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The Price of Freedom, Part One
Memorial Service

(Cut to the garden ampitheatre. The gathered officers are all in dress uniform.)

Ampitheatre <Deck 31> [Gibraltar Station]

Spanning five decks, the ceiling of the garden is high enough to hold full-grown trees. There are indeed trees here, along with flowers in every imaginable color, grass in a hundred shades of green and blue. The lighting overhead is diffuse enough to nearly substitute for sunlight on an M-class world. The plants are well-tended and some effort has been made to make the layout pleasing to the eye. The sounds of bird calls fill the air, insects chosen for their compatibility with the plants here flit about, and there are small mammals about as well, again chosen for their compatibility with the plants and each other. With the scents of life and growing things surrounding one, it almost seems like a park on an M-class world, save for the Promenade walkways one can sometimes spot high above.

The central area is large enough to hold a good-sized group of people, bordered by a short expanse of grass on all sides that leads one down from the tree-lined paths of the outer garden. The central feature of this area is the concave bowl of the ampitheatre, white stone benches leading down in tiers to the flat circular stage. It would be easy to hold a speech or play here, and there is room enough to screen off one side or another for use as a "backstage" area. Certainly one would be heard on the decks above if one spoke loudly enough. In times when there is no production going on the ampitheatre is used as a meeting area, or as a place where one can easily eat one's lunch or finish paperwork.

Gwen Hawkins
Anthony L'Treaux
Katherine Alexandria
Katheran Omtala
Robyn Tremar
Mikhail Volchenkov
Ian Simmons

Sitting quietly, the meek Science chief stares off into the distance.

Hawkins strides in with the hurriedness of someone late for something very important. She heads down toward the podium.

Omtala is presently surrounded by blue. They aren't medical teams, but Andorians. Some are openly grieving. Others are grimly set in their visage. The good doctor has about her two men and a woman along with two boys, her family unit, and they speak quietly amongst themselves in their native tongue. With the Captain's arrival, Omtala shushes them and straightens her focus.

Solvek stands close to the Aft Pathway, his expression that of calm contemplation. He is evidently deep in thought. What his thoughts dwell on is anyone's guess.

T'Lyt arrives, moving as if she hurried to get here. Pausing for a moment by the door, she glances about -- then makes her way over to where Solvek stands.

Tremar tugs at her slightly oversized dress uniform as she rushes in, her hair pulled up into a long springy bun with curls cascading over her shoulders. Coming to a halt, she nearly runs into Solvek's leg, and comes to attention.

L'Treaux focuses on Hawkins.

Hawkins gathers herself, holding up a PADD, and heads to the podium. She says nothing as of yet, seeming to be waiting for things to settle down.

Solvek looks up as Hawkins approaches the podium and glides up to join her.

Simmons walks solemly down one of the tree lined paths, dressed in his brilliant dress whites. The white dress uniforms of officers, and the blue of enlisted can be seen from the path in the ampitheater from where he is and the croud seems silent. Simmons hurries toward the back row and sits down next to an enlisted engineer he recopnizes but dosn't know. With a simple nod of aknowledgement he is greeted, and Ian turns toward the podium to listen.

T'Lyt ends up standing by herself near where Solvek'd been just a bit ago -- well, other than the tiny techie.

Volchenkov makes his way in a bit after Simmons, looking around at the others present for a few moments, before taking the nearest available seat, rather quietly.

After a little bit of standing around, T'Lyt makes her way over to take a seat with everyone else in attendance.

Hawkins clears her throat. "If everyone could please take their seats." She waits a moment and then continues, setting the PADD down on the podium. "We are gathered here for a solemn and most lamentable purpose. Two days ago, there were a series of explosions aboard this starbase which took the lives of 152 of our fellow officers, as well as several dozen Federation civilians and foreign nationals.While we still do not know the cause of these explosions, it is clear they were not an accident--these events were a deliberate attempt to kill and injure station personnel and damage or possibly destroy this station." She takes a pause for a moment.

