It had been sometime since he had went to sleep he knew that. As his consciousness gathered itself, he remembered getting hurt , badly. He remembered saying something to Terri Lu and then Dr. Okan administering an anesthetic then darkness. His legs were stiff and his arms felt the same way. He could hear someone calling his voice and he made the thought to open his eyes.
"Vital signs appear to be steady Doctor; he just seems to be having a bit of difficulty coming out of the stasis." He heard a feminine voice report.
"Commander Rivas, wake up." He heard a familiar voice say and he heard a pair of snaps to his left and right. "Put that scanner away his auditory functions are working he just responded to stimulus."
"Why hasn't he replied yet, Doctor?"
What was the name to that voice. Oh yes, Doctor Okan.
"Well the way his pupils are dilated I'd say he's in there he's just trying to wake up."
The darkness suddenly became to separate lights and then brilliantly one light and a swirl of colors swirled into focus.
Get that light out of my face… he thought.
"Ralt out of my face." He heard himself say.
"See he's fine." He heard Dr. Okan say as he disengaged the penlight and put it back into his pocket. "Welcome back Lieutenant Commander." Dr. Okan said.
"Take your time fixing me Doc?" Rivas growled feeling his stiff muscles protesting as he moved his head.
"Not intentionally." Dr. Okan said. "There were difficulties with your injuries that I could not repair out in the field I needed to bring you back to the station where I had the proper equipment. The stiffness you feel will subside eventually."
"Well what was so bad?" Rivas asked.
"There was an injury to your spinal cord." Dr. Okan said earnestly. "The damage from the shrapnel was quite extensive. In fact you had a most of the tactical console imbedded in your body. I have used everything at my disposal to repair the damage but, you may have difficulties walking, if you can at all."
"What do you mean?" Don asked.
"I tested your reflexes while you were unconscious, there was barely a response, do you feel any pressure on your foot?" He asked.
"No…" Don said looking down and seeing Dr. Okan squeezing the foot.
"That's unfortunate." Dr. Okan said typing something in a pad. He then handed it to his nurse. "Could you get me the Bio Neural Scanner please, Nurse Twila."
The vixen nodded and quickly left to go get the piece of equipment.
"So, you're saying, I'm not going to be able to walk again?" Don said reading Okan's expression.
"No, there is some responsiveness, it's not good, but it's something." Okan sighed. "We'll probably have to fit you with a prosthetic assistance device."
Don got very quiet.
"I wouldn't worry, there is a chance we could restore at least 40% of your mobility." Dr. Okan said trying to be supportive. "I think there is a chance though we can shoot for better than that."
Twila came back with the scanner and Dr. Okan activated it and checked the readings keeping his face a blank. The readings weren't as promising as he had hopped. "We'll try the prosthesis and see what happens."
Don sunk back into the bed feeling overwhelmed. He'd seen those damn things in operation and wasn't to thrilled with spending the rest of his life lurching around.
Knocked out of Command, playing second string to a new guy, now the lurching wounded.
This was not what he had signed on for….
Michelle was sore but feeling quite good when Jakar called the end of his defense class for that morning. She worked her beak slowly, the blow Terri had dealt her when she was sparring still smarted, she was glad she didn't have any teeth because she was sure she would have lost one.
"Ms. Lu I suggest you work on your meditations for this week." Jakar said. "I know you get into sparring but the objective is to refine your strikes not injure your crewmates."
"I'm sorry I just have some frustration I'm working out." Terri said hefting her bag. "You know I'm sorry right?"
"I think so." Michelle said still feeling a bit tender.
"See no harm done." Terri smiled.
"Meditate." Jakar grunted. "Because I guarantee if you do that again Michelle will probably block and make you pay for it next time."
"Probably." Michelle smirked.
"Fara, you are doing fine a little sluggish but I think we can work around it."
Fara nodded and hefted her own bag back up. "Well it's not like I've had my head caved in or anything." She said knocking the back of her head with a knuckle making a metallic ping.
"Ugh would you stop doing that?" Terri said. "That plate in your head creeps me out."
"Nope." Fara smirked. "I'm going to have fun with it until Doc takes it out in a few weeks, when the little nanobots get done fixing me up." It wasn't exactly a plate it was basically a piece of nanotechnology developed for helping the body repair severe skull injuries while allowing the patient to continue unaffected, without worrying about injuring it further in most situations. It was inserted under the scalp and was barely noticeable.
"I'm just saying I do not think your injuries will present a problem, just don't over exert yourself." Jakar said. "I will see all of you tomorrow. If we get called away, we'll try to do it our normal on ship time at 15:00." With that he gathered his things and left.
"I'm hungry." Jenna Rydel said. "Let's go get some food, that was a hell of a session."
"I agree." Fara said hearing her own stomach rumble. "He really worked our tails off."
Terri fished into her bag and pulled out a bottle of general use anti-inflammatory and handed them to Michelle. "I really am sorry about that.." She said sincerely. "I wasn't trying to hurt you I just got some things on my mind is all."
"I know you didn't mean it." Michelle said holding out her hand as . "You've been pretty punchy the last few days, is something wrong?"
"Don't worry about it, hon." Terri said dumping the pills into Michelle's feathered hand. "I'll go work it out on the holodeck."
"I think she's having boyfriend problems." Fara snickered and then winced as Jena punched her in the shoulder with disapproving glare.
"Fara I am not opposed to kicking you upside the head." Terri warned dryly.
Fara ignored her comment. "Come on let's go get something good to eat. We can bicker later." She said changing the tone of the conversation. "There's a little stand down in the promenade that makes great big omelets and I think I could wolf down one of those right about now. Let's go ladies before there is a line." She walked over to the door and it opened and she stood not letting it close. "Come on, move! Hungry, NOW!"
Michelle laughed, quickly threw the small little pills and headed for the door.
"Jen, Come on!" Fara said as Michelle squeezed past her.
"I'll be up in a minuet I need to talk to Terri, we'll catch up go ahead and get us some seats."
"Ok, see you there." Fara said disappearing through the doorway.
As soon as she did Jenna turned to Terri. "So, you two still on the rocks?"
"Yes." Terri growled. "That blockhead is making himself scarce."
"Yeah but you haven't exactly been Ms. Sunshine lately." Jenna added.
"He's not helping things." Terri snapped.
"Sheesh you have it bad don't you…" Jenna said holding her hands up defensively. "The Soul touch?"
Terri nodded. "I'm trying to stay occupied, I'm trying to keep him out of my mind it's just damn impossible. I can't even study the operations manuals so I can handle being operations manager for the moment without missing him."
"Ah now it makes sense, but I understand." Jenna really did she was involved with Kai Remmick a Katarian, and she'd been through this before. All the joys and sorrows of an interspecies relationship she'd already been through. "If we don't get called away we'll have some good ole Echidna girl time and we'll have a talk about this."
"I'd appreciate it." Terri said lightening up a little bit. "You are a good friend Jenna."
They had all sat down to eat and Fara was tearing into her own food with unusual gusto.
"Wow you weren't kidding that you were hungry." Michelle said watching Fara wolf her food down and glancing at the small morsels she herself was eating.
"It's the nanobot treatment, Dr. Okan told me they're giving me a massive appetite." Fara replied. "That's all well and good but I hope I don't put on too much weight from it."
"Fara it wouldn't hurt for you to put on just a little bit." Jenna chuckled. "You are a wee bit on the lean side."
"I'm an engineer; big meals are few and far between with my workload." Fara chuckled. "It's mostly coffee and passing out from lack of sleep."
"I don't see how you can do that…" Terri said. "I throw up when I don't eat, that and I just feel terrible." She chewed on her bowl of fruit.
"Why didn't you get an omelet?" Fara asked swallowing another mouthful.
"Eggs don't agree with my stomach." Terri said picking out a few grapes and nibbling on them.. "Plus all that cholesterol can't be that great for you."
"Meh, your loss." Fara said. "It's really great."
Suddenly a small chime started sounding and everyone looked around before they figured out that it was coming from Michelle's wrist.
"What's that Michelle?" Terri asked.
"Oh, we'll I've got some spores and fungus' I've been growing from that survey we did. They are apparently ready. If you don't mind I need to go get my readings."
"Have fun with your fungus." Fara chuckled. "I'm going to finish my fungus free breakfast." She said pointing to what remained of her omelet.
Michelle jogged quickly down to one of the stations labs and tossed her bag on the floor and quickly went to her equipment to get her readings. It was promising the Fungi she was examining had a fascinating growth rate and she was trying to do a full study of it, she had even delayed sending the entirety of her specimens into Headquarters just so she could be the first to study it. The most fascinating thing about these were they were reactive to different types of light and would change color as well. She had been bombarding it with infrared light and much to her surprise the fungus was blooming several buds that were a deep shade of red. She allowed an excited whoop and quickly typed in her findings on a nearby console. She quickly thumbed a com button. "O'mara to Doctor Okan."
"They changed color, just like I predicted it would."
"Fascinating, I will come by later to examine them." Dr. Okan replied.
"Ok, I just thought you might like to know, being as you've been helping me with the biology stuff."
"It would be my pleasure, I just have some patients I have to attend to and I'll come right by." Okan said.
"No problem, just call before you get here." Michelle said.
"Can do, Okan out."
O'mara fidgeted and scratched at her arm and noticed her feathers were getting dry. It figured she'd probably need to bathe soon. She finished recording her findings then quickly went to the small toilet and shower facility attached to the la to clean up.
"Doc, I look like a solstice tree, do I have to wear these damn things." Rivas groaned as Nurse Twila helped him slowly up.
"They are relay neurotransmitters, they will help you get around until and help us see how well your body is processing signals through the injured area in your spinal cord." Dr. Okan said matter-of-factly. "Now stand up, Please Commander."
Rivas grimaced and put his feet down and then hoisted himself off the bed. He was a bit wobbly and Twila helped him but he eventually steadied out.
"Now try to walk forward." Dr. Okan said politely.
Rivas nodded and tried to take a step and managed to stumble and Twila and Okan caught him. "What the hell I thought these things were supposed to help."
"Well yes but you didn't ride a bicycle perfectly the first time you were on one did you?" Dr. Okan said. "We're going to have to practice. With any luck, this should help you get back to your old self again."
"I hope so with all this damn technology." Rivas groaned. "You'd think you could take care of this."
"True, but even medical science can't predict what a body will do and how it will react to different injuries." Dr. Okan replied helping him back over to the medbed. "We'll have to play it by ear and see how it goes."
"Wonderful.." Don sighed.
"Now lets try this again." Dr. Okan said re calibrating his tricorder. "And take it slowly this time shall we?"
"Sure like I have anywhere to be at the moment." Rivas sulked.
"Ok now don't actually think about moving forward." Okan said making an adjustment to the small neuro-transceiver on the side of Rivas' head. "Just take a normal step forward."
"Doc, that doesn't make a lot of sense, how do I not think about moving."
