USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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End Of The Line - Part 1

Posted on Wed Dec 28th, 2016 @ 10:04pm by Captain Claudia Ainscow & Rear Admiral David Hutchinson Sr & Lieutenant JG Amber Zuzan & Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Lieutenant Commander Soren Himmel & Lieutenant Will Morgan & Lieutenant Elsa Johansson & Lieutenant Commander Cara O'Reilly MD & Major Storr Garlake & Lieutenant JG Annie Wilson

Mission: S1E2 - Unity
Location: Observation Lounge
Timeline: Mission Day 15; 14:00

The Vindex, Renown, Brandenburg and Sarek had all arrived at Starbase Unity ahead of the enemy fleet and were now making their respective preparations for the battle. Force C had decided to take up a position around a quarter of a light year away from where it would be able to intercept the enemy fleet before they reached their target - that's if they came that way as Tolan believed they would.

Captain Hutchinson, Captain Suhea, and Commander T'Freja had already arrived in the observation lounge and waited patiently for the arrival of the Vindex's senior staff. Captain Ainscow had departed briefly to speak privately with Lieutenant Tolan in her ready room and planned to be back in time to lead the briefing.

Storr entered the observation lounge and nodded to the three conversing Captains before taking a seat towards the "forward" half of the table. Taking out his PADD, he re-read the message calling for a senior staff meeting and whistled low at all the new names in both the senior and junior officer positions (and how many of them were women). He had barely met most of the previous section chiefs and now it seemed that they had all rotated out. True, he had kept him and his men mostly contained to their decks for training and the like but it still was disconcerting. He chuckled to himself as he laid the PADD down...Bella would tell him that it didn't matter because they had all the support they needed on decks 25 and 26. Sergeant Zaltin was mostly right. Mostly.

Annie arrived, and observed those present in the room, giving them all a nod before choosing to sit next to the Marine Commander, thinking that she should probably make more of an effort to speak to more people than she did.

"Good afternoon, Captain," Annie said, looking at Storr.

Captain Garlake swiveled his chair slightly and looked over the petite blonde Ensign who had chosen the seat next to him despite the otherwise empty table. He had seen...*Annie, was it? Yes.* Seen Annie several times at these meetings before but had never met her personally. Her long locks flowed over her shoulders and framed her youthful face and blue eyes quite gracefully. He smiled, hopefully not like the cat who had eaten the canary.

"Why hello Ensign, and a good afternoon to you, too," he replied, running a hand through his closely cropped beard. "How have you been holding up so far? Quite a few things to keep a first assignment flight control officer busy at the helm, I'd imagine..."

"A lot better than I thought, thank you," Annie said. "The paperwork isn't as exciting as my job, but that's something that comes with the position, it's not so bad, though."

Storr nodded and continued the smile. "I'm glad that you're getting along well and the paperwork isn't so bad. Oh, and after this meeting, I'm wondering if I could pick your brain about piloting as it looks like the Two-Five might be getting a runabout and...well, I'm lacking any dedicated pilots."

"I think I can help you with that, if you want to join me after the briefing, then I'll see about giving some of your guys some flying lessons. Simulated first, of course. " Annie replied, with a grin.

"That would be great, thank you...and your wisdom is far greater than your age would suggest" Garlake replied with a laugh.

Much to the surprise of the other Force C commanding officers, it was Tolan who entered next - but he was alone. The Suliban male walked up to them and whispered a message from Captain Ainscow into Cacod's ear - who nodded to confirm he understood what Tolan had told him - and then remained with the group.

Akiva came next, nervously tossing his PADD from one hand to the other. He assessed the remaining places at the table and seated himself near the ship captains across from Tolan. Any officer who caught his eye along the way received a nod.

"No. I don't want him transferred to a ward until his blood work comes back," Cara was saying as she entered the observation lounge. She removed the medcom earwig from her ear and put it in her labcoat pocket as she sat down in the seat on the other side of the Marine Captain.

After a focused gaze at the Suliban with his secret sharing and a nod to the XO as he entered, Storr resumed his smile as the dashing redheaded CMO took the seat beside him. It wasn't every day that he was surrounded by beautiful women and as much as he would never imagine himself saying it, he made a mental note to attend more staff meetings.

"I'm Storr Garlake, Marine Commanding Officer," he introduced himself as he swiveled his chair slightly and offered his hand. It felt like Sickbay was a revolving door lately and he had not had a chance to meet the newest doctor. "I know that I've been in-and-out with Drex being in sickbay but I don't think we've officially met."

"I have seen you roaming around my domain a lot lately," Cara said with a smile. "Dr. O'Reilly," she said, extending her hand.

Storr shook her hand firmly. "A pleasure. Hopefully, I haven't dirtied the place up too much, though it does seem like it needs a bit more of a man's...mark there. Far too clean," he replied with a wink and a grin.

