Obsidian Command

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Need to Know

Posted on 05 Jun 2022 @ 10:13am by Admiral Zavareh Sepandiyar & Captain Corvus DeHavilland & Commander Thaddeus Zayne

Mission: M3 - Into the Deep
Location: Admiral Sepandiyar's Ready Room - USS Alexander
Timeline: Immediately Following Look But Don't Touch
3440 words - 6.9 OF Standard Post Measure

Corvus hadn’t even waited to get them to the transporter room. As soon as her and Commander Zayne were clear of the space that Commander Quinn was working, she ordered the Transporter Chief to beam them directly to the Alexander. She wasn’t going to wait one second longer than she needed to in order to get the information she was locked out of, even if she had to knock on the Admiral’s personal quarters to get it. To his credit, Thaddeus didn’t say a word as Captain DeHavilland stepped off the transporter pad and moved with purpose across the deck, heading for the Alexander’s bridge. Her XO simply followed silently.

The last time she’d been on the Alexander, it’d been when she couldn’t walk on her own power without Sergeant Eindorf to hold her up. But having been practically drug through the ships corridors, she’d had a very vivid memory of where she’d been and so moved smartly through the wide corridors of the ship towards the Bridge. She crossed along the back of the lower section before climbing the stairs right past Lieutenant St. John who just stared back at her in shock to see Captain DeHavilland on the bridge. When she realized she was going straight for the Admiral’s Ready Room she shot up from her chair to try and stop her.

“Captain! The Admiral’s in a meeting!” St. John tittered after the pair of them.

Thad shook his head warningly at St. John and she shrunk back slightly, but DeHavilland didn’t say a word as she crossed the deck, descended the stairs and hit the chime on the Admiral’s door. She let the bell ring on the air for half a second and then walked through it - not waiting to be invited inside.

Admiral Sepandiyar was standing with his back to the door, facing the large holo-table in his Ready Room, listening to a Commander in Command red’s giving some kind of report on something; an officer Corvus didn’t recognize. He was an average man of average height that honestly didn’t have any remarkable features about him. His dark black hair was graying slightly at the edges and his mocha colored skin was not all that much darker than the Admiral’s.

As she led the two of them in, the Admiral turned about to look at them with an impassive expression on his face while the Commander disabled the holo projection they had been looking at off the table with a swipe of his hand.

“Please, come in,” Zavareh offered icily.

“Admiral,” Corvus began, “We have a problem.”

“Yes. We do,” he answered quietly.

DeHavilland gestured to the holo table, but didn’t wait for permission to use it, she just stepped up to it and cast the readings from the data PaDD in her hand to it. It showed a series of images of the craft on the deck aboard the station and next to it, the computers rendering of what it most likely looked like when it was put together all the way.

“Commander Quinn has confirmed what our initial analyses have postulated - that this shi-,” she started, but was silenced by the Admiral holding his finger up towards her, shutting her up like a petulant child. To her own disbelief she stopped dead, blushing immediately at the way he’d cut her off.

The Admiral looked at Thaddeus, taking his glasses off. Thad shook his head as if to answer the silent question.

Sepandiyar folded up the glasses and set them on the holotable’s edge. “Computer,” he said quietly, waiting for the chirp that indicated it had heard and was waiting for further command. “Seal my Ready Room. Authorization Sepandiyar, char-panj-haf-yek-dah-zed.”

”Operation complete,” the computer’s soft feminine voice replied.

He then activated the control panel of the holo table and issued a series of commands. Corvus tried to read them as he went through them but they were in another language she wasn’t familiar with. It had the flowing nature of an Arabic script that she presumed must have been Farsi. He tapped the holo control and then the panel went away. Sepandiar picked up his glasses and turned to set them on the bookshelf along the bulkhead. Corvus’ blood was starting to boil and she was just about to lose her cool and blurt something out when a hologram flickered to life and resolved into the form of Major General MacTaryn of Camp Falkirk standing at the head of the table as if he’d beamed right in.

The Major General nodded to the Admiral, then turned to the projection in front of him and grunted, “Shit.”

DeHavilland’s temper went cold at the Marine’s simple statement.

“How old is this intelligence?” MacTaryn asked gruffly.

