Posted on Sat Jul 7th, 2018 @ 9:26pm by Commodore Nilani Azulas & Lieutenant Commander T'Prynn & Lieutenant Commander Garen Romaes & Commander Tara Neprem & Lieutenant Thawn Seyla & Lieutenant JG John Sheppard & Lieutenant JG Jamie Franklin & Chief Petty Officer Dived Dumet & Petty Officer 3rd Class Kael'al (kyle) Udadum Mr. & Master Chief Petty Officer Andrea Carter
Episode 4: Whispers In the Dark
Location: Observation Lounge
Having contacted the Away Team and brought Audrid up to speed on the developments regarding the missing child, Nilani had decided it was time to bring her people up to speed and get the search underway, joining the Starship Thesis and Captain th'Zorati on the hunt for the abducted child. She had called the senior most remaining officers aboard the ship to the observation lounge for a clandestine meeting. She had also summoned the Assistant Tactical Officer and the Security Investigations Officer for a reason that would no doubt become apparent.
The Trill was stood staring into space when the first arrival entered the lounge. Lieutenant Commander T'Prynn, stoic and graceful as always, had stepped in while her department head was on the surface of Nerey'n. The beautiful Vulcan bowed slightly in respect to her commander and then took one of the many vacant chairs in the room.
Kae'al entered the observation lounge and saluted smartly at the entrance. He was sure to be the lowest rank here so he made sure to show respect. Once he had been allowed entrance he turned to look around the room and noticed the Vulcan Lieutenant Commander. Approaching her he lifted his right hand in the traditional Vucan manner and greeted her "Live long and prosper Commander. I am Kae'al, investigations specialist as well as master at arms."
T'Prynn lifted an inquisitive eyebrow in the newcomers direction, opting to not offend him by not reciprocating his salute. "Likewise, Petty Officer."
Jamie cautiously entered the lounge, wondering why he would be invited to a mission briefing and not merely receiving the briefing from Lieutenant Seyla. Jamie assumed she would be here to since she had not said anything about him taking her place at the briefing. As he approached the table, he nodded in greeting towards Azulas, T'Prynn, and Kae'al. He did not maintain eye contact long enough to know whether either had returned the greeting before sitting down in a vacant chair.
Tara disregarded all except Nilani as she entered the Observation Lounge, heading straight for the Trill Captain to whisper to her, "The Master Chief is indisposed at the moment, she'll be along shortly once she recomposes herself; I have her under guard to ensure that she doesn't do anything reckless."
Nilani simply acknowledged the Commander with a simple nod and took her own seat at the head of the table.
Tara followed her to the table and took a seat at the table to the Captain's left.
Lieutenant Thawn arrived not long after, stalking to a chair as if they were in the briefing room rather than an observation lounge. The Captain received a respectful nod, Ensign Franklin a look of acknowledgement which betrayed not one way or another if she'd expected him. Beyond that she sat and waited with blank patience.
Dived shifted uncomfortably in his duty uniform, he usually preferred the practicality of an engineering jumpsuit but thought better of it for the staff meeting. He needed to make a could impression if he intended to make his promotion to acting Chief Engineer a permanent one. Unfortunately, the Universe does not care for the plans of mortals as Dived tripped over his own feet as he entered the door. Everything seemed to be in slow motion as the PADDs flew from his hands and the floor rose to greet him.
Sheppard followed closely behind the Cardassian Engineer and was uprepared for the sudden display taking place before hi, "Man down," he gested and stepped awkwardly over the body on floor to offer a hand up from the other side.
"Thank you all for coming," the Captain began, hands clasped together on the table top, her pensive expression indicating that this was not an easy meeting to have."I have called you all here to discuss a developing situation that requires our full attention," the Trill then looked to her acting Executive Officer. "Commander Neprem," she gestured with a wave of her hand, signalling the floor now belonged to the Strategic Operations Officer.
"Captain," Tara said in acknowledgement, then rose to her feet. "Several hours ago, a transport docked at Deep Space 11 carrying passengers from Earth. Among those passengers was 8-year old JP Hart and his escort." A tap at the controls built in to the edge of the table and an image of the boy appeared on the main screen. "He and his caretaker have been reported missing. There's evidence that they were drugged and transported to another vessel while in transit, a civilian small craft at this point known only as the 'Carpathia'." Another tap and the image of a small Federation-type vessel without any identifying markings appeared on the screen.
