USS Darmok Briefings and Logs
||The duty logs, weekly status reports and sim logs of the USS Darmok.|
|Lieutenant Commander Desiree Thibodeaux, Lieutenant Dean Spearhorse, Marine Lt. Colonel Travis Patterson, SD|
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USS Darmok NCC--9764
Lt Dean Martin Spearhorse
Ensign Evangeline Trappy
PO1 Martin MacIntyre
PO3 Sarah Connor Hughes
SPC Victor Komarov
Lt.Col. Travis Alexander Patterson
MSgt George Franklin Price
GySgt Vince Sutton Carter
3rd Marine Pathfinders
PFC Homer Kyle
JDL - Security Dept Meeting
Dean took his place in the briefing room where Master Sergeant Hines had called the security personnel and the Marines for a meeting. The morale of the security department was at the lowest place he had seen it since he was assigned to the Darmok. Recent losses in the Kyrathian sector had them burying friends. Plans he authorized to keep the ship safe by using the auxiliary and support craft as a buffer had backfired on a grand scale.
The ship he vowed to protect and the lives therein were a heavy responsibility that both he and the command staff knew all too well. Now that ship was in shambles. This latest incident, how many lives had he “thrown away”, as his junior officer asked him, on a scouting mission that even Ens. T'Lin had strongly opposed before the Captain attempted it. Even if it was the “Captain's idea” not to be seen and to acquire as much data as possible, was it worth the lives of the men in the shuttles, and those sucked out the breaches in the hull? The tally was a grim reality.
The officers and crew, whose respect he had earned, was severely compromised. The incident in Sickbay had made that clear to him. Personnel who were not privy to the events in Sickbay, entered with stunned looks on their faces. The others knew the meeting was not going to be pleasant because of the bad blood and high tension in the crew, especially those who wanted someone to blame for the deaths.
* * *
Evie hustled into the briefing room after hearing the ultimatum. The room was silent. What in blue blazes is going on NOW? She wondered as she glanced around and took the seat nearest the door. She had been uneasy and her senses heightened since they had been in this quadrant, and the recent deaths had added to her disquiet. The few others present acknowledged her entrance only with nods and eye contact. Seems that everyone else is on edge too. She thought.
* * *
In the front of the Security Office, after having been briefed by MSgt Hines about the situation, stood the Colonel with his arms crossed over his chest, waiting on the others to pile into the room. The silence was unnerving, and the stern gaze that fell upon each and every single member as they entered and found their place was even more unsettling. On the pedestal to his right-hand side rested a PADD, no doubt a list of reports and a crew roster dossier. Beside it sat an empty, open box. The Colonel didn't speak a single word, just simply staring with a look of disappointment and unsavory, boiling rage beneath an otherwise commonly stoic posture.
* * *
On the opposite side of the pedestal stood MSgt Hines, standing with his feet shoulder-width apart and his arms at parade rest against the small of his back. He, too, had a look of distaste upon him, but at this point he knew the situation was no longer in his hands. All he was required to do was to inform the Colonel, and hand a report over to him. He did speak out once, however…… “Everyone fall in by section and rank. Squad leaders to the right of your squads…… With a will, people! Lieutenant Spearhorse, to the front, please, sir.”
* * *
Dean stood, proceeded to do the Picard Maneuver, and walked to the podium. “For those of you who do not know, there was an argument in Sickbay earlier this afternoon that exposed just how frayed the nerves of some of the security and Marines are, considering the losses we have sustained in both departments,” he advised. “You want someone to blame. As the Chief of Security the answer is - it is mine. I have not opposed the missions into the Kyrathian territories; I did not object to sending the first team to the Kyrathian station without enough suits for my men to be equally protected as the three testing the experimental suits. I should have asked the Captain to delay that action until enough suits were available. For this latest mission, I suggested where to hide the Darmok during the scans. I did not consider that they could find us through unconventional means. I was also the person who proposed the defensive strategy using the small craft because they are far more maneuverable than we are here in the Darmok,” he said. He looked around the room. “If someone else here wants to accept that responsibility, all you have to do is ask the Captain.”
