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Chapter 2.1

Posted on Fri Sep 9th, 2022 @ 4:17am by Captain Willian Targaryen & Commander Galatea & Lieutenant Commander Ialo Gojir & Lieutenant Jardok & Lieutenant Juma Zoss & Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Aiden Crowe & Director Esoria sh'Vreshaa & Captain Nathan Bishop & Commander Nathan Hawkins & Commander Jasmine Haynes & Lieutenant Commander Patton O'Sullivan & Lieutenant Dylan Blake & Lieutenant Cyrus Marner & Lieutenant R'relle & Chief Petty Officer Harris Zim & Lieutenant Zoey Parker

Mission: Wrong Side of Heaven
Location: Bridge, USS Enterprise
Timeline: 3189-03-16, 08:35

Captain's Log, Supplemental: Enterprise is on final approach to the source of the distress call.




Lieutenant Jardok typed on the Science workstation as the Enterprise neared the Svian System, monitoring the whole environment closely. The Enterprise had only been at Svian days prior and their adventure there had spring boarded their reconnection with Starfleet. Despite that things had definitely seemed to have changed. Bringing up the scans on his display, even his Vulcan sensibilities struggled with processing what he was finding.

"Captain, I've completed the scans of the Svian System."

Lieutenant Aiden Crowe called out from the Helm, "Good thing because we'll be there in five minutes."

"Lieutenant," Willian Targaryen said in a chastising tone as he rose from the center seat. He turned back toward the Science Station, "Report, Mister Jardok."

The Vulcan's fingers adjusted the indicators on the console, copying the scan results to the viewscreen. On the forward display the image of Svian appeared, a series of statistical details about the planet appeared giving a quick overview of the planet's overall status. It wasn't a pretty sight. The O-Class world had been devastated by orbital bombardment, destroying most of the underwater cities. The constructed island that had been created to allow visitors to interact with the Svians was one fire and the parts that weren't were flooding. Millions were dead and millions more were dying.

The Captain stared at the devastation on the world they had just visited. While the Enterprise was capable, it was even dwarfed by such a disaster. Then there was the bigger issue, "There's no way a shuttle did this. Start active scans for the culprit."

"Aye Captain," the Science Officer agreed.

"When will we be arriving in orbit?" Willian looked at the Helmsman.

Aiden checked his monitor, "Three minutes."

"When we arrive I want to have a plan for providing humanitarian aid. Nathan, R'relle, Cyrus, Lucia you'll focus on that. Determine whether it's safer to bring the refugees here or for us to go there," the former Admiral ordered.

Nathan nodded soberly at Targaryen's order even as his eyes took in the horror on the viewscreen. "Aye sir." He replied in a subdued tone.

Cyrus felt his heart sinking at seeing that devastation, "That is going to be quite the undertaking" he murmured , "Is there any indication of their own emergency teams being put together?" He queried.

"Scans are heavily impeded by the damage that has been inflicted," Lieutenant Jardok informed after having overheard. "I do see evidence that emergency bunkers are in usage. Exact population figures are difficult to obtain."

Turning to the next matter, "We need a plan to stabilize the planet. Nathan, you and Ash will focus on that task."

"Y...yes Captain," Hawkins hesitated momentarily still horrified by what they were seeing.

At the Engineering workstation a young Cardassian woman turned away from the panel, "Captain, Commander Ash asked for me to represent Engineering for the time being. The Commander is working on a priority project below decks."

Willian thought about it for a moment. If Ash was working on a priority project and felt it was necessary to send her Assistant Chief to the Bridge, even if she was from this time period, then the project must be important. "Commander, work with Ops to ensure that the planet remains stable."

"Aye Captain," the Commander answered as she walked toward Commander Hawkins, "My panel or yours?"

If the situation wasn't so grave the off handed comment would have bought a smile to Nathan's lips and a quip suggesting they at least shared a drink and dinner first. "Yours," he replied. "You're more familiar with the upgrades and can action our plan that fraction faster then I," he wasn't afraid to admit he was on the back foot following the upgrades. "Small margins could save many lives."

"Indeed," the Cardassian Engineer answered as she typed on her wall mounted workstation.

