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Emergency Preparedness

Posted on 08 Jul 2016 @ 6:46pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander Thiago Teixeira & Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Commander Temerant Bast & Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij & Lieutenant Jarveth Adan & Lieutenant Jonathan Kilmartin & Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale & Lieutenant Parisa Rykov DCS & Lieutenant JG Felix Langston & Lieutenant JG Catherine Cooper & Jadzia Melcox & Ensign Kelly Khan

Mission: Risky Business
Location: Deck 3 || Conference Room 2
Timeline: MD 3 || 0900 hours

Captain Geisler walked into the Conference Room on Deck Three. This meeting represented several firsts for him, including being the first to arrive at a meeting he called. He'd been through the first Battle of Betazed, and several other starships during the Dominion War that had been damaged beyond repair. Though he had been a part of evacuation procedures before, he'd never been a part of planning or implementing them. Sure, the crew had a biweekly drill since he'd taken command to prepare them for the dire possibility that the ship would be abandoned. But this was different. This would be not just abandonment, but escape all together.

He had a second objective for the meeting, which was more of his primary objective: Taking on more personnel than the Black Hawk was meant to handle. Of course, there was the danger that they'd bring aboard a Consortium agent or two. Or three. Or fifty. They had to be prepared for that, and whatever else he wasn't thinking of. This was why he invited more than just a few select members of the Senior Staff. This undertaking would require a lot more than them.

Lieutenant Di Pasquale entered the Conference Room a minute after the Captain, her uniform crisp and her hair pulled back in a tight braid. She had dark circles under her eyes from the previous night which showed how late she had been up and the faintest traces of worry lines around them. She unconsciously looked around the room, but noted that only she and the Captain were present at the moment. The look on his face spoke volumes and she knew this wasn't going to just be a friendly chat with the crew, but something a lot more than the grand total of the briefing the crew had received at Unity or on his ship wide inspection tour.

"Captain Geisler," she said with a nod to the man who everyone on the ship counted on to lead them through whatever crisis came their way. He may lead us, but each of us are also responsible for keeping him safe, none more than my department, she reminded herself.

"Lieutenant Di Pasquale," he greeted. "How are preparations proceeding for taking down the Chimera and Cochrane?"

"They are all set, Captain," Camila said. "All we are waiting for is contact."

Cadet Senior Grade Kelly Khan came in, still surprised to be called to a conference with the Captain and some of the senior staff. She had no idea why she was called considering the Black Hawk now had another Chief of Flight, but she would find out soon. She gave a nod to the Chief of Security and a uncertain smile for the Captain before she found a seat and took it, waiting for what was to come.

Jayla entered the conference room and smiled around cheerfully at everyone. "Good morning," she said. "I hope nobody's morning was as horribly dull as mine. Then again, if the Doctor's day is boring, that means nobody is hurt, which is a good thing."

"Bored is a lovely thing..." Cooper said fervently hearing the Doctor's comment, she nodded those present. She wasn't used to being included on shipwide staff meetings, the rarity alone promised this would be a big deal and she was on her best behavior pulling her energy inward. Part of her mind working on her plan for the Cochane while another part contemplated what materials would make a great yo yo if one wanted to use it also a trip wire.

Warrant Officer Tanika entered, her dark Betazoid eyes scanning the room. Since her superior officer, Commodore O'Connell, had assigned her to the Black Hawk, she was simply biding her time until she needed to scan the crews of the Chimera and Cochrane. She assumed that her presence in this meeting had something to do with her objectives. She nodded to the staff who had assembled thus far and took a seat in the back of the room.

Lt. Felix Langston came to the briefing room door and stopped before the door would open. First time actually meeting the crew all together, he thought. Wish I had time to talk to them before the last briefing. He took a gentle breath and exhaled slowly. He stepped forward and the doors gave a pleasant swoosh as they opened to reveal the conference room.

