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Hope

Posted on Sat May 13th, 2017 @ 1:42am by Commander Tyro Adina & Lieutenant Amata Zan & Ensign Lenore Fitzpatrick Ph.D.

Mission: Chapter 3 - Outbreak
Location: USS Tranquility, Deck CSO's Office
Timeline: after "Heavy"

::ON::

Commander Berdas. Lieutenant Commander Hadley. Lieutenant Amata Zan. Lieutenant Christin Entrollen. Ensign Lenore Fitzpatrick. They were the primaries in the effort to track down what was happening aboard the Tranquility and seeing that it stopped.

Lieutenant Amata led the investigation. Chief of Security aboard Tranquility, he was the natural choice. He also had the complete confidence of command. Commanders Berdas and Hadley both viewed him as unimpeachable and unassailable. That he was relatively new in the job as Chief Security/Tactical meant nothing. He'd earned the job before he'd even been granted the promotion. His hands were capable and steadfast.

Lenore Fitzpatrick, PhD, the Ship's Counselor brought a wealth of insight to the table - both proverbial and literal. With her background in mental health she brought perspective. She could help them to see the way the killer saw. Perhaps she could even help them to understand why the killer had chosen Karima and Fox - a Diplomatic Officer and an Operations Officer who didn't seem to have much in common. Her perspectives would be invaluable.

Tranquility's assistant SDC Barristerial Attache might seem like a strange choice. On paper, she would be. But Lieutenant Christin Entrollen, Esq, wasn't exactly a lawyer. She was a lawyer, and a damned good one, but she'd given up the chance of promotion to spend the last decade as one of the Diplomatic Corps' 'fixers.' She had received cross-training in Intelligence and belonged to Diplomatic Intelligence - a small group like Section 31 known only to a few. She'd joined Amata in the hunt but hadn't blown her cover. As far as she was aware only Hadley, and maybe Berdas, were aware of her background.

She'd seen some things protecting embassies, working exfiltrations, but she hadn't been prepared for what she saw today when she and Amata had discovered Fox. It was more personal, directed, and methodical. It turned her stomach.

Hadley was present not as the ship's Chief Diplomatic Officer but as the officer to first identify the problem and initiate investigation.

Commander Berdas, Tranquility's Executive Officer, was there informally. Officially, Commander Berdas was not aboard. He was on detached duty of a highly sensitive and classified nature. Still, he had been an immeasurable help in the early hours of this crisis and was present as a favour to Hadley who had requested he join them.

Amata had already offered the use of his replicator knowing certain races relied on stimulants.

The wall screen displayed personnel file images of Lieutenant Karima and Crewman Fox.

Between them was written the question What connects them?

The results of the analysis of the metal shard found embedded in Lieutenant Karima's bone were also available, a pulsing light reminded.

As were the autopsy reports for both victims, conducted by Dr. Ambress.

There were other indicators for the flagged surveillance files of the areas of the crime scenes and all available information on the outages in those areas at the times of those attacks.

Gallows had flagged all data surrounding Karima's movements prior to attack.

At Entrollen's request the computer had compiled the same information on Fox.

There was the information Yeoman Tsisia had been able to provide regarding the odd request for a meeting Karima had taken the day of her death and the video Donovan Clarke had been able to recover.

Nearer to Karima's photo there were also the words Tal Shiar?, circled.

Additionally, there were the scoured communicators pictured with link to the testing that had been done.

Finally, the questions Why these two?

Who would have reason?

Who would have access to the plasma conduits?

Why the savage stab wounds to the chest and damage done to the throats?


Entrollen stood before the group, lucky she was used to keeping her calm before those that heavily intimidated her. "As we all know, Lieutenant Gallows was called away before he was able to see this thing through to completion. I have access to some of his work."

Despite the grim nature of the information in front of them, many began to feel hopeful resolution was closing in.

"Lieutenant," she indicated Amata. "Want to lead us through what we know so far?"

