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This was a great idea....

Posted on Thu Dec 4th, 2014 @ 7:44am by Commander Jey Cleh & Commander Eliana Masters & Commander Andrew Matheson & Lieutenant Commander Adria "Tempest" Desoro & Lieutenant Stacy Pierce & Master Chief Petty Officer Allison Wilshire & Lieutenant Commander Rosaleen O'Donnell

Mission: Bloodpath
Location: Taranok IV---Forward Base of Operations
Timeline: Day 2: 1318 Local Time

The Bettina was making good time, ticking off the kilometers in bunches as the members of Starbase 80 made their way to Taranok IV. Normally, the ship was rated for a maximum cruise speed of warp six and a half, but with a few tricks learned over decades of dealing with variations of the Cochrane series of warp engines, Masters had them humming along at a speed approaching warp seven.

A soft aural alert drew the pilot's attention away from the engine diagnostics and towards the navigation display. The ship was represented in planform by a light blue shape overlaid on top of a moving map of the surrounding area. Proximity warnings alerted Eliana to the presence of a planet on their present course along with the potential for a collision if no further action was taken.

"Warning: Collision course set with planet Taranok IV. Recommend adjusting course."

"Well of course it's a collision course. I told the stupid thing to fly me directly to the FOB," Masters spoke in a low voice to no one in particular, rolling her eyes as she did so.

The urgency and the intensity of the alerts increased as the Bettina drew closer to the planet, but in spite of her seeming apathetic attitude towards the warnings, Ellie knew precisely when to drop the ship out of warp to make a quiet entrance into the upper atmosphere. There was just one thing to consider...

Quiet was a relative term when it came to the Aerie class. For instance, it would be quiet when compared to a volcano explosion or even the detonation of heavy ordnance.

"Bettina to FOB Phoenix, we're descending through the upper thermosphere and we'll be there shortly. What's the status of the LZ?"

"Phoenix to Bettina, we're still reshuffling the deck. We're sort of tight on space, verify dimensions?"

"Ninety-six by forty-two by thirty."

"Feet?"

"Meters."

There was a pause on the frequency.

"Right, uh, we'll be ready."

"Understood, Bettina out."

It was an impressive sight to see. They had to do a bit of shuffling of the onsite craft to make room for the Bettina to land. As the large craft descended, one common thought passed through the group. That ship was about as inconspicuous as the full moon was in the night sky. The craft slowly reached for the surface, finally settling down after three long minutes. Maybe nobody was looking that direction...

"Welcome to Taranok IV - be sure and thank your pilot as you exit the craft," Ellie squawked into the public address system. "She accepts payments in the form of chocolates, hugs, and bottles of wine."

"Maybe I'll share my wine with you, when we get back." Lizzy said with a smirk, as she stood up from the center chair on the bridge. "Now we get to see what's really going on."

Rosaleen had already made her way to the main starboard exit and activated the system, which extended the gangway before the door opened. As the first rush of Taranok air flowed in, Rosaleen was startled at how...well, lovely it smelled. Like fields upon fields of fresh spring flowers. She stood quietly taking in her new surroundings, orientating herself to it's feel.

"Rundown one, rundown two," Masters called out from her seat on the bridge. A nervous smile spread across her face as the engines fell silent. "Hopefully we didn't cause too much fuss with our entrance."

Getting up from her seat, she too headed towards the starboard airlock and stepped outside. For the first time since flying a preliminary mission for the engineering project on Stratkas IV, Eliana was planetside. She drew a deep breath as she stretched out her legs, spotting Adria out of the corner of her eye.

"Well, the Bettina is reusable and it looks like most of the crew is as well. I'd call that a successful landing," Masters smirked.

Adria couldn't help but smile and laugh at Eliana's comment, "Fuss no I'd say this landing is very tame even with Bettina compard to some I've seen." Following masters out the airlock.

As the ship had made it's landing, Arianna made her way to where the gangway would be extended. As the door opened, she stood at attention at the bottom of the gangway, just out of the way. Her uniform was dirty, bloody, and torn in some places, and the skin that could be seen on her looked much the same, as she stood with a machine gun hanging by the strap, and a pistol on her hip.

Lizzy made her way to the door where the others were. As the door opened to show a view of the area, she was surprised to see Arianna standing at the bottom of the gangway. "Looks like someone found our missing shuttle crew." She said to Rosaleen, then noticed Arianna's weapons. "I don't think she should be armed though."

