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Day 01 [1950 hrs.] Erudite Debriefing


DAY 01 [1950 HRS.] ERUDITE DEBRIEFING


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[ Lt. ThanIda zh'Wann | Cargo Hold | The Apache | Aerodrome of the Erudite ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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On the Erudite again, the Andorian Deputy thought, not entirely pleased with it, but she supposed it was best to take an offer from the Voice when presented. Her concerns were not on the means of transportation, however... but the destination. They were just a few minutes in, the cloaked Erudite barely having departed from Qo'noS, and Ida had already regretted volunteering for the mission a couple of times. She normally didn't have any such regrets... but this was the lab where the Niga virus had come from.

She had yet to don her exosuit, dressed in her uniform trousers and and a white t-shirt with the THEA imprint on it, having left her golden undershirt and uniform jacket in her allotted sleeping alcove. The cargo hold of the Apache was full of people, making for a poor choice for the debriefing of the Praxis mission, which at least was something she could focus on rather than her memories from the Niga Incident (or the lack thereof). Commander Cross had been the one responsible for the Praxis assignment, so it was his report to submit to Captain Ives, but since the mission to Azurite Station had been made a priority, there had been precious little time for the two of them to meet and actually have the debriefing. So, it was decided that they would do it in-transit on the Erudite.

"I'm available if you are, Commander," she said after stepping up behind the Vulcan with the Bajoran nose-ridges. She put her hands on her hips and glanced towards the open cargo bay door, which led to the vast bay of the Erudite's Aerodrome. "Perhaps we should take it outside?"

Once they stepped out into the dimly lit bay area, the shimmering lights from the aft of the bay beckoned - Ida's steps automatically going in that direction since the darkness of the Savi dreadnought wasn't very inviting. Heading in that direction, she could see the wake of the quantum slipstream tunnel that they travelled through, and it made for a pleasant backdrop for the talk with the Commander. As an artist off-duty, she could appreciate it.

"I would never have thought I'd see the insides of a ship like this after we escaped from the Versant," she commented idly, her antennae and eyes travelling the expanse of the tunnel aft of the opened Aerodrome bay doors, "but this is the second mission where the Savi have brought us where we need to be. They brought the Allegiant to Breen, and then to Andor, and then back to Klingon space, and here we are again, heading for the farthest reaches of Federation space. Shelat, it's like what we endured at the hands of the Savi happened in some other time, some other dimension."

Re: Day 01 [1950 hrs.] Erudite Debriefing

Reply #1
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Cargo Hold | The Apache | Aerodrome of the Erudite ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

Though he stood amidst his fellow mission members holding a PADD of information regarding their coming mission, Cross’ mind was at the moment occupied with a certain Vulcan female back on Theurgy. Some might call him a coward for volunteering for this mission instead of remaining on board to have more than a few very necessary conversations with Hathev, with himself, and with Kai and Elro—the only other survivors of the Endeavour. However, despite the appearance of “running away,” Cross understood his new emotional makeup as a fully fledged Vulcan enough to recognize when function and purpose were what he needed before any attempt could be made to reconcile and process emotions. If he tried the one before the other, Cross feared he would lose control again and property destruction or increased emotional turmoil would be the result, as that had been exactly what had happened last time.

After her discharge from sickbay, Cross had just enough time to escort Hathev to her quarters before needing to report to the Erudite. The going had been slow, to accommodate the fact that the head counselor had very nearly been eviscerated by attacking Klingons, but after arrival they’d still had a bit of time. During that time Cross had fluttered around her quarters getting everything she could possibly need in his absence like a one of the desert birds Hathev recalled from Vulcan. Cross had equated his movements to a butterfly in comparison, based on his own background knowledge and his lack of having ever traveled to Vulcan.

While they hadn’t spoken of the underlying deeper issues that Cross agreed, they needed to talk about, they had made plans for later in the week. A “date” to Qo’Nos to eat local delicacies and relish off-duty time together. Something to look forward to, Hathev had reminded him, was an important mental factor in ensuring mission success. Cross was curious if that was something Captain Ives would want crocheted on their uniforms since they’d all had to live through so much shit lately it was damned difficult to maintain a positive frame of mind. After a gentle kiss and a reminder to come back to her in one piece, Cross had left Hathev in her quarters.

