Episode 1.1: Sidetracked - Tactical Tests
Episode 1.1: Sidetracked
Location: Main Bridge
Timeline: Before simulation with Sarragut
Estrad strode onto the bridge from his ready room, eager to begin. As soon as they had confirmed they could actually shoot straight, they'd be able to begin the actual fight.
"Lieutenant Hawke," he said, looking up at Hawke. "Are we ready to test the tactical systems?"
Hawke was not happy. One of the phaser arrays - Number Four - was not fully powered. Each of the others were primed and ready to fire, but Four was stubbornly maxing out at sixty-eight per cent power.
He shook his head in frustration as yet another reboot failed to drive the power up to full. "We're ready, Skipper," he said. "Number Four phaser array has a power problem, but it'll still fire fire. We can run a full test on your command; just tell me which rock you want out of your sky and I'll make it happen."
"Better let Engineering know," interjected Barim.
"Yes, sir," Hawke nodded. "One of my guys is gathering the data from our diagnostics of Number Four now to share with Engineering. Just teething problems, I'm sure. Won't affect our tests today."
"Excellent," Estrad replied, then settled into the command chair to watch things happen. "Right, Lieutenant. Target the largest rock within phaser range and fire when ready."
"Yes, sir," Hawke replied with a grin on his face and an excited lilt in his voice. He brought up the targeting interface on his console and selected a sizable potato-shaped asteroid nearby, almost two hundred metres from end to end. It was slowly tumbling lengthwise as it moved gently away from the Aeon's position at a distance of seven thousand kilometres.
"Target acquired," Hawke said as he tapped a control that brought the asteroid up on the main screen. "Arrays five and six at full power. Firing!"
The Tactical Console let out a little alarm as two of the arrays on the underside of the Aeon's saucer section hummed to life, each sending over ten megawatts of phased energy hurtling through space and blasting into the unsuspecting asteroid.
On the screen, the asteroid started to vent gas as it broke apart, the twin phaser beams pumping more and more energy into it until it finally shattered like an egg, igniting the gas in a brilliant blue fireball that quickly vanished as it burned out. Like that, there was nothing left of the asteroid.
Hawke grinned and nodded and generally looked like a kid who'd just lived up to a school yard boast. "First test successful, skipper."
Estrad smiled. Hawke's enthusasism was catchy, and it was good to know there wasn't anything major affecting their tactical systems.
"Very good, Lieutenant," he leaned forward. "Let's make it more interesting. Ensign Kanso, plot us an attack vector into the asteroid belt. Make sure we maintain a safe distance from each asteroid."
Marla was still gawking at the dust where the asteroid had been. "Aye, Captain." Her ears pricked as she focused back on her console, outlining a path through the asteroid belt. Constructing a route that would give the Hawke plenty of target practice. "Course laid in, sir!"
"Very good, Ensign. Take us in," Estrad ordered.
"Aye, sir" Marla replied. She engaged the Aeon's impulse engines and relaxed, she was looking forward to the fireworks.
"Lieutenant Hawke, target asteroids at will; I want to cover all phaser banks at all angles. Let's give these phasers a thorough test run."
"Aye aye, sir!" Hawke replied as his fingers danced across his console. He removed the safeties from all phaser banks and powered them up.
Number Four was still not coming to full power, but it had green lights on all diagnostics, so firing was not a risk to the ship. Even so, he turned his head to speak to one of his team who had taken over one of the outer bridge consoles for the exercise. "Ensign Kela, keep an eye on Number Four. Be ready to shut her down if she goes red."
The ship swooped into the asteroid field and found itself suddenly surrounded by 'hostile' asteroids. Hawke's console showed green lights across the board. The full spread pattern was programmed in and would cycle each array through six shots at different targets at different angles. All he had to do was tap the 'execute' button.
"Firing!" he called as he tapped the button and unleashed the Aeon's full phaser fury on the unsuspecting chunks of rock that surrounded her. Some of the smaller ones vaporised instantly, while others broke apart or had large chunks sheared off, sending flotsam off in all directions. None of the pieces posed a threat to the Aeon, but Hawke double checked the shield integrity to be sure.
As he confirmed the shields were at 100%, Number Four went red; it was now not powering at all. Ensign Kela had her finger over the kill switch the entire time and quickly shut it down. It would play no more part in the exercise.
"Skipper, I'm afraid Number Four is now out of the game," Hawke reported, his eyes checking the status of the twelve other phaser arrays. "All others still at top performance."
Estrad remained quiet as he watched the final moments of the combat, not wanting to interrupt the test.
A moment later, the final shot was fired and the exercise ended. Hawke checked the readout on his console and said, "Exercise complete, Captain. Initial report shows that twelve of our thirteen phaser arrays completed six shots at one hundred per cent intensity, with ninety-three per cent accuracy." He didn't smile.
"Bad news is that Number Four only got off two shots before it failed to recharge," he added. "My team and I will work with Engineering to figure out the problem there. I'm also not happy with that seven per cent inaccuracy." He shook his head and said, "I'll fix that too, sir."
Estrad stood and turned to face Hawke. "I want Number Four repaired as a priority, Lieutenant, we can work on accuracy later," he requested. "You have half an hour to do what you can before we begin combat."
Hawke gave a curt nod and said, "Aye, sir. It'll be up and running in no time."
Estrad nodded at Hawke's response, and turned to face forward. "Helm, take us out of the belt and bring us back into range with the Sarragut."
"You mean whats left of the belt, sir?" Marla flashed a grin over her shoulder at Lieutenant Hawke before gently bringing the ship back toward the Sarragut. She was pleased the Aeon was handling so smoothly, and after seeing what tactical was capable of she was feeling considerably less nervous about the fast approaching combat exercise.
Estrad sat back down again and turned to Barim. "Now we wait," he mused.
Captain Estrad Dagan
Commander Barim Nash
Lieutenant Lucius Hawke
Chief Security/Tactical Officer
Ensign Marla Kanso
Chief Flight Control Officer