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Tragedy Aboard the Scarlet Tanager

Posted on Monday, 22 June 2020 - 6:49pm by Commander Soral & Captain Barret Stillwater & Lieutenant JG Surev & Lieutenant JG T'Amar & Lieutenant Alex Kingsley & Lieutenant Talarn Zilth & Lieutenant JG Kay’la

Mission: Operation: Iktomi
Location: SS Scarlet Tanager
Timeline: 2393 - MD04 -- Late evening Night


The shimmering of the USS Standing Bear's transporter's provided a brief illumination of the SS Scarlet Tanager's small bridge. Though the transporter's illumination dissipated as the seven members of the Standing Bear's away team lead by Lieutenant Commander Soral, First Officer materialized on the Tanager's small bridge. The starship was adrift. Life support was functional at depleted power, and backup generators provided the starship with emergency lighting only.

It was the shine of Lieutenant Vadoma's lantern strapped to her wrist, resting on her forearm that gave away the immediate signs of struggle. She spotted it immediately on the cool gray bulkhead. There was no questioning it, though it was logical not to jump to conclusions about the reddish-brown substance in the shape of a hand print on the bulkhead. It was clear enough for her to make the plausible leap. "That's blood," she said as she approached the bulkhead.

Lieutenant Vadoma was a tactical officer with extensive security training. Needless to say, it was a phaser that was readied in her hand, not a tricorder. She turned to the others and waited for someone with a tricorder to confirm her educated 'guess' about the hand print.

From less than a meter away, Lieutenant Kingsley already had her tricorder opened and scanning from the moment the transporter released its hold, the soft glow from the device illuminating her face as she glanced up. She aimed her own flashlight in the same direction as Vadoma, although the arc of her beam showed more than just one bloody hand print. And the tricorder was absolutely certain. "You are correct," the science officer concurred. "There are more traces along this wall."

Kay’la had brought an emergency med-kit, pulling out her medical tricorder she quickly scanned the blood stains. “There are more than one set of blood types here, question is where are the injured... or dead.” She looked around seeing at least one dead person. She moved across to where the pilot lay slumped across his controls. “He’s been dead some time...”

Lieutenant Vadoma noted, "He smells like it," she said as she neared the corpse. "These ships tend to have about ten crew max and four decks. I suggest we start getting power restored, get access to a manifest, and secure the rest of the ship."

Talarn came out of the transporter beam and pulled his phaser immediately, seeing as how others also had theirs out. He noted the blood on the bulkhead, he could smell it in the air, and looked quickly around for any danger. Seeing none currently, he went to the first console he could and tried the controls, phaser still raised in the other hand. "Back ups are working, but not very well... and probably not for long," he informed the others. His security and tactical training kicked in at high gear. "Trying to see if I can get to a crew manifest." The panel made a protesting noise, but wasn't really functioning.

“I need to find Sickbay.” Kay’la looked towards Soral. “If there’s any wounded alive that’s most likely where they’ll be or where they’d head for.”

Lieutenant Vadoma overheard the request. "Sickbay, if you can even call it that, should be on deck two, right below us. I can escort the nurse there," the woman offered. She knew the starship was small, but that did not leave out the possibility for danger.

No sooner had the transporter beam materialized, them then had the team started in on everything. Soral suppressed a sigh. He was in pain and he had no patience to deal with insubordination. "Before we get too far ahead. I think it would be logical to remember that I am indeed leading the away team." He leveled a gaze at Vadoma.

"I understand that, Commander," replied Laviana Vadoma. This is still a matter of security. You aren't quite away team shape presently she thought to herself.

He turned to Surev and T'Amar. "I need you both to work on getting the ship stable and getting control of the systems. Please go to engineering. Ensure you have your phasers." He turned to Vadoma. "Go with them, you are to ensure their safety."

He turned next to Alex. "Lieutenant, I want you to go with Mr. Zilth. You two are tasked with finding out what happened. Get the sensor logs. Zilth, Vadoma as you are going secure your decks. Nurse Kay'la I shall take you to sickbay and secure that deck." He turned to Vadoma. "Once you've secured the engineering deck meet me back here and we'll go through the rest of the decks."

