Wednesday, October 14, 2009

[USS Charon] - [USS Corsair] - SD240910.13 || Backlog || - "Impasse Part III"

Neodyne Defense Corporation

Research Facility IX-4

Location:  Nakadia Solar System
Disputed Border Between Klingon & Romulan Space


"Impasse - Part III"



Neodyne Research Facility IX-4 orbited high above the shattered remains of a reddish planet known only as N12.  The silver needle shaped station served several main purposes in the hazardous orbit of the planet.  Converted from an abandoned Klingon mining station twenty years prior the refitted station was equipped with an enormous power plant at its center the equal of several Starfleet warp cores combined.  Vast amounts of power were required to operate the station’s heavy shield systems in addition to powering a custom built deflector beam capable of pushing large rocks and debris from the station’s path in addition to opening safe gaps in the surrounding asteroid field for NeoDyne supply ships.


The station served as guardian to the system’s inner core and as a zero-gravity research center with limited laboratories.  Ore processing rooms had been converted into cargo bays which stored rations, supplies, and other materials vital to ongoing research.  Transporters bridged the gap from space to planet where NeoDyne’s primary research center resided.  Built into the abandoned mining center left on the planet’s fractured surface, NeoDyne had expanded the mine into a formidable underground complex for its most secret research and development projects.  IX-5 was the designation for the surface facility in which few employees were permitted access.


For twenty years the facility had been upgraded, improved, and maintained in secret by the NeoDyne Corporation.  The system’s natural hazards made it an ideal location to hide its clandestine activities and only the most adventurous of captains dared enter or approach the Nakadia system with its deadly reputation of being a “ship killer”.


Many of the NeoDyne staff led mundane lives aboard, but were handsomely compensated both for their loyalty and silence as well as the isolation they endured alone in an empty wasteland of unremarkable rocky debris.


==[ Control Center – Station IX4 ]==


 “Simms, you slob, clean up this area.  Your work area is an utter sty.  Sit up and at least look like you’re doing your job!  President Merikai from corporate will be arriving to offload cargo and shut down this facility.  Let’s at least show him we’re capable employees.  Perhaps we will get to keep our jobs!”


Simms nonchalantly nodded waving off his supervisor who retreated with a snort and disappeared into another area to harass another unlucky employee.  The boss was in another one of his many moods.  With the recent news of President Merikai’s pending arrival he had been ten times as obnoxious and annoying than usual.  Simms however was unimpressed by the man’s threats.  Jack Simms was invaluable aboard the station and everyone knew it.


Managing the station’s complex network of communications, defenses, and sensors, Simms was the senior engineer for all electronic systems.  Nothing escaped his eagle eyes when there was something worth looking at.  The job was incredibly easy, far easier than his talent was capable of.  The pay was decent, he made his own hours, and was generally left alone to do anything he wanted.  NeoDyne’s converted station was also extraordinarily well protected by natural defenses.  No sane person would dare enter the area which made his job of surveillance and communications management a breeze.


Pulling the foil wrapper off of a chocolate energy bar, Simms tossed the crumpled waste on the floor behind him not bothering to aim for the trash.  The cleaning crew would get it after his shift.  Munching on the sugary snack, Simms lazily watched a recorded video on technology while ignoring his other duties which he had perfectly monitored by automated computer processes.  He had spent the first six months of his job writing custom coded automation programs to automatically watch the various systems he himself was supposed to monitor on a daily basis.  The computer monitored systems freed him to do roughly whatever he wanted all day, everyday.  So long as he ‘looked’ busy no one could tell or really understood what tasks he was engaged in at any given time.  Aside from general system maintenance and the occasional malfunction or repair Simms did what Simms wanted.


Chomping on his candy bar in his corner cubicle wedged underneath some of the station’s old industrial pipes and conduits, Simms failed to notice the flurry of activity around him as he enjoyed the video feed and the gooey chocolate until a voice snapped him out of his high calorie induced coma.


“SIMMS”, his boss shouted from the center of the room.


“WHAT”, Jack blurted back.  “I’m busy over here!”


“SIMMS! Get off your ass and get over here NOW!”


Simms leaned forward in his technology packed cube wiping the crumbs from his candy bar off his stomach.  Using the back of his hand he cleaned his chocolate covered lips wiping his hand on his poorly maintained NeoDyne uniform.  He slowly stood and begrudgingly headed toward his supervisor.


“What”, he said in a monotone voice.


His boss seemed livid.  “What the hell are we paying you for”, he shouted.


“What did I do?”


“Nothing it would seem”, his boss shouted pointing at a nearby monitoring viewscreen.  “We have activity in section 14!”


Simms rolled his eyes.  “It’s probably just another asteroid with a high metallic composition like the one the other day.  No reason to get your panties in a wad”, he mumbled back.


His supervisor seemed genuinely concerned and anxious.  “You moron!  Since when do rocks emit energy signatures!”


Simms yawned.  “Probably just amplified background radiation.  There’s enough gamma radiation out there from that dying star to cook a steak.”


“Metallic object detected in sector 14”, a co-worker shouted from nearby.  “It’s inbound – picking up additional metallic masses and increased signal to noise ratios.  We’re picking up intermittent signals.  The pattern doesn’t mesh with normal observed patterns of background radiation in the system.”


“Impossible”, Simms answered moving back to his cramped station.  “You guys always overact to the slightest...”  He stopped as his own instruments showed something unusual – something that wasn’t supposed to be there, something he had never seen in three years of work on the station.


His supervisor leaned over his shoulder with a piercing gaze.  “Simms, you are practically worthless, I should have fired you years ago, the only thing that does any work around here are the sensor beacons you programmed!”


