Memory And Desire

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

From 'The Wasteland' by T.S. Eliot

Unnamed Medical Facility
Location - Unknown
Earthdate - August 4, 2381

Through the unseen days and agony-filled nights, while he clawed his way back to humanity, Shaun Ryan Acker contemplated the nature of hate. It was for him, a new sensation, born of a relentless, dogged pursuit, a humiliating capture and a costly salvation; its fires fed by endless torment and fever and oh-so-gently-delivered ill news…


“I am sorry,” the soft, honeyed voice slid through the pain, “we were unable to contact your grandfather,” the pause which followed was telling and, even through the suffering and blindness caused by the thermolyte burns, Acker felt the chill of what was to follow.

“He was killed, Shaun,” the voice continued, mellowed with genuine regret… he could feel that somehow, even beyond his own surging grief.

“How?” speech was still difficult… nerves and flesh still scored by flame.

Another pause before, “Harry Finn and his team… they were tracking you and… please understand our information is as yet incomplete… but, from what we’ve retrieved thus far, there was an altercation in his home on Mars, during which Finn fired on Mr. Ryan, triggering cardiac arrest…”


So now, weeks… months after his retrieval, Shaun looked into the mirror with his new eyes and saw the melted remains of his old face and beyond that, in an unseen middle distance, the weathered features of his murdered grandfather… Granther… and understood, fully, the essence of hatred.

“Hate tastes like ashes,” he told the ghost of Alden Pierce Ryan before it disappeared, forever.

Post featuring NPC Shaun Ryan Acker
(AKA Charles Champe Stearns)

Originally Posted on 20 January, 2008 by Harry Finn

The moment she walked into her office T'Shaini let out a sigh of contentment. No matter how much enjoyment was to be found away, she was a creature of habit, and getting up early to go through her practice, heading down to get oatmeal and coffee and stepping into her office just before 9am felt right. After straightening things that did not need to be straightened, T'Shaini settled down in front of the unit in her office and began to scroll through the information on Shaun Ryan Acker. Immersing herself in the mind that they surmised was behind the activity on the Hawking hopefully would give her some insight in writing the profile.

Primary formative influence, his grandfather, Alden Pierce Ryan. University dean, politician, all around pillar of the community. At least on the surface. Shaun's psyche was formed under his influence, so there was something else there. Shaun Ryan Acker: extremely intelligent, well educated, bred to know that he was superior. That superiority gave him tacit permission to do whatever he deemed necessary to forward himself in life.

It read as if his grandfather was in the business of controlling people, and as his protege, Shaun was expected to not only continue the family business but further it. And to that end Alden Pierce Ryan took his grandson's god given Machiavellian personality and heightened it. Nature AND Nurture.

Everything he did was done at a distance. People were puppets and he the puppet master.

Why the fascination with T.S. Eliot?

Pushing aside the Acker file for the moment, T'Shaini began to catalog the events that had occurred on the Hawking. Rather quickly they fell into two distinct categories. Interesting. T'Shaini tapped her finger lightly on the desk as she thought.

General vexation versus Personal Vengance…


“Men ought either to be indulged or utterly destroyed, for if you merely offend them they take vengeance, but if you injure them greatly they are unable to retaliate, so that the injury done to a man ought to be such that vengeance cannot be feared.”

Machiavelli said that.

"Computer, split screen…left: sociopathic tendencies attributed to Shaun Ryan Acker, right: sabotage events on the Hawking."


"Subdivide events on Hawking as to whether direct or indirect contact was made."

*tap tap tap*

"Remove direct."

*tap tap tap*

"Remove indirect and restore direct."

Nodding to herself T'Shaini downloaded the information she had gathered onto a PADD and strode toward the door, she had to see a man about a profile.

Originally Posted on 21 January, 2008 by T'Shaini

USS Hawking
Unassigned Crew Quarters - Deck 9

It had been some time since he’d been free to check the surveillance records… he was only able to gauge how many weeks had passed by reading the time/date log onscreen. Fortunately, he was able to process quickly, passing over Finn’s more mundane activities while filing away any… interesting… tidbits for later use.

There had been three pops on this round. Three very interesting pops and two of them were so in-character for Finn it was almost like watching a holovid rerun.

The idiot was building himself a team.

Though there had been little doubt that the do-gooder Vulcan would snake her way into the mix… that had, after all, been the point of sending her the message. If she hadn’t bitten at the lure, it would have completely ruined his faith in sentient nature. People were, as the estimable Alden Pierce Ryan had often said, people. They were predictable and because they were predictable, they could be manipulated.

Thoughts of the murdered Ryan brought on a thick red haze and it took some moments to stem that tide. It was too dangerous… strong emotion left the door open to the other occupant and it was too soon to give way…

He turned his attentions back to the relevant images of Harry Finn’s dealings.

Now, the Barjoan… that had been a surprise. It would never have occurred to Shaun to peg the standoffish geek (was he slipping?) but, here, without any intervention, the scientist had gotten suckered in by Finn’s Boy Scout wiles. Apparently the little hitch Acker had inserted into Sara Laslow’s game program had impressed Torrik. Science nerd or not, Nilsy boy had balls… you had give him that.

That and a whole lot more.

And then, of course, there was the woman, keeping watch over Finn’s sickbed. Even after the warning he’d sent, she’d come back to the security grunt’s side. It was nauseating, how these females kept falling all over the murdering bastard. Still, he soothed himself, there had to be a woman, or the picture would be incomplete. A civilian this time: it appeared Finn had learned one lesson, at least. How did that old saying go… ‘don’t crap where you…’

A sudden stiletto of light impaled his thoughts… the other was waking… wanted the body back. “Not yet,” he hissed, still unused to the timber of this voice. He forced the frenetic consciousness back, down, away. It was a victory… his first… in the ongoing battle for control of the vessel which contained the sum of himself.

He considered the wildly-struggling entity with which he currently shared lodgings… it wouldn’t stop fighting… ever… and neither would he. Thinking these thoughts, Acker made a decision.

“It’s his fault,” he reached out to the desperately threshing sentience as he warmed his thoughts to a smooth caress. There was, he was pleased to note, a lessening of the mental rebellion. “If you need to hate someone, hate him.”

So saying, he called up an image: the long-cherished icon of his hate… cool, reserved, utterly without remorse… “Just think,” he said, watching the other watch the picture, “if Harry Finn hadn’t come aboard… none of this would ever have happened. He moved in, shoved himself into everyone’s faces, acting like he was in charge… and now he is in charge… taking over… taking control… taking.

“Remember that, if you remember nothing else… it is Harry Finn who has done this to you… to us… Harry Finn’s crime which started it all…”

Slowly, slowly the struggling ceased, giving way to a kind of understanding and Shaun smiled his old smile on this new face. People were people…

JP between NPC’s Shaun Ryan Acker and…

Originally Posted on 22 January, 2008 by Harry Finn

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

“Have you decided how to organize yet,” Dana said as she continued her work. “I assume with a much larger team than we had on Sentinel, you won’t be using the same system.”

“Not sure,” Nils answered absently. He scanned the internal sensor logs one more time. This made the fourth time in as many weeks. Always he found nothing.

“Maybe you could assign an intelligent strain of virus to head up microbiology,” she teased, testing his attention level.

The Bajoran looked up with a strange look on his face. “I’m unaware of any intelligent strains of virus… Oh you’re joking,” he added as he noticed her smirk.

“I didn’t think you were really listening.” Her smile was innocent and refreshing.

“A curse of low latent inhibition,” he said turning his eyes back to his screen. “I don’t miss much… Accept… This…” His focus became very narrow.

“Something I can help with,” Dana said, stepping to his side.

Nils lifted his gaze from the screen and locked his eyes with Dana. Finn had asked that he be discreet. Playing cloak and dagger with one of the crew right over his shoulder was quite a bit less than discreet. He considered for a moment switching off the console, but according to Finn’s information Dana’s recent arrival to the ship cleared her of any suspicion in his unlikely tale of intrigue. “Maybe,” he said suspiciously.

“Well, just let me… Sensor logs? Are you peeping on Jillian?” Her tone was scolding, but playful.

Nils chuckled a little. “No… NO,” he added more vehemently. “I’m looking for discrepancies. Without going into much detail, I’m looking for anything out of the ordinary in the sensor logs. So far I’m coming up blank though…”

“Well tell me exactly what you’re looking for,” she said pulling up a chair.

“If I knew that I’d look for it and be done. I’m looking for…surveillance. Or tracking algorithms. Or anything really that could be used to keep tabs on crewmembers. That tack, however, is like looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack. Internal sensors are always tracking combadges and continuously scanning for intruders. So distinguishing between normal operations and something out of the ordinary is turning out to be impossible.”

“Did Torrik Nils just utter the word impossible,” she said through mock surprise. She punched him lightly in the arm.

“I just don’t have a basis of comparison,” he said feeling more chastised than he ought.

“Well get one,” she said. “Doesn’t the station have log records of the ships that dock and debrief here.”

“Yes,” Nils said considering her notion. “Yes,” he repeated suddenly excited. “Not only that but in order to more accurately gauge sensor usage I could request logs from all Intrepid class vessels in the fleet. That is genius…” Already his fingers danced across the console as he made the request.

“Hiya,” said a voice from the door as it slid open. Nils casually tapped his screen bringing up a random datastream to cover his inquiry.

“Gorsky,” he said casually, not turning around.

Dana smiled at the newcomer. “Hi,” she said sounding a little shell-shocked. Nils didn’t miss the tonal change and cautiously cast his glare in her direction. She looked doe eyed. He slowly swung his gaze in Ensign Gorsky’s direction. Surely she wasn’t fawning over him.

“You… are new,” the young man said with a goofy grin. “Alex Gorsky, nanotechnology.” His hand followed his words in Dana’s direction.

“Dana Grissom,” she said taking his hand in her own. “Planetary science,” she uttered, matching her inflection to the ensign’s.

“Torrik Nils, Chief of Science,” the irritated Bajoran interjected trying to break the mood the two seemed to create. “What do you want, Gorsky,” he said. His brow fell characteristically low and his tone was acid.

“Uh…yeah,” the young man said breaking contact with Dana. “Just wanted to let you know I’ve filed the pre-launch reports. Figured you’d be interested to know.” The annoyingly cheerful young man seemed unphased by Nils’ clear disdain.

“Fine,” answered the surly Bajoran turning back to his screen.

“Oookay then,” Gorsky said with a shrug and smile in Dana’s direction. “Very nice to meet you Miss Grissom,” he said reaching his hand out once more.

“Dana,” she answered coyly. “Call me Dana.” Again the two clasped hands.

Nils sighed in aggravation. “Is that all,” he muttered grumpily.

“Looking forward to spending some time with you… I mean working with you,” Gorsky chuckled.

“Yeah,” Dana answered. “I’ll be…”

“Anyway, I wanted to show you the results of our query,” Nils blurted out refusing to turn around. He urged Gorsky out the door by sheer inner will. The two said no more.

“What… was that,” Dana asked after the Ensign had withdrawn from the room. She wore a curious smile on her face.

“What was what,” Nils answered feigning ignorance.

“Your treatment of Ensign Gorsky was a little…rough, don’t you think?”

“No,” answered Nils matter of factly. He let his response rest there.

Dana chuckled. “Well I’m glad to know there are parts of you that haven’t changed. I thought you’d gone soft on us…”

“Us who,” Nils said snidely. “You and Lincoln, us?”

At that, Dana gave in to full belly laughter. “Is that what this is all about? Some misguided form of male bonding?” She continued laughing.

“No,” Nils said defensively. “It isn’t.”

“Look, obviously you’ve spoken to Linc… Don’t you want my side of the story?” She forced her way between he and the console so he’d be forced to listen. “It’s not very scientific method of you to ignore part of the data, right?”

“Lincoln is my friend,” Nils said reverently. It was a word he rarely used and even rarely applied to people around him. There was a sanctity to it that he didn’t feel like having to defend. “I don’t want him to get… To deal with unpleasantness…”

“Well what am I, Lieutenant,” Dana asked genuinely hurt. “I thought we were friends as well. You don’t want to know that I felt a little smothered by the man? He’s almost four times my age, you know? My feelings for him were confused with my grief after losing you and things went faster than I intended. You of all people ought to respect my need for space… I thought for sure that you wouldn’t be biased on the subject…”

Nils didn’t answer immediately. She had shamed him sufficiently and he knew she was right. “I apologize…” he said coolly. “I’ll try to be more understanding in the future.”

“Good,” she said harshly, yet still with a grace and good nature that only Dana Grissom could wield.

“But just steer clear of Gorsky until…” Her cold glare stopped him dead in his tracks. A signal from the LCARS drew both of their attention. Saved by the bell.

“Look at this…” Nils pondered out loud. “Hawking has a minimum of sixteen percent increase in sensor power usage across the board in comparison with these ships. She out paces all of these vessels by a considerable margin… Except for Voyager.”

“But that ship is so altered she’s no longer a fair comparison,” Dana said leaning in for closer examination.

“Agreed. Twenty-one percent higher than Bellerophon… Twenty-four percent higher than Intrepid…” Nils siphoned the data and processed it as he read it.

“So what does this mean,” Dana said innocently. “Is this what you were looking for?”

“Maybe,” answered Nils. “At face value it means nothing. Only that we use a fair amount of power running through our internals - far and above other ships of the same class. But sensor output is in line with normal parameters…”

“We need to do an energy study… Find out where the drain is occurring. Shouldn’t a diagnostic alert us to any inconsistencies?”

“It should,” Nils said aloud. Unless someone is cleverly covering their tracks. A growing sense of dread crept up on the Bajoran as he stared at the screen. Perhaps there really was credence to Finn’s tale. The two hadn’t spoken on the subject since Nils had been introduced to it in the holodeck. Right before it had gone haywire…

“What are you going to do,” Dana asked. Her countenance reflected Nils’ concern. She must have intuitively picked up on Nils’ non-verbals.

“I’m going to dig a little deeper. And if you’re willing, I’d like you to take a similar look at the holodecks. Be discreet, but another comparison with similar models on other ships probably would be a good idea.” Nils paused as he considered the ramifications. “Use my login when you conduct any business on the subject, if you wouldn’t mind.” No use taking chances.

Dana nodded vigorously. “Will do…”

As loath as Nils was to admit it, something was not quite right on board the USS Hawking.

Featuring NPC Dana Grissom:
Originally Posted on 22 January, 2008 by Torrik Nils

"Nice bathrobe Chief," the engineer said as she smiled at Javier in passing.

"Thanks.." he replied as Javier turned to stare after the unfamiliar engineer. Who is she? And why did she call me chief? Who started that nickname? Costala went through the various nicknames he had been given as the engineer turned and made his way towards the shuttlebay. The most recent one was 'Sparks' and that was due to a misunderstanding he had had with the ship's computer. And Harry Finn had called me Batman on Halcyon..what kind of person would want to be half bat and half man? He shook his head in bewilderment, plunging his hands deeper into the pockets of the bathrobe. Javier withdrew his chronometer from the left-side pocket and checked the time. He still had a few hours until Beta shift began and Nils had dropped some hints about the state of the shuttle before shore leave. I guess I could get all those tube socks off the floor..

A ball of white fluff pelted across the deck as Javier entered the shuttlebay. He barely had time to remove his hands from his pockets as Scottie leaped up into his arms and began licking his face. "Scottie, hey boy, did you miss me? I guess so, good dog," Javier said as the dog wiggled in his arms in a frenzied lick-fest. The engineer set the canine down and made his way over to the shuttle as Scottie ran back and forth, barking at Javier in excitement. He opened the door of the Vespucci and let out a long sigh. The interior space of the shuttle was tiny compared to the room he and T'Shaini had shared on the colony. He kicked the offending socks to the side of the shuttle and sat down in one of the chairs near the front of the craft. The space where he had slept was clear which was a good sign, at least the Lt. Torrik hadn't filled it in with boxes, a hint that he was no longer welcome on the Vespucci. Now I just have to get my sleeping bag from T'Shaini's quarters. Thinking about the sleeping bag brought a smile to his face as he remembered sharing it with T'Shaini on the camping trip.

Sleeping in it by myself is going to be lonesome. Javier thought, frowning at the small empty space beneath the forward console. "I wonder if Torrik will ever move out of this shuttle," he mused to Scottie. The small white dog barked once then began to tug at the long tassels of the robe. "Hey, not you too," Javier scolded half-heartedly, "this ship doesn't need another robe or towel thief." The dog looked at him then continued to tug at the robe playfully. "Okay, want me to leave you and the robe here while I go get my sleeping bag?" he asked as Javier stood to his feet. Scottie ran in a circle then bolted out of the shuttle. "Guess not," Costala said as he closed the shuttle door on his way out.

Instead of going straight to T'Shaini's quarters, Javier took a detour and went to find Ajani in Engineering. "Hey Chief, nice bathrobe!" Kal-El called out as he entered Main Engineering. Javier grinned at the engineer and gave him the thumbs-up, while thinking, Did he start the nickname? He spotted Ajani and was about to make his way over when Mustapha stepped in front of him.

"Sir, is this the new dress code that you are instituting for Engineering? It looks comfortable and I like the pockets but the material looks like it would not wear well.." Mustapha started.

"Personally I would prefer the magenta rank tabs, their color is pleasing to the eye and would distinguish us from Security officers," T'Bay commented.

"Will we have cake breaks every hour or so?" Ajani threw in as he sported a wide grin on his face.

"What the hell are you guys talking about?" Javier finally said.

Mustapha handed Javier a PADD and gestured for him to read it. The engineer glanced at the PADD, prepared to skim it, when his name jumped out at him. '…effective immediately Petty Officer Second Class Javier Costala is hereby promoted to ensign and is too assume the position of Chief of Engineering aboard the USS Hawking..' His eyes followed the paragraph to end where it was signed by none other than Admiral Nechayev.

"Has Command lost it," he uttered then re-read the PADD before the other engineers began to offer their congratulations. The message hinted to the fact that it had been his actions on Halcyon that had earned him the promotion. They have no idea what really happened there..someone..Harry, he realized, changed the reports. Javier smiled and shook hands with engineers even though his mind was busy thinking of just how Finn had managed to impress upon Command the importance of their actions.

"I..uh..I guess I should go change into my uniform now," Javier said to his engineers.

