Blackbird

USS Baldwin - Story 40

Captain's Log, Stardate 55495.8: Over the past two months, we have sought out data on the new polaron weapon. So far, we have had little luck in obtaining the weapon or its design; however, none of the ships in the 10th wing have encountered another ship with the new weapon. This leads me to believe that it is still in the prototype stage.

Meanwhile, Commander Petrelli is approaching her due date. We are still actively looking among the crew for Baldwin's acting XO.

Sara sat watch on the bridge when Laura noticed an issue. "Incoming bogey," Laura announced, "bearing 215 mark 20."

"On screen," Sara answered. The viewer displayed the image of a 'warbug.' "Red alert! Captain to the bridge."

Patrick immediately exited the ready room on the Lieutenant's call. "What have we got?"

"We have one warbug," Sara replied. "They do not appear to be on course to engage us."

"Of course they're not," Patrick noted. "They know we're running scared. Keep an eye on them, but do not engage."

"Anything new regarding the new weapon?" Sara asked.

"I got nothing."

"Perhaps it's time for a different approach. Have you considered the plan I suggested?"

"We still have a few logistical issues to iron out, but Admirals Ross and Donaldson are on board. Admiral Bennett has indicated that it passes legal muster."

"Captain," Donna noted, "you have a call from Winchester."

"Speaking of logistics, that's one of the issues I was looking to take care of. I'll take the call in the ready room."

"Hey," Patrick said as he answered the call.

"Good morning," Bernie answered. "What's the word?"

"Operation Blackbird is a 'go,'" Patrick commented.

"So, you're looking for someone to look after your little girl, Uncle Bernie and Aunt Roslyn are standing by."

"When can you meet up with us?"

"Give us about 36 hours," Bernie replied. "By the way, how is Jaimie?"

"Almost ready to pop," Patrick noted. "Dr. Bratney is ready to put her on maternity leave. I plan on reliving her when this op gets started."

"Wherever she wants to go, I think we can accommodate her."

"Good going. We'll see you in 36. Baldwin out." After finishing up with Bernie, Patrick activated the ship's intercom. "Attention all hands, this is the captain. There will be an urgent mission briefing in 30 minutes. All off-duty and non-essential personnel are requested to attend.

The entire Baldwin crew, with the exception of a few that had to remain at their post, assembled on the observation deck. "Good morning," Patrick stated to the gathered crew. "I have gathered all of you here to inform you of Baldwin's upcoming mission. As many of you know, two months ago, we were attacked by a 'warbug' that was equipped with a particularly destructive polaron weapon. So far, we have not been able to locate this weapon. That will soon be rectified. In 36 hours, we will be meeting up with the Winchester. This will be the last contact with Starfleet for the foreseeable future. It is also where many of you will get off. Baldwin will be operating with a skeleton crew, behind the lines, cloaked, and under radio silence. Our objective is simple: find the Warbug with the new weapon, and either capture or destroy her."

"As many of you know, I'm getting ready to have a baby," Jaimie added. "The beginning of this mission will also mark the beginning of my maternity leave. I will be among those departing when we meet up with Winchester. Those of you that will be part of the mission team will be briefed on your roles."

"One last thing," Patrick added. "With Jaimie out of action for a while, I need someone to keep the First Officer's seat warm. Our operation is the brainchild of our primary Legal Affairs officer, Lieutenant Jackson. I see no reason why she should not have a hand in implementing it. She's qualified as a bridge officer and has seen some 'seat time' to go along with it. Therefore, at least for now, Sara will be Baldwin's acting XO."

"Does anyone have any questions so far?" Patrick continued. Seeing none, he concluded his remarks. "Sara and Bridget will contact the mission team. If the 10th Wing needs anyone for TAD, Captain Tyler will be looking for volunteers. Anyone without an assignment will be allowed to take leave for the duration of the mission. Dismissed."

Patrick's two-year-old daughter was extremely fussy. Daddy attempted to calm her down with a medley of her favorite Beatles tunes with little luck. "I just don't get it. Proximity alarms and red alerts don't seem to faze you but leaving you with Aunt Roz makes you go all helter-skelter."

