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The Bridge of Unrest

Posted on 27 Feb 2019 @ 3:47pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Joey Geisler & Staff Warrant Officer William Griffin & Ensign Kelly Khan

Mission: The Kalisa Conundrum
Location: Bridge
Timeline: MD 1 || 1700 hours

Quiet. Too quiet.

Normally, Harvey would retreat to the Ready Room during moments like these, or hover over the Mission Operations station watching details as they came through from the squadron or away team. Unfortunately, this situation did not allow for his customs. The ship was afflicted with a disease, and while Doctor Kij's jumble of medications appeared to be working, he worried for the moment when they started to wear off.

So, for now, Harvey remained in his chair, leaning forward with his forehead in his hands, just waiting.

If only he knew what exactly it was he was waiting for.

You wanted to be Alpha Shift, Kelly reminded herself as she sat at the helm control console well into Beta Shift. Now you're an acting bridge officer and learning that there isn't always excitement here. She looked over the readouts which hadn't changed in an hour and wondered if another cup of Raktajino would help.

Once she'd been cleared from sickbay only moments before, Joey made her way onto the bridge with a fresh uniform and a clearer head. Still, she couldn't quite get over what she'd attempted to do, though to find out the rest of the crew were going through things similar made her feel better. Albeit, only slightly. She was fairly certain that no one else had had quite the experience she did. Not that she'd want anyone else to, either.

She made her way over to her station and settled in, trying to avoid eye contact with those around her. Did any of them know what she'd done? Probably not. But, it was the shame that there was even the slightest possibility that kept her gaze on the display before her. "Captain, Ensign Khan," she said in way of greeting the others present on the bridge.

Harvey looked up from his chair at the sound of the familiar voice. His face showed how surprised he was. He hadn't left her all that long ago, bleeding in sickbay from whatever she had attempted, and now here she was back on duty. "Joey," he greeted, somewhat relieved yet concerned for her well-being.

"Lieutenant," Kelly said as she glanced up, then back down again quickly as an image of Joey's head in her hands wrapped in her hair. That image would haunt her for a while and she still hadn't told anyone else about it other than Doctor Abrams who was there when it happened.

Joey noted Harvey's surprise from the corner of her eye. She vaguely remembered seeing his face in sickbay while freaking out about the voices begging her for help. As it turned out... she'd been hallucinating, just like most of the crew. No sense in trying to avoid it. "We're okay," she said, turning her attention toward him. One thing she'd always prided herself on was being able to keep her personal and professional lives separate, but there was always an exception. "All three of us are okay."

Though she was fully clothed, Harvey could still see the area where she'd sliced herself open to perform an amateur and premature C-section. He smiled and provided a weak nod. They were on the bridge, and while it was sparely staffed, he was in Captain mode and unable to respond fully in kind.

Rising from his chair, he followed Joey over to the Intelligence station. "We have to consider the possibility that whatever this is is probably affecting our away team as well. We are probably going to have to go into that minefield. Thoughts?"

Joey fought back a sigh. "To be perfectly honest, our options are limited at this point," she admitted. Nothing had gotten beyond the stage of talking before the proverbial rug was pulled from beneath them... again. "Me, Commander Djinx and Ensign Khan discussed a few options that might work, but time isn't exactly on our side. At this point, the easiest option would be to hijack their frequency and use their own defenses against them."

She paused for a moment before going on. "That's not the only option, however. We could modify the deflector to generate particles that would detonate the mines before they have a chance to replicate."

Something clicked in Harvey's head. The ideas Joey presented had seemed familiar, and he now remembered being briefed on these options just a few hours ago by Ensign Khan. "I also remember something about a couple different approach vectors and courses we can take to get to the planet. Or am I mistaken on that?"

"That was me," Kelly said from the helm console. "You wanted me to work with Chief Griffin and Lieutenant Geisler on it, then you sent me to Medical. I barely got out of there when you called me back here, Sir."

