On the Road Again
Location: The Briefing Room
Timeline: Mission Day 2 at 0655
[The Briefing Room]
[MD 2: 0655 Hours]
With the away team having returned the day prior, Kodak had given his senior officers time to compile and submit their reports about what had happened down on Shaddam IVa ahead of an official briefing. This, in turn, gave the Captain a chance to review said reports ahead of said briefing, which was scheduled to take place in just a few minutes. He'd gone through each report, appreciative of the level of detail t'Nai, Timmoz, and Wang had included in their accounts of what had taken place. In conjunction with the details shared with him the day prior, Kodak now felt like he had a pretty full understanding of the situation that had developed down on the moon. Still, there were questions to ask, answers to ascertain, and decisions to be made: hence the briefing the Captain was now headed for.
Walking out of his Ready Room, the Captain noticed Commander t'Nai in the hallway just outside the Briefing Room. He gave his first officer a warm smile -- paired with a rosy "Good morning!" -- before gesturing her into the room ahead of him. He entered after and was satisfied to see that the other two invited parties had already arrived. He also noted that danish, coffee, and juice had been put out by a yeoman given the early hour; Kodak wondered if either Timmoz or Xex had availed themselves. He certainly wasn't going to be shy. He'd risen early and skipped breakfast in his quarters so as not to wake Andrew with the noise. Sliding down into his chair, he first gave the Doctor and the Verdant One a nod in greeting and then reached for both a napkin and a bear claw.
"Guten morgen," he offered in his customary rasp as t'Nai, too, took a seat. "I appreciate the three of you making time to meet this morning. Your reports were excellent," Kodak's voice was full of admiration, "and helped me to better understand the events that took place down on the moon. It's clear to me, though," he said, reaching for the pot of coffee and pouring himself a cup, "that certain details still need to be discussed and further decided on. First, though," his startling-gold eyes shifted from person to person, "help yourselves while we talk. This will be pretty informal," he said, gesturing to the refreshments.
"Morning," Timmoz murmured reply over a transparent cup of something to drink- something brown but unlike coffee.
After taking, chewing, and swallowing a bite of his danish, Kodak began again. "Let's start with this Kaldri person. First Maje Subrek seemed very determined to recapture her. According to the report, she told she'd refused to be a concubine and stole a shuttle to escape but something doesn't quite add up there. Subrek gave up his battle with us to continue the chase," the Captain ruminated, leaning back in his chair and sipping his coffee. "Did Kaldri give you any indication that she might have been withholding information about her situation?" This, of course, was directed primarily towards Timmoz and Wang given that t'Nai had been with the group in the abandoned complex.
So typical of the lanky Orion, he partook of no sweets: his species struggled with the flavor of sugars. Instead of had strode to the replicator and had a cup of a beefy, brothy, slightly rancid smelling concoction that was as close to his native Lhoatat that the computer could make- Bovril. "Mmm," Timmoz uttered mid-drink. "She was more interested in holding us at gunpoint than answering questions. At least until we made it clear we were her only way off the moon. I wouldn't say she ever warmed," he looked at Xex. "I would say entirely concerned with her own continuation. But she made it clear she was being hunted by the Kazon, and that this... Maje... is dangerous. More dangerous than a typical Maje." His brows rose in sardonic doubt.
Timmoz's eyes lifted to the Chameloid. They swung to Xex. "But people tell their Doctors more things than their pilots."
Although he had stood as Kodak entered, when the captain sat, so too did Xex, snagging a danish as he did so. Judging by the crumbs clinging to the rumpled-and-well-used-but-freshly-replicated collar of his newly-designed uniform, it was not his first pastry of the morning. In fact, if his somewhat duller-than-usual appearance was anything to go by, this wasn't the CMO's 'morning' at all. Perhaps he was just coming off shift. A glass of orange juice and a mug of something steaming also stood before him. It smelled suspiciously close to whatever it was Timmoz had ordered-- two was as easy as one for the replicator to produce. It seemed the Sojourner's new CMO did not stand on ceremony when it came to comestibles. "Kaldri was dying when we came upon her," Xex said frankly, the words far more visceral than any emotionless report could have made them. Meeting Timmoz's gaze, he nodded thoughtfully in agreement, adding, "As with any sentient concerned with their own survival, I don't doubt she would have said almost anything to secure assistance for herself. I can't think it went unobserved that we were Starfleet personnel and therefore bound to assist her."
"That said," Xex lifted a cautionary finger, "the other Kazon were clearly in pursuit, and I don't think it can be discounted that she actively chose to engage her pursuers, when she could have comfortably remained safely aboard the Waverider. She might have been particularly important to the Maje, but likewise, she was not so afraid of them she would avoid capture at all costs."
