Posted Oct. 29, 2022, 11:02 p.m. by Lieutenant Cara Esmé O’Farrell (Counselor / Education Specialist) (Jennifer Ward)
Posted by Lieutenant Cara Esmé O’Farrell (Counselor / Education Specialist) in I’m Not Lost, I’m…Exploring…Yeah Exploring
Posted by Lieutenant Commander Gravel Mardusk (Chief of Security) in I’m Not Lost, I’m…Exploring…Yeah Exploring
Posted by Lieutenant Cara Esmé O’Farrell (Counselor / Education Specialist) in I’m Not Lost, I’m…Exploring…Yeah Exploring
Posted by… suppressed (13) by the Post Ghost! 👻
Cara waited 15 minutes to make sure Greenlee was headed back to her shift. Then she left her office, her ever present shadow, Royo, in step beside her, and went back to the security office on deck 14. Cara smirked slightly. Now if she could just remember how to get there from this lift without Royo having to help, it would be a good day.
“Two intersections down and on the left, Lieutenant.” Royo said as she paused.
Cara would have laughed if everything else wasn’t so serious. “Give up on lettin’ me try, Royo?” She didn’t even attempt to say she knew where she was. Royo would just give her that look like he was indulging a small child. She turned into the familiar door and didn’t even get to pause at the desk.
The Lieutenant on duty in the Security Center looked up as the door slid open. “Chief’s inside.” and she jerked a thumb towards the office door.
Again with the pointed out directions. Cara was pretty sure there was a betting pool going on concerning her and her horrible sense of direction. “Thank you, Lt.” Cara moved past and to the officer door and through it when it opened. Her eyes scanned the office to make sure he was the only one in there. “You ready?” Such a simple question, that could mean so many things.
Mardusk looked up and scowled his ‘This smells like a trap.’ scowl. “I dunno… am I?” he asked warily.
Cara gave him a good once over at the tone. “Easy there, Malachite, I’m no messin’ with ya.” When she’d left earlier she was in regular clothes, but now she was in her uniform, having changed for her appointment with Greenly’s wife. She reached inside the belt and pulled out the type 1 phaser he’d given her before she left and set it on his desk. “Didna need it.” She sat in the chair opposite him, “Ya ready ta question that sick pup? His wife is terrified of him. Afraid ta talk about him or their family, and equally afraid ta go against anythin’ he says. She’s afraid of what he’s capable of, but I doubt she knows what he’s done. Though if you confronted her with the evidence she’d believe it. Though she’d be too afraid ta say anythin’. Were ye able ta get engineerin’ ta help set up the door malfunction?”
Mardusk nodded and said “Yeah, it’s done. So… you gonna be here for it? Might do her some good to have a friendly face and such.”
“If ya still want me ta be, I will. Where am I watchin’ from? Do I get one of those super spy ear things so I can yammer in ya ear?” The last was said with a bit of a smile on her face, but it didn’t take away from the seriousness of the situation Gravel had uncovered on board the ship.
Gravel chuckled, but Cara would know it was his ‘I hate this.’ chuckle. “Next door. Its the guard bunk room. I’ve already opened comms, and Petty Officer Hol’l is there just in case things go weird. So… let’s tell a lady her husband is a serial killer, shall we? Oh, and if you think you should come in, just come in. You don’t hafta wait for an invite. This’ll be hard enough on her without me trying to play Counselor.”
Cara nodded. Not that they could have stopped her if she felt she needed to go in there. Well maybe they could have…most of them were a lot stronger than she was. “Ye’d do just fine if ye had ta. But, Gravel, what about her son? If Greenly thinks somethin’ is goin’ on and yer talkin’ ta his wife…” So far Greenly had been methodical, but being pulled in by the security chief earlier had made him tense and reactionary. If he thought they knew something Cara doubted he would hesitate to use his son. He might not go looking for him, but if he was on hand it could be bad.
Gravel looked at her for a long moment and then said “Right now, I can’t really do much for him. He’s still their kid, and he’s done nothing to warrant any action from me. But what I can do, and will do, is put one of my people on the boy.” He jabbed a thick green finger at the desk and the comms activated. =/\= Mardusk to Holowitz. Find out where the son of Engineer Greenly is a keep an eye on him. Don’t let him know you are there. And if the dad does something out of the norm, bring the kid in. Say there was a graffiti complaint or something and say he was named. And then stall while we ‘review footage’ or some s&%t. =/\= A moment passed and a voice simply said =/\= On it, Chief. =/\= Gravel looked at Cara and said “That work for you?”
