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 The Morning After
Mission - Extinction
Location - Captain's Quarters

The alarm was seconds away from sounding, and Joey found herself rolling over in bed to turn it off before it could. She couldn't remember the last time she'd slept so soundly or felt so rested, but here she was experiencing both. It was a rare occurrence, but definitely welcome. There was a lot of hope the day wouldn't bring something along to undo it.

Joey stretched with a groan and cast a glance over to look at the sleeping form of her husband. Well, she assumed he was sleeping based on how still he was. Part of her wanted to wake him up, but a larger part of her wanted to let him have a few more minutes to sleep. His role on the ship was a demanding one, and he needed all the rest her could get. She sat up to swing her legs over the edge the bed, seemingly unconcerned about her lack of clothing, and stretched again.

Thanks to the shifting in the mattress springs, Harvey began to stir. His eyelids fluttered open slightly, but not wide enough to let in a lot of light. The ship had been placed into a synchronous orbit upon arrival, which meant that its orbit was timed perfectly with the rising and setting sun. Sunrise wasn't due for another half an hour, yet Harvey didn't care. Usually he was up by now, but he didn't want to move. In fact, he actually felt more rested than he ever had before. It was an unusual experience for him. The last time he recalled being this rested, well, it was long before children ever entered his and Joey's picture.

Harvey rolled over after a few moments and saw Joey's silouette sitting up in the dark room. "Morning," he said, his voice surprisingly strong for this early hour.

"Morning," she said, smiling at him over her shoulder. "I'm sorry if I woke you. I hoped to sneak out to start coffee and come back before you even knew I got out of bed."

"No, no," Harvey said gently. "You didn't wake me." Harvey wasn't sure if he was lying or being truthful, but it wasn't worth exploring either road. "How'd you sleep?"

Joey shifted around to stretch out next to him once again. Sure, coffee needed to be made, but it could wait a little while longer. "Better than I have in a long time," she answered with a smile. "The stresses of the job, and every day worries, are a bit hard to let go of. How did you sleep?"

He smiled at her, finding her response both pleasing and strange. "You know what? Pretty well. In fact, I feel like the last three months' worth of stress and fatigue has evaporated away."

"That makes me happy," she said. "And, I think you definitely need more nights like that."

"Need, yes. Figuring how to replicate what happened last night..." Harvey's voice trailed off. "Well, I suppose that's the challenge now, isn't it?"

The night before had been pretty incredible, and it led to them both sleeping better than they had in a while. She wasn't exactly sure what got into either of them, but Joey wasn't going to complain, and had a feeling he wouldn't be doing any of that, either. "A challenge? Most definitely. I wouldn't even know where to start."

He chuckled. "There was one thing from last night that I most certainly enjoyed." He reached over to draw her close, and just before he could kiss her, there was a cry from the other room.

"Mama!" came the muffled voice followed by a bark. "Doggy!" Baby laughter immediately followed.

"Duty calls," Joey said with a smile just before she leaned in to give him a kiss. She gave him another, then rolled to the edge of the bed so she could get to her feet. "Prepare yourself, Daddy. Soon, there will be a lot of little legs on the bed." She reached for her robe to pull on and tied the sash around her waist, then made her way out of the bedroom to make her way toward the nursery.

Jameson was standing in his crib with Pequeno sitting next to it with his tail thumping against the floor and his tongue hanging out the side of his mouth. The fluffy dog seemed to be quite pleased with himself as did his human brother.

"You two are something else," she told them both softly, reaching down to pick the baby up as she peeked into Alison's crib. The little girl was still sound asleep snuggled up with her little pink stuffed bunny. Even Rico was still curled up next to her. "Don't wake up your sister. She'll be cranky, and we don't want any cranky babies today."

Joey grabbed a diaper on her way out of the room and kissed Jameson on his chubby little cheek, earning a delighted squeal from him. "Daddy's awake," she said.

The little boy was all smiles already, but at the mention of his father, he lit up. "Dada!" Jameson squealed, flailing his arms happily.

"Ooof... watch it with those arms, kiddo," Mommy said, barely dodging one of those flailing appendages. With Pequeno in tow, they walked back into the bedroom she shared with her husband. "See? There's your Daddy."

"Dada!" The little boy squealed again and began to wiggle, hoping to get closer to Harvey. He didn't get to see his father the night before, so he planned to make up for that right now.

In Joey's absence, Harvey had put on a pair of shorts as well as a robe of his own. A padd had already found a way into one of his hands, allowing him to check his messages to see if there was anything important or otherwise make a priority for the start of the day. When he heard Jameson's voice, he looked up from the bed and smiled.

"Hey there, sport," he said, rising from the bed to meet Joey at the door. He embraced and kissed Joey once, knowing that Jameson would do all he could to command Harvey's attention moving forward. In fact, the little one latched on to Harvey's robe and transferred himself into his father's arms. "Good morning."

Jameson responded with a laugh and a giant smile. "Dada!" he exclaimed, followed by a couple other unintelligible words.

Joey smiled and passed the diaper over to him once Jameson was settled. "I'm going to make coffee and get breakfast together while you two hang out," she said, heading back into the main living area to get some coffee going. Her husband was rather fond of Wilkins, and while the replicated version would do in a pinch, she knew he liked the real stuff much better.

Harvey deposited Jameson on the bed, where the little one quickly sat up and tried to stand. Both of the twins were able to stand, and somewhat move around on their own, but the bed and its padding would sometimes make that activity difficult. Jameson fell once, but did not see the need to try again. Instead, he sat there with a big smile on his face. He had his father, and that was all he needed.

While the two of them spent their time together, Joey gave both dogs fresh food and water, to which both canines immediately ran to, then poured two cups of coffee. Just as she was about to pick them both up to bring one to her husband, the unintelligible coos of her daughter reached her ears. "I'm coming, princess," she said, making her way back to the nursery.

Alison sat in her crib, holding her stuffed pink bunny by its ear, and gave her Mom a smile that showed her three teeth. She used her free hand to grip the side of the crib and pulled herself to her feet to bounce in her excitement at being rescued from her bedtime prison.

"Come on. Let's get you changed and go see what Daddy and your brother are doing," Mom said, laying Alison on the changing table after she scooped her up. It only took a minute or so to get her changed before she was being picked up again and carried toward the other bedroom. "We have another little one wide awake."

Joey moved over to the bed to settle Alison down next to her brother. "Coffee is ready. I'll be right back with it," she said, then walked from the room once more.

The twins looked at each other and smiled. Suddenly, it became a race between the two to see which of them could reach their father first. Harvey was surprised by the sudden plunge, managing to catch both children before their young heads could collide into one another. "Hey you two... there's plenty of your father to go around."

Of course, the twins didn't care. All that mattered to them, well most of what mattered to them, was already in the bedroom. They both gave their father pleased reactions through their baby speak as they crawled over him, pulling at hair, ears, and whatever flesh they could reach, smiling and laughing all the time.

Joey made her way back into the bedroom a couple minutes later with their coffee in hand and two bottles tucked under an arm. She set his cup down on his nightstand so neither baby could get to it, then when her hand was free, she gave Alison and Jameson their bottles. "Aren't you taking Eden to see Mila this morning?"

"In just a couple of hours," Harvey confirmed. "And I think we have Crewman Odara lined up for daycare on deck eight. Are you okay dropping the kids off before the day starts?"

"I can do that. I definitely want to milk every second I can with the three of you before it's time to start the day," she said, pausing to take a sip of her coffee. "It's back to the surface for me today."

Harvey looked over to her while enjoying being a jungle gym for the twins. "I'm hoping to make another run down there sometime today. This is one of those times that I wish I'd never been promoted. Though, I suppose if I never make it, I can just drop in on Doctor Jennin in sickbay and see how his autopsy is proceeding."

"Autopsy? There was enough of a body left behind for that?" She asked unable to hide her surprise. All the remains Joey came across were all skeletal, and showed zero signs of trauma. "I'd be a bit interested in seeing that myself."

Jameson held onto his bottle with one hand and reached over to pat his Dad's chest to get his attention.

Harvey slipped his finger into Jameson's hand to play a little tug of war with him. "Yeah. There was a basement that was sealed really well that slowed the decay. I feel sorry for Ensign Mitchell, I think it almost made her throw up."

His son seemed happy with that and gave his Dad's finger a tug while he drank his bottle.

Joey wrinkled her nose. "I can only imagine what that smelled like. Air tight and decomposition? I might have turned a little green myself," she admitted. "If you do get the chance to go back down, be careful and take Ensign Mitchell with you."

"I'll be sure to do that," Harvey confirmed, still playing with Jameson. Alison shifted her wait on Harvey so that she could grab hold of his ear. He chuckled and managed to wrap a free arm around her. "But it'll all depend on the teleconference I have with the rest of Belvedere this morning."

"How do you like being a Task Group Commander?" She asked him. "We've both been so busy with work and the kids lately, I haven't had the chance to ask."

"It's a, uh... it's a challenge," he admitted. "You know I love a good challenge. I think I definitely need to figure out how to use both the Command Staff here, and the support officers from Task Group Command better. I've been thinking about getting a second yeoman, actually."

"A second yeoman?" Joey repeated, unable to hide her shock. "If you feel it's necessary, then I support that one hundred percent. You could also give some thought into appointing a Second Officer. They'd be able to take some of the workload off of you and Terry. At the very least, the paddwork side of things."

Harvey nodded. "I'll talk to Mila and Terry today, get their thoughts on the matter. Terry's still getting settled as XO, so he might not be ready to help train a second officer. As for Mila, she would have the best ideas on what I'd need to do to handle the workload and the paddwork."

"As long as you do something that can make things a bit easier for you, that's okay with me. You know I worry."

Harvey knew full well that she did. "It's not as bad as I make it sound. The most difficult part right now is the steep learning curve. I've barely been at this a month, and I'm starting to get the hang of it. Just need some help to the finish line, that's all."

"Is there anything I can do to help?" Joey found herself asking.

"You're already doing it," he said with a smile. "And that's keeping me grounded." Jameson tapped his dad's chest, and Alison tugged on his ear, both realizing they'd been left out of the conversation for a brief moment. "And yes, both of you are doing it too." Harvey gave both children a big smile. "What do you both say? Time to get ready for the day?"

Joey smiled. "You can count on me doing that for a long time to come, but how about some breakfast first? Then we can get ready for the day."

"Ah, yes, breakfast." Harvey smiled. "What do you two say?" he asked the twins. Both smiled, though they each were having their own breakfast already. "Then it's settled. Breakfast, then the day begins." He turned back to Joey and smiled. Yes, today was going to be a great day indeed.]]>
Tue, 03 Aug 2021 19:43:27 +0000
Matters of Decomposition
Mission - Extinction

In the time it took for Doctor Jennin to join the Away Team on the surface, Captain Geisler and Ensigns Crehan and Mitchell had finished exploring the rest of the building. There wasn't much of interest, at least nothing that wasn't unlike most of decay in the building. The only notable discovery was the rotting corpse found in the basement which had somehow decayed at a far slower rate than the rest of the corpses they'd seen.

For now, however, the team remained assembled in the decrepit building.

Aidan had yet to meet the new Chief Medical Officer, Doctor Jennin. He'd heard that the Bajoran was a a pathologist. He wondered if his study in archaeology and the Doctor's in pathology would lend itself to some interesting conversations. He looked around the rotting-corpse-room and shook his head. "This has most certainly been one of the more interesting away missions I've been on."

"Interesting, yes," Harvey remarked, standing next to the scientist. "Calmer than usual? Also, yes. There's something eerie about standing among a dead civilization and wondering how it happened. Makes me wonder if the Dominion knew anything about this world before it died."

Shay listened to the two men speak while she looked at the bodies around them. Eerie was right. She'd never been around this much death before, and a very large part of her hoped she'd never have to be around it again. "Do you think we'll ever get any answers about what happened here?"

"I certainly hope so," Harvey stated. "I think we owe it to an entire civilization to find out why they perished, especially one so far in its development." At that moment, he looked down at a piece of jewelry that he had found in the building. It was a necklace of sorts with a mostly clear gemstone in the middle. Even though it was filthy, it still seemed to glow in the evening sun. On the surface it seemed like a normal stone, and tricorder readings didn't indicate anything unusual. There was something strange about it, and Harvey didn't want to put it down.

"Captain," Aidan said for the third time. Perhaps the man was deep in thought regarding the end of an entire people. Or perhaps not...he was staring at his hand. "If you're injured, you should get it looked at."

"Hmm?" Harvey asked, looking over at Aiden. "No, no. I'm just... examining this artifact. Quite an interesting design, this piece of jewelry."

"Ah," he said, moving to take a closer look. He kept his own hands to himself as he leaned in to visually examine it. "Indeed it is. In all my years I have not seen such an intricate or shapely design before. Quite intriguing."

* * *

"LAND! Damn you!" Rhula shouted at the Frakes' controls. It was, as expected, successful in accomplishing nothing. He had never helmed a Type-8 before, but it wasn't fundamentally different from the Type-6 shuttles he was more familiar with. At least that's what he'd thought before he couldn't get the damn thing to land.

After spending close to five minutes several meters off the ground, the Frakes dropped.

To the ground.

With a sizeable thud.

The sudden movement knocked Rhula out of his seat. The impact with the ground caused his face into the deck floor. Sitting up, he used his hand to check for bleeding. He was grateful to find none. His glasses had been thrown from his face and had managed to not get damaged. Putting them back on, he got to his feet and returned to his chair. He ran a quick diagnostic of the shuttle's systems and a scan for damage from the fall. His luck holding out, the Frakes had managed to avoid damage beyond some scratches which he was confident the shuttle maintenance crew could handle. He set the shuttle into standby mode before getting his field kit and exiting. It was time to meet up with the Captain's team.

* * *

The Captain heard a muffled boom in the distance, followed by a rattling of the cages in the building along with the clattering of already broken glass. "What was that?" he asked aloud, impulsively shoving the piece of jewelry in a small pouch around his waist. The Captain instantly drew his phaser and exited the building. He had no idea what to expect, given that the planet was devoid of life, but it would be best to be prepared for anything.

Shay shouted a curse and took off after the Captain once she'd drawn her own phaser. Yep. His wife was going to kill her. Very slowly. "Captain Geisler!"

Harvey stopped five paces outside the building as his eyes scanned the horizon. It did not take him long to discover the cause. Just a few yards away, there was a new shuttle parked next to the Visitor. The rear hatch was opening, but he couldn't quite see who was getting out due to the positioning of the shuttle. Harvey had a pretty good idea, however. "Did you have a good landing, Doctor?" he called out.

The young woman slid to a halt when the Captain stopped and looked toward the shuttle that had his attention. "That's one way to make an entrance..."

Aidan walked up to Shay's side. "That was unexpected. Let us hope that the landing hasn't caused any structural damage. Perhaps it is a good thing that we exited when we did. Centuries old dust, dander and tissue residue falling around us may not have been good for our health."

"You can relax, Ensign," the Captain cautioned. "We were breathing in whatever was floating in the air the moment we entered the structure, not to mention the moment we went downstairs. The shuttle's landing wouldn't have made a difference aside from what we already ingested unknowingly."

"Hm, you make a valid point, Captain," said Aidan. "We have already been breathing someone's Fido. A little more wouldn't hurt." He laughed a little at his attempt at humor, as poorly as it was.

"Not much different than that time we were breathing people on the ship. There was a rumor that someone decapitated Commander Geisler on the bridge," Shay said, putting her phaser back into its holster. "Of course, this time is a little different because of the respirators."

Rhula frowned. "I think the shuttle malfunctioned," he responded. He didn't want to admit that there might have been an error on his part. "You have something for me to look at?"

The Captain found the doctor's statement to be curious. Given the atmospheric interference, a mechanical failure was possible, but a thorough checkup would have to be done by a professional, and that was not any one of the four people there. "Right this way," Harvey stated, gesturing to the building. "We found a corpse in the basement. The area had been sealed extremely well, which significantly slowed the decay rate."

"Mummification?" the Bajoran asked, curiosity heavy in his voice. "It's uncommon to find mummified remains these days. Even out on the fringes, most planets have been picked over by someone at some point. Sacrilege, if you ask me. Disturbing remains like that." He looked at Geisler. "Show me."

Harvey led the way back in the house, putting the respirator on as he did. The smell was bad enough to handle the first time, and it was not something he was ready to experience. "Right down here," the Captain said as soon as he hit the bottom of the staircase. He flipped his wrist light on and shone it in the direction of the corpse.

Shay followed behind them. "It doesn't look like anything here has been picked over," she said. "However, I haven't seen any other locations. Makes me wonder why it doesn't seem like anyone but us has explored this place in all these years."

"Perhaps it was simply forgotten about," said Aidan. "So many people dying where they up, it seems. If they were in the beginnings of an industrial age, maybe no one else even knew they existed."

Trying to ignore the chatter going on around him, Rhula approached the corpse. While not perfectly preserved, what lay before him was certainly in more useful condition than its peers. He bent over and grabbed one of the corpse's wrists. Pulling it up, he examined the hand. The fingers were long, thin, and stiff, though the later was likely not a trait of the species. Instead, it was likely related to the body in question no longer being alive.

He withdrew his tricorder from the pocket of his jacket. As he scanned, he made some mental notes. Scaled skin, unknown tissue folds inside the neck and torso, lungs smaller than body size would suggest, internal anatomy otherwise falls within typical humanoid range.

"Captain," he finally said, breaking his several minute long self-imposed silence, "I'll need to study these remains more before I'll have anything substantial to share. Between the shuttle's onboard systems and the equipment I brought, I can remain on the surface. I will need assistance getting the remains to my shuttle though."

"I can assist with that," Shay offered.

"I think we all can assist," Harvey stated. "Doctor, given the fragility of the corpse, we will follow your lead and instructions to avoid as much damage as possible."

Rhula looked up and pointed at the man in a blue uniform. "There's a portable stasis unit in my shuttle. You know the kind, with the built-in micro anti-grav generator. Get it. It's the best chance we have to preserve the condition of the specimen."

"Indeed I do, Doctor," said Aidan as he turned to head back to shuttle. "I will be back in a moment." The old Ensign jogged back to shuttle to retrieve Doctor Jennin's portable stasis unit.

As soon as Crehan returned, Harvey decided to make himself useful by running a quick diagnostic on the stasis unit. After that rough landing, he just wanted to be sure that it would be ready to move the corpse to the shuttle. "It's your show, Doctor. Tell us what to do."

"Luckily, I learned a few things during the Occupation," Rhula said, opening a panel on the stasis unit. He pulled out one of the data chips before connecting his tricorder to the stasis unit. "This'll take me a second."

There was a pop. Then a fizzle. Then smoke.

"Or maybe a bit longer," Rhula said, annoyed. Why Starfleet insisted on such frustrating equipment. Bajoran and Cardassian technology were capable of accepting his modifications without combusting.

The malfunctioning equipment made Harvey want to run a quick diagnostic on his own tricorder just to make sure there wasn't anything that could cause malfunctions of this nature. But, that didn't seem to be appropriate at this time. Instead he pulled out his tricorder and extended it to the Doctor. "Need an extra tricorder or power cell?"

"Sure. But a Cardassian scanning unit would be better. Or a Bajoran sensor handunit," the physician answered while taking the offered device. He connected the Captain's tricorder to the stasis unit and waited to see if it was going to fail like before.

When several seconds passed without any reaction, he continued. "There we go," Rhula said shortly thereafter. He touched a control on the stasis unit and the normal quiet hum it made intensified. A few simple commands on the tricorder and an anti-grav beam reached out from the unit and engulfed the remains.

"Alright, I'll lift the remains. With the anti-grav beam, of course. One of you will need to slide the stasis unit under the elevated sample."

"I can do that," Shay offered as she moved to the stasis unit. "Let me know when you're ready, Lieutenant."

"I'll assist," Harvey said, moving to stand next to the security officer. "We'll have to be delicate with our movements as to not damage the corpse further."

Rhula watched the others get in place. "Activating the anti-grav beam now," he said. The remains were encapsulated by the beam and slowly rose off the ground. "It's going to be tight; please be careful," he instructed. "Any higher and the risk to the remains is too great."

Harvey didn't have to be told twice. He carefully eyed the remains as they were elevated, even as they shifted slightly under the influence of the beam. As soon as the remains stopped moving, he instructed Mitchell beside him to, "Push gently." Harvey began to slowly propel the unit forward, sliding it carefully under the subject.

At Harvey's instruction, Shay began to push gently, holding her breath the entire time. The last thing she wanted to be was responsible for damage to the remains. Hopefully, they'd know more about these poor souls after the CMO had the opportunity to look the subject over.

Aidan watched as the others gingerly around the remains so as not to disturb them. As little as possible anyway. "It is intriguing that this one has not reached skeletal remains as the others have."

"Intriguing indeed," Rhula said in agreement as he watched the others move the stasis unit under the remains. "That's good," he said before lowering the remains onto the device. He activated the stasis field from his, well the Captain's, tricorder. "I'll take this pack to my shuttle and get to work."

"Good luck, Doctor," Harvey wished the Bajoran pathologist. In a way, Harvey found himself slightly jealous of the Bajoran. Years ago, Harvey would have loved the opportunity to study such a specimen.

"Care to join me, Ensign?" the Bajoran asked Crehan.

"I would relish the opportunity, Doctor," said Aidan. He cast sideways to Harvey. "With the Captain's permission?"

Harvey nodded to the Ensign. There was likely very much more to see down here, but the corpse required quite a bit of attention, especially since it seemed to be all that remained of this species. "Take great care, gentlemen. Ensign Mitchell, I suppose it's time for us to return as well."

Shay didn't envy the men, but they were used to such things. And as a Security officer, she'd seen her share of some pretty questionable things in the past, but nothing quite like that. She turned her attention to Harvey and nodded. "Of course, Captain."

Harvey nodded to the security officer, then turned once more to Jennin and Crehan. "Best of luck, you two. See you back on the Black Hawk." As he said that, he looked into his travel pouch to check his inventory. All of the items that he'd brought with him, minus the tricorder, were still there, along with the artifact he retrieved. It was an interesting specimen, one that he hoped he could study in due time.

What none of them knew, however, was how strange the mystery was about to become.]]>
Tue, 03 Aug 2021 11:15:20 +0000
Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, It's Off To Work We Go - Part 1
Mission - Extinction
Location - Sadoria

Joey stood near the opening that led down to the underground cave that was found and looked at those present. "We don't know what things are going to look like once we're down there, so everyone be careful and watch your step," she said as she checked over their gear. Anything she felt would be useful in their current task, they had it. "Does anyone have any questions?"

Aidan had everything portable that he'd need and could carry for a cavernous archaeological site. As he adjusted the pack on his back, he turned to Commander Geisler. "Are we only cataloging what we find or tagging things and areas for more study or transport?"

"That's all going to depend on what we find," Joey answered. "Samples have been taken from other locations and brought back to the ship for analysis. I'd say it's likely going to be a little bit of everything within reason. We don't have use of transporters, so it will be limited to what we can carry."

"We should have brought some extra anti-grav carts," Quinn remarked, noting that they'd only brought two. "Anything to help us get these heavier items out of the cave."

“If we really need them, they can always be brought in by shuttle.”, Arjin offered. He struggled with with his pack a bit but was excited to do some more exploring.

"We'll definitely get them if we need them," Joey said. "That being said, are we all ready to get going?"

“Ready”, Arjin nodded.

Aidan nodded. "I have everything I need," he said. "And am ready to get going." This was yet another trip to the planet that he was looking forward to. What a journal article this would make if only it were not a Starfleet operation.

Proctor walked up to the group, after having talked to the two security officers monitoring the area nearby. "The transport inhibitor is active and there's been no changes. We can go down anytime. "Anyone not feeling comfortable with repelling?" She asked politely adjusting the straps on her back.

Quinn wanted to offer a snide remark, but this was not the time or place. This was his second away mission since the Convergence Zone and he'd be damned if he stuck out like a sore thumb already. He shook his head to the security officer and started to put on his own harness.

Joey looked toward Quinn. The incident with the Dolmoqour did happen nearly a year ago, but it was something she was having a hard time letting go of. Especially since she'd been hellbent of killing her husband thanks to the parasite in her head. Was she nervous? Absolutely. It'd been a long time since she'd done anything like this, but it had to be done.

First, though, she took the time to check each individuals harness and personal anchor systems to see to it they were done correctly. She didn't want anyone getting hurt on her watch. When she was satisfied, Joey took a deep breath and moved toward the opening in the ground. "Is anyone familiar with rappelling?" she asked, hoping someone knew a bit about it. Sadly, there was no way she could be surface side and in the cave at the same time.

"Yes Ma'am." Proctor replied, "I am certified and comfortable. As she talked she was putting on climbing gloves, it was a short hop but she didn't like to cut corners. The helmet with its light (currently off) already secured in her head, where goggles also rested.

"Good, you're going down first," Joey said, nodding toward the opening. "Look around and let us know what you see, then we'll all follow."

"Aye Ma'am" Proctor replied and headed off toward a squat looking, solid device about feet high and a few feet around. It was a portable weight from which she pulled a rope, spooling it on her arm she carefully followed a path with little red flags, indicating the last known safe places to walk, toward the hole. Turning her light on her helmet on she peered in, nodded once to herself and tossed in the rope watching it unfurl. After a moment she went back to the device and pressed a button, pulled out a little more rope then set the manual lock override to hold it into place.

Then secured her locking rig to the part of the rope near the hole, "I'll be just a moment." and then without hesitation jumped into the hole, hands on her locking carabiner. She carefully controlled her descent and landed, her boots crunching on crystals as she hit ground, keeping knees slightly bent to absorb impact. After a complete but swift check she unhooked and moved aside, "All Clear." She reported over the away team coms.

Arjin was not really confident whilst getting down, but after some time he was glas to be with both feet firmly on the ground.

Joey was the last one down after making sure everyone else made it to the surface below safely. She shined her light around their rocky surroundings and indicated that the others should do the same. There were crystal fragments everywhere, some much larger than others, but there were still a few others anchored on the caverns ceiling that showed signs of damage. "I'm glad you, Abrams and Khan made it out of here alive," she said.

The beam of her light moved again. Roughly seventy feet away from them were a couple tunnels that seemed to branch out in different directions. "I wasn't expecting more than one cave," Joey told her team with a frown. "And given that we have no idea how stable things are down here, I'm not comfortable splitting up. I say we pick one and hike a bit. If we don't come across anything, we come back and go down the other."

Quinn pulled out his tricorder and instantly was met with feedback. He quickly disabled the sensor unit, reduced its range, and reactivated it. He listened for a moment, and didn't hear any resonating with the crystals. "Tricorder range is extremely limited, best to keep the range set for twenty meters." He walked to the junction of the tunnels and scanned down each one. "Can't really tell which of these is best."

Joey felt her frustration start to rise. Why couldn't anything work as it was meant to? "Then we'll start with this one," she said, gesturing to the nearest opening and began to walk toward it. "We'll walk twenty meters and see what scans tell us. Let's go."

Quinn followed the Lieutenant Commander down the tunnel, shining his light around as they did so. The cavern, as expected, was dark, yet the light shining off the exposed crystals provided some small amplification, although dimly and iridescent. "Makes you wonder how much crystal is really on this planet."

