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Here Be Dragons

Posted on Wed May 24th, 2017 @ 6:29pm by Lieutenant Commander Jack Devlin & Lieutenant Commander Cara Nichols MD & Capt. Michael Braylin & Brigadier General Christopher Mitchell & Commander Andrew Knight & Lieutenant Beowulf "Wulf" Byrnes & Lieutenant JG Alyssa Matthews

Mission: Down on the Upside
Location: Command Ops

ON:

Christopher ran out of the turbolift and down the hall into Command Ops. Hearing a shout of "General on Deck!” all of the duty team snapped to attention for a brief second before Christopher waved them off. Walking over to the center dais, he hopped the three steps and leaned on the rails. "SitRep, Go!" he commanded quickly, not even considering how silly he looked trying to assume command in physical training gear and tennis shoes.

A communications officer turned to face Christopher, pressing an earpiece into his ear. "Sir, the Zumwalt is hailing us. Commander Knight is on board leading the RRF."

Christopher nodded slightly. "Put him through." If Andrew was leading the Rapid Reaction Force, then they might have a fighting chance to defeat whatever this was. "Tactical, what's the status of our weapons?"

The Tactical Officer, a long-haired man by the name of Whitney Ford spoke up. "Emplacements 1, 2, 4, and 5 are online. Emplacements 3 and 6 are out of range. Shall I fire on the target, sir?"

Christopher held up his hand as if to tell the man to wait as Andrew's face appeared on the massive situation board in front of him.

"Anchorage Actual, this is Zumwalt Actual. We are tracking three bogeys in transit through the asteroid field. I've ordered a change of course to intercept, but our sensors indicate the bogeys are biological in nature, not mechanical. I have manned battle stations and we are weapons tight."

Christopher nodded. "Understood, Zumwalt Actual. Keep it in weapons range and try to get some scans for the science team. If it becomes hostile, fire at will."

With the Medical Facility locked down and everyone at their post, Cara decided she wanted to know what was going on so she assigned a doctor to take charge of the ER and she headed for Ops. Several minutes later she walked through the doors and stood in an out of the way spot.

Turning around as the doors slid open, Christopher was surprised to see Lieutenant Nichols walking up to the command podium. "What can I do for you, Doctor and why are you not in the medical wing?" he asked, still confused as to why she had decided to pop into Ops during what could turn into a battle situation. An alert sounded from a corner of the room and Christopher turned to address it. "What the hell was that?" he asked.

Cara was about to answer but was interrupted.

Lieutenant Ford turned around and looked at Christopher. "Sir, multiple bogeys are converging from on us. Weapons are powered and we're ready to fire!"

"Zumwalt Actual, what's the status of your target?"

Drew's image took on an incredulous expression. "Sir...you're not going to believe this."

Christopher raised his eyebrow. "Spit it out, Commander. What do you see?" he asked, leaning on the rear of his chair.

Drew shook his head. "It'll be just easier to show you."

Lieutenant Ford turned to Christopher and Cara. "Incoming telemetry images coming in from the Zumwalt. Putting it up on the viewer." Images of what could only be described as space-borne 'dragons' appeared on screen.

Cara stared at the screen in amazement. "Are those....?" she started to ask.

"Draconis Occidentalis, Doctor. Next thing you know it'll-"

Suddenly the lights went dark and they were bathed in crimson light. "Sir, we've been hit by some sort of organic plasmid discharge. Systems are shorting out all over the place. I can't keep track, sir!" Lieutenant Ford said, his fingers dancing across a now flickering console.

Turning to Cara, Christopher gave her a wry smile. "It'll start breathing fire." he looked over to the Lieutenant Ford. "Understood. Raise our shields and lock weapons. If this thing decides to do whatever it did again, fire at will. CAG, launch the alert fighters and have them maintain their distance in a delta formation. Looking over to the viewer. "Zumwalt Actual, this is Anchorage Actual. Lock your weapons on the target and have your Tactical Officer coordinate fire."

Drew was about to order his tactical officer to confirm weapons lock when he noticed the 'dragons' begin to exhibit an almost familiar type of behavior. "Check fire." He leaned forward in the Captain's chair. "Magnify and continue video link to the Rock." His eyes narrowed a bit. "Cara...Doctor Nichols. Does that look like...a form of nesting behavior?"

