STAR TREK: PANDORA
PREADATORS OF THE VOID
MISSION POST FOUR: MISSION BRIEFING
The department heads of the USS Pandora sat around the ornate conference table in the Executive Conference Room, engaged in hushed conversations as they awaited the arrival of Captain Maddox and Commander Callahan for an 1130 conference. The conference room took up the forward-most section of deck one and provided a spectacular view of Starbase Eight Six through the long viewports. However, the department heads paid little attention to their surroundings beyond the viewports as they speculated about the mission that awaited them.
Among the officers in attendance were Lieutenant Commander Marcus Johnson, the Operations Officer; Lieutenant Commander Arjun Patel, the Chief Engineer; Lieutenant Ashren, the Tactical Systems Officer and Chief of Security; Lieutenant Junior Grade Grace Kim, the ship’s Navigator; and Commander Helana Langley, the Science Department Head, and Lieutenant Commander Nalia Th’resh, the Senior Medical Officer. Each of them exchanged curious glances, eager to learn about their new assignment under the command of Captain Leland Maddox, who had assumed command of the Pandora less than twenty-four hours ago.
“It feels like just yesterday we were wrapping up our last mission with Captain Wooten. Time sure flies, huh?” Lieutenant Commander Johnson reflected.
“Absolutely. It’s been a great year working together, and we survived our first mission together. Lieutenant Commander Patel nodded.
“Captain Maddox brings a whole new intensity and focus to his command. I welcome the challenge.” Lieutenant Ashren added.
“Captain Wooten was a great mentor, but change can benefit us. Commander Langley added dryly.
“Speaking of which, has anyone heard any rumors about what our first mission under Captain Maddox might be?” Johnson raised an eyebrow.
“Well, knowing Captain Maddox’s reputation, it’s bound to be challenging and expensive materially. I have heard he doesn’t like to ease into things. We will have to adjust our approach accordingly.” Patel leaned back in his chair.
“Indeed. We’re a strong team, and I’m confident we can handle whatever challenges Captain Maddox has in store.” Langley offered an encouraging smile.
The officers’ murmurs subsided when the doors to the conference room opened, and Captain Maddox entered, followed by Commander Callahan. The department heads immediately snapped to attention; their previous discussions silenced by the imposing presence of their new commanding officer.
“At ease,” Captain Maddox said, his voice authoritative yet calm. Captain Maddox sat at the head of the table near the door with Commander Callahan on his immediate right. The officers relaxed and returned to their seats. “I have called you all here to brief you on our upcoming mission,” he continued, his eyes scanning the room as if measuring the mettle of each department head.
” Our mission is to escort a humanitarian convoy from Starbase 86 to Trinexia III, which is located in a volatile area of space known as the Triangle. As some of you may know, this region is a neutral area of space where pirate attacks carried out by the Orion Syndicate are common.”
He activated the viewscreen, displaying a star map highlighting their intended route. “Trinexia III is an M-class world just 13.7 lightyears from the borders of the Klingon Empire. We have reason to believe that the planet suffers from a severe shortage of medical supplies and basic necessities following an unending cycle of natural disasters and external raids by outside parties. The relief efforts coordinated by the local planetary government have been less than effective. The convoy consists of three cargo ships, the SS Tranquility, SS Resolute, and SS Steadfast, and one engineering support freighter, the SS Roanoke. SS Ronoake is equipped to handle minor repairs and maintenance for the convoy during our journey. The lead freighter is the SS Tranquility, commanded by Captain Samantha Hawkins. Captain Hawkins, serving in an additional capacity as the convoy liaison officer for this mission, is a seasoned freighter captain with over twenty-five years of experience in cargo transportation and logistics management. She has a strong reputation for reliability, efficiency, and excellent judgment in high-pressure situations. Expect to support their final outfitting as necessary.” Maddox continued as the main computer automatically shifted the presentation to an overlay of the convoy and the service record of Captain Hawkins.
The convoy is due to arrive at Starbase Eight Six in less than four days and will remain on station here for an additional four days to execute routine repairs and final outfitting. Our role as the escort vessel is crucial. The Pandora will maintain a position outside the main body of the convoys. We will maintain a standard cruising speed that accommodates the slower freighters while enabling us to respond quickly to potential threats. ” Maddox continued as the convoy scheme of maneuver came up on the screen.
” Captain, what is the current political situation on Trinexia III? Can we expect any issues once we arrive?” Commander Callahan jumped in.
“The political climate on Trinexia III is of concern giving the issues they currently face,” Captain Maddox replied. “The Klingon Empire has a non-aggression pact with the local government, and the Federation has a positive relationship with both parties. However, we should still be prepared for any unforeseen complications.”
“Captain, do we have any recent intelligence on the pirate activity in the Triangle? Any specific threats or patterns we should be aware of?” Lieutenant Ashren, the Andorian Tactical Systems Officer’s antennae twitched slightly.
Captain Maddox nodded. “We’ve received recent reports of increased Orion Syndicate activity in the area. They’ve been targeting supply convoys and vulnerable settlements. Intelligence indicates they may have a hidden base within the Triangle from which they launch their attacks. To that end, we will execute a series of tactical readiness drills to sharpen our reaction times during the voyage. More to follow on that soon.”
“Captain, what kind of cargo are we transporting? Are there any specific items that the Orion Syndicate might be particularly interested in?” Commander Langley chimed in.
“The majority of the cargo is medical supplies and basic necessities for the inhabitants of Trinexia III,” Captain Maddox replied. “However, the convoy also has some sensitive technology aboard that the Orion Syndicate and other potential threat forces might find valuable. We must remain vigilant.”
Lieutenant Commander Marcus Johnson, the Operations Officer, leaned forward. “Captain, what is our expected timeline for this mission? How long will we be escorting the convoy?”
