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Topic: Ch 4 : Knock Knock! [Day 1 | 1800+] (Read 1368 times) previous topic - next topic
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Ch 4 : Knock Knock! [Day 1 | 1800+]

[ Barpin qi Erudite | Orbital Observatory of the Erudite ] @Brutus   @RyeTanker  @ob2lander961  @Tae   @Eden   @Sqweloookle  @Griff   @Eirual @Dree

It would be illogical to suppose that the moment had arrived sooner than anticipated and yet Barpin felt the tug of one’s perception of time and space to believe this very thing. Only moments before they’d officially passed into the area of operations, they presumed the Infested Savi and their corrupted followers would designate as a border zone, giving them an early warning for any who presumed upon them uninvited. They had no evidence thus far that this was the case, but since their counterparts were of their own flesh in a sense. They would have done this were the roles reversed; the Savi crew on the Erudite were operating at high alert, merely waiting for the alarm signaling a sensor buoy sited or even a scout ship itself.

Barpin glanced at the datapad in his hand and sighed. The Starfleet personnel had made quite a nuisance of themselves and were they not pressed with their backs to the walls facing down the Infested, Barpin doubted they’d ever happily look upon their faces again. It wasn’t so much that they’d nefariously sabotaged any of their systems or mistreated any of their people. More so some had attempted to go everywhere they weren’t supposed to be and touch or scan everything they weren’t supposed to. They had the same ability to mind their manners and follow orders as a primordial ooze, and the sooner they could sunder this alliance, the better. Barpin had always enjoyed the science and exploration of his life on the Flotilla, but ever since the severing of their people due to the Infested influence, his life had turned into one episode after another of “What will the chaotic Federation personnel do next?”

The door slid open, and glancing over his shoulder, Barpin nodded to the bald-headed man coming towards him. He seemed as tired as Barpin felt and Barpin realized that for as aggravating as the Starfleet personnel had been so far on their voyage, they likely would've been worse without this man and his leadership.

“We have passed into the area of operations for the Hobus star station. We have a high chance of encountering a sensor buoy or a scout ship at any time now.” He waited until the man was closer before he continued. “Our forward scans have shown us three major areas of activity. The station itself, the gathering of ships, and what seems to be an installation on a nearby asteroid. We cannot tell the numbers of what we will be facing yet; only these are the areas with the most activity.” Barpin shifted on his feet, uncomfortable with adding the next bit of information for its lack of solid evidence. “There is a high probability that the installation on the asteroid is acting as a backup to many of the data cores on the station or the ships. We do not have more than the probability to go on at present, but as we get‌ closer, we can run more scans to make sure. However, as we get closer, we are more likely to trip a sensor buoy and give away our position.”

From the moment that he'd entered the room, Alistair's attention was on the hologram. After reaching it, and looking comically small among the much taller Savi, he crossed his arms, regarding the holographic display intently.

"That asteroid is a tempting target," Alistair said slowly. "Getting that data could be a critical advantage for both of us, but it's not more important than stopping the supernova. That means conserving most of our resources for the primary mission, We can't ignore that asteroid. If the Infested plan on more atrocities elsewhere, we need to know. They've already killed millions on my homeworld."

He sighed, closing his eyes for a moment. "Logically, that means keeping the Erudite and most of our assault team focused on the primary objective. Starfleet will handle the asteroid on our own." Abruptly realizing that he'd just made a unilateral decision, Alistair looked up at Barpin and added hastily, "Er, if you concur, of course."

“We believe it would be strategically advantageous if you were to launch some of your fighters now to flank around and investigate the asteroid while we bear on directly toward the station. I must warn you that this asteroid is in a field known to suffer from anistrophies and quantum fluctuations due to high levels of baryon matter. The results are equivalent to what the Terrans called “Big Bangs” but on a much smaller scale if not avoided. We do have a map of the most tumultuous areas but they do move about randomly.” Barpin again shifted uncomfortably on his feet. “However, you and your people are here because you have more experience in military matters and we value your insight on this matter.”

"Our pilots should be able to handle that," Alistair replied, "but I'll talk to Lieutenant Valin and see what he thinks. At the very least, this can serve as a diversionary attack, maybe draw off some ships from our main objective. It's worth a try."

Barpin nodded. “Very well. We recommend the launch, if it happens, be within the next hour. We are traveling on what you humans call ‘borrowed time’ presently.”

Looking at the holographic gold orb representing the Hobus star, Alistair winced. "Yeah. No argument here."

As the human left to inform his comrades of the upcoming plans, Barpin likewise returned to his duties as something other than the human “babysitter.” They were a nuisance still, but they did have the most curious terms.

