search parties to turn the colony upside down. I'll be back on the ship, soon. Keep a close watch on them until then. Jacobs, out," Leigh replied. She wasn't happy that the Klingons came to the party--this was a delicate situation and Klingons never do anything delicately.

"Well," Arturo said. "You heard our fair Captain. Of course, if they reactivate their cloaking device, I'm not certain that plan is going to work, but we are brave and true of heart and so must always win, so I'm sure we'll think of a solution to that problem if it arises."

"Commander, I'm picking up some readings that may indicate that our 'friends' out there aren't alone. I'll admit this Val certainly has some nice sensors, I have what could be two more ships holding position near the outer edge of the system. They're roughly opposite sides, and look like they're on a defensive picket around the system." Lougheed reported.

"Well," Arturo said. "That is a tactically sound move, if somewhat unsporting. Lieutenant Song, please send an encrypted message back to task force command and inform them of the current balance of forces here and advise that while we don't intend to get into a fight, if they could move forces in just outside of the system, but well within sensor range of the Klingons, we would appreciate it. Let us see here. The one we can see is a Vor'cha. They've pretty much stopped using the K'vort except as troop transports. It's possible those two ships are K'vort loaded with ground troops. But... they would need escorts. A Targ Pack of thirteen B'rel Class Birds-of-Prey, for example. K'vort have glass jaws. They're too fragile to send out by themselves. And I doubt it's a pair of B'rel. They're too small and lightly armed to effectively bracket the system alone like that. For that, they'd also need a Targ Pack. If they are the only two other Klingon Imperial ships in the vicinity, then I believe, assuming those ships are in fact Klingons, that we may be looking at either two more Vor'cha Class Heavy Cruisers or perhaps a just a pair of K'tinga Class Light Cruisers. On the other hand, if we're talking about Klingon renegades, maybe they are B'rel. Or they could be Romulans, either Imperials in large ships or terrorists in small ones. Well, Lieutenant Song, send that assessment in the encrypted message as well and let Task Force Command sort out what they feel a proportionate response would be. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Lougheed, please do what you can to identify those ships so we can provide the best intelligence to our friends at Task Force."

"Understood Sir." Evan replied.

"On it," Xiulan replied, then started to type up a brief while she waited for the secure channel to generate and connect with Starfleet Command.

Arturo hit a control on the arm of the command chair, reopening the channel to the Captain. "Jacobs, S'Rohass. Sorry to bother you. There has been a development up here that you need to be aware of."

"Oh? What's going on?" came Leigh's voice again over the comm.

"Two cloaked ships appear to be bracketing the system," Arturo said. "We don't know who they are yet. Korath's ship is a Vor'cha. I presume, if these other two are with him, they're either Vor'cha or K'tinga Class. Anything less wouldn't be effective. If they're Romulan Star Navy, I'm thinking Mogai or D'deridex. If they belong to one of our two groups of ne'er do wells, I'm thinking something smaller. We just don't know yet. We shall endeavor to find out more. Until then, I have had an encrypted message with that assessment sent to Task Force Command and requested that they move a proportionate force into position outside the system, but within sensor range of Korath's ship and the two cloaked ships. I want them to understand that we're not alone out here."

A few minutes later, Jacobs walked onto the bridge. "Report, Commander."

"No change," Arturo said, as he vacated the command chair. "Lieutenant Song, please report in the moment we get a response from Task Force Command." He looked at Evan. "Have you had any luck determining the identity of our quasi invisible friends, Lieutenant Lougheed?"

"I've managed to get some readings, these sensors are quite the treat." Lougheed said pressing a few controls and changing the main viewer image to an overview of the system. "Based on the disturbances they're making in the background space dust in that part of the solar system, coupled with some hints of power signatures I'd say we've got a pair of Vor'chas out there, almost exact opposite sides of the system. I think they're keeping an eye on anything coming in or out of the system as well as back up for their friends who have made orbit."

"Well," Arturo said, looking at Leigh. "I'm of a mind to just keep watch on them at the moment. I remember being taught not to issue orders you don't expect to be obeyed, especially if you have no way to force compliance. You'll be disobeyed and lose credibility for the next time you have to issue an order or otherwise exert your authority. They have us supremely outgunned at the moment. If they don't want to go, we cannot make them. Rather than have them laugh in our faces... May I try something? I think I can let them know that we know they have friends in the area, let them know that we don't appreciate it, and make sure there will be consequences if they take hostile action, all without actually starting a shooting match. But if we start making demands and openly threatening them, they're going to feel the need to counterattack."