Cara listened, quietly waiting for it. Legally there wasn’t anything they could do, but they could take precautions, and that’s exactly what he did. Cara could be wrong, she hoped she was wrong. If she was, then they were just over cautious, but if she was right…
Her head tipped gently to the left, “Thank you.” It meant a lot, even just professionally, that he understood and at least pondered her concerns, even if he couldn’t do anything about it. She stood up and looked at him all seriousness about her. “Ya might be built like a tank, but if ya get one scratch on ya, you’ll find out my protective streak is rather reckless.” Did it need to be said? Absolutely not, Cara was confident in him. Could she really do anything about him getting hurt? Nope. If it came down to it could she actually protect the massive Orion in front of her? The mental image was laughable but she’d die trying. “I might even be forced ta have ya confined to quarters for a couple o’ weeks.” She winked at him before she walked out the door.
“Oy! Hol’l! I heard we’re havin’ move night. Ya better have popcorn.” There were mixed reactions to her statement. Some smirked and shook their head - they were used to the quirky yet stead fast counselor. Others looked really confused and speculations chased across their faces, but they were too disciplined to ask. The rest…well the rest looked relieved, they’d spent too many hours following Cara around the ship while she was ‘not lost’ and were grateful it appeared she’d be staying in one place for a little while. She waited for Hol’l to point to the correct room (because she’d never live it down if she picked the room on the wrong side Gravel’s office) went in and took a seat.
A few minutes later, Greenlee walked into the room with her toolbelt on. Hol’l looked up and said “Are you here for the door?” to which the Engineer nodded. Hol’l pointed to the Security Chief’s office. “Refresher in the Old Man’s office.” and Greenlee nodded again and went the office door and pressed the chime. “Yeah. Come in.” rumbled Mardusk’s voice through the door and she entered and the door closed behind her.
Mardusk watched the Engineer enter and waited for the door to be fully closed before saying “Mrs. Greenlee. Please, take a seat.” and he indicated a chair with a palm-up gesture of his massive hand. Greenlee looked confused and said “Sir? I’m sorry, but I don’t have any questions. Door fix should only take-” and Mardusk said firmly but gently “Sit… Please.” The woman looked puzzled, and somewhat afraid, but took the seat while clutching her repair kit bag close to her. “Am I in trouble, Commander?” Mardusk smiled a soft smile and said “No. Well, not with me, at least. But I need your help… and I think you need mine. Now… please take a look at the files. Tell me if you know or knew any of these women.” and he slid a PaDD with a collection of pictures of the victims across the table. Just pictures, no names or personal information.
Cara watched from the next room. Greenlee looked fine, until Mardusk asked her to sit. The trepidation was expected when suddenly being asked to ‘sit’ in the security chief’s office. What was not expected was the way she was clutching her repair kit like a shield in front of her. Cara watched her carefully as she flipped through the pictures. Her head was ducked, the PaDD held close to her lap, and since Mardusk was so tall it would be hard for him to see her face. The angle of the camera gave Cara a mostly clear view though, and Greenlee’s facial expression gave her away. She came to a realization, she didn’t want to know and was scared, but she knew.
Greenlee slowly picked up the PaDD and looked at the pictures. “N-no. No, sir. I have never seen those people before in my life. Who are they?” Mardusk took a deep breath and said “They are victims of homicide. And we are trying to find the perpetrator. Could you please look again and tell me if anything strikes you as familiar about them?”
Greenlee looked again for a long time in silence, and then she looked up and said “Well, I mean… I guess they look similar to me. But I swear, Commander! I have never seen them in my life! Not ever!!” in a somewhat panicked voice. Mardusk held up a hand and said “I know… I know. Again, you are not in any trouble. I’m asking for your help, nothing more.” Greenlee took a breath and suddenly something hardened in her. “I know what you are doing. My husband told me you would try something like this. I will not help you frame him.” and she stood up and turned around to leave. “Sit. Down. Ensign Greenlee.” Mardusk said in his ‘I’m not playing.’ voice. “Doctor, if you would just us, I think now is the time.” he said aloud so Cara would know she was cleared to come into the ‘discussion’.
The Ensign froze for a moment and then slowly turned back and sat slowly down in her chair.
In the other room Cara watched and shook her head sadly when Greenlee panicked and got up. She took a deep breath, put both hands to the edge of the desk and pushed the chair back, and stood. She glanced once more at the screen and made her way back into Mardusk’s office. She pulled a chair over and sat down next to Greenlee, a silent I’m on your side. “You are not in trouble Patricia. But as the Cmdr said, we do need your help.” Her voice was much quieter than Mardusk’s, and done so on purpose. “I do have a question though. Why in the universe would you think we’re trying to frame your husband?” They certainly were trying to put a stop to whoever was responsible and Sebastian Greenlee certainly fit the bill, but they weren’t framing him. Cara also wanted to know what Greenlee had said to his wife.
