I Will Show You Fear

USS Hawking
Main Science
Shortly after Torrik Nils’ transport to Sickbay

“So then, get this, the nanite sample from Captain Benjamin…”

“Don’t you have your own lab?”

Alex turned from where he’d been sharing his latest research with Dana to see Lincoln Purcell, looming by the entrance. A short sigh escaped from Dana’s lips at the civilian’s entrance.

“Lincoln, Alex was just telling me about his attempts to…”

“Fine,” Purcell crossed to the terminal he and Nils had left running through the realms of probable entropic characteristics… and noted it was still racing across a universe of possibility. Unable to add anything to the search at present, he was left staring at Dana and Gorsky… Gorsky who had no business being in Main Science… especially given the whole ‘spook’ theory of Finn’s. “Maybe you should take your storytelling somewhere else? Somewhere people aren’t trying to work?”


“Don’t call me dude.”

“Lincoln,” Dana cut in to what she knew was about to become a pissing contest, “the lab is an open forum… who’s to say we won’t have some use for the results of Ensign Gorsky’s research?”

“We have inter-departmental meetings… memos…”

Dana’s eyes narrowed, which was a rare sight and had even Purcell taking a mental step back.

“Don’t worry,” having finally felt the credit drop on the source of Purcell’s antagonism (well, hard to blame the guy, Lieutenant Grissom was worth getting worked up over), Alex started to retreat, from the field if not the battle. “I can tell you the rest over dinner,” definitely not the battle. “You dig Tai?”

“Yes, very much,” she told him, resigned to the ensuing ‘discussion’ with Linc. “I’ll see you at…”

“Excuse me,” the three turned as the door opened to reveal an armed Cardassian, “I need to ask you all to leave the room at once…”

“Why?” Lincoln automatically began to save the data on the terminal before him…

“No time for that,” another security officer entered the room. Well, Dana thought, looking up, more like ‘took over’ the room, “there’s been an internal security issue, there’s a chance this lab is compromised, please leave…now.”

No one in the lab felt quite able to argue with that. One hand to the small of Dana’s back, Alex slid through the doors. He was pretty sure he could feel Purcell’s glare burning holes into the back of his neck.

CPO Jameson and PO1 Govan waited at the entrance until the three had cleared, then stepped into the corridor with the scientists, “This is Jameson to Ops, we have locked down Main Science, commence scans, now.”

“I’d really like to know what kind of ‘issue’ you’re pursuing in my lab,” Lincoln faced off with the massive Jameson, “and if you suspect any of this team…”

“Sir, I’ve told you what I know,” was the human officer’s response. “As soon as Ops has cleared the room…”

“Of what?” Gorsky, nosing in, “what would they need to clear the room of… exactly?”

“I’ve told you what I know…”

“Not all you know,” Dana jumped onto the bandwagon, ignoring the stares from all four men… she’d been watching Govan, who looked uncomfortable. “What aren’t you telling us?”

Zal Govan looked at his superior, who only gave the slightest nod… it was, after all, the scientists’ own CO in sickbay right now, “Lieutenant Torrik Nils was injured, in his own quarters. Ensign Finn believes the cause to have been sabotage. He wants to make sure the threat was limited to…”

“Oh!” Dana’s small cry interrupted the clinical detail, her face gone pale and her eyes clouding.

“Dana,” Lincoln reached out to support her but Gorsky got there, first. Lincoln grit his teeth as she leaned into the younger man.

“How badly was he injured? Can we go see him?” Dana, oblivious to Lincoln’s response, was asking.

“We’re awaiting further orders from Chief Finn,” Jameson replied, “Until then, we’re all to remain here.”

“That is completely unacceptable,” Purcell turned away from Dana’s rejection and vented his ire at the next available target, “You get hold of Chief Finn; he has no reason to curtail our movements, or keep us in the dark…”

“Hey, look, you have to trust Harry…”

Lincoln rounded on Gorsky, “I don’t have to trust anyone on this ship,” he snarled, “at least that’s what Harry made clear to Nils… and now look where Nils is…”

Jameson stepped forward, creating a wall of muscle between the two antagonists but that only sent Lincoln further into a rage, “I want back in that lab,” he said, “the research we’re performing is on Finn’s behalf so I think he’d appreciate it being saved… and I want to talk to him. Now.”

Even as he spoke a com from Ops indicated that the lab was clean of notable hazards. He held Jameson’s gaze, waiting.

William Jameson considered the scientist, then the other two… there was more going on here than concern for their injured comrade. The qustion was, did it relate to the current crisis? Either way, this problem was rapidly exceeding his pay grade. “Govan, tag the Chief, see how soon he can get down here,” he said. “And ask if we’re good to open the lab.”

A concatenation of NPC's including: Dana Grissom; Alex Gorsky; Lincoln Purcell; Zal Govan and William Jameson

Originally Posted by Harry Finn 02-3-2008

Elliot lay adrift in a sea of thought. His mind wondered back to the 'Bristol Incident' and the price he had paid for his own freedom. Once upon a time he had lived by a strict code of morals, honor and duty. But now that lie in ruins. The ex-marine turned security officer's mind continually went back to the moment he fired his phaser, to the moment the once incorruptible Sergeant Jenkins had committed an act of murder.

Starfleet intelligence has refused to take the matter to trial, in their eyes a vicious traitor had been brought to justice and a hi-jacked vessel had been secured. They even spoke of decorations, more medals and more handshakes. It made Elliot sick to his stomach, as did the cushy re-assignment. But above all else, Elliot had failed. He had broken a promise and lost the very thing that made him who he was.

‘I’m sorry Dad…I’ve failed. Elliot’s words echoed in his new quarters, the sound bouncing off the bare walls and fading into silence. He examioned his brused fist, the result of a similar burst of emotion and anger almost three weeks ago.

This was a weak moment and the Chief felt secure in the knowledge no one could see or hear him. Elliot was snapped out of his emotions by the familiar sound of his commbadge. His duty shift had started almost fifteen minutes ago and he was late for the first time of his career. A good move considering this was his very first duty shift aboard the Hawking…

=^= Chief Jenkins please report to the main security office, we have a situation.=^= and with that the communicae ended with Elliot not even knowing whose voice was at the other end.

Without reply Elliot fastened the grey padded uniform jacket and attached the metallic rank insignia to his security yellow collar. Marine green it was not, but it served a purpose and gave the officer something to think about, other the bleak events of the previous weeks. Elliots mind drifted to this so called situation, probably a drunken brawl in the mess hall, or a petty theft. Advanced recon patrols and high altitude drops were a thing of the past. But perhaps Elliot could make a name for himself away from the one thing he had known most of his life, the Starfleet Marine Corps.

With that thought in mind he excited his quarters and headed towards the turbo-lift at the end of the grey clad corridor, his boots scuffing the pristine carpet. The few crew members that passed him offered polite nods to a seemingly new officer, which in most respects was true. Elliot had only officially served in the Fleet for little under a month, the majority of time spent absent chasing ghosts…

The Chief snapped his mind to the present, he would not let his memories and emotions plague his duties. He needed no counsel, just work to occupy every wking moment. The pain, the weakness would pass, but the scarred memory would remain.

A sharp hiss greeted Elliot as he tapped console to request the turbo-lift. “Security operation, main office” Elliot murmured allowed, the turbo-lift responding without question. Within what seemed like seconds the doors slowly revealed the hustle and bustle occupying the corridor. The scene was a field of energy, yellow clad officers pacing, talking and concentrating on the apparent ‘situation’.

“Chief!” Someone yelled. Elliot attention was drawn to a middle aged human, with no instantly recognisable features at all. A mop of blonde hair complemented his uniform and apparent authority.

“Senior Chief Jenkins, Petty Officer 1st Class Burgess. I suggest you read a transcript of the last few hours, things have become a little…serious.”

“Understood” Ellliot responded with a blunt nod. As his eyes skimmed the document, he was suddenly thrown in at the deep end. As the Petty officer had mentioned, the situation was indeed serious and Elliot sensed the ships security force was in for the long haul.

“Here we go…” Elliot whispered.

Originally Posted by Elliot Jenkins 02-3-2008

USS Hawking
En route to Main Science Lab


Running shift rotas through his head to find the combination which would maintain maximum head-count without actually killing his team, Harry didn’t at first notice the chirping of his badge.


“Gahhh! What, what… =/\=What?=/\= Crap. =/\=Finn. Go.=/\=

Instead of an immediate response, there was a burst of static, followed soon by a mechanized voice. =/\= How does it feel, Harry?=/\=

Finn became utterly still, as his perception of the empty corridor drew in and wrapped itself around that voice… that tinny, manufactured voice… and the madness it represented.

=/\=How does it feel to kill another innocent? Another bystander gone to dust because of Harry Finn…=/\=

=/\=I didn’t put Torrik in sickbay,=/\= Harry responded, while internally blocking the implications of the Bajoran’s death. He refused to believe the scientist would succumb to this…

=/\= Are you sure?=/\= Taunting, even in its atonality, the accusation continued, =/\=Even if you didn’t plant the sonic amplifier, and who’s to say you didn’t… maybe you are right to suspect yourself, maybe this com isn’t even happening… even if you didn’t plant that bomb, you caused the circumstances which led to his destruction…=/\=

Which was just about enough, as far as Harry was concerned.

