Departure

class="tagline">USS Baldwin - Story 23
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"Hello," Patrick said as he entered the holodeck. The program was a recreation of a shallow stream rolling through mountains nestled with many pine trees.

"Hi," Laura replied.

"How have thing been going for you?"

& #8220;I've been lookingfor a spot where I can get away from it all. I've been practicing on the guitar for a while."

"Any chance I can hear you play?"

"Okay," Laura answered.

As Laura strummed along on her guitar, Patrick kept time with his left hand. After a couple of bars,he picked out a song that he felt went with the guitar line. "Sun is up, time's at hand, there's a stir across the land," Patrick sang before he felt the ground shake. "Something tells me," Patrick stated, "that was not part of the program. Ingrum to bridge: what in the world is going on?"

"Two warbugs just dropped out of warp and fired. Shields are holding at 80%."

"Call for battle stations.I'll be right up," Patrick answered. "I'm sorry about having to cut your holodeck time short. Computer, end program."

"How come it always seems that we get engaged after my normal shift," Laura replied as the mountain scene faded to a series of grid lines.


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"Status," Patrick ordered as he entered the bridge.

"Shields are at 72%," Donna replied from Tactical. "We're getting swarmed. There's about 20 warbugs withing half a light year's distance."

"Ready the QT's, charge phasers, and open a channel."

"They're deliberately jamming our signal," Kristy responded.

"I don't think I needa lawyer to verify that this is hostile intent. Donna, you may fire at will." Baldwin's phasers blazed through the open sky, striking the attacking ships' shields. "Bridge to warroom, where's the nearest ship."

"Lieutenant Sh'lon here," a voice replied, "I'm going through the sensor readings now. It appears that the intelligence arrays near the red zone were reported down for maintenance."

"Intelligence arrays don't all go under maintenance at the same time," Patrick commented. "However, I still want to know where's everyone else.

"They're is the same boat as us," Sh'lon replied. "Wildfire, Nimitz, and Ottawa are under attack. Wasp, Larned, and Hood are at DS9. The rest are at Starbase 375."

"Check the status of the sensor arrays near the Torros system. If they are down for any reason, I want to know ASAP."

"Undedrstood. Sh'lon out."

"Kim," Patrick turned to the beta-shift navigation officer, "if we manage to shake these warbugs off our tail, I want to make a run for the Torros system at maximum warp."

"Understood."

Baldwin rocked under the fire of the enemy vessels. Orange streaks of phaser fire glowed as they struck her targets. One by one, each of the bugs was eliminated.

"Captain," Kim commented, "I think we can make a run for it."

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"Then by all means," Patrick answered. Baldwin emerged infront of the warbugs as she streaked off to warp. "All hands, this is the captain," Patrick announced over the comm. "We will remain on tactical alert until further notice. Repeat: we will remain on tactical alert until full notice." Patrick then turned to Jaimie. "Number one, I want the alpha shift bridge staff in the conference lounge in 20 minutes, along with Lieutenants Jackson and Allison, and you too."


"At the end of the Dominion War," Patrick began, "The Dominon had constructed several ships that Starfleet calls 'Dreadnoughts.' One of these vessels is being used as a mobile power station based out of the Torros system."

"Why didn't we simply destroy this seized 'dreadnought'?" Sara Jackson asked.

"The vessel is powered by dual quantum singularity warp cores," Patrick answered. "As the Romulans would be more than happy to tell you: quantum singularity drives cannot be shut down once started. Also, the outer skin is very tough. It managed to survive three separate live-fire exercises intact. The weapons systems have been deactivated and removed; however, they are fairly easy to replace."

"Our intelligence arrays around the 'red zone' have apparently been compromised," Sarah Allison continued. "They were intentionally downed to time up with Khan releasing enough warbugs to swarm and divert us."

"I'm also assuming that the intelligence arrays near the Torros system have also been compromised," Patrick continued. "The 'dreadnought' can not fall into Khan's hands."

"How come Khan doesn't attempt to build one of these things?" Laura asked.

