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Too Close For Comfort Part One

Posted on Sat 19th Aug, 2023 @ 7:42am by Commander Zed & Commander T'Venderath & Elizabeth Anderson M.D. & Renato Solis & Criswell Sandbags

1,348 words; about a 7 minute read

Mission: Neither Yours Nor Mine
Location: USS Thunderchild/ USS Comfort somewhere near the Abrades System
Timeline: MD15 1143 hours

The Akira Class starship was a brilliant design. The ship could have various load-outs which were configured at a starbase. She could conduct Science, Patrol, and Diplomatc missions just to name a few with the swap of her weapons pod. USS Thunderchild was equipped for war.

She had her weapons pod fully loaded as did she have a full complement of fighters. She was out investigating Pirate activity. Current location, is the Barada system.

Commander Zed sat in her chair and was enjoying a cup of hot tea. The chair was a bit big for her small frame and she had meant to inform the Engineering team on SB 109 to swap it out when they were doing repairs, but she had been a bit too occupied with other things.

Dr. Anderson sat in an empty chair in front of a science console. She had no real reason to be on the bridge, but she enjoyed the view when the front screen was on, as it was now. Being on the station had become a little stale, and she had the time, so she'd signed on as a civilian doctor. If combat took place, as it likely would with pirates involved, she'd be able to help Thunderchild's medical team with injuries. And anyway, I'm bored with Damion so busy at the moment she thought.

"Do you have information about where we might interact with pirates? Or how many this system has had to fight lately?" she asked a thoughtful Commander Zed.

Zed spun in her chair and looked at the newcomer from SB109, "I don't think it will be much of an interaction, but more like a battle if we find them. So far to date they have been very sophisticated and have been two steps ahead of Star Fleet. That being said, this system has had a high volume of pirate activity ranging from extorting planets. robbing them of their resources while they starve, and slave trafficking just to name a few."

"Attempting to open a dialogue with them would be futile at this point. If we find any pirates there will be a loss of life, I'm afraid." Zed's concentration was interrupted by the Operations Officer.

"Captain, I am receiving a distress call from the USS Comfort. She's under attack by pirates."

"Comfort, that's a Hospital ship, Olympic class, minimal weapons, and shielding. Where is her escort?" Zed asked thoughtfully.

"They were diverted to assist a convoy that was under attack by pirates." the Operations Officer replied.

"How convenient." Zed replied before asking, "And how far away are we?"

"12 minutes at maximum warp."

"!2 minutes." She mumbled. "In a fight, that's probably 10 minutes too late" She hit the comm button on her chair's console, =A=Zed to Engineering, we're going to need emergency warp speed and all the power you can muster. There is a Federation starship 12 minutes away that won't last if we can't cut down on the time it takes to get to them.=A=

=A=I'll do what I can." came a gruff voice, "But I will have to shut down all nonessential systems and even some of the essential ones.=A=

=A=Do what you need to, I can stand a little heat. Zed out=A=

"Plot a course and Engage emergency warp speed," Zed ordered.

"Aye Captain, Emergency warp speed. Engaging." After a moment the computer displayed a different ETA, "New ETA is 8 minutes."

Zed didn't reply, she just sat back in her chair and waited. It would be a long 8 minutes for the Comfort and Zed.

Well, that was a fast change of pace! Elizabeth held on to the handles of her chair as if she could actually feel the speed of their ship changing.

Aloud, she murmured, "8 minutes. It seems so short, and yet it could be too long."


{Secondary Command Center}

Captain Gladstone hated protocol, but the moment the hospital became imperiled the decisions were out of his hands. Their pursuers had overtaken them without notice, in an old-school Orion Interceptor of all kinds. Without their escort, the raider was jamming signals across the spectrum and slamming leechcraft into the Comforts hull at the bridge and Engineering Sections. Commander Abalasz remained on the bridge, but Gladstone had his orders. Hospital ships had a very famous trait they were well known for and that was their ability to lock down. The hospital itself contained protective measures beyond ordinary security countermeasures and thick sealing bulkheads.

From the battle bridge, the Captain and his Security Officer conducted war against boarding parties cutting through sealed bulkheads or blowing out field emitter panels. Their coordinated efforts had achieved much, the lockdown was in effect, counter-signal jamming allowed limited comms, and prevented beam outs from the ship. Command ciphers were safe, and the computer core went into its own sealed state. Multiple redundant field emitters were activated to protect weak spots in Deflectors, and to their satisfaction, security teams had taken their orders well. The goal wasn't to kill the intruders but hold them so long that they had to run, No hospital ship was ever far from help, time was on their side.

Their view on the bridge was grim, there was no helping the XO and senior staff when the boarders bypassed the turbo lift securities and poured in. Their comms officer took a blast to the chest trying to fire back, Commander Abalasz ordered an immediate surrender after their Security Yeoman and Secondary Conn officer were also shot and possibly killed. Their defenses didn't activate, and as though with full permission, the Turbolift doors let a dozen pirates with shields of their own. The intruders could fire through the containment fields, a sign they were given information to assist in this audacious raid.

“They got the Bridge, Emanuel.” Chin-Ro's familiar usage of his first name was a token of shared admiration.

“They have our codes, have bypassed or disarmed...that was no override!” He knew it meant there was a traitor on board, someone had set this up, peeled off their escort just hours ago, and had slipped past sensors which can see clear to the Delta Quadrant. His blood boiled at the thought of being betrayed, but the fact at hand was they were being boarded, and decisions made now saved lives later.

“Distress call is not getting out! Signal interference at 4800Thz bleeding across bands.” Chin-ro was no comms officer, but she knew it well enough to read the panel."

Captain Gladstone hit a pulsing colored toggle on the handrest of his seat, “Black Box deployed. Emmanuel Gladstone 2-2-7 Sierra Foxtrot -Prime”

The black box would blast far away, too fast to be destroyed, and would send its own messages once free along with all their telemetry up to now. After Emmanuel launched the black box, he swapped command controls over in full, re-encrypting them lest their boarding party have further codes to deploy. He was a ship's captain by training but was now in charge of the ship, two hundred crew, and twelve hundred patients. Protocol dictated their patients were never handed over to enemy intruders, at the cost of crew life. He didn’t have time to consider his friends, just continue his efforts to coordinate the security teams and repel the intruders.

“Chin, they’re using decoys, tell our teams to use triangulation and coordinate between teams.”

“Would that I had teams in position to triangulate, or a comms officer to handhold them.”

Captain Gladstone grunted, positing over the problem for a moment before replying, “Conduct regular bio bed environmental surveys, they go at least 5 meters out, don't they? Both sides of the wards… leave a small gap in the corridors so the decoys might still show accurately, but it’ll be something.”

Chin-Ro thought it over, “Got it, we can add in the air purity sensors, it's a separate scanning suite. Ceiling, left and right, should be it?"”

Emanuel nodded, “Good, I’ve got-“

He stopped at the sight of the interlopers holding weapons on his bridge staff.


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