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Race to the Planet

Posted on Sun Aug 30, 2020 @ 11:54pm by Commodore Michael Aravan & Ensign Autumn Rivers & Captain Madelina Weisz & Lieutenant Commander Arrda & Lieutenant Commander Kelani Tetanal & Lieutenant Commander Alex Rho & Lieutenant Jas Niecta & Lieutenant Martha Cusack & Lieutenant Kyra Silvan Daughter of House Kilrah & Lieutenant Zekori Dosan & Master Chief Petty Officer Thomas Barnes

Mission: The Nanjing
Location: Victorious/Triumphant
Timeline: MD 4 || 0400 Hours

[===Victorious Crew===]

Once the Victorious was free of the Triumphant, Michael breathed a sigh of relief. It wasn't over yet, but until Maddy and her whatever she and others cracked the fractal encryption that Commander Arrda had put up, there was no way they could shoot the Aquarius class escort down without saucer separation. He hoped. "Set a course for the planet," he ordered the helmsman.

Martha was sat at the tactical station - hoping that her codes to lock out the Triumphant's tactical systems would hold out long enough for the Victorious and its occupants to escape to safety. Had she still been on the mother ship Martha could have scrambled the codes from her PADD each time a layer was cracked - but she wasn't - so she crossed her fingers and hoped for the best.

At the security station, Arrda first made sure that all of the Victorious's systems were encrypted as he had with the Triumphant's, though he used a completely different encryption for these. This would, hopefully, mean that even if and/or when those trying to take the Triumphant succeeded in breaking that encryption, that would not make it easy for them to break this one.

He then contacted the members of Security who had managed to get to the Victorious and spread them out across the small ship. They were instructed to ensure that none of the 'compromised' crew had made it onto the Victorious.

A few minutes went by, and all of his men reported back that they had found none. A soft sigh of relief escaped his controls, but otherwise, he remained calm and unshakable, at least in appearance. He then set up a patrol pattern for the security on board. This would instill a sense of normalcy in an otherwise completely abnormal situation and, hopefully, help to calm some of the crew down.

Raising his head from his console, he looked at Michael. "Commodore, Security confirms that none of those we brought on board have been compromised." The word 'compromised' vastly understated the situation, but it was enough for the commodore to know what he meant.

Spencer was settled at the helm, trying her hardest to get everyone on board the Victorious to the planet safely. Piloting a starship, regardless of its size, was something she never expected to do again. Especially when she was retired and extremely pregnant, but someone had to do it, and this wasn't the type of thing on just simply forgot how to do, either.

Her children weren't too far away from her, sitting on the floor and looking between both of their parents with confused expressions. Neither of the little ones had ever experienced anything like what they were going through presently, but they were far too scared to venture off and get into anything. Their mother knew it was probably for the best to send them with her sister to another part of the ship, but that was not an option. Ava and Little Mikey were staying where she could see them.

Kelani hurried onto the Bridge of the Victorious and settled herself at the Science station. She began to scan for any anomalies as the Victorious raced through space. As the sensors performed the required scans, she began to ponder....

~There has to be a way to defeat them and return them to us!~

Michael worried that Ava and his son were on the bridge, and Spencer's current state of being pregnant with twins, but there was nothing to be done about it. "Commander Aravan, take us out and make best speed for Selluna II. Everyone else, strap in."

Commander Aravan? Spencer thought as she began to more her fingers over the controls. She had to admit she missed hearing that, but her days of active duty were well behind her. Sitting behind the helm was as close as she'd ever get to a career long forgotten. "Acknowledged, Commodore," she said, increasing the small ship's speed and getting them the hell out of dodge.

"Weapons and shields to full," Michael ordered. "Engage the cloak."

Arrda's hands flew, the speed built over a lifetime of practice and having been in a war. Instinct had told him that the shields and cloak at least would the next order, and he was already on it even as the commodore ordered it. Seconds after the order, he called out, "Shields at full. Cloak engaged." He was preparing to bring the weapons up to but saw that Cusack was already doing that and simply waited and watched for the next situation to arise.

Martha charged the weapons up to full - wishing she now hadn't bothered upgrading the Triumphant's phaser systems. Particularly when they'd now be recharging at a faster rate to fire at the ship she was on.

"Phasers charged and torpedo bays are loaded" Martha said.

