Obsidian Command

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Cold Launch

Posted on 30 Jun 2022 @ 4:07pm by Commander Calliope Zahn & Captain Corvus DeHavilland & Major Declan Finn

Mission: M3 - Into the Deep
Location: OC, Captain's Readyroom
Timeline: MD05 1100HRS
2440 words - 4.9 OF Standard Post Measure

The Admiral had dropped the proverbial bomb on her head and Corvus hadn’t stopped moving from the moment she left the Admiral’s office. There were so many items to cover in such a short amount of time, that she didn’t know where to start. Figuring it was best to deal with the backlog, she immediately set into all the items that had piled up behind her on their brief jaunt aboard the Pathfinder and then began arranging for the teams to come along on the Pathfinder when they deployed the next morning. Captain Callum had been ready and raring to go as soon as she’d told him what was happening and didn’t seem to have any problem deferring to her, even though by Starfleet standards as the tactically superior vessel he should have had command.

As he’d requested, she kept the Admiral apprised of her progress but it wasn’t hard to do anymore as the man had taken up residence in the CIC. Meaning she had his ear anytime she needed it, but more pointedly, he had hers. It was as if he was silently telling her to get the hell out of here.

She could have called Calliope and told her the admiral’s orders and used her expertise to get things settled with the crew of the Pathfinder, but the simple truth was she wasn’t ready to deal with Calliope yet. She didn’t trust her yet. She wanted to believe, but her logical mind just couldn’t make the leap her heart wanted her to. Years of bitter experience had taught her never to be that optimistic. But she had run out of excuses to avoid the woman. She had to tell her what was going on and get this show on the road. That meant having Commander Zahn at her side on the bridge, like it or not. Trusted or not. And she had to manage that without the crew being aware of the gulf between them.

Corvus was so loathe to have this conversation with her, she didn’t even use the comm’s to call for her. She sent the message via data PaDD and set about other tasks waiting for the woman to come to her in her Ready Room.

Within a moment the PaDD denoted the message received, but it was a good half an hour before the ready room door chimed.

“Come in,” Corvus called out, looking up from her data PaDD with a heavy sigh, and hoping that it was someone else coming to call.

At Corvus’ beckon to the door, Calliope arrived very differently than she had in the past, with none of the informality and energy that was her signature entrance. She stepped inside only enough for the door to seal behind her and folded her arms behind in a simple presentation. She kept a cool, blank expression, unsure as to why she was being called. Although she’d been busy with the analysis of the wreckage, Lance and the other department heads would be preferred to make the reports on their progress. Corvus hadn’t seen fit to call on her since the fateful day in Sickbay when she’d removed her from her assignment and left her adrift. For a moment during the reception in Kalara, they’d almost reprised good rapport, after a false start. It had been brief, but seemed squelched by how Corvus had interpreted Calliope’s actions surrounding the event at the Devil’s Golden Bowl. Considering the unresolved discussion with Admiral Sepandiyar and her ultimate confession, Calliope wasn’t sure this wouldn’t be the rest of the news to end her time in uniform on Obsidian Command. But even the possible career threat felt eclipsed as her head was still swimming with the devastating implications of the tech analysis she had been compiling. Calliope’s spirit was heavily weighted.

“Captain.” She offered simply.

She’d been putting this off long enough. The Admiral had made his orders and she had to follow them, despite her conflicted nature regarding them. Corvus got up from her desk and quickly rummaged the short pile on the end and found the one she was looking for. She came around the desk and offered the device to Calliope.

“The Admiral has assigned you to the Pathfinder as her Executive Officer. You’re to take the posting immediately and prepare the crew to get underway at zero five hundred tomorrow morning. The duty rotations are there, as well as the equipment loadouts in progress,” Corvus explained, gesturing to the device. She was well aware that this was work that the XO should have done. She should have given her this news the minute she left the Admiral’s ready room and busied herself with other tasks but the simple fact was she didn’t trust anyone but herself to get it done right. Especially when that someone else was Calliope.

Calliope scrolled the PaDD, obviously mentally processing and filtering her own reaction as she let silence hang in the air. It wasn’t anywhere near her ideal request for reinstatement to OC as executive officer, but it wasn’t discharge papers, either. When she saw the date on the orders, the pieces fell into place. She realized that she’d been officially assigned some time ago, making that personnel readout on the security display in Bay Alpha Nine not an aberration after all. Corvus hadn’t called her up right away, but instead had done all of the preparation as if Corvus herself were still responsible for those tasks as XO under her last command. A quip almost escaped her, thanking Corvus for doing her job, but Calliope exhaled instead.

“You’re Captaining this mission?” With more than a basic complement and the material and arms being loaded, it looked like something serious as opposed to just patrol jaunt around the system. There were enough other support vessels in the 9th fleet, so why pull Corvus? “This is a scramble,” Calliope continued as she acclimated and flicked through the science supply manifest, noting the function and purpose of the gear in relation to some of the same defensive precautions being taken on the Station. “Related to the wreck?”

“The rest of what I tell you doesn’t leave this room,” Corvus answered tightly.

Calliope had been busy giving the same warning to everyone she onboarded into the engineering teams concerning all of the banned and dangerous technology they were processing, but she had a feeling Corvus was about to drop much more on her than she had been able to share with the analysts. “Understood, Ma’am.”