"And Chief Griffin seems to be occupied with something else entirely," Harvey remarked. The entire senior staff had been acting rather suspiciously when they are assembled on the bridge. Despite that, Harvey had picked up on something with the Chief Engineer. If only the Captain knew what it was. "At least you've got Lieutenant Geisler, so we might as well get to work on that."

"Aye, Captain," the young Ensign said as she got up from her console and was relieved by another junior officer. She headed over to where Joey was and lowered her voice. "So, let's figure out how to spread some corncob jam on these things."

Leaving the two women to it, Harvey returned to the center seat. Tucked beside the armrest was Commander Walsh's report, which he'd tried to read on three occasions, but his mental fog had prevented him from running through it.

Joey looked at Kelly with a raised eyebrow. The kid was weird, but now wasn't the time to focus on that. Her gaze moved back to the console before her. "First, we'll scan their frequencies to see which ones stand out," she said, moving her fingers over the controls. "Cross your fingers."

Kelly stood beside of her and began to compare the various frequencies. "Maybe if we went into a lower spectrum, we might be able to isolate which frequency they use better. We can pretty much eliminate known Starfleet frequencies." She groaned. "My kingdom for an Aketi."

After making the necessary adjustments, Joey was able to narrow it down significantly. "So now, we figure out which one is the right one, or go after them all."

"Try to search for high frequency bands," the Ensign suggested. "At the rate of communication, I'd estimate that it has to be short, high frequency bursts. Maybe we should launch a probe and do an active aggressive scan."

Terry had just returned from his visit to the Flight Deck and walked in on the middle of the conversation. "If you're talking about the platforms and mines, you could access the sensor logs and readings that Lieutenant Alexander and I were able to get from our close encounter earlier."

"Commander Walsh, you just made life a little bit easier," Joey said, taking a second to pull up the sensor logs. Her brow furrowed as she compared the readings to the frequencies she'd been able to narrow down. "I've got it, Captain."

"Glad I could help," said Walsh. He walked over to where the Captain was. The whole idea of being Acting Second Officer was still settling in.

Harvey turned his chair to face the Intelligence station. Before addressing his wife, Harvey took a moment to point Walsh in the direction of Teix's station to his left. "Take a look at the progress from around the ship. Make sure our crew's being collected."

Terry nodded, "Yes, sir." And then hesitantly took up position at Teix's station. He took note of the specialized set-up for Teix and planned to put it back at that when he was finished. He tapped at a few of the buttons and slid his fingertips across others. It looked like the crew was being rounded up rather well if not slowly in some places. "They seem to be ushering them into larger, safer parts of the ship. On another note Captain, something has been discovered on two of the fighters. Mine and Lieutenant Alexanders' to exact, after our last sortie. They've been quarantined and are under examination right now. I've instructed for an update in fifteen minutes."

The Captain held up a finger to Joey, catching himself before giving an order. "Something?" he asked Walsh. "Today's not a day to deal with generalities, Commander."

"Generalities is most of what I have at this point," Walsh replied. "Specifically, it's a foreign contaminant on one fighter and a two millimeter expansion that covers about a meter and a half on the other fighter. Before I left to come back here, I called for Medical because the tricorder detected a biological aspect to the contaminant. I expect an update in a few minutes." He paused for a moment, thinking. "Captain, the contaminant and expansion took place during our last sortie in this Zone. It might be a good idea to scan the hull of the Black Hawk, just in case."

Captain Geisler was about to approve the idea, but a hurried voice coming over the comm system interrupted any chance he had to tell the Commander. =/\= "Griffin to Harvey - captain, we are working a problem down here and my people need access to an engineering lab, can you do that for me, sir?" =/\=

Harvey raised his eyebrows, wondering why Chief Griffin wanted such a thing. Rather than ask, Harvey placed his right hand on the control panel of his right armrest. "Computer, recognize Captain Geisler, Harvey E. Unlock Engineering Labs Three and Four." The computer emitted its typical buzzes and whirrs before announcing that it had complied with the request.

