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Bearer of Bad News

Posted on Sat Jun 1st, 2024 @ 5:46pm by Captain Abigail Laurens & Lieutenant Commander Ebrin Valek

Mission: In The Face of Adversity
Location: Admiral's Ready Room, USS Akorem

Virtam leaned back in his chair and let out a sigh. He was acutely aware that he had not slept in several hours, and that with the pace of the last few days, he was starting to push against the limits of his mind and body. And yet, the work did not stop. Briefings, meetings, communiques about the developing situation along the Tzenkethi border continued to come in. No sooner would one finish, than two more would take its place.

In his experience, this was usually about the time something would decide to come out of left field. He'd anticipated it might be a change in the plan of the diplomatic team or some sort of bluster by the Tzenkethi to try to assert their dominance. He had not expected it to come from somewhere else entirely.

Yet, there it was, on the PADD laid out before him. It had come in earlier that morning along with a few other updates from the eleventh fleet. His eye happened to catch it as it came across the desk, and ever since, his mind had been...elsewhere.

"Admiral," the voice of his yeoman said gently, cutting through his thoughts.

"Yes," he replied, turning toward the young petty officer.

"Communications reports we have established the link with the Dalacari network," they continued, "They just need to know the recipient to finalize the connection."

Virtam took a deep breath. Then, sitting up straight in his chair, he folded his hands on the edge of his desk and did his best to compose himself. "Open a channel to Captain Abigail Laurens, USS Astraea..."

=/\= Delta Quadrant - USS Astraea =/\=

"Captain, we have a priority one communication coming live, direct from Star Fleet Command."

Abigail raised an eyebrow slightly as she glanced toward Ichiko. "Well, I'm guessing they're not calling to tell me they're out of sugar," she said quietly as she stood up from her center chair. "Commander Gail, you have the bridge."

She smoothed down the front of her dress, hands sliding over slim hips before she turned smartly and journeyed the short distance to her Ready Room.

Moments later she was seated at her desk, taking a deep breath before she reached out and opened the communication.

"This is Captain Laurens," she said quietly, brow furrowing at the unfamiliar face on her screen. "What can I do for you Admiral?"

"Vice Admiral Virtam, Eleventh Fleet Command," Virtam replied, introducing himself. Technically, the two had met on at least one other occasion, a few years earlier. However, it was unlikely that she would have remembered. Those had been rather pressing circumstances as well, and he hated that it was taking something similar for them to be reacquainted. "I'm afraid I have some bad news, captain," he continued, "The Pennyslvania is missing."

The Pennyslvania is missing.

The Pennyslvania is missing.

The words seem to echo through her mind, colour draining from her face as their meaning began to sink in. Unfocused eyes narrowed in on the face on the screen in front of her.


"Yes, missing," Virtam confirmed, "They were last due to report in over a month ago, and we've not heard anything. As you know, we don't have many assets operating in that region, which has made attempts at tracking them rather difficult. Long range scans have picked up no signal from them or any flight data recorder at their last known location."

"No..." Abigail shook her head. "No, there has to be another explanation..." She ran her fingers through her long dark hair, a nervous trait. "Ask the Dalacari, maybe the communications network has been malfunctioning? Maybe their messages have been lost in transmission? Maybe...." clearly she was looking for excuses, any plausible excuse that would mean Dirk was safe.


The admiral's voice was firm but calm. There was no reprimand, no judgment. The look in his eyes made it clear he knew what Laurens was going through, or at the very least, could empathize with it. "We are working every possible angle," he said slowly, "but in the meantime, you are the most senior officer that we have out there. That means you are in command. I need you to take charge."

Abigail nodded slowly. "Yes Admiral," she said softly, straightening her back and holding her head higher. "Is there anything else?"

"No, that will be all."

"Very well Admiral," her voice was quiet as she spoke, it was clear she was struggling to process the moment.

"Godspeed, captain," Virtam said, "Virtam out." And with that, his face disappeared from the screen.

Abigail leaned forward onto her desk, her hand moving to rest on the leather covered journal he had given her the last time they were together... It was only then that the first tear silently fell.



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