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Topic: Day 30 [1100 hrs] New job, same headaches.  (Read 112 times) previous topic - next topic

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Day 30 [1100 hrs] New job, same headaches.
New job, same headaches
Stardate 57631.64
April  9th, 2381
1100 Hrs
Day 30

Lt. JG Dantius Thi Anh-Le|Aldean spacedocks > USS Theurgy ATTN: @fiendfall

"Ugh, đụ má," Anh-Le sighed, rubbing her shoulder as she stepped off of the transporter pad on the alien shipyard.  Bunk space on the illicit transport she'd hitched a ride on had not been very comfortable, and her back still felt full of knots. 

She got a lot of odd looks as she carried her duffel bag through the station; even in a comfortable sweatshirt  and loose pants, her green skin immediately marked her as an outsider to the local Aldeans.  Cussing in Vietnamese probably didn't help...

Ah.  There was the Klingon security office.  Anh-Le approached, the officer on duty looking up from the block of wood he'd been carving with his daqtagh.  "I was told to speak to General Chu'Vok," Anh-Le began. 

"And you're what, cutie, the new entertainment?" the Klingon asked with a leer. 

Different species, same stereotypes.  "I don't date those who can't handle their gagh, Qa'Hom.  And if you'd let me finish, you'd have heard that I'm here for a serious assignment.  Morath threw the sword of Kahless's father into Lake Lusor.

Comprehension dawned in the Klingon's eyes at the deliberate mangling of Klingon myth.  "Oh.  Another one of you Starfleet people.  I didn't know your kind served the Federation, uryan'ngan.

"Well, some terra'nganpu' are still surprised that not all tlhInganpu' are Qo'noSnganpu'. Consequences of an interstellar civilization, people migrate.

"...fair point," the Klingon grunted.  "I'll take you to the General, follow me.

About time...

The trip to the transporter was thankfully uneventful, and Anh-Le was soon ushered into the office of General Chu'vok, her escort standing guard outside. 

The Klingon General Chu'vok cut an impressive figure, tall and strong, with rugged forehead ridges, a deep voice, and keen eyes.  "Another one?  One wonders precisely how secret this mission is considering how many of you have filtered in these past few days.

"Well, maintaining operational security is part of my job, sir," Anh-Le noted, standing at attention.  "A--my superiors told me that you could arrange transport to the Theurgy--I'd rather not take more of your time than necessary.

"Here, uryan'ngan," the Klingon growled, tapping something onto a Starfleet PADD and passing it over.  "Show that to goraQ sogh, who brought you here, he'll take you to the Theurgy.  And good luck, girl.  We're going to need it.

So dismissed, Anh-Le saluted crisply and turned to leave.  Gorak met her outside the General's office, and led her off to the transporter again.  "So," the Klingon said as they stepped off of the pad on board the orbital drydock, "How does an uryan'ngan end up working for Starfleet?

"It's a long story," Anh-Le chuckled, shrugging her sore shoulder in a circle to try to ease the stiffness.  "My family came over before I was born, escaping one of the gang feuds in the Orion Syndicate's space.  I was raised in HCMC.

"H-C...

"Ho Chi Minh City.  But everybody calls it HCMC or Saigon.  It's named after this Human rebel leader from over 400 years ago.  Nice place to live, even though I was the only kid with green skin.

Gorak grinned.  "Had to fight for respect, did you?

Anh-Le grimaced.  "Nah, they actually made more fun of me for being born on the transporter pad at a museum.  I did get an incredibly awkward talk about pheromones and informed consent from my mother that nobody else had to get, though.

"...transporter pad?"  Gorak barked with laughter.  "There's a story there, I can tell.

"A bottle of Aldebaran whiskey says it's the weirdest you've ever heard.

"Done!  If you win, I'll give you a bottle of my family's own bloodwine.

"Alright," Anh-Le chuckled.  "So, Mom was on this 'fetal osmotic learning' kick.  It's a pop-psychology bullshit thing where you're supposed to go take tours of cultural sites and such while pregnant so the baby comes out pre-educated.

"...does that work?

Anh-Le shook her head, a strand of hair escaping her severe bun.  "Nah, but it's great for Doctor Mok's holovision ratings.  Anyway, Mom was taking some painkillers to deal with a chronic headache, so she thought the contractions from labor were a stomachache until her water broke in the refreshment line.  By the time they got her to the transporter pad, they weren't sure she could be safely transported, so I was delivered by a Horta medic and their Xindi intern on the pad.

Gorak's jaw dropped at that.  "Ha!  You're right, that is a good one!  Horta--they are silicon-based, yes?

"Yep," Anh-Le sighed.  "And Xindi-insectoids lay eggs.  It was something else, to hear Mom tell it.

"Here," Gorak said, still chuckling, as he took the PADD from Anh-Le's hand.  "Contact me later, I'll have the bloodwine sent over.  My family's orchard, finest on Forcas III!

"Thanks," Anh-Le replied with a grin.  "I appreciate it.

"Here you are," Gorak said, pointing to an airlock ahead.  Outside, a vast, sleek shape hung under the gantries of the drydock; Anh-Le whistled at the sight. 

"What a beauty.

Gorak grunted noncommittally.  "If you like your ships soft and fat.  Give me a Negh'var-class any day."  He saluted Klingon-style, which Anh-Le returned.  "Good luck.

"Thank you, goraQ sogh.

