Reflections of the Past - Treylana Hess

[Earth - Starfleet Academy]
[Graduation Day]

The time was zero-five hundred hours. The chime of an alarm programmed to wake the slumbering Trill was ringing in the background. “Ugh…five more minutes.” Treylana moaned, knowing full well that today was going to be a busy day. It was graduation day. The day she had longed for the last four years was finally here.

Realizing she was not going to get the response or result she wanted, she forced herself to roll over and silence the alarm. “I don’t know how you did it Narissa, but I hope one day this becomes more routine” she muttered to herself, referring to her fourth host, before slipping into the sonic shower.

It seemed pointless for her to shower, especially if she was going to go for her morning run and working up a sweat, but the feeling of the vibrations from the shower was extremely soothing given her grumpy state. She stood there for what seemed like hours, though it had only been twenty minutes or so. The program completed and suddenly she felt like a new woman. She covered herself up with a towel and proceeded back toward the bedroom.

“Damn girl! You’ve been in there forever!” said another female voice as she scurried past the Trill into the bathroom. Treylana had almost forgotten that she had a roommate but being a cadet did not afford her the luxury of having private quarters on the campus. She did not remember her name. They were not in any of the same classes, and both were on different schedules. In fact, this was one of the rare occasions where the two of them had any interaction.

Putting aside that minor altercation, Treylana donned her athletic gear and combadge and headed out of the dorm room.

***

The sun was barely cresting over the horizon. Some of the local fauna could be heard chirping. Weather stations reported the temperature being a mere ten degrees Celsius. Refreshing for a morning run as Treylana knew that if she had gone later in the day, it would be much warmer.

The path she was on was one she had run several times. She was typically a woman of routine. However, this was a special day. There was a fork in the path further ahead. Normally she would take the right path but this morning she decided that she was going to go out of her normal routine and take the left one instead.

There were several dips and hills along this path. It did not seem to be as well maintained as the other one she was used to. Not neglected, but certainly in need of repair. As she approached the second hill, the overgrowth of trees began to block out what little sunlight there was. Lost in thought about the ceremony later that day, she had not been paying full attention to the path. It was at that moment that her foot stepped in a small pothole and she rolled her ankle. Down she went like a ton of bricks. She tried to brace herself with her arms but that was nearly as impossible as paying attention to her surroundings in the first place. Her arms buckled as soon as they hit the pavement and she slid for a couple of meters.

It took a moment and a few curse words for her to regain some composure. When she did, she inspected herself. Her priority was to her symbiont. There didn't appear to be any life-threatening injuries. This relieved her. She did end up bruising her hip and her knees, her arms were scraped from the fall and her ankle was also in immense pain.

Since she did not know her exact location being on a path she was not accustomed to, she decided the best course of action was to call the campus sickbay and have herself transported there directly. She went to tap her combadge. Unfortunately during her fall it became damaged and was non-functional.

“Great!” she thought, “Now what am I going to do?”

She estimated that it was at least five kilometers to the main campus building where she would find the sickbay.

***

A little more than an hour later Treylana finally made it to the sickbay. She did not think she was going to make it and by all rights, she probably should not have but determination pushed her through the pain. A male Bolian noticed the trill as the doors slid open. “What happened to you?” he questioned her.

Exhausted she managed to inform the man what had happened before collapsing to the floor.

“Get this woman on the biobed immediately!” he shouted to one of his assistants as he went to grab a tricorder and a hypospray.

Two nurses stopped what they were doing and went to the Trill’s aid, each grabbing half of her collapsed body, they lifted her up and placed her on the biobed as requested.

The Bolian, Brax as he was known, scanned the woman on the bed before him, relieved that her injuries were superficial and the reason for her passing out was merely exhaustion. He programmed the hypospray for ten milligrams of Hydrocortilene for the pain before requesting a dermal regenerator for the abrasions on her arms and legs. Lucky for Treylana she had not broken any bones. She might be in some pain for a day or two, but she would otherwise be fine.

Brax finished up his treatment and let Treylana rest on the biobed. He requested the computer to monitor her vital signs in case there was something he had missed. One could never be too careful with Trill physiology. He then went about the remainder of his duties.

When Treylana awoke, she did so in a panic. “I haven’t missed it have I?” she shouted.

Startled the Brax dashed out of his office to inquire what the fuss was about. “What my dear?” he asked.

“The graduation ceremony. I haven’t missed it have I?”

“Relax!” he replied, “You’ve only been asleep for about thirty minutes. The ceremony isn’t until this afternoon.”

Treylana breathed a sigh of relief. She had thought she had messed up her whole day all over a dumb decision to veer from her normal routine.

Brax looked over medical readouts one last time. Satisfied that there was nothing further to be concerned about, he discharged his patient. “You will be sore for a bit. Unless you have any further need of my assistance, you are free to go.”

Treylana slid herself off the biobed and headed for the door. “Thanks Doc.” She said as the doors slid open.

“Just doing my job.” He replied “Oh! And congratulations!”

She looked back as she was about to turn the corner and smiled. Hopefully, her day could only get better from here on out.

Comments

  • BrianBrian Member
    edited June 7

    [USS Triphane]
    [Junior Officer's Lounge]
    [Six months after graduation]

    The room was empty save for the presence of a lone figure perched upon a chaise lounge nearest the window overlooking the vastness of space. The Trill, who only months ago had graduated Starfleet Academy, sat there after completing her night shift with her nose buried deep into a leatherbound replica of the works of William Shakespeare. Treylana had been fascinated with the playwright ever since she had learned about him while studying Earth literature.

