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    Getting Answers

    Posted on Tuesday 28 May 2019 @ 22:04 by Commander Melody Jones & Captain John "Apollo" Barstow, M.D. & Commander Save'ena (Sav) Tillatix & Commander Caroline Miller & Lieutenant Michael Ki MD & Marine Captain Adam Towers & Lieutenant Marbim Rejal & Lieutenant Breana Rathburn & Master Chief Petty Officer Harris Zim

    Mission: The New Collective
    Location: Obervation lounge
    Timeline: After Borg Central
    3545 words - 7.1 OF Standard Post Measure


    Ships log, Entry by Commander Melody Jones. The Merlin has arrived at the colony that was attacked by the Borg ship controlled by the 'Puppet Master'. We hope to get information on who created the Puppet Master program and where there are now. Sensors have picked up some energy readings and some unidentified life sign emanating from a shielded location. These could be survivors or something else. I have called a staff meeting to discuss our next move.

    Melody entered the observation lounge and sat at the head of the table, while she waited for the rest of the staff to assemble. As well as getting some input from the senior staff, Melody was going to brief them on sending an away team down to the surface. Being in Command, Melody realized that someone else was going to have to lead the away mission.

    Figuring his Captain would already be in the lounge, Marbim enters with two large mugs, one in each hand. Setting one down he says, “Good morning Captain. According to our computer this seems to be your drink of choice.” Finding a seat he takes a drink of his raktajino. “I can tell you that Operations are running smoothly. I’ve had teams running all over the ship making sure nothing is wrong. There are also teams going over the small pieces of debris from the Borg Cube in Shuttlebay 2. I’m following a protocol set up by Dr. Ki so all personnel are in space suits with internal oxygen and all tools or pieces being brought into labs are undergoing intense security scans to make sure we don’t end up part of a Collective.”

    Melody accepted the cup with a smile. "Thank you Number one. You've covered all the bases."

    Michael came strolling into the Observation Lounge. He had patients to take care of, experiments to run, a Captain to find, and he hated being pulled away from all of that especially for meetings. As such he was tad grumpy as it were. The older man did manage a slight smile when he saw the Commander. "Commander, Lieutenant..." His voice trailed off as he ordered an iced gyukuro from the replicator. Michael took his normal seat and then sipped his drink, which was a tea blend. He sat and rested his head on his hand as he was lost in thought.

    Harris Zim was at a loss for words, he still had not had time to settle in to his quarters or meet any of the enlisted personnel that he was supposed to be in command of. This was now his second meeting since coming aboard, but his first command meeting. He stepped into the Observation lounge and stood at rigid attention behind the chair at the farther end of the table from the Captain. This was traditionally the seat for the COB. He stood sentinel as he observed an ancient Capellan custom, that of no one is in comfort until the leader is in comfort. Harris translated that as you don't sit until the CO does.

    Sav came into the observation lounge still feeling a little groggy. Being a part of the ship for so long had tired her out, it usually did, and as she wasn't really 100% yet, she was really feeling it. She came up to the bartender and requested a large mug of fresh brewed coffee, black. That was one luxury the ship still had, fresh coffee, not replicated, if one went searching for it. Mug in hand, she came over to the table where others were already gathering. She went to a seat on Melody's left, two chairs down, so to leave room for Miles and whoever was acting Second officer to be seated next to Melody. She now moved her muzzle around the lot, saying, "Morning Captain, Lt. Rejal, Lt. Ki, COB." She looked at Zim while pointing to the light duty marker at her collar, then went ahead and sat down into her chair. She yawned again, her needle like front teeth easily seen, then took a sip of her coffee. She churred in pleasure at the taste.

    As soon as Sav was seated, everyone heard and then watched as a large, pleasant smelling flower materialized in front of her.

    Sav perked up and then quickly snagged the flower in her left hand. She brought it to her nose, smelling of the almost honeysuckle fragrance, then put the flower up into her hair along her left ear. She glanced at Miles as her tail shook twice to show affirmation. She just hoped the rest of the officers didn't mind the interrupt of the meeting with the impromptu flirt by Miles.

    Melody looked at Chief Zim and gestured to a vacant chair. "Chief, please have a seat."