He saw the senior staff seated at different seats around the conference room table. Felix made his way to a seat near the middle of the table. As he approached his seat, he mustered up the warmest smile he could, gently cleared his throat, and waved. "Hey everyone," he said softly, "Lt. Felix Langston, new Chief FCO."

Cooper leaned over, "Lt. Jg Catherine Cooper, Deputy Chief Paladin..." She said quietly back, shaking his hand and standing nearby as she returned her attention to the senior officers in the room.

Slipping into the briefing with Six and a few of the other pilots and giving the CMO a wide berth, Dzhossen chose a seat towards the edge of the meeting and vaguely wondered why he was here. As far as he was concerned, if anyone had orders for him it would come through Walsh and Sunbeam. Maybe Archer, he didn't see any sense in bucking her too far. Whatever. Six had makeup time scheduled in the holodeck and this was just something Discord had to suffer through to get there.

Terry walked across the Bridge, thinking. He knew that this wasn't going to be a normal briefing based on the fact that Kilmartin and the new Ensign had been asked as well. He entered the room and saw that is was already filling up. Though, he did notice that there were some new faces. Probably from Unity, he thought. He walked around the table and took a seat next to the Warrant Officer.

Jadzia snuck into the briefing room and sat in the back, glancing around the room at all the other Starfleet collars. She was the only civilian and it was a bit uncomfortable. at least she was wearing a semi-uniform pilot's cloth jacket and jumper. Nevermind that her comm badge was a twisted delta with a pair of wings. That didn't stick out one bit on her collar where everyone else wore their rank.

Wishing he'd been on the Bridge when Geisler had called this meeting, rather than in the middle of a swim, Thiago arrived later than he would have liked. He quickly took a seat next to Kij. "Doctor," he said quietly. He attempted to catch the Captain's eye and signal an apology.

Bast walked into the room at a brisk pace, worried that he might be late for the briefing. Preparations were well under way for his department, and he had been overseeing the final details before he was confident they could safely enter the nebula. He found an empty seat, the third chair on the Captain's left, and sat down silently.

Sunbeam hadn't expected to be called to a briefing, but as he approached the room he saw countless people enter. He entered the room and stood around the edge of the room, positioning himself so that he could see all those in the room.

Dr. Parisa Rykov, Chief Engineering Officer of the USS Black Hawk walked into the conference room ready for the meeting. She was well rested, alert, and eager to get things underway. "So...Conference Room number two today?" she said with a joking scoff. "Good morning" she said to everyone present before finding an empty seat.

Lieutenant Adan arrived at the meeting only to discover there was standing room only. Quickly, he took a stance in the back of the room with his hands behind his back. He was pleased to be called to the meeting, but did not know why. He would soon learn.

Standing, Harvey surveyed the room, thinking that he'd never seen a room so full. "Thank you for coming," he started diplomatically. "I'm sure you're all aware of our mission and its objectives, no matter how wild their inspiration may have been. I won't be addressing those. This is a Think Tank," he told them. "In this room, I don't care if you're a junior or senior officer or a civilian. This is about coming up with a plan to save lives. If you have a thought, share it."

Harvey continued, "We have two things to consider. So, let's start with the first. Our orders include to bring home the Chimera and the Cochrane. If we can't bring the ships, then we have to bring their crews. We're all trained in standard evacuation procedures, but believe me, this is anything but standard. Each ship boasts roughly 160 crew. Among that crew are Consortium agents. We don't know who or how many."

Harvey let that sink for a second. "So, we have two questions with our first topic here. If we have to bring the crews on board, how are we going to do it? And, how are we going to separate the bad apples from the group? Keep in mind that the Hadyn Nebula is Mutura-class. We don't have sensors, and we don't have shields. Bulk transports are more than likely out the window."

Kelly listened and thought about what the Captain was saying before the obvious came to mind. "We could use the shuttles and runabouts, Captain," she said. "Each Danube runabout can hold eighty people at maximum capacity and if we use all the other shuttles, that's another fifty to sixty people. As for telling who is who...have the pilots wear masks and flood the shuttles and runabouts with Anesthizine gas to render everyone unconscious."

