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Shadow Light

Posted on Thu Feb 12th, 2009 @ 3:11pm by Commander Lorran Vos & Captain Jorvin

Mission: Echoes of the Damned: Pilot Episode.

The away team was returning from the planet, and both Vos and Jorvin had been asked to join Beverly, Krissy and Leanne in sickbay when they had returned. It was time to try and get some answers. Her plan was bold for a new commanding officer, and may be somewhat reckless, but needs must. Seven hundred people would not under normal circumstances go missing like they had it appeared.
Her journey through Genesis had been joined by Krissy.
"What do you make of this Krissy?"

Glancing over her shoulder to ensure they weren't being over heard Kristina spoke. "I'm not sure. Part of me says this is all nonsense people don't just vanish and things don't come out from the shadows. I agree something strange is going on, but I refuse to believe anything until we have some proof. Then again it could be something we don't fully understand."
They rounded a corner almost bumping into a crewmen walking the opposite direction. Kristina broke off waiting until the man was out of ear shot before continuing. "Personally I think he is making it up, lack of nutrition or something similar has made him delirious. I expect the colonists are safe and sound in the ruins somewhere, and for what ever reason they are unwilling to leave."

At that moment Commander Lorran and Captain Jorvin rounded the corner to join both Beverly and Krissy. Concern still etching Beverly's features, concern that appeared to be mirrored in her executive officers features.

"Commander, Lieutenant," Vos nodded. "Has our guest recovered yet?"

Eager for some answers, Beverly didn't answer her XO, she just turned on her heel and entered sickbay.
Her eyes scanned the crowd until she found Doctor Ulonova standing over the sugical bed in the center of the room. She was working on a patient, and she assumed it must be the surviving colonist.

With confident steps, she walked over to her Chief Medical Officer, both her Marine CO, XO and second XO in toe.
"Doctor report".

Leanne looked up to see the contingent of officers walking in, no doubt to find out the status of their new guest. She looked back down at her tricorder readings, then set it on the side of the table. "Commander the patient checks out fine. Slight neural disruption due to the phaser rounds but nothing permanent, I was just about to revive him."

The Doctor reached into her lab coat and produced a hypospray. She carefully leaned in pressed the device to the mans neck and injected him with a stimulant. Leanne grabbed her tricorder and continued to monitor the colonist. "The patient should be regaining consciousness momentarily."

Suddenly there was a voice in the distance. Slowly it began to increase. Henk opened his eyes, but his vision was blurred. Slowly his vision began to sharpen itself. He looked around and saw he was in a sickbay.
“Where am I?” Henk asked.

With as much sympathy as she could muster, and a re-assuring hand on his shoulder, Beverly addressed him.
"Your on the Federation Starship Genesis. We were sent to investigate the disappearance of the colony ship 'West Ridge'. Can you tell us anything?".
She briefly glanced at her other officers, and she knew that they must all have questions. But lets tackle one thing at a time. "Where are the colonists?"

“You mean I’m the only survivor?” Henk asked astound
He slowly tried to sit up. But he stilled was dizzy.
“I don‘t know where they are. I and Mo heard a scream coming from the village at night . On our way there we….”
Henk stopped for a couple of seconds.
“We…felt that we were watched. Suddenly my friend was gone. I grabbed a rifle from the village and some supplies and just took off. How I survived the night I have no idea. I came back a day later to find the village deserted. I knew the only to survive was to stay inside the ship when it became dark. I found a way to modify the ship engines to emit a dampening field to mask my body signature. I hoped it had the same effect on these things. I once stood outside of the ship. I could feel them watching me. Lurking in the shadows.”
Henk looked at the ceiling.
“I’m Henk O’Brien by the way. If you want my advice, don’t go to the planet again. But if you do, I will help.”

Vos had been listening carefully, disturbed at what Mr. O'Brien's story implied. Could these creatures have killed over a hundred colonists? It wasn't just the men, either. There had been families aboard that ship...women, children... He said a quick prayer under his breath, asking the Prophets to watch over the souls of those people if they were indeed dead as they all feared. Vos hoped that the colonists had just fled, and the biogenic field had made them impossible to locate for the time being.

