Part of USS Erigone: Into the Fire and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Dousing the Flame

USS Erigone
May 12, 2400
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USS Erigone – Sickbay – 0600

“Good morning, Commander.”  

Harris blinked his eyes as the light in the room slowly brightened to half and the figure of his Chief Medical Officer spoke up from her biobed, wiping the sleep away.  She was unkempt, looked as rough as he’d ever seen her, and kinda cute if he was being honest.  He pushed that thought away as he pulled himself up.  They’d decided the only place left with beds was Sickbay.  The sleep had been fitful as the biobeds were standard size and generally not built for overnight rest.  “Good morning lieutenant.  You sleep as well as I feel?”  She waved him off and stumbled to the sonic shower room, snagging a fresh uniform on her way.  The CO pushed himself off the bed and ambled over to the replicator and stabbed in a command for two full-strength coffees.  Setting one on Reid’s bed, he took his and sat down at the console.  The ECH, McKee, had made good headway through the night – they were about an hour out of Starbase Bravo.  He grabbed a fresh command uniform for himself and headed for the other sonic shower room, coffee in hand.

USS Erigone – Bridge – 0630

The shower had been the most helpful and Reid had been unusually accepting of his gift of coffee as she’d begun to get sickbay up and running.  They’d shifted four people out of their cots on the bridge into sickbay which freed up space.  Prentice was already at the helm running through the overnight navigation reports.  Harris stepped towards the center chair where the ECH Rachel McKee looked up and stood, “Morning Commander Harris.  Overnight reports are in your inbox.  Nothing unusual to report – power systems are holding and some of our engineering crew got bored and a bit sleepless – they were able to get our warp speed up a few points and ensure our power regulation keeps up with the additional souls on board.”  She cocked her head to the side and the CO knew it was the ‘Is There Anything Else’ look.

“That’ll be all, Lieutenant Commander McKee.  Computer end ECH program.”  The holographic commander faded from view as Harris returned to the center chair, not quite wanting to sit.  His operations chief, Philips, was still out due to his injury but had been stable enough to bunk with his helm and tactical chiefs.  He glanced at his Chrono – Allen wasn’t due on duty until 0900, but he had asked him to shift 0800 given the nature of their current situation.  He turned to Prentice who was awake but a bit bleary-eyed, “Anything to report, ensign?”

Prentice turned in his chair.  He was sure he looked like hell, and he certainly felt it.  Phillips had made the night challenging with his constant shifting, moving, talking, and trying to make everything just right with his pull-out couch that he’d managed to find.  The helm officer didn’t dislike the operations chief, but in tight quarters Prentice was starting to understand the urge to backhand someone.  “Aside from a significant lack of sleep and possibly awareness, nothing at this time.”

The CO commiserated with the officer, “Sickbay onboard a Raven isn’t a place to sleep either if that helps.”

Prentice felt a little better, “It helps to know I’m not alone, commander.”

Ambrose finally took the center chair, “Send a message to Starbase Bravo confirming our arrival and dispensation of our guests.  Let ‘em know we’re going to need some significant repairs.”  His helm officer gave him a thumbs up and went to work.  The CO picked up his PADD and began the process of making a list of what they would need.

USS Erigone – Bridge – 0800

They’d had to drop out of warp a few times due to some nagging warp core issues that were connected to the EPS conduits and a plethora of other issues that the attack by the Romulans had exposed.  As the engineering detachment had woken up and started their list making it had grown to over two PADD pages long and was probably going to hit three by the time they arrived at Bravo in a few minutes.  The communication back from Bravo had been unusually short and simple, leaving Harris to wonder what awaited them when they arrived.  He glanced up to see his Security and Tactical Chief enter the bridge.

Though Roger’s physical appearance was Human, he was half Vulcan, which meant he didn’t need as much sleep. Two NCO engineers slept in his quarters, while Roger spent much of the overnight shift patrolling the ship to ensure there were no problems or security breaches among their guests. Before going on bridge duty, he did get four hours of sleep. Now on the bridge, he nodded to Commander Harris and took his place at the tactical station.

“Good morning, Mr. Allen.  We’re a few minutes from arrival at Starbase Bravo.  Anything to report from your end?”

“No, sir,” said Roger. “I was on watch much of the night and everyone behaved.”

“Dropping out of warp, shifting to impulse within the starbase travel field,” Prentice half yawned and shook his head, “I’m going to need a bucket of coffee to get through today.”

Harris smiled quietly, “I hear they serve it in buckets at a place on Bravo’s promenade.  You get to keep the bucket, even.”  

Prentice turned in his chair, “If that’s true, I have a date with a coffee bucket.”  He chuckled and returned his attention to his station, his eyes going wide, “I think the refugees have arrived at Bravo.  I’m reading…over 100 civilian and Starfleet vessels in this sector alone.  Roger, you seeing this traffic?”

“Confirmed. Looks like we’ll be in a holding pattern for awhile,” said Roger.