"There is still the possibility that the persons who did this will be back. I want a defensive plan ready if they come back," he looked at the bank of tactical consoles. "Patton, Zim, Zoey, and Jardok you're in charge of that."

Zim looked at the data on the viewscreen and what had come through on his console. The statement that a shuttle could not do this was not entirely correct. He knew that the statement should be that a shuttle could not have done this alone. There was a connection here with the stolen shuttle and every cell in the Cappellan told him so. Now to get some evidence to prove it. The Captain's order snapped Zim to the here and now. "Aye sir." he acknowledged along with a head nod.

"Sensors are not detecting any vessels," the Vulcan informed, "but that does not rule out a cloaked attacker."

“We will get right on it.” Patton spoke up. He knew the plan was important so they had to come up with a good one.

"Whatever did this would have to be a large sale ship. Something that could equal the Enterprise in firepower. However, if she equals the Enterprise in firepower then it stands to reason that she is equal in maneuverability and that is where we have to look to hurt her. A ship large enough to do this cannot be too maneuverable." The beginning of what Zim thought to be a great battle plan took shape.

"Then we hit her where she is most vulnerable." O'Sullivan replied. "Every ship has it's weakness."

"Captain," it was Galatea who interrupted. "With all due respect our priority is not Svian II. We must recover the prefix codes stolen from Battle Group Omega. Any failure to do so can have lasting consequences for the entire Federation. We must withdraw."

Hawkins turned back at her words. Had the Federation changed that much they were more occupied with protecting themselves than offering aid to those dying right in front of them?

"I object, Galatea." Marner roared out forgetting himself for the moment. "It won't hurt to find out if they have something in place to deal with that type of devastation. We are not a heartless cold-blooded bucket of bolts to turn our backs completely on this." Cyrus scowling towards Galatea. "It will be still up to our commanding officer, though" his voice softening a little. "It's just seeing that causes my blood to boil. " He turned to Will, "Sir can we at least see if they have an emergency detail's set up. This reminds me of the Breen Attack back in my time. That devastation, the horrors"

"The Vaadwaur attack too," Willian said remember the devastation that had been wrought before adding, "and the A500 uprising."

The former hologram stood at her workstation, "Failing to recover the prefix codes in time could lead the galaxy to a hundred more situations such as this one if Battle Group Omega were to fall. The needs of the many clearly outweigh the needs of the few in this scenario. I recommend that we alter course immediately, resume pursuit of the renegade vessel, and we can return after the prefix codes are recovered."

Zim exhaled sharply through his nose and ran his hand through his hair. All this bickering is unbecoming of a crew any crew from any species. Although, and idea formed in his head. The Chief of the Boat spoke up from his station at the rear of the bridge. "Sirs if I may be so bold..." He waited to see if anyone would tell him to stand down, when no one said anything he continued. "...This planetary emergency does not need the full brunt of this ship. Nor to be honest does the chasing of the shuttle. That said, I think perhaps a small crew takes the garrisoned vessel aboard this ship and continues the chase to get the stolen shuttle and codes. Meanwhile the Enterprise and the rest of the crew remains here and executes a rescue mission."

Lieutenant Crowe smiled, "The Galileo is docked in the Saucer Bay. It could be fueled and ready for deployment in ten minutes."

The Captain crossed his arms, carefully considering the options. The Galileo would be a suitable option if they wanted to pursue it. It was a smaller vessel, a scoutship where they came from, but it was more than capable. In Enterprise's time at least. "Was the Galileo upgraded when the rest of the ship was?"

"Yes and No," Commander Gojir interrupted. "When my team upgraded this ship, Admiral Tua didn't identify the Galileo as a priority."

"Well that certainly seems a bit foolish now doesn't it?" The Helmsman critiqued.

The irritation wasn't hidden on the Cardassian Engineer's voice, "We did leave some equipment aboard that we can use to upgrade Galileo's shields and weapons, but it won't be a quick process."

"Can it be done on the fly?" Willian asked.

"It can," she continued, "but not easily. The systems we upgrade will have to be offline while we are working."

"Let's hope we won't need them in meantime," Hawkins added. "I volunteer to Command the Galileo sir and retrieve the prefix codes."

It was soon moot. From the Science Station Lieutenant Jardok called out, "Emerald Chain Battleship decloaking directly ahead." He checked the scanners, "It's the Cerulean, Sir."

