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About T'aral

  • Birthday October 31

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Medical bay, USS Comanche Creek
  • Interests
    Psychology, Logic, and Ethics

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  1. T'Aral got into her surgical uniform while the medical team prepared the patients. The surgery was divided into two sections, since the operations required were similar and required the same equipment. Both patients were prepared and immersed in abiotic fluid adjusted to each patient's individual physiology to facilitate a clean operation. It was determined that Commander Wesley would be operated on first, as scans indicated internal injuries including a slightly punctured lung. Clearing her lungs of fluid and mending her ribs enough to prevent a relapse was a priority. As T'Aral set and fused bone, Lt. Ellis monitored Byblos. The young medic examined the Naussican's wounds to catalog them for surgical priority. She turned to T'Aral. "The medics say that they were beating each other up." T'Aral nodded as she worked. "That would be consistent with the nature of the injuries in question." Ellis cocked her head slightly. "So ... a decorated veteran Starfleet Officer and an accepted mercenary contractor decided that an unsecured combat zone was a good place to beat each other to a broken pulp?" T'Aral nodded again. "That is also consistent with the available evidence." "... and officers in the area ... just let them?" T'Aral nodded again. "You have a developed understanding of the situation, Lieutenant." Ellis turned back to the monitor, shaking her head. "This makes no sense at all." T'Aral finished fusing the last of Wesley's fractured ribs. "Your analysis is sound, if unnecessary." Ellis cocked her head slightly. "You're not the slightest bit curious about what happened?" T'Aral sealed off Wesley's lung, then activated an areator to clear remaining fluid. "No, Lieutenant, I am not curious. The nature of the altercation has no bearing on the nature of their injuries, and it is not my responsibility to pass judgement on their actions. My duty is to tend to their injuries, and to do so with my undivided attention." Ellis smirked under her mask. "What if the Commander draws a Court Martial?" T'Aral carefully sealed her incisions; the protoplaser secured and knitted the Commander's muscles and skin to assure that there wouldn't be so much as a blemish to indicate that surgery had ever been done. "If that occurs, the Commander would have to face a tribunal made up of her peers. It is unlikely that I will be called to serve. If I am, then I will take an interest in the matter." She examined Wesley's other injuries. There was a lot of soft tissue damage, and a heavy amount of dental reconstruction was needed. "Lieutenant, this will take far more time that I anticipated. Summon additional staff and begin repairs on Mr. Byblos' leg. Also: call up data on Naussican skeletal structure for the purpose of mandibular reconstruction." Lt. Ellis nodded, smirking under her mask. The work would take hours, but although she never would admit it Doctor T'Aral had her pride. A patient could expect a curious mix of gentle care, disgusting medication, and excruciating torture ... but they all left the Medical Bay in perfect health. T'Aral would have it no other way - Vulcan pride, after all.
  2. T’Aral awoke an hour after midnight. This was not unusual of late, as her condition made doing anything ( including sleeping ) increasingly difficult. She would meditate, calm herself, and seek additional rest – except something was wrong. It was nothing she could quantify: there was no unusual sensation, no unidentifiable discomfort, and no unfamiliar sounds. Therefore she could not logically identify a reason for her unease and would normally put it out of her mind with a meditative session to calm her thoughts. It was therefore uncharacteristic both as a Vulcan and as herself that T’Aral chose not to, but instead decided to wake Ensign Khora. “Ghh … nhuhh … wha’? Miss T’Aral … is something wrong?” Khora did her best to pull her wits together; she wasn’t a ‘night’ person nor was she an early riser. “I have no reason to believe so. However, please perform a full diagnostic.” It was an abrupt request, and as Khora pulled herself together T’Aral regretted that it was not Vulcan custom to be sympathetic. Khora’s efforts during the last several months were tireless and T’Aral did appreciate them. It was unfortunate that she could not properly demonstrate her gratitude. Khora gathered up her tricorder and scanned T’Aral twice, making sure all readings were consistent. After checking them over, she smiled and gestured towards an inner room. “It’s going to take me a few minutes to go over this; why don’t you find a spot to relax?” T’Aral nodded and made her way into the hallway. As soon as she was out of sight, Khora whipped out a communicator and pushed a shiny red button. On board the Comanche Creek, an identical communicator lying on a bedside table began to chirp furiously. Ensign Gabriella Ellis slung an arm towards it, smacking it sideways but managing to grab it before it hit the floor. “Hello?” “Gabby? It’s T’sh! I need help and fast!” Ellis flung herself out of bed. “Ok, deep breaths. What’s the situation?” “If I’m right, we needed Khole and a surgical kit five minutes ago.” Khora did her best to keep her voice down, but it was clear she was frantic. Ellis stepped over to her terminal and pressed a few commands. “Expect us in about ten minutes, and try to keep calm.” Khora snapped the communicator shut and took a deep breath. It wouldn’t do to have T’Aral upset. She needed to believe everything would turn out all right. Stepping into the next room, her jaw dropped as she found T’Aral clearing off a table. “What … what are you doing?” T’Aral turned. “Ensign Khora, I have considerable experience with human medical officers. I am well versed in your diversionary techniques, and they are unnecessary. The facts of the situation will suffice.” Khora took a deep breath and handed T’Aral her tricorder. “I think that there may be complications; I’m not sure though … it may be nothing.” T’Aral looked over the readings. “You have called for assistance – including a surgeon?” T’Aral offered gentle approval at Khora’s nod. “You underestimate your perceptive nature. A different medical officer might have chosen simply to observe. The safest path, however, is the one you have initiated. You should prepare the room and set up your incubator – it will be required.” T’Aral watched as Khora worked; there wasn’t much that had to be done, but it would keep her busy until Khole and Ellis arrived. Khora needed to be kept busy; she tended to worry too much. It wasn’t that long before the ‘Creek’s lead medical officers stepped in and began to set up. Khole was checking her instruments while Ellis walked over to greet T’Aral. She responded by handing over the tricorder. “Ensign Khora’s analysis is accurate; Doctor Khole – have you performed a tenkon-snem before?” Khole checked her protoplastic sealers. “No, but I’ve been studying the procedure. I’ll have to be a bit careful initially and a proper closure is kind of involved, but it seems to be a fairly straightforward operation.” T’Aral nodded as she made her way to the stone table. “You have performed far more difficult surgeries in far worse conditions, there is nothing to be concerned about.” Ellis helped her onto the table. “That’s our line, Doctor. You’re the patient this time. Now lie back.” Khole finished setting up the portable sterile-field generator and nodded. Ellis drew out a hyposprayer. “Time to relax – see you in a few hours.” ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- On board the Comanche Creek, a single entry was added to the ship’s log by Lieutenant Odee: *CMO and surgeon summoned to New Vulcan at 02:47. Anticipated return entered as 14:00.*
