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

Arrogant Breed

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“I have to be honest with you Governor, it doesn’t look nice out there,” Mac said as he stepped into Governor Makarov’s office, guided once more by Mr Toombs who this time didn’t delay with a guided tour and instead bulldozed through crowds and gatherings with a speed he’d expect from angry admirals and runaway shuttles.

Makarov raised a hand and waved him over to the window to look out across the harbour and out to see where storm clouds were brewing, dark and brooding with purpose, punctuated with the odd flash of lightning as the storm moved towards the shore. “Thankfully it’s just a run of the mill summer storm, for now.” She pointed towards a nearby readout, just a small little display next to the window that displayed out a rooftop mounted weather station relayed.

Warm moist air, rapidly cooling, pressure dropping. Not to a dangerous point, but certainly worthy of a decent storm. “Not a tropical cyclone?” He wasn’t terribly familiar with weather systems, but everyone knew what a cyclone was, not that Earth had dealt with the consequences of a cyclone’s landfall in nearly a century or so.

“No no, the season is all wrong for that. It’ll break over Sydney Harbour in a few hours and we’ll get quite a show, but nothing the city isn’t built for. Likely have sunshine again before nightfall.” She sighed, then turned to face him. “I would have asked my question over comms but I didn’t want prying ears to hear.” A glance at Toombs, waiting patiently by the door, sent the man out of the room with a small nod of his head and pulling both doors shut.

“I’m here to help Governor, as you know.” He could sense there was something getting to her. Didn’t need to be a betazoid to see that. Concern? Worry? Much the same really.

“Why would Atlantis quit Highcroft ahead of schedule and be making her way to Stormlea at what I’m told is her theoretical maximum sublight speed?”

Mac’s left eyebrow, traitor that it was, shot up without warning, the crack in his façade of normality. “Greater than full impulse?” Makarov nodded in confirmation. It couldn’t be much, there wasn’t that much reserve in the subspace driver coils and they’d be under pressure soon as well with the weight of the storm bearing down on the system. “I’d have to surmise then that they’ve got something they need to get here for in a hurry. Though isn’t the storm front supposed to hit Highcroft in a few hours?”

“Three hours at current modelling. I’ve been told by SNARC that they can tell the umbrella array seems to be working. I’m no scientist, but I sure do hope Dr Birmingham’s theory holds true, or there is going to be a crisis here of epic proportions.” Makarov sighed then stepped towards her drink cabinet and its tastefully hidden replicator. “Tea? Coffee? Atlantis will be another hour, might as well wait here.”

“I’ve grown rather fond of the Durberry blend of coffee if you’ve got some,” he replied.

Not even a full ten minutes and coffee and scones with the governor was interrupted by more guests arriving, this time vaguely heralded by thunder, which Mac should probably have taken as the warning it was. Though without prescience, how was he to know that both Drs Birmingham would be arriving?

“We’ve got a problem,” Lisa managed to get out without interference, her husband’s attention seeming to immediately focus on Mac, who remained seated, one leg crossed, with a cup in one hand the corresponding saucer in the other. Yeah, it probably wasn’t the best look, but he’d stopped caring what the man thought. They’d never managed to have that dinner because of his objections, though the PAM team had ordered in a feed that night he wouldn’t be forgetting anytime soon, so win-win.

“And a pleasant afternoon to you too Dr Birmingham,” the governor said as she looked past both of them to Toombs who looked absolutely embarrassed. He was meant to be her chief aide, which at times included door warden, and he’d failed. “It’s fine Brian.”

“Certainly ma’am,” he said, then closed the door, face returning to neutral.

“Now Dr Birmingham, perhaps you’d like to sit and explain yourself?” Makarov said, indicating the two empty seats opposite her desk directly in front of her and to her left, Mac himself in the right most seat.

“SNARC has shown the storm developing in ways we didn’t predict. It’s already outside of what we modelled and by the time we do more modelling, it’s changed again.” Lisa sounded stressed. “We think by the time it hits Stormlea it’ll be a category three. We can’t explain how it’s gotten this strong and the umbrella towers were meant to deal with a high one, low two.”

Makarov slowly set her own cup down, just as Mac himself was uncrossing his leg and sitting straighter, a small part of his mind trying to decide if he should reach out and set his cup down on the governor’s desk or not, opting in the end not to. “My money Governor is that’s what Atlantis is running back here to tell us.”

“Fat lot of good it’ll do,” Grant snapped. “First your ship lures the storm in quicker, then it’s running to tell us something we already know. Does Starfleet actually have competent officers?”

Mac suspected his eyeroll could be heard all the way in his mother’s house and her accompanying of ‘don’t you roll your eyes’ would be making its way back across the cosmos any second now. “This again.”

“What’s this about luring the storm in closer?” Makarov questioned.

“Grant,” Lisa jumped in, “has a hypothesis, that Atlantis’ little warp jump the other day back to Highcroft to rescue their captain may have acted as a lure, bringing the storm down on the system faster than expected.” She then turned on her husband. “But the theory still needs refinement and lacks definitive proof.”

“Is it possible?” Makarov asked.

“Yes,” Grant answered.

“Possible,” Mac answered at the same time, stared at the other man for a second, then added, “but highly unlikely.”

“Fuck you’re an arrogant breed aren’t you?” Grant blasted out.

“Grant!” Lisa shot out. “This isn’t the place for bravado. Your theory lacks proof, so give it a rest until you have some.” She stared her husband down until he tossed his hands in the air in resignation.

“I’m sorry Governor,” she continued. “We don’t know what’s caused the storm to move faster, but we have some good news. It seems to be funnelling around Brisbane at least, so Highcroft probably won’t even notice it outside of some pretty lights in the night sky.”

Makarov seemed buoyed by that slightly. She’d shared the emergency response plans with Mac earlier in the day and her relief was understandable. Highcroft was underdeveloped in that area, just not enough people really to support more infrastructure. To find out the colony was going to be spared even mild damage was a relief and the mental resources spared for it could now be spent elsewhere.

“Right,” Makarov finally said. “Commander MacIntyre, please let your people know we’ll be needing them. We’ll activate the colony emergency plan within the hour and begin getting as many people to shelters as we can. Drs Birmingham, can you please keep me appraised with updates on the storm every fifteen minutes until SNARC is most likely destroyed by the storm?” A single affirmative from Lisa is all she got. “In that case be about it people. I’ll wait here for Atlantis and keep everyone appraised.”