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The Price of Freedom, Part One
Emergency Staff Meeting

(After another commercial we see the station, its docking bay doors obviously damaged. Push in on a window in the command section, and through the window into...)

Observation Lounge <Deck 8> [Gibraltar Station]

This room is a slightly curved rectangle, with a single door to the aft. To its left sits a large display panel which can be configured to show whatever data is needed. In the center of the room is a large, curved cherrywood table with a smoked glass top. It is ringed with maroon chairs: one at either end, four on the inner side, and five on the outer. These chairs have both head and armrests and there are small data panels set into the glass tabletop in front of each one. The four legs of the table are a dark marble speckled in maroon and white. They come up around the top of the table to form a slight division between some of the chairs. In the starboard wall are five large windows that look out upon space beyond. Port is a wall paneled in oak that supports two gold models--one of a Regula-class station and a much larger one of a Buckingham-class station. The walls are light gray and the carpet blue speckled with maroon. Lighting is provided by panels in the ceiling.

Gwen Hawkins
Katheran Omtala
Robyn Tremar
Mikhail Volchenkov
Katherine Alexandria

Hawkins walks in and heads for the table, nodding to those already in the room. "Everyone please sit down. We'll begin in just a moment."

Volchenkov moves to take his seat, glancing between the others for a few moments. Keeping quiet for now.

Alexandria comes in quietly and find a seat, sheepishly taking out her PADD to take notes.

Omtala enters the lounge with her jaw firmly set and a stern expression on her face. It wouldn't take a Betazoid to tell that she's unhappy. She checks the chronometer on her wrist with some impatience as she sits. Despite her grave nature, she does so gracefully.

Solvek sits in his chair, there is what appears to be the beginnings or endings of anger in his eyes. His face however, shows nothing.

Tremar is sitting in a seat, looking a bit shrimpy as her legs aren't long enough to bend over the seat. "Teams are assessing and repairing the damage as fast as we can, but there was a lot of damage to Decks 36, 37 and 38. The Cambric is in bad shape."

Hawkins waits for everyone to be settled and then starts in. Her tone is crisp, clipped, much cooler than anyone but Solvek has heard before. "Evidently there have been a series of... explosions, or malfunctions, we're not sure which just yet. Deck 37, yes, and the docking bays. This meeting has been called to assess the situation and be sure all departments have the information they need." She turns to Tremar. "What sort of damage, Commander? We only had initial reports in Operations."

Tremar sighs and rubs the back of her neck. "Hull breaches, the windows were blown out from a breach in the docking bay causing decompression before the forcefields could contain it. The Cambric suffered a massive hull breach and a piece of it broke off and hit the station. Deck 37 suffered a power outage. Power has been rerouted but just barely. We're having teams go in with EVA suits to repair the environmental systems to make sure they hold before we send anyone else in. There's damage to the other ships in the docking area but those are minor."

Volchenkov frowns a bit as he listens to that, staying quiet for the moment.

Hawkins nods, blowing out a long, slow breath at the last sentence. She turns to Omtala. "Anything new, Commander?"

Omtala takes a slow breath. "Deck 37 is a wash. From what I saw, it's as the Commander says. The detonation, whatever it was, blew out a significant portion of the deck with no survivors. I have a medical team down there near the lift with orders to evac the moment security or engineering gives the order but we're shuffling wounded out as fast as possible. The Promenade is a relief. It could have been much worse but thankfully wasn't. I sent some of their people to Deck 38. I'm awaiting preliminaries. The docking bay, however, is where the majority of my people are focusing right now. I've not seen it myself but Lieutenant Thompson isn't given to exaggeration. All told we're looking at at least two hundred fatalities and almost twice that in injuries. I'd love to stay but I'm needed in medical." Her lab coat is streaked in red and grey, evidence of being in the heavily damaged Deck 37.

Hawkins nods to Omtala. Her face could rival a Vulcan's for its expression. "Of course. You're dismissed... we'll check in later." She turns to Volchenkov. "What did the sensors show thus far?"

Omtala rises from the chair she was never truly at rest in and heads for the door at a brisk pace, her lab coat billowing.