"The technology left behindby the Dominion in the red zone is more than sufficient to built the warbugs," Patrick answered. "The Dominion obviously designed them to be easy to build. The dreadnoughts were designed to be a show of just how much firepower the Dominion could bring to the table. They were designed to be relatively few in number."

"What is clear," Donna stated, "is that Khan is taking a very aggressive stance."

"Meanwhile," Sarah followed, "I think that our intelligence gathering system is due for another revisit."

"I concur with Lieutenant Allison," Sara replied. "Another breach like this could have disastrous consequences for Starfleet."


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"Your excellency," A Jem'Hadar approached the center seat, "the Starfleet ship has broken off your swarm."

"It is of no consequence. They will not reach us in time."

"I'm not so sure," Dr. Murrow answered, "Captain Ingrum has been working on improving warp field efficiency. They may be capable of going faster than you realize.

"We are much closer to the Torros system than the Baldwin or the space station. Helmsman, proceed at Maximum warp."


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Captain's log, Stardate 53723.2: We are en route to the Torros system to snuff out a potential threat.On a personal quest to bring his brand of order to the Alpha quadrant, Khan has apparently gone on the offensive. Should he get ahold of the ship stored at Torros III, the only thing that separates us from a Starfleet surrender is his ability to do battle in space.

"Captain," Donna stated, "I'm getting a message from the yard at Torros III, they have picked up a bogey."

"How far away is it?"

"They're saying that at the current speed, they'll be there in 15 minutes."

"How far are we at maximum warp."

"About 20 minutes," Laura answered.

"Donna, tell Torros III that they are seeing a bandit, and that they have the OK to engage at will," Patrick followed. "Laura, put the pedal to the medal."

"Aye, Captain."

"Ingrum to Lieutenant Allison: the Torros yards are going to have to hold off an attack for 5 minutes. How far behind us is the rest of the wing?"

"Ottawa and Waspare about 40 minutes behind us. Wildfire and Nimitz are about 5 minutes behind them."

"Understood."


"Sir, we are approaching the Torros system. Starfleet has, however, alerted the yards of our presence."

"It is of no consequence.The yard relies on sub-standard weaponry. We shall easily disarm them. Ready the Polaron beam."

"Aye, sir."

"Target their weapons array," Khan ordered. The ship fired several bursts from its primary weapon. Despite drawing some fire from the yard's defensive system, the small ship made quick work of the phaser arrays. "Prepare the garrison for transport."

"Captain," Laura stated as Baldwin approached the battle. "The yard has lost all weapons, and it appears that the Dreadnought has been boarded."

"We've got 40 minutesto hold them here. Let's make the most of it." The Baldwin came after Khan's ship with a barrage of phaser fire. The enemy vessel made additional strikes against them.

"Shields down to 80%," Donna stated.

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"Keep going. Pattern delta-four." In a sweeping motion, Baldwin rolled to the left while firing the main phaser cannons, alternating strikes between the warbug and the massive battleship. The ship made a 360 degree roll to the right while crossing the bow of the battleship, then rolled back to the left while overtaking the warbug, maintaining phaser fire. on both ships through the roll.

Khan was stunned; however, he had his own plan. "Initiate protocol 96." A transporter beam glowed in the center of the bridge. "Welcome aboard my vessel, Captain."

Patrick was stunned that he had been taken off his own ship. "I thought you were good a psy-ops before, but this takes the cake. I should warn you that my ship will not surrender simply because you have kidnapped me. My XO will sacrifice me if it means carrying out her orders."

"We shall see about that. Is my new ship ready."

"Most of the weapons havebeen removed," The Jem'Hadar first aboard the dreadnought replied. "We do have enough firepower to demolish the Starfleet vessel."

"Disabling shields and weapons will suffice. Don't you think so, Mr. Ingrum?"

"Unfortunately," Patrick answered. The dreadnought fired five separate Poloron pulses.

"Captain," Donna said in shock, "We've lost shields and weapons."

"The warbug is hailing us," Laura added, "they wish to discuss our surrender."

"Open a channel," Jaimie answered.

