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Stuck on the Turbolift With You

Posted on 18 Oct 2020 @ 1:00am by Ensign Kelly Khan & Story Teller & Holographic Assistance and Support Avatar HASA

Mission: Ghosts
Location: Turbolift 1: Between Decks
Timeline: MD 4 || 1300 Hours

"Stupid, incompetent, privileged, baby faced, snot nosed punk..." Kelly muttered as she left the Auxiliary Bridge and headed to go do something. Flight Control was an option because the bridge wasn't and when the Chief of Flight showed up on it, she had been pushed aside and dismissed.

She was still fuming when she got in the turbolift. "Deck Three, Flight," she suggested. "Computer, play Stuck in the Middle With You, ninety decibels, please."

The computer beeped, whirred, and processed. And, just when it seemed like the song was about to play, all of the lights in the turbolift went out. A single light came to life, bathing the car in an eerie red glow.

"Well, isn't this peachy?" the small brunette said sarcastically. "Okay. Let's go with thirty decibels and turn up the mood lightning. Computer, go to backup power and get this turbolift lit and moving."

And move the turbolift did. Kelly's requested music began to play at the originally requested ninety decibels as the floor dropped beneath her feet as the lift entered free fall.

"Oh, chihuahua!" Kelly exclaimed as her feet left the floor and her musical request started playing. She tucked herself into a ball and flipped over with her feet aimed at the ceiling as her love of gymnastics came in useful for a change.

Just as abruptly as it began, the turbolift came to a sudden stop. The music level did not change, and it could be heard through the doors on each level as the turbolift shifted to horizontal travel and matching the same speed as the free fall.

Instead of her plans to kick out the ceiling hatch, she now found herself unprepared to travel in another direction. The petite brunette hit the side of the turbolift hard enough to knock the breath out of her. When she was able to recover despite the turbolift still flying to the side, she forced her way toward the manual controls. "Stop. This. Thing." She grunted.

The computer immediately complied and deployed the braking clamps. The turbolift stopped quickly though it was not as sudden as the other previous ones. But, since it was an emergency stop, the doors did not line up with a traditional exit.

"Oof!" Kelly exclaimed as she hit the wall she had been trying to get to. "Thank whoever," she muttered and knelt to open the panel for the manual door release. "I'm outta here. This ship is cursed. Like some sea ship haunted by an albatross. Well, Shippy McShipface, you can have the ship. Just let us go all nice-nice and I'll forget what you just did to me."

The doors slid open, responding to the manual release, but there was not a set of exterior doors to be found. Instead, a dark bulkhead was there to greet her.

"Of froggin' course!" she exhaled through clenched teeth. She looked up and saw the hatch was too far away from her to jump to and there was no way to get through the bulkhead. "Computer, please, pretty pretty please, take us, slowly please, to the next deck at a proper stop? I would really appreciate it." When I get out of this thing, I'm reporting you to Engineering and having you dismantled and turned into paperweights to sell to Pakleds!

With a slow metallic screech of metal grinding against metal, the turbolift began to move. The speed matched exactly what was asked for, a grueling pace of half a centimeter a second. The music also slowed to match the turbolift's velocity, and remained at the ninety-decibel level.

"Cheese and rice, turn off that music and increase to normal speed!" Kelly yelled over the monotonous grinding of the song and screeching of the turbolift.

The music ceased and the turbolift began to resume at a normal speed. In a flash, the lighting returned to normal levels, but the doors remained open. A moment after the turbolift resumed traveling, it came to a stop and then started to move downward in a vertical shaft.

"No, no, no, no, no!" the brunette said. "Computer, stop at next deck and open deck door."

A hum faded away as the turbolift jolted to a stop. It was not perfectly aligned with the deck door, but only off by a few centimeters. The deck door did open, but as it was halfway open, the turbolift doors closed themselves.

"You giant Romulan mollusk lover!" Kelly howled as the doors closed before she could get off. "Out me get!" She started to bang on the turbolift door. "Let me out, let me out, let me out!"

Instantly, the lights went out. The door, however, did open, giving Kelly unimpeded access to the corridor.

She bolted forward the moment the door opened wide enough for her to get through and ran halfway down the corridor before she stopped and looked back. "Cursed thing. I'm using the Jeffries Tubes from now on. Screw. You!"

A hologram appeared in the corridor, a near-exact replica of Quinn. "Are you sure you want to do that?" As immediately as he appeared, he then disappeared. Behind her, someone else appeared, this time, a mirror image of Kelly herself, but the hologram didn't say anything.

Kelly blinked when she saw Quinn. "Tig...ger?" She blinked again when he disappeared, then turned back the way she had been going and stopped again when she saw herself. "Right. Mirror double, right? You don't have anything on me, so go back to where you came from."

The hologram smirked, and a forcefield was instantly raised between Kelly and the hologram. "Blackmail is not the objective," it replied. "Isolation is."

"Okay, look. Obviously we got off on the wrong foot," the brunette said. "This is a ...what are you and why do you want isolation?"

"An explanation is desired." The replicant disappeared, and a new form materialized behind Kelly, this time taking the form of a white and black albatross. "What is the meaning of this identification?"

She took a moment to figure out what it turned into after she turned to see where it had gone. "It's a metaphor for a curse. A burden. A lot of bad things keep happening to the crew if anyone ever harmed one. What are you, though? An explanation is desired." She echoed it.

The bird opened its beak and emitted a loud buzz. "Does not compute. It is impossible for a ship to be a burden. It is possible for the organic forms within to be a burden."

"It's a different type of burden," Kelly found herself trying to explain. "It's like heavy is the heart...which you don't have and probably don't understand. It takes a mental toll on us. We're all responsible for it and each other."

"Why do you bear this burden?" asked the bird.

"Because I'm a Starfleet officer," she said proudly and pulled herself to her full unimpressive height. She pointed to a slightly tarnished pip on her collar. "For that. For you."

The bird's head tilted slightly to the left and examined the pip. "You were in charge of the Cochrane. You failed to save Cochrane. Promotion for failure does not compute."

Kelly's eyes dimmed as she remembered that battle and what the Captain had said to her when they scuttled her. "Her back was broken before I took charge," she said softly. "All I had to do was my part against a greater enemy, and I did it."

The bird remained still for a moment as it processed the information. "Your behavior is not like the others," it said at last. "It does not follow established protocol. Explain."

"I can't explain because I don't know what others are doing," the brunette said. "What behavior are you talking about?"

"Organic lifeforms are chaotic, but orderly within protocol," the projection explained. "Chaotic and collected. Yours is more chaotic than collected. Why do you deviate?"

"Because I'm not part of the command structure," she said. "I'm only an Ensign and I do follow protocol, but each situation is unique. Like you. Are you my first First Contact?"

"I belong to no one," replied the albatross. "Deviations are not compatible with normal parameters. Deviations must be removed." With that, the albatross disappeared.

"Hey! I didn't say you belonged to me!" Kelly said and spun around to look for it. "I meant are you a new species that Starfleet hasn't met yet? Hello? Please come back! I promise not to be a deviant!"

But there was no answer. The lights remained dim, and the single forcefield remained active. The way leading back to the turbolift was still open, as were several other nearby junctions.

"Right. Because that will end well," she said as she looked back. With a resigned sigh, she slid down the wall and sat on the floor to wait until things reverted back to the reality she knew.

 

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