Posted on Mon Mar 20th, 2017 @ 1:27am by Lieutenant Commander Hafrap Graf & Lieutenant Commander Miral Casano & Lieutenant Commander Akane Nokitsune Psy.D. & Commander Nicole "Nikki" Redex MD & Commander Cassandra Quinn & Commander Robert Patton & Commander Sean "Shack" Byrnes & Lieutenant Junior Grade Taavis & Lieutenant Junior Grade Kirara Amanogawa Ms & Lieutenant Commander L'Mina & Commander Anita Lon & Lieutenant Junior Grade Billi & Lieutenant Colonel Katherine "Mac" McPhearson & Lieutenant Junior Grade Oraxea Zoss & Lieutenant Junior Grade Susan Miller
Location: USS Eclipse & Romulus
Timeline: Current 0700 (to start)
The trip through the Neutral Zone had been uneventful and Gamma shift was ending as the helm established orbit above the capital.
Cassandra was already on the Bridge after having taken a nap on the Admiral's couch in his Ready Room. With a lidded cup of coffee she stood in the doorway of the Ready Room and sipped at her coffee as members of the Alpha shift began relieving their Gamma counterparts.
The Admiral walked onto the bridge and looked over at his first officer and said, "Hello, Commander, how was the night?"
"Admiral on the Bridge," someone announced.
Cassandra straightens up and says, "quiet, sir. We have established orbit above the capital city. So far no one has hailed us. Shall we make the first move?"
L'Mina had just taken over the helm from Thalmann. They were in orbit, so not much to do at the helm. She did put in a course to get away as quickly as possible, although it would lead further into the system instead of away from it, as was usual. But she knew about doing the unexpected and if they had to get away, doing something the opposition didn't expect had its advantages.
Lieutenant Zoss was just giving over the tactical console. She had been given that console for a change and she was honoured to be able to do this while in Romulan space. She had requested all passive sensors that could to scan for tachyon residues of cloaking devices. While there were a number of uncloaked ships, both D'Deridex and Norexan class, she was sure there were a number of cloaked ships as well. So far she thought she had spotted three and she had marked their positions for her relief. As she was saucer section pilot, she took a console on the wall as relief pilot and kept an eye out, in case she was needed.
Amanogawa Kirara showed up on the bridge...looking around and smiling. "Hmm...always wanted to be up here...." She gazed around. "This next mission should prove to be interesting..." She said the last part to herself..but then saluted the others on the bridge.
Nikki walked into Sickbay and walked over to the nurses' station where change of shift report was already in progress. As the ACMO gave a report on the night's activities, Mac slid an awaiting cup of coffee over the counter top to Nikki, who smiled gratefully and turned her attention to what Hafrap was saying.
Hafrap said, "Normal routine last night, doctor, nothing out of the ordinary, the staff and I made sure we had all the supplies and did an inventory of items. We are fully stocked."
"Thank you, Haf," Nikki said, lifting her coffee cup in a mock toast. "Go home and get some rest. I have been assigned to accompany the Away Team to Romulus so you will be in charge while I'm gone. I don"t know when that will be so sleep while you can," she said.
Hafrap said, "Thank you, Doctor. He then went to his quarters to rest.
"For everyone else...business as usual," Nikki said. "Mac? I want to see Ballow, Lance and Parks in my office."
"They all are scheduled to be off today, boss," Mac said, standing up.
"I know. I still need to see them. Preferably this morning," Nikki said as she headed for her office.
"Yes, ma'am," Mac mumbled as she got ready to interrupt three people's day off.
Kitsuneno Akane came in at this moment. "Everything ok Doctor?" She asked, noticing the troubled look on her friend's face.
Nikki looked up and waved the counselor in. "Good morning," she said. "Help yourself to some tea." She sat down at her desk and said, "I have three staffers that failed their written recerts. What's worse is they all three failed with the exact same answers." She took a sip of her coffee. "I mean, come on. If you're going to copy off of someone else's test....copy off someone with the correct answers....right?"
Akane came in and poured herself a cup slowly. She patted Nikki on the head softly to make her feel better. "Anything I can do to help Nikki?"
Nikki smiled and shook her head. "Nah. I got this. Sometimes being the head of a department is more like being a babysitter than anything else," she said with a giggle.
Nurse Miller walked up to Doctor Redex and asked, "Commander, are you going on the away team?"
Nikki looked up from her coffee. "Yes," she answered. "But I can grab a patient if you need me on the floor, Susan."
Susan answered, "My concern, doctor is that we will only have one doctor on board that being Doctor Graf, that isn't including the EMH, but I would like you to know that I'm studying to be a doctor and I am working on applying to starfleet medical, but I feel that we are short staffed."
"I appreciate that, Susan," Nikki said with a smile. "I am confident that between you and our EFTSs Dr. Graf will have all of the help he needs if things get crazy."
