The Beneficent Spider

"You look good in uniform," Cat commented as her eyes took in everything, going from his face to the cut of Javier's uniform.

For a moment the engineer was too surprised to answer. "Thank..you?" Javier said, wondering if the woman he hadn't seen in three years, who had left him after giving birth to their daughter, had suddenly reappeared to compliment him on his threads. "You are very beautiful," he said, remembering how much Cat enjoyed flattery as she smiled like a Cheshire cat. Are you still as selfish as I remember?

"I've grown older Javier," she admitted uncharacteristically, "but the years have been good to me." Caterina relaxed back in her chair, crossing her legs as the skirt she wore climbed up a few inches. "I found a good man and he's provided me with everything I need."

"Unlike me?"

"I didn't say that. Creighton just has different priorities. He wants more than what he's given, he's ambitious, he wants the best for himself," Cat said happily, "and he wants the best for his wife."

"Creighton Chase? I just received an odd message from someone claiming to be his legal council," Javier said, watching Cat's eyes. "Sevigny..he mentioned Lia and made it seem like she would soon be joining your family..Chase's family." The engineer felt tears rising to his eyes. He brushed them away with his left hand. "Cat..Lia is dead. There was an accident. She was killed.."

"I know Javier..I know," Cat replied softly. "I heard the news from my parents.." Javier's eyes narrowed in suspicion. Caterina had virtually shunned her family after turning eighteen, even when she and Javier had been together she wouldn't speak of them. "At Creighton's insistance I made amends with my family," Cat answered, as if on cue, "I..I wanted to see Lia but I didn't know how. I regret my decision. I regret leaving her." A tear rolled down one of Cat's cheeks and then she covered her face with her hands and began to sob. "Now I'll never get to meet her," Caterina mourned.

Javier's heart softened at the sight of someone he had once cared for deeply crying. The bitterness he had once felt towards Caterina dissapated. "She was beautiful..just like her mother," he offered as Cat wept. "She was always bright and happy.."

"Like her father," Cat said, her voice hoarse with emotion.

Javier nodded as he wiped away his own tears.

"Javi." He looked up suddenly at Cat's use of the term of endearment. "Creighton and I want to establish a trust, at home, for young families who go through what you've had to. In order to do that we need your permission since you are..were Lia's parent." Caterina looked at him imploringly. "Please say you will do this. It means so much to me. Speak to William, Mr. Sevigny, and he will guide you through the process."

"O..okay," the engineer replied.

"Thank you Javier, I'll contact you with all the details as soon as Mr. Sevigny is satisfied," Cat said gratefully. She leaned in close to the screen. "I still love you." Then the screen went blank and then the Starfleet logo could be seen on it. The engineer frowned at the console. That was odd. The screen lit up again as William Sevigny reappeared.

::Chase Compound::
::Outpost Jericho-Samaria::

"Did he believe you?" Creighton asked his wife.

Caterina wiped away the moisture around her eyes then re-applied the make-up on her face that had smudged during her 'cry'. "Of course he did, Javier is simple, he's easily manipulated."

"You went too far."

"So you were listening in?" Cat replied saucily. "Don't trust me?"

"Do you still have feelings for him?"

"Creighton, please, you are the only man for me," Caterina said as she looked at her husband.

"You mean the only one that can afford your rather expensive tastes," the short, robust man shot back.

"Fine, whatever, can we see our daughter now?"

Creighton Chase smiled pleasantly as he pressed a call button on a console nearby that would instruct Lia's nanny to bring her to the spacious living room.. "Our daughter. You say that like it's a done deal."

"It is dear," Cat replied, "trust me, it is."

Post Featuring:
http://i99.photobucket.com/albums/l286/SSgtOkuda/Cat.jpg
Caterina Chase

Originally Posted By Javier Costala 02-20-2008


The corridors were empty and it was later than usual when Javier reached the doors to he, T'Shaini and Nils' quarters. The security guard that served as his security escort, nodded at Javier's wave, then returned to engineering. His shoulders sagged with exhaustion as Javier walked into the room and dropped on the couch. He curled up on the sofa, unsure if he should enter the bedroom and wake up T'Shaini. I can just rest here for awhile.

The sound of someone entering the suite drove T'Shaini from the tub where she had been attempting to soak the enormity of this horrific day away. I am well on my way to morphing into a prune anyways. Quickly drying off and wrapping a robe around her, she peered out into the living area to see who had arrived. The feet hanging over the arm of the couch were unmistakable. Javier. Unsure as to whether he was asleep, and knowing how little sleep he had gotten since receiving the news about Lia, if he was, she was loathe to wake him. Moving quietly she ascertained that he was indeed awake, and seated herself by his head and ran her fingers through his hair.

"Hi." Javier said before moving so he could lay his head in T'Shaini's lap. "You smell nice," he said sleepily, smiling up at her.

"Thank you, the bath and its scent was soothing." As was her hand in his hair. "And a gift from a very considerate person, so it is special."

"What happened today? The security officer who was assigned to guard me couldn't tell me much, other than there was an accident in one of the labs." He stalled in telling her that he had spoken with Cat and her lawyer, William Sevigny. We can discuss that once I know what has happened.

T'Shaini stiffened for a moment, it had not occurred to her that he would not have heard. "Accident is not the word I would have chosen." She folded her hands in her lap. "It seems that our saboteur has escalated his attacks, Dana Grissom was murdered today. She was found in Dr. Schaeffer's lab by Alex Gorsky."

He sat up, acutely aware of even the most minute change in T'Shaini's posture. "I'm sorry," Javier said as he put his arm around her shoulders, "Gorsky was the little guy from the bar," he said, reaffirming that he was familiar with the young man from the Qniverse. "I'm not familiar with Dana Grissom..what department was she in?"

She stared forward as the faces of the people she spoke to swam behind her eyes. "Science, she was one of Lt. Torrik's crew from the Sentinel, she had just transferred…so much pain today, and so very little I could do to help."

"Ah," he intoned. Javier had not yet had the priviledge of meeting the new science crew, he had seen them around the ship but he had barely had time to familiarize himself with the new engineering staff. "I'm certain that you just being there was a comfort," the engineer said as he gently pulled T'Shaini against his chest. "I know you just being with me and listening has helped me.." His voice lowered before he added, "deal with Lia's death."

She rested against him, hearing him speak those words for the first time since he had received the news. Hopefully, healing may begin.

"I heard from Caterina today." It sounded worse than he thought it would.

T'Shaini sat up. "Caterina? Caterina…Caterina?" Clearly the very long day (which had started with Nils and that seemed as if it were days ago) had left her functioning with only one brain cell. Who else could he be referring to? Passing her hand across her eyes she shook her head. "Apologies…was she calling with regards to Lia?"

"Yes," he replied then yawned loudly. "But we can discuss it tomorrow over breakfast, right now, I think we need sleep more," Javier said, dodging the topic with the age old excuse. He stood to his feet and offered T'Shaini his hand.

Reaching out for his hand she let him pull her to her feet…there would be time enough tomorrow.

Javier bent down and hugged T'Shaini's waist then picked her up over his shoulder before striding into their room. "Lights Out!"

JP Sleepy and Dopey

Originally Posted By T'Shaini 02-20-2008


USS Hawking
Office, ComSecOps - Deck 14

Chief of Security - Official Log Entry

… I believe the physical evidence on-scene is enough to support my claims of Ensign Gorsky’s innocence of this crime. Besides the overall lack of blood on his uniform, which indicated that Lieutenant Grissom had bled out before he picked her up, there was the complete lack of a murder weapon on his person or in the lab proper. The recycler showed traces of the manufactured fabric used in lab coats and gloves, as well as trace elements of… organic matter… but no metals or any other substances of sufficient temper to have been used to kill Lieutenant Grissom.

There is also the question of killer’s left-handedness. The Medical Exam will confirm that the cut was made by a left handed slice and neither Gorsky nor Acker are left-handed. Also, neither Gorsky nor Acker have any experience in close combat. Shaun Ryan Acker barely passed his Starfleet unarmed tests and his prissiness… no, strike that… his careful nature had always prevented any participation in wet work.

Though repeating the method of my father’s murder was pure Acker…

“Pause log entry,” Harry rubbed his eyes with the heels of his hands and flung himself up and away from the desk. He didn’t want to be making this entry… he wanted… no, not wanted… needed to be hovering over Munro, gathering whatever other shreds of evidence could be garnered from the exam. He needed to get the last reports of who wasn’t alibied during the estimated TOD and then he needed to start interviewing every one of those who had been anywhere near close-in combat.

He needed to find the killer because everything he knew about murder in general and Acker in particular told him it wasn’t over. They were now slightly over two days away from Jericho-Samaria, away from the real Acker and that meant, in the clone’s mind… or, one of the clone’s minds… that time was running out. The mission needed to be accomplished before he returned to the mother ship.

And what was that mission? Who was next on the list? Would he go after Kerrin again?

