So many wonderfully written sims have been written during our first contact mission to Eladar IV that I would love to be able to post them all. The amazing writers behind them took the time to really pour their heart and soul into them that they did indeed hit you in the feels. This one in particular sent chills down my spine. Thank you, @Lael Rosek for this one. Keep up the good work Chin’toka, you all are awesome 💙
OOC: This post may contain descriptions that could trigger unsettling feelings. Read with care.
((Ladonnik Nature Preserve, Eladar IV))
Having heard more than enough, Lael decided to shift the conversation in a different direction. She would have a discussion with Snow later in a less public setting about tact.
Rosek: I admire you, Katnar’fari, for your integrity under duress. I cannot imagine it has been easy to hold to your beliefs given the circumstances. However, I hope you understand that it goes against the primary law governing myself and my officers to interfere in the natural development of a society.
Qalipu’fari: ::under her breath:: That much is clear. ::turning to Rosek:: I think you'll find that you don't have much of a say in the matter this time.
Katnar’fari: I have had to sacrifice some of my beliefs to try and change things. I accept this. The dishonor I bring is my own. All of us here are among the dishonored now. But we will not sacrifice everything that we are if there’s a better way. I do not wish us to become like the Feladoni. ::She sighed softly:: Are you not interfering just by being here on our world?
She’d had her share of difficulties over the years with the Prime Directive and how those around her had chosen to apply it. As a younger officer, it had always seemed like a convenient excuse to escape helping others. But now that she was in a tenuous position, she had a greater appreciation for the reasons Starfleet had put it into place. Early Earth starship captains had encountered enough issues to a great enough degree that it became necessary.
Rosek: ::inclines her head:: Our Prime Directive prevents officers from abusing their position for personal gain. It has served us well over the centuries since its inception.
Katnar’fari: And if someone in that society asks for help?
Qalipu’fari: Or demands it?
She knew that the beings were in no place to demand anything. They wouldn’t resort to violence to coerce them to help. There was a slight stutter to her breath as it exited her lips, betraying the emotion she was trying so hard to hold back. This was no easy situation they’d landed themselves in the middle of. Anyone else would have high-tailed it out long ago.
Rosek: ::murmurs:: I wish we could. But the consequences for those who disobey the Prime Directive can be extensive.
Her chest ached and she struggled to draw breath, torn between her duty and her conscience. Could she really leave these people to fend for themselves? An ironic grin twisted her lips. She had no choice. She refused to be responsible for anymore unnecessary deaths.
Suddenly, the noise in the room beyond stopped. Lael was keenly aware of it as she hadn’t been able to entirely block it out. The lack of noise was even more deafening. On the monitors, she saw a small group enter the main area, causing the Feladoni and the bat-like beings to freeze. Her gaze narrowed. She couldn’t tell clearly, but she could have almost sworn they were--
Levinson: Who are these?
Snow: Who is that? :: at the same time Noa asked her question ::
Rosek: ::nods:: Caraadians. But what are they doing here?
They hadn’t detected a Caraadian presence in the system when they’d entered it, but was it possible the metals had thrown off their sensors that much? Then she realized that the Chin’toka hadn’t attempted to make contact. Even with their comm badges in the hands of their captors, the devices would have made noise if the ship had tried to get in touch.
The hairs on the back of her neck raised, suspecting that the Caraadians weren’t limited to ground troops.
Qalipu’fari: ::sounding the word out:: Car-aad-eens?
Katnar’fari: You say that as if these are not from your own people. Are they not from your crew here to rescue you?
Levinson: They are not.
Snow: Lieutenant Levinson is correct. They’re most certainly not.
Qalipu’fari: More of your coalition?
Katnar’fari: They are armed. If they are not here for you, then why have they come?
That was a very good question. Her gaze flickered to the screen and her lips thinned. Watching the scene took her back to the holovids she’d been shown at the Academy. Though they hadn’t impacted her as severely as the torture vids, they’d still been enough to unsettle her. She’d seen enough combat in her years that many would expect her to be desensitized. A bat-like creature huddled in a corner protecting a young one caught her attention.
No. Far from it. If anything, the more she saw of this kind of violence, the more she felt compelled to act. When it had been a matter between the two races native to this world, it had been different. The Caraadians were outsiders. An unstable element introduced into the natural atmosphere of this world. Surely she had some responsibility to prevent genocide from an outside source.
Levinson: They are not of our coalition. I believe the most likely reason for their presence is your world, not you.
Qalipu’fari: What do they want with Fari and her people?
One by one, she watched the execution-style deaths of countless bat-like creatures. The anguished sound from Katnar had moisture gathering against her will, a pain worse than any she’d ever known constricting her lungs and throat. It hurt to breathe and it was nearly impossible to think. The neural suppressants and her mental shields were no match for the maelstrom of emotions swirling in the room, both from their captors and her colleagues.
Was this what she’d become? Cold and heartless, bound by a duty that came at the price of her conscience?
Katnar’fari: Fari save us!!...they...they destroyed her. Her body...there’s nothing left for us to free her spirit. They destroyed her spirit. She can’t join our ancestors.
Qalipu’fari: Gesasijig gloqowejg wa'so'q wela'gw. (The stars shine bright in heaven at night). Now she will never see them.
She clenched and unclenched a fist at her side in an effort to release the pent-up emotion. They had to leave, but she was frozen, her feet refusing to obey her mind.
Levinson: My belief is that they are here for mining. Dilithium, the crystals you have shown us, is an important component for faster than light travel.