"Do you want the techno-bable or do you want to argue?" Dr. Okan said making and adjustment. "Now try to move your legs."
Rivas did and much to his disappointment nothing happened. "Great, your gizmo doesn't work."
"It just hasn't been calibrated properly, yet" Doctor Okan said taking out a tool and applying a few minor adjustments to the device on Rivas' temple. He then grasped his arm. "Now hop up, I'm confident you won't be hitting the floor this time."
Rivas growled and slowly stood up. This time he didn't feel his legs collapsing under his weight.
"Now step forward, just act don't think about it." Dr. Okan said.
"Yeah yeah I got it." Rivas said suddenly he lurched forward one step, and the next a second before he stopped himself. He wobbled a little bit but he remained vertical.
"Good, very good." Okan said. "Now if we can just get you to circle around the room once or twice you can get out of here."
"Does that mean I can go back on duty?" Rivas asked.
"Not, yet." Okan said. "I would prefer it if we can get you to move on your own power, we'll just have to play it by ear and see if your body can't heal the injury."
"What's wrong with this?" Rivas said taking a few slightly better jerky steps forward.
"It's simply a prosthesis, not as good as the real thing, or as reliable. It can be prone to failure." Dr. Okan ran another scan and then closed the tricorder. "For now it will work. I want you to start physical therapy tomorrow, just for now, keep practicing as the device syncs up with your alpha patterns you'll move a bit better and I can release you."
Rivas sighed wearily.
"Don't worry I will do everything in my power to restore your mobility, it may just take some time." Dr. Okan said reassuringly.
Ops Starbase 186.
"So have your people found the cause of your little miracle on the Raptor yet?" Captain Stiles asked Harry as they walked along the upper level of ops looking down on the various people keeping an eye on the stations daily operations and ships coming and going.
"Not yet." Harry sighed. "I'm having my engineers strip that ship from stem to stern making sure they don't leave anything unaccounted for."
Stiles chuckled. "I don't blame you for being over thorough but that ship has always been prone to problems, even before you came along."
"Yes but there is a difference between what happened back at Mirmador, and finding a sock in my replicated morning coffee." Harry said. "The ship activated it's nanite repair system without prior authorization and fixed itself. I want to make sure it was just a miracle and nothing else."
"How much longer do you think it will take, fleet operations is starting to get a little irritated that the Raptor is once again experiencing downtime, I'm starting to catch some serious heat." Stiles said.
"Fara assures me they will be done in another two days." Harry replied. "And that is her best estimate." Harry paused to think for a moment. "What is the reason for the hurry anyway, if they don't want us to have so much downtime they need to send more ships out here and decide what the hell they want us to be doing. If our primary duty is escorts, then fine. If they want us doing other things then fine, I need more equipment for proper exploration, believe me Lt. O'mara has a list about as long as a docking arm of just specialized sensors she'd like the Raptor to have.."
Stiles sighed. "I understand your frustration but I have no explanation for it."
"I have a few ideas…" Harry groused.
"Then I suggest you keep them to yourself." Stiles said. "I am on your side however, there are a lot of things going on lately that don't make a whole lot of sense."
"No kidding." Harry said.
"And unfortunately it gets worse." Stiles sighed.
"How is that sir?" Harry asked.
"I just received word from Fleet Command that Admiral Leyton will be moving one of his special projects here to this station."
"Oh great, again?" Harry sighed. "Please don't tell me it's another end all solution in computers."
"No it's something else highly classified, he's wanting a good chunk of the station that's still under the construction for whatever this project is." Stiles said looking at the main viewer which showed ships flying about the station. "Starfleet assures me that they will assist with the completion of the construction but we're supposed to keep our snouts out of his business otherwise."
"Wonderful." Harry sighed. Stiles only nodded in agreement.
"On a lighter note." Stiles said. "The missus asked me to invite you to dinner, if you don't have anything going on?"
"Replicated or real thing?"
"Come on Harry don't insult me, of course real food." Stiles smiled.
"Sure, sounds great." Harry replied.
"Good, come by at 16:00. We'll kick back a few beers afterwards and talk this over in a more comfortable atmosphere."
"Agreed." Harry replied.
Jakar entered his office at station security and noticed that someone was sitting at his desk. Someone with Lt. Commander bars. He was a Cornerian feline that seemed not to much older then Harry Martinez.
"Can I help you with something?" Jakar asked setting his duffle on the shift commander's desk and folding his arms in front of him. "Sir." He added curtly.
"Are you Chief Jakar?" The feline asked.
"Yes, sir." Jakar grunted. "And you are?"
"Commander Barddock, I have been sent here to replace you as head of station security."
"Is that so, I don't recall hearing anything about that, sir." Jakar said curtly.
"The orders were issued as of last week, you are to take over full duties as the Raptor's tactical officer." He leaned forward and picked up a padd and tossed it to Jakar who caught it and scanned the screen. "It's all there and legit, I understand you were away on assignment but you should really check these things more often Chief."
"Sir, no offence but our subspace transceiver was damaged, and I was a little bit busy, I would have thought I would have gotten more warning than just this."
"I've had your things sent to your quarters," he said motioning to a crate that had what few belonging Jakar kept in his office inside them. "I will expect you to retain your late night watch while you are present on the station is that going to be a problem?" Braddock asked.
"No, Sir." Jakar said feeling quite irritated at the moment but suppressing it.
"Good, I want you to report in at least an hour before night watch and we will discuss some of the matters of the stations security, since I am new here. Until then I think I can handle it myself."
"Aye, Sir." Jakar grunted, grabbing his stuff and heading back out of the office. He stepped out into the promenade nearly running over a few civilians and quickly walked down the corridor heading back to his quarters. What the hell was going on, the whole fact that this little change was so sudden was really eating at him to the point where he was becoming quite angry and his vision was literally being outlined in red.
The anger was growing to a boiling point and he finally punched one of the wall panels in the corridor denting it in the middle and startling two people going the other way.
Jakar now snapped out of it glared at them. "Move along!" He snapped and they quickly scurried down the corridor in a hurry away from him as quickly as possible.
Harry walked along the practically stripped corridors of the Raptor. Each bulkhead practically had a team of technicians going over every inch of it with a whole array of scanning equipment and he found himself dodging the occasionally engineer as they bolted to and fro going about their work. The air was stale and being processed through portable filters along the walls and all power was provided via umbilical. This was standard procedure for when the Raptor had one of its moments in case the repair nanites had gone haywire, however that appeared to not be the case as yet.
He had a few mishaps along the way, he had accidentally bent a panel when he had stepped on it and he quickly realized that most were not to welcome of him being on the ship although it was his ship.
He finally made his way up to engineering and saw Fara handing out assignments at the main control console in engineering. He stood in the back of the room, out of the way until everyone had cleared out.
"Any luck chief?" He finally asked.
"Not yet." Fara growled. "We've covered almost sixty percent of the ships systems and we've yet to find any proof of our little miracle." She said tossing a pad onto the console. "This might be easier if I just knew what the hell it was I'm supposed to be looking for."
"What about the computer records?" Harry asked. "The simple fact is this ship fixed itself without any authorization and I want to know why." He said sternly. "The last time it did that was when that computer went berserk and if there is anything left of that system on my ship I want it pulled off."
"I understand that sir." Fara said drumming her fingers on the console. "but you and I both know that this ship wasn't exactly normal before that little disaster."
Harry sighed, that was pretty much the truth. "I understand that but I don't want to have to go through that mess again."
Fara nodded. "I could use some more help, to get this done quicker, my people are starting to get a little wore down."
"You said we're over halfway done right?"
"Yes, we've only got the computer core to finish and the rest of the subsystems."
Harry thought about it. "I've gotten every body I can for you, if you are that close to being done, start rotating shifts out as soon as they complete their current tasks."
"That won't be a problem." Fara said. "However like I said, if I can't find anything, I'm not going to find anything."
Harry sighed. "I understand, plus I just found out that Fleet HQ is starting to push captain Stiles to get us space worthy again. I hate just leaving this little question unanswered but…"
"Yeah, I know bullshit is bullshit." Fara sighed. "I'll get her back in one piece before you know it. If there is something on this ship I'll find it, I guarantee that."
Her shower done, she quickly dressed in a fresh uniform and checked her messages. Okan hadn't responded so she figured he either forgot or got busy with something else. It wasn't too big of a deal, she still had a few more days to work on it. She quickly moved onto the next series of experiments which was doing and doing a spectral analysis of the gases released by the plant life.
She quickly got to work her feathered fingers dancing over the console running each plant through the gamete of scans. This work was easy compared to the fungal analysis. Air goes in, plant releases gas. Sensors collect data. It was so much better to get accurate readings in a lab because each sample can be isolated. The other plus was the plants were so colorful they were a nice distraction from the glows of the console.
Minutes quickly disappeared into hours and Michelle finally took a stretch break when the readout console had suddenly become a blur. She suddenly checked and notice she had managed to catalogue over 200 samples, followed by her stomach growling loudly. She looked up at the wall chronometer and saw it was already mid afternoon.
Her combadge beeped and she tapped the device on her shoulder. "Go ahead."
"Good Afternoon Ms. O'Mara." Dr. Okan's voice said. "I'm sorry for the delay, I've appear to have gotten quite busy today. If you wouldn't mind could you please send your analysis and findings to me and I'll be more than glad to look it over tonight."
"You will? I thought you had forgot for a second.
"Of course, just send it to me and I'll pull an all-nighter looking at it, I will send you my findings tomorrow."
"Thanks a lot, Doc." Michelle smiled feeling a bit relieved. Her biggest worry was doing all this work and then being made a laughing stock over minor errors. Even at the academy she had just barely passed with a average grades in Xeno-biology and biology. It wasn't her strongest field but being the Raptor's science officer she had pushed herself to try to do better in it. Dr. Okan had been a good mentor so far and her understanding of the science had vastly improved over the last few months. Her biggest thing was, this was her baby, and she wanted it done right. This might be her first little footnote in the annals of history. Needless to say her amount of pride was nearly equal to her amount of abject terror of screwing it up. "I'll have the computer send it to you and update it as I go along."
"Understood. As I said I won't go back on my word. Keep it up." Dr. Okan said cheerfully. "Okan, out."
Michelle's stomach growled again She quickly saved her progress and stood up feeling her legs protest at having been seated to long. She had made some good progress, and she could take a break and maybe get some exercise after a light lunch. It was nice having the Raptor grounded for awhile she could actually plan her day, the way she wanted it to go. The computer prompted that her data was saved and it went into standby mode. She then headed for the exit and made sure the lab was locked and headed off to the Replomat to grab some lunch.
"So have you had any luck yet?" Kai Remmick said sitting on top of an shut down console.
"No." Jenna sighed wiping some sweat off her brow. "You know you could help me a little bit here." She was standing down in an access trunk of the Raptors computer core her head sticking out barely above the floor.
