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MISSION BRIEFING - "Penny For Your Thoughts"

Posted on 2018-03-06 23:08 by Captain Amelia Waterhouse & Commander Alleira Tomar DSc.Dn & Lieutenant JG Lexil & Ensign Cillian Jarkil & Ensign T'Kena & Ensign Peter Sovik & Ensign Neevvi Ogai

Mission: Planet of the Sequined Love Nun

Amelia hadn't wanted to take over the mess hall for the briefing, and there'd been too many people needing to be included to fit everyone in the small ready room, so she took over the holodeck. A round table with a glossy black surface sat in the center of a round room, seven chairs circled around it. Above the center of the table floated a tray that held scones and tea. The walls were all floor to ceiling windows, and the holodeck arch was anchored to a door that didn't bother to look believably arranged at all—the windows looked out on Saturn and the room appeared to be free floating above the rings with no indication of anything attached to the door on the other side.

Amelia settled into one of the chairs, raising her finger and the floating tray glided towards her. She helped herself to a cup of tea and scone, then tapped at the tabletop illuminating the LCARS interface so she could bring up the briefing notes.

Cillian hummed as he made his way to the holodeck. He gave his uniform a final tug to straighten it up before walking in. He took in his surroundings with a grin on his face.

"Nice setting Captain," he said with a grin. Cillian took a seat and called the tray over, helping himself to tea and a scone. "Which school of thought do ye subscribe te, Jam or Cream first?" he asked with a smile.

"Jam first, of course," she answered, holding up the evidence of her preference. "How's your face doing?"

"Who taught ye how ter eat a cream tea Captain, Me Mam'll be havin' words..." he replied with a smile as he dropped a dollop of cream down first. "Veda put it back alright, me nose is still a little crooked but I think I like it tha' way, it's still kinda itchy, like it does when it's healin' but Lem says tha's just me imagination..."

"Your Mam will be having words with my grandad, but I'll happily buy the pints just to watch," Amelia returned with a laugh. "When you're feeling brave enough, we can go for another round... this time with more structured lessons, since I clearly know you're enthusiastic enough."

The conversation was broken by the whine of the doors and Alleira entered the holodeck, showing no outward reaction to its current configuration. Her air of slightly unemotional efficiency followed her in and sat down with her at the table next to Amelia, only lifting as she gave the two already seated a polite smile.

"Captain, Ensign." A PADD was placed on the conference table in front of her.

"Commander," Amelia returned, and waved at the tea and scones tray to direct it towards Alleira. It floated over so it was within her comfortable reach. "Tea, scones?"

"A wonderful combination. How could I refuse?" Alleira smiled as the tray floated over and gracefully served herself a scone which was halved and topped with cream and then jam on top in short order.

"Commander," he greeted once he'd finished his mouthful of scone. Cillian couldn't help the the very human, very cheeky grin that spread across his face when he saw how the commander had her cream tea. He raised an eyebrow at Amelia, his eyes practically sparkling with mischief.

Amelia met Cillian's gaze, then promptly rolled her eyes as she snorted in amusement. "Is there something you'd like to say, Ensign?" This question was accompanied by the doors opening once more admitting Lieutenant Lexil to the meeting.

"Good morning everyone!" she exclaimed brightly. "Afternoon?" she ventured in response to the rather confused look she got from Alleira. "Computer, what time is it?"

"Twenty one forty two hours ship time."

Lexil muttered something about time being harder to track when you don't sleep and turned, walking out of the holodeck and returning again once the doors had closed behind her.

"Good evening everyone!" she exclaimed with a grin.

"You're in a good mood this evening lieutenant," Alleira observed as the Denobulan took a seat next to her, sliding her another PADD.

"Quite so," Lexil confirmed, still smiling. "The report you were waiting for."

"From Lieutenant Hunt?" The XO probed, raising a brow in Lexil's direction.

"Mhm!" Was the rather noncommittal reply. Lexil was already piling cream and jam onto a scone, one half cream first, one half jam first.

"Hmm." Alleira read the first few lines of the report. "I shall be in contact with you both about it at a later date."

T'Kena had received the call to the holodeck, and as she entered, she frowned, looking around at what was clearly a briefing. She looked at the Commander, who was enjoying a scone. "Captain, I apologise, there must have been some sort of mistake in the call which summoned me here," she said.

"Please join us, Ensign. We're going to need your computer expertise. We're still waiting on a couple others though, so help yourself to tea and scones." Amelia waved at the tea tray, and it gently floated towards T'Kena.

T'Kena raised an eyebrow as she saw the tray float towards her. "An...unusual program, Captain," she said, as she looked at the Scones, curiously. She accepted one, and bit into it. "This is considered...refreshments, among humans? It is unusual," she said, sitting down, moving the tray as well.

