We need a plan...
Makeshift Ready Room, Breen Freighter
A few minutes later...
Authors: Alenis Meru, Ellen Washington (NPC Tim), Arthur Reynolds, Sylok (NPC Sera), Marcus Kallan, Tyrlai Zade, Jason Beauvoir
Inside the makeshift briefing room, Meru paced back and forth. She had tried to keep herself focused, but she found herself wracked with guilt over the loss of her friend. It was the battle of New Algiers over again for her, as she ran the events of the mission over and over again in her head. If only they had been a little faster, or if only they were able to pull Tim out a split-second earlier. Now, her friend was in Breen custody, no doubt being subjected to rough interrogation techniques. She shuddered a little at the thought of Tim being subjected to neural spikes and pain sticks.
Knowing that the Breen would be taking him into their space and throwing him into whatever maximum security facility, Meru knew that to rescue Tim would be to do the impossible. She paused for a moment to offer a quick prayer to the prophets, before being interrupted by the door opening.
"Did you want me to be here as well?" Ellen asked after entering. "I am the only medical personnel on board."
"Ellen..." Coming face to face with Tim's wife almost broke the calm, collected demeanour that Meru was trying to put on for the crew. It wasn't that long ago that she was officiating their wedding; now Tim had been captured. She felt guilty more than anything. She had agreed to this mission, she had dragged the crew along, keeping it secret the whole time. And she was the one that ordered Tim to lead the away team. No matter how she tried to spin it in her mind, everything kept coming back to what her dear friend may be suffering under Breen captivity and that it was all her fault.
"I'm sorry, I..." Meru trailed off and looked off to the side, not wanting to show weakness in front of her crew, especially not Ellen.
"Is that a yes?" Ellen asked. Purposely ignoring the emotion that accompanied that apology? She had to be strong. If they wanted to have any chance at getting Tim back they all needed to focus. And not sit in a corner and cry. She kept telling herself. And so far she had managed not to collapse.
"Yes, take a seat." Meru took a deep breath and walked across the room to fetch her teacup. After taking a long sip, she returned to the chair nearest the center of the room. "Ellen, we're going to find him and rescue him. I don't know how yet, but we will."
"Of course we will, we just have to keep faith." Ellen said. "And Tim would do anything he could to get away. We just need to come up with a plan." She took one of the empty chairs and sat down.
Jason entered the makeshift briefing room followed by Jena. Jason acknowledged the Captain with a nod, before turning to Ellen. "I'm sorry that Tim was left behind, but there was nothing I could do to prevent it."
"We all did our best..." replied Meru, putting on a brave face and hiding the torrent of emotions underneath. She had to be strong, for the sake of the crew and for Tim.
Ash entered the makeshift briefing room at a quick pace, still getting used to the low temperature of the ship. He noticed the emotional tension in the room and decided to make his way to his seat in silence. Only offering a brief nod of condolence to Ellen.
Tyrlai walked in a moment after, the cool environment of the ship was energizing, very much like early spring on Trill, only without having to be on Trill. It was puzzling though, based on her evaluation of the suits the Breen wore. The choice of ambient temperature was puzzling. It wasn't nearly as cold as it should be.
For his part, Arthur appeared somewhat irritated as he entered and took a seat. Although his skin had grown noticeably pale from the cold, he seemed too occupied with his own anger to notice. What annoyed him, however, probably differed from what affected the rest of the crew. He barely knew Timothy, and given the relative distance he maintained with the crew, one might forgive him for lacking the sort of emotional torque that kept the relationships among the Portland crew spinning. Still, even he wasn't happy to hear about a fellow officer being taken captive.
The Vulcan engineer arrived next to the meeting room. He decided to forgo pleasantries as it seemed that the more Human crew were in a compromised emotional state. With barely a peep, he took an open seat. "The ship is operating within established parameters," Sylok informed those gathered, knowing that delving into the details would simply go unnoticed or lead to a misunderstanding.
Marcus arrived last. "Ensign Barclay is in medbay, with Lieutenant Carlisle" he said, his words somewhat heavier on the last factoid, by way of explanation. Despite Marcus having acclimated to the cold a lot better than most of the crew, he was a bit red in the face and rubbing his hands. "I'll catch her up later." He dropped into a seat tiredly.
Meru nodded. "I see." She took a deep breath before sitting back down at the table. "So... we're in a heavily damaged, practically unarmed freighter, hiding in a nebula, operating without any official authorization or support from Starfleet. And we have to rescue a missing crew member, who is currently on a Breen frigate, no doubt speeding at maximum warp towards the nearest maximum security facility." She looked around the room, carefully studying the faces of the assembled crew, before taking another deep breath. "Any ideas?"
