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Happy Birthday Paul

Posted on Fri Feb 3rd, 2017 @ 4:24am by Commander Akiva ben-Avram & Captain Claudia Ainscow & Lieutenant Commander Cara O'Reilly MD & Major Storr Garlake & Lieutenant Commander Martha Cusack & Lieutenant JG Lucia Cusack & Sergeant Bella Zaltin & Petty Officer 3rd Class Rebecca Ainscow & Paul Foster
Edited on on Sat Feb 11th, 2017 @ 10:31am

Mission: S1E4 - Remnants Of A Lost Cause
Location: Function Room
Timeline: Mission Day 66; 12:15

It was the Vindex chef Paul Foster's 49th birthday and Claudia had arranged a brief party for him during the lunch break of what was due to be the final day of Vindex's mission on Gavara IV. She had invited all of the senior staff and had delegated tasks to the attendees to help arrange things like the decorations and food. Claudia was pleased to see that everything was ready to go and she waited patiently for the first guests to arrive.

Akiva was on hand as well. He stood near the table of honor where the pastries and cake were being set up, though he did little by way of organizing it. He eventually wandered over to Claudia.
"You planned all of this yourself?" he asked her. "You really were an Ops girl."

Claudia smiled. "I can't take all the credit. I delegated a fair amount of the work to others"

The first couple to walk in were two tall gentlemen, one a senior noncomm in gold, the other a warrant officer in teal.

"We could have been fashionably late," Master Warrant Officer Borner observed.

"And that would be perpetuating a stereotype that's been out of date for four centuries," Master Chief Petty Officer Hopkins replied to his date. "Besides, I like to have first dibs at any buffet tables."

Storr entered next with his First Shirt, Bella Zaltin, both wearing ridiculous pointed green-and-white striped hats with a red tassel on top. The MCO looked around nervously, noticing that no one else was equally adorned.

"Wait, didn't they say that this was a birthday party?"

"With all due respect sir...can it." Bella chided him with a simper and an elbow to the ribs which he immediately returned. "Besides, I make this look good."

Storr rolled his eyes "Great, now you're a fashionista. I'll be sure to reference the Ten-Twenty-dot-Three-Four [uniform regulation] when I get back." Making his way past Claudia and Akiva with a respectful head nod of acknowledgment to both, he stationed himself by the punch bowl like a bouncer at a seedy nightclub. Though, not before availing himself of it. Twice.

Martha then entered with her plus one - her wife Lucia - and looked around the room before pointing to a spot that she felt comfortable with. Lucia had become accustomed to Martha's autism and even though she was happy to attend this party there were still situations that she found uncomfortable.

"Can I get you anything Martha?" Lucia asked.

Martha shrugged. "Whenever you're ready. Don't go to any effort just for me"

"I'm ready when you are beautiful. Just let me know" Lucia smiled.

Martha nodded. "Thank you"

"I have to thank you again for the interactive display you made for the children," Janelle told Yanet as the two women walked into the room. Yanet was still wearing her duty uniform, while Janelle had on one of her gray "teaching uniforms" that mimicked a Starfleet one.

"It was my pleasure," Yanet said, looking around the room. "This looks like a nice turnout. I'm glad I got someone to take my spot on the bridge at the last minute. Now, if only there's some dancing, and I can talk one of these officers to try to keep up with me on the floor."

Janelle laughed as the two friends headed for the buffet table.

Cara came in from the kitchen with a tray of hors d'oeuvres and a gift bag slung from her wrist. She set the tray on the buffet table then carried the gift bag over to Claudia. "They just finished it," she said and pulled the silver ladel out of the bag so the Captain could see the engraving "Master Chef Paul Foster...Happy Birthday, your USS Vindex family".

Claudia smiled. "I'm sure he'll love that. The engraving is wonderful"

"Tillson in Engineering did a great job," Cara said as she handed the gift bag to Claudia. "I'll let you do the honors."

"It was very thoughtful of you. I'm sure Paul will be extremely grateful for the effort you and Tillson went to to have it ready in time for Paul's birthday" Claudia replied.

Paul finally arrived and he was surprised to see the effort that had been put into arranging a surprise party for him. As the attendees broke into a rendition of "Happy Birthday" he couldn't help but chuckle to himself. Once they'd finished he blew out the candles of the cake Rebecca held up in front of him.

