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CH03: S [D06|0630] One Small Step

Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0630 hrs. ] One Small Step

[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | Junior Officers' Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @steelphoenix @trevorvw @TWilkins

Ducote sat bolt upright in his bed and regretted it immediately, a grimace crossing his features as a tight groan escaped him. In his exhaustion, it seemed he hadn't moved much at all in his sleep, and that stiffness combined with the flowering bruises across his body to produce a surprising amount of pain. Somewhere in the back of his mind, the worry that he had to be doing something had reasserted itself and woken him early. Fuck's sake. A whole night was too much to ask? At least his headache was gone now - before the alarm he'd set threatened to reintroduce it.

[It is oh-six thirty hours.]

"Yeah, yeah, I'm up," he grumbled, wincing as he swung his protesting legs off the bed. The few hours he'd managed to sleep were nowhere near enough, but he could now at least think straight. He suspected he'd be paying off his sleep debt for a week yet, though. Outside the window, the nebula had been reduced to streaks and flashes as they travelled at high warp.

The hybrid gingerly padded through to the head in his borrowed quarters, blinking as the lights came on automatically. Leaning on the sink, he looked himself over in the mirror. "You look like shit, Ranaan," he murmured to himself. The bags under his eyes hadn't had time to retreat, he was wearing several days' stubble, and despite the ministrations of the medical staff after his bout with Kino, the bruises were starting to come through. Well, he probably deserved those, in retrospect. At least they weren't too bad, most of the damage having been repaired already.

He stripped out of the pants he'd slept in, used the toilet, and stepped into the sonic shower. The gentle massaging effect of the field did wonders for freeing up the motion in his knee again, and the sensation of having the layer of grime dissolved off his skin was surprisingly refreshing for how bone-tired he still felt. Once out, he fumbled through the sink unit looking for a shaver, before tidying his face up. Halfway presentable again, lookit that. A freshly-replicated uniform, and he was set. It felt good to be wholly clean and pressed again; a small quality-of-life addition that did wonders for basic morale.

He tapped his communicator. "Kaeris, Kobol , Akoni, van den Berg; Ducote. Please report to my quarters immediately. I'm on deck ten, section.. three. Compartment three-two-two. Out."

Picking up his picked-at-then-abandoned feijoada from last night, he recycled it before producing a large cafetiere of coffee (plus ancillaries like brown sugar and cream) and a plate of pastries, in his old habit from staff meetings on the Endeavour. These he left on the table for the meeting, but seeing the piled croissants and strudels did finally remind him that he was hungry after all. In the few minutes he had before the others arrived, he managed to wolf a plate of scrambled eggs and toast before tidying up. With a (relatively) full stomach he even felt mostly humanoid again.

Ducote welcomed the officers as they arrived, indicating that they should help themselves to the offerings on the table. Once everyone was in and settled, but before any real conversations could strike up, he addressed them, perched on the edge of his desk facing the couch.

"Let's get started. I hope you all got some decent rest, but if you're anything like me I wish there was more of it. However, this Vector will be reuniting with another soon, and we should decide what to do from there. We've had the opportunity by now to digest what we've been told, though any verification from this ship alone cannot be one hundred percent relied upon if we lend any credence to the 'rogue AI' part of the briefings about this ship. Even if it was recently stolen by these Savi folk.

"For the sake of argument, I'll recount the major points," he said, glancing at Annika who was only a recent arrival and might not yet have had the full picture. "Extradimensional 'parasites' have infiltrated the upper echelons of Starfleet, and presumably other branches of Federation society, as well as those of our galactic neighbours. Their alleged goal is the utter destruction of all civilisation in this universe, and are manipulating events towards that end. The Theurgy discovered them several months ago, but their feat of detection did not go unnoticed and so Task Force Archeron was dispatched to destroy the threat to the parasites' design.

"They attempted to warn the galaxy with a broadcast from Starbase 84, but failed. They escaped into the Azure Nebula as-" he pulled up short, taking a quick breath, "-as a trio of Borg Cubes led a vanguard into the Alpha Quadrant from within it. These are the precursor to a full-scale invasion, per the testimony of the infested Doctor Nicander in the brig."

Ducote paused, while he made sure he had a grip on his composure. He couldn't think about the Endeavour wholesale again just yet. "That invasion, should it arrive, will come today. Hundreds of Cubes, God knows how many smaller ships. Half of TFA has been wiped out already, and the Theurgy is in no state to stand against a single vessel, let alone dozens. And the nebula prevents any real chance at getting a warning out, even if a Starfleet facility were to allow reception of a transmission from this ship.

"It might be possible to collapse the subspace tunnels the Borg will use. Though there was some discussion last night of the Theurgy using them first to escape. And speaking of 'escapes' - if we are not going to stand under the Theurgy's banner, our own opportunities for that will sharply decline once we meet with their third Vector."

He stepped up to the coffee table and poured himself a cup, before going back to the desk. "I know what I think we should do, but this whole situation is so far beyond anything I could reasonably expect of any of you that I will not issue an order either way. I want to know what you think."

He sipped his coffee, then met the eye of every officer in the room in turn.