Andrew got a glimpse of purple shoulderbars as he looked out the door. Apparently one of his department's lieutenants had been on the missing shuttle. The lieutenant didn't look too much the worse for wear, so Andrew waited for an opportune moment to talk to the man.

Stacy moved out onto the gangway and immediately started to take in the surrounding, mentally logging everything from terrain types to elevation changes to natural resources available. She knew that as soon as her equipment and personnel started to arrive she would begin transforming this area into a fully functional base of operations. One that would be usable for many decades after the current action was just a memory. Pulling out her PADD, she started to log imagery and type notes as she made her way down onto the surface for the first time, numerous ideas already starting to form.

Lizzy also made her way down the gangway to stand in front of Arianna, who simply looked at her quietly.

"I see you're still in one piece, Miss D'Tal." Lizzy said, as she looked her over.

"You could say that." Arianna replied simply. "To be honest, I've had a rough couple of days."

"I can tell." Lizzy replied. "Once we get settled in here, you can tell me all about it."

"Yes, Ma'am." Arianna replied, then gestured towards the larger of the forward base buildings that had already been set up. "If you'll follow me, we already have a Command center set up for you."

Lizzy looked to the others. "Get yourselves settled in, and get your ducks in a row." She told them. "I'd like to have reports in my hands within the next couple of hours." With that, she followed Arianna to the Command center, disappearing into the building.

Adria looked around at their surroundings. This wouldn't be the first time she was operating from the field, "Understood Captain." Already Tempest had a feeling the more difficult thing would be realizing that this would be the first time without Cy there with her or at least close enough to help. The first time on her agenda was to meet with her pilots.

Rosaleen walked over to Adria. "Looks like we have a new home for a bit. Anything you need..." She nodded towards Lizzy. "...come to me with it. I'll make sure there are no delays."

"Good," Adria commented to Rosaleen. "Yes I get the feeling we will be here awhile. I suspect there will be stuff once I get a chance to meet with my pilots who are already here."

With the Bettina tucked in and snoozing away until needed again, Masters emerged from the ship and nimbly hopped over the railing on the side of the gangway. The ground crew was nearly finished, and those few members of Flight Ops that were already on the ground came over to greet her. While it might have appeared as if they missed their bold and fearless leader, what it really meant was they had reports and questions for their department head that they had no answers for.

That was all fine, but Ellie could not help but stare wistfully at the horizon. To her, this was a new planet and she was still very much an explorer.

"Hello everyone, good to see you again. I wish we were visiting under better circumstances, because we got a good look at some places I'd like to visit on the way down from up there, somewhere," Masters looked and pointed up into the sky, stopping as something caught her attention back on the ground. There was a man with a blue hose staring rather intently at a red receptacle on the Bettina.

"Monroe!" Eliana barked. "I swear on my mother - if you put lavatory fluid into the deicing system, you will be doing a complete teardown and overhaul of the system by yourself."

"Yeah, and you'll be on civvy lav duty for two weeks!" another random voice chimed in.

"Who said that?" Masters glared back to the maroon-uniformed mass in front of her. A young PO sheepishly raised his hand. His boss's blue-grey eyes bored through to the very center of his soul.

"High five, sir! A tremendous idea," Ellie broke out laughing. "Did you hear that Monroe? All the blue-juice your heart desires. I mean, come on dude, it's the red hose for the red port. Don't make me assign coloring books to the entire department."

"Understood, ma'am." Quickly, Ensign Monroe stepped away from the Bettina, pausing for a moment.

"Uh, ma'am, is this a good time to tell you that I'm color blind?"

"Oh now he tells me," Masters placed her hand on her forehead dramatically. "Bless his heart - Williams, would you please make sure that the right liquids end up in the right place? I, for one, don't want to deal with the paperwork that's going to originate when someone comes yelling at me about propylene glycol splashback the next time they drop one in the lav."

"Right on it, ma'am."

"That's a dear. Now, if you'll excuse me for a moment gentlemen, I've got to go have a chat with some pilots. Don't worry, we're not very intelligent and can only speak in short sentences. I'll be back in a jiffy," Eliana explained, wishing she had brought someone else to handle the administrative side of the visit.

Andrew walked over to Jim and met him with a handshake. The look he had seen in Jim's eyes disturbed him a little bit, so a quick, informal debriefing seemed to be a good idea. If he actually got useful background information on the attack, so much the better. He steered Jim over to a small side room and started to talk things over with him.

