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Adrift; Alone

Posted on Thu Jun 6th, 2019 @ 3:30pm by Commodore Yoshi Minawara & Captain Ewan Darrow & Commander Martin Sorenson & Lieutenant Asahi Kita

Mission: Wrong Place, Right Time
Location: Main Bridge
Timeline: MD01 08:00

There is a way that a person looks when they have slept on a couch, that no matter how hard one tries to hide it, it becomes rather obvious. This was how the Commodore looked as he stepped out of his Ready Room, with hint of dark rings under his eyes, and a stiffled yawn, paired with a tall coffee mug with him. "Americano, triple shot, black," he had instructed the replicator, and as if not wanting to try it's luck, the machine had made sure it was almost a litre of the desired beverage. Stopping by the pool table, he watched the approach of the Vesta towards the downed vessel. As he watched, a Tellarite Lieutenant manning security turned to him, and seemed to consider his words, before slowly speaking. "Sir, we have the ship's manifest and cargo manifest, shall I send it over to you?" Slowly nodding to the man, the Commodore took a long sip of his coffee, which he mentally reflected tasted like a combination tar and pure caffeine, and wondered if adding an espresso machine to the bridge would get him funny looks. He was fairly convinced Jack had a cotton candy machine somewhere in Engineering after all.

"Yes, I want to review it," he added afterwards. Tapping a button on the console in front of him, he activated the comms. "Captain Darrow, Commander Sorenson and Lieutenant Kita to the Bridge please," which finished with him lifting his finger and the open channel going dead. Ewan was obvious, but he needed Medical ready if there was anything awry on the ship, and Yoshi had come to respect Martin's judgment. As for Intel, there was a chance for Asahi to provide some more information as to the region, or if there was any reason a freighter would be so far from an active trade route.

Martin arrived first, coffee mug in one hand and the other resting on his medkit since while the comm hadn't sounded urgent, but Yoshi's voice had been a bit strained. At part of the reason for that became evident at first glance; the Commodore looked to have gotten little rest. Assessing the rest of the bridge crew, and factoring in why the CMO might be called to the bridge when no one was in need anything more than the sort of standard liquid stimulant in his own cup, he hazarded a guess for the summons. "I take it something cropped up last night?"

Tea in hand Ewan stepped onto the bridge freshly shaved and ready for the day, something he couldn't exactly say for Yoshi who looked like he had been sleeping anywhere but his bed. "Probably, Yoshi looks like a cat slept on his face." The executive officer chuckled as he stepped towards the pool table that dominated the back of the bridge and set his cup down. "A freighter?" He asked looking down at the display.

First mission and Asahi was already called to the bridge. He felt a buzz of anxiety as the turbolift let him off. He had been up most of the night himself, carried away with his work. In his hand was a glass of bright orange liquid, the contents of which bubbled green at the top of the clear glass, an effect that seemed to not bother the shiet-statured man as he drank from it. As he approached, he found himself peering at a display set atop a giant table the others were surrounding. "I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess we weren't expecting that."

"No," replied Minawara. With a drag of his hand, he pulled up the specs on the freighter. "Aerovant LC-3152 long haul freighter adrift, claims it was responding to a humanitarian mission." Another swipe, and the holographic display shifted to show the flight plan. "Left a Federation supply outpost, headed to this agricultural station for refuel, then responded to a call for the mission. Claims it was a Federation colony, the only problem is," he cast a hand across the display, "no colony. We initially suspected pirates or smugglers, but all the paperwork checks out. Not only that, but the flight plan is almost exactly the same for the last year and a half." A few keyed in commands brought up nearly eighty plans. "All of them the same route, same plan, no deviation. Unless you realize," and he showed the timeline.

"Unless you purposefully dropped out of warp and coasted at impulse, it shouldn't take you this long to cross this section." Taking a long slow sip from his drink, he shrugged. "So, theories?"

"Easiest option is smugglers but as you said paperwork checks out." Ewan said as she scanned the flight plan and the accompanying documents, "Same spot every flight plan it slows, there for a day or two no longer then onto the next destination. That kind of stop general occludes a cargo stop. For a private hauler like this guy anything else is time wasted, which is the age old agdage, time equals money."

"Yes, but I'm not sure that rules out smuggling. There's what's on the manifest, and then there's what's actually in the hold," Martin put in, thinking of a few instances when getting necessary medical supplies near a conflict zone involved less than 100% legit merchants, or even legal means. But that probably wasn't something to bring up, and certainly not on the bridge. "Or so I'm told. It's also possible that the merchant has been played. There are a lot of colonies, and someone trying to keep up with pay roll won't check credentials too carefully if they're offered top credits to supply a place off the beaten path."

"Either that or they're actually trying to supply said place legit. Or another place, not a Federation colony. There's a lot of variables there." Asahi pointed out. "No smuggling, nothing like that. We're far enough out of the usual space, but that doesn't mean there isn't a colony or some sort of settlement in the area. Not a Federation one, anyway." He paused, eyes narrowing in suspicion at the information he could gather. "Maybe they parked because they're having issues of their own? Didn't want to say what they were because they don't want Starfleet involved? I know there's a couple of civilian vessels being whispered about through SFI that don't dare get too close or else one member of their crew or another will set off big, red, likely illegal vibes. Or they just want to keep to themselves. But something feels fishy. Not their cargo, but the whole situation. Unless they're running into an ambush themselves-and I'm gonna stop myself before I keep on, or we'll have every possibility on the table."

