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Comet Holladay

After The Captain's Cotillion, the USS Rosenante was once again underway to continue her survey of Sector 6309 as she had been ordered. During this time, the crew encountered an unusual comet, which later became known as Comet Holladay in honor of the scientist who detected it by long-range scans. Detailed scans and trajectory studies were underway, when an urgent message from Starfleet Command was received.





The Communique

Habrii
Alaya

The message from Starfleet Command was grim. Events on the planet Beta Aquillia IV had resulted in the overthrow of the pro-Federation government that had previously ruled there.

The new regime was a pro-isolationist group known as the Veil of the Sky. The group in prior years had been politically active, although their agenda was not exceptionally popular. The group, led by Habrii and his lieutenant Alaya had managed to seize almost complete control of the planet, using a series of coordinated military attacks.

During this time of sudden unrest, several Embassies were overrun and their staff taken hostage by the new leadership on the planet. Among those held were Federation Ambassador Joanne Turner and her staff including some Starfleet Marines.

Some refugees and members of the disposed government in exile managed to find shelter at Atlantis Station, a luxury hotel, located off the coastal beaches adjacent to the Capital city of Joba.

The Rosenante's mission was to secure the release of all Federation hostages through diplomacy or military action as needed. In addition she was to investigate the sudden unexpected military support and prowess acquired by the Veil of the Sky. It was generally believed that since Beta Aquillia IV was situated inside the disputed Sector 6309 that agents of the Tal'Shiar or the Obsidian Order could be behind the success of the Veil. Both the Romulan Star Empire and the Cardassian Union were attempting to lay claim to portions of the sector, despite Federation claims to the territory, already in place.

Because Beta Aquillia IV was a pro-Federation world, with large resources of tritanium ore, which was being used to reconstruct Starfleet vessels lost during the Federation Civil War, the loss of a pro-Federation government on the planet could prove disastrous.

Planning the Mission

Atlantis Station

Significant mission planning was needed due to the scale of the disruption of the population on Beta Aquillia IV. Some fighting between loyalist and Veil military forces was underway, and Salid saw that the Rosenante would need to be ready to support refugees in addition to the operations to recover Federation personnel.

To those ends, plans were put underway to prepare refugee camps, where housing, basic nutritional needs, medical needs, and security could be secured. Uncertain of the number of potential refugees they could face, the Rosenante teams were ordered to rig the ship for maximum evacuation operations.

Plans were being established to set up operational command centers on the planet for the purpose of coordinating all ground operations there. Ideally the primary center would be established at Atlantis Station which was owned and operated by a Federation citizen, Niambh McNulty, as it was most centrally located and most easily defended.

A captured freighter

In addition the fact that several freighters were captured by the Veil immediately after their coup and were subsequently being refit with weapons, created a military threat to the Rosenante, her crew and her mission. As such, a plan to neutralize those threats was developed, whereby the Klingon fighter, maQmIgh piloted by Lanista would deploy special nanite-based weapons programmed by newly commissioned Ensign Andrew Elliot Maddox. The purpose would be to launch the weaponized nanites against the freighters in an apparently unsuccessful attack. The nannies would then insinuate themselves into the communication and control systems of those ships allowing the Rosenante to eavesdrop on their communications and to neutralize critical systems should it be needed.

With little time and many preparations required, the crew began the complex task of preparing for disaster relief on a war torn world.

Arrival in System

A Skorr Worldripper Class Ship
Skorr Swiftwing Fighter

Two days at high warp later, the USS Rosenante arrived in the Beta Aquillia system. The number of freighters that the veil had captured had increased to five in the short time, but as none were ready to be deployed, Salid saw no immediate threat.

The ship assumed as Geosynchronous Orbit over the capital city of Joba and a general pre-mission briefing called, for later that day. Before the meeting however, the arrival of another starship brought everyone to high alert.

The ship hailed the Rosenante and was identified as being the Skorr starship Skysplitter a Worldripper Class vessel. The ship was under the command of Ambassador Dralar who was on leave from the Rosenante, where he normally served as the ship's helmsman. The vessel carried thousands of Swiftwing Class fighters and perhaps a million Skorr military soldiers, ready to deploy. In their haste to seize control of the government, they had taken hostage the ambassador and staff from Skoria, Toraz, which happened to be a member of the royal family.

