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|March 10 2013, 11:11 PM||#16|
Re: The Star Eagle Adventures V: Shadows in the Haze
– IV –
Star entered sickbay and after a quick survey she found the person she was looking for in his office. She stepped up to the doorframe and leaned casually against it while considering the ebony-skinned doctor sitting behind his desk. It took him a few moments to realize that he was being watched.
“Commander,” he said as he aimed a furtive glance at the Trill woman before returning to his work. “How can I help you?”
“Has it really been that long?”
Katanga looked up again, a clearly puzzled look on his face now.
She simply returned it with a smile. “I understand that the package has changed a bit.”
“The … package?” the doctor said with confusion evident in his tone.
“Well, yes, I’d say this one is at least 20 kilos lighter, with fairer skin and, oh yeah, the curves.”
“Commander, I am not quite sure what you are trying to …” he stopped himself as she began to walk into the room with her emerald colored eyes sparkling like diamonds. “My God, I know that look,” he said as he stood.
“I’m glad you recognize something, even though you’d think the name would have been a dead giveaway.”
“Dezwin?” he said, a huge grin now forming on his dark, bearded face as he began to round his desk.
She shook her head. “Not any more. I go by Tazla these days.”
“Dear Lord, I didn’t even know,” he said and quickly hugged the first officer. When he let her go again, he took another good look at the Trill, studying the attractive woman in front of him from head-to-toe. “You changed,” he said with a dry grin.
“You can say that.”
“You know it never occurred to me. Not even once, that you could be Dezwin. Or should I say, have been Dezwin. I suppose I always thought of you … of him, as Dezwin Sigus and not Star. It never registered with me that you have the same name.”
She nodded. “It can get a little confusing.”
The doctor sat against the edge of his desk as he continued to consider the woman in front of him who had just been revealed as a dear friend of his a long time ago. “My God, Dezwin Sigus, now Tazla Star. What a crazy galaxy we live in, huh? I see you’ve decided to pursue a different career path.”
“The joining affects us all in different ways.”
He nodded. “I recall. Dezwin couldn’t wait to leave Starfleet after it happened to him, frustrated by the sluggish manner in which the upper echelons responded to medical emergencies throughout the galaxy. Even after he helped me set up MAAP,” Katanga said, referring to the Medical Assistance and Advisory Program which Dezwin and Katanga had created within Starfleet Medical as an interstellar agency to assist with medical crisis throughout the galaxy.
“Same thing happened to me,” Tazla said. “I felt my drive and determination double almost overnight after I had joined with the Star symbiont. Suddenly I just couldn’t become a captain fast enough.”
Katanga’s features darkened noticeably. Like many others in the fleet, he too had heard about the exploits of Captain Star and her subsequent downfall. But until now he had never made the connection. “Things didn’t quite go the way you had hoped.”
She shook her head sadly. “No, they certainly didn’t.”
Katanga stood and put a hand on her shoulder, adopting an almost grandfatherly smile. “I don’t know what happened to you that led to the things that happened. I don’t know the details or the circumstances but I know Dezwin. Hell, I probably knew him better than he knew himself. I have to believe that whatever you did, your intentions were pure. You tried to do the right thing but sometimes, no matter how hard we try, in the end it just doesn’t work out that way.”
She looked pained. “I’m not entirely sure I deserve your absolution.”
“I do and that’s all that matters, you understand,” he said, his tone taking on a sharper edge. “Yes, I’m sure you’ve made mistakes and if you could go back you’d probably do things differently now. But that’s not a luxury we have. From what I’ve heard you were duly punished for your transgressions. Now is the time to put this behind you and focus on how you can be a better person from now on in. I know Dezwin knew how to do that, so do you.”
Tazla looked almost grateful at the unconditional trust her old friend was willing to place. It had been the first time since Michael Owens had decided to take a gamble on her and allow her to stay onboard as his first officer that anyone had shown this kind of faith in her. It was refreshing. “Thank you. This really means a lot to me, Eli.”
“Nonsense,” he said quickly. “You don’t need me to tell you any of this,” he said and tapped her stomach. “All you need to know is right there. If you are in doubt, just go talk to Dezwin, he’ll tell you.”
