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A Tactical Loan

Posted on Fri Aug 11th, 2017 @ 11:50pm by Lieutenant Mark Whistler & Captain Claudia Ainscow

Mission: S2E1 - Secrets
Location: Observation Lounge
Timeline: Mission Day 101; 10:00

The arrival of the USS Georgia was timely. Not only had it given the Vindex some extra and much needed ancillary staff - but it had given Claudia an opportunity to bring in a new Tactical Chief. The Georgia just happened to be carrying a Tactical Officer and Claudia was pleased when Captain Nevin was happy to lend the Vindex an experienced pair of hands.

After greeting Mark in the transporter room Claudia led him to the Observation Lounge and gestured for him to take a seat.

"Please take a seat Lieutenant. Can I get you anything?" Claudia asked.

As he stood in the Observation Lounge, he had already marked the entrances/exits, as he always did, but he was curious about this Captain. Whilst it wasn't rare that ships needed officers, it was very rare that he was asked for. Outside his last posting, no one really wanted him because of his past. Of course, he didn't care about that. All he cared about was doing the job he was asked to do.

"No, thank you." Mark replied, as he sat down in the chair. "I understand you asked for my help?" He said, deciding not to beat around the bush.

Claudia nodded. "Yes. I'm short of a permanent Tactical Chief - whilst I understand you are already accounted for you aren't expected at your new assignment yet. I'd like to offer you the role here until then if you're looking for a challenge instead of sitting on the Georgia as a passenger"

"Don't actually have an assignment yet, was on my way back to Earth to meet my sister. But if you have a mission, I can help out. You might have a few objections if anyone's heard of me." Mark replied.

It was a better reply than Claudia expected. If Mark was actually without an assignment then maybe she could turn the loan into a permanent move if Mark wanted to stick around. There was the matter of Emilie but like Mark - she was only on board temporarily herself.

"Even better. If you don't mind sticking around for a few days then I can see you're sent through the wormhole as soon as possible so we don't keep you away from your sister for too long. As for anyone having objections then let me know if they do and it will be dealt with accordingly" Claudia said.

"I tend to deal with things myself." Mark replied. "I should warn you, there are a few people in Starfleet who'll think you're insane for asking for my help. You read my record?" He asked.

Claudia nodded. "I've read your record Lieutenant. Despite that I feel you have good qualities and I'd like to offer you a chance to work with us here. And believe me you should read our past mission reports and look for an Ensign Saalkan - quite frankly the most unpleasant man I have ever worked with"

"What do you know about him?" Mark asked, frowning.

It was difficult to talk about Saalkan but seeing as Claudia brought it up in the first place she felt it best to explain exactly what the Vulcan Science Officer had done in his time on the Vindex.

"Well - he tried to build a cloak without my permission and then ended up leading a mutiny alongside a group called The Consortium. In the process they damaged our life support systems and killed hundreds of people. Saalkan led the group - along with hostages including myself and my wife - to a planet called Veloz Prime where he was determined to take over the galaxy or something or another. We generally try not to say his name here though for obvious reasons" Claudia responded.

"Sounds like someone who should be introduced to the end of my blades." Mark said. "Where was he last?"

Claudia shrugged. "Nobody knows but I know Starfleet are after him and have launched a far and wide search to make sure he's captured. However - I know how cunning he is and I suspect that will be extremely difficult. You never know though"

"I'll put out the word. I have my own people out there, and if you think this man is cunning, mine are better." Mark said. "What's the mission here?"

"We're transporting a shuttle from Nova Mercia to Starbase Unity. We are under orders to transport it under radio silence and as much as I wanted one we aren't allowed an escort. They don't want us to be tracked - just in case its owners are lurking nearby and want to try and take it back" Claudia said.

Mark nodded. "Sounds like there's something important on that shuttle." He commented.

Claudia nodded. "You could say that. We've got four aliens that were found aboard it in our mortuary - we're hoping to perform an autopsy on those today so we can find out a bit more about them"

"I'd suggest we have every inch of the thing checked. For all we know, it's made of a material that can be tracked by them." Mark replied.

"It's been heavily stripped already although you're welcome to go and take a look for yourself. I can assign you the necessary clearance to access the main shuttlebay - although our acting Chief Tactical Officer is currently performing an analysis on one of the external weapons. Maybe you could speak to her as well?" Claudia suggested.

"Since you just offered me the role, I'll have her report on what she has so far, and see what I can come up with." Mark said. "Anything else you need me to do?"

Claudia shook her head. At the moment at least there was nothing left for the temporary new Tactical Chief to do. It would take some explaining to Emilie why she was suddenly out of a job - but then again - she was on loan from Nova Mercia and not Starfleet Tactical's pool of unassigned officers.

"Not at the moment Lieutenant. I know your time with us is probably going to be very short but I'll say it anyway - welcome aboard" Claudia said.

"Thank you." Mark replied. "Permission to get to work?"

Claudia nodded. "Of course. If you need anything just come and find me or Commander ben-Avram. It might be an idea to drop in and see him at some point just to introduce yourself"

"Yes ma'am." Mark said, standing up and heading out of the room. It was only a temporary assignment, but it was, at least, something to do.

Claudia watched Mark leave before taking a few moments to think about their task at hand and heading back to her ready room. She had a few more reports to read over and she wanted to get them done before lunchtime if she could.


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