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Part of USS Mercy: Mission 3 – “Lost in Space”

Needle in a haystack

Bardor Bay City Observation Post - Deck 2
10.15.2400 @ 08:30
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Hearing Pottinger assign everyone to new teams, the three of them huddled around the console where Cezear was still trying to pull up information from the observation systems.

They spoke in hushed tones. “O’Shea, McDonald, what are you two thinking? Where do we even start? Trying to find one person, let alone the whole team, is going to be like trying to find the proverbial needles in a farmer’s field of haystacks.” Ceased kept looking at the screens in front of them.  “I have an idea,” he looked at O’Shea. “We confront Pottinger here and now about the conversation. What if Jacob found what she was looking for and went after it on his own? Would make sense on why he would all of a sudden get agitated and want to leave the post.”  

“I’m for answers,” Dougal responded. “Even if it means giving Pottinger a laldy.”

O’Shea frowned slightly and looked between Dougal and Cezear, “A part of me wants more information on this before we raise it with her. All we have is one recording.” He paused and glanced back at others on the away team before looking back at his group. “I wish we had time to do a complete sweep of the systems and quarters here, there has to be more information somewhere but these developments limit our time.” With a sigh, he nodded, “Let me do the talking.” 

“Aye, lad.  I got yer back,” Dougal intoned conspiratorially.

“So do I,” Cezear said as he started to look at another area on the view screen

With that, O’Shea stepped over to Pottinger, who was conveniently standing off by herself as she focused on one of the consoles. “Captain, I have a couple of questions regarding the team here, in particular Jacob. Do you have a moment?”

Grace turned to the security chief, “I don’t…and neither do you, Lieutenant.  The clock is ticking on tracing the infection and locating the missing crew.”  She momentarily tapped the console before returning to him, “Your mission is to get equipped and get moving.  Those are your orders.  The longer you stall, the harder it becomes to solve this mystery.”  She glanced beyond him to the science chief and the security officer, “Get to work, Lieutenant.  Lead your team.  We can discuss questions once we understand what we’re facing.”  She stared at him a little longer, “Dismissed, Lieutenant.” 

Dougal stood to the right of O’Shea with his massive arms crossed before him looking every bit the intimidating and enormous Scotsman he was.

O’Shea quirked his head, in a subtle show of annoyance before responding. He knew Pottinger would hold this against him but rushing off half-cocked was a poor plan, “I understand that and appreciate that this is a time-sensitive issue but you are the only one who has any knowledge of Jacob and it is a big city. Taking a minute to share any insight you have on the man will be more beneficial than us running out without any direction or idea.  For example is there anything you know he likes to do, what makes him feel safe, or if he may be looking for, anything he might be after?”

Pottinger turned to him again, “Jacob was a by-the-book officer.  He was selected because of his dedication to missions previously and his meticulous following of processes and procedures.  He wasn’t brash or prone to rushing to judgment.  Out of all of them, he was the last likely to break protocol.”  She gave him a long look for a moment, “We only knew them within the confines of Starfleet, Lieutenant.  Whatever happened here has changed the game – given the situation, I do not expect them to follow their traditional paths.”  She returned to her console. “For the second time, dismissed.  We need to find our people and address the situation outside.  Quickly.”

Dougal let out a guttural chuckle when she mentioned that Jacob, “Was by the book.”

“Dougal, look at this. This is the current situation from the eastern secondary observation point. Notice something?  The children? Their out much as Captain Pottinger said they would be. Which means that the team either didn’t go in that direction or if they did its recently, and the virus hasn’t had time to develop yet.”  Cezear said as he brought up more of the current views from that area.  

Hearing Pottinger talk to O’Shea. Cezear looked at Dougal with a raised eyebrow. 

“Aye, then we should avoid those areas laddie.  No telling if we are carriers and could spread it to a new community.   Lad,” Dougal said turning his attention to O’Shea,  “questioning the lass is a waste of time. The lad… Jacob is likely sick by now.  I think the first place we should look is the hospitals.”

Cezear shook his head “More likely to check burial grounds, if he is patient zero he is more than likely dead. And the others are probably in not great shape or deceased if we take into account the team member in the Lab. I think she knows the truth “ nodded toward Captain Pottinger “She doesn’t want to admit it though. Much longer than 48 hours unless the Doc finds a vaccine, we probably will start showing signs ourselves.”

”Hold on. Captain Pottinger, do the people believe in burial or another form of dealing with the deceased? That Is where we will see signs. Look For new or freshly finished graves or whatever these people do.“

She would have thrown him out of the station if she could but decided a simple response was better.  “The dead are burned slightly with fire and then buried 9 feet down.  It is a two-hour ceremony filled with scripture reading and lots of shouting.” Pottinger returned to her console.

”We’ll looks like we don‘t have much to go on. As we are still seeing kids in the eastern area, I would suggest we head in the opposite direction. I wish we had more time to investigate their rooms and offices, something has to be noted somewhere. Something, hell anything, that could help point us in the right direction.“ Cezear starts to pack up his PADD and tricorder.

”Ensign Linwood, stay here and help the Doc as much as you can. Keep an eye on those screens and send three vibrating pulses through your combadge if you see or find anything.“

”Yes, Sir,“ she took the seat behind the console that he just vacated. She also starts to pull up logs or other such notations that she can find in the system. Taking note of the missing few weeks. “Hmmm, maybe something is still here, may have to just find the pieces and put them together.”

O’Shea glanced over at Linwood, “Keep at it and see what you can find. Anything may be of use.” Turning back to Cezear and Dougal he continued, “We best get head off. Let’s see if the replicators can get us some local attire so we don’t stick out like sore thumbs. Last thing we want it to start suspicion. Let’s aim to be on the move in the next 20 minutes.” 

Dougal simply nodded and gave Pottinger one last suspicious glance before turning and heading away in search of a replicator.