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The Start Of The Trail

Posted on Thu Aug 25th, 2022 @ 12:25pm by Commodore Keiben Haistro & Commander Tamaska Holt & Commander Peter Horn & Lieutenant Commander Lillian Carter & Lieutenant Commander Melanie D’BrooNi- Haistro & Lieutenant JG Sher'ra Verona & Lieutenant Tiandith 'Tia' Tobru & Lieutenant JG Lyras

Mission: Episode 5 - Objects In Motion
Location: Central Core - Ward Room
Timeline: Mission Day 4 @ 1500 Hours


The last meeting had ended, already making him feel far better about the planetary colony and also planning his own trip to the surface. The next meeting was on a slightly less enjoyable topic and something that would need to be kept in the strictest of confidence as it was classified at the highest levels.

He indicated for the PADD to send the data to the main display, still not fully believing what Starfleet Intelligence had uncovered and the implications were terrifying even from the initial medical reports. He had made the choice to add Mel and Carter's Chief Medical Officer, Lyras to the meeting at the last moment, and a stroke of luck, Mel had been in the pervious meeting also.

Tam was drinking her, was it her fourth cup of coffee? Or was it her fifth? She was feeling a bit tired at any rate. She had lost count. She was lost in thought for the time being.

Mel shuffled in her seat next to Tam. Boy that coffee smelt good. She wondered if there was any decaf going. The downside of pregnancy.

Lillian entered the Wardroom. "Afternoon Commodore." She said with a smile. "Still getting used to that." Lillian immediately picked up on Haistro's mood. "I take it this is not a social catch up?"

"All we become clear once the others arrive... but no, not a social meeting I'm afraid!" Her comment made him smile knowing how she had been when she first arrived on the Copernicus to how she was now. She had more than surpassed his expectations of her.

Tiandith entered with her usual grace and nodded to Keiben as she sat down. There had been a minor bar scuffle to break up prior to coming up so she was sporting a slight redness to her left cheekbone from a stray elbow. Other than that she was ready for the meeting to begin.

PADD in hand, Peter walked into the room, giving a polite nod to those present before taking his seat. He seemed far more confident now, than he had in the prior weeks. It almost seemed like he was a different man.

Such a contrast was the young man who followed almost on his heels. Lyras wasn't quite sure what he was supposed to be doing here, not at all used to attending briefings which contained the command staff. "Sir," he said quietly, while picking a chair next to Carter.

Tam's thoughts were interrupted when the others came into the room. "Well now, how are things with you all?" giving a bit of a smile. "Sorry just having my brain somewhere else." giving a laugh. "And with Commodore Haistro having a new rank. This has been an excellent day."

Sher'ra was the last to enter. She’d been busy packing some of her stuff for her move to the Cerberus. She was still going to keep a set of quarters on the station, but her berth on the Cerberus was going to be her primary residence for the future, “sorry I’m late”

"No need to apologise Lieutenant" Kei took a deep breath not entirely sure where to start. He looked at each one in turn, noting the youth of Lyras. Was he going to be up to this task?

"I need to start by advising that this briefing is classified at the highest level. It cannot be discussed with anyone outside of this room" as this seemed like the only place he could start and also setting the tone for the rest of the meeting.
"Are we clear?"

Lillian nodded. “Aye Sir. Will we be deciding what to do with our guests?” She asked, referring to the Iconian and T’Kon they had brought back from the past.

“Hopefully we won’t have a visit from temporal affairs” Sher’ra commented.

"I need to do some proper biological scans," Mel said. "It's too valuable information for starfleet not to have on file. I will speak with the T'Kon leader and see if she will allow me permission."

There was of course an ulterior motive. She also needed to have more of an idea of things if what that captain had said about her being more T'kon.

"I suspect temporal affairs will show up, along with many historians," she added.

"Then we shall be ready for them," Peter answered confidently, "doctor when you go for your scans, may I accompany you?"

"If," Mel said. "And of course." She did wonder if starfleet would issue orders to get that data on the sly anyway.

