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Thread: Star Trek RPG - Mission #7: "The War-Brotherhood of Irkhuit"

  1. #601
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    "I concur," Nia says, her tone as quiet as his while she stares at the impressive but intimidating array of mines and other security measures. "Yeah, a straight path would be faster, but only because we'd be blown to smithereens in five seconds.

    "Still. The speed changes are curious. Why vacillate between fast and slow? Unless there's some sort of timer-based, oversensitive trap that'll go off if someone lingers in one place too long." She sends Booker a wicked grin and the full force of her shining, amused gaze. "I can relate, as you probably remem--"

    Horrified, Nia wipes the smile from her face, clamps her mouth shut and returns to the controls and the plotted path on her viewscreen, since it's time to speed up again.

    Lucky the Tesla hasn't yet been outfitted with transporter tech, although that is on the wish list. If she could beam herself off the shuttle into the vacuum of space, she'd probably do it.

    "Sorry, Book," she whispers, then grits her teeth again. "Booker."

    Little prickles of scales scratch beneath her scalp and forehead. She'd be sweating if that weren't something Sidonians almost never do. The shuttle has never felt so claustrophobic. Licking her lips, she then takes a much-needed deep breath. "Is it just me, or is it getting a bit close in here?" Her eyes focus on the path ahead and the thousands of tiny deathly devices just daring her to move the Tesla a few dozen meters closer. "Too much company outside, I guess."

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    "You're okay," Rawlings murmurs just loud enough for his voice to carry to Onn. "Steady as she goes... and you'll get us there, Lieutenant."

    The minutes crawl by as Onn carefully guides the shuttle along the specified course. Graham's scan reveals that the starship orbiting the prison planet is a Minsk-class light cruiser, the USS Amman.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amman

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    Mäkeläinen tells Kylah, "This will be my first visit. But, during my psychiatry rotation, I had to deal with people who were a danger to themselves and to others. It was... taxing. Wearing. Some patients had no respect even for their own bodies."

    He grimaces and continues, "Here is the thing (and you may be able to relate): no matter who the patient is, and how they got there, they deserve compassion and effective treatment. But empathy is a double-edged sword. It is a good quality, but that very empathy leaves you vulnerable to manipulation. Imagining yourself in the place of a patient is important, but trying to identify with an unhealthy mind will drive you mad. You learn to keep that distance, even more so than with other kinds of patients. Do not let your thoughts stray too far down the abyss. And confronting mental illness is scary and humbling. Remember, Hutchinson was a Starfleet officer, just like us."

    "Prison, well, it's not like the old days, and even back then they were not kept in isolation, exactly. But, make no mistake, this is a concentration of sociopaths, psychopaths, and serial killers, to say nothing of other personality disorders. Often there is little we can do about that, medically speaking. I prefer not to picture too vividly what it would be like assigned to a prison, possibly for years on end. I suppose I would focus on day-to-day routine work; even manipulative psychopaths can catch a virus, or break a bone."

    Mäkenäinen shakes his head. "We'll be out of here soon."

  4. #604
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    "Thanks, Double-T. No worries, it's just like threading a needle." Nia smiles despite herself. Better not elaborate that she's likely the Alpha Quadrant's worst seamstress. It's a good opportunity to blip over her inappropriate gaffe with Booker.

    She lets the shuttle fill with silence--aside from the pleasant low murmur of someone in the back, must be Dr. M.--while maneuvering around a fairly sharp-angled turn. Then, once the Tesla's past it, Nia pipes up again. "Anyone want to guess as to what the Amman's doing here? My choice is, maybe dropping off a prisoner of their own. But I'm not much of a story weaver. The rest of you can probably concoct something a bit more exotic."

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    Dr. Mäkeläinen's words have an almost hypnotic effect on Kylah. They make her feel understood... but not solely in a good way. His comments seem both insightful and, somehow, invasive. Doctors always unnerve her, put her at a disadvantage, but usually while they examine or scan her. Dr. Mäkeläinen manages to do so with his voice and gaze alone.

    She cannot argue, for his advice is wise. She can only stare at him, enrapt, as she often was as a child in front of her uncle while he read her to sleep.

    At last Kylah shakes free of whatever spell she has been under. "Yes. I hope there is not much of a delay before we head back to the ship. And of course we will not enter the prison itself." The doctor's recitation of the prisoners' mindsets has chilled her--the very thought of being among so many people, the weight of their anger, madness and despair pressing in on her, makes her shudder. "Perhaps we need not even leave the shuttle."

