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Focus Group

Posted on 23 Jun 2019 @ 2:24am by Captain Harvey Geisler & Ensign Quinn Mackie & Commander Terry Walsh & Lieutenant Commander Gemma Alexander & Lieutenant JG Lina Sorensen & Lieutenant Danyl Adan & Ensign Aurilia Moretti

Mission: Truth and Justice
Location: Flight Ops Briefing Room 1
Timeline: MD 1 || 1700 hours (March 14, 2389)

There were probably other places that Terry could have used for the focus group, but he went with the one that was more comfortable for him since he'd been given the assignment. Flight Ops Briefing Room One wasn't reserved for anything at the moment and if it had been, he'd have just found another place. He looked around the room at the assembled personages and began.

"Well ladies and gentlemen, we're here as a focus group. Our job is to take all of the information we learned from Kalisa and see what we can apply to Penduli. We start with personal experience and mounds of sensor data from the initial flight to test the defenses to the away team's return. As a matter of keeping things organized, we'll start with getting through the orbital defenses once we arrive. Can a runabout and Gryphons be fitted for such and what are we looking at for a timeline?"

"I have a few ideas," said Lieutenant Adan. "I think the runabouts can be fitted quite easily with a few modifications. The griffins are a little more limited...but it might work with a little tinkering."

Terry liked the confidence in the statement. But 'might work' and 'tinkering' sent a shiver up his spine. He looked to the other gold-suited officers in the room. "Let's try to move from thinking to actual numbers running. We're sitting in front of consoles usually by pilots for briefings. But they still have access to all of the data that has been collected over the last little while." They would be at Penduli soon enough and 'I think' wouldn't fly with the Captain. Especially when he was sitting in the room. Time was of the essence. "And I'd suggest that we tinker with the Gryphon's systems in a holodeck and run some simulations before tinkering on the actual fighter. I'm sure that either Lieutenant Alexander or Ensign Moretti would be more than happy to push the holo-Gryphon beyond it's limits in order to test the tinkering."

Aurilia had been listening and sorting out some things on a PADD but now she looked up when she heard her name mentioned. "Actually, Sir, while that is appealing, the safety limits are there for a reason. If we start tinkering with alien technology that isn't tested, we may end up with unexpected results. Holography is fine, but we'll end up having to test it in real time and we may miss a variable or factor unaccounted for in the holodeck. I volunteer to run beta for anything and everything possible to break it."

Had Harvey been a telepath, he most certainly would have confirmed his Squadron Commander's thoughts. The time for thinking was over and the time for action was upon them. "And if you do break it, Ensign," Harvey spoke up from his seat at the front of the room, "then all you'll have done is raise our casualty rate. Thirty-eight of our crew have laid down their lives already. I have no desire for it to become thirty-nine."

The Captain rose from his chair and joined Commander Walsh at the front of the room. "Simulations first, then tinkering with real craft. Before that, let's circle back to what we know of the orbital defenses. They're highly adaptive, and our live experiment with multi-adaptive shielding was a moderate success. Can this be adapted to the fighters?"

"Yes," replied Danyl with more confidence than before. "The technology is easily adaptable to the fighters. I can see the whole thing in my head now. Of course, you may wish for us to try it on the holodeck first just to be sure, but I really don't see that it will be a problem."

"Er, I meant a beta tester in the simulator, Captain," Aurilia said. "I learned not to be a casualty and enjoy my existence, Sir."

"Do we know what it is about these alien units that allow ships to pass through the minefield unharmed?" Harvey asked to no one in particular.

Alexander was allowing the conversation to flow, making notes as needed. She had the available information on a PADD and kept referring to it as the others went back and forth. Rather than toss out her own ideas she glanced at the shirts curious what they might have.

Terry nodded at the Captain's question and looked at the general crowd. "How about it, ladies and gentlemen? Maybe the units emit a distinct signal of some kind that can be simulated by our technology? Or generate a small shield or field around a vessel?"

"That's it exactly," said Adan. He rubbed his temples with his hands before continuing. "We simply need to adjust the shield harmonics to create the right frequency and we're through!" He said this last part with a little more emphasis than necessary.

"I can see it all clearly in my head, but I can't put it into words."

"We could find the frequency from both the Black Hawk's and the Mississippi's logs," Harvey surmised. "Is there any chance that it's really that simple?"

"That would be nice Sir." Alexander said after the Captain made his statement, "Can't hurt to test it. We could also consider other ways the mines may scan or interface with incoming craft. FOF signals are most normally, but not always, used and ties in frequency modification so decent first step there but we may want to be prepared for other options if testing doesn't go our way." She gave her opinion and shut up, not being hugely experienced in this sort of modifications. If they got unusual they could be scanning for hull makeup or any one of a number of things.