“We anticipate a travel time of approximately eighteen days at warp 6 to reach Trinexia III,” Captain Maddox answered. “During this time, we will maintain constant watch over the convoy and provide support as needed. Our top priority is the safe and timely arrival of the cargo to the planet.”
Maddox took a moment to let the tension in the room dissipate before launching into the next topic on his agenda. The department heads, still seated around the conference table, exchanged curious glances, wondering what their new commanding officer had in store for them.
“Now that we’ve discussed our upcoming mission, I’d like to address another matter of importance,” Maddox announced, his steely gaze meeting each of the officers’ eyes in turn.
“I believe that the key to success in any mission is a well-maintained and efficient ship, which starts with the spaces and departments under your charge. Commander Callahan has drawn up a schedule for my first Captain’s Inspection of all spaces and departments aboard the Pandora. As some of you may have heard, my inspections are quite thorough. I expect each department to be in top shape and prepared for my scrutiny,” Maddox stated, his tone calm yet firm. “I intend to ensure the highest operational readiness and efficiency aboard the Pandora.” Maddox paused.
The officers exchanged uneasy glances, each one silently wondering how their department would fare under Captain Maddox’s discerning eye.
“Commander Callahan has prepared the inspection schedule, which we will follow closely.” Maddox gestured to his executive officer, who stood and activated the conference room’s display monitor on the bulked.
” We should all take this opportunity to thoroughly evaluate our departments and address any areas where we may have become complacent. Operations Department has the pleasure of starting us off at 0800. Mister Johnson, I trust you and your team will be prepared.” Callahan looked toward Johnson.
“Yes, Commander. We will be ready.” Johnson nodded.
“Engineering Department is next up on the chopping block at 1100. Mister Patel, I trust you and your team will be prepared to demonstrate the efficiency and capabilities of your department.” Callahan said emphatically.
Lieutenant Commander Arjun Patel, the Chief Engineer, frowned slightly as he examined the inspection schedule. “Sir,” he said, “Given the complexity of the Engineering Department and the number of systems we manage, is there any specific area you would like us to prioritize for the inspection?”
Captain Maddox considered the question for a moment before responding. “Mister Patel, while I understand the intricate nature of your department, I expect every system to be in optimal condition. However, I will pay particular attention to the warp core, warp coils, power distribution systems, and any recent repairs or modifications. All personnel should be prepared to demonstrate their knowledge of Starfleet engineering procedures and equipment as I deem necessary.” Maddox said.
Lieutenant Commander Arjun Patel, the Chief Engineer, nodded his expression, a mix of determination and subtle irritation. “Understood, Captain. We’ll be ready.”
“Following Engineering, we will proceed to the Tactical Systems/ Security Department at 1600. Lieutenant Ashren, I expect you to be equally prepared for the inspection.”
“Of course, Commander. My team and I will ensure that our department is beyond reproach, or heads will roll, as humans say.” Lieutenant Ashren, replied confidently with a modest trace of humor and malice in his voice.
“I trust it won’t come to that, Lieutenant.” Callahan mused.
“Medical and Science Departments will be inspected at 1900 and 2000 respectively.” Callahan looked toward the Senior Medical Officer and Science Officer.
“Any questions?” Callahan scanned the conference room.
“No, sir.” Johnson spoke for the group after scanning the table.
“Very well. Captain?” Callahan returned to his seat.
Captain Maddox looked around the table, meeting the gaze of each department head. “While my standards are high, I am not unreasonable. If you feel any concerns or issues may impact your department’s readiness for the inspection, please address them with Commander Callahan before the inspection.” Maddox ordered.
“Starfleet and the people of Trinexia III are counting on us to ensure the safe arrival of the convoy and the efficient delivery of the relief supplies. We cannot let them down. Dismissed.”
Commander Callahan remained seated at the table, deep in thought, as the department heads filed out of the executive conference room. He couldn’t shake the memory of the animosity he had sensed between Captain Maddox and Captain Vadney when they had walked to Maddox’s Ready Room earlier that morning.
Captain Maddox, still seated at the head of the table, noticed Callahan’s furrowed brow. “Speak your peace, XO.” Maddox ordered.
Taking a deep breath, Callahan decided to voice his concerns. “Sir, I couldn’t help but notice the tension between you and Captain Vadney on the bridge earlier this morning. Is there something going on that I should be aware of?”
Maddox looked away for a moment, clearly contemplating how much to share. “Xavier, Captain Vadney, and I have known each other for over twenty-five years. We’ve served together on several missions, and our relationship has its ups and downs. Let’s just say we found ourselves at odds over certain strategic matters.”
Callahan nodded, recognizing that even senior officers were not immune to disagreements. “Is there anything I can do to help, sir?”
Maddox looked Callahan in the eyes, his expression serious. “Your concern is appreciated, Commander. However, I believe the best course of action is to focus on the mission. Captain Vadney is a professional, and I trust him to handle his duties accordingly, regardless of any personal conflicts between us.”
“Understood, sir.” Callahan nodded.
“If there is nothing further, you are dismissed.” Maddox ordered.
“Aye, Captain.” Callahan acknowledged as he backed out from the table and stood up. As Callahan pushed in his chair and left the conference room, Maddox remained seated, lost in thought. He gazed out of the long viewports, watching the stars and the distant image of Starbase Eight Six. The mission ahead was challenging enough without the added stress of unresolved personal issues. However, Maddox knew that he needed to focus on the task and cultivate trust in his crew’s abilities.
With a deep breath, Maddox steeled himself for the trials ahead, knowing that the success of their mission and the convoy’s safety depended on his leadership. He would do everything in his power to guide the Pandora and its crew through The Triangle and confront any challenges, personal or professional, that might arise along the way.