Push The Blinking Light

This Section of the Mission Features the Following NPCs:

221029~John-Candy-Posters.jpg - Chuck!

USS Constitution
Main Engineering

Having seen Nathaniel safely into the hands of Kal-El, Jen turned towards the corridor only to be distracted by a, “JA? What are you doing here?”

She turned to see Pierce, on the other side of a metal… cage?… rubbing some manner of lubricant off his face or, rather, moving it around his face, but still looking darned skippy. What was it with guys? She knew he’d probably gotten less sleep than her but here he was, as alert and sharp as… as a really sharp thing.

Man she needed a nap. “Dropping off Nathaniel,” she indicated the child, “there was a thing with Lady Cutsforth, so Na… the captain asked me to bring him back to safety.”

Returning her gaze to her friend, she thought she caught the edge of a wince but then, who wouldn’t shrink at the name of Cutsforth?

“Right, yeah, so….” Benjamin stared down at the micro-resonator in his hands, “What are you doing after shift?” he asked, “‘Cause we were talking about …

Sleeping “Research.” What?

“What?” BHP gave her a look through metallic mesh, “you taking some long-distance course or something?”

“No, it’s… nothing… it’s stupid.”

“No it’s not,” he said automatically, “I mean, you’re not, so whatever you’re doing must not be, right?”

Jen’s mouth quirked into a smile, “Maybe… okay, look,” she leaned in closer, lowering her voice, “I just wanted to do some digging into the race… like, where the idea first came from and how it got so big…”

“Didn’t the President of the Federation have something to do with it?”

She waved that off, “Sure, the President endorsed it but who convinced the President? Who came up with the idea of a regatta in one of the most disputed areas of space in the galaxy?” She put one hand on the mesh between them, “Who benefits?”

Benjamin’s eyes narrowed at that last. “You sound like a copper…”

“I just…”

“I’ll help.”

“I… you… what?”

“I’ll help,” he shrugged, “hey, it’s something to do. Not like this old gal has a holodeck, and if our eyes start popping out of our heads, we can always take a break and go bowling, right?”

“Yeah,” she grinned, “ri….”

“Crewman Pierce, find an environmental suit and report to the airlock ASAP!' the voice of Ensign Costala dropped like an ax between the two.

Jen backed off, “Sounds like you’re in trouble,” she sing-songed at him just as her communicator chirped. "Anderson."

=/\=How long does it take to deliver one PADD?=/\= the voice of Lieutenant Tenanji snapped out of the little box.

“Sounds like you’re in trouble…” BHP singsonged back, tossing the micro-resonator in the air as she made a shush face at him.

"Sorry, sir, there was an incident with the Curator…"

=/\=Which I trust, has ended. Please return to auxiliary control, Crewman, best speed.=/\=

"Sir…" she waved vaguely at Pierce as she raced back to the corridor.

“On the way, Chief!” BHP called, making for the conduit control exit and whatever fresh hell his boss had cooked up.

Post featuring a cameo by Ensign Javier Costala and featuring NPC’s Jenny Anderson and Benjamin Hyde Pierce
Originally Posted 4/25/08 by Harry Finn

"Core is running at normal temperatures," Mulholland Burke confirmed as he and Tehamia monitored the intermix chamber. Javier nodded then turned to where Cadet Boyce and Eva Kennedy were working. "Systems are online and functioning at one hundred percent," the pretty civilian woman stated. Boyce nodded his head eagerly.

Despite their assurance that the Constitution was ready to depart, Javier had misgivings. There's something I'm forgetting..what is it? he thought as he picked his brain.

=/\=Chief Costala, are we ready to depart?=/\= the Captain asked him via his comm device.

No. his instincts told him. =/\=Yes Captain,"=/\= Javier said, =/\=I mean, we almost are but there's something..oh shit! Pierce!..uh sorry Captain, give me ten minutes, then we'll be ready.=/\= The engineer closed the channel then opened a channel with BHP, who was scrubbing the outer airlock free from space debris.


=/\=Chief? The nacelle's..well..those red, boob shaped things have started to spin..I think I should come inside now.=/\= BHP informed him.

Boob-shaped? the engineer puzzled over this, comparing the ship to body parts before realizing, Oh the Bussard collector. =/\=Pierce get in the ship now. And tell me when you're inside.=/\= Javier ordered. The channel closed and they all waited. Scott's Ghost, what if he had been on the hull when we went to warp? That was close. Instinct, always go with it. If something doesn't seem right then it probably isn't.

=/\=I'm inside Chief.=/\= BHP said, the delight at being inside of the ship instead of on it's outer side easily recognizable in his tone, =/\=I should go clean-up..I smell worse than that transport we flew to the station on.=/\=

=/\=You can do that when you go off-duty,=/\= Javier said without missing a beat, =/\=I want you to monitor the build up in those conduits you scrubbed clean.=/\= He closed the channel then informed the Captain that all was right with Engineering. Javier heard the CO give the orders for a course to be laid in and then the impulse engines began to thrum as the ship slowly moved away from the station. The engineers all waited until the Constitution reached the starting line. Javier held his breath as the core began to hum and the lights on its control panel blinked furiously. Then they had jumped to warp and the old girl was keeping pace.


Costala turned to find Burke holding out a silver flask to him. "For a good voyage and a little luck," the older man stated, a twinkle in his eye. Javier tried to wave the flask away.

"And how!" BHP replied as he walked in, grabbed the flask and knocked back a couple of belts of the drink. He grinned and offered the flask to Javier who refused it again. Pierce shrugged took another drink then handed it back to Burke. "Not too bad Commander, now where are those," BHP managed to say before the aged scotch hit his brain, "Con-doooooo-its!"
Originally Posted 4/27/08 by Javier Costala

:: USS Constitution ::
:: Bridge ::

The Captain’s chair was uncomfortable. The lack of any ergonomic thought only contributed a small percentage to the overall feeling that Nils had while sitting there. Something inside him rebelled against the notion that he be sitting at the conn of any starship, much less an iconic one. He silently hoped for Captain Benjamin’s return. But Captains had other places to be, and other things to do besides baby-sit the bridge.

Fortunately, the race would require little effort on his part – or so he thought. The pointless jaunt about the Gamma Quadrant appeared to be nothing but a cakewalk, so he didn’t overly concern himself with vain imaginings of what lay ahead.

“Lieutenant, we’re within viewing range of the first beacon,” O’Keefe said from the science station. Less than a day in and they’d already reached their first beacon. When helm first told them how close their first stop was, Nils thought it was a mistake. But his own equations had confirmed what the helmsman said.

“Put it on screen,” Nils said uncomfortably.


The image that greeted him was not unexpected. Long-range scans had confirmed the presence of a Class J planet inhabiting their first coordinates. At almost 140,000 km in diameter it pushed the upper boundaries of the class, but still held within parameters. And the unusual proximity of such a planet to its sun was also no surprise. The Class F White star showed brilliantly in the background threatening to devour the relatively smaller astral body.

“Gravimetric sheer,” the first officer asked considering what must be occurring in and around that planet.

“Confirmed,” O’Keefe answered coldly. “Although these instruments do not provide much detail on that level. Reading turbulent space from a …. There it is,” she interjected.

“You see the beacon,” Nils stated flatly.

“It’s in a degrading orbit around the gas giant.” O’Keefe stared intently into the sensor screen, its blue light playing across her face. “I give it about seven hours before it’s lost.”

“No wonder they put it so close to the starting line,” Nils muttered to himself. He thumbed a control on his chair, “Torrik to Captain Benjamin. We’re within range of the first beacon.”

“Acknowledged,” the teen answered immediately. “Take us in and I’m on my way.”

The comm went out with a snap. “Helm, put is in transporter range, but no closer. Without any gravimetric mapping, this may be tricky.”

“Sir, the transporters are going to be little help here,” O’Keefe snapped.

“What,” answered Nils incredulously.

“The ionosphere of the planet is highly unstable and the proximity to the white star is causing some pretty severe reactions to occur there. It’s created an electromagnetic storm that’ll scramble our transporters.” Jada O’Keefe seemed none at all affected.

“Why in the name of the Prophets…” The first officer was flustered. “All right, hold position. We’re going to need a plan.”

Originally Posted 4/29/08 by Torrik Nils

.: USS Constitution | Bridge :.

The turbolift doors whisked open to cacophony of sight and sounds. Unlike the Hawking's muted consoles and quiet efficiency, the Constitution's bridge was almost alive. and in addition to the bridge crew, there were technicians in coveralls, and some of the civilians had wandered up to watch the show for a bit. Of course there were only a few. Not so many as get underfoot. But enough to make their presence known. And of course there was Chuck. Chuck had nearly enough tickets as to be on the bridge for the entire trip. And unlike the other passegners, he was vocal. And he was loud. Lady Cutsforth hated it. And in the two days since they'd been out in space, Nathan had never seen the two of them on the bridge simultaneously.

He'd been surprised as hell when the captain had presented him with all those tickets.

"Hey Cap'n!" Chucked hollered out from his post behind the railing. "Looks like we struck our first beacon!" The man beamed, his chubby face lit up like it was his birthday as he pointed at the view screen. "That puts us in first place!" He held up his portable com device with the live feed from race central.


"Thanks Chuck!" Nathan called out, smiling amicably at the portly passenger as he made his way over to where Torrik was vacating his chair. "What's up?" He asked, turning toward the viewer.

"Sir, the planet is a class J gas giant, and as you can see, it's unusually close to the White star."

"No transporters then." Nathan mused, glancing over at his first officer. "Have we got eyes on the beacon?"

"We do." Torrik nodded. "However, it's in a decaying orbit around the gas giant. Lieutenant O'keefe predicts an hour before it's lost."

"Fifty five minutes now sir." O'keefe spoke up.

Nathan deposited himself in the command chair and considered a few options. Without transporters, they would be limited to tractor beams and shuttlecraft.

"Can we tractor the beacon?" Nathan asked aloud, looking in O'Keefe's direction. Torrik however, had his answer. "We can't sir. The same reasons that the transporters won't work. The electromagnetic storms will degrade the tractor beams cohesion. We won't be able to lock onto the beacon with it."

"Can we boost the gain, give the beam more yield?" Nathan asked casually. O'Keefe shook her head.

"Negative sir, it still wouldn't be enough to lock onto the beacon's hull. we will need to physically grab it and bring it aboard."

"How big is it?" Nathan asked, an idea forming as they spoke. Remembering the Nesh'Ra attack on Megiddo colony a few years back, Nathan pondered the situation. It wasn't in the atmosphere, but the same principle applied. They could open the back of a shuttle and harpoon the beacon safely inside. Hopefully, the museum people hadn't taken out all the environmental suits.

"Scans show it to be a spheroid object, about one meter in diameter." Torrik informed him.

The teen nodded. His idea was plausible on that end at least. "So what if we take a shuttle, and harpoon the thing with a magnetic grappler?" He asked, giving voice to his thoughts. "We could just open the doors and bring it inside. "

"Aside from the risks associated with such a spacewalk, I can see no other alternative." Torrik noted evenly. "We'd need to be concerned about the solar radiation."

"Hey.. Sorry for interuppting you guys, but it sounds like you can just extend the shields around the beacon and then use the shuttle. That way the Connie can take care of the radiation for you." Chuck spoke up around a mouthful of popcorn. "Just a thought you know."

"Sounds like a plan to me. The shields ought to be able to protect the shuttle crew. what do you think?" Nathan looked up at his XO, who nodded.

"I believe they would." Torrik agreed stoically. "We just need a pilot. And a harpooner."

Silent the whole time, Vince turned from his station. "Say no more cappy. I'll go prep a shuttle! Who's coming with me?"