There were two of the creatures flying in a cris-cross pattern between the Zumwalt and one of the smaller asteroids. Their behavior reminded Cara of the way the eagles at home used to behave when protecting their nest. "Hold your fire!" she called out and stepped closer to the screen. Dragons. Although dragons were a mythological creature on Earth...and resembled reptiles...they were thought to be more birdlike in behavior. She looked at the General and said, "They are protecting their nest. Probably on that," she pointed to the small asteroid, "-asteroid. They will attack but only to defend." She looked back at the screen and said, "Dragons. Incredible."

Drew nodded in agreement to Cara's assessment. He turned to the ensign at the helm. "Reverse thrust, back us away slowly."

The ensign keyed in the command and the Zumwalt began backing off the dragons' home asteroid.

Christopher wheeled around to face Cara. "Since you know this behavior, get everyone together in the conference room. I want to hear a plan to relocate that nest." Looking over to Lieutenant Ford, he saw the man's fingers hovering above the fire buttons. "Lieutenant, set Alert Condition Yellow. Keep shields raised and bring our birds home. We don't want to agitate these things more than we already have."

"It's just simple ornithology," Cara muttered to herself.

=^=ATTENTION! Will the Chiefs of Flight Control, Science and Engineering please report to the Main Conference room ASAP. =^=

=^=Base to Zumwalt...CDR Knight...you are requested to report to the Main Conference Room as soon as you have landed. =^=

Drew ordered the Zumwalt back to base and left the bridge in the flight officer hand. The ship was already on final approach when Drew stepped onto the transporter pad and beamed directly to the Rock's main conference room.

=====Main Conference Room=====

Having been thrown into the Chief Science Officer's position, LCDR t'Soros grabbed his PADD and hurried to the Main Conference Room upon hearing the station wide announcement. As he stepped out of the turbolift on Deck 2, the yellow light bars built into the walls of the corridor began to pulsate, indicating the station had gone to Yellow Alert. Memories of the last time the station he had been on going to alert status made him shudder as he headed for the conference room.

Jack Devlin had been on his way back to his office from lunch break when the station went to yellow alert. Having inherited the position of Security Chief when his boss and several other security personnel were assimilated on the "9 Double O" he had been busy trying to organize the department and implement new security protocols on the Rock. He was more than a little exhausted but at the first pulse of yellow light his adrenaline kicked in. Hearing the request to report to the conference room, he sprinted for the nearest turbolift and headed for Deck 2. Just a couple of seconds later the door slid open on Deck 2 and Jack sprinted to the conference room. "What's up?" he asked breathlessly as he rushed into the room. The he noticed that only two other people were there.

"I am at a loss for an explanation, Commander," the CSO answered.

Drew turned to Jack. "Have a seat Mister Devlin. We'll get started as soon as everyone arrives." He then walked to the replicator and ordered up a strong black coffee. "You want something?"

Jack shook his head. "No thanks. I'm good," he said. "Are we under attack Commander?" he asked as he took a seat at the table. Unlike most conference rooms, this one was inside of the asteroid so there were no windows, leaving Jack to glance at the large viewer at the front of the room...which was blank.

Drew shook his head as he took a sip of coffee. "No. Not yet anyway."

Cara was the next to arrive. She saw Drew at the replicator and smiled, relieved that he had returned safely. Even though she accepted his job and the dangers it entailed from time to time, it didn't stop her from holding her breath every time he went out. "The General is right behind me," she announced and took a seat, acknowledging the other two men with a nod.

Drew spotted Cara as she entered and returned the smile. He turned back to the replicator. "Computer, one Nichols' Special please." A beverage materialized. Drew picked it up and along with his coffee went to the conference table and handed it to her as he took a seat. "Here you go my...good doctor."

Cara looked up and smiled. "Thank you, kind sir," she said in a Southern accent. "Mint Juleps on the veranda this evening?" she asked, still using the Southern accent.

Drew affected his best effort at a Southern Drawl as he lightly took hold of Cara's hand and brushed a kiss on her knuckles. "Most definitely ma'am. Lessin' of course the Gen'ral has me on a mission fightin' in this war of Northern Aggression." He then burst out laughing, laughter which cut off as said Gen'ral entered.

