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Into the Frying Pan [PLOT]

Posted on Mon Nov 23rd, 2020 @ 5:24pm by Captain Malcom Llwyedd & Commander Hansel (Hans) Friedrech & Captain Pippa Shelby

Mission: Mission 6: To Your Scattered Bodies Go
Location: Empok Nor
Timeline: 21 May, 2395 - 2330 Hours


Captain Pippa Shelby, the commanding officer of Empok Nor for the past two years, sat in her office, with the doors open, watching the comings and goings of her ops. She'd been reading a fascinating article on the new warp systems that Starfleet was working on. Most of them would never see production but Pippa found the ideas exciting, even if she wasn't an engineer.

She saw the ripple of a disturbance move through her staff and stood up. By the time she exited her office she could see several strained looks and a number of frowns.

"Report," she said in her normal, no-nonsense voice.

"Sir," the young lieutenant managing the security console said. "We have an unscheduled, manual release from one of the docking bays."

Pippa frowned. "What do you mean manual? What ship are we talking about?"

The lieutenant glanced down at the display, Empok Nor didn't have the new holographic displays and probably never would. "The Firebird, sir. It's strange. We didn't receive any kind of alarm. I just happened to notice her departing."

Pippa's mind raced as she considered the possible explanations. Was this some kind of hijacking? She doubted it. After the Romulan incursion, Pippa knew that the Firebird was on high alert. She didn't know Captain Llwyedd very well but she knew he was a very competent officer.

"Get me the Firebird on comms, T'Vei," Pippa said to the lieutenant who handled all flight controls for inboud and outbound ships.

T'Vei's long fingers danced across her display once and then again. "Sir, the Firebird isn't responding," T'Vei's eyebrow shot up. "Interesting, captain. I detect no signals of any kid eminating from the Firebird. Their transponder is also not transmitting. Most unusual."

Captain Pippa Shelby uttered a curse word, one of her favorites. "Are there any crew from the Firebird left on the station?"

The security lieutenant nodded. "Yes, sir. Commander Friedrech is on the Promenade."

"I want him in my office. Now."

Commander Hansel Friedrech had just watched the Firebird depart when he was summoned to meet with Captain Shelby. He tried to put on his best shocked look, and had limped most of the way as he arrived at Ops his leg was as stiff as a board. Standing in front of the Captain he new the next few moments would determine whether or not he could do what Malcom asked of him. He didn't want to mislead starfleet but if he gave anything away he would be no help to the Firebird in the future, should they need him. "Captain, I was told you wanted to see me?" Hans stood at attention.

Pippa let the commander stand at attention for a minute while she got control of her anger. The Firebird was long gone and she had no idea why they'd left or where they'd gone. It was quite as bad as a captain having their own ship stolen from underneath their nose but it was close. She sighed and pointed to an open seat.

"Sit down, commander," she said. "I'd like you to tell me what the hell is going on. Your ship just warped out of the system without a peep. What is Captain Llywedd doing?"

"Your guess is as good as mine, ma'am," Hans replied taking his seat slowly rubbing his leg in the process. "Malcom asked me to check-in on a few complaints at Zulg's and as I was walking there I watched as the ship departed. Are you telling me they left with out contacting ops. I had imagined they were called away on an emergency. I thought I was called here for you to tell me what was going on ma'am." Hans hoped that the captain sitting in front of him would not see through him. He didn't know much about her but the rumors he heard was she was a very competent commander.

"Commander, you're telling me that you have no idea why your ship left suddenly without you. To me that means you were left behind on purpose or you're inept. Either way, that's a problem for me. I'll give you this chance to retract your statement and tell me what is going on. I'm aware that Captain Llwyedd is quite bold and I appreciate that. But running out without any indication of where he's going is going to cause a lot of alarms. What if he and the rest of the crew are going rogue? Starfleet just can't allow that to happen."

