ST: Independence - "Nadir"

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Dnoth, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This story is definitely a work in progress. I only have the vaguest idea of where it's going. I know it will be a character driven piece. I'm going to let it evolve as it goes. Hopefully, it'll work. ;)

    Star Trek: Independence
    18 – “Nadir”

    (nā’dәr) n. – In astronomy, a point diametrically opposite of a star’s zenith; the lowest point.

    “Your highest revelations often come when you’re experiencing your lowest circumstances.” – Unknown

    PROLOUGE

    Stardate: 54653.0 (27 Aug 2377)
    Starbase 17, Internal Docking Bay Two, Observation Level
    Porrima System

    Captain Sintina Aurelia stood with her arms crossed. She wore her jet black hair in a single ponytail. Her petite, yet athletic body stood only 1.6 meters. She was born in Honduras, but she had several Spanish features. Her skin was smooth and youthful. Her eyes, on the other hand, were aged and worried.

    Her eyes were focused on the hulk that was her ship. Repairs hadn’t yet begun on the Steamrunner class ship. Outside of the Dominion War, she’d never seen a ship in such shape. Its hull had holes and gashes almost everywhere. Most of its port nacelle was gone. Its starboard side looked like it had gone through a grinder. She couldn’t even fully read the name and registry. It read: “-SS IND—ENDE--E NC---7-91.”

    The Independence and her crew had been the talk of the starbase ever since they arrived in tow by the Bluefin. Even under ‘normal’ circumstances, a ship being towed into port was a mild disgrace. Aurelia knew people were talking. She didn’t care. As luck had it, Command was making sure everyone involved keep a tight lip about what happened. Her crew had been ordered not to discuss it. A few people outside her crew knew the truth, but only a handful.

    The admiral in charge of the hearing about the matter, Admiral Sitak, had summoned her. Aurelia had a few minutes before the meeting. She found herself spending hours here, looking out the large window. Her battered ship looked out of place in an otherwise glorious city of lights and smooth surfaces.

    Lieutenant Jonin Faltyne, an Andorian male – and her impromptu first officer now that Commander bin Nadal was dead, approached her.

    It had been 10 days since he stunned her. He did it for a good reason, she internally accepted. She was so full of intense rage, she was about ready to blast a hole into an already decompressed chamber to prevent a Section 31 agent from escaping. She understood his reasons. To make it worse, she probably would have done the same thing had their positions been reversed. But for good or ill, Sintina once crossed, rarely forgave. Her brain wasn’t upset with her security chief, but her gut still was. The two had reached an uneasy compromise.

    “Captain,” he began professionally, “The Chief of Starfleet Personnel of this sector just called. He said, due to ‘continuing shortages,’” he sighed slightly, “The Independence crew is going to start being reassigned.”

    Sintina’s face was deadpan. She was expecting this, though, not this soon. The refit and repair of the Independence would take several months. Starfleet didn’t like having that many personnel sitting idle. Even two years after the Dominion War, personnel shortages still plagued the fleet.

    Faltyne also added, “The admiral said he’d be willing to try to reform the command crew, once repairs are complete.”

    Aurelia didn’t respond.

    “If you’d like,” he supplemented.

    She placed her hands behind her back, “Thank you, Lieutenant.”

    The Andorian began to walk away, but suddenly turned back, “Ma’am, I never apologized for…”

    The Latina quickly interrupted, “Don’t.”

    Jonin realized that was as much as a concession as he was going to get. In fact, it surprised him that he got that much from her. It was understood that the issue had been dropped. She would not pursue any charges against him.

    The captain’s gaze returned to the dismembered ship out the viewing port.

    The security chief knew there was nothing left to be said. He moved off.
     
  2. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I feel kinda bad for Aurelia. She's lost the first Indy under her command and now she nearly gets the second one shot out from underneath her as well. And in fact, she may have lost her as well with the pending re-assignment.

    She definitely could use some time off. And I'd recommend some counseling as well. Maybe Kimula can help.

    A very interesting premise here and I'm curious to see what is in store for Indy's crew next. Also, eager to learn of Nadal's fate. Surely he's not dead ...[Leslie Nielsen homage intended].
     
  3. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

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    ^ I agree with CeJay. This is a tough situation for Aurelia - her ship nearly in ruins with months of repairs ahead, her crew (those that survived) about to be dispersed, and her own future far from certain. This promises to be an interesting story. I, for one, am pulling for Sintina not only to land on her feet, but to grow wiser in the process.
     
