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Briefing the Team

Posted on Sun Jan 2nd, 2022 @ 4:49am by Captain Juliet St. Clair & Lieutenant Commander Lexia Aylin & Lieutenant Commander Onofrio Solis PsyD & Lieutenant Daxton Tolland & Lieutenant JG Adelayd Olivier & Ensign Nicolette Blanchet

Mission: Episode 1: By Any Means Necessary
Location: Deck 1, Briefing Room
Timeline: 11 April 2385, 1010 hours

Juliet St. Clair was shocked. It had only been a few days since Mars; a few days since the Tucker had been recalled and given her new mission. And in that short time every new senior officer she had requested had already been approved and sent her way. Here they were, all gathered in the briefing room, ready to discuss their first mission together. Yeoman Flynn had come in, given a secure PADD to every senior officer, and left quietly for the work to begin.

"Good morning, everyone," Juliet said to start the meeting. "As it's our first time all meeting together like this, I want to start by welcoming you all to the Tucker. We have a lot of important work to do out there, and it won't be easy, but I have every confidence in each of you."

She continued. "This meeting is classified Top Secret. Everyone on this ship is cleared, but I expect you all to respect the rule of Need to Know. That means even if your subordinates or friends are technically allowed to have this knowledge, sharing it with them if they don't need to know it for their work constitutes a violation of Starfleet Security Regulation 11.3. Now, Mr. Solis, you may begin your presentation."

Lexia looked around at the crew. She'd have to take the time obviously to get to know them, but right now they were dealing with an important mission. The need to know even with those who normally should know the information threw her off a little, but these were different times. She then glanced over to Solis, anxious to hear what was going on.

Adelayd looked at the report she'd been handed. As a medical officer, she felt this was far above her pay grade, but she was senior staff, amazingly, and needed to know the information as well, she assumed. After a moment she looked up and to Solis, awaiting the presentation.

Sevryn sat with one leg tucked up beneath her and the PADD in her lap. As an applied mathematician, much of her work carried similar cautions and restrictions. When combined with the duality of the Tucker's missions, the Captain's remarks were both reasonable and expected. Course, she thought, not too many people are interested in the intricacies of algorithms and data analysis. She settled back in her seat, the tips of her ears just peeking through her black hair, as she bent her head over the material. Having an eidetic memory meant that she retained everything she read so one pass of the material was enough. Thereafter, she would be able to see the material in her mind whenever there was need. Her mind drifted, as it often did when she waiting, to an algorithm she'd been working on.

Damn, it's your first senior staff meeting ever, and you arrive late, Colette cursed in herself, as she walked into the briefing room, feeling a little shy and afraid. She sat down, trying not to raise attention to herself, and cover the cat fur on her uniform (she had a little brawl with Schrödinger before leaving her quarters: that darn cat just can't keep off scratching her small wooden Barry Manilow bust - don't ask about it). She's just an Ensign... barely in her twenties... why is she here?? When the Captain mentioned the top secret stuff, she got even more frightened. What if she screws up this mission? She'll be sent to count beans at some ancient space station at the farthest reaches of the galaxy.

"Good morning," the Chief Intelligence Officer began from his seat. "I am Lieutenant Commander O.J. Solis. I look forward to meeting all of you at some point, but that isn't today."

"A Cardassian message was intercepted on stardate 62260.9. The message is part of the report you have in front of you. The message identifies a shipment of unknown materials to be received by an unknown party. The origin of this message is unknown, though SIGINT has been able to verify that it was routed through a number of relays, likely to better disguise the sender. SIGINT feels confident that the intended recipient of the message is in or near the Orias System."

"If the Orias System sounds familiar, it was a base of operation for the old Obsidian Order. It was from the Orias System that a joint Order-Tal Shiar operation was launched against the Dominion with the intent of destroying the planet the Founders' were using as their home. As a result of that failed mission, the Cardassian Union was, for the first time in generations, not under the thumb of the Obsidian Order. This helped pave the way for the eventual incorporation of the Union into the Dominion."