  3. T’El entered the balcony where T’Aral was sleeping. She didn’t want to wake her cousin, but their guests would likely not wish to be detained. T’Aral stirred almost immediately, her condition making her an increasingly light sleeper. T’El straightened. “I am sorry to disturb you, but you have guests.” T’Aral looked about to see three adepts in dark robes. She raised a hand to Khora as the Ensign stood in protest to their sudden entry without invitation. “It is quite alright; please leave us.” She raised herself to a reasonable pose while gesturing for the visitors to sit. “I expected you a while ago; it is illogical for you to have delayed your visit.” The figure in the center spoke for the group, as was tradition. “Your continued activities related to Starfleet made it necessary to await a discreet opportunity. Your words indicate that you understand the purpose of our visit.” T’Aral nodded. “Measures are being taken to remove me from the Order.” The three looked at each other briefly. “That is not correct: your condition creates certain ethical complications. We have come to resolve them.” T’Aral gazed intently at the speaker. “I am pregnant. This did not occur in a manner that would be approved by the Order. I do not consider this to be an error in judgment, which the Order would not approve of either. Allow me to assist in your investigation by stating for the record that I refuse to identify my children’s father. He has been notified and advised that if he wishes to step forward he may do so. He has asked for my permission to remain anonymous and I have granted it. My family is fully capable of raising my children without assistance.” She paused briefly to allow the visitors to take in her words before continuing. “None of what I have stated is acceptable within the Order; I understand this, and it would be illogical to seek an exception. What must be done must be done, and I would prefer that it proceed without emotional complications.” The three looked at each other, then nodded. “That you do not seek conflict honors yourself and the Order. May we report that you have chosen to resign?” T’Aral nodded. “As I expect the Order would wish a discreet resignation, I state my reason as ‘professional conflict’: I have come to the conclusion that I cannot carry out my role within the Order effectively while continuing in my role within Starfleet, which is still necessary as our race finds itself obligated to the Federation.” A respectful bow from the three indicated that this would be the report, making a reasonable effort to maintain her good name within the Order’s records. “If there is no other matter to discuss, then I would ask you to take your leave as I find myself tired of late.” The three figures nodded. Two walked out, but one remained. “Your departure leaves the Order diminished. It is regrettable.” T’Aral recognized the voice but refused to speak his name – it wasn’t appropriate. “That you were sent proves the Order’s intent to be honorable. I am fairly treated; there is no need for this to be unpleasant.” The visitor saluted her. “Health and long life, T’Aral.” “Live long and prosper – as may we all.” T’Aral settled back on the couch, grateful in a way to have the visit accomplished. It was one less thing that needed to be done, allowing her to focus on the more important task at hand.
  4. T’Aral leaned back on her couch, tapping notes in Vulcan script while Lieutenant Thomas Keefer draped himself on another couch across the room – spilling his guts to whomever would listen. She had sent T’Shia and the two security officers outside, but within minutes it was clear that she would not need the phaser in her lap. Keefer was alone and tired, and she was a sympathetic ear. He wove a sad story of a Lieutenant with the highest ideals being given an undisciplined ship with a command staff that undermined him at every turn. There were issues of dress code, of maintenance, of standard reporting procedures which painted a pattern of insubordination. The ‘Strawberry Incident’ was, to use a human phrase, the topping of the dessert. “They never respected me – never respected Starfleet discipline. My staff officers always turning a blind eye or undermining me directly; but now I had them! There was supposed to be enough in the ship stores for two servings for everyone, and we ran out! All we had to do was to check access logs and we would’ve known who the thief was, but they wouldn’t support me – they never supported me in anything!” T’Aral nodded patently. She knew better than most that there were times which a subordinate officer felt the need to stand contrary to a commanding officer, but those times required justification. For there to be order the Captain had to be in charge, and no order could be refused without a reason which stemmed directly from regulations. “If you were in their position, could you think of anything which would give them reason to stand against you consistently?” Keefer paused briefly. “I know that the crew hated what a stickler I was regarding discipline; they probably just didn’t want to make the hard choices needed to maintain respect for command. I know that there are rumors about my writing – well, even a ship’s Captain needs some way to unwind now and then, doesn’t he?” “The ability to release stress in a constructive, or at the very least non-destructive, manner is considered essential for all species. Even Vulcans require this.” T’Aral nodded to Keefer as he turned to her to confirm what she said. “We engage in meditation; this is our method. Yours would understandably vary. If I may, I would appreciate your permission to read your work. I believe it would allow me to understand you better.” Keefer smiled slightly. “I think I’d like that.” He then frowned. “You get it, don’t you? They were cadets, and it was my job to make them Starfleet officers. There had to be discipline, there had to be order, and theft – that just couldn’t be allowed!” “It is all right, Lieutenant; I do understand.” T’Aral typed a few final notes before closing her datapad. “Mister Keefer: regulations require that you remain under guard during the inquiry. Please co-operate fully with Security, as acting contrary to orders will only hurt your case. I will be filing my report once I complete my background investigation. You are dismissed.” As Keefer nodded and left, T’Aral began to access the Caine’s database, reading through all the senior officer logs as well as the Lieutenant’s novel. The picture of what probably happened became clear, and along with that came a certain admiration for the lieutenant. As a writer he had considerable talent, although she made a point to leave him a personal note to review his last chapter … the stress he was under was beginning to show. ------------------------------------ Medical Report: Evaluation of Lieutenant Thomas Keefer A physical examination was performed by Ensign T’Shia