Originally Posted 4/30/08 by Nathan Benjamin

-Main Engineering-

"We found the first beacon! See lad, I told you this grand old dame would win if you treated her properly," Burke explained to Kal-El as he affectionately patted the bulkhead beside him. "Here!" the older man produced his silver flask, "a drink to the Constitution and the Emerald Isle." Burke passed the silver flask to Kal-El who eyed it suspiciously then started to press the container's lip to his own.

"Not while on duty Petty Officer," Javier admonished as he happened to walk by on his way to find BHP. So quick was his reaction, that Kal-El nearly dropped the flask before he handed it back to Burke then scuttled away. "Commander Burke, I'd appreciate it if you'd wait until the engineers went off-duty before you start plying them with liquor." He winced, the request hadn't sounded quite the way he meant it. Javier hated being the bad guy but found that more than often he had to look out for the engineers now. "I mean, please save the celebrations for a later time," the ensign said with a smile.

"Right you are lad," Burke replied, "I forget myself sometimes…civilian life..you just forget how it used to be, you know?"

"I understand sir," Javier answered, "no explanation necessary." Costala nodded and turned away from the encounter feeling more like the villain than a department chief. Maybe this is why the old chief was always so cranky? Maybe he wasn't cranky at all, just looking out for us? Am I as cranky as he was? Javier's eye caught a green among the red uniforms of engineering. Not just any green, Marine green, Mean Green.

There's a Marine in Engineering.. was all Javier could think as he approached the man, intent on finding out what this marine was doing on the Hawking. As far as he knew most of the marines were on the Sentinel. Which is probably still at the starting line seeing as no one told them you don't need a key to start the engines.

"Sir," Javier said as he moved closer and found that the man was a First Lieutenant, Costala snapped off a clean salute in the manner that they had taught him in the Corps. The marine officer returned the salute then stuck out his hand.

"Lieutenant Darren Hillman, I'm the official race observer for the Constitution."

"Ensign Javier Costala, Chief Engineer, I was wondering what a marine was doing in the engine room," Javier replied as he shook the officer's hand firmly.

"The way I heard it you already have some marines in Engineering," Hillman said before displaying a wide smile. "Someone told me you're a marine.."

"Former marine." Javier answered, "and Crewman Pierce is a former marine too..as well as our chief helmsman, Lt. Stryfe."

"Now ensign, you know that only dead marines are former marines. Once a marine, always a marine is what my Company Commander said," Hillman explained. "Speaking of Lt. Stryfe, I believe he's looking for you, something about your experience with a grappler..the beacon is close to being lost in the atmosphere of the planet so the idea was to fly a shuttle close and have someone grapple it and tow it back in to the ship."

At the word 'grappler' Javier glanced around to look for Boyce but the cadet was off-duty. Boyce's older sibling had died after the grapple Javier had made to help the two men reach Engineering by walking on the outside hull had failed to hold and Killian had tumbled into space. I need to tell Fenton..he needs to know how his brother died.


"Yes sir," Javier replied as he was pulled away from his thoughts of Killian Boyce's demise. "Right, I'll go find the lieutenant," he said, walking away from Hillman. He didn't feel like sharing his thoughts at that particular moment.

Originally Posted 5/2/08 by Javier Costala


"Then the helmet clips on like this, apparently," BHP said as he showed Javier how to get into the 22nd century EVA suit. The two of them were standing in the shuttlebay along with Cadet Boyce and Lt. Stryfe. Since Crewman Pierce had already been inside the suit and outside the ship while wearing it, Javier thought he would best know how to suit up. But the ensign was beginning to have his doubts.

"Apparently? You better be sure..maybe I should get Burke's advice on this matter?" Costala wondered aloud. The microphone that let him speak to the others gave an odd tone to his voice. It sounds familiar..but I've never been inside one of these things before.

"It worked well enough while I was out there scrubbing the old airlock," Pierce offered. The tone of his voice letting Javier know he still considered the punishment to have been rather severe. "In fact I wanted you to be extra safe so I gave you my suit, Chief." BHP grinned evilly. Cadet Boyce just looked at BHP then shook his head.

"So that's why it smells funky in here," Javier remarked from inside the suit, "I thought it was just a stale smell like mothballs or old furniture. But it's really stale, smelly Pierce." He looked at the crewman and spoke through the tinny-sounding microphone. "I get to wear it but you get to clean them out when we get back. Not just mine but also Lieutenant Stryfe's, don't worry," he said, faking empathy for humor's sake, "I'll try not to sweat too much near the gas giant inferno."

Vince glanced over from inside his suit," I'll be sweating like a pig, just for you…"

Pierce scowled while Boyce enjoyed a laugh at his expense. Feeling somewhat claustrophobic Costala removed his helmet and gave it to Boyce to put in the shuttle. BHP didn't stay in a bad mood long though as he spotted a certain female security officer making her way over to them. In her hands Crewman Anderson held the portable grappler that Javier would use to shoot at the beacon. Security had modified the grappler and fitted it with a stock and a laser pin-point sight to make the capture and retrieval of the beacon less complicated. "Petty Officer Jameson sends this with his compliments Chief," Anderson told him as she handed over the grappler. Javier examined the work that Jameson had completed to modify the grappler.

"Give Jameson my compliments, I couldn't find anything better in the Marine Armory at 8th and I," Javier told the young woman. He hefted the grappler, it was heavy but space would take care of that drawback. "I bet it takes one shot to grapple the beacon."

"I'll take those odds," Fenton replied.

"What's the pay-off?" BHP asked, curious as to what currency would be exchanged. "Ration tokens? Isolinear chips? Some MREs?" he said, naming off a lot of things the Constitution didn't have.

"No more scrubbing work for Pierce." All eyes went to Anderson. "Just an idea," she said.

"Sounds like a plan Chief," BHP chimed in as he grinned at the security officer.

"Done..and if I win you both get to scrub the conduits," Javier said with a smile, before adding, "in EVA suits." He turned towards the shuttle, where Lt. Stryfe was prepping for their departure. "Time to get frosty," he said to himself as the engineer boarded the old shuttle. Lt. Stryfe's hands deftly moved over the console. The bay was cleared, the shielding dropped and they were on their way. The gas giant loomed ahead of them, the beacon, a small point of light in the maelstrom. "Well there's something you don't see every day," Costala said before snapping on his helmet, "considering most people give these things a wide berth."

JP by the pilot and the engineer..guess which ones.

Originally Posted 5/8/08 by Javier Costala

Concentration, concentration was the key… whereas T'Shaini had no desire to shut herself away, being blown to and fro by the pendulum that was her emotional state was unacceptable. Every day she spent as much time as she could manage in the corner of what passed for a gym on the Constitution working on her practice, the more difficult the pose the more she had to concentrate, the more her concentration sharpened the better equipped she was to handle the tumult within…at least that was her theory. Balancing on her forearms, she reached her legs in an arc behind her, then pulling them upright she dropped her head to the floor and supported it with her hands. So far so good… Then as she attempted to fold her legs into lotus position in order to draw them down to the backs of her arms and, hopefully, rise into an arm balance. Breathing deeply she was beginning to lower her legs toward the floor when a glimpse of Stephanie Nordin stumbling a bit as she walked by the free weights then turning rapidly and slamming into the wall by the door provoked a huff of laughter that caused the counselor to go tumbling to the ground.

"Drat, I am never going to get that."

T'Shaini sat with her feet out in front of her for a moment, then deciding she was curious as to what caused Nordin to trip crawled forward searching for some disformity in the floor. Nothing. She crawled a little further, peering around the corner of the freeweight stand…and it all became clear. Straightening up she nodded sheepishly. "Lieutenant Hillman."

Hillman, in the middle of the second superset with the pair of 40 lb. dumb bells, grunted a reply then seemed to actually hear T'Shaini's greeting. "Lieutenant," he said, more clearly, before finishing up and placing the weights back in their rack. "I didn't realize anyone else was here, in the zone, I guess." The zone being his escape from the constricting nature of a starship. He didn't know how the 'Fleeter's did it… he'd go stir crazy in a month.

"Are you enjoying your time on the Constitution?"

Wow, she's a counselor for a reason. "She's… it's not bad. I have to confess, I'm feeling a bit antsy, with no action to look forward to." He reached for his towel, started wiping the sweat from his eyes. "I mean, I wouldn't necessarily want to go out and harpoon a beacon from an open shuttle, but I almost envy Ensign Costala the adrenaline rush."

"As a marine I can imagine that adrenaline….what did you just say?"

Just coming out from behind the terry cloth, "Oh, maybe you haven't heard… the beacon was set loose in a decaying orbit around the planet but the proximity of the system's star makes any kind of normal transport or tractoring impossible so…" he dropped the towel, picked up a bottle of water, "Mr. Costala and Lieutenant Stryfe are going to… ah…" looking in the mirror beyond the weights, Darren finally noticed the expression on the counselor's face and it was… well it was very un-Vulcan, would probably be the best way to describe it.

*whoosh* It was almost as if she could hear the panic surge. T'Shaini's hand reached out to grip the edge of the rack as her knees threatened to buckle beneath her. Pull it together. A couple of deep breaths steadied her enough to ask. "When did this occur?"

"Maybe half-hour, forty minutes ago he got the order," the Marine had been about to reach out and catch the woman, she'd looked that stunned. "I'm sorry. I didn't know…" well, hell, he didn't know what he didn't know, did he? What? "Is there… should I contact medical?"

"No, no…I am fine." I am fine. With a casualness she did not feel, T'Shaini sat on the weight bench and looked up…and up at the Lieutenant. "Are there any more details you may divulge?"

Crouching down next to the bench, he assessed the woman, "I can toss the few technical terms I heard at you but they probably don't mean much out of context… Lieutenant Torrik could explain better but," he paused, "I don't believe for a second that your captain would give this attempt the go-ahead without a very strong belief in its success. He doesn't strike me as… wasteful."

"Wasteful…no." And she had no doubt that Javier had leaped at the opportunity, marines (even ex-marines) and adrenaline go together like..like…Vulcans and logic. mmph. Fear for him subsiding slightly she found it replaced by a tiny coal of annoyance that she had found out about his mission in such an impersonal manner. Running her hands through her hair she tucked it back and tried to smile at the concerned looking Race Rep. "I apologize for my outburst, I know, pointy ears and panic are seldom in the same company…it was that, well, to begin with…" The counselor shook her head and sighed. "it is a long, convoluted story."

"Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations," Hillman replied with a wry smile, "If the Vulcan philosophy doesn't apply to Vulcans themselves, I'm not sure it would be much of a philosophy." He considered the bits of intel that Jameson had let drop over the after-shift beer they'd shared recently. If half of what the security officer had hinted at was true, the slender counselor had gone through some engagements that would have challenged Hillman's own tac team, and come out on top, each time. "It's hardest on the ones left to watch," he added, shrugging, "I've always had trouble with the concept, 'They also serve who only stand and wait.'"

T'Shaini's face scrunched up in acknowledgment of that truth. "I would never have thought, if you had asked me…even a year ago, that that would be true for me." Her feet swung back and forth like a child on a swing as she looked down at the floor. "Astounding how much can change in a year."

"Which brings to mind another axiom, 'Life is change,'" he chuckled, "You'll have to forgive the 'quote a day' calendar in my brain… it's a side-effect of being raised by a strong-willed librarian." Sensing that the crisis, if there had in fact been a crisis, had passed, Darren straightened, "I believe the shuttle will have prepped by now and, as the official observer, I'd planned to return to the bridge to observe the hunt for the great white beacon. Would you care to join me?"

T'Shaini's hands flew to cover her open mouth and in a slightly muffled voice replied. "Oh, I would greatly appreciate that opportunity." She stood, then realized she was not properly attired for a visit to the bridge. "If I may change first?" Without waiting for an answer, the counselor turned on her heel and sprinted toward the locker room, fearful of being left behind.

Taking his own ripe and sweaty self to the showers, Hillman kept his smile to himself. Not like he hadn't had it bad, himself, a time or two… or three.