Omtala leaves through the door toward Central Corridor <Deck 8>.
Omtala has left.

"The sensor reports shows three blasts, all coming from the inside," Volchenkov replies. "Two of them near the docking bay doors, and one in the Antarean Embassy. But the confusing thing is this," he adds, frowning a little. "The sensor reports show residuals of photon torpedos..." He pauses for a few moments, glancing around. "of the Romulan kind."

The music swells. Dunh-dunh-duhhhh!

Solvek jerks his head at the statement. "Romulan photon torpedoes? The Romulan Star Empire does not employ the use of torpedoes in such a manner as you are stating."

Volchenkov shrugs, "Well, unless there's something wrong with our sensors," he replies. "It's what the sensors was showing, after all. But I don't think we should rule out any possibility this early into the investigation."

Hawkins raises her eyebrows at Volchenkov. "Definitely look into it, as well as possibilities for what else could cause that same signature. Anything else?"

Alexandria listens, now getting visibly upset, but trying to contain herself.

"Aside from the suspicion that this was a well-planned attack of some kind, nothing else so far," Volchenkov replies, sighing a little. "It all seems too well coordinated for just being some random acts."

Hawkins nods to this. "I concur. Well. I'll be sure you have access to whatever you need to complete this investigation." She looks around at the officers. "Is there anything else? Any questions?"

Alexandria raises her hand meekly.

Hawkins looks to Alexandria. "Yes, Lieutenant?" She pauses a moment and smiles, slightly, though it might seem a tad forced. "Feel free to speak up in these sorts of meetings."

Alexandria says, "Well Captain, we lost about a month's worth of work today when the blasts happened. Along with a brand new shipment of spores, which were almost completely destroyed." She sighs. "So we have a lot to clean up as well, but there were only minor injuries."

Hawkins nods, frowning. "Good that there were only minor injuries. I'll have Operations put the Science department on high priority to get things replaced... obviously fixing the base and treating the injured have to come first, but we have too many research projects to just let things stall."

Alexandria nods, "Yes, ma'am, I have some medical crosstrained officers I will send to Commander Omtala."

Volchenkov listens thoughtfully, as he looks around, already seeming to be concentrating a bit on the work at hand.

Hawkins nods. "Excellent. Anything else?"

Alexandria listens.

Solvek shakes his head. "No, Captain."

Hawkins nods. "Dismissed, then, everyone." She doesn't make a move to stand herself.

Volchenkov shakes his head a little, "Nothing more for now," he replies. Then as they are dismissed, he nods and starts getting to his feet.

Alexandria stands and holds her PADD tightly to her chest.

Solvek stays in his chair, making various notes on a PADD.

Tremar frowns. "Spores? Are you sure they didn't get released into the environment? With the power being down on some decks the filtration systems weren't running 100 percent."

Hawkins looks to Alexandria at this.

Alexandria looks back at Tremar. "Actually, we do have massive backups on Deck 35 in the science lab, and while some were released, they were quickly destroyed by the fail safe system, we lost about 9 thousand samples we needed to catalogue."

Volchenkov listens to what's being said as he starts making his way out of the room. Time to get this investigation properly organized.

Tremar nods, relaxing just an iota. "We'd better do a sweep just to make absolutely certain."

Alexandria nods and shrugs. "Alright, but I am sure we contained that one pretty well..." She sighs and her insecurites about this new job start creeping back in.

Tremar smiles faintly. "I'm certain it did, but it's better to be certain you're certain. Doesn't mean I don't have faith in you, just not in damaged systems."

Alexandria nods slowly and heads out, "I will make sure my shift supervisor is expecting you, I have to go assess the gardens now."

"I am certain that your safe guards were well placed and secure, but just for the added security go ahead and do a quick sweep of the ventalation shafts." Solvek states. He turns to Tremar in kind, "Commander Tremar has a valid point. The emergence of infection on this base at this time would be disastrous."

Alexandria leaves through the door toward Central Corridor <Deck 8>.
Alexandria has left.

Volchenkov leaves through the door toward Central Corridor <Deck 8>.
Volchenkov has left.

Hawkins watches the officers leave, reaching up to pinch the bridge of her nose once more.

