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Mission Briefing

Posted on 12 Jun 2016 @ 6:13pm by Admiral Zachary O'Connell & Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander Thiago Teixeira & Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Commander Temerant Bast & Lieutenant Commander Jayla Kij & Lieutenant Commander Adam Casey & Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale & Lieutenant Avery Stuart Ph.D.

Mission: Risky Business
Location: Starbase Unity
Timeline: MD 1 || 0900 hours

OOC-HG: For reference, this is what the room looks like:

The moment the summons arrived, Lieutenant Di Pasquale grabbed an empty PADD, turned Security over to the duty officer and headed to the transporter room to be beamed over to Starbase Unity. She cleared her thoughts of the previous mission and turned her attention to the matter at hand. The Consortium was still out there and the Chimera and Cochrane were too close for comfort and the next closest ship was an Olympic-class Medical ship.

When she arrived, she checked the map and headed to Briefing Room Two and entered, her mind now clear and ready for new orders and new information. "Lieutenant Di Pasquale reporting," she said before she headed to the front row of seats.

Warrant Officer Tankia, a Betazoid who had been assigned to the Commodore as his aide, looked up from from the forward podium. "Good morning," she said with a smile. "Commodore O'Connell and Captain Geisler will be here shortly."

Dr. Kij arrived soon after Camila and stopped in her tracks at the sight of the room. She'd seen briefing rooms like this before, but hadn't expected it on Unity. "Wow, fancy," she muttered and gave the security officer at the door her name. Once he cleared her, she took a seat next to Camila. "Good morning," she said, cheerful as always. "How've you been?"

"Good morning," Camila told the Betazoid Warrant Officer before she saw Doctor Kij enter and gave her a smile. "Much better now that everyone has checked out clean and my department is organized again. Did you finally manage to get some sleep, Doctor?"

"Yes I did," she answered. "Nurse Hurley convinced me to put myself on medical leave for a couple of days. It felt like cheating, but at least I can think clearly now."

"Good," Camila said. "We don't need our Chief Medical Officer sick."

Terry had just been going over some information from the Flight Intelligence Officer when he received a call to report Unity's Briefing Room Two. He secured that PADD and put it way, grabbing another. It was mostly out of habit since he'd taken command of the Black Knights and was now part of staff briefings. He left the squadron in the capable hands of his Deputy and went to the transporter room.

Once aboard the starbase, he quickly found the briefing room. Terry grinned a bit as he entered as was being cleared. This was a nice briefing room for this part of the galaxy... Starfleet didn't spare any expense. He made his way up to the two ladies were seated. "Commander, Lieutenant," he said nodding at each of them in turn.

"Commander Walsh," Camila said with a nod. "I'm looking forward to seeing you back in training soon. How are you feeling?"

"You know, I've been meaning to get that scheduled," said Terry. "I really need to get back in there. But, I'm feeling okay. Thanks." But that's all...just 'okay.' He swiveled a chair around and took a seat. He hoped this mission briefing and the new mission would take his mind off of things for a while like it used to. "Not a bad looking briefing room," he said. "Can you imagine the Captain having a monitor like that? We'd have to hold our staff briefings in the cargo bay. Only place big enough to house the thing."

Temerant Bast walked into the briefing room, a bit out of breath from sprinting from the other side of the base to this room. He'd been meeting with the base's quartermaster, trying to secure new power relays, in an attempt to solve some of the power distribution issues they'd had over the course of the previous mission. He spotted Camila, and moved to an empty seat next to her, quietly slipping his hand over her knee.

"Good morning," he said to everyone around.

Thiago had been eating breakfast in his temporary quarters when he was notified of the staff meeting. Having not met anyone from the Black Hawk, he was a little anxious. It had been 13 years since he'd transferred to a ship where he didn't already know one of the senior staff.

Taking the last bite of his cranberry scone and finishing his glass of orange juice, he changed into his uniform, fixed his hair, and set out to the briefing.

