Cargo Runs are Fun
Location: ISS Yamato - ISS Isokaze
Timeline: May 13th 2364 - 1730 HRS
After spending every spare moment getting the ship prepared as best they could, Lieutenant Hobbs stood waiting for the others to arrive on the bridge. When he had first been handed this mission he thought for certain he was being punished but in hindsight he realized that he was given an important responsibility. The supplies were important and the Commodore entrusted him to be in command.
He checked the time, waiting for Ludovisi and Faire to arrive. They had a few minutes to get there but he was anxious to leave.
Stephenie spread her arms out in a flourish mime gesture as the door slid open for her in a grand entrance. Brushing her hair back and crossed her legs with each step as if on a narrow catwalk. She gave the traditional Terran salute but only after a short two step spin. She would be follow orders and give respect the chain of command but that didn't mean she couldn't do it with style.
Tobias was getting used to Faire. She had a sense of flair, it lightened the mood. Hobbs got the feeling behind all that was a person capable of anything. He didn’t give all his trust until a person earned it but she had some or she wouldn’t be here.
Howard was, in fact, running behind. This was due, however, to overseeing the last of the photon torpedoes transferred from Yamato to the Isokaze. There was an issue of storage that needed to be solved creatively, lest they risked a detonation that would rend their garbage skiff asunder. Lieutenant Ludovisi was quick to acknowledge Hobbs with a loose but acceptable Imperial salute and good news, “Lieutenant Hobbs, our additional torpedoes are accounted for and safely stowed,” before moving to the Ops station towards the fore of the bridge.
One of the younger bridge officers who had been assigned to the ISS Isokaze looked to Lieutenant Hobbs. He was a younger Andorian man whos face was lined with the scars of his upbringing. He had a quivering tone as he spoke to this mighty Terran man whom he had to report to.
"Captain, we are getting a message from Port Royale demanding to know why we are not already underway. They are making threats of informing the Commodore of our negligence. Shall I send a reply, sir?"
“Inform Port Royale we are departing as ordered by Commodore Russ,” Hobbs growled. Damn...fucking...bureaucrats he thought to himself. They knew good and well what time he was ordered to leave, he wasn’t shaking in his boots.
“Sending our reply, sir,” Howard spoke up before the Andorian could draw more attention to himself. Just to drive home the fact that he wanted his young, blue-skinned subordinate to make himself scarce, Lieutenant Ludovisi broke his cardinal rule of not speaking more than necessary, “Transmission received,” which in turn allowed the Andorian to fade to the darkened aft sections of the bridge, “Port Royale confirming our projected arrival time, sir.”
“Set our course!” Tobias demanded of the pilot!” He turned and looked around the bridge. “Listen up!” His voice was strong and commanding. It gained everyone’s attention, some with A nervous look. “We need eyes out there. I don’t care what you see or sense on your screens, I want to know immediately. This isn’t going to be a simple run there and back we are bound to run into trouble. Follow orders or your off my ship!”
His eyes went to Faire. “Man a station, surely you were sent with me for more than being a counselor!” Hobbs eyes darkened. “What use are you to me!” If command sent her along as some kind of joke she would not be happy.
The helm officer sent the ship towards Star Base Port Royale. As they did the active Engineer looked to the Captain from the console in the back of the bridge.
"Captain, sorry to bother you but these old engines are not going to give us much past Warp 7. Id like to avoid pushing us beyond that if possible", the young female engineer asked?
Stephenie glanced around and moved toward the sensor array station at the mention of screen sensors. It might take a bit to figure out but if something came on the screen it would at least give her a hint something was going on. She couldn't help but smile to herself at Hobb's comments and his barking. The need for a counselor along side him spoke volumes over his pitch, and she couldn't help but wonder if the Commodore had intentionally arranged this. "I only see a big blip, I assume that is us, no other blips so far sir!
Although the bridge remained quiet the atmosphere was noticeably lightened as the crew tried to hide their own amused expressions. She would have to arrange a session to work with Hobbs on balancing his approach. Obedience was all well and good, but it didn't encourage competence.
“Warp seven!” Hobbs took a deep breath. This was a crap shoot of a mission. “Then we will do warp seven until we get there.” His eyes turned to the engineer. “Be working on a plan in case we run into trouble and have to move quickly. Otherwise you will be someone’s slave or worse...dead!” He looked around the bridge as he sat in the command chair. He had an excellent crew and they were put on this crap of a ship instead of being allowed use of the Yamato. He had to figure out Russ game.