"Tiana is not the only one with separation anxiety," Bridget commented. "I know she'll be in good hands, but still –" Bridget's thoughts were interrupted by the Boson's whistle.

"It's go time! Winchester is here." Patrick moved over to the computer terminal to contact the bridge. "Bridge, this is the captain. Prepare to dock with Winchester."

"Aye, captain."

"I still can't help but be a little worried about her," Bridget finished her thought out loud.

"Sweetie, our little girl will be in good hands. Bernie, Roslyn, Jaimie, and even Jonathan and Valarie will take good care of here. What we need to focus on is our goal – find the new weapon."

"Sometimes, I envy you. We're about to embark on another dangerous mission, yet you seem confident in your resolve."

"I'm just as scared about what can go wrong on this mission as you are. I refuse to let worry cloud my resolve to do the right thing." Patrick turned to his daughter. "Tiana, I know you're scared of being left behind by mommy and daddy, but I promise you, we will do everything in our power to come back for you. In the meantime, you'll be in good hands. Think of it as your first big girl sleepover. Can you stay strong for your daddy?" Tiana nodded in acknowledgment.

The captains of Baldwin and Winchester greeted each other at the airlock between the two ships. "Captain Ingrum," Bernie stated.

"Captain Tyler," Patrick answered. "Permission to transfer my crew from Baldwin to Winchester."

"Permission granted. How many are we receiving?"

"54 active-duty officers, plus Lieutenant Taylor, Commander Petrelli, and two young ones."

"Your daughter will be in good hands," Bernie answered.

"I know." Patrick let go of Tiana's hand. "Okay, sweetie. I need you to go with Uncle Bernie," he stated as he knelt down to the young girl's level. "Remember, I will do everything I can to come back for you." Patrick held out his left hand with his pinky finger extended. "I promise." Tiana reached out to her father's hand to complete the pinky-swear.

"Tiana isn't the only one hoping you keep that promise," Jaimie noted. "There's another little girl ready to meet you when this mission is over."

"I know, number one. Look on the bright side, you should be out of danger when your daughter debuts and Dr. Bratney will be your attending physician."

"Are you sure you're not going to need a doctor on your mission?"

"I have no intention of letting this mission result in casualties. Donna should be able to handle things in sickbay." Patrick turned to Joshua next. "Hey, you take care of your mom, okay?" Joshua nodded his head.

"The personnel transfer has been completed and Winchester has undocked," Donna reported.

"Thank you," Sara replied. "Laura, set course 325 mark 7, warp 5. Prepare to engage the cloak."

"Course laid in," Laura answered. "Cloaking device is hot."

"Computer, cue breakaway music program Jackson-one." Immediately, all speakers aboard Baldwin started playing 'Secret Agent Man.' "I figured this song would be appropriate," Sara commented as Johnny Rivers began the first verse. "Engage."

The first evening after receiving Baldwin's crew was relatively uneventful for Captain Bernie Tyler and the Winchester, in part because of the late second-shift rendezvous. Both kids went straight to bed, Tiana stayed with her uncle and aunt in their quarters, while Joshua stayed with his mother in guest quarters provided by their hosts.

The next morning, Bernie had just relieved the third-trick duty officer when an alert came on long-range sensors. "Captain," the operations officer noted, "the Wildfire is approaching us."

"Open a channel," Bernie ordered. "Captain Stacey, what brings us the honor of your presence?"

"I heard you picked up Baldwin's personnel. I was hoping I could have a few volunteers for TAD," Amanda quipped.

"Yeah, right," Bernie answered.

"Okay, so Anna wants to see her niece, and Steve is a nervous wreck. At least I don't have to tow you in."

"I figure a few days off for them won't hurt," Bernie smiled, "They're welcome aboard the Winchester."

As soon as the beam-over was complete, Anna made a bee-line for Roslyn. "What is this for?" Roslyn asked as Anna gave her a big hug.

"I know we're all one big happy fleet, but I haven't seen you in person for over two years."

"Has it been that long since Patrick and Bridget's wedding?" Anna nodded affirmatively. "Wow, the time has sure flown by fast."