She smirked. “Doesn’t quite work like that,” she said. Even though it was probably close enough. Those memories after all were still part of her. And the symbiont had his ways to communicate when it wanted to. “But I’m really glad you came here. I think I could really use a friend. It’s not been easy.”
“I’ve noticed this crew is a little wound up.”
“I suppose the war is part of that. They’ve lost some of their own and gone through some really tough missions. And they don’t trust me.”
“I didn’t get that impression,” said the doctor. “The captain seemed to be quite comfortable with having you around.”
She quickly shook her head. “Let me tell you, appearance are deceiving. Yes, he made the decision to keep me around and I’ll always be thankful for getting this second chance, but he’s not comfortable with me at all. He’s been keeping me on the tightest of leashes ever since I came aboard. He practically looks over my shoulder twenty-four seven and to be honest, I’m scared stiff of letting him down.”
The doctor looked at her for a moment. “None of that sounds like a particularly healthy relationship.”
Star sighed and then turned to take a few steps towards the wall before turning back to her old friend. “There might be something that could change all that.”
Katanga looked suspicious. “I remember that tone of voice,” he said. “It’s just like Dezwin used to sound when he came up with one of his rather foolhardy ideas of his.”
“I think there is a spy on the ship.”
He sighed heavily. “Oh God, I knew this wasn’t going to be pretty.”
“Hear me out on this. I don’t have any proof yet. Nothing concrete that I could show the captain. It really just boils down to a couple of suspicious transmissions and a gut feeling.”
“I don’t like where this is going.”
She stepped closer. “Let’s assume for the moment that I’m right. I’ll let the captain in on this now and he’ll probably dismiss it for lack of evidence. But if I’m right, and if I can find out who it is and expose him or her, the captain will have no choice but to start trusting me with my duties. And before long the crew will fall in line.”
“Dez, this is a terrible idea.”
“I need to do something. Right now I’m nothing more than an afterthought on this ship. And at first that was enough for me. Better than to run away from Starfleet and drown myself in Saurian brandy in some faraway sector of space. I need to be more than that. I owe it to Owens to be the best first officer to him and his crew that I can be.”
“And you think keeping secrets from him will achieve this?”
She sighed. “A gut feeling and two unidentified subspace transmissions which could very well turn out to be nothing more than background noise aren’t exactly a secret,” she shot back.
“I still think that this is a bad idea and if you came here to try and let me talk you out of this, let it be known that I’ve tried.”
Tazla shot him a wide grin. “Always looking out for me, huh? I really missed you.”
“Well,” he said as he sat back behind his desk. “I’ll make sure to remind you of this when they throw you back into that stockade.”
She could tell immediately that he wasn’t being serious. “I can make this work, Eli.”
He nodded slowly. “Just be smart about this, alright?”
“Don’t worry about me.”
“Somebody has to.”
She gave him another smile before she headed towards the doors. She stopped halfway there and turned back around, considering her old friend. He still didn’t wear the standard-issue uniform jacket over his blue shirt. “By the way the captain wasn’t particularly impressed with your personal dress code and he wanted me to talk to you about that.”
“Did you tell him that I’m a stubborn old man?”
She couldn’t quite suppress the urge to laugh. “You have to realize that you’re not running your own show anymore. You’re back on a starship and out here, the captain has the last word.”
“I’ve been dealing with starship captains long before our dear leader was even in diapers. And let me tell you something about them. They all like to think that they command everything and everyone around them. For the most part they are right. But from time to time they need to be reminded that some things will always be out of their control. Trust me, it’s healthy. And I should know, I’m a doctor,” he said. “Now get out of here before I’ll start regretting this happy reunion.”
Star chuckled. “Fascinating theory,” she said. “How about you tell me more about the galaxy according to Doctor Katanga over dinner tonight? We’ll catch up and reminisce on the good old times. 2000?”
“1800. I’m not a spring chicken anymore, you know.”
She offered a beaming smile. “It’s really good to see you again, old friend,” she said just before leaving sickbay.
* * *
Read the writer's commentary for this segment here.
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Last edited by CeJay; March 11 2013 at 09:59 AM.
|March 21 2013, 08:37 AM||#17|
Re: The Star Eagle Adventures V: Shadows in the Haze
– V –
“It’s amazing, isn’t it?” she said as she took in the marvelous sight outside the large floor-to-ceiling windows. “That in such dark times full of suffering and ugliness we would get a chance to see something to marvelous and beautiful.”
