Part of USS Auckland: Caduceus Pt. 2

Chapter 6 – Captain on the Bridge

USS Auckland
Feb 2401
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Refreshing his now cold coffee at the replicator, Aris left the conference room for the bridge now that they were underway. Hot coffee now in hand he headed directly to the turbolift to return to Deck 2. Entering the turbolift car he requested his destination.

“Deck 2, Main Bridge.” Aris requested as the turbolift hummed to life and sped him along. 

As the doors opened again, Aris muttered a thank you as he exited the car. The bridge was relatively quiet when Aris arrived and took his seat. Gin was absorbed in her padd reading over the mission details while Emma was monitoring their position and making adjustments as needed.

“Report.” he requested as he settled into the centre seat for the first time.

“Initial estimates indicate arrival in the Proteus System in approximately 3-4 hours, Captain.” Emma responded from the navigation console.

“Ensign Malra and Lieutenant T’Keterk are currently in engineering.” Gin added sitting upright. “Officer Andrews is reconfiguring one of the Labs for virology and gene sequencing, with Lieutenant Yates’ input when she is not in the Primary Sickbay.”

“Thank you, Commander.” Aris replied before turning to face Taylor. “Ensign Shan, have the away team’s and security detail been organised?”

“Yes, Sir.” Taylor responded. “Away Team Alpha is comprised of yourself, Lieutenant’s Yates and T’Keterk with Officer Andrews supporting. Away Team Bravo is comprised of Commander Fenway and Ensign Malra with additional support from medical staff and and engineering team. While team’s Charlie and Delta are made up of various configurations of Science, Medical and Engineering staff.”

Aris nodded, not finding any issue with the make up of the teams. “What’s your assessment of the planetary defenses and potential weaknesses?”

“From the data we have obtained and initial long range scans, I have reason to believe since the Romulan departure from the system, the planetary defense grid is nearly non existent and the sensor grid is not much better. Intel suggests the functioning satellites are designed to act as little more than a deterrent rather than a viable means of fighting back.”

“Thank you, Ensign.” Aris replied as he thought about the new information. “Can we do anything to improve what is already here and plug any critical vulnerabilities?”

“Yes, Sir.” Taylor continued. “I have submitted a requisition order to Operations for additional power cells, metal plating and targeting upgrades. I do however hope to have a more in-depth analysis once we have arrived.”

“Very good.” Aris smiled. “As you were.”

“Thank you, Captain.” Taylor replied diverting his attention back to the console in front of him.

With some time to kill, Aris settled back in his seat and began updating some notes on his padd based on the reports from the crew. He would make a personal call to the Engineering section upon arrival to get an update from T’Keterk and Joci. Getting comfortable for the last leg of their journey he began to review updated sensor logs and communications from the former neutral zone. 

They were here under invitation but Aris had no intention of drawing too much attention to themselves and antagonizing the locals. Too much was unknown, and too much was at stake if this assignment went wrong.

In what felt like no time, Emma spoke up from her console. “Approaching the Proteus System, Captain. Preparing to drop out of warp on your order.”

“Thank you, Ensign.” Aris replied as he put his padd to the side. “Engage Yellow Alert, drop us out and bring us to a full stop, I want a good look at what’s ahead before we go any further.”

“Aye, Sir.” Emma replied as she disengaged the warp drive, the lights dimming around the bridge as yellow alert was engaged. Swifly disengaging thrusters and impulse power, Emma bought the Auckland to a complete stop. “Full stop engaged, Captain.”

“Begin a long range scan, be on the lookout for anything.” Aris got to his feet and walked closer to the viewscreen. In this moment at the fringes of the Proteus System, it felt like they were balanced on the edge of a blade. So much could go right, but so much could go very very wrong. 

Every person encountered, every vaccination, every medical procedure and every project undertaken would be examined, analysed and scrutinised. They could very much be in the midst of a noticeable advancement in diplomatic relations, or amongst one of the many perceived failures of the Federation when it came to the Romulan’s and by extension the Reman’s.