    Zim took his seat at the behest of the Commander. There was no sense in standing on tradition, when the order was given to sit. When he sat it was rigid with his back straight. "Thank you ma'am"

    Melody raised a finger and wagged it in a mock chiding manner. “Chief, as I told Number One, drop the ma’am. It makes me feel old.”

    The comment from melody caught Zim a little off guard. He was enlisted she was nothing to him if not ma'am. He quickly reviewed the protocols in his head. Sir would be appropriate but it made Zim feel twitchy calling a woman sir, call it old fashioned. When he found the correct response in the protocol he spoke. "Aye Commander anything you say!"

    Caroline walked in feeling a little refreshed from her talk with Ki a couple of nights back and some sleep. "Captain, XO, doctor, Commander," she stumbled at the new face. "Chief," she nodded spotting his non standard insignia. An enlisted crewman. This must be the new chief of the boat she reasoned making a mental note to go introduce herself at more convenient time. She took the seat next to Sav.

    Sav churred lightly as she whispered, "Yer lookin bettah, Counselor."

    Commander Mathew Roberts, a man in his mid-30's with dark brown hair that was kept just short enough to be in regulation and his features rough, have been a Marine Infantryman before moving to being a pilot, walked in quietly waring the light blue uniform of the fighter operations department and set a PADD between Melody and Marbim and took a seat at the back of the room. Roberts had been assigned TAD, Temporary Assigned Duty, from the USS Chakotay to the Merlin for this mission to assist with the ships wing. The officer scanned the room quickly with his dark blue eyes taking in the other officers at the table then giving a curt nod.

    Melody acknowledged the new arrival. “Commander. We appreciate your being here. I hope you find the fighter squad to your approval.”

    Mat sat forward and nodded, "aye, sir, though they're looking kind of ... thick, any chance we are going out?"

    Melody shook her head "There's no plans for deployment in the immediate future so it will be a good chance for you to take stock and make any repairs that are necessary."

    Towers walked in, having barely had time to throw his bag in his quarters and meet a few of the marines on the ship before the meeting was called. He was reading off a PADD trying to get caught up as he was clueless as to recent events onboard the Merlin. The Marine CO and XO were both 'indisposed' apparently, as the orders were indicated, and the Merlin's CO and XO were also listed as MIA. It seemed like command officers didn't have long life spans onboard this ship. He picked a seat, not really interested in the curious gazes that a newcomer would usually attract.

    Having been summoned, Stephanie was the last to arrive. As usual, her uniform jacket was missing and she was wearing her comm badge on her undershirt and a tool belt full of Engineering implements. She was, also as per usual, filthy and sweaty and looked like she hadn't gotten a good nights sleep in a week. As she stood there, something dripped off her pant leg and made a fairly audible 'splotch' sound on the deck. When she arrived, she looked around and felt the eyes of everyone on her. Casting about nervously to find something to break the tension, she asked. "Who ordered th' Large Pepperoni an' Mushroom wit' extra cheese?"

    Melody looked up sharply. "No one did Lieutenant, Nor did I ask for the observation room carpet to be covered in..... whatever that is you're dripping. Now go get yourself cleaned up and in proper uniform before returning to the briefing."

    "Tough room," Stephanie said under her breath. She continued at normal volume. "It's lubricant, Commanda. When ya called me, I was knee deep in th' stuff. I thought it was urgent so I came right up. If ya lot are content t' proceed without me, I'll return t' my coolant tank an' finish mendin' th' holes." She seemed oddly non-plussed. Her tone wasn't angry or flippant but completely even... As if she was discussing the weather conditions on Risa. The Engineer shrugged. At the moment she would have preferred to be knee deep, sweating in the stuffy tank. At least there she knew where she stood. She made a move to turn to leave, but halfway through, she thought better of it. She hadn't been dismissed. Not that she actually cared, but she had more than enough of Melody and Caroline looking down their noses at her. Best not to give them another excuse.

    "I'm sorry Lieutenant, I didn't quite catch that" Melody replied. "If you were busy with something critical you could have monitored the meeting from engineering, by all means return to your work. You could send up a representative from the engineering department."

    "Aye. I've flushed as much as I could t' th' auxiliary tank, but I'd like t' get it finished before th' increased pressure ruptures that one, too.." She blinked at Mel. "'Twas unaware that was an option. I've just th' victi-- candidate." She tapped her comm badge. =/\= "O'Hara t' Rathburn. Report t' th' observation lounge." =/\= She looked back over to Melody. "May I be dismissed now?"

