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[Active] - Season 2 - Chapter 1

Started By:
Josh Broughm, Wed 06 Oct, 2021 10:27 PM
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  1. Ares Commanding Officer

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    #1
     –  Last edited by Josh Broughm; Mon 01 Nov, 2021 10:40 AM.
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    SEASON 2 - Chapter 1
    Time Jump - Three Months

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    Captain Jones is told that the Ares is now the flag ship of a new taskforce called Phoenix.
    More details to be added later
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  2. Ares Commanding Officer

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    #2

    Runabout Gander

    About .5 LY from DS9

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    Mariella walked from the sleeper cabin to the cockpit, with a soda in hand. She was wearing a light grey tank and her favorite lounge pants, a gift from her husband on her 40th. She sat down at the controls next to the ship's ambassador, Sam Urquhart and his andorian wife, Akyv. Jones sat the drink down on a small table close by and placed her hands on the controls.

    - ETA to DS9, twenty point six minutes. Looks like you're ready to get back at it.

    Sam turned to Jones and smiled. He wore an old wrestling t-shirt, displaying the NJPW logo. He then placed his hands behind his head and leaned back.

    - I am! Three months is too long to be off.

    Akyv walked in, wearing a black t-shirt, leather pants and a short-cut leather jacket. She knew late '90s Earth fashion and knew how to wear it. She put her hands on Sam's chest from behind, softly kissing his ear in the process.

    - Wish I could've been with you more.
    - Sorry, babe. I was called away for three days for diplomatic meetings. These things happen.
    - Not like you were both up each other's-

    Something caught her attention. There was an unusual amount of ships hanging in space around Deep Space 9. Starships of various sizes, classes, even from the Romulans and the Klingons. This triggered Jones' 'Yellow Alert' to go off in her head. Sam and Akyv saw this too. He had a look of worry on his face.

    - Hope its not another war.
    - Me too. I read about thirty-six vessels in park around the station. It's much more than what the usual traffic is.

    Jones opened the comms to Operations.

    =^= DS9, this is Runabout Gander, requesting permission to dock. Also requesting operational status.=^=

    A voice came over the speakers.

    =^= Captain Jones, Welcome back. Ares is ready and waiting. You are cleared to dock, however, Admiral Dalton is asking you to beam aboard the station immediately.=^=

    =^= Copy. Gander out. =^=

    Jones got up and threw on her uniform jacket. It was hanging on one of the chairs ever since they departed the station three months ago.

    - Sam, get an operational update from Biiqs as soon as you get to the ship. I'll get it from you once I get a shower. God, I smell like ass.

    Sam snorted in laughter, nodding. Jones stepped onto the pad, while Sam initiated the transporter sequence. She was back at work, but what would that 'work' entail?

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  3. Master Chief Petty Officer of the Fleet
    Master Chief Petty Officer of the Fleet
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    #3
     –  Last edited by LogicalLeopard; Thu 04 Nov, 2021 1:25 PM.
    USS Ares
    Three Days Ago


    Three days...

    Each day of the last three months slowly dissolved into another, forming one steady stream of temporal sludge that swept Biiqs away in its current. Three months for repairs initially sounded generous and relaxing. Not very difficult at all. Certainly not as difficult as it was to repair one of his former ships, the USS Tian An Men, as it drifted dead in a nebula during the Dominion War. The Ares was parked safely at a friendly Starbase, had a very capable crew, and support from Starfleet nearby. What could go wrong?

    The ODN relay network, for one.

    Seven relays just suddenly shut down, on the fifth day of repairs, complicating other repairs. He had a brief meeting with the engineering staff, who assured him that it was because of the unique aftereffects of the weaponry used by the aptly named USS Renegade. They understood it and had it under control in a matter of hours.

    Until they didn't.

    Cascade reactions. So many cascade reactions. Biiqs had to add another duty shift to avoid the overall work of repairing the ship falling significantly behind schedule. And the solution to the issue was purely found by chance: A sentient (?) holodeck character escaped the holodeck through the ODN relays and started to wage war on the ship. The crewman running the program noticed that the main character was missing and could not be called back into the program by any means. The hologram was finally isolated to one relay, but that relay could not be purged and repaired until Starfleet dispatched a Judge Advocate to assess its sentience and process its asylum request the following Tuesday.

    That wasn't as bad as the vole infestation, though.

    It wasn't certain exactly how they got into the ship; there were often many connections made between a ship under repair and its dock. But by the second month they had claimed exclusive territory of the Jeffries tubes. The horrid things were aggressive, fast breeding, and just plain mean. Medical was treating at least four bites a day and the work crews were borrowing phasers from the armory to complete their shifts safely. Biiqs had to call in a Bajoran extermination company to come in and handle the problem. When they finally did, the company politely informed Biiqs that this sort of vole was a special kind of vole, apparently on the Federation Science Council's Endangered Species of Interest list. Something about being able to spend short periods of time in total vacuum - a remarkable adaptation for station based life forms. So it wasn't until the third day of the next week that someone from the Science Council could come in and assess the voles, and another week until every vole could be humanely trapped, tagged, and transported to Starbase 234. Which of course kept people out of the Jeffries tube and slowed the work more.

    All this was on top of all of the other duties laid upon his shoulders by virtue of being the senior officer of the ship. Leave requests, transfers, duty rosters. Hours of monotony punctuated with engineering alarms and vole induced terror.

    At first, it wasn't bad. It was rather invigorating. Biiqs loved a challenge, and he was an excellent promoter of morale and synergy. But there's only so much you can say to an overworked, vole bitten engineer whose leave requests have been canceled. Biiqs made it a point to work along side them whenever he had the chance. Lead by example. And so he made the fatal mistake of leadership - not knowing when to stop leading by example.

    When he wasn't in his office, he could be found on the bridge. Or in Main Engineering. Or in a Jeffries tube. Or inspecting a repaired phaser coupling. Or on the hull. Or in the Junior Officer's Lounge - he had a permanent invitation to Karaoke night and did not disappoint. Until one day, whilst crawling across the floor of Cargo Bay 2 with a tricolor, hunting down a bad EPS conduit, he awoke with a start inside his cabin, courtesy of his longtime friend, Transporter Chief Fatima Khaira. It wasn't until then that he realized it was 0417 ship time and he had fallen asleep searching for the conduit in the cargo bay. Someone had tipped Khaira off and she transported him directly to his bunk.

    After that, he vowed to do better...and slightly less, leaving it in the hands of the trustworthy crew.

    So it came to this day, three days before the captain was due to return, that he received the report from the Chief Engineer that all repairs were completed early in the day shift. He slept for a full 8 hours. Freshly invigorated, he took a sonic shower, ordered raktajino and a plate of potato olés and vinegar, and settled in a chair to read the afternoon reports.

    Until he remembered that the captain was coming back in three days. Less than three days. Everything had to be cleaned and inspected with a keen, discriminating eye. He couldn't hand over a garbage scow to the captain.


    With a sigh, and one last look at his cooling olés, he leaped up, put on his best uniform, and headed out to complete the work that was never done.
  4. Simulation Officer

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    #4
     –  Last edited by Kiflin; Wed 10 Nov, 2021 4:29 PM.
    USS ARES Shuttle
    Deck 24 Parking Bay
    attachment.php?attachmentid=15327

    As the door raised from the phaser scarred Type 11 Shuttlecraft, Jarroth quickly exited the vessel brushing past the several maintenance crews hurrying towards the craft he had now become quite intimate with. With several completed missions on his so called day off, followed by nearly 5 days of continuous work a now heavily fatigued Ensign headed towards the turbolift for well needed R&R.

    He was however worried about a matter that had occurred during his most recent outing. Tapping his badge he requested Deck 8: Medical Sickbay.

    r1iCiE1
    Go ahead...