"In your new quarters?" Ajani asked slyly, making Javier think he was referring to the counsellor's quarters. "No, she has work to complete," he replied before Ajani said, "I mean your new quarters, the Chief of Engineering's quarters."


Javier smiled as he looked at the Chief Engineer's quarters, his new quarters, it had three rooms, two bedrooms joined by a lounge area that had a window. A freaking window! He could look out the port and watch as stars zipped by. It's perfect. he thought before tapping his commbadge.

=^=Petty Costala to Ops.=^=

=^=Ops here, go ahead ensign.=^=

=^=I'm taking up residence in the Chief Engineer's quarters and so is Lt. Torrik. Please transport Torrik's possessions from the Vespucci to the west room. Thank you, Javier out.=^= the engineer finished then sat down on a sofa, his sofa. Well mine and Nils'.. he thought before going to look at his own room, the one on the east side. Scottie ran around sniffing at all the new smells. The original chief had had a family and so he had gotten an additional room for his children which was the one Javier had chosen. He walked in and sat on the bed, it was comfortable. All it needs now is a sleeping bag..and a certain Vulcan counsellor.
Originally Posted on 22 January, 2008 by Javier Costala

USS Hawking
Deck 14

Finn stood outside the door of the Chief’s office. He was staring at the name on the plaque. It didn’t say Lieutenant Cole Enneking, anymore. Enneking had gone: transferred off the ship, along with Pev and Marc and Taray… oh my.

So, fine, there’d be a new Chief of Security.

One hand reached up and touched the bright, solo pip on his collar… mark of a new rank. Of course, if Harry had trouble remembering, he could always just look at the sign.

Ensign Harry Finn, ComSecOps

Riiight. He stepped up to the controls, tapped in his code and, when it allowed him entrance, walked through.

And right back out. Shit, it was empty. Bare of all but the desk and three chairs, waiting for its new occupant. He looked at the plaque again.

Turning the corner of the corridor, PADD in hand, T'Shaini slowed her pace to watch the open mouthed Harry stare at his new office. Stopping directly beside him she crossed her arms, looked in the office, then back at him. "Are we letting it air out?"

“Did you know about this?” he asked, unconsciously accepting the PADD.

"As ship's counselor my opinion on your fitness for duty was consulted. So yes, I did know." She tipped her head to the side as she contemplated his expression. "You look as if you had been presented with something unpleasant." Stepping into the barren space she leaned her hip on the edge of the desk until he followed her in. "Did you not wish for a promotion?"

After one 'why me' look to the ceiling, he entered, waiting for the door to close before answering, "It's not that simple," he began, "and promotion or not… this should be Hawthorn's gig; she has seniority…"

"And declined being considered, reason cited…'hates paperwork.'" Indicating the PADD currently in Harry's hand. "I have completed the profile you requested…Chief." In anyone else, well, even in her just weeks ago, that would have read as a joke. "To say it is disturbing may be an understatement."

Harry immediately turned his attention to the report, "How so… I mean, aside from the obvious 'skulking menace' aspect?"

"From the evidence analyzed I would say we are either dealing with two people, or a dual personality. If you look, I have divided the actions into categories based on the separate personalities. On a broad scope, we have the direct and the indirect contact. That does not necessarily dictate more than one person, however, if we look closer at those lists, the indirect contact denotes a high proficiency with the systems of the ship, not so with the direct. Both rely on intimate knowledge of your schedule and past, but the direct incidents seem to be more 'pointed', more personal vengeance than general threat. "

"I'll bite on the knowledge," he said, "and, yeah, Acker's got it in for me but I don't get someone who's just working for him reaching this," he waved the PADD, "level of personal." He didn't know what to make of the possibility of two of them… or two in one…

Sliding her hip further back to sit on the edge of the desk, T'Shaini nodded. "Exactly, I also theorize it revolving around the Nietzsche concept of a 'superman'…the subject in question not believing they need to conform to the mores of society, that they are above the morals of the times. According to these findings, as far fetched as it may seem…it reads as if Acker himself is on the Hawking."

*dumm dumm dummmm*
Originally Posted on 23 January, 2008 by Harry Finn

It sounded to Finn like Nietzche had just made up a fancy term for 'self-centered prick' but, tomato tomahto; it was the Vulcan's concluding statement that was the real kicker. "That would be bad," he said, though deep, deep inside there was a different response. If, after all, it was true… if Acker was really on the Hawking, if Harry could finally get his hands on the bastard…

But no… Terence Wolfe and his people had placed Acker on the Outpost and Wolfe had sounded damn sure of it.


"I need to make a call," he said aloud, "And we have to get this information to the captain, and ah, Echelon," he added, wondering what the new XO would make of this. "And," he considered the counselor's currently very passive exterior, "how do you feel about carrying a weapon?"

"I feel it may be discomfiting to go to a counselor that is armed."

Not too surprising. "Then you should get cracking on that hand-to-hand. Just in case…"

"Yes, I see your point. If your new status will allow for lessons, then I would like to continue." Concern about the ramifications of blurring lines and duties caused T'Shaini to offer, "Or if it is difficult, I can ask someone else."

"I'll make time," he told her, eyes drawn to the PADD and the very detailed profile she'd provided. Without thought, he began to wander the space, digesting the information as he paced.

Looking around Harry's new office, T'Shaini allowed her attention to wander. Encountering a case such as Acker was a once in a lifetime opportunity for a behavioral scientist. The difference was, this was not someone that was going to maintain the distance conferred with experimentation. He was not confined to log, report or ward. He was here, and it looked as if his goal was the destruction of whatever the victim held dear. "Kerrin, Alex..have they been informed?"

Harry almost dropped the PADD. He considered playing dumb, ditched the idea immediately. "Kerrin knows… everything," he affirmed. "Alex," he paused, unsure how she'd react to the knowledge that most of the crew were still suspect, "Alex is…"

"Impossible." She stopped her uncharacteristically illogical response. "Of course nothing is impossible…but Alex?"

Before Harry could respond, the office door slid open to reveal Lieutenant Hawthorn, she who hated paperwork, sporting a collection of PADD's which the officer, with an almost gleeful expression, dropped onto the heretofore empty desk. "Congratulations," she told Harry, giving T'Shaini a friendly nod.

"Ah," Harry eyed the pile with visible distress, "you are a cruel, cruel person," he jerked his chin at the pile, "What is all this, anyway?"

"Shift rota's; ordinance manifests; code changes; the official transcript of Trann's AWOL status and," Vanona dug one PADD out of the pile (and how she could identify it from all the others was a mystery), "the transfer roster." She waited until Finn, who threw a pained look to T'Shaini, accepted the PADD before adding, "And they are all waiting on the target range for you."

"I think you are supposed to greet them, not shoot them." T'Shaini added, seeing the frustration wash over Finn.

"Yeah, I think I got that," he replied sarcastically, "Fine," he sighed, "Do you mind going ahead, tell them I'm on the way?" This was weird, asking his Lieutenant to run errands… up to an hour ago he'd worked for her.

Hawthorn merely nodded and, whisked out of the office as efficiently as she'd entered.

Harry glanced down at the roster, "Well, it looks like you might be getting some action out of this… we have a new Cardassian crew member," he had good reason to recall that Edded Towak had 'issues' with pretty much anyone who even reminded him of a Cardassian. To have an actual member of the species in Security…

Scrolling down he saw a former Marine (another one?) a Denobulan (have to check her sleep cycle) and, "Oh, boy…"

"Oh, boy?"

"Usher Tenanji, Lieutenant," he looked up at Wendy, "He was part of my first case with JAG… Seth and I arrested him… then we cleared him but.. you know, folks can be touchy about that sort of thing."

"Odd thing that…" T'Shaini commented dryly.

Continuing to read, "Well, really, how much worse…" then one name jumped out at him and he felt everything just… stop.

Seeing him freeze brought T'Shaini off the desk to his side. "What is it?"

"Jenny," his voice had gone hollow, "Anderson." He held up the PADD but his eyes were elsewhere, "this is Seth's daughter." Reeling, he suddenly understood Admiral Nechayev's cryptic message It's not my fault. But then, who's fault was it? Jenny had been at the Academy, under the Admiral's eye… for Jen to get assigned to Hawking…

One more for him to feel responsible for. "Well then, we had better get to work, the sooner we find him, the safer she will be."

On the telling 'we', Finn shook off the emotional blow of Jenny's arrival and focused on Wendy. "Right," he looked back down at the profile, still in hand, "well… I'll copy this to the captain, ASAP. Thanks for taking the time to assemble it… I'll let you know if there's anythi…"

"I am also planning on assembling profiles of personalities likely to be manipulated by outside influences, hopefully that will allow us to narrow down the list of possibilities." T'Shaini added, ignoring his dismissal.

"Well, that would… will be helpful," he agreed, cursing the need and wondering again how much better off these people would be if he weren't…

"You will of course, inform me if you think of anything else that will be of assistance."

Defeated, Harry locked the profile in the desk and headed for the door, "You could see if Costala can pry himself out of his cushy new digs for the near future…" realizing that statement was a bit vague, he clarified, "I'd feel better if there were someone watching out for you."

T'Shaini made a noncommittal noise. I am loath to involve him more than he already is considering his concern for Lia.

Harry knew avoidance when he heard it, but just then Hawthorn rounded the curve, "Chief?" she combined his new title with the 'we're all waiting' inflection perfectly.

"Right," he nodded, giving T'Shaini one last look with absolutely no hope she'd heed his advice. "Coming." And, roster in hand, Harry joined his 2IC to go and greet the newest members of the Hawking's security force, and have a word with Seth's daughter.

JP 007 and M
Originally Posted on 23 January, 2008 by Harry Finn and T'Shaini

.:: U.S.S. Hawking | Corridor outside T'Shaini's Office… Pacing :.

He'd scheduled it earlier as a debrief on a few ship's personnel. But that wasn't the reason for his visit. Far from it actually. The real reason, one over which he'd nearly worn a rut in his ready room the previous night since getting a look at the Hawking's newest Gains Roster, wasn't a member of the crew. Yet. But later in the day she would be. He'd didn't have to see her today. But he wanted to see her today. No, he thought. Should he though? It wasn't as though he'd never dated a member of his crew before. He'd dated Siobhan when she was a Petty Officer on the Knight. That was brief though. They'd managed to keep it on the hush. Another different thing about that situation was that he'd been seeing her before she had enlisted. This time was different. The girl was already in Starfleet. It was ten different kinds of inappropriate.

He frowned thoughtfully, his mind wandering to the inevitable visit to the admiral. "Ten kinds of inappropriate Captain!" She'd say. "Starfleet Officer!" She'd remind him, leaning forward in her chair. "You have to set the example." Her pointy Bajoran fingers would point and wag as she told him just how wrong it was for a Captain and a Crewman to see each other. She'd remind him that it could compromise his authority. She'd tell him to break it off. It would be over. That was that. Or it would be. He unslung the green backpack on his shoulder and unfastened a leather strap, reaching in for a padd. At least he could get some work done. He replaced the bag and pushed the door chime.

"Come in…" T'Shaini had assembled all the information on the newer crew members and could already see a few potential situations. "Captain, I am grateful for this opportunity. Going over the roster I see that the new Cardassian crewmemmm…" She broke off when she finally looked up from the information and took in his appearance. It looked as if he were waiting to be berated by someone. "Should I assume this is not about the new crew?" At his sudden flush she raised one eyebrow. "Or is it, just not in the way that I was expecting."

"Oh it is." He thought, the forced smile eroding quickly as he crossed the office. "Well…" He began, stopping short of the chair in front of her desk. "It is. It's about a new crewman." Should he just come out with it? Yeah T'Shaini… there was this smokin Nova on the station. Yup.. Totally into her. I think she's into me too. Kinda want to see where that might go. Oh! By the way.. insignificant detail. She's a security crewman on the Hawking now. No biggie.. you know.. just illegal.

"The Cardassian?" He said awkwardly, resting his hands on the back of the chair.

Pushing the PADD to the side T'Shaini came out from behind her desk and led Nathan over to sit on the couch. "The Cardassian can wait. Who else concerns you.?" The awkwardness he was exhibiting rang a bell in her head…could it be? Running down the list of possibilities in her head she could only come up with one name. Oh oh.

Allowing himself to be led over to the ominous couch, Nathan's head spun with thoughts ranging from the room's light decor, to the amazing speed at which T'Shaini had deduced his dilema. He turned his padd, his would be shield, over in his hand as he was guided to the couch. Surprisingly soft . "So.. How does this…I mean.. what am I supposed to do now?" Nathan asked cautiously, settling onto the couch, swinging his legs up onto the light leather.

"You do not have to do anything. However, it seems as if you have something…someone on your mind, and perhaps it would be better to tell someone else about it, if only to get a different perspective." She wondered how anyone could be unaware of how much showed in their faces when possessed by a profound emotion.

"Ok." He agreed. "I did want to talk to you about something. But.. I think I already decided. Well.. I mean.. I don't know.. if that makes sense… It's pretty complicated.. and I might just be making a big thing out of nothing. She might not even be interested you know?" He looked up at the counselor's serene expression, wondering if anything he'd said made any sense whatsoever.

"Might we back up to the beginning? First, why not tell me who you are referring to, and what the complications are?"

Where to start… Let's see… So I met this girl.. who's really chill, and great, and she likes me.. I think. But I kind of liked to her. Yeah.. she doesn't know I'm the CO of her ship. That didn't sound right at all. Though it pretty much comprised the whole of his situation, aside form the entirely inappropriate nature of the relationship — Or.. Possible relationship. — He still didn't even know if Jenny was into him. She seemed to be though. But could it have been in his head? Or perhaps… ON his head? He absently reached up and brushed the ocular implant above his left eye, moving his hand through his hair. "Ok." He sighed finally, attempting to decide, as he told it, exactly what to tell. "So I met this girl the other day." That didn't sound right. It sounded as though he were asking a friend for advice. But he was in it now so he continued. "And we hit it off pretty good. I mean, I met her in the toy store, and we had lunch. And dinner." He nodded recalling the last bit after a moment's hesitation. He'd gone looking once again after assisting Nils with his personnel issue and much to his relief, found Jenny wandering the promenade. They'd had dinner at the Bajoran place who's name he'd long forgotten. "So.. Anyway, I think she's really Chill and stuff, but I'm not sure if I can see her anymore." He looked up at her. Had he made a bit of sense? If not, he couldn't tell behind the Vulcan serenity.

So competent she tended to forget his age it was pushed to the forefront of T'Shaini's awareness as she listened to his oh so teenage account of boy meets girl. "So the complication as far as you are concerned is the fact that she is now stationed on the Hawking?

Was his mouth open? It felt like he were staring in awe of the Vulcan's deductive capabilities. He checked. It wasn't. Nonetheless, Nathan made a mental note to promote her. Or give her a medal or something. And to revel sometime later in his own prowess at hiring people. "Well." He started slowly. "Yeah. She's assigned to the Hawking. But she's a crewman." Thinking that they were on the same wavelength as far as that sort of thing went, he awaited the confirmation of his fear.. or hope. No, definitely not hope. He wanted to keep seeing this girl.

"Do you feel that you would be unable to handle your command responsibilities if you were involved with a crew member?"

"No." He said quickly. "But what would everyone think right? The Captain and a crewman? People would think I was showing favortism or something right? Like.. when she's up for promotions or medals or whatever." He sat up. "I mean, I don't want to have that going on. And people might look at her different too right?"

"I did not ask what other people would think, I asked what you would think." Not a difficult question, it always struck her how difficult it was to answer.

Did it matter what he thought? It was about what was best for the crew wasn't it? Even if it meant that that he had to be single, or miss out on something that he otherwise would have been quick to pursue? He thought about that for a short time, not answering T'Shaini's question.

Seeing his hesitation T'Shaini continued with her line of reasoning. "Because, regardless of what prejudice this sort of union may encounter in the beginning, as I am sure it will, it will be your actions that will denote how the relationship is viewed. Let me pose another question. Are there any regulations against it?"

"Yeah.. I mean, I think so. I don't know. I never heard of it happening before." Lie! He'd done it himself, but the circumstances were different then. He'd been seeing Siobhan BEFORE he was in command of the Knight, and when she'd been a civilian. "I don't know. Admiral Khouri and Captain Kaz were married.. and Cay and Dayton were together when she was an officer and he was enlisted." Come to think of it.. this sort of thing had happened several times around him. So.. Why not him? "I think I could be ok with it." He surmised finally.

The counselor nodded with satisfaction. "If my opinion matters, I believe you will 'be okay with it' as well." She tipped her head to the side considering for a moment. "And if you are not, I will consider it my duty to be the first to tell you." Knowing her current delivery had a decided lack of lenity, she softened her words by patting him on the knee. "Have you spoken to her yet? Might I ask her name?"

"Jenny." He said simply, rising from the couch. "Thanks T'Shaini." It only took the length of those two words to get the young Captain to the door and a blink of the eye later he was in the corridor. T'Shaini was cool with it. Which meant HE was cool with it. So that settled, Nathan set off to find Jenny. He'd gotten all the way to the turbolift when two things struck him. One: He'd left his backpack in T'Shaini's office and Two: He didn't remember where Jenny worked. Ah well, he decided with a slight shrug. He could always just wander the ship for a while til he ran into her. Or ask the computer. It'd give him time to work out what he'd say when he ran into her. "Hey Jenny… T'Shaini said we could date so.. wanna?" "Hey Jenny… It's ok if we go out or whatever.. my counselor gave me permission."

Yeah… It'd take a few laps to work out the finer points. Turning back toward the turbolift, Nathan started for it, a kind of wry grin playing at his features and his head spinning with possibilities.

Alone in her office, T'Shaini sat frozen with one hand covering her mouth. Oh my. New crew member…Jenny, could only be Jenny Anderson. Jenny Anderson, Harry Finn's god daughter. "Oh this will go hard for Nathan."

A Joint affair between Captain Hormones and the Vulcan Goddess of Love!
Originally Posted on 23 January, 2008 by Nathan Benjamin and T'Shaini

USS Hawking
Office, ComSecOps - Deck 14


Harry looked up from the last dregs of coffee and the blurring lines of the transmission from Megiddo regarding the still-missing Anthony Trann… it was too early for his appointment with Jenny.

Here, instead, was Crewman Edded looking far more… complacent… than either of the last two times their paths had crossed.

Well, hard not to be. One of those two times had ended with Edded Towak, in a drunken flashback to his days in a Cardassian concentration camp, making a fairly significant slice across Harry’s ribs with the Bajoran’s ‘family heirloom’.