Featuring NPC Darren Hillman

Originally Posted 5/8/08 by T'Shaini


Vince stared ahead of the shuttle, watching as the beacon grew closer. He started to adjust their approach, but the shuttle responded slowly, and Vince jerk forward in the seat as the beacon and the shuttle collided.

"Umm….. My bad.." Vince turned and looked at Javier as he started to get up from the deck of the shuttle.

"Maybe an eye exam would be in order when we get back to the Constitution," Javier remarked from his spot on the shuttle's deck, "but then again, depth perception is overrated." The trip from the floor to a standing position took longer because of the bulkiness of the ancient EVA suit. Once he had gained his footing Javier used the Ops console to scan the beacon and the shuttle. "The shuttle will have a dent in it for which Cutsforth will likely kill you," he said, reading the duotronic print out. "And the beacon appears to have sustained minimal damage." He moved to the back of the shuttle and prepped a tether for his suit. When he was ready, Costala picked up the grappler and gave Vince the 'thumbs-up' to open the shuttle door.

Vince shifted the shuttle around, positioning the shuttle infront of the beacon, then got ready to open the door," Just for the record, that beacon ran into me, I had nothing to do with that. It was completely out of control…" he paused for a moment, looking at Javier's face," It has a hell of a gravitaional pull." After that remark he hit the button to open the shuttle door. The old door creaked as it opened, and Vince cringed at the sound.

"Whatever you say Chief," the engineer replied with a slight grin, "I won't tell Cutsforth anything." Javier pushed himself out the door, gliding out into the black. The change in temperature was almost immediate. The heat from the gas giant ratcheting the suit's internal temperature up to where Javier began to sweat profusely. The engineer fiddled with the temperature controls on the suit's panel but it didn't help much. Forget it. he thought returning his concentration to the beacon.

=^=Costala to Constitution..it's damn hot out here.=^= he said establishing an open commchannel with the Bridge. =^=I see the beacon though and I'm taking a shot at it.=^=

The engineer aimed the grappler at the beacon, waiting until the laser sight glowed then fired off the magnetic bolt. The force of the bolt leaving the grappler stock propelled him backwards at an alarming rate but Javier's momentum was arrested by the tether restraint. The bolt smacked into the side of the beacon solidly. "Harpooned it!" He worked the retrieval function on the grappler, bringing the beacon back towards him. "Reel me in Vince."

"10-4 good buddy…" Vince hit the retreival switch, and watched as Javier started back into the shuttle. The temperature in the shuttle was rising with the door open, and Vince was starting to get annoyed by the sweat running down his forehead. He reached up to wipe it, his hand bouncing off the visor. He shook his head, realizing he still had the suit on. As Javier came back in the shuttle, followed closely by the beacon. Just as Javier's feet hit the deck, Vince started to get ready to hit the door close button, but watched in disbelief as the beacon split, and the piece not grappled started to float slowly off to the side of the shuttle. Vince looked up at Javier," Umm…. yea.. I think you may have forgot a piece of the beacon out there.."

"Shit!" Javier said as he watched the beacon split apart. =^=Bridge, the beacon has broken up into two seperate pieces..more than likely it was hit by something heavy and its integrity compromised.=^= Costala grinned at Stryfe as he said the words. =^=I'm going to have to go orbital sky-diving to get the second part.=^= Javier said as he unclipped his tether-line and secured it to the grappled piece of the beacon. "Don't leave me hanging out there too long Lieutenant," the engineer stated as he pushed himself out the door after the wayward beacon part. That was stupid. Javier thought as he realized what he had just done. The gas giant seemed to grow in size as he floated towards the other half of the beacon. He was off-center but managed to get an arm around the piece. Javier hugged the beacon and watched as the gas giant drew closer as it pulled the engineer into its orbit. The temperature inside the suit was volcanic. =^=Got it, need a ride home now.=^=

Vince watched as the engineer pushed off towards the drifting piece of the beacon. Javier reacted too fast for Vince to even try to make sense of the whole thing. His pilot training kicked in, and he swung the shuttle to the left, putting Javier right in the middle of the opening. The heat from the gas giant was even more intense now, causing alarms to go off inside the shuttle. He ignored the alarms, knowing that no matter how hot it was inside the shuttle, his fellow crewman was drifting towards the heat, feeling it ten time worse. He fired the thrusters and kept them fired up, causing him to fire towards the engineer clutching the piece of the beacon. Unprotected parts inside the shuttle, began to melt, and Vince could barely see through the sweat rolling down his face. As he drew closer, he readied himself to drop the door as soon as Javier was mostly inside. The shuttle quickly slid around the man, and Vince slammed the button. The door quickly shut down, and Javier slammed into Vince seat, breaking it from it's position on the floor. When Vince recovered from the small shock, he fired up the main engines, and slowly started to pull away from the giant. Vince looked down at the engineer, who's head was between the two seats," Well now look what you did, my seat won't recline anymore and it wobbles."

The atmosphere inside the shuttle was boiling but was substantially cooler than where he had been and Javier enjoyed this for a few moments before releasing his hold on the beacon and staggering to his feet. The metal had melted and tried to adhere to his suit. Javier sloughed it off in annoyance then looked up at the pilot. "I like what you've done with the place," he commented as his eyes took in the melted interior and slagged components that were slowly cooling to a fiery orange. "I think after we get back to the ship we should jettison this thing into the gas giant then pretend like it never existed."

"Well, that is of course hoping that Ms. Cutsforth isn't waiting for us." Vince plotted the course back to the Constitution," If that's the case, we had better enjoy our ride back." Vince propped his feet up on the partially melted top of the console panel. The ship seemed to be almost limping back towards the ship. Vince just looked around the shuttle, thinking what Cutsforth's face would look like. " That woman is going to kill us," the pilot looked over at Javier.

"She can kill me after I get a drink of water," Javier remarked. He was dying of thirst inside the sweltering cabin. "Thanks for the ride," he told Stryfe, "drinks on me when we get back."

JP..yes, he ran into it.
Originally Posted 5/8/08 by Javier Costala

Long legs stretching as far as they could, T'Shaini sprinted to the shuttle bay apologizing loudly to the passerby that she heard complaining in her wake. Not much she could say though…'sorry, my boyfriend just melted himself in an overblown display of heroics and now I have to see that he is still alive in that suit' would sound odd as she ran down the corridor.

Watching from the viewscreen on the bridge as Javier secured the beacon was terrifying enough, knowing the temperature in which they were working (thanks to some overzealous passenger who kept yelling out the readouts when the centigrade was raised) but the horror she felt witnessing him launch himself, untethered from the shuttle to collect the remains was indescribable. She had held her breath watching the shuttle swing around, its outlines beginning to blur from what at first she assumed was interference from the heat but was informed by LG (Loud Guy) was in fact the hull beginning to melt.

It was not until the all clear was sounded that T'Shaini felt the air rush back into her body, then prying her hand from poor Lieutenant Hillman's arm, she quickly apologized and bolted for the door. Bursting into shuttle bay she paused for a second, to catch her breath as much as to locate him, then caught sight of him leaning casually against a wall drinking water. Hand against the wall for support as the wash of relief made her weak in the knees, she breathed out a prayer of thanks to whatever gods were listening.

"Drink another bottle or two of water," Nordin was telling Javier as she waved her tricorder sensor over him, "and that should return your system to normal. That wasn't the most intelligent thing to do sir, jumping out of the shielding, you could have melted more than the shuttle." He nodded in agreement as he tipped the bottle to his lips once more and allowed the cold liquid to flow down his throat. Upon returning to the bay, he and Vince had found a medic waiting on them and they had been treated for mild heat-stroke, dehydration and any burns they might have suffered. Stripping off the EVA suit and his uniform shirt had felt so good Javier was tempted to remove the rest of his clothing but refrained in the presence of Nordin. He saw T'Shaini enter the bay and grinned at the thought of telling her how they could go somewhere and help him recover.

Javier's smile made her push herself from the doorway and launch across the room, wrapping her arms around him in a fierce hug as she reassured herself that it was not just a mirage…he was still alive. Then, unexpectedly, as the second prayer from the Vulcan was drifting heavenward a new emotion replaced the relief…anger. T'Shaini felt her face heat as she pulled back from the embrace and shoved him against the wall. "What were you thinking? Are you trying to get yourself killed?" As if moved by some outside force she saw her hand rise up to thwack him on the side of the head. "If you do not care enough for me to be concerned for your own welfare, I would ask you to think of Lia." Grabbing him by the shoulders she shook him as hard as she could. "I was terrified…." Her voice broke on that last word and all the anger drained away. "terrified."

He held T'Shaini tightly wondering what had brought on this sudden display of pda then felt the mood get serious when shoved him against the wall. Are we doing this here? In front of these people? Javier wondered but realized he had misread her when she spoke. And then she hit him. It was a shock that triggered disbelief then anger..then she was shaking him. What the hell? Javier thought before her last words told him that it was emotions stemming from her fear of losing him.

"I'm sorry, it was a stupid thing to do," he admitted to T'Shaini gently. The people around them had all moved away to give them space. He pulled T'Shaini back into the embrace, she came reluctantly. "I acted without thinking..but it worked out. I'm okay..or was until you hit me..I may have been damaged," he teased before sobering up to ask, "Were you on the bridge?"

Struggling a bit more, unable to let go of her pique quite yet, T'Shaini made a face at him. "Yes, Lieutenant Hillman invited me to watch when he saw me react to the news…" Her eyes widened as the new realization hit her. "that you did not bother to tell me yourself." She pushed halfheartedly one more time. "Mmmph."

"So I am supposed to speak with you about every order I receive?" Javier asked as he released T'Shaini. He wasn't angry or even annoyed, mostly amused that she expected him to 'report in'. "I understand if you are concerned for my safety but I was given orders and time was of the essence so we left quickly. I did what I had to to successfully complete my orders. And I came back..to you."

She could have argued that her normal day did not involve risking her life, or that he knew very well she did not mean that he had to speak to her about every order, but really, in some situations, it was best to let go…and after all, it was not as though this was going to be the last time Javier would put his life on the line for some mission (nor would it be the first…or even the first ten) so handling the stress that accompanied that was up to her if T'Shaini intended to spend her life with him. And she did.

Spreading her hands on his chest for one last shove for good measure, she drew a quick breath as the heat rising from his body shifted the emotions within her yet again. Her eyes lit with an inner fire as she raised one eyebrow up at Javier. "Cutsforth will be incensed when she sees the ruination of that shuttle, I may have a suggestion of where you can hide from her for at least a couple of hours."

"Cutsforth can go to hell," Javier said as he looked around then picked T'Shaini up and carried her inside the damaged shuttle. "I say we help make it completely unfit for service," he stated as Javier let her down on the console then closed the shuttle's door. Javier stripped off the undershirt he was wearing and pushed closer to her. His lips found hers as he pulled her body against his own. It's going to get hot in here again. the engineer thought as he removed her uniform.

JP by the Adrenaline junkie and the crazy woman

Originally Posted 5/8/08 by T'Shaini

"…and in conclusion the Captain would like to request that if you have any complaints that you take it up with Starfleet, or whatever race official was responsible for such an irresponsible placement of said beacon." No matter how dryly the information was delivered, T'Shaini knew she was deriving an unbecoming amount of joy from the exchange. If the museum curator's bosom inflated any more she would likely achieve liftoff. Biting back the urge to grin, T'Shaini thought of the disbelief on the Captain's face when she offered to bring the news.

"Dude, she is gonna flip."


The calmer the Vulcan stayed, the more it seemed to incense the older woman.

"I… the… it…" The shuttle was in ruins… beyond ruins… it was little more than some Bohemian's vision of art, "Shuttle, Over Easy" she could almost see the reprimand from the museum directorate. How could they be this… this casual… it was their history, it was her life! The fury, which had burned as hot as that thrice damned sun, was falling quickly to ashes. [i]This was just the first leg of the race… what other disasters awaited the Constitution?

