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Meeting of the Minds

Posted on 28 May 2023 @ 10:17pm by Captain Harvey Geisler & Commander John Reynolds & Lieutenant Commander Joey Geisler & Lieutenant Commander Camila Di Pasquale

1,688 words; about a 8 minute read

Mission: Return to Razmena
Location: Ready Room
Timeline: Mission Day 1 || June 14, 2390 || 0900 hours

It finally happened. The USS Saratoga had arrived at long last to Gavara to serve as a semi-permanent guard as the colony continued its struggle to rebuild. The mission had had an unexpected bonus, as some of the Black Hawk's former crew, including Ensign Crehan and Senior Chief Rasputin, had been assigned to the crew rebuilding the colony. A little Task Group Commanding Officer privilege later, and his ship was a little more closer to full.

For eight long, grueling days, the crew of the Black Hawk had maintained a synchronous orbit over the colony as the CMA convoy delivered its goods and then took off for Gamma Command. By now, Captain Geisler already had an idea in mind for what should happen next. Admiral O'Connell had given him clearance to return the Black Hawk to active duty and resume its mission to root out pirate havens in the Gamma Quadrant. Before committing the ship to its primary objective, he first needed wise counsel.

And now that counsel was now assembled in his Ready Room. The ship's newest XO, Commander John Reynolds, the Chief Intelligence Officer and Captain's wife, Joey Geisler, and Chief of Security, Lieutenant Commander Di Pasquale.

"Thank you for coming," Harvey greeted, sitting on the couch with a fresh cup of Wilkins. "At long last, we're clear to leave Gavara. I wanted to bring you all together and talk through a wild idea." He paused, sipping his coffee. "I think it's time we paid a visit to Razmena."

Whatever Joey expected to hear, that wasn't it. She hadn't set down yet, but found herself leaning against his desk while she pondered his words. Razmena. Their first trip was before she'd joined the crew, but the second time had certainly been interesting. Posing as a net girl, getting a new tattoo and more importantly, trying to keep her husband... who had been a wanted man... from being captured and imprisoned. That part made her a little nervous. What if things weren't settled? "What makes you want to return there?" She asked, genuinely curious.

"Our guest in the brig, for one," Harvey explained after a sip of the elixir his mug contained. "For two, Razmena's name keeps popping up in reports and intelligence. Truth is, the task group has been at this for months, and we haven't been making any progress. Us being sidelined for a couple months hasn't helped."

John had read the mission reports from the Black Hawk's last encounter at this station. But he also knew that mission reports were, many times, just the surface. "What are the odds that anyone there would remember you?"

"I'd say fairly well, Commander," Camila said. "They aren't the type to forgive and forget. In either universe," she added.

"And that's exactly what I'm afraid of," Joey chimed in.

"It's been two years since anyone from this ship visited the Razmena in this universe," Harvey added. "I only ever boarded an alternate counterpart. I'm told both are very similar. I doubt we'll be recognized. Humans stand out enough as it is, and if our recent pirate interactions have anything to say, it's that they aren't afraid to openly practice in front of Starfleet."

He sighed, "What we need most of all is information. The questions are... what do we look for, and how do we obtain it?"

"The only way to find that is boots on the ground, Captain," Camila said. "As to what we're looking for, I'd say the black market would be the place to get to."

"That's the most likely place," Joey agreed. She was no stranger to undercover work, and could handle it again if need be, but so could Camila. "Information isn't likely to come without a price, so that's something we need to prepare for."

"We have a supply of latinum aboard," Harvey replied. "As well as a few other precious metals and goods for barter." The Captain sighed and rose from the couch, coffee cup still in hand. He crossed the small room to the viewport and looked out the window. "There are a lot of questions that we answers for. This isn't the first time I've seen a raid on the downtrodden, especially out here in the Gamma Quadrant. We've dealt with the Consortium and the Dolmoquor. These pirates... they haven't targeted anything big or well defended, at least not since 2388."

Harvey sipped his coffee before turning back to the group. As he did, his eyes glanced over a couple hardcover books on the shelf behind his desk, two novels written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. "No, we've been so concerned with tracking movements and looking for clues that we haven't stopped to get the lay of the land. Razmena's one of the few places we can do that."