Fitzpatrick kept her eyes on Amata but spared a quick glance toward Hadley, sympathizing with the weight on the CDO's shoulders. Protocol and other professional obligations had kept Lenore away from her, but the counselor resolved to reach out to the young woman as soon as she could. The two had just begun to get to know each other and to work together, but under the circumstances, Lenore felt for her and wanted to provide a shoulder and other practical support if she could.

Amata pushed himself out and off of his seat, moving to stand, it scraped along the deck as he did so, taking the silent walk to stand in front of the others, "Computer." Signaled, the room's main display activated, already displaying the deceased crews service records in a split screen, head-shots of the deceased looking plain and professional were at the top of the files.The Bajoran cleared his throat with a cough.

"Both victims were Starfleet staff officers," began Amata, passionless, "A Romulan female and a Terran male, both were killed in the same manner, both were left facing upwards." Gesturing at the screen, he brought, wide shots of both crime scenes, with markers to indicate the location of the bodies missing from the frame, "Both would appear to have been crimes of opportunity, taking place while the victims were alone and relatively isolated, Karima in the late hours after the Gala, and while Fox was performing his duties on the lower decks." He left out the diplomatic lieutenant's meeting with Yridian and her unknown pregnancy, there was no proof they were related, yet, and at least one was a personal manner.

"Is there any connection visible so far?" Hadley asked.

Berdas shrugged. "I'm no forensic investigator, but I think it would be safe to assume that the same individual committed both acts. The fact that they can move around through Tranquility as well as they do makes me think that they're probably a member of the crew."

"It is possible," Amata admitted, his tone a little defensive, "And I agree that it is the same individual, with at least a passing familiarity with the current Majestic-class refit." The bajoran looked at directly at Berdas, "I am more concerned with how those responsible were able to cause a sensor black out, or access a plasma conduit without drawing suspicion. This would require specific knowledge, indicating a position of trust; security, engineering, operations. Unfortunately, this only supports your view, commander." One the lieutenant, whether he wanted to or not, was beginning to share.

Amata shifted his weight between his feet for a second before continuing, looking between all gathered, but lingering on the councilor, "Generally, an individual... inclined to such acts would never make it past the recruitment psych-eval, much less aboard Tranquility, but Starfleet has come to be more tolerant to those with violent tendencies since the seventies, as well as those who develop such tendencies after enlistment." He paused, not wanting to be completely committed to the idea, "Though their are foreign officials aboard with equivalent training and skill sets."

Amata's lingering gaze didn't escape Lenore's notice, but she refused to take it personally. They were all frustrated and accusing one another of dropping the ball wasn't going to get them anywhere. Still, she felt the need to set the record straight, at least as far as Starfleet Medical policy and practice were concerned. "I wouldn't say Starfleet is more tolerant of violent tendencies, Lieutenant. Certainly, it is to no one's benefit for Starfleet to tolerate keeping murderers or even potential murderers within its ranks. What this situation speaks to is just how complex sentient beings are and how difficult it can be to predict their behavior."

Lenore went on to add, "All of us are capable of violent behavior if exposed long enough to the right stressors. Even with all of the technology available today, it is still incredibly difficult to predict who has an abnormal capacity for violence and who doesn't. History can certainly be a strong predictor, but we don't always have access to accurate histories, especially if people are criminally sophisticated or have loved ones that are inclined to believe they are capable of such behavior. Murderers such as the one we are hunting have been known to be charming and socially capable, with the capacity to full psychological testing and fallible sentient beings. Unless were prepared to forcibly enter someone's mind to suss out their motives, predicting violence will always be a challenging endeavor."

Turning her attention to the murders themselves, Fitzpatrick continued, "I would agree were probably looking for someone with technical sophistication as well as a familiarity with the ship and the victims' routines. He or she not only had to know how to create the sophisticated disruption necessary to strike, but he or she also had to believe confidently he or she would not be interrupted. That suggests a level of premeditation and ordered thought that seems to contradict the savagery of the murders themselves. The killer appeared to want the victims to suffer and wasn't concerned about leaving evidence of his or her crimes out in the open."

