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The Bearer of Bad News

Posted on Mon Sep 9, 2019 @ 4:36pm by Commodore Michael Aravan & Captain Madelina Weisz & Lieutenant Colonel S'er'in'e & Lieutenant Commander Arrda & Lieutenant Commander Kelani Tetanal & Lieutenant Commander Alex Rho & Lieutenant Jas Niecta & Lieutenant Martha Cusack & Lieutenant J.M. Armitage & Lieutenant JG Logan Hunter & Master Chief Petty Officer Thomas Barnes

Mission: The Nanjing
Location: Ready Room
Timeline: MD 1 || 0900 Hours

Once the senior crew had arrived, Michael turned to them from the head of the large conference table that doubled as an LCARS. "We've finally gotten our orders, so I hope everyone that's had the opportunity to get off the ship for a bit has done so because our vacation is over. The Triumphant is upgraded, repaired and we're going to have a hard time ahead of us."

He pressed a button on the table and a 3D map of The Badlands and a planet named Selluna II, a Bajoran colony, appeared above it. "This is Selluna II," he said. "Shortly before standard noon yesterday, Deep Space Ten's sensors picked up an unusual reading and investigated the packets found in a signal."

"They were badly degraded by The Badlands, but they managed to piece some of them together," the Commodore finished and then switched the image of The Badlands and planet to that of a Borg cube coming out of a transwarp conduit.

Tom, who’d brought a cup of coffee to his lips just moments before the image was rendered, froze in his tracks, the cup was tipped just enough to allow for some of the blazing hot liquid to escape, spilling over to his uniform pants. “Holy shit!” he exclaimed, reacting both to the spill and the image in front of them. In his many years, he’d only ever heard of the Borg, and had been fortunate to avoid meeting them. Of course, the only thing in his mind now was that he should have taken the Admiral up on his offer.

Maddy's eyes were locked on the image on the screen before them. She didn't know what she could possibly say to any of that. Hell, she didn't even know what to think about it. Like most of the crew, she'd never encountered the Borg personally, but she'd heard plenty of stories about them, and not one of them gave her anything remotely close to a warm and fuzzy feeling. In fact, nothing about what the Commodore had just told them, or the image, gave her a warm and fuzzy feeling.

Alex raised an eyebrow at the image. Well that was the last thing he expected to see...Borg. And in the Badlands, nonetheless. It was odd though, nothing had come across his desk from Starfleet Intelligence regarding Borg information. But then again, there wasn't really anything available. It wasn't like they had agents embedded or contacts nearby. This was the Borg after all. "What does a Borg cube have to do with Selena II?

When ever the Borg was mentioned fear was not far behind as the reputation always preceded any subsequent thought or consideration. The long feared enemy of not just the Federation but anyone, anywhere that was not Borg was well founded. Wolf 359 was well known, 39 vessels, nearly 11,000 lives lost and the Triumphant was just a singular ship approximately 3,000 souls aboard. The briefing was just starting however, more information was required before S'er'in'e was in a position to ask questions based of what was divulged to them.

Kelani’s face drained of color at the sight of the Borg cube. “No...” she whispered, then spoke in a more normal tone for the others’ benefit. “I have heard stories of the Borg and everyone knows of Wolf 359...we are expected to deal with this cube alone?”

Without realizing it, her eyes turned to Logan.

Logan swallowed a lump that had lodged in his throat with the mention of the Borg. He glanced at Kelani and noticed she too had paled at the news of the Federation's most implacable enemy emerging from the far regions of the Delta Quadrant. He didn't know what the mission would entail as of yet, but he knew one thing he had to do.

"So, you're saying we're going back to the anus of space? I call it that because the last time we were there, it was nothing but shit," Maddy stated, not wanting to hold back her true feelings on the matter. "And to make matters worse, we've got to deal with the Borg, too? After our last traipse through The Badlands, you would think Starfleet would, at the very least, offer us up some lube before screwing us again." Yep, they were all going to die. She was absolutely certain of it this time.