Khora. Lieutenant Keefer is in reasonable health, and shows no sign of neurological degradation. There are signs indicative of a lack of sleep and indications of an elevated level of Epinephrine ( adrenalin ) for an extended period of time. All readings suggest that this was naturally produced and his body is filtering out the hormone steadily. His current adrenal production appears slightly depressed, as would be expected following a period of elevated stress. Subject’s manner is currently slightly erratic, but not dangerous. Lieutenant Keefer is in full command of his senses and does not exhibit any delusional tendencies regarding hallucinations or a heightened state of general paranoia. A review of the ship’s logs indicate that the senior staff maintained a consistent lack of confidence in the Lieutenant’s command abilities and an objection to his strict interpretations of Starfleet regulations. Examination of Keefer’s own logs and personal writings demonstrates a highly perceptive mind. Therefore any accusation of paranoia should be tempered, as Keefer most likely was aware of his crew’s overall attitude. Recommendation: Lieutenant Keefer should be given a leave of absence not to exceed 336 standard hours ( coloq.: 2 weeks Earth Standard ). Following this he should be given administrative duties in an established post with no standing incident reports. Eventual promotion to supervisory duties is recommended pending further positive evaluations, though a return to a command assignment of any sort is not recommended. ----------------------------------------- T’Aral dispatched her report, sending a copy to Captain Calestorm and Commander Wesley with a personal note attached. *To quote a human phrase: it is not paranoia if they are out to get you.*
  5. Shan suited up for quarantine and came out of the shuttle cockpit with phaser rifle in hand. As the door opened, he leveled it at the brightly clothed passenger of the collected escape pod. “It seems your ill behavior has finally caught up with you, Mudd.” “Young man … setting aside the fact that I have no idea what you are talking about, it is a dangerous practice to point those things at people. That thing could go off at any moment.” Mudd was doing his best to smooth the wrinkles out of his clothing while Lieutenant T’Aral completed her initial medical scan. “You would think Starfleet had no regard for the safety of civilians!” “It’s my safety that I’m concerned with, Mr. Mudd.” Shan held the rifle steadily. “The last time we met, I was treated to a concussion. I have no intention of repeating that sensation.” Mudd turned to T’Aral. “Young lady: please explain to your fellow officer that I am a friend. As a simple pilot and merchant, it would hardly be sensible for me to assault anyone, much less a Starfleet officer.” Shan was becoming irritated. “I suppose next you’re going to say that you’ve forgotten all about Tch’ana.” “Hmm … can’t say that I recall the name, although something about how you say it makes me wish that I could.” A roguish smirk spread widely under Mudd’s bushy moustache. Shan’s eyes narrowed. “Perhaps I can refresh your memory: grey skin, light hair, sharp teeth, all bundled in a corset that will make your eyes pop out …” T’Aral snapped shut her tricorder and removed the containment suit’s hood. “He is free of anything immediately communicable.” Without a pause she opened the cargo hatch and waived in two security officers. “Take him to the Medical bay. I wish to complete a full examination.” As the guards led Mudd away, T’Aral held up a hand to stop Shan from following. Shan turned to her crossly. “Just like that? No interrogation … no questions about what the blazes he’s doing here or what happened to the Vulture?” T’Aral sat on a bunk patiently while Shan vented before proceeding. “Lieutenant, I do not believe you fully comprehend who you are dealing with. Harcourt Mudd is a professional liar: I do not state this as insult, but as fact. An interrogation will provide no information, as he has no doubt prepared himself for this encounter. While I am aware that he is one of only two logical suspects in the theft of the Vulture, there is no hard evidence regarding any possible involvement in the matter. If you were to interrogate him you would receive a story which implicates your friend as mastermind of the entire crime. While I would not believe such a story, there is no evidence to the contrary.” T’Aral stood. “As obtaining false information is counter-productive, I saw no logic in pursuing the matter further. We should leave this to the Captain and Colonel Tavington.” Shan’s eyes narrowed. “You admire him.” T’Aral turned, completely unaffected by the accusation. “I admire his intelligence and focus. There is much to Harcourt Fenton Mudd which is underestimated. He is a competent pilot and a capable negotiator. The fact that he uses his talents and abilities in a socially unacceptable manner should not be taken as a reason not to recognize them.” She gathered her materials and turned for the hatch. Shan stopped her briefly. “You talled Tch’ana my friend – am I that obvious?” T’Aral lifted a single eyebrow. “Of course, Lieutenant; you always have been.” As Shan sagged in embarrassment, T’Aral made her way to a turbolift. Settling in for the ride, she eventually returned to the medical bay where Harry Mudd was waiting. “Thank you, my dear … I do believe that young man may have wished to harm me.” “It is not in Lieutenant Shalin’s nature to be violent.” T’Aral put her appliances away, gesturing for Mudd to step to a back alcove. “You will find medical garments available; please change into them.” Mudd was taken aback. “Excuse me – are you ordering me to strip?” T’Aral paused, then faced Harry directly. “You will find a rear chamber which contains a medical shower and bath facility. I have reason to believe that you were in that pod for an extended period of time; I therefore assume that you would wish to take advantage of our facilities while your clothes are cleaned. They will be returned to you when you are done.” Harry straightened, and then smiled slightly. “Well, this is … hospitable!” He turned back to T’Aral. “I must confess that I hardly expected such generosity from a Starfleet officer, even if she is a doctor.” T’Aral stepped back out of the alcove. “While there is no doubt that you are a fugitive, you also assisted us on Rura Pente. If one sets aside the fact that you had your own motives, your effort can be appreciated. As part of your rehabilitation I choose to reward you for that effort. Therefore: enjoy a nice warm bath or shower while we clean and freshen your clothes. The Captain will arrive soon enough to indicate her preference for your quarters.” Harry Mudd smiled briefly before closing the alcove curtain. T’Aral sent in an orderly to tend to his clothes once she heard the water running. There was no cause for concern: there were several security officers in the outer bay and his girth was far too wide for the ventilation ducts – he was going nowhere without the Captain’s permission. Besides: she would have the clothes scanned as well as cleaned. If he had any clever little devices hidden within his garish garments, the Captain would want to know that as well. In any case he needed to be cleaned at some point and this way was far more humane than handing Lieutenant Shalin a fire hose, regardless of how much the helmsman would’ve preferred that.
