Looking For Answers - Part 1 "Briefing"
Posted on Sat Mar 11th, 2017 @ 6:37am by Captain Oliver Lee PhD & Lieutenant Commander I'lien Slvar & Lieutenant Commander Isbee Foster M.D. & Lieutenant Kevan Dash & Lieutenant Georges Ejim-Long & Lieutenant Chrysanthe Capulet & Lieutenant Ryley Kincaid M.D. & Captain Rebecca Post
Episode 3.5 - Welcome to Paradise
Location: Briefing Room, USS Arcadia, Beta Antares Ship Yards
Chrysanthe waltzed into the briefing room and took a seat at the back and awaited everyone else's arrival. She was going to read though while waiting and promptly stuck her nose into a padd.
Isbee rushed into the meeting space convinced she was going to be late, still in her searingly white lab coat and cradling a steaming cup of coffee. This would be her first staff briefing since coming aboard, and while she was unsure if this ship's protocol permitted beverages at such events, she new she needed caffeine to get through whatever they had to discuss. It had been an oddly hectic morning, and more than anything the doctor was looking forward to the chance to sit down.
Post was amongst the last of the officers to arrive for the briefing; she had been rather busy getting acquainted with her new command and had left leaving for the briefing to the last possible minute whilst ensuring she was still on time. At any other time she'd have done her best to be there sooner, but as long as she wasn't late she was happy; no Marine would ever tolerate being late after all. Settling into a seat she took out her PADD and prepared to take notes.
As it was, she had only two choices. A space opposite the first officer, and the chair obviously reserved for Captain Lee. Ah, the captain wasn't here yet! Slowing her pace, Isbee exhaled a breath she hadn't realized and found her spot across the table from Slvar. She offered him and the others a pleasant smile, and then drank deeply.
Oliver strode into the spacious briefing room fashionably late - a little over three minutes after the meeting was scheduled to begin - and there was a small smirk lingering on one corner of mouth. Command had just given him a go-ahead after days of wrangling and subspace calls. But he finally got what he wanted. Well, sort of.
"Good morning, ladies and gentlemen." the ship's commanding officer greeted his senior staff as he took his seat at the head of the oval table. "As you are all aware, five days ago there was a kidnapping attempt on Captain Ymir and myself by Commander Nirak and Lieutenant McGuire of the USS Kandor posing as IA officers. The Kandor, as it were, disappeared into the Silent Triangle near the Huizi System, and that was two months ago."
"Captain," I'lien said. "A Starfleet vessel went missing two months ago and there was no public release of information. This begs the question, what was the Kandor doing?"
"An old academy buddy of mine was assigned to the Kandor. I think he mentioned they were surveying stellar phenomena?" Kevan commented.
Oliver let out a slight chuckle. "It's always stella phenomena, Lieutenant. It's the go to cover story whenever a mission is classified and a pretty good one if you ask me since, well, Starfleet does do a lot of real stellar phenomena studies. But I don't think the Kandor was sent to the Silent Triangle to study any stella phenomenon, at least not the ordinary kind. Its mission has a level 2 strictly need-to-know classification, which means not even its own crew, except for the CO and a select few others, were aware of the nature of their own mission. As a matter of fact, the kidnapping incident itself has received the same classification due to its connection with the Kandor, and so are any and all reports on the incident. I don't think I need to remind everyone what that entails. I'll personally inform Captain Yair and Corporal Charles as well."
Chrys rolled her eyes. Intelligence spooks were everywhere it seemed.
I'lien sat up straighter. "Speaking of Corporal Charles, I would like to officially apologize for not keeping you informed of the security operations I initiated. In retrospect, they were timely, even if the threat came from an unexpected source. I would like to officially recognize the Corporal for his efforts and my thanks to Captain Ymir for her obviously effective training regimen."
Oliver nodded. "I have already started the paper work for Corporal Charles' commendation. I'll also convey your kind words to Captain Ymir." Straightening his uniform jacket slightly, he continued, "As for apology, no protocols were technically broken, Commander, and more importantly, if not for your initiative, there is not telling what would have happened to Captain Ymir and myself. Certainly we would not still be here on the Arcadia, safe and sound. And for that you have my gratitude.
"Yes, I do wish that you had informed me of the operation, but the truth is, if you had, I'd have most likely rejected your proposal as unnecessary since I did not believe Admiral Sandel posed any security threat to either myself or anyone around me. I would not have been wrong, but as it turned out, neither were you. And I'm just happy that it worked out the way it did."