"Ah, the esteemed first officer," Khan noted, "Jaimie, isn't it. As you can tell, we successfully acquired your captain and taken down your shields. I'm going to leave you to your so-called fleet. I'd welcome you to try to stage a rescue operation, although I doubt you'll be able to get past my new toy." With that, Khan cut the transmission and proceeded to warp away.


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Jaimie and Bridget met with the captains of the Ottawa, Nimitz, Wildfire,and Wasp in the Baldwin's conference lounge. "Clearly, Khan has not only gotten the dreadnought, but he has shown an improved ability to engage in psychological warfare," Bridget commented. "He does have us over a barrel, clearly our first objective is to destroy the dreadnought."

"The question is," Jenna replied, "How do we take care of it, and I'm sure we all want to get your husband back."

"I figure," Jaimie continued, "Khan will be expecting us to attempt a stealth approach using the cloaking device. Therefore, that is not on the table."

"What about the intelligence problem?" Ramsey inquired.

"Lieutenant Allison has been working on improving the security of the intelligence arrays. They were knocked down with no intention of having us bring them back up anytime soon. What are you thinking?"

"I would think that Khan will use his warbugs to monitor what we are doing."

"I see where you're going," Andrea added. "If we can capture a warbug, we can use it to infiltrate the red zone."

"I think we can go one better," Amanda answered, "I'm sure we've got a few spare warbugs of our own."

"I'm sure we can find one," Jenna answered. "In the meantime, I suggest that the we fix the intelligence array as soon as possible."

"I'll have Sarah put it on the top of her list — if it isn't there already." Jaimie answered.


The Dominion had a strategy of obliterating opposition, as the end of the war demonstrated; therefore, it came to no surprise that the cell he was placed in was jury-rigged. Patrick knew that the Jem'Hadar guarding his quarters would shoot on sight if he managed to unlock the door. Patrick knew the orders he had given his crew: the Dreadnought is to be destroyed to keep it out of enemy hands. Unfortunately, there's only one way to accomplish the task, and although he was in the best position, he was at a strategic disadvantage: it would be of no use if he were killed before he could contemplate destroying the ship from the inside. He also expected Khan to come and gloat. "I was expecting someone else," Patrick said to Dr. Murrow dryly, "but I'll guess you'll do."

"I don't see what advantage Khan would have in transporting you here, except for what you referred to as 'psy-ops.' I did not come in here to talk about your current condition, however."

"What did you come here for then?"

"I wanted to know how your wife is doing?" Patrick was shocked that he would seem to care about his estranged child. "Don't be surprised, I do read the Federation newswire."

"Well, for starters, she 23 weeks along with a little girl."

"Have you agreed a name yet."

Patrick had nothing better to do, so he continued to indulge Dr. Murrow. "Tiana Allison, and I picked out the name myself, thank you very much."

"Any concerns?"

"Not really, Dr. Bratney seems to think mother and child are doing just fine."

"So, what attracted you my baby?"

"It seems to me that you had considered them to be nothing more than Guinea Pigs. I'd say it's the total package — our personalities meld together well, I'm attracted to her face and body, and I'm not really concerned about having a mate that is stronger than me."


Acting Captain's log, Stardate 53725.8: The intelligence arrays have been reactivated, and additional protective measures are being taken to prevent a repeat of recent events.

Jaimie, Bridget, Sara Jackson, and Sarah Allison met in the warroom. "Here's what I have found," Sarah began, "A warbug approaches the edge of thered zone every 6 hours, run parallel to the border for about an hour, then head back toward the central planet."

"When does the next ship begin it's patrol?"

"1400... a warbug just headed back for home," Bridget answered.

"We're going to need a little more time than to put our pieces together."

"I've secured it with the sector JAG office. The fleet knows what we're doing. We should be good to go at 2100."

"Now, I don't want any argument," Bridget commented to Jaimie. "You're leading this away mission."

"I don't think the acting XO is really in any condition to undertake this mission, anyway," Jaimie retorted.

"I'll stay behind as well," Sara added.


"Your excellency," the Jem'Hadar first noted, "We have arrived at the central planet. What do you want to do with the prisoner?"