"Please speak freely."
Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
T'Less: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0630 hrs. ] One Small Step

Reply #1
[ Lt. Kai Akoni | Temporary Quarters | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] @Top Hat @steelphoenix @TWilkins

[The time is 0600 hours, 15 minutes] the computer had announced to Kai.

The large man was awake, in fact he was awake most of the night after running into a ghost and going through a gamut of emotions. He had been on his way to the quarters assigned to him after leaving the bridge. He had run into Annika in the corridor and it didn’t go quite the way he had expected. Truth be told, he hadn’t expected to see her again at all. However, the fact that Annika said she didn’t recognize him had broken his heart. It was about as awkward and gut wrenching as one could imagine.

Kai shook his head in an attempt to stop thinking about it, even if for a moment. He swung his legs out of the bed and place both feet firmly on the floor. He sat on the edge of the bed and stared at the floor. The flood of emotions from running into Annika started to fill his head as he lifted his large frame off the bed to a standing position.

Once again, Kai shook his head to clear his head of his thoughts. A lot had happened over the last little bit and now was not the time to have a pity party, as the time would come for that later. He’d deal with all the emotions later, right now he had just wished to be a Vulcan and have their level of emotional suppression.

Kai made his way over to the sonic shower and stepped inside of it. He turned it on and felt the grime and sweat dissolve away, although he was careful not to spend too much time in there, lest he think more about Annika.

He had set the sonic shower cycle for its quickest setting and got out as soon as it had finished. Kai had shaved his face and head after he stepped out and then donned a new uniform, which fit just like they always do. Kai kind of regretted not getting a workout in as he usually does, but he wasn’t in the mood. He knew it was a good outlet for his emotion, but he just couldn’t bring himself to do it that morning.

[Kaeris, Kobol , Akoni, Van den Berg; Ducote. Please report to my quarters immediately. I’m on deck ten, section..three. Compartment three-two-two. Out] came Ducote’s voice from the comm system.

Kai acknowledged the order and sighed…

Yay..more awkwardness

The trip to Ducote’s quarters had taken just a few minutes and Kai had noticed he had been the first to arrive. As he had become accustomed to from the staff meetings on the Endeavour, there was a selection of coffee and pastries that the XO had put out for the staff. Kai was thankful that Ducote always did this, as it was something that never changed.

Kai poured a cup of coffee and then sat down to wait for the others.

Today is definitely going to be a coffee all day, kind of day Kai thought to himself as the others had arrived at the quarters one by one, including Annika.

Ducote had explained the situation again to everyone in the room; Kai figured it was also exposition for Annika since she hadn’t been around to know what was going on. In fact, she probably didn’t know who Ducote was; or her time aboard the Endeavour. Kai watched Annika’s face as Ducote had explained everything and he could see the look that this had been a lot of her to handle. Kai found it understandable, as even he was having issues keeping everything straight.

“Please speak freely” Ducote finished, leaving it open to the opinions of the room.

Kai was the first one to respond to what the XO said.

”Honestly there’s something fishy aboard this ship. Not only are they considered traitors to Starfleet, but they’ve managed to piss off Chancellor Martok to the point that he wants them all dead. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t think we should be here. It’s just bad ju-ju and I’m not into that personally. Plus, we definitely need to warn Starfleet and the Federation as a whole about the Borg threat.” Kai had paused to drink from his coffee before continuing, ”Devil’s advocate though, if everything that we’ve been told is the truth, then we also need to stop the parasite threat. I feel that the truth lies somewhere in the middle of the two stories we’ve been fed. No matter what is decided here, I think we should stick together. The five of us are the only ones aboard this ship that I trust.”

Kai finished giving his opinion and the room fell silent as he waited for the next officer to give their opinion.

OOC: I’ll post as Annika after the rest speak freely, as this would be a lot for her to take in and she doesn’t know who anyone in that room is or what has transpired over the last year or so.

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0630 hrs. ] One Small Step

Reply #2
[Lieutenant Elro Kobol | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] @Top Hat @trevorvw @steelphoenix

Elro inwardly cursed as he awoke, the comforting embrace of sleep slowly releasing its grip upon him, making him groggily scowl into his pillow. It wasn't so much the sleep that he longed for; even after a few hours he tended to feel somewhat rested and ready to go back to work. What he missed however, was the simple feeling of warmth, comfort and safety that he hated relinquishing.

It was a collection of feelings that had been in short supply of late.

He gave the pillow he had been snuggled up to in his sleep one last comforting squeeze, a side effect of his Betazoid sensuality manifesting as a need for intimacy, even with a pillow. With a slight sigh, he shrugged his duvet off of his body and clambered off of the bed, cracking his neck as he stood and stretched. The Doctor slept nude, and he had enjoyed a considerable sonic shower the night before, so Elro simply padded across the room to where he had folded his uniform, and began the slow process of dressing.

Truth be told, Elro was trying deliberately hard to not think about the day ahead, to focus on getting down to Sickbay and doing what needed to be done. Being alone in his quarters, which were in fact not his at all, had given him for the first time in days, a chance to think about himself.

