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Old November 29 2012, 03:30 AM   #71
Rear Admiral
Re: UT: Refugee Crisis/Dark Territory-"Stealing Fire"

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USS Erickson
Captain’s Ready Room

“Enter,” Captain Redfeather said, not bothering to look up. Hands clasped in front of her, Wyoma’s attention was riveted to Ensign Kittles’s message playing on her desktop computer. She shook her head, pained at every strain of desperation and fear she heard in the woman’s voice. And beneath that was an expectant, clinging desire for revenge.

Wyoma knew in her gut that the woman was dead, that she was lost to them, but perhaps more tragically, by the anguish in Karen’s voice, she had been lost long before her physical demise. Too many good people, her people had died already. And she knew that more would likely perish when they found the marauder vessel. Those deaths would be on top of the innumerable refugees already slaughtered.

The true immensity of that genocide would never be known since they had scuttled the remains of the ship, on Sullivan’s orders. Redfeather rubbed her aching eyes; they felt dry, grainy, as did her mouth. Her shoulders slumped with the burdens of command. She hadn’t faced this much death since the Dominion War ended. When Wyoma had first heard that the Founder had surrendered, she had hoped, foolishly perhaps, that it would usher in a new era of peace, but the Alshain, Talarians, Son’a, Cardassian extremists, and too many other belligerents had already burned that dream into ash.

If she couldn’t save the galaxy, Wyoma resolved to do her best to protect the people in her charge to the best of her ability. To that end, she finally glanced up. “Helen,” she said, punctuating it with a curt nod.

Concern was evident on Lt. Commander Norrbom’s face. “Captain,” she ventured. Redfeather held up a hand, and Helen stopped talking.

“Kittles is gone,” Redfeather said, disappointed at how detached she sounded.

“You don’t know that for certain Captain,” Helen couldn’t keep herself from interjecting.

“Call it captain’s intuition,” Redfeather glumly replied, briefly touching her stomach, and wishing she could untie its knotting entrails. Enduring the discomfort, the captain replied. “Just like I feel that some of our crew might still be alive. I want them back, still alive.”

“Of course Captain,” Helen said, a determined cast to her expression. “We’ll do all we can to get them back.”

“I know,” Redfeather replied, with a scant, humorless smile, “and that’s why I want you to accompany Commander Donar on the rescue mission…if one is required.”

“But I thought Donar had a hand-picked team,” the operations officer looked at her askance.

“He does,” the captain nodded, “but even though they are the best we got, doesn’t mean they couldn’t use someone with your skills.”

“You don’t trust Donar yet, is that it?” Norrbom asked. The knots tightened so suddenly in Wyoma’s stomach that she almost doubled over. The captain grimaced. She couldn’t lie to her old friend, but she didn’t want to admit the truth.

Helen was more than happy to fill in the blanks. “You’re still not sure of his priorities, if he will become consumed in fighting the abductors and not ensure our peoples’ safety first.”

More than a little irritated that Helen read her so well, and a whole lot more ashamed that she entertained such feelings, the captain tersely nodded in affirmation.

“Of course I’ll do it,” Norrbom answered, “I don’t think he’s going to like me tagging along though,” she paused, and a mischievous smile spread across her lips.

“Helen,” the captain reproached, frowning. “I thought you two had buried the hatchet.” The operations officer shrugged.

“It’s a work in progress,” she admitted. Wyoma sighed.

“Just get our people back, alright?” The captain wearily asked, the weight on her shoulders now about to knock her to the desk.

“We’ll get them back, sir,” Norrbom said, the mischief in her voice now replaced by steel. “And if anything has happened to them, the ones who did it are going to get it paid back twice.”

“Helen, I want you to accompany Commander Donar to be a check on him if his emotions get out of hand,” she finally admitted. The confession didn’t bring her the relief she hoped for. “Do I need to send someone to watch after you?”

“No Captain,” Norrbom stood at attention, “I won’t do anything that will jeopardize our captured personnel.”

“See that you don’t,” Redfeather snapped, harsher than she had intended to be. “Now, I think you have a meeting to crash.”
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