Location: Security Offices [USS Iapetus]
Timeline: MM3 MD2 2132hrs
Gunning sat with his feet on the desk, staring longingly at an antiquated ashtray that sat upon it. It had belonged to his grandfather; a man who had nearly always had a little clay pipe in the corner of his mouth. Eventually it had formed a circle in his teeth. All the years of abusing it had worn them away. In a way, it wasn't a million miles away from the actions of the Romulan Star Empire. For years they had repeatedly tried to make incursions into Federation space without the proper clearance and for years they had tried to wangle their way around diplomatic agreements that they themselves had agreed to.
Acle entered the security office, PADD in one hand. Like usual, his uniform was impeccable, his face hard. Unlike usual, however, around his waist he wore a utility belt, which bore on one side a standard issue phaser.
Acle moved to the desk where Gunning sat, and seated himself on the other side. He nodded to the other officer as he turned on the display for the padd and turned it to a pre-selected page.
Valkris sat quietly, recounting her recent letter from her fiancee on board the Paladin and their own troubles with Romulans.At present, she decided that waiting until Gunning or Walex presented their opinions on how to best carry out Captain Krace's orders was better than laying her hand on the proverbial butcher's block. Her attention remained transfixed on the latest information she'd received from some of her own contacts around the Task Force and didn't like what the evidence was telling her. For the time being, she returned her attention to the XO.
"....Expecting a battle to break out Commander?" Valkris commented nonchalantly, noting the irony at having to wearing a weapon inside of a security office.
"Not really. It always helps to set the mood, however." Acle replied, offering a smile at the lieutenant before glancing down to his padd again. He let the silence grow for a moment, before looking up and placing the PADD on the desk.
"Our goals are relatively simple. Board the ship, extract the data, and get the hell out of there, deleting or destroying all hints of the project." Acle looked at the other two officers. "The question now is how best to accomplish these goals. Your thoughts?" Acle asked.
Jordan pulled his boots off the desk and leaned forward across it. "There's only really one way we can do it. We have to knock out their power to the extent that they only have enough left for life support and to keep the computer core online. If they have external or even internal sensors, we're going to be lit up like a Christmas tree no matter what we try."
"...What you propose isn't going to be as simple as you suggest, and your plan has quite a few...If's that have to fall together just right in order to accomplish this mission..." Valkris replied as she closed her PADD. "....no, our problem is much more complicated actually, made more so by the capture of those two Romulans. Their ship will already be on high alert and be waiting for any overt action..."
Putting her hands into her face to massage the growing tension, it suddenly reminded her of how her human mother would begin to work out a problem. Then the beginnings of an idea came to her, picking her head up she smiled and shook her head "....what about a Trojan Horse?." she asked.
Acle nodded as Jordan spoke, then raised an eyebrow at the Lieutenant's words. "What are you proposing? The Romulans are more suspicious then my mother was after her newly baked cookies disappeared. What can we give them that they will actually take in... And it has to be something that cannot be scanned, else they will detect the away team or whatever charge we set."
"You just hit it on the head, they will already be suspicious, that won't go away unless we give them what they are looking for? They are suspicious because two of their crewmen have gone missing, If we...show them what they are looking for, perhaps we can get them to let their guard down just a little bit for us to slip in?" Valkris looked to both men in the room before continuing her idea.
"Commander, you've already gone in disguise and I'm thinking that with a good bit of subterfuge on our part, we can probably get them to beam us onto their ship,..... rather utilizing a subspace carrier signal to insert the team into the ship. Of course in a perfect scenario, one of our people would disable the internal sensors discretely and allow us to get on board with no one the wiser.....Give me a minute to think this out a bit..." Valkris began thumbing through her PADD, looking for some bit of information that would help her flesh out her basic idea.
