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一往无前Once Forward, No Retreat

Posted on Tue Jul 2nd, 2019 @ 4:23am by Commander Mrazak & Lieutenant JG Ryland Dedeker & Lieutenant Commander BaoJun Qiao

Mission: S1E3: Barbarians at the Gates
Location: USS Phantom Bridge
Timeline: MD 2

"Well, that went entirely to shit," Bao grumbled to his muse as he moved towards the bridge. [Oh, don't be ridiculous. All things considered it was nearly painless,] came the reply of his erstwhile AI, Sunny, fulfilling her apparent duty to be a sarcastic bitch to the man in her care. Deciding not to press it, the Lagashi moved to the bridge. Colonel Garlake and Sergeant Kos could handle the shrew, though he supposed that meant he owed Kos a serious explanation sometime soon. In the meantime, though, data analysis would be helpful in getting them the hell out of the area as quickly as possible, so that is what he would do. With the contents of the ridiculous Betazoid's bag as provided by the meathead Russian, it ought not be too hard.

Stepping onto the bridge, the Lagashi made to move towards his usual spot before registering that the Lieutenant on the command dais had vacated the seat for him. His internal thoughts screeched to a halt for a moment before it caught up with him that the man expected him to take over. With no small amount of discomfort, Bao settled into the command chair for the first time in his career and looked around the bridge briefly, before settling in to his intended course, beginning to network with the system and configuring the dais controls for what he wanted.

"Commander on dec--" Ryland began to announce with no small deal of sarcasm. "Oh, it's just you."

The Lagashi quirked a brow. "Yes," he intoned. "Just me."

Satisfied, or at least settled, Bao slipped his consciousness to actually looking at the data Sunny was filtering, the hanzi scrolling past his eyes quickly, as he grew towards the confused side. It was clear from the entries that the LSN had been noticing and monitoring theta flux distortions in a wide area of space, but all the channel data had been deleted. He flagged that information for follow up, and to pass along to the LSN to investigate the data breach. In the meantime, he kept scrolling, finding a single packet left that was not using a Starfleet style method. Double plus ungood. He flagged that for reporting as well as he pulled the library of available decryption keys, deciding in the interest of expedience to start with their newest Zsan related acquisitions. A few moments later the data scrolled past, though he almost wished it was not.

#Cardassian Intelligence Bureau Cell detected
#Unauthorized Starfleet Intelligence operative detected
#Deceased Cardassian Intelligence Burea operatives
#Outbound Cardassian warp signature - presumed cloaked
#Inbound Starfleet Intelligence operatives inbound
#Theta flux distortion detected - quantum singularity - fluidic space aperture

Well, wasn't that interesting. He flagged a few more files. Perhaps the smart thing would be to pass them off to that woman so that they made there way where the belonged. Regardless, a cursory look and it was time for action.

Shutting down his review, Bao looked up. He tapped his commbadge.
=/\=Commander Mrazak to the bridge=/\= he said. Deciding he might as well make his first round in the chair a full one, he turned to Dedeker without waiting for a response. "Mr. Dedeker, contact traffic control and get us a heading out of the Ti'en system. Set course for the Valoris Nebula as soon as we're clear, warp 8."

Ryland swiveled around in the conn chair and settled back with his arms folded behind his head. "So what's the deal with you people? Are you some kind of sexy Borg?"

Bao turned his most withering "you are beneath me" stare on the man. "More course plotting, less racist sexual harassment, Lieutenant," he said blandly. The man might have been attractive if he wasn't a complete huaidan.

All of the consoles rang out a chime at once. =/\="Mrazak to bridge. Set course for Soukara. Warp 9 and mask our signature."

Ryland quietly laughed so hard at Bao his tongue poked through his teeth. "So, we're not going to the Valoris Nebula?"

=/\="Why the blazes would we go there?!"=/\= Mrazak blurted.

"Commander Chow said we should," Ryland said with a shrug for Bao's benefit.