The Cerulean was something that the former Admiral wondered if they would soon see on this mission. When last they were at Svian they had been investigating rumors that a Starfleet Admiral was being transferred through the planet to her new prison. It was a ruse to draw them out and the Cerulean was the ship waiting for them. If not for Zehoi sacrificing herself to her former masters they wouldn't have escaped.

Crowe mumbled from the Helm, "Out of the frying pan and into the fire now, Sir."

Willian returned to his seat, "Battlestations. Open a channel to the Emerald Chain ship."

From Ops, before Commander Hawkins retook the station, Lieutenant Zoss pressed a control, "Channel open, Sir."

"Starship Cerulean this is Captain Willian Targaryen of the Federation Starship Enterprise. We are responding to a distress call from planet Svian II. Please acknowledge."

Zim stared at the viewscreen as he awaited to see who could have caused all this carnage. However, he knew that once again indecisiveness allowed a great plan to fall by the wayside. That indecisiveness is going to allow the command codes to get out in the open. Harris Zim knew there was something not right with the Federation here, he only hoped that his Commanding Officer was not part of it.

At the front of the Bridge a holographic replica of Andorian Emerald Chain Director Esoria sh'Vreshaa appeared from thin air. Dressed in a strong, form-fitting leather jacket and pants she looked more like a smuggler or scoundrel than the leader of one of the most powerful vessels in the Sector. The darkness of the leather contrasted against her snow white hair, her antennae protruding only barely through the wild mane.

She got right to the point, "You're in Emerald Chain space, Starfleet. What do you want?"

"Director sh'Vreshaa," Willian greeted with mock politeness, subtly wondering why they hadn't tried to blow her from the sky yet. "Thank you for taking our call."

"Get to the point, please," she was tired of the diplomatic niceties.

The Commanding Officer approached her cautiously, "Director, we are here to offer humanitarian aid to the Svians in response to their distress call. I have teams..."

"That will not be necessary, Enterprise," she answered with sharp enunciation of each word. "The Emerald Chain has issued a quarantine and cleansing of this world due to recent contamination. Your presence here would only serve to further destabilize. Withdraw immediately."

"Director, I'm afraid that I cannot do that. Federation law dictates that we have to respond to any and all request for assistance that is received," it wasn't a lie. The Captain crossed his arms, "I will not be withdrawing until I am aware that the Svians are safe from harm."

"You would risk a direct confrontation with my ship for them?" She asked pointedly. "How far are you willing to go for strangers?"

The Captain stood firm, "As far as I had to."

"I want to know everything that Zehoi D'ian told you about the Emerald Chain, no matter how insignificant."

There it was. The truth of their condition and attack: fear for what had been revealed. The problem was she hadn't said much of anything. None of them had known she was even affiliated with the Chain until she agreed to go with the Director in exchange for the Away Team's lives. "She didn't tell us anything."

The Director's antennae betrayed her surprise, but quickly returned to steadfastness, "I find it hard to believe that she didn't give you any information of value."

"It's the truth, Director, we didn't even know she was part of your government until she surrendered to you!" It was the truth, whether she chose to believe it or not.

"More likely you're hiding behind ignorance to hide tactical knowledge," Esoria challenged. "Fortunately for me I am not one to fall for your lies, Human." She nodded to someone off the hologrid.

Alarms beeped from the Science Station, "Projectile buoy being deployed toward Svian."

"Tactical, lock on and destroy," Willian looked at the Security Chief.

"Aye Sir." Patton said, without looking up. He was simultaneously affirming his orders while he locked on the buoy and fired. He watched his screen and nodded as the target was hit and destroyed. "As you ordered, Sir."

"Thank you, Commander," Willian replied as he stood face to face with the Andorian Director's hologram. "This ship may be old, Director, but it is more than a match for anything that you send its way. That is where you and I are different. Now, since you brought her up, I demand the immediate return of Zehoi D'ian to this ship and your immediate withdrawal from this system so that we may assist in clean up of the Svian system."

Esoria smirked, "Really now? After you just subjected the planet below to a burst of berthold rays you consider us to be the aggressors? Starship Enterprise, for your deliberate attack and poisoning of the Svians I am placing you under arrest. Cut your engines and disengage your shields or we will open fire. You have one minute to comply. This is your only warning."

