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The Front Gate

Posted on 25 Nov 2018 @ 4:49pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander Thiago Teixeira & Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Commander Arjin Djinx & Lieutenant Joey Geisler & Lieutenant Gemma Alexander & Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale & Lieutenant Avery Stuart Ph.D. & Lieutenant JG Jazmin Parks & Staff Warrant Officer William Griffin & Ensign Kelly Khan

Mission: The Kalisa Conundrum
Location: USS Black Hawk, Bridge
Timeline: MD1 || 1130 hours (Stardate 66176.6 - March 6, 2389)

"Captain's Log, Stardate 66176.6. Four weeks have passed since the time warp incident. Morale is lower than expected, but it's hard to expect much in an unknown region with no way to contact home. On two occasions in the last few months, I considered turning and taking our chances with the barrier again, but I can't help feeling that's not what led to me launching that probe at some point this year.

Our Chief of Intelligence was able to use one of the language matrices to crack one of the computer dumps from a ship that escaped the zone three years ago. We're due to arrive at what we believe to be the Kalisa Sector which houses an archive that should contain more direction for where we should head next. We're maintaining yellow alert as we approach as to be ready should things go south."

Captain Harvey Geisler stood near the starboard bank of consoles, looking at a fragmented star chart that the Intelligence team had been able to retrieve from one of the computer dumps. He was quite amazed at the poor quality of what it contained for this sector, though he could not be terribly surprised. After all, with what little they learned from the locals, it seemed that someone was deliberately keeping these people in the dark. All he could hope for was that things would change today.

If anyone was more surprised to find themselves in the bridge during Alpha Shift, it was Ensign Kelly Khan. With the disappearance of the Chief of Flight while lost in time, she had temporarily been moved up to the bridge spot on the main shift. She studied the console in front of her but as yet, there was no orders to set a course anywhere, so she kept herself alert and waiting for them.

Camila finished up a long range sensor sweep and glanced around the bridge at the others while the results indicated no ships were within range unless they were cloaked or hiding. The days had been long and the work hard, but the formerly hallow eyed Chief of Security now seemed to be revitalized and ready to take on the galaxy once again.

Bill Griffin was tired, the kind of bone-weary that built up over time, the past four weeks had been an endless grind for him and his boys and girls in Engineering. They'd been repairing, restoring, patching and bypassing in nearly every part of the ship. The results spoke volumes about the quality of the people he had under him, the Black Hawk was running with 92.3% structural integrity, fully operational shields and weapons, and fully functional sensors. The warp and impulse engines were repaired and running, although the best she could manage was warp 8.6.

To the untrained eye, the ship looked as good as any other, but under the skin, Griffin knew there was a lot of patchwork, systems being held together with temporary solutions and elaborate bypasses. She was whole and functional, but she was fragile and that meant constant vigilance until they found the time and the resources to go back over those systems and make them right again.

Jazmin sat at the Operations Station, monitoring critical systems. The engineering department had done wonders, although she had to give credit to her department as well. Both departments had worked well together and she had nothing but praise for any of her people. Her people, she smiled at that thought. She had worked hard alongside all of them and saw the tireless efforts they had made to get the Hawk up and running again.

She brought herself back to focus on the task at hand. She had been working hard to maintain that over the last month and with fewer and fewer scatterbrain moment happening, she found both her job and the responsibilities it entailed, more rewarding. She wouldn't let the Captain down in his decision to promote her. She glanced at her console reading, shifting resources between non-essential and mission-essential tasks.

She noted a small drop in sensor readings and almost shouted a "Take that!" when she was able to correct the drop without sensors missing anything. It was a tense job that required focus, but she found it quite rewarding. All mission-critical systems were at peak efficiency and she took a deep breath...hopefully not the deep breath before the plunge.

Joey sat at her station looking over sensor readings as they came in. Like others, she was tired, but being in her third trimester had a hand in that fatigue, and while it managed to slow her up a bit, the Intel Chief didn't allow for it to stop her from doing what she needed to do. Right now, she had a job to do and planned to do it until it became too difficult.