=/\=Listen you spineless piece of shit, you have a problem with me, then take it up with me, you don’t hide behind computers and snarky messages and you sure as hell don’t go after some scientist who isn’t even a player, isn't even a threat… =/\=

He latched onto the information he’d received from Wolfe… the knowledge of the grafting device, =/\=But you can’t face me, can you? Because you’re not real. Because you’re not Shaun Ryan Acker. Because you’re just the shadow of the thoughts of the man, just a code, a program… an algorithmic imitation of life. You are nothing… =/\=

=/\=… I am neither living nor dead…=/\= the flat, calm response, =/\= Are you alive, or not?=/\=

Finn ground his teeth at the random snatches of poetry, but before he could respond…

=/\=We will know you’re truly alive, when I have seen to it that death is all you desire. =/\=

At that moment, another member of the crew rounded the corner, the communication cut out and Harry Finn continued on his way.


Originally Posted by Harry Finn 02-5-2008

USS Hawking
Corridor outside Main Science

While the Cardassian officer contacted Finn, Alex pulled Dana aside, “What did Purcell mean?” he asked quietly, “That you’re doing research for Harry? What kind of research?”

The young lieutenant bit her lip, troubled in general and worried for Nils in particular, “I don’t know… I didn’t know that’s why we…” she paused, uncertain, now, of how much of Torrik’s special project was for public consumption… but this wasn’t public, this was another officer, in the same department. “I was helping him run some comparisons on Hawking’s energy usage… but he never said it was for Ensign Finn." Looking over at Linc, who was as angry as she'd ever seen him, "I don't know what type of research Lincoln was speaking of," she brought her eyes back to Alex, and was surprised by the darkness of his expression. "What is it? Alex?" she was beginning to feel lost, again. So soon after finding her feet, finding a place on the Hawking, finding her old friends…. "What is happening on this ship?"

"I don't know, exactly," he said, "I mean, Harry was having some kind of personal trouble, from the time he got this post, but…"

"This goes beyond personal," Dana completed the thought. Tentatively, she placed her hand next to his, wanting comfort but fearing rejection.

"Way beyond," he agreed, wrapping her small palm within his fingers. A sudden hum brought his attention to his tricorder in its holster. Nothing subtle about that. "Ummm, sorry," he retrieved the instrument and accepted its transmission.

"What's that?"

"Hmm?" Alex frowned, reading the data scrolling across the screen, "Oh, it's just a program I'm running on nanite/bioneural gel algorithms. Hold on," he entered a command and the screen blinked out. "That oughtta check him," he muttered under his breath.

"Him?" the two looked up to see Lincoln Purcell, who'd apparently finished berating the security officers… not that either looked particularly berated. "Him, who?"

More NPC intrigue with Dana Grissom, Alex Gorsky and the looming presence of Lincoln Purcell

Originally Posted by Harry Finn 02-6-2008

Elliot had commandeered a redundant cargo crate and set up a makeshift desk to the left of the main security office. In front of him lie an assortment of information padds, shift rotations and a security personnel manifest. It was his intention to get up to scratch with the whole department, catch up on current events and try to figure out just where he fit in to the whole operation. Who said men couldn’t multitask?

With a slight grin he looked around. The room had gradually returned to normal, however the doors continually hissed open, with various crewmen checking in, updating their seniors and then exiting to carry out his or her duties respectively. Hectic just about summed up the entire morning so far. Elliot had read through the duty reports and was ready to act. An attempted assassination of any Starfleet officer was an absolute outrage, but to think the culprit could still be lurking in the many shadows of the ship, was a little sickening. A thorough yet low-key search of the decks directly underneath the crew quarters seemed appropriate.

“Burgess, whats the status of Theta shift?” Elliot asked the security officer who first greeted him an hour earlier.

The seemingly middle aged man brushed a stray hair from his fringe and coughed slightly, appearing slightly nervous. It would seem he had already glanced at Elliot’s service record and was quick to figure out Elliot was not a man to beat around the bush.

“Partially active, I’ve got T'thianco and Brennek patrolling the officers quarters deck, everyone else has been reassigned to aid the big cheese with his duties.” He grinned slightly as he referred to the division’s commanding officer, a man Elliot was yet to meet. Elliot gave the young man the ‘First Sergeants’ stare. He was quick to get to the point. “Said officers can be here within minutes sir.” He concluded, stiffening slightly and again coughing nervously.

“Chief will do fine, I’m not a Marine anymore…” Elliot trailed off as he read the last report from the previous watch. “Ok, recall those two, I suggest we conduct a search of the decks directly below the officer’s quarters, two or three decks should suffice. Assign tri-corders and scan for trace elements of explosives and non-regulation volatile substances. I’ll take Brenneck and check the adjacent Jeffries tubes, understood?” He said concluding his plan and making sure the Petty officer knew what was involved.

“Aye Chief.” He replied. “Chief… with respect are you taking over the Theta watch?” Burgess asked a look of concern in his eyes. Elliot was not familiar with the man nor anyone else in the division for that matter, but he appeared to be someone who had worked hard for his position and was proud of it regardless of its status.

“Don’t worry son, its still your show, I’m just along for the ride. Between you and me I haven’t been assigned to a watch yet, I just thought it would be prudent to be pro-active. Now, that been said, get the gear and lets move out.” Elliot snapped.

Petty Officer Burgess gave a stern nod and did a shaky about turn. Fleet drill sucked. Elliot adjusted his uniform jacket and reached for the tri-corder already at his side.

His investigation had begun…

Originally Posted By Elliot Jenkins 02-6-2008

:: USS Hawking::
:: Sickbay ::



Jillian lifted herself off of Torrik Nils’ chest and looked at his face. She had seen that expression a million times and it was as if nothing had changed, he just looked as if he were sleeping, a half smile on his face indicating pleasant dreams.

Except he wouldn’t wake, he couldn’t hear her cries. He didn’t move a muscle.

She had to touch. She had to feel. Three short minutes had gone by and he was already getting cold. She held her face close above his mouth, cheek to cold cheek, to feel the absence of breath, to try and believe. She kissed his brow. She talked to him. She cradled his head in her two hands. She begged him not to leave her. He was the only family she had left. She couldn't let go. She couldn’t, because she knew she would never see him again, or touch him, and she wanted to as long as she could, because she couldn’t imagine a world without Nils in it.

And she wouldn’t. She refused to live in a world without him.

She suddenly felt a strange sense of calm. It was like a blanket of mother’s hugs tucked in around her, she felt safe.

Without thinking, she asked for a cardiostimulator. No response. She turned to an empty room. Tatiana and Nurse Nordin were gone. Perhaps it's better they aren't here anyway, she thought to herself. He had been dead for minutes, and any attempts to bring him back would most definitely be considered futile. But she had to try. Something inside her knew it would work.

She reached for the cardiostimulator and rested it above his broken heart.

=/\= Critical mass of the heart muscle has been depolarized. Normal sinus rhythm has been reestablished. =/\=

A steady beat began to play from the console. No longer a flatline, but a heartbeat.

Jillian dropped the paddles and looked down at the biofunction monitor.

Torrik Nils was alive.

Originally Posted By Jillian Munro 02-6-2008

USS Hawking

“I am sorry to be late,” Tenanji slid next to Lieutenant Hawthorn, who seemed to be filling her time running a series of tactical programs. She shut down the system as Usher began to enter his codes. Once he’d been excepted, Hawthorn logged off Tactical.

“There was good reason,” she said, by way of excusing him. “Ensign Jezera is still running a sensor diagnostic,” she nodded to the Denobulan Operations officer, "and Ensign Peress will join you on the bridge, shortly. It seems,” she said, not in any apparent rush, “that we are no longer to stand solo watches?”

“I had heard,” Usher looked up to see the speculation in the other officer’s eyes. It had to be hard going for her, second in command to Finn and yet, knowing so little. “I hope you’ll tell me what other changes Mr. Finn enacts during this shift?”

“Count on it,” with a small smile the Human/Klingon hybrid turned and exited the bridge. Tenanji let out a low whistle and, despite himself, felt a surge of pity for Finn when the time came to face his 2IC.

Post featuring NPC's Lieutenant Usher Tenanji and Lieutenant jg Vanona Hawthorn

Originally Posted By Harry Finn 02-6-2008

This takes place before Vince's post.

She leaned against the corridor wall as the entrance to Sickbay closed behind her. A death had been pronounced just a few seconds earlier, and she didn't wait around to hear more. "You're a coward," her mind taunted, as she moved further and further away from the place she had once thought of as her solitude. She closed her eyes as she walked, the taunts became louder and she felt herself getting angrier with each passing moment. She stopped her walk to take a deep breath before slapping her hand against her combadge.

=/\=Thorne to Hall=/\= She waited from her spot in the middle of the hall before hearing her friend groan, =/\=Come on Tatiana, this was my first day all week to sleep in for just a minutes more…=/\=

=/\=I need you to meet me at the bar now.=/\= she said, and her tone brooked no argument, even as she felt herself losing touch with her anger. =/\=Why?=/\=

=/\=Please?=/\= she asked quietly, as the wall of anger broke. =/\=I'll be there in a few.=/\= her friend said, her voice tinged heavily with concern.


