USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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A Nudge In The Right Direction

Posted on Sun Apr 30th, 2017 @ 1:03am by Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Lieutenant Commander Gareth Tau & Captain Claudia Ainscow & Lieutenant Commander Soren Himmel & Lieutenant Commander Martha Cusack & Lieutenant Kazyah Linn & Lieutenant JG Skot Petryr & Ensign Asher Maddison MD & Lieutenant JG José Muñiz & Sergeant Bella Zaltin

Mission: S1E5 - Unknown Territory
Location: Bridge; Observation Lounge
Timeline: Mission Day 82; 14:00

The Vindex was headed for Starbase Unity as ordered and it looked like this time they would be completing a relatively easy assignment which had gone without incident. With the Commodore currently sleeping due to feeling under the weather after eating something that didn't agree with him, Claudia had found herself taking his calls - although it wouldn't last because she had surrendered her role as the Commodore's adjutant to her friend Captain Isobel Joyce.

Just as the Vindex was about to deviate off its current trajectory to head towards Starbase Unity the Tactical console detected what appeared to be a distress call from the beacon left behind by Mystery Man and his colleagues aboard the Bird-of-Prey they'd been given to operate undercover with. Martha couldn't pick up exactly what it was right away but a distress call was a distress call and it needed answering.

"Captain...I'm picking up a distress call. It's dead ahead at a distance of around...19 million kilometres. No sign of what it is at this range but I'll continue my scans" Martha reported.

Claudia nodded. "Thank you Commander. Mr Muniz - slow us down to intercept. Just as I thought we were going to have an uneventful trip to Starbase Unity somebody's asked for our help..."

"Yes ma'am - reducing speed" José reported.

Not long after the Vindex had arrived and Martha had discovered it appeared to be a decoy. No sign of who it belonged to but clearly it could be a trap - whether it was intended for the Vindex or someone else - and she wanted to take the necessary precautions.

"Captain...there's no ship out there. It's just a decoy beacon emitting a false warp signature pointing us in a direction away from Starbase Unity. It doesn't match anything we have in our database so I'd recommend we take a precaution and go to yellow alert" Martha said.

Claudia sighed. "Oh here we go again. What do you think Commander?"

"I concur," Akiva said. "Furthermore, I suggest we request support from Starbase Unity before we get out of range of communications. I'd feel better knowing we have another ship or two en route to help us whether or not we find anything."

"Yellow alert Commander. Scan it and if it's clear bring it on board for analysis - after you've got the co-ordinates and passed them onto Mr Muniz. I want to hold position here for now and wait for Commander Cusack to complete her analysis - Mr ben-Avram please instruct all heads of department to report to observation lounge in one hour" Claudia instructed.

Akiva tapped his commbadge. =/\="This is Commander ben-Avram to all hands. All senior staff must be report to the Observation Lounge within the hour.=/\=

Turning to face Gareth she decided that he should assist in the analysis of the beacon.

"Mr Tau - please assist Ms Cusack and Ms Ghatto with the analysis of the beacon. Is it on board yet Ms Cusack?" Claudia said.

"It will be my genuine pleasure, Captain." Gareth had already called up a relief officer to man the Science station.

"It's clear Captain. It's now in Cargo Bay 2 however I've set the transporter to beam it straight back into space at the first time of trouble" Martha instructed.

Claudia nodded. "Very well. When you're ready please go with Commander Tau and ask Ms Ghatto to join you. I suspect we will need her expertise with breaking into the beacon's onboard computer and seeing where this comes from. For now the bridge is yours Commander - I shall inform the Commodore of the situation"

"Aye, Captain." Akiva stood up to await for Claudia to leave before he assumed her chair--yet again. At least they were already at Yellow Alert.




One hour later

Claudia had arrived in advance - hoping for news on the beacon. Nobody else had arrived yet but Claudia knew they'd all be there sooner rather than later. To pass the time she read the latest reports of activity in the area they would be operating in - hoping to get to grips with the area around Starbase Unity now The Consortium threat had been dealt with.

Akiva arrived early as well, with Gareth quick on his heels. He was hoping to avoid another endless conversation with the scientist. So far, he had been successful.

