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ZETHANDER EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT CENTRE
September 12th 2371 – 0817 FST
Like many governments across the quadrant, plans for crisis situations revolved primarily around maintaining a coherent chain of command. At any one time on Zethander a senior government official was delegated to be at the Rainbow Mountain safe facility. In the mere hundred or so years of the colony’s history, and despite their relative proximity to the Tzenkethi borders, there had never arisen a need to evacuate the seat of government here.
However, the regular rehearsals for just such an eventuality had paid off in the overnight crisis. All but two of the twelve elected council members had been ferried to the safe haven built deep into the bedrock of Rainbow Mountain some forty kilometres south of Coral City. Sadly one of those missing was the Planetary Governor Carnac Ferith.
He and his wife had been attending the opening of a brand new complex on the Coral City waterfront and although when the emergency call went out his security detail checked in to say they were airborne and safely en route, nothing further had been heard from them.
For the time being, temporary control had passed to the Deputy Governor, a striking Vulcan woman named T'Prar, who had retired to Zethander after the death of her husband. Her return to politics had been unintentional, but the role suited her and until now it had been an almost bucolic mission.
“Council members, I pronounce this emergency session of the Zethander Planetary Government in session. Those present include myself Deputy Governor T’Prar, Transportation and Communication Minister Enrik Tharl, Trade and Commerce Minister Arianne Morgan, Industry Minister Carl Hagan, Agriculture Minister Asheth Penraj, Energy Minister Conrad Harbin, Minister for Health Tanya Edwards, Planetary Security Minister Kerry Ethlan, Planetary Development Minister Belle Zeth and Militia Forces Representative General Argan Mendark.”
Looking around the table she saw tired and frightened faces. Even the expression on General Mendark’s face betrayed the stress and tension he was under.
“Those absent,” she continued quietly, “include Planetary Governor Carnac Ferith and Immigration Minister Patricia Hoyt, both currently missing following last nights events.”
She sat down at the head of the table and folded her hands in front of her, taking a deep cleansing breath before continuing.
“If you would all study your PADDs, as pro tem Head of State, it is my duty to instigate PROJECT FIREBREAK
which you will see described in detail there.”
Her opening words were purely for the recorder as each member of the Emergency Council was well aware of PROJECT FIREBREAK
and had rehearsed its implementation in exercises many times. Putting it into practice now could prove much different however.
“Before I outline further individual areas of responsibility, I would like a brief update from each of you as to the current state of your departments and their ongoing operations. Enrik, if you would start please.”
Before the dour faced career politician had a chance to begin however, General Mendark tentatively raised his hand. T’Prar turned towards the grey haired political representative of the Zethander military and noticed the dark circles around his eyes. His uniform, normally immaculately pressed was both rumpled and smudged with dirt, something she had never seen before.
“Ma’am, begging Minister Tharl’s forgiveness, but I’d like to make my report and get back out in the field? Right now there are a thousand and one things happening out there that I need to be co-ordinating.”
Tharl waved a weary hand and nodded for Mendark to proceed.
“Thank you Minister Tharl. Vice Governor, Ministers, I’m sure you’re well aware that right now it’s a serious mess out there. In the worst hit areas we have no power, communications or municipal systems at all. Further inland and away from the impact zones, whatever facilities we do have are disrupted to varying degrees. Unfortunately this is affecting rescue and recovery operations.”
Kerry Ethlan, the Planetary Security Minister seemed surprised. “I can understand power being a problem as well as the municipal facilities, but why communications and transport?”
Mendark sighed. “If you recall Ma’am, some while ago I requested that the communications centres for the military received further hardening against electro magnetic pulse effects and was told that it was a low priority.” She nodded. “Well there’s a decision that’s come back to bite us in the ass.” Ethlan blanched at the comment, but the General continued, his ire rising. “When the Borg ship exploded overland, whatever lit off in there gave us a mighty fine EMP blast. It didn’t wipe out communications totally but its left us severely handicapped. The tidal wave took out everything that was left on the coastal stretch which is exactly where we need it most.”
In an attempt to recover, Ethlan blustered. “That still doesn’t explain why the military’s transports can’t do their jobs. Or are they lacking in some way as well?”
Mendark was by this stage tired, irritated and behind schedule and his comment showed it. “With respect Ma’am, we could have a fleet of luxury starliners working over Coral City but without communications, just how in hell do we co-ordinate it?”
Ethlan’s mouth opened and closed several times without making a sound. Seeing that he’d made his point, Mendark turned his attention back to T’Prar.
“Ma’am, despite the superb work by the USS Angel
and the civilian crews last night, we’re looking at upwards of 10,000 dead and twice that number injured throughout the disaster zones. I’ve no doubt whatsoever that number will rise as we get further into the operation.” He opened a page on his PADD. “Right now I have several requests.”
T’Prar nodded for him to continue.