"I would love, but I gotta get back on finishing my own chores back in engineering. The ole battleaxe is getting a bit pissed that no one is had any luck on finding what caused our little miracle and I'm hoping she'll find another department to bother so I can get back to work." The Catarian grinned standing up and sitting down on the edge of the trunk.. "That and your company is much more appealing he said leaning forward to grab a quick kiss.
Jenna gave him one and smiled. "Hand me the Sonic Screwdriver, I got a panel down here that's gotten jammed shut."
"Of course." Remmick replied reaching over to the toolbox and grabbing the tool and handing it to her.
"Thank you." Jenna said then leaning down into the compartment. "Now come loose you son of a…" She muttered at the tool did it's work and the the satisfying pop of a seal resounded through the room. "Now lets see what we've got here, give me a hand."
Remmick nodded and scooted over to the other side of the panel and dropped into the trunk. He quickly grabbed a magnetic clamp as Jenna did and locked it onto the panel. They both pulled up and the panel came up and they lifted it out of the trunk and set it on the flooring.
"Holy shit." Remmick said as he glanced down into the trunk.
"Ditto…." Jenna said tapping her combadge. "Rydel, to Phoenix, get to the core room, now."
"I'm on my way." Fara replied.
Down in the trunk on what was supposed to be one of the primary duo-tronic bus relay, lay a find metallic dust and the remnants of what appeared to be the equipment that should have occupied the compartment.
Jakar sat in the dark of his quarters.
He was seething with rage.
A glass of whiskey sat condensation on the table in front of him untouched the water pooling and seeping under a padd with his orders displayed on it.
He had been in charge of stations security for the last 10 years and to be just casually swept aside after ten years of better service then most would give, he's shoved into a lesser position due to "Concern of him being able to handle dual duties being the Raptor's tactical officer as well as head of stations security.". That was quite frankly the biggest load of bullshit he had ever read. He hadn't let any of his responsibilities slip and to him this just looked like some bureaucratic backstabbing, although the perpetrator was unknown to him.
He did know this, It didn't get handed down from Stiles, the decision came down from someone else higher up.
The door chime sounded.
He ignored it.
It chimed again and he sighed.
Then his combadge beeped. "Jax, to Jakar. Are you in there?"
"Yes, what is it?" He growled.
"I heard about what happened. Could you use some company?"
Jakar sat in silence for a moment. "Come in." he said. The door to his quarters opened and the Black Furred echidna female with red braided hair stepped in. "I also heard you put a dent in a wall."
Jakar grunted still facing away from the door as the lights brightened in the room as Lt. Sonya Jax entered.
"I hope you aren't on duty." Jakar grunted. "Or I'm sure they'll find someway to make you miserable as well."
"Nah, just got off. I was worried about you,luv that's all."
Jakar nodded and motioned for her to have a seat across from him. She walked into his living room and sat down.
"It never ceases to amaze me that a military can always find a way to fuck someone who does their job well." Jakar grunted.
"Well look at the bright side, at least you have more time off." Sonya tried.
"To do what?" Jakar replied. "I'm fifty five years old, I have no family, it's just me like it's always been."
"I don't know find another hobby?" Sonya shrugged.
"It must be nice to be young, and make excuses to while away your youth." Jakar smirked. "And I am quite fine with my primitive firearm collection thank you." He said motioning to the multitude of firearms displayed in a case on the far wall. "It's just I enjoyed being the force of law on this station, and there hasn't been much that's slipped past me. Getting this little reassignment, without any consideration to my contribution to this station's safety , is a nice slap in the face."
"So what are you going to do?" Sonya asked.
"Nothing.." Jakar sighed.
"Nothing?" Sonya said a bit shocked. "You are just going to take it and not fight it."
"For one, I've always attended to my duty, and that won't change regardless what I think about it." Jakar said. "You should remember this as well, you are just starting out but there will be times when you will be forced into doing something you don't agree with and you learn sometimes it's just better to take it smiling." He took a deep breath. "I'm just having my duties restructured, at least it's not a demotion or a transfer off to some godforsaken post." He paused and smirked. "I don't think you can get to much further from this place."
Sonya let out a little chuckle. Starbase 186 had never been considered one of the best places to be assigned. An old dilapidated Keldryian observation post being constantly remodeled while it's continuously falling apart while serving as a hub for all the border territories on the edge of a hostile empires space wasn't exactly glamorous.
"I read the orders. I understand you will be shift commander under this Barddock's watch is this correct?" Jakar asked.
Sonya nodded. "Yes, I've met the guy. Between us he seems like an ass."
Jakar didn't respond to that and continued. "I want you to keep an eye on him, whatever he is doing, I want to know about it before he does, understand?"
Sonya nodded. "I think I can handle that."
Jakar interlaced his fingers and rested his forearms on his knees as he leaned forward. "Just because I'm not on duty during that shift doesn't mean I'm not going to keep a wayward eye on what goes on in my department."
"Believe me anything I see or hear." Sonya smiled. "You'll know it."
"Good." Jakar said reaching over to a small cabinet and grabbing another chilled glass and offering her some.
Sonya nodded and he poured a small amount for her and slid her the glass.
Sonya picked up her glass. "So what do we toast to?"
"How about to the new guys failure." Jakar chuckled.
"I can drink to that." Sonya smirked. "Cheers."
The next morning.
"So, what exactly am I looking at?" Harry asked looking up from the high powered microscope setup in engineering.
"Nanites, scores of them all inactive." Fara said. "And stranger still they aren't our usual repair nanites either.
"And you said these were found in our computer core?" Harry said peering back in the microscope and actually seeing the small manipulators on the ravaged scraps of little robots as he kicked the power up.
"Yes, however these aren't the ones that are usually responsible for the ships auto repair facilities these appeared to be at least four or five generations down the line technology wise." Fara said. "I've had my best people look at them and they say they are even more sophisticated than anything the Keldryians have.
"Fascinating." Harry said. "And was that the only place you found them?
"Yeah." Fara shrugged. "Whatever they were up too, somehow they managed reroute power to the repair systems." Fara shrugged. "Other then that that's the best answer I can give you."
Harry rubbed his chin in thought. "And you haven't found anything else like this throughout the ship?"
"Well this isn't unusual, if these things were somehow created by the Epsilon Three, they would probably follow the same basic protocols as our own nanites." Fara surmised. "Even they return to their storage pods when not in use. However, committing massive destruction on each other is a new one."
"Yeah, all wrapped up in a nice neat package too." Harry mused. "It just seems to convenient."
Fara placed a paw on his shoulder. "Well maybe for once it just is, it's the only solution we got. And I've had my people look all over for other little buggers like this and we haven't found anything more."
Harry looked in they eyepiece again then rubbed his eyes. "It had better be, I don't need my ship going on a killing spree again."
After a light lunch, Michelle went to her quarters and changed into something to jog in. She had gotten around to her second lap around the habitat rings of the station when she passed Don Rivas leaning against the wall. She proceeded a few more steps and then stopped noticing he look pretty tired. She stood there her arms over her head trying to catch her breath and walked back over to Don.
"Hey Commander, out of sickbay finally?"
"Yeah, joy of joys." Rivas panted looking a bit tired.
"Um, are you ok?" Michelle said.
"I would be if our frelling Doctor didn't think that healing involved torture." Rivas snapped. "I'm just tired, legs are hurting I guess that's a good thing."
"No offence but you look miserable." Michelle said. "Are you trying to get home."
"Trying, not doing too good." Rivas replied. He was instantly regretting trying to force himself to walk, he didn't want to be in his quarters all day and had made it there without difficulty but not soon after he left he started to feel exhausted. "I think I'll just lean here and try to rest awhile."
Michelle's feathers twitched. "Look I know you live over in section F but you don't look like in any shape to get that far. My quarters are just down the way, you can rest there, crash on my couch. Then I'll help you get home when you feel better."
"You don't have to do that, I'm fine being miserable." Don grunted. He felt helpless and having Michelle O'mara the flighty Avian come to his rescue was just a nice topping to the day so far.
"Nonsense." Michelle said grabbing his arm and helping him up. "We're shipmates it's not a problem."
Rivas hesitated then let her do it and soon they were moving down the hallway.
"Excuse the mess." Michelle said as they entered her quarters and the lights popped on. Her quarters were smaller than standard and were cluttered with various journals on every horizontal space available other than the furniture and floor. "I like to read a lot."
"I can tell." Rivas said warily more from physical exertion. "Get me to the couch before I have to be drug there."
"Right, right." Michelle said helping him hobble over to it and he flopped down into it gratefully.
"Thank you." He grunted he had enough strength to swing his legs up on the couch and lay his head on the cushions.
"Here." Michelle said handing him a water bottle while taking a drink from her own. "You going to be ok out here? I need to get changed out of this unless you want to smell hot dry bird the rest of the night.
"Thanks." Rivas said taking a drink. "I'll be fine, I'm just exhausted, not dying."
"Ok, I'm going grab a sonic shower and get changed and I'll be back out to check on you."
Rivas nodded. "I'll probably be out." He said setting the water bottle on the floor.
"Ok, I'll probably go back to the lab, call if you need anything." She said.
Rivas nodded. "Sleep is all I need right now." He sighed leaning his head back onto the cushion and closing his eyes.
The compartment was lousy with radiation.
The small metallic spider floated down it with small led's illuminating the corridor.
Computer records showed that several months ago during an Urthean attack, reactor number three had gone into meltdown. The cap had been blown out through the bottom of the asteroid through and ejection chute, however the radiation had flooded the entire compartment with radiation, killing everyone inside it.
Bodies floated, due to the gravity plating being shut off, burnt horribly from the radiation.
The digital consciousness that was a spider had a recalled memory of something it had experienced in the previous version of it's existence. It scanned them to get an inventory of what it had available to it.
Materials needed to be gathered, resources converted and components…. assimilated.
Terri opened her door to see Jenna waiting patiently dressed in khaki slacks and a mauve blouse. "You ready?" Jenna asked.
"Yeah." Terri said. "What do you have in mind."
"I was thinking that little coffee bar in D section would be nice." Jenna smile. "They have good Argosian ice cream."
Terri looked relieved. "Good I was thinking you were suggesting we go get bombed and I wasn't looking forward to that. Although I won't promise we won't end up at that point."
"Different cures for different ailments, plus I want to just relax." Jenna smiled. "I think I found what caused our little miracle on the ship. So I got the rest of the day off while the higher ups sit around and poke it with a stick."
Terri laughed. "What do you think it was?"
Jenna shrugged. "From what I can tell the nanite control system went haywire but, that's just my guess. I'm just a control systems tech, I don't know too much about the repair systems other then how to interface to them properly, I guess you'll know more when I do."
Terri stepped out of her quarters and locked the door. "I guess we should be glad it did happen." She had on a pair of jeans and a matching vest and blue blouse.
"No kidding." Jenna agreed. "So anyways, I'm ready, let's get out of here."
They walked down the corridor and stopped at the turbo-lift.