"They are on my ever growing list of things to deal with but on this occasion I'm afraid this meeting is something of a more serious nature... Doctors," Kei turned to Mel and Lyras. "On these data padds you will find a theoretical biological agent fashioned after Symbalene blood burn... Starfleet Intelligence has unearthed information that a Romulan geneticist has been developing this pathogen with the aid of someone involved with the Niko Bachta Cartels... Now, I will admit I am not fully up to speed with this group but Intel have also discovered that one of our own cold stations, cold station five not to far from Starbase 308 had a total of ninty three samples of this virus on ice... Or they did have. Only three remain".

Kei allowed for the information to settle, pausing long enough to see if his officers could register the severity of what could be coming.

"If there were samples. then I think this agent was not so theoretical," Lyras mused, "and if it was then how come our own starbase had such samples?"

"Fashioned after Symbalene blood burn Lieutenant... The samples taken are pure strains that Intelligence believe they will adapt through genetic manipulation and they were taken from a cold station... We have a number of them throughout Federation Space. They hold some of the most dangerous pathogens and viruses known to any civilization. These station carry out controlled analysis and medical research on the viruses". Kei interjected knowing the young man was a few decades behind on Starfleet knowledge. "The last time the Virus was stolen from a Starfleet Instillation was in 2154 by Arik Soong and a group of Augments... I can not stress just how dangerous this virus is in its pure form, let alone if these Romulans or the Cartels manage to modify it!"

"Starfleet have intercepted some communiques with our new neighbours as well... A Romulan Faction that seems hell bent on returning the Romulan Empire back into the clutches of the Tal Shiar... It is suspected that between this Tal Shiar group and the Cartels this virus has been taken and used in biological experiments to increase not only the infectious nature of the virus but also the lethal potency... and they will be looking for places to test this!"
Once again he paused, allowing his people to digest the scope of the information he was dropping on them.

Tam's face went pale, her brows rising at the same time. "Good heavens we can not let that get out there. It is horrible, that someone is plotting genocide."

Lyras just stared at his commanding officer for several very long seconds. "The Romulans are scattered," he finally ventured as he digested the news, "do they even have the facility to do this? Or the manpower?"

Mel chewed the inside of her cheek. It was a solid question. "Perhaps that's a question, certainly to be framed diplomatically for Glin Slorir Varin?" she suggested.

"Command want this keeping quiet until we have more information... We don't want to start a galactic panic. It could lead to any Romulan group or refugee world coming under scrutiny or even attacks if the news gets out!" he paused once again but only for a moment. "However, if the need arises we will be speaking to all the major governments that we have diplomatic ties with!"

"Or Romulan individuals," Lyras added quietly, then nodded towards the PADD. "Do you want us to look into generating a cure based on a theoretical substance?"

"Given the scope of this operation, I need Mel to be looking at quarantine measures, containment procedures. I need you on the ground with the away team Lieutenant Lyras".

The Commodore hated to drop such a large responsibility on such a young officer. In truth, he should have been sending his most trusted and experienced medical officer but he had her pregnancy to consider not to mention that if the virus was released he would need her on hand to coordinate to medical response across the sector.

Tia thought for a moment before speaking, she chose her words carefully. "If I may suggest something. Given we do not know who we are looking for, we leak that we are searching for those that broke into cold station 5. We can use that and see what factions of the Romulans increase their communication chatter. There would be an attempt to hide it further. It is not guaranteed that anything will come of it but it's something that wouldn't tip our hand."

"Good idea... I also want Cerberus in the field... I need a team delivered to the location of the Cartels to do some digging. This will be a top secret operation. Commander Carter will be in command of Cerberus, Lieutenants Tobru and Verona, I want you two on the ground with a small and highly mobile team... You will be our blood hound unit. It's up to you to search out what information you can from the Cartels. We feel they will be easier to infiltrate than the Tal Shiar!"

He left his final statement hanging for a moment, allowing everyone in the room to digest. "Commander Horn will coordinate information from Ops, Lieutenant Tobru, you will be in command of the ground team and Commander Carter will have ultimate command over the mission. Any questions?"