OOC Note: Thanks to @Griff for the JP! This opens up one of the major story prompts of the chapter, which can be officially kicked off once Alistair confers with the lead on the pilots (off-screen). It can be assumed that chapter members will hear of the update soon, along with the approximation that those not embarking on those side-quest (story prompt) missions should be ready for "go" time early the next morning. Chapter members may post their responses to the information update, later launch sequences, the night before the battle, and later the arrival at the area of operations.

Re: Ch 4 : Knock Knock! [Day 1 | 1800+]

Reply #1
[ Master Chief Petty Officer Kala Mariko | Habitation Hull Common Area | Aft Recreational District | Erudite ] ATTN: @Brutus @TWilkins @RyeTanker   @ob2lander961 @Tae  @Eden  @Sqweloookle  @Griff  @Eirual

“You know you really shouldn’t wrinkle your nose when you’re about to make a decision,” Kala didn’t bother looking up at Sarah’s comment from across the table and instead kept her focus on the cards in her hand, “it’s a dead giveaway on what kind of hand you have.”

From her left, Nara chuckled, “How can you tell she’s wrinkling her nose?”

Far from being offended at the teasing allusion to her Bajoran nose features, Kala chuckled alongside the scientist. “And how do you know I’m not doing it intentionally to give you a false sense of security?”

“False sense of security or not, I’d appreciate it if you’d just play your hand.” Scruffy dryly commented, voice marginally muffled as he cupped his chin in his hand, elbows braced on his knees.

“Fine.” Kala decided and slapped the card down on the growing pile, eliciting a round of moans and sighs from her fellows.

Now that the focus was on Scruffy, Kala leaned back in her chair and allowed a studious glance around the common area of the habitation hull the Savi had begrudgingly granted them use of for the duration of their travels. The “hospitality” their for-now allies offered was far more accommodating than what Kala had expected, but, as she reminded herself, the Theurgy and its crew were a means to an end for the Savi. It was always best to keep the pet monkey fed and watered if you wanted them to perform.

Rolling her eyes at the thought, her gaze wandered over her fellow card players. In truth, an eclectic group had been sent on this mission. That was no surprise considering the wide-spanning parameters of what the Savi wanted and what the Theurgy hoped to accomplish by this mission. For herself, Kala held no love for the Savi even if she understood not all were complete assholes. Being on the battle bridge when the captain was kidnapped hadn’t won the Savi any favors, regardless of which “side” they happened to be on in their internal fight. Sitting across from her was Sarah, from Intelligence, a woman who seemed to operate best on her own and yet was being forced to do teamwork. Beside her was Nara from Science and a force to contend with as well, not so unlike Sarah in her preference to work alone, and yet she was tasked with sharing her own research and expertise far beyond what she was comfortable doing. And rounding out their little group was Scruffy from Engineering; at one point in time, he’d been part of Task Force Acheron and had even been nearly killed alongside many of his crewmen in the battle in the Azure Nebula.

“Scruffy,” Sarah’s singsong chanting of the man’s name interrupted both Scruffy’s concentration and Kala’s musings, “let’s go! Scruffy!”

“It’s no wonder you’re on this mission,” Scruffy fired back at her as he made his decision, dropping his cards on the pile, “they wanted some peace and quiet in the department.”

Sarah snorted, “Ha! That’s a laugh. I’m not even the most annoying one.”

As the banter continued, Kala smiled, allowing her focus to wander once more, studying the various other crew members as they mingled at the other small tables throughout the common area as well as those passing through, either on their way back to their temporary quarters or taking a sanctioned walkabout in the open areas they’d been escorted through by their Savi handler. It wouldn’t be long before they got an update, of that Kala was sure. They’d been underway long enough that no doubt they’d be crossing into the area of operations soon, and there was no telling what other “side quests” the Savi may ask of them even before they got to Hobus Station.

Spotting a few other crewmates standing in the "in-between" of tables and not exactly going hither or thither, Kala motioned to them, indicating the empty seats at their table. With how things were going, this round would end soon anyway, and others could easily join in. Before any of the newcomers could arrive, however, an announcement came over the PA they'd been instructed to use for this portion of the ship. It was Leavitt, their mission lead. True enough, they'd crossed into the area of operations, and just as Kala suspected, based on who Leavitt called to meet with him, there were already some "side quests" the Savi were hoping they'd investigate.

Catching Sarah's gaze, Kala gave a nonchalant shrug. "Well, deal another round if tonight is our last night before chaos. I'm feeling lucky."

NOTE: This thread occurs BEFORE all the story prompts (including the one already ongoing). It can be assumed that crew members will hear of the aforementioned area of operations update, along with the approximation that those not embarking on those side-quest (story prompt) missions should be ready for "go" time early the next morning. Chapter members may post their responses to the information update, later launch sequences, and the night before the battle in their replies here. After enough replies from folks are cataloged, the interactions may continue in one-on-one threads while @Brutus leads the thread into the early hours of the next day, when the battle may begin.