He was able to find the meeting room easily enough and, in short order, arrived. The door sensor registered his approach and opened the doors for him. He walked in and saw that several people had arrived before him; a Trill man sitting next to a good looking blond woman, an attractive Trill woman in a blue collared uniform, a well-built man taller than Teix himself, and a female Warrant Officer with dark eyes. Probably Betazoid, he thought.

"Oi!" he began in Portuguese. "I think I'm in the right place," he said in lightly accented Federation Standard. "Black Hawk briefing?"

Camila gave a nod to Terry and smiled at Temerant as he came in and put his hand on her knee. He was being bold in public and she liked it. "Hi, Temerant," she said with a smile before she turned her attention to the new man who came in, just missing the extra pip on his collar. He was tall, well built and rugged looking and his accent was pleasant.

"You are, Sir," Camila said.

"Commander Teixeira," he said in response to the blond Lieutenant. "I'm the new Exec."

"A pleasure, Command Teixeira," Camila said, grateful that he had pronounced his name. If she had to guess how it was pronounced from a PADD, she would have had to ask the computer for a pronunciation key. "I'm Lieutenant Di Pasquale, the Chief of Security for Black Hawk."

Thiago approached Di Pasquale and extended his hand. "Nice to meet you, Lieutenant."

Camila shook his hand and smiled. "Nice to meet you, too, Commander."

Teix looked at the gentleman next to the Security Chief. "Engineering or Ops?" he asked, going solely by the yellow collar of the Trill's uniform. He then looked at the brown-eyed Trill woman. "Doctor, is it?"

"Chief of Operations. Temerant Bast," replied the Trill, extending a hand toward the new First Officer. He eyed the newcomer with cautious optimism. Teixeira would be their third Executive Officer in a very short period of time, and in light of recent events, such instability in the command structure could affect the crew.

"Doctor Jayla Kij," Jayla confirmed to the new XO. He was hot. And those eyes! Wow! But, she allowed her expression to betray none of that. For one thing, she sorta had a... well, a thing with Harvey and for another, he might be a complete jerk and personality was extremely important to Jayla. "Good to meet you," she added.

Teix studied the Doctor's face. He loved how her curly hair cascaded around her face. And she wore a smile that brightened the room. "A pleasure. When this is over, I'll have to come by for my physical."

I'm looking forward to it, she thought. But, she only smiled politely and said, "I'll add you to the schedule."

Terry had heard the other talking to an apparent new arrival to the Black Hawk family. He swiveled his chair and saw a man standing there. Terry got up and made his way over, putting out his hand once he reached the man. "Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh, Squadron Commander for the Black Knights. Welcome to the team."

"Thank you, Commander," Thiago replied, taking the larger man's hand in his own. "I will admit that it feels strange to be among strangers," he said, looking the pilot in the eyes and matching the man's firm grip. "I trust that we will not remain that way for long though."

Direct eye contact and a firm handshake, thought Terry, good first impression. Releasing the man's grip, Terry said, "Eh, it won't take long to get to know the crew. Well, uh, the staff at any rate, there's a whole lot of 'crew' aboard. But everyone around here is pretty friendly, Sir."

"Glad to hear that, Commander," Teix said with a smile. "Transfers are much easier when one finds themselves around friendly people."

Adam walked into the briefing room, noting that he wasn't the first, or last, to arrive. He found his way to a seat, and looked around at the gathered group, nodding by way of greeting. He then looked at Camila. "Camila, how are you?" He asked.

"Could be better, Casey," Camila said. "But hopefully this meeting will make it better."

"Let's hope so." Adam agreed, with a nod.

Mark quickly walked into the briefing room slightly behind schedule with a couple data pads in hand. Since getting his new post, he had been busy trying to get fully up to speed on the situation with the consortium. Due to that, he had a couple reports he was just unable to put down. "Sorry to be running a bit behind." He commented as he looked around the filling up room, and taking a seat.

Avery entered the briefing room briskly and offered an apologetic smile to the others in the room. "My apologies, a session went long." As an experienced counselor, Stuart was usually better at monitoring such things, but understandably, after what they had just been through, a number of people needed to talk about the life-threatening virus that had nearly taken so many lives.

