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Plans and Problems

Posted on 05 Jan 2019 @ 4:44am by Ensign Kelly Khan & Commodore (Brevet) Harvey Geisler

2,290 words; about a 11 minute read

Mission: The Kalisa Conundrum
Location: Ready Room
Timeline: MD 1 || 1500 Hours

Kelly exited the conference room where she had just met with Lieutenant Geisler and Commander Djinx with the PADD in her hand. Despite the Captain's wishes for options, there were very few options that the ship and crew had. She approached the Captain's Ready Room and tapped the chime before she cleared her thoughts and waited to meet the man who had called her to task not a week before.

Harvey sat at his desk, wearing a fresh uniform and a cup of coffee in his hand. Though the coffee had only been replicated ten minutes ago, it was relatively untouched. He found himself reflecting on the tennis match and why he found himself not just out of shape, but mentally dragging. A little bit of physical activity had never taxed him like that, nor could he remember the last time he'd felt this groggy.

So, groggy, in fact, that it took him a couple seconds to realize that the door chime had sounded. He straightened up and looked towards the door. "Come," he ordered before finally taking a sip of his rapidly cooling coffee.

Kelly straightened her uniform and rubbed a hand over her tired eyes quickly before she entered the Ready Room, "Ensign Khan reporting with the options myself, Lieutenant Geisler and Commander Djinx you wanted, Sir."

That was fast... Harvey thought, reaching for the padd she carried with her as he assumed that it was for him. His mind wandered for a moment as Harvey found himself questioning when the ship had arrived, and when the away team had departed. A glance at the chronometer on his computer terminal informed him that it had been four hours since they arrived, or at least close to it.

Harvey could not fight a puzzled look from overtaking his face. The last four hours had felt like nothing more than a day or two. Why was he so tired? He was certainly confused by it all. "All right, Ensign," he said, setting his coffee on its usual coaster on his desk. "What do you have?"

Kelly handed him the PADD when he reached for it. "I'm afraid it isn't much, Sir," she said. "We have several likely courses for the Black Hawk to take in the event that we need to go in. Also, several suggestions for sabotaging the weapon platforms from Lieutenant Geisler and Commander Djinx."

"Not much is better than something," Harvey remarked. He glanced at the device long enough to find the controls to sync the padd to his local interface. Harvey set down the padd, picked up his coffee mug and moved out from behind the desk. Just before turning the corner, he tapped a single control stud near the desktop terminal. The lights in the room dimmed, and a blue glow shone from the center of the room as the computer generated an image of the Kalisa system along with its numerous platforms and mines.

She turned her attention to the hologram and waited for the computer to pull up the flight paths that the ship could take. The first one appeared in the air and showed the Black Hawk using the approach that Lieutenant Parks had used to make it as far as the planet's moon, but modified to approach at a different angle. "This approach has the highest likelihood of success after multiple simulations," she said. "That is, if the platforms haven't already used that information for their next deployment of mines."

The Captain carefully looked at the path, tracing it multiple times. To most, it would have seemed like the Captain was critically analyzing it, looking for flaws. But, to Harvey, it was because he kept losing his ability to track the jagged course. There was far too much information for his eyes to follow and Harvey found himself shocked that he wasn't able to properly analyze it. "That's Plan A, I suppose," he remarked, crossing his arms and keeping his attention on the map. "What's our backup?"

"The next potential path takes us in from a high orbit and heading in under Gray Mode, using only our thrusters minimally," the young Ensign said as that flight path came up. It showed the ship more or less drifting through the minefield but on a course for the planet through the least populated areas.

Harvey winced, knowing the thought of putting the ship into gray mode would greatly restrict the Black Hawk's ability to defend itself, especially since it would be running on reserve power only. "That's not a plan, Ensign, that's suicide," he observed.

"I wouldn't call it suicide, Sir," Kelly said. "Look at all the other debris that isn't being attacked on the perimeter of the field. If we act inert and have everything as powered down as possible, we could be mistaken for debris that was knocked off course."

"There's difference between debris and a twenty-four deck starship," Harvey pointed out. "I get that we're talking about a lot of space here, but a large, non-organic ship of this size isn't going to be able to pose as debris, not to mention that it'll take a hell of a lot of time to get to our destination. I don't think we have time for something like that."

"Understood, Sir," Kelly responded before the third flight path came up, one that was a combination of the first path, but more direct in the approach to the planet. "If we can modify the deflector dish to generate particles, we can send a wave out in front of us that would detonate mines before they can duplicate."

He raised an eyebrow as he tried to picture that. "That might work," he surmised. "But there's still quite a distance where we can still be engaged by the platforms. Our shields should be able to keep us intact getting there, but getting away from there..."

"Which is where the ideas from Lieutenant Geisler and Commander Djinx come into play," Kelly said as the flight paths cleared from the system representation. "One would be to jam the signals coming from the platforms, and another would be to introduce a virus into the platforms."

Harvey shook his head. Again with manipulating the platforms, but at least this time hacking wasn't on the recommendation list. "What would either of those plans entail?" he asked. "And how long would it take to analyze the platforms in order to enact this properly?"

"Jamming the signals would be better and take less time, Captain," she said. "All we need to do is find the frequencies that they use and jam them. A virus would have to be designed and then a way found to introduce them to the platforms. I'd say no more than a few days for the second scenario. A few hours for the first at a worst estimate."