    She had recently finished Macbeth and since she had finished her shift and wanted to unwind before bed, she thought she would take the time to relax with some Hamlet. She was not more than a couple of pages in when the silence was broken by the voice of a Hispanic male.

    "Mendoza to Ensign Hess. Please report to my office immediately."

    The voice was that of her commanding officer, Chief Flight Control Officer Lieutenant Commander Enrique Mendoza. The tone of his voice sounded urgent. This worried the young Ensign and seeing as though she was presently out of uniform. She reached for the comm panel on the table next to her, not only to reply to her superior but also to try and buy herself some time before having to confront the man.

    "Excuse me Commander. I am not presently in uniform. Can this wait?" she said as she closed the book and stood up.

    "Immediately!" replied the man on the other end.

    The inflection in his last message solidified in her mind that she was in trouble. What could she have done? Whatever it was, she was about to find out.

    A few minutes later Treylana stood before the door to her commanding officer’s office, hesitant to notify him of her presence but also worried that she would face further scrutiny for any delays in reporting. She raised her hand and pressed the door chime.

    “Enter.” Came a voice from the other side of the door.

    The doors slid open and as Treylana entered, she could see her superior actively scanning the multiple displays on his console. Though he had not been looking at her directly, he motioned for her to sit down. He wrapped up what he was doing and then addressed her.

    “Ensign Hess…” he began “Treylana. You’ve been on the Triphane now for what, four months now?”

    “Yes sir.” She replied nervously.

    “I selected you for the Triphane because your Academy grades were above average. Still room for improvement, but more than qualifies you for this position. And yet, I look over your shift report for last night and wonder if my decision was the right one. Your report was incomplete, and your flight plan was inaccurate. This is the third time this month and I have spoken to you before about this. Is there a problem I should know about?”

    Knowing now why her commanding officer called her there eased her suspicions, though it did not make her feel any better for being called out for underperforming. “No sir. No problems. Carelessness on my part. I promise it will not happen again.” She replied.

    Mendoza looked at her perplexed. Procedure dictated that he should reprimand her, but he wanted to give the young Trill a chance to make it up to him. At the very least, perhaps she could use with some extra coaching. He pulled up a personnel list on his console and searched for a suitable candidate.

    “I want you to report to Lieutenant Sullivan tonight at twenty-three hundred hours. She is one of my finest officers. You can learn a lot from her.”

    “Yes sir.” Treylana replied.

    “You are dismissed.”

    Treylana rose from her seat and exited Mendoza’s office. Rather than going back to her book, she decided to go back to her quarters and get some sleep.

    ***

    Treylana woke from her slumber far sooner than expected. She was unable to sleep after her conversation with Mendoza that morning. She did not like the idea of being stuck with someone else. She knew she could perform her duties, but maybe Mendoza was right. Maybe what she needed was someone she could look up to. Someone she could aspire to be. Not a coach, but more of a mentor.

    She did not know of anyone currently aboard the Triphane that would meet the qualifications of a mentor, certainly not in her department anyway. What Treylana needed most was another Trill. Someone who might have shared similar life experiences. The real question was how many Trills there were in Starfleet, let alone ones close enough that she could reach out to.

    “Computer. How many Trills are currently serving in Starfleet?”

    “There are currently twenty-four thousand nine-hundred fifty-two Trills serving in Starfleet.” Replied the computer.

    “How many of those are serving aboard starships?”

    “There are nine-thousand eight-hundred sixty-three currently listed aboard active starships.”

    “And how many of those are ranked equal to or above Lieutenant Commander?”

    “Four-hundred and twelve.”

    “How many are nearest to this sector of space?”

    “Seven.”

    “Computer. Pull up personnel files on those seven officers.”

    “Working.”

    The computer terminal lit up on her desk with a listing of the seven officers. Treylana glanced at the list and saw that three of them were in the sciences, one was in Tactical, one in Engineering and two had chosen the command route. She eliminated all but the two in command and of those there was one that caught her eye. A Captain by the name of Th’lora Vehl currently serving aboard the USS Hiawatha. Much of the Captain’s file was protected and Treylana only had level two clearance as an Ensign, but it was enough information that she was able to make up her mind that this was the woman she wanted to look up to.

    “Computer. Open a channel to Captain Vehl aboard the Hiawatha.”

    Moments later a slender woman in her early senior years with shoulder-length dark brown hair and matching brown eyes appeared on her screen. “Yes? What can I do for you…Ensign” the woman asked quizzically.

    “Captain. You do not know me. I am aboard the Triphane. It seems as though I am not meeting the expectations of my commanding officer and he believes that I would benefit from some coaching.”

    “That would seem like a reasonable decision, but what does that have to do with me? Are there no officers aboard the Triphane to help you with this?”

    “Yes, ma’am there are. That is not why I am reaching out to you. I think what I really need instead is a mentor. I have read what I can of your personnel file. I too would like to sit in the big chair one day. However, first and foremost you are a Trill. You understand the things I have been through. Which is why I would like for you to be my mentor.”

    “An interesting proposal. As a starship Captain, I may not have all the time necessary to provide what you need but I admire an officer that recognizes their faults and wishes to better themselves…”

    Sensing the positivity in the Captain’s response Treylana chimed in excitedly “Thank you Captain. You will not regret this!”

    “I have not agreed yet Ensign.” Captain Vehl retorted.

    “I am sorry ma’am. Please continue.”

