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Paradise Lost (FT, CLOSED)

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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New Khitomer
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Paradise Lost (FT, CLOSED)

Postby New Khitomer » Sun Oct 10, 2021 1:43 am

Commander Russell T. Buchanan
Lakeside Colony, Arcadia Sector
Stardate 66952.2




It was a beautiful day in paradise.

As he stepped out of the aircar that had brought him to Lakeside Colony, Commander Russell T. Buchanan could not help but bask in the sheer beauty that was the world that he had been lucky enough to get assigned to. Lakeside Colony, so-named for the sapphire-coloured lake around which it based, was the most distant of the colonies established by the United Federation of New Khitomer. Lakeside, and other colonies like it, were the first efforts in restoring Starfleet’s mission of exploration that had been put by the wayside for at least the last decade, arguably more. There was an entire new galaxy out there, just begging to be explored, and peering bravely behind the new frontier was a vital part of bringing the passion for exploration back to life. The Borg War, and indeed the Dominion War that had preceded it, would ensure that Starfleet never forgot its military and defence responsibilities, as had been the case during the time of the likes of Pike, Kirk and Sulu, but those men had valued exploration as much as they had defending the Federation, and so many hoped to return to now that the Borg War was becoming a distant, if still incredibly painful, memory.

And by god, Lakeside Colony was a beautiful, soothing salve on the painful memories of the Borg War.

Although it was hardly Starship duty, the assignment that any Starfleet Officer worth his salt sought after, serving on a frontier colony, especially one as new as Lakeside, was an incredibly rewarding experience to those Starfleet Officers, and Enlisted personnel, to whom the duty fell. It was not without its unique challenges of course; after all it was a civilian colony first and foremost; the Starfleet presence there was to provide defence and to assist the colonists at the direction of the Colony Governor. This of course meant that there was a certain degree of colonial politics involved, after all many of the colonists had differing priorities depending on their own background. Fortunately, as the Executive Officer of Starfleet Outpost Lakeside, Buchanan got to handle strictly Starfleet affairs at their outpost in the hills to the west of the main colony, whilst his commanding officer, Captain Sasin Ch’kariq, provided oversight and liaised with the Colonial Government. It was for that reason that Captain Ch’kariq’s office was in the Colony Hub, whilst Commander Buchanan’s office was within Outpost Lakeside. As such for Commander Buchanan the colony was more his home than his workplace, although like today his duties did occasionally bring him here.

He had been summoned by Captain Ch’kariq, but he was early for his meeting and he had ordered the yeoman flying the air car to put him down a small distance from the Colony Hub to allow him to enjoy the gorgeously sunny day. The Colony Hub was at the centre of a carefully maintained public garden, and it was through these quiet pathways that Buchanan slowly walked. He was perhaps halfway to the Colony Hub when he bumped into Lieutenant Commander Gabriele Rockwell, his Chief of Security. On a new, frontier, colony like this general law enforcement and safety was handled by Starfleet Security, the logic being that it would be a waste of valuable resources to establish a civilian law enforcement organisation for such small settlements when Starfleet would already have an established presence. As such, and unlike all other Starfleet personnel during day-to-day activity, Lt. Commander Rockwell and her security team’s were routinely armed with Type-2 Phasers whilst on-duty, which identified them as Starfleet Security acting in a law enforcement role.

“Good Morning, Sir,” Lt. Commander Rockwell said by means of greeting.

“Good Morning, Commander,” Buchanan smiled. “How are you this fine morning?”

“Patrolling the streets of paradise,” Rockwell grinned. “Can’t complain.”

“It would be in bad taste for those poor, lost souls with less fortunate duty assignments,” Buchanan replied with a chuckle as they began to walk together. “How goes the colony, any trouble last night?”

“A few bits here and there; the crew from the Intrepid were down on shore leave last night, apparently they got word that they’d be getting underway, so they wanted to enjoy themselves,” Rockwell shook her head. “Nothing too dramatic though, a few Captain’s Masts for the skipper of Intrepid, but nothing that’s gonna cost anyone their career, or anything like that, thankfully for all concerned.”

Buchanan smiled wryly; the Starship Intrepid was officially part of the Third Fleet’s Special Expeditionary Group, the task force that provided ships for long-range independent and deeps-space missions for Starfleet, but when not on such duties it was not unusual to see these ships supporting the First Fleet’s Task Force 17, the Outer Colony Patrol. With so many colonies along the perimeter, it was practically impossible for Starfleet to station a Starship in every system, instead Task Force 17 was charged with maintaining a rotating patrol, however even with eighteen starships assigned to the Task Force there would still be significant gaps in the coverage. As such, any Starship passing through the area, outbound on a mission, would be routed through one of the outer colonies, which had the added bonus of providing one last R&R excursion in Federation space. The Intrepid was on its way to explore a protonebula near the newly discovered Protectorate of Prime Redux, and had been ordered to do so through Lakeside Colony.

“That’s always a good thing, I hate to see people throw their careers away over something as simple as a drunken mistake on leave,” Buchanan commented wryly. “It’s not an excuse, of course, but it is such a damned waste when it happens, especially to the good ones.”

“Indeed it is,” Rockwell agreed. “What brings you to the Colony, Sir?”

“The Captain,” Buchanan replied simply. “With the Intrepid leaving to investigate that protonebula our probes detected, he wanted to discuss our defensive posture.”

“I’ll walk you to the hub then,” Rockwell smiled.