Turning his attention back to the rest of his senior staff, the ship's commanding officer said, "Having said that, I do want some answers to at least some of the questions raised by the kidnapping attempt. Now, officially Starfleet Security is handling the case, and we were ordered to proceed with our original mission of exploring the yet unexplored Seshir Sector. But I was able to first convince Ms. Raena, governor of the Huizi III colony, that she needed some emergency supplies delivered and then Admiral Wells from Materiel Supply Command that the Arcadia would be the best choice to deliver those supplies. So, now we will make a detour to the Huizi System before resuming our course to the Seshir Sector. And as we pass by the Silent Triangle after leaving Huizi III, we will have the opportunity to survey the local space." He paused briefly before adding with a small smirk. "All for science, of course. Questions?"
Her heart rate lowered, Isbee wasn't sure what to make of what the captain had just said. Her years on stage helped her maintain a poker face, but she wondered if it appropriate that Lee be involved in an operation with his recently attempted kidnapper. She casually cast an eye towards Counselor Kincaid as mental health was more her area of responsibility. But if Ryley had an objection, she would offer her support if needed.
I'lien spoke up again. "Can we expect any, difficulties, from Admiral Sandel in our immediate future?"
"If you ask me, I'd guarantee it," Kevan responded. "Admiral Sandel's last apparent efforts threatened the integrity of the ship and her crew. I'm recommending we stay at a heightened level of security for the time being."
Oliver nodded as he listened to his XO and security chief. "We will be out of the sector and her reach soon, so I don't expect the Admiral to give us any more trouble, but given the recent kidnapping attempt, enhanced security measures would be prudent. Lieutenant Dash, prepare a recommendation and have it on my desk by 1600 hours."
Kevan nodded. Another report to write. Half of it was prepared in his head anyway. Yet on a ship the size of the Arcadia, heightened security was more than a minor job; He might have to pull a few of the new Marine CO's people in to make up some of the bodies.
Oliver noticed the pensive look on Ryley's face and asked, "Counselor?"
"I know we all want answers," Ryley pointed out, "but it's going to be important we retain our objectivity. Our commanding officer is the survivor of a crime. I find it highly unusual the survivor of the crime is being given any leeway at all to go anywhere near anything related to such an event."
Oliver leaned back into his chair and rubbed the back of his neck as he spoke with a small smirk. "No, they wouldn't normally, but since it's classified and all, Admiral Wells hasn't been informed of the incident, and I didn't mention it to him because, well, I've been ordered not to mention it to anyone, and I didn't want to disobey a direct order."
Tricky, Isbee thought. He hadn't really addressed Ryley's concern, but had justified his involvement in the search.
It didn't escape Ryley's notice Lee didn't address her concern either, and although she was too professional and too experienced to let it show on her features, the smirk she saw on his face bothered her. He seemed to take particular pleasure in having knowledge others didn't and violating protocol, just as he enjoyed cheating in their previous training scenario. Frankly, Ryley still didn't understand why that had been necessary and she was afraid this may be the continuation of an unhealthy pattern. It was one thing for Lee to take such liberties as an individual, it was quite another to do so has a commanding officer responsible for other people's lives. Kincaid had been known to bend a few protocols herself, especially if protocols got in the way of what she believed was appropriate patient care, but it wasn't a routine occurrence and it certainly wasn't motivated by anything arbitrary or personal. "Back on track to my original concern, as I said, maintaining objectivity will be key."
"Agreed. Objectivity must be obtained," Isbee offered, still concerned with the matter herself. "Wouldn't you agree, Captain?"
Oliver rubbed the back of his neck again, but this time without a smirk. Although this was his ship and he was confident that his orders would be carried out regardless of any lingering doubt on the part of any of his senior staff, but he preferred doing this with their full support and not the least because doubts tended to create misunderstanding and friction, neither of which is conducive to the formation of the necessary esprit de corps, which was especially important for a crew as new and as untested as the Arcadia's.
It was time to put some doubts to rest.
"Both Commander Nirak and Lieutenant McGuire had exemplary records." he said, "And from what unclassified information I could gather, they were good men, family men. In fact, Lieutenant McGuire and his wife were expecting their second child. I do not believe for a second that people like them would do what they did out of their free will. We were not responsible for their deaths, but that does not change the fact that they died under our watch, and whoever put those cerebral implants in them is still out there. What we can do will be limited, but I'd be damned if I didn't at least try to find some answers."