By now, it was easy to assume that the news of the Endeavour's fate had reached the ears of Starfleet, which meant that his status would most likely now be MIA or KIA. He could only imagine his parents, so keen on him to stay on Earth, to have to hear that his ship had been attacked by the Borg. Elro guessed that anyone who cared for him was now likely mourning an expected fate of assimilation.

It was one of those moments where Elro wished that he had been an ace engineer who'd be able to rig a subspace communiqué detailing the surviving states of all of those from the Endeavour crew who were now alive on the Theurgy. Of course, from a tactical point of view, he knew it would never be permitted, perhaps for the best. After all, he was now stationed on a ship which was being actively hunted not only by Starfleet, but now the Klingon Empire.

Elro was just waiting for someone to tell him that the ship was under attack by the Tholian Assembly or some other delightful foe.

Elro glanced up from his boot over to his combadge as he heard the voice of his XO through the Comm, inviting him and some of the other Endeavour officers to his quarters. Former XO, Elro supposed, considering his position no longer existed since the Endevour no longer existed. Still, Elro didn't intend to show any disrespect to the Commander.

The listed section wasn't far from the quarters Elro had been assigned, so the Doctor finished with his boots, shrugged on his white coat, quickly stopped by a mirror to run some of his newly replicated product through his hair, and set off out into the main body of the ship, his coat billowing behind him as he went.

Elro was delighted when he first walked into the Commander’s quarters, to see a plate of pastries just like the old department head meetings on the Endeavour, but there were more pressing matters than to eat at first. He understood that as soon as he saw the expression on Ducote’s face. 

The Commander was thorough in his speech, as always. He detailed what they had discovered so far from the Theurgy, or rather, what they had been told, all information that the Betazoid was already aware of. However, it was when the Commander mentioned the imminent full-scale Borg invasion of the Federation, that Elro felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up.

"That invasion, should it arrive, will come today. Hundreds of Cubes, God knows how many smaller ships.” Elro had to swallow a mouthful of saliva that had formed, along with the icy cold sensation of dread beading across his body. One Borg Cube destroyed the Endevour in a matter of minutes. Elro took a breath and glanced down between his legs for a second, taking a deep breath. That plate of sweet treats suddenly made him feel vile.

“I want to know what you think.” He caught the end of Ducote’s sentence as he glanced back up, noticing the Commander meeting his gaze as he did so. “Please speak freely.”

It was Lieutenant Akoni who first spoke first. He mentioned the obvious, about being considered traitors to Starfleet and drawing the attention of the Klingons as well… It was clear that the Lieutenant didn’t want to be on board before he even said it. He continued verbally weighing up his thoughts and options, before he finally concluded with something simple.

That Elro and the other three in the room were the only ones he would trust.

Elro briefly glanced at Vael, but he knew that the Bactrican was analytical, and possibly the most qualified of all of them to address some of the more glaring concerns. Elro however, had the unique position to inform the rest of his team the inner workings of their new hosts.

“I can’t pretend to know anything about collapsing a Borg subspace corridor, but I’ve been spending enough time with this crew to know that they don’t have any doubts about the legitimacy of their claims.” He opened, trying to sit up a little straighter and crossing one leg over the other, rubbing the right side of his temple with his index and middle finger. “From what I’ve been able to get from them, the crew are stalwart in their conviction that these parasites are real, and not some fabrication. And despite a somewhat…” Elro paused, trying to find a good word for it. “Inconclusive, surgery on Doctor Nicander…” He paused again, stopping with his hand and running it through his hair. “There was something not quite right about him…”

“And whilst they’re still somewhat suspicious of us…” Elro instinctively rose from his seat and paced over to the window in the cabin, as he always did when he was thinking things through; he had been notorious for it on the Endeavour “They trusted me enough to leave me in their Sickbay and deal with their seriously wounded crew after less than a day. Unsupervised. They respect our ranks. And it sounds as though they’re about to put this ship right in the proverbial jaws of the Borg in order to chance at saving the Federation. That’s not the behaviour of Romulan defectors you must admit. Which means there’s another reason that they’re being hunted like foxes”

Elro pondered what else he could provide, any other scraps of information that the rest of the team may have overlooked or failed to consider. It annoyed him that in this situation he was about as useful as a bat’leth in a tea garden. His medical expertise could not advice on either the Borg conundrum or the parasite quandary. Either way he was stuck for what to say. Only having whatever he could conjure up from his own innate pragmatism.

“As far as I’m concerned, whilst the story they’ve told us might not be the entire truth, you are right Commander, it certainly adds up far too well to just be a coincidence.” He shot a glancing look over at Vael, who had usually been one to support him back when he first joined the Endeavour in those early staff meetings. It felt like his first day as CMO once again.

“And after hearing all of what we know now…” Elro turned his attention back to the group. “Do any of you think that you could go back to the Federation and not spend the rest of your life looking over your shoulder?” He paused for another second, taking a breath. “Because I certainly can’t.”