  4. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    CHAPTER 1

    Supplemental
    Starbase 17, Sector JAG Office
    Porrima System

    As the door parted, Sintina’s first thought was how large the admiral’s office was. To her left, was a series of transparent aluminum windows; beyond them, the stars. To the right, was a very spacious sitting area with couches, chairs, and a coffee table. Directly ahead, was the Vulan officer, sitting at her desk.

    Admiral Sitak was a light-skinned, Vulcan female. Her black hair was in the traditional style. The rank on her red collar had two enclosed pips, indicating a rear admiral, upper half. Her expression was, of course, stoic. She stood, “Captain Aurelia, greetings. Please sit.” She gestured to the nearby sitting area.

    The captain took up residence at the far end of one of the couches. She sat rigidly, not feeling comfortable enough to cross her legs or utilize the armrest.

    The Vulcan woman brought a padd from her desk and sat in a chair facing her guest. She too, sat stiffly, though, she probably always did. Sitak began without preamble, “I have reviewed your deposition. It makes some…extraordinary charges.”

    Aurelia was in no mood to lie or worry about the ramifications when she wrote the report. She included everything. Well, maybe not everything. She did, however, not hold back about Lore and the battle with the Philadelphia. “I stand by my statement, sir,” she said.

    The admiral cocked an eyebrow, “Do you? Interesting.” She scrolled through the document for a moment. “So you allege, a ship confirmed destroyed last month, was, in fact, not destroyed, attacked you, and was destroyed again. You further allege an android that is confirmed currently disassembled and sitting, in pieces, in the Robotics Department at the Daystrom Technological Institute is, in fact, assembled and operational. How can you resolve these apparent disparities?”

    Sintina tried, but failed to stop her jaw from dropping. She thought she could explain the Philadelphia, but the revelation about Lore…she had no idea. She stumbled, but managed, “As I said in my report, the Philadelphia was using some type of phasing cloak…”

    “Yes,” Sitak interrupted, “That is another of your accusations. Do you have any evidence?”

    The captain shot back quickly, “There were sensor logs that picked up the ship. The android was on my vessel. Surely, security monitors recorded his presence.”

    The admiral dismissed the mild outburst. She rejoined, “Unfortunately, there is not. Your computer core had some type of malfunction. No sensor data of any kind, internal or external, was stored in the computer’s memory during the time frame you allege these events occurred.”

    Aurelia huffed in disbelief. She sat forward and began to rub her temples. Lore could’ve done more sabotage than they realized. She kicked herself again for letting that imposter roam the ship freely.

    The Vulan went on, “The malfunction and its timeliness raises unavoidable questions, Captain. Did you intentionally erase the data or order its erasure?”

    The Latina looked up from under her brow with resolve, “No sir.”

    Sitak contemplated for a moment. “You see my dilemma, Captain. You give me testimony that I cannot verify. Your crew, of course, supports your account, but crews often have a sense of…loyalty to their captain. I cannot take it at face value.” She stood and began to pace, “There are only so many options from my perspective. One is that you believe you are telling the truth, even though; there is evidence to the contrary. If that is the case, a psychological evaluation is in order. The second option is that you and your crew have fallen victim to some type of elaborate deception, perhaps some Vuke technique we are unaware of.” She stopped walking and turned to Aurelia, “Or you have falsified your report and have ordered or intimidated your crew to do the same.”

    Sintina could do little, but shoot daggers at her.

    It didn’t faze the Vulcan, “Perhaps your fragile human ego was wounded by being outmaneuvered by the relatively primitive Vuke forces.”

    Aurelia had enough. She stood and stared down the admiral. The captain knew she was posturing out of a knee-jerk reaction. She wasn’t going to strike the admiral, but it felt good to go through the motions, none the less.

    Sitak observed her response with curiosity. She continued calmly, “I do not have evidence, however, to support any of these theories.”

    Both women stood motionless for several seconds.

    The admiral suddenly came to a decision, “As of this moment, you are on medical leave. You will not return to duty until you successfully pass a complete psychological evaluation. Do you understand, Captain?”

    Having her mental state called into question hurt more than if the admiral had just dishonorably discharged her. It wasn’t fair. She told the truth. She defended her ship. She tried to stop criminals. She did her best. Her eyes began to water. She immediately stiffened up and stood at attention. She wouldn’t let this cold-hearted Vulcan wench see her cry, “Yes sir.”
     
  5. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Damn...no recordings of Lore. I still wonder if Data could retrieve or trace the malicious code on the Independence, though. You would think it would be evident that that level of sabotage was beyond the Vuke...

    This admiral is a bitch. The "fragile human ego" comment...maybe she's co-authored some papers with Solok.
     
