"False Tracking"
[Previous Post Marissa's "Getting Closer"]

May the stars carry your sadness away,
May the flowers fill your heart with beauty,
May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.
- Native American blessing, Chief Dan George

Setting: YUDARA Asteroid Field, Viper 3
Stardate: 63073.2215

As per the instructions received from Ensign Thomas onboard the SPHINX, the two remaining VIPERs had altered course to track the signal they had been given the specifications for. While dodging what had appeared to be an increasingly numerous set of asteroids the Native American glanced at his instruments and realised that something had not been as it should have been.

"Morningstar to Drell," Erik called out after having opened the comm channel.

=/\= What happened to radio silence? =/\= the Klingon pilot growled back not having seen anything that had warranted the for CO of the USS LANCELOT to jeopardize their mission by revealing their presence to anyone listening in.

"Using a line-of-sight carrier beam," the Native American explained in haste. "Tell me what your instruments are picking up."

=/\= Signal moving at a constant rate on heading 0-1-3 mark 11, why? =/\=

"How long as the signal been moving at that same speed?" Morningstar continued not having bothered to reply to the Klingon's question. If the Native American had been right, as he suspected he was, the answer to the pilot's query would come soon enough.

=/\= Since we started tracking it. Are you going to tell me what this is all about now? =/\=

"Since we started our search of this asteroid field we must have been forced to do emergency course and speed changes a few hundred times to avoid running into one of those floating rocks out there, yet that signal has been on a steady course and speed since we have been tracking it," the Native American explained, the frustration in his voice more caused by the fact that he had taken so long to realise this more than anything else. "There is *no* way a ship would be able to travel through this pee soup like this, even the asteroids themselves have erratic flight paths because they run into each other once in a while."

=/\= We have been tracking a decoy!?! =/\= Drell angrily stated, so much so that Morningstar had been glad to have been in a different ship well out of range as that of the Klingon.

"Either the signal was a fake from the start or there is something in place in these asteroids to throw unwelcome ships onto a false trail in case someone is tracking them," Erik theorized as he called up the sensor logs of his Interceptor-class ship to see if he could figure out what had actually happened.

=/\=There was a sudden energy spike a while back that momentarily blinded our sensors,=/\= the Klingon recalled.

"I remember," the Native American confirmed. "It lasted only a second or so but it would have been enough to mark the original signal and replace it with a decoy. That would explain why the signal suddenly began to move at a perfectly steady rate along a constant heading."

=/\= Using sensor log data we can roughly extrapolate where this happened and in what direction the original signal went, =/\= Drell stated obviously having already begun the process. =/\= Got it, changing course. =/\=

The Native American pulled on the old fashion flight controls to bring VIPER 3 back on course with VIPER 2 leaving Erik to hope that the SPHINX had either figured out this little trick or that they had never actually been decoyed.

Pushing their engines as far as they dared given the risky nature of their environment, the former CO of the LANCELOT felt a wave of relief and satisfaction wash over his body when after several minutes the two Interceptors came upon something other than another asteroid. Not only had they discovered the trickery they had fallen prey to, but now they had found what they had been searching from since this mission had begun: the USS PARADOX.

=/\= Now what? =/\= The Klingon demanded having opened a comm channel in the same manner as the other pilot had not so long ago.

"Too risky to head back and try to find the others," the Native American stated. "Our best hope is to get onboard and assess the situation from there."

=/\= I doubt they will just open the shuttle bay doors for us, =/\= Drell huffed.

"There are certain advantages in being a Captain, one of which is having certain command clearances. If I can access the PARADOX's computer I maybe able to use my own command codes to open the shuttle bay door," the Native American explained as he sent a narrow-beam signal towards the ship.

=/\= You are as sneaky as a Ferengi, =/\= Drell playfully growled as he noted on his instruments that one of the shuttle bay doors of the PARADOX had begun to open.

"Now we get to see if these VIPERs are as *invisible* to sensors as Elan claimed them to be," Erik added as he and the Klingon made their way closer with the hopes of reaching the shuttle bay without being detected.
Francois Charette {f_charette@hotmail.com}
Lieutenant Elan Talak Fairborn
Chief Engineering Officer
Robotics Engineering Officer