"Everyone should be on their way. What are you reading there?" Akiva said to Claudia in a desperate appeal to dialogue.

Whether or not he took the hint, Gareth seated himself at the table with neither beverage nor PADD at hand.

"Oh nothing much. Just the latest updates of activity from the area we're in at the minute - nothing too exciting at the moment so I'd imagine we'll be able to do some exploring for a bit" Claudia replied.

Arriving next was Asher, who sat down at the table in the closest empty with a freshly made latté in her right hand. She wasn't really sure why she'd been called up for the meeting, unless a medical emergency was expected, which Asher really didn't want her creaking medical department to be put through. Singing quietly under her breath, Asher waited for the meeting to start.

Skot entered not far behind her, having recovered from his previous incident with his allergies. He took his seat after making a stop at the replicator for a coffee.

Martha and José arrived at the same time having bumped into each other - quite literally - in the turbolift. Taking a pair of two vacant seats next to Asher the Spaniard allowed Martha to choose her preferred seat before taking the other.

Bella entered, nodding curtly to those in attendance before taking her seat with little fanfare. The Marine First Sergeant had not had to take a senior staff meeting since the Major had come aboard and she had forgotten just how much they made her uncomfortable. Besides being a Marine, she was the only enlisted member there so she simply sat and dutifully took notes to brief the next shift change. The new cast around the table also made her feel out of her element, as it seemed like senior staff on this ship rotated faster than a Denubian gatling laser.

A few moments later, the doors opened and Kazyah Linn walked in, taking a seat at the table in silence.

"Looks like we're just waiting for Commander Himmel now" Claudia commented.

Soren arrived with cup of coffee and raised his mug to acknowledge everyone. He took the open seat and waited for the Captain to begin.




Claudia decided to remain seated this time around. She looked around the room at those present before launching the briefing - this could be nothing or it could be part of something quite big. Either way Claudia had every confidence in her crew that they could get to the bottom of it and answer the questions the beacon had raised.

"About an hour ago we came across a beacon which was emitting a false distress beacon and was pointing towards a position not too far from here. Commanders Cusack and Tau and Lieutenant Ghatto have analysed the beacon -- however before talk about that...it appears the probe is pointing in the direction of a potential star system. Miss Laena in Science hasn't concluded her investigations yet however I feel it would be wise we investigate it further - especially as there's nothing on our star charts which suggests there's a star system in that area. Any thoughts so far?" Claudia said.

"Do we know where the probe came from?" Akiva asked. "That might tell us more about where it could be going."

"A Klingon Bird-of-Prey. However scans of the area surrounding the beacon suggest that no vessels of that type were anywhere near this part of space within a realistic time frame - let's just say the findings were...rather interesting" Martha replied.

"We recently encountered a Klingon Bird-of-Prey in the employ of the Consortium," Akiva pointed out. "Is it possible this was left over from them?"

Martha shook her head. "It hasn't been here long enough Commander - we estimate this has been here for at the most several hours. The BaHwiI' was reported as destroyed as part of a training exercise due to the damage it sustained and Starfleet's limited knowledge of destroying it"

Martha then left the floor open for others to speak as she wrote her concerns on a PADD and handed it to the man sat next to her. She had her suspicions about it and wanted to make them clear without anyone else hearing.

"Alright - that pretty much covers the beacon aspect. Now does anyone have any objections to us heading to this planet? Any will be noted in my log" Claudia said.

"I do." Gareth folded his hands together as if that settled matters. When all eyes fell to him, he shifted his weight the chair. "I don't like traipsing off into the unknown, particularly when it is almost certainly a trap. Common sense dictates we either wait for backup or resume our course."

Martha nodded. "He has a point Captain although I don't think we should sit around and wait if there's someone out there waiting to pounce because we could become their new target. We have no idea who's left this beacon and we have reason to believe it was set to detonate when its target reached it. As it didn't detonate on us then we have reason to believe we aren't the target - my advice would be to proceed with extreme caution"

"I do have two EOD (Explosive Ordinance Disposal) troops in the Batallion that I think should be the first ones to assess the probe when we arrive," Sergeant Zaltin suggested more forcefully than she had initially intended. Fleeters tended to stroll into situations with their tricorders far more readily than they should and she had seen the...poor results a few times too many to not speak up.

