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Part of USS Paramount: Episode 4 | Heated Negotiations and Bravo Fleet: Labyrinth

Act Three: Hidden Base

USS Paramount (NCC-75570), Unknown Region, Delta Quadrant
Stardate: 2401.9 | 07:29
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“Thank you both,” Nitus said as the two officers clad in teal walked out of the ready room. Laura and Soli had just informed her that they were a hundred percent certain that had brought them here. But they are uncertain if it will be able to take them back.

Soli suggested we return to where the corridor had spit us out, which was in the neighboring system. Laura recommended we not get our hopes up and plot a course for Makonian Outpost and begin our long trek.

A chime came from the door as Nitus began to read the report for the away team who had spent the last two days planet side. Nitus instructed whoever it was to enter the room and Tiana came into view.

“The senior staff is gathered, ma'am. Commander T'Soni and Lieutenants Zolath, Jackson, and Hill are on their way up,” Sheppard said as she crossed the threshold entering the room. Nitus nodded to her as she set the PADD back on the table. The pair left the ready room and went to the conference room.

Just as they were about to enter the turbolift doors opened and T'Soni walked into Nitus. “My most sincere apologies, Commander,” T'Soni said as she stepped back from her Romulan superior. “But we need to speak urgently.”

The senior staff was gathered in the main conference room. “We discovered a hidden base in a valley approximately eight thousand kilometers from the capital city,” T'Soni said as she showed images that Hill had taken while they were looking down at the facility.

“We also found three combadges in the dirt. The only possibility is that they belong to Walker, Lee, and Harrison. This suggests that they were taken and the attackers knew to remove their combadges,” Arva said as he intercepted trying to offer more clarity.

Nitus sat lost in thought. She wondered why they hadn't told them about it and if one of the factions was hiding in from the other. “What makes you think the base was hidden?” she asked looking at T'Soni. 

“The facility wasn't on their list of all the cities or other installations that were on the planet's surface. Also, it was of a different design to all of the other cities and surrounding structures,” Arva said interjecting once again. Nitus looked over at him as he spoke.

“Commander,” the science officer said from the far side of the table. “Might I suggest sending a joint team of science, security, and engineering officers to investigate the facility? Maybe the crewmen were curious and went there to investigate.”

“And they dropped their combadges while doing so?” Arva asked jokingly. “That is highly improbable. I suggest sending a small security team to investigate. As well as call back all officers on the ground to the ship as a precautionary method.”

“That will only insight into an inquiry from the Confederacy,” countered the chief counselor.

“I'm inclined to agree with Ms. Reno,” Nitus said, “The planetary government is already split in half. This will only divide them up further.”

“Could we just ask them about it?” D'Antonio asked. Everyone turned to look at the young officer causing him to blush slightly at the intense stares he started to receive. “I mean they probably will say it's none of our business but it's worth a try,” Arva said, supporting the junior officer. “But I still recommend having a team on standby just in case.”

“Good idea Mr. D'Antonio,” Nitus said as she stood from her chair. Everyone else stood also confused as they weren't expecting her to stand. “I will lead the away team,” she said as she walked out of the conference room and onto the bridge.

Capital City, Solara, Solara System, Unknown Region, Delta Quadrant

Nitus materialized on the planet's surface, her eyes adjusted to the bright twin sun high in the sky. The transport beam faded and she took a moment to survey her surroundings. She was astonished at how close the city resembled to San Francisco. From the towing skyscrapers to the lively tree that rustled in the wind and the thick air that carried the scent of alien Flora.

Her heart pounded with anticipation and anxiety. She wasn't sure how the question she had to ask would be taken. This meeting could very much determine the future of the relationship between the Confederacy and the Federation.

She straightened her uniform and took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves. Her thoughts raced as she walked towards what she assumed to be their government building followed closely by Laura, Alessa, Mason, and the three security officers Zolath insisted on her bringing.

 As she reached the ornate doors, they swung open to reveal who she assumed were the leaders of the two political factions. “Magistrate Don'at,” she said as she approached the elder gentleman extending her hand to him.

“You must be Commander Nitus,” he said in a deep gravely voice as he shook her hand.

He was certainly an eye-catcher. Saphire blue eyes with a bronze complexion. His features mirrored those of several species familiar to her. He pointed ears like a Vulcan, nose ridges like a Bajoran, and forehead ridges like a Klingon although his ridges were less pronounced and could be missed.

“That I am,” she responded smiling.

Nitus' attention drifted to the well-dressed younger woman who stood next to him. Side stepping she extended her hand to her. "You must be Magistrate N'Lane. she said to her. She immediately noticed her ridges were more pronounced than the elder gentleman she stood next to.

“A pleasure to meet you, Commander,” the woman said. “If you would follow us.” Nitus nodded as the two leaders turned and led her and her entourage down a hallway.

“Why didn't she ask who we are?” Jackson asked them in a whisper so that only Reno and Hill could hear her. “I don't know, but we need to keep close to the Commander,” Reno responded as she stared a hole into the back of the elder gentleman. “Something about the older one doesn't sit right with me.”

USS Paramount (NCC-75570), orbits around Solara, Solara System, Unknown Region, Delta Quadrant

T'Soni stepped off of the turbolift down one of the corridors on deck four. As she walked Soli Mer the astrometrics officer on board sped up to walk alongside her. “Commander, might I suggest sending a runabout to investigate the Underspace aperture that is still open,” she said as she fell in sync with the Vulcan's walk.

“Why's that?” T'Soni asked.

“Because I may have figured out how to get home without going around the long way,” Soli said as she was about to pull out her PADD to show her a simulation, T'Soni raised her hand to her. “You may have, but it puts the crew of the runabout at risk of being pulled into Underspace,” T'Soni said to the young brash officer.

“I know that's why I've worked to find the best distance before we get caught in the gravitational pull of the aperture,” she said, taking a breath as she looked at T'Soni trying her hardest to read the Vulcan. “I will still contact the Commander. To bring your idea up with her," T'Soni said. “But do not get your hopes up this may very well be a no from her as well.”

“Yes, Commander. I understand,” she said turning and heading down the hall towards a turbolift so that she could return to her lab.

T'Soni continued down the corridor turning a corner before she finally reached her destination… her quarters. “T'Soni to Nitus," she said as she crossed the threshold.

“Nitus here. What is it, Number One?” Nitus asked.

“The astrometrics officer on board Soli Mer had requested to use one of the runabouts to investigate the aperture to see if there is a way to return to the Federation,” she said informing her superior.

“I don't think using a runabout would be safe,” Nitus said as she took a breath. “However, I would like for us not to have a long journey to the Brazen Wormhole. I know Ms. Jackson will be a little upset at hearing that."

“I'm inclined to agree.”

“But it also has to do with the Athrean government,” she said sighing as she spoke. “This hidden base and our missing crew there is something we aren't seeing. Something being kept from us. My hope is we figure out what it is before something tragic happens and we find ourselves caught in the middle of a civil war. I want us to have a fast track back and not one that could take us months, or even years.”

“Understood commander. I will alert main shuttlebay to prepare the Centauri for flight immediately,” T'Soni said as she stood to leave her quarters.

“Um. Not, the Centauri," Nitus said causing T'Soni to stop dead in her tracks. “Then what did you have in mind, Commander,” she said to her anxious to know what other ship they had that would be able to carry out such a task.