"This is a wonderful surprise. Who made this delicious looking cake?" Paul asked.

Becky smiled. "Grace Ainscow. She did it all herself"

"She's done a great job. I'll have to save her a piece - but firstly - who else wants a piece?" Paul replied.

"In honor of your birthday, Paul, I will take the biggest piece you can slice," Akiva said. "That's what friends are for."

Paul grinned. "I'll keep the very biggest piece for Miss Ainscow but I'll be sure to cut you a big piece Commander. Who else wants some cake?"

As Chef Paul began cutting his cake and passing out pieces, Janelle found her friend Yanet, who was flirting with an ensign from Engineering.

"Just wanted you to know I have to duck out early," Janelle told Yanet. "I have kids to check in on."

"I'll make sure I get lucky enough for the both of us," Yanet replied, which set both women giggling before Janelle left.

On the other side of the room, Seneca pulled a small brass clip from hi pocket and frowned. Leaned over to his date, he gave Luka a peck on the cheek and whispered, "Need to go take care of something real quick. Meet you back at your quarters?"

Luca raised an eyebrow. "Want me to bring you a piece of cake?" the younger man asked.

Seneca laughed, answering, "I don't have your metabolism anymore. See you shortly." With that, Seneca left the room.

Akiva regretted not bringing Biynah. She was given the option to attend the party or play with Grace, and she had opted for the latter. Akiva began to feel as though he were on parental shore leave for the time being, and he didn't know what to make of himself. He contented to look around the room with awkward fidgeting as he enjoyed the fact others were having a good time.

Cara came back in from the kitchen with another tray of hors d'oeuvres and set them down in the table. She cleared off a couple of empty platters and set them on the counter behind the buffet table. Looking around she spotted the XO and walked over to him. "How's Biynah?" she asked.

"Biynah is playing with her sister," Akiva said pleasantly. "I think it may involve a school project, but it's hard for me to tell for certain. Miss Fischer's curriculum is far different from what I had as a boy."

Saalkan strode into the function room and assessed everyone in attendance. Then he strode to the beverage table to take a glass.

“If I may have everyone's attention.” Saalkan's rose voice out over the room clear enough without the chiming of spoon to glass, yet he made the gesture anyhow. “Forgive me for interrupting this festive occasion, but there is another cause for celebration that is long overdue.”
He stepped to the forefront of the gathering and waved his hand to one and all, ensuring everybody was included in his next words.
“In ancient times on Vulcan, before the modernized idealization of Logic, my people observed a number of holy days now considered Pagan among the intellectual elite. Among the most sacred was Kal Rekk – a day of atonement, solitude, and silence. Everyone, please raise your glass to Kal Rekk – the death of the old and birth of the new.”

Akiva raised an eyebrow, but raised his glass to the eccentric Vulcan nonetheless.

"I don't recall inviting you to this party Mr Saalkan - and apart from that I've booked this room for Mr Foster's party" Claudia said.

Paul wasn't very happy - he glared at the Vulcan and gave him a piece of his mind.

"Excuse me Mr Saalkan but this is my party and as the Captain said you were not invited - please leave before I get Lieutenant Cusack to remove you. I'd rather you didn't interrupt my party with your evident ignorant and rude attitude" Paul said.

“If I may beg your indulgence once more,” Saalkan said. At first no one heeded him. “Listen, please.” A few people looked his way, but he was far from commanding the attention of the entire room. “Everyone, please, just allow me another...” He grew impatient and smashed his glass to the ground.
“You gods-be-damned mortal savages, I said listen to me when I'm talking to you!
That got everyone's attention. A hush fell over the room.
“I was not finished,” he continued, his voice calm again but raspier than before. “What you may not know about Kal Rekk is that there is no season leading up to it. Kal Rekk is but one day out of the year. A surprise, if you will.” He cleared the lump from his throat that his shouting had made.
“As I said before, it is a time to atone for the past, and to do so in quiet isolation.” Saalkan's eyes grew wide and fervent. “Many of you have wrongs for which you have not atoned. Some of you deserve to be isolated from all you know and love.” His gaze drifted across the crowd and settled on Claudia. “And some of you,” his tone turned nearly guttural, “need to be silenced.”

Cara furrowed her brow. Something was not right. She moved toward Saalkan to try and urge him to leave with her.