    Her attention strays unwillingly toward Ms. Hutchinson. She will never leave the prison. Kylah's heart aches for anyone facing such a fate. But she killed her own wife and child. How can I keep forgetting that? Murdered her whole family! Why, why did she do it?

    She drags her gaze back to the doctor and murmurs her thoughts aloud, for his ears alone. "You rightly say that it is dangerous to empathize too deeply with such people. Still... one must, if we are to understand how crimes like this happen. If only we could know why. I wish that had been required during the trial... her explanation for performing such a... such an unthinkable act."

  6. #606
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    A glint comes into his eyes. "I agree, Kylah, and I said as much to Dr. Villa after the hearing. This is someone who had undergone regular performance assessments as well as medical checkups and was cleared for duty. Why would she snap like that? Of course we want to know, and I guarantee that both the prosecution and the defence would have insisted on a thorough psychiatric evaluation, each for their own reasons.

    "But the principle in the Federation is that we respect people's autonomy. Not as absolutely as some civilizations do, but it is there. Hutchinson had the right to cut short the trial, and the judges accepted it was of her own free will. And even confessed criminals have rights; no forced mind probes here. I wonder if she really knew what she was getting into, though."

    Mäkeläinen, too, takes another look at Hutchinson. Her chances of ever getting out of here are basically nil, if they exist at all. For the medical part, no doctor would be quick with an opinion that it is safe to release a killer back into society, even after years of therapy and rehabilitation (should the prisoner avail themselves of that route) and mitigating circumstances (of which none were mentioned at the hearing).

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    Rawlings says, "My guess is the Amman is here as a guard ship. I've heard they rotate ships through here, a month or so at a time, to provide extra security."

    Graham notes that the shuttle has been intensively scanned since entering the system.

    Soon Jaros II, an airless, grayish-brown and much-cratered world, is looming large in the forward viewports. The stern-looking Security officer reappears on the forward display screen. "Shuttlecraft Tesla, you are cleared for descent and landing. As before, please follow the course now being provided to you. You have been assigned to Landing Pad 3. Jaros II Command Center out." Another, less complicated course plot appears on both Onn's and Graham's control readouts. It is a typical descent course from orbit and will have the shuttle on the ground in just under six minutes.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guard_ship

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    Torn between his datapad and noticing what Hutchinson is up to, Rangin decides that doing something about the latter is likely to be more safe and secure in the long run and he stands to make his way to the two pilots ahead and casually blocking any view that Hutchinson might have of the pair up front.

    “My apologies for this, as it might be distracting, but you have an avid listener sat back there who really should not be allowed any details of our descent. Just as a security precaution, I’m sure we all understand. Mr Graham, Ma’am.” he says quietly to both of them.

    “Yes, he/she is paying far too much attention to what ever you mention and whatever can be glimpsed of the control panels, hence my close proximity.”

    He continues to stand and wait for either of them to acknowledge his comments while still looking out the cockpit window into the starry view beyond.

  9. #609
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    Graham tenses slightly when Rangin sidles up behind them, but relaxes and cocks an eyebrow as he speaks.

    "She shouldn't have much chance to act on any information," he replies quietly. "But it's a prudent observation," he adds, nodding grudgingly.

    He glances sideways first to Nia and then Rangin. "Back in the good old days we'd put a big thick sack over prisoners' heads. Worth the occasional suffocation."

    He feels compelled to add, "Ah, that was a joke."

  10. #610
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    Nia nods distractedly in response to all the men offering opinions. "Noted, Rangin, and thanks. I doubt it's a huge danger but I should've been more careful just the same. Maybe you wanna trade that blue uniform for red?" She flashes a quick smile, adding Rawlings in for good measure, before returning to land the shuttle.

    Booker's flippant comment rankles, and her shoulders tense. She'd probably be less irritated if he'd even slightly acknowledged her apology. Then again, it seems very much in character for him to just ignore the discomfort and pretend she didn't exist. In fact, he probably didn't even hear her slip.

    So her nerves are frayed when she hears his sack/suffocation remark. "A joke in poor taste, Lieutenant. Some of us have been--may have been prisoners ourselves." In fairness, she never told him about that part of her past, but... he never asked. Bet I know more about his bleedin' sister than he knows about me. She finishes with a grim mutter, "And suffocation isn't very funny to me." He probably forgot that night in her bed, too.

