A Glimpse of the Future
Observation Lounge <Deck 8> [Gibraltar Station]
This room is a slightly curved rectangle, with a single door to the aft. To its left sits a large display panel which can be configured to show whatever data is needed. In the center of the room is a large, curved cherrywood table with a smoked glass top. It is ringed with maroon chairs: one at either end, four on the inner side, and five on the outer. These chairs have both head and armrests and there are small data panels set into the glass tabletop in front of each one. The four legs of the table are a dark marble speckled in maroon and white. They come up around the top of the table to form a slight division between some of the chairs. In the starboard wall are five large windows that look out upon space beyond. Port is a wall paneled in oak that supports two gold models--one of a Regula-class station and a much larger one of a Buckingham-class station. The walls are light gray and the carpet blue speckled with maroon. Lighting is provided by panels in the ceiling.
Hawkins sits at the head of the table in the Observation Lounge, going over something on a PADD.
Solvek walks in, nods to the Captain, and takes a seat. "Good afternoon, Captain. Commander Solvek reporting back to duty."
Hawkins looks up and a smile spreads across her face. "Mr. Solvek. With the bandages finally off, I see. It's good to see you in uniform again."
"It is good to be in uniform again. I believe I had almost forgotten the feeling." Solvek pauses. "I hope that no other injury puts me out of duty for such a long period of time ever again."
Hawkins reaches out to rap her knuckles on the table. "Let's hope so. You're caught up on everything?"
Solvek nods. "I have, sir. Is there any particular matters that you wish me to discuss during our meeting?"
Hawkins purses her lips a bit at Solvek's question. "A report on the status of the Maelstrom Project? Lieutenant Alexandria won't be here to represent science..."
Salvir comes through the door from Central Corridor <Deck 8>.
Salvir has arrived.
Tremar comes through the door from Central Corridor <Deck 8>.
Tremar has arrived.
Aventino comes through the door from Central Corridor <Deck
Aventino has arrived.
Brooks comes through the door from Central Corridor <Deck 8>.
Brooks has arrived.
Hawkins is already sitting at the head of the table, Solvek in a chair next to her. She gestures. "Please, everyone, take a seat."
Aventino takes a seat quickly and quietly, leaning forward over the table a little bit and looking up to the head of the table somewhat expectantly.
Salvir nods and sits down at the table.
Tremar takes a seat after entering.
Brooks comes into the Lounge and sits.
Hawkins looks around the room. "Alright, everyone, welcome. I'd like to start by saying that as Lieutenant Alexandria is at a conference, and Commander Koram and Lieutenant T'Lyt are both rather busy, Science and Operations will be represented by Lieutenant Brooks and Lieutenant Aventino respectively." She points out both women. "Doctor Omtala had an unavoidable emergency to take care of." She looks to Tremar. "So... the status of Engineering?"
Tremar folds her hands in her lap and nods. "The shuttle has been repaired. Everything seems to be going pretty well for now."
Hawkins nods. "Anything else?"
Tremar shakes her head. "Not at this time, sir."
Hawkins nods and turns to Aventino. "Ms. Aventino... what do you know of the status of the Operations department?"
Aventino sets a PADD in front of her, given to her by Lieutenant T'Lyt, tapping it and scrolling with a finger as she makes her report. "As Lieutenant Commander Tremar has already indicated, the Copernicus has been returned to dual A/E flight status. All other shuttlecraft are A/E except for the Verrine, which is out on routine maintenance shuffle. Station systems are all working within normal levels, though we're tracking down a slight glitch in replicators down on deck," scroll scroll, "decks forty through forty two. The aft side of these decks will have a lack of replicator power for an estimated four minutes at zero hundred hours; all officers stationed in the affected quarters have already been informed. Estimated queue time for civilian ships in need of routine repairs is approximately two days." She looks up, "We're a little backed up, but it's definitely been worse."
Hawkins nods to all of this. "Excellent. All of our docked ships are doing okay?"
Aventino nods, "Mm-hmm."
Solvek turns to Salvir. "What is the status of Counseling?"
