Canopus Station
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Any Landing You Can Walk Away From...

Posted on Thu Sep 2nd, 2021 @ 2:24am by Captain Benjamin Ingram Dr & Major Samuel Braddock

Mission: S2:3: Snow Drift
Location: Ingrams Office, Canopus Station
Timeline: MD 3 1730


Sam waited for the flash of light to subside and shivered slightly- the whole process made him feel like he'd been frozen and then thawed out again in a microwave. As he stretched his legs and looked around, he found that the transporter team had been polite enough to deposit him in his quarters. Taking a small whiff of his flight suit, he could smell the unpleasant combination of sweat, part lubricant, and singed plastic. Deciding upon the need for an actual shower, he walked over to his closet and flipped through until he found his dress blues, complete with a small bronze oak leaf on the shoulder straps. Doing a final check of his ribbons and badges, he quickly stripped out of his flightsuit, tossing it into the clothing receptacle and stepped into the shower, tapping the panel and allowing the soap infused water wash over him.

After scrubbing himself pink, he dried off, combed his hair, and changed into his blues. After checking himself over in the mirror, he pronounced himself satisfactory, donned his midnight blue beret, and walked out into the corridor towards the turbolift.

======= Ten Minutes Later =======

Striding out of the turbolift, he walked into the Command Anteroom and saw an unfamiliar face of an older, salt and pepper haired Yeoman First Class, judging by the three downward facing chevrons on his left arm. Stopping squarely in front of the desk, he removed his beret. "Good Afternoon, YN1. I'm Major Sam Braddock- is the Captain in?"

The Petty Officer looked up from his console. "Yes, sir- he's just down the hall. He's expecting you, in fact. Just be prepared- he didn't seem too happy an hour ago but then, when is he ever?" he said sourly. "Just... don't make any sudden moves and just sort of nod when he speaks to you."

"I'll make a note. Thanks, Petty Officer-" Sam stopped, realizing he hadn't asked the man's name.

"Timofeyovich, but just call me Tim. It's easier on the tongue." the enlisted man said, looking back down to his console. Sam nodded "Tim..." he whispered, making a note as he headed further down the corridor, his footfalls making echoing thumps against the carpeted deckplates. He stopped just outside the door labeled 'COMMANDING OFFICER' and tapped the doorchime, quickly placing his beret back on his head.

"Major Braddock, please...come in."

Ingram sat behind his desk, the glossy black expanse of it oddly not reflecting any of the light that shone upon it. His fingers were steepled before him, and he gestured with them to a seat. The walls to either side and behind Ingram's desk were clear transparent aluminium, allowing for an impressive view out over the operations floor of Canopus Station. The tiered rows of control consoles and main holographic display now crowded with holographic icons in near Carpathia space.

All the court functionaries in abeyance to the emperor, it seemed.

"Would you like something to drink? Tea? Water? Alas, I cannot offer you coffee, I try to avoid strong stimulants where ever possible. Dulls the mind," Ingram said levelly.

Sam was caught off guard as he wasn't even able to deliver his reporting statement. "I'm fine, sir. Thank you." he said quickly, standing at ease and hesitantly taking a seat in three quick motions, removing his cover for the upteenth time. It took a lot to make him feel off but this man hadn't broken eye contact and it was making the hairs on the back of Sam's neck stand on end.

"Oh, it's no trouble. I want you to feel welcome here, after all, you were assigned to my command by the Commodore were you not?" Ingram asked. He released one of his hands, and tapped a finger against the black desktop. Data panes began to spread out from his fingertips: transfer dockets, service jackets. "Because my name is not on any of these orders, so I can see where you might have forgotten the minor courtesy of reporting to your new commanding officer. Order, counter-order, disorder: I can understand how easy it can be to get lost out here."

Sam fought the urge to smirk. "Sir, respectfully, when I initially reported to your yeoman to request an audience, you had been off station on operations until yesterday, give or take a few hours. However, I do apologize for not reporting to you the instant you returned." he said, deferring to his superior's rank and recalling a painful lesson he had learned early on in the Corps- 'Even when you're right, you're wrong.'

"But you did see fit to take a Mk3 Gryphon out for a joyride in the company of the stations Chief Engineer? The same Mk3 Gryphon that suffered a propulsion malfunction during a flight through an R-class planetoid? Do you know why they call them R-class? Risk. That's it, it's right up there with 'Strange Energies' as perhaps one of the 10 top vaguest designations they pass around as scientific fact," Ingram growled. "You were lucky the engines didn't cut out when the surface began to collapse under you. We'd have lost the stations Chief Engineer along with a resource expensive starfighter."

‘This asshole’ Sam thought while trying to keep his facial expression even. “As James T. Kirk once said ‘Risk is our business.’. I wouldn’t be doing my job as a CAG if I wasn’t confident enough to risk flying any fighter in that squadron once it had been repaired, which is far better than risking the life of one of my pilots unnecessarily. That flight was necessary to recreate conditions that caused an engine overheat and test a repair made by said Chief Engineer. If you compare our flight path it was followed almost to the letter with the previous pilot’s flightplan.” Sam paused and watched the man’s reaction.