Anh-Le hefted her bag and opened the hatch, walking down the extended airlock arm.  She couldn't help but feel a heady anticipation; this was by far the biggest job she'd ever been trusted with, and after all Admiral Anderson had done for her career, she was anxious to do well.  She waited for the other end of the airlock to open, checking her watch as she did so.  Still got a few hours until my next dose.  Good. 

After a few minutes, the airlock opened, and Anh-Le stepped forwards into her new job.  Here goes...
Really enjoying writing a halfway stable character for once...

Re: Day 30 [1100 hrs] New job, same headaches.
Reply #1
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Corridor outside the airlock | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @GroundPetrel

Hathev had been informed of the impending arrival of a new recruit to the Theurgy's cause, that she could facilitate their meeting and proper introduction to the vessel and her mission, in addition to gaining insight into their mental and emotional state upon arrival. It was a duty she had variously assigned to a number of her subordinates in the past weeks, as an increasing number of officers and crewmen had been sent to their aid, travelling in some clandestine and unofficial fashion. She had even performed the duty herself on some occassions, with the arrival of particularly high-ranking individuals.

Today's newcomer did not necessitate her personal attention, and thus she had intended to assign the duty to someone more befitting than herself. However, at the time she received the notification informing her of Lieutenant Junior Grade Dantius' approach, her own Lieutenant Ejek was indisposed, and Lieutenant Williams was unfortunately in no position to facilitate such an arrival. She briefly considered requesting Seren perform the duty, before dismissing the idea.

No. She would greet this newcomer herself.

Thus it was that she found herself upon the Helmet section of the Theurgy, awaiting Lieutenant Dantius' arrival.

As with all their new recruits, Hathev had received the personnel file of Lieutenant Dantius in advance, and had thus been afforded some time to study the woman who was to be joining their crew. Upon regarding such a file, the first and most striking piece of information was, of course, her species: Dantius was an Orion. This was a fact Hathev neither held against her -- doing so would be illogical; one individual could hardly encapsulate all the worst beliefs held about a certain species -- nor disregarded. This too would have been folly; Starfleet had had more than enough dealings with Orions to form a judgement of the character of many of their people. Stereotypes were most often wrong; the stereotypes about her own species, for example, vastly misunderstood the Vulcan dogma and way of life. Yet they were, admittedly, rooted in some perceived truth. Certainly the same could be said of all species.

What trepidation she felt at the discovery of Lieutenant Dantius' species was somewhat alleviated by the knowledge the woman had been born and raised upon Earth, a bedrock of Federation culture and ethics. It was therefore unlikely that she had been exposed to the worst of her planet's immoralities; her very presence in Starfleet indicated a developed sense of right and wrong, of duty, and of Federation ideals.

The remainder of the woman's file had revealed a dedicated and intelligent young woman with a good Academy record and an exempary service one, even so far as to earn her the Preantares Ribbon of Commendation the previous year. Certainly, if she were a Syndicate agent, she was a most accomplished one.

The likelihood of her being such an agent was slim, however; Hathev judged it to be at a negligible 1.37%. Not impossible, of course, but a margin small enough that she was content to disregard it at this stage. It would truly be illogical to allow such an improbability to affect the manner in which she greeted the lieutenant.

Thus when the door to the airlock slid open to reveal Lieutenant Dantius Thi Anh-Le, Hathev offered the woman her customary greeting for emotional species.

'Lieutenant Dantius,' she said in salutation, hand extended to facilitate the Human ritual of shaking. 'I'm Counsellor Hathev. Welcome aboard. Your journey was tolerable I hope?' She turned to perambulate the corridor. 'If you will follow me, I shall acclimatise you to your new vessel.'
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor
"Logic untempered by ethics is no reason at all." [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer
"Live fast, die stupid." [Show/Hide]
Xelia - Civillian - Holoprogram Designer
"Envy isn't your colour, babe." [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 30 [1100 hrs] New job, same headaches.
Reply #2
Lt. JG Dantius Thi Anh-Le|USS Theurgy, Deck 01, Vector 01 ATTN: @fiendfall

Anh-Le accepted the Vulcan's handshake with a warm smile, giving the other woman a once-over on sheer instinct as she did so.  Vulcan, probably about twice Anh-Le's age, attractive and deceptively slim.  "Good to be here, sir.  The bunks weren't exactly comfortable, but I've had worse."  Her shoulder twinged as she pulled her hand back, and she rolled it with a wince.  "Ugh.  Sorry, sir, I slept on my shoulder funny, it's still a little sore.

The Orion looked around as they walked.  A few maintenance crews at work gave her odd looks, but didn't question her presence.  Even the corridors feel like a starbase, she thought; her previous shipboard posting had been an old Excelsior-class where every bit of space was scrimped and saved.  Ooh, I might even get quarters to myself!  A luxury, but she might need it considering how roommates tended to react to her pulling all-nighters--and she'd be pulling a lot of all-nighters before this mission was done. 

"I'm surprised you're all still in one piece, considering what I read in the briefing materials," Anh-Le remarked.  "I had a hard time buying some of the details at first; the basics of Admiral Anderson's brief made sense, but the rest of it sounded like something from an Enterprise log.  Alien god-things and time-travel cultists?"  Anderson wasn't in the habit of bullshitting his subordinates for a laugh, but still...
Really enjoying writing a halfway stable character for once...

