USS Black Hawk USS Black Hawk, a text-based Star Trek role-playing game, attached to the 22nd Fleet. Winner of multiple awards including a Squiddie in 2018. Join us for our adventures. en-us Copyright 2021 A Logical Assumption
Mission - Extinction
Location - Security

Camila sat in her office going through more personnel files when she came across yet another Counselor who would be joining the Black Hawk-A and as soon as she saw the woman was a Betazoid/Vulcan hybrid, she winched. Would it be another V'tosh ka'tur nut job or someone equally off their mental rocker? she wondered as she reached to tap her combadge.

"Commander Di Pasquale to Lieutenant Rael, please report to Security immediately."

T’Mari wasn’t surprised to be called to security, the Captain had warned her that she’d probably be summoned for an interview. “On my way”

The Andorian receptionist at this point had moved her desk so that it now faced the door leading to the Security complex and not beside of it. Far too many people had breezed passed her desk to go to where they had to go if they were Security or not. Now, they had to face her and she placed a Type II phaser on her desk, but without a power cell and waited for the next person to try to go past her.

It didn’t take long to find her way to the Security Complex, arriving T’Mari looked around before stepping up tomthe Andorian receptionist. “T’Mari Rael, I’m here to see Commander Di Pasquale.”

"One moment, please," Ensign sh'Smash said and pressed an intercom. "Lieutenant Rael is here to see you, Commander."

"Send her in," came the response.

"Go right in to the right and she'll see you," the receptionist said.

T’Mari nodded. “Thank you” With that she headed into the office.

Camila sat behind her desk without even a cup or PADD on it. Her terminal wasn't active and there were no pictures or adornments on her walls, and even the solo plant in the room looked like it had been left there by accident.

T’Mari walked inside surprised by just how barren the room was, normally office areas were adorned withnso ething personal, but then this was security. As she approached the desk she offered a polite smile, “T’Mari Rael, ships Counsellor, Reporting as requested.”

A smiling Vulcan...Betazoid, the Chief noted and activated her console. "Have a seat, Lieutenant and clear your mind for me," she requested politely in a neutral tone of voice. She pulled a tricorder out and activated it, then took a scan of the woman before she set it on her desk.

T’Mari took a seat and cleared her mind as best as she could. She wasn’t sure what she’d been expecting, but this starting out like a criminal interrogation. “I understand you have questions for me, I’m more than willing to answer.”

"I do," Camila responded. "Please state your full name, rank, and position on the Black Hawk-A."

“T’Mari Rael, Lieutenant, Chief Counsellor” She looked at Camila curiously. “May I ask why it is you’re treating our meeting as though it’s a criminal investigation Commander?”

"Please let me ask the questions, Lieutenant," the Security Chief said as she watched the readout on the tricorder. "Why did you leave your last posting?"

“Why?” T’Mari looked at Camila. “Because I was offered the opportunity to transfer here as Chief Counsellor. I’ve been wanting a chance to be Chief and when offered I took it.”

The ombre haired woman looked up at the Counselor. "For a Counselor, you ask why a lot instead of proving answers immediately. I trust that you didn't research the Black Hawk or the Black Hawk-A before you jumped at the opportunity for a Chief posting? In fact, I know you couldn't have or you wouldn't be here and asking questions after I politely asked you to let me ask the questions."

“I get the feeling that I’m being painted with a tarnished brush Commander” T’Mari looked at Camila curiously. “I would like to know more about my predecessor if you don’t mind telling me.”

"She was a V'tosh ka'tur that tried to make an allegiance with a fledgling AI among other things," Camila said. "However, I'm not painting you with any kind of brush, other than a Security brush. We've had traitors on this ship, pirates posing as crew for who knows how long, have had our own turn against us, and more. I, as the Chief of Security who got my position by arresting my traitor of a predecessor, am taking my job very, very seriously to insure that never happens again. Are we now clear on why I'm asking these questions so you can stop taking it personally?"

“That’s fair enough” T’Mari nodded. “I didn’t say I was taking it personally, I was just curious. The Captain did mention pirates and infiltrators, your suspicions are fair enough.” She offered a smile. “Ask your questions.”

"Thank you," the other woman said and looked at the readouts again. "Tell me something about yourself that isn't in your personnel file."

T’Mari paused. “Very well, it won’t say that I’m carrying the child of the XO from my last ship. Our relationship wasn’t a known one.” She sighed. “He’s now at Starfleet Medical in a coma he may never come out of.”

"Well, that was unexpected and about as off the record as you can possibly get without being a Changeling," Camila said and saw that the tricorder said she not only wasn't lying, but that she was indeed pregnant. She wanted to offer a personal comment, but she didn't know the other woman well enough.

T’Mari offered a polite nod. “You referred to my predecessor as V'tosh ka'tur. A Vulcan without logic. You could say the same for me. Being half Vulcan I have chosen not to suppress my emotions, much to my father’s disagreement. I possess the ability to suppress them, I just choose not to.” She offered a smile. “Next question.”

"Your predecessor wasn't the only one of that status," the Security Chief said dryly. "Or the second, if I recall correctly. As for you, you're half Vulcan and half Betazoid and in more control, or so I would hope. As for my next question, do you have someone to help with your child? This is a very dangerous ship to be on."

T’Mari shook her head. “No, not at present. I will endeavour to find someone, even if it means I have to employ someone privately.”

"I know of an Ensign who would be happy to help, but I'll offer my services as well," Camila found herself offering, a bit surprised.

T’Mari looked at Camila surprised, she hadn’t been expecting that. “I’m grateful for your offer, thank you.” She smiled warmly. “I might just take you up on that, and the Ensign too if she’s willing.”

The Security Chief was more than a little surprised at the other woman offering to let a stranger watch her child, but pleased that the Counselor considered her safe enough. "Thank you, Lieutenant," she said. "As for the Ensign, you might want to talk to her yourself. She's a bit...hyper. Her name is Ensign Khan in Flight."

“I’ll do that, I’ve got plenty of time to get to know you both before I’m likely to need a babysitter.” T’Mari smiled warmly. She had to wonder if Camila could be trusted with her secret, being a member of the Vulcan V’Shar even the Scientific arm, was something only the most trustworthy were entrusted to know. She needed to get to know both her new Captain and Camila first. “Do you have more questions for me, or do I pass your test?”

"You may also wish to speak to Commander Geisler, the Captain's wife if you have questions about your pregnancy. She has twins. As for a test? This isn't a test, Lieutenant. This is and will be ongoing for everyone on this ship, but it won't be noticeable for the most part," Camila said. "And if you think you're going to hide something from me that could affect this ship and crew, I will find out and your career will be over."

T’Mari nodded. “I have nothing to hide Commander.” She just wished that were true, she wasn’t supposed to tell anyone about her V’Shar roots, the secret was buried so deep in her mind that even a trained interrogator would have trouble getting to it. As such she passed tests that looked for such a lie with flying colours.

"Just remember that if you do, be sure to plan several exits and moves ahead," the Security Chief said with no hint of a smile. "As for the interview, I'm satisfied for now, Lieutenant. Do you have any special needs that Security can assist with in the meantime?"

“None that I can think of at this moment in time” T’Mari offered a smile. “Ohh, one thing is there anyone that you think I should talk to? You know this crew better than I do.”

"Yes, me," Camila said. "In fact, go read my file and then determine if you still want that particular challenge."

“I’ll do that” T’Mari nodded. “I’m not one to shy away from a challenge so anytime you want to drop by and see me, please do.”

The Security Chief gave a tight smile before it vanished again. "We'll see, Lieutenant, and in the meantime, you're free to move about the ship. Welcome aboard."

T’Mari nodded. “Thank you Commander” with that she stood, offered a polite smile, and headed on her way.

Mon, 12 Apr 2021 15:08:01 +0000
Ready at last
Mission - Extinction
Location - Ready Room

T’Mari straightened her uniform one last time, she felt inordinately guilty for having arrived aboard her new ship before its departure, only to have been struck down with severe morning sickness. She’d spent the last 21 days laid up in her quarters resting, now she was finally past the 12 week mark in her pregnancy the sickness seemed to have finally abated. Taking a deep breath she pressed the ready room door chime and waited for a response.

Behind the door of the ready room, still buried until piles of reports from the task group, Harvey had taken a break to refill his coffee from the replicator. Just as he placed his empty mug in the slot, the chime sounded. "Come in!" he called out, a reflexive response having heard it far too often throughout his command.

Walking into the office T’Mari offered a warm smile. “T’Mari Rael, Chief Counsellor Reporting for duty at long last Sir.”

Harvey turned from the replicator to greet the new arrival. "Ah, Miss Rael. I'm glad you are up and about. Can I get you anything before we continue?" He gestured to the replicator where his empty mug remained.

“Just a chilled water please Sir” T’Mari smiled politely. “I apologise for being out of action as soon as I arrived here. My morning sickness was pretty severe hence why I was put on medical leave.”

Harvey was about to press the button on the replicator that would refill his coffee, but he immediately froze at the mention of morning sickness. He recalled how sensitive Joey was during her pregnancy, and how she could sense the coffee he'd drank hours after the fact. Out of politeness, he ordered two glasses of water. "Congratulations, Counselor," he offered with a smile as the beverages materialized. "How far along are you?"

“Thank you Sir, just over 12 weeks. Past the dreaded morning sickness stage, so now I can enjoy it!” She offered a smile. “Unfortunately Liam ... my baby’s father is in a coma at Starfleet Medical, they’re not sure if he’ll ever come out it.” She paused. “So it’s just me now.”

Harvey approached T'Mari and extended one of the glasses to her. "I'm sorry to hear that. If you don't mind me asking, what happened, exactly?"

T’Mari took the glass, before taking a seat. “There was an explosion, Liam was thrown up against a bulkhead and sustained a serious head injury, among other injuries.” She sipped her water. “This pregnancy wasn’t planned, Liam already has several children by other women. This, for him was just another unplanned pregnancy, for me it’s my first and I wasn’t planning on doing it alone.”

Harvey took a seat behind the desk. He took a sip of his water and then placed the glass on a coaster. "I'm sorry to hear that," he consoled. "Thankfully, not only do we have a qualified medical staff aboard, but we have a few other young children as well. I don't think you'll find yourself truly alone aboard the Black Hawk."

T’Mari offered a smile. “That’s always good to hear, I’ve tended to find that Starship crew become more like family as time goes by, we all depend on one another, and are there for each other.”

"And like most families, we rather dysfunctional," the Captain warned. "Our last chief counselor was somewhat... psychotic. Because of that, you might find some initial hostility, but I'm sure you'll be able to overcome that quickly."

“Psychotic?” T’Mari looked at her CO curiously. “I’d love to hear more about that one. I believe we have an Assistant Chief whose been Acting Chief in my absence?”

Harvey smiled, deciding to save the horror stories for another time. "We do. Counselor Stuart has been with us for some time, and she's seen us all at our worst and best. Our Counseling department also is an extension of the ship's medical staff, so I'm sure you'll be working very closely with Doctor Jennin."

“Of course, I’ll be working on catching up with everyone now I’m fit for duty so I’ll make arrangements to meet everyone.”

"Excellent." The Captain took a sip of his water. "I'm definitely eager to hear about your impressions of the crew, especially the senior staff. I do have to warn you about our Chief of Security, however. We've had more than our fair share of infiltrators recently, so she's been running background checks on everyone for the last few weeks. Given your position, you might expect a visit."

T’Mari nodded. “That’s fair enough, you can’t be too careful under those circumstances. I’ll answer any questions she may have for me.”

The Captain smiled and leaned back in his chair. "Do you have any more questions for me at this juncture?"

T’Mari shook her head. “Not at present Captain, I’d just like to get on with my duties I’ve been out of action for long enough.” She paused. “Actually ... just one question. “Do you mind me being present on the bridge when time allows? I know some Captains see a Counsellor’s place as being in their office doing their job. I tend to allow time for some time on the bridge.”

Harvey shook his head. "I do not mind at all. The bridge is the best place to know what's happening with the ship, and it can help you and the counseling staff to put to end any false scuttlebutt that may stressing the crew to undue ends."

T’Mari nodded and smiled grateful to hear that. “Plus I can also be of use to you with my senses. It can come in handy having a Betazoid on the bridge.

The Captain had forgotten that that particular detail had been in T'Mari's file. In fact, the pointed ears she bore reminded him more of her Vulcan heritage, yet her lack of logical speech kept him thinking she was an unusual Vulcan. Not quite V'tosh ka'tur, but still different enough. "Of course," Harvey admitted. "I've been in plenty of situations where having extra insight on a situation would have been handy. I'd just recommend voicing that opinion when time comes, rather than trying to catch my ear with a whisper."

T’Mari nodded. “I’ll remember that Sir” she looked at him curiously. “You’d forgotten that I’m part Betazoid hadn’t you? That very often happens, but it also comes in handy. I don’t look like an average Betazoid so I can be used to good effect in places where a Betazoid where stick out like a sore thumb.” She grinned. “I’m not your average Vulcan either, I much prefer to be emotional to emotionless, although I can be emotionless if the situation calls for it.”

"I had forgotten indeed," Harvey declared, thinking either his thoughts or his reaction betrayed him. "Hopefully I won't ever have to ask you to act as something or someone other than your natural self."

T’Mari nodded. “Thank you Captain. Is there anyone in particular you think I should talk to?”

"I can't think of anyone off the top of my head," Harvey replied. "But I would definitely recommend getting to know the senior staff. I'm sure they'll be able to point you in the best direction."

“I will Sir, thank you” T’Mari smiled warmly.

The Captain returned her smile. "Excellent. Well, if there's nothing else, I shall leave you to getting acquainted with the ship and crew."

“No, nothing else” T’Mari stood ready to leave the office. “It’s been nice talking to you Sir.”

"My door is open, any time," he confirmed. Harvey stood and extended a hand. "Welcome aboard, Counselor."

T’Mari smiled warmly as she shook Harvey’s hand. “Thank you Sir, thank you very much.”

Thu, 08 Apr 2021 22:50:48 +0000
Base Camp
Mission - Extinction

The Type-8 shuttle Visitor softly landed on the planet's surface. The rear hatch opened, allowing a full security detail to depart, along with another drone pilot and several cases of drones. The lead officer, an Ensign, spotted Commander Di Pasquale, and approached her.

"Commander," she said. "Security detachment reporting as ordered." She then held out a padd, declaring that the Captain had sent down orders.

"Thank you," Camila said as she accepted the PADD and looked it over. "Get the drones coordinated with the pilot in the runabout," she told the other pilot." She turned to the rest of the personnel that had been sent down. "I want two teams of two each to spread out and check the surrounding buildings. Report anything that registers as living and if anything seems extremely out of the ordinary other than bodies lying everywhere, and get back here immediately. Understood?"

"Understood, Commander," the Ensign responded and directed the others to the Citarum and spoke with the other drone operator. A few minutes later, four drones left the back of the runabout and headed off in different directions and three groups of two personnel each came out and began to head for the city around them.

Jess headed out with Ensign Thi Ng, the Brikar that had been a steadfast officer against all odds and moved towards what appeared to be a multistory building which was slowly being overrun with vegetation and a yellowish looking vine that oozed some type of thick, sticky sap. He took a sample of it in a disposable evidence case and closed it before adding it to his Tactical belt, then looked at Thi.

"You want to do the honors of knocking or should I?"

"I got it," Thi said before he cocked a huge, rock hard fist and knocked the door off the hinges while Jess swept the immediate area with his tricorder in his left hand scanning and the phaser in his right seeking any active targets.

Thi swept the area as well with a tricorder that was built to suit his greater size. "Nuttin' here, Jess. You, me and dust made up of bodies, vegetation, minerals and other stuff."

"I'm getting the same. Let's split up and take a look around."

"Commander said we shouldn't split up," Ng reminded him.

"Fine," Jess said. "Let's start with this floor and head up."

"Why not start at the top and work our way down?"

"Because I outrank you by time in grade."

"Fine," the Brikar said. "Let's do this."

Thirty minutes and two floors later, the two Security personnel met on the third apartment on the third floor, having been just searching the previous two and finding nothing. As Thi broke open the locked door, Jess entered with their established pattern and Ng followed and began to search.

Soon, Thi called for Jess from one of the bedrooms. "Got something kind of personal, but it seems relevant," he said and held up a handwritten journal with a page open.

Jess came over and took it, squinting in the dim light.

I think people are blowing this out of proportion. Holding rallies, demanding vaccine treatment using uncertified drugs on us, throwing baubles at us. I really don't have more to write that wouldn't sound the same.

Jess skipped ahead a few pages seeing much of the same, then the handwriting seemed to have gotten worse.

They lied to us. Therrres no cureno vax. Just don care cause no one else does. why bother keeping a jornal?

It ended there and the hair on the back of the Ensigns neck stood up. "I think we need to get this back to base came," he said to the other officer.

"Let's mark the location and go," Thi said as he gave the area one more quick scan, including a young, very long dead female that sat in a chair at the table.

With that, the two headed back.


Joey looked over what had been declared base camp. There was a time when she'd have been involved with planning and preparations, but those days were over. Still, it was incredibly hard to let the Security officer inside of her go, but now the Intelligence side of her wanted to explore a bit and see what this new world had to offer. But, more than that, she wanted to know what happened to its inhabitants.

There was only one way that was going to happen.

With Quinn back on the ship with the data core, there was no reason to go back in that direction unless something was revealed that needed looking into. Until then, she was free to roam about, and that was exactly what she planned to do.

Joey checked her gear for the umpteenth time and took a quick look aroud. She'd seen some security officers head to the east. She and Quinn went south, and Camila and Angelica had gone north on their initial landing, so that meant she'd be going west.

The landscape was like the rest. Buildings were rundown and nature was beginning to slowly reclaim what once belonged to it. It was all very sad really.

Joey took a deep breath and began to make her way to the west. If there was anything out there worth finding, she would.

Ten minutes into her journey, she came across a dilapidated building... one that could only be discribed as a medical building of some sort. Joey made her way toward a slightly ajar weather worn door and gave it a rather forceful shove open. She paused to grab her palm light before moving forward.

Inside, it was far cleaner than the outside would seem to suggest. Well, on the other side of a sturdier looking transparent wall, that is. There were a few plants that had made an attempt at getting into the foray, but their attempt seemed as dead as the rest of the planet, as did the skeletal body she saw settled behind what could only be reception.

"What the hell happened here?" She mused out loud, hoping no one was going to answer her.

If there was something worth finding here, it would likely be located farther inside, only there was the transparent wall to deal with. Joey shined her light over toward a control panel on the wall that looked to allow access inside, but there was no door present that she could see. If there was one there, it was completely seamless, which meant she wouldn't be able to pry it open. Nor could she blast the controls to open it that way. That left her one choice. Blast the wall itself.

Removing her phaser from its holster, Joey leveled it at the wall and fired off a single, wide beam shot at level 8. She reholstered her phaser and made her way through the hole she'd made, not knowing what she was going to find on the other side.

Once inside, the Intel Chief noticed a rack of outfits that looked like the protective hazmat suits used on the ship, but far out of date. Next was a second room that had another secured door, or would have been secured if a suited skeleton wasn't jamming it open with its body.

Through all her years in Starfleet, she'd encountered many things, but what she saw in front of her was definitely a first. "I'm so sorry," she said softly as she approached the door. If she angled herself sideways and wiggled a bit, she'd make it through, and that's exactly what she did while being mindful of the remains at her feet.

Inside, the room appeared to be some sort of medical lab. Joey shined her light around. Another suited skeleton was seated slumped over a computer of some kind, but beside the computer was a number of transparent tubes, all sealed, but only one looked like it contained some type of liquid. Several sheets of a flexible substance was lying by it and the writing on them was slightly smudged, but listed each one as various test samples and ramblings about nothing making sense.

Joey frowned, shining her light on the list to look closer. "Sample eighteen, batch twelve. All standard tests negative. We've expanded into extended tests and even theories that we initially dismissed..." she said, reading what she saw, then moving further down the list. "Sample one hundred ninety-six. Despite arguments, we've began testing the population. We don't have a choice. It's getting harder to care about much and several colleagues have quit showing up. I've found that it seems to affect our... I can't think of the word. I'll come back to this sample later." She had no idea what any of it meant, but would make mention of this and see if a team could get in to dig further.

Another frown formed. Like always, the more that was discovered, the more questions were raised.

The Intel Chief took a step backward. She needed to get back to base camp and put the word out, and that's exactly what she was going to do.


Jess and Ng were just reporting back to the Security Chief when she looked up when one of the other Security drone pilots reported that Commander Geisler was coming back. "Thank you," she said as she finished examining the journal brought back to the runabout base camp. "Let me know when she gets here. I have a report to make to the Captain."

"Let you know when who gets here?" Joey asked as she approached base camp. "Are we expecting company?"

"Just you," Camila said as she looked up. "What do you have to report?"

"Just me, huh?" Joey asked as she moved further into the camp. "I found some kind of lab. There were test tubes, lists... I still don't know what any of it means. I'll put the details in my report for you to attach to yours."

"Wait," the Security Chief said as she looked around behind the Intel Chief. "Who was with you?"

“No one was with me,” she answered simply.

"Why did you not have a Security escort with you?" Camila asked.

"I wasn't aware I needed a Security escort," Joey replied with a frown. Why would she? She was former Security and SAR trained. No one could keep her safer than she could.

"Because this is the way now," the ombre haired woman said. "No one travels alone on an away team. No one is excluded from that. That and the fact that you're the Captain's wife and mother of his children, which would cause him to demote and skin me, not necessarily in that order, if something were to happen to you. So please, don't travel alone down here anymore. Okay?"

Joey looked thoughtful. She did get in touch with Ensign Mitchell about keeping an eye out for her husband and escorting him down should he make the journey down to the surface. She definitely owed him the same courtesy. "I won't travel alone anymore," she conceded. "I promise."

"Thank you, Joey," Camila said a bit softer. "We just can't take chances anymore. Did you bring back any samples?"

"No, I didn't," the taller woman answered. "That's a bit out of my realm of experience. Aside from that, if whatever was inside those tubes was responsible for whatever happened here, I'd much rather not be traipsing along with it outside of a secure case or something. I'll escort someone from Medical or Science in, and they can retrieve a sample properly."

"That sounds good," the Security Chief said. "For now, let's get the report together for the Captain and go see about the others." ]]>
Thu, 08 Apr 2021 22:44:31 +0000
Late Physical
Mission - Extinction
Location - Sickbay
Timeline - MD 5 || 1100 hours

Having finished with his phaser recertification, there was only one place left to go. Harvey never dreaded sickbay, especially since he had spent many years of his life practicing medicine and researching different diseases, but it was never the same entering the medical complex as a patient. With his command temporarily suspended pending these reviews, Harvey's motivation was to quickly get these physicals behind him.

Whether or not Doctor Rhula agreed with that assessment remained to be seen.

He spotted the medical technician manning the front desk as he entered and gave her a nod. "Is Doctor Rhula available?" he asked her.

"There is no one here by that name," bellowed a voice from around the corner. A split second later, a Bajoran with thick-rimmed glasses came into view.

"Oh. It's you," he said, seeing the only person in the room other than the yeoman staffing the desk. "Haven't figured out Bajoran names still, I see."

The Captain closed his eyes and berated himself. How could he keep forgetting this. He'd spent enough times around Bajorans to remember their naming structure. His problem was that he kept forgetting that Doctor Rhula – Doctor Jennin was Bajoran.

Harvey opened his eyes and replied, "My apologies, Doctor Jennin. I meant no disrespect."

"And yet," he stated dryly, giving a very fake smile. "What do you need?"

It wouldn't take a Betazoid for Harvey to realize he'd crossed a terrible line that he should've never crossed. "Command says I'm overdue for my annual physical. Until I'm cleared, I've been temporarily relieved of duty."

"How unfortunate. So it's just Harvey now instead of Captain Harvey?"

Harvey smirked, sensing that the good doctor wasn't going to let this go anytime soon. "Something like that."

Rhula hrmphed. He respected the Captain's medical background, but found it strange that someone as intelligent and with as much experience as Geisler would have such a difficult time remembering the basic naming practice of an entire species. "The yeoman can schedule an appointment for you. I'm sure someone has an open spot."

So that's how it was. Harvey made one mistake, albeit a fairly significant one, and Doctor Jennin was just going to let the Captain suffer for a while. In a way, Harvey could appreciate the irony. A few years ago, back when Harvey was the Chief Medical Officer on Starbase 211, he'd done something similar with Commodore Honeydew. It was still one of Harvey's proudest moments.

"If that's what it takes," Harvey said, brandishing a smile now. He looked over to the yeoman manning the desk. "I need to schedule an appointment for a physical. Full work up. Earliest opportunity."

Looking down at the terminal in front of him, Yeoman Roberts saw an opening. "There's something available right now, actually Captain," Roberts said. He looked at the name of the physician and chuckled. "With Doctor Jennin."

"We'll talk about this later," the cantankerous Bajoran grumbled at Roberts.

He looked at Geisler. "Follow me," he said before heading to exam room two.

The door to the exam room was already open, seeing as it was unoccupied. "Sit," Rhula directed as he reached for a PADD.

Harvey followed the Bajoran Doctor to the exam room and sat on the bed. When the yeoman announced the opening, Harvey found himself relieved. He'd already started considering checking out one of the runabouts for a quick jaunt to Starbase Unity, which was only two days away. There he'd at least be able to get a quick workup, and then back to the Black Hawk in no time.

But this, this would be better. Or so Harvey hoped.

"Any changes to your health since your last physical?" Rhula asked, ready to take notes.

"Only that my body has gained another year or two," Harvey quipped. "I think it's doing fairly well now that I'm in my forties."

"How's your sleep?"

Harvey didn't hesitate on this one. "Rough. I'm still lucky to get about four hours a night between the feedings and the late night diaper surprises. They say it'll all even out eventually. I could use for that eventually to come soon though."

"'People puppies' will do that," Rhula stated in response.

He continued down his mental checklist. "Stress, work or personal?"

Puppies? Stress? Harvey wondered. Just what exactly was the Bajoran doctor trying to do? Get a rise out of the Captain? "I'm a Captain, Doctor. Stress is part of my every minute in life."

"And how do you manage stress? Especially when you are under more than usual."

Harvey blinked, unsure of how to answer the question. "Usually, I try to get some holodeck time in, but that's been difficult lately. Usually, I just try and relax while holding one of the twins. But it's all been non-stop lately."

"Patient not managing stress," Rhula said quietly as he took notes. "You are a trained physician so I'm sure that I don't need to explain the effects of stress on one's health. Is that accurate?"

"Not managing stress?" Harvey spat, surprised by the remark. "What would you have me do, Doctor Jennin? I'm already working six days a week, but two of those days I limit myself to just two shifts and not any additional watches."

The Bajoran looked up from his PADD, his eyes locking on Geisler's. "So I do need to explain the effects of stress?" He took his glasses off and took a deep breath. "Captain, I can respect the demands of your job, but you have to take care of yourself. I will go so far as to make you relaxing and destressing an order if I have to. I don't think either of us want that to happen," he said, returning his glasses to their proper place. "The choice is yours at this point."

Harvey sighed. Not only was he frustrated with the doctor, but Harvey wasn't sure how to communicate that stress with the job was not something that just evaporated. "Orders to destress aren't necessary," he surrendered. "I will try and find ways to relax in the off-hours."

"See how easy that was? Lay back," he said, trading his PADD for a tricorder. "Just some routine scans. You know the drill."

Harvey fought the urge to roll his eyes at the doctor's bedside manner, even though Harvey knew he was one to talk. His own bedside manner throughout the years left much to be desired. Was what he now experienced the universe's way of payback? Feigning a sigh, he laid down on the biobed and prepared to be scanned.

Using a small handheld sensor unit, Rhula ran a series of scans. "Cardiovascular system looks good. Nervous system, fine. Do you ever have any stomach trouble?"

"Only when I drink replicated coffee," Harvey responded. "I think it's coming out too acidic. The naturally brewed stuff is fine, and I've been trying to switch to tea if I can't find any non-replicated coffee."

"Earth coffee is swill," the physician stated, shaking his head. "Don't bother with it. If you really want coffee, I can recommend some better options. There are several planets who produce some very smooth and low acid beans. There's an Efrosian blend that is very nice." He looked up from his tricorder. "Are you okay with drinking something that is purple?"

Harvey was a bit partial to his Wilkins, and he didn't think he could ever give it up. However, he did have a growing need to find something else to drink throughout the day, and he never said no to trying a cup of something new. "Purple?" he asked. "It depends on if it has any lasting effects on humans."

"Nothing permanent," he replied. "If you have a cup in the morning, your urine should return to it's typical hue by dinnertime. It is a shock when you look down and see that aquamarine stream the first time." He paused for a moment, his brow furrowed briefly. "At least I suspect it will be aquamarine. Human biochemistry is fairly similar to Bajoran, so at least pretty close to aquamarine."

The Captain blinked. "Aqua... marine?" He'd been in enough situations where the food and drink of other cultures and species had changed his body chemistry, including a Bolian dessert that had caused his arm to swell up to twice its size. "Well... I suppose it could be worse."

"And if you were Deltan, it would be worse. Tends to trigger a type of skin necrosis for them. Fast moving." Rhula clicked his tongue. "But you're Human, so just some aquamarine urine. Oh, and go easy on the stuff. It's nearly double the caffeine as the Earth coffee you're used to."

He looked up at the wall chrono. After spending the last several hours with patients, the bespectacled Bajoran just wanted to retreat to his research. To withdraw from interaction with living beings and just focus on studying the constituent biological components of people was his nature. Waiting in his lab was the corpse of an Andorian, still loaded with the parasites who had caused the host's death. This particular parasite was one he hadn't been able to study personally yet, but with the Andorian host having been placed in stasis immediately after expiring, he now had the chance to see it first hand. He was going to replicate some tissue samples for the parasites to feed on, allowing him to witness the creature's behavior and catalog its process.

But that was on hold because Captain Harvey needed a physical. And he was going to make sure it was thorough.

"I'm ordering a full set of labs," he stated, picking up his PADD again and making some notes in Geisler's chart. He scrolled through the medical records. "And it looks like you need several monitored tests as well. We can take care of those right now. Since you're already here."