"Liberated and occupied by Starfleet at the end of the War, the Federation eventually withdrew after a period of rebuilding, returning the system to the Union. Although the system is under Union control, there is a mixed population, including Federation citizens."

He looked around the room. "Any questions so far?"

Lieutenant Ellis had been one of the first people in the room, but he'd remained silent and nearly motionless at this point. It was easy to assume that there was more to this message and this planet than met the eye, but clearly the Intelligence Chief was going to take his time to make sure the staff here understood the full gravity of the mission. For the first time, Dee shifted in his seat so that he could pick up the PADD in front of him so that he could take a second look at the message for himself. At the moment, he had no questions and would listen to the next part of the briefing.

“Come on, everyone,” Juliet said, looking around the table. “I want it clear that this is the place for questions and debate. The only foolish question is the one not asked. But I’ll break the ice. Do we know of any current threats coming out of Orias that this message could be for, even hypothetically?” She remembered the failed attack on the Founders’ Homeworld and had friends who participated in the system’s later occupation, but had not yet been able to read anything on the system now.

Lex sat and listened to their Intel officer as he gave an explanation of what was going on. Sitting back with a soft sigh, she thought on any questions she might have as well as the Captain's question. "Someone there still hoping to go back to the ways of the War could be requesting things. Gathering supplies without anyone knowing, or so they think."

"Have they backtracked," Sevryn asked, her gaze resting upon the Intel officer, when the silence lengthened sufficiently, "to see if other messages followed the same route to a similar destination? Or was this a single event?"

Adelayd looked around at everyone and sat back in her chair. She was a doctor, not an intel or security officer. But still, she had a few questions. "How dangerous do we think these unknown materials are? Why is this automatically a threat to anyone and not just some standard black market dealings?"

“I’ll let Mr. Solis address your point, Lieutenant Redstone,” Juliet said, “but I want to address the Doctor’s point. In brief, I don’t believe it is as simple as organized crime. I’ve seen the methods used by the Orions and a few other groups and they’re not quite the same. I don’t want to underestimate the guilds or the Syndicate but I think this level of encryption and signal rerouting is beyond their means. But if I’m wrong about that, and we intercept a drug deal or money laundering operation, I would still call that a good day’s work. As for how dangerous? I’m of the view that if they’re hiding the details of the shipment this thoroughly, then it’s probably something I don’t want terrorists or criminals to have.”

Dee had raised an eyebrow earlier when she had informed them all that she expected them to ask questions. Since he had looked at the padd provided to him, he had started to formulate some questions of his own, including whether or not the Syndicate was involved. The Captain's most recent statement had deflated that idea. "The war may have ended fifteen years ago, but Cardassia has been anything but quiet. Aboard the Monterey, we observed quite a few troop and ship movements across four sectors. The Cardassians have been rebuilding quickly. Is it possible the Obsidian Order has been rebuilding itself quietly this whole time?"

Juliet wondered the same question and turned to face Mr. Solis, who had a few questions directed toward him.

"Maybe this is a stupid question," Dax put in, speaking up for the first time, "but has anyone checked with the Cardassians about it? Maybe not hit up the Detapa Council directly, but some kind of, I dunno, diplomatic back channel or something. If something hinky is going on in Cardassian turf, there's gotta' be someone on the other team willin' to spill it."

O.J. looked around the room silently. A motley crew, he thought. This could be fun. Or horrible.

"That is possible, Commander," he began, his eyes falling on the XO. "One of the things that unites sentient life across the cosmos is our overwhelming ability to repeat history, no matter how poorly it turned out the last time. That possibility is why Starfleet Intelligence has devoted additional resources to this. Us included."

Solis turned his head slightly, just enough to lock eyes with the dark-haired Operations Officer. "SIGINT is conducting additional analysis currently. Though it is possible that it could be a one off communication, at this point it is being treated as part of a regular information exchange. At least until it can be disproved."

