Location: In orbit of Jutus
Speed: Standard Orbit
Shields: Nominal
Hull: Nominal
Systems: All Systems Nominal

Before we Begin
Episode 11 - Family Matters
Stardate 73834.3
MD004 1400 hrs

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The Search Part I

Posted on Thu Feb 18th, 2021 @ 2:37am by Captain Tyler Malbrooke & Colonel Loval & Lieutenant Commander Vaebn tr'Hwersuil & Warrant Officer Mira Jayna & Captain Cornelius Tremble & Lieutenant Junior Grade Jayden Robertson & Sergeant Miranda Schultz & Corporal Adélaïde Moreau
Edited on on Thu Feb 18th, 2021 @ 3:07am

Mission: Episode 11 - Family Matters
Location: Oakley Docking Port - Deck 9 - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD002 1530 hrs
3465 words - 7 OF Standard Post Measure

Tyler sat in the pilot's chair of the Oakley. He had been the first to arrive at the ship and was relieved to see that. It had been quite some time since Tyler flew any ship and he wanted to familiarize himself with the controls, he also wanted to do this without the prying eyes of his crew. A Captain did have an image to protect. He hoped that his de facto engineer for this mission would be able to coax a little more out of the Oakley's engines. Warp five was not something he wanted to have to rely on if the Romulans decided to come calling.

As he worked his mind wandered. He hated having to leave his ship, his crew, and most of all his wife. But Kat understood that this was family and it had to be done.

Neil slouched just past the entrance to the Oakley's cockpit, his head swivelling as he looked over the systems and integrated his contact with the shuttle's systems. He had a flimsy in hand and waived it toward Tyler. "Doesn't look like it should be overly hard," he stated. "Two hours, give or take to crack into the systems here, though that's more pulling things apart. Then there's the EVA, which is best done in deep space."

The marine grinned as he saw the Captain's look, "Want me to save you the details and just let you know when I've changed over the transponder? It'll probably be sometime into the later part of the Dog watch and it'll have a burn out so when we're done with this, the override will die and she'll be the Oakley again. The EVA part will probably take seven hours or so, between the paint job and the rest..."

"I can get in faster, if you need some help," Jayna said quietly, hearing the last of the conversation as she came aboard. "I've tampered with a few EPP and IFF codes before." Computers she could do, but EVA was not one of her strong suits.

Neil glanced at the Warrant and nodded, "Alright, that should shorten our down time. You can use the cracking kit brought if you want and we'll run two marines doing the EVA work with one aboard in ready reserve." As he spoke, Neil's gaze switched from Jayna to Malbrooke.

The intel officer nodded. She would be happy to see what cracking tools the Marines used. Most of hers came from...less official sources. And intel, of course. They occasionally needed to crack codes as well.

Adelaide entered as a conversation was in full swing and swung her own pack off her back before settling it down gently. She caught the last part about EVA suits and cringed a little. She had done one EVA search and rescue and it was still quite a vivid experience.

"Preflight check is underway. Now we just need the rest of our crew and a course. Vaebn any luck tracing that old friend of yours?" Tyler spoke while tapping the flight console in front of him. He hoped that they had a course and that it was not too far. Travelling at a maximum of warp four did have its hindrances.

"I would refrain from calling him a friend. However, it seems that the communication initiated from the Glintara Sector. That would be the best place to start looking. Although I doubt Loval remained there. I am sending the data to the conn now." Vaebn replied dryly.

Jayden came aboard and nodded to the captain. He went straight to work. He knew the ship was ready to go but Jayden wanted his own assurance that they would not have any issues on this mission.

It seemed that all was in order. Tyler nodded to Schultz as an indication to open a channel. "Bridge this is Oakley we are ready to depart. Do we have clearance?" Moments later the voice of Mira Jayde could be heard granting the clearance. "Miranda..." Tyler had begun calling everyone by first names after all this mission was off the books. "...Clear all docking clamps."

Miranda released the clamps. "Done, sir."

Neil had taken the tac-station's jumps seat, ensured his contact's HUD was linked into the Oakley's systems and energized the console. "Tactical systems reading five by five," he reported, running another round of diagnostic checks on the semi-familiar system.