"May… may i see it?" she heard herself asking, as if the lumpen mass of shuttlecraft were a recently deceased relative. In a way, perhaps it was. "I mean," she pulled herself back to her accustomed authoritative posture, "I must see it."

"Oh…" The counselor watched Mrs. Cutsforth struggle to regain her composure…I would not say it was healthy to care for something inanimate more than you care for people…, but clearly, care she did. Regardless of their relationship heretofore, this was something that called to T'Shaini. "Of course…if you truly wish to see it."

A shuddering sigh escaped, despite Minerva's best attempts to corral the effusion. "I do, yes," she felt, against all etiquette, the betraying prick of emotion in her eyes. Looking quickly down, she fumbled through her cardigan's pockets, hoping the search for her hanky would stay the onset of feeling. "It may not be quite hopeless, you know," she pointed out, voice of experience springing to the fore, "Why, when I first took her under my wing, the Constitution was no more than a husk, wasting away in space dock." Where, oh where was that hankerchief?

Reaching down for a tissue (a counselor is always prepared), T'Shaini handed it over to the distressed Currator. Harridan to helpless in one easy step… "I think perhaps you should prepare yourself for the likelihood that there is nothing to be salvaged from the shuttle, I have just returned from the docking bay myself and…well, I would strongly urge you to consider whether you need to see the remains." Am I talking about a shuttle or a person?

"Bother," annoyed that she must accept aid of any sort from this, this, hussy of a Vulcan (who would have thought such a thing possible?), "In my day, young lady, there was little broken that could not be fixed." Blowing her nose vigorously, she then tucked the tissue into her sleeve, "shall we?"

::Shuttle bay::

"Because the probe was split in two they spent more time in close proximity to the star than they had intended to, and indeed more time than was good for the structural integrity of the vessel…they were lucky to return alive." She patted the ruined line of the hull as if it were a dog. "She did her job well." T'Shaini hoped to soften the blow by falling in with Cutsforth's anthropomorphisizing of the shuttle.

"Lieutenant," the elderly lady spat the title as if it were an epithet, "In what thesaurus did you find the phrase, 'going forth into a decaying orbit in close proximity to a white dwarf for the purposes of winning a race' as an apt replacement for the word 'job'?"

So much for that idea. "Possibly in the same place that the race official who chose such a location for our first beacon."

"And do not think he/she or it will not be hearing from me!" She found herself unable to tear her eyes away from the slumping remains of what had once been a vintage shuttlecraft. "I remember my very first shuttle ride, when I was a child," she added, quietly, "it was so very exciting." Not, she had to confess, as exciting as the trip which had decimated this particular relic. "Heads shall roll," she averred, snapping her watery gaze to the Vulcan, "of that you may be sure; heads… shall… roll."

Featuring the Redoubtable Mrs. Cutsforth

Originally Posted 5/9/08 by T'Shaini


They ought to make it a monument now. Javier reckoned as he looked at the damaged shuttlecraft, The plaque could say: 'Boldly solidifying Vulcan and Human relations even after being almost destroyed by a Gas Giant while..okay so maybe it could just say 'A Tribute to Vulcan-Human Relations. He patted the side of the melted craft fondly, it now held a special place in his heart, even though it was a vertible pile of junk. "I'm sorry I said we should jettison you," Javier apologized to it. "I only suggested that so Lady Cutsforth wouldn't kill Vince."

"of that you may be sure; heads… shall… roll."

T'Shaini nodded emphatically, as long as Cutsforth's ire was directed toward the unseen race coordinators, the crew of the Hawking/Constitution would have the possibility of escaping unscathed. Now if she could only direct her back to her quarters to compose her poison pen message to the proper authorities….

Hearing voices in the interior of the shuttle, the engineer made his way around to the opposite side, curious to see who was rolling what. At the shuttle's door he saw T'Shaini and approached her, entering the small craft as he said, "Hey, back for round…" Javier noticed then that T'Shaini was not alone inside the shuttle. The elderly woman glared at him as he said, "two."

Cutsforth! It could only be her. Boyce had described her aptly but he didn't quite understand the 'old battleaxe' remark. He glanced over at T'Shaini wondering why she had brought the older woman to visit the shuttle.

Oh gods…not now. Hoping to brazen it out T'Shaini smiled brightly at the crabby curator. "Lady Cutsforth may I present Ensign Javier Costala…" Throwing him a 'please follow me' look she continued. "he was the crewmember who barely escaped with his life in the shuttle incident."

"The pilot?" The womans eyebrow arched higher than even the Vulcan's could.

"No, he was the one retrieving the split beacon."

"Ah." She began to fumble through her handbag searching for her spectacles. "Rest assured young man, I will do all in my not inconsiderable power to rectify the colossal error that someone, yet to be identified has made…how that could possibly have been deemed an acceptable place for the beacon is beyond me." Her fingers closed around her glasses. "Aha." Placing them carefully on the bridge of her nose and looking up, her mouth dropped open in surprise. "You."

T'Shaini froze in horror, just when she thought everything was about to go smoothly, the rug was yanked from beneath her. "Who?"

"Me?" Javier asked in slight confusion.

"You!" Huffed out the horrified Cutsforth. Visibly reigning herself in…decorum Minerva… she looked Javier up and down. "Regardless of the fact that you are the one involved, I will still make my disproval known to the powers that be in regards to the damage done to my…the Constitutions shuttle."

T'Shaini stepped forward to intervene, then seeing that Javier was well able to handle her himself, leaned back to watch the show.

"Then you can tell them that she performed the task above and beyond what was required of her," Javier remarked as he patted the craft's console affectionately, managing not to mention what he and T'Shaini had done there a mere hour before, "and I am going to have my engineers do their utmost to return her to her former glory." The engineer turned his attention from the ship to the race observer. "Now, what is the source of your problem with me?"

"I think it should be obvious what my problem with you would be young man. Your blatant disregard for propriety reeks of disrespect." Wielding her handbag like a battering ram she attempted to push past Javier to exit the shuttle.

Ahh now he knew the reason. He dodged the handbag but blocked the elder woman's progress towards the shuttle door by stepping in front of her. "Have you ever done it in a turbolift before?" he asked an appalled Cutsforth. "No? Well I suggest you give it a try, it might help you calm down some and appreciate the value of this ship more. I can almost guarantee that T'Shaini and I weren't the first to do it there and we won't be the last." Javier stood aside to let the woman pass but then remembered the reaming out she had given T'Shaini and later Boyce and stepped back in front of Cutsforth. "I didn't ask to be assigned to this ship, none of us did, it's some sort of publicity stunt. Truthfully I would rather be on the Hawking than this floating museum piece, just as much as I am sure you would rather us not be here. But StarFleet owns this piece of…legacy and she ordered us to fly it to the finish line. We have our own way of doing things Lady Cutsforth but we mean well and we'll finish well. You can either work with us and help us or get the hell out of our way." Javier gave a polite bow and stood aside to let the lady pass.

Ohhhh gods… T'Shaini, stunned by the dressing down had stayed silent until Cutsforth began to stalk away, but was stopped in her tracks as the older woman spun on her heel for a parting shot.

"Despite your opinion of me, young man, I am no stranger to affairs of the heart." She clutched the purse a little tighter as memories of the 'Blatty incident' flashed through her mind. "I do, however, believe that there is a time and place for everything. Since this is a concept beyond your cognitive powers I shall do my best to avoid you." Hauteur dripped from every pore. "Nevertheless, I expect you to do your duty as I shall endeavor to do mine." Cutsforth then leveled her gaze on the stupefied Vulcan. "Like calls to like I see….good day." And with that she stomped out of the shuttlebay.

There was a moment of stunned silence. "Well, that went well." T'Shaini muttered.

"Yeah," Javier shrugged, "she's jealous of you because she wants me." He smiled at T'Shaini. "Can you blame her?

Like a spring being sprung T'Shaini felt laughter release all the tension of the last few moments. Hiccuping out a few last chuckles she threw her arms around Javier and kissed him. "No, no I cannot…poor thing."

JP by Lady and the two she thinks are Tramps
Originally Posted 5/9/08 by Javier Costala

USS Constitution
Aft Torpedo Bay

Checking the latest stack against her manifest, Jenny wondered if this unbelievably dull duty was Jameson’s own response to her getting herself stuck scrubbing conduits while wearing Stryfe’s rancid (and scragged!) EVA suit. Ruined and stinky or not, she and Pierce had been informed that a bet was a bet and Ensign Costala had indeed hit the beacon on the first try. She still had olfactory nightmares about the task and she was sure her hair still reeked and ohmygod she didn't ever want to think about that puddle her foot had landed in! Damn BHP and his compulsive gambling!

Which brought to mind her own personal obsession, “Anyway, I’m adding another level to the search program based on the dumbass placement of the first beacon. With luck, the computer will pop to the individual or group responsible for selecting the locations, along with the actual placement team. I mean, was that beacon intentionally set in a stupidly dangerous position or was there some sort of unforeseen event which shifted it after the initial placement or…”

“Ten, twelve, fourteen… yeah, but are you, like, totally sure this is necessary?” Ensign Saunders, who was also inventorying the torpedo compliment asked between stacks, “I mean, not this payload count, even if it is yawnsville but all that off-the-clock research? I don’t want to be a buzzkill but, ya’ know you’re like putting the snoop on Command…” and there had to be better things to do off-shift.

“I don’t think I am, though,” Jenny ticked off her last rack of torpedoes., “None of the news articles or inter-Fleet memos have indicated that anyone in Command was all that into this race. And even more funky, the first whiff of the idea came out of some subterranean diplomatic summit only, there’s no public knowledge as to which diplomats were present. ‘Undisclosed attendees’ and ‘high security agenda’.” She signed off on the weird old padd with her stylus, “I’m telling you, Darbs, this whole regatta thing reeks of rotten targ meat…” a burst of static from the wall drew her attention.

=/\=Crewman Anderson, please report to Main Security Office.=/\= the cool, clipped voice of Lieutenant Tenanji crackled.

Moving over to the intercom, Jenny pressed the respond button, "Sir, Crewman Anderson, copy that."

“Here,” she handed her manifest to Darby before rushing out the door. It never paid to keep Tenanji waiting. “If you get back to the room before me, just leave the computer running that search, okay?”

“Okay, okay…” Saunders replied to the air. She looked down at her padd, then up at the rows of torpedoes she’d painstakingly counted. Sighing, she erased the previous number and began again at the beginning, “Two, four, six, eight…” who do we appreciate… rats! “Two, four, six, eight, ten…”

Featuring Darby and Jenny

Originally 5/11/08 Posted by Harry Finn

USS Constitution
Main Security Office
Deck 7

Lieutenant Usher Tenanji was staring at his antiquated desktop terminal when Jenny entered the office. To her surprise, CPO Jameson was in the room as well, seemingly taking up most of the available space though, in fact, he was merely filling the corner behind Tenanji.

“Sir… Chief,” she greeted them, standing to attention.

“At ease, Crewman,” the lieutenant leaned back in his chair and looked at the young woman. He could see some of her father in her, he realized, through the set of her jaw and the eyes… the eyes came straight from Seth Anderson.

Finn never knew that Seth had kept in loose contact with Tenanji after their first, difficult meeting… a meeting in which Finn and Anderson had arrested Usher for a crime all three knew him to be innocent of. It had weighed on the enlisted man, that particular necessity and he’d made it his business to keep up with young Tenanji’s interrupted career.

And now Seth was three years dead and here was his daughter, all afire to make the galaxy a better place… “Tell me, Anderson,” he began, accepting that there was no good way to handle this, “how long were you planning on running your unsanctioned investigation before informing your superiors?”