Arjin skimmed the bridge crew from his spot at the Science console. There were many new faces, which meant missing or dead crew members. He also noticed tired faces and diminished reaction time to events happening. He could concur with all that, being he had barely slept when it was time to do so and preparing for his shift and doing a proper job almost costing him all of his energy. Wich meant crashing just after his shift and laying awake during his night time. Maybe he should go and see the doc. Or the handsome Betazoid counselor. He shrugged and turned his gaze towards his screen. Scanning, nothing of intrests. He let out a sigh and shifted scans towards somewhere else.

Avery had been looking forward to her short time on the bridge, as it gave her a respite from trying to contain the troubled thoughts and emotions of every person that had been darkening her office door of late. She wasn't the type to offer platitudes or clich├ęs and that just meant confronting the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding their current situation all the more directly. The only thing she feared more than having a line of people outside her office was the possibility people would stop talking to her altogether because they were completely defeated. The professional in her immediately ordered her brain to push the thought away, but the part of her that was just Avery knew morale was at a particular low, and that sometimes the only way to cope was just to be. Fortunately, she and Harvey continued to meet for breakfast whenever they could spare a moment to touch base, and each time they met, Avery was encouraged that at least Harvey didn't appear to be losing hope. Avery would only admit it to herself, but she needed their breakfasts to give her as much personal solace as professional reassurance. Like everyone else, she was exhausted, but she would be damned if she was going to fall asleep in her chair is simply because she didn't have a task immediately before her.

Decided he'd left the Captain alone in silence long enough, Thiago approached Geisler and hovered behind him. "Sir."

"Commander," Harvey acknowledged, recognizing the sound of his XO's voice.

"You've been staring at this for a bit now. Find what you're looking for yet?"

Harvey frowned. He really had no idea what he was looking for. In many ways, he felt like an archeologist of old looking at a sample of Egyptian hieroglyphics for the first time. If only they had a Rosetta Stone to help translate. This area of space was beyond unknown, but he really had nothing to work with to point them in a direction. What he needed was some sort of compass, and hopefully this archive would provide one. "If only," he muttered.

Clasping his hands behind his back, the bronze-skinned Commander stood silently, observing his CO. He didn't want Geisler to feel any more pressure than he already was. After a couple minutes, he spoke again. "Would talking it out help?" he probed quietly.

Again the Captain didn't immediately reply. He wasn't sure what more talking could accomplish until they had something more to work with. "If an opportunity rises soon, I'm sure that it might."

Returning to silence, Thiago remained beside Harvey. As Executive Officer, his place was at his Captain's side, ready to advise and carry out orders.

"Helm," Harvey asked, having stared at the map long enough, as he turned towards the center of the bridge. "Time before arrival?"

Kelly checked her console. "ETA in three minutes, Captain," she said.

Right on schedule, Harvey thought. "Take us out of warp. Put our forward view on screen."

The young Ensign brought the Century class ship out of warp and activated the screen. "Aye, Sir."

"Captain, I'm picking up some type of platforms orbiting the world," Camila said. "Type unknown, but there's hundreds of them. They seem to be shielded from our sensors."

Harvey's eyes quickly widened. He'd been prepared for things to turn for the worse, but this was still unexpected. "Full stop!" he ordered. "Ops, why didn't we pick these up until we dropped out of warp? Miss Di Pasquale, tactical analysis."

Jazmin felt her heart skip a beat. She tapped into the ventral sensor array, routing power to it and boosting several of the reserve tactical pallets. After a moment, initial readings came in, fortunately short range sensors weren't as affected. She forwarded the information to Tactical. "Sorry, Captain. Initial scans show a backscattering effect from the alloy they are constructed from. It blinded long-range sensors to their presence."

"All stop," Kelly repeated as she brought the starship to a halt in space.

"Uncertain," Camila responded as she fine tuned the sensors. "They seem to be in a geosynchronous orbit and a higher orbit as well, Captain. Between the radiation and whatever shielding they have, I'm not getting much from the sensors." She paused as her sensors gave her more information. "They appear to be self replicating, magnetic mines and various automated defense platforms equipped with plasma torpedoes and polaron pulse weapons, Sir."

"Seems like some one wants to keep others out. Or in, someone or something that is.", Arjin replied.

