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Bramatine: Truth, Justice And The Federation Way

Posted on Jan 01, 2018 @ 7:04pm by Lieutenant Eve Dalziel & Iphigenia Bonviva
Edited on on Jan 01, 2018 @ 7:06pm

Mission: Bramatine: Truth, Justice and the Federation Way

BRAMATINE: TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND THE FEDERATION WAY


(Continued from Susan's "Resolutions")
=/\=

Location: ACAMAR III
Scene: Hungry Pits

Evangeline Montoya sat on the edge of her shuttle, beat up and dirty as it always was. It had an official name but secretly she called it the “SS BANG BANG” because it made damn sounds when she flew and she kept coming back to this planet where people to make future workers…

Well she wasn’t an overly complicated woman, that was one way of putting it.

Sighing, she pulled out an orange creamsicle lollipop out of her pocket and looked around before popping the lollipop in her mouth. She waiting on another shipment of this damn rock. Ore. What was the difference, she mused to herself. Flipping the blue-silver rock around in her hands she wondered, not for the first time, why she kept having to come back to this dusty planet that clearly was *not* on the up-and-up to get this ore. Bramatine, that’s what they called it. What was it?

[[MESSAGE. MESSAGE.]]

“Keep you shirt on,” Montoya muttered to the computer, even though she was the only one in the area. Crawling back in the shuttle to the computer she slapped the console, grateful for the breakup in her day. It beat the usual schedule of:

1 - Wake up
2 - Stare at rocks
3 - Alternate between yelling at the local yokels to leave her alone and ignoring the guttersnipes and anklebiters who delivered the rocks
4 - Convince the 1 or 2 gutternsipes and anklebiters that she did actually tolerate that there was life beyond this hell-hole
5 - Stare at rocks again
6 - Find some rations to eat
7 - Shit/Shower/Sleep

Thinking about that schedule -- a message was beginning to sound damn exciting.

Going past her typical spam messages (“YOU TOO CAN EARN EXTRA CREDITS IN YOUR SPARE TIME!” and “REAL BAT’LETHS ON THE FERENGI FUTURE EXCHANGES”) she saw two things of note.

The first was work. Change in schedule from her employer, Pantheos Pathways of TELLAR PRIME. The Human woman read the communication that after the latest round of bramatine (blue rocks that were her constant companion) were to be loaded it was now to go to somewhere else. Typically she made her runs to DENOBULA; but it seems the overlord at Pangeos Pathways changed his mind; details to come.

Whatever, Montoya thought to herself. So long as she got her credits, she’d pilot the damn rocks wherever they had to go to. Ore. Rocks. Whatever, they were blue dusty pieces of crap but clearly everyone wanted them, even if she couldn’t figure it out.

The next message was from Arjan Jos. Thinking about the Andorian doctor who had been so meant so much to her...and the sorry state of her life now, the pilot took out the stick from her mouth that had been a lollipop and frowned at the screen. She wasn’t sure that she wanted to deal with this, even if she had a fresh lollipop--

[[Warning - unstable environment,]] the computer stated.

“Well I know I’m unstable, no reason to mention it now,” Evangeline muttered. As soon as the (truthful) words left her mouth the ground below the shuttle began to shift and plumes of orange smoke blocked her windshield.

“You meant *that* environment,” the Pangeos Pathways pilot muttered as she scrambled to her seat, the message now forgotten. As the power rumbling and winds from outside the shuttle threatened to pull her down, Montoya yanked with no grace on the controls for the forward control. Yelling over the shaking and rumblings of the shuttle that was threatening to go under, she began to curse at her shuttle, “Listen, I *should* have died in the Second Dominion War. I *should* have died when I was on KHITOMER. I *should* have died when that chick melted my brain. But I am *not* going to die on this dusty bang bang planet, alright?” With one hand on the throttle desperately trying to pull herself out of the latest mess, the Human woman slapped the comm and yelled, “This is Evangeline Montoya of Pangeos Pathways on ALL COMM. There’s a planetary disaster on ACAMAR III; requesting -- fuck that -- DEMANDING all help.”

=/\=

Location: USS CAIRO
Scene: Ready Room

The diminutive green Captain with her bony skin and deep onyx eyes studied the screen while sitting in the deep warm chair at the head of the ready room. “Was there no way to ascertain the stability of the, excuse me the...Hungry Pits, is that what we were calling it?”