"And that assumption assumes that we'll be here for a few days." Harvey sighed and shook his head. "No, I don't plan to be here that long. But, finding the frequencies the platforms use... that's a viable plan. How do you propose to test that without giving the platforms time to change their communication methods?"

"Unfortunately, we didn't cover that in the meeting, Captain," the Ensign said and inwardly cringed. She'd kill for a glass of water after having said that. "However, passive monitoring plus the telemetry from all the probes should give us the frequencies without tipping them off that we plan to jam those. It takes time to switch to a new frequency on a network as big as the one in use in that field, Sir."

"Unless they're already monitoring alternative frequencies." Harvey looked again at the field and started to walk towards the planet, forcing the holoprojector to work around him. "But we need to find those. I might suggest you work on it with Chief Griffin and possibly Lieutenant Geisler."

"Yes, Sir," Kelly said. "Which of the flight options do you wish to implement, Sir?" She knew that he'd have to sign off on any changes to the deflector dish if he went with the third option.

Harvey racked his mind, trying to remember all of the options. A full swig of his coffee didn't help him remember, but it did disguise his struggles. Surely he was exhausted after all of the events of late, but he'd never been this tired on the job. Not even back at Yolvanda II. "The first one," he said. "Plan A, if I remember correctly. The one with the..." What was the word... Deflector!" "The one with the dish. That can be Plan B."

"Excellent. I'll speak to Chief Griffin about it at the same time, then, Sir," Kelly said as she made a few notes on the PADD. "Is there anything else that you want to discuss at this point?" She noticed that the Captain seemed distracted and wondered if pregnancy brain could be experienced by the male of a mate in human relationship bonding.

Harvey shook his head, though he really wondered if there was something he missed. For now, he let it slide. "Not unless you do, Ensign."

Kelly heard his words, but they didn't translate into anything she seemed to be able to relate to. She started to worry about that, then she wondered why she was worrying. She glanced at the man in front of her and tried to remember who he was for a moment, a look of confusion and worry crossing her young face.

Now it was Harvey's turn to be concerned with the person adjacent to him. "Ensign?" he repeated, trying to decipher her blank expression in the dark. "Perhaps I'm not the only one around here who is tired."

Kelly snapped out of the strange fugue and looked at the Captain. "Sir?" she asked with only a bit of confusion on her face.

Harvey grunted and raised his cup of coffee high enough for her to notice what he was holding. "You might go get yourself some of this. It's going to be a long shift while we wait for the Away Team."

"One Raktajino, double double, extra sweet and iced it is, Captain," she said as she settled back into more of a formal pose before she paused. "May I ask you a question, Sir?"

The Captain drank his coffee as he moved back to the desk to deactivate the holographic display. In the process, since he was unable to verbally reply, he held out a flat palm to indicate she could do so.

"Has anyone reported about...forgetting things?" Kelly asked. "Just for a minute when you had asked me if there was anything else, I forgot who you were until you spoke again."

His left eyebrow arched in a nearly Vulcan manner. He did nothing to acknowledge it as he sat down. "I think everyone's just on edge, Ensign," he responded. "Ever since we dealt with the situation at Finnea Prime, we've been on the move, and I doubt anyone's come down from the events of last month in the nebula. As soon as we can, we'll find a way to allow the crew to let off some steam."

"The events of the past month are one thing, Sir, but I forgot who you were. That's not stress or fatigue related, Captain Geisler," the short brunette reiterated when he seemed to blow her off.

"You? Forgot who I was?" Harvey repeated, attempting to understand what she was asking. For whatever reason, it seemed to take him a bit longer than expected for him to come to an understanding. "You might head down to sickbay then. Have Doctor Kij check you out."

Kelly glanced at his coffee mug and back to him. How long had the man been working and how much strain was he under? Here she was bugging the man more than she needed to. "Understood, Sir." Still, she wondered if he had forgotten what she had told him in that short period of time and decided to mention it to Doctor Kij when she saw her.

"As soon as the Doctor clears you, go ahead and proceed with what we discussed," Harvey added, "And just so we're both on the same page, why don't you repeat that back to me?"

"As soon as the Doctor clears me, I can go ahead and proceed with what we discussed, Captain," she confirmed.

"No, no," Harvey softly said with a twinge of irritation in his tone. "The plan itself. The course, the jamming..."

"My apologies, Captain," Kelly told him and meant it. "The main plan is to jam the signals coming from the platforms. I need to get with Lieutenant Geisler and Staff Warrant Griffin for that. Plan B is to work with Staff Warrant Griffin to modify the deflector dish to generate particles, Sir."

His Vulcan eyebrow remained arched. "I could have sworn Plan A was the initial course you had showed me, with the jamming option as a backup provided we could isolate the proper carrier waves. The deflector dish was a further backup. I think."

"Of course, Sir," she said and now the embarrassment crept across her cheeks. "That was the first flight plan that you approved."

The Captain nodded his approval. It sounded like that not only were they on the same page, but they were definitely able to get their stories straight. Maybe he should head down to sickbay himself for a quick look. One step at a time. "Perfect. If there's nothing else, Ensign, you're dismissed."

"Thank you, Sir," Kelly told him before she collected the PADD, executed a smart turn and headed out of the Ready Room at a brisk pace.


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