Enemy Action
Up Phoenix Rising Pandemic Intruder Alert! Enya By Starlight Black Ice The HanI’Rhy Mystery Passion Fruit The Object Tombstone Trek City Under Glass The Witch Hunt Spindizzy Turn Off the Lights Trekkin' Flying Cloud What The Hell's... Survival Of The Fittest On The Edge Candescium Blindsided Shore Leave Melissa Wells The Listening Post Nostalgia The Artifact The Darkness Within Let The Games Begin Enemy Action Here's Mud In Your Eye The Tungsten Factor Xanadu Sicilian Defense When Worlds Collide Color Of Justice The Gin Joint Sabotage It's About Time Papa The Willow Race

 

Table Of Contents


Mission 28 : THREE TIMES IS ENEMY ACTION

 

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 ship’s Captain; however, automatic transfer of ownership to STARSHIPS OF THE THIRD FLEET is effected upon publication of this mission by the ship’s 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

Traffic Control, Newport News Shipbuilding and Conversion Facility

Lieutenant Ian Tennille leaned back in his chair and stretched. He kept one eye on his readouts as he tried to work out the kinks in his back. After almost eight hours of watching ships in the arrival and departure lanes of Newport News, he was tired. He glanced at the time. Only five minutes left, he sighed. Then it's time for a beer!

Out of the corner of his eye, an abnormal movement on one of the screens caught his attention. "Damned merchant ships!" he exclaimed, leaning forward to focus more closely. The SS Stolthaven Hathaway was off course, sliding to the side of the arrival lane.

He keyed his microphone. "SS Stolthaven Hathaway, Stolthaven Hathaway, this is Newport News Traffic Control. You are veering off your assigned course and endangering other inbound traffic. Correct your course to 123 Mark 55 immediately."

There was no answer.

Tennille watched as the ship continued to drift to the outside of the inbound lane. "SS Stolthaven Hathaway, Stolthaven Hathaway, this is Newport News Traffic Control. I say again, you are veering off your assigned course. Correct your course to 123 Mark 55 immediately!"

Still no response.

Suddenly the vessel made a course correction--directly toward the giant drydock orbiting above the coastline of Virginia which held two of Starfleet's almost completed heavy cruisers and several other smaller warships. Tennille gasped as the ship increased speed. Without thinking, for the first time in his life, he slammed his hand down on the console right on top of the red button some wag had hand lettered "Panic Button." Throughout Traffic Control, the drydock and in every compartment of the sprawling Albedaran III Starfleet facility, the strident sounds of the collision alarm echoed.

He could do nothing but watch.

The Nest

USS PHOENIX (NCC-2315)

Commander, Third Fleet, Fleet Admiral Evans, sat at a table near one of the plastisteel windows of the lounge. On his left sat Captain T. E. Lawrence; on his right Commander Wolfbayne Stryker. Across the table was Commander Seabrook. Evans was drinking a gin and tonic; Lawrence held a glass of Tanstaafl brandy, while Seabrook stared thoughtfully at his glass of Benden wine. Stryker, of course, was drinking Cutty Sark.

Lawrence raised her glass. "Here's to the closing ceremony of the 103rd Olympiad. May we never see the like again."

"Here! Here!" Evans agreed.

Stryker was humming a song softly beneath his breath as he joined the toast.

"Fanfare for the Common Man," Seabrook remarked.

"What?" Stryker asked.

"The song. The theme song for the 103rd Olympiad. Fanfare for the Common Man written by Aaron Copland. Quite appropriate, I think."

"I wish I could get the damned song out of my mind. It keeps playing over and over again."

Evans laughed. "Me too. But I like it. Bold and brassy. Uplifting."

"Not after this long," Stryker frowned. "It's starting to get old."

The table fell silent, each lost in their own thoughts.

Evans cleared his throat after a few minutes and turned to T. E. "How far are we from Aldebaran, T. E.?

Lawrence glanced at Stryker, who answered the Admiral's question.

