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Day 13 [2318 hrs.] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

[ Lt. RraHnam | USS Theurgy | Vector 02 | Deck 7 | Security Center ] @Auctor Lucan
Day 13 [2318 hrs.] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

May 1, 2381
23:18 hrs.
Stardate: 57688.24

In the meantime, RraHnam had settled in a bit. Her quarters were still completely sparse, because she had not yet had time to settle in, but she was sure that she would soon be able to find her footing here. On the obligatory coffee table lay dozens of PADD's from her predecessor.

The Cait stretched. She stood on her tiptoes and stretched her back. The claws on her feet dug into the carpet, while at the same time she tried to drive the claws of her stretched fingers into the ceiling of the room. The woman had been engrossed in the documents for hours. She felt her body stiffen with fatigue and decided to loosen her muscles a bit before continuing. Out of reflex, she yawned. She smacked her lips a few times and rubbed her belly. RraHnam looked around the room. PADD's lay crisscrossed over the coffee table, the sofa, and the floor. Each of them contained several gigabytes of information. Extensive reports on events of the last weeks and months. Some were filled with information about simple, minor offenses, such as an argument or simple thefts. Others contained information about violence or assault and battery.

The PADD that caught her eye the most, however, was the one with the 'Cold Cases'. During her training on Earth, RraHnam had learned a lot about Earth police work. At that time, she had also consumed a few episodes of Earthly crime entertainment. She quickly discovered, however, that late twentieth and early twenty-first century humans were offered only very superficial and often overly contrived entertainment whose main focus was action and did not shy away from trivializing violence and even murder of their fellow humans.

It was strange. Her own partner liked to write crime novels. She also liked to read them. But he was never concerned with satisfying the animal instincts of his readers. Not only, at least. For M'repp, it was more about stimulating the mind and encouraging readers to think and investigate for themselves. Of course, the depiction of violence was also among his stylistic devices. But violence was never included in his works as a purpose in itself. RraHnam thought for a moment. Perhaps she should take the time to browse through his works a bit again soon. She had never been able to finish 'The Children of Reilagh V' until now. This mystery holonovel had been her partner's last work before they had left together for a vacation to Betazed. Tears began to blur her vision as thoughts of his death threatened to burst to the surface. No, she didn't had time for that right now.

RraHnam wiped the tears from her eyes and took the PADD with the 'Cold Cases' back in her paws. She wanted to get an overview first. But she stumbled while scrolling. The database showed a disproportionate amount of Cold Cases. That struck her as odd. RraHnam randomly opened a few files. They were all legitimate entries, not duplicates, or files created by mistake. Puzzled, she cocked her head to the side. Her ears perked up and her lips twitched. The security officer looked at the only decorative item in her room. The Vra'shan, a sort of leather football with a silk ribbon pinned to it, she got as a present from the Cheif Engineer, layed at her workstation. With long, silent strides, she crossed the room and picked it up in her free paw. She waved the ball back and forth a few times before deftly tossing it, clipped, across the room onto her bed. The ball bounced off the walls and landed in her pillow.

Tensely, she turned back to her work. She put the PADD into her station and let it transfer the data. Then she started digging. Some cases had been shelved because other work had become more urgent. Others lacked crucial clues about either the perpetrator, the victims, or the crime tools to even be able to connect the perpetrator and the victim. Here and there were also cases in which there were no indications of a perpetrator at all. These could very easily have passed as accidents. But the work of her predecessor, Inej Avirim, was good. He was able to rule out natural causes or accidents every time, and as RraHnam sifted through the clues and evidence, she agreed with his observations and conclusions.

Finally, after some time, she found a forensic report from Ensign Six. Ensign Six, the late Forensics Officer, had been killed in the battle of the Azure Nebula. Among other things, the report held a short audio file. She played it.

[Stardate 57550.06, Ensign Siz. I now have credible evidence that our prisoner, Dr. Nicander, is responsible for many of the crimes on record.]

RraHnam's pupils narrowed to slits as she heard this, and her ears perked up. With deft fingers, she dug further into the file and found a document that detailed the officer's assumptions. Under her assumption, so many cases could be attributed to a single perpetrator.

She sighed and shook her head. RraHnam could imagine why no one had made these connections until now. After all, Nicander was the best option for fighting the infestation now, and the struggles of late didn't allow for anything resembling normal police work to be done. But now she was in this position, and she had the opportunity. Even though she was actually off duty that evening, RraHnam decided not to let this 'hot' lead go 'cold' again. She grabbed her uniform from the chair in the corner and got dressed again. She made her way to the Security Center and sought out the officer on duty.

RraHnam encountered the Deputy Chief of Security in the corridor leading to her office. "Lieutenant zh'Wann? Do you have a moment for me?" She waited a moment for the Andorian's response. RraHnam wasn't sure if the blue-skinned woman was confused and wondering what the Cait was still doing here at this hour. After all, she had already been off duty for several hours, so she tried to explain herself. "I have leads on a lot of the cold cases."

Re: [D13|2318] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

Reply #1
[ Deputy ThanIda zh'Wann | Security Center | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]
Attn: @Nero
At that late hour, Ida had been spending her evening in the armoury, finishing the inventory that was long overdue. She had made it a personal priority to oversee the efforts of the junior officers and partake herself, leading by example. It had been dreary work, but important, because if they were to face off against the Romulans together with Chancellor Martok, they had to be prepared for any boarding actions. That meant that all the weapons lockers across all three hulls had to be restocked, with rifles, handphasers and energy packs, and in order to do that properly, Security had to know how much armament had been lost over the course of the most recent battles.

So, when the relatively new Investigations Officer came up to her in the corridor, Ida was weary from looking at LCARS screens and cross-referencing the numbers between all the junior officers that had committed themselves to the inventory. Of course they had screwed up, and the past two hours had been spent isolating which one of the many PADDs that held the erroneous data. The fault had been isolated to that of a Petty Officer that had never preformed such an inventory before, so Ida had been forgiving, but it didn't make her any less tired. She had wished to take a shower in her quarters when Rra announced that she had found leads on cases that her predecessor hadn't resolved. Inej Avirim had, until his death in the Spearhead Lounge, been a good officer, and since Ida had been off the ship by the time of his death, his passing still felt a bit unreal to her.

"I need to clear my head a bit," she said with a small smile for the Caitian and nodded with her head and antennae towards the door to her office. "Come in, just let me freshen up a bit while you tell me what you've found."

Once inside her office, Ida removed her uniform jacket, tossed it over the back of the chair behind her desk, and headed for the restroom next to the desk. She tapped the control panel next to the doorway in order to keep the sliding doors open while she was inside, just so that she could hear Rra talking while she freshened up. Quietly, she unzipped her golden undershirt and pulled it off, leaving her in her Starfleet-issue bra. A glance in the mirror proved how tired she was feeling, but whatever Rra had found, it sounded important.