'Captain Weisz!" Michael said sternly. "That's enough. We'll discuss the why's and what's another time. There's a time and place." He sighed and glanced at Doctor Armitage, hoping that the Doctor didn't try to claim he was working himself up and needed more downtime after his surgery. "I'm sorry, Captain," he said more softly. "I'm in agreement, but Admiral O'Connell put this one in our lap because we have experience there and with our armor upgrade, we get sent where others don't."

He looked at the others. "Does anyone one have something to vent about this, because I sure as fuck objected to it myself when I first got the orders."

S'er'in'e had to consider that Starfleet Command wouldn't send one ship to engage a Borg cube, if 39 couldn't cut it, 1 for sure wouldn't but then again the Commodore had yet to say what the orders were. Everyone assumed there would be direct engagement with the cube.

There are more ways to fell a giant than by force of arms alone.

Tom sighed before placing his coffee cup on the table so that he wouldn't spill any more of the hot elixir of life on himself. "The Triumphant's a tough ship," he offered to the group, his twenty years of being an enlisted man providing enough backbone to press forward. "Since Wolf 359, Starfleet has had multiple engagements with the Borg, and the Odyssey class benefits from those encounters. Not to mention the Borg have not assimilated our new ablative armor. We have advantages where no one else had before. Triumphant will hold her ground." He would see to it anyway.

"As confident as you are Chief Barnes, Wolf 359 amassed the combined firepower of 39 starfleet vessels. We are but one ship and we don't have that comparable level of firepower. Our weapons are more advanced true from 23 years ago, but the same can be said by the Borg and we still remain one ship Vs a class of ship proven to withstand an fleet engagement single handed. If by some means they board us, which we know is a common tactic then our armour and weapons will amount to nothing, which is assuming they follow what has been observed in the past." S'er'in'e replied.

"Then, we would have handed them all the technology this vessel has to offer to the collective. A direct tactical engagement is unwise, we have made advancements true but we have no idea if they have also in the meantime."

The usually jovial Tom frowned as he faced the Marine Colonel. "With all due respect, Colonel, the chevrons on my collar tell me I go wherever I'm told. This may be a crap assignment, and I've had my fair share of those. But during those crap assignments, I know there's only two things I can do. First, I do my job. Second, I look out for those around me. Complaining in the face of certain doom only damns all of us. I choose to look positively at the pile of horseshit and try to find a way out of it without smelling like it when I'm done."

S'er'in'e knew full well what 'With all due respect' actually meant in this case, he also noted that the Chief had conveniently avoided the points raised to get off that little shot but it mattered not. S'er'in'e had raised his points, that was all he needed to do.

Arrda had sat quietly, listening. His eyes had taken in the image on the screen then moved to each member of the senior staff gathered around the table. Now, he looked at the Commodore and Captain. "We have indeed advanced, but it is very likely that they have too." he began in a calm tone. He had not met the Borg either, but he had read every scrap of information, such as it was, that Starfleet had on them just in case. There was not a lot, though. "And unless one can disable them in the first few seconds of an encounter, which is very nearly impossible, tractor beams and boarding is the expected tactic. However, I believe there may be information not shared with us as yet that may give us more pieces of the puzzle with which to formulate a strategy. Am I correct, Commodore?"

Kelani spoke then, slowly, “Mine is not so much a vent as a concern. Triumphant has new armor, but the fighters do not. If we have to engage them—all God’s protect us from that happenstance—the fighters would be very vulnerable.”

Logan glanced at Kelani to his side. He knew her reasons for speaking were not merely professional. He looked at everyone at the table for a moment before settling his eyes on the Commodore. "The Borg may have the ability to adapt, but I will bet on the ingenuity of not only every person at this table, but every Starfleet officer and crewmember on this ship. We just need to come up with something...", he paused as he remembered the Commodore's words about playing by the book during his review, "...not in the standard playbook as my old football coach used to say."

"Has everyone got it out of their system? Good," the Commodore said with a hint of steel in his voice. "Contact with Selluna II was lost soon thereafter, and the Borg cube had gone quiet. Several freighters operating in the area had also gone dark."

"Our primary orders are to go the Badlands in order to investigate and track down the Borg cube. Our secondary is to proceed to Selluna II." He paused and looked at the Chief of Flight.