The ship jumped to warp and was moving for about an hour when it dropped out of warp abruptly and with out warning. Soon the lights went dark and the red alert lights came on. The red glow that blinked on and off was the only lighting around. The young female engineer turned white as a ghost as she looked to Hobbs.
"Sir... we have lost all main power and half our auxiliary power. Communications, weapons, propulsion, shields and long range sensors are out", the frightened young woman reported, her voice quivering and unsteady.
Before any one could say any thing more an image of Domingo Martinez came on the view screen. He was nefarious looking and had a dark grin. Soon he began to talk, "Well Commodore, I am glad you decided to take my little gift to you out for a spin. However, my wife and I both agree that your week and need some 'tough' love. Well, you'r getting tough any way. Survive this and you will truly deserve the rank of Commodore. Congratulations on your promotion." The prerecorded message ended.
“Fucking hell!” Hobbs growled. That jackass son of a Bitch thinks Russ is weak and Tobias pays the price. When he got to Port Royale he was sorely tempted to tell that jackass he wanted his promotion to Commodore.
A preternatural calmness came over Howard as the message blinked off. After allowing Hobbs his moment of rage, Howard resolutely quipped, “I’m gonna kill him,” with such flippant disregard for who amongst the present company heard him that it would have made more sense coming from Faire than the Ops Chief. He remained staring at the now dark view screen, unblinking and seemingly lost in his own thoughts - thoughts undoubtedly filled with plots of vengeance and violence against one of the highest ranking officers in the Imperial fleet.
“Ludovisi take the engineer down and see what you can find out,” His eyes went to the engineer. “If you plan to see this trip through stop shaking in your boots! I need you alive right now!” He turned to Faire. “Let’s see what we can find out accessing the computers, if they are even operational.”
The young female engineer followed Ludovisi down to the old Star Fleet Engineering section. Like something from Kirk's Enterprise A, the old area was small, tight and cramped. There was barely enough room for a person to move between engineers working on consoles adjacent to each other.
As the woman made her way to a free computer console, she logged in and began to pull up the system display. She started moving through the details of affected systems when she noticed a similar pattern to the break down. After a moment she had something, and she knew for sure that no one was going to like it. Turning to Ludovisi she spoke.
"Sir, this was a virus. A particularly nasty virus, but not a new one", the Woman reported.
Howard had still been absorbed in what was, at least for his short time amongst the Yamato crew, an uncharacteristic preoccupation with dark fantasies and the beginning of equally fantastic schemes to carry them out. There was a certain amount of autopilot to the aging lieutenant, however, meaning that once his attention had been requested he had snapped back into reality and moved to her console. Ludovisi double checked the error and damage codes behind the failed systems and mechanical components; the Andorian was right. He shook his head and sighed heavily, “Old virus for an old ship. I see why they avoided downloading those system patches now.”
=/\=“Lieutenant Hobbs,”=/\= Ludovisi started after tapping his combadge, =/\=“Ensign Altenna has identified a latent computer virus. The damage to the active systems is... ,”=/\= he trailed off as he watched Altenna scroll through the fatal errors and corrupted files. It was a very long pause before Howard concluded his initial report, =/\=“ ...extensive. Weapons, warp and impulse engines, even life support, Hobbs. Domingo did us real dirty.”=/\= At this point Howard began to trace back the cascade failures in the subsystems while Altenna wordlessly started compiling whatever primary system functions she could into a protected server. The young woman knew her station as well as Howard knew his, which meant there was hope yet for their plight. If they had a nest egg of system files to rely on and could find the node the virus originated from that’d be a solid foundation to finding a firm solution.
Not sure if she could be herd or not the young Ensign bravely corrected the Lieutenant, "Sir, this was NOT the Admiral. Its made to look like him, but the code is way too singular. The Admiral would be smart enough to have more than one person write a virus like this. Who ever wrote this was one man or woman. Also, while it looks like Life Support may have been hit, it is specifically protected. Likely to insure that Commodore Russ would live to be humiliated, sir."
Howard frowned, “Are you saying the message from the Admiral was a fake?” and thought for a moment. He switched to the communications index and started manually sifting the logs, “That would mean there’s two potential leads back to the source of the virus now.” A few seconds into this exercise, he glanced back up at Ensign Altenna having decided on a solution to their lack of functional systems, “I think our best bet is routing the primary systems through the secondary computer core. Run a level two diagnostic on the OS before we do. Last thing we need is another surprise.” The computer chirped and Howard returned his attentions to the communication logs. Sure enough, the cascade failure had originated, at least in part, through an abnormal protocol hidden in the optical memory bank. Again he peered up at the Andorian, though this time he jerked his head at his terminal, “And something like this is what you’ll wanna be looking for.”