"Indeed," said Aidan, "Most likely there are many deposits underground. And they look amazing." He paused a moment and shined his light onto one. "See how the light seems to cause the raw, uncut crystal to glow. Fascinating. And it's beauty is unsurpassed by anything Federation gemologists could produce or cut." Stared for a few seconds at the outcropping.

With Joey in the front, Proctor brought up the rear. As the last member headed down the path she quickly used a piece of chalk to mark an arrow down the cave mouth they choose just in case anyone had to come in after them as scanning seemed limited then followed before they were out of sight, pausing when they did to look around. "They do look nice." She agreed, keeping the "When they're not blowing up in your face." to herself.

Joey let the others continue to talk behind her, but it seemed like the deeper they got inside the cave, the more worn out she felt. "Ensign Mackie, are you picking anything up on scans?"

Quinn shook his head. "There's not much to speak of at this point," he said sadly. "However it seems this tunnel is about to turn downward. It's not a sudden drop, but it should be a steep ramp."

"I can secure a pinon if we want to go down and we could link together for security depending on slope. Do you have the degrees? or know how far down it slopes before leveling?" Proctor came closer to where the group huddled, hoping they all brought enough rope.

"It's perfectly walkable," Quinn announced, looking down the sloped area. "If anything, we should have brought a loaf of bread to leave some crumbs behind."

Or leave behind the fingers of a certain Operations officer, Joey thought. She blinked. Where in the hell had that come from? She didn't know, but hoped it didn't happen again. "Then, we go down and run more scans," she said, then began to start making her way down the slope.

Scans, thought Quinn. Why was it that all he ever got to do on away missions was scan? He followed the senior officer, continuing to scan as they went. Crystal. Rock. Crystal. Rock. Crystal. Vein of gold. Crystal.

Quinn paused in his thoughts, watching the readouts on the tricorder. "Commander, it looks like the tunnel is widening. I'm picking up a hollow section ahead."

Proctor followed, eyeing the crystals warily as she walked behind the group, she glanced behind briefly checking their rear, Walking through a hall of potential bombs with the unknown ahead and they're acting like it's a Sunday stroll... she thought irritated then was irritated with her unfair thought as she wondered what the hell that was about. Pushing it away she focused on her job.

Instead of asking how far ahead, Joey pushed the team forward to the hollow section. She hoped it would offer up some sort of answers, but so far nothing they'd encountered had. Instead, they'd only raised more questions. She was a bit thankful they hadn't come across any bodies so far, but there was still plenty of time.

"It should be starting to widen now," Quinn said, looking at his tricorder. And hollow out it did. Soon, the cavern walls seemed to disappear from one side, and the ceiling above them lifted almost out of range of their flashlights. The path, however, started to get rockier than normal, at least for moment, before translating into something smooth.

"Um, Commander," Quinn remarked, pausing in his stride and shining his flashlight around. He'd been completely taken by surprise by the vision that overwhelmed him. "I think we're going to need some floodlights down here." He stopped his beam on what appeared to be a broken window on an artificially created structure. "I think there's a lost city down here."

"A lost city?" The Intelligence Chief echoed. "Let's head back up to the surface and get any supplies we might need before we attempt to explore a lost city."

Proctor stepped up with the rest of the group, her light shining brightly right up until it stopped, she couldn't see the entirety of the space but it felt huge and her light only settled on a few of the nearer ruined buildings. "Perhaps a brief look about a quarter or half mile in?" She suggested, "A little recon to make sure the initial zone is safe?"

Arjin looked inside the large cave. The first buildings seemed rather plain and undecorated. His initial wish was to follow the Ensigns suggestion. But he knew Commander Geisler was right and they should head back. Anyways it was her call to make.]]>
Tue, 03 Aug 2021 02:45:18 +0000
Learning the Ropes
Mission - Extinction
Location - Administration

After Harvey left, Mila gave Eden a smile. "Come, there is much to be learning and short time to be doing it. I am having simple system, though, and will teach you best way of sorting things." She turned and headed back into her small office and activated her console. When she had what she wanted up, she turned it so Eden could see it.

On the screen was a list of all the departments and the Yeomen assigned there and the crew assigned to them. "This is always being first order of business," she said. "Having access to personnel is vital here."

Eden looked a bit nervous as she looked at the screen. There was quite a lot going on there. "I... I was under the impression I would just be shadowing."

"Da, and you are doing so now," Mila said before she glanced at her. "What is being your view of shadowing?"

"Shadowing... following you around and observing what you do day to day. I mean... I don't mind hands on learning, but I'm still a civilian and most things are strictly off limits to me," she explained before gesturing toward the screen of the console. "I don't suppose knowing this is such a big deal, but some of the things you see I know that I can't."

"But this is what I am doing, when I am not needing to chew ass," the Yeoman said. "However, let us go. We shall conduct inspection, da?"

Eden nodded. Mila was the boss at the moment. "Yes," she agreed. "Would you mind if I asked questions when I have them?"

"By all means," Mila said as she left the office. Her demeanor seemed to shift to Starfleet professional, her shoulders squared off, her steps steady and her eyes straight forward. "The number one thing to remember is that it helps to throw them off. It's why I use the accent."

The look of shock that crossed Eden's features was unmistakable. "It... it's not real?"

"Sometimes it is being real, other times, it isn't," she said as she headed into the main heart of Administration. "Especially if I don't have time to fuck around."

"Given life on a starship, and your role as Harvey's Yeoman, I can't imagine there's a lot of time for that," the young woman said as she kept pace with Mila. "You have so much to keep in order."

"You get used to it after a while," Mila said. "I've been doing it for eleven years." She came to a podium in the Administration Operations center and dismissed a crewman who quickly scampered away. "Attention in Administration! It is being O Group time!" she called out, her voice ringing over the internal comm.

Everyone around stopped what they were doing and grabbed PADDs and came to stand in an orderly semi circle around Mila.

"Report," she called and nodded to a Bolian in front on the left.

"We have seven cases of sar'nex rye left in storage and fourteen cases of the Talexian Leola Root that no one wants or likes."

"When we are getting to the next planet, trade it off two for one," the Yeoman said. "Next."

This went on for area after area of the ship with Mila always making suggestions, giving commands, or sending something up the ropes to a department head, or Commander Walsh. Finally, she turned to Eden. "See? It is being easy."

Eden looked at Mila in total disbelief. Administration was definitely not for her. There was far too much to keep up with, but the Yeoman had it down to a science. "That was easy? Nothing about that seemed easy. I don't know how you do it."

"What seemed hard to you?" Mila asked. "People told me what we had or what problem they had, I made a suggestion and it was sent to the proper place. All I usually do is sort things out for Harvey and put them in order of importance so he can throwing them all in pile on his desk to be driving me up side of wall."

"What if it's a problem that doesn't have an easy fix?" She asked, looking around at the people moving about. Eden couldn't help but wonder how much frustration they dealt with on a daily basis. "What's hard about it is trying to keep everything in line. Sorting things based on priority, fixing problems... It makes taking care of the twins look easy."

The Russian woman had to laugh, but waved a hand off. "Perhaps I was going a bit fast, but they're used to that. After a while, you learn by watching others, and you wouldn't be at the top of the Administrative chain to start out. It all takes time, no matter what department you go in, and you're going to have to remember a lot. The most important thing is figuring out what's important to the Captain and not to the person giving you the message."

"I'm not so sure Administration is for me," the young woman admitted as politely as she could. "But, I don't mind watching and learning. Not everyone has this kind of opportunity, and I don't want to throw mine away." Her expression turned curious. "How did you know this is what you wanted to do? Or did you have something else in mind?"

"I did not know what I wished to do after I graduated school," Mila said honestly as she headed towards her office. "I did not wish to go through the Academy, so I enlisted. Because I am having eidetic memory, they are convincing me to be going into Administration. From there, I worked my to becoming specialist to where I am being now. What is is that you are really wishing to be doing?"

Eden looked thoughtful as she contemplated the question. What did she want to do? She honestly didn't know. "I came back with Joey and Harvey to help out with the twins, and even before that, I worked at a daycare center. I did that almost straight after graduation," she told her. "I adore kids and working with them. Maybe I should skip enlisting and go to school to be a teacher."

"More ships are having families on them and the children will be needing someone to be teaching them," the brunette said. "You are knowing that by experience."

"So, does that mean I shouldn't enlist? Should I shadow more departments before I make any decisions?" She asked, sounding more confused than ever.

"Why not be looking into Starfleet Child Care and Teaching?" Mila suggested. "You would not have to be officer or enlisted and could still be doing what you love. There are being many starbases and subspace learning to be getting you on path to being Starfleet while you are doing that."

Eden tried not to appear too frustrated. Why did this have to be so complicated? "It seems I have to do some research. I have no idea what I'm doing."

"Then do what you are doing now," Mila said with a gentle smile. "Shadow each department, do a little research and ask plenty of questions."

"That definitely sounds like the easiest way to do it. Is there anyone in particular you suggest I shadow?"

"It is depending if you are wanting serious side that most are not seeing, or side that everyone is seeing and liking," the Russian responded.

"If I'm going to make an honest decision for myself, shouldn't. I see the good, the bad and the ugly?" The young woman queried.

"Da," Mila said. "So I would start with Operations and then be going to Security and Intelligence."

"I've already seen part of Security. The brig to be exact," Eden said. "I accidentally ended up in a place I shouldn't have been, and a drone hit me with what I was told was a transporter tag that took me straight to the brig. Your Chief of Security seemed nice enough. She asked that I not end up back there again."

Mila had to laugh. "I am sorry, but that is funny," she said. "Perhaps you should save Security for last since you know how to get there fast."

"Ha. Ha." Eden muttered sarcastically. "I was thinking I would save Intel for last. If I can even shadow Joey or one of her people."

"She's your cousin," the Yeoman said. "Ask her to give you civilian brief to read. It should look like four or five words with rest blacked out and read "Not For Your Eyes" with the remaining words."

"There's definitely more to it than that, and I'm sure there's a way to make it happen. It's just a matter of how," the young woman said as she offered Mila a smile. "So, what's next on your daily agenda?"

"Next, we are taking all subspace messages for Captain Geisler, sorting them by importance, getting them in order and delivering them."

Eden nodded her head. She felt like she should be taking notes. "I'm sure there are things in those I shouldn't know about. Should I shadow someone else for the time being?"

"I have black screen for such occasion," MIla said. "It is really just reading titles and who is being sender. Information is Need to Know if for Captain."

"Then, let's get to it," the young woman said with a smile.

With a return smile, Mila led her off to show her what a day in Administration was really like. ]]>
Tue, 03 Aug 2021 01:37:59 +0000
One Step Closer, But More Time To Go...
Mission - Extinction
Location - Science Lab

Zayna had been frustrated. It'd been too long, and engineering had been dealing with too many rusty repairs for her liking. Not as many as there could have been, which she was glad about, but still too many. She'd been trying to find the source or some way to stop this from happening. However, no luck.

But, her research seemed to finally be going somewhere. There was no way to be 100% sure, but she hoped she had a lead. Now, she just had to wait for those she'd contacted to get back to her.

Voss walked over. "Lieutenant." handing over a padd. "When we finish with one repair, another one crops up. I have some of my people trying to analyze this....rust...but so far, nothing to report."

Taking the PADD, Zayna shook her head slightly, "I wish we didn't have to deal with this. But once the others get here, I might have an explanation. Well...part of one."

Kemm arrived in the science lab just a few moments later, carrying a padd of his own. "I've prepared a complete list of locations that have been affected by this anomaly," he stated, approaching the other lieutenants. "There are twelve in all, and all within the secondary hull."

"Matches the rest of the counts, and locations." Ryler looked to the other two. "Looks like we're just waiting on Djinx."

Voss looked at Kemm. "If you found 12, there's probably twice that many we haven't found." He looked at the data. "If we can't solve this quickly....the ship will rust completely, forcing us to abandon ship."

Arjin had woken up with a headache, but had not taken the time to pass by Medical. It felt like his head was going to explode when he entered the lab. “Good morning Lieutenants. An update please.”, he asked before sitting down.

Zayna raised an eyebrow at Voss right before Djinx came in. "Morning, Commander. You look...exhausted. But Voss? It isn't that bad. Most of the parts have been able to be replaced is my understanding."

She switched on a holographic monitor, and lowered the brightness down except the areas impacted by the rust. "Kemm is right though. All of the areas are within the secondary hull. Our ongoing scans tell us when one crops up. Now..." She moved the images around a little.

"I've been trying to find a center for this thing, and I think I'm getting close. The problem is, there isn't a full circle for me to get an exact center. I've got a general idea, but, its hard to pinpoint. Tweaking internal sensors hasn't helped either. There isn't even a regular time between each occurrence."

"What about a set of conditions?" Kemm asked. "We know what the end result is, but is there a way to create some sort of early warning system?"

"The hull of this ship," Voss brought up, "was designed to be rust proof. Rust requires moisture and a metallic surface to happen....the hull is a composite material so that rust can't occur."

“As we have seen in the science lab, when the incident commences, the decay is almost instantaneous. Did we look into the conditions and are there similarities?”, he asked to Kemm. Then turning towards the Engineer, he added:”Explain your thoughts Lieutenant. How does this help us?”

"Let's start with the basics. The body of this ship consists of an inner hull and an outer hull or skin." Voss started to explain. "The outer skin is composed of a mixture of 13 components, from duranium, electroceramic to victurium. What we have to do is determine what part of that mixture is attracting this rust."

“I’m sorry for interrupting,” Kemm said cautiously. “But I think everyone is forgetting that rust is only one of the side affects. Twelve different occurrences have been detected, but only eight are rust related. We’ve also encountered a decomposed gel pack, dried up plasma, and two rubber seals that became brittle. In each case, the affected items have been aged decades during their brief exposure to… whatever that is happening. And all instances have been located in internal compartments, which due to the relative humidity in the air, are expected to begin rusting after their first decade of service. Our focus needs to be on how this hyper aging is remotely possible, not focusing on one particular aspect.”

"No, Kemm, you're just fine. You have all the correct points." Zayna found a seat so she could see them all. "We all know what the ship is composed of. All of this has to do with the science end of things. Is the entire ship in danger? Perhaps, but not enough to raise alarms right now."

The alert went off for another location being found within the search parameters that had been set.

"Oh boy," Ryler stated as she switched the holographic image to where had been impacted. However, she raised an eyebrow and split the image to another section. "Commander...if I'm not that a quantum filament?"

Arjin focused on the image, trying to ignore his worsening headache. The filament was extremely small, but the analysis undisputed. It was a quantum filament. “I believe it is Lieutenant. Well spotted.”

Zayna nodded, "That's what I thought. This might explain a few things. Actually...a lot of things..." She adjusted the scanners to scan for quantum filaments and waited. "One of these? Not a bad thing honestly. Many? Technically not so bad either. But if the many meet up? We get what we've been getting: random things jumping through time faster than they should, such as rusting."

Voss looked at the data. "I'd like to suggest we get a sample of the "rust" and examine it. What if it's a life form of some kind?"

Rubbing her forehead, Zayna sighed softly. "Lieutenant, I appreciate you wanting to help. However, that has already been done. It is literally just rust. These quantum filaments could be the explanation to all of this. We get rid of them, we should stop seeing rust, and we'd just have to track down any remaining things the sensors haven't picked up." She walked closer to the holographic image to look at it better. "However, the when and how we picked them up...that's a mystery."

"I'll help my people with these additionals areas of the rust." Voss turned and headed to the turbolift.

Sitting back down, Zayna turned off the holographic image, but kept the lights lowered for the Commander's sake. "Tracking down quantum filaments across the ship, not the adventure I planned on having." She looked to Kemm. "Hopefully we get them all before more rust starts showing up."

"Or rotten gel packs," Kemm remarked. "I must admit, I've never tracked a filament before. I'm not sure when we would have picked them up, but the point is, they're here. Is there any way to detect where they are anchored? That might help in getting free from them."

"I can work on that. Now that I know what it is we're dealing with, I can set the sensors to find them, and then find the connection. It won't take long but, still tedious. Hopefully by the end of the day if I'm not distracted." Zayna picked up a PADD. "Once that's done, the anchor should light up brighter than any other filaments."

"We've been encountering at least one anomaly per day," Kemm stated. "Let's just hope that when these filaments reappear, they don't try to take down a member of the crew."

Once he was in engineering, he ordered the damage control teams to start checking the ship's gel packs, and to replace any that show any abnormalities.

“I will make sure you are not distracted.”, Arjin replied. “If you give me 15, I’ll help you with the sensors.”

"Bring along some coffee, and I'll hold you to that, Commander." Ryler gave a smirk and looked to Kemm. "Hopefully we can finally finish this whole rust thing you found a few weeks ago." She started in on working on the sensor tweaks, all while also formulating in her head how they'd clear this all up once the sensors could detect the filaments.

===[Several Hours Later...]===

Finishing the last bit of her 3rd cup of coffee, Zayna put the last bit of code into the sensors and kicked on the scans for the filaments. Her eyes moved over to Djinx. "Really hoping that they're in few enough spots that we don't have to worry about running all over the ship."

She slid a PADD over to him, "Hopefully this containment field works too, else we're going to have a hell of a time containing them."

"What was that?" a voice behind Ryler asked. Lieutenant Kemm had arrived in the lab just moments before, but he could tell no one had entered. He was about to make himself known when the Assistant Science Chief made her remark to the Commander.

Looking over her shoulder, Zayna smiled, "Containment field that should hold these things, assuming we can gather them into one area." She slid a PADD over to him as well, "Setup so that the filaments should be attracted to it. Sensors would tell us if there are any stragglers."

"Fascinating," the lanky Kelpien engineer replied. "In other words, a magnet to find the needle within a haystack."

“Trouble with magnets is that you are never sure you find all the needles. And if the magnet is strong enough to do so, it usually interferes with other equipments. Let’s hope it is not the case with what we have set up.”, Arjin added.

"If we are able to detect anything," Kemm suggested, "then it is at least a step in the right direction. I hate to think what more could happen if this filaments continue to run amok. It is only a matter of time before one of these manifests in a member of the crew."

Zay looked at Kemm, "That is what I'm hoping to avoid. We might have to set up a few of these, but at least they aren't a major drain on ship power. Well, not based on the initial tests. But, we better work on it sooner rather than later."

"How long do you think it would take one of these to draw a filament?" Kemm asked, looking over the data. "And, we should probably start small, and far away from populated and sensitive areas of the ship."

"Hopefully not too long. And it should only attract the filaments, at least, based on the simulation. If it attracts anything else, well, hopefully it doesn't cause ship issued."

"When do you think we could activate these?" Kemm asked. He was personally hoping for sooner, rather than later.

Zayna nodded to the PADD she'd given Kemm. "You double-check the setup I put on there, since I'm no engineer, and then we can set them up."

Kemm accepted the padd gratefully and began to study the information there. He doubled checked each of the equations, and found that the math was more than adequate. Then he reviewed the other settings and didn't find anything that needed to be updated there. "Looks like we're good to go," he confirmed.

“Let’s get this show on the road then.”, the Lieutenant Commander said.

Nodding again, Zay looked over the information one last time. "Well then, guess we have nothing else to lose. Lieutenant Kemm, join me in setting this up?"

"With pleasure, Lieutenant." Kemm gave both science officers a nod before following Lieutenant Ryler to a nearby station.

~To Be Continued~]]>
Tue, 03 Aug 2021 00:09:16 +0000
Time of relaxation
Mission - Extinction
Location - U.S.S. Black Hawk, Gymnasium

Conrad walked through the door into the Gymnasium and stopped in surprise. The captain had been right in being proud of his gym, it actually had a pool and that made Conrad grin. Few things were as perfect as a warmup as swimming, it engaged the entire body and was excellent for relaxing at the same time in terms of mentally calming. Calmly he walked over to the replicator and replicated himself a pair of long-legged swimming tights. It would be easy to do the actual workout in as well as giving minimal swimming resistance.

It wasn't more than ten minutes before he left the changing room with a bag with his clothes and a nice towel over his shoulder. What was different from what he normally did, was he was standing tall and proud, he didn't hunch over or try to make himself look smaller. He was actually built like a tank, having built his body over many years in a way to relax. Calmly he put the bag and towel down by one of the chairs by the pool, took a shower to remove any grime or old dirt off his body to keep it out of the pool, then he started to warm up gently, and soon he was diving into the water and lazily crawl swam back and forth in the pool. It was so darn relaxing that he nearly missed the twenty-minute warmup mark. But he was soon out of the pool, took a quick shower to remove any chlorine from the pool itself. When he was dry enough he headed over to the weights, it was an impressive setup and he decided it was upper body day and proceeded to work out in earnest. It wasn't long before he found himself in a comfortable rhythm.

T’Mari had actually managed to get some sleep, the only problem was she’d gotten herself out of her usual sleep pattern and now she was wide awake, although how long For was another thing. She’d decided to go for a walk to clear her mind, what brought her to the gym she didn’t know but walking inside she paused as she saw Conrad working out.

Conrad was in his own little world, music in his ear and focusing on what he was doing. He was very much enjoying himself as it relaxed him to work with his body. He was thinking about T'mari from time to time when his mind started to wander, but he quickly pushed those thoughts away. He had been burned down that path before, quite literally.

T’Mari felt awkward simply standing watching Conrad, instead she walked around to where he’d see her giving him a polite smile as she did so.

The instant he noticed her he stopped, he actually became a few shades paler as his ptsd was starting to kick up his panic. Without a word he put down the weights and took on the slouched posture, trying to look insignificant.

“Please... don’t stop on my account, I’m not here to get in your way” T’Mari offered a brief smile. “I was just out for a walk” she had noticed his discomfort at her presence. “If you want me to go...”

"Should't you be in sickbay?" he felt very exposed.

“I was, they couldn’t find anything wrong with me.” T’Mari shrugged her shoulders. “I’ve been back to my quarters and had some sleep, now I’m wide awake again... for now.”

He was still highly uncomfortable but the need to care for her came marching in fast. "You need sleep. Drink some ginger tea."

“Trust me I’ve tried it all. Short of sleep aides that is! I’d rather not take any drugs especially whilst pregnant.” She shrugged her shoulders. “I’m part Vulcan, fortunately we don’t need as much sleep. I can try meditation if necessary but right now I can’t be bothered with that!”

He was getting annoyed that she simply ignored what her body was telling her. his emotions flared up. "You are part vulcan, Part... I won't let you neglect your needs, especially since you are pregnant. You will do what is necessary or I will make a device that will flood your system with melatonin."

T’Mari looked quite surprised at Conrad’s outburst. She wasn’t sure exactly how to respond without offending him. She stood silent uncertain what to say.

"Do you care about the child you carry?" he pointed at her stomach.

“Of course I do!!” T’Mari responded uncharacteristically angrily.. “Being a mother means everything to me!”

"Then you should care for yourself more!"

“Who in the hell are you to be telling me what to do!!” T’Mari stormed towards the door pausing to look back. “I suggest you keep your opinions to yourself in the future!”

"Someone who cares!" he called back. "But don't worry, I'll be sure to ignore you the next time you collapse!" of course he would never do so, but his emotions were going wild.

T’Mari was filled with anger, “Good! I wouldn’t want your help anyway!!” With that, she walked out of the doors leaving him to it.

After she had left, Conrad took a deep breath and decided he had enough for today. So after a quick shower, he swam a few laps. It was rather relaxing and he was happy with the workout he had got. He would happily take a last shower when he returned to his quarters. He dried himself off and put on his old clothes so he wouldn't walk through the ship naked.

Returning to her quarters T’Mari had no idea why she’d been so annoyed, but at the same time she didn’t care. As far as she was concerned Conrad could keep his opinions to himself, why should she care what he thought? No, she was better off as far away from him as possible.

Wed, 28 Jul 2021 22:52:35 +0000
Comparing Notes
Mission - Extinction
Location - Sadoria surface

Klim stood next to one of the drone pilots, watching the survey he was making of the city. A handful of probes would have fully catalogued the city in an hour, but the atmospheric interference made it extremely difficult to record from a distance. Every angle, every millimeter had been a challenge to get. Normally the Zakdorn didn't care to watch something so menial, but ever since he'd seen that map the day before, he couldn't get it out of his mind.

Joey stood off to the side of the meeting spot and waited for things to get underway. It would be interested to see what everyone had come across so far, and hopefully, bring the bigger picture closer to completion. That was if there weren't still missing pieces. That would be answered soon enough, though.

Camila came over the hill in the shuttle she had taken from base came and hovered to a stop over a likely landing spot, then brought it down and powered it down. She exited and came forward with several specimen bags in her hand and a tricorder in the other. "Have you found anything else?" she asked Joey.

"No," Joey answered. "I haven't had the chance to look around further."

Zayna wandered over and shut her tricorder. "I'm one for surveys, but...this is ridiculous." She'd heard Camila's question to Joey as she'd gotten closer. "Nothing to find beyond what we can far."

Arjin arrived on foot towards the meeting point. His Padd full with the images taken inside the Big building they had entered, which they presumed being some sort of museum. “Greetings everyone.”, he said with a childish grin still on his face.

Klim heard the voices nearby, but he remained fixated on the drone pilot's screen. "Wait a second," he said, spotting a glimmer of light in what they all thought was an open field. The Zakdorn tapped on the screen where the light was flashing. "Take the drone closer to that."

Ryler walked over, curious what Klim was looking at. "What've you got over here?"

"See this?" Klim said, pointing to a field outside the town. "This whole area slopes downward, almost as if a sinkhole is slowly developing. There are some small structures peeking out from the ground, overgrown vehicles... it doesn't look usual. Plus..." Klim lifted a padd that he held which had an image of the map he had photographed at the airfield. "It's one of the locations marked here."

Camila joined the others with her tricorder out and a PADD and specimen bag with the photo in it she had found. "I found some maps and a picture of something unidentified in the air," she said. "The area I found them at was heavily fortified, but no sign of a fight. Just more skeletal remains."

Joey moved closer to Klim. "We're going to need to get a team out there to take a look at that area. We've got quite a few pieces to this puzzle, but that's all they are at this point. Whatever areas are marked in the maps you found need to be looked at."

Ryler rubbed her forehead, looking between the images. "We've got to be careful wherever we go that has this type of thing. The airfield was dangerous enough even though it was skeletons and such. We don't know what actually is down there. But...I do agree, we do need to check out the area."

"A close examination is a good idea," Klim agreed. "I strongly recommend caution, especially knowing some of this ground can give away."

Ensign proctor noted the spot where they had been, "We had that happen as well with ground giving way, seems not uncommon here." Ensign Proctor agreed. "In an beachlike area not to far from the skeletons at the picnic. There were multiple paths off the main cave that were revealed after the transporter meant to get us out exploded the crystals instead." She reported, recalling the unpleasant sensation of the shards hitting her skin.

Joey looked to Sarah, then back to the others. "Interesting. We should go back to that location as well. We're going to need a few teams to check these locations out. It's going to be dangerous, so aside from appointed leaders of said groups, I think teams should be purely on a volunteer basis. Any objections to that?"

"Did you have it sealed off, and what do you mean it exploded when you tried to transport out?" Camila asked Proctor.

Proctor turned to her Chief and replied, "Yes Ma'am, instructions were passed as soon as possible after we evacuated the area. The drone pilot attempted to use the transporter on the shuttle only instead of transporting us out of the cave something about it resonated with the crystals, causing them to shatter. The force of it sufficient to open up a large hole that seemed to be covering several paths."