"Leave him where he is," Khan replied.

"What about Dr. Murrow?"

"If he wants to commit to idle chit-chat, I have no objection. There isn't much that the doctor can do to change the current course of events."

"Yes, sir."


"Roslyn has been with the Hainan for about a year and a half. She decided to assist in engineering."

"What about her boyfriend?"

"They broke up after he was given the XO position on the Ottawa. Distance relationships can be hell."

"I see."

"I still don't understand why you are interested in the personal goings on of Bridget and Roslyn."

"What do you know about the original Eugenics project?"

"Only that it created nearly a decade of world instability that would only be surpassed by World War III."

"The creators considered their augments to be their children — the future of humanity. How do the augments repay them for their generosity?" The Doctor answered his own question by motioning his thumb across his neck.

"What about you?" Patrick asked. "Why did you pursue genetic engineering?"

"I wanted to sequence by hand a complete human genome. Although I certainly disagreed with the Federation's ban on genetic engineering, I understood the reasoning behind it. I personally spent several years at Adigeon Prime before I received an offer I could not refuse."

"The Cardassians wanted to have actual human infiltrators."

"The Romulans were also interested in my service, but the Cardassians were closer, and offered me a better deal. My personal goal was to create a new version of  'augment,' hoping that I don't repeat the same mistakes my predecessors had. In case I failed, I did not want to be attached, so I let the Cardassians do most of their schooling. They taught them as much as they could about humanity. They pursued peace negotiations with the Federation by the time they were to be taught actual infiltration techniques."

"So, why did you attempt to recapture Roslyn in the first place?" Patrick inquired.

"Orders straight from the top. Any more questions?"

"Just one: If you feel that Khan was a 'mistake,' why do you work for him."

Dr. Murrow wasn't quite sure himself. He knew that Khan was a representative of what could go wrong with genetic engineering, yet he had remained to assist him with his plans after the Dominion had fallen. Conflicted, he retreated from Patrick's cell.


"Begin the subspace jam onall frequencies," Jaimie ordered. "Donna, anything out there?"

"One warbug, right on schedule," Donna replied. "I think they've taken the bait, they're looking to check us out."

"Prepare to decloak and raise shields," Bridget responded.

"One minute to weapons range." Kristi noted.

"Kim," Jaimie ordered, "slow down just a bit. Donna, drop the cloak and ready shields and weapons."

"Cloaking device deactivated," Donna answered.

"Hostile has picked up speed and heading this way," Laura reported.

"Fire phasers and quantum torpedoes," Bridget answered. Baldwin's weapons came alive as they struck the warbug, destroying it. "Keep that radio jam up for now. Anything else on sensors."

"There's another bogey approaching. It's a warbug, and they're hailing us"

"Thank you, Laura," Jaimie answered. "On Screen."

"I hope I'm on time for the party," Roslyn said as her image appeared on Baldwin's viewer.

"Right on the advertised, sis."

"Did you ask for Roslyn to take your place on this mission?" Jaimie asked Bridget.

"I didn't have to. She's obviously in better condition to get in a hostile situation," Bridget replied.

"Away team to transporter room 2," Jaimie ordered.


Laura entered the transporter room with a pair of Klingon bat'leths. "Are you expecting close combat?" Jaimie inquired.

"Knowing what we're facing, I figured it would be a good idea to take them along," Laura answered as she stepped on to the transporter pad.

"Energize when ready," Jaimie said.

"The away team has beamed aboard," Donna stated.

"Engage the cloak and prepare to disengage the jammer," Bridget replied.


"The Jem'Hadar can certainly be consistent," Kristy commented, "The previous patrols held at half impulse, then proceeded home at warp 6."

"I would follow their lead. Kristy, let's play along."

"Aye, commander."


A Jem'Hadar entered Khan's office to give a report. "Your Excellency, one of our patrol ships has spotted the Baldwin and engaged her."

"Excellent," Khan replied. "How did she do?"

"We briefly lost all sensor and radio contact with her. The first officer was trying to hide her tracks. However, the patrol ship emerged victorious."