Re: Ch 4 : Knock Knock! [Day 1 | 1800+]

Reply #2
[ Ensign Sylvain Llewellyn-Kth | Habitation Hull Common Area | Aft Recreational District | Erudite ] @Brutus @RyeTanker @ob2lander961 @Tae @Eden @Sqweloookle @Griff @Eirual

Graviton beams, kinetic shielding, kkrek alloy hull coatings… Sylvain’s head was already beginning to feel somewhat pulpy under the weight of the information he was attempting to process, and the considerable increase in the liveliness of the Common Area hadn’t much helped his efforts to maintain concentration. The liveliness wasn’t anything he begrudged, however. Whilst it was true that some of the louder voices filling the room were perhaps a little distracting, the animated conversations of nearby tables had offered the room an ambiance that the Ensign hadn’t been expecting, and it was serving as something of a salve to his worries. The briefing he’d shared with Commander Cross had been playing on his mind since he’d come aboard the Erudite, and it had certainly given him reason to be apprehensive as to how accommodating the Savi would be... Thankfully, however, it seemed that his concern had been unwarranted.

That wasn’t to say that the Savi were being particularly cordial in their reception of the Starfleet crew, of course, but Sylvain was hardly one to criticise their isolationist approach; Lieutenant Leavitt had made it clear during his earlier announcement that contact with the Savi was to be minimised, and that as visitors, the Theurgy personnel were instructed to keep to their assigned areas of the vessel. And sure enough, there was a distinct scarceness of the aliens in the sections of the vessel that were assigned for Starfleet use. Evidently, the Savi were under similar instruction. That, or the Savi didn't possess the same levels of curiosity when it came to interacting with ‘lesser’ life forms.

Sylvain had read as much in the tactical data that Commander Cross had provided him.

But for better or for worse, Sylvain had only actually laid eyes on one of the aliens during his time aboard, the one that had led them to the Common Area, Bar-something; he’d been pretty far away from Lieutenant Leavitt during the introductions… Regardless, whilst certainly atypical compared to most Federation humanoids, aside from their height, the Savi didn’t appear overly threatening on the surface; he’d take one over a Gorn anyday, at least. Still, he hadn’t been able to shake the feeling of unease that had clung to him since he’d stepped aboard their vessel… He was aware that such a feeling may have been a precognitive event, but he’d chosen to attribute it instead to preconceptions brought on by Commander Cross’ data. Second guessing his psionic abilities was a stress he did not need to add to his growing list of concerns.

Regardless, despite a somewhat chilly reception, by Federation standards at least, it seemed that all parties were aware that the relationship between them was one of necessity, and such knowledge appeared to be working well enough to keep everyone focussed on their objective, as far as Sylvain could tell. Of course, Sylvain had barely looked up from his PADD since coming aboard, so his perspective on such matters was limited at best... But seeing as nobody appeared to have had their genetics tampered with just yet, as far as Sylvain was concerned, everything was going according to plan.  Not that he entirely understood what the specifics of their plan actually were...

Glancing up from his PADD, Sylvain carefully scanned his eyes across the space around him. There were probably less than two-dozen officers sharing the room with him, some sat alone like himself, staring listfully into PADDs, whilst others were sat in pairs or small groups, engaging in conversation or idle activities to pass the time. There were a couple of faces that Sylvain recognised from their brief onboarding in the Aerodrome, but beyond that, they were all strangers to him. He found his focus lingering briefly on a table of officers not far from him, a group of four who were engaging in some sort of card game, their animated behaviour causing the Ensign to wonder somewhat pensively, as to how it must have felt to have been able to relax in the face of such perilous circumstances… How pleasant it must be, not to be riddled with anxiety…

Or perhaps the Theurgy veterans were just so used to mortal peril, that such circumstances were just another day for them.

A frightening thought…

Because there weren’t enough of those to go around…

Running a hand up through his hair, pushing a few coppery strands from his vision, Sylvain forced his eyes to return to the PADD in front of him, his momentary distraction already weighing on the concentration that he’d been fostering for the past few hours. Truthfully, he still wasn’t entirely sure of what his assignment would be, and what information might best suit his needs, so he'd elected to attempt to analyse as much of the database as he was physically able to, given their time constraints. As Humans sometimes said, failing to prepare was preparing to fail... And equally, occupying his mind with research was helping to stave off some of the ever-present reminders of the mortal peril they were about to be facing, a welcome distraction for the Ensign.

Though, whilst it was a helpful distraction, it was nowhere near enough to prevent Sylvain from being aware of how he truly felt…

He was terrified.

