Haumea Colony

A Play-by-Nova roleplay game.

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Mulled Complications

Posted on Sun Nov 7th, 2021 @ 5:59pm by Captain Luka Mahone & Lieutenant JG Robert Za┼żeckis

Mission: Frizzle
Location: Kocoa Caverns, 13 Clicks from Haumea Proper
Timeline: MD 02 : 0559 Hrs
1771 words - 3.5 OF Standard Post Measure

With the dust settled over the crowd, and Luka's temper mitigated to a few items of paperwork he knew he would have to write to head some damage off at the pass, the Captain had sent for his new Security Chief. Had he known they would not have seen as eye-to-eye as he thought, Luka might have worded their first meeting a tad differently.

But, would it have mattered? In the heat of the moment, Robert had not been wrong in his judgment. Things were going to get out of hand, and faster than Luka could have accounted for. And while he could easily say he didn't call for a troop of Marines to stomp all over the citizens of Haumea, the thought that the Lieutenant wanted to use methods of violence, however nonlethal, had the Captain's mind churning.

Zaz had most of his people deployed on the outskirts of the area. If they couldn't be properly equipped for the sort of trouble they might face, he at least didn't want them to end up surrounded and at the mercy of any new mob that might form. He made trips through the crowd himself, eyeing up people he recognized as troublemakers and directing some who seemed to be worse for wear to assistance.

When he got the message to report to the Captain, he let the nearest gold shirt know and trudged toward the meeting. He approached wordlessly, his jaw set, and then stood still if not quite at attention.

"Lieutenant," Luka gave a short nod. "I assume everything's taken care of with our crowd situation?"

"Some of them are still hanging around - the actual parents mostly," Zaz replied. "A lot of bystanders went home. They've mostly settled. I'd call it a mixture of subdued by seeing how things went and relieved to hear now that we've made contact with some of the missing children."

The Captain took the moment to give the tent Cornelius set up a glance. Sure enough, most of the aforementioned bystanders that were not stubbornly standing in the pacified crowd were mulled about, tentatively enjoying soup and coffee. At least the food was pacifying them, for the time being. "Good. Did you happen to take account of all the injuries caused by that?" He took a neutral tone, gaze back on Zaz, taking his time. "From all sources."

Frowning, Zaz repeated, "Take account?" He shook his head. "Not really. I was focusing more on making sure nothing new flared up. I didn't notice much more than bruises and scrapes to Starfleet personnel." He rubbed the side of his own jaw where he hadn't even noticed getting hit but expected to see a bruise tomorrow. "I know of at least one broken nose among the civilians. One I helped off I'm pretty sure had a sprained ankle and I verified that that civvie who shot others definitely used a stun setting but medical will have to monitor them to make sure they come out of that okay." He fixed his commanding officer with his own attempt at a neutral expression and said, "All-in-all it didn't end as badly as it could have. By sheer luck."

"I'll ask Lieutenant Arnason later," Luka continued in a mumble. He was more than ecstatic to find out no one had been seriously hurt, and there was a gaggle of civilians he was about to lecture to death as well. Who brought a phaser to a situation like that without the intention of having to bust through some people? It did not sit well with the Captain.

But that would be later. "By sheer luck," he repeated. "Luck that could have been dashed by the introduction of more phasers to the situation."

"Especially if it'd been more civilians who showed up with phasers," Za┼żeckis said. "Or if that one who did took you out with her first shot." He shook his head. "I never suggested bringing in a firing squad, but a few more security personnel with some body armor and stun batons would have tilted things a little closer to our favor."

Zaz would only receive a blank stare in response, and it would hold there for an uncomfortably long time. "Considering the outcome, I think we did alright," came the plain statement from the Captain. "Body armor, alright. I understand the need for that, no matter how intimidating it might look to a crowd of angry parents who, despite everything, aren't wholly wrong in their belief that they should be able to help their children. We need to protect our people - both Starfleet and Federation citizens alike. If I had allowed your personnel at stun batons, how many more injuries could we have incurred?"

