Red Flagg to a Bull
Location: Intelligence Office
Caradan still had not yet met all the new crew in conversational face-to-face scenarios. After meeting with the new Captain and the Yeoman, after seeing how disastrous those meetings went, Caradan felt somewhat convinced that other meetings would go the same route. Only time would tell of course and she certainly did not wish to get across any idea that she was avoiding anyone.
Keeping that in mind, Caradan made her way to the Intelligence Office. As Lieutenant Erickson was on the Bridge she knew the newcomer, an Ensign Rebecca Flagg was in the office. After her dealings with Security and Intelligence at the Academy and her unfortunate encounter with Catherine Rhodes, Caradan was always weary of Security and Intelligence.
After being looked upon as the ‘Bad Guy’ and also investigated as such from time to time, there was little other conclusion for Caradan to arrive at.
She hesitated a moment before taking once more step and watching the door to the Security Office slide open, revealing the inside. Ensign Flagg was sitting at her desk. Caradan did not wish to seem too eager to enter, but being the First Officer aboard the Tornado, she had to have a secnse of belonging, anywhere about the ship.
She entered the office and strolled up to the desk, toward Ensign Flagg looking at her terminal, over some reports or manuals, probably looking at and learning everything she could about Changelings, Caradan feared.
Looking up as Rebecca felt that someone was walking up to her. She knee that the XO was a funder but Rebecca had hope to be ready for their first meeting.
With her kidnapping and extremely rough treatment that was at least organised by them and she believe also observed. It was safe to say that she had a strong dislike of the race. Rebecca was normally good at keeping her emotions hidden but with the surprise of finding her there it did show through. Quickly standing up to attention “Lieutenant, can I do anything for you?”
“At ease, Ensign,” Caradan said in something of a start. “Please. This is not a formal meeting. I just…just pretend I’m not the First Officer right now. I just want to meet the new crew.” Caradan stepped up closer but kept her distance from the desk as not everyone took too kindly to Changelings at first.
Rebecca liked the structure that the marines gave her when it suited what she wanted, stepping her right foot out so it was shoulders with from the left it hit the floor with a deliberate thud. At the same time her arms moved behind her back as Rebecca looked it to the woman’s eyes with an intensity. Rebecca had was happy seducing and manipulating most people but sometimes she just moved into a blunt object. “Then I presume I have permission to speak freely?”
From the look Caradan was receiving from Rebecca, she felt she would not like the result, but she always felt truth, honesty, and being up front was the best practice. “Of course. Please, speak your mind.”
She was glad that the room was empty so that she could say how she really felt, Rebecca was shaped by the one incident more than any other in her life. She had found her way of hiding and running from it but now through Eunidas she was looking it in the face. “I understand you are in my chain of command and I would not break with what that means. It is not my place to say if a Changeling should serve aboard a federation ship. As for informal meeting I, would appreciate it if you just stayed out of my way. Your kind had horrible things done to me as one of the watched, you put me in the hands of the immoral scum and let them have their way with me.”
As she talked Rebecca was once again 20 years only being hold in a damp cave with just the sound of a constant drip, drip, drip of water that got to her. She was starving hoping of food but at the same time dreading when one of her captures would bring her something. If she was lucky they would just beat her, if not well she could not even bear the thought. Some tears ran down her face as her hands clenched into a fist.
Caradan looked down, away, then back at Rebecca. Telling her that she had nothing to do with her treatment would not have mattered and probably would have made things worse. Saying ’time would heal her wounds,’ would have had a similar affect. She felt to just turn and leave, but felt some words were in order.
“I feel sorrow,” Caradan began, “for what you went through.” But she could see Rebecca was probably not believing it. “I will honor your wish. Unless if duty and obligation require it, I will do my best to see that our paths do not cross.”
Her meek reaction was understandable but at the same time it was like a red Flagg to a bull for Rebecca. “I though you might be different but you like the rest no backbone, letting other do you dirty work and slinking away to hide when thing get tough. I believe you share memories in the link and can access them?”
Changelings in fact did not have any backbones. Caradan thought to mention that but did not wish to exacerbate things. Additionally, as she was the Chief Engineer aboard the ship, getting dirty was in her job description. Caradan likewise made no mention of that.
With out giving her a chance to reply Rebecca continued. “I want you to look at the memories and then see if you can look me in the eye but you can’t feel emotions. They probably did not know who I was apart from John Flagg’s daughter. Most off all I WANT the changeling responsible.”
