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"Once Bitten, But Not Twice Shy... Ep. 5"

Updated: Mar 18, 2023

Keelah sits motionless at the office desk in her quarters, her watery eyes staring into nothingness. Her cat - Kuci - jumps up in front of Keelah and looks at her mewing and purring lightly... Keelah's gaze does not shift.

She takes a steadying breath and calls out, "Computer; begin new entry. Personal log Stardate 92617, Commander Keelah Se'lai recording..."

"The Dawnstar has returned from it's mission to retrace the final moments of the Legacy, to say this mission was difficult for me would be an understatement. I knew going into it that I would be emotionally challenged, but never had I anticipated such an a scenario as we found."

She taps a few times on the desk console, "Official report attached" She states flatly.

Keelah sighs and looks at Kuci, petting her briefly before continuing, "I suppose at this point I should elaborate on the final moments of the Legacy as I witnessed them. I have never before spoken openly of what happened in detail but now seems a suitable time to record it whilst so fresh in my mind..."

Her voice waivers slightly as she sniffs, "We were on a deep space survey mission of uncharted territory - a welcome change of pace following recent events with the Iconians - John was on duty that night so I had our quarters to myself, I never slept quite so well when he was not at my side." she pauses to wipe her eyes, "At approximately 4 AM ship time I was awoken by a powerful explosion rocking the ship. Inertial dampeners failed almost immediately and the ship shook turbulently - so much so I almost fell out of my bed. This was quickly followed by a power failure, everything went dark a moment before the red emergency lighting kicked in and the announcement came over the comms 'all hands abandon ship, repeat all hands abandon ship - this is not a drill!" she pauses to take a steadying breath,

"The words still haunt me to this day, all I could think about was finding John - I had to get to him - as I stumbled out of my quarters whilst the ship continued shake violently, smoke filled the corridors as conduits blew all around showering me in sparks - the Legacy was listing badly and it was getting harder to keep a steady footing. As I raced through the corridor stumbling and diving around collapsing bulkheads the escape pod hatches dropped open around me - this can't be happening, I kept telling myself! As I progressed I shoved one officer after the other into empty pods, refusing to break my pace. But then another sharp explosion threw my from my feet as an EPS conduit blew, before I could regain my footing a bulkhead collapsed and pinned my arm - I was panic stricken. In desperation I yanked my arm free, dislocating my shoulder in the process. My vision blurred as the pain coursed through my body, I knew I was badly burned from the explosion, then I lost consciousness."

wipes a stray tear from her eye, "Some time later - I do not know how long - I awoke in an escape pod, drifting through space with a young Ensign at my side attempting to tend my wounds. We drifted for what felt like days before being recovered by a passing freighter, one of but a few pods recovered... and John was not among them."

She stares ahead solemnly, an unnaturally long silence ensues before she continues, "And so we returned with the Dawnstar to find out what happened to the Legacy that day and almost suffered the same fate. To think we were moments aware from suffering a core breach as well - all my dear friends who volunteered to join me for this mission - I almost lost them all..."

A tear streaks down her reddened cheek, she doesn't even bother to wipe it away anymore, "At least, we did not share the Legacy's fate. I was injured during my attempts to avert the core breach but managed to make my way back to bridge. What I saw when I arrived..." her bottom lip quivers slightly as she recalls the memory and fights back the tears, "Is too fresh to coherently recount"

Again she taps at the desk console, "Second attachment; communication recording between the Dawnstar and enemy vessel which took place as I returned to the bridge"

Keelah stumbles out of the turbolift door, black and plasma burns across her face and hands, all relatively minor. She coughs and weezes as she re-enters the bridge

Nicole sighs with relief

Nicole: "Commander, you had me worried."

Keelah: "Sorry I'm *cough* late... Glad to see we're still *cough* in one piece"

T'Rara smiles when Keelah reappears.

Voice on Viewscreen | "We've managed to stop the core breach, but our hull has been compromised by nucle-.."

Voice on Viewscreen | The man stops and stares through the viewscreen.

Keelah: freezes on the spot at the sound of the voice

Nicole: "..."

Nicole: "I take it you met Keelah."

Keelah braces herself against Nicole's shoulder as she slowly turns to face the viewscreen

Keelah: her eyes widen, "...John?!" she exclaims

Nicole: "T'Rara, have a Engineering team ready to transport to the Miranda to repair it."

Keelah: staggering forward slightly in disbelief, "John... Is it really you?"

T'Rara: "Understood."

Keelah coughs

John | "Keelah," he says before flinching as a console sparks nearby, "We thought you were dead."