Greenlee was silent for a moment and then said “Because he said you would try to turn me against him. You are angry at him because you feel foolish after your last talk.” and she looked up at Mardusk with a hint of defiance in her eyes. “He said you would try and make him look bad to me so you could manipulate me to turn against him. But I won’t! I will never let you-” and she was stopped by a large green hand held up to her.
“Stop, Ensign. Please. First, I am never afraid to look foolish. And there more people on this ship smarter than me than I can count, so let’s just put that to bed… ok?” Mardusk said softly. His acknowledgment seemed to deflate her a bit and Mardusk continued. “I… we… are not her to pin anything on anyone. What we are trying to do is find justice for these victims and closure for their families.” He leaned back for a moment and just looked at her before he said “I mean, you are a mother. How would you feel knowing that someone did something utterly unspeakable to your child and you never found out who was responsible? I’m not a dad, so I can only imagine the anguish and pain that would cause.”
Greenlee was silent and still, but the expression on her face conveyed what her thoughts her… she was imagining that very scenario.
Mr Greenlee was already suspicious and not as self assured as he wanted to be. I minor verbal altercation with a crewmate wasn’t means to consider him a serial killer. So why jump there and go to his wife when he had only been questioned about a verbal argument? He was slipping.
Cara patted her hand. “It is true your husband was here earlier today. There was a verbal altercation with another crew member in the lounge. He was asked to give a statement about what happened.” Cara smiled a little, “That’s not anything to be framed for, now is it?” And it wasn’t. People had disagreements all the time. It was no big deal, was what Cara’s body language conveyed. Making Patricia wonder why her husband had warned her so dramatically. “Would ya look again, please. Anythin’ that pops out at ya.” Cara tapped the PaDD and went through the photos slowly, Greenlee’s mother, Gomez, Frees the eng Lt who had been in the lounge, a couple others as well. “These women had families, careers, children, and what was done ta them…we donna want it to happen again.”
Greenlee looked at the Counselor for a moment, and the confusion was more than apparent. “Uh… no. No I guess it isn’t.” She looked at the pictures again and shook her head after a moment. “No, I don’t know anything about any of those people. I… I’, sorry. But i just don’t.”
Mardusk watched Greenlee carefully, but remained silent. He wanted to see if Cara could reach past the brainwashing that he was sure had been inflicted upon the woman.
The problem with brainwashing it wasn’t a fast process, it was slow and difficult and more often than not the person fell back into the beliefs tricked into them. Shock could do it, suddenly, but not always. Cara regarded the woman a moment and then swiped to the picture of her husband’s mother. “Tis amazin’ how important family is ta us, no matter the species. Family is really important ta ya, isn’t it?” She waited until the woman nodded. “I have two older brothers and they’re fiercely protective,” she didn’t bother to look at Gravel to make sure he didn’t give away her fictional story, she trusted him to go along. “Ya know the kind I mean, Patricia. The ones that always think they know best? Tell ya just the pros or cons dependin’ on what they want ya ta pick?” While she talked, her finger seemed to be idlily tracing patterns on the PaDD. What she was actually doing was tracing specifically around the mother’s eyes and mouth - the cupid’s bow. They were identical to Patricia’s son. And then the nose and cheek bones which were dead ringers for her husband. She continued the idyll, almost hypnotic, movement keeping Patricia’s focus on it. “My brother told me once I was ta pretty ta be datin’. It was my eyes.” She laughed, like she was sharing a joke, “I told him then he shouldn’t either because we have the same eyes.” Cara told a couple more stories about her older brothers, younger sister, and herself and traits (physical and personality) that they shared. They elicited an understanding laugh from Patricia. “I keep in touch with my nieces and nephews. It’s important for children ta know their family, donna ya think?”
Patricia nodded with an “Oh yes, very.” She was still staring at the picture of Greenlee’s mother.
“Do ya tell yer son families about yer family?” a nod, “And yer husband’s family? I bet yer son loves ta hear stories about his father at his age. About things that he did with his own mother and father?” Patricia started to nod and then got a confused look on her face while she stared at the picture. Cara waited, to see what Patricia would do or say, but was relaxed as if the conversation, was just that, chatter between friends.