Leigh crossed her arms with a grin. Dealing with Klingons were often a headache and the Phoenix was still 10 hours out which would even the odds. "This I have to hear. What have you got, Commander?"

Arturo smirked, well, as best as he could smirk. "Probably better if I just show show you," he said. "Just trust me and give me a little latitude. This might sound like it isn't going well, but I am about 99% sure any unpleasantness from Captain Korath will be mostly bluff and bluster, if he doesn't just return my snide, insincere tone. I'll let him know we're aware of his friends and warn him we're prepared for that eventuality in a way that doesn't give him any direct insult to respond to, so he won't lose any face. Lieutenant Song, please hail Captain Korath."

Xiulan nodded and contacted Korath's ship. After a brief but 'enthusiastic' conversation with the Klingon Communications Officer, in harsh, guttural Klingon, the blind lieutenant gave Arturo the thumbs up and Korath's face filled the view screen.

"Ah, my dear Captain Korath," Arturo said. "Sorry to interrupt. I know this is probably the time of day that you reserve for picking your teeth with toothpicks made from the bones of something or someone you've killed in honorable combat, or something equally gruesome. I was hoping you might be able to find time in your busy day to discuss some rather strange sensor data we're getting from our routine scans of the system. Two sensor contacts on the outer edge of the system, to be exact. You wouldn't happen to have detected anything similar, have you?"

Korath sat back in his chair, emitting a low growl that was more for thinking than a threatening gesture. "Perhaps...we are currently doing a thorough scan of the system. Do not be scared little feline, we will protect you," Korath replied before erupting in laughter followed by most of his bridge crew.

"Charming fellow," Lougheed mused quietly enough for it to not go over the comm channel.

"Wait," Arturo said. "You have time to protect me? I'm sorry, it's just that I would have thought you have your hands full commanding your ship and trying to impregnate your pet targ. How's that going, by the way? You know, if you can't... rise to the occasion, we have some excellent Starfleet physicians on this ship. I'm sure I could find one that could, oh, let's say... stiffen your resolve."

Leigh sighed, biting her lip to keep from interrupting.

Korath's laugh subsided as he leaned forward in his chair, glowering at Arturo as a low, threatening growl escaped his lips which slowly formed into a toothy smile. "You have balls for a little feline! Those sensor contacts are to ensure the traitors do not escape justice."

"Very large ones, made of duranium," Arturo said. "We are happy, of course, to render any aid we can in preventing these traitors of yours from escaping. . Commander Jacobs also had a concern about people escaping, so I took the liberty of contacting the local Task Force Commander, who generously offered to re-position several ships to provide us with any back that might be required. Needless to say, I graciously accepted his offer. They, too, will be happy to render you any aid you might require."

"It is appreciated but unnecessary," Korath replied. "These PetaQ will be caught and taken back to Q'onos. Now, if there is nothing more, I have business to attend to."

"Of course," Arturo said. "Please don't keep your targ waiting on my account." Before Korath could respond, Arturo motioned to Xiulan to cut the channel, which she did, and the screen went blank. Arturo chuckled. "There. Mission accomplished with no face lost."

When Xiulan cut the channel, she could restrain her amusement no longer and burst out into a full belly laugh, laughing so hard that tears formed in her eyes. "For the record, I can confirm that he really does have have some spectacularly large balls, made all the more grand in scale compared to his short stature," she said candidly when her laughter had been reduced to mere snickering. She then wiped the moisture from her eyes and tried to focus on her sensor sweeps with the occasional smile or snicker sneaking out from time to time.

Leigh still had her arms crossed, sporting a grin. "Next time, don't push so hard, Mr. 'Big balls' S'Rohass."

Arturo laughed. "As you wish, Captain, as you wish. So, Fearless Leader, what shall we do next?"

"Any word from Lieutenant Rogers and his team?" Leigh asked as she approached her command chair.

"None yet," Arturo said. "But I noticed that you and Chief Xan beamed aboard with a third person. Do we have a guest?"

"We do. Apparently, she's a member of the Khelliana, but was seemingly unaware that their leader was in talks with the Klingons," Leigh explained.

Arturo nodded. "I assume by Klingons you mean the so-called traitors Korath is looking for," he said. "Would you like Lieutenant Lougheed to talk with her. We can manage without him now that everyone doesn't have to play Chief Cook and Bottle Washer all the time, what with the larger crew."

Leigh nodded and looked at Lougheed. "Speak to our guest and see if she knows anything else, Mr. Lougheed. Something about these Romulans selling a dangerous weapon to a group of Klingons seems off to me."

"Yes ma'am." Lougheed said with a nod before heading for the turbolift.

 

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