Posts of The Month 2005:

 

August 2005:
Shoreleave # 3
By: Lieutenant Daniel Nelson

ON

DECK 36
SECURITY OFFICE
Shortly after Artifact #171
Daniel was pissed. Really pissed. He couldn't remember a moment in
recent history that he was this pissed. He was in the miffed
category when he saw Colonel LeDreaux walk into the captain's ready
room. It was obvious that she had competent computer skills to
override the limitation he had placed upon her. Daniel didn't get
too upset about that; his computer skills were pretty good but being
in Starfleet there much that he could not do. They wouldn't take
kindly of someone hacking their systems. He then moved from miffed
to upset when he found out that his brig officer had lied about the
entire incident of prisoner mistreatment at the behest of Colonel
LeDreaux. Dazzled by rank and intelligence credentials the brig
crew happily followed the pied piper. A short "discussion" with the
brig officer did not help Nelson feel any better. He slid from
upset, past angry into pissed when the doors to his office did not
open, and he found the reason why they would not open.

He should have seen it coming. Leaving LeDreaux in his office was
temerity on his part, stemming from his contempt for someone who
would dare to hold such contempt for the ship and its captain.

He was in the outer office of the security office going over the
week with Chief Drake, a simple conversation that would have taken
several minutes stretched to a half hour as Nelson snapped and
snarled at the chief for every and any little problem. Daniel
recognized misplaced aggression when he saw it, counted slowly to
ten and spoke.

"I'm sorry Chief, I'm having one of those days," Nelson said several
volume levels lower than before.

"Yes, sir I'd be upset too knowing that she used your computer to
override the restrictions."

Daniel felt he should have been angry at Drake for being so blunt,
but instead felt slightly better facing the truth than internalizing
it and driving everyone crazy.

"Sir, we're not getting anywhere with this. Why don't you catch up
on the monthly report while I start on what we talked about?"

Daniel nodded his head as he thought of quiet and solitude while
puffing away on his pipe.

"I'm not to be disturbed for the next hour."

"Aye Sir."

Nelson walked toward his office and banged his nose on the
unyielding door.

"What the-" He took a step back and stepped again toward the door.
The result is that it remained closed.

"Computer, open my office door, please," said Nelson through
grinding teeth.

"Cannot comply with request; access to this room requires correct
authorization."

The equivalent of a phaser drill began to pound behind Nelson's
right eye. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and spoke slowly.

"Computer, open door to room thirty-six dash one five eight,
Authorization Nelson two three seven Alpha four."

The computer chirped for a moment before giving its reply. "Cannot
comply with request; access to this room requires correct
authorization."

Drake watched the young officer shake with rage. He walked over to
the door console and accessed the security logs.

"It seems that the authorization is encrypted," the old vet said
simply, "by Colonel LaDreaux."

Nelson opened his eyes and stiffly walked over to the door panel.
Looking over Drake's shoulder it took him ten seconds recognized
some patterns in the vast lines of code. "Send that to your desk,"
he told Drake and sat behind the comm console and began tapping the
pad. Drake sat on the desk and watched in silence while Nelson used
counter ciphers to break the code. He recognized ciphers such as
Polybius, BIFID, Playfair, grille and turning grille and straddling
checkerboard ciphers and others, both basic and advanced that made
up modern quantum cryptology. Drake furrowed his forehead as he saw
Nelson access a padd and entered a command that started one cipher
to interpret the other.

"What is that? I haven't seen any Starfleet security ciphers like
this."

Nelson typed furiously for a few seconds before answering. "It's a
short cut to help me build a code book from scratch. Nasty little
program." They typing continued.

"Yes, it looks like it," Drake replied, suddenly becoming
concerned. "Where did it come from?"

"Cant tell you that. Oh don't give me that look; Starfleet will have
cracked in six months, eight on the outside. Remember, I'm not the
one using illegal codes to harass junior officers."

"No, just using illegal programs to crack illegal codes."

"Hey, I wasn't always a security officer. I was pretty good with
this stuff. I'm glad that I can use my knowledge for something good."

"Mmm." Drake crossed his arms and fell silent. Nelson was in the
zone, and typed while talking.

"Trust me Chief, its good for once to be able to do something that
you know really well, something that your good at, ya know?. It's
that thing that no matter what, when it come to it that you're most
likely to be right." Nelson emphasized the last word by pressing
the comm screen, leaned back in the chair and sported a slight
grin. The computer emitted a long chirp, the screen when blank and
words began to form on screen. Daniel sat up in the chair, read the
screen, stood up and swore. He continued to swearing as he paced
the outer office floor.

Drake spun the screen around and read the words out loud:

"Alive without breath,
As cold as death.
Never thirsty,
Ever drinking,
When tired never winking."

He looked up at Nelson. "Is there a problem, sir?"

"Of course there is! It's a riddle!"

"Yes?"

"I hate riddles! She knows that!"

"You're a crypto guru and you hate riddles?" Nelson fumed.

Drake stared at Nelson for a few moments. "It's a fairly simple
one. The answer is fish."

Nelson sulked in silence. Drake grinned.

"Don't worry sir, we non commissioned officers always take care of
our officers. No one will know your one true weakness."

While Drake tapped keys to transfer everything back to the door
console, Nelson tapped his chin deep in thought. He paid little
attention to Drake as he walked to his office door and cleared his
throat.

"Computer, the code word is fish. Please open Lieutenant Nelson's
office door."

"Acknowledged."

The computer's happy chirp awoke Nelson from his trance with a
definitive epiphany. He raced over to Drake and pulled him away from
the door, speaking as fast as he could.

"Computer, raise containment field over this door now!"

"Raising containment field. Unlocking and opening office door to
room three six dash one five eight."

Nelson and Drake cringed at the shimmer of the containment field and
slurred, swooshing of the opening door. Peering into the office
Nelson could see nothing wrong – except for various objects floating
in the air. "How juvenile," he said aloud. "Disengaging the gravity
fields is kid's stuff." It was then he heard Chief Drake snickering
behind him.

"This is stupid and juvenile, Mr. Drake but not very funny!" Nelson
snapped as he turned around.