Sgt. Curly nodded at this while standing at attention. “Yes, Captain Leki; stability was deemed recently to be in good shape; so the cause for the cave in is unknown at this time. The Hungry Pits were the largest mine of bramatine here on the planet,” he nodded. “It was the source of operations for 68.5% of mining.” He paused for a moment and said, “As you know, the miners were all children.”

The Roylan Commanding Officer nodded and gestured for the MCO to take his seat; all this pomp had never suited her. “Significant loss of life, and so young...that’s enough to cause serious disruption, even if resources are moved.”

The Tellarite Executive Officer, with her tawny hair pulled back into a severe ponytail, looked sternly at the MCO. “Sargent Curly,” Commander Frow Roffahg began, her snout flaring in frustration, “the CAIRO is responsible for the oversight of this planet’s production of bramatine, *however* it gets off. And now your telling me that the haphazard production line and safety procedures now have endangered our mission.”

“Our mission is oversight and safety of a protectorate planet,” Captain Leki stated softly and peacefully, her clawed digits drumming on the table as her verdant scaly skin folded in thought.

Sgt. Curly, along with the rest of the Senior Staff, was used to the open discussions. In fact Captain Leki often stated that “peace could not be achieved without disagreement first” -- a motto she extended to her Senior Staff meetings. Yet, as a Marine, he was trained to wait for the Senior officers; which is what he did here.

“Tell them the rest of it,” Roffahg challenged, the tusks of her lower jaw coming out as if she was ready to gnaw on something.

Leki stared back at her Executive Officer until she settled back in her chair across the table. Finally when there was quiet, the Captain announced. “Assisting us with our efforts on the planet will be the USS PHOENIX.”

“Why?” “Why them?” “How much trouble are we in?” came from all around the round as the crew jumped in to discuss the matter.

Leki raised a hand to settle down the crew. “We are to treat them as we would any other crew. They are no more special, despite what you’ve heard. They are coming in, assisting and going out. ACAMAR III and the oversight of the bramatine is ours,” she assured the staff. Looking at her crew she stated, “You’re all dismissed.”

Only Roffahg and Curly remained at the end, which was to be expected. “Do you think that worked?” Roffahg asked.

“I believe it because it’s true, and therefore the crew will believe it,” Captain Leki said pleasantly. “When Captain Kane comes, I’m sure he will too.”

Sgt. Curly didn’t care about another ship; he knew what -- or rather who -- interfered most with the CAIRO. “Ma’am?” He saw the bristle that Leki did but continued on, “What about when...*he* hears about it?” When the Captain looked at him he continued on, “The one the crew and the planet-folk call “The Man In Black”?”

“He has a name, he’s the head of Pangeos Pathways and his name is Councilman Gavaar, the representative of Tellar Prime,” Captain Leki explained. “Obviously the Council is separate from Starfleet--”

Commander Roffahg snorted at that. “We’re fucked and that’s why the PHOENIX is coming in.”

=/\=
Location: USS PHOENIX
Scene: Corridor

Iphie Bonviva stood outside a door that looked like every other door, which was part of the problem.She had shown up at no less than 10 different doors looking for a particular person. “Would decorations kill people?” she muttered.

Ringing the bell, she figured the occupant would be on duty. That would fine. Better than fine. It would be preferred. She could leave this here, peace offerings were often left at a door, totes a normal thing and--

Jake Crichton opened the door. “Iphie,” he said quietly.

“Jake,” she said, her mouth ajar, “you're here. For real. Like not on duty.”

“Yes…” Jake replied, unsure where this was going.

Iphie shifted her weight from one foot to another. “Right, okay. So...uhm…right. I've been been well I've been wrong about you. And I don't like it. Anyway here is my stash of special beer for you,” she said passing along a six pack of homemade microbrews. When Jake just stared at her, the chef babbled on pointing to various bottles, “”So I couldn’t figure out what beer you wanted so I gave you a selection out of my stash. You’ve got an Imperial Stout, Wheat Ale, a Brown Ale, the Fruit and Field--”

The ExO was a kind man at heart, the type who could see the best in rogue Orion Syndicate members if needed, but months of enduring abuse from his former sister-in-law only to be offered a few beers was a bit much even for him. “A few beers?” he asked with raised eyebrows.