Not Acker. To continue after a missed target would be to admit to failure and, oh, Shaun never admitted to failure. No, he’d turn it around in his head so it was better that Dana Grissom, a bystander, an innocent, collateral damage, was killed in Kerrin’s place.

But that was Acker’s way of thinking and Harry had no idea how his host would take the miss.

So Kerrin was still in danger. As was Jenny, and Wendy and Alex and Munro and maybe even Torrik…

He leaned his head against the wall, dizzied by the sheer number of potential victims.

Giving up on these vertiginous ruminations, he returned to the desk and sat, “Resume log,” he began but, seeing his computer screen he froze. The words of his much-resented log entry were gone. In their place he read…

The dove descending breaks the air

With flame of incandescent terror

Of which the tongues declare

The one discharge from sin and error.

The only hope, or else despair

Lies in the choice of pyre of pyre—

To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Almost there, Harry.
Shaun

Originally Posted By Harry Finn 02-20-2008


USS Hawking
Port Transporter Room - Deck 4

“This cannot be happening, again,” Tommy Jenkins tossed the scanner into the toolkit. “First there was Ssyssz… whatever… and then the mucking up from Tennyson and now…” she slammed a hand against the recalcitrant console, “now it’s…. I don’t know what this is.”

“Whatever it is, we must inform Chief Lottz…” Prela powered-down the transporter pad, which was in no wise going to transport anything for the foreseeable future. “I would suggest informing Operations, Sciences and, perhaps Engineering has some insights into this latest malfunction?”

Jenkins made a face at the circuit boards, then sighed, “I’ll take the Chief and Operations and Sciences if you’ll take Engineering? Sick of me bugging them…”

“As you wish,” Prela tapped her combadge as Tommy moved to the other side of the room to reach out to Operations, =/\=This is Crewman Jenkins to Chief Lottz…=/\=

NPCs on a Rampage!!!

Originally Posted By Torrik Nils 02-21-2008


USS Hawking
Dedicated Lab 1138 - Deck 6

"Dr. Schaeffer, there are cleaning crews for this sort of thing…" The large security officer who had been 'buddied' with Kerrin would have liked nothing better than for the crazy broad to go to sleep.

"It is my lab, I will take care of it." Down on her hands and knees, with and old fashion scrub brush and bucket, Kerrin was scouring every surface of her lab as if that would purge the space of the horror it had seen. The mindless chore helped her keep her mind from the picture of Dana on the floor, the smell of blood and the sound of anguish echoing in Alex's voice. It had been cleaned before she got there, but she was afraid it would never be clean enough. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. The quote from Shakespeare's Lady M's mad scene forced a hysterical laugh from the woman. She certainly looked mad, soaked with water and cleaning solution, crawling around the lab floor.

He heard the laugh from the hallway and at that wounded sound Finn had to stop a moment, then he flinched as Koz Rotaran, his assigned 'buddy' placed an understanding hand on his shoulder. Being a Deltan the touch was… it was more than Harry's jangled nerves could take. "I'm good," he said, not looking at the saddened male. Rotaran and Dana Grissom had been shipmates aboard the Sentinel; they'd known one another for years and now he was trying to comfort Harry and that was one kindness more than Harry could take. Taking the lead he strode through the locked-open door and gave the clearly-harried Jameson a brief nod.

Koz entered more tentatively. His friend had died here, horribly, from what he'd learned. The other security officer, who would normally have been an instant draw to the outgoing Deltan, was now merely a reminder of how very dangerous things aboard the Hawking had become. Settling for a slight inclination of his head, Koz went to the other side of the lab and leaned against the closet, waiting.

"Kerrin," his voice was quiet as he knelt down where she worked, afraid that she wouldn't look at him… afraid that she would.

Her head snapped up at his voice, eyes a little wild, she ran her soapy hand through her hair and then grimaced. "I…it wasn't…" She sighed. "I suppose this looks a little manic."

He wanted to reach out to her, to take her in his arms, to stroke away the pain and the horror but… "Only a little," he said and then, "You should rest…" but he broke off, looked down, realized he was staring at the same spot he'd been staring at, only a couple of hours past; clean now but even so he had to blink away the image he'd recreated of Dana, bleeding out and still, still struggling against what was coming. "I…" but then, what was there to say? Sorry couldn't possibly cover it…

Kerrin pulled the brush into her stomach when she felt the shaking start again. She could hold it off by keeping busy, but she felt that if stopped moving she would fall apart. Scooting a little further back on the slick surface she started to scrub the sides of the lab table. "Out, out damned spot…" With a mirthless laugh she looked back to Harry. "Not you…"

But that was it, wasn't it? Would she… could she ever again look at Harry and not see the death that had almost been hers? How could he hope to be anything more than a reminder of… "This," he said, suddenly determined that one, just one person in his scope not be ruined, "this is not your fault. None of this was your doing… none of it. Whatever else happens you have to know…"

The brush clattered to the floor. "Of course it was my fault.." she choked out on a sob. "Oh, I know…it isn't my fault there is a homicidal, grudge bearing…lunatic on board, but if I hadn't…if she hadn't…" Kerrin blocked her mouth with the back of her hand in an attempt to stem the floodwaters straining to burst free.

Whatever had been holding him back snapped and Harry reached out to gather the stricken woman into his arms, oblivious of the two men, only meters away, unwilling witnesses to this very private grief. As he pulled her close, Kerrin pushed away but he couldn't, just couldn't leave her alone with this. No matter what came after… "I'm sorry," despite the inadequacy, the words were all he had, "I'm sorry… Kerrin…"

After the first futile attempts to escape Kerrin just gave up and gave in to the wracking sobs that had been fighting to escape for hours. "I…don't know…if I can….live with this." When the shuddering began to subside she heard her words again…and thought of who she had said them to. "I don't know how you do…"

There was a long, taut pause, a wire of silence stretched to breaking before he started to breathe again, "Sometimes I don't think I can," he admitted, finally, "These last couple of years it's been… I haven't really wanted to." Again his eyes were drawn to the place a young woman had died, alone and afraid and never knowing why, "but someone has to stand against this… don't they?" The question was genuine… suddenly he wasn't sure. Maybe he should just lie down and…

Unceremoniously wiping her nose with her sleeve, Kerrin nodded, more to herself than to Harry. "Right…right…selfish…" She automatically kicked into science mode. "guilt…grief, selfish emotions. Funerary practices are far more for the living than for the dead, to reassure them and help them cope." The catharsis that can only come after violent tears began to manifest. "Even if…" she shook her head, "even though it was supposed to be me…yes, I know that Harry, it isn't about me now. I am done with breezily pretending it does not exist. How do you catch the bastard? What can I do?"

"You have to stay safe," he said, feeling a bit buffeted by the whirlwind turnaround from shock and grief to 'let's kick some righteous a..'

"Mmmm, and how exactly does that work? Except for being gifted with the bulk that is Jameson…"

"Jameson heard that," the deep, falsely annoyed voice replied.

"Jameson heard that," Harry echoed, realizing how much his officer had heard and praying his strong silent act went off duty as well. "And that's pretty much how it works… until I find him. And I will find him." He took another long breath, feeding his eyes with her, tear-streaked and bleary and beautiful and rare, "and on that note…"

"Time to go hunt down the bad guy?" She shot a reddened and no doubt horrifically swollen eyed glance back to her 'buddy'. "And that was meant to be a compliment…"

"He's blushing!" Koz tossed in from his side of the room.

"It's hot in here," the rough reply made even Harry crack a small smile.

"Time to go hunt down the bad guy," he agreed, rising and pulling her with him. Standing, he looked down at her, saw that, saddened, her eyes became a deeper shade of green, "Take care of yourself," he said, hoping he didn't sound like he was begging, leaning in so the next words for were for her, alone, "be my reason to keep going." So saying he dropped one last kiss on her forehead and hoped Kerrin would realize how much she was valued, that her safety was more, far more than a duty. "I have to go," he added and, before the stunned woman could say anything, was out the door, a startled Deltan at his heels, to continue the search.

To end it.

Post with Harry, Kerrin and featuring NPC's William Jameson and Koz Rotaran

Originally Posted By Harry Finn 02-21-2008


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

Useless. Harry's assessment of the ships internal sensors was dead on, and it infuriated Nils. Without data to formulate a working theory all that was left was speculation. And speculation was just a fancy way to say guess. Slamming his fist into the desktop, Nils cursed Dana's murderer.

"Everything all right," Avurr asked from her own workspace.

"Fine," Nils grumbled. He'd drawn what he considered the short straw in his new "buddy partner." Avurr was all right, but seemed to have no grasp on the severity of their situation. Her cool smile and easy demeanor only worked to further frustrate the Bajoran.