"And how do you propose we do that, Lieutenant?" Harvey asked.

Alexander turned to the CO, "Well sir if our programming of their reactions are sufficiently comprehensive we should be able to make basic changes to the most likely vectors and determine if it's noteworthy or a non starter. Of course it will depend on our ability to properly program how they are likely to react. Once we've done that it would a be a matter of looping in the vital changes to fool sensors or any checks they might make." She glanced at the operations and engineers, "They might know more than I do how good our testing programs are likely to be or if we need more intel to make those calls."

"All right," the Captain said, taking what Gemma had suggested into consideration. "Form a team, and get on it right away. I want to keep these modifications minimal. And, by that I mean limited in deployment. Whatever is at our destination... it's meant to stay there. We'll be the first vessel to pass through in centuries. Whatever tech we have, it needs to stay out of the wrong hands... assuming that there are wrong hands out there. Any recommendations on that minimal deployment?"

Gemma nodded at the order to form a group and made a note on her PADD. "Well with fighters we often use three as a full wing. A leader and two wingmen. Max coverage, has overlap, and uses minimal personnel." She thought for a moment more then continued, "In my opinion Sir, if you're really bare bonesing it, a leader and a wingman could work. It doesn't have the redundancy as the three but tends to cover what it needs to." In essence, no safety net but was workable.

At that moment the door to the Flight Ops Briefing Room slid open making the typical hissing sound and Lina Sorensen entered the room. She gave the Captain a quick nod. It always felt totally odd when you joined a meeting late and this was no exception - in fact, this was worse as she had never attended a senior staff meeting on the ship before. Since the meeting had already been in progress and she did not want to disturb anyone, Lina proceeded to a free chair without saying a word and wondered what they were discussing. The last words she had heard had been about no safety net, which sounded rather bad.

The Captain simply nodded to the pilot again. "Whatever minimizes the risk of failure and still keeps our ass covered is what I'll support," he calmly stated. "Plus it still comes down to our ability to replicate working versions of the equipment we acquired from the Kalsia archive. I can't imagine we'll be able to add these to every fighter or shuttle. Just getting the Black Hawk through the minefield will be a challenge enough."

Lina looked at the Captain and listened closely to what he said. She did not really know exactly what they had been discussing before, but the equipment from the archive was something she knew about. Actually Lina was totally fascinated by the opportunity to do research on them combined with the chance of learning something new. But on the other hand...

Lina cleared her throat as she wanted to speak up now. She felt a bit uncertain. It was strange to enter the room and immediately start talking.

"Erm, from the... the engineering point of view I can only say this. It will take us some time to even figure out how some of these artifacts really work and what its components are good for. Let alone trying to come up with additional working versions that are compatible with our shuttles." Lina looked around the table and stopped at every face for a brief moment.

"It is a bit like... erm... trying to copy a painting without even knowing what the orignal completely looks like in the dark."

Her comments did not phase the Captain. His determination to see this through to the end kept him focused and kept him solemn enough to reply, "Whatever you need to do to figure it out, Lieutenant, then we need you to do it. However many you can put together will have to be sufficient."

Lina nodded confirmingly. "Of course, we will do our very best."

She had not intended to give the impression that it was impossible. Perhaps it would have been better if she had just remained silent for the moment.

Terry had noticed the petite blonde come in and take a seat earlier. The setup of his Flight Ops briefing room made it impossible for pilots to slip in unnoticed. Apparently it worked on engineers, too. At first he wondered what would have kept her from this meeting, but then let it go as they had bigger things at the moment to worry about. He turned to face the Captain as he spoke and then to face the others seated in front of the podiums. "The takeaway...get it done fast and good. Black Hawk will keep us busy the most and then a couple of fighters." He turned to the late-comer. "As far as compatible working versions, we've addressed using the holodecks for that. The others can get you up to speed. Unless Captain Geisler has anything else, I think we're done here."

The Captain shook his head, confirming that they'd accomplished all they could for now. "We'll be at Penduli in just a few days. The clock is ticking. Let's get to it, everyone." With that, he led the exodus from the room.

Lina took a deep breath and stood up again. It seemed slowly growing into her new posting as Chief Engineer was not really an option for her, but perhaps it was better to be thrown in at the deep end. This was definitely not something that would take away her optimism. So instead of ending her normal duty shift, she headed to engineering for her first double shift as Chief.

Terry watched all of the others leave the briefing room and then he followed. There were lots of things that needed to happen before their arrival.


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