Bridget was in the ready room when the doorbell rang. "Come in," she said.

"Hey," Sara said as she peeked in the ready room.

"Come on in, Sara."

"How are you doing?"

"Preety well, considering the circumstances. All I can really do right now is kill time."

"I guess while we are killing time, we could talk about you."

"Well, there's the fact that I was created from raw DNA and genetically engineered for intelligence and strength."

"I'd say you're a lot more than that," Sara commented. "You're a great friend, and I bet you'll be one hell of a mom to Tiana."

"Well, considering that Dr. Murrow had other plans in mind for me, that isn't too bad."

"What was Dr. Murrow's goal in giving you life?"

"Infiltrate the Federation on behalf of the Cardassians."


"We're approaching the Dreadnought," Kristy indicated.

"Slow to one-quarter," Jaimie replied, "do any of the other ship suspect anything."

"Not yet," Kristy answered.

"Scan for any human lifesigns. There should be 3."

"There are two humans on the ship. One human lifesign is on the planet."

"In that case, beam us to a part of the dreadnought that is relatively clear of Jem'Hadar," Jaimie stated as she grabbed a tricorder. "If the captain is on the surface, we can lock on to him. Our other objective is to eliminate that ship."


"As much of a despicableperson that Khan is," Dr. Murrow commented, "I do have the opportunity working for him to have a better understanding of the humanoid genome."

"So, what do you think he's going to do when he's done with you."

"That is the problem... I just try to make myself useful as long as I possibly can."

"At the very least, I would like to quell down the whole 'conquering the Alpha Quadrant' mentality."

"I try to think of ways to stall him but keep him happy. I'll keep thinking about it. In the meantime, have you thought that your daughter might be to much to handle."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, she does have half of her mother's genes. There's a good chance that she could have her mother's 'augment' attributes."


A dominion transport beam glowed in the middle of a cooridor as three human females materialized on the Dominion dreadnought. "Those Human lifesigns are this way," Jaimie stated to her away team of Roslyn and Laura.

"How come this seems too easy," Roslyn commented, keeping a bat'leth in front of her.

Before anyone could respond, three Jem'Hadar solders de-shrouded in front of them, armed with plasma rifles and kar'takin blades. With a wave of her hand, Laura used her telekinetic ability to take the rifles out of the picture. Jaimie fired a phaser rifle at the first solider. It took several shots to down him.

Meanwhile, Roslyn and Laura went hand to hand with the other two. Laura anticipated her opponent's move blow for blow, eventually scoring a 'kill' by slicing his neck.

Roslyn used a series of kicks in addition to her swordplay. One kick caused her combatant to lose his weapon. Before he could grab it, the follow-up hit struck directly on his chest with Roslyn's full genetically engineered force, causing the final Jem'Hadar to fly across the corridor before hitting a bulkhead. "That wasn't too bad," Roslyn commented as they continued toward the location of the humans.

"The lifesigns are 200 meters down the corridor to our left," Jaimie indicated as she led the team past the kick-crushed solider. The team bolted as fast as they could toward the target. "Roslyn, could you slow it down a bit," Jaimie commented.

"Sorry," Roslyn answered as she checked her speed. About 50 meters toward their target, Laura raised her hand to signal the rest of the team that she sensed trouble ahead.


"So, do you think you can do it?" Patrick asked

"I'll see what I can do," Dr. Murrow replied as he heard unusual noises outside. "Sounds like we have company," the doctor stated as he grabbed a rifle.

Jaimie and Laura were stunned when the Jem'Hadar they were up against suddenly fell to the ground. Roslyn was surprised as to who was motioning them into a room.

"Hello, Roslyn," Dr. Murrow said as the away team entered the room.

"Jaimie, Laura," Patrick added as the doctor pressed some buttons and activated a panel.

"The captain here has been telling me on what you have been up to. I guess I'm glad you turned out the way you did."

"Where was your appreciation when you kidnapped me three years ago."

"I do not expect you to forgive or forget the past," Dr. Murrow stated. "But I realize that I care about my children."

"What do you mean?"