He tapped his commbadge. =/\=Saalkan to Snowdon. Do it.=/\=

"Saalkan," Cara said in a soft voice as she took his elbow. "What are you doing?"

=/\="We're doing it now. Stand by - we might take a little bit longer than we planned"=/\= Nealey replied.

Just as Claudia was about to reach out to Nealey a call from the computer indicated that her presence was required on the bridge.

"Commander - you're with me" Claudia said.

"Aye, aye, Captain," Akiva said, falling in line as he gave a curt nod in Martha's direction for her to resolve the situation with Saalkan.

Martha approached Saalkan and raised her phaser straight at the man.

"Whatever the hell you're doing I suggest you stop it before I blast a hole straight through you. Don't think I won't either" Martha warned.

Saalkan allowed Martha to approach. "Stop what? My toast? You humans have no class." When Martha made to subdue him, Saalkan deftly pushed Cara away and side-stepped Martha's rush in one fluid motion. He then grabbed her by wrist and pinched her above the shoulder near the neck. "I will take that," he said to her collapsing, unconscious body as he relieved her limp hand of its phaser.

Cara staggered back, lost her footing and fell. Someone reached down to help her up to a sitting position.

With Martha out of the way, Saalkan turned to Cara.
“Good Doctor, it would take too much time to explain myself. You will understand soon enough," the Vulcan said as he produced a translucent respirator mask. He stretched out over his face with one hand while keeping Martha's phaser trained on everybody, particularly the two Marines, with the other.
“I want all of you to know that it was unnecessary for me to reveal myself and thereby potentially expose myself to harm. This was just an added perquisite. If I passed on it, I would never forgive myself."

"Thank you. I'm fine," Cara mumbled to the person who helped her up. "Saalkan....Whatever you're doing," she said, holding one hand out in front of her as she, slowly, moved toward him, "you must realize it is not going to end well for you." She hoped to be able to keep him talking while security advanced.

"Do not take another step," Saalkan ordered, crisp and enunciated, training his phaser on Cara, though he did not let Storr or Bella in particular out of his sight. "I have had my fill of being touched by mortal savages this day. You all... reek of death."
He tapped his commbadge.
=/\=Saalkan to Snowdon. Confirm action=/\=

=/\="You might want to put your respirator on"=/\= Nealey replied.

Up in the environmental control room Nealey and Tony wore their masks - warning the rest of the mutineers to do the same.

Lucia drew her phaser and pointed it straight at the Vulcan from a distance. She set hers to kill whilst Saalkan was distracted and fully intended on using it if he took one step closer to anyone else.

"Drop it you son of a bitch. You touch my wife again and I'll put more holes in you than a piece of cheese" Lucia snarled.

Cara, inconspicuously, reached up and tapped her combadge. Tilting her head closer to her badge and turning to the side she whispered, "security to the Function Room and hurry."

"You first," Saalkan said to Lucia. "In point of fact, atmosphere is being vented from every deck of the ship as we speak,” Saalkan said as made strides toward the door. “If you're wondering why your throat suddenly feels constricted, that would be the cause. I am no doctor, but that you are all still standing rather impresses me.” The doors parted before him as he breathed deep from his translucent respirator and made one final statement. “If you have any parting words to share with one another, I recommend you get on with them now. Don't bother trying to follow—the doors will seal behind me.” With that, the doors closed shut.

Lucia had nothing to say. She simply rushed over to Martha to check she was alright - evidently she was just out for the count and would be up and about in a short while.

"We need to try and stop them disabling life support. There's no way we'll last long without it" Paul commented.

Lucia nodded. "I agree. Anyone have any suggestions before we run out of oxygen?"

Cara looked around for the caduceus cross painted on a small panel. Seeing it by the entrance to the kitchen, she went over and opened it, removing an emergency med kit. "Computer...what is the oxygen level in the Function Room?" she said as she carried the medkit back to the banquet area.

=^=Oxygen is currently at 97%.=^=

Someone outside of the room began banging on the door and there were muffled shouts.

"97% is good," Cara said. "But if anyone feels a bit light headed, there is a small portable O2 tank and mask in here," she held up the medkit, simultaneously, removing her medical comlink from her pocket and stuck it in her ear. She set the medkit on a table and pressed the earwig. "O'Reilly to ER. Fire up the medical transporter and get a lock on Martha Cusack. Beam her to a treatment cubicle," she said. To the group she said, "we're getting out of here. But my transporter can only do one at a time." A second later Martha disappeared from the room.

