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A Spanner In The Works

Posted on Sun Apr 2nd, 2017 @ 1:03pm by Rear Admiral David Hutchinson Sr & Captain Claudia Ainscow

Mission: S1E5 - Unknown Territory
Location: Captain Ainscow's ready room
Timeline: Mission Day 73; 12:00

Claudia was busy in her office preparing the final paperwork needed before Starfleet could send the rest of the personnel she'd asked for to help plug the large gaps in some departments. One thing she was grateful for was Deep Space 9 allowing the transfer of 29 staff from its reserve pool to the Vindex on a permanent basis. On top of that around 150 staff had transferred in from either the Academy or other assignments in the area - even with the 179 new arrivals they were still 252 short of a full compliment but the pressure was a lot lower now at least.

Just as she was about to make herself a cup of tea a call came through from the bridge.

=/\="There's an encrypted communication coming through for you Captain - it's Commodore Hutchinson"=/\=

Claudia sighed. =/\="Alright - put it through please"=/\=

Moments later Claudia was sat behind her desk again with Commodore Hutchinson on the screen. This time the Commodore didn't look as relaxed as he normally did - and with the communication being encrypted it suggested this was important. Was a massive spanner due to be thrown in the works?

"I'm sorry to do this to you Captain but I'm afraid we're cutting you loose first thing on the 10th. I'm already making preparations to depart as soon as possible once we're finished talking - I'm afraid I won't be able to officiate your wedding - at least not right now. I'm sorry Captain - I truly am" David said - remorsefully.

Claudia's heart sank - she was supposed to be marrying Becky tomorrow and now the Commodore was flying off back to the Gamma Quadrant leaving them without someone to actually marry them. Sighing reluctantly Claudia realised short of finding someone else to officiate at such short notice - her wedding was postponed for the time being.

"Alright - reluctantly I'll have to accept that - but you owe me one Commodore. Big time" Claudia replied.

David nodded. "I totally accept that Captain - but there is something else I'd like to offer you before I get on with the real reason I'm calling you. I've been the Task Force 9 Executive Officer for a little while now and in the time I've got to know you I feel we've become friends too. I'd like you to be my adjutant Claudia"

Claudia's eyes widened a little in surprise - with her gaze cast away from the screen to try and hide her disappointment of her wedding's postponement from David. She thought however the disappointment would fade away slightly once David had told her the reason why - after all - David didn't seem like a person who would do things like this for the sake of it. It must have been a genuine reason.

"What does that entail exactly?" Claudia replied.

David could tell the woman was disappointed but he fully intended to make it up to her.

"You'd be my right hand woman - and one day if it goes well then you could end up succeeding me as TFXO - because despite what you think of yourself I know you've got it in you Claudia. You just need to believe in yourself more than you do" David said.

Claudia shrugged. "Who told you about...that?"

"I'd be breaking their confidence if I did Claudia but they really do have your best interests at heart. I do as well" David replied.

Claudia smiled weakly. "Thank you Commodore"

"This is off the record - call me David. Friends don't call eachother by rank when they're not on duty" David said.

Claudia giggled. "If you say so. Alright - I'll take it"

"I'm glad to hear it. Now - we're back on record I'm afraid so it's back to the formalities. Some unusual readings have been picked up from a part of space around five light years from Starbase Unity which we're keen to investigate. I'm sending the Vindex there - they wanted to send to to help deal with some pirates operating around the Finnea Convergence Zone but I decided to give you something relaxing for a change" David replied.

Claudia blinked. "That sounds almost too easy Commodore - there's no way you called me on a secure channel to tell me we're going to do some investigation in a part of space Starfleet haven't managed to explore yet. There's more going on surely?"

David nodded solemnly - there was.

"The contents of this briefing cannot be shared with anyone but your most senior staff - no lower than third officer if you have one - but Starfleet have reason to believe an unknown hostile species has launched probes in the area to try and find somewhere as a platform to invade the Idran Region. We have no concrete evidence other than some odd readings at...these co-ordinates" David said - sending Claudia the co-ordinates he wished for the Vindex to start their search.

David concluded "We haven't detected any major activity so far but we have no reason to believe at this stage there are enemy vessels operating in the area. If you detect any I'm ordering you to pull out to a safe distance immediately and contact me immediately on a secure channel. We're still in the middle of drafting in some more ships to replace the ones we destroyed and it's a painfully slow process - so the sooner we work out what's going on there we can focus on carrying on with the rebuilding process"

Claudia listened to all of what David said and nodded once he'd finished - confirming she'd understood what he said. At least this time the Vindex wouldn't be sent into the jaws of combat - they would be able to retreat and wait for help - although if any hostile activity posed any immediate danger Claudia would do anything to delay it. She knew that David knew that too.

"Alright - we'll set off first thing on the 10th and head over to see what's going on. In the mean time is there anything else I should know or will there be more information if or when it becomes available?" Claudia responded.

David nodded. "There is - I want you to have a great time tomorrow night at Quark's. A little birdie told me you have a reservation there and I've left some money behind the bar for you and your desired guests to enjoy a few drinks on me. It's the least I can do to make up for pulling the plug on your wedding"

"That's very thoughtful Commodore - thank you - but don't think you've got off that lightly. Once we've found a venue I'll get Commander Joyce to drag you all the way to our chosen venue and you can officiate for us. In return we promise to use all of the credits you've left behind Quark's bar tomorrow night - deal?" Claudia replied - grinning.

David chuckled. "Alright you're on. Look - I've got to head off now - but you know where I am if you need me. That's on a professional and a personal basis too - and that's a promise"

"Thank you David. I'll see you out there" Claudia responded.

With a nod from David she closed the communications and decided to call the briefing for Akiva, Soren and Martha first thing on the 10th. For now she got back to work - but only after making herself a cup of tea and replicating a rather large amount of biscuits to go with them. As for the 'little birdie' who had told the Commodore about her reservation at Quark's - and who supposedly wanted the best for her - Claudia had an idea who that was...


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