The Captain then tapped his combadge, officially opening the channel to Engineering. "Engineering Labs Three and Four are back online, Chief," came the Captain's reply at last. "What exactly do you need the labs for?"

"There's some kinda... substance, on the hull." Griffin explained over the comm, "we're detected it in three or four spots. We're not sure what it is, yet, but there's a good chance it's connected to whatever the hell is going on. We've taken a hull sample and we're gonna analyze it. It wouldn't hurt to get science and medical in on this, too, sir."

Harvey tapped his badge softly to mute the channel. "I think Engineering just saved you a scan request, Mister Walsh. You think this might be related?"

Terry nodded. "Wrapping up nice and pretty, just like a little present. As for being related, that's a pretty good chance," he said. "But it's a guess. Their sample should be compared to what's down on the Flight Deck for confirmation."

Harvey tapped his badge to unmute the transmission. "Chief, I have Commander Walsh here. He's informed me we have two fighters down, and that they've also accumulated an alien substance while on patrol."

"Damn," Griffin grumbled, "Captain, I recommend you quarantine those fighters and keep the maintenance teams away from them, for now, until we figure out what this stuff is, if it's dangerous and how to remove it. You should also think about grounding all fighters. We'll get to work analyzing the hull sample."

"I'll inform the flight deck," the Captain replied. "Get me a full analysis stat, and a solution or two wouldn't hurt. If trouble comes our way, I will have to use the fighters."

"Yes sir," Griffin confirmed. "We'll go as fast as we can. If you could just make sure we don't run into any more access restrictions, that'd be a great help."

"Acknowledged. Geisler out." Looking to Walsh, he gave the Squadron Commander a nod. "Get your people on the quarantine, but I'll need you to stay here for now.

"The fighters in question already have a force field around them," replied Terry. "It was done seconds after it was discovered. No one will be able to get to them until Medical does their examination. And if a medical quarantine is necessary, it should lock down the Flight Deck so nothing gets in or out. Good and secure."

"See that it stays secure, Commander." To Joey, Harvey said at last, "Let's prepare an experiment. Are we able to launch a class one probe? Something we can live without?"

Joey nodded her head. "I think so," she said. "What kind of experiment are we preparing?"

"An experiment that will prove whether or not your jamming idea will work," Harvey replied. He wasn't about to risk the ship on a whim. They'd come too far for that, and there was no way they were going to pull it off with a skeleton crew. "Miss Khan will fly the probe, and we'll leave it to you to disrupt the minefield long enough for the probe to slip through."

"Aye, Captain," Kelly said as she prepared a Class I probe and waited for the launch order. In her mind, she began to sing. All my life I wanted to fly, like the birds that you see way up in the sky. Making circles in the morning sun, flying high in the sky 'till the day is done. as she planned a route on the console where Joey could see it.

Joey took a deep breath and let it out slowly as she looked to the course Kelly planned to take the probe. She nodded her head and turned back to her own console. No pressure or anything. She took another breath as her fingers began to move over the screen. The Intel Chief was confident in her abilities, but didn't know how long she'd be able to keep them from taking it back. "The probe can be launched."

"Then launch away," Harvey ordered, scooting to the edge of his seat. He took in a deep breath and held it, hoping that this wild idea would have merit.

"Launching probe in three...two...one," Kelly said before she launched it and started to make an indirect run for the outskirts of the minefield, but close enough to activate them if the platforms got twitchy enough. She kept her eyes firmly on the board and made second by second course adjustments as she sent it on a erratic trip.

Joey held her breath as the probe moved. So far, so good. It seemed that taking over their frequency was working, but there was still plenty of time for things to go south. "Ensign Khan, it appears things are holding so far," she said, prepared to make any adjustments that might be necessary. "See if you can take it further into the minefield."