At the sound of Deputy Ida’s voice, Cross looked up from the PADD he hadn’t been reading and nodded at her suggestion of debriefing location. He remembered the suggestion made prior to their boarding and was glad they had the time and space to have the much needed debriefing. While Cross recognized the strategic advantage of having the Savi ship at their disposal for this mission, and others before it, he found no comfort and felt little peace at walking through Savi-made corridors. Likely there would come a day that he didn’t involuntarily shudder at being near a Savi or fight irrational anger when faced with the concept of working with them, but today was not that day. Though it was better than previous days, it was still not today.

Watching the Deputy move through the bay area of the Erudite’s aerodome toward the swirling blues of the slipstream, where undulating shadows almost like sunlight underwater took to playing a game of tag on the Andorian’s blue skin, Cross recalled what he knew of the Deputy’s interaction with the Niga virus. Considering the details he'd found in her file, she was holding up remarkably well, given their current mission's objective. He was curious if latent fears were threatening to reestablish themselves with the Deputy, and perhaps that was another element of their debriefing they should address. Cross kept these thoughts to himself for the time being, however, and stood parallel to the woman, his eyes tracking the same scene, also in a state of surreal awe at the present location.

He hummed his agreement and added a slow nod, “My sentiments exactly.” Cross glanced over his shoulder then to ensure their privacy before he sighed out a soft curse. “It can be damned difficult, I’ll admit, to recognize advantages of alliances logically and rationally and still deal with the emotional aftermath of…such ordeals.” Cross knew he could have been more diplomatic but at the same time, felt he needed a fucking medal already for managing that much. “But, we can recognize facts and still not like them, same as we can accept a ride without thinking the giver of said ride is an old friend.”

Rolling his shoulders as if the act would move ill feelings and bad memories away from the present moment, Cross cleared his throat and repositioned himself to face the Deputy more directly.

“I watched the head cams of the mission and listened to the comms, Deputy. And you led a good team and did good work.” Cross chuckled. “Hell of a good job actually, considering what we were up against, or rather yet, didn’t know we were up against.” Tipping his head to the side, Cross nodded towards the Deputy. “But watching a head cam and listening to comms is not the same, as we both know, so what can you tell me about the mission that I haven’t seen or heard already?”
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: Day 01 [1950 hrs.] Erudite Debriefing

Reply #2
[ Lt. ThanIda zh'Wann | Aerodrome of the Erudite ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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It was good to speak with a kindred soul - or rather a fellow victim - when commenting what they'd endured on the Versant. While the Erudite was a different ship, they were both of the same Precept-class model. This small city of a ship, both a habitat and a dreadnought, dedicated to scientific research that made the finest achievements of the Federation pale by comparison. Ida supposed it mattered, however, how said achievements were made, and whilst the Savi had evolved under the Scion Directive, their methodology had been impeccably ruthless.

It is easy to forget that after we abductees helped the Voice start his revolution, we've only been in contact with his rebels, Ida thought idly while Cross looked behind his shoulder to ensure they were alone. The Scion High Council is still out there, commanding a sizable part of the Savi Flotilla, and if the Voice wasn't waging a war against them... I would imagine they'd go after the Theurgy.

A chilling thought, since it had taken the Theurgy everything it had in order to just retreat and get away from the Versant and its interceptors. Would they even have a chance in another battle like that? Were the Senior Staff making preparations for that eventuality?

Given her train of thought, the change of topics to the debriefing was a welcome one.

Ida took a deep breath and folded her arms underneath her chest, cocked a hip after turning to face Cross, and thought back on the first stage of the Praxis mission. "We approached the mining facility on foot after the Allegiant dropped us off, and the overall status of the infiltration team was good, even if the unknown factors of an infiltration mission of that kind tend to fray the nerves of those unused to them," she said, and looked towards Cross now and again while she spoke, her blue eyes betimes straying to the shifting hues of the slipstream. "We found a path down into the bedrock which took us to a ravine, at the bottom of which we located the access to the mining facility that Councilor K'Tal's operatives had used before they were compromised. We first believed we might be walking into a trap when someone opened the airlock for us, but that was when we encountered Lieutenant Alistair Leavitt inside."

