Guardian Station

Barzan Sector

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Post 7 - Powderkeg

Posted on Tue Oct 20th, 2020 @ 4:10am by Commander Javier Reyes & Lieutenant Selu Levne

Mission: Episode 4: Freefall
Location: [Sector Charlie-Gold - Primary Docking Bay]
Timeline: MD 01 - 1230

[Guardian Station]
[Sector Charlie-Gold - Primary Docking Bay]
[MD 01 - 1230 Hours]

"You're just leaving us trapped in here? Again?" The spacer was angry, but Reyes could feel the undercurrent of fear like a hum in the deck, supplanting the long-gone hum of the station's main power.

"I get you don't want to be here. I get it's not great. But we don't yet know what's happening in here or out there." Reyes kept his hands up, placating. "The moment it's safer out there, ships will be able to depart. I just need you to hang tight for a moment."

The crowds were gathering. A freighter crew had been due to embark ahead of departure moments before the power cut and were far from thrilled at being grounded. Nobody had yet said they were being trapped in a tin can to die, but they were all thinking it. It had drawn onlookers, some curious, some afraid, some just as angry. And his little trio of dock officers was looking pretty sorry in comparison.

Reyes leaned towards the lone security officer they'd wrangled and mumbled, "You sure backup's coming?"

"I called for it, sir," the man said with some reproach. "Everything's just too crazy."

"You got that right."

"...wait in here, keep our heads down, don't ask questions?" It took Reyes a moment to realise the last half of the freighter captain's sentence that he caught was indignantly rhetorical. "Hell with that!"

"Okay! Okay. I can't let you leave - even if you get aboard, docking clamps are still in place. And this is all happening so fast, we've not got an update yet. But if you hang tight, I will go bring you an update." And backup. Definitely backup. "Can we get a deal there, buddy? You wait and I get you answers?"

The acknowledgement was begrudging, but at the least Reyes had bought them time. He turned back to his security officer and murmured, "I'm going to get help. I could go get answers, but I don't think they'd help." He hated information containment when it came to people's lives like this. In his bones, Reyes thought they had a right to know. But he understood crowd control and he understood panic.

Most civilians would be returning to their quarters, so most security officers would be checking and supporting that lockdown, or helping clear them from the leisure areas. The docks had a relatively small gathering of travellers, which was probably why they hadn't been on anyone's priority list for security support. But either the wrong combination of personalities or the blistering hurt from the Breen attack meant tensions were too high for this few officers, and Reyes knew the docks were a powderkeg waiting to go off. As he burst from the docking section and into the belly of the station, he knew he had to be fast.

Luck was on his side at least, as he spotted the small group of security officers ahead, and approached with a hand raised in placating greeting. He didn't know how tense things were. "Officers!" He spotted a pip. "Lieutenant, good to see you - I need help."

In that heartbeat he'd forgotten he wasn't in uniform but instead his scruffy travel jacket and intensely bright patterned shirt, wild-haired and sleep-deprived and looked more like his party shuttle had ditched him on the docks in the crisis.

Selu had one of the cadets with her as a tagalong, the rest of her squad had spread out slightly to keep each other in shouting and visual distance but also to cover more distance. The gentle pulse of the yellow emergency light that said 'be calm, go home' cast her and the young human girl in an odd light, moreso her with her orion skintone. This was one of the few times were Selu had also tied her hair back into a tight pony tail, the tips of her vulcanoid ears showing.

She turned to face the call of Lieutenant and mentally chided herself. The Docks! She whistled and waved her hands towards the doors leading for the docks so her team could see what she was pointing while she led the cadet towards the man who had just called out. "Sir," her voice calm and clear, raised just enough to convey confidence from her normal whisper, "I need you to report to quarters or a rally point."

"What - oh, right." Reyes gave an apologetic grin. "Sorry, I'm not a civilian, I'm - my name's Commander Reyes, I'm just having a hell of a first day." Carefully he reached for his PADD, because the last thing security needed was his dishevelled self suddenly pulling things from a jacket, and he projected up his ID large enough for them to see it. "Senior Officer of the Watch," he explained. "But everything locked down just when my transport got in. Great timing, huh?"

Selu looked over the ID, stepping close to view it and nodded. "Certainly is Sir. Just returned from rescuing a civilian transport myself," she said, voice volume dropping once again. Her team came from all around, the other three yellow shirts and the second cadet. "Lieutenant Levne, Station security, Downtown station house." One of the cadets helpfull pointed in the anti-clockwise direction around the stations massive promenade to indicate the quickest way to Downtown. "Technically Ops has called a yellow alert Sir, but it's more like a grey power situation. Many with you in the docks?"

