No place like home
Location: Landing Bay
Timeline: Day 21 at 1810
Navigating her way through the makeshift triage unit the medical staff had established, Commander Winters sought out one particular patient among the many. Side stepping as some of the nurses hurried by, the first officer continued on her way until she reached a makeshift partition which offered their Captain some privacy. Rounding it, she released a sigh of relief, able now to see the captain was indeed alive with her own eyes.
“Not too long, Commander,” the nurse monitoring their CO’s condition instructed quietly before stepping away. “She needs to rest.”
Aria gave a nod of acknowledgment as she moved to the Captain’s side. “It is good to see you, Captain,” she offered with a small, tired smile. “We were getting worried.”
With great difficulty, Keziah pushed herself up from her horizontal position, her right arm clutched across her chest as she did so. Eventually, a weak smile was aimed in the direction of her executive officer. "Nazir's been around for centuries, not about to be the one to end him," the Captain joked before holding out her left hand and placing it on the XO's arm. "How are we looking, Number One?" she enquired, her face dropping.
Aria glanced around them, ensuring there was nobody within earshot. Here was the one person she did not need to put on a ‘brave face’ for or seem overly positive. And yet... “I keep reminding myself it could be worse but the words seem hollow.
The ship, as you probably already know, is gone. We did everything we could to try and slow her down, to lessen the impact but -“ it didn’t need said, the woman had been on board after all.
“Dr Hill is preparing the final casualty report, I will be sure it is shared with you. We took some significant loses so seeing you alive and well will undoubtedly give the crew a morale boost when you are ready. But only when the doctor’s say so,” Aria added, “I hear people with four pips are the worst patients.”
"Normally, I would protest," the Captain winced through the pain before leaning back, "but this time I think I'll rest a little more," she smiled. The XO's report was dire to say the least, and the sooner she could be out there, helping, the better. Staring at the ceiling above, the next question came to mind. "What can you tell me about this place?"
“It is not a top holiday destination but as they say, any port in a storm,” Aria lamented. “We have power to the bay and the section leading to Ops, and life support in this area. I have teams working on restoring full power.
There seems to be some form of AI interface, it understands us, responds to us but we are still learning. For now, everyone but search teams are in here in case we need to evacuate back into the shuttles. This...” she handed their captain a PADD, “is a blueprint of the facility.”
Keziah took ownership of the data PADD and began to look it over. They had been so incredibly lucky to come across the facility, and one that they could actually use, but one questions clearly remained. "What happened to the people that created this place?" she asked quietly, her eyes scanning the document closely to try and get her bearings so that, when the time came, she could be useful.
“Unknown,” Aria admitted. “The base was abandoned, for reasons unknown. Which is another reason for the cautious approach.”
"Make sure that fully armed security details go with every search team, and maintain a strong presence here," the Captain instructed; not because she doubted the XO, but more to make herself feel useful and important again. "We can't take any risks," she added, forcing herself to sit up again.
“I will make the arrangements,” Aria assured her. “And I will ensure you are kept updated on the progress of the search. Is there anything else I can get you, Captain? The doctors were insistent that you rest.”
Keziah waved away the comment about the doctors concerns. "I'll be fine and on my feet soon enough," she winced, "just keep me in the loop in the meantime, okay?"
“Of course,” Aria nodded. “I will stop by again soon. Try not to antagonise your doctors too much...”
Laying back once again, the Captain simply smirked. "They'll risk antagonising me if they keep me here too long," the Trill quipped.
A smile played at Aria's lips, "I'll be sure to warn the medical staff and alert security. Get some rest, we will hopefully have more news for you soon."
"Make the most of giving orders," Keziah winked as she turned her head towards the Commander and gave another smile, "I'll be back on my feet in no time."
Standing just outside the private medical area that had been set up for the Captain, an antsy looking man in command red shifted from foot to foot whilst he waited for the conversation between commander and captain to finish. Josue had only been away from the Commander for fifteen minutes, but they both knew, and understood, how fluid the developments at present were. He had an update for her, an update that he felt could not wait.
“I feel like you are my new shadow,” Aria observed. “I’m guessing you aren’t here just because you were missing me?”
"The joys of being in command, you get a personal assistant trained with phasers," Josue smiled before handing over a data PADD to the XO, a PADD that made for solemn reading. "We've lost 263 people ma'am. At least 200 have been confirmed dead, we do have over fifty still unaccounted for, but with the plasma fires and other issues on the wreck, we've got no way of knowing if anyone else has survived at this point," the Strategist-turned-security officer told.
It was a staggering number. One that almost knocked the air out of her lungs. Yes, they could have lost far more and by any measure they had been 'lucky' for want of a better word. And yet... She turned her back, reading through the list of names. Many she didn't know, many she did. And she had seen enough to know the senior staff had not survived unscathed.
Straightening, she reminded herself that this was not the time to feel sorry for their losses. Such times would come later. "Thank you, Lieutenant. For now we focus on keeping everyone else alive, and we can mourn our losses when it is safe."
“As you wish Commander,” Josue nodded slowly, stepping back slowly and taking his leave of the XO, leaving her to contemplate and digest her thoughts.
There would be time to grieve in the end.