Salvir looks at his PADD. "We have a good chunk of the PA's for senior and junior staff completed. I'll be sending out reminders for the officers that haven't come in on their own yet, but I don't think that's going to be a problem. Based on the personnel files, I've already talked to the main officers that I think are in the most need of counseling. And we're continuing on regular treatments for those that need it."
Solvek nods. "Very good, Lieutenant Commander." Turning to Brooks, "What is the current status of the science department?"
Brooks pushes her glasses up her nose as she looks down at a PADD. "Things are coming along pretty well. We just had a major crew shuffle, but it seems like this new setup might work out better. We've got most of the spore cataloging done, the gardens show no adverse reaction to the changes implemented for the Masquerade Ball, and plans for the bio-gel pack upgrades are coming along apace and should be over to Engineering for approval soon. The rest of our projects are doing pretty well, stellar cartography reports that anyone who wishes can come watch a supernova in progress starting at 2200 hours tomorrow in the Stellar Cartography room." She pauses. "Then, of course, there's the data we picked up from our recent trip to the Maelstrom." She pauses again as if unsure whether to continue.
Aventino looks up at this last, a sudden surge of interest showing on her face. She looks toward the Captain to see whether we're going to get to hear about the findings.
Hawkins gestures with one hand. "Go ahead, Lieutenant."
Brooks nods, taps at the PADD, and continues, "The samples we recovered from the radiation belt confirm our previous assessment, and refine our data. It is clear from the trajectory and speed of the Maelstrom, unless it changes yet again, that it will be here around the end of December. And by 'here' I mean 'directly over the station.'" She pauses a moment to let that sink in.
Salvir lets out a low whistle. "Wow."
Solvek turns to the rest of the crew. "As I have been studying the data with Lieutenant Brooks and her team, I have confirmed her findings and while we are still unsure of why this change has occurred, we are fairly certain that it will not change course again."
Hawkins clears her throat. "Good to know." She looks around the table. "I expect every department to prepare for this eventuality. I'll be sure that all department heads get a copy of the minutes--Aventino, inform Koram and T'Lyt that I want an evacuation plan ASAP. A system evacuation plan, since I believe the Maelstrom would cover both the base and the planet." She looks to Salvir. "You'll be helping medical, of course." And to Tremar, "I expect an assessment of the capacity for our shields to withstand those energy strikes, also ASAP. Understood, everyone?"
Salvir nods. "Aye, sir."
Aventino stares for a moment, like she didn't quite catch that, eyes shifting from Fred to Solvek, listening to him, and then back again, as if waiting for one of them to crack a smile and admit to the joke. But then the Captain is talking and she kind of shakes her head, "Ah. Right," she replies, noting that on her PADD.
"I do want to add that this situation, however grave, gives us no reason to panic. While the Maelstrom is capable of destroying unprepared vessels, we have seven months in which to prepare and bolster our defenses." Solvek pauses. "We will, of course, evacuate civilians and non-essential personnel for the duration of the Maelstrom's presence in this system."
Hawkins nods to Solvek and then looks to Brooks. "Is there anything more?"
Brooks nods. "While we were in there, we found an... object." She taps at her PADD and turns to the viewer. It shows a spherical object hanging in a green-blue nebula. The object looks definitely technological and its surface is covered in patterns of moving light. "We've run this against the known probes, border markers, and sensor buoys of every known race and come up with... nothing. It's either very new tech, very old, or from someone we've never seen before." She pauses, clears her throat. "It also puts out a radiation signature we can't quite identify, which bathed the Copernicus just as the object pushed the shuttle away from it... somehow." The patterns of light change color, coalesce, and turn bright white--and then into a white beam that shoots at the screen before the view radically changes.
Aventino nods briefly to Tremar, getting over the momentary shock and getting back into the meeting in time to watch the viewer and listen to the explanation. She turns her eyes toward the Captain briefly, unsure whether she's free to ask questions at this point, but doing so anyway, if somewhat uncertainly -- first staff meeting, and all. "Is the object stationary or is it being moved along with the Maelstrom?"
