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Part of USS Atlantis: Mission 6: Turbulent Waters and Bravo Fleet: The Stormbreaker Campaign

New orders just came in.

USS Atlantis, Highcroft
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“Thank you for being on time,” Tikva said as she walked into the conference room and spied her assembled senior staff. “Ra, how’s the shakedown going?” While her staff were all seated, she merely walked up beside her own chair at the head of the table and rested a hand on the back of the chair, opting to stand for now.

“Two weeks to break the new coils in, I’d say we’re good to go. Those yardies took a chance to install some updated hardware in fire control which Gantzmann and I are still working through, but I’d say Atlantis is good to go ma’am.”

“Excellent.” Now she pulled her chair out and sat herself down. “Because I hate to do this to you, but I need maximum warp for as long as you can give it to me.” That got everyone’s attention and she couldn’t help but smile slightly at that. “New orders just came in. Apparently since we’re out here breaking in our engines, Command is retasking us in the light of some sort of state of emergency around the Paulson Nebula and our current proximity.”

“Excuse me ma’am,” T’Val spoke up, leaning forward to be seen past the others present. “But surely there are closer vessels that could assist, yes? At maximum warp we’re days away from the region.”

“No arguments here. I tried to explain that but apparently since we’re in the Federation and one speedy little ship, we’re getting roped into this mess. We’re to make course for the Port Arthur system at best possible speed,” she said with another apologetic glance to Ra-tesh’mi, “and render assistance as required to the system government there. Apparently, the Paulson Nebula has decided to become an ion storm birthing ground and is spitting them out all over the show. Port Arthur needs some assistance in setting up some protection, corralling folks back to the safe spaces and then we’re to shelter in space with them till the storm passes.”

“Port Arthur?” Mac asked, then punched in a few commands on the limited controls built into the conference table before him, bringing information up on the large monitor behind him and opposite the windows facing fore. Half those assembled spun their chairs to look and Mac nodded to himself. “Thought so. Two M-class bodies, a planet and a moon. Stormlea and Highcroft. Majority of the population are on Stormlea, just under a third on Highcroft. Something like fifty or so spread out mining and scientific stations throughout the system.”

“That’s the one,” she responded, getting to her feet to walk over towards the large monitor. “Stormlea and Highcroft are going to be the shelters for this storm. Stormlea scientists have come up with a method for reinforcing the planetary magnetosphere and need some assistance in setting things up. Highcroft needs the same, but less hardware as it orbits Brisbane and gets some assistance from the gas giant’s magnetosphere.” She pointed towards both inhabited bodies on the system display. “We’re going to deploy every small craft we have and as many as the system government can spare to corral those off-planet and get them on solid ground.”

“There’s an entire third of the system that’s a good distance from either colony right now though. Atlantis is plugging that gap?” asked Adelinde.

“Got it in one. Our shields mean we can hang out in the system and act as a base of operations until everyone is safe, then we’ll bring Atlantis in close to Stormlea and help out best we can.” She waited for a round of head nods as her crew processed the high-level plan. “Mac, you’re going planetside at Stormlea when we arrive. Coordinate with the governor and the University of Port Arthur to get these devices of theirs built and deployed. You’ll get Ra with you,” then she turned on Ra before he could interject. “You’re our best deflector specialist. They need you. And Maxwell can hold the ship together just fine.”

“Aye ma’am,” the Efrosian said with a nod.

“Adelinde, I want you and T’Val to coordinate on evacuating all the outer system platforms as soon as arrive. Most are already starting, but we’ll have a few falling behind as always. No word yet on active resistance to the order, but your people are also best suited to helping keep the peace during this situation.”

Both Adelinde and T’Val looked at each and nodded in agreement before looking back at her and doing the same.

“Gabrielle, you’re going with Mac as well. By the time we get there UPA researchers will have a decent enough read of the ion storm bearing down on them. Work with them, see if we can figure out our piece of the puzzle as to why this storm even exists. We’ll transmit to Starfleet as soon as we can so big wigs somewhere can come up with some sort of mitigation plan.”

“We’ll lose the majority of long-range scanners once the storm breaks over the system ma’am, but I’ll also come up with a plan for some probes dotted around the system we can recover afterwards. More datapoints for the storm watchers to look over as well,” the young woman offered.

She counted help but smile at that. Gabrielle was losing the shy streak and becoming more willing to just offer ideas, which was what she wanted in a science officer. Curiosity and a willingness to just give something a go.

“Right, well that’s the plan of attack. Ra, get your people shovelling coal please. T’Val, set course for Port Arthur and get us underway. We’ll get together again on this in a few days and make sure we’re all set to do what we can. Dismissed all.”

“Have you seen this?”

Gavin looked up from his lunch at his long-time friend Charles with a quizzical look, then waved at the noodles on the chopsticks halfway between bowl and mouth. “Kinda eat’n lunch ‘ere Chuck. Seen what?”

The two men were sitting on an outcropping up rocks in the foothills around the city of Brunswick, Highcroft’s largest single settlement, numbering a few million souls. Their particular vantage point today afforded them a look down on the city and the harbour to it’s east. The sun was high in the sky, with the washed-out curve of Brisbane just peeking over the horizon. Not far from them was their truck, the flatbed covered in boxes and a drab green tarp.

“More Stormlea lies. Something about some ion storms threatening the system and needing to evac the outer system stations. Just another excuse to try and control us, all the people of Port Arthur really.” Charles threw his padd on the ground next to Gavin, landing it just right that with a twist of his neck he could read the story while continuing with his lunch.

He nodded as he read it, reading between the obvious lies of the Stormlea media establishment, the blatant power grab that was going on. But unlike Charles, he could at least finish eating before voicing his anger. A hand would reach down to correct the angle of the padd, to scroll the story so he could keep reading while finishing his noodles.

“Yah, I ain’t buyin’ it either,” he finally said. “This talk about umbrella towers…just a cover story for watch towers. But you read this bit about Starfleet?”

“No,” Charles said, biting angrily into the second half of his sandwich. “Fucking lies pissed me off too much.”

“Some Starfleet brat is coming. Mayhap we can get them to tell the Federation what’s really going on in Port Arthur before that traitor Governor Susan poisons their minds.” He shrugged his shoulders before drinking the broth left over in the noodle cup. “Let’s get these supplies back to the hideout and then we’ll get the boys together. We’ll have to be drastic to get past the collaborator security, but it’ll be worth it to get the Federation to come in and arrest those imperialists on Stormlea.”

Charles nodded in assent, stood and threw the last of his sandwich into the long grassy shrub just off the trail they were driving along, a rustling signalling that something in the shrub was helping itself in quick order to the remains. “About fucking time.”