Sepandiyar gestured to DeHavilland. She took the queue with uncertainty, “We found the wreckage on the patrol we just returned from. This is currently in secure isolation on Obsidian Command. Chief Edgerton speculated that it’d been destroyed less than thirty-six hours before we found it, based on the subspace fracturing,” she explained, turning to her data PaDD and pushing out more information.

“That means they’re moving out from the Aurellian Belt. Farther than they have before,” MacTaryn frowned, digging his thumbs into the belt loops of his fatigues.

The Admiral nodded slowly, then sighed and gestured to the man across the table. “Captain. This is Commander O’Malley. 9th Fleet’s Strategic Operations Liaison from Starfleet Command,” he said, indicating the dark skinned man. “This is Captain DeHavilland.”

“Nice to meet you, Captain DeHavilland,” O’Malley answered with a quick nod. He turned his gaze to Thaddeus, “Thad.”

“Pete,” Thad answered quietly with his own nod.

It was like being caught in some weird twisted game where everyone else had a secret and she just had to venture a guess. Or was this a boys only club and she wasn’t invited? Whatever it was, she felt both clueless and helpless at the same time and it was starting to get her temper going again. She knew Thad had come from the secretive realm of Strategic Operations, but she hadn't realized just how compartmentalized that area was until now. She didn't like it. She didn't like that her First Officer was privy to more information on their situation than she was. That had to change.

“Mr. O’Malley. Can you give Captain DeHavilland the summarized version of who we’re dealing with here,” Sepandiyar asked, gesturing to the holo.

“Of course,” he answered. He turned about and went to pick up a data PaDD that was stowed away in a messenger back on the couch near the holo table. He perused it as he walked back and then flicked his finger across the display, making a new holo appear that he brought up above the rendering of the vessel they’d found. His holo though wasn’t a rendering, it was an actual image of one of the vessel’s, but very obviously different. They were similar enough that you could tell the configurations were related but the actual version was far, far more menacing than the more tame one the Starfleet computer had rendered.

“This is a Battle Talon,” O’Malley indicated.

Corvus’ jaw slacked at the more menacing sight before her and shook her head. O’Malley chimed in before she could say anything else.

“Not much is known about the species that built this vessel - the Pyrryx,” he began patiently. “We know that they come from the space beyond the Aurellian Belt. That they are extremely hostile to all other species. That they are humanoid, bi-pedal and immensely strong,” he said, looking down at his data PaDD and once more flicking a data point up. A holo-image of a bulky, bi-pedal figure appeared. It was wearing a strange, decorative kind of armor that was both beautiful and intimidating at the same time. He then put up a display feed from the interior of a ship. He looked across the holo’s at DeHavilland. “Apologies, but this is graphic,” he warned, then played the feed.

DeHavilland stepped forward, feeling the hairs on her arms stand on end. On the feed A tall, bulky, heavily armored warrior stepped into the corridor and charged at a Vulcan security officer who fired a half dozen shots at his enemy before resorting to hand to hand combat. The Vulcan fought well, as well as anyone would have expected of their kind, but the enemy was too strong. It resisted the ubiquitous nerve pinch and in the process pulled the Vulcan over his shoulder as if he were a rag doll and broke his spine on his knee before tossing him aside like so much garbage.

Corvus gasped quietly at the ease the being had tossed aside the Vulcan, notoriously difficult humanoids to beat in single combat especially if properly trained as this one had clearly been. She recognized the Kareel-ifla style, though she’d never seen anyone use it so flawlessly despite its ineffectiveness. Corvus turned to look at Thaddeus but he was looking down quietly, like he’d seen this countless times and didn’t need to again.

“Why is this information being kept secret?” DeHavilland asked immediately. “We have ships on patrol near the Aurellian Belt that might run into those Pyrryx. The more information they have, the better their chances are to defend against them.”

O’Malley shook his head, “Similar to the Omega Directive, a Starfleet vessel's central computer will recognize Pyrryx configurations and immediately trigger a red alert, and an exit vector to the nearest Starbase. I’m surprised you were able to override it long enough to get this sample.”

“It didn’t trigger,” Zayne spoke up finally. “Probably because it’s just a hunk of debris. They rendered this in the Engineering console.”

“Ah,” O’Malley replied. “I see.”

“So this wreckage wasn’t your doing?” MacTaryn asked DeHavilland.

