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Senior Staff Briefing

Posted on Wed May 11th, 2016 @ 1:11pm by Captain Julius Whitlam & Commander Elliot Drake & Lieutenant Commander Anders Odegaard & Lieutenant Samantha Winters & Lieutenant Mikela Reyes MD & Captain Melody Windsor & 2nd Lieutenant Robert Lancaster & Staff Sergeant Sandrine White

Mission: The Ties That Bind
Location: Briefing Room, Deck 1
Timeline: MD01 - 1300hrs


Alice sat in the briefing room slightly surprised. She'd been on board less than an hour, was advised of the meeting only a few minutes ago by the Quartermaster, and yet.. she was the only one here. Either this ship had lax arrival regulations, or everyone was really really busy. With a shrug she looked over the PADD offered by her arrival escort, detailing ship specific procedures and expectations. Running a department was going to be very challenging indeed. Just the way she liked it.

Drake arrived shortly after Rhodes. There was not a lot to be happy about lately, but he was glad to see that the new operations chief was already settling in. "Good morning, Lieutenant. I don't believe I've had the chance to welcome you aboard." He extended his right hand. "Commander Elliot Drake."

With a great big smile, Alice took his hand and shook it firmly. "Alice Rhodes sir. I've been on board all of fifty odd minutes." She set the PADD on the table. "You'd have been my next stop I promise." Her tone was as jovial as her smile suggested.

"I"m sure I would have been, Lieutenant," Drake replied, mustering up a smile. "Have you seen much action so far?"

"A lot of civilian support actually. I was lucky enough not to find myself in anyone's crossfires so far, although I'm guessing that should change soon enough." Her optimism faltered slightly for a moment, but she smiled to her superior officer nonetheless.

"I wish I could say that wasn't the case. We've been lucky to stay out of some of the worst fighting, but I have a bad feeling that there's a whole lot of war left." Elliot realized that he probably wasn't doing much for crew moral, but he had to admit that his moral had been pretty low lately. He tried his best to turn things around, for whatever it was worth. "But the Manoora is a good ship. If any ship will get us through this, she will."

Anders arrived at the Briefing after having Lieutenant Saeed relieve him at Tactical, the new Second Officer was settling in to both his new Department and his Command responsibilities. He took the seat on the right hand side of the main seat. With a nod to those who were present he took his seat.

Melody walked in with her hands in her pockets. Time to get back into the saddle, she knew that. She was ready, but dammit, she hated staff meetings. She found the nearest seat and flopped down the all the grace and delicacy of a gut shot rhino.

Lieutenant Commander Keller was chatting quietly with Lieutenant Lancaster near the end of the table, discussing the latest reports that had come in about Starfleet's loses against the Dominion. Normally the squadron leader wouldn't bring his subordinates to a senior staff meeting like this, but that news had shifted his way of thinking. Fighter pilots, in craft that hadn't been updated in any major way in decades, were suffering some of the highest rates of casualties amongst the fleet and many of their most experienced personnel had been lost. There was a need now to ensure that there would be leaders amongst their ranks to fill the void should something happen to him and others; having Bobby sit in was a small way to see if the kid would have what it would take.

Sam had left coming to the meeting until the last minute - working in the jeffries tubes right up until the point that one of her engineers had to practically kick her out of it to get to the meeting on time. She strolled in last, apart from the captain, with her sleeves still pushed up to her elbows and grease on her pants where she had wiped her hands. She nodded casually to the rest of the staff as she took her seat. "Morning all." To which Alice waved back with a smile.

The door sighed open and Captain Julius Whitlam strode into the briefing room, a PADD in hand and a grim expression on his face.

"Captain on deck!" Ensign Sel'alla, the most junior officer there, called when the captain entered.

When the practice had first started way back at the start of this war, Whitlam cringed when he heard it, dismissing it as a martial step too far for his liking. But this war was changing many things and now he barely noticed it, or the reaction of his officers who all stood at their place and snapped to attention. He took his place at the head of the table and gestured for them all to be seated. "At ease," he said, taking his own seat. He placed the PADD on the table in front of him and leaned forward. "We've received our orders."

Anders looked towards the Captain, the Second Officer didn't like those words. "Where are they shipping us off to now Sir?" He asked with a curious look now across his face.

