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I Wager Money, Not Lives...

Posted on Wed Jul 1st, 2009 @ 6:31am by Lieutenant Thomas Jenkins

Mission: Linta: Season 1, Episode 1.

Beverly was stewing in her own thoughts, the cockpit completely empty with nothing but the beeps and tangs of the consoles around her working in near silent automatic. She felt unsettled, whether it was because she wasn't on the away team, or just something else she didn't know.

A shooting pain ran through her abdomen and a surge in the telepathic chatter in her minds eye, searing hot. It lasted less than a second, but it was enough to remind her why she was still sat here, she was in a delicate condition with the Alien virus, and it was slowly increasing its hold on her, little by little, bit by bit.

Without warning her train of thought was interrupted by the arrival of some of the support officers she had decided to bring with her. One in crimson and the other gold.

Tace Davian sat in the back of the Runabout with what he assumed was his fellow FNG (@#$%ing New Guy) who had also been brought along for this little investigation. They didn't talk, not because Tace had no desire to, but because he felt the need to study up on standard protocol when dealing with Klingons as well as known layouts of Vorcha-class vessels. Not that it mattered seeing as he wasn't selected to be apart of the boarding party. Tace took no offence to being left out. He was green, after all, and perhaps it would be best if he sat back and watched the pros go to work. Still a small part of him was board and decided to continue with his studies in the event that he may be able to advise the away team on deck layouts if they got lost.

The other FNG officer sitting across from him remained silent, and even still Tace felt it wasn't his place to bother him. He seemed to stare off into the distance in silence. Tace allowed his father's teachings as a con artist take over. He eyed who he believed was 'Jenkins' if his memory served him correctly upon their first meeting and boarding of the Runabout. From what he could gather, Jenkins wasn't as much of an FNG as he may have first guessed. Tace believed this because one look at his unpolished boots facial expression begged to differ with the first assumption. Newly commissioned Starfleet Ensigns generally still held onto an Academy mentality which meant polished boots at all times and perfectly pressed and clean uniform. Jenkins had some less than noticeable wear and tear to his, though it was noticeable to Tace's trained eye. This Ensign gave off a vibe that he'd reached the point that he didn't care as much as other new officers. That usually meant two things: either Jenkins had been around long enough to know he could get away with sidestepping rigid protocol, or he just had a really laid back attitude. Possibly both. He didn't quite know why, but something told Tace that he had a lot in common with this guy.

His in-depth cold read was interrupted when the corner of his eye he noticed the Captain doubling over a bit in obvious pain. Tace rose from his seat and approached her cautiously.

"Are you alright, Ma'am?" he asked with concern.

Allowing a veil of indifference to shroud her discomfort, she looked around with a slight smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. "Yes Ensign, I'm well. Just some discomfort at having to sit for so long".
Not realising that her pale blue eyes had altered, and the sickly yellow color was slowly returning.

The sounds of conversation brought Thomas back from the trappings of his own mind. Staring out into the stars, he hadn't been able to shake the one short conversation he'd had with his older sister on a different shuttle earlier in the day. It had been an eight day trip to the Starbase the Genesis was docked at, eight days he'd spent relishing in the borderline verbal torture of the pilot who'd been assigned to him - but that one conversation with his sister.. he couldn't shake it. She wanted him to make this assignment count; to make a good impression for once. Good job he was doing, he made it off the one shuttle only to be immediately thrown into a runabout for their current mission. Didn't even make it out of the shuttlebay! No shower, no clean uniform, hello Commanding Officer. He'd have a hell of a time tracking down his baggage when all this was over. Focussing, he noticed his more observant companion was right - the Captain did not look well at all.

Not knowing how to handle the situation, Tace hoped that Jenkins did. "Do you have any medical training at all?" he asked.