Instead of a shower, Ida opted to wash her face in the water basin - which was a bliss to her tired eyes. She had no trouble hearing what Rra was saying, even if she'd much rather have retired to her quarters. Once she had rinsed her face, still listening, she grabbed a towel and dried herself off quickly. Her white hair was damp so she raked it back between her antennae with her hands, before picking up her undershirt again. She returned to her office while still donning it, looking at the Caitian while she finished the report on her findings.

Re: [D13|2318] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

Reply #2
[ Lt. RraHnam | USS Theurgy | Vector 02 | Deck 7 | Security Center ] @Auctor Lucan
The Andorian seemed to have had a long day. RraHnam would have understood if she had turned her away, but at the same time, she would not have allowed it. The info she now possessed was important. Even if she didn't know the victims personally, RraHnam was convinced she could help them. Even if it meant sacrificing her off-hours.

The Deputy Chief of Security asked her to come into her office and disappeared straight into the bathroom. After a hard day, that was only understandable. The woman tossed her uniform jacket on the chair. She left the door open. RraHnam concluded it was an invitation to share her info with her. So she began. "Ma'am, Ensign Six's notes indicate that many of the open cases are related."

RraHnam looked around the deputy's office. Compared to her office back on the Oneida, which she had to share with the Chief of Security, this room was about twice as big. There was even a sitting area ready with a sofa that was comfortable to lie on. The large display behind the desk was currently turned off, but RraHnam could well imagine that it could be put to good use when she made herself comfortable on the sofa with a cup of coffee or tea. The Caitian felt the rough carpet under her paws. It was nice and grippy. Here she could move safely without worrying about losing her footing somewhere.

When the blue-skinned woman came back into the room, RraHnam continued with her report. She explained to her what the cases were about. Often, they were simply designed cases, but so far, they were not finished because they always left doubts at the end and that was what had caught RraHnam's eye. Most of the cases Ensign Six had compiled in this file were rather simply designed, but they all lacked one important point: a clear indication of a perpetrator.

RraHnam went over her predecessor's notes a few dozen times and she could only interpret them as conclusive and was inclined to continue Ensign Six's investigation.
"Although Ensign Six wasn’t able to make this link official, she was able to link many open cases to the same perpetrator in her notes."
She passed her PADD to the deputy chief of security. "She suspected Dr. Nicander, who is in custody. I think we should follow up on that, ma'am."

Re: [D13|2318] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

Reply #3
[ Deputy ThanIda zh'Wann | Security Center | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]
Attn: @Nero
Having rinsed her face with cold water, Ida was prepared for whatever Rra had found, and what she said was quite intriguing, to say the least. While she was zipping up her undershirt over her chest, she thought about the late Ensign Six, and how much of her work Inej Avirim might have had the chance to delve into. Not much, given the circumstances of the mission...

With the circumstantial evidence pointing towards a single perpetrator, and Rra mentioning how Six - at that early point in time prior to the Battle of the Apertures - had laid the blame at Doctor Nicander's feet, could be interpreted in a number of different ways. Rra, being new aboard, had the benefit of looking at the cases with unbiased, fresh eyes. Whereas Inej, on the other hand, may have been influenced by the cooperative nature that the Doctor had shown since that battle in the Azure Nebula... in which Ensign Six had been killed.  Taking a deep breath, Ida leaned against her desk and folded her arms underneath her chest.

"Either your predecessor, Inej Avirim, didn't find the time to look at the cold cases and what Ensign Six had deduced, or he did, and dismissed it because he found conflicting evidence in Nicander's regard. If you have not found such, we can only go with what we have. We may never know Inej found Nicander innocent, since he died when that Klingon blew up the Spearhead Lounge. Therefore, I believe that we ought to go directly to the source."

While picking up and running her arms through her uniform jacket anew, Ida also produced a PADD from her desk in which she accessed the Security database and the hearings conducted with the Infested in the Brig. "Bring what you have found, and we can cross-reference the cases with what Nicander has already told us that he's done while under parasitic control. Perhaps Inej didn't have time to resolve the cold cases, instead prioritising other investigations since Nicander may have already confessed to being indirectly guilty. Let's pay the suspect a visit and we can close these investigations right away. Besides, he is usually awake at this hour."

Leading the way, Ida stopped by the Aide's desk in the lobby and asked the security gateway to be opened for them. While they were sluiced through to the Brig, waiting for the brig officer to open the opposite door, Ida took the opportunity to check in on Rra's progress overall - her transfer to the Theurgy being rather recent. Less than two weeks, Ida realised. "How are you settling in aboard?" she asked quietly, giving the other officer a small smile. Caitians were an interesting people, and Ida had only had the rare opportunity to draw them. The specimen next to her in the security gateway struck an impressive figure, strong and feminine at the same time, and for a moment, Ida wondered what her fur felt like to the touch.

The gate opened for them rather soon, however, and Ida inclined her head to the stationed Brig Officer in greeting. "We're here to speak with Nicander. Is he awake?"

"Aye, though he has his privacy screen activated. I think he is doing transporter tech research again."

"Very well," Ida said, and headed to the end of the hallway, where Nicander's cell was at. During the walk there, Ida realised that Rra may never have spoken with the Doctor before, and may have been subjected to all kinds of rumours about him - good and bad.

Re: [D13|2318] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

Reply #4
[ Lt. RraHnam | USS Theurgy | Vector 02 | Deck 7 | Security Center ] @Auctor Lucan
"Given recent events, I hardly think Ensign Inej has had enough time to follow up on the leads in this PADD." RraHnam stuck with the polite naming of her predecessor, as she did not know him. The records indicated that he was Bajoran. With the difference in naming between different species, it was easy for confusion and unintentional offense to occur. RraHnam knew, however, that the first name of a Bajoran was a kind of family name that anyone could use without causing offense. The following, second name of a Bajoran, was a name for confidants, friends, and family members. Like humans, but where the order was reversed, this name was used rarely or in confidence. And since RraHnam never got to meet Ensign Inej Avirim, she stuck with addressing the man politely.

"Between the Borg attack in the Azure Nebula, the trip to Aldea, unto his unfortunate demise in the bombing of the Spearhead Lounge, other things were just more important than this," RraHnam said, holding up the PADD. "I think Ensign Inej just didn't have a chance to follow up on this."

The deputy chief suggested questioning Doctor Nicander directly. She wanted to compare the data from the PADD with what Doctor Nicander had already said. Perhaps Ensign Inej had simply prioritized other investigations because the doctor had already pleaded guilty to some cases, at least indirectly.

The Caitian agreed and followed the Andorian on quiet paws into the airlock that separated the cells from the rest of the security center. While the two women waited for the inner airlock door to be opened by the security officer in charge, RraHnam relaxed a bit. A stone fell from her heart when she realized that she was not immediately ticked off. That had been her worst fear. She didn't want to be accountable to anyone who wouldn't listen. That the blue-skinned woman not only gave her attention to her idea, but also wanted to work directly with her on the solution, dropped further tension in RraHnam.