As Roslyn was talking to Anna, they walked out into the corridor, where someone else was there to greet them. "Huntress!" Johnathan called out.

Anna was somewhat surprised. "I haven't heard that call sign in ages!"

"You'd think I'd forget one of my favorite fellow pilots?"

"Where did the two of you serve together?" Roslyn inquired.

"We were both at Starbase 42," Anna commented. "I was in R & D when the Maquis situation broke out."

"She answered the call for small-craft pilots," Johnathan finished.

"This I gotta hear," Roslyn quipped as the trio continued their walk.

Patrick and Bridget approached their quarters from opposite directions. They arrived at the door simultaneously. "Ladies first," Patrick stated as he opened the door.

"Thank you, dear," Bridget answered. After entering their quarters, Patrick immediately reached for his wife's hand. "This is unexpected," she commented.

"May I have this dance?" Patrick inquired. "Computer, play playlist Ingrum Alpha-one." As the first song began playing, Patrick lead Bridget in a slow dance in the middle of the living room. "With all this cloak and dagger warfare, I want to remind myself of what really matters."

As the couple continued to dance in the living room, the song's refrain began:

Because you and I've been in love too long
to worry 'bout tomorrow.
Here's a place where we both belong.
I know you're the only woman I'm dreaming of.

"Who sings this?" Bridget asked.

"I believe the name of the group is Ambrosia," Patrick answered.

"You know, this song is about a man speaking to a love that questions his fidelity. I see no reason to question yours."

"I just went for a good ballad to slow-dance to," Patrick retorted. "I believe the once called this style of music 'Yacht Rock.'"

"Does that mean we should be dancing to this music from the Neosho's cabin?" Patrick got a little kick out of Bridget's quip. The runabout took on the role of the 'Captain's Yacht' for Baldwin. "I wouldn't mind doing this all night," Bridget continued. "however, we've got an asteroid field that we should be approaching in about 20 minutes."

"You're right, Bridge. This will be the fourth system we've checked."

"We're approaching the asteroid belt," Laura noted to the acting XO.

"Take us out of warp," Sara replied. "Begin scanning for signs of weapon fire."

Laura complied with Sara's order to drop to impulse power while Donna began scanning the asteroid field. "Captain to the bridge!" the tactical requested as she reviewed the sensor data.

"You found something?" Patrick asked as he exited the turbolift.

"You got a little something on your cheek," Sara stated as she wiped a lip print off.

"I'm a happily married man," Patrick retorted. "As I recall, you were the one that helped set our relationship in motion."

"As for your question," Donna added, "I do think we have something. Take a look at this." Donna directed everyone's attention to the main viewscreen.

"Looks like we've got ourselves a fine powder of asteroids," Patrick noted. "Scan for weapons signatures."

"Way ahead of you," Donna noted. "Energy signatures are consistent with the experimental polaron weapon."

"They've been here testing their new guns. Where are they now? Any sign of a warp trail?"

"On it," Donna answered. "I've got a warp trail bearing 169 mark 7."

"Lay in a pursuit course and engage at maximum warp," Patrick ordered. "This looks like our chance to catch them."

Bernie and Roslyn elected to host dinner with Jaimie, Steve, Anna, Johnathan, Valarie, Joshua, and Tiana in the Winchester's mess hall. Valerie had set up a larger round table in the mess hall's center, while Anna and Roslyn prepared the meal. "So, I hear you like the Beatles," Johnathan stated to his niece. "Which one is your favorite?"

"She's only a year and a half old," Jaimie responded. "She probably doesn't even know who the Beatles were."

"I just know that this little girl has good taste in music," Johnathan answered. To prove his point, he began the opening line of 'If I Fell' for Tiana. When the tight two-part harmony verse began, Valerie joined in.

At the conclusion of the impromptu tribute, Tiana applauded while Roslyn commented: "You two could give Patrick and Bridget a run for their money when it comes to duets."

"I had a good teacher, and three and a half years with nothing but time on my hands," Valerie retorted.

"I could teach you a song or two," Johnathan added.

"No thanks, I'm more of a dance person. Besides, I wouldn't want to one-up the Captain over there. He goes between double-flat and double-sharp."