He meant every word that he had just said, but he was also concerned about his best friend. Whoever coerced Nirak and McGuire clearly knew how much Korra meant to him, and if they tried targeting her once, the chances were they would try again, and he would be damned if he didn't at least try to do something about it. That, however, was something he would like to keep to himself. He didn't want anyone to think of him as doing this for purely personal reasons - he was not, and he didn't want to give misunderstanding any chance if he could help it."
He looked at the Doctor and then the Counselor before speaking to the entire group, "As for objectivity, I'm counting on all of you to keep me on my toes so that I don't lose it."
Isbee nodded, satisfied with the answer.
"Of course, sir," Ryley replied. She made a mental note to speak to him after the briefing to see how he was doing. The vehemence behind his words could just have reflected his own anger at being caught off guard and attacked, but she wondered if perhaps there was more to the story. She may have had her misgivings about Lee thus far, but that didn't mean she wasn't going to offer her emotional support in the aftermath of what happened. Whatever dangers they all accepted about Starfleet, and indeed whatever dangers captains accepted in particular, being shot at close range into unconsciousness in what was supposed to be a safe space, could be considered traumatic by most people. She didn't want to minimize or overlook that just because the event didn't cause lasting physical injury and was the precursor for their larger and more complex responsibilities.
"Pardon my interruption," said Georges "but if this classified info is directly tied to our current venture, isn't it irresponsible to bar you from discussing at least part of it? This feels a lot like what took me away from my last post and I don't want to be second-guessing this situation if there is info to be learned."
Oliver made a mental note to ask Georges later about what happened on his last assignment, but at the moment he need to stay focused on the case at hand. "I didn't mention the incident to Admiral Wells because, one, it's classified, and two, if I did, he would not have authorized us to deliver the supplies to Huizi III for precisely the same reasons that the Counselor mentioned earlier: it was standard protocol that the victims of a crime not be involved in its investigation. But as I said earlier, we owe Commander Nirak and Lieutenant McGuire to at least try to find some answers. Other than that, Lieutenant, please rest assured that whatever information regarding the case I have given you is all that I know, which, unfortunately, is not much, hence the need to do some investigation of our own."
"And if I may," Isbee added. "What of the emergency supplies? Is that simply a 'cover', or are we actually going to provide them to the colony at Huizi III?" She tried her best not to second-guess speaking up, as it seemed as if they were all ganging up on Lee. It certainly wasn't her intent, but the details of this pending operation appeared to be provoking some deeply felt and well-reasoned questions.
"I assure you, Doctor," responded Oliver, "the supplies are real - in fact, they are being transferred to cargo bay 3 as we speak - and we will deliver them. Huizi III does need the supplies although the urgency is not quite as great as Governor Raena's official request to Starfleet might indicate. The truth is, they don't need the supplies right away, and they can wait for another month or two, but we need to make that detour to the Silent Triangle now. Once we leave Federation space behind, it would be impossible to make that detour without raising a few eyebrows in Command."
"I'll get some medical staff down there to see that they are cataloged and secured for transport, Captain," Isbee acknowledged, growing more relieved as each concern was addressed.
Chrys was silent as she listened to everyone's questions. All raised a good point. "What you don't know can't get you killed" she muttered to herself. Lee was as protective of his crew as they were getting to be of him.
Sensing that the meeting had run its course, I'lien stood. "Thank you for the insight, Captain."
Oliver nodded. "We will depart the shipyards at 0930 hours tomorrow morning as scheduled. And if there's nothing else, ladies and gentlemen, you are dismissed."
As most of the senior staff stood up and began to make their way to the exit, he noticed that Ryley remained in her seat. He waited for everyone else to leave the room before asking, "Lieutenant Kincaid, is there anything I can help you with?"
Kincaid nodded. "I'd like to speak with you privately, sir, if you have a moment."
"Of course." Oliver nodded.
[To be continued in Part 2 . . . . . .]
Captain Oliver A. Lee
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
Lieutenant Commander I'lien Slvar
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
Lieutenant Chrysanthe Capulet
Chief of Science
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
Lieutenant Ryley Kincaid, M.D.
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
Lieutenant Kevan Dash
Chief of Security
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
Lieutenant Commander Isbee Foster
Chief medical Officer
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
Lieutenant Georges Ejim-Long
Chief Tactical Officer
USS Arcadia NCC-89015
Captain Rebecca Post
Marine Commanding Officer
USS Arcadia NCC-89015