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A meeting of the minds

Posted on Sat Dec 13th, 2014 @ 5:31am by Commander Jey Cleh & Ensign Arianna D'Tal & Commander Eliana Masters & Commander Andrew Matheson & Lieutenant Commander Adria "Tempest" Desoro & Lieutenant Commander Rosaleen O'Donnell

Mission: Bloodpath
Location: Taranok IV - Command Module
Timeline: A few minutes after "Racing the Spectre"

It had taken a few minutes to get everyone together, and in that time, Lizzy had moved to the Command Module. Rudimentary as it was, the module was about as big as the small conference room they'd used on the Bettina, only difference was that there was various pieces of equipment humming, and beeping every so often.

Lizzy waited patiently for the others to arrive, not quite sure how she was going to pull this off.

Except for a short detour to track down Adria, Masters had also gone directly from the medical center to the command module. From her windblown hair down to the mud covering her pants and boots, she was sporting what she would have called her "Monday morning look" if humor would have been tasteful at that moment. It wasn't, so she walked in and nodded ever so slightly in the direction of Captain Cleh.

"Adria's behind me somewhere," Eliana stated. "She's delivering the news to her pilots."

Lizzy looked at Masters with a sense of calm that didn't reach her eyes. "How are you holding up?"

"I'll be fine in time. The emotions are so raw now," Masters took a deep, slow breath. "To be honest, I'm trying my hardest not to think about it. Empathy be damned - I wish I could control my emotions like a Vulcan right now."

Adria entered the command module shortly behind Eliana. While this wasn't the first time she'd been through something like this it never got easier. Emotions were more than a bit raw and the incident forced some of her own personal memories to the surface. "Desoro reporting as ordered."

The next to enter was Arianna. She stepped into the room, taking an out of the way spot, but didn't say a word.

Andrew filed in right after Arianna. He found a spot where he could comfortably see everyone in the room and settled in.

Lizzy nodded to the young girl, giving her what she hoped was a reassuring smile.

Something was still clearly bothering Masters. She kept shaking her head back and forth, refusing to make eye contact with anyone, almost as if she was trying to get herself to wake up from some sort of a nightmare.

"Just promise me you did everything you could," Eliana finally looked up. "Tell me we did everything we could to save her."

"I did..." It was two simple words, but Arianna spoke them with a tone that resonated in the small room.

As everyone filed in, Lizzy took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. "I know a lot is going on, and emotions are running a bit high, so the first thing to do is put to rest any rumors." Lizzy said as a start. "Rosaleen O'Donnell passed away a short time ago."

"I just informed my pilots," Adria commented. Her tone was frighteningly calm given the situation. Yet it that also acted as a clear sign the situation bothered her greatly.

Lizzy looked around the room, briefly studying the faces of everyone staring back at her. "I'm going to need the help of everyone in this room to keep things together here." She said with more conviction than she felt. "Miss O'Donnell knew the risks just like all of us here know the risks, but we have to keep moving forward, so I have to ask... Can I count on each of you to do what you came here to do?"

There was a cold edge in Andrew's voice that could have scratched transparent aluminum as he replied "Yes, Captain." His eyes reflected an inner pit of grief and rage that was being mercilessly crushed down for the time being, but he didn't know how much longer that restraint was going to hold.

Andrew stiffened as he heard... no, that wasn't the right word... perceived an echo of Rosaleen's voice. Why are you so sad? Reflexively, he thought I've just lost a friend who gave her life to save mine. I didn't get to thank her, I didn't get to say goodbye, and I can't prove she shouldn't still be here with us. There's plenty there to be sad about...

"Are you okay?" Masters caught the change in Matheson's body language out of the corner of her eye.

Andrew shrugged. "Physically, yes; mentally, no. Nothing sleep and time won't cure, ma'am."

"We can do our jobs, but we have to figure out what exactly we're going up against. The team that send our initial report back to the ship detected some strange sensor readings on their way out. They were under orders to return to the starbase if they felt it was unsafe to return here and they haven't come back." Eliana spoke clearly enough for those in the room to hear, though she did not speak with much volume.

"We need to strengthen up our perimeter, and fortify this base against an attack." Lizzy replied. "The problem is, we don't know who the shooter was... or do we?"

"The shooter, whoever it was, had an incredibly disciplined mind. I wasn't able to detect their presence telepathically, and most people can't keep a flare of emotion of SOME kind out of their thoughts when attacking someone. I also have reason to believe that I was the intended target; Ms. O'Donnell detected something I didn't and knocked me into the lake. I surfaced a couple of seconds later, and she was already down. I had experience with long-range weaponry during the Cardassian war; weapons like that are difficult to track quick-moving targets with." He tried to keep it as clinical as possible, but relaying the events felt a bit like what he imagined swallowing broken glass would cover.

"That means we have a sniper on our hands." Lizzy pointed out. "I know we're short handed here, but can we spare enough people to do some kind of search around the area?"

"Assuming a high level of skill, the chances of us catching a sniper or even a sniper/spotter combination under cover of dark is not likely. We need to find the source of the shot and with Andrew's account, we can just about determine where Rosaleen was standing," Masters explained. "With the trajectory from the wound, we can find the source. Projectile weapons leave evidence behind, that's just a fact. We're gonna find this guy."

"She was standing just about where I was sitting when the captain and Miss D'Tal responded to my commbadge message. I tried not to move her for a few different reasons, though it seems like I was wrong on that count." Andrew growled in frustration. "I'll gladly defer to someone in the room with an actual specialization in security procedures, but I do have some unfortunate past experience with situations like this and some suggestions to offer."