Lillian had remained quiet during the briefing, listing to the Commodore's grim news. "If you'll permit me to play Devil's advocate for a moment Commodore.... So you want us to infiltrate a group that's working with the Tal Shiar? One of the most ruthless, efficient, intelligence-gathering organisations in the quadrant. I know the Romulans are supposed to be allies at the moment but if this faction is determined to bring back the old Tal Shiar, and they've got their hands on a deadly biological weapon they didn't take too kindly to Federation spies. If they're caught, we can expect to be tortured for information and eventually killed."

"And now you see the responsibility that sits with my new rank... Are the lives of a small away team comparable to millions or trillions of planetary inhabitants?" Kei shot back. He could understand Carters concerns but at the same time, as the old Vulcan saying went, The needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few.

"No, they are not," Lyras answered quietly, feeling more and more ashamed of the other half of his genetics with every minute that passed. "Our lives mean nothing if it will save millions," he added.

Peter nodded in agreement, even though he didn't share the sense of shame he felt from the younger man. "My advice would be to not get caught commander," he suggested calmly.

Lillian nodded "Well now that we're all clear on what's at stake" she turned to Haistro "When do we depart?"

"In the next few hours. Because Cerberus is assigned to this station and our smaller science vessel is out of action, Command have decided to assign Cerberus to a survey mission... A system on the fringe of Cartel space. This will give you the platform to launch the away mission. In the interim you will have chance to come up with a cover, disguises and the like. Only the away team and Commander Carter are to know this information. We then have deniability". He looked at the gathered few, each one now fully aware of the danger that this mission entailed. "Doctors, you have a few hours to swap notes before Cerberus departs and Mel, you may want to speak to Hiro about our little medical ship... Who knows, she may be needed!"

"What about extraction?" Lilian asked, making notes on her PADD. "I take it once the team has been dispatched, we are to remain in the vicinity until they return. Will they be able to communicate with the Cerberus? If something should go bad, Are we authorised to go in and get them?"

"The method of infiltration will be all part of the mission prep taking place enroute... Just make sure we have no records... do I make myself clear Commander?" Kei added pointedly.

Lillian nodded. “Understood. You don’t want to know. Don’t worry Lieutenant, we won’t leave you behind.”

"Just so I understand clearly," Lyras ventured, "I am with the away team infiltrating this group that allied themselves with the Tal Shiar?" He understood he was on an away team but after that, he pretty much lost which one.

"Correct" Keiben answered, leaning in slightly. "We will need a medical expert on hand should anything be found or recovered... That is you Lieutenant!"

"Its a great opportunity Lieutenant," Mel smiled at Lyras. In truth she was glad she wasn't ordered to go. Throwing up periodically was not a good thing in an away team. "I know you will be successful and look forward to hearing about it all when your return." She made a note to catch up with Lieutenant Hiro as soon as possible. She had yet to step foot on this ship she had been given command of. It had still been being tinkered with by the gentleman.

"I will do the best I can ma'am," the young hybrid promised carefully.

"Final questions?" Kei regarded the room at large, looking between each.

"No questions, except for will there be something set up for them to contact just in case something should happen?" Tam bringing this up. "I would rather it be a fail safe just in case. Due to the security issues involved." Tam stated.

Lillian interjected "We can implant a subdermal tracking and communications chip so we can monitor you at all times. It would be located behind the ear and if tapped would trigger an energy signal, in which case, we'd come in and get you."

"That indeed coincides with my thinking and definitely would be important to do." she looked over towards Keiben, "Will that do for you?"

"Plausible deniability Commander... What we don't know can't come back and bite us. The details are down to Commander Carter, Lieutenant Tobru and Lyras to hammer out!" giving Tam a very pointed look letting her know tht neither of them needed to know but they could discuss the mission in detail later.

"Very well Commodore." Lillian replied "I'll get the Cerberus ready for departure. I'll go over the mission plan with the team once we are underway.

"If there is nothing else, you are all dismissed!"



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