    Xa0jSf3
    Ensign Jarroth here... I wanted to find out about--

    r1iCiE1
    Officer Kowalaski is in stable condition. I can assure you we have him stabilized and he's been responding very well to treatment so far.

    Xa0jSf3
    Good to hear that. Would you please... keep me informed?

    r1iCiE1
    We sure will. Now get some rest Ensign. Doctor's orders.

    Xa0jSf3
    ((Chuckles)) Will do. Thanks again.

    As the turbolift hummed Jarroth couldn't escape the sensation to check his PADD to see if there were any recent updates regarding the current engineering damage assessment of ARES. Shifting in his posture he learned that ODN Network Inspection had been added.

    Jarroth's eyebrows raised. Just about every deck on the ship had an Vertical ODN compartment. Jarroth realized his so called 6 hour sleep session just became a 3 hour nap. Upon making his way to his quarters taking off his uniform he realized he had little time to even process what had occurred.

    He took a big risk in attempting to bluff the Orion Interceptor that had destroyed the two other shuttlecraft. His bluff even fooled the onboard prisoner that he was responsible for escorting to DS9. Jarroth had not even served a full day aboard the ARES and he had already almost lost his life.

    He remembered the words of a former acquaintance he had recently met...
    6LNqUMs
    “Battle? Yes, we have seen a lot of action on the ARES. Not the good kind either. Our first Captain was incapacitated on our maiden voyage encounter with an orion marauder. He was evacuated to DS9 shortly after and our Tactical officer took over as Captain. He did a good job for the most part, but machinations with some Starfleet faction ran its course… and we got our current Captain,” explained Jei.
    It would seem that Jei's assessment had merit now that Jarroth was witness to more fallen officers due to the recent Orion attacks to add to the current growing body count...
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  5. Ares Commanding Officer

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    #5

    Space-station Deep Space Nine

    Ops

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    Mariella materialized on the Ops transporter. She had gotten the order to beam to the station as soon as possible. She stepped down and look to the commander of the Station, Captain Sullivan.

    - Hey Richard! You look busy as ever.

    Richard smiled at her, and extended a hand, which she shook.

    - This many ships, it feels like Sisko might just fly back out of that Wormhole. Admiral's in a conference with various other Captains.
    - Any clue why their al here?
    - That's for the Admiral to explain.

    Mariella crossed her arms and leaned on one of the consoles. After about a minute, a slightly grey-haired man appeared at the office doors.

    - Captain Jones, let's talk.

    Mariella followed the admiral into the office. He gestured to her to take a seat and she did.

    - Captain, I'm sorry for keeping you from your ship. I know how itchy you are to get back at it.
    - There can be too much rest time. So, yeah, I'm more than ready.
    - I want you to meet someone. This new taskforce is his idea.

    He then nodded to a older, bearded man, sitting on the couch in shadow.

    The man paused before getting to his feet. He had a walking stick or cane of some sort, evidently forgoing in sort of corrective surgery. Even with the appearance of oldness, there was an energetic look in his eye.

    "Name's Caymen Greener," he said in his gruff voice, the beard covering some of his pronunciation of certain consonants. "And Taskforce Phoenix was not just my idea. I just moaned and groaned enough to get her going, finally."

    Normally someone might have chuckled at his sarcasm or hyperbole. But Caymen was serious about his grumblings to the fleet. He knew how to throw his experience around, and he did so well into retirement.

    "Now then, Taskforce Phoenix is a new experiment, of sorts," Greener said, walking over to the main display in the admiral's office. A series of orders and descriptions and a list of ships and their capabilities and command staff - all came up behind him as he spoke. "Usually a task force is put together for a specific mission, or a task, if you will. But not always. Sometimes we just need to lump some ships together and send them on their way."

    Dalton stroked his chin, with a quizzical look.

    - So, its basically an 'on-call' fleet?

    "Precisely." Caymen poked the screen with his stick. "And DS9 is the perfect launching pad for her. We already have several needs that these vessels can meet right at the onset of the task force." He started to pace back towards the couch. "All we need is for someone to hit the big green 'GO' button." The old man managed to crack a smile of sorts.

    Mariella crossed her arms. She looked slightly off-put by the idea, but was interested.

    - Who all is in this Taskforce?

    Greener looked to Dalton and then back to Mariella. "The final role is not up to me, but so far we have the Charleston, Athena, August, umm..."

    Dalton cleared his throat. "Cheticamp... hold on, I have the list right here--"

    Jones' eyebrow perked. This was some of the best of the fleet and she knew it. She then looked at the list and noticed one ship's name on it.

    - USS Cheticamp? Didn't he...

    Greener's own brow furled. "Wait, Dr. Broughm?" That was a name he hadn't heard in a long time.

    Jones nodded. She had a VERY vivid memory of the doctor that came rushing back.

    - I remember a specific mission that I was on a few years back. I was on an away mission analyzing off fungal growths on the inhabitants of Dacar II. He was called in because the fungi was shown to have some real nasty effects on humanoid species, akin to the Bubonic Plague. His staff had an expert on this kind of stuff, so I figured it'd be more help than what we could come up with. Next thing I know, I had a small fungal growth coming out of my neck and was coughing up blood. He beamed me onto the Cheticamp and started to treat me. After about...I'd say....FIVE MONTHS....I was cleared to return to duty, but not before that man gave me a nickname. Fungirl.

    Several folks chuckled, although Greener just stared off to the side, trying not to tell some of the stories he and Broughm had way back in the day.

    Jones just made a realization.....

    - Neither of you tell Sam.

    Dalton chortled at this. He smiled and put his hand up

    - Not a peep.

    Caymen shrugged, unsure why that would be an issue, but he could wager a guess if he had to. "Any other questions?"

    Mariella shrugged, seemly devoid of any other questions.

    - I got nothing else. I'm assuming you will give us the mission mandate?

    Dalton turned, picked up the padd and handed it to her.

    - Nothing too complex, just what the Ares was tasked before the multiple command switches. Just head out and explore.

    Jones smiled widely. A real opportunity to stretch the legs.

    - I love that!

    "So the Ares is en route?" asked Greener.

    Dalton nodded at the grizzled veteran. He then looked at the PADD on the desk, reading it quickly.

    - She's three days behind schedule. Its not too bad. Consider this a small extension of your vacation. Here...

    Dalton took a few strips of latinum and handed Jones them. She accepted them curiously.

    - Admirals keeping loose change isn't standard practice.
    - Never know when you need to call a friend. Buy yourself a drink at Quark's, maybe play some Dabo?

    Jones just nodded simply

    Greener was wanting to sit down again, watching the latinum exchange. He forgot they still delt in "money" out here quite often. Luckily he had his own stash handy.

    "Ok, I need a drink." Coffee, liquor... didn't matter to Caymen. He looked over at the door and back at Dalton expectantly.

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  6. Ares Executive Officer

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    #6
     –  Last edited by deuZige; Mon 29 Nov, 2021 6:26 AM.
    USS Ares, Deck 2, van Hulftoids quarters
    Living room lounge area

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    “I’m off to bed Dad, see you in the morning.” Danre said and proceeded to get up from the coutch with the intent of walking to his bedroom. Just before he would pass infront of his father, buried deep in some report he was making about the fighter squadron, a leg moved up from the floot and a foot landed on the table, barring his route to his bedroom. Inside Danre cursed and let out the breath he was holding with a sigh. “Aaaah Daaaad… come on, I’m exhausted!” he pleaded.

    Without looking up from the report he was writing, or allowing the nearly broken loose belly laugh to be noticed, Schrit raised his left hand and stuck up 3 fingers. When Danre let out another sigh, this time in resignation, and turned around to walk to the computer console in silence he couldn’t help but feel a bit of pride. He might needed a little reminder from time to time, but all in all the commitment and dedication to keep his promises and perform his duty Danre was putting in each and every day was nothing short of amazing, for someone his age.

