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CHAPTER 02: Shades of Untruth [First Day]

CHAPTER 02: Shades of Untruth

[ USS Harbinger | Brig | 6 Hours Post Mortem Arcorn Neotin | 1400 hrs. ]
Attn: Kurohigi, Escapis, The Counselor, Nolan & AkiraRevile

It was a grim parade that passed through the darkened corridors of the Akira-class starship.

At the head walked the two Captains and their respective First Officers, few words traded between them since enough had been said already about what they had to do. Directly behind them followed the Chief of Security, Lieutenant Drovo, and one of her Security Officers by the name Ben Vessery. From the Theurgy, Acting Chief of Security Than'Ida zh'Wann had been ordered to come, walking in the wake of her Captan and First Officer. Behind them came the medical personnel, consisting of Chief Medical Officers Lucan Nicander and Amelya Duv, along with the Harbinger's Chief Surgeon, one Dr. Miko Dauntless. While the Security Officers were - almost ridiculously so - armed to their teeth with both hand-phasers and rifles, the medics in their white or blue labcoats carried an array of diagnostic instruments. The only one that did not carry anything was the fourth doctor, since Chief Counsellor Hayden O'Connor needed only bring her observational skills and analytical mind to this quite... extraordinary session.

For they were - potentially - about to face their enemy, and make the enemy unknown no more.

Almost three months of being persecuted across the galaxy, countless lives lost and untold numbers of innocent people in the fleet killed by their own hands - slain in mere self-defence. After having suffered rape and molestation at the hands of gods and viral decease, and always looking over their shoulders - whispering about the right and wrong of theirs and their superior's actions. Talks of desertion and mutiny. Of survival against all odds. Odds that were clearly not in their favour. Here - at last - was the opportunity to learn the face of their nemesis.

Which was quite hilarious to Dr. Nicander... for non-apparent reasons.

At least not apparent to the small horde of cattle he walked with. He wished they were walking to slaughter... yet he knew that this was not the time. No. Too many eyes. Too many risks. Thankfully, he had managed to manipulate events so that no empaths or telepaths had joined this horde. Among other things, he had tasked Eve Jenkins with other duties. Necessary precautions, just so that the kin that awaited them in the Holding Cell wouldn't accidentally blow his cover. For there was no telling if they had met before... this dimension or the other.

When they reached the Brig, the posted security guard turned his head and took in the interrogation party. He addressed himself to Lt. Drovo, since she was his closest superior officer. He tapped his console once before he straightened in a salute. "Everything clear, ma'am. We have set up a perimeter of guards and I just now activated the force-fields in the corridors outside. She has said nothing and eaten regularly."

"Very good, Ensign. At ease," Dee said, turning to the two commanding officers, "Captain Vasser, Captain Ives, your prisoner awaits in Holding Cell D. Lieutenants Vessery and zh'Wann, take your positions." Lucan observed, from the back, that the halfbreed Ktarian had been given command over the Andorian Deputy of his own crew, in all probability because of Ida's previous short-comings and the fact that she was 'only' the Acting Chief of Security on the Theurgy. Without comment, the fomer Andorian Guardsman led the way to the farthest holding cell in the row and came to stand on the left side of the force-field, leaving the right side to Junior Lieutenant Vessery.

The powered-down Harbinger left the Brig in dimmed lights, and as everyone approached... the brightly lit holding cell was shining like a portal to another world. Yet despite initial appearances, there was but a holding cell beyond the force-field, and there was but a woman sitting inside, wearing but Starfleet standard issue underwear, sitting upon the bunk with her elbows on her knees and her hands clasped. She watched the people gather in front of her cell, and her delicate eye-brows climbed. As more and more people came into view, she rose to her feet.

"I have said it before, Captain," she said to Vasser, "and I'll say it again, since you clearly have not listened. Whatever you may think, you have clearly got the wrong idea. You are wasting your time on me while clearly engaging in affiliations with the enemy. How are you to convince Starfleet HQ that were are not traitors when you go and do... this. " She gestured towards the Theurgy personnel, clearly frustrated.

Captain Vasser turned to the gathering without comment. "May I present Ensign Sonya Acreth," he said, then looked back to the prisoner, "or at least that is who she says she is."

OOC: See bottom of this layout to orient yourselves about the Harbinger Brig:

Please introduce your characters into the scene and we'll go from there. :)

The traitor on the Harbinger is mentioned in Captain Vasser's biography. The holographic rights speech was held on the plain 6 hours prior to this interrogation/examination.

Re: EPISODE 03 : Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #1
With all the excitement and relief that had come with the Theurgy and the Harbinger uniting in their mutual recognition of Starfleet Command's total corruption, Miko had renewed her otherwise pathetic personal efforts to mitigate how much she complained about and snidely commented on every event. The impression that seeing a Starfleet crewman careening from the hull of the other vessel to their death in the middle of what was supposed to be a celebration of no longer standing alone left in the mind of the doctor had been... dampening her ability to meet that goal, to say the least. Confident was in no way a proper word to describe how she was feeling about the near future alongside their newfound allies.

Of course, she might have been taking an overly-pessimistic view of things, even for the constantly cynical surgeon. At the very least there were a few hundred more bodies in between her and the end of a Starfleet phaser rifle - and, granted, she'd be patching up those bodies every single day at the rate they seemed to get into trouble these last few months, but idle hands, the devil's playthings, all that jazz. If there was anything she would never want for anytime in the near future, it would be opportunities to practice her craft; internal bleeding, plasma burns, severed limbs, facial devastation, and a host of other horrifying injuries had gone from being the rare stressful occasion to the daily standard for what her barely-still-steady hands worked feverishly to patch up since this whole ordeal had begun.

Yet another such surgery, this one to continue rebuilding half of a young woman's arm that had been absolutely destroyed by a malfunctioning EPS conduit, happened to be occupying Dauntless' mind as she instead found herself attending an interrogation of all things. Apparently they'd already found a potential culprit in the mysterious homicide that had more or less ruined the ceremony earlier, and to nobody's great surprise, questions about the suspect's true nature had necessitated the presence of multiple medical professionals, Miko included. Something about the elusive 'enemy' who never seemed to have a form more specific than vague distant threats spiced up with explosions far too large for her taste. Given that their adversaries seemed to be taking on such a form, she'd honestly started to wonder exactly how her surgical tools might end up being used in this meeting, and none of the scenarios were what one would call pleasant.

In the end, though, she really had no idea how this little showdown would proceed. All she could really do right as they entered the dim brig was take in the sight of the woman locked up; young, slim, and in surprisingly good shape for someone who'd spent three months running for their lives from Starfleet's ever-reaching grasp. God knows that if not for the whole locked-in-jail thing, Miko would have loved to get terribly familiar with those abs and legs of hers. Of course, the same could have been said of just about quite of a few of the people on the Theurgy, so maybe that wasn't saying much. Damn good looking for people who had to be ready to jump off a building simply from how much they'd been dogged by their former commanders across who knows how much of the galaxy.

Relieving all that stress would come later; right now, Miko just stood nonchalantly, looking barely interested when in reality she was terribly curious as to how this whole little meeting would play out.

Re: EPISODE 03 : Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #2
The seemingly slow march to the brig reminded Hayden of what she'd read and seen in ancient vids about the execution of prisoners.  The Federation had abolished the death penalty long ago, and it was perhaps because of this that there was more than a bit of renewed interest in the subject even today.  Like with so many issues, the official legal position did nothing to quell the debate among individuals or even individual member worlds, and as Hayden contemplated whom she could be meeting and the individual's significance to their cause, O'Connor realized her positon on the matter wasn't as solid as it once was.

The closer they got to the subject of so much turmoil, however, Hayden began to feel like a character from Lord of the Flies or Phantom of the Opera.  She'd never considered herself capable of murderous rage or even dispassionate hatred toward anyone, and whether it was her training or just her personality, she automatically began to put herself in the detainee's position.  With the sheer number of people approaching, Hayden felt they might as well have been carrying pitch forks or refreshments.  Did they seem ready to burn her at the stake?  Or perhaps just to gawk at her like an animal at a zoo?

Twinges of empathy aside, there were practical issues to consider.  How the hell was this many people conducive to a proper interrogation?  Even if the woman she now knew as Sonya Acreth were inclined to tell them the truth, would she do so in front of a group?  The first rule of interrogation was to let the subject believe she and the interrogators were on the same page.  Also, Hayden counted two physicians besides herself in the welcome party.  Granted, Hayden's role of Chief Counselor did not require her to render medical aid, but she was capable if need be.  In any event, O'Connor didn't see any sign of illness or injury within Sonya.  What were three doctors going to do?

