Mission 1: Unscheduled Madness
Location: Conference Hall
Ozzie initialized the pre-recorded message over the ship intercom and the stoic female voice explained the nature of General Quarters and how all personnel and civilians would be required to behave. The message repeated.
Ozzie shook her head and said to Tiberius, "No matter how many times she announces it, there's going to be some guy who sleeps through it, some kid who doesn't comprehend it, some foreign guest who doesn't have a working translator, some twitterpated love birds who refuse to leave the arboretum, and some self important lab coat who thinks her research on bat pheromones is top priority."
Tiber nodded his agreement, exhaling sharply as he and the chief waited patiently for the room to empty leaving. He slowly made his way over a replicator that was located in the corner of the room and ordered himself a black coffee and steadily made his way back to the front of the room to joined the chief. Watching as the last of the security officers file out of the room he waited for the chief to continue with her briefing for the tactical officers. He wasn't planning on involving himself unless he needed too. He was happy to allow his presence to do all of the talking it needed, he knew full well most of these officer wearing security gold would be on edge around a spook and he was happy to let them feel uneasy.
A dozen Tactical personnel remained, moving towards the front of the room, now strangely quiet without the crowd.
"Mister Nelworth," Ozzie said, "Go ahead and let's go over the situation report, broad strokes first. Let's restate all the obvious and then hone in on it."
"Alright. Well, we're in the Grivoran sector." Nelworth, a scrawny fellow, with trill spots running up an awkwardly long neck walked around to the front and initialized a three dimensional star display that rotated around their position with a little flashing dot representing the position of the USS Orion. "This is a very inconvenient sector for a break down. Or convenient if it's by design. The nearest Starbase is five days out and the closest help would actually come from the Romulan border. Since they're expecting us and we've reported delays, the Romulans have reached out, but we've declined assistance.
There are a few local trade routes that might be able to divert assistance, but there is also an increase in pirate activity in this region, which is an added threat. Luckily, our weapons systems remain unaffected. Unluckily, whatever is affecting our engines is also affecting our support craft, so we won't have that mobility factor in a fight.
If our situation has been caused intentionally and not by a fluke of nature or a technical error in our systems, then it's possible we've tripped a wire in space, so-to-speak, and the metaphorical spider that set the web is on its way to collect, whether that be pirates or another intelligence. Scans haven't turned up anything that might evince such a booby trap yet." A Bolian raised a hand and Nelsworth motioned to let him speak. "Mister Marxel?"
"Yet. the operative word here is yet." Marxel tapped on his padd repeatedly. "I'm going to speak with someone from science and discuss some of the scanning analytics. Everything we're looking for is too obvious. I think if it hasn't showed up by now, we need to tune the scans for some more theoretical particle types. I've got some ideas based on some black ops leaks and deep space expedition reports that shouldn't be dismissed."
Marxel was going to be the unorthodox conspiracy theorist. So that base was covered. "I like you already. Do that, Mr. Marxel. Has any one tried the shuttle craft?" She pointed to a fellow who looked like he knew the answer, because she remembered he had promised to inquire about it. "Petty Officer....."
"Karl Damos, ma'am," another of the tactical staff restated his name at her prompting. "Maintenance crews report the shuttle warp engines are also inoperable."
"Find out what our mobility *is*. I'm of the understanding we still have have half impulse and thrusters on the ship and the shuttles? If that becomes unavailable, can we push against an attacker's momentum using a tractor beam? Anything, venting atmosphere from a shuttle bay- all options, okay? And set up a holodeck scenario accounting for our current disadvantages. Ensign Augusta will generate some scenarios for us to run through."
"Yes, Officer Calleo." The woman with the bald head was memorable to Ozzie. Not just because she was bald, but because it reminded her of her mother's shaved head, and her own, once upon a time, in a temple far away.