Iphie looked over at Jake, her heart racing and clearly unsure what to say or do. “You need more than 6? That’s cool,” she babbled. “I got more.” When he didn’t say anything she raised her blonde eyebrows. “You want peanuts to go with them too? I got that. Flavored kind?”

“Not that,” Jake said as his blue gaze pierced Iphie.

There was a taut silence as Iphie stood in the corridor and Jake stood in his doorway, the 6 pack of brews between them. Finally Iphie blurted out, “I didn’t ask for the kids to come to me. I mean if -- when -- if --”

Jake exhaled a breath he had not realized he had been holding since Iphie first inelegantly told him about Xana’s updated will. Leaning slightly against the doorway he looked away for a moment, not really looking into his own empty quarters but into a space that wasn’t on the PHOENIX.

“I didn’t ask for this. I like being an aunt. I don’t want kids of my own,” Iphie explained softly. “That’s *my* choice. I mean Xana’s and your kids are cute--”

The ExO wisely thought it best not to interject on how the teen girls would shudder at being called “cute” or even his young son, and let their aunt babble on.

“--and I like sending inappropriate gifts to them. I can’t be doing that if they’re with me can I?” The chef/bartender looked down at the 6 pack between them. “But I can’t say “no” either.”

There was another uncomfortable silence. Another time, another place, they would have been friends. Actually they would have been family -- in the truest sense of the word. And perhaps that’s what they still were, but in an overwrought, dramatic kind of way. But neither one of them wanted that, had asked for it, and if it wasn’t for the woman who had brought them together and the children who would keep them bound, they wouldn’t be staring at each other, with a six pack of beer between them.

Never comfortable with long bouts of silence (unless it involved people chewing food) Iphie shrugged. “Anyway, not your circus, not your monkeys. It’s my problem so guess I need to get my head shrunk or something.”

As Jake opened up his mouth to say something, something more or better than the mute frustration and confusion that seemingly was choking him now but suddenly a tan and black in blue blur went speeding by. “Captain Smooshy?”

“Well yes, I suppose I could go to him,” Iphie mused. “Might be smart to start without the judgment--”

“No he went running that way,” Jake said as he poked his head out the door, grateful for the distraction as Iphie turned to see what was going on.

Before either Iphie or Jake could say anything else, Lt. Jasmine Yu went running past them, seeming hot on the curly tail of the PHOENIX's therapy dog. “Get back here, Captain Smooshy,” she ordered.

The Security chief rounded a corner, intent to chase down the therapy pug, who was giving the chase and getting away from the Security Chief. For a rotund creature who seemingly went from one couch to another on the PHOENIX being petted and grabbing snacks, the pug was surprising agile, ducking and weaving in and out of crew legs. Once the crew realized that Lt. Yu was trying to get the pug, they tried to assist, but Smooshy had been trained to avoid capture. He ducked, rolled, and…

“Dida pug just growl at me?” Kass ask as she stopped momentarily stunned.

Yu was still running. “Yes,” she yelled over her shoulder. “And he stole a phaser, that’s what he has in his mouth. After he bit one of my Security crew.”

Kass went bolting after Yu, intent on going after the pug herself now. “Cripes, how hard can it be to get a pug?”

=/\=
Scene: Bridge

Kass Thytos, Jasmine Yu, and nearly a battalion of Marines with a good chunk of other crew were going after Captain Smooshy. All the while trying *not* to tell Captain Kane who it was rumored would have punted the pug out of the nearest airlock if he knew what was going on. Thankfully he was on the Starbase with the Admiral so they had *some* time to resolve this.

Rumors, however, were flying about Captain Smooshy’s whereabouts after he lost his commbadge. Allegedly Smooshy had been sighted in the shuttlebay, playing catch in The Vulgar Tribble with the Bynares, and rolling around in the Arboretum; all at the same time.

[[Ryan to Von, Smooshy is not in Engineering. And he’s not in The the Jeffries Tubes,]] the Assistant CEO said to COO, who was trying to coordinate with different areas.

Von nodded as he made a note of that. “How do you know he’s not in *any* of the Jeffries Tubes?”

