Departure: Below Decks
Posted on Wednesday November 20th, 2019 @ 8:32pm by Commander Kanaka Shakura & Captain Franklin Johnson & Lieutenant Hibiki Zh'kallas & Lieutenant Commander Canaan Serine & Lieutenant Commander Freya Mannerheim & Lieutenant JG Sydney Allen & Commodore Gregory Paladin & Lieutenant Commander Neteri "Ikran" Shannon & Ensign Samantha Evans, Trainee & Cadet Freshman Grade Chloe Graydon
Edited on on Wednesday November 20th, 2019 @ 8:32pm
Location: U.S.S. Poseidon; Below Decks
Timeline: Day 000 - 0500 Hours
There was an ominous stillness in the belly of the Poseidon that morning.
For a time there was little movement apart from the shuffling of a few feet from the crew who were on the evening’s rounds, but as soon as the ship’s internal clock ticked over onto the fifth hour of that most important of mornings, the ship suddenly roared to life. The air was thick with excitement but also slight trepidation as everyone hurriedly made their way to their assigned stations for that mornings seminal event; for the first time, in quite some time, the U.S.S. Poseidon would be making headway out into the great ever-spanning ocean of the galaxy once again. The crew - predominantly fresh-faced cadets from the Academy - were about to experience their first ever embarkation and shakedown cruise. Friends and colleagues whispered excitedly amongst themselves as they wondered aloud where they would be going first, sharing openly what they all hoped to encounter along the way. Adventure. Discovery. The chance to be a hero. Everyone had something they were looking forward to.
Madison wasn't due on duty that morning so she was still asleep in the Brinsleys' quarters. She would have liked to have been awake for the departure - but after a later than planned night the previous evening she didn't feel like getting up early that morning.
Kana had awoken in the early hours, having begun her morning routine by eating a light breakfast with some black coffee before heading to the gym to do some cardio and light circuit exercise. Just as things were getting underway on the Bridge she had just finished using her sonic shower, and now properly dressed and in uniform, decided to walk the decks as she thought through the same things that occupied her mind last night. As she usually did on her walks while off-duty, she wore her long Vulcan overcoat - a gift from her old mentor and friend T'Kurrak - her hands held behind her back and back straight as she walked with purpose and poise.
The voice of the Chief Security Officer, somewhat abruptly, spoke over the comm. = /\ = All hands, this is the bridge. All hands for departure stations. Security teams secure airlocks, decks and report when ready. = /\ = - Kana was perplexed at first, knowing it was customary for the Commanding Officer to make the first announcement to the crew. Yet she had observed multiple times already that the Lurian had a quirky character, and added to the fact that he was an officer on exchange to Starfleet, it was a breaking of convention that could be forgiven.
= /\ = Lieutenant Allen, this is the Commander. Make sure to forward a full report to the Chief Operations Officer. Also do a favor for me and recheck our stores for any discrepancies. Commander Johnson, out. = /\ =
Sydney. Looking out the window to the drydock smiling and sipping her coffee after a very heavy night of drinking has taken its toll especially with the excitement she had with Freya. She knew it was going to be hard now seeing her as a friend but she had to keep it professionally most of the time or it will slip out to most of the crew. Taking another sip of coffee she held her combadge =^= To all Operations crew: Are we ready to set off? Check everything is secure and if not, secure it now. QM out =^=. Pressing her combadge again, =^= Lieutenant Allen to the Bridge; all secure down below. Awaiting further orders. =^=
“Ah, Lieutenant Allen.” Kana smiled as she approached the young Quartermaster, her Vulcan overcoat trailing behind her slightly as she walked quite quickly, and incredibly light on her feet. “I hear everything is in order? How are you feeling about our upcoming departure?”
"Really scared right now but I know I am in good hands." giving a wink to Kana.
The Chief Counsellor's smile grew wider. "I'm glad to hear that, Lieutenant. You certainly seem to be doing a lot better than when I saw you a few days ago; still, I will make sure to arrange us another appointment once we're underway."