Secret Plans and Machinations

Unknown to either the Skorr or the Federation a Cardassian Keldon Class starship, equipped with a cloaking device was also nearby, as were three Romulan D'deridex Class warbirds. The situation was tense and it was likely that all were involved in the developing situation taking place on the planet below.

The Romulans had already secreted a Tal'Shair agent onto the planet, named Trez, who was investigating a series of raids against military supply depots, in connection with a spy ring in the Romulan Capital City.

The Cardassians were also present, under the leadership of Gul Matan. It seemed that the Obsidian Order were also involved in some capacity.

With so many powerful factions involved, it was becoming likely that a single wrong move could result in conflict between the participants. This hope was a key pin to the plans of Obsidian Order operative Dula.

Negotiations

C3 command console

It took a full two days after the arrival of the USS Rosenante before the Aquillians agreed to any sort of negotiations with the Federation delegation. The Veil of the Sky assigned the Ambassador of the prior regime to handle the negotiations. Ambassador Tzorn was not given much of an opportunity to turn down the task, as he was threatened with legal action if he failed.

To ensure his cooperation and adherence to the Veil's dogma, Alaya decided to accompany the negotiations in person. For the Federation, Captain Salid assigned Ben Soma to lead the delegation. On his team was Nayeli, Parker Davis, Thomas Jackson, Sanok, and Niambh McNulty. Accompanying them to represent the Skorr interests was Ambassador Dralar, who had been assigned to replace his brother Ambassador Toraz.

The meeting between the two powers was tense and full of demands. The Veil revealed that they would release the Ambassador only if the Federation Council agreed to recognize the Veil of the Sky as the rightful government of Beta Aquillia IV. In addition they demanded the extradition of the president of the deposed regime, President Kolath.

Sometime during the meeting, Alaya frustrated by the apparent 'negotiations' between Habrii's government and the officers of the USS Rosenante caused her to push forward with a plan to bring things to a more decisive confrontation.

One of the explosions at the refugee camps

The Refugee Camp

For the first two days after arriving at the planet Beta Aquillia IV, the crew of the Rosenante began to establish a planet side Command Control and Communications Center at Atlantis Station as well as a Refugee Camp to handle the immediate needs of those fleeing the conflict zone. This need to protect the civilians seeking asylum stretched the resources of the Rosenante thin.

The situation became desperate when a pair of explosions detonated within the confines of the camp. The targets were the primary Security check point at the entry to the camp and the Sickbay. The explosions caused a great deal of damage, killing and wounding dozens, mostly Aquillians, although some Federation personnel were injured.

The act caused the C3 to ground all shuttle flights, forcing the returning delegation to land their runabout just outside of the secured perimeter. shortly after the delegation evacuated their vessel, a third explosion destroyed the vessel, without injury.

Rescue Operations

in response to the bombings, immediate Search and rescue operations commenced, The focus being on general site security and casualty triage. With teams working to clear debris and render medical aid to the afflicted, the situation stretched resources almost to the breaking point.

Captain Ahmed Ibn Salid surveyed the damage done on the site and decided to request military assistance from the Skorr to shore up site security. Ambassador Dralar agreed and Skorr troops were dispatched to supplement Federation security personnel.

Cloak and Dagger

While the majority of the Rosenante crew were engaged with the obvious actions of diplomacy and refugee camp operations, two members of the Rosenante's crew were conducting a form of investigation determined to create leads on the location of Ambassador Joanne Turner and to uncover the foreign power behind the sudden success of the Veil of the Sky.

A Cardassian Seldium Detonator

Chance Raschen began to use his experience gained during the Irregular Federation Forces to conduct investigations into the mysterious powers behind the Veil's uncustomary success. During his three days of covert investigation Rachen uncovered a severed Cardassian arm that still bore a portion of a uniform. On that uniform was an emblem of the Obsidian Order. This was a significant clue, although it's validity was questioned by Lieutenant Sanok who surmised that it would have been possible to plant the arm in an area where it would likely be found. It was supposed that there was a possibility that another power, perhaps the Romulans were involved and that since this was a common means of misinformation, it was possible that it was a means to redirect suspicion to the Cardassians. It was unclear whether the Cardassians were involved and someone was pointing this out directly, or that they were not involved and the third party wanted the Federation to believe that they were involved thus throwing suspicion off the actual supporters behind the Veil's success.

