Star Trek Hunter
Episode 27: The Sword of Destiny
Scene 2: ngIp Seng
"The last thing I want is a romulan engineer feeding all the technical specifications of this design back to the Imperial Romulan Star Navy – not to mention 24/7 access to Hunter's AI code." Captain Kenneth Dolphin was in the engineering conference room along with his first officer, Commander Napoleon Boles, Hunter (the ship's interactive holographic avatar) and the Engineering department officers. Chief Flight Engineer Yolanda Thomas was also present.
"I couldn't agree more," replied Engineering Director, Lt. Cmdr. Moon Sun Salek. "That's why I think what Geoff, Yolanda and Napoleon have been working on is so valuable to us. There really isn't much new that the romulans can learn from being on the Ark or the Milky Way – and those crews have plenty of staff for baby-sitting romulans. The breakthrough technology is in the Prowler class ships and especially this one."
2nd Lt. Geoffrey Horatio Alstars spoke up. "Hunter, please display this vessel from the outside." A hologram of the U.S.S. Hunter, about the size of a chair, appeared over the table. "Let's detail in on the underside of the saucer section at the bow, focusing on the deflector emitter array." The representation of the ship enlarged and most of it vanished, leaving the detail of the saucer section displayed above the heads of those at the conference table. Instead of a single, large dish like most Star Fleet vessels, the primary deflector array was a series of shallow dimples near the base of the saucer section and also in the front of the strut that connected the saucer section to the nacelle.
"In order to maintain the flowing design that gives the Prowler class its passive camouflage, the deflector screens are projected from a series of shallow dishes instead of from a single, large dish," said Alstars. "The disadvantage of this design is it does not allow for a very large contiguous deflector screen. But the Prowler class vessels are so small, they don't need a large contiguous screen. What no one thought of at the time was that this gives the Hunter additional options that are not possible with the single, larger dish. Chief Flight Engineer Yolanda Thomas and our first officer, Napoleon, came to me with the idea almost within an hour of each other last week." Alstars gestured at Chief Thomas.
Even after nearly a dozen years in space, Yolanda Thomas had a thick, Okie drawl and tended to speak more slowly than those around her. "As you are aware, the deflector emitter array does double duty as the precision locator that tells us exactly where we are, which is why navigation and deflector control are collocated. Because of the unique configuration of our emitter array, combined with the Hunter's passive camouflage, it is possible for the deflector array to project a Higgs field outside of our warp bubble when traveling at warp."
"The hardest thing about hiding a ship traveling at warp is to hide the presence of a warp field – a giant ripple passing through space," Thomas continued. "For us to project a Higgs field that will do so requires it to be tuned precisely to our warp field. The math is mind numbing, but Lieutenant Alstars can do it – if anyone can."
Dolphin turned to his engineering director. "Salek, how does this square with the Khitomer Accords prohibition against the Federation developing cloaking devices?"
Dr. Moon rolled her eyes. "I suppose we're more compliant than the rest of the fleet. Following a very literalist interpretation, we are not creating a cloaking device. Since what we propose does not require any change to the physical devices – we're just proposing new ways to use existing systems. And using a Higgs field is very different from bending electro-magnetic fields…"
"That sounds like something I can hang my figurative hat on…" Dolphin started.
"But I don't understand why we are going to so much effort to justify this project under Khitomer," Dr. Moon continued. "Is it true that nearly the entire fleet is being renamed "the U.S.S. Defiant?""
"A side agreement to the Khitomer Accords allowed Star Fleet to collaborate with the Romulan Star Navy to install a cloaking device in the U.S.S. Defiant for the purposes of defense of the Alpha Quadrant," Commander Napoleon Boles observed. "Since that language does not specify how many ships might be named the U.S.S. Defiant…"
"The whole fleet is being renamed the U.S.S. Defiant and every one of our capital ships gets a romulan cloaking device, along with a small team of romulans as required by the side agreement," Lt. Sun Ho Hui concluded. "But I agree with Salek – why go to all this trouble to pretend we are abiding by the letter of Khitomer when we're completely shredding its intent?"
"Khitomer sets our borders and has maintained a working peace among the three great powers in the Alpha Quadrant for nearly 200 years," said Dolphin. "It dies if we lose. But if we can fight the klingons to a standstill and paper over what we had to do to survive, Khitomer is our best hope for restoring that peace. How long until we are ready to test the Higgs generation protocols?"
"As soon as Geoffrey can deliver the equations," said Dr. Moon.
Dolphin turned to the elderly mathematician. "Geoff, how long?"
Alstars fluffed out his mane of thick gray hair in frustration. "I don't know… This is some really hard math. And I'm no spring chicken – I just turned 80 last week…"
Captain Dolphin turned back to his director of engineering. "Dr. Moon, what would it take to get Jack Bowman onto this ship?"
2nd Lt. Alstars thumped the table with both fists. "I'll have it for you within the week!"
Dolphin returned his attention to the elderly Oxford mathematician. "Okay Geoff, one week. If you get seriously stuck and know you're not going to make it, don't hesitate. Get Dr. Bowman to help. We'll bring him here if we have to. I want this problem solved before we end up in a shooting war."
"How are you so certain it will come to that?" asked Dr. Moon.
"The klingons have prepared for it and we haven't," Dolphin answered evenly.
*ngIp Seng (thlingn Hol - Borrowed Trouble)