At the same time, Rosaleen walked over to where Stacy stood. The Engineer was typing furiously on the PADD she held. "So, what resources are you going to need first? We have a couple of craft headed this way soon, and we need to get a list made up for one of the craft to take outside of the system to relay."

Stacy stopped her work and scrolled through the list she had typed. "You may need a few more ships." She laughed as she showed the list to O'Donnell. "But the priority for now is the heavy equipment and Class Five Industrial Replicators. That will get us started on site prep and initial construction of the immediate need structures and infrastructure."

Rosaleen scrolled through the list. "Do me a favor. Prioritize this list so that we can ensure that you get what you need in the proper order. And understand...we may have came in unopposed, but I do not expect that to last. At some point we are going to have to fight through a wall of opposition to get to the planet. I don't know why we did not see the opposition that the first group encountered upon their arrival. And that worries me...something is in the works, and we have absolutely no clue what it is."

"We'll be ready to move equipment as soon as we're assured of relatively clean airspace," Masters had walked up to join the others in mid-conversation. "Of course, if it's just small arms fire, then who cares - but, if it ends up being something more significant, we'll need to neutralize the threat before we start bringing any heavy equipment down. I was surprised at how easy of a time we had. She's not exactly inconspicuous," she looked over at the Bettina.

"That may be the understatement of the year, Commander. I'm not sure what exactly the Captain's plans are for her, but in my opinion we should keep her here for evac if needed. We can use the Polaris and Titan Transports to move stuff around as needed. Too bad we don't have a Skycrane Variant with us." The Skycrane was simply a thin module that mounted on the top of the Polaris and Titan Transports. It contained a cargo management tractor system, which allowed it to hover over an item and lift it into the framework, so as to carry it short distances to where it was needed. Very rudimentary, but extremely useful.

"Sounds good to me," Eliana nodded. "I guess the best way to state my concern is this. I just don't want to get so focused on rebuilding when we don't even know if the destruction is stopped. Keep me informed on any information we get from the debrief."

"Will do." She looked around the field at the scattering of equipment and personnel, both Federation and Taranok, that occupied the field. "Not exactly a stellar showing for our first time out. I thought we were supposed to be more organized than this."

"Oh, we can take care of that," Masters grinned. "Just shout if you need some legwork done to move things. I have a whole bunch of pilots just sitting on their hands at the moment."

"Well then why don't you get them off their duffs and do something to help us?" Turning, the group saw an older gentleman who had obviously been through a bit of a rough time. "We've got folks that need food, medicine...any help they can get. And here your are in your fancy uniforms with your fancy toys just puttering around. Why are you even bothering to be here if your not gonna do anything?"

The look on Eliana's face was priceless. She had not been speaking particularly loudly, but her voice had travelled far enough to reach one of the locals. So scathing was the tone of his rebuttal that it momentarily reduced her to a child's level of sheepishness. Masters' mouth was slightly ajar, mostly in shock at what the man had said.

However, her face grew somber as she stopped to think about what had happened to these people - all of behalf of some intergalactic confederation that, until very recently, they had lived in ignorance of. The people of Prepheradus were beginning the associate the United Federation of Planets as the organization that had brought hell to their doorstep, and Ellie could not blame them.

People were dead and even more were dying. Perhaps the familiarity of surrounding had fooled Masters momentarily. After all, many of the same modules on the surface now were the same modules on the surface of Stratkas at the engineering site, but the similarities ended there.

"You wouldn't think it would be difficult for an El Aurian to empathize," Eliana chastised herself. A profound sadness permeated through her expression.

"He's right," Masters continued in an authoritative tone. "If you've got wings on, get up and get your ass in gear. We're here to help. Let's go!"

Those with medical experience immediately dashed for the cargo container containing the first aid kits. A symphony of medical tricorders set the tone for the rest of the crew as they attempted to build something that looked more like a base and less like a bunch of crates sitting in a field. More and more refugees were arriving by the moment.

"Here, wear this," Masters took off her jacket and handed it to a shivering woman. "Please, stay as patient as you can and we'll try our best to take care of you. If there's an emergency, let me know immediately!"

Soon, Eliana and three others had disappeared into the crowd completely. The older gentleman had been right to call them out, but at least now they were doing something about it.

