STF

Ready Room- Passing the Buck

Posted July 26, 2021, 10:26 p.m. by Lieutenant Dr. Solomon Kane (Medical Research & Development) (James Sinclair)

Posted by Lieutenant Alexis Bonner (Scientist, Medical Researcher) in Ready Room- Passing the Buck

Posted by Captain Willow Taylor (Commanding Officer) in Ready Room- Passing the Buck

Posted by Lieutenant Dr. Solomon Kane (Medical Research & Development) in Ready Room- Passing the Buck

(snip)
=^= Lieutenants Kane and Bonner report to the ready room. =^=

Willow Taylor
CO

Alexis was not a light sleeper, but she never slept well. She woke hearing the comm and slipped gently out of Solomon’s arms. She grabbed her jacket and then his, passing it to him. =/\=Acknowledged Captain, Bonner Out.=/\= She waited for him to do the same, why? Because he said they weren’t going to tell anyone where she was staying. She got up donning her uniform and muttered about people always sending comms when they were in bed. She sighed on the way out the door, “I don’t suppose this is about the tritainium slips we’ve been working on.”
Bonner

Kane fastened his jacket and tapped his come badge. =/\= Yep, ok. =/\= he replied and then looked at Alexis. “I’d say no. I’ll put real money on we got told on by the XO.” He snorted derisively. “Well, I’ve been chewed out before. Probably will be again.” He looked at Alexis as they stepped onto the turbolift. “And I’m not changing the plan, no matter what the Skipper says.”

Kane

Alexis nodded, Myqian had told her she was going to tell Cpt Taylor. And she’d very close to ordering them to go to Cpt Taylor. Alexis at the moment was surprising calm about it. They had plan, well correction, Solomon had a plan, and she had the skill to make it happen. Myqian had told her they had all taken vows to do no harm, and that was true. And the harm that would happen if they didn’t go through with it was exponential. Something she’d dreamt about kept coming back to her, they wouldn’t stop him because it offended their morals. Morals were a social construct and fluid. But the fact remained she had no one else to rely on but Solomon. She nodded again, more firmly. She let her mind go, running through how to make the pneumolysin form a chain at the moment of contact with epithelial cells so the entirety of the chemical was absorbed. When the lift doors opened, she stepped out onto the bridge and over to the ready room door and pressed the chime. No one was surprised to see Alexis half aware of her surroundings.
Bonner

Kane stood next to her and looked around the bridge. He hadn’t looked last time he had been ‘escorted’ onto the Ogawa, so he took the opportunity now as they waited.

Kane, R&D

“Come in.” Willow’s voice said from behind the door.

When they entered they would find Willow sitting at her desk more or less where Dira had left her. Subtle differences however in the few minutes that had passed since the XO had delivered the news and both officers had arrived included a large steaming mug of black coffee and the removal of the outer top half of her uniform. She sat in her trousers and a dark grey vest still reading or rereading the PaDD.

Looking over at them both part of her wanted to apologise for disturbing them at a time they would likely have been asleep or heading to bed in their own quarters but another part of her had other things on her mind. The part of her that viewed the ship as her baby. It was that part that fixed her green eyes onto Kane (by virtue at knowing Bonner slightly better) with a stern expression and said “They said you’d be a pain in the ass you know. ”

“I told you that, too. I may be a pain in the ass, but I’m not a liar.” Kane said flatly.

Alexis came to a stop in front of the captain’s desk and stood, hands clasped behind her back waiting for her to start talking. There was a subtle shift to her, and she was a horrible poker player. If they were paying attention it was obvious she didn’t like Kane being called a ‘pain in the ass’ and then just as quickly agreement, he really was, but that wasn’t a bad thing.

She then added “My executive officer is unhappy. This makes me unhappy. Since you both seem to be partially the source of this unhappy I would assume you aren’t best pleased about the situation either.” She held the PaDD up as if declaring it exhibit A. “Now…would you like coffee before you explain this situation and your plan, because I assume you have one, or after you’ve explained and before I tear you both a new one?”

Willow Taylor
CO

Alexis took in the PaDD, the captain’s words, and was brought right back around to the fact that Myqian said she wasn’t going to be his pawn anymore, but she was still willing to make Alexis theirs. That was just great because, yeah, using Alexis as a pawn in a game she didn’t know how to play was going to stop him. Though Alexis wasn’t in a position to evaluate herself, Myqian was right about one thing, she was feeling things and dealing with things she didn’t want to, and didn’t know how to. AND Maybe Solomon was rubbing off on her, “No coffee, it’s late and stimulants prevent sleep, but it’s addicting, and the caffeine and other stimulants don’t actually wake the brain up and make it work faster, it only slows things down and creates an addictive need in order to function on basic levels, but you don’t. He’s a virus that needs eradicating, so can we just skip straight to the being torn a new one so I can go back to work and skip the time wastes?”

