THE DANCER PRINCE
The Dancer Prince
Written by Ambassador Yrishna Wolf
Additional Writing Credits to Space
Aboard the Supreme Militants' Union's task force command vessels, patience was wearing thin. It had been almost a month since they had agreed to assist the Cardassian Monarchy in the massive search for the Ghost Fleet. Neither the Cardassian Monarchy, nor the Supreme Militants' Union realized that the Ghost Fleet with its anti-sensor detection qualities would be so easily and effectively hidden from a fleet of vessels scanning wildly across space.
Starting from the Ghost Fleet ship yards in an expanding arc that encompassed light years of search patterns, the Supreme Militants' Unions actions were not producing the wanted effects. They hadn't found a single trace of neither the Ghost Fleet nor its personnel, the search for the nail under the millions of sacks of hays was fruitless. They had expected some difficulties in finding the Ghost Fleet, for it was designed to be hard to find, but they hadn't expected that after a month of tireless scanning they would be no further than when they had left off.
Space Marshall Nelson, the man whom the I.A.P. branded a traitor and a coward, now sat in the chair of his flagship a bit impatient. He had in good faith offered to help the Cardassian Monarchy find their much needed Ghost Fleet, but his actions were doing absolutely nothing to change the course of history. The Cardassians, and the freed up forces of the Supreme Militants' Union were keeping the Segan Monarchy occupied in the Special Administration Zone in the Delta Quadrant, but they couldn't keep the Monarchy occupied forever. What made the situation worse was that the Parthians were deciding it was now time to play ball, after having kept in isolation for the better part of the latter half of the year. He stood up from his chair as he walked over to Lieutenant Defont, a Segan who had decided to join him when the Strategic Readiness Agency planned and completed their
separation from the I.A.P. Lieutenant Defont, like always was staring across his Operations panel, watching over the endless reports from the ships of the fleet.
"Is the fleet reporting anything new, Lieutenant?" The Space Marshall asked as he resumed his pacing back to his chair, he was eager to explore a new patch of space.
"Only about half of our vessels have reported in, with their search patterns, still nothing on long range sensors, or short range sensors on any spectral scan," Defont replied, a bit
The Space Marshall out of sheer frustration slammed his console, "We've been out here for over a month... and nothing? I'm surprised our temporal shift and cloak have lasted this long!" The Space Marshall turned to a petty officer who had just walked onto the bridge, "You, get me an Andorian tea."
The petty officer quickly nodded, saluting as he ran to follow the Space Marshall's orders, Defont having yet answered the Space Marshall's rhetorical question turned to meet the Space Marshall's gaze, "Negative, we've steadily expanded our search scan from the coordinates Maitre Wolf gave us pertaining to the location of the main Ghost Fleet shipyards, and nothing yet."
The Space Marshall didn't answer as Defont turned back to his console, for once his console pressed him of new information, "Sir, we're
receiving some sort of low band communication, coming from what seems to be a Segan vessel."
"On Screen," came the overpowering voice of the Space Marshall.
"Aye, Sir," Defont tapped his console activating the communications sub-protocols as Nelson
received his Andorian tea, sipping it, eagerly awaiting Defont's transfer of the communication to the screen.
"S.M.S. Triumph, this is S.R.D. Bastion, reporting in from coordinates bearing 249 mark 88. We've sent an away team to an ice-world planet and we have some good news," Cmdr. Utrivol explained to the Triumph's Commanding Officer.
"Yes, Commander, what is it?" Nelson replied, as Defont adjusted the frequency to add an additional layer of redundancy to strengthen the signal strength.
"We've lost one of our support crafts, there was a particularly bad storm system. It seems our away team is all right. They report they've fallen into a massive cave system, which we believe is housing all 4000 Clarel Class Heavy Destroyers of the Ghost Fleet," Cmdr. Utrivol eagerly awaited the Space Marshall's response to this wonderful news.
The Space Marshall laughed, "That is excellent, Commander!"
"We thought so," Utrivol smiled, seeing Nelson laughing," The ships are all intact, it's a wonder how anyone could have gotten the ships in there sir."
"We should have been looking planet side," The Marshall mumbled, still stuck digesting the good news, "Not only in space!"
"No matter, Commander," Nelson added, "We will see if we can find your battleships. I want you to send the sensor readings that prompted you to send an Away Team to the planet."
Utrivol's face turned off the screen, "Transmit our mission data to the Triumph,
Utrivol's face turned serious despite the good mood that permeated the transmission, "There is also the matter of the ships' crews, we couldn't find a single trace of any personnel."
"Perhaps they are at another local," The Space Marshall deducted based on the information available to him.
"Aye Sir," Utrivol replied, "We definitely hope so. We don't think they'd have survived on this planet anyway. It's too damn cold down here!"
"Well, keep Secretary Williamson updated," Nelson instructed to the Bastion as he looked over the Secretary's console, "We will continue on course but will send some of our ships to aid you. They will be there within the hour."
As Secretary Williamson received Nelson's instructions to dispatch the Iron Fist and the Pandora's Box, Utrivol began to finish the conversation, "Aye, Space Marshall. We'll eagerly wait for some people to talk and work with. It's been a lonely few months."