"So you just left, your patient flatlined and you ran out of there? Why?" Stephanie asked quietly.

Tatiana looked over at Stephanie solemnly and nodded, "I failed," her voice broke, "I failed Stephanie, and somebody died because of it. I've never-"

She looked sharply over at Tatiana, "Lost a patient? It happens Tatiana, you can't save everybody. No matter how hard you try, you just can't save everyone." She laughed humorlessly and took a sip of her water, "I thought you had gotten over it. That obsession you have with everything being perfect, with you always succeeding I thought it had stopped once you stopped with that ridiculous "ritual" before you practice Medicine…but I can see now that for every three steps forward…"

Stephanie led off and looked back at her friend, "You cried over this. You cried and you never cry!" She stopped to let the words sink in before continuing, "It's time for you to grow up Tatiana. This childish notion that you have about never losing has to stop. You're an adult who made a choice. You chose to go into medical, so you have to live with the fact that you aren't always going to win. Period, point blank, it's never going to work out like you want it to, and the minute you accept that, the better off you'll be," Stephanie paused to look away from her friend and looked back, "Are you going back to Sickbay?"

Tatiana ignored her, and kept her eyes trained on the wall in front of her while her fingers traced the rim of the glass. She was lost in thought, the scene in Sickbay playing over and over in her mind. Each rewind and play was accompanied by a burning pain in her chest and soon she felt tears gather in her eyes. "I'll take that as a no. Well, I have to go, duty calls," she heard her companion say quietly, "When I get off, we're going to hang out. Talk, eat ice cream and do whatever it takes to snap you outta this. I'd suggest drinking Vodka, but I'm pretty sure you don't want to sully your love affair with it by drinking it while you're depressed." Stephanie left the bar and Tatiana was alone.

The atmosphere in the bar was jovial until an accusing female voice rang out down the bar. She ignored the increasing volume and tapped the bar to get the bartender's attention. "Give me something stronger, I'm not feeling water right now."

"What do you want?" he asked as he watched her warily.

"Give me a-"

She cut off her sentence when she heard the exclamations of the small crowd gathered at the end of the bar. She turned to look, and saw the beginnings of a fight break out. She watched from her seat, uninterested even when she recognized Vince Styfe in the middle of it. She looked over to finally ask for her drink we she saw that the bartender had rushed towards the mob in order to put a stop to the mayhem. She sighed and kept her attention focused solely on the wall even as a flood of medical and security people entered the bar.

She didn't lift a hand to help.

"Now…what can I get you?" the bartender asked when he returned. He looked down and noticed her uniform, "Aren't you going to go over there?"

"No," she answered in a carefree voice as the bar cleared out. The man sat the glass back behind the bar, "Then I'm sorry, we're closed. The bar will be open again for you when you decide to do your job."

Tatiana gave an unamused snort, "How would you know if I did or not? I could lie…"

"And I know quite a few of the medical staff, and I'm sure the red-head you were with earlier would love to tell me just how your day went," the bartender looked pleased with himself as Tatiana stood. She glared at his expression and walked towards Stryfe who was standing near a splattering of security. She stopped on his side and frowned when his voice started to slur while he was talking to her. Once he began to sway, she reached out to stop his fall his unexpected weight came down on her arm and she instinctively removed it. The helmsman fell to the ground and she sunk to her knees beside him.

The smartass bartender came up behind her with a medkit in hand. "Thanks," she said snidely and opened the case. She pulled out the tricorder to scan him, once she flipped down the top, she could hear the whisperings of her medical ritual beginning.

"Scan," she whispered, her heart beating faster as a former old habit made its presence known, "Make correct diagnosis," she continued, "Administer perfect treatment," she finished with a sigh. The anxiety she felt ceased as the scans revealed to her that she could fix Stryfe's medical problems. She pulled out a dermal regenerator and ran it over the bruises and superficial cuts he had received in the fight. She took the hypospray out and inserted the vial to Trianoline, to treat Vince's concussion. The hypospray was brought to his carotid and she inserted the medicine. She returned the instruments back to the medkit and waited for Vince to regain consciousness. Once he was sitting up, he winced and grabbed his side, "Oh, I think I found something else that's not right, I feel like a damn phaser cannon shot my in my side."

T. Thorne Production featuring Stephanie Hall and a cameo by Vinny Stryfe

Originally Posted By Tatiana Thorne 02-6-2008

An overly melodramatic continuation of the bar scene…

"Your ribs aren't broken, they're bruised. I seem to have forgotten to treat them in my haste to fix your concussion" Tatiana said with a dishonest smile, "Let me get right on it." She set about her task of healing his bruises and once she was finished she shot him another fake smile, "There, all done. I'll add this to the records later, but I have a date with a glass of gin, and I have every intention of keeping it."

Vince looked up at Tatiana, "Well I think I have a date with a couple or more rounds of Jager now, so I'll join ya."

Tatiana shrugged, not caring that he was drinking after a concussion, "Whatever you want. Here…here is where I'll find absolution," she said with a sweeping gesture of her hands when they sat down. She stopped before ordering and brought her head down to her hands, "Look, I apologize if I haven't been the shining example of perfect bedside manner, but I'm going through something, so don't take anything I may say or do personally."

"Hey, hey, I'm a Flyboy, I don't take anything seriously. Hell that's the reason I have my own assigned cell in the brig." Vince smirked," But, not to butt in on your business, drinkin' away your problems doesn't work, just take that from me, I know. Drinking will just cause a horrible chain of events."

"No, I'm an expert, it's okay," she shot back. The exasperated bartender saw her, and shook his head at her then mouthed, "Water". She stopped abruptly and glared, hoping that would scare him back into giving her her drink. She shook his head again and filled a glass with water before slapping it on the bar. "It's this or nothing," he finally spoke.

Vince looked down at her glass of water then back at her," Well I think there's a particular someone that agrees with me, but watch this," Vince smacked the bar, looking at the bar tender, who put down two shot glasses and filled them," I don't even have to say anything anymore, he's got me figured out. Plus, liquor is good to cover up physical pain, but not mental. So let's hear what's up, and I may talk him into that gin."

"Not mental, emotional maybe," she began, "Look, my problems are my own, and I'll work them out in a manner that I see fit. You could never understand, so what good would it do me to tell you?" She grabbed the glass of water and took a sip, "I rather just stick with my water because I'm not having a heart-to-heart with someone I barely know."

Vince looked at her, his playfulness was gone," I lost my fiance, four years ago, in an attack from the Borg. I watched her get assimilated, or killed in my mind. I spent the next year and a half thinking that it was my fault, and i didn't do everything I could. For a solid year I just drank the thought away, and It took a group of people, including my dad, and his good friend, Capt. Picard, to get me to talk about it, understand it wasn't my fault, and then enlist in Starfleet," Vince slammed the two shots, then motioned for a couple more," So I'm thinking that I may understand a bit more than you think."

She nodded as she took in his information and turned to him, her eyes alight in shame, "You wanted to know what happened, well guess what? I killed someone a while ago. I killed him when I failed at my job. Up until today there was nothing I couldn't fix. But when it mattered, when someone's life was in my hands whatever genius I thought I had flew out the window and that person lost their life. I was always perfect," she said sadly, "I never…lost before."

Vince lowered his head, shaking it, "You killed someone?" He quickly drank the next two shots, the gestured for two more and slammed them, "That must not be what you meant. But this person dying isn't your fault, nothing on that scale is your fault unless you put a phaser to his head and shot him in the head. I know that sounds crude, but that's the only thing I can think of saying. You need to realize that situation could have played out a million different ways, but it played out that way. You didn't fail, you did all you could, and it's bull to think otherwise." Vince finally sat down," It's…It's just not your fault…"

She swallowed and gave a hollow laugh, "It is. It is." She looked down at the empty glass and picked it up to look through, "I never should have gave it up," she whispered, "That ritual made me perfect, it saved everyone." She sat the glass down and looked at Vince sadly, "I have to be perfect, anything less than that makes me nothing."

Vince laughed, "Ok, Aphrodite, should I build a statue in your name, and sacrifice some goats for you," He shook his head, waving off the bar tender," I can't believe anyone could think like that. I was a well accomplished fighter pilot, but I never thought that I was perfect, I knew that I could screw up, and that's what made me better. Fear of failing, and failing from time to time, it helps you, it makes you better. You just need to realize it." Vince started to walk away.

She swirled around to watch him leave, anger bubbling up in her chest, "This is why I wanted to be left alone!" she shouted out to him, "But you wanted to know, and when I tell you, you make jokes about it? What gives you the right to laugh at my problems?" She turned back to the bar and muttered to her twisted reflection at the bottom of the glass, "A lifetime of of this takes time to grow out of. I just need something to get my mind off of it."

Vince stopped, then turned around," Maybe having someone there, to talk to, is what you really need. But you seem like you just want to wallow in your self pity, not caring that there's a chance that someone is there that could help you through it." Vince walked back up to the bar," But, now with what you just said, I'm not really sure I want to help anymore. You can just believe that you're the reason that that person died, it doesn't matter to me, now." He stared to walk off again, but stopped this time, and stayed just standing there.

