Canopus Station
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Command Performance

Posted on Sun Jan 19th, 2020 @ 3:59am by Captain Benjamin Ingram Dr & Senior Chief Petty Officer Sharona Deluna
Edited on on Tue Feb 4th, 2020 @ 3:59pm

Mission: S2:1: Into The Drowning Deeps
Location: Canopus Station Medical Centre, Isolation Room
Timeline: MD 2 : MD 2 : 12.50

Ingram stood in the observation booth overlooking the Isolation Room. The canted windows provided a view into the room, which dropped down two meters to the floor. A table and chair of inert matter were secured to the floor so that they couldn't be picked up and used as a weapon. And with only two doors leading in, one from the positive pressure airlock into the rest of the complex, and the other from the negative pressure isolation ward beyond, nothing was passing back into the station that wasn't meant to.

The door controls for the airlock, for instance, were not on the wall by the door. But were instead in the observation room along with Ingram, a medical tech in a white smock, and Senior Chief Deluna.

"Antechamber reports that Dr Paulsen and her escort are ready to proceed," the Meditech said after consulting his tablet. "Iso-Ward also reports the patient is ready for transit."

"Let's get on with it. Signal Dr Paulsen to proceed, once she's inside we'll start," Ingram instructed. He turned to look at Sharona. "Bring up Dr Paulsen's personnel file. Next of kin, that sort of information."

"Aye, Sir," Sharona said as she checked her now clean uniform, her silver-white hair once more pulled back in an elaborate braid. She accessed the console and pulled up Paulsen's file and referenced the sections that he wanted. "Done, Sir."

He looked over the material provided, nodding to himself as he committed the important bits to memory. The bits that would come alongside the trit phrases 'Honour To The Uniform' and 'A Great Loss To The United Federation Of Planets' in the form letter. In the end, it was a cost to gain knowledge, the kindling used to steal a little fire from the Gods. You either got warmed by it, or you learned next time to use a long stick.

"Make sure we're recording everything to local and remote backups. Once the interview is concluded, I wanted everything packeted and transmitted back to Starfleet Medical via the Phase Space Transceiver. Bump everything in the broadcast queue," Ingram instructed the Meditech. He turned his attention to Sharona. "Make an appointment with the head of our Stellar Cartography Team. I want a more permanent solution to this problem than keeping it boxed up on this station. Something goes wrongs here and we'll lose the entire facility. Something ground-based, inaccessible. Don't use the word gulag or some other phrase like that."

"Right no use of gulag," Sharona said but wondered why as she entered the information to Stellar Cartography. She also wondered what Stellar Cartography had to do with ground-based installations, but this was her life.


Lieutenant Kitcher turned Aimee around once more, double-checking the seals and life support gear on the bio-suit and patted her shoulder. He had introduced himself as head of Canopus Station's Away Team Security division. A safari guide for the weird and unexpected, he had a warm Boston accent that added a few more Ahh's into words than was seemingly necessary.

"Don't sweat this Doc," Kitcher said with an easy smile. "I was on Xilos when we walked into that Concordance temple and nearly got incinerated in it. I walked out of that A-okay, intend to do the same here as well. You do what you do, and I'll walk you out of here when you're done okay?"

In the small antechamber leading into the airlock, the slim lockers lining the walls contained everything needed to repair the bio suits and replace any worn parts. They also contained a few rolls of duct tape, which had been liberally used to wrap up the ankle and wrist cuff's of the suit, even though the modern designed used interlocking molecules instead of brackets and zippers. The duct tape was more for psychological purposes, a good luck charm fending off the microscopic drops of bad luck that would turn anyone in the suit from a healer to a patient.

The door above the airlock went green.

"After you Doc," Kitcher said.

Aimee had taken a deep breath as soon as she had put the bio-suit over the civilian clothing she was wearing. Part of her felt like the presence of the security officer, regardless his purpose, would potentially undermine her goal. The Counselor said nothing to that or being referred to as a Doctor. Kitcher seemed to have some form of respect for her and she was grateful for that, and for his protection. This was by far one of the most dangerous things she had done in her career.