"Regardless of why, we have been ordered to respond to their distress call. With what we all suspect, we have to proceed with caution, and keep our wits about us. My last thought was that this was meant to be a trap for a Federation ship, after all there have been several stolen vessels from a Starfleet Mothballing facility." Yoshi frowned, and shook his head. "We don't need to be snagged by someone, and while the ships stolen don't stand much a chance against the Vesta herself one-on-one, five or six could be problem. On top of that, often crews cycle through people, so the Captain might be an unwilling participant. Kita, I want you to go over with the engineering team, but swap into an Engineering uniform for it. " Turning to Martin, he added, "Have a medical team go over. Make sure no one is hurt, and we'll send security as well. See what we can gather." Looking at Ewan he shrugged. "We can't be too careful, I'll fire our concerns to Starfleet, have a ship on hot standby, just in case. I don't think we're all that far from Falkirk, now that I think about it."

A pause, as Yoshi seemed to think for a second. "Martin, you worked humanitarian efforts. Did you ever deal with freighters like this?"

The doctor nodded slowly. "That was the reason for my comment. Relief agencies were supposed to have regular supply ...but it didn't always work out that way." His expression hardened, recalling those incidents. Refugee centers often weren't that far from whatever caused the flow of refugees, and the chaos that went with crisis tended to attract those happy to exploit that misery for profit. "Both aid centers and supply ships were sometimes targets, so people that had been on site for awhile had, well, some alternate arrangements to get essentials." He paused, resting his chin in a hand as he studied the freighter displayed over the pool table. " Technically, a captain would be telling the truth in saying it was a humanitarian supply mission. But it wasn't what you'd necessarily call 'above board', and in a few cases those suppliers were little more than pirates themselves."

"Which is what I'm curious about. That is a ship carrying Deuterium, but it's only in its raw form, processed but not refined. It's useless as a fuel, and the ability to process it is hard, requiring massive facilities that a pirate organization wouldn't be able to hide. So why hit this freighter. It's a bad target." He tapped the station it had departed from on the second run. "But that's a space based growing facility, a hanging garden. It produces high yield, low risk crops. And it's private facility, allowing it to trade freely, either with the Federation or with others. If I were smuggling food somewhere 'off the record', that would be where I would stop too." Thinking, he sipped from his coffee. "This was a front during the Dominion War, I remember doing patrols in this area. What are the chance there is a dead colony here?"

"Depends on what your definition of dead is. Unused, no signs of life? Pretty damn high." Asahi set his own PaDD as a resource on the table, rummaging through maps he had collected of the area. "There are a few that blipped off the map, either because they were evacuated before or during the war, or abandoned after the war. Quite a few are nonfunctional. But if you redefine the word 'dead' as something else entirely like being used but not on Federation radar, then that's a little less common, especially in this area. And harder to determine, but not impossible. I can take a look at what's in the area of the coordinates they say they're headed to, see if I can't narrow down the search one way or another."

"Dead as in an ex-colony. Somewhere that was hit and abandoned by the Federation during the war," replied the CO thinking. "I don't even remember why we were out here, there wasn't much except empty space, and a few hit and run attacks. But we weren't here until we were back on the offensive," he replied, scratching at the stubble on his face. "See what you can find for sure."

"Run a check, see when the last patrol ship went through the area and see if they detected any signs of colonies in the nearby systems, might help us narrow it down." Ewan added as he took a sip of his tea, "Starfleet never really bothered to go back into the area after the war. We evacuated or abandoned alot of the colonies but I'm not sure if we ever bothered to see if anyone went back. Wouldn't be the first time..." he trailed off. "Were any of the colonies in the area part of the Maquis back in the day?"

Asahi squinted at his own PaDD. "Known? Three. Charted already from some other investigation." He didn't look up as he continued scanning his own little copy of the map. "There's an investigation into a couple more, but nothing solid. I can correlate this data, a scan of the patrols, and movements made during the war all on the same map." He fell silent for a beat, eyes on the map they all stood around. "I'm just gonna run this area through as many databases as I can. No sense in leaving the stones unturned."

"I don't understand why anyone chooses to stay hidden unless they're involved in something illegal, but people are often more stubborn than rational," Martin remarked, thinking of the remnants of a Romulan colony on the edge destruction from Hobus. The planet had been on the edge ecological collapse, but most of the colonists were still dead set against leaving. "Whatever the reason, if they've been off the grid this long, there's no telling what condition the inhabitants are in. If we can get the location, we should at least send a medical team in to check on them."

"As long as they aren't hostile, I can't see why we would have issues with that. Although," he paused, thinking, "we should attempt to relocate them. If the planet was attacked, there would likely be huge ecological damage. Repairing the damage would be too hard a task, and unless there are resources, there would be..." Yoshi trailed off, staring at the map. "Raw deuterium." It was a statement of realization. "Kita, of the planets under investigation, which one of them produced fuel, of any sort?" He didn't wait for a reply, but pulled through several old logs. "Cross reference with patrols of the carrier Kittyhawk during the Dominion War."

Asahi had his own glass of wake up juice to his lips as Yoshi asked his questions. He took a swing before inputting the data. "... One. Just one." He finally said, pulling up the planet on the overhead map in front of them. "One that fits both those parameters."

"I would be you a month's energy credits that this is the planet with the 'humanitarian crisis'," he said, a scowl settling on his face. "I still want you to go over with Jack," he looked to Kita for that, and then turned to Martin. "Prep a medical team and emergency field hospital, there is a very good chance that any planet that is operating deuterium extractors without proper resupply for parts is going to be suffering pretty heavily." Carefully rubbing his brow, he sighed. "Ewan, can you have Miss Cerin come up here at her earliest convenience? We are likely either going to negotiate an extraction of the population, or re-establish supply lines to try and bring this colony back into function. I'm going to go read about it a little more."


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