The next meeting had involved Edded demanding the return of said family heirloom, which Finn had declined… in less than diplomatic terms.

Finn leaned back, “You heard about Petty Officer Govan, I take it?” he asked the engineer, referring to his new, very Cardassian security officer and nodding to a chair.

Taking the offer, Edded sat down and nodded, “Counselor T’Shaini made a house call,” he confessed, “She wanted to let the family know and, ah, gauge the temperature, I think.”

Harry pushed the report aside, “And how did she find it?”

“Balmy, with only a slight chill,” Edded surprised Harry with a smile. “And I wanted to tell you I'm sorry about the… incident," Finn had made it clear, early on, that no one was to know what had happened, that night. "I swear, I thought I saw one of the guards… I don’t know why. I guess… so soon after the Q thing…”

“Bygones,” Harry said, and meant it. He, as much as anyone, understood how difficult it had been to come back from the nightmare Q had created and, while it was true that Edded Towak might be trying to yank his chain, Harry didn’t believe the man would bring T’Shaini into the conversation on false pretenses. It’d be too easy for Harry to check… and he would. “So…”

“Yeah,” Towak sighed, “Look, about that blade… it really is all I have left of my father’s…”

“It stays in your quarters,” Harry told him, “preferably locked away from Feeya…” referring to Towak’s daughter. He played with his empty cup a moment before adding, “And for what it’s worth, I believe Govan to be a solid officer… his records don’t place him anywhere near Bajor…”

“That’s… good to know,” the other man looked away for a moment, “It’s hard,” he admitted, “even knowing they weren’t all complicit, it’s hard.” Looking back at Harry, “Wasn’t there a similar situation in Earth’s history?”

Finn nodded, “There was… there’ve been several, sad to say, but the one folks remember,” Dachau, Auschwitz, Chelmno… “It was very hard to accept, after, that there were any good Germans but,” he held the other man’s gaze, “there were. Some stood against the regime and died for it; some helped the refugees escape, and died for it…”

Edded nodded, “Understood.”

“But for now,” Harry rose and waited for the Bajoran to follow suit, “Let’s go get the letter opener from lockup.”

“Lockup?” Towak scrambled to follow the taller man, “You kept it in Security?”

“Sure,” Harry grinned, “What, you didn’t know we have a ‘lost and found?”

Main Security Office - Deck 14
Five minutes later

Harry and Edded stood in front of the open and empty safe, staring.

“Computer,” Harry said, reaching in as he realized that, no, it wasn’t quite empty, “who was the last person to access the safe?”

“Harry Finn accessed Main Security Safe on Stardate 60804.601…”

“But, that’s months ago…”Towak looked at Finn, “That was right after…”

“I know.” Harry withdrew the slip of paper which had taken the place of the long, slim blade he’d locked up on Stardate 60804.601. Opening the slip, he stepped away from the fine powder which filtered from between the folds to the deck and read:

Ash on an old man's sleeve
Is all the ash the burnt roses leave.
Dust in the air suspended
Marks the place where a story ended.

Reading those ominous words Harry snagged a tricorder from the shared desk but, no… the powder was harmless… light carbon traces, remains of, a hah rosa damascena…


He looked up to the confused face of the engineer.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “It looks… someone seems to be playing a joke.” He knelt, scooped as much of the ashen substance as he could back into the paper. Standing, “I’ll look into it,” he promised, “I don’t know… I’ll get your property back for you as soon as I can.” If I can.

“Why,” Edded allowed himself to be escorted back to the hall, “why would someone steal an old knife?”

To use it Finn thought. “I don’t know,” he said.

Post featuring NPC Crewman Edded Towak
Verse from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets
Originally Posted on 24 January, 2008 by Harry Finn

USS Hawking
Lieutenant Usher Tenanji’s Quarters - Deck 4

The sounding of his door chime pulled Usher from the depths of Henry VI, Pt. 3, where he’d been immersed in a world filled with blood, politics and vengeance. “Come,” he called out, rising from the small table at which he’d been enjoying Shakespeare’s play and a cup of tea.

When the door opened to reveal his new Chief (and old arresting officer) his eyes widened, slightly. “Finn,” he greeted the man with a nod, “I understand congratulations are in order,” he nodded towards the Ensign’s pip on Harry’s collar, “for the new position.”

The former Lieutenant Commander ignored the jab and got straight to business. “Welcome to the Hawking,” he told the younger man, handing him a PADD and a sealed plastic bag containing a series of isolinear chips, “I have a job for you.”


“… and you truly believe that Shaun Acker is on this vessel?” Tenanji’s voice betrayed his doubts as he skimmed the copious amounts of data Finn had supplied.

From where he’d been walking a pattern over Usher’s carpet, Finn shook his head, “I don’t know. I don’t think Lieutenant T’Shaini’s profile is off-base but there was a 99.9% chance Acker had relocated to Jericho-Samaria while Hawking was still in pursuit of the Sentinel.

“Be that as it may, someone is on the Hawking. And that someone has lifted a weapon… an untraceable weapon… from the lockup in the main office, leaving a note and some burned up roses and nary a pop on the sensors. And that,” he concluded, walking back to where Tenanji sat, “is a skill that has Acker written all over it.” He jerked his head at the PADD, “When I was first given the assignment to find him… back in ‘78, I was told I’d be hunting a ghost.”

Usher sighed, laying the PADD down and taking a sip of his now-cold tea. “And a ghost is now wandering the corridors of Hawking,” he voiced the obvious conclusion. “How malicious is this ghost, do you think?”

Harry remained still for a moment, “Malicious enough to have Seth’s daughter transferred to this vessel,” he said quietly. “Crewman Anderson… Jenny… you met her this morning.”

He had. The quiet young lady who’d been most impressive in her targeting test… and had field-stripped her assigned Type III with enough finesse to bring a whistle from Gran. Remembering Finn’s deceased partner, he realized that the girl had her father’s eyes.

“And what of me?” he asked, also quietly, “Two individual’s connected to you, arriving simultaneously… you would not believe this to be a coincidence.” It wasn’t a question.

“No,” the older man turned back to his measured pace, “either of your appearances would, at best, be a distraction I can’t afford. At worst… well,” he threw a wry glance at Usher, “you could resent me enough to make some trouble of your own but…”

“You do not believe that I could?”

“I don’t believe you would,” Finn corrected. “You’re not that kind of officer.” He continued moving about the cabin, restless, prowling, “As to Jenny… she’s a good kid, she’s solid but she's also young and she’s…”

“… a target.”

“I think so. And not the only one. Lieutenant T’Shaini received a transmission, you’ll see that in the file… a civilian, Dr. Kerrin Schaeffer, was left a physical message intended for me and, I don’t know if it was deliberate or chance but, Torrik Nils, Chief of Science, had a bad day in my holographic training program.”

Usher sat back, processing. “How do you wish to proceed?” he asked.

“I would like you to pursue this independently,” he was told. “You’ll have a fresh eye and no personal prejudice or, none that will taint an investigation.” Harry ran a hand absently through his hair, “You can exclude anyone new to the ship from the list of suspects, along with those from Sentinel we picked up after the Avaaru conflict.”

Tenanji rose from the table, head cocked curiously, “That still leaves… a prodigious number…”

“Well,” Harry shrugged, “You can probably exclude the kids… not that some of them aren’t frighteningly clever, mind you…”

“And what of yourself?”

Finn turned and he two men faced one another from opposite sides of the room, “What do you think?” he asked.

“I think, if this profile is correct, it is quite possible that the strain of the original investigation, followed by the disaster on the Maru, the court-martial… the drinking… have born the fruit of madness and your mind has created an enemy which you must pursue, even as it torments you for your perceived sins…”

“That’s a bit more poetic than I was thinking, but pretty much, yeah.”

Usher shook his head, “It takes an exceptionally distrustful mind for a man to suspect himself.”

“Your point?” was the dry response. “So, you in?”

“Of course,” a genteel nod sealed the bargain, “after all, I would be a fool indeed to miss the chance of investigating the man who once arrested me.”

“I was kind of hoping you’d say that,” Finn started for the door. “I’ll keep you up to date on any further contacts and feel free to tag Lieutenant Torrik for any pertinent data.” As the door slid open he paused, “I’ll still be looking, too,” he informed his officer, “I won’t let this stand… aside from everything else, it’s a potential threat to the ship…”


“Good.” And then Harry Finn was gone. Usher turned back to the intelligence left on his table and wondered if it could tell him which of the many hearts on Hawking beat to the tempo of revenge.

Post featuring NPC Lieutenant Usher Tenanji
Originally Posted on 25 January, 2008 by Harry Finn

.:: USS Hawking : Main Shuttle Bay ::.

After their brief stint in the Hawking’s brig, Vince and Scott had made their way back to the shuttle bay, and were staring up at the Wraith. Just a little over a week ago, they had accidentally fired the Wraith’s main weapon, and were now a bit afraid to touch it, due to a simple slap on the hull causing the ruckus it did. Vince climbed the newly rebuilt scaffolding, making his way up to the gun on the left side of the hull. As he stood eyeing the rear portion of the gun, Scott started to duck behind the nearest crate, fearing a repeat of earlier. As he scanned the area, Vince noticed a hatch just underneath the what he thought was the gun’s firing chamber.

“ Dude, I think I found the hatch to load this gun.” Vince looked back towards Scott.

Without coming out from behind the crate, Scott looked up,” Ok, well don’t mess with it, I don’t feel like having to spend some more time in the brig. I had enough of it to last for awhile, plus my ears were ringing for a good while after that.”

Vince laughed,” I understand, trust me. I’ll be gentle, the ship won’t even know I touched it.”

Vince leaned in and grabbed a hold of what he thought has the release for the hatch. As he put his hand around the lever he closed his eyes, turned away, and pulled on it.

Scott jumped slightly as he thought he heard the start of it firing, but to his amazement, as he looked up, the hatch was open, and what looked like a belt was hanging out of the hatch. Vince opened his eyes and looked towards the hatch. A belt was hanging in front of him, and the ammunition was strapped to the belt, much like belt driven rifles back in the old days of Earth. He leaned over, and looked up into the hatch. He saw another lever inside with some Xel’Naga script, and crudely translated it to say ’Release Chamber’. He reached up and pulled the lever. When he did, the outside of the firing chamber slid open, and the bullet that was in the chamber, was now free to be taken out.

“ See, I told you so……” Vince looked back at Scott.

“Ok, but I still won’t trust it until both sides are unloaded, and the ammo is over there somewhere.” Scott pointed towards the other side of the Bay.

“ Yea, I’ll agree with that.” Vince started to unarm the Wraith. Being ever so careful.

A few minutes later…………………..

The schematics for the ship, as they knew them, were now on a board next to the fighter. Vince had already discovered that the Wraith’s systems were inoperable, for the most part. The guidance system had been fried, but the weapons system was still completely online, both inside and out of the ship. The main power unit was also still operable, but it was of no use, due to the drive motor being shot. All of the onboard computer’s were working, but they had Xel’Naga script, and with the amount of info inside the computer’s hard drive, it would take far to long for him to translate it himself.

“ Look Vince, I like the whole idea of fixin this thing up, but we don’t have the first I idea of what to do.” Scott slapped the board in front of them.

Vince looked up at the Wraith, running his hand through his hair,” Yea, you are right, kinda. I know pretty much everything about a wide range of fighter’s weapon’s. Now the rest though, that’s gonna be the hard part.”

Scott leaned on the closest crate,” I can see the gears starting to turn in your head, what do you have in mind?”

“ Well, the weapons should be easy enough for you and I to handle, but everything else we’re going to need some help on. The power drive will have to be ran by engineering, see what they can do to get it integrated to retro fit a shuttle’s engine to it. The guidance systems, no that a tough one.” Vince rubbed his chin thinking.

“ What about the science department, they may be able to figure this all out, and have a hay day with it to.” Scott looked over to Vince.

Vince smiled,” Well, you’re tight with that, We also need to have someone from the medical staff take a look at the life support systems. I gotta know what needs to be done to make this thing sustain life, I don’t want to die in there.”

“ You’re right there. So this is gonna have to be a ship wide kind of project?” Scott moved over to a shorter crate and sat down.

“ Yea, this is one of those things that would boost some morale for the crew and, get everyone involved in something together, for one goal. This could be one of those things that can unite a crew, bring them together into a family, something more than just crew mates……..” Vince and Scott both began to laugh,” Or, I could just ask those particular departments, and well they can do what they want. Damn….. That sounded like one of my dad’s speeches from Little League didn’t it……. ?”

Scott shook his head, still smiling,” Yea, but the crew would be having to work together towards a common goal, they’d just be doing it all through you, instead of getting together for a big shin dig, singing stories by the fire, and eating smores.”

Vince shook his head this time, then walked over to a crate, and popped it open,” I already thought of replacing the guidance system, and I also thought that a computer upgrade would be nice. So this little unit right here will be hooked up to the Wraith’s computer, and we’ll get started on doing the basic conversion. “

“ So what’s that dandy little device going to do.” Scott stood up, getting a better look at the device.

“ My dad had this programmed to translate the Xel’Naga language into basic binary code. The Wraith’s comm systems, and computer readouts will be able to be accessed from here, and we can get a better look at what we need to think about replacing, that way we don’t go into it completely blind.” Vince stared pulling pieces out of the crate,” Good ol’ Dad, huh?”

Scott started to help with the set up, and after what seemed like a couple of hours, the translation computer was setup, and integrated into the Wraith’s hard drive. Vince fired the system up, and it immediately responded. The two looked at the screen, not knowing what the were looking at. The information that they were seeing was nothing like any diagnostic that they ever ran on any of the fighters they had flown in before. Just as they thought the cause was lost for now, the screen converted into their very familiar communication screen.

“ Well that’s nice to see, but there’s something wrong.” Vince started to punch some buttons on the padd.

“ What’s the matter?” Scott leaned in for a look.

Vince stopped typing, looking at Scott,” With a lot of my training, I’ve learned a lot about communications, and this comm system seems to be a bit weird, It’s not responding like I thought it would, it’s kinda doing something that just seems a bit off.”

“ Do you have any idea of what to do with this, or is this a shot in the dark?” Scott glanced at the screen, then looked back at Vince.

“ Nope, it’s a shot in the dark, so I’m not going to mess with it. I’ll just have to send it to someone that will know what to do with it.” Vince leaned up then tapped his badge.

“ Stryfe to Science Dept.”

=/\= This is Science, go ahead. =/\=

“ Hey I’ve started to work on this Wraith, and I’ve linked it’s computer to a computer that my dad programmed from what he knew of the Xel’Naga, but it’s not doing what it was supposed to do according to what research we have done.”

=/\= Well someone could come look at it, but that sounds more like something for the Engineering dept. =/\=

“ Usually I would think so to, but it seems to be intercepting a signal of some sort, and it’s a strong one at that. I’m not completely sure of what it’s doing, but it looks like a signal.”

=/\= What would you like for us to do Lt.? =/\=

“ I’ll just send you the signal, and get Nils to take a look at it. He may know what to make of it, and he’ll probably have a good time doing it to.”

=/\= Alright, sir. Just send the data, and I’ll make sure that Nils gets it, and I’ll have he get back to you with what he finds out. =/\=

“ Tell him I’d appreciate it, Stryfe Out.”

Vince looked over at Scott,” Well that takes care of that, now onto getting the weapons diagnostic done, and basic subroutines ran. Let’s find out whats wrong under this thing’s hood.”

The two pilots started to bustle around, running their computer diagnostics, and dismantling the phaser cannons. This was looking like it could be a long project, but the reward at the end would be worth it.
Originally Posted on 25 January, 2008 by Vince Stryfe

Javier held T'Shaini close in the warm softness of the bed in his new quarters. He lay on his side facing T'Shain, gently stroking her cheek with his fingertips. He traced along her jawline then over her smooth cheeks and pausing only to run his finger over the outline of her ear. T'Shaini's ears had always fascinated him. He found their shape beautiful and the reaction he received when kissing them was always welcome. His fingers stopped their movement as he remembered Halcyon and the accidental push he had given the Vulcan woman. Just the act of brushing past her, in the strength enhancing combat suit, had sent T'Shaini reeling against a wall in the underground bunker. She had suffered a concussion and blunt trauma because of his actions.

"I'm so sorry," he whispered as Javier used the back of his fingers to lightly brush T'Shaini's cheek. "When I hurt you on Halcyon..I didn't know..I would never hurt you intentionally. I..I didn't know." He lowered his lips to her cheeks, kissing them softly as he pulled her closer.

"Mmmmmmmmm mmm?" The hum of pleasure lifted in a question at his apology. Ahhhhh. Running her fingers through his hair, she waiting until his gaze lifted to hers. "I knew that then…it never even occurred to me that you would do such a thing deliberately."

He nodded, he felt better that she had told him. "I've been thinking about something..about what I said to you on our trip. I was wrong about Harry Finn," Javier stated. "I'm almost certain that he is the reason behind my promotion." His hand moved up and down her side idly. "I don't think Command received the whole story about what happened on Halcyon," he said quietly, "if they had, I'm sure I wouldn't be serving on the Hawking." He sighed and rested his head next to hers. "I'll help him however I can..although I'm not sure how much help an engineer will be."

T'Shaini brushed her nose against his. "Perhaps his view of your actions on Halcyon are different than yours." A small huff that was her current version of laughter slipped from her mouth. "And knowing Harry, he would not exaggerate or inflate anyones importance to aid in their career…or for any reason. If anything, his speech is generally plain enough to border on dismissive. If he is the reason behind your promotion, it was done because you deserved it and for no other reason." She turned slightly so that she could lift up on her elbows. "So that means that you do not owe him anything. Your concern for Lia is real, you need not become involved."

"My concern is not only for her," he replied resolutely. "From what you told me Harry needs all the help he can get, I made him a promise on Halcyon..I'm not going to let you die Harry….lets just say I've extended the parameters of that promise." Javier leaned in closer to T'Shaini so his lips could brush against hers briefly. "Then there's you..I can't choose between you or being there for Lia, I love you both too much," he told her. "In my family and in the Marines, I was taught to protect the ones I love. My family is protecting Lia, so let me protect you," Javier said. "I want you to stay here with me and let me protect you."

