In Memory of Kelsey Haber
From: Acting Captain Malcolm Reed, USS Zefram Cochrane, DC-1502
Urgent communication to Admiral Gardner and Federation Councilman Jonathan Archer
Date: October 17, 2175
Re: Security Crewman Kelsey Haber
TOP PRIORITY/SECURE CHANNEL
Crewman Haber was found dead in his quarters today, an apparent suicide. Next of kin notification is in progress. Kindly provide assistance in locating Haber's parents. Pass all communications information either to myself or First Officer Lieutenant Commander Hoshi Sato Kimura under secure channels. We are currently awaiting toxicology report and other autopsy findings from CMO Cyril Morgan, MD.
Please advise on further procedures and all contact with the press.
Memorial service is to be held on board the Cochrane, at 2100 hours, October 19, 2175.
Cochrane is to continue patrolling Romulan Neutral Zone as per Starfleet's orders. Please advise if orders have changed.
Acting Captain Malcolm Reed sat in the Ready Room of the USS Zefram Cochrane and pinched the bridge of his nose with two fingers. There was a door chime. "Yes?"
"It's me," replied Hoshi.
"Oh, uh, come in, please." He straightened up a little.
"It's been sent," she reported. She looked at him. "Are you okay?"
He paused and sighed a bit. "I am sixty-three years of age and I have never felt quite as old as that as I do right now." He bit his lower lip. "I take it you and Chip haven't found Haber's parents yet?"
"No," Hoshi said, "I think they divorced and his father died and his mother remarried or reverted to her maiden name. It's something like that. We'll find them; don't worry."
"I'm certain someone will turn up. Starfleet keeps up with such things. Huh, my main issue is, well, in the absence of a note, I have to wonder – just what happened? What was he thinking? And why did he think that taking his own life was the proper answer to all of his problems?"
"I don't know. Thing is, we served together here, and on the Enterprise, and I barely knew him. But he served directly under you on the NX-01, and now here, he's under Aidan MacKenzie. Uh, was. Did you know Kelsey? Did Aidan?"
"I can't speak for Aidan, but I can tell you in all honesty that I didn't know Kelsey well at all. Blast, I don't think I ever called him that in life. He was always Crewman, or Mister Haber, nothing more."
"Maybe we'll have better luck with someone in Security."
"Maybe," Malcolm's eyes were far away. "It's a little bit like when Jay Hayes died. There were so few people who truly knew him. Bloody hell, there were a number who'd never so much as known the man's given name. I fear it's very near to the same in this instance."
"Well, that happens," Hoshi tried to be reassuring.
"It's just," Malcolm's voice quavered a little bit, a demonstration of emotion that startled both of them, "I, I vowed, you see, I, I was named in Jay's will. Lili was, too, come to think of it. We got little things. See over there, that book on the shelf?"
"This?" Hoshi picked up Sun Tzu's The Art of War.
"Yes, that's the one. I inherited that from Jay Hayes."
Hoshi opened up the front cover and read the handwritten dedication aloud. "To Jay, who is an artist even though he thinks he isn't. Thanks for taking care of things, Soldier Boy – Susan." She looked up. "Susan?"
"Lili has become friends with Jay's sister, Laura. And Laura thinks that Susan was a woman who Jay knew on Titania, a schoolteacher named Susan Chester or Cheshire or something like that. But I digress. You see, Hoshi, when I received my bequest, I took it with me, and that evening I vowed that I wouldn't, I, I wouldn't allow my own natural diffidence to prevent me from getting to know the people I served with. I would never again hold back like that. I would make friends, all of that. And, and I'm ashamed to say that, when it came to, to Kelsey, I thoroughly and completely fell down on the job."
"Malcolm, you had no way of knowing that this would happen."
"None of us did; that much is for certain. But it doesn't excuse us. We should have reached out. We should have known him. And now we never will."
As the day progressed, the night shift began to awaken. Chip Masterson, the nighttime communications officer, tapped his wife, Deborah Haddon Masterson, on the shoulder. "Rise and shine."
"Oh, uh, yeah," she yawned. Then she sat up fairly quickly. "You look like hell."
"I've been up for hours."
"Why didn't you tell me?" she asked.
"It was, uh, it was bad news and I didn't want to wake you or anything."
"Is Kenny all right?" immediately her thoughts went to their young son, who was living with her parents on Earth while they served.