"I knew you'd need my help," Koz slid into the lab, exuding a far more subdued extrasensory presence than was his norm. Dana's death had hit the Deltan hard and, having recently spent an uncomfortable half-hour in the room where she'd died, he was a pale shadow of his normal, exuberant self. Offering Avurr a warm smile, Rotaran joined Nils, "I'm here. I know it's not the same as Lincoln but…"

Once he was within range, Nils reached out and pat the Deltan on the shoulder. Despite his previous feelings of irritation with the man, they'd been through plenty together - all four of them. Now the Sentinel science team was missing one, and it stung. "Maybe you could take a look at this mess," the Chief of Science said indicating his scrambled sensor telemetry. "Fresh eyes…" He shrugged and made eye contact with the man following Koz. "Ensign Finn…if I could have a moment…"

Hanging back by the door, Harry was forced to ditch the plan of dropping Koz off and fleeing, buddyless, into the depths of the Hawking. As much as he needed to be on the move, continuing the search, this was a meeting he couldn't avoid. He didn't deserve to. A short nod and, "You two, stick together," he ordered the remaining pair as he stepped back, into the corridor.

Nils fell into step with Finn, eyes forward. "I'll get right to it," he said tersely. "Dana didn't belong in that lab. There are reasons for regulations and clearances… But as much as I'd like to, I don't hold you responsible for her death…" Nils let that statement lie before continuing. "Blame belongs solely with your ghost." Another pause. "However, there is no doubt that you let slide your duty, and for that, I'm angry…" This expression was so uncharacteristic of the Bajoran that he momentarily lost himself. A pause in his thought process opened a hole for rebuttal.

Instead of a rebuttal, only the continued sound of their boots clanking against the deck plating bounded around the corridor. Until Nils continued, "There is no way you could have foreseen what happened, Harry. But it is still your job to do just that. Only you know how dangerous Acker is. Yet you found time to play house with Dr. Schaeffer…" The Bajoran stopped himself mid-thought. This wasn't helping and he knew it. Nils sighed, switching tracks. "From what I can garner, the sensor 'knitting effect' is responsible for the relative black out of readings during the time of the murder. I don't think there is any way to retrieve the lost information."

At that Finn stopped, eyes narrowed, "Wait. What?" he asked, shoving aside the acceptance of his own complicity in Grissom's death, "what 'knitting effect'?" The scientist had spoken as if Harry should know what he was talking about but…

After drifting a few more paces, Nils stopped as well and turned to face the Chief of Security. His expression indicated that he had no idea what Nils was talking about. "I suppose you haven't had time to check your messages? Gorsky and …" A lump formed in his throat where Dana's name should have been. "They discovered an anomaly affecting the sensors. It's clearly one of the effects of the signal Lincoln and I were working to decrypt before I died. It warps sensors… Not the readings but the actual sensing agent. It bends the EM band, waveforms, particle streams… You don't know anything about it, do you…" Nils sounded disappointed.

"I… no,” frustrated, a hand slammed into the bulkhead, "I never heard about this. I didn't see Gorsky until after…" he slammed the wall again, "and there were no transmissions…" Harry's left hand clenched into a tight fist, "the bastard's censoring my mail."

Nils' eyes dropped to the floor. "Probably another ability of whatever device he's using to affect our sensors. Rather unnerving… Based on its usage thus far, there may be no real limit to what that signal is capable of." Returning his gaze to Finn, he continued, "The warping of the sensors can effectively blind them to anyone or anything the field is applied to. In the most recent case, the warping field must have been large enough to affect the whole ship. Internal sensors have nothing for an hour and half span of time."

"Okay," Finn closed his eyes, running through the data he'd received from Terence Wolfe on the Acker's attributed thefts but, nothing popped. "Whatever he's using, he either didn't steal if from Starfleet, or Starfleet doesn't want anyone to know they had it to steal…" And something this advanced, this untraceable this… alien… he'd bet no one in the Federation had developed this tech. "Not that it matters, where it came from but…" he paused again, this time waiting for the niggling at the back of his brain to come forward and make a speech, "but maybe it gives us a new way to look at the data we do have."

"Or the data we don't have," Nils pondered aloud. From experience the scientist knew that any data that didn't show up in an experiment could be as valuable as what was plain and apparent. "A tough way to investigate without a frame of reference for comparison. But you're right. It's something…"

"Missing," Harry jumped in, feeling a surge of anticipation, "we… I've been looking for something off, something wrong but all this time I should have been looking for what's not there." He started to walk again, not with any destination in mind, just that he had to move, "You think the device the perp is using is portable, right?"

"That's my thought at the moment. Anything hardwired would have been discovered in routine diagnostics by engineering. Unless the ghost has a cloaking device somewhere on board." It sounded absurd, but it was a real consideration. "I'll have a science team do a manual neutrino sweep with tricorders, just in case." Nils took a moment to gather himself before taking the conversation back where it started. "Ensign Finn," he started awkwardly. "Harry… Dana was my friend. And I don't have very many of those - not on board and not anywhere. Her death is a personal loss I won't try to cheapen in words. It isn't your fault that she died…" It pained him to admit it. "But it is your responsibility." The man didn't need a lecture. Be both… echoed through his head. "In truth, it is all of our responsibility. We are one crew with one purpose. For what it is worth… I offer you my forgiveness for any part your actions may have had in her death. And I ask for yours. We are all responsible for each other."

As the Bajoran had spoken, Harry found they'd woven their way back to the science lab's entrance. He didn't say anything to Torrik's accusations because, in truth, what was there to say? He'd made a mistake and a woman had died. If he hadn't, if he'd never gone looking for Kerrin, she would have died, instead. His entire life, for three years, had become nothing more than a series of 'what if's'.

But the offer of forgiveness was… "I can't accept that," he said, his voice flat, "I can't be party to the group hug because, let's face it, some of us are more responsible than others and I…" he shook his head, unable to face the other man, "It was supposed to be me," he finally said to the door's control panel. "All along, from the second I was pulled back into the 'Fleet, I was nothing more than a target for Spec Ops to wave at Acker because they thought he wanted my death so much he'd risk anything to accomplish it.

"But they were wrong… we were wrong and now you and Dana and the Hawking are paying for it." He felt whatever grasp of humanity he'd achieved since Halcyon beginning to slip away, "I should never have come back."

A theme emerged. Meaning from meaningless coalesced and Nils silently thanked the Prophets. He began speaking as if he were reciting poetry… "I do not believe there is judgment or censure for taking another path, it may not be the correct time or place for that road, or perhaps we are not ready for it at the particular moment. If the path is meant for you, it will be there when you are prepared to take it." Trying to find deeper meaning in the moment, the Bajoran remained silent. After sufficiently digesting Harry's words he continued. "Counselor T'Shaini told me that recently. It meant something to me… Perhaps it can mean something for you. You wrestle your own pagh'wraiths, as do we all. But I suspect you won't give up that fight. Just know you don't walk your path alone. None of us do…"

Harry certainly didn't. He had constant companions in the ghosts of Sara and Seth, Tim and Esther and now, now there was Dana. No, his path was far from empty. He turned, beginning to walk away, "Thanks, I'll remember that," he tossed over his shoulder, "and you can keep Rotaran," Finn added as he continued on the path he'd chosen… the one that would, if he had any say in the matter, intersect at the crossroads with a killer.

A JP by Harry and Nils… With Harry taking the title of Heavy weight Curmudgeon of the world from the reigning Champ!!!

Originally Posted By Torrik Nils 02-21-2008


USS Hawking
Purcell Quarters - Deck 8

Having left his buddy in Main Science, Harry had made a quick personal trip to see Alex but he didn’t think Alex had seen him. It was lowering, to see the brilliant, irreverent genius so… blank, his eyes so dead.

Walking away from that encounter, he realized there was another to whom he owed… something. Rotaran had been very talkative, at the start and now Finn understood a great deal more about the subterranean triangle that Dana Grissom had inspired, through no fault of her own.

He didn’t particularly expect a warm welcome but Lincoln Purcell, as much as anyone else, deserved an outlet to his pain and Finn doubted anyone else was as deserving of the man’s despite so…

“Chief,” Kyle Ellison, who’d been assigned to Purcell, looked past his CO, “where’s your buddy?”

“Oh, he got caught up in something down the hall, I told him I’d be back in fifteen. Relax, Ellison,” Harry forestalled the worried questions he could see forming, “Of all the crew, I’m the one person who should be traveling solo… it might bring our suspect out of hiding.” And with that tactical nugget of wisdom, he pressed the door’s chime.

It opened faster than either man expected and there was Purcell, of a height with Finn but burlier and if appearances were any judge, far, far more angry. “I wondered if you’d show,” the civilian said, stepping aside.

With a relaxed nod to Kyle, Harry walked in. He strode just past the center of the room, waited for the door to whisk closed, then turned…

To see Purcell coming at him, fist suggestively cocked but, when he got to where Finn was standing, the security officer wasn’t there anymore. With an easy sidestep, Harry reached over to Lincoln’s extended arm and ‘helped’ him fly face first into the wall.

When Linc turned to try again, he was at the wrong end of a phaser… again.

“So you’re a coward, too?” he asked, vibrating with suppressed rage.