Zayna realized she'd missed some of the reports of what happened to the additional teams. "This is news to me. I think we need to be overly cautious then. The points on the map must mean something, even if we don't know what it is yet. All of them need to be checked, even if it is just with the drone."

"Shattering crystals?" Klim asked. His job aboard the Black Hawk required him to read and analyze all of the reports, but even he hadn't a chance to read about Proctor's experience. The term crystal rang a bell. Using his padd, he tapped away at the screen until he found what he was looking for. "Is this what you're talking about?" He handed the padd to Proctor, though it was clear that anyone could see the image displayed.

Proctor looked over, "Yes exactly. Like those." She confirmed.

Arjin had observed and listened before speaking. After the latest image, he decided to speak up. “It seems we also investigated one of the sites on the map. It was some sort of museum. And there we found some crystal statues who amplified certain frequencies. They look to be made of the same type of crystals but bigger and sculpted. Luckily we did not encounter any explosions nor sinkholes.”

"Crystals seemingly at the locations on the map," Zayna said quietly, trying to do some thinking. "This is seeming more and more like it was calculated, done on purpose, maybe in some way at least."

"Calculated?" Joey asked. Was she missing something? Nothing of what she'd heard just yet seemed to point to something or someone being responsible for any of this. At least, not yet. "I say we get some teams together and conduct as thorough a search as we possibly can of these marked areas. Perhaps, it will give us more to go off of the next time we meet up."

"Maybe those who lived here found use of them, figured out they were special in some way and built around where the crystals were." Proctor said consideringly after listening carefully briefly, "Regardless, I would be up for doing some further investigations, if that is felt to be useful." She continued respectfully. She'd been wanting to get her spelunking gear ever since getting out of the cave, she was curious and eager to see what was there.

Looking among those who were there, her eyes turned to the two higher ranked: Camila and Djinx. "What do you think? We'd need more people from the ship, some who are willing to help with this. I'm not huge one all the walking and climbing but, I could use the exercise."

"Learn to," Camila told Ryler dryly.

During the conversation, Klim had walked over to a nearby, standalone station. "I've run an analysis on all of our data collected so far. These crystals are everywhere. Jewelry. Statues. Broken down in the windows, and all over underneath. Based on how they are used, I wouldn't call them common. But they are certainly more concentrated under the city than they are above it."

Zayna looked to Klim. "If that's the case, it might not be a good idea to transport around the planet at all anymore, no matter where we're going."

Klim nodded. "The atmosphere is still too volatile for anything other than a short site to site, but I do agree." The Petty Officer then looked over to Commander Di Pasquale for orders, as she was still technically the designated command officer.

"Transporting is too risky," the Security Chief decided. "I'm placing every area under Security caution with zero transporter activity. I don't even care if it's a drone transponder tag."

Sarah nodded her understanding and agreement, the memory of the crystal shrapnel fresh in mind. It was not an experience she'd care to repeat. "Has anyone had any experience with them going off for any other reason?" She wanted to clarify. Kelly had been able to just knock one loose without setting off but if there were other sonics or energies that caused them to blow that'd be more to concern them.

Joey remained quiet for the moment as she mulled over their options. There really was only one that was remotely safe, and even that wouldn't be one hundred percent safe for any of them. She'd see if anyone else suggested it before chiming in since previous suggestions seemed to be overlooked.

Camila backtracked mentally and looked at Joey. "We have enough for that. Can you select a few teams, Commander?"

Joey simply nodded her head. "Yes."

Arjin recalled a fact about the crystalline statues he encountered. “Remember I told the crystalline statues I spoke about. That they seemed to amplify some frequencies. When they were amplifying, their crystalline structure weakened due to signs of radiation fracturing. Since we know the crystals are rare but not scarce and there are more of them underground than above ground, maybe the inhabitants only recently started to use them. And maybe radiation fracturing has something to do with their demise as a race. I would advise caution when using tricorders in the vicinity of the crystals.”

Joey turned her attention to Djinx. "Petty Officer Sokamin told all of us a matter of minutes ago that the crystals are everywhere, which makes them the exact opposite of rare, Commander. Investigating the other areas will give us more insight into what happened," she stated, then looked to everyone else. "As it's been stated before, the use of transport or any other type of travel that might set these crystals off, is a really bad idea." And now it was time to circle back to Camila's request for teams. "I would also suggest each member of every team get a crash course in rappelling and a few other Search and Rescue fields. I've got a feeling it's going to come in handy for this."

Proctor made mental notes on the Intel Chief's exchange with Science, appreciating the extra details on what might set them off. She said nothing though, but nodded her agreement.

"I have a small handful of personnel that are qualified for rappelling," Camila said as she made a note on a PADD. "I'd also like you to have your analysis team do an analysis on this image," she handed Joey the specimen bag with the photo of what looked like an unidentified flying object.

"We might want to have emergency only transporters on standby. Much as we don't like it, with all the foot travel, something could happen." Zayna finally chimed in. "But only for those instances where someone would die if not brought back to the ship. Obviously the teams would be warned before the transporters were activated. Preparing for the worst and not having to use the plan is what I'm hoping for though." She rubbed the back of her neck. "We might have a few on the science team too that can help, but I'm not 100% sure on everyone's when it comes to these type of things."

Klim started to tune out the conversation. As one of the few enlisted people on the planet, he never understood officers' penchant for standing around and talking about the problem. His attention was redirected to some new drone scans of the area they'd just discovered. Klim was correct about it being unusual. Several of the structures and vehicles were consistent with most construction practices, leading him to believe this was some sort of construction site.

Or at least, it was a construction site. Buried under the sand was a long shaft, something that appeared to be too well designed to belong there, especially since it went well below the surface. The sensor feeds lost their resolution past one-hundred feet thanks to the natural interference in the soil. "Commander," he called out. "We may want to take a look at this."

"No. Transporters," Camila told Ryler flatly before she looked at Klim. "What do you have?" she asked as she headed to where the intelligence analyst was. She looked at the scans, then arched an eyebrow. " this?"

"If I had to guess?" Klim answered. "I'd say it looks like an archeological dig under a construction site. Looks like it might have been well funded too."

With the image in hand that Camila had given her, Joey moved over to Kilm's other side to look at the scans. More pieces to an already huge puzzle they needed to put together. "Flag that location for further investigation."

Shaking her head at what Camila said, even though she was thinking medical emergency only, Zayna glanced over at what was being flagged. Why would there be a dig under a construction site? She was curious what was down there.

"Flagged," Klim replied, taping a control stud on his padd.

"Proctor, get with Ensign Mitchell and start marking off all the sites with crystals for transporter inhibitors," Camila said. "Follow up with making certain that all sites have at least two personnel. If you need anything, I'll be here on the planet."

"Aye Ma'am." Taking that as a dismissal, Proctor stepped away from the group as she made notes on a mini PADD then opened a com to Ensign Mitchell.

Joey looked to Camila. "I would suggest two teams. Given our backgrounds, you should head one of them up, and I'll head up the other. You take Sokamin, Ryler and anyone else you wish. I'll take Proctor," she began, because even if she was once Security, Camila wouldn't let her get away without someone being on her team. "Djinx, and flesh out everyone else shortly. Good?"

But before that, she handed the picture she held over to Klim. "See if you can figure out where that was taken. That's one of the locations one of the teams will look over."

"Got it," Camila said.

Klim looked at the photograph that was given to him. For whatever reason, he couldn't help himself from sighing. He'd been down on the planet since the airfield, using the command post to review whatever data was being collected. Normally, he enjoyed this kind of work, but he wasn't sure what to do with this picture. Nor was he keeping an interest in what the others were talking about. But protocol needed to be observed. The Zakdorn nodded his head and set it off to the side.

He glanced up at the drone pilot's monitor and suddenly it hit him. "Wait a second." He picked up the picture and compared it with what he saw on the monitor. "Look here," he remarked, pointing to a structure on the far side of town which hadn't yet been explored. There was a large complex, something that seemed to be very prestigious or valued. On top of it was the alien craft.

Camila followed the Zakdorn's pointing and frowned. "Okay. Looks like that's another spot to check," she said and made a notation in her PADD. "I'll assign a team to that location as well."

Zayna had listened, and knew she was going with Camila. Sounded like this was going to be an interesting investigation with what they were finding just with the drone and previous scans, let alone when they got there.

Arjin had remained silent and merely observed the different dealings. He was however intrigued with the archeological dig sit. So he spoke up. “Commander Geisler. Can our team be the one investigating the possible archeological dig site beneath the construction site?”

"We're going to the cave," Joey said. "Not sure where that's going to lead us, but we'll have to be ready for just about any possibility. If no one else has anything left, then we should probably start getting prepared for our newest expeditions."

"Then let's go," Camila said and headed back with her team.]]>
Sun, 25 Jul 2021 13:50:20 +0000
Taking Care
Mission - Extinction
Location - Sickbay

After they arrived back onto the ship and Dani got T'Mari back to sickbay, the young nurse worked on getting new sensors attached to her patient so vitals could be taken. "I'm sorry to have cut our trip to the surface so short," she said, tapping a few sensors on the biomonitor behind the bed. "It hasn't been long since your fainting spell, and now you've got some other things going on."

T’Mari offered a brief smile. “I wasn’t planning on being a liability down there, I noticed a skeleton... several of them all with necklaces on. I was curious so I picked one up. Next thing I know I’m sitting on the floor, I don’t know what happened in between.”

"Hopefully, we'll find out, but," the young nurse began. "Do you have any idea what might have caused it?"

“Being half Vulcan my senses are tactile, I can pick up impressions from things if I try hard enough. Sometimes it happens automatically whether I want it to or not!” T’Mari sighed. “That must be what happened.”

Dani finished getting the biomonitor synced and returned to T'Mari's side. "Do things like that happen often? And, if so, are there often incidents where you don't know what happened between?"

T’Mari shook her head. “It’s not something that happens often, this was my fault I left myself open to impression and it was obviously too much for my mind to process. I normally remember.” She looked confused.

"Do you remember ever hitting your head or suffering any kind of brain injury that might cause something like this to happen?" The nurse asked. She wanted to get as much information as she could before she carried on with any tests.

T’Mari shook her head stifling a yawn as she did so. “Sorry, err no injury not since abroad my last ship before I transferred here when I suffered a concussion during a fire fight.”

Dani frowned. "How long ago was that?"

“A couple of weeks before I transferred here. Medical cleared me for duty.”

"Did they know about the head injury? I mean... it's in your medical record, but did you tell whoever examined you?" The petite woman asked as she moved over to the terminal inside the room to access the file she wanted. "When we do the coming aboard physicals, we don't often have on hand access to those records."

“Actually... no I don’t think I did. I was cleared for duty before I transferred here so there wasn’t any need for me to mention it.” T’Mari offered a brief smile. “Besides I was suffering from bad morning sickness at the time so it kind of slipped my mind.”

Dani frowned. Did that head injury have something to do with what was going on? She wasn't sure, but would check just to be sure. "Has your morning sickness stopped?" She asked, wondering who conducted her physical.

T’Mari nodded. “Thankfully yes, I’m over 12 weeks now so I seem to have passed the morning sickness stage. Actually Commander Milo came to check on me.”

The young nurse nodded her head. She wasn't incredibly impressed with the way he handled things the last time the Lieutenant was in sickbay after she fainted. He seemed more concerned with T'Mari's unborn baby than he was T'Mari. Yes, Dani was concerned about the child's safety, but a healthy mother was definitely important for the well-being of a healthy baby. "What did Doctor Milo say?"

“He was very thorough and happy to let me back to work. After so many weeks off I was itching to get back to it!” T’Mari smiled. “I haven’t had any headaches, no dizziness, nothing to indicate lingering side effects of a head injury.”

"I wouldn't say that," the nurse said, glancing over her medical records. "You fainted while speaking with Commanders Geisler and di Pasquale, you said you were feeling a bit tired earlier, then nearly fainted a second time not long after that declaration, and have a completely blank spot in your memory. When we were on the planet's surface, did you ever feel any dizziness, nausea, headache or anything?"

T’Mari shook her head. “No, nothing until after I touched that crystal. I have no clue what happened after that.”

"I brought that back with us, and it's been taken to the lab for analysis. In the meantime, you're my concern," Dani said, moving back over to the bed. "I'm not sure how long we're going to have to keep you, but you'll be here for the next few hours at the very least. Any objections to that? I can provide you with a PADD that has games and the like on it to help with any boredom."

“That’d be great” T’Mari smiled. “I’ll stay for as long as you need me to, I have a baby to think of not just myself.”

The young nurse offered T'Mari a smile before she pulled open a cabinet to.produce a gown, then she set it next to her patient on the bed. "I'll go grab that so you can change into that gown for me, then when I come back, we can get started on those tests. I'll be right back," she said, then excused herself from the room to give the counselor some privacy.

T’Mari sighed as she started undressing, she hadn’t long come out of Sickbay now she was a patient yet again! She was starting to think she was fated to live in Sickbay. Once undressed she picked up the gown and put it on before sitting on the biobed to await Dani’s return.

Dani returned a few minutes later with a PADD in one hand and a medkit in the other. "Sorry about that. I had to get a few other things to get together before I could come back," she said, setting both objects aside. "If you'll lay back and get comfortable, we'll get started with the standard blood work.”

T’Mari nodded and lay back on the biobed. The sooner the tests were done and over the sooner she could get answers. “Isn’t it possible that I was just overwhelmed by the connection to the crystal? It does happen.”

"Anything is possible," the petite woman stated. "And you're welcome to refuse any tests and leave on your own accord. I certainly don't want to force you into anything."

“It’s fine” T’Mari smiled. “It’s not just me I have to think about, it’s my baby too. I’ll stay for as long as you deem necessary.”

"Hopefully, it won't be long, but we'll get started just in case," Dani said with a smile. She didn't want to keep T'Mari any longer than absolutely necessary, and had a feeling she felt the same way. With that in mind, the young woman got started.

“Thank you Dani, I appreciate your thoroughness” T’Mari smiled warmly.

Dani returned the smile. She appreciated a patient that didn't dislike medical and their personnel when it came to examinations and such. The head nurse performed a few tests that she hoped would provide some answers. "Now, we wait. You said you didn't sleep well last night. Why don't you try for a little bit while we wait for the results?"

T’Mari nodded. “I’ll do that” Making herself comfortable she lay down and closed her eyes. Some rest was better than none.

Dani excused herself once more to allow her patient to rest while she waited for the results to come back. That left her time to go over some other patient charts and see what orders were put in place and for who. Once that task was completed, she checked on inventory.

Finally, a couple hours later, the results were in. The young woman looked them over with a frown. Something wasn't right, but she needed to get back to T'Mari, and that's what she did. Dani entered quietly just in case she was sleeping. "Knock, knock," she said only loud enough to get the resting woman's attention.

T’Mari raised herself up and looked towards Dani. “Hey, did you find anything?”

Dani shook her head, hoping the frustration wasn't evident on her face. "No, I'm afraid not. All of your test results came back normal, which is odd given what's happened today," she explained. "Maybe it's nothing more than lack of sleep and stress, neither of which are good."

T’Mari nodded. “That’s true, is it okay if I head to my quarters and get some sleep?”

"It certainly is, and it you start to feel strange at any time, please, don't hesitate to come back in," Dani said with a friendly smile. "I'll leave you to get changed again. Try to take it easy." With that, the young woman reached for the PADD she brought in earlier and excused herself to get back to her duties once more. Maybe when she had a free minute later in the day, she'd reach out to check on the ship's counselor.

Sat, 24 Jul 2021 22:54:48 +0000
Just Friends.
Mission - Extinction
Location - Mess Hall

Having just finished his latest shift, and training for the SAR team, Voss headed towards the mess hall to get something to eat. After getting something, he planned on returning to his quarters and stay in the sonic shower for awhile to take care of the aches and pains he received while training.

He walked in, got a sandwich and a drink, turned to find an empty table, when he saw Alexander sitting, alone at a table. He walked over.

Gemma glanced up from the PADD she was reading, cooling tea at her elbow. "Lieutenant Voss." She greeted with a polite but genuine smile as she tended to be a friendly sort unless someone required otherwise.

"May I join you, commander?" indicating an empty chair to her right.

"Please do." The Squadron Commander replied politely and waved at the chair, placing the PADD down. "How goes the settling in?"

"My quarters are sparse...I never take much with me when I move to a new ship. Engineering is doing nicely, thank you. Finally getting the names of my staff down. Training for the SAR is taking a lot of my spare time...and I never seem to have enough spare time to spare." He laughed a little at his little joke. "How goes things with you?"

"SAR? That stuff is no joke I heard." Alexander replied, "So you decided your schedule wasn't full enough and sleep was for the weak?" She joked. She heard about what kind of training they did, she had her hands full with focusing on her own work but the thought occurred that maybe a small refresher would be good in case of a crash. She made a note on her PADD to look into that as she replied, "I'm good. I actually get to see my quarters on a somewhat regular basis."

He sat in the empty chair. "Seems our good security chief decided that I would be a good fit for her SAR team, so how could I say no?" He sipped his drink. "I've been doing some mountain climbing in the holodeck, trying to qualify for the good thing, I haven't been in shape like this before." He smiled. "’re a fighter pilot. Must be exciting flying one of those fighters."

"It is a good time." Gemma agreed, "Not always exciting but any flight you come back from is a good flight so I never pass up a chance to get in the air. Downside is unlike old atmospherics you can't feel the wind in your hair. Also not recommended to open your canopy. And believe it or not, I do have to tell several pilots a year that an EVA suit with magnetic boots still doesn't mean they can ride on top of a Gryphon at sublight." She replied amused.

He looked at her. "I would think doing something like that would be vigorously frown upon." He leaned forward towards her. "I think we should find a way to have our departments work together...never know when you might need a spare engineer or two on the flight deck."

"It Rather is. Frowned upon I mean." The Commander replied, "I'm mostly sure they are joking but one gets the feeling if permission was ever actually given there'd be a line of pilots wanting to try it." She smiled again, something one could get the impression she did often and easily, "I'm always game for extra support." She replied, refreshing her tea. "Did you have a chance to review that data about emergency planning? That’s something we could really use help on."

"It might be sitting on a desk, along with a lot of other things I'm supposed to read. I probably need an assistant to help go through the things on my desk." he replied. "Give me the short version, please." He kept looking at her, seeing how beautiful she was.

Gemma thought about it, a bit a annoyed but to be fair she didn’t know his full workload, an old supervisor called it ‘competing priorities’ so she gave the benefit of the doubt, "I feel your pain, I make room on my desk only for my yeoman to drop more paperwork but it really does explain our department needs pretty well so I would strongly encourage you review as soon as possible. Let's see..."

She paused considering how to condense the multipage report, "In essence how to get critical systems repaired when we are cut off from outside access and/or coms are down. We've got some work arounds and adjustments because of previous experience but if there's something we missed or a more elegant solution I'm all ears."

"Makes sense. I already have my people getting used to me and what they do. Maybe the answer is to train people to do emergency repairs in the event of a disaster. I can request additional staff to cover this team." Still leaning closely and asked... "So tell me...what do you do for fun on the ship?"

Alexander blinked at the sudden change in topic, as her dad would say, 'there was more meat on that bone'. Still unless she wanted to rehash the report in full, there wasn’t much more to add she supposed. So she rolled with the changes in topic. "First off, I'm sure there'll be other aspects we can do. Once you read the emergency document I sent think you'll have a better understanding of where gaps might be and we can go from there.”

Then she continued with, “ Ok, changing gears." she said leaning back to consider the second part and decided to answer in more general terms. "You're looking at it." She gestured to the lounge, "Or there's the holodeck, card games. I think someone formed a holodeck hiking club awhile back, someone from science is running a theater group. Sort of depends on your interest."

"My interest is meeting lovely ladies and having dinner with them."

Gemma blinked and her mouth quirked in a suppressed smile. She couldn’t quite believe he just said that, "I see." She replied after a moment, "Well I don't believe there are any clubs on ship that focus on quite that area of interest."

Parker smiled at her. "Maybe no one has thought of starting a club like that. So I guess I will be the sole member, for the moment." He took a sip of his drink. "May I suggest a quiet dinner, and we discuss the document in detail."

Alexander barely stifled a laugh, she'd seen smoother. "That's a working lunch at best and it would help if you read it first."

He smiled at her. "Ouch! Shot down in flames." Parker paused. "How about then just a quiet dinner?"

"At least that's honest and I can appreciate honest." Gemma replied, "And along those lines" She paused considering the wording, no need to be cruel about it. "I'm not inclined to date seriously at the moment. This..." She waved about, "Is about as quiet as it gets for me lately. Pulling extra g's with new training patterns, incorporating new crew, reviewing the latest on pirate activity." She shrugged, "Best I can do is just friends.” Her voice was firm on this point, “As a friend I gotta tell you if you want to date on this ship you gotta bring your A game because we got some smooth ones here already." Her tone was not mocking more like trying to gently pass on useful advice.

"Thank you for being honest. I would like us to be friends. You need someone to vent your frustration, I'm okay with that." He leaned back in his chair. "And to let you know...I got game." He winked at her.

At this point Alexander did laugh, he didn’t lack for confidence that was for sure. “Yeah alright.” She said after a moment attempting to keep the lack of belief from her tone and not quite succeeding. “Well, I need to be off, my tea is cold and my break is over.” She stood picking up her PADD. "I'll see you around." She ended in parting before heading out.

Thu, 22 Jul 2021 21:43:48 +0000
A Small Request
Mission - Extinction
Location - U.S.S. Black Hawk, corridor, Deck 10

Conrad was heading towards the quarters he had been given after leaving the infirmary earlier this day. The escapade down to the planet had been cut short because T'Mari had some kind of medical checkup after her fall. Not that he blamed her, he was sure she needed to find a way to take better care of herself. He wished he had the equipment to run a proper analysis on the crystal in his pocket and find the amusement park he had found on the flyer. Maybe he should ask the captain for a lab of his own, but then his inventions would risk being stolen again, though it was harder on a starship compared to his old lab back on earth. Well, he could keep the most sensitive secrets to himself, he needed the hardware to work properly. After a sigh, he tapped the combade. "Conrad Hawkingsson to Captain Geisler."

There was silence for a moment on the line. Before Conrad had a chance to suspect that he was being ignored, a voice answered, "Go ahead, Mister Hawkingsson."

"I just came back from planetside, do you have a few moments to meet?." Conrad asked calmly.

Another moment of silence met the civilian, followed by the Captain's voice. "I'm near Talons on Deck Eight. Would you like to meet there?"

"Sure, not that I know what Talons is, but I'll find it. I'll just flag down the closest crewman. Should be there in roughly three minutes, depending on the distance from the turbo-lift to this Talons place." Conrad said, he hadn't even been given a tour of the ship, he was simply guided out of the infirmary to his quarters, then moments later he was out the door to go planet-side. But he could groan about the situation another time if he had the need, now he was standing inside the lift and it moved upwards two levels.

"Acknowledged," said the Captain. Then there was a click as the channel closed, leaving Conrad alone in the turbolift.

=4 minutes later=

Conrad walked through the door that leads inside the mess hall of the ship. There were a few people sitting around the tables, eating, drinking their beverages, and generally socializing. He looked a little wearily at everyone as he stands at the entrance, his strong paranoia starting to seep through his defenses. It struck him that he didn't even know what the captain looked like, for all he knew he could be a green frog creature.

It would have been impossible for Conrad to find the Captain, especially since he had not yet arrived at Talons. Unlike the civilian, Captain Geisler was more than aware of what Conrad looked like, especially since he'd kept abreast of the man's situation since coming aboard the Black Hawk. Therefore, when the Captain arrived at Talons, just a few seconds behind Conrad it seemed, he was able to spot the man across the room in front of the other entrance. The Captain crossed the room to meet the survivor, "Mister Hawkingsson," he greeted.

Conrad nearly jumped out of his skin, he had spotted the man heading directly towards him roughly half way towards him, the look of singling out Conrad was a tell that he could spot a from a mile away. "Yes..." Conrad said with a questioning tone, he didn't know this man but he quickly spotted the four pips on his collar. The rank of captain, he knew enough that the rank of captain wasn't an iron-clad way to tell if it was the commander of a ship, sometimes they had higher ranks and even lower ranks sometimes. He took the chance and figured it was the person he was here to meet. "At least your not green..." he muttered to himself, not expecting anyone to hear him.

"Haven't been green since the last time I was space-sick," the Captain remarked with a half-smile. It was clear that he had indeed heard the off-the-cuff remark, a habit that had been noted both in his wife's and Camila's reports. It was not a cause for concern for Harvey, at least at this point. "But that was twenty years ago back at the academy. I know we haven't officially met, but I'm Captain Geisler. I've only got a few minutes, so what was it you wanted to talk about?"

Conrad arched an eyebrow at the history lesson on the man's past. "That isn't why..." he waved the subject away. "Tell me what you think about this." calmly he pulled the container from the belt, it was rolled up but it was still small enough that if you held the clear container you could see some of the illustrations on the pamphlet. "I haven't opened it because who knows what our environment might do to it."

Harvey tried to get a good look at the item in the container, but his sight failed him. "May I?" he asked, extending a hand out.

"Sure." Conrad placed the container into the captain's hand.

The Captain accepted the item and began to look at the item protected within. It definitely appeared old, and the fact that it had survived more than a hundred years was remarkable. "Looks like an advertisement of sorts," he remarked.

"Yes indeed Captain, judging by the design, it appears to be of an amusement park. Though I haven't translated the text yet, it could be fascinating to see what they would judge as fun." Conrad said, a hint of exiting bleeding through his voice.

Harvey continued to look over the pamphlet, at least what the container and the positioning of the document provided to him. "Yes, I believe it would. I'll get in touch with Commander Djinx, my Chief Science Officer. I'm sure he'd love to have his social sciences team go check this out."

"Excellent, then would you let me join you in checking out this area and maybe allow me the use of a lab?" Conrad asked, he needed more dedicated tools to do some real work, "Also, can I have my pocket computer back yet? It helps me run the numbers." he was sure it was a little bad form going over the heads of the chief of security, but he had yet to get it back and he wanted his dear friend back.

Harvey handed the collection tube back to Conrad. "Unfortunately, I'm not going back down to the surface at this time. Though, I'm pretty sure you meant joining one of the many expeditions going to and from the surface. I'll talk to Commander Djinx and see when the next team would be available. As for your personal effects, we do have a strict policy aboard regarding recovered items. As I understand it, your situation was to be reviewed when you were released from sickbay, and I'm sure Commanders Di Pasquale and Geisler will get to it as soon as they are able. They've been preoccupied with the mission below and some other critical situations that were unfolding on the ship in the last twenty-four hours."

Conrad groaned in frustration, this was why he didn't work with the federation as much as he used to. All the red tape. It was growing quite old to be hampered by all their procedures of theirs. How was he supposed to work under these conditions? "Alright Captain feels like I am working with my hands tied behind my back here." he calmly accepted the container back. "And what about a lab I can use?" came the question, more snappy than he intended, the frustration was truly grading on his nerves.

Harvey could feel the man's frustration. In fact, Conrad's frustration seemed to ignite some frustration of his own. Harvey didn't understand it, especially since he tried to remain calm in situations like this. It was almost as if it was out of his control. "We're happy to loan a tricorder and a science kit until your effects are returned. As for a lab, I'm sure we can arrange something. I'll have to speak with Lieutenant Akorem and Commander Djinx to see what can be allotted."

