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Posted on Wed Aug 14, 2019 @ 2:59am by Commodore Michael Aravan & Admiral Zachary O'Connell

Mission: The Nanjing
Location: Ready Room
Timeline: MD 1 || 0800 Hours

Michael sat in his ready room with a morning cup of coffee. The repairs and upgrades to the Triumphant had taken longer than expected, then there was the Romulan spy that had tried to kill him and the investigation which spawned from that while he recovered from his brain surgery had left the Commodore drained.

Now, all he hoped for was something nice and smooth from Command. The Fates looked at the Commodore and laughed heartily, then activated his comm panel with a notification that it was from Starfleet Command. He sighed and offered a nod to the ceiling while finishing his coffee, then entered his authentication while he waited expectantly to see Admiral Breckenridge's face to appear.

The screen flickered a moment later, revealing the visage of an admiral. His features had not been hardened by age, though his eyes revealed all too well that he had seen more than the average person. Normally a smile would appear on his face, much like the last time the two men had met. “Commodore,” greeted Admiral Zachary O’Connell. “Sampling some of your freshly brewed coffee, I see. I trust your recovery is going well?”

"Admiral Br...O'Connell," Michael acknowledged as he quickly corrected his gaff. Had Breckenridge or Deep Space 10 been assimilated by the Admiral since he couldn't get the officers he wanted. "What do you have for me, Sir?" he asked, hoping that it would be something smooth and easy once more.

A sly grin appeared on Zach’s face for a moment as he ever so briefly relished in the moment. He would not press it further, however, as the situation was most dire. “I apologize for skipping pleasantries, however, some circumstances have arisen that has prompted the Triumphant to be reassigned to the 22nd.”

That dirty Denebian Slime Devil.... Michael thought with a straight face. He couldn't have Maddy or Barnes, so he took the entire ship and crew. Besides that, when did Admirals exchange pleasantries, when they were hobnobbing with other Admirals about what they just did to a ship commander?. "Pleasantries aside, what do you have for me, Admiral?" he asked and knew that Maddy and Barnes declining his offer would probably put the ship right back in the middle of a sinkhole.

Abandoning his attempts to soften the blow, the Admiral stiffened up and leaned forward. “A couple hours ago, Deep Space Ten’s sensor network picked up an unusual reading on the other side of the Badlands. The monitor nearest to the disturbance was quickly silenced, and it’s last set of data packets were corrupted by the signal lost. DS Ten’s technicians were just able to piece the last logs back together.”

"The other side..." Michael repressed a sigh. There was no easy way around The Badlands if you wanted to save time. "What type of readings and what was retrieved, Sir?"

“See for yourself.” Zach tapped a few buttons in front of him. Almost instantly, the Admiral’s face disappeared from the screen, replaced by a haunting visage fragmented by data packet loss.

Fragmented or not, the image that came up on the screen caused his coffee cup to fall from suddenly nerveless fingers and shattered on the floor. His face went pale and the young Commodore swallowed twice in an effort to get enough moisture to respond. "The Borg," he said in a hoarse whisper. "They're back." He had never encountered the soulless assimilated attackers, but there were survivors who had and he had heard their tales at the Academy and seen the looks of remembered horror that was etched on their visages.

“The cube exited what we now believe to be a previous uncharted trans warp corridor,” Zachary continued. “Due to the disruption of the network, we can only speculate that it entered the Badlands near the Bajoran colony on Selluna II. Attempts to hail the colony have been unsuccessful, nor can we see anything on our sensors in that region.”

Michael hung his head for a brief moment as he feared the worst for the colony. "The Triumphant and crew are at your disposal, Admiral," he said. The Bajorans would raise an uproar if the Federation didn't send one of their top ships. As one of the newer members of the Federation, the Bajorans were still prone to get touchy about things and one of their colonies going silent was certain a reason to launch a campaign with a lot of anti-Federation sentiment.

The screen flickered, replacing the haunting image of the Borg cube with that of the Admiral who’d attempted to poach two members of Triumphant’s command crew a few days prior. “I truly am sorry, Commodore. When last we spoke, you’d requested an easier mission for your next assignment. You know as well as I that the Borg are to be taken seriously, no matter what the form. The fact is, the Triumphant’s new armor and it’s formidable weapons system are the best in the sector. If Selluna II, Deep Space Ten, and the Badlands have any hope, it is in you and your crew’s capable hands.”

Translation, you had your chance for easy. Now eat it Michael thought and a trace of bitterness crossed his face. "We'll get underway as soon as I can brief the crew, Admiral," he said resolutely.

“Excellent,” acknowledged the Admiral. “There is no telling how long that cube will remain or where it will emerge. I’ll pull together reinforcements outside the Badlands. Your orders are to get in, locate the cube, and see that it doesn’t leave the Badlands. And check out Selluna II while you’re at it.”

"Understood," the Commodore said even though he felt wooden and unable to do more than do what he was being ordered to do.

“Good luck, Commodore.” The screen went dark immediately before being replaced by the logo for Starfleet Command.

"Luck?" Michael muttered as the screen went dark. "I'll need more than that, but we have it." With a sigh, he tapped his combadge and called for all senior staff to report to the ready room.


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