O'Connor wanted to speak to Acreth privately, but Hayden was new to the crew.  The last thing she wanted was to appear like she was throwing her weight around.  She waited for more clarification and prepared to offer the suggestion if need be.

Re: EPISODE 03 : Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #3
Amelia Duv was following behind most of the high ranking officers, she had heard about the capture of someone yet she didn't know why or when. As they marched through the starship, she had a weird feeling about the entire "event". It was as if something was off and she grew weary more and more as she felt people we're about to sneak up on them from behind. Maybe it was the lack of sleep or the paranoia starting to break through with Amelia. Perhaps she should address the counsellor about this? Yet this wasn't the time to bring this up, not while they were being brought to a prisoner. She had thought to herself that it was odd that nobody had informed her to go out to the brig to check the prisoners vitals or at least figure out what was going on from a medical point of view. Since the start of the entire parade, she had glanced a couple of times at Lucan. The CMO of the Theurgy seemed relaxed, unlike most of the other staff members that seemed on edge, especially the security personell. Yet they always seemed to be on edge for some reason. Or well, that's what Amelia thought either way.

Once they arrived in the brig, Amelia frowned a bit by the nearly nude prisoner. She recognised the woman from somewhere, yet she couldn't quite put a name on it or remember where in the ship she saw her. She assumed her place next to Lucan and waited for the explanation. Amelia remembered that she had to perform medical scans on every crew member, yet only now it hit her that she never performed a scan on this woman. Once her captain was done with his introduction, her eyes gazed upon Ensign Sonja. Her fingers itching as she wanted to pose a question. She took a step forward now as most of the other staff members were still getting into position. "Sir, may I request to take a tissue sample and a full medical scan of Ensign Acreth?" She asked with a loud and determined stern voice.

Re: EPISODE 03 : Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #4
[Declan Vasser - Brig]

The Ensign had been an unseeming figure aboard Harbinger.  A lieutenant or some other higher ranking officer might have been questioned, but when Sonya Acerth had been transferred to his ship, Declan hadn't thought much of it.  Just some fresh-out-of-the-academy cadet getting her first posting on his ship.  It made her able to pass by unnoticed for the most part.  She performed her duties within acceptable limits, neither proving exceptional nor underwhelming.  Average went unrecognized, and that played to her advantage.  As she stood there, clad in only her underwear, contained behind a force field, all eyes were upon her now.  She was finally being noticed, and not for any good reason.

"Ensign, you are going to be provided with only a single chance to cooperate.  Answer our questions, and submit to full medical scans.  Should you resist, we will be forced to stun you with a phaser pistol and keep you under anesthesia to complete scans, after which we would have to employ a telepath to acquire information from you about your superiors."  Was this a being that could threatened?  Or did it merely shrug off their attempts to intimidate?  Who knew how many allies she might have, embedded into high ranking positions in Starfleet and the Federation as a whole?  Her kind knew far more about them then they did about hers, a disadvantage that the combined might of the Theurgy and Harbinger crews had to work to overcome.  Should she submit, they had everyone they needed; doctors to acquire samples, a counselor to get more personal questions, and commanding officers to ask questions of tactical importance.  Should anything go awry, they had a security officer stood by.  Though Acerth had her mystery, this was one case where the odds were stacked against her.

Re: EPISODE 03 : Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #5
Standing to the side, ThanIda zh'Wann had a perfect view upon the ongoings, and she paid attention to everything she could.

Lieutenant Dee of the Harbinger had been given the command of the present Security detail, both because of the fact that they were on the Harbinger and also the fact that she held the CSec position there. Ida was still officially a Deputy, and it was not her place to question the decision made by the two Captains. It was not her place, no, yet she hoped that this halfbreed Pinkskin woman knew what she was doing. Opposite her, standing on the other side of the opening to the cell, was a security officer Ida had not met before, yet she had learned that his name was Vessery. They were both armed with one Type III Phaser Assault Rifle, one hand phaser and several energy cells to spare. They did not merely hold armament and stance in common, yet the same emotionless expression upon their faces - eyes aligned towards the captive behind the forcefield.

Captain Ives also stared through the forcefield of the holding cell. He, for he was in his male form, looked upon their alleged enemy - unblinking like a chiselled statue. Ida felt far more comfortable focusing on the captive than looking at her CO, yet she could not help sparing a glance towards the XO too, with thoughts of the night before coming unbidden - images of her together with Edena Rez's body against the cliff side. Illya had taken the edge of the hurt, even if it was still there. Especially now, since she was again being pushed aside despite her faithfulness to her crew's safety. Still, honour was honour, and duty was her calling. The Harbinger's CMO spoke up, and Ida pushed her own shortcomings aside for the sake of the situation at hand.

"Sir, may I request to take a tissue sample and a full medical scan of Ensign Acreth?"

The Theurgy's CMO outranked her, and as the Trill doctor stepped up to his side, Ida heard how he answered Dr. Duv in a low voice. "Of course, please prepare the equipment while I energise the oculus," said the tall and exotic man, who while usually having a dry wit and a charming demeanour now had an utterly calm and professional air about him, just like he was in Sickbay on the Theurgy. Nicander kept his voice down though, because Captain Vasser had begun to talk with the prisoner, standing next to Captain Ives as was. While Ida listened to Vasser addressing the Ensign behind the forcefield, she considered how unlike the two Captains were in terms of physique. While Ives may change his form at his own behest, he wore a form fitting for his martial arts training - looking like a weapon all on his own. Meanwhile Captain Vasser had a more... innocuous frame. The body of a thinking man rather than a fighting one. Then again, looking at them both, it would appear that Captain Ives was far worse for wear - threadbare from the hardships he and his crew had been through.

"A single chance, Captain?" asked Sonja, raising her eyebrows and folding her arms underneath her breasts, "I feel like I am not given much chance at all. Fine, whatever is needed for everyone to reconcile with the truth that I am exactly what I appear to be. Speaking of which, I find it rather barbaric that I have to be in here with nothing but my undergarments. Has Starfleet Security regressed to medieval methods? Can I please be given some clothes to cover myself?"

It was the Harbinger's Executive Officer who answered the Ensign, the Vulcan named T'Rena. "I instructed Security to remove your clothing so that you may not get the idea to hang yourself or wedge the fabric into the seams of the bulkheads in order to pry them open. Given your current situation, it would be logical to assume that you would do whatever necessary to keep your secrets from us."

"I don't know if I should feel flattered or not that you would think this body holds the strength of a gorn. Do I look that intimidating to you, Commander?"

"Appearances might be deceptive, which is especially true given the few facts known about your kind. Infiltrators. Instigators. Impersonators." T'Rena might have counted off operation routines from a handbook given her flatline tone.

"No disrespect, Commander, but I think you might have watched too many holo-novels." The Ensign sighed and watched Nicander detach the oculus device from the side of the holding cell's frame. The CMO slid the gap in the forcefield out to where Acreth was standing and then took a step back, nodding to Dr. Duv that she could proceed. The Ensign stuck her arm out through the gap and stood still, waiting.

Meanwhile, Dr. Nicander returned to Dr. Dauntless' side, and Ida could overhear him speaking with her in a low tone. Was that a... small smile he gave the woman? Did they know each other? "I will be preparing the portable biosensor for Dr. Duv's readings and her tissue sample. I think we need to calibrate a sub-dermal bioprobe though, and inject her with it so that we might have continuous readings throughout the interrogation. Could you please synchronise it to your own medical tricorder and inoculate the Ensign?"

Captain Ives had not said one word during the beginning of the examination. He had just stood there, watching the Ensign, and had not moved an inch. Ida did not even think that Ives had blinked with those oaken eyes. Now, though, he pursed his lips to speak. "Counsellor," he said in his deep voice, addressing Hayden O'Connor where she stood behind his shoulder. "Speak freely. If our medical scans fail to show something, is there some other way in which we can determine if Ensign Acreth is all she says to be? You have her file, and you have experience from law enforcement on Earth as well as on the USS Challenger. Are you confident that you can ascertain the truth if our scans fail us?"

Ida looked towards the new Counsellor aboard the Theurgy. Hopefully, the Pinkskin might see the tactic: perhaps crude yet nonetheless important. If she could convince the woman... or the thing ... in the holding cell that there would be no use lying, perhaps it might give them the upper hand as the interrogation proceeded. Next to the Counsellor stood Edena Rez, and Ida wondered what Jona Rez - that former host hiding in the shadows of the First Officer's mind - might think about the situation. He might have his uses, she had to admit, given his mysterious background with Starfleet Intelligence.

