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The Spoils of War

Posted on Tue Nov 23rd, 2021 @ 7:40pm by Leiddem Kea (*) & Executive Officer Jake Ford & Micheal Robertson & Evahnae Kohl

Mission: Holoworld
Location: Deck 7 - Rec Room
Timeline: MD3 1100
1510 words - 3 OF Standard Post Measure

The journey back through empty corridors, whilst not particularly lengthy, had been tense. Typically speaking, Eva would have considered herself a relatively level-headed person in times of crisis, not particularly prone to excessive panic or wild exaggerations. There may have been a few incidents in her past that would cast some doubt on those assertions, but she'd make them anyway because when you were often forced to look the rest of the universe directly in the armpit, it wasn't a great strategy to seem meek and easily cowed. One of the wheels on the trolley had decided to squeak under load, however, and by the time the pair of looters had stepped through the airlock into more familiar territory, the bartender's nerves were well and truly frazzled. She'd barely spoken a word.

Several minutes later, having eased the trolley to rest at the end of the bar, Eva stared blankly at the contents and tried to convince herself that unloading it would take her mind off things. It was a fool's attempt given that no amount of white wine or whiskey was going to erase the image of the injured woman's blank expression from an agile mind far too adept at recollecting details. Eva turned to make eye contact with Leiddem, her first attempt since their decision to leave abruptly, and quietly submitted to his authority on the subject. "Do we tell someone?"

“Of course,” Leiddem answered. He would not be so flippant as to not tell someone about what they saw there. It would be wrong if they did not do something about it. Just as Leiddem was about to go to the comms unit the door opened and in walked Gregnol followed by the First Mate and Armoury Chief. Obviously, the deities were shinning on him that day first with giving him some wits despite the shots but making the people he needed appear when he needed them.

Gregnol stopped as he took in the pale duo and knew that his midday meeting out of the way was going to go in a new direction. Jake almost bumped into the back of him as he stopped in the doorway.

As soon as Micheal saw Leiddem's face, he knew that something was about to make this day suck more than it already did. "Lee?" He asked his friend softly. "You okay? You look like you just saw a ghost." His eyes moved to the new bartender, he hadn't been on to introduce himself yet. "Both of you do."

For a brief moment, Eva entertained the idea of unloading the trolley and leaving Leiddem to create his own explanation of what they'd just encountered. It was his theory, after all, and one that still seemed to leave a lot of unanswered questions. A glance at Gregnol's face convinced her otherwise and the bartender sank, instead, onto one of the barstools like a slowly deflating balloon. "At this point, nothing would surprise me."

Leiddem sighed and turned to where the booze was and pulled a bottle out from what they had gathered from the holoship and started pouring. “We met the person who sent the distress signal.” He said once everyone had started drinking. There was no easy way to say it.

As much as it seemed like a slight leap in logic, Eva couldn't muster the energy to argue about it. Rather than retreat behind the bar, which would have felt familiar and therefore several degrees safer than any other option, the slightly withdrawn woman leaned back against the bar and downed most of what Leiddem had poured with a wince. "Though 'met' is kind of a strong word. More like they showed up, acted as part of the furniture and then left a trail of blood we opted not to follow."

“I am not following,” Gregnol said glancing at the other two men to seeing they were following what was occurring. “You either met or did not.” He said lightly trying to not force answers when they both looked terrible.

Eva shot him a deadpan look. "We thought she was a hologram. She certainly behaved like one. Said a few standard service messages and left again." Her eyes slid across to meet Leiddem's briefly before the bartender sighed, closed her eyes and reached up to knead the tension forming at the base of her skull. "But holograms don't bleed as far as I know and Leiddem's pretty sure the puddle he found was fresh blood."

Gregnol looked at his brother in law and nodded. The man between marine and medical training he knew what he was talking about. Gregnol trusted his opinion more than anyone else in the room. “It was fresh. Had a green tinge to it. She looked slightly Vulcanoid.”

"Vulcan? Romulan?" Jake wondered, feeling a sudden tension at the notion. A trained Romulan would probably be able to handle themselves in an adverse situation, especially someone who was former military...He stopped himself mid-thought. Why was he thinking about that? Perhaps it was those damned neural connections from Liha again. "We need to make another run over the ship again, this time in more detail."

Micheal nodded in agreement. "Perhaps we should go fully armed with EMP weapons? That way, any holograms will be nullified, should things start to get sticky?"

Gregnol shook his head. “We do not have enough EMP weapons to make it worth our time,” Gregnol commented. “If she’s by herself and having sent a distress call she will be checking us how and trying to work out if we are safe.”

“I do not know which one but definitely something in her eyes and her ears were pointed. Definitely not full blood.” Leiddem assured quickly.

"But definitely losing blood," Eva reminded him. "Which we didn't exactly notice at first so who knows if it was from a crash injury or..." She hesitated, seeking a better way to phrase 'got the shit kicked out of her afterwards'. "...something else."

"Who knows," Leiddem commented on worried. he had triage training so knew the night restraints on something like that. He could see the cogs working in Gregnol's mind as he tried to think of a way they could help the woman when she was obviously checking them out and wary about getting involved with them.

"Since she is wary of us," Micheal spoke up, "in case we're holograms, from her perspective, then, I guess the only course of action would be to shut down main power over there. I would imagine that most, if not all of the illusions would vanish with no power."

“She knew we were living and breathing.” Leiddem quickly countered.

“We can’t just turn the power off. Doesn’t work like that I am afraid. Why it’s not been done already.” Gregnol reminded as he shot Leiddem a look.

Micheal considered what both men said, ignoring Lei's tone. Then, looking over at Reuben, he offered, "I was trained as damage control when I was in the Fleet. I'd be willing to go put a fresh set of eyes on the issue in the holoship's engineering section. Maybe I can find a workaround?"

“There is no reason to turn the power off. We need to figure out another approach.” Gregnol turned to the quiet Eva and Jake. “Any suggestions?”

"Just go back and find her." As much as she was attempting not to let her earlier unease repurpose itself as frustration, Eva's preference for action over theorising settled as irritated tension across her shoulders. "Okay, so she didn't trust us enough to ask for help. Not exactly a surprise, we did show up and throw a party. But she did approach us, which she really didn't have to. Reading between the lines, I'd say she's not exactly against us proving to be of use to her."

"What she said," Jake agreed. "If you've been alone and scared for a few days, stands to reason you might be cautious and testing the waters. We could be pirates for all she knows."

Gregnol frowned more and more. “You say she is vulcanoid?” The Betazoid nodded eagerly that Gregnol was looking for a route back to the problem at hand. “So I need Cassie or Liha with the search party then. Female and vulcoid.”

Micheal stayed quiet. He would follow Reuben's orders, without complaints or questions.

"If she's hiding among holograms, Curtis might be able to help. His experience with the holographic systems might be handy," Jake suggested.

Gregnol nodded. Curtis’ experience would be more than needed soon. “Definitely. Bring him along. I will meet everyone in one hour at the gangway.” Gregnol looked at Eva and Leiddem. “You two okay?” He checked softly.

Eva offered a soft huff of laughter, more weary than out of any perceived humour. "I guess I wanted space adventures," she replied with a faint half-smile. "I'm fine, I just hope we can say the same for our new friend."

"Me too." Gregnol agreed. He just hoped they were not too late.


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