Debrief from Ekos
Posted on Thursday, 24 June 2021 - 7:22pm by Captain Barret Stillwater & Commander Soral & Lieutenant JG Adrianna Eberhardt
Operation: Neu Reich
Location: USS Standing Bear |Observation Lounge
Adrianna felt really good to be in uniform, albeit for just a meeting since she'd yet to be cleared for duty. Adrianna knew it had only been, maybe less than, a day or two aboard, but she wanted a semblance of normality.
She'd been summoned, no doubt for a debrief. The woman knew it would have to happen, and the fresher the better. Adrianna didn't feel like she had anything to hide, yet a sense of guilt washed over her.
The woman entered the observation lounge and smiled a little to her captain and XO. "Morning," she offered, barely feeling like she'd slept. The woman had mainly tossed and turned with nightmares but at least she had Leopold who knew what was going on in her mind from first hand experience. Adrianna sat down stiffly as her bones felt like they were groaning in pain.
Soral gave a nod at her entrance. "Would you like something to drink?"
"Nothing professional," Adrianna replied candidly before responding a bit more sensibly, "but an Italian blend black coffee will do."
Soral gave a nod. "Captain?"
"Rooibos tea, hot," Stillwater replied. It was his go-to drink. Captain Stillwater was glad to have his Chief of Intelligence back, but he remained worried, concerned more than anything about what the woman had been through. Aside from that, Stillwater was not fully sure about his First Officer either. Soral had been through a lot recently as well.
Adrianna watched Soral get the drinks, smiling as a thank you. She shifted in her seat trying to find a more comfortable position but gave up at mere 'slightly better'.
Soral set their drinks in front of them and replicated a mint tea for himself. He sat down. "It is good to have you back. Have things gone well with medical?"
"Doctor Rose has sorted the major things and a few aesthetics that I couldn't live without being fixed. I'll be going back a few times. Get myself sorted over the course of a few sessions. I also need to see Vali again, today. I just needed a break yesterday," Adrianna replied honestly.
"Understandable," Soral said. He sipped his tea. "Have you thought about my offer of you taking some time to rest?"
"I don't think I have a choice," Adrianna replied, "like it or not I need to be cleared by both medical and psych before I can work. I may as well take some restful, meaningful leave. Though, I must say, I'm not happy about it. I just want to get back to a semblance of normality."
"What is your definition of semblance of normality." Soral asked.
"Being back to work, doing something productive, looking into reports or using my skills to assist in something positive, or equally to get us out of something negative, coming home to my fiancé and cooking for him and not have to worry about the strict diets we've both been put on, heading to the gym for a run and to beat a poor punching bag to death without having to hold restraint or feel breathless from merely getting dressed, to actually go to bed and not feel like when my head hits the pillow, I'm going to wake up back in an Ekos cell or worse, to sleep without being tormented by nightmares," Adrianna listed off, getting rather frustrated at herself and tensing up, "most of all, I want to be able to leave my quarters without someone asking me if I'm OK, and regardless of my answer, to be given the same look you give to a kicked puppy proceeded by being mothered as if I am less than my former self."
She stopped and massaged the bridge of her nose trying to calm herself. The Italian waived off the tension, "sorry. Please know my frustration is not with this system. I know why this procedure is in place and I know in myself why I can't go back to work yet."
"You can go back to work after some proper rest," replied Stillwater. "People are going to ask you if you are okay for a while, but you aren't. You won't be okay for a while. That amount if time depends on the person, and it frankly isn't anyone's business but yours and medical personnel when you are okay. For now, we haven't put you on duty because you need time, not to work on being okay, but to get away from Ekos. Physically, you are long gone from it, but psychologically?"
"I understand," Adrianna sighed a little, looking rather guilty, "I'm just not used to being a victim. It's new, and frankly unwelcomed territory. I'll be fine." She paused and got back to the purpose of the meeting, asking, "I assume I'm here for a debrief?"
"The main reason you are here is because we wanted to ensure that you were alright and settling back in properly."
Stillwater eased his way back into the conversation. "Though a debrief would be good for all of us," he said and looked at Adrianna. "I know how you feel in being a victim, and that is unwelcomed and uncomfortable territory."