"Indeed," remarked Harvey, looking at the viewscreen. An eerie red glow came from the center of the system, which made the platforms stand out all the more. "Should we try hailing?" he asked openly. "Should we send out Commander Walsh to take a closer look? Send out a probe? I'm open to suggestions, everyone."

"With all those defences, I'm all for hailing first.", Arjin replied.

Jazmin thought for a moment. "That would seem prudent sir. Talk first but carry a big stick I think the saying goes."

The Captain nodded, standing still in the middle of the bridge. "I suppose there's nothing like a simple knock. But the question there is, where's the door and who do we call?"

"We got a lot of language matrices from the station," Camila pointed out. "Let's just do a general hail on all frequencies directed at the planet."

Griffin was already working on the possibilities, preparing the Black Hawk's shields and tactical systems, putting damage control teams on standby and setting up pre-programmed power routing subroutines around critical systems. "Can I suggest," he said to the bridge in general without looking up from his console, "that a hail might set off all them plasma torpedoes and polaron pulse weapons? I say send out a probe and have it hail the planet." He was still uncomfortable addressing the other bridge officers and speaking up, years of being an enlisted man had taught him to be seen and not heard, but he found he was beginning to enjoy the privilege.

Jazmin thought for a moment, she recalled something from her history books about electronic warfare. "If we do that, we should rig the probe to mimic the E.M. signals of the Hawk. If the station decides to fire those plasma torps, we could send them on a merry chase after the probe until they burn themselves out. Kind of a mini Wild Weasel."

Camila brought up a tactical display and painted each one of the self-replicating mines and weapons platforms and alloted various phasers and torpedoes to each one with several different firing solutions, but didn't bring the weapons online until she was ordered to.

Meanwhile, Kelly had checked the sensor data on the platforms and began working on plotting a path through the veritable minefield among the platforms and mines, then smiled. "Captain," she said as she glanced back. "I've managed to plot a course to take us through that field that will put us as far as possible from the various platforms."

Harvey considered the options before him. As much as he relished the idea flying through the field to the planet with the supposed archive, he held double measures of aversion as to the guaranteed dangers to the ship and its crew. He'd already lost thirty-eight souls. He didn't want that number to grow. Taking his seat, he called out, "Miss Parks, prepare a Class Five probe to fire into the field. Miss Khan, you'll pilot it remotely. Mister Djinx, Miss Di Pasquale and Miss Geisler, monitor the telemetry from the probe and our sensors. This is fact finding, nothing more."

Jazmin nodded and began typing on her console. "Aye, Captain." After a few moments, the notification came through. "Captain, probe ready."

"Understood," Camila responded as she keyed into the probe and sensors.

Joey nodded her head in acknowledgement and turned her gaze to the console in front of her. She didn't know what she was monitoring for, but anything out of the ordinary was definitely a good start. And, she had a feeling there was bound to be some of that at one point or another.

"Understood.", was all Arjin said before preparing his console to require and analyse the data.

Having returned to his station, Teixeira began monitoring the shipboard activities. It never hurt to have another set of eyes on things.

Tapping a communications stud on his chair, Harvey called out. "Bridge to Commander Walsh. Prepare to launch two Gryphons. We'll need an assessment on the range and speed of these platforms."

The Squadron Commander was in Flight Ops, keeping tabs on what was going on. The sensor scans and computer data was being fed to a console that the Ops duty officer had dedicated as 'Rocco's Rig.' The only thing that Terry didn't have access to was the conversation on the Bridge. At the Captain's order, Terry's voice came through the communications system to the Bridge. Understood, Captain. I'll have them ready to launch at your command. We are talking about the weapons platforms and magnetic mines picked up by the sensors?

"That's correct, Commander," the Captain replied. "Standard Rules of Engagement. Do not fire unless fired upon, or you need to shoot a mine off your six."

Terry laughed. Roger that, Captain. We'll be careful. Walsh out.

===[Flight Ops/Deck]===

The large man tapped his commbadge and spoke. "Commander Walsh to Air Boss, prepare my fighter and that of Lieutenant Alexander for launch. We'll be heading out at the Captain's order." He tapped it to close the channel and then again open a new channel. "Walsh to Alexander, report the locker room and gear up. I'll brief you on the Flight Deck."

