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USS Darmok Briefings and Logs
 
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The duty logs, weekly status reports and sim logs of the USS Darmok.
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  Captain Zachary Taylor, SD
 
Sim Summary, SD 201903.08
 
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Darmok Sim Log, SD 201903.08

 

On the Aslan Station

._ The Darmok was docked with an Aslan Shipyard Station undergoing much-needed repairs after their latest battle with the Kyrathians. Since her talents were ill-suited to repairs of a ship, Dr. Thibodeaux sought the opportunity to better familiarize herself with their Aslan friends. She and Counselor Ariti were aboard the Station when Dr. T asked, “Counselor, can you introduce me to the Aslan equivalent of a CMO?”

._ Ariti answered, “Of course! You'll find that the Universal Translator has no problem deciphering Aslan. If you want to use my voder to try speaking without it, I'll be happy to let you.” The voder was a small device Ariti could attach to her throat that would simulate the odd buzzes, clicks, and thunks the Aslans' language was composed of. Since humanoids did not share the reed-like buzzer nor the hard exoskeletal shell, they could not make these sounds on their own. The user of the voder would sound to Aslans like they spoke with an odd “accent” or perhaps with a mild speech-impediment, but would be understandable. Many Aslans also possessed a Universal Translator developed after the manner of the ones the Federation brought, so they could understand Federation speech as well.

._ Dr. T answered the Counselor, “Thanks, I'll try the voder, it seems polite to make the effort.” She glanced at several of the Aslans they passed as they walked, then whispered to Ariti, “How long did it take to get used to the way the Aslan look?”

._ Ariti rolled her eyes and answered softly, “Is it that …€Â˜cockroach' thing?”

._ The Doctor answered, “No, no! Actually, I had to look up cockroaches, I grew up on Nouvo Haiti, we didn't have that kind of bug.” She paused, then continued, “It's just …€… they are quite …€… alien!”

._ Ariti chuckled, “I'm sure we look weird to them! But to answer your question, it took me at least a year.” They walked on before Ariti said, “Oh, here's their senior doctor now!” She activated the voder and used it to greet the Aslan medic.

._ Buzzes and clicks came from the voder, and Dr. T's Universal Translator kicked in a second later, “Thchakik, this is Dr. Thibodeaux, the Darmok's Chief Medical Officer. She wants to learn more about your anatomy and physiology.” She handed the voder to Dr. T.

._ Dr. T used it, her own voice now being translated to buzzes, clicks, and thunks, “A pleasure to meet you, Thchakik.”

._ The Aslan doctor's mandibles rubbed together and his reed buzzed as he responded, “Good to meet you, CMO Dr. Thibodeaux. My staff and I will help you learn what you seek to know. Follow me.”

._ Ariti smiled and gestured as she spoke to Dr. T, “There you go, introduction made! Good luck. I'm going back to the Darmok.”

._ Dr. T smiled back, thanked her, and followed Thchakik, eager to learn. As they walked away, the Aslan doctor commented, “We appreciate your efforts to know our species. There are many differences to detail. You may wish to use a recording device.”

._ Dr. T responded, still using the loaned voder, “Thank you, I plan to do so.”

._ Thchakik continued, gesturing with one of his four arms, “And we see you attempting to replicate our language with Ariti's device. It makes me wish to spread my wings with joy that you respect us in this way.”

._ Dr. T smiled and began recording her first lesson on Aslans and their physiology. At first she was a little …€Â˜creeped out' being up close and personal to gigantic bugs, but in a few minutes, she was observing everything with a clinical eye.

 

Engineering Repairs

._ Lt. Aaron Riedinger, Assistant Chief Engineer, was in Main Engineering talking with an Aslan Engineer. Both were heavily reliant on their Universal Translators, but both had become accustomed to the second or so delay between the start of a response and hearing the translation.

._ Aaron was saying, “Oh, really! That's very funny! It's very similar to what our people call beatbox!” He laughed and said, “Please, can you do it one more time?!”