    “I am not willing to mentor you over subspace communications. However, if you are willing to put in for a transfer to the Hiawatha and your commanding officer accepts it, I would be willing accept your request for mentorship.”

    “Thank you, Captain. I will not disappoint you. I will draw up the papers immediately for transfer and get back to you as soon as possible.”

    “Acknowledged. Vehl out.”

    Treylana’s eyes lit up with enthusiasm and a new sense of hope. She enjoyed serving on the Triphane though clearly it was not the right fit for her and so she immediately began to draw up the transfer request to present to Mendoza that afternoon.


  • BrianBrian Member
    edited June 8

    [USS Hiawatha]
    [Captain’s Lounge]
    [Present day minus three months]

    “Enter.” came a voice from the room behind the doors that separated Traylana from her Captain. It was not uncommon for Treylana to dine with her commanding officer and other department heads. After all, the crew all thought of themselves as a tight knit family having served together for so long. However, in this particular instance, Captain Vehl had told her that there was an important matter that she wanted to discuss which made her slightly apprehensive that evening.

    The doors slid open and she could see that she was not the first to arrive. Lieutenant Commander Vo the Chief Science Officer and Lieutenant McDougal the Chief Tactical Officer were already present, seated with the Captain awaiting the remainder of the senior staff to arrive.

    “Good evening Th’lora, Vo, William.” She said as she nodded to each of them and stepped into the room and took her place in her usual spot across from the Captain. It had been eleven years that Treylana had been aboard the Hiawatha and still she felt uncomfortable calling her colleagues, especially her Captain by first name even while off duty, but the Captain had a standing order that while dining with the Captain, rank was to be left at the door.

    “Treylana, William was just enlightening us about his recent vacation to Earth and his first ever HALO jump.”

    Treylana looked at him and smiled. She couldn’t understand why anyone would intentionally jump from a shuttlecraft in low orbit simply for the thrill, but clearly this was an activity that interested him.

    “Please...continue.” said Th’lora.

    William continued with his vacation narrative while they waited on the remainder of the senior staff.

    Chief Engineer Lieutenant Commander Harrison was the last to arrive and as he did Th’lora signaled to the steward that they were ready to begin their meal. The menu for the evening consisted of a pea and mint soup, an arugula salad and a risotto with roasted shrimp.

    One by one, dishes emerged from the galley and were placed before each of the waiting officers. Th’lora stood as the last dish was placed before her.

    “Now, for the main reason you were all asked to dine with me tonight. As all of you are aware, we have been without a First Officer for a couple of weeks. We have all been saddened by the loss of Commander Eredil. However, as much as we must all take the time we need in order to grieve in our own way, the ship needs a First Officer. I have spent the last several days looking over the service records of each and every one of you. You are all equally qualified for the position and each of you equally deserving of the position. Vo, you are the most senior officer here and were my first choice. Rightfully you would be the most logical choice. However, your expertise in stellar sciences would be more valuable if you remained where you are. Treylana, you came to me as a troubled Trill eleven years ago, looking for someone to look up to. Someone who could mentor you and help you find your path in life, but also someone who could understand what it is to be a joined Trill. You have been my second in command for the past four years and proven that you are more than capable of taking on a challenge. I feel that the time has come for you to take on your greatest challenge yet. Which is why effective immediately, I am naming you First Officer of the Hiawatha. Congratulations.”

    Treylana blushed as her colleagues gave her a round of applause. The apprehension she had when she arrived was now gone and instead replaced with a feeling of anxiety. Had she really lived up to the expectations of her Captain to warrant this promotion? She was about to find out.

    Looking up to her Captain, she smiled “Thank you Cap...Th’lora. Your guidance during my time on this ship has been invaluable. I hope that I can continue to live up to your expectations as well as the expectations of my crewmates.”

    “Well then, if no one has anything else to add, we’ll meet in the briefing room at zero-eight-hundred tomorrow to discuss our next assignment. Until then, let’s eat.”

    ***

    Treylana had not slept well that night. The thought of being promoted to First Officer was all too exciting. However, with her coffee in hand, she sat at the briefing room table with her colleagues as her Captain began the meeting.

    “Our mission is pretty straightforward. We will proceed to Celes Two and pick up some much needed supplies to hold us off until our next maintenance schedule. However, recent subspace communications from the planet report that the inhabitants have recently begun suffering from an unknown virus that is spiraling out of control. Starfleet has asked us to render any assistance while we are there.”

    “What do we know about the virus so far?” Treylana asked.

    “Only that it began two weeks ago, there are approximately thirteen-thousand inhabitants infected and that there is an infection rate of about sixty percent. The planet administrator’s office says hospitals are becoming overrun and if the virus isn’t controlled soon, people will start dying.”

    “Have their labs sent any data collected on the virus?” queried Commander Brant, the ship’s Chief Medical Officer.

    “No. We will establish an uplink to their central computer upon arrival and download any data pertaining to this virus.”

    Treylana was concerned about exposing any of the crew. “Captain, until we know what we’re dealing with, I recommend we limit exposure to the crew. We take a minimal medical away team via shuttle and use environmental suits. We can’t be certain that the bio-filters will be able to screen out the virus.”

    “Agreed.” acknowledged Th’lora “But the away team will also not be able to return to the ship until we are certain the virus is contained or can be decontaminated upon their arrival. Any other questions?”

    Chief Engineer Harrison chimed in “Captain, I want to remind you that we only have about ten days worth of deuterium remaining at best. We need to get these supplies as soon as possible or we may not make it to a starbase in time.”

