S02 Ep04: When Realities Collide (Incidentals)
Location: Freighter in Space between Tomcat and New Xindus.
Timeline: Mission 4 Day 59 to 65-4
Dressed in period clothes and launching in an unmarked and cosmetically distressed troop freighter Maia and her team left the Tomcat at 0630 Hours to rendezvous with the freighter that was limping along at 200 KPH in space just out of orbit from New Xindus.
Approaching the freighter they tried hailing them.
"Unidentified freighter this is the freighter Lady Luck. Are you in distress?" Maia sent.
- Freighter Bridge -
On the freighter, the comm panel lit up. They were being pinged. Nicci looked over at Emma, who was at the comm station. She got up, her leather pants form-fitting, keeping her warm. "What's that, Jen?"
"I believe we are getting a comm signal from another freighter called the Lady Luck and they are asking if we need assistance," Jen replied.
"Should we reply?" Emma asked. "What if they're Cardassians, trying to take us back?"
Jarlie was on the sensors. "I'm not detecting Cardassian life forms on that freighter". Jarlie said.
"They can't know we've gone," Nicci replied, trying to reassure her friend. Something felt strange, familiar. She couldn't pin it down though. "We don't have the fuel to keep going. It will take weeks to get to New Xindus now with our impulse drive like it is, and the warp core ejected."
"We drove it too hard," Teela said, as she dipped her head out of the portside computer bank. She was trying to figure a way to reconfigure the ship's comm array to reply back the same way they got the message. "Nicci, I need you to come here for a sec."
"What's up, plum?" Nicci said with a smile.
"That signal...see this?" she said, pointing to a display showing the compression algorithm and the radio spectrum is used. "Does that look familiar?"
Nicci turned white. "That's...my technique. Someone's using my compression technique! I only came up with that last year! That kept us from getting found out by the Cardies when we were planning our escape! No one knows how to do that but me. I haven't told anyone."
"So, maybe your brother? Your parents?" Teela asked her tail swishing anxiously.
"I don't know, but we should find out," Nicci said determined before she saw the readout. Her heart sank. "That's how bad it is?"
"Yep," Teela said. "Should we tell the crew?"
"Not yet. Let's find out who this freighter really is and then we'll figure it out then," Nicci said.
The two walked back to the bridge, really the end of the long hallway of the main deck, with a three-man station at front. Jarlie, Emma, and Jen were at the front. Everyone else was in their quarters, doors sealed when the decompression alert came.
"Jarlie, Jen, Emma," Nicci addressed the three main girls she conspired with. "I think we should take a chance. I have a feeling. I don't know why, but I think we should talk to them. But I want your input."
"I know that Timmy has done what he can to help keep the impulse drive running as it is. I am thinking since the sensors have not detected Cardi life signs, that maybe we can at least get some assistance." Jen replied with her viewpoint.
"I'm not generally one to trust others but maybe they can help us repair the warp core. Besides, there might be cute guys on that ship". Jarlie said.
"Emma?" Nicci asked her friend on the comm line.
"I'm with them," she said with a nod and a smile.
"Put me through, FM band like them, at 88.1 MHz, short burst," Nicci said, as she saw Emma make the adjustments, which needed to be a bit more manually done in this old hunk of bolts. She removed the subspace line to prevent cross through of the signal and gave Nicci a nod when she was ready.
"Freighter Lady Luck, this is the Little George," Nicci said. "We had trouble with our warp drive and our ship's impulse drive is malfunctioning. If you are here to help, you can dock with the ship starboard side. I'm afraid our ship's hull messes with transporters."
- Stealth Shuttle -
"Nikki please scan that freighter can you tell what's the matter with it"? Maia asked.
"Aye, Commander," she said with a nod, as she took to her panel. She was trying to keep the active sensors offline to avoid detection, but still, she would get some information from the passive systems, just not as much or as clear. "I can give a rough idea, but I would need permission to use active sensors to give us a clear reading of what's inside. Best I can tell is 22 life signs based on heat variances inside. They leaked drive plasma well outside the system when their warp drive overloaded and they ejected their core," she reported, as a diagram showed on their monitors, to which Nicci pointed. "See there? It had some kind of rupture or something like they drove it too hard and it couldn't take the strain. If we backtrack it, it came from at least three star systems over, if not more. That might explain the stream of oxygen and nitrogen coming out of the aft compartments. At least part of the ship is slowly decompressing and losing heat."
"They ejected their warp core? Can we repair it and avoid detection, lieutenant"? Maia asked.
"If it's in one piece, sure, but if it exploded, we don't have the materials to give them a spare. As for detection, I think I can avoid being detected, Commander," Nicci answered. "If I try a compressed subspace modulation, and run it at random nanosecond intervals, it could, theoretically, be dismissed as background noise, since regular sensors run practically continuously. That way we can get better intel, even though it won't be perfect."
"Can you scan for their ejected core? Or perhaps we can replicate one"? Maia asked.
"The ship's a Class J Merchantman Freighter, at least in our reality it was mostly made near Rigel IV," Nicci reported as she worked, giving the others the info on the ship from the databanks. "It's about 274 feet long, three decks. Standard speed is warp 2, and up to 2.9 in an emergency, usually."
"It looks like someone made or tried to make some modifications," Maia said.
"I'm ready to give the sensors a try, Commander," Nicci said, awaiting the order.
"Good, well let's give it a try," Maia said.
She was interrupted by the response coming back from the freighter. It was moderately garbled though with some static, some digital Interference, and it sounded tinny, but the message was clear enough:
"Freighter Lady Luck, this is the Little George. We had trouble with our warp drive and our ship's impulse drive is malfunctioning. If you are here to help, you can dock with the ship starboard side. I'm afraid our ship's hull messes with transporters." Some of the syllables stretched, like an old computer hanging while playing music, but that was due to the shuttle's buffer interpreting the other ship's signal and buffering formats, and trying to play it back at normal speed out of the compression system. The voice was distorted but sounded familiar to at least the Commander.
"Does her story add up Lieutenant, or are they running some sort of subspace discriminator"? Maia asked.
"Checking commander," Nicci said, as her hands ran across the panel. She was ready to give the commander her answers. "From what I can see, about 0.62 light years out, their warp core did eject and did explode. There are fragments drifting out there," she said, pointing to the sensor results. "As for the ship's hull, it looks like they're telling the truth," she continued. "While the majority of the ship's Federation tech, regardless of how outdated, there's a lot of Cardassian and Dominion tech embedded in the hull; most of it in the drive systems and masking their subspace signature. Sensors do show 22; two Orions and twenty humans, two men, twenty women, over half are asleep and may be suffering from the effects of a failing environmental system. At our range, they can't fake that."
"Helm bring us along with her starboard side and prepare to dock". Maia ordered.
- Freighter Bridge -
"I am picking up that the other ship is moving to dock with us," Jen stated here display was now showing the sensor data. "I guess they got our message."
"Freighter Little George we are manoeuvring to dock please cut your engines and prepare to receive us", said a surprisingly familiar voice over the speakers. With that, the pilot of the shuttle prepared to receive visitors.
Commander Maia Sterling
First Officer/Chief Science Officer
Lt. Jg Nicole Taggert
Assistant Chief Engineer
Lt. Jg Akhul K'Tel [PNPC: Sterling]
2nd Lieutenant Jennifer Goodwin [PNPC: Dodd]