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Atlas had it easy!

Posted on Fri Feb 12, 2021 @ 1:45pm by Commander Ajani Carter & Lieutenant Skot Ryder & Lieutenant Ethan Brash & Master Chief Petty Officer Symmons

Mission: Episode 2: Rising Tides
Location: Captain's Readyroom
2360 words - 4.7 OF Standard Post Measure

Ajani had spent last night drinking her way through most of her stash of whiskey and bourbon while trying to wrap her mind around the task before her, and even with the hypo antidote she had a slight hang over. She hadn't managed to come to a decision on her own so know she would speak with her command team, they were due any moment.

She had not a single screen open on her desk, and not a padd in sight either. She was sat behind her desk staring at out the window. It was unlikely that she even saw the stunning sun rise which crested over the horizon and she probability wont see the luna eclipse either. The Eagles orbit has risen to over 2000 miles to avoid all the rubbish in orbit, even so these views didn't come along very often. Carter saw none of it.

Skot was walking down the corridor, fresh mug of coffee in his hand. He never understood how people could drink what the replicator called coffee, it just didn't taste right, so he had acquired what some people would call an antique coffee set. Every chance he got he made sure to get a fresh order of coffee beans shipped to him so he always had a fresh roast every morning. Truth was Skot really needed the pick-me-up after having spent the past few nights up late getting caught up on the ship's logs leading up to his coming on board.

Having finally arrived at he door to the readyroom, Skot pressed the chime. A moment later he door hissed open allowing him entrance into the office. Skot took a moment to look around, having not had the chance to scout out the readyroom yet, and gather his surroundings. He knew he would be spending a lot of time in here going over everything with the Commander and he wanted to feel comfortable. His gaze settled on Ajani after his scan over by the window. "Morning Commander." Skot offered a clipped greeting as he made his way into the office.

A few seconds passed before the doors opened once more, revealing the Second Officer. Ethan Brash had his usual crescent-shaped lip, as if he was always two heartbeats from breaking out into a grand toothy smile. The smile didn't come, however, as he began to feel the atmosphere thicken. Reading the room, he reigned himself in a little, compressing his crimson lips together as he looked over his Captain. It was as if she were carved out of stone, staring but not seeing.

"He-" Something caught in his throat, and Ethan realized just how dry it suddenly was. With an effort, he cleared it before trying again. "Hello, ma'am. Reporting as, uh, ordered."

With all the work required to bring weapons back online Symmons was acutely aware he was running late for the command meeting. While he ordinarily took pride in his appearance he was a mess. His uniform was charred and stained and grease smudges clung in patches to his scaly face and hands.

In his haste to arrive he didn't even have time to give the bridge a second look. His large reptilian body raced across the deck only to be stopped abruptly as the crest of his skull collided with the arch of the doorway to the ready room.

Symmons hissed and yelped in pain as he stumbled into the ready room clutching the back of his head in his claw. "GAH, FRACK..." He trailed off as he spied the rest of the command team waiting for him.

Stopping in his tracks Symmons rubbed his head and stood at ease. "Sorry." He said clearly embarrassed. He blinked both sets of eye lids and tried to relax a little. "Command Chief Symmons reporting as ordered Ma'am." He reported in a deep melodic tone.

With each arrival Carter had waved them over to the seating by the window. She spent a few more moments considering what she was going to say. Ajani stood slowly and joined her officers. "During the Dominion War" she started stood facing them, she was wringing her hands behind her back, out of view. "I was a pilot, i flow a number of missions and saw the enemy fall before my guns, and friends fall by my side. Then i spent years atolling for that before the Borg came and i was force to send people to their deaths, good people and often friends. Again I had to recover. But those were easy compared with what we face today."

She had remained strong, even with the flashes of her friends dying. Very few Officers had seen as much action as she had, they were either too young to have seen both wars, or they were gone from the fleet. Many had retired and left the fleet after the Borg conflict.

Listening intently Symmons blinked both horizontal and vertical sets off eyelids as he listened to the remarks. Spending time as a tactical officer in the war he remembered all too well the horrors of seeing lives lost. He bowed his head in silent prayer for a moment before giving his attention back to Ajani.

She held up a slightly red hand, to forestall any questions or comments. "I deal with all that, what we are facing is a virus that almost destroyed two cultures and if it is weaponized..." she trailed off, "We lost 63 billion to the Borg" she was staggered by the numbers, there was no way she even read ever name lost. "It would take 3,995 years to read the names of the dead. This virus could kill entire populations. Information you have all helped gather tells me that this is the only location this virus still exists. It can not fall into anyone's hands" she paused "Not even the Fleets"

Ethan leaned forward in his chair, arms resting across his knees, "Find the virus, destroy the virus," He listed the simplest version of events he could think of, "get yelled at by the brass, live happily ever after?"

"I believe it may prove more challenging than that!" Symmons interjected with his deep melodic voice. He raised his claw in the air as if asking for permission to speak.

"Thus this meeting," she said "I three choices before us. Send a team down to burn it all, at a risk to whoever goes down, and no guarantee we will get it all. The lab was sealed before we got there. Meaning the Pirates got it somewhere else. The second one is dropping a thermobaric warhead and burn the entire area. Again no guarantee we will get it all. The last choice" she stopped and took a small step backward as if distancing herself from the very idea she was about to utter. "General Order 24" she almost whispered.

Ethan waved off the last option, "Bah, no need for that. That's the sort of last-ditch effort people resort to after every option is exhausted. After they fail."

