Location: Conference room off of shuttlebay two
The Hera was now leaving the station behind and everything seemed well enough off. The Selune and everything and everyone was in quarantine and the decon team was stripping the survivors and getting them medical treatment. Everything would be scanned and gone over several times, including the EV suit recorders.
Enalia was already in Conference room nine just off of shuttlebay two and was waiting for Clio and Nexi. She needed at least an idea of how the mission went and while Cato was apparently heading straight to surgery, she planned on shanghaiing the other two survivors before letting them go.
Mal arrived a moment or two later. Having spent this first part of the mission on the sidelines, basically observing and standing by in case Enalia was in some way incapacitated. He'd piped in a few times, but essentially he'd tried his best to stay out of the way. Sometimes, that was his job. Now, however, he'd get to find out more of what was going on.
Punching up a coffee from the replicator, Enalia took the mug and went back to lightly pacing the floor. "Sorry for keeping you in the dark about so much, Commander. What little I know only raises more frustrations and questions and I was waiting for your sigma nine clearance to be approved before dumping all that on you."
"I understand, of course," Mal said. "There are no hard feelings. I merely wish to be of assistance as much as I can. Can I assume we were not expecting to find a lunatic mad scientist running the base? I was dividing my attention between being on standby for you and listening to the away team's audio feed. It sounded horrifying."
Out in the shuttlebay proper, a medical technician blocked Clio's progress toward the conference room where she knew Enalia would be waiting. Stopping short, she gave the young man a somewhat sinister look. "I have been decontaminated three times already. I have a debriefing to give, and you are going to get out of my way."
"Yeah... no. You stay until you're cleared." The tech crossed his arms, refusing to move. "Headache and nausea are symptoms associated with vole venom and radiation poisoning."
"Kid, do I fucking look like I was bit by a vole? Are there any readings that much suggest I was exposed to radiation?" Okay maybe that was an unprofessional tone to take with someone just trying to do their job, but Clio figured that was better than just pushing him out of the way.
"Well... no..." The tech looked confused, as if his data and his orders didn't match up.
"Then get the hell out of my way." Clio went around him and into the conference room. Her fancy EV suit had been left behind, leaving her with only the sleek, form fitting undersuit. And she didn't care. Modesty had been something she lost a long time ago, and she just wanted to finish the debrief and get some rest before having to start up the usual daily grind again.
Nexi wasn't far behind Clio, and she actually stunned the med tech with her touch when he tried to stop her as well. She entered the briefing room in a suit similar to Clio's, looking just as ease in the revealing as suit as she was in just about anything else she wore; at least it covered more than the traditional attire for Ferengi women...
Mal was too relieved that Clio, Nexi, and West had survived their excursion to pay much attention to the women's state of dress. Otherwise he'd most likely be very interested.
"Commander," he said. "Nexi, it's good to have you back in one piece. Truly. Please, sit. Take a moment to collect yourselves. May I get you some refreshment? Something cold to drink, perhaps?"
Mal knew that stress combined with running around in EVA suits could dehydrate a person quickly. He knew this having been in stressful situations, including combat, both in and out of an EVA suit.
Nexi was thirsty, but she'd worry about that later. "Can we just get this over with? I think I'm gonna need week long shower to scrub that mission off of me," she said with a shudder.
"Yeah, I'm with her on that one." Clio took one of the empty seats and sat down. She doubted any cold liquid would be able to stay in her stomach where it belonged anyway.
"Have it your way," he said, taking a seat at the table. "I believe we are ready when you are, Captain."
Taking the seat at the head of the table, Enalia sipped at her coffee and began. "First off, did you find any similarities to the previous genetic research facility we destroyed? The one that Aewia gave us the location for."
"Without a doubt," Nexi said as she joined them at the table, taking a seat with a tired exhale. "The automated security system used similar language and taunts; called us 'Bunny-chan', even recognized me and called me by name and used the term used on the other station, 'Bonnie-kin'. No zombie Borgs, but anyone twisted enough to come up with that is equally as capable of coming up with unstoppable Cardassians and giant voles."
