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Part of Starbase Bravo: Stormbreaker and Bravo Fleet: The Stormbreaker Campaign

Rumble on the Promenade

Starbase Bravo, Sector Hotel-Turquoise, Deck 375 Counseling Office B
January 2400
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“Is what you’re telling me, rather inarticulately I might add, that you have no idea where my daughter is?” Lundrul asked, standing tall. For his advancing age, his posture was remarkably impressive. Lundrul had declined every time Counselor Elegy Weld had invited him to take a seat in one of the many chairs and sofas around the counseling office. Lundrul stalked another step closer to Elegy, when he said, “Are you in the habit of losing daughters?”

Sat in an armchair, Elegy Weld visibly cringed at that question. Knowing that Lundrul was Betazoid, Elegy made some sloppy efforts to control his thoughts in the ways he struggled to control his words and body language. He failed. Elegy’s most immediate thoughts were of his sister, who refused to talk to him anymore. Worse, Elegy reflected on how Lundrul was talking about his daughter like she was a toddler, when she was, in fact, in her thirties.

Lundrul scoffed aloud at Elegy’s ruminations. “As if that should matter,” Lundrul spat.

“As I said,” Elegy repeated in a measured tone, “I’ve put in a request to the civilian affairs department. We’ve had many starships ferry evacuees from the storms in the nebula to Starbase Bravo. Just like you. Just like your daughter. I’m certain they will contact you soon.” At that, Elegy rose from the chair and he demonstrated a light tapping of his fingertips on his neck, below his ear. Affecting a hopeful tone that Elegy himself didn’t even believe from himself, Elegy asked, “While you wait, how are you coming along with practicing those breathing exercises we talked about? And the plexing?”

Lundrul fixed Elegy with a figurative death-glare. He said, “I wouldn’t have to wait if you would practice finding my daughter.”

Very slowly, Elegy backed away from Lundrul, his hands fidgeting. “Yes,” was all Elegy could think to say. “I receive how frustrating this is for you. A nurse will be with you shortly. If you’ll excuse me?” Without waiting for a response, Elegy stepped out into the corridor. The doors closed behind him. Elegy couldn’t be sure if they would be enough to keep him entirely safe until the arrival of the security officers he’d subtly requested earlier.

Further down the corridor, Callahan and Thompson approached at a brisk gait. “Okay,” the lieutenant was saying, in that authoritative tone he’d decided five seconds’ more experience gave him, “calls down to the counselling offices are unusual. Expect to be underwhelmed or for it to be really delicate. If we have to make physical contact with someone, we’ve probably screwed this up.”

Sonja wasn’t quite sure what to think of this situation as the lieutenant had stated that calls to counseling were rare she had been told that in the Academy. “Well, that would make sense, but from the indications of the call it seemed this could be a serious problem. I do believe in caution, but sometimes even caution can’t prepare you for what you might see.” She said as they walked down the corridor. “Furthermore I think we should make sure to not count out any possibility of trouble.” She concluded as the brisk walk continued near the end of the corridor.

They rounded the corner to find their destination, and the fraught-looking counsellor on the other side of a closed door. Callahan frowned at this, but tried to shift his body-language to be more relaxed as he approached. “Counsellor? I’m Lieutenant Callahan, this is Ensign Thompson. You called for Security?”

Responding in kind, Elegy said, “I’m Counselor Weld.  Thank you for coming so quickly, Lieutenant, Ensign.”  He nodded sombrely to each of them in turn.  At Sonja Thompson, Elegy smirked awkwardly, and he added, “If we survived that runabout rescue, I’m sure we can survive this, yeah?”

Sonja wasn’t shocked when she rounded the corner and saw the counselor he was known to get in sticky situations and from the last mission she could only imagine what might happen here. “I guess that’s a way of looking at it.” she said as she chuckled lightly.

Elegy took a deep breath and his eyebrows raised at what he was about to say.  “My patient has signed his consent to disclose his diagnosis to the both of you.  I ask that you keep his identity and diagnosis confidential, unless it will pose a further security risk.  The patient is Betazoid and I’ve diagnosed him with Zanthi Fever.  His mind is involuntarily, randomly projecting his emotions into the minds of others.  From his medical records, it appears he’s been undiagnosed for months, and his condition has become quite advanced.  I’ve treated him with an antiviral, but it may take an hour to take effect.  He will continue to project his emotions into promenade in the meantime.”

Elegy’s voice lowered when he added, “And he’s angry.  He just came to fight.”

Callahan glanced between the two as it became apparent they knew each other, but nodded as Elegy explained. His brow furrowed. “Can you tell us what he’s angry about? At the least, what he’s likely to be projecting at us – at everyone – if we can’t talk him down? Or is it just… anger that our minds are going to rationalise in our own way?” This was quickly running the risk of becoming the most practical application of his training in psychology.

