It’s 3 weeks from our last adventure(s) in real time, 2 weeks game time (apply to your training). The Endurance continues to endure operations with the Claymore. Combat operations that is. Nothing but combat.
“An alien is hailing us.” “Weapons free, fire for effect!”
“An unknown ship is crossing our path at the edge of sensor range.” “Maximum warp, drop out of warp at maximum effective range, open fire, then hailing frequencies.”
“My coffee is cold.” “Lock on to the Endurance and fire. <sigh> OK, belay that, find another target and THEN fire! You there, close comms!”
“Small rocks off the port bow Sir.” “Launch the Marines.”
The Romulans are seen (when they want to be) as you go about your duties.
In the process of guarding a freighter that is making repairs after being attacked by pirates (subsequently blown up by the Claymore, the pirates that is, they let the freighter live… for now) a distress call is picked up on long range scans. Claymore leaves the Endurance to protect the Freighter and heads to the source of the signal at maximum warp. Morale is immediately improved, the senior officers put away their booze. Just as the Claymore exits sensor range a pair of Klingon Vor’Cha battlecruisers exit warp and drop cloak, slowly approaching your position. They open hailing frequencies, “This is Cpt Kerrogh of the IKS Mangghom Bey. May we speak without weapons fire?”
1. Captain Kerrogh of IKS Mangghom Bey wished communication with Endurance without the Claymore around, waiting to uncloak until the Claymore was out of Federation sensor range.
2. “I have something to communicate to you, Federation.” He only referred to the Endurance and Gamble as Federation. “We wish…” he struggled on the words and seemed to be choking a bit while his first officer completely failed to notice, “…negotiations. With you. ONLY you! Not that…OTHER…Federation. Contact me on this frequency when you are ready. 2 weeks, no more. That is our window.”
3. He closes comms, they cloak, they leave.
Upon the return of the Claymore the Freighter immediately contacted Cpt Seran to complain loudly about the 5 Vor’Cha that uncloaked around them, that the Endurance then talked to and they went away. Seran contacted the Endurance right away to get the details of the conversation with the Klingons, no doubt to see how he could turn it to his advantage. Afterwards, when it was obvious that there was no work-around for him to exploit, he grudgingly gave Captain Gamble a “Let me know how that works out” and dismissively closed the channel.
After repairs, Seran had TF21 set course for Atbar to greet their reinforcements.
TWO WEEKS OF HARASSMENT:
For the past 2 weeks the Endurance has (under orders) followed the Claymore around the TF21 Ops Area like a puppy dog, going from one crappy situation to the next as Seran bullied (as best he could) everyone he ran into, especially the legitimate (?) merchants in the area under the theory that at least some of them were basically up to no good. The law of averages being what it is, he was no doubt correct. However, poor sentiment toward the Federation in general and the Claymore and Endurance specifically is at an all-time high, which actually seemed to be his purpose.
Quickly into their journey it became apparent that Seran was looking for any excuse he could possibly manufacture to replace the Endurance’s command crew with officers of his choosing and several such requests were quietly forwarded to Captain Gamble from “a friend” in Fleet Captain Flanagan’s offices. Several reprimands for completely unreasonable lack of actions on the part of Gamble to participate in the bully sessions were filed, though nothing ever seemed to come of them.
At long last the two Saint Louis Cruisers journeyed back to Atbar to meet up with their reinforcements. Seran wanted to be there in time to greet the USS Azrael and the USS Redan as they arrived. Upon arriving in Atbar orbit the bridge crew of the Endurance noted the skeletal structure of the new Starfleet Repair and Refitting Station. A modular design, the units to plug into it were on the way now and were expected in another week. A few days after that it was expected to be online and viable.
Upon arriving in Atbar things are looking a bit more settled than last time the Endurance was here. With the arrival of the USS Azrael NCC-72021 and the USS Redan NCC-50339 Seran calls for a meet and greet aboard the Claymore. (Wow, that last sentence had all the ships names in it!) The command crews (Captain, 1st Officer, and 2nd Officer), but not the liaisons (though Claymore’s liaison Mukigo was there) were invited (ordered) to attend and go over a few things:
* The Captains of the Azrael and Redan want to know about their upgrades.
* Refit yards in Cardassia are 5 weeks behind right now and additional yards are being built.
* They were given their tactical software upgrades to self-install, which they did, and they’ve been cleared for its use.
* Their new shielding has been packed into their cargo bay and shuttle bay, both are full, and they were told they would be installed at Atbar.
* No facilities here. What do we do?
* Obvious solution: 4 ships, 4 engineering crews, the upgrade can be done with them acting as a makeshift yard using the tractors of 3 ships on the 4th. There was a bit of debate over this.
* Obvious issue: This makes these 4 ships a target. While there have been no incursions in Atbar over the last 3 weeks, there have been bombings and sabotage claimed by the True Way.