Lt Bonner, med research

“When it comes to my ship, and the safety of my crew there is no such thing as time wastes. But there is such a thing as cooling off periods and thinking time. Tea or water then?”

Kane looked at her and said “Wow… you really cannot read a room for s#!+… can you?” and he patted her shoulder and said “Relax… we got this.” and he squeezed her shoulder and then let go and looked at Willow as he flopped down in a chair.

No she could not they had already established that with his little card trick and then the invitation to dinner, and yet people still wanted to use her as a pawn in their game…

“Yeah, we know she’s not happy.” Kane started, his voice flat and only slightly antagonistic. “And honestly, we get it. Her view of the world is a little more… let’s say ‘optimistic’… than what both of us feel the situation warrants. To be blunt, there’s a rogue Intel operative stalking, surveilling, recording, harassing, and torturing one of your crew. The XO wants to do things by the book. The guy doesn’t answer to the book. So we threw the book out and came up with a plan of our own. One that will only effect him if he does some shady s#!+ again. If he doesn’t, he’s fine. If he does? Well… then gets whats coming to him. It won’t kill him… but it’ll sure as hell stop him from doing anything like this crap again. And yes to the coffee. Two creams. No sugar, I’m sweet enough.”

Kane

If she was bothered by the tone or the fact Kane had sat she didn’t show it. Without a word Willow stood and moved to the replicator, procured the beverage and put it in front of him on the desk before taking her own seat again. She gestured at the other chair and said to Alexis. “Have a seat. We may as well be comfortable.”

Alexis sat but comfortable was not a consideration. Kane’s words were frivolous. McD%^#head was coming back, he was going to try and take her project. He always did, and this time would be no different. Especially since Kane was making sure it was exactly what he wanted. She felt sick.

After a moment where the red haired woman wrapped her hands around her own mug and sipped silently from the dark liquid inside she said “ why dont you start from the top and remind me why I carry a hypo of sedative when Intel operatives are around.” She didn’t smile, if it was a joke then it was hard to tell. If she was currently carrying one that was hard to tell too.

Willow Taylor
CO

Kane said “Because they use their gadgets to transport onto ships, into people’s quarters, threaten and scare them, and then try and force them to leave with them? And when they refuse, they lock them in a dark room knowing they suffer from nyctophobia? And let them fall through a glass table suffering multiple lacerations?” Kane smiled at the next part. “And because they get their jaw, arm, clavicle, and ribs broken by someone for doing it? And you know they are coming back because a beating only makes them more focused because they are a manipulative sociopath with obsession issues and a need to ensnare someone to do their work for them?” He took a sip of coffee.

“Just a guess, but I’d think that’s why.”

Kane

Willow closed her eyes and rubbed the bridge of her nose. “Ok.” She said opening her eyes. “So assault is a no no. However, since you did it in defence of the ship and it’s crew…” she looked at Alexis a moment “…we will let that one slide. Next time, knock the ass out and sit on him while you call security and we can have him dragged off somewhere. I assume you’re both under the impression that pursuing him though the official channels isn’t going to help the situation?”

Willow Taylor
CO

Yeah Alexis was sick now. Sit on him and drag him off somewhere? Knock him unconscious and sit on him? Really? She made herself take a deep breath. She was not okay, but her mind was brilliant, and she was going to use it. The captain wanted to know about official channels. “A brig cell won’t hold him, not for long anyway because, as Lt Kane said, he doesn’t answer to the book. He has been told, officially, to leave me alone. And yet he came here anyway. He has been told unofficially. I made a deal, with his boss, and they can’t control him. He is dangerous, he doesn’t follow the rules, and the rules won’t stop him.”
Bonner, med research

Kabe nodded once in agreement. “Listen, if official channels were going to do any good, I’d be under arrest for assault, striking a superior… no, scratch that… striking a higher ranking officer, disobeying a direct order… and he woulda gone through the door to get in board, not transporter trick. I broke bones… and yet there is no report, no investigation… nothing. If he planned on using official channels, he’s had the time to do it. But he hasnt… so we go to Plan C. Plan B was kill ‘em, but the XO said no. So C it is. Now, we can tell you what that is… but if we do, you can’t deny it later. So… how much do you want to know?”

Kane, R&D

“And the XO is correct.” She said while internally Her mind was having a silent but heated debate with the version of her in command of the ship and the woman brought up in a family of rather successful and well known JAG officers who had taken an oath to do no harm. One wanted to throw the book at them all…the other....

