NCC - 81102
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Unpleasant Orders

Posted on Sat May 23rd, 2020 @ 6:04pm by Commander Tavis Inahri & Rear Admiral Gareth Tau
Edited on on Thu Jun 4th, 2020 @ 12:48am

Mission: Mission 0: Prologue
Location: Avalon Fleet Yards
Timeline: August 24th, 2389

The air in the starbase was warm, or at least warmer than Tavis was used to. It was also still, making it stick to the back of his neck in an uncomfortable way. He was definitely missing the Starlancer, especially right now. Hopefully this meeting would be quick and painless and he could be on his way.

He glanced down at the PADD, making sure he was going the right way through the corridors. Having never met the Admiral before, he wasn't able to rely on telepathy to find the man himself. There was nothing more Tavis hated than using crude equipment to perform tasks he could do on his own. And yet, here he was, wandering around the halls of this large installation with 12 minutes until his meeting and he was pretty sure he just took a wrong turn.

He made it with two minutes to spare to the temporary office being used by Admiral Tau. Taking a deep breath, he tugged at the collar of his uniform, trying to release the steam that he felt building up around his body. If he didn't get a cool breeze soon, he might pass out from heat exhaustion. Or worse, be cooked from the inside out.

Pressing his finger to the door chime, Tavis announced his presence.

The door opened, putting Tavis face to face with a tall and lithe black woman with short-cropped hair and a digital eyepiece over her left eye.

"Welcome, Commander Inahri," she said cool and even. "You were expected. Please come with me and I will take you to the admiral."

Tavis raised an eyebrow but followed the woman in silence.

Inside the inner office, Admiral Gareth Tau sat in repose behind a desk much too large for his frame. He was surrounded by PADDs, holographic displays, and a vid screens.

"Admiral," the administrative assistant said, "Commander Tavis Inahri for you."

"Yes, yes, thank you, Clarice." Tau's voice was one of deep, rich timbre that belied the merry twinkle his eyes spared for his assistant. "Bring us tea."

Excusing herself merely a nod, Clarice spared a parting glance at Tavis before leaving. It was full of questions she knew to keep to herself.

"Commander," Tau said directly without getting up. He gestured for the seat in front of him.

"I'd prefer to stand, sir," Tavis said, taking an at-ease stance in front of the desk. "Reporting as ordered." He instinctively probed the man's emotions, doing well to avoid any sort of inappropriate listening of the man's thoughts. He certainly seemed calm and collected, but there was a concern in the back of the Admiral's mind. Tavis wondered what could be causing it.

The admiral deactivated all of his peripheral displays and datafeeds in order to give Tavis his undivided attention.

"That wasn't an invitation," he rumbled quietly but firmly. "Sit. We have much to discuss."

Without a word, Tavis did as ordered.

"We don't know one another nor do we share any common interests, so I'm going to expedite this meeting by skipping any pleasantries and get straight to the matter at hand." Tau paused to give Tavis a probing look. "The Office of Special Investigations has, despite the best efforts of some of my best people, been plagued by a particularly persistent problem." With each alliterated syllable, Tau's speech turned more enunciated to reflect his abiding frustration. "Fortunately, I have determined that you are uniquely suited to succeed, perhaps, where others have failed."

He slid a data PADD forward but did not pause to allow Tavis to read it.

"I am relieving you of command as of this moment in order to send you into hostile territory. The Starlancer's first officer will continue onward with your previous mission and will return in two weeks' time. By then, you will have apprehended a very dangerous and highly wanted fugitive in possession of extremely sensitive state secrets."

Tau raised his chin to study Tavis down the length of his nose. "Have I communicated the import of this mission, or shall I employ more adverbs?"

"Your adverbs have been sufficient," Tavis responded as he took the PADD and set it in his lap. "Though, I'm not sure how my skill set is suitable for this sort of mission. What do you need me to do?"

Tau broke his stony grimace with a weak smile. "Simple. You will venture to his last known whereabouts, follow his trail, and take him into custody. We have reason to believe he will not... elude you as he did the others."

"And how many operatives have you lost trying to locate this gentleman?" Tavis asked, understanding the man's meaning more than he'd have preferred.

"Too many," the admiral admitted. "Which is why OSI has taken a different tack. We predict you will stand a much better chance of getting close to the target. When you do, Commander, you will not hesitate. Do not linger. Do not show quarter or mercy. You will apprehend him and signal my flagship the moment he is in your grasp. Once you remand him into my custody, you will forget this mission ever happened, and I will send you on your merry way with a commendation in your service jacket."

Tavis nodded, taking it all in for a moment. "And what approach does OSI want me to take that they think will be different?"

"Be yourself," Tau said with a cryptic smirk. "Just play it by the numbers and bring the target back from the cold."

The Betazoid looked at the Admiral with a hesitant look on his face. "So why relieve me of the Starlancer? I'm going to need a ship and crew to carry out this mission."

"The Starlancer already has a mission, its registry is well-known among certain powers, and its crew are not suited to the task," Tau said bluntly. "I have a vessel that has been in drydock for two years undergoing a complete overhaul. Its crew is handpicked for this temporary assignment. Once it's completed, much of the crew may be reassigned as well. You will take this refitted vessel on an ostensible mission of exploration beyond Ferengi space. You will say nothing more of your purpose than that--to anybody. Consider everyone outside of your senior staff to be on a need-to-know basis with a powerful need not to know."

Another raised eyebrow, "I don't know if I'm comfortable with all this...secrecy. You're asking me to find this person with very little information and a crew I don't know and trust. I'm not sure that's the formula for a successful mission, sir."

Tau narrowed his eyes at Tavis, perhaps reconsidering his choice. "I've provided you a full mission profile on that PADD complete with the target's identity and last known whereabouts. I trust you will read it."

Tavis absent-mindedly tapped the PADD against his hand a few times as he could feel the doubt and concern creep into the Admiral's mind. "Of course, Admiral. I will let your office know if I have any further questions, but I doubt I will."

"Excellent. You're dismissed." Without another word, Tau returned to his data feeds and incoming messages.

As if cued, Clarice returned. "I can escort you to your assigned vessel, Commander Inahri."

He sat there for a moment, then stood, following the woman to the door. As he walked, he looked down at the PADD, glancing through it. And that’s when he saw it. A name he hadn’t seen in many years, but he knew it all too well.

“My target is Kazyah Linn?” He asked as he stopped and turned to the Admiral. “That’s who I’m supposed to go find?”

"You can read," Tau said without looking up. Now it was clear why Tavis had been chosen where others more imminently qualified had failed. "Good luck, Commander. I look forward to your report of success."

“I can’t do this,” Tavis said, taking a step back towards the Admiral’s desk. “I’m not the right person for this.”

That did make the admiral look up. "Then leave your combadge on my desk before you leave, Mister Inahri, because you were given a direct order."

Tavis took a deep breath, giving a moment’s pause, before he turned and followed Clarice out the door.


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