"The way I see it is that we are at those last options."

"Nonsense!" Ethan retorted, "Unless there's some sort of time paradox that I'm not aware of, we've yet to even begin. Don't give up so early!"

Skot had been listening to and weighted the options open to them and he did not like them. After a moment Skot spoke up, "I agree that no one, not even the Federation, should have this virus. That being said, one thing to consider with that is the amount of time it will take to execute that order. Something on that scale takes time, something we are short on."

"I don't know about you, but I'm fond of our Federation, and I don't plan on giving up on its' ideals any time soon." Ethan stood up, "I think we were given this ship and this responsibility for a reason. We are the best. Whatever it is, we will figure it out. Right, Captain?"

"Okay," she said taking a chair and ordering a coffee, which appeared on the table before her. "Then what other choices do we have?" she didn't continue the thought that the Eagle had enough torpedoes to crack the planet if she needed to, that was part of the responsibility of being a Captain of a fleet ship, the power to destroy on such a scale was frightening.

Ethan had brought a data PADD, one of many within Etzel's never-ending collection, and placed it on the desk. He tapped it twice to unlock it, then slid it across to Ajani. There was a collection of various articles and facts about the history of viruses. "Humans used low-energy electrons to render viruses harmless in preparation for vaccines several hundred years ago. More recently, a Doctor Bashir used muons to do something similar with the Harvesters. We don't have Bashir's expertise, but we do have decades of technological advancements. Electron therapy didn't work, or Bashir would've used it. Muon therapy did work, but it required a literal bath. We need a more nuanced approach. Something light that can move through anything and be directed across a wide area of effect... a shower, if you will. A neutrino shower."

Symmons had zoned out for much of the career officer ideals and bluster talk. He had sat on enough senior officer briefings to hear long speeches about values, philosophy and courage.

First and foremost he was an engineer, give him a problem and he'll solve it with mechanics. That was why when Ethan started to talk about Electrons and Neutrinos his attention was bought back to the room with a bang.

"It could work." He said in support of Ethan's plan. "The shower could be done with the main deflector, however there are some small complications. " He volunteered casually.

"Does Bashir's therapy work on this version of the virus?" she asked. If this could work then the destructive approach could be set aside. "Also is there any risk to the life down there? Also, Master Chief, what complications?" she knew she was asking a lot of questions very quickly but the longer they lingered here the more chance of someone detecting them.

"Well I'm an engineer not a doctor." Symmons remarked without thinking but as soon as the words left his mouth he realized what he said and instantly covered his mouth with his claws.

Blinking apologetically Symmons took a breath. "Sorry Captain." He apologized sincerely. "The risk to life planet side is minimal, but for this to work we need to get close. I'm not convince the Eagle is equipped for atmospheric flight." He reported in.

"In theory," Skot interjected, "The Saber Class could perform atmospheric flight Chief, however it has never really been put to the test." He studied the room for a moment noting everyone's expressions. This was not an easy decision to make but it was better than destroying a planet. "Since there is not any real data to go off of when it comes to how she will handle in atmosphere, we would essentially be writing the book."

Skots enthusiasm for this approach didn't settle well on Symmons stomach. His claws clasped his abdomen in an attempt to quell the butterflies he was feeling. "The Lieutenant's enthusiasm aside, he is correct that we would be authoring the book." He said in support of Skots position. "I do have one other suggestion, although it is a bit less theatrical." Symmons reported. "We could use the transporter to neutralise the virus." He suggested in an uncharacteristically merry tone.

"The transporter isn't an option. This virus was created to be resistant to the processes used to screen out virus during transport. This version is as well, and to develop the procedure would take too long. Not that we shouldn't do so, but for any future encounters. The Eagle can enter the calm atmosphere with no problems, the war upgrades gave her greater abilities in that respect." She was proud of her ship "And post war allowed her shields to be shaped to give her some aerodynamics. However" she paused "This planets atmo is a mess and i think you are right, the Eagle passage through that might be problematic. Can we use probes? Or the shuttles?"

"The beauty of using neutrinos is that they can move through pretty much anything." Ethan tipped his proverbial hat back into the conversation. "What we do need, though, is the exact coordinates of virus-infected areas as well as any prepackaged doses of it that are still intact. Once we have our coordinates, we can fire the neutrino shower in controlled bursts, keeping potential side effects to a minimum."

"We could use the shuttle to pinpoint the coordinates for the neutrino shower. That would allow us to use the Eagle's larger deflector dish to cover a greater area but also be able to use the shuttles scanners in the atmosphere to make sure the virus has indeed been eradicated." Skot offered.

Blinking both sets of eyelids Symmons nodded."I concur with the Lieutenant, Shuttles would be our best course of action." "Once my team has made the appropriate modifications of course." He offered with a proud and exaggerated gesture.

Carter nodded following "Okay, Use all three shuttles if need be" she considered the choices for a moment. "While you work, I will have the ships sensors scan the planet, Chief, if you can throw some more power into sensors." She knew that the Eagle was a powerhouse and had more than enough juice it was a question of managing that power.

"Consider it done," Ethan answered.

Skot turned on his heel, his eyes meeting Ethan's, "You're with me Lieutenant, let's get these shuttles ready to go."

Carter watched them all leave, she was glad that she didn't need to enact GO24, that would be a shit load of paper work for sure, and she didn't want to have to explain why she had used the weapons at her command in such a devastating manner. In all her mood had risen somewhat and she ordered a coffee while she went back to work.

 

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