Part of : Gunboat Diplomacy

Filling in the Blanks

Starbase 310
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Captain’s Log, Supplemental. We have just arrived at Starbase 310 and have begun the process of transferring out ‘guests’ to the brig on the station. Our limited investigation didn’t yield much in the way of results, and the vessels that had been left behind had nothing in the way of usable data to extract and retrace their steps. For a disorganized group of outcasts, they were surprisingly thorough about covering their tracks. We will have to leave it to others to find out any information on their hideout, which suits me just fine.

Captain Jonathan Bastin walked into the large holding facility on Starbase 310, a PaDD clutched in his hand. While his people didn’t get a great deal of information out of the few raiders that had been fortunate enough to survive their ill-conceived attack on the Argonaut, they did at least manage to secure some rudimentary demographics that would at least help the investigation get started. It was for that reason that Bastin had decided to deliver the information personally while his Security Chief did the actual leg work of getting their prisoners from his ship to the station brig.

“Hello there, Captain,” a rather deep voice greeted Bastin as he scanned the holding area looking for someone who looked at least nominally in charge. The form that greeted him wore a uniform denoting that they were a Commander, which was of a sufficiently high enough rank to be considered the brig’s commanding officer. Bastin gave the man his best smile as he shook the Commander’s hand.

“Commander,” Bastin said in acknowledgement during their brief handshake, “I have seven prisoners I needed to offload on you. They weren’t the most talkative group we’ve encountered out there, but I brought you what we managed to get.”

Taking the PaDD from Bastin, the Commander skimmed the scrawl of information and gave a few audible grunts when a particular piece of information stood out to him. He didn’t spend a great deal of time looking at the information, motioning one of his subordinates to retrieve the device to no doubt add it to their own files before the prisoners arrived.

“I see they just came at you with phasers armed and demands on the tip of their tongue. Shame you couldn’t get the leader, he was probably better informed than the rest of them. His ship was probably the only one with navigational charts too,” the Commander remarked after returning his attention to the Captain.

“Likely,” Bastin nodded, “We’ve run into that a few times already. Unfortunately, the ships they were using could barely be called space worthy. My Chief Engineer likened them to being little more than a pressurized box strapped to a poorly maintained warp core. Had I not seen them for myself, I might have laughed at the comparison.”

“Just put together enough to harass merchant ships with little to no weapons to speak of and shields just powerful enough to deflect stellar debris,” the Commander chuckled with a knowing smirk, “We’ve had our fair share of reports like that over the last few months. You probably only scratched the surface of how many are actually out there. If I were you, I’d take a trip over to Strategic Operations and see if you can’t narrow down where they keep coming from, since you’ve been out here a while picking up the outliers.”

“My First Officer made the same suggestion. I think she’s just as tired of running into them as you folks are of getting them in here half a dozen at a time,” Bastin smirked.

“Can’t say you’re wrong, Captain,” the Commander said with a brief laugh, “While I won’t say it’s much of a burden to get them in in a steady stream, it would be nice to be done with it and have them all nice and tucked away so they stop ruining people’s lives and livelihoods.”

“Indeed,” Bastin nodded, “Then I will let you and Lieutenant Nieru handle the transfer while I make the trip to Strat Ops.”

“Sounds like a plan, Captain. I’ll leave you to it,” the man gave Bastin a farewell nod before heading back to whatever part of the brig he’d come from.

Taking another moment to look around, Bastin finally turned on his heels and made for the exit of the facility that housed the brig and other correctional facilities on the planetbound Starbase. The facility was laid out in such a way that Bastin had to walk for roughly ten minutes to arrive at his destination, though the route was pleasant enough that he hadn’t been tempted to use the personal transporters staggered around the complex to cut the trip short. When he finally made it to the building he’d been looking for, Bastin had to go through the routine process of entering the secure facility.