    The fingers he’d held up reprisented those promises and commitment in a way. One finger was for the pledge he’d taken when the Captain had offered him the deal in the aftermath of the Renegade incident. He had pledged to comit himself to get into Starfleet academy and becoming the best officer he could be in exchange for more security clearance and a commbadge. Oh, and for applying rule number five to the circumventing, breaking and violating of security rules, regulations, protocols and security systems during the Renegade incident in order to gather information, and sending a high priority message to the bridge among other things.

    The second finger was for the, granted, request he made to get an official rank or jobdescription after he had run into some… resistance, shall we say, from some of the officers to his computer access requests and the reports he’d submitted to the Captain and XO on the first few “missions” the Captain and Xo had given him. Specifically the fact that he had asked for it himself, and had therefore no one he could blame except himself, for having to meet the requirements that come with the job.

    The third finger was for a certain officer in the security department who had voiced doubts about Danre’s mental maturity and his abillities to perform the duties required of him by the department. And not just any officer, but the Chief of Security who also happened to be a touch as nails Farasian exchange officer from the KDF.

    And those three fingers, and knowing that Danre hadn’t had the chance to study the Ares’s protocols and procedures concerning directed energy weapon systems were enough to redirect him from the way to his bed to the way to the computer console and study. As he had been assigned to recalibrating the lateral phaser array for his next duty shift, Danre knew he couldn’t afford to not learn everything an ensign was supposed to know before his shift started.

    Schrit couldn’t help but smile though, remembering it had taken himself only three hours to learn enough for ensign level qualification which probably meant Danre would be done in one hour.

    A beep suddenly chimed from the computer console as well as from the padd Schrit was working on, notifying him that a message was waiting for his attention. Opening the message, frowning at the odd time for a message to be delivered for him for a fraction of a second, he found it was good news. In fact, it was the best news he could’ve hoped for and it filled him with joy so much he couldn’t stop himself from pumping his fist in the air and letting out a “Ah yeah! Awesome!! whoohoo!”.

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    From: Starfleet Command and Operations.
    To: Squadron Leader USS Ares.

    Subject: Request for expanding the USS Ares’s compliment of fighter craft.

    Request Approved.

    Archived under reference 892jfbsa0921


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    [Note]
    Hi Schrit,

    You’re getting 4 fighters and we’ll be taking 2 shuttlecraft in exchange. And you owe me big time now hotshot.

    They’re Sparrows!

    (I’ll take a case of Glennfiddich thank you!)

    Regards,
    Zoteke


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    [OOC] Rule 5: put your hand infront of your eyes, spread fingers so you can see through them.[/OOC]
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    #7
    U.S.S Ares
    Security Complex

    Earth Time - Midday

    FAB spacer small

    It had been three months since he had taken command of the Security and Tactical departments of the U.S.S Ares. Even as he had a few days to almost a week off spending time with Shanji of the Helios, using the Holodecks for outdoors adventures or attending parties, festivals, and celebrations. Of course, they planned to visit these things for real if time allowed but.. you take what you can get right? Once the Helios left Deep Space Nine on a classified Mission Thane had returned to the Ares for duty with a little gift and reminder.

    He had spent the past few months working on the Computer's security systems with new programs and countermeasures to make it far more difficult to hack the Ares Computer Core or breach other systems. Not only that but it was a great way to work with some of the crew and get to know them and the ship's systems. They had patched holes and inserted non-standard code to complicate anyone trying to break in and give the technicians something new to learn and play with.

    He had also sat down to look at the training and set standard that Biiqs had for his teams and it is good! Rather than try and pull what some new leaders do and try and fix something not broken to throw their mark on the new territory in a rather inappropriate manner. He did however put his mark on in a different manner, cross-training. Security and Tactical would cross-train with other departments more closely, the plan being so if or when it came up they could step in and further assist other crews or provide more varied skills for use out in the field or on the ship.

    Overall the time spent as the crew came back onboard was a bit of an adjustment for both him and the crew. Some were not happy with a Non-Starfleet member being promoted into the position, others felt that someone from within the ship should have been promoted. Others still were pretty open minded, accepting even of it including a Kzinti Crewman who has taken to the Ferasan pretty well.

    With the recent addition of an Acting Ensign Danre, a child of whom Thane had no approval or say of this caused the man to have some serious issue concerning the choices of the Captain in promoting this kid to Acting Ensign. Thane has never been one to play favourites or show mercy to crew beneath him that were new. Thane has chosen to assign Danre to allot of the basic tasks, along with stacks of training, physical fitness routines and more. Then come the tests. Thane expected him to keep up, or fail. There was no adjustment, no softening of the requirements.

    With the Captain returning to the ship a fairly heavy report was ready for her review with his department ahead of schedule.
  7. Ares Executive Officer

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    #8
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    USS Ares
    Main Hanger-bay

    02:00 am


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    The past few weeks, with the USS Ares’s repairs and refits nearing completion, the night cycles aboard the Ares had become unusually quiet times during which most systems that could be switched to stand by mode were in stand by mode. With a lot of the crew off ship on R&R or for other reasons the corridors were mostly empty and earily silent. DS9 was pretty consistent with its adherence to its day/night cycles meaning that it to showed little to no activity during the night cycles.

    At 02:00 am Ship time though there was one Starfleet officer that instead of signing off entered the fighter squadron’s locker room and began changing from a standard Starfleet uniform into a flight suit. Schrit’s nervous anxiety had been building inside for days to a point that even his son noticed there was something odd going on with his father. Danre knew better than to ask, or comment, on the fidgeting and restlessness Schrit was trying very hard to keep from being noticeable. In fact Danre was probably the only person who was aware of the cause for this, uncharacteristic, behavior his father was developing. But as Schrit was putting on his flight suit, checking pressure systems and pairing the suit with the helmet he took from his locker before closing it he almost laughed out loud with anticipation and felt he was about to explode from all the nerves, anxiety and anticipation he felt, mainly as a pressure on his chest.

    He rarely felt anything like this, and could in fact remember all the times in his life when he had felt like this. He was, literally, feeling like a teenager on Christmas morning waiting for the “OK signal” from his parents before he could storm downstairs to the Christmas tree and unpack his one single present of which he knew what it was, which was nothing less than the most awesome thing in the universe that he could be given. And now he was feeling that same feelings, only now he was a 47 year old Starfleet officer, with a 39 years long career behind him and a son of his own. Nevertheless, the 12 year old kid was still very much a part of him, apparently.

    Satisfied his suit and helmet were good and solid he walked from the locker room into the main hanger for the fighter squadron and stopped in his stride when he realized the lighting was up to normal operational luminosity. Confused he changed his direction to the nearest terminal and called up the activity logs for the hanger bay. Everything looked as it should be except for the last entry. As scheduled the previous shift had been busy offloading 2 Danube class shuttles which had been transferred to DS9 via tractor beam and then using the same tractor beam technique to bring aboard 4 fighters from the USS Peterbuilt to replace the shuttles. As requested 2 of them had been placed in what they called the Hotspot, closest to the hanger bay’s exit to space, and….

    “Wait a second, I requested one of them for the Hotspot” Schrit muttered to himself. Noting that where he had requested one fighter to be prepped for flight two were actually fueled, Diagnosticized and prepared for flight Schrit switched off the terminal and started winding his way around the various shuttles, worker bees and Adrestia fighters towards the Hotspot not feeling less confused than he had been before he’d checked the logs.

    Ducking below the winglet of the last Adrestia fighter his eyes widened and he breathed in so hard and loud the sound it made even echoed through the cavernous hanger-bay. With the last obstacle blocking his view behind him his gaze had locked onto sleek likes and curvaceous shapes he had not had the pleasure of beholding since a short time after he had arrived on UPAFREDE (Utopia Planetia Advance Fighter Research & Development), little under a decade ago. And although Schrit had expected to experience some emotional and nostalgic feelings seeing his first true love again, he had not expected the overwhelming mix of emotions that rampaged through him when he laid his eyes on her. He was quite literally feeling as well as hearing his heart beating, and thus very aware of how much faster it was beating.