"I hate to admit it," Bernie added, "but she is exactly right. I'll leave the signing to those who can pull it off." Among the banter, Jaimie started clenching herself in notable discomfort. "Are you all right, Jaimie?" Bernie asked.

"Yeah, my contractions are still about 30 minutes apart," Jaimie replied. "The baby's coming, but I still have some time."

"Don't push yourself too hard," Anna noted. "If you need to go lay down or see Dr. Bratney, you should."

"I'll be fine just long enough to enjoy one more dinner."

"In that case," Roslyn chimed in, "We won't keep you waiting." Anna and Roslyn presented a meal of country-style ribs, potatoes, and steamed broccoli. "Dig in,"

On the Winchester's bridge, Sonya was standing watch when the sensors picked something up. "Commander," the operations officer stated, "we have an unidentified ship heading 160 mark 5. They appear to be on course to intercept us."

"Keep an eye on it and go to yellow alert." Sonya had been briefed on Baldwin's operation and was well aware of the threat of the experimental polaron weapon.  "If that is our blackbird, I want to be ready.  Have CAP standby for launch. You have the bridge, Lieutenant. I think it would be better to talk to the Captain personally."

The family dinner was coming to an end when Sonya entered the mess hall. Bernie immediately became concerned. "I take it that you did not come to make a social call."

"I'm afraid not. We got a bogey on an intercept course. It could be 'Blackbird.'"

"Crap!" Bernie cursed. "If Blackbird is coming for us, we had better be ready."

"Looks like it's time to go to work," Johnathan added. "Mark me on duty in the hanger bay."

"Could you use an extra hand?" Anna inquired. "I've put in some time on the new fighters."

"You got to do what's best to protect your family," Johnathan replied. "I appreciate it."

"Jaimie, I think it's time you head to Sick Bay," Bernie suggested. "I don't want to have you trying to get there in the middle of a firefight."

"I agree," Anna concurred. "You got a long night ahead of you, and it looks like the rest of us do, too."

Because the Baldwin was running on a skeleton crew, Sarah Allison was on the bridge instead of her usual spot in the Astrometrics warroom. Although Baldwin was on radio silence, they were still capable of receiving information from other starships. Sarah had been monitoring ship movements as well as the warp trail they had been following. "Captain, we may have a problem."

"What is it?"

"It appears that the ship we're tailing is on is on course to intercept Winchester."

"ETA to intercept?"

"Two hours."

"How long until we catch up?"

"Two hours, 15 minutes," Sarah answered.

"I know we're already pushing the warp drive to the limits," the acting XO inquired, "but is there any way to intercept any sooner?"

"Unfortunately," Sarah responded, "we're traveling through a near optimal subspace current. It would take longer to calculate a better course than any potential time we could gain."

"In that case," Sara stated, "we better be ready. Go to yellow alert, for now, all hands should be ready for battle stations once we are within five minutes of intercept."

Winchester's CMO had called Dr. Bratney in when his patient made an unannounced arrival in sickbay. "Is there something wrong, Commander?" he inquired.

"My contractions are at about 25 minutes apart, and my water hasn't broken yet; however, your plan to deliver my baby away from the action didn't quite work out. There's a bogey out there that appears to be on course to intercept us, and it's likely the ship we're trying to capture."

"So go the best-laid plans of mice and men," the doctor noted. As soon as he finished his remark, Jaimie had another contraction. "Since we're here, we may as well check to see how the baby is doing." Dr. Bratney ran a medical tricorder across Jaimie's baby bump. "Oh, boy."

"I thought I was having a girl," Jaimie quipped.

"You are having a girl. Unfortunately, she is still in breech position. Her feet are pushing against the soft spot in your uterine wall."

"Are you saying what I think you're saying?"

"I recommend that we do a Cesarean. I can also go in and fix you up so we don't have to do this again if and when you have another baby."

"I have no reason to doubt my doctor's advice. I guess you better be prepped for surgery."