"Has intel found any connections between the hallucinations and the engine failure?" Calleo posed the question to her boss, but looked at the spook lingering to the side of the meeting for answers. Marxel was already nodding vigorously in affirmation and looked like he already believed it had to be the case, as if the question was self evident, and if he nodded hard enough the intel officer would be forced to agree.
Tiber stood silently with both his hands pressed against his coffee mug. He let a short moment silence fill the room before answering the question that while not directed at him, had clearly been intended for him.
"We have no evidence that the two are connected Ensign."
It was a truthful answer. His department had found no evidence the two were connected. But the fact remained that the link between the sudden engine failure and the hallucinations starting was undeniable. But coincidences and hypothesis were not facts and Intelligence only dealt in facts.
"Thant doesn't mean they aren't," Marxel interjected. "Just that we haven't discovered how they are, *yet.* "
"You really like that word," Nelworth muttered.
"The absence of evidence isn't disproof," Marxel insisted.
Tiber remained stone faced and expressionless, both hands clasped around his mug. He took a deliberately long sip before responding, projecting total calm around the room.
"Correct, an absence of evidence doesn't disprove a theory Ensign, but it isn't confirmation of a theory either. Without proof, all we have are theories; And Starfleet intelligence dosen't make its recommendations based on hunchs or guesswork. We deal in facts and currently we have no facts to suggest that our engine issues are in any way connected to the crew. There are plenty of avenues we have yet to explore, for example, that a member of the crew isnt in some way responsible for our current predicament?"
Tiber paused for a moment what the impact of his last comment sank in before continuing.
"But we have no evidence to support that theory." Stopping to take a sip of his coffee before looking directly at Ensign Marxel; "Yet."
Marxel's eyes went wide and he looked around his coworkers with suspicion. "*Do* you suspect someone on the crew?"
Tiber looked down at the floor quickly and gave a small smirk before answering. "Not currently ensign. But this is an example of why Intelligence doesn't deal in conjecture. It can lead to panic or overreaction on the part of the service with no factual basis for it."
Ozzie could picture Marxel's gears turning as he began to consider everyone around him suspect. Especially when his eyes rested on her. It was an accusation too loud not to pick up on— she was a telepath. She'd have the ability to get into people's heads. He wasn't wrong. She'd seen cases like it on Betazed.
"We'll be dealing with the policing aspects, but Intel tends to look more at the big picture— politics, interstellar criminal activity, economics, overall trends. Is there anything else Intel could use from security?" Ozzie asked Tiber, "to help with investigations?"
"Nothing other than your continued support and co-operation ma'am." Tiber replied to the chief quietly and concisely. Sensing that his presence was starting to put the tactical officers on edge Tiber decided to take his leave. Placing his mug back in the replicator, he began making his way to the exit. Just as he was about to leave he stopped in his tracks and slowly turned to the assembled officers.
"Ensign Augusta," Marxel returned the address as he expected the spook was leaving now.
"Congratulations to you and Kannada, I'm sure you will make an excellent father."
Before he could get a response Tiber walked through the doors of the conference room and let them close behind him. It was a dirty trick, but if Ensign Marxel wanted to live the life of a paranoid, who was Tiber to deprive him of that pleasure.
Ozzie watched Marxel's jaw drop. "Marxel! You didn't tell us you guys were expecting!"
Damos slapped him on the back. "Congratulations, man. Why didn't you say anything?"
"I only just found out this morning. Kannada is going to kill me. It's supposed to be a secret! He's listening to my private conversations!"
"There could be a less creepy reason he overheard," Calleo offered, even if she know Marxel wouldn't entertain it.
Ozzie shook her head. Why would Tiber drop something like that? "Listen, your secret's safe with us. No one here knows anything." Ozzie made eye contact with the rest of the Tactical staff present in turns.
"Knows what?" Calleo feigned ignorance.
Lieutenant Junior Grade Ozanna Isuri
Chief Security/Tactical Officer, USS Orion
Ensign Tiberius Augusta
Intelligence Officer, USS Orion