  6. *Personal Log - Lieutenant T'Aral, Stardate 2261.93* I have returned from M-113, having completed my objectives. Professor Robert Crater and his wife Nancy remain along with the indigenous life form; a situation I perceive as hazardous. However: as the Craters are not Starfleet officers, the fleet has no jurisdiction over their activities. I can only advise the management of Starbase Harrington to maintain regular contact, and to remain vigilant. My encounters with the M-113 subject have caused me to question myself. In these encounters the creature sought to engage an emotional response from me, apparently convinced that I would act irrationally if emotionally engaged. While the creature's logic was sound when applied to an emotional species it did not take into account that I was a Vulcan, and therefore resistant to its efforts. Resistant, but not unaffected. To influence me, the creature projected a series of forms which it apparently believed would be advantageous to its cause. Their effect, while ultimately unsuccessful, was profound and disturbing. I am left with the challenge of examining myself through these encounters. Was the creature projecting what it sought, or were my responses partially or entirely my own? In the process of serving have I become emotionally attached to this crew, thus compromising myself as a Vulcan? Is this merely an effect caused by my pregnancy - one which will pass in time? If not, how should I proceed? While there are rituals to separate myself from these attachments, they involve creating artificial mental barriers to memories. These barriers would diminish me as a whole. An additional challenge involves the individuals; it seems improper that a parasitical life form would know more about my views regarding my fellow officers than the officers in question. However: when I consider discussing the matter, I find I am at a loss. Vulcan society does not address such issues, and cultural references make it clear that interpersonal entanglements become problematic if not handled correctly. *End Log* T'Aral knelt on the floor of her room, a single candle providing illumination. Focusing on the flame, she stilled her mind until the peace of logic and reason were again hers. She would not speak to anyone, for it was illogical to do so. She required nothing from the others, and they seemed to require nothing of her. Her relationships were in a sustainable equilibrium: to do anything that would disturb that balance was illogical. The longer she meditated, the more convinced she was that she was correct. The stresses of her mission and her pregnancy had disrupted her balance, and she did not have an opportunity to meditate properly for the last couple of weeks. In her quarters she was no longer disturbed; stresses could be set aside and she could find herself again. T'Aral was content with this. In approximately 36 weeks she would give birth, and then her body would resume its normal equilibrium and all would be as it was before. She simply needed to be patient.
  7. ( Part 4 ) The Epson’s arrival at M-113 and debarking proceeded without complication. Given her experiences, T’Aral found this both unusual and troubling. Activities such as this always had complications; the fact that there were none most likely meant that the complications were still forthcoming. She couldn’t identify any, however, as the creature was removed from the secure bay and beamed down to the surface. With the security team watching it proceeded to migrate away from the ruins into the surrounding hills. Professor Crater was less than happy with the situation. “We have no idea if it will stay nearby. If you drive it away, our work will be set back for years.” “We are not ‘driving it away’, Professor.” The heat of M-113 was quite comforting to T’Aral. In most respects the atmosphere was very much like Vulcan’s was. “We are seeking to settle it a safe distance from your camp, so that it will not pose a threat. The creature came from this planet: I am certain that there is a suitable location in which it will thrive.” Nancy shook her head. “The creature would pose no threat. We have plenty of supplies for all of us, and have established a regular re-supply schedule which will keep us from running out of salt. Your concerns are unwarranted. Besides …” She looked about sadly. “It is entirely possible that there are no others of its kind. If this is true, then sending it to another location would be condemning it to a life of solitude. It would be inhuman.” “Perhaps it is not human, but it is logical.” T’Aral remained passive in face, but firm. “As long as the creature is present, you and Professor Crater are in grave danger.” “Enough!” Robert Crater marched up to T’Aral, pointing to the transport point. “Our camp is established and we do not need additional support any more. You have seen to it that the creature has been returned to the planet safely, and you have spoken your peace. We do not require your interference or your oversight. We are quite safe here - go!” T’Aral looked to the shuttle then nodded. Stepping back to the entryway, she nodded to Ensign Khora. “We are to leave now.” “What about the creature?” Khora looked deeply concerned. “Surely they don’t trust it?” “They do. It is their nature to trust, even as it is my nature to observe and analyze.” T’Aral stepped into the shuttle and settled into a seat. Khora quickly sat down beside her. “Surely it’s too dangerous. While it is possible that they will live in harmony, the danger is simply too great. They must be made to listen.” T’Aral shook her head. “They are not Starfleet officers or crew. Their decisions are their own, and we must respect that regardless of our personal views.” She strapped herself in for flight. “I will advise the support staff on Starbase Harrington to keep in touch with the Craters, checking in regularly and taking such action as deemed appropriate to assure their safety. Beyond that we can do nothing, and are obliged to do nothing.” The shuttle shuddered as it took off, leaving the Craters and the M-113 native behind. T’Aral was satisfied with this: soon she would be back on the Comanche Creek, dealing with more familiar problems. Deep inside her, a quiet part of her looked forward to seeing the Captain and crew while dealing with their peculiarities. It was, in a way, comfortable.
  8. ( Part 3 ) The next two days were more of the same, with the creature taking one form after another in a continuing effort to win T’Aral’s confidence. The creature had taken the form of Lieutenant Kvar and Commander Wesley in turn, with the latest being Captain Calestorm. In each case T’Aral could sense a force seeking to manipulate her emotionally - to respond to the images of each person as if they were that person. With practice she improved her own responses, keeping herself under control emotionally while restraining her reactions to the creature in the cell. As she walked towards the security section once more, she felt that she had herself under control and prepared for whatever she found. Finding Ensign Khora in the cell, however, was something of a shock. “Lieutenant! Get me out of here - please!” T’Aral stepped over to the shield control. “How did you get in there, Ensign?” “I was examining the subject, and somehow it got the shield open. I thought it was going to kill me! We need to search the ship to find it!” Khora paced by the shield, waiting for T’Aral to open it. T’Aral, however, clutched her hand tightly. “Perhaps … we already have found the creature.” Stepping out of the security section, she walked up to a com panel. “Ensign Khora - please report to the Security Bay.” T’Aral held herself stiffly, and under total control with a binding will for several minutes until a familiar figure turned the corner into the hallway. “Doctor - is there something required?” Khora looked over to T’Aral curiously. They had been working closely the last several days, but it was rare for T’Aral to call her down to the Security bay. T’Aral kept any expression of relief tightly bound. “I required confirmation that you were not in the creature’s quarters. The subject has chosen to take a new approach in our encounters.” She drew out a tricorder and began to record her latest findings. Khora began to look concerned. “Why would the creature be impersonating us?” “To obtain our trust through the quickest means possible in order to free itself. This is troubling, as I have spoken to it many times regarding the need to respect limits and boundaries. The creature is clearly unwilling to do so, which demonstrates a malevolence I was not prepared for.” Closing the tricorder, she began to walk down the hall. “We must discuss this with the Craters. I have no doubt that the creature will try to engage their trust, only to betray it over time.” Locating Professor Crater was simple enough: getting him to listen was another matter. “Lieutenant, you see the creature’s actions through a military point of view. You fail to see the value of working with it.” He walked over to a display. “I’m certain the creature comes from M-113, and that it has insight we need.” “I am well aware of the elemental resonance scan, and the results.” T’Aral performed the scan herself - there was an atomic resonance within the creature which matched samples taken from the planet. “That is not at issue. The issue is that the creature has shown potentially hostile tendencies.” “That’s rediculous!” Crater was becoming increasingly irritated. “I have met with it several times and never did it display the least amount of hostility - and it has identified the purpose of over a dozen artifacts!” “Robert … please, let me.” Nancy Crater stepped up to T’Aral, smiling softly. “Lieutenant; I want you to know how much we appreciate the way you care for our safety. It’s just that we’ve come to understand the creature - its needs and its wants. It is a social being - alone and yearning for company. That’s why it tries to get you to open the security door. It knows that we can’t, so it doesn’t try any tricks with us. It’s been extremely friendly and co-operative.” “That may be the case, Ms. Crater, but what will happen when we reach our destination?” “When we arrive we will have supplies and room to move. Once we’re established it will be just Robert and me, so the creature will not pose a threat to anyone.” T’Aral resisted the urge to frown. “Except for the two of you.” Nancy continued to smile. “Lieutenant: I know it is the Vulcan way not to trust, but rather to observe and react. I, however, believe that worlds can change with trust. We will have plenty of supplies, and the creature will have no reason to harm either of us. Please don’t be concerned: you have nothing to worry about.”
