Black Ice
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Table Of Contents

Mission 5: BLACK ICE

 

The contents of the Ship Logs are considered to be a "compilation" under the provisions of Title 17, U.S. Code (known as the Copyright Act): that is, "A work formed by the collection and assembling of preexisting materials or of data that is selected, coordinated or arranged in such a way that the resulting work as a whole constitutes an original work of authorship." As such, it is the property of the shipís Captain; however, automatic transfer of ownership to STARSHIPS OF THE THIRD FLEET is effected upon publication of this mission by the shipís Captain ipso facto.

As outlined in Circular 1 (Copyrighted Basics, Library of Congress, Washington DC, USGPO 1989-262-309/12), "copyrighted in each separate contribution to a periodical or other collective work is distinct from the copyright in the collective work as a whole and vests initially with the author of the contribution."

This mission may not be reproduced in any form without the express, written authorization of STARSHIPS OF THE THIRD FLEET.

Prologue

Captainís Personal Log: 2400

Weíve been surveying in the Keiras System now for three weeks and some of my crew are getting downright obnoxious. I guess shore leave wasnít enough time to cool down the affects of the Jirzzaque attack. We have four more weeks to finish with this project and if I donít kick some butt weíll never get done. I love my job!
Out

USS PHOENIX Ė SMIDGEN Ė 0400z

IMMEDIATE//IMMEDIATE//IMMEDIATE

From: Starfleet Command
To: Commanding Officer, USS PHOENIX// Chief Intelligence Officer, USS PHOENIX

Subj: New Orders

TOP SECRET

1. (C) Current mission cancelled.
2. (TS) USS PHOENIX directed to proceed at best possible speed to coordinates 135, 216, 23.5.
3. (TS) Rendezvous with shuttle containing Agent Omega. Transponder Mode 5, Code 3065.
4. (TS) Deliver Omega to Jhoran System.
5. (C) Dissemination of mission details restricted to need-to-know basis.
5. (TS) Rules of Engagement #7 in effect.
6. (U) Good luck and God speed


LCDR Spahn reread the highly classified communication again. He had already authenticated it three times. The Romulan Starfleet officer understood the necessity of "need to know," but he didnít have to like it. Neither will Captain Steele, he thought.

Spahn brought up a chart of the Jhoran system. An outpost was based on Jhoran V. Spahn knew this to be a SIGINT (signals intelligence) station for Starfleet near the Romulan Border. A lot of activity had taken place there since the "Cold War" between the Romulans and the Federation began in 2311. Although no overt hostilities existed, the Intelligence community had played a serious cat-and-mouse game with the Tal Shiar. Many had failed to return.

Spahn observed that Jhoran V was an ice planet with glacial seas. Perhaps my long-lost brother, Slar, may be opposing us. Spahn knew it was useless to speculate on such things. Only duty mattered. He looked down and noticed a smudge on his left boot. How annoying.

USS PHOENIX Ė SMIDGEN Ė 0430Z

Spahn flipped the communication switch and activated a secure line to the Captainís quarters. Using a headset, he spoke, "Captain Steele, I apologize for waking you. I have received a Top Secret, Immediate precedence message. I request you meet me in SMIDGEN."

"Yes, Iím looking at it," Steele replied. "Iíll be right there."

In five brief minutes, the Captain entered SMIDGEN. Spahn provided a briefing for the Captain, who looked decidedly unhappy.

"This has to be damned serious for Starfleet to direct that Rules of Engagement #7 in effect. Expendable! I donít like the sound of that," she had a worried look on her face.

Quietly, as though speaking to himself, Spahn recited Rules of Engagement #7: "Circumstances exist which may categorize own ship as expendable. All efforts are to be made to save crew. If necessary, own ship is to be destroyed in a manner to cause the maximum amount of damage to other ship(s) as possible." Clearly, he shared Talonís view.

Steele opened the communication line. "Bridge, this is the Captain."

"Yes, Captain, Somerville here."

"Good. Youíre just the person I wanted. I want my best crew on the bridge by 0600. Make whatever changes to the duty roster are necessary. Set course 047 Mark 109, Warp 8. Set EMCON ZULU--I want this ship to be a hole in space. Rules of Engagement 7 are in effect as of now."

"Aye, Aye, Sir. ALPHA Watch on the Bridge at 0600, course 047 Mark 109, speed Warp 8, EMCON ZULU set, Rules of Engagement 7 in effect."

Lieutenants Lisa Boldain and Alice McConnell turned from their stations to stare at LCDR Somerville. The concern in their faces was almost palatable. Somerville frowned slightly. "You hear the Captain. Execute!"