Michael Owens yawned.
Deen aimed an annoyed look at him
“Sorry,” he said quickly. “It’s not you. And certainly not the amazing view,” he added as his glance wandered towards the dancing specters of color just outside the Nest’s observation windows. “I just didn’t get much sleep last night. In fact, I don’t know if I got any sleep at all.”
Her features turned into a frown of concern. “What do you mean, you don’t know?”
The captain rubbed his forehead, clearly having a difficult time to explain what had happened to him last night. Even to himself. “It’s as if I went to sleep and before I even had a chance to dose off, it was next day already.”
“Could this be related to the Hyterian phenomenon?” she asked, referring to an incident in which Owens’ mind had inexplicably been linked to a long-dead civilization which had manifested itself through dreams and nightmares.
He shook his head. “I haven’t had one of those episodes in nearly two years. It would seem like odd timing if they were back again. Besides I didn’t experience any of the Hyterian themes this time. Nothing about light and darkness.”
“Do you remember dreaming?”
“That’s just the thing, I don’t,” he said. “Even though I have a nagging feeling that something happened. There are images flying around in the back of my head but they are so fleeting and blurry, I can’t make sense of them at all.”
DeMara’s worry lines deepened.
Michael noticed. “It’s probably nothing,” he said quickly. “Just a bad dream.”
She was not convinced. “That’s what you said last time,” she said. “You should talk to Counselor Trenira to see if–“
“Commander Xylion,” Owens said when he noticed the Vulcan science officer approach their table, happy to change the subject. “How are you doing today?”
“I am well, thank you, sir,” said Xylion as he came to a halt in front of the table, adopting his usual stiff posture with his hands behind his back.
“Would you like to join us admiring the nebula?” he said with a little smirk.
“Unfortunately that will not be possible,” he said. “I have come to ask for the lieutenant’s assistance.”
Deen stopped frowning at the captain and his not so subtle attempts to end their conversation and looked up at the Vulcan. “Oh?”
“I have obtained permission to put together an away team for a survey mission of the Aphrodite nebula. I have already begun to adapt the Nebucadrezzar with the necessary shield modifications and expect to be able to depart within the next few hours. I would greatly appreciate if you would join the away team.”
Her face turned into a beaming smile. “I’d love to.”
The Vulcan acknowledged with a curt nod. “We have been given limited time to complete this survey. I would therefore suggest that you make your preparations as quickly as possible.”
“Wait a minute,” said Owens. “How exactly did you obtain said permission?”
“Commander Star authorized the away mission,” the Vulcan said with a raised eyebrow. “I assumed she would have informed you of this.”
“She has not.”
“Michael?” Deen said, her voice making it clear that she would not be pleased at all if he threw a wrench into an opportunity for her to study the nebula.
The Vulcan presented a padd. “I have produced a comprehensive report detailing the benefits of this survey mission. Commander Star agreed with the inherent logic of this proposition. If you wish you may review this yourself and I am certain it would alleviate any objections you may feel towards this mission.”
“He has no objections,” said Deen and shot the captain a pointed look. “You don’t have any objections, right?”
He took the padd off the Vulcan but after realizing that it would take him hours to go through the hefty document he handed it back to his science officer, his face mirroring a contemplative expression.
“Commander,” said Deen to the Vulcan. “I’ll be joining you in the shuttle bay within an hour.”
Xylion glanced the captain with one last look but when he didn’t appear to have any further words to offer, he nodded. “That should be sufficient,” he said. “Captain,” he added before he swiftly left the Nest.
“I don’t like this,” he said once the science officer had left.
“Michael, this is an amazing opportunity for us to study Aphrodite in detail. I guarantee there’ll be people back at Starfleet Sciences who would give their right hand for this chance.”
“I’m not denying that.”
When he didn’t say anything right away, she thought she knew what troubled him about this mission. “You’re upset he went to Star instead of coming to you, is that it? You think she was more likely to green light this than you’d been? If it had really been about that, he would have come to me first to try and get me to talk you into this.”
He shook his head. “Xylion? Not a chance. The man is nothing if not by the book. He wouldn’t even consider exploiting our friendship for something like that.”
“You’re probably right.”