“I don’t think I'm the one to answer that,” Finn responded, “but I am too busy to break any bones, just now. You have a grievance with me and I accept that, - hell, when there’s time you can go to town, I won’t try to stop you but, right now, I need all my moving parts to find her killer and the Hawking needs you to help hold her together.”

The half-Vulcan bit down on the cutting retort he felt brewing at that last. “Why? What’s wrong with the ship?”

Greatly daring, Finn holstered his phaser, “The transporters went out, about an hour ago. There’s an unknown code overwriting the rematerialization subroutines… sound familiar?”

“So it’s spreading? The influence of the code we’ve been tracking is actively affecting more of the Hawking’s systems?”

Harry half-inclined his head in agreement, “Given that the sensors have been compromised for months, I’d have to say it’s less a side effect than a planned assault. Either way, it’s indicative of a potential cascade failure. Torrik is working the numbers, Engineering and Ops are all over it but the more hands on the problem, the better our chances of stopping it before…”

Purcell’s eyes narrowed, “Before what?”

“I don’t think any of us want to find out…”

“Damn,” Lincoln straightened, away from the wall, “Fine, you got me,” he walked up to Finn, “you say Torrik’s in Main Science?”

“I didn’t but, yes, he’s… greeaagghh…!” the sentence was cut off as a fist, powered with rage and a little added Vulcan strength, buried itself in his gut.

“Just so we’re clear,” Lincoln said, leaning over the stricken human, “this is not over.”

“Didn’t think it was” Harry wheezed out, hands on his knees for support. It took a few more minutes to fully recover and by then, Lincoln had gone, taking Ellison with him.

“Yeah, that went well,” Harry told the empty before he took one more deep, slightly nauseated breath and left the room.

Post featuring NPC's Lincoln Purcell and Kyle Ellison

Originally Posted By Harry Finn 02-21-2008


::Main Engineering::

"Nearly there..nearly there..just a little more," Tehamia said softly as she combed through the lines of code that was a spectrum of the programs dedicated to warp diagnostics. Ajani stood to her left, manipulating the stream of data, ready to activate the trace program Tehamia and the African engineer had designed to track the saboteur's information gathering worm. It was a gambit to say the least, any other time Ajani had tried to pinpoint the program it split apart and hid itself among the millions of streams of code with in the computer systems. Not only had Tehamia produced a tracking program she had linked it to their tricorders so that she and Ajani could discern whether the signal that cloaked the program was internally or externally activated.

"It's riding on your clearance code..sneaky little bastard," Tehamia quipped.

"My code? The other times it was digging its way through core containment procedure..if it has my codes it could..," Ajani realized what a threat the rogue worm was becomming. Not only had the transporters been affected and security measures, but now the program was sending information to the saboteur that could cause real havoc. "You have to capture it!"

"Activating the tracer program," Tehamia stated as her fingers tapped the necessary commands on the console. "It's trying to slip through the data streams," she cried, "it's only following its programming..we've got it! we've got it!" The female engineer watched as the program she had created caught the virus and stored it in a container stream. "We did it!" she said happily, turning to Ajani and embracing him. "Should we tell the Chief we have it?" Tehamia asked stepping back from Ajani as she looked up at him in excitement.

Taken aback by the closeness of Tehamia after the quick capture of the rogue program, Ajani could only blush and stutter. "Uh no I don't think he errr well uh, whew." He glanced towards the Chief Engineer's office where Javier was working on a personal matter. The ensign didn't want to disturb his friend. The tricorder attached to Ajani's belt began to beep rapidly.

"It's the tracker," Tehamia said, her eyes growing larger as she looked at Ajani.

"The person that controls the program is close," Ajani confirmed, flipping open the tricorder and motioning to a security officer posted near the core. The officer was Kal-El's buddy and the petulant engineer followed the security officer without a word of protest.

"The signal is coming from a Jeffries tube one level up." Ajani led the way up the ladder to the catwalk of upper engineering then let the security officer lead the way as they entered the tube. The officer drew her phaser as she and the three engineers crept along silenty, Ajani muted the tracer program and gave directions using hand signals. As they neared a T-junction he tapped the officer on her shoulder, the saboteur was around the next corner.

Originally Posted By Javier Costala 02-23-2008


"Computer, once again locate Harry Finn, he has clearly moved from his previously stated location." This was beginning to feel like a game of hide and seek, after having met with Kerrin, Alex and Koz she began to realize it was time to actively seek out Harry. Especially hearing how Koz had been summarily dismissed by him this morning. His preternatural ability to shoulder blame could only be made worse by the current situation.

"Chief Finn is currently located in Main Security, deck 14."

Lifting a sidelong glance at her companion T'Shaini waved her hand toward the lift. "Leg four of the wild goose chase, are you game Jenny?" Since the young woman had been assigned to be the counselors buddy, she had had an eventful morning…standing outside spaces that T'Shaini was meeting with people in, and now running around the ship looking for her godfather.

"I haven't played tag with Uncle… the Chief.. since I was eight," Jenny said, following the Vulcan (who knew counselor's were this in demand?), "and back then he used to handicap himself, 'cause he's so freaking tall." Then she winced, wondering if it was disrespectful to speak that way about her CO… even if they had known each other for thirteen years.

An absurd picture of a mini Jenny running through Harry's legs popped, unbidden, into T'Shaini's head. Pressing the lift button she brushed aside the vision to concentrate on the likelihood of intense resistance to her suggestion. "You may want to remove yourself from the immediate vicinity when I corner him."

Jen was pretty sure Harry wouldn't want her in the immediate vicinity under any circumstances… at least not since she'd ripped into him the other night but, "Understood," was all she said.

::Main Security Office::

"So," Finn was explaining to Saunders, McMennan and, because he was there, Dalluk, "with the possibility that our perp may, at some time, have forgotten to switch off the sensor warp, what we should be looking for is someone who's supposed to be in the picture, but isn't." Hawthorne and Tenanji were engaged in a check of un-alibied crew on the far side of the office. Both had been interested in this latest development but it was a wild hunch and Finn couldn't spare them from that more legitimate leg of the investigation.

"But," Aengus, like any confused schoolkid, raised his hand, "How are we supposed to know if there's supposed to be someone, if we can't… see them?"

Even as Harry opened his mouth, Dalluk jumped in, "Look for a hole in the picture," the elder bartender pointed out. "There should be a gap, maybe you see a duty post you know should be manned, or perhaps crew are walking around an open space for no reason…"

Harry quirked a brow and nodded, "What he said…" surprised to find himself less displeased with this latest buddy assignment. "So, pick yourself a time frame and start looking for holes…"

"Holes?" The door had slid open in time for T'Shaini to hear the last few words. "Good afternoon, gentlemen," She nodded to the assembled security personnel…and bartender, "may I have a word with you Chief Finn?"

"Can this wait?" He'd just gotten the brainstorm and the extra manpower to start this new sweep and…

Prepared for this she simply said, "No." in a manner that would brook no resistance.

"Fine," Harry responded in kind before he turned to leave, "Anderson, why don't you join Dalluk? He'll get you up to speed…" and with that Harry stormed past the counselor, "We can talk in my office."

Sighing inwardly the counselor followed him to the next room. Waiting for the door to slide shut behind her she crossed to seat herself in one of the chairs opposite his desk, deliberately positioned herself as she always did for their sessions and gestured to the myriad coffee cups strewn around the office. "Judging from the amount of caffeine consumed you have not slept in quite some time, of course that is mere extrapolation, perhaps I could count the circles under your eyes as we would rings of a tree." She shifted slightly. "Harry, it has been quite some time since you and I have spoken, I feel, with all the additional weight of the investigation, it might behoove you," and everyone around you, "to take a few minutes for balance."

"I don't have time for this," Harry said, though quietly, "not now. You want me to get balanced? Take a nap? Meditate? Fine, as soon as I take this guy down, I'll sign up for the whole damned program but not now. Not this close… it's… there's a flow and if I interrupt it now I could end up losing…" he paused as Dalluk's words pushed in again, look for a hole in the picture… there'd been a hole… he'd seen it… where? When? Damn!

"It is not as if I do not understand the urgency, I am quite certain you have a clear idea of how I have been spending my time." A frown creased her brow remembering the few words Alex had been able to speak. "What I wish for you to consider is; it was one thing when your sleep deprived abrasiveness affected only those who were unfortunate enough to brush against it, quite another when you have a department that may function at less than an optimum level due to the fact that they are forced to work on a knife's point."

There was a slight tic in his jaw before he responded, "Did you have to work extra hard to get that metaphor?"

"Not as hard as I did to track you down." She leaned forward in her chair. "Please, at least sit down. I can see how intensely this is wearing you, could you not give yourself some breathing room?"

"Gosh, no," he dismissed the suggestion and the question in one fell swoop, "I can't. And, news flash, I shouldn't! Some things… some actions really are unforgivable and that's the way it should be. I don't need breathing room. I don't need rest… yet. I need to get these sensor records reviewed and dammit, I need to get to sickbay for that ME report. I need to finish the job that I started and the best way for me to do that is to stay focused on the trail," again he felt it, that knock knock knocking in his skull that told him he knew the answer… he only needed to be… "alone. I need to be left alone so I can finish this," he started for the door, T'Shaini's presence nothing more than a shadow as he chased his thoughts through the past twenty hours.