Even as his eyes took in information regarding manoeuvring thrusters, and his mind tried to contemplate parabolic vertices, Sylvain couldn’t forget about the tightness that surrounded his chest, the way something dug slightly into his thigh if he tried to cross his legs, the weight that clung to his hips, all of which served as irrefutable reminders of the danger they were preparing to encounter... And how was he supposed to forget about such danger? He was wearing a tactical vest for crying out loud, and despite the favours it was doing for his pecs, its tightness was a brutal reminder that they were anticipating combat. Close combat at that... And if that wasn’t enough, he was used to having a phaser stored under his workstation, out of sight and out of mind, not strapped to his utility belt alongside a combat knife...

Already the situation was spiralling well beyond the confines of anything that Sylvain was even remotely comfortable with.

He’d completed combat training at the Academy of course, and he'd been certified in Type-II phasers since then; he'd never had too much trouble hitting a target in a holodeck simulation. The trouble was, he'd never actually fired one, not at a living thing, and somehow, he imagined that having to try and stun an aggressor in a live combat scenario, would be vastly different to the holodeck... Not to mention that Sylvain had absolutely no idea what on earth he was expected to do with a combat knife; the most aggressive action he’d ever taken with a blade had been back aboard the Bowman, when a replicator malfunction had left him with an especially crusty baguette...

The thought of having to physically kill something, was making him a little queasy.

A soft noise of complaint fleeing his lips, Sylvain had to fight off the urge to collapse himself onto the table and bury his head in his arms; the last thing anybody needed to see was their new Chief of CONN hunched over on a table… Despite the knowledge that most of the other officers aboard the Erudite probably weren't even aware that he was their new Chief of CONN, since he'd only been appointed about forty-five minutes before they'd departed the Theurgy, Sylvain was still conscious that as a senior officer, he had an example to set. So in lieu of collapsing into a heap, he instead took the opportunity to scan the room once again, his soft stare sweeping across the space until he found himself once again on the card-players table, watching one of the women dramatically slap a card down, eliciting groans of complaint from her companions that demonstrated a camaraderie that he distinctively lacked...

Suddenly he felt an urge to collapse into his arms again…

Watching people cheer and mock each other, bantering with a playful familiarity that Sylvain didn’t think he’d ever shared with someone else, only reminded him that he was a stranger to these people, and that they were strangers to him... Mostly his own fault, he supposed, as he promptly shifted his eyes back down to his PADD, ensuring that he wouldn’t establish some sort of stray eye contact that would result in him being invited to their game; he really didn’t have the capacity for games right now… Besides, nobody wanted to play games with someone who could ‘see the future’, and having to have a conversation about his precognitive capabilities was the absolute last thing he wanted to put himself through at that moment. 

Also, he didn't know the rules.

Regardless, who was he to try and socialise with these people? He didn't know what they'd been through; he couldn't even guess... He wasn’t some veteran of the Dominion War, he hadn't fought Borg, he couldn’t pretend to be some confident and suave hotshot pilot who would swoop in and save the day… He was an Ensign. A department head, but still an Ensign, two years out of the Academy and two months out of having his entire life turned upside down… His combat experience was limited to Talarian separatists and some mild posturing with a Tholian vessel, and he was about to be cast into a situation more dangerous than anything he had endured in his entire life... And perhaps worst of all, if he died tonight, he’d do so surrounded by strangers and aliens, people who probably hadn’t even heard of his species before…

People who certainly didn't know him like they knew each other...

Thankfully, such untoward wonderings were cut short by the sudden emergence of Lieutenant Leavitt’s voice over the comm system, the man’s announcement casting a cold rush of reality through Sylvain’s system, a visceral reminder that now wasn’t the time for feeling sorry for himself.... They’d arrived at the area of operations.

He felt himself be drawn to his feet, listening keenly to the Lieutenant’s words whilst gently running his hands down his uniform, to ensure that any creases were pushed out. It didn’t need to matter that he didn’t know anybody aboard the Erudite, and that he still wasn’t aware of what use he could be to their mission; he was a senior officer, a department head, the freshly appointed Chief of CONN aboard the most advanced ship in the Federation… If nothing else, he was supposed to set an example for the junior officers, and if that meant having to stand for the rest of the day, he’d certainly do so. It was the least he could do. They were all far more experienced than himself, he could at least pretend to look the part; for their sake.

Besides, if he was going to die tonight, he’d might as well take the opportunity to show off how good his chest looked in a tactical harness… Though as soon as the thought had crossed his mind, the Ensign found himself moving immediately to cross his arms tightly across said chest, fighting off the beginnings of a rather ferocious blush that was threatening to skirt across his face.

On second thought, Sylvain would be perfectly comfortable if nobody saw how good his chest looked in a tactical harness…
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