"Full set of labs!?" Harvey nearly shouted. Just as he was warming up to the idea of an unusual drink, Doctor Jennin's statement had caught him off guard. Harvey had been a Chief Medical Officer years prior to starting his command journey, and he knew that labs meant only two things. Either there was something wrong with him... or Doctor Jennin was using a vengeful tactic in hopes to settle a score.

The Captain then winced, realizing that on more than one occasion, the Captain had misused the Doctor's name by ignoring Bajoran naming conventions. And not just within days of each other, but months. There was no excuse for that in the slightest. But even this seemed unreasonable, especially since many laboratory tests could take days or weeks when ran properly.

"Do you experience any sexual dysfunction?"

Harvey was taken aback by the question. First the mention of labs and tests, and now this. "What does my sex life have to do with all this?"

"Sexual dysfunction is nothing to be ashamed of. You are at an age when it often starts becoming more of a problem. The causes can range from age, cardiovascular issues, nervous system problems, tiredness. Stress." He put particular emphasis on the last one. "It can also be psychological. I can refer you to a counselor if we determine your failure to perform is not tied to a physiological problem. Do you have problem becoming physically aroused? Are you unable to remain aroused for the duration of an encounter? Some of both?"

The Captain blinked as he fought to contain a sigh and an expression of derision. "All systems are go, Doctor. Whenever my wife and I have an encounter, the only problem we have is a child waking up and interrupting us."

"I see," Jennin said while making a note. Is embarrassed by his ED. Check for low t.

"Is there anything that you think I should know about your health?"

Harvey found himself wondering what the Doctor was writing in his notes, and he found himself thankful that neither of them were Betazoid. "I've noticed a gray hair here and there. Other than that, I take regular walks around the ship for the weekly department inspections. I think everything else is fine."

"Walks... Charming," he said with an eyeroll. "I can't do anything about the gray hair, but I'm sure you could replicate an acceptable dye. Vanity and all that."

Harvey shook his head. He hadn't planned on dyeing his hair, though he was still waiting for Joey to make a remark or two about that. So far, she hadn't said anything. "What a crime," he muttered.

"For both of our sakes, please tell me you don't have any family history of prostate cancer."

"For both of our sakes, that answer is most certainly no," Harvey replied with all confidence.

"Follow me," Rhula said, adjusting his glasses.

Harvey slid off the bed and adjusted his top jacket before following the doctor out of the room. "Where are we headed?" he asked, feeling like a lamb being lead to the slaughter.

"Draws for labs. Then to the PT room for some tests."

Harvey hadn't forgotten about the labs, but he was a bit surprised for the PT tests. He supposed Doctor Jennin was nothing but thorough. "Leaving no stone unturned, are we, Doctor Jennin?"

"Initial scans show no calcifications," the Bajoran stated flatly. "I can run additional scans if you think I've missed something. A second opinion is also an option."

Harvey would not admit how long he considered getting that second opinion. However, Doctor Jennin was the Chief Medical Officer and could easily instruct his staff to take just as long, if not longer, than he was taking now. Getting an off-site opinion would cost him a week in transit time alone. "I think you're already performing a thorough job, Doctor," he simply said.

"That's right," Rhula muttered.

The door to the pathology lab's sample collection room opened, sensing the approach of the Chief Medical Officer. He pointed at the lone chair, while he went to a cabinet to retrieve supplies.

Harvey frowned at the sterile seat. His eyes wandered around the room as he approached it, taking note of the microscopes, cellular analyzers and various displays around. One display in particular portrayed a diagram of a dissected Trill symbiont, and another a detailed markup of a Dolmoqour parasite. Others featured various statistics and reports, but nothing Harvey could easily discern from where he now sat.

On the small tray next to the chair where the captain now sat, Rhula set down a dozen small sample collection vials. "I assume you prefer to not do this the Klingon way," he said, inserting the first vial into an empty hypospray.

"The old fashioned way is quite sufficient," Harvey stated, rolling up his sleeve. "Besides, you don't strike me as the type that keeps D'k tahgs or mek'leths lying about."

"I won't disabuse you of that thought," he replied, pressing the hypo to Geisler's arm. It filled quickly and Rhula swapped the vial for an empty one. "Have you selected all of your senior staff personally?"

Harvey had to think about that. Aside from dealing with some major turnover in a couple key roles, Harvey hadn't had to worry about his senior staff all that often. "I haven't selected all of them," he admitted. "Most, like yourself, are promotions from within. Commander Djinx was a transfer from a decommissioned vessel, and I think McCullen was the first I'd selected from outside in a while. I tell you what, though, Chief Engineers are in as short supply as qualified medical professionals."

"So the blame for the large number of Trill lies with Headquarters?," he asked slowly. "That makes me cautiously optimistic about your personnel selection abilities."

He switched to another collection vial.

"Thanks..." Harvey wasn't sure if he'd just been complimented or slighted. Perhaps it was best to think positive, especially in this situation. "Tell me something, Doctor. Why pathology?"

Rhula stopped in the middle of changing vials. "The Occupation," he replied, his voice quiet and devoid of his usual sass and snark. "After my parents disappeared when I was four, I was taken in by twin brothers, a structural biologist and a plant geneticist. They were pressed into service as lab and research assistants to a Cardassian scientist. They hated it, helping the occupying power. But they also recognized that their work kept them from being killed. And it meant they could care for me."

"In order to help ease some of their guilt, they taught themselves some practical medical skills and helped treat some of the other local Bajorans. I often accompanied them on their visits to local homes. The Cardassians even started bringing them in to tend to people in the labor camps. Eventually, they started working for the Resistance, not in a formal capacity really, but more of a 'the less said, the better' way."

"Well, over time, I started taking on more and more of a role. When I was 14, I was apprenticed to an elderly woman who had been a physician in a village in the next province since before the Occupation. She was losing her sight and was eager to pass along her knowledge. Most of her patients were going to die. We cared for them as best as we could, but their passing was a forgone conclusion."

"Being surrounded by that kind of suffering," he continued, slipping the new vial into the hypo, "it has an impact. When the Occupation ended, I was twenty. I'd spent most of my life helping to care for hurt people. I decided to shift my focus to studying death in an effort to prevent it."

He pressed the hypo to Geisler's arm again. "That's how I ended up in pathology. I studied microbiology before getting into a proper medical training program. Fell in love with parasitology then."

Harvey twitched under the new hypospray. The devices were quite painless, and had been for as long as he knew them. But having so much blood drawn from his body so quickly, and all from the same spot began to produce slight bits of phantom pain.

Still, he did his best to listen to the Doctor's story, especially since Harvey did find it interesting. Harvey had to admit that he couldn't relate at all, especially since his upbringing was nowhere near as tragic as Jennin's. "I'm sorry you had to go through all of that," he replied at last. "My own career got started because my parents wanted to keep me out of trouble. Having two older siblings that fell into a life of crime and drug abuse doesn't compare at all to what you had to go through. Both of my parents were physicians, and growing up around them, I kind of developed an interest in what they were doing. It led me into medicinal research. It was the war that turned me into more of a real physician and also this damned red uniform."

Harvey sighed. "One word of advice, Rhula. Don't let them promote you higher than you are now."

"I'll keep that in mind," he replied sardonically, "for the next time you try to promote me."

Another full vial was replaced with a fresh one.

"You regret your career choices," the Bajoran stated more than asked.

"Regret is too strong a word," Harvey admitted. "As much as I wished it all would have gone differently, if I had full control, I obviously wouldn't be wearing a red uniform." And Alison wouldn't be dead either. Harvey fought the urge to wince. It was the first time in several months that he'd thought about his first wife. Had she never been killed during the war, he never would have allowed Starfleet to drag him out of his research lab.

"I suppose it's just too much of a reminder that as much as we like to control our own lives, sometimes circumstances have a mind of their own and you just have to roll with the punches the best you can."

Rhula snorted. "Something we can agree on."

He swapped vials again.

The room was silent for several minutes.

"I joined Starfleet to get away from Bajor," he said quietly.

"By the time the Occupation ended, I had no ties. Family. Friends. Scientific peers. All gone. I wanted to put as much distance between myself and my past as I could. But I also felt a responsibility to help rebuild. So I dug in and did that. I formalized my medical training. Opened a practice in my village, where I spent about half of my time. The remainder, I was working in the regional hospital that the Federation had built, stocked, and operated. Worked with both civilian and Starfleet staff there."

The final collection tube was slid into the hypo.

"Once Bajor joined the Federation, I realized that I was done. I needed to leave the only planet I'd ever known. I needed distance. So I joined Starfleet. When I left for officer training on Trill, it was the first time I'd ever been off of Bajor."

Harvey blinked at the mention of Trill. In all his prior meetings with the Bajoran doctor, he never really had much fondness for the spotted race. "I take it your time on Trill was less than pleasant."

"No, actually." Jennin replied with a chuckle. "It was enlightening. Truly inspiring art. Ancient architecture to rival some of the best on Bajor. And the landscapes....... The Cardassians destroyed so much of Bajor's natural beauty. Forests removed, grasslands turned to strip mines, hillsides ruined. Trill didn't go through that. One forest was such an incredible shade of green that I don't think there is a word in Bajoran to describe it."

"The Trill people were very welcoming, friendly. And bright. You could be walking down the street and overhear a conversation about some random scientific theory. Even casual conversation was intellectually stimulating. After nearly a year, it was hard to leave."

The Captain was surprised by the answer, supposing there must have been an isolated incident that had turned the man off to Doctor Kij as he had always seemed indifferent toward her. "Bajor has come a long way in either restoring what was lost, or creating new art or landscapes. But I know what you mean about missing places of enlightenment. Such is our journey in life. Do you do anything to keep it alive?"

"Done," Rhula announced, removing the final vial. He placed it in a tray with the rest before picking up a collection cup with a lid. "The head is there," he said, offering the cup to Geisler.

Harvey looked once at the cup and then back up to the doctor. "You can't get enough from the gallon of blood you just drew, Doctor?"

"Are you ordering me to be less thorough in my exam? You should know that won't work since I have final say on what is medically necessary on this ship."

"I know I can't order you," Harvey responded. "It was just a bit of friendly sarcasm, Doctor." Trying to temper his growing disdain, Harvey collected the cup from Doctor Jennin and withdrew to the nearby head. He returned a minute later, his hands free. "I left it on the counter in there," he informed the doctor. "Unless you wanted me to bring it back to you."

"That will suffice," he replied.

Rhula opened the lab door, called for one of the techs to retrieve the blood and urine samples and begin running them.

"Follow me," he said, looking over his shoulder at Geisler before exiting the room himself.

It was a short walk down the corridor to the physical therapy room. When the doors slid open, Rhula went straight to the treadmill. "Hop on."

Harvey moaned internally. So much blood had just been drawn, and he was already feeling slightly lightheaded. He took one look at the treadmill and wondered when he might collapse. "I don't suppose I could have a drink of water first?"

Dr. Jennin pointed to the replicator on the wall opposite them. "I'm not stopping you. Or did you want me to bring it to you?"

Harvey waved off the Doctor and approached the replicator. Given its location, the options available were minimal, limited to sports drinks, enriched with electrolytes and minerals to help a body rebound, and tepid water. Harvey selected one of the sports drink options, and the replicator produced a small bottle of the beverage with a pop-top lid. Harvey took a generous swig of it and then relocated to the treadmill.

The Chief Medical Officer made some additional notes in the Captain's medical record. "Look," he said sternly, holding out the PADD so it was facing Geisler.

Harvey had just stepped up to the treadmill and was about to start it when he glanced at the medical padd. He looked away, back to the treadmill controls, but only then did he realize what he'd read. "What?" he nearly stammered, surprised that he'd received a clean bill of health.

"You're welcome," he replied gruffly. "Hopefully this has taught you something."

A little light-headed, Harvey stepped down from the treadmill and took another swig of his drink. "It certainly has, Doctor Jennin. I won't postpone medical examinations in the future."

Rhula smiled, an obviously rare event given how much effort it seemed to take. "Good. Take care of your health, Captain. If not for your own sake, but so you can be around to see your kids grow up." His voice grew quieter and his smile was gone. "Children need their parents. Trust me on this."

"Trust you I shall, Doctor," Harvey confirmed. He took a seat nearby to allow his body to calm down a bit. He took another drink, and wiped his mouth with the back of his wrist. "I appreciate the reminder." However difficult it was to experience.

"Doctor Milo is taking excellent care of them," the Bajoran asked more than stated.

Harvey nodded, then rose from his chair, having caught a second wind. "He is. I must say, Doctor, you do have an excellent staff at your disposal."

"Can't take much responsibility in that; I didn't hire them. They do decently, I suppose." He made a final comment in his notes. "Someone will be in contact to schedule your follow up."

"Follow up?" Harvey asked, watching Rhula tap away at the padd he was holding. "What do I need to have followed up?"

"With Counseling. For stress management."

Harvey raised an eyebrow, but he didn't get the chance to respond as the Doctor quickly continued.

"I'm tasked with the health of the crew. That includes you. Mental health is still health. And stress has physiological effects. You don't have to like it, but you do have to do it. I'm only sending you for an evaluation. If the counselor doesn't think you need regular sessions, then you're off the hook. Is that so much to ask?"

The Captain shook his head. "No, I suppose it's not that much trouble." It had been more than a year since his last full evaluation, so it was bound to happen sooner or later. Maybe this meant he would have to rely further on his staff to help with the growing workload from the task group. "I look forward to visiting with the appointed Counselor then. Anything else, Doctor Jennin?"

"Yes, actually." He tucked the PADD under his arm, lifted up his glasses, and rubbed the bridge of his nose. "Can we have lunch sometime? I feel stupid for even asking."

Harvey was a bit surprised by the request, mainly because it seemed unrelated to everything they'd just been through in the last hour. "We most certainly can," Harvey confirmed. It'd long been his practice to share an occasional meal with members of the senior staff, and it only now dawned on him that he hadn't yet scheduled one with Doctor Jennin. "I think I've got an opening in the next couple of days. Let me double check and we'll make it happen."

Rhula had assumed Geisler wouldn't have time for him, which was the only reason he'd bothered to ask. Shit!

"I'm sure it's too much trouble. I understand."

"It's no trouble at all," Harvey remarked. He finished the drink and placed the bottle back into the replicator.

"I look forward to it," the physician replied, a poor semblance for a smile pulled his face tight. "You are free to go. No need to stop at the front desk."

The Captain smiled and nodded at the Doctor. "Thank you, Doctor Jennin." He pulled down on his uniform jacket and departed the room.

Rhula watched the doors close behind Geisler. "That didn't go as planned," he announced to the empty physical therapy room. "Dammit."

As soon as Harvey had exited sickbay, he paused in the corridor and took a deep breath. The last hour had certainly not been at all what he had expected. Part of him was relieved that it was over, and the rest of him made a note to always use proper naming conventions with all his staff. He'd have to make sure he remembered that whenever the lunch meeting was scheduled. He could only hope that Rhula would cancel and spare them both an uncomfortable meal.]]>
Wed, 07 Apr 2021 19:22:30 +0000
Phaser Drills
Mission - Extinction
Timeline - MD 3 || 0945 hours

Harvey sat alone in his office, sitting behind his desk with a lukewarm cup of Wilkins coffee. In front of him, his holographic display was filled with a sector map, along with various icons indicating Starfleet deployments, along with sensor data from other ships. Harvey had spent the last few days reviewing transit patterns, something he never thought he'd enjoy doing. Today, each one of these icons were accompanied by notations, biographical data that helped him to understand not just the ships under his purview, but also the other vessels that seemed to frequent these sectors.

As he was reading the notes on a Ferengi vessel, suddenly his screens went dim. "What?" he muttered, reaching for the controls hoping that it was just a software glitch. A warning message soon appeared over the darkened readouts.

"Access is restricted. Certification updates required."

Harvey hung his head in shame. He had focused on the job for so long that he'd forgotten he'd kept deferring his annual fitness certifications. He was going to have to run the full gamut, ranging from phasers to medical. He hoped that psychological profiling would not be a part of it. Nevertheless, if he wanted to continue, he would have to get these updated, and do so quickly.

The Captain sent a message to Commander Walsh, indicating that he had temporary command of the Black Hawk. He then departed his office and made his way to the Security Complex. He knew Commander Di Pasquale was handling a few issues today of her own, so he would work with whomever security had available.

"Excuse me," he said to the first person he saw within the complex. "Who's the duty officer today?"

The first person he happened to find was Angel, and she gave him a bit of a puzzled look as she turned to face him. "You're looking at her, sir. There something I can help you with?" It was unusual for a ship's commanding officer to seek out the duty officer, and she wondered if there was a problem... but generally problems necessitated a more urgent tone of voice.

"Miss Fairchild," Harvey greeted, matching the brunette's face with a name. "I apologize, I didn't realize that you were assigned to hold down the fort today."

"No need to apologize, sir. Just happens to be my turn on the rotation." Angel flashed him a smile. "So what brings you down here anyway?"

Harvey chuckled. "Just the bane of every command officer's existence. Annual certifications. Today, I'm paying the price for kicking that can down the road."

"Oh, you're one of those command officers. Put the boring stuff off as long as possible." Angel chuckled a little. "Let's see how quick we can get you run through the phaser range. Without either of us having to tell Commander Di Pasquale how we did it so fast."

"That's absolutely fine by me," Harvey said, trying to feign innocence with two raised hands. "I'm completely at your mercy here, Lieutenant."

"Come this way, sir." Angel set down the PADD she'd been looking at and led him through the complex to the phaser range. "Which weapons do you normally qualify with?"

"Usually the hand phaser and rifle." Harvey followed the security officer to the phaser range where a series of weapons were already on display. "I tend to leave the isometric weapons to the professionals, though I've been known to use a few unorthodox weapons from time to time."

"Well we'll stick with the hand phaser and rifle for now. One of us can always run you through a quick session for other stuff later if need be. Go ahead and pick out one of each." Angel unlocked the appropriate arms lockers, then moved over to the controls for the range to start setting it up. "We'll start with the sidearm since it usually goes a bit quicker."

Harvey nodded as he looked at the selection of type-2's in the locker. There didn't seem to be a difference between any of them, save for a few elongated hand grips for those species with larger appendages. The Captain quickly selected a phaser. He slid open the phaser head to take a look at the illuminated power cell. A quick check of the emitters was in order, as well as a few other inspection points. When he was finished, he slid the head back into place and tested the control studs. The weapon appeared to be fully functional. He lowered the weapon to his side, kept the emitter pointed at the floor and his thumb nowhere near the trigger as he approached Fairchild's position.

"All right, you know the drill, sir. Stationary targets first, then we'll switch to moving targets. They start off blue and turn red when you score a hit. You look ready." Looking away from him, Angel entered a code on the control panel, activating the range. Several targets materialized and moved into their first, stationary positions. "Open fire."

A quick movement with his thumb instantly disabled the phaser's safety. It hummed to life as he raised the weapon. Two quick taps set the weapon for setting two in a narrow beam. Harvey fired three shots, striking the first two targets, but barely missing the third. He was already moving on to the fourth target when he saw the miss, so Harvey quickly turned back and fired a fourth shot. This time, it struck the target.

Having been keeping track of Harvey's "score" as he fired, Angel quickly changed the previous "miss" to a "hit" on her PaDD. Spotting a mistake and then fixing it was vital in phaser combat, and she appreciated a command level officer who seemed to understand that! "Nice, with that recovery shot that's just about perfect! Ready for the next phase?"

Harvey relaxed his stance for a moment to quickly inspect his pistol should any abnormalities have appeared since he started using it. Not seeing any, he confirmed, "Ready to go."

"All right. Sidearm, moving targets. Remember, they start slow and move faster as you progress. You need to hit seventy-five percent of the targets to pass." That was the minimum, but Angel suspected that Harvey would attempt another perfect score. He just seemed the type. She quickly reset the range for the new parameters, and the targets again popped into view. This time, a countdown timer also appeared in front of them.




"Fire at will," the computer announced as the targets began their programmed movements.

Three targets appeared instantly, starting in the center of the room before fanning out across different directions. Harvey knew this part wouldn't be easy, but he hadn't expected the targets to behave like this. He fired first at the target that was barreling toward him, striking that one instantly. The other two targets disappeared behind cover, each on opposite side of the room.

Harvey glanced to his left, then to his right. Suddenly, the target that had disappeared to the left flew out of its cover and shot towards a different structure for cover. Harvey fired a shot at this new target, only to barely miss it. A second shot took down the target. Two new targets appeared in the center of the room. As Harvey's gaze was already moving back to the right, he managed to take down one of the new targets in a single shot. The other target zipped to the right.

He fired at this target. Though the beam missed the target, it miraculously struck the last original target as it shot out from behind its cover. Harvey had to wait two seconds for the final target to emerge, which he managed to take down with a shot that almost grazed the target.

Harvey sighed. "That one was a little more difficult than I thought it'd be."

"Um..." The difficulty level had been higher than Angel had expected too, and she checked the settings on the range. "Oh... uh... oops. That was a security-specific program... but you passed! I should have double checked, sir. I'm sorry about that." Of course, she had no idea how she'd managed to pull that program up instead of the standard drill, but she wasn't going to tell Harvey that! "The rifle program is moving targets only, but it'll be the right one this time."

"Well, it's good to know I can keep up with the best of you then," Harvey replied with a chuckle. He deactivated the phaser and returned it to its storage area, being sure to reactivate the safety as he did. He then looked over the rifle selection. He passed over the bulky compression rifle and the simple rifle that was common issue during the onset of the Dominion War. He selected a difference rifle which featured a single hand grip, classic trigger, with a shoulder butt and lightscope. Harvey confirmed the safety was operational before rejoining Lieutenant Fairchild at the range. "Moving targets," he confirmed. "Should be simple enough."

"All right, here we go." Checking the settings again. Angel started the program and a similar countdown flashed above the range, and the computer again announced to fire at will.

The targets materialized and started to move around. They were definitely slower than before, giving Harvey ample time to pick his target and fire. Yet, Harvey found himself tracking faster than he should have, causing him to miss his first two shots. Harvey muttered a curse under his breath and reasserted his scope on the closest orb. A quick press of the trigger fired a compressed burst from the barrel, striking the target immediately.

"That's better," Harvey remarked, driving himself into a small trance, restricting his vision on just the targets ahead. He fired five more shots, hitting the last four targets. A tone from the computer signaled the end of the round. Harvey reactivated the safety and lowered the rifle. "I definitely wasn't ready for how slow that was," he remarked.

A few more taps of the padd later, and Harvey's certification had officially been renewed. He replaced the weapon and he departed the phaser range, heading for sickbay.]]>
Tue, 06 Apr 2021 22:45:02 +0000
A Desire To Fly
Mission - Extinction
Location - Gym

"Gonna work off those hours as a desk jockey?" Joked one of Gemma's pilots as she entered the gym after dinner, "Ha ha Cowboy, you wanna join me keep talking..." She shot back, Cowboy held up his hands briefly in surrender but said no more as, with a grin, he headed for one of the weight machines. It was semi busy but starting to clear out a bit as Gemma, hair tied back and in her workout gear, set one of the running machines to get started.

The day was over but the afternoon was just commencing as Kelly bounced into the gym area wearing a pair of yoga pants with pineapple print, a black crop top shirt, her brunette hair pulled back in a ponytail and a towel in her right hand.

She paused and looked around, then smiled and gave a nod to Commander Alexander as she headed for arm and shoulder machine. "Commander," she said in passing, but her conversation with Quinn popped up about getting more fighter flight time. She wanted to ask her, but at the same time, she didn't want to interrupt the woman's workout.

"Ensign" Alexander replied with a smile and a nod before picking up the pace. A bow at full draw with an arrow knocked easily seen on her right upper arm above a black knight's helmet as a rattlesnake sat coiled on the other arm. She continued ramping up her jog. Still she wasn't yet moving fast enough to prevent talk, "How's the inventor of the Khan Boom?"

Now Kelly stopped in place, one leg in the process of lifting to take another step and turned her head towards Gemma. "The Khan mean Rocco actually logged that?!" she asked, excitement building with every word.

Gemma, who was keeping her pace slow enough to talk, grinned. "Yep under 'in case of emergency break glass' type of thing. Me? I'm always up for more and better ways to blow up the bad guys." Her eyes twinkled as she enjoyed that thought.

"In case of..." The petite brunette looked offended. "Well, okay, then."

Gemma caught the look and stopped the treadmill, "It's not that it's a bad tactic, he just occasionally doesn't want us to blow everything up. Which generally is my preferred path so maybe that warning was more for me." She shrugged and smiled, "So you shouldn't feel as though your tactic has a flaw, more like Rocco wanted to make sure we'd use it properly."

"I just didn't hear anything about and then my unofficial fighter training got sidelined when Commander Walsh got promoted and...." Kelly trailed off. "It gets a bit disappointing and I get very little bridge time now."

“A pilot grounded is a sad thing indeed.” Alexander replied completely understanding that point of view. She leaned her arms on the paused treadmill, her expression thoughtful as she considered options, “I think we got the space to schedule some extra flight time, and I’d be happy to help if you’d like to pick up where you left off.” She offered.

"I wouldn't say that I'm grounded, but there hasn't been much to do and you know Chiefs get first dibs," Kelly said. "But I'd be more than happy to pick up some extra training on the Gryphons. They handle like vectorboards on antimatter."

Gemma nodded in agreement, "With the isolinear twin-core design computer system it knows what I want to do almost before I do with matching agility, damned thing can dance on a dime." Now she was considering trying to get some flight time in tonight as she considered her own schedule when then reminded her, "Before I distract myself with shop talk, if you'll get me your schedule sometime, we'll get something on the books."

"I'm Alpha Shift, but I could probably get away with doing some training during it," Kelly said. "It isn't like the Chief pays any attention to me, but we did get off on a bad start."

"I can coordinate that sort of schedule through channels so everyone who needs to know where you are while on the clock does so. There is always after hours option as well which can be a bit more flexible." She replied always happy to try to help a fellow pilot. "If it helps to know, bad starts can be overcome sometimes. I have several to my credit and a few foot-ectomies." she continued in an attempt to be supportive.

"Yeah, yeah, I know," the petite brunette said. "I'm good whenever you can slot me in. I do appreciate it. I just want to fly more."

Gemma nodded letting it go, "I know that need to fly." She agreed. "Then if you've a mind I'll be doing some time in the sims after I'm done torturing myself here tonight. Beyond that we'll get some sort of stable schedule come tomorrow. Besides." She said with a smile, "Bit interested to see the creator of the Khan Boom in action."

"I should warn you, I have a lot of hours in simulators for a lot of different types of craft," Kelly said.

"Fair enough, what do you have time in?" Alexander asked curiously.

"Do you want them by species or by type first?" the brunette asked. "I've done Federation civilian and Starfleet, Klingon, Romulan..well, what we know of their ships, Cardassian, a number of fighters, Ferengi, Vulcan and a scattering of others."

Gemma gave a 'was not expecting that answer but nice' look, "That's some serious range." She said with a grin. Trying to get inside the cockpit of anything meant to fly, and sometimes not meant, was a grand hobby not uncommon with pilots. In one so young though, she didn't think she'd seen many with that breath of experience. "We'll start with Gryphons though and see where the space winds take us first, maybe change it up later."

"That's what I was using when I came up with that maneuver," Kelly said.

"That was part of the report, dove tailed well with gryphon abilities." Gemma replied approvingly. Then glanced at the still treadmill who seemed to be glaring at her and back to Kelly, "You know what screw it, I can always work out later. You up for some flight time?" She asked unable to resist the siren call of the cockpit.

"Are you sure?" the petite brunette asked, but definitely looked excited.

Gemma nodded with a grin, "I can always adult later." She said stepping off the treadmill, "I happen to know one of the simulators is free for at least the next two hours..."

"Then let's go and thank you again. Commander," Kelly said as she took her towel and shoved it in her bag. "Let's rock. First person to pull away buys a meal at Talon's."

"Deal." Archer said with a grin as she headed for the door.

With a smile, the petite pilot got her stuff and headed out after her. ]]>
Mon, 05 Apr 2021 22:12:55 +0000
Doctor At Your Door
Mission - Extinction
Location - Rael’s Quarters

There were more people serving aboard the USS Black Hawk-A than Doctor Landon Milo was accustomed to when he served on smaller starships, though he was a man of robust experience and we'll read on cutting edge procedures, experimental with new medicines, and open minded to diverse cultural practices. Heck, he was known for more than one occasion of busting out an old mortar and pestle. He was as much a doctor of traditional medicine (physical and psychological) as he was a flexible physician.

One did not work their way through specialties in infectious diseases and in pediatrics by being a run of the mill medical practioner. Landon had even say in the Captain's Chair of a Defiant class starship albeit under terrible circumstance, and cut off from the Federation. How many Starfleet Doctors could say that?

He had yielded the position of Chief Medical Officer over to Doctor Rhula because at the time Landon was not sure of himself anymore. He was still recovering from the former paralysis he had physically and abilities wise from the Lethean. It just was not right for him to return to being a Chief Medical Officer. Now, his life was begining to make sense again though he was still at an impasse.

It had been while too long that he had spoken to a Counselor that wasn't his cousin, Laurel Oakley. The USS Black Hawk's counselor had been medically on leave due to being unwell. Though Doctor Rhula had been the woman's initial PCP, Landon was asked to pay her a house call.

He stood outside the woman's quarters and felt something. His eyes illuminated and he pressed his hand flat against the door. Warmth. He could feel it radiating, but it was not a physical warmth, not a fire, but an emotional warmth. She had abilities like his own. Hello, I'm here to check on you, Counselor he said nonverbally, thinking really strongly about the message he wanted to convey. Could she communicate with him in this way?

Landon nervously pressed the door chime. "House call" he said with a smile etched into his face. His blue eyes were dancing in the puddles of euphoria. It was not every day he encountered someone like this.

T’Mari had picked up on the Doctor’s telepathic message no problem at all, she’d sensed his presence the moment he approached the door. The door is open, come on in Doctor

Landon smiled, his stepping forward triggered the doorway to part ways. He carefully and respectfully entered the woman's quarters.

T’Mari was stood waiting as the door opened, as her eyes rested on Landon she offered a warm smile. “I sensed you coming” She motioned to the sofa or chair, “please make yourself at home.”