The bridge dropped into silence as the reality of the disaster and its impact on the galaxy and universe was becoming apparent.  They’d been isolated in their mission.  The troubles and trials were so much bigger than their Raven class ship.

Harris leaned back in his chair, “Request permission to begin transport and see about scheduling us some dock repair time.”

Prentice nodded as he worked to communicate with Bravo dispatch.  He frowned as he listened in his earpiece and then turned to his CO, “Sir, they’re confirming the transfer of our guests…but they’re saying our dock repair time is denied.”

Ambrose stood, “Do they have a reason why?”

The chief helm officer spoke into his console and listened once more, “They report the Erigone will need significant refit and rebuilding…we’re being reassigned to Starbase Bravo until they make a decision on our next placement.”

“I guess you can go home again,” said Roger with a deep sigh. He wanted so much to serve on a ship, but he was back on the base.

The CO refused to sit down and remained standing, contemplating what he could do.  He could hail whoever was in charge of this decision and aggressively push for an answer.  That might get him a short-term solution but then give him a long-term problem if whoever he harassed held a grudge.  Or he could take the long way home and wait.  The passengers would be transported off, allowing them some time to get the ship cleaned up, and the cots stored.  It was not his preferred method of ending the Erigone’s mission, but it appears he had no choice.

“Very well, start the process of having our guests transported.”  He sat down roughly in the chair, grumbling mostly to himself until Prentice put a hand to his earpiece and spun in his chair, “Commander, I have a priority one hail for you and Lieutenant Reid.  It is to be taken in your quarters…with Sub-Commander Thasaz.”

Ambrose let out a quiet sigh, “And I was just getting comfortable.  Have Doctor Reid and Thasaz meet in my quarters.  Prentice, you have the CONN.”

USS Erigone – Quarters / Ready Room– 0815

The three of them sat in various parts of the two couches and turned to the screen on the wall.  Harris tapped the console and the image of a Starfleet officer appeared, concern running in lines across his brow.  =^=Good morning Commander Harris, Lieutenant Reid, and Sub-Commander Thasaz.  We started working through the data chips you had collected from the ship and the station along with our reports and what information your guest was able to provide…and we are concerned enough that we’re tasking you with investigating this situation further.  Someone is responsible for the attacks on the Pentax and the murder of her crew.  Someone directed a ship to attack you in an attempt to destroy this data or prevent you from speaking out.=^=  The man tapped at his console, =^=The Erigone would be unable to be ready in time.  We’re working to get you and your crew a larger ship assignment within 24 hours…less if I can get out and push the paperwork through.  Sub-commander Thasaz, you will be assigned to this crew as a Romulan advisor with a rank of Lieutenant.  Your orders are being sent as we speak.  The academy and the placement office are working on staffing your crew and officers beyond your existing assignments.  For now, you can remain on the Erigone as you wait for space for her to be parked for a refit and overhaul.  We’ll be in touch.  Starfleet, out.=^=

Harris turned to face the Romulan on the couch, “You want to tell me what that was about?”

Based on the look on her face, she did not.  Her hands played with her fingers until she couldn’t remain silent any longer, “There was a time when I served Starfleet in a…capacity.  It was not known to my crew, or to the Romulan Star Empire as a whole. Presa knew, but only because he had established a connection there as well.”  She lay back on the couch, “It is not what you think, Commander Harris.  You must think us double agents deep in the mires of intrigue.  It was never like that.”

Reid sat forward, a new appreciation and respect for the sub-commander growing, “What was it like?”

Thasaz shrugged, “Information placed at a dead drop here…communication codes sent into a random sector there…we were careful to give only what could be explained away.  They murdered Presa and his crew because they had information…not because they had found out their secret.  The consequences would have been far more dire.”  The Romulan’s voice had become hard as she explained and both Starfleet officers believed her.  “I will serve in the role they have tasked me with…if in service to Starfleet I can stop this madness…or even find the madman that directed this…the dead will have their justice.”  She stood, “May I return to my people and advise them my mission has changed?  That I intend to hunt the murdering ghouls.”

“You are dismissed to do as you need, lieutenant.”  She gave Harris a long look as she walked out the door, and Reid shook her head.

“What in the hell is happening, Commander?  We’re going back out there…to find out who and what all of this is?”

Ambrose chewed on his bottom lip, “Starfleet isn’t about to let some separatist Romulan faction attack a Starfleet vessel for the fun of it.  Given what we’ve uncovered…there’s certainly more to this story…and they wouldn’t send us out again if they didn’t there was something more to this…something that could give a better handle on the players…or even prevent further bloodshed – I know how you feel about that.”

Reid groused, “You know my buttons and levers, Commander.”  A pause as she searched the carpet for answers to her unspoken questions.  She offered one of them, “They did say it was going to be a bigger ship…right?”

The CO shrugged, “It’s not the size that…”

She rolled her eyes as she stood, “I’ve got a sickbay to catalog in anticipation of docking.  You need me, come find me.”  She stalked out of the room, leaving the CO to revel in his silence.