"Evasive maneuvers," Michael called as he looked over at his wife. "Begin jamming on all frequencies. Engineering, pull out every stop to give us more speed."

"Understood," Spencer acknowledged as she began evasive maneuvers.

Kelani began to work at her station, jamming frequencies as Michael ordered, as well as analyzing the data they had on this invader as well as monitoring the sensors...she struggled with the thought that she was missing something...

“Commodore, might Captain Weisz attempt to gain control of Victorious somehow? Is there a way to prevent such a happenstance?”

Arrda looked up at that question. It was a good and valid concern, but he had an answer. "I considered that. There are encrypted lockouts on these systems. I put them in place the moment we came on board. They are a different encryption than the one I used on Triumphant," he informed both the concerned science officer and the commodore.

Kyra was in the engineering section attempting to get more speed from the Victorious. Rerouting power from certain systems, she coaxed the engines for more speed. "Commodore, Krya here, I've boosted the engines but I can't give you anymore unless I shut down systems" she said.

The phasers had missed them completely, but then Michael looked over the Ops officers shoulder. "They're coming about and heading for the planet. Spencer, we have to get there before them."

"Tactical, give them a full spread of torpedoes across their noise," he ordered.

The pressure was on. Spencer chewed on the inside of her cheek as she moved her fingers over the controls in front of her. "Acknowledged, Commodore," she said, hoping they'd make it to the planet safely before the Triumphant got there.

Martha targeted a particular point ahead of the Triumphant stardrive's current trajectory. She then fired a total of a half-dozen photon torpedoes at the target.

"Torpedoes are away" Martha reported.

Kelani monitored the sensors closely, a frown on her face. There had to be a way to regain control of Triumphant—but what was it? The question gnawed at her even as she monitored her station.

‘Perhaps we should concentrate on reversing what happened to our shipmates,’ she thought. ‘Perhaps that it the way to solve this problem.”

She began a computer analysis of the observed changes in the affected crew members as well as possible methods to reverse the process, all the while monitoring the sensors.

"Take us in, Spen...Commander," Michael ordered.

"Yes, Commodore," Spencer said. Her nerves were shot, but she knew they needed to get somewhere relatively safe. On his order, the former Executive Officer took them in.

Michael got up and scooped his two kids up into his arms and sat down in the center chair again. "Everyone hang on," he ordered over the comm as the Victorious started to enter the atmosphere.

The small but battle ready Aquarius class escort shook and fought against Spencer's control. Sensor readouts signaled that the heat on the hull was increasing and heavy turbulence was coming as a storm was in progress at their current trajectory.

Spencer moved her fingers over the controls as fast as she could to maintain control of the ship. A bead of sweat rolled from her temple and down her cheek. Their lives depended on her, and it was that knowledge that kept her from mentioning the pain that started in her lower abdomen. She didn't need to add more stress to the situation they found themselves in.

Kelani gripped the edge of her console and braced herself as the Victorious battled the turbulence in the atmosphere. Her eyes did not leave her screens as the monitored the progress the computer was making on its analysis as well as the sensors. Her lips tightened as she sensed something from someone on the Bridge, but she could not tell who was in the increased degree of stress....

“Hull temperature rising, but not dangerously so,” she reported.

Martha braced herself by taking a tight hold of each side of the Tactical console. She knew that once they were on the planet it would very much be a game of cat-and-mouse - a game which would be won by the side whoever could out-think the other.

As they hit atmosphere, Arrda shifted his position to a more stable one, feet shoulder-width apart and hands clasped around the edges of his console. His eyes moved back and forth between the readings on his Security console and the view on the forward viewscreen. Outwardly, his expression was calm; but internally, he was having to work for that calm. His mind kept trying to recoil from the headlong plunge they were taking into the planet as it reminded some part of him of when his ship had crashed back on Earth at the end of the Earth Mission. But his training won out in the end. Steady and calm, he waited for the next order or the next thing that would require his attention.

"Begin changing the codes at random and as quickly as you can, Commander," Michael ordered as he tried to not crush his kids to him in the small command chair as the small ship took a beating in the atmospheric entry. "Take us in to the capital anywhere there's a landing spot for us, Spencer."