After a moment Aimee finally had stepped forward and went through the door with her arms behind her back in a way so not to make herself appear any less than what she looked like. Aimee had the mentality of a thirty year old woman who had been through, and experienced, all the training that was associated with her work. She looked like, sounded like, and could even act like the thirteen-year-old equivalent to her person. It was a daunting challenge as she took a deep breath and straightened herself up.

"Hello, I'm ready..." She said to nobody in particular.

The room was empty.

Behind her the heavy door back into the airlock sealed behind her, the sucking hiss of a vacuum seal securing it in place. If you thought about it she was in a spacesuit, inside of a space station, inside of another space station. It was matryoshka doll's all the way down. After a moment the door on the other side of the room opened, and a man was permitted entry from the other side. Unlike Kitcher or Amiee this man was not wearing a biosuit, and was instead wearing SFMC PT slacks and t-shirt. A pair of white plastic cuff's encircled each free wrist.

Lieutenant Colonel Jerish Sytex looked the part of a career military man. Square jaw, buzz cut sideburns keeping the grey at his temples a light frosting instead of the encroaching icecap. On the table before Amiee an inbuilt display lit up with the sort of heavily polarised tint that suggested it couldn't be read from Sytex's side of the table. A personnel file began to unspool there. A Dominion War veteran, a number of citations for bravery under fire, unit awards: in the last twenty years of his career there hadn't been a single brush fire conflict or skirmish Sytex hadn't served in with distinction.

The Colonel took the seat on his side of the table, and settled his upturned hands on the table. With a clink the cuff's around his wrists adhered to the table, locking in place.

"Systex, Jerish. Lieutenant Colonel Star Fleet Marine Corp. SN 66-34-89-Helios-Kappa-9," he said, his voice carrying the burr of Highland peat and craggy Scottish mountains.

Aimee eyed the Colonel carefully before looking over her shoulder, taking a deep breath, and then returned her gaze back upon the man sitting there at the table. She removed her hands from behind her back, took a few steps forward, and come to a stop just across the table from him. She had reviewed the profile as it scrolled across the screen and took everything to memory, but said nothing about having read it or provided any thoughts to it.

She replaced her hands back behind her back and remained standing. Her eyes had steadily made their way down slightly so that she had achieved eye contact with him though he was almost eye level with her just from his position sitting. "I'm Aimee Paulsen... My father was part of your platoon," She lied. "The Doctors said that you know what happened to him and that only you could help me accept the death of my father."

Aimee then steadily sat down, "The Doctors also said that I would have a difficult time getting answers out of you, but I had hoped that perhaps if you saw my face you would be able to express to me what happened... After all, I'm only thirteen years old and a girl deserves to know what happened to her father, her father's unit, and her father's Commander."

"Systex, Jerish." He said, his voice taking on the tone of a man with a mental repeat function in his head. "Lieutenant Colonel Star Fleet Marine Corp. SN 66-34-89-Helios-Kappa-9."


"I'll give Dr Paulsen points for originality," Ingram said from the air-conditioned confines of the observation room. The commanding officer of the Canopus Expedition eyed the medical readouts, the steady beating of Systex's heart. Even the fMRI scanner showed very little in the way of abnormal brain activity, with only the spider web growth of the implant marring the blue and soft white image of the Colonel's cranium.

"From the Security log's for today I read that there had been an...altercation in Dr Paulsen's office? How might you describe the good doctor's character under pressure?" Ingram asked, before tapping the Meditech on the shoulder. "Prepare to reroute the isolations room's atmospheric links to the communal system."

"Er, Sir in the past that has lead to an increased anger response from infected-" The Meditech began, before noticing the chilly gaze of Ingram's eyes.