._ But before the Aslan was able to repeat the “song”, a technician in the Starfleet uniform of a member of Darmok's crew reported they were ready to install the nacelle. He thanked the technician and turned to the Aslan, giving the insectoid a pat on his “back” (which was actually the top of his wing covering). Aaron said, “Continue with that beatbox of yours, amigo. I really believe that you have a future in the music of your world! Or even of your quadrant! And then we can continue to see that …€Â˜cool tool' of yours.” He moved over to a monitoring station.

._ Outside the ship, Lt. Bevin MacArdry, the Darmok's Chief Engineer, was in an EVA suit supervising the re-installation of the Darmok's port nacelle. There were members of the Darmok Engineering crew, some of the more physically inclined Science Officers, and many Aslan technicians in their own EVA suits, along with the Darmok's workerbee pods, and Aslan heavy construction vessels, all requiring coordination and direction for the precision alignment of the nacelle.

._ While she was technically the supervisor in charge of all the work, Bevin was never one afraid to get her hands dirty, and it was she, personally, who placed the last bolt, and who held the nut while an Aslan tightened it with an impact tool. Once she was satisfied with the physical installation, she headed back inside to complete the all-important electrical connections and calibrations.

._ As she entered the airlock the commbadge on her EVA suit chirped with a call from Main Engineering. It was Lt. Aaron Riedinger calling, “Jefa, is Phase One complete?”

._ Bevin tapped the commbadge and answered with her melodic Brogue. “Aye, Aaron, Staij Ane's fainished, naw we hae tae gait ivvrythaing ainsaide baik taegaithir.”

._ Aaron's voice came through the comm again as the airlock began its cycle, “OK, excellent work! Now we just have to reroute all the wiring inside, fantástico!”

._ Bevin responded, “Aye, alang wi aill tha raist o tha sairkitry an kandewaits …€…,” she trailed off. They still had a lot of work to do. The airlock completed the cycle and she quickly stripped off her EVA suit and hurried into Main Engineering so she could start reconnecting the circuits, conduits and wires to their mates in the main Darmok hull.

._ Aaron met her as she arrived, handing her a PADD, “This is the list of teams we're coordinating with one of the heads of the Aslans. To put the Nacelle online again ... well, it will take a long time ... very long.”

._ Bevin glanced at it, a slight scowl on her face. Without saying a word she moved past Aaron and started their work. Aaron knew his friend was stressed, so he too quietly returned to the work.

._ Bevin was running checks on the wires and conduits to determine which were good and which would need to be scrapped and replaced. Aaron was working side by side with an Aslan and they began discussing one of the tools the Aslan was using. Aaron commented, “Oh ... so, it's like one of our decouplers, just that,” he pointed to one of the many wires protruding from a panel, “with this tool we can adjust here ... and here!” The Aslan tool performed the work of two, or even three tools, all at once. Aaron was suitably impressed.

._ Suddenly, Bevin's head popped out of a Jeffries Tube nearby, “Haw's ait gaein?”

._ Aaron jumped, startled. “Jefa! You scared me!” His heart was racing. Apparently the experience with the Kyrathians had its repercussions. When his heart rate had slowed slightly he answered, “At least now we can work side by side with our friends, the Aslans, and use his magnificent tools!” He patted this Aslan on his wing covering. He asked Bevin, “And how is your part, Jefa?”

._ Bevin slid out of the Tube and approached a passel of components that needed redoing: broken or fried circuits. She shrugged, “Ait's gaein, jist naid tae gait mair sairkaits tae raiplice tha barned aut anes.” She glanced at the Aslan repair team, “Tapadh laibh gu dearbh! Thaink ye sae mich fer hailpin is.

 

Bridge, Main Science Lab, Reconn Dome

._ The Bridge of the Darmok was nearly abandoned with the ship docked at a friendly station and people throughout the ship working to make repairs. The only two on the Bridge were Captain Taylor and Lt. Cmdr. Relok.

._ The Captain was standing in the center of the Bridge reviewing a PADD of the repair schedule. He grunted, “Man, this is worse than I thought! There's damage to consoles throughout the damn ship!” He tossed the PADD into the Command Seat and glanced around the Bridge in frustration. Finally he said, “Relok, you have the Bridge ... what's left of it. I'll be in my Ready Room.”