Re: Day 30 [1100 hrs] New job, same headaches.
Reply #3
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Corridor > Turbolift | Deck 01 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @GroundPetrel

Dantius was courteous and friendly in her greeting, although not unquestionably so: Hathev had not missed the way the other woman glanced over her, no doubt gathering data from which to draw a judgement. She had no complaints; she herself had performed much the same exercise, revealing a handsome and athletic youth with a practical and well-kept appearance. That much at least she could approve of.

As she could the officer's deferent politeness. She nodded her approval.

'You should report to Medical for a checkup before you begin active duty,' she said, noting the woman's stiffness. 'Main Sickbay is located on Deck 11, Vector 2.' She paused, before clarifying: 'The Theurgy is comprised of three separate vectors; we are aboard Vector 1 currently. During standard operation, the three vectors are connected into a single vessel and can be navigated by the turbolifts. At the present time, however, they are separated and must be traversed by transporters.' She regarded Dantius with interest. 'I imagine such an arrangement is considerably different from your previous assignments; certainly I found it to be so on first arrival.'

She had found a great many things to be different aboard the Theurgy, of course. She could not help wondering if Dantius would also find it to be so. It was a source of interest to her that the woman had been informed of the Theurgy's mission and willingly chosen to undertake this duty. Indeed, she was considerably better informed on the ship's past experiences than Hathev had been when she accepted her post; but of course, she had done so under vastly different circumstances.

'I am a relatively new addition to the crew,' Hathev said. 'I have been fortunate in that my time here has, thus far, been quiet -- discounting the initial battle with a Borg cube, of course. I anticipate our future voyages shall be more in the vein of the latter than the former, if the ship's previous experiences are any indication.' She looked over the woman briefly. 'Admiral Anderson must have been persuasive indeed, to convince you of the Theurgy's mission. Are you very familiar with him?'

She led the lieutenant to the nearest turbolift, requesting Deck 5. 'I believe the Intelligence offices are located on Deck 2,' she said as she did so. 'No doubt you are capable of finding such a place yourself. We passed the bridge on our way here. For recreational facilities, the ship boasts a gymnasium, arboretum, public baths, and several lounges and social spaces.' She paused momentarily, before asking: 'If I may, what is it that led you to accept this position? You must know there are few opportunities for career advancement beyond those created with the loss of a superior.'
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor
"Logic untempered by ethics is no reason at all." [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer
"Live fast, die stupid." [Show/Hide]
Xelia - Civillian - Holoprogram Designer
"Envy isn't your colour, babe." [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 30 [1100 hrs] New job, same headaches.
Reply #4
Lt. JG Dantius Thi Anh-Le|USS Theurgy, Deck 01, Vector 01 ATTN: @fiendfall

"Ah, I can just take a painkiller and stretch it out later once I've gotten settled and put in some work, sir," Anh-le demurred.  "It's just a sore muscle, it'll help keep me awake anyway."  She rotated the shoulder again to show that she still had a range of motion.  "I was briefed on the multi-vector function, it wouldn't do to have someone try to take a turbolift to empty space!

In response to the Vulcan's questions, Anh-Le nodded.  "He helped me get into a competitive field training program because I helped him bust a scummy little Ferengi bastard who was running disconnected Borg as slaves with the help of a crooked quartermaster on Deep Space K-7.  DaiMon Putz got ten years in maximum-security, Idaris got five on a chain gang clearing out invasive flora on Alpha Centauri.  Best day of my life, sir.

As the lift began to move, the Orion shrugged.  "Career advancement?   Ai quan tâm chứ?  The Federation itself is at risk.  The closest we mere mortals are ever going to get to Paradise.  A nation that is devoting itself to conquering fear, hatred, and need, the only stable democracy of any real size for thousands of light-years, the people who have united from hundreds of worlds to make a better world for each other.

"And now, some rotten bastard's trying to tear all of that down, probably to plunge this quadrant into another war that'll cost a billion lives, while we're still rebuilding from the last one?  The way I see it, we all have a duty to do one thing, and that's figure out who they are and what they want.  And after that, if they can be reasoned with we bring them to the table and make peace.  If they can't or won't?  Then we go after them.  We blow their ships out of space and bomb everything that even looks like air-defenses to scrap, we find each and every last one of them and stick each one in a padded box, and then we sit down with them, and we give them the choice between being friends, which means getting our help rebuilding, or not, which means staying in those padded boxes forever.  Because we are the Federation, and the Federation deserves to be protected.

Anh-Le paused for breath, forcing herself to calm down.  "Ah.  Sorry, sir.  It's just...Why should I care about my career if the Federation itself's been compromised by hostile parasites?
  • Last Edit: May 19, 2020, 08:57:02 AM by GroundPetrel
Really enjoying writing a halfway stable character for once...

Re: Day 30 [1100 hrs] New job, same headaches.
Reply #5
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Turbolift | Between Decks | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @GroundPetrel

She nodded her acquiescence as Dantius stated her preference to remedy her muscular discomfort herself.

'Nevertheless, there is no requirement for suffering,' she said gently. 'Should it become worse, seek assistance. We should all make the most of this quiet time to prepare for what is to come.' Who knew what that would be, or when it would arrive; but it was clear they would not be remaining docked at Aldea indefinitely. Not least considering they had now been drawn into another war not of their choosing. The time for rest was soon to be over.

Hathev was interested to hear of Dantius' relationship with the Admiral; she had not expected, however, the colourful tale the woman revealed. What surprised her more -- the notion of keeping Borg drones as slaves, or the barbaric practice of forced labour as penal policy -- she could not entirely fathom; thus she remained quiet on those more unsavoury topics.