Willow squared her shoulders. “I am the captain of this ship. Ultimately no matter what happens or what you may both think, I am responsible for the lives and the safety of all of the people in it. The buck stops with me, regardless I have no plausible deniability in any matter than involves you both while you are part of my crew. So your plan.”

Willow Taylor
CO

Kane held his hands out and said “Hey, never thought you weren’t, just trying to deflect the risk away from you so you are free to deal with the damage after… if there is any.” Kane glanced at Alexis. He knew this was hard on her, that she’d much rather be in the lab doing anything but playing stupid games with malicious people. He took a breath and then looked back at Taylor.

Alexis was sitting, very properly, some might call it stiff. The reason was because bad posture did all kinds of damage to muscle and bones and joints, and not because of the conversation. The situation gave her no end of anxiety but the current conversation she just found frustrating and pointless. Cpt Taylor had been good to her when she’d been on board before, but she was quickly coming to the sick realization that she couldn’t really trust anyone else to help her. All she wanted to do was work, go back to the lab and work and let her mind do what it did best or....or maybe not. She wanted to help people, not let evil people use her work to hurt others. Maybe it was her mind that was the problem.

“Ok. We can’t prove, but we firmly and utterly believe that Douchebag Mcgillicutty is surveilling Bonner… tapping her comms off-ship, recording her text-based comms, her work submissions, daily reports… we found a PaDD in her room that wasn’t hers… at all. And he had been in there, so it stands to reason. I have that in a faraday cage in R&D, locked down but still active… just no signals coming out. What Bonner and I have done is create a wholly fictitious R&D project. The man has an obsession with the Augments… as in glorifies and studies them with a level of attention bordering on zealotry. He’s also really religious. So… we have created a project called ‘Eden’s Apple’. It’s actually an orange that supposedly enhances nutritional bioaccessibility and enhances the cellular regeneration of damaged or ‘inefficient’ tissue and organs. So if you eat it, you become a better you. That project is backed up by datafiles, records, report submissions, comm logs, and everything else to make it look real. The whipped cream on the sundae is that this is supposedly being done at the behest of some Intel higher-up. The cherry on the whipped cream is that one of the jerks that kept me locked up and poked and prodded for two years is gonna make sure that the project makes it’s way into Tinyhands MacMommasboy’s peripheral vision. So that’s the bait. The hook is that it’s just an orange… in a custom bio-hazard containment unit designed by me. It’s an awkward little box, really unbalanced. If you pick it up, the weight shifts really unexpectedly… and you have to catch it by putting your hand on the base. On the base are a series of microdermal abrasives normally used in plastic surgery to remove a few layers of skin at a time. These have been modified to be slightly more robust, and are impregnated with a pneumolysin strain that attacks neuron efficiency. Anyone slapping their hand there, even with gloves, will get a healthy dose. Now… this won’t kill him. It won’t effect gross motor skills. Fine, probably, but not to incapacitation. What it will do is permanently lower cognitive function to the point he’s worthless as a scientific researcher and an Intel agent. So instead of killing him… we’re gonna take his ‘genius’ from him. Well… he’ll actually do that himself. If he doesn’t come after Bonner or her work, or uses standard and above board channels to get to it… then he’s fine. But if he tries to take it… or her… well; I see it as he did it to himself. Play stupid games… win stupid prizes.”

Kane, R&D

Alexis listened as Kane talked. She’d run the numbers and mental simulations already when they’d discussed it before. She still had the chemical compositions of the fake orange to make and then there was the problem of the pnemolysin. She’d really really like to have a sample of Douchebag’s DNA but she could work with what she had. The difference between the nice neat little possibility Kane was giving the captain and reality was Alexis knew he’d come after it. He made it abundantly clear to her that she was going with him, and he didn’t give up. And when he came back he was going to angry. He only wanted her but other could get hurt if they got in the way. Alexis wasn’t really comfortable with that. She wasn’t good with people, she didn’t have friends, she didn’t socialize, but she didn’t dislike people, she wanted to help them.

“Or we got with Intel’s other plan. For right now they have placed Lt Kane in charge of ‘risk assessment’. If they feel he can not control the situation from here, I will be removed to an as yet undetermined location and used as bait. He has no interest in the Ogawa other than it is where I am stationed, so he will follow. And the risk to ship, crew, and patients will then be 0. Intel finds this a logical and viable option.” It was not an option she liked. She’d told Solomon she did NOT want to be bait for him. It wasn’t martyrdom or the idiotic idea that she alone could fix the problem, she couldn’t, but it was a solution that had been offered to her.
Bonner, med research

Kane’s jaw tightened and he looked at Taylor. “So then the question becomes does the Ogawa let one of their own be used as bait to save the ship from possible trouble? Or do we handle our own s#!+ in-house? I’ll be wholly honest with ya… I may work for those bastards sometimes, but it ain’t by choice. And the thought of giving any member of this ship’s crew to them for any reason makes me more than a little… well… it’s not a good idea. No matter how ‘altruistic’ they seem to be, that just one face. Trust me… they have several. And they all suck.”