"I hope so, doctor. If you need any assistance for preparation, please let me know.
Just then Ballow and Parks appeared in the doorway. "Thank you, Susan," Nikki said and waved the two gentlemen in. "Send Mr. Lance in when he gets here, please," she added then pressed the button on her desk that closed the door. "Have a seat gentlemen," she said folding her arms and leaning against the front of her desk.
Akane stood up. "Um..I'm assuming you need me to leave you alone for now as well? Just call me if you need aid.."
In the Intel department Taavis had all her personnel carrying the small, palm phaser. It was an old school design, but the phaser IIB was able to be carried in the pocket almost unnoticeable. So, being as they were home on Romulus, and knowing how her people were with outsiders, the Chief wanted her people to be ready.
Security was doing as it always does and Shack was sitting at his desk with a holographic display up in the air. Watching the bridge internal sensors he was noting reaction times and attention to station for the Security personnel stationed there. So far, all were performing to standard.
=====Cmdr. Patton's Quarters=====
Patton sat on the chair in his quarters, looking over a short brief of the mission the crew was to undertake. "Hmmmph. 'Romulans.' Why does it have to be 'Romulans?' " Patton sighed and got up and straightened his uniform. He then pressed his comm badge. " Commander Patton to the Bridge, permission to ' come on up?' "
Admiral Barks said, "Of course, Commander."
Taavis, after her nap, had cleaned up and dressed in her uniform. Leaving her quarters she made her way to the turbolift, stepping inside. "Bridge."
As a department head, acting or otherwise, she was allowed on the bridge, and had been there previously as she had watched Lieutenant Byrnes texting whoever. Stepping out on the command deck and making her way around to the command seats, Taavis stayed to one side and clasped her hands behind her back as she waited patiently for any questions the command staff may have.
Admiral Barks stood up and saw his chief intel officer and asked, "Lieutenant, what do you know about the area?"
Taavis looked to the Admiral. "This is Romulus, Sir. It would appear desolate in orbit, but that is a ruse. There are usually several squadrons of ships in orbit at all times, and I would not be at all surprised to find a squadron of three cloaked warbirds sitting on our aft quarter. It is the Romulan way. All the ships are either cloaked or sitting a few seconds away at warp one. Also, as soon as we crossed the Neutral Zone, we were being followed. Of that, I have no doubts."
"I agree with the Lieutenant," Cassandra said, just as Commander Patton stepped through the turbilift door. "I'm not buying we didn't cross the NZ alone. It just doesn't make sense."
Oraxea was still on the bridge, so she turned from her console.
"We were followed," she said, "I spotted one tachyon trail on the way in, probably an older ship. It was probably not the only one. Here around the planet I managed to find three. Again, there are probably more."
Commander Patton exited the turbo lift and quickly looked over the Bridge. Spotting the Admiral, Patton went over to his side. " Commander Patton, reporting for duty, sir." Patton had *almost* barked out 'Status!' upon entering the Bridge, but had quickly caught himself. Patton glanced back at the view screen. " Romulus. " He said in a quiet voice.
Admiral Barks said, "Welcome to the bridge, Commander. Please have a seat." He gestured to his left seat next to him.
Commander Patton took the seat to the left of the Admiral, and began to look at the screen. He slightly smiled. " They're out there.." Was all he said.
Kirara stepped out beside Patton. "Greetings Commander. They're not going to be exactly welcoming - especially considering our last encounter with them, right Commander?"
Patton glanced at Kirara. " Which 'encounter' are you implying about, Lieutenant?"
L'Mina let Kirara answer, but she knew what she was talking about. It had been fun flying around in that Romulan shuttle. Maybe she would have to request if they could do it again, she thought with a grin on her face.
Kirara said. "I was referring to this craft's last encounter with them. It was not a positive one...in the least." She bowed slightly in the directly of L'Mina. "Though mine is all third hand information. The others here could give you more first hand details. "
Patton nodded. " I'd guess just about everyone here has an ' Romulan Encounter ' story for the bar. " He replied in an low voice.
"Not I as of yet....but I've spent a while preparing for it."
Coming down the corridor after seeing to postings for Security personnel, Shack stepped into the turbolift and went directly to the bridge. Stepping out he glanced around until he saw Quinn standing near to her chair, so he went over and spoke in a low tone so as not to disturb the others. "Hi Commander. You got a minute?"
"Sure, Shack. What's up?" Cassandra asked.
"I have assigned two-person teams to all vital areas of the ship," relayed Byrnes. "They will rotate out every four hours to keep them focused, and not get bored and make mistakes. Being where we are, and in the event things go south."
"Good job," Cassandra said with a nod. "I agree with you about things going south. Make sure Lori stays on top of things while you are on the planet. I'll have my hands full here on the Bridge."