Willian was furious, "Get her off my Bridge." He turned and stormed toward his chair, "Options?"

Jasmine remembered something she once learned on the USS Livingstone. She had a small grin on her face. "We could try some cowboy diplomacy. They are expecting us to back down, any sign of weakness in this wild west time frame could make us look weak, and that could be dangerous for us. I remember my old commander getting pirate ship to back down, by simply launching every shuttle they had. The pirates did not know, that our phasers were damaged, and we were sitting ducks. I am not suggesting that would work in this case, but if they saw we were not going to make it easy on them to board us, they will have to think twice about it." Jasmine suggested to Willan, to see what he thought of her idea.

"It could serve as a suitable diversion," Captain Targaryen confirmed. "Can we remotely control the shuttles?"

Aiden looked over his shoulder, "Yeah, but I would have more trouble keeping Enterprise going at the same time. We're a bit more beastly of a ship that the shuttles and we have quite a few aboard due to our size."

"I would also like to remind that we didn't upgrade your shuttles," the Cardassian Engineer reminded, "and Admiral Tua only transferred two modern ones."

Willian ignored the reminder. "Jasmine do you think you could help pilot the shuttles from here?" It was her suggestion, he trusted that she could do it. It would also free Lieutenant Crowe to focus on piloting the Enterprise in combat.

"I can pilot the shuttles remotely." Jasmine said, in a calm tone. She was almost vulcan like with her response. She was grateful that the captain trusted her enough, to try this diversion. She was happy to help out, where she could.

Willian looked to his Tactical Team, "Any ideas on weaknesses for that ship out there?"

"Orion ships in our time had neutrino emissions, exhaust. The system that produced this byproduct could be exploited as a weak point. However, I am not sure if the ships of this era do the same. It may be worth checking." Zim spoke up from his station.

Willian looked at the Vulcan Science Officer, "Lieutenant look into it."

"As much as I don't want to be missing key members of our team in combat, we do have a responsibility to the people of Svian. I liked Zim's idea of using the Galileo, but I'd like to change the mission profile for the moment. Do you feel comfortable using it to try to help evacuate Svian?"

"I would like to try to give aid and rescue as many as we can. It would gall the blazes out of me if we didn't try. And you do know my feelings about not trying." giving a firm gaze towards Willian.

Covertly Zim kept a small amount of the ship's sensors turned on the shuttle. He wanted to keep tabs on it should the Captain decide to pursue it. They had enough resources to do both and Zim knew it.

"Lieutenant Commander Gojir," Willian said looking to the Engineer, "I want the Galileo prepped for departure in no more than ten minutes. Focus all of your efforts on getting the deflectors to modern era specs in that time."

"Captain, when I said it was going to be difficult I should have been clearer. It's impossible," the Cardassian woman explained from the wall mounted station.

"Impossible is not something that I accept, Commander," The Captain didn't want to hear it, "I'd advise you to figure it out as you'll be on the Galileo when it departs. Captain Bishop, I'm reassigning you to command of the Galileo until further notice. You're going to take a team consisting of yourself, Commander Gojir, Doctor Marner, Blake, and Chief Zim to rescue as many people as you possibly can from Svian."

Bishop gave a short quick nod of his head, "Understood sir, we'll rescue all we can. You can be sure of that." He assured Targaryen. He looked at the others, "Let's get to it, have a mission to undertake and people to save."

Zim was not happy to have been taken off the chase but as any good trooper he did as ordered. "Aye sir..." He tugged on his new gold uniform and made for the turbolift. Waiting only for Captain Bishop.

"You're get used to his stubbornness," Blake said softly as he passed Commander Gojir on route to the turbo car having stayed out of the way during the action.

Cyrus went to follow Blake then turned to Willian, "Thank you for letting us try to save whom we can.

The Cardassian Engineer offered a sincere nod as she returned to work.

"Those of us remaining aboard the Enterprise will be engaging the Emerald Chain vessel to divert their attention as the Galileo rescues those it can," the former Admiral informed as he looked around the Bridge.

