A Not So Straightforward Request
Location: Main Operations, Starbase 80
Timeline: Parallel with 'Ultimatum'
The main Operations area of the large Starbase was always busy, people coming and going, staff at stations, monitoring, issuing advisorys, it had taken on an extra edge with the current situation. But still it would be the best place to find the stations senior staff officer. Commander Menkova caught sight of him the moment she entered from the turbo lift. Waving her way across the room. "Commander Holcrut Brezibluxz? Lieutenant Commander Menkova, I have something i need to discuss and hopefully implement. May we do so now?"
Holcrut glanced at the chrono on the nearest panel. "I've got a few minutes. What did you have in mind? And mind you...I can't really green light anything major."
"I understand that, but I feel it best to keep you up to speed. We have been running a number of possibilities that the attack on Taronok has presented. Clean up has been a point but that's a way off. But, the fact this could be round one in larger action is something we have considered." She started off, pausing for a moment before continuing. "We have started to look at the surrounding planets, particularly those with in a short warp trip, and begun to asses their readiness, which would go better with a team on the ground so to speak. I was hoping to discuss that possibility." She explained clearly and carefully, it was occurring to her that this might boarder on major actions, and immediate authorization might not be possible, but they would know her plans which was a bonus.
Holcrut was quiet for a long moment as he thought about what Menkova was proposing. In the big picture, it actually made sense from a tactical standpoint. There was only one problem...
"I can give you access to transportation for your teams. But we can't spare you any fighters for escorts. You would have to chance it alone."
Considering this for a moment she nodded in understanding and agreement. "I can appreciate that, I was going to request a Polaris for each team with a command control and a recon module attached. The standard armament of the craft combined with an active recon module, should minimize the rests of traveling unescorted."
Holcrut smiled. "Well, that won't be a problem, but we have a new toy that we just went active with that you might want to look at as well...maybe as an escort that you can fly yourself. The Arrow Runabout. It has some interesting features."
Her interest was well and truly captured at this point. For starters the proposition had a green light, and two there was the prospect of getting to grips with new technologies. "That sound interesting sir, I'll be sure to pull the files on the craft, or better yet we have flight instructors attached to the stations staff, correct? A hands on lesson might be more beneficial."
"You will have to arrange it...I doubt that Commanders Desoro or Masters will have an issue with you using their services." He paused for a moment as a PADD was handed to him, presumably to sign. He took it and started to glance at it, but as he read the words...
Vonny facial expression went a little mischievous as the prospect of being at the helm and having charge of a convoy of her own make up on a mission of her own design, also she had a different someone in mind for her lessons. "I'll arrange it soon enough but i believe. ........." She broke off her sentence and gave the officer her full attention at his expression. "Something gone a miss sir?"
"This...this can't be right." He saw the look on her face. "We just got a communique from the CO...she is out on Taranok. It states that we are initiating Nightshade Protocol. That has to be a mistake." He could still see the confusion on her features. "Nightshade is a last resort step in case of...it's a self-preservation protocol. It means that, outside of our zone of influence, which is the Frontier Region, we are to cut all ties with the Federation and any assets loyal to them." He again re-read the message. No, there was nothing that he was missing, and all of the codes were correct. But still... "Nothing has even hinted at this." He looked at Menkova. "Are you aware of any happenings back on Earth that we need to know about?"
Given the suddenness of the message, the lack of build up and the implications of such a drastic and sector wide protocol, Ewo'tOst struggled to take in the full implications. When asked for her thoughts her initial reaction was of disbelief and distance. "Commander, ive not been in the vicinity of the Sol system in years, I....." as she thought a communique from her parents came to mind. "I did however have a strange message from my mother just about the time i requested a transfer to a Starbase. She called to talk about my career and life choices, which we have differing opinions, i assumed it was more of the same. But she asked if my transfer was a request or an indication of further sweeping changes, she used the phrase sweeping. Like i said i assumed it was more of the same digs and persuasion tactics, now though." She stepped away and thought for a moment, "I guess I should step up my preperation and launch timetable. When were en route i could make contact with my family, seek more information, if you approve?"
Holcrut re-read the message again now that he had stabilized a bit. "Wait..." There was a line at the bottom that he had missed the first time through. 'Eyes only...do not, repeat not share information with anybody else until all of our preparations are in place.' "This is secure information at the moment, Commander. Don't say a word to anybody about this. And..." He typed in a few commands onto his display. After about thirty seconds he was pinged back a reply. "I'm pulling fighters from the reserve group to escort your teams. In light of what I just read, it seems prudent. Hopefully Kathleen won't kill me...I like it here."
"Understood sir." Vonny said with a slight bob of her head, this development had raised concerns in her mind, but she knew better then to act on them just yet. " I appreciate the extra support and I think we can make do with a pair of fighters per transport. I don't want to deprive the main combat force considering what they're up against." She ran through her own mental checklist of her aims for meeting with the Commander and was more than satisfied. "Thank you for meeting with me, sir, I'll let you get back to what's likely an increased work load. I will plan to depart within the next two hours."
"If you need anything, push the request through to me and I'll make sure you get it. And hey...be careful. You or any of your people get that hinkey feeling, get the hell out of Dodge."
"I'll keep that in mind." The Belegusain stated confidently, before turning and heading back towards the turbo lift.
Holcrut turned back to the terminal and opened a new screen. It was a status screen for all of the station's defensive systems. He noted a few deficiencies as they polled, and he immediately assigned crews to repair duty, highest priority. Trouble was coming their way, and he fully intended to be prepared.
Lieutenant Commander Holcrut Brezibluxz
Lieutenant Commander Ewo'tOst Menkova
Planetary Operations Division