    “Your concerns are noted Commander. We’ll do our best to secure those supplies as soon as possible without jeopardizing the safety of the ship. If there are no further questions or comments. Commander Hess, the bridge is yours. Set course for Celes Two, warp eight and I’ll rendezvous with you on the bridge upon arrival. I will be in my ready room.”

    Captain Vehl looked at her staff around the table. Not seeing any signs of further inquiry, she dismissed them.

    ***

    It was a long and uneventful trip to the Celes system. As her Captain made the initial contact with the planet, Treylana assembled her away team consisting of their Chief Medical Officer, a nurse, and two Operations officers to coordinate the gathering of the needed supplies.

    Under normal circumstances, a standard shuttle would have served for an away mission. However, the Hiawatha was lucky enough to have a single Danube class runabout in the shuttle bay and given the nature of their task at hand it was logical that they take it instead. Treylana took the helm and one of the Operations officers took the seat next to her. She powered up the craft and as soon as the bay doors were lifted and she was cleared to depart she lifted the vessel off the deck and proceeded on course to the planet.

    “Open a channel to the planet.” she ordered.

    “Channel open sir.’

    “Orbital control. This is Commander Treylana Hess aboard the USS Dakota requesting clearance to land.”

    The comm was silent for a few seconds and then a voice replied “This is orbital control. You are cleared to land. Proceed to the designated coordinates to landing pad Charlie.”

    “Acknowledged orbital control.”

    Treylana proceeded to maneuver the craft into the planet’s atmosphere. There was some mild turbulence, but nothing the crew was unaccustomed to. Everything was going smoothly until they had reached an altitude of about ten kilometers from the surface and there was a sudden jolt and sparks began to fly from a nearby console. “Report!” Treylana exclaimed as she furiously tried to control the descent of the ship.

    “We’ve been hit sir! Energy weapon, bearing one-two-eight, mark three-zero. Port nacelle is down. Attempting to compensate by routing additional power to maneuvering thrusters.”

    Whoever it was that fired on them clearly did not mean to destroy them. Only a single shot was fired. A surprise attack aimed at crippling the ship. Treylana couldn’t understand. The Federation had peaceful relations with the inhabitants of Celes Two. They were there to provide aid. Who could have fired on them? She was obviously going to have to have words with the Administrator once they landed, which was not going to be long at their current rate of descent. In a mere couple of minutes the Dakota slammed itself onto the designated landing pad, knocking the crew either out of their seats or into the flight consoles.

    “Is everyone alright?” Treylana asked after regaining her own composure.

    Commander Brant began to scan each of the crew one by one as they collected themselves. “A little shaken up Commander, but we all seem to be in one piece.”

    “Excellent. Everyone suit up. You two,” she said pointing to the operations officers “Get started on repairs. The rest of you are with me.”

    As soon as they were ready, they exited the runabout. Waiting to greet them at the edge of the landing pad was a welcoming party led by a tall man in a white suit. He slowly advanced upon the away team and introduced himself. “Welcome to Celes Two Commander. I am Eldran, Chief aide to the Administrator.”

    “Please spare the pleasantries Mr Eldran. I wish to speak with your Administrator immediately. Our ship was attacked on our way here and I’d like to know why.”

    “Yes Commander. Right away. Please follow me.”

    They were led into the main building and down a series of corridors until they came to a room with an elegantly crafted tall wooden door. The aide pushed open doors and motioned for the team to enter. The three of them stepped inside and Treylana approached the large executive style desk where another man in white with silver hair stood staring out the window.

    “I am Commander Treylana Hess of the USS Hiawatha. I demand to know why my shuttle was fired upon.” Treylana said vehemently.

    The Administrator turned to face the three of them. The man bowed his head with exasperation. “I’m sorry Commander. It was not my people that fired upon you. For the last several months a rogue group of approximately two-hundred citizens have protested recent changes to various policies. Three weeks ago there was an explosion at a refinery. The group has officially laid claim to the incident. I can only suspect that they were the ones that fired on your vessel in protest of your arrival.”

    “Why didn’t you report this in your communications to Starfleet requesting assistance?”

    “We thought the situation was under control. At the very least we believed we had the violence isolated to the industrial district.”

    “I see. Well as far as political matters are concerned, we cannot get involved. What further information can you tell us about this virus?”

    “We don’t believe it to be an airborne virus. Spread seems to be contained to the city, but until we determine the source of the virus and how it’s transmitted precisely, we’re not excluding the possibility that it may be transmitted through other means.”

    “Very well. We’ll get started working with your medical teams to go over the data thus far. We’ll also want to speak to any patients that have contracted the virus and determine its lifecycle.”

    “Do what you must Commander. Our facilities are at your disposal.”

    Treylana nodded and thanked the Administrator for everything and proceeded to exit the office with Brant and the nurse. Once the door was closed behind them, she tapped her combadge to signal her ship “Hess to Hiawatha, come in.”

    “Go ahead Commander.” came the voice of her Captain.

    “We’ve established contact with the Administrator. The runabout was attacked on our arrival. The Administrator has made the assumption that a group of rogue citizens are responsible for the attack. They reportedly attacked a refinery in the industrial district three weeks ago. We’ve been given complete authority to proceed with our investigation. So far it is assumed to be an airborne threat.”

    “Rogue citizens?” Vehl queried “Terrorists you mean. Are you all right? Could they be responsible for this virus?”