Whitlam tapped a control on the tabletop and the main screen flicked on to reveal a tactical map of a region of space that included seven star systems. Three of them were highlighted and named. Whitlam pointed up to it as his crew turned their heads. “The Delphus Sector,” he said, leaning back in his chair. “The Dominion is advancing on it in significant force. Rather than risk another defeat, Starfleet has decided to withdraw. It’s strategically not worth a fight and we only have half a dozen ships stationed there to protect some small resource mines.”

He tapped another control and the focus of the display zoomed in to one of the highlighted systems. “Here’s the problem,” Whitlam continued. “A couple of years ago, a group of very determined individuals decided to establish a colony on Faidon IV, despite failing to secure approval from the Federation Colonial Authority. They're a somewhat isolationist bunch and have been generally resistant to any and all overtures from the Federation. But, they remain Federation citizens and deserve our protection. Which is why Starfleet is sending us to evacuate the Faidon IV colony.”

The captain paused and looked around at his officers. “Any questions so far?”

"How man Colonists are we talking?" Anders asked, he knew the region well enough from the Intelligence reports he had seen from the front, but nothing about Colonies. "A few dozen or a Few hundred?"

"Three hundred and change," Whitlam replied.

Alice took notes. Thankfully this was well within ship capacity. It would be rather easy to accommodate everyone. Unless they were the type to clash elbows. "Are we expecting resistance to the evacuation?"

The captain nodded gravely. "Command believes there is a very high likelihood of resistance to any evacuation order," he said. "The USS Faraday attempted to pay them a visit last year but were refused. We are authorised to use any means necessary to evacuate the colony."

Alice frowned. This was not the kind of help she'd hoped to offer. "Well then, I guess we'll need to be extra good hosts then." The smile returned, and with it the conviction, if only temporary, that their actions were the right ones.

Drake had another question regarding the colony. "Just how isolationist are these colonists? Do they at least know that there is a war going on?"

"The Federation News Service transmits to them," Whitlam replied. "Whether they pay attention or not, we won't know until we get there."

Keller spoke up, raising a hand slightly, "What do we know about enemy movements in the area? Do we have any good intelligence on what sort of forces the Dominion might be able to spring on us if things go south?" Lancaster shifted in his chair next to his superior, obviously wondering much the same thing.

Tapping the control in front of him again, Whitlam turned back to the display screen and pointed at it, "We're expecting the main thrust of their advance to be directed against these two systems - Talaqani and Ledra." He turned back to face Keller. "The fact that Starfleet generally stays out of the Faidon System works in our favour. Knowing Dominion tactics so far in this war, we should expect small recon elements to probe the system. Hopefully no more than three attack ships. Intel doesn't expect them to use recon-in-force on a place like Faidon."

"Let's hope Intelligence doesn't drop the ball on this one," Keller said softly. Three attack ships was no small threat in the first place. If they won't up encountering even more, then things were bound to go bad, and fast. The fight pilot seemed content to leave his line of questions there, confident that the captain and first officer would have already been through this area thoroughly enough for some modicum of safety. Bobby leaned over and whispered in Keller's ear, something about reinforcements, and the older man shook his head slowly.

"What are we expecting once they're on the ship?" Sam asked, leaning back in her chair as she thought through any reconfigurations to the cargo bays or other areas of the ship that would be needed to cope with that many people. "Do we expect to need to contain them away from the rest of the crew? Or do we think once they're onboard they'll be amicable enough to not need to be penned into a cargo bay behind forcefields and robot guard dogs with lasers on their heads?"

Whitlam shook his head, "Unfortunately, we won't know that until we get them here. Amicable or not, I want them set up in temporary accommodation in one of the cargo bays. I'll decide whether we lock them in or not once we know more about their state of mind."

"I'll keep the robot guard dogs on standby, then," Sam joked.

The captain permitted himself a wry smile at the engineer's comment before moving on with the briefing. “When we arrive at Faidon, we will make contact with the colonial leadership,” Whitlam continued. “Regardless of their initial reaction to our presence, I intend to take an away team to the surface to conduct a face to face meeting with the leaders of the colony.

“Number One,” he said, turning to Drake. “You will remain here in command of the ship.” Before the XO could say anything, Whitlam held up a hand and continued, “I know what you’re going to say. But in this case, it’s more important that the senior officer on station be on the surface to encourage the evacuation.”

