Captain’s Log, Stardate 52162.8: A while back, the starship Voyager, made contact with Starfleet for the first time since they got swept into the Delta Quadrant. One of the things that we learned about is that they had enhanced their Astrometrics lab with Borg technology. I found the data fascinating and came up with a concept to duplicate their efforts utilizing what the Borg left behind on Enterprise a year and a half ago. During Baldwin‘s time in dock, the engineers of Starbase 375 took my design from the drawing board to reality.
“All right, show us the current front lines of our fleet and all reports of theirs.” Karen promptly pressed a few buttons on a console. On the screen appeared several logos resembling the Federation, the Klingons, the Romulans, and the Dominion. “Looks sharp.”
“Hey Patrick” Jenna said as she walked into the room. “How’s the new war room.”
“We are live,” Patrick replied. “Focus in on a 5 parsec area surrounding Betazed.”
The Screen zoomed in on Betazed and the fleet, “Here’s our position, and here’s Ottawa. Edmund Fitzgerald and the remainder of the 5th are out here.”
“And this little dot on the map would be Wildfire,” Amanda interrupted.
“What do you have for me, commander?” Patrick inquired.
“Just wanting you to give me your OK on this duty roster. How does it look?”
“It looks all right, but I have to recuse myself from signing off on this.”
“Am I missing something here?” Jenna asked.
“Just the fact my sister is under her command. I think you’ll agree that if I sign off on a duty assignment involving a blood relative, it would have the appearance of impropriety.”
“I see your point,” Jenna responded, “Amanda, can I take a look at that roster? I have to agree that it looks all right.” Jenna promptly put her thumb on the PADD, “There you go.”
“That reminds me,” Patrick commented, “Since Ottawa is then strongest ship tactically, you would be next in the line of command of the squadron should I become killed or incapacitated.”
“In other words, you want an excuse to keep in touch,” Jenna answered, smiling. “So, what can this thing tell us about the enemy. I see that the Dominion is nearing the Ludine Nebula.”
“Let’s take a look,” Patrick answered. “Computer, sequence enemy movements from the last five days around the Ludine Nebula.” The computer promptly drew an animation of Dominion ships entering the nebula. “Nice catch,” Patrick continued. “It looks like they are stockpiling ships into the nebula. Bridge, this is Captain Ingrum. I need Admiral Ross, ASAP.”
All of the ship commanders in the squadron gathered in the war room, “Here’s the deal. I’ve compiled recent intelligence reports regarding Dominion activity near the Ludine Nebula. We’ve got bandits going in, but they don’t come out.”
“Perhaps they are building for an attack and shielding us to keep us from finding out where and when,” Amanda noted.
“That is a possibility, Amanda,” Patrick continued, “and something that must be seriously considered. The only way to find out is to go in there ourselves.”
“I’d be more than willing to volunteer,” Amanda replied.
“I can set you up,” Patrick replied, “but I do want someone else to go with you on this.”
“Count me in,” Andrea responded.
“Now that that’s settled,” Patrick said, “have Nimitz and Wildfire ready for inspection in 45 minutes.”
Patrick smiled when both ships arrived on time. “Are you two just trying to impress me?”
“Who, us?” Amanda and Shandy replied.
“Anyway, I’m having a cloaking device installed on your ships. It is still experimental, but it gets the job done.” Patrick proceeded to explain how the phasing cloak works. He finished off with a piece of advice, “Just remember to be careful.”
“We will,” Shandy said.
“Betsy, what’s our status?” Katy inquired.
“Cloaking device installed and online.”
“Riffin to bridge, are you guys picking me up?“
“We are,” Katy responded.
“Good, it looks like the dedicated comlink is working,” Andrea commented from Wildfire‘s bridge. “Anna, are you ready for this?”
“As ready as I’ll ever be.”
The turbolift doors subsequently opened, “How are we doing up here?” Shandy asked as she stepped onto the bridge.
“We are done up here,” Andrea said. “I will head back to my ship.”
“Cloaking device is online and ready up here,” Anna continued.
“As soon as Andrea is away, set course bearing 1-2-5 mark 2-0.”
Patrick gave some final words to the two ships, “Andrea, Amanda: be careful, good luck, and godspeed.”
“Betsy, set course and engage cloak.”
“Captain, we’ve got an alert from Captain DeSoto. He wants us to convene with the rest of the 5th pronto.”
“Thank you, JP. Kim, set course for the fifth fleet and engage maximum warp.”
Minutes later, Patrick’s wing had rendezvoused with the rest of the fleet. “Kristy, hail Captain DeSoto.” Patrick paused until Captain DeSoto’s face appeared on the screen. “What’s the situation?”
“We have enemy ships half a light year from here, and I have orders to engage them.”
“All right. All hands, red alert. Captain, please be advised that two ships from my wing are on a recon mission.”
“Kim, follow the rest of the fleet.”
“Captain, we are entering the Ludine Nebula.”
“Understood, Betsy,” Andrea replied. “Are we picking up anything?”
“Negative on all sensors,”
“Wildfire, Nimitz , Amanda, are you reading anything?”
“Negative, Nimitz” Amanda replied.
“How bout a visual?”
“Forward visual on screen.”
Andrea was amazed at what was shown on the screen. “Amanda, have you checked your visual?”