Ensign Sylvain Llewellyn-Kth - Chief CONN Officer - USS Theurgy - [Show/Hide]
Otheusz - Grey Scars Pirate - USS Theurgy - [Show/Hide]
Y'Lev - Syndicate Dominus - USS Theurgy - [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0630 hrs. ] One Small Step

Reply #3
[Lt. Cmdr Vael Kaeris | Cmdr Ducote's Temporary Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Top Hat  @trevorvw  @TWilkins

Despite the heavy fatigue that had driven him to his temporary quarters, Vael found himself readily awake, if reluctantly so, nearly an hour before the commander's call came through.  Quiet meditation to steady the mind conjoined with a flowing, steady kata to keep the body flexible.  It was his training, his very upbringing.  He could no more discard the habit than he could an arm.  Such a routine allowed him to brace for the day ahead and place the days behind him into perspective.  Current events, however, had a way of turning perspective cruel.

When he arrived at the commander's quarters, he was dressed meticulously as the crew of the Endeavour had come to expect of him, his hair neatly arranged and held off the shoulders as was the royal tradition of his homeworld.  He inclined his head as he entered, respectfully acknowledging his displaced crew mates before his eyes drew towards the coffee.  The shift in his shoulders was so minute as to go practically unnoticed, but those who knew him on a more personal level recognized the faint sign of disappointment, but his expression was practiced and resolute, like a porcelain mask that he wore at all times on duty.

Quietly and without any undue disruption, he passed the refreshment and approached the replicator.  "Gao Shan, hot," he requested.  It was an Earth tea, reputed to be among the most expensive back in a time when the humans still clamored for such things as material wealth.  He'd been offered some as a joke, given his noble lineage back home, but he found he rather enjoyed the taste.  Taking the cup from the receptacle, he took a dignified sip of the deep red-brown liquid before giving an approving nod to himself.

Moving to take a seat, he retrieved a small tart from the table of refreshments.  Simply bypassing the selections would be rude, but he had no taste for coffee.  It was far too bitter to properly stimulate his palate.

He listened quietly as the commander expressed his concerns for their current circumstance, inviting commentary from those assembled.  Lt. Akoni gave his practical assessments.  Dr. Kobol  offered his own observations, having been so far removed from the others, sequestered in sickbay with what seemed to be the primary crux of the Theurgy's alleged alibi -- their own doctor supposedly infested with one of these... parasites that they claimed to have infiltrated the upper echelons of Starfleet.  In fact, he was quite interested in Kobol 's experiences, having been unable to witness them in person.

Placing his cup down on the table beside him, the tart neatly positioned on a napkin as much for presentation as for cleanliness and sanitation, Vael regarded the others.  "We are in a unenviable position of lacking any conceivable resources of our own beyond our own senses.  This vessel and its crew are hated.  That we cannot dispute.  Whether the source of that hatred stems from base betrayal of the Federation or the ire of some here-to-fore undiscovered parasite species, we have only their words and our experiences to judge.  What we lack is any appreciable way to alter our course should we decide that is our desire.  The Niger is, to use the colloquialism, a brick.  After our battle with the klingons, we are now too far from our previous trajectory to simple resume our last objective."

He is silent for a moment, an inward sigh stifled as he considered his next words.  "The borg threat has been confirmed.  What form that takes, when it comes to fruition," he shook his head, "this appears to be the only position capable of confronting it.  That, we know.  That is tangible and real.  I managed to review the scans of the apertures before turning in last night.  The sensor array can be readily configured to pierce the openings, but the bigger challenge is what awaits inside.  Setting a potential borg invasion fleet aside, the quantum sheer beyond the breach would tear this ship apart, even if it were in one piece to start."

"Our best option is to destroy the apertures.  We could potentially boost the shielding on some transphasic torpedoes.  With the appropriate yields, we might be able to shut this invasion down before it happens.  If this were the Endeavour, no doubt the entire engineering crew would be at this task.  But, clearly, our priorities may not match up with those of our hosts."

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0630 hrs. ] One Small Step

Reply #4
[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | Junior Officers' Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @steelphoenix @trevorvw @TWilkins

As the officers spoke, largely along the lines he expected if he were to be truthful, Ducote simply listened. He made no sound, and only moved to track who was speaking at any given moment and to nod occasionally to show he was paying attention. He was happy that his provision of the you're-not-in-trouble meeting supplies had reassured his staff, though he did pick up the twinge of disappointment from Vael on his way in. It had to be at least half the time that he forgot the tea. Well, there's an easy way to step up and tick something off the list. He made a mental note to remember the gao shan... assuming they had the chance for another meeting, anyway.

Kai was straightforward; weighed both sides, kept it concise and with a high signal-to-noise ratio. Ducote valued that in most people, and he suspected that was a factor in his slight, but tough to shake, disdain for Wenn Cinn. It seemed to Ducote that expecting the Bajoran to present a summary in twenty words or fewer was impossible - a recent major case-in-point being his minute-long logorrhoea all over (the famously-patient) Chancellor Martok. Broadly, he agreed with the giant Human, though the commander was mostly holding onto his own distrust out of habit than actual belief by now.

Elro confirmed that his assessment of the Theurgists' conviction was accurate; while an empath himself, Ducote was less able to rely on those talents of late due to his trauma. Having a full-blooded Betazoid on-side to corroborate things was useful, and it helped that Kobol  was a fair judge of character to boot. Though his choice of words regarding the good Doctor made him wonder. It was a rare medic in Starfleet that would be presented with a humanoid on a surgical table, be allowed to poke around inside that humanoid, and have to return a report of 'inconclusive'. The level of training available to your average Starfleet medical officer meant that there was little in their field that they weren't equipped to explain.