She listened to his tirade when he walked towards the bar, and watched as he turned away. When he stopped, she spoke again, "You think I haven't spoke to people about this, but the number of shrinks that have picked their way through my mind would surprise you. They don't know what to term me as having. They've thought it was OCD, Narcisstic Personality Disorder or Borderline Personality Disorder, or maybe some mixture of all three. They just don't want to say that I'm not quite right up here, and leave it at that," she said with a tap to her head, "A doctor with obsessive thoughts about saving everyone. Doesn't sound right does it?"

"Actually, every doctor has that thought, it's what that thing, you know what they call it, a… a… , IT'S THEIR JOB!" Vince smacked the bar," You just need to get your head out of of your job sometimes, and experience a personal life. Think of something else, do something else. Just STOP wondering about your f'n job for just a bit and enjoy yourself. Have a shrink say that, they over-analyze everything under the sun, they never look for the small things. You're completely fine, but you just don't believe it, that's your damn problem……"

"Don't shout at me, I'm not a child," Tatiana said quietly, "You're either purposely trivializing what I'm telling you or just not getting it. It's not what we term a "normal" obsession. I can't even treat someone without saying this chant, I've spent nights, not sleeping, but chastising myself for not taking the best route to treat someone. I've had this problem since I was a kid, and having some helmsman telling me to get over it, isn't going to make it go away." She became silent before speaking again, "You know, maybe the shrinks were right, maybe I have a mixture of the three," she chuckled humorlessly, attempting to focus on something besides Vince's expression, "I have a ritual, I believe I can control everything, I have anxiety issues, I'm not stable in my identity, I'm impulsive in the worst ways and right now I hit feeling empty. Before today, I was secure in the fact that what I did would continue to be right for me, but now…now that it's all going wrong, I just feel empty."

Vince looked up at her," You know what you need, you need to relax yourself and just let go. You need to release the stress and tension that you have built up. You need to just, just…Hell I don't even know now." Vince leaned against the bar," I wish I could help, that's all I wish right now, I hate people tearing themselves up, I just wish there was something I could do…"

Tatiana looked at him silently to size him up, "Maybe there is, but I don't want to seem too forward in asking you," she said with artificial modesty.

Vince looked back at Tatiana," If you're thinking what I'm thinking, my quarters are closer…"

Tatiana looked at him, her mouth forming into a tiny grin that didn't reach her eyes, "I am." She slid off the bar seat and as they walked towards the exit, "As long as you don't ask me to talk abut my feelings, we should have a good time."

Vince looked at her," I agree…"

::Stryfe's Quarters, 2 Hours Later::

Tatiana turned her head to look at Vince, who was still awake next to her, "That was not what I was expecting when I went to the bar." She turned to look at him, her curls brushing her arms as she moved, "What in the hell did we just do?"

Vince smiled, "Relieved our stress. We just had a good time, and that's something we both needed." He rolled over to look at her," And I think it was a wonderful time."

She lied back down and stared at the ceiling. "It was," she said into the darkness, thinking, before she heard her combadge go off, =/\=Hall to Thorne, where are you woman? I'm at your quarters?=/\= Tatiana scrambled to sit up before reached over the side of the bed to grab her uniform jacket, =/\=I'm here, Steph, I'll be there in a bit. =/\= She heard silence on the other end before a voice chimed again =/\=You sound funny, but whatever. I'll be waiting here.=/\=

"I forgot I was supposed to meet her," she whispered to herself before gathering up her clothes. She dressed quickly and looked back at Vince before she reached the door, "Anytime you want to "relieve your stress" look me up."

Vince looked up at her," Oh, I will, you can count on it…"

Tatiana felt the begins of a knowing smirk make its way across her face. She left, and it was pushed back by leaving the bubble that had shielded her from the self-inflicted problems of being Tatiana Thorne.

A T. Thorne & V. Stryfe tête-à-tête

Originally Posted By Tatiana Thorne 02-6-2008

USS Hawking
Dedicated Lab 1138

A flash of the security uniform out of the corner of her eye caused Kerrin to look toward the door of the lab in expectation once again, and once again it was not Harry. Woof woof, Pavlov's dog here. This time the young…so young, woman wearing the uniform seemed to be hovering just inside the door instead of the previous pass through. Pushing aside her work for the moment, not like I was able to concentrate anyways, Kerrin smiled up at the young woman. "Might as well introduce myself," she stood and extended her hand, "Kerrin Schaeffer, I don't believe we have met. Are you new to the Hawking?"

Jenny jumped a bit upon realizing that she'd been staring at the other woman as she worked. "I'm… yes… Crewman Anderson, Jenny," she stepped forward and gave the scientist's hand a brisk shake. "It's… nice to meet you." A civilian? Well, still…

"I am assuming you are here to watch me…dangerous thing that I am." Wrinkling her nose she nodded over to the spare stool on the other side of her workspace. "I am certain you can do that while sitting if you would rather, or talking, which I would rather."

"Oh," she had assumed Gran would have told the doctor what was going on, well, what little they knew, "I can't stay, we're, Gran and I, we're watching over sickbay… we just, ah… Harry…" crap, "Chief Finn wanted us to just, stop by once in a while…" she wondered if the rest of her stay on Hawking would be filled with nothing but awkward meetings. "I'm sorry, I thought you knew… there was an incident of sabotage, earlier and…"

A short bark of laughter burst from Kerrin. "Sorry, sorry…I need to monitor the smartass quotient depending on whether the target knows me or not." Then the last few words replayed in her head. "Wait, incident?" She jumped up from behind the table. "Harry? Is he alright?"

"I… yes… last I heard," she didn't talk about the man in surgery. Her job description didn't include spreading rumors. "If I know Harry, he's probably knee deep in the investigation by now."

"So the 'incident' was not Harry…then who was it?" Kerrin's brain ran through the possibliities. "T'Shaini? Alex?"

"Ma'am, I don't know the name of the victim," she cocked her head, considering. She had to get back to her post but, "Isn't it enough to know that he's worried for your safety?" That he put me in the position of watching over you? Jen didn't know how to feel about that. "I'm sorry, I have to get back to sickbay… if there's anything else I can do…"

Scrubbing her face with her hands Kerrin retreated behind her desk once again. "Yes of course, sorry…I don't mean to keep you from your job." Sitting heavily on the stool she stared blindly at the notes she had been working on.

Jen had already begun her escape from the room, realizing that she'd had no business entering a conversation… ruining this woman's day, but at the last moment turned back. "It's a big thing, you know," she said, before she could think, "that he cares. He wouldn't have wanted to… after Sara and Tim and my Dad… " but that was privileged information and Jen cut herself off before any more secrets could fall at the feet of Dr. Kerrin Schaeffer.

Kerrin nodded absentmindedly. "Yeah, I know, it is a big thing for him to…what did you just say?" Sara and Tim and her Dad? "Jenny….Anderson, that Anderson?"

Oh… oh. "He didn't tell you I was on board?"

"No, there really hasn't been time for us to…you have been on board for how long?" Kerrin's heel began to bounce on the floor as she calculated the time in her head and when she had last seen Harry. "Hmmph. Rat bastard." Making a face, shaking her head and shrugging all at the same time in a cacophony of reaction, Kerrin let it go. "Either like him the way he is, or run like hell…right?"

In spite of everything, Dr. Schaeffer's reaction had Jenny stifling a chortle, which unfortunately went sideways and turned into a short fit of coughing, "Sorry, I'm sorry," she shook it off, "but I think you've nailed him, OH, I mean, shit, I mean…" feeling her face heating to warp core extremes, the girl held up her hands in surrender, "well, he didn't tell me he was… umm, seeing anyone on board, either." Though he'd sure been ready to make a mongo-sized stink over her even thinking about being involved with…

Trying to stifle a laugh at Jenny's choice of words unfortunately turned into a horrifying snort. "If I were thin skinned, I would be insulted that I wasn't important enough to be mentioned to someone who counts as family…then again, if I were thin skinned I wouldn't be seeing Finn."

Which led to another burst of laughter, which Jenny thoughtfully allowed free reign. "Yeah, well," she jerked her chin towards the door, "I really do have to get back," then, as she started moving, "but, listen," and her voice grew more serious… took on that 'Security' tone, "if you plan to go anywhere, contact Gran or myself. If we can't escort you, we'll find someone who can. It'll keep Harry from worrying too much."

"Done…and Jenny, nice to meet you."

"Yeah… I… yeah," and with that, Crewman Anderson headed back to her post.

Before turning back to her notes, Kerrin smiled to herself. "New variable in experiment proves theory that proximity to acidity does not necessarily create acidity in test subject."

JP between Jenny Anderson and Kerrin Schaeffer
(If I were Harry, I'd go into hiding about now. Oh, wait, I AM Harry. Rats.)

Originally Posted By Harry Finn 02-6-2008

:: USS Hawking ::
:: Outside Main Science ::

Lincoln eyed the young robotics technician cautiously and stepped closer to the pair. He couldn't help but notice Gorsky's proximity to Dana. His already boiling blood threatened to burst from his veins. Concern for Nils intensified the whole situation already. "Him…who?" he repeated, his tone threatening.

Hackles rising, Gorsky looked up, way up, at the civilian, "Him, being my program… Huey. He has two companion programs, Dewey and Louie, but they're not running at the moment. And what kind of research are you involved in for Finn?"

