USS Traveller
Previous Next

Journeys End

Posted on Thu Aug 1st, 2019 @ 12:03am by Lieutenant Commander Shadi Zatra & Captain Remas McDonald & Commander Zelea Arlidd & Lieutenant Jolani Kohnar & Lieutenant Arivek Zhuri & Lieutenant Dinui Locke (loch) & Calista Sinclair
Edited on on Thu Aug 1st, 2019 @ 1:10am

Mission: S1:4: A Murder Of Crows
Location: Carpathia System
Timeline: TBD

USS Traveller at warp

The entire ship was rattling. The shiver would stop for a few hours, but then it would rise up again as the engineer's cycled down the port side warp coils and spun up the starboard side. The disconcerting thing was the shiver travelled through the ship from side to side as the transition happened, a minor gravimetric stress event that if it got out of hand would tear the starship apart.

But it hadn't yet.

"Just a few more minutes," Remas whispered the bulkhead as he stepped through the pressure hatch and onto the bridge. "Shadi how are we holding up? When we drop out of warp will the structural integrity field be joining us or staying at FTL?"

Shadi looked up from the readout for just a moment. "I honestly don't know, Captain Remas. If it were the old days, we would be preparing a blood offering to the Goddess right about now. We still could... I mean, never mind."

"Ari," he spoke to the air this time, the intercom transmitting his voice down into the bowels of a very overheated engine room. "If we pull the emergency stop on the engines in the next few minutes, are we likely to explode or come to a halt? I have a feeling the answer might lie somewhere between those two options."

"You'd be very astute, Captain," Ari's voice said through the comm system. "We'll stop eventually but there will be consequences. I'd much prefer if we could slow to a halt instead?"

"Well there is a spot between want and reality where we're just gonna have to be comfortable," remas sighed. "If we slow gradually the Reka will be on us in seconds, but if we crash out of warp we'll end up in more pieces than we started with. Just do your best to feather the transition and keep the explosions to a minimum."

"And finally, but by no means least, Jolani, when we drop out of warp we should be near a field of Trojan Asteroids caught up in the L5 of that big gas giant. Think you can play hide and seek inside them for a few minutes? Might confuse their sensors, force them to follow us into that briar patch," Remas asked.

"Did you really ask if I could do something so simple?" She shook her head softly in denial. "Very well, Captain, hide and seek it is." Abruptly the crew could feel the Traveller change course at a sharp angle and it darted straight towards the asteroids.

Remas dug his fingers into the back of Jolani's piloting couch as the Traveller didn't so much as drop out of warp as begin to gracefully fall through ever steepening spatial gradients. Somewhere an alarm was muted, no doubt signalling the rapid voiding of a warranty of operational life span.

Canopus Station CIC

Modern holographic systems were a marvel for the artist, but for the strategist, they could become something of a nightmare. The air above the main display table was filled with a simplified map of the L5 Trojan Point, the large dumpy rocks caught up in the thrall of a distant super Jovian. But now they had a larger purpose, the anvil that the defenders of Carpathia and Canopus Station would be forged against. And as a battlefield, well there were worse places to make a last stand. But not many.

Flickering IFF transponders twinkled from the fighter's clamped onto the asteroids to conserve their fuel stores. And the four Corvettes were spaced out as well. The field had been prepared as best as they might wish. Perhaps this was a peaceful visit. But Ingram thought perhaps not, judging by the fact one of the pursuing vessels had gone supercritical and would be transiting the Carpathia system as a cloud of debris in a few hundred years.

"They should have sent us more," Ingram said bitterly to himself. "Instead of a proper wall of battle to beat against, we have long boats and custom enforcement craft. The Shore Batteries alleviate some of the asymmetries...but still."

A muted chime alerted everyone to a change in the holo map, as a yellow icon appeared before the assembled guard fleet. For a moment the yellow icon just rotated, the computer trying to identify it as friend or foe before it morphed into a blue Strafleet delta.

"Computer confirms the arrival of the USS Traveller. She's heading into the Trojan field, no sign she's detected our guard fleet and is manoeuvring evasively," a sensor tech informed.

