This part of the multi-phase operation to find and recover our missing crewmen was to be a simple canvassing of the locals in and around the bar where they were last seen by other crewmen. XO Matthews and Crewman Park volunteered, in the event that they might recognize the suspicious persons that had tailed them, earlier, in the marketplace. ChEng O’Malley also volunteered, and as Crewman Prudhomme was on duty at the time, Flight Officer Parsons volunteered to drive the air/raft. With a full cart, I decided the remainder of the security team should stand-by at the ship. Violence was not expected, although I did expect to have to move quickly to recover the missing crewmen, by force; I ordered all members of the security team to be fully armed, and wearing nanoweave body-protection, at minimum, opting not to proceed fully-armored, to reduce the likelihood of resistance by the locals we intended to canvass.

We proceeded to the establishment indicated by Crewman Reid via A/R1. XO Matthews and Flight Officer Parsons elected to wait in the vehicle, while I disembarked with ChEng O’Malley and Crewman Park, and proceeded inside. I engaged the bartender, who, other than requiring “monetary incentive,” was cooperating, when Crewman Park recognized the boy from the market, immediately pursuing him out of the establishment, on foot; another patron of the bar was observed attempting to trip Crewman Park as he passed. As the XO and Flight Officer Parsons were waiting outside, and could assist Crewman Park in his pursuit, I decided to continue my conversation with the bartender as if nothing of interest had occurred, listening to comm-traffic relating to the chase.

After some time and difficulty, the boy was caught, and the vehicle returned to the bar. At that time, I exited the bar to discuss the matter with the others and aid in the boy’s questioning. I enquired whether XO Matthews or Crewman Park recognized the man in the bar (hereafter referred to as “Trippy”); Park re-entered and confirmed the man as having tailed them at the market. I decided we should wait for the man to leave the building, to question him. Some time later, “Trippy” emerged, and upon seeing the team waiting, immediately retreated back inside. I ran to the alley to observe the facility’s back-door, and again, “Trippy” emerged, and upon seeing me watching, ducked back inside. During this time, the boy had indicated that they did, indeed, kidnap the missing crewmen, though he did not know their present location. A few minutes later, a group of armed locals approached the area. They boy indicated that they might know the crewmen’s location, and now expecting violence, XO Matthews allowed him to flee. One of the locals entered the bar and emerged with “Trippy,” clearly working together. XO Matthews attempted to convince them to give up the crewmen’s location, but the locals only blustered, and turned to leave, with “Trippy.”

Although I am loathe to fire first in situations such as this, these men were our only lead to the crewmen’s whereabouts at the time, and would not easily be tracked down if they left the area, and, as we could not know how much time we might have to recover the missing crewmen, I ordered the team to “shoot to cripple,” and we opened fire. The locals dove for the nearest cover and returned inffectual fire; at the firefight’s conclusion, two were mortally wounded, and the others greivously injured but living. There were no injuries amongst the members of the security team, though A/R1 was holed multiple times. I immediately called for Crewmen Ekala and Prudhomme to come to our location with the crash kit, to give emergency medical aid. Having fired first, I did not wish to remain long enough to be confronted by the local authorities, so I ordered the team on the ground to provide minimal first-aid to the injured, and we would return as many as possible to the ship, for further care and questioning. A crowd of locals were gathering, some of whom were becoming belligerant, in spite of our attempts to persuade them that we were giving aid. The leader of the locals, and “Trippy,” were moved to the vehicle, and I called to warn off the other vehicle, but Crewman Ekala insisted on providing medical care to the wounded, in spite of the danger. Remi expressed confidence that he could provide security, so I reluctantly agreed to Crewman Ekala’s request; as we left the area, we attempted to draw off the more-belligerant locals with us. Fortunately for the wounded, Crewman Ekala was able to stabilize them all enough to transport them back to the ship’s medical station, even convincing some of the mob to help move them.

The operation was a “technical” success, though it certainly did not “feel” like one. All the involved civilians survived the incident, to our credit, but all of them had been crippled beyond what local medicine could repair. To add insult to this injury, we would later determine that the armed band was not actually a part of the kidnapping operation, but a gaggle of co-workers called up by “Trippy,” who was trapped in the bar. The use of deadly force was authorized, but in retrospect, non-lethal weaponry should have been brought along (this will now be considered SOP); cornered as we were, we only had lethal weapons, normally meant to combat troops in heavy armor, to use. The potential for loss of life amongst these civilians is certainly regrettable, and should always be avoided at all costs, but I remain convinced that we had no other sufficient alternative at that time, given the information we had.

Crewman Park has not been a part of security operations this entire voyage up to this point, but for the one instance, when the ship was captured by the Vilani cruiser. All of us were surprised at his impulsive, and apparently, bloodthirsty behavior. The more life-threatening injuries sustained by the civilians are believed attributable to his actions during the engagement. I am reminded of Crewman Prudhomme’s earlier similar behaviors, and as such, I am inclined to be lenient; at the least, he should train with the security team as his duties permit, so he can learn to better work with the team. As he is not in my direct chain of command, I can only make a recommendation to the XO, who will decide whether or not he is to be disciplined in any way.

Crewman Ekala’s actions were as self-sacrificial as any military war-medal recipient I have ever heard of, and were this a military command, I would certainly recommend him for commendation. That said, I stand by my own reluctance to authorize his actions, as they could have easily deprived us of one or more key members of the security team, and the crew in-general.