    Shit. There goes my mood again. Better ask Dr. M. if he happens to have a hypo of that magic potion he gave me yesterday.

    With a curt shake of her head, she grunts. "Forget it. Rangin, better sit down. Landing in less than five. We'll have a chance to stretch our legs for a bit once we're dirtside."

    Nia prepares to bring the Tesla down to the landing pad with gentle pulses of the thrusters to buffet their descent. She's pleased that the shuttle's movement is smooth as velvet, a veritable feather wafting downwards.

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    Onn skillfully brings the shuttle down, the planet growing larger and larger ahead until it fills the viewports. Onn and Graham have a clear view of the Starfleet Prison Jaros II complex on final approach; it is a low, drab, modular series of interlinked parsteel structures almost two-thirds of a kilometer across, along with some outbuildings. There are two landing pad clusters of four pads each, set on opposite ends of the prison. Landing Pad 1 has another shuttlecraft on it, while the others in this cluster are empty. Landing Pad 3 is easily identifiable from the large number painted on it and its blinking perimeter lights.

    The Tesla comes gently to rest, and the Command Center officer asks Onn to shut down the shuttle's engines and prepare for egress.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 03 May 2022 at 03:04 PM.

  12. #612
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    Nia follows the directions, giving a side-eye to Rawlings and, in particular, Hutchinson. She doesn't expect any desperate last-minute attempts to escape--it would be almost hilariously futile, with a mountain of a security officer nearby, another strong man with a more than capable trigger finger, and Nia herself--who'll never let anyone hijack the Helm while she's got breath in her body.

    Still. An infinitesimal chance is still a chance. That's the reason for the wary, warning look before Nia powers down the engines, waiting for any re-pressurization procedures, if necessary.

    She flicks a glance at Booker, then Rawlings. "I'll open the hatch once you officers get into position and are satisfied that it's safe. And we'd probably better wait till our host gives us permission to disembark."

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    Graham nods, and turns toward Rawlings. "Prepare to disembark with the prisoner. On exit you'll head out first and form up right, I'll follow and form up left." He pauses. "The team will follow."

    He starts to rise, then pauses on the way to put an arm on Nia's near shoulder and lean in close. "I'm sorry if what I said upset you--but, before that...you never need to apologize for...for ah. us," he whispers quickly. "Not to me, and not to anyone on my account."

    He quickly stands and reclaims his arm to straighten his shirt, and then check his phaser for charge and settings.

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    "Understood, ma'am, sir," Rawlings says to Onn and Graham. The latter's phaser-2 is still set on Stun and is fully charged, as he expected. Rawlings checks his own sidearm and subtly nods to Graham.

    The Tesla lurches only a little as the landing pad begins to descend. It slowly drops below the planet's surface and thick double doors slide shut over it. You find yourselves in a well-lit chamber of rough-hewn stone approximately ten meters down and thirty meters across. The shuttle's sensors soon show that the airless space around you has been safely repressurized. The Command Center officer says, "You are now cleared to exit your shuttle. Please then proceed through the doors to your left. All those aboard are invited but not required to enter the facility; anyone who wishes to remain aboard, other than the prisoner, may do so."

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    The shuttle's sudden descent along with the landing pad is unexpected enough for Kylah to let out a gasped "oh!" in alarm. At first she grasps the seat of her chair, unsure what else is coming. When she glances up front she sees the stars disappear as the Tesla travels downward, she stands abruptly. The impression she gets is of being buried underground.

    But once the landing pad settles, the light from the chamber surrounding them reassures Kylah that they are not in some dark grave. Feeling foolish, she rubs her arms before sitting back down. Should she stay here and test whether the communications tech is able to receive or send anything? She dearly wants to stretch her legs, but... she does have the responsibility to perform the tasks for which she was added to the mission...

    She sighs at her attempt at self-obfuscation. The truth is, she is uneasy about being too close to the prisoners. Well, she can get a little exercise without taking much of a risk. It seems highly unlikely that the party from the Yorktown would be allowed anywhere near actual convicts. Aside from Ms. Hutchinson, of course.

    Making sure she has her usual equipment, Kylah stands up once more. She can finally see Velir, just barely anyway, past Mr. Rawlings, and sends him a shy smile. She realizes she should have sent him a text message, and could have done so at any point in the past nine hours. Silly of her not to think of it.