Hobbs frowned. The computers were working, seemingly okay but he wasn’t about to trust it. Looking over at Faire he stared for a moment.
“What is your true purpose on this mission?” His eyes narrowed. “You know nothing about the operations of the ship nor the computers!”
Faire thought over the question a moment, it was true sending her over to a half functioning ship didn't make all that much sense, aside from ensuring everyone didn't try to kill each other yet. "Sir I am an expert on both Terran and various xeno behaviors." She quipped almost tempted to raise an eyebrow as if mocking with a Vulcan expression. "So first off, I assume our communications are gone, I would hardly imagine a message would be stored until there was no chance for us to expose the Admiral and his wife. Second, that admiral isn't dumb, there is sure to be an insurance policy in case the first attempt fails, so someone here must be aware if not actively working against us". Even if it wasn't true at least it would prevent them from fighting with one another.
“We need to find the rat,” Hobbs growled. “You have a plan I assume?”
"Well given our limited access, I can start going through the ship crew manifest. Who ever we are looking for is here since given our computer status I doubt the virus would be sent remotely past dead sensors."
“Narrow it down,” Tobias growled. “They will talk before we are done with them.”
Faire started her work, looking for times of arrivals and departures, crew skills and recordings. After some time three individuals stood out. "Sir there are three personnel, a computer scientist, a data analyst and a encryption specialist. Check their boarding times, they were the last placed on the roster only a couple days ago. Lets not try to kill them before they can tell us more shall we sir?" Faire smirked as she handed over the PADD, and made a note of their duty stations.
=/\=“Ludovisi to Hobbs: Altenna and I recommend rerouting the basic functions of the primary systems through the secondary computer core. Can’t guarantee we’ll be back to full steam ahead, but it‘ll be a hell of a lot better than where we are now. Should only take about ten minutes.”=/\=
A nebula class starship quietly dropped out of warp near the crippled cutter. The menacing ship hung quietly on the view screen as an officer on the bridge announced, "Captain, Terran cruiser identified as ISS Missouri is hailing us. Apparently our short range communication system is working."
Before another word could be said the screen filled with a bridge similar to the tamari Yamato. A short cut dark haired man wearing commander rank appeared.
"Well, well, well, Commodore, it appears you broke down and need a lift...", the man noticed the tank on Hobbs collar and looked shocked, "wait your not Russ!?"
Hobbs didn’t show a bit of emotion. “I am Lieutenant Hobbs.” His voice held no emotion. “What is the meaning of this!”
"Ah, um, well, Lieutenant, I am Commander James Wallace of the ISS Missouri. We were on patrol and detected your ship at the edge of our patrol. I am curious. It was my understanding that this ship was assigned to the newly promoted Commodore Nathan Russ. Has that changed", Wallace asked?
“It has not!” Hobbs returned. “I am under the service of Commodore Russ and am currently under orders.”
"Well then", the Commander replied with an evil grin crossing his face, "this is undoubtedly putting a kink in his orders to you. So, please allow me to tow you back to Port Royale where you can explain how the Commodore sent you out and allowed you to break down so horrendously and otherwise jeopardize the mission he sent you on?" Though fighting to hid it, it was obviously to that man was getting some sort of personal pleasure and satisfaction from this interaction.
Hobbs would rather die at the hands of the enemy than go to Port Royale in shame. He had a feeling that Commander Wallace was involved in this, perhaps He was behind this or at least involved. “Thank you for the offer but we do not require a tow.”
Faire glanced up as the communication cut off. "Sir We can't afford to dock now till we have questioned the two crewmen left to interrogate, the computer scientist checked out ok. I will arrange for them to meet with us in the briefing room." Faire continued as she called on the computer to order the two crewmembers to the ship's briefing room, after which making her way there.
SENIOR STAFF BRIEFING ROOM
Two crewmembers in golden operations and engineering uniforms made their way into the room with a looks of utter confusion on their faces. Faire smiled pleasantly to them both and gestured for them to take a seat. The data analyst was a lean pale figure of a man with short blonde hair and narrow features, he nearly tripped over the chair in front of him before correcting himself and giving a brief nod took a seat. "Ens Tomas, Data Analysis I was in the middle of checking our systems efficiency what is so important?"
Faire put up a hand for patience as the next figure moved in, She was short with a girth, dark hair down to her shoulders, the ridged texture of her nose proved enough that she was Bajoran. "Ens. Keller here, I heard we had some communications, it is good to hear some of the functions on the ship are working again" She beamed in a helpful tone. "What is this about?"