"All right, everybody, listen up!" Johnathan exclaimed. "We have a bogey that should intercept us in an hour and a half. We're going to need everyone we can get to engage it before it can intercept the Winchester. The plan is to engage the bogey in waves of five. Each wave will lay down fire and then run like hell while the next wave comes in. Although our fighters were built to go up against warbugs, I don't want any red shirts today – if you get hit, you will withdraw immediately. Are there any questions?" Seeing none, Johnathan continued on. "We have Lieutenant Ingram from the Wildfire joining us today. I expect everyone to give her the same level of respect as you give your crewmates."

Anna added her own comments to Johnathan's, "We've got a friend aboard that's in the early stage of labor, not to mention my own niece aboard. Our mission is to protect them and everyone else aboard. We don't want the Winchester to take any fire. Let's roll."

"Just one thing first," inquired one of the pilots. "If Bulldog trusts you to fly with us, surely you have a call sign. What do we call you?"

"I flew as 'Huntress' during the Maquis and Klingon conflicts. How about you?"

"Amber Needleman, my call sign is 'Stitches.'"

"I take it someone pulled the old name pun bit on you," Anna quipped.

"Don't let that fool you, Huntress," Amber answered. "I've taken out more than my fair share of Warbugs."

"If you're flying with Bulldog, I expect nothing less."

The hanger bay was lined up with Starfleet's latest fighters. Although they were developed during the peak of the Dominion War, the first fighter came off the line well after the war had ended. Compared with the previous fighters, the new craft had stronger shields and phasers. Four to five fighters working together could engage and disable a single warbug, but the enhanced polaron weapon could still disable a fighter with a single shot, which is why Johnathan ordered any fighter that got hit to withdraw immediately. "First wave, this is Bulldog. Give me a go/no-go for launch."

"Stitches is a go," Amber answered.

"Huntress, go."

"Sidetrack, go."

"Diesel, go."

"Bulldog, go. Bridge, we are go for launch."

"Roger that, Bulldog," Sonya answered. "Helm, drop us out of warp."

"How far behind us is our bogey?" Bernie added.

"45 minutes," answered the operations officer.

"Do you think you can hold off the bogey, Bulldog?" Sonya asked.

"We'll do our best, Moondance," Johnathan answered. "First wing, launch."

The first three fighters emerged from the Winchester's forward shuttlebay doors. Once the first three were clear, the remaining two fighters emerged behind them. "Bulldog, if I remember correctly," Anna quipped, "you have a penchant for playing a song or two prior to an engagement. Mind if I pick something out?"

"The honor is all yours, Huntress," Johnathan answered.

"Captain," Sarah stated, "I'm picking up the conversation between Winchester and her fighters.  It sounds like someone is playing Disco music."

"Let's hear it," Patrick answered. The Captain couldn't help but tap his foot to the beat of the song, which he identified immediately. "'We Are Family', 1979. I'd say the selection is appropriate, but it's not something Bulldog would pick."

The Baldwin crew also heard the leader of the Winchester's fighter crew comment on the music. "Nice pick, Huntress!"

"'Huntress?' I'm not familiar with that call sign," noted Baldwin's acting XO.

"That's my sister, Sara," Patrick responded. "Winchester must have met up with Wildfire so that Steve could be there when Jaimie has her baby, and Anna tagged along to spend some time with Tiana. Miss Allison, how long until we intercept?"

"Fifty minutes," Sarah Allison answered.

"We would still be five minutes behind them," Sara stated.

The fighters gathered together in groups of five. Although they were waiting on their target, they were not standing still. They remained in warp, but at a slower pace to allow the intercepting ship to close in on the fighters and keep the fight away from Winchester. The bogey was five minutes away from intercepting the fighters. If the fighters don't slow the bogey down, it would take another twenty minutes to catch up to the mothership.

During the wait, the pilots continued to pick out musical messages. The final pick was made by Johnathan. "I see you still like to play the Beastie Boys going into battle," Anna commented.

"The strong beat and the shouting lyrics really set the tone," Johnathan answered.

"Bulldog, this is Razor," came the call from one of the trailing fighters. "We have confirmed the pursuing ship is a Warburg."