"Kenny's fine, and so are my folks and yours. It's here. We had a casualty."
"I didn't hear or feel any weapons fire. If we were boarded, why wasn't I told?" Deb was in Security and held a senior post.
"It, it wasn't that." Chip sat down on the edge of their bed, fumbling for the right words. "Deb," he said quietly, "Kelsey killed himself."
"Oh my God! Oh God!" she moaned. "What, what happened?"
"They, uh, the body went to Sick Bay. Morgan's been working on it for a while. Hoshi got me – it was a fluke; I couldn't sleep before and so I checked messages and there was hers. I decided not to wake you then; I hope that was okay. So I just got on a uni and went to help her. We've been trying for hours to find his folks. Do uh; do you know anything about where his folks might be found?"
"His, his mother, I think he once said she went by Rose or Rossman or something like that," Deb offered. "Sorry I don't know more."
"That's, like, a thousand percent more than Hoshi and I knew. Deb," he looked at her intently, "I think Captain Reed'll talk to Aidan, but I get the feeling that you knew Kelsey better than anyone."
"That may not be saying much," Deb said.
"You're still the best we've got."
In Sick Bay, Doctor Morgan worked. He was an older man, thin, with a drawn face that was mostly nose. As various experimental animals squawked – the Derellian bat was particularly insistent about something or other – he bent over the body. "Now, Mister Haber," the doctor murmured, his accent betraying his origins in Rotherhithe, in London, "I'd like for you to spill your secrets to me now." He removed a small quantity of blood and spun it in a centrifuge. He looked up as the doors swished open. "Captain, I'm working on the blood now. I think that'll tell the tale."
"Right," replied Reed, absently. "Doctor, might I ask you a question?"
"Certainly." Morgan retrieved the vial from the centrifuge and added a blue solution to it. "It shouldn't be more than five minutes."
"Very well. I, Doctor, how would you handle the memorial service?"
"I don't rightly know," replied the doctor. He peered at the mixed solution. "I do believe there's a match. Wait a tick; I think we'll have our answer in a moment."
"I was thinking," Malcolm said, "to have his friends lead the service, in some manner or another. But you see, Doctor, I'm not sure that Mister Haber had any friends here."
"I've got the answer," Doctor Morgan reported. He checked his PADD and compared the color of the solution to an image on his device. "Yes, that's most definitely it. Mister Haber ingested a nerve toxin called tricoulamine."
"Where the devil would he get a nerve toxin from? Would it be from here in Sick Bay?"
"I'll check my stocks, but that's the sort of thing I keep under lock and I password-protect it all. Our last leave was when again? I'm afraid I've forgotten; too many other pressing matters."
"It was Risa, about a month ago," Malcolm stated. "Do you believe he could've gotten this drug there?"
"It's not unheard of. Captain, find his friends. I have to believe that he had at least one on board. Find that person, and give him or her free rein on the service. That's what I would do, if I were in your position. Now, I should make out my report. Have you found his next of kin yet?"
"We're still working on that. Thank you, Doctor."
Deb sat on the bed, thinking about things. And a memory came back, one memory, from the NX-01.
She was walking down the hallway, barely paying attention, checking her PADD. The date slid by on the device – October 31 of 2154. A door to nearby quarters slid open, making her jump. It was Kelsey Haber. "Hey."
"Uh, hey." She continued walking and put her PADD away in a zippered pocket.
"You going to the costume party tonight?" he asked her. She stopped.
"Uh, maybe. I'm supposed to be working, but I think Reed'll give most of us the night off. Are you?"
"Yeah, but, I can't decide what to be. Can you help me?"
Deb looked at him a little skeptically. "I've never been in your quarters, Haber."
"Hey, this isn't me giving you, you know, a line to kinda get you in here. 'Sides, you're the toughest gal I know."
"Even tougher than Susie Money the MACO?"
"Yep. Really, I swear to you, I am only asking for the sake of this party and what I should wear. Swear on my father's grave."
"Um, okay, I guess." She walked in. "Where's your roommate?"
"Preston's, eh, I dunno. So, here, I got a few options." He opened up his closet and started going through a mountain of clothes and taking some of them out, putting them onto the room's two beds.
"You have more stuff than I do."
"Really?" he asked.
"Yeah," Deb watched as Kelsey went along the crowded rack. "Hey, wait a sec; is there anything back there, behind the other stuff? I thought I saw something there."