Nicole: "Miss Zehn do we have a name for the Miranda?"

Keelah: slowly shakes her head in bemusement, "John what... what happened to you?"

Nirali Zehn: "Analyzing."

Nicole moves some of her hair out of her eyes and dusts her uniform off

Keelah's face slowly turns to anger, "You... fired on us! You fired on another Federation vessel!"

Keelah: her eyes watery, a tear rolling down her cheek, "John you... fired on me?!" her hands clench into tight fists

John | The man's face changes correspondingly, "Starfleet abandoned us! You were.. you were dead! You weren't there when our escape pods were picked up!"

Nicole: "Keelah, Stand down."

Nirali Zehn: "I have a match. It's the U.S.S. T'Pau. Decommissioned around 60 years ago.

Keelah: stumbles slightly and drops to her knees

Keelah: "John..."

Nicole would place a hand on Keelah's shoulder

T'Rara: "Captain. The Miranda's structural integrity is failing."

Nicole: "Keelah, take a moment."

Keelah: "What has happened to you?"

Nicole: "T'Rara, send a security team with the Engineering team also, beam them aboard."

Keelah shrugs Nicole's hand off defiantly

Nicole: "And make it fast."

T'Rara: "Very well. .. They have shields blocking our transports."

Keelah: "We... our pods were picked up days after the breach, no other sign was found..."

Keelah: "John... what happened to the Legacy?"

Nicole: "Keelah, I'm going to have to have to relieve you off your Command."

John | They never came for us! We drifted in the field for /weeks/ before we were picked up. Starfleet just left us out there to die!"

Keelah: coughs and stumbles again slightly, again bracing against Nicole's arm

T'Rara: "We nee to make repairs on that ship soon, Captain. Otherwise it will be loss. Lower shields and we can send repairs teams or retrieve your survivors."

John "Legacy? It was destroyed by the others. They needed to make their point, so people would listen!"

Nicole: "Regulation six one nine, any commanding officer who lets their emotions compromise the mission must resign command."

Keelah: stares defiantly at Nicole, through watery eyes, "You must be kidding me!"

T'Rara stands up.

Nicole: "Keelah, I'm sorry."

Lunya glances between the view screen and Keelah

Keelah: "What others? dammit /who John/ ? who stole you from me?!"

T'Rara: "Please! Continue this conversation when neither of our ships are at risk!"

Nicole: "But I have to focus on our survival and theirs."

Ulkesh makes a several harsh clicks. "Foolish humanoids."

Nicole: "Stand down Commander, that's an order."

John | "You want someone to blame?!" he shouts over an exploding console nearby, "Look around you!"

Andrew Kumar: Watches the scene rather bemused. He looks to T'Rara and nods in agreement.

Nicole: "And T'Rara's got the right point."

T'Rara: "Sensors inform a hull breach has formed on the Miranda."

Nirali Zehn: I can try to beam them off.

Keelah: tears stream down her cheeks as she turns to Nicole, "...Captain Washington I... *sniff*... I cannot in good conscious make command decisions. The bridge... The Dawnstar, is yours"

Nicole: "Make it fast Zehn. T'Rara, have security to the Transporer room."

Keelah: dips her head and walks away still coughing some

Keelah's voice waivers heavily as tears streak down her cheeks, "I... do not know how to process this information yet; John - the man I loved and devoted my entire life to... and spent the last year grieving the loss of... not only was he alive, but when I found him he *sniff* he almost killed me... and now he is truly gone, not counted amongst those beamed off his ship before it breached."

She lets out a defeated sigh, "And if that wasn't hard enough to deal with, I must now face my friends - the people who I almost got killed, I do not know how they will regard me after this... I placed Nicole in an extremely unfair position forcing her to relieve me of duty, I... hope they can find it in their hearts to forgive me. I have come to rely on their support in recent times and... I don't know how I am going to get through this without them now."

She dips her head in silence and moves to finish the log entry before pausing, "Supplementary; now that the truth of the Legacy's demise is known I have requested that Starfleet updated all outstanding personnel records from MIA to KIA... there are no survivors now. This brings me to one final challenge I must face before I can start to put these events behind me; I must inform Kayleigh - John's younger sister of what has transpired. I believe she is an cadet at Starfleet Academy now - if she has not already passed out to become an Ensign." she sighs, "That is a conversation I am not looking forward to, we have not spoken since the memorial and when she needed someone to blame for the loss of her brother she only found me... but she needs to know the truth, it is only right and it is my responsibility to inform her."

"Computer... end log"

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