Posted on Mon May 11th, 2020 @ 10:57pm by Admiral Paka Larem & Captain Solin Edral & Commander Kreitenne R'tanya & Lieutenant Colonel William Christensen-Wright SFMC
[OS] A New Dawn
Location: Ourea Station; Captain's Office
Timeline: MD05 || 1320
"Captain, incoming hail from the Makarov." The communications officer called over.
Solin looked up, wondering if he had missed a scheduled call with Admiral Paka. "On screen Ensign." As soon as he saw Larem's face, he knew this was not going to be a good message. "What's happened?"
"A little under 10 minutes ago, a Vaadwaur force attacked S-H-twenty-two. Unknown casualties at this time, but the Tampa, Hephaestus and Veldar have sustained damage, to what extent, we don't know. They flooded the region with some form of antilepton interference. We only know it happened because the Makarov was sensor range of the system."
"I'll send the Avatar, Ker and Descartes to help reinforce them." The Hephaestus was there as an engineering ship, and the Veldar was such a small ship. AISHA held out her hand, and a holographic display appeared vertically from it, listing all the Starfleet assets in the quadrant, and their locations. "The Kodiak and Eklund too. That still leaves us plenty of defensive capability." He replied to the Admiral, as AISHA closed her hand, and the display disappeared. He turned his head to AISHA. "System-wide, yellow alert." The lights changed their hue and he turned back to the Admiral on the screen.
Admiral Paka nodded. "The Makarov is also en route, we should be there within 12 hours or so, we are pushing the engines as hard as we can."
"Need me to send anything else?" The Captain asked the Admiral.
"No, thank you, Captain. I will inform you of when we arrive and have more information. Paka out."
The Captain turned and headed toward the corridor that led to his office. He tapped his comm badge. "Commander R'tanya please report to my office immediately." He closed the channel, perhaps a little snappier than he had intended.
Kreitenne had been walking through one of the areas still under construction to see how Commander Anon was coming on the urgently needed sectors when the yellow alert klaxon sounded. She frowned, almost jaded by their frequent presence now. This was perhaps the seventh time now the alert had sounded in the last five days.
The Executive Officer instantly pivoted and started walking back to the turbolift. Her inspection of the punch list had to wait. Learning what was happening now became the priority. She was just about to enter the 'lift when the Captain's voice urgently summoned her to his office. The channel closed instantly, not even giving her a chance to respond. Kreitenne entered the turbolift and directed it to the Captain's office.
A few minutes later, Kreitenne had arrived. Her right index finger reached out and tapped the chime, alerting the Captain to her presence.
The door opened, and in walked his Barzan executive officer. "I'm not going to beat around the bush Commander." He used human idioms somewhat infrequently, he hoped he had used this one correctly. "S-H twenty-two has been attacked by a Vaadwaur force. Unknown casualties and damage at this time. Admiral Paka is en route on board the Makarov, and several other ships are currently being redirected to reinforce the area."
It didn't matter that Kreitenne was expecting news about the Vaadwaur. In fact, she'd expected the attack to happen several days ago, not long after they'd collapsed the gateway. Still, the Barzan woman found herself surprised by the revelation. She unconsciously found the chair in front of the Captain's desk and slumped into it. "Five days," she remarked quietly. "It took them five days to attack the sector. I'd almost say they're trying to play mind games with us."
Solin nodded in agreement. "5 days to destabilise the gateway and attack the mining group. I think it's no longer a case of if they attack here, but when." He placed extra emphasis on the word if. As far as he was concerned, the attack was now imminent.
Kreitenne nodded her agreement. 'We need to get all available data to Colonel Christensen-Wright immediately," she stated, starting to gather her composure. "There have to be some similarities in their attack methods. Maybe we can put together an early warning system? Or some sort of defense so we don't share the gateway's fate."
"I agree." He tapped his combadge. "Edral to Colonel Christensen-Wright, please report to my office."
The Marine had been in his office studying a tactical analysis of several minor powers in the region when the Yellow Alert was sounded. So, when the Captain summoned him, he was only a few steps away.
Waiting for the Colonel to arrive, he looked back to Commander Kreitenne. "I don't think they want to destroy us, though of course, that's just my opinion. The number of ships that attacked the Epatha system, they could have easily overwhelmed the ships stationed there. Death by 1000 cuts. Maybe they just want to scare us into leaving? I mean they closed the only way out of here, so it's not like we could run if we wanted to. Not without abandoning the bulk of our ships and evacuating on the Vestas."
Christenson-Wright reached out and pressed the door chime, announcing his presence to the Captain and XO.
Before the Captain invited the new arrival, Kreitenne observed, "Whether they want to attack us now or later doesn't matter. They'll be coming for Ourea eventually. It's only a matter of time."
Edral nodded in agreement, as he called out to the Colonel to enter. "Come in Colonel." The doors opened revealed the officer. "Agreed Commander. It's no longer a matter of if, it's a matter of when. If they want to wipe us out, they could. If they just want to show us their teeth, we know how sharp they can be." He gestured the colonel to join them at his desk. "You now have the clearance level to know what we are talking about. I'm sure it will be the scuttlebutt of the task force in the coming days anyway." He tapped a few buttons on his desk console, which lit up as the holo screen formed, showing what little had been caught of the battle on long-range sensors.