Camila had been thinking about the issue before the meeting and she looked at the short brunette cadet as if she had been reading her mind. Well, without the exception of the gas to knock everyone out. She made a mental note to look into the cadets background to see what else the perky flight cadet had hiding. "in the event that we can't get everyone aboard the shuttles and runabouts as Cadet Khan suggested, then we could attempt to use the transporters to get the few that haven't used the escape pods or the shuttles on the Chimera and Cochrane. We have to assume the Consortium people are going to try to blend in with the rest of the crew or get them to form a defense against our efforts. If it's the latter, we'll know who they are. If it's the former, they'll reveal themselves in one way or another. We have to assume that Command and Security are compromised already."

Cooper nodded in agreement, "There's the fact of using our shuttles and runabouts with any on the other two vessels will make it that much faster, if we can get to their shuttle bays depending on conditions as we find. Three ships worth of shuttles and runabouts would make short work of it..." She had this mental image of a bucket brigade style thing with shuttles running on a loop. They couldn't house all those shuttles but using them move people then returning them to the ships or beaming out the pilots when done was an idea. She glanced at the cadet who'd first spoken up with a nod of a approval, "The securing personnel for transport until we can house them securely while we sort through the lot is not a bad idea. If knocking out isn't viable there are internal force fields on the crafts that might aid in control and as the Chief said using the transporter for a few might be something the Nebula would let us get away with." She glanced at the Chief of Operations, "Sir, in your opinion how many can we house on the Blackhawk? Have we crunched those numbers?" She asked her mind working the problem. Ideally they would be able to re-take the ships as well but she appreciated the Captain planning for the worst, just in case.

"This ship has a maximum evacuation capacity of five thousand people," replied Bast. "That shouldn't be an issue. We can convert the cargo bays, observation lounges, and rec rooms into emergency shelters, and Talon's will also be requisitioned, obviously. But both of those ships have a combined crew of less than three hundred and fifty, so it won't be a problem."

Cooper nodded, at least they had that much. Between the senior staff in the security department Cooper was confident hey could secure those areas for possible traitors as well as evacuees. She only hoped abandoning the Blackhawk wouldn't needed, surviving as a gaggle of lifeboats (when lifeboats link together for resource sharing) was possible but damned difficult. She was pulled from her musings when the XO spoke. She didn't know him well but he seemed very focused.

"Captain, what if, after beginning to evac the other ships," Teixeira began, "we find ourselves needing to abandon the Black Hawk? Lifeboats? If all of the auxiliary craft are in use...." He allowed his voice to trail off. After a second, he started speaking again. "The likelihood that we will end up with a Consortium agent onboard are high. If that does happen, they will try to commandeer or neutralize our ship. We cannot allow that. Are we comfortable being reliant on the lifeboats in the nebula if the need arises?"

"Lifeboats wouldn't be any good inside the nebula," replied Bast. "They simply don't have enough shielding to protect us against the ambient radiation prevalent inside the nebula. We wouldn't last long."

"Can we make something?" Dzhossen sat near Six, the two pilots absently pushing their respective styluses through attack approaches on a PaDD. "I mean, it doesn't have to be much more than shielding and life support. Valkyries could tow a barge or two as long as we didn't have to warp. If we could integrate a fighter or two even that might be possible but the mechanics of it in such a short time frame are nearly impossible. That is, assuming that the Consortium isn't just going to order our lifeboats destroyed. Why risk letting us contaminate their crew?"

"Remember that we won't have sensors inside the nebula," reminded Bast. "No sensors, no way to lock on a tractor beam. Not to mention the fact that we're only eighteen hours away from the nebula. That's not nearly enough time to build barges."