T'Shaini rose and followed him, but not quickly enough as the door slid shut in her face. Huffing to herself she signaled it to open then followed him back into Security…except he was not there. She looked at Dalluk, who seemed to be showing Aengus how to search something, what does he not do? "Has Harry been in here?"

The bartender, who was temporarily out of a job until the current crisis passed, looked up, concerned, "No, why?" Then he made the connection and leaned back, hissing out a breath, "He ditched me, didn't he? The buddies are always the last to know…"

"Brilliant." T'Shaini quickly perused the room. "Tenanji, Hawthorne, I think it advisable to for some to follow Harry, all indications seem to be that he is on his way to sickbay." She watched the clearly discontented pair acknowledge and exit. Something else to check on.

=^=T'Shaini to Munro=^=

=^=Munro here=^=

=^=Beware, Captain Ahab is heading your way.=^=

=^=Acknowledged, Ishmael out.=^=

JP Ahab, Starbuck and Pip

Originally Posted By T'Shaini 02-23-2008


::Deck 10::

I bet it's Boyce..I hope it's not Heather, although she is intelligent and slightly crazed..wow and she's been my roommate the whole time. Talk about not knowing someone until you really know them.. Tehamia thought as she watched the security officer and Ajani ease around the corner. They had told her and Kal to remain where they were until the saboteur had been subdued.

Ajani glanced around the empty tube in confusion then checked his tricorder again. "This is where he should be." The signal was as strong as it was going to get and the engineer even tested it by walking the length of the tube. The strongest signal he received was near the corner of the T-junction.

"Nobody's here," the security officer said.

"Tell me something I don't know," Ajani retorted in frustration then almost immediately said, "I am sorry, I am just not understanding this, the signal is strong here.." The African man followed the signal down to the deck then noticed a small blinking light on a piece of equipment stuck to the side of a systems node.

"Okay I'm returning to my post..I should have stayed there to begin with," the security officer replied as she began to walk towards the tube's entrance, passing by Tehamia and Kal-El at the corner of the junction. "You two can go check out the deadend now."

"This is very strange." Ajani detached the small piece of technology from the node and studied it. "It appears to be a transponder of some type.." The light on the instrument began to blink faster.

"Ajani?" Tehamia said as she rounded the corner of the tube in time to see a bright light blossom out of Ajani's hand and consume his form. The blast from the explosion threw her back into the tube, saving her life, as a wall of fire was held back by the emergency forcefields which activated after the blast. The concussion sounded like a thunderclap because of the small space in which the device had detonated.

When Tehamia came to her world was filled with smoke and heat. There was also pain, her face felt odd and hot. Her vision was blurry but she could make out the shimmering forcefield. Crawling up to the energy barrier she peered through, searching for him.

"Ajani?"

"AJANI!!"

Originally Posted By Javier Costala 02-23-2008


USS Hawking
Turbolift En Route to Deck 5

“Pause,” Finn ordered, only seconds after entering the turbolift. He’d been heading to sickbay but, as soon he’d stepped onto the ‘lift the subtle whispering which had been running through his hindbrain for the past little while had escalated to a full-fledged scream.

The answer was here… or he’d seen the answer here and he just had to remember…

Closing his eyes, Harry tried to recall every time he’d entered a turbolift over the past several days…

=/\=Hyvoth to Chief Finn… emergency, Main Engineering… repeat we have an emergency, casualties incurred…=/\=

His eyes snapped open and now they were cold. “Deck 11…”

::Deck 10 - Jeffries Tube::

“And you left him, alone, to go looking for this signal…” Finn had the Benzite Security officer in front of him, between the fatal T-junction and the tube leading back to engineering’s upper level, looking shaken but unscathed. The same couldn’t be said for the engineers Tehamia and Kowalski, who had suffered from concussion, minor burns and a serious arterial laceration, respectively.

And then there was Obatu. Ajani Obatu, who Harry remembered as quiet, intelligent, focused and, most of all, young and was now none of those things.

He wasn’t even a pattern on the plating of the T-junction.

“Sir,” Hyvoth swallowed convulsively. She’d never seen the Chief like this… and she’d seen him plenty pissed often enough. “We were looking for the suspect and, when there wasn’t anyone around…”

“You waltzed back to your post, leaving an engineer, who has no training in identifying explosive devices, who wouldn’t even begin to suspect that the individual who set up those codes might have made sure they were protected, to pick up the very first pretty blinking light he saw!” Each word grew slightly louder and as he spoke, Harry closed in on the officer, forcing her to step back and back and back until they were out on the catwalk and her spine hit the railing.

“Sir… I’m…”

“Save it,” Finn spat out, “for when I bring you up on charges.” Down below, he was aware of an audience. Somber, angry or stunned, the engineering staff were watching. They’d lost one of their own and, like any sentient’s in these circumstances, they were looking for someone to blame. Someone to take responsibility for their loss.

Someone to feel their pain.

And things would only go downhill from there. Harry kept his eyes on Hyvoth but lowered his voice, “Under the current threat, Obatu should never have been allowed to pursue this lead alone and you should have informed me the second someone in this department thought they had a bead on the suspect.”

“Due respect, Chief,” Ensign Darvin jumped in, maybe hoping to diffuse the situation, “Obatu and Costala have been chasing this code for days…”

“And as ranking officer on site, where the f**k were you when this was going down?” Spurred past reason, Harry spun on the young Bajoran, physically shoving him back into the surrounding wall. “This isn’t some gods damn amateur hour and you sure as shit ought to be aware of the chain of command…”

“Sir.”

Harry felt his spine stiffen at the sound of that calm, deceptively soothing voice. “Lieutenant,” he said, releasing the Ensign and turning to face the ever-so-self-possessed Tenanji, and beyond him the carefully neutral Hawthorne.

“Chief,” Hawthorne greeted him blandly, as if nothing untoward were happening and no, as a matter of fact, butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth (though her left hand was on the butt of her phaser), “if you would care to allow Tenanji and I to finish recording the scene, you could continue to sickbay, as planned.”

“By all means,” Harry stepped aside that the two could freely enter the tube. “But Doctor Munro is busy, at the moment, what with the two new casualties and all and," he locked eyes with Tenanji, daring him to say a damn thing, "it looks as if someone’s got to go tell the captain that another of his crew is dead," he paused but no one dared to comment. "I’ll be on the bridge, if anyone needs me.” And with one last, scathing glance for Darvin and Hyvoth, he made for the ladder.

Sliding down, Finn was aware of many eyes following his departure and he knew, without looking, that one of the most potent glares came from Chief Engineer Costala.

Post featuring NPC's Hyvoth, Darvin Brennek, Usher Tenanji and Vanona Hawthorne

Originally Posted By Harry Finn 02-24-2008


.: U.S.S. Hawking | Main Bridge :.

"Report." Nathan said, a little louder than he'd have liked. Ensign Jereza, the Denobulan operations specialist sitting in his chair started and a sensor tech working under the science console swore loudly after apparantly hitting his head.

"Sir.. we're still on course to Outpost Jericho Samaria. We're holding at Warp seven." Jezera replied stiffly. A few awkward seconds later, she rose from his seat and moved off.

"Good." Nathan replied, depositing himself roughly in the chair.

"Ahem."

Maybe if I ignore him he'll sit down someplace and shut up. Nathan thought, staring at the viewscreen.

"Ahem." This time a little louder. And closer.

He tensed. It wasn't going to work. He wasn't going to just sit there. Who made this damn roster anyway?

"What am I do do while you're here?" Dahrk spoke up, standing beside the captain's chair. "Why can we not stay at my establishment? Surely you could…."

"NO!" Nathan cut him off quickly and loudly before reigning in his temper. "No Dahrk. I can't. I need to be up here. We talked about it. You had your three hours. I sat down there and listened to…" the whole bridge was now watching. Nathan lowered his voice to a hiss. "I listened to your business model. I know your whole life story now. But I have to work too. So just… just sit down and shutup someplace!"

Without a word, Dahrk began to take the XO's Chair. He didn't get far.

"NOT here."

"Where then!?" Dahrk asked. His tone a mixture of frustration and contempt. "Where shall I sit then Hew-mon!?"

Nathan indicated the vacant science console where the tech was just finishing up. "Go over there. Don't touch anything! Don't SAY anything. And don't talk to me like that!"

In the turbolift, on the way to report the latest mortality to the captain, Harry bit off a curse, "Listen, Horace, at the moment, the state of your Hasslehoff…"

"Hasperat," the Denobulan chef hissed.

"Whatever… souffle," Finn snapped. "… is the about the last thing on my mind."