The logical Vulcan voice in her head wanted to protest that Lia was a child and she, most assuredly, was not. She was well able to take care of herself, in most situations. But that was the catch, this was not most situations. And was it not exactly what Harry had asked of her? Unable to tap into the emotion that she had previously known, nonetheless she felt enveloped by his words. "Interesting that you should bring that up…"

"You wanted to move in with me anyway?" Javier asked, his heart leaping in his chest.

"No…well, yes…well, I had not thought a great deal about it, I was assuming it would be moving too quickly for you…" Not at all expecting his reaction, T'Shaini stumbled through her response. She shook her head lightly. "Harry suggested that I keep you as close as possible. Ordinarily not a difficult request to acquiesce to, but I was hesitant because of what we had discussed previously."

"Oh." His brow furrowed in thought at her reply. "I guess if Harry thinks it's a good idea.." Does she not want to live with me? Maybe I'm not neat enough..did she see the interior of the Vespucci? Damn tubesocks… "Most of those were Nils'," he started to say before pausing mid-sentence, shaking his head as if to clear it, then saying, "I mean I always thought that one day, preferably sooner rather than later, we would share quarters."

"Oh." Unexpected. "Because of the experience of my profession my expectation is that most males, of any species, are far more of Lt. Torrik's mind than yours. So it was not a possibility that I had entertained." Closing her eyes, she leaned in to brush her lips against his, when something flashed, her eyes popped open and a word blurted out of her mouth. "Nils…" Was he still in the Vespucci? "Where is Nils living?"

"Oh! He's living next the other room, on the other side, over there," Javier replied, pointing towards the wall and the general direction of the second bedroom. "He doesn't know he's living over there..but I had his stuff moved, I hope he's not mad about leaving the shuttle." A thoughtful look came over Javier's face as he contemplated just how upset Nils would be about leaving the Vespucci. "I couldn't leave him there all alone though, then he'd be back to square one."

Any contention of the awkwardness of the situation died with Javier's regard for Nils' welfare. "Ahhhhh…." One last thought. "Should he be consulted?"

"Weeeell…I guess I should tell him.." Javier said reluctantly before rolling over to retrieve his commlink from the pile of clothes on the floor which held his uniform. =^=Costala to Lt. Torrik.=^=

=^=Costala, I'm kind of busy right now, we have a…=^= was as far as Nils got before Javier interrupted him.

=^=Hey Torrik, we were assigned new quarters, I moved your stuff to them, you can thank me later, Chief Engineer's quarters, I know you're busy so I won't keep you bye.=^= Javier said, keeping the explanation as brief as possible.

=^=What?=^= was all that managed to get through before Javier closed the channel and tossed the commlink back on his crumpled uniform. "He's been consulted," Javier said as he moved back in closer to T'Shaini. "So what is your answer?"


Do I clarify that I meant 'consulted about me'? Then again, am I going to make living with Javier any more of a surreal experience for him than it already is? Unlikely.


A grin turned into a huge smile as it worked its way across his face. "Now we have something to celebrate," he said as he pulled the covers up over their heads. "I'll help you get your stuff later," Javier's muffled voice said.

J & T Collide
Originally Posted on 25 January, 2008 by Javier Costala and T'Shaini

USS Hawking
Office ComSecOps - Deck 14

The day had been… what it had been… and Harry’s reserves were low by the time Crewman Anderson arrived in the small, hollow space of the office he’d yet to fully claim.

Jenny let the door slide shut before turning the full wattage on, “Congratulations, Uncle Harry… I mean, I knew you were on Hawking but, Chief?”

“Don’t,” he held up one foreboding finger, “don’t you ‘Uncle Harry,’ me,” (he’d watched his brother in action with his kids). “What in all the galaxy’s hells are you doing here?”

“Well, I…”

“I mean, when I shipped out, you were neck deep in your first year at the Academy,” he began to wander and it looked to Jenny as if Harry had forgotten he’d asked her a question. “Which would have made this your second year… and I don’t recall second year students getting to go on field trips…”

“Harr…” she broke off at the look, “Chief, I dropped out before second year started,” she held up a hand before he could speak, “I hated it. Every single minute was torture… Quantum Chemistry? And then there's Elementary Temporal Mechanics and Inter-species Protocol and oh, oh, oh… Creative Writing? I mean, what was the point?” and she crossed her arms over her chest in an echo of her father’s favorite obstinate pose.

Seeing it took Harry’s breath a little but still, “The point? The point is it’s supposed to suck. No one enjoys those classes,” then he thought of Torrik and Gorsky, “Well, okay, the blues think they’re swell but most of us just suffer through them. Suffering through Temporal Mechanics without flunking is a rite of passage… it’s just, it’s a thing.”

He didn’t add that the point of the Academy was to keep her somewhere safe … not forever but… for a time.

She tilted her head curiously, “Do you really believe the universe is going to be less dangerous in four years?”

“In one way, it will be.”

Perfect adolescent eye roll, “As if Acker would ever look at me…”

“He already has,” Harry rounded on her, haunted by Edded's missing blade. “Him or someone who works with him. How else do you think you ended up on the Hawking? Out of how many potential ships in the fleet?”

“I don’t know. I…” she looked down, frustrated, “I was shipped out to SS Meggido to await a posting and at first I thought I might get the Sentinel but Sentinel was stood down and there weren’t any other ships available but then you… the Hawking came back from the dead,” she was annoyed at how her voice hitched on the word… wondered if he’d even care how much it would tear her apart to lose him, too, so soon after her father… Jenny tried to shrug it off, “It’s just a coincidence.”

“Things to know if you expect to survive in this job,” he said, ignoring the girl’s emotions and focusing on her misconceptions, “there are no happy accidents; serendipity shares a room with the Easter Bunny and there is no such thing as a coincidence. This,” he pointed to her, “you’re being here is not a coincidence.”

“Fine,” she threw her hands in the air in a way that reminded him of when she was 13 and trying to get him to let her drive his retro-fit motorcycle, “it’s not a coincidence… it’s some deep dark conspiracy,” she had to look away from the expression on his face just then. “What do you want to do about it?”

How many times had he heard that question, lately? “I want you off this ship,” was the flat response, “but there's a roadblock by the name of Rosenstangle over in Logistics so, for now, just do your job until I can arrange a transfer off Hawking."

“Wha… I… how…” words failed her for a moment, but only a moment. “How could you do a thing like that? How will it look on my record… first posting and drummed off the ship? You can’t do this…”

“No, what I can’t do is attend another Anderson funeral,” Harry told her, his voice so tight it almost snapped, “I can’t do that.”

Blinking back tears there’s no crying in Security, dammit!, Jenny took a step towards him, “Harry…”

“How long is it going to take you to remember you’re addressing a superior officer?” his harsh tone halted her mid-step, “because that’s another thing: you work for me, now and it’s not going to be anything like when you were a kid and I was your Dad's cool buddy. This is a job in which the term ‘sudden death’ is too often applicable and it’s my task to make sure as many of us as possible get through the day still breathing. Generally,” he told her with perfect truth but lying intent, “this makes me not a fun guy to work for.

“And, as soon as it is feasible, you are off.”

“Understood,” she replied, clutching whatever dignity she had left, “Will there be anything else?”

“Not at this time," Harry wondered if he could hate himself any more, facing that look from Seth’s daughter. Then, before she’d taken two steps, “Wait… Jenny…”

She didn’t turn, but she did stop. “So…” he grabbed whatever came to mind, “what did you think of the welcome speech?”

As peace offerings went, it was pure Harry, “Very inspiring,” she told him, ignoring how thick her own voice was, “I was especially moved by the part where ‘no matter what your species, once you’re in Security you bleed this ugly-ass mustard color’,” and pointed to her collar while the rebellious tears spilled over her lashes.

No, probably he couldn’t hate himself any more, “I got that from…”

“… my Dad. I know.” For a moment the two shared a look and a memory and then she wiped the dampness from her cheeks and gestured towards the door, “I really should…”

“… Yeah.” This time he waited until she’d reached the threshold before, “Jen” and when she looked back, “Are you carrying?”

Her response was a short nod.

"Keep it that way," he told her, waiting until the door had closed to give the wall a frustrated punch.

Post featuring NPC Crewman Jenny Anderson

Originally Posted on 26 January, 2008 by Harry Finn

Refer to posts in AWAKENINGS: “How Sharper Than a Serpent's Tooth” Chapter 4 ( & AWAKENINGS: “A Horse Has A Big Head…Let Him Worry” Chapter 5 ( :

~ Year 3 ~
~ January, 2384 ~

Outpost Jericho-Samaria
Khouri-Kaz Residence
Alpha Tower
~ January 12, 2384~
0830 Hours

It was usually the time of morning the kids had to be up and ready for school. Elva, normally, would have been up and gone to her office a whole two hours prior, leaving him to drop the bunch off at school before going to his own office…But this morning wasn’t normal. The Tribe (three-fourths of them, at any rate) were a few thousand miles away, on one of Kendrassa Prime’s equatorial continents. Marilee and her husband J’wacht would see to it that Mac, Max, and Jaro were set up on the computer link to the Outpost’s Educational Net. And Jay Levi had boarded a civilian freighter the past evening, bound for Space Station Megiddo to spend some time with (and it still awed Toryn) this alternate reality’s version of his deceased mother, Jordan Levi.

“Wha…Fahmun wuryagoan…” Translation: What are you doing? Fireman, where you going? and one pale arm snaked out from the cocoon of sheets and blanket beside him to coil around Toryn’s thigh as he attempted to exit the bed. The upper portion of a disheveled strawberry-sunflower head and one green eye followed.

“If we’re both taking the day off, at least one of us should check in and make sure the store gets started off smoothly,” Toryn said, rolling back to plant a kiss in the general vicinity of her covered forehead.

Elva arms tightened. “Can’t you just…call in? Ensign Lux knows what to tell people…Or Lieutenant Loki.”

“Lux is on furlough…remember? And with S’tascia on loan to the Republic’s UPL to coordinate the search… .”

“…search for Nix, Brenna, and her boyfriend’s nephew,” Elva burst her cocoon and sat up, brushing the hair from her face. “Im sorry…it slipped my mind…Weren’t we also scheduled for breakfast with Winwood Stephens?”

“Brunch…Around ten or ten-thirty. But I’m thinking we get a rain check…Re-schedule for tomorrow…Lunch.”

“Toryn…He’s as worried about Nix as we are,” Elva said, with that compassionate murmur in her naturally deep voice he knew (and loved) too well. “They did grow up together… .”

“Among other things,” Toryn almost whispered.

Elva continued as though she hadn’t heard. “…and he just wants to help…Why don’t we postpone it and reschedule for dinner?”

Toryn shrugged in lieu of a verbal response, then swooped in for a quick kiss before finally sliding out of bed.

“I gonna get a quick shower…Join me, my Strawberry Goddess.”

“Why don’t you wait…Let’s call Marilee, say good morning to the children and then I will join you.”

“You drive a hard bargain, Admiral. But then, it’s hard to say no to someone so cute in the morning,” Toryn raised up a corner of the sheets, grinning salaciously as he peered beneath it.

“Careful, Mr. Kaz. Don’t start anything if you expect to eventually get out of this bedroom in the next hour.”

“So cute…” Toryn teased and bolted for the door.

Command Center
Central Complex – Upper Level
0915 Hours

“I don’t plan on being here long… . .Prissa?” Toryn start his spiel before the doors to the Command Center’s reception office were more than a foot opened, and falter in surprise when he saw who manned the receptionist desk.

“Yessir,” the native-born, but Earth-raised Andorian female greeted him with a huge grin. “There’s a big shortage of administration specialists in the Yeoman’s pool these days. So, when I heard Dreolis…that is, Ensign Lux was going to be away for awhile I volunteered to sub. I mean, who knows this job better than me…all modesty aside…sir.”

“Who indeed,” Toryn agreed. Prissa Khullo was, after all, the Outpost Command Center’s first Yeoman/Receptionist…Not to mention Elva’s personal Yeoman on the Presidio for more than 2 years.

“A little slow over in Science?” Toryn smirked knowingly.

“Is it ever?” Prissa sighed, recovering quickly. “You were saying, Captain Kaz…? You don’t plan on being here long… … .”

Toryn took thoughtful pause while inwardly searching to reqcquire his original thread. “Oh.. .Yes, right… .The Admiral and I are taking a little personal time off. And now that I know who’s watching the store I feel much bettr about it… .Anyway….anything I should about before I… .”

“Yes sir…as a matter of fact,” Prissa cut in, nodding to a stack of PADDs o the desk’s right (her left-) hand corner. “A requisition from the Director of Medical Affairs…Admiral Tcost. He has already ordered a number of items from Starfleet Medical and Quartermaster Corps, but it will take four months minimum for them to be shipped through channels from Earth and Luna. And there’s…”

Toryn cleared his throat impatiently, suddenly remembering the pretty Andorian lass’ tendency to ramble. “The chase, Lieutenant, the chase…As in, cut to it… .”

“Sorry, sir. Space Station Megiddo and the Colony has a surplus of those items. Admiral Tcost wants Admiral Khouri-Kaz to request the items, as well as a ship to transport them here as soon as possible..”

Toryn picked up and perused the top PADD, reading down the list; most of which was medical equipment.

“Dramaquine… .Fourteen cases? What is Dramaquine?”

“You will have to check with a medical person for the correct terminology, sir. But from what I have read, Dramaquine is a synthetic opiate, used medically as an analgesic and anti-addictive. I think…Admiral Tcost is using it for patients addicted to Mist.”

Toryn grunted…nodded…and continued reading.

Finishing a moment later, he grunted again and returnd the PADD to the desktop. “Anything else?”

“Not that I can think of, sir.”

“Okay. . “ Toryn said, moving for his office entrance. “I’ll call the Admiral and get her OK. Have Ops get me a secure channel to Megiddo, Fleet Operations and Megiddo Medical…”

“Aye, sir.”
Originally Posted on 26 January, 2008 by Toryn Kaz


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

“Recalibrate the dorsal array,” Nils said examining his console. “I’m getting some overlap in scanning arcs that’s cutting efficiency by seven percent.”

“On it,” Lincoln chimed from his own station.

The Main Science Lab was buzzing with activity. More than a half dozen scientists and officers were busy reading the Hawking’s sensors for departure. The Chief of Science oversaw the chaos with a great sense of responsibility. Duty wouldn’t allow him to rest until he felt his department was at least four clicks above expectations.

A wailing siren began going off near one of the containment units and the computer began calmly informing them of their fate.

Bio Hazard. Bio Hazard. Evacuate Lab.

“What in the name of the Prophets…” Nils turned abruptly and sprinted across the lab to the unit.

“There’s nothing inside the unit,” Koz said casually clearly unalarmed.

“Well, what’s with the big production,” Lincoln said strolling up next to the assembling group.

“This is ridiculous,” Dana said with the hint of a smile. “I find it fascinating how a warning alarm can go off and the computer tells us to get the hell out of dodge, yet we all run straight toward our imminent doom.”

“There is no doom,” Koz said through his rain of intoxicating laughter. “This unit is empty, I’m telling you.”

“Just get it secured,” Nils said grumpily. He turned to make his way back to his work and practically ran over the pretty young blonde girl standing in front of him.

“Sir,” she said quietly. “We just received a comm from the shuttle bay. Lt. Stryfe has something for you to look at.” The young Edo woman’s eyes bore into Nils making him terribly uncomfortable.

“Well, what is it,” he asked sidestepping the young woman and continuing his journey back to his console. She fell in step behind him.

“The alien fighter they are working on is intercepting a signal. Evidently it was not anticipated. Lt. Stryfe thought perhaps you could look it over,” she said her eyes still locked on target. Edo culture overwhelmed the Bajoran considerably. Between she and Rotaran the room was charged with enough sexual energy to make him want to crawl into a Jeffries Tube.

“It’s under control,” Dana called from the containment unit.

“Find out why the alarm went off,” Nils yelled back. “I’m sorry, what’s your name,” he said turning back to the Edo woman. His tone was full of frustration.

“Petty Officer, 2nd Class Teema Avurr,” she said. Nils was sure he detected some seduction in the way she spoke. He hoped he could chalk that up to his own personal notions about Edo culture and nothing else.

“Well Miss Avurr, please let him know that…”

=/\= Costala to Lt. Torrik.=/\=

“For the love of the Prophets,” Nils spat as he stabbed his combadge.

“Costala, I'm kind of busy right now, we have a…”

=^=Hey Torrik, we were assigned new quarters, I moved your stuff to them, you can thank me later, Chief Engineer's quarters, I know you're busy so I won't keep you bye.=^=

“What,” Nils cried in horror. The channel closed abruptly and Nils threw his hands in the air. “Ah Damn…”

“Sir, what can I tell the Lieutenant,” Petty Officer Avurr asked again, clearly unimpressed by Costala’s pronouncement.

“I’ll get to it,” Nils snapped. “I’ll get to it…” He returned to his work, frustrated. His fingers jabbed furiously at his console and he growled as he worked. “Costala…”
Originally Posted on 27 January, 2008 by Torrik Nils

USS Hawking
Dedicated lab - 1138

"Working late?" Harry leaned partway into the office/lab and checked for signs of Gorsky before he entered fully.

The cellular structure indicates a sesamoid bone, but the thin curve would not correlate that…what could it be…. An odd buzzing in her ears coalesced into words as she allowed the concentration necessary for analysis to recede. "Oh..hey! What?"

While admittedly charmed by the vision of Kerrin so focused, it was unnerving to Finn how unaware the doctor had been of her surroundings. It could have been anyone, coming into the unlocked lab… anyone who happened to be carrying a stolen blade… "I just asked if you were working late, which was kind of stating the obvious so, never mind." Drop back ten and punt, "How do you feel about leaving all this behind to spend time with a cranky security grunt?" So I can keep an eye on you?

A brilliant smile spread across her face. "As long as you can give me a few moments to clean up." She started to efficiently re seal the specimens she was observing. "Oh, not me clean up…this clean up. Okay?"

Like he was gonna say no? Harry leaned against the wall and watched her work, in its own way as intoxicating as watching her… "Is it safe to ask what you're working on? Or are you one of those persnickity scientists who guard their secrets until publishing?"

A warm laugh burst from Kerrin. "I can't imagine who you would tell…and I would love to let you in on it, but I don't have quite enough information to come to any sort of conclusion. I need more examples of the tissues that I am working on. But we are far, far from anywhere that I would have access to it." One last sweep to make sure all was in its place and she turned back to Harry. "What are we doing?"