    The Sparrow Class Advanced Space Superiority Fighter was as beautiful as he had remembered her. She looked like she was going fast standing still, and like a predator bird, mid strike upon her prey. The Sparrow’s silhouette and profile told all who laid eyes on her exactly what she was, and managed to look proud of herself for doing it. She was a thoroughbred Space Superiority Fighter through and through, Sleek, curvaceous and vicious.

    Slowly Schrit walked to the Sparrow, and even more slowly moved his hand up to touch her ever so gently, as if he was afraid she’d vanish upon touching her. Then, as if gently stroking a partner in a tentative opening of foreplay, Schrit moved his hands along the Sparrow’s nose towards the cockpit’s canopy, having to make a conscious effort to keep his eyes open and suppress… sounds escaping from his throat that would be inappropriate in almost all situations and most certainly this situation.

    Then Schrit’s heart almost exploded to a stop when both Sparrows lit up, initiated their pre-flight sequences and opened their canopies without warning and in full sync. Eyes wide like saucers, mouth wide open Schrit backed away, his torso a bit quicker than the lower half of his body, causing him to fall flat on his ass. Then, just as he managed to remind his body to resume his heartbeat and breathing laughter erupted from the second Sparrow, slightly behind the one he had touched. As he turned to look what the source of the sound was he saw a grizzled old Ktarian face pop up into view, laughing so hard that tears were streaming down his face. Between chuckles and guffaws from unsuccessful repressed laughter the Ktarian pointed at Schrit saying

    “That was… <chuckle> by far… <guffaw> the funniest… <muhachuckle snicker> thing I have ever… <mhihihi hmhmhm> seen in my life!!!!”

    only to subsequently regress into uncontrollable laughter. It took a few seconds but soon enough Schrit’s brain had put all of it together in conscious thought and managed to voice a coherent response.

    “Commander Zoteke Madwan, as I live and breathe! I thought you were light-years away, scaring the crap out of young and fresh pilots so much they flew in straight formation instinctively our of fear!”

    A minute or two later the Ktarian’s laughter had abated and had climbed down from the Sparrow’s cockpit. Schrit had recovered from the shock enough to walk up to him and grab his old friend and mentor into a bear-hug the moment his feet hit the hanger deck.

    “I’m so happy to see you my friend! Now that my heart has resumed beating that is” Schrit exclaimed, before releasing the old Ktarian from his hug.

    Unperturbed and with a cocky expression Zoteke replied “I decided to make sure that the bottle of Glenfiddich you owe me would be the genuine 52 year, oak-barrel aged, single malt kind, and not that 12 year old cheap stuff they’re shipping across the Federation these days.”

    Faking an offended expression Schrit replied “You wound me sir! I would sooner fly myself into a black hole than be associated with such infamy!” before returning to a somewhat normal look and sound and adding “The bottle is in fact in my quarters ready to be sent off by shuttle courier to Starfleet Command with the request to forward it to the USS Hornet for the attention of one Cmdr. Zoteke Madwan.”

    “ooh really… ah shrudd, I guess you really want to take the Sparrow out to get re-acquainted first, before we tag team that bottle huh?” Zoteke said, one eyebrow raised in a reasonable Vulcan-like manner. Before Schrit could respond though Zoteke held up a hand to stop him. “Just shut up, and helmet up rookie!” he said in what was supposed to be a condescending tone, and then pointed at the Sparrow behind Schrit. “You’re in that one, this one’s mine for this flight. 5 million clicks apart and may the best man win, rookie!” said the Ktarian, climbing back into the cockpit of ‘his’ Sparrow.

    Clicking his helmet straps in place, grabbing the struts to climb into ‘his’ Sparrow Schrit couldn’t help but note he couldn’t remember the last time he had been as happy as he was at that moment.

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  8. Master Chief Petty Officer of the Fleet
    Master Chief Petty Officer of the Fleet
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    #9
    A Joint Post by Josh Broughton and LogicalLeopard

    USS Ares
    Shuttle Bay Two



    - Runabout Gander coming in for landing.

    Sam hadn't piloted a Runabout in many years. Thankfully, for him and Akyv, it was relatively simple. He landed the craft in Ares' main shuttle bay. Akyv smiled at him with that always sensual grin. He smiled back, took her hand and kissed it.

    - M'lady, we're home.
    - And in one piece too. I'll take care of the luggage.

    Sam smiled, then opened the runabout's hatch. He stepped out and saw Cmdr. Tarquin waiting for them to exit.


    All right, lively now!

    Biiqs' somewhat less thundering than usual baritone rang out through the shuttle bay. He stood at attention, in front of two assembled lines of "sideboys," in accordance with Starfleet and Naval tradition regarding the arrival of a captain.

    As Sam and Akyv emerged from the runabout, Biiqs gave them a quick smile and nod, before looking past them to the runabout exit. After a moment, he relaxed his posture and looked back at Sam in confusion.

    "Uhm....Sam? Is the...where is the captain?"

    Sam stepped down from the transport and smiled at the Commander.

    - She got called to DS9 for a meeting with Admiral Dalton. I have no clue why.

    Biiqs turned around to the captains receiving party and dismissed them, then looked back to Sam.

    Oh, I see. Well, I guess a bit of practice on ceremony never hurt anyone. I trust the trip was otherwise pleasant for you? The ship is still in one piece, you'll find, despite the best attempts of outrageous fortune to the contrary.

    At that Biiqs rubbed his head, looking unusually tired. Around the shuttlebay, random crew could still be seen making minor repairs and painting and polishing equipment.

    Sam smiled at this. He figured that its best to practice all this, even when it was small.

    - The trip was GREAT! I'll share some pics later. In the meantime, the captain wants you to give me a ships status report.


    Biiqs motioned to a yeoman, who presented Sam with a padd.

    "To summarize, the ship is....mostly functional. All major repairs have been completed. There are a few discrepancies between the EPS grid and the warp engine, but we should have those under control shortly."


    Sam nodded at this. He then thought of something to ask.

    - So, uh.....anything new added to the ship?

    Biiqs chuckled and nodded his head.

    Well.....isn't that the understatement of the day. If you have a moment, you can come with me on a brief tour of Engineering.

    Sam nodded at this. He hadn't been in engineering...well...ever. In fact, he hadn't taken a proper tour of the ship he served on.

    - I'm not opposed. Lead on, good sir.

    At Sam's consent, he set off toward engineering. Along the way to the turbolift, Biiqs pointed out an area where crewmen were crawling into a Jeffries tube.

    We had a lot of damage to our ODN relays due to a rogue hologram incident. They were fixed, but we've noticed discrepancies lately. I'm having crews re-synch the hardline ODN circuits again just to be sure. But Engineering is where the real mess is, as you'll see.

    Biiqs stepped into the turboloft and directed it to Engineering. The lift doors opened to the acrid smells of ozone and coolant. It looked like a shift and a half of personnel were buzzing about, half with tools, working on different things.

    So, yesterday morning, a couple engineers were running some simulations on engine strain during the battle with the Renegade, and realized there were minor phase discrepancies that might present a problem when the ship is under power. And from that, we realized that our central EPS grid was not as solid as it seemed. In fact, there is a point five two phase variance. Obviously, we can have that and travel, so whenever the captain gets back, I'm hoping she doesn't need to take us anywhere soon.

    Sam grimaced at this. Almost as if he was saying there would be a delay.

    - How long of a delay are we looking at?

    "Three days. More or less."

    Sam nodded. He did take some engineering courses before he incidentally 'ghosting' the captain. What he learned was that delays were always expected and creative thinking was used to get around those delays. However, he hadn't the authority to do this.