"Compared to what did happen? Maybe a little more. Maybe a little less. But you're looking at this with the benefit of hindsight. I'm looking at it as a situation you - we - had no control over that could have easily gone a lot worse in ways we chose to be incapable of mitigating." The security officer worked to keep his voice calm, as though discussing strategies chosen in the latest Parrises Squares match rather than something he worried could have gotten them both killed.

Luka leaned against one of the large crates, arms crossed. "I have no doubt every one of these officers and enlisted personnel have the training to deal with situations similar to this one. But we're dealing with parents, some of whom will see a stun baton and a Starfleet officer as a form of oppression, especially if we're keeping their children and the information about their whereabouts from them. I don't believe that to be your intention. It certainly isn't mine. We're just doing our jobs, but a scared and angry parent may not see it the same way."

The mention of being seen as an oppressor made Zaz grimace. "Look, they have my full sympathy for being scared. Angry, I guess I can understand. But when they start attacking our personnel, when they - as a mob - are threatening your life by their actions, I have a duty as your security officer to do something about that. Something smarter than stand in front of you and hope I can take on a hundred people with my bare hands."

"And you did your job." Luka could not disagree to that. "But what if you had, in that moment, brought out the stun batons? The riot gear? What if we discovered that those parents had brought more than a few small weapons to that fight? Or the backlash of that caused more distrust?" The fact that they had weapons to begin with did not sit well with the Captain. There were already too many flared tempers. "I've not seen one situation where bringing more firepower to a mass like that has created a better situation. Maybe in the moment, and maybe there would have been fewer injuries, but the backlash from that might have made your job all the much more difficult."

Luka held up a hand. "I didn't call you over to argue. Not truly. If we sat here debating the what ifs and the whys, then we'll be no better than the bureaucratic committees on which cargo goes where on the colony." He gave a long sigh, crossing his arms. "Lieutenant, I always found it beneficial to see where the differences in myself and my staff lie. Because you aren't wrong. Maybe it could have gone much better than I have the lens of seeing. Maybe it could have gone much worse, but then we wouldn't be here debating the minutiae. But we're not, and I'm grateful not only to the fact that you and your people responded to what could have been a potentially more dangerous situation, but to the fact that you reminded me that it isn't just my lens I needed to be seeing the situation through."

"Yeah, it's not really my intention to argue the politics of crowd control here. Or the politics of this whole situation with the colony; that's your job, I get that. And you're the boss. I did want to make more clear than a few shouts over a crowd that I'd be more comfortable facing any future situations like this with more equipment, but if you say no - total kid gloves for the civilians no matter what - then. . . well, then that's that. I'll make sure everyone else in security is aware of the situation that puts us in."

"In that situation, it was warranted in my eyes. In other situations?" Luka's lips pressed into a thin line. Would there be other situations like this? If there were, there had to be a grey solution between 'use force' and 'don't use force' that would both protect the Starfleet personnel and not bring harm to the civilian population. "... We'll take it case by case for now, but I'm sure we aren't the only colony who's had to deal with other potential issues cropping up. Just because I did not agree with the potential consequences of action doesn't mean I'm going to be content with the consequences of inaction if we can help it. We will find our solution." Simply because Luka hoped he would never have to use it didn't mean it wasn't something to prepare for.

Zaz drew in a deep breath then let it out slowly. They were just going around in circles. Sure, everyone wished there was a perfect way to do crowd control. Control them without exerting any control. Keep everyone happy. Maybe the Q could manage it. Nah, even they pissed people off doing things their way, without laying a hand on anyone. Even if he didn't feel his orders were any more clear than when he'd been called up here, he stood a little straighter and said, "Right. Is that it then? I need to make sure some of my people who got held over shift rotate out without leaving any gaps."

"Yes it is." Luka turned back to his neutral tone. They were both busy. If they kept this up any longer, eventually someone was going to come over to pull one of them away. Or worse... "Keep me posted, Lieutenant. Hopefully we're almost out of the fire."

"Will do, Captain. You'll know anything I know." He turned and walked back toward the site of the fracas, doing his best not to glare at anyone still there while strolling right among them, before circling back around the security officers on duty patrolling the edges of the area.


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