"Umm." Brooks looks down at her PADD. "It would appear to be moving along with the Maelstrom. In an orbit around its center."
Salvir says, "Could the object be the cause of the Maelstrom?"
Brooks blinks at Salvir, looking over her glasses at him. "Well, it ain't any bigger than a shuttle, and it's in the radiation belt, so while it's in an orbit it ain't anywhere near the vortex. It seemed more like... a border marker, really. It's a possibility, but I highly doubt it. However, we won't know for sure until we get more data. Including whether there are any more."
Aventino blinks, "Huh... like it was pulled into the Maelstrom with just enough resistance to fall into orbit instead of being dragged into the center itself. Is it a steady orbit?" she wonders. "Well, in any case we should make sure our shields are ready to handle that radiation the object puts out, as well as the stress of the Maelstrom itself." That more or less in Tremar's direction, then, back to Fred, "Is there any indication of how this object is surviving the Maelstrom? Maybe if we take a few tricks from its book we can save ourselves a lot of trouble."
Brooks shakes her head. "Still working on that. Still, the radiation belt's not so bad if you can handle heavy gamma rays. Our shields do the trick... it's the 'lightning' in the center and the vortex itself that typically claims ships. Personally, I think the radiation belt was put there to discourage anyone from getting close to the center, for their own protection." She glances to Solvek, blinks, clears her throat, and looks down at her PADD. "But, umm, that's just a theory, and all. No real proof for it as of yet."
Salvir says, "Have we tried hailing the object?"
T'Lyt comes through the door from Central Corridor <Deck 8>.
T'Lyt has arrived.
Aventino spots T'Lyt entering and quietly stands, leaving the PADD on the table for her to look over when she sits. She doesn't make to leave, however, simply hovering by the wall, curious.
The meeting is in full swing, with Brooks currently giving a report on something. Seems she's filling in for Alexandria today.
Solvek looks at Brooks for a moment, then turns Salvir. "From what I gather, those who were conscious did not have sufficient time to send a hail. However, if we could devise a way to strengthen the shields on our shuttlecraft, we would more to find and study this object again, including hailing it."
T'Lyt walks over to where Aventino's vacating a seat, nodding to the junior lieutenant as she sits, picking up the PADD to glance down at it. "Object?", she questions of Solvek's words.
Aventino grimaces a bit a she hadn't had time to make a note of that on the PADD, yet.
Brooks blinks at Solvek a moment, then turns to T'Lyt. "The object we found in the Maelstrom." She gestures to the viewer, where there's an image of a technological object in the green-blue nebula... with patterns of colored lights along it. "It doesn't match anything we know of from any known race. We're starting to look into older databases, as well as the possibility that it's something new, or from some race we don't know yet."
Salvir thinks for a bit before continuing. "Was Lt. Alexandria on the shuttle when it encountered the object and the radiation field?"
Brooks shakes her head. "It was myself, Commander Solvek, Lt. Commander Tremar, and Ensign Andrews. Why do you ask?"
T'Lyt sits quietly after her question, tapping at the PADD and making more notes. She glances back at Aventino for a moment, then pointedly looks at a nearby, vacant, seat... then scoots her chair over a bit to 'make room'.
Salvir shakes his head. "Just a situation that I'm trying to get a grasp on. Nothing serious."
Aventino looks at T'Lyt curiously as she's glanced at, then nods quietly and sits back down, elbows on the table in front of her.
Hawkins quirks a brow at Salvir. "I believe that situation has existed for some time, Counselor. At any rate... is there anything else, Ms. Brooks?"
Brooks looks down at her PADD. "Just technical details. I can fill in anyone that's interested."
Hawkins nods and turns to T'Lyt. "Lieutenant, as you were not here and it's rather important... it seem that the data collected from the Maelstrom confirms that it will arrive in this system sometime around the end of December. I need Operations to get me a plan to evacuate civilians and non-essential personnel during the storm's sojourn here--preferably to get them out of the system. I know that's difficult, as we're looking at upwards of 11,000 people, but we must do our best to ensure the safety of our people."