It was a compromise and he could work on figuring out the crystals and find the location of this park. "Fine, at least I get to use one hand. I'll go down to the gym, I need to relax. All this red tape is strangling me." Conrad placed the container on his belt. "Thank you for seeing me Captain, I am sure we both have plenty to do." Even in his angered state, he had some manners left.

"I'm sure we do," Harvey confirmed, seemingly grateful that this conversation was at an end. If anything, Harvey would be glad to eliminate the frustration that was enveloping him. "As soon as I talk to Commanders Di Pasquale and Djinx, I'll let you know. In the meantime, I'm sure you'll enjoy our gymnasium. It's one of the best Starfleet's ever assembled."

Conrad arched an eyebrow at that. Being proud of his ship was one thing but boasting about the best gymnasium as the best in the history of Star Fleet, that was a whole nother level. "I'll be the judge of that." With that Conrad turned and headed the way he had come.

Harvey shook his head and sighed. He'd heard stories about Conrad, especially from his wife and Chief of Security. He hadn't doubted them, but Harvey was always one to believe something only when he saw it. Still, he'd made commitments to the man, so he tapped his combadge on his way out of Talons, hoping to get to the bottom of these requests quickly.]]>
Thu, 22 Jul 2021 00:52:53 +0000
Mission - Extinction

= = = = = = = = =

Ensign Shep Hollingsworth landed the Type 6 shuttle, the Stewart in a small clearing by one of the sites marked on the map as being safe, then began to power down. In the back, Yeoman Reynolds opened her drone console and began to run a diagnostic on it and the three Type III drones she controlled.

"Everyone get their belts and check them twice," Shep called.

T’Mari picked up her things making sure she had what she needed. She hadn’t expected to be allowed off ship so soon, so she was looking forward to stretching her legs on the surface instead of on deck plating.

It was back to the planet for Dani, only this time things would be just a bit different. Unlike her first journey to the surface, this time would be more to monitor a patient that hadn't been released from sickbay all that long ago. This was definitely a first for her, but it was all part of what she'd signed up for when she chose her career path. "Mister Hawkingsson... if you feel anything that doesn't seem normal, tell me," she said, checking her gear for what felt like the millionth time, then checked the sensors on Conrad that would constantly monitor his vitals.

Conrad had been burying his face in the notebook, adding notes and placing new ones as he muttered to himself. Of course, he had heard the nurse. "Thank you, nurse." He had been surprised when he was asked to join a group planetside. He had already set a new page in his notebook for what he saw down there. "But I think I am fine," he added. Conrad had hardly noticed the trip down, simply focusing on his work. He hadn't got all his property back yet but he was sure T.A.M.I. was capable enough to keep herself safe and hidden.

"Nurse Blake," the petite blonde stated in way of correcting him. Conrad may not have meant it to be taken as such, but to be referred to as simply 'nurse' felt a little degrading to her. "And if you were fine, I wouldn't have been asked to tag along and monitor you. So, humor me, Mister Hawkingsson, and let me do my job."

"Of course Nurse Blake." Conrad said, he felt she was offended by his words and it made him uncomfortable.

T’Mari had been staying out of the way but she felt Conrad’s discomfort. She moved forward pausing by Conrad. “Would you mind if I walked with you?”

Conrad had heard someone walk up to him, he remembered the sound of the steps and it put the picture of the shrink into his mind. She was quite the looker, but his mind quickly shut down those ideas because love only caused pain and trouble. "You going planetside as well?" he asked, closing his notebook. He had not really payed much attention to who was onboard when they had taken off, so he was surprised by T'Mari's precense.

T’Mari nodded. “I wasn’t expecting to be going off ship so soon but I’m not complaining” She smiled warmly. “How are you now? Better I hope?”

"I am not bored out of my skull anymore, slight headache but I manage." he stood up and waited at the hatch. Conrad was curious what this place would offer in terms of discoveries.

Shep got up and checked his tactical belt before he headed back to talk to the drone pilot and the other Security person designated to watch T'Mari. He kept his voice low but gave clear instructions that she wasn't to be left alone, then headed over to Nurse Blake.

"Everything good?"

Dani nodded her head. "Fine," she said, offering Shep a smile. "Thank you for asking."

T’Mari sighed she felt like she was under a giant microscope, and for all intents and purposes she was. She just had to learn to carry on regardless.

Conrad saw the slight change in her body language from before and caught her sigh, something was up and her being a pregnant woman, he worried for her and the child's safety. But talking about it here felt it would be a highly offensive action and a gross invasion of privacy. "Did the food pallet I gave you agree to your taste?" thinking maybe he would have to bite the bullet this time and be social in order to help this woman relax.

“Ohh yes, thank you!” T’Mari offered a smile grateful that Conrad was willing to talk to her, not that he knew about her V’Shar background.

"Your welcome." He wondered why she was here however. "May I ask why you are with us?"

T’Mari smiled as she looked at Conrad. “Well I have a background in the Sciences as well as Counselling, I’m guessing that’s why I’m along.”

Conrad's face lit up for a moment before it became reserved, then it happened again. He was ecstatic that she was a scientist as well, but this had happened before and he wasn't willing to go there again. It was the first time since the incident that he was truly conflicted if he should open up to someone again or not. This was extremely disturbing to Conrad and he was at a loss of what to do.

T’Mari noticed the change but she decided it best not to comment on it. Conrad had kept his distance in Sickbay and she didn’t want to force her company on him. “I wonder what we’ll find here?” She smiled. “It’ll be nice to be on the ground again instead of the deck plates of the ship.”

Shep left the other Security personnel and opened the hatch. "Ladies first," he drawled. "Gentleman, last."

Conrad arched an eyebrow at that. One, that was definitely the way to respect women, two, if there were unforeseen dangers out there, sending out the most skilled in such matters should be sent out first. "Shouldn't drones go first?" he asked.

"Drones are already up," the drone pilot responded. He touched his console and a remote 360 degree view of the surrounding area around the shuttle was seen. "I have these three for backup once you exit the shuttle, sir."

"Sir?" Conrad looked confused, either he took that as aimed at him when it wasn't or he had missed something. But he shrugged and waited to get out of the shuttle and see what this place had to offer.

Leading on in-front T’Mari stepped out of the shuttle and looked around. She had to admit this place was going to be interesting to say the least! She looked back waiting for Conrad to step out of the shuttle and join her.

Dani made her way out of the shuttle and looked around. Her current location was definitely different than her previous one. Then again, an air field, base, or whatever it was, was one of a kind.

The other Security person, a surly looking Bajoran stepped out after the Counselor and looked around, then motioned for Conrad to come out.

Conrad had followed T'Mari out of the shuttle and he noticed the environment. It was a city in surprisingly good shape considering that the buildings were covered with flora and to some degrees rust. Something must have happened that killed off the population, or maybe the planet was abandoned? Conrad noticed that there were quite a few vehicles on the street, what was even more surprising was that they were lined up perfectly, with no damage that could be from an accident. So it wasn't a traumatic or panic end to the city. He could even see the remains in many of the vehicles, this was very strange. Calmly he walked up to the closest one and looked inside, the remains were sitting in the driver's seat and the seat was actually pulled back a bit like this person simply stop the vehicle, turned it off, leaned back, and gave up. "This doesn't make sense?" he mused to himself, rubbing his beard.

T’Mari was walking around casting her Counsellor’s eye over the scene, everywhere she went nothing was out of place. “What happened here? It’s like everyone just... disappeared. Things left where they put at the time, everything in its place. If there was a disaster here then there would be evidence.”

"More than just that..." Conrad began as he walked over to the next vehicle and saw the skeletal remains in it as well, just like before it was like they had simply laid back and died, no fuzz, no issue. "It's like they simply stopped caring, just stop everything they did then just quit living." he looked up into the air and then at T'Mari. "Has the air been screened for toxins?"

Shep secured the shuttle with the drone pilot inside, then stepped out after the others. "Don't go wandering off," he called loudly enough to be heard easily by anyone. Frankly, he didn't want to be back on this planet, but he had to babysit.

Conrad arched an eyebrow at the man. Did he seriously talk to them as if they were children? This annoyed him a great deal, just because people held power and authority didn't mean they could simply disrespect others. Sure, he was there for their protection, but he needed to learn tact. Conrad was about to say just that when he noticed something glinting around the neck of one of the skeletons, lucky for him the window of the vehicle were rolled down so he had access to it by reaching it. "Excuse me," he said to the dead person, reaching towards the fine jewelry and carefully pulled it out from the ribcage. The jewelry had fallen between the ribs when the flesh had rotted away. "Now what is this?" carefully, he unhooked the chain and stood up, looking at the fascinating crystal that adorned the necklace.

T’Mari looked at Conrad. “To answer your question, we’re not the only team to have been down here so I’d imagine they’ve tested the air for toxins. They wouldn’t allow us down here otherwise.” She walked over to Conrad. “These people just sat down and gave up living.”

"That is what I see as well. Rise the suspicion that it's was air toxins that affect the mind. To simply give up on life on a global scale is not natural. It would require something we have never seen before to mentally change the population of everyone on the planet, unless." he pocketed the necklace, reached into the vehicle again, and removed the skull from the vertebrae. Carefully he looked at the skull to see if there were any signs of surgical implants into the brain. But there was nothing, no implants whatsoever. "No marks." he shook the skull to see if there was anything in the skull, but there was nothing. "So it wasn't the intrusive technological reasons..."

“But to affect everyone on a planetary scale?” T’Mari looked at Conrad. “What can do something like that?”

Dani watched Conrad remove the skull from its body and frowned. That was a level of disrespect she couldn't even begin to fathom. That was once a living being, and to have their remains treated in such a manner... "That's what we're going to find out," she said. "A lot of pieces to the puzzle have been collected, and now they need to be put together," she said, looking at the tricorder that was monitoring Conrad's vitals.

"Any number of things, viral maybe. Who knows, the universe holds more secrets than one can even fathom." Conrad walked around the vehicle and placed the skull next to the remains of what looked like a person in their pre-teens. "Thank you for your sacrifice and we will find out what happened to you," he promised and closed the door. He didn't believe in gods or demons, but he was open-minded enough that there might be entities like that out there.

T’Mari stood looking around, “This whole place just gives me the creeps! Apart from our away teams it feels completely devoid of life! As much as it’s a more relaxing environment on my senses it’s... disturbing.” She stifled a yawn, before yawning a second time. “Heavens! I must be more tired than I thought!” She offered a smile before walking just a little more forward, but not too far from the shuttle.

Had Conrad missed the signs of her being tired? She was pregnant after all and her body must be working overtime to produce the miracle that she had in her belly. What she said about senses raised a flag in his mind, was she telepathic? He hadn't exactly asked for her abilities but she didn't really show any signs of being an active telepath. This caused him to start counting Pi in his head, he had learned that if he put 'noise' ahead of his real thoughts and with discipline, his mind could shield itself. "How much sleep have you goten? Have you eaten properly? Had enough water?"

This was Dani's field. She followed after T'Mari. "Lieutenant, let's go back to the shuttle so I can run a few scans," she said, gesturing back toward the craft. "I'm sure you and your little one are just fine, but it's always better to be safe, right?"

T’Mari nodded and turned back towards the shuttle before pausing to look at Conrad. “Thank you for caring about my welfare, I appreciate it. To answer your questions... Sleep wise I’m not sure, food... I’ve been eating like a horse! And water, yes I’ve been drinking plenty.” She smiled before continuing on to the shuttle with Dani.

Conrad nodded as T'Mari walked away, it got him thinking that he should get her some special tea that helped her sleep. Then it hit him that he was caring too much, he didn't know where it came from but he would have to be more careful. Last time he cared, he nearly died. With a sigh he started to look around some more, he noticed that each and every person had a strange crystal on or around them. Was this crystal something significant? Well, he would have to look into it. Calmly, he pulled out his notebook and wrote down what he observed, he even made detailed illustrations of some of the crystal designs.

T’Mari sat back onboard the shuttle letting Dani run some scans. “How do I look? Is everything alright?”

Dani kept her attention on the tricorder in her hand as the probe scanned the expectant mother. "So far everything looks good," the young woman replied. "I do think a more in depth exam might be in order once we're back on the ship, though. If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to attach a couple sensors to you just to get some steady readings."

T’Mari nodded. “Whatever you think is best I’ll do.” She smiled warmly.

Dani returned the smile. "This will only take a second," she stated, pulling a small metallic looking object from her medkit and placed it against T'Mari's temple once she turned the device on and synced it to the same tricorder Conrad's readings were going to. With that done, she did the same to a second one and placed it to the lower part of her abdomen. "All precautionary, I assure you, but you're all set."

T’Mari nodded. “Thank you, I appreciate your help.” With that, she stood up and headed back out to Conrad. “Hey, sorry about that I’m all good.” She walked over to yet another skeletal body that was sat leaning up against s tr,ee like the person had just sat there to die. “Have you seen this?” She reached out and took hold of the necklace around the deceased person’s neck, moments later her mind made a connection. It didn’t happen very often but when it did it packed a punch.

Conrad had been working on taking notes and had even found statues with the weird crystal as well. He saw what she was reaching for before going back to note-taking. "Yes, everyone I see has one on their person or close by in one or another form."

T’Mari didn’t respond instead she promptly snapped herself out of her contact-driven state, scrambled backward, and sat on the floor, dropping the crystal in the process.

Ensign Codru Faaka, the Bajoran was at her side in a moment when she fell backward. He slapped his combadge while kneeling beside of T'Mari. "Codru to Blake. Possible medical emergency outside the shuttle about ten meters northeast of the shuttle. Lieutenant Rael fell."

Dani barely stepped off of the shuttle a second time before she got the call that the pregnant Lieutenant fell. Today was going to prove quite eventful for the young woman. Without wasting a moment, she arrived at the location she was given and crouched down next to her to look at the tricorder. Some of T'Mari's vitals were slightly elevated. "What happened?"

Conrad had heard her collapse but he wasn't trained or equipped to handle her, not when there were far more qualified people a stone's throw away. He had not seen what had happened, but he had seen the necklace that had fallen to the ground. As the nurse worked on the pregnant woman, Conrad used his pencil to lift the necklace up into his line of sight. The chain and prong were different designs but the crystal was more or less identical. Calmly he placed the notebook under his arm that held the pencil, reached to his belt where a few containers for specimens hung, he had been provided a few of them since he was there to find interesting samples. Carefully and with a little effort, he managed to open the container, place the necklace inside, and closed it. Calmly he walked up to the nurse. "Nurse Blake, I believe she was holding this." he offered her the container, if they needed to run tests, the more data they had, the better.

Dani looked up to Conrad and the specimen container he held. She accepted it from him. "We'll test it, thank you," she said, placing it into her medkit before she looked back to her patient. "I'm sorry, Lieutenant. We're going to have to go back to the ship so we can run some tests I can't do here. You've said you're tired, your vitals have spiked a bit and you fell. This is a bit concerning. And we just saw you for a fainting spell not too long ago."

Shep looked at Codru after Lieutenant Blake gave the order. "I'll have the drone pilot pack it up," he said. "Codru, help the Counselor and the Lieutenant, please."

"Of course," Codru said and waited for Dani to tell him what she needed done.

"Is it alright if I stick around? This place is fascinating." Conrad asked, he was here on their good graces.

T’Mari gave Conrad an apologetic look as she headed towards the shuttle. “I’m sorry this is my fault. I honestly don’t know what happened."

Conrad simply waved the apology away. "You need to take better care of yourself."

Dani walked with T'Mari, one hand gently resting against her arm while the other help her medkit. She hoped the counselor was fine, and would know that for sure once they got back to the ship and ran some tests. She looked toward Conrad. "I'm afraid that's not going to be possible, Mister Hawkingsson. We all came together, and we must leave together," she said.

"I see..." Conrad said a little annoyed at the situation that this outing had been cut short. He turned around and tried to take in the environment one last time. They stood on a street with what looked like four lanes for traffic, moss and flora were growing over most surfaces. The highrise buildings were in relatively good shape, even covered in thick vegetation and rust. Few windows had glass left and it looked like a good place to live before it all went to Eden in a handbasket. A gust of wind pulled a piece of paper across the street and the colorful side caught his attention. Calmly, Conrad walked up to where it had landed and picked it up. The letters were unreadable because he didn't know the language, but the theme was quite easy to see. It looked like a pamphlet for a theme park. "Interesting." he looked at the corner where there was a map representation, this would help in actually locating the amusement park. Without a word, he carefully rolled it up and placed it in one of the other containers he had on him, who knew what would happen if it left this atmosphere.

"Let's get back on the shuttle and head back to the ship. Lieutenant Rael's well being is pretty important," Dani stated. "Mister Hawkingsson, if you wish to return, speak with Captain Geisler and see if arrangements can be made."

The Bajoran aided Dani into getting T'Mari into the shuttle while Shep turned to look at Hawkingsson. "You're about to miss your only ride back to the ship," he drawled. "Lieutenant's orders."

Conrad frowned, he didn't like being talk down to. He sighed and headed towards the shuttle, it was only moments before he was inside as well.

Shep boarded the shuttle and sealed the hatch after the last drone returned, then powered the Stewart up and once more headed back to the ship.]]>
Sat, 17 Jul 2021 23:25:27 +0000
Saving Grace
Mission - Extinction
Location - Medical

Joey stood outside the door to T'Mari's private room where a Security guard was standing. With a nod to said guard, the Intelligence Chief gestured for Camila to lead the way inside. "After you, Commander," she said as she briefly wondered how the next few minutes would play out.

T’Mari was sitting on the biobed expecting to be transferred to the brig now she was fit to go. She’d come to terms with having told about her identity, she just had to accept the punishment now.

Camila stepped forward and pressed the chime to the private room and waited for a response.

T’Mari looked towards the door. “Come in”

The Security Chief entered first and gave a polite nod as she stepped aside for Joey. "Lieutenant," she said.

"Lieutenant Rael," Joey greeted as she entered the room and allowed the door to close behind her.

“Ready to take me to the brig?” T’Mari looked at both women. “Just give me a minute to get my things and I’m ready to go.”

"We're not taking you to the brig just yet, Lieutenant, but we are going somewhere more private so we can talk," the Intelligence Chief stated.

T'Mari gave the two a curious look, “Very well” she picked up a small shoulder bag with her things in and nodded she was ready.

Camila looked at Joey. "My office or yours?"

"Yours. My office isn't available for meetings like these given the delicate nature of my department," Joey stated. In fact, special permission was required just to enter in Intelligence Complex if an individual wasn't escorted through by her or the Assistant Chief of Intelligence.

"If you'll come with us, Lieutenant," the Security Chief said as she indicated the doorway.

T’Mari nodded and headed for the doorway. At least it wasn’t a straight trip to the brig, which was what she had been expecting.

Camila led the way back to Security and then to one of the interrogation rooms. "Please, have a seat."

Nodding and walking round to a seat T’Mari sat down, she wasn’t sure entirely what to expect, all she knew was she needed to stay calm and focussed.

Joey walked into the office behind Camila and T'Mari, then moved aside so the door would close behind them. She didn't sit just yet, but clasped her hands behind her back and cleared her throat. "I'm sure you're wondering why you aren't in the brig right now, Lieutenant," she began. "And we will answer that for you, as well as give you an idea of how you can stay out of it indefinitely. Commander di Pasquale, would you do the honors?"

"As you know, we cannot allow you on this ship with the intents that you've stated, Lieutenant," Camila began. "And you don't seem to be very willing as a spy if you confess to what you're intentions are. With that in mind, we would prefer that you stay on the ship, but there's something that you'll be required to do."

T’Mari looked at Camila curiously. “Name it”

"You report to us what you would report to the V'Shar," the Security Chief said. "In addition, you us why they're so interested in the Black Hawk and what they want. In return, you get a limited freedom and you don't go to the brig and lose your career."

Joey finally moved over to a chair, but instead of sitting, she stood behind it and placed her hands against the back. "By limited freedom, you waive your rights to certain parts of your privacy until we feel we're able to trust you," she added. "You will be able to come and go as you please, and fulfill your duties aboard the ship as its head counselor, however, all incoming and outgoing communications, messages, whatever the case may be, will be closely monitored. Should you try to hide or obscure any of them, it will throw up red flags immediately."

T’Mari nodded. “I understand, and I accept those terms and conditions.” She offered a more hopeful smile. “Thank you for this chance, you won’t regret it.”

"You understand that if the V'Shar gets wind of this, you'll be the first person questioned, right?" Camila asked her. "There's no turning back from this, and no one is going to trust you until you earn it."

“If it works out right the V’Shar will be none the wiser” T’Mari offered a brief smile. “If they’ve taught me one thing it’s how to cover my tracks. I used to be happy as I was, but now I’m going to be a mother things need to change. I want my life back!”

Camila went and replicated a PADD, then loaded some material on it and handed it to T'Mari. "I'll need you to read this thoroughly and ask anything you don't understand before you give your thumb print. In a nutshell, you'll be agreeing to be a double agent with all the penalties associated with such waived on the conditions that..." she continued to go over the material, which was all boiled down to 'no, you aren't going to the brig, but you'll end up on an airless asteroid rehabilitation facility if you reveal that you're a double agent to anyone, especially the V'Shar.' When she was done, she looked at her. "Questions?"

T’Mari was afraid, this was a big step to take but she had no choice. “Just one... if anything ever happens to me, if things don’t go as planned then you will personally see to it that my baby is taken care of. This isn’t just my life on the line here, it’s hers too!”

"That's something I can't guarantee," the Security Chief said softly. She may have been hardened by the Gamma Quadrant and her time on the Black Hawk, but she wasn't heartless. "However, I'll do everything in my power to make certain that she gets reunited with her father or his family should things go that way."

T’Mari nodded. “Good enough, thank you” With that she pressed her thumb print to the PADD .It wasn’t like she had much of a choice.

Joey listened as the two women spoke. If anything happened to her, she knew her children would be taken care of. She couldn't imagine what T'Mari was feeling presently. "If anything happens to you, and nothing will, I'll see to it that your daughter is taken care of until family can get to her." She might not trust the counselor, but she still didn't want anything bad to happen to her or her baby.

“That’s all I ask, nothing more” T’Mari offered Joey a brief smile. “When I was younger being part of the V’Shar was a thrill, it made me feel important. Now... it just feels like a chain around my neck! One that rules my life. Well... no more! I’m taking control back.”

"Yes, you are and we'll be here to help you," Camila told her.

Joey smiled. "I'm glad to hear you want to take control back, and like Camila said, we'll be here to help. If you need it, all you have to do is reach out and ask."

“Ohh I will” T’Mari offered a happier smile. “On that point I’m going to need to come up with a plausible reason why I’ve suddenly been let off the hook. My father isn’t going to believe any old excuse, he’s old school and he’s extremely thorough.”

"How much time do you think there will be before he tries to contact you?" The Chief of Intelligence asked.

“Knowing my father, not long” T’Mari sighed. “He’s the one person I don’t like deceiving, he is my father after all. It’s not like I have much of a choice though.”

"We'll get you through it," Camila said.

T’Mari nodded. “Thank you, both of you I appreciate you giving me this chance and I won’t fail you.”

"Don't," the Security Chief said simply before she turned to head out, leaving Joey to follow or leave advice of her own.

T’Mari looked at Joey. “I’ll have to contact my father, I’m not sure yet when I’m going to say!”

Joey watched Camila walk out, then turned her attention back to T'Mari. She expected a little more help from the Security Chief, but she'd do what she could to get the counselor out of whatever hot water might come about with her father. "Why not tell him a slight version of the truth?" She suggested. "Tell him you struck a deal with us. Make him believe that you've led us to believe you're going to be loyal to us, but in reality, will remain loyal to the V'Shar. After all, you can't possibly continue to do so while being stuck in a brig while waiting for a trial to happen, could you?"

T’Mari nodded. “I will endeavour to do just that, thank you as well for trusting me to do this, and giving me a second chance.”

Joey shook her head. "I don't trust you, Lieutenant. Not yet, at least," she clarified. "This is your one opportunity to earn it, though, and it's not just mine on the line. You're also earning Commander di Pasquale's and the Captain's as well. There's a lot on the line."

“I know” T’Mari nodded. “I will earn that trust, that I swear to you.”

"I hope so," Joey said. "If you need me, don't hesitate to reach out. Now, why don't people walk you to your office? I'm sure you'd like to finally get yourself acquainted with your office and the rest of the ship."

“Indeed I would” T’Mari smiled warmly. “I have a lot of catching up to do.”

Fri, 16 Jul 2021 19:33:16 +0000
... Gang Aft agley.
Mission - Extinction
Location - U.S.S. Black Hawk, Sickbay

Conrad had spent several days in sickbay, he was bored out of his skull because all he had was working on theories and things on paper. He very much liked those things, but not for several days straight. He was so bored that he looked at the book on the bedside table, on it was a book about philosophy, "A History of Western Philosophy – Bertrand Russell". It was rather interesting to learn how the mind worked and the concept of philosophy is very much the workings of the mind. Sighing heavily, he closed his own book that was filled with coded theories and concepts. Before he placed the book next to the other, he looked at his right hand. It wasn't quite right since the experiment. It was kind of glitchy, but he would have to work on it when he was allowed to leave sickbay. Picking up the other book, he opened it to read.

T'Mari had sat alone in her room under observation, a security guard posted on the door kept her company at all times. She was restricted to movement around Sickbay and that was it. Heading out into Sickbay for a short stroll with her eternal shadow she noticed someone new reading a book about Philosophy. "You must be new here" she offered a polite smile.

Conrad had been focusing on his reading when he heard the voice of a woman, he looked at her at the corner of his eye, and she was an attractive woman and she had a nice smile. in his experience that meant wolf in sheep clothing. "I asked to be left alone," Conrad said, thinking she was part of the medical staff. Why would another patient bother with talking to him. He was in the bed furthest away after all.

"Ohh I'm... Sorry" T'Mari backed away feeling like she wasn't welcome anywhere. She was starting to regret ever telling anyone about her V'Shar identity.

"T'Mari is everything alright?" A young nurse paused to offer assistance. "You look a little pale are you feeling okay?"

T'Mari nodded. "Yes, I'm fine, I was just taking a walk." The nurse nodded and carried on.

The conversation caught his attention, was this woman someone hurt? He looked at T'Mari properly this time. Her body language spoke of anxiety and regret. He also noted how she was holding herself, how she moved. 'genetic defect?' he thought first, considering she might have a skeletal defect that made her hold that posture. 'No, judging from completion and uneasiness standing...' he looked at her stomach, her clothing looked like they were a size too small, that was highly unlikely to be normal. Maybe it was not too small, but the uniform itself had been modified to accommodate... 'pregnant...' he thought. He could see the signs, sleepless nights left the completion a little more raged, very slight dark patches under her eyes that were unnoticeable unless you were looking. Why on earth was this pregnant woman walking around? She should have the father follow her around, massaging her back, neck, and ankles. Pamper her in order to help reduce stress. Was she eating right?

Kara gave him a polite nod as she turned to leave, no doubt if Camila knew she was wondering around she'd have her handcuffed to her bed to keep her there. She was starting to get hungry so she walked over to the replicator to order herself something to eat to take back into her room.

