- II –
“Lieutenant Sirna Kolrami the Younger,” said Nora Laas as she read from her padd and then looked up at the Zakdorn engineer sitting in the chair on the other side of the table, obviously not entirely comfortable being there. “Any relation to the
“He’s my father,” the man said, immediately sitting up a little straighter and puffing out his chest.
“Forgive my ignorance,” said Alex Clancy as he placed a glass of water in front of the engineering officer. “But who is the Sirna Kolrami?”
Kolrami the Younger was not in a forgiving mood, judging by the icy stare he aimed at the counselor. “My father is the foremost strategic mind within the Federation. Quite honestly, you should probably read up more on those things,” he said and then reached for the glass to take a sip.
The counselor shot a look at Nora who offered a little smirk. “He’s probably right.”
Clancy took a seat next to her. “I’m afraid military strategy was not covered in counselor school,” he said and when he noticed the continued frown on the engineer’s fleshy face, he quickly added: “Something I’m sure they’ll be rectifying soon.”
Nora referred back to her padd. “According to the personnel roster, Mister Kolrami, you were on duty in engineering two nights ago. Is that correct?”
The junior lieutenant gave a quick nod in response. “Correct. Along with Chief Petty Officer Telrik, Crewmen McPhee and Sanzenbacher and Lieutenant Gedar.”
The Bajoran nodded and made notes on her padd. “And according to your statement, you last saw the lieutenant at around 2330 hours when you and the other duty engineers left engineering for various maintenance related work?”
Another curt nod. “Sanzenbacher was already gone by then, working on overhauling a corroded EPS conduit on deck eight. Telrik and McPhee had to recalibrate the plasma injectors in the starboard nacelle’s control room. That left only myself and Gedar when sensors showed anomalous readings for the navigational deflector. I decided to go and check it out. Since internal sensors are down while we’re in the nebula, we get sensor alerts all time and somebody has to look into those.”
“So when you left, Gedar was alone in engineering?” Nora asked.
“That is correct.”
Clancy leaned forward a little. “Is that unusual? To leave a single person on duty in engineering?”
“Not really,” he said. “Not during the night shift.” Then he huffed noticeably. “But I should have known better than to leave Gedar by himself. I should have told him to go and check out the deflector instead.”
“Why do you say that?”
Kolrami considered the counselor for a moment, almost as if he was trying to ascertain if the man was a telepath like many others who had chosen his profession. However his blue eyes probably ruled him out as a Betazoid. “Gedar had a way to attract trouble, ask anyone. He’s been like that ever since he’s come aboard. And he got easily distracted by matters unrelated to his work.”
“Such as?” Nora said.
The engineer shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said. “I didn’t really know him all that well personally but I tell you his mind was not on the job. I can’t say if that’s what let to his demise or not but I’m sure it didn’t help.” He took another sip of the water.
“You didn’t like him very much, did you?” the counselor asked.
Kolrami looked right into the other man’s eyes before responding. “He wasn’t the greatest engineer I’ve ever met but he was decent enough,” he said and then diverted his glance. “As I said I didn’t know him outside of engineering. I just needed him to do his job.”
Nora referred back to the padd. “We have determined that Gedar was killed at around 2345—“
“I was at deflector control. You can check the log.”
The security chief nodded. “We did and according to the log you were. From what we can tell, you were the last person to see Gedar alive when you left engineering. Did you notice anything suspicious at the time? With him or anyone else?”
Nora and Clancy exchanged quick looks at the prompt response.
“Nothing at all?” the counselor asked.
“If there had been something suspicious, I wouldn’t have left him by himself.”
“Alright,” said Clancy. “How about in the last few days then? Anything unusual about him? Did he act differently perhaps?”
“He was talking a great deal about his play and how wonderful it had been and how he hoped to perform it again soon. Mentioned how the captain had congratulated him personally.”
“Did you see it?” Clancy asked.
Kolrami shot the man a look as if he had just lost his mind. “No, I have not.”
“Shame,” he said. “It was pretty good.”
“If you say so. Now, is there anything else? I really should be getting back to engineering. We’re quite busy with the sensor array and as you can imagine, now that we’re a man down, it’s more work for the rest of us.”
“We understand,” Nora said. “Thank you for your time, Lieutenant. We may have more questions for you later.”
The Zakdorn huffed again a little, before he quickly stood and strode out of the interview room.
Clancy watched him leave. “Charming fellow.”
