*Episode 2-1: An Ounce Of Planning

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OOC Date: July 24, 2011
IC Date: February 24, 2128

Captain Ramesh calls a meeting of the senior officers to discuss humanity's next move.

Conference Room - Deck Three

A large room dominated by a massive table set with 25 chairs - twelve on each side and one at one end. All of the chairs that surround it are the same, plushly padded swivel chairs with moderately high backs and comfortable armrest except for the one at the far end, which has a higher back and bears a Captain's insignia. Built into the surface of the table is a computer console at each seat, allowing everyone present access to the ship's computers via the tablet like terminals that seamlessly integrate the tabletop. At the opposite and from the Captain's chair is a giant plasma screen that runs the width of the wall and can be used for presentations of all kinds. The lighting here is slightly dimmed, subdued, but bright enough to function easily.

Captain Ramesh reclines in his seat at the head of the conference table, elbows resting on the armrests and his hands steepled before his mouth and chin, apparently deep in thought. All of the Lieutenant Commanders are present, Doctors Bharti and St-Sirois conversing quietly on one side of the table while the Chief of Engineering fidgets with her tabletop terminal and mutters occasionally to her assistant and programming guru, who sits beside her. Once the last of the executive staff and the ship's navigator have arrived, Captain Ramesh sits forward and straightens up in his seat.

"We have a decision to make," he announces to the gathered crew members. "The Two assure us that they have the wormhole secured on this end and will not allow the Devourers to survive for long on this side. They won't be following us any longer. We've completed the transaction with our new alien friends, and so now we must choose our next course of action: do we proceed directly to the new planet, or do we investigate the signal from what would appear to be our distant cousins?"

Dominic sits at his respective seat at the table, a small display pad in front of him to relay relevant data that he might rely on. He sits back in his seat, looking to the Captain as he speaks. At the two opens given by the Captain, he sits forward as he speaks. "I think we should investigate the signal. The planet will still be there, but the chance for us to procure another potential ally with our cousins could be beneficial should the Devourers find another way here or if they somehow make it past the Two."

Commander Eisley sits silent for some time. She's been quiet so far, with only bare attention given to the other senior officers as they've trickled in: most of her attention has been on the plasma screen at the far end of the room, where, right now, nothing but stars stream against that black void. It might even be what's outside the ship, transmitted in real time, but most of space looks like the rest of space, so. When Dominic speaks she finally turns her attention elsewhere, directing it down to the Marine. "I disagree," she says, cool to neutral. "We should visit the planet first and collect data before moving on. It may still be there when we return, but there is a tremendous amount of research that must be done before we can even begin to plan to release our cargo. Many hands aboard the ship are starting to turn idle, Lieutenant, and it would be prudent to give them something new to play with."
Mono pages: No, but they will let us use one to go where we need to from here. They aren't giving us one to take.

"I think if they manage to get past The Two, we have bigger problems than these potential cousins could help us with," Monoko snorts softly. "If anything, we'd just be dragging them into our problems. The Two are the most advanced species that we know about. If the Devourers can get past them, we're pretty much fucked."

Chief Jovanovic isn't sitting. Not only is he not an officer, but he's always preferred a more laissez-faire attitude. With his uniform rather haphazardly worn, he's, as always, leaning against the door with his arms crossed. Maybe he always takes that spot because he can be the first to flee if something went sour? Being an enlisted man, he waits for the officers to make their opinions known before adding, "We could do a fly-by and collect preliminary data, yeah. Cuz once we drop our cargo on the planet we probably don't want to do a whole lot of sight-seeing and greeting neighbours."

"I do have an idea, though," Monoko adds thoughtfully a few seconds later. "We could go to the planet and orbit it for awhile as we collect data, giving us an anchored location for a shuttle to broadcast back to with a black box while it searches for the source of the signal on autopilot."

Ramesh nods, perhaps in agreement with several things that have been said. "We do need to collect more data on this planet before settling in - The Two have never visited it personally, as it isn't in the range of survivable planets for them, so all we have to go on are years old scans from a probe that passed through the system on a cursory inspection. We also don't know if these human-like aliens from the broadcast will be friendly, or what their capabilities are. Carrying our 'cargo' to meet them could be a big risk."

Dominic nods at some of the comments as he sits back in the seat, listening to each person as they speak in turn. "So, we're to land on the planet to off-load first?" He asks, making sure he understands the intended first steps for the ship, crew and cargo.

"Scan first. Scan a second time. Scan some more." Eisley has probably given some thought to this matter, though that hard blue gaze shifts to Monoko as she offers this suggestion up. "That is an excellent idea though. It would kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, and save us a great deal of hunting time." But that brings up a sore point and she straightens, inhaling, hands folding into that finger-laced steeple that she so often surveys the world over. A beat of silence interjects herself as she wets her lower lip, then continues. "It will not be a matter as simple as dropping the cargo pods and setting them to defrost. We can't let anyone out until we have secured the planet and established a foothold. I simply do not believe we have enough information about the planet or the signal to make an informed decision otherwise right now." It's possible that she has been locked in a room with Yin for too long.

Marko probably has his own ideas, but his pay grade isn't high enough for him to offer further while the officers discuss policies. For his part he seems rather content to stand, watch, and listen, mostly in that order. Until, of course, technical issues come up. "Shouldn't be too difficult to extrapolate a likely signal source and preprogramme a course for a shuttle." He offers. "Of course, we can always rig up a broadcast signal from the shuttle as well. If we can get /their/ attention, we won't have to look as hard."