Frowning, Ida recalled what the Operations officer had said - this man who'd been on an assignment for Temporal Investigations before he was rescued by the Relativity. The things he'd known about her... A past repressed, and eventualities forgotten.

"You heard what he said. He made a convincing case in saying he wasn't one of the Infested, and beyond what he'd been briefed about by Captain Ducane, he was already tapped into our mission subspace frequency.... and those are not reused. The Lieutenant showed us the way, but that’s when I was forced to leave Chief Sithick behind. He became a liability, since he'd served as a slave in that very mining facility. I would rather have had him with us, but the trauma was making him incoherent. Shelat, I don't tend to leave soldiers behind to fend for themselves, but I saw no other recourse. Given the stakes described by Leavitt, I couldn't spare any more to remain with him, and the Chief seemed capable to defend himself well enough."

Gorn were impressive warriors, armed or not.

Ida paused there, to let Cross comment on the first portion of the infiltration mission. She was prepared to answer any questions he may have had too, before she'd move on to the next part. It's odd to see him on a Savi dreadnought and not wearing one of the suits the Voice gave us, he thought idly... and then she remembered that she'd seen the Vulcan naked as well. She cleared her throat lightly and looked out towards the mesmerising play of blue lights outside the bay, just to keep her thoughts from running further astray.

Re: Day 01 [1950 hrs.] Erudite Debriefing

Reply #3
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Aerodrome of the Erudite ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

Cross followed her report with nods and quick hums of acknowledgement, a habit he’d picked up from his mentor years before. At the mentioning of Leavitt, Cross allowed a slight smile.

“I debriefed Leavitt soon after we returned to Theurgy. He gave me a PADD of intel for the captain and spoke of the other timeline, the one where we all died and the Infested won.” He shook his head against the thought. “The man is struggling with his own demons, and walking around on what should be a ghost ship isn’t exactly helping, though being a part of taking down the Infested is.” Crossing his arms over his chest, Cross shifted his weight on his feet before adding. “He offered a glimmer of hope, if you can call it that. Said that our efforts in this timeline had the Infested the closest equivalent to scared as you could make the bastards. So it seems we’re doing something right here.”

Having said this, Cross unloosed his flesh hand and scratched at his chin, “You aren’t the only one who had to make that kind of call, Deputy, in regards to Sithick. From the reports I’ve been reading from the various simultaneous missions, we had a recent transfer in among the diplomatic corps make a similar call outside the Great Hall on Qo’Nos, choosing to leave Ensign McArthur grievously wounded in the shuttle so the rest of them could make for the Great Hall while under fire.” Cross sighed and shook his head. “None of us sign up for this job looking forward to the times we have to choose mission over our people, but sooner or later, that decision rears its ugly head and we face it. You did the right thing, Deputy. And the Chief came out just…fine.” Cross wasn’t sure if that was the right description for the Gorn but it was the best he had in the moment.

Cross looked back over his shoulder toward where the rest of the crew still mingle. He hoped he wouldn’t have to make that kind of decision on this mission, but knowing the luck they typically had, Cross already resolved himself to it when or if it came.

Returning his attention to the Andorian woman, Cross nodded in encouragement for her to continue.
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: Day 01 [1950 hrs.] Erudite Debriefing

Reply #4
[ Lt. ThanIda zh'Wann | Aerodrome of the Erudite ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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Pushing the vivid images from the Versant away, Ida focused on the present. Or rather, the mission on Praxis.

"Learning the stakes, in how the whole of Qo'noS was threatened, I immediately contacted Mission Ops to request assistance. I know this ought to have come from you, but when down there on the ground and hearing how little time we had available, I made the call to report directly to Mission Ops instead of the Allegiant. My apologies for that, Commander. I can but hope you understand the incentive," she said, taking a deep breath, chest rising and falling before moving on. "Ensign Henshaw reported that the Theurgy was committed to a battle with House Mo'Kai, however, so I knew we were on our own. Lieutenant Leavitt knew the way, and I contacted the Allegiant. I... do not know if the dampening field that kept K'Tal's operatives from speaking with the Councilor stole your response, sir, but I never heard back when I asked if you could see the mining shaft indicated ahead on the Allegiant's sensors. I also asked if you could determine if there was any other way to stop that bomb from reaching the dilithium in case we were too late. In retrospect, it seems like you could... since you did."