"Aye, Sir," Surev responded. The phaser, an unwelcome presence at best, was secure on his hip. He waited for Vadoma with the sort of endless patience that only a Vulcan could bring to a situation. While he waited, he began to mentally review what he knew of this class of vessel and its systems, outlining what he would need to check and in what order. "Whenever you're ready, Lieutenant."

T'Amar simply nodded in acknowledgement of the first officer's directives. Logic had already suggested the course of action, and she had come prepared; her belt balanced by both a customized tricorder and phaser, one on each hip. In her hand a metallic Starfleet components case containing spare parts and specific tools which may be displaced or dysfunctional. "Ready to proceed."

"Aye, Sir," replied the tactical officer. She was subordinate to practically everyone and yet responsible for their safety. "I will secure the decks, Commander," she added.

Crossing to Talarn, Alex frowned at the lack of response to his inputs. Clearly it was not going to be easy. “If the consoles are damaged, perhaps we can access the raw data and analyse it back on our ship? Or if we can locate one functional workstation we should be able to reconfigure it...”

Talarn nodded. "Should we start here and work our way out? I suppose the best place for the raw data is closer to the actual sensors anyway. Yes? We could check the consoles on the way and hope we get lucky." He smiled a little. It felt good to be useful to an away team. It had been awhile for him.

"Lets do that." Alex smiled, leading the way.

Soral stood back waiting for the crew to disperse to give him a blessed minute. Earlier that day he'd been through major surgery but had had to discharge himself from sickbay against medical orders for this little trip. Ryan had loaded him up with pain killers that were not working well. His side burned like hell but a CO's orders were a CO's orders. Alex had been pretty pissed off but he'd deal with that later. Right now he needed a moment alone to just push through. Vulcan meditative techniques were... good but not that good.

“You’re in pain aren’t you, Commander?” Kay’la looked at Soral. “I’ve been a nurse and field medic long enough to know when someone, even a Vulcan, is in pain.”

He'd stepped far enough away from the group sorting itself out so as not to be overheard. "It shall pass." He un-holstered his phaser. "Let us head to sickbay."

Kay’la nodded, but she’d be keeping a close eye on Soral. “Aye, Sir

=DECK 3=

Lieutenant Commander Soral and Nurse Kay'la were heading to the second deck of the starship while Lieutenant Vadoma proceeded downward to secure the rest of the starship, most crucial was deck three. It contained: environmental controls, computer diagnostics, impulse cooling systems, various laboratory spaces, and areas of importance for general ship operations. Even though the starship only had a few decks, it was still a lot for one person to clear securely. She heard something, scuffling of feet perhaps? She quickly swung her arm around, but the torch only provided her a glimpse of movement.

The woman immediately tapped her commbadge. =/\="Vadoma to away team. Commander Soral, be careful," =/\= she said swiftly. =/\= "I saw something or someone down here on deck three. I suspect they may be heading up to deck two," =/\= she reported.

=/\= "Acknowledged. We're almost at sickbay. This deck is secure." =/\=

As she continued to clear the third deck room by room, she came upon a sight that made her bring her phaser holding hand up to her face, covering her mouth with the back of her hand instinctively. It was a reactionary response, but she was glad she had not vomited from the sight. There was no saving the man she found. He was long deceased upon the away team's arrival. In a control room near the engineering stations was the remains of a Vulcan male, she assumed was the Ship's Engineer. The green blood splattered the consoles, stained the bulkheads, and soaked the flooring.

It was the blood that gave away that the individual had been Vulcan, and if not, then Vulcanoid at least. She approached the body or what was there lying on the floor, severely mutilated. She looked around the room in search of the rest of him. There it was only a few feet away, a somewhat long metallic pike with a grim sight. The Vulcans severed head skewered like her grandmother's kebob, green blood around the mouth, and cold soulless eyes staring out expressionless.

Again, she reported her findings. =/\= "Deck three is secured for now, but it's not for the faint of heart. I think I found the ship's engineer... in pieces. A Vulcan by the looks of his green blood everywhere and his head on a pike." =/\=

=DECK 2=

As they approached the doors of Sickbay Kay’la looked at Soral. “Skewered! Who or what would do such a thing?”

"I do not know. We best be on our guard." With that, he was able to push the pain away completely and focus. He wanted to be ready for anyone or anything. "Try to get the medical information downloaded, there may be something useful," he continued.