Kristina took a back seat, folding her arms across her chest while she listened. She had questions to ask, but waited patiently for her chance to speak. She agreed the tale being told was a touch creepy but Kristina was not the type of person to believe in speculation. She worked on solid evidence not theories or ghost stories.

"Mr. O'Brien, you said that the village was deserted. Did you see any signs of a fight? Phaser burns? Blood? Bodies? Also, if you're up to it I'd like to know a little more about these shadow creatures that attacked you. What do they look like? Can you tell us anything else?" Vos asked calmly, trying not to shake the survivor more than he already was. Vos was impressed that Henk seemed so eager to help out, but he wouldn't be going anywhere without the Doctor's consent.

“No, there was no sign of a fight, no phaser burns, nothing. They just vanished into the thin air.” Henk said “And these things, creatures what ever they are, you never see them. You just see a thing moving and then it’s gone. You will never see them, only when it is too late.”

Vos began stroking his chin thoughtfully. No sign of a fight. Nothing at all. You never see the creatures until it's too late. Commander Lorran tried to hide his skepticism from Mr. O'Brien to spare him the embarrassment. This was all starting to sound a little far fetched. It might have been more possible that the colonists had just been forced to relocate somewhere suddenly and without warning. There was no way ALL of them could be taken without so much as a struggle, conveniently leaving Henk as the sole survivor. Then again...back on the planet he had felt something...watching him. Vos remembered that prickling feeling on the back of his neck.

Only half listening now Kristina had slide a PaDD closer and began raking through the data matching Henk O'Brien's file. Scrolling down she noted the fact that younger man was an enlisted Starfeet officer, but more importantly he was the pilot of the West Ridge Colony ship. Lowering the PaDD she looked at the man with narrowed eyes as she approached the bed.
"Did you kill them Mr O'Brien?" she asked coldly instantly stopping the chatter. "You were the pilot on the West Ridge, is that correct? What, then was there to stop you from venting the ship from the safety of the cockpit then hiding the corpses?"

Henk was astounded by that question. He managed to sit upright even despite of the dizziness.
“Yes, I killed them.” Henk said angry. “When I scanned the planet for life. So technically I killed them.”
Henk stopped talking trying to calm himself down.
“I had new friends. I could get along with everybody. There’s other life on the planet. Something that feed on us humans.”

"That wasn't what I asked Mr O'Brien. Did or didn't you kill the colonists?" Kristina asked again sternly.

Beverly turned a very stern, an angry set of eyes moved in Krissy's direction. "That is enough Lieutenant!"

Kristina flashed her eyes angrily at Beverly, biting her tongue she stepped down at the warning. She still had more questions to ask but withheld them for the moment

While Henk talked Leanne continued scanning. The way that he was talking it almost sounded like dementia, space madness, or who knows what. Perhaps something did happen to the colonists, and he was one of the survivors. She remembered hearing that people who had marooned or stranded tended to make up scenarios to subconsciously protect their minds and to try and rationalize events. "Mr. O'Brien, how long ago did this happen?"

“I didn’t really count the days, but my guess is around 3 weeks.” Henk said. “I only survived because of a stream about 1 kilometer north of the ship and the bushes around them. They gave me the food.”

Leanne noticed Henk's dizziness and pressed a hypospray to his neck. "Mr. O'Brien, try and lay down for a little bit longer, looks like you are still experiencing some side effects from that phaser." She helped him to lay back down on the bed and held his hand. She looked at Beverly. "Commander I'd like to keep him here for a bit longer for observation. I think the combination of being on his own for three weeks and the shock to his system are playing havoc with him."

"How convenient for him," Kristina muttered under breath turning away settling back into the corner she had stepped from chewing her lip thoughtfully.

Beverly shot another angry glance at Krissy. Her attitude wasn't helping matters any. It was time she had a talk with her Security Chief.

Vos joined Beverly in shooting a disapproving glance Krissy's way, but his was a bit more mild. He wanted to get at the truth just as much as she did, and he agreed that until they had further evidence treating Henk as a suspect was the prudent course. However, she could do it with a bit more professionalism and a little less sarcasm.

