Briefing time, part 1
"Ready room," Breen freighter
Authors: Alenis Meru, Timothy Rouse, Ash Sullivan, Arthur Reynolds, Delainey Carlisle, Jason Beauvoir, Marcus Kallan, Nikki Barclay (NPC Alenis), Coln Jena (NPC Beauvoir), Sylok (NPC Sera)
With the time for subterfuge over, a briefing was called in what would function for the remainder of the mission as a ready room. No one was sure exactly what this room was, but the best guess was some sort of mess hall or lounge for the crew of this strange vessel. Standing at the head of the table, Meru shivered a little. "We need to adjust the environmental controls," she uttered, the water vapour in her breath condensing in a cloud in front of her as she spoke as she rubbed her gloved hands together for warmth.
Despite treatment, Ash was still nursing a very sore shoulder as he entered the briefing room and made his way to a seat where he could see out a porthole. He'd spent the last hour or two up to his elbows in slime covered tentacles trying to get his head around the security and tactical systems of this very foreign vessel and he was beginning to feel a little claustrophobic. He had washed as much of the slime off as he could but it left dark stains all over the skin of his arms. "Ma'am." He said simply as he gave a nod to the captain before taking a seat.
Jason walked into the briefing room with Jena in tow. The Science Officer wore a heated jacket, he didn't take the cold well."Bonjour, Captain. I hope, it is okay, that I brought my wayward off-spring with me to this briefing, but it seems that I can not let her out of my sight." He said.
Ash waved at Jena and shot her a quick grin while her father wasn't looking. He'd overheard something about her not getting his permission to come on the mission, but she'd definitely proven herself a strong asset to the crew.
"I see," replied Meru, looking over at Jena. Taking a fifteen year old girl on a dangerous mission wasn't exactly ideal, but she figured that if everything was done right, they would be in and out without too much of a huff. "Acting Ensign Coln, how much do you know about Breen life support systems?"
"Well, ma'am, like all Breen systems it is bio-mechanical, and in this case it appears to function in a similar way to the mammalian hypothalamus." Jena replied.
"Good. Your assignment is to get this ship to a reasonable temperature."
"Aye, aye, ma'am." The teenager replied.
When Arthur stepped in, he briefly felt a chill and wondered why the temperature was so low. But when he remembered the nature of their brief visit to a Breen ship, he had a good idea. So without a word, odd as it might seem for the otherwise talkative officer on the freighter, he sat down, PADD in hand, and decided to do some reading while awaiting the others, should there be any time to wait at all.
"Goodmorning everyone," Tim said as he and Ellen entered the room. Ellen cradled her hot coffee in her hands trying to transfer some of the drinks warmth to herself. Not that it was working.
Delainey entered the briefing room, her usual smile a bit subdued as she greeted everyone who met her eyes. She still wasn't entirely sure she understood everything they were facing, but she knew they had to put forth their best efforts.
Tyrlai wandered in, late as usual, wearing one of the Breen refrigeration suits, one of the many she had found with no refrigeration components included whatsoever. The Breen uniforms were identical on the outside but seemed functionally different on the inside. Some had cooling systems, most did not, a few had pressurizing reinforcements and some had odd functionally mysterious internal attachments. The helmets also differed in internal structure. The nose was occasionally empty, usually contained atmospheric filtering sensors and always had visual and EM systems built in. She carried the helmet along and only used it when absolutely necessary, she set it on the table as she took her seat.
Marcus seemed unaffected by the cold -- he was dressed in his usual uniform, albeit wearing the multi-layered "jacket" version that was normally requisitioned for time on cooler planets. Not quite Andoria cold, and certainly not Breen cold.
Only just arriving on the ship itself, Sylok made his way to the meeting room of the alien vessel. His purpose on this mission was three-fold. The first was his vast experience with Breen equipment during his time serving with the allied Romulans during the Dominion War. The second was to hopefully bring some sort of normalcy to the Portland's Engineering crew after the departure of it's last Chief Engineer. The departure of two Chiefs in a single year as well as more than a healthy dose of shenanigans had told Starfleet that something needed to change. Sylok didn't greet anyone, simply sat in an open seat and awaited the start to the meeting.
