Hate the Traitor...
The Encounter 3X03
Timeline: MD 3 1330 Hours
Captain's Log Supplemental. The Endeavour remains in orbit around the Cardassian station. Twelve hours after activating the decoy signal, sensors detected the USS Leopard, a Galaxy-class starship, speeding to our position at high warp. She has not responded to hails. The Cardassian cruiser has retreated to its original position behind the gas giant to provide support if necessary. If this ship is responding to the decoy signal, I may find ourselves faced with an impossible choice.
"Lieutenant Beauvoir," Farragut pushed himself out of his chair and tugged down on his uniform jacket. "Time until the USS Leopard arrives?"
"If they maintain their current speed they well arrive in 5.49 minutes, sir." Yvette replied.
He turned to look at Yvette. "Status of their defensive systems?" Farragut asked.
"Their shields are raised, but their phasers and torpedoes are offline, sir." Yvette reported.
"Match them beat for beat, Lieutenant." Practice demanded he keep the Endeavour's shields offline, but General Order 12 implored caution. "Let's raise shields, but keep the weapons on standby."
"Aye, sir." Yvette replied from the tactical station.
Miracle sat poised at the helm with her paw like hands resting on the helm console, ready for evasive maneuvers if called upon to move the ship. Her tail, through the hole in back of the seat, weaved slow snaking 's' curves behind her to show her apprehension and alertness. Ears swiveled to catch the slightest nuances in tone of voice to send her into action. Her mind running through the several pre-programmed courses of action to take when needed after accessing the situation to bring the advantage to the Endeavour in either flight or fight.
"Lieutenant Swiftpaws...let's plot some escape vectors just in case. Maintain orbit around the station." Greg bit the inside of his cheek and forced his attention onto the viewscreen.
"Squeee! Got 6 escape maneuvers, 4 combat set up runs ready at yooz command," Miracle glanced at Captain Farragut, poised with the excitement of anticipation to either fight or flight. "Maintaining current orbit on station."
"Commander," Farragut began, turning to his defacto executive officer. "Are you and Ensign Trey prepared to use your weapon?"
Trey gave the XO a look as if to say "As ready as we're going to get." Not waiting to get a response he turned right back to his station Please let this work! he internally pleaded to whoever may pick up on the message.
Nodding toward the Ensign, Alidar turned his head back to Greg. "As ready as one could expect at this point."
"Finger on the trigger, Ensign," Farragut cautioned. "Any change in posture Lieutenant Beauvoir?"
"Not yet, sir." Yvette replied. Tense minutes passed. "Sir, they are charging phasers." She reported.
"Toe to toe with a Galaxy-class cruiser?" Farragut muttered under his breath. "Keep our weapons on standby. And continue hailing them..." Greg did not want to be the first to open fire on another Starfleet vessel even if all signs pointed to hostility. "Miracle, standby for evasive action."
Miracle paw-like hands flew across the helm console with soft clicking from the contact of her claws against the console. The ship vibrations and hum deepened as the ship began a stutter movement of speeding up and slowing down while maintaining the lazy orbit around the station on present course. "Squeee, Mez Lord Captain." In her soft professional voice that emanated a confidence and calmness that shown her experience and expertise of being in similar situations before and knew what to do.
On Yvette's console, the communications panel lit up with an incoming message.
"Sir, we have an incoming message." Yvette reported.
Farragut looked over at Alidar. "Here goes nothing." He let out a heavy sigh and turned his attention once more to the viewscreen. Instead of a field of stars, a Galaxy-class starship loomed on the holographic display. It was anyone's guess who would win in a firefight: the compact Nebula-class or it's behemoth of a brother.
"Put the message on screen, Lieutenant."
"Aye, sir." Yvette said as she transferred the message to the screen.