"On it Boss." Was Alexander's reply as she put down the PADD she'd been studying on fighter engine schematics. She was doing some extra engineering study doing a slow point when the call came in. She made her way over to the locker room and efficiently put on her flight gear as she wondered what the mission perimeters would be. A few minutes later found her on the Flight Deck looking for Walsh, her helmet under one arm.

Terry saw Gemma looking around and held his helmet up in the air. He was halfway through his pre-flight check and paused to wave her over. While she was en route, he continued with his check.

Archer waved back and headed over, "What's the word?" She called up at him, before heading to her own fighter, preparing to get her own show on the road.

Terry paused the pre-flight and turned. "You and I are going to assess the range and speed of some weapons platforms and magnetic mines. Standard Rules of Engagement and no firing unless fire upon. Well, unless a mine tries to make friends."

Gemma nodded, "Right in which case we smack them for getting fresh, on it." She replied hopping in her own fighter efficiency governing her actions as she smoothly went through her own pre-flight.


Satisfied with the reports he'd received, Harvey shifted in his chair and ordered, "Launch the probe."

Jazmin nodded. "Aye, Captain. Launching probe." She tabbed the controls of her console, smiling in satisfaction as the probe launched. "Transferring probe flight control to Ensign Khan."

"Confirm control of the probe," Kelly called from her console and focused her hazel eyes on the data coming from the sensors and the flight path she had originally calculated for the ship. As it headed away from the ship, she executed several experimental maneuvers before heading on the projected flight path. It was a lot different from flying a ship or a shuttle, but it was also easier in a strange way and she kept her eyes on the data instead of trying to track the probe with her eyes like they wanted.

As soon as the probe was in range, two platforms instantly locked onto the probe. One of them unleashed a volley of pulse polaron fire across the nose of the probe, as if it were a warning shot.

"Oh, how nice to give me a warning shot," Kelly mumbled as she began to take the probe on an evasive path as she could. She darted past one weapons platform, then veered off and accelerated towards some mines in the hopes of the platform detonating then. At the last second, she pulled the probe to a ninety degree vector and peeled off to starboard.

Were the platforms capable of emotion, they still would not have been surprised by the sudden maneuvers. For decades they'd been the stalwart gate to the system, and for decades they hadn't allowed a single particle of dust past their gate without authorization. Their next volley did hit a mine, and as soon as its fiery death vaporized, a replacement shimmered into place. The platforms adjusted their tracking on the intruding object, compensated using information gleamed from analyzing its flight patterns and reactions, and fired once more.

"Fast as fast can be, you'll never target me," Kelly said under her breath as she sent the probe looping around an a highly erratic spiral before diving for the planet in a zigzag pattern that had no consistency. She rolled it to port, then starboard, accelerated, turned to starboard again, then sent it on a seemingly kamikaze run at another platform before she dropped it down and veered off to port.

The amount of polaron fire only increased, stray shots disappearing into space, even coming so close as to nearly graze the Black Hawk's shields. The planet's defensive systems had taken note of this difficult intruder and despite Kelly's efforts to avoid consistency, it determined its general direction. In preparation, the grid quickly started to adjust its stance, replicating additional mines in order to tighten the field. Existing mines found their magnetic fields increased and started to move inward to surround the probe, with new replicants replacing the former positions.

"Captain." Camila looked up from her console after studying the probe's telemetry. "The platforms and mines seem to be adjusting, and one shot came dangerously close to us. You may want to alter the course a bit, Ensign Khan," she said.

"Agreed," added Harvey, rising from his chair to join Camila at her station to keep an eye on the telemetry for himself.

Kelly gave a nod, but was too focused on not getting the probe destroyed to actually respond. The mines had multiplied and the shots were getting closer. In a unexpected move, she pulled a Beta 9-3 and sent the probe into a short, rapid dive followed by a quick series of jinks and turns towards the planet in the hopes of getting better readings.

Unbeknownst to Ensign Khan, the probe flew too close to one of the mines. Caught in the magnetic field, the mine began to race towards the probe. With the aid of the mine, additional weapons platforms in the vicinity made additional adjustments to their firing solutions and began to target just ahead of the probe. Meanwhile, additional dense minefield pockets were being assembled. There would be no escape.