Chloe was slowly making her way towards the Operations department. She was being slow because she was nervous, and she wanted to try and get herself ready. She was looking down at the floor as she was walking, when she knocked into someone and looked up.
Kana was just about able to keep her footing as the force of another human being hit her from her side. Jolting in surprise, she turned quickly to see a young girl in a cadet's uniform from Operations had staggered into her. An initial thought of scolding the offending individual was suppressed when she noticed that the young Operations cadet had a likeness in her face which she recognised almost instantly. Straightening her jacket and readjusting her overcoat, the Chief Counsellor took in a breath.
"Chloe Graydon, I presume? Are you alright?" Kana asked, a lot more patiently then she'd originally intended to.
"Commander...Sorry, I wasn't looking where I was going...i'm fine, are you ok?" She asked, brushing herself off.
"I'm quite alright, Chloe." The Chief Counsellor reassured her. "I suppose you're making your way to your Operations station? Must be quite an exciting time for you, being your first departure and trial run?"
Chloe nodded. "I'm a little nervous actually, tell the truth." She answered, trying to smile.
Kana smiled as she nodded in understanding. She made a mental note; this was something her mother had raised to her as a potential concern. A new cadet being nervous in and of itself was nothing new, but Chloe seemed more than just a little on edge. Before she could continue the line of conversation, a message from the Captain was broadcast ship-wide.
= /\ = Attention all crew, this is your Captain speaking. We are the verge of moving out of drydock. On my order, the Poseidon and all souls on board will depart on her first real mission in well over a year. This ship has a long history, a proud service life, and we on this ship constitute its latest dedication to Starfleet service. Let's all work together as we take this first, important step.
All hands to stations. = /\ =
Kana listened to the communique, and straightening her posture, watching intently with Sydney as the ship began to slowly disengage from the Starbase. The Chief Counsellor had never really physically watched the event before, and she was quite impressed by the mechanical precision of the procedure. Breathing calmly through her nose, she rolled her shoulders in relaxation as the ship’s distance from the drydock grew ever more steadily with each passing moment. “Well done.” She thought to herself, thinking specifically of Lieutenant Freya - whom she imagined must have been tense during the entire procedure - but also the rest of the crew on the Bridge. She felt as though she could almost sense the large amount of pride shared between both the Commander and the Commodore in that moment.
“So far, so good…”
Neteri was checking on her fighter and the other Razors in the flight deck. She made sure they were secure and ready to fly at a minutes notice she made her way to her bosses office. "Boss....all fighters are secure and ready to deploy at a moments notice,'' she said smiling a wide smile.
Jonas was nowhere to be found in the little closet they laughably called his "office." The glamorous life of a fighter pilot to be sure. It had a desk and a monitor and that was about it. He waved his hand over at Neteri as he clamored out from beneath Flirt, he hadn't been quite visible under there. A pilots life was training, waiting, checking their gear, brief spurts of action, rinse and repeat. He had been checking the stabilizers. His uniform top was knotted around his waist, which he started hitching back up. As he did, he gave things quick inspection. Everything looked good, not that he hadn't checked already before, but that was his job. "Good job kid.." he smiled, despite the few years he had on her "I don't think we'll need them in a moment, but you never know when a pleasure planet's going to rise up in revolt."
Tapping his commbadge he looked up, he generally always looked in the "direction" he was talking =^=This is Lt Pavan to the bridge. We're all tucked in down here and ready to go. =^=
"Yeah boss that is so true. What's wrong with 'Flirt'?", Neteri inquired.
= /\ = Lieutenant Pavan, this is Commander Johnson. Thank you for your report. Have your fighters on standby but hold off on any quick launch procedures. Once we're done with our impulse shakedown, I'm going to give you fighter jockeys a chance to stretch your wings. Franklin, out. = /\ =
=/\=Acknowledged Captain, keep us in the loop.=/\= Jonas tapped his badge, cutting the line to the bridge and moving back towards his office and Neteri, swinging an arm in and grabbing that half finished piece of tuwaly pie and taking a healthy - depending on who you asked - bite from it.