An audible sigh came through the channel =/\="Fine. Set a course to Soukara by way of the Valoris Nebula. Engage Quantum Slipstream though. I don't want to lose any time. Can I assume the lieutenant commander is on the bridge presently?"=/\=

Ryland flinched under Bao's stern look. "That's an affirmative."

=/\="I'm on my way. Mrazak out."=/\=

"Guess the boss man wants to talk to you face to face," Ryland said, clearly amused with himself.

"Did you figure that out for yourself, or did the computer take pity on your non-existent intellect?"

"Oh, I'm a smart feller," Ryland said. "Can't get nothin' past me, nosiree. I'm on it." He swiveled his chair back toward the front, muttering something with the word "fuckstick" in prominent use.

Mrazak soon stormed the bridge like a disgruntled postal worker. His eyes briefly scanned the bridge crew before narrowing on the sight of Bao in the command chair. "What's this business about the Valoris Nebula? And why am I first hearing of it from the helmsman?"

The irate tone made Ryland snicker. "Wait. Why shouldn't you hear from me?"

"Shut it, Dedeker," Mrazak snapped, though not looking away from Bao.

The Lagashi looked at the irate Vulcan. "I called you to the bridge 5 minutes ago with the intent of passing along the results of my review of certain information, along with the reason for asking Mr. Dedeker to take us to Valoris," he said, voice modulated as if he were explaining addition to a toddler. "Since Mr. Dedeker received alternate instructions from you, I can only assume he decided to clarify, albeit obtusely. Now that are here, however, have a look at these," he continued, motioning Mrazak to the highlights reel he'd put together of the information he'd reviewed. "Considering the readings from Valoris, I thought it wise to check the area as a possible incursion point, though I presume there is even better intelligence since we are continuing into Cardassian space, in violation of the Treaty of Bajor and customary interstellar laws."

Mrazak eyed everybody on the bridge, deciding how much to reveal. "We may be at war, Lieutenant Commander, so for the purposes of this mission, all treaties are suspended. Your compatriots recovered debris of some kind, a beacon that opens a quantum singularity into fluidic space and draws bioships into our side via a theta flux distortion. This death beacon's flux capacitor is of Cardassian design. If we can confirm the same residual quantum resonance in the Valoris Nebula, then we can prove a Cardassian connection between multiple incursions, which would justify a little incursion of our own. Our final destination will take us to the suspected origin of the hybrid device. Three confirmed readings, one from within an old Dominion base inside Cardassian space, will wrap up this investigation with a neat and tidy bow, wouldn't you agree?"

Bao actually had more of a look of horror on his face, the implications causing him to forget where he was sitting, as he still had not vacated the command seat in favour of Mrazak. He spoke, a little lower, and with noticeably less condescension. "If by wrapped up in a tidy bow, you mean confirming the worst possible situation in the circumstances," he said. "If we can confirm the Cardassians did this, you and I both know the Federation will have to respond, and I do not doubt that if the Pentad is not satisfied with that response, Admiral Huang will be taking the LSN on a trip to Cardassian space. Do we have any evidence that the people behind this are rogue agents or operating without the knowledge of the Detapa Council?"

"It turns out the Cardassian agent we brought aboard belonged to the Cardassian Intelligence Bureau." Mrazak chose his words very carefully as not to implicate or incriminate himself. "Karna Zsan claims the rest of the cell group were Cardassian terrorists, but we have no way of knowing since he killed them all and dumped their bodies into garbage reclamation. With Starfleet Intelligence holding back information, I can only assume the Diplomatic division is too, probably all in the name of not influencing the investigation they want us to conclude as soon as possible. We need answers, and we're going to get them even if we have to go all the way to Cardassia Prime."

Bao nodded as he finally vacated the command dais. "Then by all means, what is the human expression...Lay on MacDuff and damned be him that first cries hold enough!"

Turning back to helm, Mrazak said to Ryland, "Tell the Lagashi we're leaving, and give them whatever parting message the Commander here finds appropriate before engaging the slipstream. Notify me as soon as we're close to Soukara." He took strides toward the Strategic Operations Conference Room. "The bridge is yours, Commander Qiao."

 

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