'It certainly seems you proved yourself,' Hathev observed, 'I noted your ribbon of commendation in your file; my congratulations, lieutenant. Was it this which earned you such recognition?'

Having asked the woman what had prompted her to accept this duty, Hathev listened to Dantius' reply with no small amount of curiosity. In truth, it was clear from the woman's very presence that she either cared little for career advancement or believed it unimportant in the circumstances; and yet Hathev had found requiring an individual to articulate that which one already knew about them could lend valuable insight.

She was not disappointed. Dantius extolled the virtues of the Federation, emphasising the importance of its preservation and the vital nature of their duty in defending and protecting it. She spoke more than she had since Hathev met her at the airlock, growing more ardent and passionate as she did so. Here was a young woman who truly, fervently believed what she said, and who was determined to follow such intentions. Hathev could not say she disapproved; rather the opposite.

However one thing struck her as curious. For one who so truly believed in the virtue of the Federation, certainly the discovery that that very institution had become infested and perverted would be shocking. Hathev herself had required no small amount of persuading to the fact; it had only been with the experiencing of Cir'Cie's memories that she had been convinced.

'Your dedication to the preservation of the Federation is admirable, lieutenant,' she said. 'It must have come as some shock to you to discover Starfleet Command has been compromised. Were you very familiar with the fabricated tales of the Theurgy's betrayal beforehand?' She wished to enquire as to the nature of the evidence the admiral had presented her with; yet considering both the admiral and Dantius were within the Intelligence department, it would be unlikely the lieutenant would be at liberty to divulge such a thing. Instead: 'It would be natural for such a discovery to shake one's faith in Starfleet, or make one question their position within such an institution. Has it done so for you?' She was a counsellor, not a spy; she would remain within her remit.
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor
"Logic untempered by ethics is no reason at all." [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer
"Live fast, die stupid." [Show/Hide]
Xelia - Civillian - Holoprogram Designer
"Envy isn't your colour, babe." [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 30 [1100 hrs] New job, same headaches.
Reply #6
Lt. JG Dantius Thi Anh-Le|USS Theurgy, Deck 01, Vector 01 ATTN: @fiendfall

"Yes, sir, I'll head to Sickbay if necessary, sir," Anh-Le assured the Counselor.  Great.  Now I look like a whiner on my first day. 

"No, sir, that just got me Admiral Anderson's advice.  It was politically embarrassing to the Fleet to have a mid-ranking officer taking bribes to let that kind of stuff happen, so it wasn't exactly advertised to the press.  Just, you know, 'Mr. Idaris has been convicted by court-martial of conduct unbecoming' and he was sentenced to five years' community service.  Honestly, he was the lucky one--I've never been convinced of traditional imprisonment's effectiveness as a reformative measure compared to working off the sentence, and Putz wasn't the kind of bastard who could make it in maximum-security gen-pop, so he'd be stuck in solitary for ten years.  That's no life...

Anh-Le shook her head, interrupting her thought.  "Anyway, sir, I got the ribbon for a mission near the Talarian border.  A hardliner faction tried to take the Tecumseh last year, they had bombs set and hostages.  I defused one of the bombs even though one of them found and jumped me, he got me with a knife but I managed to stun him with my phaser.  Slapped a makeshift bandage on the cut because the terrorists controlled Sickbay, joined the Security unit moving to re-take the bridge.  The enemy leader had Lieutenant Kerensky with a disruptor to his head, I was off my meds--hadn't been able to take them, what with the terrorists--and on just enough painkillers to be functional, so I managed to, uh, use my pheromones, and I know it's terrible but it's what I had, anyway, I managed to keep him talking long enough that I was the only person in the room not doped up and useless, so I got the bastard off-guard and took him out.  Had to stun everybody else while they were brawling, but I saved Kerensky's life, so I was recommended for a medal.

As the turbolift descended, Anh-Le shook her head.  "I heard what they said in Fleet briefings, but it didn't make much sense.  Starfleet Captains don't have a habit of just randomly betraying us to our strategic enemies.  Breaking truces because of ego or mistrust, yes, that happens; most recently I believe when Lieutenant Commander Michael Eddington defected to the Maquis in 2372.  But that wasn't switching sides, that was in protest of actions he saw as unjust by the Council and Command.  So an entire ship, and one of the latest at that--so it's not like they'd put some untested rube in charge--just defecting to the Shiar i'Saeihr Rihan out of the blue?  Pardon my French, sir, but that's bullshit.  I figured it was someone replacing the crew with doppelgangers, or maybe a cover-up for a deep-cover black op.  When Anderson read me in, I wasn't 100% convinced of all the details, sure--to be brutally honest, I'm still not completely convinced of some of that stuff--but I trust Admiral Anderson and his briefing makes more sense than "Starfleet's best and brightest just decided out of the blue to defect to the Romulans".

Anh-Le shook her head, biting her lip at the thought of mistrust in Starfleet.  "Honestly, the simple fact that I'm here means we've got a shot at fixing this.  Anderson's still clean and giving orders that make sense.  So Command's been compromised--wouldn't be the first time a Founder got to Earth, or a Romulan subcommander went deep-cover as a Vulcan ambassador, or a Leyton decided he knew better than our elected leaders.  But we've survived all of that and more.  We run across alien god-things a couple times a decade, and we still have a stable interstellar situation.  Even if Command's compromised, the Fleet is still here.  We'll find a way.  We always do."  She was partially reminding herself, with those last sentences; it was necessary both for morale and for the sake of remembering to solve the problem the right way rather than the easy way.  There were thousands upon thousands of Starfleet officers from hundreds of worlds, it was all but impossible for them all to be compromised, and the majority were intelligent enough to question overly dubious orders if given a chance. 

