((Bridge, USS Gorkon))
::The viewscreen image was filled with static and distortion, but flickering there among the interference was the dark shape of a starship. The elegance of its long body was someone hampered by bulbous sections that almost looked as though the hull had bubbled out under internal pressure. Growing closer, the bridge crew had realised that the massive ship was dragging some kind of sensor net behind it, an ingenious way to compensate for the ship's lacklustre tech in that area, not to mention the effects of Ma no Umi itself.
::Their best approach, it was decided, was to try and establish rudimentary communications — to get the Labyrinth's Scream to allow them to pass the sensor net without unleashing its defences. She propped her chin on the backs of her fingers as she thought. What kind of message would get the captain's attention and convince him to let them closer? After a little while, she finished sorting through the possibilities and decided on one.::
Reynolds: Send this: "Hello my friend, I hope you received my gift of silverware."
::The Russian and the Scot repeated the word at the same time, and then silence ensued. Harry looked at her, somewhere between disbelief and amusement. She quirked her head toward him, once again hoping that Marshall and Sienelis had found their way onto that ship. If they hadn't, then there was little change that message would make any sense to Thertas at all.::
Reynolds: Hopefully it should ring a bell. We'll see in a minute.
MacFarlane: I’ll take your word for it sir.
Johns: Here goes nothing. ::He expelled a breath and tapped it in.:: Message sending in five, four…
::He continued the countdown until the confirmation popped on the viewscreen. Then it was just waiting, Johns' posture was taut, gaze fixed on his console as time ticked past. Quinn imagined the scene playing out on the bridge of the other ship; an unexpected transmission, a cryptic message, a rush to find that the transmitting ship and of course, the question of how to reply…::
Johns: It shouldn't take this long, should it? Raw streams aren't hard to decode.
MacFarlane: Are… are they taking the bait? I’m seeing no changes on my instruments. Captain, should… should we have a backup plan in case this message doesn’t have the desired effect?
Reynolds: Just give it a minute.
::And so they did. In the quiet that reigned, she listened to the rumble of the ship's engines, the breath of the air recycling system a rhythmic hiss, the consoles and devices of the bridge humming and warbling notifications from various ships systems. It was a sound so ingrained that she often found she missed it when she was away from the Gorkon, to the point where she sometimes struggled to sleep without the bass, white noise of a starship.::
MacFarlane: Sir! We have a data burst coming in. The computer will take a moment to check it for possible Trojan signals before decoding it and relaying the information.
::Quinn nodded. This kind of task fell squarely in John's bailiwick as an operations officer, and she waited while the young man worked with the computer to clean up the message. She thought she caught a small twitch of a smile as he turned his head, just a little to report back on the results.
Johns: Message received, sir. They're confirming receipt. Sending the transmission to your panel.
Reynolds: ::She glanced at him with a wry smile.:: "With gratitude. The engravings were particularly delightful."
::Behind her, the Kazleti man spoke again, his voice a distant thunderstorm on a warm summer's night. She'd long since abandoned the habit of turning toward the officers at the rear stations, heaving learnt that was a quick way to repetitive strain and a very sore neck. Thus she was unaware of the way the man's tentacle twitched on his shoulder, as though trying to brush away lint from the fabric.::
Rhakmar: Captain, confirm the net is now reduced, I can. Be with caution, the approach should.
Reynolds: ::She nodded her agreement.:: Novak, bring us in closer. Just enough to establish long-range communications, when we're ready to do so.
::The helmswoman confirmed the order, her hands sweeping over the navigational controls to steer the massive ship. The static on the viewscreen didn't abate, though if she stared at it long enough, the image of the ship did seem to be growing larger.
Ross: Has there any update from Nkai? We could use that sensor boost soon.
::The Scream wasn't a complete unknown, but one could never be too sure exactly how old the information was. Systems could be changed, weapons installed, crew taken on or laid off, all in the time it took for spies and double agents to feed intel back to the Federation. Knowing exactly what they were dealing with would soothe some of her anxieties, and perhaps those of others on the bridge.::
::A repetitive tone sounded from the operations console, one that Quinn had come to recognise over the years as an incoming hail. It drew a frown out of her, surprised that anyone was attempting to contact them. Unless, of course, they weren't, and the Gorkon was picking up a message spat out into space for anyone and everyone to hear.::
Reynolds: Let's hear it.
::The viewscreen didn't change, the message only in audio. Not a great surprise, given the transmission challenges in Ma no Umi, but a convenient excuse for anyone up to no good. Just as the viewscreen was filled with static, sections of the message were buried under white noise, words lost to the fury of the plasma fields.::
Whydah: =/\= ...is the… Whydah… core… life support… failing… … … urgent assistance… =/\=
Reynolds: Can we get a fix on their location?