[[Smooshy will have more problems than a stolen phaser if he’s in a Jeffries Tube,]] Ens. Lynette Ryan admitted. [[Ryan out.]]

Von shook his head at that as he collected other reports. “Confirmed, last sighting of Smooshy was in the Saucer Section, Deck 8,” Lt. Von said. “Locking down access to Drive Section, silent lockdown.”

Vukovic turned around from where he was sitting; he was the other Senior Officer on Bridge duty. “I don’t suppose anyone just tried bacon, not to be overly simplistic.”

Von let a small smile come out at that. He was about to say something else when the turbolift doors hissed opened. Both men stiffened at that, worried that Captain Kane was back earlier than anticipated. Instead they heard the soft pitter patter of tired feet.

Captain Smooshy exhaustedly wandered over to the front of the Bridge. Both men paused for a moment, unsure what to do with the therapy dog who had been acting abnormally and was still carrying a phaser. The pug ignored them both, and put his short, square muzzle on the ground sniffing for something. Finally he went over to where Tomas’ Vukovic was sitting and sniffed intently over there.

Von raised his eyebrow in question to the pilot, who gave the slightest of shrugs; the Slav/Borg was unsure why the pug found him interesting. The pilot was not opposed to the animal, he had served with many people who had animal companions, and in other instances would have gladly petted the dog; but he knew better than to try to disturb the agitated therapy dog.

Captain Smooshy kept smelling intently over by Lt. Vukovic for the longest time as something by the Borg was *different* before finally raising his right hind leg and began to pee. Then he trotted over to the center of the Bridge, jumped on the Captain’s chair, phaser still in his mouth, and promptly fell asleep, but not before letting out something between a snore and a growl.

The Chief Ops Officer, who normally kept things close to himself (at least on duty), couldn’t help himself. While arranging an emergency medical transport for Smooshy he asked the pilot, “So...did you have some bacon in your pocket this whole time?”

Tomas’, who once wore the nicest suits in all the Gamma and Alpha Quadrants, looked down at his urine soaked leg. “No,” he grumbled.

=/\=
Location: Starbase 56
Scene: Admiral Stiles’ Ready Room

Captain Michael Kane was unaware of another Captain sleeping in his chair; his normally fine-tuned senses were right now focused on Admiral Andrea Stiles who was giving unusually vague yet firm orders.

“Is there a problem, Captain Kane?” Admiral Stiles asked deceptively calm as she leaned back in her chair. Tilting her head to the side, her wide dark eyes took in the Captain of the PHOENIX. “I would think after the last two missions this would be far more straightforward.”

Kane thought through the possible answers. Stiles was correct, the mission as she laid it out was more simple than meeting up with Romulans, or even a challenging first contact. That was the problem...why was the PHOENIX being sent in? Especially when there was another Starfleet ship already there? “Ma’am,” he said crisply, “sending in the PHOENIX when the CAIRO is already there--”

“Is what is exactly needed for this situation,” Stiles finished off, her caramel voice smooth and never raising. “You are correct. I’m glad we are aligned on this.” When the Captain of the PHOENIX said nothing, the mocha-skinned woman raised a dark eyebrow. “Are we not?”

In this, there could only be one answer between a subordinate and their superior officer; no matter what rank you were. “Of course, Admiral Stiles,” Captain Kane nodded crisply. The feeling of being at a complete and total loss for orders was not to be expected, not at this junction of one’s career. “Refresh my memory,” he said, trying for a new tactic. “What was the CAIRO’s mission? Before the cave-in on ACAMAR III?”

Admiral Stiles looked at Captain Kane, her eyes lighted up briefly before tampering down. “They were providing operational oversight, due to the ACAMAR III application to the Federation and ACAMAR III’s ongoing relationship with various Federation and non-Federation worlds. During the course of that operational oversight, the CAIRO had leeway to provide Security, Medical, Engineering, Science and Command assistance as needed.”

Kane said nothing to that, noting that it was an usually broad mission, and more of a decampment for the CAIRO. Before he could think of something else a console beeped. “Are you needed elsewhere?” he inquired politely, trying to find an end to this briefing.