    She must wait for Mr. Rawlings and Ms. Hutchinson to move before going anywhere, and so she turns to the doctor beside her. "Are you going to look inside?" she asks quietly with a tactful nod toward the prisoner's destination.

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    Nia opens the hatch and will sit for a few seconds, watching the others start to leave and collecting herself from the little shattered pieces lying on the deck.

    Just about the last thing she expected was the weight of Book's arm on her shoulder--so warm, welcome and familiar. Followed by the intimate murmured apology and gracious words.

    She just nodded, eyes straight ahead as if trying to navigate through a long canyon. Beneath her uniform, on her shoulder where his arm rested, her scales receded, vanishing into her tingling skin. Just from a simple, collegial gesture.

    The lurch from the landing pad was certainly less of a jolt than the reminder of just how much she wanted, still wants, Booker Graham.

    Somewhat belatedly remembering that she's the commander of this mission, she performs all necessary shut-down procedures and gets to her feet. She's looking forward to stretching out her muscles after the long flight, but she'll wait for and follow Booker.

    Damn him.
    Last edited by SidonianGal; 06 May 2022 at 08:04 AM.

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    Dr. Mäkeläinen stands and double-checks he has not forgotten anything, in preparation for following everyone else out.

    Should one or two of us be left to guard the shuttle? How does protocol work in this case? That is Lt. Onn's business, anyway.

    He answers Kylah, "I do not expect we will be offered a grand tour. But we want to be satisfied that our prisoner is handed off to responsible authorities, and we need to see for ourselves the conditions. For example," he indicates the chamber they are in, "while to a salty deep-spacer an underground donjon is merely luxury accommodations, generally speaking it is not an ideal situation for prisoners for some of whom rehabilitation may be a real possibility. Anyway, I know we are not responsible for the operations of Starfleet stockades, but it is all going into my report."

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    Graham clears his throat and nods approvingly at the bits he overheard from Dr. Mäkeläinen. "It's not an order, but I'd encourage everyone on the team to disembark--especially if you haven't seen a Federation detention facility before." After a moment's pause he adds, "Anyone can let me know if that's a problem."

    Assuming it won't be, he takes a position ready to follow Rawlings and Hutchinson. "OK, on your feet, Hutchinson. Rawlings, pop the hatch and let's move out."

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    Rawlings takes the prisoner off the shuttle. Something in Onn's expression makes Graham decide to linger behind.

    Who else follows Rawlings and Hutchinson?

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    Mäkeläinen and Kylah are in the back, behind Rawlings and Hutchinson. The doctor looks to see if Kylah is coming. If so, he follows her out. If not, he takes his leave and follows them out.

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    Rangin considers the options of staying in the shuttle as opposed to heading out into the prison. He does wonder what the interior or even the exterior of the Federation prison planet might be, it’s not somewhere he would ever want to stay either long or short term. Then again, if he does go in, he hopes someone is not going to mistake him for one of the inmates, being from Coridan and the reputation that precedes it’s inhabitants.

    But, after several hours of sitting around and doing very little before having to sit around for even longer on the way back, perhaps stretching his legs might be the better option. A little bit of sunlight if they have it, before being stuck in the shuttle. He may like to avoid prisons, after all, who wants to be near one, but if this is the only stop on the way, best to take advantage of it.

    He packs his things together, making sure to keep a hand on them before rising with a comment thrown out to the others. “Well, I’m looking forward to a brief stretch before the next leg of this trip.” and then Rangin gets ready to disembark when he can.

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    Since Velir does not return Kylah's smile--likely he cannot see past Mr. Rawlings--she waits no longer and turns to leave. Dr. Mäkeläinen seems to be waiting for her, in the old Terran tradition of men allowing women to precede them. Much like how so many of them pull out women's chairs when seating themselves at a meal, another courtesy that has always puzzled Kylah.

    But it is her job to understand and respect customs, where possible. So she nods gratefully and heads toward the small procession out of the hatch, just behind Mr. Rawlings, who is as ever an impressive, intimidating figure to behold. Two or three Klingon generals and other soldiers she has met back home were of similar size, but their presence was enhanced by their armor. Mr. Rawlings is, by himself, a small battalion.

    Then they move forward, revealing that Velir has waited for Ms. Hutchinson and Mr. Rawlings to pass. Which makes sense, Kylah reasons. When he expresses his intention to get some exercise off the shuttle, her smile flashes again, and she moves forward flanked by Velir in front and the doctor behind.