The tall, Nordic Chief Science Officer strode into the room next, her visage expressionless, as she gave a polite nod to the assembled staff officers and the Force C Commanders before taking her customary seat.

Himmel walked in with a cup of coffee in hand. He simply nodded in acknowledgement to those who had already arrived and took his towards the end of the table.

Will enetred the room and could see that there were quite a few officers here. He was still getting to grips with learning who everyone was on the Vindex, let alone the other Starship Captains as well. "Lieutenant Will morgan, Asst Chief Ops Officer," he said as he introduced himself and took a seat.

Amber arrived to represent the Tactical and Security department on behalf of Lieutenant Gardner - pleased that even though she was late she had arrived just before Claudia. She took a seat and helped herself to a few biscuits and a cup of tea from the buffet on offer.

Claudia arrived a few moments later and she went over to have a brief whispered discussion with Cacod before taking her place at the head of the table. She could see that so far Storr, Annie, Cara, Akiva and Elsa had arrived ahead of her - as well as Tolan. It had been a tense few days but they'd made it ahead of the enemy.

"It's good to see you all again. I apologise for being late...please help yourself to the refreshments" Claudia said.

Claudia had asked Paul to send up some fresh tea and coffee as well as an assortment of biscuits for the briefing. Sure enough the ever reliable chef had delivered on his promise to have it there before two o'clock.

Akiva slowly analyzed everyone, noting their responses. The more he thought of the crew as a social machine and each individual as a component or cog in the machine, the more confident he felt in his executive duties. He also left a reminder on his PADD to schedule meetings with the new department chiefs, then returned his full attention to Claudia.

"Before we get properly started I'd like to announce a change in the command structure. Lieutenant Morgan is elevated to the Chief of Operations position with immediate effect - Lieutenant Kaz will remain on board as his deputy" Claudia said.

Will couldn't help to supress the smile that he was trying to hide after the Captain's announcement. His surprise was a little more visual on his face as he looked over at the Captain. "Thank you Captain," he said nodding as he accepted his new position as Department Head.

"Alright...let's get started. The four of us - Captains Hutchinson and Suhea and Commander T'Freja - have decided to hold position away from Starbase Unity and attack the enemy fleet from astern on their way in. We believe that they will come from this direction - although it's still a gamble. What are the latest updates from all departments - and does anyone have anything they'd like to suggest?" Claudia said.

"We're moving in-patients around to consolidate space then we can shut down power to nonessential areas," Cara announced. "Once we go on alert we will use the front portion of Sickbay for triage and the back portion for treatment. Our EFTS teams are already standing by at their stations."

"The Two-Five is ready to repel boarders or commence boarding actions on your command,ma'am," Storr iterated after the CMO finished her statement. "I've also interfaced with the Captain Hutchinson's Warlords and we have rudimentary capabilities to augment each other in these actions. Concerning the battle plan, if I were them I'd have left a rear-guard to prevent exactly what we're trying to do. We'll need to bypass that so that we can actually strike at the rear of the main force to actually affect the battle, as they wouldn't have counted on those rear-guard ships...it will technically put us between those two elements, though."

Claudia nodded. "You're right with that one. I feel if we can distract their escort then that will take away their protective screen from the capital ships and allow the rest of the fleet to engage the capital ships without worrying about the escorting ships"

"If I can make a suggestion Captain - the Vindex is in the best shape and having it on the front line with the main fleet will be more beneficial once we've drawn away the smaller escorts. I believe the Brandenburg, Renown and Sarek can deal with the escort ships. Do we know exactly what we'll be facing?" David asked.

Claudia agreed with David's point. Normally the Brandenburg would be at the front lines although it wasn't back to 100% just yet. She looked at Tolan and gave him the nod to brief the meeting on what they were up against.

"My latest information indicates that we will be facing seven capital ships - an Excalibur-class, a Galaxy-class, two Insignia-classes, a Nebula-class and a Sovereign-class. These are being escorted by three Akira-classes, an Intrepid-class and a Luna-class. So in total that's twelve starships we're up against" Tolan said.

Cacod spoke. "Against how many?"

"Including Force C...fourteen. Our capital ships are much less in numbers however - a Ronin-class, a Prometheus-class and two Sovereign-classes - so four versus seven" Tolan replied.

David asked. "What about the rest of our fleet?"

"The remainder of the defence fleet consists of two Akira-classes, a Defiant-class, a Luna-class, a Saber-class, a Steamrunner-class...and a hospital ship..." Tolan concluded.

"A hospital ship?" Cara spoke up. "They would stay far behind. They aren't built for any major battles and they sure wouldn't put their patients at risk."

Tolan nodded. "Yes. However I expect the USS Hopkins will withdraw to a safe distance after transferring the patients from those taking part in the battle. As you say it wouldn't last very long in combat and there's every possibility it will be needed afterwards..."

