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The River That Don't Know Where It Flows

Posted on Tue May 17th, 2022 @ 3:24am by Commodore Tyler Malbrooke & Lieutenant Commander Alyssa Maren & Lieutenant Commander Rowena McGowen & Lieutenant Paul Michael & Lieutenant Elen Diari & Lieutenant Ja'sol H'ros & Lieutenant Junior Grade Thex sh'Zoarhi & Lieutenant Commander Hermia O'Rourke & Major Cornelius Tremble & Captain Edmund Merrick & Sergeant Major Lachlan Barr & Lieutenant JG Mira Jayna & Petty Officer 2nd Class Sofia Cipriani & Lieutenant Amelia Zano Psy.D.
Edited on on Tue May 17th, 2022 @ 3:32am

3,741 words; about a 19 minute read

Mission: Episode 13 - Crooked River
Location: Officer's Briefing Room - Deck 1 - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD001 0830 hrs

Admiral Rice had forwarded the request from the Jutrai government and Tyler had read it numerous times, he just could not get his head around it. Well he would have to and fast as the Pioneer has been ordered to go and investigate this unusual request.

Tyler walked into the Briefing Room as he had already summoned the rest of his Senior Staff. He went to sip his ever present rachtijino and found his coffee empty. Before he could even think of turning toward the replicators his Yeoman Sofia Cipriani was at his side.

"You drink any more of this, Captain, and you'll be jittery. Think I might need to cut you off soon." Sofia joked as she poured him his coffee."

She had been in the room an hour before setting up, closer to the time she'd set out some drinks, coffee, tea etc. A generic mix of beverages for those that would be there. "Busy meeting today?" She asked.

"Another day, another briefing..." Tyler said with a small bounce in his step he was excited to get back to it. He felt refreshed and revitalized after his trip with Kat. "...Sof, make sure there is some refreshments if you don't mind. I am sure the crew will need it this early."

"Sofia nodded towards the already laid out trays of light bites for snacking on if people were feeling hungry. "I'm already a step ahead sir." she smiled softly at him. He was a bit of a micromanager sometimes, but she often let him think he was in charge... she usually had planned for all his needs before he knew he needed them.

Alyssa walked into the briefing room with a PADD in one hand and a cup of her favorite special juice blend in the other. "Good morning," she said to the captain and his yeoman. As this would be her first mission on the Pioneer, she was eager to learn more, and to see how she could participate.

"Grab a cup, have a seat and relax. We will start when everyone gets here." Tyler said with his usual accent and jovial tone that put people at ease and made them feel at home.

"Thank you." Alyssa smiled and found a seat at the table.

A minute later, Jayna walked in. As the new assistant chief of intel, this was her first briefing. More or less. She didn't count the special assignments. She greeted the captain and found a seat where she could see the room and the door. It was an old habit of hers to keep her back to the wall and an eye on the entrances whenever possible. "Good morning," she said to Alyssa across the table.

"Good morning," the science officer replied.

"Morning Commander..." Tyler made sure to stress the word Commander as Maren was newly promoted. "Great to see everyone arriving bright eyed and bushy tailed. It is time we get back out there."

Amelia had somewhat creeped into the back of the room. It felt surreal being back here after many years away. It was nice to get an offer of return but even now with the ship being the same so much had still changed. Sitting down at the table didn't feel right, not yet. For now she chose to remain near the edge of the room until called upon for something important.

Lachlan walked in with both Lt. Merrick and Major Tremble. They had a little laugh with each other as they crossed the threshold of the door and became a little quieter in company.

Neil glanced around the room, taking attendance automatically and slid into his chair, knocking on the table with his knuckles as he said. "Ladies and gentlemen, seats. We've plenty to get through."

Merrick took a seat, waiting for the briefing to start giving a nod to those he recognized. While he sat there he took in those who were there. There were several he knew, and others he did not know. He looked at them in an assessing way, taking their measure. He also pulled out his PaDD to check out those whom he hadn't met yet. The man with the strange eyes, he noted that his name was Ja'sol H'ros Re Seva. Never met anyone like him before.

Paul walked in, holding a cup of coffee. "Sir." Then he took his seat.

Next in was Thex who gave the room a warm smile as she did so. " Good morning everyone." She said before heading to her seat.