She shook her head, “We were on the Pathfinder. A Nova-class. I doubt we could have done much more than run like hell against this,” she waved at the image.

“Ardeshir barely survived one this size, and that was with the Mississippi’s help,” Thad offered.

“Their weapons are that powerful?” DeHavilland asked.

“That unpredictable,” Sepandiyar corrected. “Which, of course, is why their weaponry is banned by the Khitomer and subsequent accords.”

Corvus just stared at the ship and the image of the being, and felt a nearly overwhelming sense of dread. She’d trained her whole career as a Tactical Officer. She knew the maneuvers and weapons configurations to take on just about any power in the known galaxy, be it Ferengi or Dominion. She knew her weaknesses and relative strengths in comparison, both in ship combat and in hand-to-hand. But against this… against something so predatory and so unpredictable, she had nothing. And that terrified her more than she really understood.

DeHavilland took a deep breath to rein that in. As she did, her data PaDD chirped so she turned her attention to it. It was a message from Chief Edgerton indicating that he had plotted the last little bit of course from the destroyed ship - not the Pyrryx, but the one that it had tangled with.

“From Chief Edgerton,” Corvus explained, finding room for the navigational chart amongst the growing clutter on the holo projection. “Last known vectors of the ship. He suggested more detailed scans in and around these coordinates might help us further follow the trail,” she said.

Sepandiyar studied the star chart quietly, his eyes moving quickly across the holo's, betraying the stoic and silent exterior. Finally, he drew a breath to speak and looked at O'Malley. "How soon can the Mississippi and the Odin get back?"

Peter gave a calculating shrug, "Thirty to forty hours."

"Recall them both," Sepandiyar ordered. "And the de Grasse?"

"Already returning from their shakedown trials. They're expected in four days, assuming no further issues."

The Admiral shook his head, "Tell Captain Parnell, I want them back as soon as is possible. Trials can wait."

"Aye, Admiral," O'Malley nodded.

"Admiral, Commander Quinn is evaluating the wreckage now so we can adapt our existing defensive measures on the station. It would be extremely helpful to be able to share this information with him." Commander Zayne offered, speaking up for the first time since they'd entered. "I can read him into the relevant details of our encounters on Falkirk. He's a resource we didn't have previously, and one I think could provide insight we've missed."

Corvus glanced slightly towards Thad, surprised that Thad would offer that kind of praise for an Officer that had done nothing but be a pain in his ass since he'd taken the position. But then again, not surprised that Zayne was every bit the stand-up officer Starfleet expected him to be.

"I agree, Admiral," she offered in support. "Quinn's a theoretician, not a field engineer. He's guaranteed to have a very different perspective."

"Alright," Sepandiyar agreed. "Peter, assist as needed." O'Malley just nodded.

"I've put Falkirk on Condition Yellow," MacTaryn declared, his holo walking around the table towards O'Malley but looking to the Admiral. "I have two fighter wing's here for cold weather training. I'm revoking their departure."

"Good," Zavareh nodded, taking a moment to look around at the Officer's and the people. "Iain. First sign of anything out of the belt-."

"You'll be the first to know. They won't breach this outpost," MacTaryn declared defiantly.

"I've no doubt," the Admiral smirked wryly back. "Good luck, Major General."

"And you," MacTaryn said, offering a salute. "MacTaryn, out." His holo vanished with a flicker of energy, leaving the flesh and blood officers alone in the room.

Sepandiyar consulted the holo for a moment and then powered the table off, "Computer, disengage seal on my Ready Room. Authorization: Sepandiyar, char-panj-haf-yek-dah-zed,"

"Operation complete,"the computer again responded.

"Commander's. Give us the room, please," he ordered quietly. Once more, the hairs on the back of Corvus' neck stood up, but this time for a very different reason.

"Aye, sir," O'Malley and Zayne chorused before quickly making their exit, leaving Corvus and Sepandiyar alone.

Sepandiyar looked across the table at DeHavilland, but she didn't flinch. She wasn't going to give him the satisfaction of groveling, whether or not she was in the wrong, of which she wasn't altogether sure she was. She had important information - important enough that he'd seal off his space and call in the Major General. But perhaps she could have done this a little more delicately.