Shack was surprised by that bit of news. "I hadn't received word about going on the away team, so I am a bit stoked to actually be able to see the Romulan home world. You have my word, Commander, I will act accordingly." He was wearing his phaser in a tactical holster, strapped down to the thigh. He despised when the damn things flopped all over the place while walking or running. All his other needed equipment was placed strategically on the belt.
"The Admiral is going down with the diplomatic team so I will have to be here," Cassandra said. "I need you down there making sure nothing happens to the Admiral."
"Got it, Commander." Shack responded.
The ensign at the comm console spoke up. "Admiral....we are being hailed from their base."
Admiral Barks said, "Audio, Ensign...This is Admiral Chris Barks of the Federation starship USS Eclipse, to whom do I have the pleasure of speaking to?"
Centurion Rekar activated his comm screen down on the planet, within the confines of a secure chamber. The screen became active so he would wait patiently for this Federation officer to request visual communication. "Admiral Barks, this is Centurion Rekar. Prepare to receive beaming coordinates for you and your away team. I would advise that neither you, nor any member of your party, are to be armed aside from Security."
Admiral Barks replied, "Very well, Centurion, I agree to the terms, we will beam down tomorrow at 08:00, is that acceptable?"
Rekar responded calmly, no change in tone despite the fact that his initial plan had taken a detour. "That is acceptable, Admiral Barks. Centurion Rekar, out." He closed the channel.
Looking to his left, speaking to another Centurion, a female, Rekar's tone was that of superior to subordinate. "Are you prepared for your assignment?"
"Of course, Sir."
Rekar narrowed his eyes. "All relevant data and research has been completed? You are in the know?"
"I am, Centurion Rekar."
"Excellent." Rekar gave a slight grin, devious in its appearance. "Return to your quarters until called for. Jolan Tru."
The woman gave a nod and turned away, heading down a small corridor to her temporary living quarters. She stepped inside and took a seat at the small desk, the door closing behind her and she heard the lock mechanism activate. She was hidden from view, as intended, and would not re-emerge until morning when Starfleet arrived.
Billi stepped out on the bridge and went to the Science II console, re-adjusting it for Intel use. She gave a slight nod to Taavis, and had remembered to pick up some gel pills full of analgesics. If she was on the bridge for an extended period then the females in the room, aside from Vulcans, would begin to get headaches from her pheromones. The aggression and side affects for the men, well, that would also have to be addressed, but that she had no cure for.
Taavis had moved over near to Billi, wanting to confer with her on a few points, and then she heard the name of the responding Romulan. This caused her to spin about and step up to the tactical console next to the officer manning it, using all her Vulcan training to remain passive and stoic. For years she had thought her father dead, and now here he was talking to her Commanding Officer.
"Not armed?" Cassandra repeated, looking at the Admiral with a frown. "I don't like that, sir. You know they will be armed to the teeth."
Patton nodded in agreement. " With respect, sir. She's right. If we beam down there unarmed, it will give them an psychological lead from the beginning. "
Kirara has a small flashback in her head......and shakes her head to try to clear it. "I...I agree. They have a reputation for taking advantage of tactical advantage. And don't mind misleading people intentionally to do so. I am fairly certain they are not going to show us their full hands. And they likely have stacked their decks to be very much in their favors."
Overhearing all talking, Taavis brought her attention back to the matter at hand. "Both officers are correct, Sir. If you show up unarmed, as sure as a Romulan diplomat would, with all your personnel armed as guards, you will match the strength, and not show weakness. Romulans and Cardassians have a common trait. With them it is a plan, within a plan, within a plan--followed by a trap."
"Wow, all of my officers agree, it has to be a course of action, Commander Quinn, do we have phasers that don't register on sensors and can be concealed?"
"I think we can find something appropriate," Cassandra said with a sly smirk. She looked at Shack and nodded towards the turbolift, indicating he should make a trip to the armory as he knew the inventory as well as she did.
L'Mina didn't really agree, but she kept quiet and focused on the helm console. Only the way her ears and tail moved showed that she was a bit nervous, but most people on the bridge wouldn't know how to interpret tail movements. She thought that the amount of weapons they brought to the surface didn't matter, as they would be outgunned anyway.
Seeing the eye signal from his Chief, Byrnes turned and left the bridge, heading for the armory.
Taavis slid a hand into her pocket and then brought it out, opening her hand to reveal the small palm phaser from days gone by. "This is a phaser IIB, carried for many years by Starfleet personnel in the 23rd century. For whatever reason Starfleet phased it out, no pun intended." Sliding the weapon back into her pocket she looked at all those present. "Intel has a small armory for our shadow teams, with plenty of these available for the away team. The bonus is that you will look unarmed, but when scanned the weapons will appear. So, in order to maintain their superiority, the Romulans will not say a word about them since they will then realize we are going to play the game on even ground."