Drake was shaking with laughter as he pointed to the office. "You
might want to look again, sir!"

Daniel scanned his office again, this time noticing something
different. He saw that there were items on the floor, such as a
padd here and there, several items floating in the air, like his
metal pipe case and his chair and many items seemingly stuck to the
ceiling. Before Nelson could ponder how the LeDreaux tweaked the
gravity settings a fish swam from behind the pipe case. It was
clear that different items in the room had different buoyancies in
water.

"Oh dear God," Nelson whispered. Drake snorted as held his sides.

"Nice fish, sir."

"Chief!"

"
I'm sorry, sir." Drake's smile said otherwise. "I'm late for my
seafood dinner. By you leave, sir!" Drake laughter could still be
heard as the main office doors closed behind him.

Daniel heard an audible snap in his head. He over turned the chairs
and desks in the room, smashed pictures and punched the bulkhead
until the adrenaline had burned out of his system. Nelson sighed,
straightened his uniform and looked again into his office and
watched the fish floating lazily next to the desk comm screen.

"Computer, how much water is in my office?"

"Approximately 900 square feet of sea water occupies your office."

SEA WATER? "Drain the water please."

"Unable to comply with request."

The fish seems to stare defiantly at Daniel, which raised his
curiosity.

"Computer, what type of fish is that?"

"Please specify which fish for your query."

WHICH FISH? The phaser drill had moved from the back of his eye to
the more roomy space of his skull. "Computer, how many fish are in
my office?"

"There are four Vulcan blue tang, two dotty backs, two split tail
moray eels from Janus Prime, ten Bajoran wrasses and one Caitain
king lionfish."

Daniel simply stared into office for several minutes until he could
figure out what to do. He tapped his combadge.

"Nelson to Commander Hayes."

"Hayes here.
I hope this is important."

"Oh, very much so. Please meet me in the security office."

"I'll be there. Hayes out."

Several minutes later the chief engineer walked into the outer
office and took in the carnage. "Lieutenant, I hope you didn't call
me here for janitorial service."

"More like an oceanographic survey," Nelson replied pointing to his
office.

Hayes walked around broken furniture until she had a better view of
the interior of Nelson's office.

"What the – " she stammered. "How did this happen? Christ, are those
FISH?"

"Yes," Nelson replied acceptingly. "They're swimming in about 900
square feet of seawater."

Nelson watched as the color began to drain from Hayes' face as she
stabbed at her padd. He thought it was a good time to explain what
happened to her and did so.

"That bitch," she said when he was finished. "No wonder she was so
smug earlier." Her padd took more violent stabs from her
fingers. "Make sure you charge her with everything in the book."

"I don't think that will happen, Commander." Nelson explained
Colonel Ledreaux's "special" status.

"She needs to be taken down a notch or two and learn to keep her
hands off of things that are not hers," Hayes hissed.

Nelson left that at that. "Do you have any ideas, Commander?"

Their eyes meet, just for an instant, but communicated much. Hayes
smiled a bit as her fingers danced lightly over her padd. Nelson
placed his hands behind his back and watched an eel swim by.

"You know, I think Ill keep the fish," Nelson said to no one in
particular.


D.J. Nelson
CSecO
USS Swiftsure


July 2005:
Artifact #156 “Prodigal Son….Kinda
By: 2nd Lieutenant Charles Moss

ON

<< Holodeck 2 >>

Charley looked over the bedraggled looking mix of marines and
security troops, and felt a flicker of pride. On their third trip
`unto the breach' of his simulation of their upcoming hostage
rescue, they had actually not only fallen within but also exceeded the mission
parameters. Casualties had occurred, `but that was to be
expected,' he thought to himself, `plus there's no way the Wogs'll
react in force like what I've put these guys through `. That warm flicker of
pride suddenly changed to a sheer chill down his spine as Charley had the
dawning realization of his overconfidence. Remembering the old Earth
General Patton's warning to not take counsel of his own fears, he
turned to Lt. Limmer, "What do you think Ed?" Charley asked.

Ed Limmer looked into Moss's eyes and saw flash of doubt, which
was covered immediately, and he knew it was falling to him to bolster his
C.O.'s confidence without laying that doubt open to the troops,
"They're tired sir, I think if we run it again they'll
just make mistakes due to fatigue. Right now, we're beyond the point of
coffee or boosters, these guys need rest. We've done what we can,
honestly sir, I think we're as ready as we're gonna get." Ed
watched Charley's eyes for a reaction.

Charley sighed, "Yea Ed, I think you hit it on the nose,"
Turning to the spent troops, "Alright you pukes! Ya done good! Now
y'all know what we're up against, we're done with the Sims, remember your
objectives and coverage points, and we'll do just fine. Now go
hit the showers and get some rack time. All post shifts and fatigue duties are
suspended 'till after the Op. Any horseplay or barracks games and
I'll personally kick some ass. Gunny get'em outta my sight!"
Charley waited for the inevitable ruckus of his boys dispersing then turned to
Limmer, "That goes for you too Ed, I don't want to see you
for at least 12 hours."

"When was the last time you slept?" Ed asked with a glint in
his eye.

Charley grimaced, "I'm fine Ed, thanks for asking. On your
way now."


Ed looked over Moss's shoulder, "Bernie?"

"He's been up for 14 hours after 3 hours of sleep, sir."
Cpl. Linquist grinned as Charley spun around to glare at her.

"Dammit Sir! You know better'n that!" Lcpl.
Hudson
barked from the hatchway, Charley spun back around to see
Hudson and Czarnowski
glaring at him, "You'll get all these kids killed if you go
in with your half a brain running on fumes."

"
Hudson! Get your ass back to sickbay where you belong!"
Moss snapped and started to turn his defenses back toward Limmer and Linquist.

Hudson smiled, "No sir, the Chancre Mechanics kicked me an'
Flash out. Said we'd had enough ghost time an' to get back to work.
So we're reporting in El-Tee."

Limmer smiled, "Welcome back you two, looks like you have some
paperwork to go through with Cpl. Linquist. Why don't you three go
take care of that."
Hudson glared at Moss for a good thirty
seconds before adding his `Aye sir' to the others, leaving the two
Lt's behind. Ed continued after the others had left, "It's looking
like we'll have a mutiny if you don't get some sleep…
sir." and walked away.

