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Lt. A. Shran, Lt S. Shran |"Runawrong"

Posted on 02/21/2021 @ 2:21pm by Lieutenant Anaxar Shran & Lieutenant Si'a Dai'xun Shran

Mission: Genesis

Cargo Bay 3 felt more like a catacomb than a cargo bay. It was usually brightly lit and bustling with activity as crates were shunted and supplies moved about in preparation for use or delivery. Everything of that general nature had been moved out or shoved along the walls, creating a bit of a shrine around the myriad of twisted bits and pieces of what had once been a rather unique and beautiful craft. Liberty had been a rather austere symbol of something more, usually announcing the presence of the Commodore or a delegate of the Vindicator in some capacity. Now it announced misery and a breakdown in the security blanket that had otherwise shrouded the Vindicator and its crew.

Si'a gawked at it for a long, silent moment. The largest piece was just as snarled and twisted as the rest of the little pieces surrounding it. The crew had done what it could to reassemble the the groups of pieces, but some things just refused to be put back together again. "I had a bit to look over the initial investigative reports and then the readings Commander Dahe'el took," Her voice sounded hollow and wispy, lacking body, "There's a lot of discrepancies, but that can kind of be calked," chalked, weirdo, "up to the fact that Starfleet Intelligence was trying to do the job of Starfleet Security, Science, and Engineering." Her mouth fell into a pout and her eyes broke from the wreckage to find the side of Anaxar's face, silently wondering what was going on in his head and if his perception of the crash was similar to hers. Or maybe he saw more.

"Don't forget that Lieutenant Sha'mer also went down to have a look," Anaxar said, scanning the wreckage. Down on the surface he had been wandering around the crash site, mapping the area and all the torn off wreckage which spread out over the landscape. He had built a map in his head and could upload it to the holodeck, to be generated again if necessary. But this was the first time he saw the interior of the shuttle. The amount of damage was appalling… but that was not what bothered him. "I notice she didn't submit her report, yet. She did tell me that she wanted to talk once we've done our preliminary research. I wonder what she found."

"I knew she went down, but like you said... No report." Si'a chewed her lower lip, finally choosing to see the details rather than the whole. "It'll be interesting to see what she's discovered. She's different, sees things that way too." It was a compliment, not a crack. The itty bitty Stenellis had all the respect and love in the whole wide Universe for Ra'lin Sha'mer and all of her unique charms. "Sometimes seeing things different is what's necessary to solve the wrinkle." Riddle. She sighed, focusing on the pattern of carnage, her brow furrowing as she pulled a spray bottle of milky white fluid from their tray of tricks and set about spraying the cabin. The chemical would cause any blood or genetic material to glow brightly under the assist of ultraviolet light, something she wondered if Anaxar could perceive without use of the light wand.

"So either what she found was too delicate to put into writing, or she wants us to draw our conclusions first… or both." He didn't need to raise his head to see Si'a. The visual implant which was grafted on was a silver band which ran around his head, and it allowed him to focus in all directions around him if he chose. He rarely made use of it, but it did make him one of the very few parents who could legitimately tell his child that he had eyes in the back of his head. And it helped him tremendously when he made the scans earlier of the crash site, and when he first accessed the shuttle.

Setting down the spray bottle and trading it for the UV light wand, Si'a's head bobbed in agreement and understanding, "Probably both." The cabin lit up a whole lot less than she'd have expected, the majority of it was concentrated on the one seat with a few decent smears on what was left of a bulkhead and instrument console. Her eyes followed the remaining various glowing greenish-yellow droplets and splatters until one area, lit up radiantly orange, caught her attention. "Huh..." She exclaimed, carefully approaching it as if worried the spot would run away and disappear. It was relatively small, but on a rather sharp bit of metal halfway between the blood covered seat and the gaping opening in the hull. "This isn't human." Understatement of the year, "It's not Stenellis or Andorian either. What blood fluoresces orange?"

"Vulcan or Romulan," Anaxar replied promptly. He was examining the straps of the crash webbing. "Now, this is interesting…" he said slowly. His antennae tilted towards Si'a. "Look, this strap has been cut loose."

Vulcan or Romulan echoed in the starchild's mind even as she abandoned the odd spatter and flicked the light bar off in favor of studying his discovery. The harness had indeed been cut clean through, or at least it appeared that way. "Had to be a really, really sharp object that did that." She offered, reaching to run her finger along the piece, "Was done with purpose, not by the wreck." Obviously. Her brows knit tight, "Vulcan or Romulan blood... Don't the Romulans always carry some kinda knife on them?"

"I know Klingons do that. Some Romulans do, but they're more inclined to carry a disruptor." His antennae twitched, Anaxar's equivalent of a frown. "It's the only strap which has been cut, though, so maybe…" He straightened, as much as possible. The crumpled shuttle didn't allow him to stand upright. "Anyway, it shows that whoever came here was prepared for retrieval. Which only gives us more questions: who did this, and was this a search and rescue or a retrieval mission? Starfleet Intel did not come back with a body, as far as we know."

