USS Adelphi


Previous Next

Post 44 - What Fresh Hell

Posted on Mon Jul 6th, 2020 @ 2:28am by Lieutenant Commander Karim MD & Captain Björn Kodak & Lieutenant Nico Oliveria & Captain Va'trel
Edited on on Thu Jul 30th, 2020 @ 10:10pm

Mission: Episode 1 - The Metreon Paradox
Location: USS-Adelphi, Main Bridge
Timeline: Just after post 41...

[Main Bridge]
[Just after Post 41]

Commander Kodak watched the turbolift doors expectantly, waiting for Jasaxar's arrival on the Bridge before heading in to meet with Captain Va'trel. He knew the Haakonian was likely making use of the delay to communicate and coordinate with his people, which was only fair given the situation. In a matter of hours, the Haakonians had gone from being the aggressors in the conflict to cooling their heels in a foreign cargo bay, having lost 1/3 of their crew. Thanks, of course, to the Talaxians -- or perhaps just a few bad apples amongst them -- taking extremist actions that rendered both vessels uninhabitable.

It was a good thing that the Adelphi had learned of the Underspace corridor linking their current region of space to the Gradin Belt, home of Delta-Bravo -- Starfleet's new headquarters in the Delta Quadrant. Concurrent with Captain Harrison's departure, news of the corridor had arrived as well, signaling that perhaps help and support from Starfleet wasn't dependent on a monthly wormhole appearance after-all. But such hopes quickly evaporated as scans and further information on the Underspace corridor revealed the tunnel to be dangerously small and turbulent after centuries of non-use: traversing it would be a risky ride. Not only that, but the aperture was close to the Haakonian Order's borders, meaning access could not necessarily be guaranteed.

Especially after all the dust settles around this, Kodak sighed to himself. Popping into the Underspace tunnel would -- effectively -- carry them safely beyond the range of the Haakonian reinforcement vessels no doubt en route to their previous location. And while the tunnel would likely escape their notice without knowledge of what to look for, returning Va'trel and his people would -- eventually -- let the cat out of the proverbial bag. When that happened, Kodak was positive the Haakonians would block their every attempt at using the tunnel further but they'd have to cross that bridge when they came to it.

In the meantime, Jasaxar had just arrived. The Talaxian looked harried, flushed, and understandably put-upon. Kodak hated to pile on so soon after catastrophe, but there was so much to discuss and work through. "Mister Jasaxar, I'm relieved to see you are alright," he offered to the Talaxian leader, previously of the Bolitx. "Captain Va'trel of the Haakonian vessel is waiting for us in the briefing room. Please, this way," he gestured to the door in question.

They entered together, the Commander speeding up slightly to step into the room first. "Captain Va'trel, this is Mister Jasaxar. Leader of the Talaxian vessel. I've also asked Doctor Karim, one of my principle advisers, to join us," he explained for Jasaxar's benefit. "He should be in shortly. May we sit and talk?" the Chameloid asked, gesturing to the chairs surrounding the table. A half-eaten tray of pastries and one slightly-depleted pitcher of water sat on the table's surface, leftover from Kodak's interrupted meeting with Va'trel.

Jasaxar mumbled something resembling acquiescence and plopped down into the nearest chair like a sack of potatoes. His posture defeated and slumped. He offered no other response to the Chameloid for the movement. Having just learned that Eerobax had betrayed him, his closest friend had shaken him to his core. The knowledge that he had help, and had tricked others into unwittingly following him just made it all worse.

"I'm familiar with this... criminal," Va'trel sniffed down his nose, although he barely looked at the Talaxian. Like Jasaxar, there an element of defeat to the Haakonian; the loss of his own ship had left him angry and frustrated, and he had spent much of the last short period of time briefing his first officer to manage the confused and worried crew that had been saved.

At the moment, it appeared only his passing appreciation for the assistance offered by Kodak that kept him actively assaulting Jasaxar, of taking the vengeance he so clearly desired. Fortunately, Va'trel had remained unarmed, and his slick politician's manner had not entirely been sucked away into space along with the remnants of the Justiciar.

"I presume, Commander Kodak of the Federation, you will be honouring your government's duties and holding Jasaxar and his crew to stand trial, once we rendezvous with Haakonian Order warships," Va'trel seethed, his smooth voice still silken, despite the obvious rage simmering beneath the surface. He clasped his hands together over the briefing table, still refusing to look at the Talaxian. "We will be adding further acts of terrorism, including the murder of forty-seven Haakonian citizens, the attempted murder of one-hundred-and-ninety-four more - and possession of weapons of mass destruction."

