USS VINDEX - NCC-2474-A
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Unscheduled Appointment

Posted on Mon Jan 9th, 2017 @ 12:40am by Captain Claudia Ainscow & Lieutenant Elsa Johansson

Mission: S1E3 - Operation Adrestia
Location: Sickbay
Timeline: Mission Day 18: 06:00

Claudia had been told off by Lieutenant O'Reilly for going back to duty too early and had been ordered to stay in sickbay until the following morning - so that's what she intended to do. Claudia knew it was a mistake to rush back but she knew at the same time her presence was desperately needed for the Operation Adrestia briefing. More pleasing news was that a passenger ship would be rendezvousing with the Vindex at Gavara IV to drop off Grace and Heidi once the wormhole and Deep Space 11 was secure. Heidi wasn't staying for long but Claudia knew her younger sister wouldn't want to hang around for any longer than she had to due to their bad relationship.

The day had started off rather...interesting for Elsa. She had gotten up at 0400 to take care of the administrative details associated with her office. She left a message for the ship's computer to deliver to Ensign Bogolyubov, to have the Ensign contact her to set up an appointment to discuss their recent arrest. Almost five minutes later, Anastasia was in her office.

The conversation with Anastasia had been more surreal than usual. For one thing, the usually somber Russian was giggly.

As in, Anastasia would make a small giggling sound every few minutes for no apparent reason, and then immediately apologize.

Only to giggle a few minutes later.

Anastasia hadn't been able to provide any further information on her brother Dmitri, but Elsa hadn't been expecting anything new. So she dismissed Anastasia, who left Elsa's office with a giggle.

Elsa shook her head and looked at the office's chronometer. 0600. With a sigh, Elsa asked the computer to notify the Captain (when the Captain woke up) that Elsa was requesting an appointment to discuss Ensign Saalkan.

Claudia lay in the bed awake and decided to get up and get herself a glass of water to alleviate her dry mouth. She then quickly decided to check her schedule to see what was happening and ask Rebecca to delay anything if necessary - but she found a message from Elsa Johansson requesting to meet her. Claudia responded to confirm she would meet Elsa in her sickbay room as soon as possible. Claudia then sat back on the bed and waited patiently for Elsa to arrive. Rebecca had spent the night with her but she'd slipped out about half an hour ago to get ready for her shift.

As soon as Elsa got Claudia's confirmation, she tapped her commbadge

=/\= "Ensign Maera" =/\=

=/\= "Counselor Maera" =/\= Jaya said in both acknowledgment and correction.

=/\= "Counselor Maera. I apologize if I woke you, but the Captain has time to speak to us right now, in sickbay, on the matter the two of us explored last night."=/\=

=/\= "Sleep was elusive, so you're fine. I'm en route now, so I will probably get there before you. Maera out.=/\=

When Jaya first came to Sickbay, she expected Claudia to be under constant care in a biobed. To her surprise, she found the captain luxuriating in a private medical suite. Her condition must be worse than Jaya had known, though at first glance Claudia looked to be well.

"Good morning, Clau--Captain," Jaya said as she invited herself in. "Els--Lieutenant Johansson asked me to join your meeting this morning."

Claudia smiled. "Good morning. What can I do for you both? I was already awake but I'm stuck here until I'm allowed to leave...but I'm hoping that's going to be sooner than tonight...after the mission is supposed to be completed"

Elsa had stepped in behind Jaya, but had initially kept quiet, a bit bemused by the Captain's appearance in Sickbay. Elsa had seen her commanding officer yesterday, both when Claudia had given Elsa her promotion, and at Commander Avram's presentation. The Swedish officer almost hesitated in broaching her suspicions concerning Commander Tolan, but it wasn't matter that could wait. So after mentally straightening her shoulders, she began her presentation.

"First, I think you'll be happy to know that Ensign Saalkan's rehabilitation is coming along well, as far as his wanting to circumvent the chain of command again. But that isn't the matter Counselor Maera and I came to discuss."

Claudia nodded. "Good. The last thing I want to be worrying about right now is people trying to disregard the command structure on this vessel. However I guessed that wasn't what you came to tell me so please - go ahead"

Elsa produced the small device she had taken out in her office last night, when she had had her "session" with Jaya.

"This is something I devised during my tenure with the Consortium, when I wanted to ensure my conversations were private," Elsa said, putting the device on the wall near Claudia's biobed. "This won't interfere with the telemetry being sent from your biobed, or the operation of our commbadges, but otherwise it will stop eavesdropping."

Claudia looked at the device for a moment or so before looking back at the two officers who had come to visit her.

"What is it?" Claudia asked.

"As you're probably aware," Elsa began, "Shortly after we defeated the Consortium forces attacking Unity, both Ensign Bogolyubov and myself were detained on suspicion of providing assistance to the attacking Consortium forces. Specifically, we were held under suspicion of providing the Consortium information of the deployment of the minefield we had laid."