    “We’re fine Captain. I won’t rule out the possibility that this virus is related to the attack on the refinery, but until we have more information I cannot make that conclusion as of yet. As for the Dakota, her port nacelle has been damaged, but she’s in one piece. Repairs are underway.”

    “You understand what this means Commander. Provide what medical aid you can and try to come up with a cure, but the Prime Directive explicitly prohibits us from interfering in matters of a political nature. Keep me apprised of your findings.”

    “Understood Captain. Hess out.”

    Treylana looked at Brant “We’d better get started.”

  • BrianBrian Member

    [Celes Two]
    [Planet Surface]
    [One hour later]

    With her medical staff being taken care of by the citizens of the planet, Treylana opted to make her way back to the landing pad and check on the status of the repairs. She had hoped for some good news, but given the lack of information regarding the state of affairs on the planet, she expected the worst.

    As she approached the landing pad, she could see her two officers hunched over the port nacelle of the runabout. Multiple panels lifted in order to get complete access to the damaged systems. One of the men appeared to have completely extracted and stripped a warp field coil while the other was replacing an electro-plasma relay.

    “Report.” she ordered once she was but a few meters away.

    The Lieutenant replacing the relay looked up for a moment to acknowledge her presence “There was some minor internal damage to one of the warp coils and this relay had to be completely replaced, but we should have it repaired within the hour. We were fortunate enough to have some spare parts on board and didn’t have to replicate any new ones.”

    “Excellent work. As soon as the repairs are done, report to the Administrator’s office and coordinate the procurement of the needed supplies. Once we have an idea of the risk that this virus poses to us and the rest of the ship, we can get those supplies to the Hiawatha.”

    “Aye, Sir!”

    Satisfied that the runabout was in better shape than expected. Treylana turned her focus to the main problem at hand. The sooner she could get out of her environmental suit, the better. “Hess to Commander Brant, come in.”

    The comm was silent for a few seconds. This was to be expected. “Brant here. Go ahead Commander.”

    “What’s your location and status?”

    “We’ve been taken to the central hospital about thirteen kilometers South of the Administrator’s office. We’ve spoken with the hospital director and we’ve transmitted all relevant data pertaining to the virus to the Hiawatha for analysis. We’re on our way to examine patient zero and any others we can.”

    “Very good. I will rendezvous with you in approximately fifteen minutes. Hess out.”

    ***

    With so many people infected from the virus and not enough drivers for the shuttles, It took Treylana a little longer to procure a transport to the hospital than she had intended. Once she arrived she was directed to the nearest of her crewmates, Commander Brant’s assistant nurse Cahil. Cahill had been scanning various patients within the ward in order to determine the infection level of each patient in order to establish whether or not there were any discernible traits of the virus that would indicate distinct lifecycle phases.

    “Any progress Cahill?” Treylana asked.

    “Well Commander. I’ve scanned about thirty patients so far. I don’t have enough data yet to make a concrete analysis, but it would seem that the rate of infection rises exponentially one week after the onset of symptoms based on the conversations with patients coherent enough to talk and the medical scans of those who were in a more severe state. Doctor Brant may be able to provide a deeper analysis. He’s in the other room going over tissue samples.”

    Treylana thanked Cahill for the report and proceeded into the next room. Brant was seated at a desk staring at the console before him. He’d only known of Treylana’s presence by the sound of the door sliding open since he had not been expecting anyone else to be calling upon him. Without even taking his eyes off the screen he muttered “I don’t like this Commander.”

    “What do you mean?” Treylana replied.

    “Come here.” Brant paused for a second so that Treylana could join him “You see this genetic sequence?”

    “Yes.”

    “Take a look at this base pair sequence. It doesn’t appear to be a naturally occurring sequence. Furthermore, take a look at this next one. The same sequence appears in this next patient sample. That should not happen.”

    “What are you suggesting, Doctor? That this is not a naturally occurring virus?”

    “No Sir it’s not. This virus had to have been genetically engineered in order to produce a sequence of numbers like that. So scientifically engineered in fact that I can be certain that it was specifically designed to target the inhabitants of Celes Two specifically.”

    “So does that mean…”

    Before Treylana could even finish the sentence, Brant cut her off “Yes Commander. We are not at risk from this virus at all.”

    “Can you cure it?”

    “Not yet. I still have to determine how the base pair sequences were coded. In the meantime I’ll have the Hiawatha computers analyze my findings here so far and compare them against any other known genetically engineered viruses. As for now, I can tell you with one-hundred percent certainty that it is safe to remove the environmental suits.”

    It was clear at this point to Treylana that this virus was a biological weapon. The so-called rogue citizens that the Administrator had referred to earlier were now definitely suspected terrorists. With all of this new information, she called up to her ship and relayed it to the Captain who was pleased that progress was being made. Even if it was slow but steady. She then informed the others that they could remove the suits and begin loading the supplies onto the runabout as soon as they were ready.

    There was nothing more she could do at the hospital and felt it was best to let Doctor Brant work uninterrupted. With that in mind, she left the hospital. Once outside she released the clasp fastening her helmet to the rest of her environmental suit and removed it. The smell of fresh air rushing into her nose felt almost euphoric. It was nice to finally be free from the confines of the suit. Tucking her helmet under her arm, she called for a nearby shuttle to take her back to the Administrator’s office.

    ***

    Treylana walked into the office to a very agitated man shouting at his aide. “I will not be intimidated like this! Find them! Use whatever means is necessary, but find them!”

    “Yes Administrator.” replied the aide as he quickly made his way past the woman now standing in the entryway.

    “Am I interrupting Administrator?” Treylana asked.