CPL Longshanks spoke up, “As I recall, you asked for volunteers, sir.”
Dean nodded. “I did. Were you aware of the risks?”
GySgt Carter replied, “To some degree, but that was to be expected with limited intel.”
MSgt George Franklin Price spoke up. “When you volunteer you expect to come home...” He turned to stare down the security chief as he seethed.
”Everyone on that first mission was injured. Two men died. And while I am out there rigging explosives to cover our retreat you were safe in the frackin' shuttle. You didn't volunteer to go on the recovery mission - your butt was safe on the Bridge! I am calling for a vote of no confidence in your ability to do your job, Lieutenant.”
* * *
While the debate continued, Counselor Ariti silently slipped into the room unnoticed and remained back near the door quietly observing.
Specialist Komarov, a fleet security member piped up. “Hear, hear! You have no respect for the lives you are using as cannon fodder. It is nothing more than that to you as long as you are safe. I second his motion.”
There were murmurs and gasps around the room, others applauded.
“Wait just a second.” Evie stood up. “Do y'all really want to do this? The Lieutenant is doing his job when he assigns us to any given mission. He has been out there more than once and he'd undoubtedly be a part of missions in the future. I may still be just a snot-nosed Ensign, but I went to Starfleet Academy and took an oath to defend the Federation and the fleet against those who would seek to harm or destroy those we protect. That's what we're doing out here: protecting! We didn't take an oath that said we'd only do it where it was safe or when we might not die trying. We ALL swore to do our best to protect those who just want to live in peace. This job is dangerous, sometimes more and sometimes less. It so happens that we are being called upon to defend against what could be the most ruthless and dangerous enemy since the Borg. Our friends, our comrades, and even ourselves are going to be stepping up and putting our lives on the line to keep the Kyrathians from getting to the rest of the Federation. If y'all don't understand that, or if you think that being asked to do that is beneath you, then maybe you need to be reassigned to Waste Management.”
PO2 Smith spoke next, “Ensign, you were not out there when they attacked us.”
Wild interjected, “We were, dang it! I never want to hear my shipmates scream in terror as these things dissolve them again, or see the remains of a crew smash into my viewscreen as I am trying to save myself from a similar fate.”
Sarah slammed her fist on the table and stood up. “You are nothing but a whiny little man-child, Wild! We all were in danger, not just you gloryhound flyboys! Sounds to me like the only reason you were out there was to fly a mission so we would pat you on the back for a job well done! This time you got your nose bloody and now your yellow back is really showing.”
MacIntyre leapt to his feet. “You were not the one who saw three crewmen sucked out of the ship before the emergency shield generators kicked in! We all were in the battle for our lives, not just you. Look at the bigger picture.” He looked around the table. “Those seated here at this table we saved because we all pitched in. We had our orders, and we followed them whether the order came from the Captain, the XO, or the department head.”
Homer tried to interject some humor, “Well gollie, I may just be a country bumpkin but if this keeps up we'll be issuing arms to those loyal to Taylor's command structure to keep a full out mutiny from happening……. Because once you relieve the Chief, if ya don't agree with da captain, that is your next step...Ya'll will be hanging from the yard arms or spaced out da air lock, so freaking' cool it!”
* * *
Ariti held her tongue but it was difficult to do. She wasn't a member of the security department and was technically at this meeting uninvited. She fully intended to just watch and listen, not muddy the waters with her own opinions. Listening and watching were quite enough to give her insight into the issues she was likely to face in future counseling sessions.
“I never thought I would see the day when I would have to serve with a bunch of cowards.” came a voice of a loyal crewman. “If you were standing before your maker and he asked you why you took this action you would say for self preservation but the truth is……”
“Don't you dare put words in my mouth.” another crewman objected. “Truth is I want to get home. I am tired of killing and that is all I do at phaser control. Saving your arses every engagement. I've been on this ship for years and never once was given the opportunity to be on an away mission. The guys in waste management, and the environmental services, not to mention the shuttle bay crew, and the transport chief often are overlooked but we are safe because you take the risks... but this time the risks outweigh the benefits, especially if we have to go into a war zone under him.”