The CMO's point about now being unable to go back to life as it had been hit uncomfortably close to what he'd been fearing already. Ducote kept his face impassive, and concentrated on what Vael was saying. It seemed he'd skipped 'should we help' entirely and gone for 'how to get them to do the thing'. The Brazilian took another sip of his coffee, nodding slowly. He cleared his throat to shift the lump forming in his throat at the mention of Endeavour engineers, before interjecting at last.

"Well, our objective has been rendered moot. We found the entry, but can hardly take the information out of the nebula now. Task Force Archeron, if it survives the day, can do so in our stead." Not that it would matter if the invasion went ahead. Compartmentalised though the information was (and now most of a week out of date), but Ducote knew Starfleet simply didn't have the ships near the Azure that would be needed to deal with a Borg force of that magnitude. And that fight would make Wolf 359 look like a blank-fire exercise. "Take your plan to your opposite number on this ship, Mister Kaeris. The sooner we try and get some resources working on it, the better it'll be by the time they see sense. Wenn seemed to think that not using the apertures to leave is suicidal, but if we go through there's no guarantee of where we end up or what state we'd be in on arrival. Or that we can destroy the tunnels on the way. And, if that invasion happens, this ship will die anyway."

He sighed, swirling the coffee in the little cup for a moment. Quietly, he looked over to the last member of their meeting. He wouldn't blame her for thinking they were all mad, or this was some unannounced test of some sort put on by the brass to check 'readiness'.

"Annika? You haven't said anything."
Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
T'Less: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0630 hrs. ] One Small Step

Reply #5
[ Annika Van den Berg | Junior Officers’ Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @Top Hat @steelphoenix @TWilkins

Annika stood in the quarters with the three other people, she still had no idea who they were, but she somehow felt comfortable in that room. The first was the Commander who Annika vaguely remembers checking on her in sickbay just hours ago. Annika was perplexed as to why this random Commander was checking on her and she now found herself in his quarters with three other officers.

Annika stood there and stared into her coffee cup as she listened to the other people talking. First was the large man that she ran into in the corridor after leaving sickbay. He seemed to know who Annika was, even possibly on an intimate level judging from his conversation, but Annika had never seen him before in her life.

The security Lieutenant was talking about this ship being traitors, pissing off Chancellor Martok, a Borg threat and some kind of parasite threat.

What the hell is going on…? Annika thought to herself as she tried to comprehend what was even being said. Her head was full of all this new information..and none of it made sense, at least to her. Last she heard, the Theurgy was on a diplomatic mission to Romulus at the behest of the Federation, and most definitely weren’t considered ‘traitors’. Annika was sure that these other officers were operating off of wrong information, so she wasn’t even sure why they were talking about it.

The rather informal meeting seemed to both fly past so quickly and move as slow as a three-toed sloth. She had trouble keeping track of everything that was said. Of all the things they talked about at this meeting, the one thing that kept sticking out to Annika was the Borg threat. They mentioned hundreds of cubes and apertures and even though she understood the words, she didn’t comprehend why they were talking about it. As far as she knew, the Borg hadn’t been heard from in years, but then again the Arizona was on a deep space assignment, so maybe they hadn’t received word about the Borg’s reappearance yet.

“Annika? You haven’t said anything.” The Commander’s words punctuated her mental absenteeism and brought her back to the here and now.

She shook her head slightly from side to side and took a sip of coffee to gather her thoughts before she decided to speak.

”Honestly Commander, I don’t even know what to say. No offence, but hearing you all talk about this sounds like sheer lunacy. None of it makes sense to me at all.” Annika shrugged her shoulders before continuing, ”To tell ya the truth, I’m not even sure why I’m here at this meeting. I’m just a tactical officer from the Arizona, I’ve never met any of you in my life.”

Annika finished speaking, she wasn’t entirely sure what else to say. She was honest with them, but the looks on their faces looked equally as confused and perplexed as she felt.

Was it something I said?

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0630 hrs. ] One Small Step

Reply #6
[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | Junior Officers' Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @trevorvw @TWilkins @steelphoenix

Ducote sighed. The medics hadn't allowed him to talk to Annika last night - she was tired and injured herself, after all - but they did tell him that the injury in question had been to her head. He had feared the worst initially, but was glad that she was ready to be released so soon. Obviously, any systemic effects of her affliction were minor enough to be ignored. However, if she didn't recognise any of them (even Kai!) and asserted that she was still assigned to the Arizona...

Just one more problem.

He glanced at Kobol  before addressing her again. He wasn't sure quite where to start, but ripping the dressing off now would be best in the long run. He hoped. "You've - you had - been assigned to the USS Endeavour as one of her Tactical staff. The shortest version is that the Endeavour was attacked and destroyed a few days ago by a Borg Cube - either then, or in the escape you took a head injury." A pause, then he realised that some more pertinent information might help cement the situation for her.

"It's late-March, 2381."

