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Part of USS Odyssey: Between The Feathers Of Destiny and Bravo Fleet: Sundered Wings

Starting To Wrap Things Up

USS Odyssey (NCC-80000), Vorash, Vorash system, Velorum Sector, Beta Quadrant
Stardate: 77365.52
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On the viewscreen before him, Captain McCallister was met by Commander T’Lawra. Wearing the uniform of the new Romulan Republic, T’Lawra appeared to be of average height and build. Her hairstyle was not the typical short Romulan appearance; instead, she had a fringe swept to the left while the rest of her dark brown locks were pulled back into a long wavy ponytail that hung over her left shoulder. Her forehead ridges were just apparent as they sat under her fringe. At first, her demeanour appeared serious, but as McCallister and she started a dialogue, her composure relaxed. Flemen had discovered that she had once served in the RSE star navy but had been part of the fifth fleet that had defected years ago. In command of an old Valdore-class, the Delvaris, T’Lawra was experienced, and it would appear that she and McCallister had both gained command of their ships at a similar time. McCallister had hoped he could build some sort of kindred bond with her. 

“It’s pleasing to hear that the Romulan Republic wishes to help,” McCallister said with a friendly smile after being told by his Romulan counterpart that she was there to render aid to the inhabitants of Vorash.

Slightly tipping her head to the right, she returned the smile with her own before responding. “I’ve been informed that the people of Vorash mean something to you and your crew, captain. I was hoping to ask if you could assist with introductions and support the transition of us opening a dialogue.”

“Nothing would make happier than to facilitate such discussions; however,” McCallister replied, “it would appear the Reman population have taken an aggressive stance towards my people while we’ve been rendering aid.”

Turning to her side, she gestured for someone offscreen to join her. “Captain McCallister, this is Sub-Commander Taratek, my first officer.”

“Greetings.” The tall, bulky Reman said to McCallister.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, sub-commander.” The Starfleet officer said. “Sub-Commander, do you believe you will be able to reach out to the Remans of Vorash? Their leader, Veruk, has not always been open to me in the past. It took a long time to build up his trust.”

“I believe so, captain,” Taratek replied, “He is my brother.”

That revelation impressed McCallister, and he looked to Duncan with a smile of achievement. He returned his attention to the main screen. “I hope you’re not estranged.”

“No, however, we’ve not spoken to one another for some time.” Taratek shared.

“As you can see, captain, you’re not the only one that has a connection with the people of Vorash. That said, we’ve got concrete proof that the Tal Shiar has been behind recent incidents on Vorash.”

Not surprised to see that the Tal Shiar was behind the grief Vorash’s population had recently endured, McCallister was still intrigued by what they had their hand in. “Well, I hope it would make a difference in reducing the unnecessary tension.” 

“That is our hope too, captain,” T’Lawra replied, “I also have a business proposition to offer Grand DaiMon Deliaros that would compensate for the loss of her freighters and strengthen her business ties in the region.”

“Well, then I am certain that everyone will be pleased. Can I suggest you join us here on Odyssey first to discuss the situation with Jew’leanar and Deliaros?” McCallister offered.

“That would be acceptable. We’ll land the Delvaris beside you shortly.” T’Lawra said.

“Understood; that said, I do have people that need to be rescued,” McCallister said firmly. “I won’t have Veruk hold them as hostages any further.”

“Send your forces in to rescue them, captain,” Taratek said. “By saving them from my brother, you will be reducing his strength that would force him to the table to discuss the matters. He needs to be seen that he is being manipulated.”

T’Lawra nodded in support of her first officer’s remarks. 

“I appreciate the backing. Let us make arrangements after you land.” McCallister proposed.

“Indeed,” T’Lawra replied. “I hope this marks a further development of cooperation and friendship between our people, captain.”

“As do I,” McCallister said with a friendly grin before he nodded to Jen to close the channel. 

Standing for all that time, talking to the Romulan commander made McCallister’s feet ache, so he returned to his chair with Duncan joining him. Turning to his first officer, “We might be able to start wrapping up here, Number One, but we need to get our people back first.”

“Agreed,” Duncan said. 