"Suspended animation," Sunbeam blurted out, drawing the attention of others in the room. "You said mass beam out may not be doable, but with all the personnel and cargo transporters at our disposal we could transport small groups and suspend their transporter patterns in the transporter buffer. If we don't rematerialize them, we don't need space for them," the Pilot suggested. "We wouldn't be able to do it for everyone, but if we beam as many as we physically can to the ship first, we can suspend the rest in the buffer."

Thiago shook his head. "No transporters, Lieutenant," he responded, hoping to curtail discussion of a nonviable option. "No sensors, remember. I don't think any of us would want to be responsible for the disaster that is inevitable trying to beam large numbers of people without sensors."

"And even if we could use transporters, we're not leaving people's patterns in the buffer!" Jayla protested hotly. "Storing anything at all in the buffer is risky because the patterns degrade too easily. Put a person in there long-term and even if their pattern degrades a tiny bit, you get a dead person with half his head missing!"

Jadzia raised her hand and spoke up. "I know an old smuggler trick. It's not exactly Starfleet approved though. With a pair of tricorders and a deflector emitter relay I can build a shield for the worst of the radiation. It sits inside the hull itself and a small inoculation will let a shuttle full of people last 24 to 26 hours just fine. We used it for dumping cargo."

"Which would be great if shields actually worked inside the nebula," replied Bast. "Unfortunately, they don't."

"There's no nebula inside the shuttle." Jadzia had a lopsided grin as she pointed that fact out. "And it's not a true shield. Its a modification to the structural integrity field that polarizes the hull itself. Which also has no nebula in it."

As soon as she had finished speaking, Jayla had felt Kij trying to calm her down. She took a deep breath and latched onto the one thing that made sense. "Inoculation, of course!" she said. "The life boats might not be able to shield us for very long, but if we start putting hyronalin in the ventilation system, we should be okay in the life boats for a couple of days. That's enough to get us clear of the nebula, I would think. Unless we get farther into nebula than we currently think we will."

"Assuming we can manage the radiation issue, the lifeboats are not durable enough if the Consortium starts taking shots at them." Teixeira felt silly pointing out the obvious. "Missions like this come down to hard choices. We might have to make the decision to save our own crew, even if at the expense of others." It sounded selfish, but it was practical. He suspected it would be an unpopular position, and it wasn't likely to help him make a good impression on his new crew. "We can't help other people if we're not safe ourselves."

"I agree with the Commander," Dzhossen looked up from his stylus and tried hard to look very serious, very Vulcan. Like his father, people listened to his father. "The lifeboats will be a non-factor. The logical thing for the Consortium to do is to destroy them." Then, unable to suppress a wicked grin, "That being said, the best thing to do with the life boats would be to load them with excess warheads and use them like mines."

"We have no excess warheads, Ensign," Camila said as she looked at the illogical Vulcan. "Destroying lifeboats is not an option, either. Nor do we have time to make barges to use to transport survivors. Security has a plan to disable the ships, but the problem remains of how to get the surviving personnel off of the Chimera and Cochrane."

She looked at Lieutenant Kilmartin next. "With the ionized gases of the nebula interfering with our sensors, Captain Geisler has already said that transporters will likely not be an option and as Commander Kij pointed out, storing them in the pattern buffer for any length of time is also not an option."

Felix finally spoke up. "Besides, once the Chimera and Cochrane start shooting at us, we're going to have to deal with a huge furball. Navigating a nebula is hard enough without engaging two enemy ships at once. Possibly three, if there are any Consortium agents hiding on the Romulan derelict."

Bast was horrified by some of the comments he heard around the table. "Let's not lose sight of the fact that the crews of those ships are still loyal Starfleet officers. They might be blindly following the orders of a commanding officer who has turned to the Consortium, but the crews are still Starfleet officers. We should focus our tactics on getting them to realize that their commanding officers have betrayed their oath to Starfleet, and helping them to regain control of their ships. We can't sacrifice them just because we couldn't think of a better way. We'd be no better than the Consortium."