The viewscreen snapped to a human in his late fifties. He had close-cropped gray hair and pale blue eyes. Deep folds in his forehead and between his eyes matched the near-permanent grimace that crossed his face. Captain Wikus Van der Berg did not have a reputation among his peers for a friendly disposition.
"Commander Farragut, a pleasure to meet you acquaintance." Van der Berg's pleasure was not evident in the scowl on his face. "Care to explain your presence in Cardassian space? You have the local admiralty worried of another USS Phoenix Incident."
Greg set his jaw and bit back a dismissive answer. He waited a beat before responding. "No, Captain. A mission of mercy brings us here rather than vengeance," Farragut said. He stepped forward to the edge of the raised dais.
"Mercy? I'm sure Captain Maxwell thought much the same..." Wikus looked off screen and then back at the Endeavour's bridge. "We are not detecting any life signs on the station. I suggest you explain yourself, Commander."
"It was in much the same state when we arrived, Captain. We are still determining the cause. The Cardassians have yet to dispatch a rescue vessel," Farragut explained. His heart pounded in his chest. Wikus was playing dumb. He was not an ignorant man by reputation or one to beat around the bush.
"Then you won't mind our assistance, Commander Farragut," Wikus scoffed. "You are clearly in over your head." He waved his hand dismissively and shook his head. "The Leopard will assume responsibility of the investigation and you will depart immediately from..."
Farragut turned from the viewscreen and slashed his hand across his neck. "Lose this channel, Lieutenant."
Yvette cut the channel. "I seem to have lost the Leopard's channel, sir." She said.
As the other Captain's face disappeared from the screen, Alidar stepped to Greg. "Something is wrong, I suggest we stay at yellow alert, full shields and have the weapons ready. Let's call it a Romulan hunch." His voice was kept low as a warning.
Greg nodded in agreement with Alidar. "Any other suggestions?" Farragut looked to the other officers on the bridge.
"I concer." Yvette agreed. "but we can't open fire without evidence."
Well, that went well Trey thought to himself. A passive scan was the only thought that popped in his head, he just couldnt find the words. "Some sort of passive scan?" he said. "If clear , no problem. But if we find something it would provide better options?" Trey said.
"Could you rig up a passive scan to detect if the signal Lieutenant Beauvoir detected on the Maine is emanating from the Leopard?" Farragut ventured.
"Actually, if we positioned ourselves on the opposing side of the station as our guest, we can actively scan the station. If the Leopard ventures into our scanning range, I guess they get scanned as well," Alidar offered. As a man who grew up in a culture where watching your back was as necessary as a Starfleet Officer's need to involve themselves, this would give them a good reason to deny the scan was on purpose.
Greg responded with a sharp nod. "Do it."
Alidar turned sharply to Miracle, "Take us around." Then to the rest of the bridge crew, "Once we get the station between us, start scanning the station. When you can, scan the Leopard with all we have, just make it look accidental."
Miracle nodded with a tail flicker of acknowledgement as she put the Endeavour in an egg shape circle around the station in a manner that the scans of the station would include USS Leopard. "Squeee.." Softly alerting those that would perform the scanning that the Endeavour was in position.
Trey nodded. Here we go he thought as he began to work his console. Sensors were engaged according to the XO's suggestion. He then nodded to the command area. "Scans commencing, Captain."
Alidar tapped at his armrest console. He then sent the information to Trey. "Ensign, adjust your scanning parameters to match these biomarkers," Alidar called out. He had sent the results of the transporter tests that gave the crew a way to determine blue gill hosts.
"I'm going to try and buy us some time with the Leopard. Don't answer any communiques or requests," Farragut said. "You have the bridge, Aldiar. I will be in my ready room." Greg didn't wait for his friend's acknowledgement and hustled off the bridge.
Commander Gregory Farragut
Lieutenant Miracle Swiftpaws
Lieutenant Yvette Beauvoir
CIO/Acting Chief Security/Tactical Officer
OOC Greg: For the Phoenix Incident see TNG "The Wounded"