Seeing that the probe was being chased, seemingly herded as the mines multiplied, Kelly swallowed. "I think the run is done, Captain," she said as she searched for alternative paths through decreasing narrow options. "Permission to ram a platform, Sir."

For a moment, Harvey actually considered permitting the Ensign to do so. However, the four pips on his collar weighed heavily on his soul right now. There was no telling what affect, if any, the ramming would have on a platform. "Denied," he replied, looking up to the viewscreen again. "Let one of the mines take out the probe."

"Yes, Captain," Kelly said with a neutral tone even though she was more than a little disappointment. She turned the probe at the cluster of mines that had assembled and accelerated into the middle of the mass of mines.

Camila looked up from her console again as the probe was wiped out. "The platforms are communicating with each other and have a learning curve," she said.

"How so?" Harvey asked, looking back at his security chief, hoping she'd have some sort of quick theory.

"At first, they platforms fired warning shots. Then they began to replicate more mines in a predictive pattern based on Ensign Khan's maneuvers," Camila said. "They also increased their rate of fire and assembled groups of mines in possible flight paths that she could have taken. Telemetry readings indicate micro burst transmissions were being sent from platform to platform, too."

After Camila spoke, Joey got to work on her console. "Captain, I've isolated the frequency and traced it back to an unknown location on the planet. I believe I can block that transmission and prevent them from communicating with each other. "

"If a hail would set off the defences, would trying to block the transmission not do the same?", Arjin asked. "And since we now seem to have an adress to hail to, why not simply do that first? Or keep the system busy with a second probe whilst hailing at the same time."

"With a system-wide defense system like this," Harvey stated, "it stands to reason that it's capable of handling multiple targets. Based on what we saw with the probe, it sounds like visitors aren't welcome, but we have to get to that archive regardless. Miss Parks go ahead and prepare a second probe. We might need it soon. Miss Geisler, standby with to jam their transmissions."

Jazmin felt her insides relax as her attention was brought from the run of the probe to the Captain's orders. "Yes, Sir." She let out a held breath and began tabbing her console. "Probe ready for launch, Sir."

Joey moved her hands over the console in front of her and prepared to jam their transmissions, however, she didn't act on it yet. Not until the word was given. "Ready at your command, Captain," she said.

"Rocco, this is Actual. You ready for a run?" Harvey called out over the open comm system.

Roger that, Actual, replied Terry. Ready to rock and roll. Any further instructions?

"Stay on this side of the minefield, under no circumstances are you to enter the field," the Captain ordered. "Have your wingman follow you, but stay out of range of the platform. Engage only if danger is evident. If that minefield comes toward you, abort and get the hell out of there."

Understood. We'll stay out of the field and watch the platforms. Maybe with the Gryphon's advanced tactical sensors, we can get a little more information from them.

Jazmin listened to the back and forth. While she waiting for the order to launch, she tried troubleshooting the problem. The Captain did say he was open to ideas. "Captain, while the Class Five probe and the fighters are testing the planetary defenses, may I suggest launching a Class Seven Remote Culture Study Probe? That particular probe is designed with low observability coatings and hull materials. If undetected we could insert it in an inconspicuous orbit where it can make more detailed observations. And, with a maximum loiter time of three and a half months, we could pull back to a safe distance and observe." She paused, unsure if she had overstepped here. "It is just a suggestion, Sir."

"Undetected is a lot to ask," Harvey observed to the Chief Operations Officer. He paused for a moment, considering the idea. "But it's worth a shot. Let's see if we can drop the probe out of one of the cargo bays, send it a few kilometers away from us, and send it in." Even if they were successful in getting the probe to the system, there was no way he was going to sit here for three months. If anything, he'd try to use what they learned from the experience to get the ship, or a smaller craft, to that planet.

Jazmin began entering commands on her console. "Aye, Sir. Readying probe now." She continued typing, sending commands to the science department. Much of the work was automated but the personnel handling the probes on Deck 16 confirmed her commands, directing the probe to Cargo Bay 4 on Deck 22. Estimated times were sent to her console and she wished she could fast forward time. She could only imagine the rush she had just put those crewmembers in and would have to put in Bravo Zulus for all of them. "Five minutes to probe launch, Sir."