"Then you shouldn't have dragged me out of my kitchen because you need a token 'buddy'…"

"Not by choice…" Harry began, unwilling to admit he hadn't gone to the mess hall in search of a buddy. He'd been on the way to the bridge when he'd been slammed with a sense of deja vu strong enough to drag him out at deck 2 and into the mess, where he'd stood for he didn't know how many minutes before Horace had asked him if he planned to eat or was he asleep standing up. He'd glommed onto the 'buddy' excuse and dragooned the annoyed Denobulan while he tried to fathom what he was trying to remember.

No time now, for, even as Horace opened his mouth to make another scathing comment, the doors opened and they were on the bridge and there was Benjamin. Stepping onto the upper platform, "Captain Benjamin," Finn addressed the stiff back of his young CO.

"What!?" Nathan spat, turning around. Seeing Horace with Finn Nathan stood. "Good Harry.. Let's go in here." Nathan made for the Ready room, but turned so sharply that he almost ran into Finn. "YOU." He called over to Dahrk, who'd stood up. "Stay out here. Don't leave. Don't touch anything! Come on Harry!"

Nathan wheeled back around and walked quickly to the ready room doors, Dahrk's caustic reply lost among the doors, and his own heavy footballs. Quite a feat on carpeted deckplates.

Finn waited until the door's closed behind him before he addressed the CO, "Sir," he began, "We've had another fatality."

Ten minutes later, it was a much grimmer Nathan facing Harry. The security officer was about to ask to return to the search when the teen unzipped his jacket and threw it over onto the couch before falling into the high backed leather chair behind the desk. "Sit down Harry." He said indicating the chair in front of him. He keyed in his login code on the desktop console in front of him. "I wanted to talk to you about your personnel jacket… and some interesting stuff I read in the parts that Admiral Nechayev didn't want me to."

He hadn't intended to sit but, on that last, Harry felt his knees bending as he fell into the indicated chair. "I don't know why they bother sealing records…" Had anyone not read his file?

"I wrote a bunch of the encryption codes that we use on this ship… and my buddy Jeff works at command now. He was with me on the Presidio. So.. anyway. Tell me about the Anasari Maru. I want to hear your version. Not the official one." Nathan brought up Harry's log entry, detailing the events he was asking about, glancing over as the security officer decided where to start and most likely he thought, what exactly to say.

"I was very concise in that report," Harry began, tersely, "Concise enough to earn a court-martial. If you're suggesting I glossed over events to cover my own ass…"

"No. I just wanna hear how it relates to what's going on now. It seems like both times there was a mole on the ship. Same mastermind both times, this Acker guy. So I want to know what's the same. What's different. What do you think he's going to do. I know you were court martialed. You used to be a Lieutenant Commander. Why do you think I gave you the chief's job over Hawthorne?" Nathan shrugged. "You've got loads more experience."

Fat lotta good it's doing us, now. "Right," he said, rising from the unwanted seat and beginning to pace the room. "Sir, similarities to our current crisis are pretty much the existence of Shaun Acker and the overall method - the enlistment of a trusted member of a crew.

"Differences include the motivation - escape vs. revenge - also, the original operative was chosen because of my involvement with her, whereas the Hawking's sleeper began to play out Acker's programming before I really knew anyone on the ship. And at the time of Acker's attempted escape, the Orion's were running the operation. This time, he's the control. In addition, the methods of coercion are unique in each circumstance." He ran into some wall, turned, continued, while inside he felt ready to gnaw his own leg off to get this meeting over so he could get back to work.

"In the case of the Maru, I have reason to suspect that Ensign Laslow was given over to the Orion Syndicate… to a pair of operatives who are skilled in reprogramming." He looked over to the young man, wondering if he'd be required to spell that out. Knowing what Gavin Booth did to women and talking about him doing it to Sara…

"So you're saying that she was brainwashed, drugged, or imprinted? Doctor Munro told me about the theory you two have for the mole on the Hawking. I'm not too familiar with that technology.. but it seems like it's pretty safe. for the operator that is." Nathan leaned back, holding the chair there by putting his feet on the lower drawer of the desk. "How many people has Doctor Munro tested?"

"Only twenty-eight," Finn said. "And yes, it is safe for the operative… no more complex than an EEG. The recipient, on the other hand," he stopped moving and made a vague gesture to his own head, "the host, once implanted with the clone, starts to lose all personal… cohesion, I'd guess you'd call it. From what I've read, the two personalities begin to communicate then, after a time, they meld. Whatever the original programming was, in the test subjects, became warped in the process so, what we have here, now, is an unknown quantity. I could tell you what Acker would have been would likely do next. If I knew the host, I could probably extrapolate his or her next move but…" he found himself back at the chair and surprised himself by sitting down.

"You know," Nathan cut in "I was thinking about that. The host I mean. I read Jillian's report, and with that, and what we already know, things ought to be pretty narrow right now. I mean… the person got into Nils' quarters without being traced, has accessed our sensors without raising anyone's suspicions, and it looks like they're trained in combatives. Plus they're left handed. He grabbed the glass of water off his desk and drank half of it down. "I think the person is someone closer to the top than the bottom." He said, raising his hand to indicate the perp's supposed place on the Hawking's food chain.

"Agreed," though for some reason he couldn't get his mind off the mess… something… "I've almost got it," he said, not even seeing the captain as he chased down the trail in his mind… something he'd seen, someone he'd spoken to the day of Grissom's murder… he was almost sure.

"So… got any ideas on who it might be?" Nathan queried, looking Finn over warily. He looked as though he could use a nap… or a hibernation. "Or who it probably isn't"

"Well, it's not Obatu," that earned a sharp glare and he shook off the sick humor, "I… yes… I mean, I think I do but I'm not telling myself yet… I was close, right before the explosion in engineering…" he was rambling and he realized it. Things were getting a little grey around the edges but he couldn't afford to stop the roller coaster ride his subconscious was taking. Not when they were so close… "I need to look at Munro's report," he finally said, starting for the door without even asking for leave.

"Here." Nathan countered as Finn rose. "Look at it here. I've got the padd." He picked up one of the many padds lying on the desk. "Jillian gave it to me this morning. No DNA from the perp. Well, not identifiable anyhow. the sample cells she found were affected by whatever solvent Dana managed to throw." Nathan rose from the desk as Harry turned around.

Taking the padd, Harry skimmed down the autopsy results… discovered that the blade had left trace elements, a Bajoran alloy, and the damaged cells indicated that the suspect had been wounded, perhaps enough to make in ID. At the thought of an injury he felt it again - not the answer, but the certainty that he had the answer. He looked up at the captain, "I need to go… I need to see Grissom's body, again," he realized how that sounded but, "I think she might have the answer we need," he tried to explain.

The teen nodded, walking toward the couch to grab the discarded jacket laying haphazardly across it. "Ok. Let me know what you find." He said over his shoulder. "I'll be up on the bridge." Harry merely nodded before walking out the door, leaving him alone in the room. It wasn't even ten seconds before the doors whisked back open, admitting a heated little Ferengi.

"I've got business to attend to!" He cried out in his nasaly drawl, shaking a fist as he strode across the carpet. And I've…"

Nathan sighed, rubbing his forehead as he attempted to curtail the scream rising in his throat.

"… got customers who…."

"Shutup! Shut. Up. Dahrk!" Nathan hissed, defeated. "Get back on the bridge, and don't say SHIT! Maybe later we can go back down there to your place."

"When?"

"LATER! Now c'mon."

Nathan then strode past the Ferengi, another question dyin on his lips as the young captain passed him and walked out onto the bridge.

*A Joint post by a sleep deprived Harry and a Captain in the Dahrk.*

Originally Posted By Nathan Benjamin 02-24-2008


USS Hawking
Gorsky Quarters - Deck 8

For hours… had it been only hours? Could days have passed? Or had it been years since he’d found her… what was left of her…

… for an unfathomable time he’d seen only her, seen Dana smiling or sad or flushed with intimacy but the images never lasted. They always changed… just as he was about to reach out to her she changed. Suddenly it was only the empty shell of Dana, the hollowed-out and butchered remains of the warmth and life and kindness that she had been…

Sometimes words had would filter into the visions. Harry’s words had been short and hard… cold metal cutting through the fog but bringing with them the pain of knowing it wasn’t just a nightmare… the pictures, they were true and she really was dead and worse than dead.

So he’d looked away from Harry until the older man had given up and left the room.

T’Shaini had brought softer words and warmer phrases: kindness wrapped in syllables; tendrils of solace stroking at his psyche but they served only to pull him away from the dreams and, again, there was only the hurt waiting. Once she’d gone, he turned back to the dark, to see her… to try to remember the her from before the blood.

Then Bramley, who was sitting with him because, he was given to understand, no one thought he should be left alone, mentioned an explosion.

And another death.

“Who?” he heard himself asking, as if it mattered.

It took Joseph a moment to answer. He’d been talking, in small snatches, every so often just to see if he’d get a response. To finally have elicited something that counted as actual interactive behavior was a bit of a shock. “It was Ensign Obatu, from Engineering… he… found a device… the word is he thought it was a source for the codes piggybacking through the matrix but… it was…”

Ajani. Alex had worked alongside the young African for weeks, after the Avaaru and Q incidents. He’d liked him.

