Going Under Cover
Posted on Tue Mar 1st, 2011 @ 12:59am by Captain Vorn Krace & Commander Acle Walex & Commander Jordan Gunning & Lieutenant Commander Sara Archer & Lieutenant Valkris Edwardson & Lieutenant Commander Zim Drex & Lieutenant JG Christopher Rogan
Location: USS Iapetus - Observation Lounge
Timeline: MM2 MD31 1300hrs
Vorn walked through the crimson doors at one end of the conference room, taking a brief look at the officers seated around its table. All of the senior staff were present, with the additions of Lieutenant Crichton, who would be assisting Archer in the briefing, and Captain Kaldor along with their newest arrival, Lieutenant Edwardson, both of whom Commander Gunning had recently cleared from all reasonable suspicion in the matter at hand. "Let's get this started," he said, as he strolled down the length of the table towards his chair at the head. "Commander, what do you have for us?"
"Captain, as we discussed earlier, the vessel we are pursuing appears to be of Romulan design, although it is a new class that I am not familiar with. There is no records of it in the Starfleet database. It appears to be a scout of some sort, though its mission is not known. I have one theory, however." Sara paused for a moment and checked her PADD before looking back at the other members of the senior staff. "The mission of the Marconi remains strictly classified. Most of you do not have the correct access, but given the circumstances, you have limited need-to-know. The Marconi's mission was related to the Genesis project. It is possible that the Romulan's wanted to acquire Starfleet's research. Any information pertaining to Genesis uncovered during this investigation is to be immediately surrendered to the intelligence department. Again, this information is strictly classified, and not to be repeated outside of this room." She waited for any questions or comments before moving on.
"Genesis," Chris whistled through his teeth. "The 23rd Century's answer to the A-bomb. That's perfect."
Acle frowned. "I heard rumours of Genesis whilst working for Counter-Intelligence." Acle paused, his mind replaying the details. "It was a fairly interesting investigation due to the very high level of security and classification that it had... Among other things. However, it had been my understanding that the project was scrapped. I am assuming that this is not so?"
"Not exactly, Captain." The Commander of the Marconi said hesitantly. "The project is dead but we were looking for the remnants and studying the possibility that it could work in the future. Nothing more than that."
"Commander Gunning," Sara continued, shifting her gaze towards the security chief. "Have you been able to read over the tactical analysis I sent you?"
"Yeah, I had a quick skim through it." Jordan lied. He'd spent the last two hours poring over it in intense detail. The Genesis project was more than just a tactical nightmare, it also suggested that anyone going after it would send their strongest weapon in order to take it. He was concerned, to say the least. ""I think the presence of Genesis and the suspicious destruction of the Marconi puts us in something of a compromised position. Whatever that Romulan ship is capable of, there's a reason they've kept it out of the records."
"Is there any likeliness that this ship could belong to one of the Romulan sub-factions?" Krace asked, his next thought fuelled by the fact that this ship class was nowhere to be found in any records. "Specifically, the Tal Shiar?"
"I would say it's extremely likely, Captain." Drex put in. "The crew of the Bellerophon, myself included, encountered the Romulans on several occasions on my last tour of duty, since our course took us around the far side of their space. It wasn't my idea of a picnic. Particularly the time we ran into the Tal Shiar hiding in our sensor gaps. It's common knowledge that they're sneaky, but that's really not the half of it."
"We have a slight advantage, sir." Jordan piped up, inspired by Drex' comment. "We know they're here and from what my analysis has suggested- they don't know that we know. If we can locate them again it might allow us to disable them before they have a chance to cloak again."
"We're just on the edge of losing them from our tracking sensors," Vorn said, something that he had not yet shared with Captain Kaldor or Lieutenant Edwardson - come to think of it, he didn't recall actually telling them that they had been able to track the ship at all, beyond what the Captain may have overheard on the bridge during the initial incident. "If we close to within range, one of two things could happen; we could provoke a response from them by our presence and proximity, or use our weapons to disable their cloak and engines." He sounded dubious about the second option; though firing the weapons may be the most logical cause of action with no external situations to influence the outcome, he was well aware at the back of his mind of the diplomatic state between Romulus and Earth.