Hans' felt his leg start throbbing, he felt his heart in his throat and unconsciously began rubbing his leg in his seat. "Ma'am, in the short time I've been aboard the Firebird I've learned one thing. The crew is starfleet through and through. They wouldn't 'go rogue' as you call it." Hans got almost defensive as he chose his next words carefully. "You asked me what Captain Llwyedd is doing. I can honestly say I don't know the answer to that question he was my commanding officer and I don't question superiors to their motives or intentions. Now to your next question I imagine the ship is off handle a mission of upmost importance if they left in such a hurry. When you are given a command you are granted a certain latitude by starfleet. I would imagine that you to feel a connection to the crew of Empok Nor, a responsibility to them. I'm not sure what you would do if one of them were put in harms way and I'm not sure how much you know about the Firebird's situation, but if you were placed in the same situation perhaps you would want the chance to take care of that end on your own."

Hans paused trying to read the woman in front of him, "Captain, you do what you need to do, but I assure you that the crew aboard that ship is only acting in accordance with the values you and I should hold dear when wearing this uniform. You may think of me as inept if you wish, but I will not guess as to the intentions or the mission of my ship and until I hear otherwise. I will stick to my previous statement, Captain Llwyedd ordered me off the ship and departed without further instruction. I will gladly volunteer to assist anywhere on the station while I wait for communication from or the return of my ship." Hans' leg relaxed and a level of confidence he hadn't expected flowed through him. He watched the captain in front of him and waited for her to process his words.

Captain Shelby stood up and turned to look out the curved windows of her office. For a moment she was a young lieutenant back on DS9. She sighed. She'd been around the block a few times herself and she was one thousand percent certain that Commander Friedrech knew or at least suspected, what had happened. But she also couldn't deny to herself that there was no way she would have ever sold out one of her captains. She admired his loyalty. Outside she watched as a small Cardassian freighter pushed back from the upper pylon, turning slowly and then powering away. She turned back around.

"Commander Friedrech, you will consider yourself placed on temporary duty to Empok Nor. As commander of this station, I will be your immediate supervisor but you will also be working with my XO Commander Bokeep. Technically you outrank him but he's in the chain of command here and you aren't. Why don't you give me some suggestions about how I can make use of you while we wait for the Firebird to grace us with her presence," she said.

Hans relieved took a deep breath, "Thank you Captain, I was a security officer before I transferred into command, but I have become very good at scheduling between departments. As second officer aboard the Belmont, I made sure any and all personnel duty rosters were up to date and handled any officers helping one department from another. Perhaps I can assist your chain of command there." Hans paused watching the captain still entranced looking out her window. "If you'll give me Level 8 Access I would still like to monitor all reports throughout the sector maybe keep an eye out for my ship."

Pippa sat back down in her chair. A sly smile crawled across her face. "You know, I don't have a second officer at the moment. And I have had an incredibly hard time with our approach and departure rotation. Empok Nor continues to see a growth in traffic. I think you're an ideal candidate to help straighten out our procedures and increase efficiency. I'm also glad to make you the point of contact for any captains that have concerns or comments about their experiences. As a compensation for that service, I will also give you access so that you can monitor any reports about the Firebird. You'll update me as needed."

It was Hans' turn to smile, Captain Shelby was giving him the job no officer wanted to do. Listening to complaints all day and fighting with merchants and transport ships about docking priorities and cargo transfers. It was one of the worst command level jobs, but Hans knew he would be perfect for the job. "Thank you ma'am you won't regret your decision. I'll make sure traffic control is as running smoothly." At least any news of the Firebird would have to come across him being able to talk to all incoming traffic. It was an ideal situation for his purposes, Hans wondered if the captain had planned this all along.

"I'm counting on it, commander. Now, if you don't mind, I have a long report to write to Starfleet Command, which will be followed by a longer holomeeting with an angry Admiral. Please check in with the XO. He will make sure you get a berth and security access. Dismissed," Captain Shelby said.

Hans stood and saluted before leaving the office of the Captain. He wanted to thank her again, but felt like the conversation was over. She might have accepted his statement and allowed him to remain on Empok Nor with an assignment, but she wasn't happy that a starship had disappeared on her watch. Hopefully her reporting of it was favorable to Captain Llwyedd, most captains would do the same thing he was doing. As he left the Captain's office he walked the short distance to the XO's office and hit the buzzer. Perhaps his being of use here on the station could soften the blow of a crew gone rogue to save one crew member that isn't even Starfleet.


Captain Pippa Shelby
Commanding Officer
Empok Nor

Commander Hansel Friedrech
Acting Second Officer
Empok Nor


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