For a moment there was more calm, until all of a sudden Kana got an immediate sense of tension hanging in the air. Her senses heightened, she turned her attention towards the turbolift, where she suddenly witnessed a rather dishevelled looking Lieutenant Freya being escorted by security officers, chief among them the Deputy Chief of Security, Lieutenant Zh’kallas. In that moment, her heart sank a little as she watched the scene unfold “What is going on? Why haven’t I been informed of this?” She thought to herself, a slight tinge of annoyance growing inside of her.
Sydney in shock of what she was seeing and starting to raise her voice, "What the hell is going on, what has she done? and why is she being escorted?"
Kana was quick to place a hand on the young Quartermaster's shoulder. "Lieutenant Allen." She said confidently and with a calm tone of voice. Waiting for Lieutenant Zh'kallas to get a bit closer, the Chief Counsellor spoke to her in a slightly hushed tone so as to not draw too much attention from the other cadets and crewmen still milling about, though a few had already been alerted by Sydney's shouting.
"May I ask what is going on, Lieutenant Zh'kallas?"
Freya shook her head and turned to Zh'kallas. "I know where my quarters are. I don't need an escort." Without another word, she walked off.
Sydney running after Freya, "Hey, do you want me to visit you later." Sydney smiling at Freya and touching her on the shoulder.
Kana said nothing, merely observing the exchange curiously, while also still waiting on Lieutenant Zh'kallas to give her an answer. One never came.
Freya just glanced over her shoulder at Sydney and walked on, not saying a word. There were simply too many things going on in her head to respond.
"Nothing that I know of..." he sort of mumbled around a mouthful of pie, before swallowing and checking some figures on a padd that he swept up with his other hand from the desk. "And I aim to keep her that way. Always kick her in the tires a bit before you take her out."
Jonas smiled and pondered the last few bites of pie, before a thought interceded into his head "Well...if the Captain's going to let us go out and play, then let's get ready. I take it you have training protocols loaded up on Hunter. Let's get them queued up. We'll play some tag out there."
"Of course Jonas, Shadow Hunter is always loaded with training protocols. I even have loaded in WWll and all the dogfight scenarios from all the fighter wars. It will be good practice", Neteri said chuckling.
Jonas slid into 'Flirt' and closed the canopy and Neteri did the same into 'Shadow Hunter' and hit the com. =/\= This is Karn, go ahead. =/\= Came the response of the Chief Security Officer on the other end.
=/\= This is Shadow Hunter. Two birds waiting to fly for target practice =/\= Neteri responded confidently as she waited for the green light.
They didn't have to wait long as the order to launch was given. =/\= This is Commander Franklin to all fighters: you are free to begin your sequence run. =/\= Jonas went first cleanly leaving the deck and Neteri left behind him with no problems. With the training scenarios in place they began their manoeuvres. Out of nowhere Neteri felt Jonas' emotional shock of disbelief, and for one brief second, she thought she heard him say, "Oh no!"
"Jonas.........nooooooo get......" Neteri's fighter bucked hard as 'Flirt' exploded killing Jonas instantly. Getting control of Shadow Hunter, Neteri did a flyby of the debris and scanned it hoping to find anything that could explain why his ship just exploded like that. "I know they had to see this on the bridge....I know they did…” =/\= Bridge, this is Shadow Hunter. There has been a training accident. Lt. Jonas Pavan has been killed. Requesting permission to land immediately. =/\= Neteri said. Now she would have to explain just what happened, something she hated doing.
In the midst of the confusion as to what was going on with Lieutenant Freya, Kana was caught off-guard by an immediate sense of horror and shock. From just down the corridor she could hear the shouts and frantic stepping of feet - as if people were running - in response to something. Then the lights of the ship suddenly changed; everyone knew that this meant the ship had gone to yellow alert. Turning her attention towards the direction of the noise, she wondered aloud. “What has happened?”