And now he’d been killed because he was searching for the author of these piggybacking codes, almost certainly of alien devising, used by one of their own for reasons so subterranean Alex couldn’t be bothered trying to fathom them.

But the code he understood. “If they’re piggybacking, we need to take away their ride,” he said aloud, then, “I need to go,” Alex rose from the chair where he’d been sitting, staring at nothing for the better part of eighteen hours.

“Whoa, there, Alex,” Bramley leapt to his feet as well, “Go where? To do what?”

Alex turned his eyes, dark, earth-brown and flat, to Joseph, “To my lab.” He turned away and started out the door, “I need Huey…”

=/\=This is Bramley to sickbay, Alex Gorsky is awake and responsive and on the move.=/\= Even as he made the call he was on the scientist’s heels. Once Gorsky came out of it, he came out of it with a vengeance.

=/\=Bramley, Stryfe, acknowledged. Keep him in sight… you’re his watchdog until this is over.=/\=

Until this is over, Joseph thought, following the still-too-silent Gorsky onto the turbolift, right. Because, with two dead, no suspect in sight and way too far from their destination, ‘over’ was looking to have some pretty dire connotations.

Post featuring NPC’s Alex Gorsky and Joseph Bramley

Originally Posted By Harry Finn 02-24-2008


::Before Obatu's Demise::

Caterina's lawyer, William Sevigny, had rambled on and on about the foundation and the legal requirements for so long that Javier had begun to regret asking the attorney for an explanation of the trust that Creighton Chase had set in motion. The engineer had never understood the legal process, and the few instances in which he and it had been involved, it had been used against him. Thus Javier naturally avoided legal matters and lawyers as much as possible. He had been about to sign off on the matter and leave Sevigny to fret the details when an explosion detonated and the room shuddered slightly before the alarms sounded.

"I'm sorry Mr. Sevigny," Javier said after realizing what had taken place, "we have a situation here, I will have to contact you some other time.."

"Ensign Costala it is crucial that we finish this in a timely manner.." was as far as Sevigny got before Javier closed the channel. The engineer could see smoke venting from the upper level of Engineering as he exited his office. He clambered up the ladder and was about to enter the jeffries tube when a female security officer stopped him.

"Chief, response teams are on the way, you can't go in there just yet, it may not be safe."

"AJANI?" Javier heard someone call out from inside the tube.

"There are people in there!" Javier said before pushing past the officer. He walked a meter into the tube and came upon Kal-El laying face down in the access passage. He checked the man's pulse. Thankfully, Kal was still alive, rolling him over Javier noted the scorch patches on the front of the man's uniform. Kal's breathing was shallow and Javier laid Kowalski down on the deck incase he would need to perform CPR. The damn bandage on his hand was getting in the way so Javier ripped it off and flung it across the tube.

=^=Transporter, lock on to this signal and transport to sickbay.=^= the engineer said after he tapped Kal-El's commbadge.

=^=TC here, the transporters are still down..=^=

Javier swore then yelled back down the tube at the security officer. "Get help so we can pull these people out of here. Find Ensign Obatu and get a medical team.."

"Chief?"

He turned and looked down the tube, the enviromental controls had kicked in and cleared out most of the smoke. Another of his engineers was leaning against the forcefield that had contained the blast. Javier moved towards the woman whom he recognized by her lovely blonde hair. Tehamia's face was a mess, lacerations and burnt skin marring her once beautiful features.

"Tehamia..med teams are on the way," Javier told the woman as he put an arm around her shoulders to steady her. "Just hang in there." Tehamia leaned close to him then let her weight go as she rested against him.

"We got..the code..we got it," Tehamia mumbled through swollen lips. "Ajani found it and .."

"It's okay Tehamia," he said as he held the engineer. "You did well."

"He's in there," Tehamia sobbed. "Ajani, he's gone." She rested her head against his chest and began to shake with emotion as Javier held her while she cried.

Ajani is in there? Javier realized as he looked through the sparkling forcefield. Tehamia is delusional..he can't be in there. There was nothing inside the tube but swirling smoke and blackened walls. Then on the deck he saw it, glittering as light broke through the dissapating smoke, the small silver and gold commbadge. Smoke swirled as it was vented from the tube, and among the smoke were Ensign Ajani Obatu's ashes.

Soon, response teams arrived and both Kal and Tehamia were taken to sickbay while Javier retrieved his friend's commbadge and exited the tube. His face, hands and uniform were smudged black by the smoke and ash from the tube but a cold fire smouldered in his green eyes. He watched as the Chief of Security tore through the scene.

How many more are going to die because of him. the engineer thought as he stared silently at Harry Finn, the fulcrum for the Acker vendetta.

Originally Posted By Javier Costala 02-24-2008


::Sickbay::

“Get me an Improvoline; I need her to calm down!” Tatiana called over the female Ensign, who had clutched her arm as she cried below. She looked down to see the woman shaking her head as tears continued to fall from her eyes. “Then please calm down so you can be scanned,” Tatiana pleaded softly.

The patient released her and Nurse Nordin passed her a tricorder. She scanned the woman and closed it quickly as she took in the young woman’s appearance. “She’s going into shock.” she said and tossed the tricorder on the cart beside her.

“ABC’s?” Nordin asked.

“I need oxygen,” she answered in response and the nurse scurried away to get it. Tatiana took the hand of the woman, “I’m going to have to put you under now.” The better-composed woman nodded and Tatiana moved towards the cart and picked up the Ambizine and administered it. She treated the lacerations and waited for the return of the nurse.

Stephanie Nordin returned just as the patient closed her eyes. Once the woman was given oxygen, Tatiana examined the burns, “She has a 20.5% BSA, 4.5% for her head, 9% for her left arm and 9% for her chest area and all are second degree. We have to debride the loose skin and apply silver sulfadiazine to her arm and antibiotic ointment for her face and chest. Once the dressings are over the burns, I can repair the damage that the smoke inhalation did to her airway.”

Nurse Nordin began the task of applying the ointment and silver sulfadiazine while Tatiana gathered the instruments needed to repair the young woman’s airway. “Do you know who she is?” Tatiana asked as she fixed the girl’s wounds.

“Tehamia, an Engineer. Why?”

“I just thought it would be nice to know her name,” Tatiana commented and took the bandages to wrap them around Tehamia’s arm that Stephanie had already attended to. “Was she and the guy over there the only causalities?”

“No,” Nordin answered with a shake of her head, “Another Engineer didn’t make it. The explosion didn’t leave anything but ashes and his commbadge.”

“Oh my,” Tatiana muttered before looking at Stephanie, “Do you know who it was?”

“Obatu.”

Tatiana froze her wrapping and looked at Nordin in disbelief, “Ajani Obatu?”

“Yes, that’s what I heard,” Stephanie responded, “Did you know him?”

“Yes,” she lamented, “We hung out during the R&R, he was a nice guy.”

“I’m sorry,” Stephanie sympathized, “But, the truth is that this is all on Harry Finn.”

“No way,” Tatiana retorted, “Finn wouldn’t do anything to hurt anyone.”

“He may not have been the one that set off the blast, but the person who is doing this is after him. Grissom, Obatu, and the lucky ones that made it, they’re all on him,” the nurse fumed.

The Ensign stared at the nurse and the realization of the truth roared in her ears. She felt the heat of anger rising within her and she finished her job quietly, her thoughts keeping her company as she treated yet another victim of someone else’s grudge.

A JP featuring the lovely NPC, Nurse Stephanie Nordin.

Originally Posted By Tatiana Thorne 02-25-2008


USS Hawking
Corridor - Deck 5

After dropping Horace off in the kitchen and relative safety of his buddy (and culinary rival), Green (who was making these assignments anyway?) and suffering a lecture on the collapse of the souffle (until Harry’s clenched fists and furious gaze halted the chef’s diatribe) the security officer made his way back to the lift and thence to deck 5.

There were more crew out, now… crowding the corridors in their paired-up state, sometimes pausing in conversational groups. Walking alone, he felt their looks as he passed. Accusing, angry or confused, the condemnation in their eyes burned across his awareness so intensely that he almost smelled smoke.

Not that it mattered. Nothing mattered beyond finding the killer, ending the threat and then…

“HarryHarryHARRY!”

“What…?” he turned just in time to catch a flying bundle of Scout as the five-year old Autumn Quincy threw herself straight into him. “What are you doing here?” he asked, as he held the child still, looking about the semi-crowded corridor for her mother or Jereen, who he’d assigned as the family’s security detail. “You should be in school…”

“They were saying terrible things about you,” she said, and he realized she was crying. “All the kids were. Feeya got a call from her dad ‘cause he wanted to be sure she knew he was okay ‘cause there was an explosion and then they all started talking about you and how someone hates you so much they’re hurting people on the Hawking and how it was your fault…”

“So you ran away from school… again?” Coldly he set her down, knelt in front of her so they’d be almost eye-to-eye, “In the middle of a crisis, you ran away from your teacher and your security detail because people are calling me names?” Fury born of fear had him shaking and he dared not touch the child, who’s eyes had gone huge with shock.

