Location: Conference Room
Mystery closed her lap top and leaned back in her seat. New orders had come in from headquarters. Why she'd gotten them only headquarters knew. Getting up she walked into the conference room and called the senior staff to report. She'd ordered a tray of goodies for the staff to enjoy as well.
"All right, Lieutenant." Feyd said to Balrog as he put the final touches on his file about the most recent incident with drexel pods. "That's one for the books. You've a clean bill of health."
Just then, the call came in from Commander Ellis to report for a briefing. "And just in time it seems. Let's go."
[Captains Ward Room]
Sitting in the small office he had built into his kitchen remodel on the ship, Thomas got the request from Ellis to supply a tray of "goodies" to a meeting. The only thought that exploded through his head when he read the request was the insult to his profession to supply goodies, what the hell are goodies?!? Obviously this was an individual who thought pizza rolls and salami on crackers made for a good snack. He immediately typed out a flaming response that in politically correct language basically said "I DON'T WORK FOR YOU!". Before he could hit send, his wife laid a hand on his shoulder and whispered in his ear, his anger at the affront visited upon him evaporated immediately and he deleted his response.
Closing his eyes and taking a few deep breaths his mind immediately began preparing a menu for the event. Knowing that the love of her life was now working Marie kissed him on the cheek and went into the kitchen to summon the crewmen that they had identified and interviewed as people who were capable of working in a real kitchen.
Kevin stepped out of the shower and towel dried his short blond hair. His questioning of Lieutenant Balrog had not revealed anything useful. The lieutenant had gone to sleep in his passenger quarters aboard the Ferengi vessel after the ship had broken orbit from Choban 5 and had awoken in the shipping container. Nothing about his activities before going to sleep raised any suspicions and he did not remember having interacted with any of the Ferengi aggressors. The deadend was frustrating but Kevin had completed his portion of the investigation. The rest was up to someone else.
After submitting his report to the Federation investigator on the starbase, Kevin had gone for a run. He had developed an affinity for running while at the Academy. He enjoyed the solitude. Years apprenticed aboard a merchant vessel had given him an appreciation for for the outdoors, and he would have much preferred to run out of doors but that was difficult aboard a starship.
He was putting on his boots when the staff meeting notification from Commander Ellis came in. "Duty calls," he muttered, as he pulled his tunic over his head. He wanted to stop by the CTO's office to grab his PADD before the meeting so he needed to hustle.
Mystery watched as the senior officers filed in and took seats. Once they were all seated she called up the holo projector. It showed Star Base 945 this is under the command of Commodore Jennifer Smith. The ships are the USS West Wind a Vesta Class under the command of Captain Sam Jones. And the USS Mitzi an Akria Class under the command of Commodore Gil Foley." Mystery switched the viewer "There is also a solar system that lies a half light year from where the star base is located. Our orders are to proceed to star base 945 and find out what happened to the base and the two ships. And to explore the solar system. This is an uncharted region of space. Probes have shown that the base and both ships appear to be undamaged. But there is no reports on the solar system or how large it is or anything else about it. Questions?"
"Commander?" Kevin said to get her attention, "What leads us to believe that there is a problem with the Starbase and the Starships?"
At this time the door opens and two crewmen enter the briefing room wearing black worsted wool pants and white silk collarless shirts (and looking a bit embarrassed being out of uniform) pushing a small cart. Following them in with a neutrally severe expression is Thomas Jefferson. The crewmen then go about setting plates in front of the staff that have Hors d'Oeuvres on them. Each plate is laid out in a flower arrangement, fresh rosemary and garlic brocheta with goose liver pate, tomato and onion salsa with mozzarella, brazed salmon and capers, pinon nuts on whipped bree dip and a pureed K'kobol (a crablike shellfish from Tribol III) served on the half shell.
The conversation pauses for a moment while the food is delivered, and the Captain smiles behind a hand as he watches his XO's face shadow over from the interruption to her briefing.
Mystery checked her notes "There have been several attempts to contact the ships and the star base and there has been no response in close to three weeks. From the readings of the probes everything with the ships and the base are fine. All systems from what the probe showed were everything is fully operational."
Feyd glanced at the Lieutenant but kept his mouth shut. Instead he reached for one the delectable treats the Chef had brought. Thinking back to his experience in the mess hall, however, he paused before shrugging and tossing it into his mouth.
"Did the probes find any signs of life?" Kevin asked.
Feyd looked at the Commander, waiting for the response. There hardly seemed any point in asking any medical related questions until they knew the answer, though it was unlikely probe readings would help him know any answers to those kinds of questions. Then he thought of a question.