Her tail swayed quietly back and forth as the deputy asked her how she was getting along and settling in.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss my old pride. On the Oneida, after all, I was doing your job. One was always on topic everywhere you went. One always knew what was going on on the ship. Yeah, I miss that, I guess."
She hoped Brightman did a good job and didn't make her regret her decision to leave her position. The man was good at his job. But when the Oneida ‘disappeared’ from the scene, he had been all but denied a promotion. RraHnam was not going to accept that. She didn’t want to watch the man rot there. To her the consequence of this, to let herself be more or less demoted and to change the ship, seemed to be the lesser evil. RraHnam sacrificed her own career for that man's future. But on the other hand, she was much closer to the action here. Here she could fight this infestation more directly. After she learned about it, after she fought the infected Kopek, she was willing to do everything possible, to help stop them. The former professional athlete hoped that she could make a difference at this point. She looked at the Andorian.
"But the Theurgy is huge. The security center alone..." RraHnam made a gesture that included the airlock. "...Is as big as half a deck on the Oneida. The ship is overwhelming. I'm excited to see what's in store for me here. I definitely don't think my current job will be boring."

The inner airlock door soon opened and RraHnam gave a brief greeting to the watch commander. Lieutenant zh'Wann explained to him that they wanted to see Nicander. After a brief exchange of words, the two women then moved down the corridor to where his cell could be found. The force field was opaque. He had activated privacy mode. RraHnam expected a monster behind it. She had heard some rumors about the man, good and bad. But she had not yet spoken to him. The Caitian knew firsthand how strong infected people could be, and she didn't want to repeat the experience. Unconsciously, she tensed her paws so that her claws stood out. She searched for a safe footing. Her ears flattened and her pupils narrowed to slits. RraHnam was ready to pounce on this Doctor Nicander should it become necessary.

She was all the more surprised to discover a normal-looking man behind the force field when the deputy deactivated the privacy mode. The man seemed perfectly calm and was working, seated at a desk.

Re: [D13|2318] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

Reply #5
[ Deputy ThanIda zh'Wann | Security Center | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]
Attn: @Nero
Knowing that Rra had been the Deputy aboard the Oneida already, what she said to Ida made a lot of sense, though she was pleased to hear that while being the Investigation Officer on the Theurgy might be more niched in terms of scope-of-duty, the scope of the ship with its number of officers - along with its mission - more than made up for it.

"Glad to hear that. While I hope it may change... the experiences we've had on our voyage is that it may be beneficial to have senior officers available in all departments, because given the high risk and the equally high stakes, one's superior officers might not survive in the long run," she said quietly, looking straight ahead in the security gate, and thinking about Wenn Cinn, David Grayson and others whom had passed in their department. "Who knows, after the next battle... you might be the one occupying my office, telling a new Investigation Officer which cases can be closed and which ought to remain open."

Taking the edge of the morbid, but quite realistic sentiment with a faint smile, they had later made their way to Nicander's cell.

"Doctor, are you decent?" she asked after tapping the audio controls, folding her hands behind her back whilst holding her PADD. "We would like your input on your previous statements about things you've done whilst under parasitic influence, comparing them to notations on unclosed investigations. We realise that it's late, but if you are amendable, it would do good to find closure on some issues. Perhaps it might help you sleep better as well."

The Doctor was, apparently, plagued by nightmares and was preforming research into the small hours of the nights, so Ida hoped that the incentive might make him interested in aiding them despite the hour.

"That's all right, Lieutenant. I'm up," said the voice from behind the opaque forcefield, which was a recent upgrade to his accommodations. One granted under the growing premise that he was, actually, aiding the mission rather than conspiring to undermine their efforts to subdue the other Infested. When given the all clear, Ida stepped up to tap the controls again, and the forcefield gradually became transparent, revealing how Nicander was sitting at his fold-out table and studying data on a collection of PADDs while making notations on another one. He was dressed in uniform trousers, barechested and with his feet bare. Since he'd been locked up, Ida couldn't remember ever having seen him use footwear, and she'd learned it was a cultural thing for his Region on Câroon.

"Thank you," Ida said, and raised her PADD to go over her list. "This is Lieutenant Rra, our Investigation Officer," she said while scrolling the contents and marking names with her fingertips, "She will be going over the cases we need your input on. I have the accounts - or 'confessions' if you will - from your previous hearings here, so that you don't have to re-visit difficult memories needlessly. We'll only delve deeper into the cases wherein there might be more to add, or if some data seem to be missing."

"Certainly," Lucan said with a light sigh and rose to his feet. While weary, the Doctor gave the Caitian a tired smile. "A pleasure to make your acquaintance, Lieutenant. I'm Doctor Lucan cin Nicander, former Chief Medical Officer and current... Informant, if you will. Because of that, I am able to retain control over my mind and body, even though the parasite is still a part of me."

The Doctor had indicated the massive cannon mounted on a tripod next to the two Security officers, which automatically followed every movement the prisoner made in the cell. The light whirring of the tripod's servos were a mechanical whisper that shadowed the Doctor's footsteps, but Ida didn't even look at the thing. The Brig Officer could fire the cannon with a tap of his finger at his station if so needed, and neither Rra nor her had to bother with manning the almost turret-like installation.

"Will you start with the first cold case in your list, Lieutenant?" Ida asked, glancing in Rra's direction.

Re: Day 13 [2318 hrs.] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

Reply #6
[ Lt. RraHnam | USS Theurgy | Vector 02 | Deck 7 | Security Center ] @Auctor Lucan
RraHnam nodded to the man behind the now transparent force field. Doctor Nicander was sitting behind his folding desk. Several PADDs were spread out in front of him. He held another one in his hands. Apparently, he seemed to be taking notes there. The Câroon was dressed only in simple pants, feet and upper body unclothed. RraHnam regarded the man for a moment. He made a composed impression and appeared to be in good and healthy condition externally.

Lieutenant zh'Wann introduced RraHnam. At that, the Andorian explained to the prisoner what they wanted to achieve with this late interrogation, and she asked him if he would agree. The man politely affirmed and RraHnam relaxed a little. She was reassured that Nicander didn't immediately charge at her and jump at the force field to penetrate it. Still, the Cait's eyes remained fixed on the Câroon. RraHnam didn't want to get a nasty surprise. Doctor Nicander introduced himself and pointed to the gun mounted under roof, which tracked his every move. The slight whirring of the servo motors was almost lost in the general ship noise, but it was clearly distinguishable to the Caitian's fine hearing.

"I'm glad to see you are master of your senses, Doctor Nicander," she said sincerely, nodding again to the man. RraHnam braced one hand on her hip. The other hung loosely at her side, holding her PADD. Then the Deputy Chief of Security asked her to begin her questions. "Thank you, Lieutenant." the new Investigation Officer acknowledged.