Briefly Stiles shook her head as she tapped the console. “I’ll get back to them. It’s the season of elections, and while Starfleet does not have elections, to have the Starfleet endorsement or appear to, is of great significance. We all must do our part for the good of the Federation.” Stretching she said, “Presidential elections especially. I’m going to soon make a decision between Councilman Kevak of ANDORIA and Councilman Karimi of EARTH. And of course then once someone in Starfleet makes a decision, the politicians rush in for that photo-op.” Giving a weary look she said, “Comes with the job. Just grateful we don’t need to do this for what we do.”

“Starfleet does not have elections as you just said,” Kane pointed out, his distrust of politicians leaking out. Logically Kane pointed out, “Why do it then at all?”

Stiles almost appeared amused by that sentiment. “True. But they need us and we need them. It’s a symbiotic relationship, if you will.” Perceiving Kane’s less than enthused response, Stiles leaned in, folding her hands on her desk. “How’s Dr. Crow? Fantastic, isn’t she? From saw I saw Commander Malin-Argo is improving quite a lot. And that new cache of weapons and supplies? Straight from the the latest R&D labs and onto your ship. How did that happen? Because you’re the flagship?” Admiral Stiles’ voice dropped, “There are many flagships, I’d go so far as to say one in every sector. So remember, Captain Kane...we all do what we can for the Federation government, and they do what they can for us. There are no elections in Starfleet. But that doesn’t mean we’re not all politicians. And it took a politician to launch the PHOENIX...remember that.”

[[Ma’am,]] Admiral Stiles assistant beeped in. [[You’re getting *another* call. This one from the Councilwoman…]]

“One promotion she gave me when she was Secretary and she’s never let me forget it. Still it’s useful to have friends in high places,” Stiles mused. “Anything else, Captain Kane?”

Michael Kane was done with this briefing, in more ways than one. “We have our orders,” he agreed.

“Dismissed,” Andrea Stiles said as she nodded firmly, her attention already drawn elsewhere. As Kane stood up, Stiles tapped the console and the Federation symbol changed. “Good to see you again, Councilwoman.”

{{I told you, Andrea, to call me Xana! So how are you doing out there in Starbase 56?}}

“Wonderful. You should come here again,” Admiral Stiles offered as she leaned back in her chair, grabbing her mug of mocha.

Kane was never so happy to quickly walk out of an office as he was at that moment.

=/\=
Location: USS PHOENIX
Scene: Sickbay

Cade Foster sighed dramatically above the biobed. “Let me get this right. Starfleet Academy, Medical School. More awards than I can count--”

“You can count to one,” Aerdan said softly while he scanned their patient.

Cade ignored his friend and continued on his diatribe waving his hands dramatically, “And I’m back on this rust-bucket to be reduced to a VET?!”

“It’s a vet to a Captain,” Aerdan pointed out as he pointed to the pug. Furrowing his brow he said, “To be fair, a Captain who is not acting at all like himself.”

“He ate something bad. We all do, normally we just sleep it off or puke it up. He’s a dog so he did dog things,” Cade sighed as he looked at the pug. “I respect stealing the Captain’s chair though.”

Aerdan shook his head again. “This can’t be right,” he said.

If there was anything Cade liked more than being right, it was being right when Aerdan was wrong. “You’re doing it wrong,” he said. Taking a scan he said, “Ok so the little porker lost weight -- about 5% since his last visit. He went tear-assing through the ship. After stealing all our lunch today, and then Yu’s phaser, the run did him some good.”

“Yes, but look at the readings...his internal body temp is spiking,” Aerdan pointed out. Adjusting the pain blockers he said, “Look at the neuropathic--”

“Inflammation of the meninges including the dura mater, the arachnoid mater, and the pia mater. It’s spreading, there’s increased pressure. He’s going to bleed out ,” Foster said.

The Andorian doctor didn’t doubt Cade’s quick brain but he couldn’t help but point out the very obvious. “Smooshy has had all his vaccines today. He should be immune to meningoencephalitis, not mention a host of other diseases.”

“You can bitch about it or you can help,” Cade decided as he went over to a nearby tray and grabbed the hypos he needed. Looking at a nurse who was slack-jawed at what he was seeing the acerbic doctor said, “What never saw a genius and his friend save a pug from a disease that was eradicated? Watch. The pug has a form of meningoencephalitis and me and Aerdan are going to save him.”

Aerdan rolled his eyes as he adjusted the pain medication for Captain Smooshy. “He’s going to have a seizure if you don’t stop praising yourself,” he told Cade.

