Part of USS Dragon: Abeloth – Aftermath and Bravo Fleet: Ashes of Deneb

ABELOTH-AM-3(Aztec)

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Mathisson tapped on the screen as he saw the incoming message alert blink. He was shocked to see Captain Kr’Antren on the other end as the message was marked as coming from Task Force Command, not operations.

“Hello, sir. I guess congratulations are in order?”

Kr’Antren ran a hand through his beard and gave a slight chuckle. “It’s rather new Eric, still getting used to the idea myself.”

“So, how can the Aztec be of service?”

“Right to the point?”

“Well, why else would you be calling, sir?”

“That’s true. We have a new mission for the Aztec. We need you to join with the Dragon on her current mission. I know you are in the middle of figuring out the Suelaiktnor system situation but we need the Aztec and her systems in the Deneb sector.”

“Yes, sir. So what is the mission? And how soon do you need us out there?”

“You will start exploring the area around the Izar for anything that the Lost Fleet might have left behind, while the Dragon is finishing up another part of her mission. They will join you once they are finished with refugee resettlement.”

“Yes, sir.”

“As far as when we need you there, the sooner the better. We need to see what they left behind and the sooner we find it the better. We are already hearing reports that other entities are trying to do the same thing.”

“Ferengi?” Eric asked with a raised eyebrow.

“They’re the least of our worries?”

“I see.”

“Eric quickly typed something on his PADD and brought up a map showing routes from the Expanse to the Deneb Sector. “Still going to be a few weeks for us to get there, and I’m guessing the Dragon is already en route.”

“They are due to arrive in forty-eight hours at Farpoint station where they will begin to take on the refugees.”

“That puts us three weeks, give or take a few days, behind. We may be late to the party, Captain.”

Kr’Antren looked at something just off-screen. “Not if you use the corridor.”

“The corridor, sir? Is it worth the risk?”

“True, but I believe with the systems you have onboard and your size and speed I think you will find it easier than you think. And yes, for this particular mission, I do believe it will be worth the risk.”

Eric pulled up the map showing the mentioned route, if you can call a narrow corridor between two rival non-Starfleet friendly factions, a route. “I see what you mean sir, it helps that Atlantis and Dragon both recently used it. Of course, we will have to slow down to get through the Vadlox nebula, but even then we should cut a couple of weeks or so off of the transit time.” Eric tapped on his combadge “Lieutenant Rockholdt, Captain Mathisson.”

“Yes, sir”

“New orders incoming. Prepare the ship for departure; I want us ready to leave as soon as possible.”

“Yes sir. Do you need me?”

“Not right now, I’ll fill you in once I’m done.”

“Yes, sir.”

Tapping his combadge again “Lieutenant Darame, Set a course for Alpha Alpha Seven. Warp 8.”

“Sir, that’s the entrance to the corridor.”

“I know, plan your route, Lieutenant.”

“Yes, sir”

“Anything else, Captain?”

“Not at this time, I am sending you the full mission packet as we speak. Let me know if you have any further questions. Good luck, Eric.”

“Thank you. Sir”

——————————————-

Eric exited the turbo lift and entered the bridge as the captain’s whistle went off. “Good morning everyone.” as he made his way to relieve the lieutenant sitting in the command chair.

“You’re up early this morning, captain.”

“Not really, just on the bridge earlier than usual.” he chuckled.

“Captain, estimate arrival at Izar in twenty-four hours at current speed.” the gamma shift helm officer reported as Eric made his way onto the bridge.

“Thank you, Ensign.” As he turned toward the gamma shift science officer.” Anything on the scans?”

“No, sir.”

“Sir, the latest from the Dragon has them just arriving at Izar of a couple hours ago.”

Eric nodded as he took a sip from his coffee mug.

“And the latest from Izar is that they had several Ferengi salvage ships in the area in the past few days, they wouldn’t say which way they were heading but all data showed them leaving toward Lungurn system and the Saxue system.”

“Damn it, the Saxue system was on my list of possible targets to work towards. Tactical, what is their best possible speed?”

“Warp five maybe warp six, sir”

“With a two to three-day head start, that’s going to be tough to catch up.”

“Maybe not sir, What if we bypassed stopping at Izar and made our way toward Saxue.” the ensign sitting at the Helm console added.

“It’s a thought.”

“Sir, we don’t even have to get to the system. I am sure our sensor suite is better equipped and more capable to search the area than anything the Ferengi may have onboard. ” the science officer added as they noticed Ensign Caradwe enter the bridge along with the XO.

“I would have to agree with her, sir. We could be a few days out and still see what is out there. “Ensign Cardwe added

“Helm. Make the course change. Comms, notify the Dragon of the change in our plans and tell Captain Rigras that I will contact her in a few hours to explain our plans. You all talked me into it.”

“Yes, captain”

Eric turned toward his XO as he saw him take a seat in his console. “Change of plans Austin, We are bypassing Izar, Looks like we may have some competition on finding what the dominion may have left behind.” he quickly filled him in on the latest reports.

——————————————

Darame looked up from his console. “Sir. We are crossing the perceived boundary of the lost fleet-controlled area.”

“Let’s drop from warp and take a look.”

They watched as the ship dropped from warp.

“Sir, Ferengi warp signatures on the sensors, Looks like they stopped here briefly and then continued.”

“How long ago?”

“From the degradation of the signatures, I would guess no more than fifteen hours.”

Eric looked over at Austin “Not bad, roughly twenty hours made up according to the reports from Izar.”

Austin looked over at Tizor. ”Which way did they go? “

Toward the nebula outside of the Saxue system, according to the data we are getting.”

“Hmmmm, a good place to look.”

“I would agree but we know that Izar was their first target and that to me is a bit far out for a staging area. If it were me, I would have wanted to stage someplace a bit closer, someplace that I could set up and safely control the area without having to worry about being found or about things outside of my control. No, I think they staged somewhere around this boundary area. There has to be a reason why Star Fleet Intelligence thinks this was the boundary versus farther out. “

“Austin stood and walked over to the science console. “Makes sense, but there is a lot of open space out here.”

Eric stood and went to stand beside the Helm central console. “Ops, was there very much traffic between Izar and Saxue.”

The gold tunic Ferengi looked through their holographic display toward the captain. ”Yes sir, it looks like a regular flow of traffic.”

“Any reports from them, anything out of the norm before Izar was attacked, did they report anything on their sensors that was not there before.”

“Pulling up the information now sir, I’ll put it on the main display.”

They watched as several traffic lanes appeared on the main display between the two systems; they then watched a ghostly green area outlined the width of the scannable area from the mentioned ships traveling between the two systems.”

“That’s what I thought, nothing. The dominion knew they would need to stay clear of those lanes if they wanted to stay undetectable.”

He bent over the back of Darame and looked at the helm officer’s map display. “I guess that they staged somewhere closer, somewhere that was unexpected.” he pointed at the Ciatar Nebula “somewhere close to that.”

“Tactical, triangulate the following locations, Izar system, Lungurn system, Leonis system, and the Nasera system.”

“On it, sir”

They watched as the computer started to draw four lines from those locations, which slowly started to work themselves out as the computer worked through the data to figure out the most likely routes from the locations to a central point. As they watched, the lines snapped into being; Eric pointed at the screen as he put a hand on Darame’s shoulder.

“There, that’s where we go. The most likely launch point for the systems we know that they attacked and brought under their control in the area.”

“Yes, sir. Plotting the coordinates now.”

They felt the Aztec veer hard toward starboard and enter warp.