  9. ( Part 2 ) Now on board the Epson, T’Aral moved through the ship’s corridors to meet with the subject again. They were now en route to M-113, and soon would arrive. Professor Crater would establish his research center, and hopefully would have a native to aid in his study of the culture which once existed there. All T’Aral had to do was to make sure the creature was well cared for so that there could be a suitable beginning. As she turned the corner into the secure bay, however, she was brought to an abrupt stop by what she saw. In the cell stood Steln in his usual stance: tall, confident, and yet relaxed all at the same time. It was more than heartwarming to see him - it was quite astonishing given the fact that his death was a documented fact. All the same it took her a moment to restore her composure. “Your choice of appearance is illogical.” “It was your train of thought which has given me this appearance, and I disagree with your assessment. In this form I can communicate more directly; my responses will be clearer and my tone more even. It may also foster additional empathy between us.” The creature even spoke like him - the same inflections, the same analytical approach to any subject. It was enough that T’Aral had to remind herself again that Steln’s presence was illogical; this was a camoflage - a chosen appearance to facilitate communication. T’Aral straightened, then drew out her tricorder for readings. “I have gone over your records: you appear to be in restored health. Your salt, water, and nutrient intakes have all stabilized. Your metabolic readings appear to be in order. In all ways you appear to be in good health.” Snapping the device and sheathing it, she looked up. “Is there anything you require?” “Would it be possible for me to tour this vessel? I have not had the opportunity to see the vehicle I am being transported in.” Steln stepped back, clearing the entryway. T’Aral stepped forward: it was a reasonable request, after all. Most all passengers are given some freedom, and Steln hadn’t shown hostility towards anyone for as long as she had encountered him. Her hand reached up to the door’s control panel … and suddenly closed. “You … are not Steln.” Closing her eyes, T’Aral began a meditative exercise, closing off one thought after another in a deliberate, methodical sequence. After a few moments Steln began to respond. “What … what is it that you are doing? Your actions are … illogical. You should cease … you are responding emotionally. You must … must stop. I cannot … cannot …” Then in a blur Steln was gone. In his place was a snaggle-furred biped with circular suction pods on its fingers and a round, narrowly fanged mouth under hollow eyes. The creature looked to T’Aral with its head cocked sideways before walking to the back of the room. T’Aral exited the corridor quickly, pausing only to speak with the security team. “No one is to enter that corridor. The creature is to be fed remotely. If it is necessary to interact, the entire security team is to be present, and everyone is to acknowledge the form in the bay room before the security field is lowered. Are my orders clear?” The officer nodded and T’Aral went on her way. Returning to her quarters, T’Aral sat and tried to meditate. This encounter changed everything. The creature was everything the Captain had feared it was: cunning, deceitful, and manipulative. Further, T’Aral was convinced that its abilities went farther than simply creating perception: She had felt herself being mentally manipulated into thinking of the creature as Steln, rather than the creature taking on the form of Steln. It was a fact that a Vulcan should have been easily capable of processing and maintaining, yet T’Aral found it difficult. She would have to take steps to warn the Craters; the creature posed a far greater threat to them than they accepted.
  10. Lieutenant Khole ran through the ship with the litter team racing the injured Nausicaan to the Medical bay. The paralyzer had stabilized him momentarily, but his system was weak. She needed to purge his body of the medication in favor of a suitable metabolic solution if they had a hope of keeping him alive. She uploaded her tricorder readings to the medical computer to get a synthesis developed while she cataloged his injuries. Wide eyes took him in with a glance. "Thirty-seven varied injuries: twelve minor, four intermediate, ten severe, and one critical. Open surgical bay seven and have surgery teams two, four, and seven report immediately: anesthesiology team three to support." Her intention was dangerous to the patient, but less so than to have him wait for care. The Nausicaan would have three additional surgeons operating on him at once; each taking responsibility for stabilizing a separate section of his body. Khole, as lead medical officer, would be responsible for the knife. The patient was swept into the surgical bay to be prepped and stabilized while Khole and the other surgeons entered the sterilization fields. As they masked, gowned, and stepped into the purification beams, they discussed the seriousness of the situation. One of the nurses winked at Khole. "Heck of a first day as CMO." Khole nodded in reply. She had been lead medical officer before, but the crew was almost always on leave. She had never faced an issue such as this one. Yet Khole was a well-balanced soul; always one to mentally land on her feet, which was why T'Aral left her in charge. She was unshakable. "Working together, we should be able to clear the debris in a matter of minutes. After that it is simply a matter of sealing off his wounds sufficiently to allow him to recover. Do we have sufficient myomer prepared?" Ensign Ellis chimed in over the intercom. "It's in the bay waiting for you: enough to knit yourself a whole new Nausicaan if you had to." Khole looked to the others, smiling behind her mask. "It may well come to that." The blue light faded and a door to the surgery opened. "Colleagues - let us begin."