There was a small jolt as the Oakley lowered from the bottom of the Pioneer's saucer section. Through front windows the crew could see the interior of the docking bay, then a shimmer of blue light as the craft passed through the atmospheric shielding, then the vast openness of space. Tyler concealed the nerves that welled within him. "Engaging maneuvering thrusters on a heading of three-zero-nine mark five. He glanced over at Miranda again. "Let me know when we are clear of the Pioneer's shields."

Tyler continued to fly the craft as he spoke. "Thanks Niel, everyone else we good to kick the tires and light the fires."

"All set," Jayna said.

"Ready, Captain," Jayden replied with a nod.

"Tyler laid in a course for the Glintara sector at warp four. The Oakley glided gracefully out of the Pioneer's shielding and into open space. With a flash of brilliant blue light the ship entered warp.
Two Days Later

The Oakley's engines had been pushed to the limit as they kept the ship running at maximum warp. "Entering Glintara Sector now. Dropping to impulse power. Passive sensors only, I do not want to give our position just yet. I will take us behind the Glintara star to conceal our positions. All stations report." Tyler called from conn.

"Passive scans initiated, although it will be hard to find any cloaked vessels." Vaebn reported although he had a few tricks up his sleeve. At the moment he input a reflexive algorithm into the Oakley's sensors. This should allow them to breach Romulan cloaks for a split second.

"Nothing unusual on comms," Miranda replied.

Five minutes later she turned to the others. "Maybe not. There's some static in the background that seems odd. I may be overreacting, but it bears a second look."

Jayna raised an eyebrow. "Possible covert communications? I could have a look."

She went over to Miranda and listened for a minute, then turned to Vaebn. "How familiar are you with current Romulan encryption codes? My knowledge is a few years out of date."

Vaebn cocked an eyebrow at the question. If they only knew exactly how familiar I was. he thought. However, the idea that something was discovered had perked his interest. He approached the station that the Marine comm officer was working. "What have you got?"

"It resembles space noise, but the repetition is off," Jayna said. "The pattern varies too much."

Miranda pulled up the wave pattern of the noise caused by gravitational waves and compared it to the ones in question so he could see the difference.

Vaebn stared at the waves as a sound of derision came from him. "Hmmm, this can be a cloaked vessel. It would be one that is either out of date, in need of repair or some combination therein. I wonder would one who was delibrately trying to lure someone into following them put these waves out there as well?" Vaebn pondered and the very thought that the Oakley may be going right into a trap did not sit well.

"So, someone wants to be found,," Jayna said. "Since they took your sister, do you think this trap is meant for you?"

"If it's leaking," Miranda said, "it's a bit much for it to be an accident."

Jayna nodded. "Agreed. Forget what I said. It definitely feels like a trap. The question is, can we use it to get more information than they think they're leaking? As in, can we take that little hole of theirs and find a way to get more information than they want us to?" The science officer knew more about Romulan intel than he let on. He knew it was a trap far too easily. However, that wasn't something she wanted to bring up right now--or ever.

"My suggestions would be to keep your eyes on it and try to confirm if it is a ship. Perhaps we can make ourselves more visable, scare whoever it is into coming out." Vaebn replied dryly.

"We could." Jayna looked at the other two. "It depends on what you think would best get us what we want: sneaking in or getting them to show themselves."

Vaebn ruminated on it for a moment. "I believe it best for us to make ourselves know and be ready to leave at a moments notice. We can return at another time under stealth and sneak in. Sneaking would be unadvisable without knowledge of what we are dealing with. Don't you think?" He did not want to tell the Intelligence Officer how to handle the situation, however, she asked.

The half-Vulcan nodded. "Agreed. We do not have enough information to go in blind--especially if we suspect this to be a trap." She wished they could risk hacking into a Romulan computer, but so much had changed recently she wasn't sure how safe that would be, either--even with Vaebn's help.

Jayden had pushed the engines to their limit,. they were going to need some serious work before they could even think about going anywhere from here. He had used all his skills to keep them running until they got there.

