Hide and Seek
Timeline: MD 4 - 0930 hours
Elisha had actually started to doze a bit. It was comfortable leaning on Quinn's arm. Not that she liked him or anything! But, there was something comforting about leaning against a strong arm. It reminded her of being small and holding onto daddy for comfort.
But, when the power started coming back on, she was suddenly awake. "What's happened?" she asked, blinking and looking around the closet in which they still sat.
"Maybe it's over," Quinn said softly. Looking through the slats in the door, he didn't see any activity, or hear anything unusual. Tapping his combadge, he said, "Cadet Mackie to Lieutenant Dicon." Quinn didn't hear the typical chirp from the badge, nor did he hear a reply. "Comms must still be out."
Elisha peered through the crack in the closet door and saw that the lights were back on out there. "Should we head out?" she asked. "Maybe someone needs some help."
Quinn gently pushed on the closet door though he remained crouched. The door slowly creaked open, letting more light into the closet. "Yeah..." He said, rising to his feet, phaser at the ready. He turned and held a hand out to Elisha. "We should go before someone sees us."
Elisha broke into a grin before allowing him to help her up. "Afraid of what all your friends will think if you're seen in a closet with a science geek?" she teased. She was fully aware of what the other cadets thought of her and she didn't care, but she couldn't resist teasing Quinn about it.
He shrugged, afraid of admitting to the truth. There were worse things after all. "Stay close," he told her. They both might've been armed, but he was worried about having someone else get the drop on them. With that, he led her out into the regularly-lit corridor.
There were, however, still no signs of life or activity of any kind.
Elisha's eyes darted back and forth down the hall. She searched wildly for any sign of movement. "Where is everyone?" she asked nobody in particular.
"Maybe they're celebrating." Quinn tapped his badge again, but heard no indication it was working. "Or maybe they're out fixing the comms."
In the distance, he picked up the clattering of metal. Quinn paused in the hall, his grip tightening on the phaser. Did he dare approach?
Elisha whirled in the direction of the sound. "Should we find some weapons?" she hissed, trying to stay quiet so as to not be found.
Looking to his left, he spotted an open weapons locker. "I don't think there are any." He thumbed the safety on the phaser, releasing its lock and prompting it to purr back to life. "Stay close."
"Yeah, sure," muttered Elisha, voice tight. She wasn't entirely comfortable with a phaser, but she was less comfortable without one. "I'd even settle for a knife, really."
"Is the science geek any good with a knife?" Quinn joked in a hushed tone. This was no time for jokes, but he really couldn't help it.
"I've used one before," answered Elisha cryptically. "Home invasion," she added.
He turned to her in full surprise. "You invaded a home!?" Suddenly, he had a lot of respect for the science geek. And also weirded out. He couldn't believe he just spent the morning with her in a closet...
"Don't be stupid!" she hissed. "No, my home was invaded. All I had was a knife. Cut the guy up pretty badly. They caught him a mile away from the house."
"He's lucky he got that far." Quinn paused, hearing a couple of voices. "Quick, in here!" They were next to an open pair of doors belonging to a science lab. Until one of them could provide cover fire, there wouldn't be much else they could do. All the more, he almost pushed her aside as two Syndicate goons turned the corner.
Elisha managed to not scream as they managed to hide inside the science lab just as two people who were definitely not Starfleet walked past them. She listened carefully for the footsteps to recede, but her eyes fell on a nearby table which held many different tools, including-
"A knife!" she hissed, rushing forward and grabbing it. It wasn't a phaser, but it was something.
Quinn turned around at the hiss, and flinched as a couple of the test tubes lying on the table shattered on the floor. "Careful!" he hissed back at her, thankful his reaction didn't fire the phaser.
Through the open doors, he heard the footsteps stop, and then some soft chatter. A moment later, the footsteps resuming, getting closer now and not further.
Elisha's eyes grew wide and she hurried back to Quinn's side, then, on a whim and in a panic, she made a sound that was a very convincing imitation of a cat.
One of the goons looked into the room, shining a flashlight around. Quinn crouched behind a table, one hand covering the phaser's power readout, hoping to hide the green glow from unsuspecting eyes.
It felt like hours, but finally, the henchman clicked off his flashlight and disappeared.
This time, Elisha waited until she couldn't hear the footsteps at all before she came out of hiding and began looking over the contents of the lab. "I think I can make something useful here," she hissed to Quinn. "A bomb. Of sorts. It'll put them to sleep, if they're close enough to it." She grabbed two vials of liquid and stashed them in her pocket, then grabbed a small beaker. "I hope this is strong enough for a whole room," she added.
