With the destruction of the freighter Shoeless Joe less than a day's travel out of Starbase 310, I have ordered the immediate halt of the convoy to investigate the debris field for analysis. Unfortunately, the matter of the freighter's disintegration at moderate warp means that the debris field covers a large area of space in a long trail, forcing us to resort to deploying a fleet of long-range shuttlecraft to return pertinent portions of the hull to the ship. All of our best pilots, including Lieutenant Aspinall, have been dispatched to carry engineering personnel to designated parts of the debris field, in order to provide as much data as possible.
I have tasked Commander Kincaid and Lieutenant Bartlet to lead the investigation, and I hope to see results, soon. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Commander Hargreaves remains on board to pursue her investigation of my conduct in the Beta Quadrant, though I fear her progress is hampered by the lessened availability of my senior staff.
"Please state your name, rank, title, and present assignment for the log."
"Sovera, Lieutenant Commander. Chief Medical Officer, USS Farragut
Tricia Hargreaves nodded as the doctor satisfied the protocol for recording the discussion. "Thank you for agreeing to meet with me."
Sovera raised her left eyebrow. "I was ordered to, Commander."
"Yes, er, well... you were carried on the ship's roster as the chief medical officer on Stardate 43222."
"Correct. I reported in to my assignment at the Antares Ship Yards on Stardate 43220.78. The vessel was under the command of Commander Tennyson, at the time."
"He had temporary command during the refit."
Hargreaves nodded. "When Captain Leone reported aboard ship, did she submit for a medical examination as required by Starfleet regulation?"
Sovera pressed her lips together briefly before answering, "No, she did not."
"And since then, has she done so?"
"No, she has not. However, I do have an appointment with her tomorrow, which I believe is forty-eight hours before the deadline of reporting in."
"Uh-huh. Do you think she will keep that appointment?"
"It is not my place to speculate on what the captain will or will not do. Nor would I attempt to do so."
The doctor said it with a sense of finality to her tone. Tricia did not necessarily dislike Vulcans, but questioning them always proved to be more difficult than any other race she had encountered in her time with the Inspector General's office. "Very well. You performed a complete examination on the two persons who were responsible for the creation of a, and I'm consulting Lieutenant Bartlet's report, here, "the creation of a field of quantum particles that superaccelerated the ship's velocity to beyond the highest rated speed of our fastest starship for a period of more than twenty-five minutes.""
"Your question contained a lot of superfluous information, but the answer is yes. I did perform a full examination on the Tristnor and Kasui individuals. Those records were transmitted to Starfleet Intelligence and have been classified."
"I'm aware of their classification, Doctor." She was denied access to them in the course of her study of the data made available to her. "The male Tristnor opted to remain in his Terran disguise."
"Did the captain allow this?"
"I informed her that I found no reason to disallow it. The ship's internal sensors were aware of the new life signs and were able to track his movements throughout the ship. She came to a decision based on the information I supplied."
"I'm sorry, Doctor, did you say the captain allowed it?"
Sovera raised both brows. "Succinctly put, yes, she did."
"Thank you," said Hargreaves, allowing a little of her frustration to show through in her tone. "Did the captain express any doubts as to the validity of the Tristnor's motives for taking the ship to the Beta Quadrant?"
"At first, I believe her reaction was aggravation. However, over time and given the fact that the ship was placed on a wide-band kill-on-sight order from the Tristnor Hegemony, further passage within their declared territory would have proven problematic, at best."
"Did you find her decision logical?"
"Her pattern of thinking indicated to me that she found the most likeliest chance of survival to be in mounting a direct offensive against the Tristnor."
"Did you agree with that decision?"
"It is not my place to agree or disagree."
"As the chief medical officer, you are responsible for the general health of the commanding officer."
"I am responsible for the general health of all crew, including the commanding officer."
"Did you find Captain Leone fit for duty prior to this little adventure?"
"As I said before, I had not yet completed a full examination of the captain."
Hargreaves grinned. "Since you had no information upon which to base your judgment, Doctor, how would you be able to determine whether or not Captain Leone was fit or unfit for command?"
"Given enough basic evidence to prove her incapacity for command, I would have ordered an immediate examination to eliminate or discover data to base my judgment upon," replied Doctor Sovera. "At the time, however, her last examination was less than six month before she assumed command of Farragut
and the data provided was more than sufficient."
"That was aboard the starship Potemkin
, was it not?"
"And who was the attending physician?"