Kodak drank in the thoughts of his officers, nodding slowly as they spooled out their observations. "I think I would agree with this Kaldri that First Maje Subrek is more of a threat than we might have thought at first. His ship is quite advanced for the Kazon...or at least, what we knew of them from 30 years ago. I find it hard to believe a sect could become so advanced so quickly," the Chameloid considered, "but maybe there is something special about Subrek and his cohorts. I'm positive we haven't seen the last of them," he offered, making momentary eye contact with t'Nai.
"Curious that Kaldri left the Waverider, though," the Captain continued, veering back to the Kazon woman herself. "If self-preservation was all she was concerned about, I can't imagine she'd have felt safer stealing one of their shuttlecraft versus staying with us. You said in your report, Doctor," Kodak's golden eyes flicked to Wang, "that you gave her your combadge. She is, no doubt, outside of communication range via the badge alone. But would it be possible," he looked around the table, "to use the badge to track where she went in that shuttle?"
Predictably, Xex had just taken an enormous bite of his danish when Kodak's attention flipped back to him. He froze for a brief moment, crumbs flaking from his lips. With a herculean effort, he managed to chew-- too briefly, it seemed-- and swallow hastily. Although his skin did not lend itself to the color changes of an embarrassed flush, he squirmed just enough to give the same impression. "I will stress that I gave it to her out of concern for the Waverider's phaser targeting. I prefer not to save lives only to send them out into a killing zone." Xex paused, took a swig of bovril, and glanced to Timmoz and t'Nai. "Given that it is my commbadge we're speaking about, I certainly hope such a thing is possible," he said wryly, though he seemed none-too-certain. Clearly he hadn't considered the long-term ramifications of that one split-second decision.
"I promise," Kodak began softly, "I am not questioning your decision, Doctor. I think it was a good one, honestly," he nodded before taking another sip of his kaffee. "By your accounts, she was heading outside to help stave off the Kazon while everyone boarded. You were literally hands deep in patients," he smirked, using "literally" as anything but, "and I think giving her your combadge was smart given the situation. Here's my concern, though," the Chameloid leveled his golden gaze at Timmoz and t'Nai as well. "I have no doubt we'll face Subrek and his ship again. A ship, I might add," he sighed softly, "that is way more advanced than it has any right to be. Kaldri might know something that could help us in future altercations."
Xex's blunt, silvery fingers drummed on the table, his gaze taking on the unfocused, faraway look of someone deep in thought. "I'm almost certain she does know something," he put in, scrubbing a hand across his tired face. "I'm just not confident she would share it with us. But then," his eyes focused, his expression sharpened and he flashed a smile, "I'm sure she's a very different person when not on the desperate edge of death."
Timmoz chuckled at the notion, shook his head and sipped his Lhoatat stand-in with a wince. It really was vile. But in all the right ways. "So are you proposing we track the commbadge signal? If Subrek's ship is a match for the Sojourner we might want to try and call in assistance from Pathfinder Station. They have a small contingent of vessels to help safeguard it while its completed." Timmoz suggested. "Maybe they could spare someone."
Emni had been largely quiet up to this point, sipping slowly on a cup of coffee and picking at a danish, though it was evident that she wasn't particularly hungry. She'd spent quite a bit of effort, as the first officer, going over the prior day's deterioration and, though she knew sensibly that she couldn't shoulder the responsibility for unforeseen factors, felt the weight of her position at the thought of both the injured and the dead. In short, she hadn't slept well.
"Although Pathfinder may be able to help, do we have reason now to believe that Pathfinder or other Starfleet vessels could be a target of this," she ran a finger along the rim of her mug, "Subrek?" She looked between each of them, her expression open and neutral as much as she could make it while this tired. "It seems early, to me, to assume that we should call in help. We have no reason to be sure that the Kazon would have even fired on us had it not been for this... Kaldri's..." she formed the foreign name in her mouth the way one might taste a particularly hot beverage, "presence there." Again, she looked around the table at each person in turn. "Taking an offensive posture seems, premature, but then I was not engaged with Kaldri," here she looked from Xex to Timmoz, "or Subrek," then on to Kodak. "So my view may be lacking some of the nuances of your encounters."
Timmoz's eyes dropped to the sheen of the table, whilst his mouth twisted. He made a hum of dissent. "The Kazon are fond of taking literally any incursion into their space by others- accidental or otherwise- as a reason to fight. I would recommend we maintain a strong position. And Kaldri made it clear that Subrek is more ruthless than the average Maje." Timmoz looked at the Captain, "And to be frank, we killed several of them on the surface when it was clear they intended to end us. They won't forget that."
Xex hummed in agreement; although Kaldri may have been the first incursion onto Shaddam IVa, the other Kazon hardly seemed to take Starfleet's presence kindly either.
Kodak soaked all of the discussion in, his mind following thought trails down various proposed rabbit holes of possibility. "I agree that it's early yet," the Captain nodded to t'Nai, "but leaving Subrek unchecked in this part of the quadrant seems problematic given how advanced his ship is. But then again," he mused with a frown, "we're just one ship on an even playing field with the Kordra-Lisrit. Calling in some support might be wise...assuming it's available," he said, eyes drifting to Timmoz.