Michael took a sip from his tonic water. “Star should have checked in with me first before making this decision.”
Deen leaned back in her chair with a knowing smile. “That’s what this is about, isn’t it? Commander Star. Michael, she’s the first officer, last time I checked authorizing an away mission falls squarely within her remit.”
“Perhaps but she’s still new around here. She doesn’t really know how things work on Eagle. She doesn’t understand how I like to run things.”
“She’s been onboard for four months now,” she said. “I’m pretty sure she’s got the basics covered.”
But the captain did not look convinced at all.
“Let’s face it, Michael, if this had been Gene making the call you wouldn’t have thought twice about this. You still have a trust issue with her.”
“And why shouldn’t I considering her past.”
She leaned forward. “It was your decision to keep her here. You need to start asking yourself why you made that call. If you really can’t find a way to trust her to do her job, you better start thinking about replacing her as your first officer. Otherwise take her off that leash you’ve kept her on ever since she became your permanent XO. You’re not doing yourself or this crew any favors with the current state of things. And if you ask me, it isn’t fair to her,” she said and stood. “Now, if you’d excuse me. I’ve got to go and pack.”
* * *
Read the writer's commentary for this segment here.
|March 26 2013, 11:28 PM||#18|
Location: US Pacific Northwest
Re: The Star Eagle Adventures V: Shadows in the Haze
Firstly, I’m glad to see Star finally has a friend aboard she can confide in. Yes, she’s still a trainwreck, but having a supportive person around who isn’t watching you constantly out of the corner of their eye might just get her to start acting like a real XO, and not just someone’s stand-in.
Kudos to Deen for taking Owens to task. She’s right. If the former XO had made the call regarding the away mission, Owens would have backed him 100%. As Deen pointed out, even Owens is second guessing the officer he selected to be his permanent XO.
|April 11 2013, 07:34 PM||#19|
Re: The Star Eagle Adventures V: Shadows in the Haze
– VI –
The two people DeMara Deen hadn’t expect to be part of Xylion’s little excursion where So’Dan Leva and their young Andorian beta shift helsman Srena. The half-Romulan Leva, the ship’s chief tactical officer, was usually not the first choice to join an away team as his expertise were most valuable on the bridge during a combat engagement.
“Not many of those to be expected while we’re hidden in this nebula, constructing a fancy spy array,” he had told her after she had joined the rest of the team in the shuttle bay. “Besides, I don’t get nearly enough of a chance to get off the ship. Change of air will do me good.”
Srena had been even more excited. The perky Andorian made up for her inexperience with pure enthusiasm. “This is a great opportunity for me, sir,” she told her. “I’m honored Commander Xylion chose me for this assignment. How deep into the nebula do you think we’ll go?”
After reminding the ensign not to call her ‘sir’, not only because she didn’t much care for titles, but also because she always found it strange when people close her age caller her that, she tried to rein in some of their expectations. Deen had been part of a number of survey missions in her career as a science officer and where Leva and Srena were apparently expecting some sort of glorious away mission, the reality oftentimes was very different and meant spending long hours going over sensor data and analyzing the results.
“I took a year of astrophysics at the Academy,” Srena had said, unwilling to compromise on her excitement. “Perhaps I’ll be able to help out with the survey other than piloting the runabout. And the view is going to be absolutely gorgeous.”
After spending about an hour to load supplies onto the runabout Nebuchadrezzar and helping the deck crew installing the sensor and lab modules required for this specialized mission, they cleared Eagle’s shuttle bay on a pre-planned flight plan which allowed them to cover the greatest amount of real estate in the time they had been given.
“Transphasic shield module is active and functioning to expected parameters,” said Leva from his console. “Shields at one-hundred percent efficiency.”
Deen who occupied the co-pilot chair turned towards the Vulcan behind her. “Explain to me again how you managed to convince Rosenthal to borrow this module?”
“It was a simple matter of making the professor understand the breakthrough scientific discoveries his shield technology would be able to make possible.”
Deen smirked. “In other words you bribed the man with credit on our survey.”
The Vulcan raised an eyebrow. “That term is incorrect and inappropriate,” he said. “However Professor Rosenthal seemed indeed very interested in having his name associated with this expedition.”
“The man is a glory hound, if you ask me,” said Leva.