Turning to Flemen, McCallister ordered his diplomatic officer to contact Jew’leanar at once to invite her to the ship. He then had Duncan speak to Deliaros about joining them, too; the first officer hesitated at first but got over it as he nodded to do as he was told. Standing up, McCallister walked over to the bridge’s aft compartment, where all the mission ops stations were crewed. He had seen Tomaz and Horin appear on the bridge via the turbolift while he was talking to T’Lawra,  so he was not surprised to see them involved as Keli prepared their rescue operation of Lenjir and Hunsen’s teams. Horin wouldn’t have customarily involved herself in such matters; however, McCallister understood that the two of them had become closer recently. She could sense the location of her Imzadi, so her insights would benefit the team. 

“This is going to be tight, sir,” Keli remarked from the holographic controls she was manipulating as the last of her plans were being put together. The central large wall console showed the different sensor scans of the underground tunnels and mining structures. Thanks to Tomaz’s team, they could get a lock on their missing crew’s life signs.

“How tight?” McCallister asked the Coridanite.

“Though our force will be strong, it won’t be able to match the amount of Remans that are potentially down there.” Keli pointed out as she indicated the red dots on the scans that showed how many Remans they could see. “We need to get our teams in, secure the site and rescue our missing personnel.”

“Okay, talk me through your plan,” McCallister instructed her.

 Keli nodded and started to explain how she was going to rescue everyone. “I don’t think splitting up our Hazard Teams is a good idea; too many potential risks could create disasters for us. I suggest we send the remnants of Alpha Team in with Beta and Gamma teams here.” She pointed at the map, which showed a tunnel closer to the surface. “Our transporters can beam our teams here without any interference. We set up transporter enhancers just in case. The teams then proceed down this set of tunnels. This is where it gets messy.” She used her hands to expand the map further. “These four tunnels lead into the same cavern where our people are being held. There are three easier routes to take, and the fourth one appears to have pockets of kelbonite ore.”

“That’s not helpful,” Tomaz muttered.

“Kelbonite?” Horin questioned. “Doesn’t that block scans?”

Keli nodded with confirmation. “If we took the tunnel, we wouldn’t be able to detect if our people got through it before they got to the cavern. Plus, half of the tunnel is flooded.”

“What do you think we should do then, lieutenant?” McCallister asked. 

“My worry is if we don’t secure all four tunnels, then on our escape, we could be inviting the Remans to outflank us once they realise where we’ve come in from. All four tunnels need to be guarded for us to return safely.” Keli explained. 

“Easier said than done with the number of people on the Hazard Teams.” Tomaz said as he crossed his arms. He looked to the captain, “Captain, I request permission to join the teams.”

“Me too.” Horin offered. “Perhaps, my connection with Tremt will aid the teams in case our tricorders don’t.”

McCallister was about to speak up when Duncan and Flemen joined them. Both men reported their guests were coming over. Acknowledging their updates with a nod, McCallister returned his focus to the rescue plan. “Tomaz, Louwanna, I appreciate you volunteering, but the purpose of the Hazard Team initiative was to avoid sending senior officers into harm’s way.” He looked to Keli, “No offence, lieutenant.”

She smirked. “None taken, sir, but Lieutenant Commander Tomaz is aware of Hazard Team protocols and has trained with us recently.”

“As have I,” Flemen said. “I’ll join the team too.”

“Hang on for a second,” McCallister said, holding both hands up. “There’s a lot at stake here; we need to plan this operation down to the nano-second and work out how we deal with so many Remans.”

“Easy,” Duncan answered. “You overwhelm them with numbers and use their Achilles heel to our advantage.” He stepped forward. “We use our security officers to hold our beam in site and those tunnels once the Hazard Team has carried out its recon. Then we send in covert drones to brighten up those tunnels.”

“You want to blind them, Number One?” McCallister clarified. 

“Yeah,” Duncan confirmed. “We know they prefer darker places, so let’s light up their little world.”

“Can I make another suggestion?” Tomaz offered.

“Sure,” McCallister nodded.

“Ask the Qowat Milat to join us.” Tomaz proposed.  

“That’s not a bad idea, Tomaz.” Flemen agreed with his friend. “They know the terrain better than us. Plus, if we request a qalankhkai, they may join us.”

“This operation certainly could be seen as a lost cause.” Duncan agreed with his former protege. 

Everyone looked at the captain. McCallister folded his arms and considered their ideas for a moment. “Alright, let’s do it.”