"I imagine," Lincolns started bearing down on the younger man, "that if he wanted you to know he would've asked you to aid him…" The elder man snapped his attention to Dana who was shooting him an angry glance. The hybrid decided to ignore it. He continued, his tone still venomous. "What exactly are those AI programs designed to do? Because there happens to be a helluva wicked program doing a number on Hawking's sensor grid."

Eyes darkening, Gorsky bit down on the unfamiliar sensation of fury, "My research is all on record with the Chief of Science," he practically spat out, "but if it'll ease your paranoid delusions, this is a simple comm program, nanites to bioneural gel packs… if it works, diagnostic times will be cut down by up to seventy percent," he frowned, then because, well, "but, so far… so far Huey isn't quite making the grade…" he shook it off, "and if there's something scragging the sensor grids… that shouldn't be kept secret…"

"Well it is," Lincoln said leaning in for emphasis. His glowering presence hovered ominously over the baby-faced scientist. His suspicions were deepening. It certainly was convenient for the AI Gorsky had running about the ship to coincide with the mystery signal he and Nils were investigating. But he was also experienced (and Vulcan) enough not to jump to any conclusions. His own emotions were clearly muddled and the situation clearly affected his objectivity. Again he glanced at Dana.

"Lincoln," she finally jumped in. Her expression was serious, but her tone was gentle. "We can trust, Alex… We're all worried for Nils, but I'm sure he wants us to continue looking into…"

"How can you think we can trust, him," Lincoln said spitting out his words and punctuating them with a sharp jab in the younger man's direction. "You don't even know him!" The lines between his personal feelings and the intrigue on board began fading.

"Helloooo!" Alex cut in, "HE is standing right here! And you," he jabbed a finger right back at Purcell, "have been on the Hawking for all of five minutes… kinda ballsy to be pointing fingers at people who've been through hell and back… twice… without having a fu…."

"I don't give two grains of Vulcan sand about any kind of hell you may think you've been through, kid," Lincoln said, cutting him off. "Everybody has a story…yours doesn't make you special."

"Linc…" Dana tried to interject.

"No," he answered holding up his hand. "And I don't know if you are trustworthy. And despite what Dana says, she doesn't know either. So answer me this… Your AI comm unit doesn't happen to run on a multi-dimensional vector does it? Or use some kind of entropy encoding for interacting with that tricorder you're carrying around." He couldn't help but remember Nils' theory that the "spook" may use a modified remote device to tap into the signal. "Not that I expect you to be totally forthcoming…"

"Dude… I wish," antagonism thrust to one side over the nature of a discover which could rewrite the nature of how…

"How's it going?" a new yet dryly familiar voice cut into the mix.

A post by NPC's Lincoln Purcell, Alex Gorsky and Dana Grissom
(in concert with House…er..I mean Harry Finn)

Originally Posted By Torrik Nils 02-7-2008

All faces turned to the newcomer.

"Pear-shaped, Sir," said Jameson, who'd been standing by in case it was necessary to prevent an all-out geek war. Glancing at his CO, he thought maybe the man looked a bit… off. But then, only to be expected, with a case of sabotage all of fifteen minutes into his taking command of Security.

"Ah," was Finn's reply, noticing that a)Purcell looked pissed, b)Gorsky looked like a pole-axed targ and c)the young woman he'd seen in Gorsky's company the other night at Xander's looked distinctly uncomfortable. Conclusion, d)none of this related to the current problem. "You wanted to see me?" he addressed the angry one, first.

"What I want is to know what the hell is going on around here," Lincoln said, his angst temporarily soothed by the newly arrived Chief of Security. Harry Finn was really the only one with concrete answers, from what Nils had said. "Lt. Torrik gets a lead in some crook chase then ends up in sickbay. I don't like it…" And I don't like Gorsky, he wanted to add but didn't. Instead he tossed the young man a threatening glance.

"Is there any word on how Nils is doing," Dana asked unconsciously placing her hand on Alex forearm.

Finn's expression didn't so much soften but, looking at Lieutenant Grissom, he did drop the hard-line from his voice as he responded, "Not yet. I haven't had the chance to check in since he was beamed to sickbay but remember, he has the best doctor available," and she has a lot invested in her patient. To Purcell, "There's a lot going on, around here" he began, "but if you want specifics, you're going to have to wait," he shot a quick glance towards Gorsky, who was looking down into the young lady's eyes, huh, "and as to Torrik's lead… I haven't been apprised of any progress so, if you'd care to enlighten me while I inspect the lab?" he indicated the door, nodding a dismissal to Govan and Ellison, who took their leave with grateful alacrity.

Lincoln took the lead and shook his head as the group moved into the Lab. "There's not much I can do in the arena of enlightenment. We deciphered the signal Stryfe picked up in his alien spaceship down in the shuttle bay, but only to a certain extent. We can't trace it or really even determine the full extent of its function at this point," he gestured to the monitor that he and Nils had left running. "It's coded in realspace on some probability or entropy enryption that keeps the bulk of its operational energy in other branes of reality. Until we can decode it…we're flying blind. And I'm not sure I can express to you the odds of us happening upon the decryption… At least not in a way that would make real sense. Suffice to say it is very unlikely… Not without some kind of miracle."

Harry let the technobabble wash over him as he scanned the room, and the participants. Amazing how his request that Torrik 'be discreet' had transformed to 'tell the entire department'. At present, both Grissom and Gorsky were clearly fascinated by the talk of entropy encription… enough so that Finn suspected there might have been a trace of drool on Gorsky's chin. Enough so that, unless Alex was the galaxy's best actor, he hadn't had anything to do with sending the encoded messages. Unless he didn't know he'd done it…

But no: what Harry had read of the ECD's test results indicated that, as time progressed, the grafted personalities had, in essence, come out of the closet - they'd begun to interact with the host personality. What SI had ended up with was a series of test subjects suffering a new form of multiple personality disorder… one where both personalities could be emergent at the same time. Unfortunately, the report had neglected to indicate the time frame of the onset of MPD.

It also hadn't indicated what had happened to the test subjects, at the experiments' conclusion.

As Lincoln drew a breath to further indicate the futility of their search, the security officer followed a whim and, hefting the Thalaron radiation grenade he'd retrieved from Tenanji, tossed it to Alex, "Gorsky, heads up!"

Alex reached out and caught the device without a thought. "What's this?" he asked, looking up at his former bunkmate, "some new Gorsky torture device?"

"Do you mind if we stick to one topic?" This time Lincoln didn't fully engage eye contact with Alex. A simple tilt of the head in the younger mans direction was all he felt he could tolerate. "Ensign Finn, I want to know why my friend is holed up in sickbay and you aren't?" The hybrid realized his words were too harsh before he finished. But it wasn't in his nature to back off. A disapproving gasp from Dana filled the gap in conversation. "The attack on Nils was related to this investigation wasn't it?"

We will know you are truly alive, when I have seen to it that death is all you desire.

"Yes," Harry said, his voice a bit harsh as he looked at Alex, who hefted the bomb as if it were nothing more harmful than a child's toy. Could he be that good an actor? Hells, even if he was, it wasn't like anything Harry revealed now would be a surprise, was it? "Yes, it was related… to the investigation…

"I'll tell you what I know," he said, after another moment of internal wrestling, "and once you know that, you'll know to expect that things are going to get a whole lot worse, before they get better." If… if they get better.

NPC Throwdown featuring Team Torrik (Lincoln Purcell and Dana Grissom) and the Fighting Finns (Harry Finn and Alex Gorsky)

Originally Posted By Harry Finn 02-7-2008

~ Twenty Minutes Later ~
:: USS Hawking ::
:: Corridor, Deck 8 ::

Dana walked briskly down the corridor wanting only to extricate herself from the awkward that had ensued. Chief Finn’s run down of Acker’s agent on board did little to calm her already frayed nerves. And on top of it all, she had no idea how Nils was doing. Her concern for him trumped everything else at the moment.

“Dana, wait!” Lincoln’s voice echoed from behind her. She didn’t slow down. His long gate and quickstep closed the distance between them rather efficiently.

“Lincoln, please,” she started trying to keep her pace. “I just want to get to sickbay and check on Nils.”

“I’m worried for him to, Dana, but please…” His voice trailed off pathetically. The weakness in his voice was in direct opposition to his strong demeanor. Finally they stopped and stepped to the side, allowing the light traffic to pass around them.

Dana crossed her arms and adjusted her hair in discomfort. She tried to pick a point on the wall to focus on. “Please hurry…”

“I just want to say I miss you,” Lincoln said reaching for her hand. “I was acting foolish before with Gorsky, but it’s only because I miss what we had on Sentinel.”

“What we had on Sentinel was based on… on grief and pain. You were there for me when I needed you to be and the comfort that we… I can’t do this right now,” she said putting her back to him. “You already know all of this.”

“I know…” he blurted. “I know,” he added again, more gently. “I just thought maybe… Maybe we could try again. My feelings for you are real and rare. I can’t let you go that easily. And when I see you talking to Gorsky… I mean, what is going on with you and him. He’s a child, Dana.”