“I do feel emotion,” Caradan offered as a meek defense. “And you are right. Changelings do share a collective thought and memory in the Link.” But she had no idea of the situation that Rebecca spoke on. Perhaps it was an old memory or something not thought on too greatly during her time in the Link. “I will do as you ask and search what memories I retain.” Caradan could almost feel the disdain beaming from Rebecca’s eyes. She had to look away but a second. “I will remain attentive to any Changelings I meet. Any that I link with, I can read their memories. Should I find the one responsible…for your treatment…I shall alert you.”
Caradan could see that Rebecca was probably not believing her. There was little to nothing she could do to better the relationship. “I am sorry for you pain and for having disturbed you. Excuse me, I need to return to my duties.”
Caradan turned toward the door.
Rebecca watched as Caradan leave the office she wanted to say something but she was not sure what to say. She knew that her emotions where extreme and she knew that she had lost it, it had been some time since it had happening to Rebecca.
She knew to be fully free that Rebecca would have to really come to grips with what had happened to her. There was very few people that could help her with it as all the humanoid kidnappers were killed in the assault that freed her. She had been giving the next best thing a changeling that she could talk to as find out what they were really like.
As the door closed Rebecca collapsed in her hair head in her hands and thought about what to do next. She had just laid into her new XO within days of the coming aboard and worse it may have been for nothing if she had no idea on what had happened. Rebecca was not sure if she was telling the truth but for the moment she was going to give her the benefit of the dough.
We the incident happening at a time of war and linked to her father that designed for intelligence the whole thing was classified beyond what anyone aboard would be able to see but she knew that there would be a few bits that where less like Rebecca’s medical records.
As Caradan finished her shift, leaving the Bridge to Elena, she entered her quarters. Though some hours of regeneration was heavy on her mind, she decided it was best to get through what messages and/or reports that awaited her. Immediately though, she saw a message from Ensign Flagg.
< To: Lieutenant Caradan Eunidas>
< From: Ensign Rebecca Flagg>
I owe you an apology for my actions earlier. I was not expecting to see you and was not ready. Don't worry about me being able to keep things professional
I also off a bit of exploitation for my action, it is not pretty reading so if you don’t I fully understand. Included on of the few documents that can be accessed from my ordeal.
< File: Medical report Rebecca Flagg 2075>
< END MESSAGE>
Opening the attached file, Caradan read a little of Rebecca’s ordeal during her capture in the Dominion War. It was a medical report indicating severe malnutrition, dermis and nerve damage to her wrist and ankles from being restrained, and lower abdomen damage. She was cut into and examined. There were signs of possible experimentation. Though the scar tissue was removed and all sign of her torture was removed, there remained mental scarring on top of Rebecca’s inability to bear children.
Reading that did not have an immediate impact on Caradan as she sat there thinking things through. The Solids certainly had limited life spans where it was yet uncertain how long a Changeling could live before expiring of old age. For the Solids however, it became paramount for legacies to be left behind and, among those legacies, to bear children. The medical report ended with the statement that Rebecca was henceforth unable to bear children.
Caradan sat back and thought about what it would be like if someone took away her ability to change form. The comparison was not the same of course, but Changelings, being neuter to begin with, were never able to bear offspring. So the news of Rebecca’s injuries did not impact her at first. Upon imagining what life would be like if her ability to change form was stripped away from her, Caradan realized what it must have felt like for Rebecca to be told that she could never have a child.
It should never be anyone’s decision what they can or cannot do, but said decision should be left to the individual. No one, not even Changelings should have the ability to strip away someone’s nature. Suddenly, this became another lasting effect from the war that Caradan would have to take responsibility for. As all the other Changelings either stayed on the homeworld in their exile, or remained in hiding out and about the galaxy, any and all blame would be directed Caradan’s way.
Feeling she had caused enough pain, Caradan closed the file, the message, and logged off her terminal. Thinking a message of apology to Rebecca was to be in order, it was decided that she didn’t want any more to do with this Changeling for a time.
Standing, Caradan went to her regeneration bowl. Looking at it, she began to see what others saw. Any sign of Changelings was just another sign, a slap in the face, for anyone who fought in that war. Not only that, but it was a reminder that, after the war, the remaining Changeling retreated to their own planet without even an ounce of reparation. Caradan began to understand Rebecca’s pain. No one was punished for her injuries. An entire race was given a slap on the wrist and allowed to go their way. Her captor did not have a name or even a face, was but a drop of existence in the Great Link, and untold thousands of light-years away where she could not touch it. And that was the first time Caradan referred to one of her own kind as ‘it’. She could not fathom any sentient being doing such a thing to another as that one did to Rebecca.
It was at that moment the Caradan vowed to remain diligent in a search for Rebecca’s captor. That Changeling was out there somewhere and only one handshake away from Caradan seeing that memory.