As the Sickbay doors opened, the smell that hit their nostrils told them that the crew here were in pretty much the same condition. Kay’la took a deep breath before proceeding inside finding the Doctor and Nurse in pretty much the same condition, blood seemed to be running down the walls. “Watch your footing Commander.” She motioned to some pools of blood on the floor.

"Stay back here." He motioned for her to take the phaser. He ignored his own pain, pushing it down as he cleared and secured the sickbay. He tried to ignore what he'd seen. A part of him reached out to Alex to ensure she was well. He moved quickly, more quickly then he should, grinding his teeth at the pain.

Kay’la nodded and took the phaser keeping it at the ready in case she needed to use it. “Commander... I can give you some pain relief if you wish.” She looked at Soral. “I can’t give you too high a dose, but I can supplement what Doctor Rose gave you.”

"No. I can take the pain. Right now, I need a clear mind." He moved lithely ignoring the pain. The sickbay was secured. "Alright. Please go in and see what you can find. I want a look at the rest of the deck."

Kay’la nodded. “Aye, Sir.” She headed over to a console and got to work accessing what medical files she could to transfer over to the Standing Bear.

Soral continued through the rest of the deck his mind on the Vulcan's that had lost their lives here. A great sadness settled over him. As he moved something caught his eye. =/\= "Soral to team. Deck two, definite movement. Vadoma, come to deck three. Nurse Kay'la, stay in sickbay lock it if you can rest of the team keep working and stay on your guard. Phasers to maximum stun." =/\=

= Engineering =

Surev, who had been on his way down to engineering, listened to the security officer's report and paused for a moment of silence. He had not known this individual, but no being, enemy or friend, should be made to suffer in that way. He reached with his mind for his bond-mate and found her, steady and strong, then proceeded down into Engineering. Devoid of life and mercifully bodies, he set about working. And while the violence that possessed beings was not something he could fathom, this, the workings of a ship, was something he knew and understood. He suspected that, because the equipment here was aging and showing signs of hard use, it had been left largely alone. He worked carefully, methodically, going through a mental checklist he knew as well as his own name or Surak's teachings.

= Sickbay =

Kay’la heard Soral’s orders and set her phaser to maximum, she was a nurse but she would still use the phaser to defend herself if she had to. Moving across to the doors she made sure they were locked before returning to her seat. =/\= Kay’la to Soral, orders acknowledged. Sickbay doors are secured. =/\=

Though the Sickbay doors may have been secured, the access and maintenance spaces were not. The small starship did have a very tight Jefferies tube network the spanned deck to deck, and though it was a nightmare for any adult who had to traverse it; the network was an ideal place for a child to move about and hide if necessary. The problem was that children were not always as quiet as they should be

A *clang clung clang* could be heard from Sickbay as the small boy, Ansel, moved through the Jefferies tubes of deck two and was growing nearer to Sickbay. His breathing was labored and he needed a hypo-spray from Sickbay. His parents always made sure he got his hypo on time, but they were not on the ship anymore. He could not find them and he was scared beyond words. He panicked when he heard what was going on and hid under his bed. Then crawled into the Jefferies tubes to avoid being found.

Kay’la heard a noise and cautiously got up to locate the source, once she found it was coming from the Jeffries tube access she hit her comm badge keeping her voice low. =/\= "Sickbay to Commander Soral... there’s someone or something in the Jeffries tube access approaching Sickbay." =/\=

=^=On my way! Vadoma head this way.=^=

Lieutenant Vadoma immediately responded and proceeded to where her presence was required. On a ship of death, there was still someone or something alive.

Kay’la was so intent on the noise and Jeffries tube access hatch that she almost forgot to unlock the doors, moving quietly across she unsecured the door so that security and Commander Soral could get in.

Soral entered phaser drawn. "Stay back," he said, taking the lead. The way the noise was going he was able to deduce the hatch that would open. He leveled his phaser ensuring the Stun setting was on.

The hatch did open and a reddish haired boy appeared. Like an animal in spotlights, he stopped and stood there frozen. He made no movement and no sound, clearly shocked and perhaps frightened.

Lieutenant Vadoma lowered her phaser. "Commander, it's a child," she announced, though unnecessarily. Soral and Kay'la would be able to see that as clear as day. The lieutenant crouched down and extended her hand. "It's okay. We're Starfleet," she said calmly and pointed to her commbadge.