  11. T’Aral patiently walked the secure halls of Starbase Harrington, with Ensign Khora dutifully at her side. She had tried to explain that the Ensign’s presence was unnecessary; this would be a routine duty assignment with plenty of security - she was not in any danger, and the pregnancy was progressing very well. Khora, however, was adamant about attending - threatening to take it to the Captain if she wasn’t allowed to come along. While T’Aral believed the threat to be empty, humans were unpredictable. Cale already didn’t like T’Aral pursuing this mission; it was entirely possible that she would be just irritated enough to add a chaparone. Best to maintain her authority. Passing through to the secured offices, she cleared herself and Khora with the guard before stepping into office K-513. Inside was a cluster of technicians all taking ques from a single leader. Recognizing him from the dossier, T’Aral stepped forward. “Greetings, Professor Crater.” The man turned and curtly nodded. “Good day, Doctor T’Aral. This is my wife Nancy; she will be advising you during our mission.” He grumbled unpleasantly. “This is entirely unnecessary and a severe imposition. Just the kind of over-management I’ve come to expect from Starfleet.” Nancy Crater drew T’Aral aside with a gentle smile. “Please forgive my husband. He doesn’t like outside interference with his work. Now - I have read your reports and appreciate the work you’ve already done. To me it seems only sensible that you be allowed to continue. As you’ve begun to develop a relationship with the subject, your presence increases the probability of a safe journey - for all of us.” T’Aral nodded in agreement. “May I ask why an archeologist is interested in the subject?” Nancy looked at T’Aral, smiling. “ ‘... the subject ...’. Our friend really needs a name.” “That, Ms. Crater, is evading the question.” Nancy smiled wider. “So it is … but there’s no reason not to tell you. Robert believes that the creature comes from M-113; a planet with ancient ruins. He believes that this is his best chance to truly understand the ancient civilization through the mind of one of its survivors.” T’Aral nodded even as she frowned. “That is assuming that this creature has knowledge of that civilization. The details of ancient civilizations are often lost to modern cultures: the subject may be unable to assist.” “Possibly, but nothing ventured nothing gained. We have to at least try.” Nancy led T’Aral to the lounge. “Would you like something to eat? We’ll be holding over here for another day or two while Robert confirms a few things. He wants to run some tests … perhaps you can assist? They’re harmless, I promise - just some residual element tests to hopefully confirm his beliefs regarding the subject.” “I will certainly assist; and some plomeek soup would be helpful.” It had been a while since T’Aral had eaten, and her body had grown more insistent regarding regular meals. Hopefully this would not prove to be a complication - Cale would not approve.
  12. T’Aral exited the brig and made her way to the turbolift. As she did so she prepared a message for the Captain, indicating that she required a meeting as soon as possible. While it was not her desire to interrupt as Cale returned to what passed for routine, complications regarding the disposition of the creature required immediate attention. Observing the interview on the closed circuit surveillance cameras stationed within the brig area, the incoming message came as no surprise to Calestorm; it was not every day that one had a...creature or being of unknown origin held in confinement. She merely nodded to Maya, the gesture conveying both understanding and that she would be on site shortly. Leaving bridge operations with the young officer manning FOPS - she was pretty sure the NCO’s on duty would keep an eye on her - Crash quietly exited the bridge into the turbolift. T’Aral’s lift exited on the crew deck. Although she would normally return to the Medical Bay, she had been on an extended shift and was feeling abnormally tired in addition to the normal aches and mild upset stomach which accompanied her condition. She needed rest, some comfort food, and an opportunity to let herself be weak for a while. None of that would be available in the Medical Bay; she had to return to her quarters. As she stepped past the door, T’Aral’s fingers stretched and opened reflexively. While the 22C standard was held throughout Starfleet common areas, the temperature within an officer’s quarters was set at their own discretion. Given her developing needs, T’Aral only recently conceded the need to set her quarters at a more temperate 35. Making her way to her bunk, she laid back under a warming lamp and let herself relax passively. Exiting the turbolift on the senior officers deck, Calestorm headed for the CMO’s quarters to update the doctor on the creature. It was a bit unusual per protocol, though allotments were made in view of T’Aral’s condition. She pressed the inset on the communications pad set into the bulkhead, chiming for admittance. T’Aral tipped her head to the door. She had not expected Ensign Khora so soon, but then it was illogical not to. She had chosen Khora as her caregiver for her dilligence as much as for her understanding of Vulcan customs. She should have expected a visit the moment she was available. As she hadn’t returned to Medical it was only logical that Khora would pursue her here. Turning off the lamp, she reached over to release he door. “Enter.” And Great Bird of the Galaxy...it was hot in here! The blast of heat hit Crash as soon as the entry way opened. T’Aral rapidly stood. When the door chimed she was expecting someone else; showing such weakness in front of Cale could not help but be embarrassing. “Captain; I didn’t expect you to answer my page so swiftly. I will come directly to the point: the creature is sentient. It’s actions were not borne of malice, but of a need to survive. Viewing these as extenuating circumstances, we can no longer simply release the creature for study as if it were a specimen animal. It is intelligent, and all decisions regarding its disposition must be made with that in mind.” I will not pass out...I will not pass out...having flashbacks to desert survival training. “Doctor, I know that you will anyways, but please include that viewpoint on your hard copy report directly as it will further aid the.....sentient creature.” “As you wish.” T’Aral stepped to a reasonable distance from Cale, taking an attentive stance. “It is not that I doubt Starfleet’s dilligence. The difficulty comes from the fact that, while sentient species consistently speak of striving towards the highest of moral standards, their resulting actions fall far short of their stated objectives. I do not mean to malign any specific species: this trait is consistent regardless of species - with Vulcans being no exception.” Calestorm half leaned against a bulkhead and attempted not to sweat. She crossed her arms over her chest and spoke plainly to the Doctor. “This is classified, currently only myself and the Commander are aware of the full extent of the situation beyond our orders to drop the creature at Starbase Harrington. Professor Crater is highly esteemed within the archeological field. A colleague of his was on a dig on planet M-113 a few months back and Crater feels as if some of the imagery taken from the dig resembles our...being. The creature will not be studied. Crater and his team will oversee the effort to return the creature is returned to M-113.” “Why all the hush hush? Starfleet is investigating exactly how the creature came to be transported off the planet. Somewhere, our patrols were circumnavigated to say nothing of Federation regulations regarding the removal of indigenous life - should the creature be in fact found indigenous to 113, mind you - from a natural habitat.” T’Aral listened quietly, nodding occasionally. The Captain was slightly in error: regulations regarding the transport of animals only applied to those found harmful to other species. Pointing that out, however, would be a distinction without a difference given the subject of conversation. “Of course, there are those who are opposed to this.” Cales expression was one of distaste, directed at who exactly was unknown. “There are those officers at San Francisco Command who