Starbase 72 - Minos Korva System
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Gavarian Quandary

Posted on Sat Dec 1st, 2018 @ 8:15pm by Admiral Zachary O'Connell

Mission: The Gavarian Frontier
Location: Starbase 72

"And here's the latest update of movements behind the Cardassian border," Petty Officer Tanika, the Admiral's faithful yeoman said as she handed over the ninth padd she carried. "Intelligence sent this over an hour ago and they want your thoughts on Portas V as soon as possible."

Zachary barely heard what she'd said, still focusing on the fourth padd she'd given him, a troubling update on Deep Space 10 that had been forwarded to him by Task Force 93. He couldn't believe days like this actually made him miss the Gamma Quadrant.

In the corner, his wife Jillian O'Connell, along with their 5-month old son Scott, sat at the table, eating the lunch she'd brought from the promenade. Since the Alrakis Pact revealed itself, she hadn't seen much of her husband. As a Starfleet officer herself on maternity leave, she completely understood the pressure he was under, but it still didn't ease the pain of not being awake every night when Zachary returned home. Even now, the fresh Bajoran food she'd brought for him was getting cold as Tanika gave him the daily updates.

Whilst the Admiral reviewed his data PADDs for the umpteenth time, the door chime rang out and disrupted their gathering. A most unexpected interruption.

Zachary looked to Tanika who seemed just as confused as he was in this moment. "Not on the docket?" he simply asked.

The petty officer shook her head no, but used her Betazoid senses to peer beyond the doorway. "Whatever it is, it's urgent."

"What isn't anymore?" he scoffed. "Come in!" Zachary called out.

Marching in to the Admiral’s office once the doors parted, two officers quickly approached him at his desk. The first, a beautiful female Terran of Commander rank and she was accompanying a rather stout looking Tellarite wearing the rank of a Rear Admiral. “Admiral, we have a problem,” Vasoch Gor grunted once the two officers came to a halt. The woman, Commander Meghan Quinn (the former XO of the USS Ulysses and current Strategic Operations Officer for the Trivas Sector) remained silent.

Acting on instinct, Petty Officer Tanika crossed the room and began to help Jillian gather her things and assist with getting her and the baby into the next room so the brass could talk in private.

Zachary didn't answer immediately. Between giving his wife and yeoman time to disappear, and recognizing the Strategic Operations officer for the Trivas system, he used the time to prepare his first question. "Must be serious if you warped all the way out here and not called from the Trivas sector."

“We’ve been attending a conference on Trill,” the Tellarite revealed as he pulled out a chair opposite the Vice Admiral without even waiting to be offered one. “We’ve lost contact with the Ulysses inside the Gavarian Corridor,” the aging pig-like creature revealed before looking at Meghan to elaborate.

“May I?” Commander Quinn queried, gesturing to the wall mounted screen nearby so that she could show the Admirals some further information.

The thought of losing contact with another Starfleet asset was less than appealing to the Admiral. Ignoring the Tellarite seating himself, he gave a simple waving gesture to the Commander to use the screen closest to them as to not alter the map of the Inconnu Expanse he was still reviewing.

As requested, Meghan tapped away briefly at the screen until a schematic of the Gavarian Corridor appeared with a single flashing icon on it. “This is the ships last known location, approximately two light years from Belkan’s Drift. Her last communique indicated that she had completed her first slipstream test successfully and they were preparing to conduct a second one. We haven’t heard from her since and she has disappeared from Deep Space Ten’s sensors,” Quinn revealed.

Zachary was doubly intrigued. As a former engineer, he'd been following the development of the Slipstream drive quite closely. If only he'd been a few years younger, he might have been able to work on integrating it into a starship. Alas, he would have to live vicariously through others.

In following the developments, Zachary had personal issues with the drive being deployed on large vessels, such as the Galaxy class. The fact that the Ulysses hadn't been seen for a while only fueled those doubts he had. Remaining calm, Zachary simply stated, "You know, the initial tests of the slipstream drive put the testbeds far past their expected exit points. Are we sure that the ship isn't simply out of range?"