RraHnam stepped forward and silently walked toward the prisoner's cell. At a proper safe distance, however, she stopped in front of the force field. With nimble fingers, she called up the appropriate directory on her PADD. RraHnam raised her head. She began her questioning with the obligatory references to his rights. After all, he was a Starfleet prisoner and as such enjoyed something like rights. Even if the circumstances were extraordinary and the USS Theurgy was officially considered renegade, this had to be the basis on which they all worked together. She started the record function on her PADD.
"Doctor Nicander, I must inform you that you may request legal counsel at any time and that you are under no obligation to respond to my questions. Also, the interview will be recorded. Do you understand?"
RraHnam raised her eyes and looked into the face of the man behind the force field. Only when he expressed his understanding did she continue.

"Alright, for the record, present are prisoner Droctor Lucan cin Nicander, former Chief Medical Officer, USS Theurgy, Lieutenant ThanIda zh'Wann, Deputy Chief of Security, USS Theurgy and Lieutenant RraHnam, Investigation Officer, also USS Theurgy."
She added the Brig security officer present to her log with a few quick flicks of her wrist. She also made quick notations about the individuals present, referencing their respective personnel files where access was allowed and possible. She noted the time and date in fair copy and added the corresponding stardate via the computer.

"Doctor Nicander." RraHnam had made it a habit to always address the person directly to be questioned at the beginning of a topic. This generated a certain amount of attention, and sometimes stress. However, RraHnam was sure that this would not put the doctor under pressure. It also made it easier to divide the protocols into chapters later.

"In the case of the missing nurse Lucy Tarnwright, a human female of twenty-five, you have stated that you caught her tampering with the medical drug and instrument replicator the previous day. She is said to have then left the ship and deserted." RraHnam flipped through the file. "Transporter logs, however, do not indicate that she had beamed off the ship. Also, conversations with her friends have revealed that she did not have the technical knowledge to cover her disappearance by, for example, erasing her signature records. Records of her education reinforce this assumption. The same goes for the airlocks, the medical transporter, and the cargo transporters and shuttles." RraHnam left the words hanging in space for a moment. "Even though the ship's internal sensors were affected during the ensuing battles, no blind passages have been detected so far either. So, she didn't make herself comfortable somewhere between the walls either. Witnesses, however, stated that they had seen Nurse Tarnwright shortly before she disappeared..." She looked up and straight into the Doctor's eyes. "... And it was with you, Doctor Nicander."

RraHnam considered the man's reaction closely. As far as she understood, the man was still infected with one of those parasites, but thanks to the weapon mounted behind them, he was able to suppress the essence of the parasite and act normally according to his own will. The warrior in her hoped that was true, and the police officer hoped that he was doing well with the truth and not trying to lie to her. RraHnam hoped that they could at least end some of the Cold Cases here today.
"Is there anything you would like to add to your statement, Doctor Nicander?"

Re: Day 13 [2318 hrs.] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

Reply #7
[ Deputy ThanIda zh'Wann | Security Center | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]
Attn: @Nero
When Lieutenant Rra had finished, it wasn't Nicander but Deputy zh'Wann who raised her voice in answer.

"Petty Officer Tarnwright has been mentioned in the hearings held with Doctor Nicander," she said without looking up, scrolling to the specific stardate and segment on her own PADD. "Whilst under parasitic possession, Nicander assaulted the nurse and disposed of the body in the waste management centre. The reason he could do so was that Thea's surveillance unit system and internal sensors had been compromised by the first battle with the USS Calamity. Prior Nicander's confession, Tarnwright was assumed either having deserted the ship like you said, while another possibility was that she'd been KIA - spaced through a hull breach during that same battle."

Ida remembered listening to the Doctor talking about the incident during the shore leave on Aldea, where he had detailed all the atrocities that his parasitic self had committed. Name after name, detail upon detail, one more horrific than the other. What had struck her was the meticulous care the fully Infested version of the Doctor had covered his tracks, and maintained an immaculate public image among the crew - trusted and and loved by most. A master manipulator, knowing precisely when to do what he did in order to get away with it, using others for his own schemes and ploys. This was the reason some of the crew still believed he was lying, because he had managed to fool them all so thoroughly up until that battle against the Versant in the Azure Nebula.

Nicander had been asked if he had anything to add to his statement, and he had been silent for a couple of seconds, looking at the deck plating of his cell.

"Nurse Tarnwright," he said quietly, his brow creased in a frown, "she had merely recalibrated the replicator with a setting that she believed would increase replication efficiency, not knowing that adjusting the settings had compromised the medicines, rendering them unusable. The... old me was annoyed, to put it mildly, but I told her with a smile that everyone makes mistakes. I patted her shoulder, but already, her fate was sealed. I... filled a hypospray with atracurium, a paralytic agent that the faulty replicator had made, and told her off comms to meet me in the corridor outside the aforementioned area, that we had a patient waiting for us there. I... smiled, and inoculated her by the neck. I dragged her inside waste management. It was a locally administered drug, so she couldn't scream, but the settings she had inserted made the neuromuscular blocking agent react with the nervous system instead. So... while it prevented muscle movement, and made the act of violating her easier... the inoculation likely felt like acid burning through her upper body. She... kept kicking through it all."

The Doctor was looking pale, almost nauseous, and shifted a little in his seat. "When I was... finished with her, I used the medkit she'd brought to break her skull. Only then did she stop kicking. I... remember stroking her blonde hair out of her blue eyes, telling her she had herself to blame for the pain she'd felt. Then... I threw her body over the safety rail. She... sizzled in the reprocessing field, her skin and flesh stripped slowly from her bones, until she was gone entirely. Her matter was recycled into food, beverages and clothing for the crew. I... remember asking the other medical staff if they enjoyed their lunches in the mess hall after that, as a sick kind of private joke."

Ida saw how Nicander swallowed, and his tattooed hand was shaking as he raked back his hair from his eyes. She steeled herself from feeling too much empathy for him, keeping it professional, but two things stood out for her. One, that if the cannon wasn't having any effect on him, and if he was acting his remorse, he was a better actor than most she'd seen on holo-vids. Second... she couldn't even imagine what it had to be like, remembering doing things at the behest of an alien possessing his body and wits. She ground her teeth together, reminded as she was about the horrible nature of their enemy.

"By the winds, I... remember meeting Tarnwright's parents at Starfleet Headquarters when she was commissioned to the Theurgy," Nicander said quietly, taking a deep, shuddering breath. He shook his head, closing his pale grey eyes. "I have nothing further to add to my statement."

The silence was thick after that, before Ida turned her eyes to Rra. There were likely more names on her list.