Before she could touch her commbage to enquire to the bridge, a communique came over Lt. Hbiki. =/\= "Shuttlebay One - prepare for emergency landing. Bridge to Shadow Hunter; return to Shuttlebay One immediately. Transferring you to the flight deck officer. Security Teams two and three report to Shuttlebay One and secure it. Security team four, report to transporter room and lock it down." =/\=
Shooting a concerned glance at everyone around her, Kana felt this was now the time for her to step into her role as Second Officer. “Lieutenant Zh’kallas, finish taking Lieutenant Freya to her Quarters and then move as quick as you can over to Shuttlebay One. Lieutenant Allen, you should make your way there as well, and get your staff to help clear the area. Everyone else, to your stations; I’ll be heading to the Bridge.”
"Zh'Kallas here. Understood." Hibiki's voice responded quickly. A few decks down she finished securing Freya's door before heading towards Shuttlebay One.
Sydney snapping out of her current and doing into action mode "Yes sir, I will go get ready." Worrying about Freya the girl she kisses hours before. but she knew she had a job to do and to perform it to her ability.
And with that Kana departed abruptly, heading as quickly as she could towards the turbolift. Her mind awash with the horrible feeling in the pit of her stomach which feared the worst. She couldn’t take her mind off of Lieutenant Freya, but that would have to wait, as much as it frustrated her. She could only imagine in what state the Commander must be. “I hope you can give me answers, Franklin.”
Ensign Samantha Evans was still, her eyes fixed on the devastation that was once Wing Commander Pavan's starfighter. The icon that had represented his relative position to the Poseidon blipped from the screen, leaving a noticeable gap in the starfighter wings' choreographed maneuvers.
She choked on a gasp, the air unwilling to leave the tightness in her chest. Her eyes brimmed with tears, her only way of coping with the loss she'd just witnessed.
=^= "Ms. Evans," Canaan spoke out quietly after opening a channel to the primary work station in astrometrics. "Please prepare to send me all relevant data from the moment five minutes before the wing launched to five minutes post-explosion. Understood?" =^=
Samantha was incapable of responding, her body trembled with agitation. Her academy instructors hadn't fully prepared her for this moment of wanton loss. In war, death was inevitable, expected and perhaps even understood. One went into war knowing it would happen, either to themselves or someone they knew. Maybe they didn't know them at all. It was the uniform that connected them, though, brothers-in-arms. This... this, however, was senseless.
=^= "Ms. Evans... Samantha..." Canaan said barely above a whisper, "Lieutenant Pavan was a wing commander and accepted the risks assigned to his post. We owe it to his legacy and his family to get them the answers they deserve to understand why he's no longer with us. Please help me to accomplish this, and then we'll grieve his loss together." =^=
=^= "Y-yes, sir." Samantha's voice trembled, weak as it croaked to the reply to the Lieutenant. "I'm on it. Standby." =^= Serine was correct, there would be time to grieve but now wasn't the time. She needed to focus her efforts to help her crew find an answer to the very same question they were all asking themselves, Why?
Landing Shadow Hunter finally, Neteri dismounted somewhat shakily. She had just lost a pilot and friend. Still in shock from it, she headed to her office for a stiff drink before stopping to make out the report. What happened to 'Flirt'? Was there something in the fighter's fuel system to cause it to leak drive plasma? Or was it more than just one problem. Jonas did say that 'Flirt was battle worn but a great tight fighter. Did he miss something vital? There were so many questions but no answers. Finally finishing her drink, she got up and headed for the bridge slowly.
Entering the lift Neteri could not contain the tears any longer. Sobbing uncontrollable she could not get the vision of Jonas's fighter exploding.
As Kana stepped into the turbolift she was shocked to discover the crying visage of Lieutenant Shannon. Switching immediately back to her role as Counsellor, she came inside and placed her hands on Neteri’s shoulders. “Bridge!” She commanded the turbolift as the doors slid shut and quickly it made its way.
