NCC - 81102
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Hook, Line, Sinker

Posted on Thu Jun 17th, 2021 @ 2:32pm by Ensign Clarice Pichette & Commander Magnus Hawkins & Lieutenant Ayanja Tusalo & Ensign Alex Dalton & Chief Warrant Officer Javiylah MacArthur & Commander Tavis Inahri

Mission: Mission 1: Dirty Little Secret
Location: Limbo system Oort Cloud
Timeline: MD 39

Playing Home Guard was never the most glorious action, but Hawk was content with doing so. Successes in the field were irrelevant if there was nobody to bring the heroes home. And he'd had his limelight before. The direction his career was going seemed less field-intensive and more command-centered. It was, as so many commanders before him could attest to, inevitable.

Even so, when passive sensors had picked up a distress signal being broadcast on a narrowband Starfleet frequency, Hawk couldn't help but get excited.

"Could you repeat that, Ensign?" Hawk said to Alex at Operations. "And leave nothing out."

Consulting the sensor data again Alex confirmed the readings: "We're receiving a faint distress signal, sir. It's coming from just outside the system, I can't identify the vessel but they appear damaged, adrift and broadcasting on a Starfleet channel."

This certainly complicated things. Hawk knew what he wanted to do, but the command chair in which he sat required certain levels of discretion and delegation. Perhaps it would be better to try and get Tavis' input.

"Try to raise the away team," Hawk said. "Get me Commander Inahri."

"Yes, sir." the Ensign dialled the comm. as directed.

The comm link beeped for a moment before cutting out.

Hawk grimaced. "Keep trying," he said.

At his station Ensign Dalton nodded and tired to reconnect the channel without any success. Though he disliked Hawkins he would still follow instructions as ordered, and right now he didn't envy the Commander. This new development had certainly put a spanner in the works - investigate the distress call and potentially jeopardise the mission or not?

Starfleet protocol was quite clear: he was obligated to respond to the distress signal. But they were also on a secret mission in uncharted space. Discretion was paramount, for they could ill afford to be discovered. It was a conundrum worthy of an Academy bridge test.

Hawk stood to his feet. "Ensign," he said to the officer at the Science console--the ensign who'd had an awkward encounter with their resident Borg. "Try to clean up the sensor readings so we know exactly what we're dealing with out there."

"Yes, sir," Clary squeaked back.

The next link in the chain of Hawk's plan got delayed for a second as he regarded her with a measuring sidelong stare. Surely there had to be another blueshirt who could man the bridge station? Whatever was wrong with that ensign was a problem for another day. So long as she followed orders, Hawk needed to keep his focus where it belonged.

Tapping his combadge, he said, "Hawkins to Tusalo and MacArthur. Meet me in the main shuttlebay on the double."

Javi finished the sip of coffee she had just taken, exchanging a curious look with Chief O'Sullivan, before she responded to the unexpected hail from the Odyssey's XO, "On my way, Commander."

Aya raised an eyebrow from her position sprawled out on the couch, her questioning gaze meeting first Mara and then Javi. With a shrug and a groan Aya sat up, tossing her PADD on the cushion while tapping her combadge. "Also on my way." With a little jog, Aya caught up with the taller woman giving her a questioning look as they made their way to the nearest turbolift.

When the two officers arrived, Hawk already had a runabout prepped and standing by. Leaning against its hull with his arms crossed, he rocked forward to an upright position to address the junior officers.

"Thank you for coming," he said. "What we've got here is a little predicament. My orders are to keep the Odyssey hidden and out of sight while the away team completes their objective. The mission's op-sec requires that we do nothing to give away our position. However..." His brow arched into his understated Klingon ridges. "We received a weak distress signal from an unknown vessel on a Starfleet channel. General Orders require that we respond, yet special orders require we do not."

Hawk stepped aside to give an unobstructed view of the Volga class runabout whose engines were already hot.

"What do you two think about taking a hop out into the black?" he asked. "I won't lie. It could be a trap. But it could also be legit. You're not under my command, so I couldn't order you to do this thing even if I wanted to. But should you volunteer, then the runabout is yours."

Taking a moment to process the whole situation, Javi considered the vessel behind the commander. "Given the nature of your mission, would it not be suspicious to have a craft on your vessel's manifest show up so far away from Federation space, Commander?"

"It would." Hawk gave a solemn nod. "But not as suspicious as not investigating a Starfleet distress call which has already been entered into the ship's log. That's why I summoned the two of you rather than regular crewmembers."

"Aye, Sir," Javi nodded in response, all that information fit with the General Orders. Having the two of them go wouldn't leave the Odyssey short of her actual crew. She saw no fault with the reasoning or the cause.

"And if someone does question why we have one of Odyssey's runabouts and are investigating an area of space we shouldn't be at?" This was SERIOUSLY sketch but that of course wasn't exactly a deal breaker for the Betazoid. Aya just wanted to know what she was getting into.

"Your mission is recon only," Hawk said. "It's highly suspicious, but we can't afford to investigate directly and long-range sensors aren't telling us much due to the subspace interference of the region. Your objective, should you accept it, is merely to get eyes on the source of the distress signal and report back to us. Whatever emergency actions you do are up to you since your voluntary status absolves you from any duty to act."

One of Javi's eyebrows went up for a moment at the last sentence, surprised that the commander would say such a thing. They might be voluntary on the mission but as members of Starfleet, the General Orders still bound them. "Understood, Commander."

"I take it we have some volunteers then?" Hawk asked, brow raised. There was never any doubt in his mind, but things had to be as they must.

The only answer Javi gave was a sharp nod, it was the only answer she could give in such a situation. Her duty was clear and it overrode anything else.

"You've got yourself a couple of super-secret stealth investigators." Aya smirked, crossing a leg over the other. Finally a chance for some fun, so far their stay on the Odyssey had been pleasant... if a little dull.

"Alright then," Hawk said. "Use minimum impulse only, run light, and keep open comms with the bridge. Better chances of not letting Odyssey get noticed."

"You wouldn't rather we run silent, only contact you if necessary?" Aya asked a bit more seriously. "Or you that interested in the girl talk?"

Hawk was a bit of a control freak, which he often considered to be a good thing. But Aya had made a solid point. "On second thought, radio silence is best," he agreed. "Just don't do anything I wouldn't do."

"Don't worry, we can be subtle." Aya smirked, her gaze turning from Hawk to Javi and back. "Most of the time."


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