._ Relok looked up from where he was trying to reboot the Reconnaissance Systems. With a nod he said, “Understood, sir.”

._ Lt. Jason Carter was in the main Science Lab, going over some of the theories and algorithms he'd used when he was with Red Squadron. As he contemplated, he drummed his fingers on the only operational console remaining in the lab. He muttered aloud, “Damn ... with all the damage done, I've no clue how I can get this rag-tag ... wait ... …€Â˜Rag ... tag ...',” he smacked his forehead as an idea came to him.

._ He tapped his commbadge, “Relok! Commander, I can try some hot-wiring down here and see if I can at least get a Level 3 Diagnostic going on our sensor grid. Gonna take a few minutes, but ... worth a shot?”

._ Relok tapped his badge and replied, “Aye, let's see if we can at least get something working.”

._ Carter got busy pulling wiring harnesses from the console and started carefully rewiring the panel to reconfigure the console.

._ At the same time, Master Sergeant Hines was in the Reconnaissance Dome, trying to salvage what he could of the Artificial Intelligence, MAX. He managed to download MAX to a portable chip, where his programming could remain stable. He tapped his commbadge, “Hines to Command. I've managed to salvage MAX's programming to a microchip. The Dome's pretty fried. Took a helluva beating ... half the hull up here is buckling, and force-fields are barely online ...,” he trailed off.

._ Relok responded, “That's good news, Sergeant! I'd hate to lose MAX, he's been indispensable for many years.”

._ Hines replied, “I'm bringing MAX down to the Bridge. I think Patterson's chair has a working access for him. Hines out.”

._ Relok commented, “Sounds, good, Sergeant. We're trying to restore power to the Reconn Systems, and ...,” he flinched as his console sparked again, “Whoa!”

._ Down in the Science Lab where Carter was working, there were mumbled complaints, the occasional loud vulgarity, and bangs as Carter snatched his hand back after a zap hit him. Finally, he finished his rewiring and brought up a diagnostic terminal. He rejoiced, “Got it! Now …€… where's the primary issue?” He tapped his commbadge, “Carter to Relok. I've got the Diagnostic Display up and running down here.”

._ Relok answered, “I see it too. Where's the primary problem?”

._ Carter studied the read-out, “I'm trying to find that now, sir …€… stand by.” After a moment he called Relok again, “Ok, the ship's primary computer core is offline, stuck on a cyclic rate of about 10% of what it should be. Secondary systems aren't booting up properly, either. There's our main issue.”

._ He moved over to the fried computer access and removed damaged panels to gain access to the wiring itself. After a brief glance he muttered, “All right, this is pretty bad, but …€… maybe …€…,” he trailed off again.

._ Relok called back, “Carter, we need to have a lot of those systems completely rewired. They can't support the power demands of the Reconn Systems in their current state.”

._ Carter responded, “Relok, hang on for a bit on that …€… I've gotta bypass all these burnt-out conduits and wiring.”

._ As he said this, Hines entered the Bridge from one of the Jeffries Tubes access ports, panting softly. As he drew his large frame back to his full 6'6” height he wiped his brow, “Whew! Climate control doesn't work past the Bridge.”

._ Relok glanced at the big, sweaty man. “I guess not.”

._ Hines stepped over to Patterson's chair and inserted the chip where he'd stored MAX into the arm panel. “All right, Commander, he's all yours now. If I may be relieved to Sickbay, sir? I …€… flew alongside our fallen …€…,” he trailed off.

._ Relok glanced over at the big man and nodded, “You're excused, Sergeant. Go see to your men.”

._ Hines nodded, “Thank you, sir.” He stepped over to the turbolift, headed to Sickbay.

._ Over the still open comm, Relok heard Carter, “Gah! Dammit!” He'd shocked himself pretty bad that time. He grabbed the wire by the insulated part this time and hooked it up, then attempted a bypass through an auxiliary. The console powered up and he called again, “Got it! Relok, emergency power is back online in the Science Labs. And I've got access to the secondary computer.”

