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A Delicate Situation

Posted on 18 Oct 2016 @ 6:59pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Lieutenant Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Camila Di Pasquale & Lieutenant Elizabeth Marion

Mission: Click Three Times
Location: Briefing Room One
Timeline: MD 9 || 1200 hours

Fresh off the training session, Harvey had summoned the Executive Officer, Squadron Commander and the Acting Chief Operations Officer to Briefing Room One where they would break the unfortunate news and formulate a plan of action.

Camila entered the Briefing Room shortly after being summoned, the smell of cordite and gunpowder still clinging to her uniform and a bemused look on her features. So far, the training had been marginally successful and she was hoping they would have time for more. Now she was wondering why the Captain had called another meeting so soon after the last one unless there was bad news.

Terry had just finished up with lunch, for what that was worth anymore, and was heading back to his office to work on those six letters to families. He was in the turbolift when the summons came through to meet the Captain in Briefing Room One. After correcting the turbolift for his new direction, he simply waited, wondering what the Captain wanted. As exited and walked down the corridor to the correct room, he continued going through things that Captain Geisler might want. He entered and found the Captain and Camila there already. Either he was early or it was a small briefing.

"Captain, Lieutenant," he said respectively, and took a seat across the table from Camila.

Lieutenant Marion walked in not too long after everyone else, sinking into her chair, "Sorry if I'm late."

"Right on time," the Captain replied. He crossed his arms and stood next to his chair at the head of the table. "I'm not sure how far this information has gone yet, but I'll let Lieutenant Marion brief us on the current situation. Miss Marion?"

"Yes sir," Lt. Marion nodded to the Captain before turning to the others in the briefing, "Yesterday evening, Lieutenant Burke discovered a viral program had infiltrated our ship's computer. Between us, we spent four hours trying to oust the malicious code using the most thorough method at our disposal. Unfortunately, the virus was far more resilient. As I explained to the Captain yesterday, the only course of action left to us is to bring the entire computer core offline and reload the protected backup archive. This process will, for the couple hours it will take, leaves the Black Hawk completely vulnerable."

"Based on its growth," Harvey added, "we're looking at catastrophic damage. Our best guess has this virus uploaded during our battle with the Chimera. If it is Consortium in origin, then we can't delay too much longer in getting rid of it. So, we're going to be changing our plans just a little bit."

"If the Black Hawk is left vulnerable again in the present situation, then I suggest a deployment of the Black Knights and shuttles to act as our eyes and ears until we're back online," Camila said. "How far is the nearest nebula or asteroid field we can hide in?"

While it all sounded rather bad to Terry, the Lieutenant's suggestion to use the Black Knights and shuttles was good. However... "If I may, the Black Knights can be used as eyes and ears, but definitely supplemented by available shuttles. Even though the four damaged Valkyries have been fixed, we're still down the six that were destroyed. Well, down by eight, if you count the two assigned to escort duty. At any rate, I'd suggest an asteroid field instead of a nebula. While that would help the Black Hawk hide, it would also hinder my fighters and the shuttles from seeing anything. Or landing targeted phaser shots, for that matter. We've already learned that lesson."

"The nebula I pointed out to the Captain scatters broad wavelength scans such as long range and medium range sensors. It shouldn't effect short wavelength targeting scanners and the like. We can also set up a picket line of sensor probes just outside the nebula, which can act as a kind of early warning system. I hesitate to suggest an asteroid field because the ship won't even have the benefit of the navigational deflector grid while the core is reprogrammed. Anything autonomously handled by our ship's computer won't work. All the Black Hawk will have is the backup fission generators to maintain the life support systems and communication network, though we'll probably need to leave one shuttle in the hanger to act as the relay between the personnel in the ship and those craft you send out to act as the defense network," Lt. Marion spoke up, having devoted most of her time going over everything she could possibly think of that could go wrong since she'd reported to the Captain.

"A picket line of advanced technology never before seen in this quadrant, Lieutenant?" stated Terry. "Don't you think that would tell them exactly where we are?"

"Perhaps, but with as few options as we have, the risk of being found in an asteroid belt and the ship being crushed because it can't move out of the way is a lot higher than someone noticing a small probe near the leading edge of a nebula they might not even care to look at. I wish there was some perfect suggestion I could make, but none of them are air tight and risk free..." Liz lamented the situation apologetically.

Terry sat back and nodded. "Gotcha. I'll have the squadron prepped and ready. Too easy. We did it in the Hadyn Nebula before we got here, we can do it in this nebula, too."

Camila watched the interaction between the squadron commander and the acting ops chief and sighed. "One way or another, we're going to have to rely on luck on not being found. The nebula would be our best bet. Commander Walsh, what would be the minimum number of Valkyries needed to act as our eyes and ears?"

The Captain looked to Mister Walsh for that answer. Already, he'd made a decision of his own, but he wanted to see if the Squadron Commander felt as he.

"All we have is a minimum number of Valkyries," said Terry. "Plus our refitted Peregrine. It's now combat ready. I'd recommend we have them all in the air with the Black Hawk as vulnerable as it's going to be."

"I agree," Harvey quickly said. "We have a lot of priorities right now, but the safety of the ship is the utmost. The nebula Lieutenant Marion spoke of is four hours from Razmena. We'll change course for the nebula, and as soon as we arrive, I'll take the Mississippi and the away team to the station. I know it's not ideal, but the Black Hawk is going to need all of the teeth she can muster. I hate to disappoint the pilots looking forward to the station, but we don't exactly have a choice in the matter."

"What about the use of the other shuttles and runabouts we brought from the Chimera?" Camila asked. "We can set them up in a picket and use them for short range communication to be our eyes and ears. That way, the away team could still have the escorts."

Harvey considered it for a moment before saying, "That'll be up to Commander Walsh. He knows our flight capabilities the best, but if the ship has to be defended, I'm more comfortable with trained pilots than just anyone filling a seat."

"It's a good idea," said Terry. "But as far as trained combat pilots, they'll all be in the fighters. Anyone else to fly the shuttles and runabouts from the Chimera will have to come from the ship's Flight Department. Unless there were some trained combat pilots that we brought over from the Chimera. That could work."

"I doubt there are any of those in the transfers," Harvey said. "But I'm with you. You're going to need everyone you've got. Start preparations immediately."

"Right away, Captain," said Terry.

"I'll let the away team know the time table's been moved up," Harvey told the group. "Lieutenant Marion, I expect you to get this computer sorted in record time. I don't want to stay alone at Razmena for long."

"If there are no issues with the back up files, the whole process from start to finish shouldn't take more than four hours, Captain. If we only do the critical anti-contamination scans and the most basic pathway verifications, it'll take about two and a half, but there might be glitches..." the Operations officer reported.

"All the more reason why we'll have to do this in a nebula and not outside Razmena," Harvey reinforced. "Much less after that. Hopefully we won't attract too many new enemies on this base." Nodding to the three people in the room, he added, "Unless anyone has anything else, I think this settles it. Dismissed."


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