"Are we really the closest ship?" He asked.
"The probes didn't show any sign's of life as far as they could tell. It's like they just left. But both ships are intact same with the base and no signs of damage or even a debris field. And yes we are the closet ship if not the only one," Mystery said
Kevin referenced technical data on his PADD. Starbase 945 had 1600 military personnel and facilities for an additional 5000 civilians. The Vesta-class had a crew complement of 750. The Akira-class had 500. All totaled, it was between 3000 and 8000 personnel. Commander Ellis' answer indicated that whatever happened was so sudden that neither the starbase nor the starships had time to send a warning or call for help.
Kevin started listing possible scenarios in his mind. Attack? Unlikely given the lack for physical damage. Virulent disease? Possible but Kevin couldn't think of one that spread so quickly that there was no chance to communicate a problem. Abduction? Mass extinction event? Science project gone wrong?
Kevin entered a short text message on his PADD to Doctor Relor asking about the most virulent strains and hit send.
Feyd looked down at his PADD as a message came in from Lance. He considered the question, cross referenced it from the latest information from the medical community but ultimately scratched his head. The vast distances of space tended to localize pandemics, the most recent being an outbreak of Covid 385 in the Wolf 359 system, but nothing from the area the were traveling. He glanced at Lance and shook his head.
"Any further questions or comments?" Mystery asked
Kevin looked around the briefing table at the assembled department heads. The Captain seemed distant and the other officers, aside from the CMO, had not asked any questions or uttered a word. Even the chef seemed more upset that Kevin hadn’t touched the plate of delicacies in front of him, surreal in and of itself, than he was about the disappearance of as many as 8000 souls. Well, if no one else is going to ask the question, Kevin thought, I guess I will.
“What is our initial course of action, Commander?”
Feyd turned to the Commander for a response, and felt a strange sensation building in his stomach. A strange kind of warmth spread up from there, into his digestive tract and toward his esophagus. He made a kind sound like 'hrn...', then covered his mouth with his hand in embarrassment. 'Uh oh' he thought, not sure if he was having an allergic reaction or if this was all part of the Chef's unique culinary skills.
"Our course of action is to head there and check out the star base, both ships and look at the captain's logs. Our orders are to see what happened there and why they left fully functioning ships and a star base. Once we arrive probes will be launched into the solar system to see what is there. That has not been explored and the people of the ships and star base may be there," Mystery said
"Captain, I recommend keeping the Independence at 100 million kilometers from the base and approaching by shuttle, since there is so little information available," Kevin proposed, "That distance will minimize the risk to the ship and her crew while still putting us within 5 minutes of the base at max warp." Kevin would have preferred half a billion kilometers, the distance of the asteroid belt from the Sun in the Sol System but that would have increased the ship's response time. Besides, he didn't think this crew would stand being cooped up in a shuttle for longer than the hour it would take the shuttle to travel to the base at the maximum sustained shuttle speed of warp 4.
The Captain gave a slight shrug and all eyes turned to Mystery.
Feyd made another 'Hrn' sound as the warmth spread up his arms and started to make his finger tingle. Trying to be as discreet as possible, he reached into his bag and fished out a hypospray, trying to decide if he should inject himself with a histamine blocker, or if that would only make matters worse...
Mystery looked at the doctor "Are you alright? Do you need to leave the briefing?" she turned back to the assembled officers "I like the idea of shuttles, three away teams, two for the ships and one for the base. The ship will remain close and we'll monitor everything. Sensors along with probes can scan that solar system."
As Thomas was escorting his servers out after making sure that everyone at the table had full glasses of a tea made from lemongrass and mint, he noticed that Feyd appeared to be having trouble breathing and was turning a bit red. Stepping over to him he takes the hypospray out of his hand and looks at the vial and sees that it is an antihistamine, before anyone can stop him he hits Feyd in the neck and dumps the whole contents into him. "Doctor Reylor is apparently allergic to shell fish, you might want to get him to sickbay". Setting the hypospray on the table he turns and calmly walks out of the room following his servers while Feyd collapses back against his chair and starts taking deep lung fulls of breath.
Tapping her com-badge "Transporter room this is Commander Ellis, medical emergency, lock onto Doctor Reylor and transport him directly to sick bay." tapping her com-badge again. "Sick bay Dr. Reylor is on the way, he had a reaction to shell fish. Keep me apprised on his condition." The doctor was beamed out seconds later. Looking around the room "Dismissed we'll get underway." Mystery followed the officers from the briefing room "Helm set course for Star Base 945 warp six."