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #6
Ben Vessery couldn't play poker all that well but he was certain it wasn't because of his face- there wasn't much it told- the hints it could give of his world view, and the limits of his thought, were few. He had a neutral blandness about him that could be found reassuring when worn by Security Officers, the help. His mind, however, had this stink of distraction... fallen back from providing his body with displayable emotion it began eating itself in that very dangerous activity of introspection. He felt uneasy:

Vessery's reflex was to think of shame- a thoroughly modern and enlightened Federation citizen who had begun noticing the primal reassurance he got from holding his Assault Rifle and having a hand held on his hip. Knowing how to use it- and the full implications of having to. It was the raw kind of power. He had it with him. Little else- but with that crude dynamic he wouldn't need much else anymore. He was getting comfortable with it. Without the investiture of Starfleet he was regressing... no?

Stood to the side and covering the interview with the barrel of his gun, Vessery watched- his active participation would mean some kind of deterioration of objective, if not situation. The Andorian security officer from Theurgy had an arc that complimented his coverage with his Rifle, her alien eyes lent easily to the idea of an inhuman focus rather than inhuman thoughts. Ben Vessery expected he was responsible for some similar effect; a different species again from the Command and Sciences group they were shepherding down into 'their house'. His reflexes were good:

Sureness, familiarity, his skill-set now emphasised a sense of control Vessery could have within his immediate environment- power again. Shame followed afterwards; and either he was a good son of the Federation to feel remorse at such inelegant thought- or somewhere his oldest ancestors had hardwired this impulse for self-condemnation rather than fix the cause of it. Had they been Catholic? The Security Officer stretched his fingers then reset his grip on his rifle, unnecessarily sured his footing- no it wasn't his face that told... he couldn't play poker because his thoughts didn't need his face to be expressed through.

Acreth was representative of the 'darkness' closing in on Harbinger from all sides... caged she retained that association with menace, when otherwise her appearance and her imprisonment was really just sad looking. She made it work a bit- the appearance of vulnerability. It implied power and control was sitting with them on the other side of the 'glass', when the truth was she personified a threat over them all that turned this bit of pageantry on its head. It wasn't appearances that was the problem here, it was perspective... Harbinger was wrenched from it- like these Theurgy people. Vessery had woken up one morning thinking 'Starfleet good' and gone to bed having to think 'Starfleet bad'. After all his years, after all his service, very suddenly he was on the outer. All these dirty questions that being part of a larger- working- Federation society had saved him from having to answer... were now all his own problem. He'd had to start groping around for a new perspective on how the galaxy spun. And how he needed it to spin for his own well-being. Before the Federation had done all that for him. Now, from behind the scope of a Phaser, he'd have to look after his own good- with only a vague sense that it could be for a greater cause.

The delegation of Command and Science- Medical- types brought down here to interview Acreth had the collective expertise it was hoped would be all that was necessary to draw answers... and from answers sense... and from sense perspective out of her. On what was going on here. Lift the darkness closing in on them all. Vessery again took his mind to the world about him. Feeling irritation with himself: his thoughts meandered, and when they did they took his focus with them. He didn't look around- he trusted that he'd kept looking tough and on job through it all. And then he hoped Acreth would play easy- be sensible- or after glancing at the Counsellor, that she would make light work of this...

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #7
Hayden's stomach churned with a mixture of emotions as she observed the activity around her.  On the one hand, there was a good possibility she was looking at one of the people responsible for all of the trauma and grief she and others had thus far experienced as a result of their...condemnation by the Federation, to put it mildly.  Who knew how many people this woman had killed or helped to kill?  Who knew how many people had been injured at her hand?  That didn't even account for the emotional damage she and others she supported had possibly inflicted to countless numbers of people. 

People that would likely kill for the chance she had now. 

That thought alone was sobering for O'Connor as she contemplated the enormity of the suffering those people would never get to express toward Acreth.  She'd counseled survivors of trauma who spoke of the aching desire they carried with them simply because they would forever be denied the chance to face the people who had hurt them and pour out the rage and pain their selfish acts had created forevermore.  Such feelings, no matter how much time had passed, never fully abated, and no matter how much her medical training discounted it, Hayden knew such residual feelings were like a cancer slowly eating away at someone's resilience and soul.  As a therapist, she could help to minimize the damage, but she could never erase it. 

To be given this chance to communicate just how that felt, for her, and to do so on behalf of others, felt like a tremendous burden.  If she cared about helping people who had been traumatized at all, a part of her believed it would be a betrayal of all she was not to honor that obligation.  Certainly it seemed wrong to feel sorry for her immediately, especially because Acreth seemed so cavalier, even smug. 

However, there was also another part of her that Hayden couldn't ignore.  She was a counselor and a doctor, a healer, and she had become a healer because she cared about people.  Seeing Acreth before them nearly naked elicited empathy, almost involuntarily, before she even realized it.  What's more, the feeling only intensified when she watched a fellow healer take a piece of Acreth from her.  Emotionally, it didn't matter the procedure was quick and painless, and it didn't matter the biological evidence was microscopic.  Despite it making logical sense to collect such evidence, Hayden was still confronted with these emotional factors.

It was with these emotions warring inside her Hayden heard Ives address her directly.  She had wondered before this what it would feel like when s/he called upon her in public, and she had considered how significant that moment would be for the rest of the crew, as it would be the first and most important opportunity for them to form their own opinions about whether Hayden could be counted on, and if she was indeed one of them.  Moments like this mattered under any circumstances, but especially under these, when the crew needed someone trustworthy to confide in and when trust was in such short supply.

So when the moment finally came, it was all she could do not to stare Jien down with a glare that could melt duranium.  S/he knew Hayden was not a telepath, and s/he knew a review of Acreth's file would not help her determine whether Acreth was lying or telling the truth.  Hayden was not a human lie detector, she was not even an interrogator.  Her criminal work was confined to assessing victims and suspects to determine their compentency and mental state.  She had observed and offered guidance regarding interrogations, certainly, but no one would ever accuse her of being an expert at playing bad cop.

Hayden knew she had no choice but to play along now.  Any indication of doubt would be a victory for Acreth and a defeat for O'Connor in the eyes of the crew.  She was especially annoyed that Jien had made the issue her degree of confidence in her own abilities.  If she failed after asserting her confidence in her own skill, she would be labeled arrogant.  If she was honest about her doubt, she would be seen as weak to all present.  The only option left was success, and it wasn't an outcome in her control.

Staring straight at Acreth, she kept her voice firm and her face as impassive as stone.  She was the picture of confidence.  "I'm as confident as I ever was, Captain." 

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #8
While Amelya prepared her equipment for the scans, she tried to focus her full mind to just that. She could feel the tension that was building up in the air of the brig. The armed security officers made her feel more uneasy than they should. She had the feeling that if things would get awry the guards would perhaps open fire on anyone who would disagree with them. Quickly she shook her head as if she tried to shake the ideas out of her mind. She looked up slowly in order to see if anyone noticed her behaviour. Her equipment was ready and Lucan had already helped her with the occulus. She listened with full attention to what everyone was saying while she made her way to the forcefield.

She created a small hole in the field and looked up at Acreth. Her eyes lingered into the ensign her eyes as she spoke softly "Extend your arm through the hole ensign. It'll be a slight pinch in your arm but it will be enough to get the tissue sample that I need." She waited now for the ensign to comply and once she did, she ran her tests. It seemed like she needed a few more samples after her scans showed her a couple of irregularities. She informed the ensign about it and took two more shots from her before returning to the group of medical personnel. She immediately started to dig into the data she got. However she quickly realised that the abnormalities could not show any sign of alien or parasitical infestation. It just seemed like the ensign was starting to get ill, perhaps a flu or a cold coming up. She sighed and ran through the data again in order to make sure she didn't miss anything. The analysing of data brought her mind away from the worries of the filled brig.

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #9
Deputy zh'Wann observed closely how the prisoner allowed the Harbinger's CMO take a tissue sample, being perfectly ready if the Ensign would decide to use the opening in the forcefield to do something unforeseen.

Acreth, however, merely stood there compliantly, if in silent protest, making a face when the tissue sample was taken. Yet still, she remained where she stood. The Chief Surgeon, Miko Dauntless, did as Dr. Nicander asked, and stepped forth to inject the sub-dermal probe with a pen-like syringe, a medical instrument Ida had no idea as to what it was called. Again, Sonja Acreth made no protest, just returning the dispassionate and professional stare from the Chief Counsellor when she spoke to her. If there was any doubt or trepidation in reaction to O'Connor's words, it did not show. Instead, the Pinkskin prisoner - enemy or not - returned that stare evenly. The lack of a verbal reply could be interpreted in any possible way.