The door at the bottom of the room opened. The first to walk through was Captain Geisler, who looked up to see his crew already assembled. Immediately, he spotted the only unfamiliar face, the man he recognized as Thiago Teixeira, one of four choices presented to him as options for the Executive Officer slot. "Commander," he greeted professionally, only nodding to the man before taking his reserved seat in the front row. This was going to be an odd experience for him, not leading a briefing to his senior staff.

With a swish, the doors closed behind a second individual, this one wearing the regulation duty uniform of a flag officer. Only two flag officers were aboard Unity, and while this briefing was indeed critical, Rear Admiral Cameron's attention was needed elsewhere. Therefore, Commodore Zachary O'Connell was left to deliver the information.

"Good morning," Zach said, taking a look at the crew who just a few weeks ago had been ordered to hunt him down. It was the only time in his life that he was glad that a Starfleet venture had failed. Well, it wasn't exactly a Starfleet mission, and it was likely that Zach would not have survived for long in a brig.

He gave the Warrant Officer a nod, who promptly left the room. As soon as the door closed, a forcefield was instantly erected around both entrances, and other clanks behind the bulkheads sealed off other access points, including the air circulation. "The information that you are all about to receive is classified as top secret, well above Level 10 Access."

The sound of the bulkheads sealing caused Camila to sit up straighter and gave the Commodore her full attention, her eyes on the man as her fingers lightly rested on the PADD to take any pertinent notes.

Above level 10? Wow. Are we even allowed to be here? Jayla thought, but decided it wasn't the time or place to make that joke. Even so. Luckily she didn't have a hard time keeping secrets.

Terry took note of the forcefields going up and the sounds behind the bulkheads. He had never been in a briefing like this before where everything sealed and even the air shut-off. He pulled the PADD closer to him, preparing to take notes. He still couldn't believe the precautions. But when the Commodore announced that this was above Level Ten Access, he understood the reason for them. This was huge.

Spending a year during the Dominion War working intelligence as part of Admiral Ross' staff, Thiago had been in a number of top secret briefing. He'd even given a couple. But it was nearly unheard of for this many non-command level officers to receive a briefing of this level.

Bast frowned. This had an echo of some rather unpleasant memories, but he couldn't remember the details. Except that he could remember every detail - Wilem Bast, his previous host, had been called upon, in his capacity as one of Trill's leading scientists, to help Starfleet understand and defeat the Breen energy weapon, at the start of the Dominion War. And the meetings had taken place in conditions similar to this, in locked rooms, with energy dampening fields to prevent recordings, and to disable unauthorized electronic devices. He looked at Camila's padd, and doubted that it would still be operational while the field was in effect.

Adam sat up straight, raising an eyebrow at the comment. 'Level 10? Must be big' He thought.

Mark's heart rate quickly increased as the room sealed and the announcement of the classification level. He knew whatever was going to be one of the biggest things he has dealt with in his career to date, if not in its entirety. He grabbed one of his data pads to take notes, but not sure if he would be able to keep any of them.

Zach stood behind the forward podium now and inserted an isolinear chip. Instantly, the holographic viewscreen to his left activated, displaying a map of Task Force 9's Theater of Operations. "First, we have some good news. With some help, we were able to activate a long overdue project aboard this base, a long-range sensor network. Much of the technology had been left behind by the Dominion, but we were able to get it working again, along with a few well placed sensor buoys throughout our explored space."

He tapped a button to display every warp signature in range. "A few weeks ago, I gave your Captain a chart with the last known location of every one of our vessels. But today, we know exactly where everyone is, where they've been and where they're going. The best part is, the Consortium doesn't know it."

Captain Geisler couldn't help but smile. This wasn't an answer to their situation, but it was nice to finally have an advantage. But, when there was a best, there had to be a polar opposite. "And the worst, Commodore?" Harvey asked, arms crossed as he sat straight up in his chair.