"Christ!" Charley rolled his eyes, "Don't even joke
about that!" he called after Limmer as he walked out the hatch. Moss stood absorbed in
thought, and was surprised at the depth of emotion he felt at the
return of Hudson & Czarnowski, and amazed that all his worries had
dissipated. Then realizing he was standing alone in an inactive
holodeck, "Christ, they're right, I am lagging." Then he
turned and headed toward the sound of his rack calling him.

OFF
C.P. Moss 2nd Lt.
Marine Detachment C.O. (acting)
USS Swiftsure

June 2005:
Artifact #116 “Drifting”
By: 2nd Lieutenant Ed Limmer

ON

== Marine XO's Quarters, Deck 34 ==
= Shortly After #108 =

Edward tossed uncomfortably in bed. He had kicked his thin blanket down to his
feet. Parts of it were hanging over the side, threatening to fall onto the
carpeted floor. He grunted and mumbled something nonsensical underneath his
breath. He scratched his ass.

Limmer dribbled down the court unchallenged. As he passed the center line, he
put a fist into the air to signal the pattern they would use. He glanced at the
scoreboard. Two minutes remaining, and they were down 86-88. The stadium was
packed with high school students on this Saturday evening.

He considered passing the ball to Pavlowski but decided against it. Besides, he
didn't score in the last possession, and he sure as hell wasn't going home with
only a double-double. He flashed a cocky grin to his defender, faked a pass, and
spun around on his right foot. The seventeen year-old shooting guard leapt from
the ground and shot the ball. It swooshed into the basket.

The crowd roared deafeningly. Edward cupped his ear with his hand and lifted his
eyebrows, coaxing the fans to cheer even louder. God, he loved this game. The
students started to chant, "Lim-mer, Lim-mer, Lim-mer." He grinned and closed
his eyes; he'd get at least two girls tonight.

"Limmer!" He opened his eyes and saw the unsmiling form of Master Sergeant
Lamatiere. He glanced to his right; the chanting had been replaced by the
sing-song cadence of a formation of running Marines. Lamatiere stuck his sweaty
face close to Limmer's. His eyes narrowed. "You are about the dumbest sack of
shit I've ever seen, you know that?"

Limmer felt a surge of anger. Nobody talked to him like that. He balled up his
fists, knuckles whitening.

Lamatiere looked down at Edward's hands. He grinned. "Do it, boot. I swear to
the Almighty, it'll be the last thing you'll ever do."

Limmer believed him. He choked back some spittle and forced himself to loosen
his hands. His father had agreed to let him join the professional league after
he got through with this waste of time. He tried to reason with himself that
four years wasn't a long time.

"Good boy," the drill sergeant said. His breath smelled like dirt. "Now get your
worthless ass on the ground and give me some push-ups!"

Edward lay prone and began performing the exercise, his face reddening from
anger and embarrassment. Lamatiere took a knee and looked at the enlistee's
face. The sergeant sneered. "Aren't you glad I took a special interest, boot?"

"Boot! Dammit, private, pay attention!" A distant explosion jarred Limmer back
to reality. They were aboard an occupied Cardassian Galor-class. There was a
skirmish raging in space around them, another Cardassian push into Federation
territory, and he wasn't sure who was winning.

Lieutenant Prichard hit the heel of his hand against Limmer's tactical helmet.
It clanged loudly. "Sorry, sir," Edward said.

"You goddamn right you're sorry,"
Prichard replied. He returned his attention to
the assembled group of men. Most of them were yellow and green shirts, but a few
scientists were here or there. A heavy air hung over them. There was no denying
it anymore--Starfleet's mighty back had been broken; they were fighting for
survival.

The lieutenant was young. For a company commander, he was ridiculously young.
But he had been battle hardened, and there wasn't any other Marine officer
aboard, so people respected him. He held his rifle like it was an extension of
his hand. "Alright, this tin can's about to blow up, so we're moving. Captain
tells me the
Springfield's being boarded by a Keldon, so we're going to run some
interference. Hopefully they'll just surrender."

It was a juvenile attempt at humor, Limmer thought impatiently. The private was
only eighteen, but he felt significantly older. He retightened his grip on his
compression rifle. It felt foreign and heavy, the pull of impending death. He
reflexively launched himself toward the floor as another explosion reverberated
through the superstructure.

The dirt felt cool against Limmer's cheek. He crawled slowly up the slope of the
impromptu trench made by Swiftsure's orbital bombardment. The Prefecture's
prison rose imperiously into the sky in front of him.

"Ed," he heard Lieutenant Moss say over the radio, "they've got trap doors. This
might take longer tha..."

An explosion ripped through a corner of the building. Limmer ducked his head
behind the ridge, barely avoiding a burned chunk of metal that flew overhead.
The air smelled dank and smoke began to obscure his vision.

Limmer heard static through the radio and somehow knew that Charley was dead. He
raised himself on his knees above the trench and squeezed off a few blind shots
through the thickening black smoke. "Lax, take Gefell, Rosette, and Coles, find
out what happened to six," he yelled over his shoulder.

The air was suddenly calm, the shooting over, the flames quiet. Limmer looked
behind him and saw Sergeant Lax's corpse, her eyes and mouth three rings of
surprise. The rest of the squad were lifeless on the dirt, their bodies crumpled
in surrender. Blood was everywhere.

The lieutenant stood up slowly and saw the Corvalin standing in the crater, a
blood-stained knife in his hand. He looked at Limmer with an expression that
couldn't be read. He moved in front of the Marine, almost floated, in what
seemed like an instant.

The knife sunk easily into his chest.

Edward gasped and jolted upright. He looked around his quarters, breathing
heavily, feeling his chest. He could still feel the blade.

"Computer, lights."

OFF

2LT Edward C. Limmer
XO, Marine Detachment
USS Swiftsure

May 2005:

Artifact #47 “Lions and Tigers and Bears”
By: LCDR Peter Jansen

<< USS Swiftsure >>
== Deck 11 - Xenobiology Lab ==

"Come on you sorry piece of…"

Despite all the technological advancements man, and later on, the
Federation had made and despite the enlightened minds of many races
in the 24th century, sometimes the best option to get a piece of
equipment working was to hit it… hard. At least, it worked like that
for Peter… in theory.