“When you work in the bowels of the ship every day and you see this many personnel killed in the past three missions you know they will have to fill those security posts and they will come down to our deck to fill the holes in their ranks. I want to retire with my head held high because I protected my shipmates from being used as bait in the mousetrap or worse,considering the tactics that man employs,” chimed in another voice sternly.
Dean shook his head. “My goal is to get my men home safely, but sometimes we have to give up our lives to protect the greater whole, namely this ship and her crew.”
Another voice called out, “Well, sir. You are doing a h+++ of a job. How many have died on your watch? Not just on away missions, but those who fought in the bloody ship.” This man was bloodthirsty, Dean could hear it in his voice. “I want RETRIBUTION against these creatures. We have had our tail between our legs too long. It's time to strike back and so far I don't see that spark of defiance in you, Lieutenant, and therefore your ability to command is now in question. I WANT YOU TO STEP DOWN or you will be disgraced when we vote you down. HONESTLY, I would like to toss you out an airlock personally, sir, for the sake of crew morale. You have no spine.”
Dean looked around the room. Then in the direction of the last voice. “YOU want retribution…… You want to space me. Am I your sacrifice or something? You talk about filling the holes in my security forces with other departments. You all have basic training - I have to use what is available on this ship. If you don't like it, I am sure the Executive Officer can fill out your dishonorable discharge paperwork under the grounds that you, sir, are bordering on pure insubordination and inciting your fellow crewmen to mutiny.”
MSgt Price spoke up. “Lt. Spearhorse, what is your major malfunction? You're the one inciting a mutiny! After all it was you who ordered this meeting. Step down, or I will place you under arrest under Section 17, Article……”
Dean raised his hand. He looked at Patterson's Pathfinders. “I know one group of Marines that have suffered the most while I have been assigned this post because of their elite status. What do you, the PATHFINDERS have to say. Do you stand behind me, or will you be the men I turn myself over to as their prisoner?”
At this point Dean felt only Patterson and the Pathfinders could keep him from being killed, even if he stepped down. If the issue were put to a vote he would most likely lose on the grounds of popular opinion. Logic was the first casualty when a mob mentality took effect.
* * *
Patterson had heard enough commotion between the back and forth bickering to make his decision. “Attention on Deck!” He called out sternly, loudly, his own nanites glowing in a manner not seen prior among the crew: red…… like blood, boiling within his veins. “You are ALL out of line here. Lieutenant Spearhorse called this meeting because of a recommendation by MSgt Hines, who was swift to inform me and have me oversee it. Every single one of you here has been through hardships and loss, and NOT because of the inaction or lack of consideration of your department Chief…… but because of the missions and lack of equipment to perform them in a more conventional way. The Darmok is NOT a warship; we have to use ulterior tactics to limit the effectiveness of the Kyrathian Swarm, but…… the MISSION has CHANGED……”
Touching a button on the PADD, he accessed the restricted file for the USS Penumbra, bringing it up on display. “THIS…… will be the new vessel taking over the mission. The Darmok will return to Earth Spacedock, where it will be retired from service after a 20 year run. She's outdated…… and will serve for ambassadorial missions and training purposes, as per the wishes of the retired Admiral Ahrele. Now, we are not taking a vote on whether Mr. Spearhorse will be stepping down or being replaced. That is not your decision, whether you like it or not; it's mine, and frankly, I think he's been doing a much better job than any of you could possibly do considering this…… disgraceful behavior. To my Marines? I expected FAR better from all of you. So……” His hand moved up and reached to grab the empty box, tossing it into the middle of the table. “To anyone here who would rather continue to bicker and b**** over this…… Go ahead and do me a favor; put your comm badge and rank insignia in that box, and get out of my sight. I'll fill out your discharge papers personally, and I'll be sure to give you each a DISHONORABLE DISCHARGE from Starfleet. This behavior goes NO FURTHER. When we leave this room…… we are all a team. I will NOT have each of us at another's throat when we have a bigger threat at bay. Save it for the enemy.”
