Subject: FRONTIER: To the briefing room

SD 70627

> He was a little unnerved by her accuracy; he *had* only asked for 
> an estimated time. "Briefing room everybody." he announced. "Let's
> find out what exactly we've to do." 

All the senior officers filed into the room, adjoining the bridge, 
which afforded a great outside view, one of the best on the ship. A 
table stood in the centre, surrounded by twelve seats. Three remained 
unoccupied when everyone was seated. As the Captain and First Officer 
took their positions at the head of the table, everyone could vaguely 
hear the vacated bridge stations being filled through the 
poorly-soundproofed walls. Will Ramsay could see he was going to have 
to *quieten* his hobbies a little if people wanted to get some sleep. 
He'd dug around in the personnel records and found there was not much 
love of his favourite heavy-metal artists, Guns 'N' Roses. 
In contrast, Iron Maiden seemed to be quite favourable. He could live 
with his second favourite, he guessed.

He activated the display behind him, and brought up the file 
containing their full mission description, which was now listed as 
unlocked, this having been done remotely by Starbase Epsilon. Will 
turned to watch the screen with the rest of his officers.

What followed was remarkably disturbing. The last mission logs of 
ships reported missing in this sector flashed up on the screen in 
succession. Each told the same story of death and destruction; the 
attackers refused to respond to hails, opening fire upon reaching 
weapons range. The contact ships had all been vastly outnumbered and 
overwhelmed in a matter of minutes.

Murray watched the battles intently, looking for signs of weakness in 
the opposition's tactics. This was crucial, since at some point during
this mission they would be placed in a similar position to their lost 
comrades. He mentally noted to find a suitable space combat simulation
program to prepare the crew for these situations.

The logs ended and were replaced by the face of Captain Azariah 
Nicholas. His expression was grave as he read out their mission 

"Your first task is to determine exactly what happened to the missing 
ships. Many of them, as you have witnessed, were completely destroyed.
Others may have been captured or have escaped with severe damage. 
Following that, we wish you to determine the status and location of 
any survivors, and contact us discreetly to arrange their return to 
Federation space. Your final task will be to investigate the systems 
in this region-" A map with a flashing segment between Federation and 
Kizinti spaces briefly showed. "-for signs of disturbance."

He had apparently reached the end of the mission profile, since his 
next words were, "We selected your crew according to ability, our 
simulators showing a maximal chance of success with this particular 
selection. While simulations can only tell us so much, we are 
confident of your success. The ship has been extensively modified and 
the latest technologies in each field have been added. Your Chief 
Engineer should find the prototype engines very fascinating, as well 
as various other pieces of experimental-stage weaponry and shielding. 
Full details are stored in the computer core. Good luck and hopefully 
we'll be hearing from you in the near future." And with that a 
Starfleet EOT screen appeared.

"Well, now that we all know what we're here for, any questions?" asked
Captain Ramsay, turning back to face the crew.

Angus was the first to inquire, "Sir, if we were engaged by a hostile 
force would we be expected to fight or run?"

"I think it would depend upon our situation, if we are outnumbered 
then it would be more probable to run." Ramsay replied.

Sarah Elliot looked at the captain and said "Sir, before we answer 
that question I would recommend that we run a full systems check to 
find out exactly what this ship is capable of."

"That would certainly be a good first course of action, but at this 
speed we're going to have barely a day to familiarise ourselves with 
the advanced aspects of the ship." interjected Caroline. "Should we 
reduce our approach speed?"

"First let's get an idea of how long it actually will take." said 
Will, already beginning to feel the need for less haste. "Say, four 

"That should give us enough time to check everything that we need to."
Angus replied.

The shapeshifter engineer nodded her approval at the time period also.

"Commander Houston, if we reduced our speed to Warp 4?"

"We should reach Kizinti space in four days, thirteen hours, 
twenty-nine minutes-" began Houston.

"Thank you Commander, but the hours would have been sufficient." 
interrupted the captain.

Joanna paused, then replied, "As you wish, Captain. However, I cannot 
guarantee any consistency in that regard. It has often been a failing 
of mine, apparently owing to an inbuilt drive for accuracy. In effect,
sir, by not attempting to quote the minutes and seconds, I would have 
considered myself to have been lying."

Ramsay marvelled at the naivity of the android. He could see that he 
would have to give numerous individuals the benefit of his experience.
He replied, "You'd make a pretty bad poker player then." and assumed 
he was right.

"Actually, sir, I am quite proficient at that particular game."

His expression was one of surprise, but he pressed this point. 
"Perhaps you'd care to demonstrate these skills of yours sometime?"

Angus looked up from a PADD he was studying, "Your brother told me 
that you play poker Captain, we must get together for a game soon. 
Oh, I nearly forgot, I must request that while we run the systems
check that we drop out of warp for a while so that I can review the
weapon systems, you see I'll have to test-fire the phasers and I can't
do that at warp speed."

"How long?" 

"Well sir, maybe half-an-hour."

"Is that all? I thought it might take longer."

"It could take a *little* longer.  There's a whole load of things on 
that tactical console that I've never seen before, all the 
experimental weaponry, I don't know how they work.  I can give you a 
better estimate once I've sussed them out."

Ramsay nodded in acknowledgement and then looked around the table, 
most of the assembled officers had been quiet so far.  "Any more 
questions?" he asked.

                       Respectfully submitted:

                           Allan MacLennan
                 [Lt.] Angus Murray, Tac/CSO FRONTIER

                             Dale Forster
                  [Lt.] Keanu Maren, CSciO FRONTIER

                            Sam M. Edwards
                  [Captain] Will Ramsay, CO FRONTIER
                 [Cmdr] Caroline Ramsay, XO FRONTIER
               [LtCmdr] Joanna Houston, 2O/OPS FRONTIER

          "Put your faith in God, but keep your powder dry."
                           Oliver Cromwell

                     "Eat any good books lately?"


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