"That's correct. I was told by Commander ben-Avram that Ensign Bogolyubov volunteered to be arrested which in turn led to a message being sent here from the Renown requesting you were arrested too. Lieutenant Zuzan asked for Commander Tolan to assist with the investigation but as far as I'm aware he told me he released you both without charge after finding that the evidence he had received was inconclusive" Claudia replied.

"My grandfather would say Ensign Bogolyubov is one of our Creator's true innocents," Elsa noted with a hint of a smile. Her face returned to its normal solemnity as she produced a PADD, handing it to Claudia. "This is evidence of my innocence. Mine and Ensign Bogolyubov's. It's a log of our commbadge movements and transmissions, from the time of our initial briefing concerning our impending battle to the arrival of the Consortium forces. In fairness, I have to confess that it's a log that is easy to manipulate, given a modicum of skill and knowledge. However, you will also see a second log on the PADD with the same information. That is a compilation of various maintenance logs, including those of my commbadge and that of Ensign Bogolyubov. To modify the second one would require a more extensive skill set, since it would require someone to make physical modifications to a number of different subsystems. Given enough time, someone like Commander Himmel could probably pull it off, but it would include removing all traces of those activities as well. And there hasn't been enough time. So this," Elsa conclude, giving a nod to the PADD in Claudia's hands, "Establishes that neither Ensign Bogolyubov nor myself contacted the Consortium with information on the minefield."

"I believe you are both innocent Lieutenant - I wouldn't have promoted you and made you Third Officer if I believed or even had the slightest worry that you were a traitor. You may be 24 but you're a damned good officer and I trust you. Apart from that I think we're probably looking at someone in Operations or Intelligence - I don't believe for one second that Commander Himmel would do such a thing. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention though - and thank you for conducting such a thorough investigation" Claudia replied.

Elsa found herself exhaling in relief. "Thank you, ma'am, for your vote of confidence. And I did not mean to cast any doubt on Commander Himmel. I merely used him as an example of the caliber of skill and knowledge required to accomplish modifying the maintenance logs to the extent necessary without a trace."

"There is, of course, more to the story, Captain," Jaya offered meekly. She offered Elsa an encouraging smile.

Elsa paused, trying to determine the best method to tell the Captain what else she had discovered. 'If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well. It were done quickly,' she decided.

"I also enrolled Counselor Maera's services to establish my innocence through another avenue," Elsa continued. "It was during my session with her that the Counselor and I discovered my subconscious had established a connection between Commander Dmitri Bogolyubov and an officer serving on board the Vindex. Specifically, Commander Tolan."

Claudia sighed. "There's something about Commander Tolan you should know. Seeing as we're in private I can disclose it - although I wasn't planning to just yet. Commander Tolan is working as a double agent on the orders of Starfleet Command and also to work out the size and members of The Consortium group on this ship. He is also trying to obtain information to relay back to Starfleet Command whilst relaying false or out of date information in return to. I have unquestionable and cast iron proof he is telling the truth as I have been sent a copy of his orders - please be assured that he is not the enemy of anyone aboard this ship except the group of agents working for The Consortium"

"Of course, ma'am," Elsa answered.

"I experienced first-hand the subconscious connection within Elsa's mind," Jaya interjected. "The Lieutenant has a latent intuition not uncommon to your species. She cannot read minds, but I would not dismiss this as mere suspicion." Jaya furled her brow as she explained. "The link she observed between Tolan and Dmitri was on an emotional level rather than an intellectual one. As in, Captain, she noted a unity in their emotional dispositions and states."
She smiled at the difficulty of explaining extra-sensory perception. "It is akin to various lie-detector tests, where biological markers betray emotional states congruent with deception, subterfuge, and the like."
She sighed. "A skilled actor could fool an intelligent person, but not the undefinable quality of genuine intuition, not once that flag is raised." Her stare leveled with Claudia. "Respectfully, Captain, at the very least there is something Tolan is not telling you, and it's something to which the Consortium is already privy."

Jaya pursed her lips and stepped back, nodding at Elsa.

Claudia smiled. "There are some things he is not allowed to tell me Counsellor. I am assured these do not affect the safety of this vessel - again I have proof of that and can receive and produce it to those with sufficient security clearance on request to my superiors. If there is something he is hiding from me then we will find out sooner or later - however I feel whatever it is he has his reasons for it. I'm not trying to prove you wrong or anything Counsellor - but we have to trust what he is doing for the safety of the Vindex. I am sure he will inform us of anything that we need to know"

"Of course, ma'am," Elsa interjected before Jaya could say anything. Elsa keep her face in its normal stoic expression, but she tried to mentally broadcast to Jaya Follow my lead over and over again. "The counselor and I also understand that this information needs to remain in this room." Elsa paused before adding, "May I suggest, Captain, that we keep this conversation among the three of us as well? I can tell you from personal experience that this discovery will disturb the rhythm of Commander Tolan's rhythm."