"Hmm?" Oh, right… he'd just asked her out. Except, he'd neglected to plan anything, "Well, we could… there's the mess… or, maybe you'd like to go up to Xander's… are we still calling it Xanders?" Sad, Finn, you are sad.

Biting back a laugh, she grabbed his hand and pulled him toward the door. "We can call it Rumplestiltskin for all I care…lets go."


"Well, it still looks like Xander's," Finn commented as the two entered the comfortable facility, "and Dhark is still in business which, given that I've never actually seen anyone buy anything from him, is a mystery." He led Kerrin to the bar where a new older guy was working the taps.

"How do you do?" the man tossed the obligatory towel over his shoulder and Harry experienced an incredibly vivid flashback to his time as the proprietor or Sweeney's, back in the Qniverse. "Dalluk," the older man introduced himself with a small bow for Kerrin and a sharp glance for Finn, "what can I offer you this evening?"

Hopping up on the barstool, Kerrin waved at the new man behind the bar. Perfect…crusty looking, gravely voice…fantastic. Aware of Harry's status and her own tiredness, Kerrin decided to forgo alcohol and give herself a little boost. "Coffee?"

"You don't have to go dry on my account," Harry told her, as he leaned in next to her stool, "I'll be fine." To Dalluk, "I'll have a coffee, black."

Kerrin leaned, so that she could rest her shoulder against his. "I won't deny it crossed my mind, but I am not drinking mostly because I am afraid if I do, I will fall asleep on the bar….which would not be pretty."

Dalluk smiled and moved off to fetch the caffeine while Harry enjoyed the sensation of her leaning on him. It was the kind of thing a man could get all too used to. That and the concept of being with someone in public… he and Sara… their entire relationship had been lived in the shadows and the shadows had taken her. Not this time…

"Two coffees," Dalluk delivered his charge and made himself scarce. A real pro, that guy.

Closing her eyes to drink in the aroma, Kerrin took a quick sip…burned her tongue and put the cup down. Hissing in a breath to cool off, she started to laugh. "Wow, do I know how to party or what? What next…wanna go toilet paper the bridge?"

"Maybe later," he shifted so he could keep an eye on the rest of the bar, "So, you're taking apart skeletons? Or putting them together?" he lifted his cup in greeting as Gorsky entered the room in the company of a young woman Harry had yet to meet, "I always kind of thought archaeologists were into digging up old jewelry or mysterious artifacts…"

"Well, it would be tough to dig up stuff on board…as much fun as that would be." Kerrin stopped and looked off into the distance. "I haven't been on a dig in ages." Blinking a couple of times to clear the image of being covered in dirt and sweat and being thrilled by it, she turned back to Harry. "I am just trying to identify some remains that were discovered last year. No known species, and really not even enough data to tell what I am looking at." She shrugged and smiled. "Blah, blah, blah…bones, blah, blah, blah fossils…I know I ramble. Anything interesting going on in your neck of the woods?"

Well, there's a really disturbing profile on Acker's operative; my honorary-niece-slash-god-daughter joined the crew, along with a guy I arrested way back when and, oh, yeah, someone stole a weapon from lockup… "Not much. Your mystery is better than mine," his hand reached over to cover hers, on the bar, "an unknown species… did it evolve on the planet where it was found or was it a visitor… or an invader? How did it live? How did it die?" He frowned down at their coupled hands, "It's got to be rough, not being able to really do your job."

Kerrin caught her breath at the easy way he slid his hand over hers. Wee. "Oh, I am still doing my job…the majority of it is analyzing data, but the fun part is crawling around in the dirt looking for possibilities. Really it is a million and one shot you are going to pull out something of any significance…but man, when you do." Her eyes glazed over again…and her voice dropped to a whisper. "There is nothing like it."

Her obvious connection to her work was weirdly seductive. Coffee forgotten, Harry leaned down, hoping to instill the same sense of wonder that unearthing some old piece of clay might. He was on final approach, her eyes leaping up to meet his when…

=/\=Attention all hands, Hawking has received new orders and will be departing Megiddo Station at 0230 Hours. All visitors please disembark at once. Cargo bay 2 receiving goods for transport ASAP. Senior staff, you are required in main briefing at 2130, please acknowledge receipt of orders.=/\=

Harry, being somewhat preoccupied, almost ignored the orders until he remembered, "Shit," =^=Ensign Finn to Ops, comm received… staff meeting at 2130, aye.=^=

Kerrin's eyes which had drifted to half mast suddenly snapped open. "Ensign Finn? Senior Staff?" In her excitement she knocked over the bar stool jumping to her feet and threw her arms around Harry in a giant hug. Then she grabbed him by the face and planted a giant kiss on his mouth. "When..when did you find out?"

He held her close, partly because he was afraid she'd trip over something and partly because, well, duh, "This morning… early… and then it was straight into the madness…" and it had been madness, from almost the first moment. He stared down at Kerrin… he'd planned to fill her in later but with the meeting…

"Why didn't you tell me there was something to celebrate!" She tossed a glance over her shoulder. "Make the next round espressos!" Tipping her head up and smiling she jumped up and down a little. "Very impressive…an Ensign…I may swoon." She buckled her knees a bit and threatened to tip to the side.

"Yeah," smiling a little, he caught her before she could follow through on the swoon and swept her up onto a new, un-tipped-over, stool, "quite the feat, making ensign at 46," for the second time. "Look, something happened today… or, we discovered today that it had happened…" he paused, considering how best to approach warning the ebullient woman, "Are you carrying Minnie?" he asked.

Smiling, Kerrin leaned forward and hooked one finger onto the bottom of the V of her neckline and pulled out slightly. "Wanna see?"

Finn's brains plummeted to parts south and he had to take a moment. "Okay, good, you're… armed," he reached for the cooled caffeine and tossed it back like a whiskey, "Right. Are you with me?"

"With you?"

"Sorry, paying attention, I meant. Never mind. Listen," he took her hands in his and brought himself close, "I wanted to let you know that, aside from everything else, a knife I've had a history with was lifted from lockup, and it was made very clear by whom."

Kerrin felt all the blood drain from her face. "Oh god."

"It might not be that bad," he offered, hopelessly, "but I want, I need you to take more precautions," he leaned forward, planting a short kiss on the top of her head before pulling back to look into her eyes, "From now on, activate the door chime on your lab… and make it loud. I don't want you to enter the office or your quarters without first checking that it's empty… try to stay around others as often as possible…"

Nodding at the instructions, Kerrin took another gulp of coffee. "Yes, yes and yes…and what are you going to do? To stay safe?"

"I…" he faltered, not really having an answer, well, not a good one. "Don't worry about me," okay, that sounded lame. "I mean, not like I'm in Security or anything." Still lame.

A frown creased her forehead. "Somehow not enough reassurance…"

"I can't give you any more," he said, hoping she could hear the apology through the cold truth. Around them, the room's lights flickered lower and music filtered into the space. He looked over at Dalluk, who was at the bar's controls.

"For the ones saying good-bye," the barman explained, nodding to the few parties of 'Fleeters and civilians… civilians who had to leave the ship before she departed the station.

While the heartrending strains of Ella Fitzgerald's 'Every Time We Say Good-bye' filled the air, Harry, in a motion completely foreign to him, pulled Kerrin to her feet.

Knowing how ridiculous it was to expect reassurance from a Security officer, never mind one with the outlook of Harry Finn, Kerrin took the invitation to dance as it was intended and let herself be drawn into his arms. Leaning her face against his chest she began to hum along with the tune feeling his heartbeat underneath her cheek.

"For what it's worth," his words were quiet, as her soft hum soothed him, "I don't want to say good-bye."

Throughout the room, couples spoke quietly, or danced, or drank a parting toast while behind the bar Dalluk polished glasses and watched.

As did another.

Here's looking at you, kid.
Originally Posted on 27 January, 2008 by Harry Finn

He looked at his reflection. The black, gray and gold was not as it should be, it was juxtaposed, the colors were scrambled on the uniform. Easy Javier, it's just the change over from enlisted to officer.. the engineer thought as his eyes went to the single pip on his collar. Why do people place so much value on a single piece of ornamentation? He was no different than he had been before, an engineer, an electrical systems tech, a marine, a demolitions expert, a pilot but still an engineer. And yet that one pip seemed to hold an importance that made even the least experienced officer think they were god's gift to Starfleet.

"I'm the same person," he told the mirror image stubbornly, "this doesn't change anything." He fingered the small, cold piece of metal then tugged the insignia from his uniform. It lay in his hand for a moment as Javier stared down at the gold pip before his fist closed around it.

White lies, deception, half-truths, I taught you well Abselem. a familiar voice rasped. Javier's head jerked up to look at the mirror, his features were pallid, sores burst open on his cheeks and his eyes began to stream with lilac tears. His body was wracked by a series of virulent coughs and the same vile, green putresince was purged from his body. "We killed you," Javier said hoarsely as he struggled for breath. Another surge of coughs brought up more of the viral phlegm, then he was choking for breath. "You died on Halcyon!" Javier gasped.

I will never leave you, my betrayer, my neophyte, my son.

"You're dead! You're dead!" Javier yelled as he sat up quickly, his eyes searching the room. It was dark in his and T'Shaini's quarters, but he could see clearly and no threat presented itself, so he slid from the bed and walked into the small bathroom. Javier ran a hand over his face but found no sores or marks of any type, as he stared into the mirror checking his features for signs of the virus. It's a dream..only a dream. the engineer convinced himself as he inhaled deeply.

Jolted out of sleep by Javier's shouts, T'Shaini watched from beneath her eyelashes as he slipped from the bed. Leaving would indicate that he did not need, require or seek her assistance, and in the course of her profession she realized that in some instances the individual would prefer to be left alone. But she found she could not. Walking quietly to the bathroom, she leaned one hand on the doorway. "Would you care to speak about it?" Her voice, low and soothing, still jarred in the silence of room.

"It was a dream," Javier replied, breathing as if he had just run the eight-mile at SFMC boot camp, his answer re-affirming what he wanted to be true, "nothing more than a nightmare." Her look told him that she needed more of an explanation. "It was like I was on Halcyon again." The nightmare had visited him before, two or three times since they had left the dead planet. "I can hear his voice, Tennyson's," Javier explained then realized how he sounded, "Not all the time, just in some of my nightmares..but I know he's dead..we glassed that planet, nothing survives that sort of bombardment."

"He does not need to exist to remain in your subconscious." She leaned her shoulder in the doorway. "There should be no surprise there are repercussions from the events on the planet. What does he say?" T'Shaini held up her hand. "If you wish to tell me, you are under no obligation to."

Javier placed his palm against T'Shaini's. It reminded him of a meditation exercise she had tried to teach him at one point. There was something soothing about that memory and the simple gesture. "He knows I betrayed him; the rest of what he says is just playing off my fears." His fingers moved between hers and bent to hold her hand. "He still calls me his son."

"In your dream." She wrapped her other hand around their entwined ones. "Or is it that you can truly hear him speak to you?"

My betrayer, my neophyte, my son…

"It's the same voice I heard while I was in the combat suit," he answered, before swallowing the growing sensation of nervousness, "it's Tennyson's voice. I..I think it's just in my dream though. He never talked to me like he does now. On Halcyon it was all about his glorious plans to change the planet and remake the it's just comparisons between my choices and his."

Internally T'Shaini breathed a sigh of relief. If Javier had been exhibiting any serious signs of emotional trauma after Halcyon she would not be willing to handle it on her own. It would be far more beneficial for him to receive help from someone with no personal stake in the outcome. "It is not at all surprising that the voice of your super ego should resonate with the speech of Tennyson, at least for a while." She reached out and cupped his face with her free hand. "If it persists, or intensifies…will you inform me?"

"Yes, of course," Javier replied as he covered her hand with his own. "I can't tell anyone else this stuff..they'd think I'm losing it." He took her hands then held them down and pulled them around his waist. Holding her hands in his, behind his back, Javier leaned forward and placed soft kisses on T'Shaini's mouth. "Don't worry about me though, they're only bad dreams, nothing more," he said pausing close to her lips then pressing forward as soon as he finished speaking.

'Mmmm…what time is it?" She supposed she could open her eyes and look, but somehow that prospect was not appealing.

He glanced at the chronometer sitting on the vanity. "Four, two hours until 'rise and shine' time as the Gunny would say." He moved his arms and picked her up. "Two hours is enough time," Javier said as he moved towards the bed.

We are such stuff as dreams are made on…
Originally Posted on 28 January, 2008 by T'Shaini

Lieutenant Tenanji took a moment to observe the beehive of activity that exemplified Main Engineering before tagging the nearest uniform as she passed. "I beg your pardon," he asked, "but I need to speak with Chief Costala. Is he present?"

"Give me a moment…sir," Heather replied as she glanced back to identify the person speaking. She didn't like being interrupted during a task as crucial as the one she was performing and was slightly annoyed. "We installed a new warp core at Megiddo," she explained in her thick Brisbane accent, "and the little bugger seems to be incompatible with the computer at times. Chief calls it sibling rivalry, I just think the core is acting like a spoiled, little bit.." The woman's fingers literally flew over the controls as she read the scrolling information on the console in front of her. Oakley glanced to the side as a tall African male engineer passed by.

"Ensign Obatu?"

"Yes," Ajani replied, side-stepping Tehamia as she bustled by with a number of PADDs, then gave the lieutenant beside Oakley a curious look as he fell in beside the engineer, "is there a problem?"

Tenanji opened his mouth but…

"This officer wants to speak with the Chief," Heather said, not moving her eyes from the screen, "I have to get the computer re-calibrated to our new baby, who's pitching a fit." A random tap on the controls became a stab as some of the stress Oakley was feeling leaked into her performance. She blew a wayward strand of hair away from her face with a puff of air.

"This way Lieutenant," Ajani said as he crossed the room with the officer in tow. The engineer grabbed the handrails and made his way up a ladder to Upper Engineering. "The Chief has an office but he's never in it. Today he and Towak are up here working on the…"

"Frakking warpcore!" The sound of a tool clanging against metal could be heard issuing from a crawlspace. "What possessed the engineers on the station to send us a core harvested from another ship? Mustapha requested a new core; what were they thinking?"

Ahh, engineers. Usher found something profoundly comforting in the continuity of the breed.

"Would you like for me to go ask them, Sir?" Towak asked. "No, you stay here, I'll go," Javier replied as he crawled out of the passage to find Ajani and another person in mustard-gold. "Sir," Javier said in greeting to the officer, then shot Ajani a questioning look.

"The lieutenant would like to speak with you Chief," Ajani said, "I'm not sure about what."

Taking his cue, Tenanji nodded to Mr. Costala, "Lieutenant Tenanji, Security" he introduced himself, "I wished to speak with you on a matter of some importance," he glanced about the catwalk and the frenetic warp core ballet, "perhaps it would be best if we could discuss the issue in private?"

"Right," Javier said and turned back to the crawlspace. "Towak, change of plans, go ask those idiots over at the station what they were thinking and then try and find out the class of ship that first had this core." The Bajoran nodded as he crawled out of the tube then made his way over to he ladder and began his descent. Javier turned to Ajani. "I need a new fusion arc..I.uh..mine broke."

"On it Chief," Ajani replied with a huge grin as he cleared out of the area.

"Step into my office Lieutenant," Javier said, then disappeared into the crawlspace.

"Engineers," Usher reminded himself with a small smile as he followed the department's chief into the narrow cavern. Two meters in there was a t-junction where Ensign Costala waited, his expression one of curiosity at war with the clear desire to be getting on with his work. "Thank you for your time," he told the man, folding himself into a comfortable position, "I hope I will not keep you long but, Chief Finn has requested that I look into a matter of internal security."

Internal security..okay..or is it something else? A backup investigation to what took place on Halcyon? he thought skeptically. "Until we discover which ship our core was ripped out of," Javier said, "I have time to spare." He leaned back against the bulkhead and toyed with the damaged fusion arc he had grabbed upon entering the tube. I bet I could repair this while he's asking questions.

"To begin with, you might tell me of your experiences with Mr. Finn, both on board and during your time on Halcyon?" The lieutenant's quiet voice gave no hint as to what he was seeking, "I gather you also had some dealings with one another while under Q's… control?"

"Could you be more specific Sir?" Javier requested as he removed the arc's power source then began to dismantle its casing. "Harry and I were around each other quite a bit during the past mission and I don't think you have time to hear the whole story." And I really don't feel like talking about it either. "As for the incident with Q, I only knew him as Finn the bartender then."

"I see," Usher watched the man work a moment before drawing a tricorder from its carrier, "Forgive me, I had forgotten, I am speaking to so many that I have taken to recording these conversations, do you mind?"

"Yes sir I do, until I speak with my CO I see no reason why I should answer any of your questions on the record," Javier spoke politely and yet was frank with the security officer. "The details of each event of the past mission are recorded in the ship's mission logs. If you insist on interrogating me I would like to have counsel. But if it's off the record, I'll answer your questions as best as I can."

Eyes widening slightly, Tenanji put the tricorder down where Costala could see it, unactivated. "Not interrogate," he said, "Only trying to find a deeper truth." He leaned back, hooking one arm over his knee, "From what you say of your acquaintance with him… with Finn… I surmise it would be unlikely for you to notice any aberrations in his behavior?"

"Aberrations? Sir, Harry is moody to begin with, what sort of aberrations are you referring to?"

Internally, Tenanji cursed the eccentricity that defined Harry Finn. It was no less than true and, if Finn's suspicions regarding a potential hidden personality were valid, it would be damnably difficult to spy. From the first time the two had met, when Finn had been presenting himself as a bookish accountant by the name of Statler through to the court-martial, which Usher had attended (with no small amount of satisfaction, however shameful he might later have found it), the man in question was, at best, changeable. At worst… well…

"I wish I could be more specific," he told the confused engineer. "But the nature of these enquiries are nebulous because, the thing we seek is, also." Leaning forward, "Are there any in your acquaintance on Hawking that have exhibited any signs of… changeability? Have any not been themselves for any length of time… or been absent for periods without explanation?" Before Costala could draw breath he reminded himself that he was, in fact, speaking to an engineer, "Have there been any unusual signs of activity within the systems?"