Though the child showed no indication that mattered to him as he started to back himself against a bulkhead. His heart rate increasing. Adrenaline pumping through his veins. Fight or flight response activated and it very likely was going to be flight.

Soral put away his phaser. He guessed he'd better try talking to the child since the ship did have Vulcans on it. Perhaps he was used to it. He knelt down. "I am Soral. You are safe, nobody here will harm you." He noted the paleness of the child. "Are you injured?"

Ansel, the boy did not reply to the questioning. The only thing he did was keep his back to the bulkhead and point towards a storage cabinet where medical supplies, including hypo-sprays were kept. Lieutenant Vadoma saw where he was pointing. "Commander, I think he needs something... medicine perhaps? Nurse, you might want to use a tricorder to get a reading on the kid."

"Do it," he said to Kay'la. He motioned for everyone to stay back. He motioned to the child. "Go ahead. Show us what you need." He hoped the good faith would get the child talking.

Kay’la slowly and cautiously pulled out her medical tricorder and ran a scan. “It looks like he’s got a respiratory illness or condition, but without medical records I can’t be sure exactly what.” She looked towards the boy. “I’m Kay’la, I’m a nurse. You obviously know what you need, can you show me?” She kept her distance from the boy so as not to scare him as she slowly moved towards the storage cabinet.

Ansel watched as the people in the colorful uniforms, three different colors moved back and they gestured towards where his parents kept the medicine he needed. These strangers don't hurt me, he thought. He had witnessed what had happened to some of the crew, the people his parents worked with. The boy darted from the bulkhead to the cabinet and found one of the cylindrical tubes and loaded into the hypo-spray and pressed it against where he had been taught to. A few seconds later his breathing was easier.

Kay’la quickly scanned the boy again smiling at the improvement in the readouts. “You've been well taught on caring for your condition. You can trust us... we won’t hurt you.”

Soral watched the boy. He knew the child had been through a lot. He stepped back allowing Vadoma and Kay'la for the moment to take charge. He tapped his com badge...

Once the announcement was made, a call for progress reports he turned to his staff. "We need to get the boy to safety. Kay'la, can I count on you to take him back to the ship? Vadoma, go with her try to see if you can get his side."

He looked at the boy and knelt down. "Can you understand me?" The body hadn't spoken so far. He wondered if it was due to what happened or if it was medical.

Lieutenant Vadoma crouched down and placed a hand on Soral's shoulder. "Sir, with what I saw down on the engineering deck and what we've encountered across the starship, these decks are blood-soaked with gore and echo with horror. This kid might be traumatized to the point of 'shell shocked'," she said, using old terminology. "Or it could be something else medically, we may need Lieutenant Vali and Doctor Rose to check him out."

Vulcan's weren't very open to unexpected touch. He stood, smoothly dislodging her hand. "Indeed. Go with Kay'la. Get him back to the ship, but we do need to find out what we can. Have Vali speak with him."

Kay’la nodded as she looked around before looking back at the boy. “Let us take you off this ship. Our ship is a safer place for you.” She held out her hand. “I know this is asking a lot, but trust us.”

= On the way to the sensor array =

Talarn kept his phaser raised as he and Lieutenant JG Alex Kingsley made their way down to the sensor array. Since only the backup power was working, many of the rooms and corridors were dark, giving the ship an eerie feeling. He had to admit that the darkness had him jumping at shadows a little. "Do we know exactly what deck the sensor array is on? I'd assume it's toward the bottom of the ship?" At least that's usually where it was the last time he'd been in Starfleet. He had never really been aboard a vessel this small though.

"There should be a secondary junction just through..." Alex began as she consulted her tricorder before changing direction and stepping through an open door into the darkness beyond, "... here."

The flicker of her flashlight seemed to flail wildly as she pried open an access terminal after a quick check to ensure there was nothing dangerous or disturbing. Directing the beam of her flashlight, she studied the collection of circuits, frowning before reaching forward. "A lot of these circuits seem burned out. Overloaded. Can you hold the light on this area, I'll see if I can pry loose the back up processor. We can maybe recover some of the last data packets. Maybe."

So," she said as with one huge tug the processor broke free of the housing, carefully stowing it in her kit bag. "How are you enjoying your first Away Team since you came aboard? Kinda creepy, right?"

