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Behind Closed Doors

Posted on Mon Nov 22nd, 2021 @ 2:56pm by Captain Abigail Laurens & Commander Ichiko Gail

Mission: Double Bind

The Captain's Ready Room was meant to be a sanctuary, a place where the Captain could step away from the chaos of the ship and take time to reflect, to think, to breathe. To gather her thoughts before facing the moment again.

Right now, the space felt like it was anything but a sanctuary. It felt like the walls were closing in around her, threatening to suffocate her.

There were so many decisions to be made. So many questions that needed answers. So many answers that would have long lasting, potentially catastrophic repercussions. Repercussions that stood to affect so much more than just the lives of her crew.

As she approached her desk, Abigail kicked the side wall in frustration, hard, every iota of frustration she felt being delivered in the action. "Go n-ithe an cat thu, is go n-ithe an diabhal an cat!" she cursed just as the doors to the ready room opened.

Ichiko took a few steps in, letting the door seal behind her. "I speak seven languages. Angry isn't one of them." she offered, before walking a few steps closed. "A koku for your thoughts?"

"Sorry," Abigail muttered as she limped to her desk chair, dropping into it and sighing heavily. "We've had missions that have gone off kilter before, why is this one bothering me so much?" she asked, looking up at Ichiko as she rested her foot on the edge of the seat, unlacing the boot slowly.

Ichiko nodded. "It's because we're invested, personally. We know their names, we know their history. We're going to have holidays named after us. Statues in parks for children to play around." She reached into her uniform pocket to produce a small coin, metallic in color with alien script on the sides. It had a hole in it closer to the edge than the center. Smooth, well carried from the looks of it. The rabbitess placed it on Abigail's desk. "Debt paid." she offered.

"It's not going to get easier once we get down there. Despite how easy Rogers makes it sound, things get worse from here. If it gets out that we're here to save them, this is going to become a refugee mission very fast. It always does." Ichiko continued after a moment, "Give the word, and I'll handle the rest. As the ship's second, I'm here to protect you. As your friend, I'm here to help."

"Are we doing the wrong thing if we try to help them, knowing that we can't save everyone?" Abigail asked, looking up at Ichiko as she wiggled the boot off her foot. "Does it have to be an all or none scenario?" She sighed. "We always make decisions based on the greater good. Surely the greater good is that they get the chance?"

Ichiko thought for a moment, looking out the view to the world below. "We can't save everyone." she stated, simply. "Three years taught me that. We were taught not to think of the entirety, not to think of the populace. We were taught one thing. One." a pause, "Save one."

"Then save the next one. Then the next. We have two hands, my field commander used to say. One has a weapon, one might be free. Never loose your weapon to save someone, so you only have one hand to help." a pause, "So don't blind yourself with the big numbers. Look down at that world, and start with one." then she shook her head, "Besides, like I said we are way beyond the point of regret. We're invested. Might as well save as many as we can." Ichiko then walked over to Abigail, and knelt down a bit to be eye level with her. She fixed her glance into Abigail's.

"I want to hear you say it." she said softly. "I cannot save everyone. I will save who I can." The was no malice, no disconnect. Just a softness and a concern.

Abigail didn't repeat the words, instead she leaned toward the desk, picking up a PaDD and thumbing into it, bringing up some sensor scans before handing it to Ichiko. "Is that what all Ts'usugi believe?" she asked. "Because it seems we have company, company more interested in our actions than in the events on the planet."

Ichiko eased off, taking the PaDD and confirming what she already knew from the shuttle ride over. She stood, only to move to the other side of the desk. "Would you accept 'that's a complicated answer' as an answer?" she offered first. "No. Any single child of Ts'usu would want to save everyone. Yes, the stance of Ts'usu's military forces is that saving everyone is not possible. Can it be done? Yes. Do we devote everything we have to it? No. We save who we can, since trying to save everyone usually results in losing more."

"Everyone serves their three, maybe more if they want. I got out as soon as I could, and never stopped running." she admits, "And I feel comfortable enough here to admit that. I'll never forget those three years, and even if I could..." a pause, and she just shook her head. "I don't want you losing your mind, losing your resolve, losing your faith in yourself because you can't save them all. Knowing we walked into this will the full expectation to work miracles."