The erstwhile XO crossed one foot in front of the other as he shifted his weight leaning against the desk. His knee was better if not quite healed; it would take another day or two, probably. Taking the weight back off it helped, though. Giving Annika a moment to digest that, he turned to the others. "For what it's worth, I think we have to stay. Partly because we have little choice right now, partly to learn more about these parasites if we can, and mostly to try and stop the Borg. We can talk again after that about what to do next." He wondered where that particular burst of apparent optimism came from, as if they would all be making it through. Well, whatever. He'd roll with it as long as it lasted - better than the fatalism he'd been fighting since the loss of his ship.

"Elro, head back down to the infirmary. They'd be mad not to accept another pair of capable hands. Vael, talk to their chief scientist about those modifications. Tactical, too. Kai, volunteer yourself to Wenn - he was their security head before Acting Captain. Even if they insist on not arming you yet, you can still lend your mind to them. Annika... stand by," he finished, lamely. He wanted to speak to her alone for a moment.

"Questions, queries, quandaries?"

If there weren't, he'd dismiss them. But as ever, outside of an explicit emergency or other waiting task (and what jobs did any of them really have here, except for Elro?), there was no hard limit on a staff meeting. He would answer any concern he could.
Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
T'Less: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0630 hrs. ] One Small Step

Reply #7
[Lieutenant Elro Kobol | Main Sickbay | Deck 11 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy] @Top Hat @steelphoenix @trevorvw

Ducote had been meticulous in his deliverance of the information that he had wanted to share, not missing a detail to the point that even had Elro wanted to, he’d have failed to find any question necessary to ask. In fact, given the disheartening situation they were in, none of them could be faulted for their mental gestations. Elro’s initial nausea had been replaced, in small, with a few glimmers of hope in the light of Vael’s calm deliverance of a potential plan to disrupt the Borg subspace corridors. Suddenly things didn’t lean towards a quite so glum outcome.

Of course, in reality they still lingered upon the edge of a cliff, dancing a Viennese Waltz in a hurricane and trying not to lose their footing... But knowing that someone as capable as Vael was confident in his endeavour was enough to make Elro steady his apprehension. Yet Elro in particular had the distinctive displeasure of knowing that his ultimate fate rested entirely out of his hands. In the upcoming battle, he expected that he would be very much there for the ride, watching from the windowless sickbay and wondering if every jolt of the ship would be the one to tear it asunder..

But if they were to engage the Borg, or any other threat, Elro knew he had a role to play in continuing the fight. One that resided in sickbay.

Elro hovered his thoughts over the disheartening situation with Lieutenant Van den Berg, which he believed Ducote had handled as professionally as anyone could have. Elro wished that R’Rori had escaped from the Endeavour with them; who would have undoubtedly found some way to more delicately address the Lieutenant’s apparent amnesia. In fact, Elro missed the councillor on a personal level. He had lost a friend, as well as a professional. And whilst Ducote’s clarification was professional, being so bluntly told that at least a year had passed that one could not recall could not have been easy to hear.

Elro’s attention drew back to Ducote as the man crossed his legs audibly. His subsequent burst of optimism, encouraging his team to focus on learning about the parasites and trying to stop the Borg, was uplifting to Elro. It wasn’t hard to tell that the Commander was suffering beyond measure without his partner, a pain with which Elro was scarcely familiar, but he could feel it on the Commander, however subtle. That the Commander could muster up his optimism in such a painful circumstance, demonstrated to Elro that it was necessary for him find a way to do the same. 

"Elro, head back down to the infirmary. They'd be mad not to accept another pair of capable hands.” Was the Commander’s instruction to his Chief Medical Officer, a title which Elro supposed he no longer bore, nor did any other on the Theurgy aside from the imprisoned Nicander. "Questions, queries, quandaries?"

None of the team appeared to possess anything further to say. Ducote’s diligent analysis left no room for questions, Elro least of all. It was Vael who stood first, delivering curt nod of respect to each of his crew members. Elro was prepared to clear himself to take his own leave, sensing that the Commander needed to take some time alone with Van den Berg, when the familiar lurch of motion that indicated they had emerged from warp ran through Elro’s bones.

“Commander, we should probably make our way to the bridge.” Vael gestured as he delivered his sentence, his eyes fixed on the space behind Elro's head, out of the view port. The science officer's conclusion prompting Elro to rise as well, knowing that if they had reached their destination, he wanted to be in the confines of sickbay, ready for whatever could go wrong with the rendezvous. Elro found it more sensible to start expecting something to go wrong with every turn. It had certainly been as such so far. 

“I’ll report to sickbay.” Elro concurred, straightening up and glancing at the Commander with one of his trademark small-smiles, extending his telepathy to let Ducote know that Elro was thankful for everything the Commander had done. He didn't wait for a response before making a move to leave the room, passing his colleagues, but halting at the door.

“I…” Elro began, but paused, second guessing his own tongue, not sure how best to express his wishes to his colleagues, since they all knew that they were soon to be flying soon into the jaws of the beast. “I wanted to wish you all the best of luck.” He finalised, his voice soft as he spoke. Something simple. Meaningless, but hopefully his colleagues understood it for all it was meant, an expression of gratitude for all they had done for him over the past year. Elro had counted on each of them many times, and it made his gut twist that perhaps they would not return to the briefing room together any time soon, if ever. 