Captain Ives turned his head to lock eyes with Dr. Nicander, who looked up from the readings on the portable biosensor after Amelya's tissue sample had been inserted into it. The Theurgy's CMO did not reply to the implied question from his Captain before he looked over Dr. Duv's shoulder to check the readings on her tricorder as well, yet when he had looked towards Dr. Dauntless and she shook her head minutely, Dr. Nicander spoke up. "Nothing out of the ordinary Captain. There is a sign of an upcoming cold in the readings, yet nothing that would suggest alien DNA or residues in her human physiology. If there is a second nature to the prisoner, it cannot be detected with these instruments. At least not with these settings. We will continue our diagnosis."

Not about to let go of the suspicion so easily, Captain Ives turned to Lieutenant Drovo - asking the Harbinger's Chief of Security the obvious. "What has been determined as facts in the investigation so far?"

"Ensign Acreth was caught having reprogrammed our warp field phase adjustment coils," said Dee, the halfblood taking a step closer to the forcefield as she spoke, coming to stand between the two Captains in the Brig. "By establishing a simple oscillation in the subspace field masking algorithm, a short repetitive pulse-type signal was encoded into the background static of the Harbinger’s warp signature. Our Chief Science Officer detected the signal and Acreth was apprehended while trying to send one of these sub-space messages back towards the Sol System. While encrypted, we could analyse the source input and determine a codename - the sender's - and that the clearance for the recipient - or recipients - to read it required Admiral or Fleet Admiral rank as well as a twelve-figure password. After her arrest, Sonja Acreth has refused to answer any questions relating to the messages she was transmitting. The codena-'"

"You were quite simply not privy to any further informaton... because I am a Starfleet Intelligence operative," said Acreth suddenly, interrupting the Chief of Security, and Ida's midnight blue eyes returned to the prisoner. The Andorian looked towards Commander Edena Rez briefly, the similarity to her story aboard the Theurgy quite plain. It did not exactly make suspicions rise anew, yet it did make for an uncomfortable similarity given the circumstances. The fact that Ida had been intimate with Rez the night before served to muddle the waters even more for Ida, and she was glad she was not in Dee's position given the development.

"No you are not, Ensign," said Captain Ives, also glancing towards Rez before speaking, and Ida remembered that her Commanding Officer had also been a part of that shady organisation. "Because then, your messages would not have carried that kind of encryption. Nor would they be directed to the Fleet Admiral. The recipients at Starfleet Intelligence would have codenames as well. Codenames already known to us. Lieutenant Drovo, what was the codename that Acreth used?"


Sonja did not exactly react to the codename being mentioned, yet she stepped a bit closer to the forcefield. "My designation does not provide any more solid proof than what your doctors have already established. There is no conspiracy. Starfleet Command and Starfleet Intelligence are not replaced by Changelings or grumpkins. The fact of my human nature weighs more heavily than the fact that I sent messages to the Sol System in disguise of an Ensign. Your First Officer there ought to give me the benefit of the doubt, Captain Ives, given the fact that she is - or was - an operative like me. She also hid in plain sight, and that does not make her a monster anymore than it makes me one, does it?"

Ives took a step closer to the forcefield as well. "Indeed it doesn't," he said quietly, staring through the invisible energy between him and the woman in the holding cell, "but the fact of your codename does. 'Echo' was mentioned in the transmissions that my crew intercepted on Earth, implying your involvement in the conspiracy."

"Oh, you must be joking... It is an SI codename, Captain, and me being mentioned does not implicate me or Starfleet Command. This is ridiculous."

"State your true name and rank, prisoner," said Dee, stepping up next to Captain Ives. "Your cover is blown. There is no use for you to pretend anymore."

"No, neither of you are privy to that information. You are a fool to believe I would compromise my mission."

"What kind of mission would that be?" asked Commander T'Rena, standing stoically beside Captain Vasser with not a hint of heat to her tone. "We have never been told what kind of treason the Theurgy personnel committed on Earth that merited that the entire Fleet was sent after them, the Harbinger included. We were supposed to bring them in or shoot them down in the event that we couldn't. The transmission came with a Priority One clearance. That sort of order is not to be questioned... unless there is a cause to do so. In this case, the cause would be you and your presence aboard, along with the nature of your transmissions back to Starfleet."

"So, agent or alien, surely you would know what kind of crime Captain Ives and his crew was charged for, not to mention what lies that now have been told about the Harbinger crew - staining us all in the eyes of our families and friends back home," said Dee, looking quite convinced that they were on the right track.

"Fact remains," said Captain Ives, unmoving where he stood next to the Security Officer Vessery, "that the transmissions we came across on Earth made it plain that the people in Starfleet Command were not who they said to be. Regardless of the nature of this person, there is no doubt as to the fact that people have been replaced, or possessed, and this done so expertly that the whole Fleet suspects naught about it. The question should be whether this person innocently believes the lies told, or if she is a part of the conspiracy.

Deputy Ida spoke up at last, standing opposite Vessery on the other end of the forcefield. "Yet... that question is answered now," she said where she stood with her rifle, unable to keep silent. "An individual by the codename Echo was named, where the context said he - or she - had successfully... I think the expression was 'joined'... and had begun to report on progress made. They know that we intercepted those particular transmissions too. This cannot be a coincidence."

"No, its entirely a matter of folly," said Sonja Acreth, having retracted her hand from the opening and folded her arms underneath her bosom, "Captain Vasser, you cannot believe anything the Theurgy crew tells you. You were wrong to approach them in this way. Now, you are led to believe that there are enemies lurking in the shadows, where the Federation's enemies are right here in plain sight. Ask yourself, what is more likely?"

Captain Ives turned his head to look to Hayden O'Connor, whom might have seen something in her observation of the interrogation. "Thoughts, Counsellor?"

In the background, Dr. Nicander asked the other two doctors to continue the diagnosis. "Try to run bio-pattern recognitions with other species in the medical database. Perhaps there are signs in her DNA that might suggest advanced cosmetic surgery. If someone has 'joined' with her, whatever the second lifeform was that did might have been concealed..."

OOC: After Kurohigi, The Counselor and Nolan have posted (while AkiraRevile and Escapis are welcome to do so too!), I will have things take a rather... dramatic turn. ;)

AkiraRevile just told me that he is on a short hiatus due to work so I proceeded to further the scene a bit.

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #10
[Edena Rez - Brig]

Edena hated to do it, but if Acerth was claiming to be a member of Starfleet Intelligence, then they needed an expert to come in.  Alright, Jona.  I'm letting you out.  You stay in line, and keep to business, understood?  Edena's eyes blinked, and when they opened again, it was Jona Rez who was now in control of her body.  Her stance immediately changed, legs becoming stiff and back straight, serving to destroy the gentle curve of her hip that gave Edena's body a great deal of femininity.  Jona stood like a man, and it removed much of the vulnerability, the softness from his current form.  It was always a strange sensation for him to be in control of Edena's body, mainly because he was the only mle personality in the Rez Symbiont.  If Kiya or Illya took over, they could find some familiarity in still being female, but Jona found only the alien sense of being not what he should.  The way the clothes hugged her made him feel different things then he would have if he were male, which only motivated him to remain even more still then normal, to avoid stimulation.

"When you look at me and at Captain Ives, what do you see?" Jona said to Acerth.  "Both of us are officers who have served in Starfleet Intelligence.  You are not.  You don't have the eyes.  The things we do affect even the most hardened.  You . . . you look like a doe caught in headlights.  You flash those little eyes of yours and think they speak of honesty.  Instead, they speak of someone who hasn't seen a tenth of what a real Si would see.  But of course, that isn't evidence.  That is just my own opinion, so let me get into something much more effective in disproving your claim.  Starfleet Intelligence Officers go through years of training before they can become active agents on-board a ship like you claim to be.  Edena here was fast tracked because she has me haunting her brain, telling her what to do.  Your record of commission, as well as your age, would suggest that, even if you were a SI operative, you wouldn't be placed in such an important position of spying.  On top of that, the Harbinger isn't a ship worth spying on, no offense to Captain Vasser and Commander T-Rena.  Their ship[ does not carry anything if tactical importance like the Theurgy does."

"Lastly . . . Echo.  Phonetic alphabet.  You know the problem with that?  It suggests only twenty-six active agents at one time.  A bit small a number don't you think?  Echo 07 or Echo 04 might have been more convincing, except that Echo is a designation used for Bolian operatives.  Humans use the designation Alpha."  Jona looked back towards Jien at that.  "We gave you an Alpha designation, didn't we?  There was some debate over what the hell to call you.  We decided if you were going to identify with humans, we might as well make that your call sign."