In SMIDGEN, Captain Steele turned to Spahn. "Iíll be on the Bridge. Round up Security and get things rolling."

USS PHOENIX Ė Bridge Ė 0715Z Ė RENDEZVOUZ POINT JULIET

Lieutenant A.J. Tyler looked up from the communications console. "I am receiving a Mode Five transponder code on a secure frequency, Code Three Zero Six Five."

"Thatís the one," Spahn commented. Captain Steele nodded and pressed a button on the arm of her chair. "Shuttlebay, stand by to take the shuttle on board."

"Aye, aye, Sir." Adam Brannon ran his hands along the control panel. Wailing sirens warned that the Shuttlebay doors were opening. A red light flashed in the center of the panel, telling him that the tractor beam was activated. He watched curiously as the shuttle was drawn into the ship.

"With your permission, Iíll go to meet our guest," stated Spahn dryly. With that, he departed the bridge.

While enroute to the Shuttlebay, he reached out to his assistants. "Lieutenants Spencer and Stewart, report to the Shuttlebay."

LT Adam Brannon, the Shuttle Operations Officer, stood next to Soen MoníTeith of Security a few feet from the shuttleís hatch. Spahn gave them a quick nod and, followed by Spenser and Stewart, entered the shuttle.

A few minutes later, Spahn, Stewart, and Spencer emerged with an individual covered in heavy rust-colored robes and a masked helmet.

Adam and Soen watched as the entourage passed. Shaking his head, Adam commented, "I donít know whatís going on, but it canít be good." His sotto voice barely reached Soen.

She agreed, "I hate spooks. They give me the creeps."

They watched as the group left the Shuttlebay.

USS PHOENIX Ė CAPTAINíS READY ROOM Ė 0830Z Ė ENROUTE TO THE JHORAN SYSTEM

Spahn sat across from Captain Steele and explained the mission as Agent Omega had outlined it to him.

"What? If I didnít know this was authentic, Iíd say it was madness. So, what is the mission goal? At least we can know that," asked Steele.

"All I know, Captain, is that we are to take Omega to Jhoran V and shuttle him down to the planet. A field around the facility prevents beaming in or out. Iíd suggest that we take the Maelstrom, as the outpost is located beneath a glacial sea," advised Spahn.

"Sounds lovely," commented the Captain, "Who do we need for this milk run?"

"The shuttle will carry a dozen. Omega and I, of course, are going. Iíll need someone from Security as well. A scientist might help and, obviously, a pilot. Iíll leave the rest up to you."

Captain Steele nodded and brought up a personnel list. She scanned the names and made some selections. She handed Spahn the PADD. "Here you go. Take care of my people."

Spahn took the PADD and glanced at the names. "I could do no less."


USS PHOENIX Ė BRIDGE Ė 0200Z Ė AT THE JHORAN SYSTEM

The PHOENIX dropped out of warp upon entry into the Jhoran System. Lisa Boldain set a course to Jhoran V and Alice McConnell executed it. Ten minutes later the ice planet could be seen on the view screen. The white orb was covered in swirling snowstorms and icy oceans. It was marvelous, yet frightening to behold.

"Mister McConnell, establish a standard orbit. Mister Tyler, establish communications with the outpost on a secure channel," commanded the Captain. Alice began a solution for the orbit as A.J. opened a line.

"No response, Captain," said LT Tyler. Captain Steele furrowed her brow. "Get Spahn up here. I need to know whatís going on."

The green Orion Space Science Officer, Lieutenant Tahl, spoke, "Captain, the planet is showing signs of instability. Several Level Five storms are active on the planetís surface. Iím reading heavy currents and 10-meter waves. Should a shuttle crash, their odds of survival are minimal."

The doors to the turbolift opened with a hiss. Spahn stepped onto the Bridge, followed closely by CDR Stryker. Steele turned impatiently to Spahn, "Whatís going on, Spahn? Why isnít the outpost responding?"

"I donít know," replied Spahn.

Stryker frowned. "I donít like the way this feels, Captain. It has "trap" written all over it. I recommend we abort―now.Ē

ďWith all due respect, Commander, our orders are to deliver Omega. We must fulfill that mission,Ē said Spahn, looking back and forth between Stryker and the Captain.

After a momentís thought, Steele squared her shoulders. ďHeís right, Stryker. Our orders are quite clear and I have little or no latitude in the matter." She turned to Spahn. "Proceed with your mission, Commander Spahn."