Kelsey looked a little worried, "Huh, no, nothing. Now, here, I got what that can look like a baseball uni. A little work and I'm playing shortstop for the West Coast Mariners, eh?" He held up a teal replica jersey.
"Maybe; what else ya got?"
"I got a cape. But I don't have fangs, else I could be Dracula. I could be an opera singer, I bet."
"Can you actually sing opera?"
"Well, then, I don't think anyone'll get it."
He took a few more articles out and laid them on Preston Jennings's bed. "Here, I've got these tall boots and I can stuff the chinos into them. Pity I don't have a hat but I could be an equestrian."
"Do you have a whip?" she asked.
He eyed her. "Uh, you're the one who was worried about me making a pass at you, Haddon."
Deb turned red, "Oh, uh, yeah. Disregard last transmission."
He took out a karate training uniform. "How's this? I was into karate when I was a teenager. I dunno if it'll fit. It might be a little short."
"I like it," Deb said. "So go in the bathroom and try it on. I can wait."
He did so and her curiosity got the better of her. She went to his closet and reached into the back. And that's when she found it. Kelsey came out of the bathroom in the karate training uniform a few minutes later to find her holding the article in her hands, "Oh, God."
"I'm, I'm sorry I snooped," Deb blurted out, "but I just wanted you to know, and I wanted it to be completely unambiguous, that I'd found it." She offered the article to him.
"Yeah," He took the article from her. "This is the part where I'm supposed to say that I'm keeping this for a friend. Where there's this beautiful girl who's gonna be given this gift and I haven't wrapped it yet so it's in the back of my closet."
"Do you wanna say that?"
He looked at her and sighed as he shook his head. "Can you keep a secret?"
"It's, uh, it's not for some girl. It's, it's mine. This dress is mine."
Deb was nonplussed for about a second. "Now I'm really sorry that I snooped. Really, I am. Is, uh, Kelsey, is this why you're not really too friendly with anyone?"
"Nah, that's not it. It's more that I just don't know what to say to most people, yanno what I mean? But I just, I saw you walking along, and you're always nice to me, so I figured I'd take a chance and ask you to help me. Just a little human contact – it's hard to be by myself so much all the time. Preston's okay but we're not too close, and I guess I push everyone else away. And it's kinda easy to do that when you, you need something like this, but it's a secret and it's hidden. Y'see, it's nice. It's silky and pretty and I just, I like it, in case you're wondering why I, I keep it. Do uh; do you mind that you're here, and you know, and all that jazz now, Deb?"
Deb looked at him, and at the dress, which was a floral wrap number, and at his karate training uniform, which was a little short on him. "I'm okay with it, so long as you let me do one thing."
"Can I borrow it some time?"
The service was two days later. They had found Kelsey's mother, Carole, who was using her maiden name, Ross. She was patched into the service remotely. Except for a skeleton crew to remain on the Bridge and in Engineering, and Doctor Morgan in Sick Bay, the entire crew was present.
Malcolm spoke. "I regret that I didn't know Kelsey too terribly well. And I think that if we'd known him better, we might've been able to understand that he was hurting enough to, to want to end it all. I wish that we could have helped him. I truly wish that." He squinted and rubbed his forehead for a second and then gazed at the repurposed torpedo tube where the body lay. The front was cut out and fitted with clear plastic, almost allowing for an open casket effect. "I should like to turn the service over to Security Sergeant Deborah Haddon Masterson. She'd like to say a few words. Deborah?"
"Thank you, sir. I knew Kelsey a bit, but not too well. He kept people at arm's length. I wish he hadn't. And then I got married and I had a baby after the NX-01 was decommissioned and things got, I guess you could say that they were a little interrupted. We became friends back during the Xindi War. We were never super-close but he was a good guy and he, uh, he let me borrow something. I'm just glad that I now have the chance to give it back." She nodded and Preston Jennings and Susie Money lifted off the clear plastic front of the repurposed torpedo tube. She slipped a flowered article in and placed it into his cold hands. Then Susie and Preston closed the case again. "There; I even washed it. I know you'll need it more than I do."
"Godspeed," Captain Reed said, and gave a nod. The repurposed torpedo tube was placed into a chamber and fired. It blazed over the Romulan Neutral Zone as the crew saluted a troubled man they'd never really known.