The two talked pleasantly for the few minutes that it took them to walk into the centre of town towards the original Colony Hub. The Hub stuck out amongst the buildings that surrounded it, for the hub and the first two dozen or so buildings had been pre-fabricated and had more of the appearance of a starship hull than a a normal building; but then that was to be expected as it had allowed the original core of the colony to be established within only a few days. As civilian colonists had arrived to supplement the original Starfleet presence the buildings that had spread out from the centred been built in a more traditional style, modern of course, but looking less like a planetary starbase. As they reached the Hub, Rockwell took her leave with a salute to resume her patrol as Buchanan began to take the steps up into the building itself, returning the salute of the two Starfleet Security officers standing post outside the main entrance. The lobby was surprisingly light and airy given the generally utilitarian design of the building as a whole, which made the space feel a lot less busy than it actually was, with Starfleet Officers and civilian staff criss-crossing the space. As the outermost Federation colony, Lakeside had been chosen as the jumping off point for future exploration missions and, even before the Starships started to arrive, there was a significant presence already in place to facilitate what preparations were required. There was a reason why, for all intents and purposes, Buchanan commanded the Starfleet presence whilst Captain Ch’kariq handled the bigger picture.

Buchanan rang the chime to the Captain’s Office, and was promptly invited inside.

“Captain, you wanted to see me?”

Captain Ch’kariq looked up and nodded, gesturing to the chair in front of his desk for his XO to sit in.

“Yes, with the Intrepid due to get underway this afternoon, I wanted to discuss our defensive posture with you; although we have no threats at this moment, our position on the frontier leaves us vulnerable to pirates or hostile civilisations in the absence of a Starship,” Ch’kariq commented. “As you know, I’ve been concentrating on my liaison duties, and I have not had a chance to review our current state of affairs on the Starfleet side of things, so I would appreciate if you could bring me up to date on our defensive assets.”

“Of course, the Intrepid has just dropped off two dozen phaser platforms, which we’ll start to establish in orbit to complement the colony’s groundside defences, and should give us adequate control over the orbital space and provide a protective umbrella,” Buchanan replied promptly. “We’re also now up to our full complement of six Danube-Class runabouts, as well as two of the new Arrow-Class, which I’ve been using as patrol ships, with the latter in particular more than capable of fending off most pirates alone, and as a squadron our complement is quite effective.”

Ch’kariq nodded, but did not look particularly happy about what he had been told. It was not a bad defensive complement for a frontier outpost, and short of tying down Starships to its defence they could not do much better for their size. They were simply too small for a Starbase, much less a standing defensive task force like those in the core worlds, after all Starfleet’s vessels were designed for a wide range of missions other than simply combat or defence, and as such relegating them to traditional ‘naval’ roles was less than ideal. Such matters had gotten better in recent years, as Starfleet had designed a number of ships that were more heavily biased towards the defensive role, and older explorers no longer suitable for long-range independent missions were still combat capable and could provide an anchor around which a fleet of smaller, more modern ships, could assemble.

“Okay, I know you won’t have had chance to exercise the Runabouts yet, so take the entire complement up this morning and exercise with Intrepid before she gets underway,” Ch’kariq ordered after a few moments of careful thought. “I want you to assume we might get a ship of comparable power, and I want to know whether we can force her off, I’m sure Captain Trax won’t mind a little practice before he gets underway.”

“Of course, Captain,” Buchanan nodded. “I’ll keep you looped into our tactical feed.”

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Postby Prime Redux » Sun Oct 10, 2021 4:39 am

Prime Standard Year 3549
Lakeside Star System
Far Out System


For what it was worth to the tiny colony, it at least had some other planets orbiting its star with it. Sadly none of them as nice as Lakeside.

Around a very distant outer ice rock that had only barely scraped by the definition of a planet, something strange was happening. An anomaly was forming. Small and easy to miss at first, it could be a sensor ghost, or maybe a tired twitch of an eye or an officer who hadn’t had enough coffee.

But as minutes passed, it grew more noticeable, the tiny anomaly growing larger, warping the space around it slightly like looking through warped glass to a dark night. It eventually grew big enough to be about the size of a small ship and seemed to settle down. The strange phenomenon seemed oddly calm as it sat in orbit of the outer planet, even as the energy readings from it seemed to wildly fluctuate, from silent black void in space to a writhing mass of warped space and energy and back again in the blink of an eye.

And the anomaly stayed like that, making no moves, nothing. Just something new and strange for Lakeside to look at.

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Postby New Khitomer » Wed Oct 13, 2021 3:31 am

Commander Russell T. Buchanan
U.S.S. Intrepid NCC-74600
Lakeside System, Arcadia Sector
Stardate 66952.2




Although he was only a guest aboard the Intrepid, invited to observe the exercises from the centre of its attention until the ship departed for its own mission, Commander Buchanan was enjoying the experience immensely. Despite thoroughly enjoying his planetside posting, as Lakeside Colony was both a beautiful place to work and presented its own unique challenges, he had to admit that he missed duty aboard a Starship. Moreover, although combat was the last thing that most Starfleet Officers wanted, even if they prepared for it regularly in tactical exercises like this one, there was a certain thrill to the atmosphere aboard the bridge of a Federation Starship, even during training. In this case, the relatively unusual nature of the exercise spiced things up as well, given that most combat training focused on individual ship-to-ship combat, rather than a single Starship defending itself against smaller ships. The Runabouts were technically starships, as they were far bigger, more powerful and longer-legged than shuttlecraft or fighters, but they were small starships. However, it allowed both the Runabouts to practice tactics against a larger opponent, and kept the larger starship up to speed on ways to deal with annoying swarms of smaller vessels, such as those it might encounter on anti-piracy patrols.