Amidst the interchange of data readings and situation reports, Calida forced her consciousness into a single bead that pierced three-dimensional space time into higher quantum states. Information gleaned from therein was seldom transferable to primordial 3-D space-time, but confining herself to the limitations of her corporeal companions was disorienting. Stretching the legs of her immense mind while leaving her anchor point affixed to the carrier pod inside Canopus Station's CIC, Calida stumbled upon one of those rare discoveries that was of interest to the others.

"Be advised that the Traveller is being pursued by a flotilla of telepathic beings," Calida announced to one and all. "And said beings are not copacetic."

"Then we shall give them a response they will understand san's language," Ingram said. He held out his hand, and a holographic interface appeared under his fingers. A deft tap of the controls and the static buzz of an open Comm line filled the air. "Ingram to Shore Battery Control, you may fire when ready."

"When it rains, it pours." Theylan muttered beneath his breath at the old Human he had encountered from somewhere his mind couldn't quite remember at that point. The tall Andorian standing with his hands clasped behind his back as he stood within the rather uninspiringly named "Shore Battery Control Room". The room itself reminded him of the Stellar Cartography rooms that were popular, massive spherical shaped room with a starfield about them, his own form standing upon the "command arm", a lone stretch of walkway coming up to a circular region where he stood alone, surrounded by railing. What made this one distinctive was the “Tactical Operations Region” beneath him, large circular region upon which half a dozen of his subordinates set about refining target acquisitions and firing solutions for the ensuing flood that was about to wash over them.

The entire room itself was somewhere between cozy and cavernous, large enough to easily host triple the dozen staff that filled it, the other half dozen behind him taking care of matters such as ammunition either in terms of torpedoes or sufficient power for phasers should the enemy come into range of 100K.

Not a prospect he well liked

His eyes glanced at his prey, and wondered for a minute if one could be called a hunter if one were stationary. In the distance, surrounded by targeting reticles which the feed to his artificial eye supplimented with details was a lone Reka ship. A carrier of all things and its fighter compliment.

Any other time, he would have taken a great interest in dissecting the battle doctrine that revolved around such dedicated force projection. But, this was battle.

“Aye, Sir.”

The order was given, and Theylan turned his eyes down to glance at his subordinates before he raised a hand, watching as the target data whirled along, the Carrier beginning to chew up the distance. He curled his fingers, a single finger, his index extended. The air about him tense, his antennae taut and curled forward aggressive, his jaw tense.

“Dispersal Pattern Lambda on batteries 1 to 4, batteries 6 to 12 to be set to AS payloads with the actuators set to rapid movement.” Theylan ordered, needing not await a response as the team beneath him set to work. That still left the remaining five batteries, and those he had set on standby at strategic points to deal with any attempts by these Reka to sneak some other craft in while their attention was set on the Carrier.

“On your order, Lieutenant.” Was the reply several moments later, and with almost a theatrical pause Theylan’s lips curled into a humorously, bloody smile.

Almost as though he was reveling in the opportunity to unleash hell


L5 Trojan Point, USS Balliol Delta

"Ma'am, we're at T-Minus 5 minutes," Lieutenant Walker said from beside Commander Arlidd. The human officer had been the commander of the corvette before Arlidd has transferred her flag to it, but unlike popular holo drama's he showed no animosity to his command being usurped. He'd transitioned into the role of XO remarkable well, and given the coming engagement had done all he could to speed up the Bolian's adaptation to the small corvette's abilities. "Do you want to address the other corvettes and fighters Ma'am?"

The Bolian Commander gave a nod to the Lieutenant and the comm openned to their allies "You all know what you are doing and have some of the best training there is to offer" she paused and looked around the room. The Commander didn't know these men and women very well, but she was proud to serve with them in this very dangerous time "Do what you do best and let's bring our brothers and sisters home."

On the viewscreen, a flash of light signalled the arrival of a ship from warp speed. It was too distant to pick out with the naked eye. A blue marked tag was afixed to a rapidly moving point of light on the starfield, marking it as the USS Traveller. And beside it, in the corner of the screen, a count down timer began to roll down.

ETA To Hostile Force: 1 Minute...

Arlidd swallowed hard, this was one of her least favorite parts about being in the command field. She was supposed to be in Engineering keeping the ship together, not up here figuring out how to disable your attackers. She gave a soft smile and watched the timer on the view screen, it was rapidly counting down "get ready" she said to the crew around her.

