Posted on Saturday November 30th, 2019 @ 5:51am by Lieutenant Commander Kanaka Shakura & Lieutenant Karn Karn & Lieutenant J'Loni Mo'Bri Daughter House L'Keth & Lieutenant Hibiki Zh'kallas & Lieutenant Nivora T'vek & Lieutenant JG Sydney Allen & Lieutenant Neteri "Ikran" Shannon
Location: U.S.S. Poseidon; Cargo Bay Two, Deck 6
Timeline: Day 000 - 0700-1200 Hours
Tags: Post-Departure, Post-Fighter Incident, Recovery, Investigation
The cargo bay was quiet now save for the hum of the internal tractor beam generating a field on the deck of Cargo Bay Two. The officers had all gathered for the recovery of Pavan's fighter. Karn had posted what he referred to as an honour guard at each corner of the small space that the Quartermaster and his team had cleared out to investigate the wreckage. In truth, once they beamed what was left of Flirt it would be evidence in an investigation and Karn didn't want anyone messing with it.
"Nasty business.", thought Karn to himself as he waited for everyone to arrive.
Hibiki was next to arrive. She seemed a little on edge, and her antenna were picking up something, but she wasn't sure what it was just yet.
"Reporting as ordered sir" she said softly. "This section is off limits to prevent the evidence being contaminated" she explained to him.
"Shh shh shhh... quiet with that talk. These are honour guards and definitely not officers standing watch over a crime scene. At least, not until after we conduct funeral rites. I'm not familiar with human rituals - but let's leave the bad bad talk until after hmmm"
Arianna arrived and stopped short. It was a mess, twisted jumbled mess. She knew death was instant and it had to be a plasma fire to melt the metals like this. Warp plasma ignited by another chemical or contaminant burns hot enough to melt. This evidence in her mind was very clear. Arianna walked to the cargo transporter pad and waited for the order to beam the fighter in.
With a gentle hiss T'vek strode in with all the grace of a Reman Slate Panther, his every step silent yet assured, his bright eyes seemingly evaluating everyone swiftly and deciding them passable, his face as ever more akin to a marble carved mask than anything else, he had a small satchel slung from one shoulder, over which he rested his hands.
Instead of wasting breath on pleasantries he merely met each of the assembled's gaze in turn and gave a cursory nod before waiting silently for affairs to continue, he had some awareness of what had happened, indeed, it had been why he was delayed while he gathered what he would need.
As all the officers were arriving Sydney is stood speaking to one of her team on what was going to happen. she notices Karn she walked over and in an authoritative tone "Where and what do you want happening, my team is at your disposal, but don't abuse them."
"Ah, yes very good. We will be beaming aboard the wreckage of the ship. To aid in the investigation, I would like the wreck to be in zero-g. Do you think we could turn off the gravity for a bit?"
"Yes I will beam it in Zero-G" J'Loni said. Entering a few commands to the console, it was ready to do the task. "Ready sir," she added.
Hibiki nodded. She wasn't looking forward go this, after all these were the remains of a fellow crew-member.
As the final officer arrived, Karn gave them a brief nod before making a motion to the Chief Engineer.
"Lieutenant Mo'Bri, whenever you are ready please."
"Beaming it in now sir", J'Loni said as she worked the controls of the transporter. The shimmering started and soon the hulk was suspended in a zero-G field. "Kahless what a mess. You will be lucky if you find a body in that", she said in a hushed voice.
"Nicely done.", Karn said to Mo'Bri in a quiet voice. He then turned to the ship's Chief Medical Officer and made another motion.
"Doctor, if you will please."
The odds that there would be a body to be recovered was next to nothing as both the sensors and anyone watching the flight could see the force of the explosion. However, Karn wanted to be sure and wanted it documented that they checked and that meant having the doctor do his scans.
"Of course," came the drawl, as T'vek stepped forward to begin some scans his face an impassive mask, maintaining a stiff upper lip to say the least as he began to make his scans reaching into his satchel to take out a different piece of equipment with perfunctory haste, several of which were decidedly not of Starfleet origin tapping away and making disdainful noises as he appraised the horribly twisted remains.
"There are some remains, mainly the Torso and head, likely," he paused for a moment, to perhaps consider for a moment before continuing, "melded to what I assume would be his pilot's chair, what I presume would be part of the ejection system for the lifepod, admittedly my knowledge of Federation Attack Fighters is limited, I presume that your investigations into the wreckage would take priority Lieutenant Karn?" he leadenly asked with a sideways glance.
"I can make some progress in the interim with these readings, but it would be my personal preference to examine the remains, for a more exacting assessment, as I would prefer not to make assumptions that could prejudge your own investigations" his tone, the usual flat drawl and his attentions more focused on his instrumentation than anything else, his demeanour more that of studying granite than examining a gravesite.
