Canopus Station
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Do No Harm

Posted on Wed Mar 20th, 2019 @ 10:45pm by The Narrator

Mission: S1E2: A Temple To New Gods
Location: USS Resolute Sickbay
Timeline: MD3 17.00PM

Private 2nd Class McKinney's last memories were of lunging at someone in the Engineering Module. Colonel Sytex had assigned him to the environmental control substation, and that assignment had proven given they'd all been gassed into unconsciousness. An hour before, that would have been a different story with each compartment environmentally sealed off.

But if's and but's a battle did not win.

And now he awoke...somewhere else. A sickbay by the looks of things, and given the shimmer in the air just a meter from the bed there was a pretty hefty force field surrounding him. A starship? Maybe that little Norway that was assigned to Canopus Station?

"Can..." his voice croaked. "Can I get some water?"

The form of Theylan stood at the foot of the biobed, a modest distance away from the invisible edge of the forcefield that surrounded the biobed, the Andorian's arms resting behind his back, the right hand side of his cheek covered with a pale white patch that strained from the look of quiet consternation on his features. He didn't enjoy being jumped naturally, but the fact that he was so careless to be jumped and bitten was particularly galling to the Andorian, the tension in his antenna adding a certain aggressive quality to the stone-faced Andorian. His mismatched eyes turning to the stand at the side of the biobed to indicate the light-weight canteen that had been deposited at his bed.

"Thank you, Sir," he said dryly and took the canteen and sipped from it gingerly. His lips felt dry, cracked, and as the water cascaded down his throat it felt delightfully refreshing.

There were a number of ways that he could have gone about this, thankfully for this Private the desire to beat these traitors had been sufficiently worked out of his system, at least enough to warrant him being able to speak to one of them without having the strong desire to beat some sense in them as was proper. Thus, he had opted to start this one. A typical grunt just following orders would offer the best overview, presumably, of what the lower ranks knew. He kept his posture, reminding one more of a statue as those mismatched eyes kept a lock upon the young Private.

"I am Lieutenant th'Zohan. I believe I shan't need to explain why you're here or my presence here, Private McKinney?" The tone of th'Zohan was about as warm an Andorian winter as he spoke.

"No Sir," McKinney said and ran his tongue along his lips. "I...I don't suppose you do Sir."

"Very good." began the Andorian simply, moving slowly around the edge of the forcefield with his mismatched eyes aimed at the young marine, the pace slow, intending to allow each footfall to be heard and registered within the other wise silent sickbay, well.. silent save for the eternal background hum of and the warp core. "Name, Rank, Assignment." A simple and easy starter He thought, mostly with the intention of ascertaining if there had been and issues with memory recall or whatnot. Granted, the good doctor would have been good for that, but him feeling safe was quite the last thing that Theylan wanted. It was with that mind that the canteen had been left at his side, enough to warm to room temperature and be just enough to somewhat slake his thirst. An olive branch as it were, or so it would seem.

"Warren McKinney, Private, 2nd Class. Assigned to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Company, 1st Platoon, 2nd Squad. Canopus Station," he said with a furrow to his brow. "I mean that's what the computer will tell you, Sir. I can give you my service number if you like?"

"That shan't be necessary." Theylan continued his slow prowl, reaching into a pocket to pull out a PADD. "So tell me, Private. How long have you served in the Corps? What drew you to it?"

"Four years Sir. Did boot at Fort Cassini on Titian, and then served colonial garrison duty on Tinder Box, and Ursa V. I was drawn to the Corp by wanting to see the worlds of the Federation protected as my father did back during the Dominion War. He was SFMC just like me," McKinny said with a growing sense of pride.

“I served in the War myself too, rather dark times they were.” The tone of the Andorian bearing a hint of nostalgia as he spoke, looking over the data on his PADD again. “I also wasn’t always Starfleet either, I’m formerly Andorian Imperial Guard so I can certainly understand the desire to protect one's home.” Theylan offered, another little tidbit to form a connection with the young man. He wasn’t exactly blind to the fact that some marines felt detached from their Starfleet counterparts as a service... along with the notion that being strictly for combat, that they were more the protectors of the Federation than the fleet. Of course, times could have changed.

"Andorian Imperial Guard, ice cold mother fuckers as my Drill Instructor used to say if you'll pardon me saying so Sir," McKinney said with an easy, likeable grin. He had the sort of easy way about him that made him an asset outside of his role in his fire team, a likeable nucleus about which squad morale would harden into resolve. He looked around sickbay, at the empty biobeds, and took another sip from the cantine. "Am I the only one who got knocked out?"

"No, we felt it wise to restrain the members of your unit given their actions, precautions you can understand." Theylan replied, allowing himself a faint smirk that he intentionally widened in response to the comment from the young Private. "Your little nap, though executed by our engineers, was my little idea. You really should check your surroundings thoroughly in future when holding territory unknown and unvetted to you." Theylan's antenna curled forward in a pensive posture. "On that note, relay me to your orders in the lead up to the siege. What was your squad tasked with and by whom?"

"I'll make a note of that for next time," McKinney said ruefully. "And our orders were standard fare, really. Sweep and clear compartments, secure our rear against possible sabotage and remove hostile elements from the Engineering Module. Colonel Sytex was very clear on making sure the Engineering crew didn't get into the plumbing to foul the air or sabotage the antimatter fuel supply. I was tasked with keeping the backup life support system secured, single man detachment given we only had a platoon's worth of troops to work with. Well...nearly a platoon's worth. Our platoon medic didn't agree with the Colonel's orders, and Sytex had to remove him. He wasn't one of us anymore, not after he tried to 'fix' Corporal Dennings. Shame really, he was a nice guy."

McKinney gave a little shrug: what can you do?