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #11
Once more, Hayden felt the heat of Ives' eyes and those of the others on her.  The truth was, Hayden was no more confident of Acreth's veracity than she was just a few minutes before.  Members of the Theurgy crew had made quite persuasive arguments, and Acreth hadn't offered much in her own defense.  What's more, her defiance and what she was trying to portray as an unflappable demeanor certainly did her no favors.

Was O'Connor looking at an enemy prepared to die for the cause?  Or was she simply looking at a stubborn woman who refused to show fear?

Also troubling Hayden was the knowledge that she was not present for a lot of these earlier events, at least as a member of the Theurgy's crew.  Consequently, she was keenly aware that she was best equipped to prevent groupthink and mob mentality from settling in, if indeed that's what this was.  If she was too quick to jump on the bandwagon as it were, and she was wrong, Hayden would never forgive herself.

"I'm not buying a word she says, Captain.  That said, I'd say the same if she were an enemy or just flat delusional.  If she's the former, we can always take care of her later.  If she's the latter, then it seems beneath us to kill a sick woman.  Besides, I haven't had a true psychiatric case since med school.  I'd quite like the challenge."  The words were offered evenly, honestly, with not a trace of sinister intent.  Hayden's stare never wavered, however.  She was taking a gamble and could not afford to be seen as a bleeding heart.

Inside, she hoped the message was clear.  She needed more time.  Throwing Acreth out an airlock or killing her in her sleep was always an option, but disposing of her and then finding out she was useful was not going to do a damn bit of good.

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #12
[Amelia Duv]

As more results appeared on screen for Amelia, she listened to what Lucan had to say. The probability of cosmetic surgery or joined hosting could be an option. The ideas of possibilities flooded the mind of Dr. Duv as she let her eyes scan the new result that kept coming in. She glanced over at Lucan now and nodded "Good idea. Would you mind looking in onto a parasitical joining?" She asked Lucan now before her eyes went to Miko. "Dr. Dauntless would you follow up on the scans from the probe and inform us if anything changes within the normal parameters during this... interrogation."

She had deliberately stalled a bit before pronouncing the word interrogation. This situation was highly uncommon to her as it was her first time. The first time she actually had to witness such a thing and in the meantime process all the information that she was getting. The young lieutenant had quite a burden on her, or so she experienced it. She herself would now focus on the possibility of a hosting variant. She had more knowledge about this thanks to her race than Dr Nicander, or so she assumed. She let the rest of the brass handle the interrogation while she tapped her screen for more intel on blood values and abnormal readings.

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #13
Watching Captain Ives when Jona Rez posed his question to him, Deputy zh'Wann could see that her Commanding Officer had not forgotten what the former Trill host had said and done during the Ishtar Incident. They were not on the best of terms, despite how Jona Rez seemed inclined to assist them in the interrogation. At least for the moment. Lor'Vela knew what he might have up his sleeve if given more reign with Edena's body.

"You saw it fitting to name me Alpha Janus, thinking yourselves clever, no doubt," said Ives with a dismissive tone, still looking at the prisoner. He turned his head to acknowledge the Chief Counsellor's words, though, and his answer was a bit less terse than when speaking with the present ghost of Starfleet Intelligence. "Agreed. If she can be proven to be 'joined', as in possessed by the enemy or simply not fully of her own mind, I am not inclined to harm her. A standpoint I would doubt everyone present shares with me."

The acerbic remark was obviously directed to Jona Rez, yet Ida's major concern was that Captain Ives was too outspoken about his limits in front of the prisoner. Then again, such a standpoint might work in their favour; making the prisoner more inclined to confess since it was given a chance to escape harm or more intrusive scans and examinations. Not how Ida would chose to play it, yet she had faith that if required, at least the Harbinger's First Officer might carry out the tasks required... should they fail in this hearing.

"So, Ensign Acreth," said Jien Ives next, "you have been proven a liar, and we have a fair assumption of what you are. Dr. Nicander, what is most likely her true nature? Pending medical evidence, that is."

The exotic, tall man with tattooed hands paused in thought before answering. "Several alternatives, Captain. Brain parasites, for one. Yet the winds know that is more probable to turn it's victims into mindless, zombie-like slaves. There was one breed called toxoplasmosa gondii that history proved medically terrifying. This bug infected rats in the twentieth century on Terra, but it could originally just breed inside the intestines of a cat. The parasite knew it needed to get the rat inside the cat, so the parasite took over the rat's brain, if you pardon the crude unscientific description, and intentionally made it scurry toward where the cats were. Alleys and such. Cities used to be quite unsanitary on your planet. In other words, the rats were being programmed to get themselves eaten, and they never even knew. A version of these parasites were what we ran into in the Mahéwa System, only in the form of an aggressive, viral kind that the plants on Niga produced in their ovules."

Ida never cared for the reminders about Niga and what she went through, so she looked away from the doctor, working her jaw in part shame and part anger.

"Then we have Denevan neural parasites, which are believed to have originated from outside the Galaxy, named for a Federation colony they infested in 2267," continued Dr. Nicander, talking while producing a medical tricorder out of the pocket of his lab coat. He stepped up to the forcefield. "They are amoeba-like life-forms. Gelatinous and analogous in structure to giant brain cells. The studies of these parasite colonies have proven them to exhibit behaviors consistent with a collective intelligence. Not unlike the Borg, in fact. Individual parasites are even capable of limited, short-distance flight. When the parasites make contact with humanoid life forms, they are inclined to attach themselves to the victim's back. Near the mid-spinal region. Doing so, they infiltrate the central nervous system with fibrous growths that quickly spread throughout the subject's body and brain. These tendrils allow the parasite to seize control of the victim's autonomic and higher functions and thereby control the subject's behaviour."

Feeling a bit ill when hearing the CMO's description, Ida adjusted her stance a little. Yet it seemed the doctor was not done yet.

"Victims who resist are subjected to intense, debilitating pain," he said, scanning Sonya Acreth by holding the medical tricorder in front of the oculus in the forcefield. "These Denevan neural parasites are extremely virulent and reproduce at an alarming rate, making it possible for them to infest and control entire planetary populations in very brief periods, after which the parasites will compel the victims to aid in their transport across interstellar distances in order to infest other populations. Again, a behaviour not far remote from that of the Niga virus that we were infected with. Still, as with the virus we bore, Ensign Acreth obviously has no growth upon her back. Moreover, it would show up on our tricorders."

"Thank you for the lecture, doctor, now can you please come up with a viable alternative? You are a doctor, not an encyclopaedia," said Captain Ives, arms folded where he stood next to the CMO in front of the force-field.

Lucan took a deep breath and raised his pale grey eyes to look upon the prisoner. "Interphasic parasite..." he mused aloud, and Ida was not quite sure, but she thought the prisoner... stiffened a bit where she stood. Nevertheless, the doctor continued, lowering his eyes to his tricorder, "IP, for short. It is a once-rare phenomenon believed to be indigenous to the planet Thanatos VII. Increasingly common now, however, following the introduction of interphasic fusion processes in the construction procedures at various industrial facilities throughout the Federation. Consequently, the Starfleet Surgeon General and Starfleet Command were forced to issue joint advisories about these dangerous organisms. It does not fit perfectly, though, for the IP pose a grave risk to the health and survival of their humanoid hosts, making long-term impersonations impossible. However, they are not normally detectable by tricorders or standard scanning protocols, despite their large size."

"That is the best explanation I have heard in a while," said Dee, her dark eyes turning to the Theurgy's CMO. "Why doesn't it fit our enemy's profile?"

"Because once they attach themselves to a humanoid host, they feed on the its cellular peptides, quickly depleting them from the host. They need to feed, in short. Moreover, they do not control the mind of the host. Most often, the host doesn't even know it is carrying the parasite until its too late. However... there might be a question of evolution having perfected their means to draw sustenance from what the host ingests... That's how the Denev-"

Ida saw how Dr. Nicander raised his eyes to Sonya's... before rounding on the present crowd - the fact of a realisation plain on his face. "Oh, by the winds... It might just... Of course... Consider this: If we combine the IPs interphasic nature with the parasitic drives of the Denevan kind. An invisible, mind-controling... Interesting... very interesting indeed. Related? Scanners, yes. We need scans. So, hear me out, the most straightforward means of detecting IPs is through the use of positronic scanners, which are capable of detecting the high-frequency interphasic energy pulses generate-"

The forcefield ignited. Screeched horrifically in protest. Yet Lucan's scream was louder; a blood-curdling sound that made Ida's eyes go wide. There has been no time to see it. It all happened too quickly. Acreth had been too fast.