Kane, R&D

Willow bristled at the accusation. She frowned deeply. “No. The Ogawa certainly does not let one of their own be used as bait. However as a physician I took an oath to do no harm and what you are suggesting…does do harm. While the culprit may or may not deserve it is not for me to judge no matter how much I’d like to. You’d still be impacting his life in such a way that it would be unlikely for him to recover and may encourage retaliation should anyone find out how the damage to him came to be.”

She steepled her hands and pressed them to her mouth. Part of her wondered about calling in some favours from one or two of her grandfathers old JAG connections. However there was a personal situation that might make that troublesome. Then again, she thought, having rouge people from Intel on the ship was also an issue if they found out about Cai…what she was about to say was unethical…and wrong for a starfleet captain.

“…if I may make a suggestion. What do you think would happen if instead of lowering cognitive function it impaired his filters and ability to keep his mouth shut as it were. Like a continuous super dosage of truth serum. I can imagine an agent with an irreversible loose tongue and a happenstance of blurting out secrets wouldn’t stay an agent for very long. And they certainly will take care of their own.”

Willow Taylor
CO

Alexis didn’t sigh but she felt defeated, but her voice was calm and quite analytical, for that was how she truly felt. “Captain we do harm every day. There is no doctor that has not done harm. We decide who lives and who dies. And I’m not talking about triage and there being nothing left for us to do. A patient infected with a virus, a bacteria, with any number of microorganisms. If they harm a humanoid life form we eradicate them. Who are we to decide that our species or type of life form, is more important, more worthy of saving, while we commit genocide on billions of others simply because their bodies are less complex than ours. No one, it is only our arrogance that does so. In nature if a member of a pack, of a group, is putting the larger group at risk they are punished, up to and including death if necessary. This man is a parasite on the human race and must be dealt with. Sure I can make him tell the truth, and that might get intel to kick him out, but it won’t stop him. There are plenty of non-Star Fleet options for him. He has said many times that Star Fleet, the Federation, is a means to an end and he will move on when they are no longer useful. Someone else can be made his mouth piece while he sits behind the scenes, and then he will find someone, maybe me, maybe someone else, that he will make fix him. We plan to make him stupid. He will still be able to live alone, care for himself for the most part, hold a steady job, but he won’t be smart enough to go after anyone else again. Making him tell the truth won’t do that.”

Bonner, med research

“I see.” Willow said. Her hands returning to the steepled position. She was quiet for some time. “Then I am not sure what other course of action you should take other than the one you have outlined.” She said quietly.

Willow Taylor
CO

Kane looked at her and then to Bonner and then back. “Look, we’re open to suggestions. But Bonner is right. He won’t stop if he’s only dealt a setback. He’s a sociopath. He’ll adapt and then come back. Only then he’ll be pissed off, too. And that means he’ll want blood. And he’s the kind that’ll try and blow up a whole ship to get one person. I get the whole oath thing. I do. I took the same oath. But where I took it it was a bit different. Our oath said ‘Do no needless harm.’ I don’t believe violence is the first answer. Hell, I’d be happy if it wasn’t in the top ten. But here? With this guy? In this situation? If we don’t end it violently, then we still have to end it permanently. And if you have a better way than letting his own hubris f#×k him up, I’m all ears.”

Kane was sincere, and it showed. But he was also a pragmatist, and he knew that unless their first shot was a permanent solution… more than just him and Bonner were going to be in Soulis’ crossbars.

Kane

Willow drew In a breath and nodded. “You will keep your logs and paper trail. If this does not work and you are caught you realise the price you are likely to pay?” She asked looking at both in turn.

Willow Taylor
CO

For the first time this whole meeting Bonner actually looked at Kane. Whatever her gaze told him would remain a mystery to anyone else, and then she turned her gaze back to Taylor. “I understand probably better than you think I do, Cpt. But I also know, if I don’t do something…I won’t be able to live with myself knowing he’s out there doing to someone else what he did to me. I’m willing to pay the price because not acting will cause more harm than taking action. I’m willing to live with the consequences of my actions, but not my inaction.”

Bonner, med research

Kane nodded in agreement and then said “We’ll keep you in the loop, but quietly. I figure he’ll be here within the week. So we’ll know sooner rather than later if this is effective.”

Kane, R&D


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