Her eyes went slightly wide… not with alarm, he was pleased to note… more a surge of curiosity. “I didn’t think this was of any interest…”

“No?” he rose, nodding towards his computer screen as he did so, “And how would it not interest me that, just two hours past, a data burst sent to your attention carried along with it a tracer code? The Constitution may be old, but she can still spot an illicit transmission when it hits her systems.”

Oh, boy, she thought. “I’m sorry, sir, I never expected…”

“Unfortunately” he barreled on, “upon its discovery the code ate itself and ruined any chance of doubling back and discovering its point of origin. One thing is certain, however, whoever did send it wanted to know what you,” he turned his hard, dark eyes onto Anderson, “were doing with all those files you’d requested.”

Jen’s mouth had gone quite dry, “Lieutenant, I wasn’t involved in anything illegal, or even suspicious. I was just poking around in public records… public, of which I am one… of. How could that lead to any…”

Jameson actually winced, which probably didn’t mean anything good for Jenny.

“How, indeed? Perhaps if your poking hadn’t been so very, very specifically geared… yes, Anderson I do know what you were looking into… it might have raised no reciprocal interest but it was specific. You’ve been sticking your inquiring finger into the eyeball of this thrice-damned race and beyond that, you have been doing it without either my knowledge or permission.”

“Due respect, but when has anyone needed permission from a superior to look into, again, public records?” Damning Darbs and her wayward tongue nine ways to Sunday…

“When you, as a member of the Hawking’s security compliment undertook the venture based on your own suspicions regarding this race and the motives behind it…Crewman.” Tenanji’s already clipped voice honed itself to a fine edge.

She could almost hear the flushing sound of her career going down the toilet.

“Given that you had these suspicions and as a member of my team, it was incumbent upon you to bring your doubts to myself or Chief Petty Officer Jameson.”

“I would have, sir… I had intended to if I had actually popped anything but so far there’s been nothing worth reporting.”

“And yet, somewhere out there, someone was disturbed by your interest.” Tenanji, still standing, tapped his fingers in an irate tattoo on the desk, “Which is something you should have considered before you went blundering into an inquiry without authorization.”

“I can’t believe that I was the only person on this ship, or in this fleet, who’s questioned the motivation behind this race.”

“No,” Tenanji’s expression remained quite passive, “you were not.” He turned to look at Jameson, who finally stepped up.

“The Lieutenant and I have been, quietly, looking into the background of the regatta, Crewman,” he told her in his quiet rumble. “We have clearances that you don’t and also a certain amount of… experience… in digging through data without setting off any mines.”

“But that experience is now useless, as they, whomever they may be, are looking at the Constellation; looking because you, Crewman, decided to play detective.” His hand thumped down hard on the desk, causing her to jump ever so slightly. “I understand your zeal, Ms. Anderson. I too am a great admirer of your father’s work,” he ignored the flash of pain across her grey eyes because some things must be said, some lessons must be learned. “I admired him as a member of the ‘Fleet and as a damned fine investigator and I have no doubt you stand fair to emulate his career but understand this,” he closed in, making sure she was taking in every word, “Your father was a decade in service before he first joined the investigative arm of the JAG office. A decade.

“You have yet to serve half a year on the line. You are, in this, a child and because of your impulsive actions you have brought unwelcome attention to yourself and to the Constitution. I will not,” he now held her frozen gaze, “allow you to blithely make a target of yourself and I will certainly not allow you to make a target of this vessel or her crew. Are we quite clear?”

“Sir, yes sir,” she managed, though the proximity of her coldly furious superior almost froze her vocal chords. “There… there’s an active search in my quarters, I should…”

Bill Jameson cleared his throat, “We’ve… ah, already taken care of that.”

Obscurely, she wondered if there’d been anything unmentionable left laying about her quarters that morning. “That’s… good but…” oh God, oh God, “the thing is, BHP… I mean, Crewman Recruit Pierce was also involved in the project… I don’t know if he’s running any searches at the moment but…”

She saw Tenanji’s jaw working and wondered if something were about to snap like, say, her neck.

“We will check on that,” he finally said, “and you, Anderson, will be confined to quarters for the next forty-eight hours while you contemplate the concept of chain of command and your personal responsibilities to this crew.”

“Sir,” the withering inside made it hard to get even that acknowledgement out.

“Dismissed,” he turned away, back to the desk and waiting work. To Jenny it was as if she were already gone from the room, certainly from his mind.

At the door she turned back, unable to stop herself, “If I’d known you were looking at this, too…”

“Chain of command, Anderson,” was the cool reply, “think on it, and remember who is reporting to whom.”

Jameson waited until the girl had left the room and the door slid shut, “She’s pretty wrecked… maybe I should go and…”

“Leave her be,” Usher said smoothly, though his own gut was churning, “She made a mistake, probably not her first and, if she lives long enough, it won’t be her last. Either she will learn from it and come back stronger or she will not and it will break her; if it’s the latter than best she discover her unfitness now, before it costs lives.” And meanwhile he had to spin this to his own superiors… how Anderson’s blunder wasn’t a complete disaster… now at least they knew someone out there had something to hide, or at least intended to keep tabs on anyone looking too closely at the architecture of the race.

Which only gave him more reason to continue the investigation … but how to do so without bringing more attention to the makeshift crew of the Constitution?

Jameson realized he’d been forgotten. “If that’ll be all, then, LT? I still need to inform Rak’h that he and Koll have to take it easy on the bowling pins. If they break one more set Lady Cutsforth’ll probably bar them from the alley and then they’ll be reduced to destroying the gym for recreation.”

“Please do,” was the distracted reply and Jameson was out the door. He did, in fact, have to tag the twins regarding their bowling pin abuse but as long as he was on the move, he saw no reason not to enlist a little neutral instruction in Anderson’s crash course on the nature of mistakes.

Now, where would he be likely to find the counselor at this hour?

Post featuring William Jameson Usher Tenanji and Jenny Anderson.

Originally Posted 5/12/08 by Harry Finn

:: USS Constitution ::
:: Rec Deck ::

Nils had stayed on the bridge long enough to put them on course for the next beacon. Only time would reveal the lengths to which they would be required to go to in order to retrieve it. The lack of care in placement of the first beacon was note worthy. In fact, he’d already lodged a formal complaint in his log. Despite his disdain for the reporter imbedded on the ship for the duration of the race, he had a hard time disagreeing with some of the biased man’s logic. Risking lives for the sake of the race was careless. The first officer didn’t blame Javi, though. Javi was just being…Javi. Haphazard characterized the man.

When did I start thinking of him as ‘Javi’ Nils wondered. Since they’d met the man had always been just Costala. He couldn’t count the number of times he’d spat the name in disgust. At some point, however, the engineer must have grown on him. He shrugged and moved into the primary atrium, glad to be off duty. When did I start to be glad to get off duty? A lot had changed.

“Lieutenant!” The voice was etched with genuine but pleasant surprise. “I didn’t think you’d make a service!” Bayel Paven moved smoothly through the crowd of Bajorans. There were not many people present, but there were more than Nils had expected.

“Duty keeps me busy,” Nils answered dropping his gaze. He hadn’t exactly promised he’d make it to any of Bayel’s Prophet services, but he knew he’d left the impression he was interested. Which he was.

“I can imagine. Are the Chief and that pilot who retrieved the first beacon well?” Concern laced his expression and tone.

Nils nodded. “Well enough… The same can’t be said for the shuttle they took out, though.”

To Nils’ surprise Bayel laughed heartily. “I’m sure there will be consequences…”

“You’ve met Minerva Cutsforth then?” Again Bayel laughed at what he must have thought was a joke. But Nils hadn’t been joking.

“She makes herself hard to miss. I crossed her path when I dropped a pastry on the floor on the mess hall… I believe her exact words were ‘Mind your hands you, oaf. This ship is a cherished artifact not a barn fit for livestock.’ It made an impression.”

“She does tend to do that.” A moment of awkward silence stretched out between them before Nils had had enough. “Well, I guess I’ll take a seat…”

“Of course of course,” answered Bayel. Then he made his way back to the front of the assembled.

Quickly taking a seat in the back, Nils watched as the gathered found spots of their own for the makeshift service. He’d not been to a Temple or even an assemblage since he was a child. A strange mix of nostalgia and trepidation overcame him as Bayel rang the chime signifying the start of the service.

After a brief prayer, Bayel took the stage. His friendly tone took on an air of reverence and he began speaking.

“I’ll start…with a poem…

A Major Work

Poems are hard to read
Pictures are hard to see
Music is hard to hear
And people are hard to love

But whether from brute need
Or divine energy
At last mind eye ear
And the great sloth heart will move.

— by William Meredith, Earth, 1958 of the old calendar.

We’ve been here on the constitution for nary a few days; it's very different from the monastery or even the Assembly halls in the capital city. Here, everything is geared towards duty or meetings or work of some kind. Even meals are rushed. I remember living this way as a soldier in the Militia; it's easy to fall back into it and worry so much about whether the duty I'm involved in are going to succeed that I forget to take some time just to be quiet. Ironic, you could say, since we all had to come through the Celestial Temple to get here.

So today I had lunch by myself in my guest quarters, and read a book of assorted Federation poems. Actually, they're poems from Federation worlds, but all of them date from before first alien contact on each of the planets. The differences and similarities are very interesting. This one was from Earth. It reminded me of some of Akorem's earlier work. To put it in simple terms: It is worth it. All of this struggle for peace, is worth it. Though we be battered by life or marred by tragedy… Though we lose more than we win… Though our troubles sometimes outweigh our pleasures… It is all worth it.”

Bayel continued speaking, but Nils was stuck on just this much. It struck a sort of chord, but disrupted the compartmentalized emotions he worked so hard to keep in check. So much agony in his life… Could he really say it was worth it?

He’d joined the fleet to explore, yet he’d done very little actual exploring. The discoveries they’d made were few and far between. Every bit of learning he’d actually done had been… And there it was. It smacked his psyche so hard his eyes literally grew wide. Words from his Pagh’Tem’far and the prophecy spoken over him when he was a child by Kai Opaka suddenly came into focus.

His exploration was of himself. His discoveries were internal.

There was no doubt that his journey so far had changed him profoundly. Not only had he found the Prophets so far from home, but he’d grown to know himself. And he’d grown to have…friends. That’s why I think of Costala as Javi. An immense shift in his perspective had altered him on almost every level.

Through the Celestial Temple you shall find your destiny…

And as is usually the case with exploration, this “final” revelation became a beginning. And the questions answered, created more that remained a mystery.

Featuring NPC Bayel Paven:
Originally Posted 5/13/08 by Bayal Paven

-Officer's Lounge-
-USS Constitution-

"I tell you what Boyo," Mulholland Burke told Javier, "when I saw you leap out after that beacon untethered..I thought to myself you were committing suicide, career and every other kind." The man took a drink, finishing the remaining pale blue liquid that was in his glass. "Hit me with another shot of that my lass," he asked the female bartender, giving her a flirtatious smile as Burke slid his glass across the bar to her waiting hands. The retired engineer turned his attention back to Javier. "What possessed you to take such a risk?"

My back itches. Javier thought, but refrained from scratching the inflamed area since Nordin had advised against it. "Well I uh..impulse I guess," he answered. "There wasn't a whole lot of time to think."

"Impulse? Is that what you want the brass to tell that sweet Vulcan lass the next time you do something stupid and don't have a cracker-jack pilot there to save the day?" Burke scolded.

"I.." Javier started to argue then said, "No I don't." His thoughts went to Lia. Where would she go if something had happened to me? To my parent's? Back to Caterina or Chase?? Hell no! "It was a stupid thing to do," the engineer admitted. "I was just so focused on the beacon and getting the beacon that I didn't think about not getting it. Eye on the Prize ideology I guess," Javier stated with a shrug as he emptied his own glass.

"Aye, I understand wanting to win well enough, but no need to throw your life away on something so unimportant," Burke replied as the older man winked and toasted the female bartender, whose face turned a vibrant shade of pink at the retired officer's charm. "Did you ever wonder why so much emphasis is put on this event? I mean did it pique your curiosity?"