“Oh, my,” Amanda exclaimed. “I bet there are dozens of enemy ships out there.“
“I’ve counted at least 50 fighters and 20 battlecruisers,” Shandy commented.
“As well as an apparent source of our problems,” Anna added.
“What do you mean?” Andrea inquired.
“I saw a sensor jam amidst all the battleships,”
“Why would they use a sensor jam in the middle of a nebula.”
“Simple. They want to keep the upper hand in case intelligence finds a way to get past the nebula.
“If that’s the case,” Andrea noted, “We need to take care of the sensor jammer.”
“We are approaching the enemy fleet,” the Edmund Fitzgerald‘s helmsman noted.
“Drop us to one-quarter impulse,” Kelly ordered.
“Scan the enemy ships and prepare a firing solution,” Captain DeSoto added.
Baldwin was following the leader. “Dropping to one-quarter,” Kristy noted.
“All ships, this is Captain DeSoto. 1st and 2nd wings, target the fighters. 3rd and 5th, cover the larger ships. 4th wing fill-in as needed.“
“Preparing a firing solution on the lead battle-cruiser,” Jaimie replied.
“Fire,” Patrick replied.
“There is no way,” Shandy noted, “we can use phasers or torpedoes in this nebula. Even if we could, we can’t target it automatically.”
“What about,” Anna inquired, “a tetryon pulse from the main deflector?”
“Tetryon pulses would do the job,” Amanda replied; “however, how do you plan on directing the pulse?”
“With a steady hand and a good pair of crosshairs,” Anna stated.
“Can you do that?”
“Let’s do it,” Andrea said over the com link.
“Shields down to 90 percent,” Roslyn said.
“How many ships left?”
“Captain,” Gloria interrupted, “The Tien An Men is reporting serious damage.”
“Have Wasp fill in so that they can pull back.”
“Sir,” Kelly noted, “We’ve lost two ships, and Tien An Men has to pull back.”
“I don’t blame ’em,” DeSoto said. “Kelly, How about the enemy fleet.”
“They’re down to 70% — we’re down to 70%.”
“They are keeping us even.”
“We’ve decloaked, the bandits haven’t noticed us yet,” Andrea stated, “It appears that between the sensor jam and the nebula, their flying blind, too. Wildfire, while you take care of the array we’ll head out of the nebula to call for reinforcements.“
“We’re on it,” Amanda stated. “Anna, are you ready,”
“As ready as I’ll ever be,” she replied. “Engaging the manual steering control.”
“Captain,” Roslyn said, “I’m receiving a message for you. It’s Nimitz.”
“Ask Fitzgerald to monitor this call. Let’s hear it.”
“Captain,” Fitzgerald‘s tactical officer stated. “I’m receiving a message from Baldwin. He wants you to monitor Starfleet Channel 42.”
“Put the channel on,”
“Nimitz, Baldwin, what’s the news, Andrea?“
“We can confirm that we’ve got a lot of Dominion ships hiding in the Ludine Nebula.“
Anna kept a steady hand on the Joystick as the viewscreen showed the ship’s intended target. “The Deflector is ready,” Maria stated.
“I have a good visual lock on the target,” Anna followed.
“At least seventy ships? That’s more than we have faced here,” Patrick stated. “Fitzgerald, Baldwin. Captain DeSoto, I hope the hell that you have been listening in.”
“I have,” he replied.
“What do you think we should do?”
“This engagement was likely a trap to start with. We clearly need to cut off the big ambush. DeSoto to all ships: we’ve been set up. Set a course for the Ludine Nebula, maximum warp.“
“Good shooting, people,” Amanda commented. “Kristl, what do sensors show.”
“Sensors are reading at least 100 ships.”
“Anna, back us off to the Nimitz‘s position quickly.”
“No Arguing with that,” Anna replied.
“Roz, what are the Dominion forces we left behind doing?”
“They are on a pursuit course.”
“Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right,” Patrick sang. “Here I am, stuck in the middle with you.”
“Have you been listening to more of that rock and roll?” Reinette Commented.
“Captain,” Lindsay exclaimed, “The fifth fleet is approaching, and they have brought some company with them.”
“Arm phasers and quantum torpedoes,” Andrea replied.
“Maria,” Amanda said to her tactical officer, “standby all weapons.”
“Captain,” Kristl said, “They are coming out of the nebula.”
“Photon Torpedos — Full Spread.”
“Aye, sir, full spread.”
“We got numerous direct hits. Two down, several more damaged.”
“What’s the report now?” DeSoto inquired.
“The Dominion are cunning planners,” Kelly stated, “but they did not expect us to figure this little puzzle out. They have taken a larger hit.”
The Dominion were not off guard for long, “We’ve taken several hits,” Jaimie exclaimed, “Shields at 72%.”
“Make every shot count!” Patrick replied.
Captain’s Log: Stardate 52166.3: Our mission into the Dominion’s Danger Zone netted us a major victory over the Dominion. Although it is easier for them to lick their wounds than us, we intend to relish this victory.
“Now, for your viewing pleasure: The USS Baldwin dance crew,” Patrick said to introduce the dance team that Reinette had put together.
“Where do I sign up?” Amanda asked Patrick as he was watching his crew perform on the dance floor.
“You’ll have to ask Reinette,” Patrick replied. “You did a great job on that nebula mission, skipper. Remind me to nominate your crew for a medal.”
“Thank you, sir,” she replied.