Obsidian Command

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Quiet Retreat

Posted on 26 Feb 2022 @ 3:57pm by Commander Calliope Zahn & Captain Corvus DeHavilland

Mission: M2 - Sanctuary
Location: USS Pathfinder - Obsidian Command Sector Space
Timeline: MD12 0635HRS
3061 words - 6.1 OF Standard Post Measure

She'd always hoped her first starship command would be a grand vessel; a real ship of the line like the Praetorian or, if she really dared herself to dream, the Alexander. A ship that wasn't just a vessel, but a persona. When it was known that her ship was coming, enemies ran away in fear and those in need took a deep breath, relaxed with the knowledge that help was truly on the way. She'd never even considered running a Starbase would be her first command or that the first time she'd set foot on a vessel that was under her command, it would be something as small and scrappy as a Nova-class. Something that was, for a trained Tactical Officer, like graduating from manning an orbital cannon to a slingshot. It wouldn't have been her first choice, and she was already working on her proposal to the Admiral to let her bring in something with a little more punch. Sure she had the Theseus on nearby patrol and she knew that the Texas and the Mississippi were relatively close as well. The latter available by QSD a lot faster than the former. But still. There was something about having that fire at your own fingertips, not tucked away under someone else's control.

Regardless of all the lingering other 'I wish's' she had rolling through her mind, it was nice to finally sit in the center chair knowing that it was hers and hers alone. Sure she'd been in command before. Captain Dansby spent a fair share of time off-ship tending other Praetorian business and was a regular user of his personal time, though he generally took the Captain's Yacht to do that. As she thought of that, she smirked to herself. The Pathfinder was like her own Captain's Yacht, wasn't it. That made her feel a little bit better. Dansby had to suffer on a yacht just a bit bigger than a shuttle - she had an entire Nova-class to herself. Yeah. Yeah, that was better.

Captain Corvus DeHavilland sat a little more surely in the center chair on the Pathfinder's bridge and sipped her tea, smiling. She brought up the holo controls on her arm rest and casually perused through the ships status logs just soaking up the information as she'd learned to do during her time as Executive Officer on the Praetorian though not really seeing anything of note. Just as she'd hoped. This patrol wasn't meant to be exciting. It was meant to give her a chance to get away from the station for a couple of days, to relax in peace where she would have few interruptions and to stretch both hers and the Pathfinder's crew's legs for a bit. They were only half a day in, and she was already glad she'd made this call.

Lieutenant Commander Torvyn Rue— a vulcan-betazoid hybrid of a man with middling dark complexion and slightly sweeping ears hidden under a mop of thick dark curls— in spite of his being tall made a generally mild impression on others due to his quiet and gentle nature, and so he entered the bridge with little notice and no fanfare, slipping along the aft portion of the room to get a baring on the science station while casting his eye around to gauge the presence of the other crewers. He had been assigned to assist Captain DeHavilland as she tried her legs on the Pathfinder, and had been asked for personnel recommendations. It was his hope that his selections would be to the Captain's satisfaction. He'd worked with each one of them on sundry other assignments, but never assembled as such. A good crew individually was difficult enough to come by, but one with good working chemistry? Everyone in the Fleet knew such a crew was the stuff of legends. His standards were admittedly not that high in this case. But at the very least, he could hope they wouldn't be on one another's nerves.

Already that was a little much to expect, he admitted to himself as he observed Chief Petty Officer Vella Nevon, metaphorical steam thick as the unjoined trill woman jammed at her Ops console with spite. She was formerly Caelian personnel and as her personal leave aboard Obsidian Command had been coming to a close, she had expected to return to her former post. Much to her chagrin, it had been filled by another and she had been reassigned to the station, making her available for service aboard the Pathfinder. While Rue had been accustomed to reassignment to greater and lesser roles in the fleet throughout his long and unambitious service, Nevon believed herself to have been slighted and under appreciated.

By contrast, the Bolian Lieutenant Maxel at his station at tactical was practically bubbling with delight, carrying on a conversation across half the room with poor young Ensign Wiser at the Conn. He was explaining that in spite of the slight frame of the young man, should he apply force properly he could make up for his difference in weight by leverage, should Wiser find himself in need to defend his ground. The portly Security officer promised to show Wiser the ropes on the mat later. He explained that he had a bet with the Chief Engineer below decks, one Lieutenant Billie Gentz who was a very able brawler, that Maxel could train any little greenhorn to outlast her on the mat for five minutes and that he would, naturally, split the latinum reward with his trainee.

Ensign Wiser appeared rather concerned for his own well being, and yet being put on the spot directly on the bridge in front of so many of his betters, clearly felt he would be poorly viewed should he decline. Maxel took his silence to be full agreement and carried on bragging of his training abilities.

"Ensign Wiser," Captain DeHavilland interrupted Maxel mid-sentence, silencing the former and garnering the full and alert attention of the latter.

