|TO CAPT Quint|
CC CAPT Varley, RDML Perim
FROM VADM Ashkeph
SUBJ Paladin mission directives
:: Shared Secret Level 6 Encryption Active ::
Good morning, Captain.
I wish we were meeting under better circumstances, but such is increasingly rare these days, it seems. We will have much to discuss upon your return, I am sure.
For now, as you have so willingly volunteered to deprive me of my selection for this reconnaissance, here are your mission parameters.
1. Your safety and the safety of the Paladin is of the utmost priority. Do not risk heroics for this non-affiliated planet. I understand that they are innocents and bystanders and victims in all senses of the terms, but it would be FOOLISH for us to expend ourselves excessively if they cannot be saved, as right now we have been made to believe.
2. Recon the afflicted planet, especially its atmospherics, and the surrounding situation. I know the Paladin is not a science vessel, but I want so many sensor scans that even Jal'Shan would need six years before he can read them all.
Keeping a low profile from the surface inhabitants is preferred, but not mandatory. You may prioritize obtaining lifeform samples for Doctor Pohl through whatever means necessary, the Prime Directive no longer applies to this situation. If that includes abducting civilians from the surface of the planet because scans are insufficient, then so be it.
3. If you are not able to obtain samples, then priority is on intelligence on Keth 6 and her forces. She is no longer a threat we can passively ignore, with a crime of this severity. If you deem the situation tactically feasible, you have full authority to engage and neutralize any and all hostile assets affiliated with Keth 6, including Keth 6 herself.
4. Do not get drawn into negotiations with Keth 6. She does not represent the Dominion nor any affiliation in which we have official relations. She has no bargaining power and her modus operandi is to hold innocent groups hostage to get her way. I think you can agree, Captain, that this is not a stance we can respect.
We will be mobilizing partially here in case you update us with a situation report that allows for reinforcements, either of a military or scientific/medical nature.
Again, DO NOT RISK the Paladin or her crew in unnecessary heroics. Given my brief scan of your record, Captain, this is evidently something I cannot overstate.
Good luck and keep us informed. Remember, you are not alone.
VADM Ashkeph, M.
38th Fleet / Argo
//ATTACHMENT// FWD: unexplored system probe release.aar
//ATTACHMENT// FWD: stasis pod containment
//ATTACHMENT// [starfleet/7th-dominion communications].bundle
//ATTACHMENT// [intel-sitrep: keth 6].bundle