“Lieutenant Shannon…” She said in a hushed, gently tone as she squeezed her shoulders. “I need you to breathe deeply for me. In and out through your mouth. Follow my rhythm.” She started breathing aloud, trying to get the pilot to follow her rhythm to help her calm her crying. “Whatever has happened, we’re going to get to the bottom of this, alright?”
"Damn it why....why", she sobbed. Looking at Kana, "Yes I know", she said starting to breathe deeply. Her crying calmed a bit as the lift started to rise.
Neteri was crying softly during the lift ride to the bridge. It hurt, god did it hurt like hot pokers being run through her heart. She just lost her friend and boss and she just couldn't figure out how. She had so many questions and very few answers. Drying her eyes as the lift stopped on the bridge, she straightened out her tunic and stepped out onto the bridge, the Chief Counsellor stepping out just behind, a look of grave concern and strong anger on her face.
"Lt. Neteri "Ikran" Shannon reporting for debriefing and my flight report, sir" she said, as eyes turned to look at her.
By this time Commander Johnson was in his ready room, through the foyer. Commodore Paladin had already departed the bridge to attend to other matters. In the interim, a Security Officer on the bridge looked at the arriving duo and simply waved to the Foyer. "He's in there," he said.
When they would arrive at Franklin's office, they would find him with his head buried in his hands, sitting behind his desk with elbows on the table. After he had permitted entry, he hadn't moved much, simply having his hands move from covering his face to rubbing the sides of his head and temple. His eyes were slightly reddened. He gave a grunting sigh as his eyes slowly looked up to see Neteri and his Second Officer, he gave them a slow nod.
"Please, sit," he requested. "Lt. Commander, could you please fetch us something to drink in the foyer? I'll have a sweet tea. Get yourself something too, and whatever Lieutenant Shannon requires as well."
Saying nothing, Kana gently guided Neteri to the seat across from the Commander's desk, leaving her hand on the shaken officer's shoulder for a brief moment, shooting a concerned glance at Franklin. She then went as instructed to fetch drinks; she retrieved sweet tea for the Commander and a tall glass of water for Lieutenant Shannon. For herself, she got nothing.
Returning with the beverages she passed them over, before taking her place at Neteri's side.
Neteri gave her PADD to the captain and waited for the questions that would come soon.
It was a difficult procedure to endure for Franklin, knowing what he was about to do. He eyed the PADD she handed to him, then glanced sympathetically at Neteri. Giving a slight nod he took the offered PADD, examining it briefly as he went over her report. Everything matched what the ships sensors logged, a few things it couldn't such as subtle nuances or habitual procedures the pilots conducted their work with. He eyed them only briefly before handing over the PADD to his Second Officer.
"I understand this is a difficult time for all of us, especially you," Franklin started sympathetically. "Starfleet requires us to follow a standard of procedures to give all available information possible, especially in situations like these. I know you understand, so let's go ahead and get down to the meat of things. Lieutenant Shannon, were you aware before your flight of any possible dangers existing on Lieutenant Pavan's fighter craft?"
"No captain. Jonas was working on Flirt making sure she was flight ready. He was always tweaking her and tinkering with her. Sure she was battle worn but Flirt was a sturdy fighter", she said.
Kana listened silently as she took the PADD and gave it a cursory reading. As the Commander had noted, nothing was there that they wouldn't have already gathered from the ships sensors, apart from a few seemingly inconsequential details. She occasionally shot glances up to both Franklin and Neteri as they continued to have their conversation.
"I just don't understand what happened. There was a small glow from the warp plasma exhaust and then boom! No warning other than what I felt from his emotion of surprise and then swearing I heard him say Oh no!", Neteri said putting her hands in her face to hide the tears that appeared yet again.
Franklin nodded solemnly to her words, wanting to reach over the desk and provide comfort. He hesitated knowing the Chief Counsellor was right beside her. Small comforts.
"Thank you, Neteri, I know this is hard. Only a few more," Franklin calmly stated. He took in a deep breath, not liking the next one he had to ask. "Were you aware through interaction or proximity any intention from Lieutenant Pavan to commit suicide?"