Hadley tried to keep professional distance. She had known Karima. She had never met Fox except in passing. Yet knowing one and being largely aloof from matters concerning the other made neither loss any more significant. Or shouldn't.

She knew she couldn't trust her judgement.

And was glad for the presence of others whose judgement she could. Berdas. Fitzpatrick.

Amata worked to display dispassion. But that only made her more concerned for him. It was her impression he was taking this very personally. Tranquility was after all his ship. She knew that were Kari in the room - and maybe she might be - she would remind Amata as she had Hadley on several occasions that bad things happen on good men's watch and that no one person could bear responsibility for every outcome.

Thinking of Kari made her smile. Almost imperceptibly and briefly, but it was enough.

She leaned forward, addressing Amata and Entrollen but the room as well. "What about historical connections? Had they ever served together before or is there anyone in the crew that ever served with them prior to serving aboard Tranquility either jointly or independently?"

Entrollen stepped forward again. She touched the screen and their service records were displayed side-by-side. "There's no evidence to suggest that Karima and Fox ever encountered each other prior to service aboard Tranquility. In fact," the attorney met her commanding officer's eyes and then dropped her gaze turning away, "except maybe in passing -" she immediately regretted her choice of words, "there's no evidence to suggest Lieutenant Karima and Crewman Fox knew each other."

Hadley turned to Lenore, "I don't think any departmental offense was meant, Doctor. Starfleet has been increasingly militant since the advent of the Dominion War and Borg conflicts as evidenced by the move toward vessels more heavily armed and combat oriented and sharp uptick in Marine recruitment and utilization. It's a foregone conclusion that violence begets violence and violent hierarchical patterns lead to increased trauma and personal acceptance of violence. I think that's all Mr. Amata was implying. Something systemic not endemic, focused on the present situation not libeled failure aimed at Starfleet Medical's Psychiatric and Counseling Division. Now I know that in the 21st century it was disproven that criminal profiling was entirely effective. But it was a method that has fallen in and out of favor semi-regularly over the years. Is there anything that you can offer that might help us narrow down the search?"

In response to Hadley's question, Lenore offered, "I can't offer many specifics about the individual in question, but I believe it's only a matter of time before he or she begins to decompensate psychologically. Whatever rage has motivated our killer was not quenched after Lieutenant Karima's death, and I have no reason to believe it has been quenched now. In fact, I have no reason to believe such a rage won't be increased. If there is a silver lining, so to speak, it's that with greater instability comes the likelihood the killer will make a mistake."

Hadley turned to Berdas. "You are intimately familiar with this ship. What would it take to shut down power and sensors to specific areas and access plasma conduits, and what type of officers have that kind of access?"

Hadley's eyes made the rounds - Entrollen, Amata, lingered on Berdas - "Have we - or is there any way to - rule out the possibility of a Tal Shiar hit?"

Berdas frowned. "Shutting down power to specific sections is actually very easy, anyone with an engineering clearance can do it. The same goes for Plasma Conduits, although usually only people with power systems specializations go there. Sensors are a bit trickier. Usually when sensors are 'shut down' they're just passive, collecting information as it comes to them. It takes a department head or senior engineering clearance to completely shut down sensors. All told, I'd say that there are maybe ten to twelve people aboard with that kind of clearance." He was uncomfortable with the question Hadley asked, but answered anyway. "It is possible. Most of the Tal Shiar activity we've been able to track has been within the former Romulan Empire, a power grab. If they reached out this far, there must have been extraordinary need..."


...to be continued


:: OFF ::


Hadley
Chief Diplomatic Officer
Lt. Commander, USS Tranquility

Berdas
Executive Officer
Commander, USS Tranquility

Lenore Fitzpatrick
Chief Counselor
Doctor, USS Tranquility

Amata Zan
Chief of Security
Lieutenant, USS Tranquility

 

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