"Ready to monitor the probe's telemetry, Sir.", Arjin added.

Jazmin forced herself to be patient as the probe was readied. In the end her effort paid off and she was alerted that the probe was ready.

"Captain, the probe is ready for launch."

"Let it loose, Lieutenant," Harvey acknowledged. "Same as the Class Five probe. Miss Khan, use your second life wisely. Miss Parks, take the class seven several hundred kilometers away from us, then take it in."

"Got it, Captain," Kelly said as she took manual control of the probe. This time instead of going for fancy and erratic, she took the probe up to half impulse and headed for the small cluster of mines and dropped down below them. As she approached, she took the probe to maximum warp in an attempt to pull of a probe-sized version of the Picard Maneuver that she had studied at the Academy. Once she hit warp two, she dropped out of warp, then spiraled the probe downwards towards the planet's upper atmosphere in an attempt to blind the platforms while skipping the probe.

Jazmin nodded as she entered commands into her console. "Aye, Captain. Launching probe. Taking it on a reverse trajectory then to the planet."

The probe dropped out of the cargo bay, and turned to take a heading that took the probe away from the Black Hawk. Inside the cargo bay, the team of probe techs that had readied and launched the probe leaned heavily against the bulkhead, trying to catch their collective breaths.

The probe sailed through the blackness, taking several deviating paths with the attention of throwing off any tracking and to make the probe look as if it was from somewhere other than the Hawk. When it was 500 kilometers away, Jazmin piloted the probe into a slow, widely arcing turn and then back towards the planet. When it was two hundred kilometers from the planet, she slowed the probe's inertia and let it creep ever so slowly towards the planet. Jazmin hoped that the stealth nature of the probe's construction as well as the slow speed, would serve to render the probe undetectable.

Jazmin felt a bead of sweat form on her brow as she monitored the probe's progress, making minute corrections as needed as she threaded a course through the planetary defenses. "Slow and steady said the fly, best let sleeping spiders lie."

"No response from the defences as yet.", Arjin replied as he kept monitoring the probes.

"Tactical plot on viewer," Harvey ordered, rising from his chair and approaching the forward helm and operations stations.

Camila pulled up the tactical plot and put it on the main screen.

Harvey was amazed. The Class Seven probe hadn't been detected as of yet, and it was doing an impressive job closing towards the planet. Khan's piloting of the Class Five probe was yet again unorthodox, but one had to think outside the box when trying to outsmart the defensive platforms. Flashes of polaron fire quickly amended the science officer's report as Khan's probe again came under attack. It seemed the platforms were going after the probe with a vengeance as the intensity of their attack was higher than ever before. Further flashes, closer to the planet, indicated that the defensive grid had finally detected the Class Seven and sought to eliminate it as well.

"Second probe was just destroyed," Kelly reported as her attempt to run a gauntlet of mines and platforms failed for a second time. "They keep replicating new ones and concentrating heavier bursts of fire. There's no way to thread the needle."

Jazmin clenched her jaw in frustration. She knew she didn't have much time to salvage the situation. First things first, she commanded the probe to send all collected data back to the Hawk in a tight beam transmission. Then, she flashed the micro-fusion engine, bringing it to the edge of detonation. She knew it was a long-shot, but if she could convince the defenses that the probe was out of commission, then it might ignore it. A fraction of a second later, she sent the probe into a controlled tumble towards the planet, as if it were dead.

"We'll know in a moment if I outsmarted the defenses. Probe telemetry transmission received, Sir."

They didn't have to wait long to see if her idea had worked. The tumble itself was perceived as a threat to the planet, prompting an orbital satellite to unleash a volley of polaron fire, vaporizing the probe in the process. "Seems like the network's programmed to not take any chances," the Captain observed. "But the class seven is what got the closest. I could use some suggestions at this point," he said to the bridge crew. "We've got to get to that archive."

Joey looked from her console toward the Captain. "What about a shuttle equipped with multi-adaptive shielding, Captain?" she asked. Their people needed to get to the archive, and that seemed like the best way.

