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Smoke & Mirrors

Posted on Wednesday, 5 January 2022 - 11:36pm by Captain Pippa Whitley & Lieutenant K'Var

Mission: Operation: Mirror of Madness
Location: USS Standing Bear | Deck 01 | Briefing Room

Having arrived back aboard the USS Standing Bear, Captain Pippa Whitley had been surprised to find that Barret Stillwater had found his way back to the starship, but the good news ended there. Lieutenant Kingsley had been abducted by the imposter Soral, and the Standing Bear was sabotaged. It would be a while until they could get underway.

Captain Whitley had practically stormed off the Bridge and retreated into the Briefing Room. The doors closed behind Pippa, and they stood by the replicator, ordering themselves a hot Lady Grey tea latte. Though Pippa had intended to have a few moments to themselves, the Captain's haste had caused an officer to follow in their wake: The Caitian Chief Tactical Officer.

"Is everything okay Captain?" K'Var had followed the Captain into the ready room, a bold move on her part really. Some Commanding Officers might 'rip you a new one'.

A bold move it was, but a necessary one, and Pippa was appreciative that their Chief of Security was concerned enough to follow them. "Absolutely not," Pippa replied shaking their head, and proceeded over to the observation area, taking a look out at space. "I left Kingsley aboard with him and I knew he was going to make a move. I knew something was wrong."

The Captain glared daggers. "Captain's gut. I should have listened to it. My place was staying aboard the Standing Bear, not going on a God damn pilgrimage through the Vulcan Forge and giving that Sermon on Mount Seleya."

"You were the only one who could have made that speech" K'Var suggested, "and if it wasn't Kingsly it would have been the Captain of a starship." The Lieutenant took a few steps toward her superior "we won't rest until we get her back, Captain."

Pippa sipped the perfumed citrus bergamot beverage. "That may very well be, Lieutenant, but I do have a duty to this crew. Soral is Kingsley's mate, partner, wife, whatever you want to label it. I should have seen that she was at higher risk, and taken her with me down on Vulcan."

The Captain sighed. "Left us practically dead in the water with our heads in the sand, ass up, and I do not enjoy that feeling."

K'Var was quiet for a moment, the Captain was right "I wasn't aware they were close" she replied. The Lieutenant hadn't been aboard the ship that long and hadn't had or taken the time to really get to know much about many of the crew.

Pippa nodded "I know you haven't had time to socialize and get to know the crew. Neither have I to be honest, but I think it is time that we both do. This crew has been together for a while, the Senior Staff especially. Some are involved with one another."

"Yes, Captain," K'Var said with a nod. The Lieutenant wasn't always the most social creature, but she would give it her best effort to get to know this crew.

The Captain gestured to the replicator. "Lieutenant, help yourself to something. I came in here to escape for a few moments, but I would not mind working my problems out through some conversation." Pippa took a seat at the table.

"Thank you Captain" K'Var made her way over to the replicator and ordered a spiced Caitian tea with heavy cream. "I can see how this is a hard time on the crew that are closely involved" K'Var took a sip of her hot tea and a smile flashed on her face as she thought of home.

Pippa nodded. "I can only imagine how Commander Soral - the real Commander Soral must feel underneath that Vulcan discipline. An imposter or version of himself has planted the seeds for Vulcan to leave the Federation, and has abducted his wife. The man has essentially had his identity stolen, abused the trust of those who have known him, and he has to rebuild that."

"I couldn't even start to imagine what that has to be like" K'Var said with a sigh and took another sip of her beverage. "I don't know the Commander" she paused and looked up from her cup "but from what I know of Vulcan's and most of us who join Starfleet" the Lieutenant blinked a few times "it's got to be like going through hell." Looking down once more and then back at the Captain "and to have your partner taken is the worst of all. I...I" she stammered her words and decided to let the worry go from her voice and try to be positive. "I know she is well trained and I believe she will rely on her training until we can mount a rescue" K'Var was already preparing for several possible scenario's in her head.

The Captain could not agree more with the Caitian. "Kingsley is a science officer, most underestimate the capabilities of a science officer - especially one who is pissed" Pippa noted. Captain Whitley did not go into that they were speaking from past personal experience, but what went unspoken had surely not gone unnoticed. "I am hoping that Lieutenant Kingsley is cut from a harder diamond than your run-of-the-mill science officers."

"Let's hope" K'Var gave a slight nod. Every officer had some basic training when it came to these situations, but the training could never really prepare you for this time of thing to happen to you. "Poor Kingsley" K'Var whispered because the current situation was worse than even the 'horror stories' you hear from other Security Officers.

"We're going to need to assemble the Senior Staff for a mission briefing soon, Lieutenant," Pippa said. The Captain crossed their arms after having sat their half-empty cup down upon the conference table. "I want every listening post and communications relay station contacted from here outward. Create a radius of information. They couldn't have gotten far unnoticed."

"Solid plan" K'Var perked up "it will take some time, but it is worth the effort for sure."

Pippa nodded. "We just need to find the direction they went first. If they were detected by a listening post or relay station, then we can start following breadcrumbs - an ion trail if we are lucky."

Lieutenant K'Var gave a nod "I'll get on it right away Captain" she finished her drink and waited to see if the Captain had anything else before she went to her task.

Captain Pippa Whitley watched at Lieutenant K'Var left and allowed the lights to dim to a minimal level. Finally, some time to just be alone with their own thoughts.


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