Once the door hissed closed, the Admiral lifted his chin to speak. "I expect better from you, Captain," he began carefully, and calmly. "You must set the example for your Officer's, and those that witness your behavior," he explained as if he were giving life lessons to one of his children. "Barging into my Ready Room is hardly that example. You are fortunate the information you brought was, and is, very important. But the point remains. I expect better. You are a Captain, and the Commanding Officer of a Fleet starbase. You will do better, Captain."

DeHavilland felt the simple words like a gut punch, and immediately felt white hot anger flare up in response, but she bit back her response and simply nodded. "Aye, Admiral," was all she could manage.

He continued to stare quietly, as if he were a Betazoid reading her emotions and then sighed softly, "I would like for you to take the Pathfinder to the coordinates you provided and determine where this vessel came from," he ordered calmly still, "Her sensor package will be better suited for this than any other vessel available. You will take the Theseus with you as support. Should you come across any active Pyrryx vessels, you will defer to Captain Callum."

"Aye, Admiral," she replied tonelessly.

"Commander Zayne is to stay here. His expertise is needed on station. I will be taking command of the station while you are gone. There is too much at stake here to leave it without a commander," he continued. "Additionally, I would recommend that you take Commander De La Fuente, my Chief of Science with you."

"I can recommend another Officer to take the Pathfinder, Admiral. There are two vessels being refit in the yards. Both Captain's would no doubt take the job," she answered quickly, not wanting to leave her station if the Admiral thought it was that bad. If they were going to be attacked, she wanted to be on her command, issuing orders, not off in the void doing some other task.

"I don't want another Officer handling this, Corvus. I want you," he declared flatly, but somehow emphatically. "I'm not demoting you. I'm asking you to take the most delicate of tasks available. The Pathfinder has the most sophisticated sensor package available, and the Theseus can easily defend you should you find yourself against the Pyrryx," he shook his head as if there was no other solution here. "Captain Callum is a good commander, but he is a blunt instrument. Something like this requires finesse, which is why I want you leading this expedition. If you feel the Theseus isn't enough, you may draw whatever garrison vessels aboard the station you wish. But make no mistake, Corvus, if you are attacked by the Pyrryx, your orders are to run. Unleash Captain Callum to cover your retreat and get back to this station immediately. No exceptions."

Corvus took it as another gut punch, but tried to keep that off her face. She believed that the Admiral thought he was doing what was best but it still hurt to be told that on the cusp of battle, knowing that an enemy was lurking nearby, that she was being sent away from her command. Sent away and replaced by the Admiral. On the one hand, being replaced by a Fleet Admiral was hardly common. But on the other, this was her command. Not the Pathfinder. His warning though, stuck with her the most. Maybe she was misreading this and he truly only trusted her with this task. He didn't seem the sort to sugarcoat anything.

"Aye, Admiral," she repeated a third time, not quite trusting herself with words at the moment.

Zavareh tapped the edge of the holotable as if he wasn't quite certain of his next words. Finally he said, "I'm assigning Commander Zahn as First Officer of the Pathfinder until further notice," he declared. He had told Calliope that he would consider her request of returning her into her posting. He still didn't trust her, but he was willing to give her the benefit. He didn't agree that she was better suited than Zayne for it, but DeHavilland had believed in her. He could see what she saw, and despite his disagreement, the opinion of his trusted officers was important to him. So he was willing to offer this olive branch.

The statement took Corvus by surprise, "Are... is that..." she started, but checked herself. She'd already barged into his Ready Room and refused to apologize for it, "... alright," she managed tightly, torn between wanting to be excited to have her friend back and wondering if she even could still call her that. The woman she'd thought she'd known and the one currently inhabiting Calliope seemed to be very, very different people.

The elder man didn't say anything immediately in reply, considering the whole situation in his own head and trying to reassure himself that he hadn't missed a step and that there wasn't a better decision to be made. He finally shook his head, convinced there wasn't. "I would like regular reports, Captain," he said, gesturing to her. "Anything to add?"

Corvus had plenty to add. There were at least twelve specific comments that she wanted to make, from screaming at him for kicking her off her own command to wanting to flip him the proverbial bird for treating her like she was a brand new cadet. But regardless of it all, she shook her head and said, "No, sir. I understand."

Sepandiyar nodded, not believing a word of it, and nodded to the door. "Dismissed."


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