Canopus Station
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Stealth Is Always An Option(al)

Posted on Thu Aug 5th, 2021 @ 12:44pm by Commodore Theodore Grissom & Captain Benjamin Ingram Dr & Lieutenant Commander Amie Cerys & Staff Warrant Officer Blaise Birch

Mission: S2:3: Snow Drift
Location: USS Necromancer, confrence room, returning to Carpathia
Timeline: MD-2 21.30

The holographic form of Captian Ingram couldn't quite keep the smug free from his face. Then again the mission debrief had been going on long enough that he was probably daydreaming of the aneurysm the Commodore was having.

"I assure you, Commodore, I'm as shocked as you are at this breach of basic away team security. I've already been in contact with the leader of the Civilian Mandate, the Xilosian civil leadership. Prime Philosopher Kisbeck was unaware in the extreme that Kle was anything other than an observer on this mission," Ingram purred. "But let us instead look at the data we gathered on the ground, and the probes."

"Yes, at least some good came out of it," Grissom grunted. "Major, you're Marines acted in the finest spirit of the Corps. And we did learn that our ground weapons are on equal footing to our starship grade tech advantage over the Concordance. SO that's something."

"That is about all we learned," Birch said. "I was unable to retrieve core samples from anything beyond the surface stratum. Scientifically speaking, we can confirm little more than what the long-range sensors already told us."

Amie was sitting and listening. Was the Major technically right? Yes, but that didn't make things any better. She was keeping her mouth shut for the time being, but she was still more than annoyed at all of this.

"You looked at the data, but you did not understand what you saw," Ingram said. He manipulated a display pane on his end of the commlink, and a hologram of Tripwire appeared. Four dots scattered around the planet were highlighted. "These massive sinkhole dig sites, whilst tentatively identified as resource extraction sites, are anything but. Yes the material withdrawn from them is refined in the industrial zones around them, did anyone look at the dust plumes?"

One of the sinkholes remain lit, and a false image blob of streaming clouds stretched from it to hug around the curve of the world.

"Sulpher, carbon dioxide, methane in small amounts, as well as free oxygen. Take into account the high level of ash and dust in the atmosphere from industrialisation apparently testing weapons on the surface...I would propose what we see is in fact a massive terraforming process. Or at least a climate mitigation project in the most brutal sense of the word. The ash and dust would cause a global cooling trend, blocking out sunlight. The sulphur and methane, as well as other industrial cases, would counter that with a greenhouse effect, not unlike the Climate Cliff of Earth circa the 20th and 21st Centuries."

"Indeed, and all things we already surmised before our little survey expedition that got botched by the war dogs." Birch let out a sniff. "So, forgive me if I don't celebrate the pointless military victory that amounted to little more than time I'll never get back."

Glaring at Birch, Amie was realizing just how much she did not like this person. She'd never had so many issues with this before. "We didn't have any time to look at anything else. So yes, other than a military adventure that likely didn't need to happen, we learned nothing new. I didn't think that was why we were down there."

"Given the fact, there is very little chance of infiltrating a Concordance facility, at least not without a mission fatality, I think we came away with a great deal more than we assume," Ingram mused. "Major? How would you rate Kle as a fighter? Not her actions in instigating the fight, but her actions following the beginning of the conflict."

Facility, Birch mouthed with incredulous silence. He was supposed to gather environmental samples to better study the changing world. But now it was becoming clear that the scientific survey had merely been a ruse all along for an ulterior mission.

Cerys rubbed her forehead, knowing she wasn't the one who was addressed, but had to speak up. "I understand that, Captain. But with all due respect, why would I have been sent on this mission? We didn't gain much more than the sensors could have given us, not that an intel officer needed to come along for at least."

"And miss out on your first-hand impressions of the foe?" Ingram said.

"As much as it pains me to agree with him, the Captian has a point. You each have insight the other could not have gotten about the Concordance, so lets hear it," Grissom said. He then reached out of the holograms range of capture, his arm vanishing from sight, before returning holding a coffee cup.

"Honestly," Amie said, being the first to speak up, "I am not sure I gained much. We found places that looked like camp sites, but I did a lot of listening to everyone else argue with each other."

"Camp Sites say a lot. Anything unique about that sites?"Ingram asked.

Thinking back for a moment, Amie tried to remember the campsite. "If I remember right, there were fire pits, and stones that were covered in what seemed to be fat and grease droppings from meat cooking over the fires."

"Yes..." Ingram looked at a file on his desk. "Those were collected by the Concordance prior to the bonfire. They were then placed in the fire, warmed...and then seemed to be held by one of them? I'm just reading that from the report. But it seems telling. The fats probably are the remains of skin and sinew from previous holders. Some sort of ritual trial?"

"Klingon Pain Sticks," Grissom said with a growl.

"Yes, only in the great outdoors and more flowery language. That site holds significance for the Concordance, or at least that part of it don't you agree?" Ingram queried.

"Based on reports from other worlds occupied by the Concordance, this one does seem to be getting special attention," Birch confirmed. "Shame we couldn't have conducted by a proper scientific survey before everyone pulled out their 'guns' to wave around."

"Yes myself and the Commodore have a meeting with Prime Philopsher Kisbeck this afternoon to discuss that, and any future plans to incorporate the Xilosian military cadre into other aspects of stations security," Ingram said with an acidic smile.

"Please tell me that would, at least for now, not involve intel? I'm not a fan of all that honestly." Amie eyed Ingram, but knew it likely wasn't going to be that easy.

"Until we can get to the bottom of Kle's actions, the Xilosian's are benched in regards to other aspects of station security. As for Intel, I think we have something that might interest you upon your return. I'd prefer not to speak on it over this channel," Ingram said. He and the Commodore shared a significant glance on their end, coming to a joint consensus. "In either case, well done. We'll see you back here in a day, which should give you time to write up a more thorough and detailed report."

And with that the holographic part of the conference call faded out, leaving the Necromancer's end of things hanging in mid air.

Looking around, Birch asked nobody in particular, "Well, any other wastes of time we can conjure up? I mean since we came all the way out here..."

"Guess I'll meet up with you when we get there, Captain," Amie stated with a raised eyebrow, then looked to Birch, "I think home is a better option."


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