Obsidian Command

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Milk Run: Final Report

Posted on 27 Feb 2022 @ 6:23pm by Captain Corvus DeHavilland & Commander Calliope Zahn

Mission: M2 - Sanctuary
Location: Infirmary - Obsidian Command
Timeline: MD12 ~0835HRS
2090 words - 4.2 OF Standard Post Measure


As Calliope was assisted into medical she knew she still could not let herself fall into a bed and give in to the ministrations of the medical staff. She had painkillers and braces from the aid of the Corpsmen, and the station infirmary was so flooded with the Turani and refugee patients that Calliope as walking wounded hadn’t rated for processing by the nursing staff right away.

Seeing Mazur’s office door standing open, she let herself in and moved to the desk. Calliope logged her own credentials and entered a high priority sub space request to the USS Pathfinder.

While the Starfleet logo slowly rotated, she stared at herself in the black glass. Her face was half swollen from where she’d been struck when she’d picked her fight, her eye and lip puffy. Her skin was as much purple as green and rubbed through with grime and blood, not all of it her own. Her arm was in a sling and a number of cuts were disinfected and bandaged. It was the first time she had really assessed. She didn’t know what to think, because when she tried to feel sorry for herself, she only saw the line of Romulan men put through by the executioner’s sword. Closing her eyes only made it worse, but she leaned back, with all her blood and sweat, reclining into Mazur’s chair and relishing in the pleasure of sitting in actual furniture. The relief was almost pain by comparison as the pressure transferred. It occurred to her that she could switch her subspace request to an audio only channel, sparing Corvus unnecessary concern. She opened her eyes to change the request, sifting the options menu—

“Everything alright, Doctor Mazur?” Corvus asked with a wary smile as the screen resolved into the red-haired woman sitting behind her desk in the Ready Room of the Pathfinder. It was wildly cramped compared to her rather palatial space on Obsidian Command. When she looked up from her tea to see Commander Zahn, the smile vanished and she straightened up.

Calliope looked a mess, and immediately she was in fear for the station and her crew. What kind of shit show had gone down that Calliope was what was left, calling her? No. No, she pushed that quickly out of her mind. There was no way something that bad had gone down on the station. Not without a single word from Zayne. The Admiral was still in orbit. The Praetorian, Mississippi and deGrasse were all nearby.

“Commander?” Corvus asked icily, feeling all the good will, the brief little bit that they’d rebuilt since her episode, fading away into nothingness.

“Captain.” Calliope sat up. “I wanted to reach you at my first opportunity. I…looked into the reports you mentioned. There definitely is a genocidal movement on the planet.” She wasn’t sure at that moment where to begin her report. It all seemed very overwhelming.

“Why do I have the feeling you learned that first hand?” she asked, gesturing at Calliope, indicating her face. “And why am I not hearing about any of this from Commander Zay-,” she started again, turning her head slightly as the terminal on her side was chirping. “That would be Commander Zayne…” she sighed, looking away and then back once more. “Fine. Explain.”

“I went to Kalara to follow up on a contact Rutland had asked me to make for him. The lead I had was at a bar, and Commander Kensforth accompanied me. The contact didn’t pan out, but we did make some friends. It seems so long ago now, but I guess it was yesterday morning. A storm started up, the weather on the planet does that sometimes against all the best atmospheric models. The barkeep got weird about us staying, and Kensforth offered to go bring the shuttle around. While I waited for him, I saw some disturbances around the homes and businesses. There were men forcing entry and kidnaping people. One of the Kalarans explained to me they call themselves the Nuroc Tchuru, and they abduct people during the storms to keep from being detected. It all rang with the rumors you had mentioned. I didn’t think they should get away with it, and I wasn’t sure if we would lose the chance to track them by the time Kensforth got back… so I concealed my commbadge and arranged to be abducted to find out where the rest were being taken.” She paused to draw a breath. The devil was in all of the details and she wanted to be sure she wasn't leaving out anything that mattered. “I found them.”

“It didn’t occur to you to wait? To let someone a little more… able-bodied… follow this thread?” Corvus asked, coloring up quickly. “You do realize that you’re not at your full potential. You could have been killed and there’d have been nothing, nothing anyone could have done about it!” Corvus raged icily, glaring back at the screen. When Calli said nothing she said through gritted teeth, “Continue.”

Calliope was surprised to find that she didn’t really care how upset Corvus was. Corvus hadn’t been there, in that moment. Corvus didn’t have to decide what to do. And, all things considered, Calliope didn’t regret it. “I’m not sure how far I was initially taken or how, but when I woke, we were being force marched through caverns, then all gathered into one arena-like space in the mountains. Thousands. Most had probably been held underground for weeks or months. I managed to use my combadge to get a signal out over the interference. I had limited signal strength and power, but I gambled it would be found since someone would be looking for me. I’ll let Commander Zayne explain the details of the rescue party. I’m not really privy to how it was mounted. But there were hundreds of dead and injured by the time Major Finn and his people intervened. It could have been even worse. The most concerning injuries were transferred back to the station, and I was transferred with them. I think you should be aware, the ethnic cleanse seems to be over a doctrinal difference. A prophetic one.”