"It is my theory that Nathan Hunter, former Starfleet Captain and member of the Consortium, is responsible for this abduction; the evidence supporting this theory is thin, but the profile fits and I wholeheartedly believe that Hunter is our man," Tara revealed, bringing up an image of Hunter before his escape from the previous incarnation of the Nogura. "The Nogura has been given the lead on this investigation, not only because we were already charged with hunting down Nathan Hunter, but because JP Hart is the son of one of our own, Master Chief Petty Officer Andrea Carter, who is on loan to the Nogura from the New Bajor Fleetyard to oversee the ship's shakedown; although more importantly JP is also the son of Vice Admiral Mitchell Hanson, so I expect nothing but your best on this investigation."
“Petty Officer,” Nilani spoke at last as she turned to the enlisted man in the room. “You will work with Commander Neprem to further the investigation. I want to know everything about anyone and anything involved in this incident. I also want to know where Hunter has been and who could have supported him,” the Captain ordered.
Kae’al had been deep into his PADD as soon as the captain had mentioned a kidnapping. He pulled up all the evidence there was on the event itself, as well as much as he could on each person involved. “Yes ma’am.” He answered almost absently “If you don’t need me for any more of this briefing, may I be excused to begin building some psych profiles as well comb through everything we have?”
"No, you need to stay and hear the rest," Nilani rejected the mans request flat out. It was important to her that everyone present knew the ins and outs. "Lieutenant Thawn; you and Ensign Franklin will join Commander Neprem and I on any mission to apprehend our suspect or to rescue the child," the Captain continued to give her orders. "I expect you both to keep up to date with any and all developments over the coming hours," she hoped it would only be hours and not days.
If Thawn had been put-out at the assignments going to other officers and subordinates initially, it hadn't shown. The flicker that crossed her face at the last instruction, a mixture of satisfaction and perhaps relief, betrayed a little more. "Of course. I and the rest of the department are at Commander Neprem's disposal for the investigation, obviously. There's usually time-consuming analysis or legwork. And we'll bring ourselves up to speed on any records the Commander makes available."
'That must have hurt for her say' Jamie thought to himself as he glanced briefly at Thawn. Jamie still could not decipher why he was here but assumed that his new department chief could not be very happy about it. He was still trying to determine the underlying mood and context of the initial meeting he had with his new supervisor not too long ago. 'Does she think I'm after her job?' he asked himself. Or maybe the Captain is simply keeping her options open or just assessing the working relationship between the two department leaders. This was an internal debate for another time.
"I'm still coordinating with Deep Space 11 as their end of the investigation is ongoing, although I don't know how much more we can learn from the crime scene considering how little evidence was left behind," Tara chimed in. "Even so, we'll keep at it, at least until we have new leads to follow."
It was then that the door opened and a rather shaken ex-Borg Engineer stepped in. Andy's escort followed her just to the door, but then remained outside as he was not part of the briefing. "Sorry I'm late to this shindig, had a dented bulkhead that I had to replace," Andy said as she took a seat at the long table; her voice was slightly raspy and she walked like it required considerable effort simply to remain upright. "I may have been the one to put the dent there..." she then admitted, though she didn't sound ashamed of the fact, not in the slightest.
"Take a seat Master Chief," the Captain offered, pointing to one of the vacant seats. "Commander T'Prynn, Lieutenant Thawn and I will do what we can to locate the Carpathia. The Starship Thesis is following a vessel they believe to be the Carpathia. If it transpires that it is, we will intercept the ship and liaise with Captain th'Zorati. Master Chief, you will be stationed on the bridge at Ops during all this," the Captain revealed.
T'Prynn simply gave a nod of acknowledgement, determining that no verbal response was required at this point in time.
"Okay," Andy replied simply, which surprised Tara; there was a rumor going around the Fleetyard that Andy was not actually human, but rather a Tellarite in disguise, which Tara could totally believe given the number of write-up in her file for being argumentative.
Nilani sat forward in her chair, hushed her tone and changed the expression on her face. "Nathan Hunter is a Consortium agent, a traitor..." she paused, as if for dramatic effect, "and a murderer. This is the same man who killed members of this crew and duped us into believing he was a loyal Starfleet officer. If we had not been quick thinking, the previous Nogura would have fallen into Consortium hands. If he is involved in this situation, things could turn deadly, quickly. We have been tasked with locating this man for some time. We will bring him in, we will bring him to justice and we will bring peace to all those families he has caused pain. Am I clear?" she asked.