“Regardless of his personal values, his transphasic shield design is both highly effective and ingenious,” the Vulcan said.
“Uh, sirs, I’m reading an unusual gravimetric disturbance at two-three-four mark nine-five, approximately eight-hundred million kilometers.”
Deen quickly brought up her findings on her own console. While their shield modifications did a great job to protect them from the nebula’s radiation, their sensors and communications systems were still greatly affected, especially over range. It was almost impossible to know for certain what the sensors had detected. “I see it,” she said. “Looks unusual for this kind of nebula. Worth a peek, I’d say.”
But Xylion didn’t appear as convinced. “The coordinates are well outside our planned flight plan.”
“You telling me you’re not even a little bit curious as to what this could be?” she said with a little smile.
She could tell from the expression on his face that he was at least considering it. She had known him long enough to be able to notice the subtle nuances playing out on his usually carefully neutral facial expressions. He had put together a meticulously detailed flight plan which would have allowed them to give them the most time to study Aphrodite in the given time and one which did not allow for distractions such as this unexpected discovery. But then of course, making discoveries was the reason they were out here in the first place.
“Tell me we’re not passing this up just because of your obsessive needs to stick to a plan?” she said with a little more fire in her voice, understanding that sometimes you had to needle a Vulcan to get them to see your point.
“I vote for going to see what this is,” said Srena.
Xylion regarded her with a stern look. “This is not a democracy, Ensign. I am in command of this away team and therefore the decision lies with me alone.”
The young Andorian nodded quickly, obviously chastised for her out of turn comment.
Deen frowned. “Come on, Xyl, we’re science officers. Out here to explore,” she said. “This warrants exploring.”
She had only recently taken on calling the Vulcan by this shortened nickname even if it was clear that he didn’t appreciate this at all. It all went back to her needling theory.
“Ensign, change our heading to two-three-four mark nine-five,” he said even as entered new parameters into his station. “We will allocate twelve hours and twenty-six minutes to investigate this disturbance. I will make the required alterations to our flight plan to allow us to complete our survey in the allocate time.”
“Aye, sir,” she shot back and exchanging a beaming smile with the Tenarian woman next to her. “Changing course now,” she said and then made eye contact with Deen again. “Looks like this mission is on its way to becoming much more exciting than you anticipated.”
“I really hope not,” she said, mindful that ‘more exciting’ didn’t necessarily mean the same thing to her as it did to the young Andorian.
|April 28 2013, 01:07 PM||#20|
Re: The Star Eagle Adventures V: Shadows in the Haze
Day Three: The Big Sleep
– I –
Michael Owens stifled a yawn as he stepped out of the turbolift on deck twenty-four. After seemingly having lost an entire night already, he hadn’t been particularly happy when Lieutenant Nora Laas had woken him at oh-dark-thirty, calling him down to engineering for an apparent emergency.
At least he had slept this time, however short the cycle had lasted. It was still a complete mystery to him what had happened the previous night. Could it have been a remnant of the Hyterian infection as Deen had suggested? That had happened over two years ago and he had experienced no further ill effects after that episode had concluded so it seemed unlikely that his lost night was related to that long-dead civilization.
For now he would just have to write it off as one of those strange anomalies one encountered on a regular basis while living and working in outer space and hope he’d find the time on making up those lost hours soon.
He found a crowd had gathered outside engineering and he noticed the number of civilian engineers who were part of Professor Rosenthal’s team were being kept out of main engineering along with many regular crewmembers. Two armed security specialists were guarding the main door.
Charlie Colcord, the professor’s senior advisor, immediately zeroed in on him when she spotted him coming down the corridor.
“Captain, what is the meaning of this?” she said even before he had reached the group. She looked visibly upset and even more astonishingly, not the least bit weary or fatigued considering the late hour. Instead she was the epitome of an energized professional, looking crisp and ready to work. “As you are aware, sir, we are on a very tight schedule to complete the array and do not have the luxury to afford these kind of delays. It is completely unacceptable that we are being kept out of engineering in this manner.”
Owens joined her and took in the scene. Rosenthal was in the process of polishing his eyeglasses, once again quite happy to have his young and energetic colleague do most of the talking.
“Miss Colcord, I’m sure there is a perfectly good reason why main engineering has been sealed off—“
“A better reason than completing a spy array which will yield invaluable data on enemy fleet movements which could play a role in winning this war?” she said.
