Posted May 15, 2021, 10:58 p.m. by Warrant Officer Jonathan Durheim (Chief Engineering Officer) (William Deaton)
Posted by Captain Zachariah Cobb (Commanding Officer) in MPT-LS: Year of Hell - Prologue - Meeting in Admiral Roebuck’s Office (all senior staff summoned)
Posted by Lieutenant Surda (Chief of Security / RTF) in MPT-LS: Year of Hell - Prologue - Meeting in Admiral Roebuck’s Office (all senior staff summoned)
Posted by Warrant Officer Jonathan Durheim (Chief Engineering Officer) in MPT-LS: Year of Hell - Prologue - Meeting in Admiral Roebuck’s Office (all senior staff summoned)
Posted by… suppressed (6) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Their homecoming had so far been routine. Out at the anchorage, the unloading and reloading of anomalies was proceeding without any major incidents. While on the base proper, the Leviathan’s weary crew were seizing the opportunity to stretch their legs amongst the merchant wings of the station’s three districts. For Zachariah Cobb, the opportunity to reconnect with an old friend was a particular highlight of their visit. For the old friend, however, this reunion with the Leviathan would come at a price - the paying of which had been weighing heavily on Admiral Roebuck now for days.
So when the Leviathan’s senior crew arrived at the Admiral’s office following his summons, they would find both Roebuck and Cobb already seated on opposite sides of the room, their private negotiations already completed and almost tangible in the acute tension currently standing between them…
- Captain Zachariah Cobb / Admiral Roebuck
Casela walked in alone. Among the crew she was one of the few that had only spent only a brief hour on the station. Instead staying on the ship, in her quarters. Still not fully recovered from her injuries. She glanced from Cobb to Roebuck and back. Her whole body went on alert and she felt distinctly sick, and though it wouldn’t show on her face, there was an acute sense of panic filling her. And pour Raauhl, though not having arrived yet, would feel it in that far to clear, far too strong connection. She looked between them again. Cobb the man that she had learned to not just respect but care for deeply, the man who had, as near as anyone could, replaced her father. Who’d she’d risk the knife edge of the precipice for. And then Roebuck the man she owed far to many favors to. “No. We’ve done enough.” She sat down her words futile. The decision was made. She was already running through the listed crew and who would have to stay behind, still too unfit to come along.
Lt Synthi-er, CNS
Lazol was next on the list of those to enter. He was still officially not a member of Starfleet he wasn’t required to come to these meetings but given that he and the ARU top brass weren’t best of friends and this was something organized by most of the heads of the organization he felt it was necessary to join. He had been doing plenty of business while on the station and had envoys from his own business empire checking in with him and whatnot. His personal ship was docked, currently commanded by an ambitious but oddly loyal cousin of his while the business in it’s entirety was run by a committee chosen by merit as opposed to connection, which garnered some unusually strong respect for the old Ferengi. A few other of his ships were around, more older Klingon vessels that had been retrofitted for anomaly hunting themselves while Lazol transferred information as he saw fit. He sat down looking his finest, a pre-authorized lackey bringing gifts for each at the table.
The lackey placed a small box wrapped in Andorian silk with a soft bow on top, inside the box was a plush pillow stuffed with the finest down and resting on top was a vintage hard cover copy of Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy which was wrapped in a soft velvet which itself had laying on it a pocket watch of gold pressed latinum and the hours where marked with Rigelian flamegems. The gifts were meant to show that he appreciated his opportunities so far with the book being a classic of Earth literature and the watch to symbolize the time spent already and the time to be spent ahead. Now was he to know that the book’s description of the entrance of hell bearing the inscription “ABANDON EVERY HOPE, WHO ENTER HERE” was to be more than accurate? And that the watch was to mark perhaps the dwindling time they had left in this mortal plane? Perhaps that the fineries of silk and velvet were luxuries that where fleeting and going to be seen as foolish beyond their means? No he had no idea. As of right now Lazol was in one of the best moods that the command crew would see. It might be the last good mood he was to be in for a long, long time.