"Yes, ma'am?" Wiser asked, debating to himself whether he should be glad for the interruption, or if the Captain was about to contribute to his troubles.

Corvus leaned onto the arm of her chair and said, "It's usually the one's that brag the most that go down the fastest," she grinned.

Wiser wasn't sure it was advice he could take, given his circumstances. It seemed more portent than escape. In either event, it had the effect of shutting up Lieutenant Maxel for the time being and his shoulders relaxed. "Yes, ma'am."

"Maybe I should take that bet," Corvus added, glancing back at Maxel who already looked uncomfortable at the attention. "You and I can split the pot, Ensign," she added with a wink.

Maxel chuckled in spite of apparently losing his lead on new blood. There were always other ensigns to hone in on.

Glad to have Commander Rue no longer looking over his shoulder, and doubly glad not to be sitting in the center chair this time, Chief Petty Officer Samuel Edgerton returned to his consultation of the Science terminal. The mundane readings of space that bored most were as good as the latest hozonovel to him. Every little minute detail, every wayward bit of rock, gas or misplaced ions kept his attention better than anything else could. Given his choice, he would have just lurked in space and explored every inch he could until he was too old to read the displays. It was why he remained with Starfleet and hadn't retired to some research station somewhere. He had to see it for himself.

"Captain," Edgerton chimed in after the chatter had died off, returning to the innocuous banter between staff requesting this or that from another department. He turned back in his seat a bit to look over at the Captain.

"Chief?" she replied.

"Would you mind if we diverted course a bit. There's a budding stellar nursery just off our present course. It might add... a few hours to our patrol... but if what I'm reading is right, Starfleet doesn't have any records of one at this stage of its development. Who know's what we might find," he smiled with eager hopefulness.

Corvus leaned onto the right arm of her chair pensively and then looked over at Rue who looked impassively back at her from the First Officer's chair and then shrugged, "Why not. Ensign Wiser, adjust course to the Chief's coordinates," she ordered, adjusting back in her seat. It was silly as she knew there was nothing there but gas and sciencey readings but it was like she was little kid all over again, eagerly waiting for the ship her parents were serving on to get to the site of some space phenomena. She doubted that anyone else really knew the depths of her knowledge of astrophysics, but she could have easily held Edgerton's position with just what she'd learned from a life lived with her parents - experts in their own right.

Although he himself was indifferent about rocks and gasses excepting them being in the way of his path, or having gravitational effects on helm control, Ensign Wiser seemed to come to life again, back straightening as he worked the navigational controls and used the coordinates to select a heading. "Aye Captain, course laid in."

"Thoughts on some readiness drills?" Corvus asked Rue, leaning over towards him almost conspiratorially. "Something to break up the monotony? Not everyone's as excited about cosmic gasses as Sam," she joked. Truthfully, she was as excited as he was, but she didn't figure the crew toiling away in Engineering gave a flying induction manifold about some stellar farts.

"I believe that might serve to work out the kinks," Rue agreed, knowing this crew was in need of some practice working with one another. So far the cold intermix was not quite performing as he had hoped.

"Let's start it simple then," Corvus replied, "Basic warp core containment drill. Nothing fancy."

Rue smirked. "I'm certain Lieutenant Gentz will appreciate the exercise."

"Captain," Chief Edgerton called out. There was a touch of worry in the simple statement, enough to turn Corvus about to look at him with a measure of concern. The man had been almost giddy only moments ago and now seemed wary.

"Did you just make a discovery, Chief?" she quipped, hoping she was misreading his tone.

"Sort of," he trailed off, looking down at his terminal and then back to the Captain. "I'm picking up... debris."

Maxel's congenial voice fell into a more somber note as the Bolian applied tactical scans to the initial findings from science. "Sensors are detecting hull fragments and floatsam. Initial scans demonstrate a highly likelihood that the damage is due to weapons fire, but I can't make out what type of ship it may have been. The component fragments don't fit any vessels known to the federation. Wait." The computer chirped a hit from the database. "In addition to the unknown vessel I'm detecting portions of a Klingon Bird of Prey, an old D12 class if I'm not mistaken."

Nevon, having forgotten her annoyance in light of this discovery, chimed in. "Sensors detect no lifesigns..." That wasn't necessarily surprising, but she paused as she ran the sensors again. "And no bodies."

A chill trickled down Corvus' spine as she sat up in her seat, all but perched on the edge. "Raise shields, Mr. Maxel. Take us to Yellow Alert," she ordered.

Bringing up shields, all of the bridge displays became colored by Yellow alert warnings and the announcement was delivered ship wide as personnel took stations.

"Take us in a little closer, Ensign. Chief Edgerton, I want long-range scanners looking for anyone in the area that might be coming to clean up their mess. Mr. Maxel, I want a full tactical analysis on what's left out there. You have access to whatever resources you need," she ordered, looking warily over to Rue for any reaction he might have.

"Aye ma'am." Maxel began the heavy calculations for computer modelling of the debris which would permit forensics about the event.