“I feel fine.” Henk said “I just need something to stop the elephants rampaging in my head. I just can't believe I’m the only survivor. There has to be more. I need to get back.”

Leanne gave Henk another Hypospray. "That should help the headache."

Beverly placed a reassuring hand on Henk's shoulder before addressing the Doctor.
"Leanne, could we use your office please?", she indicated herself, Vos, Jorvin and Krissy.

Leanne motioned over to the back corner of the sickbay. "Feel free, there isn't much of anything in there yet but you are more then welcome to use it I will keep an eye on our patient."

Beverly led the way, silently seething at Krissy's handling of the situation, both her hands were clenched in frustration.

The office was as sparse as the Doctor had said it would be, but that didn't stop her.
Turning to her XO, she deeply wanted his opinion. "Commander?".

"I think he believes what he is saying is the truth. Whether he's delusional or not remains to be seen. However," Vos paused for a moment to consider how best to voice his thoughts about the planet, "when we were down there I did feel like I was being watched, and I tend to know when I'm being watched." Vos said seriously. After his time in the Bajoran resistance he had a good intuition about those sort of things. "Either way, anyone can tell that something scared Mr. O'Brien out of his mind."

She purposefully avoided asking Krissy her opinion, but it had been made evident in the main sickbay.
"I have an idea, and its going to take all of us, working together to pull this off".
She rounded the desk and took a seat. "I want every available body on the planet searching, including myself. We can leave a skeleton crew on the ship, as well as the civilian population", she could see her first officer was itching to protest, "Go ahead Commander".

"Ma'am, I don't think that is a good idea. Leaving aside starfleet regulations about the commanding officer and away missions, we have no idea what the Genesis might encounter while we're stuck on the planet. If she is attacked and boarded she'll be easy prey, and the civilian population will be at an enormous risk. I think at least one of the command staff should stay on board, preferably you of course, so that the Genesis will be in good hands during the search. I don't think I have to remind you that many of the officers on board this ship are new and inexperienced, and leaving them by themselves may not be a viable option." Vos said, trying to keep his professionalism despite his rising notion that Beverly was going to make his job a lot more difficult than he would have first expected.

"Point taken, but who on this ship has any experience in translating dead languages. I was this ship only Xenoarcheologist, and as far as I can tell, I still am", her voice softened. "I understand what your saying Vos, but those ruins and the language that is engraved on that pyramid may have some of the answers we need to cast some light over this shadow".

"I realize that, Commander, but are you sure beaming down three quarters of the crew is wise? I'm not sure if our failure to find the colonists is simply a matter of the number of search and rescue personnel performing the task." Vos continued to protest.

"There is a precedent. I went over Starfleet records", she turned the monitor around on the Doctors desk so everyone could see it, and tapped a few commands into it.
"Stardate 46982.1, the USS Enterprise D lead a mass search, utilizing two thirds of the ships Starfleet populace. They left one Doctor Crusher in command", she smiled slightly. "If Captain Picard gets to get his hands dirty from time to time, then I want that same privilege".

"If you'll forgive much as I respect Captain Picard, he can be a rather insufferable nightmare to First Officers everywhere." Vos said, pinching the bridge of his ridged nose in irritation. Picard...Sisko...especially Janeway...the famous captains. Oh sure, they were famous for a reason, but they were horribly adept at getting themselves into situations where they were going to surely die had it not been for one tiny stroke of luck. With Captains and Commanders all over Starfleet following their twisted example, Commander Lorran's job was just that much more difficult. As much as he admired those the PROPHETS did he hate them. He reluctantly backed down, crossing his arms over his chest and shaking his head.

"I promise to behave Commander", she winked in her first officers direction before returning to the matter at hand.

Kristina opened her mouth to voice her objection too: "But Beverly are you sure that's wise?" She could sense trouble brewing on the horizon.

"We need to get this started before the storm hits the landing site. Commander, I want you to assign team leaders to the planetary search teams, but keep the senior officers at the landing site to coordinate. Mister O'Brien will be needed, so Krissy I would like you to inform the Doctor once we have finished here. Jorvin, could you make sure that at least one Marine is assigned to every team on the planet, better safe than sorry", she paused a moment.
"I want the whole Diplomatic team sent to the planet along with most of the rest of the crew. Leave a few trusted people to keep the lights on. Dismissed".