The Intrepid, lead ship of her class, was officially designed an explorer, but her ‘combat capability designation’ was as a light cruiser, and she was designed to have sufficient firepower and tactical systems to be able to defend itself when potentially many hours away from support. A modern ship, she was equipped with the same Type-X phaser arrays as those aboard the Galaxy-Class and most modern ships (the more powerful Type-XII was restricted to Starfleet’s most powerful ships), however she lacked the vastly superior power supply afforded to the main array on a Galaxy-Class, and her main array was also significantly smaller in any event. However, it was did allow for the same kind of flexibility, including the fact that the main array (or indeed any array) could either give off one full-power discharge, designed for use against other peer vessels, or numerous less powerful discharges, designed for use against a swarm of smaller vessels.

It was this latter technique that the Intrepid was utilising against her attackers, with the space around her filled with (exercise-only power) phaser beams as she fought off the attacking Runabouts, whose own phasers were significantly less powerful but if utilised together and in a co-ordinated manner could do some damage if given enough time. The Runabouts could also make use of their photon torpedoes, even if they were the less-powerful micro versions), whereas they were sticking too close to their target for the Intrepid to use her own torpedoes. It was an interesting fight to say the least, as phasers were extremely accurate weapons, so it was taking some fancy flying from the Runabout pilots to avoid even a handful of the beams being thrown their way.


It was not, however, interesting enough to distract the Intrepid’s science officer from her duties.

“Captain, I’m reading an unusual energy buildup in the outer system, around the ninth planet, its fluctuating rapidly and appears to be warping space.”

Intrepid’s Captain, Samuel L. Bridges, frowned.

“Is it a subspace distortion?” He asked.

“Unknown at this range, but I don’t think so.”

Captain Bridges turned to Buchanan and raised an eyebrow.

“Sorry to cut these exercises short, Commander, but I think you’ll agree that we had best go and take a look,” Bridges commented, leaning forwards to speak to both Buchanan and his XO. “Your Runabouts are welcome to come with us, it’ll do them good to exercise their sensors.”

“Roger that, Sir,” Buchanan nodded. “If I could impose upon your communications officer?”

Bridges nodded graciously, and a few moments after Buchanan transmitted his orders, the Intrepid turned with the ships it had just been ‘fighting’ and the group proceeded out-system together towards the unknown anomaly at full impulse power.
Last edited by New Khitomer on Wed Oct 13, 2021 3:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Prime Redux » Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:12 am

Prime Standard Year 3549
Lakeside Star System
Far Out System


The anomaly continued it’s strange fluctuations for another minute before the energy in it shifted, seeming to even out. For a moment all was quiet and still.

And had the sensors picked up the a ghostly flicker of a ring-like structure around the anomaly?

Then it exploded.

The anomaly released a massive burst of energy, radiation bursting from it suddenly and that massive wave began to march with uncaring efficiency across the entire star system. The small ice planet it was near got hit first, the radiation melted almost all the ice on the planet instantly into vapor, the rock looking sad and desolate as all the water evaporated into space. And so it continued. Any gas giants had massive amounts of their atmospheres thrown off, smaller moons and rings pulverized while larger moons that could weather the energy had their rocks stripped bare, any atmosphere burnt off in mere seconds. Asteroids were tossed about or vaporized depending on size, leaving any belts and clusters smaller and less dense than before.

The worst was Lakeside. The wave of energy, despite having spread out from its point of origin, did not seem to be slowing down or weakening. It hit Lakeside hard. Any magnetosphere it had was poor protection as it rolled over the planet, burning off the atmosphere, the water, the infrastructure, the life, in mere seconds, leaving the planet a broken, burning husk of its former self. Any stations and satellites in orbit got the same treatment, sent tumbling out of orbit burning, melted ruins of their former selves.

So the wave continued, wrecking all in its path, rolling over the star and even managing to blast off a good outer shell and causing the star to set off flares, destabilizing the Stellar object as it continued across and out system.

Around the now stabilized anomaly was a huge structure, a ring of metal that looked oddly familiar, almost like a Casimir Gate from the newly found Protectorate.

There was little time to wonder though. As small ships began to pop into existence out of the structure. They varied in size but all bore strange look. Sleek, geometric lines and painted a black so dark it seemed to absorb all the light around it, turning them into moving voids in space, hard to see with the naked eye. They didn't say anything, their movements precise and easy as they came through, splitting off to begin scouting the planets. There had to be hundreds of the small things streaming out of the former anomaly. It wasn't until the count of the ships(?) reached nearly a thousand did it slow to a trickle.. and pop in a few larger ships. Six to be exact, all about as large as the runabouts.

Those immediately turned towards whatever ships had survived the blast and charged with surprising speed at them, opening up with missiles that streaked ahead of their motherships to try to destroy them.

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Postby New Khitomer » Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:20 pm

Commander Russell T. Buchanan
U.S.S. Intrepid NCC-74600
Lakeside System, Arcadia Sector
Stardate 66952.2




“I think the anomaly is stabilising,” Intrepid’s science officer reported. “No, wait there-“

What happened next was immediately apparent to everyone; the anomaly whatever it was exploded, and sent out a massive shockwave that began to spread out across the system. The main viewscreen had been locked on the anomaly, and whilst it they had been far too distant to see it visually, even with the visual enhancement and zoom capabilities, but the energy wave was obvious in all its horror and glory.

