Kora System: Federation/Klingon Demarcation Line, Cardassian Space
Annabeth grabbed her mug of Chiraltan tea from the ready room’s replicator and took a seat at the desk. She leaned back in the captain’s chair and briefly let herself day-dream of the day she finally received the fourth pip on her collar.
Then, she checked the chronometer and realized it was time to dial in for the weekly operations briefing with Starfleet Command.
“Computer,” she said accessing the terminal. “Access Starfleet Encoded Subspace Channel 32945.” The screen behind the Federation emblem suddenly turned from black to red.
“Warning: You are attempting to access a classified Starfleet Channel. Present voiceprint and retinal scan for identity verification.”
“Authorization: Geist Whiskey 8-2 Bravo.”
“Standby for retinal scan.”
Annabeth held open her right eye and stared at a black dot on the top of the monitor. A red light appeared and scanned her eye first vertically and then horizontally. The screen background turned from red to green.
“Identify Confirmed. Welcome Commander Geist, Annabeth M.”
The screen changed to an image of a conference room at Starfleet Command Headquarters in San Francisco. A group of admirals and other high ranking brass were already taking their seats around the long, wooden table. Admiral Murphy looked over to one of the holoscreens on the wall and noticed her.
“Oh, there she is,” he said. “Hey, Annabeth. You’re right on time. We got good picture on this end. Can you hear us?”
“Loud and Clear, Sir.”
“Excellent. Just stand by. The Chief of Operations will be here in a few minutes.”
“I’ll be right here, Sir.”
Murphy nodded and then took his seat at the table. Annabeth picked up a PADD and reviewed her notes for the briefing while taking a few sips of tea. These meetings were often long, dull, and dry recaps of recent events around the fleet. The Pershing and her commander were now a featured part of the agenda due to the ship’s forward deployed role in the Occupation Zone. However, considering the only significant events from the past seven days were the survey of an uninhabited Class M moon for potential refugee resettlement, the arbitration of a labor dispute between a group of Cardassian Venderite miners and a Lissapian cargo ship, and their brief rendezvous yesterday with the Starfleet Support Command fuel tender, USFS Acheron, to top off their deuterium tanks and anti-matter pods, she expected this meeting to be nothing but boring.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the Chief of Operations,” a voice from off-screen sounded. The room rose to its feet and Annabeth followed suit.
“Take your seats, please,” Admiral Paris said moving to the head of the table. As a Starfleet staff captain moved to the podium at the front of the room, Admiral Murphy took a few moments to acknowledge Annabeth.
“Sir, I would like to welcome Commander Geist dialing in from the Pershing for this brief. She’s in temporary command while Captain Tigranian is on leave. He’ll be back for next week.”
“Welcome Commander,” Admiral Paris said looking at the holoscreen. “I trust Captain Tigranian didn’t leave too much for you to clean up while he is away?”
“No more of a mess than usual, Sir,” she replied with a grin. Admiral Paris laughed.
“Excellent, well we seem to be ready here. Let’s begin.”
“Welcome Ladies and Gentlemen,” the staff captain began with an uncharacteristic seriousness in his voice. “I would like to open the meeting with a developing situation in the Romulan Occupation Zone of Cardassian Space...”
This statement immediately perked Annabeth’s attention.
“Starfleet Intelligence is still gathering reports,” the staff captain continued, “but it appears that this morning local time, there was some kind of failed uprising against Romulan Occupation Authorities on Telarak by local militia forces. We believe the local militias are being equipped and funded by the Orion Syndicate and former Cardassian military members now engaged in illicit black market trading.”
“You said the uprising failed?” Admiral Paris asked.
“Yes Sir,” the captain replied. “We’ve intercepted several Romulan transmissions that state that legionnaires have already subdued the populace, but they are still in the process of rounding up all the conspirators. Several lower ranking Romulan dignitaries are confirmed dead at this time, including this man…” the captain punched several keys on the podium. A picture simultaneously appeared on Annabeth’s monitor and on the holoscreen the briefing room. “Sub-Commander Sontek, of the 3rd Imperial Guards Regiment.”
“And I feel you’re about to get to the point and tell me why I should care about a dead Romulan Sub-Commander, Captain?” Paris quipped.
“Yes Sir, Sontek was the younger brother of a senior member of the Tal-Shiar. There is significant chatter on Romulus indicating that Promagistrate Kival’s dealings with the Orion Syndicate have finally gone too far. An order was issued for him to immediately return to the Empire to face a full inquiry.”
A smile crossed Paris’ face.
“And probably a firing squad immediately following…”
Annabeth’s heart skipped a beat. It’s a good thing Alex had clearance because she couldn’t wait to tell her wife that smug bastard was finally going to get what was coming to him.
“Sir,” the captain said growing somber again. “The other issue is that for the moment, it appears that Promagistrate Kival is unaccounted for on Telarek. It is unclear right now whether he was killed in the fighting or fled the planet.”
“Never deal with the Orion Syndicate without an escape plan…” Admiral Paris said trailing off. “We’ll keep our eyes on this, Captain. Let me know as soon as you have any more information. Commander Geist,” Paris said turning to the holoscreen.
“I don’t think this situation is developed enough for us to act just yet, so I won’t pull your boss off leave. However, I want you to continue to monitor from your end of space as well. This could have significant repercussions for all of Cardassian territory.”
“Does anyone else have any questions before we move on?”
“Just one, Sir,” Annabeth said. “Captain, you said you believed that former elements of the Cardassian military were involved. Could you elaborate a little more on that?”
“Yes Commander. It appears that Devek, the former Glinn who the Pershing encountered six months ago, is involved. The evidence supporting his motivations is spotty right now, but our analysts believe that his smuggling operation running weapons, drugs, and slaves through the former Cardassian Empire is growing at such a rate that the kick-backs he’s paying the Romulans are growing prohibitive.
We think he might have initiated the uprising in order to distract Romulan forces to allow him to operate more independently. Either that, or he simply doesn’t need them anymore. We have evidence that he has expanded into the Klingon Zone and could soon spill over into the Federation Zone.”
“Does that answer your question, Commander Geist?” Paris asked her.
“I believe it does, Sir. You can be damn sure that I’ll watch what’s going on like a Tarkalean Hawk.”