Though Kodak hadn't personally been aboard the Bolitx, he'd received various reports of what had happened there while giving Va'trel time alone in the conference room. During that time, he'd learned the story of Eerobax's betrayal and the innocence of most of the Talaxians onboard the Bolitx. "You are correct, Captain," the Chameloid nodded deeply in response to Va'trel's stated assumption. "It is the Federation's position that those responsible for this terrible act be brought to justice. And on behalf of myself, the Adelphi, and Starfleet, I am deeply sorry for the loss of your crew. Believe me when I say," Kodak offered respectfully, "that we regret the part we played in unknowingly abetting this weapon's deployment."

Rather than taking a seat, the Commander moved to the head of the table, this time choosing to plant himself at the figurative point of power, with Va'trel on one side of the table and Jasaxar on the other. "You should know, Captain," he nodded to the Haakonian, "that not all of the Talaxians were responsible for this terrible act. A splinter group within the crew constructed and used the metreon weapon without Mister Jasaxar's knowledge or approval. That changes little," Kodak held up a staying hand, "I know. But this man was not the architect of the destruction. Those who were are currently in custody down in our brig."

"You should also know," Kodak continued, "that we are currently en route to the Federation's headquarters in the Delta Quadrant. Until we arrive, both of your people will be well cared for with plenty to eat and drink. We'll also provide comfortable sitting and sleeping accommodations while you're our guests," the Commander explained. "While you are not our prisoners -- save those responsible for firing the weapon," Kodak clarified, looking to Jasaxar, "your crews will be restricted to the areas we've set aside for you, separated by several decks. As we are a neutral party in this situation, it's my hope that you will both ensure your people do not put mine at risk by attempting to leave approved areas."

"This is unacceptable, Commander," Va'trel objected, a steel entering his voice that had not been there before, the Haakonian captain clearly dissatisfied with Kodak's declarations. "Whether this criminal had his hand on the controls or not, he is complicit in a blatant act of terrorism against the Haakonian Order, and at least in smuggling known political agitators out of Haakonian space, in violation of over three dozen laws!"

Finally, Va'trel allowed himself a long and spiteful stare at the Talaxian sat opposite him. He brought his hands together on the briefing table, the fingers awkwardly interlacing as he managed his frustration with the people and situation he was in, little helped by the recent loss of his vessel and countrymen. "By not setting course for the nearest Haakonian border, you are making it quite plain that you are not a neutral party, Commander Kodak." He shot an icy glare back to the Chameloid. "And this is the first I am hearing of a Federation installation in our quadrant. Establishing a foothold already, my golden-eyed friend?"

"We've been invited by a third party, who seeks to work amicably together to further the aims of peace, prosperity, and stability," Kodak explained, his own voice devoid of any hardened metal that would match Va'trel's. "We've not built our own stations or structures in the Delta Quadrant and have no plans as such. We're simply a small group of invited guests," the Chameloid shrugged lightly. "I am sorry to hear you feel we are not agreeable. Though perhaps you can understand," the Commander leaned back slightly in his chair, "that our position is tenuous at best right now."

After taking a sip of water, Kodak continued. "As I'm sure you understand, we are a ship alone. Even if we set course for your borders and handed the Talaxians over to your people, there is nothing to stop them from taking our vessel as well. This side-trip allows us a chance to talk through the issues before us and come to some degree of understanding before things escalate even further. Also, while I do understand your outrage, there is something you should consider. Had the Adelphi not responded to Mister Jasaxar's distress call," the Chameloid's yellow eyes flicked to the Talaxian and back, "your battle with the Bolitx would have proceeded without interruption. The splinter group would have fired their metreon weapon anyway, only there wouldn't have been a friendly vessel there to beam your people to safety."

It was the Commander's turn to nonchalantly pick at some crumbs on the tabletop as he spoke. "You know, the Adelphi and the Federation are the only reason you are still alive to express your outrage, Captain. And who knows..." Kodak shrugged once more, "perhaps the Talaxians responsible would have taken the Bolitx away from Jasaxar and used their weapon on many more of your vessels. Or perhaps even on some of your colonies or planets..." he let the thought sink in. "Had we really chosen a side, that weapon would be onboard this ship right now instead of left behind on the Bolitx. And rather than heading for a known-friendly port, we could be headed to use that weapon on your homeworld instead. Do remember that when you're expressing your displeasure and condemning us, won't you?"

"You can't just turn us over to these monsters, Commander," Jasaxar blurted without warning, finding his voice. "They will execute us all or disappear us into a work camp. They will spare only the youngest children, adopting them out to Haakonians only." The aging Talaxian scrubbed his face with a hand, "Commander Kodak, as the leader of a persecuted group, my people request political asylum. Decline our request, and the blood of over one hundred Talaxians will forever be on your hands."

"Grant their request, Commander, and the Haakonian Order will forever view you as untrustworthy - meddlers in a quadrant far from home," Va'trel appended to the Talaxian's comment, his angular face turned towards Commander Kodak. "And you can save the passive-aggressive rhetoric for feebler beings; I am not cowed or impressed by your honeyed words, Kodak, having spoken them truly myself on many occasions. I am certain you could justify a great many actions by declaring the alternative may have been worse, but for the heroic actions of this Federation you purport to be open-minded and progressive."