Meghan shook her head slowly as she folded her arms across her chest. "Her course for the second test was to bring her back to Deep Space Ten. If anything, she should be easier to find on sensors. Wherever she has gone, she shouldn't be there," Quinn concluded.

Zachary sighed, not exactly thrilled with the news. "I'm not going to make a full report, much less a mention, of the situation until we know for sure what has happened to the Ulysses," he stated. "Between the Gorn War across the quadrant line and the Alrakis Pact, Starfleet needs the slipstream project to have some measure of success in recent days. How long has the Ulysses been missing and can we send out a search party?"

“Two days,” It was Vasoch chiming in this time, but he looked even more concerned. “It gets worse,” he began. “We have reason to believe that the Order of Twelve may be rearing their ugly heads again,” the Tellarite revealed as he gestured to the Commander again.

Meghan once again tapped at the screen and it changed to reveal a different area of space on one side and the profile of a Benzite on the other. “Meet Monhok; he is an arms dealer that operates in the Gamma Quadrant and has long since been rumoured to have been working with the Consortium,” she spoke as she pointed to a list of suspected activities. “The USS Nogura was dispatched to apprehend Monhok on Yadera, only they never got him.”

“Someone at Gamma Command warned him well in advance that the Nogura was coming for him. He felt Yadera, via the wormhole and it seems he is now headed for the Corridor,” Vasoch interjected. “The Nogura has given chase but is some way behind.”

“Our intelligence Operatives believe Monhok is to rendezvous with contacts from the Order of Twelve. Nogura has orders to stop him whatever the cost,” Quinn concluded, terminating the screen she had been using and taking a seat next to the Tellarite.

The Admiral frowned at the mention of the Consortium. He might have been reminiscing about them earlier as part of an unpleasant memory, but the suggestion that they hadn't been eradicated (something he'd already suspected), and that they were moving into the Alpha Quadrant quite unsettled his stomach. "So, you're suggesting that the Order of Twelve has means to infiltrate Starfleet, sabotage critical system upgrades on our largest ships, and pull in resources from the Gamma Quadrant?" Waving his hand, Zachary added, "It's rhetorical. Even I believe it."

"Nogura has entered the corridor after Monhok," the Tellarite informed, "hopefully they'll be able to track down the Ulysses too," Gor concluded.

"That's an awful lot to ask of one ship," Zachary remarked. "Is Captain Azulas still in command of the Nogura?"

"No," Gor shook his head. "Commodore Azulas is now in command of Deep Space 11. She's been replaced on Nogura by an Andorian called Thalek th'Zorati but he's being assisted by a woman who knows the Gavarian region well," the Tellarite revealed. He hoped that Commander Neprem would be a great asset in the Nogura's search of the corridor.

A frown once again graced Zachary's face. He'd known Azulas from their time in the Gamma Quadrant. He'd even taken part in assigning her orders to lead a task group through the Consortium controlled wormhole. He was pleased that she'd been promoted, and as much as he knew his confidence would be boosted knowing she was in command of the Nogura, Zachary knew he'd have to rely on new Captains to see this through.

"Very well," the Admiral declared. "As much as I hate to admit it, finding the Ulysses isn't as important as finding Monhok. That needs to stay the Nogura's top priority. If they find the Ulysses on the way, great. Let's alert the rest of our ships in the corridor to keep a lookout for the Ulysses. If the Firebrand has dropped off its colonists by now, I'll have them start search and rescue."

"As you wish sir. We'll keep you appraised of the situation," Admiral Gor grunted as he rose to his feet.

Zachary nodded his head, rising from his desk as well. "See that you do, Admiral. Wish the Nogura good luck."

"I will," Gor nodded, before gesturing for the Commander to join him in exiting the Admiral's private office. There was much to be done on their behalf.

 

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