Having reached out through the oculus, Sonya now held the Chief Medical Officer against the Level 10 forcefield - her grip white-knuckled around a fistful of the doctor's labcoat. She held him there, her free hand against the frame of the oculus on her side of the force-field, and her entire body was bent on the effort to hold Dr. Nicander there despite the energy surges that made him dance as if he was attached to strings. Overriding the noise, the prisoner screamed at them through the shimmering energy wall - her once angelic face contorted into a mask of death. "You know nothing, flesh-puppets!"

The CMO was going to die unless they intervened. Prolonged exposure to that kind of force-field would set him on fire just as quickly as the heart would give out. Hesitation. A tough call. The doctor could save countless lives. Ida raised her rifle and screamed to the Brig Officer, who had remained by his station. "Deactivate the force-field!"

"No! Belay tha-" shouted Dee while she drew her hand-phaser, yet it was too late, for the security guard had already heard the screaming and switched it off as soon as he'd heard Ida's call. "Vessery! Take her ou-"

Before Dr. Nicander's burned and smoking figure hit the floor, or the deafening clatter of the oculus against the deck plating hit Ida's eardrums... Sonya Acreth had stepped forth and wrested the muzzle of Dee's phaser upwards. Ida would remember the woman's facial expression forever, that bare glimpse before the shot whipped Dee's head backwards. If the crowd of people had not stirred before then, the killing shot was the point where everything fell into chaos.

Ensign Acreth had moved so fast that Ida had been forced to realign her aim immediately, and if she'd taken her shot, she might have hit anyone present, given how everyone were moving around and shouting. The hand-phaser never left Dee's hands, thankfully. Yet when Ida did get a clear shot, she was too late, since Sonya was already in her face. Ida felt rather than saw the strike against her jaw, just as she felt the bulkhead against her back when she fell into it. Sonya was on top of her too, at least she thought it was the prisoner, since someone tried to wrest Ida's assault rifle away from her. Yet Ida held on. By Lor'Vela, she held on, not about to let go of her rifle.

"Shoot her. Now." A command to Vessery from T'Rena, and Ida imagined that she might have been the only one standing still.

More brutal strikes fell against Ida's head, and the world was turning dark - the ferocious snarls of the enemy filling the encroaching void.

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #14
The forcefield flashed, and Vessery squinted with a raised hand. The Doctor contorting on it took in energy the field threw off; and his limbs and his body all twitched; and violently- uncontrollably- he rode the surges. Acreth hid behind the noise and light, with her threat roared over the top of this other stimuli. Involuntarily Vessery found his feet flat, and his heels leading a subtle retreat; he shifted into a more squared shooting pose that shuffled him a half-step away from the trouble. His breath left him, and he stilled without any tension then catching at his muscles. His rifle was up, and its sweep potentially enlarged by his having moved- the Theurgy Doctor was scoped- but that meant little... Acreth held him in Vessery's line of sight daring the phaser fire to come along after her. A voice commanded the field drop- fuck! That'll mean-! Then Dee shouted:

As the energy cut Acreth was released; the smoked body of Theurgy's Doctor dropped; and in a wholly sad way that body slumped to the floor. It was strangely threatening to him- seeing defeat personified by that limp collapse; and smoke rolling across that same body in some fashion that was blue and grey, and menacing. Acreth had removed herself from Vessery's crosshairs; his eyes shifted sharply across to witness the more overtly violent way she ran into his Security Chief. That too was poetry as it played out... Vessery's muzzle swung slowly to cover it... while Acreth crisply closed a distance, rudely applied force, and rolled her hands so that the phaser Dee held turned magnificently to its gesture; and like magic there was a flash, and bang, and then the trick was complete.

Dee fell away like a cover being pulled off to unveil some fantastic impossible: Acreth was assaulting the Andorian woman from Theurgy now. The undressed Ensign falling upon the Andorian security woman, and both were into the wall. Shoot now! Quickly dammit! Shoot! Acreth was vulnerable to Vessery's fire if she didn't get that rifle off the Andorian first, or twist them around to shield herself. Vessery's gun lined up with Acreth's back, someone shouted, and the Harbinger Officer employed more force on the trigger then was necessary. Phaser fire lit up the space between Acreth and Vessery: three pulses; reassess; again two with sureness- towards the largest target available, energy aimed to land on Acreth's back. Vessery fired stunning blasts, in bursts at maximum setting, not stopping: at Acreth.   

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #15
Desperately, Ida had hung on to her weapon. The prisoner had wrestled her hand loose from the grip, and yet Ida had wrapped her arms around the barrel instead, tried to hook the stock with her leg when needed - anything to keep the prisoner from getting the assault rifle from her. If she let go, there was no telling how many of the important people in the Brig would die. The struggle made even two shots go off, the prisoner squeezing the trigger by accident or on purpose. The energy set the ceiling and the bulkhead aglow. Ida screamed, bleeding from inhumanly brutal strikes. The enemy was too strong... No, no, no, by Lor'Vela!

Suddenly the pull on the rifle lessened, and Ida struck her head against the titanium wall. She did not quite believe she still had her throbbing arms around the rifle, for she saw how the bare-clad woman roared and had thrown her head back - body twitching with residual energy. She must have been shot. By all accounts, she should have fallen to the deck plating, unconscious, and yet she still snarled like some eldritch horror awakened from derelict slumber. Ida saw how it rounded on the shooter, Lieutenant Vessery, yet it was a sluggish motion - belying the ferociousness in those sharpened eyes. Three more shots sent it reeling backwards, towards Ida - knees finally buckling. If it was a parasite in that body, it might be more resilient, yet the amount of energy was shutting down the host's central nervous system.

Screaming a kind of battle-cry, Ida aligned her own rifle, firing from where she lay propped up against the bulkhead. She only managed to get a couple of shots in, while Vessery sent barrage after barrage into the animated body. Eventually, Ensign Sonja Acreth fell down, twitching with energy currents that coursed through her body. Somehow she still seemed to breathe. Merely unconscious.

There was a long pause while no one spoke - the silence lingering in the immediate aftermath.

"Medics!" cried Captain Ives, and the spell was broken.

OOC: With only diagnostic equipment brought, Nicander needs a Medical Transport to Eve Jenkins in the Triage Centre with his 2nd degree burns (arms legs, back, not head). He is unconscious from the prolonged exposure to the force-field. Ida can walk there, injuries being blunt trauma and superficial blue bleeding. Acreth appears to be able to make a full recovery with some extensive rest.

Dee did not make it. "When used at close range, a phaser set on stun was capable of inducing sufficient trauma to kill a Human, if fired at a vital organ such as the brain." - Memory Alpha.

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #16
Amelia had taken cover behind one of the waiting area furniture. One shot came close to hitting her as she pulled her knees up to her chest, the residue of it lowing on the floor just a fraction of a space away where she had last put her foot. She didn't dare to look over the edge of the cover she was in. Basic combat training had taught her how though, yet she was stiffened up by... fear? She was breathing shallow and when she realised it herself she closed her eyes to take deeper ones and more controlled.

While trying so she could hear the barrages of lieutenant Vessery and the gnarls of Sonja Acreth. The last image she had seen before ducking to cover was Lucan being held against the forcefield. The injuries must've been extensive as she knew the energy field would have burned his skin severely. The next thing she could hear was the battle cry of Ida and after that an uncomfortable silence fell. It was only hen Captain Ives had called out for medics that Dr Duv got herself back together.

She veered up from the cover and ran over to Dee first who was closer to her. She felt no pulse nor breathing as she looked at Nicander his body laying a bit smoking by the forcefield. Her eyes moved further to Sonja Acreth now who seemingly still moved under the energy surges raging through her body. It was a bit of a spooky sight as she wondered how much damage her body would have soaked up during that assault.

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #17
It was a cruel cosmic joke, really.  Or perhaps, depending on how she chose to look at it, a timely reminder.  The truth was, she was exhausted, and no matter how interested she was in the doctor's explanations, or at least should have been as a doctor herself, her eyes had started to glaze over the moment he started offering explanations.  Perhaps that should have been her cue to remain even more vigilant, especially as she grew nauseated at some of the more colorful words that managed to penetrate her fatigued brain, but hindsight was 20/20.

The doctor's scream was enough to jolt her into focusing her on what was in front of her, but not enough for her to trust immediately what she was seeing.  For a split second, Hayden's brain wondered if she'd been dreaming while standing up, but then someone or something knocked her back hard.  She frantically searched her sides for something resembling a weapon, but it didn't take her long to realize she'd had little more than a medical tricorder and a few medical supplies.