"Counselor," he said meeting the woman's gaze. He took her up on the offer and seated himself on a sofa. "Apologies if I was a bit intrusive. I have only recently been able to use my abilities again, and it has been an experience."

“You were not intrusive at all” T’Mari smiled. “It’s nice to be able to talk telepathically. Being amongst non telepaths means I rarely use my telepathy. It makes a change to use it.” She motioned to the replicator. “Can I get you anything?”

He nodded agreeing with all of it. "Vanilla chai tea latte, hot" Landon responded to her inquiry. "I know what you mean. Before my incident I had to work with non-telepaths; it is nice when there is at least one aboard similar to me."

T’Mari walked over to the replicator and ordered the tea before returning with two cups. She politely placed Landon’s on the coffee table and sat down. “I’m happy to converse with you telepathically anytime you like” She smiled warmly.

"Appreciative, though it drains me a bit," he said honestly. "I came to check on you actually. Doctor Rhula was seeing you. You were not feeling so well lately?"

“I’ve been suffering with severe morning sickness, so much so I’ve been laid up in bed most of the last 21 days.” She sighed. “Now I’ve reached the 12 week point it seems to be wearing off, I feel much better than I did.”

Landon sipped the chai tea latte and placed it aside. "Pregnancy will tend to do that," he said with a chuckle. The Doctor had brought a satchel with him, his medical grab and go bag. He, however, had yet to pull out a tricorder or anything.

"We could have given you something to help with the morning sickness," noted Landon. "Were you hoping to take a more natural route with your pregnancy, Counselor?"

“To be honest I hadn’t given it thought one way or another. I was offered the medications but they didn’t seem to agree with my stomach either. Perhaps it’s due to my genetic makeup, I’m half Betazoid and half Vulcan, my baby is also part Human. His, or her father is in a coma at Starfleet medical so it’s just me now.”

Landon winced as he heard about the man's state of being. He could also sense the emotional anguish that the woman was feeling. "I'm sorry to hear that. That is a complex generic make up for the child, and a more natural route may prove fruitful."

Doctor Milo cleared his throat. "Sorry, I should clarify. Doctor Rhula is turning your care over to me or rather the care if you and your child to me because I am a pediatrician. So, I'll be seeing your little one a lot more often once he or she decides to make their grand entrance."

T’Mari smiled. “So I’ll be seeing you more often from now on. I should be totally honest, this pregnancy wasn’t planned, it seems Liam had a way of having children regardless of whether he’d had his birth control shots or not. Though it does take two to tango, as the saying goes! Not that I regret this, I want to be a mother.”

"It happens more often than we care to admit," Landon said sympathetically. "We are exposed to so many things on alien worlds, sometimes our birth control efforts get slightly compromised." The Doctor reached for his satchel. "Then of course there's just blind luck. That less than 1% chance that just miraculously seems to happen."

“That’s true” T’Mari smiled warmly. “All I want is to have a healthy baby, and to be a good mother.” She smiled warmly. “Speaking of which, I haven’t had an awful lot of nutrition this last 3 weeks, in-fact the last couple of months. I’ve tried vitamin supplements, I guess what I need to know is that the baby is alright.”

Landon nodded. "About to check on that," he said pulling a tricorder out and heading over to the woman. He took a few scans of both the woman and the unborn child she was carrying. "Developing at a normal rate and all biological signs indicative of a safe pregnancy this far. You could use a bit more nutrition to ensure that and your little one are in good shape."

T’Mari breathed a sigh of relief. “That’s good news, I’ll make sure I catch up on the nutrition part now I’m feeling better. Is there anything you recommend I should take?”

"Stick to replicating or consuming items high in iron, rich in calcium, and with a good amount of vitamin D" he said. "You can order the Milo shake #12 from the replicator in the morning. It is something I programed in for my pregnant patients."

“Ahh so you’re a doctor who prescribes nutritious foods and shakes?” T’Mari grinned. “I will definitely try it. Is there a limit on how many I’m allowed if I like it?”

"I would be fine with two, and I'd recommend the morning and right before bed." Landon chuckled at the description. "I am a Doctor with years of peculiar experiences, and I am open-minded to differing approaches to medicine."

“I think you and I are going to get along just fine then” T’Mari smiled. “Outside of my pregnancy I’m not your a-typical Vulcan. I’ve never tried suppressing my emotions, much to my father’s disapproval. I much prefer to be emotional than emotionless.”

"And I'm not your typical Betazoid," he noted. "Half actually. My mother was from Risa, but I'm a bit of a genetic enigma if you will. My abilities are about as strong as a full blooded Betazoid, so I have a range of empathy and telepathy."

“Wow” T’Mari smiled. “My abilities are Betazoid mixed with Vulcan abilities. I’m a touch telepath as well as line of sight. I know how to do mind melds too but I’ve only done it once.” She looked at Landon curiously. “I guess we’re both curiosities in our own ways.”

"We are oddities," Landon said agreeing. "But we will be oddities together. I have never initiated nor partook in a mind meld, but I did have a Lethean attack me and that scrambled me up pretty good."

T’Mari looked at him concernedly. “I’m sorry, that must have been a horrible and painful experience. Mind invasion is one of the most awful things to happen.”

"Yes," Landon agreed. "Though it was less about invasion and more about killing me. Fortunately, he failed. Though enough about the dark stuff for now." He took his latte. "You are in fine health pregnancy and all. If you want, I can clear you medically for duty."

T’Mari nodded enthusiastically. “I would like that very much. It’s about time I got on with my duties as Chief Counsellor.”

Landon rummaged through his satchel and pulled out a PaDD. He tapped away with his fingers, and handed it over to the woman. "Sent a copy to the First Officer, but here you go. Signed, sealed, and delivered. Counselor, you are medically cleared for duty."

T’Mari grinned. “Thank you very much.” She felt a lot happier now she could get back to her duties.

"I'll leave you to get ready then and check in with everyone," Landon added with a small smile. "If you need anything please just let me know anytime."

T’Mari offered a warm smile. “I will, and thank you for coming to see me.”

"You're very much welcome, Counselor," the physician said with a parting nod. "Have a good day, and don't push yourself too hard your first day back."

Sun, 04 Apr 2021 17:34:23 +0000
Command Struggles
Mission - Extinction
Location - Ready Room
Timeline - MD 1 || 1300 hours

Commander Walsh exited the turbolift and tapped the two PADD's together that he was carrying. One was a copy of the full report regarding the away mission, to include the confrontations of personnel, he'd sent to Captain Geisler earlier that day. The second one included something he'd been working on.

He made his way quickly across the Bridge and activated the door chime for the Captain's Ready Room. Terry took a deep breath as he waited.

The doors parted almost immediately, revealing Harvey sitting at the side table with a bowl of potato soup. "Good afternoon, Commander," Harvey greeted, looking up from a padd filled with reports.

Terry walked in and waited for the doors to close. "Well, it's afternoon," he said. "Sorry to interrupt your meal, by the way, Captain."

The Captain shook his head, dismissing the apology. "It's no interruption at all." As he took in another spoonful of soup, he gestured to the chair across the table. "Help yourself to the replicator if you like."

"Thanks, but I'll probably grab something later." He walked over the chair and sat down. He grinned as he saw the stack of reports on the desk. "I hate to, but I'm about to add at least one more PADD to that stack."

"It's my curse in life it seems," Harvey admitted, stirring his soup. "Here's a padd, there's a padd... I'm like the Farmer MacDonald of padds. What's the occasion?"

He chuckled a little, having heard that nursery song when he was younger. "Old McGeisler had a ship...ah, well, anyway, the occasion. Recent events, Captain. I know from experience the strain that it can put on the crew, but this is the first time I've seen it from the other side. First time I've had to work through it with multiple departments."

"Captain Geisler had a ship?" Harvey couldn't help but chuckle. "Please, oh please, don't share that with Joey or Mila. The next thing I know, all the twins will ask me to say is E-I-E-I-O." He set down his spoon and gave his full attention to his executive officer. "I know what you're talking about though. The blessing of being an XO is that you don't have to focus on hundreds of people. You just have to focus on less than a dozen. You've got to let the department heads deal with their departments. All you can do is be there for them. I know it can be a hard road. I've been there a few times myself. Just wait until you're responsible for all of the decisions on board."

Terry chuckled. "I promise it won't leave these walls. As for only focusing on less than a dozen, that's still taking some getting used to. The squadron was whole lot bigger than that and without a deputy most of the time, I had a lot of focusing to do. But that makes sense, just being there for them if they need it." He paused a second as he considered the Captain's last comment. "Not sure how well I'd do being responsible for the whole ship and the involved decisions, though. That, I can wait for."

Harvey chuckled once more. "Believe me, I'm in no rush for you to start a captaincy, so I will join you in your waiting." He prepared another spoonful of soup before asking, "So, from your perspective, how are our departments aboard?"

"They seem to be doing well enough," Terry said. "I haven't heard too many complaints. Those that have come across me have been disgruntled staff types. People complaining about extra work, hard-ass bosses, that sort of thing."

The Captain nodded. "Well, we seem to keep running into tight spots. It always seems like the moment we let ourselves relax its when the crazy stuff happens." He thought for a moment. "Still, we should make some allowance for relaxation. Maybe we need to restrict everyone to a single shift for a while and encourage everyone to get some downtime. We could be out here in these sectors for a while."

Terry nodded. "That's not a bad idea. Downtime while on a mission and not actually on shore leave might be good for everyone. Kind of show them that we're willing to be flexible and do what's necessary for the their self-care. So either a single, slightly longer, shift or two shorter shifts with very small skeleton crews for the other two." He paused to think how that might work.

"The shift adjustment isn't a bad idea," Harvey remarked. "Why don't you work something up and get back to me once you get it." He set down his drink and looked across the room to Terry. "I have a feeling we're turning the corner on something. No more Consortium. No more Dolmoqour. No more malfunctioning holographic constructs. Just mysterious pirates."

"I can do that," said the bald-headed Executive Officer. "And I hope you're spot-on with your feeling. It'd be a nice change to just chase mysterious pirates around the quadrant for a while." He relaxed a little more in his chair. "How are you handling the current change of pace?"

Harvey chuckled. "I thought my level of paddwork was high when I was a researcher and a physician. It's incredible the amount of detail that's in these things. I swear I'm going to need a week or two just to adjust to the influx of information."

"Heh, I don't doubt it. About the amount of detail, I mean," said Terry. "You have what, four or five ships and their assignments and such?"

"Besides the Black Hawk?" the Captain asked. "Eleven. Most are heavy hitters, a couple rapid responders and some light escorts. All bark and bite sort of thing."

"Wow, quite a few more than I thought," said Terry. He paused for a moment, unsure of where the rest of the meeting and conversation would go. "I suppose that's really all I have to report."

Harvey nodded. "I'm sure we'll be talking more as the days go on, especially once I get on top of everything that's happening with this Task Group. I have a feeling I'm going to have to start leaning on you more and sooner than I thought."

Terry took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I'll do my best to help out and support where I can. We have a good group of senior officers around here and that might free me up a little to help. Just let me know when and how."

"Will do, Commander," Harvey acknowledged. "Anything else to report?"

"No sir," answered Terry. He sat forward, ready to stand.

"Then I'll leave you to it," Harvey stated. "Let me know immediately if anything comes up."

"I will," said Terry. He stood up with a nod to the Captain and headed for the door. It had been a productive meeting for the relatively new Executive Officer. His biggest take-away had been to focus on only less than a dozen people. He had something else to do now, too. Work up a different schedule. Yeah, it had been productive.]]>
Sat, 03 Apr 2021 11:07:08 +0000
By the Numbers
Mission - Extinction
Location - Administration
Timeline - MD 1 || 1500 Hours

Joey made her way into administration and took a deep breath. She'd just gotten finished spending a few minutes with her husband and their children since she'd be working later than normal. Not only did she need to dig into the newest Black Hawk crew members personnel records for Camila, but now she needed to pull the personnel files for the COs and XOs of the Task Group and give her insight in them. The only difference between the two duties... she'd have help with the latter.

Taking a moment to compose herself, she made her way toward Mila's office and extended her arm so she could tap the chime. Here was hoping she wouldn't be too annoyed that she'd have to work late. Of course, Joey would know the answer to that soon enough. For now, she'd wait to be granted entry and ponder the kind of insight she'd be able to provide.

Mila glanced at her console and saw Joey on the other side of the door, then tapped the door lock release to open it. There were no PADDs on her desk and only her console was active. She had pictures of the twins on one side of the console and a mug of tea on the other side. "Joey! Please, have seat. Would you like tea?"

Joey shook her head. "I'm okay, thank you," she answered after taking a seat. "How's your day been?"

"it is being good, thank you," the Yeoman said. "And how is yours being?"

"Busy," the taller woman replied, but she'd expected as much. "I actually came here from seeing the kids for a few minutes. The Captain has requested that you and I pull the CO and XO personnel files of the Task Group. He wants us to go over them and offer up any insight we might have."

"Wait...he is wanting what?" Mila asked as her jaw dropped.

The Intelligence Chief cocked her head to the side. "You seem surprised. Which part was it?"

"The Task Group part," the other woman said in a deadpan, accent free voice.

Joey noticed the accent free voice, but it wasn't the first time she'd been witness to it. "Twelve ships... twenty-four records," she said as if it weren't such a big deal. "I mean... it could be worse. I could be asking you to go through the personnel files of every single crewmember that's joined the ship in the last eighteen months."

"That would be worse nightmare," Mila said. "But I am guessing that twenty-four is not being bad. Where are we wanting to start and how far are we wanting to dig?"

"A nightmare," Joey agreed. "One that I get to live. This is a cakewalk in comparison."

The Yeoman pulled up the files on Task Group Belvedere and narrowed her search down to the Captain and Executive Officer of each one. "Is only being twenty-four. Twenty-two if you are not counting Harvey and Commander Walsh."

Joey grinned. "He didn't say to exclude this ship's command team, either," she pointed out. "And as for your previous question, we'll start with whoever is at the top and work our way down from there. We can dig as far as your clearance and access will allow." Of course, her clearances were higher, but it just didn't seem right to go as far as hers allowed.

"In that case, Harvey is being on top as he is in command of task force," Mila said. "But my access can only be getting so much. Is even limited on this ship to things that I must be having access to."

"Who's next on the list aside from Harvey and Commander Walsh?" She asked. "Given we work with them daily, we know them pretty well. We don't really need to look over their records. Unless you want to."

"Nyet, would be waste of time," the Yeoman said as she looked at the list. "Let us be starting with Captain Uro Rada of the Prince of Wales," she suggested. "He is the Executive Officer of Task Group Belvedere."

Joey nodded, and once his record was in display, she began to look it over. "I have to be completely honest. I'm not so sure I would ever want to be the CO or XO of a Task Group."

"Nor would I want to be Yeoman for such," Mila agreed. "For now, let us get this coconut rolling." She began to compile the data into the computer and looked at Joey. "Is there anything in particular that we are wishing to look for, or can we be excluding things?"

Joey looked at Mila. "Well, you're the Yeoman for one now," she pointed out, then turned her attention back to the screen. "I want to look for things that stand out... things that might raise some red flags. As for excluding anything, I don't want to do that just yet."

"That is what I am being afraid of," the shorter woman said as she pulled up the file with what her access allowed. "Starfleet Academy Entrance Exams seem standard, typical demerits for a cadet, outstanding leadership skills, promoted up through the ranks, assisted in freeing his ship from boarders when he was a Lieutenant...the list goes on and on.."

"So, essentially, he's a Starfleet officer I can relate to," the taller woman stated. She was one of the types of officers that would put her life on the line if it meant keeping others safe. Joey looked back at the screen, making mental notes to dig a bit deeper.

"Da," Mila said. "Are we to be digging deeper on him or going to the next on list?"

"Let's move on to the next," Joey responded. If she needed to, she could dig a bit deeper at a later date, but for now, the Intel Chief just wanted to scratch the surface.

File after file and face after face, rank after rank went passed them on the screen with multiple requests for clarification noted and then they came to Captain Todd Ahern of the USS Challenger and Mila paused to rub her eyes. "Is this being number twelve or thirteen?" she asked.

The taller woman pinched the bridge of her nose as she closed her eyes. All the files were beginning to look the same, and she had to dig into the newer crew files as well? Who did she piss off, and in what life did it happen? "I don't even know," Joey replied with a sigh. "We still have quite a few to go, and this is starting to give me a headache."

Finally, Mila stopped and looked at the file on the Executive Officer of the Challenger and then read it over again. "Can you be running cross check on Ab'dib Muak-Ra of the Challenger, please?" she asked Joey. "Civilian records..." she paused to think for a moment. "Planet To'Kar of the Brienna Sector from stardate.." She gave a stardate and frowned again.

Words were starting to bleed together and her headache was beginning to intensify. Joey was doing her best to keep from letting her frustrations get the better of her... and Camila really wanted this done for the newest crew? There was no way in hell she was going to suffer alone. No... Camila was going to have to help if she really wanted it done. For now, though, she looked for what Mila had just pointed out.

Meanwhile, the Russian had pulled up old copies of The Federation News Network and some independent news sources, her eyes scanning each article before moving to the next one. "I am remembering old news story involving a Muak-Ra. Was being very usual. Something about being only person killed in passing Borg attack."

Like Mila, Joey was scanning articles. After a few minutes, something caught her attention. "You did say Ab'dib Muak-Ra, didn't you?" She asked. If was a highly unusual name, so she was quite sure that's what was said. "According to what I've just found, a child of the same name was killed by the Borg in what was described as a 'passing shot at a planet that got lucky'."

"That is being it!" Mila exclaimed and nearly pushed Joey out of the way to look at the screen. "Name and date is being same...but how is he now Executive Officer in Starfleet?"

"The likelihood of someone being born with the same name is slim to none," she stated. "I think that definitely warrants more investigation, because something isn't quite right here."

"That is where you are having more access than me," the Russian said.

Joey was pinching the bridge of her nose again as her budding headache grew. "I'll dig into it and see what I can find."

"Should we be going to next, or are you needing break?" Mila asked.

"We've been going at this for a couple of hours, and I'm really starting to get a headache. I say we call it a day and get an earlier start on the next half in the morning," Joey suggested. "Besides, I want to get started on digging into Ab'dib Muak-Ra while it's fresh in my mind."

"I will run through rest and be seeing if anything is standing out," her seestra said with a smile. "Then send it to you, da?"

The taller woman nodded. "You can do that if you'd like to, or we can get back to it in the morning. I'm game for either one."

Mila smiled. "Then I will be seeing you in morning, Joey. Be giving twins my love and be taking any PADD from Harvey."

Joey leaned forward to hug Mila. "Absolutely. I'm going to continue to do some digging once I've gotten Alison and Jameson in bed. Harvey has some work to do also, so it'll work out."

The Russian returned the hug and smiled. "Da, it will. Now go and I will wrap up here." ]]>
Sat, 03 Apr 2021 00:15:27 +0000
Digging Out the Truth
Mission - Extinction
Location - Security

Camila sat in her office when an alert came across her console. She pulled it up after entering her authorization and noted that a new crew member had joined the ship. One Lieutenant Parker Voss who was here for the Chief Engineer position. The last one, a half Romulan, had found a convenient excuse to leave before she could examine him and she had put an alert on his file for the suspicious activity. The ship had seen a number of Chief Engineers, but she doubted this Chief Engineer had every met a Security Chief like her.

She tapped the comm. "Lieutenant Voss, report to the Security office immediately," she stated.

Voss tapped his comm badge. "Voss here, on my way." The captain did say the security chief would probably want to speak to him, so he left his office in main engineering and took the turbo lift to the proper deck.
When he arrived, he activated the door chime.

Once again, the Andorian receptionist's antennae swept back in annoyance as yet another person breezed past her desk at the entrance of Security. She made a note to ask the Chief if she could stun them if they kept doing it.

"Enter," Camila called out as she cleared the last PADD off of her desk and secured them. No pictures were on her desk, no trophies, no awards, and not even a coffee cup sat anywhere in sight. It was just a plain office that looked nearly identical to any other office on the ship.

Parker entered and was expecting to see a junior officer, lieutenant maybe, and probably some plain looking guy or gal, but when he entered, and saw what can only be described as something akin to a goddess, he was momentarily struck speechless. It took him a few seconds to regain his ability to speak. "Commander Di Pasquale?"

"That's me," she said. "Sit down, please, Lieutenant and clear your mind of any preconceived notions of anything you've heard about me or what other Security Chiefs may have told you. You're on the Black Hawk-A now and things are never going to be the same for you." She took note of the look and reached to pull a tricorder out from her desk and activated it, then set it on the desk facing him.

"Two things I heard about you, commander, is that you are probably the best security chief in the fleet, and probably the loveliest." Voss sat back in his chair. "I hope things will never be the same, commander." He smiled at her. "You have questions?, ask away."

"Who did you hear these things from?" the ombre haired woman asked without acknowledging the comment about being lovely. If anything, it seemed to annoy her and her voice got a little flatter.

"I'd rather not say who told me those things. But, meeting you leads me to believe them." Voss responded.

"The tricorder I put there is currently scanning your pulse, respiration, eye movement and every other tell that indicates when a person is lying," Camila said. "I asked you a question. You said you'd rather not say. Let's see what the tricorder says." She lifted it up and checked the small screen.

He waited until she checked the tricorder. "What does it matter who told me, it's not a top secret level access only type of intel. People I know, who know you or have heard of you tol dme those things when I got the transfer here." The only thing the tricorder might detect is his interest in her.

"So, we have conduct unbecoming an officer and unwilling to divulge your sources," Camila said and made a note on her console. "Is there anything else you're interested in besides me?" she asked him as she set the tricorder down again. "Learning about the inside of a brig? Learning that such actions tend to make promotions harder to come by? Learning that I'm not the person you heard rumors about?"

"Your kidding. It's not a crime to refuse to divulge the names of some one who told me something, in confidence, about a future crewmate. We didn't discuss top secret or confidential materals. You want to throw me in the brig, or threaten me with denial of future promotions, then go ahead. I'd be interested in hearing what the judge advocate says at my trial." He crossed his arms in front of him. "One request, before you toss me in a cell, can we have a drink together?" He smiled at her.

"No, and this is an investigation, Lieutenant, not a bar. Now if you'd really like to tell a Judge Advocate how you continued your conduct unbecoming an officer, by all means continue," the Security Chief stated flatly.

"Conduct unbecoming an officer because a friend of mine, upon hearing that I was being transfered here, told me about an attractive chief of security? Have I missed the part where we became part of the Tal Shire?"

"What I am talking about, since I have to spell it out for you, is that if you continue on this unwanted vein of sexual comments, I will not have a problem telling Captain Geisler that you aren't fit for this ship, and you can't keep yourself from acting like you're off duty," Camila said. "I will also enter this conversation into the official record if you persist. Am. I. Clear?"

"Sexual comments? All I said was that you are an attractive woman, a very attractive woman. And I act like myself, a human being, on AND off duty. But if that's what you want, fine. You. Are. Very. Clear. Commander."

"Try acting like an officer on duty," the woman said. "Now then, tell me about your last assignment and why you left."

"I was assigned to the USS Potemkin, to replace the Assistant Chief Engineer, who was killed in the line of duty. I was there just under a year, when the assignment as Chief Engineer on the Blackhawk opened up. I put in my transfer request, and it was accepted." he answered coldly and straight forward.

"Much better, Lieutenant," Camila responded. "I see that you earned a service medal for Duty Above and Beyond the Call of Duty, That's very impressive and earned you a promotion. Tell me about it."

"I helped save some children after their colony ship crashed, plus they were threatened by a creature. There was no need for the promotion or medal, but command wanted me to accept."

"What happened that put you in that position?" the Security Chief asked, now clearly interested.

"The ship's sensors picked up readings that indicated a possible damaged warp core on a planet. Sensors were having trouble getting a firm readings, so the captain wanted me to investigate. He assigned 2 security officers to accompany me. We boarded a runabout and we headed to the planet." He took a breath, he hadn't thought of this incident in years. "With the interference coming from the planet, we could only approximate the location of the ship. So we landed, armed ourselves, and started a search. It took an hour, but we located the wreck. Our tricorders detected life signs in the wreck, but when we approached, a creature, it seemed to go from a gaseous state to a solid state, emerged, standing guard over the ship." He took a breath. "We tried to communicate with it, but it never responded. We tried to force it away using our phasers....we aimed around it...but that just angered it. So it came after us. We had no option, so we fired at it, weapons at maximum took awhile, but we finally killed it. Then we rescued the children and brought them to the runabout and brought them back to the ship."

Camila listened and thought for a moment, the paused her interrogation of his record. "Impressive to do when an Engineer with only two other Security personnel with you, Lieutenant, and admirable. Have you ever heard of Search and Rescue?"

"Yes I have. If a ship is in distress, another ship or a team, go looking for it, correct?"

"A team," she said. "A very highly trained and specialized team. I'm one of the SAR graduates and the Captain has given me permission to put together such a team on this ship. How would you like to be part of that, Lieutenant?"

"I'm just trying to imagine what an engineer could be of help on a team like that, commander." He responded.

"You described a perfect SAR scenario in rescuing people from a crashed ship and ask that question?" The ombre haired woman asked. "The Technical Support Flight of a SAR team include engineers, small craft pilots, operations specialists, supply experts, transporter experts. Each is required to be proficient in their field. I think you would qualify."

"I'm always up for a challenge, commander, count me in, unless I don't get past your interrogation."

"There's a catch," she said. "You have to crosstrain in the area of another flight in the squadron. Owing to the fact that the units operate behind enemy lines on a routine basis, a premium is placed on combat lifesaving and combat training."

"I'm pretty good with a phaser. I've been cleared to pilot runabouts and shuttles. And I can hold my own in a nice dragged out fight."

"What about emergency medical procedures and first responder treatments?" Camila asked.

"I learned basic first aid at the academy, so that's about it." Voss responded.

"Then I'd suggest brushing up with Medical and then we'll see about your other skills," she said. "I'll also have to evaluate your phaser skills and combat skills. The original course is eighteen months, but you already have a start and I'm compressing everything down into a quick course. Well, as quick as can be done."

"I'll check in with sickbay to see if someone can give me some basic pointers about emergency medical techniques." He looked at her. "Does this mean I past this interview, commander?"

"It means I'm not throwing you in the brig and I want to apologize for the cold start, Lieutenant," Camila said without directly answering his question. "It also means you'll be answering to me on any SAR related missions. I want you to brush up on mountaineering, too."

"Thanks for not throwing me in the brig. And I should apologize for my smart ass statements at the beginning, commander." He looked at her."Mountaineering???"

"Yes, mountaineering," the woman said. "Some of the places we may have to get into won't be possible by transporter or a shuttle. We'll have to climb in and out of some of the places and I don't want anyone going that isn't trained sufficiently. I have a number of holodeck programs already in place."

"Guess that's why they invented holodecks, to practice on. Good thing I'm not scared of heights."

"Good. Now then, have you ever obtained illegal substances for personal use or sale, consumed Romulan ale, cheated on any exams, blamed a colleague for something you did wrong, or taken credit for someone else's ideas or work?"

Voss answered directly and with few words. "No. Yes. No. No and no."

"Then you're dismissed, Lieutenant," Camila said as she made a note in his file and came to her feet to offer her hand. "Welcome aboard."

Parker was stunned, he figured admitting to drinking Romulan Ale would surely be held against him. He stood up and took her hand. "That's it, commander?"

"That's it," she said as she gave his hand a firm shake. "Don't let your shadow cross my attention unless it's for SAR or something related to the ship's security, Lieutenant, and send anything breakable home." She thought of the many things she had lost when the old Black Hawk crashed on New Bajor and it brought a twinge of sadness to her.

"I have few things here that mean much to me, Commander." He liked that she had a firm handshake. "Tomorrow when I can, I will schedule some time to some mountain climbing in. And once I get a handle on that, I'll go to sickbay and get some medical training."

"See you then," Camila said and with that, turned her attention to the next person as she dismissed him.

"Commander." Parker turned and headed to the door. His first stop was to engineering, to make sure everything was operating smoothly. Then next was the was past his dinner time, after that....bed. Tomorrow was already shaping up to be a long one.

Sun, 28 Mar 2021 17:43:58 +0000
Pediatric Visit
Mission - Extinction
Location - Medical

The ship might have been a couple days underway, but another milestone had arisen. The twins were just a couple days away from their first birthday. While this meant they could run, laugh, and share a language that only babies could interpret, it also meant that they were now due for a regular checkup. Both of the twins, thankfully, hadn't had any issues since their troubled birth, but just because nothing was detected in the beginning didn't mean anything wasn't developing.

Harvey and Joey soon arrived at sickbay, each of them carrying one of their children. "Hello," he greeted the receptionist. "The Geislers are here for an appointment with Doctor Milo."

Doctor Milo was delighted to hear the announcement from the receptionist that before even acknowledging them, he sprung to his feet and made his way out to the main area of Sickbay. "Captain, Commander," Landon said with a pleasant chipper tone of voice followed by a sweet smile on his face. His blue eyes illuminated with a cooling soothing expression.

"How are the two of you doing?" asked the Pediatrician. "Parenthood treating you alright, I hope?" he added.

"I'm doing well, thank you," Joey said, offering the doctor a smile, deciding to let Harvey answer those questions for himself. "As for parenthood, it's one of the best things that's ever happened to me. I still can't believe we'll be celebrating their first birthday soon." As well as her husband's forty-third, which meant she had to get busy planning.

"It certainly is a challenge," Harvey admitted. There were days he thought his children behaved better than some members of the crew. "Aside from not being able to sleep through the night, I think we're doing pretty well. And yourself, Landon?"

Landon smiled and tinkered around with a medical tricorder for a moment. "The usual more or less," replied Landon. "Doing my best to contribute here and there, but keep myself out of the spotlight. On the plus side I'm regaining more strength and control of my abilities and physical therapy has been beneficial, I can live with a little phantom limp."

"Forty three years," echoed The Assistant Chief Medical Officer. "And a father, Captain, and still a good friend." Landon reflected on his years with Harvey aboard the ship's predecessor for a time and now aboard this Black Hawk. "Where does the time go?"

"I'm not too sure," Harvey replied. "There are days I wish I had a time machine just to go back to the days when all they did was sleep and coo." He then realized how negative that could have sounded, and quickly added, "I don't mean that they're not adorable now. Because they are. Absolutely are. Where they are now is just as adorable from a year ago, just in different ways."