He wasn't actually trained in any medical procedures, but where Thomas went trouble almost always followed. Trouble's cousin Injury - a common tag-along. "Smash a bottle over your head or take a chair to the ribs and I'm your man." His eyes widened slightly as he realized how he'd phrased his response. First impression. Well done. Clearing his throat he quickly corrected himself, stuttering slightly. "By that I mean.. that no, I don't believe my knowledge of field medicine will help us at the moment." He smiled an almost fake smile and eyed the two officers innocently, hoping they leaned on the side of humour as opposed to idiocy.

"Maybe I should call someone back from the boarding party to look you over, Captain," Tace suggested.

"That will not be necessary Ensign", blinking her eyes, and trying to cover the embarrassment she felt at her condition. "My condition is being treated. The Doctor provided me with a vial of some medicine to contain my problem."
She produced a small hypospray from the medical kit she had been rummaging around in, it had a small vial of a green liquid attached at the end. "This should control my condition long enough to complete this mission".

The emotion she felt was still being carried over through the pools of grief her eyes had become. "Do you know the story for how my condition was brought about?"
The question was aimed at both young men sat behind her even though she was staring into the timeless depths of space, remembering a planet where her life had changed so fundamentally. Where her crew had been fighting for their lives. Where people she held in high regard were reduced to nothing but mindless animals.

Thomas had briefly read over the Genesis' recent missions in his boredom aboard his transport vessel. Very briefly mind you; bugging the pilot had proved incredibly amusing. Little did he know the crew's last mission was unknown to him; the shuttle records were eight days old. Top that with the fact that he'd not had a chance (or the drive) to read up on the crew's personnel files - not that it would've mattered of course, the Captain's condition wasn't listed as public knowledge anyway. "Can't say that I am, Captain." Maybe his second impression would be better; this one wasn't going so well.

Tace had no idea whatsoever the mission that preceded his arrival as an official member of the Genesis crew. It appeared that he too was in the same boat as Ensign Jenkins in that regard. "I'm afraid that I'm unaware as well, ma'am."

Still gazing at the lifeless husk that was the Vor'cha Class Cruise hanging in space almost within touching distance of the runabout.
"We were investigating the disappearance of a colony ship that held hundreds of colonists. What we found was something else", the pain of memory stopping her briefly. "We found the remains of a dead civilization. A dormant species that reawakened and started killing and transforming the colonists and then my crew", she now swivelled in her chair to face the other two, her eyes now returning to their pale blue color. "I was faced with the Queen for this hive, and they work in a very similar way to the Borg, the only difference was the drones and the workers had free will".

She stood and moved across the cockpit towards the small replicator in the back. "Red Leaf Tea, sweet". A small steaming mug appeared in she lifted it to her lips, savoring the flavor before continuing. "I was faced with a situation where I had to go toe to toe with this Queen. She infected me with a variant on the virus that was altering my crew. She intended me to become another Queen. That same virus is still trying to alter my DNA coding".

She left that last nugget of information hang in the air for a while as they digested the information. She had decided to tell them as they were on this mission, and they had been left to keep her safe. If she was to change now, they needed to know what to expect.

It was now becoming more apparent in Tace's mind as to why he may have really been left behind on the runabout along with Jenkins. It wasn't from lack of experience at all. If Captain DeVuor were to transform into something less than friendly, Tace was expected to 'deal' with her while Jenkins would be the one to fly everyone home. Tace didn't even think he'd be encountered with situations such as these when he was back in the Academy. The thought of kick starting his career by shooting his first Commanding Officer didn't appeal to him at all.

Upon coming to the full realization of this harsh reality, Tace's first instinct was to draw the phaser he carried and change the setting from 'kill' to 'heavy stun', but knew the action in itself would come across as horribly insensitive if done in plain sight of the Captain. He would soon have to excuse himself to the bathroom where he could do it there.

"I'm really sorry to hear that, ma'am. I can't imagine what you and your crew have been through." Tace responded honestly.

"Nor can I," Thomas added. This is exactly why he wasn't in command; he didn't have the strength to deal with this sort of thing. "For what it's worth, you compose yourself admirably well."