"The race?" Javier answered as he indicated to the blushing bartender that he wanted a refill. And that's my last one. No sense in having a reappearance of Torrik Costala. "What about it?"

"For one, why is Starfleet having the bloody thing? It's a waste of resources and it won't do if we're attacked.." the older man commented. He took another swallow of the whiskey then said, "Twould be easy enough for an aggressor to come in while the Fleet is dilly-dallying around the quadrant on some wild goose chase."

"I thought you wanted to win the race?"

"I do lad, I do. But I'm also curious as to why we are having the race, aren't you?" Burke asked the engineer. "And then there's the placement of the beacon, 'degrading orbit' in a pig's eye, that beacon was placed there on purpose."

"I haven't given it much thought," Javier said, "been too busy trying to make this old bird fly." A snort from Burke's direction reminded Costala that the retired engineer thought that the Constitution flew on angel's wings. The engineer took a moment to sip his drink and contemplate the regatta and the placement of the first beacon. It seems strange..but invasion? Maybe Burke is just paranoid or it could be the whiskey he's been drinking..how many does that make for him?

Burke produced his flask and tipped a liberal amount of clear liquid into Javier's glass. "Let's drink to a safe victory," the older man proclaimed and before Javier knew it he was downing toast after toast of the alcoholic liquid. He tried to protest but gave in as Burke reminded him they were off-duty.

-Half an hour later-

"There wasssatime when I was everything and nothing all at ones," Javier sang as he played the piano in the Officer's Lounge, "and when I found you I was feeling hot from the gas sun. I got to tell you..you light up every second in my space..but in the sunlight you just shine like a BEACON out in..spaaace." His fingers hit some of the keys and to someone who knew the song it would be apparent that Costala was having trouble getting his fingers to work properly. It was also apparent that he had changed some of the words to the song. "And I can't explain but there's something about your blinking light..ow ow OW!"

Suddenly the lights, which were dim and inviting, were bumped up to blinding. "Hooligans! Have you no concept of time? Have none of you responsibilities you will need to be coherent to attend to on the morrow?" The disapproving figure of Minerva Cutsforth swooped into the room and grabbed Javier by the ear. "You again…I might have known. I will have you know this instrument is a Steinway concert grand from Earth…and until you can appreciate it's worth you will need to refrain at your tuneless banging away. " Arching one brow over to the…rather distinguished looking gentleman to the left of that horrid man, she spat out. "Please, return this reprobate to his quarters until he learns to treat this ship with the reverence it deserves." And with that, she let go of her pincer grip and swept from the room.

"My dear lady, I would much rather escort you to your quarters," Burke said to himself as he watched the curator leave the lounge area. He turned to Javier who was cradling a ear that grew more swollen by the second. "C'mon lad, I suppose I can see you into the arms of that sweet Vulcan rose," Burke stated as he took ahold of the chief engineer's arm and steadily walked him from the shell-shocked lounge. "Who was that fine lady?" he asked Costala.

"Battle-axe." Costala muttered. He finally understood the metaphor.

Featuring: The Unsinkable Minerva Cutsforth & Mulholland Burke
Originally Posted 5/13/08 by Javier Costala

USS Constitution
Anderson/Saunders quarters

She'd tried, for the first hour and a half, to put the angst into cleaning their room but, truth to tell, it wasn't that big and neither girl had brought all that much from the Hawking and soon, there was nothing left to distract her from the monumental screw up Tenanji had called her on. She wanted to be angry with him but, if she looked at the situation from any other perspective than her own, he was right. She should have put her suspicions out there, in front of her superior but she'd wanted to play Nancy Drew, find some giant conspiracy and make a splash.

Well, there'd been a splash all right… from the crap pile she'd just fallen face first in.

Now Jen just sat, huddled on the bunk in her father's old 'I work for a living' sweatshirt and wrapped around her tiny pillow and feeling the ache of the big empty where she always kind of thought her Dad had been, just there, to the right of her heart.

'Took it hard…' T'Shaini tried to imagine how Jacksons version of 'taking it hard' would translate into reality. Jenny must have been tremendously upset by the dressing down for him to even notice…for the battle hardened chief to be concerned enough to take it to the counselor was almost beyond comprehension. Arriving at the young woman's door T'Shaini signaled the entrance chime and hoped that Jenny would answer.

Jenny stood up before allowing the door to open… what if Tenanji suddenly felt the urge to deliver another diatribe or… worse, what if Pierce had triggered another trace… shit!. When it was Counselor T'Shaini who stepped carefully in the room, she fell back onto the bunk, relief and humiliation sucking the life right out of her. "Lieutenant," she greeted, her own voice hollow in her ears.

Oh dear. The shadow version of Jenny who answered the door made it very clear why Jackson had been so concerned. The Vulcan perched on the edge of her bunk and covered Jenny's hand with hers. "Chief Jackson sent me to check on you…he was worried." A small smile turned up the corner of her mouth. "Alright, 'worried' might be overreaching…but he was concerned enough that he asked me to check in on you."

Which was pretty much all it took. T'Shaini's hand over hers was so like, so like when she was a child and had gotten into trouble… again… and then Seth would come home and sit next to his daughter and hold her hand, just… so…

T'Shaini just wrapped her arms around the broken young woman held her while she cried her heart out. Emotions were a funny thing, Jenny had managed to maintain through the stress of the Acker mission, when finding Harry and T'Shaini in the Anasari Maru recreation she had come in and done her job without an outward flinch. Outwardly stoic as her godfather left on what they could all assume was a suicide mission…and now laid low by a professional dressing down. Some people so defined themselves by their professions that that was the only thing that triggered an emotional response, but she found that scenario unlikely in this case. Jenny was far too vibrant a personality to be lodged into that category. Which means this could be a release for all that she had been forced to undergo in recent times, or that there was far more to this situation than a simple reprimand.

Sometime later she might feel shame at snotting up the Counselor's uniform but, just now, there wasn't enough room left in the torrent of hurt, "I screwed up," she finally said into the unfamiliar fabric of the old time uniform. "I screwed up and now maybe the entire ship could be in danger, or BHP could be in trouble… okay, again… and it's my fault…" I failed.

"One thing at a time…you screwed up." T'Shaini stroked her hair. "I hate to inform you of this, but we all screw up. You fix that screw up, then you find something else to screw up on…it is unfortunately how we learn."

Jenny shook her head, leaning back and absently brushing at T'Shaini's damp shoulder, "This sort of goes beyond swearing in front of the teacher or rigging Kal-el's replicator to only make oatmeal… not that I would know anything about anything like that…" she sighed, "I put the ship at risk because I didn't follow protocol. I had suspicions and I didn't tell my superior… " the words backed up on her, echoes of another discussion, that one with Harry, who'd had suspicions of his own, once upon a time, and kept them to himself… "oh, God."

"Mmm…so the apple does not fall far from the tree, even when the tree is from a different orchard. I think it is likely that this episode was disturbing enough that you may count it as a lesson learned…correct?" At Jenny's emphatic nod she continued. "We cannot change the past, no matter how much we may wish to do so." T'Shaini had to pause, unexpectedly consumed by the sensation of a knife plunging into Hawthorn's chest. Forcing her breathing to ease she shook her head at the young woman. "We must simply move forward and attempt to behave in a manner that will not cause such regret the next time."

"But he doesn't know," Jenny pulled her eyes back in time to see something dark flashing across the Vulcan's eyes and it sent another arrow through her, though she had no idea why. "He… we fought," the words spilled out, drawn by the warm acceptance that was T'Shaini, "we fought about following protocol and how he didn't and he thinks… hell, I thought… I blamed him for what happened to Dad. " Her voice broke as she felt her hand seeking T'Shaini's again, "He could die out there, he could be dead already and he'll never know I don't. I had to screw up royally to find out and I can't… tell him."

And it all comes down to Harry… T'Shaini mused that it was always fascinating how what triggered a release was seldom the impetus for its need to occur. Closing her other hand on top of their folded ones she held on tightly. "Do you really believe that Harry does not know the difference between something said in anger and what you believe to be true?" Despite all, the Vulcan found herself smiling. "If anyone understands that people strike out for a myriad of reasons it would be Harry…no?"

She gave a short nod as T'Shaini's words paved the way for more tears and Jen let them fall unchecked as the sick guilt she'd been carrying for weeks turned itself around and became the simple and all too familiar ache of grief.

JP Featuring NPC Jenny Anderson (as written by Harry Finn)
Originally Posted 5/14/08 by T'Shaini

-Javier & T'Shaini's Quarters-

There was a shrill noise in his ear. A noise that kept getting louder, even as Cutsforth pinched it harder. The shrill noise was her voice. 'Reprobate!! How dare you defile my piano. How dare you defile my shuttle. How dare you defile my turbolift!' Then she had him by both ears and was painfully tugging at his lobes. Her voice kept getting more shrill as she shook his head back and forth, her talons digging into his lobes.

"OW! LET GO OF MY EARS!!" Javier yelled out as he awoke and shoved T'Shaini away from him. The shrill noise didn't stop and he followed it until Javier found the source. The console in their quarters was making the noise. His hands went to his ears. One of them was slightly swollen. "Battle-axe," he grumbled before remembering that he had shoved T'Shaini aside in waking up from the dream.

"mmmph, mmmMMM… Van Gogh was FRAMED!" The slippery slope to consciousness always treacherous for T'Shaini, now more so by the abrupt shove.

"Are you okay?" he asked the sleepy Vulcan.

"Eeeeep." Backside hanging off the edge of the bed she clawed at the sheets as she began to slide inexorably toward the floor.

Javier reached out and caught T'Shaini's wrist and pulled her up beside him. "Sorry, bad dream..," he tried to explain, then added, "actually, total nightmare. Cutsforth was yanking my ear again."

T'Shaini cupped the side of his head in sympathy, then her brow furrowed as she tried to identify that horrifying sound.

The engineer gave the counselor an apologetic hug before venturing over to the desk to see who could be calling them. "Ten bucks says it's Kal-El," Javier stated, "I bet he just thought of a way to increase productivity and just can't wait to tell me." The chief engineer hit the receive button and was surprised to find Bilara Wakeel's troubled face on the screen. "Sorry to wake you Chief," the Napean shift chief said, "but we have a situation down here..Security is here and they are arresting Pierce."

"What? Who is? What for?" Javier peppered the petty officer with questions, now more awake than ever. Pierce, what did you get yourself? he wondered.

"Lt. Tenanji is taking him into custody. He won't tell us why, just says it's orders.."

"Stall him," Javier said, "I'm on my way down there." Bilara nodded. Costala closed the channel and looked up at T'Shaini. "Tenanji is arresting Benjamin Hyde Pierce." Javier shook his head as he grabbed his uniform. "What the hell goes through Tenanji's head?" the engineer asked as he began to dress. "I wonder if he didn't miss his calling as the Chief High Inquisitor of Cardassia Prime. First Finn and now BHP, I wonder where he got the order to arrest Pierce.." Javier pulled on his boots, angrily shoving one foot after the other into the shoes.

Watching Javier's reaction, wordlessly T'Shaini dressed to accompany him to engineering. She was relatively certain she could assist in keeping a possibly explosive situation under control…she had better be able to.

He stood to his feet and noticed that T'Shaini was getting dressed also. She thinks it might get hostile. Javier surmised. He waited for her to finish so they could leave together, acknowledging the need for her to be present.

-Main Engineering-

Bugger this for a game of soldiers, Usher watched in annoyance as Engineering's normally smooth ballet came to a screeching and potentially volatile halt around him. Gesturing to Ensign Mellon and Koll to take the young man of the hour into custody, he turned to the amassing group of engineers, "While I appreciate your concerns for your crew mate, you must understand that orders are orders. I am no more free to ignore Fleet Command than anyone else…" he had to raise his voice some over the recalcitrant muttering and worried that Koll's presence wouldn't be enough to stave off an ill-thought rebellion.