"Changeability? Not been themselves or absent..? Well let me think sir," Javier said, as he stripped the arc tool down to its bare bones, "myself and Dr. Munro were infected with a virus on Halcyon, I suppose you could say we changed somewhat. Everyone was scattered all over the planet so we were all AWOL for some time. Some people didn't come back from their 'absence'. Then we had the systems invaded by the Tennyson consciousness and Three was fried out by that bastard..he's the captain's younger Borg twin brother..before that our warp core and internal systems were wrecked in the transition between that robot hellhole the Sentinel found and Halcyon..unusual signs of activity are the norm on this ship Lieutenant."

"Let me be clear," the security officer remained perched forward, as if prepared to strike, "I am following the orders of the Chief of Security of this vessel who has instructed me to discover a threat… a threat to the safety of all who reside on Hawking. Further you should understand that while Ensign Finn is… not a friend… his record stands. If he believes there to be a danger on board, then I also believe it and I will make it my business to discover its nature and its intent.

"If you are truly ignorant of what I speak, so be it, but I should think a man so close to the Chief Counselor of the Hawking, whom I know to be involved in this investigation, would have at least an inkling as to the nature of this danger."

It was almost as if the temperature in the tube dropped to frigid. Javier carefully placed the tool on the deck, and looked at the security officer with his cool green eyes. "Lieutenant, what I'm trying to tell you is that you have to give me something more to go on than 'unusual signs'. You haven't served aboard this ship for an extended period of time so I will equate your vagueness to ignorance." The engineer paused and remembered the small Borg that helped him in Engineering when the ship had been short of engineering crew. He frowned, thought for a moment then said, "I can have Three search the systems for aberrations. Even if they are minute he will find them, he lives for that sort of thing." He started to retrieve the fusion arc, but halted with his hand over the tool. Pulling back his hand Javier said, "Respectfully sir, if you ever try to use someone close to me as leverage again, I'll mop this tube with your ass."

What had he done to deserve this posting? Tenanji was caught between the urge to explain the nature of vagueness as an investigatory technique to avoid asking leading questions ("And did the man have blue eyes and wear a purple polka dot bikini?" "Why yes, I believe he did!"), and wondering how a man would ask a child who had recently been 'fried' to perform another potentially hazardous scan. In the end he merely reached for his tricorder, "I thank you for your observations," he said, tucking the device away, "They have been very…instructive."

Turning to ease his way out of the junction, he paused, "What I said of the danger is real, Ensign… look to your systems." He'd traversed perhaps half a meter before he turned to fix Costala with his own, dark gaze, "And for the record, I will use whatever leverage I see fit in the defense of the people in my care. If you should happen to find that offensive, be sure you will find me ready."

"We're on top of things down here lieutenant," Javier replied tersely. "Readiness is a good thing sir, because I doubt many people on this ship will be as accommodating to your questions as I have been." He watched as the officer left the tubes. Security officers.. He shook his head. What did the guy expect him to say? Harry was acting like a complete nut case on Halcyon..who wasn't?

FIGHT!…or JP between Usher & Javier
Originally Posted on 28 January, 2008 by Javier Costala

Knowing someone on the ship had to be responsible for the incidents that had occurred and narrowing down a list of likely candidates were two completely different things.

T'Shaini pressed the heels of her hands into her eye sockets hoping it would relieve some of the pressure of the headache that was escalating. Hours of wrestling with providing information without breaking the confidentiality of a doctor/patient relationship was beginning to take its toll. Also, she knew these people, that was her responsibility, how could she have missed something as large as what this was purported to be?

She scraped her fingers through her hair to pull it back from her face and stared at the list she had compiled again. The problem was, the ones with enough intelligence to perpetrate something this complex had shown no aberrations, and the ones who had been showing instability did not appear to have the mental capacity.

Brainwashing… If that were it, would they appear more tractable than previously? Edded forced his way to the forefront of her mind. Shifting his position on the list she scanned with a different perspective. T'Shaini shifted Boyce further down the list, he had known issues with other crewmembers, and as an engineer had access to the technology, however he was far too consistently volatile. As was T'thianco, his position in Security afforded him the opportunity, but with the new criteria…

Time for another list. One for possible subjects of external indoctrination and one for recent fluctuations in personality. Dividing her previous list a frown creased her forehead over the next name…Alex. Certainly intelligent enough, and recently becoming more and more socially aware, as much as she had encouraged him in that journey T'Shaini now found herself wondering where the seed of change was planted. No, not Alex. Finding it highly unlikely, but knowing she must place all viable candidates on the list, he remained.

Anyone else in security? A vague sense of amusement at attempting to picture Darby as Acker drifted through her. No further red flags. She perused the departments one by one searching for the triggers to place someone on the growing list. Her fingers froze as the list for engineering appeared on her screen.


They were just dreams, nightmares, after effects from the ordeal on Halcyon…but could she justifiably dismiss it? Her job was to flag individuals for investigation using a very specific criteria regardless of her personal opinion. Knowing it was not possible, indeed finding it inconceivable, she nonetheless added a name to her list.

Javier Costala
Originally Posted on 29 January, 2008 by T'Shaini

Outpost Jericho-Samaria
Federation Department of Justice
~ Some Minutes Earlier – Kendrassi System Time Zone ~

He’d been only a minute away from calling it a night. Well…closing it down for work related business, at any rate. So when his second-in-charge, Robbie Knowlton, breezed in (without hitting the chime to announce himself, as was his habit) with ‘the look’ in his brushy browed green eyes Terry immediately jumped to conclusion of time-honored habit.

“If it’s Doyle on the horn,” he’d started, “make an excuse. Any excuse…I’ve been taken hostage by disgruntled postal employees…Accidentally locked in the waste disposal room…whatever. If it’s my wife, don’t make an excuse…She’s wise to all my dodges. Tell her I’m…..”

Robbie held up a hand to stop him. “It’s the OIC of Communications, Central Ops. Sigourney just sent them an alert for coded incoming transmission, directed at you personally…Priority One. Code name, Dark Horse.”

“Have it piped through,” Terry had replied. Then, just as quickly… “But give me 15 minutes or so. Pull up the file from Starfleet Internal Affairs of Acker, Shaun Ryan…Doyle’s file on the Jericho-Beta operations, and link me. Then…call Ceres at J/S Medical. Tell her I may be a bit late.”

A bit. Now there was an understatement. He’d only skimmed things initially. But the I.A. file on Acker’s past activities alone was at least a ten minute read. Moses and Mary on a jackass…this guy Acker has done more damage to Starfleet and Federation operations than the combined espionage networks and space armadas of the Klingons, the Romulans, and the Borg. And if even half the suspicions of their man undercover in the ‘Habitat’ were true, Acker AKA Charles Champe Stearns was well on his way to starting up again.

Terry took time to refresh his coffee, then took a seat at his office’s comm station and keyed the ACCEPT sequence.

“Finn…” he said when the familiar face appeared on-screen, instantly focusing on Harry’s collar. “Congratulations, Ensign Finn.”

“What?” Oh, right. “Yeah, thanks,” Harry tapped a quick tattoo on the desk, “Made Chief of Security, too but I’m waiting for someone in Command to notice the mistake. Look,” he leaned forward, “the Hawking is en route to Jericho-Samaria but I didn’t feel this issue could wait until we arrived.

"First, I know how crazed this is going to sound but, are you sure that Shaun Acker arrived at your location?” He held up a hand before Wolfe could respond, “before you answer, check out this report,” and with a quick command, shot a data burst of T’Shaini’s profile to the DoJ agent. “If you read that over, you’ll see where this is coming from.”

Terry keyed the screen to split-task and casually gulped his coffee while digesting the profile worked up by the Hawking’s counselor.

“Okay…” he said when he’d finished. “Without personal experience with the subject as a yardstick…let me compliment Counselor T’Shaini. From what I’ve read on this man’s accomplishments I can see where you have cause for true concern. However… .Jericho-Samaria possesses an A.I. computer matrix and medical scanning system second to none…Not only Federation-wide, but anywhere in either the Alpha or Beta Quadrants. And DNA doesn’t lie. We compared Stearns’ with the sample Acker had to give as a Starfleet member. Even replicated it would give off tell-tale indicators. Sigourney…our A.I. computer…comfirms a 99.9% match… .That’s only .05% short of perfect. Clones only check in at 98.5%. Believe me…the man in our facility is Shaun Ryan Acker, right down to the burn scars on his back and upper arms.”

“Then I’d like to know what we’ve got here,” Finn said, accepting that it had been a long shot. Acker on Hawking, within reach, would have been too much to hope for. “And how whomever it is knows so much: he’s got intel that never made it into any reports and there’s… a tone… to these contacts…” he shook his head, “I know you’re right, I know he’s not here. But somehow… it’s him.” Frustrated, Harry looked away from the screen. “What if the profiler’s theory is correct… and we have a split personality?” He looked back, “It’s not impossible, given modern hypnosis techniques, drugs, neural implants…?” Yeah, Finn, keep reaching, confirm your own insanity.

“Or something more in the vein of new technology…Standby a sec…” Terry’s fingers danced swiftly over the keys on his terminal, tripping forward in the I.A. file to the list he’d perused weeks earlier.

“Bingo…One of the things Acker is tentatively credited with having a hand in is the theft of a prototype system developed by Starfleet Technical Intelligence…An Engramatic Cloning Device. Or, as the report describes it, a device for personality grafting. The boys at Starfleet Intelligence pulled the guts of it from the central node of a captured Borg sphere. And after a little reverse engineering, came up with a way to take the personality…the mental essence of one person and place it over the consciousness of another. It would give their deep cover agents a fool-proof shield against being compromised by even telepathic probing…among other applications, I’m sure.”

“I’m sure,” Finn’s voice was dry, reaching Saharan. He’d had a list of Acker’s suspected acquisitions, too, and that little toy had been nowhere on it. “I need all the information you have on that…” There was a chance Munro or Torrik could extrapolate a way to detect the second personality’s presence.

“In fact,” he added, “that entire list would be welcome.”

“That won’t be a problem. You’re more than welcomed to it,” Terry said, with noticeable hesitancy, however. “I was thinking, though…If there’s someone…or more than one person among your crew whose been treated with a dose of Acker with this engramatic device, there’s a chance he may intercept any info transmitted to you. Are you sure you wanna risk that?”

“Think about it,” Harry told the other man, “Anyone on this crew who has been treated to a… dose of Acker… already knows what you’ve got in that file. I, on the other hand, appear to have been left out of the loop and it will go ill for this vessel if there are any other tricks on that list which can be used against the Hawking,” he leaned forward, eyes hard, “I have over 150 souls on this ship and we both know how little that means to Acker. Do you think his double is going to be any more sympathetic?”

”Good point,” Terry agreed and keyed in the sequence that would gather all the pertinent information into a single file and transmit it to the Hawking.

“Oh and by the way,” Terry continued. “It wasn’t so much that you were purposely left out of the loop as there’s been additions made in the list, and the file itself since the…Anarasi Maru. The FBI, INTERPOL, S.I. 6, and Bajoran Intell have thrown in collected intelligence on the activities of Acker’s two associates…Gavin Booth and Sims Al-Kar. As a matter of fact, both were placed on Luna at the time the shipment containing the ECD was stolen at the Yeager Spaceport.”

“Go figure,” Harry said, wondering if the red haze he was seeing at the mention of those names, particularly Booth, would be visible on Wolfe’s screen. “Are the dynamic duo still keeping company with Acker… Stearns?”

Terry gave a snorted chuckle. "Like three peas in a wormy pod. In fact, according to our source, the three of them are big cheeses in the 'Habitat'. They've been seen with a number of dignitaries in the Cygnian ambassadorial community.'"

“How nice for them,” Finn’s answering smile was less than sincere, “Meanwhile, you might want to take a look for missing persons reports in your territory, particularly any that pop to young women… often pros but not always.” If Gavin was on the Outpost, he’d be making his presence known.

“I’ll put a bug in our security chief’s ear,” Terry said, both men lapsing in a decidedly uncomfortable silence.

“Listen…” Terry finally resumed. “…when you get here, come by the office. There’s someone here I’d like you to meet…And I’m sure he’d like to meet you, too. Who knows…maybe you two can help each other on this Acker thing.”

This Acker thing AKA Finn’s Life’s Work. At least, it had been since first receiving the assignment to dig up a Syndicate mole, five years back. “I’ll do that,” he said, but for now, he’d gotten his data and it was time to go digging for Acker’s mole… and how much more perverse could this get? “Look for me in eight to ten days,” he reached over to close the transmission, “Finn out.”

Joint Post between –
Harry Finn and NPC Terence Wolfe (as voiced by Toryn Kaz)
Originally Posted on 29 January, 2008 by Toryn Kaz

Part I - Come and Knock on Our Door…

:: USS Hawking ::
:: Chief Engineer’s Quarters ::


Nils stalked into the multi-roomed suite, scowling all the way. "Costala, where the hell are you?" Too much time on duty had left Nils in a poor humor. The inability to reach the engineer who'd taken the liberty of moving him out of his beloved shuttle (a move he'd eventually planned himself) and into the Engineer's suite had left him even more irritable.

Having had the computer alert her to Lt. Torrik's return to the rooms, T'Shaini hurried back to their quarters…wanting him to hear it from her before stumbling across the harsh reality. Pausing to catch her breath at the doorway she started to enter, then passed her hand over the chime.

The Bajoran spun on himself and headed back to the door intent on thoroughly chastising his perpetual roommate. With his brow low and his lips appropriately pursed he palmed the door control and almost fell back when it hissed open. Despite his proximity to the ship's counselor on Halcyon, he'd grown no more comfortable with her piercing presence. Accepting, perhaps… But comfortable…not at all.

"Costala's not here," he blurted, recovering his footing.

"I know, I am here to speak to you, if I might…I am sorry for disturbing you." And about to be even sorrier. She thought to herself.

Slack jawed, Nils drew himself up to his full height. "If you might…" the Bajoran echoed. "I'm hoping that means you might not," he joked awkwardly, waxing flippant as he often did in the presence of a head shrinker. "I've been cleared for duty for a long time," he added shaking his head. "And..and there's no need for an evaluation for several months…I'm sure of it." He felt trapped.

"No, no evaluation, this is of a personal nature rather than professional." She tried to ease in the doorway, unwilling to have what had the potential to be a rather volatile conversation in the corridor.

"Personal?" Nils nodded and backed away, making a small circle in the middle of the room. "Well then, let's talk personal." Cold steel clamped hard over the man's countenance even as the turmoil in his gut reached tempest proportions.

T'Shaini hovered by the doorway, uncertain of how to begin. Better to rip the band aid off all at once. "Javier has asked me to move in with him…you…both of you for at least the time being and I have accepted." His frozen countenance led her to stumble further with an explanation. "In a conversation regarding an investigation that I have been told you are familiar with, the subject was broached and though I urged him to consult with you, it rather went awry…but it was made on sound judgment with…I perhaps should have thought further about your…" drat "I am in my office a great deal of the time…"

I live with Costala and the ship's counselor. The sinking reality clenched hold of the Lieutenant and would not release him. A sudden expression of confusion followed by blinding understanding paraded across the tortured man's face. Locking eyes with the Vulcan he nodded slowly. "Well," was all he could mutter.

Silence that seemed eternal stretched out between them. Nils realized the length of quiet only felt extensive to him. Sneaky counselors had a way of using the hush against you.

"Scans…" he said suddenly, absently waving his hand through the air. "I have scans and things… The lab is in need…" He pointed at the door with a lost expression and then hastily stepped towards his escape. He paused briefly in the door jam and turned around abruptly. After opening his mouth to speak, he thought better of it and continued on his way. To anywhere else.

"Well that went well…" Hoping that perhaps enforced proximity to his worst nightmare…her, would bring positive change for Jillian, T'Shaini shrugged and made her way back to her office. I have completely decimated one afternoon, let us see what I can do as an encore.

The corridors of the Hawking passed in a red blur. Nils was livid. Unless he found an outlet soon he felt certain the explosive force of his emotional decompression would shut him down. He traced his steps back to the Main Science lab and applied his energy to work.

“Only the science is sure,” he said like a mantra, slamming himself down at his desk.

After rubbing his temples he initiated his terminal. Surely there was something productive he could do. The communiqué from Stryfe caught his eye immediately. A good alien mystery seemed perfectly diverting.

Stryfe’s curious signal played out across the screen. Already Nils felt better. Initially he had no idea what he was looking at, which meant no preconceived bias polluting his data.

“Always a good place to start,” he said as he began tearing the signal apart. “Computer decompress data stream and view in formulaic representation.”

Error. Signal is not a scalar quantization of data. It may not be decompressed.

“Not scalar,” Nils questioned out loud. “Let me see it in three dimensions then.”

Error. Unable to complete request.

“Computer, that’s impossible. It’s a signal from a comm system. Alien or not, the signal exists in three dimensions… Unless it exists in more,” he added as an after thought.

Having already forgotten his run-in with T’shaini, the Hawking’s Chief of Science dove headlong into calculations bordering on insane. Lost in thought and time, Nils put himself to the task of quantizing a signal in multi-dimensional vectors.

A JP featuring Nil'Shaini
Originally Posted on 29 January, 2008 by Torrik Nils

Part II - How many dimensions does this thing have?

~Two Hours Later~

:: Main Science ::

“What in the seven hells are you doing up,” Lincoln said as he entered the lab. “Your shift ended hours ago. I thought you’d be counting sheep by now.”

“Sheep?” Nils didn’t look up. He was on a role. “I’m not sure why quantizing sheep would be applicable but… Look at this,” he said excitedly. “I have been quantizing something.”

Lincoln peered over his shoulder. “What am I looking at?”

“Comm signal from Stryfe’s alien fighter. He keyed into it rather serendipitously and sent it up here,” the Bajoran said with enthusiasm.

“That’s no comm signal I’ve ever seen…”

“No it’s not… And it’s not one I’ve seen either. I decrypted about seventy-five percent of it when I suddenly came across this…” Nils pointed to a telltale marker on his screen.

“That’s Federation… Starfleet even,” Lincoln said, confusion setting in. “How did an alien craft get a Starfleet signal marker?”

“It didn’t,” Nils said again switching screens. “It’s just picking up a Starfleet marker. The signal is emanating from Hawking. Nothing we have on board can pick this up. And here is why…”

“Hey, that’s our internal sensors! The signal looks like our internal sensors?” Lincoln pulled up a stool and sat down.