There was no accusation in her tone, knowing that in the heat of the moment, and with so little time to spare, the communication may easily break down. She went on with her account for what happened next. "We reached the main mining area soon after that, neutralising a couple of Klingons with the Mo'Kai emblem on their chests in the way there. Leavitt spoke of there being an Infested present, since no true Klingon would actually destroy their home world, and having fought one of them on Starbase 84, I knew our chances of survival were slim to none. Still, we breached the doors, committed to stop that bomb from falling down to the main vein of dilithium at the bottom of the chasm. I must commend the team for pushing through, despite the odds, and reaching the emitter controls that held the bomb suspended in the air."

Frowning, Ida thought back on the events. "In the heat of the moment, it is difficult to remember specifics, but there were a lot of Klingons there. We fought all the way to those controls, me staying with Leblanc and Leavitt since they were best equipped to deal with the emitter, while Tucker and Vansen gave us cover from a distance, shooting from cover not far from the entrance. My helmet took a hit at some point, where the cam feed would have died on the Allegiant. I had to remove my helmet in order to see and fight on. Leavitt was about to dispose of the bomb with the controls when one of the Klingons rose up again. It was the Infested, and she destroyed the controls. I switched to the concussion firing mode on the Accipiter since it was more sparing on the krelide battery, and I kept the Infested Klingon from reaching Leblanc and Leavitt while they climbed up on the tractor beam emitter, meaning to address the problem directly."

Raising a hand to run it through her white hair, Ida's eyes and antennae left the Commander to fix on the view outside the Aerodrome again. "I sent them both up there since if one of them made it, we might have been successful. Leblanc was badly hurt, but Leavitt got in position. He was too late, though, and the bomb fell. Meanwhile, my rifle was giving out, so I switched to auto-fire in hopes to neutralise the Infested with whatever little power was left in the battery. I hit, but the Infested reached me. Struck me out. Next thing I knew, I was dangling from her grip around my throat. She was about to kill me, saying we'd been too late. My exosuit was mostly intact.. so I reached for my wrist and activated the thrusters. I had to strike and kick the Klingon before she let go, and she fell into the chasm right after the bomb fell. I was loosing altitude, since the thrusters aren't ideal for atmospheric use... but I just barely made it across the chasm. Took a bad hit to my hip, but just as the bomb went off down there... you beamed the infiltration team back aboard the Allegiant."

Chuckling, shaking her head, Ida didn't quite know what to say. "Shelat, I have lost count how many times I thought I was going to die during this mission. I actually did die, according to reports, in the Azure Nebula, but my body was kept in animated suspension in the Sabine's transporter buffer, in hopes I could be resuscitated on the Theurgy after it returned from the Coreless Moon." She made a gesture towards the ship they were upon. "Instead, the Savi pulled my pattern out of the transporter buffer, and had me participate in their twisted research."

The memory still left a foul taste in her mouth, and a frown creased her brow. She quickly switched back to the debriefing. "I lost my rifle, and while a bitter shame on it's own," she said through her teeth, shaking her head, "it was one of the five Accipiters we recovered from the Calamity. So, in summary, my team couldn't stop the bomb, we lost Tucker, almost lost Leblanc as well, and one of the Accipiters are gone. Not my finest hour, sir."

Re: Day 01 [1950 hrs.] Erudite Debriefing

Reply #5
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross |  Aerodrome of the Erudite ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

“You made the right call, Deputy. In a situation such as the one you found yourself in, you don’t always have the luxury of waiting on the brass lines of protocol.” He frowned then and sighed. “And while the dampening field may have influenced a reply, I’ll confess I too was so caught up in getting to that bomb and preventing it from hitting the dilithium and then getting your team out of there that I didn’t pause to ensure a response was relayed to you.” Cross scratched at his chin. “Break down in communication is one of the first things to happen in dire circumstances, and when that happens, always operate with what’s best for the mission and your team. That’s not to justify a lack of response on my part, nor is it to excuse any lack of protocol following on yours, but it is the law of survival in the field of battle. Maintain your training and that of your team to the degree that when not if you are cut off from command, you can still function and achieve your mission even against unexpected odds.” Lowering his hand back to his side, Cross gave Ida a deep nod of respect. “I commend you for your work, Deputy, and that of your team.”