"Taking it in," Kelly confirmed as she changed the direction on the probe and sent it towards a relatively clear area of mines and began to jink and weave to provide as erratic a target as possible.

The probe wasn't even halfway through the minefield yet, but things still seemed to be holding. Since this was an experiment, Joey felt they needed to test the waters as much as possible. "So far, this seems to be working in our favor. Take the probe toward one of the platforms. Keep your path as erratic as possible."

"Changing course, Lieutenant," the young woman responded and began a spiral pattern with the probe as she sent it towards the nearest weapons platforms. Hardly a second later, the platform locked onto it and fired, destroying it. "Probe destroyed," Kelly confirmed in a slightly disappointed voice that the jamming didn't work as they had hoped.

"Sonofa..." Joey said, cutting herself off before she could finish what she wanted to say. Now, she wanted to throttle something. She wanted to take out her anger and frustrations out, but would keep them locked inside and hope they wouldn't boil over into something bigger.

Her attention moved to the display screen on her console. Odd... "Captain, it's showing that I'm still in control of the frequency," Joey said as her brows furrowed. That meant only one thing. "It appears they've switched to another."

Harvey leaned forward and nodded, thankful that he didn't risk the entire ship on a whim. He did have a moment where he felt odd. When they entered the Zone, he was determined to not launch any probes, especially since it was an old probe of his from the future that started this whole journey. "How much of a difference are we talking?" he asked.

Joey turned her attention back to her console, then looked back toward the ship's Commanding Officer. "Not much. I'm fairly confident I can take this one, too."

"Try and..." Harvey paused, trying to think of the word. He hoped it was simply fatigue and not just the medication wearing off. "Modesto... Mojo... with the frequencies as the probe dives through. Prepare another class one."

"Modulate?" Kelly guessed as she prepared another class one probe. "The probe is ready for launch, Sir."

Snapping his fingers, Harvey accepted the Ensign's assistance. "That. Modulate the jamming signal as they adjust. Fire when ready."

The Intel Chief nodded her head and made the adjustments, then looked toward Kelly. "I'm ready when you are," she said, hoping things would be a bit different this time.

"Firing probe," Kelly said as she launched it and sent it on a different approach than the first one. Once again, she sent it in a weaving zig-zag pattern and waiting for the order to go deeper into the minefield.

Joey kept half an eye on Kelly's pattern while she made quick adjustments to what she was doing. She could only imagine the anger and language that was taking place on the opposite side of the minefield, but she had a job to do. "Things seem to be holding," she announced to those present on the bridge. Now, to keep it that way.

"Permission to enter mine field," Kelly asked Joey as she continued to maneuver the probe.

"Take it in," Joey said, keeping her eye on the proverbial ball.

"Taking it in, one quarter impulse," the Ensign said as she abruptly changed course and headed into the minefield, juking and weaving on a random course.

Things still seemed to be working in their favor, but that had a lot to do with her staying on top of things. Joey continued watching the display before her. "No, you don't," she said, making some. adjustments. "They've just tried to bounce their frequency again, but I think I held them off. Try skirting the platform again."

Kelly braced herself even though she wasn't in the probe and took a cautious approach past a probe, but still kept the little probe on an erratic path while holding her breath.

The second time seemed to be going better than the first, and Joey breathed a sigh of relief when they cleared the platform. It seemed this was going to work. "Captain, what do you want us to do?" she asked. "I think I have found a way for us to get in."

"Finish the test," Harvey plainly stated. At present guess, he had less than ten percent of the crew he could rely on. That number was not strong enough to risk passage through the minefield.

"Understood," Kelly said as she continued to send the probe deeper and deeper into the minefield, buzzing by the platforms and even slowed down it's speed when navigating a larger cluster of mines.

Joey kept her eyes on her console, compensating when it was needed. "Take the probe to the farthest platform and let's see what happens."