._ Relok answered, “Thanks, Carter! Primary sensors are coming online, that'll help a lot.”

._ Carter replied, “Alright, I've done what I can down here to get the computer running again. I've got nothing else that's got power, or even the ability to carry an electrical current …€…,” he trailed off.

._ Relok said, “I'll try one more time to reboot MAX and the Reconn, but ... we may have to hold off on going all-out until some of the wiring is redone.”

._ Carter answered, “Roger that. If I can get down to the main computer core, I can take a look at using some portable generators and remodulators to get it running.”

._ Relok responded, “I'm not sure it's about getting power to the system, I think it's about the system itself. Those circuits took a lot of damage when that Pod drained us.”

._ Carter said, “Yeah, I know ... but it's not the circuitry that's damaged though. It's the lack of juice. Just needs a jumpstart, I'd wager.”

 

The Captain's Ready Room

._ The Captain's frustration with the damage to his ship and the expected schedule of repairs drove him to retreat to his Ready Room to calm down. Once the door had closed and he knew he had his privacy he muttered to himself, “What the hell is Starfleet Command thinking? We can't do this alone ...,” he trailed off as the chime from the hallway door rang.

._ Outside the door was Lt. Col. Patterson, who had made his way slowly along the corridors, contemplating their circumstances. He hadn't known for certain the Captain would be in his Ready Room, but felt he'd gotten to know the man fairly well in the few months they'd worked together. Sure enough, he heard the Captain's call, “Enter!”

._ As the door slid shut behind him, Patterson asked, “I can only assume the course of action now is contacting the Brass, sir?”

._ Taylor sighed. “I've got to let them know this isn't working. What the hell were they thinking, Travis?” He flopped into a chair in front of his desk.

._ Patterson shook his head. “We have the most advanced systems. The best-trained crew for the assignment. Even still ... the mission isn't sanctioned by the Fleet, so far out from the Alpha and Beta Quadrants. It makes sense to send a single scout ...,” he trailed off.

._ The Captain reached for his console and turned it around so he and Patterson could both be on the call. As he did he responded to Patterson, “But this scout is getting her ass kicked!” He hit the command to call Starfleet Command.

._ Patterson shook his head once more as he moved to take a seat. “Scouts aren't tanks, sir.”

._ The logo of Starfleet Command came on the display screen and was replaced shortly thereafter with a man wearing Admiral's pips. He spoke casually, “Ah, Captain Taylor ... I've been expecting your call.”

._ Patterson remained seated, lowering his head slightly and interlocking his fingers in his lap.

._ The Captain stuttered slightly, “Uh, you have, uh, Admiral? What do you mean?”

._ The Admiral responded, “I just got off a call from Ambassador Android ... well, several calls actually. Him and a few Councillors and others ...,” he trailed off.

._ Patterson turned to look at the Captain, then back to the screen with the Admiral. “You're aware the Darmok has been critically damaged, sir? We're unable to continue with our mission in our current state, and frankly, sir ...,” he looked around him, “She's not designed to be on her own like this.”

._ Taylor glanced at Patterson then back to the Admiral, “You've been talking to the Android?”

._ The Admiral said, “Captain, Colonel, we were not aware of the level of Kyrathian activity ... that's why we sent a scout, but, it's bigger than we imagined. And the Aslans are not happy about it.” He paused before continuing, “Captain, the Aslans plan to declare all-out war against the Kyrathians, but ... well, Starfleet isn't interested in going to war in the Gamma Quadrant ... again.”

._ Patterson asked, “So ... are we abandoning the mission, sir?”

._ The Admiral shook his head, “No, not abandoning. The Federation Council want to support the Aslans, they're good allies after all, but ... we're not sending a fleet. You and your crew will remain as Reconnaissance for the Aslans ....”

._ The Captain interrupted, “Admiral, we've already proven that plan doesn't work so well. The Darmok isn't cut out for this kind of mission!”

._ Patterson sat up straight, “What about Starfleet Intelligence?”