  23. #623
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    Graham glances from the departing crew to Nia and back again.

    Satisfied Rawlings has the prisoner in hand, he settles back on Nia.

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    Nia watches the others lining up, planning to be the last out of the ship. She's a little surprised when Booker hangs back, and her skin gets that warm, prickly feeling again.

    "Thanks, but you don't have to..." She makes a gesture that sort of combines a nod and a shrug. "I figured I'd take the rear." She looks up at him. It's the first time that they've spoken one-on-one since the wedding reception, and certainly the first since Marala entered the picture a week prior.

    "We probably shouldn't wait," Nia says at last, tucking a curl of hair behind her ear (unnecessarily, as she knows she's slicked it back securely). "We didn't exactly keep things--you and me--a secret, and I wouldn't want anyone thinking that we're--you know. Inappropriate."

    But then this whole conversation is inappropriate. Why did he stay back? Why is she even talking about any of this? Nia shakes her head as if bothered by a fly and resolves that next time, she'll obey her instincts, as she would have today before Vargas stuck his nose into her business: no Booker on her assignments, if she can help it. And if he's essential to a mission, more so than she is--which is probably more likely--she'll be the one to tap out.

    "C'mon, let's have a fun prison visit," she says lightly, and lifts an arm for Booker to precede her. "Go on. Like one of my friends says, 'age before beauty.'" Her eyes meet his directly, though there's a hint of pleading in her expression despite the confidence she's trying to project. Don't say anything, Book, don't feel sorry for me, don't... just don't.

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    Rangin nods to Kylah as she walks up behind him in the shuttle as he is preparing to leave.

    “Looking forward to the tour?” he enquiries politely as he follows Rawlings and Hutchinson out of the hatch and looking forward to seeing what the prison planet. He’s hoping it is not a grey wasteland full of rocks and metal, but then prisons the galaxy over, all seem to revert to type.

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    Everyone leaves the Tesla and steps out into the large chamber. The floor is also stone, but smoother than the walls. There is a large metal door, closed but big enough for the shuttle to pass through, on your right. The much smaller double doors to your left, also metal, open as you approach. Rawlings walks through, leading Hutchinson gently by the arm. Beyond is another room, also of stone, about half the size of the shuttle landing bay and with a ceiling just three meters high. Along one stone wall are two horizontal rows of what appear to be metal panels of varying sizes - small on top, and large on the bottom.

    Three redshirts are standing there, all Human; the middle one is an older, dark-haired woman. "Welcome to SPJ2," she says, smiling. "I'm Cmdr. Beruze Malaj, the Deputy Warden." Rangin, who had an Albanian classmate at the Academy, recognizes her name as being from that country.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 13 May 2022 at 02:17 PM.

  27. #627
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    Nia's words--and expression--were so unexpected that for a moment, all Booker could do is look from her eyes to her extended arm and back. He shifts his jaw, going so far as to open and close his mouth for lack of a formed thought to express. In the end, he simply nodded slowly and follows the implied direction to lead the way off...struggling mightily not to turn back around--despite the fact he still doesn't know what to say.

    The welcoming committee feels like a godsend to - of necessity - demand his and Nia's full attention.

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    Dr. Mäkeläinen stands by while Lts. Onn and Graham do their thing greeting the redshirts. He looks at the metal panels curiously.

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    Kylah cannot tell if Velir is in a better mood than when they parted last night. He can be so polite. Sometimes... she does not like to criticize him, but... sometimes he seems almost too polite. His manners and courtesies are so much of what draws her to him. Yet it is sometimes hard to identify the line between his gracious, gentlemanly demeanor and the cool, distant fortress he builds around himself.

    "I am curious to tour this place, but not looking forward to it, exactly," she says quietly. She cannot help a sympathetic glance at Ms. Hutchinson. Kylah suddenly resents this assignment, having been put in a position to watch someone losing their freedom. She lifts her gaze to the smooth walls and floor--all oppressively gray, and says in a near-whisper, "It is ugly here."

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    Nia approves of the setting--which looks sleek, modern and positively antiseptic compared to the Neian district jail back home--but is primarily grateful for Booker's tact and the greeting of the Deputy Warden, both of which allow her enough time to get herself back into professional mode.