“The entire mission was a gamble. One with your life,” Corvus replied quickly with a exhausted sigh. “When you say, prophetic, what do you mean?”

“The Noroc Tchuru are a kind of priestly warrior group who are hell bent on the idea that the Divine One is angry at them for mixing with offworlders. I saw a mural back at the seed vault, in a back antechamber that detailed the Obsidian historical account and a prophecy one of the councilmen said was the result of interracial mixing. It all ended with some pretty heavy torment imagery and some scary demonic figures that you really have to see for yourself. Their High priest in the mountains seemed to put a lot of stock into the bad news, and seemed to be trying to put a stop to it— by slaughtering everyone that subscribes to the opposite opinion on the matter. The Turani are a minority Tribe who were chief among those that initially invited Starfleet to Obsidian a century ago, but have since fallen out of power. During the Station’s vanishing act, it got really ugly for them and the Noroc Tchuru took advantage of Starfleet’s absence to persecute the Turani and many of the Refugees that arrived from Romulan space.”

“And this Noroc Tchuru operate openly?” Corvus asked, pushing aside her irritation at all that Calliope had done so she could focus on what she had found.

“No, this sect seems to be a more ‘faithful’ element of a more generalized one. Some kind of self appointed secret special forces. They just were emboldened when Starfleet was away. Even up until yesterday, they still only moved under cover.”

Corvus heaved a slow sigh and looked away, finally letting herself relax slightly. It wasn’t necessarily a good thing, but it was better than what she’d hoped. It was a diplomatic nightmare of course, trying to coordinate the people of Obsidian against a shadow organization that had only gotten so strong because they hadn’t been there to stop them. Any credibility they had for sticking around was shot. It wasn’t going to be an easy fix. But. She had to admit. It could have been worse.

She gestured to the side of the terminal where the screen was blinking with the message Zayne had left as she’d forgone his call for Calliope’s. “What is Commander Zayne going to tell me that you haven’t already?” she asked, “Anything you haven’t shared?” she asked warily. Corvus wanted badly to help her old friend. She’d pulled her here to be her First Officer and so far that’d been a colossal failure on her part. She wanted desperately to salvage that, but even this wasn’t what she’d bargained for. Corvus had been counting on Calliope’s tenacity and intelligence to help dig into the details of what was going on down on the surface, but she’d taken some serious gambles. Gambles that made her question her former XO’s decision making ability.

“What do I have to hide, Corvus?” Calliope was tired of the sighing and the judgemental looks and now she was implying Calliope might be lying or withholding things. “I’ve tried to keep it straight and to the point. We stopped a full scale genocide. And I think it was worth every risk I took.”

“In hindsight,” Corvus countered. “You had just as much chance of being executed on the spot as you did of finding out more details. This was a task that should have been given to someone with experience in these kinds of situations. Someone with specialty combat training. Not you. Not in the state you’re currently in. I wanted information, Calli. Not a corpse. The fact that I got that regardless, is pure god-damned luck.”

Calliope sat staring through one swollen eye at Corvus continuing to accuse her of not thinking, insisting that she needed to sit everything out, including wanting her to hold her hands up and walk away from people in need. She decided to break it down. “I *am* an experienced field tested officer. If there was another option in that moment I would have taken it, but I saw abductees, and suspected from everything I heard there would be more of them, even if I didn’t imagine it would be thousands at the time I made the call. They seemed to be taking people, as opposed to killing them on the spot. I knew I could count on Bruce to get a search up for me and I had a decent chance of signaling. I hadn’t accounted for being in the caverns. It could have ended there.” She admitted, “But if I would have sat around kicking my feet, a team couldn’t have gotten down until the storm passed and we’d have been lucky to find a trace of their direction. I acted based on what I knew at the time. Even if the odds weren’t in my favor, I took a calculated risk, not a blind shot in the dark.”

“That’s my concern, Calliope. How you’re calculating these risks. You say it was the only chance. You could have waited for Commander Kensforth. At least gone in with support,” Corvus answered with a shake of her head.

“They might have been gone by that time. The shuttle might have made them scatter. I made a call.”

DeHavilland just looked back at her old friend, not trusting herself to say anymore and widen the already nearly impassable gulf between them. Calliope wasn’t getting it. She was letting the ends justify the means and just didn’t seem to understand why she thought that was wrong. But there was no use arguing with her. It wouldn’t change anything anyway.

“You look like hell,” she replied finally.

Calliope snorted and hooked her thumb back in the direction of sickbay. “I’m going to go take a number in the waiting room, Captain. Please give Commander Zayne my sincere appreciation for the operation.”

Corvus just nodded back. “DeHavilland, out.”

 

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