L5 Trojan Point, USS Traveller

"Home again home again, keep the rocks between us and those Reka," Remas whispered to himself as he turned to Shadi. "How are our sensors doing? Anything out there we could use to our advantage?"

Shadi had been pressing the sensor sweep command like a fiend. More than once the computer had ordered her to slow down, but she just couldn't help herself. "No, not yet..." Starved thing! She had to reinitialize her interface to the sensor suite. "Uh... That is weird." Shadi's mouth made a few clicking noises as she went over the readings again. "Yeah, definitely weird." Looking up to Remas, she asked, "Did we leave a shit ton of minesss behind when we went after Abborax's ship? Becaussse I have no memory of that."

"Mines?" Remas asked, and looked back to the viewscreen. On it, new sensor contacts were appearing in the blue of Starfleet IFF codes scattered throughout the meagre asteroid field. "I'm going to have questions for later. But right now open a channel to the Fleet."

"Fleet's a mighty strong word for it," Reynold's said from the tactical station. "I'm reading four Wallance class corvette's and three squadron's worth of starfighters clinging to those rocks. And there's something massive clinging to Carpthia's orbit that reads like a Starbase. Pretty sure we didn't leave that there."

"Starbassse?" Shadi queried. "A Federation starbase? Can't be. Must be the colonists. Maybe they repaired the Acheron!"

"Abborax gave the Acheron a severe mauling with our bow canons. No way those colonists were able to repair that much damage to their stardrive section to make orbit, even after the crash," Victor said perplexed. "But opening a channel to anyone on a Starfleet comm's network."

"This Captain Remas McDonald of the USS Traveller to unknown Starfleet forces in this system. You are a sight for tired eyes, but consider all forces in pursuit to be hostile and loaded with fighter craft. Advise extreme caution."

"This entire cluster is an advised caution zone," the head of Expedtion Security said with a grin.

Dinui was frowning as she tried to get a clear view of what the senors were telling her, but the shuddering of the severely damaged vessel was putting off the details. Shaking her headache looked to the view screen instead. "We're still ahead o' our troubles at least." She muttered hoping that their luck would stay with them.

L5 Trojan Point

The seven Reka carrier's dropped out of FTL with surprising grace, the wedge-shaped craft's bristling glassy cut edges flickering with starlight as they bled excess heat into the void. Almost instantly they changed course, going to full impulse on a direct intercept course for the evading Traveller. Their hellish plasma lances shot out, raking high energy claws against the side of the trojan asteroids as they madly tried to jockey for position.

"Commander, should we engage?" Walker asked Arlidd, before looking down at this control console. "Were getting a hail from the USS Traveller. Mic's hot on your word Commander."

"Open a channel" Arlidd said looking over at Walker, she hadn't given the order to attack yet, but it was right on the tip of her tongue.

Upper Atmopshere, gas giant Tangerine Dream, USS Please Read The Instructions

Captain Andy Parker wasn't a warfighter. He was the captain of a Starfleet Corps of Engineer's construction ship. The closest he'd ever gotten his ship to a war zone was repairing the Midas Array during the Dominion War, and the front line had been several lightyears away, He had the look and mannerisms of a man who liked to make things with his hands, paying attention to the finer details and taking pride in the finished product.

So hiding a Fast Fleet Supply ship like the Curry class in the upper atmosphere of a ringed gas giant whilst the guard fleet duked it out with enemy combatants was his cup of tea. He got up from his command chair, walking to the main screen as another wave of static bled across the hologram, washing coloured into white nothingness.

"Can you improve the connection Mister Valoru? We're ten thousand klicks from the main repeater station on Canopus, and I see more snow on the screen than an Anarbor winter," he asked, looking back at his Aux Op's Chief. The usual Chief Op's officer, Commander Donavon, was out manning one of the shore battery stations they'd buried on four of the moons orbiting Tangerine Dream. Donavon and a few others of his senior staff were manning those stations, given their rapid construction and lack of testing.

"I'll try, sir." Valoru got to work on the console. The Andorian had been with Captain Parker for a while, but he still had a peculiar way about him. It had been a journey in his career to get to this point - he had traveled much over his many years, but this was definitely the farthest he'd been away from home. And to think the SCE sent them here. Not that he minded, it was actually a decent assignment. But he was glad for the shake-up that was now piquing in the sector.