"The bullet entered though her back." Arianna added. If this could possibly bring Rosaleen's killer to justice, she wanted to help. "If she pushed you into the lake from behind, then that means the shooter was most likely in the woods behind you."

"It's a start." Lizzy replied. "Can we spare some people to search the woods for evidence?"

"I'll volunteer myself," Masters raised a hand. "I'm sure I can find some of my guys to help me too, but I'll defer to the judgment of someone who knows how to run this sort of search. We're not exactly trained to gather evidence."

"After the meeting is dismissed, grab a couple of others to go with you. No one should leave the camp alone." Lizzy said. "Medical supplies. We have a lot of people gathered in camp, and in the surrounding woods that need medical attention. What do we have, and what can we replicate to help these people?" While the CMO had been called off during the flight here from the station, she knew that someone who had come on the ship with them should know.

"I don't know if these are in the supplies or easily accessible, but one thing we may want to be ready with is anti-radiation medication. The commander and I noticed low levels in the atmosphere even at our distance from a strike zone. If the wind changes, it could get worse." Andrew made some notes on his PADD of things to circle back to if they weren't addressed by the end of the meeting.

"Yes, and that should be added as an addendum to any mission related briefing from this point," Masters nodded. "The threat of radiation will continue to exist indefinitely, thanks to those strong winds in the upper atmosphere. However, if we have to go into the city center, make sure to take a Geiger counter."

"If we can, we need to setup more triage, and trauma areas." Lizzy replied. This threat of radiation was a very real one that she hoped to avoid. "I know we're short handed, but maybe we can grab some of the pilots who have any sort of medical experience to help out."

"We might want to keep a pilot and shuttle ready at all times. If we detect an intruder, a shuttle phaser set to wide dispersal should be able to stun a couple of hundred of square meters." That was about the only way Andrew expected to get personnel in range of the sniper without someone getting shot. The look on his face clearly indicated he had more to say but didn't want to monopolize the discussion.

"Stunning the refugees isn't likely to go over too well... Do it anyway." Lizzy replied. She didn't like the idea of possibly stunning others, but she figured it would be better to be stunned, than dead. "Our primary goal should be the protection, and medical needs of everyone in the camp, and the surrounding area, until backup arrives. Everything else is secondary, I'm afraid."

Lizzy was about to say more, when a medic entered the Command Module. "Sorry to interrupt, Captain." The young Ensign said.

"What is it?" Lizzy asked.

"I put Lieutenant Commander O'Donnell's body into stasis, but something's wrong." He explained. "The module keeps throwing off fault errors every few seconds."

"Great... Something else to add to the list of problems tonight." Lizzy replied. "D'Tal, you're with me. Masters, get a team together to search the woods for evidence of our shooter, and keep a pilot on standby. The rest of you work on strengthening the perimeter, and helping the refugees."

Andrew tapped into the PADD, querying the computer about stores of body armor and motion sensors. He didn't have a whole lot of hope for either one of them having been packed on what was primarily a mission of mercy.

During the meeting Adria hasn't said much. Really there wasn't a lot to say. "I'll pull together a list of my pilots who have medical training."

The room then became completely quiet, nobody seemingly willing to risk saying anything further.

"Dismissed." Lizzy said, and as everyone filed out of the Command module, she headed to the Bettina with Arianna in tow.

Relieved that the meeting had come to an end Adria exited the Command module. The earlier discussion with her pilots had been cut short.

*USS Bettina - Morgue*

Lizzy, and Arianna walked in to find one of the medical technicians working on Rosaleen's stasis unit.

"Let me have a look." Lizzy ordered, and the tech stepped aside. She checked the settings, and saw numerous faults being thrown. "Computer, run a level 2 diagnostic on stasis unit B."

"Diagnostic cycle is completed." Came the computer's monotonous reply. "Unit is functioning normally."

"Yeah right..." Lizzy said, as she checked it again. "Computer, run a level 3 diagnostic."

"Diagnostic cycle will be completed in 30 seconds." The computer explained. They waited the thirty seconds, only to hear... "Diagnostic complete. Unit is functioning normally."

Lizzy started changing the settings on the stasis unit, finding that the settings for a comatose patient threw the fewest errors.

Arianna was quiet during this whole session. While the stasis unit seemed to insist that Rosaleen was simply in a coma, she couldn't dispute the fact that she watched the woman die on her operating table. That being said, her nerves were once again rattled.

"Hmmph! Must be a glitch." Lizzy said absently, as she finalized the settings. "Just leave it set for a coma patient, and keep an eye on it. Hopefully it won't be a problem."

"Yes Ma'am." The tech said.

She gestured to Arianna, and as they walked out, Lizzy muttered under her breath "What else can go wrong?"

Andrew was waiting outside the morgue when Lizzy and Arianna. He saluted the captain as she approached. "Captain, if you have a minute, we need to talk privately."


Joint Post by

Captain Jey Cleh
Executive Officer
Chief Medical Officer
Starbase 80

PO1 Arianna D'Tal
Executive Officer's Yeoman
Academy Cadet
Starbase 80

Lt Commander Adria "Tempest" Desoro
220th CAG
Starbase 80

Rosaleen O'Donnell
Spirit of the Neatherworld

Commander Eliana Masters
Director of Flight Operations
Second Officer
Starbase 80

Lt Commander Andrew Matheson
Chief Diplomatic Officer
Starbase 80


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