"Razor, Bulldog, acknowledged.  All fighters: you heard Razor, we have a 'bandit.' Move in to attack formation alpha-twelve." The twenty-five fighters gathered in groups of five. Like geese in flight, each wave of small craft took on a 'V' formation. The waves also gathered in a 'V,' with the first wave on point. Soon after the fighters got into formation, the scarab of a Dominion designed vessel reached the warp field of the trailing fighters. "All right," Johnathan concluded the warm-up, "let's rock and roll."

The lead wing of fighters pulled out of formation and swiftly made a strafing run on the warbug. The pilots did not expect to disable their target in one pass. However, they did expect the target to fire back. Not only did the warbug not do so, it did something the fighter wing did not expect. "The warbug is reversing its field," Amber noted. "She's dropping out of warp."

"All fighters, this is Bulldog," Johnathan answered, "I don't know what kind of trap they're trying to spring but be wary." The fighter squadron responded by dropping out of warp themselves. Wave number two followed the pattern of the first wave. Unlike the first wave under warp, the warbug fought back under impulse, firing on all five fighters in the wing. Four of the fighters managed to dodge the fire. The fighter that was hit was able to keep going, however, he did have a message for the other four members of his wing, as well as the other four wings. A longstanding Starfleet rule, Regulation 46-A, stated that if transmissions are or could be monitored during battle, there are to be no uncoded messages on an open channel. The message was delivered in the form of a song. The 'code' was in the song's title.

Baldwin was still cloaked and, thanks to the Winchester's fighters, two minutes away from intercepting the warbug when the message was transmitted. Patrick recognized the selection right away. "This is not the time I want to hear 'Blackbird.'" Patrick noted.

"Red alert," Sara ordered. "All hands to battle stations. Donna, what's our weapons status?"

"Phasers fully charged and ready. Quantum torpedoes are being loaded as we speak. They should be ready by the time we intercept."

"Remember," Sara continued, "we want to capture Blackbird and its polaron weapon. We will only go for destroying the ship if we're out of options. Anything else, Captain?"

"I think that about covers it, Number One," Patrick answered. "In fact, I think you should take point." Patrick quickly stood up from the center seat, motioning for Sara to take his place. "I don't want this blackbird to fly, but I do want to see you spread your wings."

Following her Captain's lead, Sara took the center seat while Patrick sat down in the XO's chair. "ETA to intercept?"

"One minute, 10 seconds," Laura answered.

"Prepare to drop the cloak and raise shields once we are in range."

The Winchester's fighter group continued to take potshots at the warbug. So far, the fighters have been able to avoid enemy fire by maintaining a weaving motion, predicting when the polaron weapon would be fired and taking appropriate evasive action.

One of the fighters was having trouble. "My impulse engines are acting sluggish," indicated the affected fighter's pilot, call sign 'Panther.'

"Bail out, Panther!" Johnathan ordered. "Blackbird has you in its sights."

Panther was trying, but the fighter was moving very slowly and would not maneuver. "Clear me a path so I can jump to warp!" the pilot requested. The other fighters gave him a straight course away from the warbug; however, the enemy noticed the wounded fighter and was attempting to pounce. At the same moment that Panther engaged the warp engines, the enemy fired its main weapon, leaving a fireball at Panther's last known location.

"Damn it, Panther!" Johnathan exclaimed, thinking that 'Blackbird' had scored a kill on the fighter.

"I know it was cutting it close," came an unexpected response, "but I'm out of harm's way."

"Damage report," Johnathan requested. "It looked like you got hit."

"I took thrusters and impulse engines offline and heading back to Winchester," Panther stated, "but I didn't feel a thing when I jumped to warp. Nothing else to report besides the normal wear and tear."

"Roger that, Panther," Anna answered.  "There was quite a fireball at the spot you jumped to warp." Quickly thinking over what just happened, the subspace dynamics specialist came up with a theory. "I think I found the downside to the weapon: it won't work at warp. Bulldog, can you watch my six? I have an idea."

Jonathan suspected that Anna was about to intentionally replicate what Panther had accidentally done: draw fire from the warbug and immediately jump to warp. "Go for it, Huntress. Fighters, clear the way."