Prone to answer questions quickly, like a student sitting in the front row of the class, Elegy replied, “He’s angry about Starfleet not doing enough about the Century Storm.  And his daughter.  He and his daughter were rescued by different starships and I haven’t been able to locate her yet.”  As he said those words, a second thought came to mind.  Elegy’s head bobbed from side to side and he winced uncomfortably.  “You’re not going to like this, Lieutenant,” Elegy said.  “Research suggests the psionic projections from Zanthi fever are most likely to take root in beings who already have their own reasons for feeling a certain way.  People who have their own kernels of anger are, statistically, the most likely to be inflamed by Zanthi projections.”

“You’re right. I don’t like it.” Callahan sucked on his teeth. “This is going to reach… how far? How many people? And last, what, the hour until the antiviral kicks in, or until – if – we can calm him down when a counsellor, no offence, couldn’t?”

Sonja didn’t know tons about Zanthi fever, but she knew it was an issue and if it was the issue it could cause more problems “I think we need to alert Station Security to be on the lookout for any issues that could be the anger that was possibly projected. Even if it didn’t affect anyone I think caution is a prudent step. I mean calming someone down is all about if they’re willing to do so and from the indications it seems the patient does not want to calm down. I can’t say for certain, but I suggest you keep trying to locate his daughter.” She stopped for a second trying to size up the situation “As for us into the valley of Death walked the two.”

“Pretty sure everyone’s looking for missing refugees; never bank on a miracle reunion in a catastrophe,” Callahan said rather sharply. “And I’ll tell the Commander just as soon as we have some idea of the scope, or he’ll give us a right thick ear for giving him nothing practical but worry. Which we’ll deserve.” His gaze returned to Elegy, a little cooler now.

As each potential risk was described the the security officers, Elegy dropped his face into his open palms.  He had been trained to work with individual patients, not whole populations.  The pressure to come up with a brilliant plan was too great.  His void reedy, Elegy said, “There’s nothing more we can do for the patient, Lieutenant.  He’s been treated and mildly sedated.  Even if we soothe his conscious mind, his subconscious will still project strong emotion for a little under an hour, regardless.”

Elegy took a sharp intake of breath and he snapped his posture upright again.  Remembering where he was, Elegy affected as neutral an expression as he could muster, and he lowered his hands.  After taking another breath, Elegy answered, “The physical range of Betazoid telepathy is… indeterminate.  We have no reliable, peer-reviewed evidence on the distance a Betazoid can project psionic energy.  Anecdotally, we’ve all met Betazoid officers who claim they can detect thoughts or emotions from individuals located aboard… other starships than their own.” –His posture deflated again– ” That could mean a range of… kilometres.”

Callahan’s poise wilted as Elegy explained, and his eyes widened. “You didn’t call us here so we could calm him down and stop this situation out of hand, did you,” he said, almost accusatory in his growing horror and realisation. “You called us here because it’s already out of hand. To warn us that for the next hour, potentially everyone on the station is at risk of exploding with anger, when the station’s the fullest, the tensest, the most scared it’s ever been.”

In self-protection, or desperation, Elegy stared off into the middle-distance more and more, as Callahan’s assessment became scarier.  Although Elegy’s attention was drifting away from the present, he preoccupied himself by reviewing facts and approximating calculations in his head.  Throwing his hands up in excitement, Elegy hopefully said, “Not the entire population.  The diminishing fever should reduce his impact to only enraging… maybe dozens of people?  Definitely not thousands.”

“Okay,” said Callahan with the growing odd sort of relief that stemmed from a situation being a disaster rather than a catastrophe. “Dozens we can handle. We’ll report this to Commander Vaughn -” Then he hesitated, and looked at the closed door. “Is your situation here safe, Counsellor? Is the patient inside safe left alone? We don’t want him hurting anyone or himself.”

Waggling a finger over Callahan’s shoulder, Elegy replied, “Nurse Fionn is here for the patient,” referring to the nurse Elegy had called from the hospital at the same time he contacted security.  While Fionn moved to enter the counseling office, Elegy advised the security officers, “I’d like to help if I can.”  There was a tenor of irrational guilt in his words that got deeper, when he sheepishly added, “I have classroom training in conflict de-escalation…”

There was a moment where Callahan pursed his lips at that. Then he gave an accepting shrug. “Time to take it to the field, I guess, Counsellor, but stick close to Security,” he said, stepping back down the corridor with a jerk of the thumb the way they’d come. “Thompson, you had the bright idea of reporting this in? You get to break the news to the Dragon about how a few dozen angry people on the Promenade are probably about to kick off for no good reason…”

Sonja sighed as she knew it was required, but she didn’t want to have to break the news. “Understood.” She replied and opened comms to quickly explain the situation to the Commander. After a few moments of heated yelling the comms ended and Sonja looked over at Callahan with a sigh.