I just hope that whoever's behind this can be reasoned with.  If it were some kind of misunderstanding (and it wouldn't be the first time First Contact had been a mess, just look at how it had gone with the Horta!), hopefully this situation could be dealt with without too much bloodshed.  If not...Anh-Le was no stranger to violence, but the idea of imprisoning an entire species, if that was what the parasites represented, didn't sit well with her at all. 
  • Last Edit: May 19, 2020, 05:27:28 PM by GroundPetrel
Really enjoying writing a halfway stable character for once...

Re: Day 30 [1100 hrs] New job, same headaches.
Reply #7
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Turbolift > Corridors | Deck 14 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @GroundPetrel

Hathev declined to comment on Dantius' further characterisation of the punishment incurred by those she had been responsible for arresting. It seemed uncommonly harsh and not at all in keeping with the standard Federation policy of rehabilitation and compassion, and the casual way in which the lieutenant spoke of such barbarisms was somewhat disconcerting. Perhaps there was something in the construction of the Orion brain that allowed them to regard immoralities with such ease; Hathev had not been able to study or work with such individuals much in her career, and thus found herself unable to form a concrete judgement on the matter.

The topic moved on, for which Hathev was grateful. Nevertheless, she resolved to maintain a certain amount of alertness regarding such things; of all departments, it was most imperative that those within Intelligence maintained an iron conviction in and adherence to standard Starfleet morality and ethics.

Now, however, Dantius was describing another encounter she had faced, and the manner in which she had overpowered the enemy -- using her biological advantage. The way in which the woman spoke of such a thing was of no small interest to Hathev -- she seemed genuinely uncomfortable with the actions she had taken. Certainly, use of her pheromones invited a myriad of questions regarding consent and individual will; Hathev was relieved that Dantius seemed aware of such things. However she could not fault the woman's results; nor did she believe in making anyone ashamed of their species or the elements of their biology they were unable to change. Such things might cause an individual to struggle with self-acceptance and confidence, which would be unfortunate and potentially cause them to be unable to realise their full potential.

'It seems to me you acted quickly in a tense situation, with the purpose of limiting damage to all,' Hathev replied. 'I am not surprised you were commended for such behaviour; my earlier congratulations stand here also.'

She was interested to hear the woman's answer to her next question, regarding how much she had heard of the Theurgy and how easily she came to be persuaded of the truth. Certainly Hathev could not fault the woman's knowledge of recent history. She was surprised but not at all displeased to hear Dantius had been suspicious of the official narrative around the Theurgy; it differed from her own experience and suspicions greatly, yet Hathev had required far more convincing than this lieutenant, it would seem. Fortunately such resources had been available to her; the methods used to persuade Hathev would not have been possible to employ in Dantius' persuasion, and thus it was all the more useful that the woman had already held her suspicions.

'I am not surprised to hear you remain unconvinced of some details,' Hathev said lightly. 'Many seem unbelievable, more akin to the rumours one hears of the great voyages. Yet it seems your scepticism has held you in good stead; no doubt you shall find the answers you seek. In the meantime, if I may be of any assistance explanatory or otherwise, you need only ask.'

The woman seemed uncomfortable at the question of her faith in Starfleet as a whole. It seemed she drew strength from the knowledge that Starfleet had weathered similar storms; such strength was commendable, and Hathev only wished she could do likewise. The knowledge that a Borg invasion had been faced with no resistance from Starfleet itself, however... They had no way of knowing who in Command was a parasite as of yet -- and if Ives had such information he had declined to pass it on -- but certainly it seemed likely Command had been infiltrated most thoroughly.

Perhaps it was the confidence of youth that drove Dantius' conviction; if so, Hathev would hardly be the one to disabuse her.

'I commend your faith,' she said instead. 'Certainly all those aboard this vessel shall do their utmost to realise a favourable outcome.'

The turbolift ceased its movement, and Hathev stepped out smoothly. 'Your quarters are located on this the 14th deck,' she explained as they traversed the corridor towards their destination. 'No doubt you wish to get settled as soon as possible. Are you accustomed to living aboard a starship?' She regarded the woman with curiosity. 'Has this assignment required you to leave behind friends or family?'

Thus far the lieutenant's emotional and psychological state had, from Hathev's cursory inspections, seemed encouragingly stable, not to mention displaying a strong conviction in Starfleet. Save the slight apprehension she harboured over Dantius' approach to punishment and retribution, Hathev saw no logical cause for concern over Dantius' mental state or ethical alignment. Nevertheless, she would complete her survey.

Thus: 'Have you any disquietude over your placement on board this vessel?'
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor
"Logic untempered by ethics is no reason at all." [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer
"Live fast, die stupid." [Show/Hide]
Xelia - Civillian - Holoprogram Designer
"Envy isn't your colour, babe." [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 30 [1100 hrs] New job, same headaches.
Reply #8
Lt. JG Dantius Thi Anh-Le|USS Theurgy, Turbolift > corridors, Deck 14 | Vector 01 ATTN: @fiendfall

Anh-Le grimaced at the memory.  "Thank you, sir.  I'm still not...fully comfortable with it.  I got the job done, saved Kerensky, but...I don't know.  It makes me feel kinda dirty to stoop to that, in real life.  One thing when it's playacting on a holodeck and it just feels a bit naughty, you know, but...I really should've found a better solution.  Sir.

