Lt. Cmdr. Rouiancet: Minefield, both metaphorical and literal

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Tony Colella

Nov 12, 2020, 9:59:10 PM11/12/20
to USS Thor – StarBase 118 Star Trek PBEM RPG
(( Long Range Shuttle Odin Cockpit ))

As she'd done when the marines' Valkyries had led the way to New Bajor before, Lia throttled her shuttle back and took up the rearguard position. This time, though, she wasn't alone there, as Garcia and Yang had taken the runabout Tigris along for the ride. Lia had considered joining them, but the runabout only needed a pilot and a co-pilot, and her trip to New Bajor and her retrieval of Dr. Alieth and the captain made her think that more ships might be better than fewer in this case, too.

She'd also chosen the Odin for the mission over the Freyr. The Odin's Type XI had slightly better offensive systems than the Type IX Freyr, and while their defensive systems were the same, the Odin was, well, a long range shuttle with a higher maximum and a higher cruising speed. She didn't expect that she'd have to spend much time at sustained warp, but there was no harm in being prepared.

Garcia: =/\= Tigris to all signs, confirm your formation position. =/\=

The flight responded with their positions, and they were on their way.

Garcia: =/\= Copy that. Tigris moving into position. Let’s fly! =/\=

From there, Lia both expected and received a relatively routine flight, which was to say boring. That was how she liked it, though. An uneventful flight to the target would hopefully precede a by-the-books operation once they arrived.

Nevertheless, she spent the flight time looking up everything she could think of regarding the old Dominion mine systems, as well as reviewing her basic anatomy and triage for the species who had representatives among the mission personnel. It was a fairly small group, but even so, she wanted to be prepared.

Then, far too soon, the message she'd been waiting for arrived.

Henderson: =/\= We’re approaching the minefield. Showtime ladies and gentlemen. ETA one minute. =/\=

Garcia: =/\= Tigris to all signs, detecting mine field ahead. Reading as armed. Reduce quarter speed. (Chirpily.) Rouiancet, you’re up with the codes.. =/\=

Singh: =/\= Copy, Valkyrie Flight, Slow to one quarter impulse. Maintain Formation and Spacing. Minimal EM signature. =/\=

Rouiancet: =/\= Odin confirms. Preparing to broadcast shutdown sequence. =/\=

Annoyingly, this model of mine required that each individual mine in the field receive a direct signal with its shutdown code. It was a clever precaution, in case anyone had found that code, since it prevented the entire field's deactivation. As it was, Lia needed a few minutes to deactivate an area of the field large enough for the flight to pass through.

Rouiancet: =/\= Odin again. We should have a safe access corridor. Stick to the flightpath I'm transmitting. (beat, darkly) I can't guarantee anyone's safety if they deviate. =/\=

Garcia: =/\= Do what you can. We can always re-think. =/\=

The flight continued on course for the corridor Lia had transmitted, but about two minutes  before the lead ship would've reached the outer detection edge of the first mines, more came through the comm channel.

Singh: =/\= Valk 4-1 to Strike Lead - High probability our intel is faulty. Minefield appears fully active and intact. Ringo, transmit our sensor readings. =/\=

Rouiancet: (to herself) What?

Garcia: =/\= Tigris confirming those readings. =/\=

But that was impossible. Lia had deactivated the mines individually!

Rouiancet: =/\= Something's wrong. I saw the mine systems go offline. =/\=

Could they have auto-restarted? But that would hardly be an advantage, for a mine that had been properly deactivated to suddenly activate itself again.

But if they were right, and the mines had booted up again after just a few minutes, then Lia assumed that something else had been done to them. This wasn't an abandoned Dominion minefield at all, in that case. It was a very active minefield that had been repurposed by someone else entirely.

Rouiancet: =/\= Recommend we proceed with extreme caution. I don't know what those mines can do. =/\=

Singh: =/\= Strike Lead, we need a go/no go. Outer detection envelope for the mines is 45 seconds out. =/\=

Garcia/Henderson/Rodriguez: =/\= Responses =/\=

Singh: =/\= Copy all. Valkyrie Flight, maintain shield formation until we reach the deployment point then shift to interdiction. Five, you're with me. =/\=

Henderson: =/\= Sir, if we enter that field before the mines are deactivated, we’re gonna have to fight it out and try and shoot em down, or we run away and try and outrun their thrusters. Either way it’s gonna be tight. =/\=

Rouiancet: =/\= Agreed. Recommend we do not attempt. Even if these were only Dominion mines, they could still be very dangerous for all our craft. =/\=

And who knew what they were now or who, exactly, had tampered with them?

Garcia/Yang: =/\= Responses =/\=

Singh: =/\= Copy all. Valkyrie Flight, maintain shield formation until we reach the deployment point then shift to interdiction. Five, you're with me. =/\=

And for the next couple of minutes, Lia again had nothing in particular to do. However, she didn't stay idle. She ran analyses and re-analyses of the mines and the telemetry she'd collected from the shutdown sequence. What had happened? When had the mines come back online? And was the shutdown still going to last long enough for the offline period to be useful?

A few moments after trying to ascertain an answer to that final question, Lia (and presumably the rest of the flight) received targeting data from the Valkyries.

Rouiancet: =/\= That's a lot of mines. =/\=

Henderson: =/\= That’s not very reassuring. =/\=

She hadn't realized the channel was still open. Even with no one around to see, Lia blushed.

Garcia/Yang: =/\= Responses =/\=

Singh: =/\= Valkyrie flight, Master Arm On. Weapons Free. Good hunting. =/\=

From that point, the minefield decided that it hated them.

Up until then, their attempts to deactivate might have been interpreted by the mines' AI as a bumbling but ultimately authorized presence. But once the weapons fire began, those assumptions went out the window and the mines, well, did what mines did.

Henderson: =/\= Good volley, but the minefield is officially active. Mines are homing. Take evasive action! =/\=

Garcia/Yang/Singh: =/\= Responses =/\=

Lia made liberal use of the Odin's advanced phasers, though she remained at the rear of the flight and dealt primarily with any mines that the crafts in front hadn't handled. After a minute or two, but what seemed like much longer, she hoped that they had made some progress into the field, until she received the report.

Henderson: =/\= Valkyrie flight reporting light damage across the board. This field might be a bit stronger than we thought! =/\= 

Rouiancet: =/\= Odin reports shields at 73%. =/\=

Garcia/Yang/Singh: =/\= Responses =/\=

Even though the evasive push left her little time to crunch data, the computer could do much more and much more quickly than could Lia. She had only to ask it her final question to receive, a minute and plenty of exploded mines later, an answer.

She hastily spoke into the comm.

Rouiancet: =/\= This is Odin. Computer reports broadcasting the shutdown signal at a particular mine does deactivate it for about ten seconds before it powers up again. If we broadcast and then detonate the mines during the inactive period, we should have a much easier time. =/\=

Hopefully. The computer had reported that ten seconds was an average, not a rule, and that the mines had highly individual reboot times. What exactly that meant Lia didn't know, but hopefully it would still be enough to give them a necessary edge.

Garcia/Yang/Singh/Henderson: =/\= Responses =/\=

Tags! and TBC!

Lieutenant Commander Lia Rouiancet
Strategic Operations Officer
USS Thor
SB118 Captains Council Magistrate (so ask me anything!)
he/him/his (player) & she/her/hers (this character)
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