Capt. Bastin made a bit of small talk with the young Ensign behind the counter as they processed the request for access, mostly innocuous questions about the young officer’s career to date and their goals for the future. Once he was granted clearance to proceed, Bastin excused himself while bidding his impromptu conversational partner luck with their ambitions before making his way through the maze of corridors to find the hub of Starfleet’s tactical information in the area.

When he entered the room, Bastin was greeted by the officer in charge during that particular shift, a Captain like himself. When he caught a good look at the woman approaching him, a grin spread on his face almost without him thinking about it.

“Now there’s a face I didn’t think I’d see way out here,” Bastin said with a grin, reaching out to take the woman’s hand in his, “It’s been forever, Lisa.”

Captain Lisa Gibson smiled brightly at the man as she took his outstretched hand in her own, “Jon Bastin… What’s a diplomat like you doing this far out? The last time I checked, we don’t have any dignitaries that need coddling.”

Bastin responded with a wry smile, “Funny… I see you still haven’t lost any of your charm way out here on the fringe of civilization.”

“And I see you still haven’t lost your penchant for empty flattery,” the woman teased, “Now, as much as I’d like to just stand here and talk about the old days and your bad habits, I’ll bet anything you aren’t here for a social visit.”

“Well spotted. I’m actually here to see if you have any supplementary information on the raiders we picked up a few days ago. I’m certain the Argonaut isn’t the only ship in the area that’s had run-ins, so I thought perhaps adding what we’ve found to the other reports might help us hunt them down and solve the root problem,” Bastin explained.

“We were actually just discussing that a few hours ago,” Gibson said as she guided Bastin over to one of the large sector display boards that still had operational data pertaining to the subject on display. Bastin took a minute to study the large chart, taking note of the areas that had reported contact with raiding parties near the area he’d had his own encounters. Several of his were already on the monitor, but a few of his more recent contacts had taken place near a different station, and it looked like the information hadn’t promulgated down to them yet.

“May I?” Bastin inquired, motioning toward the console just beneath the display used to add information.

“Please, go right ahead,” Gibson nodded, stepping aside to give Bastin room to work. Once he was seated, the man began populating the missing entries, red dots appearing in the areas around the sub sector of space where the Argonaut had made contact with hostile craft. Thankfully there weren’t a great many gaps in the chart that needed to be filled in, as Bastin’s memory for stellar nav points was far inferior to some of his other abilities. Once he had finished making the required entries, Bastin pushed himself back onto his feet and took a few steps back to really take in the picture.

“The concentration of raids there seems to indicate that they are probably operating somewhere in one of those asteroid clusters…” Bastin murmured as he gazed at the rather large swath of red dots in one particular area.

“Yes… We’ve suspected that might be where they were hiding out, since larger craft would have a hard time patrolling in that region of space. I’ll forward this to our Regional Director and see if he wants to organize an armada to deal with them,” Gibson responded to Bastin’s utterance.

“Sounds like a plan,” Bastin nodded, “Let me know if you’d like the Argonaut to join in. Our primary mission has been fairly streamlined of late and we’ve been struggling to find things to keep ourselves occupied with.”

“Oh right… I had heard you’d gotten shipped off to some backwater system near the border. I take it whatever you were sent to do is complete then?” Gibson said, turning toward Bastin.

“No… our mission is hardly ove. We just don’t need to be there constantly for things to run smoothly. I have enough personnel on site to run the day to day without me,” Bastin corrected his friend.

“Ah…” Gibson muttered, “Well we will keep you in mind should we decide we wish to cobble together a strike force. Having an Argonaut in the mix would prove beneficial.”

“I thought it might,” Bastin smirked, “That’s why I offered.”

Gibson laughed and patted the man on his shoulder, “It’s been nice seeing you, Jon. I’m going to have to get back to work though, but I appreciate you stopping by with your intel. We really should catch up later though, after this raider business is cleared up.”

“Sounds good, Lisa. Take care of yourself until then,” Bastin bid his old friend farewell, taking the hint that he’d done all he could and had reached the end of his welcome in the place.