"Standing out and drawing attention is bad enough," said John. "Drawing attention in the black market on Razmena sounds even worse. I have no doubt that everyone in this room can defend themselves if needed. But I have my doubts about these fresh faces from the Alpha Quadrant. I recommend caution on the away team selection if we're going to get the lay of the land on this station."

Harvey nodded. "I agree. Camila and Joey here make good candidates. Our counselor is a good bet, and perhaps our doctor. Other than those four, I'm open to suggestions."

"I don't think we want a large group going in," Joey said. "That would look highly suspect. As Commander Reynolds pointed out, we already going to draw some serious negative attention. My suggestion would be at least two groups with no more than three or four people. Even then, that's pushing it if we want people to talk."

"I'd like to suggest Ensigns Mitchel and Ensign T'ral as Security detail for the teams. What about Commander Marsh?" Camila suggested for members of the away team or teams.

"Excellent question." Harvey took a sip of his coffee. "I'm short enough on senior officers as it is that I've got to keep at least one person behind to look after the Black Hawk. That is, I'm assuming that Commander Reynolds here will be tagging along. I'm fine adding extra security to the team, and if you think Commander Marsh will be a good addition, I'll approve it."

"How about you? Will you be going?" Joey found herself asking. It wasn't that she minded if he went. It was that she would want to be on whatever team he happened to be on for the sake of her sanity.

Harvey shook his head. "Not this time." Sighing, he added, "It's not that I don't enjoy the excitement, because I do. But we have to consider the fact that these pirates aren't afraid to act so openly or brazenly. I don't think I should be putting myself in a position where I could become a liability."

"Not that I'd let that happen, Sir, but you do remind me that we should have at least one Medical person with us," Camila said, not adding that she wouldn't let him off the ship without a very good fight.

"It's been several years since I last practiced," he confessed. "Besides, Doctor Monroe is far more qualified."

Joey was torn. She wanted to stay behind in case she was needed on board the ship, but she was familiar with Razmena, albeit an alternate reality version of it, but it couldn't be much different than this one, could it? "Then, are we going to go with two smaller teams to keep from sticking out too much like a sore thumb? And if so, it's probably best that we decide who is going on which team so perhaps we can do a little brainstorming ahead of time."

"What do you think, Camila?" Harvey asked the Chief of Security. "Two smaller teams at different insertion points, or one larger team that splits up on arrival?"

The Security Chief gave a shrug. "One team or two, it won't matter as soon as the word gets out that we're there. Let's do one team and split up on the ground. I'll go with Commander Reynolds on one team with Ensign Mitchel from Security, Commander Geisler can go with Ensign T'ral, Counselor and someone from Medical."

Doctor Monroe," Harvey suggested. "I know we're putting a lot of senior eggs in this basket, but we need all of the tried and tested experience we can get on this mission."

"Sir," said the First Officer, "I'm glad you think that you shouldn't be putting yourself in that position. I'd hate to think that my first official act as XO was to tell my CO 'nope, you're going to stay right here.' At any rate, I like Commander DiPasquale's plan...keep them on their toes as much as we can for as long as possible."

"Excellent," Harvey acknowledged. "As for me and Marsh, Ryler, and the rest of the crew... this ship still needs a proper shakedown, which we can do closeby. There's also our sister ship in the area, the Gaittithe. We can check in on her and do a few other things. Just rendezvous with us when you're done. And if you need an emergency evac, we can do that too."

Harvey turned and walked over to the couch to sit down. "We'll remain here at Gavara for one more day to give you all time to prepare, and to see if those promised crew members and supplies arrive. You can take the Conchos and the Kwando. Get me flight and mission plans by 1700. Questions? Thoughts?"

Camila was already running through a list of supplies in her head and several plans of possible action once they got on Razmena. "I'll get you my plan by then, Sir," she said as she also mentally selected the best Security and Tactical personnel to be on the bridge with the Captain.

"None currently," Joey answered. "You'll have everything you need by 1700."

John nodded. "Seventeen hundred hours it is, then. Let's do this."

Harvey nodded, sipping his Wilkins. “Let’s do it. Good luck, everyone.”

They’d need it.


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