    - Three days isn't as bad as anyone thinks. Thanks for the report, Bix.


    No problem, please render it to the captain with my apologies, and reassure her that she will come back to a ship that is in one piece. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go help the engineering teams by scanning the EPS relays on this deck.

    Biiqs grabbed a tricorder from near by, removing the probe and adjusting the dials. The model was so old it actually had dials.

    Sam had a look at the old tricorder. It was, to his knowledge, about two-hundred years old.

    - This looks to predate the formation of the federation. How did you....

    Biiqs chuckled and held it out for Sam to inspect.

    There aren't a lot of advantages to doing repairs at a station remote as Deep Space Nine. But there's one big one - it seems like everything finds it way out here. Most through the initial Bajoran and then the Cardassian relief efforts. And the rest, I think, is coming from the Ferengi Bartender. This little baby may be a bit long in the tooth as the human expression goes, but it still bites. Nothing analyzes phase resonance more accurately than this type of tricorder. I think its the probe. They just don't make tricorders as solid anymore

    Sam nodded. He knew that he had this type of tricorder and he knew EXACTLY how tough these tricorders were. Suddenly, he got the itch to do some tinkering.

    - I'm going to work on the one I have in my collection. I'll catch you later.


    See you then, Sam.

    Biiqs headed down the corridor, following the path of the EPS conduit.
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    #10
    U.S.S Ares
    Deck 8, Mess Hall

    Earth Time - Midmorning

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    Schrit had just spent the better part of 20 hours with his head up the inside of an Adrestia fighter, hunting down a vibration that he noticed during a training run that didn't exist according to the engineer he spoke about it. After screwing in a missing screw into the outer auxiliary actuator that controlled the winglets during operations in atmospheric conditions and logging the 'repair' into the engineering log, instead of his pilot log, he had satisfied his own ego and pride but not his body.

    He was so hungry, he realized coming out of the hanger bay area freshly showered and uniformed, that he didn't have the patience to take the turbo lift to his quarters or any of the officer's places. The closest one was one of the common Kantine like mess's which were favored by the enlisted and lower deck officers. He felt more comfortable there anyway, still instinctively feeling more like the Marine he'd been most of his career before he got his commission.

    After filling his tray with lots of Shoarma, garlic sauce, Pita bread, and beer he looked around for a place to plunk down and enjoy the good meat. Scanning the room he noticed the Ferrasan with which he'd been on the rescue op recently, sitting at a table with 2 other crewmen he didn't know. Decided he''d liked the man well enough during the mission, and wanting to get to know more about the man, and his species, Schritt walked over.

    "Mind if I join you?" he asked, announcing his presence, the subject of scrutiny by 8 eyes. 2 of the Ferasan, 2 of the human, and 4 of the Diraniamosian.

    Thane had with him a Betazoid to which the duo was engaged in a telepathic debate. For some it could be a staring contest, others could see it as just that awkward silence until the Ferasan spoke up "Haha. I know!" then back to dead silence. The surprise of the others at the table at the sudden phrase was utterly delightful! When Schritt came up and asked to sit with them. Thane made a motion to a few empty seats. "Take a seat!"

    "Thanks. I find a meal tastes better when eaten in the company of good people." Schrit said as he sat down. Setting his plate down on the table he picked up the beer held it in the air saying "To good company!" before gulping down half the beer in one big gulp. He then looked over at Thane. "So what do you think of your stint in Starfleet so far? Is there any hope for us?" he asked in jest.

    Flicking an ear as Schrit drank his Synth-Beer and downed half a pint in a gulp. "Do you want the honest answer or a joke answer?" He asked in response, as he took a drink from his glass.

    Having his mouth full with a bite from the Pita bread gave Schrit a moment to consider the Ferasan’ s question. He was wondering if the Farasan view of Starfleet was actually shockingly bad or if he was pulling his leg. “Well, the question I asked was meant to break the ice, to get a cordial conversation going. But judging by the way you replied I think that the topic merits serious conversation. Having read your file and some background on your species, who are the only species within the empire besides the Klingon themselves not to be considered "jeghpu'wI'", as well as having served with you on a mission I’ve got an appropriate level of respect and would value your view of Starfleet more than I would most others. I’ve been through a lot with and for Starfleet, and know it from the lowest rung of the latter and climbed that ladder getting to know Starfleet from many different perspectives. So I’ll take the Honest answer please.” Schrit answered after swallowing the Pita, and taking another bite after he spoke, and leaning back in his chair expectantly.

    Thane finished his drink and set the empty glass aside to look at Schritt. "Starfleet overall is alright, however, it seems as though the standards have dropped and the Left and Right hands do not know what the other is doing. Not to mention the most recent 'Renegade' thing going on. Come on, a ship named the Renegade? It isn't obvious what it is and its intentions then whoever named it, built it, and then assigned a commander to it is a damn fool. This sets a rather poor precedent of perception that there's something rotting at the core. Not to mention now we have children serving as acting ensigns which their age, mental maturity and inability to perform all functions of a department make them a liability. Which I solidly dislike."


    Schrit straightened up and narrowed his eyes at those last words, instinctively, which couldn't be about anyone else but his son. Having his mouth full though, gave his mind the opportunity to control his instinct and think about how to handle this wisely. After he swallowed the mouthful, he hoped he had come up with a response that should be appropriately strong without offending the Farasian too excessively.

    "Thank you for giving me a plain and honest answer. I appreciate your candor. And I readily agree with you on the Renegade thing, that was a really stupid name, and how it got all the way up and down the chain of command without anybody catching on and taking action is incomprehensible to me too. But I can't say i agree that standards have dropped in Starfleet. The requirements for becoming an officer in Starfleet have not changed significantly nor have many of the rules, regulations, or protocols on which the organization relies to keep Starfleet capable of meeting the demands of the United Federation of Planets. The sheer size of the organization that is Starfleet, and the power given to officers in it, make occurrences like the Renegade almost inevitable. Malicious individuals will on occasion succeed in reaching ranks and positions with substantial powers. Powers that enable them to surround themselves with officers that suit their purpose, manipulate situations and people to their own benefit, or work the system to hide their nefarious machinations from those who could and should stop nefarious maliciousness in the organization. Starfleet is no different than any other large organization with a hierarchical structure when it comes to that, and I dare say that for example, the KDF has a far richer history of things of that nature happening at the highest level of its organization, all the way up to and including the High council. The best we can do is guard against complacency and stay vigilant, cutting out anything we find rotting in our midst.

    As for the acting ensign you mention, I can assure you that he is held to the same requirements and standards as everyone else. If he fails to meet those standards he will be held accountable and if needed be disciplined, or stripped of his rank. Starfleet is a meritocracy in which one is judged on one's actions and performance, regardless of race, culture, gender, species, religion, or indeed age. As the acting ensign will be working with the security department, at the personal request and orders of the Captain I might add, you should already know how mentally mature he is, what his abilities are, and that my son is anything but a liability. But I suspect that you never met him, haven't read his file, or did anything at all to check if your assumptions about his maturity and ability are justified, and that you know absolutely nothing about this acting ensign except his age. Because if you had you would have known that as a matter of fact you, me, and the rest of the crew would very much be dead right now, without Acting Ensign Danre van Hulftoids mental maturity and abilities." Schrit told Thane. When he was finished, not having changed his expression or the casual tone of voice at all, he took another bite of his Pita bread and casually enjoyed his meal as if the topic of the conversation was the weather on the beaches of Risa.

    Thane listened as Schritt spoke on and defended his son. He could feel the emotion resonating off the man and simply nodded with it before adding in his reply once the man was done. "It is interesting to hear a Father defend his child, which I truly do understand and empathize with being a parent myself. However, I do feel you are missing the objective aspect of this, to look in from without. Objectively." Thane takes a sip from his drink now and seems to be a little more clinical in his approach.