Anh-Le smiled gratefully to the beautiful Vulcan as the latter offered support.  "Thank you, sir.  Right now I think I just need to get situated and get to work.  If we have the Q entity popping by for afternoon tea, well, I hope it'll be happy with replicated pho, because the way I see it, all we can do is focus on the job."  Roll with the punches.  That was the Starfleet way.  It didn't matter if it was multi-colored brains making people fight for their amusement, a de facto physical god summoning mariachi bands onto the flagship's bridge, or a decade-plus Fleet veteran suddenly finding out that he was an alien messiah, Starfleet adapted.  In this galaxy?  That was the only way to survive. "For now, we need to find exactly who is compromised, but also exactly how the enemy works.  How they can infect people, how much of the victim's memories they have access to, their motivations, their biology.  Right now, it's as if we found out about the Founders but didn't have Odo to help us.  We need to either find an Odo, one of their species who isn't hostile, or we need to interrogate, examine, and probably dissect one.  In detail.  Right now, we're in a hole, a deep one, and we don't know how high the walls are, what they're  made of, what kind of obstacles are on the way up, and from what I've heard we have at best a couple of sharp rocks as climbing gear.  So, offensive operations are probably suicide at this point--we need to try to negotiate, stall for time if it comes to that, and get everything we can figure out on who's compromised and more importantly how the enemy operates and functions.  If they will negotiate, we can un-fuck this relatively easily.  If not, we'll have the time to catch, murder, and dissect one, then weaponize the knowledge to turn the tables on them, capture all the hostiles, figure out if there's a civilian population, go from there.  I don't like  it, but if they can't be scanned, we don't really have other options, and if they won't negotiate, then this is war and it goes from a 'try to stop the casualties' situation to a 'survive at all costs' situation.

"Ideally, of course, we'd be able to get out of this without killing any of them.  But honestly, I'm not terribly optimistic at the moment; I'll still do my utmost to avoid casualties, but just from the briefing that Anderson sent me, it's looking like we will have to kill before this is out."  She made a sour grimace at the thought.  "Ugh.  It makes me feel sick even thinking of having to murder one to dissect it.  If it's necessary, yeah, but...this is why we have stun settings, and use them.  We don't kill unless there's absolutely no other option.

As she stepped out into the corridor behind the Counsellor, Anh-Le nodded.  "Yes, sir, I've spent the last year shipboard.  USS Tecumseh, sir.  As for my family, they're safe at home in Vietnam, for now.  Dad's retired and Mom's a career homemaker.  They aren't even very politically active, so they should slip under the radar."  She'd always be worried, of course, but she regularly reminded herself that statistically, her parents were nobodies, and as they knew nothing, they would be at less risk.  "When I 'go rogue'," she made air-quotes, "they'll be upset, I told them nothing.  Probably still will be if this ever gets resolved.  But it's worth it to keep them out of the loop, to keep them safe.  As for friends, anybody close enough to me to disbelieve the cover story will also be in Intel, and smart enough to realize it's a cover for a black op.

Anh-Le frowned.   "Disquiet?   Only in that this is the biggest mission I've ever done, and we have limited intel to work with, plus it's not going to be easy to get the really important stuff.  I'm a little worried about my parents, but like I said, sir, they should be safe.  Other than that--like I said, sir.  All we can do is focus on the job, roll with the punches and adapt.  It's the Starfleet way.
Really enjoying writing a halfway stable character for once...

Re: Day 30 [1100 hrs] New job, same headaches.
Reply #9
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Corridors | Deck 14 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @GroundPetrel

Hathev nodded minutely as Lieutenant Dantius expressed her intention to begin her duties with expediency. The woman certainly possessed the strong will and self-conviction of youth, but Hathev could hardly begrudge her such qualities. The crew of the Theurgy was exhausted; if this influx of new recruits brought with them an injection of enthusiasm and determination it could only benefit the morale of those aboard the vessel as a whole.

As Dantius laid out her suggestions for how to approach the situation with the parasites, Hathev had to wonder once more precisely how much the woman had been briefed on. Certainly, she spoke with great confidence when it came to ways in which to proceed; more confidence, perhaps, than Hathev might have expected from such a new arrival, so newly inducted into the knowledge of the parasites' very existence. Nevertheless, the impulse to seek further information on such creatures was not incorrect.

'Your original briefing may have been compiled before we possessed such information,'
Hathev began, 'however we have not only identified an infested member of the Theurgy's crew and taken steps to isolate them and limit their information, but conducted a number of interviews with the individual in question. Mr Nicander has shown himself able to be somewhat forthcoming, when the mood takes him; thanks to his reports we now possess a greater understanding of the relationship between parasite and host, the communications between parasites even over great distances, and, to some extent, the intentions of the entities with which we are now faced.' Her tone was steely as she continued: 'According to their rights as living beings, dissecting a parasite would be out of the question even were it not rendered impossible by their transphasic nature. None aboard this vessel shall be committing a murder, no matter their attempted justifications.' Such a thing was unthinkable. Indeed, the imprisonment Mr Nicander was currently subjected to was already in breach of his rights as a sentient being; any further mistreatment of him, infested though he was, would be untenable. She had argued against forcing him to use his farsight for just that reason; the situation would never be so desperate as to necessitate the flouting of such fundamental morals.

