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LtCmdr. Shayne: Where's Whittaker? (Columbia)

2018-09-26 00:35:16

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((Bridge - Deck 1, USS Columbia)) ::Damn, it felt good to be back at the helm again.:: ::By no means was it a permanent arrangement, to his mild discontent. Unles= s he filled his mind and occupied his hands with work, the allure of assumi= ng his old station would nag at him insistently. But, as Ops Officer, there= was no end to the improvements, repairs and necessary connections his posi= tion placed at his doorstep. And so, in a moment of relative calm, Shayne d= ecided to slip into the helm, and become accustomed to the ship he'= d not yet had the good fortune to pilot. Mandak, now wearing a black collar= instead of red, was not present to object to his moment of weakness.:: ::So, as the level 1 diagnostic he'd set the station to complete af= ter an update of his making, he allowed himself the small indulgence, and r= elished the sensation.:: ::And yet, there was tension here. Thoran, ostensibly, was the source- thou= gh he hid it well, there was no denying his concern. Perhaps it was somethi= ng only close study could reveal- they were close after all. Perhaps it was= a personal issue, or simply the nerves of adjusting to his lofty and laden= position. Or perhaps it was something of deeper concern, somethin= g gnawing on his mind that spelled trouble for them all.:: Thoran: Mr Shayne, we've not received any word from the Kumari sinc= e it departed have we? ::It was a casual inquiry, but then again, there was no such thing as a cas= ual inquiry from the first officer of a starship. Shayne knew the Kumari ha= d been taken out for a test drive by their esteemed captain- Ops granted a = certain level of omniscience when it came to the minutiae of the Columbia. = The details of this particular excursion, however, were not something Shayn= e was privy to. Chances were a flight plan had been filed, but checking mad= e him feel rather invasive.:: Shayne: Not that I know of, sir. ::He made an immediate check of the logs, = just to make sure his recollection was not playing tricks on him.:: No, sir= . Thoran: Are we able to hail them from this range? What about a subspace mes= sage? ::That might be tricky. Their new region, though settled by Dehnir base, st= ill held unknown hazards and difficulties. By now, the yacht could be light= years away- their captain, always enthusiastic, would probably like to tak= e this time to feel the Reach instead of simply learning about it from scan= s and reports. That pioneering spirit- it was going to get him into trouble= some day.:: Shayne: I can, sir- but there's no guarantee he'd pick it u= p. I'm not detecting him on short range sensors. Should I still put= it through? ::As he said it, he realized how steep this particular cliff might be. He w= asn't usually one to ignore the truth of a matter- why else would h= e be subjected to so much pain?- but perhaps his usually preemptive intuiti= on had demanded action and he'd been unwilling to obey. Had he been= so consumed in his own issues and concerns and duties that he'd fa= iled in his mission- to serve?:: Thoran: It's worth a shot. ::Immediately, as if to pay for his earlier blunders of good sense, Shayne = began to send a message. Nothing too personal or worrisome- a standard sign= al requesting an update. Shayne had the sickening feeling that it would fly= across the dimension, forever seaking a target it would never find. Pessim= ism? With Shayne, hardly impossible, but his senses were now buzzing, and t= hough they were often wrong, they were correct just enough of the time to w= arrant his attention all of the time.:: Thoran: Mr Duyzer, is there any sign of the Kumari on long range sensors? Duyzer: :: after a few taps on his console :: No, sir. ::Precisely the answer he was hoping to not hear. Then again, perhaps it wa= s a blessing in disguise. If long range sensors had picked up the tiny ship= , but the Kumari was not responding, the problems could only possibly mount= . At best, it was a blown transmitter- hardly likely, given the relative ne= wness of pretty much everything aboard Columbia. At worst well, th= e imagination was a torturous place.:: Thoran: Nothing at all? ::More surprised than Pholin thought he would be.::= Mr Pandorn, i'd like you determine the Kumari's flight pat= h, ascertain its likely current position and send the coordinates to helm. = Mr Duyzer, perform a long range sensor sweep of the area. ::Though Shayne felt particularly useless at the moment, he took small twin= ge in pleasure, seeing Thoran handle the situation so skillfully, so calmly= , when the entire crew would be looking to him made Shayne feel ever better= about his choice. Jarred really was the man for the job.:: Pandorn: Aye, sir. Duyzer: Working on it, sir. ::A moment later, his uselessness was paused. Pandorn had sent him the rele= vant data, and with eager hands that suffered from just