The Doctor lingered for a moment, before taking a breath to stifle his doubts once more, his feet guiding him along what he hoped was the path to sickbay, whilst his mind thrashed in agony about the uncertainty of the day to come.
Ensign Sylvain Llewellyn-Kth - Chief CONN Officer - USS Theurgy - [Show/Hide]
Otheusz - Grey Scars Pirate - USS Theurgy - [Show/Hide]
Y'Lev - Syndicate Dominus - USS Theurgy - [Show/Hide]

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0630 hrs. ] One Small Step

Reply #8
[ Annika Van den Berg | Junior Officer’s Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] @Top Hat

Annika stood in the room with the other strangers, her head swimming in confusion and a million questions. The people in the room had been talking and despite her trying to pay attention, she couldn’t keep up with the conversation. She knew she had a head injury, or so that Vulcan doctor had told her.

The Commander in the room addressed her directly and this caused even more questions than answering any.

“You’ve - you had - been assigned to the USS Endeavour as one of her Tactical staff. The shortest version is that the Endeavour was attacked and destroyed a few days ago by a Borg Cube - either then, or in the escape you took a head injury. It’s late-March, 2381.”

No fucking way it’s March 2381. No…that just can’t be true. Is this all a big trick? No. Just no. It’s April, April 2380. Why are these people saying all this stuff? It’s so frustrating. This has to be one big trick! A conspiracy? Oh shit! Did I time travel? Ugh the temporal mechanics classes always gave me a headache, Annika was thinking to herself as the Commander was speaking to the others.

What was his name again? Dagger? No…Ducati? No…eh..Commander Sexy it is, at least until I remember his name

“Annika…stand by” He said to Annika before asking if the others had questions. Shortly thereafter, the others left the room and left Commander Sexy and herself alone in the room.

She sighed as she sat down in a chair, trying to figure out what to say, or rather, what to ask first.

Annika was feeling the stress of all these supposed changes and felt like there was a huge weight on her shoulders. She could feel tears building in her eyes and her breathing had quickened. She tried to keep the tears at bay, however she had no luck as one escaped and fell down her right cheek.

”Commander, I honestly don’t know who you are…b..but..i don’t know what’s happening. I’m really scared! If you’ve told me the truth, why don’t I remember…any of it?”

She looked towards the Commander, her eyesight had become blurred by the tears filling her eyes. She waited for a response from him. She waited for him to say it was a joke. She waited to wake up from this nightmare. She waited for something…anything.

Re: Chapter 02: Supplemental [ Day 06 | 0630 hrs. ] One Small Step

Reply #9
[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | Junior Officers' Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @trevorvw

The others filed out, leaving him alone with Annika. She radiated confusion and denial; hardly surprising, and he couldn't exactly blame her for it, either. He could well imagine himself in her shoes telling some hypothetical command-rank stranger to stuff it and tell a shorter lie, too. As the doors hissed closed, things seemed to get to finally overwhelm her composure.

"Commander, I honestly don't know who you are...b..but..I don't know what's happening. I'm really scared! If you've told me the truth, why don't I remember...any of it?"

Ducote sighed with sympathy, before tapping a command into the replicator behind him. When the haze faded, he picked up the box of tissues and pulled up a chair next to hers, sitting at a right angle so as to be less antagonising. She'd never exactly been one to intimidate easily, but trying not to just loom over her seemed appropriate either way. He offered the box. "Here."

Massaging his sore knee a little, he considered what to say. Where can I start?

"I won't lie to you, Ms Van den Berg... besides omitting any of the usual clearance-related things, of course. I'm just a little unsure how to more fully summarise our current situation - that is, we from the Endeavour - with enough detail to be worthwhile but concisely enough that it's not just an info-dump on you." Any more than the rest of this meeting, anyway.

The hybrid's gaze disappeared into the ceiling for a moment while he thought. He wanted to give as objective a view as he could... until she remembered she knew him, adding his own biases into his account now could be seen as an attempt at manipulation. "Several months ago, the prototype for the Theurgy project - you might remember that from before; it had been in development for a while - and her crew defected from Starfleet while in Sol. They barely escaped and have been on the run ever since, pursued by Admiral Sankolov and a task force. A decorated captain and a rogue AI... a double-whammy of a PR disaster for the Federation. Not to mention the fact that several ships have been damaged or destroyed so far and hundreds of people killed trying to heave her to.

"The Endeavour was never involved with any of that; plenty of other work to be doing after all. Up to a week or so ago we were testing a new subspace sensor technology with some civilian consultants, near the Azure Nebula," he waved at the endless blue expanse outside the window behind him. "We... we didn't get too far along with that. A Borg Cube bore down on us, disabled and boarded the ship... Captain Amasov sounded the evacuation alarm. I don't know if he made it. I don't know how many of the crew made it."

Ducote had to stop for a moment. He swallowed heavily. "I don't know the circumstances of your escape from the ship specifically, but you were picked up by a ship from Task Force Archeron under Sankolov which was later itself destroyed by the Borg. At some point in all of that, you suffered a head injury... some impact, I imagine, with a lesion on your memory centre. I wish you could stay in sickbay until you had the all-clear, but I'm not sure we have that luxury.