Jenna got pensive, looking over at Terri who seemed more glum than anything.
"I know you two are crazy about each other, so you had one little stupid fight." Jenna said. "It wasn't like emotions were running high or anything at the time."
Terri let out a sigh and rolled her eyes.
"Come on hon," Jenna giggled. "You know if I kicked Kai to the curb for every stupid lunk-headed thing he did we wouldn't be together as long as we have been."
"I'm just disappointed in him." Terri said. "I have all these damn feelings for him and he's just so flawed. He's a bit of an oaf when it comes to getting him to do anything and he's just so lackadaisical when it comes to his responsibilities or career."
Jenna was about to respond when the door to the turbolift opened. "Well speak of the devil." She said seeing jack land inside.
Jack seemed caught a bit off guard and said. "Ladies.." As he tried to exit but Jenna stepped in front of him and pushed him back into the lift. "Where you going, I haven't seen you around much how's your day going, come on Terri." Jenna said with mock sweetness. Terri was flushed a bit with anger at her friend but followed her reluctantly.
""Promenade Level, Section D." Jenna smirked as the doors slid shut. "So what have you been up to, Jack?"
"Um I just got done swimming." He said still trying to process the rapid fire questions and the awkwardness of the situation. "Not to much else to do at the moment." He muttered. "Where are you two going?"
"Oh just out for a little fun." Jenna said.
Jack looked over at Terri who was keeping her eyes fixed on the doors in front of her as the lift moved downward.
"Well have fun then." He said with a slight tone of hurt to his voice as the lift slid to a stop.
"We will, see you around the ship." Jenna smiled grabbing Terri by the wrist and dragging her out of the lift with her.
"Yeah…." Jack sighed as the doors closed. "See you around.."
Harry walked up to Commander Stiles Quarters and hit the chime button.
After a beat or two the door stood open and Captain Stiles was there. "Sorry for the delay I had to get the little one in her chair."
"It's ok." Harry said. Hearing an child's excited squeal from behind him. "I'm not to early am I?"
"No, of course not just have a seat on the couch. Super is almost ready." Harry did so and stepped down into the sitting area and watched Captain Stiles and stop to say something to his daughter. Harry had been over a few times in the last several months, and never could get over how much larger the family units were then the standard officers quarters that he thought were fairly large themselves.
"Thanks for coming over tonight." Melanie Stiles said from the kitchen unit. "You don't hardly ever come by anymore. How have you been?"
"Fine, just a bit busy." Harry replied simply.
"They got Harry running all over the damn sector at the moment, dear." Stiles added for him.
"I thought that's what being a starship commander is all about." She said pulling something out of the oven and setting it on the counter.
"Well yes and no," Harry said. "The thing is it seems they don't know seem to know what exactly to do with us. Most of the time we are doing escort duty and then they turn around and send us on a survey mission." He sighed. "The Raptor is a Cruiser, it's not supposed to be sent on such duties but they do it anyway."
"I wouldn't be too cross about it Harry." Melanie said. "I remember it wasn't to long ago you were grumbling about how you weren't getting to do all that stuff and you wished you'd been sent somewhere else."
Harry flushed a little. "True but still, I feel like we're being jerked around." Harry sighed. "Quite frankly I don't even know why the Raptor exists, we're not really in a standing war with anyone at the moment, what the hell was its purpose for being constructed?"
"Harry, Harry, Harry.' Stiles chuckled. "You sound like me when Admiral Kramer brought that project to my Star base."
"Boys, Supper is almost done why don't you guys grab a seat. Jim could you start serving while I get the pasta." Melanie said from the kitchenette.
"Sure." Captain stiles said getting up. "Well continue this after super, let's just relax and have a good meal, we have enough to grouse over as it is."
Construction time had been quite minimal, a suitable lair had been built in a matter of a few scant hours. It took even less time to tap into the station's computer network and make the necessary adjustments to the stations sensors to mask the fact that the radiation had been removed from the compartment and now was powering its own independent power source. The organic components had been salvaged, processed and the radiation had been removed. Computers had been reactivated and the room was utterly crawling with millions of nanites. The walls were simply teaming and writhing with them as they continued to remove the excess radiation.
Things were needed, lots of things, the primary objective was to observe the organics and understand their interaction with the body. A vehicle would need to be constructed for this purpose, one that wouldn't draw suspicion. The body was due for an routine overhaul this would buy it time to procure what it needed.
The digital consciousness that was spread throughout the entire swarm of nanites accessed the stations records and the entire Starfleet database seeing if one of the deactivated organics could serve this paper.
Out of all the ones he found, one was declared Missing In Action, whereabouts unknown and possibly dead.
The record was quickly accessed.
The reason was her combadge had been located in her quarters but she had simply disappeared for the last 10 months. No one knew where this person had went, but one body without a combadge had been gathered up and inventoried during the clean up. It was a female, and Ironically it remembered the creator had imbued it with this gender during its previous version. Logically, this seemed an applicable disguise. It would just need a to develop some erroneous data to excuse a prolonged absence. However this person was not a regular fleet member but a civilian contractor. Something could be created anyway. The swarm teemed with activity as it processed this idea, and quickly set about implementing it.
A beautiful wafting melody washed over him and it carried him along in his dream as the music washed over him. It was one of his favorites a song from his worlds classical era of development. However the volume kept changing and his ears told him this wasn't a memory, he was actually hearing it.
Don opened his eyes and found a blanket had been pulled over him and he yawned and smelled food. He felt better and realized perhaps he had pushed himself a bit to hard as he sat up. He wasn't too sure where he was and sat rubbing his eyes not recognizing his surroundings but he was sure he was on the station.
"Is that Hangers fifth concerto?" He asked his mind focusing on the music.
"Yes, how'd you know?" He heard a familiar voice ask that was Michelle Omara's.
"I didn't know you liked classic Cornerian music." He said suddenly feeling a bit less worried about his surroundings.
"You have never asked." She asked from the kitchenette. "How are you feeling?"
"A little better, still a bit stiff." Rivas said making his legs move so he could sit more comfortably and hearing the whirring noise of the stimulators. "What time is it?"
"Oh goodness, it's probably at least 21:00." Michelle replied. "You were out most of the day."
"Did you get your analysis done?" He asked.
"mm hmm." Michelle said with a happy inflection. "Sent the data and had the samples shipped of to HQ."
"What smells good." He said sniffing the air.
"Beetle and noodle soup." Michelle said. "I had Dr. Okan check on you, he said you should probably stay on that couch until you are rested, and he said if he finds out you moved from there in the next day or too he's going to send orderlies up to take you back down to sickbay and strap you to a bed."
Rivas grunted. "Isn't that a little imposing on you though?"
"I don't mind the company. I am usually too busy to use that couch anyway." Michelle shrugged ladling a bowl of soup, dropping a spoon in it, and taking it over to him with a glass of water. "Besides he asked if I could keep an eye on you and I said it wouldn't be a problem."
"Thanks." Don said taking the bowl and sniffing it and then feeling his stomach growl.
Michelle went back and poured herself a glass of celebratory wine. And sat across from him in one of the seats. "You know, I think I like you better this way."
"What way?" Don asked as he started to eat.
"Helpless, you are a lot less intimidating." She chuckled.
"Very funny." He sighed eating another spoonful of soup. "This isn't too bad."
Michelle blushed a little. "Thanks, it's just threw something together."
Rivas finished the bowl and licked his lips handing the bowl back to her. "Dr. Okan didn't really give me to many details on what's been going on since we were at Miramidor, I assume we all survived."
Michelle smiled. "Yes the away team made it back to the ship with no casualties. If you want I can get you a debriefing."
"Sure." Don said. "So who's been doing that job since I ate shrapnel."
"Terri has." Michelle said taking the bowl over to the replicator.
"Yeap." Michelle replied. "After the Urthean attack Jack and Here were the only uninjured officers on the bridge. Terri pretty much took charge., Harry's had her fill in for you since then." Michelle chuckled walking over to a wall panel and getting a debriefing transferred to a PADD. "You might not get the job back, she seems to be enjoying it."
She walked back over to him and handed him a PADD.
"Well she's a good pick for it, I'll never understand why she took the position she did, hell she was more qualified for first officer then me."
"Maybe she just likes you." Michelle shrugged. "And she wanted you to have the position."
"Maybe.." Don replied.
"Didn't you two used to date?"
"Yeah, but it didn't work out." Don said.
"Why not ,Terri's a sweetheart?" Michelle asked.
"It didn't end bad, it's just Echidna's can be….." Don said trailing off. "confusing and at times downright weird."
Michelle nodded. "Ok I can see that."
Don shifted uncomfortably wanting to change the subject. "So being as you are all done I'm sure you probably want to go out and celebrate, you don't' need to stay here and baby sit."
"Actually." Michelle said stretching and yawning. "I'm way to tired for that. I think I might have a glass of wine, read my book and then maybe just go to bed."
"I could use one myself."
Michelle giggled and got up to get a bottle. "Well you can't have any, doctor's orders. I'll replicate a juice for you. Dr. Okan wants you rested, you got physical therapy tomorrow."
Rivas groaned and flopped back down onto the couch.
Being a captain definitely had some perks. Harry was admiring the faux sun porch that Stiles' quarters that overlooked the space dock with a transparent aluminum dome mimicking it being open air. Harry was fascinated by the view, even though the idea that only a few inches of material and a backup force-field was the only thing between him and vacuum. He always liked sitting out here, this place, as unusual as it was, was a good place to think and discuss things. He took a sip from the beer he had replicated and pondered the situation.
"So where were we?" Stiles said coming up the stairs and sitting in one of the deck chairs.
"Trying to figure out what the hell is going on." Harry replied sitting across from him.
"Well that could take all night." Stiles chuckled leaning back in the chair. "I am not sure myself what those above us are up too, I see all sorts of ships pass through here for all kinds of reasons. Hell our old friend Admiral Leyton has just requested the use of a quarter of the star base for his Special Projects division."
Harry nearly spit the beer he had just taken a sip of and had to catch himself. He started coughing as a few drops went down one of his lungs.
"Are you ok Harry?" Captain Stiles asked.
"Yeah, yeah.." Harry said clearing his airway. "How the hell is Leyton in charge of special anything after that last disaster?" He sat his cup down. "For crying out loud that disaster with the Epsilon Three isn't more than a month or two behind us and they are still letting him…."
"Easy now Harry, anyone high enough the food chain in the department usually has more than one project going at a time." Stiles stretched his arms over his head and yawned. "Granted I think it's a bit…" He paused scratching his head. "Offensive that he's still in charge of anything at this point."
"It just seems a bit, insensitive." Harry groused. "That's all I'm getting at."
"Well Leyton has friends in high places." Stiles shrugged.
"That still doesn't make it right." Harry growled.