._ A slow smile spread across the Admiral's face. “Not the Darmok, Captain.”

._ Taylor's brows knit. “Admiral, I'm confused.”

._ The Admiral replied, “We have a new ship, fresh out of Utopia Planitia ... with some of the most cutting-edge technology you can imagine. She's specifically designed for Deep-Space Reconnaissance ... almost as if designed for just this sort of mission.”

._ Taylor turned to Patterson, then back to the Admiral, “A new ship, sir?”

._ Patterson grunted. “Well that's all nice and dandy, but ... with all due respect, sir ... it took us almost three months to get from Utopia to the Aslans at max warp!”

._ The Admiral smiled at Patterson, “This new ship has Quantum Slipstream, Colonel. It can make jumps that'll make Warp Drive look like Impulse.”

._ Taylor interjected, “But, sir, Quantum Slipstream is dangerous! It's been proven unstable.”

._ The Admiral replied, “Well, yeah, it can be.”

._ Patterson contemplated a moment then said, “There's been a few theories ...,” he let the thought trail off.

._ The Admiral continued for him, “It's still experimental and can only be done in short bursts, but still, what took you months they can do in a few weeks.”

._ Taylor asked, “Admiral, how long until its arrival to us?”

._ The Admiral smirked, “She's already on her way.”

._ Patterson asked, “And what of the Darmok?”

._ The Admiral took a breath then answered, “The Darmok is well past her expected service time. Utopia Planitia has said they'd take her as a museum exhibit, and a couple of the Commodores and Admirals at Starfleet Academy said they could use her for training exercises.”

._ Taylor rubbed his chin. “I don't know, sir. Even with a more advanced ship, these Kyrathians are dangerous. One ship isn't enough.”

._ The Admiral sighed. “I know, Captain. The Penumbra isn't being sent to wage a war on her own. She'll be assisting the Aslans in *their* war. Let the Aslans carry the bulk of the battles. You guys are just to seek and tag and then withdraw.”

._ Patterson grumbled, “'Cept we all have a grudge of our own ....”

._ The Admiral grunted, “Oh, you'll get enough, Colonel. You can do hit and run missions in support of our allies, but the Aslans have promised to have your back. They'll be your reinforcements. And, Captain, just wait until you see this ship!”

._ Suddenly, Patterson blinked and sat up straight again. “Wait …€… sir, you said …€… Penumbra?”

._ The Admiral now seemed confused. “Yeah, the Penumbra is the ship we're sending.”

._ Taylor turned to Patterson, “You have that look, Travis ....”

._ Patterson asked, “An NX-class Eclipse Cruiser?”

._ The Admiral smirked again, “Yep, that's the one. You've heard of it, Colonel?”

._ Patterson nodded then smirked himself, “Yeah ... who's arse in SFI did you kiss to get her out of spacedock?”

._ The Admiral grinned, “Well, the Ambassador pulls some weight around here, if you didn't know.”

._ Taylor rubbed his face then ran a hand through his greying hair. “So, new ship ... what about the crew?”

._ The Admiral gave a brief nod. “All those willing to transfer are entitled to do so. The Penumbra will have a skeleton crew to bring it out and they'll swap over to bring the Darmok back. We expect most of your crew will want to stay with you out there. Is that a problem?”

._ Taylor glanced at Patterson, “What do you think, Travis?”

._ Patterson gave a gentle nod. “Well, not like I can get the Cerberus to meet her right now. The Dome's launchpad is locked down …€… and without power? No way to open it without more holes.”

._ Taylor nodded. “OK, Admiral, I'll inform the crew. Anybody not transferring I'll let you know about. When can we expect the new ship?”

._ The Admiral smirked again. “She's already through the Wormhole, a couple more weeks or so. Get the Darmok patched up and ready to fly back. She's earned her retirement, let's not send her back damaged.”

._ Taylor gaped. “The Penumbra's already through the wormhole? When were you going to tell me about this, Admiral?”

._ Suddenly a call came through Patterson's commbadge, it was Mst. Sgt. Hines. “All Marines and Pathfinders, report to Security in one hour. Attendance is MANDATORY. Those who don't show up will be relieved of duty and rank until further notice. Hines out.”