“Shields!” Shields!” Captain Bridges snapped. “Turn us into the wave, all power to forward shields.”

The Intrepid’s bridge crew reacted quickly to the snap of command in their Captain’s voice, and the starship was soon turning to face the wave head on, her shields were raised, and her crew braced for impact. However, outside the Runabouts lacked the more powerful shield generators installed aboard the larger cruiser, and their plight seemed grim.

“Captain, it is unlikely that the Runabouts will be able to withstand that shockwave on their own,” Commander Buchanan commented, knowing what he was about to ask would be risky in the extreme. “Are we able to extend our shields around them? I’ve got a hundred people out there.”

Captain Bridges looked conflicted; it was certainly possible that the Intrepid could extend its shield perimeter to allow the runabouts to move inside for protection, however doing so would reduce the ability of the shield to take the impact. By protecting the Runabouts the Intrepid would be standing into increased danger herself, and there were well over a hundred men and women aboard her as well.

“Tactical, extend our shields around the Runabouts,” Bridges ordered after a moment. “Comms, order them to tuck in as close as possible, let’s minimise the strain on our shields.”

As the energy wave closed rapidly on them, and getting entirely too close for comfort, the cluster of Runabouts moved as close as physically possible to the Intrepid, which promptly extended its shields around them. Mere moments later the energy wave hit, and the Intrepid’s extended shields flared in protest. On the Intrepid, the strain was obvious. The ship physically shook dramatically as the inertial dampness were pushed to their extreme, and small explosions ripped through the internal fixtures as the EPS conduits were overwhelmed by the amount of power the shields were demanding. After a few seconds, that felt like hours, the wave passed and the Intrepid settled back down again. The bridge was surprisingly quiet; officers and crewmen were pulling themselves back to their feet, but no one was taking charge, primary lighting had failed and the bridge was only lit by emergency lighting.

“Has anyone got eyes on Captain Bridges?” Buchanan called out, looking around, and upon spotting a prone form beside the Captain’s chair he moved over quickly, and found Captain Bridges. “Nevermind, I’ve found him… he’s dead… where is your XO?”

“Dead too!”

“So is our Tactical Officer.”

Buchanan sighed heavily and was silent for a moment. Any Federation Starship had an established chain of command, from the Captain down to the lowest commissioned officer, in certain career tracks anyway. However, with the Captain, First Officer, and Second Officer all dead, the next ranking officer would not have all that much experience, certainly not in a situation like this. By contrast, Buchanan had previous command experience, and was the highest ranking officer in any event. By regulation, command of a Starship devolved along its own internal chain of command regardless of the presence of a higher ranking, suitably qualified officer, on the basis that the chain of command would have more appropriate experience and familiarity with the ship and its crew. However, Regulation 19 allowed for any Starfleet Officer to assume command of a Starship, so long as certain prerequisites were met, including being of higher rank than all surviving officers and being clearly more qualified and experienced. Any command assumed under Regulation 19 would be subject to review by Starfleet Command at the earliest opportunity, and misuse of the regulation would be met by the most serious punishments a Court-Martial could provide for, due to the potential damage that could be done to the chain of command.

“I’m assuming command of this ship, under Regulation 19, note the Stardate in the ship’s log… any objections should also be logged,” Buchanan said loudly and clearly. “Alright people, I need a-“

“Sir, Lakeside!”

The eyes of everyone on the bridge, Buchanan included, turned to the viewscreen just in time to watch as Lakeside Colony was utterly annihilated by the energy wave; in the blink of an eye thousands of lives were snuffed out, and one of the most beautiful worlds encountered was turned to a barren rock. Silence reigned on the bridge of the Intrepid for a few moments before Buchanan broke it.

“There’ll be time to mourn later, people, right now we have to look after ourselves and work out what the hell just happened,” Buchanan said firmly. “Right, I need a damage report, and-“

“Sorry to interrupt you again, Sir, but there is some sort of structure at the centre of the anomaly.. it almost looks like a Casimir Gate,” Lieutenant Basi, the Science Officer, reported. “Ships are beginning to emerge, they aren’t dissimilar to those used by the Protectorate… but they’re heading all over the system…”

“I need a tactical assessment,” Buchanan frowned. “Who is going to step up?”

“Our ACTO is dead as well, so I guess that’s me, Sir… Ensign Sylvia Pierce… but I’m six months out of the academy.”

“That’s a long time in Starfleet, Ensign, you’ll do fine,” Buchanan said reassuringly. “Now, how are we looking?”

“There have to be hundreds of those little ships… maybe a thousand, but I’m also reading six larger ships…” Ensign Pierce replied, frowning at her console. “Wait… I’m reaching launch transients! Those six ships, Runabout size, are heading towards us and opening fire!”

Buchanan’s eyes widened, but he recovered quickly.

“Red Alert! Load all torpedo bays, ready Phasers,” He ordered smoothly. “How are our Runabouts looking?”

“They were protected by our shields, and the damage we took is from overloading our EPS grid, not from the impact of the wave,” Pierce reported. “They’re in good shape, and are moving into combat pairs and assuming a formation around us, ready to engage.”

