Elisha Cherno cowered in her closet, phaser in hand. Someone was in the Cadets' barracks and it wasn't one of the other girls. She was prepared to shoot whoever it was if they got too close, but she didn't want to. She had never shot anyone before and she didn't want today to be the day to change that. Silently, she prayed to whatever God listened that the person would just go away.
Darkness was good. Cadet Quinn stumbled amongst the furniture, trying to find a good place to hide. Just a few minutes ago, he'd been out in the corridor, on his way to his duty station on the flight deck. He slept in that morning and was late. Chief Sikes would've and probably still would have his head.
He didn't like dark, enclosed spaces, which is why he avoided the Jeffries Tube. Well, there was another reason. After seeing a handful of strange men, Quinn's fears got the worst of him. He found a phaser and didn't want to use it. He just wanted to stay out of the way until this was over. In fact, he didn't even know where he was.
"Ow!" he shouted, then covered his mouth as he tripped over a footlocker. Quinn fell and lost his phaser in the process.
Before she could stop herself, Elisha let out a little shriek of fright at the noise outside. She clapped her hand over her mouth and tried to slow her breathing and calm her heart rate; she was sure the person in the room could hear it through the door.
"Who's there!?" Quinn demanded, rising to a kneeling position. He'd grabbed... something... from nearby and pointed it in the direction of the scream. Then he felt the texture of what he was holding. Was this a shoe?
Elisha froze, phaser in hand, ready to shoot should he open the door. But, something in the voice caught her attention. She cracked the door open silently and peeked out through the crack. The room was dark and emergency lighting didn't do much, but she thought she recognized-
"Qu-Quinn?" she said tentatively. "Is- is that you? Why are you pointing a shoe at me?"
"Elisha?" Quinn asked, looking down in the dim lighting, trying to see where the phaser went. "Wha... What're you doing in here?"
"Well, it IS the girls' barracks, after all," she pointed out, pulling herself out of the closet and off the floor. "I was in here when the lights went out. Do you know what happened?"
Quinn set the shoe on the floor, nice and slowly. He didn't want to make any more unnecessary noise than he had. "I think the whole EPS grid blew out," he said, kneeling and feeling around in the dark spaces for the phaser. "And I think... I think we've been boarded."
Elisha shrieked again, a tiny squeak of a sound. "Boarded?" she asked. "Are you sure?"
Though he was on his knees, Quinn righted his torso and began to flail his arms in a horizontal motion. "Shh!!!" he said, knowing he was too far away to silence her otherwise. "They'll hear us!"
"Sorry!" she hissed in a harsh whisper. "Do you know how many there are?"
Quinn returned to the floor, searching almost frantically for the phaser. "Four? Six? I don't know..."
Elisha was terrified. She was a scientist! The thought of taking on armed intruders terrified her. "What are we going to do?" she asked, sounding small and afraid.
"Aha!" Quinn fished the phaser out from under a bed, only to quickly fumble it in his hands when he realized it was backwards. Then he fixated on the phaser that was at her side. "How good a shot are you?" he asked nervously.
"I'm...." Elisha started. "I did really well with targets. But... well... I'm a Stellar Cartogropher! I'm not supposed to have to fight!"
And Quinn was a Warp Drive Specialist. He was no better with a phaser than she. "Shh!" he paused, tilting his head to listen to something in the distance. "I think someone's coming."
Elisha stifled her shriek this time and grabbed Quinn's arm, dragging him into the closet and closing the door. "They won't find us here," she hissed, sounding frantic. "I hope."
Not a second after they disappeared into the closet did two strange people enter the barracks.
"Are you sure you saw someone come in here?" one of them asked.
"I know I did," the other replied, walking around the room. "Smells funny in here."
The first man opened a foot locker and grunted. "Women's housing."
Quinn watched them through the slats in the closet door, hoping he wouldn't be seen. He also hoped he wouldn't have to use the phaser he held. These two they could probably handle. The others...
Elisha gripped Quinn's arm, utterly terrified. She didn't know what she'd do if they were discovered. She didn't want to kill anyone, which is why she did so horribly in holodeck simulations. She held her breath and hoped they'd just leave without checking the closet.
"There's no one in here!" the first man said, irritated. "Come on. You just have seen them go into a different room. Let's check the next ones."
"How do you know they're not hiding?" the second man demanded.
"Starfleeters?" scoffed the first man. "Hide? If there were any fleeters in here, they'd have jumped out and tried to kill us by now."
Elisha could hear them leaving, but she held still all the same, barely breathing, for several moments just to make sure. "I think they're gone," she finally whispered, barely loud enough for her to hear herself.
"You sure?" Quinn carefully looked through the slats, trying to verify Elisha's statement.
"Not entirely," she confessed. "But, I think so." She, too, attempted to look through the slats. She could see no movement, though. "Let's stay in here, just in case."
Quinn didn't see anyone. He lowered the phaser he'd unconsciously raised and enabled the safety. It powered down with a quiet whine. "It'll be a while," Quinn said. "Comms out, so's power."
"Hopefully not too long," she replied. "The officers are good, right? They'll win the ship back."
"They've got to," Quinn reassured. He shifted and sat with his legs crossed. "Otherwise, we'll have to."
"If it comes to that, we'll be toast," declared Elisha, settling herself next to Quinn, hugging her knees to her chest.
He wasn't sure why, but Quinn wrapped his arm around her shoulders. Quinn kept the phaser nearby, ready to use it if he absolutely had to.
Elisha's first instinct was to pull away, but she stopped herself. He was only being considerate. Comforting someone was a sweet thing to do. She really had to stop being so cynical. Besides, he was sorta cute. "Thanks," she said, simply, leaning back against the wall and trying to relax.
Quinn could only smile in reply. All there was left to do now was wait.