"It's just how things work Harry, i don't make the rules." Stiles said. "Every young officer learns it after a certain point, the higher they get up the chain. And then forget about it when they are older and piloting a desk as an Admiral." Stiles finished off his can and pitched it into a small dis integrator. "Best you not forget that Commander."
"Excuse me boys." Melanie said holding her daughter against her shoulder. "I hate to interrupt your brooding session, but someone needs to get to bed and would like her daddy to tuck her in."
"I'm on it." Stiles said standing up.
"I guess I should be turning in too." Harry said. "Thanks for the dinner it's always a pleasure."
"You are welcome." Stiles said. "you can come by anytime you need to talk. Good night Commander."
Harry nodded and showed himself the door. He wasn't quite ready to turn in just yet so he headed down to the observation decks.
After a short trip via turbolift he stepped out onto the nearly deserted deck save for one other person. He recognised who it was as he approached.
"Jack?" He said recognizing the fox. "What are you doing out here. Aren't you usually playing that game. Or logging holodeck time about now?"
"Usually." Jack said dejectedly. "Not tonight. I don't want to be in my quarters right now."
"O.k." Harry said stepping a bit closer. "Something bothering you?"
"Oh if you only knew the half of it." Jack growled. "Why are you out and about."
"I had dinner with the Captain and his family. I just got done a while ago I wanted to just take a look at my ship for a little bit."
"Well it's there." Jack sighed waving his hand at the Raptor floating in the space dock. "Enjoy."
Harry was a little miffed by his tone but sighed. "You know we're not on duty if something is bothering you we can discuss it." He thought for a moment. "Let me guess its Lt. Lu."
"Bingo." Jack sighed. "Got it in one."
"I heard, well my first concern is this had better not affect your performance as ships navigator or will it?" Harry said dryly.
"No it won't I'm not some heartbroken teenager." Jack said.
"Well if it does I hope you realize the repercussions."
"I do." Jack growled. "You aren't helping any."
"Sorry,just pointing it out." Harry said. "I have noticed you two seem to have cooled off recently what happened."
"I.. don't know." Jack said. "She just flipped out on me and now she doesn't want anything to do with me."
"Was this during the little incident back in the Roirishard system?" Harry asked.
"I don't recall her flipping out in the logs, I remember her snapping at you to stay at your post." Harry said.
"It was after that off the record."
"Well, it's understandable she went from being ship's communications officer to captain in a matter of moments." Harry smiled. "It can make anyone a bit snappy."
"Everything else is a secondary concern, maybe if you would bother to stop being such a jackass and take on a bit more responsibility you would understand that, Ensign."
"I get that." Jack sighed remembering those words. "It's just what she said."
"What really pisses me off is I needed you and you were not entirely helping the situation. If that's how you are going to act when things get bad with me.."
"Well what was it that she said?" Harry asked. "Just, between us."
"She said I was irresponsible and implied I had no direction."
"Then maybe we don't need to be seeing each other anymore…"
" "And, well she dumped me." Jack sulked.
"Ah.." Harry said. "Well I can tell you one thing, All hope isn't lost."
Harry nodded. "Not to pry too much but did she come on to you first?"
"Yeah… why does that matter?" Jack said a bit confused.
"Oh, trust me amigo." Harry chuckled. "It matters a lot."
"Really?" Jack said sitting up a brief flash of relief on his face.
"Well yes if you are willing to work for it." Harry said. "She does have a valid point you don't really try to apply yourself." Harry said sitting across from him. "I know you have a brain in that head of yours, I remember you calculating a course home on our old ship in your head when we grazed that singularity and it knocked out our computers."
"Yeah, well it's not that hard if you can remember the equations." Jack said modestly.
"It's not something everyone can do by in their head." Harry said. "I don't get why you just don't use that mind of yours, instead of playing video games and screwing around in the holo-suite and watching old movies."
"So I want to be a Pilot, I like what I do."
"Yes but you could do so much more." Harry chimed. "I don't understand why you don't."
"I don't want anything else." Jack snapped back.
Harry took a deep breath. "Jack let me tell you something." He said stretching his arms over the back of the vacant chairs. "Do you think I wanted that ship? This Assignment?" He said motioning to the Raptor hovering through the windows..
"No, I still remember you scowling on the flight over here." Jack replied.
"I won't deny it." Harry said. "But you know what in a strange messed up way I got what I wanted. I have my own ship, my own crew and a command. For all intents and purposes the Raptor is mine and I'm proud of her and all of you."
"Thanks but your point is."
"The point is." Harry said enunciating each word. "If you want something you take steps to make sure you keep it." He took a breath. "Granted with me, when I took that temporary assignment on the Aether, it made me take a step back and realize what I had and what I needed to do to keep it." He stopped and leaned forward. "Do you follow me."
"I think so, what do I need to do?"
"Well.." Harry said tapping his chin. "You are good with numbers I know Fara is looking for a Warp field analyst, at least maybe part time for some project she's working on."
"And this will help me how?"
"It might get her talking to you again." Harry said. "And it would show a little initiative, and well you might make Fara happy if you understood the ship a bit better. Plus it'd look good on your record." He then shrugged. "Who knows maybe it'd do you some good."
"What do I need to do?" Jack sighed in resignation.
"Just go to her and tell her I sent you." Harry smirked. "I'm sure she'll be overjoyed."
"Alright you got a deal." Jack said hoping to his feet. "Thanks Harry."
"Don't mention it." Harry said waving as he left.
Terri stared at her drink slowly turning her straw around the glass and her head leaning onto her palm as her elbow rested on the table.
Jenna sat watching her friend with worry although her drinks were keeping that a bit at bay. They went to one of their favorite spots "The Violet Garden." Which was a coffee bar where one could go to just have drinks and have some quiet time. They had a variety of coffees from all across the quadrant plus some rare and potent alcoholic drinks. The place was decorated with a type of purple lighting that highlighted the almost translucent plastic furniture giving it the appearance of glowing.
The Ice cream hadn't helped Terris move at all.
"Terri, dear you are being a downer." Jenna said suddenly.
"Mmmfh." Terri grunted.
"TERRI." Jenna snapped.
"What…" Terri said stopping and glaring at her.
"Well… I bring my best friend here to try to cheer her up and you are just being a total downer and killing the whole room with it."
Terri scowled the place seemed no different than it had been although Jenna being a little loud had attracted some attention.
"I think you are exaggerating."
Jenna just stared at her. "What is wrong with you first you nearly beat the crap out of Michelle this morning and you've just been a grump all day."
"You know why." Terri grumbled finally taking a sip off her drink and then grimacing realizing that it was almost at room temperature.
"I think this is more than just a breakup hon." Jenna said tossing her blond head fur and the beads on her spines jingling. "Is there something else?"
"I don't know." Terri said after a long pause.
It was hard to relax, her mind was running circles among the myriad of tasks she had planned for her next duty shift rather distracting memories of Jack were rudely forcing their way into her train of thoughts. She wanted to bury them but there weren't really a lot of bad memories to give her enough reason too.
"HEY!" Jenna said snapping her out of it. "Holy cow you totally spaced out there."
"Sorry." Terri said sipping her drink. "I appreciate you trying but my heart just isn't really in it."
"Could have fooled me." Jenna sighed. "Sooo." She waved at a waiter and made a few hand signals.
"What are you doing?"
"It's not what i'm doing it's what we're doing." Jenna grinned wickedly.
"No." Terri glared. "NO no no no."
"Yes yes yes." Jenna squealed clapping her hands as a large bottle of a slightly blue glowing opaque fluid was set between them along with two shot glasses. Jenna giggled popped the bottle and poured them both one.
"Are you out of your mind that's Altarian Blue Lightning, that costs 1000 credits!" Terri protested.
"Yup." Jenna said handing her a glass. "You need to relax and this will do it."
"You mean over do it."
"Nope, just enough to get the job done, this stuff will keep." She said pouring some into her own glass. "We'll finish it later."
Terri looked at the chilled faintly glowing liquid swirling in her glass and sighed.
Jenna lifted hers and smiled mirthfully.
"Fine, since you insist." Terri grumbled doing the same and then quickly downing it.
Trying to stay quiet as the very sharp almost electric sensation shot through their throats in the quiet bar was a challenge and they both tried not to make too much noise.
"Holy Crap." Terri nearly choked. "Please tell me that gets a bit less…. Less!"
Jenna giggled. "Yeah after the first one it's not nearly as strong." she poured another round. "Ready?"
Terri nodded feeling a bit giddy and her mood lightened, this stuff worked quick. "Yeah." She said raising her glass to her friend Jenna clinked her own. "Cheers."
The Briefing had been short and sweet. Jakara updated Braddock on all the events going on at the station and then began his shift. The station was quiet this time of night and the illumination was dimmed to simulate nightfall. The entertainment district of the promenade was very lively at this time and it glowed a multi-colored rainbow of light that looked like an aurora borealis as it danced along the shiny dome of the area.
He leaned on the railing and sighed. Most of the time the starbase was fairly quiet and just the presence of a few security officers kept everyone in check. Nobody liked being stunned and nobody liked eating floor either. Jakar prefered the latter to stunning would be offenders, sometimes being stunned when one didn't see it coming had some embarrassing side effects. Plus bruises and cuts could be easily mended in sickbay. Below the denizens of the Confederation commingled in trade and entertainment or just good old revelry. It had been sometime since the place had been so relaxed with the threat of the Urthean Empire looming so near.
Xox had not returned to harass the station for quite some time, instead opting to lie in wait for ambushes. This last time had been pretty bad but he had anticipated something going wrong and prepared for it.
Sorry bastards weren't not expecting a heavily armed survey team lying in wait for them. A smirk crossed his face. He still remembered the looks on their smug faces when the first Phaser rifle volleys lit them up and he chuckled.
"What's so funny?" He heard a familiar voice. It was Sonya Jax although she wasn't on duty she was wearing a dark blue dress that looked rather nice with her complimenting her black fur and red hair wch she had left free and unbraided that just cascaded down her back and the sides of her face.
"Nothing, just thinking about something was all." He said straightening up and adjusting his uniform. "You look nice what's the occasion."
She smiled. "I'm off duty I thought that was obvious."
Jakar flushed a little that was a stupid question, seeing her like this had caught him off guard.
"I saw you up here perched like a lonely raptor waiting to sweep down on an unsuspecting miscreant and thought i would say hi." she said walking up to him running her hand along the rail and looking down at the crowds. "How are you handlin' things luv?"
"That good huh?"
"Am I supposed to enjoy having duties and responsibilities taken away from me?"He huffed.
"Some would find that a blessing." She smirked. "Not those like us though who'd rather stay busy. Back when I on my own and had my own ship, there was always something that needed tendin' too. Look at me, I don't know what I am doin, gussied up for what I dunno, so I wander over here and talk to you." She said sighed leaning on the railing. "Any idea when we'll be out of this dump and out amongst the stars again."
"Not yet." Jakar grunted.
"Cripes how do you people deal with this boredom?"
"You get used to it."
There was a moment of silence.