“Target those missiles with our phasers, multiple low power beams, they shouldn’t require much to shoot them down,” Buchanan ordered. “Lock photon torpedoes on those six ships, prepare to fire on my mark… but open a hailing frequency.”

“Hailing frequencies opened, Captain.”

Attention Unknown Vessels, this is the Federation Starship Intrepid… your presence here shortly after a disastrous explosion and firing weapons is considered hostile. Stand down immediately or we will fire upon you.

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Postby Prime Redux » Wed Oct 13, 2021 6:11 pm

Prime Standard Year 3549
Lakeside Star System


The unknown craft did not respond to the hail, only closing the distance at speeds that, if this was Protectorate technology, would of killed the human crew even with the best acceleration couches available. They fired off more missiles, aimed at the runabouts even as they closed to knife-fighting range, grasers lancing out to strike out at the smaller ships, the strange ships maneuvering so they kept the runabouts between them and the larger Intrepid. A somewhat obvious ploy to keep a physical shield between them and the more dangerous foe.

Even as one of the ships got a very lucky hit in and killed one of the runabouts; the anomaly seemed fully contained in what was definitely a Casimir Gate, same size and look as the one at Ionia, the huge ring structure sitting quietly with the space in the ring rippling slightly with the energy of an active Gate.

The smaller ships were still spreading out to every corner of the star system, settling into orbits and scanning everything as they went. Obviously scouting out the system. Or at least that seemed to be part of their job.

Then a group began to go after the ruined remains of whatever had been in orbit. It was possible that with enough luck and good reaction times, someone may have been able to do as Intrepid did and thus there being survivors waiting for rescue. The tiny ships, however, began to latch on the scraps and push them towards the star. Not just destabilizing already ruined orbits, but actively attempting to get the artificial objects onto trajectories into the star.

if that wasn't bad enough, some of the small ships that had taken to studying Lakeside were descending into the atmosphere, settling above any ruins that had managed to survive getting bathed in the wave of energy and radiation and pounding them with smaller, albeit more numerous, guns, reducing what could of been mistaken for civilization into simple rubble. A few of theses ships that were one the larger side were following behind their scouting, scraping the remains of Lakeside Colony up before turning and shooting back into space and also turning with purpose towards the star, loaded down with the rubble of what had once been a thriving city for disposal.
Last edited by Prime Redux on Thu Oct 14, 2021 6:02 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Postby New Khitomer » Thu Oct 14, 2021 7:04 am

Commander Russell T. Buchanan
U.S.S. Intrepid NCC-74600
Lakeside System, Arcadia Sector
Stardate 66952.2




“Ensign, we have been exceptional in our patience,” Commander Buchanan said firmly, as more missiles were fired at them. “Target those vessels and fire!”

With the gloves removed, Intrepid altered her firing pattern, instead of using all thirteen of her phaser arrays in point-defence mode, using short, sharp beams to target enemy missiles that did not take much to destroy, she instead focused this fire from her smaller arrays. Whilst the smaller arrays, by their nature less powerful, focused on the incoming missiles, the four primary arrays, two on the dorsal hull and two on the ventral, now targeted the enemy vessels. Instead of producing numerous short beams, each of the arrays could be seen to visibly charge for a moment before firing, with the energy speeding along the array from either end until they met at whichever point of the array was closest to the enemy before lancing out towards the target. Operating at full power, a blast from these arrays was designed to be used against peer adversaries, and would require an exchange of fire, but against smaller, less powerful ships, the impact and damage could be immediate and severe.

It quickly became apparent that the enemy was trying to keep the Runabouts between them and the larger Starship, however the pilots of the Runabouts were well aware of this and did not allow them to do so; working in pairs more akin to fighter tactics, each pair focused on one of the enemy vessels, chasing them through their manoeuvres, whilst doing their best to lead anyone chasing them into the firing arc of the Intrepid’s main arrays.

Buchanan grimaced as one of the Runabouts, and older Danube-Class, was destroyed by their opponents; the gamma-ray lasers they were using were primitive, compared to a phaser, but unlike conventional lasers they were, at least, effective in a brute-force sort of way. It was tempting to order the Runabouts away, as they were obviously the most vulnerable due to their limited combat capabilities, but he also did not want to be facing the focus of all six enemy vessels on his own. It was also tempting to send the Runabouts after the hundreds of smaller ships that appeared to be looting, or at least finishing the destruction of, what had once been a vibrant star system, however there were simply too many and there was also the same tactical consideration.

“Comms, send a Code Two Alert to Starfleet Command, inform them of what has happened here, and request instructions… Lieutenant Basi, I know we’re in a firefight, but I want you to maintain a record of what these ships are doing to our system… I don’t doubt that Starfleet Command will want to see it,” Buchanan ordered firmly. “Ensign Pierce, it is my intention to find our as much about what happened here, and to do that I need those ships destroyed, so take off the kid-gloves… co-ordinate with the Runabouts and fire to destroy… these people are clearly prepared to take out a star system, so do not hold back… if they are the Protectorate… we’ve clearly misjudged them.”

Buchanan sighed.

“We gave them a chance to end this… they want it, let them have it, Ensign!”

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Postby Prime Redux » Thu Oct 14, 2021 11:01 am

Prime Standard Year 3549
Lakeside Star System


These unknown ships continued their deadly dance, their movements sharp, precise and perfectly coordinated, perhaps a bit too perfect. It seemed to match what little of the Protectorate they knew of. Primitive tech (the grasers) matched with what had to be some sort of artificial intelligence controlled craft given how perfectly they moved. They always seemed to know which way to dodge and shift themselves and, without the same dampeners a Federation ship would have, could put off moves that would of long since turned any humans onboard to paste.

