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Things That Go Bump in the Night

Posted on Fri Jul 5th, 2019 @ 7:05pm by Captain Liarra Von & Colonel S'er'in'e & Commander Talia Varen & Commander Walter Prescott & Lieutenant Commander Craig Travis & Vice Admiral S'iraa & Commander Titus Livius Drusus PhD

Mission: Starbase 332, Where Are You?
Location: Command Briefing Room
Timeline: 1300 hours, after “Unsettling News”

Colonel S'er'in'e walked in, his stride a little less thank his otherwise graceful norm following the treatment and the long, long hours it took to restore his fur to the proper clean white colour. As large as he was it was easy to see that everything was not as it should be.

What was a surprise to most was the moments later addition of Admiral S'iraa. With everything going on and following the Captain's visit he wanted to stay abreast of the situation also. There were several differences between to the two felines, S'iraa was older and his fur had a hint of fading from white with age. He held himself more like an Admiral than a feline like S'er'in'e did. Both wore ear sheaths atop each ear but only S'iraa wore a brow piece. A sideways glance at S'er'in'e he positioned himself in the corner of the room where he could view outside, and the room itself.

Travis had and his team had worked well to keep the peace on the main concourse and he was quite proud of that. Now with this surprise briefing he thought maybe the powers that be had figured out where they where and how to get us back. He walked in and took a seat.

Varen entered and offered a wan smile at S'er'in'e before dropping into the chair she always occupied when in briefings. Her eyes dropped to Leo's chair and her chest tightened with the anxiety that she'd been feeling since she and Sophia had managed to batter down his shields. He'd only spoken the one word- but it had been monumental for Talia's feelings of self worth. "Good afternoon" she greeted everyone.

When he'd first heard the captain was calling an all-staff meeting, Prescott couldn't help but feel as if he was about to be put on the spot. His teams had been working almost non-stop since the storm had passed to repair damage and get things running again. By all accounts, they'd been doing an outstanding job, especially given how anxious everyone had become since word of their mysterious location had gotten out. The tension all throughout the station was palpable.

As soon as Prescott entered the briefing room, however, he realized this was not going to be just another status update. He'd been in meetings with Von, Luciano, and even the admiral before. As head of the station's largest and most involved department, it was his responsibility to keep them informed. Yet it was extremely rare that the admiral ever joined them for senior staff meetings. Something had changed.

Commander Drusus entered looking even more grim than usual as he strode straight to an empty seat and sat down. Gently, he placed a PADD on the table in front of him and waited.

Finally after a few moments, the doors to the conference room slid open again, and in walked Captain Von, who took a seat at the head of the table. A few steps behind her was a disheveled Starfleet captain, still wearing a battered and burned uniform. He took the empty seat at the far end of the table.

S'er'in'e watched as Von walked in and sat, part of him wondered if her day was going as well as he felt.

Travis's attention quickly went from Von to the new face. He looked like crap. Travis's heart sank as he started to realize his run in earlier may have been the easier part of his day now.

He doesn't look good. Talia observed silently, and when her eyes flickered from Von to the other captain and back again Talia clued in that something was seriously wrong.

Von nodded in S'iraa's direction. “Thank you for joining us, Admiral. Let's get started.” Liarra gestured towards the man across from her on the far side of the room. “This is Captain Xander Robertson of the USS Yucatan. I’ve asked him to join us because this discussion is about what he has witnessed first hand. Captain Robertson?”

Robertson spoke up so everyone in the room could hear him clearly. “Thank you, Captain Von. Some of you may know that a few ships volunteered to help locate the station by expanding our sensor range. My ship was sent alongside the USS Carthage.” Robertson and Von both grew quiet while he considered his next words. “While out there, our ships discovered a new lifeform: a swarm of space-faring insectoids. The creatures attacked my ship, and when the Carthage fired on them to defend us, they turned on the Carthage. We were able to escape, but the Carthage was destroyed.”

Travis mind started to race with questions. It was hard for him to pick one to ask first so he waited and listened.

Admiral S'iraa stood motionless but behind his eyes his mind whirled with the organisational fury any Flag officer developed. The loss of a starship was always a sorry state of affairs but more so now that they were in unknown space and the list of allies grew thing.

Robertson continued. “These insectoids attacked us at melee range. They didn’t seem to have any method of ranged attacks other than some sort of corrosive saliva. Otherwise, they tore through our hull with sharp claws. Our weapons had little effect.”

It was Von’s turn to speak up again. “The Yucatan was only able to escape because the Carthage crew sacrificed themselves to protect them. But because the Yucatan escaped, we believe this swarm was able to follow the warp trail back to the station. That means they’re coming right for us. But thanks to their escape, we now have the advantage of knowing that they’re coming, and we won’t be caught off guard.”