She nodded briefly to everyone's affirmations of her orders then whispered to Rue, "Trap?"

Rue sat askew slightly, concentrating afar, beyond the sense of people throughout the Pathfinder to extend his impressions further into nearby space. Finally he relaxed, shaking his head. "Difficult to say. My impressions agree with the scanners— I sense no life so far as my abilities go. However, depending on how recent this event evinces to be, the Klingon vessel was quite old and it would be easy enough to justify scuttling with no loss of value. It would serve to stage a confrontation."

"Something this vessel isn't overly rated for," Corvus replied, looking solemnly back at Rue before consulting her own arm rest holo-panel while the crew around her chewed through her previous orders. She brought up the map of the nearest Starfleet vessels, the closest of which was the Theseus running a different patrol route and heading a completely different direction. She knew they could get here quickly enough, she just wasn't quite ready to sound a distress just yet. "Theseus is close enough to help. If this turns south, we make a break for them. We don't stand and fight. Not in this ship."

Rue activated a comm line to engineering, "Keep the engines fired up, Ms. Gentz. We may need to fly at a moment's notice."

"Aye, every things warmed up, right and ready, just say the word." came the woman's gruff response.

"We're as close as I'm comfortable getting, Captain," Wiser called from the CoNN, drawing Corvus' attention up from her chair. She stood up and paced forward to the railing behind the secondary conn station, looking to the viewer as if getting closer would help.

Whatever the vessel's configuration, what was clear from the debris was that it had been an instrument of war, albeit a small one. The Tactical Officer in her went straight into analysis mode and even though Maxel hadn't offered his and the computers determination, she could see from the sharp predatory lines of the intact pieces that it had once bristled with firepower. It appeared to her like almost like a raptor; small, sleek and deadly. But she knew she was extrapolating and was hoping it was just her fear coloring the true configuration. Maybe it was just a transport trawler, just one unlike they'd ever seen.

"Captain, the computer's finished modeling an intact configuration," Maxel declared, "Putting it on screen."

You could feel the tension ripple across the bridge as they looked at a vessel that could only be described with one word - predator. What she had built in her head and thought was far too aggressive turned out to be far too conservative. The vessel was clearly meant for war. It's somewhat organic shaped defied most common configurations and guessing by the way her weapons were configured, diplomacy was likely at the end of disruptor for whomever manned the vessel.

"I'm picking remnants of phasers and torpedoes in configurations that are in direct violation of the Khitomer Accords. The phaser housings have subspace amplifiers and I'm picking up tricobalt residue," he outlined carefully, his normally jovial Bolian attitude completely washed out by the task at hand.

"I think that's what happened to them," Chief Edgerton chimed in, turning everyone's attention his way. "I'm seeing fractures to subspace in the area. I'd postulate that their subspace weaponry destabilized the area and put both them and whoever was manning that Klingon Bird of Prey out of business."

"That would feasibly explain why there's no corpses in the flotsam," Maxel agreed, consulting his terminal a little more intently.

"Not unless subspace is tuned to select for biological forms, Mr Maxel." Rue pointed out the obvious. "Which it is not. While targeting for the ship's bridge section may have accounted for many or even most of the personnel to be lost to subspace, we would still detect any other remains among the debris. As there are none, the most likely explanation is that they have been intentionally removed."

"...Violation of the khitomer accords..." Echoed Chief Nevon, still musing at the 'outlawed' subspace weaponry. "I doubt whoever built that ship attended Khitomer."

Corvus frowned at the reading on the screen and the image of the ship visible behind where it was overlaid on the glass. She'd seen quite a few different vessel configurations in her tenure in Starfleet but this one took the cake. Not only because of its use of banned weaponry, but its all around configuration. When you layered in on top of that that it had tangled with a Klingon Bird of Prey that was likely being manned by whomever had attacked Obsidian Command - it had her undivided attention. She wanted to know who they were, where they came from and why they had been destroyed. Neither of those questions were going to get answered here.

"Commander Rue," DeHavilland finally said at length, "Prepare to tow this wreckage back to Obsidian Command. Ensign Wiser. Prepare a tractor beam," she ordered.

"Aye captain." Wiser complied while trying not to dwell too long at the completed computer model of the alien ship. It was less terrifying to focus on gathering the broken shell and not overthink it. Hopefully there was noting inherent in the remains of the vessel that would make it regrettable to carry back to base. In any event, the Ensign made his best effort at quick work arranging the tractor array, eager to leave the ghostly site for home.

Corvus stood there silently, watching as the pieces were drawn together by the beam and then formed into one coherent mass to tow behind them back to OC space. With the Yellow Alert lighting still active, she turned and walked back to her seat before looking over to Rue once more. "Hail the Theseus. Tell Captain Callum that I'd like their patrol cut short. They're to rendezvous with us en route and escort us back to OC."

"Understood." For a moment Rue steepled his fingers, contemplated the messy puzzle pieces, and then moved to enter the new orders to the Theseus.


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