Simms ignored the comments concentrating on identifying the unknown anomaly showing up on his sensor network.


“WELL, what is IT”, his supervisor shouted.


“I DON’T KNOW”, Simms fired back.  “If you’d shutup and let me work, perhaps I could tell...”


“Picking up stronger signals now sir.  Energy signals are fragmented but appear to be highly focused.  Computer analysis suggests energy is may be standard sensor or communications activity.”


Simms glared at his monitors.  It wasn’t possible.  The computers had to be picking up a false reflection echo from the station’s own equipment.


“WELL SIMMS”, his supervisor impatiently asked his arms dropping to his hips.


“I’m checking it”, Jack muttered.  “No one’s stupid enough to run the barrier.  A ship of any size would be crushed in that soup out there.”


“Energy signatures increasing.  Sensors now registering several metallic objects moving through the asteroid belt on an abnormal trajectory.  Unable to identify objects due to debris field.”


“I don’t need a play by play”, Simms shouted from his station.  “I can see the information right here”, he bellowed at his fellow workers.



“Starfleet vessels detected”, a junior officer suddenly shouted.  “Running a computer match now!”


The supervisor turned his gaze toward the station’s viewing screen which was now focused in on the rocky inner belt of the asteroid field where sensors indicated something small was moving.


“Target identified as a Starfleet AC-409 Valkyrie Class Space Superiority Fighter.”


“Impossible”, Simms blurted.  “Can’t be.  That’s a short range, carrier based fighter.  There’s no way it could make it into deep space on its own.”


“Match confirmed as Valkyrie Class Fighter.  Sensors now detecting two, three, wait!  No four fighters inbound!”


The supervisor uttered a string of harsh profanities directly at Simms taking his seat in the station’s control room.  “Divert power to the shields.  Charge defensive systems.  We cannot allow any of those craft to escape the area.”


“Starfleet cannot be here.  They would be in violation of treaty by crossing both the Romulan and Klingon Neutral Zones.  The fighters must be stolen or off course.  The Federation would never risk sending a ship or fleet this far into disputed Romulan/Klingon territory.”


“Simms, isn’t a complete idiot”, the supervisor replied.  “Starfleet wouldn’t dare send ships here, but nonetheless those fighters and whoever is piloting them cannot be allowed to escape.  As soon as they are within range we will attack.  If we’re fortunate we might be able to disable one and determine what they are doing here, but if not, they are better off gone.”


Simms, now perspiring, quickly activated his arsenal of listening and sensor systems struggling to keep up with the data flowing in from multiple sensor arrays.  “They must be lost or something.  Those fighters don’t have the range to get here to a remote system like this on their own.”


“NEW SIGNAL”, a sensor operator shouted.  “This one is more massive than the others.  Inbound at 116 mark 23, Sector 14!”


The supervisor stood from his chair as everyone’s eyes locked onto the viewing screen the room falling deathly silent.


“Inbound starship”, a technician yelled.  “It’s breeching the barrier!”


“What type of ship is it”, the supervisor quickly asked his eyes turning quickly back to the screen.


“The computer is unable to make a positive match, but size, configuration, and overall aesthetic indicates it is of Federation design!  Size and weight ratios suggest it could be a heavy cruiser!” 


“That’s…that’s not possible”, Simms stammered staring at the screen.  “The asteroid belt is impenetrable except when we activate our deflection system to open a path for our supply ships.  There’s no way it made it through in one piece!”


“WHAT DO YOU CALL THAT THEN”, his supervisor screeched pointing a finger at the room's large surveillance display.  “A MIRAGE?”


“All stations go to maximum alert.  Notify security and have them standby.  Arm defenses and prepare for combat.  Someone find Doctor Ballentine and have him report to operations immediately!”


Simms looked on incredulously at his multiple computer screens which showed four fighters and a Federation starship approaching.  He couldn’t believe it.  It just wasn’t possible any vessel had navigated the field, especially one as large as a Federation cruiser.  He had spent months scanning the rocky field for holes to plug making the entire area a fortress from which NeoDyne could protect and hide its activities.


“What do we do”, a NeoDyne technician asked the supervisor staring incredulously at the screen.


“I..I don’t know”, he nervously replied.  “We’ll let the doctor make that decision.  Until he gets here continue scanning and see if the computer has any additional data on those vessels.”


The supervisor fell back into his chair stunned at what he was seeing.  What was a Starfleet vessel doing here?  How had it navigated the hazards of the asteroid belt?


He swallowed as he waited for the doctor to arrive.  The station was well protected by massive shield generators to defend against the system’s debris and high radiation, but it was poorly equipped for combat.  A few obsolete phaser banks, one disruptor cannon, and an outdated plasma torpedo launcher that hadn’t been fired in years constituted the station’s full offensive capabilities.


Its weapons were a poor match for a starship which probably bristled with the latest phaser emitters, photon, and quantum torpedoes.  Even with the station’s heavy shielding it would be unable to withstand a prolonged battle with a Starfleet cruiser and its formidable arsenals.


Hopefully the doctor could figure a way out of this improbable and unexpected situation.  Perhaps Starfleet was just investigating the area as was their annoying habit.


“SIMMS”, arm and activate the weapons systems as a precaution.  Charge the plasma torpedo launcher and lock it in on the starship.


“Are you joking”, Simms shouted from his station.  “I can’t even be sure that ancient Romulan antique will fire!”


“Stop arguing with me and charge the weapon as ordered”, the supervisor roared.


“Where the hell is Dr. Ballentine?  Someone find him and get him up here now!”



[ To Be Continued… ]