He sighed. “Honestly, I don’t know,” he said truthfully. “Why don’t you let me find out?”
She nodded. “Yes, please do. We are here to work, Captain, not stand idly by and wait to be given access to vital areas of the ship.”
He couldn’t be entirely certain but the look on Rosenthal’s face appeared slightly pained and he wasn’t sure if it was because of Colcord’s insisting attitude or for some other reason. Did he know more than he let on about what was taking place beyond those sealed doors?
“If you excuse me,” he told the young woman. “Professor.”
The civilian engineer gave him a nod, his expression having turned to one of concern now.
The security guards stepped aside for him and he quickly slipped into engineering.
At first glance nothing here looked quite out of the ordinary until he realized that the many gold-shirted officers busily going back and forth were not engineers but security personnel. And they were not monitoring or studying the many computer consoles and equipment in this room, they were studying the actual room.
He found Nora Laas along with Commander Star standing close to the warp core at the back of engineering and without further delay headed their way. He thought it to be odd that Star was already here. He was sure Nora would have called him first, not because it was protocol but because it seemed unlikely the Bajoran would have wanted to clue in the first officer on any urgent news before him.
He was well aware of the difficulties the two women had had working together ever since Tazla Star had come aboard to become first an acting XO and then take on the role permanently. There was something about their personalities—both headstrong, proud and uncompromising—that simply didn’t allow them to click. And there was something else, something more personal which caused friction between his chief of security and his executive officer.
Nora Laas had been in a short-lived romantic relationship with Star’s highly respected predecessor which was cut short after he was tragically killed in the line of duty. Killed while saving her life no less. It had not gone over well with her that a known traitor and criminal had come in to replace the man she had been in love with.
And while Owens had his own problems with the Trill first officer, Nora’s issues it seemed were of a more personal nature and one which he needed them to work out together.
“Captain,” the Bajoran said, beating Star to it. “Over here, sir.”
“What’s going on?”
“We have a situation.”
“You called me down here at 0100 hours. You better be having a situation, Lieutenant,” he said as he stepped up next to the warp core, gently humming and pulsating with bright azure light. Looking around he couldn’t immediately see what the nature of this situation could be.
“See for yourself,” said Star, and Owens found her looking particularly grim which he didn’t attribute to the early hour, as she looked down the pit surrounding the warp core. He noticed that she made an effort not to touch the bright red safety railing.
Nora mirrored the move and the captain followed suit.
The situation was a dead crewman, lying sprawled out at the bottom of the pit, at least twenty meters below and in large pool of his own blood. The man wore a golden uniform undershirt, making him a technical specialist or security officer. He had dark skin and long, silvery hair and was clearly humanoid but possibly not human.
Michael immediately felt a sickness growing in his stomach. Not because of seeing a dead person, he had seen plenty of those before, many more than he’d ever wanted and even more so since the outbreak of the Dominion War, he was getting this feeling because this death, no matter what it turned out to be, seemed to him like the most senseless of all. This was not a wartime casualty, losing his life while defending freedom and the Federation, this, it appeared was an entirely preventable and tragic death.
“What the hell happened?” he said, unable to keep the anger in check. “Who is that?”
“Lieutenant Jinlu Gedar, sir,” said Nora Laas.
He gave her and empty look. He remembered the promising young engineer from his great performance in the play two days earlier. He, it had turned out, had been a most gifted actor and had drawn much praise from the audience that night, including from himself.
The fact that he had known the man, shook his hand even, it made this so much worse. It probably shouldn’t, this was tragic no matter who the dead person was, but feelings didn’t lie.
“He was discovered about twenty minutes ago by the duty engineer. It’s too soon to say what happened but I doubt it was an accident,” said Star.
Owens missed the dark look the security chief was aiming at the first officer, obviously not happy with her already making speculations.
“You’re saying this was done on purpose?” said Owens, unable to keep from sounding astonished by the revelation.
“I think we need to treat this as a homicide,” said the first officer.
“A homicide?” said the captain, still trying to get to grips with what she was saying. In his entire Starfleet career he had never come across a murder scene. They still happened within the Federation and even more infrequently within Starfleet but hardly ever on a starship. Perhaps on some frontier outpost or a border colony but on Starfleet vessel something like this was almost unheard of.