As the Starfleet personnel began organizing and going to work, word spread throughout the people that had taken refuge in the area. The initial trickle of people almost immediately started to turn into a solid stream...people that they did not have nearly enough supplies to take care of all that were making their way into the makeshift base.

Meanwhile, several of the base team made their way into the hold of the Bettina to see what exactly had been packed away in her. They were pleased to find, among other treasures, numerous portable buildings, including a pair of modules that contained a complete dining facility and kitchen. There were also a pair of replication modules in the holds as well. They located the four Standard Wheeled/Anti-Grav Forklifts that were part of the Bettina's loadout and started to offload the modules. Soon the beginnings of a rudimentary base were coming together.

Some time had passed before Masters made her way back to where the Bettina had landed. She quickly spotted Rosaleen and made her way directly to her.

"We may have, uh, slightly underestimated the amount of support required," Eliana started. "But the more pressing matter is that." Masters was pointing to the horizon where a mass of gathering clouds was threatening to rain upon what was fast becoming a bad day.

Rosaleen stood silently for a moment, watching the work ongoing around them, and the growing number of refugees gathering in the center of the meadow. They needed shelter, and fast. It wasn't cold by any means, but when you added both nighttime and rain into the equation, it would become uncomfortable fast. Work was progressing, but everybody was pretty much improvising. There was no real organization or direction at the moment...something Rosaleen couldn't understand, as Jeh was supposed to be coordinating the operation here. And she was nowhere to be seen.

Damned if she was going to waste any time looking for the Captain.

"As these modules are unloaded, we need to set them up as temporary shelters over...there." She indicated a spot that sat on slightly higher ground. "I know they are simple cargo Modules, but they will suffice. We can rig entrances for them, and set up a few of the generators by them to provide heat and light. At least folks can keep themselves out of the elements." She paused a moment as something caught her attention out of the corner of her eye. A pair of replication suite modules had been set up just to the side of the Bettina. Umbilicals ran from the ship to power the modules.

"Let's commandeer one of those..." She pointed toward the Replication Modules. "...and start work on basics. Clothing, bedding, and such. Obviously there is plenty of material around to use around here. If anybody gives you grief over taking over one, just tell them you are working under my orders." The last statement was spoken with a hint of humor. Eliana out-ranked Rosaleen. But the Starbase crew knew that Rosaleen spoke for the Commodore, and that was usually enough for her to get things accomplished without any issues.

Masters laughed, finding that the humor was very much needed in the circumstances. "I'll give 'em the ol' three pip bark and see if I can still light some fires. I've already got the more serious medical cases heading into the ship itself. Those empty cargo modules can provide a lot of cover as well."

Andrew and Jim came out of the room where they had been talking and headed over to the highest visible concentration of pips, which at the moment seemed to be Eliana and Rosaleen. Andrew addressed the pair quietly as he approached. "My apologies for our absence; Mr. Denova was bringing me up to speed on the diplomatic situation. What's the next project that needs doing?"

"Follow me Commander, we've got a few hours to get as many basic supplies out to these refugees as possible. We're going to use those replicators over there," Masters gestured to the modules next to the Bettina.

At this point, Lizzy finally made an appearance, stepping out of the rudimentary command module that had been set up the day before. What she had learned in the last few minutes was staggering. The incident that had started all of this had indeed been an explosion, which had completely destroyed the primary government facilities in the capital, but that was only the tip of the iceberg.

Based on the information that had been gathered from the forward teams, this assault was happening on a global scale with very little opposition... until now. Things were going to happen, and Lizzy was bound to make sure of it. She looked around, noticing the approaching storm on the horizon, then looked to find Rosaleen, who was standing off to the side, seeming looking around at the work taking place. She crossed the clearing and walked up to the woman.

"Looks like a storm on the horizon. I think we should get the rest of this base setup with proper shelters, and medical facilities." She said as she approached, not realizing that Rosaleen had already started the ball rolling on this. "I want us to provide as much support, and comfort to these people as we can."

She handed the PADD that she had been making planning and operational note on to Jeh. "It's already taken care of, ma'am. We couldn't wait around all day to get things moving." Regardless of whatever the captain may have been doing, she had totally ignored the number one rule of operational
continuity; communication. As far as the rest of the team was concerned, Jey might as well have been back on the station.

