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Posted on 18 Mar 2021 @ 3:08am by Captain Martin Collins & Commander Roscoe Mayhew & Lieutenant Harlow Harcrow & Senior Chief Petty Officer Alanna Morrison & Syrial J'naii

Mission: Waving The Flag
Location: USS Lexington, Various
Timeline: July 20, 2280 || 1145 hours

"The away team is returning now," Mayhew reported from the tactical station on the bridge. "It appears they have possession of the computer core."

Harlow had set out ahead of the two when he made his way back to the Lexington. But as he came to on the transporter, Harlow waited, waited for the other two to beam through. Surely they weren't that far behind him. "What the heck....they were right on my tail."

He stepped off the transporter with a hint of uncertainty as he picked his way down the corridor and back towards the bridge. They said they would be right behind him, and whilst he didn't think the other two were prone to idling, they sure were taking more time. Had something gone wrong with the clamps?

Surely not.

But first thing first, he needed to get back to the bridge.

The doors hissed open, and Harlow stepped back on board. "Cap, Commander." He greeted. "I think that the core's bein' taken down to engineerin' but, uh, the other two - Lettucehead and Cooper were 'posed to be right behind me."

Marty turned around when the doors opened, and rose from his seat upon Harlow's declaration. At first, he was confused by the statement. "Mayhew..." he said after a moment, "scan the wreckage where the away team was. "See if you can find any human or Orion lifesigns."

"Negative..." Mayhew said at length. "Which means they were either disintegrated or..." The other alternative was both dangerous and exhilarating. "They were taken aboard a cloaked vessel." And there it was -- the old surge of adrenaline that was a soldier's wakeup call. Already Mayhew's mind began prioritizing data as he pulled up the ship's automated defense protocols. "Recommend we go to Red Alert, Collins."

"Agreed," Marty immediately concurred. He'd heard the Klingons had gained cloaking technology, and if there was a cloaked vessel out there, it would be a good opportunity to try and seize it. "But we need to hold off shields and weapons. Otherwise, we risk losing them if they know that we know they're out there. If they didn't take Harcrow, then it's likely they didn't know he was there. Let's start looking for any sort of engine wake or displaced debris out there. Any sort of passive clue that might give to their location."

Mayhew let out a dissatisfied grunt. "Initiating scans," he said without much hope of success. "The bastards have to assume we're going to know our people are missing, so the obvious moves are they attack or they run. They haven't attacked. How do we know they're still out there? It's possible they took our people and fled to a safe distance to interrogate. Why else haven't they attacked yet?"

Harlow didn't like the sound of it, that even if it wasn't his fault for not waiting, it still didn't feel good leaving his newfound crew behind. He paused, trying to think about why things hadn't happened yet with the Klingons. "They have to be close, right, to have been able to get on board the ship; do you reckon they could have used any debris to hide behind instead of escaping?"

Marty didn't answer either officer immediately. His eyes remained fixed upon the viewscreen while he tried to put himself into the lurker's mind. "I don't think they intended to escape. There are those who like to study their enemy. I can bet you wherever they are, they've got us under a microscope, trying to figure out if Lexington is a threat."

The Captain looked over to Mayhew. "Transporters leave energy signatures. If we know our team was abducted, you can bet there must be some residual energy signatures where they were. We can use those to track the Klingon ship and surprise it before it tries to come for us."

Mayhew was not a fan of relying on sensor gimmicks in a straight fight, but they didn't have much choice. "On it," he said with a grimace.

* * *

When red alert sounded Alanna looked up at the nearest flashing light as if to acknowledge she'd heard it. She looked around the sickbay which was swarming with Andorians in all various shapes and forms of injured and dying. Her initial thought was to call the bridge and ask what was happening but when the biobed she stood in front of began to alarm she quickly dismissed that idea.

"Doc, this one is going to need to be opened up next..." she said, indicating that an internal injury was going to require a surgical procedure above her abilities to be fixed.

Syrial looked up at Alanna's words. The J'naii hadn't seemed to change their behavior in the slightest at the sound of the red alert, but they were obviously aware and attentive of Alanna's request. "Got it," the doctor said, looking back down towards the patient in front of them. The Andorian lay there on another biobed, with freshly closed wounds. "Can you take over, over here?" The doctor asked before moving towards Alanna and looking at Alanna's patient. They made a mental note to compliment the woman about this later - perhaps get to know her more. Despite the fact the two worked together, Syrial knew little about her.

* * *

"Fuck this shit!" Mayhew exclaimed from Tactical. "I'm not getting anywhere this way."

Pulling a buck knife out of his boot, Mayhew turned to the bulkhead and began etching very shallow marks along the wall. Mumbling quick calculations that were more guesses than true measurements, he traced his finger here and there in an imaginary Cartesian grid.

After a few grunts and groans, Mayhew's grimace turned to a savage grin. "Yeah, that'll do."

Returning to Tactical, he began talking a mile a minute. "Collins! I'm laying in targeting solutions for the six most probable locations those asswipes are hiding. They couldn't have gone far, not unless they've learned to mask everything from warp signatures to impulse trails. That means if we fire off salvos in these six locations all at once, I'd bet the farm we'll land a hit. Done. Solutions laid in." His mouth ticked up in an involuntary frown. "Of course if I'm wrong then we won't have many torpedoes left, but personally I like the odds. Permission to fire, Collins?"

Marty had been watching the grizzled security officer do his work, assuming one could call that work. The science officer hadn't had much luck pinpointing what was out there using passive scans, and if they would have any luck of succeeding before the Klingons snuck away, he would soon have to resort to more direct measures. He listened carefully to Mayhew's plan. He didn't fully like it, but what other choice did he have?

The Captain nodded to Mayhew. "Do it," he ordered.

"Firing all salvos," Mayhew said.

Six volleys of three torpedoes each fired into the black void of space around them. Various debris, assorted gas clouds, and other telltale markers were suitable elements to guide the necessary vectors. Even so, there was an element of luck in the trails of glowing projectiles that fired out from the Lexington in multiple directions. Most of them flew off along their trajectories, clear misses that would either strike a distant target in even more distant eons or fizzle out somewhere in the big empty.

Salvo number five, though, only had one of its torpedoes go off into the distance. One of them was a...

"Direct hit!" Mayhew shouted in triumph.

The explosion triggered the third torpedo to explode, though it only rocked the Bird-of-Prey that was now decloaking with an obvious hull breach on the starboard bow.

"Scanning the Klingon vessel now," said the science officer. "Engines and shields are disabled. Main power is out, but they still have weapons and aux power."

"Mayhew, take a security team," Marty ordered. "You have two minutes to get our people out. Grab that cloaking device if you can too."

"Oh, is that all?" Mayhew asked with mock indignation. It wouldn't have mattered if Marty wanted him to bring back the Klingon warp core itself. This boarding action was exactly what he'd signed up for. "Two minutes it is."

Tapping his combadge, he said, "Mayhew to HRT ["hart"] One. Report to the main transporter room immediately."

Mayhew sprinted to the turbolift with a macabre grin on his face. If his exuberance had anything to do with it, he would beat his team to the transporter.


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