USS Adelphi



Post 26 - Bombs and Breadcrumbs

Posted on Tue Jan 12th, 2021 @ 2:29am by Captain Björn Kodak & Lieutenant JG Irynya & Lieutenant JG Chaali & Ensign Tamblem Dravor

Mission: Episode 2 - The Next Phage
Location: USS-Adelphi, Briefing Room
Timeline: Day 4 - 0600 Hours

[Briefing Room]
[Day 4: 0600 Hours]

They'd assembled as ordered, having taken the chairs their planet-bound contemporaries would have otherwise occupied. As second-stringers for the Senior Staff, the officers seated around the conference table were young and inexperienced, though the last couple of days had seen them having to step up and build their confidence for the benefit of the people working under them. But this morning, away from the impressionable souls currently in their tender care, the relief officers could allow their inexperience and doubts to rise to the surface, knowing their Captain would understand and be patient with them. Insofar as the situation allowed for such…

Repeated attacks from the Vidiian vessels pursuing them in the nebula had left the ship open to space in several areas, the power needed for emergency forcefields simply unavailable. As such, those sections had been sealed off by bulkheads, the open-hulled compartments beyond filling with the azure mists of the nebula. Basic life support in the remaining areas was still operational and some creature comforts were in existence yet: replicators when used sparingly still provided necessary food and drink, though the crew was becoming more and more reliant on emergency rations to get them through the day. Holodecks had been completely shut down despite their independent power grid — that subsystem had been slaved to the main grid instead, offering power in other key areas instead. And sonic showers, at this point, were a laughable luxury — as was the normally easy act of laundering uniforms.

The Adelphi was, to put it bluntly, a fucking mess…

"Thank you for joining me," Kodak greeted, having taken a seat — interestingly enough — on one side of the table rather than at its head. In this position, he was surrounded by his support crew rather on their periphery. It was a subconscious stab at making them feel part of one team with a leader who was — quite literally — in the trenches with them. Whether it worked or not remained to be seen but it was Kodak's chosen approach today. "I wanted to update you on some new information we've gleaned from our Vidiian prisoner. It took some...cajoling," he nodded to Dravor in recognition of the man's efforts, "But I think we have a better idea now of what our people on the planet are facing."

Reaching forward, he activated controls inset into the table, summoning a low-power hologram of the planet in question. "This is Cr'staya. The Vidiians refer to it as Lothuu Perrthon — 'The Honey Trap,'" Kodak translated somberly. "Its close proximity to the nebula has hidden this world from most prying eyes throughout the centuries. While other planets have been stripped bare for their resources by races like the Kazon and the Haakonians," the Captain explained, "Cr'staya has enjoyed relatively little contact with other races on the hunt for the sparse resources of the Nacene Reach."

Another touch of the controls shifted the hologram. Now, a small representation of a generic alien craft slowly approached Cr'staya. "The Vidiians found this planet a few years back. And while its resources could fuel their society to some degree, they found another use for Cr'staya. Hence the name," Kodak nodded, golden eyes drinking in the animation playing out in front of the gathered crew. "Thanks to some sensor trickery from the Vidiians, the planet appears on sensors for passing ships the Vidiians want to collect organs from. When a ship comes to plumb what they've detected as a resource-rich paradise, the Vidiians disable their vessels in orbit and tractor the ships down to their complex on the jungle continent. Or, in some cases, simply let them crash elsewhere instead," the Captain added as the animation demonstrated his words.

"In either case," Kodak deactivated the hologram, its work done, "The Vidiians capture the surviving crew members and put them to work in labor camps on the jungle continent. There, they help to mine resources while awaiting medical experimentation that the Vidiians hope will someday cure the Phage. If this particular tactic sounds familiar," the Captain leaned back in his chair, "it's because Voyager encountered a similar complex once. Unfortunately, this operation is quite a bit larger and more difficult to root out. Especially since the native people of Cr'staya are held under the Vidiians' thumbs and cooperate with them out of fear. Some crash survivors escape being culled and are squirreled away by certain rebellious elements of the Cr'stayan populace but most are reported and subsequently collected for the camps in exchange for being left mostly alone."