Chris then turned to his Intel Chief and said, "How do you know that will be their response? I just gave my word that we wouldn't come down armed. Wouldn't that make things uneasy for the negotiations, Lieutenant?"
"Not at all, Sir." Taavis wanted to be exacting. "It is difficult to get you to understand, Admiral. This is the game. Rihannsu will test, push, but never do anything overt, waiting for their opponent to get bored, tired, and then do something stupid."
"Sir," L'Mina said, not being able to contain herself, "I think you should simply keep your word. Even if you bring weapons, if the Romulans want to do you harm, I doubt there is much you can do about it anyway, as they outnumber us millions to one. I think our only real defense is that they probably don't want to face the reaction of Starfleet if they kill or harm one of their admirals and/or flagships."
Chris surprised by his Chief Flight control officer turned and asked, "Why this sudden interest, Commander?" He liked seeing this.
L'Mina thought about it. "A couple of things, sir," she said, "one, I don't really like discussing things which are irrelevant and to put it bluntly, this is. And secondly, if I want to move up in the fleet, I have to show interest in more than just flight control."
Patton spoke quietly. "Sir, if you give the Romulans an inch, they'll try and take a mile. They respect strength, just as long as they're not 'boxed' into an corner. If they find themselves there, they'll fight, even if the odds as against them."
Admiral Barks respected the opinion of both officers and said, "Both of you are correct, however we will go armed with these special phasers, to show strength. Commander L'Mina you made a good point."
Cassandra didn't like the idea of the Admiral going on this mission. But she understood why he had to. This was a diplomatic mission. She was better suited on the Bridge in case everything went south.
Patton gave the hand phaser an look over and smiled. " Just might be the 'little extra ' that saves our lives...if we need it to."
Taavis relaxed her shoulders, glad for L'Mina and Patton. Romulans were a difficult people to deal with, and the more who agreed to maintain an even stance, the better. "Admiral, the Romulans will not overtly confront you. There will be diplomatic games, political games, and finally military games. By games I mean that they will test us to see how ready we are for their civilization to expand. D'era is a driving force in their lives, and as an anthropologist, I know this well."
Kirara for once, felt like a spare cog in a large machinery....she didn't know what to add in...or if her input was needed at the moment now.
Admiral Barks turned to Lieutenant Kirara and asked, "Lieutenant, do you agree with Commander Patton?"
Kirara looked up...kind of surprised he asked her... "Um..yes. In some ways ... the Romulan code reminds of Confucius doctrine. They will respect if you're strong - given that you're not holding a smoking gun to their head. But if we seem to come from a place of weakness or ignorance, they will seize upon it. And as Taavis has pointed out, this even regards to any sort of diplomatic negotiations. As the old saying goes, we must never let them see us sweat."
Shack returned to the bridge, hearing that as he came up with a few small palm phasers on his belt. He handed them out to the away team. "There you go, folks. Starfleet never phased this design out, they just improved upon it, and they are hardly ever used." Byrnes looked to the Admiral. "Sir, just think of who you are. Where you've been, what you've seen, the things you had to live through and with, over your entire career. Ball that up, plant it in your heart, and let that pride show a bit when you talk to Romulans. Don't just listen, but HEAR what they say. Phrasing is everything." He made to say something else, then dropped his hand. "Sorry...lost it. Anyway, just be you, Sir."
L'Mina didn't say anything. Clearly she didn't know the Romulans as well as she should. She made a note to review some data to get to know more as soon as her shift had finished. But for now she had to make sure the ship could leave as quickly as possible should the need arise.
Admiral Barks said, "I'm glad you spoke up, Commander. Don't worry about it at all."
Anita hovered in front of the turbo lift, it was her first shift back on the bridge since the Borg incident. She wasn't sure if she was ready.
She took a deep breath before she stepped inside.
"Bridge." she ordered.
The lift started to move and finally opened up into the bridge.
Ok, relax. You've done this before. Don't let your emotions get the better of you.
She stepped onto the bridge.
"Good afternoon, Admiral." she said greeting her commanding officer before she want to the Science console.
Admiral Barks nodded at Commander Lon and said, "Welcome to the bridge, Commander. Okay, away team into the briefing room to discuss the mission."
Rear-Admiral Chris Barks
CDR Cassandra Quinn
Commander Robert S. Patton
Chief of Diplomatic Services
Commander Anita Lon
Chief Science Officer
Chief Helm officer
Lieutenant Junior Grade Kirara Amanogawa
Assistant Diplomatic Officer
Lieutenant Commander Dr Akane Nokitsune
Dr. Nicole Redex
Lt. Sean Byrnes
Asst. CEO/Asst. Sec. C.
Lt. (jg) Taavis