The Haakonian twisted in his seat a little, his cool veneer showing chinks since the loss of his ship. When he spoke again, his voice was quieter and his manner more sincere. "Do not mistake me, Commander; I think highly of you and your self-evident intellect and martial prowess, as well as your adherence to a moral code. In another setting, I am sure we would have had much to discuss and share. But, quite simply, you are harbouring the architects of my vessel and crew's death, terrorists that would seek to destroy the foundations of our peaceful and expansive society. For all intents and purposes, we are now your prisoners, to be managed in a way befitting an alien culture so far removed from my own, history would likely have never thrown us together for another half-millennia."

Va'trel rose and then roughly pulled a sigil off the breast of his uniform, a peculiar metallic object shaped into an angular design, and he threw it lightly onto the table, causing it to clatter just shy of Kodak. "The badge of my order. The spoils of your victory, Commander Kodak." He looked quickly to the doorway, which parted to reveal the form of Counsellor Karim finally arriving, and then back to the Adelphi's commanding officer. "I would care to be with my crew, now, whilst you singlehandedly determine the fates of two species."

The Commander took in all that was said. Both parties wanted what they wanted and were unwilling to budge. And for understandable reasons, Kodak thought to himself, trying to inhabit both pairs of their collective boots at once. The Chameloid nodded to Karim before turning to address Jasaxar. "I understand your position and acknowledge your official request for asylum. I hope you will understand, however," he tilted his head toward the Talaxian, "that recent events have made such a decision immensely more difficult. I am not prepared to make that decision at this time."

Kodak turned then to Va'trel, eyes flicking momentarily to the badge tossed his way. The look on his face clearly communicated that he was unimpressed by the move. To further underscore that, the Chameloid rose from his chair and pushed the badge back towards its owner. "I've no interest in spoils, Captain. Nor theatre," he lightly shrugged. "I much prefer solutions," he noted sardonically, "though it appears I'll receive very little help in coming up with them. Very well then," Kodak nodded. "Doctor, please see to it that both Captain Va'trel and Mister Jasaxar safely rejoin their people in short order," he ordered, trusting that Karim would not let him down. "I'll have an answer for you both as soon as I can," he nodded to the two captains before sweeping past them to leave the room.

As Kodak made his way through the Bridge towards the Ready Room, he didn't see if Va'trel had picked up the badge or not. Nor do I care, the Chameloid thought, nodding in passing to Lenek as he stepped into his private office. He'd expected to step into a sanctuary of beautiful, calming bonsai but all he saw were the empty shelves where the previous Captain's belongings had been. It was a reminder that he'd been thrust into the center seat with little notice or aplomb. But sudden or not, the seat was his and there wasn't any changing the reality of that. He sank into his chair and got to work.

Kodak spent the next two hours deliberating the issue, researching precedent within the Federation's long history. There were previous examples that supported the Commander's a priori leaning towards handing over Eerobax and his men but granting asylum to the rest of the Talaxians. But then again, there were additional rulings around the Prime Directive that seemed to preclude him from doing such. The Commander-as-Captain found himself glad that Delta-Bravo was only a few short hours away. He was sure that Rear Admiral Cody and his old friend Kudred -- now a Commodore -- would be able to helpfully weigh in and help him make his decision.

Weariness tugged at his bones as Kodak rose from his chair and moved to the replicator. The smell of his materializing kaffee was enough to rouse his senses a bit, though a sip after blowing the liquid's surface into a cooler state did more so. Heading back towards his desk to further deliberate, eyes on the large window filling his view, the superluminal shifting of the Underspace tunnel's walls suddenly stilled. Except...he was still moving?

Kodak found himself flying almost four feet across the room, kaffee launching from his hands as he hit his head on the lounge area's table. He gasped from the floor, reaching up to check for blood from his forehead. His fingers came away coated in oily red, the blood shining starkly in the now slowly-strobing lighting that denoted a red alert condition. With his other, non-bloodied hand, he tapped his combadge and ordered a report from the Bridge as he worked on standing up again.

"Sir, the Underspace tunnel ahead of us just collapsed. I'm afraid we're...stuck," came the forlorn reply.

"On my way," Kodak grunted, finding his footing and heading for the door. He took a moment to look back, noting that several PADDs and his now-empty coffee cup were strewn about the room, having also been thrown by the sudden stop. With a sigh, he turned back to the door and wondered what fresh hell awaited him on the Bridge.

*** A post by... ***

Commander Björn Kodak
Commanding Officer


Captain Va'trel (NPC'd by Christopher)
Commanding Officer
Haakonian Vessel Justiciar


Mister Jasaxar (NPC'd by Reece)
Community Leader
Talaxian Vessel Bolitx


Previous Next