"My guess, based on available data," the Chameloid explained, "is that Lieutenant Timmoz' and his team have likely crashed on the jungle continent. Whether they've evaded capture or not at this point, we cannot say. But I'm afraid our people headed for the Cr'stayan settlements have probably been reported to the Vidiians and been captured. The good news, if you could call it such," Kodak leaned back a bit again, "is that they're probably mixed in with our missing Ocampans now. Meaning if we can effect a rescue of our crew, we can probably snag the Ocampans as well. The trouble, of course, is that we're in no shape to do that…at all," Kodak sighed. "Any thoughts?"

"One, uh, Captain," Dravor faltered. The confidence he displayed on the hull had been partially replaced by his fear of those in authority. He glanced around at the motley crew assembled around him and realized he was the only one who wasn't covered in grime, and while his uniform wasn't fresh, it had only been worn once and discarded on the deck of his quarters a week earlier. The corner of the Trill's mouth tugged upward slightly as he continued, "We can set a trap. The four ships are traveling in pairs. If we incapacitate two of them, I imagine they will render aid, and we can escape."

With the tap of a few buttons on the table before him, a holo of a shuttle appeared, "I propose we continue our predictable cat and mouse routine. They attack, we move away in a derivable pattern. But, using a modified shuttle, we wait for them to commit to where they think we will be. My calculations are that our sensors are slightly better than theirs, perhaps a few seconds." The projection changed to show racks attached to the shuttle holding torpedoes, "We mine the shuttle, and we don't go to the location they discover us first. The shuttle will be there waiting for them to fall into the trap. If the shuttle doesn't explode, which we wouldn't miss, we move to its location and send it to the next, and so on."

Irynya leaned forward, clasping her hands together in front of her on the briefing room table. Despite being now more than 4 days from her last shower, and longer since the last time she had the opportunity to wash her hair, she somehow managed to make a rumpled uniform look intentional. Her hair, still in its signature ponytail, may have been a touch shinier than normal, but it was still arranged just so, running down over her right shoulder. If anything the unkempt elements of her appearance gave her a 'just rolled out of bed' sort of look.

Inspecting the holo Dravor had raised a frown settled across her features. "What's to stop them from calculating our pattern and arriving ahead of the shuttle? If it's a derivable pattern we can surely assume they'll catch on at some point." She tapped a few keys in front of her replacing Dravor's shuttle with the map of the nebula they had managed to gather so far and pointed. "A few seconds isn't a lot of time to get a shuttle from place to place in here and there's still plenty of nebula that remains a blank on our map. It would be more effective if the pilot was real and able to adjust in the moment--particularly if we're counting on a specific proximity to set off the mines. If we could slave it to the Adelphi's controls and pilot it remotely, we might have a better chance of making sure they're disabled on the first encounter and don't have a chance to turn around or notify their sister ships."

"No, I agree a few seconds isn't long. I just don't know how we could maintain a data link for more than a few hundred meters." The Trill shrugged in agreement at the Risan and pursed his lips in thought. Staring at the spinning holo, he scrutinized the emitter diodes, "Light, uh lasers, I mean. If I remember my military history correctly, before FTL communications were invented, several species used tight beam laser communications for clandestine operations. Perhaps we could emit a beam of sufficient strength to maintain telemetry with the shuttle?" He smiled at Ari and then Chaali, "Then again, I am not a scientist or an engineer."

"It's possible." The Bolian finally chimed up. Chaali sat one chair away from the present officers out of necessity. An unwashed Bolian had a potent, even caustic chemistry. Human respiratory passages didn't do well with the chlorinated tang of Bolian musk. "But its range might be short in the nebula. I'm not sure how we'd compensate for that. Some kind of phase-modulated beam, like a phaser set on almost no power." She twisted her mouth, "But if we do that, we won't be able to defend ourselves with that forward array. We'd have to use the other arrays. That'll be a hole."

Like the others -- save Dravor, it seemed -- Kodak appeared just as in need of a fresh uniform and a shower as everyone else. This was interesting in that, unlike the others, the Captain was a Chameloid whose clothing and appearance were entirely a byproduct of his shapeshifting abilities. While he was not immune to grime and body odor, Kodak's rumpled hair and the beginnings of an unkempt beard were completely a chosen affectation, no doubt purposed towards blending in with the crew -- a conscious decision to not make himself stand out. Kodak idly wondered if Chaali would pick up on such given her own proclivity for modifying her appearance and questioning his.