He observed her walk away, yes she was pregnant considering how she was walking. It must be highly uncomfortable with swollen ankles, all that extra weight starting to add to her joints. Silent as a cat, he put down the book, walked behind her a little distance away, and observed what she was ordering in the replicator. He frowned, without a word he walked up beside her, gently moved her to the side, canceled her order before entering the commands. Moments later a large plate was before them, tall glasses with milk, low-fat yogurt, a bowl with peanuts and chick-pees, a very nice sweet potato (a spoon with it), a large chunk of smoked salmon, a half dozen eggs, a bowl of broccoli, several pieces of chicken, two bowls with berries, one with strawberries and one with blueberries. A piece of whole-grain bread, avocado, and lastly a small bowl of dried dates.

Turning with the large tray, he placed it in her arms. "Good for mother and child..." without another word he headed back to his bed.

T'Mari looked at the tray laden with food and drink before looking towards the man who'd just told her to go away. She was astonished by his kindness and his observation skills given she didn't have a bump that big yet. "Thank you!" She called after him offering a warm smile. She teared up somewhat at just the show of kindness.

He simply waved over his shoulder before picking up the book again as he laid back down on the bed. there were few things he could stomach, a woman in need was one of them.

T’Mari took the tray back to her room, the choice of food was astonishing but she tucked in politely enjoying as much of it as she could. By the time she was finished the tray was three-quarters empty, and she sat sipping a glass of milk. One thing was for sure she felt a whole lot better for it. Deciding she couldn’t leave it at that she headed back into Sickbay to see the man who’d given her the tray. “Excuse me” She smiled as she approached his bed. “May I ask your name?”

Conrad looked up at her for a moment, it seemed like the food and fluids had given back some of her colors and he swore there was a shine in her eyes that hadn't been there before, clearly she didn't accept his wish in being alone and now she was back. Giving his name had been a bad thing in the past, but he figured he could give part of it. "Conrad." he said rather quietly, trying to hide his face behind the book.

“I’m T’Mari Rael, I just wanted to say thank you for your kindness. I appreciate you providing me with that tray of food.” She smiled warmly. “How did you know that I’m pregnant?”

"Complexion, body language, gate." he simply said, all of those things had given him the clues needed to figure it out. "Atire..." he added, knowing that was a more... sensitive subject.

T’Mari nodded. “I hadn’t realised I was showing that much.” She smiled warmly. “You’re obviously very observant. What position do you have aboard ship? I’m the Chief Counsellor, at least I’m hoping that’s still my job.”

"None..." he was getting rather uncomfortable. He didn't trust anyone and this didn't help him with feeling any better.

“I’m sorry I’m making you uncomfortable” she offered an apologetic smile. “I’ll leave you alone, thank you again.”

He said nothing, Conrad was feeling himself getting closer to one of his PTSD episodes, it wasn't that he became aggressive unless provoked, but his mind tended to take in everything and it was very uncomfortable, it had been times when he got blackouts and for some reason things had gone missing.

T’Mari headed back to her room, but she couldn’t help but wonder about Conrad. He seemed completely averse to having her around and yet he cared enough to give her the tray of food. He was certainly a curiosity.

After she had left, he took a deep breath and started to cite the numbers of Pi, he had memorized the first four decibels and when he hit thirty, he felt that he had managed to calm down enough that it wouldn't cause any issues. He spared a moment to ponder why she was here alone. But he didn't go very deep as he decided a nap would be best.

Thu, 15 Jul 2021 15:06:04 +0000
Building Trust
Mission - Extinction
Location - Security Complex

Joey took a deep, calming breath. Her meeting with Conrad had started off very rough, but by the end of it, things weren't so bad. She still needed to build up that trust, though, and that fell into the lap of the ship's Security Chief. She gave her combadge a tap as she made her way out of sickbay and into the corridor. "Geisler to di Pasquale... what is your current location?"

=^=I'm in Security=^= Came Camila's response.

"I'm on my way to you. I'll be there momentarily, Joey said, tapping her combadge again to end the link before stepping onto a turbolift. The journey from deck six to deck twelve didn't take long, and soon she was making her way into the Security Complex where she approached the receptionist. "Can you let Commander di Pasquale know Commander Geisler is here to see her?"

The Andorian looked pleased that someone acknowledged her presence and her antennae perked up. "Of course, Commander Geisler," she said pleasantly as she tapped a button on her console. "Go right in, please."

"Thanks," she said with a smile, then made her way into Camila's office as instructed by her Andorian receptionist. It hadn't been that long since the two had last seen one another, but here they were again. "Commander, long time no see."

"It's been what, forty five minutes?" Camila asked. "Time flies when you're working."

"Something like that. Do you know where Mister Hawkingsson's belongings were taken, or are they still on the shuttle?" Joey asked. "He asked for his notebook, but said you eluded to him not being able to have it."

"I eluded him?" The Security Chief asked with an amused tone. "He was in bed the entire time and wanted me to get him real paper after I gave him a sheet of memplastic to use. He refused. As for his belongings, the puck is where we left it and his notebook and other belongings are in quarantine."

This was news to her, and the surprise was evident on her face. "His belongings are in quarantine? Why? Does he have some kind of contagious illness no one told me about?"

"By quarantine, I mean it's been stored until it's proved they are no danger to the ship," Camila stated.

"When he's out of sickbay, he's willing to unlock parts of his personal computer so I can go over it," she told Camila. "In the meantime, it's being kept safe inside my office where no one can access it. If he's willing to do that, I'm not so sure he poses any kind of threat."

"That was the main thing I'm concerned about," the other woman admitted. "For being a simple assistant program, it's locked down pretty tight."

"Which is understandable. He told me that someone tried to destroy all of his work and attempted to kill him. Maybe not in that order," the taller woman explained. "He's worried about others stealing his work, which is why it's locked down as tight as it is. Given he's willing to unlock parts of it for me to look over his notes, I want to get his notebook and give it to him as a sign of good faith. There isn't much he can do with it given his lack of access to his personal computer."

"He didn't tell me any of that, but check the notebook before you give it to him," Camila said. "If there's any code hidden in it, your people will be able to crack it."

Joey wasn't surprised. Camila's bedside manner was a little... rough, but was effective in certain situations. "If there's anything in it that could pose a threat, I'll know about it," she assured the woman behind the desk. "I don't think we have anything to worry about, though. If you ask me, I think he's a paranoid man that's trying to fit into a world he no longer trusts."

"I don't care who he is or his past, but if he brings harm to this ship, I'll handle him personally," Camila said.

And that was why people didn't tell the Chief of Security things. She was rough around the edges, but much of that had to do with things that happened over time. And one didn't get to be in her position without a spine of steel. "Noted," Joey said. "Where are his belongings being held so I can retrieve his notebook?"

"It's in Security in a quarantine field," the ombre haired woman replied. "If you'll come with me, I'll get it for you." She got up from her desk and secured her terminal, then headed out of the office.

Joey turned to follow behind her. "Thank you."

Camila went around the corner to the Locker Room where they stored things that were questionable or had been seized by Security from crew that had contraband. She entered her access code and entered, then went to one of the sealed lockers, released the field and opened it. "I don't see what the big deal about paper is," she said as she retrieved the notebook.

"Everyone has their preferences," the taller woman stated. "I appreciate paper when it involves an old book. There's just something about the way they smell that is quite soothing."

"He uses it to write on," Camila grumbled. "You can make mistakes on it." She handed the notebook to Joey and sealed the locker again.

"And those mistakes can be corrected with the proper utensils," Joey pointed out as she accepted the notebook. "Thank you."

"Or not made at all using modern technology," Camila countered.

"Again, it's all about personal preference. What we may like, someone else may not. It's the same as knocking. Some still do that, too. Is it weird? Maybe a bit, but to each their own."

"Whatever the case may be, as long as it gets him to stop thinking we're his servants," Camila said.

Joey cocked her head to the side slightly and studied the woman across from her. She wanted to say so many things, but decided to lift the notebook. "Thanks again. I'm going to get this to back to Mister Hawkingsson. I'll see you around I'm sure. After all, our work is never done it seems."

"No, it isn't done and you know it," Camila said. "Maybe we can have lunch tomorrow?"

"Meet you at Talon's usual time?" Joey countered.

"See you then, Joey," the other woman agreed.

"Absolutely," the taller woman said with a smile before she turned to make her way back out of Security and head to sickbay once again.]]>
Thu, 15 Jul 2021 00:57:12 +0000
Seeking Answers
Mission - Extinction
Location - Medical

Joey made her way into sickbay and took a quick look around before approaching someone regarding the whereabouts of Mister Hawkingsson. It didn't take long before she was given his location and was making her way to his room. She wasn't sure how this impromptu meeting was going to go, but hoped it would go smoothly.

The man's condition was unknown to her, and a part of her felt bad for having to do this, but it was necessary. She raised an arm to tap the chime that would let the man on the other side know he had a visitor, then stepped forward to activate the sensor that opened the door. Once it parted, Joey made her way inside. "Mister Hawingsson?"

Conrad was sitting up in the bed, bored out of his skull. So he did the only thing he could do, he detached his right arm, it was still connected to Conrad through a cord that slightly thinner than the bone of the arm, this was so that he could remove it and still operate it as normal, working alone on the arm with one hand was a pain, but this way he could still use the detached arm in a limited fashion. He had a small set of tools that were tucked close to the bone medium that he pulled out from the top of the arm now that it was detached. He opened a tiny hatch at the base of his wrist to expose the unlock mechanism for the entire inner lower arm section. Carefully he inserted the special tool and with a gentle click, he was able to remove the entire inner lower arm section, exposing nanotube muscle fibers, small delicate tubes snaked through the arm like blood vessels that were used to regulate temperature and lubricate the mechanical parts. Conrad wiggled his fingers and saw the piston-like bones move smoothly, he noticed that his index finger was a little shaky when it moved, so he started to check the dedicated parts.

He only half-heard someone call to him, he was very much starting to enjoy himself and the quiet. "Yes..." he waved his left hand in a general greeting.

"I'm Lieutenant Commander Joelle Geisler," she stated as she moved farther into the room so the door would close behind her. Her eyes went to his arm, but she didn't stare. Injuries happened, and she'd definitely had more than her fair share of those during her career. "I was hoping you had a little time to talk to me."

"So talk." Conrad said, still working on his arm.

Joey tried to keep in mind that Conrad was injured, and that likely played a role in his being rude. That being said, she would only tolerate so much of it before finally addressing the situation. "I'm the Black Hawk's Chief of Intelligence," she began, pausing only briefly. "I was approached by our Chief of Security involving something that seems to belong to you. A personal pocket computer. It was removed from your shuttle. What can you tell me about it?"

He stopped what he was doing and looked at the woman. "Only that it's my private property and I want it back intact. If I learn you have damaged it in any way..."

She had to remind herself he was a civilian, but the threat that was implied didn't go unnoticed. "I assure you it is undamaged," she stated. Becoming a mother had done wonders for her tolerance, but the injured man was pushing it. "I have shown you nothing but respect since I stepped through that door, Mister Hawkingsson, and I would appreciate the same courtesy from you. However, if you wish to continue down your current path, I'll meet you halfway and do the same. I can assure you I'm much better at it." Joey clasped her hands behind her back. "Now... shall we start over?"

"Naturally, but I have my rights. You asking me about my property indicates that you are messing with it. Otherwise you would have it here. So tell me what exactly you want to know and I hope you haven't messed with my data."

That was the last straw. "You are making assumptions, Mister Hawkingsson," Joey said, feeling her resolve start to slip. "Your property, privacy and data are safe. No one has invaded any of that short of asking it if any known medical conditions might have contributed to how you were found." The arrogance the injured man was giving off... "I'm here because the ship and crew's safety are top priority, and an unknown artificial intelligence has been brought aboard. You are being given the opportunity to explain things yourself so more invasive means don't need to be used. If you continue down your current path, I won't have a choice but to take your hostility as a refusal to meet me halfway and carry out another course of action."

"Artifisial Intelligence?" He was well aware of T.A.M.I.'s lockdown procedure and what they would have access to was her Virtual Intelligence self, "What AI are you speaking about? And I am sure you have access to the medical data, that much should be accessible." this was going nowhere and he knew that clamping down completely might have worked in normal circumstances. But they had something truly precious to him and what information she was telling him told him that they had tried to crack Tami or were trying to. Of course, all living creatures were different and he could simply be painting his own Bias opinions on them. "That device you found is my personal computer, stores notes and schematics of my work. Highly sensitive stuff..."

Joey was getting nowhere fast, but there was a lot to unpack. "Artificial intelligence... the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages," she said, hoping the breakdown would help. As a civilian, he wasn't privy to certain information regarding past occurrences unless someone else filled him in. She, however, was not going to inform him of HASA.

"Your medical records were inaccessible at the time, and your personal computer complied to the request easily enough," she told him. "That being said, it's the highly sensitive material that has cause for concern. How does anyone on this ship know that what's on it is safe, and won't put the hundreds of lives living aboard this ship in jeopardy? You haven't given me any reason to trust you and take you at your word."

"Yes indeed. But trust goes both ways. I will ask you this." he closed the arm and put the tools back before resetting it at his shoulder. "What would you do if someone tried to kill you, stole your work, then erased all the work from your computer that you have worked with for years? Would you be willing to let anyone see your work again?"

"Someone did kill me, Mister Hawkingsson. Someone who wore the same uniform I did. Someone who served the same as me, but was brainwashed and made to believe me and countless others were working on the wrong side of the Federation," she replied. "It was the quick thinking of my team, and amazing know how of the medical staff that I'm able to stand here today. If you want to talk about betrayal, me and most of the Black Hawk crew know about it first hand."

Conrad, took a long moment looking her over properly, she wasn't that bad looking, not that he was looking for anyone. But he could appreciate the beauty of a woman, he refused to stare or look at her as an object like many men did in his experience. He wondered how she was so collected if they had experienced betrail, hell she even died. She must have had excellent support, compared to him. He had his parents, but after the incident, he moved away. Mostly because he didn't want to involve them. "If you know first hand, then you must also understand the concept of 'dangerous information in dangerous or wrong hands'." he held up his left hand, to stop any interruptions. "Meaning that my research can be manipulated to kill one or more people. You say one of you where brainwashed, what is stoping others to be the same? Use the data to make something truly horrific? But I can assure you, I have no wish to harm anyone." he turned to look at nothing. "I want to make lives better." Conrad smiled gently at his dream.

Joey listened as he spoke without interruption. She tried really hard to block out and not think about the happenings of the past, but in situations such as this, when she was trying to relate to someone it was impossible. "I definitely understand the concept, Mister Hawkingsson," she said. "I also understand the need for safety. If you want me to take you at your word that you have no wish to harm anyone, then you have to take me at mine that I have no desire to steal your research or use it in any manner." She paused, taking a deep breath. "I'm a mother to two small children, Mister Hawkingsson. Twins... a little boy and a little girl that isn't even a year old yet. They mean the world to me, and I need to see to it that they're safe as well."

He looked down at his palms, a gentle smile came to his lips. In his mind, a pregnant woman was truly beautiful. The miracle of life, the endless possibilities for the life growing inside the woman. his eyes softened at his desire that one day, become a parent. A desire that he had not felt in a long long time. But his eyes changed again to immense sadness, the memory of how the woman who he had wanted to form a family was the main suspect of what had happened to him. Officially she had been killed in the explosion, but he didn't believe that. There had been too many signs that told him she was the one who set it off, or at least where part of it. "Indeed. I can't give you access to the data, but I can give you partial access. I suppose if you want to listen to my day-to-day workings, that would be ok. Does that work for you?"

Joey nodded her head. "And maybe, once you're feeling better and out of here, you can personally show me the rest? That way you can see for yourself that I'm not out to steal your data, but can also make certain that the ship, and everyone in it, are safe."

"I can't show you everything, but maybe, just maybe you will get to experience the fruits of my labor." he was sure she didn't want to hear that, but that is what he felt and he didn't feel like lying.

"I just need to see enough to know everyone is safe," she stated, but now he had her a little curious. "But, what do you mean by experience the fruits of your labor?"

"Nice try. You will know soon enough. But as I said, you will get to access to my general notes. Nothing deeper. Does that work?"

It wasn't everything she wanted, but it did show a level of trust. "Will it give me insight into what I need to know?" Joey asked in return. That being if they were all safe.

"Well, I could tell you yes. But then you would have to take my word for it, so I would have to say, go through it and judge for yourself." Conrad picked up the PADD he had been given. "Could you get me my notebook? Your security chief kind of said no, but I am bored here."

"Did she say why?" She asked with an arch of her brow. Why wouldn't Camila return his notebook to him? He was injured and stuck in sickbay for the time being. Joey mentally shook her head. The Security Chief was less.trusting than she was. "I'll see what I can do. In the meantime, would you settle for a PADD with some games and other forms of entertainment on it?"

"No, this one is fine. I can do mathematical theories in code on it while I wait for my notebook to return. It's kind of relaxing, but a PADD isn't exactly secure storage."

"I'll speak to Commander di Pasquale once I leave here and see if I can't get your notebook back for you," she said. "I can't make any promises, though. She is extremely strong willed. If I'm able to get it, would you be okay with me sending someone to bring it to you, or would you prefer I bring it personally?" They weren't exactly completely trusting of one another, but they were making some headway.

"You can bring it if you want, I highly doubt you can crack the code anyway. Besides, there isn't something major in it, just scribbles of thoughts and ideas." he shrugged and started to type on the PADD with lightning speed, in the past he had used a PADD for note taking and it was more or less muscle memory now. "You be safe. Thank you for trying."

"You're welcome," she said with a warm smile. "What do I need to access your notes?"

"Me doing it. It will know if it's not me."

"When will you be released? Has the doctor given you any timeline?" Joey asked.

"Nope, soon I hope. It's rather boring here and I would love to return to my research."

She could understand that. "I've spent more than my fair share in here. Thankfully, the last time was almost a year ago when I was having my children," she told him. "Since we're unsure when you're going to be released, we'll hold off on the notes for the time being. With your cooperation, you have my word that no one will touch your personal computer, and it will remain in my possession."

Conrad stopped typing on the PADD and looked at her again, he couldn't see any signs of lies. "Sounds fair, you should go and give your kids a kiss or two... Talking about dark memories should have affected you, it would me. An hour or two longer here won't matter to me."

"I'll be doing that soon enough," Joey assured him. The truth was... her shift wasn't over, and it seemed to be growing longer as the seconds ticked by. Still, it was what she'd signed up for when she joined the Academy. "As for the memories, I cope with them the best way I can. Mostly by blocking them out, but there are times when that's not possible. I'm sorry your past was a rough one, Mister Hawkingsson, and I hope that one day you'll be able to find a way to be at peace."

He nodded, her words held wisdom. "May I give a friendly advice?"

Maybe curiosity was getting the better of her, but she found herself wanting to know what his advice was. "Go ahead."

He turned his attention back to the PADD and started to work on it again. "I advice you speak to someone about the memories, bottling them up is like forcing the lid on a pan with water to stay on when there is a fire under the pot. It may seam fine at first, but sooner or later, something will give and that could cause quite a bit of destruction. I know from experience."

"I've spoken a bit about it with my counselor, but that doesn't make it go away, just a little easier to cope. If I feel things are getting too bad, I'll either speak to her or my husband," Joey said in an attempt to assure him. She was okay, however, there were others that weren't so lucky. "I think that perhaps you should do the same. What's the worst that could happen?"

"Thank you, but I got past it years ago. My pot exploded and it was... Not very pleasant." he sighed, it had been a hard few months after, even going so far as nearly killing himself in his depression.

Joey nodded her head. He seemed like he could be a little self-destructive. Perhaps, she'd check in on him regularly to make sure there wouldn't be any kind of downward spirals. Did she believe him when he said he'd gotten past it? No. Did she think he needed to speak to someone? Yes. "All I can do is take your word for that, but I still think you should. Though, we all have our ways of coping with things."

"Indeed, thank you for coming by Commander." Conrad said and focused fully on the PADD, muttering lightly as he did some general calculations.

"Hopefully, you'll have your notebook soon. It was a pleasure, Mister Hawkingsson. Make sure you rest and follow your Doctor's orders. It will get you out of here sooner," she said, offering him another smile. With that, Joey big him goodbye and made herself out of his room. It was time to talk to Camila again.]]>
Thu, 15 Jul 2021 00:56:36 +0000
Girl's Night
Mission - Extinction
Location - Holodeck

Smoothing down her royal blue sundress, Avery looked over at the buffet table one more time. She had managed to replicate a variety of snacks and heavy hors d'oeuvres, which she hoped would suit some people's tastes. Stuart wasn't an alcohol drinker, but she made sure the holodeck's re-creation of one of her favorite sports bars from home included a holographic bartender along with its pool table, dartboard and jukebox.

After her meeting with T'Mari, Avery couldn't help but feel for her. Pregnant and a board by herself, she'd somehow managed to leave people feeling more suspicious about her than they might have already been given their last new counselor. Avery knew she couldn't control what other people thought, but she could at least facilitate an icebreaker while providing an opportunity for several female members of the crew to get together and relax. Selfishly, Avery also saw it as a way to relax and enjoy the company of others for a while.

The invitation had been a simple offer of fun, food, good music and perhaps friendly competition at trivia, darts, pool, or whatever games struck their fancy. Slick Mick's, or at least this replication of it, boasted all of that and more, including the best cheesesteaks and chicken wings Avery had ever tasted.

Gemma Alexander in green cargo pants, black shoes, plain shirt and a waist length brown leather jacket, entered. hair tied back and out of her way in her usual practical style. She looked around, "Guess I'm early." She muttered, hands in pockets.

Camila had been a bit reluctant to come, especially after what had transpired with the Counselor and her own deep rooted loathing of that particular department. Still, this was supposed to be off duty, she she put on a pair of black slacks and shirt, a pair of black running shoes and headed where the invite said to be. She rang the chime and waited to be allowed entrance.

Avery turned at the sound of Gemma's voice and smiled. "No worries. The others should be here shortly." Stuart offered her hand. "Avery Stuart. It's a pleasure to meet you. Thanks for coming. Feel free to head over to the bar and there's all sorts of food on the buffet."

At the sound of the chime, the holodeck doors opened admitting Camilla. Avery's smile widened. "Hey. Thanks so much for coming. I wasn't sure you'd be able to get away but I'm hoping to make this a fun night for everyone."

"I'll try not to make things awkward," Camila said. "Thanks for the invite, though."

"You are most welcome," Avery offered sincerely. "Just be yourself tonight. My intention is to make this a pressure free evening where we can all eat, chat, and maybe even play some games. I thought perhaps this would also be a good way for Lieutenant T'Mari to socialize some. Obviously, she's new here, and doesn't know too many people well, and at the same time, it's been a while since I've connected with any of you outside of work, so I thought this would kill two birds with one stone so to speak. Feel free to grab a drink and some hors d'oeuvres, unless you'd like to order something from the menu. This is a great place that I've visited a lot at home. They have fantastic pizza and even better cheesesteaks."

Gemma smiled and nodded at Avery before the other woman headed for the door then went over to the buffet and poured a glass of water.

Joey made her way inside and took a quick look around. A few of the ladies had already arrived, and she recognized all of them thus far. Still, she already missed her husband and kids, and she hadn't even been gone a full ten minutes yet. Maybe she'd duck out early after mingling a bit. With that in mind, the off duty Intelligence Chief surveyed her surroundings briefly before she approached the bar.

"Hi, Joey, evening Gemma," Camila said politely as she got a tropical, alcohol-free drink from the bar.

Joey ordered a pina colada, then turned her attention to the voice. "Camila, nice to see you in civilian clothes," she said with a smile. "Gemma... looks like we got that girl's night out sooner than we anticipated. Avery, thank you for the invite."

"Of course," Avery replied with a grin. "I'm just so glad all of you could make it. How long does it been since any of you have had any downtime?"

Gemma saluted Camilia with her glass of water and smiled at Joey in agreement before returning her attention to Avery, "Here and there." She replied.

"What's downtime?" Camila asked as she took a sip of her drink.

Joey looked thoughtful. She couldn't really recall the last time she had any kind of downtime alone, and truth be told, she was missing her family pretty bad. "It's been a while for me," she said. "Well, if you mean without the family, then it's been a while. If you mean with the family, then it happens pretty regularly."

Avery chuckled. "I imagine with two young children vying for your attention, it would be pretty hard not to do things with the family, not that you wouldn't want to of course." To Camilla, she offered, "You bring up an excellent question.
What is downtime? I think far too many of us have forgotten or at least have not gotten as much as we need. That's another reason why I wanted to set this up tonight. I know intellectually that it's important to take time to unwind and socialize, but you guys know, with recent events, at times, the need for relaxation was practically a voice screaming in my ear," she added with a smile. "So, what would you guys like to do? Are you hungry? As I was saying earlier, this place has some great food, but nothing terribly healthy, so no one tell anyone else in the medical department."

"Let's eat and then invade the holodeck," Camila suggested. "I found a Swedish masseuse program that I think everyone here will love."

Joey perked up. "Did someone say massage?"

Gemma perked up as well. "Food and a massage. I'm in."

"I can't think of a better way to spend the evening," Avery agreed with a wide smile. "Nothing says relaxation quite like a massage and some comfort food. Remind me not to eat too much, though. A full stomach and a massage could be a recipe for falling asleep." She then turned her attention to grabbing some menus. "I wasn't sure what everyone would like, so in addition to the replicated hors d'oeuvres, I made sure you could order just about anything from the menu. Anything in particular sound good?"

"I highly suggest Anna Tasca Lanza," Camila said. "It's the national dish where I came from in Sicily."

"Is it fattening?" Joey found herself asking. "I could definitely do with something fattening."

"It's a traditional pasta dish served with a sauce made with fresh sardines and wild fennel," the Camila told Joey. "Loaded with proteins."

"So answer is yes, quite fattening." Gemma commented with a grin, "Never met a carb a didn't I like, in this case that sounds good but so do several other things." She continued looking down at the menu, trying to decide.

"You lost me at sardines," Joey said as she fought against wrinkling her nose. "However, you ladies enjoy. I'll go with something like carbonara."

"I was kidding," the Security Chief said. "I don't do sardines, either. How about some gelato?"

Joey seemed to be relieved that Camila was only joking. "I can definitely get behind gelato."

"I think I will have the pasta with the tiny fish. In Britain we'll eat most anything from the sea, long as it doesn't eat us first." She politely didn't mention Jellied Eel, a traditional delicacy from her homeland. "And do they put Gelato on a cake slice? Or is that just for regular ice cream?" Gemma asked curiously, putting down the menu.

"Gelato is best with fresh peaches, blueberries, strawberries, and spiced apples or pears," Camila responded.

Avery consulted her menu, but really attended to the conversation around her. She enjoyed hearing everyone converse about things other than work or the trauma they had been through. " Life is short. What would you say if we ordered gelato first?"

Gemma nodded her thanks at Camila, she knew enough about food that sometimes it was best to pair them with certain things but not always what. Gemma was a big cake fan but was always up to try most any combo. "I'm game, my mum can't get here in time to stop me..." She glanced around, "Nope I'm safe."

Camila laughed. "Gelato is it," she said and headed to the replicator. "If you'll allow me, ladies." She entered a generic command for gelato and leaned against the wall. A moment later, the replicator gave a tone and a bowl of something which appeared greenish with blooms in dark purple hues and covered by fiery orange hairs and a shiny white coating of crystal resin. A sweet, herbal scent arose from it.