"The worst is, we can see what they're doing." Zach vacated the podium for a moment and walked over to the projection. "Task Groups Sentinel and Vanguard are consolidating near Deep Space Eleven," he reported. "We suspect it's to monitor the wormhole more closely, or even reach through and plant a Consortium flag at Deep Space Nine." Moving over to the sector marked Gavara, the Commodore added. "Meanwhile, Belvedere and what little the Consortium control of Paladin are fortifying Gavara. Based on intel you've all supplied before, we believe they're coming straight for Unity."

Zach moved back to the podium. "I have to congratulate you all for how you handed the Yolvanda situation. If nothing else, it has proven that the Consortium has few bounds. That is why you are all here today. Does anyone know what happened in the Omarion Nebula in 2371?"

Bast was the first to speak up. As a scientist assigned to defend the Federation against the Dominion during the war, he'd had access to classified information. Romulan Intelligence had shared some of their data from this event.

"You must be referencing the Cardassian and Romulan attack against the Founders' Homeworld," he said.

"I remember reading the reports, the Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order decided to attack the Founders, and were lured into a trap before being destroyed. But that was years ago, what's that got to do with anything now?" Adam asked.

Terry was listening intently. A lot of it was new, but he remembered some of it from back when he flew for the Corp during the War. Rumors flew around like crazy back then and the Starfleet Marines didn't care. They were there to do a job. And do it, they did. But some of this he had heard rumors. Now, it was being confirmed.

Camila listened quietly for a moment, then shoved her PADD aside when she saw it wasn't working. "Wasn't a ship lost there?" She asked. "Something about being sensor blinded by the nebula, I believe."

"There are a lot of rumors about what happened in that nebula," Zach replied. "All Starfleet knows is that not a single ship survived the onslaught. There were, of course, survivors, and those survivors were imprisoned until the end of the war. Only a handful by that point had survived, and most of what we know is second- and third-hand information from Starfleet POWs we've debriefed after the war."

Zach clasped his hands behind his back and continued. "But rumors are just that, rumors. There's no proof unless evidence is presented."

"If we don't have any proof, then what are we here for?" Camila asked.

"Why are we here?" Zach echoed, purposely repeating the question. "Because sometimes, someone gets themselves wrapped up so much in a rumor that either it becomes true or they do incredibly stupid things in their journey to prove it true."

The Commodore tapped a button to call up a Romulan Valdore-class vessel. "It's no secret that both the Obsidian Order and Tal Shiar operate without a normal sense of morality, assuming they have one in the first place. The Tal Shiar planned to kill every last founder, and, unless you are the Borg, it would take fleets of starships with enough firepower to decimate or destroy an entire planet."

Nodding at the Valdore, Zach stated, "This is the IRW R'thraw. She's one of the first Valdore-class ships launched, and one of a small handful of vessels not confirmed destroyed in the Omarion Nebula. If the rumors are true, then this ship was heavily modified by the Tal Shiar to carry a Thalaron weapon."

"I remember hearing rumors saying that the Romulans had sent some sort of superweapon on that mission," said Bast. "But there's no evidence that the Romulans produced a working Thalaron emitter before 2378."

"The Romulans don't usually share all of their secrets in a timely manner either," Zach countered. "But, that is why it's just a rumor."

"The last time that a Thalaron device was used was Twenty three seventy-nine when the Romulan Senate was killed by a Reman plot," Camila pointed out. "To our knowledge at any rate. They could have perfected it by now."

"So we're expected to go rumor chasing?" Harvey asked, straightening in his chair. "Can't that wait for this our business for the Consortium to finish?"

"If only," Zach commented. He tapped a button to change the projection back to the sensor readings. The Commodore then stepped over to the projections and gestured with both hands to zoom in on a particular sector. The new image displayed warp signatures for the USS Chimera and the USS Cochrane. Both ships were moving at high warp towards the Hadyn Nebula. "We received an encrypted message from a crew member aboard the USS Cochrane. The Consortium has ordered both of these ships to seek out and find this fabled weapon. As far as the rumor is concerned, the R'thraw vacated the Omarion Nebula and was chased to here. The Romulan ship never emerged, nor did the Dominion ships that followed it."