"Need I remind you that, at the moment, the Federation and the Emerald Chain are not in open conflict," Galatea interrupted. "You can very well instigate a full scale war if you launch this offensive, Captain." The disdain in the android's voice was unmistakable.

Willian stepped up to the android, fire in his eyes, "What the Hell happened to you?"

"759 years, Captain," she said the last word as if it were a curse. "While you may have been an expert on the galaxy in your time, an Admiral no less, in this time you are nothing more than a ghost. I have the responsibility of ensuring that the Federation does not go to war with a superior enemy, and you are about to drag us into that very war!"

Crossing his arms he looked around the Bridge, "Bold words, Galatea. I won't deny that you know more about this time than I do, and I won't deny that I'm making a lot of this up as I go along, but the Federation created Starfleet as a humanitarian and peacekeeping armada. If we don't help these people, then we turn our backs on everything that the Federation stands for."

She stood her ground, "If you fire on that Emerald Chain ship, Captain, then you commit us to war."

"I have a responsibility to protect this ship and they threatened to fire first," Targaryen shot back at the former hologram.

Galatea fought back, "And I have a responsibility to the remaining 38 Federation Member Worlds. Withdraw."

"Seems we've reached an impasse. If those 38 worlds are so important to you that you will give up the ideals that bonded them then we have already lost," the Captain looked around the Bridge. "We have to choose, my friends, do we help the Svians or do we withdraw? The choice belongs to each of you."

Bishop stopped just short of the turbo lift. Turning, he looked back at the others. "Seems to me we're talking about the same thing from different viewpoints. Galatea speaks of protecting the Federation and the surviving member worlds. A good cause to be sure, we all want a home to return to. Captain Targaryen speaks of saving the Sivans. A good point as well. What it boils down to is survival, either long term or present. As for me, I have my orders, we're going to help the Svians."

Zim had been following Bishop into the lift and when the Captain stopped short so did Zim. He listened to the Admiral and Captain's words and decided that it sounded like a vote. He thought for a moment, thought about how he was Chief of the Boat and that he spoke for the enlisted on the ship. At this moment thought he spoke for the enlisted throughout Starfleet. Spoke for their families as well. As the Capellan took all of that into consideration he realized he agreed with Galatea. "Sirs, I speak at this moment on behalf of the enlisted throughout the fleet, on behalf of their families. On Capella we have a saying the only battle not worth fighting is one that you should not be in. At this moment the bigger threat is the stolen shuttle and codes. The Svians are not a member of the Federation, and although they have requested help we must prioritize. This is not our fight and the war to follow, the lives to be lost does not need to happen. All of that said I will follow the orders I am given." He mustered to attention. "Thank you sirs ..."

The diplomat inside of Jasmine came out for a moment. She took a deep breath then went on to say. "I am at an empase Captain." She first started to say, as she thought how to word what she was thinking correctly to everyone. "The Starfleet Officer in me says we should help them. But the chief of staff to the president in me says, we should withdrawl. We do not know the ramifications of starting a fight with the Emerald Chain. We could be mutinied for starting a war. We are going in blind, and hoping our humanity will be enough to convince Starfleet our actions were justified. Which is hard, since we have not enough made contact with Starfleet. I vote we withdrawal."

Jasmine hated her answer. But there was to many unknown variables to consider. And she did not want their introduction to this century to be them all getting court martialed for starting a war. Especially when they did not even know the stakes, or the political arena of this time frame. Saying she wanted to withdraw, was a heavy burden on her. She did not want to see anyone suffer. But this decision could have long lasting consequences.

"Captain, while I admit Galatea makes some very good points, I cannot abandon those people. Now if I were a Vulcan, I'd say the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. However, I am not a Vulcan. I am a caitian and we are fierce creatures at heart! I was raised to help people, not abandon them. I just cannot stand by and not help somebody in distress. If it means firing on an Emerald chain ship and possibly starting a war, well I am willing to take that risk. I say Fire away!" R'elle proclaimed. She really hadn't meant to make a speech like that but she had to make her feelings clear!

Lieutenant Jardok turned away from the Science Station and looked at the group that had gathered. The Senior Staff of the Federation Flagship were debating the very future of the Federation, considering questions of the Federation's very soul. Most Vulcans would make a logical argument, but he was far from a logical Vulcan.

