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A Secret Assignment

Posted on Thu Jul 6th, 2017 @ 8:11pm by Rear Admiral David Hutchinson Sr & Captain Claudia Ainscow & Mystery Man

Mission: S2E1 - Secrets
Location: Observation Lounge
Timeline: Mission Day 98; 12:00

With the discovery of the shuttle on the surface of Nova Mercia it was decided to transfer it to the safety of Starbase Unity for a more in depth analysis. The craft's seemingly dead crewmembers were of an unknown species and it was decided that an autopsy would be performed on the bodies as part of a study on the unidentified aliens.

Commodore Hutchinson and Mystery Man had been placed in charge of the investigation and between them had decided the Vindex should be given the assignment of transferring the alien craft to Starbase Unity. After requesting a meeting with Captain Ainscow the two Commodores and the Vindex's Commanding Officer found themselves in the Vindex's observation lounge for the top secret briefing.

"Forgive me for asking Commodores but...what exactly is this all about? We're not due to break orbit for another two weeks or so - now you're asking me to break orbit in a matter of days. I thought we were being based here to help explore the nearby area?" Claudia asked.

Mystery Man nodded. "That is the plan - however the Derbyshire is required elsewhere and you're the only ship which is big enough and fast enough to transfer this craft to a safe installation for analysis. If we leave it here and it's detected by whoever it belongs to then our defences are weak and we won't stand a chance. We must learn all we can about these aliens before they come looking"

"That's exactly why we've asked you. The Vindex is fast and well armed - and you'd be heading away from our 'border' so to speak rather than towards it. We'd like you to proceed at Warp 8 to Starbase Unity once the shuttle has been excavated from the surface" David replied.

Claudia shrugged. "So what exactly are we working with? Is it a fighter, shuttle...what? And how many bodies are we talking about? I don't want these 'dead aliens' deciding they aren't dead and waking up en route to Starbase Unity. We've had enough shit happen to us lately"

"I empathise Captain and I assure you we intend to allow you to continue your exploration brief once this assignment is carried out. Please don't make me order you" Mystery Man said.

Claudia turned and had an expression of displeasure on her face. The man hadn't endeared himself to Claudia very well and she didn't trust him very much at all. Commodore Hutchinson was her superior and she had no intentions of letting this man give her orders over David's head - especially with David in the room.

"You didn't answer my question Commodore" Claudia said.

David stood up and moved around to the nearest wall mounted console. Inserting a data module into the slot next to it and typing in a code David loaded up a series of images taken by the team who discovered.

"This craft can - just - fit in your auxiliary shuttlebay with some rejigging. We discovered four bodies on board and believe this was its full compliment - we have scanned for similar lifesigns on the planet from orbit and up to now we've had negative results. It is entirely possible others could have escaped and have since died or are within our military exercise facility's dampening field" David replied.

Claudia stood up and moved to the console where she studied the images with interest. Pressing the button every couple of seconds she soon reached the end of the selection on the data module and returned to her seat.

"I'm going to need a copy of those for a senior staff briefing and to give my staff a leg up so they know what they're working with" Claudia commented.

David nodded. "Of course - but this has to remain within your senior staff and selected staff in your Tactical, Security and Marine departments only. We cannot be too careful and we must ensure this is kept a secret at all costs. We don't know what this species is like and they could be anywhere"

"Alright. Forward me a copy of those images and I'll think about it - this isn't exactly what I'd call a pleasure cruise assignment" Claudia responded.

Mystery Man clasped his hands together on the table and faced Claudia. He knew she was his daughter but she had no idea he was her father - and as much as he wanted to tell her now he'd actually met her - Mystery Man felt unable to. It still wasn't the right time - however he liked how Claudia was asserting it was technically a request and not an order.

"Captain...we will assist you in any way we can - however we cannot stress the sooner this shuttle is moved and safely at Starbase Unity the sooner we can refocus our efforts on constructing the colony and its orbital defence grid. The ball is in your court Captain - however it can become an order if it has to be" Mystery Man said.

Claudia rolled her eyes.

"It's a request that can become an order? That's bullshit and you know it is. Who are you to come here and ask me to do something and then expect me to take orders from someone outside of my chain of command if I say no?" Claudia replied.

David interjected. "The Captain is right Commodore. It is a request - and with respect she is under my chain of command and not yours. The only person giving any orders in this room will be me and me only"

"Very well. I'll let you and the Captain discuss the request in private - if you'll excuse me I have other things to attend to" Mystery Man responded.

Before either David or Claudia could say otherwise the El-Aurian Commodore stood up and requested transport back down to the surface via his commbadge. Moments later he had disappeared from the Vindex and returned to the surface.

"He's...I don't know how to describe him" Claudia said.

David smiled. "I think he's a bit too eager for this investigation to be carried out so he can carry on with the defence grid. I won't order you Captain - but I would like you to consider it. The Vindex is a good ship with a fantastic crew who have proven they can take on anything. I know this won't be an easy assignment but I know you're capable of carrying it out. I'll give you 24 hours to have a think about it and discuss it with your senior officers"

"Thank you Commodore - I'm very proud of them. I'll bear it in mind and get back to you by this time tomorrow with a decision. As much as I want to just say yes this has potential to go spectacularly wrong in the circumstances. I need some sort of confirmation these aliens are actually dead and not just 'hibernating'. If I can have that then I'm sure we can help you" Claudia replied.

David nodded. "Of course. Perhaps you could give your Medical department something to do and perform an autopsy on one of the bodies - it would give them the first chance to explore this species before anyone else in the Federation"

"I'll bear that in mind. If you can get that data file to me I'd appreciate it - but with respect sir I really must be getting on now. I have a mountain of things to do and not enough time in the day" Claudia said.

David smiled. "Of course Captain. Thank you for your time - I'll see myself to the transporter room. Have a good day"

Taking his data module out of the console and placing it in his pocket David left the observation lounge bound for the nearest transporter room. He chose to ask Claudia because he knew the Vindex crew could do this - but ultimately the choice was with Claudia - and he respected that.

With David out of the room Claudia found herself thinking about the assignment for a few minutes. Deciding to have a more in depth think about it later on Claudia decided to head back to her ready room to continue with her work.

It was going to be another long and tiresome day.


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