“The only other option would be a suicide and from what I know about Mister Gedar, I find that difficult to believe,” said the first officer.
Owens turned to look at his security chief for an opinion. She nodded hesitantly as if it pained her to agree with Star. “I don’t think we should rule anything out yet but I’m I think we should treat this as if it where a homicide as well. We may have a murderer on this ship and if that is true, we need to act quickly.”
The idea disgusted him. Bad enough they had lost people to the Dominion, now one of their own was killing fellow crewmembers. It was entirely unacceptable. “If you’re right I want who ever did this brought to justice as soon as possible and before they have a chance to strike again.”
Nora nodded sharply but before she could respond, Star jumped in. “Sir, I think I should lead on the investigation.”
“This is a security matter, Commander,” the Bajoran shot back. “I’ll handle this.”
“If this were a simple security matter, perhaps,” she said, managing to keep her cool considering Nora’s brusque tone. “But this is an actual investigation. We don’t know who we are looking for yet and whoever did this is likely trying to cover their tracks. We’ll need a certain finesse to catch the perpetrator.”
Nora defiantly crossed her arms under her chest. “And you’re saying I don’t have finesse, is that it?”
Star was unapologetic. “It’s not a quality I would attribute to you, no.”
“Captain, with all due respect—“
But Owens raised his hand to stop his two officers to get into it in front of a crowd of spectators, not to mention at a murder scene. It was the last thing he needed. “Let me make this very clear to you both,” he said, keeping his voice low but with enough edge to make it clear he was being serious. “Whatever it is that’s going on between the two of you, I need it to stop. Right now. This,” he said and pointed towards the warp core pit, “is absolutely unacceptable on my ship, on any ship, and I want to know who is responsible. That’s all I care about. Understood?”
The two women nodded sharply.
“And I’ll find out, sir,” said Nora, not willing to give up on the argument even after the captain’s speech. “Criminal investigations of any nature fall into my purview. Let me handle this and I promise I get you the killer.”
He considered her for a moment and also noticed Star’s doubt filled eyes. She seemed eager to take on the investigation herself, this much seemed clear but he couldn’t be sure if this was because she genuinely felt more qualified or because she saw this as an opportunity to prove herself to him. He finally gave the security chief the nod to proceed. “It’s your investigation, Lieutenant. Whatever it takes, get me whoever did this.”
Star pretended to be a good loser but she clearly had one more point to make. “Sir, I hate to bring this up but there is the matter of the sensor array construction. The longer we delay Rosenthal and his people access to main engineering and other areas, the greater the chance that we will not meet our deadline to finish construction.”
“A man just died here, Commander, I’m not sure what that means to you but my priorities are clear,” Nora barked.
“People are dying by the hundred every day,” said Star and doing a commendable job of keeping her own voice down. “I am as disturbed by what happened here as the rest of us but I also understand the wider implications of our mission here,” she added and then looked back at the captain. “I’m not trying to prioritize one thing over the other, sir, I’m just saying that both objectives are of vital importance.”
Owens considered that for a moment before he found himself in agreement with his first officer and nodded. “Lieutenant, do whatever you have to but wrap things up in here quickly,” he said, already aware that Nora’s security people were taking a myriad of scans of the engine room and knowing that that should allow them to recreate the crime scene into minute detail. “We cannot afford to significantly delay or hinder the professors’ efforts, the stakes are too high.”
Owens took one last look at the unfortunate dead body of the former Lieutenant Gedar. It was the least he could do as regardless of how he had died, it had happened under his command and therefore part of the reasonability was his. It was going to be his job to find a way to make his family understand that their son had died in the most senseless fashion on board of his ship. It was a duty he was already dreading.
“I want whoever did this,” he seethed before he turned and headed for the secondary exit, consciously avoiding another run in with Rosenthal and Colcord.
Going back to bed and catching up on sorely needed rest, he knew was no longer an option.
* * *
Read the Writer's Commentary here
|May 2 2013, 06:11 AM||#21|
Location: US Pacific Northwest
Re: The Star Eagle Adventures V: Shadows in the Haze
And Deen continues to shine (or glow) while underway on Xylion's away mission... and boy can that woman play the Vulcan like a fiddle!
Great character work all the way around!
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