view the attacks on the Osiris Prime survey team as purely hostile and they are seeking termination of the creature.” T’Aral nodded in understanding. “To see matters in distinct categories is, regrettably, a common trait.” To many sentient beings things were either good or evil; beneficial or malevolent. The idea that such judgements are founded in one’s own point of view was unfortunately rare in the galaxy. “Captain: I understand that you are limited by your orders. All the same, I am curious if it could be arranged for me to escort the subject to M-113. I have begun to develop a rapport with it, which would be condusive towards a peaceful resolution.” Crash’s facial expression changed; every age line was visible and her visage was stern. There was no way... “That is a big time negative, Doctor. Crater and his team are capable of handling the return and escort of this being to 113. If you’d like to remain with the creature during layover at Starbase Harrington and observe the preparations? That’s doable.” “That is an acceptable course of actions, at least initially.” It was rare for any Starfleet officer to be granted any request without conditions or modifications. T’Aral knew that she was no exception, and that compromise to accomplish at least some part of her intentions was far more logical than to demand all and ultimately obtain nothing. With an effort she relaxed and her expression softened. “Doctor, it wouldn’t be very wise to authorize such an off the books escort mission, your current condition aside.” T’Aral’s eyebrows jerked up sharply. “Captain: I am quite able to assess my condition. I am currently capable of functioning as effectively as any equivalent Starfleet officer - I am not hindered in any way.” She kept her voice steady, forcing her body to remain relaxed. The last thing she intended was to begin a battle of wills with Cale. Rank alone established the outcome of such a conflict as a foregone conclusion, and this time the Captain was well within her discretion. Crash decided to engage diplomacy and devils advocate skills, saint and ministers of grace defend them. Sure, a lot of people considered her the ‘shoot first and ask questions later’ type and the reputation wasn’t entirely unfounded. What was often overlooked was her Southern heritage and therefore, the inborn ability to turn on the charm - and the diplomacy - when needed. “Doc, this creature has already demonstrated it is quite capable of killing, maiming. Yeah, ah know the circumstances weren’t ideal and the poor thing was basically treated poorly what with being snatched from 113 and ending up dumped on Osiris. How can you be sure this being won’t revert, won’t turn on you? What if it hurts the baby? What if you lose the baby?” T’Aral suppressed the need to sigh; Cale meant well, even if her presumptive nature was getting the better of her. “First: the proper coloquial term is ‘babies’. Ensign Khora has detected two distinct and effectively equal developing embryos. Second: you are proceeding from an illogical premise. It is my wish to see to the creature’s well-being as a matter of principle. This should not suggest for a moment that I trust it. I shall seek to maintain defensive screens and security officers between myself and the subject at all times. Third: I could also bring up the fact that my research suggests that the creature requires iron-based hemoglobin in order to ‘process’ its victims. Vulcan blood chemistry is based on copper; so although it is clear that the subject’s camoflage talent works on Vulcans as well, I should be functionally immune to a feeding attack.” Crash tramped down on the desire to exhale loudly in exasperation through her nose. Perky and determined Vulcans. What’re you gonna do? She regarded the Doctor quietly, hazel-green eyes intent. Her mind involuntarily recalled a moment in time when a peer had taught her that there were going to be moments when a commanding officer needed to recognize when to ‘let it go’, to let a subordinate ‘do their thing’, so to speak. Her people were capable. And maybe it was a safe bet to have a Starfleet representative riding shotgun with Crater’s team as the creature was relocated. The team were civilian contractors with the Federation, not Starfleet officers. “Permission granted, Doctor. Myself and Commander Wesley will clear this with Professor Crater as well as Harrington Base Command.” She raised one finger to emphasize her next statement. “We’ll also expect updates, and if anything remotely hinky goes down? You let those Security grunts do their job and protect, hear me? No heroics.” T’Aral’s eyebrow twitched a final time. “Captain: when have you ever known me to engage in ‘heroics’?”
  13. T’Aral sat in the medical bay office awaiting the arrival of the Captain. It was the worst part of her condition: the fact that complications were making her performance in stressful situations unreliable. This meant sending subordinates, which meant taking in second-hand information. Such information relied upon the observations of others as well as their own recollections. Even with the best of intentions, error was possible. Heading straight for the medical bay after hitching a ride on one of the SAR shuttles, Captain Calestorm was still clad in tactical vest and holstered phaser, smelling faintly of sweat and the seasonal flowers in bloom on Osiris Prime. “Crewman”, she spoke kindly yet directly to a passing medical technician, effectively getting the man’s attention, “Where’s Doctor T’Aral?” “I believe she’s in her office, Captain.” Yeoman Briggs gestured to the medical office. “She’s almost always in there.” Seeing the Captain across the bay, Ensign Khora stepped swiftly into the office to advise T’Aral of Cale’s arrival. T’Aral nodded softly in appreciation, grateful for the chance to solidify her composure before the Captain entered. Nodding thanks to Briggs, Calestorm walked the short distance to the CMO’s office; she hovered in the entryway and asked. “How ya feelin’ Doctor?” “I am relatively unimpaired. My condition is proceeding normally.” She looked up to Cale, then stood up while smoothly sweeping up a tricorder.. “What about you, Captain? You had a rather close encounter. Are you injured in any way? How is your recovery time?” She began scans to see how well Cale’s body had recovered from the exertion. Medical scanners, deploy! The captain allowed a slight grin. “Doc, I spend most of my time running through the flora of Osiris Prime being chased by previously undiscovered creatures that can suck the salt from your body. With that said, I’ll be fine after a shower and some chow.” T’Aral nodded as her tricorder bore evidence which concurred with Cale’s self-assessment. “It is good to see that you keep yourself in relatively excellent health. Given the frequency and intensity of serious situations that you encounter, remaining fit is essential.” The Captain proceeded to inform the Doctor of the events of the afternoon. “I had ordered my escort back to camp. I wanted to survey the perimeter on my own. Next thing I knew, I was staring across a clearing at the Salt creature. Whether it had purposely been tracking me, ah’ve no idea.” Leaning casually against the bulkhead, Cale crossed her arms over her chest and continued to tell the tale. “The creature gave chase. I cleared the treeline with the Salt Vampire doing so a few seconds later. Marine and Security teams maintained orders and stunned the creat…the being.” Cale had no idea if Salty was a creature or a being. What she did know from the science and medical speculation was there was a sort of intelligence at work along with the baser predator instincts. She figured it was a safe bet to call the thing both creature or being. T’Aral’s brow furrowed. “I do not believe I need to remind you that a staff officer in a potentially hostile environment is supposed to have security escort at all time.” Cale’s independent nature often left her with a certain level of frustration. “I am also concerned with the fact that my request to pursue a peaceful encounter with the creature was not taken under stronger advisement. Capturing the creature in a hostile manner makes the situation far more difficult to resolve.” Crash opened her mouth to comment on the staff officer observation, decided against it and snapped her mouth shut. Choose your battles. Clearing