    She weaves her way through the small party to stand closer to the front. "Thank you, Cmdr. Malaj," Nia says, forcefully brisk again. After she quickly introduces herself as the mission commander and then the rest of the Tesla team, she finishes with Booker. "And Lt. Graham is our Assistant Chief of Security. I could be wrong but I think he'll be particularly interested to see the... intake process."

    Nia lifts her chin in Hutchinson's direction without actually wasting any eye movement to look at the prisoner. "Could you tell us a little about the history and setup here, the population and so on? Of course only what's not classified or um, compromising, securitywise."

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    "Thank you, Mr. Onn, Mr. Graham," Cmdr. Malaj says. "First things first, however. I thank you for bringing this prisoner here, pursuant the lawful verdict of a Starfleet court-martial, and acknowledge her delivery. I now officially accept custody of her." She presents a datapad to Graham, the senior USS Yorktown Security officer present. He checks several boxes and signs it. Malaj makes a notation of her own and then countersigns.

    She nods to her two redshirts, who come forward and take the prisoner from Rawlings. One of them scans Hutchinson with a tricorder and says to Malaj, "Identity and lack of weapons confirmed, ma'am."

    "Very well. Take her for processing, please, Mr. Baines."

    "Aye, ma'am." They begin to lead Hutchinson away.
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 14 May 2022 at 01:15 PM.

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    The stone-and-metal chamber does not signify anything special to Bizhi, good or bad, just that there must not be much wood around, but plenty of rock and ores. Rather like Mars.

    He looks after Hutchinson's redshirt party to see if they disappear down another featureless corridor, or if he can discern anything (not that he knows anything in particular about what security measures look like).

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    Kylah stares after the departing prisoner and some foolish, hasty impulse shoves itself past her circumspection. She steps forward and blurts, "Ms. Hutchinson. Please, will you not tell us--"

    She breaks off, because she knows the request will lead nowhere, yield nothing. Flushing, she continues more hesitantly. "I wish to understand. May I write to you?"

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    Pivoting to face the younger woman, Nia is speechless for a second. What in the blazing sky could this idiot be thinking? Though flabbergasted, she recovers quickly. "Ensign!" she snaps. "Lock it up and stand back."

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    Hutchinson's guards hesitate. The prisoner turns and a flurry of emotions rush across her face; Kylah thinks she sees confusion, disbelief, and perhaps... gratitude? Hutchinson finally says, "Yes, if you wish. Thank you."

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    Kylah's pen pal gambit was definitely not on Graham's bingo card.

    Nia seems to have it in hand, though.

    "Ah, indeed, Commander, as Lt. Onn suggested, I am curious about a number of things...was there a particular--unclassified--reason this system, and this planet, were chosen for the facility?" he asks, gamely attempting to move things beyond Kylah's outburst.

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    Not surprised by Lt. Onn's reaction, Kylah focuses on being glad for Ms. Hutchinson's approval. Since she has long since grown accustomed to being snapped at by senior officers, she gives a less-than-apologetic nod in response to the command. Still, as she returns to her position a little behind Lt. Graham, she casts a grateful look at his back for the change of subject.

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    Mäkeläinen gives Kylah an appreciative (and carefully ambiguous) nod when no one else is looking. He, too, wishes to understand. Hutchinson is not his patient, though, and he is no longer connected to the case in any way, now that she is officially entered into the facility.

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    Hutchinson and her guards pass through a pair of doors beyond and to the left of where Cmdr. Malaj stands, and are gone.

    Dr. Mäkeläinen thinks the walls and floor are probably granite; the ceiling is metal. He notes that there are several small black discs along the ceiling line and near the doorways which, he suspects from having visited other Starfleet secure facilities, are sensor and surveillance nodes.

    The Deputy Warden says, "Right, then. If you'd like the two-credit tour, prison regs require that you leave all your gear - phasers, tricorders, communicators and so forth - in these lockers." She gestures to the metal panels in the wall. "They'll be returned to you when you leave, of course. If you'd rather just talk, there's a conference room adjoining this chamber."
    Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 17 May 2022 at 12:46 PM.

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    Nia, after flashing Booker a look that pretty much translates to thanks--might wanna keep a leash on your protégé, arches an eyebrow in curiosity at Malaj. "I understand you need to be vigilant, Commander, with most of us. But our Security officers? We've got two of Starfleet's Finest here." She eyes Double-T and Booker, giving a one-shoulder shrug. "Recommendations, Lt. Graham? You okay with that?"