Joey nuzzled Alison's head. "See? I told you they were growing up too fast. I miss those days also," she said. "I do love how much fun they are at this age, too. And their little laughs. They're absolutely contagious."

"Better laughs than a cold," Harvey admitted, a hint of his medical past shining through.

Landon nodded in agreement. "You know you miss this," he said teasingly to Harvey. "Laser scalpels, hyposprays, the thrill of some unknown disease sweeping through a world, reprimanding crew for piss poor dietary choices when they forgo the replicator," added Landon.

The Assistant Chief Medical Officer smiled. "Fatherhood looks good on you though," observed Landon. "I actually had wanted to talk to you both. So, convenient that you were coming by today."

"Oh? What did you want to talk to us about?" Joey asked.

Harvey had said, "Oh?" at the exact same time Joey had. "Is everything okay?" he added once Joey was finished.

"Everything is fine," Landon replied. "Nothing to be worried about. I have just been thinking a lot about my life and where I wanted to be at this point. A failed engagement and relationships haven't been so well" explained Doctor Milo.

He looked at the couple. "When the two of you started a family it was a bit of a wake up call," noted Landon. "I've been thinking about bypassing finding someone and exploring adoption."

Joey wasn't sure what she expected the doctor to talk to them about, but that wasn't it. She didn't know Landon as well as her husband did, but what she did know was that baby fever was a real thing. In fact, she'd considered approaching Harvey about having another child a few times, but the timing never seemed right. "Adoption?" She repeated. It was definitely a huge step.

"Adoption?" Harvey echoed, speaking the word in unison with Joey. "I must say, fatherhood is pretty rewarding. How far in the process have you gotten?"

"I haven't gotten all that far yet, just started looking at different worlds and places with children looking for someone," explained Landon. "I know being a single parent is not necessarily the route most take with adoption, but I wanted to thoroughly discuss the matter with you first, Harv," added Landon to the man he had known for a few years now. "As a friend and as my Captain" he noted.

He looked at Joey. "And I have no spouse or significant other as you both are aware. I essentially would be both paternal and maternal. So, Joey, I could use some motherly insight."

"Of course," Harvey replied to Landon. "What exactly would you like to know? Or, I suppose, how old are you considering starting with in a child? Infant? Toddler? Teenager?"

"I'm still fairly new to this whole mother thing myself, but I'm sure ai can help you out with what I've learned so far," Joey offered, shifting the baby to her other hip.

Landon smiled. "The benefits of adoption," he replied looking at Harvey. "I guess I do get to pick a bit. I was thinking younger would be better, but past the age of crawling. I'm thinking a young child between Six and Thirteen would be great."

"Stay away from teens and preteens," Harvey quickly remarked. "Too much drama, and they tend to be too set in their ways. Unless you're prepared to combat that drama and work hard to get them to warm up to you."

Joey stood off to the side with Alison doing her level best to entertain the little girl while waiting for their checkup to take place. She tickled her side with a free hand, earning a laugh from the baby. It wasn't until that tickling hand moved to Alison's neck that her laughter turned into full in belly laughs. Her Mom laughed with her, then pressed a kiss to her cheek.

In his Dad's arms, Jameson watched the antics between his Mom and sister with a drooly smile. He didn't want to be left out and opted to copy the movements Joey was making to tickle his father's neck. It wasn't as graceful, nor did it feel very pleasant with his fingernails, but he was trying.

"I'll take the advice to heart," Landon said reassuringly. "As for your bunch," he added with a chuckle. "Healthy as can be. Whatever you are doing, keep it up. I'll continue mulling over the idea of parenthood myself, but if either of you have any recommendations for orphanages or anything of the sort, please stop by. I don't really have anyone else to bounce ideas off of."

Harvey nodded as Jameson grabbed his father's ear for a good tug. "Thank you for the clean bill of health. If I hear anything worthy of a recommendation, I'll be sure to let you know. Though I think I heard Ensign Sybil down in Astrometrics was talking about adoption recently. You may want to talk to her."

Joey was grateful for the clean bill of health her children received, and planned to continue to keep them as healthy as possible. "Thank you," she said, patting Alison's back when she settled her head on her Mom's shoulder. "I think it's nearing nap time, but we need to feed them first."

"I will check in with Ensign Sybil," Landon replied. "I'll get back to you both on our next appointment with the kids. Thank you both for your support."

Joey nodded her head and offered Landon a smile. "Good luck," she said just before she and her family left.]]>
Tue, 23 Mar 2021 03:09:26 +0000
Mission - Extinction
Location - Science/Engineering
Timeline - MD 5 || 1200 Hours

Denyse had waited long and patiently to harvest enough of the spidermunk silk to be able to produce a uniform. However, that was only the first stage. She had ran calculation after calculation and multiple simulations and variations and to continue her work, she needed to go up the chain of command. Which meant her first stop was Lieutenant Ryler's office.

She gathered all of her work on a PADD as well as a sample of the cloth, then headed to the Assistant Chief's office. There, she tapped the chime and waited permission to enter.

Raising an eyebrow as she looked up from her PADD, Zayna sat back, having a feeling she knew exactly who this was. Having seen some of the simulations, she did have to admit she was a tiny bit impressed. At least, she figured that was who it was.

"Come in," she finally stated.

The young Xenoarachnologist entered the office with a smile. "Good afternoon, Lieutenant," she said.

Smiling, Ryler sat back. "Ah, good afternoon, Ensign. Please, do come in. Would you like something to eat or drink?"

"No, thank you Lieutenant," Denyse said. "I have a sample of the cloth from the Spidermunk silk and the latest round of simulations for it."

"I was curious what else you'd done with it. Let's see what it is that you have for me." Zay grinned, having never thought until recently that the silk from a Spidermunk could be used as anything other than just being there.

Denyse handed her the PADD. On it were the detailed information on how much impact stress the material could withstand and how much of it was needed to turn into a uniform. "The bad thing is, it takes a few days of silk production to produce just one uniform and the Spidermunks have been getting agitated. However, I believe we can synthesize proteins to increase production."

Taking the PADD, Zayne glanced over it then started to read it in more detail. She wanted to get a general understanding before she dug into the details. "Can't blame them though. They are likely catching on. Most animals can in one way or another. But this synthesizing the proteins might actually work...I wish that were my area of expertise in science. What would we need to pull that off?"

"These creatures are so unique that I barely know where to start," the Xenoarachnologist said. "I don't know how to really treat them other than through trial and error. Experiment fourteen has all the required details, Lieutenant and then I can begin the trials to speed up the production of the dragline silk. It would be nice if we had a bigger area like a cargo bay to put them in."

"We'd have to run that by the Captain and for any power transfers, engineering as well." Zay thought for a moment. "But we'd also have to make sure they couldn't get out of the cargo bay as well."

"I figured as much, but I'd still like to make that a request," Denyse said. "I also have an idea for an improvement on it, but I'd need an engineer to see if it's feasible. Molecular bonding of a material to resist energy could make these things phaser proof."

Nodding, the assistant chief tried to think on who to call. "Wonder if the chief engineer is busy...he might know more about both the cargo bay setup as well as the improvements you want to make." She tapped the comms on her desk, +Ryler to Parker+.

Dijaat had been in his office attempting to work out some improvements to the weapons systems in case of pirates or the Captain decided to put the ship in danger for the millionth time this week when his communicator went off. The pointy eared engineer activated his communicator in order to respond, "Go ahead Lieutenant."

"Lieutenant, could you by chance come down to my office? Ensign Alessandro and I have something we need an engineer's input on."

"Understood," Dijaat said before getting up from his desk and heading towards her office.

"I'm really hoping this works, but testing against ballistic style impacts shows amazing promise, not that anyone uses ballistic weapons anymore," Denyse said while waiting.

"True, but it at least gave you some results," Zayna said as she sat back, "Better than going into it completely blind."

Dijaat entered the office after activating the chime so that the Lieutenant knew he was there. He had his hands behind his back, "You wanted my input on something?" He asked both of the at the same time while not caring which answered him first.

"Yes, Sir," Denyse said. "I have a material which I've theorized can stop phasers with appropriate bonding of certain chemicals. I'd like your analysis of my research, Lieutenant." She offered him the PADD and the small section of spidermunk silk that had been woven together.

Dijaat rubbed the base of his chin as he scrolled through the information and the report itself. "This has some intriguing prospects," He admitted as he extended the PADD in order to return it. "How much spidermunk silk will it require?"

"A lot," Denyse signed. "It takes three days just to get enough silk to make one uniform. I took this as an example to see what could be done with it."

"Quite a bit of time, but could be worse." Djiaat stated, "This does look very promising, Ensign. I believe that what you've theorized also could be correct. Are you planning on testing it?"

"Er, yes," Denyse said. "What I need is a material to bond to it to help with protection against energy weapons, such as phasers and disruptors."

This time Zayna spoke up, "Do you know any materials it absolutely will not bond to, Ensign?"

Djiaat nodded, "That is a good question, would take a few things off the table."

"I've heard things about graphene when I was in the Academy," Denyse said. "It used to be used for a wide variety of things, but technology went past it and it stopped being as useful. Do you think we could research that and give it an attempt?"

Zayna looked over at Denyse, "Graphene? I've only heard of that in passing. I...suppose it is possible."

"Heard of and never used," Dijaat stated, "Should be able to at least test that in the holodeck before we try to get the computer and replicators to try to work nicely with us on it."

"How long do you think it'll take to set up a wide range of simulations to take to the Captain?" Denyse asked.

Dijaat thought for a moment, "Once we make sure we have all the correct information on the graphene and the spidermunk silk into the computer, it shouldn't take long at all to create the simulations."

"Get me the information and I can write the program. Sometimes I wish I wasn't great at writing holodeck programs," Zay stated with a smirk. "But shouldn't be an issue."

Denyse handed her a PADD and the cloth sample. "This should be all you need."

"Thanks, Ensign. I'll start in working on this and give you an update once I've got everything ready," Dijaat said, looking through what was on the PADD. "Anything else I need to know before I work on this?"

"No, Sir," Denyse said. "Thank you and let me know if you need any more samples."

"Looks like we've to an interesting experiment on our hands," Zayna said with a smile.]]>
Sat, 20 Mar 2021 11:09:19 +0000
Assuming Command
Mission - Extinction
Location - Main Engineering

(Wondered if everyone might want to do a joint post. together.)

Voss, having just left the captain, walked into main engineering. People were busy doing their assignments. No one seemed to notice him.

He steppped further into the large room, and put his fingers in his mouth and let out a loud whistle.

Alora, who had been working on an upper level, leaned over the railing to look down at what the fuss was about.

Lieutenant Kemm, in his usual tall and lanky Kelpien manner, was positioned over by the warp core, running a careful scan on the coolant tanks to be sure that pressure and temperature were within optimal levels. The whistle startled him, as it was something that he hadn't often heard in Engineering. Well, that is if it wasn't coming from a ruptured conduit. He looked around the tank to see a new face in Engineering, with two solid silver pips adorning his breast. This could only mean one thing; that the Black Hawk had a new Chief Engineer. It seemed prudent to pause his work for now and join the crowd of engineers who were now assembling around their new boss.

Voss watched as the engineerng staff started to come towards him. "Everybody, gather around." He waited for the stragglers to arrive. "I am Lieutenant Parker Voss. I am the ship's new Chief Engineer. Now, I haven't learned your names yet, but before long, I will and we will be talking separately. I will be making changes. To start, everyone will have to learn every system in here, and be prepaired to be able to repair that system in case the tech assigned there isn't available. If you'r happy with the current duty shift rotations, we will leave them as they are for now. If you'd rather work another shift, come see me in my office. Next, there will be no, under any conditions, food or drink allowed anywhere in main engineering. If you are hungry or thirsty, take a break." He paused for a moment. "There will be further announcements in the future. Now, are there any questions? When you ask your question, please identify yourself. The floor is now open."

Kemm raised one of his long-digited hands. "Lieutenant, many of us have already cross trained throughout the whole ship through necessity, at least those of us who've been aboard the ship for a while. How would you like to track our progress to your satisfaction to be sure our cross training is thorough enough?"

Tarsa chuckled. "Consider this a warning, Lieutenant," she said, looking at Voss. "Kemm is going to need solid metrics to meet. Being thorough and checking all the boxes isn't a bad trait for an engineer, mind you. But it doesn't always make for good conversation." She leaned over and patted the Kelpian's shoulder with a grin. "No offense."

Voss smiled and laughed. "Mr. Kemm, we will find a way to do that. And being attentive to your job isn't a bad thing either." He moved around in front of them. "Okay, I'm not going to be a tryant or a task master, but as long as this department is running at peak performance, I'll be happy. Anyone else have something to add?"

The lanky Kelpian shook his head at Chief Rogers. She understood him all too well. He also didn't have anything to add to the Chief Engineer's arrival speech, so he also shook his head to the Lieutenant and waited for anything further.

"Not to be rude," Tarsa started, "but are you planning on being here awhile? We seem to go through Chief Engineers pretty fast here. Everyone here is good at their jobs. Good engineers all around. So even with all of the changes at the top, we still get things done. Before you try to put your mark on the department, make sure you'll still be here to see it through. Otherwise, you're going to change our routine for nothing. Which is a waste of time. For you and for us."

"Why would you think that was rude?" He asked Tarsa. "Unless the captain isn't happy with my job performance, I plan on being here for awhile." He hoped that answered her question. "If there is nothing else, was nice talking to you all, and I hope to get to know everyone a little better. My door is always open if you have a question, or a suggestion. Get back to work." And with that, Voss headed to his office.

Alora had climbed down as the others talked, listening carefully from the back of the room. They had been going through CEO's fairly quickly, she hoped he was able to stay longer than the last one. "So back to work then?" She asked no one in particular.

"Looks that way," Kemm confirmed. He nodded to the rest of the group, reactivated his tricorder, and returned to monitoring the coolant tanks.

"Well that was easy." Alora replied then turned and started climbing back up the ladder.
Sat, 20 Mar 2021 00:39:51 +0000
Setting Up Base
Mission - Extinction
Location - The Planet

Camila looked around the area of the Citarum and tried to decide which area would be the least defensible and which would be the most defensible. Then she decided it didn't really matter because everything on the planet with the exception of vegetation had been dead for at least a hundred years according to the tricorder readings.

What bothered her what the fact that none of them had been able to detect a cause of death in anyone. They had all just...died. Where they sat, stood, walked and slept. There hadn't been a single sign of struggle anywhere. Couples, single individuals, families. All dead. If it was a biological attack, whatever did it was long gone. The planet hadn't been stripped of resources, the cities hadn't been bombed and the..she realized she was chasing herself in circles.

"I hate this place," the Security Chief muttered as she took several sets of readings with her tricorder, then went back to the runabout to get the sensors set up for any movement, excessive radiation, weather patterns, seismic activity, unnatural patterns in the vegetation and everything else she could think of. When she got that set up, she headed back to talk to the drone pilot.

"I really wish we had brought more drones, but you're our only drone pilot here," Camila told the young man. "I want you to set up a four points patrol around the Citarum at its highest altitude and scanning on aggressive and active. Set the radius out to three kilometers and if you pick up anything, contact me immediately."

"Yes, Chief," he said and set up the drone with the parameters she had requested and launched the drone. With that taken care of, she headed back to get a Type III phaser rifle and a spare power cell.

Roughly fifty feet from the shuttle, she began to excavate a series of something called fox holes she had read about in the computer for primeval warfare techniques. She made each one four feet deep and wide, then moved on to the next one twenty feet away. When she finished, there were six holes around the runabout and she began to chop vegetation down to cover the holes with, even though she felt foolish since no one was likely to stumble into the camp and less likely to fall into a hole. Still, there wasn't much more she could do to defend against something she couldn't see.

An hour later, Camila headed back into the runabout, gave a nod to the drone pilot, then headed to get a bite from the replicator and waited for the others to come down. ]]>
Sat, 20 Mar 2021 00:12:57 +0000
New Ship, New Assignment, New Start
Mission - Extinction
Location - Aragatha Sector
Timeline - MD15 || 1000 hours

Parker piloted the runabout Hightower out of the Potemkin's hanger deck. His transfer orders came in, ordering him to travel to the Aragatha sector to take over the position of Chief Engineer on the USS Blackhawk.

He set the course and went to warp 6.

"Computer, record. My assignment on the Potemkin was to have been a temporary one, until command could find a new replacement for their former chief engineer, who died in the line. The Potemkin's captain had contacted Starfleet wondering if I could stay, but command told her that I was needed elsewhere. And that's on the USS Black Hawk. And since the orders included that I needed to be there asap, I got permission to take a ruabout, which will be a replacement for the Black Hawk's fleet of shuttles and runabouts. It's going to take, with no delays, 3 days and 14 hours to get to the Aragatha sector. Computer pause."

Parker got up and went to the replicator. "Green tea, hot, 2 sugars, no milk in a mug." His drink arrived and he returned to the pilot's chair. "Computer, resume. It's too bad that no one else was also going to the Black Hawk...I could have used the company." He sipped his drink. "Computer, play some smooth jazz." Music started to play. "So I guess for the next 3 days 13 hours, I'll be catching up on sleep and engineering manuals. Computer, close log."

Between listening to the music, the manuals, games on the ruanbouts computer and sleeping, it was a very long 3 days and 13 hours.

~~3 days 12 hours later~~

Parker had taken a shower, shaved and changed into a fresh uniform. The computer notified him that they were approaching the system. "Computer, drop to half impulse." The runabout dropped out of warp.

And there she was, the USS Black Hawk.

Voss opened a channel. "Runabout Hightower to USS Black Hawk. Requesting approach instructions."

"This is Black Hawk flight control." The voice on the other side sounded nice. "You are cleared to approach and land. Follow the computer's flight path and the computer will land the ship. Welcome to the Black Hawk."

"Thank you, control. Setting course and computer is active." He sat back and watched the view.

The ride was smooth, and it afforded him the opportunity to look at the other ships in the area.

After the runabout landed, he exited the craft, and was approached by a squad of security officers. He identified himself, and handed over his transfer orders. The officer in charge cleared his orders with the ship's computer, and the senior officer on the bridge.

His luggage was beamed to his quarters.

First order of his new captain.

* * *

Captain Geisler, as was now customary for him, found himself sitting behind his desk buried under a mountain of reports. Not only did he have to worry about the happenings aboard his ship, Harvey was now responsible for an entire task group, and he was working overtime just making himself familiar with the vessels that were under his purview.

A notice flashed on his holographic display, announcing that a new arrival had come on board. His eyes glanced at the notification before it vanished to see that it was the new Chief Engineer. Harvey grinned, pleased that his senior staff was again complete. He tapped his badge and stated, "Lieutenant Voss, please report to the Ready Room."

Voss tapped his commbadge, "On my way, captain." He headed to the nearest turbo lift, and when the doors opened, he entered, "Bridge."

A few minutes later, the door chime to the Ready Room sounded. Harvey, used to the familiar sound, didn't look up from his paperwork and instead called out, "Enter."

Voss entered the room, and walked straight to the captain's desk, and announced. "Lieutenant Parker Voss, Chief Enginneer, reporting for duty, sir!"

Harvey fought the urge to blink. Lieutenant Voss was not the first eager officer to have served under his command, and he most certainly wouldn't be the last. But that still didn't keep him from being surprised whenever this eagerness presented itself. "Have a seat, Lieutenant," Harvey offered, gesturing to one of the open chairs in front of the desk. "How was your transit to the Black Hawk?"

Voss sat in one of the chairs. "Long, sir. I used a runabout, that is now one of your replacement ships. It took 84 hours, but I am happy to be here, and eager to get started."

"I can't say I'm surprised," Harvey admitted. "Out here in the Gamma Quadrant, resources are still rather limited. Of course, that doesn't stop ships like ourselves from getting tangled up in the supernatural or metaphysical. Right now, though, we're taking a break for that while we track down some pirates who've upended this part of the galaxy."

"Do we know anything about these pirates? Ships, weapons, how many are there?" Voss asked.

"We know very little," Harvey answered. "Hence our assignment. We know some have infiltrated Starfleet, and even this ship. Our Chief of Security conducts rather thorough background checks on everyone, so you can expect a visit from her in the near future. We also know that one of them uses a legally-obtained Saber-class vessel. It's been modified since and has been difficult to track. Other than that, it's going to be a lot of searching and investigating on our part."

"I look forward to speaking to the chief soon, captain. If there are traitors in engineering, I want to know as soon as possible." Voss paused. "Has anyone tried to record the warp trail or emissions of this Saber vessel? Maybe there's something I can do to help find this ship."

Harvey shook his head. "We encountered this particular ship inside a nebula about seven weeks ago. Our sensors weren't functioning well at the time, and any recordings we would have gathered would have been tainted by the nebula. I'm afraid we're starting entirely from scratch on this one."

Voss nodded. "Not a problem, captain. Now that I am here, engineering will get those sensors functioning at peak efficency, so the sensors will get a better reading on that ship, sir."

"That's much obliged, Lieutenant," Harvey thanked the engineer. "As for the rest of it, I may run a tight ship, but I value openness. My door's always open should you have suggestions, concerns, or just need to talk. Most importantly, if there is an issue, I do ask that you let me know right away. Don't let things fester because one, someone on this ship will find out about it and two, it's just going to cause a larger headache for the crew in the future if you don't come forward."

Voss nodded. "I will come to you if anything like that happens, sir. I wouldn't want to add to your headaches, sir."

"Any questions for me at this point, Lieutenant?" Harvey asked. "If not, I see no need to keep you here. I'm sure you're eager to see the engine room."

"Voss stood up. "Thank you, sir. I look forward to more talks with you. Permission to leave, sir?"

The Captain nodded. "Granted, Lieutenant. Once again, welcome aboard."

"Thank you, sir." He turned and left the room.]]>
Fri, 19 Mar 2021 18:15:45 +0000
A Probing Situation
Mission - Extinction
Location - Main Bridge
Timeline - MD 21 || 1400 hours


In space Alpha Squadron slid into their positions with their wingmen as they launched. It was a standard combat patron configuration that Alexander liked to call 'Saturn's Rings' with the Black Hawk as Saturn. Each team would move around the Black Hawk at different but overlapping angles on a loop, a close to middle range patrol route. Enough to be able to move in quickly to render aid but far enough for a warning. And always with some part of the squadron with eyes on the planet, not that threats couldn't come from anywhere but that couldn't be ignored.

As they slid into their routes and positions, Archer got on coms that could be heard by Alpha flight, The Squadron Hub Mission Room and the Bridge if they so chose. "Archer online and in position, systems green. Alpha flight give a shout out on status."

Galahad, piped in, "All green Boss Lady." as other pilots indicated their readiness eyes on their HUDS.

At the end Gemma contacted the Black Hawk, "Alpha to Hawk, all eyes open and systems green."


Commander Di Pasquale and her team had departed the flight deck via the Runabout Citarum a short while ago, leaving the bridge crew to await the telemetry results from the several probes Commander Djinx would launch throughout the system.

Avery sat quietly on the bridge, using the relative silence to center herself and allow the sense of anticipation to wash over her. There was no doubt it was going to take awhile for her to be able to completely relax on the bridge given all they'd been through, but personally, she liked being on the bridge because it gave her a sense of control.

Arjin had programmed as many probes as he could to cover as much base he could. Focusing on planets and moons that would be able to support some kind of hiding place for humanoid lifeforms. Juggling with the data that came back would be difficult but not beyond his skills. He nor anyone else in the crew was waiting to be surprised by some pirates. So he’d better do a proper job.

Captain Geisler had found himself back in the center seat, eyes fixed on the planet in front of them. Moments like this always made him nervous. There was no way to know what was on the planet surface, not with the atmosphere scattering their scans. He just hoped that this would not be another situation like when they'd found the Dolmoqour.

At the helm, Charlie monitored the positions of the fighter squadron and the departing runabout in relation to the Black Hawk, the planet, and each other. He would have rather been on the runabout, they had no idea what the atmosphere of the planet was like and while he didn't doubt the pilot they had could do the job, he would have rather done it himself. But he was a bridge officer and his place was here, coordinating and delegating.

Part of Terry would always be a fighter pilot. As such, the monitor he was standing in front of was set-up with the squadron formation around the ship. The rest, was the various locations of the probes the were sent out. It would be nice if the probes ended up being some kind of sensor web for them.

"Geisler to Black Hawk," came Joey's voice over the comm.

Harvey's eyes shot over to Commander Walsh, wondering if they needed to be ready for action. "Go ahead, Commander," he answered, eagerly awaiting his wife's report.

"We have determined that there is no life here, Captain. In fact, it appears that those who once occupied this place died wherever they happened to be," Joey said. "We have also found a computer, but don't currently have the means to get it running. There's too much here for our present team to go through. We need time."

"Standby," Harvey said. He rose from his chair and approached Walsh's station. As he did, he waved Commander Djinx over to join them. "A dead planet with an atmosphere we can't penetrate. One away team can't cover enough ground to be sure it's uninhabited. Not to mention, it sounds like we've got an extinct civilization on our hands. What do you think? Should we stay and give this planet a thorough look?"

Arjin walked over when he was asked by the Captain,. “I sure would like to investigate a new if not dead civilization. But are we not on a search for pirate vessels? Do we have time for this and don’t we put the Black Hawk in danger when we do?”

"We launched several probes into this system in a variety of directions," said Terry. "If they find any evidence of pirates, we'll know. Especially if we lose the signal from one. Here," he said, nodding to the view of the grey planet, "this definitely qualifies as part of the original series of Starfleet's tenants...exploration of a strange and new world. It'd be nice to get back to the original mission for once."

The Captain nodded, quietly evaluating the opinions of his trusted officers. "One of the benefits of running this Task Group is that I answer only to Admiral O'Connell, and I think I'd rather ask forgiveness than permission. Pirates have been a thorn in Starfleet's side for centuries, and a couple of days aren't going to make a difference in that. Besides, I think this crew needs a chance to stop and smell the roses."

Harvey looked back up at both men. "We can spare a couple of days. Besides, it would take several days to properly clear the planet. I say we take our time. Commander Djinx, take as many scientists that you want down to study the planet. Work in shifts and make sure we do our best to not destroy the sites. Commander Walsh, inform all other department heads of the situation and let's get some of their teams down there to make some surveys. Transporters are out of the question, so have all teams coordinate with Mister McCullen on the use of our shuttles."

Terry nodded, "You got it, Captain." He turned back to his console and prepared a quick notification to the department heads regarding the Captain's orders.

Finished at the XO's station, Captain Geisler looked back to the viewscreen. "Joey, are you still there?"

"I'm still here, Captain," she answered.

"We're going to stay for a few days. Let Commander Di Pasquale know that she'll need to station security teams and checkpoints near the survey teams. In the meantime, do whatever you need to do on the planet, and bring up only what you think you can get away with disturbing."

Joey expected Camila to arrive at their location soon enough. "Yes, Captain," she agreed.

"Keep us posted on your progress. Black Hawk out," Harvey said, returning to his chair. "All right, everyone. Who's ready for a little bit of fresh air?"

At the helm, Charlie couldn't help but grin as he recalled the conversation he'd had with the captain about exactly this. It was nice to imagine that he'd had some kind of influence. Without looking back, he raised his hand.

The Captain smirked. "Looks like we've got our first volunteer. As soon as you can get your shuttle schedule worked out, you can head on down with the first group."

"Yes sir," Charlie responded, turning briefly to flash a megawatt grin at the captain and then pulling up the shuttle schedule with renewed urgency. He'd already worked out a rotation plan for the small craft pilots, interspacing them with helm officers to give them breaks where they could also enjoy some downtime. He just had to work out the launch and return times and publish the list to the crew.

Captain Geisler leaned back in his chair, his eyes fixated on the planet displayed on the viewscreen. He loved a good mystery, and all he could do was hope that this mystery would be a simple one, with no dangers awaiting his crew.]]>
Thu, 18 Mar 2021 21:26:33 +0000
Scouting Run
Mission - Extinction
Location - USS Citarum, Volga-Class Runabout
Timeline - MD 21 || 1330 Hours

In the end, Camila had decided to go with a small team since it was a simple scouting mission. Simple? she asked herself as she sat at the controls of the USS CItarum, one of the new Volga class runabouts the Black Hawk-A had and went through the checklist. She looked over her shoulder at Quinn and Fairchild, then at Joey where she had been asked to be the copilot.

"All systems are ready," she said. "Does everyone have a tactical belt? If not grab one from the locker in the back. No one goes unarmed in unknown territory."

Joey already had the Intelligence version of a tactical belt around her waist with the addition of phaser tucked inside a holster and the Type III phaser rifle resting on her lap. She truly hoped she didn't need any of it, or the tactical blade she had sheathed inside her boot, but one never knew in situations such as these. And if past experiences had taught her anything, it was that she couldn't be overly prepared. "I've triple checked my gear. I'm good to go."

Quinn wasn't sure if he should be terrified or thrilled. The last time he'd been on an away mission was back on Deep Space 15 orbiting Finnea Prime. He was part of the team that was instructed to inspect the USS Vasco da Gama that had been captured by the Selubassari. And it was also the mission where he'd been unwillingly turned into a Dolmoqour puppet. Quinn had thought that that mission had ended any hope of further away missions aboard the Black Hawk, yet it seemed he'd drawn the short end of the engineering stick. Looking around at the rest of the assembled team and the clearly astronomical amount of tactical training, Quinn wondered about his role on this mission, and if he was the expendable one of the bunch.

Heeding the ombre haired woman's instructions, Quinn helped himself to a tactical belt and outfitted it with a phaser, tricorder, and a few engineering tools.

Already suitably armed, Angel pointed at the tactical belt she was already wearing. She wore one half the time while on board the ship anyway, so it had been a simple thing to remember when boarding the shuttle. She did appreciate the reminder though, especially considering not all members of the team were from security. "I'm good. Think we're just waiting on the drone now."

The last person to enter the runabout before it took off was a young Security Ensign who carried a portable drone control table and another case with a Type III drone inside. "All set, Commander," he said after setting it down and checking his tactical belt.

Once everyone confirmed they were ready, Camila got clearance from Flight and guided the Citarum out of the hangar bay and into the darkness of space. With only the Class M planet in front of them and the telemetry of the probes to go by, the next stop was boots on the planet. "We travel in pairs and within visual range," she said. "No wandering off."

