A dull thud echoed around the Ulysses bridge, three members of her crew huddled around the large plinth that had been replicated at the Captain’s behest and placed between the two doors on the forward starboard bulkhead. Atop the plinth, the ornate carving of the ship’s namesake was in the process of being secured into place, much to the chagrin of the Flight Controller just a few feet away (and the subsequent amusement of everyone else there present).
“I tell you Linn,” Henry grimaced from the CONN, “the bloody thing is looking at me!”
“Perhaps he’s making sure you do some work for a change?” the Bolian in Operations gold laughed from the seat next to his companion, drawing a look of utter derision from the Terran beside him.
“He’s not the only one keeping his eye on you, Lieutenant…”
Henry made the slightest of turns in his chair to see the menacing figure of Commander Gor looming large (or as large as he could for a man of diminutive stature) behind him; arms folded, teeth bared and a glare that could intimidate the bravest of Klingon warriors. A nod of acknowledgement between superior and subordinate saw the pilot return to his duties, and the Tellarite spin on his heels and head back to the chair to the Captain’s right.
A knowing smirk from the Captain drew one of equal amusement from the XO upon taking his seat, both knowing that the CONN officer wasn’t anywhere near as bad as everyone was making out; the banter and jokes aimed in his direction were simply a by-product of his late arrival as a member of the team. Henry, to his credit, was a good sport, and (hopefully) knew the jokes were in jest – but that didn’t stop the XO from keeping a close eye on him, just like he did with everyone else aboard.
The hushed conversation between the command officers ceased at the calling of Tharia’s name by the Risian at the port science station. Tharia turned her attention to the younger woman, turning her chair on its axel a fraction. “Go ahead Lieutenant,” she nodded.
“I’ve completed my analysis of the Kabrel system,” Akaria spoke up, a flick of her wrist sent her findings to the holographic viewscreen at the front of the Galaxy-class ship’s bridge. “Like we understood it, Kabrel is a binary star system with only three planets. Two of the worlds orbit Kabrel Alpha, whilst the third has a distant orbit of Kabrel Beta,” the Lieutenant revealed, tapping on her console to change the viewscreen display. As she talked, the attention of her colleagues was drawn to the screen, including the Bajassian who had been working on the Bust of Ulysses.
“It’s this planet I’d wager my stash of gold-pressed latinum on,” Okan continued, wagging a finger at the display and the world upon it, “she’s cold, unrelenting and her orbit causes sensor blackspots across the planet.”
“Just like home,” a half smile crept across the blue-skinned Andorian’s face as her antennae bobbed and she inched forward in her seat. “A perfect hiding place for someone not wanting to be found,” she suggested, sharing glances with Vasoch, Noli and Prida in turn.
“If the fugitive is indeed here,” Vasoch cautioned her, eliciting a nod from the Captain.
“We shouldn’t rule out the other planets in the system,” Lieutenant Prida remarked, taking an anxious step toward the command pit, only stopping thanks to the glare from the Captain, urging the Bajassian to remain calm.
Spinning in his chair to look towards the back of the bridge, the Bolian at Ops offered his contribution. “A probe could be sent to monitor both worlds whilst we continue on to Kabrel III.”
“Aye,” Noli chimed in from behind the tactical Arch. “But if the fugitive happened to be on either world and detected the probes, they could flee the system before Junior over there could turn the ship around and give chase,” the Bajoran told, arms folded. “I’d recommend two runabouts. It may be overkill, especially if we find them on Kabrel III, or not here are all, but they would be good enough to give chase and try to apprehend them until Ulysses arrived.”
This. This was the kind of teamwork, the kind of brainstorming that made the Captain love these people. Not one member of the team felt unable to offer suggestions, or afraid of being rejected. It was what she needed to make informed decisions, and it was what made the team function so well.
On this occasion, the Andorian found herself to be in agreement with the Bolian at Ops. “We might be putting all of our eggs in the one proverbial basket,” she remarked, coining a phrase she had once heard her predecessor on the Santa Fe use, “but I think it’s a pretty safe bet that if they are anywhere in the system, they’re probably on Kabrel III. Nevertheless, we’d be remiss not to investigate the other planets, so Akaria, Linn, I want you to configure one of the more advanced probes for a full sensor sweep of each planet. Henry, when we drop out of warp, move us to an optimal launch point,” the Andorian instructed, a curt nod her familiar signal that the conversation was over.
And that was it; orders were clear and a plan of attack on the table. It was down to her team to implement their directives now. Linn Mora left the safety of his seat and joined his Risian counterpart at the port science wall in order to configure the probes as requested.
“We’ll arrive at Kabrel within the hour,” Henry advised from the CONN, nodding at Ensign Valesa as she took over from her Bolian chief at Ops. His statement didn’t elicit a response from the Captain this time, she instead slipped back into her chair and shared a smile and nod with the Chief Engineer, who returned the gesture and departed the bridge with her Orion counterpart. The next phase of their mission was a go.
Immediately following the flash of light that almost resembled a distant star going supernova, the elegant frame of the Galaxy-class starship streaked out of warp and returned the vessel to the safety of the Kabrel star system. The inertia of her reduction in speed saw the vessel redirect itself upon the x-axis far more swiftly than her mammoth frame would usually allow, but it put her on an immediate run at Kabral III.
Standing beside his colleagues at the science station, Ulysses’ Tellarite XO observed their work until they indicated their efforts were at an end. “Probes are ready for launch captain.”
“Each will begin their search at the planet’s polar north and work from east to west,” Akaria chimed in, adding an important snippet of information.
A nod to the Tellarite from the occupant of the command chair saw the man give a hushed command. “Launch probes,” Gor instructed, tapping his hand twice on the work surface in a form of silent congratulations before heading back to his seat on the Captain’s right side.
With sensors set to monitor anything and everything the two probes located in their search of the improbable hideouts, the Ulysses crew now switched their focus to the planet directly ahead of them on the main viewer. Small and rocky, a barren, icy wasteland, the surface of Kabrel III was filled with sneaky little crevices where smaller craft could hide – if they knew how.
“From what I am told,” the Captain blurted out of nowhere, sitting forward in her chair and talking to noone, yet everyone at the same time, “the fugitive is a very resourceful individual. You can bet your hard earned latinum that it isn’t going to be easy locating him. Vaakh khuuz!”
Upon hearing the native tongue of their Captain, several of the senior staff let out grins and subtle nods of acknowledgement. All were thinking the same thing.
“Really?” Vasoch raised an eyebrow, glaring at the Captain as she turned a little in her chair to look at him. “The whole Andorian language and you went for let’s go?” the Tellarite mocked the woman with a shake of his head and folded arms across his chest.
“Every Captain needs their thing,” she shrugged, then turned the tables on her first officer, “Why? What would you use?”
Having the tables turned didn’t sit well with the Tellarite, causing the grumpus to snort in derision and look away.
‘That’s what I thought…’ sh’Elas grinned as she, too, turned her attention back to the task at hand.
There was a fugitive on the run after all.