Cade rolled his eyes as he dropped the hypos unceremoniously along with a neurostimulator, neural caliper, and synaptic stimulator. The doctors quickly got to work pushing up their sleeves; despite their lack of training on animals they did not let up; a patient was a patient.

=/\=
TI: Sometime later

“How is he?” Lt. Eve Daziel asked quietly.

Aerdan nodded as he looked over at his colleague. “Captain Smooshy will make it, I think,” he said quietly. He had learned, long ago, to not make too many promises after surgery. “We have a nurse monitoring him.”

The Chief Counselor looked over at the main part of Sickbay. “And Dr. Foster?”

Aerdan tried not to roll his eyes. “Cade will make it too.” He paused before saying, “He’s watching Smooshy as well.”

Eve looked back at the sight of the small pug lying quietly, his small chest going up and down with labored breaths, on the biobed. “This just wasn’t like him,” she said.

“No, it wasn’t,” Aerdan agreed. “And that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.” When Eve turned back he said, “Normally we can talk to a patient and figure out what what happened--”

Eve smiled understandingly, “But it’s hard with a pug.”

Aerdan nodded. Folding his hands he said, “We need to reconstruct Smooshy’s day.”

Sometime later Lt. Jasmine Yu was standing in Sickbay before Aerdan. The Security chief was a firm woman, but she also was compassionate. Her dark eyes drifted to the pug who had given chase before snapping back to the Chief Medical Officer. “Dr. Jos, how may I be of assistance?”

The Andorian doctor explained that he was trying to recreate Smooshy’s day, in an attempt to understand where the meningoencephalitis came from. “Depending upon the type, it can be contagious,” he finally explained.

Jasmine nodded at that; she appreciated the attention to detail that the doctor had and his methodology. “I wish I could tell you more,” she finally said. “But during our training, Smooshy must have joined us.”

“Is that unusual?” Aerdan inquired.

Yu shook her head. “No, he’s joined us before. He usually wanders in and out. Some of the others find it comforting and I don’t mind so long as he doesn’t get in the way,” she explained.

“What was the training today?” Aerdan asked.

Jasmine thought about it and shrugged. “We got some new weapons and were testing them. Nothing special, basic drills.”

Before Aerdan could say anything more, there was an announcement, this time from their *human* Captain, [[Captain Kane to the Senior Staff. Report to the Conference Room for briefing in 5 minutes.]]

=/\=
Scene: Conference Room

“We’re to assist with the USS CAIRO with the efforts on ACAMAR III,” Captain Kane said. Looking around the crew he said, “The CAIRO’s mission on ACAMAR III was very broad as it was assisting the planet with their Federation application. Additionally, ACAMAR III is an important trading partner with many Federation worlds.”

The crew read through the briefing materials. Commander Crichton looked up first at the last briefing report from the CAIRO, which the PHOENIX now had access to since they were to assist. “Captain, according to this last report from the CAIRO, it says that majority, if not all, of the workers in the mines...it says they’re children.” There was a weighted pause before the Executive Officer continued on, “Federation worlds prohibit the use of child labor.”

“As I stated, ACAMAR III was in the process of joining the Federation, but they were not part of the Federation yet,” Kane pointed out, his own disgust and distrust at the situation hidden. Turning to his new Chief Scientist he asked, “I am unfamiliar with the main export from ACAMAR III, which it turns out was the what was being mined during this cave in.”

Dr. Karrington Crow, who had been reading the reports along with the rest of the crew, looked up, her brown eyes sharp as she looked at the CO. “Bramatine is a newly discovered ore, and one that has only been found in abundance on ACAMAR III according to Federation reports. The future for bramatine is considered to be bright as engineers and scientists are still quantifying its uses.”

“I want a report on all possible uses for bramatine, on my desk by the time we hit ACAMAR III,” Kane ordered. “I want to know what we’re getting into.” Crow nodded firmly at the order, betraying no other outwardly response to the task, although Kane knew from the reports that it was a difficult task given the reports he had read from the CAIRO; bramatine as an ore was well known. Beyond that--

“Captain,” Von said interrupting the Captain’s thoughts, “was the CAIRO transporting bramatine somewhere after it was mined?”