Katnar’fari: Go, you’ve seen what the Feladoni don’t wish even their own kind to see. How they relocate us. You must survive to tell the truth..please. ::Her voice cracked slightly as she spoke, still in shock:: I know you said you cannot interfere, but please, if you die while under our care then it will bring even more destruction to our world. I would not wish to see Fari burn because your people might seek revenge or justice for your deaths.
Levinson: ::Without sound:: I will.
Snow: Our people would never take things that far. We value life as much as you all do and we try to avoid killing if at all possible.
Empty words, no matter how true they might be.
Qalipu’fari: We can get you safely to the edge of our cave, if you need.
Lael simply nodded, not trusting herself to speak. They had to leave before she could change her mind. It wouldn’t be an easy thing to live with, but it would be easier than living with more blood on her hands.
Levinson: I believe that would be adequate. ::Beat:: We still require our technology, however.
Snow: Katnar’fari, please. You and your people have to fight back. You have the means to do so. There is no shame in it. You don't have to kill them. You're people know these caves better than anyone. This is your home. :: her voice pleaded with the Merka’fari woman :: Only you can change your fate.
Qalipu’fari: We have caused you much harm, this is the least we can do.
Levinson: ::Nodding:: I understand.
Snow / Levinson / Katnar’fari: Responses
Qalipu’fari: As Katnar'fari has said, please. Tell our story.
What Qalipu was asking...Lael couldn’t imagine ever having the mental fortitude to speak of what she’d seen today to anyone. Even the mandatory counseling session that she knew would follow this mission was going to be excruciating. Perhaps one day when she had enough distance, it would be more than an after-action report. But not now. Not even soon.
Snow: Good luck to you all.
The tricorder and commbadge felt heavy in her hand as it was returned to her. Each step after felt like her boots were made of lead. Her bad leg stiffened up more than once and it took all she had to keep moving. She remained utterly silent as they walked, her mood somber as she tried to assuage her conscience.
She’d done the right thing. It wasn’t their place to interfere with the natural development of a society. The regulation chased itself around in her mind. Her thoughts consumed so much of her attention that she was scarcely aware of what was going on around her.
Levinson: The metals around us interfere with my scans. I cannot get a clear reading of lifesigns.
Snow: Commander, is there really nothing we can do? I really can't just sit on the sidelines as the Caaradians tear this world apart, killing innocent people. It isn't right..
Rosek: ::stiffens:: It’s not our place.
They were the only words she could muster and even as they left her lips, they sounded empty and meaningless. Her gaze flickered to the walls, noting drawings that she hadn’t seen there when they’d arrived. Likely, she’d been too lost in the possible danger to notice.
Stories. She’d read about how some cultures depicted their history on whatever surfaces they could find. These, it would seem, were no different. Generations of bat-like creatures. Their triumphs, their failures.
Memories of Abigail’s last moments seized her mind and her thoughts went instantly to Maddy, and then to the young child cowering near its dead elder. To the child being cradled in the arms of its parent.
Levinson: I do not believe it will take us long to reach the surface.
She stopped, making up her mind.
Rosek: oO I might get court-martialed for this, but to hell with it. Oo
Turning on her heel, she faced her team, her expression determined. For the first time since the violence had begun, she felt a weight lift from her chest as she made her decision.
Rosek: I’m going back.
Levinson: ::Turning around:: Commander?
Snow: Wait.. what?
Rosek: Those people in there are dying. I’m going to help them.
Pausing, she regarded the two women in front of her. She couldn’t ask them to risk their careers. It was a decision they had to make for themselves.
Rosek: I can’t ask you to turn your backs on your careers. ::jerks her head toward the exit:: If you want to walk away, I won’t blame you.
Levinson: ::Still considering what Commander Rosek said:: I... see, Commander. Very well.
Snow: I take it you have a plan?
For a long moment, she was at a loss for words. It humbled her more than she could say that Levinson and Snow were willing to follow her into this. Their commitment moved her to near tears. Clearing her throat, she blinked back the moisture and refocused her attention on the situation at hand.
Rosek: ::pauses:: Frankly? Not really. We have no weapons, so there’s a good chance that, unless the Chin’toka sends back-up, this will be a one-way trip.
Snow: :: nods :: I'm with you.
She nodded. At least she had her hand to hand. She’d probably stand a decent chance. Her gaze flickered to Snow. Lephi would likely never forgive her if something happened to the woman. Snow was a decent fighter but was likely no match for energy weapons. It was going to take a hell of a miracle for them to get out of this alive.
She sighed, closing her eyes and picturing her fiance and their daughter aboard the Chin’toka, unaware of what she was about to do. The moisture that she’d been fighting back finally spilled over at the thought of being separated from them, even if it was not forever. Not for the first time today, she clutched at the cross around her neck, covered by her uniform, and prayed for protection. God was calling and she was going to answer.
Pressing her commbadge to open the line on the off chance that it gave the Chin’toka something to lock onto, she pocketed it and looked in the direction they’d come from.
Snow: On your lead, Commander.
Rosek: ::exhales shakily and looks at each one of them in turn:: Ladies, in case this goes south, I--it has been the greatest pleasure serving with you.
Without another word, she took off at a run back down the tunnel and into the fray. When they entered the chamber, she grabbed the first Caraadian she saw and disabled him in a matter of seconds. For long moments, others stared in surprise before rushing toward her.
Rosek: oO Once more into the fray, dear friends. Oo
Snow / Levinson: Responses
She disarmed her opponents one by one, scarcely noticing the blows she took as she rendered them unconscious. If she survived this, she was going to be very sore.
((OOC: Didn’t want to leave too many tags here as I don’t know what the other away team and the Chin’toka plan to do.))
Lieutenant Commander Lael Rosek, Eng.D.
USS Chin'toka, NCC-97187