Part of USS Hydra: Eye of the Storm and Bravo Fleet: The Stormbreaker Campaign

When Silence isn’t Golden

Enroute to the Lambda Puppis system
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Captain Jonathan Bastin sat behind his ready room desk, PaDD in hand as he listened to the brief that he was currently a part of. He and several other Captains had been contacted simultaneously, something that generally didn’t happen unless there was a large-scale incident that needed to be handled immediately.

“The Paulson Nebula is about to experience a massive surge in ion storm activity that will likely render a great many worlds temporarily uninhabitable. Our primary focus has been evacuating the worlds that cannot be protected, providing the means for those who can shelter on their worlds to do so, and investigating worlds that have gone silent during the upsurge in storm activity,” the Admiral giving the brief explained.

The man continued to speak, though Bastin wasn’t paying nearly as much attention to what was being said as he was to the information displayed in front of him. His screen held his unique mission brief, something that wasn’t going to be touched upon very deeply by the live communication going on in front of him. The details of his ship’s mission seemed to be filled with speculation rather than actual facts.

The first article of speculation was that the colony in the Lamda Puppis system had gone dark thanks to a surge in raider activity in nearby areas. While highly possible given the proximity to Romulan space and the troubles that had been a nearly everyday event in that part of the quadrant, the colony itself had never sent any messages or requests for aid. It had also been relatively safe compared to some of the neighboring systems during the ion storm surges. It seemed that the lack of information was driving the investigation more than concrete facts. It was because of this that Bastin suspected the Hydra was being dispatched to the planet, on the off chance there actually was someone there causing trouble and suppressing information through force.

Bastin looked up from the PaDD just in time to catch the tail end of the Admiral’s remarks before the screen went black. He hadn’t expected there to be a question and answer session, since the orders hadn’t actually been part of the brief. What he did need to do now that he had finished reading the particulars that were expected of his crew was to let them know what they were being sent to do. A quick second of tapping on his terminal command console later, the Senior Staff had been notified that there would be a staff meeting in a few minutes.

Bastin pushed himself out of his chair and rounded the desk, heading through the bridge on his way to the conference room. Several of the officers who had been notified of the meeting were already walking in as Bastin made his way toward the door. A few nods to his crew as he rounded the table brought him to his seat where he only had to wait a few scant moments for everyone who hadn’t been on the bridge to arrive and take their places.

“We’re being pulled away from Cardassian space to investigate a colony going dark in the Paulson Nebula,” Capt. Bastin said as he started the staff meeting. As he relayed that small tidbit of information, he brought up the astrometric data on the holographic display embedded in the table.

“According to the report I was given, the colony has gone dark and is in the direct path of the ion storms that have been spreading across the nebula of late. Currently the route to Lambda Puppis is traversable, but that could change at any point between now and when we arrive at the colony,” Bastin explained.

“Is this to be a rescue mission then, Captain?” Lt. T’Rel asked from his seat at the table.

“Oddly enough, no. From what I’ve read in the brief, we’re only supposed to ascertain why the colony went silent. It is suspected that a raiding party might have hit the colony and are keeping the inhabitants locked down so word doesn’t get out that they are under siege,” the Captain explained.

“That doesn’t seem very likely,” Lt. Nieru interjected, “There’s usually at least some chatter from a planet even when they later go silent in a siege situation. Do we know what the last communication from the surface was?”

“The last transmissions were all routine. Nothing about them indicated anything was amiss. That’s the part of Starfleet’s theory that doesn’t sit right with me. If they went dark because of an attack, something would have tipped us off well before now,” Bastin remarked.

“How many people are we dealing with on the surface?” Cmdr. Yuri inquired.

Bastin tapped a command key and brought up the colony’s statistical date, “Looks like there’s only a few hundred people, half of which are Romulan refugees. The colony only started two years ago, which means it’s still very rudimentary in its design and facilities. It’s only just their inaugural city, as a matter of fact.”

“What do we do if we find that there’s nothing wrong with them?” Lt. Cmdr. Brak asked as he folded his arms across his chest.

“At a minimum, we would need to reestablish contact with the Federation. It very well just might be an equipment malfunction and something easily fixed. If that’s the case, we should be able to handle that and be on our way,” the Captain responded.

“That doesn’t mean we can go in thinking this will be some stroll through the neighborhood,” Yuri pointed out, “We should still be on alert in case there actually are raiders terrorizing the colonists.”

“That’s a fair assessment,” Bastin nodded, “Lt. Nieru, keep your staff on alert and make sure they are ready in case we need to go in with weapons hot.”

“Of course, Captain,” the Saurian nodded.

“I think our time would be better spent cooking up countermeasures for these storms. If these things are bad enough that we’re being sent to check on a colony in the middle of it, we should be thinkin’ about our own survival too,” the Tellarite engineer commented.

Lt. T’Rel nodded at the statement, “I agree. Should we encounter a storm of significant magnitude, our ship may not be able to withstand it without preparations already made in advance.”

“Noted. I’ll leave that to you two to figure out. I’ll forward you both the data I was provided on the storm’s make-up and intensity in the area around Lambda Puppis so you can make informed preparations,” the Captain said, entering a series of commands on his small console.

“Should I have Sickbay prepare for the possibility of having to render mass casualty aid on the surface?” Lt. Cmdr. Tal asked.

“We can never be too ready, so go ahead and make arrangements, doctor,” Bastin nodded to the Bajoran.

Capt. Bastin looked around the room at each person, looking to see if anyone had any follow-up comments or concerns. Each person his gaze fell on just nodded, indicating that they were satisfied with their marching orders and had little else to add. After his quick silent survey was complete, he dismissed his crew to go about their individual tasks.