Lizzy took the PADD, looking over the information on it as she absently replied. "Yeah well I wanted to find out exactly what we are dealing with here, and now I know." She looked back up, handing Rosaleen back her PADD. If she was disturbed by Rosaleen's mannerisms, or attitude towards herself, she didn't show it. "It's a lot worse than what we thought... After the shelters get setup, I think we should get the key people around here into a meeting, and get everyone on the same page."

Rosaleen placed the PADD back in her pocket. "We need to put together an intel brief package and deliver it back to the base. We need assets here, and we need them yesterday."

Lizzy sighed, running her fingers through her hair. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but we can't exactly do that, unless we have all the information we can get." She replied. "Which, by the way, is exactly what I've been doing since we arrived here."

Rosaleen remained calm. "Ma'am, right now everybody that can provide support for this operation only knows what we knew before we arrived. Now we know enough to at least start the right assets moving. That is what they need to know back home." She moved to stand directly in front of Jey, ensuring that she had the Captains complete attention. "You don't need to get all the facts to start things moving. Neither does Kathleen. She and I have both been in this same situation before. More than once." She reached out and took both of Jey's hands into hers, staring intensely into the womans eyes. "You have to trust me on this. You have seen the people here. The Tarakens need help, and they need it now. It's not going to be long before their wounded start to arrive. We need food, shelter, medical. Lets take care of the results of the attack...then we can deal with the attack itself."

Lizzy stood quietly staring at Rosaleen for several seconds as the gears started turning. She cocked her head only slightly as she also realized that here was someone who seemed to actually be working with her in a stressful situation, instead of getting overly frustrated with her. "I feel like such an idiot!" Finally, she took a deep breath, and without taking her eyes, or hands away from Rosaleen's, called out loud enough for most, if not all of those at the forward base to hear her.

"Masters! Desoro! I need two of your best pilots standing front, and center on the double!" She called out, then absently pulled her hands away from Rosaleen's, her next words spoken low enough that only Rosaleen would hear. "It's time I did something right for a change."

"Roger that," Adria commented as she tapped her comm badge, "Lieutenant Kai report to my current location."

Rosaleen's gaze did not change. "You will do fine, ma'am. Just remember the 3C rule: Communication, Coordination, and Cooperation. That is the bottom of the Operational Pyramid. Everything else builds on top of that."

"Peter Scheifele from flight operations ma'am," an approaching ensign stood at attention just outside of causal conversational range. The dirt caked into his uniform indicated that he had been out amongst the refugees, helping as he could.

"Ethan Kai from the 220th," the Lieutenant responded as she came to stand next to Scheifele. He'd just arrived on from Starbase 80 with the new crop of pilots.

"I'll keep that in mind, Miss O'Donnell." Lizzy said before turning to address the two pilots. "I have a job for the two of you." She said as she produced another PADD from her pocket, handing it to one of them. "This is the briefing information that I just received on what's really happening here. I want the two of you to get in the air, and outside of the communications black out range. Do whatever you have to do to get this briefing to Commodore O'Shea. Understood?"

"Yes ma'am, we'll get on it straight away," Scheifele nodded, then looked aside to catch the attention of his copilot. Using body language, he gestured to the top of a nearby hill where many of the warp capable craft lay dormant, awaiting their next mission.

"Shall we?"

Ethan Kai nodded, "Let's get moving." He knew time was not on their side. The situation on Taranok IV happened to be very chaotic at best.

"Time is of the essence." Lizzy told them. "Now get going."

"Roger that Commander," Ethan commented.

As the two pilots walked off to carry out their orders, Lizzy sighed. When the colony she grew up on had been bombed, she'd been the physician on call. The things that Rosaleen explained to her had never occurred to her, because she hadn't been in the position that she was forced to be in now. She found herself hoping that she could do what was expected, and get help to these poor people.

--------------------

Captain Jey Cleh
Executive Officer
Chief Medical Officer
Starbase 80

Commander Eliana Masters
Director of Flight Operations
Second Officer
Starbase 80

Lieutenant Commander Andrew Matheson
Chief Diplomatic Officer
Starbase 80

Lieutenant Jim Denova
Diplomatic Officer
Starbase 80
simmed by Lt. Cmdr. Matheson

Lieutenant Stacy Pierce
Director-Starfleet Corps of Engineers Division 16F
Starbase 80

Lieutenant Commander Rosaleen O'Donnell
Commodores Personal Assistant
Starbase 80

Lieutenant Commander Adria "Tempest" Desoro
200th CAG
Starbase 80

 

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