USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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Turn of the Tide

Posted on Sat Feb 11th, 2017 @ 8:24am by Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Lieutenant Commander Soren Himmel & Lieutenant Commander Cara O'Reilly MD & Major Storr Garlake & Lieutenant Commander Martha Cusack & Lieutenant JG Annie Wilson & Lieutenant Megan Atkinson & Lieutenant JG Kevran & Ensign Jessie Hall

Mission: S1E4 - Remnants Of A Lost Cause
Location: Captain's Ready Room
Timeline: MD 66 - 15:30

Akiva sat behind the captain's desk, hands folded in interlocked fingers, and stared out the viewport window. The preliminary damage report and list of losses was staggering if only because it was incomplete. He held little doubt that the updated specifics provided by each department chief would only clarify the disaster that the day had been, bringing each act of sabotage and senseless death into grim, stark focus.

Captain Ainscow usually assembled everyone in the nearby Observation Lounge for mission briefings, as its spacious sprawl felt more at ease than the confining ready room. But these weren't usual times. Claudia had been taken along with several others. Recent events had given him his fill of that room for the time being, and if he was now the acting captain yet again, it was time for him to start acting like it.

Before long, the door chimed from the first of the department chiefs.

With the life support systems restored, things in the ER had calmed down from an F5 tornado to a small dust devil and Cara finally had a chance to breathe. That is until she got the call to report to the Captain's ready room. During the life support crisis, a patient had told Cara that he had heard a rumor that Capt. Ainscow was missing. Cara had told him she didn't hold stock in rumors as there always was an active rumor mill aboard a ship. Her warning had dispelled the young man's anxiety but, as she rang the chime and the door opened she saw the XO at the Captain's desk and she was no longer confident in her belief.

Megan and Martha arrived at the impromptu briefing together - and seeing as they'd arrived together they chose to stick together and took a pair of vacant seats on the right-hand side of the table. Martha was still feeling as well as she had before she left sickbay and was only too happy that was the case. There were many people who needed the Medical department's help right now and she hoped they all made a full recovery.

Kevran came next. The Vorta had remained in the background of the Science department for some time. His confident, nonchalant entrance
belied the sheepish look on his face. No doubt the notion of being named the acting Chief Science Officer was an unwelcome one. He silently took the seat farthest from the desk near the corner.

The Marine CO was next to enter, his jaw set as he looked over the already arrived members and choosing a seat next to the First Of...Capta..."Bladdy Hell," he murmured as he met Akiva's gaze and nodded. He understood very well the chain of command and its operation, but it did not make the awkwardness of titles, duties, personalities, and expected roles any easier (though he had no doubt the Hebron's ability or capability to assume the role that he had now).

Soren came in shortly after. His head hung low after the events, coffee in hand. The situation wasn't new to him, he'd been in Starfleet long enough to know. However, it still didn't mean it was okay. Because of the circumstances he occupied the first officers vacant spot as Commander ben-Avram filled the Captain's.

Ensign Jessie Hall followed in on Soren's heels, her PADD clutched to her chest and clearly feeling out of her depth. She took the empty seat next to Kevran.

Unlike her usual self, Annie arrived late, still unaware her partner had died. She took the nearest seat which was still available, then turning to face Akiva, wondering why he was leading the briefing and not Captain Ainscow.

"Thank you all for coming," Akiva began. He held the back of his hand over his mouth to cover a throat-clearing cough. "I know time is a commodity, so I'll try to keep this short and sweet. The mutiny has been suppressed, but not before the mutineers absconded with Captain Ainscow and a handful of others." Maybe not the best choice of words, Akiva reflected, but he pressed onward. "We've suffered a number of casualties from the attempted mutiny. Preliminary reports put the death toll well over 300, perhaps as close to four, and it's still climbing." He shot Cara a glance which mixed appreciation with regret. "Everything we can spare is being diverted to Sickbay. Doctor, if you could update everyone with what your aid told me."

Cara nodded. "Well, your sources aren't wrong, Commander," she said. "Thanks to that lying piece of maggot feces, Saalkan, we have lost 379 souls. Lt. Kaz is still in guarded condition but is on the mend. If she continues to progress as she has I expect to be able to move her to one of the wards. All of those effected by the lack of oxygen and the wounded have been treated and released. So that is good news. We've had to shut down Lab 3 to house our dead. This emergency has seriously depleted our medical supplies...especially the medications that can't be replicated. I made a list," she took a small PADD out of her labcoat pocket and stepped over to the desk, setting it down for Akiva to look at. "As always I will muddle through but we need to put into port somewhere soon so I can replenish what we need."

"As you all can see," Akiva said with a lump in his throat, "the crew is in dire need of leadership at this time. We must be the glue to hold everyone together." He looked to Jessie and Kevran. "I understand that the both of you did not wake up today with the knowledge of battlefield promotions." He paused. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Lieutenant Kaz as we hope she pulls through, but unfortunately we'll have to wait before we can properly mourn the losses of Lieutenant Johansson and most of her department."