"Likewise, until there is evidence to prove otherwise, a resurrection of the Obsidian Order remains a viable concern," the Intelligence Officer continued, now looking in the direction of Security Chief Ellis.

He smiled at Tolland. "Diplomatic channels are being utilized in addition to intelligence assets. But I'll pass along your suggestion."

"So it was a stupid question," Dax said amiably with a chew on the inside of his cheek. "Got it." He swiped the question off the list on his PADD and moved to the next one. "If we don't know what 'recent opportunities' means, then maybe we can run some kind of search algorithm against known star charts to figure out what grid 9121 means. Could be a system, a planet, even a municipal district, yeah? Nobody's figuring that out unassisted by a computer, so maybe we could use what we got to trim down the search parameters and give SIGINT a run for their money." He gave Solis a wink.

“Our best lead is Orias,” said the Captain. “You’re right that ‘grid 9121’ might be anywhere, but the leading theory is that it is somewhere in the vicinity of that system, whether on a planet or other body, or in deep space nearby. Ms. Redstone, work with Mr. Solis and Mr. Tolland to get the computer working on it.”

“However,” she continued, “I suspect we’ll need another piece of the puzzle before we solve it completely. For all we know, it denotes a location on a map that we don’t have. So naturally, we need to feed the computer more data. No better place to look than Cardassian space.”

Dee felt as though he already knew where the Captain was going with this, so he chose to play along for now. "The Cardassians don't take kindly to scanning across their border. Even passive scans rarely reveal much."

The XO chimed in, "I've seen passive scans of their borders. We wouldn't even be able to begin to make a grid beyond what we already have from previous scans of their space. Without something more, the computer won't know what the hell to do."

“Who said anything about scanning across their border?” the Captain said with a smirk. “We’ll be taking our excursion craft undercover, while the Tucker repairs and upgrades subspace comm relay 327, conveniently just on our side of the border from Orias. Commander Solis, Lieutenant Ellis, and Ensign Blanchet, and I will visit Orias and see what we can find. Anything that tells us where we can find 9121. If it’s close by, then we can investigate further. If not, we regroup with the Tucker.” She turned to Lexia. “XO, you will have command during the ship’s engineering project on the border. Lieutenants Tolland and Redstone will have their work cut out for them for the repair and upgrade work. We are after all an engineering support vessel.”

Easy as the XO was on the eyes, Dax couldn't help but disagree with her. Once the captain finished giving orders. "Phony repairs notwithstanding, I still say we get the computer crunching numbers now," he said. "Generative autoregressing sequences can be built into any recursive geometric algorithm. Sure, it could take the model awhile to generate results, but that's just a slow start. Monitor the progressive results as they generate, add more intel as we get it, and bingo was the name-o."

Lexia raised an eyebrow. "Do I really need to remind you about captains and away missions?" She knew these were now different times. "But understood." She then looked to Dax. "Oh, I planned on it, even if it might be just a starting point."

Dee raised an eyebrow at the mention of an offshore excursion. He made a mental note to study more about Orias' current condition and tactical status. Seeing as he would be the only security officer on the away team, he would need to prepare for any contingency, within reason of course. He already knew of the Captain's capabilities with a weapon, but he would need to check Solis' and Blanchet's records and maybe even get them on the firing range if there was time. "Do we have any contacts on or near Orias? Having a place to start would minimize our time away from the Tucker."

“Mr. Solis?” said Juliet, looking to her Chief of Intelligence. She presumed there was someone there, but did not remember the details.

"There are assets in the area, yes," Solis replied. "One of them is well positioned to provided additional intel. Once contact has been made. The asset in question is in deep cover; contact is infrequent. I will make contact with the asset once we arrive."

"Excellent," Juliet said before standing up. "We'll be launching tomorrow morning at 0900 hours. We should make it to Relay Station 327 three days later, and shortly before that the excursion craft will launch for Orias. Dismissed."


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