"Multi-adaptive shielding?" The Captain turned back to face his rather pregnant wife sitting behind the intelligence station. "I don't believe I'm familiar with the concept."

"It's a deflector shield stealth technology developed by Erin and Magnus Hansen in 2353. It allowed their to be vessel virtually invisible to Borg sensors during their field study of the Collective," Joey stated. "They went undetected for three years before encountering a subspace particle storm, to which the shielding was knocked offline and the Hansens were assimilated. However, we're not dealing with the Borg here. If the Hansens could go undetected for three years, then there's no reason a shuttle couldn't make it to the archive safely."

To say that Harvey was not familiar with anything Joey had just related was an understatement. Therefore a second opinion was warranted. Looking to his Chief Engineer, Harvey asked, "What do you think, Chief? You familiar with the concept, and do you think we could implement it on a shuttle or runabout?"

Griffin nodded, feeling a wave of relief that he actually knew what the chief intelligence officer was talking about. "There was a prototype fighter design rolled out by Starfleet a few years back that was supposed to be a stealth scout kinda thing, it used the multi-adaptive shield design." He paused to let the idea stir around in his head, "the designs are in the database, the shields draw a fair amount of power, so maybe not a shuttle, but I reckon we could modify a runabout's shields to do the job."

The Captain nodded. While he would have preferred a shuttle due to its smaller size, Harvey knew that the runabouts stood the best chance of surviving two trips through the minefield. "You've got a couple hours to make the modifications," he informed the Chief Engineer. "Enlist whoever you need to get the job done."

"The methode has been tried and found solid.", Arjin added. "Though there is no garantee that this means a runabout and those inside will reach the library in one piece. That said I also believe it is our best shot at it."

"Aye sir, Lieutenant Geisler, wanna lend a hand ma'am?" Griffin asked as he spun out of his chair at the bridge console and stood, hitting his comm badge. "Griffin to Chief Remara, I need you and maintenance team alpha in shuttlebay 1, right now. Bring your tools."

"Of course," the Intel Chief said.

Harvey turned to his faithful Executive Officer. "Commander, I want you to lead an Away Team to the archive. Take whomever you need."

Teixeira nodded his confirmation. "Lieutenant," he said, looking towards the Security Chief, "with me. You too Parks."

Camila turned over Tactical to a junior officer and stood. "Of course, Commander," she said as she tapped her combadge and began to issue orders to her personnel and requested a tactical belt to be sent to the shuttle bay. With that done, she gave a nod to the Captain, then headed out.

"You'll want to bring a team of your people along, Parks. If we get into the archive, we'll want some extra technical help."

Jazmin nodded. "Aye, Sir. I'll take Ensign Mackie, you'll be in fine hands with Lieutenant Adan, while we're gone."

The Captain returned to his chair, speaking as he walked, "Helm, we'll hold our position here. Work with Lieutenant Geisler and Commander Djinx on possible strategies should we have to enter the minefield."

"Holding position," Kelly said. "Lieutenant Geisler and Commander Djinx, when would you like to meet to come up with strategies based on the information provided by our probes and the reactions by the minefields and weapons platforms?" she asked.

"As soon as it's safe to," was Joey's simple reply.

"With Security and Ops monitoring things and our ship not going further in for the moment, I suppose now is as good as any time to start.", Arjin argued. "Let us start with analysing the data first though.", he offered to the Ensign and Lieutenant.

"It's going to have to wait until after the modifications have been completed. I'll alert you both when that's done, and we'll meet up in the conference room," Joey said, looking toward Harvey. "Permission to leave the bridge, Captain?"

Harvey's eyes met Joey's and he nodded, granting her permission to depart. For now, his place was on the bridge, keeping a close eye on everything that was about to transpire.

With permission granted, Joey rose to her feet and made her way off of the bridge. There things that needed to be done, and not a lot of time to get them done in.

Jazmin swiveled to face the Captain. "With you permission sir, I'll have Lieutenant Adan relieve me."

Harvey nodded, wondering why she'd need his permission since the XO had just publicly tapped her for the away team. As the bridge crew cycled their positions, being relieved by junior officers, Harvey leaved back in his chair, hoping that for once, just once, this exercise would be simply routine.


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