Fleet Captain Logan had been in the briefing room since the end of the staff meeting, finding it useful to have the large library console available as he studied the sensor readings they’d been able to collect so far along with data which was streaming in directly from Starfleet Stellar Cartography. He’d spent a lot of his career out on the frontier, so it was a welcome change of pace to still be in real-time communications range with the brain trust back at Starfleet Headquarters. The Badlands were not a place he’d willingly take a starship except for a mission like this, so he had to wonder what insanity had driven the captain of the Eldara into such a volatile area, or whether he had a choice at all.
“Incoming transmission from Fourth Fleet Command,” the computer reported.
“On screen,” Logan ordered, turning in his seat to watch as the library console switched to a view of Commodore Ekwueme transmitting from his office on Starbase 4. “What can I do for you, sir?”
“I’m just checking in before the connection gets spotty. The Cardassians haven’t given us anything new, but with the data we’ve sent you, it should be a little less tricky to find the Eldara in there,” Ekwueme replied. “How’s the Europa, Brett?”
Logan chuckled. “She’s a fine ship. The crew seems to be fine as well. I’m still dealing with the irony of getting your old ship for this mission, honestly,” he replied.
“Watch what you’re calling ‘old,'” the other main replied, with a grin. “I spent some of my best years on that ship. Had I known what would happen… Well, let’s just say I would have rather taken her into the Badlands myself than allow a change of command at such a critical juncture.”
The captain nodded. “Things happen. I’ll get this mission done. I just can’t help but feel like the Cardassians aren’t telling us something. Why not send a ship of their own?”
“Cardassian shipbuilding was never as good as ours, and it’s only gotten worse since the war. One of their destroyers would likely get caught up in the plasma storms,” Commodore Ekwueme offered. “That is the logical explanation, anyway. I’m not sure that they haven’t sent one of their own ships in there. It’s not like we’d know if they did. That they’re keeping quiet about it while asking for help could be a concern.”
“I’ll watch my back in there,” Logan said, after a moment of thought. “When it comes to Cardassians, I’m never willing to accept their official party line on anything.”
“Probably a smart practice,” Ekwume replied, as his image started to shake a little. “It looks like you’re getting close enough to experience comms interference. Get in there and find that ship, Captain. Ekwueme out.”
A few moments after the call ended, Logan felt the ship decelerate. The space in front of the ship was filled with a view of the orange haze that dominated the Badlands. They had arrived.