Joey watched Camila as she replicated something that didn't resemble any form of tasty treat she'd ever seen before. Her curiosity got the better of her. "What do you have there? It smells... different." And she wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad one.

Camila turned and blinked when she didn't see the delicious gelato she had been expecting. She picked up the bowl of dense green vegetable matter and sniffed it. " not gelato. Computer, identify."

After a moment, the computer beeped. "The product requested is Gelato, also known as "Larry Bird" and "Gelato #42" is an evenly-balanced hybrid marijuana strain made from a crossing of Sunset Sherbet and Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies...."

"Stop. Marijuana?" The Security Chief blinked. "Who replaced gelato with...this?" She looked around.

"I can say with one hundred percent certainty that it was not me," the off duty Intelligence Chief said. "It should be pretty easy to figure out, though."

"Computer, list personnel who made changes to gelato," Camila requested with a hint of annoyance. The computer paused. And paused longer before it beeped.

"Holographic Assistance and Support Avatar changed the code on stardate..." It listed the exact day and time.

"Shit! That thing made changes that still haven't been fully fixed," Camila growled. "Computer, delete gelato from the LCARS and any changes made by HASA." She gave her authorization codes and the computer beeped.

"Changes removed," the computer intoned.

"HASA the gift that keeps on giving..." Gemma muttered, mildly annoyed.

Avery shook her head and offered a dry humorless laugh. "Are we to believe our holographic pain in the ass needed medical marijuana to address holographic anxiety or perhaps glaucoma?"

"It clearly needed something," Joey said with a laugh that mirrored Avery's. She wanted to have fun... she really did, but things didn't seem to be going in that direction for her. Especially since she missed Harvey and their kids. "I'm sorry, ladies, but I think it's time for me to tap out. I do hope you all have fun, though."

"Forget the gelato, let's just go to the holodeck and get Sweded," Camila offered.

"I'm game. Come on Joey, let's at least do a massage before you go eh?" Gemma tossed in encouragingly. Her friend should get out at least a bit, if they were going to be denied awesome ice cream, least they could get was some buff person massaging out some tension. She figured they could all use that.

Joey could tell her decision to leave early caused a little disappointment among her friends. She didn't want that. "Okay," she conceded. "I'll stay for a while longer."

"Then let's go," Camila said. "There's hunks to manhandle our tired muscles and forget for a while."

"Onward and flatward...." Gemma replied with a smile and started for the doorway.]]>
Wed, 14 Jul 2021 22:51:58 +0000
Mission - Extinction
Location - Engineering

Once the unconscious human and the equipment that had been salvaged from the shuttle, Camila noticed a small electronic puck like device which didn't respond to her tricorder. It seemed to have a power source and transmitters, but it seemed to be in a dormant state. She tapped her combadge as she headed for Engineering.

'Commander Geisler, can you join me in Engineering, please?" she requested as she entered a turbolift and headed down towards the Engineering deck.

Joey arched a brow. It wasn't often she was summoned to Engineering, much less by the Chief of Security. "On my way, Commander," she answered as she rose to her feet. It only took her a moment to secure her office before she left her department after letting someone know where she was going to be, then began the journey to Engineering.

T.A.M.I. had gone into lockdown mode since they had managed to pull Conrad from the shuttle wreckage, the fact that he had been without oxygen for roughly ten minutes didn't exactly help with her concern for her creator. She had managed to make the cockpit exceedingly cold so his vital functions and more importantly his brain would be able to withstand the lack of oxygen longer. As an AI, he was exceedingly intelligent in terms of processing speed and analysis. She was however very inexperienced when it came to interactions with others other than Conrad. So that would work well if she played the role of a virtual Intelligence, not true intelligence.

She was a quantum computer at her core so she was fast and the amount of data she could process was impressive, even with her tiny size. What she had was a vast storage capacity for her intelligence and saved data and another that she used as a 'work harddrive, temporary data was stored here and she could easily clean it up if she needed. One of the many protocols during a lockdown was shutting down all active processes, create a 'fake' database. It would have plenty of data that wasn't exactly sensitive, some personal notes from Conrad and theories, maybe even some results of smaller research, but it didn't hold any actual usable data. This fake hard drive would be the only thing accessible from the outside because someone had to go through it in order to get to the primary data center. She placed a 'dumb' version of herself in this place as well, without any of the actual AI markers. Just a fully interactive helper program in a way.

She would use very subtle fealers to anything that tried to access the data in order to gain access to their systems, simply piggybacking off the datastream that was going into their device, it was slow because the bandwidth increase would easily be detectable otherwise.

Camila arrived in Engineering soon after her call to Joey and looked around for the new Chief Engineer. "Lieutenant Voss?" she asked as she headed for Main Engineering.

Voss turned away from one of the computer panels when he heard his name. He saw who it was, so he qquickly walked over. "Commander. May I be of assistance?"

"Yes," Camila said as she handed over the technological puck. "I need a full analysis on this. I've invited Commander Geisler here as well. We recovered it from the shuttle."

Voss took the puck and looked it over, turning it over and over. "I wonder how I missed this little beauty. I removed some components from the shuttle, and must have missed this." He set the device down, and pulled out a tricorder and started scanning.

Joey made her way into Engineering and took a quick look around before asking a passing crewman where she could find Camila. When she was pointed in the right direction, she approached the two of them. "Commander, Lieutenant," she greeted. "Commander di Pasquale, you requested my presence?"

"Thank you for coming, Commander," Camila said and indicated the puck she had handed to Voss. "This was found on the shuttle and while it has a power source, it appears to be dormant. However, it could be more than it seems. I want a full breakdown of it."

Voss looked at Camila. "Commander, my scans are not detecting anything...I think this has some kind of shield...."

"Unauthorized scan detected." a warm female voice came from the device, a moment later it lights up softly and the hologram of her avatar appeared, she looked straight ahead and showed no expression. "Please enter the passcode and verification code," she asked, this part of her was nothing special, it was a shell and had no of the higher functions that the true T.A.M.I. possessed, it was an excellent way to help Conrad when he needed to make notes and things like that while the AI focused on the simulations.

Joey arched a brow. "What the hell is that thing, and why have I been asked to come here, and I'm assuming, to see it?" She asked.

"Good question, sir." Voss looked at the image. "What are you?"

"The personal pocket computer of Conrad Hawkingsson." the woman said, her face flat. "Please supply password and verification code," it asked again.

"Is that the name of the human that we rescued in the cockpit?" Voss asked.

"Yes, according to the identification the shuttle was registered under," Camila said as she looked at the tiny hologram. "Mister Hawkingsson is in Medical in critical condition," she told it. "We need his medical records to ensure his heath." She wasn't lying, but if the thing divulged information via normal communications, she'd get all she could. "As well as what happened to him."

"Level 0 access approved per emergency protocol. Medical record of Conrad Hawkingsson accessed." the voice said, the rest of the data would need a password. Conrad had trusted others with his research before and it nearly killed him. "For further data access, provide password and verification code."

"Does Mr. Hawkingsson have any known medically related conditions which could effect his recovery?" the Security Chief asked, annoyed at having to dig just to get basic data.

"Right arm; full prosthesis. Right side torso, hip, and leg light scarring. Mental health; severe PTSD, mild Pistanthrophobia." T.A.M.I. avatar said flatly.

"Define Pistanthrophobia," Camila requested.

“Pistanthrophobia: the fear of trusting others and is often the result of experiencing a serious disappointment or painful ending to a prior relationship,” T.A.M.I. answered.

Joey arched a brow. She still had no idea why she'd been called here, and prior inquiries were ignored. Her gaze moved from Camila, to Parker, to T.A.M.I., then back to Camila again. "It would appear that you and Lieutenant Voss have things under control here, Commander," she pointed out, then gestured to the puck-like device. "But, I'm curious to know what rank this Conrad Hawkingsson individual is, and why he needs something like this in his possession."

Camila looked at Joey. "This this is locked down. Can you work with Lieutenant Voss or your analysis team to open it up and see what it contains?"

"My team and I can likely crack it," the Intelligence Chief said as she held her hand out for it. "Before I take it to that extreme, though, perhaps I'll pay him a visit in sickbay and see if he wants to offer a little insight."

"Sir, I would suggest you not try to pry it open. All the scans were bounced back, so we don't know what's inside there." Voss spoke up. "I would suggest we take it back to the person in sickbay and give it back to him."

"No one said anything about cracking it open, Lieutenant," Joey said, holding her hand out for the device. "And bringing it back to him is out of the question. At least for the moment. The entire point is to make sure it does not pose a threat to me, you, Commander di Pasquale and everyone else on the ship." She continued to hold her hand out. "Do you wish to be held responsible should there be some sort of virus on it that he introduces to the ship's computer once it's given back? I'm not saying that's the case, but how can any of us be absolutely certain?"

"Of course not, commander, I'm not a total idiot." Voss replied.

"Then, you won't mind handing the device over," Joey said with her hand still out.

Voss reached over and placed the device in her hand.

"Thank you," Joey said, looking toward Camila as she closed her hand around the device. "Is there anything else you need me for? If not, I'm going to pay the owner of this a visit after I put it someplace safe." Which would be in her office.

"No, but if he asks for anything else, be sure to check it first," Camila said.

The taller woman nodded her head. "Will do. I'll be in touch," she said, then after a nod to Voss, Joey turned and made her way out into the corridor. Her next task was speaking with the owner of the thing she held in her hand, but first, she needed to secure it, and that had her heading back to her office.

Once the Commander left the area, Voss headed back to main engineering.]]>
Wed, 14 Jul 2021 18:34:36 +0000
Grilling the fresh meat.
Mission - Extinction
Location - Sickbay, U.S.S. Black Hawk

His head felt heavy and foggy, almost like thoughts where moving through melasis. The air was fresh and it wasn’t difficult to breathe, not to mention the throwing headache was gone. With a long sigh, Conrad opened his eyes, only to close them again from the sharp pain in his eyeballs from the bright lights. From what little he could gather from the short moment of observation, was that it was clean and very much the esthetics of a federation ship, probably the Sickbay, considering how he felt at the moment. He would also need to talk to T.A.M.I. about him not being in a place he could be alone to do research.

After the ship - or runabout, shuttle or whatever had remained of the civilians ship had been salvaged and its database scanned and quarainted, Camila made a log entry in Security, then headed to see the newest person to join the Black Hawk-A. She wore her duty uniform and had her ombre hair pulled back, her face decidedly neutral and a PADD in her hand as she entered Sickbay.

She inquired and then argued with the nurse until she was given fifteen minutes to see the man that had been brought aboard and entered his room, her brown eyes on the PADD. "Mr Conrad Hawkingsson?" She inquired.

The voice told him a few things, first was the standard stuff; female, youngish (hard to tell exactly but hits should be easy to tell), confident and a voice of authority. Was it the ship captain? Or was it the head of the security? The sound of her footsteps gave him clues as well, military training perhaps. A person's gate is always as informative as a person's facial features. Not very one thinks of that.

"Yes." He finally answered, opening his eyes and looked at the woman, she was very cute. Her face showed little, the rest of the clues he had gathered made him think she had seen shit, well it was one of the reasons she wore a neutral mask.

"What brings you out here, Mr. Hawkingsson?" she asked. still looking at her her PADD for a moment before she looked up and practically through him.

By the look she gave him, he had a feeling she was trying to intimidate him, he had read that focusing your eyes slightly behind someone often made them uneasy because the brain was really good at finding flaws that didn't really look right. Even if it couldn't exactly tell what was wrong at the time. But he had met hard boiled people before and he had his own way of dealing with them. Simply not acknowledge or enable them to let it affect him.

So Conrad focused his eyes on her fringe hairline because that was close enough not to make it obvious that he wasn't focusing on her eyes. Unless she was just as observant as he was. "I believe the crew on-board removed me from what remained of a shuttle." He looked around. "I still want my private property back." He demanded and was referring to his notebook were he wrote down ideas and theories in code. And of course T.A.M.I. who was no doubt in lockdown mode in order to prevent tampering. He looked around, looking for his glasses.

This person seemed to be trying to read her and that amused her because she had long since learned to school her expressions. Especially after going through nightmare after nightmare. "That's not what I was asking, Mister Hawkingsson," she said. "To elaborate, what brings you and what remains of your shuttle to this section of the Gamma Quadrant?"

"You should be more specific then." Frowning deeply when he didn't find them. He knew with someone smart enough they could figure out clues what T.A.M.I. was. But accessing her data would be much harder. "I was doing research," Conrad said flatly. "I would also want my property back please."

"At the moment, everything is in quarantine until it can be analyzed for threats," Camila said. "It will be returned to you in due course. Do you have any documentation to prove your identity and are you a Federation citizen?"

He arched an eyebrow at her. Had she not already looked him up or had he somehow slipped through the cracks. No, that wasn't possible, he had managed to obtain the shuttle through legal means. In fact, nothing he did was illegal. The fact that he kept his secrets private didn't matter. That wasn't illegal. "Commander, either you are wasting my time or you are slacking in your job. I highly doubt you don't know exactly who I am, the databases on a federation starship are extensive, then you have subspace links to Star fleet archives." he tilted his head to the side. "Is your subspace transmitter and database down?" It was the only thing he could see was the logical reason for her asking him. Unless she was simply unscrupulous.

"None of that is important, Mr. Hawkingsson," she said. "I'm asking you to confirm or deny what I already have available. You'll pardon me going over each point, but until I get the answers and you're clear of medical, you aren't going anywhere, anyhow. Now, please. Just answer the questions."

"None of that is important?" Conrad asked, very surprised. Something truly horrible must have pushed this woman to this coldness. He was cold too, but she was not even trying to hide it. It made the part of him that respected and wanted to care for women flare up. Now a part of him wanted to ease her pain, even if it was just a little. "Ask away and I will answer. We don't carry around ID-cards like the old days."

"None of it is relevant," Camila amended since he wanted to get technical. "Are you are Federation Citizen, Mr. Hawkingsson?"

"No. I am a highly evolved ameba." it was starting to get a tad annoying. "Of course I am, you seriously think I would obtain a shuttle without miles of red tape?"

"There are ways of obtaining what you wish," she said and made her voice a little flatter. "Since you are a declared Federation citizen, you have all the same rights and privileges of such, and when you are medically cleared, you will be freed to take the remains of your shuttle and depart at the nearest starbase upon our arrival. In the meantime, you'll be given a guest quarters with replicator and recreation privileges, as well as places you are not to go under any circumstances. A PADD will be provided to you with a map of the ship and any areas marked in red are off limits. If you require any assistance with your quarters, please contact Lieutenant Akorem in Operations and he'll be happy to assist you. Do you have any questions, Mr. Hawkingsson?"

"Yes. I want my personal items. I highly doubt you find a notebook, some glasses, and some technical do-dad threatening." He would go absolutely insane if he didn't have something to do while he waited. The very lease he wanted his notebook back. He highly doubted they could crack the code he used to write in it. Sure, some of the illustrations could be comprehended if they were skilled enough.

"Your personal items will be returned to you once they are released from quarantine, as I've stated," the ombre haired woman repeated. "They will not be damaged, but we don't like to take chances here."

"Naturally. and how long would this quarantine be in effect? I hope you don't expect me to simply lay here and look for treasure in my navel until I am released."

"I cannot give an estimate on how long that will be, Sir," Camila said. "They will be scanned by Security, Operations and Medical before being released. A PADD will be provided for your entertainment so you don't have to play with your navel."

"Oh goodie, so my research can be stolen. No thank you. Get me a new notebook and a pen." he figured he could scetch a little to pass the time. Being in the shuttle had provided a few new views of the wonders of the galaxy. "Would that be acceptable to the Lt Commander?"

"But of course," she said with a smile before she turned to the nearest replicator and requested a stylus and a flexfilm which stored the information written on it. She retrieved it once it materialized, then turned back to hand it to him. "Will there be anything else?"

He looked at her with disgust. "I asked for PAPER, none of this high-tech crap. You know, old school sheets of mechanically or chemically processing cellulose fibres derived from wood, rags, grasses or other vegetable sources in water?"

"You'll have to ask Operations for such, Mr. Hawkingsson," the Security Chief said flatly once again. She hesitated, then remembered the PADD and went back to replicate it, placing restrictions on it once it materialized with an alert to be sent to her if he attempted to access any other than approved systems. Once she was satisfied, she turned and handed that to him as well. "Now I wish you a speedy recovery and if you need anything else, please call Operations, or a nurse if it's medical."

"Thank you, Commander. I hope you find something truly challenging to wrap that mind of yours around today." he smiled, accepted the PADD, to him a challenge was some of the most enjoyable things to tackle.

"Trust me when I say I have many more challenging things on my plate than you today," she quipped and with a smirk, she headed out. She had done more than place simple alerts on the restricted areas in the PADD, but it was actively set to record audio and video of everything he did and that was locked away from his access as well.

Conrad supposed that was true, he was stuck in sickbay and who knows what kind of things she had to deal with onboard. It's was a very large vessel with hundreds of people on board. It wasn't as large of a population as a spaceport naturally. But there were always minor issues when you put hundreds of people inside an enclosed environment. No matter how disciplined a crew was, there would ALWAYS be micro conflicts. He again looked at the PADD, he couldn't do any serious work on it, but he could probably read some research papers and such. He really wanted to get his hands on paper. "Could you tell one of your operations officers that I wish to see them?"

"I gave you his name, Mr. Hawkingsson," she said and with a swish of her ombre ponytail, she was gone. ]]>
Mon, 12 Jul 2021 14:50:42 +0000
A Helping Hand
Mission - Extinction
Location - USS Black Hawk

Ensign Mackie, one of many junior Operations officers aboard the Black Hawk, was enjoying a rare moment on the bridge during alpha shift. Lieutenant Akorem was elsewhere aboard the ship, tending to usual department head duties, allowing Quinn to spend some time on the bridge. Aside from sitting next to the love of his life, Ensign Kelly Khan, who manned the helm at the fore of the bridge, Quinn found the time to be quite boring. He very much preferred getting his hands dirty with some sort of repair or diagnostic. But here, all he could do was watch the external sensors, and keep an eye on power consumption throughout the ship.

Aside from spending the last hour thinking he should change his field of interest, Quinn found himself wondering why anyone wanted to be on the bridge at all.

A series of beeps suddenly came from his console. After two seconds of silence, the beeps repeated themselves. Finally! Something to do!

"Captain," Quinn said, after checking the alert and spotting something unusual on sensors, "we're picking up a burst of energy on the short-range sensors, almost a lightyear away. Looks like... a micro supernova."

Harvey Geisler, who had been reading a padd in the center seat, stood up to approach the Operations station. "A what?"

"Sir," Quinn said, leaning forward to check the readings and conduct a new scan. "The readings indicate that there was a supernova, but nothing on a true stellar scale. I'm also picking up traces of duranium, deuterium... looks like a ship... and debris."

Harvey frowned. He had to admit that the notion of a miniature supernova was far-fetched, but if his time in the Gamma Quadrant had taught him anything, it was that life was filled with the unexpected and the abnormal. "Helm, set an intercept course, maximum warp. Bridge to Engineering and sickbay, standby for response teams."

Kelly listened and set in the course for the coordinates, then sent the Black Hawk to its maximum warp and engaged the warp engines. She watched space warp in front of her as the warp bubble formed around the ship and the distance and time began to close with every millisecond that passed. "Course laid in and engaged, maximum warp, Captain," she reported but wondered what could survive a supernova, no matter how big or small. Odds were good they'd pick up some scrap, maybe some residue biological residue and find out what happened from there.

Voss responded to the captain, "Engineering standing by, captain."

"Understood," Rhula replied. He leaned back from the desk where he was working and took a deep breath before standing and exiting his office into the main ward. "Prep trauma two and three," he called out to the Sickbay staff. "Get a surgical team on standby. Possible multiple casualties coming in. Move!"

===[Conrad's Shuttle]===

Conrad was still writing in his book when his holographic friend appeared. Her hands were cradled behind her back and looking very stoic as usual. "Our limited sensors are picking up a ship on approach. Impossible to confirm identity, but data suggest a Century-class, five hundred plus crew and 715 meters long," she informed Conrad, who groaned in frustration. A ship that size was a pain in his ass to deal with. He didn't like people and it would be inevitable to be left alone while onboard a ship like that.

"When you get a chance to speak to them, tell them that we only need a tow, no need to..." his vision got blurry and he started to get nauseous, something was wrong. Radiation poisoning? internal bleeding? He wasn't a doctor so he had no idea what was going on. But he did know he was soon going to lose consciousness.

===[Black Hawk, Bridge]===

The Black Hawk dropped out of warp when Kelly saw the coordinates coming up fast and she looked over her shoulder as the mighty spaceship sailed through the celestial skies towards their goal.

"I'm picking up some subspace turbulence," Quinn reported from the Operations station. "The spacecraft also took heavy damage to its propulsion and power systems. Just from a cursory look, it's doubtful repairs are possible."

Harvey's eyes narrowed, looking at the small, adrift vessel on the viewscreen. With a craft that small, it was a miracle anything had survived a supernova, even on a miniature scale. "Lifesigns?"

"One," Quinn replied. "But it is faint. There's also some sort of interference, likely from the turbulence. We may have to tractor the craft aboard."

The Captain nodded. "Open hailing frequencies." After he heard the familiar chime, he pulled down on the hem of his uniform jacket and stated, "Unknown vessel, this is Captain Harvey Geisler of the Federation starship Black Hawk. We detected a supernova in this vicinity, as well as the damage to your spacecraft. The damage appears severe. We are preparing to bring you aboard for repair and medical attention."

He paused, wondering if he would get a response.

The warm female voice of T.AM.I. came back from the other end. "This is the shuttlecraft Baghmati, power will run out in 487.45 seconds. Haste is advised," after that, the link was cut off. T.A.M.I. had cut off the power to most of the systems she could access to prolong the length that the power would last.

Harvey raised an eyebrow, surprised at the woman's tone. Could someone on that ship actually be in a friendly mood, or was it a computer that he had just been interfacing with. Either way, the short timespan did not leave much to the imagination. "Miss Khan, close the distance between us and the Baghmati. Mister Mackie, standby on a tractor beam and let's park it in the shuttlebay." Had the flight deck not been engaged in a loading drill, Harvey likely would have sent the craft there.

"Acknowledged," Kelly said as she listened to the female voice responding as if everything was normal despite the obvious warning in the message. She maneuvered the ship until they were within visual range and was surprised that the shuttle had managed to survive. At this point, she saw that they had about a minute and a half to spare before all life support and power on it died. "In range, Captain."

"Mister Mackie, engage tractor beam," Harvey ordered. "As soon as you can, beam the survivor to sickbay for medical attention. Miss Khan, as soon as it's aboard, take us to a safe distance. I don't want any hidden after effects from this supernova to wreck havoc with our systems."

"Pulling it in now," Quinn stated. "The lifeform is in the cockpit, and it appears to be sealed. The shielding in that section is deflecting the transporter beams. The engineering teams will have to cut him out."

"Well that was interesting," said Terry. "And a little creepy, too." He turned to the Captain. "I wonder what a shuttle was doing that close to a micro-supernova? You'd think today's sensor pallets, even on a shuttle designed to study such things, would be so good that you wouldn't have to get that close."

Tag Harv


The shuttle, at least what was left of it, was gently laid on the shuttlebay floor. A massive hole had exposed the rear section to the hazards of space, but now the shuttlebay air filled the areas vacuum had temporarily claimed. The port nacelle was nowhere to be seen, but judging by the twisting of the short nacelle pylons, it appeared the nacelle had been ripped off rather than exploded. Burning and scarring covered what remained of the aft section, even on down to the exposed, twisted skeletal structure. A heavy door, also blackened, kept the cockpit from being exposed to space, thereby keeping the shuttle's sole living occupant safe.

Voss, in his environmental suit, approached the damaged shuttle. He carried his tool bag. When he reached the cockpit door, he pulled out his triccorder and ran scans. Then put his tricorder back in the bag and pulled out his phaser torch, Aimed it at the edge of the door, and starting cutting.

It took ten minutes to almost complete the assignment, all that was left was to cut through the last part, and if his calulations were correct, the door would fall away from the cockpit.

Voss aimed the torch at the last piece of the puzzle, and when he finished, the door just stood there...not moving. Then suddenly, the door groaned and fell. He walked into the cockpit, found the passenger, checked his vitals, tapped his commbadge, "Voss to computer, lock onto my commbadge," he placed his commbadge on the patient, "and transport to sickbay."

A few seconds later, the patient was transported to sickbay, and Voss started searching what remained of the shuttle.

Once the pilot was transported to sickbay, Voss turned his attention to the wrecked shuttle. He used his tricorder to scan the cockpit and located the flight recorder, the main computer data recorder and the ship's logs. He removed the components, and carried them to the engineering lab to begin to reconstruct what happened.
Voss hooked the componets, starting with the flight recorder, and scanned for damage. If no major damage was found, he started downloading the flight data in a secure file. He repeated the procedure with the other components.


The whine of a transporter served as a trigger. Around him, the medical staff jumped to action, turning their attention to the figure that materialized on the biobed in trauma two. "Computer, begin complete medical scan. Someone draw for a standard lab panel. Bridge, can you give me any context for this patient? Would help treat him if I knew more about what had happened to him."

The Captain's voice was the one to answer. "We detected an explosion on short-range sensors. When we arrived, we found a shuttle whose life support was failing, and oxygen depleting. The lifesign had to be cut out, so it's possible the air ran out."

"Push fifteen ccs of tri-ox," Rhula ordered. While a nurse administered the medication, the Bajoran physician studied the readings that were now appearing on the wall display. "He needs a neuro," he said more to himself than to any of the staff in the room.

One of the nurses hurried out of the room, returning quickly with Kal-Irdu. "Need a hand?"

Rhula didn't look up but recognized the Grazerite's voice. "Detailed neuro scan. Possible O2 deprivation."

Kal-Irdu nodded and pulled out her tricorder while approaching the head of the bed.

"Radiation exposure," Rhula announced, his eyes still fixed on the large wall display.

"Arithrazine?" a nurse asked.

Jennin shook his head. "It doesn't look that severe. Let's start with a two-to-one mix of analeptic and hyronalin. Three ccs."

"Neuro looks clear," the Grazerite woman offered. "I think the hypothermia saved him from neurological damage."

"Good luck for him," Rhula said.

Once the anti-radiation cocktail was administered, it only took about ten minutes before the scans started to improve.

"Bridge," the Bajoran called out, "our guest is doing better than expected given the situation. I'll let you know when he's up and ready for visitors."


"Acknowledged," said Terry, " thanks, Doctor." He turned to face Harvey. "I can go down for that visit when he's ready, if you'd like?"

Harvey turned to his Executive Officer and nodded. "The job's all yours, Commander. I'm sure there's a long list of questions we'll all want answered."

Turning back to the front of the bridge, Harvey ordered, "Helm, let's resume our mission. Take us back to where we left off, Warp Eight."

"Aye, Sir, Warp Eight," Kelly said as she set in the course and brought the Century class around in a graceful arc. As soon as it came around, she engaged and send the ship to warp once again, her eyes glued on the viewscreen in front of her as the stars blurred and a smile on her face. She as doing what she as born to do.