Ja'sol walked into the briefing room and straight to the replicator. " Large black Raktajino. " He then found an open seat and sat down as he sipped at the mug and looked up. Good morning everyone. Is everyone properly caffeinated this morning? " He said with a smile. " Briefings go much better when you are. "

Hermia entered a cup of peppermint tea in her hand. She'd been delayed due to a new piece of medical equipment malfunctioning. Fortunately she was just testing it and no one was injured. "Morning all." She said before taking a seat.

Elen, wandered in, hands in pockets. she looked around the room, saw everyone had drinks, and sat down at the table. "Hmm. Must just be local problem with the 'cator" she mused to no-one.

Paul set his drink and his PADD on the table, waiting to hear what's the next mission.

Rowena walked in with a mug in her hand and padd in the other. With a slight nod she sat down. For now she would things come in as they came and would react if needed to.

Once everyone was there and seated Tyler looked around. The faces have changed but the feeling doesn't. This was his crew, his family and the family that his child would grow up knowing. "Sofia if you would be so kind as to make sure everyone has what they need, then just take some notes for me." Tyler waited for drinks to be poured and some refreshment served. "Right gang it seems that the galaxy was safe for a time and now it needs us again." Tyler began the meeting with a joke. "Admiral Rice has received a request from the Jutrai for assistance..."

A holo image of a bright blue planet with green and brown land masses appeared in the center of the table. Tyler continued, "...This is the planet Igion, a Jutrai colony located in what used to be Romulan space, and is now Jutrai sovereign territory." For a split second Tyler glanced at his new Security Chief to see if there was a sign of recognition. "It seems somewhere on this picturesque Risa like planet a large number of feet have been washing ashore. Neither the Jutrai nor Starfleet can understand what is happening. What makes matters worse is that a number of these feet are from a large group of different races, human included. It is the human element that piques Starfleet's interest as according to records no human has ever visited this planet."

"Sorry to interrupt, Skipper, but do we have any data on how the feet were removed?" Hermia said. "I'd like to see the results of any examinations or scans that have be performed on this feet."

"No problem Doctor... Just send your request over to the Jutrai security ministry and they will be happy to share what they have. They are expecting our arrival. Once we are there we are going to be taking over the lead on this investigation. So, Lieutenant H'ros we are going to be looking toward you to solve this conundrum." Tyler looked toward the man as he spoke. The Captain knew that they had just scraped the tip of the proverbial iceberg of this mission, and he hoped that his crew knew the same.

Elen look quizzical "Why us ? The fleet's got specialised forensic investigation teams, I mean one of their ships was docked at Empok."

"It seems that since we were the ship that made First Contact with the Jutrai they have developed a trust in this ship and its crew. They asked for us personally..." There was a small amount of pride in Tyler's voice as he spoke.

"Sometimes its better the face you know..." Lachlan commented on the trust that had formed between the Pioneer, Tyler and the Jutrai. "Do we know of any threats in the area, anyone that would wish them harm? I mean from the outside looking in this is very Godfather with the horse head in the bed kind of threatening."

"Have the Jutrai security ministry got the technology to scan the seafloor?" Thex inquired already jotting down which gear to have loaded onboard for this mission.

Tyler address the Chief of the Boat first. "The only people in the area are the Romulans and who knows with them..." He then turned to his Andorian Operations Chief. "Unfortunately no, they don't this is a small colony and is not equipped to handle things like this. That is another reason that we are being called in."

"Part of the problem," Neil commented as he looked around the table, "Is they haven't been able to put identifiers to any of the limbs. Obviously there hasn't been any notifications of beings missing limbs and the limbs they have haven't been identified to any specific person. In the case of the human feet specifically, they don't have databases to try and match the DNA against. We're going to need all hands on this one."

"So, no bodies, just limbs?" Jayna asked. If any of them belonged to Starfleet personnel, they could be identified, but if not, it could prove difficult. Then there would be the task of finding out why they were in the water to begin with. "I don't know of any creature that eats bodies and leaves limbs." She looked to Alyssa for confirmation.

She shook her head. "There may be some new species living in the water, but that will need to be researched," Alyssa said. "We have the ability to map currents and tide. That will help determine approximately where the limbs came from." She looked to Malbrooke and Tremble. "Is there any indication as to how long they've been in the water?"