"I conducted the examination, during my tour of duty aboard that ship."
"How long have you known Captain Leone?"
"We first met on Stardate 38172.85. She was reporting aboard Potemkin
as the new executive officer under then-Captain T'Cirya. I was posted as the assistant chief medical officer."
"How many years did you serve with Captain Leone?"
"In that time, I assume you came to know her very well?"
"As with my service alongside other officers and crew, over time one becomes familiar with them."
"Would you say that you feel a particular loyalty to the captain, though?"
"Feel, Lieutenant Commander?" Sovera asked coldly.
Hargreaves shifted uncomfortably. "Do you have a particularly loyalty to the captain?" she rephrased.
"She has demonstrated exceptional skill in her career and I have not found reason to doubt her abilities."
Hargreaves leaned forward. "Is that your professional opinion, Doctor?"
"As a professional Starfleet officer, yes. However, my education lends itself toward medicine and not starship command."
"So you don't speak as a line officer."
"I'm not a line officer, therefore I cannot speak as one, Lieutenant Commander."
"Have you considered applying to take the line officer's examination?"
"My ambitions do not lean toward command. However, if I determine a need to expand my qualifications, I might consider obtaining a line officer's certification."
Hargreaves grinned. "I'm sorry, we seem to have wandered off the point."
"Was that not your intention, Commander?"
"Uh, no, it wasn't."
"Logically, such a line of questioning implies you are attempting to appeal to a friendlier side of my personality. I can save you the trouble of any further attempts by informing you that it will be fruitless."
"Thank you for clearing that up. I don't believe I have any further questions for you, Doctor. But you have been exceedingly helpful."
Sovera inclined her head in acknowledgement but said nothing as she moved out of the conference room, leaving the lieutenant commander alone.
=/\= =/\= =/\= =/\= =/\=
The shuttle's explosion flashed in the distance as Senior Chief Tallan floated against the void. "Tallan to O'Day," he transmitted, after not seeing any sign of Tommy. "Ensign, are you there?"
He looked down at his arm and saw that his emergency transmitter pulsed once every thirty seconds. The tricorder built into the arm gave him very little information within its limited range, but it at least told him that the ensign was nowhere to be seen or sensed. The suit's communications transmitter, on the other hand, reached a little further than a commbadge would.
"Ensign O'Day, this is Senior Chief Tallan. Please respond."
Again, only silence answered his stern tone. His eyes again moved over the brightly lit display on his arm, informing him of his suit's environmental status. The suit provided enough breathable air for twenty-four Terran hours. He allowed his mind to wander briefly at the inane predilection for Starfleet equipment to be attuned to human time standards. Tallan reconfigured his suit's limited energy stores to boost the transmitter power a little further, hopefully reaching the ensign's suit.
He refused to believe that Tommy would be so stupid as to sacrifice himself. Surely, there had to be another reason why he did not beam out with Tallan. Maybe the transporter's annular confinement beam had only enough energy to transport one at a time as the shuttle took substantial damage from the moment the shield emitters gave out. Perhaps, with the damage to the power node, the escape transporter's imaging scanner failed to provide a complete pattern for the system to process and activated the safety protocol to abort his transport beam.
Tallan sighed, shaking his head. He could float there the entire time and speculate on what might have happened. He needed to ground himself in the present; he was alone in space and with no way to make contact with Tommy or Farragut, it might be more than a whole day to be recovered... dead or alive.
The batteries included within the suit had to be rationed appropriately. Either he could lower the rate that the suit scrubbed the carbon dioxide and conserve it to continue to boost the suit's signal, or he could extend the life of the suit's environmental systems beyond it's standard rated limit. Of course, it would be easier if Tommy was there to assist him.
"Ensign O'Day, I'm going to assume that you're still alive, because I know you're not dumb enough to get yourself killed on your first assignment out of the Academy. I'm lowering the rate of my suit's life support systems to conserve energy, but I'm going to record a message and have it retransmit at one minute intervals. Hopefully, you'll lock onto my signal and make contact." Tallan didn't know whether or not the ensign heard him. Maybe Tommy's suit's transmitter was damaged; he had no way to tell. But, talking aloud helped him feel a little better about the situation.
The reconfiguration of the suit's emergency beacon completed quickly and the system was ready to accept his message. As long as the message was less than fifteen seconds long. When the green light flashed to begin recording, he spoke in a clear voice:
"This is Senior Chief Tallan of the Federation starship Farragut to any vessel within range. I am transmitting a general distress call..."