Meanwhile, Mike Rosenbauer managed to befriend a young member of the Veil of the Sky named Sien. After some discussion Sien offered to help the Rosenante to locate their Ambassador. Sien used a variety of contacts and some influence to help develop a plan to gain entry into the central Veil headquarters.

In addition to the arm located by Raschen, Sanok located a Cardassian detonator that showed residual particles of Cardassian genetic material.

Waves on the Sea

With the situation rapidly deteriorating, Habrii in an attempt to influence the Federation delegation's stance, ordered Alaya arrested for her part in ordering the suicide bombings at the refugee camp. With Tzorn making clandestine arrangements with his nephew to organize the covert rescue of Ambassador Turner, and also trying to arrange his own asylum with the federation in return for his assistance, the situation is beginning to splinter as different players, each with their own agenda are moving into several avenues of action at the same time. Some of these actions are conflicting with other factions, and others seem to be taking place in a comparative vacuum.

Alaya was arrested by members of Habrii's presidential security, led by Zhinn and Gambra. She had decided to go into hiding at her family home, which was where she was captured.

Doctor Kitty Fisher

After a passionate meeting between Habrii and Alaya, Habrii ordered her held indefinitely, although the rapid deterioration of events with the federation and the now shaky power base that he was working with was slowly forcing him to agree with Tzorn to extradite her to the Federation to face trial for her crimes.

Ambassador Tzorn, managed to make arrangements for Ambassador Turner to communicate with the Rosenante crew. Of course, the crew of the Rosenante were forewarned of the event, and although some countermeasures were taken to prevent an easy fix on the source of her communication, it was understood hat it would be possible to trace the signal and launch a rescue mission.

Of Skorr and Women

In the meantime, Ambassador Dralar requested that Katherine 'Kitty' Fisher join any Skorr rescue mission that might be undertaken to rescue the captured Skorr Ambassador Toraz. When an encrypted signal, sent by Toraz was detected, Fisher joined the assault team and set out to rescue the Ambassador. Her expertise in Skorr medicine would soon be put to the test.

Prison Break!

As pawns were moved into position for the endgame, The Cardassian commander Gul Matan decided to intervene directly into the situation and help bring things to a head. His faith wavering in Habrii, Matan decided to throw Cardassian support for the Veil of the Sky behind Alaya, which seemed easier to control and manipulate due to her high aggression and desire for revenge.

Now aligned, it is only a matter of time before a power struggle between Habrii and Alaya take place for control of the Veil. Zhinn and Gambra, once alerted of her escape, began making preparations to protect Habrii at all costs.

Aquillian Brig celled based on Federation detention technology

A Lion in Sheep's Clothing

President Kolath, still at Atlantis Station, meanwhile finally decided to act. Although he had been frozen with indecision, his new desire to finally take action should not be discredited. After a meeting with Niambh McNulty, Kolath was granted access to the communications suite of the Hotel, where he transmitted an impassioned speech to his fellow Aquillians. He outlined his desire to liberate his people from Veil control, and to restore the democracy. Although in a seemingly impossible position against overwhelming odds, it seemed that Kolath may have the ability to form an effective insurgent resistance to the Veil, but their success or effectiveness is yet to be realized.

in a strange twist, Ben Soma and Sanok were requested by captain Salid to proposed that Kolath turn himself over to the Veil in return for a guarantee of safety, ith the hopes of learning Ambassador Turner's location. Kolath, as anticipated refused. he also refused to be evacuated. It seemed he was determined to make a final stand.

The Most Dangerous Game

Romulan D'Deridex warbird

Tzir, Tzorn's nephew and member of the Secret Police, upon hearing that Alaya had escaped from prison decided that he had to adjust the plan where the rescue of the Federation Ambassador was concerned. in a fairly brutal move, Tzir and his men executed the Aquillian personnel at the outpost that housed the Federation hostages. They then released them all and armed the Starfleet Marines with the weaponry seized from the Embassy. he then advised that the communication plan was still intact before departing.

Romulans!

Aboard the USS Rosenante, Lieutenant Commander Matrix and Lieutenant Peter Cohen detected a Romulan transmission on the surface although they were unable to decipher it. Captain Salid decided to make preparation to detect and reveal the Romulan ships that he was certain were lurking nearby.

In response to this new information, Captain Salid decided to deploy a series of sensor nets to attempt to detect the Romulan ships that he was certain were in the system.