"Thank you Doctor. You may proceed with your assessment. Lieutenant Mo'Bri... any initial thoughts?"
With a careless air he glanced up from his instrumentation, "Indeed, I shall return to Sick Bay to analyse these readings, when you have completed your elements of the investigation and are able to release the remains have them sent to sick bay," with this T'vek, with all the grace, calm and warmth of a nitrogen glacier began to make his way out "Ah, before I forget, no doubt you will be interviewing the other pilots, can you advise them to report to sick bay afterwards, I wish to deal with a possibility," with this last almost dismissive and uninterested drawl he left.
"This is the end results of contaminated drive plasma. Nothing else does this much damage to a craft", J'Loni said softly.
Karn's eyes widened with alarm, "Is there any chance our own ship is in danger? Aren't there procedures to check this?"
"The chances of our own warp plasma being affected are nil. If I were to assume, this was done while we were at starbase. Since Neteri and Pavan were in close proximity to their fighters, it would be nearly impossible to tamper with it in the fighter deck", J'Loni said.
Karn whirled around to the quartermaster, "I want every barrel of this blasted stuff checked! Lieutenant Mo'Bri, I will assign you as many officers are you need to go through and inspect every single one of these things.
Lieutenant Allen, I'll need records on that batch of drive plasma. From the moment it left the factory to when it got loaded onto the fighter. You Federation type people have either gotten very sloppy or somebody sent us a nasty little surprise."
"Lt. Karn by scanning the warp plasma, I can find out if the remaining fighter plasma is contaminated. The fact that Neteri's fighter was not damaged leads me to believe it was done on purpose. For what reason I have no answer", J'Loni said.
Sydney starting to get dizzy as the security chief circling her, "Karn, I will get everything done but you need to slow down, this has to be a thorough investigation which won't happen all today."
Sydney turned to her team and waved her hand to hand to say, "Get to work." Afterwards, Sydney turned to get to work on her role as she is overseeing the wreckage and inventories all items recovered.
The Chief Counsellor sat patiently alongside the still rather shaken Lieutenant Shannon as they waited in the Briefing Room for the Chief Security and Tactical Officer, who was conducting his investigation down below. There was a heavy amount of uncertainty still hanging in the air as they waited to hear what was going on; it had been quite some time since they'd heard anything, and Kana could tell that wasn't helping either of their nerves.
She also knew that their role in this investigation wouldn't be easy. Neteri would have to revisit what had happened, to clarify what she had witnessed; Kana knew this would have to be handled extremely delicately, and unsure whether to trust the Lurian's ability to handle it competently alone, the Chief Counsellor had insisted on being present.
"I still feel guilty, I still can't figure it put. He was working on Flirt just before we took off. He said everything was ok. I just don't understand what happened. I felt his surprise and then it was like I hear him say Oh shit......then gone!", Neteri said crying again.
Kana put a hand on the grieving Lieutenant's shoulder as she recalled the moment. Passing her some tissues which she had collected from a replicator before going to the Briefing Room, the Chief Counsellor did what she could to console her. "It was a terrible accident. Pavan was a seasoned pilot, but even the best of us can fall foul of errors we don't manage to spot in time. I know it weighs heavily on you, and it will for a time, but none of this is your fault."
There was a knock at the door.
"Counsellor, may I come in?", asked the voice of the Chief Security Officer.
Kana gave a brief glance at Neteri, making sure she was ready to proceed, before looking towards the door and calling out. "Enter, Lieutenant Karn!"
After a moment, the Lurian entered with two cups of tea which he set down in front of both Shannon and Kana.
"Lieutenant Shannon, I am sorry for the loss of your partner. It is such a terrible terrible thing. If you are ready, I would like to ask you a few questions about what happened."
"I understand sir. Ask your questions", Neteri said wiping the tears from her face.
Karn spoke softly, "Can you tell me what the normal procedure is for a test flight... starting from the pre-flight checks?"
"Normally we check all external fixtures such as weapons, sensor pods, plasma vents and exahusts. Landing gear, clean canopies, that sort of thing before we do our on board preflight checks. Once that is done the last thing before we request launch plans is we check the training computer senarios. Once that is done and we get cleared for launch", Neteri said flatly.
"Did anyone else touch Flirt besides her pilot?"
"Nope. I gave the hull a good luck pat but that was all. Pavan was the only one who touched his ship. I have a standing rule. No one is to touch any fighter unless their pilot is in attendance", Neteri said softly.
"Were you present when Pavan was inspecting his fighter?"
"Yes, I was entering the flight bay as he started to tweak her up. He said that he was giving her sensors a tune up," Neteri said.