He stood hunched over the lab's holoprojector and was desperately
trying to get it to work. For whatever reason, the device just
failed to do what it had been ordered.

"You know, hitting it doesn't help."

Peter barely turned around to see who was talking to him but when he
caught a few glimpses of red hair, not to mention the typical accent
he heard, he knew exactly who was standing in the lab next to him.
Ensign Macintosh (npc), a peculiar yet talented historian was a
person who never seemed to be working. You could always find her
roaming around the corridors, visiting each section the science
department had at its disposal and, often enough, you could even
find her bothering other departments.

"Don't you have work to do,
Sharon?"

Peter sounded more agitated than he'd intended. He didn't dislike
her company, but she could be a bit too cheerful on occasion, and
right now, Peter was not really in the mood for cheerfulness.

"No, actually," she replied unperturbed as she moved closer. "I was
wondering if you might have any information on our new assignment."

Peter smirked as he continued to tinker with the projector.

"All I got from my promotion were better quarters. If its
information you want, I suggest you ask Tom or P'Moll."

"Nah, they're busy."

Peter turned around swiftly, one eyebrow arched. "And I'm not?"

Sharon grinned. "Doesn't look like it. At least, you don't seem to
be doing anything productive."

"Thank you very much."

"You're welcome."

Crouching down beside him, she inspected the device.
"What seems to be the problem?"

"Same as usual," Peter said as he typed in a command. "Whenever I
touch it, it fails to work."

"I hope you don't have the same flaw with women," she joked.

"Not amusing,
Sharon. Not amusing. Besides, didn't those technicians
fix this thing a while ago?"

Peter still remembered the day when two technicians came in for a
maintenance check and found out he wasn't exactly reading profession-
related literature. As he thought about it, he also recalled
Sharon
was around as well – it figured, of course.

Macintosh nodded. "Yes, they did. Hang on… Let me give it a try."

Her fingers flew over the access panel and the projector came to
life. Grinning from ear to ear, she looked at him.

"Told you it was ok."

Peter tried to return her smile but it wasn't quite successful. He
tapped in another command, and an image appeared.

"What's that?"
Sharon asked, both curious and shocked.

The image which was displayed showed a large, broad-chested, barrel-
legged beast. It had a long primary tail, complete with spikes at
the end, with a shorter, secondary tail riding the spine of the
first.

"That's a Sholjagg," Peter answered, almost gleaming with
pride. "Like the image? I took it while I was on Fandre."

"You got close to this thing?" Macintosh wondered as she stepped in
closer to inspect the animal's wide copiously toothed mouth.

"It had just fed, it was during the day, when they're pretty much
non-aggressive," Peter replied. "Usually, anyway."

"
Do you see the tail?" Peter asked, pointing at the display. "The
animal seems to have two dorsal spines, one of which is probably
either totally rudimentary or possibly recessive."

"Recessive?"

"
Yes, sort of like with Klingons. When the primary spinal chord
fails, the secondary one kicks in. But, judging the poorly developed
secondary tail, I would guess it serves no real purpose – a left
over from the old days."

"Evolution," Macintosh suggested.

"Exactly," Peter grinned. "Of course, I'd need more time to study
them to be certain… Perhaps some day…" his voice trailed off. He
seemed to be mesmerized by the image, thinking about his months on
the planet, in the preserve. Those were fantastic days.

"And this," Peter said, coming out of his reverie as he requested
another image. "This is a Cartiga."

This time, the display showed a tiger-like animal… more sabre tooth,
like, as it was much bigger, it's teeth were larger, especially the
canines, and it definitely looked more ferocious. The animal had
patterned, rippling fur, which served perfectly as a camouflage
during its hunts. It also had massive semi-retractable claws.

"Lions and tigers and bears."

"
Excuse me?" Peter asked confused.

Sharon grinned. "Lions and tigers and bears. It's from the Wizard of
Oz."

Peter shrugged. "Never heard of it."

"
It was a massive hit centuries ago."

And, considering it was still a popular program on the holodeck, it
hadn't lost all of its charm yet.

"If you say so."

"
You know, you should show this to P'Moll. She's into these animal
things."

"Animal things?" Peter said, feigning to be insulted. "I'm not
describing your area of expertise as studying dead guys, do I?"

Sharon chuckled. "Well no, but that's what is – part of it anyway.
And `animals' does cover a large part of what you're doing."

Peter grunted. He hated when she was right.

"P'Moll's probably too busy now anyway," he said. "Besides, it would
look a bit silly, wouldn't you think? `Oh goodie ma'am, look at what
I have for you, some nice animal pictures because I know you love
them'".

This time,
Sharon really had to laugh.

"Come on, it isn't that bad. You're both into this thing, you a
little bit more than she is, but it would never hurt to show them."

"Wouldn't that be seen as `sucking up'?"

"Maybe,"
Sharon answered with a shrug. "But I'd doubt it. Besides,
she's Vulcan. Even if you did suck up, she'd barely notice."
"If you say so," Peter chuckled. "Anyway, like you said, she's busy
now. I'll just send her the file if she ever wants to take a look at
it."

"Good boy."

"Good boy, sir," Peter corrected.

"My apologies, sir,"
Sharon said, sticking out her tongue.

"Much better, ensign."

"
Come on," Peter said as he shut down the projector. "As long as we
both don't have jobs to do, let me buy you a drink at O'Mally's."

"
Best thing you've said all day."

"Don't push it, Macintosh, don't push it."

OFF:

Lt.Cmdr. Peter Jansen
Xenobiologist
USS Swiftsure

April 2005:

Shoreleave #68

“Twisting the Lobes”

ON

==STARBASE 285==
=SNICK's Lounge=

 

The sound of blaring music and the smell of unwashed bodies and liquor
accosted Daniel as the doors to Snick's opened for his entrance. He
took as step inside the room and stood beside the archway as the doors
closed behind him. He stood observing the room for several minutes to
allow is eyes to adjust to the lighting, which he was sure dimmed to
the lowest possible lux to ensure that the patrons could barely see
their noses on their faces. That is if they had noses. The bar was
full of beings of varying species drinking, arguing, gambling,
yelling, planning, spying, and wheeling and dealing. The Dominion War
devastated this sector and there was a pretty good chance that another
involving the Vanderians was on the horizon. War has always brought
profiteers seeking a fortune.