    Melody nodded. “Of course, dismissed.”

    It hadn't taken long, well... at least not as long as it could have considering she'd been in the middle of running some diagnostic test on the transporter. Something had still been bothering her and she'd set out to run a level one on the thing. Getting the message she had been quick to reply before updating one of the other engineers on how far along she was. With that done, Bree had grabbed a Padd and took off in a job up to the observation lounge. While she wasn't exactly sure what she was wanted for, she wasn't about to question it. After all, who was she to wonder why, all she had to do was live and die.

    Reaching the lounge Breana nipped at her lower lip slightly nervously as she stepped in and peeked around. Great, a briefing and clearly she was... late? Swallowing hard she straightened up a little, her free hand smoothing down over her uniform a little as she sneaked, or at least tried to, over to where the Chief usually sat and slipped into the seat.

    Melody greeted the new arrival. “Ah Ensign, welcome. Don’t worry you haven’t missed anything. Our Chief engineer is required elsewhere so if you wouldn’t mind acting as her representative. Please help yourself to a coffee.”

    "Thanks, but I'll pass on it Commander." Breana said with a slight smile as she placed the PaDD on the table before her. A fleeting glance and respectful nod of a silent greeting was given to the others before she brought her attention once more front and center. While she may not have been late according to the Commanders idea's, anytime she was last to a meeting she considered herself late. Then again, she supposed she clearly had a good excuse this time.

    Caroline smiled at the newcomer recognizing her from ten forward the other night. She patted the chair next to her and tried to convey don't be nervous.

    When all the Senior staff had sat Melody acknowledged each of them in turn before she straightened herself and cleared her throat. "Right then people. As you know, this planet was attacked by the Borg ship that was being controlled by the so called Puppet Master. Our mission here is to find any information on who wrote that program and where they are now. Sensors have picked up some unusual power emissions coming from a shielded location, so that looks like a good place to start."

    She looked at Rajel. "Lieutenant, you will be leading the away team. Have Sensors managed to get any more information?"

    “To be honest, not a lot. Whoever or whatever is down there isn’t local and their tech is unknown to us. I want to take an engineering specialist and our science office, maybe that way we can get a better idea of what we’re up against. Doctor Ki, if you want to come along that would be great, if not you then someone skilled in xenobiology would be handy.” Looking at his Captain he asks, “May we take some Marines with us for backup in case we run into Borg or something worse?”

    Sav counted bodies. That would take up a lot of Senior staff. She should volunteer, she was the best pilot on board to handle anything untoward happening, but, Melody might want her at the helm of the Merlin even more so. Thus, she looked at Melody and asked, "Captain, who did you desire to fly the shuttle?"

    Melody nodded "Yes, by all means take some marine backup." before she turned to Sav. "I need your experience at the helm Commander in case we get any more unexpected arrivals and some evasive maneuvers are needed. Also, the Away team will be beaming down, the sensors have identified a site near the shielded location that is safe for transport."

    Sav nodded to Melody as she replied, "Understood, Captain. The Merlin is in safe hands."

    Michael rather relished the idea to go on an Away Mission. Medical Officer's so rarely got the chance. "Commander, I will join the team thank you. I would also like to add any information that we can get about how the Puppet Master is capable of jumping consciousness would prove fruitful."

    "Anything you can get on its consciousness would be fruitful. I don't know how dangerous or possible this is, I'm not an engineer," Caroline smiled softly, "But if we could get some more of the code its used in the implant and analyze it somehow. Perhaps I can begin to compile a psyche profile. Could we get it working in the holodeck, contain it? So I had a safe interface to speak to it?"

    Michael wanted to add to Caroline's idea for he loved it. "Commander not only could we learn how it ticks sort of speak. We can possible ascertain how it is able to be an individual and jump consciousnesses." This would also assist in saving the Captain, Michael had a theory on how to save Barstow. However, he needed more data before he could present it.

    Hearing Caroline's question Bree thought a moment. She knew the the Borg themselves weren't bothered by most forcefields. After all they could adapt and change to be able to simply walk though them. But, the drones could be cut out of the collective... Bree looked towards Melody then with a smile. "Commander, we could set up a level 10 forcefield over one of the transporters so anything Borg brought on ship would be contained, then transfer the items to another forcefield area in one of the spare cargo bays."

