Starbase 72 - Minos Korva System
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Nogura Update

Posted on Sat Mar 16th, 2019 @ 10:54pm by Admiral Zachary O'Connell

Mission: Task Force Operations

Returning to his quarters after the briefing by his senior officers, Captain Colby Drayton's first day as commander of the Nogura had been incredibly eventful. Not only had he been acquitted of any blame in the loss of the Ulysses, he had inherited a ship and crew that were dysfunctional at best and downright disheartened at the fate that had befallen them recently. Then, when they were making progress at gelling the crew together, an unexplained explosion had caused his engineer to suffer life-threatening injuries and delay their mission to Bajor. If he had been superstitious, the Captain would have thought his new crew were cursed after all they had been through.

After an evacuation of non-key personnel onto Starbase 72 and a thorough sweep of the ship, which was still ongoing, his team had made headway. Four devices had been discovered that had massive ramifications for, potentially, every ship in the Quadrant. It was for that reason that the Captain had requested a secure comm link be opened to the Starbase and his new superior, Admiral O'Connell. Sitting before the console in his private abode, the Captain was tapping away on a data PADD and sipping some iced water as he awaited the acceptance of his call.

The captain did not have to wait long for the call to be accepted, and soon Zachary O'Connell had appeared on the screen. Absent was any comforting smile or jovial mood. "I trust you finally have the situation under control," the Admiral asked through his scowl.

Colby nodded to the Admiral on the screen. “We completed a sweep of the ship thanks to engineers from the station. Our teams found a total of five cloaked devices, including the remnants of the one that caused the explosion,” the Captain revealed as he tapped on a data PADD and transmitted their findings to the Admiral.

Zachary looked off screen ever so slightly as he used a hand gesture to pull up the Captain's report with his new desktop holoprojector. Using his hands, he navigated the report until he arrived at the schematics of the cloaked device. "This is quite disconcerting," he remarked. "Do you have any idea on how long they've been there?"

"We estimate that they were put there during the installation of the ships Slipstream components during her initial construction period," the Captain revealed with a frown before adding, "we also have enough evidence to speculate that these devices may have been used to trigger the problems that caused the Ulysses slipstream to fail, which eventually fed in to her destruction," the Captain told. But what he said next was perhaps the most disncerting of all. "Admiral, we believe that ships with the new Quantum Slipstream Drive are being specifically targeted," he concluded.

"That's no small claim, Captain," Zachary fired back, looking back at Drayton. "We have hundreds of ships being outfitted with QSD even as we speak. That's a lot of processes to stop and inspect, not to mention the background checks we'd have to perform. It'd be like finding a needle in a haystack."

"I understand that Admiral," Colby nodded slowly, "but I urge you to consider the consequences if we are right. I'd rather be responsible for a delay in the installation of a hundred slipstream drives than for the deaths of thousands of people if these devices explode with vessels in the slipstream conduits."

"I never said I was going to sit on this, Captain," the Admiral explained. "It might be a decade or more since I practiced engineering, but I'll never not understand what the implications are with something like this. I'll forward these findings to Command and the fleet yards. I'll also have Commodore Espersen send these findings to all of the Task Force's ships that are already equipped with the drive."

"I apologise Admiral," the Captain sat forward in his chair, "I didn't mean to imply that you would."

The Admiral waved it away. Everyone was under mountains of stress at the moment, and the last thing he needed was another spat with a CO. "Let's talk repairs to the Nogura. What's your time frame?"

"Well, if our Chief Engineer wasn't out of commission I'd cut our time in half, without her, I'd say probably five days. We have an excellent team and, luckily, most of the damage was contained to one area," Drayton told. "It may take a little longer to fully assess the Slipstream drive and get it to a stage where Commander Millarini is prepared to utilise it," he added.

Nodding his understanding, the Admiral frowned. "Five days." Zachary sighed, shaking his head. "That is unfortunate, Captain. The Nogura was to be assigned to escort duty to Bajor, but given your timeline and the severity of the crisis there, I will have to find another reputable ship and crew to complete that assignment."

"People over here are starting to get a bit superstitious Admiral," the Captain frowned. "I've heard rumours that people think that the ships is cursed, to constantly be dealing with terrorists and scumbags for forever more, and in doing so, be at even greater risk of death and destruction. It would be lovely if you could find us a nice, moral boosting assignment somewhere. Maybe... maybe a trip to Earth or something?" the Captain queried with a smile, more in hope than any real expectation. He knew as well as the next man that starships were sent where starships were needed, and no one had the luxury of picking and choosing their assignments.

Zachary replied, "I know that a famous captain once said, 'Risk is part of the game if you want to sit in that chair.' I know of the Nogura's history well, and I recall ordering her on a suicide mission to plunge through the wormhole a few months ago. The ship's not cursed, Captain. Just tried by fire."

Drayton couldn't help but smile as he thought back to the stories of the Nogura's past that had read. She had a storied history with her previous unit and now, she was starting a new chapter with the Admiral and his team. He was also right about the risk of being a Starfleet officer, and in particular, a ship's commanding officer. Everyone knew James Kirk's famous line and it was true. No one ever had an easy time in the center chair, and that was definitely the case for him. "Tried by fire sounds about right sir. Just... try to find us a fire with flames that aren't so hot... if you could?" he grinned.

The Admiral was silent for a moment, glancing over to his map of the Alpha Quadrant. "Actually, Captain," he held up a finger. "I might have something for you. It'll be cold, damn cold, but it's something." He started to tap a few commands, preparing a small data packet to send to Drayton.

Drayton remained silent as he watched the Admiral with great interest.

"I've just sent you a map for a region of space called The Wastelands," Admiral O'Connell stated as a message indicator flashed on Drayton's screen. "Are you familiar with them?"

"Is it that triangular area of space between the Romulans, Klingons and the Federation?" the Captain mused, but once the map appeared on his additional screen, his face changed. "Ohhhh, now that's different. An area that big, I can see why it might be called The Wastelands."

"Starfleet hasn't authorized an expedition to this region in decades," Zachary pointed out. "Rumor has it that the Talarians and the Tzenkethi are starting to filter into the region. If the negotiations at Neethia are any indication, they're looking for ways to wrap around the Federation."

"So, what will be our official function? Fly the flag and show them that we've not forgotten about the Wastelands?" the Captain grinned as he looked at the strange area of space on his screen. It would be a fascinating mission, whatever the official function of his ship would be.

Zachary fought the urge to grin and shake his head. "Something like that," he mused. "We probably won't be welcome, so caution is definitely urged. We have plenty of star charts to update, political climates to test, and rumors to confirm regarding the Alrakis Pact. This is anything but a milk run, really."

"We wont let you down Admiral," the Captain nodded confidently, the split-second humour disappearing as quickly as it had appeared. It was time for his people to engage in another important task, but he was thankful it would be far from the tragedy and heartbreak they had suffered in recent times.

"See that you don't, Captain," the Admiral plainly stated. "If there's nothing else, Captain, get those repairs finished and get on your way."

"Aye sir! Nogura out," and with that, the Captain terminated the comm channel to the station and sat back in his chair. He'd shared the intelligence that he had, but now he would come away from the conversation with a fresh new set of orders and something for his people to aim for...

...a fresh start.

 

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