Captain Andy walked to the side of the view screen and gave the hull plate there a whack with his balled fist.

"Worked for my great grandfather so I'm told. The 'technical tap' as it were," he said with folksie wisdom.

Valoru gave a grin and continued to tap away at his station. "Sir," he said but a moment later. "I believe I have things better. If we could get a kilometre or two higher, we might have a clear signal." It was that or they stay safe in the clouds. Of course they'd be blind and alone to whatever mayhem was occurring out there. Valoru was able to provide some tactical assistance to his superiors, but had not worked with the captain directly much - his choices in this scenario would be curious.

Andy returned to the centre chair and pressed a button on its armrest. The flickering system display vanished, replaced by the much clearer sensor feed from the ship itself. For a brief second, it looked like the construction ship was situated near the base of a rugged canyon network, something worn away by aeons of erosion and tectonic shifting. But then wind direction points and turbulent gradient lines appeared, displaying the hills and cliff faces to be the cloud formations and chemical fogs of the gas giants atmosphere. After a seconds contemplation, the Captain walked to the helm station.

"Take us up two kilometres into the trailing edge of that minor storm system. If needs be we can fly into it for cover," he instructed. The helm responded, and the massive vessel overburdened with materials and equipment began to rise ponderously to its new height. Surely the word 'fast' in the term 'Fast Fleet Supply Ship' had been a spelling error on the behalf of the Advanced Starship Design Bureau? The captain looked back at Valoru. "If this doesn't work, I'll be sending you out on the hull with a YAGI antenna."

Valoru grinned, already fine-tuning the communications systems on the SCE vessel. "Sir, would my antennae suffice upon ejection?" The Andorian didn't chuckle or flinch but kept on going. He hoped his joke was appropriate, although he moved on regardless.

The Aux Ops officer cocked his head. "Sir, I'm picking up the USS Traveller, other weaponry firing, and unknown carriers as well. I am picking up communications chatter, although not sure if they're encrypted or not." He tapped away, trying to see if he could listen in on the Reka-Traveller communique. If it was encrypted, it'd be tough to get in.

Carpathia System, Shore Batteries.

On a pebble of a moon barely worthy the term, the first of Carpathia's Shore Batteries fired. The buried pod launcher had been drinking in the tactical data fed in from Canopus Station, dolling it out to the command and control missiles that would be flying with each barrage. And now it was ready. From its top, hatched flicked open and long rails punched up into the air like the bristles of some ancient fighting animal. With a sizzle of charged electricty, the rail guns tossed the first salvo free of the moon's gravity well, giving them distance before the SDT's fired up their onboard motors.

The seven weapons began to streak away from the move, moving from full impulse into the crew killing realms of thousands of Gee's needed to make them effective weapons. Already the guidance torpedo was perfecting their course and speed, locking onto one of the core enemy targets ahead of them. From the three other Shore Batteries, similar salvos were vectoring in, picking out other targets to butcher. And in that time, the missiles had crossed the near two AU's of space between them and the battle zone.

Their drive stages spent, the missiles cut power to the fusion motors and activated their terminal guidance systems. Miniscule thrusters nudged and adjusted them here and there, a thousand minor corrections. And then they fell on the Reka carrier. No jamming, no ECM, not even evasive jinxing. Perhaps it was just the fact the Reka had not had to face a substantial threat in so long that they had grown lax in their martial discipline.

The torpedoes of the first salvo buried themselves in one, then two, then three of the Reka carrier craft. The released energy from their antimatter warheads swallowed each of the jagged glass-like craft in blinding white light. And after a moment, the glow receded to leave nothing but glowing subatomic particles. It would have been four for four, had the fourth salvo not gotten lost and overshot the battlefield, their motor's spent.

The flock of rouge torpedoes sped past the defenders and the Traveller, waving jauntily: Good luck with the battle! See you at heat death.

Now only four Reka Carriers remained, carriers quickly beginning to spread out, firing wildly into the night as clouds of Reka Shard craft began to fall from their gagged wing mounts, turning four carriers into the hearts of swarms of fighters.

Upper Atmosphere, gas giant Tangerine Dream, USS Please Read The Instructions

Captain Parker, and the other members of the bridge crew, watched the screen as the first salvo from the Shore Batteries rained down on the enemy fleet. It was one thing to float over an airless moon, using phaser cutters and tractor beams to lower the self-assembling pod launchers into their rocky redoubts. It was quite another to watch as death blossomed from their fine work.