  6. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    I read an "episode" from a middle of a "season", am I not? There was more before, right? Well, it won't stop me from continuing to read and, when time allows, I'll read the previous episodes too for you got me interested :)

    I like character driven stories :)
     
  7. CeJay

    CeJay Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Well, that wasn't entirely unexpected. Section 31 knows how to cover their tracks and there is a cosmic rule somewhere that Aurelia does not get to catch a break.

    I agree that the admiral wasn't particularly pleasant. What I thought most annoying was the fact that she didn't even consider the possibility that Aurelia was telling the truth.

    Very eager to find out what will happen to Aurelia and crew next.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2010
  8. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

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    Here is a good example of where pure logic has severe limitations. Sitak has no room for any possibilities that lie outside her narrow scope of "reality." I feel badly for Sintina - she's facing some tough days ahead. Somehow, though, I believe she will weather this and come out stronger and wiser.
     
  9. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Oi. Poor Jonin Faltayne - he is in a bit of a pickle. As if trying to replace the presumed dead Nadal as XO is not bad enough he knows that Sintina does not particularly like the course of action her took to stop her. The fact that she can admit she would have done the same in his place does little to appease her mind and it makes things just a little bit more awkward between them when things are bad and low for all concerned.

    The Indy is in bad shape and I think that is reflective of her Captain and her crew. They have all been scarred by this recent experience and the future is uncertain.

    A great mood is set in this first instalment for a good character piece. But damn you D'noth. You keep 'stealing' all the good titles! LOL
     
  10. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Damn. The Admiral has Sintina on the ropes and from her point of view, yes the evidence is limited and nothing corroborates the wild and fanciful tale of the Indy's captain. But man, you gotta feel for Sintina. This does not bode well. Likewise, the extent of Lore's sabotage is massive or perhaps the reach of S31 is greater than presumed here. Could they have erased the computer afterwards in order to play it safe? And is the Admiral a cold, logical Vulcan or is she an operative of S31? Given the unfortunate history of the Indy I wouldn't put it past being the case.

    What is most troubling is what this means for the crew and most especially Sintina. Put on medical leave could be read as very damning. And to top it all, she has to pass a complete psychological evaluation! Given everything that has happened to her and given her nature this could be bad news. Though it could also be what helps to bring a more mature, tempered Sintina to surface.
     
  11. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    mirandafave, I'm not even sure if Sitak is 31 or just a very unimaginative Vulcan. :vulcan: As for the 'good titles,' I've been looking at your future story notes. ;)

    TheLoneRedshirt, you're right. This is actually a blessing in disguise for Aurelia.

    CeJay, that's what I kinda thought. Section 31 has perfected the art of not being discovered or covering their tracks over the centuries. I wouldn't be that easy, now would it?

    Gul Re'jal, thank you for picking this up. Yes, Independence is serialized. Most of my stories can be found here: http://www.unitedtrek.org/Independence/star_trek independence.htm

    Nerys Ghemor, I know. I want to bring 31 to 'light' too. But if...when, it does, it would be a huge event in and around the whole Federation. I'm not ready to deal with that, yet. Don't get me wrong, I'd like it to go in that direction, but now isn't quite the time. :shifty:

    The next installment should be up in a few days. Thanks for reading and commenting, everybody!
     
  12. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Good opening. I'm one of the few posters it seems that has no problem with Sitak's reaction. It is logical and based on Aurelia's record and her shoot from the lip, shoot first style or reputation (IMO), I can see some basis for Sitak's behavior. I see the makings of a cool character piece.
     
  13. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    CHAPTER 2

    Supplemental
    Starbase 17, Commerce Section 5, “Anchor’s Away” Lounge
    Porrima System

    The “Anchor’s Away” restaurant was one of dozens, perhaps hundreds of similar establishments throughout the mammoth starbase. It was clean, well-maintained, and orderly.

    Lieutenant Junior Grade Kimula sh'Somachanar, an Andorian female, sat at one of the many dining tables. She was alone sipping on some cabbage soup. The blue-skinned woman was reading a padd.

    It was a newsletter from the USS Voyager. Well, it wasn’t really from Voyager. Ever since it was discovered the ship was stranded in the Delta Quadrant, people from around the Federation wanted to know more about them. A monthly newsletter was now being published to satisfy that curiosity.

    She sensed someone reading over her shoulder. She looked behind her. Standing there, slightly closer than socially acceptable, was a smiling, grandfatherly looking man. The top of his head was bald, though, he had surprisingly thick hair on the sides and the back of his head. His skin was light pink. …And he was a four ‘star’ admiral. She nearly knocked into him as she stood at attention. “Sir.”