 

Daniel had come here because he still was not comfortable with the
security chief's office. Even though he finally got a nice chair from
the replimart, kept the light level about 25% below normal and rid
himself of most of the plants, he still didn't feel like it was his
space. It was then that he realized that nothing in the room was
truly his. He didn't have any personal items to display either in his
office nor his quarters. When Daniel left Tarmon he took no personal
possessions with him, choosing to physically and psychologically start
anew. However the human psyche loves habits and longs for what is
familiar, which had a great impact on what item Daniel chose to grace
his new office. The problem was that the item was very rare and
expensive, but not illegal to acquire. He definitely did not want to
get it through his old contacts, which is why he was here to see Snick.

 

Daniel watched the Ferengi as he tended bar, laugh jovially with some,
being solemn and understanding with others with an occasional curt
remark to an employee or two. He smoothly served drinks with a smile
and slap on the back while deftly pocketing the customer's money. It
was clear that in this room of clanking and banging machinery that
Snick was the well oiled master cog, controlling it all.

 

Having picked his mark Daniel walked over to the middle of the bar and
approached a suspicious looking Deltan who seemed a bit fidgety. He
strongly clapped the Deltan on the shoulder, which made him as he spin
around.

 

"Starfleet security," Daniel announced. "I know who you are, and if
you're smart, you leave this starbase within the hour. Am I getting
through to you?"

 

The wide-eyed Deltan simply nodded, quickly downed his drink and ran
from the bar, bumping and pushing others out of the way. Daniel sat
down in the now empty seat. Snick, who was giving another customer
his patented smile, looked down the bar and notice the Starfleet
officer that had taken the place of the Deltan. He immediately moved
in front of Nelson.

 

"What did you do? How dare you come around here harassing my
customers? You chased him away before he could pay his tab!"

"I'll pay his tab if I can have a moment of your time."

"He had a rather large tab."

"Then I should have your undivided attention for quite a long time."

Snick studied the young officer who calmly returned the stare. Snick
could not decide if what he saw in the man was a true grit or just
youthful over exuberance. He decided that it was the latter; that
this security officer was probably snooping around for some
information so that he could close a case. Snick could not let this
opportunity pass. He would give the officer some watered down
information in exchange for a twenty percent markup of the Deltan's
bar bill. A slight smile began to form on his face as he snapped his
fingers and another Ferengi suddenly appeared. "Watch the bar," Snick
told him. He then turned back to Daniel. "Care for something to drink?"

"Centaurian tequila."

Snick pulled a bottle from the bar, retrieved two glasses and motion
over to a table in a dark corner. Daniel followed him over and sat
down as Snick poured the liquor two fingers deep in each glass.

"Make it quick, Hu-man. You have two minutes," Snick said as he sat down.

"Two minutes? I get the feeling that money is not important to you."

"It is when I have paying customers with large bank accounts, not snot
nosed security officers who are looking to impress their betters with
criminal case using entrapment," Snick hissed.

Daniel drank the contents of his glass in one gulp. He felt the bite
of the liquor on his tongue and the slow building burn that went from
his throat to his stomach.

"I'm not here to entrap you, or even for a criminal case. I want you
to get something for me."

Snick rolled his eyes. "Oh here it comes. You ask me to do something
crazy or dangerous and when I refuse, you make up some story about
cheating dabo players or shortening holosuites times. Anything to try
and leverage me to help you."


Daniel smiled as he reached for the bottle and filled his glass to brim.

"I heard you got burned recently with a shipment of weapons possibly
involving certain unscrupulous members of Starfleet security," Daniel
said. " And as far as how you cutting cost here and there is not a
major concern to me at this point. As I told you earlier, I am here so
that you can acquire something for me."

Daniel produced a padd, which he activated and handed it to Snick.

"It's a short list," he told the Ferengi.

"But expensive to acquire," said Snick with dollar signs in his eyes.
Snick figured that the young officer was probably getting a gift for
a superior officer. He had been trying to figure the young man's
angle and by showing the contents of the padd it was clear to him that
someone wanted to grease the wheels of one's career. Snick was
familiar with this line of thinking since the 33rd Rule of Acquisition
states, "It never hurts to suck up to the boss." He also knew that
ambition was just another name for greed, greed produces a need, and
the needs of others can be very profitable. Snick slowly grinned as
quoted the young officer three times the fair price.

Daniel was shocked at the steepness of the price. It must have showed
because Snick's grin became much wider. "Of course, since you are a
first time customer, I can knock 40% off the price and we can
negotiate payments over time. With a fair finance rate, of course."

Snick slid the padd back over to Nelson.

Daniel did some mental calculating and found that the price with the
discount was just under what a Lieutenant Junior Grade could pay off
in about…seventeen months. Clever, thought Nelson. He was not
concerned about the price, but the total was more that he had in his
Starfleet account. There was one other option for him.

"No payment plan. And I want the delivery in 48 hours."

Snick's high-pitched belly laugh lasted for a good 30 seconds. "You
ARE funny, Hu-man. There is no way that I can move that quickly."

"I'm sure with the proper motivation you will move as quickly as I
need you to."

Snick's grin faded quickly into a grimace. "I don't think I like your
tone, Hu-man."

"I will pay you your original price upon delivery, as long as it's
within 48 hours with the payment decreasing. At the end of the 48
hours the price will be with your discount. After 48 hours I go to
your competition. You wouldn't want it to get around that the
resourceful Snick could get a simple, LEGAL, task done, would you?"

So there's the targ prod, thought Snick as he silently fumed.
Spreading the word that Snick could not be relied upon will have a
drastic affect on his ability to acquire and keep his legal and not so
legal customers who are interested in fast, anonymous "shipping". No
one would believe him if he told him that this young whelp had set
seemingly unreasonable terms for the contract, the fact would still be
a contract not carried out.