"Abundantly so, Captain," Commander T'Prynn responded. General Order 2 had filled her consciousness as the Captain had spoken, the order making it clear that no Starfleet personnel shall use unnecessary force, either collectively or individually, against members of the United Federation of Planets, their duly authorized representatives, spokespersons, or designated leaders, or members of any sentient non-member race, for any reason whatsoever. Although Hunter was no longer a Starfleet Officer, he was a sentient being so it did beg the question as to where the line would be drawn, but that was for later, once they had verified he was indeed involved.
Dived coughed nervously as he attempted to bring everyone's attention to him. "I am having trouble getting a lock on the Carpathia's warp trail." The Cardassian rose to his feet and walked over the end of the table a stood by the emitter. A press of a few buttons on his PADD and an image of Deep Space 11 with seemingly hundreds of yellow lines streaming from it appeared on the screen. "As you can see the station is a high traffic area and an experienced pilot could fly right into the point of the most congestion and then follow in another ship's wake to try to mask their trail in someone else's."
Another series of taps and the image changed to the station being surrounded by a thousand small little blue dots with barely the whisp of the yellow lines remaining. "What is more troubling is that sensors have detected residue of a high yield EM field. I believe the Carpathia released an EM burst to further mask its escape. I was only able to assemble the first image thanks to the station's travel logs, our own high res sensor scans, and some educated guesses."
Thawn narrowed her eyes at the engineer's display. "What makes the Thesis think they might have the Carpathia's trail, then, and why do we doubt that lead?"
Dived reviewed the report on his PAAD before answering in a shy tone. "The Thesis based tenuous identification on the fact the vessel in question matched the configuration of the Carpathia and is traveling on one of the vectors out of the system. Unfortunately, it is a common model of transport and records show three such vessels left at the same time. I believe in being thorough ma'am, I don't want to take any chances when a life is on the line." The Cardassian quickly realized that he may have over stepped and bowed his head. "If I spoke out of turn I apologize."
"When I ask questions I traditionally like answers, Chief," Thawn said, voice polite. "And I appreciate the thorough ones. It's good for us to know the strengths and weaknesses of our leads, thank you."
Dived was returning to his seat when he suddenly paused. "I believe I have away of verifying which warp trail belongs to the Carpathia, or at least if it is the ship in question. If I can get access to any maintainace logs for the Carpathia, I may be able reconstruct its warp field."
"Commander Neprem will get you what she can," Azulas retorted as she looked at the standing Cardassian. "But every vessel has its differences; warp trail, transponder codes, engine emissions etcetera," the Trill remarked as she clasped her hands together. "The target the Thesis is following is the closest to us. We'll know when th'Zorati orders them to come to a halt whether they are who they say they are or not," she added. "The Captain has orders to board and investigate the ship."
The entire thing was very unnerving for Sheppard, he didn't like hearing bad things to do with kids and he hoped his discomfort wasn't showing. Until this moment he was happy to remain unnoticed in the back, "So," he piped up, "aside from finding out which ship in this shell game is our kidnapper's, how are we planning on slowing it down? I doubt they'll listen to us if we ask nicely."
Nilani raised an eyebrow and lent back in her chair, fingers steepled in front of her as she considered her answer. "We'll use tractor beams if possible. If not, we have phasers - we'll disable their engines and board them."
Jamie's ears perked up in response to the Captain's matter of fact statement. He looked up from the tabletop with a slight grin upon his face. The thought of boarding the vessel excited him. Not in so much that he itched for combat or the chance to fire a phaser rifle outside of a holodeck, but because he loved his job. The thought of being able to do the part of the job he enjoyed instead of spending his shifts counting torpedoes and maintaining phaser banks is what excited him.
"Just be careful where you aim those things," Andy spoke up in a slightly raspy tone.
"We will, Master Chief, and we will get your son back," Tara replied; she wanted to say 'don't worry' but it looked like the Master Chief was already worrying plenty.
Nilani rose from her chair and placed both hands on the surface before her. "You all have your orders. We will use every resource available to us to locate young JP and to finally bring Hunter to justice. Dismissed," the Captain proclaimed sternly as she rose to her full height.
John grabbed his PADD and hopped out of his seat, he stopped for a moment as he passed the Master Chief. His awkward pause was notable as he mulled over saying something to support the Master Chief but in the end he just sighed deeply and continued on out of the room.
They had a child to find.