"We do have a runabout that's been rated for heavy gravity investigations, so it should be good for deep sea diving." Paul mentioned.

Ja'sol spoke up. " We can't assume anything right now, not until we have started our investigation and gathered evidence. Yes it could be a creature, or perhaps a criminal organization that is sending a terror message to the people of the island to get out of there, at this point we can make no assumptions as to what is happening at this time. "

Paul spoke up. "Once we get into the water, we can run multiple scans looking for any signs of who and how this happened."

"Science can scan the ocean from the ship and get a general idea of what we're looking at. Then we can go down with teams to do on-site research and investigation," Alyssa replied to Paul. They would need to go down to the planet regardless, but having preliminary data would allow whoever is sent down to have a baseline to work from.

"How long before we arrive? " Asked Ja'sol. Preparations for the mission need to be made. Do we have pressure suits enough for the team in case of emergency or need to leave the shuttle to investigate outside? If not it will need to be resolved prior to our departure. "

"With the new drive, several hours. But if we postpone using the drive for a bit, then coast in on normal warp after using it, could push that out to about a day. " El explained "As for prep, well, could get the shuttle ready in half that. I want to have a word with the forensic guys on Empok about gear before I give a time scale on that, might get some of theirs."

Jayna took notes of what was said in case she had to refer to any of it later. She wasn't sure what her role would be, if she even had one, but information gathering was always important.

"I've always believed in the old adage of pray for the best and prepare for the worst. " Said Ja'sol solemnly. " Nothing wrong with an extra back up plan when going into an unknown environment. The only thing we know for certain is that we were requested and that feet are washing up onto the shore. "

From a mental health, a counsellors perspective, Amelia didn't have much to add to the conversation at the moment. All that was confirmed was severed appendages and a worried colony. The normal rise is anxiety, of fear would be expected in those circumstances. Until she had more information to go on then listening, as her people had always done best.

"The relationship between the Jutrai and the Federation is at a new and tentative state, I assure you that they will be watching everything that we do. Our actions will reflect upon their opinion of the federation, So this can't be simply just a security investigation. They may want to see how far we'll go to help them or if we're even worth their time to cultivate a relationship with. I grew up in this sector and know a bit about the Jutrai, As far as I know this might just be a test to judge us on our merits, We'll need to keep that in our minds as well. Either way we'll need to bring our best game to the table if the federation wants to develop ties with them. "

Paul wanted to suggest something. "I would like to run some simulations involving my part of the mission, captain."

Merrick was listening to all of this with keen interest and this was definitely something that security and others would be sinking their proverbial teeth into it. If he were still in Security he'd be wanting to solve this case.

It never ceased to amaze Tyler how a crew could pull together. The briefing was just getting on it's feet and already we had a number of ideas and plans. The energy in the room was palpable and Tyler for one loved it. "You all have the right of it. The Jutrai are going to be looking at us and evaluating. So we have to give them everything we have..." Tyler began looking at each person as he gave out assignments. "Neil I am going to need you take overall command on the ground. I have already been in contact with Governor Rivona on the colony and she would like us to coordinate with General Tivau with the investigation. So Lieutenant H'ros that will fall to you. Liase with the General and solve the case if you can. Use whatever resources you may need. Lieutenant sh'Zoarhi you and Lieutenant Diari will outfit one of our shuttles to work underwater. Lieutenant Michael you will join them. When we arrive at the colony Paul you will take a Science team led by Commander Maren underwater. We need to get a map of the currents to see where these feet went into the water. Perhaps that will lead us to the where. Commander O'Rourke I would like you to work with the Science team if needed. I feel like if any of the feet are discovered they will need autopsies and the like. As usual keep Sick Bay at the ready for casualties. Commander McGowen I would like you to join Warrant Jayna and the Marines in investigating the beaches. The good Governor and General would like us to comb the beaches for them to see if we can come up with anything. Lachlan, Edmund the two of you will of course be on this team." Tyler paused as he took a sip of his rachtijino and then ran his hand through his hair. He tried to make sure that he was not forgetting anything. "Ah yes... Neil have your Sergeant Kunadt report to Lieutenant Michael. I would like her briefed on Starfleet helm operations as she will have the helm with Paul joins the Away Team. Any questions?"