It didn’t help the attackers in the end, as what they had in razor fast reaction times and coordination couldn’t stand up to a determined human (or alien for that matter.) They had shields, but they were nowhere near as good as the Federation’s technology.

The first one gone up in an explosion had been chased out of ‘hiding’ and into Intrepid’s firing arc. A single hit was all it took to get through the armor and shield, though the explosion from the ship’s destruction was much larger than expected, leaving only an expanding ball of plasma which couldn’t exactly leave anything behind to study.

This would be repeated three more times, though the strange ships did land a few solid hits on the runabouts and one even on Intrepid’s shields, they didn’t have the firepower to overwhelm their foes as they were whittled down to a pair, now out numbered and definitely out gunned. The ships did recognize this and turned tail to flee. Not towards the Gate however, deeper in system.

The smaller ships not engaged with clean up began to turn as one from whatever they were doing. A number well over 800 of them turned to face the fleeing attack ships, or more precisely, towards Intrepid and her companions and began to accelerate. And they didn’t stop, engines pushing the small ships up speed with no sign of slowing down except for various scattered groups delaying acceleration until they could sync up, forming a growing wall with obvious intent to kamikaze and kill them.

Probably a very effective tactic, swarming kamikaze ships when your only means of escaping a star system were a very specific point in space that may be hostile on the other side, thus limiting your choices to ‘die’ or ‘fight and die.’
Last edited by Prime Redux on Thu Oct 14, 2021 11:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby New Khitomer » Thu Oct 14, 2021 4:15 pm

Commander Russell T. Buchanan
U.S.S. Intrepid NCC-74600
Lakeside System, Arcadia Sector
Stardate 66952.2




“Four enemy shields destroyed, Sir,” Ensign Pierce reported, clearly pleased.

“Excellent shooting, Ensign,” Commander Buchanan nodded. “Now do it two more times.”

As Ensign Pierce nodded and continued her efforts to target and destroy the small, evasive, targets, which were given even the more manoeuvrable runabouts a run for their money, Buchanan considered the enemy he was facing. Everything he had seen so far was consistent with the technology and ships used by the Protectorate of Prime Redux, however based on the information that had been designated to senior command staff of all Starfleet vessels and outposts after the First Contact. However, the geopolitical implications and considerations aside, the capabilities of these ships suggested that they were unmanned, as based on Starfleet’s understanding of the Protectorate’s technological base the manoeuvres they were pulling would not be survivable. As such, Buchanan mused, there was the possibility that these ships were acting entirely autonomously, and had been instructed to engage and destroy anything in the system… although such programming would be reckless in the extreme. In any event, if this was the Protectorate, they had been responsible, by the establishment of their Casimir Gate, for the deaths of thousands of Federation Citizens, and they would need to answer for their actions. Which meant that Buchanan’s priority was to gather as much information as possible, before reporting to Starfleet Command.

“The surviving ships are retreating, Sir,” Pierce reported after a moment. “But the smaller craft have all turned towards us… they’re on a collision course.”

Buchanan grimaced; so they were going to try and use brute force to destroy the Intrepid through kamikaze tactics; for all their less advanced technology the kinetic impact of a physical collision would be substantial. Although he was confident he could take out a significant number of those ships, as they were doubtless even more susceptible to his weapons than their larger brethren, there were simply far too many for the Intrepid to survive impact by those that survived its phaser fire.

“We’ve done what we can here,” Buchanan said grimly, making his decision. “Set a course for Starbase 17, maximum warp.”

“Course laid in, Sir,” The Helmsman reported a few moments later. “All Runabouts report the same.”

“Engage.”

On Buchanan’s order, the surviving Runabouts engaged their warp drives and were soon heading out-system. The Intrepid was a mere moment behind, her warp nacelles shifting into their active position, before the ship appeared to elongate and disappeared from the system in a flash of light.

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Prime Redux
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Postby Prime Redux » Thu Oct 14, 2021 5:43 pm

Prime Standard Year 3549
Ionia Star System
Photons in Relief


The honestly massive ship that was Photons in Relief sat quietly, and mostly alone, in Ionia Star System. Far out from Ionia and its Gate, near a solid and cold hunk of rock that was Ionia Star System's last official planet, Xioa. The ship was large enough to have sections that generated spin grav and every surface that could be painted was the official gray and cyan of The Protectorate with the star-in-Gate symbol from their flag painted on the bow of the ship. Beside the massive flagship of the Protectorate were a set of ships painted the glossy black of Fleet ships, there in case any terrorists get bright ideas.

Due to the sudden massive interest in Ionia from being the planet that had the Prime's very first First Contact, the planet had received a surprising amount of new citizens from other planets, investments in businesses here and even some tourist companies now looking to possibly work here.

So the government of Prime Redux had decided to throw its own investment into the pot in the form of another Gate. It was unusual for such a small system to get a Casimir Gate this early in its life, as other more promising build sites existed that had already been surveyed, some of these even being in other settled star systems with higher populations and thus more trade and reason to use said Gate. But another Gate in Ionia would at the least attract those who would want to see a new star system. Scientists and surveyors looking for the oddities of space and rich asteroid belts, and if there was a planet stable and close enough to the star, settlers. People looking to start anew in a place where they were less likely to be judged and could help form the new traditions of a planet from the ground up.