“Not just looks like them Lincoln. It is a clone of them… In every way, this signal resembles and acts like our sensors. But it’s more than that. It exists on branes of reality that our equipment isn’t remotely set up to perceive,” Nils' eyes danced. He finally looked up and the two men nodded to each other as their respective intellects worked through the implications.

“We’re talking the next best thing to multiple dimensions,” Nils continued. “Where the signal touches our space it looks and acts like Hawking’s sensors. But where it exists elsewhere, and by elsewhere I have no idea what I mean…yet. Anyway, where it exists outside x,y,z, and time of our space/time, it takes on all these other characteristics. I don’t know what it is doing, but it is piggybacking on our ship's sensors perfectly. We would never detect this…”

Lincoln was silent. “You seem like you know more than you’re letting on,” he said intuitively.

The Bajoran considered for a moment whether or not he should let his friend in on the possible conspiracy aboard Hawking. Nils was not easy to trust another… And the fact that he trusted this man with his life was enough to convince him to continue. “Finn came to me a couple months ago with concerns that the ship had been infiltrated by some agent of a spook called Acker. There’s a whole story I’m sure. He asked me to look into a means by which this agent might gain influence and intelligence aboard the ship.”

“And this is it,” Lincoln said putting together the pieces.

“This is it… Dana and I compared Hawking’s sensor power output to those of other Intrepid ships and we’re way above redline.” Nils noticed the elder man flinch at the mentions of Dana’s name. He made a mental note not to say it again. “It’s nothing we’d catch in a diagnostic, however, because without a basis of comparison it just looks like we’re cranking up sensors really high. Now it all makes sense… This…multi-dimensional vectored… what-ever-it-is has been operating right under our noses for who knows how long.”

“How does this agent access this signal? The computer monitors all activity, right?”

“Yes…” Nils said his expression becoming puzzled. “It would have to be something not tied into our computer core. Maybe a terminal that’s been disconnected from the system or a PADD or some kind of remote device… With this kind of technical know-how, there are nothing but possibilities. The applications are virtually endless, but it is light-years beyond standard Starfleet tech.

Lincoln nodded. “Multi-dimensional data compression could effectively remove the distance limitation on transporter beams and make sub-space communication obsolete.”

Nils nodded. “That kind of stuff would be years off, but it’s totally possible. Incidentally, I think I discovered a brane of the universe previously unknown. You think they’ll name it after me?”

“Maybe you can name it…”

“I want to call it Jillian’s Brane,” he said smiling like a schoolboy.

“Anyway…” Lincoln chuckled and rubbed Nils’ head as if he were mussing his hair. The absence of any hair of consequence made the action moot. “How can we trace it? Back to Finn's spook, I mean.”

“And there we come to the dead end…”

“Ah… The fly in the ointment…”

“My theory here is that all of this works out in real space with some type of entropy encoding…” The Bajoran shrugged. “I can’t localize anything in that case. In order to be accessed in the here and now the signal would have to be assigned codes and symbols that match code length with the probability of the the representation in multiple dimensions and branes. That coding in turn would have to be proportional to the negative representation in three dimensions, not counting time.”

“Oh,” Lincoln said as his own mind clicked along at breakneck pace. “So if you knew the approximate entropy characteristics of the data stream in advance, a simple static code could be used to translate the source into spatial triangulation.”

“Exactly… It would be as simple as Elias Gamma coding or Fibonacci or Golomb coding… Basic stuff like that. But…”

“But who can know in advance the characteristics of a data stream this complex. I see the problem…” Lincoln smiled. “I have faith in you, kid,” he said patting him on the shoulder. “Get after it…”

“Lincoln, we’re talking decades of decoding…”

“Then you’d better get started. None of us is getting any younger.”

The two men hunkered down over their terminals and ripped apart the fabric of the space around them, even as Hawking’s engines warped it, drawing them ever closer to Outpost Jericho-Samaria.
Originally Posted on 29 January, 2008 by Torrik Nils

USS Hawking
Dedicated Lab 1138 - Deck 6

“… Gorsky…”

Alex blinked away the code running across his computer screen and looked up, “Yeah? I mean… what?” He frowned as he realized he was being addressed by someone he’d never actually met. “Sorry,” he straightened and felt a dozen twinges running up his spine.

“Have no worries,” the other man entered the combined lab and raised his brows at the unique combination of antiquities and technology, “Lieutenant Tenanji,” he introduced himself, “I have recently joined Hawking’s Security department.”

“Oh, hey,” Alex grinned, “well, if you need advice on how to deal with Finn, your best bet is to distract him with coffee…”

Usher’s answering smile was as quiet as his voice, “Mr. Finn and I are already acquainted,” he pointed out, “but of course, you would know that.”

“I would?” Alex leaned back against the raised desk, “Because we’re roommates… well, we were until recently,” and he again thanked all the gods and prophets for Finn’s promotion, which had allowed Gorsky to finally enjoy a room of his own. Just in time for Miss Dana Grissom to join the crew… he wondered if he could get her to meet him for lunch… or coffee… or… “Nah,” he dragged himself back to the conversation, “Finn’s a good guy but not big on the sharing.”

“Rather, because you have been delving into his records,” Tenanji pointed out, “his sealed records… which would of course include my former dealings with Chief Finn.”

“Oh, dude,” Gorsky straightened, “that would be, you know, unethical, and impossible and…” at the Lieutenant’s quirked brow, “okay not impossible but I can guarantee that if I were digging, you’d never see a trail.”

“Nor did I,” Tenanji agreed, “but as it is widely known throughout the vessel that Alexander Gorsky believes rules only happen to other people, I would be a fool to accept the lack of obvious tampering as exculpatory. ” He began to wander about the office, not touching anything but taking note of the careful disarray with which Alex surrounded himself. “It is also spoken of that you are of a curious nature and you are aware,” he turned to face the younger man, “that someone is toying with Ensign Finn. It would be more difficult to accept that you did not take an interest, than that you broke regulations to discover as much as possible about him, his past or his enemies.”

“Are you Sherlock Holmsing me, Sir?” admitting nothing because, well, duh. “Even if I were doing this delving,” the scientist added, “how could it hurt? I mean, someone’s yanking Finn’s chain and even if he is wound tighter than a cobra he’s a friend…”

“And you might discover something in his records that would uncover the culprit?” Pausing near Gorsky, Usher tilted his head, “Do believe that Finn would not have thought of this? That he is not pursuing such a path already?”

“Doesn’t mean he can’t… couldn’t… use help.” Chill, dude.

“Indeed. I will be sure to inform him of your efforts… that is, your desire… to be of assistance.” All that was smooth, the officer turned to exit the lab but, before he left, “I wonder, ensign, why a specialist in nanotechnology, a study of the future, would be sharing space with an archeologist, who delves so far in the past?”

“There were some personality issues with the other guys in Sciences,” Gorsky shrugged, “and Dr. Schaeffer’s involved in a double-blind study of… some ancient shit or other… with Edded Baya, so they each needed a separate space so, there you go.”

“I see. Well, it can be no hardship, sharing work space with an attractive woman…”

“Not until I need to access LCARs and she’s lost in translation,” Alex replied before wondering when Tenanji had had the opportunity to discover that Schaeffer was hot. “And, of course, she’s into Finn…”

“Of course. Well, I do thank you for your time.” And with that, the lieutenant left the room.

Alex remained still for quite some time after Tenanji had gone.

Post featuring NPC's Ensign Alex Gorsky and Lieutenant Usher Tenanji
Originally Posted on 29 January, 2008 by Harry Finn

.: U.S.S. Hawking | Captain's Ready Room :.

"So then… Ensign Finn is bringing by a new crewman to see you. Part of Orientation." Greene read from the padd in front of him. After which the slender dark skinned human set it aside to make eye contact with his CO. Nathan however, was engrossed in another padd. "Uhh.. Sir?"

"Right dude… gotcha. Harry's coming. what time?" Greene could see only the top of the teen captain's tousled head as he once again consulted the device in his hand.

"Soon…like… 15 minutes. But I've got a strip of latinum says he's here ten mikes early."

"Great." Nathan replied absently. "Did you know that KPM is coming to Megiddo this year?" He looked up, for the first time during a visit that had been almost fifteen minutes long. "They're playing at the colony."

Dylan Shrugged. "I didn't know that. But I don't listen to them that much."

"Oh. Okay. Well, they're coming with some other groups that I've never heard of." Greene may as well have been talking to a brick wall at this point. Nathan's mind wasn't in status reports and appointments. the padd he'd been reading was a magazine he'd picked up on the station that contained a schedule for all the musical acts coming to Megiddo in the next twelve months. Usually, none of his favorites ever came out this far so he was forced to download their music whenever he got back to the station or the outpost. This year however, along with Klingon Pacifist Movement, several other musical acts were coming to Megiddo. How likely was it that he'd be at the station during that time? Not very. But at least he could catch the holo-vid showing. Perhaps he might even convince a certain new crewmember to go too.

"Well. that's it. Lieutenant Hano said he'd have the a report on the shuttles and all the auxilliary craft by the end of the week too. I forgot to add that." Dylan scanned his padd again to make sure he'd missed nothing. Satisfied, he stood. "Anything else?"

Nathan shook his head, trying to remember if he needed anything else from the Yeoman. "Nah." he said finally. "Tell Nevin that's ok. I don't think we'll be using any shuttlecraft for at least this next few weeks. So he doesn't have to hurry."

"Ok." Dylan replied casually, turning for the door. "I'll see you tommorow sir."

Nathan's head was already back into the padd by the time the crewman uttered his parting words. "Later" He muttered with a wave, not bothering to look up.

Jenny bounced on the balls of her feet a little as the turbolift approached the bridge the bridge!! Obviously Harry was trying to make up for being such a hardass in his office yesterday, giving her a personal orientation which included a meeting with the captain of the Hawking. Darby… Darbs, had been pretty slammed by that bit of news. Stealing a glance upwards, she saw that Harry's mind wasn't quite in the game. He was carrying a PADD which he said he needed to deliver, along with the transforming robot she'd bought him on the space station… when she'd met Nate. Nate who's surname she'd never learned… and who she'd probably never see, again.

"Here we go," Finn shepherded Jenny off the 'lift and onto the main bridge, "the brains of the operation and, over here," he gave her a gentle touch to the shoulder to direct her towards the captain's ready room, waving a casual greeting to Hawthorn, on Tactical, "is where we'll find Captain Benjamin…" he looked down at the young, oh, so young woman and had a sudden sense of foreboding. Well, hell, it's not like she'd never met teenage boys, before, right?


He pressed the control pad on the ready room door.

"S'open." Nathan called out, detatching himself from a biography of KPM's guitar man, a Denobulan by the name of Krelax. Nathan rose from his chair and looking down at his watch, realized that it must be Harry, and whomever he'd decided to bring up. "Time to look all Captainy." He thought, pulling his uniform jacket on and zipping it up. He'd just smoothed the jacket's front as the doors swished open, revealing Harry and his charge. "Hey Ha.." He stuttered, noticing for the first time who exactly Harry had brought with him.

It was Jenny.

"Harry.. Hey." He said, gathering his composure. He'd been free and clear to speak to Jenny for a few days now, according to T'Shaini, but hadn't done so yet. For as soon as the Vulcan counselor had given her blessing, it seemed that work and other things associated with work had blitzed him. It'd been hard to even find time to take care of Three, let alone go searching for her. But that appeared to be moot now. She had found him.

"Captain," Harry was about to make introductions when he realized that at least two out of three people in the room were holding their breath. He could feel the vacuum as the two young people sucked in the available oxygen and held it ransom. "Sir?"

"Nate?" Jenny's voice betrayed her, pitching to something uncomfortably close to a squeak.

Harry felt the double take before he could stop it, "Nate?"

"Uhh… " Awkward. "Hey.. Jenny." Nathan said slowly. Good idea… not telling her which ship you were on.. Really worked out for ya! A small voice in his head chastised. Shoving the annoyingly smug voice off the tot he side Nathan allowed a casual smile. "It's ok Harry. We met on the station.. a few days ago."

"Captain?" now that definitely was a squeak. Stop, breathe, begin. "Yeah, Uncle Harry," shock had Jen lapsing into the familiar form of address, "we ran into each other in the toy shop… when I was buying the Transformer for you…" But he hadn't said a damn thing about captaining a starship!

"Ah," Harry looked at the girl's flushed cheeks then back at his teen-aged fearless leader, "yes, well, I can see how that makes this all better."

Uncle? As in.. parent's sibling's daughter? Wow. Of all the girls in the whole of God's creation to run into. To run into not only one that was coming aboard to serve under him, but then to run into one that was related to the president of the curmudgeon club himself? "I didn't know that you were coming aboard this ship." Nathan blurted finally. Could he… should he attempt to salvage this meeting as anything resembling official? Looking at Harry, he couldn't tell. He thought he might like to.. but could he? Even if he wanted to. Cause after all… Jenny'd already broken out the first names, and in Nathan's estimation it wasn't something that was easy to do, going back to sir or any type of formality when you've already started calling one by his or her given name. "So… " He Trailed off, looking from one to the other, unsure of what to say or how best to proceed.

"So," Harry echoed brightly, "Captain Nathan Nate Benjamin, this is Crewman Jenny Anderson… daughter of my former partner at JAG, Seth Anderson," he smiled, "May as well make it official, since I guess a few details were left out the last time you two kids… met. So, no, Sir, we're not genetically related but it would be very safe to say I consider… Jenny… to be family."

"Harry," Jen hissed, almost elbowing him in the ribs before she remembered that, family status or no, he was technically her boss. This SUCKS.

"Right." the teen nodded. "Right. Good to meet you Crewman Anderson." Nathan offered, the hint of a grin threatening to emerge. Better just be chill about it… til Harry's gone. "Welcome to the ship." Somehow, things still felt tense. "So.. you guys want to sit down.. or something to drink or… " He indicated the replicator with a wave. "anything?"

Even as Finn opened his mouth to a)decline and b)end this farce, his commbadge chimed it's fatal 'boop'. You have got to be kidding.

=^=Gran to Finn=^=

=^=Finn, here. Go ahead=^=

=^=Chief, there's a… disturbance… in the mess=^= And there was - the uncomfortable trio in the office could hear the shouts through the connection. =^=Apparently Horace added something to Chef Green's sauce… we're about ten seconds from cutlery being thrown, sir.=^=

Harry's eyes darted to Nathan's but there was no way he could have arranged… could he? =^=Fine=^= he responded, =^=I'll be there ASAP but if one cleaver shows up you shoot first, apologize later. Finn out.=^= "Well," he told Romeo and Juliet, "Looks like I'm needed. Sir," he passed the PADD over to the captain, "Here's the latest transmission regarding… that thing… and," as he turned to leave, "I'm sure we'll have quite a lot to discuss… later?"

The disturbance not withstanding, there was indeed much to discuss… later. Of course, as far as he was concerned, there was much to discuss right now too.. just not with Harry. As the security chief left, Nathan looked over at Jenny, who'd never taken her eyes off him. He forced a smile that likely looked that way. "So.." he repeated. "Umm.. You never said you were coming here."

"You never said you were the captain of a starship." Jenny crossed her arms over her chest, uncertain which of the many feelings swirling through her she should attend. So far Attraction was in the lead but at the same time… "You never… I thought you were a civilian… you at least knew I was in the 'Fleet…" Shock was gaining ground…. "You lied" And Hurt wins the race.

Taken aback, Nathan blurted out the first thing that came to mind. "I didn't lie." He countered. "I just didn't tell you. That's not lying." Was he really using that? "I just didn't want you to feel weird." he shrugged. Of course, that was all blown to hell now. She knew that he was her boss. Her boss' boss. Yeah. Her boss, who just happened to be her dad's best friend.
As weird went, things couldn't easily get much weirder. He hoped.

"I don't really know what else to say though." He stuffed his hands into his pockets to give them someplace to be. During his conversation with T'Shaini, he never thought things would go quite this way. Truly, he'd been hoping for more of a "Oh you're here!? That's awesome!" type of situation where they were just so happy to see one another and spend time together. Harry however, was an unknown. A fly in the ointment so to speak. Yes, the old Grunt added a familiar but unexpected element to any relationship that the two of them might have.

A Father figure.

Hurt started melting back into attraction as he ducked his hands into his pockets but, "I hate secrets," she told him, "Hate them." Secrets had broken up her parent's marriage had, ultimately, killed her father, "I get it, I guess I get it… I mean, I didn't tell you where I was posted because, I didn't think I'd ever see you, again… I'd really wished I'd kissed you because I thought I'd never… see… shit!" Hands flew over her mouth, "Sir… shit… Sir… shit… stop me, now, I'm begging you."

"Call me Nate." He said, his decision not to tell her his rank and station becoming more attractive all the time. He was unsure whether or not to move. "I thought the same thing. I mean.. I liked you. I mean, like.. I like you. but I figured we wouldn't see each other you know? And plus.. it just makes things weird." He took a hand out of his pockets long enough to gesture and run it through his hair. "Would it have been the same thing if I told you straight off I was a captain?"

"It wouldn't," she admitted, "I mean, well," you hate secrets, remember? Jenny looked into Nate's… the Captains… Nate's, eyes, "There's a history, you might have heard about it? Harry was my Dad's partner… and his relationship… Harry's… with a subordinate… they…" she looked up to the ceiling, "things got ugly. People died. My Dad died." Her arms wrapped around her, once more, but not in anger, "I liked you so much, but if I'd known… I don't know… I should have walked away. I don't know if I would have." Then she almost laughed, "It doesn't matter , anyway," she told the boy who looked as confused as she felt, "Harry's gonna boot me off as soon as we get to Jericho-Samaria… transferred after two weeks…"

"Well." He began, the grin returning even as he digested her bit of personal tragedy. Which only served to endear her to him that much more, as someone who'd been through some of the same things he'd been through, losing a parent and such. "I wouldn't have walked away." He informed her. "And last time I checked… Harry works for me. So you can stay if you want to."

She couldn't help it, she had to laugh. He was cuter than he knew (and she was willing to bet he had a vague idea how cute he could be, cause, well, really) but Nate clearly had no idea what Harry could be like. Still, he was that cute… and funny… and kinda sweet and… she felt the betraying blush… well. Taking a deep breath, she shook her head, strands of hair slipping out of the knot as she did so, "I don't know," she admitted, "he might be right, to not want me here but," she shrugged, looking around the room for the first time since walking in and seeing the very person she'd been thinking of for almost a week, "we at least have a few days before I… we… have to decide." Then she frowned, "Ah, are there rules about asking captain's out for milkshakes?"