her throat, she directly addressed the second aspect of the discussion instead. “Doctor, nothing would have pleased me more to have the encounter be less hectic. But when a large, bipedal creature proceeds to take on a squad of my Marines and Security, instincts besides the point?” Cale shook her head in the negative. “No. Unacceptable. Now that we maintain custody of the creature, mebbe it will expose the intelligence that Lieutenant Asher hinted at.” T’Aral set down her tricorder. “Captain: I am not objecting to how you responded to the situation you found yourself in. I am objecting to the events that lead up to that situation. If you had taken action on my suggestions it is quite likely that you would not have found yourself in a critical encounter, and we may have been able to encounter the creature in a much less intense manner. “It is, however, quite curious: the subject’s behavior has proven most illogical. You should not have been able to surprise it, and in such a state of surprise it should have camouflaged itself to appear as a security officer or a member of the survey team.” T’Aral’s brow furrowed. “There is no logic to the creature’s actions at all.” Cale gave a wry grin. “Doc, I believe I was the one surprised. But, that’s besides the point.” T’Aral’s eyebrow twitched. “I disagree, Captain. In an analysis of the creature’s state of mind, a complete analysis of its behavior is critical. It should not have allowed you to see it in its natural state.” She pondered the possibilities. “The creature is clearly in a more desperate condition than was previously presumed. What has become of it, Captain?” “The creature is currently under transport to the ship and will be held in the brig. Medical and Science staff are to have access to insure health and safety. Security will maintain a watch and myself and the Commander have left orders for Salty to remain under light to moderate sedation to avoid incident.” T’Aral sighed, weakened by all she was encountering. “Captain: while I agree with strict and thorough security measures, I must log my objections to sedation of the creature now that it is contained. If you would examine the situation from the subject’s point of view, I believe you will agree that we have done everything we can to evoke a hostile response from it. We have hunted it, shot it, captured it, and restrained it while drugging it. If you were similarly treated, I believe that you would find your situation most unpleasant and thus seek to retaliate against your captors by any and all means at your disposal.” She looked downward before continuing. “Negotiation … perhaps even civil communication may now be impossible.” Crash sucked on her teeth, the silent gesture twisting her mouth as she considered options. The ‘Salt Vampire’ was now in their custody. In controlled circumstances, could negotiation even be attempted? The creature had demonstrated a predator intelligence, but would it respond to civil communication? Her tone neutral but her facial expression stern as she replied. “Hostile has been the norm throughout this situation. This creature for whatever reason is dumped on Osiris Prime by a cut-rate transport company with a affable rogue as CEO.” The captain then paused for a moment and gathered her thoughts. Cale referred to one Harcourt Fenton Mudd, of Mudds Transport Incorporated. It seemed Mr. Mudd had gotten into other enterprises since his liberation from the Rura Penthe gulag. Oh yes, that rascal had handed himself on the radar of the First Threat Response program with this little air-mail incident...but that was another matter to be dealt with at a later date. And Calestorm intended to highlight that suggestion in her Osiris Prime after action report to Admiral Coyote. For now, the matter at hand was the Salt Vampire and she continued with her initial line of thought. “Putting aside the how or why Salty ended up on Osiris Prime, it proceeds to attack an unsuspecting survey team and the evidence we have ascertained from eyewitness statements indicate that the team did nothing to provoke this...salt sucker being.” T’Aral remained unmoved. “Taken from a different point of view: it was abandoned in an environment that it is not suited to, and proceeds to use its natural abilities to survive by preying on the same race of creatures which placed it in such a hostile environment in the first place.” She eased herself back into her chair. “The question of ‘hostility’ must be examined from all perspectives.” The captain continued to pace slightly within the confines of the office, hands on hips. She muttered quietly to herself regarding ‘always getting the weird missions’ and San Francisco Command ‘needing a boot’ in a certain orifice. An eyebrow cocked softly while T’Aral kept herself from smiling. “ ‘Wierd’ is merely another word for that which has not been encountered before. We are, after all, border patrol.” The older woman’s attention winged back to the chief medical officer, her gaze critical as if appraising TAral, one eyebrow raised. With a slow smile, Calestorm agreed with a, “This is true.” The smile dropped as she then considered other matters. “Doctor, you’ve permission to attempt speaking with this creature, being, whatever. Ah want the session completely recorded and logged, I want protection at all times. In your condition, I’d prefer you not be directly involved. Have one of your right hand people to take charge of the effort and in addition I want Sciences drawn on as support, ah’d say Doctor Maturin would be a likely candidate.” The directives were blunt and she meant business. There was no room for discussion, it was what it was. T’Aral nodded. It was an improvement: far from ideal, but still an improvement. “Actually, Captain, an initial analysis suggests that I may be an almost ideal candidate. My blood chemistry varies from the human norm, which should offer me some protection from the creature’s attack. Additionally: I have no intention of putting myself in harm’s way.” “Fine. If this thing can in fact project mentally? Ah want safeties in play for that as well. And ah do not want any mind melding, do you understand me?” Cale had leaned slightly over the desk and towards the Doctor as she mentioned the concept of melding, palms flat on the surface. Her movements weren’t threatening, but she definitely projected that she expected the non-meld order to be followed to the letter. “Captain: your concern is appropriate, but unnecessary. I intent to interview the creature from the far side of the brig cell restraint field with one attendant and two security officers present at all times. There will be no opportunity for physical contact, and three others will always be present to observe any changes in behavior.” T’Aral pondered the situation. “As a precaution, I would suggest deactivating the local command pad for the security field and retaining full control of the defense screen at the brig’s main security desk … just in case the creature is capable of projecting some form of suggestion.” She paused for a final appraising look at the Chief Medico and then gave a curt nod of grudging agreement; trust was a two-way street or say they said, “Acceptable and go for it, Doc. Myself and Commande. Wesley are to be given an outline of the communication plans and an after action report on the results. You’ve forty eight hours to conduct your...interview? Then we’ll arrive at Starbase Harrington to offload the creature to Professor Crater.”
  14. The fuel dump would have been a gamble if there was anything to lose, for the outcomes were as follows: Do not dump the fuel and ignite: burn up in 40 minutes. Dump the fuel and not be detected: burn up in 10 minutes. Dump the fuel and be detected: potentially be rescued. The shuttle passengers were essentially dead given their current circumstances - the waiting was all that remained. Providing a signal was the only logical course of action, even if one didn't expect anyone to be watching. Do nothing: you die. Do something: you'll probably die sooner, but you might just live. As for your other comments: they are essentially correct. Logic is a fine tool, but it only functions if the premises are correct. Spock's premises were, in several cases, erroneous.
  15. Captain: have you ever read Dreadnought? Diane Carey didn't miss that particular detail, either.