Harvey had been silent long enough. He rapped his hand on the glass tabletop twice to attract attention back to him. "We've gone off topic people. And, since the topic has arisen, yes, we will need to prepare for a worst-case scenario here on the Black Hawk. But, we are not there yet. Our objective right now is to have an evacuation plan for the Chimera and Cochrane."

He held a hand out towards Bast's direction to emphasize something that he had said. "While I agree with Mister Bast, there's little chance we will be able to convince the crews of their captains' true loyalty. Two months ago, this ship had two Consortium agents on board, and it would have been enough to take this ship down. Other ships have had as many as thirty agents on board. There's no telling what would happen, or the amount of bloodshed that would follow if we tried different options, much less came up with options that had a chance of working.

"Regardless, we will have to face both ships. They will not hesitate to engage us. We're a bigger target, and with no shields, we will take damage. We will return fire, and with no sensors, there's no guarantees that we won't hit the bridge or an impulse engine or a deflector array. I want to know how I can get those crewmen off if I have to."

Harvey sighed. "Suspended animation is risky, but sensors are required for transporter locks. That's why, unless there's a damned innovative idea, we can't use them. And straight evacuation will be tricky. Not everyone has a flight deck. Anyone know how many shuttles or runabouts an Intrepid can hold at a time? I doubt it's very many. And how can we collect lifeboats, because I'm sure tractor beams won't function either?"

Kelly spoke up a moment after the Captain stopped. "An Intrepid class ship typically has a crew of one hundred and sixty-eight people. They typically hold four Type-9 medium short-range shuttlecraft, two Type-6 medium short-range shuttlecraft, one Type-9A cargo shuttle, two Type-18 shuttlepods and two Work Bee Maintenance Pods, Sir."

Rykov clapped softly in amusement. "Gold star, Cadet" said the Chief Engineer. "She knows her Intrepid class auxiliary craft compliment. Kudos to her" added Rykov sharply. "However, let us not neglect one detail in our listing...The Intrepid class starship also has an Aeroshuttle embedded on the underside of her saucer. They are usually designated as the Captain's Yacht for the class" chimed the Chief Engineer.

After awhile Cooper pipped up, "There's nothing for it then, if we can take and hold 1 or more ships great then it becomes a matter of securing them where they dropped if not depending on how fast we have to move it'd be helpful to have as many small craft on a bucket brigade as we can get, no we can't store them all so its a matter of them following us out or like the pilot says locking them to the hull." Cooper said, it was a weird idea but hey she'd heard stranger. "Figuring we can get max payload and all three ships worth of small craft operating together max we can pull their crews one go. Other plan is to one ship send the two runabouts to capacity then the shuttles to the other vessel, they get 50 in one go and we use their shuttles if we can otherwise the runabouts will bump over when they finish with the first vessel, at worst with minimum small craft its 4 trips? How long?" She glanced at the pilots for confirmation, it would depend on their speed and ability at any rate.

"Well, I know our pilots can handle these transfers," Felix said. "Provided we can speed up our loading/unloading process, I'm sure a single shuttle can take off, pick up its payload, and return to the Black Hawk within seven minutes, ten at the max. If we can use transporters to get the passengers off the shuttles when they arrive back here, we may be able to shave that time down even more."

Catherine continued knowing she was speaking the obvious but she quickly moved on to her point, "If we have to abandon all three ships then that's going to be our main way out and that's when the extra craft will be vital...unless the engineers can repair the Romulan ship somehow..." She said shrugging, the last statement in a tone of someone not serious about it, still it was the only other ship in the area. "I still feel keeping them secured or knocked out is most likely the safest way in the short term." Cooper felt. She'd listened for a long while as the ideas flew fast and furious. That was why she'd been quite listening trying to work on how the ideas would play out, any suggestions she had. She fell silent again interested where the plan would go. The problem was the sheer number of viable factors. If they kept the Blackhawk that was one plan, if they got one ship that was another plan, got both still another plan and on it went. Cooper focused on getting the crews off their ships to the Blackhawk if needed but that's not to say plans might not need adjusting.