As she continued to detail the mission, Cross’ eyes traveled over the undulating waves of color outside the viewport. He did not see the slipstream but instead could picture the action of the fight, could almost hear the grunts, hisses, and growls of the fight itself. He remembered feeling his mortality whispering death in his ear while sitting on the bridge, literal seconds away from turning to vapor. Cross couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for Ida, sitting on the edge of a chasm, waiting for either death or rescue. He inwardly shivered, but outwardly returned his gaze back to Ida when he heard her chuckle.

Nodding his agreement with her amazement at their survival, Cross felt his lips tip up into a half-smile. The smile fell with her reminder of the Savi’s part in her survival. He took a moment to study her from the tip of her antennae to her boots on the floor. While she looked strong, capable, even a force to contend with, at the same time, the outward appearance of this Andorian woman did not hint at the magnitude of strength that coursed through her blue blood. There was no other way she could be standing before him after so many ordeals in such a short amount of time, and her greatest lament, or near greatest, was the loss of her weapon.

Being a man of action himself, Cross understood the deeper nuances of pain and self-doubt associated with losing a weapon in battle. He still remembered the shame and vulnerable feeling after returning to the ship after one of his first away missions. While he’d been successful in the mission, even getting a few trophy scars for his work, Cross had lost a phaser and, to this very day, woke in a cold sweat at the memory whenever it snuck back into his subconscious mind. So as he listened to the seeming last of Ida’s report, Cross empathized with her personal sense of loss, not only for Tucker but also for the weapon.

“Perhaps not,” Cross conceded after a moment of silence concluding her report, “but it was not a wasted hour.” He hated when superior officers waxed eloquent speaking of experiences in the field refining one’s character, and yet here he stood, on the brink of doing that very thing with the Deputy. “Tucker may not have signed up for the death he was dealt, but he signed up knowing that death could come at any minute, especially after we took our stand against the Infested. Having worked with him, I can confidently say that he was the type to prefer you not waste time wishing he hadn’t died or blaming yourself for his death, and instead redouble your efforts to get the bastards who had a hand in his death. As for the Accipter,” Cross sighed, sliding his gaze over the Andorian with an almost playful smirk, “let’s see if we can find any new toys at the Azurite Station we can ‘borrow.’”
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: Day 01 [1950 hrs.] Erudite Debriefing

Reply #6
[ Lt. ThanIda zh'Wann | Aerodrome of the Erudite ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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At first, when the Commander had said it wasn't a wasted hour, Ida had been thinking about how it was true despite how she felt about the outcome.

Since if the infiltration team hadn't been there, she doubted Leavitt would have been able to stop the bomb from dropping all on his own, and what reason would the Allegiant have to trust an unknown voice over the commlink if he tried to make himself heard and heeded that way? Leavitt might just as well have been found and killed trying to stop what the Relativity had seen in the timestream. Would the Allegiant even know to have looked for that second tunnel? Too many unknown factors, and only one outcome determined by their actions. Ida was not a temporal affairs officer, so she got a headache from considering all potential outcomes. Tucker had died in the line of duty, and it wasn't her fault, even if she'd been under her command. It wasn't the first time she'd lost someone in action. It was a shame having lost the Allegiant, and knew it would grate on her for some time, but given the opposition, the stakes and the fallout of the mission, she couldn't see how she'd been able to retrieve it in time of for the unexpected extraction.

But then Cross brought up Azurite Station, almost in a jovial way, but Ida didn't smile when the reminder about their destination came up. She folded her arms underneath her chest and cleared her throat a little, glancing into the dark depths of the Aerodrome.

"While we were able to stock up our armaments when we visited the Black Opal, just before Starbase 84, I doubt this station will have that kind of arsenal. The Black Opal was a hidden, front-line weapons depot in any future war with the Romulans - which seems more of a fact than a possibility at this point. While it also served as a weapon research facility, this station we're headed to... it seems more devoted to scientific research. The kind that the citizens of the Federation would frown upon, to say the least."

