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Problem Solving

Posted on Fri Jul 16th, 2021 @ 11:16pm by Captain Jacob Kane & Lieutenant Commander Savin & Lieutenant Commander Michael Ki & Lieutenant Finnley Keating VII & Lieutenant P’rel M.D & Lieutenant JG FalenvralLi Zh’kyhrihr

Mission: By Artemis' Bow
Location: USS Athena - Bridge
Timeline: After "Revelations"
1835 words - 3.7 OF Standard Post Measure

ON:

The transmission from the Cavalier was clear enough, and so were the sensor readings: the away team from the Athena was being held hostage by this rogue Commander, and a pirate destroyer was heading for the Pilgrims.

"We have two problems," Kane explained to his assembled senior staff. "We protect the Pilgrims and fulfill our mission objectives, or we rescue our fellow crewmates who are prisoners of some renegade officer who could do who knows what to them. Thoughts?"

"The prime directive suggests we may not interfere with the Pilgrims," Savin suggested, "thus our primary goal is to rescue our crewmates. However... as this ship is capable of a multi-vector assault mode, can we not send one module to protect those creatures, while the other two intercept the rogues?"

Ki was out of his depth when it came to strategy. He felt for the Pilgrims, however, Savin had the right of it and Michael knew it. For the time being the Doctor decided it best for him to pay attention and mop up the mess. It was after all what medical was good for, cleaning up everyone else's mess, Michael thought.

"We can't interfere with the Pilgrims themselves," Kane explained, "But our mandate here in the system was clear: as a protected species we're to prevent anyone *else* from interfering with them as well." He mulled Savin's other suggestion. "Separating the ship may be our best option, however it would leave us shorter on combat capability if not working in tandem. Any other thoughts?" he glanced at the others assembled there.

Finn tilted her head as a lightbulb went off. "We still have that alien shuttle in the bay right? It has some pretty stealthy tech, which it needed to poach the pilgrims without being detected. What if we send a rescue party on that to the Cavalier to rescue our crew and take the ship back? Then the Athena could go after the pirate destroyer without losing any combat capabilities." She threw her idea out on the table.

Ignoring her colleagues’ inane suggestions P’rel focused solely on Kane, who was probably the only other one around the table to know about the So’na and the Baku anyway. “During the Briar Patch encounter, Captain Riker and Commander Worf effected a rapid surrender of the Son’a by destroying their life support system. Athena is considerably better armed than Cavalier, I suggested a well targeted torpedo to cripple life support; there will be no logical option but surrender”. P’rel awaited the Captain’s response, convinced as always that she had delivered the only viable solution.

"Crippling life support on a fellow Starfleet vessel with our own people aboard is an extreme response, Lieutenant. But I will take it under advisement." Kane flicked his attention back to Keating. "The shuttle. How long to get it prepped for the mission you're describing?"

Michael leaned back in his chair with his hand thoughtfully placed on his chin. He listened to his colleagues make their suggestions to the Captain. Two things flooded through his mind. The first was he wished he could be of more use in this situation, but he simply did not have anything that would be useful to add. The other was the number of perspective casualties that rang up in his mind. Each plan would have one major drawback, the loss of life. Well there is nothing for it save to press on. he thought.

Finn put her hand up to her chin and ran through what needed to happen. "It's just a matter of bringing the systems back online and converting the controls to make it more easily flyable. An hour maybe?"

Li spoke up from where she was standing at an auxiliary console, monitoring the sensor readings being fed to the officer currently at the helm and trying to catch up on what she'd missed while in sickbay. "The controls are fine. I mean, they aren't Starfleet standard but, based on the quick look I got at them when it came in, I suspect any unwieldiness is a byproduct of being calibrated to maximize effectiveness of the stealth tech. If you can get it fully powered, I'd fly it in the way it is now."

Kane nodded firmly. He trusted the helm officer, and her performance on the station had only improved his opinion of her temperament. "Very well. Lieutenants Keating and Li will take charge of the shuttle mission. Get in, get our people and out. If there's an opportunity to retake the Cavalier then you have authorisation to do so. The rest of us will see if we can stop those pirates going after the Pilgrims." He straightened, giving an air of finality to his instructions. "Any questions?"

The young Andorian pilot felt her mouth hanging open but managed to tear her eyes from the Captain before staring for too long. After her performance on the station, it was a surprise he hadn't barred her from the bridge. She certainly hadn't expected to be sent on another mission so soon. She looked toward Finn, unable to think her way to any questions.

