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Chapter Notes:

Investigator Shran has an idea about what attacked the U.S.S. Hunter... And why....

Star Trek Hunter
Episode 4: Run To Earth

Scene 12: Assessment



The three surviving department directors, 1st Lieutenants Kenneth Dolphin and Sarekson Carrera and Lt. Commander Tali Shae, were seated around the antique teak table in the executive conference room along with the executive staff: Justice Minerva Irons, Commander David Pepper and Lt. Commander Mlady. Investigators Lynhart Shran and Buttans Ngumbo were also seated at the table. 

Outside the large window on the starboard side of the room, stars streamed by at a speed none of them had ever witnessed before. But all eyes were focused on a holographic image of an as yet unidentified ship gradually emerging from a cloaking field, firing a bright red disrupter beam at almost the very moment it decloaked. The entire sequence depicted an event that had lasted only three seconds, but the display slowed this sequence to a crawl. 

 2nd Lt Tauk stood next to this image at the front of the room. “As you are no doubt aware, there are several different types of cloaking device. They all work on the same basic principle, but they manifest in different ways. The frequency of the shimmer we collected on telemetry is consistent with a romulan cloak. But the prow of the ship we were able to observe, and the material composition of its hull are not consistent with romulan construction. Not to mention the color spectrum of the disruptor beam.”

Tauk continued, “Investigator Buttans performed an analysis of the damage to our hull. The results, along with the telemetry on the attacking ship’s hull, its prow design, and the color spectrum and power of the weapon, as well as the results from the autopsy on Lieutenant Smith - they’re all consistent with a cardassian Keldon class battlecruiser.”

“A cardassian battlecruiser with a romulan cloaking device?” Dolphin asked.

Dr. Carrera followed, “I want to know how they were able to fire a main disruptor before fully decloaking.”

Tauk responded, “This isn’t general knowledge, but during the war with the Dominion, the romulan and cardassian military intelligence agencies - the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order - forged an alliance. The romulans installed cloaking devices on seven cardassian Keldon class battlecruisers prior to a disastrous attack on what they thought was the homeworld of the Founders. All those ships were reported lost in that attack. Apparently they modified an eighth ship.” Tauk turned toward Dr. Carrera, “As for your question, that was really the final clue. The cardassians improved on the Galorn class battlecruiser by adding a very large battery to the main disruptor. The disruptor still needs access to main power. But if that battery were fully charged, they would not need to wait for the disruptor to power up before engaging it. No other ship would be able to do that.”

Mlady spoke up, “What keeps the romulans and klingons from upgrading their disruptors that way?”

“Treaty law,” Justice Irons responded. “Specifically the Khitomer Accords. It’s the same treaty that keeps the Federation from developing cloaking technology.”

Lt. Tauk continued, “Investigator Shran had already suspected the cardasians. Lynhart?”

Investigator Lynhart Shran continued the analysis in his gravelly voice: “Back on New Hope Colony there was cardassian junk all over the place. Cardassian disruptors, cardassian band rifles, T’Lon’s team was sheltering under cardassian armored ground vehicles.”

“Even the dampening generator,” Buttans Ngumbo added, “I was only able to shut it down because I could read cardassian script.”

“By itself, all that didn’t mean much,” Shran continued. “Cardassian military surplus is all over the place. It’s cheap, not as powerful as klingon weapons nor as clean and versatile as federation equipment. But it’s simple, rugged, easy to repair. You could drag a cardassian band rifle through the mud and then fire it underwater. I wouldn’t try that with my revolver.”

Lt. Tauk picked up the thread, “But with a Keldon class battlecruiser firing on us, not to destroy but to disable us…”

“They were trying to rescue Governor Ivonovic,” Justice Irons concluded. “Hunter!”

The boat’s interactive avatar appeared next to the holographic display, across from Lt. Tauk. “Your honor?”

“Prepare a recording of this briefing to send to the U.S.S. Challenger and get me Captain Summers on a priority security channel.”

In a few moments, the holographic image of the decloaking ship was replaced with a two-dimensional representation of the bearded Captain DeForest Summers.

“Summers here, how can I help you, Captain Irons?”

“Are you carrying Governor Ivonovic?”

“Taking him to Earth,” Summers responded. “Him and a few of his cronies who tried to break him out of Star Base 11.”

“I am sending you a briefing about an attack on my vessel that occurred less than four hours ago. We believe there is a Keldon class battlecruiser using a romulan cloaking device that may attack your vessel if they realize you have Ivonovic,” Irons said. “I highly recommend you start looking for it immediately. Captain, this ship can engage its main disruptor immediately on decloaking.”

“That would be a violation of treaty,” Summers said.

“I think we may have a rogue element here, Captain” Irons responded. “The Cardassian Interim Central Government will have plausible deniability.”

“Understood Captain - thanks for the warning,” Summers responded.

“I have to look after my crew, Captain, past and present,” Irons replied with a smile. “Hunter out.”


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