Whitlam did know exactly what he was going to say, and Drake knew that there was no point in arguing it. He could note his objections until his face turned blue, but the captain had a point. He was better suited to meet with the colony leadership. "Fair enough, Captain, as long as the objection is noted."

“Commander Odegaard, Lieutenants Rhodes and Winters, Doctor Reyes and Captain Windsor will be joining me on the away team.” He turned to the second officer, “Mr Odegaard, your job will be to assess the security requirements for the colonists once they are evacuated. I’ll also need your help in convincing them to agree to evacuate.”

Anders nodded, he didn't like the thought of the Captain being Planet side for this one. "Aye Sir, if we can convince them that the threat is real then it shouldn't be a problem." He commented to the Captain.

“Ms Rhodes, your job will be to determine the logistics of the evacuation,” Whitlam continued, looking at the chief operations officer. “Find out what they will need to take with them and how to get them and their equipment back to the ship.”

"Shouldn't be that bad. I'll dig through the archives and take a look. I can have a preliminary report on your desk first thing in the morning." She finished a few notes on her PADD and nodded. "We'll be ready to get them out by the time we get there."

“Ms Winters,” Whitlam said, turning to the chief engineer. “We’re not sure what equipment they have down there, but they may need your engineering expertise. I want you there to provide any engineering support you think necessary.”

"You got it," the engineer responded with a nod of her head. "I'll make sure to pack my decent tool kit."

Next, the captain's eyes landed on Reyes. "Doctor, I want a report on the health of the colonists. Time will be of the essence, so I don't expect it to be comprehensive, but if anything doesn't seem right to you or if there are any obvious major concerns I want to know about it."

"Knowledge and intuition, aye sir," Mikela responded with a wry smile. She was seated comfortably, leaning back slightly, her cane by her side.

“Captain Windsor,” Whitlam looked down to the marine captain at the far end of the table. “We don’t have any time to waste on this operation; if we spend too much time entertaining all of their minor objections the Dominion will roll right over us before we have a chance to get out of there. So, I want you and two of your meanest-looking marines in combat gear on the away team. Your job is to intimidate them and communicate – just by your presence – that we’re not here to mess around. Can you handle that?”

Melody nodded slowly, a smile blossoming on her face, "Oh, yes, sir. We're masters of looking scary. I know just the guys, too," She said, nodding confidently.

“Good,” Whitlam replied with a curt nod. “And have the rest of Delta Company on stand-by in case we need crowd control.”

"I'll have drop ships loaded and ready to drop at a moments notice, sir," She replied with a nod.

Finally, Whitlam turned to the Squadron Leader. “Commander Keller, as soon as we make orbit of the planet, I want you to maintain a constant combat air patrol. If we have any recon units of the Dominion Fleet enter the system, you’ll be the first to know it." He paused and a grim expression crossed his face as his eyes pierced into the pilot's. "Your people will also need to delay them if they opt for recon-in-force. Do you understand?”

There was much and more unspoken words in the captain's gaze, and Keller understood even if Lancaster next to him was casting questioning glances back and forth between the two men, "Understood, sir. We'll keep the skies clear." Perhaps it was the seriousness with which Captain Whitlam and Commander Keller spoke, but Bobby thought he understood part of it at least; if it came down to it, the CAP would provide a delaying force to give the evacuation time to get back to the Manoora - even if that meant the CAP wasn't going to themselves. That settled the young man down, and he sank back into his seat quietly.

Whitlam looked around at his officers, confident that they could all get the job done. “Any further questions?”

When none were forthcoming, the captain stood up, triggering everyone assembled to copy the action. "Excellent. I want departmental readiness reports to the XO by eighteen hundred hours. We depart at nineteen hundred. Dismissed."

Captain Julius Whitlam
Commanding Officer

Commander Elliot Drake
Executive Officer

Lieutenant Sam Winters
Chief Engineer

Lieutenant Commander Anders Odegaard
Chief Security/Tactical Officer/ Second Officer

Lieutenant Alice Rhodes
Chief Operations Officer

Lieutenant Commander Keller
Squadron Commander

2nd Lieutenant Robert Lancaster
Fighter Pilot - Red Flight

Marine Captain Melody Windsor


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