Quinn nodded from his seat. "Yes, Commander," he verbally confirmed. There was no chance in hell that he was going to do anything on his own during this mission. He also wondered how close Commander Di Pasquale was going to have him stick to her considering his role in almost destroying the Black Hawk two years prior.

Joey understood where Camila was coming from, but in situations such as these, it was rare that anyone went off on their own to begin with. "This is your show, Commander," she stated. "Who do you want with who?" She cast a glance at Quinn. Whoever was paired with him would have to keep a close eye on him.

Quinn's eyes met Joey's just for a brief second. They started to wander off, but then he realized what had happened. His fear had been confirmed, that his actions two years ago hadn't been forgotten at all. "Maybe some of us should stay with the ship. Just in case."

Camila saw the exchanged look. She knew Quinn had been one of the first infected by the Dolmoqour. She had given up an away team and people still trusted her as Chief of Security, though. "Mackie comes with me. Joey, you can go with Angel. The drone pilot will stay with the runabout," she said after a moment of decision making internally as she took the USS CItarum through the atmosphere of the planet and got a first look at it.

It seemed to be pre-warp at a glance, but it was clearly an overgrown and decaying city which met their eyes. Everywhere, buildings had fallen into the disrepair of decades and vegetation had moved in to reclaim what had been taken. What the Security Chief didn't see was any apparent signs of life in any of the buildings as she flew the runabout closer. "Scanners active," she ordered.

Quinn shook his head at the assignments, but soon caught glance out the forward window as to what awaited them. "Oh my..." he muttered. The Ensign turned to his console and began to run a few diagnostics. "I'm picking up heavy concentrations of bemonite and kelbonite particles in the atmosphere and in the metallurgy. That's probably why our sensors couldn't penetrate the atmosphere. I'd assume our sensors would be restricted to a scanning range of one kilometer, but the effective range would actually be half of that."

He worked with the sensors some more and added, "I'm also not detecting any signs of life aside from the obvious flora we see."

Camila took the runabout lower and approached one of the decaying cities. "It looks like no one has lived here in a long time. Is there a place that's safe to land, Ensign?"

"Looks like there's a large open area in the middle of the city. Possibly a town square," Quinn confirmed. "Unless you'd rather have a spot that's on the edge of town."

She remembered the last time she had set down outside of a city and what had happened. Maybe it was time for a more direct approach this time. "We'll set down in the square or whatever it was used for," she decided as she maneuvered the runabout until she was at the location, then brought it down without a bump. "One more scan and then we decide the safest route for our two teams and get the drone airborne."

In the back, the drone pilot set up his table and got the drone active. "Ready when you are, Commander," he said, eager to test it on an actual world with more variables than a starship.

Using the scans Quinn completed moments ago, Joey pulled up a map of the city and began to study it. She pointed out three areas that appeared structurally sound and easily defended if needed. "In the event we can't make it back to the runabout, these three areas would make for good rendezvous points," she said. "We should sync our tricorders in case we get separated and collect every bit of data we can."

"Excellent suggestion, Commander," Camila said to Joey as she synched her tricorder with the information the Intel Chief had put together and then checked her tactical belt one more time. Two stun grenades, a hundred meters of monofilament and climber, zip ties, a small medkit, tricorder which she put in its holder, and a Type II phaser with a backup power cell. "Let's roll."

Joey synced her own tricorder and shouldered her phaser rifle. A very large part of her hoped they wouldn't find anything in the way of hostile individuals, and though scans didn't pick up any signs of life, she wasn't taking any chances.

She got up and released the hatch of the runabout and stepped out onto an alien world.

The Intel Chief stepped out behind Camila and took a look around as she waited for the others to join them. "I've never seen a place like this before."

Quinn followed the senior officers out of the runabout, tricorder out and activated. He looked at the tall skyscrapers around them, each of them rusted with broken panes of glass with moss and vines growing up the sides. "Looks like we missed the apocalypse," he remarked. Looking back down at his tricorder, he said, "Definitely not picking up any lifesigns, and scans start breaking down after two hundred meters. The live sync with the runabout is working, but I'd be shy about going more than three kilometers away from it."

"Change of plans," Camila said as she looked around and took her own scans. "Mackie, you're going with Geisler. Fairchild, you come with me. You're better suited for this for where I want to check out. No offense, Ensign." She pointed to the left where it looked like a few buildings had been targets of something more than nature about a kilometer away.

Plans often changed quickly during missions like this, and Angel barely batted an eye as she traded places with Quinn. Even with no signs of life, the evidence of something more than a little unnatural was enough for some extra concern. "I'm just a bit more scrappy. That looks like trouble."

"None taken, Commander," Quinn admitted. And it was true. He was certainly not offended. He was, however, fearful of what daring plans the Chief Intelligence Officer may have up her sleeve.

"Then let's be off and no straying from your partner out of visual range," Camila said as the Type III drone came out of the back of the runabout to float near the two groups. "Di Pasquale to Nimitz," she said.

"Nimitz, go," came the drone pilot's response.

"Take the drone ahead to three kilometers and scout for anything unusual."

"On it," came the response and the drone darted ahead of them.

"Let's go," the Security Chief said and headed off in the direction she had chosen.

Joey watched as Camila went in one direction, which meant she and Quinn would be going in the opposite direction. "Mackie... let's go," she said, moving away from the two Security officers. Not having a drone going ahead of them left them open to certain disadvantages, but the former Security officer had faith in her abilities.

Quinn obeyed, keeping a close eye on his tricorder.

* * *

As Camila walked, she alternated between looking at her tricorder and half keeping an eye on Fairchild. While she would have preferred to go with Quinn, the real reason she switched was that Joey was a mother and Camila didn't trust the new Assistant Chief. Not that she trusted many people these days, but she wasn't going to put another person in jeopardy if she could help it. "Set your tricorder for any unusual spectrums of energy or radiation, please," she requested. "We have to have something to take back."

The Security Chief gave a nod. "It's odd that there isn't even animal life around here," she said. "They usually take over when the dominant lifeforms exit." She observed as they moved up towards the buildings she had seen. They came upon a plaza and the ombre haired woman came to a halt.

Ahead of them were skeletons in various states of decay and some fragments of rag covering them, many covered by vines and other local vegetation. She moved her tricorder back and forth and tried not to look at the erie silent scene. "Fourteen bodies, male and female and.." she looked at her tricorder again. "Unable to determine causes of death."

* * *

As he followed the Lieutenant Commander, Quinn did his best to study his tricorder readings. "Are you wanting to find anything in particular, Commander? Like a records building or town hall?"

Joey made sure to walk next to Quinn, and not in front of him. The incident with the Dolmoqour had happened some time back, and while the young Ensign was clean, she wanted to keep an eye in him. "Yes. Something that might give us some insight into who used to live here, and of course, why they don't seem to be here anymore," she answered. "The more we can find out, the better."

"We're going to have to find something with a lot of writing to start building enough for the UT to work with," Quinn remarked. He stopped for a minute, studying his tricorder, and the surrounding buildings. "I'm picking up evidence of cellular decay," he said confidently before realizing what he said. Quinn gulped and continued, "It's coming from a three-story structure just ahead."

"What do you say, Mackie?" The Intelligence Chief asked. "Think we should check it out?" Joey planned to do just that, but wanted to get his take.

"It's a good place to start," Quinn confirmed.

Together, they arrived and entered the building. The structure appeared to be sound, aside from the doors which had been broken off their hinges. The first room seemed to be a large lobby commanded by a large U-shaped desk flanked on both sides by staircases that stretched up to the upper floors. Half of the outside windows had shattered over time, and what appeared to be a marble floor was covered with more than a century's worth of dirt, grime, and elements left behind by rainstorms. Potted plants had turned into either jungles or withered corpses. Had it not been for the broken windows, the air itself would have been musty.

The room seemed to be devoid of life, at least according to Quinn's tricorder. "I'm detecting several familiar metals, including copper, behind the walls. "Looks like power and information circuits are consistent with most pre-warp civilizations." Quinn approached the desk, hoping to find a desktop terminal. Upon arrival, he stopped and gasped.

Joey stepped up next to Quinn and looked at what made his gasp. A skeleton draped in swatches of still decaying fabric. "You haven't seen many bodies, have you?" She asked as she crouched down next to the remains to look for any telltale signs of trauma.

"I've seen more than I care to count," Quinn stated. "Between what happened to me when I was controlled, and then that Kalisan archive, I could do without some corpses for a while."

When Joey didn't discover any trauma to the body, she rose to her feet again. "Same, but now that we've found this one, we're likely to find more as we go. There aren't any signs of trauma on this one," she said, taking a better look around their current surroundings. "I say we keep moving, see what we can find before heading to a new location. Lets go this way. Stay close." She moved away from the body and toward a hallway.

The hallway was dark, lacking the natural light provided by the lobby. Dirt and moss were everywhere, as well as a certain musky scent. It wasn't foul by any means, but it certainly didn't sound like death. Quinn's tricorder beeped. "I'm picking up a concentration of copper and what appears to be duotronic circuitry. Probably some sort of computer core. Fifth room on the left."

She listened to Quinn as he read off what his tricorder was picking up. Joey pulled her palm light out and turned it on, then shined it ahead of them. "A computer core?" She repeated, moving farther down the hallway toward the door he indicated.

She stopped, taking a second to shine her light around. "We have a few more bodies here. Same condition as the first one with no obvious signs of trauma," Joey said, stepping over the bodies. Once she cleared them, she turned to shine the light down to the floor so Quinn could see. "Watch your step."

Quinn glanced down, and then right back up before activating a light of his own. "At least it's what I'm assuming is a computer core." He stopped at a closed door. Its glass was intact, though it had been weathered by whatever had passed down this corridor. He tried the handle, only to find that it wouldn't open. "Guess we have to do it the old fashioned way," he reasoned.

The ensign pulled his phaser and fired at the doorknob, blasting it to pieces. The door then blew back on its own, slamming into the wall beside it before hanging precariously on its hinges. Quinn jumped, but was soon relieved when he realized the glass hadn't shattered.

What greeted them, however, was a rather pungent smell. "I think we're going to find some better corpses in here," he gasped before pulling out a mask and covering his mouth.

Joey staggered back a couple of steps when the smell assaulted her senses. It made her eyes water and had her pulling a respirator from her tactical belt to put on. She'd seen her share of deceased bodies during her years as a Security officer, but rarely were they in such a state that they'd smell like this. "I think we're in for a real treat," she said with a highly sarcastic tone to her voice.

She found herself hoping Camila and Angelica were having better luck on their end, but that thought was short lived when she shined her light forward and made her way into the room. She could no longer smell the nasty odor thanks to her respirator, but the same couldn't be said for seeing the particles her footsteps kicked up. She tried very hard not to think about the fact that some of those particles landing on her belonged to the once living, which had her mind drifting to the severed hands on the Shran. "A shower just doesn't seem like enough," she muttered with a shudder.

"I plan on incinerating my uniform at the first opportunity," Quinn joked, following the Lieutenant Commander into the room. He shone his light around, looking for what he suspected would be data storage units. He found them a moment later, protected by a glass wall separated by an access door. Thankfully, this door was open, as if it had been left open for more than a hundred years. "No visible damage," Quinn remarked.

He walked around these devices, looking for something that looked like a data storage device, finding it only in the very back. "Power feeds," he remarked, looking at various cables that were connected to a long-dead source of power. "With a battery source. If I can dump power from a cell into here, I might be able to get the data storage unit working and transfer the data back to the Black Hawk. Or, I could just pull it out and take it back to the ship for inspection."

Decisions, decisions. Joey looked over the power feeds. Now seemed like a good time to contact the ship, but her combadge chirped.

* * *

Meanwhile, the drone pilot settled in back in the runabout and got the Type III drone up and scouting ahead. He avoided the larger buildings, taking only passing active scans for any signs of electronic activity, energy readings or life signs. Not seeing any of these, he moved the drone to a more residential area and brought the drone down to eye level of your average humanoid, and inched it closer to windows and open doorways.

He explored a few houses and the data sent back from the drone showed the same thing in dwelling after dwelling and the horror started to sink in on him. People sitting at tables with what appeared to be dessicated food that was never eaten. Well, skeletal remains of people that seemed to have died where they sat, stood or other activity they had been doing.

He saw no signs of obvious violence and took the drone out of yet another building and began to raise its elevation to get an overhead look. The layout of the residential area seemed to be orderly and no signs of destruction anywhere. Nothing. Corpses in the streets, in vehicles, in offices...just dead. He tapped his combadge. "Buckwold to Di Pasquale"

=Di Pasquale here=^=

Buckwold reported what he saw and after a moment, the Security Chief responded back that she and Fairchild were encountering similar bodies at their locations. After a request to update if anything new was found, she cut the comm again. =^=Di Pasquale to Geisler=^=

"Geisler," Joey answered.

=^=Buckwold just reported in with the drone. He said he's encountering a lot of bodies that seem to have died wherever they were. Me and Fairchild are finding the same. How about you and Mackie?=^=

"Much of the same," the Intel Chief responded. She shined her light over the bodies in their current location, which were a little meatier than their previous encounters. Mummified, even. Medical and Science would have a field day here. "Mackie and I have found a computer of sorts, and I'm fairly certain there is far more here than meets the eye." She paused and looked back to the computer once again. "The five of us aren't going to find everything this place has to offer on our own. I'm going to contact the ship and recommend we hang out for a few days. Any objections?"

=^=Negative, Commander=^= Camila responded back. =^=What are your coordinates?=^=

Joey used her free hand to retrieve her tricorder and pulled up their current coordinates. When she had them, she relayed them to the Security Chief. "If you head our way, the main area is illuminated by natural light. We're down the hallway on the right, fifth door on the left. It's dark and the floor has bodies in various places. If you have a respirator, use it. Our senses were assaulted, and I know the smell hasn't gone anywhere."

=^=Confirmed. We are en route,=^= came Camila's response.

"Acknowledged," Joey said before ending the link with Camila. She took a couple seconds and tapped her combadge once more. "Geisler to Black Hawk."

"Go ahead, Commander," came the Captain's voice.

"We have determined that there is no life here, Captain. In fact, it appears that those who once occupied this place died wherever they happened to be," Joey said. "We have also found a computer, but don't currently have the means to get it running. There's too much here for our present team to go through. We need time."

"Standby." The comm line went silent a moment later, as if it were muted.

"Joey, are you still there?"

"I'm still here, Captain," she answered.

"We're going to stay for a few days. Let Commander Di Pasquale know that she'll need to station security teams and checkpoints near the survey teams. In the meantime, do whatever you need to do on the planet, and bring up only what you think you can get away with disturbing."

Joey expected Camila to arrive at their location soon enough. "Yes, Captain," she agreed.

"Keep us posted on your progress. Black Hawk out."

Soon enough Camila showed up with her Assistant Chief in tow and she looked upset. "Did you discover anything, Commander?" she asked.

"Nothing that you aren't already aware of," Joey answered. "Though, it seems that we're going to be hanging around for a few days to do some exploring. The Captain wants you to station security teams and checkpoints near all survey teams. I expect them to be arriving soon."

"Then let's get moving," Camila said. "We'll establish a perimeter at the runabout and wait there for the others to arrive."

"You and Fairchild can go wait for the others. Mackie and I will stay here and figure out the best course of action as far as the computer goes," Joey stated. "Just make sure everyone knows minimal damage."

Quinn had been quietly working in the background, trying to dislodge the data core from its housing. Right at Commander Geisler's reminder about minimal damage, he dropped one of the locking mechanisms. Quinn had to support the heavy data node as he kept trying to catch the mechanism as it bounced off his hand each time. Thankfully, he was able to catch it and stop it before it hit the floor. "Got it," he said weakly. He looked up, expecting to see expressions of disdain.

Joey turned her attention to Quinn and moved over to assist him. "Let me help you," she offered. Expressions of disdain or reprimanding the young man wouldn't do them any good. Assistance, though, would.

"Thanks, Commander," Mackie winced, relieved that he no longer had to support everything on his own. "If I can get the last mechanism out, I should be in the clear to take this back to the Black Hawk for analysis."

Joey looked to Quinn and took a deep breath. "Okay... I'm going to hold this thing so you can reach for it and try to get it out," she said, shifting her position to grip it better. "I'm ready when you are."

"On three," Quinn said, making sure he was properly positioned. "One. Two. Three." He immediately worked the final mechanism, which was released without much effort. The entire data core was now free, and the two of them were able to slide it out. "Let's get this back to the runabout."

Joey was relieved the data core was freed with next to no damage, and truth be told, she was a bit excited to see what was on it.

Camila watched Mackie and Geisler for a minute to make sure everything was good, then gave a nod. "Okay. We're heading off now," she said as she motioned for Angel and left to return to the runabout.

Quinn followed closely behind the security officers, taking great care to keep the data core from dropping. He couldn't wait to see what information was stored on it.

Joey kept pace with the young man. Soon, she hoped, they'd know what secrets it held.]]>
Thu, 18 Mar 2021 21:03:50 +0000
Dinner Party
Mission - Extinction
Location - Geisler Quarters
Timeline - MD5 || 1800 hours

Mila had sent Harvey and her seestra a comm asking if they could get together for a meal once the ship had left dock and promised not to bring anything strange and Russian. The Russian Yeoman had stocked up on supplies and favors while in dock and procured several items just for a special occasion. Now she waited for a response while she tidied up her and Aidan's quarters and fed Chow his yogurt and other treats.

A response came swiftly to Mila's terminal. Both Harvey and Joey gladly agreed that they were overdue for a meal together, and insisted that it would be that evening.


Joey looked at the table she'd set for the occasion. She couldn't remember the last time she'd sat down to have dinner with other adults aside from Harvey, but with two babies joining them, and often times wearing food in their hair and on their clothes, it was anything but peaceful. Not that she minded it. It happened to be her favorite time of day.

Still, now that they were with Eden for the next few hours, she planned to make the most of it. "This is all wrong," she muttered, rearranging some things for what seemed like the thousandth time.

A short time later, the Yeoman showed up with a covered bowl of something and pressed the chime with her free hand while she fretted over her choice of contribution for the meal.

Harvey hadn't yet arrived home for the evening, but the chime was quickly returned with a few barking noises from behind the door.

Joey looked to the dogs, then to the door. "Come in," she called out, rearranging a few things yet again.

Mila entered when the door released and smiled when she saw Joey and the dogs. "I am hoping that I am not being too early," she said as the smell of something good came from the bowl she carried.

"Not at all," the taller woman said, deciding the table wouldn't be perfect no matter how hard she tried. Joey looked toward Mila and smiled. "Harvey hasn't made it home yet, but I expect he should be shortly. Can I get you anything? Something to drink? Let me take that for you." She reached for the bowl.

The Russian gave it to her seestra. "Black tea and currant jam, please," she said. "This is being Japanese Fried Chicken bowl for which I am finding recipe. Was getting down to Borscht for recipes to be having others try."

"It smells really good," Joey said, setting the bowl down on the table before going to retrieve the tea and currant jam. Once it was in hand, she made her way back to Mila to give it to her. "I have to admit... I've been fretting over the table for so long that I haven't even gotten to the the food yet. I can plan the rest of that around your chicken."

"Is being triple fried," Mila said as she accepted the tea and added the jam to it. She stirred it and took a sip. "Where is being Harvey?"

Joey pondered what she was going to serve for dinner with Mila's chicken and hoped she'd figure it out soon. "He hasn't made it home yet, but I expect he'll be arriving soon," she answered, looking toward the table. "Since you brought Japanese fried chicken, I think we should stick to that theme, what do you think?"

"What is going with Japanese chicken?" The shorter brunette asked.

"I... don't know," Joey answered. "Let's see what the replicator has to say about that." She moved over to it and began to move her fingers over the controls until she found what she wanted. "Let's see... some of the options we have are sushi, curry rice, fried rice, tempura, gyoza and some other stuff. Any of those jump out at you?"

"Gyoza is sounding like it may be jumping out of replicator at me," Mila joked. "Let us be having curry rice with it, da?"

Joey laughed and put in the request for curry rice. "This describes gyoza as dumplings, so we'll try some of those and fried rice, too," she said. It didn't take long before the replicator produced the requested dishes, and she was bringing them over to the table. "Well, that takes care of that, then."

"Then that is sounding good," The Yeoman said. "It is smelling good, though. We are doing east meets west like old days on Earth, da?"

"So, it would seem," the taller woman agreed. "I haven't eaten some of this before now, but I'm willing to try anything once."

The main entrance doors opened, allowing Harvey to enter. As usual, he carried a couple padds with him containing his evening serving of reports and other messages from the Belvedere group. He looked up to see both Joey and Mila over at the replicator. "Good evening," he greeted them as he made his way to the desk.

"Be putting those down and be acting like man, not Captain," Mila snapped when he breezed by them.

"What's the difference?" Harvey asked. He set the padds down on the desk, just as he intended to.

Joey glanced at Mila briefly, then made her way over to Harvey to press a kiss to his cheek. "There isn't one. At least not until you change your clothes," she said. "Go do that, then we can have dinner."

"When you not doing work is when you are not being Captain," Mila said.

Harvey chuckled. "Not doing work, now there's a concept." He disappeared into the nearby bedroom, closing the door to change out of his uniform.

"Where's Aidan?" Joey asked Mila and she moved toward the replicator again to get a drink for herself and Harvey.

"He could not be making it due to shift change," Mila said. "I will be taking him back plate, though."

Joey couldn't help but frown. "I'm sorry to hear that, but yes, you should absolutely bring him a plate back," she said. "And, I'm going to have Eden bring Alison and Jameson back before you leave so you'll have a chance to see them. I feel naked without them here. They're never that far away when I'm off duty."

Harvey exited the bedroom a few moments later, wearing a light gray henley and a pair of khaki pants. "Harvey Geisler reporting for dinner," he jokingly said, crossing the room to kiss his wife. "How was your day? Both of you, that is?"

"I have no complaints," Joey answered after she returned the kiss. "How was yours?"

He shrugged. "It was an average day. Nothing out of the ordinary, and nothing terribly exciting." He left the women for a moment and crossed over to a high shelf where a couple decanters and lowball glasses sat. "I will say though, I don't think I could have anticipated the paperwork that comes with a task group leadership spot."

"Day is being like any other, except no one is trying to be killing us," Mila said. "And if you had looked at organization in PADD I am giving you first, you would be knowing what is involved and how to be doing it proper."

Joey had seen what being the commander of a starship entailed second hand, and now the duties of being a task group leader was added... it definitely gave her a newfound respect for her husband. He did it all, and still somehow managed to make time for his family. "This is why you should consider a second officer. They can handle all the paperwork that you and Terry don't want to do."

"I'm still breaking Terry in," Harvey confessed. "He's still getting used to the change in position, and if I bring in a second officer now, it's going to throw him off. When the time is right, he and I will appoint one." He then held up a finger. "Speaking of, I've been told to act like a man, not a Captain. So, no more talk tonight about Starfleet, the Black Hawk, intelligence, and even administrative duties."

Harvey then turned around and brought over three glasses of Saurian brandy. "Perhaps we need to start with a toast to the evening."

"What's the occasion?" Joey asked with her glass of water still in hand.

"Is good question," Mila seconded as she reached for one of the glasses of brandy.

Harvey shrugged. "To a quiet life, to the future, what does it matter?" He raised his own glass. "How about, to a good evening with excellent company?"

Joey raised her water glass. "I can drink to any of those. Cheers."

"To friends," Mila said as she raised her glass to theirs.

"Cheers," Harvey concurred, raising his glass before taking a sip of the brandy. "Excellent. So, what's for dinner?"

The Russian took a sip of hers and let the liquid heat slide down her throat before giving a mild grimace. "Is not wodka, but is good," she wheezed. "We are to be having triple fried Japanese chicken, fried rice and gyoza."

"And curry," Joey said after taking a sip of her water. "Mila bought the Japanese fried chicken, so the rest if dinner was based around that."

"Sounds delicious," Harvey remarked, taking another sip of the brandy. "Anything I can do to help?"

"Nyet," Mila said. "Sit. Eat. Enjoy."

"There's nothing left to do now but to sit down and eat it," his wife answered as she gestured for him and Mila to settle down at the table.

And settle down at the table Harvey did, placing his glass of brandy behind the plate. As he settled, he waited until the ladies had joined him before picking up any of the utensils and sampling the food.

Mila joined them and began to dish out the triple fried chicken. "I was not knowing if anyone is eating egg with chicken, so did not make it," she said.

"There's a joke in there somewhere, I just can't figure out what it is," Joey said as she began to make her plate once Mila added the chicken.

"Egg in the face?" Harvey asked, smiling. "Or is it on the face? Though I think that has something to do with embarrassment, not so much a joke."

"I think it's on the face, but I'm not sure that's it," his wife answered. To be honest, Joey really wasn't sure what the joke was. She reached for her fork and looked between her two dinner companions. "We need to do things like this more often."

"We need to stay out of trouble more often," Harvey remarked. "Though I'd rather deal with pirates than Dolmoqour or Consortium if we have a choice."

Joey frowned. Things with the Consortium were definitely troublesome. Many died, or were seriously injured. Or in her case, both. She'd been one of the lucky ones. then, there was the Dolmoqour. Out of the three of them, she had been the only one to be infected by the Dolmoqour, and even attempted to kill her own husband. And Mila... she'd been attacked by Torg and had to kill him to save her own life.

With her appetite gone, she faked a smile the best she could. "I can agree with that."

"Harvey Elmer Geisler!" MIla chastised in a tone that clearly said the conversational topic had been a very bad one. "Egg is coming first on face. Not on chicken."

"I thought the chicken sat on the egg first?" Harvey joked. "But enough about that. He looked at the food on his plate and prepared to sample it. He got a good mix of everything on his fork and took a bite. The flavors were not like what he was used to, but they were indeed enjoyable. "My compliments to the chef," he said with a smile.

Joey gave Mila a smile, but it still didn't quite reach her eyes. She was trying to.out herself back in a better mood. "The chicken is really good. You've outdone yourself."

"I am thanking you," she said. "Is fried, then battered and fried again, then repeat one more time. Is still juicy on inside like miracle."

"Miracle or just good cooking?" Harvey quipped. "I can do many things, and cooking is certainly not one of them. Especially if it's just point and tap on the replicator controls."

"Definitely just good cooking. Mila, I've been on the receiving end of your skills, and I can honestly say you have some serious skills," Joey said before taking a sip of her water. " I actually appreciate cooking, but don't have the chance to do it very often."

"We have been on ship together for over standard year, but you are not asking me to be helping you," Mila chided her seestra with a grin. "Harvey, you are to stop taking up so much of your wife's time."

"He doesn't take up nearly as much of my time as far as I'm concerned," Joey said, giving her husband a loving smile. "Don't get me wrong, though, he takes up plenty, but there are other things that take up more." Between their professional duties, (and the uncertainty that came with schedules) and being parents to two very small children, she definitely cherished every second they did have together.

"We could start a reservation calendar," joked Harvey. "Take time slots on a first-come, first-served basis. Though, the whole idea seems weird. Maybe I shouldn't have suggested it."

Joey smiled. "It's not a horrible idea, but I don't think we're at that point."

"No no schedules," Mila said with a laugh. "Just take time once in a while to be simply enjoying the moment, da?" She took a bite of her extremely crunchy chicken.

Harvey's answer was a crunch of his own, making his way through the delicious chicken. "If we ever get to the point where we have to schedule personal time, then we're definitely doing something wrong. Might I recommend a kidnapping? Not the little ones, Eden can certainly help cover there. But abduct Joey before she has a chance to come home. I can always hold down the fort for a night. Just slip me a padd with a codeword and I'll know what to do that evening."

Joey blinked. Kidnapping? "Now... let's wait a minute. There's no need to resort to anything like that," she said, looking between the two of them. "I know I've been a complete stick in the mud sense Alison and Jameson have been born, but they're only going to be little for so long, and it's because of that that I don't want to miss anything. However.... that being said... I could use your your help with something, Mila. Someone, and I won't name any names," Her gaze went to her husband, then back to her friend. "has a birthday coming up after the twins. Would you be so kind as to help me plan?"

"I thought I was done having birthdays?" Harvey remarked. "The only people who should get them from here out at those under the age of 21. I could definitely afford to be forever 21. What do you think?"

"Well," Joey began with a loving smile. "I don't mind if you stay 21 forever, but I still want to celebrate your birthday. Even if you'd rather not do anything big. We can do something small." But that actually happened remained to be seen.

"Wait, wait, wait," Mila said and shook a chicken leg at them. "There is to be no kidnapping, but you are being former Medical, Harvey. Why are you not getting dermal regenerator treatment to be looking twenty-one again?" She was joking, but her tone sounded serious.

Joey looked to Mila, then to her husband. If looking younger was something he wanted, then she would support that, but he didn't even appear old. "For the record, I think you're gorgeous just the way you are."

Harvey smirked, catching Mila's joke. "Someone once told me that gray hair and facial wrinkles were a sign of wisdom and honor. I suppose I'd have to join those ranks sooner or later. You can certainly celebrate my birthday all you want. I'll be there, but I don't need any presents. Just time with my family and friends is more than enough."

"What you want, is what you get," his wife stated with a smile. "But, you're going to be getting gifts from me and the kids."

"I should expect nothing less," he said with a smile. "This dinner, by the way, is excellent. Mila, I think you outdid yourself this time."

"I am thanking you, but you are still to be getting present from me," Mila said before she added. "No more organized PADDs for one year."

He chuckled. "Is that a present for me, or is that torture for you?"

"A kidnapping and a makeover it is being," Mila said with a glitter in her eyes at his joking jab.

"For me or Joey?" Harvey shot back, placing a coy smile on his face.

Rather than interrupt their back and forth, Joey sat quietly and ate, listening to the two of them. She pondered when a good time to contact Eden to bring the twins home would be, but planned to give it a little bit longer. After all, they were probably having a great time with their cousin, and she didn't want to ruin that.

"Both," Mila laughed. "I will kidnap her and make her watch me make you younger."

"They say engineers are miracle workers," Harvey said with a chuckle. "If you can even take one year off my face with a spa treatment, I'd say that's the true miracle."