T'Lyt nods to Hawkins. "I shall present such plans to you as soon as possible, Captain", she replies.
Aventino pipes up again, "I'd be interested in a copy of the collected schematics and readings, myself... I can start working on modifications to a shuttlecraft," eyes skirting toward Solvek, "If we need one for further investigation into the object."
Solvek looks to T'Lyt. "I presume that the Operations department will have no objections to Lieutenant Aventino modifying a craft to better explore the Maelstrom?"
Salvir looks over the table. "Captain, could Starfleet send us a dedicated research ship? Even an old Oberth class would have a better chance of withstanding the radiation belt than a shuttle, after all."
"I have no objections. She is our expert in such craft, after all", T'Lyt says in reply to Solvek's query. "I would recommend that any such modifications be done with, in mind, the possibility of similar modifications to the station. Anything that can help the station to weather the storm will be helpful."
Aventino nods her head shortly at T'Lyt's comment, "I'll request a posse--" she breaks off, "A team from engineering to assist in the modifications and bring the final schematics back to Lieutenant Commander Tremar. Which shuttlecraft should I take off the roster, sir?" she asks.
"You know the shuttles better than do I. Take the one you feel is best suited to the mission profile", T'Lyt says.
Aventino nods, "I'll look over the roster again and inform you of my choice," she says.
"We have the Andalucia, Lieutenant, but a larger ship requires a larger crew, and should another ship or shuttle be pulled further into the Maelstrom... well... I'd rather keep any casualties to a minimum for now. Should Lieutenant Aventino's modifications prove fruitful, we may add them to all of the craft that are stationed here on a regular basis." Hawkins glances to Aventino, then starts to say something more--but is interrupted by the beeping of the comm.
"Captain... Admiral Crawford is on the line. She says it's urgent."
Hawkins nods and turns to the viewer. "Put it on-screen," she replies to whoever's sending the communication along.
Aventino is roused from her thoughts by the beep and the communication. Urgent? What? She's watching the viewscreen.
T'Lyt's reaction is to ... 'spock' that eyebrow of hers.
Brooks turns to the screen, peering over her glasses.
Solvek's face turns to look to the viewer. His expression is very bland.
An image of the Admiral appears on the screen. "I'm sorry to interrupt your staff meeting, Captain, but... there's been an explosion on the SS Queen Mary. Distress calls indicated it started in the cargo bays."
Hawkins blinks. "The Queen Mary? The ship carrying the evidence from the bombings?" For those who don't realize.
Admiral Crawford nods. "I'm afraid so. I was going to call you to scramble rescue ships, but... it appears the freighter has been destroyed."
Solvek looks to the table, a grave expression upon his face.
T'Lyt opens her mouth as if to speak, but closes it again at the new information given by the Admiral. She sets the PADD down on the table... it lands with a little 'slap'.
Aventino manages to pinken a little across her cheeks as the Captain drops the other shoe. She turns to glance toward Fred with a kind of freaked look.
Brooks blinks at the screen several times, removing her glasses a moment to rub at her eyes.
Hawkins nods slowly. "Aye, sir. Anything else?"
Crawford shakes her head. "I'll debrief you and your command staff on the situation later. Crawford out." The screen goes blank.
"Captain", T'Lyt suggests, "we should send a ship to investigate, just the same. While chances are slim, the chance at finding some evidence must be taken."
Hawkins looks down at the table for a moment as the comm shuts out, takes a deep breath, then looks back up to T'Lyt. "I agree, Lieutenant. Mr. Solvek, coordinate that effort."
Solvek nods to Hawkins. "Of course, Captain."
Hawkins looks around. "Well. If there's nothing else, you are all dismissed. It seems we have several matters to take care of."
Salvir nods. "All right, Captain"
Aventino sits still for several more moments, then stands up and leaves with a certain kind of haste indicative of emotionally charged determination.
Brooks stands slowly, nodding to the Captain, and moves to head out.