"Have you reviewed the new sensor footage of The Badlands which Lieutenant Commander Tetanal has gotten for us?" he asked the Trill.

Jas has remained unusually quiet watching the exchange between the other senior staff members. Lost in thought about the potential situation and what they could expect when they arrived the Commodore’s question brought him back to the discussion at hand. “Aye sir.” Jas said, “There seem to be several new plasma storms and gravitational distortions in a several parsec range of the Selluna colony. The ride might be rough, and the turns difficult, but navigating the area shouldn’t be a problem.”

"Master Chief, how does the new armor perform and what's our engine status?" Michael asked as he turned his attention to his Chief Engineer.

"Completely operational," Tom replied. Had this conversation taken place the day before, Tom would have said he needed a few hours. He was thankful that he and the Engineering staff had finished the upgrades shortly before the graveyard shift. If anything, his staff would be sorely disappointed that there would be no downtime before their next tragic mission.

"Lieutenant Arrda, what's the shields and department?" Michael asked.

Arrda glanced at his PADD for a second then looked back at the commodore. "Security department is ready and able, and shields are at optimal," he reported.

"Lieutenant Cusack, how's the phasers and torpedoes looking?" The Commodore asked the Chief of Tactical next.

So far Martha had stayed silent throughout the briefing. She'd never encountered the Borg and hadn't particularly planned on doing so - now the reality was that was probably going to happen very soon.

"I'm happy with how the upgrades to our weapons systems are performing" Martha replied.

"Lieutenant Rho, get me everything you can on Selluna II and contact Starfleet to find out what other ships are or were near when the Cube came out of transwarp," Michael said.

Alex nodded his head. "Easy enough, Captain. I'll also see if Starfleet has any communication logs or reports from those ships when they saw the Cube. Or encountered it, if that happened."

"Lieutenant Logan, I know you just got back from an adventure in The Badlands, but you'll be leading point and work out a rotating schedule of the fighters. Questions?" The Commodore asked.

Logan looked from Michael to Thomas to Kelani and finally back to Michael. "I'd like to request that Lieutenant Commander Tetanal and Master Chief Barnes assist me in developing a means for the Air Wing to be more combat effective in fighting the Borg."

"There won't be time for that, Lieutenant," Michael told Logan, but not unkindly. He had seen the looks passed back and forth with Lieutenant Commander Tetanal at the table. "Just stay out of the path of their tractor cutter beams. I know it isn't much, but it's what I can offer."

"Commander Tetanal, I would like you to continue working with your new sensors and try to see if you can improve the resolution."

“Yes Commodore,” Kelani replied, “I will do everything I can.”

Logan considered Michael's words. If there was no way to make the air wing more combat effective, there was still another way he and his pilots could do to complete the mission. "Sir, with your permission then, I would like to send out flight elements to perform forward reconnaissance. We may not be able to fight the Borg as well as the Triumphant and Victorious can, but we can certainly help to find the bastards."

"Don't go farther than fifty thousand kilometers beyond the ship," Michael told him. "We may still have friends in there who want to get even."

Logan acknowledged the order with a nod of his head. "Fifty thousand kilometer reconnoiter range from the ship aye."

"Doctor Armitage," Michael said as he turned his green eyed gaze on the ships Chief Medical Officer. "I want you to research everything you can find on reversing the Borg assimilation process. If we get crew members who are turned, I want them back."

Doctor Armitage nodded, "Certainly, Commodore."

"Colonel S'er'in'e, I want you to have Marines on every deck doing round the clock patrols. Everything is to be reported, but engage immediately if you encounter the Borg on the ship," Michael ordered.

S'er'in'e had listened to everything said up to this point, at least until it was his turn. Patrols of the ship, constant, every deck. "Any loadout limitations, grenades, heavy weapons?" S'er'in'e knew that the Borg were not going to be a push over, everyone knew the stories, the rumours. With that in mind S'er'in'e was not partial to putting a hole in a bulkhead or singe the carpet if it meant defeating an advancing Borg party.

"Stand munitions, Colonel," Michael said. "Just don't take chances."

"Dismissed," the Commodore said. "Get your departments ready. We depart in one hour."

 

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