Re: Day 13 [2318 hrs.] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

Reply #8
[ Lt. RraHnam | USS Theurgy | Vector 02 | Deck 7 | Security Center ] @Auctor Lucan

What Nicander described was the essence of a sick mind. Only psychopaths and other mental patients would find satisfaction in this perverse manner. The procedure required meticulous planning and a handful of luck. If anyone had observed Nurse Tarnwright going into the waste processing area, her predecessors would have come to the conclusion of how she was killed much sooner. Replicator processing was not a pretty thing. It was one reason why so many people didn't want to know about it, but any kind of waste was disposed of here and broken down into its atoms for reuse and reconfigured. Basically, it was a simple process that ensured that spaceships could operate autonomously in space for years and decades. But when people learned what these recyclers were usually fed, the thought of eating processed meals made of components of human waste took on a certain nauseating quality. Many cadets lost their appetite after this realization.

RraHnam swallowed hard when she heard the news about the whereabouts of the disappeared. She was used to many things by now, had a strong stomach. But to be confronted with such a perfidious crime right away in her 'first' case aboard the Theurgy was hard to say the least. An uncomfortable silence spread among those present.

The investigator recorded his every movement, followed his every reaction spellbound, and tried to interpret his body language. Doctor Nicander grew paler and slumped during his testimony. He propped himself up on the table and RraHnam had the impression that his fingers were tightening in his grip. Drops of sweat had formed on his forehead. All indications were that he felt honest remorse for actions for which he was not independently responsible. He was merely a vessel for a parasite who reluctantly gained control. RraHnam was not allowed to forget that. She had to differentiate carefully. Was it an act that this man before her in the cell had committed of his own free will, or was there more to it? Either way. Apparently, Doctor Nicander remembered the incidents. That was an advantage at first, if RraHnam could close the cold cases thanks to his help and thus provide closure for those left behind. On the other hand, it was a curse. A curse for him the very least. For he had to live with the knowledge, with the memories of the gruesome acts he had to witness as an uninvolved passenger.

RraHnam noted the new information in her PADD. She added to her predecessor's notes and was able to find new cross-references in other statements that corroborated Doctor Nicander's testimony. As soon as she had time to do so, RraHnam would write up the report and look for evidence in the waste processing. While this was a wild goose chase, the logs from the disposal unit should shed light on whether organic matter was indeed disposed of that at least approximated the last known weight of the nurse. Given that the logs weren’t been wiped, only then would she close the case.

"Thank you very much, Doctor Nicander. I will check your information. I am sorry if this is causing overwhelming emotions. Please be assured that this will help my investigation considerably" RraHnam struck a conciliatory tone so as not to lose the conversation immediately. "If you feel up to it, would you please tell us about Ensigns Helmer and Mitsuhito. Both men 'disappeared' after a visit to the Below Decks Lounge. You were seen there, drinking with the two men."

Re: Day 13 [2318 hrs.] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

Reply #9
[ Deputy ThanIda zh'Wann | Security Center | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]
Attn: @Nero
Hearing Rra ask that question, Ida glanced her way and then made a search on her own PADD. She didn't recognise those names from the hearings conducted at Aldea, and after a couple of seconds, Nicander gave his answer - eyes still downcast and obviously still thinking about Tarnwright.

"I remember talking with these two gentlemen in the lounge," he said, then looked up - pale grey eyes weary - yet he frowned in consternation. "Though I do not recall having anything to do with their disappearance..."

The Doctor gave it some further thought, as if trying to recollect the conversation with the two officers. After a couple of seconds, he pursed his lips to speak anew. "I recall how they asked about their medical records, the health stats of their bio readings, and whether or not they needed to exercise more to improve themselves. This was right after the Theta Eridani IV repairs, and before the holographic shore leave at Suraya Bay. I was working long hours on restoring the health of Sarresh Morali together with my medical team, and I had gone to the lounge to unwind a bit. I recall how my parasitic self considered how, despite the health of their medical records, they would be quite easy to kill. All it would have taken was just one swift strike towards Mitsuhito's chest, breaching the ribcage with the impact, and then seizing the heart - yanking it out in front of his face while he was alive. When the parasite was in control, these kinds of fantasies were common. Morbid daydreams of what I wished to do instead of playing the role of the impeccable medical officer. I believe... I nursed a thought about setting fire to Helmer's uniform as well, using my native abilities... but I never actually did any of it."

Ida thought about this, remembering those specific dire times of their voyage. She remembered how she had been transferred to the USS Harbinger after falling out of grace aboard the Theurgy, and how Captain Vasser and his First Officer - the Vulcan named T'Rena - had staged their hostile takeover the day following the meeting in the Below Decks Lounge.

"It could be that," she said idly where she stood, "during the night where T'Rena had made the rounds and mind-melded a large portion of the crew to be loyal to her and Captain Vasser, some crewmembers resisted her, and met their end at her hands. Either her, or one of the crew that she had turned over to their side. This was also during the time where Thea's internal surveillance system was down. I can see why the Doctor would turn up as a suspect, however, given that prior meeting in the Lounge, and the other deaths that he has confessed to causing under the time of his parasitic influence."

"Your guess is as good as mine, Deputy," Nicander said, before looking back at Rra. "I am sorry that I couldn't be more helpful in this particular case. The time where Captain Vasser took command of the Theurgy was a tumultuous one, to say the least, with fighting taking place in the corridors, and many dying. It could be Helmer and Mitsuhito was caught in the crossfire as well."

There was a pause, before Ida turned to Rra again. "Do you have any other cases listed there?"

Re: Day 13 [2318 hrs.] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

Reply #10
[ Lt. RraHnam | USS Theurgy | Vector 02 | Deck 7 | Security Center ] @Auctor Lucan
The security officer with the furry ears noted down the necessary information in her PADD. She was inclined to believe the man that he had nothing to do with the disappearance of the other two men. His statement sounded credible. Since he had helped her by confessing to the death of the nurse, RraHnam found it difficult to understand why he would tell her about the untruth in this case. No, the Cait was inclined to believe him. There had to be another explanation for the disappearance of the other two men. She marked this case as still unsolved and added that further investigation was needed. Perhaps her predecessor had missed something in the transporter logs? They could have simply dropped off during a shore leave shortly thereafter.

So, things continued. The next case on their list dealt with the investigation into the circumstances of the death of a Theurgy engineer.
"Doctor Nicander. During some sort of ceremony in which Captain Ives granted human rights to the artificial intelligence of this ship, as it showed itself to be self-aware, an unfortunate incident occurred in which Lieutenant Arcorn Neotin fell to his death from a great height."

RraHnam gestured again, linking the corresponding entry to the personnel file of the aforementioned lieutenant in her PADD. She was careful to work neatly and such trifles as linking a personnel file were easily forgotten. Therefore, the Caitian had made it a habit to deal with such things immediately. She had quickly noticed that the loss of time was insignificant, as it was in this case. Her interlocutor had nowhere to go. So, she made him wait for the moment it took to establish the link.

"According to the investigation file, everything initially pointed to a suicide, but the investigating officer had doubts. He didn't believe the man went to his death voluntarily, especially since there was no suicide note, which was typical in such cases." RraHnam paused for a moment. She seemed to be mulling over the words in her head, then continued in a tone that continued to seem conciliatory. "Unfortunately, there is no footage of his fall, with the exception of that taken after his unfortunate landing. The images of the turmoil surrounding his daughter."