    Melody frowned as she sounded a note of caution. "I'm not a fan of giving the Puppet Master access to our main computer Counselor. If you could get an independent holographic interface with limited abilities setup that would be preferable. I suggest you have a word with engineering."

    Caroline nodded. "Well I really am not an engineer Captain but yes that sounds much better." She turned to the other human woman, "Will you help me Ensign?"

    Harris had been silent as all of the officers spoke, as he was the new guy and he felt it was not his place to speak unless spoken to. However, with the plan that seemed to be forming he had no choice to speak up, so he rose to attention. "Sirs if I may. What you are talking of is absurd. This entity brought itself onto the Merlin forcibly by taking over one of your officers. Now you want to roll out the red carpet and invite it on board. Call me a grunt if you wish however, that sounds like a recipe for disaster. I apologize in advance if I have spoken out of turn." He sat down when he was finished. Zim knew his words would have no effect on their plan of action but in his opinion some one had to speak up.

    Melody looked at Zim. "No need to apologize Chief. I welcome and appreciate input from all the staff. I share your concerns so precautions must been taken. An fully stand alone holographic system, completely isolated from the main computer should prove effective. I think learning more about this Puppet Master program is worth some risk, especially if we are going to have future dealings with it but Caroline, I will not be impressed if you end up blowing the ship to pieces." She added looking at Miller with a wry smile. She turned back to Zim "You could be involved with the project to make sure you're concerns are addressed."

    Zim cocked an eyebrow at the Commander's suggestion. In truth he did not have a good technical mind, however, he was sure there was someone on the ship who was. "Thank you Commander, that would be great."

    Caroline nodded at the newcomer. "I welcome any help, thank you chief."

    Melody looked round at the assembled faces and smiled "Look's like your team is shaping up rather nicely Number one." She looked up at Ensign Rathburn "Has all our battle damage been repaired?"

    A glance went to her PaDD a split second as if to double check herself before giving a nod as her attention once more locked on Melody as she answered. "Cept for what Lieutenant O'Hara is working on at the moment, the worst of it has been Commander. Now it's just the little stuff and making sure everything is running smoothly."

    Melody nodded thoughtfully "I want a transporter lock maintained on our away team so we can pull them out at a moments notice." She focused on Rejal "Lieutenant, I want your team ready to beam down in twenty minutes and keep an open comm link so we can monitor. Is there anything else anyone would like to voice?"

    "Yes Commander." Bree replied before going quiet once more as the attention went to Regal.

    Marbim will look down the table at everyone, "I don't need to stress the lethality and urgency of this mission. Therefore, I'd like a team of four Marines to go with us, especially ones that have prior experience against the Borg. In truth I hope this is all a bad dream that we will wake up from, but the fact is, it isn't. Those of you going, I suggest you gather what equipment you'll need. I will meet everyone in Transporter Room 3 as soon as possible." Looking over to his Captain, "Ma..Captain, do you have anything you want to add, or shall we dismiss everyone to get this, what's it called, shindig, on the move?"

    Melody addressed the Marine who had been sitting quietly at the end of the table. "Captain. I know you've just arrived and i apologize for throwing you in at the deep end. Have you been brought up to speed on current events? Could you assemble a team to accompany Lieutenant Rejal and his people down to the surface in case they encounter any trouble?"

    Melody stood. “Ok people. You all know what to do. Let’s do this for Captain Barstow. Dismissed.”


    ●●● Commander Melody Jones
    Acting Captain / Executive Officer
    USS Merlin

    ●● Lieutenant Marbim Rejal
    First Officer / Chief of Operations
    USS Merlin

    ●●● Commander Caroline Miller
    Chief Counselor
    USS Merlin

    ●●● Commander Save'ena Tillatix
    Chief Flight Control Officer
    USS Merlin

    ● Ensign Breana Rathburn
    Assistant Engineering Officer
    USS Merlin

    ●● Lieutenant Michael Ki
    Chief Medical Officer
    USS Merlin

    >>>> Master Chief Petty Officer Harris Zim
    Chief of the Boat
    USS Merlin

    || Marine Captain Adam Towers
    Company Commander
    USS Merlin


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