Faire crossed her legs at the ankles sidelong up on the desk. "Oh nothing much, part of my duty to check in with the crew, given our rather challenging conditions. I figured one of you two might want to talk to me about something?"
Ens. Tomas and Keller gave each other a look then glanced back to Faire bewildered. Faire only watched and continued to smile "I've got plenty of time, but eventually some others will be coming in and may need to use this room. So.. Who wants to make it back to port? Faire kept her voice soft and slowly leveled her phaser under the table to twitch a shot at either of them.
The two sat in silence only a moment before they started arguing and throwing accusations toward each other. Faire only half listened as she checked her nail polish till a word broke out. "TRAITOR!" Tomas yelled and grabbed for his dagger, going for Keller's throat before he clutched himself and collapsed in a dead heap."
Keller gasped, and relaxed a moment. Thank you I was sure he was going to kill me, he obviously had planned to..." She was cut off as she looked over and noted the phaser now pointing at her. Faire gave the same smile as the one when they entered the room "Now, I couldn't have him silence the only one that had the answers we need. Why don't you and I have a nice long talk before the others arrive shall we?
One of the engineers spoke up, "Eureka. I have restored low warp capabilities. We now have warp 2." The engineer moved to Ludovisi.
"Lieutenant, sir, I have restored Warp Speed up to Warp 2. I have also restore short range sensors, short range coms, shields and normal lighting."
The Operations Chief pounded the console in front of him in celebration with one hand and tapped his comm with the other, "Hobbs, you hear that?! We can get moving again! It's only warp two, but it's better than sitting here like a lost cause!" The briefest flash of anxiety crossed Ludovisi's face as he looked back to the junior engineer; he waited a moment to ensure that the comm had cut, "He's gonna want at least warp five in the next thirty minutes. Get on it!" To that effect, he looked over to Altenna, "We need weapons, specifically the torpedo launchers. Even if it's just one."
"Aye, sir," she responded professionally before pivoting and moving off towards the other engineers. She grabbed one by the collar of his uniform and pointed at another, "Follow me. Bring your gear."
Hobbs was relieved the work was getting done. He had confidence in Ludovisi as well as the crew. He also knew Faire would find their leak. Then, they would speak or die.
Some would have accepted defeat but not Hobbs. He would go to Port Royale under his own steam or die out here. He wasn’t going to be labeled as weak.
A signal came in from commander Wallace. The message was full of angry and irritated under tones. It was a simple message. "Good to see you moving again Lieutenant. God speed and safe travels ."
“As for you Commander Wallace,” Hobbs returned in a steely voice. He looked over at helm. “Full speed ahead to Port Royale. We are not stopping for anything or anyone. I am done with this bullshit!” He was aware by now that Martinez wasn’t playing games, he was pretty certain Wallace had somehow tried to make Russ look bad. Tobias was determined to get there and pick up their supplies, then head home.
“Ludovisi, I want a report on the engines,” He pressed his comm. “Faire get up here and let me know what you found out “
Faire looked a bit flustered as she arrived on the bridge. That was an hour she would never get back and either Ens. Keller had an extensive background lies, or she was as stupid as she pleaded to be. Either way they wouldn't entirely know before arriving at port. "I'm here... it appears we are in the clear, I had to put an officer down though." Faire gave a slight pout as if referencing a pet rather than a Starfleet officer. She was so upset she was going to go straight to getting a manicure AND a pedicure as soon as they arrived.
“They deserves killing then,” Hobbs returned. “We are up and running. I believe Commander Wallace was behind this. He would love to make our leader look weak to gain position. We will not whine when we get to Port Royale but pick up our supplies, possibly some extra fire power and head for home. We have lost time we didn’t need to and will be making it up by not staying at the station any longer than necessary.” He looked at Faire. “Did you find out anything!” Tobias listened time her give her report and then called Engineering. “We are going full speed ahead to Port Royale. I want everything you can give me to get us there as fast as possible!” He turned to security/tactical. “If we get anymore company that is not friendly, be prepared to shoot first and ask questions later.”
Hobbs took an occasional break but pretty much stayed on the bridge or in the captains office off the bridge as they traveled to their destination.
“We are approaching Port Royale, Lieutenant.”
Hobbs smiled though it didn’t reach his eyes. They were almost on time getting there, the engines had really been worked pushing the trip. “Contact Port Royale for permission to dock and receive our supplies. No one leaves this ship without my permission.” He wasn’t trusting anyone at this point.