    "It is interesting you say he is to be held to the same standards as everyone else and yet, is only in his position because of the personal recommendation and orders of the Captain. This implies he normally fails in meeting the minimum requirements and standards so.. do think about that. Now, as for him being a liability to the department, he is. In the worst-case scenarios of the ship being boarded or him being captured, or worse. Please, think of those scenarios and how they could impact someone of a growing mind like that and try and look at it from my perspective. I have to make choices on if I clear him for away missions, do I issue him a Phaser and like hell will I issue a 2360s Type 1 which then brings the issue on the hypothetical situation that I hope he doesn't encounter is... could he pull the trigger if it came to it? Do I put him through the same interrogation resistance training as the rest knowing full well it could do very bad things to his mental state? Do you honestly grasp now my position?"

    Thane took another drink and then looked back to Schritt. "I also have read his file, I am also aware of what he did and the actions he took. While thankful for it all and so on that does not show me he can handle what comes with being a part of this department. My officers need to be able to trust he can pull his weight with a Phaser, with handling unruly individuals if it comes to it or otherwise have their backs. Do you think he can meet all of this if I was to test him?"

    Schritt was now almost certain the Farasian was pulling his leg. Either that or the man was actually talking about some other acting ensign.
    This put Schritt in a position he rarely found himself in, stumped.

    "I am sorry, I'm confused... We are talking about the position of Acting Ensign, right? One of us has got the wrong idea about what that rank and the duties entail, and what the requirements are for an acting ensign in Starfleet Security. And I hope to Science it is not me, because I'd never have allowed my Son to voluntarily subject himself to such a punishing environment." Schritt simply exclaimed, not even trying to hide his astonishment.

    He added "I've held literally every rank from cadet, all the way up to master chief petty officer, and then got my commission to get where i am now, and i spent 3 years in the marines before i ever got any training in counter interrogation techniques. An acting Ensign even more so than an ensign is little more than an Academy student that gets to experience the practice of the theory that they study at the Academy. The requirements are to know the rules, regulations, and protocols of the department you're in, develop officer skills, grow as a member of Starfleet and learn the skills and knowledge required of a Lieutenant Junior Grade. For Security in particular there are physical requirements to be met and the requirements to have successfully passed the exams for small arms, target training level 3 on small and medium arms, hand to hand combat level 3, and be able to operate all systems on a ship or base that fall under the responsibility of the security department. I know this because i have been educating my son and training him to excel and exceed these exact requirements." Schritt ranted, no longer aware or caring if Thane was joking or not.

    With final sigh he regained his composure and finished with "So to answer your question, Yes Danre does meet and exceeds all the requirements for an Acting Ensign in the security department. He will be treated as any other acting ensign in security, and yes he would surprise the hell out of you if you were to test him personally. He might be a nerd but he's a nerd raised by one of the most badass marines ever to kick ass for the Federation And Section 31!"

    As soon as he had spoken those last two words he felt the blood draining from his face. It was the first time in his life he had ever inadvertently hinted at his S31 involvement in the past. Now he'd gone and almost shouted it across the table to what at the bottom line was a Klingon Defence Force officer. He hoped no one would snatch that thread of the conversation and start pulling...



    To be continued...

    (Joint post between Deuzige and Myself!)
  9. Ares Commanding Officer

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    #11
    USS Ares
    Captain's quarters

    About an ninety minutes after meeting.
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    Mariella got to her quarters after grabbing a bowl of tonkatsu ramen at Quark's. It was surprisingly good, even for the Ferengi's standards. She took off her uniform jacket, threw it on the couch and breathed deeply. Jones then noticed the PADD on her desk, so she picked it up and had a quick read. It was Sam's 'informal' report. She noted the delay, shrugged and then put the padd down on the desk. She then went to get a sonic shower. After about thirty minutes, she stepped out, wrapped a towel around her chest, then went to get dressed. She stopped suddenly in her tracks, feeling like someone was watching her. A shimmer caught the corner of her eye. She spun around, grabbing a phaser on a hidden wall and pointed it at an old, gruff, gray-bearded man that sat on her couch.

    - Always a nicety to see an unblemished female body.

    Jones stepped forward with the phaser in hand, with genuine fear in her eyes.

    - Try anything and I WILL vaporize your creeper ass.

    The gruff man stood, then straightened a leather jacket he was wearing.

    - Captain, I'm surprised you don't know me. Maybe Maxwell didn't want to say much of anything.

    Jones now gave him a strange look. Then, it hit her like a shuttle at warp five.

    - Captain Wil Storm?! How in the-

    She then quickly went for a panel when William coughed.

    - Don't bother. I'm using Renegade's holographic transmitter with a scrambling encoding. You wouldn't be able to crack it fast enough.

    Jones took a strong, disdainful look at Wil. She then quickly threw an old t-shirt and a pair of sleepers on, then leaned on the door casing of her bedroom.

    - Explain to me why the hell you are here, acting a perv!

    Wil scratched his chin, then walked away from her, hands behind his back.

    - I'm not going to mince words, captain. The Orion Syndicate are out hunting for federation tech.

    Jones now gave him a very curious look. Sher sat on the couch and crossed her arms.

    - Why in the hell are you telling me this?

    Wil turned to look at the captain. A steely glaze came over his eyes, then his form flickered.

    - I told them I wouldn't harm another fellow officer. That attack we perpetuated was overzealous and I am sorry for it.

    Jones snorted at this. She got up and walked right up to him.

    - Three months is far too late for an apology, you son of a bitch! WE LOST OUR CHIEF DOCTOR BECAUSE OF YOU.

    Rage now filled her body. She unleashed a slap that could take the hull off a shuttle. Of course, it passed through Wil's face. Jones ended up spinning herself into the wall. She then took a few deep breaths as Wil looked at her.

    - Their target is the Ares.

    Jones slowly turned to look at Wil. She had a glare of confusion.

    - They specifically wanted a sovereign and your ship fits the bill. They have a full schematic of the ship. I told them this is as far as I'll go to help them get their objective. I won't be involved any further.

    Jones then turned around. She had a look of pure anger.

    - If we ever find you...

    - I doubt it. You won't see me again, darlin'.

    His image flickered and vanished. Jones was left alone to her thoughts after what was a very harrowing experience.
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  10. Ares Commanding Officer

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    #12
    USS Ares
    Captain's Ready Room

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    Jones got dressed in a casual uniform and quickly jogged to the bridge. As soon as she stepped off the lift, she pointed at a junior officer, which made that officer jump a bit.

    - Yellow alert! Start sweeping for any latent subspace signals that aren't the norm for around the station. Put a message out to the taskforce to go on high alert. Number one, with me.

    Biiqs nodded to Watson at Tactical.
    -You heard her, Mr. Watson. You have the bridge.

    He then fell in step with the captain,
    accompanying her to the ready room.

    Mariella entered the ready room, went to the replicator and got herself an extremely strong coffee. She sat on the couch opposite the desk. Jones then rubbed her face.

    Biiqs rested against the desk, sort of half sitting on it as he faces the captain. He patiently waited for her to speak.

    - Never in my born days has this ever happened. Max's father showed up in my quarters....AFTER I GOT A SHOWER.

    - "In your *room?* How did.. security *cannot* have failed so drastically that such a thing happened? What did he do?

    Jones shook her head.

    - Nothing happened. It was a holographic transmission and from what I gathered, we can't trace it. its likely he well deep in Syndicate space. He said their trying to grab a hold of Federation tech.

    Biiqs sighed and scratched his chin in thought.

    -That's still very, very disturbing, no matter how he did it. I'll speak to Thane. Maybe he can even talk our resident whiz kid to work on tracing the untraceable. As to the Orions...its something to watch out for, but...im not sure how much we can trust him. If they want out tech, why don't they get it through him? But...it might be worth it to speak to someone in Starfleet Intelligence, see if we can hear what the chatter is.