    He smiled warmly, as he protected his cup of coffee. “At ease, lieutenant.” He gestured for her to sit back down.

    She did so.

    “May I join you?” he asked.

    A lieutenant doesn’t refuse an admiral when he asks to sit down. “Of course, sir.”

    He sat across from her and began, “Please excuse me. I didn’t mean to leer over you. I just couldn’t help but notice what you were reading.”

    “The Voyager newsletter?”

    He grinned and nodded. “My team and I have a hand in making that.”

    Her antennae went up, “You’re a writer, sir?”

    The elder human took a sip, “Not exactly. I’m in charge of the Pathfinder Project.”

    The Andorian was nearly awestruck, “You’re Admiral Paris?”

    He nodded.

    She was thoroughly intrigued now, “It fascinates me how you…your team was able to use the cyclic pulsar to amplify the signal strength.” She was so exited she made a slight breach of protocol as she rambled off questions, “How much is the data degraded? What’s the compression rate? How do you adjust the signal from the MIDAS array to keep up with Voyager when you don’t know their exact position?”

    He held up a friendly hand, “You must be our biggest fan.”

    She turned a darker shade of blue, “I’m sorry, sir. I’m a communications specialist and the newsletter is written for a general audience. I was just curious.”

    He repeated, “You’re a communications specialist?”

    “Well,” she began, “I studied psychology at the academy, but early on in the war, we lost our com. officer. I was field trained, but I am certified, sir.”

    He leaned back and crossed his arms, “A counselor and a com. officer, impressive.” He leaned in, “You know, we could use someone like you. What’s your current assignment?”

    Her eyebrows went up as she smiled, “I’m actually waiting for new orders, sir.”

    Paris said, “I usually don’t do this, but the job’s yours if you want it.”

    Kimula wanted to jump at the chance, but then thoughts of Aurelia entered her mind. She’d been part of Sintina’s crew ever since she graduated the academy. For two years, Aurelia was her executive officer on the Midas. Then, after Captain Camar died, Sintina assumed command. Kimula had stuck with her ever since. Four years, in total. She owed her captain a lot. On the other hand, with Karim gone; the “trio” was gone too. It wouldn’t be the same even if she tried to stay with Sintina. The moment was bittersweet for her, but this was a rare opportunity. She couldn’t let it go by. Finally, she extended a hand, “I’d be honored, sir.”

    He took her hand in his, “Welcome to the Pathfinder Project, Lieutenant. My transport is heading for Earth tomorrow. I’ll reserve you a seat.”
     
  14. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Two down. More on the way. I wonder if you have any Pathfinder stories in mind. Would be sweet.
     
  15. BrotherBenny

    BrotherBenny Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Interesting.

    Sitak is getting around a bit. In my current Pytheas story, as everyone will see, she gets bumped up to a regular slot, so to speak.

    I don't see her as unimaginative, but rather as a scientist with an open mind but needing concrete proof to confirm hypotheses. But because of Vulcan logic, she comes across as a stick in the mud.
     
  16. mirandafave

    mirandafave Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Oh. Kimula is walking away from Sintina. Man that is going to hurt the captain bad. She could find herself in a very lonely position. The big trio are split now. Whether Kimula finds a happier place in Project Pathfinder is to be seen - but poor Aurelia. She seems to be being abandoned all round.
     
  17. Dnoth

    Dnoth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Thank you all for reading and commenting. It is very much appreciated.

    *****

    CHAPTER 3

    Supplemental
    Starbase 17, Medical Section 3, Med Lab 12
    Porrima System

    Doctor Zo’Kama Do’Matar, an Arkonian, sat with her face in a visor of a microscope. She wore a blue trimmed uniform and bore the rank of full commander.

    Arkonians were reptilian humanoids first encountered by Humans before the founding of the Federation. They weren’t founding members of the Federation, but it didn’t take long for them to join. Arkonians were fairly unique in that their physiology wasn’t water-based, but was based on a brown liquid, called tarratt-aash. They had another interesting ability, their saliva acted as a natural dermal regenerator. The Arkonians, of course, had all the liabilities of reptiles, including being exothermic.

    Zo’Kama wore no isolation suit even though the corpse of a Vuke laid behind her. She had determined the H’Kan Plague – which was ravaging the Vuke species – would not infect any Federation species. That fact, itself, was mildly odd.

    The doctor heard the door slide open. She looked toward it with her yellow eyes. A Bolian rear admiral, lower half, with blue trim entered. Zo’Kama recognized the female as the Chief of Medical Officer of Starbase 17, Admiral Homchu.