The young woman spun around and locked eyes with Lincoln. Her expression was genuine surprise. “You of all people should not be giving me a lecture on age difference, Lincoln Purcell. You’re almost a century old and…”

“That’s not what I mean,” he said apologetically. He reached out for her hand one more time. With apprehension she finally took it. “And in my century of life, I’ve never met anyone… Anyone… Who I could love like I love you… Please… Let’s give it another try…”

Dana shook her head and dropped her gaze. “Lincoln… I’m not in love with Alex. We’re only just getting to know each other. But you have to know… I’m not in love with you, either.”

Her words were a dagger to the elder man’s heart. He wavered a bit on his feet and felt as if he might fall over. “And you never will be?” His voice drooped with sadness.

“I don’t know what the future holds,” she said honestly. “But I’m not going to hold yours hostage while I make up my mind. And…I do like Alex.” She found herself on the verge of gushing about the AI specialist, but held back. Despite her lack of commitment to Lincoln, she did care for him. Wounding him with words was the last thing she wanted to accomplish. But he deserved the truth. “I’m sorry, Lincoln…” She turned and walked slowly towards the lift.

“Dana,” he called, frozen in place. She looked back on him over her shoulder. “My heart is already held hostage…” He was stone faced. More words wanted to come, but wouldn’t.

Their grieving stare bore into each other as the turbolift doors closed between them.

A post by NPC's Lincoln Purcell and Dana Grissom
Originally Posted By Torrik Nils 02-7-2008

USS Hawking
Corridor, Deck 8

As soon as he’d delivered the by-now rote narrative of the Hawking’s current woe, Harry had excused himself. He still had to check up his team’s dispositions, on Torrik’s health and arrange a face-to-face with the captain.

Gorsky clearly had other ideas, trailing after the older man like a puppy.

“So you didn’t trust me enough to ask for my help…” Gorsky said, rushing to keep up with Finn’s purposeful stride.

Harry kept walking, “If you were paying attention, you’d know I don’t trust anyone,” not even himself… though he was starting to think he’d have had some… hint… if there were another person living inside him. Right, like this was a quantifiable experience. As far as he knew, Acker could be living in… how had Purcell put it?… another brane of reality. He almost laughed - change the spelling and that pretty much described what they were dealing with…

Damn it, Finn… focus!

“Well, now I know what all the big secrets are, maybe you’ll let me in on the search,” not willing to let the issue slide, Alex was at least grateful they’d reached the turbolift. “I can pick up the slack until Torrik is on his feet, and by then, who knows…” then he halted, Finn’s cold stare slapping him in the face with the fact that Torrik Nils might not be back on his feet. Ever. “I can help, you know I can. You wanted me involved, before…”

“Before,” Harry agreed. “Before I started to realize how dangerous this operative is… before I figured you could be him… or one of his targets…”

“So, what, you’re gonna sideline me? Because, tactically, that’s just bullsh…”

“No, I’m not. You want in? Fine, you’re in,” because he couldn’t afford to waste the brain power. Nevertheless, “You’re in… but every scrap if information you come up with goes through Torrik or Purcell or one of the other transfers… and you’re to use every precaution because I guarantee that if you’re not… not his agent… then you’re definitely on his list.”

Alex swallowed, suddenly feeling a bit lightheaded but, “Okay,” was all he said.

“Okay.” Harry agreed. As the ‘lift arrived and the two boarded, he turned to the scientist, “So, what’s going on with you and Grissom?”

Featuring NPC Alex Gorsky

Originally Posted By Harry Finn 02-7-2008

.: USS Hawking | Captain's Quarters :.

Captain's Personal Log

I think there's supposed to be a line between my job and my personal life. Someone told me that.. or I read it in a textbook. But lately, especially since I've been on the Hawking, I've been dancing on that line. Sometimes; actually most of the time I feel like I'm kicking rocks on it. I don't know what they would say if it got out. The brass I mean. After I talked to T'Shaini the other day, I was thinking about it. I don't think anyone ever said anything to Carl, even though he favored Emily Starr all the time. He even made her chief of security. I do know one thing though. I can't just turn it off. I think about Jenny all the time. I don't know if she feels the same way.. but I know she likes me. And that's a start right?

"Computer pause log entry." Nathan rose from the bean bag sofa, frowning thoughtfully as he gazed out over his room. It was quite clean now, owing to the fact that he and Three had spent several hours making the cabin presentable. Where once there's been padds scattered on the coffee table and the floor surrounding his bean bag sofa, those padds were now organized in a wire rack on the desk. Mounds of clothes had been either laundered or put in the hamper, which had also been relocated to a less central place. Yes, the living area actually resembled a living area now, rather than the aftermath of some hurricane. Of course, had he not been expecting company the room would have happily remained the cluttered mess that it'd been since the day he first threw his rock climbing gear into the corner by the door. (It was hung in the closet now. ) He glanced down at his watch for the umpteenth time in the past half hour. It was nearing shift change. Soon Beta shift would come on and he'd have to go up to the bridge to get the shift report, and collect Three from school. That thought brought a grin to his face. He had begun the cleaning project while the little doppleganger had been home for lunch. At that time Three had expressed his doubts as to whether the project could be finished, and his confusion as to why it was happening in the first place.

"How will we find things if you hide them in the closet?" He'd asked matter of factly. "Would it not be much more efficient to simply leave them where they are… So we can not have to look for them?"

He'd gone on at length to describe how Miss Baya, his usual sitter was always looking for things that she'd hidden away. Even when Nathan explained to him that the closet was an efficient storage system, the boy had kept his doubts, calling it "inefficient" In the end though, they compromised. Three's room was left according to his wishes. Which meant that the carpet remained concealed for the most part, and his toys were left grazing on a landscape of clothes, papers and various other projects.

Nathan deposited himself back down onto the bag sofa after a few minutes pacing and rested his head back against the stuffed vinyl, deciding to catch a short nap before the changeover. He'd closed his eyes only for a few seconds when the unmistakable chirp of his com badge sounded, muffled against the fabric of his jacket, which was laying in a heap along with his backpack on the floor. He scrambled over to it and plucked it off the jacket, pressing the delta.

=/\= Hey. =/\= He said casually. =/\= Benjamin =/\=

=/\=Captain Benjamin, Lieutenant Tenanji. Sir, there has been an incident of suspected sabotage in the quarters of the Chief Engineer, with a reported injury. Ensign Finn requested that I inform you, immediately. =/\=

Nathan's attention rested quite exclusively with his Nigerian security officer. =/\= Who's Hurt? How bad? =/\= he reeled off, already pulling the tunic on.

=/\=Sir, I do not have that information. I am en route to the scene, to secure and investigate. Mr. Finn has also dispatched a team to Main Science and, in addition has assigned Petty Officer Gran and Crewman Anderson to Sickbay.=/\=

=/\= Ok… I'm going to sickbay. Tell Cay. =/\= Nathan ordered quickly. =/\= And keep me informed. =/\=

Without another word, he closed the channel and walked out of his cabin. As soon as the door's whisked shut behind him, Nathan began at a brisk pace for the turbo lift. Minutes later he found himself standing in front of the lift, tapping his foot impatiently. A minute went by. Then two. "Come one!" he hissed, checking his chrono again. It was 1635. Nathan was about to unleash a string of profanity, but a familiar drawl behind him cut that off.

"Ay Sar." the voiced called out. "You goin down t'sickbay?"

The teen captain turned on his heel to see his Chief of the Boat, Master Chief Petty Officer William Jackson striding toward him. The tall white haired human seemed to have been no worse the wear for his time on Halcyon. Actually, if anything he seemed to have a little bounce in his step since then. Nathan nodded as Jackson's long strides brought him closer. "Yeah. You?"

"Aye. That doc says she wants'ta run a few tests or somethin." Jackson stopped a few feet from his considerably shorter captain and looked down his nose at him. "Course now that someone broke inta Lieutenant Torrik's quarters and sabotaged somethin… I figured I'd meet up with ya there an' see what's goin on."

"Right. Well, if the lift ever comes that is." Nathan complained, casting an irritated glance at the doors. "Been waiting here for a few minutes."

Jackson looked unperturbed at this, merely leaning against the bulkhead to wait. "Reckon it's shift change soon. Maybe someone caught it before it came down here, and it's back and forth down around th' lower decks."

"Maybe." Nathan agreed absently. His mind however, was swimming with scenarios, none of which were pleasant. Of course, chief among the questions he'd have liked answered was the identity of the injured party. Tenaji hadn't had the information when he talked to him, only that someone was hurt, and sabotage was likely. Of course the choices were pretty slim right? Torrik, Javier, or T'Shaini most likely. They all lived there. However, Nathan's mind suddenly jerked back to a rather ominous meeting that he and the rest of the senior staff at the time had with Harry Finn. Finn had gone on at length about some malicious bit of holo messaging, and an operative from his days in starfleet intelligence that might be int he quadrant wanting to cause trouble. But then, the only person that Finn had any previous relationship with amongst the crew would be Jenny. The thought left his head as though he'd thrown it out on it's ear. Couldn't be Jenny, he asserted to himself. She's like family to him. That, and barring some bit of espionage on her part, she didn't have access codes to Torrik's quarters. Her rank didn't rate it. She'd have to get clearance. Yeah.. couldn't….

"…Sar?" He barely heard Jackson saying, breaking up his court defense of the girl. He glanced over at the towering senior NCO, who indicated the lift with a nod. It was about to open.

"Oh." Nathan muttered. "Good."