    Mariella took another gulp of coffee, got up from the couch and went to her desk. She sat down and pulled out a few PADDs, placing them on the desk. Jones had a look at each of them, then saw what she was looking for.

    - Sounds like a good idea. I got called in briefly for a security alert during my vacation on Risa. A bunch of ship schematics were downloaded to somewhere and they have no clue where they went to. I'm now starting to think that the Renegade grabbed those. Co-ordinate with Thane and our wunderkint to confirm this.

    Biiqs nodded.

    - Aye, ma'am. I'll talk to Thane about setting up countermeasures for any intruders as well. We can start by doubling the security presence on the Bridge and Engineering, the Computer Core, any other sensitive areas.

    It would help if we knew more about what they wanted specifically and...well, even what may have been promised to them. Storm almost destroys this vessel, and then he provides intel to save it? Why? Is he trying to take time off his eventual prison sentence?

    Jones leaned back and sighed loudly.

    - I have a theory. Storm might've offered up the schematics for a few bars of latinum. They saw our stuff and now want to take it. Wil said that they'll be coming after us.

    Biiqs shifted his stance on against the desk, folding his arms.

    - So...we know if Storm can track us, they probably can as well. So as were anticipating a fight, where does that leave the overall mission?

    Jones rubbed her face. Her expression was one of uncertainty.

    - I don't know. I have to talk to Admiral Dalton about this. He might want to scrub the mission.

    Biiqs pondered her words for a moment.

    - He might. Or...perhaps he may consider allocating resources to finally put this thing to bed. Harder to ambush us with company.

    Jones simply nodded. She finished her coffee off, then had a look at one of the PADDs on the desk.

    - I'm delaying our departure three days. I need to find out what the Admiral wants to do.

    Biiqs nodded his agreement as he studied the captains face. She clearly didn't like it.

    - I agree. Its the most prudent action to take, if unpleasant.

    Jones rubbed her face and sighed.

    - WHY does this crap always happen to us?!

    He responded with a touch of good humor and positivity in his voice.

    - I've always been told that to whom much is given, much is required. The difficult jobs go to the capable. A gifted, talented bunch like us? Who else could handle it, Captain?

    Jones then waved him off, apparently dismissing him. She then opened a comms to Dalton.

    - Admiral, we have a big problem.
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  11. Ares Executive Officer

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    #13
    Joint post was written by @Krajin and @deuzige
    U.S.S Ares
    Deck 8, Mess Hall

    Earth Time - Midmorning

    FAB spacer small


    Thane sat there for a moment at the sudden outburst with a focused gaze on the man. Hell, to him it was as if half the mess hall had just gone dead silent at the sudden admission of someone being an active, or formerly an active member of Starfleets' Voldemort. This needed to be investigated and Thane, reaching out with his telepathic abilities quickly latched onto that tendril of thought as Schritt sat in that moment of shock and his mind lingered on what just happened. For a Telepath on an investigation, such a thought is a beautiful, if not fleeting thing best latched onto quickly and followed like a terrible threat!

    Thane dug deep, following it down into the memory anagrams of Schritt's mind, and started digging like a burrowing termite. What those memories revealed was beautiful. Sabotage, Search and Retrieval, Assassination? But in the end, that betrayal.. so much to sift through there. He kept hold of the thread with his eyes locked onto Schrit. Not keen to let go and be needed to force his way back in. The room had indeed gone silent, maybe not to the point a pin could be dropped but certainly noticeable enough. "All that has been said so far is to not leave the mouths of anyone here. If any of you have a problem with this, you are to report to me, the First Officer or the Captain, and nobody else. I expect there is an understanding of what will happen otherwise." A good, first test of how Thane will handle such a conversation. "Now back to your meals."

    His phaser-focused gaze does not leave Schritt though as his next words come forth. "You and I, however, shall go chat in my office. This is not a suggestion." As he stands and with one hand near the Disruptor, he makes a motion for Schritt to stand and move.

    Schritt was probably the most shocked individual of them all in that mess hall, the nanosecond he'd uttered the words Section 31. In all these years he'd never slipped up once, never spoke a single word, even under torture. Now he'd gone and dropped the ball, and there was a whole mess hall of junior officers and enlisted crew to witness it. Not only that but with the recent Renegade incident fresh in everyone's memory, mentioning section 31 had the effect of detonating a nuclear bomb.

    But there was no way of undoing what had been done, and Schrit would just have to do what he could to contain the damage, and mitigate the fallout. With a deep sigh of resignation, Schrit got up from his seat and began walking to the mess hall exit. "Yeah, your office might be the best place for the questions you'll be asking." Schrit told Thane, adding; "On the way there, please have the computer pull up file 40239AF0 Sierra 31 Gamma. I'll give you the decryption key when we get to your office. We're going to get through this so much faster with Admiral Ross's orders setting the boundaries for our conversation."

    Thane got up and motioned for Schritt to start walking, another security officer walked with them as an escort towards Thane's Office in the Security Complex. It would be a long, quiet and almost.. damning walk as the Ferasan and Vulcan escorted Schritt, both armed as was standard now.

    U.S.S Ares
    Security Complex

    Earth Time - Midday

    FAB spacer small


    Thane's Office is a reasonably large office that fits a desk at one end with a comfortable, ergonomic chair for his body type, a small armory off to one side concealed by the wall, and more than likely a phaser under the desk. Two couches and a small table for more informal meetings as well as a replicator, refresher, and the like. The lighting is decreased by a few Lumen in here and the decoration is quite Ferasan in nature. A few trophies, models of various ships built to scale, with a replica of the U.S.S Helios being currently built at a small side table. "Computer, begin recording. Encrypt under Thane Seven-Zero."

    Thane sits down at his desk with the Officer standing outside and Schritt inside with the Ferasan. He has pulled over his computer and brought up various files on it and looks at Schritt. "Here's the file, unlock it. This interview and conversation will be recorded and encrypted as per protocol." *He states plainly. "Firstly. This is to understand the sheer depth of your... situation, combined with recent events with the Renegade you are essentially walking a thin line between Freedom and the Brig, not to mention the contents of the report I must send to the High Command concerning the presence of an S31 agent."

    He takes a deep breath and leans back in his chair and checks the recording. "The Captain will be informed of all this once she returns to the ship to make sure all bases are covered. I know what I saw amidst your memories and I have no intention of holding this over you. However because of the nature of your position, the Renegade, and my active standing with High Command and the Honour Guard I must investigate this and will be as impartial as possible despite my personal opinions of those who assist S31 and the damage caused. So, let's start."


    Schrit had taken the seat across the desk from Thane and made himself comfortable, or as much as the seat would allow. He knew the seat was meant to be uncomfortable but having been on this side of a security desk more than once he managed it. "Computer, decrypt 40239AF0 Sierra 31 Gamma, decryption mnemonic phrase Front, Freighter, Soup, Nova, Hologram, Sixshooter, Earth, Beer." Schrit said, adding "Authorisation van Hulftoids 076 Xray Xray Xray" causing the file to decrypt and become readable on Thane's monitor. A holo-recording began to play, displaying the logo for the UFP first, Starfleet next, and Starfleet Intelligence last before a face appeared. The face of Admiral Ross, the leader of Federation armed forces during the Dominion war, appeared on the screen next. His expression serious and his tone of voice stern he said.

    "I shall be brief and direct. The man you have in custody is not an active member of or working for Section 31. Any ongoing investigation or inquiries into van Hulftoids involvement with the rogue organization Section 31 are to be discontinued immediately and all records, including personal notes, are to be destroyed, as per Special directive 39138 Alpha 1. Mr. van Hulftoids is to be released without restrictions, under my responsibility. Any accountability or explanation is entirely up to Mr. van Hulftoid's discretion. I understand this goes against every sense of due course and protocol any good Starfleet officer instinctively has, and that the same instinct might compel you to file at least a record of objection into the system. Understand that this would be a violation of special directive 39138 Alpha 1 and punishable under the extended patriot act and executive order 13224."