Kreitenne watched as the battle began, and then faded into static. "Antileptons," she remarked casually. "They're hiding something. They didn't try to shield us from the Epatha attack, but they're shielding us here. That makes me think this wasn't so much an attack as it was trying to retrieve something without us knowing."
"Could be." The Bolian Captain replied. "But what's there that we didn't have at Epatha, or even here?" He asked both of the officers present.
William glanced from the Captain to the XO and back again. "It may not have been something that we had there, but rather something that they left behind before their civilisation was forced into stasis." The English Marine suggested.
Kreitenne had taken the opportunity in her off hours to study whatever records Starfleet had on the Vaadwaur. Until Epatha, the only encounter had been with the Starship Voyager more than ten years ago. "I concur with the Colonel," she said to the Captain. "Our knowledge on the Vaadwaur is limited, but we do know that they were a significant power in this area a very long time ago. It's very possible we're sitting on a base of theirs and just don't know it."
He hadn't thought of that and nodded in agreement. "From what I read from Voyager's reports of the Vaadwaur discovery, they didn't even know there were lifesigns on the planet until they basically landed on them. I want some scans of the colony, deep level scans. See if there is anything on Ourea. And I can relay our thoughts to the Admiral. Any other ideas?" he asked, a renewed tone of optimism in his voice.
"It could be misdirection. Make us think there's something there so we'll expend time and resources searching for something, only for them to strike elsewhere." The Colonel suggested.
Kreitenne shook her head, unable to come up with anything different. "Either it's misdirection, or they're purposely trying to keep us from learning something. Either way, someone does need to investigate what's out there. We can't just not respond to the Vaadwaur in this. We were forced from Epatha, and we shouldn't be forced from S-H-Two-Two."
"The simple fact is that we can't afford to be forced from S-H-Two-Two because we need the duranium and deuterium deposits. And even without the deposits, with the gateway unusable, the only way we could evacuate is either 50 years at high warp or fitting 52 ship's worth of people in 4 ships. And frankly, neither of those options are viable. From my perspective, and feel free to disagree with me, Ourea is the only Starfleet facility that has yet to be attacked and I fully believe that it's not a matter of if they attack, but when.
"You'll get no argument from me, Captain," Kreitenne agreed with the Bolian. "But we need an alternative to living at yellow or red alert for the next few weeks. We need to defend ourselves, yes. But we can't be sitting here, being fearful of when that hour will come."
"Agreed. But the Vaadwaur bases are all hidden throughout the region. That's the reason we have yet to encounter them on our terms. I think first we should be, at a minimum, doubling the patrols of both Ourea and S-H-Twenty-Two. We have a few ships on exploratory missions, and they need to be brought back, at least for now. We need to find a way to detect them before they appear."
William nodded in agreement. "Exploratory missions are, unfortunately, a luxury we can't afford given the volatile nature of our situation. Have the science bods not made any progress in detecting the Vaadwaur before they emerge from subspace? Or track them when they're using their subspace corridors?"
"We've only had two chances to detect their entrances," Kreitenne pointed out. "In the first case, we weren't expecting them, and that data was lost at the gateway. In the second case, until we get the data from the ships involved in the incursion, we won't really know what to look for."
"I'll reach out to the Admiral once we finish here, see if the sensor logs can enlighten us. If we can have an early warning system, that at least gives us a small advantage. In the interim, we need to make sure the station is battle-ready. The colony too. We have various ships in orbit that can protect us, but if they manage to get down to the colony, it becomes a whole different situation."
Kreitenne sighed. "Both the colony and the station aren't ready to defend themselves. The station won't be at one-hundred percent on the defense systems until sometime next week, no matter how fast our teams can push it. As for the colony, I've got no idea what we can do there. What do you think, Colonel?"
"Well, there's little chance of being able to install planetary defences when the station is still in pieces and there's no guarantee that she'll be able to defend herself." The English Marine pointed out. "If we're talking about a ground assault, the local militia is hardly going to put up much of a fight against the Vaadwaur. We could deploy some of the Marines we have onboard."
"Deploy them. Have some of the Starfleet security teams assigned too. If they manage to get on board the station, chances are that the situation is already dire enough as it is. The colony must be protected. With the shield generators, Commander R'tanya and her team managed to install combined with the Marines and Starfleet teams, it gives the colony much better odds." The Captain replied.
"We may need to consider building some bunkers as well," Kreitenne suggested. "I know some buildings are fortified, but having something protected underground could give some of the colonists time to hold out until we can retrieve them. Again, in a worst-case scenario."
"Make it happen, Commander. A worst-case scenario was losing the gateway, this is just proactive planning." The Captain replied. "If there's nothing else?" The officers in front both shook their heads. "Let's 'batten the hatches', or whatever the phrase is. Dismissed."