    The man turned to look back at who was addressing him. Relieved at seeing the Starfleet uniform he calmed down slightly “Not at all Commander. It’s just, in your absence there was another attack. A bridge was destroyed on the outskirts of the city. There were many casualties including a school bus containing twenty-four children. The rogue group I told you about earlier are calling themselves ‘New Light’ and are claiming responsibility for the act.”

    Treylana was speechless for a moment. She knew the Administrator wasn’t going to like the news she was bearing, but he had to know “This virus. It’s clearly an attack by this ‘New Light’ group. Doctor Brant has discovered evidence that the virus has been genetically engineered to target your people. What I can’t understand is why. They would be at risk themselves. Unless they have a cure for the virus or a means of protecting themselves from it. Brant is analyzing data now to see if this virus can be stopped and cured, but it will probably still be hours before he has any new information.”

    Hearing the news, the man collapsed into the chair behind the desk allowing his head to fall into his hands. Treylana wanted to offer some comforting words, but didn’t know if she could offer anything that would make him feel any better.

    “In the meantime, I will head up to the ship with the supplies.”

    The man looked up and acknowledged her with a single nod.

    Exiting the office, Treylana made her way down the various corridors leading back to the landing pad. As she approached the runabout she could see her officers loading up what appeared to be the final case into the cargo hold. She informed them she would be in the back getting out of her suit and going over the supplies and to take off once they’d secured the hold.

    “Computer.” She said as she stepped through the exterior runabout door “Initiate ignition sequence and standby.”

    “Acknowledged.” replied the computer.

    Treylana then kicked back to the rear of the runabout and secluded herself in peace. The events of the day had not been going as planned. “Raktajino” she ordered to the nearby replicator as she sunk herself into one of the passenger seats. The replicator whirred to life and a plastic mug of steaming dark liquid materialized.

    “Computer, begin log.”

    The computer chirped to acknowledge it was ready to accept Treylana's dictation.

    “First officer’s log, stardate 76182.3. The away team and I have been on the planet surface per our mission orders. We found ourselves however, caught in the beginnings of some civil uprising between the citizens of the planet. The runabout was damaged on our way here and since our arrival there has been an attack with mass casualties. The administrator admits to a rogue group being responsible for these attacks. I sympathize with the Administrator and his people, but the Prime Directive prohibits me from interfering. I’m beginning to wonder if even helping with this virus is crossing the line, but Starfleet has authorized the aid and without the supplies we won’t make it to the nearest starbase before running out of fuel.”

    Treylana was briefly interrupted as the runabout began to lift off. She removed the rest of her environmental suit and grabbed her coffee from the replicator before continuing.

    “Doctor Brant says he should have more information about the virus in a few hours. Since there is nothing for me to do until his results come in, I am returning to the ship to see that Mr. Harrison gets this deuterium. End log.”

    For the remainder of the trip back to the ship Treylana examined the cargo and cross referenced the contents with what was on the manifest. It wasn’t that she didn’t trust her officers to double check. She merely was not up to being up front with the others. Everything appeared to be in order and before she knew it the runabout had touched down in the shuttlebay.

    “Hess to Commander Harrison.” Treylana said, tapping her combadge as she stepped off the runabout.

    “Go ahead.” replied the Chief Engineer.

    “Your deuterium has arrived. You may send a team to the shuttlebay to collect it.”

    “Thank you Commander. They’re on their way.”

    Feeling famished, Treylana decided that she needed to eat something. However, first she needed to report to the Captain. Ironically, no sooner had she stepped out of the shuttlebay she had run into her Commanding Officer.

    “Captain!” she exclaimed, a bit startled. “I was just on my way to come see you.”

    “Well, you’ve found me. I’m on my way to the Mess Hall on deck six. Come join me.”

    The two women proceeded to the nearby turbolift. Th’lora ordered the computer to proceed to the desired deck while Treylana filled her in on the recent events since their last communique. The thought of all of those dead children weighed  heavily on Treylana’s shoulders. She wanted to see the Terrorists brought to justice, but to take matters into her own hands, would be disregarding all that she believed in. All that the Federation stood for. The Prime Directive was such a fickle mistress both benefiting and hindering the Federation whenever it felt the least appropriate to the losing party.

    “The sooner we get out of here, the better.” Treylana said as the doors to the Mess Hall whooshed open.

    Several conversations could be overheard as the two entered and made their way toward the replicators. Crewmen talking of their children back home. Others were talking of upcoming leave. There was even one junior officer complaining about the current mission, claiming that he joined Starfleet for the excitement of traveling the stars and encountering new species, friendly or hostile. He hadn’t noticed that he had been overheard and was taken aback when Treylana leaned over and whispered to him “Ensign, if you don’t wish to serve on the Hiawatha we can arrange for a transfer as soon as we get to the nearest starbase”

    “N-n-n-no Sir! That won’t be necessary.”

    “That’s what I thought.” she replied and then continued to the replicator.

    The Captain had already replicated her meal and found a table. Treylana requested an order of hasperat and joined her.

    “What was that all about?” Th’lora asked.

    “Oh nothing. Just putting a young Ensign in his place.”

    Just as Treylana was about to sit down, the entire ship shook violently and the alert klaxons began to sound signaling red alert. Anyone that had been standing had been knocked to the floor. Those that were sitting had to grab onto whatever sturdy surface they could to avoid suffering the same fate.

    Th’lora slapped her combadge with ferocity “Bridge Report! Have we been fired upon?” 