Not exactly prepared for combat but not exactly frozen, Hayden used the chaos to pull others out of harm's way, her brain and body registering there was some confusion as to what to do next regarding the forcefield holding the murderer Acreth in place. Her head told her it was unlikely Lucan could survive the onslaught even as her heart screamed at her.  Primitive instinct must have kept Hayden from getting caught in the crossfire because every other part of her surged with adrenaline.

Everything happened so quickly and yet so slowly at the same time.  O'Connor felt herself flinch when she saw the intense beams strike Acreth, almost as though the beams were striking Hayden instead.  She thought (or was she imagining?) she could smell burnt flesh and hear the sound of charged air.  Her ears rang slightly, and as she felt some semblance of calm beginning to return to her, the brig became too still for what felt like an eternity.

Her breath coming in ragged breaths, she scrambled for the nearest unattended wounded body.

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #18
[Edena Rez and Declan Vasser]

When the forcefield had dropped, Jona was quickly reaching for Edena's phaser, only to be stopped on the way.  Not a chance, Edena said to him, as she took control of her body again and produced the weapon.  The speed of the woman was astounding, how she was able to avoid so many attacks, leaving it down to the experienced security officers and their more powerful weapons to get the job done, though not without injuries.  Lucan was down from the assault on his body by the forcefield, Dee was down too, a phaser blast, even on a low setting, a dangerous thing at point blank range.  After Acerth was taken down, Edena rushed to check on the two downed officers, Kiya's ghost looking over her shoulder to provide insight.  They both need medical treatment immediately.  Amelia can take care of one, but they need another doctor.

Edena hit her combadge.  "Emergency medical transport, four to beam directly to triage!"  Kiya could use Edena's body to serve as a secondary doctor while Amelia worked on the other patient.

Vasser jumped in as well, trying to get some order in the chaos.  "Get that prisoner back behind the forcefield.  Give her a sedative too."  Acerth not waking up for a while seemed in their best interest.  Ida had superficial in ju8ries, the kind that could be handled later and not as a part of the medical emergency.  Declan checked on her, holding up a finger and having her eyes follow it in an attempt to assure no obvious trauma to her head.

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #19
As the adrenaline gradually thinned in her blue blood, Ida felt the pain increase - bruised and beaten as she was. She got to her feet by supporting herself against the bulkhead she had ended up against in the fight, and her arms were trembling from holding on to her rifle. She blinked hard a couple of times to focus, so when the Harbinger's Captain came up to her, she could recognise his intent and follow his finger with her midnight blue eyes. Had she been human, lacking her compartmentalised insides and skeleton, she would probably have a concussion, yet as it was, it still hurt.

"Thank you, sir," she managed, wiping her bloodied lips with the back of her sleeve while trying to steady her breath. "I had to save the doctor, since I never suspected the prisoner to be quite so fast..."

Behind Vasser's shoulder, Ida saw how Edena and the Harbinger's CMO vanished along with the prone Dr. Nicander and Lieutenant Dee - a medical transport that still left them the Chief Surgeon and the Counsellor in the Brig. Captain Ives remained too, as well as the XO on the Harbinger. The latter, this cold Vulcan that Ida had found herself disinclined to trust from the moment she saw her, was acting on Captain Vasser's order to contain the prisoner.

"The subject of this hearing was an unknown," stated T'Rena with her almost halcyon voice as she grabbed Ensign Acreth by the ankle and effortlessly pulled her back into the holding cell. "So given lack of a proper assessment of what kind of enemy we were facing, you acted erroneously in endangering the two Commanding Officers for sake of one doctor. Your order to lower the forcefield has cost the Harbinger our Chief of Security."

To have that thrown in her face so callously almost made Ida speechless. "I... The only thing I knew for certain was that we were about to loose our Chief Medical Officer. I am sorry, but I couldn't have known how things would-"

"You gambled all our lives, Andorian," said T'Rena and left the prisoner on the floor, nodding to Dr. Miko Dauntless to inoculate Ensign Acreth with a sedative, "yet I suppose it could be deemed fortunate that we now know a bit more about the opposition we face. Regardless what kind of parasite, and how we might analyse it, we do know what it enables the host-body to withstand. We have learned a few weaknesses."

Ida bared her teeth to the Vulcan, yet she said nothing - the shame and the defeat tainting her mind. She regretted that Edena Rez had vanished, since she might have spoken up to defend her sense of honour: reassured Captain Ives and Captain Vasser that there was merit in her reasoning. She would always protect the crew, even if she did not share the Vulcan logic of 'the needs of the many' and so on. Besides, Dr. Nicander might not just save lives during the rest of the voyage, but also find a way to scan people for these parasites.

"Raise the forcefield," said Captain Ives to the Brig Officer once the prisoner had been secured and sedated. His tone was just as harsh when he directed himself to the two remaining Security Officers. "Well done, Lieutenant Vessery. Lieutenant zh'Wann, I will speak with you in private as soon as you recover from your injuries. Furthermore, I suggest this examination ends here for the time being. Dismissed everyone, and Brig Officer? Please inform us if there are any changes."

With a taste in her mouth foul from more than blood, Ida withdrew. Behind her, she heard Captain Ives speak to his counter-part on the Harbinger. The Counselor and that Vulcan XO remained as well. "So, it seems Dr. Nicander was on to something. Let us hope he recovers, and can find a way to scan the crews for more of them."

[ Triage Centre | Theta Eridani IV ] Attn: Searcher, Kurohigi & Nolan

Nurse Maal was in the immediate vicinity when the transports came though.

His hair cut short in a very non-klingon fashion because of his upbringing in the Federation and Starships, he was still a large man - just like his real kin on Qo'noS. He found that he was somewhat in the way for the newly arrived. To his dismay, he saw that Dr. Nicander was one of the injured, along with a blonde woman. There was the usual not-quite-shouting and orders being thrown around between Medical Officers and Nurses. Tricorders chirping and flashing.

The woman proved quickly to be a lost cause, dead before arrival. It was just a quick matter for Maal to arrange for a slot in the Morgue aboard the Harbinger, making sure to have it powered up to seal it from decomposition. The funeral would probably be delayed. Yet as for Lucan, there seemed to be three women hovering in the proximity of his biobed - his uniform being carefully cut away from his burned limbs. The trauma left no room to preserve his modesty. Dermaline gel was being prepared close by. Yet somehow, there seemed to be some kind of contention as to whom would treat the CMO.

Would it be the Harbinger's Chief Medical Officer, or Dr. Nicander's own Head Nurse (who was also a doctor in her own right), and would either be assisted by the Theurgy's First Officer? An XO whom Maal had learned harboured the legendary Kiya Rez underneath the skin. As for himself, he would do whatever he was asked to, being just a Nurse who happened to be in that part of the Triage Centre.

OOC: See previous notes about Lucan's injuries. If there are any questions, feel free to PM me! :)

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #20
[ Triage Centre | Theta Eridani IV ]

Once transported to the Triage center Amelia looked at the staff who was available. Knowing that she probably was the highest in rank and that most nurses would see their own CMO half dead on the table, it would lead to a very chaotic situation. She chose to call Dee's death first before she looked at the crown of nurses and medical officers around Lucan. She scraped her throat a bit before she spoke up with a loud and stern voice "Everyone listen up! As some of you know my name is Amelia Duv, CMO of the Harbinger. Seeing that Doctor Nicander is currently injured I am hereby taking over command of this triage center. Non medical officers are to leave this compartment ASAP as for nurses and assistants I'll only need 3 of each. Whoever is still here withing 10 seconds that has nothing to search here will be sanctioned accordingly." She said now as she wanted to thin out the crowd so she could do her work. Most medical personnel knew that standing in a mob around a victim would only endanger the patients situation and possibly lead to their death. A leader had to rise to take control of the situation and seeing her title, Amelia chose to take that role.

"5 seconds." She said out loud as she made her way to Lucan now, taking her place next to him as she scanned him herself. She inspected the frontal part of his body first before she'd turn him over. She wanted to intubate him first before turning him on his belly. Once that was done she could inspect the burnwounds on his back. These were severe and some of the wounds reminded her of Phantom "I need 5cc of Dormicum and a fluid recharger. I want a full blood analysis and an estimation on how much fluids he's losing per hour. I want a full thorax, abdomen and limb shot. I need  burn kit right now and I want a full history of his medical history." She said on a calm voice while she read the first droplets of info that came on her tricorder. She looked up now to see who was still with her and what they were doing. People who proved inadequate or who couldn't handle the pressure would be dispelled from operating zone and replaced by people she could rely on. 