Despite a case of nerves, the young woman piloted the probe past platform after platform and narrowly avoided mines which didn't seem to be giving it any attention at all. She was near the farthest platform about three quarters of a light year away when one finally activated and destroyed it. "Holy cheeseballs, that was amazing!" she exclaimed, then clamped a hand over her mouth. "Sorry," she said sheepishly.

While Kelly might have been celebrating, Joey was fuming. So much so, that she slammed a hand on her console and let out a choice four letter word to vent her frustrations. Not that it helped. She thought she had it that time, but somehow, the bastards on the other side were pretty slick themselves. It was definitely on now. They would make it across.

Somehow, Harvey did not jump at the sudden loud sound on the bridge. Instead, as turbolift doors opened to allow a couple extra personnel to filter onto the bridge, he rose from his chair and gestured to Walsh to follow him over to the Intelligence station. "How much variation in frequencies are we looking at?" Harvey asked.

"Not much, actually, Joey replied, turning her attention down at her console. "It looks like they were able to jump frequencies while I was making some adjustments. They saw an opportunity and took it, however, I still think this could work if we were able to enhance our own jamming frequency."

Harvey nodded, following the discussion, at least for now. "How exactly could we enhance it?" he asked.

"What about using probes in various areas of the minefield?" Joey asked in return. "Of course, we would have test it first."

"Could the probes be configured to adapt as quickly and appropriately as you did here at this console?" Harvey asked. "Or would they all have to be manually configured and operated?"

She looked thoughtful for a moment. "I believe they can be configured, but I wouldn't be too far away in the event manual control was necessary. As far as operating them, Ensign Khan could handle that if needed."

"I'd recommend an orbit set to a specific zone for each probe, Captain," Kelly said, pleased to be a part of the proceedings again rather than stand there like a lump. "That way, we can cover a greater area and lose fewer probes if they adapt."

"I doubt the Ensign can pilot the probes and the ship, Lieutenant," Harvey observed. "Though I can't say I'm a fan of automation. We need to be careful about the flight path." Looking to Commander Walsh, Harvey asked, "If we do this, can we jerry-rig probe controls to your flight simulators? Enlist the squadron to help?"

"I think we can get that done," Terry replied. "It shouldn't take too much to link them up and the squadron will be happy to pilot them."

Kelly went back to the helm and brought up the flight maps she had made and gotten approved, then sent them to Joey's console. "If we sent the probes along those routes, we'll have a clear path, Lieutenant," she said.

"Let's get it set up and ready," Captain Geisler said to the team. "Let's not reveal our hand yet. We'll deploy the probes as soon as we need to head for the planet itself."

"Yes, Captain," Joey said just before she looked toward Terry. "I think Ensign Khan and I should speak to your pilots just to make sure we're on the same page. Give them the proper paths and such. If you approve, sir." And now her attention was back on the Captain.

Harvey inhaled, looking once more at the displays in a feeble attempt to review the limited information in hopes he might find a different plan. Sadly, he did not see any other option. "Get it done," he ordered before turning back to his command chair.

Terry nodded and looked to Joey. "I think that's a good idea. We have eight flight simulators in the Squadron Command Center, so eight probes. I'll notify Flight Ops and have Bravo Flight and one pilot from Alpha meet you two in Briefing Room One." He moved back over to the Executive Officer's station and sent new orders for Bravo down to Flight Ops.

"Aye, Captain," Kelly said as she passed the helm control over to another officer and headed to where Joey was.

Joey nodded her head. "Yes, Captain, and this is going to work," she said. And that was mostly because it had to. They needed it to. With tthat, she turned her console over to another Intelligence officer and left the bridge. Her destination, briefing room one. She'd be returning soon enough.

Captain Geisler settled into his command chair, his posterior detecting the padd he left behind before he could crack its screen on accident. He pulled it out quickly. "Oh," he muttered, seeing that it was a report from Commander Walsh that he hadn't read yet. He hoped that it would prove to be an interesting and enlightening read. Little did he know that Doctor Kij's medication was starting to wear off.

 

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