Arrda nodded even though Michael would not see it. "Aye, Sir," he acknowledged verbally as his stance shifted slightly again to maintain as much physical stability as he could while his hands moved over the controls of the Security console with speed and precision, or as much as was possible while being jostled about. Code after code, he switched them as fast as he could, again and again. Cycling. Yes, the computer could likely do it faster, but the computer's algorithm could be hacked and observed... and predicted. He wanted to make this as unpredictable as possible.

Spencer grit her teeth as she moved her fingers over the controls as the pain in her abdomen began to increase. "Yes, Commodore," she breathed out, fighting against the pain. They were coming in hot, fast and furious, and all she could do was hope no one was too injured after this.

Once a safe place was chosen, the former Commander brought the cloaked Aquarius class escort in for a not so perfect landing. The escort hit the ground with enough force not only to shake up the crew, but also the capital.

Kelani struggled to hold her position as the Victorious was buffeted about by the necessarily swift entrance into the atmosphere. She bit her lip as she felt pain increasing from someone close by. She hoped to determine who was in distress when they were safely on the planet.

“Hull temperature rising but still within acceptable limits,” she reported.

[===Triumphant Crew===]

Maddy stepped onto the battle bridge, and it was clear based on her appearance she was angry. The Victorious had gotten away, and there wasn't much time to catch up to them. And, even if for some reason they didn't, she knew exactly where they were going. "Begin the separation," she ordered, tapping her combadge. "Weisz to Rivers... do whatever you need to to make sure our people have access to the computer."

Tom had just arrived on the cramped battle bridge, immediately having regrets for leaving Engineering. "Initiating separation sequence," he responded, heading over to the Engineering station. "Zekori, cut the umbilicals."

In the Engineering section, Autumn directed everything from a modified Borg/Nanjing alcove while she worked on breaking the fractal encryption. I apologize it's taking so long, she mentally told Tom and Maddy. The encryption is taking longer than anticipated. However, more crew are now hosts and being upgraded.

Back on the battle bridge, Zekori nodded his head, "Disengaging the umbilicals now."

Maddy nodded her head. It would only be a matter of time now before they were going after the Victorious. All she was waiting on now was for Rivers to fix computer access, and for the separation to be completed. Hopefully, neither would take much longer.

"Retracting umbilicals," Tom called out from his station, his fingers moving faster than ever before across the controls. "Disconnecting power feeds to the primary hull. Sealing all access points. Retracting docking clamps."

He turned to face Maddy. "Separation complete. Helm may proceed to clear us from the docking berths."

"Helm... you're up," Maddy said, looking toward the Bajoran Operations Chief. "Lieutenant Zekori, begin scanning for the Victorious."

“Understood.” Jas reported. “We’ll be clear of the berths in thirty seconds. Proceeding on thrusters now, ready to engage impulse drive once were clear.”

Zekori nodded his head as his fingers on his console, "Initiating short and long range scans for the Victorious."

Autumn's voice came over the com. "Weapons free in fifty seconds."

"Understood, Ensign," the Captain said. There wasn't a whole lot of time to catch up to the Victorious before it made it to the planet, and that was if they didn't cloak. If that happened, things would be a bit more difficult.

Thanks to their interlink, Tom heard Maddy's worry about the Victorious. And, if is there was some sort of cosmic cue, sensors had confirmed her fear. "The Victorious is cloaking," he reported from his station. "Sensors have lost contact."

Maddy shouted a choice four letter word and slammed her fist against the center chair she stood behind, leaving a nice sized dent. Searing pain shot from her hand and up her arm, but it didn't last long when the nanoprobes living inside of her made their way to the affected area and began repairs. "Master Chief Barnes... get the codes and disable their cloaks," the Captain ordered as her temper began to grow increasingly worse. "Fire weapons at their last known location." If they were still there, or close by, then they'd know things were about to get damn serious.

"The primary data core is still in complete lockdown," Tom reported. "The Nanjing have yet to crack the encryption, and even if we did, the command codes are still protected by Alpha Two and Level Eleven clearance. We'll probably have to do it the old fashioned way."

"Sending their last known location to the Tactical Station now," Zekori added.

Booz was on the Tactical station - having been one of numerous Tactical officers assimilated by the Nanjing. He had been frustrated by the delay to gaining weapons control - but after that short delay he now had the arsenal at his disposal.

"Firing a full spread of" Booz said.