Akiva shook his head. "At the moment, I'm going to order a change-up in personnel assignments based upon the reports I've received. Operations will shore up the depleted Engineering department. Ensign Hall, so long as Lieutenant Kaz remains in critical condition, you will perform her duties, but all tasks will be prioritized by the Chief Engineer." Akiva paused to allow everyone to catch up in their notes. "And, as of this moment, that will be Lieutenant Atkinson. I will need Commander Himmel's experience and expertise in keeping these plates spinning."

Himmel took a sip of coffee, "Whatever I can do to help, Commander."

"I'll see what we can do. It might mean double shifts for a while but I think we can do it" Megan replied.

Akiva nodded at them before turning to Annie. "Lieutenant Wilson, when all of this over, you'll have to tell me how you managed to avoid capture. I'm sure it's a story to remember. As for now, you are our sole remaining Flight Control Officer, so I'm going to task the Science department with assisting you in isolating, tracking, and predicting the warp trail of our runaway shuttle. They're unlikely to go far on their own, which means they're almost definitely rendezvousing with someone else."

Though he kept speaking to Annie, Akiva noticed Martha twitch at the suggestion from the corner of his eye. "And I want you to update Security at every step of the way so that Lieutenant Cusack can be as prepared as possible for every potential scenario or outcome. Our enemy is canny, and I refuse to blindly walk into another ambush." Akiva sighed and reviewed his notes. "Which leads to the final assignment: the remainder of Science personnel who are not directly assisting Lieutenant Wilson will assist Tactical with appraisals, projections, and the like."

"Well," Annie said, slightly unsure of the idea. "As long as they don't get in the way, I'm fine with that."

Major Garlake quietly listened to the assembled officers engage with their acting Captain, all of them seemingly taking to the new assignments and mission shifts in stride. It was either a sign of professionalism and a hardened sense of duty, or complete bewilderment and a thirst for any direction. He opted for the former.

"Commander," Storr stated, unfolding his hands to rest them on the edge of the table, "we need to consider the very real possibility that the Consortium has left a 'stay-behind' element to continue sabotage in order to keep us combat ineffective. Given the greatly reduced numbers in the 2/5, I'm not sure that we alone can secure the ship,"

"You aren't wrong." Akiva nodded as much in contemplation as in agreement. "I want you to partner with Lieutenant Cusack to predict the strongest probable combat scenarios and coordinate your fire teams. I suggest at least one for boarding a ship and another for infiltrating a facility, whether a starbase or a terrestrial base, but I'll leave that at your discretion."

The MCO nodded slowly. "Sir, with all due respect, I don't think that combining our two departments, even temporarily, will give us the numbers required to secure the ship, conduct joint training operations, run shift operations, re-inventory supplies and caches, and reconstitute our forces." He really did mean the respect part, but Garlake knew that the Hebron's background was ship operations, not leading a group of leathernecks that wanted nothing more than to bury and mourn their dead before turning and ripping the perpetrators limb-from-limb. Then again, Akiva's attention to detail was something that he admired in the man and surely the security situation was not one that had escaped his attention.

"I hear you, Major," Akiva said. "This isn't an ideal situation for any of us, but we will make do with what we have. We took a hard hit, so we're going to have to out-think our enemy this time. There's no bullying out of this one. If we're going to get our people back, then we have to be prepared for anything."

"We Marines are at least equal parts brains and brawn...I know the 2/5 will surprise you," Storr said with a quirk of a grin. Turning to Martha, he pointed at her with a pistol finger before continuing. "Lieutenant, meet me in my office after this briefing so that we can start immediately...who knows what might still be skulking about here."

Akiva looked around at the assorted officers gathered around him. "Does anyone have any final questions or concerns to raise?"

Martha nodded. "I'm requesting permission to equip all personnel stationed on the bridge and engineering with a sidearm - as well as everyone in my department instead of just security. With our low numbers, we're in a precarious position if we're boarded"

"Permission granted." Akiva turned dour and grim. "In fact, I'm issuing an emergency order: I hereby authorize extra-judicial action against anyone caught red-handed in an act of sabotage between now and the nearest starbase. All saboteurs are to be considered dead to rights." Akiva looked around. "I will note anyone's objection in my log."

Martha again nodded to confirm she understood Akiva's order. It was a surprise order but one she was happy to carry out if necessary. Her hatred for The Consortium was probably second to very few other loyal Starfleet officers in the Gamma Quadrant.

"Yes, Commander. I'll see to both as soon as this briefing has concluded" Martha replied.

Storr's eyebrow raised as he looked back to Akiva. Of all people, he would have placed Commander ben-Avram towards the bottom of the list of those that would commit to such a course of action. It wasn't that he questioned it (it would likely be something that he would do), it just seemed that the respect that his Hebron culture seemed to put on law and conformity would have made such a proposition be...unthinkable. Then again, it was nearly unthinkable that half of the crew compliment would be dead and the Captain and others would have been kidnapped following a mutiny.

"Thank you all for remaining strong," Akiva said in closing, the twitch in his neck belying the timbre of his voice. "If we work together, we will get our people back... and make the enemy pay for what they've done." He met every eye before adding, "I'll expect updates from everyone by this time tomorrow. Dismissed."

 

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