Tyler managed to get the ship in a synchronous orbit of the Glintara star. "Jayden lets get to work checking the engines I don't want to get caught with our pants down out here. Perhaps we can get them running a little more efficiently and get some speed out of them." He rose and started heading toward the engineering station. "Adelaide take the conn and start scanning the area for any place that you would take someone who has been kidnapped." Tyler thought that the SAR Specialist could reverse engineer her skills. "Where would someone go to ground in this sector?"

“You can count on me, Captain,” Jayden replied. “I will have her ready.” He knew it would was going to take some work but this was what he excelled at.

"Right Jayden we are going to attempt a reconstitution of the dylithium. If we can make that happen we may be able to get warp 8 from this engine. What do you think?" Tyler knew that the concept of reconstitution had never been tried on a ship this small. But it was the only idea that he had. Especially if he wanted to outrun a Romulan warbird.

Jayden gave it some thought not wanting to just throw out a quick answer. “It will work,” Jayden said with confidence. “We will need to adjust the Electro-Asma Regulatir so the EPS power relays are adjusted so that the warp core can handle the reconstruction.”’

"Sounds easy enough..." Tyler said sarcastically as he opened the small hatch that led to the jefferies tube. "Niel you have the conn." He said as disappeared into the hatch. He held his hands out so Jayden could toss the engineering case down.

Jayden gave him the case with a grin on his face. “Nothing comes easy, Captain.” He replied and followed Tyler so they could get the job done. It was going to take some work but soon they would be able to hit warp 8.

Adelaide moved to take the Captain's chair at conn and began to look over the sector map in front of her. Her eyes scanned the chart a couple of things jumped out at her. Neil began to speak and she listened as she continued to look for her own inconsistencies.

Neil rubbed the back of his neck and slipped from the tactical station. "An hour or two and we'll have the portable whiskers out, locked not passive mode which will give us coverage of the whole planet and the trail we came in on for early warning," the marine stated, referring to the basketball sized sensor probes he'd been launching. "There's been some some ship movement through the system, but it's scattered like you'd expect.

"The main planet in this system can sustain life but it is not ideal conditions. There is a dense forest area that would be good place to hide given the deposits of Brigonite that masks any long range scans. Maybe if the whiskers closer we will have a better picture." Adelaide spoke. "There is also a moon near the second planet that is made of some form of refractive element, I cannot get a good read on it from here behind the star but if I was to hide somewhere it would be here. An unassuming moon, and if you look closely a few of the ship trails pass close. It is not enough to plant a flag there but it happens often enough that it made me look twice."

Vaebn turned from his console in a flash. "Captains..." he began addressing both Tyler and Neil. "...It seems that planet is where this wave pattern is coming from I suggest caution this could be a trap."

"Much easier if you call me Neil, Commander. There's a custom of referring to Marine captain's as Major when they're embedded in Fleet commands to avoid the Captain confusion. As to the planet," Neil said, gesturing toward the viewer, "Of course it's a trap. If we were aboard Pioneer, I'd say let's go spring it."

Sharing a toothy, slightly vicious grin the marine continued. "However, I think what we have to do is decide what they're expecting and see if we can suss out their plans."

Bouncing his glance between Vaebn and Tyler, he said, "So, sirs. If you were trying to suck a target in by kidnapping someone near and dear to them, what's the end game? Capture? Kill would be easier to do in place unless someone want's to have a nice little bit of torture away from prying eyes. What's the overall point of getting I assume the Lieutenant Commander into this arm-pit? And would they assume the Captain here would act as he has and is there something special set up for him too?"

They were excellent questions. Jayna listened intently for the answers.

Tyler cocked an eyebrow at Vaebn. Neil's questions were not only justified they were something that he should have thought of before bringing everyone out here. However, Tyler did not have the answers for those questions. So he hoped his friend would.

Vaebn thought hard and came to the conclusion that it was time to reveal at least some of the conversation that he had with Loval. "I believe the end run is two fold depending upon my actions. It seems that the kidnapper, this Loval knows who I am and yet I have no recollection of him. Furthermore he wants revenge upon me. I believe that he has executed this plan to kill my sister, me or both." Vaebn still had not finished his personal investigation into what Loval meant by returning to the Empire. As such he chose not to mention that yet. "My belief is that not only would Loval assume that the Captain would come, he would expect it."