In the true fashion of a Davian man, Tace chose to put a more positive spin on the situation at hand and maybe lighten the mood a bit. "Well, Captain, while I'm not one of them I do know for a fact that Starfleet has some of the sharpest scientific minds in all the known universe. I'm sure by the time we get back from this mission, Medical will be more than halfway done with an antidote that will fix you up as good as new. So as the ranking Security Officer currently on this vessel, I'm gonna have to put my foot down and say no further altering of your DNA until then. How does that sound?" Tace asked light-heartedly with his father's reassuring trademark Davian half-grin to back it.

She couldn't help but smile. "You’re a character Ensign", continuing to smile, as her own eyes returned with the effects of the hypospray.

"If you'll excuse me, I have to use the bathroom" Davian nodded before rising from his seat to head to the small bathroom of the runabout. As soon as the door was closed, he turned the air ventilation unit to it's highest setting and lit a cigarette with his lucky silver Zippo lighter. He didn't really need to use the bathroom; he just needed to collect his thoughts and relieve his stress. Tace sat down on the counter and took a deep drag from the smoke before drawing his phaser from his holster. He changed his fire setting from 'kill' to 'heavy stun' and did the same with his Type-I pocket phaser hidden in his left sleeve. It wasn't mandatory for Security Officer's to carry two weapons but it was a habit that Tace picked up from his old Academy Combat Drill Instructor who always preached that the quickest reload in a fire fight was a second sidearm.

Tace quickly finished his cigarette before heading back out to the cockpit with an idea to get the pilot in private. "Hey, it's Jenkins' right?" Tace asked making sure he got the name right.

Thomas nodded, even though it was a trick question in a way. He'd had his name changed after graduating the academy, but that was a story for another day. "Thomas Jenkins, that's me."

"You're probably a bit more tech savvy than me, would you mind helping me with something back here?" Tace invited him as non-suspiciously as possible.

She didn't have the heart to tell Tace or Jenkins that she had a good sense of what Tace was planning. It made him feel better that he could do something. She decided there and then not to inform either of them of the added effect of Empathy, or in times of stress Telepathy had been granted to her by the same virus that was now trying to assume control of her body.

Giving the security officer the benefit of the doubt, Thomas put aside some odd assumptions and nodded. "Shuttle systems and repairs, now that I can do!" He announced proudly, masking the fact he'd been punished with shuttle repair assignments more times than he'd like to admit. "Excuse me, Captain." He smiled innocently and rose from his seat.

Once Jenkins had left the cockpit and came into view Tace stood in the bathroom with a finger over his lips and another motioning him towards him.

Suddenly those odd assumptions were flooding back, which shouldn’t have surprised him; Tace was a security officer after all. Thomas altered course and ducked into the bathroom, mumbling "Could've bought me dinner first" under his breath.

Once the Helmsman was in the bathroom, Tace sealed the door and spoke. "If whatever is running through her is in it's advanced stages, she could transform at any time into something far less friendly. If that happens, then something could happen to me and I don't want to leave you hanging."

Tace removed the Type-I pocket phaser from his sleeve and handed it to Jenkins.

Thomas raised an eyebrow as the miniature weapon came into view. "Whatever happened, I didn't do it." He joked quietly, attempting to take away from the seriousness of the situation while taking the phaser reluctantly from Tace. The other officer was all business, not even acknowledging the humour.

"It's on 'heavy stun' setting. Keep it hidden in your sleeve and only use it if for whatever reason I'm out of the picture" Tace instructed firmly.

Embracing the atmosphere of the room, Thomas nodded and redisguised the Type-I along the inside of his own sleeve. He wasn't about to start a debate with a man holding two weapons. "You really think this is necessary?" He asked, less challenging the officer and more confirming the obvious for his own conscience.

"Dude, I just spent four years at the Academy hearing some of the most messed up stories of just how damn weird things can get this deep into the frontier. I'm not taking any chances, man." Tace explained, feeling he wasn't overreacting to the circumstances at all.

The intercom chirped, and Captain DeVuor’s voice filtered through into the aft compartment.
"Ensigns Davian and Jenkins. Report to the cockpit. Were docking with the Vor'Cha. She just powered up".

 

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