Comfort and Conspiricy Theories
Posted on Sunday, 28 June 2020 - 6:05pm by Lieutenant Alex Kingsley & Commander Soral
Location: USS Standing Bear | XO Quarters | Deck 01
Timeline: 2393 - MD 06
The entire day had passed in something of a blur, from the moment she had left Lieutenant Kolani's quarters until the end of the shift, she could not honestly say what she had done or who she had spoken to. His theories around Mars kept echoing around in her head, niggling at her and refusing to be banished. And so she had retreated to her office and spent endless hours reading.
She had never been one to go out and look for more detail around the fate on those on Mars at the time of the attack, let alone read into some of the more outlandish theories spouted by conspiracy theorists at the time. She had been far too preoccupied being consumed with her own grief. Yet a search of news archives surprised her. More so when she expanded the search into the discussion boards linked to some of the articles. Amid the sympathy for those who died was occasional hateful comments, vile disgusting sentiments about how the Federation had gotten what it deserved (either for reliance upon synthetic lifeforms or for neglecting the needs of the outlying colonies, the themes were common and sometimes in the same hate filled speech). It sickened her to think anyone could believe such a thing.
But as she was about to turn off the monitor, she had called up a thread which was simply entitled 'truth'. It expended to pages and pages of comments, generally from the same three users. There was no real names and each comment was brief, the replies even briefer. Yet they seemed to share Raith's beliefs. The exchanges hinting at a conspiracy had quickly been interspersed with scornful replies, some she suspected from relatives of those who had died for she could almost see their pain in their words. Others were more aggressive, especially to some of the theories hinting at Federation involvement.
For the rest of her shift and then some, she read and read until the words became a blur. Turning off the monitor, feeling so completely lost, she headed for their quarters. Even though Soral would be gone, she knew just being there, being home, would be a good thing.
As the turbolift carried her towards their quarters, she felt it building. All those emotions she had tried to keep under control while speaking to Raith and while she had read for hours, trying to stay detached and not think of all those people. The horrific realisation that those theories could be true.
Every breath suddenly felt like agony, as if her lungs burned from the very fire which had consumed her home world, feulling a spiralling anguish and guilt and anger. Everything Lieutenant Kolani had said, all of his theories... the implications of it all, it felt like that day all over again. As if someone had just grabbed hold of her heart and torn it in two. How? How could anyone have...?
The second she was in their quarters she couldn’t hold back her tears any more as she curled up in the corner, arms tightly wrapped around her knees. The tears not just for her father, but her friends and their families who had been so kind and all deserving of a future so cruelly torn from them. All those faces never to be seen again. And if Raith was correct, it was not some freak accident but a deliberate attack. Murder.
Soral! She thought of him before the next wave of grief hit her. She had never had a finite amount of tears or sorrow when it came to her home and it was in full flow now. Only now there was anger - a fury that anyone could commit such an evil deed or conceal the truth. And millions were dead.
Soral sat on the bridge with he was hit by a wave of grief and anger. Illogical...it wasn't his...Alex! He stood. "Lieutenant Hanson. You have the con." It was late at night. Because of the accident and he was relegated to night shift now that the away mission was complete. He stood and walked quickly towards their quarter.
Punching in the code and entered. It took a moment for the shock of what he was seeing to ware off. His hand shot out grabbing the object. He'd think about that in a little bit. He tossed the object on the table and headed straight for Alex who was in a corner crying. "Alexandra!" He knelt pulling her into his arms. "Are you alright?"
She just shook her head as she buried her face in his chest. Just his presence was a comfort. It gave her a focal point, something real and solid and good. “We were talking about Mars,” she finally managed to blurt out. “He thinks ... it was deliberate...”
Mars? Her father. It many ways it grieved him that he couldn't take that pain away. He sat down firmer on the floor and pulled her more tightly into his arms stocking her hair. "Who thinks it was deliberate?" He kissed the top of her head letting her tap into his calm through their link.
“Raith,” she sobbed. “He lost people too and he ... he’s so sure. So certain and I can’t stop thinking about all those families and all those lives ... I was okay in the lab and then on the way back here it just hit me again. I’m sorry! You were on the bridge!”
He turned her face up and looked her in the eye. Gently he kissed her lips. "Do not apologise. I will always be here when you need me." He sighed. "As to Raith's theory..it has merit."
She drew back slightly, studying him. “What do you mean?” She whispered. She had wanted him to say it was crazy to even think it.
He sighed..."There are theories that the Synths were reprogrammed. By certain members of Starfleet and a Romulan organization."
She closed her eyes, burying her head in his chest again. Trying to make sure she didn’t become a mess again. What kind of daughter was she for all of this to be such a shock? Why hadn’t she obsessed over it like Raith?
He held her tight stroking her hair. "It is alight my love." His mind puzzled on something. "Alexandra we must speak."
“What?” She asked, the single word muffled as it was spoken against his uniform jacket.
"When I entered the quarters I ...noticed something odd." How did he say it? "I saw one of the smaller statues from the shelf floating slowly hovering."
