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Bearer of Bad News

Posted on Sat Mar 19th, 2022 @ 8:24pm by Captain Nimeeh Vixil & Lieutenant Devinona Ral Daughter of the Fifth House of Betazed

Mission: Federation News Network Coverage

The secure channel had been opened and Niamh found herself staring at the Starfleet Logo as she waited for the other party to join her on the call. These were the calls she hated, the ones she had to make, the ones that made her the bearer of bad news. She hated the way these moments were methodical. Each step that needed to be taken had been laid out in order of priority.

She had it easy, her position afforded her that much. Her involvement in the process was limited to high ranking officials. While she sat in the comfort of her private office waiting for her call to be answered, she knew there was a whole assembly of staff on another floor contacting family members.

She knew from experience how those calls went. The few moments it took to register the weight of the information they had been given. The look of shock mixed with hurt and confusion. Then no doubt came the anger. In those initial moments the stages of grief all intermingled into one chaotic mess.

The delay felt like an eternity though Niamh knew that it was likely just a few moments, and then the familiar face appeared on the screen in front of her. "Captain Dalgaard," she said quietly. "I apologise for intruding without notice, but I thank you for taking the time to speak with me."

Dominic Dalgaard was usually the picture of fitness, with all that was going on worry and stress lined his face.“Not at all ma’am.” He said taking a deep breath. “What can I do for you?”

Niamh hesitated. The stresses of the position were wearing on him, that much was already apparent. "I wish I were calling under better circumstances," she said quietly. "I believe the USS Tyche, under Captain Sara Donovan was under your command in Task Force 56?" she hesitated only momentarily. "Unfortunately there's been... well..." another momentary pause. "I'm sorry Captain Dalgaard, the USS Tyche has been lost in the line of duty."

A million thoughts entered Dominic’s head and promptly left it. He opened his mouth to speak and closed it again. He searched for the words. “I just spoke with Captain Donovan the day before yesterday.” It was impossible in his mind. “They we’re only just at Starbase 11.”

Niamh nodded slightly. "The leading theory is that the Graviton Catapult misfired or malfunctioned in some way. The ship was launched, but we don't know where to." There was a moment of uncomfortable silence. "Without any idea of a search area, all we can do is wait, but given the way the catapult malfunctioned... well..." Niamh left the rest of the sentence unspoken.

Dominic felt responsibility for the ship and her crew, not to mention those that were being transported to the Delta Quadrant. "I... should we mount surveys from either end? Maybe the malfunction left some kind of energy residual that could give us something to look for." There was a desperateness to his voice. He hadn't been in his role for long, and losing a whole ship was a lot to take in.

"The telemetry from the catapult is being examined by both Starfleet Engineering and Starfleet Security, looking for anything at all that may be useful to help us locate them, if they are still alive," Niamh replied quietly. "Though at this stage, given what we've seen so far, it looks highly unlikely. Starfleet Engineering doesn't believe the ship could have survived a misfire like that, the Tyche is presumed destroyed." She sighed heavily, rubbing her teples with the fingertips of one hand. "Believe me, Captain, no one wants them to be found alive and well more than I."

Dominic furrowed his brow. "So... what is the official story?" He knew that any mention of the Graviton Catapult would be kept out of the news, given the project's clearance levels. While he waited on her answer he reached for a PADD to take note.

"Spatial anomaly," Niamh offered simply. "The catapult is going to be shut down, at least temporarily until we can ensure that something like this won't happen again. If safety can't be guaranteed we need to keep it shut down permanently, which means we'll have ships essentially stranded in the Delta Quadrant." She reached up and ran her fingers through her long red hair. "Either way we have a difficult situation at hand."

"I should...I'll reach out to the families of the officers personally."He cleared his throat. "Unless you want me to take on something else ma'am."

"We have a team that will be making most of the calls, offering support and services to the families and loved ones, but I think it might be nice if you reach out to Sara and Nimeeh's family directly. I'm sure they would appreciate kind words from you in relation to the incident," she sighed and shook her head. "It doesn't feel right, does it? Referring to the death of five hundred lives as an incident?"

Dominic shook his head. “ Will it get easier?” He asked the more experienced officer. He was new to being in a position outside of regular service. Situations like this were certainly unprecedented, but it didn’t add anything desirable to the job.

"The loss of life never gets easier," Niamh murmured softly. "You just get better at dealing with it." She paused, leaning forward, resting her elbows on her desk, steepling her fingers in front of her lips. "I'm sorry you have to experience this so early in your career Captain Dalgaard," she offered.

‘That’s comforting.’ Dominic thought to himself. Outwardly, he nodded. “I just wish there was more I could do.” He hoped that she could understand that feeling.

"I'll be in touch again as soon as I have more information for you, but in the mean time, if you need anything Captain, I am always available. Any time." Niamh's voice was soft as she finished speaking.

"Thank you ma'am." Dominic said with a little trepidation in his voice. "Dalgaard out.

As the image faded from her screen and the Federation logo reappeared, Niamh leaned back in her seat, closing her eyes for a moment as the weight of this incident continued to grow. Finally, with a heavy sigh she sat upright, straightened her shoulders and tucked her red hair back behind her ear. There were still many calls to be made and arrangements to put in place.


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