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On Station

Posted on Wed Jan 16th, 2013 @ 8:30am by Lieutenant Commander David Burkeson

Mission: Part of the Team
Location: Romulan Neutral Zone


As he entered the bridge, Burkeson immediately swept the workstations, noting who was on duty. His eyes fell immediately on the combined Flight Control/Operations station forward.

"Pat..." he said, making his way to the command chair, "Did you get any of the sleep I ordered you to get?"

"Seven hours, Sir. " the helmsman replied.

"Good." Burkeson chuckled, settling into his seat and logging into the bridge systems, "That way I won't have to keel-haul you which, as you know, can be serious on a starship. Where do we stand?"

"ETA seventeen minutes to initial waypoint of our assigned patrol area." Pat replied, "No ship traffic or significant signals. One particularly interesting system nearby, which I noted in the log."

"Indeed." Burkeson pulled up the reference and examined it, "Pourolis system. Interesting indeed...most interesting." His voice trailed off as he read. A few minutes later, he added, "Take us toward there, Pat. Then signal Engineering to prep a full spread of whiskers for launch. Keep four in sensor extension orbit around Steadfast and send four around this Pourolis system's perimeter to get the basics." The 'whiskers', were specialized probes built on a Type 8 frame and designed specifically for space interdiction operations, anti-smuggling, anti-piracy and so forth...a very common Defiant mission. Carrying task-specific instrument packages and designed for a lower detection threshold than most probes, the whiskers paid for it in much more limited range than their Type 8 parent. They were a great advantage however, in tracking and locating ships trying to be sneaky. Where the nickname had come from was a mystery.

"And the other four, Sir?" Pat prompted.

Getting up from his seat, Burkeson moved to the Science station. "I'm going to want them to do a fast sweep of the border in our AO, but I'll program them myself." he said, "I've given you people enough to do for now."

As he began the fairly routine task of mapping out sweep routes for the whiskers along the border, Burkeson let his mind wander a little. That system was perfect, almost ideal. Right on the border, with twenty planets and a whopping five major debris fields, it was exactly the place where a savvy smuggler or other malefactor would want to cross. It could be approached with impunity from the Federation side for any number of alleged reasons, then offered numerous places to hide and scope out activity in the area before making a run across the zone. Starfleet technology was very good at locating object in deep space, especially those moving at warp, but interference signatures and obstructions like nebulae, storms of various sorts and system primaries could severely interfere with sensors.

It would also be a great place for Steadfast to hide, probes discretely tucked away near the edge of the system and watching for suspicious activity. He wished he had a cloak aboard, but cloak authorization was very hard to come by these days and they tended to be problematic on Defiant's anyway, given their very high power signatures for their size. Klingon cloaks, at any rate; the Romulan system Defiant herself used during the War had worked fairly well. Federation technology could make a good Defiant cloak, of course, but that was restricted by the idiotic Treaty of Algeron. Still, cloaks were the easy way. A real starship master could do all kinds of things to shield his ship from detection.

Of course, before Steadfast could hide in there, Burkeson needed to make sure no one else already was...



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