Byrnes entered the command deck, gold shirt and engineer's vest on, going straight to the main console and bringing up holographic screens in his spot for engineering data. "Not something you see every day," he said, chinning to the main viewer and the dragons on it. "Kinda reminds me of Monster X from the old Godzilla films." While venting what was on his mind Wulf kept tapping keys and setting engineering. "Plasma weapons are devastating, on any level."

Christopher turned to the Engineer. "What can we do to contain this, Lieutenant? The last thing we need is to have a couple of pissed off nesting dragons flying around and disrupting space traffic. Can we possibly move the eggs? “He asked.

"I am all for saving their eggs, General." Wulf looked at his CO. "But, how do we do that? They already appear agitated, and sending in ships and personnel to secure an egg or eggs, of which we have no idea on their size, would get us all killed." Tapping his console Byrnes took control of one lateral sensor array, ready to use it if, and when, needed. "Has anyone tried to communicate with them? They obviously give off a signature that our sensors see as starships, but beyond that we know nothing about them. Crows on Earth are wicked smart, so maybe we should try and see if they are communicating with each other, find out how, and then try it ourselves."

"What about moving their asteroid?" the Acting Flight Control Chief suggested. "If we could get the Zumwalt and Hopper push it far enough away from the traffic zone. It's not that big."

Byrnes made a motion toward the flight officer, liking what he heard. "We can do that, General. However, getting the beasts to understand we're just trying to help may prove a bit difficult, especially as two starships move closer to their nest. I'm a SCUBA diver, Sir. Having swam with pods of whales and dolphins I can tell you they do communicate constantly, as I'm sure those two are doing right now. Body language is a big factor, as well as other means of communication."

Cara sat forward and looked at the CO. "Did the previous base inhabitants mention anything about sharing the belt with dragons?" she asked, still finding it hard to believe dragons actually existed. "Because...if they are anything like the dragons of Earth's folklore...they have been around for a very long time. Centuries, maybe. And if they nest like the dragons in folklore...they come back to the same place to nest each year so they have lived on that asteroid for a lot longer than we have been here. We need to figure out a way to cohabitate in this belt with them. They were here first."

Chris smirked. "You're right, they were here first but now they pose a danger to us. The moment that they begin posing a danger to shipping traffic, I'll want them wiped out. Judging by the logs that were left by the engineers, they didn't mention it but that's Starfleet for you- not enough information when you need it."

Wulf liked what he heard. Yes, the dragons posed a threat, but at what cost? Ex Astris Scientia, came to mind. 'From the stars, knowledge', the Starfleet motto. In his opinion the Prime Directive included the natural elements in the cosmos. If malevolent then, of course, it needs to be dealt with, but if it is just a creature following instinct then it needed to be looked at objectively. Nichols was right in looking for co-habitation, somehow.

Drew gave the matter some thought. He knew it could be dangerous to assume unsubstantiated theories to be facts, but..."Most of Earth's legends regarding dragons have them portrayed as intelligent life forms...even capable of verbal communication. Could it be possible to open up a line of communication?"

Lieutenant Commander William 'Bill' Nye cleared his throat at the end of the table and spoke up. "Sir, if I may, we might be able to speak to them if we can match the frequencies that they're communicating through and run them through the universal translator." Taking a gulp, he continued. "How well that'll work, I don't know but we can definitely try it."

"I may not know anything scientifically about these creatures, "Cara spoke up. "But I do know their mythology on Earth because I am sort of a geek when it comes to the mythology and folklore of Earth's Medieval and Renaissance Periods...of which dragons played a large role. I'd be glad to lend a hand in any way I can."

Byrnes nodded to himself at the surrounding conversation. "I suddenly feel really small, kinda like Bilbo when he met Smaug. Earth literature, for those who don't know," he said off-handedly, tapping keys.

"Tis the way of life in this little neck of the woods." Looking over to Byrnes and the rest of the team. "Nye, Byrnes, Doc- grab Lieutenant Matthews from the Ops Center and get down to the R&D lab. I want to see a prototype within the next three hours. Commander Knight, keep an eye on this and let me know if anything changes. Dismissed."

Christopher rose from his chair and walked towards the door, coffee cup in hand. First, there was dragons, the next thing you know they'd be seeing demonic Keebler elves running about.

"I'll give my best, Sir," stated Byrnes. "As an engineer I can say that there are many ways to communicate, so I just ask that we investigate any and all signals or energies we notice from the dragons. Last thing we need out here, isolated, is another enemy."


:OFF

 

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