She climbed out of the chair and rounded the desk, "Krissy can you wait?" an edge creeping into her voice.

Biting her tongue Kristina nodded. She knew what was about to happen, and although Beverly was her friend she was also her commanding officer and had the right to put staff into their places. Kristina didn't think she had crossed the line but she guessed from the edge on Bev's voice she had clearly thought so.

Beverly rounded on her friend, she didn't want to do this, but as Krissy's commanding officer she had too.
"What the hell do you think your playing at?" a dangerous edge creeping through into her voice.

"Asking the question that was on everyone's minds." Kristina stated trying not to take this personally.

Beverly was just barely keeping her temper in check, but her voice stayed level and soft, still a knife edge in her tone.
"I expect all of my officers to acquaint themselves admirably at all times, and what you did in there was completely out of order", she took a moment to take a breath. "You are this ships second officer, I expect you to employ a modicum of restraint and tact in future, am... I... Completely... Clear?"

Biting down on her back teeth Kristina nodded stiffly trying not raise to the challenge of fighting back. Despite the lecture Kristina's opinion of Henk would not change until she had been convinced otherwise, she just needed to find a less aggressive form of finding out the truth from him.
Meanwhile she had to endure this. She had known Beverly for some years, this was only a warning she recalled from seeing her blow her top once before. That was unpleasant enough to witness, yet alone be on the receiving end.
"Yes ma'am perfectly clearly." She answered softly bowing her head slightly restraining herself from speaking her true mind.

Clenching her fists tighter still, turning her knuckles white, Beverly whispered, "Dismissed."

Meanwhile, Vos had beaten a strategic retreat from the office. He could see that the Commander had Lieutenant Mason well in hand, though he felt he would need to have his own talk with the Chief of Security later on. For now, he approached the new CMO with an easy smile and an outstretched hand. "Dr. Ulonova, I'm Lt. Commander Lorran Vos. I just wanted to welcome you aboard. I know many of us are being thrown right into the fire on this one, but you seem to be adjusting well. If you have any problems with your staff or the equipment come to me and I'll make sure your problems are addressed. Also, I think I'll have to delay making the appointment for my mandatory physical until after the mission if that's alright." he added, his glee at the prospect of being able to put off being poked and prodded by all of the medical gadgets and instruments at the good Doctor's disposal pretty apparent on his face.

Leanne took Vos's hand and shook it. She giggled a bit and put her tricorder down. "It is nice to meet you, and don't worry I only scan on the second date. Once this is over I'll take a look through the records to see who needs priority. So far everything has been in great shape. I don't expect any problems."

"I think that implies that I get a first date, Doctor." Vos couldn't help but reply flirtatiously. "I think I might take you up on it once we get back to the ship."

The Doctor grabbed her tricorder and went back to work. She was still giggling, she looked over her shoulder at Vos "We'll see."

Kristina bowed her head deeper and stepped from the room before she could change her mind. Passing through the sickbay she paused and spoke softly to Leanne: "The Commander would like to take Mr O'Brien down to the surface to help with the search for survivors. Will he be able to do so?"

Behind them, Beverly stomped past, her anger evident given the fact her gritting teeth sound something akin to tectonic plates grinding together.

Kristina briefly closed her as she past feeling the waves of anger pulsate off her friend. Forgiveness would be a long time coming.

"I'll make sure his condition is stable, but he should be ready shortly, as a precaution, I'll attach a biosensor to him so I can monitor him from sickbay."
Leanne nodded as she walked over to the medical storage closet and grabbed the proper equipment.

Nodding Kristina left giving both the Commander, the Doctor and Henk a quick glance over her shoulder before the door closed behind her.

Vos watched Mason go with a look of concern. He hadn't known the security chief for more than a few hours yet in that entire time she always seemed to angry or irritated at something. He'd need to have a talk with her before they all beamed down to the surface and got to work. It was his job as the first officer to make sure things ran smoothly, and that definitely included hot-tempered senior officers. Turning back to the Doctor he gave her an apologetic look. "Please excuse me, Doctor." he said with a small grin before turning to follow Krissy.



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