USS Edinburgh – Ready Room – 1700
“They remember enough, but there’s enough missing to suggest something deeper.” Reid sat on the couch sipping her chilled raspberry tea as she hit the important points in her final report to Harris at his desk. “I’ve made a note to the medical team that receives them that we need to get a better understanding of what they did to their minds.”
Harris tapped at his console, sipping at his cider as he continued to read the exhaustive report, “The Romulans that did this…I think the expression ‘particulary talented’ is understanding it.” Shaking his head, “There’s a lotta rage in what they did to these two men. I know I keep asking this, but what have we gotten ourselves into, Jordan?”
Reid scrolled through the report, “Hell if I know, Ambrose. Based on my scans of our guest, she’s got her own share of battle scars. From what, I can’t begin to imagine. Her bones show signs of trauma and her head shows a history of concussions. I’d need to get a closer look, but either she’s a battle-hardened fighter or she endured some kind of abuse.”
Harris turned to face her, “You have any theories?”
She did, “Sometimes in fundamentalist or separatist groups, the use of violence imbues within the daily practices in order to condition their followers to well, follow. It could be violence against the follower or violence against other followers as a means to enforce whatever needs enforcing.” She took a drink and sighed, “Medicine goes both ways – mind and body. Trying to untangle this woman, if that’s even possible, is going to take some work.”
“Lieutenant LT Thasaz stands a chance. You watch her interrogation session?” Reid nodded as Harris continued, “I’m of the mind not to rush it. If she turns to us, or gives up her commander…we might be able to get this sorted before anyone else gets hurt.”
Reid sighed, “From your lips to God’s ears.”
The door chime rang and Harris turned towards it, “Enter.” Ensign Prentice stepped into the room, gripping a PADD in hand. The CO looked up, frowning. The officer’s face had gone all shades of white, and his hands trembled. Reid stood and pulled him towards the couch, giving Harris a warning look.
Jordan spoke gently, “Ensign Prentice…”, His eyes stared ahead, blinking every few seconds. She tried again, “Will.” He slowly came out of his moment and focused on the first officer.
“I…um…Tha…Lieutenant Thasaz headed off shift and had me working on short-range and long-range scans since I needed to work on my own reports…that’s not important…what is important is what I…um…found.” He handed the PADD, the trembling in his hands lessening slightly. He fell back against the couch as Reid read his report.
She swore and glanced up at her CO, “Commander…”, she stood and handed him the tablet and returned to speak softly to the helmsman.
Ambrose read the report three times before muttering, “Well…shit.” He glanced up at Prentice, “Anyone else knows about this?” Prentice shook his head as he commenced breathing exercises that Reid was walking him through. He tapped at the console on his desk, “Lieutenant Thasaz, report to my ready room.” He sat back in his chair as the only sound was Reid quietly talking the troubled Ensign through calming exercises. The door chime rang a minute later, “Enter.”
She entered the room and quickly sensed something was up, “What’s happened?”
Harris handed the PADD over, “Ensign Prentice in his efforts to scan long-range has located what is probably the body of Crewman Afya Ismael.”
“The body is in space?” She growled, “This madness cannot continue.”
The CO sighed, “I agree. I know you’re off shift…but I need you to handle her transport and care once we arrive. This will stir up feelings across the ship.”
Reid pointed out, “We need to ask for a counseling officer or even a counseling department at this point. These are kids, Ambrose. My nurses and orderlies had some counseling training…but not enough to handle this full time.”
Harris agreed, “I’ll make our needs known.” He turned to Thasaz, “Have Ensign Del Castillo plot an intercept course. Notify me when we’ve safely returned Crewman Ismael. Find out if she had friends on board.” The CO paused, “Thank you for this, Lieutenant.” The Romulan Science Chief nodded and departed.
Reid stood and put her hand on Prentice’s shoulder, “Let’s go to sickbay for a little bit, Ensign.” They walked out slowly, Prentice’s face wet with tears. Soon it was just Harris, alone in his ready room. The silence echoed as he realized he would have to write his first notice of death for a member of his crew. He sat in that realization as he waited for word from Thasaz.