"Colonel Systex is a military man, with the training and experience that comes with being an old soldier. Right now he is operating on the idea that we are his captors, and this is an interrogation. And given we are not the Obsidian Order, he knows we will not impose torture. In this current state of affairs, he can stand to wait until we make a mistake," Ingram stated flatly. "Begin pumping in the atmosphere from the communal system, start at a low dosage and increase flow until I instruct otherwise. As is already documented, the infected can sense when someone else is or is not infected. This should unsettle him on a level below conscious perception, enough to allow Dr Paulsen it do her work for us."

Ingram stepped back, looking out of the window. The Meditech began to work the control board.

"Miss Deluna?" Ingram said without looking.

"What do you want to know, Sir?" Sharona asked as she watched, but wondered why. She also glanced around from time to time to see if Bar'soon, cursed be his name in every language, were sneaking up on her.

"I had asked what your opinion of Dr Paulsen was," Ingram said as he watched the environmental control settings. "Though I believe I can make my own estimation now. Next time I suggest answering promptly when given a request. Do not make me rue the day my former aid was reassigned to the science department."


"Look, Colonel, kid asked you a question," Kitcher spoke up from where he stood in the corner. "Do her the courtesy of answering it."

The broad-shouldered Colonel turned his attention to Kitcher for a split second. Something flashed there for a split second, either at the interruption or the implication. He then returned to his posture of blank indifference, but now looked at Amiee. He leaned forward, as though trying to peer through the hard plastic faceplate of the bio-suit.

"I know every man and woman under my command. I don't know a Paulsen," he said in the steady controlled tone of someone carefully choosing their words. "If they are not here with the rest of my men, then they were either killed by the mutineers on the Engineering Section or they were not chosen. A few of my men were not fortunate enough to be chosen and had to be removed for unit cohesion and morale. If your father was one of those, I can assure you it was quick and painless."

If there had been a heart rate monitor on Aimee it wouldn't have moved much at all because she was just that calm. Not for a moment did she skip a beat with her lie, "I never said my father's name was Paulsen... I said my name was Paulsen, no my mother's last name was Paulsen. My father's last name was Philbrick and it's a long story, but my parents never really got along. Long story short when I was born as a last act of indignity my mother gave me her last name instead of his. She died after I was born and I was raised by my grandparents, I only found out about my father last year.

"My search has led me here... To you Colonel," Aimee said and leaned back in the chair, placed her hands onto the table, and seemed to relax immediately. "What happened to him?" Aimee asked and waited for a reaction. She knew that behind her the Captain was watching though she didn't know if he was alone.

"When we came back from the surface of Xilos, after visiting the temple, I knew that there was something different about us. As time went by others in the unit began to notice this change as well, as if a presence was passing from one to the other. A divine hand, passing over the unworthy but elevating those it deemed worthy. It's an experience I don't you'd understand," Systex said. A smile had appeared on his face as he spoke, as though the memory of that awakening was a pleasant one. Maybe that was a side effect of the infection, to keep the newly unlifted from killing each other as the neural implant took root.

"Corpsman Philbrick was a Platoon Medic for the detachment guarding the Engineering Module. I'm sorry to see he wasn't chosen, he wasn't worthy of being saved. He tried to lead my men astray, to turn them on their brothers by saying they were infected. The same lies that the people here are spreading. I'm not infected, I'm not sick! None of us are!" Systex growled. "I tried to save Philbrick! I tried to make him see sense, to see the divine hand that was being presented to all of us! But instead of taking it, he tried to sedate me. He attacked his superior officer, in clear violation of the Uniform Code of Conduct. I passed a summary judgement there and then. I did that with a number of Starfleet Officers who tried to go against my orders, who mutined and abandoned their posts. Your father was a coward, and worst of all he was an unworthy soul."