Captain Geisler returned to his seat. Gripping both armrests, he watched the viewscreen for a moment as he silently reviewed the most recent events. In a way, it was nice responding to a distress call. It reminded him of his early days in the Gamma Quadrant, even if those early days were just a couple years ago. Since then, it had been filled with the Golden Stars, the Consortium, and even the Dolmoqour. Maybe, just maybe, there was a sense of normalcy returning.]]>
Mon, 12 Jul 2021 11:55:08 +0000
The Shadowmaster
Mission - Extinction
Location - Administration

It was bright and early in the morning, and Captain Geisler held his typical cup of Wilkins coffee as he stood next to Eden in the turbolift. As a token of goodwill, he had brought an extra cup of the dark roast for his wife's cousin to enjoy on what could be the first morning of the rest of her life. "Are you ready?" he asked her as they took the turbolift to the Administrative Complex.

Eden, who had thanked Harvey more than once for the coffee, stood next to him and took a sip. She'd been quiet for a minute or so, contemplating what a huge step something like this would be for her. "I'm nervous," the young woman answered honestly. "I have never made a decision this big before."

Harvey grunted and smirked. "Technically, you haven't made any decisions yet. You're just testing the waters." He sipped his coffee. He had to remind himself that he was more than twice her age, and lived through one war, the loss of a wife, and multiple career changes. Eden hadn't seen anything yet. "Besides, life is full of decisions big and small. They never get easier over time, you just get wiser."

He was right, of course. She wasn't making any major decisions yet, but it was still quite intimidating. Hell, Eden was just getting to a point where she didn't feel the need to run in the other direction when he entered a room, which made her wonder... could she survive life if Starfleet? "I'll keep that in mind. Thank you for doing this for me. Do people get to shadow departments often?"

"It happens often enough," Harvey stated as the turbolift came to a stop. "Usually it's teenagers, members of a family aboard a starship or starbase." The doors opened, allowing both to exit. "But not everyone that young. I've known several that didn't enlist until they were in their mid-twenties or thirties or older."

"That makes sense," the young woman mused out loud as she walked with him. Eden wondered for a brief moment of they were close to any areas she shouldn't be in for fear another drone might appear and transport her to the brig again. "I don't think I could wait that long. Not that there's anything wrong with that. For me... I think I would rather start my career at an earlier age."

"Good," Harvey said with a smile as they stopped outside the door to administration. "See, you just made a decision. You just told me what you don't want to do later in life. That's great."

"I did," Eden agreed with a bright smile. It felt good to make a decision regarding her life, and gave her hope for the future. "I can definitely do this, though, I think the hardest choice to make will be which department to go into. Any suggestions on that?"

"Try as many as you can," Harvey stated, triggering the door. "You never know what you might wind up enjoying."

"That's what I hope to do. I just don't know if many of your crew will appreciate having me around," his cousin by marriage said.

"You do realize that many of them once stood where you are standing now, right?" Harvey pointed out. "Well, not in that exact position right here in Administration, but figuring out what they want to do? Sometimes it just takes some trial and error."

In her office, Mila could be seen leaning over her desk and her mouth was moving, but the soundproof room kept whatever she was saying to a young Yeoman couldn't be heard. The expression on her face and the cringing look of the Yeoman made it clear that whatever was being said, the Captain's Yeoman wasn't happy about it.

Eden saw Mila talking to the unfortunate soul, then looked back to Harvey. "Regardless of what department I may or may not choose, I want to thank you for even opening this door for me. I appreciate it."

"You're welcome," Harvey replied, though it was more of a mutter. He watched Mila and the other yeoman from through the glass, and he couldn't help but wonder what had happened. Even as Captain, it was not his place to interrupt meetings like these lest it unknowingly usurp Mila's authority.

With a final gesture from Mila, the young Yeoman bobbed his head and nearly ran out of her office and over to another station with his head down. Mila watched him go, then turned her head and saw the Captain; she froze for a second, then straightened up and gave a warm smile before she came out of her tiny office.

"Captain, Miss Corwin," she said. "I am welcoming you to Administration. What can I be doing to be helping you today?"

"Senior Chief," Harvey greeted with a smile. "Do you mind if the three of us talk in private?"

"I am not minding at all," the Yeoman said with a smile as she gestured towards a nearby conference room and headed that way. "Please, this way."

Harvey gestured for Eden to follow Mila first, leaving him to form up the line at the end.

Eden followed behind Mila with a smile. "Thank you, Senior Chief Rasputin."

Once in the conference room, Mila turned to the side to allow them entrance. "How am I to be helping you today?" she asked.

"Eden here," Harvey said, gesturing to his wife's cousin, "is interesting in shadowing a few departments. If all works out, she's considering enlisting in Starfleet."

The Captain's Yeoman gave Eden a bright smile as if she hadn't just gotten done tearing someone apart verbally a minute before. "What departments are most having your interest, Miss Corwin?" she asked. "I am hearing Harvey may be retiring in year or two to raise family. We could be putting you in command in say, twelve to fifteen with good service record."
Eden couldn't look more surprised if Mila told her the Gorn wore pink tutus and danced the dance of the Sugarplum Fairy on a regular basis. She looked toward Harvey. "Really? I had no idea you were retiring."

Harvey's face had flushed itself paler than ever before. "I'm not retiring," he defensively said, obviously embarrassed. "I'm only in my early forties, and I still have the best years in front of me. Mila's just... just making a joke."

Mila watched the expressions and complexion with a stoic face, then laughed. "Da, da. Is being joke. Come, how am I to be helping you, Eden?"

"Well," the young woman began. "like Harvey said, I'm interested in shadowing a few departments. I just don't know which departments to shadow. I was hoping one of you might have a few suggestions."

"Well, it is really depending what you are liking," the Yeoman said. However, I would suggest you follow me for a few days and I could be showing you life in Administration and what to expect from Command and other departments. We are interacting with all of them daily."

"I definitely don't mind starting here. When would be a good time for you?" The young woman asked.

"Is being no time like present," Mila said. "Please be telling Captain Geisler that he is having four correspondence request from the FNN from Gamma Command, none of which are being important."

Eden looked toward her cousin-in-law. "Did you happen to catch all of that?"

"Hmm?" Harvey asked. It was only when he was directly spoken to that he realized that his mind had wandered in just a few seconds' time. "FNN? Any idea what they want?"

"Is being standard requests for interviews from low on the pole reporters," his Yeoman said. "I am turning down such requests as standard operation. You are being too important to be asked what you are thinking of being Captain of Black Hawk and other trivial matters."

Harvey shook his head, then sighed. "Amazing to think there's so many low-level reporters out here. Almost as if no one considers the Gamma Quadrant important anymore."

"Begging your pardon, Sir, but we are being in Gamma Quadrant," Mila pointed out. "And is reason you are not getting these requests." She turned to Eden. "Number one job is making sure Captain does not have million unnecessary things to be reading."

Eden nodded. She'd made another decision in that moment. Administration was definitely off of her list of possible areas of interest. "Noted."

"Are you being ready to be starting your day?" Mila asked Eden.

The young woman nodded again, then looked toward Harvey. "Looks like I'm jumping in head first."

The Captain smiled. "Excellent. Mila will keep me apprised of your progress, and I equally expect your honesty at the end of this. In the meantime, learn all you can."

"I will," Eden assured him before she looked toward Mila. "Looks like I'm being left in your capable hands."

Mila smiled. "Then let us be off," she said with a smile. "There are being Yeomen to terrify."

Eden gave Harvey a smile and a wave. She felt bad for starting so soon leaving him and Joey without someone to watch the twins for the day, but she certainly couldn't turn down an opportunity like this. "Lead the way."]]>
Sun, 11 Jul 2021 22:35:03 +0000
What Do We Do Now?
Mission - Extinction
Location - Ready Room

Once the Counselor had been taken into the room for an examination, Camila called a Security Ensign to stand guard at the entrance to Sickbay, out of the way of others and told to alert her if anything happened to Lieutenant Rael while she was going to see the Captain.

She turned to Joey. "Ready go to see the Captain?" she asked.

"As ready as I'll ever be," Joey answered. She wouldn't apologize to anyone, including the Captain, for ordering the arrest of the ship's new counselor. Not after Lieutenant Rael practically admitted to illegally procuring sensitive Starfleet information for the V'Shar. She did the right thing, and would continue to monitor all incoming and outgoing messages until she felt there was no longer a need to do so.

After posting a Security person to stand guard outside of the Counselor's door where she was being examined, Camila tapped her combadge as she left Sickbay and headed down the corridor to the turbolift. =^=Di Pasquale to Captain Geisler.=^=

Joey walked next to Camila, opting to remain quiet while she allowed her thoughts to wander a bit. Why did the Black Hawk seem to have such horrible luck with counselors? Though, a part of her did have to admit she'd much rather deal with this than deal with Tivan. Still, when would they catch a break?

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

=^=Myself and Commander Geisler need to see you immediately, Sir,=^= Camila responded.

"Come up to the Ready Room," Harvey then instructed. "Geisler out."

Joey stepped onto a turbolift and moved aside so Camila could step in behind her. She knew they would end up in the ready room, and that was how it should be. Harvey was busy, and it was.easier for them to go to him. "Do you want to start this impromptu meeting, or do you want me to?" She asked. Truth be told, it didn't matter who opened this particular conversation, but she would jump in wherever she felt she was needed.

"Bridge," Camila said as she stepped in behind Joey and moved to the side. "I'd rather start it off. He doesn't like me much as it is most of the time."

"And what gives you that impression?" The taller woman asked as the turbolift began to move. She was genuinely curious.

"It almost took me resigning just to get the authority to protect the ship," the Security Chief said as the turbolift came to a stop and the door swished open.

Joey couldn't help but arch a brow as she stepped from the turbolift. "That's what you're basing the Captain not liking you off of?" She queried. And there was a near resignation to boot? To get authority to protect the ship? There had to be more to the story. Still, that wasn't what needed to be focused on at the moment. "Then, I'll let you start things off."

"Long story, and you know some of it, but I'm still not entirely sure he likes me, but my job isn't to be liked." Camila said as she stepped off the bridge and headed to the ready room where she tapped the chime.

The taller woman nodded her head. There definitely wasn't time for a long story at the moment, and perhaps they could revisit this conversation at a later date. For now, though, Joey adjust her uniform a bit and clasped her hands behind her back. "I'm former Security. I can see why you would think that."

"Maybe it's just me, but this time, I have proof," Camila said.

The doors parted, revealing Captain Geisler seated behind his desk reviewing the reports from the surface teams. He looked up to see both his Chiefs of Security and Intelligence enter the room. "Camila, Joey," he greeted. "What seems to be the problem?"

Camila took a breath as she entered. "Captain," she said respectfully. "I regret to inform you that Lieutenant Rael is in Sickbay at the moment, but she'll be going to the brig from there. Sir."

That was one way to kick things off, but if she were sitting in the Captain's chair, she'd definitely want more information to go off of up front, and she did tell Camila she would jump in when she felt it necessary. This was one of those times. "Because of her ties with the V'Shar," Joey clarified. "And her basically admitting to illegally obtaining sensitive Starfleet information to report back to them."

The Captain leaned back in his chair and shifted his glance between the two women. He thumbed the padd to off and tossed it on the table. "What the hell?" he muttered, following that declaration with a sigh. Only a couple of hours had passed since T'Mari confessed to her connection with the V'Shar right here in this very room.

The Security Chief sighed; she had wanted to ease the Captain into it, but Joey had decided not to wait at all and dumped everything on him. "We made an inquiry, supposedly discreet, to Vulcan about the V'Shar and Ambassador Soval responded to it. Turns out, he's Rael's father and denied all existence of the V'Shar at first, then promised an internal investigation on the matter. All this was after Lieutenant Rael broke down and declared she was here to steal the secrets the Federation didn't share with Vulcan., then collapsed and we took her to Sickbay where she's under guard currently."

"The part of her being on the ship to steal the secrets of the Federation is presumed, however, given your position within Gamma Command now, it can't be ruled out," Joey stated, "That being said, I have no doubt that she has retrieved information not meant for her eyes, or anyone else's for that matter, and shared it. I have flagged her incoming and outgoing messages regardless of where she may be in the ship. Whatever is written, or spoken, I'll know about it immediately. And so will you, Commander Walsh and Commander di Pasquale."

"No, it isn't presumed, Commander," Camila said with some annoyance creeping into her voice. "She said, and I quote, 'You know as well as I do the Federation only releases what it needs to in those reports, it’s what doesn’t go into those reports that I’m interested in. The hidden secrets behind the discoveries, that’s what the Scientific Bureau are interested in.' When you asked how she planned on getting that, she said that's something she can't tell you as it would violate her oath to the Bureau."

"When I said what I said, I was speaking of the Black Hawk, hence my mentioning the Captain's current role in Gamma Command," Joey clarified. She wasn't going to argue with Camila about how she said what she did, because honestly, it wasn't that important. What was important was T'Mari's position on the ship and her potential for obtaining highly sensitive information that she had no business seeing. Her attention remained on Harvey. "Lieutenant Rael has made it abundantly clear that it's not likely she can be trusted. She's already spoken with her father, and attempted to hide the fact. I don't know exactly what was said given the fact I haven't had the opportunity to analyze the conversation, but it's at the top of my list of things to do."

"Ladies," Harvey said gently, trying to slip back into the conversation before he'd never get a word in edge wise. "Look, I'm not happy at all that this is happening. It's like the universe sees this ship as an easy target. This situation is infuriating. Consortium, Dolmoqour, Pirates, and now the V'Shar. Starfleet hasn't fully rebuilt since the Dominion War, and many of its scars are well known. Judging from reports," Harvey picked up a padd with a message he personally obtained from Gamma Command an hour ago, "the Vulcans have increased their civilian presence in the Gamma Quadrant by two hundred percent in the last year. One of their ships is even mapping the Convergence Zone. Given how humanity and Vulcans started more than two hundred years ago, it's safe to say they either are losing trust in the Federation, or they've never fully trusted us. Maybe we can use this as an opportunity to learn how deep this mistrust actually goes?"

Camila was fuming now and it showed on her face, but she kept her tone neutral as she could get it. "With all due respect, Captain," she stated. "The mistrust has gone as far as them putting a member of their intelligence bureau on this ship because of that mistrust. I'd say it's gone pretty far."

"Yes..." a slight hint of frustration entered Harvey's tone. "If they're putting their own agents on ships like ours, then yes, that mistrust has gone far. But that still leaves the question of why the counselor was willing to disclose this connection. Yes, she withheld it in the beginning, but she quickly confessed.. Maybe she's looking for a way out?"

"I'm not so sure that's the case, Captain. If it were, I think she might have hinted around," Joey explain as she finally removed her hands from behind her back. "Not only that, but she only began confessing when she was confronted by two higher ranking Starfleet officers and realized the severity of her current situation."

Harvey frowned. He rose from his chair and walked over to the window. Thanks to the ship's orbit, Harvey actually had a decent view of the planet this time. "Recommendations?"

"Ultimatums. She cannot be loyal to the V'Shar and remain loyal to the Federation as well. It's impossible," the Intelligence Chief said matter of factly. "Lieutenant Rael is going to have to decide where she wants her loyalties to lie. If she chooses us, she'll wave all rights to privacy until she proves without a shadow of doubt that she can be trusted. Unless, Commander di Pasquale has other plans."

"I concur with Commander Geisler on the matter of her loyalty and privacy," Camila said. "On the stipulation that she gives us the same said secrets that the V'Shar doesn't want the Federation to have. Make her a double agent, as it were."

The Captain, still staring out the window, nodded slowly. The V'Shar was not the only suspect organization within the Federation, not since the reveal of the Borg and the Dominion War. Being this far out from the Alpha Quadrant, Harvey knew he would never have a better opportunity. "A double agent, you say. That might be worth doing." He turned back to face his senior officers. "Especially since we're sitting on a perfect opportunity to see what exactly they might be interested from a planet like this."

"If there's a reason, we'll find it." Joey said, looking between them. "We all agree, then? If she wants to stay out of the brig, she needs to abide by our rules and agree to the terms we set forth until she proves she can be trusted?"

"I wouldn't trust her to even do counseling now," Camila said. "But if we can use what she knows to help us, I'm for it. Captain?"

Harvey considered their options for a few moments longer. Part of him wanted to send T'Mari off the ship just so he wouldn't have to deal with the situation. However, he felt that, in full conscience, he could not turn away a soon-to-be-mother in need. He hadn't worn a medical uniform in years, but the hippocratic oath still rang strong. Conflicts aside, a better opportunity would not present itself.

He turned around to face both women. "Very well. But we keep a close eye and a short leash."

"Very," his Security Chief stated seriously. "I would like to have a drone with a full sensor suite placed in the vent by her room."

"That would fall under waving rights to privacy as far as I'm concerned," the Intelligence Chief stated. Maybe this was all extreme, but Lieutenant Rael told them with her own mouth she couldn't be trusted, so extreme measures needed to be put into place until said trust could be built. As the age old saying went... Rome wasn't built in a day.

Harvey winced. The measure was most certainly extreme, but he had little choice other than to agree with what both women had told him. "If that's what we need to do, then so be it. Don't restrict her access to communications, but make sure all access is logged and every conversation recorded. Let's see who she's talking to and also who she'll go out of her way to try and hide from us."

"Will do, Captain," Camila said and waited for further instructions if he had any before he dismissed them.

"Then, it sounds like we know what we need to do," Joey said before looking to Camila. "Our next stop should be sickbay to let Lieutenant Rael know what her options are." Her gaze moved back to Harvey. "Do you have anything you wish to add, Captain?"

The Captain shook his head. "No, that will be all for now. Keep me posted on the situation, and I will expect regular updates. Dismissed."]]>
Sun, 11 Jul 2021 12:14:02 +0000
Mission - Extinction
Location - Squadron Commander's Office

Kendra had landed and her fighter being attended to by the flight deck crew her personal gear tossed in a pile near where she was told to park it. The fighter was crammed with her gear and she was glad to be on the ground and her legs stretching despite the very short flight between the two ships while they were at station keeping.

She adjusted her hair putting it up in a bun with the ponytail holder she kept around her wrist while in flight. Her helmet prevented her preferred work hairstyle. She nodded at some of her fellow pilots as she made her way from the flight deck, through the command center, and to the door of the Squadron Commander's Office. She gently brushed the chime button with her finger and took a breath before being admitted.

Gemma glanced up from the virtual meeting on the console that just ended, "Enter."

She marched into the room and came to attention before the commander's desk, "Ensign Kendra Kyle, reporting as order, sir."

Alexander nodded, "Have a seat." She gestured to a chair on the other side of her desk as she called up Ensign Kyle's record. Confirming the arrival of one new pilot.

"Thank you," she said, moving to the offered chair and taking a seat. "I look forward to serving as part of the wing."

"Glad to have you." She replied, "I like to give a mini debrief and answer questions with all new personnel and as this can take a few would you like anything refreshment wise?" She offered politely

"I'm fine thank you ma'am," Kendra said. "What is happening mission-wise? I have no intel on that at all."

"I'll send the whole set of instructions and known information to your personal console but essentially we're on pirate hunting duty. We've got areas we patrol and as methods shift so will our focus as a squadron. They've been operating here awhile and are pretty well established, one hope is their arrogance will cause a slip up and we'll catch a break." Gemma summarized.

"Sounds good ma'am," she said, nodding, "I mean sending it to me. Obviously, pirates are a problem... and I agree with the arrogance problem. Learned that in flight school there is a fine line between being legitimately cocky and then dangerously so."

Gemma smiled, "True enough. I think when you stop learning is where the arrogance creeps in and to be honest if pirates were big on self-improvement I doubt they'd be pirates." She replied. She called up Legacy's service record, though she had read it to keep it fresh in her mind, "Persistence in overcoming challenges is much more useful than arrogance anyway and it looks like you've had some loops of your own."

"From when the arrogance creeps in," Kendra said, with a shrug.

"You almost washed out but fought your way back in. Admirable. No problems since." Gemma replied continuing her scan of her record before turning her eyes to their newest pilot, "Anything I should know?" The tone was politely sincere.

"Nope, that about sums it up," Kendra responded. "I know I'm lucky to be here ma'am, and I intend on proving I deserve to be."

Gemma nodded, "I judge people on what I see them do. Or as my Gran would say, proof is in the pudding." She grinned, "So up to you how this goes. My door is always open." Then she remembered, "Oh you'll find a document in your personal console inbox, an orientation packet if you haven't gotten notification yet. I especially encourage reading the parts labeled 'schedule' and 'When stuff goes wrong because it will' first. We do have a section entitled 'Things I am not allowed to do or bring on board' it is not a check off list but all fairly standard items." She joked. "You'll be assigned to Bravo Flight, command of 3rd wing with Galahad and Toepick as your wingmen. Any questions so far?"

"Toe pick?" Kendra giggled. "None ma'am," she said, standing to attention before being dismissed.]]>
Tue, 06 Jul 2021 16:11:30 +0000
The Routine Onboarding Physical
Mission - Extinction
Location - Sickbay

Kendra since arriving on the ship had managed to check in with her new crew chief, the squadron commander, and had found her new quarters. She was surprised by the size and amenities of her new quarters which were much nicer than her last ship. Though she supposed the Century class was much, much larger. Plus she knew there were perks to being a fighter pilot and this was her first assignment with her wings.

She had changed out of her flight suit and into a normal duty uniform before she had left her new quarters. She felt like that was the best idea while dealing with the general ship's population. She still felt odd in her flight suit despite all she had gone through to earn her wings, twice.

Entering sickbay she checked in with one of the enlisted staff telling them she'd just come aboard and wanted to do her check-in. She was told to wait and did so standing off to the side so as to not accidentally be in somebody's way. She was all about flying below the radar on this assignment. Stealth and focus was her new motto.

"Doctor Jennin?"

"Go away," the Bajoran replied, not even bothering to see who was talking to him.

"An Ensign Kyle is here for an on-boarding physical."

With a heavy, and dramatic, sigh, Rhula turned away from his monitor. He had been reviewing an article for the Annals of Exoparasitology, and it was research that he was very interested in commenting on since the conclusions reached by the author were borderline lunacy. "Get someone else."

"You're the only physician available," the yeoman replied, smiling in hopes that it would make the Chief Medical Officer less of an ass.

Rhula threw his hands up in the air as he stood up. "Why am I the only doctor that's ever available?"

This time, the yeoman's smile was very genuine. "I didn't make the schedule, sir. You did."

He stopped in his tracks. Dammit!

"Show the Ensign to exam three," Rhula said. "Get out of here."

Returning to the waiting room, the yeoman called for Kyle. "Follow me, Ensign."

It was a short walk down the corridor to the exam room. "Here you go, Ensign," the yeoman said, opening the door.

"Thank you," Kendra said, as she entered the room. She stood just inside eyeing the biobed for a moment before she sighed and walked to it and got on. She sat there letting her feet swing as she waited for the doctor or whoever would be doing her physical to arrive. She whistled to herself, the tune was of her favorite song, or the current favorite anyway.

"Doctor," she said, pleasantly with a smile as she noticed someone entering and stopped the whistling.

Rhula looked at the young woman....girl even, maybe. From her perch on the side of the biobed, her feet noticeably did not touch the floor. "You're short," he stated bluntly. "Are you old enough to be in Starfleet?"

"I am," Kendra agreed. "And I'm not but so far I've fooled everyone. You won't tell on me will you, sir?" she said, her voice and expression serious. She knew she shouldn't antagonize people who outrank her and she'd had a few course corrections in her attitude and behavior in her short time in Starfleet but old habits die hard sometimes.

Rhula rolled his eyes. "Not worth the trouble," he muttered, looking down at his PADD. "You're a fighter pilot. Not the safest job out there. You enjoy danger?"

"Keeps things interesting, holds my attention," she shrugged. "I can't imagine that holding lives in your hands is much different, is it sir?" Kendra asked.

"Science," he began, "is what I do. While it might brush up against danger on occasion, I wouldn't think to equate it to your line of work. But we each have our role to play, I suppose."

"When was your last physical?" he asked, scrolling through her medical record. "If it was recently enough, we can make this quick."

"About six months ago, I think," Kendra said, her eyes and head moving up and to the right a bit as she thought about it. "Close enough to that anyway," she said, with a shrug. "I'm a Pilot we have to see the doctor way more often than we should ever have to."

His face was expressionless. "Recent enough," he said, beginning a new entry for this exam. "How are you feeling today? Any symptoms I should know of?

"Feel fine, no symptoms," Kendra said.

Rhula was quiet while he set the PADD down and pulled a tricorder out of his pocket. He slowly moved the device up and down his patient. "Nothing concerning here, Ensign," he announced after several minutes. "I'm ordering some routine lab work. The yeoman out front can schedule that for you. Any questions?"

"None, sir," she said, hopping down off the bio bed. "See you next time."

Tue, 06 Jul 2021 16:10:05 +0000
Pilots Exploring
Mission - Extinction

The Black Knights had modified their patrol routes. Some were keeping close to the Black Hawk and the main planet they found. Others were getting to stretch their legs a bit and of course Archer jumped at the chance to be on the deeper range patrols. She checked the readouts, they were on a recon mission to check out a marginal Class L planet. "Archer to wings, report status?" She asked her two wingmen.

Ensign Peris, a Deltan female with the callsign "Cueball," kept an eye on her sensors as she remained off Archer's port side. "No bogeys in range," she reported, her throaty voice still carrying something of a feminine presence.

"Sounds grand Cueball, Roberts you good?" Archer said automaticly checking her HUD to make sure she and her two wingmen were still green.

"Roger that," said Clark. "All clear on my side."

Peris kept an eye on the sensor readouts projected on her heads up display. "I'm confused, Archer. Are we supposed to be searching for pirates or cataloging stellar phenomena?"

"Pirates first though I'm sure the science guys would like whatever data we bring back. I'd just like to get closer to the planet before I want to spot any pirates, we want their base not some merry chase. Which while fun, is not the main goal here." Archer replied as she checked her sensors and heading.

Peris nodded, even though that couldn't be seen by anyone. "Well, nothing is appearing on my sensors, at least nothing that is foreign or unusual to this Class L. How much longer do you want to stay here?"

"Just long enough to do a good scan of the planet which I guess we've now done." She replied checking the data from the three ships. "We'll make a loop in the surrounding space to make sure they're not on some hunk of rock nearby then head to the next most likely on the list." She looked at the information for the next planet, "I suppose if this was easy they'd have found them by now. Sending updating heading for the loop and next target" She continued. She was disappointed about no pirates but was happy to be flying, just her, her wingmen and this craft. Least paperwork couldn't find her here.

"Roger that, Archer," Peris confirmed, continuing to stay in formation. "Sensors in active mode, so far nothing on the scope."

"Seems pretty quiet out here, today," commented Clark. "Nothing on my sensors either."

"Time to fly on to Target 2." She glanced over her negative scan results the mission parameters, "Next most likely the Class H planet or the Asteroid belt. Others are checking the rest. Sending updated navigation for oh let's try the belt, that's were I'd hide one."

"Roger, Archer," Peris stated, adjusting her course and sensors for the asteroid belt. "I'm definitely picking up several indicators of magnetic flux. Recommend reliance on visual scanning."

Clark brought his fighter to bear on Archer's coordinates for their next waypoint. "Visual an asteroid belt. This is going to be fun, for sure."

"I hear you Clark, if it was easy they'd wouldn't have sent us." She replied lightly, "Don't forget your Tac Officers will help as well, first one to see anything useful wins Pirate I Spy." Her own Tac officer, a Vulcan, didn't smile at the joke but nodded at the instruction. Archer tapped a few more keys and made minor flight adjustments as they approached their next check point.

