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Unexpected Guests, Pt. I

Posted on Mon Oct 29th, 2018 @ 2:11pm by Commander Milo Tora & Lieutenant Commander Ronan Channe

Mission: Episode 2: Columbus Ascending
Location: Deck 122, Section J-7
Timeline: 2 January 2389 - 14:30

Milo stood quietly outside the turbolift on deck 122, waiting for his new Chief Diplomatic Officer to join him. Not that the Andorian knew that was what he was doing. The orders the diplomat received from Command were intentionally ambiguous: 'Report to deck 122 immediately and await further orders. Tell no one.' So, Milo waited. Once this business was taken care of, he'd finally be able to take command of the ship and they could get on with their mission.

Waiting outside of the area, now sealed off by a Romulan force field stood a contingent of officers and accompanied by a Starfleet officer. Commodore Jackson Reyes had been on the line, serving in battle and in peace, for the entirety of his adult life. His expression at the moment was serious and intent as he stepped forward to greet the Valkyrie's new Captain. "My apologies, Captain, for the subterfuge. As you'll understand in a moment, it was entirely necessary. But first, allow me to present Commander Tarak Khellian i'Ihhliae."

Tarak was tall and lean with sharp, angular features and a closed, calculating expression that gave away little. He inclined his head slightly in acknowledgement and said, "Captain," in accented Federation Standard.

Without waiting for the niceties to be exchanged, the Commodore continued. "As you know, Starfleet is very concerned by the serious breach of security which precipitated the events that occurred aboard the Columbus. While you have been cleared, an investigation is already under way to figure out just how the chameloid knew enough about our systems to go unnoticed. What we discover will be made available to you but for now, your mission will be to go after whoever it was that was behind the attack." He handed over a PADD containing a detailed summary of the information known to date as well as the Valkyrie's new orders. "We believe that a new family is rising to power within the Orion Syndicate, one that is much more sophisticated and technically savvy, and equally more ruthless and it could be that they are ultimately behind the attack. Not much is known about them but we are certain of one thing, they operate out of the Delta Quadrant. Now, how they travel back and forth and what their ultimate goals are, we don't know as yet. You're being given a ship that can function as a command base in the Delta Quadrant and the mission is both simple and exceedingly difficult. Find them and neutralize the threat they represent to Starfleet and the Federation. To even the odds a bit, this ship and the two attached vessels, the Pearl and the Mako, are being outfitted with Romulan cloaking technology ... thus, the reason for the security fields."

As Milo listened Reyes, he sized up the Romulan officer in front of him. Commander Tarak Khellian i'Ihhliae appeared to be everything he expected of a Romulan: a hard, cold, carefully controlled exterior that hid a cunning, calculating intellect and fierce loyalty to the Empire. "That's very generous of the Romulans to provide us with cloaking technology, Commodore," he replied without taking his eye off of Tarak, "What are they getting in exchange?"

"They," Tarak said, as he gaze flicked up and down the length of the Captain before turning his attention back to the Commodore, "are getting an exchange of information. We provide you the use of our technology, without any access whatsoever to the equipment, and in return we get everything you learn while you are in the Delta Quadrant."

"That's the agreement," the Commodore agreed. "Their team includes several scientists and they are willing to cooperate with your own Science department as well."

"An exchange of scientific information?" Milo shook his head, "There's got to be more to it than that. We're hunting pirates and smugglers, not charting nebulae. Why's the Empire so interested in this mission?"

The Commodore fixed Milo with a steely-eyed stare. "These new pirates have gotten their hands on Romulan technology. We share an interest in finding out just how they're doing that ..."

"... and stopping it," Tarak added.

"An agreement has been reached, Captain," Reyes said. "This is happening."

"I'm not objecting to the arrangement, Commodore," Milo replied, "In fact, I agree wholeheartedly that these pirates must be stopped." He held a hand out to Tarak, "Welcome aboard, Commander."

"Thank you, Captain," Tarak said as he accepted the handshake. It wasn't Romulan but he understood the necessity on a political level and on a personal level, a private opinion who wasn't likely to admit out loud, he was relieved that there wasn't going to be outright animosity between his team and the Captain. "I look forward to a successful ... collaboration."



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