* * *
One of the Pathfinders finally lifted his head and spoke softly, Staff Sergeant Isaac Maldone. “It takes a man of incredible integrity to admit their faults and flaws, even if others do not perceive them as such…… and considering what the Colonel said about the Darmok, and the mission changes to come…… we were far outclassed to take on an entire station…… but we did, and even though there were casualties, we succeeded. I read the mission file and watched the helmet cam POV of each individual; both crewmen lost on the station did so out of self-sacrifice, to preserve the lives of the rest of the team. For the greater good. I can attest that each of us have a saying we swear, under oath, that we should hold true to in any circumstance. For us Pathfinders…… it's …ΒAlways Moving Forward, To Whatever End.' In the Corps, I know …ΒSemper Fidelis' means to be Always Faithful…… but where is that sense of faith now?”
Dean replied to the staff sergeant., “That is why I asked you, as a member of your proud division, the question directly. There are some, whom as you have seen, that have lost faith in the leadership. IF I have to take the …Βfall on my sword' approach to save the chain of command, I will, because I have faith in those above me and I still have faith in the Pathfinders.”
Master Sergeant Price was indignant, “I may not be in your precious clique - the all high and mighty …ΒPatterson's Pathfinders', the colonel's private troops. But I know a fool's errand when I see one. My platoon will not be your dogs even if we are called Devildogs. Lt. Spearhorse, you are not a Marine, and as such are not in my direct chain of command. You can't order me to stay, or hold me for insubordination!”
As most of the Devildogs moved to leave the room, two of of his team stood still, GySgt Carter and PFC Kyle. Carter spoke softly and directly to his boss. “Permission to speak freely, sir.”
Price nodded, “Master Sergeant, you're a dang fool. Private Kyle and I both agree on that. If you want to bail out on this crew - so be it - but you are not taking us on your ride into insanity.” Carter objected strongly. “I'll see you in Hades first.” His voice was cold and his fist clenched.
“Yeah, we're staying with the ship!” Kyle exploded.
Hines, as big and tough as he may look, nodded and lowered his head, trying to fight back his own emotions. He took in a breath before speaking, softly, an unusual occurrence for such a beast of a man. “The Aslan Heirate has declared open war against the Kyrathians. As such, our mission here is to provide forward intel and mark targets for their fleet; we've got far more capable sensors, even in the Darmok, than they do. We point, they shoot. Initially we were trying to gather intel on the Swarm's activity. Frankly…… the intel we've gotten in the short time we've been here, I think, should be some reconciliation to the losses we've suffered, and we should give credit to Spearhorse for mobilizing the Security details in a way that everyone was on rotation and not a single individual EVER was overworked……” He paused for a moment, looking to Dean and giving a gentle smile, then resumed. “We will be rotating personnel from the Darmok onto the Penumbra. Those of you who feel like this mission, and the superior officers in charge of it, are not capable…… are free to remain on the Darmok to make sure she gets home. I'd rather that, than a mutiny in hostile space.” He gave a gentle look around to each of the members in the room, and caught eye of the Counselor in the rear, but said nothing to her.
* * *
Price looked at Patterson, “If it is just a run to Earth for decommissioning, I will do it. You can have this private little war. I will take the crew who wish to have no part of it, and MY platoon, save these traitors...” he said, thumbing his fingers at the goody two shoes. “You can have them. Mind you, I wouldn't turn my back on them. They will probably stab you in the back like they just did me.” He ripped off his rank insignia and tossed it in the box just to spite the higher ups. Discharge me and you have no one to fly your museum piece home because I doubt any of the fleet officers are being discharged to get her back to Earth. I'll be in the ward room when you make your decision, Sirs.” with that he stormed out, blasting past the Counselor.