While Snick was mulling over things Daniel produce another padd and
with a few keystrokes accessed a database far away from Starbase 285.
The database asked for a code, which Daniel provided along with a
thumb swipe. The information that appeared on the screen was from a
bank account not forgotten but simply ignored. He was slightly
surprised at the number of new decimal places that appeared under the
balance. Apparently the interest rate has been very good for the past
five years. Daniel did not want to access his bank account from his
smuggling days but his Starfleet account would not immediately cover
either of Snick's price quotes. He was sure Starfleet knew about the
account and if they had asked him to forfeit it as a prerequisite for
joining Starfleet, he would have. Since they did not, he felt it was
his to dispose of as he pleased.

Daniel scrolled the padd screen until only the balance showed and held
the padd under the nose of Snick. When he was sure that the Ferengi
had a good look (evident by wide eyes and a slack jaw) he pocketed the
money padd and tapped the other padd still on the table.

"I hope to hear from you soon. Time starts now." With that, Daniel
got up from the table and made his way through the crowd toward the
exit. Snick was stunned as he watched the uniform worm through the
mob. This is either a setup or this kid is just plain crazy, thought
Snick. Either way the potential for profit was too much to take the
young man lightly. Snick suddenly stood up as another thought entered
his four lobed brain.

"Stop! Stop that man!" He yelled to no one in particular. Patrons
and staff began to look Snick's way as he pointed to the closing doors.

"Stop that Star fleet officer! He didn't pay his-"

As Snick walked around the table yelling a pointing frantically a
glint on the table caught the corner of his eye. He lowered his gaze
to find several strips of gold pressed latinum soaking in his
untouched glass. Snick was relieved to find that the amount exceeded
what the Deltan owed and for the bottle of liquor. What unsettled him
was that he didn't remember seeing the security officer placing the
money in the glass.

OFF
LTJG Daniel Nelson
CSecO
USS Swiftsure

March 2005:

Shoreleave #33 “Interruptions”
ON
==Bridge, USS Swiftsure==
=Following Post #26 but before Post #32=

The graveyard shift was progressing without incident and it was perfectly
fine by him. The name came from some ancient Earth reference that had been
explained to him on several occasions, and was from a time when Humans
feared the darkness and were scared by ghostly things. He sat in the
center chair and reviewed the information on the latest ship reports.
Numerous sections would be going down for upgrade or repair and at times the
ship would be barely able to cut loose from the station should the need
arise. It didn't make him happy.

He did not look up as the turbolift doors opened and admitted someone to the
bridge. Another yeoman with yet another report, he thought to himself. The
person walked up to where he was seated and after finishing the paragraph he
was reading he turned his attention to the interloper.
The human seemed to go on forever. His height barely outdoing the bulging
muscles that were evident under his green trimmed uniform.
The man wore the
collar insignia of a Major and without a word handed a PADD to Bolex. Bolex
took the PADD and read over it. He stood and offered the Marine a salute.

"Welcome aboard Major Sutherland," said Bolex.

"Is there someplace where we can talk," said the Major in a gruff voice. He
looked around the bridge and seemed displeased with what he saw.

"My ready room should suffice," replied Bolex. The Marine nodded and the
two headed for the turbolift. The two rode in silence with the Major
staring straight ahead at the wall of the turbolift. One deck lower they
exited the lift and headed into his office. Bolex proceeded to walk around
behind his desk and as he sat down offered the Major a chair across from
him.

"I prefer to stand," said the Major.

"Very well," replied Bolex. He sat down and set the Major's orders down on
his desk top. "Now what can I do for you?"

"It's in my orders Commander," said Sutherland. "I am here to make sure
that the modifications to your ship are in accordance with Starfleet Marine
Regulations. In other words to make sure that your Engineering staff
doesn't botch the job."

"
Now wait just a minute," replied Bolex with a hint of anger in his voice.
He paused and regained his composure. "Our engineering staff is second to
none."

"All commanders say that of their staff," began Sutherland. "However if
they are as lax as what I've seen so far my services will be in dire need."

"Excuse me," shot back Bolex. This Marine definately knew how to push all
the right buttons. "Will you require quarters aboard this vessel?"

"Negative," said Sutherland. "I have adequate quarters aboard the station.
When can I expect the work to begin?"

"It is scheduled to start at zero eight hundred ship's time," replied Bolex.
At least he won't be staying with us, he thought. "Can I....," he was
interrupted by the sound of his comm badge beeping.

"Tigert to Commander Jat," said the nervous sounding voice of the security
guard.

"Go ahead," replied Bolex.

"Sir, we have a situation at the docking hatch," said Tigert's voice. Bolex
was just learning to recognize the human, and there was definately something
in the man's voice that told him it was more than a simple situation.

"What kind of situation," asked Bolex. He tried to keep his features even
as the Marine Major stood rigidly in front of him.

"A Marine kind of situation," came the reply. His stomach suddenly
tightened into a knot and he shot the Marine Major a questioning look. To
his credit the Major didn't so much as acknowledge the gesture. Bolex was
certain that the Major was listening in, but the man appeared to be ignoring
the conversation.

"I'll be right there, Jat out," he said and then tapped his comm badge
closed. "What could he be refering to Major?"

"I wouldn't know Commander," replied the Major. Bolex could see the man's
mind at work, he really didn't know what was going on.

"The ship's garrison of Marines is not due to report aboard until the
modifications are finished...correct," he said questioningly as he stood up
from his desk.

"Correct," replied the Major.

"Commander I'm getting a silent alarm from the docking hatch," said a voice
over the room's intercom.

"Understood," said Bolex in the direction of the speaker. Nothing good can
come of this, he thought. "Come with me Major."

The two walked qucikly out of the ready room and towards the lift. After a
quick descent they stepped out onto the deck containing the docking hatch.
Bolex moved quickly and the Major kept up with him, seemingly without
breaking normal stride. As they neared the hatch they found the area
swarming with security guards, all heavily armed and ready. Upon seeing him
approach they all went to attention.

"What's going on here," demanded Commander Jat. He turned the corner in the
direction of the umbilical and found himself staring at two of his own
security guards and about fifty marines on the other side of them. "Major?"