"Try it with the jam first, and the clotted cream on top," Amelia said with a grin directed at Cillian as the holodeck doors opened again.

Sovik entered the holodeck, still confused about why he would be called for a briefing. He sat down and looked around at the other crew members before turning toward the Captain, knowing he would get an of explanation soon.

Cillian had just smiled in response to the Captain's question, shaking his head. He hadn't needed to respond, and Lexil's diplomatic arrangement of cream and jam had done nothing to help his bid in trying not to laugh. He finished the first half of his scone and loaded up the second, also cream first, having nodded politely at each new crew member as they entered. He decided he was going to take his time with the second half, sitting back in his seat and taking a sip of the delightfully boiling hot tea. The assumption of a mistake on the other ensign's part was amusing, but understandable, though maybe he should have taken a second to note that he was not the only ensign in the room. Honestly, he was exactly sure why he was here either, but he hadn't planned on saying that out loud.

A quick swish of the door next, and Neevvi stepped in, hair down on her shoulders. Her lips pursed a little as she saw some crew members that were still unknown to her, but quickly she walked up to the rest. "Good day Everyone, Captain, Commander." She sat on her own empty chair and leaned forward a little, waiting to listen in on what was to be said.

"Okay, now that everyone is here," Amelia said as she stood up. She tapped the table and a hologram of a young Romulan woman was projected above the center of the table, rotating slowly to allow everyone to see. "Teelis is the daughter of the Romulan Proconsul, Taleria Jeiai. She was on the shuttle Vorta Vor when it lost contact just along the Orion border." Amelia tapped the table again, and Teelis was replaced by a map of the edge of Orion space, with the route of the shuttle highlighted. "Over the last month, the Romulan government has been petitioning the Orion government for help in attempting the locate the shuttle, and recover any survivors. The Orions have refused the Romulans access to search themselves, and have produced no information to indicate the fate of the shuttle and its occupants.

"Proconsul Jeiai reached out through the Federation ambassador to request help, and Starfleet Intelligence passed word along to our operatives within Orion space. One of them found something, but due to his deep cover was unable to send word of what it was, and had to use a civilian shipping company, Alpha United Logistics, to attempt to send it to Federation space. The shipment was lost. We need to find out what we're looking for, and attempt to locate the missing shipment. Any questions?"

Alleira had scooped her rather epic ponytail from behind her back over her right shoulder and was idly platting it while she listening.

"What information do we have about the shipment, if any?" she asked.

"Alpha United Logistics uses shipping drones." Amelia tapped the table again, bringing up a hologram of the drone. She flicked her fingers above the table, and more detailed specifications appeared in the tabletop in front of everyone at the table. "Due to the illegal nature of some of their clientèle, as well as the number of territories they move through—sometimes without permission of the governing bodies—they're designed for stealth and self sufficiency. The drones themselves don't have any information on them beyond a serial number that tracks them in the company's system, and the minimal amount of identification needed for what territories they choose to comply with local laws. SFI has not approached them directly to get more information, as we can not risk our deep cover operative and it is likely that the syndicate has eyes on the company."

Alleira took a very short moment to consider before responding.

"So the logical deduction -to me at least- is that for Starfleet to acquire political goodwill with the Romulans by obtaining information leading to the recovery of this missing V.I.P. we must either locate the documentation already in play by recovering the drone -a rather fraught challenge in itself- or contact our asset inside Orion territory and get it that way, an altogether different but equally as dangerous challenge. Based on that I hope there is an angle that I haven't yet considered. Anyone?"

The Cardassian looked around the assembled, still platting her hair over her shoulder in an uncharacteristically informal manner.

T'Kena considered the problem for a moment. "It is, of course, entirely possible that this is nothing more than what humans call a 'wild goose chase' and the information is merely a ploy to keep us busy, whilst the Orions themselves look for the girl. Is there any way we could track Orion ship movements, to see if they are trying to deceive us?" T'Kena asked.

"We can in part." Lexil replied after a moment, pleased her discipline was being put to some use. "I can compile a probability assessment based on what information we can gather on orion ship movements. But it's far from a complete picture. Not being allies with the Orions limits our data ingress a little."

"While the chances are slim the Orions are even aware that Proconsul Jeiai requested help, and therefore wouldn't have reason to orchestrate a wild goose chase, the fact that there was any evidence to send indicates they have probably found something worth hiding." Amelia settled into her chair again and sipped her tea. "The information likely will also prove useful should we find she's still alive, and either SFI or the Romulans mount a rescue."

"If I may, it would be illogical to assume the Orion's are unaware of what is happening. Given how often the Orion Syndicate has infiltrated Starfleet, or even bribed members of the fleet, I believe we should assume they are fully aware of the situation. There is also the fact that the Orion's trade with many partners, and conduct their business on many worlds. A rumor here, a slip of a tongue there, as humans would say, and the Orion's would have the information they need." T'Kena said.