Aimee had learned a long time ago to maintain an air of calm about her though she failed at that sometimes. That moment was one of those moments, of course, where she maintained that level of calm. Aimee gently tapped the edge of the table with her fingers while listening to him and could sense his anger just from his body language. Slowly she leaned forward and leaned on the edge and looked straight into his eyes, "Why would my father say that you were infected?..." She questioned then leaned back, "You hardly seem infected to me," She stated next with a shrug.

Aimee stood up from the table before Systex could answer her question, placed her hands behind her back, and walked towards her Security guard. She eyed him before mouthing, 'He's getting agitated you're in danger,' She looked over her shoulder before Aimee had steadily spun back around. "Why would my father say that you were sick?"

"We are not sick!" Systex snapped. The muscles on his arms flexed and the skin around the cuff's went white as he pulled on them. "A sick man can be cured, but I am not in need of a cure. I am one of the chosen, one of the many touched by a divine hand! Your father was a coward whose doubt weighed his feet, he had to be left behind! He had to be culled so we can spread the message!"

Kitcher had not gotten the message, not that he really needed to know that this meeting was over now. He stepped to one side of the table and held out an arm toward Amiee back. He began to turn his head to look at her, his lips opening to say something. But instead of words, all that could be heard was the gentle 'ting' as the right cuff came free of the restraint field holding it to the table.

Not waiting for the cuff to be pulled back Systex reached up, grabbed the side of Kitcher's helmet and slammed him down onto the table. The angle was awkward, but the blow was savage enough to stun the security officer. He lay there for a second, a measure of time Systex used to lever his other arm free. And then he repeated the blow, slamming Kitcher's head into table once, twice, thrice....

On the forth, there was a dull ripping sound and the distant alarmed chirp of a breach alarm. Systex stopped there, dropping the now unconscious and potentially dead security officer at his feet. He turned his gaze up to the polarised one-way mirror of the observation room.

"Only the faithful will be saved. The faithless will be burned from the collective," Systex said to the observation window. He then turned his attention to Aimee. "Your father couldn't be saved. I hope you will."

He then pointed to the door and sat back down in his chair. The cuff's clinked back into place on the table.

Aimee still didn't react other than to look towards Kitcher then back towards the Marine Colonel with her hands behind her back. She had noticed that the Security Officer seemed to still be breathing and his suit was torn open. Aimee approached the door and as soon as she heard it open she took a step backwards so that she was out of the room. "Paulsen to Ingram, I think Kitcher is still alive but his suit is torn open."


"Yes Dr Paulsen, we have his bio-suit telemetry on screen," Ingram said. "He's unconscious, suffering from a subcranial hematoma. Once you've been cleaner to re-enter the antechamber we'll send a medical team in to treat him and place him in quarantine."

He pressed the mute button and eyed the Meditech.

"Flood the room with Compound D now. I want Systex unconscious before I send anyone else in there," he instructed. Comp D had been developed during the same war that had given Lt Colonel Systex a Christopher Pike Medal. In essence, it locked onto the receptors that Ketracell White used in the bodies of Jem'hadar soldiers. With the receptor blocked, K-White had no way of being metabolised by its host. And whilst Comp D was never used, as the United Federation had never been pushed far enough to release a chemical weapon, it had the added side effect of being a multi-species atheistic gas.

A sword turned sideways was as good a bludgeoning tool as any.

"And if Dr Paulsen collapses as well, we'll know if she has a tear in her suit," Ingram turned his attention back to Sharona. "So we can surmise that whilst the infected can sense the non-infected and act accordingly, and are driven to infect or kill others, why did he not attack Dr Paulsen? Our records from the Engineering Section during the mutiny show he had no problem killing a man in cold blood, and ordering the same of others not infected. Your thoughts on the matter?"

"Is it possible that the infected ignore those that aren't biologically fully developed?" Sharona queried. She wasn't normally asked those types of questions, but did her best.

"An interesting hypothesis," Ingram allowed with the barest nod of his head. "Come along, let us go and greet Dr Paulsen and see about proving your theory right or wrong."