“The beings that built that wreckage are called the Pyrryx. A species known to Starfleet, but their existence is kept to only those that need to be aware. They’re that dangerous. Dangerous enough that the Admiral is personally taking command of this station and to cause Major General MacTaryn to put Camp Falkirk into yellow alert on the mere insinuation that they might be active in either of our areas of operation,” DeHavilland explained patiently. “Whatever we’re going to find out there…” she said, gesturing to the data PaDD in her hand. “Our orders are to run like hell if we find any of these guys alive and well. We’re taking the Theseus with us to hold our retreat. The Admiral’s that concerned,”

“I don’t blame him.” Calliope’s head bobbed gently in somber agreement. “We found what looks to be some technology adjacent to a thalaron scatter array. During the consultation I just left, our tactical specialists surmised it was triggered as a last resort, to take out all life within the radius of the ship in a final retaliation, completely transforming all living tissue to dust. These... Pyrryx," She pronounced the name for them the first time, almost spitting in derision, "don’t have any holds bared in their weapons tech or leave any survivors— not even their own.”

“I’ll pass that on to Captain Callum. If he gets them on the ropes, tuck tail before they can deploy their final death stroke,” Corvus nodded, watching Calli continue to read.

“Lance is on here.” Calliope observed, tapping the personnel listing. “Shipboard speaking, Lance hasn’t been on much of anything more involved than connecting flights to conferences and engine test runs for the breadth of his career.”

“The technology the Pyrryx implement pushes the boundaries of theoretical knowledge in the Federation and isn’t limited by any kind of accord or agreed limitation. I need the best and the brightest out there to assess this. That’s why I’ve assigned Commander Quinn to this.”

“I see.” Calliope couldn’t disagree with the logic of the decision, although she wanted to argue that he would do a lot more good continuing to work on the station early detection and defensive systems to resist the nasty technology. But there were plenty of others to work from the plans he had already drawn. She’d selected them herself and they were well qualified. …more qualified to carry out the designs than Lance was qualified for field work, though. She swallowed hard against her personal disagreement and decided she would have to leverage what authority she was being given to keep him as insulated as possible.

“Calli,” Corvus started, folding her arms as she considered her words for a moment, “I can’t say th-,” she began, stopping when the door chime to her ready room rang. She turned a frustrated glare at the door and growled, “Come in.”

The doors swished open and Major Finn stepped in dressed in full combat fatigues and armed to the teeth, like he was about to walk onto the battlefield. He’d avoided coming to see the Captain just because he didn’t want to relive the awkwardness of their last encounter and as he stepped through the door to see both DeHavilland and Zahn there, his expression melted into extreme disappointment as he thought quite simply: shit.

Corvus sighed at the sight of the man, not only because of their last real encounter, but because his presence didn’t bode well. “Major?”

“Captain. The Admiral has moved up the deployment schedule of the Pathfinder. He wants the ship on the move within the hour. I’ve been assigned to accompany you on this away mission. I have a squad of my best Marines already waiting aboard,” he explained, producing a PaDD with orders from one of his cargo pockets but purposely avoiding looking at Calliope.

"Within the hour? Could…” Calliope flustered slightly at the sudden time reduction in the schedule. She’d had no chance to engage with the preparations and had barely read the brief or familiarized herself with the full manifest. There was a personal urgency in her tone. “Could you spare a fire team for a post in the Engine room?”

Major Finn turned his eyes briefly to Calliope and then back to DeHavilland. The latter was engrossed in the data PaDD she had in her hand and didn’t recognize the reluctance for a long moment. Finally, she looked up to see why Declan hadn’t answered and then gestured to Calliope. “Commander Zahn has been assigned to the Pathfinder as the XO.”

“Right,” Finn nodded, his tone somewhere between concern and surprise. “I’ll pull another squad for the engine room,” he answered her question.

“How many are you planning to bring? Marines that is?” DeHavilland asked.

“I had only planned on the eight, but I can bring another squad for the Commander’s request.”

“Has the Admiral read you in on who we’re dealing with?” Corvus asked.

He shook his head, “No, ma’am. I was just told to report to you and to bring my best support team.”

“As I told the Commander, what I’m going to tell you stays in this room. The species we’re dealing with, that is responsible for the wreckage we currently are analyzing aboard, is called the Pyrryx.”

“Fuck” Finn replied sharply, cutting her off from saying more. He snapped his head up, “Sorry, ma’am. Continue.”

“You know who they are?” Corvus asked with exasperation.

“Yes, ma’am. I was with the 5th Armored when we encountered a group of them on maneuvers. With permission ma’am, I’d like to bring at least four squads and to deploy Marine guards on all decks. I would recommend Starfleet security details on all decks as well. It’ll take all of us to deal with them if they get aboard. A Nova isn’t exactly a floating bastion.”

Calliope was wringing her fingers behind her back in light of the new first person experience. She and Corvus had drilled plenty of times for boarding forces. Lance had only the one encounter with the loosely organized marauders that had overrun the station. “We should bring Winslow,” she suggested. “Your teams are already practiced together.”

“Speak with him now please, Commander,” Corvus declared sharply, more out of frustration than anything. “Major. I’ll meet you aboard.”

“Sorry, ma’am. I was told not to let you out of my sight. Where you go I go,” he replied, trying to make it look like it wasn’t what he wanted to do but quietly admitting to himself that there were worse assignments.

“I’m going to my quarters to get my things. You’re going to follow me there?” she asked.

“If I have to, ma’am,” he blushed slightly.

With a swelling concern for Lance’s safety, Calliope didn’t especially care about the awkward little standoff Corvus was making with Finn. She only gave them both one curt nod. Already having been dismissed to speak with Lt. Winslow and needing to help Lance transfer his duties, she simply left and the ready room door swished shut in her wake. As far as she was concerned, they’d figure it out.

Corvus watched the door close, then looked to Finn who didn’t move. Heaving a sigh, she muttered, “Fine,” and went back to her desk to grab the PaDDs she thought were relevant to the mission. She walked back around the desk to leave, grabbing her uniform jacket from the chair. “I wasn’t kidding, Major. I need to go to my quarters.”

Declan just nodded and replied, “Lead the way, ma’am.”


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