"Owed any favors?" Marcus asked sarcastically. "I doubt we'll be able to shenanigans out of this one, sir. We might just have to pay for him."
Meru took a deep breath and looked over at Tyrlai. "I don't suppose you have any connections in the Breen confederacy, or a line on something that Brel would rather have than a valuable prisoner?"
Tyrlai shook her head. "If the Ferengi, Orion or Tholians had snatched him, then possibly. Nobody really has Breen connections. We do have a runabout, we could catch up with them. And if we had a nice cloaking device about somewhere we could catch up to them less noticeably."
"If we could go back to the planet, we might be able to find something," Arthur chimed in, though he instinctively knew the answer. Memories of his time as a pirate aboard an Orion freighter, a past he believed he so cleverly hid on his own, came flooding back. He flinched. "On the other hand, security's likely been doubled. Somebody's going to have to hitch a ride on a different ship... or we're going to have to take one by force."
Marcus snorted. "I know enough about Borg energy signatures and could fake an incursion. That'd get people to run, real quick. And depending on what I can salvage on this flying ice rink, I can probably mock up a handful of nanoprobes." He looked at Arthur. "Nobody's going to stick around and try to fight the Borg."
Nodding along, Meru absorbed the information brought in by her senior staff. "Excellent idea. If we can track Commander Rouse down and fake a Borg attack on wherever he is being held, that might be able to give us an opening. Fortunately, I had Ensign Barclay implant a viridium patch underneath Tim's back before the mission," she replied. Without any full doctors on board, the duty fell to Ellen and Nikki, who had taken an elective on artificial implants and cybernetic devices at the academy. Fortunately, Nikki only fainted once during the whole process, but Ellen was there to prevent her from banging her head on anything. "We should be able to track him from two sectors away, which means a daring rescue should be in order. Now," she started, looking over towards Sylok, "is it possible to install the cloaking device into either the freighter or our runabout?"
Sylok highly doubted the medical capabilities of Nikki, from what he had seen the officer acted as more of a detriment to the operation. Getting those thoughts out of his head, Sylok stated, "A runabout would offer the better choice. Its power output is enough to both power the cloaking device and to alter the sensor echo to appear like a Borg probe."
Jason listened to the others. "I suggest we use the shuttle for the ‘daring rescue, it is smaller and more maneuverable than the freighter. With a few alterations, the freighter could function as a mobile control platform.”
"The freighter's communications array is limited in range, at least for outgoing signals," Arthur opined, given a comparison between it and the average Starfleet ship. "We could patch through via the emergency comm system, but we may be limited to Morse."
"It's better than nothing," opined Meru as she began processing all the ideas that the crew had come up with. The freighter, with some tweaking to the transponder codes, could possibly travel within Breen space without raising too much attention, while a cloaked runabout could give them the ability to make an escape.
"Then it's settled," she started, having finished her impromptu analysis. "We'll enter Breen space in the freighter, and install the cloaking device in the runabout to make our escape once we recover the commander. Sylok, you're in charge of getting this freighter back in working conditions. Enlist any staff you need; Acting Ensign Coln and Ensign Barclay will be working on installing the cloaking device. Ensign Sullivan, you're in charge of getting any hand weapons we may need locked and loaded. We'll be setting course for Breen space in four hours; I expect us all to be ready."
"Yes, Captain. The alterations to the runabout are estimated to be complete in 2 point 86 hours," Sylok added as he picked up his PADD.
"Very well; keep me appraised." Meru tugged on her uniform, straightening it out somewhat. "Your first priority are the sensors; we won't be able to track the commander without him."
Although noticeably distracted in brief intervals throughout the meeting, Arthur glimpsed over at Sylok out the corner of his eye. "I know a thing or two about jury-rigging a piece of equipment to something it's not meant to be rigged to. If you could use an extra pair of hands..."
Jury-rigging, the sound of that phrase figuratively sent chills up Sylok's spine. However, the prospect of help with such a limited crew was difficult to pass up. "Your... improvisational... skills would be quiet useful. I accept your offer to help," the Vulcan responded to Arthur.
Marcus watched them all plan around his idea. He blinked, but said nothing, and managed to hide a smirk. You really ought to keep your ridiculous ideas to yourself, he thought to himself.
Capt. Alenis Meru