Fleeting memories of the Mahewa System floated at the forefront of Ida's mind, a frown cutting her brow. She suspected that the Vulcan knew her service record, and what had happened during the Niga Incident. Rather than tell her about her experiences, since she wasn't prepared to do that outside of a private conversation with a counsellor or a close friend, she just made a single comment that both acknowledged the past and yet steeled her resolve for the immediate future.

"I will be wearing an exosuit this time, with its own air supply. I will be fine, Commander."

Catharsis. She was done regretting her shortcomings. She was ready to put the Niga Incident behind her, by facing what had subdued her before.

"I need to do this."

Re: Day 01 [1950 hrs.] Erudite Debriefing

Reply #7
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Cargo Hold | The Apache | Aerodrome of the Erudite ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

Fascinating how a person could say so much by saying so little. Cross was aware of the Deputy’s record and the names she brought up in response to his sarcasm towards the station, and the coming mission alerted Cross to the deeper nuances of her thinking. The mission had barely begun, and he’d already made an ass-head of himself. Just grand. Sensitivity training was an area he’d always struggled in with officer’s training, and it seemed he was going to have to take a refresher course before too long. Here they were about to infiltrate a station where they had a pretty good hunch a variant of the virus was being manufactured, and he’d gone and made jokes about getting new toys as if they were out for a joyride with the Savi. Absolute git.

Squaring his shoulders against his desire to smack his head against the nearest bulkhead for his idiocy, Cross nodded in what he hoped would be understood to be an affirming way in response to the Deputy’s words.

“Amarik will be joining you in her exosuit. And I agree we need all the many nuances of ‘just in case’ that we can get.” Cross moved his gaze from the woman’s features to trace over the interior of the aerodrome. “I think we all need to do this for our own varying reasons.” He glanced back at the Deputy briefly before continuing his study of the shadowy parts of their surroundings. “To get over past pains, present hurts, or prevent continued destruction. We all have a storyline in this woven tapestry of potential chaos.” Cross stopped. Frowned. He wasn’t sure where he was going with his own line of dialog and so ended with a half shrug before he returned his attention to the woman at his side. “I believe we each bring something to this mission that is vital and are stronger for it.”

So much for a pep talk from hell. Cross held back the groan that threatened to escape his lips. Instead, he returned to the earlier mentioned incident, or rather, the incident the Deputy had alluded to and tried to skirt around.

“Not to press on a painful past, but are there any details from your prior encounter with the virus that may be useful for us? Considering what we may be facing in such a short time.”

Cross hated himself in asking, and yet he felt there was a need to ask nonetheless. Sure, he’d read reports, but sometimes people left details out of reports that were later uncovered through conversation. Not that expected the Deputy to have some detail up her sleeve that would give them the greatest advantage to date against the Infested or the threat of the virus, but anything could help.
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: Day 01 [1950 hrs.] Erudite Debriefing

Reply #8
[ Lt. ThanIda zh'Wann | Aerodrome of the Erudite ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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Having been beating herself up about the Niga Incident for months, processing it in so many different ways - constructively and not - the question didn't spark the anger that it would have done closer to the ordeal.

Instead, Ida took a deep breath, and considered it, because she had gone back to the initial events several times over, second-guessing her actions, but there wasn't too much to go on in her own regard. "I was a part of the away team that first went down to the planet Niga in the Mahéwa System. There was a modular lab set up, wherein Science and Medical conducted research and scanned samples. I was a part of the Security arrangement for the team, and I went out scouting the forest. I was always within comms range, and could have called for backup within a moment's notice. There was no animal life on sensors. No fauna at all, but as we'd learn, the reason for that was the flora of the planet. The Niga plant, specifically."

As she spoke, Ida realised that she might come off justifying her actions a little bit, but she would get to the import of what she was saying. "There was nothing on orbital sensors that would suggest that the flora posed any kind of threat. Initially, it has an insidious nature, luring its prey with its intoxicating scent. Reading reports, we victims of the flora released the same kind of scent. The pollen... it elevates the primal functions of the brain, and your cognitive, logical mind begin to rationalise what the body needs. The effects are not immediately felt, but it tears down the underpinnings of your intellect, and even if you know you shouldn't give in to what you want, you still do it. The pollen shifts your priorities, everything else falling away, becoming secondary."