Harry never got mad at her. “I… you needed me,” she defended her actions with the surety of extreme youth. “Someone has to watch your back… if someone hates you that much…”

“And you’re the one to do that?” he asked, “Five years old and you don’t have the sense to keep yourself safe but you’re going to watch my back?” He filled the words with spite, with cruel disbelief, “You are a child, Autumn and the last thing I need to worry about is a kid with delusions of… of… not being a kid… tagging along and making a another perfect target…”

As he spoke a harassed and apologetic Cadet Jereen ran up to where the two of them made a small roadblock in the corridor. “Sir… I’m…”

“But you need me…” the tear-filled voice of disillusioned youth cut through his few remaining defenses, “you said so… you said I was on your team…”

He had to get away from this, from her, before he cracked and she knew just how much she meant… if she knew…

Gently pushing her into the waiting Jereen’s arms, he stood, staring straight into the child’s eyes, “I lied,” he said and watched as those two little words cut her to the quick. “Get her back to school,” he told his shocked officer, “and don’t let this happen, again.”

As he walked away, he heard the sobs and he took cold cold comfort from the sound because it meant she’d believed him and that meant she’d hate him and that meant she’d stop running away, stop trying to be there for him.

She’d stop making herself an easy mark.

Post featuring NPC's Autumn 'Scout' Quincy and Cadet Jereen

Originally Posted By Harry Finn 02-25-2008


USS Hawking
Deck 10

“So,” Vanona ran her tricorder over the blast zone of the recent tragedy, “where were you at the time of Lieutenant Grissom’s murder?”

Usher, who was crouching over the spot where, according to Hyvoth, the fatal device had rested, looked up at his opposite number, brown eyes narrowed, “I have already given a statement to Chief Finn,” he pointed out, “however, if it eases your mind to know I have no alibi, I was in my quarters, reading.” He returned to his scan of the epicenter, “The explosive used appears to have been a very condensed nitrilin-based compound. There was an accelerant which I cannot identify from the remaining matter.” He looked up once more, “And if I may be so bold, where were you at the time of Grissom’s death?”

“Holodeck 2, engaging a Jem’Hadar…”

“Only one?” Tenanji offered a cool smile at the flash that brought from Hawthorne but, as he began to rise, his foot slid on the semi-melted decking. Off-balance, he fell sideways against one of the junctions corners, “Damn!” he hissed.

Hawthorne came close, “What’s wrong?”

He held up his left arm, “I fell against that strut… burned myself.” He carefully rolled the sleeve up and away from the damaged area.

“It’s unlikely that the metals would still be retaining that much heat after the area was cleared,” she reached toward the indicated exposed metal.

“NO!” Usher, grabbed her extended hand, “Trust me, it is quite hot.”

She stared at him until he released her, “As you say.” Flipping her tricorder closed, she continued, “If your scan is complete, perhaps we should get you to sickbay?”

“After you,” he indicated with a short nod. For a moment he thought she might refuse but, after one rebellious spark in her chocolate gaze, she turned and made for the catwalk, leaving Tenanji, left arm held close to his side, to follow.

Post featuring NPC’s Vanona Hawthorne and Usher Tenanji

Originally Posted By Harry Finn 02-27-2008


::Hall-Jenkins Quarters::

Tatiana stepped into the room, her blue eyes searching the pigsty for her friend. She took a wide step over one of the many piles of discarded clothing when she saw her friend on the other side of the bunk, rifling through a box.

“The fact that you can stand to live like this is astounding,” she interrupted and Stephanie jumped in surprise. The red-head turned around, and Tatiana stepped back in surprise when she saw the anger that marred Hall’s face. Stephanie frowned at the action, “What? Why are you moving away?”

Tatiana held up her hands in mock surrender, “I was just surprised to see you look so mad, that’s all,” she explained and turned away to look for a suitable seating area that wasn’t smothered under the mess.

“Here, sit on my bunk,” Stephanie offered.

“Thanks,” she said and climbed to the top. She was quiet as she stared down at the owner of the bunk. Her legs swung in a steady rhythm as she contemplated her next move, but in Thorne fashion, tact always lost to directness, “So I take it you heard.”

Stephanie paused for a second then continued her search. Tatiana glared at the back of her head and then cleared her throat, “Ignoring me isn’t going to change anything.”

Hall sighed, “I know, but I just need to think and calm down before I get myself put in the brig.” She stood and climbed onto the top of the bunk to sit next to Tatiana. “I understand,” Tatiana commented. The women sat in companionable silence until the sound of footsteps sounded behind them. They both turned to see Stephanie’s roommate tossing her uniform top in a pile of clothing in the corner. “I can see why you’re always hanging out in my quarters, by the way my roommie is starting to complain,” Tatiana whispered and Stephanie gave a tiny laugh and the other woman looked up to see someone she didn’t recognize, “Who are you?” she inquired, her tone less than friendly.

“I’m her lover, I was just about to get laid before you walked in,” she retorted in response. The pale woman scowled before stating, “You must be her friend, Tatiana. Lesbian humor, honestly?”

“How do you know it’s a joke? It is an known axiom that we brunettes truly have all the fun.”

“Great. I’m happy for you and your libido,” she said while she kicked the pile tighter in the corner, “By the way, in lieu of your rudeness, I’m going to introduce myself. Hello, I am Tommy.”

“I’m going to ignore the insult and throw my own out there. You must be the slob that Stephanie speaks so lowly of.”

Tommy smiled, “Not everyone can be as anal-,”

“Oh, but I hear you like it like that,” Tatiana interrupted in a sweet voice.

“Hey, that’s enough!” Stephanie thundered, and the two stared at her in shock, “You guys can fight later. Tommy, go to one corner while I talk to Tatiana, and Tatiana you don’t talk to Tommy.” The former turned away, muttering about how she shouldn’t be put in a corner in her own quarters.
“When I heard I wanted to go punch him,” she said, referring back to her earlier statement.

“Yeah, I figured that from the brig comment.”

“I know that you think Finn is a pretty stand up guy, but I can’t reconcile it with the fact that innocent people are dying,” the Sensor Technician continued.

“I understand,” Tatiana agreed, “Although what scares me the most is that it could be any of us next. You, me, your roommate, anyone. I hate that people are dying simply for the fact that they had the bad luck to be on the same ship as Finn.”

“You’re talking about the explosion from earlier?” Tommy implored, “Yeah, some idiot I was working with alluded to the possibility of me being part of “the conspiracy”. It’s starting to get way out of hand if we’re beginning to blame each other.”

“Yeah,” Tatiana nodded and looked at Stephanie, “All I know is that I won’t stand for anyone questioning my loyalty, I don’t care who they are.”

“Don’t worry, the woman will never accuse me again,” Tommy said knowingly, “I think she ran off crying. The beauty of the situation was that it didn’t involve violence to bring her around.”

“Cool. You know Tommy,” Tatiana began, “If you just managed to learn cleanliness, I think you and I would get along just fine.”

“Great, the two banes of my existence have joined forces,” Stephanie groaned before turning serious again, “Do either of you know if there is going to be a memorial service for Ajani?”

Tommy shrugged and Tatiana answered, “I don’t know either, but tomorrow I’m thinking of blowing the dust off the Temple program my mother gave me, and saying the Kaddish Yatom for him. You’re welcome to join me if you want, and before you ask it, no, we are not doing it in English.”

“I wasn’t going to ask, I was just going to say that it’s nice,” Stephanie said.

“He was a nice guy; I’d like to do something in return for putting up with us that night. We were a little wild, but we did have a good time,” she said with a grin.

“I’d like to come too, if you don’t mind,” Tommy said.

“Why, because you’re bored? Lonely?” Tatiana asked.

“Pretty much, I’m not really religious.”

“Sure, come along, I don't care. At least you’re honest about why. And I’m not that religious either, but I pay my respects when it’s needed, and I do it in the only way I know how.”

“So it’s a date,” Stephanie joked lamely and pushed Tatiana until she wasn’t on the bunk. She stretched out on the bed and yawned loudly. The young woman stumbled and jumped up to hit Stephanie on the leg. “That hurt you bitch!”

“Well I needed you to move and help Tommy clean up. I know it’s going to kill you to see this room like this.”

“But I’m not going to clean it! I don’t live here! Get down and clean it yourself,” she ordered.

“It’s not my stuff Tatiana, it’s hers.”

“Then why the hell did you push me down if you know I’m not going to help?”

Stephanie rose up on her elbows, “Because I felt like it.”

“Girls, girls please. I’ll clean it, just shut up,” Tommy said and picked up a pile, “See? I’m cleaning.”

“Good because it really was annoying me. Bye ladies,” Tatiana and made her exit.

A JP by Tia's three personalities:

Originally Posted By Tatiana Thorne 02-27-2008

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