Nikki was the last to arrive -- frantically rushing in and grabbing an empty seat next to Marcus, and throwing her PADDs down on the table with a clatter. "Sorry, I was just down in the computer core and got a little tangled in all the tentacles," she said, before looking at a green slime that was stuck to her hand. Wiping it off on Marcus' uniform, she turned back towards the captain. "So... what did I miss?"
Marcus glanced sidelong at Nikki, and then back at his PADD without missing a beat.
"Not much, ensign," replied Meru as she looked over the room. Pressing a button, she activated a holographic projector in the middle of the table which projected the bust of a grizzled, old space pirate. "I'm sure some of you recognize this man. This is Drezna Vike, a notorious Orion space pirate. And he is why we are here."
The name caught Arthur by surprise. Though he was only a child living on Rigel, he'd heard of Drezna's growing popularity on one of the worlds owned by the Syndicate. That could only mean that he'd managed to gain a lot of influence among the Syndicate proper, or they would've quietly eliminated him and used some sort of subterfuge to make the public think he'd stepped down willingly - if they were smart. As he looked up at the hologram, he narrowed his eyes, trying to recognize the face. He didn't say a word, quietly listening to what the captain had to say about the man.
Tyrlai glanced over at Arthur who appeared lost in thought over the Orion. Grelka had occasionally mentioned the man in passing, usually in a dismissive tone; 'that upstart Vike knows what's good for him I can show him what a,...' the rest of her statements of that type involved a variety of technological farming implements and how they could interface often inappropriately with bio-organisms. After coming into her 'inheritance' Tyrlai had gutted the organizations of everyone who had associated with Grelka. The downside was that it was often to the benefit of even more dubious characters, such as Vike.
After pausing for emphasis and observing the reactions of the crew, Meru turned towards the counselor. "Ms. Carlisle, I believe you have prepared a psychological profile of Mr. Vike?"
"I'm afraid given the scant information available, all I really have to offer is a shockingly brief summary of his history. Without more information or an opportunity to observe an interaction with Mister Vike, anything resembling a psychological profile would be primarily speculation on my part based on what we know of the Syndicate in general. Here's what I can tell you: Our target first became indirectly associated when the Portland's now deceased former Intel chief, Daniel Tobin joined the crew. According to Tobin's personnel file, he worked for Mister Vike while Tobin was growing up on New Sydney. The records indicate Vike was a friend of Daniel Tobin's mother at the time and was also a political candidate. Reports state Vike lost his bid for election when Starfleet let it be known he had several illegitimate children that he then tried to kill to avoid losing the election. My understanding is even though he lost the election and the respect of Daniel Tobin, Mister Vike has managed to become a well-placed member of the Orion Syndicate in recent years. Portland's records indicate the crew blew up his ship when they encountered him, though the details are unclear. You don't have to be an expert in psychology or the Syndicate to know the guy is likely out fir revenge."
"That's right. There is no doubt that he holds a special grudge against us, and would be more than happy to get his revenge for the incident that occurred the last time we met." replied Alenis, as she pressed a button to flick the display over to a diagram of a large piece of technology, as she paused for a moment to let the situation sink in. "And this is why we're here. Last time we met, he barely managed to get away wit a stolen cloaking device. Starfleet Intelligence has been tracking his gang for weeks now, and we have received a tip that he has plans to sell the cloaking device. That is where we come in."
Never one to stand on formality or waste time waving a hand in the air to get permission to speak, as so many other kids in a regular Federation school might, Arthur exclaimed, "The Breen." There was no point in hiding it. While the cold temperature in the ship may have just been another accident, Tyrlai wearing the Breen suit certainly gave it away. "He's going to sell it to the Breen - or someone in Breen space, right?"
To be continued...
Capt. Alenis Meru