Ida took a deep breath, and ran her hand through her white hair. Her fingers trembled a bit, but she was determined to speak of the details that would affect the mission parameters - her scowl making her face ache. "When I was caught in that forest, I had already made it easy for it, removing all obstructions. That is not what a rational individual would do on an alien planet. So, my advise on the mission," she said, and her blue eyes shifted to Cross. "It depends on if the virus is contained or not, but I would not take any chances. I would stun any human resistance, and as for the plants... wide dispersal kill setting. Vaporise it before the pollen reaches you, and you begin to loose yourself."

Ida swallowed, the memory of how the pollen had made her act in that forest making her feel like she betrayed herself and her oath to protect the crew. She wrapped her arms around her waist, feeling nauseous, and grateful that the Relativity crew had got to her in time... before the seed pods would burst from her abdomen. That specific detail in Zephyr Praise's account from the Azurite Station had stuck with her.

The finality of what would have become of her and the rest of the crew.

Re: Day 01 [1950 hrs.] Erudite Debriefing

Reply #9
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Aerodrome of the Erudite ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

Cross watched the subtle gestures and listened intently to both the words and vocal inflections of the Andorian woman as she recalled the Incident. There was no mistaking the residual pain or guilt the Deputy still fought against as she recalled events for Cross. Neither was there mistaking the bone-deep sense of determination living through such an event leaves a survivor. Nodding his head as Ida detailed events as they unfolded, Cross fought against his own desire to fall into recent traumatic events. Some of her descriptions of how the virus rendered one illogical and irrational reminded Cross of his break and assault on Hathev during their mind meld, and then later his less violent but no less break in control when they made love. He frowned as he watched Ida’s arms wrap around her middle in a self-hug once she finished making her recommendations. It was a gesture he’d seen Blue do more than once before she sought his arms for a reassuring embrace. Likely the Deputy would not welcome such a touch in the here and now, especially from her superior officer. Cross instead reached out with his flesh hand and laid it on the Deputy’s shoulder, drawing her attention away from her thoughts.

“We have others on this team who have brought with them extra precautions that may assist in our efforts to resist the virus should we come into contact with it. That is something you did not have back then. And I am in agreement, Deputy, that shooting first and asking questions later is the best course of action when our boots hit the deck of the station. That foresight is also something you didn’t have back then.” Cross withdrew his hand and returned it to a loose clasp in front of his body. “I’m not going to make promises none of us can keep, nor am I going to make claims of superiority that we can’t guarantee, but I will say that we are far more prepared now than when we first faced the virus. And I believe with your experiences fueling your present performance, our chances for success and survival are higher than they otherwise would be if you were not with us.”

His gaze gliding over the undulating light streams trailing outside the ship, Cross tipped his head to the side in contemplation. Somehow, each of them were to use the lessons learned from the shattered pieces of their broken pasts to succeed in this war against the Infested. To do so without going mad from the pain in the process, well, that would take a mighty feat of strength.

Shaking himself from his own internal brooding, Cross turned to look once more at the Andorian warrior goddess he was glad to have serving on this mission. He hadn’t just been trying to placate or fluff ego earlier. He truly felt they were more likely to live through the coming shit storm with her within their ranks. Cross gave her another nod of reassurance, a soft smile tugging at the corner of his mouth before he schooled his features back to neutrality. He wasn’t certain how she would interpret such an expression, though he was offering it in the hopes of camaraderie and encouragement.
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

Re: Day 01 [1950 hrs.] Erudite Debriefing

Reply #10
[ Lt. ThanIda zh'Wann | Aerodrome of the Erudite ] Attn: @Ellen Fitz
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The words of comfort weren't unwelcome to Ida, who kept looking into the darkness of the Aerodrome, as if the shadows re-enacted the events in the forest - lending imagery to her thoughts.

She was pulled from the dread and shame, the indignity, by the touch on her shoulder. She blinked, her scowl fading, and looked towards the Vulcan's hand. With his words, she was reminded of what she'd considered before she volunteered, those thoughts now given voice by someone else - strengthening the basis of her current ambitions. Indeed, this time, she was prepared, and she wasn't alone. Now, they knew the nature of the threat, and what was required of them. More importantly, perhaps, was that they knew the stakes lest they didn't manage to prevent a galactic outbreak. That ought to be enough for Ida, who saw the necessity of the mission clearly... but the experience with the virus was still a reminder that she'd failed. 