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    Kylah has just registered the reassuring look from Dr. Mäkeläinen when, unlike the rebuke from her current C.O., the Deputy Warden's words deliver a jolt of alarm. She cannot give up her communicator, not after all that has happened to her without one. And the regulations Cmdr. Malej cites stir her memory of the similar prohibition back on the Sakthian research station--Kylah's very first mission.

    The director there demanded everyone relinquish their weapons, beginning a standoff that nearly scuttled the mission before it began. Lt. JG Collins balked, but eventually Captain Singh told them to obey the Sakathian's rule. That agreement led to dire consequences.

    Back then, however, Kylah still possessed her throwing knives, which escaped detection; indeed, not even the Yorktown officers knew she had them. Except Velir, whose keeping her secret was the start of their friendship.

    Of course both knives have long since been lost, one through usage, the other stolen when she was attacked on Anubis. To her shame, Kylah has even abandoned the Elasian women's tradition of wearing the hidden leather thigh hilts, part of her daily wear since she was old enough to hold a knife. Uncle Aldaan said he would send replacement weapons, but...

    Reflexively she darts her gaze to Velir--the only member of the current landing party who also experienced the Sakathian disaster--to gauge his reaction.

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    "That's, ah...very kind, Lieutenant," Graham replies in response to Nia's comment about "Starfleet's finest."

    "It, ah, may be jarring given our typical mission parameters, but it's not atypical--when I was working law enforcement on Earth, as a sworn officer you'd yield your weapon before entering a prison facility."

    He pauses and nods toward Malaj. "It's their show, and if they weren't on the ball about keeping prisoners secure..." He smiles and shrugs slightly, turning first to Nia and then back to the Deputy Warden to nod respectfully. "Well, there wouldn't be many prisoners left, would there?"

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    "Indeed not, Lieutenant," Malaj says seriously. "Nobody has ever escaped from SPJ2, and nobody ever will, if I have anything to do about it."

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    Rangin is standing back for the most part while Hutchinson is handed over. It’s not really his remit to get involved, indeed the formalities of handing the prisoner across are going as expected until Kylah decides to ask to be her pen-pal. Scientific curiosity aside, Rangin is quite prepared to forget this person ever existed and let them spend the rest of their days in a deep dark hole where they belong.

    He tries to show little emotion at the little scene, although inside he finds the reactions amusing, with Lt Onn being outraged and the prisoner being shocked, and the general nervy unease of everyone else around. Such an awkward situation, but Rangin is getting more used to them with Kylah around. It’s almost endearing the way she just blurts out what she is thinking from time to time and it’s hardly fair that he should be the only one to feel that sense of cringe that pervades the air.

    When it comes to looking around the prison and handing off all his gear, Rangin knows it is the usual procedure if you are going into a prison, unless they happen to be a well-paid lawyer. Then again, it’s not like they are going to be going any distance into the prison and certainly are not going to be mixing with the prisoners. Phasers maybe, but everything else seems a little like overkill. Overkill is such a bad work to use around a prison, Rangin muses to himself.

    Judging by the others, it looks like Graham is going to be all for it, which is more than enough of a reason for Rangin to stay behind. A tour might be fun, but if they have a conference room, he can catch the video tour and get some snacks in at the same time. Besides, it gives anyone else an out if they don’t want to be part of the tour.

    “I’ll pass, thanks. I’m happy to stay behind.” Rangin pipes up in a hopeful pleasant tone of voice.

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    Now that Nia got the Deputy Warden to agree to show them around, Dr. Mäkeläinen figures this is his chance to ask about the prison's medical facilities. He has already been introduced, so he simply explains, "I wouldn't mind getting a quick look at the medical facilities you have around here, Commander, and how they are run, given the rather special circumstances."

    He had not thought about it, but seeing the doors and security nodes brings into sharp relief the fact that practically everything they are carrying must be highly controlled in a prison. Weapons and communicators, makes sense, but drugs, too, are obvious contraband. He is not used to thinking in those terms.

    He can live with putting all his stuff in a locker for a short while — in a facility as secure as this one appears to be, it will no doubt be perfectly safe — if that is what it takes to see what he came to see. The metal in his arm may show up on multiple security screens, no reason to doubt that. It does not just come off, nor would he consider parting with it even if it did. But, if they do question him about it, he imagines they must be reasonably familiar with prosthetics.