It was while the Rosenante was returning to orbit that the final chapter in their involvement began to unfold.

Rescue Operation

As the communication progressed, Sanok and Signos led a rescue operation to recover Ambassador Turner from her Aquillian captors. The small rescue team beamed into the target area in the determined blind spot of some nearby watchtowers. The team then infiltrated the compound and began to make their way towards the compound that Sien's data had indicated as the holding compound for the hostages.

The mission took a sudden twist when the Aquillian soldiers realized that the Federation prisoners had managed to take control of the security detention center and were awaiting rescue. Armed with stafrfleet equipment, the hostages were defending their position awaiting their liberation when Signos and her team arrived.

Anesthizine Gas

After a breakout, the recently released hostages and the rescue team, performed a fighting withdrawal to the rooftop of the building. From there they were beamed up to the USS Rosenante . The rescue mission was a resounding success.

Military Coup

Once word of Alaya's escape from custody became known, the presidential government building went into immediate lockdown. Habrii however, had overlooked a long devised plan for the capture of the government building, which Alaya had helped to devise. Originally the plan was to be used against president Kolath, but the mission was just as viable now. Alaya pumped Anesthezine gas gas into the government building, incapacitating the entire security and operations staff, save those within the Presidental quarters.

Then using a very small cadre of personnel, she led an assault against the building, using the confusion and effects of the gas to seize control of the building rapidly. With the building under her control Alaya made her way to the Presidential office.

There, she killed Sergeant Gambra and Operative Zhinn, before subduing President Habrii. From there Alaya immediately organized a military assault by Veil militia against the refugee camp and Atlantis Station.

Extraction

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Commander Ben Soma led a small away team to collect Ambassador Tzorn, who had provided information on Ambassador Turner's position in return for political Asylum. The operation was uneventful and went smoothly.

Endgame

just as the rosenante was returning to planetary orbit, the Veil launched their full militia attack against both the refugee camp and Atlantis Station. Captain salid ordered a full withdrawal and ordered the Rosenante's weapons employed to provide close support for the retreating federation personnel and the refugees. This involved using the ship's phasers on heavy stun to slow the advance of Militia. In addition, Salid detonated low-yield Photon Torpedoes detonated below the surface of the ocean to create shockwaves to capsize, but not destroy, maritime warships shelling Atlantis station.

During the battle, president Kolath gave an impassioned speech for a revolution and counter revolution against the Veil's illegitimate government. Once all the federation personnel and the nearly 1,000 refugees were beamed out of harm's way, Niambh McNulty destroyed Atlantis Station in a pre-planned demolition, effectively removing the hotel as a spoil of war.

With that act, Salid ordered the Rosenante to disembark.

Bomber Aboard

Despite the best efforts of the crew to secure all the refugees as they came aboard, the necessity of speed, made it possible that the veil could manage to get another potential suicide bomber aboard the Rosenante in all the confusion. Lieutenant Tom Jackson and Lieutenant Steve Matrix were assigned to the cargo bay to help oversee the needs and organization of the refugees. It was during this time that Jackson spotted a potential suicide bomber in the crowded bay. Jackson tackled the would-be bomber and managed to prevent the detonation of the weapon in the tightly packed cargo bay where the casualties would have been unimaginable. There were no further episodes.

Epilogue

The Rosenante remained outside the Beta Aquillia system and after a short while rendezvoused with the USS Noble to transfer the refugees and repatriated Federation Citizens to a new life. Among those remaining for the time being aboard were Sien, Niambh McNulty, David Roskoff and Ambassador Joanne Turner. Although they were unsuccessful in determining who was behind the coup on Beta Aquillia IV, the crew took some solace in the knowledge that they managed to save the refugees that had elected to be evacuated. It was a bittersweet victory.

 

USS Rosenante Missions
Missions: Picking up the Pieces | A Fine and Private Place | Furlough | Letters of Marques | Fields of Elysium | Homecoming | Into the Darkness, Go I | Equals and Opposites | The Quondam Season | The Gilded Man | Touch of the Eidolon | Just Another Saturday Night | Once More Into The Breach | Personal Logs | The Third Law | The Captain's Cotillion | The Veil of the Sky | A Port in the Storm | The Raven's Nest | Through the Looking Glass | Sensory Overload | Lest We Forget **Coming Soon**