Talarn took the flashlight from her and held it steady where she had indicated. He chuckled at the question. "You do know you're talking to an Ex-Borg. I'm not sure it gets much creepier than that, although this is close to the top of the list. I know for some, the viewing of those that are expired could prove to be difficult. We all deal with death in different ways. For example, my people used to believe that the viewing of the dead body by non-Cardassians was very taboo... I don't know if they still practice that, but we wouldn't have wanted to be caught like this, dead, for just anyone to find."

"Not sure anyone would want this to be found like this," Alex replied, "but I doubt they had a choice in it."

=DECK 3=

T'Amar had been scanning the Engineering bay, following the tricorder's indication of power in the bulkhead and flooring. There were several junctions, relays, and primary power structures that had taken severe damage; some of which were the victims of proverbial 'death' as some on her team would prefer to say. 'Fascinating,' she paused, marveled at a tertiary thought which arose from within the recesses of her compartmentalized mind, 'a pun?' It was not pertinent to the situation or task, but T'Amar had questioned the definition of a pun, and received a poor definition in return. 'Humor in such a grave context...' her thoughts re-centered on the potentiality macabre reference to death in her word choice. 'Illogical.' She ended the consideration quietly in her mind.

Surev, after having requested a few minor parts to be beamed over from the Standing Bear, was busy with repairs. It wasn't flashy or dramatic but it was often the case that systems, even ships failed, because of a small, seemingly inconsequential part. The process of putting things right, of solving the problem and applying the solution, was... satisfactory. And in Vulcan philosophy, that's what mattered -- a job was either satisfactory or it wasn't. Surev worked toward satisfactory. Because restoring power came first, he focused his attention there and intended to move onto the larger matter of the engines. One by one, he found the locations where damage had been done and set about removing damaged components and installing their replacements.

Soral's message came through to the rest of the team. "Progress reports from all teams. We're in sickbay. One survivor found."

"Surev here, Commander," he said after tapping his combadge. He settled back on his heels for a moment and surveyed the fix while he formulated his response. "I am preparing to restore main power. I have one more check before proceeding. Once that's done, I will move onto the impulse engines. The warp drive will take significantly longer, I estimate as much as two days' work."

Soral sighed. "Focus on one or the other. I will require it a lot sooner then two days. Have T'Amar work with you and if you need more hands I can have two more engineers beamed over."

"Understood," he responded. "Surev out."

"Talarn here. Lieutenant Kingsley and I are working on a console. Still trying to get the sensor logs and any other information we might be able to scrounge. We're on our way to the sensor array," the Cardassian responded to the progress call.

"Excellent. I need a crew manifest as soon as you can get it."

"Yes, Sir," Talarn replied. "As fast as we can."

= Engineering =

He worked with quiet efficiency, moving logically from one point to the next. Power flowed, imprecisely like a river, more precisely everywhere at once. Before power could be restored, there could be no weaknesses in the system and that took time. In an attempt to save time, he made the replacement but left the damaged part set neatly to one side and the covering, whether that be a section of deck plate or a wall panel, off. As he went he did tricorder scans and finally, was ready to bring main power online. He had seen human engineers stand before consoles such as this one, older than they should be and much used, and do all manner of illogical things. Cross fingers. Utter prayers to familiar deities. Close their eyes. Surev trusted the logic that had brought him to this point and turned the power back on. When it held, he began running diagnostics, letting the computer help in the effort of restoring the vessel.

"Surev to Commander Soral," he said after tapping his combadge.

"Go ahead," he tapped his communicator.

"Main power is restored. I'm running diagnostics now on the warp drive and am beginning repairs on the impulse drive."

"Excellent Attempt to focus on the one that is more easily fixable, the other can wait."

Soral opened a channel to the whole team. "Soral to entire team. I need you all to download that data you can into the portable black boxes. Let's get this wrapped up and get ourselves back the ship. We do not know if those who attacked the Tanager are still in the area."

They next couple of hours were quiet but productive. The away team had started to gather on the Bridge of the ship and within a few moments they were all in position for transport. It had been a difficult mission for all. Seeing what the crew had been through was difficult. He looked around one last time and signed as he tapped his com badge. "Away team to Standing Bear. Transport away team back."

Within seconds the response came. "Acknowledged."

The scene shimmered and soon the team was back on Standing Bear. Everyone split in their own way to get onto information discrimination. The work was far from being done.



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