“Zakdorns aren’t known for their charisma,” said Nora as she made a few more notes on the padd.
The counselor was still looking at the now closed doors when he spoke. “It’s obvious there was no love lost between him and Gedar. I think he warrants another look.”
“Perhaps. But Kolrami has been a distinguished engineer in Starfleet for a long time and has been on Eagle
for the last two years. Not to mention he’s clearly incredibly proud of his family’s heritage. I can’t see him doing anything to bring shame to it.”
Clancy stood. “Good point,” he said and then turned back to look at the Bajoran. “But we’ll have to look past those considerations if we want to find whoever did this. Most murderers haven’t been born or bred to kill people in cold blood. But at some point, regardless of their own moral standards or their upbringing, they snap and do the previously unthinkable.”
Nora folded her arms in front of her chest. “Alright then, you’re the expert here, Counselor. What is it that made Lieutenant Junior Grade Kolrami snap and turn into a cold-blooded killer?”
He shot her a boyish grin. “Maybe he really hates Shakespeare.”
* * *
“He seemed like a very gifted young man to me, very charismatic as well. What a horrible tragedy for somebody to die like this. So very sad,” said Erez Rosenthal, the professor was sitting in the interview room, facing both Nora and Clancy, while he was cleaning his spectacles with a cloth. “The big reason why we’re out here,” he said and put his glasses back on, “is to make sure to stop all this senseless killing we’ve been seeing ever since this cursed war started. My array will give us a tactical advantage we’ve never had before,” he added and then shook his head. “But then to learn that somebody died in such a way for no reason at all, it’s just such a terrible tragedy.”
“Indeed, it is,” said Nora and referred to her padd. “Now according to our initial interviews, you had a meeting with Lieutenant Gedar on the night he was killed, is that correct?”
“A meeting?” He seemed momentarily confused.
The security chief checked her padd again. “According to what we’ve been told; you, your assistant Miss Colcord, Lieutenant Hopkins and Gedar were having a meeting to discuss the progress on the sensor array that night.”
“Oh yes, of course,” he said quickly, nodding along. “We needed to go through some of the details pertaining to the second phase of the project and regarding attaching the sensor modules to the array framework and the resources required for that operation.”
“How come Gedar was in attendance?” said Clancy who differently to the security chief, was leaning back in his chair, seeming almost relaxed as he studied the professor on the other side of the table.
“I beg your pardon?”
“Well, you had to be there of course, it’s your project. And I assume Miss Colcord is probably also quite essential. Lieutenant Hopkins is the chief engineer but Gedar was a junior officer. Third or fourth in line in engineering?” he said and looked at Nora for clarification.
“Fourth,” she said.
The counselor looked back at the professor. “I’m just curious to know what his purpose was at the meeting. From what others have told us, he wasn’t even that good of an engineer.”
“Mister Gedar is … I mean was quite an accomplished man, I’m not sure why you would have been told otherwise,” Rosenthal said, prompting the two Starfleet officers to exchange quick glances. “I believe Ms. Hopkins wanted him along. He had some … uh … ideas regarding the project. Some of them where quite interesting.”
“Interesting?” Colcord said, when it was her turn in the seat and after the professor had departed. “ I wouldn’t necessarily call them interesting. Starfleet officers like to brainstorm ideas all the time but unfortunately they have very little discipline,” she added. “No offense.” The young woman quickly continued. “Anyway, Gedar was no different. He had an opinion on pretty much everything and for some reason Lieutenant Hopkins seemed to encourage it. I believe she thought quite highly of him. But the truth is, we didn’t come here to discuss the sensor array or the shield modifications. They are already working exactly the way they should. We are here to put together this array. And in very little time, I should add. So the sooner we can wrap this up, the sooner I can go back and ensure it goes up before we all die of radiation poisoning.”
Both Nora and Clancy needed a second to catch up with everything that had come over her lips in her rapid-fire speech.
Nora looked at her padd. “What time did this meeting start?”
Colcord uttered a little sigh. “About 2320. Maybe 30, I don’t recall precisely, I wasn’t looking at a chronometer at the time.”
The Bajoran nodded. “And what time did it finish?
“That would have been when Lieutenant Hopkins got the call about Gedar being found in engineering. That must have been around 0045 hours.”
“So Gedar left the meeting at some point?” Clancy asked.
Louise Hopkins nodded slowly but didn’t answer the question.