    “No Sir! Uncertain Sir! Sensors are not functional, but it appeared to be an explosion from within the ship. Without the sensors I can’t localize the source.”

    “Harrison to Captain Vehl! We’ve just had an explosion next to one of the deuterium storage tanks. The explosion has caused the antimatter containment field to destabilize. I am unable to hold it together. We’re looking at a warp core breach in five minutes.”

    Treylana and Th’lora stared at each other with a look of terror on their faces. Th’lora tapped her combadge one last time “All hands, abandon ship! I repeat...abandon ship!”

  • BrianBrian Member

    [USS Hiawatha]
    [Shuttlebay Two]
    [Stardate 76182.47]

    The red alert klaxons continued to sound as crew members hurriedly made their way to the various escape pods and shuttles. “Four minutes to warp core breach.” signalled the computer reminding everyone of the impending doom of the ship. Th’lora and Treylana made their way to the Dakota in shuttlebay two since it was nearer to them than any of the other pods.

    Upon entering the runabout’s main hatch Treylana rushed to the fore section and seated herself at the helm. “Initiating ignition sequence. Opening shuttlebay doors.”

    Th’lora not far behind, grabbed the seat next to her as the last of several other crew members piled in behind them. “Sealing hatch. Disregard preflight and depart when ready. Maximum thrusters.”

    “Two minutes fifteen seconds to war core breach.” the computer echoed.

    As quickly as they could, shuttle after shuttle launched from the shuttlebays. As the Dakota cleared the bay’s force field, pod after pod arced their way from their hatch, past Treylana’s view through the runabout’s viewport and toward the planet’s surface. She couldn’t be certain if everyone had made it, but a rough visual inspection showed enough pods and shuttles in view to account for everyone.

    “Core breach in ten seconds.” Th’lora exclaimed “Brace for impact.”

    One did not have to see the engine room to know the exact moment of a containment field failure. The moment the matter and antimatter fuels mixed outside of the reaction chamber everyone knew what was to happen next; a massive chain reaction between the large quantities of the two fuels not unlike the reaction of a sun but on a smaller scale. For a brief few seconds there was a bright light followed by a massive shockwave as the Hiawatha exploded into millions of pieces.

    The shockwave moved rapidly and managed to catch up to the Dakota. Fortunately it’s shields were engaged and were able to absorb the brunt of the impact but it still shook the ship violently. Treylana lost control for a brief moment, but was quickly able to stabilize and resume course back to the planet. One of the escape pods was not so lucky however, and when it was hit by the shockwave it was knocked off course, sending the escape pod toward the planet at an unrecoverable trajectory causing it to burn up in the atmosphere.

    Treylana’s heart felt like it sank into her stomach at that moment. If the pod had had a full complement of crew aboard, six more of her fellow crewmates had just lost their lives. However, mourning would have to be done later. The most important thing was to get everyone to the planet's surface. Once there, they could worry about tallying the casualties.

    ***

    Gurneys now began to line the hallways and military cots filled nearly every square meter of what normally would have been a triage and waiting room of the hospital. Instead it was being used as a trauma center for victims of the virus that continued to pour in as more and more people began to experience symptoms. Nurse Cahill had just finished administering medication to one patient to assist with the pain. She wished she could have done more, but until they knew what they were dealing with and how to treat it, it was all she could do. The ambient temperature in the hospital was steadily increasing with the sheer number of patients. She wiped a bead of sweat from her brow before proceeding to the next patient.

    Doctor Brant was not having any better luck. He had been analyzing the effect of various antiviral compounds on some tissue samples when the analysis had been interrupted. He tapped a few key sequences on the console to make sure he hadn’t input any incorrect data. Confirming that he hadn’t, he tried sending the sample again but much like when the analysis was interrupted, nothing happened.

    He then tapped his combadge to open a channel “Doctor to Hiawatha, come in.”

    Empty silence filled communication channel.

    “Hiawatha do you read me?” he repeated. Still nothing.

    “Doctor Brant to Captain Vehl, please respond.” he said with a little more worry in his voice.

    “Vehl here. Go ahead Doctor.”

    “Captain. I was running an analysis on some samples when my uplink to the ship was cut off. Is there a problem up there?”

    “Yes Doctor there is, but now is not the time to discuss it. Teylana and I will speak with you shortly. Until then do what you can without the data. Vehl out.”

    With a feeling of concern, Brant went back to his work. He could feel he was close to a breakthrough with the antiviral compounds, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. As he pondered over his thoughts, his chin cupped in his right hand, Nurse Cahill joined him in the laboratory.

    “Doctor.” Cahill began, not wanting to startle him with her presence “I’ve been able to question some of the patients. Many of the more advanced cases were employees at the refinery that was attacked three weeks ago.”

    Brant turned to face Nurse Cahill “Were they able to give you any details about the attack?”

    “Yes sir. One of them said on the day of the attack he was performing his daily safety in the water treatment center. He had noticed someone suspicious near the water reservoir. He asked the individual to show him his identification card, but the suspicious man ran off. He said he ran after him, but after a few minutes of futile chase, there was an explosion in the fuel storage tanks nearby, presumably so that attention would be drawn from the chase. He didn’t remember much beyond that. He said that he and his co-workers had to spend the better part of the day putting out the fire. It wasn’t until almost a week after the attack that he started to feel ill.”

    Brant stood there for a moment to absorb all that his nurse had told him and then suddenly it hit him. If the water reservoir had been contaminated, perhaps it could be the source. “Find someone and get me a schematic of the refinery. Specifically, I want to look at the water distribution. Also see if you can have water samples brought from the refinery.’