Zach eyed the crew of the Black Hawk grimly. "Rumor or not, we cannot allow that weapon to be retrieved."

Bast shivered. They'd all seen the security footage of the Romulan senators killed by the Thalaron device, incinerated instantly where they stood. It was a chilling sight. If the Consortium were to gain access to such a device, it would severely tip the scales in their favor.

"Commodore," he spoke up. "What do we know about the crews on those ships controlled by the Consortium? Have they embraced their commanding officer's new ideology, or are they still loyal Starfleet officers, being misled into carrying out the Consortium's biddings?"

"Are we going to be going after them solo?" Camila asked, knowing how thin the ranks were getting.

Since he was new to the crew, Teix opted to remain silent and watch the dynamics of the crew. He knew from reading past mission logs that the Black Hawk had been through some real shit. They'd been boarded, had crewmates murdered in front of them, and even had the previous XO framed for sabotage as part of a cover for a Consortium takeover. So he watched and listened. He had to work with these people and, so, he needed to try to understand them.

Looking at the yellow-collared Trill, Zachary responded, "We estimate that there are six to twenty Consortium agents among the two starships and their collective crew of over three hundred. Most of those have no idea what they're doing, blindly following Consortium orders. They cannot be allowed to be harmed."

Zach returned to the podium. "Your mission is two fold. First, do not let the Consortium find this weapon, whether it's real or not. Second, I expect you to return to Starbase Unity with the Chimera and Cochrane in tow, or at least their crews. We've already lost too many good people in this fight, and I don't want to see any more."

Looking to Lieutenant Di Pasquale, Zach added, "And, yes, you'll be going after them alone. As you know, we're already stretched thin. Sending too many would be like inviting the Consortium to launch their attack early. Besides, the Black Knights will provide all of the support you'll need. You'll also be operating under radio silence. We don't want to let the Consortium know you're coming, much less what you're doing." After a beat, he said, "Captain? All yours."

Harvey took his cue and rose from his seat. "Like the Commodore said, we'll be operating under radio silence the moment we leave. Keep that in mind, and don't let a single transmission escape the ship until we're in the nebula. We'll obviously need to communicate with the Black Knights, but communication needs to be kept to a minimum even then."

Terry nodded. Radio silence to minimum communication would be easy. He knew that the Black Knights could provide the support needed. They had already done an excellent job in proving that with the O'Carroll.

"The Hadyn Nebula is Mutara class. That means we'll have no shields and no sensors. Miss Di Pasquale, we'll need sentries set up strategically around the ship to set up visual scanning. Mister Bast, provide equipment to these sentries that will feed images to the viewscreen."

Bast nodded in acknowledgement.

"Yes, Sir," Camila said.

"Mister Casey. I don't like not having sensors. The Hadyn Nebula also has some unusual gravimetric properties. I'm sure you'll get a chance to study them, but these properties cannot be allowed to interfere with our mission. Find a way to detect them." Harvey looked at the new XO, whom he still hadn't been formally introduced to yet. "Commander, see if you can give Mister Casey a hand."

"I have a possible idea, but it needs work." Adam said, recalling tactics he thought of back at the Academy when studying old space battles.

Thiago looked at Casey, a brown haired man in a blue uniform with Lieutenant Commander pips. "I look forward to working with you, Commander."

"Commander Walsh, the Black Knights will need to be in active service while we search for the Chimera and the Cochrane in the nebula. You'll be eyes, ears, and our first defense. Make sure every single pilot knows this, and how to disable Intrepid-class ships."

"Yes Sir," Terry said. "I'll have the whole squadron out and flying perimeter for you." He nodded at the Captain's last comment. "I'll brief every single pilot myself if need be, Sir. But they'll know everything they need to know." He would've made notes on his PADD, but it wasn't working.

Bast spoke up. "What if those ships manage to get their hands on the Thalaron device? Pardon me for asking, Sir, but what good are snub fighters going to be against that?"

"Can Thalaron radiation go through a ship's hull?" asked Jayla, brow wrinkling.