She stilled, clearly wondering if she had heard him properly. "What?" she asked again, frowning as her sadness was replaced with confusion. "How?"
"I do not know. But it was there. As I entered I felt a wave of anger from you and it rose higher."
There was a long silence. She knew Soral would not make something up but still... it made no sense. "You think I did it?" she asked quietly, a memory niggling at the back of her head. She pushed it away. No, it was impossible. Something else had to have caused it.
"Perhaps. We must find out."
“How? I didn’t do anything...” she insisted.
He paused. "Well you're the scientist." He was happy this was getting her mind off her sadness. "How would you go about conducting an experiment like this?"
“I’m pretty sure I’d bin it because it completely insane,” she said quietly, beginning to pull away. “I’m tired. I can’t even think straight -“
He sighed. "Alright. You rest." He'd leave it for now but he would not let it go. He'd let her rest and by the time his shift was over they'd have breakfast and he'd try again.
She heard the reluctance in his voice but said nothing, instead she took a deep breath, sitting up as she collected herself. Embarrassed for getting in such a mess at all. "I'm okay, I'll shower and sleep and it'll be better tomorrow," she said, more to herself than to him. "You should get back to the Bridge, they will start to wonder where you are."
He gave a reluctant nod. He did not like leaving her but he had no choice.
The Next Morning
Stretching a hand out from beneath the bedsheets, Alex managed on the second attempt to silence the alarm. Her murmur of “I’m up” failing to convince even herself. She would happily just stay in bed, contemplating life and death and conspiracy theories for the rest of her days. Which given her mixed heritage could, reasonably, be a very long time. Yet the alarm meant it would soon be time for her shift.
She understood Raith’s question better now. How do you just carry on if you suspect your own people of conspiring in the murder of your loved ones?
Nevertheless she felt beyond embarrassed for falling apart like she did, for bringing Soral into it all. Soral!
The rest of her conversation with him came rushing back to her and she realised that if her alarm had gone off he would already be home -
Pulling back the cover she pushed her hair out of her face and almost had a heart attack when she found him sitting not two feet away. “Hey,” she smiled, yawning as she sat on the edge of the bed. He had that look she could never decipher, at least not yet. “How was the rest of your shift?”
"Uneventful. I did get several reports done. The night shift is turning out to be productive. No doubt Grol will be happy with the reports done." He studied her. "I will prepare breakfast while you shower."
“He seems like reports is his reason for existence so yeah,” Alex murmured as she headed towards the bathroom still half asleep. Breakfast, or rather the mention of it, made her stomach growl. She showered quickly - Soral’s cooking motivation enough. Dressing she kept her uniform jacket off for now, pulling her hair up into a high ponytail as she looked around for her hairbrush. Frowning, she walked back into the bathroom and saw it by the sink. Holding her hair up with one hand she reached for the brush and let out a startled yelp when it seemed to fly up and smack into the palm of her hand. She stared at it for the longest time before calling over her shoulder, “Soral!”
Soral had just laid the food on the table when Alex's panic shout reached his ears. He ran for the bathroom. "Alexandra?"
“I went to pick it up but I didn’t touch it, I’m sure I didn’t! And it just flew into my hand!” She told him a rushed breath, holding up the brush.
"Indeed." He took the brush from her setting it aside. He pulled her into his arms. "It will be alright. We shall figure this out."
She let him pull her to him, realising she was shaking. Her mind racing. “I didn’t touch it,” she whispered, holding on tightly to him as if he were a life raft.
"I know. Telekinesis." He gently rubbed her back. "It will be alright. I promise you this."
She let him comfort her, doubting she'd ever tire of the safety of his arms. "I should speak with Doctor Rose," she said finally, trying to think through the problem. She needed cold hard facts. Something tangible to help her understand. "And you... you need to rest. You must be exhausted and you haven't to do too much too soon..."
He used his hand to tilt her chin up. "Doctor Rose will help but we need to conduct an exam ourselves. To ensure this was not just...something that occurred one time." He sighed. "I am fine. I am still healing but getting better. Now let us have our breakfast and you can take your shift and I shall walk Bones and then rest. I promise." He bent down and kissed her.
"You are really, really, good at distracting me," Alex accused as she kissed him back.
"Indeed. Now." He reached over and picked up the hairbrush. "You sit and eat and I shall brush your hair. This way you will not run late." He had to admit that he'd brushed her hair once before and it was a task he rather enjoyed.
"Okay," she conceded, letting him led her out to the table where breakfast was waiting. If he wanted to battle with a mass of curls, well, she'd happily let him. She normally ran out of patience. And she was preoccupied. Despite what he said it seemed sensible to ask Dr Rose to check her over and, she reasoned, to scan Soral's quarters. Could something here - something environmental - be the cause. It seemed more likely than the alternative. And so, eating in silence she planned how to try and get to the bottom of it. As for Raith, and Mars, she resigned herself to dealing with one thing at a time unless he urgently needed her help.