“Firstly, I need to relocate Command and Control to the Angel
. She has a better overall capacity at the moment and I’ll supervise from there.”
Nodding, T’Prar said, “Captain Fishlock has already volunteered whatever facilities we may need. I cannot see that being a problem, I’ll action that immediately.”
“Thank you Ma’am. Secondly, I hate to do this but I request that within specified areas, a state of martial law be declared.”
That stirred up a hornets nest.
The General ignored all the angry comments thrown at him and focussed solely on T’Prar. “It’s not something that ANY of us want Ma’am, but I need to restore authority into areas that are falling apart. I can’t do that with bouquets of flowers.” He turned to Agriculture Minister Asheth Penraj, the loudest complainant. “Minister Penraj, were you aware that pieces of Borg wreckage fell on and around Widemeadow?”
Widemeadow was a small town some 40 kilometres south of Coral City and Mendark was well aware that it was Penraj’s home town.
The Minister’s face turned ashen at the report. “No I was not aware of that General.”
“Neither was I until shortly before this meeting Minister. It’s torn a hole two kilometres long through the suburbs and right now there’s panic and rising lawlessness.” Mendark regretted the sharp way he’d delivered the news, but it appeared to have silenced the objections.
T’Prar studied the faces around the table and seeing no further dissension nodded her acceptance. “Approved General within the strictures of Standing Government Security Order 5.”
“In that case Ma’am, Ministers, if you’ll excuse me I have work to attend to.”
“Thank you General.” T’Prar looked at him with conviction. “Do your best.”
As he strode from the room, she silently wished him luck because she knew that he, like all of those in this room, was going to need it.
As the General exited the large air lock seal that protected the Rainbow Mountain facility, Captain Thomas Rousseau watched him closely. He had a great deal of respect for the ex-Starfleet Marine and knew that if anybody could pull this mess together it would be Mendark.
“So where are we at General?”
Rousseau fell into step with his CO and for a while there was silence as Mendark considered his next move. Finally as they approached the General’s shuttle he stopped.
“Tom, I want you to rustle up a HazTeam from Tango Control. Get them out to Widemeadow and I’ll drop you off there to take command. Head from there up to Bayview then work east towards Haven. I need a sitrep of what’s happening on the ground as soon as possible Tom.”
“Comms are out at Tango Sir but I’ll check out Widemeadow then hitch a ride with a garrison transport. I can pick up the HazTeam and head north to Bayview from Tango.”
Mendark checked his PADD and nodded. “Ok, seems good Tom. We’ve been granted Security Order 5 so if there are any areas that look bad you’ll need to call in the troops.”
As they climbed aboard the military shuttle and lifted, Rousseau took a final long look at the tranquil surroundings of Rainbow Mountain knowing that Widemeadow was likely to be quite the opposite.
USS ANGEL – CRISIS CONTROL CENTRE
ZETHANDER – GEOSTATIONARY ORBIT
September 12th 2371 – 0830 FST
“Vice Governor, please tell General Mendark that whatever aid we can offer is his, either here or on planet.”
The stately Vulcan inclined her head. “Thank you again Captain Fishlock. Do you have any further update on the arrival of the engineering and supply vessels?”
Checking the status board, Dan grimaced. “Still around 60 hours before the USS Brunel
can reach us Ma’am and the USS Mainstay
will be here about 16 hours after that.”
T’Prar smiled in sympathy. “Don’t worry Captain. I’m well aware that even Starfleet can’t change the laws of physics.”
She looked off-screen as her name was called. “Captain, I have to go but General Mendark will be contacting you directly to organize his needs. Once again thank you.”
As the screen faded back to the familiar UFP logo, Dan was only too well aware that they’d been in the right place at the right time otherwise it might have been the Angel
that was three days away.
He looked around at the hushed activity in C3 and realised that his presence here was only likely to interfere so made his way back through the connecting passageway on to the bridge. The atmosphere here was the same mix of professional calm and Dan stepped around to Science 1.
“So Ensign, did the hull scans pick anything up?”
“Yes Sir, but the Borg debris was inert.” Kara Asheen had stepped in to cover the position while T’Sell was aboard Scorpion and Dan was impressed as she continued. “I had workbee crews out to clear it anyway but I believe that our navigational deflectors stopped the majority of it contacting the hull. All areas have now been sterilized.”
Dan gave a sigh of relief at the news and turned to DeSalle at tactical. “Commander, you can stand the security teams down from general quarters. It would appear that we won’t be expecting the Borg after all.”
“Good work Ensign. Commander DeSalle, you have the bridge. I’ll be in my ready room if I’m needed.”
As DeSalle took the centre seat, LJ moved across from his auxiliary console to replace him at tactical, and Dan left the bridge feeling confident that Angel
and her crew had proved themselves above and beyond the basic tenets of their mission brief. It was a good feeling.