    The Arkonian stood and regarded the superior officer, “Admiral, how may I help you?”

    The Bolian’s blue skin had several wrinkles in it. Her eyes lingered on the cadaver in the room. She was downtrodden, “I’m afraid I have bad news from Medical Command.” She now focused on Zo’Kama, “They’ve decided to terminate your research regarding the H’Kan Plague.”

    Her tan scales turned a shade darker, “What? Why? I don’t understand.”

    Over the last week or so, the admiral and Zo’Kama had developed a very good working relationship. Homchu was a caring, good-hearted woman. Informing her newfound colleague of Command’s decision was obviously uncomfortable for her.

    The Bolian answered, “It was an…unusual deviation for Command to order a mission like yours in the first place. The Vuke are a pre-warp civilization. Normally, the Federation wouldn’t intervene.”

    “During our briefing,” added Zo’Kama, “We were told Starfleet wanted to use this opportunity to show our good faith to the Vuke.”

    Homchu nodded and finished her line of thought, “To get out ahead the future problem the Vuke could be once they achieved warp drive. I understand Starfleet’s reasoning, though, I don’t agree with it. The Prime Directive is there for a reason.” She paced a bit, “And now, it seems the Federation has come back to that view. The H’Kan system is under quarantine again.” She sighed, “So you see, there is no need to continue your research.”

    Zo’Kama objected, “Admiral, I’m so close to isolating this virus. After that, it’s just a matter of finding the correct chemical reactions to neutralize it.”

    Homchu’s motherly voice became a bit more stern, “You’re not listening, Commander. Even if you find the cure, Starfleet will not give it to the Vuke.”

    “But sir,” she began.

    The admiral stopped her, “The Vuke had a chance to accept Federation help. They slapped our hand away. You were there.”

    The Arkonian rejoined without thinking, “According to the Vuke, we shot first.”

    The Bolian walked away and ran her hand over a hairless head, “You’re not supposed to discuss that mission, Commander. You know that.” She walked around the autopsy table and continued, more softly, “Look, I don’t know what happened. I don’t want to know. I do know you have a lot invested in this; a lot of research and work. I don’t like leaving a project unfinished, either.”

    “Sir, there is no indication this plague will stop. Millions have died. Billions more will die. We have to stop it.”

    Homchu looked down for several seconds. Then replied, “You know, as a scientist and a doctor, you have to have a certain about of…separation from your patients. Yes, the Vuke will experience a die off.” She stepped closer, “But there have been extension events on nearly every populated planet. It is a natural cycle. Who are we to intervene?”

    The doctor contemplated for a moment. She looked at the admiral with vigor, “We are part of the universe. We share sentience with the Vuke. How can we not intervene?”

    The Bolian grimaced. “I guess we’re not going to see eye to eye on this, Zo’Kama. I’m sorry, but I’m ordering you to discontinue your research. You are to dispose of the Vuke body and vacate this lab. I’m sure it won’t take long for you to get a new assignment.” She placed a hand on the reptilian’s shoulder, “You’ll see, once you get to your new posting, it will be easier.”

    The admiral walked out.

    Zo’Kama sat back down. She sat there, staring at the deck for some time. Eventually, she looked through the viewer again and went back to work.
     
  18. Gul Re'jal

    Gul Re'jal Commodore Commodore

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    Sounds like the PD was broken once already (the Vuke slapped the helping hand away so there had to be some contact with them), so why suddenly change their minds, especially in such an important matter. Very cold-blooded thing to do.

    I can't help but wonder what Zo'Kama is going to do if/when she finds the cure :)
     
  19. Nerys Ghemor

    Nerys Ghemor Vice Admiral Admiral

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    That's what I don't like about Federation reasoning. Don't even TRY to pursue lifesaving research even though there might still be a chance later to find SOME way of giving this species a cure, even covertly.

    As I mentioned before everything went to hell in a handbasket in your last story, though...I really like how you destroy the "reptilian stereotype" by showing how caring Dr. Zo'Kama really is, how appropriate she really is to her job as a healer. :)
     
  20. TheLoneRedshirt

    TheLoneRedshirt Commodore Commodore

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    Poor Zo'Kama - this has to be a terrible ethical quandary for her. On the one hand, she has her oath as a physician to uphold - on the other, she swore an oath as a Starfleet officer. Now she's received a direct order to discontinue the research that could save millions.

    What will she do?

    I'm liking the choices you're putting before these characters - whether new assignments or ethical dilemmas, this is engaging stuff! :)