"Which neatly brings us back to the Theurgy, and the briefing just now." He sighed.

"I wish I could tell you that this was all some weird Command test, or a spot-check on temporal anomaly readiness or something, but I can't. I am in the uncomfortable position of having to believe these people because the risk of disbelieving them if they are telling the truth is too great. And before any of that, there is a Borg invasion to prevent." Ducote looked Annika in the eye once more.

"Whether you remember me or not, you're on my crew, Lieutenant. You get my whole effort, same as the others. And they'll look out for you, too. I know it's going to be awkward, but try talking to Kai as well. He was a large part of your last year; he might help you remember it."

My kingdom for a proper counsellor and a medical staff who aren't snowed under by a ward full of critical patients.
Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
T'Less: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]

Re: CH03: S [D06|0630] One Small Step

Reply #10
[ Annika Van den Berg | Junior Officers’ Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] @Top Hat

“Whether you remember me or not, you're on my crew, Lieutenant. You get my whole effort, same as the others. And they'll look out for you, too. I know it's going to be awkward, but try talking to Kai as well. He was a large part of your last year; he might help you remember it.” Ducote had said to Annika, which caused her to zone out trying to consider all the possibilities. This was one of the most frustrating points in Annika’s life. She was being told that she had no memories from her experiences over the last year or so. It was disconcerting to Annika to say the least.

She tried hard to see if she could remember Ducote or that giant human being that had told her they were dating while aboard the Endeavour together. At points she thought she could remember them, but she wasn’t sure if it was her hoping she could remember them, or if it was actual memories. Either way, she wasn’t sure if she could trust what her brain was telling her.

Am I losing my mind? she thought to herself as she slowly realized that she hadn’t said a word back to what Ducote had said to her. She felt like she left him hanging there in silence for what felt like a month, but was in reality only a few seconds.

She looked back at Ducote as she lifted her head slightly and let an unconvinced smirk spread on her face. She had no idea what to do or who to believe, but something about him made her feel like she could trust him. She realized she had to take a leap of faith and trust someone, and he seemed like the best option.

”Honestly, I don’t think I’m ready to talk to him yet. I don’t know him, but if we were as close as it seems, I wouldn’t want to hurt him..but I’m willing to trust you and hope that things work out” she sighed and then rose to her feet as she paced around the quarters, trying to think of what to say.

Any time she thought of what to say, it was gone again just as quickly as it had appeared. She thought about everything that had been said in the briefing and how it was all the furthest thing from what she last remembered.

”What do you want me to do? I’m supposed to be back in sickbay later this morning, but I’m all yours for the time being. I’d rather do something, instead of just sitting here twiddling my thumbs thinking about how screwed up I am right now”

Re: CH03: S [D06|0630] One Small Step

Reply #11
[ Cmdr Ranaan Ducote | Junior Officers' Quarters | Deck 10 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ] attn: @trevorvw 

Annika was in justifiable turmoil. It was enough of a brainfuck to be told that they'd all been gaslit by the Fleet they served for God only knew how long, let alone being told that information when you couldn't remember the first thing from the last year to boot. He wasn't sure if he was helping, in an absolute medical sense, but he did know that when he'd imagined being in her situation (or a similar one) for the sake of a thought experiment, he wanted to know as much as he could as soon as possible.

Still, he stayed quiet while she took a moment to process it all. It was one thing to imagine what it would be like in her shoes, but he could feel it all too well. He sighed through his nose as he looked down, then sipped his coffee.

"Honestly, I don't think I'm ready to talk to him yet. I don't know him, but if we were as close as it seems, I wouldn't want to hurt him.. but I'm willing to trust you and hope that things work out." His gaze tracked her as she stood and paced. Ducote nodded.

"That's fine. I won't force you, and I doubt he will. I mention it mainly as an option."

She was still distracted. He wondered if there were any crossovers of her injury into her short-term processing, too, or if it was just a combination of circumstances and too-short recovery. Either way, beyond his ability to fix. Which he hated.

"What do you want me to do? I'm supposed to be back in sickbay later this morning, but I'm all yours for the time being. I'd rather do something, instead of just sitting here twiddling my thumbs thinking about how screwed up I am right now."

"Heh," he chuckled, "Well, I can sympathise there. Honestly I think we are mostly at the mercy of the Theurgy folk until they decide what to do with us malicious or otherwise. Or we find a way off, whichever comes first. But if you have some time, we can both go down to the fighter bay and see if we can't grab the logs from the Niger for you. At least you'll have some reading material while you're twiddling your thumbs in the infirmary..."

He rose, working the stiffness out of his knee, before depositing the remains of coffee and pastries in the replicator. Turning back to Annika, he gestured at the door.

"Shall we, Ms Van den Berg?"

Nator 159: "I accept no responsibility for the ensign's manifest stupidity. Sir." [Show/Hide]
Ranaan Ducote: "A ship is a home; its crew a family." [Show/Hide]
T'Less: "Your odds of prevailing against us are... slim." [Show/Hide]
Valkra: "Come! We will shake the gates of Sto'Vo'Kor!" [Show/Hide]

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