"When do you get off duty?" She asked.
"Zero hundred." Jakar responded.
Sonya checked an wristwatch she always wore. "Well the bars are still open, mind takin me for a drink about that time? See how it goes and goes from there I'd hate ta go to all this trouble ya know."
Jakar cracked a smile. "Sure."
"Good, not many i'd rather spend tha time with anyway, i'm going to grab somthin' to eat would you like something?"
"Surprise me, i'll be around."
"I know you aren't that hard to find when you know how to look." Sonya said slapping him on the shoulder.
The next morning.
"That's it just take it easy." Okan said as Rivas tried walking a bit more down a track with grip rails running along it. However he was only allowed to use them to keep from falling on his face.
"Can't I just use the rails doc?" Rivas complained. "You're killing me here."
"No, you have to make it to the end on your own. If you don't you probably won't be returning to duty any time soon."
"You can do it, come on you hobbled all around my quarters this morning and did just fine." Michelle cheered him on.
"Yeah that was when I first woke up."
"Don't be a big baby." Michelle said. "you can do this."
"I'm not a baby!" Rivas growled pushing himself forward a bit annoyed and finally walking to the end of the track. "There I did it I'm done!" He said quickly hopping onto a bio bed.
"You are done with that one." Okan said making a few scans and recording the results. "Now we move onto the Weight exercises."
Rivas groaned and flopped back on the bed.
"If it will help your nervous transmission to your legs has improved from next to nothing to a small increase. You keep this up we'll have you walking without the stimulators in no time."
Rivas just groaned. "Yay."
Michelle sauntered over to him and stood with her arms crossed in front of her. "I seem to recall a certain lieutenant commander telling me to "Suck it up." When I was having some difficulty dealing with things on the ship. I suggest you do the same." She smirked wickedly.
"I'm trying!" Rivas grumbled, secretly enjoying her antagonizing him for once. "Here let me hit you with that bulkhead over there and we'll see how well you do with this."
"No thanks." Michelle giggled. "Come on sit up." She said offering her hand to him.
"Thanks." Rivas said taking it and sitting up. "Ok doc." He sighed. "Bring it on let's get this over with."
"You… can't possibly be serious.." Fara said her ears drooping looking at the Padd. "The Captain must be joking."
"Harry doesn't joke." Jack replied.
"You expect me to believe you of all people actually have a background in warp theory, a minor in it no less."
"Yes I do." Jack replied drumming his fingers on the wall getting a little annoyed at this inquisition.
Fara glared at him and handed him an assignment pad. "Alright smart ass, warp coil number six has been giving some strange readings when we are away on a mission. I want you suited up and at access hatch 5, in thirty minutes. I'm going in there with you just to make sure you don't screw something up, I suggest you get an engineering kit it will have everything you need. This problem needs to be fixed I don't want another defective part killing more of my team."
"No problem." Land said.
"I'm giving you one shot, you screw it up you better look to another department if you are trying to expand your skills because it won't be engineering." Fara scowled getting up. "So you better give it your best effort."
"I will chief I'll be there." Jack said sweetly just knowing it would annoy her more.
Terri woke up in her quarters, alone.
She was groggy, the sedation from the alcohol still sticking with her. She yawned and stretched and sighed staring at the ceiling. Taber, her pet cat jumped on the bed purring and started mewing and and walking a circle on her stomach meaning he wanted fed.
"Ugh can't I have a moment or two.." She said scratching the creature on a spot between its ears.
"Nyah." The feline replied still purring and kneading it's paws into her stomach.
"Ok, ok. I'm up." She said swinging her legs over the side of her bed.
This wasn't the first time she'd been alone, she just wish she could shake her feelings off. She scowled maybe if he'd grow up a little she said reminder herself how he had acted when she suddenly found herself in charge of the ship and it's crew.
She got up went to the replicator and had it make Taber some food.
As soon as it materialized she put it in his bowl and the cat devoured it happily.
She petted him on the head and walked over to a shelf that had various pictures on it. She reached behind the others and picked up one she always kept face down and out of sight. She pulled it out it was a picture of a younger her back when she was in the academy and a much older Altarian.
She had been a freshman and he had been a senior cadet.
A smile crossed her lips as she traced the image with her fingers.
They'd met in advanced computer systems class, and immediately hit it off.
He had been careful to avoid accidental physical contact and was always respectful towards her. "Karl.. " She sighed. They'd made so many plans, they were hoping to be married when she got out of the academy. He was very dashing and cavalier, probably what attracted her to Jack Land in the first place.
Karl however, was lost when his ship disappeared.
The second time a loved one had been lost to the depths of space.
That blow nearly crushed her, but she pressed on, taking this posting on the frontier losing herself in the her work.
She slid the picture back sighing heavily returning it to its hiding place then she went to get a shower, eat some breakfast and start her day. She had things to do and dwelling in the past wasn't going to get it done.
A bit later, Terri arrived at the gym for class on time as usual and saw Jenna standing there as well.
"So…. where is everyone?" Terri asked curiously.
"I have no idea, i figured you'd show up even after last night but i've been here about ten minutes, no Jakar or Michelle."
"Ok now that's odd for him." Terri said.
"Michelle too, she hasn't missed one since we started. I know Fara isn't coming because she's going over the warp coils." Jenna shrugged. "So what do you want to do."
"Well I need to sweat out that poison we did shots of last night, feel up for sparring?"
"Yeah." Jenna chuckled. "But you cheap shot me you are going to regret it."
"I won't I'm doing a little better today." Terri said tapping. "We won't go to long either I was planning on leaving early I need to talk to the Commander about a few things about my new job."
"Fine by me, I cheated and had a early breakfast anyways." Jenna said following her inside. "Kai's waiting on me to get back anyway he has the day off today."
Jack was waiting for her suited up in an environmental suit, engineering kit when she arrived.
"When was the last time you did an extra vehicular?" Fara asked opening the airlock and stepping inside.
"It's been awhile," Jack said. "I think I can remember the basics, it's as easy as falling off a ship right?"
"Keep it up and you'll be pushed" Fara sneered tapping the control panel on her suits arm and her magnetic boots activating. "If you want to do this you'd better get used to it."
Jack shrugged and activated his own as the airlock flushed out the atmosphere and the external door opened. "It' just a lovely stroll in vacuum I'm not that worried."
The trick to doing a spacewalk, was remembering that as far as your movement was concerned, concepts such as up and down were relative to whatever you were standing on. Stepping out of the airlock you found yourself suddenly parallel to the floor as your boots latched you to the ship's hull. This was always disorienting like stepping into a fun house at first and it took a bit of training to get used to it.
It was a bit surreal walking on the Raptor's hull, he'd never been on it's outside.
"Ok follow me, they should have the cowling off by the time we get there." Fara's voice said in his ear. Moving up the hull to the dorsal side of the hull. As they made their way across the ship Jack marveled at the patchwork mess that made up the hull. He could see all the replacement plates and patches from all the repulsor rays that had struck bare hull. Even though it had been leveled it was easy to see the scars criss crossed across its hull because the patches were always shinier than the pieces they were attached too. For each section that had been breached it was cut out, re sectioned secured in place followed by a reapplication of the ablative coating and finally the ferrocrete ceramic.
He watched as two work bees carefully finished unbolting the large plate that made up the engine cowling and removed it using their thrusters to lift it out. The Raptor trembled under their feet as it slid free. Now lay the warp coils exposed to space.
Fara led him to the edge and kicked off it using her suit to maneuver her down into the hold that bore the enormous tungsten and magnesium hulks that allowed the Raptor to travel through warp space.
"Hmm." Land said taking a tricorder and scanning it as well as looking it over with his eyes.
"No plasmodic scouring."
Fara seemed impressed. "Very good, how'd you know to look for that?"
"I've had to scrub a few as punishment." Land said walking up to number 6 and scanning it. "Readings appear to be normal." He glanced at the manufacturer's label and checked the magnetic variance. It read .567. His tricorder showed it was off by a thousandth. "Tricoder says the variance is off by a thousandth." He then walked over to each coil and looked at something on each one near where they were mounted on the bottom side to the space frame. Using his the suits wrist light he checked the maker's mark and dates on each one.
"That shouldn't matter." Fara said. "I'm going to check the relay sensor and make sure it's working, the computer keeps saying there is something wrong but every time we check it out we can't find anything.
"Do we have a sledge hammer around here somewhere?" Jack asked.
"Why would you want that?" Fara said peering at him through her visor as she checked the reader.
"Call it a hunch. I'm going to need some air in here."
"What in the world are you getting at?" Fara said a bit annoyed.
"It's an old trick and old salt of an engineer taught me back on my last posting." Jack said looking around the area. "Wasn't this the nacelle that was damaged a while back when the main drive conduit exploded?"
"Yes." Fara said annoyed that the relay seemed to be in working order. "Had to replace coils five and six they were practically slagged. "Ok so what's your hunch."
"Like i said, I need a sledgehammer and we need some air in here."
Fara put two and two together. "You are not beating on my ship with a hammer." she growled.
"Yeah I am unless you want to keep beating your head against this problem." Jack said sharply. "The trick is we strike each coil. The ones that make a different sound are bad and need to be pulled."
"That's ludicrous." Fara said.
"It's 1000 credits if i'm wrong." Jack smirked. "I had them put back to take a trip with Terr.. but, well it isn't going to happen now." He sighed. "You've got a boyfriend, you two could probably use a little get away."
"I have plenty of credits saved up because I don't take vacations on worlds that take em." Fara said. "When I do, that is."
"Come on I know you want to prove me wrong."
"It's your spending money." Fara said. "Fine I'll humor you." She walked over to a wall panel and pressed a few buttons. "Computer erect a level 6 force field and pump atmosphere into the nacelle hold."
A forcefield flickered above them sealing off the vacuum of the docking bay and their suits readouts read that breathable air was now filling the hold. As soon as it was safe Land took off his helmet and set it on the ground. "I need a sledge."
"Well go replicate one, make it quick we don't have all day." Fara said smirking.
Land soon returned with the freshly replicated sledge hammer. He took a few practice swings with it. "Ready?"
"Ok, now which is one of the original coils?"
"Number four the one up front." Fara said pointing.
Land walked up to it picked a good spot and hit it as hard as he could. The Coil hummed like a low dull bell that filled the entire compartment.
"That's a good coil." Jack said confidently walking back towards Fara. "Have you ever had any problems with number seven or eight?"
"I'll bet you 10 to 1 that five and six won't do that." Jack said hefting the sledge and resting it on his shoulder.
Fara furrowed her brow. 10000 credits was a lot, it was enough for her to notice it but someone like Jack would be paying her back for quite a while, that was at least a few years with some pretty boring shore leave.
"What are you basing this on?" Fara asked.