"Looks like we got a soft kill on that one," the Tactical Officer said with a grin. "Bogey Three seems to be coming apart at the seams."

On the screen, the hologram shifted to look at the wedge-shaped shard of glass that was the enemy vessel. From its jagged wings shards seemed to be falling off, but on closer inspection controlled it's of plasma and reaction control thrusters made them out to be fighters and not fragments.

Then it vanished from the view screen, leaving behind a cloud of angry parasite fighter's to muddle the L5 Battlefield.

"Hell!" the Tac officer snapped. "Bogey Three just preformed a micro warp jump! It's in orbit of Tangerine Dream and is powering towards Canopus Station and Carpathia Colony."

"Shields are still holding from the storms, sir. Power levels nominal." Valoru tapped at his console. "I have transmitted our findings to the Traveller."

"CC Canopus Station, if only to lock in their assumptions with our data," Parker said, reading the new navigation plot before him.

The Andorian didn't know if they had the power or muster to head into battle, but as a Starfleet officer and vessel, Valoru had that sense of duty growing in him over the years and felt compelled. "Captain, I can hold her together as best we can, but we'll need to ensure our away crews can get back as well."

"The away crew's manning the Shore Battery's are in armoured redoubts and have Runabout support if they need to bug out," the captain said thoughtfully. "Helm plot me an ascent course to that Reka Carrier with a star side intercept point pinning it between the Station's guns and ours. Mr Valoru pump as much power as the EPS lines can hold into the structural integrity grid and the shields. I want to hear any return fire we take bouncing off with comical sound effects."

Around them, the bridge hummed and the deck plates vibrated, as the USS Please Read The Instructions rose through the turbulent wind-swept cloudscapes of Tangerine Dream. Above, a distant bright star, Canopus Station began to throw out fire at its own attacker.

The Andorian managed to reroute as much power as he could without taking away from system essentials and weapons. He frantically messaged back in forth, in a way via taps and console decisions, with engineering and tactical. The dance played out in his head, on the console, and in the computer's massive brain. The ship was about as ready as she could be.

"We're ready, captain," came Valoru's voice just a handful of breathes after Parker mandated. And with that, the Curry-class small ship had entered the foray. She might not be a heavy cruiser, but she could assist the Traveller and others. Valoru would see to it himself, if he had to, by Uzaveh's might.

L5 Trojan Point, USS Traveller

Remas watched as the flock of long-range torpedoes from the moon system of Tangerine Dream destroyed the centre of the Reka formation. It was almost beautiful, watching the glassy capital ships glow for a moment before cracking apart under the stress. Had the Reka not murdered a fair percentage of his crew without giving terms, he might have felt more than a passing hint of sympathy.

"One of the carrier's micro jumped past us," Victor reported. "I have fighter's spawning from the three remaining carriers. Starfleet starfighters are engaging, along with the corvettes."

"Shadi how are our power levels doing, do you think we can dance with those carriers for a minute and settle their hash or do we need to hang back? You up for the task Jolani?" Remas asked. It was a hypothetical question, there was no way they could jump to warp and even at full impulse they were an hour out from Canopus Station.

Shadi hissed in conflicted emotions. "The ship is humped, Captain Remasss. We can fight, but we're already looking at a month in downtime, maybe more." Her thoughts turned back to the Reka boarding parties, narrowing her eyes to bitter slits. The Warrior Code demanded justice. "Famine take them! Let us send them to their starving doom!"

"Victor you heard the Commander, pick us a target," Remas said.

"Got one lined up ahead of us," the Betazed tactical officer grinned as the viewscreen lit up with tactical reticles. The nearest Reka Carrier, surrounded in a cloud of its parasite fighters, was being harassed by a squadron of sleek Starfleet Gryphons. Locked into the local tactical network the fighters got the memo of incoming starship grade fire and scattered out of the Travellers lane.

This was revenge.
This was the pent up rage of a crew wronged.

In the metal rain of debris, the Traveller dived, her twin bow-mounted phaser canons barking as quickly as their capacitors could cycle. Shot after shot pounded down against the Reka ship, incinerating first any fighters that got in the way, and then laying into the glossy armour plate of its hull. Lower powered phaser lances shot out as well, adding to the carnage as the Travellers weapons dug into the guts of the Reka ship.