"Yeah well you can take your orders and shove them up your backside lieutenant," Fenton Boyce said as he moved between his friend and the towering Klingon. The cadet wasn't prone to speaking to his superiors in such a manner, but he also didn't think his friend deserved to be hauled off by the security goon squad and their pet Klingon.

Koll looked down at the bristling youth, "I believe, if you were to check your calendar," the Klingon commented, friendly enough despite the habitual growl, "you will find it says this is not a good day to die."

"Enough!" Tenanji resisted the urge to bury his fist in the nearest body. "We have a duty, as do you lot, please see that you return to your posts…"

"It's okay Fenton," BHP said as he patted his friend on the shoulder then used the gesture to draw the cadet back away as he stepped forward. "This is probably just a misunderstanding..and these guys aren't going to rough me up like the coppers on Sigma Iotia." Boyce resisted at first, not budging then slowly gave in and let Pierce pull him back. "I'm ready to go lieutenant," Pierce said as he held out his hands, wrists together, waiting for the inevitable feel of metal locking into place.

"No he's not!" Javier snapped out as he slid down the ladder and pushed inbetween Tenanji and Pierce. "I want to see the order. I want to know by who's authority you think you can come in here and arrest one of my engineers," Costala said as he glowered at Tenanji.

Tenanji turned towards the Chief Engineer, who was followed closely by the Counselor (small blessings) and closed in so he could speak to the officers in some semblance of privacy, "I would prefer not to speak of these particular charges in public, but you may see the order in my office, once I've taken Mr. Pierce into custody…"

"Or you could show me the order now," Javier suggested, his tone very precise, "before you try to take Crewman Pierce into custody." One marine, three security officers, one being a Klingon, yeah those are good odds. the engineer thought to himself.

"Gentlemen, if I may…" T'Shaini waited until she had their attention, however begrudgingly it was given, before continuing. "A suggestion. Perhaps the four of us," Her gesture included Tenanji, Javier and Benjamin. "could retire to the Lieutenant's office where we could continue this discussion without an audience."

Javier glanced at the other engineers that watched the situation unfold in their department. He could tell Fenton was ready to throw some punches. Wakeel seemed to be on the edge of yelling or crying, which repsonse, he could not discern. Then there was Pierce who seemed to be calmly accepting the whole incarceration. Did he know they were coming for him? Could he have done something? the engineer wondered. "Petty Officer Wakeel, get Kal-El down here to replace Pierce," the ensign instructed before looking at the security officer and grudgingly saying, "Okay lieutenant, your office but no cuffs, Pierce isn't a fugitive."

As someone who'd, in essence, been there, Usher would very much have preferred to leave the restraints out of it, however, "I'm sorry, Ensign but, in this case, with these charges, we are left with no choice. Koll," the Klingon immediately snapped the metal cuffs on Pierce's wrists while Tenanji held Costala's eyes. "These orders must be followed to the letter, Mr. Costala, and more importantly, they must be seen to be followed." He threw a look towards Lieutenant T'Shaini and hoped that at least one of the two would catch the nuance.

Ow, is my head bleeding? The glance she received from Tenanji was so pointed T'Shaini almost winced. Nodding in acknowledgment she looked at Javier. Registering the tightness in his jaw she placed her hand on his arm and said in a low tone. "Shall we follow the Lieutenant?"

The snap of the cuffs had caused Javier to clinch his fists and find the point just beyond the Klingon's jaw where his fist was going to travel. But the sudden touch of T'Shaini's hand caused the engineer to take a breath and re-evaluate the situation. "We shall," he agreed, still not pleased with the way Pierce was being treated, and his tone making it apparent to all parties involved.

-Chief of Security's Office-

Minutes later it was a very grim quartet crammed into the box which served Constitution's security force. Tenanji dismissed Koll and Mellon, and then stood, facing an angry Costala, a strangely resigned Pierce and an openly curious T'Shaini. Oddly, the phrase, 'I suppose you're wondering why I gathered you all here,' tried to escape his lips. Fortunately he quashed the impulse and instead began with, "Are any of you familiar with the Suliban Initiatives… particularly Protocol 911- Subsection C?"

"No," Javier retorted even though the order seemed slightly familiar.

"Anti terrorism?" T'Shaini did not know much about it, but she had heard it referenced to. "They are using that to arrest Benjamin?" She looked over at the young engineer in disbelief.

"Yes," Tenanji threw a neutral glance at the pale young man, "They are. Look," he leaned forward, hands flat on his desk, "There is nothing I can do about these orders… Mr. Pierce must remain under arrest until…" well that was the issue, wasn't it? Individuals taken into custody under these protocols often remained in custody… "I'm sorry. I have issue with these orders as well," he glanced at Pierce, again, "given your recent specialized activities with Anderson but the orders remain…"

"Anderson?" T'Shaini's eyes narrowed. Jenny had mentioned being concerned about getting 'BHP' into trouble.

"Were you running a data search, Crewman?" Usher addressed the engineer.

"Data search? I have no idea what you're talking about, Sir," Pierce replied then looked down at the floor as if the shiny surface was more interesting than his current predicament. "Do I get an attorney?" he suddenly asked, being purposely evasive.

"You'll get a month doing hellish tasks that will make the brig seem like a birthday picnic, if you don't tell Lt. Tenanji what you were up to," Javier told the engineering recruit. The revelation that Pierce had been spending time with Jenny Anderson after Costala had warned him against such fraternization, was enough to cause the chief engineer to turn his stored fury to Pierce.

"Yes Chief," Pierce responded, his eyes still on the floor, "I'd prefer legal counsel though.."

"You will, of course, be offered a JAG attorney once we reach a viable Federation venue." Tenanji had no idea what was running through the youth's mind but he was quite sure that it wasn't a plot against Starfleet. "Which, I may point out, gives us until the end of this race to discover the truth behind these charges… you, Pierce, may wish to make use of your right to remain silent, just now," he added as the young man seemed about to speak. "The end of the race will bring us to Jericho-Samaria and the Department of Justice, as well as the Starfleet Outpost. If we have not found some answers by then, Mr. Pierce's fate will be out of my hands."

JP Featuring: Usher, BHP, Tee & Javi
Originally Posted 5/13/08 by Javier Costala

.: USS Constitution | VIP Quarters :.

The subtle chirp from the door did very little to break the sleeping teens slumber. It'd been almost five minutes, and not so much as a twitch. And when one examined the young captain's schedule for the day it was easy to see why. In the A.M, he'd ordered the shuttle expedition to retrieve the Constitution's first Beacon. In the early P.M. he'd reaped the whirlwind of that decision in closed door meetings with Lady Cutsforth and some fat Admiral he'd never met before via subspace. The admiral it turned out, was head of the Starfleet historical bureau and didn't much appreciate Nathan's flippant response to the ruination of a vintage shuttle craft.

And then there was the Later P.M., when the Klingon security twins had been banned from the bowling alley. Cutsforth of course, was there in rare form. The teen commander's headache afterwards was also in rare form. And thus, instead of seeking out Jenny after duty, he'd come back to his and Nathaniel's shared quarters, caught a shower and passed out on his bed.

Nathaniel however, was not such a heavy sleeper and awoke at around the five minute mark. The captain's smaller edition sat up on the spare bed and rubbed his eyes as he acclimated to the near total darkness of the room. Seeing that Nathan hadn't yet risen, Nathaniel grudgingly removed himself from the cozy confines of the bed and stumbled to the doors, which swooshed open at his arrival revealing The Constitution's chief engineer, and her counselor as well. Neither looked as though they'd come to pay as social call. Not that the sleepy youth would have made the distinction anyhow. Half of him, the coherent half from the look of him, was in the bed still. Squinting into the bright light from the corridor, Nathaniel peered up at the adults.

"Huh?" He more groaned than asked.

The Counselor smiled down at Nathaniel. "I hear you have received some new action figures, would you care to show them to me while Javier talks to Nathan?"

"Then get your uniform on and report to Main Engineering, Systems Tech First Class," Javier said in a serious tone that he usually reserved for wayward cadets. "You can take your action figures with you," he added his tone softening, "and there's some chocolate chip cookies hidden behind the main computer console." He looked across the interior of the room then said, "Captain, I need a word with you."

"Benji said from 2100 hours until 0600 hours is time to regenerate" Nathaniel informed the engineer sleepily. "I have to stay here."

As the voices became coherent in his head, chasing away the last vestiges of sleep, Nathan sat up in bed. Squinting into the light, the teen could barely make out the shapes of Tee and Javier until his eyes adjusted. Unlike Nathaniel, consciousness came quicker to him, made so by the many times he'd been awakened from sleep or regeneration abruptly in the past. Bringing his legs around to the side of the bed, Nathan peered across the dark room at his guests. "What's up?" He yawned sleepily. "at 0100 hours." he added, glancing down at his wrist chrono.

"Complete bullshhh..epherd," Javier started to say but remembered he was in the presence of a little kid at the last second. "Bullshepherd..yes." Since Lia had come to live with he and T'Shaini, the engineer had been trying to clean up his language. "Apparently the background checks that Starfleet carries out on each crewmember have failed..we've had a terrorist in Engineering for the past three weeks," the Chief Engineer said his tone rife with sarcasm.

Nathan scratched his head. "Is this like…Last month on the Hawking Terrorist, or… Hi, meet mister Sarcasm type of terrorist?" Nathan asked, finally getting up off the bed.

"More like Fleet HQ sending down an arrest order for Crewman Pierce," Javier replied, "an arrest order which alludes to the fact that he is a terrorist..which is preposterus. Tenanji came down to Engineering with a security team and slapped the cuffs on him right in the middle of BHP's shift." Javier was so frustrated he wanted to kick something. "****ing Fleet justice.." he said under his breath. At that moment, the bond between the two former marines seemed stronger than ever. Pierce was being royally screwed by Fleet HQ and even though he was a Fleet officer, Javier couldn't do a damn thing about it.

"If I may specify Captain…" T'Shaini raised her hand (complete with tiny Klingon captain) as if she were in school. "Pierce is being detained under the Suliban Initiatives…we have no idea of the specific charges assigned to him, the order simply request that he be kept in custody until he may be remanded to the appropriate authorities, who will, in theory, investigate the charges.

"Did Tenaji tell you who sent the order, because they never told me about it." Nathan said, making his way over to the computer terminal on top of the desk. "Unless it was late last night. But either way, it doesn't make much sense. The Suliban Initiatives govern Cyber Terrorism. Computer crimes." He keyed in his authorization codes as he spoke. "So what exactly his Pierce do?" He asked as five new messages blinked at him from the monitor, casting a red tint to the young captain's features. Four of them were from Cutsforth. Complaints no doubt, and then there was one from Starfleet Security. He opened it while Javier explained what he'd learned from Tenaji earlier.

"There were no specifics given," Costala said, "just that he was a dangerous terrorist and should be detained for the safety of the entire crew." His fury had been appeased by the quick response of the Captain and now Javier started to replay the whole incident in Engineering and Security in his mind. "Lieutenant Tenanji wasn't even sure about the order, he said it might have something to do with Pierce and Anders..Pierce's off-duty activities." Javier stared down at the deck as if in thought, but in reality he was avoiding eye contact with his CO.

"Ohh.. K." Nathan said, reading the order for himself. "Looks like Pierce violated his clearance. That's what it says here. Violation of Subsection C, Protocall 9.11 of the Suliban initiatives." The teen looked up at his chief engineer. "Do you know what he was doing?"

Peeling Nathaniel's hand from her mouth T'Shaini answered for Javier, who's posture tore at her. "Pierce was not exactly forthcoming, not to accuse him of anything…but he did not bother to deny he was guilty…of what I do not know, but I highly doubt it could be anything dire."