"But we're not talking about all three ships, Lieutenant," Harvey said, surprised that she would venture that far out there. "We're just talking about the Chimera and the Cochrane."

Cooper nodded as though she expected nothing less, "Yes Sir." She said but to be fair life tended to toss oddballs at them, they most likely would never need the romulan ship but it was a possible asset that Cooper thought it couldn't hurt if people remembered it was there though it made sense to focus their planning as the CO was saying.

Having had his previous idea shot down (despite the residual belief that it had merit), Sunbeam felt reluctant to speak up again and instead looked to Walsh. He had been very quiet so far. "Its the nebula that's the problem. Why can't we figure out a way to get them out of the nebula? Let's replicate some mines and disperse them in there. Let's tractor them out. We can't mass evacuate whilst in the nebula so let's find a way to get them out of there!" The Pilot was getting animated. Why was everyone so intent on making life difficult? The nebula was the problem so they should find a way to take it out of the equation.

Terry had watched and listened to the whole exchange thus far. He was still wondering why he and his pilots had been summoned to this briefing in particular, but shrugged it off. "An interesting concept, Lieutenant." He then addressed the room. "Which would be best? Drawing them out of the nebula or forcing them out? I would imagine that gaining the Romulan ship would help in whichever way we decided to go. Might also be able to evacuate easier."

"The nebula is impossible to navigate," Harvey replied. "Nor will the Consortium abandon their prize." He sighed. There were several good ideas tossed about, and perhaps the final decisions for those ideas were better left in the hands of the senior staff. "The only way to get the Consortium to leave is to make sure they don't get their prize. Walsh, Di Pasquale, it'll be up to your teams to be sure that warbird doesn't leave this nebula. I know the Lieutenant already has a plan for that, so we don't need to spend more time there."

Harvey sighed. "Thank you all for your ideas on the matter. Mister Langston and Miss Di Pasquale, we'll confer privately to make a final decision on the Chimera and Cochrane." He didn't say it, but he knew he'd bring a couple others along. "Now, to the final topic. There is a chance that the Consortium will have found the weapon and would like to use us for a test subject. We all need to be prepared for that. The Black Hawk will not be permitted to be delivered into their possession. We'll have to evacuate and quickly. My gut feeling is that the best chance for survival, we'll have to scatter. More targets means that someone will at least survive."

"And I thought I had the grim outlook on life" replied Rykov with a scoff. "I will have my Department prepared for whatever shall come, Captain. You can count on my engineers to serve this starship to our last breath" she said fiercely. "More targets" she said with a smirk "Does make it harder for them. Have we explored alternative options such as using the nebula to our advantage?" asked Rykov.

Jarveth spoke up from the back of the room. "I can fly the Romulan ship if it's still intact. Jorrell, one of my previous hosts, flew one dilapidated one for the Maquis. I still retain the knowledge and that gives us one extra ship."

Rykov smirked. Oh glory to the Empire she thought shaking her head. She cleared her throat "Even if it isn't quite intact, Captain...if there's enough resources aboard or at our disposal, I can likely get her up and running again. Maybe not at peak performance, but at least she'll perform" added the Chief Engineer. "Hell, I can probably get you some cloaking ability if I had enough time and its systems aren't beyond repair."

"That's assuming we can actually take the ship," Jayla pointed out. "If it comes down to it, we might have to destroy it to keep it out of consortium hands. And if it does, in fact, have a Thalaron device on it... well, I have no idea what destroying the ship would do to such a device." It was clear from her tone, however, that she was suggesting that nobody from any of the three ships would make it out of the nebula if it came to that.

Harvey stood still at his chair, waiting to see if anyone else would speak. After a moment of silence, he cleared his throat. "Well, you all have certainly given us quite a bit to think about. Thank you for your ideas. Everyone but Teixeria, Bast, Di Pasquale and Langston are dismissed."

 

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