“No,” Kane said as he shook his head in a clipped manner, “the transport of the bramatine was contracted to a private company; a Tellarite-owned company under the name of Pangeos Pathways. One of their pilots is still planetside, so we can interview her if we need to.”

Jos raised his snowy eyebrows. “It’s Montoya,” he said. Looking up he said, “Sir, some of us served with her. She’s former ‘Fleet.”

“I know,” Kane replied, not betraying what he thought of the foul mouthed, lollipop poppin’, unorthodox pilot. Stiles’ words were still floating in the back of Kane’s mind. Looking at Jos, Yu, and Thytos; the trinity of the PHOENIX who kept everyone else safe he said changing topics, “I understand Medical, Security, and Marines received new supplies.” At their nods he continued on, “I expect you’ve done your testing, please have your write ups as well on my desk by the time we hit ACAMAR III.”

=/\=
Location: SPACE
Scene: Between SB 56 and ACAMAR III

The USS PHOENIX, the silver flagship (of SB 56 if not the entire fleet) dashed from frame of STARBASE 56 around the exotic surroundings was filled with ominous brittle silence, for there was no sound or gravity to hold them firmly.

Space had no sounds, had no barriers; its very nature was vast, open, and silent. Beckoning the modern sailors to come explore; but instead of sirens now there were dark blankets of space littered with gems of yellow and white stars, with the reds and purples of the nebulas holding out entrancing tentacles along the way.

Ancient mariners used to use the beating of the waves as a lullaby; but space had no music; save for the soft drum of the engine warp corp. Instead, the PHOENIX dove among the stars, making its own path, in the process making its own music. The glistening musical notes of a serenade, emanating out of nothing, but had enrobed the brimless sparkling pool of space. The hallowed pool of subtle light had adorned itself with the diamonds of thousand moons and of thousand dreams, for these weaved themselves on that cosmic ether of scientific majesty......all hung in the frame of galaxy. Taking up gigantic leaps did they traverse out that path which, though had concealed itself off sights, was occasionally failing to bask its glory. Down were the stars and up were they. Demure, but still mesmerizing did the surroundings seem as they were wafting ahead in that absolutely vast pool of scientific glory.

There was no time to bask in the glory of space...the PHOENIX raced on to ACAMAR III.

=/\=
Location: USS PHOENIX
Scene: Bridge

The trip to ACAMAR III was a quick trip; a few hours on Warp 6. Quiet in its ride, uneventful even. It was those types of rides that made everyone nervous, though; as though they could sense the MacGuffin was real.

“Approaching ACAMAR III,” Lt. Tomas’ Vukovic announced from the helm.

Kane nodded at that. “ACAMAR III on screen, Lt. Vukovic,” he said. Leaning over he said to his Executive Officer, “Bring back the Senior Staff. I want us prepared.”

The Senior Staff which had been researching and preparing for the trip, came quickly back to the Bridge upon Commander Crichton’s orders. Captain Kane sat in his chair as he saw the deep azure planet come up on screen as he heard the Senior Staff file in and take their positions at their stations. He’d collect the reports soon enough; something was bothering him about this mission and he hadn’t yet uncovered it. Why was the PHOENIX sent in, when the CAIRO was there? What was bramatine and its main purpose?

Staring at the screen wasn’t going to do any good. Standing up, tugging his tunic down, the Irish CO ordered, “Zoom in on the cave-in. I want to know what we’re going into.”

Lt. Cantor Von stood at his station, quietly, as his fingers nimbly took the coordinates from Vukovic and found it planetside. “On screen,” he announced as he looked up.

Dr. Karrington Crow narrowed her deep tawny eyes as she looked at her console. Her fingers nimbly danced along her own console. “Captain,” she announced without preamble. “The mines, which are colloquially known as “The Hungry Pits”, are approximately 3500 kilometers across, 1500 kilometers wide and more than 600 meters deep. Taking the latest topography readings along with layering defining should be able to give us better results.” Sliding her fingers along the console she managed to enhance the image on screen.

There were red-orange rocks that went on as far as the eye could see; it gave way to small grayish black rocks and pebbles, the kind that often got stuck in one’s soles and in boots. From what the PHOENIX could see those that were on the ground if one moved the rocks in the slightest, even walking, it often danced up into their own clouds of smoke, the kind that danced on the wind and traveled for miles until it found a home. The dust from the rocks, from orange to black and every shade in between, traveled for miles and would land on everything. It stuck to carts, clothes, skin, and it did not take much imagination to think that it would even seeped into people’s lungs, making it difficult to breathe without the right treatment.