The doors opened as he prepared to step inside, revealing precisely the person he most wanted to talk to. Harry Finn looked up as the doors opened and the two of them locked eyes briefly. "So." Nathan began evenly, stepping onto the lift with Finn and Gorsky, followed by Jackson. "What's going on?"

Originally Posted By Nathan Benjamin 02-8-2008

USS Hawking
Turbolift - En route to Deck 5

Be careful what you wish for. A face to face with the captain he’d needed but, damn, Finn had hoped there’d at least be a little prep time before he had to deliver, yet again, the fatal news.

As the lift ascended, Harry ran down the list of the day’s events, going chronologically, from his communication with Wolfe, through Munro’s conviction she could spot a graft with the appropriate records, the ensuing crisis of Torrik’s injury and the few clues (Jackson glommed onto the Thalaron grenade like it was the latest exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Illinois) and Purcell’s scientific non-revelations.

Alex looked as if he wanted to add something, there, but settled back at Finn's sharp glance. Last thing he wanted right now was another scientific dialogue. His head ached enough, already.

As stories went, this one made the Brother’s Grimm look downright optimistic. What the captain thought of the mess was… well, hell, not like Harry hadn’t warned him, months ago. And if he’d bothered to read the PADD Finn had dropped off when he’d brought Jenny up for the, apparently, unnecessary introductions…

Not the time, he warned himself, filing the issue of teenagers and their hormones for another day.

“And that’s what I’m a’ getting a test fer?” Jackson strode onto deck five, still playing with the grenade, “to see if’n there’s a hitchhiker in my noggin?”

“‘Fraid so but, if it’s any comfort, we’ll all be going through it, too,” Harry assured the Master Chief as the small party rounded the bend towards sickbay, where two of his team were still standing watch, “I’m guessing Dr. Stryfe will do the honors, unless Torrik’s in recovery,” they came even with the sentries and Finn nodded to Jenny, just another officer (right) and then “Gran,” he addressed the senior of the two officers, “Report.”

Originally Posted By Harry Finn 02-8-2008

Stephanie stared opened-mouthed at Tatiana, “You slut, who was it?”

“It was Stryfe,” she answered, in a hushed voice before shifting her eyes to look around the dark room.

“The Chief Helmsman, right? You dirty slut!” she said, still shell-shocked before pulling her friend’s chin back around to look at her.

“No the doctor,” she responded dryly, “And thanks, I love you too,” she finished and slapped her friend’s hand away.

“Oh, you know I don’t really mean it, you hussy.”

“Okay, you only get a few more times to call me by all the synonyms you know for a loose woman before I start to get upset.”

“As you wish, you harlot. I just need four more, you painted woman, well three now. One minute you’re depressed in the bar laying out all your problems, and the next you were laying out a totally different thing!” Stephanie’s exclamation filled the quiet room, and Tatiana gave a short laugh.

“So there is laughter left under that black cloud. I would ask how it was, since it has obviously worked wonders but I don’t want to be a gossip.”

“You’re a liar because you so want to be a gossip, but this floozy keeps things to herself,” Tatiana said and caught sight of her bunched up uniform laying by the door. At the wistful expression flittered across her face, Stephanie’s gaze followed hers and she looked back at Tatiana, “Why don’t you just go back to Sickbay? It’s been three hours and as much as you think you can’t do anymore good there, I believe the opposite.

“It’s not that simple.”

“It is, you go there and you apologize and you take your punishment like an adult and move on. I know that was a lot of ‘ands’ smartass,” she cut off at the look she was shot at her sentence, “but I want you to do all those things. You worked hard for that pip, and you shouldn’t throw it away because of one setback. We can talk everyday about it if you want until the feelings go away, but you need to go back to work. You understand me, broad?”

Tatiana’s eyebrow rose. “Niiccee,” she drawled, “you managed to insult me and sound like my mother all in one sentence.”

“I’ll do what I have to, to get you back to the Tatiana I dream about at night,” she joked and reached out grab her hand. Tatiana rolled her eyes and pulled her hand away, “I’ll go if you stop with the hitting on me. I’m all tapped out today, so I can’t fit you in my schedule.”

“I didn’t even need to call you anything you just did it for me. Look, I know you aren’t alright yet, but like I said…”

“Yeah, I know,” she said quietly and stood, “let me get dressed and I’ll go.”

“Good, I’ll walk you there.”

“Are you really and truly going for acting like my mother?”

“Uh, no. That would make my dreams a tad bit disgusting if I was. Nope, I’m going to make sure you actually go like you said you would. Plus, I gotta be there for support afterwards.”


::Outside of Sickbay::

The two women stood outside Sickbay, staring at the entrance. “You’ve go to stop standing here like this.” Stephanie commented.

“I know, just give me a few,” Tatiana said, concentrating on the door, hoping that somehow it would deny her entry.

“You know I still have two more insults to throw at you. And I don’t feel like waiting to do it. Go,” she instructed and took her right hand to push her friend toward the doors that opened once she was within range of the motion sensors.

Tatiana straightened once she was inside and turned to see Stephanie waving her fingers as the entrance was sealed. She took a deep breath and her eyes widened once she took in the scene, “Holy shit.”

A T. Thorne Production featuring my favorite NPC

Originally Posted By Tatiana Thorne 02-8-2008

T'Shaini looked across the array of candies and though she doubted Nils would be interested, it was a kind gesture, and someone in sick bay would eat whatever was brought if he did not. "Chocolate is always a good choice I think…or is that my opinion because I am fond of it?"

He locked us inside the rooms..was it supposed to be the coup de grace? Eliminate T'Shaini and anyone who just happened to be with her. Or did he know I was there? "What..?" Javier asked as he was drawn from the depths of his thoughts. He fixed his eyes on T'Shaini, pushing aside the questions and information that pre-occupied his mind.

"Chocolate…" She had not noticed his withdrawal in her perusal of possible offerings for Nils, but his lack of response had made it clear. "is not what is concerning you. What is it? If you do not mind me inquiring."

"Oh.." he paused for a second, then said, "just thinking about Lieutenant Torrik." The switch sent his thoughts in another direction. He was concerned about his roommate but he had accepted that Nils' fate was out of his hands. It was up to sickbay to see that Nils was taken care of, just like it was up to the medics to treat a wounded marine. "Maybe you should choose the gift? Since chocolate is your area of expertise.." Javier said, thinking of Aquatica.

"Expertise?" Perhaps she knew more about chocolate than was advisable for someone who counseled others on addictions. "Hmm." She did not have to have it, it was merely a lovely addition to her life. She nodded to herself and continued her search. "I think perhaps something frivolous…is that a chocolate Klingon forehead? That you can wear?" Her sense of the absurd enlivened by the concept of something so alien to the Bajorans dour nature made her retrieve the confection from the shelf. "What do you think?"

"Were you thinking of Three or Nils? Because Three would love it, but maybe we should get Nils something more..serious," Javier commented as he glanced at the selection. "Maybe some of those chocolates that are filled with various liquers," the engineer pointed to a box of chocolates where each individual candy was shaped like the insignia of the particular group it represented, "that way the package would fool him into thinking it was something a grown-up Bajoran would eat. Then when he finally realizes it isn't, he won't care because he'll be too drunk to notice."

Nodding in acknowledgment of the logic of his thought process, yet unwilling to relinquish her prize, T'Shaini acquired both the Klingon and the cordials. On the way towards the exit she looked down, thoughtfully pulled back a corner of the wrapping and took a giant bite of forehead. I am not going to give it to Nils, and it would be a shame to waste it. Mouth still full she looked over and mumbled around the chocolate. "Mmmm, sssgood." Then held it out. "Some?"

"Okay," Javier replied, moving her hand aside as he went in for the smudge of chocolate on her lips. Taking T'Shaini's lower lip in his mouth, Javier sucked on it gently, lingering even after he had vanquished the residual chocolate from her mouth. "Mmmm good," he agreed as he kissed her.

*blinkblink* Between the chocolate and the distraction of the kiss T'Shaini ricocheted off of the doorway on the way back to the corridor. Muffling an 'ow' she began to proceed toward sickbay as if nothing had happened. "Will there be any difficulty in seeing him do you think?"

He took the chocolate cordials from her and slipped his free hand into hers, steadying and pulling T'Shaini closer in one movement. "I guess that depends on his condition. Remember when that idiot, Ensign Telar, shot me? Dr. Yates had me quarantined for a few days..although her motives were a bit suspect.." Javier shrugged, "Perhaps he will be allowed visitors."

T'Shaini realized she had unquestioning faith in Jillian's abilities, it had not even occurred to her that he would not be stable by the time they arrived. "I do hope so, more for the fact that that would mean he is well on his way to recovery than anything else."

Javier nodded in agreement and was about to speak when his commlink chirped. =^= Ensign Obatu to the Chief.=^=

=^=Costala here, go ahead Ajani.=^=

=^=Chief you have a Priority One message waiting for you. The alert popped up while I was working..in the Office. It's from Earth, Portugal, Lisbon..=^=

Home? Priority One? What could be so important? Lia… Javier picked up the pace at which he and T'Shaini were walking. He would see her to sickbay then go find out what the message is about. =^=I'll be there in five. Costala out=^= he replied hurriedly. "You'll have to visit Nils without me," he said to T'Shaini, "I've never received a high priority message from home..something's wrong."