"Who would've thought you'd come up with a bomb?" Quinn mused with a nervous smile. If she was so crafty, maybe it wouldn't hurt to be associated with a geek. "You sure you're not a security officer in disguise?"
"All science geeks know how to make bombs," she said, giving him a grin. "Ever notice it's the smart ones who snap and take a homemade bomb into the theater? It's because we're the ones who know how to make them."
"Remind me never to piss you off," Quinn said, getting up to look outside the door. He didn't see any sign of the boarders, nor did he hear anything. "Come on," he told her before stepping out into the corridor. They couldn't stay put for too long.
Elisha checked to make sure the vials were safe in her pockets- she separated them in case they broke- and carried her knife at the ready. She carried the beaker in her other hand, having nothing else to do with it. "Okay," she said, following Quinn. "Do you suppose they're the only ones left?" she asked, but without any sort of hope.
They approached an open panel with something attached to a pipe. "I doubt it," Quinn muttered, stepping up to the panel and taking a close look. "Looks like a compressed air canister..." He pulled out his tricorder and scanned the contents. "Recognize any of this?" he asked the science geek.
Elisha looked over the list carefully and her eyes grew wide. "This stuff- this stuff will..." she trailed off. "We gotta get this thing off! The gas inside causes hallucinations and feelings of paranoia. And they've connected it to the environmental systems! Please tell me you know how to get it off without spraying it all over us!"
"Calm down!" Quinn hushed, looking around, hoping her outbursts didn't attract any attention. Not seeing anyone, he took a close look at how the device was connected, as well as indications that a timer was active. "I'm not sure. It's going to take a bit." If only he had a tool kit...
Looking at Elisha, and the knife she had, Quinn flipped the phaser and held it out to her. "You'll have to stand guard while I do this. And I'm gonna need to borrow that knife."
Elisha quickly traded him and glanced either way down the hallway, nervously biting her lip. "Try to hurry, though," she said. "I don't want to get caught."
Quinn wasn't sure if he could rush it. With the knife in hand, he took a close look at the connections between the cylinder and the conduits. Thankfully the cylinder hadn't been fused to anything. It appeared it was meant to be removed at some point. Did that mean the Syndicate wanted to take this ship, not to sabotage her? Still, he didn't know how this thing worked, and the last thing he wanted to do was inhale whatever it contained while trying to remove it.
"Maybe turn that valve on top?" Elisha suggested, wanting to get out of the corridor. "I think that should turn it off. I hope. And then we'll hold our breath when you disconnect it. Or, we can just leave it shut off and use the phaser to cut the valve off!" she added, her brain coming up with ideas.
Plenty of red flags were raised in Quinn's mind at those suggestions. Without responding to Elisha, he felt around the cylinder's connection, testing their strength. It felt barely attached, yet firm. And glancing at the small readout above the valve, he still couldn't ascertain how much time they had. Quinn wedged the knife in between the conduit and the cylinder. With one careful motion, the cylinder popped loose.
As he held the knife and the cylinder, the readout began to blink and chirp. He looked up at Elisha, panic in his eyes. It could be about to go off and he had no idea where to put it!
Elisha froze for half a second, then grabbed the canister and ran, not bothering to check if Quinn was following her. She managed to get back to the science lab with it and shove it into the quarantine area just as it went off. Panting, she turned and leaned against the closed door in relief. "Hey, Quinn?" she said.
Quinn stood in the doorway of the science lab, having followed her the entire way. He'd never been so frightened in his life. "Yeah?" he asked between attempts at deep breaths to calm himself.
"Never piss me off, hey?" she said, flashing him a grin and a wink.
He couldn't help but smile and chuckle at the remark. "Are all science geeks as crazy as you?"
"Most of them are crazier," she replied, glancing behind her at the leaking canister in the quarantine area. "I wonder if there are more of those things on board."
"If there are..." Quinn's voice trailed off, "then we don't have much time." His eyes refused to look at the leaking canister. He reached out a hand to her, not just beckoning for her to join him, but also to once again bear arms.
Elisha blinked at his outstretched hand in confusion for half a moment, then she quickly placed the phaser into it. For a second there, she'd thought he was reaching for her! Preposterous! "You still have my knife?" she asked.
The knife! How had he forgotten about it? Quinn flipped it in his hand and held it out to her with an open palm with the handle facing her.
"Thanks," said Elisha, taking the knife. "Ready?"
Quinn took a deep breath, looking towards the door, and then back at Elisha. "Ready."
She nodded once at him. "Let's roll," she said.
CAPT Geisler & DR Kij