"About two days at our current speed."

"Why?" T.E. asked.

"I'd like to stop by and see Dennis Franchone. We've got nothing critical scheduled for the PHOENIX, and I haven't talked to him face to face in a long time. Any problem, T.E.?"

Lawrence laughed. "Your every wish is my command, Admiral. Besides," she smiled, "I work for you."

"Well," Evans returned the smile. "If you're sure it's no problem?"

"I'll call the Bridge and have them change course," Stryker offered.

Evans nodded. "If you would."

Stryker never got the chance to make his call. The lights in The Nest turned red and began to flash. Over the 1MC came the voice of LCDR Alice McConnell.

"Red Alert! Red Alert! All hands man your battle stations. All hands man your battle stations. Captain to the Bridge. Captain to the Bridge."

Seabrook's glass of wine fell on its side, covering the table with its pale-golden contents. Lawrence's chair hit the floor as did Commander Stryker's as they ran toward the turbolift. Fleet Admiral Evans was close on their heels.

Main Bridge

USS PHOENIX (NCC-2315)

"Status report!" Lawrence barked as the turbolift doors opened and she, Commander Stryker and Fleet Admiral Evans burst onto the Bridge.

LCDR McConnell rose from the Captain's chair.

"Flash Override message from Starfleet Command, Captain. DEFCON 1 set for all Starfleet units. Rules of Engagement Eight in effect throughout the fleet. Execute Plan Snowfall."

"DEFCON 1?" Evans was almost speechless. Defense Condition 1 was the highest level of readiness possible in Starfleet. Rules of Engagement Eight gave every ship in the fleet authority to shoot first and ask questions later.

"War?" Lawrence gasped. "War with who?"

McConnell shook her head. "That's all the message said. DEFCON1, ROE Eight and execute Plan Snowfall." She frowned. "What is Plan Snowfall?"

"All vessels proceed to closest Starbase at maximum speed." Stryker's voice held no emotion.

Lawrence sat on the edge of her command chair and shook her head. She punched the comm button for SMIDGEN. "Commander Seabrook? What the hell is going on?"

SMIDGEN

USS PHOENIX (NCC23-15)

Commander Seabrook was watching the holographic display of the events at Newport News again. The SS Stolthaven Hathaway, for the second time, plowed into the huge drydock and struck the side of the heavy cruiser GRAF SPEE, still under construction. The freighter plowed into the side of the heavy cruiser, then exploded with the actinic light typical of a matter-antimatter explosion. The drydock crumpled in upon itself and spiraled out of orbit. He stared as the twisted mass of metal and ruined ships hit the atmosphere of Earth and began their inexorable trip to the surface of the planet.

"Commander!" LT Stev's voice was unbelieving. "Aldebaran II!" He flipped a switch and the scene in the holographic display changed. It was almost identical to the Newport News, except that the freighter didn't destroy the drydock nor did it explode, but crashed into the surface of Aldebaran III.

"Captain," Seabrook's voice was calm but had an underlying tremor Lawrence had never heard, "there have been two attacks. One on the Newport News drydock and the second on Aldebaran III."

"Attacks?" Lawrence repeated.

"Standby, Captain." Seabrook turned to LT Stev, who was motioning emphatically to the Chief Intelligence Officer.

"Damn!" Seabrook shook his head. "Captain, we have another incident. This one at New Paris."

"Helmsman, set course for Aldebaran III, maximum warp." Lawrence ordered. "McConnell, get down to the FACC and light it off. We may need it."

Evans nodded agreement. "I'll go with her. We'll get augmented to fully man the Fleet Action Coordination Center as soon as we arrive at Aldebaran III." He looked at T.E. "As soon as I can get some word from Starfleet Command, I'll let you know."

Into the deathly silence which enveloped the Main Bridge after McConnell and Evans left, Stryker's quietly quoted Auric Goldfinger, an old James Bond character.

"Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence--three times is enemy action."