._ Patterson turned to the Captain and Taylor nodded, “Go. I don't think you need me there, do you?”

._ Patterson shook his head. “I'm not sure what the situation is. I'll keep you posted.” He stood and headed out of the Ready Room, tapping his commbadge as he left, “Pat to Hines. I'll be there in 10. Fill me in.”

._ The Admiral wrapped it up by saying, “Anyway, Captain. You'll have a new ship with new toys, and new mission parameters. It'll work out, Captain. Starfleet Command out.”

 

Sickbay

._ Lt. Dean Spearhorse was in Sickbay, or technically the Morgue near Sickbay, keeping a vigil over the remains of his fallen men. He mumbled, mostly to himself, on the verge of tears, “How many more lives are we going to throw away?”

._ Nurse Grace Drew noticed Dean in distress. She wandered over and said, “A life in Starfleet can end prematurely for any of us. Which is why I try my best to live fully.”

._ Dr. Shadow K'Trevala also came in, his empathic senses alerting him to Spearhorse's distress. He placed a hand on the Security Chief's shoulder and handed him a handkerchief. “I don't know, but all I DO know is that we have a duty to squash those bugs in their memory.”

._ Ben Franklin, a nurse and physician's assistant, was also nearby. He added, “They did their duty. We all accepted the risk when we signed on.”

._ Spearhorse grunted. “Doesn't make it any easier ... to write the wives and children of these men and tell them they have lost their husband or father ...,” he trailed off.

._ Grace responded, “The day it gets …€Â˜easy' is the day I leave Starfleet!”

._ Shadow offered, “If it helps, I'll help you with the letters, Dean.”

._ Spearhorse nodded at Shadow, “I appreciate it,” he acknowledged, then said, “But it is something I have to do.” Then he slapped his hollow leg and cursed, “I wish to hell I knew why the Fleet feels we need to be here when the risks are so high!” He paused for breath then continued, “What is so important? Last time they acted like this was the Briarpatch, and you see how that worked out!”

._ Shadow tried to soothe him. “Apparently they seem to think we're the best troubleshooters they have for galactic problems!  It's a pain that the Kyrathians are as bad as the Borg, if not worse in some respects!”

._ Spearhorse continued, still angry, “But the point is …€… I can't even say what they died for! Are we here for a noble cause or just to be cannon fodder?”

._ Grace said, “Somebody has to stop them! The Kyrathians that is. Otherwise, no one in this area is safe, and sooner or later they would use up resources here and perhaps come looking to annex our area of space.”

._ Shadow added, “Dean, we're here to help one of our allies in this area, before the Kyrathians start acting like the Aliens in …€Â˜ID4' …€… only all through the Alpha Quadrant!”

._ Spearhorse grunted and said, “Why is it always Starfleet speaking loudly and carrying a big stick? We are supposed to be explorers, not a military force!”

._ Shadow answered, “Because if we don't, some races just might decide to walk all over us as if we were a cheap rug.”

._ Grace added, “We do what needs doing. It's not so cut and dry ... even Starfleet's hospital ships have armaments.”

._ Spearhorse grunted, “For self-defense only.”

._ Shadow passed by each of the bodies in the morgue and placed a red rose with each of the …€Â˜sleepers', murmuring softly under his breath to each one, “You're relieved …€… it's our watch now.”

._ About that time a couple of Marines and a couple of Starfleet Security personnel arrived to pay their respect to the fallen crewmen. Gunnery Sergeants George Price and Vince Carter and PFC Homer Kyle, accompanied by Petty Officer Martin McIntyre and Crewman Sarah Hughes entered through Sickbay.

._ From another direction, Counselor Ariti quietly entered. She too, as an empath, could sense the building tension in the room.

._ Kyle was the first to speak as they entered, “Well, howdy, Lieutenant! Wasn't expecting you here.”

._ Spearhorse grunted, “Where else should I be?”

._ Gunny Price grumbled, “Maybe working with the science department on our ship defenses, our training us to better protect ourselves?”

