Posted on Sunday, 12 December 2021 - 5:53pm by Lieutenant Haru Hernandez & Lieutenant JG Maximus Mackenzie & Lieutenant JG Hayashi Hamura & Captain Pippa Whitley & Lieutenant T'Lanna Vali & Lieutenant Alex Kingsley & Lieutenant JG Adrianna Eberhardt
Operation: Mirror of Madness
Location: Breifing Room | USS Standing Bear
Hamura stood outside the briefing room. Inside it held Alex, Baciami, and Whitley...They stood outside with Vali. "Shit." Hamura said running their hand through their hair. "This was a bad idea telling them about where Soral is."
T’Lanna gazed at Hamura. “No, it isn’t, we need as much help as we can get in reaching Soral. Without us he’s dead!”
Hamura sighed. "Fine, but they won't believe us."
Captain Whitley sat at the head of the table, having listened to what was presented before them, Pippa was certainly entertaining possibilities and weighing them against plausibility, separating fact from sensationalism. "We have a lot options to consider and some that are potential to explore."
Adrianna nodded in agreement, "it's worth trying the options we have."
"I concur," replied Pippa. "At this point, I feel like throwing everything out there even if it Is the kitchen sink." The Captain smiled. "So, whatever ideas anyone has, I'm willing to entertain them...within reason of course. Though I don't want to end up throwing the baby out with the bath water" explained the Captain.
Mac and Haru sat at the table. They too had been called into this meeting about Soral. The doctor couldn't find much with the transporter logs that Hamura had given him so now they were discussing possible reasons for Soral's laps in judgement.
Pippa reclined in the chair, shooting a look over at her Acting First Officer. "Don't shoot me for this, Lieutenant, but let's put hard science aside for a second. Broadening our scope to 'parascience' and anything theoretical or difficult to explain, what could potentially explain Soral's behavior if no discernible abnormalities are found in his medical records?"
From the adjacent seat, Kingsley shook her head. “While I’m sure there may be some explanation,” she conceded, “I don’t know what could be responsible. Given the crew aren’t exhibiting unusual behaviour, it would have to be localised. Specific. I’ve reviewed sensor data going back weeks and nothing unusual shows up.”
“Our logical course would be to proceed to Vulcan so that we can speak to Soral and examine him,” she added.
Mac pipped up. "Say where the hell is Hamura I know we invited them." As if on cue the doors parted and Vali and Hamura walked in." Hamura, for their part looked terrible; They were pale and disheveled. The doctor had no way of knowing if stabilizing Hamura would help Soral.
"Nice of you to join us," Haru said.
Hamura bit back a cuss word. "We need to alter course. Soral is not on Vulcan. We need to get to him right away or he'll die."
From the other side of the room, Lieutenant Kingsley eyed Hamura wearily. The engineer looked like hell, quite frankly, although it did nothing to soften their attitude. “My husband is on Vulcan,” she said with absolute conviction. “What evidence do you have that he isn’t? And that his life is in danger?”
“Hamura has a connection with Soral, just as you do” T’Lanna eyed Alex curiously. “Don’t you feel your husband’s pain? His anguish at not being here with you? Because if you don’t I’d like to know why not!”
There was a brief silence before Kingsley spoke. “Soral has mastered how to subdue our bond when he feels overprotective,” Alex reminded her, keeping her calm despite the almost accusatory words. Losing her temper wasn’t an option and she employed every technique she had learned from Soral to ensure T’Lanna couldn’t pry. Her bond was personal, private.
Taking a deep breath she added, “but it doesn’t change the basic facts that we know he is on Vulcan and our orders are to proceed there to try and diffuse the situation. We know Soral was unwell and attending to that while on Vulcan, their healers are the best to help him.”
Pippa cleared their throat, drawing attention back to the head of the table. "Last time I checked, there were four pips on my uniform and I was addressed as Captain" Pippa Whitley said with a bit of a crisp slicing into the tension. Pippa was the hot knife, their staff, the cold ock of butter.
"We have orders to take the Standing Bear to Vulcan where we have evidence of Soral being, at least not too long ago. There's certainly a possibility he has fled Vulcan, especially if Barret Stillwater did indeed catch up to him as we are inclined to believe from the reported monastery incident."
Pippa gestured put the observation area. "There's a lot of space out there. If Hamura believes...feels Soral is not on Vulcan, that's something worth exploring. Starfleet Command has the Standing Bear on a committed course to Vulcan, but they did not say anything about the crew. This starship does have auxiliary craft does it not?"