"Right. But killing is easy," Neil pressed. Now that they were into it and knowing more, he wished he'd interviewed the Lieutenant Commander prior to this expedition. "No offense sir, but if it had been me, I'd have done for you while we on station. Or put explosives on the outside of the hull of your quarters and put a nice hole in the Captain's ship."

Neil spared a trace of a wink toward Malbrooke before saying, "So, why drag you out here to kill you. It's not like you were in hiding...."

Despite Vaebn's penchant for being secretive Tyler knew that now was the time to come clean. They were all in this together now, and should all be on the same page. "With everything going on in the Empire right now it is possible that they want to lure Vaebn out here to make it appear as if Starfleet is invading..." Tyler's voice showed the strain of working in tight quarters. "...Jayden hand me the hyperspanner..." As Tyler was going to begin speaking again he was interrupted.

Miranda noticed a build-up of subspace distortion around the planet. "Sirs, I'm getting more distortion..." But before she could finish, a D'Deridex-class warbird de-cloaked. "We have company."

Without missing a beat Tyler turned to Jayden. "Finish up here and get the engines online pronto. If things go south we are going to have to get out of here in a hurry."

Jayden spoke without stopping his work. “Almost done and I will have us online.” He worked quickly but steady, it had to be done right or they would be dead in the water.

Tyler made his way back into the cockpit area. He stood next Niel who sat in the command chair. "Shields up, arm the weapons..."

Vaebn interrupted the orders. "Belay that with all due respect sir. If I am right this is exactly who and what we were waiting for."

Neil ignored Vaebn and brought the shields on-line, glancing toward Tyler. Weapons wouldn't do a lot of good if the warbird fired, but shields were another thing. "Holding on weapons, shields up. So we were waiting for someone. Would have nice to have been on the loop on all that before. Any more secrets we should know about?"

Jayden finished up his work and ran to get the engines online. His mind was running a mile a minute. Was this going to be the end? He had barely started his career in Starfleet, was on his first mission and was he just going to die? Were he and Clarissa never going to have that life together? Marriage and children? He wanted a family and he wanted it with her. He shoved the questions to the back of his mind. They were terrifying on many levels but his job right now was to get he engines up. That was his priority.

Jayna watched Vaebn, gauging his reaction. First his knowledge of Romulan encryptions, and now this. If this was how she died, her sister would kill her. But so far the scientist had been one step ahead of them. She hoped so now.

Miranda stared at the ship. That thing could eat them whole, and looked like that was its intention. Her stomach did a flip, but she refused to show any fear. A beep on her console drew her attention. "Incoming message from the Rpmulan ship."

"Great. At least we will get a snide remark before we are blown to bits." Adelaide muttered to herself as she rolled her eyes and looked towards the mission leaders at the front. "Maybe they want to invite us over to ale? I know I could use some..." she said not knowing what the outcome of this hail would be.

Tyler exchanged a look with Tremble. The look was as if to say all will be explained in a moment. "Put it on screen..."

The small viewscreen that the craft had blinked on and showed a Romulan male wearing the old uniform of the Tal Shiar. The rank insignia showed that he was a Colonel. The Romulan smiled broadly and menacingly. "Ah Vaebn my old friend so glad that you can join us. However, I was not expecting so many friends. No matter we will make use of them as well."
To Be Continued...

A Joint Post By

Captain Tyler Malbrooke
Commanding Officer, USS Pioneer

Colonel Loval
Commanding Officer, Tal Shiar

Warrant Officer Mira Jayna
Infiltration Specialist, USS Pioneer

Sergeant Miranda Schultz
Communications Specialist, USS Pioneer

Corporal Adélaïde Moreau
SAR Specialist, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Junior Grade Jayden Robertson
Operations Officer, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Commander Vaebn tr'Hwersuil
Chief Science Officer, USS Pioneer

Captain Cornelius Tremble
Marine Commanding Officer/Second Officer, USS Pioneer


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