Claudia smiled. "Thank you Lieutenant. I feel that would be very wise - his position would be compromised and his entire operation would follow suit. We must ensure his cover is kept for as long as The Consortium threat is active on this vessel and in the Gamma Quadrant. If it puts you at ease I can have a confidential briefing with the four of us and Jaya can observe his body language and his thoughts - of course providing he is willing to"

Were it an unfamiliar stranger, Jaya would have dismissed the pulsing emanations from Elsa as sexual urges and probed no further. However, due to their bond, Jaya knew that Elsa was not given to wanton sexual distractions. She keyed in on the specific feelings and noted a clear desire for cooperation. "That will not be necessary, Captain," Jaya replied. "If you wish to convene at a future time, I will of course be available, but I withdraw my recommendation at this time."

I hope you know what you're doing, Jaya thought to herself and Elsa alike, not know or particularly caring if the other picked up on it. It remained unclear how receptive this empathic bond between them could be or how long it might stay that way.

Claudia smiled. "That's fine. Thank you both for understanding and I really appreciate you bringing your concerns to me. I cannot stress how grateful I am that you are keeping Commander Tolan's situation between us - I feel it's for the greater good and good things will come out of it in the end"

"We'll let you get your rest, Captain," Jaya said, backing toward the door. "Good day."

"Good day, ma'am," Elsa added as she retrieved her anti-bugging device. "Speedy recovery."

Claudia smiled and waited for the two women to leave before getting back into bed again. She wished she could cuddle up with her girlfriend but Claudia knew she'd be able to do that later - for now however she intended to keep resting until she was allowed to go back onto light duty and then to her quarters for the next few days to relax.

As the two women exited sickbay, Elsa motioned for Jaya to remain silent, leading the other woman to the turbolift. As soon as they entered, Elsa ordered the lift to Deck 15, then produced her anti-eavesdropping device. "So we have two scenarios," Elsa began without preamble. "One is that Commander Tolan is a double agent working for the Federation, which the Captain firmly believes. The second is that Commander Tolan is a double agent who is still loyal to the Consortium."

"Or a third possibility, which is that Commander Tolan is caught in his own web, perhaps not even knowing where his final allegiance will fall," Jaya said. "That would make him all the more dangerous."

Elsa nodded. "So for now we watch, we wait, and we hope the Captain is right. And Counselor --- Jaya, I want you to stay clear of Commander Tolan. Even if he is what the Captain believes him to be, he's still someone who won't hesitate to take whatever measure he deems necessary to protect his mission." Elsa paused before continuing, "I'm --- I'm sorry I got you involved in this. And made you go in here," she added, tapping her temple. "I'm afraid I didn't think things through."

"I'm a lover, not a fighter," Jaya said with a winsome shug. "If Commander Tolan doesn't come to me, then I have no reason to go to him." She pivoted her weight onto one foot and towed the floor with the other. "And, Elsa? Don't worry about what happened. I presented the risks of an unrequited empathic bond and we both accepted them. Our link will likely continue to fade, and in as soon as a few days it could even be as if nothing happened at all. And if that isn't the case, I have other means of sorting it." Jaya's trademark smirk returned. "Deltans are hardly juvenile when it comes to bonds and connections."

Elsa gave Jaya a small, lopsided smile. "I think I'm going to be disappointed to lose that link. But perhaps we can still have a chat now and then."

"Any time," Jaya replied. She hesitated briefly, then leaned forward to hug Elsa. "I mean it. I don't want you punishing yourself."

"No worries, Counselor," Elsa said, hesitating only for a split second before returning the hug. "And if you feel you're in an uncomfortable situation related to this," Eksa told Jaya as she broke their hug, "I want you to contact me immediately. Day or night. Do not hesitate. Promise me that."

"I'm the counselor here," Jaya falsely chided, then winked. "Thank you."

"Of course," Elsa said, a hint of a smile returning to her face. As the turbolift opened up to deck fifteen, Elsa added, "You may not be a fighter, Jaya, but I am. And this is a ring I'm used to fighting in. Keep that in mind and call me if you need me."

Jaya nodded. "I will."

"I'll be in touch, Counselor," Elsa said as she left Jaya in the turbolift and headed toward her office. Already Elsa's mind was returning to the patterns she had needed for survival on the Cukela. Elsa hadn't had the skills, the position or the mindset necessary to prevent the Cukela from being taken over. But a year of a covert "career" on the Cukela had prepared Elsa to take the necessary precautions for the possibility that Captain Ainscow was wrong about Commander Tolan. Ensign Johansson hadn't been able to save the rightful captain of the Cukela. Lieutenant Johansson wouldn't fail the captain of the Vindex.

 

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