"To my knowledge, if we fire on the Romulan ship it could be seen as an act of war. We've been so far over the other side of the galaxy that I'm not exactly up on the state of the treaties between us." The Tactical officer offered apprehensively. It wasn't the best idea in the galaxy to admit a lack of knowledge in Federation treaties but it was done now.
"The peace treaties still stand." Chris replied. "I'd advise extreme caution. Diplomacy would be our first, best act. Anything else would be disastrous."
Valkris sits at the table, listening to the opinions of the others before adding her own voice to the discussion. "...Captain, I have spent much of my career in an around the RNZ, since the Marconi was in Federation Space, then yes, you have the legal authority to engage them under the pretense that they violated the Treaty of Algeron by violating the Neutral Zone and entering Federation Space, uninvited and committed an act of theft. In regards to the Romulans? You can be sure that they are aware that we are trailing them and that they are counting on a discussion just like the one we're having now, to allow them precious time to escape, or to call in reinforcements...If they escape into Romulan space...." Valkris lets her words hang in the air, "better to take them now before they can transmit their information to their superiors! Even if they did not steal anything, the fact that they were able to destroy a Federation ship in such a manner would give them a new tactical advantage.."
"I'm not convinced." Jordan piped up from his place on the left-hand side of the Captain. "I'm no expert but if the Romulans knew we were onto them then they would have either attacked us or high-tailed it out of here with their tail between their legs. As it stands they just sat there until the Klingon ship turned up. I still think we have the jump on them."
He took a moment before making passing any further comment. "If Lieutenant Valera can track their trajectory and we can get close enough we can come up with something to make us cross their path. Bump them with our shields or something. They'll have no choice but to admit their presence. If they're onto us then they'll split the minute we make any motion toward them."
"...Mr. Gunning, fortunately I have some experience with Roumulans and their tactics, consider that if their aim was to simply steal something from us, by the simple fact that they are retreating back to safer territory! Simply assuming that they are not aware of our presence when they are the ones holding all of the cards, while you profess to simply Come up with something would be an exercise in futility...Commander. As it stands, the Romulan ship, is in fact leaving the area and I beleive the issue was whether or not Captain Krace has legal jurisprudence to fire upon a Romulan vessel who's violated a standing treaty and is implicit in the destruction of a Federation Vessel! The Iapetus, as you claim, should be more than a match on paper for this Romulan ship but in the end, it's the one in the center chair, and the competency of those commanded that can turn an engagement to their favor.."
"Normally your logic would be sound, Lieutenant," Vorn said, breaking up what he feared may become an argument between the two officers. "However, there are certain prevalent factors which you are not presently aware of. Firstly, this ship is in possession of the most advanced sensor arrays in both Quadrants - they are on the very edge of our tracking range, which certainly puts us well out of theirs. Secondly, their course at present will not lead them towards Romulan space. They are in fact heading in the direction of what Starfleet personnel on this sector call 'the triangle' - the region of space between the Federation, Klingon and Romulan territories which belongs to neither power, through which lies the Raeyan sector."
"As it stands, though we have highly likely suspicions, we do not have concrete proof that this ship is responsible for the Marconi's destruction, and even though it appears to be of Romulan design, we have no proof that it is crewed by Romulans nor that it is acting on behalf of any faction of the Romulan government. At present, all we have is speculation, and I do not want to go in guns blazing based off of unproven hypotheses."
Gunning seemed to relax a little after the Captain has spoken. This woman had been on the ship for less than, what- a day? She was already questioning the existing crew. Great.
"Forgive me Captain, you are of course correct, my statements are of course based off of..my current limited situation awareness.." Valkris suddenly remembers where she'd heard the name Raeyan Sector "...My...mate is on board the Columbia, his last message indicates that they are also heading to the Raeyan Sector!..." Valkirs smiles at the thought of her past missions spent in the Triangle Boarder, and the dangers within. "....we will need to be careful then Captain, The IKS, Orions, and other regional powers have all carved out territories within the Triangle Border, if we know where this ship is, then what do you propose we do about the destruction of the Marconi?"