RraHnam, once a mother herself, could relate to the woman's pain on the recordings. Perhaps not quite like a daughter losing her father, but she knew the feeling of losing someone of her own flesh and blood. It was an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness and bewilderment.

"My colleague, however, noticed a few details while reviewing the records. First and foremost, he expressed interest in your behavior during the ceremony. He combined that you, Doctor, because of your lineage and your concomitant natural ability to manipulate the air, may very well have been able to rob Lieutenant Arcorn Neotin of safe footing with a skillfully applied gust."

RraHnam was entering uncertain territory. She had no evidence to support what had just been put forward. It was only circumstantial evidence that, without a confession, would never be enough for an indictment, let alone a conviction. Without a confession, this case would remain unsolved forever. It was a straw she was grasping at, a narrow fucking straw, but if she didn't try, she was wrong for this job. RraHnam made sure the recording of their conversation was working properly and Doctor Nicander and herself were clearly visible.

"Doctor Nicander. I know that the insinuations and implications I have just made may seem as if I am trying to frame you, as the humans say. But I want to assure you clearly that I am only trying here to bring my predecessor's work neatly to a close and to close a dark chapter. I would like to point out to you once again that you do not need to answer my questions. Nevertheless, I would like to ask for your assistance. Did you have anything to do with the death of Lieutenant Arcorn Neotin?"

Re: Day 13 [2318 hrs.] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

Reply #11
[ Deputy ThanIda zh'Wann | Security Center | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]
Attn: @Nero
When Rra brought up Arcorn Neotin, Ida found herself quite impressed by both Rra and her predecessor. With raised antennae, she glanced in the Caitian's way. "Well done. Neotin's name is among the Aldea confessions."

The reason why Ida was impressed might not have been text-book investigation work on either officer's behalf, but rather how they had deduced possibilities by inferring evidence, and then Rra approaching the possibility with an open mind when speaking with a suspect. Given the wealth of evidence connecting Nicander to strange and unresolved crimes aboard the Theurgy, his Câroon heritage and abilities had been taken into account when looking at the odd circumstances surrounding Lieutenant Neotin's death. While there were no real indications that Nicander would have done the deed, the possibility was there.

In the Doctor's case, however, there was one factor that was often missing in all the murders, and it was a factor that had helped to keep him above suspicion leading up to his true nature being revealed. A key factor in all traditional crime investigations.

"For once, a murder with a motive," Doctor Nicander said quietly, unsmiling as he looked towards the deck plates. He took a deep breath, and told Rra the motive that served to underpin the theory.

"The Ash'reem are an exceedingly perceptive species, sensitive to pheromones and able to detect things few other species can. They posed a risk for my parasitic self, in how they might be able to find what I had hidden behind the bulkhead of Surgical Suite 02," he said direly, and with a glance towards the new Investigation Officer, Nicander perceived that Rra might not have read that report. Either way, he went on to tell her what he'd kept there.

"During the Niga incident, weeks before that, Arcorn's daughter - Cadet Amikris Neotin - was assaulted at the beginning of the outbreak" Slowly getting to his feet, Nicander began to pace the cell while he explained the motive, detailing the context first. "The officer - Lieutenant Gladstone - was violent in the act, and she killed him with her tongue mid-coitus. I was in the room, fighting off another infected that tried to infect me, and I saw it myself. The Cadet thrust her tongue through his oral cavity and out through the back of his head. Gladstone died instantly, but not before he managed to impregnate Amikris with Niga-infused seed." 

Nicander paused, looking at the bulkhead while seemingly delving into his memories. "After the USS Relativity found us and cured us from the virus, Amikris wanted to keep the child at first, ignorant of what it was,, so she didn't tell anyone about the pregnancy. Her mother, Amatras Neotin, was the first to know besides the Cadet, but as the Chief Science Officer, it only took the mother a scan to see that the antidote hadn't treated the foetus. So it wasn't a Human-Ash'reem hybrid child, but rather the Niga plant's seed, warped by her species' unique physiology into a Niga-Ash'reem hybrid. An abomination. It was no easy decision for the mother and child to come to me, since abortion was something to feel shame for among their people - their species' birth-rates declining catastrophically. A child, to them, was a rare blessing."

Turning around, Nicander continued. "I am technically violating doctor-patient confidentiality, but since the whole Neotin family is dead, I included Arcorn's demise in my confessions at Aldea. Needless to say, Amikris and Amatras asked me to conduct the abortion off the record to keep the information of the pregnancy from someday reaching their home world. When the procedure was done and they left sickbay, however, I put the still living foetus in a small stasis unit, and hid it inside the wall of the surgical suite. Why? Because the seed child was key to creating the time-loop in which the Infested can enjoy destroying this reality over and over in endless cycles - generating parallel timelines each time they have the Seed Child sent back in time to the planet Niga, and the flora spread across the planet anew."

Even though Ida had heard about this before, it was still a lot to take in - the scope of what the Infested had done hard to grasp.

"In this cycle, during the battle at Starbase 84," Nicander continued to say, forlorn as he looked towards the deck, "like she had done endless times before in different ways, Ensign Sonja Acreth created a temporal breach and brought the Seed Child to Niga - restarting the cycle and creating yet another distributary to the time stream. In all other cycles, I was the caretaker of the Seed Child up until then, nourishing the foetus to full health in that stasis unit. In this cycle, however, Heather MacMIllan's transphasic light severed my mind from the influence of the parasite, and I tried to stop Acreth before she created the temporal breach."

With a self-disparaging frown, Nicander's tattooed hand had closed into fist. "I failed. I was too late."

Collecting himself, the Doctor then stated the obvious. "The Neotin family could have sensed the pheromones of the foetus behind that bulkhead, especially since it was part Ash'reem. Therefore, I took the opportunity to kill the father at Theta Eridani IV. By that time, Amatras Neotin was already dead - killed by the A.I. of the USS Calamity - and while I planned to kill the daughter as well, she perished when the Calamity attacked Theta Eridani IV from orbit. Sarresh Morali was also on the list, but he was hurt trying to save Amikris, and I made sure that his ability to sense pheromones didn't remain when I treated his injuries."

It was a lot for Rra to take in, no doubt, but Ida spoke up anyway. "I... believe you can mark down Arcorn Neotin's death as a solved case."

Re: Day 13 [2318 hrs.] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

Reply #12
[ Lt. RraHnam | USS Theurgy | Vector 02 | Deck 7 | Security Center ] @Auctor Lucan
Again, RraHnam listened to the doctor's explanations. She was amazed at the calmness with which he produced the words that were supposed to explain the motive for the murder of Lieutenant Arcorn Neotin. According to them, the murder happened only to protect the doctor interests and his explanation made sense. While RraHnam still needed to gather some information on Ash'reem physiology, she doubted that Doctor Nicander was telling the untruth.