Roebuck’s grimace at the entrance of the Ferengi science chief was, curiously, not reflected in Zachariah Cobb. Instead, the Leviathan’s captain looked almost pleased to see Lazol. Or perhaps it was the gifts he brought with him that had helped to temper the old man’s mood. With an appreciative whistle, Cobb lifted the pocket watch, turning it over in his hands to watch the play of the flamegems in the light, before delivering it into the waiting, outstretched hand of the Admiral.
The book, however, earned a very different reaction. With a somewhat apprehensive chuckle, Zachariah leafed through a handful of pages, then fixed keen eyes on the DaiMon.
“Abandon hope, all ye who enter here?” he paraphrased the book’s classic line. “Do you know something about our next mission that I do not, Mr Lazol?”
Cobb’s intention had been as a joke, but still, on the other side of the room, Roebuck shifted somewhat anxiously in his seat, as if the book, or perhaps the implications if what it contained, were difficult for him to think on…
- Captain Zachariah Cobb
OOC: I’ll give the other senior staff one more day to turn up and then we’ll move on with the briefing and people can backfill their entrances later if they wish.
The door opened again and Theo entered he nodded his head at each staff member present. “Good day everyone.” He said and moved to stand out of the way where he could still see and hear. He watched each person a moment in turn,
OOC: I don’t think I said it correctly, but each person has an identical box with the same items inside.
Durheim wasn’t much of one for ‘fancy dress’, and he made no real accommodations for much of anyone; after all, what was the point? Invariably, he was going to get filthy in a relatively short period of time - it was a matter of when, not if. That being said, he did show up to the meeting in a fresh jumpsuit, free of grease and oil.
He entered the room with a wide smile on his face; the time spent at the station had been enormously productive. The Leviathan had been long due for a refit and resupply, and the exceptionally rare chance to clear out the containment deck (even if only temporarily) had not been wasted. He had virtually press-ganged any and all free (and ‘free’) crew available, and was making very solid progress on some desperately needed repairs and upgrades. As such, his current mood was elevated beyond even his typically cheerful attitude - happiness was nearly radiating off of him in palpable waves.
As he entered the room and took over an empty chair, his insatiable curiosity was turned towards the delicate box that had been placed in front of the empty seat; ignoring the abundant brass upon the unknown man’s collar. After all, if the man turned out to be important, surely someone would make that clear at the appropriate time.
Opening the box with delicate metal fingers, his head cocked to one side upon seeing the filigreed timepiece, and beneath it, the antique book. Lifting the watch, he examined the case momentarily, appreciating the fine detail work, and the smooth mechanical movement of the neatly worked hands. After a moment, he flipped it over and promptly removed the case back, an eager grin forming as he gazed upon the complicated spring-driven mechanism that had been so rudely concealed.
A hand dove into a cargo pocket, retrieving a folding parts tray and a number of fine tools. Discarding the priceless book and case entirely, he promptly began disassembling the watch, examining with glee each component and mechanism as he set them upon the tray.
-WO Durheim; the Easily Distracted by Shiny Objects
Surda entered, uncharacteristically hesitant. She dropped her shoulders to the admiral, forgoing a more human acknowledgment. The box was all but ignored, tucked into her side as she unwaveringly watched Roebuck.
The usually affable Roebuck today remained silent, keen grey eyes studying, in turn, each member of Cobb’s senior crew. The weight of his task was as the sky to a weary Atlas, his customary charm banished by a solemnity that could rival Zachariah himself. Lazol’s gifts had offered a welcome, if fleeting, distraction for a time. But that time quickly passing for all save engineering chief Durheim, Roebuck permitted himself a final, remorseful glance towards his dear friend, Cobb. Then with a posture as dignified as his voice was assured, the Admiral rose to his feet and began to address the room.