The Chief Engineer frowned and added, "Well he's either been arrested before or is keeping his mouth shut about something that could possibly bring danger to the ship. There's no telling what he did when he was in the marines." Having dropped that bit of information into the conversation, Javier contemplated the whole ordeal. "It doesn't make sense though..he doesn't seem like the type. He's always eager to please, he does an excellent job, and is almost always positive about any task, even the unpleasant ones." The engineer shook his head..'If he's a terrorist..Starfleet should start actively recruiting them."

Nathan swiveled around in his chair and shrugged. "It might be nothing. Or it might not. Until I can talk to someone, we have to follow the order. And it would be great if we could know what he was doing to get tagged. See if he'll tell you. At least then we'll have something to go on. and I'll send a subspace inquiry to the Intell Bureau in the morning." He yawned, rising from the chair. "I don't think the ship has a proper Brig, so I'll have Tenaji post a guard outside Pierce's quarters. Just go ahead and disable all the consoles in there. He can be confined to quarters until we figure things out."

"I'll talk to him," Javier said in agreement. "Who knows, he might tell me." I bet there's one person he would tell for sure, I wonder if Tenanji can get her to talk to him? He looked over at T'Shaini, catching her attention and nodding to the door. "Thank you Sir, for your help, we'll leave you and Three to your sleep now." Costala started to leave then noticed something of interest on the floor. He stooped down and picked up an action figure. "Hey! This is Mo the Marauder, I've been looking everywhere for this particular figure," Javier admitted before realizing where he was and what he had just said. "Cool..toy..for a kid, yep kid's toy," the engineer said as he put the action figure down and exited the CO's quarters with T'Shaini in tow.

  • This has been a late night anti-terror assembly in association with Javier Costala and T'Shiani. *

Originally Posted 5/15/08 by Nathan Benjamin

After leaving Captain Benjamin's quarters, Javier walked in silence while he thought about how he could best approach Pierce in order to learn what might have led to the arrest order. Should I just rip him a new one and bluster until he breaks..no that might work with Kal-El but not with Pierce. I could try the friend approach, but we aren't really friends. I guess I could try the marine angle. What if he is a terrorist? What if he did something really awful? The engineer shook his head, not wanting to acknowledge the possibility that one of 'his people' could have been involved in anything unlawful. But if the Acker plot taught us anything, it's that even the best people might have a dark side. He sighed and rubbed his forehead with his fingertips.

"I don't know what to think about Pierce," he admitted to T'Shaini.

"I cannot believe that he would be involved in anyth…" Her words faltered as the unconscious echo of something she had said about Vanona Hawthorne but weeks ago came back to haunt her. "as difficult as it would be to believe, we must examine every possibility." T'Shaini frowned thinking back to the meeting in Lt. Tenanji's office. "It did seem rather as if he was, well…expecting something. But that does not mean he is guilty of anything." The counselor huffed in frustration. "I know so little of his background."

"He was in the SFMC," Javier said, "but they aren't particular about who they recruit, take me for example." The engineer tried to remember if he had heard the others mention anything about BHP's background. "He's from an odd planet..their society was built around a book that a Federation starship crew left there by mistake. It was about gangsters in the 20th century..that's all I can remember Mustapha telling me about him when I read his file."

The Vulcan's stride slowed as she processed the new information. "Gangsters? As in an organized crime syndicate?" Her features cleared suddenly. "We could also extrapolate that, unhappy with the way his life was progressing in such a society, he left for a new start. Somewhere he would not need to consider crime a way of life." Her face turned hopefully toward Javier. Unprofessional or not, she liked Benjamin and would rather not believe ill of him.

"Or he could have left the planet because he had to..because of something he did," the engineer surmised. "I doubt he'll tell us though, he didn't seem to want to talk about anything in Security. I bet Jenny Anderson could get him to open up. He's got a crush on her and from what Tenanji says they've been spending time together, which irks me because I specifically told him she's..out of bounds."

"Hmm…" T'Shaini's nose crinkled in thought. "would he be inclined to tell her something that would put him in a bad light?" She shook her head answering her own question. "Not if, as you say, he has a 'crush' on her. I can speak to Jenny, if you wish, and see what she knows, and if she would be willing to speak to him. If the attraction is mutual it could go either way, she may wish to assist in clearing his name, or determine that gathering information is a form of betrayal."

Javier sighed, "I want to know what it is he's done..if anything." He stopped walking and pulled T'Shaini to the side. "And most of all," he said as he looked into her eyes, "I want to know if I'm as good a judge of character as I think I am. I want to believe that BHP is innocent. I'd trust him with my life if it came to it. I want to know if that trust is well-placed."

Oh. Blinking away the sudden tears in her eyes, T'Shaini nodded. "I understand. But you must also be prepared for the possibility, as abhorrent as the thought may be..that you may be wrong."

"Prepare for the worst, hope for the best," he replied as his right hand rose to push her hair back over her ear. His fingertips lightly stroked the pointed lobe before he leaned in to kiss her.

"Mmm hmmm." The contorted face of an angry Cutsforth flashed in her mind and T'Shaini froze on the spot. "Perhaps we should return to our quarters." She squeaked out.

"Too bad there aren't any Jeffries Tubes on this ship," Javier mentioned as he cupped her face in his hands and then massaged her lips with his. He kissed her slowly, savoring the feel of her soft, warm lips before reaching down to lift her up into his arms.

T'Shaini smiled inwardly as she felt her feet leave the floor. At least one of us is not afraid of her. Letting her smile surface she pointed forward with a chuckle. "Home Jeeves."

JP Hoke and Miss Daisy
Originally Posted 5/15/08 by T'SHaini

Twice in as many days T'Shaini found herself on her way to crewman Anderson's quarters unsure of what the outcome of a conversation would be. She had agreed to speak with Jenny regarding Benjamin Hyde Pierce, but had no inkling what their relationship truly was, therefore no real tangible evidence in which to base a hypothesis. And counselor or not T'Shaini liked to have a solid outline to engineer her approach. You can take the girl out of Vulcan…. Hand passing over the door chime, she took a deep breath and waited.

"Come in," Jen called breathlessly from the floor where she'd been reduced to running a course of push-ups to keep the stir-craziness at bay… the room was too small for much else. Glancing up through the mop of hair that had fallen in her eyes she blinked the sweat away, "Counselor, hi! I mean," she pulled herself up to face the Vulcan, "Checking in again?" She dug up a grin from somewhere and shrugged, "Fortunately, Darbs didn't make it back last night, something about special guard duty, cause if she'd come home I think I'd be more than just stir crazy… what?" Anderson realized, belatedly, that T'Shaini's expression was… she looked like someone who had to deliver bad news.

Jenny had seen that expression before, on other faces.

"May I ask you something personal?"

"So, no one died?" Because, shit… "I mean, yeah, sure… I mean… what?"

Note to self, learn to school face in accordance with new emotions. T'Shaini walked over to seat herself on the edge of Jenny's bunk and patted the space beside her. "I just wanted to know more of your relationship with Benjamin Hyde Pierce."

"BHP?" Jenny took the seat absently, "I don't know if the 'r' word quite fits… he's a good friend, though and he's been… ahh crap! He did get in trouble, didn't he?" She thumped her leg in frustration, ow "I never should have let him help me but," she shook her head, "I thought it was harmless… just research," but Tenanji had shown her how wrong she'd been. "Is Chief Costala really mad because it's all my fault…"

"No, no, no…" T'Shaini patted the young woman's recently abused leg. "Chief Costala is not mad at him, or at you…he was…we were wondering how much you know about him."

This was going pear-shaped and she didn't even know why, "I know he's an orphan," she said, "lost his parents young," her mind flashed to various conversations over bowling or weapons maintenance, "I know his home planet is… it's a pretty colorful place, compared to most space-faring societies and I know he didn't care for the Marines…" Frustrated, she allowed her eyes to wander her teeny tiny room, "I know he likes to have a good time and he's fun to be around and he… I know he's my friend… what else am I supposed to know? What's going on?"

"Lieutenant Tenanji took Pierce into custody last night, orders from SFCHQ…all I know is they specify some subsection of the Suliban initiatives." Closing Jenny's mouth with the tip of her finger, T'Shaini nodded. "I understand, we all find it difficult to believe that he could have been involved in anything of that caliber. But since he was not exactly forthcoming when placed under arrest…"

"ARREST?" The word bounced off the walls but Jen didn't care. "That's complete bullshit, sorry, LT but…" rising she started to pace the room, "The orders came down last night?" She hit some wall, turned, "And my transmission was traced early-afternoon so if he was running a parallel search…"

"I had wondered precisely the same thing….however, I will say, that when he was taken into custody he had every opportunity to pronounce his lack of guilt…but instead behaved in a manner that I will only characterize as…odd." The Vulcan's face clouded with the memory. "Quite unlike his normal carefree manner, so much so that I began to wonder if he were hiding something."

"No," the young crewman yanked her own thoughts back from the day she'd watched Harry taken into custody, in the cemetery, just after her father's funeral, "No," she shook her head. "He was in shock, or, or he was maybe cutting some corners, getting fancy in the search but…" she crossed her arms over her chest, eyes hard, "No way is he a f**ing terrorist, cyber or otherwise." She'd spent her childhood watching her father, and then Harry as well, hunting down the worst cases Starfleet had to offer and then spent a year as yeoman to the head of Special Operations. She may not be the brightest bulb in the grunt squad but she knew what she knew. "Whatever it is, he's not guilty of what they say." And who the hell were they, anyway? Fear had her falling back to her place on the bunk.

"Jenny…Jenny…" T'Shaini's fingers lightly brushed her cheek to turn her face back toward her. "neither I, nor Chief Costala believe he could be involved in what 'they' are accusing him of…but for him to obscure any information makes his case far worse."

"Then make him talk to you," Jen gripped the counselor's hand, "Do that thing that you do and get him to open up - you have to help him," she was pleading, now, "You don't know what happens to people accused under the Suliban initiatives. They just… go away. I can't… I won't let that happen." And how are you going to stop it, Jen? Beg Nate to step in, maybe?

"You know him, do you think he will open up to me?"

"I… well…" huh. "Didn't Harry?" Citing the most difficult case she could imagine.

A short huff that might have been laughter popped out of T'Shaini. "After a long while. I fear we do not have the luxury of time in this instance."

"Then what do we do? Not nothing… I don't see nothing as an option, here."

"I was hoping you would offer."

"Well, I can ask Lieutenant Tenanji for access to the files we received and maybe he'll let me go over BHP's computer, after I get out of time out but…"

"Perhaps I can accelerate the process." T'Shaini flipped open the oldschool communicator. "Lt. T'Shaini to Lt. Tenanji." The counselor made a face at Jenny at how silly that phrase sounded once said aloud. "Say that five times fast." She said in a whisper waiting for the response.

"Requesting permission for Crewman Anderson to leave quarters, I would like to escort her to speak with Benjamin Hyde Pierce, I believe she will be able to illicit information that he would be willing to divulge to anyone else."

There was a pause and Jenny could almost see Tenanji's jaw tightening.

=/\=Very well=/\= came back at last. =/\=Permission granted, for the space of thirty minutes, then Anderson must return to her quarters and file a report on the conversation, my eyes only.=/\=

T'Shaini glanced at Jenny before replying. "Agreed. T'Shaini out." Once again wishing for the convenience of a commbadge, T'Shaini folded up the behemoth and tucked it away. "Are you ready?"

No. "Sure." Uncertain just how everyone was so confident he'd 'divulge' anything useful to her, Jen straightened her oversized sweatshirt and tried to think interrogative thoughts. "I promise I won't make a break for it," she added in a desperate bid for levity as she followed her keeper out the door.

JP featuring NPC Jenny Anderson (as written by our illustrious Harry Finn)
Originally Posted 5/16/08 by T'Shaini

The Megiddo Regatta - Yesteryear

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