"I didn't say it was impossible, just that the chances were slim. Leaks happen, they infiltrate us, we infiltrate them; it's all part of the great intelligence circle of life." Amelia shrugged. "Obviously they know the Romulans aren't going to just sit back and do nothing, and they may even know about the request for help made by proconsul Jeiai... But I generally take the stance of preparing for the worst and hoping for the best. So we'll track their ship movements, and proceed with caution."

"Are we able to locate one of the drones used by the shipping company? In order for drones to work effectively, they would need to link to a central computer. For something like that, they would have a number of satellites, to handle the volume of data. If we can access one of them, we should be able to track the locations that the drones have been, thus giving us an area to work with." T'Kena added.

"As I mentioned, the company goes to great pains to keep their shipping routes a secret and keep the drones under the radar as much as possible, but I'm not opposed to finding a way to borrow one in an attempt to access their networks." As Amelia spoke, she created a task list which displayed in front of each person at the table, next to the drone specifications that already sat in the table's surface; on the list was 'acquire AUL shipping drone', and 'analyze Orion ship movements'. "While attempting that, I think it would be a good idea to also see if we can make contact with our operative, to find out what he sent or even just some way to track the shipment. Obviously we must be very careful, as blowing his cover could have fatal consequences."

"Where is he working currently?" Lexil asked after the tell-tale pause of someone quickly swallowing something, in this case a mouthful of scone.

"Amon Raimondi is currently posing as a dancer at a place called Planet of the Sequined Love Nun. The woman in charge, given name Sayvolu but known to most as Mother Superior, runs a smuggling ring that crosses interstellar borders, but always manages to dance clear of any charges brought against her. Amon is tasked with monitoring her activities, and warning SFI of any particularly dangerous cargo." A couple taps brought up holograms of a human man with olive skin, tousled longish black hair, and carefully shaped but short and almost scruffy looking facial hair; and an Orion woman with soft curves, the wrinkles of age, and shoulder length hair. "The establishment is located on a settlement near the Orion border. As far Amon's records show, he'd been selected for the position given the similarities in appearance to Sayvolu's late husband, with whom she founded both the smuggling ring and the Planet of the Sequined Love Nun. There's a footnote about the establishment being named in honor of an old Earth author's book of a similar name: Island of the Sequined Love Nun, by Christopher Moore, though intelligence is unsure if there's any further connection?"

"A curious name for such an establishment." Alleira commented. Lexil looked at her and grinned.

"I rather like it."

"You would..." Alleira replied, with a look of pained amusement, followed by a subtle wink. Lexil had an in with the XO, she had known Alleira when she was younger, before the Cardassian was labelled as 'Doctor'. Both of their parents taught at the Denobulan Institute of Space Sciences and Alleira had had the fortune to study there for many years before joining Starfleet. The two had passed a few boring parties together back then, Alleira being one of the less stuffy members of the Experimental Engineering department and despite the age difference they had been good friends, as their parents were still. The young and almost unswervingly cheerful Denobulan didn't quite check her manner in front of the XO as many others would as a result.

"When did you get so boring?" she asked Alleira with a knowing smile.

"A decade on Earth will do that to a girl." Was the instant reply. Alleira was totally deadpan, but it was most likely a joke. Lexi chuckled at least.

"First time in the history of Starfleet there hasn't been a human in the room to offend with that one," she observed.

"Focus, Lieutenant."

"Yes ma'am."

"So, if we are to approach the contact," Alleira continued as if nothing had broken the flow of the meeting, "We need a team comprised of non-Federation species, which I suppose would require firing up Doctor Broll's many and varied skills, or..." she paused. "Ensign Ogai is an ideal candidate, as -it has occurred to me- am I."

"For the record," Amelia said with a chuckle, "we have approximately one and a half humans spread between three of us." Amelia cleared her throat, and bit back her smile. "I can easily blend into places like this, have on multiple occasions. But we shouldn't send the whole command team down on an away mission like this, so only one of us will go. You'll probably stand out less..." She sighed.

"Agreed." Alleira nodded.

Cillian cleared his throat and waved his hand a little. "Can I register me offense at that comment? I wouldn' be 'alf as amusin' without the Irish in me..." He grinned. "If we can get an idea of what kinds o' routes the drones take... we could narrow down the search area some," he ran a hand through his hair. "Flyin' under the radar means limited flight paths, I can take a look and see if I can make out any likely ones, have we got any kinds of ideas of destinations and such? Do we know where the drone we're looking for was headed?" he asked, if there was one thing he'd learned when he was undercover it was flying under the radar. Some routes just wouldn't work for a whole host of reasons, and there were only so many detours the shipment could take before it was no longer financially viable let alone just a complete pain in the ass.