"Computer - what is current oxygen level and estimated time until it cannot sustain life?" Lucia asked.

"Asked an answered," mumbled Cara.

=^=97%. This room has been isolated from the deactivation of life support=^=

"What other parts of the ship are isolated?" Lucia replied.

=^=Main Bridge. Sickbay. Deck 15. Systems in other areas reduced to 90% and will continue to fall at a rate of 10% every five minutes. Personnel outside of those areas will be unable to survive in approximately 15 minutes=^=

Lucia nodded. "We have to find a way to get out of here and make contact with the rest of the crew in those areas so we can restore life support and retake the ship. We also need to appoint a senior officer in the absence of the command staff - I believe Major Garlake is the ranking officer present"

When the computer announced that the function had been isolated, she made a logical (if incorrect) deduction about what had happened. Stepping up to Lucia, she said, "Forgiving me for interrupting, Lieutenant, but I can get the door open."

Lucia shrugged. "I think we should get all non-essential evacuated to sickbay before we do that. If we open those doors and life support fails...that won't end well. What do you think Major?"

Storr took a deep breath before letting it out, looking over everyone present. He and Bella held back during the altercation with the Vulcan as stopping him was not as crucial as learning more about their situation; Saalkan could not be doing what he was doing without substantial help.

"Lieutenant, I believe you're right. Alright, first things first: We take stock of who's here, what we have, and the skills available." After a few moments of muttering and taking stock, the group rallied together near the center of the room. "Doc," he said, looking to Cara, "what's the time of useful consciousness in the sections that would be depleted of oxygen? Say, to run through a corridor or to a turbolift or Jeffries Tube?"

Opening a Jeffries tube hatch would be the same as opening the door," Cara replied. "All of the oxygen in this room would be sucked into the tube. I could have portable oxygen tanks and masks beamed up here. We have 50 of them in storage and can send 10 at a time."

"LT," Storr continued, turning to Lucia, "are there any weapon caches on this level that we can use to arm up? Or in-or-around sickbay?"

"There's the heavy weapons storage bay - there'll be a weapons locker in there" Lucia replied.

The two scientists were next to fall under the Major's gaze. "You two...sorry, you just introduced yourselves...umm...Luka and Yanet, right. Consult with the computer for deck listings and exact areas that are still connected to life support."

Finally, turning to Paul, the MCO shrugged his shoulders with a lopsided grin. "And Paul...Happy Birthday."

"Thank you, Major. I just didn't envision spending it in this situation" Paul replied.

Major Garlake nodded...the chef was a master of understatement at the moment.

Cara, who was moving people away from the group in order for the medical transporter to get a clear lock on them, pressed her comlink earwig and said, "O'Reilly to ER...beam us down...," she looked around, counting heads, "...15 portable O2 setups."

"Copy, boss," Mac replied in Sickbay. "How many more to beam out of there?"

"6 kitchen staff and then we can start on our officers," Cara said. A few seconds later 10 portable O2 setups appeared and after that, the final 5.

Moments later, the emergency oxygen canisters with hoses and mouthpieces materialized on the floor. Everyone began, in a mostly orderly manner, taking individual kits as Storr addressed the group.

"Alright, we need to first focus on restoring life support, rescuing as many crewmen as possible, arming ourselves and then restoring the Vindex to our control, in that order. We'll need to split up in order to cover more ground. Lucia, take three others with you to the heavy weapons storage bay; bring everything you can carry back here. Cara," he said, turning to the red-headed Irish doctor, "It's you, me, and Bella on survivor search. Luka and Yanet, I need you routing operations control to the station here so that you can restore life support. You'll need to spoof it into thinking there's an emergency on the bridge, though how to do that is out of my lane. Paul, I need you and everyone else holding the fort here in order to help survivors as they are brought back, work on life support, and begin arming when Lieutenant Cusak returns. Here, we're safe and sickbay is our safety valve. Questions?"

Barring none, the room instantly exploded into action, bodies moving with a purpose in every direction, intent burned onto their faces. Mutineers lifespans were either very long or very short and the Vindex crew was aiming to make them the latter...


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