"If I may speak," the Vulcan interrupted, "while I am Vulcan I do not always subscribe to the logical arguments of my forebearers. I am more contented to sit at my sensors and monitor the stars or discuss how someone feels about being temporally displaced," he said with a smile unbecoming a Vulcan. "The needs of the many do outweigh the needs of the few by definition and by that argument the greater purpose would be to proceed after the shuttle and leave the Svians to their fate. That would be the argument that my people from our era would make; nevertheless, we are no longer in our era. In this time the people of Ni'Var are just as likely to propose that the needs of the one or few outweigh that of the many. We must consider the option that presents our best selves."

Patton listened to the others speak. “I am always at the ready to do what is necessary and if that means firing on the Emerald Chain then we do so,” He paused. “That being said this isn’t our fight and I do not want to put our people at risk.” Patton hoped he didn’t look weak but he was being honest. “It’s time to walk away.”

Cyrus was all for going to help the Svians, maybe he hd that perception of he was a superhero and had to save all that he could. He had to quell the emotional response that was rising up. He had to look at things like a surgeon would. Or even would that be more like treating this like triage determining who will live and who can be saved. A most difficult decision. Cyrus went back to look at the images once more, having a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. It would take more than just one ship to help those people out. And he could already feel a pang in his heart.

His voice cracked with some deep emotions. "Sir..." Marner paused, swallowing the lump in his throat. "We- we- we need to go after the codes as what Galatea had said." he stammered out.

"At present we're ill equipped to help the Svians the planet is beyond our capabilities, at best we could save a small percentage of the population." Hawkins heard himself sigh. "Those actions however, could cause a great more powerful ripple across the cosmos should we inevitably enter war with the Chain. If we we're in our correct timeline I'd have no hesitation in firing and wiping the grin from Director sh'Vreshaa's face. Here, right now, we're small fry. In my opinion despite my deepest regret I believe we should withdraw and live for another day in hopes soon we'd come out on top."

Willian stood at the center of his Bridge, looking cautiously at the people whom he had known and loved for so long. The decision that they had made was a hard one, a devastating one, and he truly did not anticipate the vote to go the way that it had. He had not been ready to be confronted with the possibility that they would not rush to aid the Svians. Federation law had been clear on their duty: you receive a distress call even from your greatest enemy you help them. History was replete with times that a tender mercy had led to lasting peace. Yet here they were. The Cerulean was pointing her turrets at them now, their minute almost over.

The Commanding Officer of the Starship Enterprise let out a heavy sigh as he processed the repercussions of what he was about to do, but they were right. The needs of the many did outweigh the needs of the few. The problem was the Svians were the few. "Mister Crowe."

"Captain?" The Helmsman questioned turning away from his panel and toward his Captain.

Willian turned toward the pilot, wondering which order would escape his lips, "Prime the Coaxial Drive and plot a course away from Svian. Coaxial 2 for five minutes should do the trick."

There was no wisecrack, no sarcasm, just an answer, "Aye Sir."

"You did the right thing," Galatea interjected from her workstation.

The Captain looked at the android that stood behind the freestanding console, speaking before he could even process a diplomatic answer, "If you were still the AI for this ship and not an android I would have your program decompiled."

The robot smirked, "Good for me then."

"We've all made our choices," Targaryen explained, "now we all need to live with them. Zoss open shipwide channel."

The Bandi Mission Operations Officer nodded, "Channel open, Sir."

"Computer, tie in audio transmissions from Svian 2 to the open comline." He looked over his shoulder, "I'll be in my ready room trying to regain a semblance of what the Federation is."

After a series of beeps and whirrs the computer did as it was told and voices began to overlap as the carnage was heard throughout the ship.

"Another round of beams just destroyed Bunkers six and seven. 20,000 are dead! Help us!."

"Our bunker is collapsing," One screamed while a young child could be heard, "Daddy, Daddy wake up. Wake up!"

Screams echoed throughout the ship, "We've lost containment at the main fusion plant. Half the planet will blow if we don't get help! Of God venting is offline! It's going critical!"

Another, "Please. Save my children. Anyone! Help them!"

"They're poisoning us! We can't breathe. I don't know if anyone is listening to this, but if you are... goodbye."

 

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