Prescott tried very hard not to let his exhaustion show.

This was not the turn of events any of them had been hoping for. As if being stranded far from home weren't enough, now there was another immediate threat headed straight for them. Some part of Prescott wondered whether these creatures had actually destroyed the Carthage out of malice or had merely been acting on instinct. Regardless, the end result had been the same. The only saving grace seemed to be the Yucatan's escape. There was still a slim chance Prescott and the others could use the data they'd brought back to formulate a possible defense.

“Captain Robertson has provided their sensor data to our science department, and Commander Drusus has been able to go over it and make his own assessment. Commander.”

Drusus leaned forward. “Thank you, Captain,” he began. “My team is still going over the data, but initial analysis shows that they’re not greatly dissimilar to other spaceborne species we’ve encountered. Though they are tough.” He tapped his PADD and a holographic diagram of one of the creatures hovered over the table. “As you can see, they’re vaguely insectoid, roughly five metres long, with a hard exoskeleton composed of silicates, thorium and other actinides. But these,” he gestured as the front claws and what might be a mouth began to flash red, “are the real threats. The claws and the compound they can launch at a target. We’re focusing on those at this stage in the hope of identifying an effective countermeasure.”

"Thank you, Commander," Von replied. Her gaze focused on the holographic display in front of her. These insectoids, whatever they were, certainly did not look friendly. "Keep us updated on what you find. Commander Prescott, is there anything we can do to armor the hull against them?"

Prescott considered the question. The fact that these creatures had essentially blown right past the standard defenses didn't leave them much to work with. "Well...we could increase the hardness of our hull plating by running an electromagnetic current through it," he said after a moment, "and we might be able to adjust the structural integrity fields as well. Beyond that, I'd need more time to study the data..."

“Time is something that we may not have, Commander. But we will make sure the data gets to you and your team. There’s still the other matter to contend with,” Von stated, steering the conversation in a different direction. “Commander Drusus.”

“The evidence suggests that we were brought here by a partially stable wormhole,” Drusus began. “Our hypothesis is that this end of the wormhole is unstable, like most wormholes, while the other end is somehow tied to the ion storm that passed over the station at Archa.” He paused and looked around at the assembled staff. “We’ve been working on a plan to attract this end of the wormhole back to our present position, which will allow us to travel back through the wormhole to the ion storm end, still at Archa.” He sat back and gestured for Prescott to continue.

"How do you plan on keeping the radiation levels down going through the wormhole, since its a more controlled trip this time?" Talia asked quietly

"We've gone through several different scenarios," Prescott said, picking up from where Drusus had left off, "As the commander pointed out, our best option seems to be trying to draw the wormhole back here. The only way to do this is by bombarding the area with verteron particles and amplifying subspace instability. If we're lucky, it will be enough to bring the wormhole's terminus back to this point, like an iron filing being drawn to a magnet."

“Do we have any guarantees that this procedure will work? Can we successfully attract the wormhole?” Von asked in the direction of Drusus and Prescott.

Drusus cocked his head slightly. “There are never any guarantees, Captain, but we’re very confident we can attract this end of the wormhole back.”

"Drusus is right," Prescott said, "The good news is that this has been done before. Successfully. I'd feel a little better if we didn't have to worry about that swarm bearing down on us, but it is doable."

“So we can certainly bring the wormhole back to us, but do we know if we can survive another trip? Can we know for sure if the other end is still linked to the ion storm?”

The Magna Roman didn’t flinch and, in a calm tone, said, “As I said, Captain, there are never any guarantees.”

Liarra nodded, not surprised by the prognosis. "So here we are, the very definition of between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, we have a swarm of insects heading for us that want to tear us apart. And on the other, we have a wormhole that will either take us home, or nowhere. We need everyone at their best right now. Commander Travis, we need to be prepared to move everyone back to the shelters."

"I will have my teams start the boarding up procedure. We will have some not happy but we will work with it." Travis replied.

"Doctor Varen, either we're attacked by these insects, or we're get hit hard going through the wormhole. Either way, we need to be prepared for wounded."

"I cant even imagine what I should prep for in this particular case, but we will get ready for casualties. " Wondering what they would be left with if the critters tore through the hull....probably not a whole lot.

Finally Von turned to Drusus and Prescott. "Commanders, I think you two know what you need to do. Let's get to work, people. Dismissed."

Captain Liarra Von
Commanding Officer

Colonel S'er'in'e
Marine Force Commanding Officer

Commander Titus Drusus
Chief Science Officer

Commander Talia Varen
Chief Medical Officer

Lt. Commander Walter Prescott
Chief of Operations

Lt. Commander Craig Travis
Chief of Security

Rear Admiral S'iraa
Executive Officer, 11th Fleet


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