    Brant hoped his hunch was right. As of right now it was the only lead they had.

    ***

    For the second time since the mission began, Treylana found herself landing the Dakota on the planet’s surface. It certainly wasn’t her intention, but under the circumstances there were no other options. Fortunately their stay would be short lived as the Captain had managed to send a message to Starfleet Command informing them of the situation and requested a transport to retrieve the crew as soon as possible. All they had to do was sit tight for three days for the nearest ship to arrive. The escape pods had enough emergency rations and the replicators on the runabout could supplement anything that they might have been lacking.

    With the runabout secure, Th’lora tapped her combadge to signal for her Chief Engineer “Vehl to Harrison, what’s your location?”

    “About a thousand meters from your location Captain.”

    “Excellent. Rendezvous with Hess and I as soon as possible. We need to discuss what has happened with the planet’s administrator.”

    “Right away Captain. Harrison out.”

    Th’lora and Treylana departed the runabout and made their way toward the main building while the remaining crew stayed behind having nothing else to do in the interim. Harrison caught up with the two of them approximately fifteen minutes later. Once he had, the three of them proceeded to the Administrator's office. Since no one had been aware of their presence aside from Orbital Control, Th’lora firmly knocked on the large wooden door before them when they arrived in front of his office. 

    “Enter!” Came a surprised acknowledgement from the other side of the door.

    Th’lora pushed the door open and the three officers entered. The Administrator recognized Treylana from their earlier meeting, but did not know who her companions were. “Greetings Commander Hess! To what do I owe the pleasure?” he said, directing his comments at the younger of the two Trills.

    “Administrator. This is my Commanding Officer Captain Th’lora Vehl and my Chief Engineer Lieutenant Commander Paul Harrison. We’re here because we have some disturbing news. I will let Mr. Harrison explain.”

    “First of all Mr. Administrator, I want to thank you for your agreeing to provide us with the needed deuterium we asked for. However, I believe that someone from your planet, someone who was on the team that procured the deuterium for shipment, sabotaged one of the barrels. Shortly after we brought the deuterium on board the Hiawatha one of the barrels exploded and destabilized our antimatter containment field.”

    Puzzled and shocked at what he was hearing, the Administrator responded “What are you trying to say Mr. Harrison?”

    Th’lora immediately chimed in “What he’s saying, is that the explosion caused a warp core breach and my ship has been destroyed!”

    “I am terribly sorry Captain. Rest assured we will do everything that we can to find the person or persons responsible for this tragedy and bring them to justice. In the meantime, if there is anything we can do to make your stay more enjoyable, do not hesitate to let me know personally.”

    “Please see that you do.” Th’lora retorted. “Furthermore, consider yourself lucky that we have already agreed to provide humanitarian aid regarding this virus that is plaguing your capital, otherwise I would recall my officers and peacefully await for a rescue vessel from Starfeet and leave you to attend to your problems on your own.”

    With that, Th’lora gestured for her officers to follow her and the three of them left the office while the Administrator hung his head in shame.

    ***

    Back at the laboratory some time later, Doctor Brant had managed to go over schematics of the refinery that he had requested and as luck would have it, his assumption that the entire refinery’s drinking water had been supplied by the reservoir was correct and as a result he was able to obtain samples of the reservoir water. He was just starting to look over the results of the scans when Treylana and Th’lora entered.

    “Ah Captain...Commander, you’re just in time.” Brant stated as he returned his glance back to the monitor displaying the scan data not even batting an eye that the Captain was present against standard away team protocol.

    “Uh huh. Just as I suspected.”

    “What is it Doctor?” Th’lora queried.

    “We have the source of the virus. Nurse Cahill was able to question some of the patients. When she did, she learned that during the attack on the refinery three weeks ago there was a suspicious individual lurking near the refinery’s water reservoir. Through schematics I was able to determine that the refinery’s drinking water was fed from the reservoir and this container…” he said lifting a tall cylindrical canister “contains a sample of the water from that reservoir. I’ve just conducted a scan and there is a foreign contaminant in the water with trace signatures that match scans of the patients here in the hospital.”

    “Do you think you can cure it?” Treylana asked, with an enthusiastic overtone.

    “Well, if we can get the uplink re-established with the ship…”

    Brant was immediately cut off by the Captain “That won’t be possible I’m afraid. The ship has been destroyed.”

    With an almost defeated look on his face, his next words to the Captain did not come easy “Then I hate to say it Captain, without the assistance of the ship's computer there isn’t much I can do. The Celesian’s medical technology isn’t as sophisticated as ours. I may be able to synthesize a compound to neutralize the virus and prevent further contamination, but I won’t be able to treat the genetic alterations of those already infected. There will be mass casualties in a matter of days as those with the most severe symptoms begin to cease responding to current treatments.”

    “Do what you can, doctor. I’ll inform the Administrator of your progress and what he can expect. I’ll also express the urgency to Starfleet to get a science vessel here as soon as possible to continue your work. Let us know if there is anything you need.”

    At this point there wasn’t much that could be done except to let the doctor proceed with what analysis and treatment he could provide using the tools he had available to him. The two ladies departed the lab and exited the hospital to catch the next shuttle bound for the Administrator’s office and runabout. Treylana didn’t like being the bearer of bad news but someone had to do it.

    As far as Treylana was concerned, the mission was now over. She had hoped for a better outcome. However, it was obviously doomed from the start. At least a partial success was better than complete failure. 

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