Nora actually put the padd on the table and leaned forward, reaching out for the engineer’s hand. “Are you alright, Lou? We can talk later about this if you don’t feel up to it.”
The engineer shook her head. “No, no it’s alright. It’s just tough, you know. I’m really trying hard not to think about what happened to him because when I do think about it… “ she stopped herself again. “It’s not as if I haven’t lost people over the last few years. Accidents happen all the time. Somebody stands to close to a exploding EPS conduit when it blows in battle, some Jem’Hadar ship gets in a lucky shot, somebody gets burned by plasma, but those are the risk which are inherit to the job. War casualties,” she said.
“I know it’s difficult,” Nora told her friend.
The young engineer took a deep breath and then looked back at the counselor who offered a sympathetic look. “I’m sorry, what was the question?”
“Lieutenant Gedar left the meeting early. What time was that?”
“Pretty early on. Maybe five or ten minutes after we started.”
“And why was that?” he asked.
“Rosenthal and Colcord weren’t particularly happy for him to be there,” she said. “I mean they barely tolerate me but as they need our people and resources to build this array of theirs, I suppose I was not optional. Gedar was.”
Nora peeked up at that. “Where they hostile towards him?”
“Uh … I don’t know if I’d call it hostility,” she said, not sounding so entirely sure of herself. “Maybe more indifferent than hostile. Especially Colcord. She really doesn’t like Starfleet or maybe Starfleet engineers. I thought that was odd because Jin had some very good ideas about improving their shield modifications further. But she was adamant that it was good enough already and that they didn’t need any Starfleet design input.”
“So they didn’t get along?” said Nora.
“I don’t think it was personal,” Hopkins said. “She didn’t really care for anyone in my team and I don’t think she expected anyone else in the meeting apart from me.
“Lieutenant Kolrami mentioned that Gedar wasn’t a particularly good engineer,” said Clancy.
Hopkins shot the counselor an astonished look.
“That wasn’t the case?” he said.
“He could be a little unfocused at times, I suppose. He’d been spending a lot of time lately on that play he was in and perhaps some of his colleagues felt that he was neglecting his duties.”
“Did Kolrami have more of an issue with that than others?” Clancy continued.
“I don’t know,” she said. “But Kolrami and Gedar were up for the same position in engineering and Zakdorn can be quite blunt and undiplomatic, especially when they’re after something,” she said but then quickly looked guilty over what she had said. “Sorry, that probably didn’t sound right.”
“It’s fine, Lou,” Nora said. “And you are right about the Zakdorn. But their assertive nature does not make them killers,” she added and aimed a sidelong look at Clancy.
“Of course not,” she said quickly. “I’ve worked with Kolrami for years and I can vouch for him. He can be difficult at times but he’d never hurt a colleague.”
“Could you think of anyone who may have had reason to?”
Hopkins hesitated for a moment, briefly glancing away. “No,” she said.
“If he didn’t have any enemies on board,” Clancy said, “who were his friends?”
“We’re two out of maybe half a dozen Krellonian’s in Starfleet,” Lif Culsten said. “Yeah, we knew each other.”
“How well?” said Clancy as he considered the helmsman whose features were not all that dissimilar from Gedar. His skin was lighter but he possessed the same earless head and fine, long, silver hair.
“We talked socially from time to time. He had some problems adjusting to life outside the Star Alliance and I was happy to help him where I could.”
“Anything in particular he had problems with?” Nora said as she made notes on her padd.
He considered that for a moment. “My people have some, I guess you would call them old-fashioned views, about gender roles.”
Nora raised her eyebrows. “Lovely. I had no idea.”
“I don’t share those views, Lieutenant.”
She nodded slowly but skeptically. “So what? Gedar saw women as inferior to him?”
He quickly shook his head. “No, not inferior. Quite the opposite really. He worshipped women.”
Nora looked confused.
“I think what the lieutenant is trying to say is that Gedar was a bit of a ladies’ man.”
“I believe that is the term.”
The Bajoran security chief nodded. “Was he seeing somebody on Eagle
“For many of my people it is almost unthinkable not to be engaged in some sort of relationship with the opposite sex at all times. And Gedar was very much of that same persuasion. He called it his weakness.”
Nora rolled her eyes and Clancy smirked.
“Do you know who he was involved with?”
“A Bajoran Marine. I think her name is Yunta,” he said. “Yes, Yunta Fay.”