"Oh, definitely not." Reyes ran a hand through his mussed hair as if he could regain control of that as easily as the situation. "We've got some of the docks teams, mostly admin, trying to keep people calm with just a smattering of security guards. And people are getting riled up; civvie crews wanting to take their ships and leave. I've been trying to help out, calm them down, but if someone gets it into their head to force the issue it could get ugly for everyone."

"Right you are Sir." Selu nodded to one of the others in her group. A man with half a head on her height, inches on Reyes and years enough that his face said 'Back in my day...'. He nodded and marched towards the door Reyes came from with the gaggle of officers. Then she slapped her comm badge. "Selu to Jurgens. I need two whole teams to Sigma, docking bay entrance. Get the closest teams here asap please," she said then tapped the comm. She didn't need to hear a reply to know her man would get the job done. "Sir, do you have family you want me to pull out? Can get them to Downtown pretty quickly and safe for now."

Reyes hesitated only half a heartbeat. "My wife and kids are in one of the arrival lounges. Whole lotta other folks down there, too, but I can't say I wouldn't feel a whole lot better to get them out of there." It was a perk of command, he told himself, and while he couldn't shake the sense of unfairness that a lot of other travellers would have to stay on lockdown in the area for now he didn't think his guilt was going to help anything.

So he jerked a thumb over his shoulder after the security detachment heading to the docks and led on. "If we grab them, then I can see about making myself more useful than just running around putting out fires. I haven't had a chance to check in with Operations yet; do we got any idea what's going on?"

"I've been preoccupied with the civilian population," Selu replied, falling into step with Reyes. "I was returning with the runabout Aoraki and beamed directly into Downtown. We arrived to see the station in the middle of an orbital adjustment when all power systems seem to have simultaneously failed." She didn't even look at him when she said that. She knew the look on his face, hers however practised with emotional control, from childhood and what Security taught her.

As they reached the door to Arrivals & Departures, another team of six security personnel came running at them, slowing to a jog and falling in behind. "Ch'van, excellent. We're going to keep anyone we find here in the docks for now. You'll be in charge of rounding everyone up."

The Andorian nodded. "Aye ma'am," came his deep basso voice.

"Keep a light touch," Reyes pressed. "People are scared and angry. Starfleet's lost a lot of trust with the Breen attack, I'd guess. They don't want to be kept in the dark and they don't want to be trapped in a crisis; they might not be taking your authority at face value here." He didn't wait to explain who he was - he was going to need to grab an away team jacket or the like if he didn't find a uniform jumpsuit - but security could listen to him or not based on his words rather than his rank.

But he led on towards the arrivals lounge where he'd left his family. "If this is so bad all backups failed," he said to Selu, "then this is going to get worse before it gets better. For these people, I mean, not just the starbase. We can't do anything about the base right now. They're not going to take kindly to being contained, and if we're not careful they really won't take kindly to us making an exception for my family."

"I don't mean to cause any undue panic. I'm of the opinion that any ship that can depart should likely take on any passengers they can, push off and wait outside the high orbital exclusion zone. If Command hasn't sent a distress call asking for any and all ships, Starfleet and civilian alike by now..." she trailed off as they rounded a corner to the packed spaceport lounge.

"I do so dislike loud speaking," she barely whispered. "Commander Reyes, you're best to get your family without us I think." That said, Selu looked to the assembled persons and spoke, clearly and with drilled enunciation. "Ladies, gentlemen, my name is Lieutenant Selu Levne and on behalf of Guardian Station, I wish to apologise for the inconvience of this power failure. Do we have any ship captains here please?"

Reyes dipped past her, moving through the crowd in the direction of his family, and for the moment he could move freely, unnoticed. There was still a stir from the gathered, and eventually, a middle-aged human woman, steel-haired and steely-eyed, stepped forward.

"Yeah," she said, voice rather rough. "I'm Captain Wainwright of the Astral Venture, private passenger liner that just came into dock. And what I'd really want to do is take the Venture and as many people here as I can far the hell away from the station. I was here last time there were trouble, it weren't pretty." Wainwright stuck her hands on her hips. "We could hop on right now. Launch and go. But we can't."

"Captain, I whole heartedly agree with you. Do you object to prioritising children and caregivers?" Selu said, continuing to be loud enough for all to hear as she spoke to Captain Wainwright. "I fully intend on assisting the Astral Venture depart these docks in a calm, controlled manner." At that the third security team arrived and got their elevator-pitch briefing from one of the others who had been here only a few moments longer. "Any other ship captains will get the same as long as you agree to depart the station and await outside the high orbital exclusion zone in case your ships are needed or the situation is resolved and you can return safely."

Her eyes and gaze went to the gathered people, looking over for any others that had the 'ship captain' look so common the these small civilian liner captains, or the more rough ready but still civilised look of the Federation's freighter captains.