Finn shook her head no in response, but her mind was already elsewhere. Sure, no problem. Fix an alien shuttle, fly it undetected to a rogue Starfleet vessel holding our people hostage, rescue them and take back the ship. Preferably without dying. Why did I volunteer this again? She sarcastically wondered as her brain concurrently ran through steps to bring the shuttle back online. Although a seemingly difficult task all around, Finn was excited to meet the challenge head-on.

Catching Kane's eye just before everyone was dismissed, P'rel interjected; "Captain. I am the only person to have operated the vessel in space; and to the best of my knowledge the combat experience of these two..." she gestured unimpressed to Finn and the Andorian whose name she couldn't yet pronounce. "...is limited, at best. I volunteer to lead the away mission; there is no other logical option given the probability of hostile engagement" she finished, with her unintentional yet characteristic tone which implied that only she could be correct.

A sigh escaped Lt. Li's mouth at P'rel's suggestion. Though she did like the idea of piloting the shuttle - in fact, as she sat with the idea for a few moments, the navigational puzzle and ship-handling challenge became something she craved - the rest of the mission felt more like just another opportunity for her to lack answers and get her crewmates blown out into space or something. She liked the Chief Engineer and, to the extent one can after only a few days, she trusted her. But maybe the sort of person who would come out of the gate with a suggestion like opening fire on another Starfleet vessel was exactly the sort of person she wanted to be answering to on a mission like this. That was assuming the Vulcan's abilities matched her inclinations.

Anyone looking would've seen Finn's eyes roll clear into the back of her head. She wondered if the Vulcan kept volunteering to join her for research or missions just to torture her. Plus the last thing she wanted was to be under her command. Finn had already seen what the ice queen was like when she had a higher rank. Did they really need an intelligence officer for this?

"The shuttle is already tight on space. If we can't take the Cavalier back, then it'll be a squeeze to fit everyone on the vessel with just the two of us. We'll need all of the room we can spare. We can handle it." Finn nodded towards Li as she pleaded her case.

"Captain if I may, I believe our intelligence officer is better served staying on the Athena. Given her shoot first, ask later attitude it may yet be better to send Lieutenants Li and Finley, and allow them the opportunity to prove they can handle the situation," Savin offered calmly, offering quiet support to the two women.

Kane raised a hand, signalling that he wasn't about to start a war between his officers.

"Enough. Lieutenants Li and Keating will handle this assignment." He looked very quickly at P'rel, almost daring her to challenge his final judgement. "As much as having someone with your 'unique' skillset on that mission, I daresay you may find yourself more appreciative of the opportunity to glean intelligence from the poachers we're about to handle."

Michael had absorbed all that was said. He knew that he would have Sick Bay ready in the event of injuries, he always did. When the order for dismissal came. Michael rose with a nod to the Captain. Just another day, another bunch of injuries. he thought. The more conferences he went to the more Michael was sure that Starfleet should stop getting involved with others' businesses.

Eyes darting to Savin when he spoke but not lingering there, Li was surprised to hear his confidence in her after she'd practically stuffed him in a sensory deprivation box right after learning of his disability and the phobia it exacerbated. She tried to tamp down the mounting anxiety that her second away mission would go even worse than her first and focus on the technical details she'd have to work out with Finn. Sure, her previous stint as a glorified bus driver had been a bit boring, but it had the advantage of never involving deliberately subjecting yourself to explosive decompression or hostile boarding of another Starfleet vessel.

Briefly meeting the Andorian's eyes, Savin gave her a quiet nod. Of course he trusted in her ability to fly that ship, she was a pilot wasn't she? As everyone was dismissed, Jerant caught up with him as he was leaving the room. "You may return to your other duties," Savin told him, "I am heading back to my office." As was usually the way after a briefing.

As the staff dispersed, Kane motioned silently for P'rel to join him to one side. Ensuring they were suitably away from attention, he leaned in to confer.

"I know that your interest spreads to the situation on the Cavalier...but I have another thing in mind." He glanced once to make sure they were unobserved. "We aren't permitted to directly interact with the Pilgrims, under very clear Starfleet orders. But we both know that something else is going on here, and those creatures have at least part of the answers. While we tend to matters with the pirates, I trust you'll apply your considerable experience to obtaining a verification sample without anyone knowing about it. Do you understand?"

P’rel nodded, briefly and curtly as was her way. “Aye sir” she replied, meeting his very direct gaze and conveying that she did indeed understand very well;”I’ll bring Mr Tolbar in on this as well...” with that she nodded and made her own dismissal.

 

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