"So there could be more waiting for us at our destination," Akiva said, continuing her thought, "wherever that turns out to be."

"If we have the beacon in hand, it's possible that we've ruined the trap," Kaz said, looking between Claudia and Akiva. "So whoever planted it is waiting for a prey that may never come. We may not need to intervene at all, as we already have."

Asher reached for her latte and took another sip from it.

This was all above Asher's head, assuming that she'd only been called to the briefing because she was senior staff, although naturally, Asher expected there to be a bombshell for her at some point. There usually was.

"If there is a distant star out there, then there is likely more than just an ambush," Gareth pointed out. "There are likely resources to be fought over, which poses a larger risk than just a couple of brigands with a trap. There could be an entire operation in that unexplored sector. Hence why I repeat that we need more than just ourselves to investigate. We do nobody any good if we never make it back with a report of whatever we find."

"I have to agree with the Commander - but it is worth investigating now the Jankata Accord has been torn up. I think it's worth investigating and potentially allowing Starfleet a colony in a strategic position in this part of space. What do our scanners indicate?" Claudia replied.

"Nothing within a few light years. I'm scanning on a number of frequencies to detect cloaked vessels although so far they have also produced no results" Martha said.

Claudia nodded. "Alright...so who's in favour of pressing ahead and finding out what that beacon's looking at?"

"I am" Martha said.

Gareth shook his head.

"Only one on condition," Akiva said. "We leave a network of comm buoys in our wake-- breadcrumbs, if you will, for others to follow, and insurance against signal jamming."

"I'm not sure, but I'm mostly against it," Kaz said, looking at a PADD he was holding. "I just think there're too many unknowns."

Bella examined her hands. Marines were never ones to back down from a fight, but given what they (and the rest of the ship) had recently gone through, she wasn't anxious to get into another so soon. Then again, it would allow for a "baptism of fire" for those newly initiated into the 2/5. Truth be told, there was foreboding as well; with the MCO gone and a new MXO to break in, she wasn't exactly looking forward to what lay ahead. Frak it she thought, looking up and meeting the Captain's gaze. Semper Fidelis through-and-through

"The Marines vote to explore."

"We're explorers," Asher said, "let's go and do it instead of playing it safe. The more we sit here deciding, the more chance we give to someone else to go and find whatever's supposed to be there."

Soren knew the precautions and playing it safe, but he couldn't help but agree with Maddison, "the Doc is on to something. We're out here with little to no help. He have to investigate."

Kazyah turned and looked at Akiva, "I have a bad feeling about this."

The Intel Chief communicated far more than general fears. Akiva dipped his head sharply to acknowledge that he understood. It was very likely that this was part of greater clandestine machinations. He turned to Claudia.

"Well, Captain, what's the verdict?"

Claudia sighed. "Any objections will be noted in my log - but we're going in. Do we have any volunteers to work on the breadcrumb trail that the Commander suggested we leave? The sooner we start on it the sooner we can head in - however just before we depart I am going to send a message to Starbase Unity to inform them of our intentions and our location"

"Actually, Captain, seeing as how it was my idea, I'll volunteer," Akiva said, "and then I'll draft Commanders Himmel and Tau along with Lieutenant Petryr to assist."

"I'll be happy to join Commander," Soren said as he raised his coffee before taking a drink.

Gareth rolled his eyes and groaned. "Yes, sir."

Skot nodded absently, as though he had not been paying attention.

"Very well," Akiva said. "Once we're done here, we'll convene at the communication array on Deck 19." He looked back to Claudia. "What's our timeframe, Captain?"

Claudia smiled. "Be ready to depart in four hours' time. I'll hold the fort up here - I'd also like Dr Maddison to join you too to get some away team experience. Mr Muniz will be piloting the Argo so you'll have a land vehicle to cross the surface a bit quicker. Thank you all for coming - let's get to it everyone"

"Yes, ma'am," Akiva said to the captain, then turned to everyone else.

"Dismissed."

 

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