Others, perhaps emboldened by both Wainwright and the lieutenant's apparent sympathy, stood - no more than half a dozen in the large room. One, a rather wiry Bolian, wrung his hands together. "I've just got a little orbital hopper -"

"And you can cram ten people into it who'd get blown up here on the station, Zedos," said Wainwright gruffly before she looked back to Selu. "Children, caregivers, vulnerable," she agreed. "So long as it's safe out there and we're not just gonna get blown up by Breen the moment we launch from the station."

"Captain, if we're under attack, I'd think we'd know it by now." Selu turned and saw her two most senior staffers behind her. "Man the departure desk, let's start clearing people through and onto any ship that is willing to help. Marcus," she said the a man stepped foward. "Take who you need, go find the manual controls. I want to launch those ships when they're full."

No one saluted outside of a head nod and got on with their job. She'd only been here a couple of weeks but established her style at Downtown. "Children, caregivers and vulnerable people please follow my people to Departures calmly and you'll be processed through to the departing ships. Everyone else, please wait here and we'll guide you to a rally point shortly. I don't like giving this warning," her voice suddenly sharp and precise, "but my staff are here to help. Anyone who attempts to take advantage of the good will of our captains," her head nodded to the volunter Captains, "will be dealt with and in front of a magistrate as soon as I can arrange it."

She stepped back and let her staffers start guiding people into two groups and leading evacuees in the direction of Departures. They knew what they were going to do now and so did the civilian population. She didn't need to be involved in all of it, her eyes roaming and watching for any trouble and the reappearance of Commander Reyes.

The enthusiasm for leaving and the crowd moving to get it done gave him enough cover to return to the front, his wife with her hands on the shoulders of each child. Reyes looked about the gathered, then back to Selu, and dropped his voice. "A good job, but you know we can't just let them launch yet. It'd be great to think we'd know if there's a threat out there by now, but with the debris field it's not a call we can make on the information they have." He sounded remorseful, yet matter-of-fact.

"Folks might not be happy, and I get it, but they're in no immediate danger here," he pressed on. "So if you can do me the favour of getting an officer to get my family to a proper lockdown spot, I'll get some damn answers from Ops on how quickly we can launch these ships. With luck, they'll just rubber stamp it. If they don't, we've got to trust they've got good reason."

"Folks are happier in an emergency if they think they have a rapid departure all set and ready to go," Selu said. A wave of a hand a security officer appeared at her side, the young man dragging one of the cadets along in his wake. "Ma'am," she said to Reye's wife, "these two will guide you to the nearest Security hub here on the Promenade. I do apologise but it is a bit of a walk as the rail system is currently down." The two she indicated nodded their heads in understanding of the just implied orders given to them.

"Commander Reyes, if you don't mind, I'd like to send a staff member with you, to facilitate your access to through to the station core and emergency lifts. They should see you through to Ops in quick order I hope."

"Oh," said Eva, lifting a hand, "I can go a good long while without being Ma'am'd. But we've been cooped up on a transport long enough, stretching our legs will do us all good." She turned to Reyes. "Try to make this not worse."

He snorted. "Try to not give me anything new to worry about." His gaze dropped to his children. "Like I told you. Keep your mother out of trouble." The goodbye was fleeting, the family clearly accustomed to the demands of duty upon him; a quick peck on the cheek for his wife, a hand-squeeze for his kids, then they were ushered off.

Reyes turned back to Selu. "I'll take an officer if you can spare them; it's not like I memorised the access routes before getting here. This fort is yours, Lieutenant." He glanced around. "I don't like lying to civilians. I don't like treating them like idiots, acting like Starfleet knows better. You'd know this community better than me, but it feels the recent attack has made some people not convinced Starfleet will keep them safe. You've got a tightrope to walk down here, Lieutenant, so stay in touch if there's anything the command team can give you. Even if it's just information."

"Best I can ask for is permission to starting launching a few of the ships as they fill up. Perhaps permission to press gang every flight worthy officer I can find as well and start loading up all the shuttles and runabouts too." Another hand was waved and Selu summoned another one of her staffers to her side. "Ensign, this is Commander Reyes. Please see him safely to wherever he wishes to go, shortest possible route. Any issues, contacting myself or Commander Walsingham straight away." The young woman nodded in understanding and then indicated for the Commander to at least lead the way out of the Arrivals lounge.

"Best speed Commander," Selu offered by way of salutation.

"And good luck to you, Lieutenant." Reyes's smile was warm but cognisant of the challenge ahead. "Carry on keeping these people safe." He turned to the newly-summoned officer, and they, too, got a similar encouraging look. "Lead on, Ensign. Let's make this crisis a little less confusing for people."

A Mission Post by

Commander Javier Reyes
Senior Officer of the Watch
Guardian Station


Lieutenant Selu Levne
Security Officer
Guardian Station


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