"Mila... how would you like to babysit tomorrow night?" Joey asked, looking toward her Russian friend. "I'm going to get in on this kidnapping thing and kidnap Harvey for date night."

"I would love to be doing that!" The Russian exclaimed happily. "Is being wonderful opportunity and I will be making sure that neither of you are being bothered."

Joey shook her head. "While that's appreciated, emergencies happen, and I'd rather those be brought to our attention. Especially when it comes to Alison and Jameson. That being said, I know they'll be in great hands."

Harvey sipped his brandy. "I agree with Joey. Anytime you want to come over and spend time with the kiddos is fine by me. Also, is it really kidnapping if you've warned us it's going to happen?"

"It could be," his wife stated with a smile. "I mean... while we may have been warned, we still have no idea when or where it might actually happen."

"Such is the beauty of kidnapping," Harvey remarked. "But how will Mila do it? Will she coordinate with security to have us tagged by drones? Redirect our turbolift?" He smirked and took another bite.

"I am being right here," Mila said. "But I am thanking you for ideas. I am thinking a holodeck and large woman singing opera and marshmallows."

Harvey chuckled. "That's not kidnapping. That's flat out torture, forbidden by the Khitomer Accords or the Treaty of Algeron or something."

"Much like doing PADD reports for you," the Yeoman quipped.

"Let's not bring the poor holodecks into this," Joey said.

Harvey chuckled once more and finished the last bite on his plate. "Well, Mila, you certainly outdid yourself on this dish."

Mila finished her as well. "I am thank you," she said. "Is being a shame that fresh food becomes commodity when we are being farther out on deep missions. I could be getting use to it again."

Joey finished up and took the final sip of her water. "My compliments," she said with a smile. "And, I think we should do this more often. Maybe next time, Aidan will be able to join us."

"I hope we left him enough," Harvey remarked. "If we're not careful, there might not be any left."

"I am leaving him enough chicken at home, and rest is replicated," Mila assured him. "And I am hoping the same."

Joey rose to her feet and began to grab the empty dishes from the table. "I'll clear the table, then let Eden know she can bring the twins back."

"Allow me," Harvey said, brushing his wife away. "I don't mind tossing what's left back into the replicator. Go be a mom and a friend."

"You are to being dad and husband, too, Harvey," Mila said.

Joey looked between the two of them. "Why don't we all walk down to get them?"

"I thought Eden was going to bring them?" Harvey asked as he cleared the table. "Though she's not too far away. We could easily go grab them."

"They'll be even more surprised, and I can bring Eden dinner," his wife stated with a smile.

"I am thinking it is being time for me to be going," Mila said with a smile. "You two are needing bonding time with each other and them."

Harvey smiled, taking note of Mila's gracious method of bowing out early. "Of course. You are welcome over anytime, Mila. You and Joey better make sure you plan some girl time soon."

"Until next time, Harvey," Mila said and looked at Joey. "And I will be contacting you for that girl time, seestra," she promised and gave her a hug.

Joey returned the hug with a smile. "I'm counting on it," she said.

= = = = = = = = =

OOC: If anyone wants the recipe]]>
Thu, 18 Mar 2021 20:01:10 +0000
Mission - Extinction
Location - Bridge

The Black Hawk was on course, running through the search grid, full of contained power. The deck plates vibrated softly, transmitting ever-so-slightly up into his chair and console. The ship hummed a low rumble that permeated every molecule. His uniform was hot and oddly uncomfortable, he could feel the fabric under him, feel the slight tug at his neck. Uncomfortable prickles itched at his lower back and posterior and his fingers felt tense.

Charlie forced his hands to stay still, gripping the edge of the console. He forced his eyes to scan the console again, forced his brain to take note of the figures displayed, broadly identical to what they had been the last time he had looked, an entire ten seconds previously.

A dozen urges came and went. His mouth wanted to make sound, any sound. His fingers wanted to scratch at his skin, his feet wanted to tap an unknown rhythm, his body wanted to move. He tensed his muscles and relaxed them, working from his toes and going upwards, trying to convince his body that it was moving instead of flexing. It helped a little, but not enough.

Fidgeting. It was a weakness he'd never overcome. Sitting still for any length of time was, sometimes, almost physically painful. He had never been able to figure out what triggered these little attacks of almost anxiety, the sudden rushes of physical energy and urges to sing, dance, jump around, run, anything but sit at his console, had never been able to determine how to ease them aside from riding them out.

The lieutenant's fingers on his left hand began a rhythmic drum on the sidewall of the console. His right foot started tapping as his fingers found a groove and stuck to it. He cut it off before the humming and head-bobbing started, clenching the offending hand into a fist and driving it down onto his left knee. But the tune had a grip and he found himself breathing to it, silently whistling to the song that had appeared from the electrical storm that was his brain.

'Warp factor eight from Utopia Planetia to Vulcan. Calculate. Course zero-five-four mark three. Time to destination, four days, thirteen hours, forty-two minutes.'
'Warp six from Vulcan to Bajor. Sixty-five point seven light-years. Course three-one-two mark one. Time to destination, two months, one day, three hours, eight minutes.'
Bajor to Cardassia prime. Three days travel time. Six-point five-four light-years. Course two-oh-niner mark six. Required speed, warp seven... point four.'

Doing navigational calculations in his head helped to distract him, through constant practice he had gotten very good at navigation without the use of the computer. Not that he used it often, he hated those incredulous stares and side-eyed glares he got when he did it aloud. Not that Starfleet would trust him to use those calculations anyway, everything had to go through the computer by regulation. It was frustrating but he understood the need for it, an incorrect calculation could send a ship into a black hole, or crashing into an asteroid field, or cause any number of calamities. Seat-of-the-pants flying was emphatically not encouraged for starship pilots.

Charlie began to daydream of flying free of restrictions through space, imagining the imaginary course plots for the imaginary ship, imagining imaginary orders from an imaginary captain, daydreaming about being the...

*beep beep*

The helmsman's focus shifted instantly, eyes dropping back down to his console and fingers moving automatically to investigate the offending pair of beeps, but it was just a notification from somewhere deep in the bowels of the operations department reminding the crew not to leave beverages on consoles. He dismissed it, frowning softly at the console for a moment and taking the time to re-check the helm figures.

The impulse took him and he brought up library access on the information display panel, accessing known asteroid fields and aimlessly browsing them, compiling a pointless mental list of interesting asteroid fields to fly through, creating slalom racetracks and twisting courses through narrow gaps. It passed a depressingly short amount of time and then he was riding through another wave of the fidgets.

His console beeped again, just as he felt a tap on his shoulder, "Lieutenant, I'm up." His replacement, a young ensign on the gamma shift, was waiting to take the seat. Charlie gave her a megawatt grin and pushed off from the console with his left leg, spinning the chair and standing at the same time. "We're on course at warp two, search grid alpha six, eta to the next turn is two-five. Have a good shift." He told her, and then he was heading for the turbolift.

Barely, just barely, he resisted the urge to pirouette on the way, his body wanted to dance. He had to bite back a laugh at the idea of bridge officers dancing as his head painted a Black Hawk version of 'HMS Pinafore', the vision of Lieutenant Commander Di Pasquale and Captain Geisler standing at tactical singing 'When I was a Lad' nearly broke him and he had to duck into the turbolift, garnering a couple of weird looks at the stupid grin he had plastered all over his face.

As the turbolift doors closed, the singing started, "When I was a lad I served a term, As office boy to an Attorney's firm..."]]>
Wed, 17 Mar 2021 06:58:23 +0000
The Search for Gizmo
Mission - Extinction
Location - Khan/Mackie Cabin
Timeline - MD 4 || 1700 hours

Kelly felt like something was missing, but she couldn't put her finger on it. She looked around the small quarters that she shared with Quinn and Gizmo, but something felt off. Then she realized that Gizmo's food and water bowl was still full. She went over to it and checked to make sure there wasn't a tiny hole revealing the bottom of the bowl. She had learned that any sized hole in his food bowl meant he was going to starve to death.

"TIger? Have you seen Gizzy?" she asked as she knelt and looked under the bed.

Quinn looked up from the padd he held as he sat in a chair next to the desk. Having shared quarters was nice, but it seemed odd that only one desk had been appropriated to the cabin. Being in Operations, one would think that he would have found spare furniture somewhere, but the last thing he needed to do was to bring his work home with him. He needed those degrees of separation, even now. "Actually... no. I don't even think I saw him this morning now that I think about it."

"I don't think I did either," the petite brunette said as she looked behind the couch. "Gizzy! Here poof ball! Where are you?" she called as she looked around for a minute.

"Is he sleeping under the bed?" Quinn asked. He didn't get up, but he started looking around for any potential hiding spots. Gizmo was still a young feline, twice the size when they'd first got him. Like many cats, he tended to slide into the most unusual of places to sleep or hide.

"Already checked there," Kelly said before she looked in the small wardrobe and pushed stuff aside. "He isn't in here, either. Do you think he got in the vents again?"

"It's always possible." Quinn stood up and picked up a tricorder Kelly kept on the desk. "I tell you though, once we find him, we need to put a tracker on him. Catch." He tossed the tricorder at Kelly and started to look inside the open desk drawers.

She caught it and activated it, then swept their small quarters. "Hmph. Of course he isn't here and you're right about the tracker. I did that for the Captain's twins with those onesies, so it wouldn't be too hard to put on in a collar." She adjusted the tricorder to past traces and scanned. "Geez...he's all over the place," she muttered as she turned in a circle. "Including the right wall..."

"Are you picking up a lifesign, or just his fur?" Quinn asked. He still looked around inside the desk. The drawers were open just enough for a cat to slip in and out. He wouldn't put it past Gizmo to slip into a dark corner just for some shut-eye. The first two drawers came up empty, and Quinn closed them fully to ensure that Gizmo had fewer places to run. Something in the last drawer, however, caught his eye.

"What's this?" he muttered, pulling out a strange picture.

It was a picture of Kelly, but not one he had seen before. In it, she wore an sleeveless white wedding dress that flared out in a bell shape around her feet and a semi opaque front shield revealed her legs a little. She's smiling in the photo and there's roses and creeper vines on a wall behind her.

"What's what?" Kelly asked. "And fur, mainly. There's a paw print halfway up the wall, too. But he isn't in here."

Quinn wasn't paying too much attention to what Kelly was currently saying. In fact, he was a bit taken aback by the image. Was he not on the same page as Kelly? Was there something he had missed? Some sort of signal or statement? "I, uh..." he stammered. "You, uh..."

"Gizzy get your tongue, Tiger?" she asked as she headed towards him from the other side of the room.

"No, uh..." Quinn still couldn't look up from the picture, completely taken aback by how beautiful she looked. "I, uh, found this. You're... stunning..."

Kelly saw what was in his hand and flushed, then looked away for a moment before glancing back. "Thank you, Quinn. It was, uh, a picture from the Academy when I went to a party," she improvised.

"What kind of party do you wear a wedding gown to?" Quinn asked.

"Uh, a masquerade party?" she suggested.

"Where's the mask then?" Quinn was confused by the picture, but he was more perplexed now by Kelly. It was unlike her to hide things from him, and this clearly meant more to her than she was letting on.

Clearly, he wasn't going to let it go, not that she blamed him. "It's a wedding dress, Quinn. I was modeling some i the holodeck before and really liked that one, so I had the computer save it and made the picture. I just wanted to see what I looked like in some. Not that I plan on getting married anytime soon."

Quinn stammered, "You, you, you..." His eyes blinked several times, unable to overcome her explanation. "Marriage? Me? Why.... uh...."

Now Kelly couldn't resist and put on a big happy smile. "Did you just ask me, me, me to marriage you?" she asked.

"Marriage? You? Me?" Quinn continued to stammer. "You? Me? I..." He looked back down at the picture, and then to Kelly, and back down again. "I... Uh... Marriage?"

Since he seemed to be stuck on a loop, she reached to take the picture from him and set it face down, then kissed him. "Yes. In ten years, two months, fourteen days, four hours and fifty-one minutes. That's when we will get marriaged."

"Ten... ten..." Quinn stammered, his mental calculator coming back online nice and slow. "Ten. Two. Four... fourteen..." He sighed and shook his head. "That seems like a long time. You're not wanting to wait until... until you're a Captain or something are you?"

"It doesn't matter," Kelly said. "It's just a picture. Let's go find Gizmo before one of those Spidermunks eats him." She was a little disappointed at his reaction, but he was a nervous sort of young man. However, she still loved him and had no plans to force him into marriage with her.

"You think he went into the ventilation shafts again?" Quinn sat at the desk to fire up the desktop terminal. It would take him about a minute to get authorized access to the deck's internal sensors. "And... I don't think that was just a picture. I'd be lying if I said I never thought about it. Marriage that is."

Like stammering when you think about it? she mentally wondered while giving him a smile. "Marriage is hard while in the fleet," she offered. "There's no guarantee that couples will stay together on any given assignment and most commanding officers don't want families on their ships. Now, to find Gizmo. If he's in the shafts, we should be able to find him with no problem. All we have to do is call Security and see if one of their flying doodad things spotted him."

Gizmo could wait a second. Quinn felt like he'd crossed a line thanks to his bewilderment, and he wanted to make sure they were okay. "So you're saying you don't want to get married until one of us can actually settle down?" They'd been lucky to continue serving together for the last two years, but even Quinn thought that those days could end sooner than they'd expected.

Kelly looked at him, then gave him a kiss. "I love you, Quinn, but the blessing of some Starfleet officer means nothing if I can't have you. Of course I'd marry you. I just don't want to be separate from you. I'd give up my career if it meant staying with you."

Quinn scoffed and kissed her back. "Hell, no," he said with a sly smile. "If either of us is giving up a career, it's me. I think the afterlife would tear me apart if I kept Kelly Khan from becoming a test pilot and a Captain."

"Only if you plan on going to Gre'thor and you don't look Klingon to me, and you're honorable," she told him. "Now let's find Gizzy so we can have dinner."

An authorization flashed on the holographic display, and internal schematics of this section, plus four surrounding sections materialized. "All right, I'll work on this. You go ahead and call security."

"On it," Kelly said as she sent a communique to Security and a request for a drone search for the missing feline. She sent the last scan of him that she had from her tricorder, then tossed it aside.

* * *

In Security, an Andorian sat with his antennae nearly folded back. "Do we get calls for intruders or missing crew? No. An Ensign loses a quadruped felinoid and that's what we get to search for. Deploy a Type 1 and hope the creature doesn't eat it."

His companion laughed at the salty tone of his work schedule and launched one. "Drone Twelve away. Targeting Deck Nine vents and tubes."

* * *

Back in their quarters, Quinn shook his head. "There's signs of feline DNA in the surrounding three sectors. I know Gizmo isn't the only cat on board the ship, but I didn't think there were so many. We really need to put an ID tag under his skin when we find him."

"I know Ensign Mitchell has one," Kelly said as she stripped out of her uniform and put on a black one piece. "Well, time to get crawling. I hope Security doesn't think I'm an intruder."

"You know Ensign Mitchell has an ID tag?" Quinn joked. "Why on earth would someone low-jack themselves, especially on a starship?"

"She's Security," she said as if it were an obvious thing to do. "I wanted to low jack the Captain's twins."

"You... what?" Quinn asked, unsure if he should be appalled or not surprised in the least by her admission. He shook his head, adding, "Never mind. It doesn't matter. Let's get going, shall we?" Without waiting for a reply, he slipped into the ventilation shaft.

"I'm kidding," Kelly said as she ducked in after him after hooking her tricorder on her hip. "Which way is most likely for a curious kitten?" She asked while waiting for him to get ahead of her.

"Um," Quinn thought. "I think the little one usually works in left turns and twists at home. We should try left." He crawled forward and turned left at the first possibility, only to be greeted by a bulkhead. "Well, that's not going to work. This way's closed."

"How about the next left?" She suggested as she backed up to give him room to exit.

Quinn nodded as he backed out. "How many cabins are on this side of us on the deck? Five?" Quinn looked down the next several lefts, a choice that was easy since no other right turns existed. At the end of four of them were bulkheads and no loose vents. The fifth, however, was different. "Uh oh," he remarked. Instead of a bulkhead, he was met with an open vent, this one leading right out to the main corridor. "We might have an escape artist on our hands."

"Oh joy," Kelly quipped a bit sarcastically. "Well, we won't have to cut him out of anymore of those spidermunk webs. Left again?"

Quinn slipped out into the main corridor and pulled out his tricorder. He crouched beside the shaft entrance as the tricorder began to scan. His eyes, however, caught something before the tricorder did. "Well, it looks like Gizmo's been here," spotting a corner where a critter of sorts had repurposed for a bathroom. "We've got a little mess to clean up."

"Well, crap. Literally. What happened to the auto cleaners?" she asked. "We'll have to get it on the way back. How old is the spoor?"

"Looks like just a couple of minutes," Quinn said. "Which means he probably hasn't gotten far." He tapped a few buttons on the tricorder, having synced it with the internal sensors. "There are five felines in the surrounding three sectors. Three of them are in quarters, and two are running throughout the hall."

Kelly checked her own tricorder and studied the two feline signs. "Two of them. Great, he found a friend and they're on the run," she sighed before she made an adjustment for Gizmo's signature alone. "He looks to be about forty yards away in Corridor J. The game is afoot!" A part of her mind went back to the wedding picture for some reason and she hoped that both of them would forget it.

"Afoot!?" Quinn asked. "What am I? Holmes to your Watson?" As he took off towards Gizmo behind Kelly, he too drifted back to the wedding photo, thinking of that ultimate partnership. Was he really ready for that? Quinn shook his head, trying to clear the image for now. Right now the priority was Gizmo.

"Yes!" she exclaimed as she ran after him. "You are now Quinn Holmes and I am Kelly Watson or some such." She rounded a corner and nearly ran into a Bolian. "You! Have you seen a small furry orange creature running around?"

The Bolian looked startled at first, then gave an effervescent smile and quick nod of his head. "Oh my, yes," he readily said. "I was on the planet T'chok on a shoreleave back in...oh, what was it....?"

"I meant on the ship in the past half an hour," Kelly said, cutting him off before he could go into more details she didn't need. "Hope you had a great shoreleave, though!" she said as she darted around him.

"There!" Quinn called out, spotting a fast-moving patch of orange fur for just a moment. "Corridor K. I don't think he's running from us, he might be chasing something."

"Onward Tiger!" She exclaimed before she bolted down the corridor. "Gizzzzzy! Gizzzzzmo!"

A loud hiss came around from the next corner. Quinn turned the corner to see Gizmo face to face with a gray cat, twice Gizmo's size. "Hey!" he called out. But what he didn't expect was that the gray cat was the one doing the hissing, clearly on the defense."

"Hey, hey!" Kelly called out and was surprised to see that Gizmo was acting aggressive. "Gizmo! What's gotten into you?" she asked even though she didn't expect an answer as she went to do something very bad, which was the intent to pick up an aggressive feline.

Gizmo looked up at Kelly in surprise, allowing the larger cat to dart away down another corridor. "What was that all about?" Quinn asked aloud, not expecting anyone to have an answer. "I wonder what the little guy was defending."

"Or just feeling his way around other felines," she said as she scooped him up. "What were you up to, bubba?" she asked.

"Did we ever get him fixed?" Quinn asked, looking around the corner to see where the other cat had gone. "He's a feisty little one when he gets agitated."

"Last month." Kelly said. "But he's still a cat and a cat's gonna cat." She looked down at the floor to see if Gizmo had been protecting something the other cat. <-- (miss something here?)

"True, true." Quinn looked around a little more. "Well, I don't see anything. Let's take him back home. I think I'm going to replicate a mesh screen to go behind the vent. That should keep our little Houdini caged."

"Silly boy," she said as she gave the furball a scritch behind the ears and turned to head back. "Maybe we should get him a companion to keep him company."

"Two cats?" Quinn asked. "We'll get ourselves a nice little fur family in no time. We might have to wait until the next time we get to the starbase to do that. I don't think any of the cats aboard are pregnant."

"That and a bigger quarters, but...lower decks and all that jazz," Kelly said.

"Well, one of us will surely get promoted soon," Quinn said. "Lieutenants get access to bigger cabins. And we all know you've got the better chance of getting it before I do."

"I doubt that," she said as she headed back down the way they had came. "Mickey isn't letting me play in his playhouse."

"Mickey? Playhouse?" Quinn asked. There were times he wished he could better follow her euphemisms.

"McCullen and the bridge," Kelly explained.

"He's not much older than us," Quinn said with a shrug as they walked back down the corridor. "From what I hear, he's got a well-known Captain for a father, and scuttlebutt says that he's looking to make his own mark on life. He's probably focused on that before it destroys his career. But, if you want, I can talk to Lieutenant Akorem, get you some cross training in Operations."

"Oh no, he's living in daddy's shadow!" she said in mock horror. "What about the rest of us who are trying to climb the ladder the old fashioned way?" She came to their quarters and entered the unlock code.

"I can't answer that," Quinn replied. "But, I have to ask. Your goal is two fold. Test pilot, and captaincy. The helm of a starship only answers one of those paths. But, there's plenty of support craft aboard, and there's the squadron. What about putting some time in over there and pursue the other path for a while?"

"Who said a Captain couldn't be a test pilot?" Kelly asked as she set Gizmo down once the door closed behind them. "There are Captains of Engineering and everything else."

"True," Quinn admitted, sitting down on the bed. "But I'm just saying there's more than one path than through the ship's helm."

"You know my first love is Flight, Quinn," she said as she went to sit on the bed. "I seconded in Engineering so they couldn't sandbag me."

"That's why I say it's work seeing if the squadron will give you some flight hours, or at least simulation time. You've already got one brief stint in command, not to mention some time on the bridge. Shoot, we could even commandeer a shuttle and see what sort of performance modifications we can make. Make you a test pilot of our own."

"I was on track to do that with the fighters under, Commander Walsh's tutelage, but you know how things get sidetracked around here," Kelly said. "Then he got made Executive Officer and can't do it anymore. I flew a runabout through the warzone at Deep Space 11 during the final battle of the Consortium know happened."

"Have you even asked Commander Alexander?" Quinn countered, trying not to remember the Battle of Deep Space 11. Escaping a burning ship was frightening enough. "She seems like someone who would be happy to keep that tutelage going."

"I guess I could," the little brunette said thoughtfully. "I haven't really talked to her."

Gizmo brushed up against Quinn's leg before jumping up onto the bed. He forced his way between Quinn and Kelly before sitting and purring. Quinn reached down to pet Gizmo. "What about you, little one?" he asked. "Any ambitions you need to prioritize?"

"Other than escaping and using the floor as a toilet," Kelly amended.

The cat simply purred and rested his head on Kelly's leg.

"I, for one," Quinn said, "am going to work on securing the ventilation system." In fact, Quinn stood and replaced the ventilation cover, and immediately covered it with a dresser. "It might get stuffy in here, but it'll keep Gizmo contained until I can get a mesh backing for the vent."

She gave Gizzy a pet and watched him. "We could request a force field for it so we don't have to worry at all."

"As many times as the Black Hawk's been known to lose power, that's not the best idea," Quinn countered. "Besides, I can make sure it's done first thing in the morning. But we probably should get him tagged, or at least a collar with a tag. I can probably even rig up a sensor alert to let us know anytime he leaves our room."

"You have a point," Kelly said. "Can you take him or should I?"

"Doesn't matter to me," Quinn replied. "Tags are handed out by security, and if Commander Di Pasquale is there, she might not give it to me. You'd have a better chance."

"Tiger," she said softly. "No one can blame you for that. She has a job to protect the crew and Gizzy is crew. 'nuff said."

"It's fine," Ensign Mackie sighed. "A couple months ago, no one wanted anything to do with me. It's a good thing I've got people like you and the Captain in my corner. Otherwise, I have no idea what I'd do."

"Quinn, look at this," Kelly said and raised her right hand.

He looked up at her, then over at her hand. Quinn wondered what she planned to do with it.

"If you don't stop bemoaning what happened, this hand will meet your face. Hard," she told him. "Now stop it. Please," she added softly.

In that moment, Quinn immediately understood. "Right," he admitted, albeit softly. "I'll stop bemoaning, and you've got to stop complaining about McCullen. There's more than one way to skin a cat... so to speak. We've both just got to find ways to work around or through our problems."

"Okay, okay," Kelly said and lowered her hand. "I wasn't actually going to slap you, you know. I just...yeah. I'll go talk to Commander Alexander."

"I know," Quinn admitted. "You've never tried to hurt me, and I know it's not something you would ever intentionally do."

"I couldn't if I wanted to, Quinn," she said. "I love you."

Quinn leaned in to kiss her as his left hand slipped up to cradle her neck. "I love you too, Kel."

For a moment, Kelly flinched as she remembered the last time he had put his hand on her neck in the holodeck before the Dolmoqour took her will. She forced herself calm and kissed him, but was sure he had noticed the flinch.

Kelly was correct in her assumption; Quinn did notice the flinch. Given their conversation from moments ago, he chose not to draw attention to it. The time had come to move forward, and move forward they would. ]]>
Thu, 11 Mar 2021 23:05:39 +0000
Pilots on the Loose II
Mission - Interlude
Location - New Bajor
Timeline - Feb 3, 2390 1900 hrs

Gemma Alexander yelled with the crowd as members of competing Bajoran Springball teams fought for points in the match. "My gran moves faster!" she yelled again good naturedly at her chosen team with a grin then drank some of her light ale. There was an excitement in the crowd somehow better not being on a holodeck as the, well for lack of a better word, sports bar catered to fans. There was even a field out back for any manner of more outdoor games. Right now there was an official match but later the rooms would open to use the facilities if people wished.

Arjin was sipping at a takeaway fruit beverage whilst strolling around a sports complex. It was a complex flavor with a mix of sweet and bitter. He was not really watching any games or sporters. Just strolling around. Suddenly he heard a big roar coming from his right where apparently a Springball game was held. Not having a real purpose, he wandered over there. That being as good as a direction as any other.

Gemma turned at a familiar face and smiled, raising her glass briefly in Arjin's direction.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw someone raising a glass towards him. Upon closer inspection, he recognized the fighter squadron Commander. To say he had much interaction with her would be stretching the truth. He raised his glass in response. Wondering wether or not to walk over. But refraining to do so would be be quite rude. So he wandered over to where she sat.
“Commander,”, he said. Tilting his head towards the game he added, “Springball huh?”

Alexander smiled, "I like it...Come On! My Gran can do better!" she yelled the second statement as one of the players missed an obvious shot. Then returned her attention to Arjin her voice once again politely normal as though she didn't just yell something unrelated to the immediate conversation to hand, "I'm still improving on it myself, so many sports so little time..." She joked.

Arjin was taken aback a bit by how fiercely the Commander was into it. But then again sports can do that and fighter pilots can work miracles also on adrenaline alone. Smiling, he picked up on her last comment. “So you are into multiple sports then? Which would be your favorite then?”

She gestured to one of the empty seats at the table, if he wanted a seat, then replied, "Oh that's a tough one, I'd think I'd have to go with Football, British not the old North American one with the oblong ball, it's a national passtime back home. Tottenham Hotspur's!" She quipped, raising her hand briefly.

Not having anything else to do, Arjin sat down. The name she had mentioned did not ring a bell. He knew the sport. It was one of the biggest on earth. He was not especially interested in it himself. He guessed you had to be from earth to fully relate. “I suppose Tottenham is a city name. “, he asked. “But what is a Hotspur?”

Gemma laughed she was used to such questions, "Bit of old weird British History. I can get more detailed but the main points are yes Totenham is a part of London, England on Earth. Hotspur is old English for 'an impetuous or fiery person'. So seemed to fit a sports team." She glanced at the score board pleased her chosen team had won then back to Djinx.

Ensign Baro Jolan, one of the blackhawk pilots and part of the group Gemma was meeting arrived. He headed over with a grin. "I am here the night is saved." he said lightly, then catching sight of the Science Chief nodded, "Welcome to the party." He said before taking another seat.

Lieutenant Charlie McCullen walked into the room, closely followed by a tall Bajoran man and two pilots, a human woman, Ensign Sarah Kineer and an Andorian male, Ensign Letan Ch'mar, both from Bravo Flight. The Bajoran was engaged in easy conversation with the two pilots. Charlie paused, looking around the room, trying to assess where they should sit.

The Bajoran man looked around the room, grinned, leaned into Charlie's ear and whispered something, then gave the young helmsman a gentle nudge. Charlie frowned at the man, then grinned, then made his way over to Gemma's table. The two Bravo Flight pilots headed for Baro Jolan's table.

"Uh, hi... sorry if we're late." Charlie told Gemma, doing his very best not to look like a bag of nerves.

Arjin wanted to comment on the Lieutenant Commander’s explanation, when a Bajoran pilot came over. He nodded back at him. Then looking back towards the Squadron Commander, he replied “You are having a party here with your crew? I should maybe leave you to it then?”

His words barely out of his mouth, the crowd grew with four other people joining. One of them was the young Helmsman of the Black Hawk. Seemingly nervous as hell about something.

"No you're welcome here if you'd like, you're our crew too. Our top science brain, maybe under appreciated sometimes." Gemma smiled. Giving a vaguely apologetic look at the interruption as he had actually looked interested in her explanation, sometimes when she started to get into obscure British history peoples eyes glazed over. She glanced over at the group, when one tosses out an open invite one never knows who will actually show, "Welcome have a seat" She said warmly. She gestured at the table, now full, as she did so.

"I'm not even a member of Starfleet," the tall Bajoran smiled easily, "but I'm here with this guy." He placed his hands on Charlie's shoulders.

"Uh," Charlie managed. There were many things that Lieutenant Junior Grade Charles James McCullen of the USS Black Hawk was good at. Socializing in crowds was not one of those things. It had taken a half our of persuasion from Darys to get the young helmsman to leave their home. He'd thrown up from the anxiety just thinking about it. In the end, what had gotten him going was thinking of the whole thing like a mission. This was something he had to do, and he would do it because that was the mission. He felt Darys squeeze his shoulders gently and carefully placed an amused grin on his face. "This dark handsome stranger is my fiancé, Leoja Darys, he lives here on New Bajor, I hope you don't mind me bringing him along?"