Solvek looks at Tremar. "Is there anything else, Commander?"

Tremar shakes her head. "No, I'd better get back to work. Looks like we're going to be working some long shifts."

Solvek nods. "I have complete faith in your abilities, as does the Captain."

Tremar smiles and nods. "Thank you, sir. I'd better be getting to work if there's nothing else you need to know?"

Solvek shakes his head. "You are dismissed."

Tremar hops from her seat and salutes. "Aye aye sir!" then bounce-steps through the door.

Tremar leaves through the door toward Central Corridor <Deck 8>.
Tremar has left.

Once Tremar is out the door, the Captain visibly slumps, putting her elbows on the table and her head in her hands.

Solvek looks minorly concerned. "Do you care to talk about your troubles, Captain?"

"200 dead, Solvek." The Captain's voice is quiet, its earlier cool tone replaced by a hint of despair. "Over 400 injured. That's... that's more than we had in the entire last month of the war. The last entire last two months." She doesn't look up as she speaks, keeping her head in her hands. "What am I going to say to all those families? All those families, all at once..."

Solvek looks down for a moment. "If you want me to take charge of the communications I can, Captain. As for your concerns over the amount of casualties, I can only say that having misconceptions of quiet and calm on a station as far from the core worlds as this base is was highly illogical."

Over Hawkins's compin you hear, "T'Lyt to Hawkins."

Hawkins shakes her head. "It's my responsibility." She looks up, finally, opening eyes she had shut to hold back tears. "Two--hundred--people, Solvek. And not from a ship's phasers, or a malfunction. Someone did this deliberately. Quiet and calm are one thing, but this... this..." She clenches her fists and takes a deep breath as the compin beeps.

Hawkins taps her compin, and it emits a high chirp.

Hawkins says, in a somewhat strained voice, "Hawkins here. Go ahead."

From over a compin, you hear T'Lyt say, "Is all well? I last recall my console shorting and have awakened in Sickbay."

Hawkins says, "There was an... incident. I'll be making a report shortly."

From over a compin, you hear T'Lyt say, "I shall report to Ops, shortly, to assist with coordination repair efforts...?"

Hawkins says, "Certainly, Lieutenant."

From over a compin, you hear T'Lyt say, "On my way, sir. T'Lyt out."

Hawkins taps her compin, and it emits a low chirp.

Hawkins slumps again, only putting one hand to her head this time. She appears to be gathering herself.

T'Lyt comes through the door from Central Corridor <Deck 8>.
T'Lyt has arrived.

T'Lyt enters, a PADD in hand.

Solvek and Hawkins are sitting in chairs around the central table. Hawkins has one hand to her head, that elbow resting on the table. Solvek has a PADD in one hand; he seems to be slghtly concerned with something going on in the conversation. "I understand your concern, Gwen, but as you are the station's Captain, you need to be able to fully function even under the stress and anger of an unprecidented attack on your base. My own feelings aside, I, as your Executive Officer would advise you to remember your stance on the Akagi during the heaviest moments of the war."

"I'll be fine," Gwen replies. "I just needed a moment to stop myself from lashing out at... something. There aren't any Jem'Hadar to shoot this time, or malfunctions to fix. We don't know what happened, and you know I hate that." She straightens, taking a deep breath, evidently not having noticed T'Lyt's arrival just yet.

T'Lyt stops and stands just inside the door, "at attention," waiting to be noticed. Where she was burned, she no longer is -- dermal regenerators do their job well. Her uniform is still singed black in a few spots, however.

"I do wish to talk about my preliminary hypothesis based on the current information we have. But I will wait until you are ready for my analysis." Solvek looks down at the PADD, "Please come join us, Lieutenant."

At that, T'Lyt steps forward. "I came to report on current status and progress of repairs," she says, directing it to the Captain, though she does nod her head to Solvek as she comes closer to offer the PADD to the Captain.

Hawkins looks up and takes the PADD, her demeanor having shifted radically within moments. Where she had seemed emotional and almost slumped moments ago, she's now straightened, professional. "Of course, Lieutenant. Is that all?"