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #21
[Eve Jenkins]

As soon as she'd heard the call for medical transporter to the triage center, Eve was there with Maal and immediately began the process of removing his clothing.  Though outwardly she appeared calm and collected, as soon as she'd seen him unconscious and then the burns, her insides were screaming with fear that they might lose him.  Shoving those thought aside, she took a moment to visually evaluate him and felt a little relief.  "Well it's not as bad as it could be," she muttered with a little half-smile to her Klingon assistant.

The woman stood there looking around with a haughty expression then went into a bit of a tirade about how she was taking over the triage center.  Eve looked up for only a moment, anger flaring in her expression for only a moment before she turned her attention back to Lucan and began slathering on the Dermaline gel Maal had already retrieved to the burned areas.  Not only did it help but her Deltan ability to help block pain kicked in as well.  Immediately the furrows of pain in his brow relaxed and he began to breathe a lot easier.

So this was the woman Lucan had dallied with a bit earlier.  Normally Eve wasn't a jealous type but there was something about Duv that irked her, mostly the rude way she was treating everyone.  By the time Duv was done playing dominatrix and approached, Eve was already well underway.  "The burns are only second degree, painful but can be treated quickly and easily with the gel and a hypospray containing RL solution, prophylactic antibiotics, and mild analgesic which can be quickly followed with a dermal regenerator."  Looking at the Theurgy medical personnel, she nodded her head.  "It's okay, we've got it covered and I'll come out and give you a report," she said which led to them filing out of the area.

Maal ran the tricorder showing Eve the results and the half-Deltan shook her head.  "There's no damage to his lungs and his breathing isn't hampered so intubation isn't necessary but I would say some of the scans would be good just to make sure there's no damage to the heart or brain," she said as she continued to gingerly apply the gel.  Maal returned with a PADD showing Lucan's medical history and she nodded.  "Standards will work, no allergies to any of the substances," she said and gave the appropriate doses which the Klingon readied then administered through the hypospray.

"I would suggest in the future, Dr. Duv, that you use a little kinder tone.  Our nurses aren't fresh out of med school and can handle more than you obviously think they can, which should be obvious by the fact that they weren't running around screaming and crying and getting underfoot.  The Dormicum isn't necessary as his pain is at a tolerable level and the sooner we get the treatment done, the sooner we can wake him with a hypospray."  It was pretty clear Eve didn't approve of the doctor who'd stood around prattling away rather than dive into the treatment.

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #22
[Kiya Rez in control of Edena Rez - Triage]

Edena's hair was swept back into a ponytail, tied up to get out of the way.  Though there was a highly capable doctor and a nurse with as much skill as a physician present, Kiya was pitching in.  Lucan was, like them, a medical professional, and there could no no more important patient.  Lucan was to help keep others alive, so it was their duty to keep him alive. 

"He is Câroon," Kiya said, Edena's courteous tone taking on something more maternal, in this case, sounding like a concerned mother.  "Eve, you are familiar with his Zi'naaq, correct?  Would you assist me in ascertaining the degree of injury they might have suffered while Amelia takes care of his wounds?"  The two women were a bit combative, so if Kiya could get them on separate tasks, it was ideal, and since Eve and Lucan went back, she no doubt was more aware of his physiology.

The Zi'naaq were akin to the chakras in Buddhism.  They collected energy, most likely used in some of their more exceptional abilities.  Considering Lucan's injury during a cascade of force field energy, it was important they assure these were not damaged, lest they endanger his life or leave him crippled in terms of their use.  The Zi'naaq ran along the center of the body, so while Eve started from the bottom, Kiya started at the top with medical tricorders.  All they could truly do, considering the Zi'naaq could not be detected, was assure there was no trauma to the spine or brain, where the Zi'naq would have been found.

"Amelia, it is best that whatever we do, we not keep him sedated too long.  If Lucan has pent up energy inside him, he has to discharge it, or it could be fatal to him.  As soon as possible, we will need a hypospray to wake him.  Eve, you know the correct amount for his species and for his size, yes?  Could you prepare one so we have it at the ready?"  Kiya always used first names, not typical on a Federation starship, but she wasn't a Starfleet doctor.  If nothing else, her use of first names kept things from feeling too cold and impersonal.  They were safeguarding lives, after all.

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #23
[Amelia Duv -Triage]

Glancing at the first officer of the Theurgy step forward Amelia sighed and shook her head as she didn't want to go into an argument with a higher ranking officer. The reaction of Eve was in her eyes completely out of order since she really didn't mean to sound harsh or rigid, in fact she only wanted the best for her patient, this by order and structure.  After hearing what Edena had said she moved over to Lucan's body now and started the treatment of the burn wounds with the spray that quickly seemed to heal the damaged skin. She remained silent now and her lips were pressed together now in order not to spout out more things since it clearly seem to agitate the head nurse.

"Scans indicate that there are no signs of energy readings along Doctor Nicander's spine. I presume that once he's awake there won't be a sudden outbreak of Câroon powers. However I haven't worked with his kind before so I'm not sure what will happen once he wakes up." She said on a calm voice and her soft soothing tone once returned while she ignored o look at Kiya Rez or Eve. "Miss Jenkins, feel free to administer the shot to wake him up." Eve complied and after the shot was given it took a few seconds before the brows of Lucan started to move a bit. Slowly he opened up his eyelids which must be feeling heavy by now and Amelia smiled a bit faint as she welcomed him back to the world of the living. She waited a bit for him to be fully awake before she started on a sit rep of what had transpired.

"Welcome back Doctor Nicander. You've suffered from a incident with the force field in the brig earlier on. We rushed you down to the triage center for medical care. You had no severe injuries beside burn wounds and no vital functions seem to be in danger." She said softly and looked at the ground now "I'm afraid that... Lieutenant Diadeniera was not so lucky as you were..." She paused for a second now as she let the load of information sip into Lucan's brain before she continued "Due to your injuries I advise you to start off with administrative tasks for the first day before you return to your usual tasks. I expect you back for a check up in two days to see how the skin has healed and if there is any other damage that we might have missed. Also if you feel the urge for counselling I'm sure counsellor O'Connor will be glad to take you in for a talk." She said on a steady pace and with less emotion in her voice as if it was a task she had to do.

Re: EPISODE 03: Unconquerable Soul [Chapter 02: Shades of Untruth]

Reply #24
((OOC: tying up a loose end from the brig that was forgotten about))

[Declan Vasser - Brig]

"Commander," Vasser said, addressing his first officer.  "Let's not be too critical of Lieutenant zh'Wann.  I know your logic would suggest that the lives of myself and Captain Ives not be endangered, but if the Lieutenant had not dropped the force field as quickly as she had, myself or Captain Ives would have called for it anyway.  She saved us precious seconds which might have saved the doctors life.  On a pair of starships without support, we have two chief medical officers who I daresay are even less replaceable then commanding officers, and the Lieutenant's quick action may have saved one of them.  It's regrettable what happened here . . . but I think Lieutenant zh'Wann did the right thing."

Combating Vulcan logic was a difficult thing, so he only hoped T'Rena would see the importance of safeguarding the Chief medical officer of Theurgy.  The needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few would have suggested that the doctor, a man who saved lives, was too precious to let perish.  "Captain Ives, I hope I did not presume too much by saying you would have given the order as well.  If you care to weigh in, it would be most welcome, though I stand by my own opinions on the matter regardless."

[Kiya Rez (controlling Edena Rez) - Triage]

"You have excellent control over that hypospray.  Is your medical training beyond that of standard Starfleet, or is it simply good experience?" Kiya asked, still looking to keep easing the tension in the triage area.  Amelia was like a new cook in the kitchen, while Eve was the sous chef who assisted Lucan.  They were both skilled in their own ways, but they didn't know each other.  Keeping it light might help that.  JNoting the precision of Amelia's use of the hypospray, the perfect amount to repair damage without wasting  the slightest amount was a testament to her skill. 

As for Eve, "You seem far too skilled for just an assisting role as a nurse, even a head one, Eve.  Have you considered formalizing a position as a doctor on-board?  I can assure you that Edena would vouch for a field promotion to doctor after seeing your skills."  As a nurse, she was an assistant, not allowed to operate or to perform medical duties on her own, but merely be a helping hand to the doctor.  If she were in a position as a doctor herself, she would be able to care for injured crewmen on her own, and to be more hands-on during a multiple doctor surgery.  She had the know-how, probably did it in less formal environments, where the line between doctor and nurse was too thin to be seen.

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