"From the reports and recordings I've reviewed I'd say it was damn near the same modus operandi. Illegal genetic experimentation, enhanced security. Even the choice to do these experiments on lower life forms before attempting it on something sentient." Clio didn't really want to comment on the other obvious similarity, but she sighed a bit and continued. "Right down to slaughtering precisely half of the away team. And both times, Nexi survived. I don't think that's a coincidence."
"It did seem rather fixated on me this time, which is new, but... it was all so messed up," Nexi said with a shake of her head.
Enalia nodded thoughtfully, listening carefully. "Were you able to retrieve any of their database? What kind of things did you run into over there?"
"I think they've learned from our last excursions, there were turrets everywhere," Nexi said. "And then there were the aforementioned giant voles and unstoppable Cardassians. We saw no other personnel there, it appeared to be completely automated like the other locations, possibly abandoned outright after the experiments were complete, or left as traps. There was one thing that was strange, something we didn't see at the other locations, the source of the voice taunting us appeared to be some sort of AI using some tech rigged to a grav-lift. It was fucking weird."
"Our weapons were pretty useless. Even West's stupid airburst trick didn't work." Talking about it, Clio gingerly rubbed her left ear. She was still deaf on that side and couldn't tell if her eardrum had ruptured or the structures inside her ear were just stunned by the explosion. "Plasma did okay. The energized mek'leth worked well for melee, but I wouldn't recommend getting that close to those things. One of the voles ate half a security crewman and the other damn near killed West."
"Assuming we are going to encounter these creatures again," Mal said. "Could we adapt the effectiveness of the energized mek'leth to some kind of distance weapon? If nothing else even a polearm, with a bit of training, could be effective."
"I'm sure we could. I used an energized staff once several years ago. A bit unwieldy for your average person, but better than mek'leth striking range." Clio also remembered it being rather satisfying to hit people with, but she didn't think Mal would find that especially amusing. She also really just wanted the debriefing to be over, and little asides into discussing favorite weapons didn't factor well into that.
While the others were talking, Enalia had pulled a PaDD out and was taking notes while making the most serious and dour face she'd ever made. "I think we'll be moving several of our plasmatic monofilament bladed weapons and plasma rifles out of the hidden armory for the next mission. As for my prior question, I still want to know if you were able to copy their databases."
Right, the databases. Clio clearly didn't have her head entirely in the game at the moment, though she wasn't sure if she was sick or just shell-shocked. "Forty percent. That's all we could get before the computer dumped all its data."
"More than we've gotten before. Compile your reports and have them on my desk in a day or two. Commander Clio, have your people start working on that database immediately. Commander Xustos, do you have anything else to add?" Enalia didn't even look up from her PaDD, her brow furrowing even tighter. "Computer, re-enable long range communications. Authorization Enalia fuckery six niner. Connect to Starfleet Intel and send them the message that our mission is complete." The computer chirruped a few times and was silent.
At the mention of compiling reports, Clio made a noise that was somewhere between a groan and a whimper, resting her head in her hands. Forty-eight hours was plenty of time to get them done, of course, but most commanding officers who gave that order expected the completed compilation within twelve to twenty four hours, regardless of the wording.
Nexi simply snickered; Enalia fuckery six niner...
"I have questions," Mal said. "But they are for Commander Eneas and can wait until she's had a bit of time to rest. Commander, come and find me when you have a moment, or if that doesn't work out, I'll come and find you."
Clio nodded slightly, not looking up. She'd been concerned that Mal would be the one person in the room to scold her for her unprofessional behavior, but he hadn't. Instead, he seemed worried about her well-being, which was kind of refreshing after several years of higher-ranking officers demanding that she conform to their idea of an officer. "Unless there's anything important left to discuss, I'd like to take a shower and try to start on those reports."
Enalia nodded and offered the PaDD to Mal. On it was an image of a Cardassian vole larger than a runabout chewing on one of the away team members. "I have enough info and your EV suit recorders are coming in now. Go get some rest."