"Coils are made per order from special foundries that manufacture them, you just can't replicate them." Jack said reciting knowledge that had been imparted on him a while back, at the time it didn't seem relevant but he was glad he at least listened. "When you replace them they are all put on one order and cast as per whatever specifications are set for construction." He then pointed to the last two coils that loomed aft of them. "Those were replaced as well so they are from the same place as coil six. Plus they have the date and maker's mark verifying that."
Fara mulled it over in her mind. Either Jack was completely talking out of his ass or he really did know what he was talking about. She understood how they worked, how they were supposed to work and maintain them but beyond that had never really been involved in the process that was warp coil construction. 10,000 was a lot of credits to toss away on a stupid bet but she was dying to see this play out.
"Fine." She said. "I'll call."
"Yeah i'm sure stop stalling flyboy put up or shut up." Fara grinned.
Land shrugged walked over to number six, lined up a strike and then swung to hit it.
This time the hammer reacted differently and nearly bounced out of Lands hand a sharp strike was heard but no low humming tone. Land cursed and flexed his fingers. "That's a bad coil this we know, so you at least owe me 1000." He walked over to number five, struck it with the same results. "That one is shit too." He said wincing and flexing his fingers. "And I already checked the maker's mark they are from the same place. "That'll be 10000 credits mam."
Fara had to see for herself, she went and checked the marks and he was right, they were created on the same date at the same foundry.
The loss of the bet paled in comparison to the rage she felt of someone intentionally screwing with her ship!
Despite the awkwardness of actually having to think about having to walk Don Rivas had finally gotten the hang of it
.He was walking with a little help from Michelle for balance.
"You did pretty good today."
"Yeah i suppose i did." Don replied. "Bastard made me pay for it I am dying for some lunch."
"Now Dr. Okan is just trying to help." Michelle said.
"That Echidna is a masochist and he's a bastard for it." Don growled. "I never said he wasn't helping. What sounds good?"
"Are you serious? Dr. Okan said you shouldn't push yourself."
"I've got the hang of walking with these stimulators, I don't want to lose it." Rivas replied. "Promenade, real food, good food, expensive burn a hole in my credits food."
Michelle blushed. "You don't have to do that."
"Nonsense." Don said. "I know everyone is busy and don't have time to deal with me, but you made the time and I've appreciated it."
"Ok but Can we freshen up first if you are being so insistent. You are a little ripe and i'd would rather wear something then this drab get up. She said motioning to her dark rouge blouse and grey slacks. "I'll replicate you something nice too."
"I could just go to my quarters." Rivas said. "I think I can make it. You can do whatever you need to do there. Besides I haven't been home in a day or two it'd be nice to go back."
"Ok if you think you can make it." Michelle reluctantly agreed.
Rivas said. "Honestly, I don't but I want to try anyway." He chuckled. "In fact this whole idea may just fizzle. Let's get going before it does." He chuckled.
A turbolift ride and a long trip to nearly the edge of habitat area they finally made it. Don was looking a bit tired but he pushed through it. When they entered his quarters the lights flicked on and it definitely felt as if they had been empty for awhile.
Michelle helped him over a table and pulled out a chair for him. "Thanks for bringing me home." Don said.
"Don't mention it." Michelle said. "Look i'll lay out a few things for you and then I'll let you be ok?" She heard the familiar whine of the servo's as he got up and approached. "I'm just saying you didn't have to is all. I've appreciated all you've done for me." He hesitated. "I hate to ask but, I don't trust these things, would you mind sticking around until I get settled?" He pleaded. "I"m very tired and everything hurts like a bastard. I'd hate to be stuck here by myself if I fell or something like that."
"Sure." Michelle said. "I can do that."
Don smiled gratefully. "I"ll get cleaned up, just make yourself at home. If you want some music I have a few old holotapes by the entertainment center. Just help yourself."
"Ok." Michelle said leaving the room so he could disrobe. She walked around his quarters noticing that much like hers it seemed like he was pretty much alone as well. She noticed he had a drawing table in one corner and a few very well sketched and inked pictures of people he'd encountered around the station. She smiled not realizing he was the artistic type. She walked to the entertainment center and found the holotapes looking at the labels the labels and found she had a lot of similar tastes in music as he did. As she did she noticed a bulkhead with several marks dings and scratches on it from things being thrown at it. She heard the shower kick on in his room and picked a tape and inserted it into the player. Music filled the quarters and she sat down on a couch and grabbed one of his sketchbooks that were laying on the table. She didn't see any harm in it and flipped through it. It was filled with various pictures he'd sketched of people and place he'd encountered, some were of landscapes of what she assumed were home.
She turned through the pages and then found a few of herself in there. They were very good, and she wondered why she had attracted his attention. Her likeness was down like uncanny, just moments on the bridge, when she was by herself at the replimat sulking. She wondered what the fascination was, all of the seemed rather mundane just slices of life. She kept turning the pages, there were other pictures of her shipmates, a lot of Terri-Lu. That didn't surprise her to much. A few humorous ones he had of Fara and her usual antics, a few of Commander Martinez and a random assortment of other things. She got so absorbed in the artwork she didn't hear him shut the water off or just enter the room.
"Find anything interesting in there?" Don asked flatly he was wearing shorts without a shirt and was finishing drying off.
Michelle yelped in surprise and dropped the sketch book onto the table.
"Sorry I didn't mean."
"It's ok." Don said putting his paw up. "Now two people know my secret."
Michelle blushed. "I'm sorry I was just curious.."
"It's ok what did you think?"
"Your art?" Michelle asked. "It's great. Very well done. I didn't know."
"Not many do." He said walking over to the table and picking up the book off the table.
"Why'd you pick me of all people to draw?" She asked.
Don hesitated. "You looked very lonely, the first time I saw you it caught my interest is all. I hope it didn't upset you."
"No not really more surprised I was found interesting." Michelle said blushing and looking away seeing him shirtless.
Rivas smiled at her. "You can be sometimes."
"Are you hungry?!" She said quickly getting up. "I could use a drink or something."
"Yeah but you don't have to."
"No no no it's fine you just rest and get better ok." She said scurrying off the kitchenette and rifling through his supplies.
"Are you ok?"
"Yeah i'm fine, fine, everything's fine." She said as a crash erupted from the kitchen as she knocked over a few cooking utensils. "Sorry about that." She quickly picked them up.
"I can get up and help." Don said chuckling from the couch.
Get yourself together girl. Michelle thought to herself. She was flattered that he actually thought of her beyond all her various mistakes and flaws she'd demonstrated to over the last few months that seemed to only irritate him. Plus seeing this relaxed side of him made him a bit appealing to her. "What do you want, er what do you even have in here?" She said looking in the cooler.
Don chuckled. "Not a lot. I usually replicate food."
"Ugh seriously?" Michelle said rattling around the few beer bottles and take out boxes in the fridge. "This is terrible." she laughed. "What do you want?"
"As much as I did like your soup." Don said. "I'd like something with actual meat in it other than insects."
"What about seafood?" Michelle asked giving up on the fruitless search for food in the cooler.
"I could do that."
"Ok you'll stay here I'll run to the market on the promenade and be right back."
"You could just replicate it you know that right." Don chuckled.
"No, I got something in mind just stay here I'll be back." Michelle said as she said heading out of the room.
"Lieutenant?" Harry said as he answered his door seeing Terri lu standing there waiting. "What are doing here?" He said looking at the wall clock.
"I just want to go over a few things before we get underway with our next mission." Terri said. "If you don't mind."
"Sure of course." Harry said inviting her inside. "I just got up you mind if I get some coffee first?"
"No not at all." Terri said stepping inside.
"Have a seat." Harry motioned to a workstation in his quarters that had a desk with two chairs.
"I'll have to admit I'm not used to this." Harry said getting some coffee.
"I'd rather be ready than have to improvise sir." Terri replied setting her data pad on his desk and taking a seat.
Harry laughed. "Wouldn't we all like that." He said returning with a cup of coffee and sitting across from her at his desk. "So you excited about taking this job?"
"I am a little." She smiled. "I didn't realize how much Don did till I actually looked at it."
"Making sure the ship is in order is a bit more daunting than just the computer systems." Harry smiled. "I think you can handle it. So what did you want to go over?"
"Well I was trying to go over some of the systems access and controls and there's some sort of lockout on my authorisation." Terri said frustrated. "It won't allow me to fix it either."
"I'll take care of it." Harry said. "When you activated your access when you took command it confused the computer when I came back to the ship. I just have to get clearance from fleet HQ, it's just a matter of a simple message and they'll get back to us with the code in a day. I'll try to get it expedited"
"Oh good," Terri said relieved. "I thought I'd did something wrong."
"I can remove the lockout in a pinch and suspend it for 48 hours if needed." Harry smiled "It's nothing to be concerned about."
"Ok, with that part covered what else should I expect." Terri asked.
"Well you are my Liason to the crew, if they have any problems or concern you address those to me." Harry said. "It's pretty much like being captain except you don't have to make to many of the bid decisions. That and make sure if there is anything wrong with my ship you stay on top of it. In fact." Harry said taking a sip. "I want to know what's taking so long getting it back up and running. I think it would be good for you to make sure Ms. Phoenix's efforts and time are being properly used on getting my ship back underway and coordinating with her to that it's done, do you think you can handle that?"
"Of course." Terri said."That doesn't sound to hard."
"I've got a meeting in ops in a few minutes, if you'd like you can tag along I need to update Captain Stiles on what has been done already.
"Good Morning Commander." Captain Stiles said as Harry entered ops with Terri lu.
"Any update on when the Raptor's repairs will be done.
"Not yet." Harry asked. "I tried to get ahold of Fara but she's not answering my coms, she must be busy."
"Last I saw this morning there was some activity but not much was going on." Stiles said. "The Dyander is pulling in for shore leave it can cover for you if Ms. Phoenix needs more time." He said suddenly trailing off as he saw Fara still in an environmental suit, sans helmet followed by Land. She was carrying what looked to be two core samples in her hand and murder was obviously on her mind.
Before Stiles and Harry could ask a question she slammed both down hard on the operations table causing it to flicker.
"I want to know why we are getting substandard parts and I want to know now!" Fara snarled at Stiles.
"What are you talking about?" Stiles said confused.
"Those are samples of Warp Coils 5 and 6 that we just replaced less than six months ago and they are practically burnt out." Fara snapped. :"Now who on this station is in charge of requisitioning our parts because I want to personally strangle them!"
Harry picked up one of the samples and looked at it, he was pretty sure the inner part of the coil wasn't supposed to be a white chalky substance.
"I am." Stiles snapped grimly back at the vixen. "Now you had better calm down before I put you in the brig."
"Easy Fara." Jack said quietly behind her.
Fara took a deep breath and exhaled. "Yes, sir." she said curtly.
"Now can one of you explain what's going on."
Fara was still red under her fur so Jack figured it was a good time to step forward. "Well, I was helping the Chief this morning doing a coil inspection. Nothing seemed wrong at first when we scanned them and then I remembered an old trick our chief engineer on the Neosho showed me one time. He said that sometimes you can't trust scanners when it comes to coils, so we did the hammer test, tried and true."