The remaining fighters parted so that Anna could make a jump. To draw in Blackbird, Anna reduced impulse speed to a near dead stop. The Warbug took the bait and pursued Anna's fighter. As soon as she detected Blackbird preparing to fire, Anna punched her fighter's warp engines. Much like with her teammate, the warp jump left a fireball in its wake at the target of Blackbird's weapon.

'Huntress' was not done with Blackbird just yet, however. After a few seconds at warp, Anna adjusted the warp engines to circle around the battle scene, not dropping out of warp until she was behind and above Blackbird. As soon as the fighter did drop out of warp, its computer calculated and executed a firing solution on the hostile ship.

"Nice work, Huntress!" Johnathan exclaimed.

"If I recall my history," Anna noted, "there was an ancient aircraft named 'Blackbird' that could evade most hostiles by punching the accelerator. I think it's a bit ironic that we're using the 'Blackbird maneuver' on a ship we're calling Blackbird."

"I hate to break up this conversation," Amber called, "but it looks like we have company."

"Good company or bad company?" Johnathan inquired.

"We got a vessel decloaking."

"That's got to be Baldwin," Anna noted. A visual of the decloaking ship confirmed her suspicions. "Looks like my brother is hailing us."

When Johnathan answered the hail, he was greeted with a Beatles tune that also served as a personal greeting. "Nice of you to surface the 'Yellow Submarine,'" Johnathan answered as soon as 'Hey Bulldog' faded out.

"We've been listening in," Sara replied. "'Starrider' gave me point.  I'd say Miss Ingrum has stumbled upon a good tactic. Keep at it."

"Roger that, Sara," Johnathan answered. The fighters assembled above and aft of Baldwin in a 'V' formation. The point fighter swiftly accelerated ahead, blanketing the warbug's shields with phaser fire. Once the fighter had overtaken the warbug, it jumped to warp before Blackbird could fire its main weapon. Once the first fighter jumped to warp, the next fighter did the same.

Sara laid down the big ship's plans with the tactical officer. "Donna, focus the main phasers and quantum torpedoes on Blackbird's main engines. Give the torpedoes just enough yield to disable them. Needless to say, we want Blackbird intact."

"On it," Donna replied.

"Laura," Sara continued, "keep us just aft of Blackbird."

Valerie entered Winchester's sickbay with a wearing an earpiece and carrying a PADD. She had a seat next to Steve. "How's it going?" she asked.

"Jaimie is still in delivery," Steve answered. "I haven't felt any turbulence, so I take it the battle is going well without us?"

"I'm listening in to the radio chatter," Valerie noted as she tapped her earpiece. "The fighters found a disadvantage to the new weapon, and Baldwin has managed to catch up."

"That's great!" Steve stated. "It sounds like we're in the clear."

Before Valerie could respond, Dr. Bratney entered the waiting area. "Congratulations, it's a girl. The Caesarian and repair were successful."

"Just so you know, Baldwin has captured the ship we've been after," Valerie added. "Casualties are minimal, so I don't think you'll need to pull a double shift, Doctor. Steve, go see Jaimie and your new baby. I'll go let Bernie and Roslyn know."

Captain's Log, Stardate 55505.1. To say that it's been a long day would be an understatement, even for this veteran. We have captured a ship that had been threatening the peace in our sector with only minor casualties, and a new member of the family was successfully delivered, even though the cloud of battle loomed over this ship.

Our success did not depend on chance; we made our own luck. First off, there's Lieutenant Sara Jackson, who created the plan to flush out the threat. There's an old cliché that states that no plan ever survives contact with the enemy. It just boils down to being able to adapt to what you cannot control. A good plan also requires people willing to back you up and give you feedback - that's where our fighters come in. Ironically, it was an act of desperation - a fighter jumped to warp when it had trouble with the impulse engines - that led to discovering the enemy's weakness. A commendation goes to Miss Anna Ingram for being willing to confirm it, and for being willing to take a fighter despite being on leave.

I would be remised if I didn't mention our new arrival. While our fighters were up against the rouge warbug we had nicknamed 'Blackbird,' Dr. Bratney was working on delivering Commander Petrelli's baby via C-section. Holly Elsa Petrelli was born tonight at 2200.