“On December 5th, 1945, on mine and Captain Cobb’s home planet of Earth, a group of five terrestrial aircraft, known as Flight Nineteen, were participating in an overwater navigation training flight in conjunction with the US Navy. Approximately 56 nautical miles into their flight, the aircraft began reporting issues with their navigation systems. After several failed attempts to re-establish a correct heading, all contact with the flight was lost. They were never heard from again.”
“That was our homeworld’s first encounter with a spatial anomaly. Over the years it became known as the ‘Bermuda Triangle’ and, until the ARU established containment centuries later, it was successful in swallowing over fifty separate aircraft and half as many ships with countless crewmembers on each.”
He paused to gaze down at the pocketwatch, a visual countdown at odds with the passage of his own, excruciating thoughts. If he were to smash open the timepiece and forever stay its creeping hands, could the Leviathan remain here for ever? With Cobb and his people ensconced safely within the walls of the starbase?
“Two weeks ago,” he continued his monologue at last, “an ARU vessel, the USS Essex, was completing a survey mission around Delta Alini 6 when they began to report similar navigational issues. Over the next two days the condition of their vessel, and their crew, appeared to deteriorate rapidly, until at noon on the third day we lost contact. The USS Rokovoko was sent to investigate but failed to find any evidence of the Essex. They did, however, begin to report similar issues with vital ship systems. Then two days ago, they sent us this.”
The room’s viewscreen shrieked to life, the haggard face of Captain Tashtego like a ghost emerging from a blizzard of static.
“We thought it merely a void. But we were wrong. There’s something else in here with us.”
A pause. From somewhere in the background the sound of screaming.
“The ship…[unintelligible]…no longer under our control. A course has been set but…[unintelligible]…oh god, we’ve gone to warp…”
Cut. Static. Resume.
“Cold. Dark. Frightened. Oh god, what is that? It’s everywhere. I…there’s nowhere left to…”
A cloying silence descended, the Admiral’s next words already predicted by Zachariah Cobb. Not that he’d offer such a comfortable release. If these were truly Roebuck’s wishes then he could damned well speak them with his own tongue!
For his own part Roebuck merely nodded, the redundancy of his next sentence at painful odds with the duty to deliver as required. Abandon hope all ye who enter here. So shall it be.
“We will lose no more vessels to this anomaly,” he declared. “It is the Leviathan’s mission to locate it, investigate it and contain it. You have five days to make final preparations. And thirty minutes to voice any lingering questions.”
- Admiral Roebuck / Captain Zachariah Cobb
Durheim’s attention remained focused on his work, until Admiral Roebuck began speaking. His hands froze, and his eyes carefully watched the man as he paced the room. After a time, his hands fidgeted mindlessly with the delicate components as he found himself interested in the story.
A thoughtful expression crossed his face, and he looked down at the mess of parts as he contemplated his question. “Mr. Roebuck - it sounds as though this “Bermuda Triangle’ acts… hmmm, relatively quickly, let’s say. Whereas this hypothesized anomaly… well, it seems, ah, slower, let’s say - taking multiple days before losing all contact. Are there any other notable differences or similarities? Or is the case of the Bermuda Triangle provided for context?”
“As well, was there any data recovered beyond the provided audio? Perhaps video, or telemetries? It sounds as though the crew believed that there was… ‘something else’ present - immediately prior to their entering warp, it would seem. Could a life support malfunction explain any of this phenomena? Not that I am discounting the presence of an anomaly of some sort, but I believe it to be a valid question. Did the crew’s reports prior to the.... ‘deterioration’, if you will, seem abnormal at all? And what was the timeline of the Rokovoko? Did it match the Essex?” Durheim paused his relentless questions, thinking about what very little was known. “Are the records of the Bermuda Triangle accessible? And are any studies being done currently; or had any been done after containment?” His insatiable curiosity had come to the forefront; his hands were fidgeting with excitement over the unknown; the over-eager look in his eyes dismissing any interpretation of fear.
-WO Durheim; CE
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