Adrianna nodded and offered a small smile, "I appreciate you both being concerned. In terms of debrief," Adrianna ran a hand through her hair and gave a slightly mirth less chuckle, "where do we start?"
Soral sat back. He was not up for hearing any of the graphic details. He had a feeling that his stomach could not stand it. "Perhaps we can avoid taking you too far down that memory. Basics first? Why did you go to the planet, how long were you there before you were arrested?"
Adrianna considered her words carefully. So far she hadn't minded discussing the full extent of torture, but it was mainly because she knew the ears could handle the topic. "Further to sending a discreet message to Crewman Eberhardt's family, we received a reply communication from his sister, revealing that his parents had been arrested because of the message. They were accused of treason and espionage, linking the message we had sent with potential Zeon activism."
She took a sip of water and continued, "it was agreed with the captain that myself and crewman Eberhardt would go to Ekos to try and rectify the issue. We used a contact of mine, Constantine Romanov, a runner for the highest bidder. He dropped us in Ekos and quickly left."
Now everyone was up to date with what was known she proceeded, "we met up with the crewman's sister, Emilia. She was well, but soon informed us that the Eberhardt's were, indeed, sympathises with Zeons and so our message was just the final piece of evidence required to get them both arrested on the relevant charges. This news did now sit well with the crewman, who felt deceived."
"The crewman soon arranged for us to visit the prison to check in on his parents. As it turns out, due to lack... Progression... In the opinion of gender roles, I was the only one allowed to visit, and I was only allowed to his it his mother at that," she shifted uncomfortably at the memory of her first encounter with König, but opted to add the account for context, "the guard who showed me to his mother, decided to try and take advantage of a search for contraband. I broke his nose, kneed him and dislocated his shoulder for the privilege. His name was König."
Adrianna ran a hand over her face, "I, uhh, do not regret my actions of self defence, however I do realise that these actions would later come back to bite me in the ass, so to speak."
She took a break and shook her head, regaining her train of thought, "whilst seeing the Crewman's mother, she gave me a chip, she disclosed that her husband was in the process of negotiating an exchange, the crewman for both himself and his wife's freedom. He did not know we were on the planet at the time this negotiation took place. The chip turned out to contain a full blueprint of the prison."
"Once it became apparent that we would be unable to negotiate either parent's freedom we came up with the plan for a jail break. Long story short, I made the decision that for the safety of both parents, we would do a full jailbreak. We successfully managed to release all prisoners in cells on both male and female sides."
"On final check of the cells, I ran into König, who I shot on stun in order to escape." She shifted again, twice she'd hurt that man, its no wonder he required an ego boost in the form of taking charge of her 'wellbeing' when she was imprisoned.
"I was the last person to leave the prison," she continued, "whilst running to a secured location, the crewman disclosed that he assumed his father was dead on the grounds his cell was empty and the man had not been seen in some time. This, of course, upset the Crewman's sister, causing us to have to slow down. She was shot."
Adrianna took another sip of water, as if it would aide in the same way alcohol would. "Leopold proceeded to carry Emilia the rest of the way, but we only made it so far. We opted to stop in another location, away from the secured location, for the safety of the many. We were quickly discovered by Ekosian authorities and arrested. We went willingly, further to being threatened with the prospect of digging three graves not one."
Adrianna concluded, "this all happened in the space of a week, week and a half of being on Ekos. I cannot speak for the crewman, but I personally was subjected to violence to say the least, headed up by König himself. Whilst at the prison, we discovered that the Crewman's father was indeed alive. In an attempt to help, upon seeing that I was at breaking point, Leopold lied, saying that I was pregnant. This got me a week or two of mercy. Once it was discovered this was a lie, I was put into solitary and I was still subjected to torture on a daily basis, which escalated upon discovering I was intelligence, for Starfleet information."
It was difficult hearing the woman recount her experiences on Ekos. Stillwater leaned forward in his chair. "My condolences to Leopold's family and to the both of you," replied Stillwater. "I wanted to come sooner. I wanted to get to Ekos as soon as we lost contact with the two of you, but it was simply not possible. I could not just bring a Federation starship there without risking conflict and exasperating the issues."