._ Gunny Carter protested, “Price, you are being insolent, it is not his fault these men died.”

._ Price retorted, “Then who the frak is to blame?”

._ The Counselor cleared her throat, “Ahem! The Kyrathians, they are the instigators …€… the enemy.”

._ Hughes added, “You Marines are better trained for this than we are! You are the first line of defense!”

._ Carter grumbled, “So, what are you saying? It's Patterson's fault?”

._ Shadow tried to soothe ruffled feathers. “No, I do not believe it's the Colonel's fault, but the fault of the aggressiveness and conquistadorial attitudes of the Kyrathians.”

._ Hughes went on, “No, nor is it the Captain's. But the Captain has the ultimate responsibility. If you are going to get angry with someone, it should be him.”

._ Ariti, as the senior officer present, spoke up. “Listen, all of you. All of us are at risk ... whether here or somewhere else. The Kyrathians are the only ones to blame here.” She waited a moment, giving them each a brief look. “I'll be in my office if any of you want to talk.” She slowly turned to leave, thinking she had a lot of work ahead of her.

._ McIntyre reached for Hughes, “Come on, Sarah, let's get out of here before you shoot the Sergeant and get put in the brig!”

._ Hughes shot Price a look that could kill before allowing McIntyre to lead her out of the room.

._ Shadow offered, as Hughes and McIntyre went to leave, “Sarah, all of you, I'm willing to talk whenever and wherever you'd want to, if you don't want to talk with the Counselor.” He turned to the rest of the people gathered there, “All of you, that offer goes for any time when I'm not in surgery. If you need to have me woken up to talk, then do so.”

._ About that time, Master Sergeant Hines arrived, hurrying down the hall and turning the corner just in time to see Hughes and McIntyre leaving.

._ Spearhorse stepped off to the side and tapped his commbadge. “Counselor, this is Dean. I believe I will be the first of my staff to take you up on your offer, then I will order my subordinates to follow suit.  From what I just saw, you might make the same offer to Patterson's Marines.”

._ Her voice came back over the comm, “Of course, Lieutenant, whenever you want to come in, just let me know.”

._ Spearhorse answered, “I will be down when the autopsies are complete and the men are arranged in their coffins.”

._ Shadow placed a hand on Dean's arm, “I'll let you know when, Dean.”

._ Hines gestured behind him at Hughes and McIntyre, still fuming as they left. He asked, “What the hell was that all about?” He stepped closer to Dean, “Lieutenant?”

._ Spearhorse sighed and answered, “Conflict of who is guilty for the losses we are seeing ... the Captain, Patterson, or myself. I am most at fault. I don't know how I can protect them. How can I remain in control of them when we are tearing ourselves apart from the inside?”

._ Hines gave a sigh then grunted, “Alright, stop. I was in the Cerberus. I was closest to them. We haven't lost anyone on the Darmok, only those on Away Missions. But they knew what they signed up for. Hell, they all volunteered to take the flight, rather than deal with boarding protocols.”

._ Hines shook his head, “Call a mandatory meeting in Security. I'll have the Pathfinders and Marine contingent show up as well. We need to sort this out and nip it in the bud, fast.” He paused then lowered his head, “But we honor our fallen first.”

._ Shadow offered, “However I can help, I'm willing.”

._ Dean said, “That is why I am here, sir.” Tears for the fallen began to trickle from his eye. Shadow offered him the handkerchief again.

._ Hines placed his huge hand on the Lieutenant's shoulder and gave a gentle squeeze. “You make a damn good Chief, Lieutenant.” He reached up and tapped his commbadge, “All Marines and Pathfinders, report to Security in one hour. Attendance is MANDATORY. Those who don't show up will be relieved of duty and rank until further notice. Hines out.”

._ Hines is, in fact, the highest ranked non-commissioned officer on the ship, and his experience, and expertise, was in excess of many Officers who outranked him, including the Lieutenant who was Chief of Security. And based on that experience he knew when he needed to step up and do what the Security Chief couldn't seem to bring himself to do: bust some chops.

 


   
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