'Fortunately, however, we have now been afforded a means of identifying infested individuals,'
she continued. 'Thus we can be confident that none aboard the Theurgy, including any of our latest arrivals, are host to a parasite.' Neither had she approved of the risks involved in sweeping the vessel with anyon radiation, potentially destroying any parasites aboard along with their innocent hosts; it was mere good fortune that such an act had not resulted in the murder it had risked, and continued to risk with every new recruit irradiated on their arrival. The certainty that the crew was uninfested was surely most useful, both strategically important and mentally stabilising; this at least Hathev could not deny.

'No doubt you shall be briefed in more detail once you are settled in,'
Hathev concluded. The new Chief Intelligence Officer may well be better-informed than Hathev herself; an unpleasant notion, considering the ease with which Admiral Sankolov and his captains had deceived her so recently, yet it was a reality she would accept. Pride had no place here; she was not so foolish as to consider herself an instrumental piece tactically speaking. Her favourable analysis of Captain Ives would have to serve as trust in this regard.

The mention of Dantius' parents was interesting. 'You grew up in Vietnam?' Hathev enquired. She was not familiar with the culture herself, yet she was informed enough to realise the officer's name was not of Orion origin. Her family had immigrated to Earth before Dantius' birth; an unusual situation for one of her species. The expatriate community of Vulcans upon Earth was small enough. For a non-Federation species... Dantius could well have been the only Orion born on Earth for several years surrounding her naissance.

'Living surrounded by other species can be difficult,'
Hathev said, pausing for the briefest of moments before continuing: 'My son struggled to find acceptance amongst Humans.' He had no power over her here; she continued quickly. 'Much as Starfleet regulation is adhered to aboard the Theurgy, if you should find yourself faced with prejudice or misunderstanding, I would urge you to speak to myself or one of my colleagues in Counselling.'

Nevertheless, the woman's assessment was likely correct: no matter their origin, her family should prove safe from the parasites by virtue of their relative insignificance. They would only be in any danger if the Theurgy were to prove unsuccessful in its mission. Had the Borg cube progressed past the Azure Nebula, for instance.

'This undertaking is certainly of grave importance,'
she agreed. 'Every soul aboard this vessel is committed to protecting the Federation, however; despite the great adversity the Theurgy has seen in the past few months, that determination remains strong. Your own assistance will only strengthen such resolve.'

Reaching the Lieutenant's new quarters, Hathev stopped outside the door. 'This room is yours, I believe,' she said. 'You shall find the majority of this deck is crew quarters; the other most notable inclusion is the Spearhead Lounge, which is located further to the front of the vessel. You will have received a navigational aid to your PADD should you require it.'

Hathev clasped her hands behind her back, surveying the officer before her. 'It is my hope you should find your quarters comfortable, and this vessel welcoming. Is there anything further I can assist you with? I realise our tour was all too brief; I am not entirely familiar with your itinerary, my apologies.'
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor
"Logic untempered by ethics is no reason at all." [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer
"Live fast, die stupid." [Show/Hide]
Xelia - Civillian - Holoprogram Designer
"Envy isn't your colour, babe." [Show/Hide]

Re: Day 30 [1100 hrs] New job, same headaches.
Reply #10
Lt. JG Dantius Thi Anh-Le|USS Theurgy, Corridors, Deck 14 | Vector 01 ATTN: @fiendfall

Anh-Le shook her head with a grimace.  "With respect, sir, if they won't or can't negotiate, our options are violence and surrender.  And it's more humane to kill one and then dissect it to figure out how they work, then use that to capture or incapacitate their military forces.  Obviously something like a genetically-engineered plague in retaliation is insane and evil, I'm not suggesting anything like that, but I believe that we do need to protect the sapient rights of all beings equally.  And if they come into conflict, then the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.  I'd rather kill one parasite and incapacitate the rest so that we can figure out a way to either force them to the table or imprison them than have a trillion people die because of some fanatic parasite's hatred of all other life, or whatever their motivation is.  If you're trapped on a ship with a nut job who's shooting hostages to try to make you do what he wants, and you get your hands on a disruptor with no stun setting, it's better to shoot the nut job and save the remaining hostages.  Better to do some evil today than stand by and allow a greater evil to happen tomorrow.  Of course, every other option should be tried first, we should attempt to negotiate in good faith and understand their motivations to see if we somehow provoked this, and violence should under no circumstances be anything but the very last resort, but if they refuse to negotiate and they continue to try to set off a quadrant-wide war...I don't see any other options.

"Well, at least we can find them.  I'll need to check in with Medical at some point to coordinate with them and my CO to see if we can't figure out a way of safely extracting the parasites while we're at it..."  She trailed off, thinking through options.  Hopefully her new CO would have more information when she met him. 

In response to Hathev's question, the Orion looked up, and nodded.  "Yes, sir, HCMC.  Or Saigon, for some people, it depends on which side of a particular political dispute your family was on in the late 21st century.  Only my family name's even from Orion, it's not like there's more than a few hundred Orions on Earth at all.  Maybe ten thousand in the Federation, if that.  I did some sports growing up and I was pretty good at them, though, so the only teasing I got was from being born on the transporter pad at Angkor Wat.  Thankfully the medics figured things out, eventually."  She chuckled at the memory.  The gorgeous Vulcan probably had more experience than the Klingon Anh-Le had won a bottle of bloodwine off of earlier, but the Lieutenant would still bet ten bars of latinum that her unusual birth situation would win her a drink in any bar in the quadrant. 

