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Part of USS Odyssey: Best Served Cold and Bravo Fleet: The Archanis Campaign

Circling Like Vultures

USS Odyssey NCC-80000, Haydorian System, Archanis Sector, Beta Quadrant
Stardate: 76333.2
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“Entering the Haydorian system, sir.” announced T’Rani from the helm station.

Walking from the mission ops station, where he had been stood at reviewing further information coming in from Starfleet dispatches, Captain McCallister looked over to his pilot. “Take us to impulse.” He commanded as he made his way over to his chair.

“Yellow alert.” Commander Cambil ordered. The Bajoran first officer never took any risks, especially with everything they had heard about the Hunters of D’Ghor. “Mister Lenjir, begin full sensor sweeps at once.” She instructed their tactical officer.

“Yes ma’am.” The Tiburon man answered from behind her right shoulder.

Tugging on the ends of his jacket as he sat down, Captain McCallister took a breath before issuing his next order. “Lukiz, open a channel to the Haydorian colony and get me Governor Thelis.”

The Trill operations officer replied with an ‘aye’ as he got in touch with the Andorian colony.

Leaning in quietly, Counsellor Duncan whispered to the captain. “Remember sir that Thelis is half-Aenar. From what I’m aware of he is partially slighted and doesn’t wear a VISOR or has any prosthetic eyes.”

“Thanks for the reminder.” McCallister quietly said back just in time for the holographic resemblance of the hybrid Andorian-Aenar leader to appear in the center-front of the bridge’s main viewscreen.

Thelis was tallish but a very skinny man. Appearing to be quite old, even for Andorian-Aenar standards, he looked more like a relic than anything else. His pure white hair was almost matched by his very pale blue skin. Wearing dark grey attire, that almost contrasted his pastel complexion, the politician’s light blue eyes appeared unable to focus on a particular point. A dark blue silk scarf was wrapped around his neck and almost covered his mouth.

McCallister started with the introductions, “Governor Thelis, I am Captain James Preston Mc-”

Yes, yes Captain McCallister of the USS Odyssey.” Thelis said, interrupting McCallister’s pleasantries. “Captain, we are in urgent need of your assistance.”

Sitting up straight concerned from the governor’s remarks, McCallister wondered what the governor needed.  “How can we help?”

“We believe a pair of cloaked Klingon ships are loitering in the system. One of our patrol ships, the Lissan, was working on improving its sensors to detect cloaked ships when it discovered what appeared to be a subspace distortion. When they investigated it they discovered the distortion was moving. From the shape and size the captain feared it was two Klingon ships cloaked. The Lissan returned to orbit the colony to await your arrival.” Thelis answered.

Intrigued to know more, McCallister questioned the governor further. “Have your ships been able to track the distortion?”

“Indeed, it is currently moving in orbit above the seventh planet in the system. A gas giant we call Haydorief.” Thelis explained.

“Very well, we will make our way to Haydorief at once. Can your patrol ships meet us there?” McCallister asked.

“Captain, we only have two and they are refitted Khyzon-class escorts. They may not be of any use to what is awaiting you.” Thelis said. His voice sounded both whiney and concerned for the safety of his patrol ships.

Slightly frustrated to hear that he was reluctant to give up his ships, McCallister sighed quietly and responded. “Very well governor, keep them close to the colony and we will go alone. McCallister out.” Looking at his first officer, McCallister gave out a sigh.

Almost reading his mind, Cambil raised her voice as she gave out the orders that would start their mission in the Haydorian system. “Red alert, all hands to battlestations.”

As the lights on the bridge dimmed and the red flashing ones saturated it, McCallister followed Cambil’s orders. “T’Rani lay in a course for Haydorief. Full impulse.”

“Course laid in sir.” T’Rani said after a few seconds.

“Engage!” McCallister commanded. He then tapped his combadge, “Bridge to Reyas.”

“Go ahead sir.” His wife responded. She was in the cargo bays overseeing the final parts of the Archanis Array being assembled (well those parts they could do inside the ship for now).

“Karyn, I need you up here on the double. Bring Tremt with you too.” He ordered and then closed the channel.

Turning around from the operations console, the joined Trill operations manager spoke up. “Captain, I’ve just taken a look at what we know about Haydorief. It’s T class, surrounded by orbital rings, including one that’s radiogenic. Shall I reinforce the shields with the main deflector?”

Nodding with agreement to the idea, McCallister said yes to Jen. “And make sure we are able to separate the ship in case there are more ships cloaked. I don’t want us to lose our advantage.”

“Aye captain.” Jen said as he turned his chair back around.