"There's not enough blood for someone to have bled out." Si'a instantly blurted, flicking the light back on and holding it high, "Even if her heart stopped beating, she'd continue to bleed a lot more than this." The light shook, highlighting the entire seat and the soaked harness for emphasis. "She was badly wounded, maybe even mortally, but I think she was alive when she was removed."

"Unless there was a lot of internal bleeding, or her heart just gave out, stopping the blood flow…" Anaxar, unfortunately, had too much experience with just those horror scenario's and didn't stop himself in time. "I'm sorry," he added with a sigh. "Realistically speaking, we still don't know whether she was alive or dead when whoever cut the strap did so. It has been cut with a very sharp edge, so not with something wrenched loose when the shuttle crashed, so I doubt it has been the Commodore herself who did this. That leaves either the Starfleet Intel team, or…" he bent over again and lifted one of the belt buckles at the strap with a gloved hand, "a third party."

It was Si'a's turn to heave a sigh, expect it came out more as a frustrated and indignant huff. "I have to have faith that she's alive." She asserted, following the trail of droplets and smears away from the chair and harness, "But I also believe that she wasn't alone after she crashed. The harness, the pattern of droplets leading towards the exit... This weird smear... Someone else was here for sure." Her shoulders slumped a bit as she flicked the light back off. "It's also plausible the blood that isn't on that seat and harness is from one of the intel guys getting a prick," cut, "same with the odd copper based blood... We could try having MacLeod run DNA?" Oh it felt almost hopeless. Her faith bad both been bolstered and dashed and she couldn't help but feel the roiling, boiling feeling of intense frustration flowing through her entire system.

"That's a good idea. Let him also run this fingerprint here, on the off chance that it's in the database somewhere." Anaxar pointed with a long finger to an almost invisible print on one of the opened belt buckles. It stood out clearly for him, though. "Obviously this one doesn't belong to the Commodore," he spoke half to Si'a, half thinking aloud. "The difference in size alone is indicative. If we find out who did this, we'll have a more solid lead at least."

Something creaked even under Si'a's light weight as she turned and made her way back to Anaxar. It was quickly forgotten about with the knowledge that they were safe aboard the Vindicator and all the ookie spookies couldn't reach them there. A tri-corder came out, the print was scanned for safe keeping, and the starchild couldn't help but look up at her partner, "Think there's a decent chance the finger print doesn't belong to Almar or someone else who's come through the shuttle?" Please, oh please, let it be someone else's.

That was an easy enough answer. "No. Because Rochelle needed to have closed this buckle along with the others, otherwise she wouldn't have to be cut loose. So, logically, the fingerprint belongs to the one who had to open it. And Almar hasn't been in the shuttle itself as far as I know – and if he was, I'm sure he knew better than to touch anything in here with his bare hands." Contaminating an investigation was a deadly sin in Anaxar's opinion, both as Science officer now as well as the Tactical and Security officer he used to be. "As far as I know, the only persons who have been here other than Rochelle were Ra'lin – and this can't be her fingerprint for the same reason as it can't be Rochelle's, the person who removed her, and maybe other people of the Starfleet Intel team. So either way, find the owner of the print and the blood and we'll have a person who can give some pretty interesting answers."

"Then there's a chance." She reiterated, smiling without realizing it. Even if the road they were on led them to the fact that Rochelle was really dead, the idea of finding her killer was a consolation prize she'd be willing to accept. In her heart of hearts, Si'a refused to believe that Rochelle's death was a mere accident as had been proposed. "I'll get samples and take everything to MacLeod as quick as I can. There has to be some answers here. Has to be."

Anaxar began to move his lanky frame back to the twisted exit of the shuttle. People like Si'a and Ra'lin had a definite advantage over him where it came to navigating in this cramped, damaged space. "There is no conclusive proof that she perished during the crash," he said, smiling his twisted smile back at her once he stood on the floor of the cargo bay again. "And as long as we don't have that, I definitely would say there is a chance."

"We're obligated to accept it and see it through." Si'a nodded as she finished up the rest of her work, "We have no other choice. She'd do the same for us." She paused, feeling a strong pang of guilt stemming from somewhere in her chest, "She already has done the same for us."

Anaxar helped her out of the remains of the shuttle and set her down on the deck. "I know. But even if no such obligation existed, we both know we would do whatever it takes to get her back." And I love you all the more for that, he thought but didn't need to say aloud. "I think that's all for now. If you bring those samples to McLeod, I'll see if I can find Lieutenant Sha'mer and talk about what she found."

Lieutenant Anaxar Shran
Chief Science Officer
USS Vindicator, NX-78213-F

Lieutenant Si'a Shran
Stellar Cartographer
USS Vindicator, NX-78213-F


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