"I'm sorry that your son had trouble fitting in, sir," Anh-Le said, the laughter falling from her voice.  "I know it can be tough for some people to operate in a cosmopolitan environment, and in my experience there's no real cure for it but exposure to different peoples, cultures, and points of view."   A huge part of why the Federation was wonderful, in her opinion.  Would the Klingons and the Romulans have taken the same steps as Kirk and Spock had to open negotiations with the Horta, a species that were now beloved members of the Federation?  And of course Starfleet records contained numerous files on the so-called "Mirror Universe", where a fascist Humanity had founded a "Terran Empire" built on suspicion and hatred.  Ugh!  The very thought of hating and killing people just because they looked different...what a horrible thing to do.  "I hope that he's in a better situation now.  And thank you for the offer, sir.  I don't expect any trouble, of course, but if something comes up I'll notify you immediately.

"Thank you, sir," Anh-Le replied with a crisp salute.  "I'm glad to be onboard.  Right now I just want to stow my gear, get a bite to eat, and get ready to meet my new CO, sir.  Thank you for escorting me here and for your offer of counseling if I need it.
Really enjoying writing a halfway stable character for once...

Re: Day 30 [1100 hrs] New job, same headaches.
Reply #11
[ Lt. Cmdr. Hathev | Corridors | Deck 14 | Vector 01 | USS Theurgy ] Attn: @GroundPetrel

Hathev's eyebrow twitched imperceptibly as the lieutenant disagreed with her, presenting a false dichotomy to justify the call to violence. Much as Dantius seemed willing to verbally emphasise the importance of attempted negotiation, the officer's continued return to the potential necessity of murder was more than a little concerning.

'I do not dispute the logic that, should there truly be no choice other than the death of many or the death of few, choosing the latter would be correct,' Hathev said. 'Rather, I dispute the logic that such a choice is inevitable, that it is ever necessary to perform evil, as you say. Is it not Starfleet's way that a third path be found and taken? There are some with whom diplomacy is impossible, of course; not one month ago this vessel faced a Borg cube, and needless to say diplomacy was scant at that time. Whether these parasites can be reasoned with is currently unknown, and it may very well be possible that they are akin to the Borg. Nevertheless, a solution cannot truly be humane if it includes the murder of any living being, and it is disingenuous to pretend otherwise.'

Dantius' language and approach left Hathev remarkably uncomfortable. There was little doubt of the officer's dedication to the Federation; that concern, at least, had been more than quelled. Yet it was the way in which this dedication manifested itself that was unfortunate. It was to be hoped that, with time and experience, the lieutenant would come to lose this black and white view, this capacity for and rationalisation of not only violence but murder.

'In any case,' Hathev continued, 'there is much of the situation you have yet to hear, and much of the Theurgy's history and findings which have yet to be relayed to you. No doubt you will be able to form a far more informed opinion once you have been briefed in full.' She could hardly begrudge the officer her enthusiasm; it was merely the knowledge when such an impulse went unchecked by understanding that difficulties could occur.

The lieutenant offered little insight into her upbringing; Hathev had been most interested in the woman's emotional development, both as an expatriate child and, more specifically, an Orion raised amongst Humans. To hear Dantius speak of it, however, it would seem she had experienced an uneventful childhood beyond the unconventional details of her birth. Little for Hathev to analyse in an attempt to gain a fuller picture of the woman's psychological and emotional landscape; a disappointment, perhaps, but hardly an insurmountable loss. Much as Hathev would have liked a greater understanding, she was not acting in her capacity as counsellor at this time; she would content herself with that which she had gleaned already.

She gave a tiny nod at the mention of Kireil, and no more.

'Welcome once more,' she said in response to Dantius' salute. 'I shall require your time no longer; you may unpack and go about such personal duties as you see fit. Until our next meeting, then.' She raised her own salute. 'Peace and long life.'

The lieutenant was an interesting woman, she considered as she turned to leave. A strong-willed and determined individual with a fierce belief in the Federation and her duty to it. An Orion woman with apparently closer ties to an Earth country than her native planet or people. An exemplary officer who was both able to act in the moment and reflect on the imperfection of her methods after the fact. Yet her grasp -- or perhaps more accurately, her internalisation -- of Federation morality seemed shaky at crucial points. Hathev did not truly believe the lieutenant would act rashly or without considering the necessity of violence should she be forced to enact it.

Nevertheless, as one who had only boarded the Theurgy after an act of senseless and brutal violence against Starfleet officers themselves, Hathev could not ignore her discomfort. For the truth was, much as Dantius seemed enthusiastic to face her duty and the parasites that involved, far more often the victims of the Theurgy's violence would be individuals loyal to the Federation, just as they were. Misled and misinformed, but loyal all the same. And where would Dantius' morality place her then? Would she be able to rationalise such violence, as had the officer who had sent those torpedos burrowing into the Bellerophon's hull?

Only time would tell. Yet, as Hathev left down the corridor, each step taking her further from their newest addition to the crew, she could only hope Lieutenant Dantius Thi Anh-Le continued to listen to her own scepticism, her love of the Federation and all it stood for, and her discomfort with unethical behaviour even in service of a cause considered just.

--FIN
Lt Cmdr Hathev - Counselling - Chief Counsellor
"Logic untempered by ethics is no reason at all." [Show/Hide]
Ensign Inej 'Avi' Avirim - Security - Investigations Officer
"Live fast, die stupid." [Show/Hide]
Xelia - Civillian - Holoprogram Designer
"Envy isn't your colour, babe." [Show/Hide]