"Slow to search speed begin search pattern Delta 4, approaching first grouping." She slowed the craft carefully to a fraction of impulse and adjusted to an ideal search pattern. The challenge would be looking at the huge hunks of rock and their shadowed crevices. Looking for any signs of technology or life while trying to move slow enough to actually be able to see anything in time before they passed it, "Cueball, take high bird. Make sure we don't get an unexpected visitors, we'll rotate out as we move along."

"High bird, aye." Peris manuevered her craft to float above the asteroid field. She then inverted the craft so she could visually keep an eye on Archer and Roberts. "Ice Gecko," she said to the pale skinned Saurian who sat in the gunner's seat, "keep the weapons hot and use tactical sensors to search for heat signatures. Let's not have any surprises today."

"Excellent Cueball ok Clark time to play I Spy." She adjusted and started around the chunk of rock, glancing around but leaving the real looking to her gunner as she focused on flying, "You ever play I Spy Pancake?". The Vulcan officer, who did not get to name himself but who had long gotten used to the pilot nickname, replied, "No, but it was explained to me, there are visual acuity tests on Vulcan as well. Though none so...colorful." He replied deadpanned as he focused on trying to find anything below.

Clark nodded, though it couldn't be seen by anyone but his back-seater, and answered. "It's been a while since I've played that game. But think I can remember how." He slowed his fighter so the he and his Trill gunner could search the asteroids. "Low and slow, Spots. Low and slow," Clark said to her.

The Trill female audibly sighed and responded in the affirmative. She hadn't liked the callsign she'd been given when she joined the Black Knights as it wasn't all that original. But it was growing on her. Like a fungus.

"Clear skies up here," Peris announced over her comm. "Magentic fields are extremely out of sorts, however. My sensors are dancing all around and can't pinpoint anything."

"Not surprised with the amount of spacial interference." A thought occurred and she checked her sensors after finishing her sweep. "Looks naturally occurring but if you notice an area particularly wiggy, we should check it out. If was going to hide it'd be there." She checked the immediate area. After awhile with nothing being found, Archer called it, "Ok nothing here, continuing to next grid in the field. And it was like that for a bit, they'd rotate out high bird while two searched the likely chunks. It was a boring but somewhat tense routine as they couldn't relay on sensors as they moved agility around the belt.

They were at their next location, Clark as high bird this time while Archer and Cueball followed the routine, low and slow. Light beams skimming the surface as they looked for clues, Pancake spoke up, "I see a glint. Please return to previous." It took Archer a moment as she honestly by this point was not expecting anything but, "Archer to Cueball going to circle a position." Then she spun around on the same track she'd just come from and when Pancake called, "Hold." She locked it into a hover position and he began moving the beam of light to find what he thought he'd seen, "It appears to be a glinting like metal does when hit with light." The vulcan explained to the team as he carefully searched while Archer maintained position.

Clark maintained the new position he'd rotated into, but adjusted to hopefully get a better look. "Metallic glinting on an asteroid, though? Wouldn't that be common depending on the asteroid's makeup?"

Pancake replied, "This seemed significant like not a mineral 'sparkle'." As he continued to move the beam. Archer held position checking her records, "Reports have these not mine friendly likely because of the sensor issue in part but who knows whats down there. Don't suppose it hurts to check." Pancake gave her a suggested alternate hovering location and she shifted their location smoothly, "You got 5 minutes then we're moving on." She said to her Gunner.

Peris had noted Archer's pause below and adjusted her heading into a small patrol circuit. With sensors down, it was best for at least one craft to keep moving to spot any potential dangers. So far, she found none.

Clark pulled his fighter alongside the Squadron Commander's for wingman duty. "Five minutes, huh. Let's get to it then."

Pancake frowned but replied, "Understood." Pancake was systematically looking for the mysterious glimmer he'd seen, finally, "Found it! appears to be craft wreckage looks old..." as he was talking a small group of small but fast craft skimmed along the edges of the high bird's sight line, just as blind on sensors in this mess as anyone else.

"Is that..." Peris asked, catching the glimmer of something off in the distance. "I think we've got a contact!" she called out, her throaty voice booming over the comms. "Moving to investigate." As indicated, she pushed her craft to one-third impulse to try and continue visually tracking the contact.

"Old craft wreckage," said Clark. "That could mean lots of things." He cut off his thought at the word 'contact' from Peris. "Ready for back-up on your mark, Cueball."

"We can come back to this, backing up cueball." Alexander also replied as with a frown, Pancake turned off the search beam as she took to to the sky.

Two of three craft skimmed around an asteroid almost invisible but one pilot, not as smooth as the others took an easier route that with an engine shine that could be seen from some distance away.

"Distance to contact roughly one kilometer," Peris reported, still outside the asteroid field. "Sensors still can't get a lock."

"And the hunt is on. Clark, Cueball on me let's go introduce ourselves." She said as they came closer.

Which is about when one of the pilots finally noticed their weren't alone, "Hey Snix, there's some feddies on your tail."

"Really?" replied snix, "I don't see anything." He said checking his systems and looking around.

"That's because you're an idiot," replied a third voice.

"Shut it Garla, let's get out of here and warn the boss, I'm not tangling with feddies. Try to lose them in the field." The first voice, Jiko commanded the others. and they fell into line.

Alexander glanced at her HUD, frustrated as contacts appeared and disappeared. "You guys see them, you stick like a prom date. Gunners go to manual if you need too." She continued as the triad streaked after the others. "Clark on me, Cueball hinge door."

It was then she saw them, two of them zig zagging around trying to throw off the Federation pilots barrelling toward them. One trying to but not being very good at it. "Switching to manual targeting." Pancake spoke up behind her.

In the hinge door plan, Cueball would act as the pivot point holding position briefly as Archer and Clark swung around to slam the targets. Clark being far left would try to cut off the front man, Archer the middle and Cueball the tail ender. "Remember we need at least one alive." Gemma said confidently.

"Copy, Archer," Peris said, a bit uneasy as to the squadron commander's declaration. Rules of engagement hadn't been broken, nor had these targets done anything that warranted making a kill. The standing orders to capture and detain pirates not withstanding, Peris would do everything she could, short of sacrificing her own life, to keep from killing. That is, of course, unless the game suddenly changed. "Ice Gecko, standby phasers," she told her gunner. "Weapons and engines are the initial targets. Paint that rear craft with a target lock as soon as you can."

Archer systems lit up with what was happening on the other craft to see the preparation, nodding to herself she opened her coms "Clarification. Full RoE: should they fail to stop, disable first, kill only if needed. My point is I expect us to be the ones standing should it come to it. I'm calling in backup. For now just keep them in sight. There's something I have to try first."

"Copy, Archer," Peris said from her perch. For now, she retained her target lock in the highly likely event that it was needed.

Archer tapped a few keys, calling in another part of the Squadron who had been patrolling nearby, then on an opening hailing frequency, "This is Lieutenant Commander Alexander of the Federation. You are required to stop and be examined."

She waited a few heartbeats all the while keeping pace with her target. There was no answer but that they continued to dodge around, until the sloppy pilot panicked and fired wild torpedo that exploded on a nearby asteroid.

The asteroid was small enough to be broken apart by the weapon's detonation. Debris surged upward and outward, causing Cueball to have to break off her pursuit in order to avoid a collision. Several fragments did bounce off her shields. The evasive maneuver also had an unintended side effect, forcing Peris to dodge several other asteroid fragments. "Archer, Cueball. They're making me dance out here. I no longer have your back." It would be at least another minute before she could recover and make an effort to return to formation.

"Bravo Two and Three are inbound to Alpha One," Kendra acknowledged the verbal command for them to redirect from their assignment. She hit a key to expand the information on the screen coming in with the situation update. "Looks like they have three active targets," Kendra said, to Galahad her new wingman.

Kendra had not known him long but in the short time and few times they'd gotten time together out in space they seemed to be able to get into a good grove and fly intuitively with each other. She was actually quite impressed with the connection they had while flying... even if they were still prompting each other a bit.

"Ready to maneuver port," she said, "three-two-one."

Galahad locked into his position, "I got your coat Captain My Captain." He replied, "Ready to dance when you are. Looks like there's a report that sensors are not being useful so may be manual everything. ETA 5 minutes."

"Roger that, and I'm a long way from Captain," Kyle laughed. Truth be told she was borderline late for Lieutenant Junior Grade or at least so in her mind. "You ready back there?" Kendra asked her new TAC?

"Good to go, ready for manual," he responded. He was not much for chatting short and to the point to be honest he hadn't really known what to think about his new pilot and really had made no evaluation as of yet.

Jiko cursed, he'd been saddled with Snix because he was a like a second cousin of the First Mate. Snix was a cargo pilot who thought he could fly with the big boys and now they were all scattering because the super genius blew up a random asteroid. And if Snix curses were anything to go by he'd taken damage from his own torpedo. Garla was experienced however and like Jiko kept her head. If they could just get back to each other and see their way clear they could get out of here then go to warp.

Archer muttered a curse of her own as her screen lit up, trying to adjust for the sudden light of the explosion as she quickly dodged the debris, "That's our answer. Understood Prentis, go high see if you can get eyes on them if they get to open space we might lose them. Cueball, you online?" Pancake spoke up, "Trying to reacquire target." He said calmly attempting to reorientate.

"Trying to catch back up, Archer," Peris replied over the comm. "ETA thirty seconds."

"Bravo Two and Three ETA two minutes," Kendra said, on the channel, the Alpha Wing was using as she and her wingman approached. She didn't want anyone, especially while on manual tactical observations, to mistake them for the bad guys.

"Understood, marking you as friendlies. Sending last known heading of the bogies. Looks like they are making best speed to get to clear space. You need to cut them off. Any gets eyes on, shout out." Archer replied coming around in a wide arc trying to spot them.

"Jiko where'd you go?"

Jiko rolled his eyes and gave Snix his coordinates, "Just come find us idiot. We're going to swing around and if we have too blow another 'troid to get them off our tails. I am not going toe to toe with Feddies." A common pirate trait was the complete hatred of anything like a fair fight. They were fast and well armed but not about to take on professionals. He and Garla continued to dodge around trying to avoid catching the eyes of their pursuers.

Peris' position did provide her with an excellent vantage point, even though she was at least thirty seconds out. "They're trying to exit the field," she called out over the comms. "Still out of range for me, but if they escape, I'll be able to intercept."

"We're on an intercept course," Kendra reported.

Clark was following the leads and listening to the back-and-forth. Pirates...and now they were trying to escape. Days like this, he wished he'd never left the Sol System.

"Eyes on lead craft." Archer reported, "Sending coordinates."

Galahad reported to Legacy, "We're on site I'm seeing one non-federation craft, others may be nearby."

"Yeah, I see it," Kyle said, "looks like one of the craft they were after. Tally-ho," she said. "Hail them," she ordered her back seat.

"Trying on all channels," her tactical officer reported. "Unidentified Craft, Unidentified Craft this is Starfleet Fighter Bravo-Three, respond immediately to our hail and bring your craft station keeping."

"Oh great now there's more of them. Focus on the lead ship talking now we have to get past them!" Ordered the lead pirate. The three craft continued their zig zagging flight but this time, it was different. Lasers and torpedoes streaked toward Legacy and Galahad.

Archer saw the fire streaked toward their reinforcements. "Legacy! Incoming! All craft box them in, disable!" She streaked toward them as Pancake modified his firing solution to take out their engines or weapons whichever came first. She swung near one of the craft and Pancake let lose.

The pirate Garla cursed as her engines took a hit.

Cueball could see the action, but was still just out of range. The Deltan made some adjustments to her flight path hoping to get ahead of the target craft. "Gecko," she told her TSO, "let's borrow a page from their playbook. Target an asteroid with a couple torpedoes. Let's see if we can slow them down."

"Got it," the Saurian TSO replied. A moment later, the torpedo shot from the tube and struck an asteroid just ahead of the pirate craft. It wasn't enough to destroy the asteroid, but a large chunk of it split off and disintegrated, spraying debris along their flight path.

Legacy and Galahad took evasive maneuvers when the fire came toward them she caught a bit of debris though a warning sounding on her console. "We're still good," she said, confidently silencing the alarm. "Galahad you okay?" she asked, as she began banking around to rejoin the fight.

"I'm good Boss." Galahad replied as he dodged. The pirate scouts, the two still moving as Garla's engines were fried, were forced to pulled up and out of the way of the path they were heading on as debris pelted them.

"Let's see if we can't get behind them," Kyle said, bringing her fighter around in a sweeping movement to keep clear of the other fighters and to try and re-engage.

===[DujlIj Hegh, Bridge]===

The ship was still utilizing it's stolen Reman cloak as it approached the outer perimeter of the asteroid field. And Kelinor was sitting forward, elbows on his knees and head his hands. His Orion First Mate, Veshku, was arguing with his Nausicaan Head of Security, Galar. Again. "That's enough!" he shouted as he stood. "You were right about what the sensors picked up. And now we're cleaning up a simple scouting mission in an asteroid field where one of our abandoned bases is located. I'll deal with it," Kelinor told Galar. "For now, remain cloaked and outside the asteroid field. Target the Starfleet fighters with the phasers and prepare a wide spread of photon torpedoes towards the asteroids nearest them. Fire once we drop the cloak. Veshku, send our scouts a message that they have thirty seconds to dock or they'll be sailing on the real Barge of the Dead."

"I've got eyes on Bogey 1. Roberts and Cueball Keep Bogey 2 in sight and check high bird. Be advised Bogey 2 may still have teeth if she's crazy enough to use them. Legacy Let's lock this down, try to keep eyes on Bogey 1 or 3." Archer reported over coms.

Garla aka Bogey 2 sat pissed off in her floating craft as the leader zipped passed her, leaving her to her own devices.

Bogey 3, the final pilot was having a hard time the new debris completely threw him off track, some hitting him but not quite stopping him. His movements ended up flying him right passed the sights of Legacy's tac officer as the pirate tried to regain control of his injured vessel while alarms screamed at him and his navigation system fritzed.

Their leaders message came over their coms and the 'not much time' got even tighter as their attempts to escape got a bit more frantic.

"Locking on to disable Bogey 1" Pancake reported calmly from the backseat as he manually set up a firing solution.

Peris aka Cueball spoke up on her comm. "We've got a lock on Bogey 2," she called out. A second later, her TSO fired, taking out the bogey's engines.

And the pirate scout leader cursed as he jerked his craft. He pulled to the side but not quite enough, it wasn't spot on hut not the miss he'd been going for and hit his engines. He watched in horror as he began to lose speed. He would never make the meet up now.

"Confirmed Cueball, Bogey 1 hit, losing speed. Good job..." She was blinded for a moment as there was another explosion. Bogey 3 so busy trying to avoid Legacy's team, he failed to watch properly for all the debris still in the way. Including the large piece he'd just slammed into. "Legacy, Galahad and Cueball let's secure the other two before they do something stupid too. Be advised they still have teeth. Clarke keep on highbird, let us know if anyone else pops in. Let's wrap this with a bow."

One quick phaser shot from Cueball's fighter disabled the power for Bogey 2's weapons. "Bogey 2 disabled. Initiating tractor beam to escort to the Black Hawk."

===[DujlIj Hegh, Bridge]===

The Nausicaan security shook his head as he stood at Tactical. "The whelps have the learned the hard way. Orders?"

"Acceptable losses," said Kelinor. "Stand down. Helm, get us the hell out of here."

Weapons systems stood down and the pirate ship set a course out of the system.

"Acknowledged." Archer replied continuing to coordinate the processes. The Black Hawk pilots corralled, secured and prepped for transport. She confirmed her squad would tow the pirates while she had Legacy and Galahad as escort. "It'll be nice to get out of this sensor soup. Make course for home." She said tapping a few keys, once she'd settled on her heading and cleared the field she reported status to the Black Hawk. She figured if any of these three had useful intel, she knew a few interrogators back at the Hawk who'd be able to pull it free. She grinned to herself at the thought as they made their way.

= = = = = = =
Mon, 05 Jul 2021 16:18:14 +0000
Home Sweet Home
Mission - Extinction
Location - Captain's Quarters

Joey moved into the doorway of the bedroom that belonged to Alison and Jameson. As expected, both babies were sound asleep in their cribs with Rico and Pequeno curled up in the middle of the room. She smiled. It didn't bother her that the two canines preferred the twins these days. After all, they were a lot of fun, and the dogs had great patience when it came to their little humans.

She slipped inside quietly and moved over to Jameson first, adjusting his blanket and leaning in to press a gentle kiss to the little boy's forehead before she moved over to Alison to do the same. A big part of her wanted to wake them so she could cuddle them for a while, but they needed their rest. After all, they were growing babies.

When she was satisfied they were tucked in properly, Joey made her way out to the living room where she picked up a few toys and folded a couple blankets, then continued on to the bedroom she shared with her husband. After such a long day, her only plans at this point were to take a shower and see where the rest of the night would take her before she crawled into bed to finally sleep.

It hadn't been long since Harvey returned from the surface of the planet below. He'd had plenty of excitement for one day, having dealt with corpses and a bit of fresh air coupled with exploration. It wasn't until he was aboard the shuttlecraft that he realized how dirty his uniform was. As multipurpose as regulation clothing was, he still wished Starfleet had developed better gear for surveying alien worlds while on an away mission. Maybe that could be something he'd include in his next report.

For now, the objective was simple, return to his quarters and freshen up before reviewing reports before bed. He arrived home and immediately notice that the lights were low and dim. No greeting from the dogs was enough to tell him that the kids were asleep. The only strong source of light was coming from the bedroom, where Harvey assumed Joey was. He entered the bedroom and let the door close behind him. Joey clearly was home, but he didn't immediately see her. "Honey, I'm home," he called out gently, not wanting to shout loudly in fear it would awake someone.

Joey tied the belt of her robe when she heard him call out and smiled as she made her way out to greet him. "Hi, there," she said, closing the distance between them and planting a kiss to his cheek. "How was your day?"

"Just came back from the planet," he said with a smile. He wanted to hug her, but he was so dirty and covered with grime and whatever had been left behind by the dead, that he didn't want to spread it any more than he already had. He stepped over to the dresser and began to remove his pips, combadge, and a pouch of various items that he'd collected. "It's an interesting world down there. How about you?"

"It was interesting. Camila was pretty upset with me because I wandered off in my own," she answered. "But, I found a lab while I was looking around. It's very strange how all the people living on the surface just... gave up. I stepped over a body that was blocking a door from closing."

"Was it anything besides a skeleton?" Harvey asked. "My team found what looked like a veterinarian's office with a well preserved subfloor. That corpse still had some flesh on it." He set a few other things on the dresser, including the necklace he had found on the planet. He paused once he saw it, especially since he'd forgotten he'd taken it with him.

She shook her head, her eyes going to the necklace on the dresser. "No. I only saw skeletons. The building was open to the elements. What do you have there?"

"Something I forgot I'd put in my pocket," Harvey remarked. "It's a piece of jewelry I found. Some sort of gem set in an ornate metal. It seemed like something worth a metallurgical or even a geological analysis. Though, the more I looked, the more I saw gems like these around the building. I wonder if they had some sort of spiritual connotation."

"That's possible. It all makes me wonder if we're actually going to find out what happened down there," she said, moving into the bathroom to start the shower. Joey couldn't wait to finally wash all of the people particles, and who knew what else, off. "Did Ensign Mitchell go down with you?"

"She did," Harvey said, pulling off his uniform jacket. There was still the black undershirt, which now sported sweatstains, that he would remove momentarily. "Not that I was trying to leave without an escort, but she arrived just in the nick of time."

Joey removed her robe and stepped into the shower. "A worried wife talked to her about keeping an eye on a certain Captain," she told him. "I figured you would be able to take care of yourself, but it made me feel better."

"I made it this far in life," Harvey mused, chuckling as he continued to undress. "Though I can't say your concerns were unwarranted. I've been shot at multiple times, captured, and faced certain death many times. Thankfully, this one was pretty safe, aside from inhaling the particles of the dead."

A frown formed, but Joey inhaled more than her share of those same particles as well. "If you go back down tomorrow, bring a respirator with you. Of course, in our defense, none of us really knew what we were going to encounter."

"At this point," Harvey said, heading for the bathroom to step into the shower, "I don't plan on going back down just yet. There's not much to medically examine, not to mention my place is still on the bridge. It's best leaving this to those who can hunt intelligence and study from a scientific standpoint."

"I'll go back down if I'm needed, but more than anything, I hope we can get some answers. Could you imagine living life one minute, then ceasing to be the next? It's so sad. And I'd be lying if part of me wasn't terrified it may happen to us," she said with another frown. Maybe she was overly paranoid, but the fear was still there.

“The only trouble is that we don’t know what happened other than it happened.” Harvey sighed. A whole civilization was dead and no one knew how or why. He was most certainly intrigued by it. Maybe he would wind up back on the surface after all. “Hopefully by discovering the “how” we’ll figure it out.”

"This ship is full of some pretty terrific individuals that are going to do everything they can to put all the pieces together," Joey pointed out. Like him, she was intrigued, but had serious hopes Sadoria's history wouldn't come back to bite them in their backsides somehow. "We'll all do our parts."

Harvey began to rinse out his hair, trying to perform an initial soak before attacking the grime with shampoo. "That's probably enough about all of that for now. What time did you get back on board?"

Joey worked on shampooing her own hair for a second time. "I haven't been back long. Maybe half an hour before you got hime. Eden already had the kids asleep, so I looked in on them and came in here," she answered. "I was seriously tempted to wake them up, but decided not to. They would have been cranky. Especially Alison."

He reached for the shampoo. Harvey agreed with Joey's assessment of the children, even though he had to always resist the urge to hold at least one child. The year would come soon enough that they'd want to be independent. Every moment was precious and treasured even now. "Speaking of Eden, did she ever make a decision about enlistment? Or at least shadowing?"

“I think she’s still interested. That being said, I think she’s waiting for you to help out with the department shadowing side of things. She remembers landing in the bring when she took a wrong turn and landed somewhere she wasn’t supposed to be,” his wife replied. “I think you would have to grant her some kind of special clearance first, otherwise, she and Camila will become well acquainted every time one of the drones tags her.”

"She'd have to start with administration, probably even with Mila directly," Harvey stated, massaging the shampoo into his scalp. "But I can still work on connecting them. Shadowing's the best way to go, but if she's serious about enlisting, she'd have to go through Basic on Gamma Command. We could get her stationed here afterward."

"Would you grant her permission to shadow each department? Maybe not the department heads exactly, but one or two members of each one to help her decide which department she might be interested in?" She asked as she worked on rinsing out the shampoo before starting to work the conditioner through.

Harvey had to wait his turn while she rinsed. In the meantime, he kept his eyes shut and leaned against the wall. "I don't see why I'd wouldn't. Mila should be able to set that up easily enough."

Joey smiled. Mila was definitely on point when it came to making things happen. "I don't doubt that for a second. I plan to support whatever Eden wishes to do, but of she decides to enlist, Alison and Jameson are going to miss her. I'm pretty sure Rico and Pequeno will, too."

"Our kids aren't the only one on board," Harvey pointed out, still waiting for his turn to rinse. "We have a couple pregnant women aboard, and I think Petty Officer Coates in Operations has three kids of her own. Our Civilian Affairs Liaison is working on starting a nursery. I think we could pull some crewmen from around the ship to help get it going too."

"I've had multiple people express interest in wanting to watch them, too, and I know Eden wouldn't be gone forever," she said as she changed places with him. "Still, having a nursery on board would be nice. Especially for them. They'd have more children to play with."

Harvey began to rinse out his hair, scrubbing his scalp as he did just to ensure everything came out. "Plus it'll be great for developing their social skills. Learning to play with others at a young age and all."

Joey nodded in agreement. It would do their children a world of good, and now she wanted to approach a different subject. "Do you remember when we talked about me being a surrogate for Jayla?" She asked, wondering if this was a good way to lead into it. Probably not, so she felt it might be better to just spit it out. "Forget I asked that. That was definitely the wrong approach. Would you consider us having another?"

Harvey turned to his wife, letting the water massage his backside. Considering he was once involved with the former Chief Medical Officer certainly added several awkward nuances to the thought of surrogacy. "I remember that conversation pretty well, and I think we decided to table it until she brought it up again. But that particular ship has definitely sailed since she left the ship. As for having another... I can't say I'm opposed to it. The twins have each other for a playmate, so if we go again, we might have to double the number. Besides, it'd be nice to have a pregnancy in normal space and not wondering if unknown regions are going to kill us."

Normal space. Joey definitely agreed to that, and hoped she wouldn't have any outside influences that wanted her to kill him. She still hadn't forgiven herself for that entirely just yet. "Well... if we're going to try again and want to double the number, then maybe we should try for a second set if twins. There's got to be some way medical can help with that. Perhaps, some kind of fertility medication I can take?"

Harvey turned off the water and reached for a towel to start drying off. "Are you sure you want to go through having twins again?" he asked her. "Not to mention, there's no guaranteed method to ensure that you conceive them in the first place. It's a medical marvel that they appear in the first place, a process no one's been able to duplicate outside of most natural occurrences."

Joey wrinkled her nose at that thought as she climbed out of the shower and began to dry off. "Having twins the first time wasn't so bad, but I will admit the only reason I suggested it was because you mentioned might needing to double the number the number because Alison and Jameson have each other," she explained. "Of course, as you mentioned, there are other children on board, and I'm sure more will be coming in the future."

"They are a natural part of the circle of life," he remarked. "No matter what the Black Hawk does in this quadrant, or what you and I do in our lifetime, none of that will compare to the legacy on humanity that is our children."

"You're right. And depending on when we want to start trying, Alison and Jameson won't be too much older than their brother or sister," she said. It was nice to feel a little less grimy, and she had a feeling he would agree.

"Nope," Harvey said, wrapping the towel around his waist before checking his face and hair in the mirror to be sure he removed all of the nastiness. "And we'll still get some precious time in their formative years before starting fresh with a newborn."

Joey found herself looking at him. "Does that mean you want to start trying soon?" She asked. There was also the matter of their contraceptive shots, but they'd run out soon enough.

"That's up to you," Harvey stated plainly. "I'm not the one that has to carry a baby to term. Do you think you're ready to go down that road again?"

"One baby would be a walk in the park compared to twins, and things seem to be fairly calm," she pointed out. "I say we let nature take its course. Nature can decide when it happens."

He chuckled, turning to embrace her. "Up to nature it is then."

Joey smiled and leaned in to press a kiss to the tip of his nose. "Nature did give us our first two, and I think we got really lucky that go around."

"Lucky and a little bit of ignorance," Harvey reminded with a chuckle. It was their own fault they didn't renew their contraceptives before vacationing, but neither one of them considered that a mistake or regret. "My current one won't wear off for a few weeks."

Joey smiled. "Definitely lucky, because they are two of the greatest little people I've ever encountered." Not that she'd encountered many before now. "I still have a couple weeks left for mine, too."

"Then I suppose it's time for a little practice," Harvey suggested with a coy smile. He kissed her, and drew her towel-covered form to him in an embrace. "I love you, Joelle."

"I love you, too, Harvey," she returned with a smile of her own.]]>
Sun, 04 Jul 2021 18:22:12 +0000