“I… we talk about my family. My husband’s family isn’t around. He was estranged form them and they have never reached out. I’m… I’m not even sure if he has family left. He never talks about them.” she said as if in a trance. She suddenly shook her head and smiled slightly. “But my son and I talk about my family a lot. And his grandparents, my mother and father, are always calling and sending presents. It makes my husband cranky when they do, but he just leaves the room. I think… he says its brings up too many bad memories.”
Cara was concerned that Patricia didn’t know anything about Greenlee’s family. It wasn’t surprising that Greenlee didn’t talk about it, why would he give Patricia that kind of power over him, but the utter lack of not even knowing if they were dead or alive led Cara to believe the manipulation had started almost from the very first day of their relationship. That was a lot of years to try and combat. Her finger kept tracing the picture, waiting for Patricia’s mind to make the connection. “As they grow it’s interestin’ ta see how they pick up part of our personalities. But when they’re born we can see the physical similarities. Does yer son look like yer parents?”
“My dad’s curly hair and my mom’s ears.”
Cara let out a soft sympathetic sigh, “I bet he looks like his dad too.” Cara focused on tracing the nose and cheekbones in the photo until Patricia began to trace them herself and nodded. Cara’s hand kept moving in pattern to Patricia’s hand, over the mother’s eyes and mouth, “He must share some traits with yer husband’s family. Yer son looks like yer husband when he was young. Must be hard for him ta see it every day knowing there is a rift between him and his family. What a mother and father won’t do ta protect their children.”
“Even at their own expense ta never see them again.”
Mardusk watched… listened… and then finally spoke. “Do you see the picture in front of you? Do you realize who that is?” Greenlee shook her head as if she was coming out of a dream. “Wha-…” she said and looked at the picture with clear eyes. “Tha-… that’s my husband’s mother. Why is there a picture of her here? What is going on?” Her voice had raised in pitch and it was obvious she was again getting defensive. And that’s when it happened… Greenlee looked to Cara, her eyes pleading with her to help. Internally, Mardusk smiled. Good cop bad cop… works every time. he thought to himself.
Good cop bad cop wasn’t a technique that Cara had ever used in practice. She was familiar with it and they had learned at the Academy how to work with security to do such things. It seemed she and Gravel were in sync, as it were. She found that very reassuring. She took Patricia’s hand in both of hers. Her voice calm and concerned. She was very careful to not accuse her husband nor make him innocent. “Patricia, I am very worried for” she stressed the ‘for’ rather than use the word ‘of’, “Sebastian, and you and your son. When Sebastian was three,” the same age as Patricia’s son, “his mother murdered his father. She was accused and convicted for it.” She left out the part about confirming that his mother had died in prison. Patricia wasn’t quite ready to give her husband up yet, she needed to accept that something was going wrong and dangerous first. “Over the years, your husband had gotten close, maybe even just professionally, to women who look like her,” she tapped Reanne’s picture again, “and then they have died or been attacked. We think that someone doesn’t want his mother to be replaced.” That someone of course they thought was Sebastian Greenlee. And it wasn’t a ‘no one can replace my mother’ but a ‘I want to take revenge on my mother’ type of thing. But Cara wanted to be very careful how she worded things. “You are all at risk. The Lt Cmdr and I are very worried about the safety of your family.”
“We aren’t here to get anyone on trouble.” Mardusk said, soft hint of concern and empathy in his voice. “We just want to… need to… make sure all three of you are ok. I promise you… we aren’t here to hurt.” and he paused for dramatic effect.
“We’re here to help.”
Patricia looked up at the huge Orion security chief and understanding seemed to come to her. If he was concerned, and the Lt Cmdr certainly had a reputation, then she should be too. She looked back at Cara, holding onto the counselor’s hand tightly like a life line. She swallowed, fear finally registering across her face. Cara nodded gently. “I think yer husband is afraid, afraid what might happen if it was found out. He doesna want ta scare ya, so he won’t tell ya. He has ta protect his family” That wasn’t a lie. Greenlee was afraid, but felt he needn’t be. Thought he was smarter. And Cara was pretty sure in his twisted mind he thought he was protecting himself. Perhaps on a good day he was worried about his family in a genuine manner, but they were pawns for him. Protected while he needed them.
Patricia looked from O’Farrell to Mardusk. She licked her lips and then nodded. “I don’t want anything bad to happen to my family. I’m an adult, but my son.” She met Mardusk’s gaze. “I…What do I need to do?” She was still under the impression someone else was after her family, but now that she was willing to accept they wanted to protect her, she would be more willing to accept the truth when she saw it.
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