The Captain knew firing on the last known location wouldn't give any results. Sadly, the Victorious was well on her way to the planet. She turned her attention to Tom and nodded her head. "Do it," she said, silently vowing to beat Michael within an inch of his life before converting them. "You're in charge. I'm going to contact Admiral Breckenridge. It seems our beloved," The word came out sounding anything but. "Commodore has forced my hand."

Alex had taken a position and was listening to the crew talk, taking in everything. Partway through the conversations, he realized he'd been listening to the wrong crew. The Nanjing had upgraded many of his parts and included his telepathic centers in that upgrade. This particular species abilities had intrigued them. Alex opened his mind to search the expanse between them and the planet for Aravan's mind. He'd spoken telepathically to him before and knew what to look for. The Ullian seemed to be staring off into the distance.

A twinge of 'aha' pierced his mind as he made contact. He quickly searched Aravan's mind and memories for pertinent information. The Nanjing enhancements made it much easier and much quicker. "I have found Aravan's mind," he spoke, still appearing as if in a trance. "Heading zero-two-four, mark five-seven. And I know why he's headed to the planet. He has a memory of speaking with Dant. He knows the truth. And they reached an agreement to bring us down there. If we can't destroy Aravan, we should consider destroying the Betrayers. Heading adjusted, zero-five-seven, mark two-one."

Maddy turned her attention to Alex when he began to speak. "Helm, take us to the planet," she ordered. Contacting Breckenridge would have to wait, if it happened at all. Perhaps now, things were going to swing in their favor.

Tom looked over to Alex and presented him with a gratifying nod and smile. He'd forgotten about the man's telepathic abilities, so much so, that Tom's mind had already been considering modifying torpedoes to track ion emissions from the Victorious' impulse engines. He smiled, and turned to the viewscreen as he waited for the rest to unfold.

"Heading adjusted." Jas said, inputting a new round of commands to the helm console an adjusted their speed to intercept them more quickly. "Intercepting shortly."

At that moment, the spread of torpedoes from the Victorious exploded in front of the stardrive section far enough ahead to not damage the ship, but the shockwave and explosion was enough to blind the sensors for a moment and shake it up.

Maddy growled. "Mister Barnes, I want the control codes for their weapons. Mister Rho, I want you to scan the minds of Arrda and Cusack aboard the Victorious. Find out what the codes are," she ordered, tapping her combadge. "Tactical, prepare all weapons to be fired at my order. Miss Rivers, do something useful!" Yes, she was extremely angry.

"I can't get to the control codes," Tom said, his tone mildly annoyed. "Computer and security lockouts have totally scrambled them. It will take several hours to bypass before we can even dream of decrypting."

Rho considered the command. Arrda was likely to have control codes for the weapons as well as Cusack, but Cusack was the Tactical Chief and Ardda was the Security Chief. So as far as Alex Rho knew, the Chief Tactical Officer, being in charge of the weapons systems, would have control codes that would work. Rho had no idea at all that the control codes for the Victorious' weapons had been changed; whether Arrda's or Cusack's. To his knowledge, Cusack's should work. But time would prove that they wouldn't.

He searched the last area where he'd found them before. Nothing. They couldn't have gotten far and they were headed to the planet. Seconds later, he found the Commodore again and began looking for Martha Cusack. He quickly found her and the necessary control codes for the far as he knew. "Transferring them to Tactical for his use at their leisure. Or once Mister Barnes has bypassed the lockouts."

Do something? Came over Maddy's receiver from Autumn and Tom. Get me the codes I need and I'll do more than something. How about blowing up the saucer section to let them know you're serious?

With the stardrive section's weapons ready to fire at a moment's notice Booz tried to make use of the codes which he had just been given. After inputting them three times - just to make sure that he'd definitely inputted them correctly - Booz reported that the codes which had been provided were of no use to him.

"I've inputted them three times to be sure however it appears the codes I've been given are incorrect" Booz reported.

Maddy's anger had reached its boiling point. So much so that she removed the phaser from her hip and leveled it at the poor Tactical officer. "Tell me why I shouldn't kill you where you stand?"

Tom frowned and directed his mental link to her. Because you would strike down the Nanjing in anger and not incompetence. Aravan is smart, and he would have changed those codes immediately. We know where he is going. Let us not waste our time shooting at shadows or cutting down our own brethren.

The redhead lowered her phaser and returned it to its holster as she turned her attention to Tom. "Then, we'll take this fight to the surface."


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