the slightest hesit= ation due to disuse, the information was entered. Just for a moment, the ex= citement of being an operating helmsman returned, and chilled his skin into= goosebumps before the weight of their heavy task layed wholly upon him.:: Thoran: Mr Shayne, lay in a course. Shayne: Aye, sir. ::Fingers scampered, buttons beeped, and with a spirited, lively whir, Colu= mbia leapt into warp, searing space along her hull. Here was power, here wa= s control. Here, for better or worse, was peace. But the silent anticipatio= n was broken by a rather raucous (at least to his ears) signal from his con= sole.:: Thoran: Mr Shayne, what was that? Have sensors picked something up? ::They had indeed! Something appearing more and more familiar as it was run= through the processing software. A grainy, static-filled mess that was beg= inning to look very much like a..:: ::His heart sank.:: Shayne: Aye, sir. This looks like an automated Federation distress= call. ::Indeed. The tone of their mission had just taken a very sudden, very ugly= turn. What could have happened? Theo was one of the best officers Shayne h= ad ever seen. What could have befallen him. And could they have he= lped?:: Thoran: Are you certain? Can we confirm that the signal is from the Kumari? Pandorn: ::keeping his attention on his console:: There is considerable int= erference in the area, sir. It might be the Kumari or not. But it is far of= f the Kumari's projected course. ::If they were having this much trouble detecting a Federation light craft,= and the powerful distress call she was emitting, chances were whatever was= interfering with the sensors was having or had... a deleterious e= ffect on the Kumari.:: Duyzer: The... :: he paused, finding his words :: thing does appear to be S= tarfleet, sir. ::Even if they were wrong in the end, and the signal was being misinterpret= ed, it behooved them to make certain, and fast.:: Shayne: Shall I proceed, sir? Thoran: Mr Shayne, set a course for the signal and advise Starfleet Command= . Mr Duyzer, Mr Pandorn, I want all the information you can get me on that = area. ::Shayne's fingers flew across the conn, their previous imperfectio= ns lost in the urgency of immediate action.:: Pandorn: Already on it, sir. Duyzer: Exactly that, sir. ::Shayne was reminded again that there was nothing quite like an alert, att= entive crew.:: Thoran: =3D/\=3D Commander Thoran to all senior staff. Briefing in thirty m= inutes in the conference room. Commander Tatash, i'd like you to br= ing along Lieutenant Pran. =3D/\=3D ((Conference Room - Deck 1, USS Columbia)) ((Timeskip: Thirty minutes later.)) ::Shayne didn't believe he'd ever been called into two staf= f meetings so close together- it almost felt like a trespass of time-honore= d tradition. Yet he was glad most everyone arrived promptly- their situatio= n could afford no delay.:: Thoran: Thank you for your promptness, and apologies for calling you all aw= ay from your duties. I'll keep this as brief as possible. As you ma= ybe aware a few hours ago Captain Whittaker, along with a security officer = departed with the Kumari for a test flight. Since then we have had no conta= ct with the captain, and all attempts to contact the Kumari have met withou= t success. ::It had only been thirty or so minutes, but those thoughts had been graspi= ng for purchase in his psyche. Relentless, ferocious optimism, a new and da= ngerous weapon in Shayne's ever-expanding arsenal, kept it at bay. = Only Thoran's resigned statement allowed the possibilities that had= sought entrance into his stream of thought access. Would this be a tragedy= ? A launch of somber proportions?:: Thoran: Approximately thirty minutes ago we picked up a series of signals c= oming from this region, on the edge of the Sagittarius Reach. ::He held up = the PADD and tapped in a few commands. Less than a second later, the lights= in the room dimmed, and holographic representation of the area appeared ab= ove the table, casting a blue glow on the faces of those at the table.:: Lo= ng range scans have been unable to determine whether they are being sent fr= om the Kumari. Furthermore based on tactical's assessment of the Ku= mari's flight path, Captain Whittaker would have been far off cours= e to have ended up there. I have ordered a course change and we are current= ly on our way to investigate. Any questions or concerns so far? Ezo: ::cautiously:: Have you been able to pinpoint the exact location of th= e signals...? ::A good question, and one Shayne was surprised they'd been able to= dredge up an answer to. Interference in the area seemed to be stifling.::= Thoran: From what we can tell we believe there are three possible sources f= or the signal, although there does seem to be a lot of interference. As suc= h, we'll be sending down three teams. Extra equipment may be necess= ary, including the use of shuttles over transporters; however that will be = confirmed on arrival in system. Pandorn: If I may, sir. The signals are relatively near