Franklin inwardly cringed at that one. He didn't like having to ask a question that possibly tainted an Officer's honour. He was, however, required to.
Kana had placed a hand on Neteri's shoulder as soon as she had put her hands in her face. "It's okay, Lieutenant. You don't need to hide your emotions from us." As a fellow Betazoid, Kana could feel the intense amount of grief and guilt that the Wing Commander was experiencing. She maintained her composure, but she could already tell that it was going to be a taxing day from there on.
When the Commander asked the question about potential suicidal intentions from Pavan, Kana shot him a concerned glance. She was well aware that these were questions he had to ask, but her expression did openly wonder. "Is now really the time?"
"Suicide sir?", Neteri said as her head lifted suddenly. That struck a raw nerve and made her angry. To even suggest that, was in her mind, the worst thing anybody could suggest. Angrily, Neteri answered, "Captain Pavan was anything but suicidal. We spoke on life and the old times and how we would do our flight simulations. He was so happy and full of life. He gave me no reason to even think he would contemplate killing himself!"
Franklin gave Kanaka a look as if to state, It had to be done, before he gave a firm nod to Neteri's reply. He didn't pose or express himself in a way to counter her outburst, he understood it.
"Again I apologize for implying otherwise," Franklin said, "It was a necessary question. My final question. Were you aware or did you notice any shuttle crew lingering or working on Lieutenant Pavan's fightercraft?"
"No. Before Pavan became CAG, I had a standing rule implimented. Under no circumstances were there to be anyone lingering near or on the flight deck. Unless you had clearance to be there no one should be around. Had anyone been there it would have been recorded by the security monitors in the flight bay. He left that rule in place as he also agreed it was a good security measure", Neteri said her voice beginning to falter again.
"If anyone entered the fightbay, it would have been recorded on the security monitors. They would record who ever came near his fighter!", Neteri said angrily, tears running down her face. She was angry by now.
Quietly Franklin nodded, his concerned gaze falling to Kanaka now. He motioned towards her, a subtle motion which she should pick up, as if to say, I think you're up.
"You think?" Was the expression the Chief Counsellor gave back to him, silently irritated. He should have stopped his questioning much sooner; there was no need to get to this point. There was no taking it back now though, and while she would be sure to voice her disapproval privately, Kana had to remember her obligations at that moment and focused instead of settling the situation before it got worse.
"Neteri..." Kana knelt beside the seated Wing Commander and gently took one of her hands in her own, placing her other hand on the grieving Lieutenant's shoulder. "You're right. Of course, you're right. These are just questions which the Commander has to ask as part of procedure in these circumstances. I think you've answered enough for now. Commander, if the Lieutenant and I may take our leave?" She shot a glance at Franklin, while on the face not too expressive, the intensity of her stare implying that there was only one acceptable answer.
Franklin only gave a moment to look her in the eyes. He cleared his throat softly, looking away as he nodded softly.
"Of course. Thank you Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander, for helping us move forward this investigation. You're both dismissed."
The Commander, to his credit, didn't allow the shiver that ran up his spine to show. He knew he had went too far, but regulations were regulations, and he was in the right. Then again, for future situations, he'd take this circumstance into consideration to avoid future altercations.
Neteri stood looking at her Captain, "Captain, for what its worth, this was no accident. That said, someone is going to pay for his death. I just hope justice will prevail", she said as she moved with the commander out the door.
Kana allowed Neteri to walk ahead of her slightly, and as they left the room she took a moment to look across the room at her Commander. "We'll talk later, sir. Right now I should make sure Lieutenant Shannon is taken care of and is able to comply with Lieutenant Karn's investigation. I suggest you take some time to rest too, whenever you can." Saying nothing more, she turned on her heel and left.
Franklin merely nodded at Kanaka, giving a warm smile as he looked up briefly before concentrating back on his work. Some time later, his gaze fell onto the picture of the Gorn on his display case. Memories of having someone to confide in, personally and deeply, grew in intensity as he felt further detached from things. A deep sigh, he looked back to his PADD. He hoped, dearly, that it was simply an accident.