The port aft turbolift doors then opened allowing Commanders Reyas and Hunsen to enter the bridge.

“Reporting as ordered captain.” Reyas said with a smile. “I take it we have a problem?”

Nodding in response to his wife, McCallister stood up as the ship continued on its course. Briefing both his chief science officer and chief engineer with what they’re about to possible encounter, the captain wanted answers before they reached the planet. “Any ideas?”

“If the Klingon ships are cloaked and are creating the distortion in subspace then we may be able to detect them.” Hunsen suggested.

Reyas looked at the engineer and smiled. “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” The El-Aurian woman asked the Betazoid.

“Reading other people’s minds is my job, not yours commander.” Hunsen said as he gestured for her and the captain to follow him over to one of the engineering stations. Sitting down at the main console, he started to tap away and loaded a program up.

As he did this Commander Reyas turned to her husband and explained what they were doing. “Something Tremt and I have been working on is how we get past the Klingon cloak. Obviously detection technology has come on leaps and bounds in the past thirty years and with the Klingons not advancing this technology as much as the Romulans were, we may have a solution.”

“Do tell.” McCallister insisted on the two of them sharing.

“It was something we were thinking about suggesting for the new detection grid.” Hunsen explained. “We send out tachyon and antiproton beams while at the same time carrying out metaphasic sweeps.”

“You’re certain they’ll break through Klingon cloaks?” McCallister asked.

“It’s a possibility.” Reyas said as she took the station next to Hunsen. It wasn’t her usual station but the two of them had been working on the idea together, so it made sense for them to be alongside one another.

“I’m bringing the modifications online. We can use the secondary deflector.” Hunsen shared.

“I’m reconfiguring our sensors now.” Reyas said and then looked at the captain. “It’s worth a shot.”

Agreeing with her assessment, McCallister gave his approval as he made his way over back to the centre of the bridge.

“Approaching Haydorief,” T’Rani announced. “I’m detecting a subspace distortion near the radiogenic ring.”

“If they’re trying to hide from us then they’ll think by hiding close to the radiogenic ring it will mask their signature.” Cambil said. The former tactical officer in her was now starting to come out. “Which poses the question, if it is the Hunters of D’Ghor, what are they doing here?”

“Reconnaissance.” Counsellor Duncan suggested. “One of the things noted in the research I read about them, they may be quick to attack their prey but they make sure they know more about their prey first.”

“What’s that old Earth saying about birds that prepare themselves for going into the kill?” Cline asked aloud.

“Circling like vultures.” Duncan answered. “Cline’s analogy is almost accurate, but these vultures like to attack and plunder a lot quicker.”

“Then let’s not give them an option to do such a thing.” McCallister said as he sat in his chair. “Cline,I want you to get a torpedo spread ready and to target the radiogenic ring near to the distortion.”

“Hoping to overwhelm the hunters?” Jen asked as he looked over his right shoulder towards his skipper.

Nodding to confirm, McCallister answered the Trill ops officer. “Something like that Cline.” The captain proceeded to ask his engineer and wife where they were with their anti-cloak scan. “Are we ready guys?”

Hunsen looked at Reyas and nodded to share he was ready at his end. She then answered her husband. “As good as we’re going to be sir. This will be a test.”

“Do it.” McCallister ordered.

Odyssey’s secondary deflector came online and the scans started straight away. Within a few seconds the ship had its answers.

Gulping a bit, Reyas reported it. “Sir, I’m picking up a Vor’cha class attack ship alongside a B’rel class bird of prey.”

“Open a channel.” McCallister ordered. He knew that attempting a non-military resolution would go unanswered but it was worth a try. The moment Jen nodded to say the channel was open, he cleared his throat and made sure he had a deep tone. “This is Captain James Preston McCallister of the Federation starship U-S-S Odyssey to the unnamed cloaked Klingon ships in orbit of Haydorief. You are trespassing in Federation space without permission. Disengage your cloaks and lower your shields at once.” There was nothing for a second so McCallister responded. “I have a full spread of torpedoes locked onto your signatures as well as onto the radiogenic ring near to you. You have five seconds to respond before I open fire.”

The two ships then decloaked and opened fire on the Odyssey. Both ships appeared to be damaged somewhat and had numerous scorch marks along their outer hull. Smears of red appeared across parts of the ships too. The symbol of D’Ghor was apparent, almost burnt on.

“Attack pattern alpha-one,” McCallister ordered as his ship rocked slightly from the outside pressure. “Fire at will!”

The Odyssey’s phasers and torpedoes came to life as it engaged the Hunters of D’Ghor.