"Hammer test?" Stiles said.
Harry smiled remembering when he too had seen it demonstrated on their old ship. "When a coil is depowered and cool, if you hit it with a sledge and it hums it's good. If it doesn't, it's close to burning out."
"I've never heard of such a thing." Stiles said.
"The proof is in the samples sir." Land pressed on. "Those are bad coils."
Stiles picked up the samples and looked. He knew enough to know that the core of a coil shouldn't be powdery at all. "So what do we do about it then? We can't have the Raptor laid up indefinitely."
"I suggest we go to the manufacturer and pay them a visit." Fara said. "Find out why they are sending us faulty coils, and then if we have to change suppliers."
"Aren't they done through your Organization?" Stiles asked Fara.
"Arspace Technologies doesn't build fleet ship sized coils, and we have to have ours specially made for the Raptor due to the way they are mounted.." She sighed.
"Then we're going on a little trip." Harry said. "Where are we going?
"Ustafar Prime." Land replied. "It's on the maker's mark. It's about 3 days journey from here at warp 7 give or take a few hours." Land said.
Harry whistled that was going to be a hell of a long shuttle trip.
"Commander." Terri spoke up. "There might be an option."
Fara's eyes bulged and she glared at Terri in what could have been interpreted as "Keep your mouth shut."
"He was going to find out eventually Fara stop giving me the death stare." Terri shot back.
"What are you talking about Ms. Lu?" Stiles asked.
"Fara has a shuttle that she designed as a proof of concept that she has squirrelled away somewhere on the station. It was a proof of concept that she designed that can do everything the Raptor can do but on a smaller scale." Terri stated.
"Ok I'm listening what makes it so special." Harry asked.
"It can maintain warp seven for prolonged periods of time." Fara finally relented. "Days even. Look i had to show that I could get a larger vessels power to work on a smaller vessels space frame without tearing it apart."
"Well for once, i'm not that upset." Harry sighed. "So it's just been sitting in a hanger all this time."
"Yeah, I do check on it when I have time but it should be space worthy." Fara said. "Most recent thing I did to it was give it the name Talon after you named the Raptor."
"Cute." Harry smirked.
Stiles chuckled. "I wondered what you did with that thing after the demonstration."
"Well i didn't want to scrap it." Fara shrugged. "No one really inquired about it either so I just put it away for a rainy day."
"Well, then I suggest you two get changed and packed. The three of us are heading there pronto." Harry said. "Be at the shuttle bay and have the Talon ready to go in one hour."
"Yes sir." They both said nodding.
"Dismissed." Harry said and the two foxes headed back into the lift and left ops.
"I'll have the Dyander take the Raptor's place." Stiles said. "They won't be happy about it but their Captain owes me a favor."
"Good because until we get to the bottom of this as far as I am concerned the Raptor is grounded." Harry grumbled. "Looks like I have a trip to pack for."
"Godspeed Commander." Stiles said. "Well keep a light on for you."
Terri followed Harry as he left ops. "Mrs. Lu, i'm going to leave you in charge of making sure that our engineering team gets those coils out and ready for replacement do you think you can handle that?"
"Yes, sir." Terri replied. "I have a question."
"Since, when does Ensign Land work in engineering?" Terri asked Harry as he looked over the data padd Fara left.
"Since this morning Jack asked to broaden his horizons a little, Fara had a position open, he qualified for it I put him there." Harry said nonchalantly.
"Oh." Terri said looking a bit bemused. "Well good for him."
"Is there a problem Lieutenant?" Harry asked.
"No i'm just a little shocked. That's all, no problems." Terri said smiling.
Michelle came back with a bag of various groceries from the markets in the promenade.
"Good grief did you bring enough?" Rivas said. "I thought we were just having one meal."
"Well you don't have anything here." Michelle said setting the bags on the table. "And getting some fresh food could help you heal up, a lot better than the nothing you have in that cooler."
He stood up and the whirring sounds of the prosthesis filled the cabin as he came over.
"What all did you get?"
"I'm sorry it took so long I tried to get things that fit your diet and the computer wasn't being very helpful in the matter."
"It's ok so what did you come up with?" Don asked.
"All kinds of stuff." Michelle said rushing back and forth and filing the cooler. "Just sit down you don't need to be up."
"Ok ok." he said hobbling over to the bar counter on the kitchenette and sitting on a stool. "That make you happy?"
Michelle started to pull out utensils and prepare the meal.
"You really are going above and beyond you know." Don said. "I can take care of myself."
"I know." Michelle said. "I don't believe the last part of that statement though."
"What's that supposed to mean."
Michelle stopped cutting the onion she was working on. "I know you are trying to be tough about this but I don't have to be a Counselor to see what's going on."
"What would that be?"
"If I'm not here I don't think being alone would be the best thing for you." She said levelly. "Don, we have been on the same ship for a little over a year now. I never see you with any of the other crew outside of work. Do you even have any friends?"
"I have friends." Don grumbled. "Just not here."
"Who's to blame for that?"
Don sat in silence meeting her gaze.
"That's what i thought." She said not blinking and going back to her cutting. "If i'm not here all you are going to is stew, probably drink, probably put more dents in your wall or worse."
Don drew in a breath and let it out, his heckles were raised she had touched a nerve but she just kept cutting like it didn't bother her.
"Imagine if your little study you completed was already to go and you were ready to give your report and suddenly the file was gone." He said. "That's how I've felt since Harry Martinez has showed up." He wrapped his fist against the counter. "All that work, all that time, I was promised that ship was going to be mine and the next thing i know, here's some new guy and he's taking your job. Well I'm sorry but that doesn't put me in the best of moods."
"I'm sorry." Michelle said. "I didn't know."
"No, I suppose you didn't." He huffed. "Took a lot of guts to prod me like that."
"I didn't always used to be so s… s.." She closed her eyes got control of herself. "Scared all the time."
"I'm debating transferring I just feel like I have no future here unless Harry buys it and I grudgingly like him, I don't' think I would be happy if that happened either. He's a hell of an officer, we need more like him in the fleet. Just keep that between us ok." Don sighed.
"Sure." Michelle said sadly.
"What's that for?"
"I dunno, if you left I think I'd miss you is all." Michelle said.
"You? You'd miss me?" Don chuckled.
"Yeah I would."
"I think you would of all people would be relieved I was leaving." Don said a bit curious at her reaction.
"You can be a bit firm, but you are brave, cool under pressure, strong, you don't send me on horrible away missions like the Commander does." She smiled. "And you are cute for not having feathers." She suddenly realized she had let that slip but it was too late now.
"Oh wow, I didn't know." Don said a bit taken aback.
"Look sorry I shouldn't have said anything i'm just being stupid." she said dumping the cut onion into the skillet.
"You meant that didn't you?"
"I said forget about it." Michelle said stammering a bit.
"It's out there now." He chuckled. "I can't unhear it."
Michelle ran her feathered hands together. "Ok fine, i find you attractive, it's weird.."
"It happens… and it's mutual." Rivas said.
Michelle smiled at him. "Thanks. Can I have one of those beers it's hot in here."
Don nodded. "Help yourself."
"So this is it?" Harry asked looking at the sleek black shuttle with orange trim.
"Yeap." Fara said walking around to the back of it and activating the gangway.
Harry walked around it and noticed the micro torpedo launchers, and the single set of pulse phaser mounted above the cockpit. "How long did it take to whip this up?"
"Oh a month or two I don't' exactly remember." Fara replied coming around to meet him and leaning against the ship. "Knackt and Myself did most of the work on it. Since your people didn't seem to care what I did with it I just stowed it away."
"Can it cloak?"
Fara nodded. "It can do everything the Raptor can do." Fara said confidently "Just on a smaller scale, come in side and check it out."
"I will in a moment I just want to give a good look." Harry said.
"Suit yourself." Fara said as she stepped inside and ran her finger along a console sneering at the amount of dust it picked up. "Holy Cow I need to take this bird out more." Fara said scowling running her finger along the console and sneering at the dust.
Jack made his way forward to the sunken compartment containing flight controls. He looked over the console and started to power it up. "Agreed." Jack said starting the pre flight check and grabbing a rag and wiping off his own console as he powered up the shuttle. "I haven't even got a chance to fly it yet."'
"It shouldn't be to different from what you are used too." Fara said doing her own preflight checks on the engines. "Although this thing is built out of good parts instead of the crap we got for the Raptor."
Land chuckled. "Hopefully this will put a stop to it."
"Hoping is about all we got at this point." Fara groused. "By the way, thanks for your help in all this."
"Just doing my duty." Land replied.
"Well it means a lot to me."
"Don't mention it." Land shrugged. "Just think of it next time I have to pull some hard maneuvers with the Raptor."
"Don't push your luck fly boy." Fara chuckled as the door to the flyer opened and Harry came in with his shoulder pack.
"I heard laughter is it possible you two are getting along for once?" He mused setting his pack near the operations station.
"You are hearing things." Fara chuckled. "Engines are good to go."
Harry went over to the replicator and ordered some coffee. "Mr. Land do you have a course plotted."
"I will just finishing pre flight checks. I don't want any surprises before this bird takes off." Land reported. He adjusted his seat real quick and continued running the little diagnostics before they took off. The Talons controls were definitely more manual supplemented by standard Federation computer controls and a flight yoke. It was almost like being in a fighter again.
"What kind of amenities does this thing have."
"4 bunks, toilet, sonic shower and a multi use room that can be an office, lab, whatever." Fara said. "I had to spend a week on it and being in a small space was bad enough with Knackt i needed somewhere to get away from him. "Everything is five by five we can leave when you are ready, Harry." Fara asked.
Harry tapped his combadge. "Station control, this is Commander Martinez in hanger 18 a. We are ready to depart."
The officer on duty acknowledged and with a dull thud the klaxon signaled the bay decompressing and the bay doors began to open after the forcefield appeared in front of them.
"You have the sample?" Harry asked.
Fara unzipped her bag and pulled out the core sample of the core.
"Good. I'd hate to travel out that far and have left it here." Harry said taking his seat.
"Skipper we are ready to get under way." Jack said grasping the controls and feeling the play in the yoke and pedals. This was definitely going to be an interesting flight "Releasing mag clamps activating thrusters." With a thump the Talon floated free of the deck and gently eased out of the hanger bay and headed for the main door.
"Shuttle Talon to flight control we are ready to depart." Harry said tapping a communications button on his console.
"Acknowledged Opening Bay doors, once clear proceed on a heading of 023 have a safe Journey Talon."
"Acknowledged." Harry said as he sat down at one of the stations to get settled in. "Mr. Land, once we're clear step on it."
"Planning on it." Jack said checking his instruments and priming the warp engines as they passed through the bay doors. "Ok everything lets good, here goes nothing." He said engaging the warp engines.
The Talon talon blasted off into warp space towards Ustafar Prime.
To Be Continued….