RraHnam had not encountered any Ash'reem yet, and if they really had such a fine sense of smell, it had made sense from the doctor's point of view to get rid of them. Hiding the fetus in stasis in surgery had not been a bad idea either. The room was regularly sterilized, which meant that other odor-sensitive species, such as the Vulpians or their own, the Caitians, would have been reluctant to come near Sickbay. However, RraHnam doubted that this was the main reason for the choice of the hiding place and that it was just a lucky coincidence. Criminals usually stored something so valuable close to them and where they could quickly access it. But whatever reason the doctor might have had for choosing the hiding place was explained by his motive for the deed. He feared that Lieutenant Neotin could discover the hiding place from the pheromone trail. For the same reason he wanted to get rid of his daughter Amikris Neotin, who however had died in an attack of the USS Calamity. Moreover, after the murder of her father and the daughter's demise, he had taken away the ability of the injured Sarresh Morali to perceive the pheromones.

If this had been a normal investigation, the confession would have been sufficient to arrest the man. However, it had to be considered that there were other factors at play here. Doctor Nicander, although apparently in control of his senses at the moment and extremely cooperative, was still infected with one of these parasites. It could be assumed that the parasite was the driving force behind this murder and that Doctor Nicander was controlled by others.

And then there was the temporal component in this story. Time travel. The creation of a parallel timeline or the creation of a time loop with the restart of the Niga infection. This was hard stuff and hard to understand. But on the other hand, this was a stroke of luck for all of them. Because in this loop, they managed to break the mental link between parasite and host. RraHnam was not sure what of this story absolutely had to happen, what could have been prevented, or simply resolved differently. To understand, RraHnam would later try to talk to colleagues who knew more about this topic than she did, even though they probably couldn't help her. Still, she would try.

RraHnam agreed with Ida: "Yes, I will mark down the case as solved. I still have some queries I need to clarify with other departments, but that doesn't concern you anymore, Doctor Nicander." The security officer made appropriate notes in her PADD and but didn’t close the file until she checked in with the other departments. She searched the reports for further entries on cold cases but did not find any more. The Caitian nodded curtly. "From my end, that would have been it."

RraHnam raised her head and looked at the Câroon through the force field. His face was half in shadow. "Doctor Nicander. I thank you for your cooperation. You have been very helpful in my investigation. With this, I can bring certainty to a few people. Thank you for that." She again enumerated those present and noted the stardate in her report. "But before I go. Doctor Nicander, if you like, I would like to give you the opportunity to add something to the records."

RraHnam always kept open the option of giving her interlocutor a final word. Sometimes people decided to confess only then, because they feared that otherwise they would not get another opportunity to do so. But it also sometimes happened that certain things had been forgotten during an interrogation, which they remembered only later or at the end, when the subject had long been changed. A few times RraHnam experienced how her interlocutor used this last opportunity to rattle off his manifesto and thus play into her hands everything she needed for an arrest. Often, however, this last option went unanswered. The investigator was curious to see which group the doctor would belong to. Only then did she wanted to finish the recording.

Re: Day 13 [2318 hrs.] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

Reply #13
[ Deputy ThanIda zh'Wann | Security Center | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]
Attn: @Nero
Ida turned to look at the Doctor whilst he sat there on his bunk, looking thoughtful about the question Rra had posed. "While I have laid the crimes I committed under parasitic influence bare I suppose I ought to state the obvious for the record, just for sake of clarity and... posterity," he said quietly and rose to his feet, walking over to the forcefield.

"While many among the crew hate me for what I represent, the enemy of theirs for these past six months whom are responsible for the dire straits the Theurgy has endured, I merely ask this... Should a man possessed by an alien entity truly bear the blame for what he did against his will and better judgement?" He said it with his back straight, not vying for pity, but challenging the unspoken accusation. "The burden of proof lies on me to show that I am no longer under said influence. By the winds, I do know this, and I will continue to cooperate and serve this crew as best as I might despite the encumbrance of my incarceration. All I ask, is that the crew I love and serve keep their minds open for the possibility that I am whom I say I am, and doesn't succumb to fear and paranoia. The benefit of the doubt is all I ask for, and I hope these addendums of old confessions in this hearing will serve that request."

Hearing this, Ida knew that for some, it was a tall order. Still, she knew that the intel the Doctor provided over the course of the past weeks had proven truthful and accurate - serving to facilitate victories in many facets of their ongoing mission. Ranging from how they could seal the apertures in the Azure Nebula, to keeping the Breen out of the war, and defeating the Infested on the Klingon High Council with anyon emissions, Doctor Nicander had proven himself a reliable asset.

The lingering doubt, however, was that the Infested was doing this to keep himself alive, and might seed lies in the future, where the stakes were higher. They simply had no way to tell for certain that the Doctor wasn't committed to an act for sake of the long game. Not even telepathy could grant them that certainty, so he remained a possible liability. It depended entirely on whether or not you believed his word.

"For what it is worth, Doctor," Ida said quietly, raising her chin, "I don't know you had asked to take Wenn Cinn's place in the Azure Nebula, but when I heard, I ceased to blame you for his death - staying behind as he did because you said the Omega Device was the only means to save billions of lives from the Borg. Moreover, given how the detonation of that device did what you said it would, preventing the Infested from using the Borg to decimate this part of the Galaxy, that act - beyond all else - told me how unlikely it is you willingly serve the enemy now."

She took a step closer to the force field, however, and made the a comment that made the difference between trust and belief.

"Yet are you certain... that you're not unknowingly influenced by that thing inside you? Do you know for a fact that it isn't undermining you in ways you can't know? When you were injured, the parasite took over to keep you alive, so it's still there, and still able to control you under those conditions. Do you know what other conditions make you susceptible to its influence? What other times make you loose control, and become a risk to this crew? You remain a liability, and how much of one you are... is unknown. You are talking to Security officers, and in the interest of protecting this crew, we can't jeopardise their lives on your word alone."

Lucan looked her in the eye, and they both knew where they stood - individually - so he merely inclined his head in the end.

"This is the reason why I am up late at night, Deputy," Lucan said, stepping away towards his fold-out table and his many stand-alone PADDs, "researching means to separate myself from the parasite, so that I can settle that concern once and for all."

"Good," Ida said with a small smile. "Keep at it, Doctor, for I do not wish to keep you here one minute more than I have to. I don't like keeping an innocent man behind bars, even for sake of protecting others."

Ida turned to Rra, and once she was ready she nodded towards the exit, walking alongside her towards the security gateway and eventually reaching the lobby. "So," she asked once they were out of earshot, "what do you make of him?"