Prime Director Mary Lexa stared at the screen dominating the wall in the massive ballroom, showing the view of the new Gate in all its glory, Ionia Keepers, important civilians, a few High Protectorate members mingled in crowds of friends and family, all wearing they best formal clothes as they celebrated the activation of the newest Gate. It had been a privilege of Ionia's small Keeper presence to be the ones that had used they implanted data on their chips to activate the construction drones that built the Casimir Gate. Any Keeper, including herself, could of done it, but it meant a lot to a Keeper to actually use the knowledge they so jealously guarded.

Like every other Gate activation she had attended, and every other in history, it had gone without a hitch and so far they were just waiting for the scout drones to transmit back more data on the system to see if there was anything of worth there. Considering there were no immediate reports of problems like black holes or pulsars, Lexa hoped that this one would at least provide a safe place to settle.

It was disappointing in a way, she mused, when she had first risen to Prime Director she'd been so optimistic, so sure that she would be the one to find a habitable planet. She knew better than to attempt the blazing Gate construction speed of Director Prime, but her first Gate activation had been a let down, a dead end long jump that was so dangerous (a black hole with an orbiting pulsar) she'd had to deactivate the Gate only an hour after turning it on. That had been the wedge that made her accept that maybe there were no habitable planets anywhere in the Protectorate's grasp. At least until the Federation had shown up with an FTL drive and she'd had to stop herself from trying to order her people to attack to gain that knowledge from the ship's wreckage.

She was glad, as having friends in this cold universe was far more important than a way to seek out their own habitable planets. Lexa had wanted to invite the Federation to this event, but it all happened so fast, so off-the-cuff she had decided to let this be just a Protectorate party. There would be plenty of time to show off the Casimir Gates to the Federation, this one would just be theirs to enjoy and savor.

As she moved through the crowds with practiced, greetings rolling off her tongue with ease as her silky white dress rippled with the breeze of her passage. Her gray eyes caught a flash of light from her wrist pad and she quickly slipped between the crowd to the side of the room, to check. She kept a practiced smile on even as she quickly took in the data. Data from the scout drones was being filtered as the party rolled on and so far...

Nothing. Maybe a planet good for domes? It was hard to tell as some of the data about the star showed it was in a state of high activity and more data needed to be collected before they could say if that was normal (thus rendering the system more dangerous to settle) or just a period of activity that could be accounted for. She swept the data away, grabbed another flute of champagne, and strode over to talk with Director Tachy.

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New Khitomer
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Postby New Khitomer » Sun Oct 17, 2021 4:15 pm

Commander Russell T. Buchanan
U.S.S. Intrepid NCC-74600
Starbase 17, Arcadia Sector
Stardate 66952.2




At maximum warp it did not take long for the Intrepid to reach Starbase 17, although it would take the surviving Runabouts somewhat longer to arrive as their maximum warp factor was significantly lower than that of an Intrepid-Class Starship. Despite the relatively successful tactical outcome, destroying four enemy ships for the loss of one Runabout and relatively minor damage to the Intrepid, it was nevertheless a comforting sight for all concerned. Starbase 17 was the lynchpin of Starfleet’s defensive posture along the frontier, a Unity-Class station it was designed to be both a defensive outpost and vital starship support platform, being responsible for supporting the First Fleet’s Task Force 17, the Outer Colonies Patrol. Located above the largest of the outer colonies, Elysium, the Starbase dominated the orbital space, protecting the colony and ensuring that the eighteen ships of Task Force 17 were kept adequately supported and maintained, without having to return to the Anvil Fleet Yards, or any of the other space stations operational across Federation space. Considering the distances involved in the outer colonies, particularly compared to the core worlds, this was a vital capability, and allowed Starfleet to maintain an adequate presence in the colonies.

In the five hours hours that had passed since the Destruction of Lakeside Colony, Starfleet had not been ideal however. When the Intrepid dropped out of warp at Starbase 17, there were not just those ships of Task Force 17 not on patrol waiting for them, but also a cluster of five starships arrayed in a tight formation. These five starships were the Lead Expeditionary Wing, itself a part of the Special Expeditionary Group (also know as Task Force 31). The SEG was tasked with conducting specialised deep space and diplomatic missions, far beyond Federation borders, often in challenging environments well away from the Starfleet support infrastructure. The Lead Expeditionary Wing was a purpose-designed formation intended to provide a cohesive, largely self-sufficient, expeditionary force on short notice and, most critically, was the only group in all of Starfleet that was equipped with the Quantum Slipstream Drive, a semi-experimental form of propulsion significantly faster than normal warp drive, that allowed a Starship to cross many thousands of lightyears in mere minutes or hours. Due to its reliance on exceedingly rare, and difficult to synthesise, Benamite Crystals, the slipstream drive was never going to fully replace traditional warp drive, but it was certainly useful for a quick response force.

The Intrepid was assinged to the SEG itself, although not to the Lead Expeditionary Wing.