Nelson turned to Utrivol one last time, "I know what you mean, Commander. Great work, and good luck. Nelson OUT."
Defont immediately began to stare at the Bastion transmission of their mission data, unbelieving of the ingenuity undertaken to get a communications ping out of the Clarel Class Heavy Destroyers, "Wow, whoever is aboard their ship knows the Clarel Class Destroyer inside and out. The question is, Space Marshall, whether the Selevenar Class Battleship operates with the same computer system."
"We can only hope so Lieutenant," Nelson stood up, applying his own version of the Picard maneuver as he turned to his Chief of Operations, "I want our passive sensors to scan for the same frequency. Report any systems with anything CLOSE to that frequency."
"Aye, Sir" Defont adjusted his sensor controls to emit a low-level forced ping on the same frequencies, keeping all passive sensors searching for a replying ping.
Williamson, always the eager tapped a report to all the S.M.U. Task Force's lead vessels, "I'll instruct our ships to do the same and send out pings across the sector. It should help make our job easier and more widespread."
"Aye, good thinking Williamson," The Space Marshall fixed his uniformed, as he slicked back his salt and pepper hair, "I want all fighters on alert."
Defont adjusted the volume controls, in case the sensors pick it up but don't identify the noise
co-variance as an actual ping, "Still nothing on sensors, Space Marshall."
"Nothing... uh," The Space Marshall calculated his tactical risks, "Perhaps a more aggressive sensor scan is necessary."
"Aye, activating main sensor dish and sending a high-band ping," Defont in tune with his plan adjusted the main deflector dish, modulating it to send a ping of steadily increasing amplitude.
"Any response, Secretary Williamson?" Nelson asked, getting more impatient at the lack of immediate results.
Williamson watched his console, turning to Nelson after reading over the report, "We might."
The Space Marshall walked over, watching Williamson and his console, "What is it?"
"We have something from the Zeus, she's at the outer-ring of our search scan. She's reading a fractal ping, she's not sure it's a replying ping, but it's got some of the characteristics," Williamson looked over to Nelson, thinking he was about to hear Nelson's always correct advice.
"Tell her to investigate, with precaution. We don't want anyone jumping into any traps," Nelson instructed.
"Aye Space Marshall, "Williamson gave the go-ahead with caution to the Zeus, as the Zeus' position marker began to move towards the suspected ping.
Defont turned to Nelson, "I think the Zeus might be picking up the real thing, I'm reading on an extremely low frequency, on our long range sensors some sort of thematic noise."
"ETA to Zeus' position?" The Space Marshall grinned, "I want to be there when we find those damn things."
Williamson calculated the trajectory, "Twenty five minutes away at maximum impulse...3 if we do a maximum warp burst," Williamson smiled.
"Make it so," Nelson walked back towards his chair as he yelled, "Yellow Alert!"
Defont tapped into helm controls as he activated maximum warp.
As Nelson sat on his commander chair, he commented, "Hang on to your butts! Williamson, any vessels in the area?"
Williamson looked at Nelson, "The Segan patrol will be going fairly close to where we're scanning... They'll arrive in range within 25 minutes, staying for only about 3 minutes according to S.M.U. Intell."
"Damn them," Nelson tapped his console, "We need a diversion to send them away."
"Why not just destroy them, Space Marshall? The Segan patrols have been fairly thin since the Delta Quadrant incident," Defont suggested.
Nelson snapped back quickly against the suggestion, "No, no casualties, you hear! Enough death is happening in the Delta Quadrant for the entire galaxy!"
Williamson put forth his suggestion, "Maybe we could have our ships set up our training
equipment for our mock ship engagements away from where we're scanning. That should give some sort of distraction for the Segans to look at."
Nelson pointed to the holographic fleet screen in front of them, "Have the Imperator, from a safe distance, exit and decloak. Make sure the Segans spot it and go after it. The Imperator should be fast enough to outrun them."
"That's an idea too," Williamson stared at the fleet screen as he compiled the Imperator's mission's orders, "I'll explicitly instruct them not to engage the Segans."
As the suggestions were made and Williamson put into action Nelson's plan, Defont pulled the massive S.M.S. Triumph out of warp, "For better or for worse, we're approaching the Zeus. We're
definitely detecting a ping, It'll take some time identifying where exactly it's coming from."
"The Zeus' fighters are scanning space to make sure there aren't any time-shifters lurking about," Williamson tapped in the launch orders for the Triumph's own fighter squadrons,
"Signaling our fighters to go ahead and scan below."
"Excellent," The Space Marshall clasped his hands together, "Let's work on the problem, people... In the meantime I want a
think tank formed."
"Approaching orbit of Belleh IV," Defont announced as the red planet appeared large on the viewscreen, "The planet's average temperature is 45 degrees Celsius, Space Marshall. The Bastion might have had a ice-cold planet, but we certainly got the scorching desert."
