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A Tough Decision

Posted on 19 Jan 2024 @ 4:02pm by Commodore (Brevet) Harvey Geisler & Commander John Reynolds & Lieutenant Commander Camila Di Pasquale & Ensign Shay Mitchell
Edited on on 22 Jan 2024 @ 1:06am

1,345 words; about a 7 minute read

Mission: Return to Razmena
Location: Black Hawk / Kwando
Timeline: June 16, 2390 || 1900 hours

The last couple of days had been quite productive. Harvey, for one, was grateful that their shakedown hadn't involved pseudo-sentient avatars that tried to murder the crew, though the squadron did contend with one malfunctioning holoprojector. The crew had been able to dial in the sensors further, as well as the shield harmonics and weapons systems. He was finally confident that this new Black Hawk would be able to contend with whatever came their way.

At the moment, he was located in his Ready Room, catching up on some of the reports from the task group. He wished Joey was here, especially since the reports lacked any concrete information with happenings in their sectors. All anyone had was circumstantial or vague hints that something larger was afoot.

"Bridge to Captain Geisler,", came a voice from the ready room's concealed speakers.

Harvey tapped his badge, and set down the padd he was holding. "Go ahead."

"Sir, we're receiving a transmission from the Kwando."

The Captain smiled, glancing at the ship's chronometer. He honestly didn't expect to hear from either of the away teams for a few more hours. Perhaps this early call would show that they'd have a lead at last. "Patch it through in here." He activated his holographic terminal, which gave the Black Hawk's logo. Harvey shifted the hair under his cover as the display changed, revealing Commander Reynold, Commander Di Pasquale, and Ensign Mitchell. "How was your trip?" he asked with a smirk.

Camila had been grateful to get away from the station in one piece, but her conscious worried at her over what she had done to get the isolinear chip. Now she had Captain Geisler on the screen with the first communication to the Black Hawk since they had left. "Very productive, Captain," Camila said. "Or so I hope."

"We at least have a set of coordinates," said John. "And according to the source, it's a fresh batch of supplies. Chances are we'll run across some smugglers. Maybe even the man himself. Well, hopefully."

"A set of coordinates?" Harvey echoed, intrigued by the acquisition. "At least we know where they're going to be. And where exactly is that?"

"All the contact said was that the coordinates for a fresh batch of supplies. Most of their haulers are otherwise engaged, but some are heading for this new cache. She indicated that we might find Kelinor there," Camila said as she entered the chip to transmit the coordinates after it had been scanned for viruses, trackers and every other Security protocol they had before inserting it.

John nodded. "Yeah, and we can send you the coordinates if you'd like, Captain. So you can know where that is. Or wait until we rendezvous with the Black Hawk."

"Go ahead and transmit," Harvey instructed. "I have a half dozen ships, including this one, itching to do something. Knowing where this cache is can help us determine our options."

"Transmitting now," Camila said and sent them.

The coordinates appeared in a popup next to the visual screen almost instantly, and Harvey glanced at those. "Oh, that's just one sector over," he said casually. "We're heading that way too, just outside the Parthean sys...tem..."

His voice slowed down as a sinking feeling pulled down his stomach. Harvey leaned forward and tapped a couple of buttons to call up a map. Instantly, that gut feeling grew. If he had coffee in the last few minutes, his stomach likely would grow upset.

Camila watched and listened and knew it was going to be bad and had an inkling of what was to come. One that she didn't want to think about when she had been on Razmena.

The Captain's pause gave John pause. He had no idea what was happening or what the reference meant. But it didn't bode well.

Harvey tried to compose himself so that he could not only articulate a response, but also form a strategy. "You say that this is a new cache. Fresh supplies and all. Any word about how it was obtained?"

"None, Sir," Camila responded. "If I were a Ferengi, I'd lay odds on the shipment that was just stolen under our watch."

"I'd put money that," said John.

"These coordinates," Harvey said cautiously, turning his attention back to the map, "are very close to where we are supposed to rendezvous with the USS Gaittithe. In fact, if I were a Ferengi, I'd wager that your new cache is none other than the Gaittithe."

"We need to send a warning immediately," Camila said as the Captain named their sister ship in the area.

Harvey agreed, or at least part of him did. Still, something about this just didn't feel right. Attacking convoys was one thing. Attacking and overwhelming an Akira class ship... No, that just couldn't be possible. Short of ramming a runabout into the hull of a ship, there was no way the Kwando could assist Kelinor's old Saber class in the effort.

The Captain took advantage of a rare moment, selecting a particular padd from his organized desk. This padd contained the most recent report from the Gaittithe, which had arrived at the rendezvous point half a day early. It mentioned something about investigating the system's outer planets and satellites while it awaited the Black Hawk. It was still too early for an update to have been transmitted, but it had been long enough for anything to have transpired.

"You described this as a cache," Harvey said to the crew of the Kwando. "Was anything else mentioned? Use of force? Name or description of the target?"

Camila thought back for a moment. "Only that it's a fresh batch of supplies and most of their haulers are otherwise engaged, but some are heading for this new cache. She also hinted that we'd likely find Kelinor there."

"No use of force then," Harvey remarked. He brought his right hand up to his face and rubbed his chin. "We have a unique opportunity here. You've managed to infiltrate the pirate gang, or at least gain enough favor for this tip. We need to maximize this chance. Commander Reynolds, you and your team are to remain undercover and get to the Gaittithe before we do. Find out what you can about the pirate crew while you can. I have a feeling there's much more here than we ever thought."

Shay remained quiet while the details were worked out. This was definitely new for her. She'd never gone undercover like this before, much less pretending to be a pirate. This was certainly going to go against a lot of what she stood for if they got too involved, but hopefully, it would be overlooked once everything was said and done.

"Understood," Camila said and waited for Reynolds to give the final word.

"Will do, Captain," said John. "Kwando out." He turned to face Camila. "Looks like we're pirates for a little while longer. Plot a course and don't spare the horses."


Back in his Ready Room, Harvey leaned back in his chair. His stomach was still reeling from uncertainty. The Gaittithe carried 384 souls, not bad at all for a carrier assigned to running cargo. If something was wrong, then he was putting those 384 lives at risk, and he was certain that Admiral O'Connell was going to hold him accountable for that.

Harvey couldn't think of a single possible scenario that the Gaittithe was unharmed, or better yet, continuing on with business as usual. And, if he was right, then maybe... just maybe... they'd finally get a vital piece of the puzzle and capture some actionable intel. Gamma Command, after all, wanted only two things: answers and an end to this terrible rat race.

The Captain stood from his feet and pulled down on his uniform. He would get answers. And now it was time to formulate a plan and get the Conchos back home in order to pull it off.


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