    After the Admiral was finished speaking his face disappeared and the logos flashed by in reverse order, after which the screen turned blank. The silence that followed was deafening. It was Schrit who broke the silence after just enough time had passed for the silence to become backward.

    "As a courtesy to you as a fellow Starfleet officer as well as the Chief of Security on the USS Ares I will elaborate somewhat on my past involvement with S31, and will answer any questions that will not violate my NDA restrictions," Schrit said looking the Security Chief in the eyes with an expression of sincerity.

    Thane leaned back in his chair with one leg crossed with his fingers steepled. He positively looked like some kind of super-villain sitting there as he listened to the PADD and the Admiral's spiel. Once it was done, he glances at the PADD with some degree of amusement and calmly takes it to place it on the counter behind him after switching it off. He doesn't yet say anything though, keeping that eerie, uncomfortable silence about them.

    "The short version, the version I can divulge without violating any NDA or orders I'm under, is that I have at one point in my career been forced to... collaborate with individuals that claimed to be part of Section 31. And yes, the memories you touched upon are mnemonic decoys meant to divert the attention of any mental probing away from actual actionable information by providing exactly what someone with psychic abilities could be looking for regarding Section 31." Schrit said, before leaning forward squinting his eyes as if scrutinizing the Ferasan closely. Almost whispering Schrit asked "How skilled are your species in reading minds anyway? I don't recall much information on that issue in the Starfleet database on your species" and then leaned back in his seat.


    "Anyway, as soon as it was safe to do so I went to my superior officer and told him everything that had happened, and asked him for guidance on how to proceed in the future. He was going to discretely contact some of his 'friends' in Starfleet Intelligence and Starfleet Command and get back to me. Two things happened in quick succession that prevented that from happening. One was the start of the Dominion War. The other, I found out later, was the breaching warp core of the shuttle that was transporting him from our base on Mirnion II to Earth to speak to his contacts." Schrit continued his explanation. While he was talking Schrit had watched the Security officer across the desk from him closely to see if he could read the man's expression. He had found he was unable to read the man, or even discern any change in the man's face or anywhere else for that matter. He decided to simply finish what he was going to tell him and then go with whatever was going to happen as it happened.

    "During the war, I was forced to... collaborate with S31 on two more occasions, the last of which inadvertently brought me into contact with... an individual that had similar experiences with S31, and had successfully managed to inform the higher echelons of Starfleet's intelligence community and gained the cooperation of Starfleet Intelligence in order to gain intel on S31 and eventually maybe take action against it. He brought me into contact with his contacts and that way I was recruited into the tiny circle within Starfleet that was aware of S31 and working against it. This was all unofficial, off the record as any record would inevitably inform S31. The highest-ranking officer in that circle was Admiral Ross. There is very little else I can divulge except that we were unsuccessful in gaining any information with which we could make any official arrests or even to get search warrants, and probably didn't do more than cause a scowl or two in annoyance for those in charge of S31. After the war S31 informed me they issued a burn notice on me and that it was unwise for me to disclose anything related to S31 to anyone in the future. I am under orders from Admiral Ross to take any opportunity that might arise to infiltrate S31 but I've never heard from them since" Schrit finished. He was surprised how good it felt for him to be able to share this dark, secret and troubling part of his past with someone, however, limited he was by the restrictions of the NDA, executive directives, and the orders from Admiral Ross.

    Now that Schritt had finished and spoken his piece, Thane mulled quietly as he honestly did not care much for an Admiral that from his perspective was quite easily a fifty-fifty chance of being a collaborator and covering for Schritt here. Protecting an asset. "First, my species varies wildly in telepathic potential. Varying from Not at all to extremely potent." His tone maintains a certain even and careful placement to it. "Now, not all your memories in there were false or planted. Such techniques may fool the casual observer, but not a trained telepath who can tell the difference."

    Thane reached for a glass of water on the desk and took a drink. Setting it back down and resuming his supervillain-esque posture. "Another, I am in both the fortunate and unfortunate position in handling this... Pandora's Box. As Humans would use the term. As while I serve on this ship as its Chief of Security and Tactical, I answer to Starfleet Regulations and Rules. I also, however, must follow the directives of High Command and the rules and edicts in association with my position. Conflicts which I must be very careful to traverse. This also however puts me into a position of protection as if your Admiral were to try and employ his threat it would cause quite an unpleasant reaction. A snowball effect." He closed his eyes and took a deep breath and exhaled. Relaxing before focusing back on Schritt. "With what I have seen, with what you have told me and this Admiral covering for you leaves me in a position where I am unable to fully trust your word or his. For all, I know you and yours are still in league with the organization and all of this is a ruse and this Admiral Ross is using his position to cover for you, protect you. I've seen it before and will see it again."

    Slowly, Thane leans forward from his chair. "Amongst Ferasan culture, trust and loyalty are highly prized. On this ship, I have given my trust to the staff in both departments to carry out the orders of the Captain, XO, and myself along with their team lead to the best of their ability. In turn, they entrust me with their lives and well-being. So please explain to me after this revelation why I am to trust your word? A paranoid man who likes to make connections could see a good deal of circumstantial evidence that supports you or yours being in league with them. This is however no accusation against you or yours, just simply pointing out the perspective. On the other hand, a man could see it all as just unfortunate wrong ship, right place, right time and neither you nor yours have any true connection to it bar simply existing."


    Schrit took a moment to think things through, feeling the potential for escalation into a conflict growing exponentially. After considering the orders he was under, the restrictive NDA, and the man sitting behind the desk it was his old Marine instinct, which had never failed him before, that guided his next words.

    "Thane, I've been a victim of S31's manipulation and lived with the constant threat of them popping up somewhere to force me into doing their bidding again. I fear daily that the next comm message I receive will tell me something happened to my son like a kidnapping. I never told this to anyone but I feel I can trust you, instinctively. The instinct I developed during my career in the marines, from ground-pounding private all the way to Master Chief Petty Officer tells me I should trust you. I swear to you, as a Starfleet officer but also as a warrior who has fought with you side by side, I am not a Section 31 agent. Now I consider you an honorable, honest, and a man of justice and an officer, which Is why I will allow you to use your psychic abilities to freely scan or read my mind or whatever it is you do, with my mental barriers down, if you agree to keep everything you find up here" pointing at his head "off the record and between you and me." Schrit said, throwing his cards on the proverbial table. He then leaned back in his chair knowing that he had made his choice and now he would have to live with whatever the Farasian would decide to do.

    Thane listened as the man laid out his cards upon the table. A full house but nobody home with an arsonist ready to set it ablaze it seemed. "When you worked for the agency prior, you had choices. You were never forced. Just choices with different consequences. Now you offer me a chance to go through your mind, your memories without resistance, and learn things about you few others ever will. That is a dangerous hand to play for you know I will go through and learn about this. I must. After all, the rabbit hole is taking dark turns and we're all in more awkward positions than before."

    He took in a deep breath and narrows his piercing gaze on Schritt. Staring him right into the eyes, hell beyond them, and slowly a hand presses a button to delete the current recording. Not only that he enters in a command that doesn't just delete it but overwrites the data sector with garbage to make it irretrievable. "However I will give you a chance. We shall see how deep this rabbit hole goes. After, do not change your habits, your routines. Do not look over your shoulder any more than you normally would after that little sudden outburst. Even small changes will be noticed if your boogeymen are watching. Do not tell your kid. I will however be implementing some additional changes in my departments which will allow a shuffle around. Along with a small kit update. This will be kept off the record and do not make me regret this. I am already risking much by keeping my own in the dark about you."

    "I will agree completely, and I realize full well what this means. And I am grateful." Schrit replied, knowing more needed not to be spoken.
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