"...Ok, what about outfitting our Romulan friends with a subspace transceiver to act as a relay for our own transporter carrier signal? Of course if there was some way to get him to simply turn off the internal sensors for us, that would be even better but if we first broadcast a virus into their subsystems to turn off their internal scanners,...rather to allow us to remotely turn them off when we need to...maybe even read us as Romulans instead of anything else." Valkris mused out loud. "...still, we don't have a clue as to what kind of offensive systems we can expect on board and I don't know about you, but I do not like to fight blindfolded...not to mention the fact that who here knows how to access their programming code or have the time to even... No, this plan will have to be a quick and dirty one..."
Jordan looked first at Commander Walex then at the Lieutenant. "Romulans might have an interest in trading but it's going to be far more difficult for us to pass ourselves off as traders on a small ship, with cover stories that are about as strong as a Tribble's bicep." He said in a more measured tone than he could even have hoped for.
"Going into an already suspicious group of Romulans, even with the say-so of our friend Nevarn is a suicide mission. One foot out of line, one subtle look from that treacherous bastard Romulan and we're all vaporized and pushed out of the garbage disposal."
It was at that moment that the doors to the security offices slid open with the familiar whoosh, and the figure who stood in the doorway spoke. "Unfortunately Commander, we're forced to make use of 'that treacherous bastard'," Krace said, before stepping fully into the room, allowing the doors to close and seal behind him. "I've just had a little chat with our guest. It would appear that the ship has a custom data vault installed in it, using a warp core similar to ones we use in our shuttle craft as an independent power source. We don't have anybody onboard with enough experience in Romulan computer and ship systems to be able to safely disconnect the data cores to remove them. Loathe as I am to have to say it, but we're going to have to factor Sub Commander Nevarn into our plans."
Acle grimaced, then said "If that is the way that we have to do it Captain..." He paused, then said "Although, I am inclined to agree with Commander Gunning. The last Romulan that I trusted gave me a scar that still sometimes aches. The only hope that we are going to have is that Romulan's take paranoia to a new level. I'm sure Sub-Commander Nevarn knows this as well as we do, and hopefully will draw the conclusion that if we do go down, his superiors will also think that he is either tainted or betrayed them."
"Trust me, I don't like the idea any more than you do," Vorn told them. "But based on his information, we have no choice. I want him under armed guard all the way, and before we put this plan into place, he will take Zim's engineers through exactly what he will be doing while he's over there. I want to take every precaution with him."
"I'll keep a close eye on him, Captain." Jordan responded flatly.
"There are a few other things as well." Vorn put a PADD he had brought in with him on the table top. "We have approval from Starfleet Command for the plan, however Commodore Blye has told me that we have to do this one by the book, according to our treaties and intergalactic law. While we can block all long-range communication and do anything else we need to to keep them from escaping, we need to announce to them our intent to board and our official right to do so. We're not to fire on them unless they fire on us first, or try to escape us."
"Then there is the other thing they could do, draw us in capture us, I doubt that they will allow us to simply search through their cargo hold and read their data base" Valkris replied "...they're fiendish types, would rather destroy the ship and us with it if it meant preventing us from finding what we're looking for..What do we know about their security?"
"They can try to capture us," Gunning responded, "if we have the right strategy, they don't stand a chance. From what I got to see of the ship, it can't hold that many crew members and the chances are that some of them aren't weapons proficient."
"Sub Commander Nevarn also gave me some more information on the ship, though I'd take it with a pinch of salt," the Captain continued, still not wanting to place any trust in the Romulan. "He tells me that their systems will automatically issue an alert to security personnel the minute a non-Romulan or Reman boards - that's a non-issue though, since we'll need to board overtly regardless. He has hinted at a tuned dampening field, however, so just to be on the safe side, I want all teams equipped with the TR-116s from the specifications in the database. They're chemical propellant weapons, so will work regardless of any field that may be in place."
"Projectile weapons? How confident are you that they will even work?" Valkris asked.
"Very." Came the response from the other side of the desk. "Believe me, you've not seen a clean kill until you've seen a one-sixteen slug rip through someone's chest. Sure, they're not quite as nimble as a hand phaser but they can deal serious damage to a target. Of course, if we do need to use them then the bulkheads of that ship are going to be covered in green blood."