“Thank you for the invite.”, he nodded towards the Commander. “I think I will accept it.”
Turning his head towards Lt. McCullen and his fiancé, Arjin smiled. “If I am welcome amongst you pilots, I am sure no one will mind your fiancé joining also.”, he added. His eyes darting over the tall dark handsome stranger.
Handsome he was indeed. “I am Lieutenant Commander Djinx, Chief Science.”, he stated holding out his hand. “Welcome.”

"A fellow scientist," Darys smiled, removing one hand from Charlie's shoulder and using it to squeeze the lieutenant commander's hand. "I'm the chief xenoanthropologist for the Bajoran Institute of Science here on New Bajor. It's a pleasure, lieutenant commander."

"How about some drinks?" Charlie prompted, gamely attempting to keep his momentum going. "What's everyone drinking?"

"Spring wine for me, Tiku." Darys replied and Charlie couldn't help but wince, his fiancé's pet name was not something he wanted everyone to know. When he turned to shoot a visual dagger at the man he saw an impish grin that told him it hadn't been an accident at all.

"Tiku?" Baro said in a tone of being highly amused but something he was gonna remember for future, Gemma stifled a grin but her eyes held a gentle amusement. "Glad to meet you Darys." She glanced around the table, "Alright you heard the man, give Galahad your order and let's get this night gong." Baro aka Galahad glanced over with a puzzled look to Gemma who replied, "What like he can carry everything?" She gestured at Charles and around the room. The waitstaff were hopping, they appeared understaffed as the game ended and the rooms filled up while music started to play as they'd been talking.

Jolan nodded getting it and he stood as well and bowing elaborately to the table.

“A Xenoanthropologist”, Arjin repeated. “Fascinating, but not my field of expertise I am afraid.” Turning towards the the man Called Galahad he ordered “Anything with alcohol in will be fine for me.”

Charlie moved to stand next to Jolan, resisting the urge to fold his arms across his chest and plopping his fists on his waist instead. "Thanks for being my wingman," he told the fighter pilot.

Ensign Kineer, callsign "Kingslayer" slapped her hand on the table and called out for a classic synthale. Ensign Ch'mar, callsign "Ushaan", asked for an Andorian whiskey.

Jolan gave a friendly smile at the helmsman, "It's what I do, Jolan." He introduced himself easily as he finished getting the orders, "Let's go water this crowd before they get rowdy." He winked at Gemma who laughed with the rest. "We're not that bad, the Skipper'd have my delicates in a vice..." She joked with an easy humor.

"Sure, so what's everyone having?" Charlie asked, he could feel the anxiety starting to slip as he settled in with the group. "I've got one spring wine, a classic synthale, an Andorian whiskey and one anything with alcohol surprise. What else?"

Arjin smiled as he saw how the pilots interacted. That was different to how his department crew interacted indeed.

"Young's double chocolate stout if they have it, if not anything similiar." Gemma replied being the last one to order. Jolan gave a mock look of horror, "Chocolate beer?" Alexander grinned, "Like best of both worlds never underestimate ones ability to put chocolate into anything.". With a final 'If you're sure but I think you're a little crazy' look Jolan looked at Charlie, "Well I think we got it let's go before senior officers order more weird things...."

"Uh... yeah," the helmsman replied, awkwardly realizing that he was actually a senior officer himself but not wanting to say anything for fear of ruining the momentum he had built up. It wasn't important anyway, rank and position didn't matter a bit when they were out together. "A spring wine, a synthale, a whiskey, a thing, a chocolate stout and, uh... a Cavamelon Cooler for me. Shall we?"

Charlie led the way over to the bar, smiling at the bartender as he approached. "Hey, Lotan."
"Charlie, good to see you." The bartender replied, leaning forward on the bar, "It's been a while. Where's Darys?"
"Uh, over there with the Starfleet crowd. We got an order to put in."
"Thus, the reason you're back in town. Well, it's good to see your face, anyway. What'll you have?"

Jolan gave his pile of orders then glanced at Charlie.

"That should be it, I think." Charlie smiled, "and two big glasses of water."

"Take a seat, we'll bring it over." The bartender explained, Charlie nodded and turned to Jolan, "perks of being a local, I guess. Whenever I'm home Darys and I spend, uh... probably a bit too much time in here."

Jolan nodded, "I did not know you were into sports bars." Then he grinned, "And this is why I need to hang out more with people, work, work, work and never learn the fun stuff." He replied lightly as he turned and walked with Charlie back to the table.

"I'm, uh... into a lot of things," Charlie replied as they walked back to the table. His mind was running at a hundred miles an hour trying not to sound like the nervous wreck he felt like. Social skills and social activities were, if he had to be honest with himself, one of his biggest weaknesses.

"That's good." He said encouragingly, "All work and no play makes for ulcers and unibrows." Jolan replied, "What's your fun?" He asked in his usual friendly outgoing manner.

TAG Charlie

“Are you always such a jolly bunch?”, Arjin asked LT. Commander Alexander.

Gemma smiled at the science chief, "We take our work seriously but not much else I think, one never knows what tomorrow will bring best to enjoy when you can. I take it science is a bit different?"

“Sure. Like in your department there is not much to no place for errors. The big difference is that most of the time we get much more time to figure things out. And we don’t have to conduct our experiments in such a fast and wobbly environment.”, Djinx replied. “I’m not sure my stomach could stand it either.”

Gemma smiled, "Well to be fair, I don't have the mindset to do what you do. Between us all we cover the bases pretty well." She replied honestly. At it's core the Black Hawk was a good, solid team and she appreciated that. "but if you're interested sometime I could show you some flight moves, I promise no loops." she held up both hands in earnest promise.

As Gemma and Djinx talked, a few of the other pilots joked in the background as they brought over another table to connect to this one and spread out as they'd gotten permission from one of the wait staff to do. Conversations continued as the live sports shut down and recordings of sports played silently on screens as waitstaff moved tables for a dance floor.

“I will give it some thought first.”, the Commander answered in earnest. “I will let you know if and when.”

"I'd, uh... I wouldn't mind giving one of your little birds a try, one of these days," Charlie spoke up in the gap, swallowing the last of his Cavamelon Cooler and grinning at the warmness spreading through his chest. "I know I'm just a helmsman, all I do is push buttons, but I'm, uh... a pretty good pilot, too."

“Come, come now Lieutenant.”, Arjin replied. “Don’t set yourself short. If you managed to succeed in Starfleet training and become Chief of flight control, you are an excellent pilot. What you do is more than pushing some buttons.”

"I suppose," Charlie conceded, "and don't get me wrong, I love my job. Flying the 'Hawk is fantastic... but there are times when I'm listening to your comms out there, that I'd give my kidneys to be on your guys' wing."

Gemma smiled, drinking more of her own, "Are we listening to the same coms? Because sometimes I'd like to trade this lot in..." She gave a mock glare to the other pilots who paused in their conversation enough to grin back, a few raised their drinks in salute. "Boss you know you love us." Jondar quipped. Alexander laughed, made a face at them then shaking her head in bemusement returned her attention to Charlie, "If you're really interested Charlie we can get you some sim time see how it goes, next best thing to being there."

"Uh, informally, yeah, I'm interested in giving it a go," the young helmsman took another pull from his glass and then frowned down at the empty vessel, "but I wouldn't actually wanna trade my job for anything, know what I mean?"

"I, for one, would very much enjoy seeing you in one of those tight little flight suits." Darys drawled, all sultry and suggestive, it was followed by a deliberately wicked grin as he turned to Gemma, "do you think he could borrow yours?"

Gemma, who had been drinking, snort/laughed her drink through her nose at Darys's words and grabbed at a napkin. Finally she managed, "I'm sort of using it at the moment but maybe I can send another one over later, honorary." She said the last to Charlie as a reply to his words just previously, a few pilots around them including Jolan laughed good-naturedly.

Djinx kinda liked the humor of this jolly bunch. For Arjin it felt strange since he was not used to it. But he could picture the pilot in His skinny suit. So he joined in with the laughter.

Part of Charlie wanted to be embarrassed, he felt a blush forming, but it was overridden by the sight of Young's double chocolate stout coming out of Gemma's nose and the wave of laughter that went around the group, and he found himself grinning instead. "Only if you're a very good boy and go buy me another drink," he told Darys, waving his empty glass in his fiance's general direction.

Fortunately Gemma wasn't drinking or the surprise of Charlie making a sassy comment would have caused another scene. She said nothing directly to Charlie but joined in with the "ooooooh" toward Darys from some of the other pilots as the music shifted to something more of a driving beat. "You tell 'em!" Jolan yelled and slapped him lightly on the back as their night was just getting started.

Tue, 09 Mar 2021 18:12:50 +0000
Pilots on the loose, Part I
Mission - Interlude
Location - New Bajor
Timeline - Feb 3, 2390 1100 hrs

Gemma Alexander checked her pack one more time before hefting it on her back. She squared the newly docked little sailing vessel away. Like the experienced sailor she was she thoroughly checked the area of her rented vessel to ensure it was as good as when she rented it earlier that day and secured properly to the dock.

When they first arrived in port on New Bajor like many she flocked to the night life to relax and once she worked the restlessness out of her system she went in search nature, something she was fond of doing whenever possible. She never passed up a chance to smell the sea air and tack into the wind. She hopped on to the dock and headed over to the rental office to return the keys basically.

A while later, still in her practical civilian pants, shirt and leather jacket she was back in town. She was now trying to decide between meeting some friends for dinner, it being about that time, or just hitting one of the food places at random to see what could be experienced there. Bajorans and others flowed around her as her senses happily took in the smells of unusual spices, babble of voices and in general the bustling of an active city. She loved serving in Starfleet but the kind of chaos she was likely to experience there wasn't nearly so much fun.

Charlie winced slightly as he shifted his weight on the stool he was perched. He'd spent much of the past twenty-four hours catching up with his fiancé, there had been emotional scenes, several hours of conversation, a lot of which was Charlie talking and Darys smiling at him and nodding, there had been dinner and some drinks and then several rounds of quite vigorous catching up, for which he was now paying the price. However, even if he was on leave, Darys wasn't and the Bajoran scientist had reluctantly trotted off to work in the early hours of the morning, leaving the young lieutenant at a loose end.

He'd cleaned, recycled and replicated bedsheets, taken several real showers with actual running water, and then with nothing better to do, took himself out for a ride. Their home was a modest one-bedroom affair situated just outside of town nestled in a beautiful grove surrounded by trees and it was there that he kept his toys, an assortment of hoverbikes, speeders, small skimmers and dirt bikes in various states of repair, an honest to goodness 2162 NX-class shuttlepod that was currently in a dozen pieces and a two-seater dune buggy that he was building himself roughly based off of schematics for the Argo.

For the ride he'd chosen a classic hoverbike, circa 2250. The thing was comfortable, smooth and when it needed to be, dangerously fast. He'd spent an hour ripping around the countryside and then taken himself into town to take a break and see what was going on. He'd found a little corner café type place that served pretty good freshly squeezed kava juice and settled himself down at the exterior bar to people-watch for a few hours.

He spotted Gemma easily, not that she stood out from the crowd, her hair color and skin tone weren't that unusual for Bajorans, but he had been people watching and a familiar face was easy to see. For a moment, he hesitated, reluctant to disturb the woman's vacation by inserting himself into it, the voice in the back of his head that told him he'd just be bothering her started whispering, but to his eyes she looked to be looking for something and he probably knew the town a little better than most. That, he reasoned with himself, was reason enough.

"Lieutenant Commander," he called from the bar, "are you, uh... lost?"

Gemma turned at the semi familiar voice, she didn't know him well but the ship wasn't that huge and pilots tended to hang together. She smiled and headed over, "Now that'd be adventure maybe I will get good and lost one day but not today. Just deciding where to plant my feet for the next bit, stretching your legs too?" She asked in polite curiosity as she glanced around the bar, trying to get the 'vibe' of the place.

"Just, uh, killing time, waiting for my fiance to get off duty." Charlie explained, "I spent the morning riding," he nodded towards the hoverbike parked nearby, "this place has good kava juice and I needed a break. Care to, uh... join me?"

Gemma was immediately distracted by the hoverbike but managed a smile and nod to his question before heading toward the bike, "This yours? a 2250 Triumph if I am not mistaken, amazing handling..." She admired walking around the bike. Eager and knowledgeable eyes taking it its sleek lines.

"You are not mistaken," Charlie replied, rising to his feet and making his way over to the bike, "I rebuilt her last year while I was on leave. I... uh," the young helmsman felt a surge of shyness come over him, the little voice in his head telling him that of course she wouldn't be interested in his stupid collection of random junk, but he ignored it and pushed on anyway. "I have a little collection back at my place, if you wanna come take a look? Maybe we can go for a ride? It'd, uh... be nice to have a riding partner, my fiancé isn't really into riding... and I have some interesting machines, and... uh," shut up, Charlie. "Well, I think they're cool."

He reminded her of her younger brother, somewhat awkward but highly intelligent. Her answering smile was genuine and without the amusement she'd stifled. "Sounds grand. I've never gotten the chance to set roots beyond the Hawk or the room to have all the toys I want so I'll have to live vicariously through you." She said easily, her mind arranging her mental schedule, such as it was. She'd been meaning to reach out to more of the crew outside of work and this was as good a time as any. "You've a time in mind? I'm clear until later evening a bunch of us from the Squadron are going to check the nightlife, you're welcome if you want to come." She invited easily in her British accented English, it was that kind of crowd.

Charlie's face did a little dance of emotion from a wash of fear to a frown and then a smile. The invitation to a night on the town caused a mini anxiety spike, the idea of socializing with fighter pilots was initially terrifying to him, a mixture of fear of embarrassing himself, fear of inferiority and a general fear of socializing. But he had learned to recognise the fear for what it was and, with a force of will, shoved it aside as irrational.
"Say in one hour?" The young helmsman responded, "as for going out, I'll give you a tentative yes, but I need to check in with Darys, my, uh, fiancé, to see if he's interested?"

Gemma nodded, "Sure, we're meeting at Tek's Sports Pub, bar, whatever they call it here about 1900 then will see where the winds take us. It'll be nice to meet your better half." She joked gently, Then having caught the expressions on his face continued, "And if you feel like you want to bow out at any time, no harm no foul." Her tone sincere and still friendly.

Charlie smiled, touched at her kindness and understanding. In truth, it was common in Starfleet for people to be kind, understanding, friendly types but it always caught him by surprise anyway. He stood from where he'd been perched and moved over to his hoverbike. "Thanks for the out," he replied, "my nerves get the better of me sometimes, but if my better half", he had to stop and grin at that one, it was as far as he was concerned, absolutely true, "is interested, then we'll be there."

Gemma smiled, "Sounds like a plan. I'll see you in an hour so that we may amok through the countryside." She joked, "If you'll point me in the right direction?" Unsure where he actually lived.

"Uh, yeah," Charlie reached into the saddlebag hanging from the side of his hoverbike and pulled out a PaDD, with a few button presses he brought up his address and directions how to get there. He held it out to Gemma, "this will show you the way, don't try to walk it unless you like walking for, uh, a long time."

"Got it." She replied, "I'll catch up to you then."

They talked a few more minutes before Gemma headed off with a new plan for the afternoon in place. If one planned every little bit this random chance to hang out with crew and ride amok may not have occurred which is why she sometimes just let things ride.

== One Hour Later, McCullen Household ==

Charlie ran his hands under the sonic cleaner, removing the oil and grease that had accumulated there. After parting with Gemma at the cafe he had headed directly home and given the hoverbike he'd intended her to use a once-over, oiled and greased the moving parts and given her a basic maintenance cycle.

His workshop was big, almost half the size again of the house it was attached to. The centrepiece was an anti-gravity pad for suspending vehicles in the air, upon which sat the 2293 Indian Chieftain Hover Horse which he had been working on for Gemma. Along the left wall was a row of single-pilot machines ranging from modern hoverbikes to classic hover cruisers, the pride of which was a 2245 ex-police model and his 2250 Triumph Bonneville TH9000. The right wall was lined with an extensive tool rack, a lathe, drill press and mill, a small CNC machine and a hobby-sized plasma forge and anvil. In the back was the hull of a 2162 NX-class shuttle pod, currently stuffed with piles of bits, parts and assorted possibly-useful debris associated with said shuttle pod. A 2195 Hilts PX70, the only wheeled vehicle in the shop, was sitting next to it.

"I swear," a voice came from the doorway which connected the house to the workshop, "Tiku, I have watched you take that thing apart and put it back together again three times. Stop worrying."

"It's what I do." Charlie responded with mock resignation, "I fly starships and I worry."

"And tinker endlessly in this cave of yours. You're only here for a little while, you know." The words were accusatory but the tone was gentle, teasing. "Here she comes now. Try not to implode, Charlie."

"Hah hah."

Gemma stood outside uncertain where to approach, holding a bottle of wine.

Charlie dropped the rag and turned towards the garage entrance, spotting Gemma standing outside and giving her a wave. He opened his mouth and was struck by a wave of indecision. Was Lieutenant Commander Alexander too formal? Should he use her first name? Or ma'am... she wasn't in uniform and neither was he, but letting go of the formalities was a step he was hesitant to take the initiative on. "Uh, hi... ma'am. Come on in."

"Thank you and Gemma is fine off duty." She replied trying to put him at ease. "I've brought a bottle of old Spring Wine, the vendor said this was a popular type on Bajor for the locals." She continued holding out the bottle, "It's customary in my family to bring a gift when first getting invited to someones home. As a good wishes for future bounty sort of thing."

"Welcome to our home, Gemma," Darys picked up the social ball, sliding out of the doorway and moving up behind Charlie, casually draping one arm over the shorter man. "We have the same custom on Bajor, a gift is a good omen. Would you like to come in for a spell or are you two going to get straight to annoying the neighbours with your wild antics?" He grinned, winked at Gemma and gave Charlie's shoulder a subtle squeeze.

"Uh, yeah. Would you like to see the place, uh... Gemma?" Charlie added, grateful for the social intercept.

Gemma smiled at Charlie's fiancee, he had a friendly open demeanour that she appreciated instantly, "I think we have a little time before we annoy the neighbours." She replied.

"Great," Charlie smiled, relaxing slightly. "I'll, uh... go wash up and Darys can show you in. Won't be long." He slipped out from under the taller man's arm and trotted away towards the sonic washer.

"Follow me, Gemma." Darys invited, and then when they were walking together towards the house, added, "We bought this place together five years ago, just after Charlie graduated. He spent most of his first leave building the garage. I'm afraid the house is a bit of a mess, I hope you don't mind?"

"A house isn't a home until you've tripped over someone's shoe, my Gran always said." Gemma replied easily walking in. "I didn't know Charlie could build." She hadn't known a lot things about her shipmate despite having served together awhile, this was turning out to be an interesting day.

Darys led Gemma into the kitchen, it was a warm room with a floor tiled in terracotta, thick wooden countertops and a natural color scheme. A small pile of used dishes sat next to a large double sink, there was an actual wood-burning range and a full-sized oven and stove. A heavy kitchen table dominated the middle of the room, upon which was a variety of objects. An intermix balancer in mid-disassembly, a stack of small picture frames, several PaDDs and a small heap of semi-folded laundry.

Charlie emerged from the bathroom, sleeves rolled up to his elbows, he'd missed a spot of grease on his nose. There was, for a moment, that odd spark of silent communication, that thing that couples did without thinking about - an exchanged glance, a slight tilt of the head, a glance to the left and a grin that was half a conversation.

Gemma, who had been looking around, caught a bit of it but not being a part of it let it flow. "Nice home you have here." She said with sincere politeness.

"Thanks," Charlie replied, "it's still a work in progress, but we're getting there." He sidled over to the counter as Darys stepped back towards the kitchen door, "would you like a coffee or a cup of tea. or something else?"

"Tea would be fine." She said, "Typical I know but I do rather like it." she continued in her British accented English. As he heading into the kitchen she asked "So what kind of transport are we looking at later?" She asked just as much to encourage him to break out of his shell as she was curious.

"Classic hover cruisers," Charlie grinned as he reached up into a cupboard and pulled out a stainless steel mason jar. "I'm sticking to my Triumph, she's my favorite for the moment," he told her as he popped the lid and the aroma of black tea wafted from the container, "but I spent the last couple of hours tuning up a 2293 Indian Chieftain Hover Horse for you."

Charlie picked up an earthenware teapot and had an investigatory glance inside, satisfied that it was clean, he continued. "She's a smooth ride, handles easy and she's got the ponies if and, uh... when you want them." The young helmsman began spooning loose leaf tea into the teapot. "I picked her up about three years ago as a box of rusty bits. She'd been sitting in an old warehouse on Vega colony for a hundred years." He turned around and slid the teapot into an alcove built into the wall, wherein a hidden faucet began depositing boiling water into the pot. "Restoring her was a pain in the butt, I like to use original parts as much as I can, I only replicate what I absolutely can't repair or source.... uh, milk?"

"Of course, thank you." She replied trying not to derail the conversation by asking more about the tea. "Sounds like fun, I'd do the same if I had roots, pretty sure the Captain would not go for bikes in the cooridoors..." She grinned just imagining it.

"I'm a fleet brat, I, uh... grew up on Starships," Charlie started as he pulled out two mugs from the cupboard, "All this," he gestured vaguely around the room with a mug, "was never on the cards. But then I met Darys and well... here I am. Not that I, uh... regret it, at all." He dropped a strainer over the first mug and paused as he poured rich black tea into it. What was he supposed to be talking about, again? "But, uh... there are always holodecks. I have a couple of pretty sweet programs for bikes and ATVs and four-wheelers if you're ever interested."

"Careful, you may become the hanging out place for speed fans on the Hawk." She warned only semi joking. "So you got me curious how did you meet this life changer by the by?" She said leaning against a table, this was quite nice. Something she'd see at home in London at anyone of her families homes. A comfortable and happy place to be where someone knew the power of tea. This was turning out to be an interesting day indeed.

"Oh,"Charlie poured some synthetic milk into a small milk jug and set it on the table, before sliding a mug across to Gemma. "We met on Bajor, my father, mother and I were on vacation there and... well, they spent most of the time working, like usual. He's a captain and she's an admiral," he explained as he poured a little milk into his tea, turning it a dark brown, "and, well... we were just kids, I was sixteen and he was fifteen, and well, I guess... it was..."

Now that it came to it, Charlie was having a hard time working around the words in his head. He felt a tinge of red creep up onto his cheeks, suddenly noticed he was clenching the mug fit to crack it. It was at that moment that Darys swept back into the room, all smiles and cheerful deflection, pretending he hadn't been listening from the other room just for this very purpose, ever to the social rescue.

"It was," the Bajoran man interjected, "love at first sight. The first time I saw him I thought my heart would never beat again, and then it wouldn't slow down. Bajoran tradition would say that our paghs are twinned, fated to be together in past lives, this live and in the next. I just thought he was the most beautiful creature I'd ever laid my eyes on. We fell in love before we knew each other and as we learned who the other was it only deepened, and when that ninety days of bliss were over, we both knew that the will of the prophets, or fate, if you will, had spoken. Ever since, we've been together, even when we're apart."

"That," Charlie tried gamely, ignoring the fact that his body hard partially turned to jelly, attempting to will away the red flush to his cheeks and trying very hard to forget that Gemma was in the room, "is poetic, sappy, sugary teenage tripe. It's, uh... also, uh... all... well... mostly true."

Gemma smiled gently, tried to put Charlie at ease, liking his fiancee immediately, "That was, bar none, the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. You realize some people search their whole lives for a hint of that sap, you go and be as over the top as you like. Not gonna lie, little jealous." Just a little, she was happy for them and if she was a little wistful that was her own bag.

"We, uh... we know." Charlie smiled at his partner, "well... shall we hit the road?"

"Let's finish our tea and get moving, I feel the need to feel some speed." She joked. And so they did chatting amiably before heading out to where the road toys awaited. "Oh this is going to fun.." She said picking up a helmet off the seat of the bike he'd pointed out as hers for the ride. "Thanks for inviting me Charlie, you're alright." She glanced over at him meaning it. Confirming to herself again that sometimes being too stuck on ones plans meant you didn't get happy happenstance like this. With another grin she turned to her bike ready ride.

Tue, 09 Mar 2021 18:11:37 +0000
Mission - Extinction
Location - Captain's Ready Room
Timeline - MD 1 || 1430 Hours

After lunch with Camila, Joey found herself approaching the Captain's ready room. She hoped he wasn't busy, but she had to talk to him about the Security Chief's request before taking it upon herself to get the job done. And though she was married to the man that was sitting behind the door, she planned to keep things as professional as possible. With that in mind, she straightened her uniform once she got to the door and reached out to tap the chime.

The door parted almost instantly, revealing Captain Geisler sitting behind the desk with a padd in one hand and a cup of tea in the other. His eyes glanced up and a smile formed on his face when he recognized the new arrival. "Hi, honey!" he greeted.

When the door parted, Joey took that as her cue to step inside, and if that wasn't obvious enough for her, his greeting was. "Hi, sweetheart. How's your day going?" She asked, deciding a little personal was okay. Especially since his presence made her quite happy.

"First day on the job as the head of a Task Group," Harvey remarked. "I can certainly say I was unprepared for the amount of paperwork that would follow. How about yourself?"

Joey moved over to a chair, but instead of sitting on it, she placed her hands on the back of it. "It's been interesting. Camila came to see me today about some cross department work. After the crew was infiltrated, she wants to dig into the backgrounds of of those who have joined within the last year and a half," she explained, pausing long enough so he could process things. "But, that's not all. She wants to get Internal Affairs involved."

"Internal Affairs?" Harvey echoed. He could understand wanting to do a check on everyone and their mother, but Internal Affairs? "How do you feel about that?"

"I don't know to be honest," she answered. "Do I think we need to check everyone out that's joined the crew lately? Given everything that's happened, I feel the same way she does. If having Internal Affairs involved is what it takes for peace of mind, then I suppose that's what needs to happen."

Joey sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "She thinks that what happened with the Consortium, Dolmoqour and other things that have happened on the ship would be enough for them to want to get involved, and asked that I get in touch with Commodore Satie to get the ball rolling. I think she puts way too much faith in me to pull something this major off."

Harvey frowned and lowered the padd he held. He adjusted his seating in his seat, feeling like this would be a rough conversation. "Isn't Satie just with intelligence? I don't think Intel and IA are mutually exclusive, much less interested in sharing resources."

He sighed and added, "We've had over a hundred crewmembers join us since before we first left Deep Space Nine to come to the Gamma Quadrant. At this point, getting IA involved means we need to turn around and dock with a starbase for weeks. We just left drydock again this morning. We had five weeks to get IA involved, and that ship has sailed. We're just going to make do."

Joey listened as he spoke. A lot of it made sense, and she knew one thing for sure. Camila wasn't going to be happy. "Yes, Satie is just Intelligence, and if she is anything more, I have no knowledge of it," she answered. "You're right about IA, though. At this point, the best that can be done is I dig into personnel records as far as I can before my security clearance becomes an issue. That being said, if I miss anything, Camila will definitely want to hold me responsible."

"And that's only because she takes the security of this vessel absolutely seriously," Harvey observed. "And rightfully so, as that's not only her job, but there are people aboard she cares about. Not to mention, there's only so many times you can let people take advantage of you. All anyone can ask is that you do the best with the situation you've been given. And, sometimes, the things you need to look for aren't in records. People are good at obscuring details or omitting the truth."

"I take it fairly seriously myself. It's pretty hard to forget my background," she said, thinking back to another part of her life, which she was more than willing to give up until her current position presented itself. "And, that's why I'm willing to do what I can to ease her mind. However, you have me curious. If things aren't in records, where else would we look?"

Harvey found himself shrugging. "I'm not much of an intelligence officer," he remarked. "But I can only think of what Sherlock Holmes would do. Habits, interests, patterns... People they talk to or don't talk to. What they do on and off duty. All these little things can give insight into character and true motives."

It was a good idea, but something like that would take quite a bit of time as well as manpower. "I'll have to see what I can do as far as all of this goes," Joey conceded. She didn't feel overly confident, but would do everything she could to try to achieve something that would please the Security Chief.

Harvey nodded, adding, "Good, good. Anything else of note or importance?"

Joey shook her head. All she really need to speak to him about was getting IA involved, and since that wasn't possible at this point in time, that left the ball in her court. "Not that I can think of," she replied.

"How about dinner tonight?" Harvey asked. "I'll probably come home for that, but when the kids go to bed, I'll probably have to hunker down at the desk and go through some of these reports. There wasn't really an organizational system for the task group, so there's a lot to go through."

"Dinner? Yes. Is there anything in particular you want?" She asked, moving around his desk to press a kiss to his forehead. "And if there's anything I can do to help, all you have to do is ask."

"Something light," he told her. "I can't do a heavy dinner on a night I've got so much work. Causes too much indigestion. As for what you can do to help, some of this stuff is going to start trickling down to you eventually. Maybe you could work with Mila to pull the personnel files of the COs and XOs of the ships in the Task Group. I'd definitely appreciate your thoughts on them."

Joey looked thoughtful for a moment. Something light? A salad with grilled chicken breast was light, and actually sounded pretty good. "Okay, I've got dinner covered," she said. It seemed like she'd be up to her elbows in personnel files. "I'll go pay Mila a visit shortly. Chances are I'll be working a little later than normal, so I'm going to stop by our place to see Alison and Jameson for a few minutes. Do you have a few minutes to join me?"

Harvey considered it for a moment. "Just a couple quick minutes," he said to her, rising from the desk. He smiled, and gestured to the doorway. "After you, my love."

A few quick minutes was all that would be needed, but she found herself hoping that Alison and Jameson wouldn't be too upset with them leaving. Of course Eden was there, and they adored her, so Joey had a feeling they'd be just fine. With that, she smiled and walked out of the ready room to go see her two favorite little ones.]]>
Mon, 08 Mar 2021 20:23:00 +0000
Family Vacation
Mission - Interlude
Location - Various
Timeline - January 14, 2390 || 1300 hours

Joey stood next to the couch going over a mental checklist of things that needed to be packed. She, Harvey, the twins, Eden and dogs were taking a short vacation away from the ship, and despite not knowing where they were going exactly, she found she didn't care where they ended up as long as she'd be able to put duties behind her for a little while... spend a little time focusing on her family.

Weight against her leg drew her attention to the ground where her son was using her to pull himself up. "What are you doing, squirt? Looking for some attention?" She asked, bending down to scoop the little guy up. "Where's your sister?" Of course, Joey wasn't planning on the baby answering her question, but couldn't help but smile when he babbled at her a bit.