"Do you wish me to accompany you?"

"No, it could be nothing," Javier said without much conviction as they stepped into a turbolift. He told the lift the appropriate deck then waited a few seconds for the doors to close. Once they were underway he pulled T'Shaini into a loose embrace, knowing he only had a few minutes to speak to her privately. "I'm glad you're okay..if you ever need me again you can comm me like you did today." He reached behind him and pulled the k-bar's sheath loose from where he had taped it to the small of his back.

Javier showed the sheath and the blade to T'Shaini. "This is my survival knife from the Marine Corps. I want you to carry it. There are alot of things you can do with a knife other than kill someone." He lifted up the back of her uniform jacket and undershirt then taped the sheath to her smooth skin, running his hand over the tape so that it adhered to her skin perfectly. Then he took her hand and guided it to the blade's hilt so she would know where it was, then repeated the movement while saying, "It's taped with the hilt facing downward for a quick draw but the blade is held in place magnetically, it will never come out unless you draw it." As the lift's speed began to decline Javier lowered T'Shaini's uniform and smoothed it out, the blade would only be noticable if someone pressed against her back. "Be safe," he said then lowered his lips to hers before the lift came to a full stop outside of Sickbay.

It seems as if someone is always trying to arm me. Knowing the concern behind the gesture, T'Shaini accepted the weapon, even though she feared she would have no clear idea how to use it. The brush of his lips proving once again that regardless of her current state at least chocolate and kisses could still be distracting T'Shaini swayed slightly as the lift came to a halt. "I hope your message is not as dire as it appears at first glance." She squeezed his hand lightly before exiting. "You will contact me if you desire assistance?"

"Without a doubt," Javier replied handing the cordials to her then watching as T'Shaini nodded and exited the lift. "Deck 11" the Chief Engineer said as the lift doors closed.

JP by Lady Chocolat and Sir Smooches

Originally Posted By Javier Costala 02-8-2008

USS Hawking
Deck 14

Ensign Darby ‘Darbs’ Saunders raced into Main Security, apparently the last to arrive.

“Where have you been?” Rodriguez, from the room’s wall unit, called out, “the call went out over thirty minutes ago.

“I was, like, asleep,” Saunders told the Warrant Officer, threading through the mass of uniforms. “And my hair gets these wicked tangles and…” she broke off at Karrie’s look, “So, like, what’s the buzz?”

“Internal security breach, Chief Engineer’s quarters. There’s been an injury, we need to narrow down the suspects,” Rodriguez handed a PADD to Saunders, “You get to go through Operations, see who was off duty at times coinciding with the residents of the quarters being ON duty. Go, find a corner, a desk, a piece of floor and let me know when you’ve got results.”

“Well, why not just have ship’s computer…”

“Because the sensors are proving undependable and may also have been tampered with, which you would have known if you’d made it on time for the briefing.”

Darby narrowed her eyes slightly, what was with all these people, thinking they could treat her like… like… some ditzy piece of fluff? “Yes, Sir,” she said, before taking the PADD and retiring to the firing range, where she found Aengus, already pouring over his own PADD and quietly swearing to himself as he went over shift rotas for the past week.

Hmmph, she thought, hunkering down to work, there would totally come a day when folks showed Darbs Saunders a bit more respect.

Post by NPC Darby 'Darbs' Saunders

Originally Posted By Harry Finn 02-8-2008

If there was one thing she missed, it was the way he kissed her, how his mouth pressed against hers while his tongue lightly touched her lips. She would wrap her arms around his neck and hold him close to her. More often than not, his kisses were hungry and she would respond as her own passion was ignited, but there were also times when they would savor the closeness of one another and linger for hours in an embrace. Those moments were the ones that no one could take from her. Not the school, the Institute or the Academy. she thought as she lay in her bed. Heather looked up at the ceiling, wondering what Ian was doing at that moment. They wouldn't let him return to school to teach..maybe he finally was able to take that job he wanted in Paris with the Civilian Council. It had been his dream to work as an advisor to the Federation Council, but then life had complicated things and a shrewish wife, her family and the administration at MacGuire Prep had killed his aspirations. If there was one thing Heather didn't regret it was being part of the affair that caused Ian to seperate from his spouse. Now, maybe he can do what he always wanted to..

She frowned and turned on her side. Wake up Heather, you ruined the man's life. Ian probably can't get decent work anywhere now. Federation Council my arse, everything went to blazes after the scandal! She tossed the covers back angrily and stomped into the small bathroom she shared with Tehamia, her roommate and the other new engineer. After scalding herself in the shower, to force the mix of pleasant, unpleasant memories and guilt away, Heather dressed and prepared for her shift. "God I hope that warp core is stable today."

"God I hope that computer is stable today," a voice remarked from the room adjoining hers. Tehamia was awake.

"Ha-ha," Heather replied, foregoing the temptation to lay into the engineer about her shoddy knowledge of warp core mechanics. Put a shiny little pip on anyone's collar and they think they're a genius in their field. She studied her appearance in the mirror. Professional yet not frumpy..I can deal with it. She left the room as Tehamia entered.

"Do you want to wait a minute and have breakfast with me?" the Kriosian asked Oakley. The only reply she received was a cluck of annoyance and the sound of the doors parting then closing as the petty officer exited the quarters.

In the messhall there were rumors flying around as usual. She ignored the talk and chose a table where she could sit alone and eat. However as she scraped the charcoal off of an overdone piece of toast, Heather soaked up the talk coming from the tables around her. The engineer noticed the looks that people shot in her direction as she spread some strawberry jam on the toast and took a bite. The smell of the fruit preserve and the taste of the crisp bread brought back memories of her grandmother's house. Tea and conversation. Laughter and the taste of warm scones with homemade jam. She shook off the good feelings, not allowing herself to slip back into the past. That's a time that is gone forever, just let it go Heather. She crunched through the toast in silence, gulped down her tea and left for Engineering.

Heather hurried to Main Engineering and arrived to find Tehamia and the others from her shift standing in the outside corridor. "What's the problem here?" she asked the engineers.

"Security pulled us all out, except for Ensign Obatu, who won't leave..says someone needs to be in engineering at all times," Tehamia answered then shrugged.

"Well he's bloody well right," Heather shot back as she pushed past the group and made as if to enter Main Engineering. She found her way blocked by a muscled individual who could actually form sentences that were coherent. "Sorry Ma'am, you can't enter until the officers inside have finished their security sweeps," the security officer said politely.

"Listen, I have to keep the computer and warp core running smoothly on this ship," Heather explained as she reached down and plucked a wrench from her tool belt. "If something goes wrong with either one while you're doing your 'sweeps' the ship will drop out of warp so quickly it will make your tiny pea-brain spin." The engineer began to smack the wrench against her open palm in a nonchalant manner. The hyperspanner was not very heavy and she realized how ludicrous she must appear but kept up the tough facade.

The officer smiled at her bullshit move. "We'll try to hurry then, Petty Officer," he said in a polite tone. Before the officer could say another word, the doors to Main Engineering opened and a woman in mustard gold walked out. "It's all clear," the woman said.

"See, right in time," the man told Heather, "now why don't you.." He was left talking to himself as Heather walked past the man into Main Engineering. She found Ajani in the Chief's Office. As he realized she was in the room the ensign quickly closed a program he had been running on the console and greeted Heather with suspicious eyes. "Can I help you with something Petty Officer?"

"No sir, I just wanted to.."

"Then you should return to your station and begin your shift," Ajani said abruptly.

"Yes sir..I..yes," Heather stuttered, finding the officer's reply very uncharacteristic. He always seemed like a decent guy. What crawled up his arse? Oakley wondered as she left the office. "G'day Chief," she stated as Javier entered the room.

Post featuring:
PO Heather Oakley

Originally Posted By Javier Costala 02-8-2008

USS Hawking

“Torrik survived", the words hissed through Shaun, snakes of discontent. 'I told you, striking from a distance is too unreliable."

Casually looking about the corridor as they strode purposefully towards their goal, “Direct action would be too risky."

"How so?" one hand tugged at the right sleeve, "We have the means to remain unseen… have remained unseen many times. It is not fear of discovery that holds our hand, it is your fear of shedding blood."

"Not everyone is as keen to wade through the gore as you…" Acker’s sensibilities responded, without shame, "At least, not just anyone’s gore."

They arrived at their destination and there was a subtle tug at the jacket. No one knew, no one suspected that Edded Towak’s much prized blade was tucked safely beneath the tunic, any more than they suspected that Shaun Ryan Acker was tucked away in their crew mate’s mind.

It was the bearer of many secrets who entered the room, expression as serious as it ought to be, under such dire circumstances as Hawking now faced.

“Hey, have you heard?” they turned towards the vague greeting, “we all have to report to sickbay, get some kind of scan…”

”Easy…” Shaun warned. “No, no I hadn’t. But I’m sure there is a good reason… when are we to report?”

“Dunno, Master Chief Jackson got the call, already. I guess we just wait our turn.”

“There will be time, there will be time…" the inner assurance washed through the shared body as they made their way towards their next task.

Duty, after all, came first.

Post featuring NPC Shaun Ryan Acker and his less-than-silent partner

Originally Posted By Harry Finn 02-10-2008

The Wasteland

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