From:Frool
To:*Galactic-Enquirer
Stardate:20021212.2321
Subject:[Vaebn: Missiles Defense Tests Mixed]

From:     Vaebn
To:       *Galactic-Enquirer-Submissions
When:     2:14 pm, Thursday, December 12, 2002
Subject:  Missiles Defense Tests Mixed
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The Galactic Enquirer logo disappears from the screen, to be replaced by the video image of a single floating Ambassador class starship. A female voice can be heard over the image.

This is the Testbed 4, one of Starfleet Research's six starships that are used solely as platforms for testing new technology to be incorporated into starship design. *A green rectangle appears, surrounding a protrusion to the aft of the bridge on the saucer, before the camera zooms in to fill the highlighted area.* This device which has been fitted to the T-4 is Starfleet's new experimental missile defense system. According to senior officials, this launcher, rotatable 360 degrees, is capable of firing low yield, extremely fast interceptor missiles designed to intercept and destroy incoming long-range projectiles.

The screen cuts to the image of a man in a labcoat. A bar of text underneath identifies the individual as Dr. Ian G. Fabry. The woman's voice continues, "Doctor, could you please tell our audience about this device. What makes it remarkable? Why is it needed?"

There's a brief pause before his response. With a clear of the throat, he replies, "For centuries now across hundreds of worlds the threat of long range missiles has existed, and this device will by no means bring an end to that threat. An effective defense has always been at least an order of magnitude more expensive than the offensive capability it defends against. Phasers are ineffective against a missile approaching at high warp at close range, since the beam only moves at the speed of light, and passes across any object moving at warp too quickly to do any damage to the hull. Interception technology has always been availiable, but the cost is too high. Missiles are designed to track and destroy large objects moving at far slower speeds than themselves, while an interception device has to hit an extremely small, fast target. The difficulty has been designing a warp engine small enough and fast enough to allow the speed and manueverablility to hit this small, quick target."

An image now appears on the screen of a small device, roughly the size and shape of a photon torpedo, but with fins, one on each side, and one on top, of the device. There is grating on each of the side fins that reveal the typical blue glow of Federation warp engines. The doctor's voice continues, "While a missile maintains a relatively steady course, as its target speed is far slower, even zero in the case of planets, an interceptor has to be able to manuever wildly. The breakthrough here is that we've managed to stuff powerful warp engines into this small of an object. These devices are fast, nimble, and considering the cost of letting an enemy missile hit a starship or planet, inexpensive."

The image cuts back to the Ambassador class ship, and the reporter's voice picks up where the researcher left off. "Galactic Enquirer has received permission to film the first test firings of these devices by agreeing to keep the location of the testbed secret. The Federation is obviously hoping that success will deter those who utilize missile technology from maintaining an agressive posture in the short to medium term."

There is silence for a moment. "We have been informed that three test missiles seized from the Cardassians during the liberation of Deep Space Nine have been fired to simulate an actual attack." There's another short pause, and suddenly a small metallic device is launched from the protrusion, which swivels slightly before firing another one, swivels again, and fires another one. No sooner is the third one released that there's a bright blue-white flash and a streak as the first kicks in its warp drive. There's a brief pause before the third device streaks into warp as well. The second one remains."

The screen cuts back to the reporter standing on a windswept plain in front of some nondescript buildings, hand over her ear as she receives information from her earpiece. Time passes for a moment, before she looks back up at the camera. "The first device missed its target competely, beginning a turn to track again before it broke apart. Researchers fear a problem with the inertial compensators. The second was unable to successfully initialize a warp reaction. The third, however, it is reported, successfully struck and destroyed its target. It appears there is much work to be done before this new technology can said to be successful enough to claim that the Federation is safe from long range missiles, but with a current success rate of one in three, and a strong potential for improvement, it likely can not be called a waste of resources.

The reporter tries to keep her jacket straight in the wind, "One might ask how other governments will respond to this, as it seems the Federation is deliberately trying to undermine offensive capabilities and change the balance of power. The diplomatic consequences of this research should be fascinating, to say the least. Anyway, back to you."

The screen returns to the main GE newsroom but not before the reporter can be seen trying to keep her hair in order in the gusts of strong wind. A male Bolian anchor laughs, looking at the monitor before joking, "Seems like good windsailing weather out at Krellix, Lindsey" before looking back at the screen. "Our next story of the evening: Is your teenager doing inappropriate things in holoenvironments. Our correspondent reports from..."
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