* Contributing to the debate was the fact that there are signal sources in the Atbar system that are unexplained and can’t be tracked down when investigated:
Ships on guard from the other TF’s of PG5 have rolled out, scanned, found nothing conclusive, then returned to Atbar.
Other ships of PG5 have been busy picking up the slack of the missing ships and have had no opportunity to investigate.
Cardassian Space Fleets are stretched just as thin.
* Eventually Seran made a command decision that the shielding would be done by TF21 in Atbar and other issues were discussed.
* The sensor buoy network needs to finish being deployed. The Cardies are screaming about it, Flanagan is out of excuses, it needs to be done.
* Finally, now that TF21 is reinforced, as well as TF25 with the addition of the Lightening under command of Captain Rubins, it is expected to begin contributing to the defense of Atbar. (On duty now are Bosque County – TF23, London – TF24, and Resolution – TF25)
* Seran announced to the captains and crews of the Redan and Azrael, "Until you get your feet wet and learn the area a bit this duty will be performed by our destroyers. Whichever destroyer is not guarding Atbar will be attached either to the Claymore or the Endurance. This is a semi-permanent fleet deployment to allow your ships to learn to work as a team. The Redan will be assigned to work with Gamble and the Endurance, the Azrael will be with the Claymore. “The Azrael will take first shift on guard duty until relieved in 1 week by the Redan.”
* The final order of business was food (which was excellent), booze (which was real and excellent), and dancing lead by Captain Gamble and Commander Yari Kim, XO of the Claymore. It is notable to those who attended from the Endurance, there was no funny smell aboard the Claymore in spite of all expectations.
The next day shield rigging for the two destroyers got under way. Once it was obvious what was going on, Captain Angelo of the USS Resolution and commander of TF25 requested the same service for the USS Lightening and contributed his ship’s and and the Lightening’s personnel to the cause of all 3. There was no significant difference in completion time to to install 3 sets of shielding rather than 2 as a result. Seran was magnanimous in his agreement to this arrangement. All ships got regenerative shielding.
In Atbar to drop sensor buoys, things could have gone very differently, but checking the logs of the sensor buoys already in place revealed the presence of nearly 50 ships that had positioned themselves among the Asteroid belt near Atbar. Apparently the destructiveness of the Claymore and, by implication, the Endurance over the last several days had outraged several pirate groups and caused them to think of these Starfleet ships as a real threat to be dealt with. The Endurance officers inferred that the pirates, knowing that both had been in this system on multiple occasions over the last few weeks it seemed a natural location for an ambush and their efforts were rewarded with the presence of the Endurance and another, unknown, Starfleet vessel (the Redan).
Examination of the Buoy logs indicated that there are at least pirate groups plus several smaller groups and solo ships. Sensor records show getting into position and powering down systems to hide their presence in the system.
Since the pirates seem to not know that the Endurance and Redan are on to them, Captain gamble opted to contact the Klingons in consideration of the 1 week of time remaining to do so. They conversed and Captain Kerrogh informed Captain Gamble that the Klingons were prepared to release the dilithium mining planet of Sonebr from their control and return it to the Cardassian Union, no strings attached. Based on Kerrogh face as he spoke, he appeared to be passing a large collection of hooved animals, as well as the majority of his family fortune, through his lower intestines at that very moment. He seemed uncomfortable and unhappy. The date and time and location of the transfer ceremony was given, and Gamble was advised to bring food, temporary shelter, medical supplies, and perhaps transport for 50,000.
Now, about those pirates….
GENERAL INFORMATION (I served with him in the ’Nam):
Sonebr IV – Mining colony and minor dilithium supplier. Common ores are abundant and easily mined, contributing to the planets gravity despite its size. While there is little natural life above a microbial level on the planet, there are substantial dilithium deposits here as well. Due to the presence of the valuable crystal, the Cardassians kept a large garrison of troops on Sonebr IV. The Klingons laid siege to the planet and essentially starved the garrison out during their take-over following the Dominion war. Of almost 50,000 Cardassian troops stationed on the planet, less than 5,000 remain alive, and those that do are used in the mines as labor.
• Class – M
• Satellites – 1
• Planetary Gravity – 1.08
• Planetary Size – 64.8% of Sol
• Land Area – 74%
• Planetary Rotation – 20 hours
• Atmospheric Density – Thin, breathing gear required
• General Climate – Arctic
• Mineral Content – Common metals, abundant dilithium.
• Population – 230,000 civilian, 64,000 troops.
Taggrut – Orbiting a red supergiant are 8 Terrestrial planets, 3 belts, 8 gas giants, 8 ice cores occupy this solar system which is one of the largest (in volume) in Cardassian space at 2.3 times the volume of the Sol solar system. Arranged from the star: T, T, B, T, T, T, B, T(M), G, T, G, B, G, I, I, I, I, I, I, I, I.