"...was that meant as a cultural joke?" Valkris replied.
The tactical officer stared blankly back across the desk before allowing his eyes to dart to both Krace and Walex. "No, Lieutenant. It's a description of the outcome of a full-force bullet wound from a rifle."
Shaking her head she smiled at his obvious discomfort "..it's ok,.... Commander, I took it as a joke,....I can't ever think of anyone stating that a Klingon doesn't know the meaning of a clean kill!" she chuckled.
"...still, so we'll have his help, but I still think we perhaps aught to think of a way to reduce their suspicion level. I mean are we going to simply waltz in with Nevarn and his friend in irons and order them to stand to? they'd surely be ready for any treachery on his part then!" Valkris reasoned.
"Especially if we show up with kinetic weapons. They are somewhat of a favourite of various intelligence groups, as when adapted correctly, they produce very little to no sound, and do not leave any trace energy readings." Acle took a breath, then said "So, essentially, we order them to stand to and that if they attempt to run, we open fire?"
Vorn nodded. "Starfleet would rather we aim to disable before kill, but if they offer resistance lethal force is organised. Ultimately, recapturing the Genesis data must take full priority, over any other considerations."
"...That of course, goes without saying captain..." Valkris replied "...though I wonder which is greater, Nevarn's motives for helping us to reacquire the Genesis material or his simply trying to find a way to thwart us? If he for arguments sake, reappears in our custody, they will instantly become alerted and my try something drastic. I wonder what would the result be if we cut him loose on a short lead, just long enough to reduce their suspicion level? Would he still work to get us the material? Captain, I fear we simply do not have enough on this Romulan Captain yet to assume what will happen..."
"I don't trust Nevarn one iota, and to be frank I don't care about the Romulan's suspicion level," Vorn responded, flatly. "They can hardly be any more suspicious of us than they already will be when we order them to halt and prepare to be boarded. Nevarn will be kept on a very short leash, and I have no doubt that his one and only goal in all of this is to find some way to escape."
"...I wouldn't assume that is his only goal, if the situation were reversed, anyone of us would wait for such an opportunity." she reasoned "...have you given any indication as to the composition of the boarding team?" Valkris asked Commander Walex
Acle turned to look at Jordan, then nodded, to himself. "Commander Gunning will assemble an appropriate team from security, along with yourself. This team will escort our Romulan friends to retrieve the actual data that we need. I will take another two security officers and move to secure the Captain and the bridge." Acle paused, then asked "Any objections?"
"..that is the plan we're going to implement then? Order the ship to stand to, inform them that they've violate our laws, their own treaties and then parade two of their officers before them to retrieve the material? The Romulan Captain won't sit idly by while his ship is being boarded. They may be a lot of things but weaklings they are not!...." Valkris advised. "..they will try to stall us, and if a study of their tactics proves same, would rather destroy themselves and us just to be made heroes rather than appear to bend knee to the Federation.."
"Take Drex with you as well," Vorn commented, looking to his number one. "I want him there to keep his eye on Nevarn; make sure he is only doing what he is supposed to, and not stalling or going off into other systems."
"Lieutenant Commander Archer would also be a logical choice as well, she has some experience with Romulans and knows the language pretty well, not to mention she was there questioning him and so would naturally have a better feel if he would try anything duplicitous.." Valkris replied "though parading Nevarn in front of them like a captured trophy will only heighten his desire to not only escape, but to ensure that his part in all of this never sees the light of day..."
"I'll assemble a squad," Jordan said, "there won't be any funny business on our watch."
"Get to it, I want a full mission plan by the end of the night," Vorn Krace instructed them, before turning and making his way out of the office.
Captain Vorn Krace
Commander Acle Walex
Lieutenant Commander Jordan Gunning
Second Officer/Chief of Security
Lieutenant Valkris Edwardson
Former Marconi Crewmember
Acting Advisor to the Command Staff