"We've got to assume, for the time-being, that that vessel had something to do with it." Jordan mused a moment. As a tactical officer he was sure that everyone who was looking across the table at him was thinking he was about to say 'Blow them apart'. "We need to find some way to communicate with them."
Vorn nodded, agreeing with his second officer. "Preferably in a situation whereby it would be difficult for them to cut tail and run from us, should they have a guilty conscience."
Drex raised a finger and put in. "Captain, I may have a suggestion." He smiled enthusiastically. "About five years ago, we were playing hide and seek with a Romulan Warbird on the far side of their territory. The Bellerophon was able to keep tabs on the vessel by retrofitting a Class 2 shuttle with a Borg-modified deflector array. Since the Romulans had few encounters with the Borg, we figured it would allow us to get within a hundred kilometers of them without being detected." His blue fingers tap the PADD on the conference table, pulling up a cross-section of a Class II shuttle.
"The test runs were very successful. I may be able to make similar adjustments to one of our shuttlecraft. I can't guarantee it would be as effective as the prototype, but since a Class 9 is tiny as it is, it might get an away team close enough to make some scans. The only thing is, we'd have to get them to drop out of warp to use it."
"Then Mister Drex, I believe we may have found our opportunity to utilise that shuttle," Vorn said, looking back over at his Chief Engineer. "The other ship's course takes it near Starbase 102, otherwise known as Pirate's Haven. It's a safe bet that they plan to make a stop there. Will that modified deflector allow the shuttle to get close enough to beam into the station, Lieutenant?"
Drex nodded briefly. "Absolutely Captain. But it would probably be a one way trip. Assuming the other vessel has comparable sensors to our own, once the shuttle's transporters were activated, the Romulans should be able to pinpoint its location just from the increased energy emissions. A docking maneuver might draw less attention. Especially if the away team didn't stop to take holoimages on the way in." He beamed a smile across the table at the other senior staff.
"Then I want you to work on visually disguising the shuttlecraft as well. The inhabitants of Starbase 102 aren't very keen on seeing Starfleet officers," Vorn said, thinking back to one of the documents he had read regarding the route they had planned to take to get to their new patrol zone. "Plus, I have a feeling that if anybody happened to see what was clearly a Federation shuttle approaching, there'd be few enough of those around that the Romulans would find out very quickly."
"..Captain, are you also going to have the away team go in disguise as well? If you're going to go through the trouble of disguising the shuttle, what about the away team itself? The shuttle could be disguised as something else but wouldn't sending an entirely Human-looking team give away their identities as well?" Valkris asked
"I don't think that should be too much of an issue," Vorn replied, looking towards the guest officer. "There are enough humans and human-looking species within this region that aren't assosciated with the Federation that the away team shouldn't draw too much attention to themselves... as long as their clothing is appropriate to their cover."
"Captain, perhaps Commander Gunning and myself should be included in that away team," Sara added, breaking her silence. "The situation could easily deteriorate on the station if we are not careful; having trained operatives may help alleviate the issue." There were certainly merits to having an intelligence officer on this mission, but Sara did have personal reasons. She was still a field agent at heart, and sitting around on the ship reading reports did get tedious for her.
Gunning raised an eyebrow toward the woman. He did so love to be signed up for missions.
Vorn nodded. "Very well. You'll take Lieutenant Drex with you as well. I'll leave the details of your cover story up to you."
"This is the primary plan we'll go with." Vorn looked around his other officers. "If nobody else has anything to add, I want to get started on modifying one of our shuttles for the mission. Any additional suggestions as time passes, bring them to Commander Walex, who'll pass them on to me." He stood, signalling the end of the meeting. "Dismissed."
Captain Vorn Krace
Commander Acle Walex
Lt. Commander Jordan Gunning
Chief Security & Tactical Officer
Lt. Commander Sara Archer
Chief Intelligence Officer
Lieutenant Valkris Edwardson
Former Marconi Crewmember
Lieutenant Zim Drex
Chief Engineering Officer
Ensign Christopher Rogan
Chief Diplomatic Officer