"I don't know," said the Major, showing real confusion for the first time.
Bolex knew that the man was not used to it and he could see that the Major's
fuse was already starting to burn. "Who's in charge here," he shouted as he
pushed his way past the Swiftsure's security officers.

"Master Chief Drake," said Bolex as he spotted the man walking towards him,
"release your men. Good job."

"Sir," replied Drake with a nod. "Atten-shun company," said Drake in a
ferral growl as he turned back towards his men. "Dis-missed."

"..I'll have someone's head on a platter for this SNAFU Lieutenant," Bolex
overheard the Major yelling at someone. He walked up to where the giant
Major stood towering over a much smaller Marine officer. The Marine wore a
shinny second lieutenant's bar on his collar and Bolex could image what the
man was going through at the moment. "What kind of retarded cock-a-maimy
bullsh*t is this?"

"Major," asked Bolex in the most even and calm tone that he could muster.

"It seems that some desk jockey on the station screwed up their orders,"
said the Major as he turned sharply on his heel to face the Bolian. "I'll
have someone's a** for this."

"What would you like me to do," asked Bolex in the same even and almost
condecending tone.
"I can't have all these Marine's clogging my umbilical now, can I?"

"They'll need temporary quarters aboard until the modifications are done,"
said the Major flatly. The vein on his temple was pulsating violently and
Bolex knew he had gotten to the man.

"You can't simply send them back to the station," asked Bolex.

"They are here and they might as well begin getting accustomed to life
aboard a starship," said the Major.

"Very well," said Bolex as he clasped his hands behind his back. "
Cargo Bay
Eight on Deck 35 is currently empty. They can billet there until their
barracks is ready, or they could always go back to the station." He had
sensed that by sending the Marines back to the station the Major felt it
would show that an error had been commited. A professional like the Major
did not like for such things to be admitted.

"Lieutenant," said the Major turning back to the waiting junior officer.
"Get these lame excuses for Marines aboard. Any slip ups and I'll be on you
like flies on sh*t, understood?"

"Sir, yes sir," said the Lieutenant as he snapped a smart looking salute.

"I will have security show them the way," said Bolex. The Major merely
nodded as another chink in his armor fell away. It was well known that the
two branches were at odds with one another and the fact that these new
Marines would need a security guard to lead them to their new quarters had
to be nothing short of humiliating.

"Mister Tigert," said Bolex turning to face the security guard. "Please
show them to their new home."

"Aye sir," said Tigert. Bolex tried to keep the grin to himself as he
stepped back into the main corridor. A moment later Tigert appeared with
the Marine Lieutenant behind him and then the body of Enlisted Marines
behind the two of them. They were an odd assortment of personnel and even
though he had won this battle, he knew there would be many more ahead. The
Major appeared at the end of the column and walked up to Commander Jat.

"I will get to the bottom of this Commander," said the Major. "I expect to
see your Chief Engineer at oh eight hundred. I'll be inspecting Deck 34 in
the meantime."

"Very well, dismissed," said Bolex. The Major nodded and stormed off after
the marching column of Marine troopers.

"You really show'd em sir," said a voice from the hatch. Bolex found
himself looking at the remaining Security guard, someone he did not know.
"The looks on their faces..."

"Crewman, I suggest that you tend to your duties," said Bolex sharply. The
crewman snapped to attention, caught off guard by the sudden change in his
Commander's tone. "I wouldn't want our new guests to think that we were lax
in our duties," added Bolex with a slight grin. He turned and walked away
before seeing the crewman's reaction.

OFF
CDR Bolex Jat
XO
USS Swiftsure

February 2005:

Yaro #220 - "The Great Unwashed"

ON:
<<Snick's Venture, Starbase 285>>

For the umpteenth time, Rachel suppressed an involuntary shiver and
pulled at the skimpy sliver of cloth that passed for an outfit. For the
umpteenth time too, she asked herself exactly what she'd been thinking
-- what hallucinatory drugs she'd been smoking -- when she'd accepted
this assignment. She knew pretty well, of course: it was either this or
a permanent reprimand on her record for conduct unbecoming an officer.
And that was not how she wanted to begin her career. Still, she'd
suggested to Admiral Loren that someone with... *experience* in this
sort of thing might be more what he was looking for. She was just glad
they hadn't asked her to pass herself off as an Orion slave, though dabo
girl wasn't much of a step up.

She knew the station's carefully regulated temperature to be both
perfectly comfortable and more or less uniform, but damned if she wasn't
shivering. The last time she'd exposed this amount of flesh there'd
been bright lights and doctors and, "It's a girl!"

Snick's was predictably bustling, and she was thankful no one paid much
attention to her unceremonious entrance, tottering precariously on heels
as she was. Steeling herself, she adopted what passed for a sultry
expression and sashayed up to the bar, aware of several pairs--and a few
triplets--of eyes raking her artfully exposed form. She leant
seductively on the counter and battered her eyelashes at the
bartender--a thoroughly disreputable looking Ferengi that could only
have been Snick.

"You Khaleena?" he demanded shortly, inscrutable, but his eyes were
appreciative.

"I ahm," she said thickly, layering the accent. "Are you Mr Sneek?"

"Yeah. What took you so long? I've had a gap in my staff for over a
week now--bad for business, you know. Bad for business," he repeated,
shaking his head in a patronising fashion.

"I ahm sorry, Mr Sneek. I had prohblem with my travel perm--per..."
She blinked rapidly and looked confused.

"Sure, sweetheart," he interrupted, taking pity on her. "Look, we
haven't got time for the usual intro. I got a table over there waiting
for this stuff, so go on and take this over there and make yourself
useful, honey. You'll pick it up soon enough. And make sure you get a
tip."

"Yes, Mr Sneek," she chirped, delicately picking up the tray of potent
(and probably illegal) alcohol without breaking her fake nails and
obediently tottered towards the waiting customers, who practically
leered on cue.