So it all came down to the odds of failing again.

Odds which Commander Cross just ensured were greatly different from the first time. Whether or not she, herself, would play any role in that was yet to be seen, but she knew she wasn't the kind of freeze up in face of adversity. So, Ida returned the brief smile with a lopsided one of her own. "My gratitude," she said quietly, "I know I am not alone this time, having the support of the rest of the away team, yet I also have every incentive to be at my best. So I will."

With the debriefing over, unless the Commander had ought else he wanted to discuss about Praxis and the fallout there, Ida's mind was on preparing for the arrival to Azurite Station. Still, through Kai Akoni, she had learned some background about the Endeavour survivors that served aboard the Theurgy - Cross being one of them. Also, she knew the body count from the past couple of days - in which she had suffered the loss of officers close to her as well - but the loss of both the First Officer and the Chief Engineer had stood out in the reports. Like Akoni, Ida guessed that the loss of those two former Endeavour officers had to weigh heavy on the Vulcan. Akoni had said they were close, and now there were only so many left.

"My condolences on Tiran and Ducote, Commander." Ida could empathise, since the past six months on the Theurgy had taken a lot of close and respected officers from her side. Loosing Wenn Cinn had been the hardest for her... and it suddenly reminded her about that dear Bajoran's time in the resistance during the years of occupation. She cleared her throat lightly, her antennae lowering. "This guerrilla war we fight against an enemy unseen, it has kept us fighting with our collective back against the wall. By Lor'Vela, our odds are unfair, so the losses feel so unjust it is sickening. Perhaps more so since we have no choice but get back on our feet every day and still keep fighting... and barely get any time to process what just happened."

A bitter chuckle, and a shake of the head - her white hair catching the streaming light. "At least we got Aldea... and at least the Oneida have joined the fight... along with the Klingons."

Re: Day 01 [1950 hrs.] Erudite Debriefing

Reply #11
[ Lt. Cmdr. Cross | Aerodrome of the Erudite ] Attn: @Auctor Lucan

The Deputy’s attempt at comfort, while appreciated, didn’t quite have the same soothing effect that Cross assumed she’d intended. With the names of his lost friends spoken in the air between them, Cross felt as if the ship itself lurched in response, though he knew it was only his own sense of guilt. Guilt at surviving, guilt at not having gotten things resolve between himself and Blue, guilt at following through with physical desire with Hathev before the needed resolution with Blue, and then guilt at running away on this mission instead of staying with the injured counselor and figuring out where the fuck they were supposed to go next.

Cross drew in a breath through gritted teeth, his brows furrowing. The woman’s next words, spoken with a sense of conviction Cross also felt, was the welcome branch Cross needed to pull himself out of the quicksand of his thoughts as they had veered towards more personal matters. Schooling his face back into an expression of greater neutrality than the one he’d offered the viewport, Cross nodded in agreement to the Deputy.

“Strange times to be alive. Time travelers who save our asses on Praxis, Klingon allies against snakes who wish to see our universe dropped into a chasm of chaos, on the run from the entity that trained, and in some ways, saved us as we try to save everyone from an enemy few are willing to admit exists? If I weren’t one of the characters acting on this stage of events I’d almost say we were on a holodeck living out the scenes of a poorly written holonovel.” Cross’ lips pulled back into a wry smile. And he would know all about poorly written holonovels as he was quite the connoisseur. “At this rate, it wouldn’t surprise me if we ended up with a rescued Tholian operative sent by the Borg of the future to stop the Infested.”

While Cross knew the suggestion was ludicrous and greatly exaggerated, there was an element of truth in the exaggeration. So many things had happened in such a short amount of time that, had he been told years ago they were to happen to him, he would’ve laughed it off as an ill-mannered joke. Yet, here they stood, standing in the middle of the punch line.

"Are you much for gambling, Deputy?" Cross glanced at the Andorian fighter, his smile still one of sardonic amusement, "I'm curious what sort of winnings we'd have gotten for beating the odds so far. Maybe an extended leave on Aldea?"
Lieutenant Enyd Isolde Madsen, Assistant Chief Diplomatic Officer

Lieutenant Commander Cross, Chief Tactical Officer

 
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