Re: Day 13 [2318 hrs.] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

Reply #14
[ Lt. RraHnam | USS Theurgy | Vector 02 | Deck 7 | Security Center ] @Auctor Lucan
RraHnam listened intently to the doctor. Her ears had perked up in his direction and her pupils had constricted as if she were on the hunt. She had fixed him with her gaze and gave him her undivided attention. She heard his words and understood what he was trying to say. She was willing to believe him. After all, it was a proven fact that he was infected. RraHnam had experienced it firsthand through Kopek. The parasites were able to increase their host's strength considerably, and to a degree they could simply ignore injuries of the most severe kind. According to the reports, it was even possible for them to impose their will on the host while he was almost fully conscious, and that was what drove the real fear into RraHnam's heart. If someone was infected, there was almost no indication of it. That someone could go undetected for ages, causing trouble until the deeds became unmistakable.

And that was what Doctor Nicander was now basing it on. According to his own statement, he was manipulated by the parasite and driven to vile deeds. It was a fate which RraHnam wished no one, for it was difficult to separate. How much was share from the parasite and what actually came from the host?

A little relief spread through her when the deputy spoke up, apparently having similar concerns. Yes, it was up to Doctor Nicander himself to show that he was no longer under the influence of the parasite and at the same time one always had to be aware that the parasite could just play it safe and let his host play a role. It could never be ruled out that he might not still be under its influence.

Then there was the extrinsic component. The outside influence. Members of the crew who were directly affected by this kind of betrayal. They didn't necessarily see the parasite working in him and through him. No, often they will have seen only Doctor Nicander harming them and for that alone they would hate him and label him as insincere or dangerous.

For RraHnam, the case was somewhat different. Doctor Nicander had admitted and confessed to his actions. He aided the cause of theurgy and surrendered to custody. Investigations had shown that he was indeed infested with a parasite and had been disconnected. Although this was not absolutely certain. It tied the risk that the parasite was still in control and only playing a role, but she was willing to believe the doctor. However, precautions had to be taken and the first was not to believe anything that came out of the man's mouth until she was one hundred percent sure that the parasite no longer had any influence over him.

She nodded to the man. "Thank you, Doctor Nicander." With quick flicks of her wrist, she noted the last words of his statement and the Andorian's comments in her log. Together, she and the Deputy Chief of Security left the cell wing. When they reached the lobby, the Andorian turned to RraHnam and asked for her opinion.

RraHnam looked into the blue eyes of the woman with white hair. "He can't be believed," she said flatly. "Please don't misunderstand me: I want to believe him, and I think he has told us the truth about the cases in question. Still." She glanced at her PADD. It was late, and slowly fatigue began to creep into her bones. "Caution must be exercised with this man. Until the parasite is removed, and it is established beyond a doubt that he is he, I do not believe him at all. On the contrary, I would even recommend increasing the guard changes and varying them more often, so that he can't tune in to certain people. On the other hand, I think I owe the doctor the benefit of the doubt and must first assume that he actually carried out the acts under the influence of the parasite." RaHnam sighed. "Be it as it may. He's a good source for theurgy efforts and whether he's guilty or not is for the JAG to sort out. How about you? What's your impression, Deputy?"

Re: Day 13 [2318 hrs.] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

Reply #15
[ Deputy ThanIda zh'Wann | Security Center | Deck 07 | Vector 02 | USS Theurgy ]
Attn: @Nero
It seemed to Ida that Rra's opinion of Doctor Nicander was a blatant contradiction at first glance, but she believed she understood what the Caitian meant. While giving the man the benefit of the doubt when they could afford to, they couldn't ever be entirely trusting towards him since there were too many unknown factors when it came to the enemy they faced. More specifically, how exactly they affected their host bodies and the people that suffered under the influence of the parasites.

It was lamentable, in how the victims of the enemy - in both her own opinion and Rra's - couldn't be trusted.

"Yet the man has given us credible intel many times at this point," Ida said in idle speculation, arms crossed underneath her chest and frowning - eyes cast towards the deck plating in thought. "Intel that has led to the detriment of the enemy. Great detriment, even. His intel as Infested informant has caused set-backs ranging from the prevention of the Borg invasion through the Azure Nebula, to saving the crew a couple of times, and singling out the Infested hiding among the Klingon High Council. I believe you even fought that one in the Great Hall. I was on Praxis at the time, but I read the reports."

Having said as much, they reached the lobby and the Aide's desk, and Ida turned to face Rra. "In any case, as unknown as the parasite's influence over the Doctor is, some of the crew have begun to trust him on the basis of his actions instead of his words alone. They say 'Judge a man by his actions, and the truth will make itself known to you'. It's a human quote, I believe. Personally, I think there is another saying that holds more weight, obligated as we both are to put the safety of the crew first. It goes 'You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him'. In the Doctor's case, he is entirely dependent on what we can do for him, either in desperation to be free of the parasite, or exerting the will of that thing by giving us false information when it matters most."

Sighing, Ida knew that the situation with Nicander wasn't fair towards them or him, since as Captain Picard had said once when visiting the Academy, back when Ida was a Cadet, 'The road from legitimate suspicion to rampant paranoia is very much shorter than we think'. Ida hated how there was no way to see that path beneath her feet, and tell how far she might have strayed.

"I will be retiring for the evening, but good work on solving all those logged cold cases. With the death toll in the crew, your predecessor included, there would be no telling when Nicander's confessions would end up being compared to those case files." Ida raked her white hair back between her antennae. "Good night, Lieutenant."

Re: Day 13 [2318 hrs.] Hot Chocolate and Cold Cases

Reply #16
[ Lt. RraHnam | USS Theurgy | Vector 02 | Deck 7 | Security Center ] @Auctor Lucan
RraHnam nodded as she followed the Andorian's explanation. She thought she understood what the blue-skinned woman was getting at. It was a risk to trust the man in the cell, but his actions should also be considered, and they testified to his will to help them all. He helped the ship on many occasions. He had to be given credit for that. However, RraHnam did not want to belittle the doctor's contribution. No, she was very keen to urge the rest of the crew to be cautious until it was certain that he was completely free of the parasite's influence.

She thought back to the fight Ida mentioned. She felt her bones aching, the fractures already healed. She had to use all her strength in the fight and despite the help of some other fighters, the infected Kopek made for a one-sided fight. Even though RraHnam was sure she could take on Klingons any day, it took the strength of several Starfleet officers at once to take Kopek down.

"Yes, true," RraHnam agreed. "But humans also believe that star images determine their nature." She laughed dryly. Her tail swished serenely from left to right. Her eyes focused on the Deputy Chief of Security. "My point is not to belittle his performance. His info seems worth its weight in gold, to stick with human proverbs. I'm not trying to be the doomsayer either. I just want to point out to remain critical and exercise caution." She paused. It was not in her interest to take this discussion to the point of éclat. She was perfectly fine with being the critical voice. It was only important to her that her colleagues not neglect risk and not put themselves in unnecessary danger.

She accepted the compliment gratefully. Even if the lion's share of the work was done by someone else. "Thank you, Lieutenant," she said, "It was the least we could do." A little pride filled her heart. RraHnam took a deep breath, then echoed the Andorian. "Good night to you, too, Deputy."

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