T'Freja had nothing to say but her facial expression said it all.

Claudia took all of it on board and made a decision based on the suggestions and information that had been put to the meeting. It was going to be one big hitter versus another.

"It is my intention to engage the USS Dark Horse and keep that away from Starbase Unity at all costs. That should be an even match but we'll have to be at our best to overcome them. Mr Himmel - we will need every ounce of power you can spare for Tactical systems on my mark. Does anyone have any objections or further suggestions?" Claudia replied.

Himmel nodded, "I'll squeeze every ounce I can get out of her, Captain."

Will looked up as the Captain made her plan very clear. "I'll make sure that Operations is ready to assist the Engineering team with finding whatever we can to get the Vindex going and firing at the enemy," he assured her. "We'll be ready for them.

"Would it be possible to deploy a mine field of some sort, as a force multiplier?" Elsa offered. "We know the vector of approach that the Consortium force will be commencing their attack from. At the very least, it might serve as a minor disruption of their plan of attack. At most..." Elsa shrugged. "My limited experience with the forces driving the Consortium was that they were more adept at political machinations than they were at tactical and strategic maneuvers."

David nodded. "That's a good idea Lieutenant. I believe it could be done - but we don't have a lot of time to do it in. If we pooled resources together we could get some ready in time - but I'd recommend only using one ship to deploy them once they're ready"

"Agreed. Lieutenant Johansson - I'd like you to work with Commander Muniz aboard the Renown and design a mine and produce as many as you can before 18:00. If it's alright with you Captain the Renown can deploy them once they're ready?" Claudia replied.

David simply nodded to indicate he was happy with that course of action.

Elsa gave a curt nod, already pulling up diagrams of preexisting designs. No need to reinvent the wheel she thought. And she made another note to bring the Vindex's mathematician along. Undoubtedly there'd be some type of mathematical formula that would optimize the deployment of the mines.

The thought of engaging the Dark Horse was bad enough, but Annie thought Captain Ainscow didn't want to just disable it, she wanted to destroy it.

"What time can we expect them to arrive, exactly?" Annie asked.

"Their current course and speed indicates we have five hours until they arrive and launch their attack. The sooner we start preparing the more options we can come up with" Tolan replied.

Claudia nodded. "Indeed. Miss Zuzan I'd like you, Mr Gardner and Mr Garlake to coordinate and create a combined security force and post people in all critical areas and on every deck. There's every chance they'll try and board us if we lose our shields - so we need to be ready to give them hell if they think they can try and seize this vessel. Mr ben-Avram - if you could lend Mr Himmel a hand in Engineering I'd appreciate it"

"Aye, Captain," Akiva said. He was far from a conscientious objector, but he still preferred to do his fighting with knowledge banks rather than with phaser banks. He felt grateful that Claudia recognized that in her planning. "We'll hold the Vindex together like we did the Brandenburg." He nodded toward Himmel and Suhea each in turn.

Storr slowly ran a hand through his hair as he mentally began counting Marines, security members, chokepoints, and critical areas that would require a continual presence. "Ma'am, I would be remiss to say this but I don't believe that even with augmenting our forces with security that we could both stand alert to board enemy vessels and secure the Vindex to the level necessary. You need to choose one." it was a hard decision but one that he felt needed to be made, and was best left to the CO.

"I have to agree with Captain Garlake. We can't switch from one to the other that quickly - it's better to have one of us focused on starship security - Security - and have the Marines ready for a boarding party if necessary" Amber responded.

Cara knew that Storr didn't have any medics in his Marine personnel and if the Captain opted to board the enemy ships he would need at least two medics...just in case. She made a mental note to get with him about it after the meeting.

Claudia supposed in hindsight that they were both right and decided to abandon the plan to augment Security and the Marines and keep them as their respective separate entities. After all, it would be a difficult ask to have the Marines do one thing then suddenly do something else. The time wasn't there for the Marines to prepare for both tasks.

"Alright - Security will take control of ship defense. I want the Marines on standby if we get an opportunity to board an enemy vessel" Claudia replied.

Captain Garlake simply nodded to his Captain, his way now known and clear.

Amber nodded and made a note of her orders to take to Lieutenant Gardner.

"Alright if there's nothing else then let's get on with our tasks. I'd like a progress update from all departments by 16:30 - meeting dismissed" Claudia said.

With the meeting closed, and after helping herself to some more of the biscuits in the centre of the table, Annie stood up and left the meeting room, waiting outside for the Marine CO Storr Garlake. Annie hope he was ready to take her up on the offer of flying lessons on the holodeck

As the meeting of officers broke up, Elsa tapped her comm badge. =A= "Ensign Bogolyubov, meet me in the transporter room. I'll advise you of the project we'll be working on when you meet me there." =A=

 

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