T'Lyt shakes her head. "I brought you documentation for your authorization for personnel and resource assignments persuant to the needed repairs. There are several... many, actually... engineering and operations personnel requestion permission to remain on duty to aid with the repair efforts. Also, engineering reports that they have managed to remove the Cambric's port side from the station's docking ring. The Cambric, however, remains crippled and still blocks access to the docking bays. Her acting Captain awaits your word on the disposition of his ship... on 'what is left of his ship,' to use his words."

Hawkins raises an eyebrow. "Personnel and resource assignments are the purview of the heads of their departments. This station is too big for me to micromanage. If Engineering and Operations can spare the personnel, I'll trust their judgement. As for the Cambric, she stays where she is until Commander Volchenkov's investigation is finished. I assume her crew has been moved, and that Engineering made sure to catalogue the pieces of her hull as possible evidence."

"The department heads in question wanted to ensure they had your support in authorization of 'overtime.' More, I believe they felt giving such authorization would help you to realize that they harbor no feelings that you are inadequate in your ability to command the station," T'Lyt offers. "The Cambric's crew, what remains of them, have been assigned quarters or alloted space in Sickbay, as needed."

Hawkins raises her eyebrows. "We're at Yellow Alert. Authorization is given. And I should certainly hope they do not harbor feelings their Captain may be inadequate. I'll be glad of the reports, Lieutenant, but from here on out, while I do wish to know what's going on in various departments, as each department has several hundred personnel I will trust the chiefs and their assistants to make decisions pertaining to personnel assignments, and I will trust the Operations department to allocate resources, as is their duty. I'm not certain how the station was run before, or how other ships are run, but I trust my staff to do their jobs and let me know what they're doing in order to save time and be more efficient."

Hawkins adds, "You may pass that on if you so wish. I do need to send out a few standing orders about this situation."

T'Lyt nods. "Aye, sir," she says. "Might I make a 'personal' recommendation?"

Hawkins nods. "Go ahead, Lieutenant."

"Your appearance speaks volumes that you might benefit from even a small amount of rest. As you trust your senior staff, I would ask you to take advantage of that trust and rest for at least a short while. We can contact you if there is immediate need'" T'Lyt suggests.

Hawkins nods to this. "I will be sending out my orders and then retiring, Lieutenant. Thank you for your concern."

T'Lyt merely nods her head, then reaches for the PADD. "I will inform the Department Heads that your authorization will not be needed unless SOP specifically calls for it."

Hawkins nods to T'Lyt in reply.

Hawkins says, "Is there anything else, Lieutenant?"

"I... am still unsure what happened," T'Lyt admits. "You were not rendered unconscious, as I was. Might I ask what occured after my console overloaded?"

Solvek nods, looking at his sister. "Shortly after your injury other explosions pounded the station. The Captain called a meeting of the senior staff. We concluded that there were three explosions, two in the docking bay and one on Deck 37 in the Antarean Ambassadorial sector. The preliminary readings indicated that the explosions were caused by Romulan photon torpedoes detonated from within the station. However, I am highly skeptical in how valid that claim is. There was severe damage done to multiple decks and the USS Cambric is, as you already know, incapacitated. It is currently blocking the aft docking bay door. There is an estimated 200 people dead and another estimate of 400 injured."

T'Lyt frowns, just for a moment. "Romulan torpedoes?", she says, the frown disappearing. "There was no indication of a ship decloaking, nor are relations with the Romulan Empire strained such as to precipitate an attack."

Hawkins sighs. "The detonations came from inside the station, Lieutenant. Commander Volchenkov is looking into the situation."

T'Lyt's left eyebrow rises at that. "I shall leave you be, then," she says. "And I shall review cargo manifests for the past month to see if there is any indication of the weapons being smuggled aboard."

Hawkins nods. "Coordinate that effort with Commander Volchenkov, as he is in charge of the investigation. I'm sure he'll be glad of the help."

"I shall inform him of anything I find," T'Lyt says, nodding her head before turning to head for the door.

Hawkins nods. "Thank you, Lieutenant."

T'Lyt leaves through the door toward Central Corridor <Deck 8>.
T'Lyt has left.

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