the Galactic Barrie= r. Approximately 1.5 million kilometers from it. While we will be closer to= the Barrier than I'd like and the despite the diminished energy of the Bar= rier itself, it would account for the interference in the area. ::That infernal barrier. A menace to any that approached it. If it was resp= onsible in some part for the captain's silence, he would be very up= set by that encompassing band of pink pseudo energy.:: Mandak: And who knows what else on top of that... Our knowledge is limited = of the area. ::And for good reason. Precisely, the fear that ships would be damaged or d= estroyed by the region.:: Thoran: Commander Shayne, you'll be acting XO. I'd like you= to take Lieutenant Pran, Counselor Mika and Doctor Lor. You'll be = heading here. ::Were the circumstances not so grim or intolerable, Shayne would have chuc= kled. It seemed he was destined for that position, no matter how he tried t= o avoid it or shirk away.:: ::He watched the glowing graphic spin, and allow him an unimpaired glance a= t their target destination. Shayne gave an affirming nod.:: Shayne: Aye, sir. Pran/Lor: ? ::The first officer- now acting captain?- wasted not time in continuing to = assign personnel.:: Thoran: Commander Ezo, you'll go with Commanders Walker and MacKenn= a along with Ensign Dakora. You'll be investigating the second sign= al, here. ::At the mention of MacKenna, Shayne's heart gave a little leap, th= ough he wasn't sure if that was due to joy, or fear for her safety.= Whatever had embroiled the captain might happen to her. That, he was fairl= y confident, would just about kill him.:: Ezo: Of course, sir. Walker: Yes sir. ::The brave and the bold spoke up first, but it was MacKenna's some= what meek reply that fractured his raw heart a bit.:: MacKenna: ::Quietly.:: Aye, sir. Ezo: ::looking up in resolve:: When do we arrive? ::Shayne wasn't precisely sure of the interval awaiting them, but h= e was confident that they'd not have a terribly long time to prepar= e.:: Thoran: We should be arriving in system in just over an hour, although perh= aps sooner if Commander Walker could be persuaded and would be willing to s= ee just what the Columbia can do. Walker: I can get us there in under an hour without concern Commander. But = without knowing what caused the Kumari's disappearance, I'd not want to pus= h the ship faster yet. Especially as close as we are to the barrier. ::Ah, what a refreshing feeling it was to have a competent engineer guiding= them into the unknown.:: Thoran: Commander Shayne, once we're in system and have a better un= derstanding of what the conditions on the surface are like, I'd lik= e you comprise a list of necessary equipment and disseminate it to the team= leaders. ::It appeared his qualifications as quartermaster would be taken to a new e= xtreme on this particular escapade. He only hoped he was sufficiently prepa= red. No such thing, he ruefully thought a moment later. There was only so m= uch they could be ready for.:: Shayne: Aye, commander. I'll get it done. Thoran: If there are no further questions, then I suggest we return to our = posts. We've got a lot of work to do. Dismissed. ::That was something of an understatement, but Shayne was well-accustomed t= o the multi-tangent tasks Ops had delivered to him.:: ::The senior staff began to stand, and to Shayne's pleasant surpris= e, Mika approached him. A sensible reaction- after all, they would be worki= ng together on a mission that might have profound ramifications for everyon= e involved.:: Mika: Commander Shayne. Anything I can do to help prep for the mission? ::Shayne nearly chuckled.:: Shayne: You'll find there's no shortage of work to go aroun= d, lieutenant. But for right now, I need you and Mr. Lor to ready your medi= cal equipment. We're hoping for the best, planning for the worst he= re. I know information is scant, but use your best judgement. Depending on = what's happened to Captain Whittaker and the others, they may requi= re immediate assistance. Mika: ? Lor: ? ::Shayne then turned to Pran, a striking woman with blonde hair.:: Shayne: Lieutenant, you'll naturally be our lookout on this particu= lar mission. Information is almost as scarce as the captain right now, so w= e're assuming that your services may be necessary. Pran: ? ::There was so much to do, so little time to do it.:: Shayne: We'll meet in Transporter Room 1 in an hour exactly. In the= meantime, I'm going to start gathering materials necessary. ::As they approached their destination, Shayne hoped the data would be clea= rer and more forthcoming.:: Shayne: Until then, carry on. Lor/Mika/Pran: ? Tag/TBC Lieutenant Commander Randal Shayne Ops Officer/Second Officer USS Columbia NCC 85279 G239202RS0 -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "= UFOP: StarBase 118 =E2=80=93=C2=A0Andaris Task Force" group. To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an e= mail to sb118-andaris+unsubscribe@googlegroups.com. 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