Alyssa made a note to see what she needed to set up in advance to scan the ocean and major waterways where the body parts have been discovered so that once the ship was within scanning range, she could begin to gather data.

Frowning, Neil commented. "We're going to be scattered about. Mostly with at least one Jutari embedded. They may be new friends and Fleet and the Federation want us to do everything possible to aide them, but exercise operational security. I'd prefer we operate in at least teams of two.

"Understood Captain. Get together with General Tivau and gather information to begin the investigation. And I also strongly agree that we should work in teams of two or greater for our own safety. I do however have another question. Will all teams have a Jutrai representative with them in case we run into trouble with the locals or get stonewalled because the locals don't know us? " Ja'sol asked.

Rowena was just observing the hustle and conversation among the crew. She looked at the image of the planet. A holo image but she studied it closely. She heard a soft whisper and was snapped out of her sort of daydream or haze. "I would like to see the information of the Jutrai Security ministry of all the planet's known structures and population density. Also I would like to know how many people come and go to the colony on average during the day and how many of those are non Jutrai?" She said calmly as she looked to the planet again, seemingly distracted.

"We will make sure to have the General send that information along as soon as possible. We will push off from the station in the morning. Please make sure that we are ready to leave. Are there any other questions?" Tyler looked around the table at his crew and knew that despite anything they would there ready, willing and able to serve.

Alyssa chuckled. "I have a lot of questions, but they will require scans and data. I hope the Jutrai are forthcoming with all the information they've gathered so far."

"The General has assured me that as soon as we transmit our en route status they will send all of the data that they have too date. However, I should warn everyone that this General Tivau is not happy about us being called in. I imagine they feel like it is an affront to their abilities. So tread lightly..." Tyler cast the word of caution mainly for Alyssa and Ja'sol.

The science officer nodded. She'd worked with antagonistic governments before and would prefer to avoid causing trouble.

"I suggest we consider teams of at least three," Jayna said quietly. "We don't know the Jutrai, or how well they'll able to work with us. It could make the investigation go smoother if there are two from the Pioneer working with one local." It wasn't that she didn't trust the Jutrai, but they did ask for help, so they might not have the equipment or training to deal with this problem. It would also be safer for the various teams to have more than two--if that were possible.

Hermia silently listened to the other officers present. She didn't trust the Jutrai, she'd sensed something she didn't like when she was on their homeworld.

"So I'm going to treat the received data from the Jutrai as suspect and not fully reliable if we have someone whose motives are unclear. The data may be missing information if the General sees us as a threat and wants us to fail to make herself appear better in the eyes of her superiors. Perhaps if I meet with her and see if I can't convince her that we are here to work with her people as a team effort and not usurping her authority the investigation will go smoother. Permission to try Captain Malbrooke? " Ja'sol asked.

"Granted..." Tyler said with a nod at Ja'sol's request.

"I'll make sure we have all the gear we need for aquatic investigations." Thex added from her seat.

Neil nodded as the department meeting began to break up and commented, "Political considerations are important in all this. Use your best judgements. Just don't wait until you're hip deep in problems to call in aid."

"Excellent everyone... Lets git er done" Tyler said with a small amount of emphasis on his accent.

A Joint Post By

Lieutenant Paul Michael
Chief Flight Control Officer, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Commander Hermia O'Rourke
Chief Medical Officer, USS Pioneer

First Lieutenant Edmund Merrick
The Cure Executive Officer, USS Pioneer

Captain Tyler Malbrooke
Commanding Officer, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Commander Alyssa Maren
Chief Science Officer, USS Pioneer

Staff Warrant Officer Mira Jayna
Assistant Chief Intelligence Officer, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Junior Grade Ja'sol H'ros
Chief Security/Tactical Officer, USS Pioneer

Major Cornelius Tremble
Executive Officer, USS Pioneer
Commanding Officer, The Cure

Lieutenant Junior Grade Thex sh'Zoarhi
Chief Operations Officer, USS Pioneer
Lieutenant Elen Diari
Chief Engineering Officer, USS Pioneer

Master Sergeant Lachlan Barr
Chief of The Boat, USS Pioneer
First Sergeant, The Cure

Petty Officer Third Class Sofia Cipriani
Yeoman, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Amelia Zano
Chief Counselor, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Commander Rowena McGowen
Chief Intelligence Officer/Second Officer, USS Pioneer


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