All along the sides of the stable ground were piles of bags; all unmarked and haphazardly piled on top of each other.

“Are those for the ore? The bramatine?” Captain Kane asked.

The scans went off, the fingers of several officers dancing nimbly behind him. However, the weighted silence on the Bridge, drawing out by the second, was indicative that it was not good.

Lt. Cmdr. Aerdan Jos, who normally eschewed the Bridge for the Sickbay, today sat at his station and watched in muted horror at was on screen. “No, Sir. Those are body bags. For the miners.” When Kane looked at him he explained, “All those bags are filled with the bodies of deceased miners.”

Another long silence hit the Bridge, like a wave. “They’re so small,” Lt. Daziel whispered, her hand over her mouth.

Dr. Jos continued on, swallowing the distaste and staying clinical, “The bags appear to be, on average, 4.5 feet long or 137.16 cm. The average needed for a 7-9 year olds in most Humanoid cultures.” Jos’ antennae dropped for a moment, the only outward sign of frustration and upsetment. “Initial scans show that most of the deceased were too small for their bags; but without proper autopsies we can’t tell if it’s because of age, lack of nutrition, or--”

“Understood,” Kane said, cutting off the doctor.

Lt. Yu was monitoring all communications and something caught her eye on her scanners. “Captain,” she interjected. “I’m picking up chatter from the planet. They’re sending out an announcement about us.” Looking up she said, “It would appear they don’t know we’re here.”

“Let’s keep the advantage for another minute or two,” Kane said, not trusting the situation. “Pick up the communication.”

[[PHOENIX en route. Cease and desist all search for survivors and deceased. Resume mining for bramatine,]] came over the speakers.

=/\=

NRPG: Hi my name is Sarah; Susan and I will be your tour guides/GMs for this mission. Attached to the opener are pretty pictures :)

There are 3 routes or sandboxes you can pick for this mission. They are in no particular order:

For those that want an Away Team: Explore what is bramatine? What is it used for? Why do people want it so badly? Why is ACAMAR III essentially willing to risk their children/their future for the trade of it? Remember ACAMAR III is not part of the Federation, and they're risking it all for trade, so they're not as progressive as other planets. And it’s been stated that other planets want it quite badly but *why*?
Another Away Team option: What is the CAIRO’s role in all this? Why is Starfleet covering up the atrocities on a planet? So far we’ve met 3 officers, so your character can meet or you could make up others.
For those that want a science/research or on ship option (AKA The Smooshy option some of you asked for *grins*): What are in the new weapons and/or medicines that made Captain Smooshy act that way? Will it impact anyone else? How so? Is it tied to the above?

If you want to write for both: we have NPCs for a reason.

YOU CAN PICK WHERE YOU WANT YOUR CHARACTER(S) TO BE. THIS IS AN OPEN MISSION AND NO WRONG PATHS. EXPLORE NEW STRANGE WORLDS, SEEK OUT NEW LIFE AND NEW CIVILIZATIONS…

I think you have the idea ;-)

Yes there is a political angle in all this and if you’re interested in all that...don’t worry that will come out during all this too :)

Random Fact of the Day: The term MacGuffin originates from Alfred Hitchcock’s film “39 Steps” and now refers to a plot device that the protagonist(s) perseus with no narrative purpose or explanation. In Hitchcock’s film “39 steps” the dialogue goes as follows:

Man 1: What's that package up there in the baggage rack?
Man 2: Oh, that's a MacGuffin.
Man 1: What's a MacGuffin?
Man 2: Well, it's an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands.
Man 1: But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands.
Man 2: Well then, that's no MacGuffin!

So you see that a MacGuffin is actually nothing at all. :)

=/\=


Sarah Albertini-Bond
~writing for~
Xana Bonviva
Councilwoman for Bolarus IX

And

Iphie Bonviva
Chef/Bartender of Vulgar Tribble/USS PHOENIX

And

Evangeline Montoya
Pilot for Pangeos Pathways


All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.


--Winston Churchill

 

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