“We have a full compliment,” Alex confirmed.
Pippa nodded. "By the book to the letter, the Standing Bear is to arrive in the Vulcan system. That does not mean we could not dispatch an auxiliary craft to send an away team to follow Lieutenant Hamura's...intuition?" Pippa was hesitant as to the proper wording.
“We can,” Alex replied slowly. “Although, I would prefer to remain on board. I don’t believe he has left Vulcan and if he is still there, I can help.”
T’Lanna looked towards Pippa. “Captain, I’m willing to go. With my abilities I can help Hamura.”
Hamura wanted to sigh with relief, "Yes, we can do that."
Haru rubbed the bridge of his noise, "From a tact-sec point of view we should go to Vulcan and if he's off site then we figure things out."
Mac's hands balled into fists. "I'm with Hamura on this! First where is he?" Mac looked at Hamura.
Hamura sighed looking at Pippa, "Captain...permission to use the 3-D table model?"
Adrianna rubbed the bridge of her nose and muttered under her breath, "perhaps we should let the actual department head sort that instead of just an engineer."
"Perhaps we can put differences aside, or at the very least agree to disagree, make our diversity of opinions as a strength rather than blaring weaknesses," quipped Pippa. "Proceed, Lieutenant Hamura," Pippa added.
Hamura brought the table to life. A small star system just outside the Vulcan home system showed up. "There are three objects here that have served as Starfleet coms outposts, all three abandoned. I'm not sure which one but one of these will hold Soral, more then likely the one he was stationed to briefly. I suggest we send a team, they are an hour around one another and we can get hem all."
The Captain looked at Adrianna. "I will want you here aboard the Standing Bear," Pippa stated. "If Soral or Stillwater are on Vulcan still, I have no doubt that you'll find breadcrumbs to follow."
"That's fine with me," Adrianna nodded, "I can do some digging where possible. I can do some on the other place too, just in case. It may save a full trip, or at least give a heads up."
"Lieutenant Vali, you will lead an away team to follow Lieutenant Hamura's sense. Take the..." Pippa reached for a PaDD to check the name of the Captain's gig. "The Casablanca," she added.
T’Lanna looked surprised, she wasn’t used to the responsibility of leading an away team, however she waspart of the command department now. She took a deep breath and nodded. “Yes Captain.”
Captain Pippa Whitley nodded at Kingsley. "Alex, you'll remain with me. If Soral is indeed still on Vulcan, I would feel more confident in persuading him to come aboard with you present."
“Of course,” Alex nodded.
Hamura's sat down and looked at Mac. Mac sat up. "Captain they will need tact-sec I would like to go with them."
"Lieutenant," Pippa said looking at T'Lanna. "Your call."
T’Lanna looked at Mac then back at Pippa. “I’d be happy to have Lieutenant MacKenzie along Captain. We need him.”
Hamura slumped finally for the first time happy that something was to get done. They looked at Pippa with genuine gratitude and a new found respect. They didn't dismiss them, they listened and while the Captain was not taking the ship they did provide a way for Hamura to get done what was needed. "I'll start prepping the shuttle. Captain permission to speak with you upon meeting end?"
"Whenever I am needed," Pippa replied with a nod. "That goes for anyone on this crew. Whether they are part of the Senior Staff or just a crewmen. I want to be approachable."
T’Lanna looked towards Alexandra, she was feeling bad about the way she’d spoken to her. “Lieutenant may I speak to you in private before I depart?”
“Of course,” Alex nodded before glancing to her right, “was there anything else, Captain?”
Pippa straightened in their seat. The Captain took a bit if a breath, mulled things over for a moment. "No, I think that about covers everything. We know what we are doing and who is taking which fork in the road that we've come to...dismissed."
Mac and Haru were the first out.
Hamura watched as the room emptied and sat back. Their head was pounding and they had one more conversation to have. It was only now that the images were starting to sort themselves out in their mind. This was going to be hard to explain but Hamura knew that if anyone would understand Pippa would. For some reason the Captain…had an effect on Hamura, they trusted the Captain and knew that if Soral were here he would too. Gods knew how this would all go.
Pippa sat contemplating what the enigmatic and problematic Chief Engineer wanted to speak with them about. As a Captain with am opendoor policy, Pippa may wish to reconsider that, but they sought to be approachable. Pippa did not want 'Captain Whitley' to be some mythologyical figure to the crew.