Then the elephant in the room. "As for this." she held up the PaDD. "Yes, you're being observed. Everything we do here is, well for lack of a better term, being judged. The Federation is an odd party in these parts, a lot of people are interested in how you respond, how you react. Are you conquerers, are you prone to interfere, do you uplift societies, are you looking to bring up ... essentially serfs into your Federation." she stumbled a bit for the right word.

"There are a lot of races and factions out here curious about the Federation. Some are experiencing them first hand with the few ships that are out here, others are just hearing about Voyager's trip through the region and the good, and ill, it left in its wake." a pause, "The Ts'usugi usually don't interfere with races that haven't broken super-luminal. If a direct plea for help is made, though, that does change things. If they can detect us, if they can contact us, then a discussion very similar to the one we had here is made. Do we interfere, and the extent to which we do."

"But the children of Ts'usu are a people that have walked away from a war, Abigail. We explore the stars to find peace, and try to recapture the life we lose." she fell silent, returning the PaDD to her desk. Then she did something odd: She turned her back on Abigail. "it's a smaller vessel from the looks of it. It's drive is active which is why you can't see it. We discovered faster than light travel differently than others. Match a comm signal to the K-Band spike frequency and you can hail them. We don't turn away a direct plea for help. The Astraea will have more resources available then them, but more hands to coordinate evacuations."

Ichiko turned back to face Abigail. "We have rules, we have demands. I just broke one of them." she tapped the PaDD, "That's the beginning of the secrets of the Ts'usugi."

"I'll keep that in mind," Abigail said quietly. "Once we know from Engineering and Sciences what kind of scale we're looking at we'll be able to make an informed decision as to whether I should contact the Ts'usugi ship or not. They're watching from a distance, making sure to stay out of our sight, it seems like they don't want us to contact them, so if we don't have to I won't."

There was a pause as Abigail looked down at her toes. "I want you to come to the surface with me. I think we'll also take Commander Rozia and Lieutenant Commander Myers. We'll need someone to pilot a shuttle, choose who you think is most suitable. They will need to look into the situation with the atmosphere, make sure they're prepared."

Ichiko gave a nod, "Of course." no question in her response. "As for who to bring with, if we need a shuttle pilot, we can task Callisi from the fighter wing. Koh is element lead, and more suited to flying fighter craft in the event of an emergency. Callisi's record was serving on drop shuttles." the rabbitess supported her decision. "Also, get the populace down there that notices us used to the notion that life out in the dark is very different."

Abigail gave a nod. "I want to be prepared to leave as soon as we have our answers from Engineering and Science. Everything else is going to hinge on whether or not they even want our help. If they turn us down, well, nothing else matters." She sighed and reached up, running a hand through her hair. "Anything else you think we need to be aware of before we go down?" she asked, looking across to the Ts'usugi that had become both her first officer and her friend.

"Hmmm.." she thought, "Ts'usugi tests are less tests and more filters. Right now, they're watching to see your responses but they're less concerned so much with WHAT you do, rather WHY you do what you do, and WHEN. Oh, you meant more about the world." she gave a knowing smirk, "Well, at this point, make sure they spell your name right on the dedication plaque." she joked, a rare giggle in this troubled time.

"Honestly, remember what I told you. I know it isn't what you want to hear, but it will go a long way here. We're not gods. We can't save them all. So we save as many as we can and save their way of life." she was silent for a moment. "No matter what you do, even if you did nothing, know that I'm still pleased and honored to be your second. And your friend."

She was quiet for a moment to let that endure for the time it needed. "I'll have Callisi get the shuttle prepped. I'll tell her prep for earliest half an hour, latest hour fifteen."

"Thank you," Abigail said quietly. "For everything." She drew in a deep breath as the doors closed behind Ichiko before turning her attention back to the toes that were starting to discolour. With a heavy sigh she reached up and tapped her commbadge lightly. "Captain Laurens to Commander Morgan. When you're finished with the Caetoveans, please report to my ready room." There was a pause, a moment of silence where it was clear the comm was still active before she spoke again. "You may want to bring a medical kit."


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