"And you did this by placing both this stations Chief Engineer and it Commander of Air Group in the same basket. That might be a risk, even a calculated one, but I would be remiss if I did not feel you'd dropped a decimal point somewhere in your calculations," Ingram grumbled.

Changing the subject, Sam motioned out there. “Speaking of fighters, Chief Warrant Officer Mithias brought something to my attention. A large part of the main fighter bay has been blocked off with perception screens and guarded. What exactly is going on down there?” he asked.

"Huum..." Ingram sat back in his chair, mulling over a thought in his head before committing to it. "Well, I'd have thought your patron, Commodore Grissom, would have read you into the events in the main hanger. No doubt an oversight on his part, no doubt. Tell me, what do you know of the Reka? Your a new arrival to Messier 4, and from the flight logs I can see you've yet to run a patrol out in the Unicorn Belts so you've not fought one yet."

"From what I've read that isn't redacted, they're a Warp Capable avian humanoids who have a serious gripe with us and were once a part of something called the Myriad. From what I've seen of limited video records, they like to swarm bigger, more vulnerable ships with small craft after pushing them into a corner so they can't defend themselves. Several of the Mining Guild shipmasters placed it into publicly available reports and from what Commodore Grissom advised me of, they've been requesting increased assistance in the form of larger vessels to guard them. That's where I come in- the Commodore requested that I act as CAG and advise you on matters relating to the deployment of the Air Group and any related assets." Sam paused again. "What do the Reka have to do with what's being worked on down there?" he asked.

"More or less the meat of it. And the Reka are indeed still a vassal species of the Myriad, these ones were just opportunistic raiders who followed a wounded Starfleet ship back to Carpathia. What the reports do not state publicly is that the Reka are also marginally telepathic, it's how they are able to communicate: they mimic voices by projecting them into the minds of others." Ingram said. "Down in the hangar bay in the part shielded from prying eyes, the Office of Special Investigation is working with Reka technology and a turncoat from a Reka den to try and figure out a defence. I think our tame Reka is called 'First Among Liars & Thieves' of the Seven Dancing Shadows Den. A potential ally out here in Messier 4."

Sam raised an eyebrow. "A telepath called 'First Among Liars and Thieves' I hope that name is just a loose translation. The last thing we need is this guy turning tail and selling our souls for a corn chip." he said sardonically. "So-" Sam leaned forward. "Where do we go from here, sir? If we're going to work together, we can't work against each other. While the Commodore sent me here, you are my superior and I'm here to do what's needed but I need resources, specifically operational command of the runabouts and shuttles on the station." he sat back and waited for the Captain's response.

"Now steady on there Major," Ingram said, his hackles raised slightly. "The Air Wing has its own resources to call upon, including a Star Lift capacity. Station Auxillary craft like shuttles, launches and Runabouts do not fall under that remit. Now, saying that-"

He raised a hand, a gracious gesture of acquiescence.

"-there are precedents in place that would see that capacity placed under your command in times of critical threat. To that end, I can well see the advantages of a solid working relationship between yourself and staff, and the Canopus Port Authority," he lowered his hand. "As for resources, military hardware for the defence of the Carpathia System is the priority. Both the Wisdom Like Silence and the Please Read The Instructions are churning out high resolution parts and materials as fast as their replicators can cycle. That takes time, and resources. Resources that need to be mined from the Unicorn A & B belts. Belts which are currently infested with Reka raiding craft of the Bone Shard Crowns den. Perhaps talking to this First Among Liar's might be your next port of call, get into the head of the enemy as it were."

"I'm definitely not disputing that, I just don't trust a potential enemy as far as I can throw him, especially if he's got 'marginal telepathy'- is the Chief Intelligence Officer aboard? She might be good to include in this discussion in case he's got information that could be useful to her as well." he asked "I'll coordinate with the miners to coordinate CAPs for their vessels as well once I have more information."

Ingram tapped a finger on his desktop, and flicked a data sprite from it. The Major's combadge biped with notification.

"Captain Gorky, formerly of the Gorn Hegemony and now captain and leader of the Space Miners Guild. I've had a few meetings with him, I'd suggest earplugs unless you want to become prematurely deaf," the Station Administrator said. "And we've had the Reka, or at least the ones we have in custody, tested on the Banagher/Lensky Scale. They rate a 2 on that scale, they can project a voice that mimic's surface thoughts of the target, but they don't seem able to delve into details. Now if you don't mind, I have to prepare for a meeting shortly with the Captains with the Harrington and La'place."

Sam made mental notes of the names. "Understood, sir." Snapping to attention, he executed a crisp about face and exited the office. As soon as the doors slid closed and he was no longer visible, he shrugged his shoulders as a way of ridding himself of the man. Ingram didn't seem to be as bad as people made him out to be- unless you allowed him to step on you.


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