Stillwater shook his head. "Once they discovered you were Starfleet and in intelligence, did they get anything out of you? I'm sorry, but we need to ask."
Adrianna was silent a moment. She was thinking, running through everything she'd given. After a long silence she finally replied, "nothing detrimental for Starfleet. Only Baciami. That and we should pray they don't find out that Ferengi never rip you off and women rule the culture, Vulcans are over emotional and you should always gift a tribble to a Klingon." Adrianna was serious though did add, "but no, to my knowledge, I did not disclose anything that I shouldn't have. Their questions were too generic-- mainly about key worlds outside of their own and the reliability of Starfleet, not about Starfleet itself."
"Given they haven't had any real contact with the Federation in decades, they likely are ill informed about the Federation as it is," replied Stillwater. "They practically haven't encountered Federation starships with technology much more advanced than a Constitution class."
"Unfortunately for them, unless Leopold has said anything, they will remain clueless unless they venture," Adrianna sipped her water, "out of interest, if either of us did say anything, even after everything we went through, what would the punishment be?" Adrianna felt the need to ask. She didn't remember saying anything, but she also knew she'd reached breaking point on multiple occasions. She didn't know whether Leopold had been through the exact same, but she certainly knew of what he could have been through - - first hand.
Stillwater grunted. "That would depend on the information leaked and under the conditions. Obviously, there's a difference between the sky is blue on Earth and this is the vulnerability of the Merian class starship," replied the Captain. "As is the case with their being a difference in disclosing sensitive information liberally and disclosing it under the influence of drugs for cohesion. Punishment could range from a simple mark on your service records to a more serious reprimand, demotion, court-martial, etcetera."
Soral had entered the meeting with his nerves on the edge. The more she spoke the more she reveled his nerves frayed until he just stood up and without a word walked out. He needed a moment but he doubted that he was coming back and he knew that Stillwater would be on him after this. He needed to meditate if he was going to face the captain.
Stillwater was not pleased that Soral had left abruptly, but if Soral had done so, it meant something was up. Nevertheless, Stillwater continued.
Adrianna ran her hand over her face. Her pulse increased. Adrianna couldn't afford to be struck off, or for Leopold to be. She needed the security. "I don't believe, I said anything, but if I did, I will fight with every piece of me to ensure I have no form of reprimand."
She could feel her anxiety increase, which somehow flared her temper. Her emotions and thought patters had been completely twisted on Ekos, she didn't know how to interact with people anymore at the moment. "If I did disclose something I shouldn't have, it was done because of having months of torture, not a day or two. For gawds sake, I had my ass branded with a fucking swastika, I was waterboarded, electrocuted, put into solitary, burned, beaten and gawd knows what else and I will not be held accountable for--" She slammed her hand onto the table in frustration.
Adrianna lifted up both her hands in surrender, "sorry. I didn't mean - - sorry."
Stillwater raised a finger as to silence her but not in a rude nor disciplinary way. It was gentle yet stern. It was fatherly. "You are safe, Petty Officer. You are back aboard the Standing Bear, and nobody is coming after you Ekosian or Admiralty. If there was anything disclosed, I will fight to the bitter end to ensure neither you nor Mister Eberhardt is punished for it" he said firmly. "You owe nobody an explanation of what happened to you. When I was held by the Cardassians..." he began but aborted his thinking. "I am not a virgin to the brutality of imprisonment" he added.
Adrianna nodded. He didn't need to say anything, she knew he'd have an understanding. "Sir, after the wedding, after or honeymoon, I respectfully ask that I be reinstated, at least to some capacity. I cannot wallow in my quarters any longer. I need to be doing something, anything."
"Oh?" countered Stillwater. "I was not aware being a couch potato on my starship was an option. As soon as you are back from your honeymoon, you are returning to duty. This ship needs its Chief of Intelligence. You had better make the most of the honeymoon."
Adrianna smiled and finally meant it. She sighed contently and said, "if there is nothing more, I have my hen night to prepare for."
"You are dismissed," Stillwater said with a small nod. "No further questions."