As the centre of the formation was the U.S.S. Capitoline, the only Vesta-Class Starship in Starfleet, the same class that had pioneered the development of the quantum slipstream drive. Easily the most advanced ship in the fleet, the Capitoline was the testbed for a number of new technologies, and would continue to be so into the future. Playing a rare second fiddle to the Capitoline, was the U.S.S. Sentinel, one of only a handful Sovereign-Class starships in Starfleet and the only one not to lead whatever unit it was part of, however the Sentinel was still the most tactically capable ship of the wing and would lead the formation with the Capitoline staying safely protected. A Prometheus-Class starship, U.S.S. Perseus, provided additional tactical capability, whilst two Luna-Class starships, U.S.S. Phobos and U.S.S. Deimos, served as capable, multi-purpose exploratory cruisers. It was a small but flexible, and tactically powerful, formation that would allow Starfleet to respond to this atrocity within hours, instead of the days it would take for Starfleet’s normal tactical formation, the Tactical Response Group (Task Force 32), to travel to the Protectorate.

It was, for Commander Buchanan, a reassuring reminder that Starfleet was both capable and able of responding to this disaster.

“The Capitoline is hailing, Commander,” Ensign Pierce reported.

“On-screen,” Buchanan ordered smoothly; the image of the viewscreen changed from the view of the Starships around the starbase to show the bridge of the Capitoline, focused on the command area, and the Caitian officer sat in the command chair. “Commodore R’Musar, Intrepid stands ready.”

“I don't doubt that, Commander, I reviewed your after-action report from the Lakeside system, and despite the situation you and your adopted crew performed admirably, and gathered some valuable data on both what happened, and the tactical capabilities of our foe,” Commodore R’Musar replied. “My wing has been ordered to travel to the Ionia system, and then onto the Protectorate capital system, in order to demand an explanation for this atrocity, and to determine how to proceed, and I want Intrepid to accompany us, we will facilitate your use of the slipstream… we have not divulged information to even the Federation Embassy, so we’ll be taking the lead on this one.”

“In the meantime, I have been authorised to grant you a field promotion to the rank of Captain, and to command of the Intrepid for the foreseeable future, your experience in combat with the Protectorate, and your first-hand knowledge of the disaster, will be invaluable,” R’Musar continued. “We’ll be getting underway immediately, move your ship into position behind the Capitoline, my helmsmen will relay instructions to yours, my operations officer is already transmitting the slipstream protocols to you, it’ll be bumpy with our your own drive, but it will be doable. R’Musar out.”

With a nod from Buchanan, the Intrepid bridge crew quickly got about the task of following the orders of the Commodore. The Intrepid slipped into formation behind the Vesta-Class starship, close enough to piggyback into slipspace, but far too dangerous and unpredictable to do on a regular basis. As soon as they had done so, they were ordered to red alert by the flagship and a few moments later they were in slipstream, speeding towards the Ionia system. Given the speeds made possible by the QSD, and the relatively few lightyears involved, it did not take them long, and in the blink of an eye six Federation starships returned to normal space a tactical distance from the Ionia space station previously encountered by the Endeavour. Operating at red alert, the ships had their shields raised and their weapons armed. It did not take long for the Commodore to hail the Protectorate, in the sharp, righteous tones only used by a Starfleet officer when called upon to execute their duty to defend the Federation.

Attention Protectorate of Prime Redux, this is Commodore R’Musar of Starfleet. I am here by the order of Starfleet Command in response to the destruction of the Federation Colony of Lakeside, by your Protectorate. In the name of the Federation Council, I demand a meeting with your leadership to discuss the outrage, immediately.
Last edited by New Khitomer on Sun Oct 17, 2021 4:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Prime Redux
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Postby Prime Redux » Sun Oct 17, 2021 5:02 pm

Prime Standard Year 3549
Ionia Star System
Photons in Relief


Ionia Star System was busier than the last time the Federation had been there. More ships sat in orbit and there were a few more various space platforms under construction. On the surface of Ionia more of the Protectorate's habdomes had sprung up as well, indicating a sizable increase in population.

In response to the message some of the Fleet ships in orbit had turned to put themselves between the civilians and the huge Casimir Gate and the Federation force. The Fleet ships might be stirring up bad memories at the moment but their paint was glossy black, like a freshly polished car. They would still be harder to see compared to the various other colors civilians used, but they definitely had a bit of a 'showy' attitude for lack of a better term.

It was the other ships that would truly cause flashbacks for Intrepid. New ships painted that deep, void black just like the ships that were in Lakeside moved out of the shadows of Keep Station, These were small, maybe with a crew of three or four, but not matching the size of any of the ones seen in Lakeside, their shape were dead-ringers for the swarm that had taken over Lakeside. These ships were not aggressive, they just positioned themselves near Keep Station and did nothing else.

It took a couple minutes before the reply finally came... from out system. Farther out system around the distant rocky planet of Xioa, was a newer Casimir Gate. Near it, though already begin to turn in system towards the task force, was a huge ship, parts of it spinning to provide gravity for the human occupants. Obviously trying to close the distance to make communication easier and perhaps bring the four Fleet ships sitting around it in to help fight if needed.

The message showed Prime Director Mary Lexa in a stunning white dress, short blue hair styled perfectly with an expensive looking golden golden clip in her hair and looking worried, maybe a bit scared?

"Commodore R'Musar, I am Prime Director Mary Lexa aboard my ship, Photons in Relief. I nor my Protectorate have never been to this Lakeside Colony and while I am very sorry for the loss of this colony, none of my people were involved." She paused for a second, like she was unsure how to approach the situation. After all they were laying charges of destruction of a colony Lexa didn't know about at her feet. How did she respond?

"Since I am here, you are welcome to come aboard my ship to discuss the situation and how we might help you resolve this misunderstanding." Her tone was calm and controlled, like she was trying to talk a gun out of the hand of a person with a hostage.


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