She spent the next hour and a half fending off unwanted advances and
wandering hands. She was quickly thankful for the time spent schlepping
food about in her teenage years--though even that particular
establishment was more than a few notches up from this dive. There was
clearly an unwritten hierarchy among the girls on staff -- the top dog
turned out to be a pouting, exotic beauty with legs up to her ears,
which turned out to be rather wasted since she spent most of the time
draped over the patrons at the dabo tables. Whenever someone on a
losing streak displayed the telltale signs of frustration, she appeared
from nowhere and proceeded to give them a guided tour of her cleavage.
Well, it seemed to work.

So, she kept her head down and her ears open, hoping to pick up
something of interest, but all she overheard was drunken bravado, old
war stories and a few that would have made a Klingon blush--nothing
pertaining to any sort of underhand activity involving Starbase,
though. There did seem to be some activity towards the back, however.
Several shadowy figures came and went, disappearing into the upstairs
area and the bar's backrooms. She tried to commit faces to memory--a
gigantic Orion was the most remarkable, but it seemed all manner of and
in the hustle and bustle it was difficult to remember. Plus, her
skirt--and that was being generous--was beginning to stick to her skin,
and her feet were already aching. She was beginning to wonder if she
might not be better employed elsewhere when a commotion over by the
tables drew her attention. A fight had broken out. Snick, a fully
laden tray in his hand, swore and motioned her over.

"Take these upstairs," he ordered, quickly foisting the tray off on
her. "I got my hands tied down here. And be quick about it."

At last--someone was giving her a break. As Snick rushed off to deal
with the fight, she teetered towards the ominous stairwell in the bar's
dingy recesses, guarded by two enormous Nausicaans. She plastered her
best dopey look and batted her eyelashes at the sentinels. They took
one look at the tray and grunted. The door was opened and she was
ushered through.

Inside, the air was filled with smoke. She blinked, her eyes beginning
to water, and tentatively ventured in. The decor was lavish, and
through the haze, she could make out shadowy figures seated about a
single ornate table--where all the 'business deals' took place, no
doubt. She strained her ears in an effort to make out their
conversation. She caught snatches, but it was too quiet and there was
nothing discernable. Before she could get any closer, an enormous
figure loomed out of nowhere and seized her tray. Taken by surprise,
she took an involuntary step back.

"I will take it," it rumbled. "Be gone."

There was no two ways about it. Reluctantly, she retreated,
'encouraged' by the guards on the door. Back downstairs, she absently
collected another tray, but her mind was elsewhere. There was obviously
something going on up there, and they knew the ring was operating out of
Snick's. She had gleaned nothing of interest so far, except that people
were gathering upstairs--and that was certainly not enough to file a
report on. No, she'd have to get closer--somehow--if she wanted to
discover anything useful. The others had probably already dug up enough
dirt to put the culprits away for life and here she was still ferrying
drinks, none the wiser. Perhaps she could plant a mic... or ingratiate
herself... She was going to get exactly nowhere trying to keep her
distance (and dignity...)

With a sudden flash of resolve, she glanced at the chronometer on the
wall. She still had time before last orders. And she was on the
inside. All she needed was a few bits of equipment...

OFF:

Ensign Rachel Glaser
Incoming Acting Chief of OPS
USS Swiftsure

January 2005:

Yaro #177 - "Captain's WHAT?"

ON

<<Starbase 285>>

RubIq' tired of sitting around and decided it was time to finally go
to her temporary quarters. She checked her room assignment again, and
set off in search of it. Finding the indicated room, she announced
herself to the computer, and the door opened. Whatever the
differences between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, temporary
quarters on a Starbase were disturbingly similar. A plain bunk, a
computer terminal that could be accessed while sitting on the bunk,
and minimal sanitary facilities. Hopefully she wouldn't be staying
here long. Checking out the bunk, she took the padded cushion off the
top. Even in minimal quarters like these, humans required soft
padding so they could wallow in comfortable beds. For a Klingon,
however, 'utbe' bel (Pleasure is nonessential). She stuffed the
padding underneath the bunk and sat down.

Activating the computer terminal, she was surprised to see a message
waiting for her. Accessing it, she discovered it was her official
assignment packet, ordering her to report to Starbase 285 and await
the arrival of the USS Swiftsure, where she was to fill the position
of Captain's Yeoman. She finished reading the message and sat a
moment, thinking.

~What in the name of Kahless is a Captain's Yeoman?~ she wondered.
She requested a definition of the term from the computer, then asked
for a translation to Klingon - pure gibberish. Frustrated, she
demanded a translation to Vulcan, the short form. "Yeoman - an
attendant or retainer; a landholder; assistant to a sheriff or
similar official; small-time officer."
Perhaps an attendant to the
Captain?
She was certainly no landholder.

Perhaps the position was more assistant than attendant. What kind of
an assistant, however? If she were a human on a Klingon ship, she
certainly would not be allowed to handle any of the Captain's
paperwork - there would be too many documents that were security
sensitive, and could not be allowed into the hands of the enemy, for
all they were at peace for now. She didn't know Starfleet procedure
well enough yet to run interference for him with his superiors.
Therefore, her duties must be of a more physical nature. Yeoman...
Yeoman....

As she said the word aloud, it's similarity to another Standard word
struck her. Captain's Yeoman... Captain's Woman. Surely not. Although
Captain's Woman was a perfectly acceptable position on a Klingon ship
(provided the Captain was honorable and reasonably attractive),
RubIq' didn't think that Starfleet ships offered such a role. And to
assign her to the position, having never even met the Captain of the
Swiftsure....
No, it couldn't be.

She found another definition, "Yeoman of the Guard - A member of a
ceremonial guard attending the British sovereign and royal family and
also guarding the
Tower of London." Aha. She didn't know
what 'British' was, nor the '
Tower of London,' but perhaps a yeoman
was some sort of guard, or even a bodyguard. That made much more
sense. After all, any Klingon should be well-qualified as a bodyguard
among humans. And probably someone had heard of her skill with
throwing knives and the like. Also, it was often a good strategy to
have a bodyguard who appeared less than threatening, but was secretly
very effective. That explained it, then.

Satisfied with her expected new duties, RubIq' decided she was not
yet tired enough to sleep, so she left the claustrophobic quarters in
search of a place to get a decent meal.

OFF

Bekk (PO3) RubIq'
Incoming Captain's Yeoman
USS Swiftsure

 

 

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