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Tightening the Bind

Posted on Mon Nov 22nd, 2021 @ 2:39pm by Captain Abigail Laurens & Lieutenant Commander Evelyn Rozia & Lieutenant Commander Jason Myers & Lieutenant Commander William Rogers & Lieutenant Naomi McLaren & Commander Ichiko Gail & Lieutenant Commander William Gunnison

Mission: Double Bind

The two alien astronauts had left the observation lounge, accompanied by security, medical and counselling, all of whom would remain with them for the duration to see to their needs as best as possible. Now, with Evelyn having restored access to the replicator at least temporarily, Abigail found herself sitting at the head of the conference table, hand firmly wrapped around a steaming mug of chai latte, eyes fixed sightlessly on the view of the planet beyond the windows at the end of the table.

"Well," she said softly. "That news certainly changes things..." she raised the mug to her lips, taking a sip before resting it back on the table again. "We have a few days, and a task that now feels even more like it's impossible." Her gaze shifted from the window to the remaining officers at the table. "Thoughts?"

Evelyn looked over her own mug of a mocha cappuccino at everyone else, not sure if she wanted to be the first to speak up, but also not sure that anyone else had any more ideas than she might be able to come up with, "I think we have three options that I can see, ma'am, and evacuating as many of their people as possible is probably the worst of them. But the question I have no answer for at this moment is this: Is there anything we can do to prevent the storms from merging? If we dropped a barrage of torpedoes, would it disperse the storm in any way?"

"Perhaps if we used the deflector dish, it seems like we could divert at least a part of one of the storms, lessen the overall impact," Will said. "Though I don't know how well that would work on a planetary atmosphere."

Abigail listened as she sipped her chai. "Evacuation isn't possible. Even if we can get as many people as possible off the planet, we would be sentencing them to a fate worse than death. They have nowhere to go, they would lose everything. Everything they have achieved would be gone, and that's what we're trying to help prevent. Their identity is not just their people, it is their history, their civilization, their cultural and technological advancement." She sighed, reaching up and running her fingers through her hair, the weight of the situation weighing heavily on her.

Ichiko ventured a thought, "So if evacuation isn't an option, then consolidation perhaps?" she offered. "Rather than spreading our efforts thin, we concentrate them at one, maybe two major population centers. Places of significance, cultural centers, scientific hubs. We have them start moving all their data to a single hum over the next few days, and we concentrate our efforts there."

"We won't save everyone, but at this point, at this timeframe... we can't." she mentioned, taking a moment to stare out across the vastness of space. "We build a proverbial fortress, put as many people, relics, and ideas behinds its walls, and then shut the doors."

"What about geothermal usage?" Will asked. "Sensors have also indicated there's some underground water in some uninhabited areas around the equator that's being heated by underground lava. There's a possibility of being able to release some of the water and using it to warm up some of the surrounding areas. It might not be much, but I suspect the solution would be to use a bunch of smaller efforts, rather than one single giant effort."

Ichiko, to all her efforts, gave a cultured shrug, before looking to the scientific division. "Meteorology isn't something I took in academy. But whatever we're doing we have to figure it out quickly. We don't have enough time to fully commit to two plans." she could have used her rank to quell the matter, but the freedom of Starfleet allowed for discussion. Allowed for discord.

Evelyn tapped a finger repeatedly on the table at Will's suggestion, "That could help in the long-term survival of the Caetovians, but we should probably focus on the short-term survival first." She looked at Ichiko, "But perhaps we can save more people than you think, ma'am. Definitely consolidate as many as we can, but what if we set up portable shield generators around several of their cities? I've heard of them being used to protect against firestorms, I'm sure we can set something up to keep at least whatever killing ice and snow out of the cities for the duration of the storms, plus to redirect any electrical strikes. It's a short-term solution only, though."

Ichiko seemed to consider the notion. "I'm looking to preserve the people, and keep them from regressing to the previous age. I'd like to save as many as possible, but perhaps it's just a difference in how your people and my people see potential outcomes as successes. We don't have much time to set up sites all over the planet, we have to pick and choose our targets. Major cities, population centers, evacuation centers, shelters, places that we can preserve not just the people but their way of life. If we don't preserve their society short term, then long term they're just starting over if that's even an option. We focus on the short goal now." she stated. "We can't afford maybe. We can't afford could. If you want to entertain a second option, run some calculations on the concept of dispersing these vast steam beds beneath the surface. My concerns with that notion aren't a short list, but the top of that list is the damage to the planet itself, and the impact of introducing that much vapor, heat, and energy to an existing super storm."

"I'm certain if time was on our side, we could shield every city and save every life. But it isn't, so we can't. I know it's not what you want to hear, but this isn't a decision any of us made lightly, and we all knew there would be consequences and hard choices. Focus your efforts on key population centers, metropolis level cities and higher." she paused to take a breath. "This is the consequence of interference. If it will put your souls at rest..." she paused to give Abigail a glance, before continuing, "... I'll choose the sites we focus on to save." there was a coldness to her features. Sitting at a map, picking and choosing sites and regions, this seemed to be something that wasn't alien to her.

"Firing weapons into the atmosphere is not advisable, we don't know what impact it will have on the planet itself," Abigail said quietly. "Beyond that, my concern with attempting to introduce heat to the atmosphere by firing on the planet itself is that we may cause undue destabilization or cause additional problems. We are working somewhat blind, we cannot effectively scan the surface to know what we are dealing with." She paused, a soft sigh escaping her lips. "I believe Commander Gail is right, if we proceed, we need to proceed safely. The last thing we want is to make things worse. Focus our energies on protecting as many bodies as we can. Dessich said they were evacuating outlaying areas into metro areas, right?" She glanced around the table. "That's where we should focus our efforts."

Rogers listened quietly and tried to follow the science parts of the conversation as best he could. "Captain. Whatever method we chose to use if we can't protect all the major population centres it can't be us who decides which ones get protected. It has to be the Caetovian's leaders. They'll be the ones living with the consequences of whatever we do. It's their planet; their lives." He looked towards Commander Gail, recalling their conversation during the trip back from the space station. "If we do otherwise we're far more likely to make impressed servants."

Abigail steepled her fingers beneath her chin for a moment, contemplating over the words that had been said. "You're perfectly correct Commander Rogers," she finally said softly. "Commander Rozia, Lieutenant McLaren, I want to know within the hour what our expected capacity is for assistance. Commanders Gail, Rozia and Myers, you will accompany me to the surface. We will take the astronauts with us. At the very least, we can return them to their people before the storm hits. Commander Gail, please join me in my ready room. Commander Rogers, you have the bridge."

"Yes, ma'am." She looked at Naomi with a nod, then back to the Captain, "I'll have firm numbers for you within the hour."

"Aye, ma'am." Jason replied. "I'll be ready when you are."

"Got it Captain," Naomi replied then looked at Commander Rozia, "It may be best to focus primarily on heavily populated areas for the widest effect?" She suggested questioningly.

"That is the intention, Lieutenant," Abigail stood up from the chair, picking up the PaDD she had carried into the room. "I want answers on my desk in an hour." Without waiting for another response, Abigail turned on her heel and walked out of the observation lounge, unable to help the uneasy feeling that was settling on her shoulders again.

Will turned to Rozia and McLaren. "Since I don't seem to have any specific assignment, if you require any assistance, please let me know."

As Abigail stood, Ichiko stood to attention. As she turned, the rabbitess watched, but then the doors closed behind their captain. With that, as ship second, the duty came to her.

"Dismissed." she offered, before turning to follow Abigail.


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