"Remove him?" asked Theylan, the Andorian rolling his R for a few moments as his antenna leaned forward, curling ever so slightly. "How did the Colonel "remove" him? Furthermore, just how many did he "remove"?" The Andorian once more folding his arms, getting the feeling he had asked a question which would earn him an answer he didn't particularly like. Well, such was life. If he wanted answer he liked he wouldn't have joined the military then. He thought dryly. The question of what it mean that this medic was no longer one of them certainly took his interest as well. He made a quick note to send the log of this little interrogation down to Medical, have the psychological specialists analyse. He took a moment to check to see if the Sickbay's recording facilities were still on.

"Pretty standard really, Marine monofilament blade up and under the rib cage. Pretty textbook," McKinney said. He then took one fist, carefully placing it on his sternum and then lowering it to just beneath the rib cage, and then jerking it upwards. "Just like that. Monomolecular cutting blade doesn't see much difference between bone and butter. But it's one thing to feel the practise hilt get the kill angle right in training, in real life it was...sort of let down? Sounds weird when I say it like that. Holo's make it out to be some big drama, but Corpsman Philbrick just dropped like a duffle of laundry. I mean I served with Philbrick for a year, but when the Colonel removed him from the unit didn't feel much of anything. Seem's odd in hindsight."

McKinny shrugged again.

"I think there a few more? I don't know personally. I was assigned to the Back-Up Life Support Annex. Though he did assign fire teams out on the hull with MANPAD's. I hear they splashed a few work skiff's that tried to make a break for it. You'd have to ask the Colonel for specifics, I just follow the orders. Go here, do that. Grunt work ya know?"

Theylan would have been the last person to call himself any expert in the field of psychology, but... he did know enough to know one or two things. One thought was that whatever this “thing” was that had affected the marines had impacted their general empathic brain centres. Effectively numbed them from any concern for their fellow man. Of course, they still operated a unit and those two that had attacked him certainly seemed to be able to read each other well enough. Of course, that would have simply been the result of training.

“Yes,” he paused. “simply following orders.” He offered, though his tone turned pensive. During his bonding to his mates, they had often commented on how eerily detached older thaan seemed whenever mentioning his service, and being his mates they certainly were not entirely shielded from the things he had done. He wagered they’d probably rethink their words if they saw this young Private right now.

Something didn’t quite stack up with his little hypothesis. So, he did the Starfleet thing...

He asked.

“Tell me, if the Colonel had eliminated someone else in the unit, someone whom was “one of you”. Would you allow him? He would be attacking one of your own. Would this make him not of your own?”

McKinny frowned from behind the forcefield.

"He wouldn't do that. Philbrick and the other techies that had to be removed, they were the enemy. They didn't get with the Colonel's orders and actively tried to get in his way, he was well within the reg's for the use of force in a combat situation. You should know that, you being ex Andorian Imperial Gaurd. You got more than one person giving orders, then you have disorder," the Marine Private shook his head. "Look what happened down on the planet was like a forge, don't ask me to define it better than that. But when we got back to the Engineering Module, we had a deeper bond. Philbrick didn't, he couldn't see it. Kept talking about whacked out brain chemistry, tried to dose a few of us with something in his medkit. The Colonel knew that sort of bond couldn't be broken, and keeping Philbrick around was just gonna cause trouble. He wasn't one of us."

The marine looked around the sickbay, noticing perhaps for the first time he was the only Marine present.

"I think I should be talking to my JAG rep," he said flatly. "Or one of my brothers. Where are they?"

So, it was something on the surface. The Andorian thought, ruminating on the words of the private. His antenna shifting left and right as he grew pensive. Oddly enough it brought him back to a game his previous CSO liked to play, spotting culprits by giving him security reports from former notable missions. The word Xindi came to mind, something about the Captain of one of the earlier Enterprises being affected by some sort of chemical or the like that made him work against his crew. Similar situation perhaps?

"In other sections being tended to, I'll question them in short order. As for a JAG rep I don't believe I've accused officially of anything, Private. You are simply here to answer my questions and explain to me why our CO and myself had to resort to such measures in attaining access to the engineering module." He slowly stepped closed and closer to the forcefield, mismatched eyes boring holes into the private before him. "Describe to me what happened down on the planet?"

"No. No, I think my JAG rep is what I want right now, given I'm being questioned by Station Security instead of MP's. I've done nothing wrong than followed the legal orders of my superior officer," McKinney said, setting his jaw. "And if you want to know about what happened down there, temples still there. Go there yourself, come back enlightened and on the winning team."

The lips of Theylan broke out into a most curious expression...

A smile.

An eerie, unsettling and most certainly humourless smile as he stepped towards the forcefield, slowly raising his hand to run a roughened digit along the forcefield. The faint warbling filled the air as he ran it gently along the edge of the forcefield, the slight pain barely registering on the features of the Andorian.

"You've a rather interesting definition of legal, Private. Men are dead, your brothers, one of which you simply stood back and let die after leaving the premises of a very peculiar temple. Rather curious that. Now tell me, in what way is it legal when your commanding officer flagrantly disobeyed the orders of his own commanding officer and put the lives of all of our comrades in peril? Hmm?" asked Theylan, with a cold sing-along tone in his voice. His mismatched eyes boring into the private. "You swore an oath to protect the Federation and its citizens, marine. You went against "the winning team" quite a while ago. You are a traitor, an outsider. Were this the Imperial Guard I'd have the lot of you spaced for the threat you posed to this expedition." The voice of the Andorian originally never going higher than a measured, though icy tone but now he certainly bore a far more fiery tone. "But this is Starfleet sadly." The Andorian removed his hand from the forcefield. "I'll arrange for your JAG rep." Again, came that same cool tone to his voice.

Throughout it all, the Andorian quietly wondered what the readings would look like.


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