L'Treaux looks solemnly at the Captain... as he focuses solely on her.

Volchenkov listens rather carefully, glancing around at the others for a few moments, to see how they're reacting.

T'Lyt sits quietly, expressionless. Of course.

Omtala shifts in her seat at the mention of the dead. She knows all too well how many there are. How many lifeless faces she's seen in the last two days. The blood. The grief. All of it a reminder of the horrors of war which she'd hoped to leave behind. Unconsciously, she hugs one of the boys closer with her left arm while her right remains tucked against her by the comforting hug of the male Andorian to her right.

Simmons waits silently for the memorial service to continue. He idly thinks of the list of things he has to do in engineering.

"The deaths include the 28 people who were in the Antarean Embassy at the time of the explosion, including most of the embassy staff and the Ambassador; 15 foreign nationals including staff from the Klingon, Ferengi, Mintakan, and Acamarian Embassies; 18 Federation civilians; 40 crewmembers of the USS Cambric, and 102 crewmembers of Starbase 247, most of whom were working in and around the docking bays at the time." Hawkins pauses a moment, then continues. "We are gathered today to pay our respects to all of these people, but most especially the 152 Starfleet officers who, after serving in the most... costly and devastating war the Federation has yet seen, after surviving, some of them, front-line battle against Jem'Hadar, Breen, and Cardassian ships, were killed by a series of explosions that seem to have no purpose other than to instill fear and cause damage." She clears her throat. "No one has taken responsibility. No one has claimed this to be a political act, or an act of war. For now we can only speculate on why this has happened, and that lack of knowledge makes the loss of our fellow officers all the more difficult to bear. What we can take comfort in is that every officer who died was serving Starfleet to the best of their ability. They may have been simply repairing a plasma conduit, but they knew that we rely on each system upon this starbase to keep it functioning as a center for science, exploration, commerce, and diplomacy. Some died trying to protect or save others, showing the best impulses of a Starfleet officer." She pauses a moment, pressing her lips together.

Simmons turns his thoughts back to the memorial as the speech starts. Ian is not an emotional person, but stories of pride, honor, and sacrifice always have given him the chills. He gets hit hard by the chills as the speech continues and has to look away toward the ground for a few moments before looking back up.

Hawkins sighs. "I did not know any of the officers or civilians who died. I have only been the Captain of this starbase for little more than a week. However, having served with the 9th Fleet in the war, I understand what those of you who lost friends and loved ones are going through. I understand the pain, the grief, the guilt. The thought that, perhaps, it should have been me. I understand the confusion. Federation culture raises us to value life, freedom, the pursuit of knoweldge. Starfleet is not, at its heart, a military, but an exploratory force. Our greatest hope, our greatest goal, is to seek out the unknown and make it known, to go to the stars and bring back knowledge. It is difficult for us to understand why these things happen. A malfunction, an accident, would be easier to accept for some. We can fix the systems, put in more safeguards, make sure it doesn't happen again. I wish I could tell you this was an accident, but the evidence thus far makes it clear that it was not, that attempts were made to hide the cause of these explosions from sensors, from Starfleet officers, until it was too late. Someone did this on purpose and I... I do not understand why." For a moment the Captain, as calm and collected as she has been, seems truly bewildered.

Omtala closes her eyes, taking a steadying breath. Despite her best efforts, she cannot hold back the tears. They flow and the woman at her left, holding the younger of the two boys, offers her a cloth. She glances to her, smiles faintly, and dabs at her cheeks.

Volchenkov makes a mental note at that part about the numbers, before he frowns a bit as he listens to the rest, expression turning a bit darker. He did not know many of those who died, since he hasn't been on the station for very long, but that part about losing friends and loved ones, he knows how that feels.