"Well, don't worry, there is enough replicated water for everyone," Nelson laughed as he turned to Williamson, "Williamson, I want you to get the Science and Medical team together, have them figure out where can the personnel of a 5000 starship fleet can be stored."
- - - - - -
"Science and Medical teams are reporting in concerning your request," Williamson replied after the science and medical teams searched aggressively for a few hours, "I've got a list of likely locations where one could potentially store the crew of 5000 starships."
"Put up on the map table," came the simple order.
Williamson tapped the console which activated the sector map of the region. Everything had been located within two sectors of one another, and it was likely the crew were also going to be in the same sector. Only logic dictated it. The console's activation prompted the creation of a localized holographic image, with the potential planets being highlighted with a neon green color. Williamson observed the list ,watching over the scientists' reasons as to why a certain planet should be included in the potential list. Most of the planets in the region were not ideal for supporting any sort of life. The Segan Monarchy had claimed the region a long time ago out of a need to divert attention away from other problems. The dreams of mineral mines had long faded, the environments proved too harsh to do anything of the sort for long periods of time.
"I want you to assign two ships per planet," the Space Marshall smiled, "Have them scan until their damn sensor dish burn out."
"Aye, Sir" William winked politely, as he sent off the new mission operatives to the task force's command vessels, "I'll also send to our shipyards back home to order some replacement sensor dishes."
"Mr. Defont, any luck?" Nelson turned, his attention now focused on the current mission at hand.
"I think we are, we've pin-pointed the ping to be on the North Western continent of this planet. A mountainous island is where the ping is centered at coordinates North by North West 24 by 88 by 09. Our fightercrafts actually can't find a good landing spot, and the mountains are... surprise, surprise... composed of materials which block out our transporter beams. We're modifying our fightercrafts to land on the water, hopefully we'll have an away team on the island within 10 minutes," Defont replied in his usual detailed manner.
"Continue finding of ways to get our transporter beams through the rock," Nelson ordered, "Send our marines, geologists. Also have our Segan envoys come along, I don't want to botch this up."
"You'd prefer the Ambassador, or the Military guy?" Defont asked, with a noticeable drop in professionalism.
"Inform the Ambassador," Nelson smirked, "And send in the "Military" guy."
A youthful smile came over came over his face as Defont tapped the intercom lines open, he sent a text update of the mission to the Ambassador and contacted Military
Attaché 1st. Lieutenant Denmont, "First Lieutenant Denmont report to Fighterbay 1 for Away Team detail. We may have found the heavy battleship section of the Ghost Fleet."
"Understood," Denmont's voice replied, "On my way."
"Fightercraft modifications should be completed in just a few minutes. We're adding flotation devices to make sure the fighters don't sink," Defont nodded to Nelson.
"They better not sink," Nelson looked at Defont, "The Hokian Republic wouldn't be very happy."
"Fightercrafts on their way, I'm authorizing clearance, "Defont announced, "3 Fightercrafts carrying away teams launching towards the planet," Defont activated various remote video uplinks in order to allow the Triumph to see what was going in within the fightercrafts, "On screen now, sir."
Nelson watched as the fightercrafts cleared the atmosphere, with the lithosphere's mountainous arrangement become large on the screen, "Geez, look at those mountains."
"You'd almost wonder how they good get anything into them," Williamson added, as he thought aloud, watching the
"Maybe there is some kind of transceiver, for a special type of signal, "Nelson's right hand moved to his chin as he thought slightly, "The whole mountain could open up."
The audio communications line opened as the lead fightercraft sent a subspace message to the Triumph, "Reporting in from the lead fightercraft, the sensors of the fightercraft confirm much of the mountain in front of us is hollow. Estimated cave space easily numbers the required dimensions needed to safely house 1000 Selevenar Class Heavy battleships in there," Lieutenant Denmont reported.
"Okay," Nelson replied, "I want a report from you every 10 minutes, Lieutenant. Leave your video uplink on all the time."
"Affirmative, we're about to land" Denmont replied, as he watched the fightercraft make a safe landing in the water, "We've got a safe landing Triumph. We're going to start and explore this island."
"Roger that," Nelson stood up as he watched the water slowly go down the fightercraft's windows, "Be careful."
Nelson turned to Defont, "I hope those geologists find something."
Defont looked back, "Agreed, Space Marshall," He watched the screen again, "I hope they find it fast, I think we're all impatient to just find something."
For approximately two hours, the three geologist teams that were sent in search of the most powerful Segan battleships ever
built had combed the entire island. Braving the hard mountainous terrain, they went up impromptu trails in search for cave openings and anything that could indicate what the ping was. It took long, and several runs across the islands, before diving teams were asked to be sent from the Triumph. There was more wait, as shuttles were now sent down. The diving teams searched as well, until finally there was a breakthrough. Deep under the water, a cavern led straight towards an underground tunnel which was higher than the water levels. It took additional climbing, and more diving teams were sent down to help in the climbing. Within 30 minutes, the diving teams had all made it into the caves. These caves held the contents which they had search for several months... The Selevenar Class Heavy battleships were here, ghostly in appearance and in function as they lied in wait. There massive forward Larisa guns all pointing towards Segania Prime.