The interview room began to turn foggy as the Comp D was vented in from the ceiling vents. The heavy gas drifted down, and Systex seemed to wobble for a moment before slumping back in his chair in a way that was not comfortable. The gas billowed into the airlock with Aimee, coiling around her ankles and then misting her faceplate with oily droplets.

Then the door into the room sealed shut, and the decontamination sequence began. A computer voice and holographic diagram walked her through the steps of raising her arms, turning around allowing the airlock to use infrared, ultraviolet, and chemical sprays to clean every inch of her before rinsing the suit off and opening the other door back into Canopus Station.

In the changing room was a trio of security officers, similarly suited with stubby phaser carbines held at port arms.

"Lieutenant Paulsen," one of them nodded towards a tray on the bench in front of her. On it was a single patch of off white plastic, with strange flowing lettering of unknown origin along one side. "That's a Xilosian test patch. We'll need you to take your suit off, and put the patch on. It'll turn red if you've been exposed to the Concordance infection. If it turns blue, you'll be allowed out of this room and back into the Stations population. Standard operating procedure."

Before getting into her bio-medical suit Aimee had changed into a pair of shorts and a white t-shirt and so that's what she was sitting in as soon as she had removed the suit. "I understand," she confirmed and placed the test patch onto her arm. While she waited Aimee was pondering and eventually asked her question to the security officers, "Why didn't he attack me?" She asked and looked over her shoulder, "He got Kitcher, but then sat down immediately after."

She looked at the test patch and saw that it had turned blue, "I'm good," She stated and took the patch off her arm. Nothing about it made any sense. She had suspected that Captain Ingram may have been doing something from the observation room, but that wasn't important at the moment. What was important was why he didn't attack her...

The security detachment looked relieved, their weapons being slung on their shoulder straps as they took off the less than comfortable helmets.

"Very ably done Dr Paulsen," Captain Ingram said as he entered from the observation room door. "You handled yourself well, given the trying circumstances. Do you have any thoughts as to the question you've just posited?"

Aimee had remained seated when the Captain came into the room, "I really don't know what to think about it sir," She said while rubbing the base of her chin. One thing was for certain the Colonel never attacked her even though she wasn't infected, "It can't be simply because I have the body of a child in fact..." She said and looked in the distance until she saw what she wanted, "Someone hand me that medical tricorder," She requested calmly.

One of the nearby Security Officers shrugged, walked over, and grabbed the medical tricorder to the Counselor, "Here you are Counselor," He said quietly.

Aimee opened it, pressed a few buttons on it, and scanned herself with the medical probe. "You see Captain," She commented while she continued to work with the tricorder, "Medical tricorders register that I am thirteen," She said and turned it so that he could see. "My condition has long baffled Starfleet Medical," She said while holding it out for him to take the device. "When they drew my blood they found that my cells do not age and simultaneously a brain scan registers that I hold the memories and life experience of a thirty-year-old woman, but even my brain cells are that of a thirteen year old.

"Hence why Starfleet Medical believes that I go back and forth between states of being, my entire body is in flux," She concluded with a shrug. "So maybe this has something to do with why the Colonel didn't attack me," Aimee stated next albeit quietly.

"There is also the fact you are currently residing within a child's body. It could be that fact alone that saved your life, though given you were in a sealed bio-suit any theories we have concerning pheromone or hormonal triggers might need to be tested in a more controlled fashion," Ingram mused. "There are indeed a number of interesting and possibly fruitful avenues of research to look into. For now, though, I thank you for your cooperation, Dr Paulsen. I hope I can count on it in the future?"

Aimee had grabbed her uniform out of the nearby locker and begun to get into it when the Captain had asked her that, "Of course Captain," She said over her shoulder before putting the pips back onto her collar. "I'm just as curious about it as you are," She turned around and looked at him. "Probably more so." She shrugged her shoulders, "If you don't mind I think I'm going to go get some lunch."


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