"If I may, Captain, I would like to volunteer. Vulcan's and Romulan's share a common genetic heritage, and so it would be very easy for me to pass as a Romulan. Whilst the Orion's have refused to allow the Romulan government to search, they do a steady business with Romulan customer's, which would make my blending in very easy," T'Kena said.

Amelia looked from Cillian to T'Kena, and let her gaze settle on the Vulcan woman first. "While I appreciate the officer, Ensign, given how paranoid Orions can be, I would rather not give them any reason to associate our landing party with the Romulans. Especially if they have gotten news that the Romulans reached out to us for help, but they don't know who—if anyone—Starfleet has sent." Amelia then turned to look at Cillian. "Any insight you have on possibly flight paths would be greatly appreciated, please coordinate with Lieutenant Lexil after the briefing... though we'll need you to fly the landing party, since our ship in orbit for any length of time would likely draw unwanted attention."

Cillian glanced across at the Lieutenant, flashing her a smile as he gave her a polite nod before looking back at the Captain. The Lieutenant gave him a winning full Denobulan smile in return and also looked to the end of the table.

"Understood," he replied, still smiling. "Do I get ter make our baby jealous by playin' with an exotic beauty or will it be a little more mundane than that?" he asked, every opportunity to fly a new vessel was one to be embraced, as such he sometimes wondered if 'piloting jargon - various languages' was one worth adding to his dossier.

"We'll have to see what sort of resources we have to acquire your fling." Amelia winked at Cillian. "We'll look at our contacts, caches, and—if necessary—budget after the briefing, and decide the best option is."

"There might be one problem with sending me down, sirs." Neevvi says. "I am on suppressors for the fabled Orion pheromones. Going off them is going to ... be uneasy for a little and I don't know what effect it might have after so many years." She peered around the room. "Giving you all a headache is the least thing I'd want to do, but it might come off as odd for the Orions if they caught me without the natural secretion."

"We can discuss it with medical to see what they can do to make that easier, unless you are asking not to go?" Amelia asked.

"No, not at all, merely sharing a possible complication, Captain." Neevvi replied with a small smile.

"Okay, so let's recap." Amelia updated the task list displayed in the table in front of each person to include 'away mission - make contact with operative'. "Lieutenant Lexil is going to take point on tracking Orion ship movements in the area of interest near where the shuttle last made contact, as well as assemble data that will help determine probably routes of the missing shipping drone—Ensign Jarkil will provide her with advice to help with her analysis of the latter. Ensigns T'Kena and Sovik will be tasked with acquiring one of the shipping drones in an attempt to gain access the AUL network, and failing that, will analyze whatever data can be collection to help in the tracking and collection of the missing drone. Commander Tomar will lead an away mission to the Planet of the Sequined Love Nun, accompanied by Ensigns Neevvi and Jarkil. And I will determine how to best use our available resources to find a vessel that will help the away team blend in at their destination. Any questions, or comments?"

"Just one..." Cillian said when the Captain confirmed that he would be going down with the landing party. "If I've got ter change me face, can we update me holo image so I can keep the crooked nose when Lem puts me back tergether?" He was mostly perfectly serious, but honestly he just couldn't resist the comment, and he hoped he hadn't derailed anyone from asking a completely serious question.

Neevvi chuckled loudly at the question and then leaned back into the more serious side. "Blending in with the rowdy, I'd say the crooked nose shouldn't be worked on at all."

"It certainly would blend in, I can't argue with that... but after reading Dragomirov's report, I am still unsure why you had her set it by hand instead of using a tool that would have gotten it straighter. A mishap in the holodeck isn't worth counting coup over..." Amelia looked at Cillian with her head tilted to one side in question.

Cillian shrugged and smiled, wondering what Veda had written in the report. "The idea was that Dr Broll would fix it, once some of the swelling had gone down when I went in fer me appointment the next mornin'. I decided I liked it as it was, apparently it adds character te me face... What de ye think Captain?" he asked her, grinning widely as he held her gaze.

Amelia laughed. "It's a testament to your enthusiasm, if nothing else." She looked around the table, and decided no one else looked ready to speak up. "In that case, I'll see that a copy of all the notes shared in this briefing will be sent to each of you. Dismissed."

=/\= End Log =/\=

Captain Amelia Waterhouse
Commanding Officer
USS Joshua Norton

Commander Alleira Tomar Dsc.Dn
Executive Officer
USS Joshua Norton

Lieutenant JG Lexil
Stellar Cartographer
USS Joshua Norton

Ensign Cillian Jarkil
Pilot
USS Joshua Norton, NCC-74819-A

Ensign T'Kena
Engineering Officer (Communications and Computer Specialist)
USS Joshua Norton

Ensign Peter Sovik
Transporter Specialist
USS Joshua Norton

Ensign Neevvi Ogai
Infiltration Specialist
USS Joshua Norton

 

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