"Shouldn't it beobvious to you, 'beautiful rose'. Your well-being is more important to me than this ship; therefore, I have flooded the rest of this ship with neurocine gas. You have 10 minutes to take care of what ever you need to do and beam off before the man on the surface catches on. Before I go, there is one thing. Patrick?"

"Yes?"

"Take care of your child. Give her the love I denied her mother," Dr. Murrow said as he beamed off.

"You heard the man," Patrick answered. "We have 10 minutes. Let's blow this thing and go home." As the team headed toward the warp core, Patrick turned to Jaimie. "I presume that you brought some high explosives."

"Two trilithium grenades for each of us," Jaimie answered.


As the team entered the engine room, Patrick gave out instructions: "Place the grenades along both engines. Set the detonators for 5 minutes."

Laura and Jaimie proceeded to place the explosives on one engine, while Patrick and Roslyn worked on the other engine. As they worked, Roslyn turned to Patrick. "What is up with Dr. Murrow?"

"Something tells me that he realizes that his 'project' was successful, yet feels he missed an opportunity to be a true father figure."

"Go figure. I wonder what changed his tune?"

"Based on the way he was talking, I'd guess it was when he found out that Bridget and I were married."

"That would probably have driven the point home about us being our own individual."

"I think there's more to it than just that, we can talk about this a little more on the way home. We're done over here."

"So are we," Laura replied. "Bennett to Elias: 4 to beam aboard."


Patrick watched in the Jem'Hadar headset as the Dreadnought exploded in a ball of fire. He wanted to confirm that the great ship was destroyed. "Laura," he said, "get us out of here, best possible speed."

"Aye, Captain."

"We've got company," Roslyn noted as she manned the sensors.

"I'd say that Khan has noticed."

Pursued by a trio of Khan's warbugs, the warbug commanded by Patrick's crew burst to warp.


"Commander," Donna stated, "incoming message, it's the captain."

"On Screen," Bridget answered.

"We managed to blow the ship apart, and I'm coming home with a couple stories to tell, but right now, we have hostiles on our tail."

"Nimitz and Wildfire are close by. I'll call in the reserves. See you soon, hon."

"I'll be waiting for you."


"How did Starfleet get a hold of one of my ships."

"Actually, they may have been in contact with the Dominion and gotten one of theirs," Dr. Murrow commented.

"It is of no consequence," Khan replied. "I will not rest until I have brought order to the Alpha Quadrant. I won't let some meddling Starfleet captain get in my way." With that, Khan huffed out the door.

"We shall see about that," Dr. Murrow muttered to himself as he turned over a PADD containing a sequence of DNA pairs. He began to manipulate them carefully.


"Here they come," Donna stated as she watched the sensors.

"Ready weapons," Bridget answered as she watched a ship drop out of warp. "Open a channel."

"Channel open.".

"Hope everyone is ready over there," Patrick commented, "because I've got three more bugs on our tail."

"We're ready," Bridget replied as the three ships came out of warp. As the Baldwin prepared to engage the vessels, the enemy ships quickly turned around and warped away.

"I guess Khan decided it wasn't worth the trouble. Status quo ante bellum and all that." Patrick commented.


Captain's personal log, Stardate 53729.8 During my captivity by Khan and his group of Jem'Hadar, I entered into a fascinating conversation with the man that could be considered my child's grandfather.

It seems that Dr. Murrow has gone from detachment, to hostility, to embrace of his 'children.'He seemed genuinely interested in what Bridget and Roslyn had accomplished. The fact that Bridget had found her soul mate — me — seemed to hit home with him.

"So, how exactly did Dr. Murrow find out about us," Bridget asked her husband.

"Near as I can tell, he saw our wedding announcement in the news."

"I never thought of him as the kind of person who could get teared up over that sort of thing — joy or otherwise."

"It seems to me, he had spent much of your childhood in fear of you."

"Fear of what?"

"Fear of his progeny turning on their creator," Patrick said as snuggled up to Bridget.

"You mean like in Greek mythology, where Zeus overthrew the Titans?"

"Something like that,"Patrick answered as he kissed his wife good night, then turned out the light.