"And you saw nobody else touching the fighter?", Karn asked again.
"No, no one else was in the fighter deck. The deck was clear. As I stated before, no one has permission to be on the fighter deck unless the pilots are present," Neteri said.
"Would the computer have caught the bad plasma?"
"No not unless you specifically had reason to scan for it. Normally we don't," Neteri stated. "The fuel, plasma is stored in the storage containment units on the flight deck so they are constantly being surveyed by security recorders. If anyone were to tamper with the fuel, alarms would go off", she added.
"Did Pavan have any enemies? Anyone who would want to see him harmed?"
"What here? Are you nuts?! Everyone that he knew loved him. He was a likable kind humorous guy. He did not rub anyone the wrong way," again Neteri said.
Karn nodded and jotted some notes down on his PADD. He was being quite matter of fact as he asked his next question.
"How was your relationship with Pavan?"
"My relationship with Pavan? We were buddies and fellow fighter pilots. We were very close friends. I was beginning to fall for him if you must know!" she said getting angry.
The Chief Counsellor had kept quiet for most of the exchange between Lieutenant's Karn and Shannon, focusing her attention on the latter's emotional responses to the questions being provided. It didn't take her telepathy to be able to tell that everything Neteri was saying was the truth as she knew it to be. Kana's silence ended when the Lurian asked his most recent question; she pulled a brief face of confusion, and then concern.
"Lieutenant Karn, may I ask why the state of her relationship with the late Pavan is relevant?" It may have sounded like an obtuse question - she certainly had a feeling she knew why he was asking - but Kana had no problem with being direct. In truth, she was having a hard time contending with the sheer loudness of the Lurian's mind while also having to contend with the strong feelings of emotion coming from her fellow Betazoid officer. Kana had never encountered someone like Karn before, so he was someone new for her to learn from; become better at her craft. That would have to come at another time though.
"What? I want to know all the details.. and if it isn't relevant I will forget it.", Karn said with a wave of his hand. He turned to Kana as he continued, "I'm not prying into her personal life - I'm prying into his. Since he's not here to tell me, I will ask the pilot type person. Tis all."
"I see." Kana responded, seemingly more assured. It was obvious to her now that the question was intentionally quite leading. She turned to Neteri. "I suppose what Lieutenant Karn wants to know is how well you knew Pavan, and what you could tell us about him which might have played a role in these unfortunate events. Please, take your time." She placed a hand on the pilot's shoulder in an attempt to be reassuring.
"Please can we just finish? This is beginning to anger me. My opinion is that you are trying to lay the blame to cover this up by looking for a scape goat. Well your wrong!!! Are you going to find his killer or not?!?! This was no accident!!!!" and Neteri burst into tears again.
"Lieutenant Shannon." Kana took hold of her gently as she stood next to her, leaning in so as to talk quietly and comfortingly. "Nobody here is trying to scapegoat. We just want to find the answers as to what happened to Lieutenant Pavan. His family deserve to know; you deserve to know. As you were the last person to see him, it does mean these questions are going to fall to you..."
She paused for a moment, looking over at Lieutenant Karn with a concerned face. This was clearly becoming too much for Neteri; it couldn't go on much longer. Thinking for a moment, the Chief Counsellor then thought of a possible solution. Knowing Neteri to be a fellow Betazoid, she communicated to her telepathically.
"Neteri, would you allow me to see what it was you saw in the Hangar Bay this morning?"
Karn waves his hand in a dismissive gesture.
"No need to continue. I have what I need. I'm so so sorry Lieutenant Shannon, but I have to ask these questions to rule you out as a suspect. The first rule of being a good... privateer is to always suspect deception and I am not like you Betazoid type persons that can read minds!"
The Chief Counsellor half-ignored the Lurian's comment, more focused on Neteri as she awaited to see if they'd respond to her. "Very well then, Lieutenant. If that is all then you may leave us. Thank you for your work."
Neteri's head came up as Kana spoke in her mind. Nodding to Kana in agreement, Neteri now exploded. "Lt. Karn, with all due respect, Pavan was more than just a friend. I was falling in love with him and he never once thought about taking his life. He had no enemies only friends. I don't think it fair or just for you even to imply that he was at fault. When he saw the companel light up telling him something was wrong I heard him in my mind say Oh no! and his fighter exploded." she said angrily. It was sabotage pure and simple. There is NO other explanation!" she said glaring at Lt. Karn.
"Neteri..." Kana spoke gently as she placed a hand on the grieving Betazoid's shoulder. "I'd like us to go to my office so we can talk, okay?" She consoled her while giving Lieutenant Karn a look as if to grant him his leave without any further comment necessary from either of them.