Hawkins looks down at the podium. "I can tell you that this will be investigated, that we will find out what happened, and why, and whoever did this will be brought to justice. I know that will not bring loved ones back. Justice, treaties, the end of hostilities, do not bring the people back that died. We know that too well, now." She pauses a moment, closes her eyes, takes a deep breath. Opens them again. "Those that died did not die in vain. They were doing what they most wanted to do--serve in Starfleet. They knew the risks when they came out here, the risks of putting oneself in a tin can floating in space, however we wrap it all about with technology. We put our lives on the line every day in the pursuit of knowledge, and there can be no nobler goal." Another pause. "Some of the dead will be returned to their families for burial. Most of the officers, however, at their own or their families' requests, will be buried in space, their bodies sent into this system's sun, as has been tradition going back to the traditions of burial at sea on Earth. To them, as their bodies are launched, I give the traditional words of a Captain to her crew when as they make the last voyage, that which none of us can understand until we undertake it." She looks up, toward the windows high above. "From the stars we came, to the stars we return, from now until the end of time. We therefore commit these bodies to the deep." And with that she steps away from the podium, leaving the PADD, as if she cannot bear to say any more.

L'Treaux walks over to Hawkins and places a hand on her shoulder to try and comfort her.

T'Lyt remains quiet, sitting with her hands folded in her lap.

Simmons bows his head again, not wanting to look up and make eye contact with anyone at that moment. His face is blank and emotionless, but inside he is mourning for those who have died. He didn't know any of them well, but the speech has stirred in him an emotion he can't quite pin down.

Volchenkov stays silent, although his lips move, as if he's silently saying something to himself.

Omtala gathers herself with a deep breath and rises to a throng of blue. Its not so much that she commanded it as it seems they are intent on grieving as a group. They file out in ones or twos or more as is their whim with Omtala departing somewhere in the midst of them.

Omtala leaves the area toward Garden Pathway - Aft <Deck 31>.
Omtala has left.

Solvek moves over to the podium. There are what appear to be stress lines marring his usual blank face. He looks down at the PADD, noting something apparently. He looks up, "In order to commemorate those who have died we will be erecting a memorial plaque in the garden, giving the names of those who died as this has been the largest loss of life at one time that Starbase 247 has seen in her 55 year history. Those who wish to may gather in the Officers Lounge. If there are any other wakes or memorials planned, those may be announced at this time." He steps down and returns to his place of contemplation near the Aft Pathway.

T'Lyt rises from her seat and walks over to join Solvek. She doesn't say anything, merely moving to stand near him.

Hawkins closes her eyes a moment as L'Treaux speaks, and nods. "Thank you," she says softly. She looks around at the other officers to see if there is anyone to speak to, anyone wishing to speak.

Solvek whispers to T'Lyt.

T'Lyt whispers to Solvek.

Simmons remains looking down.

Alexandria stands and makes a quiet exit.

L'Treaux whispers to Hawkins.

Alexandria leaves the area toward Garden Pathway - Aft <Deck 31>.
Alexandria has left.

Hawkins whispers to L'Treaux.

Hawkins starts heading away from the podium through the crowd, going slowly.

L'Treaux nods and backs away to talk to some others.

Volchenkov is starting to head out as well, looking like he's about to go for a quiet walk, or something.

L'Treaux nods to a few people, "If you would excuse me, I have an appointment I must keep."

L'Treaux leaves the area toward Garden Pathway - Aft <Deck 31>.
L'Treaux has left.

The Captain stands around talking to a few officers for a time, and then heads on out.

Tremar slides from her seat and follows the others out, rubbing the back of her neck, shaking her head as she heads for the lounge. She needs a tall glass of apple juice after this.

Tremar leaves the area toward Garden Pathway - Aft <Deck 31>.
Tremar has left.

Hawkins leaves the area toward Garden Pathway - Aft <Deck 31>.
Hawkins has left.

Solvek looks down at his sister. "I must go to the Officers Lounge. I will speak with you later." His hand flinches slightly, almost as if he wished to make contact with T'Lyt. Before anything happens though, he turns and begins to leave.

"I shall accompany you", T'Lyt replies, turning to follow along after.

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