"There's actually a whole lot of things to consider before actually dropping the cargo," Monoko points out in support of the Commander's position. "Once a stasis tank is detached from the Genesis, it can still be reattached, but once it's landed on the surface of a planet, it's staying there. It's far too heavy to lift and reattach when dealing with a planet's gravity. Once it sets down, it's staying there. If this planet turns out to not be viable, we can't take it back, so we only would want to send one stasis tank at a time in case we have to leave suddenly and look for a new option. Also, we can't exactly wake a hundred thousand people up all at the same time. It has to be done in waves that coincide with the actual colonization." She glances over at the navigator and his suggestion of broadcasting to them, as well, nodding thoughtfully as she mulls this over.

Ramesh seems content to listen for the moment, taking in the suggestions as they come.

Dominic glances to Mono as she speaks, nodding his head before he looks down at the pad in front of him. "What is the planet's gravity in comparison to Earth's? If it's different, do we know what ill effects it could have?" He then glances to Marko as he speaks, remaining quiet for the most part since it's techno stuff.

Even talking about the release of the colonists is enough to make Eisley uncomfortable, something that is most uncharacteristic for the Commander. She lets out a breath and shifts positions, coming as very near to squirming in her seat as she ever does when in titanium-rod mode. Thus, Mono gets a tacit nod as she lays out some - though surely not all - of the tremendous difficulty that surrounds the process of finally colonizing anything. "We could potentially leave the tanks in orbit, but it strikes me as less than prudent to do anything that might jeopardize their contents. Ultimately, our responsibility is to ensure their safety and viability. This planet may -not- be suitable for any one of a thousand reasons, just as the origin of the transmission may be a wash."

Here, Dr. Bharti chimes in. "The gravity is only slightly weaker than on Earth, barely enough to be noticeable." Dr. St-Sirois adds, "It won't have any adverse effects on the human body. We'll be slightly stronger and be able to jump slightly higher and farther than we once could, but it's not enough of a difference to cause muscle and bone deterioration."

Monoko nods agreeably. "We may want to hold off on settling more than one of the four stasis tanks for awhile, anyway, just to make sure that we can survive long-term. I'd suggest several years, if not a decade, just in case something unforeseen comes up, like earthquakes and the like. Back when we were just a colony ship, settling everyone in as fast as possible was fine. Now that we have the only colony ship left, we need to be as careful as possible."

Marko spares a somewhat horrified look at Eisley when the commander speaks of leaving the tanks in orbit, but doesn't chime in on it. Monoko's suggestion, however, is considered by the man. "Can we somehow keep the ship in orbit and mothball the stasis holds? If it's going to take a decade before we know for sure it's the right planet, I think it's best to let everyone out and have them cranking out babies as fast as possible." Beat - a slightly contrived glance at the female members of the crew present. "Ahem. In case things don't work out, we can put people back in the freezer and try again, but at least we'll have a larger population base to work from."

"You mean thaw them out in the tanks, up here, and shuttle them down?" Monoko asks curiously, the idea not having occurred to her. "It would take quite a long time if we did it all that way, we can only carry 216 people at a time if we used every shuttle."
Dominic shrugs as he looks to Mono then looks to the others as they speak. He remains silent for the most part during conversations regarding things outside his department, just silently listening and considering all the information gained.

Eisley reaches a hand up to rub between her eyes, very briefly. "There is a protocol in place for the release of the colonists. It's about 400 pages if any of you are suffering from insomnia." Marko in particular gets a look, mostly neutral, but under circumstances like this one the XO keeps her thoughts locked down pretty tight. "The stasis tanks are full to capacity right now. If the population were to grow, there would be no additional room to store them. So no. Once we decide to colonize, it's all or nothing. Infrastructure has to go in before we can start… expanding." Dominic too gets a look, just as void of any real emotional conveyance. "We do have a lot of resources at our disposal already, and there are several more scientists till in crew pods. There is no reason to rush into a decision like that one."

Marko uncrosses his arms and nods to Monoko, but before he can expand on it he glances over to Eisley. Oh yeah, protocols. That'll silence the navigator pretty fast. Which is probably for the best, lest he starts volunteering to help repopulate the human race.

"To get back onto the topic at hand," Captain Ramesh states softly, perhaps herding the cats back onto the trail, "I take it that we're in agreement to go orbit the planet while we study it and send down and away team, and to have an unmanned shuttle go in search of the signal and its source?"

Monoko nods in silent agreement to this.

Dominic glances to each person in turn, seeing Eisley look to him though he says nothing before he continues on. He returns his attention back to the Captain as he speaks, offering a single nod of his head in response. "Yes, sir."

"Aye, sir," chimes in Eisley nearly last of all. It makes for a mostly unanimous decision, and once the subject switches away from the actual disembarkation of their 100,000 civilians, she relaxes. Minutely.

"I'll let The Two know where to calibrate the Gate to take us," Ramesh confirms quietly with a small nod of his head. "I need you, Commander, and our security chief to start planning for an away mission to the surface. As soon as we have all of the necessary information to know that it's safe to send you down, you'll be looking at things first hand." He looks over the assembled crew and nods once more. "Dismissed."

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