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    "I think it is best that I stay behind as well," Kylah says promptly, only to realize that it will probably seem as if she does so merely because of Velir's own decision. In a rush, she adds, "The shuttle's communication technology is the sole purpose for my presence on this mission. I will stay and run some tests."

    Her hands find each other and she twists her fingers nervously, eyeing Lt. Graham and wishing he could see her sincere concern. "And I--I think it is a good precaution as well. Someone should be out here, able to communicate with others, if something goes wrong."

    She can see Lt. Onn take a deep breath, presumably ready to cut her short, but Kylah proceeds anyway with an apologetic glance at the Deputy Warden. "I mean no disrespect, Commander. I am sure you have excellent personnel and safety protocols. I just--it is just that not long ago, I was a member of a Yorktown landing party that ended up in a similar position, stranded on a space station without weapons and trapped with a dangerous population. Not even able to get back to the shuttle or call for help. The mission was led by Lt. Collins," she finishes softly, aiming her speech at Lt. Graham in hopes that the mention of his close friend and fellow Security officer will somehow add more weight to her words.

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    Malaj seems a little wary of Kylah, given her earlier abrupt pen-pal request of Hutchinson, but says, "As you wish, Ensign. The tour is certainly not required. Those who wish to stay should either return to the shuttle, or step into this conference room," she indicates a door. "Everyone else, please put all of your gear in these storage slots; they're thumbprint-secured. Then we'll get underway."

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    Nia gives Kylah much the same guarded look as Malaj, then turns to the Deputy Warden as she removes her phaser and other items from her duty belt. "Is it absolutely mandatory to stow our communicators, ma'am? All of us? I'm sure your staff inside have communicators of their own--couldn't one of our Security officers keep hold of theirs? Rules are rules, of course, but..." She tilts her head toward Double-T and gives a small smile. "...Does Ens. Rawlings here look like the sort who's gonna be overpowered?"

    She'll put away her items regardless of Malaj's response, and shifts a little until she's next to Dr. Mäkeläinen. Under her breath, she'll address him privately. "Hey. That medication yesterday worked great. It's been over 24 hours by now, so if it wouldn't be a problem, do you think another spritz would help, assuming it's available? I'm feeling somewhat... edgy. Exaggerated reactions." She scowls slightly. "Actually I don't remember asking if there's any risk of addiction or reliance on whatever that spray delivered. Sloppy of me."

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    The last thing Graham wants to do is second-guess Nia in front of others, but he's puzzled by her insistence on trying to retain some equipment.

    I get the caution, for sure--but this is a top class Federation facility. If we have reason to believe these folks aren't on their game...that would be a big fucking deal...and if we don't...

    Presumably this is related to the mission Kylah remembers with some obvious discomfort.

    Well, as a Security officer himself Graham feels some affinity for the staff: if we say we got you, we got you...


    He remains silent as he doffs and stores his gear, wondering if he should ask about this later...

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    [I double-checked the thread, and Dr. Mäkeläinen did indeed remember to bring along "some psychoactive anxiolytics and anti-psychotic medication that can be used to calm a delusional or psychotic patient", which were never named, but I am assuming includes Lexorin. If not, I apologize in advance---we'll just re-write this dialogue!]


    Bizhi judges that picking an argument, here and now, with senior prison officials about making an exception to basic regulations has zero chance of succeeding and would only serve to annoy the Deputy Warden who, after all, is doing some strangers a courtesy by agreeing to show them around and has no reason to react positively to chutzpah. He is therefore surprised when Nia asks if they can keep a communicator. It makes him reevaluate: is he too quick in doing what he was told? Yet, where would it leave him later if he spent whatever non-existent currency he has with the Lieutenant Commander before she even escorts them inside?

    He is stoically moving to stow his gear when Nia asks him about medication. His brain processes what she is asking about. "You mean Lexorin. I have some here. I was just about to store my medical bag in this locker along with everything else--- not at all happy about it, but when the Warden instructed us to stash all our gear, I assume that included drugs. I can give you the same dose now. And, you are right, I should have been more clear yesterday. Long-term use, as in weeks and months, and high dosages can potentially lead to tolerance and dependency; your brain gets used to having those chemicals around. It is indicated for short-term use. In your case, my prescription is five to seven days, only as needed for acute... edginess; you do not need to take it regularly by the clock."

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