The grin became a genuine smile at last. "Yup. But that's the good thing about being a captain. Well.." He shrugged. "I get my own quarters… and they're huge but.. the best thing is that I make the rules… so the rule is.. that you can ask the captain out for milkshakes… as long as you come over and watch a holo-vid afterwards." Things had definitley taken a turn for the better. Something he hadn't been holding out for when Harry had been in the room. but then… wasn't it Harry who, just a few months prior had been caught firing off phasers at his clone on the holodeck? Nathan smiled inwardly, as well as the one still plastered to his face. He'd keep that tidbit for later on… when he and Harry talked about just how long Crewman Jenny Anderson would in fact be staying on the Hawking.

"Does that sound like a rule that you can live with?" Nathan asked after a few silent seconds, in which he simply stared at her unabashed. "Or we could do something else."

"Hmmm? I mean, no, no," she had to think hard for a sec, to remember what he'd suggested, "I mean, does the holo-vid blow up good?"

"There's loads. Old action vids… Comedy vids.. Whatever." He supplied, almost eagerly." Horror vids.. Three hates those. But we've got tons. "Wanna go tonight after shift?"

A nod supplied him with the answer that he'd wanted. "Great!" He nodded. "I guess I'll call you… or I mean.. you can call me. On the com badge." He was beaming. she looked excited to though, so it wasn't as though it was a one way thing. That was one thing he'd been thinking about when they were on the station. Now however, he knew. "So i guess I'll see you then."

"Yeah," she turned to exit, then, because she'd been thinking of it and because she might really have to leave in a few days, Jenny took two quick steps back and without giving herself time to think placed one gentle kiss on the surprised captain's cheek, "see you then," she said before dashing out the door and straight to the 'lift.

She'd kissed him.

A joint offering from Dirty Harry, Captain Emo, and Jenny the Kid.
Originally Posted on 29 January, 2008 by Nathan Benjamin

USS Hawking
Messhall - Deck 2

In the busy mess, immersed in the privacy of the hungry crowd, two beings engaged in an argument no one else could hear.

“Finn has received a transmission… from Jericho-Samaria… he was given the blueprints of how we came to be.”

’He won’t understand it,’ the response.

“He does not have to,” the reply was sharp, cutting, “There are others aboard who will, he has already brought them into his confidence.”

“Harry’s new crew…” the thoughts were spinning, past and present a whirlpool… perfect for pulling Finn under… would he hear the mermaids singing…?

“Yes, and one… Torrik, has also been busy. He contacted Finn with new data; it seems he has been led to your coding…”

“‘Your?’” an internal eyebrow raised.

“Our… coding. A pilot intercepted a data burst…”


The discussion was put on hold as acquaintances passed the table and were offered a wave and a greeting, then, “Your mission is compromised…”

“Again with the ‘your’.”


“Nonetheless it is time, as our dear friend would say, to ‘embrace the suck.’”

Taking the hand which held the cup, Acker sipped his partner’s favorite beverage and hissed over it… soon they’d have a talk about coffee blends. “If the shadows won’t serve,” he told himself, “then we’ll take the spotlight; show them who they’re messing with…”

Seeing the intended target, there was a short nod, “Stall the investigation, make time…”

“… and,” another sip, covering a smile which had never been witnessed on this visage, “make sure they all know who’s to blame…”

Finishing the meal, the pair made his way to the exit. Shortly after their departure, a shout rose from the kitchen.

Technically, is this still a JP?
Originally Posted on 30 January, 2008 by Harry Finn

The stillness that the man in front of her exhibited was remarkable for a human. T'Shaini wondered what his background was and where his self possession sprang from. Handing him a PADD with the information she had given Harry (no doubt he had already reviewed the information, but it could not hurt) she sat down in her favorite chair and folded her legs beneath her. "What can I help you with, Lieutenant?"

Remaining standing, Usher gave a slight nod as he accepted the report, "I understand that you have been instrumental to Chief Finn in his pursuit of this… ghost," he told the counselor. "It is his wish that I conduct a parallel investigation and, as such, I felt it important to address your most recent assessment of likely suspects…"

"Important? Certainly, if that is your wish we can take all the time you need." Unclear of what there could be addressed besides the obvious facts that were contained within the report, T'Shaini waited patiently for him to continue.

Confident that, here, at least, he would receive no obfuscations or physical threats, the officer took a seat on the couch. Leaning slightly forward, "My main question is this," he told her, choosing his words carefully, "Did you not feel the list to be, in any way, incomplete?"

"If I had felt it to be incomplete I would have labeled it as such." T'Shaini thought for a moment, then qualified her statement. "Granted with limited information there is only so much that can be surmised…but incomplete? No."

Sighing, Usher carefully placed the PADD to one side before he spoke, again, "Then, forgive me, but I must question the Chief's confidence in your forensic capabilities," he tilted his head in an almost-shake, "no shame to you, of course, it is not your focus, nor should it be…."

T'Shaini voice was one degree above frigid as she cut him off. "No it should not. I am determining a list of possible suspects that was created by a very specific criteria…Finn did not fit that criteria so there was no reason for him to be included in the profile. Rest assured, if there were any reason, his name would be there."

"Perhaps your criteria were too narrow," Usher tapped a hand on his thigh, "Looking at his history, particularly after the events played out on the Anarasi Maru, do you not believe it possible for the man to have created a second personality, a second Shaun Ryan Acker, with which to punish himself? Perhaps this ghost will exist only so long as Harry Finn is present to chase him."

"Do I believe, in theory, such a thing is possible?" She raised one eyebrow. "Yes, of course it is possible. Do I think it is probable? Probable that in months of intense therapy I have seen no inkling of it? No I do not." Her eyes narrowed slightly and she reached up and tapped her commbadge.

=^=T'Shaini to Finn=^=

=^=Kinda busy, Wendy… what's up?=^= over Finn's response could be heard raised voices… the word 'coriander' seemed to be much in dispute.

=^=I have Lt. Tenanji in my office, and I wish to inquire if he has cleared this visit with you in regards to an ongoing investigation.=^=

=^=Horace, put that ladle down or I swear… Yes, Tenanji… he's following orders, just… work with him=^= a sudden change in tone followed, =^=Look, his theory sucks but we have to look at it; I have some new intelligence that indicates…shit Green! I have to go, I'll tag you later…Finn out.=^=

T'Shaini leaned back in her chair. "Do you wish to continue? Or would you prefer to postpone this discussion until the new intelligence has been introduced?"

"I do not need new information to admit a possibility," he said, remaining as still as he had during the entire communication with Finn, "and it is not my wish to sully the Chief's name," he held her gaze, "though I am sure some might believe it so, given past events. No," he continued, "my only goal is to uncover the truth of this matter and, as we are both aware, the truth is not always pleasant." Another tap on the thigh, "Have you not noticed, Counselor, a certain repetition in Finn's behavior?"

"There are many things he is wrestling with, breaking patterns that have been ingrained is essentially what growth is about and what counseling is for."

"So the fact that he is, in fact, recreating his team, gathering about himself new versions of those lost in 2381, is something you encouraged?" Usher let out a huff of air, "Or have you not noticed? Tim Willet, Sara Laslow," his eyes bore into the Vulcan's "Seth Anderson? He only lacks a new Cadet Carson to complete the set…"

"I can hear the scraping sounds of the square pegs being forced into round holes. There is a vast difference between repeating negative emotional patterns and creating a viable professional environment. Willet, Laslow, Anderson and Carson were all hand picked members of a security force assigned to work on a particular case. The crew of the Hawking that you have mentioned are individuals that are being singled out by someone presumed to have a connection with Acker, more by association to Ensign Finn than anything else, and have chosen on their own to aid him." T'Shaini lifted one shoulder in very slight shrug. "I fail to see profound significance in this."

No, no physical threats nor obfuscations, merely the brick wall of stubbornness. "And on that note," he pointed out, quietly, "I find it only fair to tell you that both Dr. Schaeffer and yourself fall under the shadow of suspicion," he offered his own, slight, shrug, "only inasmuch as you have both made yourselves so close to the professed target and you, in particular, have a very deep knowledge of both his past and his current state of mind." Rising, he gave another slight nod, "I thank you for you time, Lieutenant," he told her, "I will, of course, keep you apprised of any headway made in my inquiries. I would be most grateful if you would return the courtesy."

Gracefully rising from the chair T'Shaini nodded. "I can assure you both Dr. Schaeffer and myself will welcome any inquiry into our involvement, providing of course, it enables you to expedite your investigation." She crossed to the doorway to facilitate his exit. "Of course I will happy to keep you informed of any progress that has been made."

As the door whisked open, Tenanji looked into T'Shaini's eyes, "While it is quite clear we are approaching this situation from unique perspectives, Counselor, I hope you will remember that our goal is the same: the safety of the Hawking and her personnel are paramount. Personal opinion is no more than static in the airwaves; it will not sway me from pursuit of the truth."

As the door slid shut behind him the counselor crossed her arms and stared at the recently vacated space. "Still, intractable, indications of being highly judgemental…I cannot wait until he is scheduled for evaluation."

JP Lt. Stick up his s and 'thank god she left her emotions on Halcyon or she would have pulled it out and beat him with it' T'Shaini
Originally Posted on 30 January, 2008 T'Shaini**

:: Sickbay :: CMO's office ::

Leaning against the wall of the CMO's office, Finn watched Dr. Munro mentally dissecting the data he'd downloaded on the 'Engramatic Cloning Device'… what a name… obviously the brain trust in charge of building the clusterf**k weren't in the marketing biz.

No, just the messing around with other people's brains biz.

"ECD? What is this? A newly discovered venereal disease?"

Harry had thought the same thing on first hearing the term. "We should be so lucky," was all he managed to come up with. Beyond the office, he could still faintly hear DeMarcus Green's ongoing diatribe about the sanctity of a man's sauce while Bramley patched him up.

"What happened to the days when people would come to me with a stuffy nose or ear infection?" Jillian joked as she scanned the plethora of data that Finn had brought her. Her bubbling giggle began to die down as she continued read the information in front of her, "So…let me get this straight…", she looked up at him from her desk, lacing her fingers together in perfect This-is-the-church-this-is-the-steeple architechture, "There's a device that can actually upload a person's consciousness into that of another? Am I reading this right?" She asked slowly.

"I wish you weren't," and who ever had thought it would be a good idea? Whoever it was, Harry would have given good credits for fifteen minutes in a small room with them, "And I'm not a hundred percent on the fine print," he added, jerking his chin towards the report, "but it looks like the transplants didn't quite take the way the spookmeisters had hoped."

Jillian leaned forward towards the console, "No doubt", she said with slitty eyes, "But why would anyone want to do that…" she stopped short, punching her finger to a sentence on the screen and reading outloud, "Starfleet has structured a computer that can process 40 billion exaquads of data per second and is accelerating all the time. Test have been successful; the computer can safely store a humanoid consciousness…" Jillian went silent while continuing to stare at the screen in front of her.

"Ah, okay?" Harry realized he may have lost the doc's attention and approached to look at the screen over her shoulder but, no, it made no more sense than her previous non-sequitur. Leaning down, one hand supporting him on the desk, he looked at the rapt physician, "And that means, what, exactly?"

Jillian looked up to find Harry Finn bent over her like a windswept rhododendron, "You tell me, Harry." She pushed back from her desk, with a look of complete confusion on her face, "I realize there's a lot going on within Starfleet Intelligence that, for obvious reasons, is not made public, but this…" she pointed towards her console as if the mere mention of it would infect them with a deadly disease, "…this is not right. I can't believe Starfleet would create a computer that could hold a humanoid consciousness, it's…unethical…it's…" she paused to release an ironic smile, "…it's fascinating….but still, very unethical."

At the statement Harry straightened, started to move but realized that the doctor's sanctum was nowhere near spacious enough to pace, "I don't have a good answer for SI's current motives," he told her, "But I do know that during the Dominion War they would have tried anything to get an agent behind the lines: if you could use that device to clone the personality of a Federation operative onto the consciousness of a Jem'Hadar soldier, the opportunities for intelligence gathering or sabotage would be…"

She sighed deeply, "OK, I see your point." She wasn't sure what to say. She was enchanted by the information presented to her and would have loved the opportunity to learn more about the technology behind such a device, but the question still loomed, "Why?", she thoughtfully shook her head, obviously confused, "Why bring this to me?"

"Because this device has been used on someone on Hawking between seven and eight months ago by an individual I've… met." Harry was long past couching his surmises with the words 'I believe'. He sucked it up and went the rest of the way, "I need your help to find the victim."

"Oh", was her first response. This wasn't exactly the choice opportunity to study such technology, "Well…crap." She sat down in disbelief.

"That pretty much sums it up," he agreed. Leaning against her desk, Finn nodded towards the screen, "looking at that, do you think there's a way, any way, to detect the presence of the clone? Before…" he cut himself off this time, "… before too much more time passes?"

"Well…" She furrowed her brow, and rested her elbows on the desk, "If we look at the techniques that we think that consciousness is based on: information comes in from the outside world but also from other parts of the brain and each part processes it on an internal sensing basis. Consciousness is just another sense, effectively…which can be monitored…" She nodded, "So, yes…I'm almost certain it can be done."

Uh oh. It was never good when you could hear the italics, "So what's the hitch? There is a hitch, isn't there?"

Jillian smiled, "Well there's two actually. One, we'll have to get the individual Brain-Circuitry Patterns of the entire crew, and two, I'll need to compare those patterns to a BCP taken before eight months ago. The majority of the crew will have a report from their last physical, but in the off chance that someone doesn't have one…that could get tricky."

"You can eliminate the newcomers," he said immediately, "and yourself and Torrik… the rest," he shrugged, "the sooner we get going the sooner we can start narrowing down the suspect list. And, here's the thing," he looked down a moment, then held her gaze, "it's important no one knows why you're running the test… it'd be best if it were, I don't know, you needed to re-do the scans because something went kablooey in the database…?" Even if the perp saw through that unsubtle cover, well, anyone avoiding a scan like the plague would present a fairly obvious target… then he thought about the personality involved and added, "I'll assign a security detail to sickbay for the duration."

"Are you sure that's necessary? I mean, just how bad is this personality?" Jillian asked, lowering the tone of her voice.

"Compared to what, the phage?" Harry regretted his sarcasm as Slugger's face went pale, "I'm sorry, but, yes… it is necessary and he is that bad."

Jillian nodded, "I understand. I'll begin crew scans immediately." She sat down at her desk and loaded up the crew manifest. She quickly noticed Harry hadn't moved, she looked back up at him and smiled, "…You OK, Harry?" She asked.

"Yeah," he remained put, uncertain… what if it were in him? He might not know… "Yeah," he found he couldn't look at her, "I know we have to get the captain through, anyone with the command and prefix codes needs to be cleared but…" unable to say it, his eyes finally sought hers…

She offered him a warm smile and walked over to where he was standing, she rested her hand on his shoulder and squeezed softly. She knew he wanted to be the first to be tested, but was too afraid to ask, "Since you're already here…" She motioned out her office door, "Let's get this over and done with, shall we?"

A Joint Post by Harry Finn & Jillian Munro
Originally Posted on 30 January, 2008 by Jillian Munro

:: USS Hawking ::
:: Chief Engineer’s Suite ::

With a quiet hiss, the doors to their quarters slipped open to reveal a still and silent interior. Slowly and with a cautious gate, Nils crept through the central suite and into the room he’d been “assigned” by Costala.

“Costala,” he growled, releasing his chagrin to the empty room around him.

Satisfied that no one was about, the exhausted science officer let down his guard and released a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding captive. The resultant buzzing of breath through his lips echoed around the unfamiliar room. He looked over his things, making certain nothing was missing. The cursory examination revealed nothing amiss, but cursory examinations were rarely enough to satisfy the nature of the Bajoran. Making a mental note to check more closely later on, he began to undress.

After dropping his pants, Nils realized the door from his room to the suite was still open and he suddenly felt very exposed.

“This is never going to work,” he whispered to himself. “Computer, secure the door to my room.” The door slid closed. He removed his shirt and found the relative privacy did nothing to relieve the exposed feeling he’d felt before. Standing there in his underwear he added an addendum to his request. “Priority One lock on the door… Authorization Torrik two phi rho b.”

Feeling slightly more secure, Nils finished undressing and stepped into the sonic shower. He palmed the controls up as high as they would go and laid his head against the wall of the shower, letting the vibrations coax the tension from his tired muscles. What with Finn’s investigation and the need to avoid his new living arrangements, not to mention settling into his new Chief duties, the overtaxed Bajoran couldn’t remember the last time he’d let himself relax. It'd been one long duty shift for almost two days, a choice he was utterly regretting at this juncture.

The sensation of sonic vibrations dissolving the “mess” of starship life from his body began lulling him into a stupor. His overactive mind slowed and his shoulders sagged. Other than being around Jillian, showers were at the top of Nils’ list of things he enjoyed doing. Real water-based showers thrilled him the most. But there were times when nothing could beat the soothing hum of a sonic scrub.

A stiffness in his neck drew Nils’ attention and broke him from the reverie of relaxation. He would have summarily dismissed it as residual stress from his day but for the fact that it seemed to be intensifying… And spreading.

Wincing with a sudden jolt of what felt like lightning through his temples, the Bajoran pushed himself away from the wall he’d been leaning on. Something wasn’t right. A spasm in his spine brought him to his knee and caused him to cry out.

The sonics… The thought was cut short by another sharp spasm in his neck stripping him of the ability to think straight. Suddenly, the sonics that had been too low to percieve expanded their wavelength into a range the young man could hear. But the sound impacted his senses on more than just an auditory level. The shrieking and wailing slammed into him with the force of an asteroidal impact, shoving him to the floor. The sound only intensified, scrambling Nils consciousness. He thought he might be screaming, but he couldn’t hear himself over the noise that assaulted him. Red tears escaped the corners of his eyes and rivulets of blood began trickling from his ears.

With nothing but the instinct to survive driving him, the tortured man crawled on his belly out of the shower. But he didn’t make it far before the cacophony’s victory was assured. Torrik Nils quivered into unconsciousness’ dark embrace, naked and alone on the floor.
Originally Posted on 30 January, 2008 by Torrik Nils

The Wasteland

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