More weight graced her leg. Alison couldn't let her brother get all of their mother's attention. she looked down and smiled at her daughter. "There she is!" Joey cheered, earning a bright smile from the baby as she sat down on the couch to scoop the second baby up to kiss her cheek, then Jameson's.

Rico and Pequeno were never too far away from the twins, and now was no exception. They were laying just outside the bedroom door keeping watch. Only a select few would get close to their little humans.

The door to the Geisler cabin opened, bidding entrance to one Captain Harvey Geisler. Even though the ship had been in drydock for two days, there had been much for him to do, including a lengthy debriefing with Admiral O'Connell and his support staff regarding the incident in the nebula. It seemed the excitement in the Gamma Quadrant would never end.

"Well, hi there!" he greeted his family, approaching his wife and embracing her and the kids in a wide embrace.

Joey smiled, and as much as she wanted to return the embrace, her full arms prevented that. Instead, she opted to press a kiss to his cheek. "Hey," she said, her smile never wavering. "Are you finally free of the uniform for a little while?"

Alison and Jameson both attempted to get their father's attention, little fists grabbing at the front of his uniform jacket.

Harvey laughed as he was attacked by their two little ones. "It depends on how quickly Alison and Jameson can get me out of it." He caught both kids as they shifted their weight onto him. He looked at them both, planting quick kisses on each of their foreheads. "Are you two little ones all packed?"

He was greeted with baby babble and some open mouth kisses to both cheeks. Now that Joey was free, she zipped up a bag packed for both babies. "They are, though, they had a lot more fun unpacking. Every time I put something in the bag, one of them would yank it out, and they'd both start laughing when I'd make a big deal of it. It became a game pretty quick. I must have folded their clothes a few dozen times, but it was worth it to hear them laugh like that."

Chuckling, Harvey took both kids to the bedroom and set them down on the bed. Jameson quickly made his way for the edge of the bed, but Alison quickly donned a frown and whimpered. "Just a minute, Daddy needs to change." Harvey then made a gesture to his black uniform capped in red shoulder pads. "Unless you intend for me to wear this the whole time?"

Alison smiled and laughed, clearly indicating her preference. Harvey chuckled in reply, "Well I could take an extra set of clothes to change into on the runabout."

Joey leaned in the doorway and watched the three of them... or rather five of them as Rico and Pequeno made their way into the bedroom and jumped up into the bed to get some attention from Not The Mama. "Mommy thinks you should change and leave the uniform here," she said, moving to stretch out on the bed with the rest of them.

"You mean this isn't a work trip?" he asked jokingly? Bearing a smirk, he unzipped the uniform jacket. He removed the badge and pips before taking the jacket off, leaving the black-collared undershirt. "I suppose it doesn't matter much what I wear. We've got a day aboard a Prometheus class and then a short runabout trip after that. I heard Prometheuses are a bit tight on space, but once we get to Yolvanda..."

"You need a Captain's yacht for things like this, but I suppose a day isn't so bad if it means more time on solid ground. I didn't know you chose Yolvanda, though," she said. "I'm not going to lie. That makes me a little nervous."

Harvey pulled some civilian clothing out of a drawer and began to change, tossing the articles of clothing he was replacing into the nearby laundry hamper. "Oh? Why's that?"

"The virus you all were exposed to, but I know there's a cure for that," Joey said as she sat up to look at the babies. She was still a new Mom, and that came with all sorts of new worries. "They've never been to a planet before, and will be exposed to all sorts of new things, and that's what's truly making me so nervous."

"That was something that was purposefully engineered," Harvey pointed out, almost impressed that she'd remembered the incident. It had happened shortly before she'd first been assigned to the original Black Hawk, but even then, the memory of the incident had been fresh in her minds. "Besides, Yolvanda is a safe place, and the Wadi have seen to that, along with some help from the Federation. But, uh... consider it a test. If this goes well for the twins, we'll be able to take them to Earth to meet their grandparents."

That brought a smile to Joey's face. She couldn't wait to be able to take the twins to meet their grandparents. For now, though, pictures and videos were what they had to work with. "You two will do great, won't you?" She asked as Jameson moved over to her to pull himself up. "Mommy just needs to stop being so paranoid and enjoy herself. I'm quite sure Daddy will agree."

Harvey didn't verbalize his agreement, lest it lead to an unpleasant vacation. He quickly finished changing, wearing a long-sleeve henley and a pair of jeans. "Such is the burden of our careers," he said, smiling and tickling Alison. "Possessing knowledge of things most people don't know."

Joey watched as Alison fell over and gave a full on belly laugh when he started to tickle her. She smiled and held Jameson steady while he used her to walk across the bed. "When are we supposed to leave? I've got all our bags packed, and I'm pretty sure everything else is taken care of."

"Our transport departs at about..." Harvey looked around for a chronometer. "Well, in about thirty minutes from Gamma Command, docking port twelve. And, since Gamma Command itself is out of transporter range, we'll have to take a shuttlecraft to the base. Shuttlecraft Doohan is already prepped and on standby for us."

That didn't leave them a whole lot of time. "We better get moving if we're going to make it," Joey said as she climbed from the bed with Jameson in her arms. "Once we walk out those doors, I'm leaving everything behind so I can enjoy myself. And, I need to let Eden know to meet us at in the shuttlebay." The young would be joining them so they'd have a little time to themselves while away. And not only that, but she also deserved a little time away from the ship.

"Rico, Pequeno... let's get your leashes on." With that, she moved out of the bedroom to get Jameson in the stroller before leashing the two canines. Once those tasks were completed, she sent her cousin a quick message to let her know where to meet them as soon as possible.

* * *

Exactly twenty-eight minutes and thirty-seven seconds later, the Geisler entourage were shown to their cabin aboard the USS Hercules. It was a small one bedroom cabin, but at least there was a combined sitting/dining area. "Well, there really is no place like home," Harvey remarked, carrying in one of the bags and little Jameson.

Joey followed behind him with the two dogs and a few of their bags with Eden and Alison taking up the rear of their little convoy. She unhooked the dogs, who were all too eager to.explore, then took a look around as she set their things down. "Definitely cozy," she said.

"That's one word for it," Harvey said, heading for the bedroom and setting down the bag he carried. "I'll contact Operations and see if we can't get a playpen or something we can set up out in the main room. Otherwise, I don't think we'll have any space in the bedroom for it. Not unless one of us is willing to give up getting out of their side of the bed."

Eden spoke up before Joey had the chance. "If a playpen can be acquired, me and the twins can sleep out here, and you two can take the bedroom."

Joey looked to her cousin, then turned her attention toward her husband. "I'm okay with that if you are ."

Harvey, still wearing his silver badge with the two downward stripes, tapped his communicator. "Geisler to Operations. I would like to request a playpen for my cabin for our babies to sleep and play in."

"Requested acknowledged, Captain," came the reply. "We'll have it to you within the hour."

"Well, that was easy enough," Joey said as she reached for the bag that contained toys for the twins. She sat down on the floor with Alison and began to pull some of them out, much to the little girl's delight. "It will definitely be nice to be on solid ground for a little while. It's been a long time since we were back on earth."

Harvey sat on a nearby chair, only because there wasn't that much room on the floor for all five of them to occupy it. "That reminds me, I think I'm overdue for a communique to my parents. Maybe I'll send them a nice package after our time on Yolvanda."

Time seemed to be passing by quicker than Joey would have liked. The twins were going to be celebrating their first birthday in a couple months, and still neither her parents, nor Harvey's, had gotten the opportunity to meet them. "Mine, too, with a lot of pictures of these two little ones," she said, holding the little girl's hands so she could rather clumsily walk around the small space around her mother. "And perhaps, we should consider visiting home again before the twins join Starfleet." To her, it just felt like they were growing that fast.

"Do you think we have enough time?" Harvey asked, a coy smile on his face. "It feels like the kids were just born yesterday. And I swear we just enrolled them in kindergarten starting tomorrow." Harvey was of course joking, but even he didn't know how Joey or Eden would respond to that.

Joey held Alison's hands while she made her way over to her father on very wobbly legs. Once the little girl was.steady, she pulled her hands back. "You're right, it does seem like they were just born yesterday, but their first birthday is right around the corner. I'm not prepared for that just yet."

"And I'm sure enrolling them in kindergarten will happen before either of you know it," Eden stated.

"Oh, no...." Harvey said, shaking his head. "I know it's my fault for saying it, but we're not pressing any sort of fast forward here. These kids aren't going to grow up any faster than I allow them to, even if they have to stay this age for the next ten years. They're innocent and sweet and..." A sudden smell began to waft upwards from Jameson, who had. the biggest smile on his face. "... well, that too."

Joey laughed and reached for their son. "That's a job for mommy, isn't it?" She asked as she rose to her feet, placing kisses to Jameson's chubby little cheek as they disappeared into the bedroom.

Eden watched them vanish, then looked toward Harvey who had a certain little girl trying, and failing, to climb onto his lap. "How do you do it?" She asked, genuinely curious. "How do you manage to command a starship and oversee all personnel, and still find time to be a husband and father?"

Harvey wasn't sure how to answer that question. He never really thought about it before. It was just something that he'd chosen to do, adding in each little piece as it had come across. "I guess I just know where my priorities are," he answered. "Rather than try and juggle, I just take it one step at a time. It helps that Joey's supportive, but I don't take advantage of her either."

"What advice would you offer to someone that was considering joining Starfleet?" The young woman asked.

He raised an eyebrow. "Are you considering signing up?" Harvey asked Eden.

She nodded her head, but suddenly seemed unsure. "I was. For a brief moment," she said. "I'm not so sure if it's something I'm cut out for, though."

"Why is that?" Harvey asked.

"The hours are incredibly long, for one thing," Eden began. "Not to mention I have zero idea where I would fit in as far as a set department goes. Besides... if I enlisted, I wouldn't get to hang out with these two little sweethearts as much." She reached out to tickle Alison, earning a laugh from the little girl. "It's just something I was thinking about, and it's not completely off the table just yet."

Harvey smiled and chuckled. "Honestly, as much as Joey and I appreciate having you around, we both know that it's temporary. Sooner or later, you'll want to start a life of your own, and when you do, you will have our full support. That said, I know you've only seen a slice of life in Starfleet. Less than half of Starfleet's complete personnel compliment are serving on starships at any given time. There's tons of great places to be, and there's many career paths. If you want, there is a discovery program. Basically, you get to shadow different departments for a few weeks and see if there's something you'd like."

That certainly catered to her curious side. "What would I have to do to be able to do something like that?"

"All you have to do is say the word," Harvey answered. "I'll reach out to Mila as soon as we're back, and she'll get you started."

"I think I would like to," she said. "What could it possibly hurt?"

Joey made her way back into the main area with a freshly changed Jameson. Instead of returning to her spot on the floor, she settled down on the couch. "What couldn't possibly hurt? I feel like I missed something good."

"Just talking about expanding the family business, 'tis all," Harvey said, reaching for Alison who had pulled herself up using Harvey's pants. "Nothing too severe."

"Expanding the family business, huh? Any idea which department you're most interested in?" Joey asked her cousin.

Eden shook her head. "No, but Harvey said he could make arrangements for me to shadow different departments to maybe get some kind of an idea," she stated.

"That's one way to figure out what department might be best suited for you," Joey agreed. "Though, I'm not sure how we would be able to do that with Intelligence given our entire department is blocked to almost everyone without proper clearance."

"Well, there's no need to worry about that for now," Harvey observed, picking up little Alison to bounce her on his knee. "It's time for a vacation, and we promise to not depend on Eden the whole time for nanny duties. She deserves some free time just as much as we do."

"Hey, I happen to love spending time with these two little ones," Eden objected. "They're pretty great company. Not to mention I don't really know anyone."

Joey looked her cousin over. "All the more reason for you to spend a little time away from us. Not that we don't want you around, mind you, but you deserve a little down time."

Harvey chuckled, enjoying both Alison and a stray thought. "Besides, we play all the cards right, maybe you could find a good location to take the twins with you. I hear they can be handy sometimes to help find an escort for the evening."

Eden blushed bright red.

Joey couldn't help but laugh. "Eden, honey, you get any redder we might have to take you to medical to get looked at."

And now the young woman wished the floor would open up and swallow her.

Harvey looked over to Joey. "Do you think she's embarrassed because we figured out her plan?"

"Oh, I have no doubt about it," Joey agreed with a smile, looking over at her husband before turning her attention back to her cousin.

If it were possible to grow even redder, Eden accomplished it. She covered her face with her hands and shook her head. "I wasn't going to do that," she insisted.

Perhaps, Harvey thought, enough was enough. "Well, we've got two days before we get to Yolvanda. Anyone have anything they'd like to do? I hear the cabins in the mountains are beautiful."

"Hiking," Joey replied, taking her hair from Jameson after he grabbed a fist full and tried to chew on it. She reached for a toy to distract him when he poked his little bottom lip out. "I haven't been hiking for my own sake in years."

Eden opted to remain quiet for a moment longer to give her cheeks a chance to return to normal. "I'd like to get some sun. That's one thing there isn't enough of on a starship. The holodeck helps a bit, but it's just not the same.

"I'm game for anything that's not behind a desk or starship window," Harvey stated. "That said, I hear the beaches are quite lovely, especially near the equator. Those might be worth a visit."

Joey lit up at the mention of beaches. "You know I'd love to go to the beach, and I'd love for Alison and Jameson's first visit to be at a real beach and not a holoprogram," she said. It was clear she was excited at that thought.

"Then a beach it is," Harvey confirmed. "I'll download all of the tourist brochures and then we can go from there."

"That sounds like a good idea. There's going to be a lot more to do than we'll have time for, so a second trip might need to be taken in the future," Joey said.

"We could make it an annual thing," Harvey suggested. "Give us something to look forward to every six to twelve months."

Joey smiled. "If you think I'm going to object, you're wrong. In fact, I absolutely agree with that a thousand percent."

Harvey smiled, looking down at Alison. "What do you think, little one? Should we make a trip at least once a year?"

Alison squealed with excitement. " 'Hopping!"

He roared with laughter as his smile grew. "You're going to make me burn all of my credits and latinum, aren't you, little one? Save some for your mother and brother now."

Eden joined in the laughter. "You two are going to have your hands full with her."

Joey grinned and lowered Jameson to the floor. She held his hands while he took the few steps toward Eden. "Oh, I don't doubt that for a second, but I can't say I blame her. She's a little girl after my own heart. Shopping is a lot of fun," she said, but living in space prevented her from doing it often. That was all going to change on their vacation.

* * *

Their transit time passed quickly, and it wasn't long before the Geislers and Eden had settled into their accommodations. It didn't take them long to find the closest beach and travel to it. The ocean reflected the bright blue of the morning sky, and the white sandy beach was sparsely populated.

"Looks like we got here early," Harvey remarked.

"That's okay with me," Joey said as she spread a blanket out on the sand, then helped Eden get the babies settled onto the center of it with some of their toys. Rico and Pequeno took position near Alison and Jameson. "It makes the experience more peaceful."

Eden set a sippy cup near each baby, then stood back up. "Would either of you mind if I walked down the beach a ways? I want to get a lay of the land a bit."

Joey shook her head. "I don't mind at all. We'll be in this spot, or in the water by the time you make your way back."

As Eden walked off, Harvey pulled a bottle of sunscreen out of the diaper bag and began to apply it to Jameson. "Don't take this the wrong way," Harvey said to Joey, "but I hope she takes her time and enjoys herself."

"I'm not going to take that the wrong way, because I agree with you," she said, reaching for the sunscreen when he put it down so she could apply some to Alison. "I actually feel a bit bad that she doesn't take time for herself. She's young, and has her entire life ahead of her. Maybe, I need to start urging her to put herself out there a bit more."

"We could always find a second sitter," Harvey offered, finishing with Jameson who found the sunscreen application process ticklish. "Not to say that Eden hasn't done a good job, but she probably only has a couple years of this job left. I don't opportunity to pass her by too late."

Joey looked thoughtful for a moment while she continued to apply the sunblock to their daughter. "Both Kelly and Mila have expressed their interest in watching the twins in the past," she said. And, while she'd taken them up on that, they had lives also, and Joey felt a bit guilty. Much like she did right now where her cousin was concerned. "Do you have anyone in mind?"

Harvey shook his head. "I really don't. If we had more children on the ship, I could get a grant from Starfleet to allow for a school or daycare aboard. But, that's a problem for another day. For now, we're at the beach. Let's not ponder too much about the future. Let's enjoy ourselves."

"That's a good plan," she agreed, helping Alison get to her feet once she was covered in sunblock. "What do you say we take them for their first swim?"

He picked up both of the floatation devices that doubled as toys with one hand and scooped up Jameson in the other. "I say, yes, ma'am!" With that, he turned and approached the shoreline. He waited until the water was just above his ankles before he set Jameson down. His son smiled and squealed, excited to be in a giant bathtub.

Joey laughed at their son and made her way toward the water with Alison. The little girl appeared more wary than her brother, and when she was lowered to the water's surface, the baby raised her legs to keep from touching it. Mom lifted her up and settled her in her hip. "You don't want to splash around like your brother? Honey, watch her." She lowered Alison back down only for her to lift her legs again.

Harvey looked over to see Alison's refusal to get into the water. He laughed, finding the situation to be comical. It seemed slightly inappropriate to laugh at the young one's fear and uncertainty, but this would be a story they'd tell for the rest of Alison's life. "Try holding her and going a little deeper. Once she gets wet, she should be fine. Jameson and I will follow."

"Come on, princess, we'll see if Daddy's way works," she said, holding the baby so she was facing forward to see what was going on. Joey began to walk further out and the baby paid it no mind in part to her Mom's soothing voice and splashing with her free hand. It took a few seconds, but soon, Alison was kicking her legs to mimic Joey's splashing.

True to his word, Harvey picked up little Jameson by his waist and began to wade deeper out into the ocean. Jameson splashed all the way with his hands and feet. Harvey laughed the moment he saw Alison. "See, she just had to see it for herself. Maybe I should go back to the shore real quick and get the floaties."

"If you want to do that real quick, I'll take Jameson," she offered.

Harvey quickly and happily obliged, passing off the active child to his mother. He returned about a minute later with two odd-looking life jackets which consisted of two thick armbands connected by a front panel and a fastening clip for the backside. "Let's give this a shot," he said as he secured the blue one to Jameson. He then let the little guy go letting him float and kick in the water on his own power. Jameson's smile grew, realizing his freedom and splashing more than he ever had before.

"Now, I know what you're thinking," Harvey said, holding a pink one up for Alison. "These won't let the kids flip over on their back or fall face first in the water. They're totally safe."

Joey smiled while she watched their son kick and splash around in the water, then looked to Alison. "How about you, Princess? Do you want to splash around with your brother?" She asked, holding her just right so Harvey could get hers in place. "They look safer than most I've seen, and Jameson seems to feel pretty secure in his."

"I'm not too surprised," Harvey said, trying to put the floatation device on little Alison. "He's a daredevil, just like his mother."

"We are so screwed, " she groaned, keeping Alison as still as possible. "At least one of them won't give me grey hair too soon. She's more cautious, and Mommy definitely appreciates that. Am I that much of a daredevil, though? Honestly."

Harvey chuckled. "Believe me, you are far too young and attractive for silver hair to come anywhere near you. As for the daredevil side of you... let's just say I hadn't known anyone in security to be so bold. Taking down an entire starship single handed, helping take over a starbase, almost taking over the Black Hawk. Though to be fair, that last one wasn't you at all. And let's not forget the most daring thing you did above all."

Joey was very glad she hadn't succeeded in taking over the ship, whether it was her or not. Still... she'd definitely been pretty bold like he'd said. "Oh? What is the most daring thing I've done above all?"

He secured the floatation device around Alison and lifted her out of Joey's arms. "Somehow, you taught me how to love again." He gave her a smile before leaning in to give her a kiss.

She returned the smile and the kiss. "Maybe, but I definitely consider myself to be the lucky one. I get to love you and our two precious little ones, and there's nothing better."

Jameson and Alison squealed together, showing how much they both agreed. "Agree to disagree there, but I suppose it'll be our forever argument." Harvey let his legs go limp so he could get to eye level with both kids. "It's like a giant bathtub that never ends, isn't it little ones?"

Joey sank down into the water and watched the two babies instantly become water babies. "You know we'll have to take many trips to the holodeck after this to make sure they stay used to this," she pointed out.

"And we've still got the swimming pool too," Harvey pointed out. "I'm sure there's plenty of crew who'd love to help out with the little ones there."

"Oh, I know of two right off the top of my head," she said with a smile. "Maybe a few more. Mila and Kelly for sure. We should let them visit the crew a bit more, too. Maybe as unofficial morale officers. Look at those two sweet little faces and tell me you aren't filled with joy and happiness."

"I can most certainly not deny that at all," Harvey chuckled. "We've been through so much as a crew. We all need a reason to celebrate life once in a while, and definitely far more often than we have been."

Joey smiled as she took a hand of each baby and began to move them around in the water a bit. Jameson seemed to appreciate it, but Alison wasn't quite sure and reached for the safety that was her father. "They definitely make me feel better when I'm having a bad day, and so does their Daddy."

"And I can say the same," Harvey said with a smile of his own. "Though replace Daddy with Mommy and it's perfect. I could use seeing a little less of myself sometimes."

"Believe it or not, I know exactly how you feel. Sometimes, I get tired of my own company. Especially when I'm working a longer than normal shift."

Harvey nodded. "You know, it's so easy for you and I to shift back into work mode. This is part of our problem. Our issues will still be there when we get back. I think we just need to do our best to let it all go until then."

Joey smiled. He was right. "It's been a long time since we've had a vacation. Nineteen month, to be exact. And who knows how long it will be before we'll get to do it again. I say we take your advice and forget we're even Starfleet until we have to go back. Unless an emergency pops up."

He smiled. "No emergencies. No Starfleet. Just you, me, and the kids." He looked down at the splashing Jameson, and then back at his wife, hair and swimsuit already dripping with water. "Or maybe we find ourselves a sitter for a while and enjoy some us time."

"Oh, I like the way you think. As soon as Eden comes back, we can do just that," she said with a smile. "Anything in particular you want to do?"

"For starters?" Harvey asked with a smile. "How's a nice walk along the beach sound?"

Joey smiled. "That sounds absolutely perfect to me."

Harvey kept his smile as he slid down in the water and laughed along with his children who continued to splash about. This certainly would be the perfect vacation.]]>
Sat, 06 Mar 2021 12:32:06 +0000
We've Got Rust
Mission - Extinction
Location - Chief Science Officer's Office
Timeline - MD3 || 1100 hours

Figuring sooner was better than later, Zayna had asked to meet up with Djinx about what she and Kemm had discovered. She would have loved to sit and study it, but this could spell bigger problems for the ship and the crew if there was more going on than met their eyes.

She'd asked Kemm to join her, hoping they could figure out what in the world was going on. Once she got to Djinx's office door, she let out a soft sigh and pressed the chime.

Kemm came up beside Ryler just as she pressed the chime. "Lieutenant," he greeted.

Arjin was expecting his department number two. So it wasn’t a surprise that at the appropriate time he heard the chime. “Enter”, was his response.

Nodding to Kemm upon hearing the response from the other side of the door, Zayna pressed the button to open up the office door. "Glad you weren't too busy. We've got news that needs to be heard."

"Commander," Kemm, the lanky Kelpien greeted upon entering the room. He was familiar with the Trill Science Chief, but Kemm hadn't remembered actually meeting the department head. "I'm Lieutenant Kemm, Systems Engineer. I was working down in the life support generator on the lower decks and tracing an issue we've been having the last few days. I came across something surprising and asked for Lieutenant Ryler to take a look."

The fact that Lieutenant Ryler was accompanied by an engineer and they both spoke of something surprising that needed to be heard was not of that nature to ease his unease. With the Black Hawk’s track records as of late, Arjin expected the worst. He took a look at the large Kelpian. A species he did not know that well, as with the Lieutenant himself.

“Sit down, please. And explain.”, he offered, nodding.

Taking the indicated seat, Ryler let out a soft sigh. "The short version is the issues are being caused by rust. And I wish I was joking." She sat forward and slid a PADD over to Djinx before sitting back again.

Lieutenant Kemm took the seat beside Ryler. "Commander, do you recall our experience in the Convergence Zone? Specifically the time in the nebula when the Black Hawk's crew was spread out across time?"

He wanted to say “Rust, are you kidding me.”, when the engineer brought up one of the many dangerous adventures out of the Black Hawk’s past. “Yes. I remember. Temporal mechanics. Always nasty and responsible for giving me headaches.”, he replied instead.

"Commander, I know the engineering crews of both this ship and the drydocks we've been in have given this ship a stem to stern walkthrough, but this rust was not here before. It takes at least ten years for oxidation like that to show up, and this ship has only been in service for a year and a half. Plus, the rust only occupies a portion of this bracing, not the full piece." Kemm stood up to hand the Trill Chief a padd. "My responsibilities only allow for me to make repairs. How this happened and why it happened are above my paygrade and skill set. And, if temporal mechanics are involved, the same mechanics of the time in that nebula, then we might be in for a bit of trouble."

“In how many places? Does it affect structural integrity? Can we fix it? You were working on life support. Is that affected?”, Arjin fired the questions that came in his head.

Kemm was unprepared for the barrage of questions. "It's too early to tell," he replied. "At this time, I don't know if we're limited to one bracing, if there's something else afoot. Which is why I first reached out to Lieutenant Ryler. We need to determine if we're still dealing with an active temporal anomaly."

"I haven't had much time to review what happened in the Convergence Zone, but based on the information Kemm provided to me that I've seen so far, this is likely a result of that. But," Zayna stated, "as he said, we don't know. Temporal mechanics are tricky. I think I have what I need but, this shouldn't still be an issue with how long ago that actually was. It should have cleared up in all the systems."

“Indeed it should have. We need to know as soon as possible to what extent the ship is affected by this. If we need to go back to base or if we can deal with this ourselves. Did you inform the Captain yet?”

Kemm shook his head. "I haven't informed him, much less Chief Engineer Parker." He then looked to Lieutenant Ryler to see if she had said anything to the Captain.

Zayna shook her head, "Not yet. We wanted to have your opinion on this before we went to the Captain. But I do believe he needs to be informed as well. If we have a bigger issue...who knows the impact it could have on the ship."

“I am no expert in temporal physics. But I know you are Lieutenant.”, he relayed. “And there is no better time than the present to involve the Captain.”

Arjin tapped his comm and contacted him immediately. =^= Commander Djinx to Captain Geisler. =^=

"Geisler here," came the Captain's voice over the intercom. "What can I do for you, Commander Djinx?"

=^= There is a problem Lieutenants Ryler an Kemm have discovered something that you would like to be informed off. Are you free to come over or can we? =^=

"I'll come down to you," replied the Captain. "I'll be there shortly. Geisler out."

Zayna rubbed the back of her neck. "Of all the things to come up, has to be rust," she stated quietly, looking between the other two.

A couple minutes later, the door chime sounded.

“Come in Captain.”, the Commander said, standing.

The doors parted, allowing the Captain to enter the room. A third seat was positioned near the desk, which Harvey immediately approached. As he did, he took note of the occupants of the room, from Commander Djinx to Lieutenant Ryler and Lieutenant Kemm. He knew all three officers well, and for the three of them to be together on something meant something worrisome was brewing. "What's the situation, Commander?"

“A case of rust, Captain. Something that shouldn’t be, but is. Lieutenant Kemm discovered it and asked Lieutenant Ryler to join him. They think it has something to do with the temporal problems the ship encountered in the Convergence zone nebula. I will let them explain the details.”

"I wasn't here with the whole Convergence Zone part, but just from what Lieutenant Kemm has shown me, Captain," Zayna said as she looked over to him, "The area with the rust should have been cleared up, but yet, we've got it. There is nothing in that area that would be causing the rust otherwise."

Harvey's eyes widened. He could never forget everything that happened in the Convergence Zone, especially the time in that nebula. "I don't quite understand. Rust?"

"Captain," Lieutenant Kemm explained, "Just a short time ago, I was performing some maintenance on the secondary hull's life support systems when I noticed a rusted support bracing. It usually takes at least ten years of oxidation for rust to start forming, yet this bracing looks like it's been rusting for five years. It wasn't there at the starbase."

"So you're saying that for everything we've been through, we might still be suffering from the effects of that nebula?" Harvey extrapolated. "How is it we've gone this far without seeing anything like this? Do we know how widespread this is?"

Zayna shook her head, "I haven't managed to run the whole ship through the correct sensor calibrations yet, though it is in progress. In that general area, though, it is just that one spot. Had Kemm not been doing maintenance, it likely wouldn't have been caught."

Harvey frowned, not appreciating this news. "How much longer are the calibrations going to take?" He asked. "And once they're calibrated, how long could it take to scan the ship?"

"Hopefully within the next two to three hours. The ship scan maybe an hour or two, depending on if it picks anything up."

“If there is any other project that keeps you busy and is also urgent, I can assign someone to take over on a short notice. So you can focus on this problem.”, Arjin offered.

Zayna shook her head, "Nothing important. I was just going over a few reports and the team schedule. I'll make this priority, Commander."

The Captain nodded as well. At this point, there was nothing he could do, and unless this event was going to prove to be catastrophic, there was no need to turn around and head back to a starbase. "Then all I can do for now is ask you all to keep me posted. As soon as you have a report, let me know. Is there anything else, Commander?"

“Not really Captain.”

"Anything that comes up I'll make sure everyone is informed, Captain." Zayna said in turn.

Captain Geisler rose to his feet. "In which case, carry on, everyone." He nodded to Commander Djinx before departing the office.

Arjin rose also to let the Captain depart.

“What can I do to help, Lieutenants?”, he asked the others.

Kemm shook his head. "I can't think of too at this moment much aside from assisting with the scans. Lieutenant Ryler?"

Ryler shook her head, "Just hoping this is an isolated incident. Once we find out more, we'll let you know."

“All right then. Keep me posted and we’ll take it from there.”

"Will do, Commander."

Arjin nodded as the two officers walked out of the room. Sighing inwardly about yet another problem to deal with.]]>
Sat, 06 Mar 2021 11:20:22 +0000