"Rather than go on the offensive, though, we could simply patrol the area and see if this Kaldri pops back up? Keep the sensors checking for the Doctor's combadge signal," he offered the silver-skinned man a nod. "That really was good thinking there," Kodak said encouragingly. "In conjunction, we can try to keep tabs on Subrek and his ship's movements where and when we can. And before our next confrontation," his golden eyes narrowed, "perhaps study what we were able to glean from scans of his ship to think up our next plan of attack."
"Perhaps Oliveria and his team will have some ideas of how to fine tune and enhance the sensors to get a wider view of the commbadge," Timmoz said, ahving fallen into the Captain's preference for a middle way. "We could also send out a notification on Starfleet secure bands and send the comm signal to any Federation or allied ship." He smirked, "Assuming Kaldri won't just shoot at them on site, it might be wise to cast a wider net."
Xex shrugged, a gesture both self-deprecating and hesitant. He looked ready to say something, nearly buried it in his bovril, and then gamely put the cup down and spoke up, building on Timmoz's statement. " Also assuming Kaldri kept the badge. I suppose we have no other assumption on which to proceed, but its usefulness to her would have diminished rapidly once she was out of range of our own targeting systems." Beneath the table, his knee began to jiggle.
Emni frowned into her coffee, taking a long sip while she worked on organizing her thinking. "Patrolling the area may make sense for the short term. At least long enough to determine if Kaldri is within range and if Subrek is likely to return. A few days maybe?" She had lowered her mug, but instead of placing it back on the table held in in both hands as if it were a talisman. "We are outside of our space here. We know the Kazon are likely to attack, so being prepared is reasonable. It's the idea that we should do anything beyond preparation and a ready defense that gives me pause. Do we know how many Kazon serve under Subrek? Any idea where his home base is? Are we likely to be poking a bees' nest if we give even an impression of being on the offensive?"
Kodak considered that. "We don't have a lot of information to go on here. For the time being, I agree with Commander t'Nai that we should be wary of poking the bear," he said, trading eye contact with Wang, Timmoz, and his XO in turn. "Let's cast a wide net to keep tabs but avoid deliberately provoking Subrek if we can. The goal is Kaldri -- she may need our help," he stressed, "or maybe we need her's," he said, letting the thought hang in the air. She had information they needed if they were going to face Subrek again, after all. "Either way, we're in this now and should proceed carefully."
After taking another sip of his kaffee, the Captain said, "Let's get Oliveria and his team working on a way to track the good Doctor's combadge. If we get a ping, we can decide on our next steps from there. Thank you," he held up his PADD, "for your detailed reports and your perspective this morning. Was there anything else you wanted or needed to talk through?" he asked of his senior officers, giving them an opportunity to voice the as-yet unstated or asked.
Timmoz looked at the other two, keen to rise to his feet. He was inclined to stretch, cat-like body feeling tense. But he held for the moment, feels antsy, like a caged creature. But such displays might have been Orion, but not Starfleet. So he schooled himself in his Cluros. "We did at least get her warp signature. So Oliveria's team might have some idea of where to point their task. Meantime I will study Subrek's flagship. And see if there's anything Bridgeport might find useful the next time the Kazon decide we're in their way."
"Agreed," Xex added, with an amused uptilt at the corner of his mouth. "Kaldri seems like nothing so much as capable." He pushed halfway to his feet, only to belatedly realize he had not actually been dismissed. He dropped back down smoothly, as though the entire movement was one giant fidget. "Not I," he said in response to Kodak's question, "but I would like to make another round before I hand off to doctor Marwol. Thank you captain," he added seriously, "for taking Kaldri's health and wellbeing seriously. She may have left of her own free will, but I'm not confident in her continued survival rate."
Emni was last to weigh in, listening carefully and working to block out the going emotions, twin sensations of imminence and anticipation with an undercurrent of urgency that spoke of the desire for the meeting to break up. "I don't have anything further," Emni confirmed, though she didn't stand, determinedly keeping her seat and lifting her coffee mug to her lips once again to drain the rest of the beverage.
"Of course," Kodak responded to Xex's gratitude over the Kaldri situation. For Timmoz, a nod. "Thank you, Lieutenant," he offered to the Orion. "We'll see what we can do. No promises but, hopefully," the Chameloid shared a look with t'Nai, "we can make some headway here. That's all for now then," he said, a wrapping up tone suffusing his voice as he rose to a standing position. "We'll make some additional decisions once we know more. In the mean time, please...don't make me take all this home," he smirked, gesturing to the half-eaten tray of danishes.
=/\= A joint-post by... =/\=
Captain Björn Kodak
Commander Emni t'Nai
Chief Flight Controller
Lieutenant Xex Wang
Chief Medical Officer