As the crew bandied about ideas and helped each other to focus them, the Captain mused on the offered idea and its implications for several long moments before nodding slowly. "So in effect," the right corner of Kodak's mouth tugged up into a smirk, "we turn this cat and mouse game on its head. We stop playing mouse and become the cat? I love it," he nodded heavily. "I agree, though. I think we still have some holes in our plan. Remote pilot would indeed be my preference but the nebula doesn't really play well there."

"What about a series of probes?" spoke up Sheila Mulhern, the engineer in charge while Oliveria was off the ship. "With a few modifications, they could be dropped like bread crumbs and used to relay the telemetry beams. And as a bonus, if any Vidiian ships crossed between them, the beam drop outs would let us know?" She phrased the idea as more of a question than a statement, seeking validation from the Second Stringers around her. "Do you think that could work?"

Running fingers idly through her ponytail Irynya mulled over the suggestion from Mulhern. "I think that could work from a piloting perspective. How would we re-establish control of the shuttle if one of the beams dropped or do you think we'd be able to reinitialize the connection in this..." she grabbed for the right word indicating the windows on the outside of the room "... soup?"

Chaali hesitated to use the remaining probes, calculating in her head how long it would likely be before Adelphi returned to the Alpha Quadrant for a resupply. Then again, with the Adelphi in an increasingly unlivable state, such a return seemed more likely soon. "We could use probes," she noted with same hesitation in her tone, "We should think about neutrino emitters. They're low power so they'll extend the micro-fusion core's time, and they're already built into the probe suite."

Chaali added, "And neutrinos will pass through any solid matter or gas. If we have the probes monitor neutrino saturation ratios compared to a baseline, we'll know if a ship passed through them."

"Neutrinos is a fantastic idea," Sheila nodded slowly. "Should have thought of that -- at least you did," she smiled wide at Chaali. "Yeah, I think that could work. Wouldn't take long to prep the probes for launch," she trailed off, already lost in the project's associated list of to-do tasks in her mind.

"Then we have a plan," Kodak croaked lowly, nodding with finality. "Irynya, Chaali...coordinate on a flight path that will allow us to drop our net to the best effect. Chaali, we're also going to need enough power to battle the remaining ships. Find it wherever you can. Dravor," he looked then to young man, "it's on you and Mulhern to outfit the shuttlecraft and set up our remote piloting program. Irynya, you're up for that," he nodded to the woman. "We have a lot to do and little time to do it. But before we adjourn, I wanted to say something."

He rose from his chair then, offering his people on either side a smile in turn. "You aren't senior officers. You aren't used to managing whole departments while also trying to get our fat out of the fire," Kodak's eyes were kind. "But you've performed above and beyond what anyone could expect. I want you to know how much I appreciate you. So take a moment, feel the pride in your work that I do, and then ask any questions you might have. We're about to get busy," he nodded, leaving space for any final questions before dismissal.

Dravor looked to the Captain and nodded before turning to Mulhern, "We will be ready, sir."

"Very well then," Kodak nodded, sensing no other questions given the body language of the others gathered. "Let's get on with it then. Sooner we lose our tails, the sooner we get the sonic showers back," he affably chuckled.

And with that, the meeting had ended. Unlike previous briefings -- which would see a tray half-full of pastries still left on the table -- the ration bars the Captain had personally laid out had all been claimed. Food was getting scarce and for the next several hours at least, could only be consumed on-the-go. Kodak just hoped there was enough gas in the tank to get them where they needed to go...

=/\= A joint post by... =/\=

Captain Björn Kodak
Commanding Officer


Lieutenant JG Irynya (t'Nai's NPC)
Flight Controller


Lieutenant JG Chaali (Timmoz' NPC)
Operations Officer


Ensign Tamblem Dravor (Oliveria's NPC)
Tactical Officer


Ensign Mulhern (Kodak's NPC)
Engineering Officer