With a stutter of its drive plume, the carrier began to fold in on itself as its inertial compensators failed and unconstrained gee forces began to twist and pulp the starship.

"One down, two on the board," Victor grinned. "And we have a comm laser from the lead Corvette. Looks like they've been pinging us since the start of the battle."

"Then let us make amends," Remas said. "Put them on, and lock us onto another target. Jolani try to skirt the edge of the combat zone."

The viewscreen switched to reveal the interior of a cramped Starfleet bridge. The face of a Bolian female, not dissimilar to Zado in form, appeared there.

"Commander of the defense force, Captain Remas of the USS Traveller. Had we known we had guests at our home port, we'd have sent word ahead of us we had rough company following us," Remas said. "We're still battle effective, but we're a glass cannon at the moment. If we go against those two Reka carrier's we'd appreciate you help covering our approach."

Shadi leaned over to whisper in Remas' ear. "Don't forget to tell them we're starving mad," she said with one hand cupped to her face. It was an important Saurian distinction.

"Skirt the combat zone? How close would you like it? Just out of theoretical firing distance or something greater?" Jolani asked the Captain.

"Use every single one of those big rocks as a shield, keep them between us and the Reka and let Commander Arlidd and her force keep their attention. Figure we're as fragile as an eggshell," Remas eyed the air, a pall of smoke and heavy particulates filling in around the ceiling. "I fear that is more accurate than not."

Jolani answered simply, "Sure. I'll play hopscotch with Traveller. Just tell them to stop firing to make it a bit easier. How about that?"

"Sarcasm duly noted," Remas said, gripping the seat back harder as the Traveller rocked again. This time all the lights on the bridge flickered, faded, returning at half power as the Main System Display began to show a growing forest of amber warning lights around the engineering hull. Words like 'plasma feed blowback' and 'critical system collapse' were prevalent.

"One of those plasma lances the Reka keep throwing at us got in through our lower shields. Hulls not breached but we blew out the lower deck EPS grid," Victor reported. "I got the juices that is in the phaser banks now, but the way the power grids looking like a house of cards that might be it."

Dinui ran her fingers over her console and after a few moments, she looked at the Captain, "Sir, Ah've given wha' little left o' science labs power to add our integrity. We'll lose experiments bu' worth it often we see the next five minutes."

"Appreciated!" Remas reported as the rounded the last asteroid, turning hard on their RCS thrusters, right into the rear of one of the Reka's two remaining carriers in the Trojan Field. Victor didn't wait, and stuttering phaser beams reached out and began to savagely carve at the flank of the enemy vessel. Secondary explosions began to light up the glassy structure, and fragments of the hull began to fly away on trailing wisps of the atmosphere as the Reka ship broke up.

And then the lights went out, the view screen flickering off...along with the steady background hum of the air recyclers.

"Famish my life," Shadi hissed into the dark.

High Orbit, gas giant Tangerine Dream, USS Please Read The Instructions

Captain Parker watched from the flickering view screen as Canopus Station's defensive batteries began to take apart the Reka Carrier like a fussy eater at a restaurant. Which was good, because the fine ship he commanded would have preferred a nice easy asteroid to maul for resources rather than a stand-up fight.

"And we got all dressed up too..." Parker said, as with a flicker of a failed containment bottle the Reka carrier was swallowed in a blue sphere of uncontrolled fusion.

"There's only one Reka carrier left in the fight and its breaking contact with the Guard Fleet and heading for the second asteroid belt in this system at best speed," the Tactical officer put in. "Seems all the fighters the carriers were spitting out are doing likewise...why do I get the feeling this star system just got a pest control problem?"

"Not our problem now," Captain Parker said. "Helm set course for the Trojan Field. Those Corvettes won't be able to tug a heavy cruiser to port, and from the looks of that lateral drift, the Traveller needs a hand over the finishing line."

"Mr Valoru. Given Chief Ashford is still playing with a toy canon somewhere, I want you to round up an Operation team and prepare to beam over to the Traveller. I'm sure Chief Engineering Grayson won't mind donating some of her engineer's to the cause. After all, they came here to build a gleaming city in the stars. Might as well save the ship that discovered the vacant lot we're going to use."


Previous Next