"It'll go through just about anything," Harvey solemnly confirmed. "But, the Consortium shouldn't consider one-man fighters to be a threat. They don't, after all, expect the Black Hawk to be intercepting them."

Terry jerked his head towards Bast and shot him a look. Snub fighters, he thought. "Damn straight they won't consider my Valkyries a threat. And that's where they'll be surprised. Snub fighters..." He wanted to go on...oh did he ever want to go on. One didn't just call a Starfleet starfighter 'snub.'

"I'll also need ideas on how to take down the Consortium agents aboard the Chimera and Cochrane, or even capture those ships. We have a short list of who we suspect is Consortium, but there are over three hundred crew on these ships. There's no way of knowing who is who."

The Commodore cleared his throat. "I will be sending Warrant Officer Tanika with you. We've learned that empathic species have a way of detecting some agents. It won't be foolproof, but it's a start."

"I seem to remember hearing about a treatment that counteracts Thalaron, but I can't remember the specifics," Jayla said. "Something given to people before exposure that slows the effects and gives the medical team time to treat it. I'll check into it and see what I can come up with."

"I'll have Warrant Officer Tanika deliver everything we have on Thalaron to you, Doctor," Zachary said from the podium. "Radio silence means that you'll also have to keep your uplink to our computers offline. Whatever information you need, request it now."

Avery's eyes met the doctors. Under the circumstances, Stuart expected to help the CMO with such research as well as keeping the rest of the crew calm.

"I have a question: What can we share with our departments? How much of this information is classified?" Adam asked. "I'd also like to work with engineering, as we could try developing a shield to block Thalaron Radiation. It might not work, but it's worth looking into, isn't it?" Adam asked.

"Everyone will know as soon as we leave port and we enter radio silence," Harvey replied. "Until then, everything you've learned in this briefing stays here. Talk to no one, including each other. I'll let the crew know personally. After that, Mister Casey, you are free to work with Lieutenant Rykov and her team."

"In light of the fact that all of our ships are well known, would it be possible to change our identifiers to send out false names?" Camila asked. "Such as changing the Black Hawk to the Kermit and run with a similar theme throughout our fleet."

"The Consortium might already have thought of that," replied Bast. "They might even be doing it themselves, and switching their transponder ID's around. For all we know, those Warp trails we think belong to the Chimera and the Cochrane might actually belong to a pair of Sovereign-class ships."

"That's the beauty of this sensor network," Harvey commented, having read the docket about it the night before. "It doesn't just rely on transponders, but it's also able to make out shapes and sizes, though not entirely detailed." Harvey nodded at the projection where the Chimera and the Cochrane were still traveling at warp. "Those definitely aren't Sovereigns."

Mark sat mostly silent in the briefing, his hands racing taking notes on one his pads. He would need to get access to this new sensor network, that would make almost everything he had been doing nearly irrelevant, his job immensely easier. He was assuming that this new network would not function in the nebula, so he would need to have all the information ready as the network goes down.

"We'll consider it," Zach said after a moment of thought. "Transponders may have to stay the same, but it doesn't mean our communications and tactical reports can't change." He'd have to look into that more, but he had a suspicion this crew would already have that figured out when they returned.

Harvey stood for a moment in silence, waiting to be sure all questions had their chance to be asked. Hearing nothing further, he continued. "I know this has been an unusual briefing, but these are unusual times. Before we conclude, there are two things I need to make you aware of. First, Lieutenant Commander Bast has accepted the position of Second Officer as of last night."

The Captain looked to the new Executive Officer, almost wishing for a moment a certain red head was in his seat. "And please welcome Commander Teixeira, who will be replacing Kos as first officer."

Thiago didn't say anything, but did look around the room at the others and offer a smile.

Looking back to the rest of the crew, Harvey said, "I'm sorry we don't have time for the usual formalities. The Chimera and Cochrane will beat us to the nebula by at least twelve hours. We'll be departing at 1100 hours, which isn't far off. Commander Teixeira, get us ready for departure. Dismissed."


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